Pro-Life Movement Rapidly Growing, What Caused The Pro-Life Shift: We’ve spent a lot of time on Good News Fridays over the last year just talking about victories in the pro-life movement because there’s been so many. In fact, it has really dominated our Good News Friday programs! But in today’s program, we wanted to discuss the why, and how to continue this movement! Tune in now to learn more!
Air Date: 03/19/2018
Guest: Dr. Michael New
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. All of it from a biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton, a national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator.
You can find out more about us at WallBuildersLive.com where you can also get archives of the program and a list of our stations and some other information. And then you can also visit our main website – WallBuilders.com where you can get all kinds of tools that will equip you and your family to be better citizens. You’re going to learn a lot about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution. You’re going to learn about a biblical application, a biblical worldview, that you can use to influence the culture and what our positions should be on issues if we’re really following the Bible.
Later in the program today we’ve got Dr. Michael New with us. He’s going to be updating us on some of the things that are happening in the pro-life movement. David and Tim, we’ve spent a lot of time on Good News Fridays over the last year just talking about victories in the pro-life movement, there’s been so many. In fact, it has really dominated our good news Friday programs. We thought we’d just go ahead to a whole program today with kind of an update on what’s happening, legislation that’s coming up, legislation that has passed this last year. And so Dr. New will be with us later to talk about that.
But I want to start by asking you guys – what do you think the real triggers are that have changed this movement so much? Because even when we first started the radio program 10-12 years ago, or certainly when WallBuilders started– what’s it been, 20, what are we at, 22 years now for WallBuilders?
Oh man. No, it’s longer than longer that.
Longer than that. Twenty five years?
No, we’re at 29.
What Do You Attribute the Change To?
29, okay. So, 29 years ago when WallBuilders started the pro-life movement was not winning battles – we were kind of hitting our head against the wall. Now it seems like victory after victory. What do you all attribute the change to?
Well, certainly the cultural change, Rick. I say growing up I saw the generation in front of me– and I’m 35– I saw the generation in front of me did not have the same regard for life as my generation did and I’m the beginning of that millennial generation. Depending on what you look at you are defining millennials, sometimes I’m kind of in that bridge gap that, that two or three year difference.
But generally speaking I am considered part of the millennial generation, the beginning of– the birth of the millennial generation. And because of science, really interestingly, even some aspects, social media has played a part in it, Hollywood has had some movies that are pro-life, but it seems like it’s become very prevalent that the general awareness from my generation of the fact that there is a baby being formed in the womb. Which, and I say that, sometimes it’s, for even my generation, the longer the pregnancy goes the greater the value of the life is. Which is probably true for most generations as far as when you look at the percentage that is pro-life.
But there’s something culturally that has shifted, it’s very identifiable that there is a shift. And we see the shift in everything from Hollywood, what’s done on social media, even on some levels what’s taught in high school classrooms. But I really don’t know why the shift happened – I just recognize it happened in my generation in a lifetime.
Offering a Speculation
I’ll offer a speculation, Rick, I think part of it’s literally spiritual. I think you can look at physical things and say, “Well, with all the 4-D stuff that’s now out there where you can see images of the baby and it is clear that it’s not a blob of tissue. It’s got a face, it has eyes and ears, and facial expressions, that you now see.” We’ve seen surgery take place inside the womb where you’re having spinal surgery or other types of surgery.
And you can argue that, but I’m going to go back to– going through the 70s and the early 80s, there was kind of a spiritual renewal in America. What was sometimes called the Jesus movement, the 70s and into the 80s. And there was a lot of prayer that went on for the nation. Intercession for America and other prayer groups get started then.
And I look back to the book of Judges- I think it’s Chapter 13 and judges. You had Israel that had been for years under the oppression of the Philistines. Their culture was all goofed up. They couldn’t practice their faith the way they wanted to. The Philistines were hostile to them in so many ways. And they’re just praying to God for a national change, “God, just help us to change. We need a revival of the nation.”
And I think it’s Chapter 13 maybe verse 6 where God sends an angel to the paper and says, “Okay, I’ve heard your voice. We’re going to have a change. And here’s they way it’s going to happen.” And he talked to a man there and he said, Manoah was his name, and he said, “Manoah, I’ve heard the prayers of the people and I’m going to answer those prayers and hear how’s it going to work. You’re going to have a son and when that son of yours grows up he’s going to destroy the Philistines and you’ll be free.” You’re going, now, wait a minute, that’s 20 years before the kid grows up. Yeah, that’s right. I’m answering your prayers by sending you a generation.
A New Generation
And I think that that’s part of what goes on with this new generation where they are so much more pro-life than any previous generation. It’s an explicable they should not be because they’re more pro-life than those that teach them. And generally, you become what you are taught. They’re more pro-life than so much around them and you go, “How does this happen?” Well, maybe it’s just flat out an answer to our prayers that God said, “Oh, you guys have had enough abortion now. You want it ended. Okay, let Me send you a generation that’s going to do something very different from what your generation did.”
And I think that’s part of the answer we’re seeing right now is something spiritual is going on now that was started 20-25 years ago.
Which, by the way, also kind of points out the Bible doesn’t always answer prayers instantly. Sometimes it’s a generational answer to a prayer and I think that’s what we see here.
It’s definitely having a result. These are not– we’re not just looking at one example here or one example there, the data is just overwhelming. It is a true movement in the country with very, very, positive results.
We’ve had Dr. Michael New on in the past to talk about some of this. He analyzes it as a professor. He’s kind of a data guy – he’s looking at these trends and looking at what’s happening. We’ve asked him to come back and share some of that with us. Stay with us, folks. Dr. Michael New when we come back on WallBuilders Live.
Moment From American History
This is TimBarton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. In the early seventeen hundreds the Reverend John Wise preached that all men were created equal, that taxation without representation was tyranny, and that God’s preferred form of government was the consent of the governed.
All of which is language recognizable in the Declaration of Independence. Why? Because in 1772 the sons of Liberty led by Founders Sam Adams and John Hancock reprinted and distributed the Reverend Wise’s sermons.
Four years later, much of the Declaration reflected the language of those sermons by John Wise. In 1926 on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, President Calvin Coolidge affirmed, “The thoughts in the Declaration can very largely be traced back to what John Wise was saying.”
Few today know that the Declaration was so strongly influenced by the Rev. John Wise. For more information on this and other stories go to WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Dr. Michael New is back with us giving us a pro life update, lots of things happening lately. Dr. New, thanks for coming on.
Dr. Michael New:
Thanks for having me. Much appreciated.
What Do the Trends Look Like?
So, the data looks to me like the trend is against abortion and we’re actually seeing fewer clinics, fewer people wanting abortions. What are you seeing in your research?
Dr. Michael New:
The trends are very positive and I think these are trends that the pro-life movement should do a better job advertising. The best to statistic that I like to give is that since 1980, the abortion rate has fallen by 50 percent.
Dr. Michael New:
Fallen by half. That means a woman today of childbearing age is about half as likely to have had an abortion as her counterpart was some 38 years ago. So, that’s real progress. I think is progress that we should do a better job advertising. And the main reason why the numbers are falling is because the high percentage of unintended pregnancies are being carried to term. We have that data from Guttmacher, that used to be around 40 percent, now it’s 54-55 percent.
So, it really isn’t contraception. Unintended pregnancies have been pretty consistent in terms of the rate, but again, a high percentage of those pregnancies are being carried to term. And again, that’s partly because of the protective laws pro-life people pass, it’s because of the good work of a pregnancy resource centers, it’s because we’re changing hearts and minds. So, again, I wish we can do more faster, but we are making progress.
You say then that there’s a lot of different factors that contribute to it.
Dr. Michael New:
Is there a way to really measure what’s been most effective or any of that? Or is it we just need to say, “These are all the right–we’re fighting on the right fronts and they’re all getting results.”
What Is Being Most Effective?
Dr. Michael New:
Well, we can know certain certain things. We can see certain states pass different kinds of laws. We know for certain that cutting off public funding for abortions through Medicaid, that’s had a big impact. I did a study for the * Institute, the research and education arm of the Susan B Anthony List, that shows that since 1976 the Hyde Amendment has saved over two million lives. So, we really know that cutting off funding plays a big role. Also–
Wait, wait, let’s back up and highlight that for a second. The Hyde Amendment has saved over two million lives. That right there– so, it matters who’s in Congress, it matters what legislation gets passed. Remind us– because the Hyde Amendment, that’s been a while. We’ve had times when it wasn’t even enforced.
Dr. Michael New:
But remind us what that is.
The Hyde Amendment
Dr. Michael New:
Well, basically one of the first things pro-lifers decided to do politically was that if abortion is going to be legal we didn’t want our taxpayer dollars paying for it. And we got legislation put together in 1976 that basically stated that federal Medicaid dollars– it’s not a ban, but it really limits the circumstances under which they can pay for abortions through the Medicaid program. And it was held up in the courts for a while. There was some back and forth.
And in 1980 the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment and said that even though abortion is legal there is no * so people don’t have to pay for it with their tax dollars. So, at the federal level, very few tax dollars go directly to abortions through the Medicaid program and that you had a big impact.
It’s interesting the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment in 1980 and abortion numbers have actually fallen every year since then. The numbers peaked in 1980 and they’ve fallen, or at least the abortion rate has fallen, every year since then. So, again, it’s just basic economics. When abortions are free or heavily subsidized, more people get them. When people have to actually pay out of pocket, they consider some other alternatives and that’s a good thing.
Well, let’s take that to the political side of how that type of legislation gets passed that saves lives. And obviously, two major parties – Republican and Democrat, on average, I guess, more than likely a Republican is going to be pro-life and a Democrat’s going to be pro abortion. Is that a fair description?
Dr. Michael New:
Definitely. Republicans have been, especially lately, much, much, better on this issue and it wasn’t always like that. The pro-life movement used to be a lot more bipartisan. But in recent years, very few Democrats are coming across the aisle to support pro-life laws.
What Has Happened With the Democrats?
What has happened with the Democrats over the last few years? Because they used to, at least some of them, used to be against partial birth abortion, which is the the heinous one. Well, it’s all heinous, but that’s the one that most people have learned enough about it to say, “That’s almost, that baby is about to be born and you’re killing it right before it’s born.” They tend to kind of change their tune on even that.
Dr. Michael New:
Since 2003, 52 House Democrats and 17 Senate Democrats voted in favor of the federal partial birth abortion ban. And we had a similar piece of legislation, not the same, a 20 week abortion ban. We’ve seen those radical policies in the world. Only seven countries really have abortion legal after 20 weeks. And we got, I think, three Democrats in the Senate and maybe three in the House to vote in favor of that.
I think what’s happened, unfortunately, is the Democratic Party, on this issue, has just become a lot more liberal. I think an older generation of democrats that came of age during the Great Depression, during World War II, are passing away and leaving behind a party that’s a lot more liberal. And the party really is being very hostile to their own members who are pro-life.
Dan Lipinski, who represents a district in Illinois, is one of the few pro-life Democrats remaining. And his colleagues aren’t really being very supportive. Two members of Congress are supporting his opponent in a contested primary. It doesn’t look like the democratic rational Campaign Committee is going to give him a donation or formally endorse his re-election. So, they’re really doing a lot to kind of isolate and damage their own members who are pro-life.
Let me make sure I understood what you said – So, banning late term abortions, something that most countries on the planet don’t even allow–
Dr. Michael New:
We’re one of seven countries that has abortions legal after 20 weeks.
Only seven. Okay, and so–
Sharing Company With the Worst Human Rights Violators in the World
Dr. Michael New:
Yeah, the others like North Korea, China, some of the worst human rights violators of the world, we’re sharing company with.
So, we’re in great company there. Okay, so even this grotesque heinous act, only seven Democrats out of the House and the Senate were willing to say “no” to that.
Dr. Michael New:
Wow. I was shocked when Hillary supported it in the campaign that– what was it, the third debate between her and Trump. And that was kind of a defining moment I think whenever she defended partial birth abortion and he just had a visceral reaction to it. I think that told people a lot, but I didn’t realize– I’d always known she was really a true believer of the far left, but I didn’t know Democrat across the board. I thought most of them were still for banning partial birth abortion which is– that speaks volumes that only seven of them would say “no” to that.
Dr. Michael New:
Yeah. I think that, again, they’re really out of step with the rest of the country. I think this will really hurt Democrats in moderate and conservative districts. And there’s other things to be concerned as well – for the first time since 2016, the Democratic Party platform did call for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which we talked about earlier. That even President Clinton, President Obama, they signed appropriation bills with high protection. Most Democrats were at least peace of the world where taxpayer dollars were not going for abortion.
But when Hillary Clinton ran 2016, one of the planks of the Democratic Party Platform for the very first time was to repeal the Hyde Amendment. So, again, not only do the Democrats think it should be legal, a lot of think that abortion ought to be paid for with your tax dollars and my tax dollars.
Jumping Ahead to the Trump Administration
So, let’s jump ahead to the Trump administration and their pro-life efforts and policies. There have been some saying that what they’re proposing actually would increase
abortions. Have you been able to take a look at that?
Dr. Michael New:
It’s just really absurd some of the things that show up in the mainstream media. But it’s what we’ve seen before. We’ve seen abortion rates decline consistently since 1980. And they’ve declined during Democrat presidents, they’ve declined during Republican presidents, they’ve declined when the economy is doing well, they’ve declined when the economy is doing badly. So, you had some people argued that, “Gee, the numbers declined under Obama and give the Obama administration credit.” Well, this is pretty far fetched. You just saw a trend continue that President Obama had very little to do with. So, that’s one thing.
Another thing, especially when you’re talking about teen abortions, is that we’ve seen pretty consistent teen pregnancy declines. Teen pregnancy rates have been declining since the early 90s. And we also see evidence that teen sexual activity is declining pretty consistently since the early 90s. These are very, very, broad trends that Democratic presidents have really had, frankly, nothing to do with.
So what do you see in the next couple of years if these trends keep up? We’ve seen a lot of abortion clinics closing – do you think that’s going to continue? They’re down to, I forget the numbers, but they dropped dramatically. So, there’s not a whole lot more– obviously there’s a lot more progress we can make, but they’re down to bare bones across the country in terms of even clinics it seems like.
Dr. Michael New:
There are many states that only have one clinic – Mississippi only has one, Kentucky only has one, there’s a few other states in, I think, the midwest that are down to one. I think the prognosis looks very good. We just had the March for Life in January. I always enjoy going and one reason why is because so many young people are there.
Most Pro-Life Generation?
Dr. Michael New:
And it’s interesting – back in the 70s there was a big generation gap on abortion where senior citizens were very pro-life and young people weren’t. But now that’s changed. A lot of polls show that young people are very sympathetic to the pro-life message. And some, based on how you ask the questions, some measure so that this current generation of young people is the most pro-life generation of young people we’ve ever had. So, again, I think that’s a cause for optimism. And again, I wish we could obviously do more faster, but we are making progress and I think pro-life would do well to stay the course.
Lots of good news there. Dr. Michael New, professor there at the University of Michigan Dearborn. Look forward to getting you back again soon, sir.
Dr. Michael New:
Alright, I’ll keep you guys in the loop. Take care.
Sounds good. Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Thanks to Dr. Michael New for joining us today.
The Turning Point?
We’re back now with David and Tim Barton. And, guys, we see this stuff anecdotally on our Good News Friday with each individual story of an abortion clinic closing or another piece of legislation passing. But when you really step back and look at this, and like we’ve been saying over the last couple of decades, this is substantial. I wonder if 10 years from now, 15 years from now, we’re going to look at any particular moment in time as the turning point.
Well, one of the things he kept pointing to was 1980. And I don’t know that he specifically chose that as a turning point, but he pointed out that since 1980 the abortion rate has fallen by 50 percent – which is massive. That is a huge change since 1980. And he also pointed out that 1980 is when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment. Since the court upheld the Hyde Amendment there have been, documentably, two million lives saved that would have been aborted before the Hyde Amendment. So, 1980 seems to be kind of a turning point as far as policy goes.
But at the same time there’s also a mentality that has shifted in the culture. And he was talking about how it used to be that the older the generation the more pro-life they are. Well, now it’s come back where the younger generation is more pro-life than the older, so you have that going. But I was thinking about that Hyde Amendment – that was such a simple amendment that said, “Hey, we’re not saying to ban abortion we’re just saying you can’t use taxpayer funds for abortion.”
And it goes back to that old axiom that says in government you subsidize what you want to encourage and you tax what you want to discourage. So, if we want to discourage cigarettes we tax it more. If we want to discourage marriage, we have a marriage penalty tax. If you want to encourage marriage, you subsidize, you take the penalty off of marriage.
So, as you look at it, what we were doing, we started subsidizing a policy of, “We’re not going to encourage abortion and we’re not going to pay for it with government money.” So, once you stop subsidizing behavior you don’t get it anymore. And that’s significant that in 1980 the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment that says no public funds for abortion – we’re not saying you can’t have an abortion, we’re not saying you can’t pay for it, we’re just telling you the government’s not going to pay for. And since that point in time we’ve seen a real change. I think you can look to that as a bellwether year.
But I think you have to add to Tim’s generation and the Gen-Z-er’s as well. All of that added together–
–looks really good.
It does and then a major factor thrown in there is the political activity of getting engaged and organized and people beginning to have their consciences pricked. People began to realize, “Hey, this is wrong and I can do something about it.” Let’s talk about that part of it when we come back. Stay with us, folks. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Guys, we’re talking about kind of those turning points that led to this major shift in the pro-life movement and so many victories. And a big part of that, I would say, groups like WallBuilders, and Eagle Forum, and Right to Life, and all these different groups that really helped us become aware of the issues. And the fact that we could do something about it and that we should do something about it – that there’s a duty on our part to protect the innocent.
There is a duty. And, really, we’ve seen so many people get involved in it. And by the way, we say WallBuilders all the time – for those that don’t know that has nothing to do with the southern border going to Mexico in Texas.
I always forget that we don’t talk about the name much and where it came from.
Advertise the Good
Yeah, it’s out of the Bible, the sense of rebuilding that which is torn down. Tim and I just got back from a trip to Israel, we take WallBuilders folks over periodically, and so we just got back from one. And we got to see the walls that Nehemiah rebuilt, the walls of the city, and it becomes really clear that if you don’t have those walls rebuilt then you really don’t have control of your country. So, it’s a spiritual sense that we talk about it.
But I like what Dr. New said that we need to do a better job of advertising the good news. We do have so many victories on the pro-life side and they just don’t make the news. Like that 50 percent fall in the abortion rate, two million lives saved since 1980 with the Hyde Amendment.
Tim and I saw this in the last couple days with what’s happening with the U.S. policy toward Israel. Because there we are in Israel, we met with one of the top intelligence officials in Israel who is really privy on all sorts of stuff. And all over Israel the public officials just were talking about Trump, what a change it’s made, what two years– what a difference it makes, how good it is for Israel and etc.. We don’t hear that back here in the United States. We don’t see that at all.
But, man, over there they’re advertising Trump quite frankly. And Netanyahu visits with Trump, and the visit to the White House, and Trump’s visit over there. Over there, Trump really is, he’s a hero to them in so many ways because they’re advertising the good stuff that he’s done. And so that’s what we really need to do with the pro-life side is we need to advertise that.
Of course, on Good News Fridays we talk about the victories that are out there. But every one of us needs to share some of that and I go to Song of Solomon 8:13 where it says, “Your friends listen to your voice.” So speak.
Pro-Life Movement Rapidly Growing, What Caused The Pro-Life Shift
We need to tell other people the good stuff that’s happening in the pro-life movement. We just need to let them know that we are winning, that we are going to win, and that eventually we will win this battle.
Well, friends, one of the ways you can share is by sharing this program. Get online and share it on Facebook, email it out to your friends, let them know that they can be encouraged as well, and get involved, and we can have even more victories in this arena.
Thanks for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.