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On the cover of TIME this week is this headline:

40 Years Ago, Abortion-Rights Advocates Won an Epic Victory with Roe v. Wade. They’ve Been Losing Ever Since.

The story – “What Choice?” – is written by Kate Pickert. The main point of the article is that Roe v. Wade hurt the pro-choice cause by delivering the movement’s main goal and by energizing a generation of pro-life activism.

Not surprisingly, the story is biased against the pro-life cause. Though the issue of “personhood” and “life” is alluded to (see below), Pickert never explores the reasons for a surge in pro-life activity. Had she sought to explain the pro-life perspective, she would have shown how this debate is really a showdown between reproductive rights and human rights, and which rights are foundational to freedom.

Still, I commend Pickert for using the terminology of “pro-life” and “pro-choice” throughout the article. (She doesn’t use these terms consistently, but it’s nice to see the terms both sides prefer utilized in a journalistic piece.)

Summary of the Article

The story gives us an inside-glimpse of an abortion clinic and its director, Tammi Kromenaker. Pickert shows how it is increasingly difficult to obtain an abortion in certain areas of the country, due primarily to statewide legislation regulating abortion:

In 2011, 92 abortion-regulating provisions–a record number–passed in 24 states after Republicans gained new and larger majorities in 2010 in many legislatures across the country. These laws make it harder every year to exercise a right heralded as a crowning achievement of the 20th century women’s movement.

Surveying the landscape of pro-life legislation, Pickert paints a stark picture for pro-choice advocates:

While the right to have an abortion is federal law, exactly who can access the service and under what circumstances is the purview of states. And at the state level, abortion-rights activists are unequivocally losing.

Why is this the case? Pickert pulls no punches. Pro-choice advocates are losing the debate:

Part of the reason is that the public is siding more and more with their opponents. Even though three-quarters of Americans believe abortion should be legal under some or all circumstances, just 41% identified themselves as pro-choice in a Gallup survey conducted in May 2012…

If abortion-rights activists don’t come together to adapt to shifting public opinion on the issue of reproductive rights, abortion access in America will almost certainly continue to erode.

Even after the reelection of President Obama and the defeat of a pro-life candidate like Richard Mourdock (who got into hot water with their controversial comments on rape and pregnancy), Pickert points out that the winning Democrat is also pro-life.

Throughout the article, Pickert laments the shrinking of abortion rights and explains the reduction by pointing to the relegation of abortion to specialized clinics, new government regulations on the practice, and generational differences in the pro-choice camp. Though Pickert describes an abortive procedure in clinical, unemotional terms, she deserves credit for taking us behind the closed doors of a clinic to see what happens:

On this Wednesday it’s Dr. Kathryn Eggleston, who informs the woman that she’s reviewed her chart and asks, “Are you confident in your decision to have an abortion today?” If the woman says yes, the abortion begins; the whirring of the vacuum aspirator used to extract the fetus can be heard in the hallway. Within 15 minutes, Eggleston emerges from the room and enters another where the removed contents are examined and photographed for the medical record.

To be more specific, the fetus (baby) is extracted (by dismemberment), and the removed contents (body parts, actually) are examined (usually pieced back together) and photographed for the record. But hey, this is TIME, after all. We can’t expect them to show us a picture of what’s really happening, can we?

Nevertheless, it should be noted that Pickert is helpful in explaining the scientific advances that have helped the pro-life cause:

The antiabortion cause has been aided by scientific advances that have complicated American attitudes about abortion. Prenatal ultrasound, which has allowed the general public to see fetuses inside the womb and understand that they have a human shape beginning around eight weeks into pregnancy, became widespread in the 1980s, and some babies born as early as 24 weeks can now survive.

The scientific advances are demonstrating what pro-life advocates have been saying all along. There’s a human being in there, and an abortion stops the heart and takes a life. Unfortunately, the humanity of the unborn is never really discussed, although Pickert quotes Frances Kissling (longtime abortion activist), who clearly affirms that abortion terminates human life:

Kissling opposes the specific state laws pushed by pro-life activists but says the pro-choice movement’s effort to “normalize abortion” is counterproductive. “When people hear us say abortion is just another medical procedure, they react with shock,” she says. “Abortion is not like having your tooth pulled or having your appendix out. It involves the termination of an early form of human life. That deserves some gravitas.”

After a quote like that, you wonder if this article might actually delve into the central issue surrounding this debate: What is the unborn? At what point does an unborn child get human rights? But no, we return to the abortion clinic and the beleaguered, shrinking number of OB/GYN doctors willing to perform abortions. The article ends this way:

In theory, a lower rate of abortion might be something for both sides of the abortion debate to share credit for and even celebrate. But it also illustrates the ultimate challenge for pro-choice advocates. Their most pressing goal, 40 years after Roe, is to widen access to a procedure most Americans believe should be restricted–and no one wants to ever need.

Despite the many setbacks the pro-life cause has faced and will continue to confront, TIME recognizes which movement is gaining strength and which movement is fading. And that’s worth celebrating!

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34 thoughts on “TIME Sounds the Alarm: The Pro-Life Cause is Winning”

  1. Marty Duren says:

    “complicated American attitudes about abortion.”

    What an odd phrase.

  2. Stephen says:

    Yes, that’s definitely worth celebrating. It also begs the question — why is the party most associated with the pro-life cause doing so poorly?

    1. John K says:

      Might have something to do with someone saying there were WMD’s in Iraq and Iraq was an imminent threat, and then finding that wasn’t true. Or the systematic smearing of a decorated military officer by saying his awards were undeserved and his service record was fabricated, just because he was running for president of the opposite party. Or said party’s unwillingness to compromise in Congress, when compromise is part of electoral politics. Or said party’s willingness to spread lies and unsubstantiated accusations against the president (“do not speak evil about a ruler of your people” Paul in Acts). Based on all that, it has to be God’s grace on the party that the party at least holds one house of Congress. It could be much worse. All this hurts the pro-life cause.

    2. Matthew says:

      Stephen, I think that is a great question. And to answer that you have to define, in essence, who the Republican Party is. I think you can basically classify it in two ways:

      1) The party leaders and politicians who run the party and make the decisions in Washington.

      2) The mean/typical/core voters for the party whose views more or less define what the party is perceived to stand for.

      And here is why I think each group is “doing poorly”:

      1) Republican party leaders are inherently at a disadvantage. One of their main voting blocs are people who want less government, less taxes and less spending. Since Republicans consistently expand the size and scope of government, it is a tough sell to get these voters to turn out. It becomes “Vote for us because we’re not quite as bad as those other guys! We’ll cut PBS funding!” It is tough to win when most of your voters are voting against the other guy more than they are voting for you.

      Democrats simply do not have to deal with that internal hypocrisy. Or at least the anti-war contingent of the pro-war democrat party is much smaller than the small-government contingent of the big-government Republican Party.

      2) Typical Republican voters are doing poorly because they are terminally naive and grossly inconsistent.

      No matter how many times Republican politicians gain power and fail to do/do the opposite of their promises, voters keep coming back for more. They refuse to realize these politicians are simply using them to gain power. They compromise so much that their only real hope each election year is that a Democrat does not get elected.

      These voters are also incredibly inconsistent. They generally detest welfare but would never consider cuts to the two biggest welfare programs, social security and medicare. Even suggesting the obvious that social security and medicare is welfare will send them into a fit. They are generally pro-life, unless the child is Arabic living on the other side of the world. They say they are pro-freedom, unless a latino family wants to move here and make a better life for themselves. They oppose government-run healthcare because it is “socialism”, yet support government-run education when it is definitely socialism. They whine and cry about the country becoming socialist, but they cannot even give a coherent definition of socialism.

      They simply are not wise enough to develop sound views, and they are not shrewd to avoid getting duped over and over again by standard political lies.

  3. Gigiandgogo says:

    Attitudes towards abortion are very complicated. As an adopted son and father of an adopted girl, I have much empathy and compassion for young girls who are scared to death of being pregnant, of adult women who got pregnant by mistake, or similar. I am pro-choice and believe that abortion should be legal, safe and rare. I am also for putting limits on the “when” an abortion can be performed.

    Me being pro-choice in no way lessens my support for adoption, which I feel is the best option for most abortions and one that is not utilized nearly enough.

    There can be compassion for all sides.

    And when we are to the point that we no longer have unwanted children in our foster system, then we can have a real discussion about ending abortion.

    1. Andy says:

      all of that is fine, but doesn’t address the question of the humanity of the unborn who are summarily executed. can you cite a bible verse to back up why you believe abortion is ok in any instance?

      criminals who have their lives ended by judicial execution out get trials, they have been found guilty of crimes worthy of execution, and they can speak in their defence, as well as many rounds of appeals.
      why is a baby worth killing because of the sins of its parents?
      is an unborn baby less human when it is less developed to the point you can kill it without a moral question attached to it?

      1. MG says:

        I would have more respect for the “Pro-Life Cause” if their concern for the unborn extended to those children after their birth. There have been so many tragedies that have been the result of unwanted children that were brought into this world to suffer through no fault of their own. Why is there no movement or moral outcry over this? There is too much emphasis on shaming and vilifying women (and don’t miss the point that it is only women that are treated this way, the men who fertilize those eggs never share the shame or consequences even though in most instances it is at their insistence that the women are seeking to end the pregnancy). I also find it oddly curious that the most ardent and outspoken “pro-lifers” are men. In my family every baby (planned or not) is welcomed with love and open arms as a gift, not every woman has that kind of support system.

        1. Andy says:

          are the “pro choice” team supportive of mothers who keep the child, or are they only supportive of abortion?

          every time there is an abortion there is a tragedy. A life is ended. I fully agree that men need to accept responsibility for their actions (as well as women) and that it is hypocritical (and evil) for men to pressure women into abortion so they can avoid their responsibilities.

          does the lack of a support system a reason to kill a baby? Does that make the baby less human and less worthy of life?

        2. Margaret Gunse says:

          instead of tearing a fetus APART, pulling it’s legs off arms off, sucking out it’s brain after the fetus has been partially delivered, while sticking a pair of scissors behind the skull, then using a suction devise to remove the BABY’s brain. While this BABY is ALIVE..Why not opt for sterilization women, or how about a vasectomy for men, try it w/o anesthetic, see how that feels. The abortion you so willingly support would be equally painful for that baby, you so willingly want to dis-member I hope you all have a good visualization of what I’ve described, I hope you dream about it.If you still feel the same, visit one of those clinics,ask to sit in on one…None of you have the guts to view it, but you still insist it’s a wonderful way to MURDER.. It’s too bad your mother’s didn’t abort you..Oh but that’s different isn’t it. God have mercy on your souls your going to need it…

      2. Jin Kim says:

        Of course, the Bible does not condone any killing or murdering. And rightfully so, abortion is not condoned and is considered a sin.

        Having said that, does the Bible condone any forceful enforcement? I think this is the question we as Christians should ponder before we enforce any pro-life laws. Yes, abortion may be detestable but is any other sin just as not? Why do we need to single out one sin as greater than any other. After all, the Bible is very clear that one sin weighs just as sinful as any other.

        God never ever forces His love and His values on anybody. It is a choice for us to either follow Him or the other. When we set laws that hinge on forceful enforcement of our views on anybody, we are not showing any mercy or grace. This is how the Crusades and many more detestable wars in the name of Christ was started. There is need for tolerance and patience. After all, tolerance and patience was preached by Jesus Himself.

        Of course, all Christians should be pro-life and should teach their friends, family, and any acquaintances the value of preserving and saving a life. But it should never be forced. Just as obedience to God should never be forced, this should not be forced.

        God wants us to love Him freely without any fear. God wants to not sin without any fear or remorse. And, yes God wants the woman to make her choice for life freely and voluntarily.

        1. Andy says:

          seriously? every law is an expression of the moral desire of a society and what it holds sacred.

          you wouldn’t say that someone should be free to choose not to murder of their free will. you would say that it is reasonable to prevent by all means necessary murder. why are the unborn less worthy of the protections of the law than you or me?

          might as well campaign to scrap loads of other laws as well if you carry your reasoning to its logical conclusion, as they constrain the (evil) desires which many others wish to express. who are we to say that other crimes should be constrained, and that someone should be prevented from doing it just because it offends against our judeo-christian ethic.

          1. Jin Kim says:

            yes, seriously.

            This is the problem with Christianity today. The line between religion and politics has blurred.

            God does not care about any worldly kingdoms. It is God’s will for us to expand the kingdom of God and not any worldly kingdoms. Did any of the disciples or any of the apostles run for political offices? Did Jesus start at the top? Was He born into any political or monarch power? Jesus was far away as possible from the worldly leaders when He started His work. He also instructed all His disciples and apostles to win over our hearts through love and instruction and not by changing Roman laws.

            Just because we have laws that are moral does not mean that it is Christian.

          2. Andy says:

            Jim: why is your life worth more in the eyes of the law than an unborn baby that is just as human as you? why should you get protection and the most vulnerable get nothing and be able to be killed at whim?

          3. Matthew says:


            “Having said that, does the Bible condone any forceful enforcement?”

            I think that is a great question to ask. And sadly, most American Christians do not ask it and wish to use the violence of the state to shape society as they see fit. And I think that attitude is at odds with a biblical understanding of the state’s role in society as prescribed in Romans 13.

            However, in this instance, the pro-life crowd is asking the state to use violence to stop/punish one human from killing another human. In this case, the state bears the sword as an agent of vengeance against wrongdoers. Which meets all criteria set forth in Romans 13 for the state’s role in society.

            Therefore, the real argument still centers around whether or not the fetus is a human. If so, the state has biblical justification to use violence.

        2. JohnM says:

          Yes, the Bible does “condone…forceful enforcement”, that is what governments, which exist by the will of God, are mandated to do, for our good. That no government is perfect and some governments are outright bad does not change the mandate, and the only thing worse than bad government is no government at all. Of course Christians should desire, pray for, and yes, as we have opportunity advocate, good government. Among other things that means government that protects the weak and vulnerable among us from harm and injustice. There is no such thing as a Christian anarchist.

          1. Jin Kim says:

            Where in the Bible do you find “forceful enforcement” and “justification to use violence”? The only justified killing and enforcement was done by God alone. No one has the right to judge others and use violence except God alone. God knows all hearts and knows the deepest secrets of each and every man. Only He has the authority and power to make such judgements. When you see killing and violence in the Old Testament, it was ordered by God in a theocracy. We are no longer in a theocracy. We are not equipped to make such finite decisions. Jesus never ever condoned violence or any kind of force. In fact, he rebuked the disciples when they tried to use violence.

            It seems to me that the question is not whether a fetus is a human or not. The question seems to be how self righteous we all are. As stated in the Bible, a sin is a sin. God weighs each and every sin as the same no matter what we, humans, think. So if it is determined that the fetus is not actually a human, then is it okay to fornicate? Where does this self righteousness leading to “forceful enforcement” and possible violence end?

            We must remember that we are not living under a theocracy. Our government is a democracy made up of believers and unbelievers. Our job as Christians is to win souls for Christ on an individual basis without assumption and judgement. Sure, it would be great if anti-abortion laws were in place. But, that should not be our focus. Our focus should be on each and every individual soul converting the unbelievers so that the majority will make the right moral decisions.

            As always, God wants our hearts and minds. He wants obedience to come from deep within. He will not accept mere actions of obedience without the heart. Conversion and love for God and His moral laws must start from the inside and manifest itself on the outside.

          2. Gin says:

            Romans 13: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

            In this case, the governing body should value life in order for those children to be able to grow up, and glorify the Lord. God authors and breathes life. If there are people that should be protected, it is those who have no hope against their parents attempting to stamp out their life. To care for the minority fromt the majority that might seek to hurt them is a large part of what our country was founded on. May all that God grants life enjoy who He is.

  4. kharking says:

    I agree that attitudes towards abortion are complicated. There are plenty of philosophical gymnastics that both sides go through to justify the finer points of their own positions and even more people who haven’t thought about it enough to have a coherent stance either way. I would also agree that, far more that sophisticated arguments, the ready access to ultrasound and the clearer view that it provides has changed how people view gestational development and how much people can fool themselves about what it is that they are doing during an abortion. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t desperate women (and men) who make mistakes and who think that their only option is to make another one. I’d love to see the money that is spent on this argument go towards providing more non-lethal options for these women.

    I do think that the statement that “These laws make it harder every year to exercise a right heralded as a crowning achievement of the 20th century women’s movement.” is a pretty horrifying dismissal of all of the much more significant accomplishments of that movement. Equal pay for equal work and voting rights, anyone? You could make a case that increased access to birth control allowed women some freedoms from the biological realities of sex that might otherwise limit their career choices and advancement but portraying the spurious right to kill one’s own young as the height of women’s achievements over the last century is ridiculous.

  5. Carolyn Putney says:

    It is too bad that what happens before,during and after an abortion is not written out in graphic detail. People need to know the horror that takes place in different methods of abortion. Even relating how they have to piece the human life form back together to document that they got everything makes me wonder how anyone can do the procedure or be connected in any way to it. Mothers (and, for that matter, the fathers of these babies) should be required to at least read in detail exactly what is going to happen. I can’t imagine the excruciating pain that baby must experience. I don’t believe in violence like what has sometimes been displayed from Christians at abortion clinics. We just need to make sure we are doing everything we can at our Christian pro-life clinics to draw mothers faced with an unplanned pregnancy into our support network and then do all we can to help her. If she chooses to place her baby for adoption, or keep the baby, then we need to supplement her needs.
    Thank you for sharing this article. I’m pleased that we are making a difference. The day of rejoicing will come when these precious little lives are no longer killed and mindlessly disposed of. Oh, dear God, keep the vision before us that we might save these babies from death.

  6. JohnM says:

    Jin Kim:

    Both Paul (Romans 13: 3-4) and Peter (1 Peter 2: 13-14) recognized the responsibility of government to employ force against evil. That doesn’t mean we as private citizens have the same authority. Vigilantism is not Christianity, but as a I pointed out before, and as scripture teaches us, neither is anarchy.

    Now, you mention that we live in a democracy. I’m glad of it but also note as an aside that scripture mentions nothing about democracy; it’s a good, but not sacred, form of government. Christians can choose obediance to God under any kind of government, it’s just easier in a liberal democracy.

    One other difference is that to the extent a democracy gives Christians, along with everyone else, a voice in government Christians, along with everyone else, have some degree of responsibility for what the government does or does not do. Maybe in a sense that makes it harder, not easier, but to whom much is given much is expected.

    It is a fallacy that the bible teaches God weighs every sin the same as another. The bible does teach us that any and all sin alienates the sinner from God, and so the sinner remains, apart from Christ. If your point is that we must all cry “Lord be merciful to me, a sinner” then you are correct, however that does not disqualify anyone from recognizing and opposing evil, especially when it involves direct harm to the innocent and weak.

    Finally, you are correct when you say “Our focus should be on each and every individual soul converting the unbelievers so that the majority will make the right moral decisions.”. Perhaps if we lived under a dictatorship rather than the aforementioned democracy, perhaps if we were a persecuted minority as Christians were in the 1st century (and many places today), we would have no other responsibility. Do you think Christians should drop out of society and stop voting, serving in positions of responsibility, serving on juries, etc.? Some believers in the past (maybe in the present) have taken that path, and in a way it may be tempting, but I’m not so sure that’s a path God intends for us.

    1. Jin Kim says:

      I did not say that Christians should not vote. Of course, as part of a democratic society we should most definately vote and express our opinions and beliefs.

      The problem with the pro-life movement is that it makes society hate the sinner (which in this case happens to be the woman only for some reason) rather than the sin. Remember that Jesus came to the world to save us from the sin. He did not come to condemn the sinners, which by the way is each and every one of us.

      Anti-abortion laws will NOT solve any abortion issues at hand. It will not stop the many people who will invariably still get an abortion illegally. It will NOT stop any fornication. And, on top of that, it will not only vilify, but also brand the out of wedlock pregnant woman as a sinner. Yes, anti-abortion laws may state to the world that our country is a moral one and that we care for the meek and weak. But, I am afraid that that statement would be merely superficial. There still will be abortions going on illegally and very dangerously, I might add. We must learn from our history.

      Jesus told us to reach out to the sinners. He told us to care for the ones who needs our help through compassion and love. This is what we should be focusing on. Instead of scaring potential sinners by force, we should change their hearts. Have them come to realize life and love from Christ.

      I just think that all this energy and money on campaigns is a waste.

      1. JohnM says:

        “Of course, as part of a democratic society we should most definately vote and express our opinions and beliefs.” And if our beliefs include that abortion is the unjust taking of a human life…?

        “The problem with the pro-life movement is that it makes society hate the sinner”. The pro-life movement does no such thing. It neither attempts to do so, nor would it likely succeed if it did. On the other hand, pro-abortion advocates could be said to hate the child in the womb, and truth be told don’t really love the mother all that much.

        “It will not stop the many people who will invariably still get an abortion illegally.” But laws will stop some abortions, and probably already have. That some people will choose to ignore a law is no excuse for ignoring a wrong.

        “Jesus told us to reach out to the sinners. He told us to care for the ones who needs our help through compassion and love.” And so the pro-life movement does. Plenty of pro-life organizations stand ready and willing to provide help for expectant mothers in need. The pro-abortion side on the other hand would just rather eliminate the “problem” that more and more people are coming to recognize as a human life.

  7. the morals of the country have plunged and one reason i think mothers and others do not any morals about children have heard over and over that the baby is just a fetus so if society doesnt care for the unborn they lose their connection to children and reason children kill parent if you dont care they then dont care for them

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​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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