A Pro-Life Message in the Mainstream Media?
In a recent piece published in The Washington Post, readers were introduced to Brooke, an 18-year-old mother of twins. The new mother lives in Texas, where abortion is prohibited by law once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected. While the overall tone of the article is critical of the Texas Heartbeat Act and the fact that it prevented the abortion of these two baby girls, the story also provides a real-world example of what the pro-life movement has advocated for half a century.
When Brooke went to a pregnancy resource center for a sonogram, she heard two distinct heartbeats. Here’s how The Post reported her reaction:
“She wondered: If her babies had heartbeats, as these women said they did, was aborting them murder? Eventually, [the pregnancy center employee] turned to Brooke and asked whether she’d be keeping them. Brooke heard herself saying ‘yes.’”
Later in the story, Brooke looked back on her decision as a new mother:
“Who’s to say what I would have done if the law wasn’t in effect?” she said. “I don’t want to think about it.”
And when describing her thoughts on the matter now:
“‘I can’t just really be free,’” she said. ‘I guess that really sums it up. That’s a big thing that I really miss.’ She sat silently for a while, Olivia’s hand wrapped around her finger. ‘It’s really scary thinking that I wouldn’t have them,’ she said.”
What new parent at any age didn’t have similar thoughts when the reality begins to sink in that you are no longer the most important person in your own life? Yet even this 18-year-old mother seems to realize what she has now is far more precious.
Another clear intent of the article was to paint the pregnancy resource center in the most unflattering light possible, but across the nation these organizations are meeting the needs of new mothers like the one in this story with everything from counseling to car seats, diapers, and formula—at no cost to the moms. These organizations provide other free material resources like baby clothes and cribs, as well as parenting classes and other forms of educational, financial, job-training, emotional, and professional support. In fact, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, 2,700 pro-life pregnancy centers across the U.S. served nearly two million people in 2019. By 2021, the number of centers had grown to 3,000.
As a quick scan of the comments section reveals, articles like these may not change many minds on the issue of abortion. But pro-life organizations like pregnancy centers are doing more: they are changing lives. They help those in need to be able to look to the future with hope, realizing that while life is never easy, it is always worth it.
The Post article is just the latest in what seems to be a growing trend in American political discourse: one side hurls insults that the other side takes as compliments. In this case, The Post’s headline was meant to shock: “This Texas Teen wanted an abortion. She now has twins.” Yet the reaction of many readers to such a headline is, “Hallelujah!” While The Washington Post may not have been looking to tell a pro-life story, it beautifully expressed the power of the pro-life message. After all, it’s a message too compelling not to be told: the most vulnerable among us deserve protection, and pregnancy resource centers around the country are there for women and their babies.