Pro-Lifers Aim to Advance Movement Beyond Overturning Roe v. Wade

Pro-Lifers Aim to Advance Movement Beyond Overturning Roe v. Wade
The Pray Vote Stand Summit hosted by FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of Family Research Council, opened with a Christian worship service at First Baptist Church of Atlanta on Sept. 14, 2022. (Courtesy of FRC Action)
Beth Brelje

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and returned abortion matters fully to the states, it is time to rebuild the culture of life in America, according to Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.

“Life has been, and will be even more so, an issue in every election,” Perkins said Thursday at the Pray Vote Stand Summit hosted by FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of Family Research Council. The summit, happening this week at First Baptist Church of Atlanta in Georgia, includes discussions of current cultural issues impacting faith, family, and freedom from a biblical worldview.

For the first time, life is on the ballot in a meaningful way, and voters should look at what lawmakers are doing and saying now, according to participants in the panel discussion, “Life After Roe: Where Do We Go From Here?”

“We have 50 years of abortion baked into our culture, and it has seeped into every ethos in terms of how we approach a sexual ethic, how we approach a moral ethic, how we look at abortion,” said Cole Muzio, president of Frontline Policy Council, a Georgia-based Christian family advocacy group. “We have to make sure that we’re loving women and stepping up as a church and as the Body of Christ to serve and care for them and meet this moment.”

Brandi Swindell is founder and CEO of Stanton Healthcare, an Idaho-based life-affirming network of medical clinics specializing in unexpected pregnancy care. She says Stanton is intentional in going where women are, to offer services.

“That means a key part of our strategy is opening clinics right next door to Planned Parenthoods. Right next door to abortion clinics,” Swindell said, adding that Planned Parenthood sued Stanton over that, but they are not going to be bullied because women deserve access to life-affirming care.

“The truth is the abortion industry, those radical, aggressive, pro-abortionists, will continue to spread the disinformation that women wake up every morning wanting abortions. And if they face an unexpected pregnancy, they are choosing an abortion. That is not the truth,” Swindell said. “Women want diversity in care. They want access to alternatives to abortion, and that’s why our clinics are busy all the time. We serve the same demographic that Planned Parenthood does. It’s the same women facing an unexpected pregnancy that they’re trying to prey on.”

Legislating Pro-Life Policies

South Carolina state Sen. Josh Kimbrell, a Republican, said his state has a heartbeat bill banning abortions once a baby’s cardiac activity is detectable, but the state Supreme Court issued a stay on that law. He reports people driving from Georgia, where abortion laws are stricter, to South Carolina, as “abortion tourists.”

“We’re going to introduce legislation that says if you attack a pregnancy center we’re going to put you in jail with a Class A felony, no stops, no ifs, ands, or buts,” Kimbrell said. He said South Carolina has banned any state employee from using their state health insurance card to purchase any kind of abortion.

In Georgia, proposed House Bill 41 recognizes that life begins at conception.

“We recognize that throughout our code,” Muzio said. “That means a woman, as soon as she’s pregnant, can begin claiming that child on her taxes.”

He added that a woman can put in a claim for child support from the father as soon as she is pregnant, making sure he is caring for that child. And a pregnant woman can drive in the high occupancy vehicle lane without having someone else sitting next to her. These are ideas that bolster messaging acknowledging the humanity of the unborn.

“If you’re someone that hates abortion more than you love life, they’re going to read through that,” Muzio said. “The key part of messaging is your authenticity.”

Changing the Culture

In Idaho, a law went into effect last month that allows for abortions only in cases of rape, incest, or to prevent a pregnant woman’s death. It is being challenged in court.

“We are abortion-free in the state of Idaho,” Swindell said. “Planned Parenthood parking lots are empty right now. And in fact, some Planned Parenthoods closed in response to Roe being overturned. I thought they were supposed to be about standing with women and abortion was only three percent of what they do. But it’s pretty obvious, when they’re shutting clinics down across the nation, that it’s not really about standing with women. They want women to choose abortion. They want to sell abortions.”

Connor Semelsberger, director of federal affairs at Family Research Council, moderated the discussion and said the future of the pro-life movement is in the hands of state representatives, federal representatives, advocacy groups, and voters.

“When Roe v. Wade happened, it was the church that began the pro-life movement—that first March for Life in D.C., that first January after Roe v. Wade happened, that came out of the Christian church,” Semelsberger said. “The church has to be the spearhead moving forward.” He emphasized the importance of elections.

While pro-abortion groups fight to broaden abortion access, Swindell said the culture must change.

“We have to work as a society to make abortion unthinkable in the hearts and minds of women that are facing unexpected pregnancies,” Swindell said.

Beth Brelje is a national, investigative journalist covering politics, wrongdoing, and the stories of everyday people facing extraordinary circumstances. Send her your story ideas: [email protected]