As pro-life activists take part in the annual March for Life in Washington, they are more optimistic than any time in recent memory as a Republican Congress and a pro-life president get to work and more and more younger Americans join the cause thanks to modern science.
Leaders in the movement, like Susan B. Anthony List Vice President for Government Affairs Marilyn Musgrave, expect President Trump to make good on all his pro-life campaign promises.
“He made a pledge to work to defund Planned Parenthood, to support the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, to make the Hyde Amendment permanent, to nominate pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. I might add that that’s the big one. That is the big one,” stressed Musgrave.
There’s already been action on two of those promises. On Monday, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which forbids U.S. tax dollars from going to any organization performing or advocating for abortion in foreign countries. In addition, the House of Representatives passed legislation to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. The Hyde Amendment prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortions in the U.S.
Musgrave applauds Trump and the House. She notes that every Republican who voted was in favor of the bill, along with three Democrats.
“It is very good times for us because we have hope that we can actually make gains for life,” said Musgrave.
She also says there is no reason Republicans can’t defund Planned Parenthood.
“I believe defunding Planned Parenthood, redirecting those dollars to other health care providers that don’t do abortion, I think that’s the one that’s most quickly attainable by the House and Senate through the reconciliation process,” said Musgrave.
Reconciliation is a budgeting process that skirts the possibility of a filibuster, meaning a simple majority in the Senate could defund Planned Parenthood.
Musgrave says accomplishing the Trump promises would save countless lives.
“The Hyde Amendment has saved over two million lives since 1976. It’s my prayer that at this time in history, we will look back on our efforts, our marching, our support for women and their babies, the acts of this Congress and this president, we will look back and know that many, many lives have been saved,” said Musgrave.
In addition to favorable political winds at the moment, Musgrave says the future of the pro-life movement is bright because of the thousands of young people who are actively part of the effoet to protect the unborn.
“The March for Life, with now the faces of many young people, is an incredible encouragement to me,” said Musgrave. “We are seeing the new face of the pro-life movement and that is incredibly encouraging as we see millennials speaking up for life.”
She says one reason for the youth infusion is that science keeps showing the humanity of the unborn.
“I can remember the day when they said it was just a blob of tissue. That’s what they would tell a pregnant woman. Now we know that those precious little babies are operated on in utero. We know that they can feel pain after the fifth month of pregnancy,” said Musgrave.
“We know these things. It’s not disputable anymore. So the preciousness of that unborn child, the humanness is ever more an more evident, especially to the millennials that are marching,” said Musgrave.
Musgrave says the real scientific game-changer is the sonogram or ultrasound. And while some recently claimed ultrasounds give women false evidence of their baby’s humanity, Musgrave says those images are very powerful to mothers dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.
“When women see the image, they know that that is a child. That is their baby. So there is a reason that the pro-choice crowd doesn’t want women to see the ultrasound. The humanness of that child is very evident right there for the mother to see,” said Musgrave.
She says many ministries are centered around giving women the chance to see their babies.
“It’s just precious to me when you see local communities, pro-life people supporting mobile ultrasound units. And I love it when a pastor gets up in a church and saying, ‘Because of your donations for this mobile ultrasound, you have saved many lives,” said Musgrave.
Musgrave says the ultrasound had a profound impact in her family.
“I remember the day I saw the picture of my grandson, Isaac. It was an ultrasound picture. I knew even then that he was going to look just like his daddy. And by the way, he does. That ultrasound speaks volumes. That’s the image that we see, that people are sharing with their family and friends. Science is on our side,” said Musgrave.
The March for Life will be the second for Musgrave in less than a week. She scoped out the Women’s March on January 21. In addition to missing any consistent message among the demonstrators, Musgrave was especially bothered by the number of men carrying signs in support of Planned Parenthood.
“Does that in any way relieve you of your responsibility for your sexual actions? If children are produced by that, do you just want them aborted? Do you not want them supported and taken care of? It was an interesting emotional time for me to be among those marches,” said Musgrave.
However, Musgrave firmly believes the pro-life side is advancing and that the combination of science, young activists and allies in Congress and the White House means the future is very bright.
“Now we have the opportunity to do things in the pro-life movement that I’ve not seen in my lifetime. It’s a very encouraging time,” said Musgrave.