- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 15, 2018


The worst abortions opponents, the ones who give pro-lifers a bad name, are the ones who stand safely away from the pregnant woman, shouting righteously and defiantly of the need to protect the unborn and preserve the sanctity and save the innocence and so forth — and then go home and pat themselves on the back for jobs well done.

As if God’s mission had been accomplished.

As if their righteous indignation meant something.

That’s why what’s taking place in Tennessee seems so significant.

It’s a real learning moment for other states — for the entire pro-life movement, as a matter of fact.

Come January 1, a new law goes into effect in Tennessee that requires women seeking abortions to first undergo ultrasounds, and for those who provide the ultrasounds to offer the women the opportunity to learn the results of the procedures. As Stream.org writes, “the ultrasound report will also be required to document whether or not a heartbeat was detected.”

That’s huge.

That’s huge because it moves abortion from a place of darkness and deception to one of truth. It arms women with the information they need to make choices that are right for their lives.

And really, if the pro-choice crowd is all about choice, as its members claim, this requirement is a no-brainer. It should be applauded all around, by abortion supporters and opponents, by pro-choicers and pro-lifers alike.

It should be implemented in all the states, by all the state legislatures, by all the states’ governors.

After all, as the left likes to say, if it saves just one life — fill in the blank. Well, the blank here is Tennessee’s new law. What’s to be lost with its implementation — but a life perhaps to be gained?

But Tennessee doesn’t just come with the stick.

“Established more than 30 years ago, Portico [headquartered in Murfreesboro, Tennessee] offers free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests to women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy,” Stream.org reported. “Half of the women who walk through our doors fall into the category [of] ‘abortion-minded.’ … Clients of Portico experience the staff’s compassion, hear the truth about life and see an ultrasound. Less than five percent of women are still ‘abortion-minded’ when they walk out the door. Seeing life in that fashion is a striking experience.”

There’s a lesson to be learned here.

As the government continues to wrestle with the what-to-do about abortion, one crucial element oft goes missing, or at least downplayed: the hands-on help.

“HHS finalized a rule that would allow nearly any employer to claim a moral or religious exemption to Obamacare’s birth control mandate,” Politico wrote in November.

“Mississippi abortion law: Trump inspires wave of strict abortion laws,” Vox wrote, also in November.

“Trump Administration Cracks Down on Abortion Rights One Day After Midterms,” Fortune wrote, again in November.

Well and good, for the pro-life movement, anyway. Rules and regulations are necessary; for far too long, the abortion industry has indeed been allowed to get by with some shady practices, some unhealthful, even dangerous conditions, some outright deceptive and ugly and horrifying acts.

But a pregnant teenager desperate to make her problem go away doesn’t care about that. A pregnant woman who’s been abused and never taught the sanctity of life doesn’t care about that. A pregnant girl who survives on the streets by selling herself as a prostitute doesn’t care about that. Their big concern is: What to do now?

Answers can be gleaned from Tennessee’s two-pronged approach. Answers that teach lessons to all about the need for sticks, yes, but carrots, lots of carrots, too.

Bluntly put, to those who really want to put a stop to abortion, remember and reflect: it’s not law and regulation that’ll do it. It’s not the distribution of Christian literature. It’s not the waving of “Abortion Kills” signage.

Rather, it’s good old-fashioned, get-your-hands-dirty, dig-deep and get-in-the-midst-of-the-battle compassion, love and practical assistance.

It’s one thing to say “don’t abort.” It’s quite another to say “don’t abort” — and then open pockets and pocketbooks to help the desperate pay the way to not abort.

Honestly, less righteous indignation, more compassion and practical assistance, and the abortion industry would cave and crumble and disappear, no laws or court decisions needed.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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