e’ve waited a long time for this moment.
Four long decades of Roe v. Wade and abortion has remained a preeminent social issue. However, during this election year it looks like it might truly take center stage as the issue most people want resolved once and for all. And that resolution looks increasingly bad for abortion providers.
Since 1991, the number of clinics across the United States have plunged by more than 60 percent, and the abortion rate continues to steadily decline. Fewer and fewer women are receiving abortions.
These numbers reflect a true turning point in our longstanding fight to protect the unborn and preserve the sanctity of every human life.
In the ’90s, pro-lifers prayerfully sat in front of the doors of abortion clinics as police arrested us by tens of thousands. Some 70,000 in all were arrested — making ours the largest civil disobedience movement in America’s history.
Abortion advocates often emphasize acts of violence that occurred in those years toward abortion providers. Regrettably, there were individuals who engaged in inexcusable actions, but the vast majority — those who were legitimate members of the movement — were peaceful activists who endured aggressive arrests and weeks in jail for the sake of unborn children.
Those mass arrests led to some activist groups, like Operation Rescue, being branded as theatrical anarchists. Shifting tactics, we took our prayer vigils to the neighborhoods of the abortion doctors and clinic workers.
Again, we were labeled bullies, but we persevered. Images of aborted children placed on billboard trucks and handheld signs began to crop up from coast to coast. The media attempted to suppress the message, but the unborn babies — the victims of abortion violence — could not be ignored.
More recently, we’ve focused on notorious bad actors in the abortion industry. In 2004, for example, Phoenix abortion doctor Brian Finkel was convicted of 22 counts of sexual abuse of his patients. And in 2013, the monstrous Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for snipping the spines of babies born alive in his illegal late-term abortion clinic. This was the first such conviction in 40 years.
Even more recent are the Planned Parenthood videos with underground footage from the Center for Medical Progress. Posted on YouTube week after week, they show officials of Planned Parenthood affiliates casually discussing the sale of baby body parts while guzzling cabernet.
I believe those videos helped change presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s mind on abortion. In a July 2015 interview with the Blaze, when asked about the videos, Trump stated, “It’s disgusting. And absolutely they should be defunded. I thought it was so cavalier, so horrible.”
While Trump had previously been pro-choice, and had even defended Planned Parenthood, he told NBC’s Chuck Todd in February 2016 that he would not subsidize the organization with federal funds as long as they do abortions. “Planned Parenthood does a really good job at a lot of different areas,” he said. “But not on abortion. So I’m not going to fund it if it’s doing the abortion. I am not going to fund it.”
Further evidence of Trump’s commitment to the cause: On his short list of potential Supreme Court nominees is federal appellate Judge William Pryor, the former attorney general of Alabama, who once called Roe v. Wade “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”
In the midst of all of this, state and local governments continue making significant headway in passing regulations that require abortion clinics to comply with health standards — and that sometimes put them out of business. We’re making more headway on this front than we have ever made before.
Most important, we’re changing hearts and minds all over the country — not just at Trump Tower.
The abortion clinic is going the way of the eight-track tape and wagon-driving snake oil salesmen.
And as these clinics close more and more rapidly, as they struggle to meet new laws setting health standards, as they continue to injure and even kill women, the American people take more and more notice.
More than ever before, the pro-life movement is positioned to speak truth and truly be heard. It’s a moment we’ve not only waited for, but prayed harder than ever for, and I continue to pray that we don’t waste it. The Planned Parenthood videos were a game changer. This upcoming election can be a game changer. Now is the time to push forward with everything we have, and, in doing so, save America from any further decimation brought on by the horrific industry of abortion.
As Trump continues to shout at every campaign stop: We can make America great again.
Troy Newman is the president of Operation Rescue, a founding board member to the Center for Medical Progress, and served as national co-chair of the Pro-Lifers for Cruz coalition.