Although the pro-life movement has faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in the U.S., the movement continues to make legal and cultural gains.
This is one of the latest.
In July 2019, I wrote the blog “The Last Planned Parenthood Clinic in Missouri Again Evades Closure” about how the lone Planned Parenthood clinic in my home state of Missouri received multiple court-ordered reprieves from closure after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) decided not to renew the facility’s license because of dozens of serious health and safety violations.
Public records showed numerous problems at the clinic including unreported failed abortions, life threatening complications, an illegal abortion at 21 weeks, insufficient supervision of medical residents (students) performing abortions and inaccurate medical records among the many other violations.
Yet the St. Louis abortion clinic continued to get court-ordered reprieves.
But this month, Operation Rescue confirmed that now no abortions have been performed there for months. Instead, all abortion appointments are now being referred to the Fairview Heights Planned Parenthood facility across the Mississippi River in Illinois.
How could this happen?
While Missouri has long been a strongly pro-life state with legislation like the 2019 “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act” and many active pro-life organizations, Defenders of the Unborn president Mary Maschmeier, who has led a peaceful, prayerful and life-saving ministry outside the St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic for many years, wrote an email also giving credit to the:
“ordinary citizens who would not take no for an answer. Who persevered day after day, year after year, decade after decade. Ever present on the front lines. In the streets. In the halls of our state legislature. Sidewalk counseling. Prayer warriors…Manning pregnancy aid centers. Staffing Ultra Sound vans. Rain, snow, heat, cold- ever vigilant.”
Mary also wrote that “We will not stop until the that unjust practice is banished from our land and encourage our fellow citizens to end abortion in their respective states. “
In 1989, I had just started working as an RN on an oncology (cancer) unit when we discovered that one of our patients had CMV (Cytomegalovirus).
One of our nurses was pregnant and tested positive for the virus. Her doctor told her how her baby could die or have terrible birth defects from the virus and he recommended an abortion.
“Sue” (not her real name) was frantic. She had two little girls and worked full time. She said she didn’t know how she could manage a child with serious birth defects.
I told her that it was usually impossible to know if or how much a baby might be impaired before birth. I also told her about my Karen who was born with Down Syndrome and a critical heart defect and died at 5 months. I told her that I treasured the time I had with her and later babysat children with a range of physical and mental difficulties. Most importantly, I also told her that I would be there to help her and her baby.
“Sue” decided against abortion and told the other nurses what I said.
The other nurses were furious with me and said if the baby was born with so much as an extra toe, they would never talk to me again.
But slowly, the other nurses came around and also offered to help Sue and her baby.
In the end, we all celebrated when Sue had her first son who was perfectly healthy!
My point is that what many people don’t understand is that pro-life doesn’t mean just being against abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. What being pro-life really means is truly caring about all lives, born or unborn.