The George Bailey Syndrome

At the beginning of the classic movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey stood on a snow covered bridge preparing to jump into the icy river below.  He was going to kill himself after concluding that he had made a mess of things and that his life had counted for nothing.  Then, at the height of his despair, he was visited by an angel who showed him what the world would have been like had he never lived.  In the end, George had come to see that he was allowing his life to be defined by its failures.

 

There is a valuable lesson in that for the pro-life movement.

 

We recently observed the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and I sometimes get the feeling that our self-doubt and sense of failure has grown with each of those years.  While we certainly don’t question the rightness of our cause, the enormity of the challenges it presents makes us doubt that our blood, sweat and tears are even making a difference much less leading us to victory.  This attitude seems to be reinforced when you recognize that, for all our efforts, we have not returned legal protection to one baby in one state.  On the surface, it would seem that all we’ve really done is minimally regulate the circumstances under which they are killed.       

 

While that analysis may be technically accurate, it paints a picture that does not reveal the whole story.  Although few, if any, would call me an angel, I want to show you – my brothers and sisters in this struggle – what our little corner of the world would be like if you had not done what you have done. 

 

When I started Life Dynamics in 1992, there were over 2100 free-standing abortion clinics in America.  Today, there are fewer than 750 and those that remain continue to close.  But be assured, if the pro-life movement had never existed, there could easily be one in every mall and strip shopping center in the country.

 

Now if you think the idea of mall-based abortion franchises is too crass even by Planned Parenthood’s standards, you don’t know much about Planned Parenthood.  In reality, this is precisely the kind of thing they would do if they could get away with it.  You might also be tempted to think that the American people would not tolerate something this outrageous.  If so, I remind you that, fifty years ago, those same people would have labeled you insane if you had predicted that they would soon be driving past free-standing abortion businesses with toll-free numbers, Yellow Page ads and credit-card decals on the front door.  And they would have hauled you away to some asylum if you had predicted that it would be perfectly legal for these people to offer late-term abortions on viable healthy babies being carried by healthy moms.  It’s also likely that they would have shot you on the spot if you had suggested that it would be legal for 12-year-old girls to be taken to these places and aborted without their parent’s knowledge.

 

The point is, if you consider that these things happened in a country with a vibrant pro-life movement, it’s not farfetched to imagine abortion franchises in the malls of a country with no pro-life movement.  In that environment, we could also expect to see the abortion pill, RU-486, hanging in bubble packs at every convenience store.  Obviously, they’d be the perfect companion to the large variety of condoms and “personal lubricants” that are hanging there right now.     

 

There’s more. 

 

If the pro-life movement had never existed … it is almost guaranteed that every public school and university in America would either have an on-site abortion clinic or a contract with a nearby abortionist.

 

If the pro-life movement had never existed … there would be no debate about paying for abortion in national health care.  Instead, the government would have been funding them since day one.  In addition, the right-to-life of the unborn would not even be discussed in either the public arena or the political process.  But due to your efforts, poll after poll is now documenting a dramatic shift toward the pro-life position – especially among the young.

 

If the pro-life movement had never existed … we would not see the faces of children with diseases like Down syndrome – not because these maladies had been cured but because abortion would have long ago become the accepted medical “treatment” for every imperfect baby.  After all, killing people is cheaper than healing them and easier than accommodating them.   

 

If the pro-life movement had never existed … there would be no crisis pregnancy network to help those women who might not want to submit to abortion.  That’s because, without your voices, abortion would be the default position for every unplanned pregnancy.  Without you, we would have devolved into a nation where the killing of an unborn child has no more moral significance than the pulling of a tooth.  That is what Ronald Reagan was saying when he referred to the pro-life movement as “The Conscience of the Nation.”

 

The list goes on and on and, if you think I am exaggerating about these things, let me introduce something you may not have considered.    

 

In the early 1920s, the Soviet Union became the first country in the world to legalize abortion.  Many years later, several studies were conducted to determine how that decision was playing out.  To say the least, the findings were stunning. 

 

One published study discovered that the average Soviet woman would have nine abortions during her child-bearing years.  Other research documented that 90 percent of all first pregnancies in the Soviet Union and 60 percent of all subsequent pregnancies were legally aborted.  It is also known that, of the remaining pregnancies, many of them ended in illegal or unreported abortions.  The result was that, according to one American researcher, in some parts of the Soviet Union women underwent as many as 28 abortions.     

 

Today, the Russian government is saying that the health consequences of this have been “catastrophic” for that nation’s women.  Additionally, economists are predicting that the demographic realities brought on by Russia’s shrinking population will soon cause an economic meltdown.  In fact, some demographers are saying that this collapse has already begun.    

 

The Soviet experience with abortion is a prototype for what happens in a country where the abortion lobby is allowed to operate without opposition and, therefore, without restraint.  Make no mistake, had it not been for the American pro-life movement, what happened in Russia would have been duplicated in every state of the union.  In that case, we would not now be standing on the graves of 50 million dead babies; we would be standing one the graves of 150 million or 250 million or … God only knows how many.  Think about that the next time you start to wonder what your blood, sweat and tears have bought.

 

As we go forward, it is important to never forget that this is not a war between the pro-aborts and us.  It is a war between the pro-aborts and the unborn.  You and I are merely soldiers who volunteered to fight on the side of the unborn.  This means that, without the pro-life movement, these babies would be left alone to defend themselves against these remorseless cowards and amoral barbarians. 

 

But that has not happened and it never will.  Although it is true that we have made mistakes and will make some more, the most important truth is that we will never turn our backs on the unborn.  We all know that there have been times in the last 37 years when it would have been easy to walk away.  It is no secret that, since the day this battle began, the abortion lobby has had every advantage they needed to wipe us out.  They’ve had boxcars full of money, they’ve literally owned the media and they’ve had a stranglehold on the political process, the judicial system, the academic community, Hollywood, the music industry and most of what’s seen on television. 

 

Yet despite all that, we didn’t walk away.  Instead, we’re still standing and stronger than ever.  That’s because we have always sent a clear and unmistakable message that whatever sacrifice must be made, we will make; whatever burden must be borne, we will bear; and whatever obstacle must be overcome, we will overcome.  We do this because it is what God expects of us.  He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against us – and if abortion is not a gate into hell, then hell does not exist. 

 

So you and I will continue to do our duty and we will continue to trust God to deliver the victory.  Until that day comes, whatever our role in this cause, we will not allow Satan to rub our noses in our failures.  We will be proud of our past, focused on the battle in front of us and resolute about the future.  And we will leave the snow covered bridges to our enemies.

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)

Cheers for you Mark Crutcher for your persevering leadership in a challenging situation. Discouragement is the work of the devil but HOPE comes from God. Years back, I believe, there was a song entitled "In His Time". Let us continue to work and pray, trusting their will be victory "In His Time".
# Posted By Patricia | 2/4/10 6:47 PM
Mark:

Great column. It contains some arguments and ideas of which I had never thought.

I must mention one point however. I do not think that this struggle is a war between the abortionists and the unborn. The poor, helpless, defenseless and innocent unborn cannot very well fight back against the cruel, ruthless and criminal onslaught which the abortionists are using to destroy their lives.

Unhappily however, our movement has lacked the strategic vision to see what was needed and needs to be done to end this violence. We controlled the White House for 12 years from 1981 until 1993 and were unable to get our "pro-life" Presidents to make proper pro-life appointments to the Supreme Court. By "pro-life", I mean someone who would rule that the Constitution guarantees unborn human rights. I believe that we still have absolutely no one on the Court who accepts this position. Had we simply got five true pro-life justices out of five appointments, we would have won this struggle long ago. But the struggle goes on because of our fatal blunders. Until we insist that future Republican Presidents appoint ONLY justices who recognize that the 14th Amendment applies to the unborn, we will never win this terrible struggle.

Right now, I do not see a single unborn human rights organization which is doing what I believe is necessary to win this fight in the foreseeable future.
# Posted By Joe | 2/5/10 12:12 PM
Great piece Mark.

There is no question that while the unborn have suffered a horrific injustice - namely the most vast, evil, incomprehensible slaughter of innocent children in the history of man - the combined efforts of the Pro-Life community have mitigated the genocide.

And every life saved is precious.

I agree with both you and Joe that there are different dynamics to this war. As you said Mark, fundamentally, this is a war waged by the pro-abort mob (and based on a Christian world view, the demonic forces that control them), against the unborn. As Christian men (together with our feminine allies), it is our duty to engage our culture and do what we can to defend, protect and, if possible, rescue the unborn from satan's genocidal schemes.

If I was to look at our progress, or lack thereof, in the natural, like Joe I would be discouraged. However, there is a Great Awakening beginning to break forth in our land. We are seeing a trickle of an outpouring of God's Spirit now in Kansas City and North Carolina but I believe it is going to become a mighty river of revival. And the Pro-Life Army, which to date has been somewhat fragmented and ineffective, is gaining momentum. I believe in the near future we will fully awaken to our God-given destiny and rightful position in the Earth and with Holy Spirit-empowered righteous indignation, unquenchable zeal and fierce determination we will be the salt and light we are commanded to be to our generation.

And we will demand that the killing stops.

Not in our country, not in our generation, not on our watch.

And it will.
# Posted By Ed | 2/5/10 3:34 PM
This is a very interesting article. The only thing I would take issue with is this. Down syndrome is not a disease. Our children have things they may suffer from, but they are not their condition. They are people who happen to have Down syndrome. Not a disease, not scary, not suffering. Just an extra chromosome! But yes, I agree, the pro life movement has helped to save so many of their lives. Wonderful point!
# Posted By Diane | 2/6/10 11:22 AM
Personally, I can't wait until our enemies flock to that snow covered bridge. If there will be an angel present, these enemies of life will not be shown how they have made the world a better place (a la George Bailey), but rather how they've made the world a worse, far worse place.

The sad thing for them is, they won't jump because of being overwhelmed with guilt and despair over their collective sins. They will jump because their evil will be curtailed and the money spigots will be turned down to a trickle.

Or they'll just move to some other country, which is what they always threaten to do when some relatively conservative person is elected to the big house.
# Posted By Ron | 2/6/10 4:15 PM
Considering pro-abortion forces have had control of the media before Roe v. Wade, it is no small feat what
pro-lifers have accomplished. In almost every instance, in almost every way, there has been an uneven playing
field against pro-lifers. Through the unwavering committment of pro-life people to the unborn and their mothers
many have rejected "pro-choice" and when they do, it's like "been there, done that, NO THANKS."
Through the efforts of so many people, countless...known only to God, babies have been saved and women spared from
the empty promise of abortion.

I believe if we want to make gains on the political front, we have to stop actively supporting "lukewarm" pro-life politicians who do
not have a consistent pro-life position. Just as important, pro-life politicians, who when push comes to shove, abandon their
pro-life position should be voted out of office. While we can't control which politicians step into a race, we can withhold
financial support and volunteer time and we can stop making excuses
for politicians who say they are pro-life but abandon their committment to the unborn. On the surface
a "lukewarm" pro-life politician may appear to be our ally but actually this type of politician is a stumbling
block because if their actions don't match their words, they will be saying one thing to us and doing another and even if they throw us a pro-life
vote here or there, we must remember this is about returning legal protection the the unborn, restoring the RIGHT to life
and truly ushering in a culture of life.
# Posted By Mary | 2/6/10 9:39 PM
They have every advantage on us imaginable. If this were any other political issue but this one they would have won long ago. But we have an advantage they can never take away from us - we're blatantly correct.

It is always good to hear a voice in the pro-life movement who can state the issue with such clarity and distinction.
# Posted By Michael | 2/14/10 3:28 PM
Cheers for you Mark Crutcher for your persevering leadership in a challenging situation. Discouragement is the work of the devil but HOPE comes from God. Years back, I believe, there was a song entitled "In His Time". Let us continue to work and pray, trusting their will be victory "In His Time".
# Posted By Patricia | 2/18/10 9:02 AM
Hey Mark, how about another, blog about the involvement of men in every one of these millions of abortions? I believe your last one was in early 2008. No one ever consistently speaks about the men who get women pregnant! The men causing these pregnancies and abandoning these
women to the ultimate act of domestic violence!

Can you end each of your updates with the statement: "Let's remember the men who got these women pregnant, and the judges who allowed these men to get away with murder"? Identify men as being responsible for these crimes, because they are! Mention them in everything you
write.

Oh, please change the placard "One Dead, One Wounded", to "One Dead, Two Wounded". Don't let men get away with hiding any longer!

Thank you for speaking out.
# Posted By Mike | 2/27/10 4:11 PM
As a committed pro-choicer(not"pr0-abort!!!") ,I find your comments disgustingly stupid,fatuous, hypocritical
and self-serving. You fail to realize that the reason for abortion is POVERTY.
Unless our government is able to decrease povcerty great;y and provide subsidies for poor pregnant women
so they will be able to provide decentclothing,education ad medical care for their children,born or unborn,
abortion will remain common. Trying to close abortion facilities won't do anything to help.
You anti-choicers whine endlessly about the "right to life",thesanctity of life" and the "slaughter of the unborn
in the womb", but you don't fgive a you-know-what about children once they are out of the womb.
You don't want women to have abortions,but it's perfectly okay with you if the children they give birth to
grow up in abject poverty and are subject to malnutrition, neglect and abuse, poor education and lack of oportunity in life.
You hypocrites support and vote for equally hypocritical anti-choice conservative Washington politicos who also whine about the unborn but alwways
vote to eliminate the government help for the poor which would prevent many abortions.
Right to life? What about the right to decent food,shelter,clothing,education and medical care? As long as poor women cannot provide these basic necessities for their children,abortion will remain common in America.
And by the way,the tragically high abortion rates in the former Soviet Union were the result of the mass poverty there.
Million sof people lived in such crouded conditions that it was impossible for them to have larger families.
If the Soviet government had seen to it that people had better housing,many of those abortions would not have happened.
The hypocrisy and self-righteousness of you anti-choicers makes me sick.
# Posted By Robert | 2/2/11 11:01 AM

Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics