Commentary

Moving the Cultural Needle for Life

John Stonestreet
By John Stonestreet | October 14, 2015 | 11:48 AM EDT

Unborn baby (AP Photo)

The pro-life movement is making enormous gains and preparing the cultural ground for lasting political change, too. But we’re not there yet.

These are heady times for the pro-life movement. In the last few weeks, I’ve spoken at several pro-life gatherings. Each time, I can feel the energy in the room. The stalwart defenders of life sense that momentum is shifting our way.

No doubt the horrors revealed in the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress have helped turn public opinion against abortion on demand and especially its chief purveyor, Planned Parenthood.  In fact, as I mentioned recently on “The Point,” According to a recent CNN poll, a solid majority of Americans—now 58 percent—oppose most or all abortions.

This is great news. But as recent failed attempts in Congress to de-fund Planned Parenthood show us, there’s still a long way to go—and even more work to do in the larger culture than in politics to make abortion as unthinkable as racism has become.

I say “even more work to do in the larger culture,” because that’s where the pro-life movement has been most successful.

Think about it. One of the chief pro-abortion arguments is that we pro-lifers only care about life in the womb, but don’t take care of the women and their children once the babies are born. Well, no one can really make that argument today, although some still try. Pregnancy care centers outnumber abortion clinics in the U. S. 2-to-1, and families are lining up to adopt.

And many pro-lifers and churches have now turned their hearts and helping hands towards those women who did go through with abortion—helping them find healing and redemption even in the midst of their grief and shame.

The pro-life movement has also made great use of technology such as ultrasound and photography in utero to show women and the public just how human and beautiful babies in the womb truly are.

And, of course, we have the culture-shaping stories to tell, like this one that I’ve shared before on BreakPoint.

A few years ago, Catholic priest Fr. Thomas Vander Woude made headlines when he and his parish rallied to save the life of an unborn child with Down syndrome.

The parents had decided to abort, but Fr. Vander Woude got wind of what was happening, contacted the parents, and urged them to hold off while he and the Church used their social networks to appeal for an adoptive family. The response was overwhelming—and the child’s life was saved.

But there’s more to this story. Fr. Vander Woude learned about saving a victim of Down syndrome from certain death from his dad.

Also named Thomas, Fr. Vander Woude’s dad died in 2008 after leaping into a septic tank to save his youngest son, Joseph, who had fallen in. According to sources at the time, Thomas, 66, allowed himself to sink beneath the sewage while holding 20-year-old Joseph above his head until rescuers arrived. Joseph, the elder Thomas’ son and the younger Thomas’ brother, has Down syndrome. His father died so that his special needs son would live.

As I said before on BreakPoint, it seems that Fr. Vander Woude, who officiated his dad’s funeral, inherited his pro-life view that is not just ideologically true, but one of action. And sacrificial love.

Folks, that’s how we will continue to move this cultural needle. The pro-life cause will continue to advance as we love God and our neighbor in tangible ways, like Fr. Vander Woude and his father did.

And we will groom the next pro-life generation as we live out a pro-life ethic in front of them at home and in our communities, inspiring them to do the hard work of taking care of the vulnerable among us who find themselves in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. There are still many communities who need the tangible presence of Christians offering life, in both word and deed.

So be encouraged. Change is coming. Life is advancing. Keep going.

John Stonestreet is President of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and BreakPoint co-host.

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by BreakPoint.

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