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FIRST-PERSON: A new challenge for pro-lifers

DALLAS (BP) — This is the time of year when pro-life Americans celebrate the sanctity of human life and commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that brought abortion on demand, nationwide. It’s been 39 years since that decision and more than 52 million babies have been aborted.

Some pro-lifers “march for life.” This year, they’ll gather on Monday in Washington, D.C., and in cities across the nation on Saturday. A key theme for the D.C. March is the 2012 elections, and a group called Students for Life will register pro-lifers to vote, especially the thousands of young people who typically show up at the march.

The largest event outside D.C. is the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco. There’s a huge march in Dallas. The experience is solemn, but hopeful. I have emceed the pre-march program for the Dallas march several times. But this year I’d planned to attend as a marcher, to raise my voice with the thousands asking for an end to Roe v. Wade and, short of that, for strong restrictions on abortion.

But a different opportunity surfaced, a way to celebrate and encourage another solution to abortion. I was invited to a baby shower, on the same day and at the same time as the march, for a young woman who, months ago, went into a nearby pregnancy center and wound up choosing life for her unplanned baby. She’s been embraced by members of my church. Those hosting the shower are not activists as I am. Most would never think of marching for life. But they care deeply about preventing abortions. So they honor this young woman’s decision and are thus doing something concrete for the cause.

Contrast the love being poured out upon this unmarried, expectant mom with the story of 32-year-old Jennie Linn McCormack. Instead of going to a pregnancy center, Jennie Linn, unemployed, with three other kids and a bare-subsistence income, couldn’t afford the trip to the nearest abortion clinic one state away. She didn’t have a computer. So she asked her sister to buy RU-486, the abortion pill, online and send it to her. The price was about $200. But the action cost Jennie Linn much more.

RU-486 was approved to be obtained only with a prescription. It was supposed to be used under the supervision of a doctor and only in early pregnancy. But, with Jennie Linn, these precautions failed. When the chemical abortion was complete, Jennie Linn, who thought she was about three months along, was surprised and scared by the size of her dead baby which was likely more like four to five months gestation. Jennie Linn put the baby in a box on her porch in the Idaho cold. Since Idaho has a law against self-induced abortion, police arrested her.

Her case was dropped for lack of evidence. But Jennie Linn is now the face of a class action challenging the constitutionality of Idaho’s tough abortion restrictions. Not wanting to touch a case where a woman was arrested for abortion, the pro-life community may shy away. But there is clearly a new front in the battle against abortion. The pro-life movement has succeeded in passing strong restrictions against abortion. Clinics are closing. But young women are now taking abortion into their own hands. That’s a new challenge in defending the sanctity of human life.
Penna Dexter is a conservative activist and frequent panelist on the “Point of View” syndicated radio program. Her weekly commentaries air on the Bott and Moody radio networks.

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  • Penna Dexter