The Pro-Life Tortoises and the Pro-Abortion Hares

Longtime pro-life educators are like tortoises compared to some political hares who have recently raised awareness about lesser known aspects of abortion.

One Philadelphia area group, Pennsylvanians for Human Life, which offers presentations on life issues like abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia in schools and other private and public forums, has been at it for more than 45 years. Their recently retired executive director, Martha Short—a stickler for facts and known for gently talking about these delicate issues of life—recruited speakers, prepared presentations, and delivered them for 20 years.

On the national front, it took 12 years for the president of Students for Life of America, Kristan Hawkins—who recently addressed some 450 people at Pennsylvanians for Life’s annual banquet—to cultivate her group into more than 1,200 SFL chapters in all 50 states. Students for Life continues to successfully recruit, train, and mobilize the Pro-Life Generation, Hawkins said.

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily

Email subscribe inline (#4)

While pro-life organizations like these move slowly and steadily in teaching people about abortion, a number of politicians made the public aware of a few hard facts in just two months.

When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) into state law on January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, he made it possible for women to obtain abortions at any time during their 40-week or 9-month pregnancies.

Under New York’s RHA, there are no restrictions on abortion during the first six months of pregnancy “or [where] there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health” throughout pregnancy. The issues of health in baby or mother that allow abortions during the last trimester of pregnancy are not made clear from the law’s lingo. This leaves lots of wiggle room for doctors to proceed with full-term abortions. In a state known as “The Abortion Capital of America,” it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a doctor who will do so.

Such developments in the name of progress for women almost make a pro-lifer nostalgic for the days when abortion advocates declared that legal abortion should be rare.

As if that was not enough, Cuomo illuminated One World Trade Center, or also known as the Freedom Tower, in pink lighting to celebrate the passage of the RHA and late-term abortion. In his unflinching rush to promote this matter of life and death, the governor also shed light on an ugly reality about abortion. A fetus in utero—one just inches away from being dubbed a “baby” upon birth—can easily be eliminated in The Empire State.

Just visualizing the possibility is enough to turn one’s stomach.

While promoting proposed legislation in Virginia to repeal restrictions on third-trimester abortions, legislation similar to New York’s Reproductive Health Act, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurosurgeon, opened the public’s eyes to other truths about abortion.

As reported by CBS News, during an interview about Virginia’s proposed legislation to loosen the law on third-trimester abortions on Washington radio station WTOP, Northam said:

When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physicians, more than one physician, by the way. And it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s nonviable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother. So I think this was really blown out of proportion.

Anyone who’s been around the pro-life movement for a while knows that some babies are born alive during late-term abortions. Doctors and others determine whether to resuscitate or to lay the infant on a table until he or she dies, as pro-life advocate and nurse Jill Stanek witnessed and has long testified. Pro-lifers also know that some aborted babies, like pro-life advocates Gianna Jessen and Melissa Ohden, survive being aborted and live to address the issue.

Now, courtesy of Cuomo and Northam—both Democrats—the wider public also knows.

Other Senate Democrats, including presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, further enlightened the public to the fate of infants born alive during abortions when they voted against the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on February 25.

These hard-hearted senatorial presidential hopefuls were among the 44 legislators who voted against providing medical care and comfort for infants born alive during late-term abortions. Fifty-three senators voted in favor of the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.  Sadly, 60 votes were required to move the bill forward. “It’s cowardly for a politician to say they’ll fight for the little guy but only if the little guy isn’t an actual seven-pound baby who’s fighting for life,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), who sponsored the bill.

Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington currently leads an effort to bring forth a bill to protect babies born alive during abortions in the US House of Representatives by moving forward a discharge petition. With Democrats in the House majority, the Republican minority party must collect 218 signatures on a discharge petition to bypass House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and bring a born alive protection bill directly to the floor.

No wonder there’s been a dramatic shift in “Americans’ Opinions on Abortions” from January to February of this year, as the Marist Poll organization recently revealed.

For the record, the Marist poll was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion (MIPO). “The Marist Poll regularly partners with NBC News and The Wall Street Journal to conduct scientific public opinion polls [on a wide variety of social issues] in key electoral battleground states. It teams with NPR and PBS NewsHour to take the pulse of the country,” as noted on each of the Marist polls.

Thanks to Marist polling, we learned in January of this year that 55 percent of Americans considered themselves pro-choice and 38 percent of Americans considered themselves pro-life, while 7 percent were undecided. By February, pro-choice and pro-life numbers were even—each being 47 percent with 6 percent unsure about their position on abortion. The pro-choice number declined in February because the 20 percent of Democrats who identified themselves as pro-life in January jumped to 34 percent the following month.

Taxpayers also opined on the spending of their tax dollars on abortion in the January Marist poll. A whopping 75 percent of those polled—three out of four people—oppose or strongly oppose the spending of US tax dollars “to pay for abortion in other countries,” while 19 percent support such spending. When asked about “using tax dollars to pay for a woman’s abortion” in general, 54 percent oppose such spending and 39 percent support it.

Not only that, another poll conducted just two weeks after Cuomo celebrated the passage of New York’s RHA and one week after Northam callously described the possible fate of a newborn born alive during a late-term abortion was telling. This poll, one conducted by in conjunction with Americans United for Life, revealed that a large majority of Americans, including pro-choicers, are united in opposing late-term abortions.

Among all adults surveyed by, 79 percent opposed third-trimester abortion and 80 percent opted against abortion the day before a child is born. Among pro-choice people surveyed, 66 percent opposed abortion in the third trimester and 68 percent opted against abortion the day before a child is born. As for the question of medical care for infants born alive during abortions, 82 percent of those surveyed opposed removing medical care for a viable newborn, including 77 percent of adults who identified themselves as pro-choice.

Clearly, there’s a disconnect between the public’s views on abortion extremism and the actions of politicians like Cuomo, Northam, presidential hopefuls, and others who wish to endear themselves to their insatiable radical feminist base that wants abortion rights every which way.

Here’s hoping these extremists keep showing their true colors on abortion.

Moral truths surface sooner or later. In their haste to push radical abortion rights, ruthless political hares and their base might inadvertently help pro-life tortoises win the race.


  • Marybeth Hagan

    Marybeth Hagan is an author, as well as a freelance commentary and features writer in the Philadelphia area. Her book, Abortion: A Mother’s Plea for Maternity and the Unborn, was published by Liguori Publications in 2005. Her most recent commentaries have run in The Philadelphia Inquirer and on WHYY’s (PBS Philadelphia) Speak Easy blog. She also currently writes feature stories for the Seven Mile Times in Avalon and Stone Harbor, N.J.

Join the Conversation

in our Telegram Chat

Or find us on

Editor's picks

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Signup to receive new Crisis articles daily

Email subscribe stack
Share to...