Over the last 10 years, the pro-life movement has grown more passionate and successful. Planned Parenthood, the once seemingly invincible pro-abortion organization, has often been unable to keep up with a growing culture of life and has been caught in multiple scandals. As the decade comes to a close, here’s a look back on pro-life victories, and the occasional losses, that have defined the decade:
Abortion Numbers are Down
When it comes to abortion in general, more and more women are choosing life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Abortion Surveillance Report, there were 846,181 abortions in 2006 (the CDC report runs about three years behind and some states do not report). In this year’s report, with numbers from 2016, the number of abortions has dropped to 623,471. That’s a decrease of 26%.
That’s a number to celebrate.
Although the number of abortions is down, there is another concerning trend—an increased in the use of chemical or medical abortions, i.e. the abortion pill. In 2006, the percentage of abortions that used the abortion pill procedure stood at only about 10.4% of all abortions. That number has now jumped to 30.3%.
Party Switch of State Houses Blazed Path for Hundreds of Pro-Life Laws
As reported by Vox, the Republican sweep of state Houses in 2010 allowed for a pro-life agenda to become a major part of legislatures across the country. In that year, 11 state legislatures increased their conservative majorities and added 680 seats. As a result, between 2011 to today, states have passed 483 abortion restrictions. This is a reminder as we head into the 2020 that local elections matter.
Planned Parenthood Caught (allegedly) Selling Baby Body Parts
Perhaps one of the biggest abortion related stories of the last decade is the undercover video operation that exposed Planned Parenthood’s side business of (allegedly) selling preborn baby body parts for profit. Released by the Center for Medical Progress, under the leadership of David Daleiden, the videos appeared to showcase some of Planned Parenthood’s senior leadership discussing and haggling over the price of preborn remains. The videos shocked people across the country and demonstrated the callous nature of many of the abortion business’ high-level employees.
While it is legal to donate the remains of aborted preborn babies, it is illegal to make a profit from it or to alter the procedure for better specimens. This wasn’t a well-known facet of the abortion business before the release of the videos. Raising this (allegedly) backend dealing to the public’s attention was initially a significant blow to Planned Parenthood’s reputation. Though the abortion business was able navigate the public relations crisis fairly well and maintain $500 million in federal funding, it still diminished some of the public’s trust in Planned Parenthood.
It could be said that 2019 is the year of the Heartbeat Bill. Several states, including Georgia, Ohio and Kentucky, passed a bill that would make it illegal to abort a child after the preborn heartbeat is detected, which is around the 6th week of pregnancy. For the state of Georgia, making the stand for life was a particularly big risk considering that several big studios, including Disney and Netflix, threatened to leave if the bill became law. The Heartbeat Bills have been held up in the courts or overturned in legal challenges.
Planned Parenthood’s Leadership Challenges
In 2018, Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards announced that she was resigning. A powerhouse lobbyist and political strategist, the loss of Richards was a severe blow to the abortion business. After a month’s long hiring process, Dr. Leana Wen was hired as Richard’s replacement. A physician and health commissioner for the City of Baltimore, Wen seemed like an ideal fit. However, her tenure only lasted 10 months. Reports came out that Wen wanted to increase the abortion businesses health care offerings, while the corporate culture’s sole focus was on abortion. Her contentious departure brought more negative attention to Planned Parenthood.
Loss of Title X Funding
Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services released new rules stating that Title X funds could not go to any clinic that performs or refers women for abortions. Planned Parenthood refused to comply with these new regulations and lost $60 million in federal funding. While that is not a large blow for an organization that received more than $600 million in private donations, it did show women across the country that Planned Parenthood is more interested in performing abortions than in providing them with preventative health services.
Over the last decade, the growing pro-life movement and Planned Parenthood’s public relations blunders have meant that 2020s could be the best decade yet for the pro-life cause. In the next 10 years, it is likely that a significant challenge to Roe v. Wade will be heard at the federal level. While it is rather unlikely that abortion will be made completely illegal in this country, there is a hope that abortion regulations will once again return to the states.