North Carolina abortions decrease for seventh consecutive year

This month, the NC State Center for Health Statistics released the 2013 reported pregnancy data, revealing a decrease in North Carolina abortions, continuing the hopeful downward trend we’ve seen in recent years.
 
Residents of North Carolina had 19,818 abortions in 2013, a 5.5% decrease from 2012. Abortions have declined each year since 2006, with totals decreasing 33% over those seven years. The most drastic decrease occurred between 2010 and 2011, coinciding with the passage of numerous pro-life laws by the NC General Assembly (read more at Saving Lives through Legislation).
 
To put the abortion total in context by way of comparison, consider that 14.2% of resident pregnancies ended in abortion in 2013. For every six North Carolina mothers who gave birth to live babies in 2013, one child lost his or her life to abortion.
While the death toll from abortions remains both sobering and overwhelming, we can take hope that more mothers in our state are choosing life for their children each year. Even in the few years since 2010, we have seen a decline in the percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion, from 17.3% to 14.2%.
 
While you can see NC Right to Life’s full report on the 2013 abortion statistics for much more detailed information, here are some quick facts.
 
Among North Carolinians having abortions in 2013:
  • 26.5 years was the average age
  • 33.9% had repeat abortions; 12.8% already had two or more previous abortions
  • 60% were already mothers of living children
  • Minorities continue to be disproportionately represented, with 45% occurring among African-American mothers
While even one abortion is too many, we celebrate the many lives that have been spared from abortion in recent years. We will continue our life saving work until every unborn child in North Carolina has the protection she deserves.

Takeaways from the NC State Fair

FairBooth North Carolina Right to Life has a booth at the N.C. State Fair that is currently ongoing until October 26th. I had the opportunity to staff the booth one evening and was so encouraged by the amount of support from those who passed by. Our “Choose Life” stickers are a big hit and people can’t help but pause to look at our fetal model set. Several things stuck with me after my shift at the fair booth:

1. North Carolina is pro-life!

It can seem daunting with the ever more vocal minority of pro-abortionists defending the outrageous abortion-on-demand status quo. While I didn’t take a scientific poll, I can say with confidence that the overwhelming response that I encountered at the booth was supportive. It was incredibly energizing and encouraging to meet so many enthusiastic pro-lifers with a wide variety of backgrounds.

One woman who stopped by recalled her horror upon learning that the Supreme Court had struck down all laws protecting unborn children with the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973. She remembered the moment: she had been driving to work. It particularly hit home for her as a NICU nurse. She reflected upon the many tiny babies for whom she cared: “You can’t tell me they weren’t babies.”

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2. Visuals are powerful

Many people stop to see our fetal models. Kids especially love them. Children don’t need their parents to explain that what they are seeing is a baby. Several mothers stopped to point out to their older children that one of the models is just the size of their unborn brother or sister. Others looked silently and shook their head at the reality that babies the same size and level of development as our models are legally killed through abortion every day.

Along the same lines, multiple people who stopped by just during my short shift at the fair specifically mentioned the powerful ad being aired by the Susan B. Anthony List. In the ad, a couple recalls the very premature birth of their daughter at just 24 weeks – a point at which Kay Hagan and other pro-abortion politicians defend abortion on demand. Viewers see a photo of tiny, though perfectly formed, baby Charlotte at 24 weeks, followed by a clip of her today as a beautiful little girl.

Revealing the humanity of the smallest members of our human family is a poignant witness to the pro-life message.

3. The U.S. Senate candidates’ positions on life are not widely known

Available at our booth is a comparison piece by National Right to Life contrasting Thom Tillis’s pro-life record with Kay Hagan’s pro-abortion position. Many people who stop by did not know the position of either candidate. The lack of knowledge highlighted the urgency of educating pro-life voters in the final weeks before Election Day – and the final days before the start of early voting. North Carolinians deserve to know that Kay Hagan holds the extreme position that no unborn children – not even those capable of feeling pain – should be protected from abortion.

Our fair booth also features a flyer explaining the pro-life laws passed by the N.C. General Assembly in recent years under the leadership of Thom Tillis as Speaker of the N.C. House. It also lists the other legislators who sponsored and voted for the 2013 pro-life omnibus bill for those unsure where their representatives stand.

If you visit the State Fair, be sure to stop by to say hello! Our wonderful volunteers who make it possible for us to use this great opportunity for pro-life outreach also deserve a mention. We couldn’t do it without you!

Pro-life policy: the difference between life and death

Becoming cynical about politics is easy. It can seem dubious whether our votes, our letters and our calls to representatives make a difference. It can get tedious when we're accused, ad nauseam, of waging a "war on women" simply by advocating for basic rights for the most vulnerable of our human family.

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Compared to the more obvious and immediate life-saving results of pregnancy centers’ and sidewalk counselors’, vital work at the individual level, the societal effect of political and legislative efforts are often harder to readily identify.

But the fact is, when we let these frustrations keep us from getting involved in the political and legislative arenas, lives are lost. That’s why a study, recently highlighted by Dr. Michael J. New of the University of Michigan, that sought to quantify the effects of North Carolina’s state abortion policy caught my eye. From 1980-1995, NC had a state abortion fund for low-income mothers. Occasionally, the fund ran out of money. A 1999 study by Cook et al. found that when this occurred, there was a significant decrease in the abortion rate and, months later, an increase in the birth rate. Overall, the authors conclude that 37% of women who would otherwise have had an abortion carried their child to term when funding was not available. The authors calculate that for a given year (specifically, 1989) where abortion funding was available, 1524 additional children were aborted. Cook et al. estimate an average of 108 black babies and 19 white babies, who otherwise would have lived, were aborted each month simply because state funding covered their deaths. As 1989 happens to be the year I was born, I can’t help but think of those 1524 peers of mine whom we will never know – whose chances at life were taken because the state, and its taxpayers, were willing to fund their deaths. Multiply that over the years and think about how many more are missing simply because of a state funding policy. As an aside, the authors have a rather different take on these statistics. They offer a chilling insight into the perspective of those who promote taxpayer-funded abortion (hint: it’s not about “women’s health” as the bumper stickers proclaim). They coldly imply that it would have been worthwhile for the state to provide the $527 to abort each of those “unwanted” children to avoid the higher cost of “supporting additional children on the welfare roles.” It seems that the cost of a human life is rather low in their eyes. While this particular study helped bring the facts and figures a little closer to home, numerous others – including Michael New’s latest article published this summer – have further shown the life-saving impact of pro-life policies. Just over a year ago, the North Carolina legislature passed the 2013 Health and Safety Law Changes, which Governor Pat McCrory signed into law. This legislation, in addition to banning sex-selection and dangerous webcam abortions, prevented the expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion in our state by opting North Carolina out of abortion in the federal exchange and city and county employee health plans. Lives will be saved because of this law, though we may never have a convenient count of just how many. As much we celebrate the life-saving impact of our efforts, however, we must remain vigilant. We cannot hope to maintain pro-life policies, nor pass other sorely needed measures, unless we vote for life this coming November and redouble our efforts to promote life-saving legislation. Your efforts matter, and their lives are worth it.

Referenced Studies:

Cook, Philip J., Allan Parnell, Michael Moore, and Deanna Pagnini. 1999. “The Effects of Short Term Variation in Abortion Funding on Pregnancy Outcomes.” Journal of Health Economics 18(2): 241–57.

New, Michael J. 2014. “Analyzing the Impace of U.S. Antiabortion Legislation in the Post-Casey Era.” State Politics & Policy Quarterly 14(3) 228 –268. http://spa.sagepub.com/content/14/3/228

Camp Joshua 2014

It's hard to believe that two weeks ago today, Camp Joshua hadn't started yet! Like last year, we had a great group of passionate young high school students eager to learn more about how they can stand for life in their communities. We were all impressed with how experienced and knowledgeable our 2014 campers were; m
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Our 2014 campers!

any of them had received previous pro-life training or had spent time ministering at abortion facilities. Others had volunteered at pregnancy resource centers and helped with retreats for post-abortive women. It was such a pleasure working with them! Even though the students already knew a lot about abortion, we still worked them hard. Our 48-hour camp was packed with classroom lectures, educational activities, and lots of time for fun! We taught them the basic facts about abortion, euthanasia, and stem cell research, as well as some useful skills for effectively sharing what they learned with the world. One speaker described how a counselling session at a pregnancy care center works, while another, Hannah Rose Allen, shared her story of how abortion impacted her life.
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Hard at work.

Hannah Rose's story especially resonated with the teenagers. During her testimony, Hannah Rose explained how she grew up pro-life, but when a string of bad decisions left her unexpectedly pregnant at 19, she turned to abortion to solve her problem. She emphasized the need for young people to truly understand and embrace the pro-life message as their own so that they will be able to defend themselves and the unborn. In their evaluations, many of the campers wrote that her story changed they way they thought about abortion; it had never occurred to them that a pro-life teenager could fall into such a dark place. Many reported that Hannah Rose's testimony helped them to understand the terrible impact abortion has on someone, but also how a frightened young woman might seek one out regardless of her beliefs. Hopefully her story will inspire greater zeal for the pro-life mission as well as greater compassion for those struggling with the abortion decision. Because the topics covered at Camp Joshua are intense, we are sure to break up the time with plenty of fun activities! The students had a pro-life movie night, performed skits using the skills they'd learned, and decorated our classroom with colorful posters. Other games like Pro-Life Jeopardy! and human bingo were also in the lineup. Despite all our planned activities, however, the campers quickly adopted their own "official" Camp Joshua game: Animal Call. Rather than trying to explain it, you can watch how it's played here. Short Journey Center echoed with their claps and laughter all weekend long! Each of our campers filled out an evaluation form with their thoughts about the camp. Not only did they all say that Camp Joshua NC was an overall wonderful weekend, they also left us with lots of feedback about what they liked or thought needed improvement. Their thoughts will be invaluable in the planning of next year's camp. We're so excited to continue building our Camp Joshua program and to educate more young pro-life leaders in the years to come!