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Last week, a leader of a pro-life organization posted on one of the prominent social media channels a big graphic with the words, “Life is Winning!”

Is that true?

The answer depends on the lens through which you see the war between pro-life forces and abortion forces.

The pro-life leader I’m referring to sees pro-life through the lens of pro-life legislation.

Therefore, with the Dobbs decision and the overturning of Roe v Wade, he sees a huge victory.

And he’s right!

That Supreme Court decision was undoubtedly the greatest victory the pro-life movement has ever achieved, by far.

It will save lives from abortion.

But it’s very important for leaders of pro-life organizations who make statements about “winning” to be very precise about what they exactly mean by using that word.

Many in the broader pro-life community will interpret “Life is Winning!” type messages to mean that there are a greater number of abortion-determined women choosing life instead of choosing abortion.

Is that true?

Let’s look at some data.

Imagine a pro-life supporter who reads the “Life is Winning!” graphic, then that same day comes across Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report (July 1 2020 – June 30 2021), showing that it increased annual abortions from 354,871 the previous year to 383,460.

And then right after reading Planned Parenthood’s data, that same pro-life supporter comes across an article the Guttmacher Institute posted on its website showing the following statistics:

“In 2020, there were 930,160 abortions in the United States, an 8% increase from 862,320 abortions in 2017.”

“Similarly, the abortion rate increased from 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2017 to 14.4 per 1,000 women, a 7% increase.”

“In 2020, about one in five pregnancies ended in abortion. More specifically, the abortion ratio (the number of abortions per 100 pregnancies) increased from 18.4% in 2017 to 20.6% in 2020, a 12% increase.”

“The number of abortions increased in all four regions of the country between 2017 and 2020. The rise was largest in the West (12% increase) and Midwest (10% increase); abortions increased 8% in the South and 2% in the Northeast.”

How does that pro-life supporter square in his or her mind seeing statements from pro-life leaders about winning, and then confronting data from other sources that shows abortion numbers increasing?

Can you see how that pro-lifer might get confused by conflicting signals?

Making a statement that “Life is Winning!” from the legislative perspective is giving only part of the picture.

It’s not the complete story, and therefore, can cause confusion.

I believe it is imperative that leaders of pro-life organizations give the larger pro-life community the complete picture of reality, both the good news and the bad news, in order for pro-lifers to know where they should invest their time, talent and treasure in order to continue making progress until the day when we can show data revealing that we actually did win – that more abortion-determined women chose life instead of choosing abortion.

Can we claim to be making progress?

Absolutely! The overturning of Roe v Wade will save lives.

But winning? In my mind winning means scoring more points than your opponent, and in the pro-life world that would translate to mean a larger number of abortion-determined women choosing life instead of choosing abortion.

And from that perspective the data shows that we most definitely are not winning.

Not yet.

So while we celebrate the legislative victories, we must fight harder and smarter on the frontlines and keep making progress until the day when we can show with data that more abortion-determined women chose life than chose abortion.

When that day comes, and I believe it will, then we can say that we are truly winning.

This article was published in Heroic Media‘s weekly newsletter

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