New Life Sierra Annual Gala
Thank you for the invitation to address you today, and thank you for the work that you are doing protect babies and their mothers from the fatal consequences of abortion. Many pro-life groups concentrate on the baby, but the mothers are victims too – for they bear traumatic scars throughout their lives as a result of this practice.
We are making solid progress on this, one of the great moral issues of our age. In 1996, Gallup first put this question to the American people: “With respect to the abortion issue, would you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?” That year, 56 percent of Americans called themselves pro-choice – only 33 percent pro-life. This year, 46 percent said pro-choice – down ten points – and 47 percent said pro-life – up 14 points. That is a net shift of 24 points in 18 years.
And that deep-seated sentiment is reflected in the actual abortion numbers. Abortions are down dramatically from a high of 1.6 million in 1990 to just over one million today. That’s one million too many, but the progress has been dramatic.
That generational shift is coming from young people. The General Social Survey reports that in the 1970’s, the most pro-choice demographic were young people aged 18-29. By the 2000’s, young people had become the most pro-life demographic.
Margaret Thatcher often said, “First you win the argument, then you win the vote.”
We are winning the argument, we are winning the vote and we are saving lives – not just babies but their traumatized and victimized mothers as well.
You no longer hear the Left raise this issue in campaigns, because they are losing it.
There are two reasons for that.
One is the technological advancement of our society. Twenty-five years ago, George Will was asked the question, how can Republicans ever win if they oppose abortion? Will replied, “How can Democrats keep winning if they don’t?” He said, “I have quite a few friends who are young professionals who call themselves “pro-choice.” But I have noticed more and more of them have their kids’ sonograms mixed in with other family pictures.”
He said – and remember, this was 25 years ago – “as this technology improves, I submit to you that a nation that includes the sonograms of its unborn babies among its family portraits will inevitably grow to be pro-life.”
There’s a second factor involved that has accelerated this tectonic shift – and that is what groups like yours represent.
The pro-life movement has gained enormous ground because groups like yours have recognized that abortion victimizes the mothers who are caught between bad choices and turn to abortion out of sheer desperation. New Life Sierra approaches them as a genuine and concerned friend.
In a famous speech to the Washington society – a 19th Century Temperance organization, Abraham Lincoln spoke these words in 1842 and they are as true for our movement today. He said:
Although the Temperance cause has been in progress for near twenty years, it is apparent to all, that it is, just now, being crowned with a degree of success, hitherto unparalleled… For this new and splendid success, we heartily rejoice. That that success is so much greater now than heretofore, is doubtless owing to rational causes; and if we would have it continue, we shall do well to inquire what those causes are…
And Lincoln went on to say that the turning point for the temperance movement had come when it began advocating on behalf of those whose desperation had driven them to a bad choice and began showing them the way out.
New Life Sierra has devoted itself to the health, welfare and happiness of the mothers who feel cornered and alone in an intensely personal way at a frightening crossroads in their lives. And that has made all the difference in the world. I believe Lincoln would agree that groups like yours are ultimately responsible for the remarkable progress of our movement.
So I feel tonight, as Lincoln must have felt that night – honored, very honored – to be in the presence of those who have taken up this cause in a manner that is turning hearts and minds in the only way they can be turned – with compassion and understanding and sincere care.