I admit it. I am an unabashed, unapologetic, undaunted optimist. It’s not that I’ve never been depressed, or worried or uncertain.
But almost always, when I get bad news it takes me about 24 hours to get over the shock and sadness and begin asking, “What do we do next?”
So it is with Monday’s Supreme Court edict in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. SCOTUS, in a 5-3 decision, struck down a Texas law requiring abortion clinics to—well—act like medical facilities.
The law, known as HB2, simply set standards. Abortion clinics would need admitting privileges to local hospitals, for safety’s sake. It also required abortion center hallways to be wide enough to allow a medical gurney to pass through, which in real life is called “common sense."
My initial reaction was not necessarily surprise, as our Court has not exactly been a hotbed of common sense lately. But with the reality of the decision, there was some “they did it again!” anger and an understanding that many reasonable laws requiring a minimum level of abortion clinic safety are now in legal jeopardy.
So what do we do? I’d be remiss here if I didn’t point out my friend Marc Newman’s column at Townhall.Com, where he addresses this very subject so well. He’s right; we don’t need hand wringing right now. Marc starts with the church and its response, and this is a perfect place to begin.
There are many of us however, who are deeply invested in the pregnancy help community—heck, this entire site is the news leader on this very subject. What do we do? What is our response?
May I suggest three action steps for those of us asking, “What do we do?”
First, we remember the mission does not change
The Pregnancy Help Community must never forget that SCOTUS decisions like this one actually have little to do with our overall mission.
We are here to provide life-affirming choices (yes, choice—it’s our word) to those facing unplanned pregnancies. The simple fact is, the overwhelming majority of women who come to our offices choose life, and you know why?
It’s not because we are better debaters. And not because we beg, plead or anything else other than . . . we offer a path to choose life. She can choose this path, or not. It’s up to her.
Tweet This: "The #abortion industry is about selling a product." @KirkWalden #prolife #PregnancyHelp
Yet once a woman—and many times, the father with her—sees this path, she seizes the opportunity and takes advantage of what we offer.
While the SCOTUS decision was troubling because it will ultimately give abortion centers a better legal opportunity to fight more reasonable health standards (and make a larger profit), this doesn’t change our mission to offer choice to those considering abortion.
Second, we must continue to be honest with our clients and patients
It is objectively true that if a woman goes to an abortion center, she receives a sales pitch. In this sense, an abortion center is like any other company selling a product. If I go to a GM dealership, the sales representative is not going to talk about why I should check into buying a Chevrolet because he believes in choice.
The abortion industry is about selling a product. If we want proof, go to the website for Whole Woman’s Health, the plaintiff in the Texas suit.
On the Whole Woman’s site, there is not one service offered related to having a baby. Not one. Birth control? Check. Morning After Abortion Pill? Check. Abortion. Check that one with a big red marker.
In fact, Whole Woman’s Health founder Amy Hagstrom Miller brags on the site that she “founded Whole Woman’s Health in 2003 with the mission to provide fabulous abortion care; which to me means excellent medicine for your body and mind, compassionate, supportive care for your mind and spirit.”
My pro-choice friends are reading this, so let me say here, I am not berating Ms. Miller. She’s honest, so I give her credit. She tells us up front; her mission is abortion. Not choice.
If one walks into one of Ms. Miller’s centers, they attempt to sell her abortion. Like the Geico commercial might say, “It’s what you do.” They make no apologies.
We are the only entity able to offer true choice, because we never profit off of a patient’s decision. Yes, we believe in life. Yes, we are saddened when someone chooses abortion. But for those who choose life, we offer assistance, care, support, mentoring . . . at absolutely no charge. In fact, in real dollars, we lose money when someone chooses life. And should she choose abortion, who helps her pick up the pieces in the aftermath?
We do. And that’s choice.
We need to continue to be honest with clients and let them know this very real difference.
Third, we must be first
If the overwhelming majority of women who come in our doors choose life for their children, we must be the first choice for them; the first place they call. This is not simply a nice ideal. It is vital.
If this means expanding our outreach to connect with those who need us most, let’s do so. If this means more services, fine. Bring it on and let’s get started.
Yet too many times I’ve heard, “We’d like to do this, but . . .” In other words, we are saying, “We can’t.”
With all the love I can muster, I reply, “Hogwash.” No one said our work was going to be easy, so let’s drop that idea. Now. No one said we would accomplish our mission without plenty of challenges and obstacles.
God isn’t fretting when we tell Him we are in a poor community, or that we can’t get this or that church to bring us in for a presentation. He does not wring his hands in worry when we tell Him “people just aren’t giving” or “it’s hard to find volunteers and paid staff members because” . . . of whatever our “because” happens to be at the moment.
If we need more funds, let’s ask and keep asking. If we need more paid and volunteer staff, let’s get out there and find them.
Tweet This: #SCOTUS has had its say. We still have ours. Let's get to work. @KirkWalden #prolife
Yes, these can be obstacles to overcome. Yes, these can be extremely difficult and frustrating challenges. No doubt about it. But it is our job and calling to overcome. It is what we do. Period. Let’s do this.
Three action points. First, we remember. Second, we honestly draw distinctions. Third, we make sure we are the first choice.
The Supreme Court had its say. We still have ours. Let’s get to work.