Saturday, 16 January 2021
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Did our work move the political needle in 2020? Alex Pasarelu/Unsplash

Did our work move the political needle in 2020?

The late Andrew Breitbart is credited with the quote, “Politics is downstream from the culture,” and he was right. 

For those who don’t know, Breitbart was known as a “happy warrior” who put a smiling face on conservatism, who would dive into civil discussions on issues with anyone. He certainly leaned right, but there was room for anyone to challenge or debate Breitbart. He started a website which bears his name, though the site has drifted from his original intentions.

The big question is, “Was Andrew Breitbart correct?” If so, another question: “Are we now seeing the fruit of a shifting culture?”

While all eyes were on the presidential race this year, something happened down-ballot which was ignored by the national media. As the networks focused on swing state results, a sizable shift took place in House races across the country. 

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As the new Congress takes its seats, we will see at least 16 new pro-life women in the House of Representatives. In eight of these races, these women flipped House seats from blue to red. The other eight were seats held by Republicans. And we’re not done—it’s quite possible that in New York, Claudia Tenney, who lost her seat two years ago, will be back—another pro-life woman.

Make no mistake, this was a huge year for pro-life women. But why?

Perhaps politics is beginning to pick up on a cultural shift, toward life. You don’t flip districts toward a pro-life representative unless the people—over time—are more confident that protecting life is a positive political position.

So, another question. “Why the shift?”

One answer is that pro-life advocacy is on the rise, pro-life groups are more sophisticated, media-savvy and adept at writing a new cultural narrative. This is, without a doubt, true. We must give these organizations an enormous amount of credit.

But something else happens every day. You know what it is. I know what it is. Yet for the most part, no one outside of the pregnancy help community picks up on it.

What is “it?” 

Quietly, each day, pregnancy help centers open our doors and love anyone who calls on us for help and support. We’ve been doing this for more than 50 years, when the first pregnancy help centers opened. 

Tweet This: For more than 50 years pregnancy help centers have quietly opened their doors each day to love anyone who calls on them for help & support.

Heartbeat International celebrates its 50th year in 2021. It’s a great achievement and took more than a generation to accomplish.

Over the decades, pregnancy help organizations kept our heads down and pushed forward. Women of all races and ethnic backgrounds have come through our doors. Some were wealthy, but many were poor. We didn’t discuss political issues with them, but we showed them the joy of choosing life. Many did, and still do.

Many of those we helped told their friends. Who told their friends. Organically, our reach grew.

Because we stuck to our mission, many communities where we serve now see us as tremendous assets. Don’t believe me? As just one example, ask the many judges across this country who refer women and men to us for parenting classes and other support. They believe in us. Others do, too.

The intention of our organizations and ministries was never to get people to vote pro-life. But as we quietly serve, the old idea that “pro-life” means anger and judgment continues to fade.  

So, when elections come around every couple of years, the number of those who believe we are the solution grows. Twenty years ago, pro-life candidates would tell us—the life-affirming community--about their pro-life views. But these same candidates often tried to temper their public statements to avoid appearing “extreme” in the eyes of the media. Now though, more and more standing for office are unapologetic as they stand and defend the innocent among us.

Why the change? Perhaps because politics is downstream from the culture. And the culture is changing.

Are life-affirming pregnancy help organizations connected to this culture change and the resulting political shift? 

Before we answer this, let’s once again thank the public figures and those groups working so hard on the political front. They’ve done a tremendous job in the public square and it is paying off.

So, when I see 16 or 17 new pro-life women propelled to seats in Congress, I’m nothing but grateful for all who’ve made a difference.

Yet, I’m also reminded that for five decades now, the pregnancy help community has continued to serve those in the most challenging situations, empowering them to choose life. We’ve backed this up with real-world, practical support—creating an ever-growing, smiling stream of children, moms, dads, grandparents and more who see life as a beautiful choice.

Common sense tells us we’ve impacted a sizeable portion of our culture for the better, giving them hope as we gently and lovingly promote life. 

Tweet This: Common sense tells us we’ve impacted a sizeable portion of our culture for the better, giving them hope as we gently & lovingly promote life

And downstream from this culture? More than a dozen new stalwarts for life in this upcoming Congress. 

Coincidence? I think not.  

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau. His new Faith Revolution Podcast is online at www.kirkwalden.com

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