2017 has been quite a year for the pro-life movement, in Illinois and nationwide. So as we all sit down with family, friends, and loved ones to feast upon our delicious turkey dinners and celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s not forget to take a minute to be thankful for the many accomplishments we’ve made for LIFE this year. To recap, here are our Top 7 Reasons to give thanks in 2017:
Fall 2017 was the LARGEST 40 Days for Life campaign yet
Every year, we have a reason to be thankful for 40 Days for Life, and it’s always a big one. This last campaign, people in 375 locations WORLDWIDE participated in 40 Days for Life. In Illinois, vigils were held in Aurora, Belleville, Champaign, Chicago, Downers Grove, Orland Park, Ottawa, and Peoria. And reports on the number of babies lives saved and mothers spared from abortion are still flying in. Last time we checked, this single campaign saved 693 lives, and we know for a fact lives were saved in Illinois! Click here and check out this beautiful story of a baby saved this year at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora.
Illinois students named pro-life high school group of 2017
That’s right! We are definitely #IllinoisProud right now. A group of pro-life students at one of our Illinois high schools has been given special recognition by Students for Life of America as the 2017 Pro-Life High School Group of the Year! This group has been exceptionally active in sharing the pro-life message and working to educate others at their school and in their community. In fact, we just hosted a multi-speaker pro-life presentation for their group and the student body last fall! So who are they? They are S.A.L.T. Life at Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois. We saw the S.A.L.T. Life students at the annual SpeakOut Illinois Conference. They told us that this past January, they brought 100 students from their school to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. Five years ago, there were only seven of them. So way to go, S.A.L.T Life at Benet Academy! Keep it up.
History was made when Vice President Pence spoke at the 44th Annual March for Life
“Because of all of you and the many thousands who stand with us in marches all across the nation – life is winning again in America.”
These words echoed from the stage and provoked a surge of enthusiasm in the crowd. For the first time in history, a Vice President of the United States was addressing the participants of the March for Life. But the excitement was transformed into silence when he said:
“I urge you to press on. Let your gentleness be evident to all. Let this movement be known for love, not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion, not confrontation. When it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing stronger than gentleness. I believe we will continue to win the minds and hearts of the rising generation if our hearts first break for mothers and their unborn children and meet them where they are with generosity, not judgment.” – Vice President Mike Pence
Planned Parenthood loses 100,000 clients in one year
After months and months of delay, Planned Parenthood finally released its annual report for the FY2015-2016. The report documents that Planned Parenthood serviced approximately 2.4 million people in the FY2015-2016, a drop from the 2.5 million people they reportedly serviced in FY2014-2015. From 2011 to 2015, Planned Parenthood’s clientele dropped by more than 600,000. It seems to be that the numbers keep falling. Planned Parenthood is making a desperate effort to save face amidst their decreasing favorability, claiming they are “an irreplaceable component of our country’s healthcare system.” But is Planned Parenthood really an “irreplaceable component” when the country has 13,540 alternative, comprehensive healthcare clinics that provide the same services – just not abortion? We don’t think so.
All pro-life doctors and pregnancy resource centers granted a preliminary injunction from SB1564
In July of this year, a federal judge granted a temporary injunction to ALL Illinois pro-life pregnancy centers and pro-life medical professionals from having to comply with SB1564 – the radical abortion law that went into effect on January 1st. This law forces pregnancy resource centers and pro-life medical professionals to tell patients the “benefits” of abortion and assist them in finding an abortion clinic. Attorney Noel W. Sterett, with Mauck & Baker, who represents The Life Center, Inc. and is co-counseling on the case with the Alliance Defending Freedom, told us:
“This injunction is a big win for all pregnancy resource centers and pro-life health care personnel in Illinois. With the federal court’s preliminary injunction in place until the end of the case, all Illinois pregnancy resource centers and pro-life doctors and nurses in Illinois can continue serving women without fear of the state’s enforcement of this unconstitutional law.”
This protection from the law will last until the lawsuit in the federal court has been fully litigated and the court makes a final determination with regards to the constitutionality of the law. Emily Troscinski, Executive Director of Illinois Right to Life, explained:
“This is a huge victory for the Illinois pro-life movement and a step in the right direction towards sending this law to the dumpster. The federal judge in his order stated what we already knew – this law clearly targets the First Amendment Rights of pro-life people. We will never comply with this law.”
Justice Neil Gorsuch nominated to the Supreme Court
On Tuesday, January 30, 2017, President Donald Trump announced to the nation his choice for Justice Antonin Scalia’s successor on the Supreme Court: Judge Neil Gorsuch. In 2006, Judge Gorsuch published his book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. In it, he argues against the two practices, expressing the fundamental right of every person to not be killed. In his book, he also makes mention of the Courts decision of Roe v. Wade, saying:
“In Roe, the Court explained that, had it found the fetus to be a ‘person’ for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment, it could not have created a right to abortion because no constitutional basis exists for preferring the mother’s liberty interests over the child’s life.”
Upon his nomination, Emily Troscinski, Executive Director of Illinois Right to Life, stated:
“We are extremely proud of President Trump’s decision to nominate Neil Gorsuch. Judge Gorsuch has expressed his regard for the fundamental right to life of every human person. It is our hope that as successor to pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia, he will continue to be a voice upholding the value and dignity of human life in the high court.”
President Trump and his Administration take a stand on the side of LIFE
It’s been an active year for the new POTUS and the new administration. But amidst all the commotion, they’ve stayed their ground on the pro-life issues. Last year, President Trump made 4 promises to the pro-life movement. Although it’s a work in progress, we can be very proud of the actions our President and his administration have taken for life:
- President Trump signed an executive order reenacting the Mexico City Policy, ending U.S. funding for abortions overseas. This was the first pro-life policy to be enacted in 8 years!
- President Trump withdraws U.S. funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) because its involvement with forced abortions and sterilizations in China.
- President Trump rolled back the Obama-era HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate. Now, employers are allowed to follow their consciences and will not be forced to provide contraceptives/abortifacients in their health insurance policies.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is set to define human life as beginning at conception in its new strategic plan for 2018-2022.
Happy Thanksgiving, Illinois pro-lifers!