State of the Union: How States Are the New Frontier for Pro-Life Policy

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Kevin Theriot: Hello, I’m Kevin Theriot, and I am really honored to be here with you to talk about life and in the post Roe era here in the United States. I am Senior Counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, and I work on the life team there. And I have with me here today, a distinguished panel. I’ll introduce you to them in just a moment when I start asking them some questions. 

But unless you’ve been completely cut off from society for the past year, you know that just a phenomenal event happened on June 24th of 2022. And Roe was overturned in a case called Dobbs. ADF was privileged to serve along many of our allies in having a key role in that. And it really has been an incredible opportunity to see how God works. 

But as with everything, it really has been the end of the beginning in a lot of ways. Roe was overturned and the Court, Supreme Court found that there is no fundamental right to abortion in our U.S. Constitution. There never has been, and states have a lot of very rational reasons. 

The Court listed about six of them as examples for why regulating abortion is legal. And that is because, for instance, states have an interest in protecting preborn life and they have an interest in protecting health of mothers and have an interest in protecting the medical profession from participating in barbaric procedures. 

 So, there are lots of good reasons for states to regulate abortion. But as with lots of wins that you see in the Bible and in the world in general, sometimes they’re, after a big mountaintop experience, you have a valley experience, and you all probably recognize that those advocating for abortion would say they had a pretty successful election in 2022 by emphasizing the abortion issue. 

So, there is, like a lot of situations like this, there’s been some backlash. But overall, it’s been fantastic and one of the things to remember is, for instance, in the Obergefell case back when same-sex marriage was recognized by the Supreme Court. I distinctly remember when, there were those on the advocating for same sex marriage experience some backlash, wondered if they even did the right thing. But of course, 10, 15 years later, they are, they probably are happy that they did, but this is very typical.  

So, I’m going to start, first of all, with the president and CEO of Americans United for Life, Catherine Glenn Foster. Catherine, I’ve actually had the privilege of working for, with Catherine in the past and many of her team members who have done fantastic pro-life work for a long time. Steve Aiden worked with ADF also, and was very involved in the pro-life, has been very involved in the pro-life movement. I’ve learned a ton from him. And the guy named Clark Forsythe. I never can remember Clark’s title, but Clark Forsythe, Google him. You can see he did an incredible amount of leg work and prep work. Wrote years ago, wrote a draft opinion for overturning Roe. And I think was cited in Dobbs, is that right?  

Catherine Glenn Foster: He sure was, and he is Senior Counsel but yeah, he was cited in the Dobbs, both draft and final opinion.  

Kevin Theriot: So, tell us a little bit about, now that we’re post Roe, how does that look and where are we in the United States when it comes to pro-life laws? And what’s out there and what we can expect? 

Catherine Glenn Foster: As you said, it’s really the end of the beginning. And so, we have a long way to go when it comes to pro-life law. We at AUL, we were privileged to introduce our American Life Initiative, which is the post Roe roadmap for how states can comprehensively abolish abortion. And it has a number of different pieces of legislation in there. States are starting to pick up on that. 

We see more and more states that are just excited, state lawmakers who were excited, and they say, what can we do now? Wyoming, for example, was the first one. The first state to introduce one of our model bills that comprehensively would abolish abortion in that state. So, it’s wonderful to see a western state step up to the plate like that. 

I know back five and a half years ago when I first started at AUL, another one of the laws that really touched my heart was also from Wyoming. Their first pro-life law passed in 28 years and it was an ultrasound bill. And that really, that hit home for me because of my past abortion experience and me being denied the ability to see an ultrasound. 

But I just thought about all the women out there who need the truth, who need to be able to see that picture, that window into the womb. And that’s what Wyoming offered. And now with the scourge of Roe gone, Wyoming can go even that next step, and that’s exactly what we see in so many states. 

We’re seeing it in South Dakota and Louisiana, Mississippi, of course, all these states that are just saying, what is the next step we can take? Louisiana, Arkansas. And they’re saying, we want more. We want more protection for women. We want more protection for life. And that’s what we’re offering them. 

The states are not going to be enough. We’re going to eventually need to get to the federal level. And so, we have offered our version of a constitutional amendment based on the 13th amendment abolishing slavery. And we believe that would be the best path forward to finally end the scourge of abortion nationwide. 

But in the meantime, we need to be enacting comprehensive pro-life law and policy, both on the abortion side and on the hope and vision side, to really offer women a holistic alternative, a vision of a future without abortion, so it’s not only illegal, not only unthinkable, so it’s really unnecessary. It doesn’t even come up as a possibility in people’s minds. 

And one of the ways that we’re introducing, and in fact, just released a white paper on this yesterday, is the idea that we can work together in communities and as a country to make birth free so that women do not directly have to pay the cost for birth. 

Because if we’re out there and we’re saying, okay, contraception is free. All these other treatments are free. Abortion should be free. We’re hearing from the other side. What can we do to put our thumb on the other side of the scale for a little bit and try to right those wrongs of the last 50 years? 

Kevin Theriot: Yeah, that’s very good. I like the idea. We’re in a conference. I just heard one of our speakers say we were in a post Roe era. Now we need to move to the post-abortion era. And that’s really what you’re saying, right? And I think that makes a lot of sense. And by the way, Catherine has a great story that’s just very inspiring. So, I’m sure you can see that on your website, right?  

Catherine Glenn Foster: Absolutely. Yes.  

Kevin Theriot Which is 

Catherine Glenn Foster: 

I’d like to move next to my colleague and my boss, actually, Denise Harle. Denise and I have been working together for about five years. And she just recently took over the life team. 

She’s doing a fantastic job. She is now Senior Counsel and the Director of the Center for Life at Alliance Defending Freedom and has been instrumental in a lot of cases, probably the most important of one of which was NIFLA v. Becerra, which, interestingly enough she came on, when did you start, like in September?  

Denise Harle: Yeah, I started late October. The CERT grant came down maybe two weeks after I started.  

Kevin Theriot: Yeah, CERT grant came down, and so she was the primary drafter of our our brief and the NIFLA v. Becerra case, which she’ll tell us a little bit more about. But Denise, came from most recently the Florida Attorney General’s office, has a lot of experience defending pro-life laws, and she is going to tell us a little bit more about NIFLA v. Becerra. 

What was the, what was that case about? Not, I think probably people know about that, but what is that? The significance of it, and what does that mean for us now in this post Roe era?  

Denise Harle: Yeah, so NIFLA v. Becerra was, involved a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers and only pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion in their waiting rooms and in any advertisements they put out to the public. 

They had to have these disclaimers that sort of suggested they were unqualified to provide these free, wonderful resources to women. We challenged that, losing all the way up, losing in the California trial court, losing in the Ninth Circuit, but the Supreme Court said that the law was unconstitutional, that you cannot compel people to speak something that violates their conscience. 

These pregnancy centers exist to help make sure women don’t feel like abortion is their only choice. They are faith-based nonprofits founded on pro-life values. So, for the government of California to come in and threaten them with punishments of these heavy fines for not… it was actually a number for Planned Parenthood that had to be put on the wall. It was a number that you would call and you would get referred to Planned Parenthood for free or low-cost abortions. 

The Supreme Court said you can’t do that in some very strong language. And one of the things that’s so interesting about that, is that decision came down in 2018. And so, we were very much in the Roe era. We really, Dobbs, wasn’t quite on the visible horizon at that point and yet the abortion industry, even in the state of California that is already so pro-abortion and does so many other things to promote abortion as a policy, was intent on punishing, targeting, and silencing the great work of the pregnancy health movement. So, now looking back, it’s a wonderful victory to celebrate. 

We’ve seen that laws now targeting pregnancy center seem to not quite cross that line. Like maybe NIFLA was a warning shot, but at the same time the dedication of the abortion movement after Dobbs is, I would say redoubled, but it’s probably just exponential in… you may have heard Senator Elizabeth Warren saying, I’m going to, we’re going to shut down pregnancy centers around the nation. They torment women.  

And so, I think the abortion industry understands that the pregnancy health movement has hope and truth and love to offer women with no strings attached completely for free. And when women go into these centers, they choose life at an unbelievable rate, right? They’re given that free ultrasound. They see that they have options, and they see the beauty of motherhood. And they have people come alongside them and say, you can do this, instead of the abortion industry saying you can’t. The abortion industry hates that, and I think that NIFLA really was probably a preview of what we’re gonna see on a much larger scale now, particularly in the blue states, and unfortunately from the federal government, if we have some adverse people in charge who are hostile to life. It’s a warning.  

Kevin Theriot: That’s right. And it’s amazing that there are still states like Illinois that are trying to do the same thing California did and states like, other states in the northeast targeting pregnancy centers. We’re seeing that on a daily basis. And so, it’s very important to support the, those that are supporting our families. 

Based upon that and supporting the family, even in families that are in crisis or unplanned pregnancy situations, I’d like to move now to Chelsea Sobolik, which I really worked on pronouncing your name. How’d I do?  

Chelsea Sobolik: You got it correctly.  

Kevin Theriot: Alright. Chelsea is the Senior Director for Public Policy and Advocacy at Lifeline, which is one of the premier ministries facilitating adoption in the country. 

She was formerly with the ERLC and has done a lot of policy work and worked on Capitol Hill. And Chelsea, talk to us a little bit about the role states can play in assisting pregnancy centers and supporting families. And what we’re really talking about there is, we’re saying, okay, the real underlying cause of abortion is a breakdown of the family. 

Abortion is really just a symptom. How do we get to the root of the problem to start working on reducing the demand? There’s only so much we can do to reduce the supply. What can we do to support families to reduce the demand?  

Chelsea Sobolik: Absolutely. So, Lifeline, like you said, we do adoption, but we fundamentally are a holistic care ministry for women, children, and families. 

And that means that we seek to wrap around vulnerable children here in our country, their moms, their dads, and their families. So, what that looks like on the role that states play, we’re licensed in 17 states, but we’re able to serve in all 50 states. And what that looks like, I often say, you can’t solve problems you don’t understand and you can’t understand from a distance. And people in their local states and in their local communities know their communities better than anyone in Washington, D. C.  

And I absolutely think there’s a federal role on a policy front, but at the heartbeat of Lifeline’s work and ministry is the work of the local church. And like you said, I do our Government Relations and our Public Policy and there’s a role for government. And I’m so thankful for all the people working to pass policies that protect the preborn and help children and families flourish. But the local church can be where the government can’t and shouldn’t be. The local church can be everywhere. As we identify, and I think all of our groups have reasons why women have stated that they have abortions. Certainly, there’s financial, certainly there are lack of material support systems. 

We were actually chatting before this panel began on the lack of relational support systems. And COVID did not help with that. I think we see how many people in our country are lonely. Just a loneliness epidemic and the church can meet, people can meet men and women and children there and certainly provide, partner with local pregnancy centers. And Lifeline does that local partnering with local pregnancy centers, but then connecting people to a local body of believers. 

And I think that’s paramount to our work. We help keep families together, help kiddos from ever entering into the foster care system. And then once a kiddo enters into care, we help wrap around that family, the birth family and the family who’s fostering, to really care and provide long term support and care. 

Kevin Theriot: Thank you, Chelsea. And I think it’s really vital. Obviously, the Lord uses the Church to make change and to be salt and light in our society. And in some places in our country, that’s really maybe even the only option.  

So, I’d like to move to Chelsey Youman. I think I got that one, right? Two Chelsea’s. I can do the first names really well.  

There are states, believe it or not, Denise mentioned one earlier in California, where there is very little chance that we can get pro-life laws enacted. If you want to think about it in terms of college football, it’s the Pac-12 and the ACC, and one little sliver in the middle there with Chicago. Denise has given me a squirrelly look. She’s a big Florida State fan.  

Denise Harle: I’m your boss.  

Kevin Theriot: The northern part of the ACC. How about that?  

But really, along the coasts, it’s difficult to get pro-life legislation enacted, protection for moms and babies, and as a matter of fact, they’re going the opposite way. Is the church Chelsea the only answer to that? And before I, I need to introduce you first.  

So, Chelsey is the Texas State Director and the National Legislative Advisor at Human Coalition. She was, she’s an attorney previously litigated with First Liberty, one of our important and staunch allies there in the Texas area. 

And actually, it was very involved in SB 8, which was the Texas heartbeat law that really was a precursor to Dobbs and set that whole thing up. So, we had the privilege of representing Chelsey and an amicus brief and that, and she just does some great work.  

Chelsey, I know I distracted you with your, from the question, what do we do about these, about the coasts? What do we do about places where we can’t enact pro-life legislation?  

Chelsey Youman: Yes. That is the question that we all have right now, I think, at this moment as a movement is, what’s next? And understanding now we have a few months since Dobbs and a few months since states are now allowed and able to legally protect life and unborn children in the womb. 

And we have the benefit of seeing that unfortunately not much has changed. Abortion is still rampant in our country and accessible in 75% of the country. And so, while several states, Texas included, do protect life and value unborn children in the womb, the majority of the country, they’re still vulnerable. Still vulnerable to abortion and their moms are still vulnerable to especially the chemical abortion pill, which is being distributed in droves without women having sonograms or knowing how far along they are.  

And at Human Coalition, we specifically are understanding what these abortion trends are because we’re serving these moms in need. We serve pregnant women in need every single day who are seeking abortion, and we ask every single one of them, if your circumstances were different, would you prefer to parent? 

And 76% of the time, women seeking abortion say, if my circumstances were different, I wish I could parent. And that’s such a powerful thing to know about these women, is they don’t feel empowered. They don’t feel they have a choice. They feel stressed out, afraid, angry. They make this decision out of duress because many of them can’t afford the rent for next month. 

Some of, most of them, 60% already have a child they’re trying to feed at home and are having difficulty currently affording childcare. And so, these are tangible problems. I know we talked a little bit about a lack of support system, a lack of fathers being involved in the picture. This is a systemic problem that all of society, not just the pro-life movement, has a responsibility to engage in. 

And so, when we get into some of those states that are not protecting life in the womb, the first thing to say is, what are they doing to care for women? Fourteen states have alternatives to abortion programs. Those are predominantly conservative red states that are passing those programs for pregnant women in need, and she needs real option solutions. 

She needs to be told she’s capable and able and that someone’s going to walk alongside of her and help her find that path to independence that she’s really looking for. And so, the way that we at Human Coalition have prepared for this moment is to really be emboldened by the fact that there’s a vast infrastructure in place. 

There are 2, 700 Pregnancy Resource Centers ready to go. They’ve been serving and loving women for decades. It’s not new. It’s a hallmark of our movement. And so, we can own that and understand, the dream would be to utilize that in a really effective way. In a really unified way and say, how are we reaching these women in these states where they’re being told every single Walgreens on the corner is now a chemical pill abortion provider for them? 

Some groups are even advocating to give women abortion pills when they start to menstruate so that they’ll have them on hand. And we as a movement can say, they can hand every woman in America abortion pills, but if she feels loved and cared for and hope she will choose life. And that looks like expanding clinics into these states, continuing to get them privately funded, raising up donors in those states who will say, we’re going to raise our hand and say that there are resources that have to be dedicated here.  

And then there are some middle of the road states. There are some states that maybe won’t go so far as to protect life but would create a program for women do want to see these women care for and loved and served. 

And so, we are working actively. I’m the National Director of Public Policy to engage states with those programs. We draft those programs, those budget amendments for them and say, please dedicate your resources to caring for these women in need because it does make a meaningful difference in their lives. 

Kevin Theriot: Empowering pregnancy centers, helping ensure that, making sure they have the resources they need to continue to support women. And also hooking them up with churches and making sure that churches are coming alongside them so that the folks that are coming to pregnancy centers aren’t repeat customers. They get them to the church where their true needs can be satisfied.  

But you alluded to chemical abortion. And Catherine, coming back to you, chemical abortion, I heard some stats earlier. That it’s close to 60% of abortions nationwide are chemical abortion now. And, of course, there are all kinds of stories that you see out there about how women are getting access to them, sometimes authorized, but also oftentimes illegal in a dangerous way so that they are endangering their lives, obviously the lives of their unborn babies, but their own lives by taking the abortion pill when it’s contraindicated. 

So, tell us a little bit about chemical abortion and how that’s affecting how we combat this scourge.  

Catherine Glenn Foster: Abortion is a scourge on America. Chemical abortion is also a scourge on America. When you look at chemical abortions specifically, there are so many risks, so many factors that go into this. 

Women aren’t getting properly examined before they receive them in so many cases. So, the doctor who’s prescribing this pill, and in some cases not even a full doctor as states try to push the boundaries there and say that non-physicians can prescribe these life-ending drugs. 

But they’re not getting an exam, and the doctor isn’t able to determine, for example, how far along the woman is. And so, whether or not this drug would be indicated, even if we agreed with the purpose, we don’t know, is this pregnancy ectopic? Are we talking about a life-threatening condition that is going to be exacerbated and covered up really by the chemical abortion drug? 

Because so many of the chemical abortion drug side effects mimic what happens with an ectopic pregnancy and so, you don’t know. The abortion facility is saying this is a normal process. This is just part of what happens, and you don’t know that, in fact, your life is in danger and you need to get medical attention immediately. 

So, none of that is being properly shared with women. Then on top of that, chemical abortion, even as compared to surgical abortion, it comes with added risk, increased risk of hemorrhage, of sepsis. We’re talking about life-threatening complications that women simply aren’t being informed about. And they’re being left to essentially self manage their abortions, often at home and in their own bathrooms. 

They have, they’re left with everything that entails, and then they have to deal with the aftermath, plus the psychological knowledge that they didn’t just go to someone else and pay someone else to perform this abortion, but they had a real direct hand in it themselves. It was their hand that did it.  

And so, all of these factors together make chemical abortion in some ways, a very different and equally life ending, but a very different and a very deadly and a very concerning path for American women and American families. And we have a federal administration that does not seem to care about this, does not seem to acknowledge the issues and just keep saying, trust women without providing them the knowledge that we need to actually make these decisions. 

So, what they’ve done is try to, the Biden administration is trying to expand chemical abortion drugs, is trying to get it in the hands of more and more women, women who aren’t even necessarily pregnant at that point. And they’re trying to take away any recourse for prosecuting these drugs coming into the country without being tracked or going state to state. 

Now, the good news here is that no matter how hard they try, the states can still act because the FDA, their job is to give the guidelines. They say, yes, this drug is safe within these within this, but a state can then go in and restrict or even prohibit, ban a drug within that state lines. 

And so, if a drug is coming into that state from overseas or from another state, the state can, in fact, pass a law on that, can indict someone on that, even in absentia. There are many actions that a state can do, and that’s something that we really need to hold our states to account for because the lives and the mental and emotional and spiritual well-being of our women and our families is at stake here. 

Kevin Theriot: You said something there that really struck me and that is, that because they can’t really blame the doctor for administering the abortion, they’re administering the pill themselves. The PTSD that results from that is crushing. And you hear stories, I sit on the board of a pregnancy center there in Phoenix, and we hear women coming in and they were, they’re not prepared for the fact that the baby has come out and it looks like a baby. It’s not products of conception. There’s a lot of emotional healing that’s going to have to take place.  

Chelsea, let’s go back to you. You’ve done a lot of work as we used to work for the policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. And it, this sounds, it’s an incredible opportunity for the Church to come alongside and help with the healing that is… The scarring that comes from surgical abortion is bad enough, but the chemical abortion actually appears to be worse. 

What can churches do, not only to help women after the fact, but to keep them from being succumb to this disaster? It really is for many of them.  

Chelsea Sobolik: First of all, our churches have to be safe spaces for women because sitting in the pews of probably every church in the United States are women who have had abortions, women who are abortion minded. 

This is not an “out there” problem. It is something that women have walked through in churches. So, pastors need to be aware, mindful, and creating that, ultimately preaching the whole gospel- that at the foot of the cross all of our sins are forgiven and we are all equal before God in our sin and we can be equally forgiven of that. Being aware that this is in our churches and then making our churches the place that we can find that hope and healing ultimately.  

The second thing I would say is, get to know the people in your churches and their needs and desires and what they’re struggling with. I think so many people can go to church on Sunday morning and feel like it’s an event they attend, and it’s not this local body of deeply rooted, committed people in one another’s lives. So, finding ways to build deep community so that people are seen and known and loved.  

And then the third thing I would say is, regularly preach and talk about the image of God, that each one of us bear, not only as humans, as people, but also that God created us gendered, that we are men and women, and that is good and beautiful. So, regularly highlighting the dignity, worth, and value of women and men and children and the preborn, and that children are a blessing.  

We are fed so much throughout our days, whether it’s talk radio or television or Twitter, all these places where we’re receiving messages, even if it’s subtle, but we’re receiving these messages from the world telling us that children are a nuisance or our gender is fluid or all these different things, but we need to be regularly centered in God’s Word. Pastors need to preach the totality of God’s word.  

But then also again, at Lifeline, we have lots of different ways and different tools that the Church can get involved. If pastors are listening or congregate members are interested in getting involved, I would say first pray through how God is calling you and your unique church. Where it is rooted and planted to get involved? Maybe you live in an urban area and that community is going to have different needs than a more rural area. So, spend time praying and seeking God’s face.  

And then secondly, get to work. There are people in every community throughout the United States who need our love, our care, support, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and a cup of cold water.  

Kevin Theriot: Thanks. Denise, Planned Parenthood has done a pretty good job of slick marketing that sells themselves as the only answer for women who are, find themselves with unexpected pregnancies. And they even pretend to provide comprehensive healthcare for women. Oftentimes they don’t. You can’t get help if you want to have your child from Planned Parenthood.  

What can states do? What can we as pro-life individuals do to help women see the deception that’s out there and actually get real healthcare that is affirming life for them and is not just leading them to do something that could scar them for the rest of their lives? 

Denise Harle: Yeah. Dobbs, in a lot of ways, is just a tremendous opportunity to have the veil lifted off of our collective eyes and unlearn the lies and the things we’ve been desensitized to, having lived under Roe, even those of us who are pro-life but have spent our lives only knowing abortion being called a so-called fundamental right or being called healthcare, even when we reject that. 

I think, now we have a recognition. It’s not a constitutional right. In fact, read the Dobbs decision. Until shortly before Roe, it was a crime in every single state going back to the writing of the Constitution, even back to the founding of the common law. It was a crime against the person. 

People understood what was happening when an innocent life was taken. So, I think that knowledge, hopefully, will empower states to do some of the things that Chelsea already mentioned. I think Catherine alluded to, but at a most basic level, states can absolutely defund Planned Parenthood on a state level. States have done this. It has been upheld in court.  

They have all the more reason now that Planned Parenthood has been exposed time and time again and is now transitioning into even more dangerous things like puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and these chemical abortion drugs. So, states can pairing their limitations on abortion, their pro-life laws with ways to creatively fund resources, maternity homes, pregnancy centers that are going to empower women, come alongside women, make sure that their state funds or taxpayer dollars are not going to Planned Parenthood. 

I think there’s ways that in the education system, states can be making sure that Planned Parenthood isn’t dictating the curriculum that children are hearing in the public school system throughout the nation about, supposedly, the nature of who we are and how we’re created and our dignity and sexuality and those sorts of things. 

 The alarm has been sounded on Planned Parenthood. We will all keep sounding it more and more. And we have so many more beautiful things that can be funded. And I think states can be so creative that if we just sat around and brainstormed, I think we could go all day on all the things you could do- tax credits to incentivize adoption and fostering and moms in need and actual healthcare, prenatal, postpartum childcare costs, all of these things that states need to number one, make sure no more dollars are going towards anything that could be fungibly used by Planned Parenthood at all and are going completely towards actual people in need in a way that’s going to help them. 

So, I’m excited to see what that looks like in this upcoming legislative session and in the next few years. I’m optimistic what we’ll see our friends in the states doing.  

Kevin Theriot: Chelsey, so Human Coalition does a lot of grassroots lobbying and grassroots efforts. Talk to us a little bit about what the folks that are pro-life Christians members of their church, members of their small group can do to get some of these pro-woman, pro-baby laws enacted that actually provide real support for women, like Denise was talking about. 

Chelsey Youman: That’s a great question. There is a role, I think for each one of us to play. Some people have time on their hands. Some people have resources. Some people have been gifted with powerful voices or intellect or careers even. And so to understand that as a movement now is the time to engage.  

I think maybe after Dobbs, we saw everybody do a victory lap, and we’re all rightfully excited that 50 years of prayers were answered, but now is the time to push forward and to engage in our churches, as you mentioned, preaching about it, discipling on this issue, creating, helping generate men and women of integrity on this issue. 

But you have to also go a step further and say, I’m going to hold my elected officials- we know them by name- we are going to hold them accountable to protecting vulnerable in the womb, and we’re going to hold them accountable for making programs and care for women in need. That’s something everybody should get behind. 

No matter where you are on the political spectrum is, care for vulnerable people in need, and those are things by advocating, calling your local officials, voting on this issue that you can engage as a citizen of our country to help protect life.  

And then, if it is time or resources, you also have on your hands, to continue to donate. Planned Parenthood is making more money than ever. And they killed more babies last year than ever in their history. It’s on their public report. And so, understanding that we have an active enemy, a dedicated and committed group and organizations and people to death and that they aren’t going anywhere. If anything it, the battles have changed, but they’re highly active. And so we need to continue to engage with time and resources and commitment to this cause and to use our voice for the voiceless really.  

Kevin Theriot: Thank you. So, we’ll end with one last question that anyone can weigh in on if you’d like. I’ll give a chance for each of you to, if you’d like.  

But what’s the one thing that the churches, the Christians, that those in the pro-life community should be looking for and be concerned about in their state as we move forward and try to progress from a post Roe world to a post-abortion world?  

Denise Harle: I can go first. I think one of the first things that people need to be alerted to is the misinformation. Because I think that is a, it came out very loud after Dobbs, these lies about what was going to happen to women if they couldn’t have abortions. 

All of it was false. It was false characterizations of what life-protecting laws do, all of which ensure that life of the mother is always paramount and that every mom can get medical treatment in an emergency in her pregnancy. But it was enough that I think a lot of pro-life people or pro-life interested, open people or people in the middle felt very shouted down and suddenly the debate was almost over. 

So, I would just say, educate yourself. If you hear something, take a little bit of time and just ask the question. Because what you’re hearing from the media and what you’re hearing from all of the money from the abortion industry is not true. And that’s so important as you’re equipping yourself to love people that to know that you are on the right side to know in your heart of hearts. 

Yes, we can stand firm and say, science is on our side, like the Word of God is on our side. We have truth, we have morality, we have… everything is going for us. We’re the ones loving people. And don’t get tricked by some of the things that you’re hearing.  

Catherine Glenn Foster: That’s so true, and the misinformation is so insidious. 

In Americans United for Life, we published a Q&A- here’s the lie, here’s the truth- a document. Because we need that, but we need to make sure that every American hears that, because it has an impact on all of us.  

When you look at, for example, the referenda. And the pro-abortion referenda that are going through, the pro-life referenda that are not going through. And so much of that is because of the mainstream media and how they’re just drowning out the truth, God’s Word, and really the very essence of humanity is, you mentioned the imago Dei. I think that is one of the things that we also need to be most looking out for as we’re looking to the misinformation. We also need to be looking to who we are as human beings. 

And I think in a lot of ways, abortion really comes down to the devil trying to destroy the image of God’s creation in us. And so anything that we can do to uplift that and to remind people of that and anything that we can do to counter lies that are out there that kind of tear it down. 

One of you was talking about what you hear in the news media and on social media about this. I think it was the anti-child mentality. And just get on Reddit, get on Discord, and it’s mind blowing. Just these people who are so hostile to humanity. That’s a lot to wade into on social media, but we need to be there speaking the truth and just sharing the beauty of life and of hope and of God’s word. And I think that’s what we’re really called to.  

Chelsea Sobolik: From my perspective, every single day I get a Google alert on foster care, and every single day there are counties around the country begging for more good quality foster families to step up. And we heard a lot about this surrounding Dobbs, that if women can’t access abortion, there will be more children entering into the foster care system. We actually don’t, we haven’t seen that uptick. We’ve actually seen more women choosing to parent. 

And we want to wrap around those women as they’re making those parenting decisions. But we need Christians all throughout the… All throughout the Bible, we see God’s care for the vulnerable, the orphan, the widow, the outcast. And so, we need to be seeking those people out, finding the people in our societies, whether it’s people with disabilities, people, the preborn, but I think we hear there’s a foster care crisis in our country and there are so many children who would love the chance at a forever family.  

I don’t think everyone is called to be a foster family, but I do think everyone can get involved in caring for vulnerable children, whether that is volunteering at your local church and just helping teach a parenting class to help parents get their kids back if that’s in their best interest and the kids’ best interest. Maybe pray prayerfully considering being a foster family, but I think that this is an area where the Church really can step up, and the Church is the right place because the Church can wrap around the family and provide support that people that aren’t connected to local bodies of believers just don’t have.  

Chelsey Youman: Really well said. There’s not much more to add, but I would say one thing I wish people knew is that women do not really want abortion. Even women seeking abortion, they feel, I said this a little bit earlier, but they feel they have no other choice, that they don’t know where else to go. And that’s really devastating when you start looking at how many women are getting abortions. 

And that this isn’t an empowering issue for them. It’s a devastating one, and some of the science is starting to come out. Now it gets buried. Your local news is not going to report on it, but there are studies.  

Charlotte Lozier published a study on the harms to women from abortion. Psychologically, one in four have PTSD, which is the same rate as women who have miscarriages. The depression rates, the suicide rates, the substance abuse rates. These women are left with the decision that they made and they leave alone to deal with that the rest of their lives. 

And so, I think there is one of the lies out there is that women need this or that it is helpful somehow to women. You do not help the poor by eradicating the poor. We want to leave them better than when they found us.  

And so, understanding abortion is not for women, it’s certainly not for children, can give you a little bit of confidence as you’re engaging on this issue and conversations around your dinner table to say, actually, maybe it’s not best for them. Maybe they’re really harmed by this. And what would society look like if we said we’re not going to stand for that? Women deserve better and children deserve better. And for us to continue to be okay saying that and pushing that forward.  

Kevin Theriot: Thank you very much. Y’all just have done a wonderful job. A lot of insightful information that we can take and apply it to where we are and where we are at home.  

And I just like to leave you with this, alluded to earlier, that oftentimes after a big win like the decision and Roe being overturned after 50 years of prayer and hard work, that we can come under attack.  

And attacks frequently occur after big wins, just like Elijah after Mount Carmel and found himself running from Jezebel with his tail between his legs and complaining to God, I’m the only one! It was so overwhelming, but God said, I’ve got 7, 000 prophets in reserve.  

And I think that’s one of the things that encourages me based upon how Roe was overturned. And just the miracle that God put all the pieces together to make that happen. God’s always got a plan, and we just need to do our part. 

And believe it or not, and of course we keep coming back to the fact with PTSD and the role of the Church, and how we need to be involved, the answer is really Jesus. It really is. And Jesus didn’t have a political or a military solution, although we need to be good stewards of those opportunities we have, but this is really a spiritual battle. And spiritual battles are fought on our knees. And so, remember that like James says, that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. We got to keep praying and we got to remember that this is a this is a marathon. This isn’t a sprint.  

I just like to leave you with this image. I often use it when I’m talking to people who are asking me about parenting advice. I’ve got grandkids now, so now I can just give advice. It’s a beautiful thing. 

But one of the things that really is effective in, no matter whether you’re raising kids or trying to get policy through or trying to influence your church, is steady pressure over time. And if you’ve ever had a dog and you play tug of war with the dog and the rope, if you try to yank that rope out of the dog’s mouth, the dog’s pretty good at holding on. But if you just start pulling gently, it doesn’t have to be that- just steady pressure. Pretty soon, the dog has to adjust his grip, and you get the rope.  

And it’s a great image of what it’s like to be on the side of life because we’re not going to get an immediate victory to enter into the post-abortion world. It may take another 50 years, but as long as we keep steady pressure over time and stay on our knees, we can do it and we can be successful. Thanks so much for listening in. And if you have any questions at all, you can contact Stand For Life. Have a good day.