Despite the defeat of pro-life state ballot initiatives and the victory of presidential and congressional candidates who favor legalized abortion, pro-life leaders are nonetheless hopeful about the future of the movement.
Seeing the election results, national campaign director of 40 Days for Life David Bereit said in a press release: “some pro-lifers may feel a sense of despair today.”
“However, we have every reason to be optimistic about the profound pro-life shift that is beginning to take place below the radar,” he continued, reporting that the 40 Days for Life campaign of prayer, fasting, vigils at clinics, and pro-life outreach had saved more than 540 babies whose mothers were considering abortion.
He added that a number of clinic employees “experienced a change of heart and quit the abortion business due to this effective pro- life outreach,” noting that and many abortion centers cut back hours or closed for whole days during the campaign, which he resolved will continue “regardless of who holds elective office.”
The next session of the 40 Days for Life Campaign is to begin February 25.
"The winning presidential candidate ran on a nebulous platform of 'change,' but 40 Days for Life provides something far more powerful - hope. Hope demonstrates that, with God's help, hundreds of lives can be spared from death by abortion. This fall, a political battle was lost," said Bereit, "but hundreds of lives were won. I am convinced that those victories will have far greater impact."
Melinda Delahoyde, President of the pregnancy center network Care Net, noted that while legislative efforts to protect the unborn “may be limited in future years,” pregnancy centers are “advancing stronger than ever before and in places where our help is needed most - our nation's inner cities.”
“The 'pro-life good news story of the week' is the movement afoot among urban African American church leaders who want to see abortion statistics reversed in their communities and are opening up local pregnancy centers,” Delahoyde said in a press release. “Through practical help and emotional support, nine out of ten women who visit a pregnancy center are empowered to carry their pregnancy to term.”
Rev. Herbert H. Lusk, II, a former Philadelphia Eagle, heads the “People for People” community outreach organization which on Friday is opening The Hope Center in central Philadelphia. Organizers note that they are opening a center in an area where abortion providers greatly outnumber pregnancy centers and where 40 percent of Pennsylvania’s abortions occur.
“If you don't do anything about abortion, you're not part of the solution, which means that you're part of the problem," Rev. Lusk said. "The good news is I am no longer part of the problem.”
Delahoyde said the opening of the pregnancy center is “a sign that a culture of compassion instead of hopelessness is emerging in some of the neediest places of our country.”
Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., challenged pro-lifers, especially those who voted for pro-abortion rights candidates, to be vocal about their pro-life beliefs.
“To everyone who said, 'I am pro-life, but I will vote for a pro-abortion candidate this time,' I say now is the time to prove your commitment to the unborn," said Dr. King. "March for truth and justice. Flood the White House and Congress with messages that you do not agree with the slaughter of innocent children. Stand up for 'the least of these.'"
"Preachers, preach life; warriors, pray for life; soldiers, fight for life,” she exhorted. “The pro-life battle begins anew. We march on!"