For 45 years, tens of thousands have gathered in the nation's capital around the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision to express support for the pre-born and their mothers. The March for Life can be a sober reminder of a broken world where many women and men believe their only option in the face of an unexpected pregnancy is abortion.
However, at last year's march, Vice President Mike Pence told those who gathered that, "compassion is overcoming convenience and hope is defeating despair." The theme of this year's march, "Love Saves Lives," rings true. The march is gaining momentum with the support of our nation's leaders. And it's attracting more young people than ever before. The pro-life movement, with its diversity of people, religious backgrounds, socioeconomic status and age, is experiencing a renewed sense of optimism.
With today's technological advances, even most abortion advocates can't deny the humanity of the pre-born. A generation ago, a pre-born baby was often considered just a blob of tissue. Today, technology clearly shows the tiny baby's heartbeat, fingers and toes, and mounting evidence of the ability to feel pain. As a result, millennials poll higher in terms of supporting pro-life values than do their parents.
A conservative government is working to protect the rights of pre-born babies and their mothers, through preventing painful abortions after 20 weeks, barring U.S. funds for overseas abortion providers, and doubling the child tax credit to help ease financial burdens facing parents.
When a woman is faced with a pregnancy decision, the choice to proceed with an abortion is almost always a difficult one. Many women feel pressured into abortion either by someone close to them or by overwhelming personal circumstances. Empowering women to choose life, by committing to support them and their new baby, is the best way to prevent abortions.
Innovative local pregnancy care centers provide parenting education for expectant mothers, mentoring, and long-term support while also assisting with material needs. Pregnancy centers in Colorado Springs celebrate the important roles fathers play by equipping unprepared men and pairing them with a trained life coach.
In contrast, you won't find support for parents at Planned Parenthood, the nation's abortion giant. There is no baby boutique where new moms can pick out free baby clothes, cribs, and car seats for their little ones. Its latest annual report reveals that Planned Parenthood provides no mammograms and minimal prenatal care, but performed 321,384 abortions with just 3,889 adoption referrals. Mothers facing unexpected pregnancies have to go to private pregnancy centers for support and real choices.
While 89 percent of abortion-vulnerable women who visited a local pregnancy care center chose to parent their baby last year, Planned Parenthood's annual report data shows a much grimmer story. In stark contrast to the 321,384 abortions, Planned Parenthood offered prenatal services to only 7,762 mothers. For an organization claiming to be pro-choice, the near universal choice being offered is the choice to terminate a pregnancy. Meanwhile, the growing consensus among Americans is that abortion is a decision our country needs to rethink and restrict.
Choosing to abort a baby is a decision that has significant, lasting consequences. What abortion providers don't share is that women and men who have experienced an abortion often remain burdened by that decision years, even decades later. Pregnancy care centers across Colorado and the nation, know this and provide programs offering hope and healing to women and men who have chosen abortion.
Pregnancy care centers exist to serve women and men facing pregnancy decisions through education, counseling, and care. There are people right here in our community who stand ready to help.
It is true that Love Saves Lives. While tens of thousands will march in remembrance of the millions aborted, may we all consider our roles in offering love and compassion to those facing pregnancy decisions.
Doug Lamborn is a member of the House of Representatives representing Colorado's Fifth Congressional District and the author of fetal tissue protection laws in the Colorado State Senate and the U.S. Congress. Rich Bennett is the CEO of Life Network and has held numerous local nonprofit leadership positions, advocating for strong families and protection for the pre-born.