Gobble-gobble! Yes, it’s that time of year again. Oh, we know you’re excited for that delicious Thanksgiving turkey and scrumptious pumpkin pie (we are too)! But be prepared to get even more excited, because this year the Illinois pro-life movement has had some incredible accomplishments, for which we all can be truly thankful. Here are our top 7 pro-life reasons to give thanks this Thanksgiving:
7. The March for Life Chicago sets an another incredible record
At 2pm on Sunday, January 17, 2016, an estimated 5,000 people immersed the city streets of downtown Chicago in a sea of smiling faces, singing voices, yellow balloons, and genuine joy. With the amount of joyful, positive energy emanating from the crowd, you would have never known – had it not been for the puffy coats and hand warmers – that temperatures were in the single digits.
Despite the chilly conditions, thousands of pro-lifers came together, from all age groups, diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, and various locations from across the Midwest, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, and Ohio. In just its 3rd year running, the March for Life Chicago has continued to grow in size – from 2,000, to 4,000, to a record-breaking 5,000 this year!
6. 40 Days for Life kicks off the largest pro-Life mobilization in history
During the Fall 2016 campaign, 40 Days for Life launched its first ever United Bus Tour. Bringing a message of hope to cities and towns across the United States, David Bereit, Shawn Carney, and the 40 Days for Life team traveled a total 18,000 miles and made stops in more than 125 cities, including Chicago, Illinois. Illinois Right to Life and other pro-lifers joined the crew for their United Bus Tour rally held at the Family Planning Associates abortion clinic in downtown Chicago.
Since, the first coordinated campaign in 2009, 40 countries, 675 cities, 19,000 churches, and 725,000 people have participated in 40 Days for Life. Combining the results from this year’s campaigns and those from previous years, this peaceful and prayerful vigil has led to these incredible record breaking results:
- 12,668 lives were saved from abortion.
- 141 clinic workers quit the abortion industry.
- 75 abortion facilities closed
5. States defund Planned Parenthood
After David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress began the release of 11 shocking videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s morally repulsive and horrific behavior, during the summer of last year, the repercussions have been devastating for the abortion giant, and the fallout continues to this day.
A total of 10 states have already removed state funding for Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, 13 state and national investigations have been launched into Planned Parenthood as a result of the horrifying videos of their executives. The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has been formulated by Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry in their involvement in the illegal practice of buying and selling aborted baby body parts, and they continue to do so. Thus far, they have exposed Planned Parenthood for profiting from the sale of fetal body parts, revealing patients’ private medical records, and coercing clients to consent with fraudulent paperwork.
4. The most pro-abortion platform in history was defeated
In July of 2016, delegates at the Democratic National Convention adopted a platform for the 2016 election cycle – the most pro-abortion platform in United States history. Sadly, it pledged to:
- “Stand up” for Planned Parenthood
- Fund abortion nationwide by repealing the Hyde Amendment
- “Overturn” state and federal restrictions on abortion
At the same time, the most pro-life platform in history was adopted by delegates at the Republican National Convention. This platform called for:
- Defunding Planned Parenthood
- Putting an end to late-term abortions after five months and strengthening protection for babies born alive during abortions
- Codifying the Hyde Amendment, to ensure public funds are not used to pay for abortions
Well, the 2016 elections came and went, and the American people rejected the pro-abortion platform of the Democratic party.
Now the task at hand – holding the Republicans and our new President-elect to their promises.
3. More and more Illinois women don’t need Planned Parenthood
This year, Planned Parenthood of Illinois experienced some major changes. First, they just closed their second clinic in six years – the Effingham Health Center. They actually told their patients in a note on the door to travel 79 miles to visit one of their other clinics. They’re now down to just 16 clinics while there are approximately 670 alternatives for women in Illinois.
Next, according to their annual report, the number of patient visits to Planned Parenthood has declined by 72,000 visits over the past six years. They serve only 2.3% of Illinois women of child bearing age, and there are about 41 healthcare clinics per every one Planned Parenthood in Illinois. These clinics provide more comprehensive care for the woman and don’t provide abortions.
The truth of the matter is … Illinois women don’t need and don’t choose Planned Parenthood.
2. We’re so thankful for the pro-life law-firms defending pro-lifers
When SB 1564 was signed into law by Governor Rauner, pro-lifers didn’t give up. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Mauck & Baker LLC, two pro-life law firms, came to the aid of the Illinois doctors, medical personnel, and pregnancy centers who are going to be effected by this radical bill, come January. They filed two lawsuits on behalf of the following:
Aid for Women
The Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford
Tri-County Crisis Pregnancy Center
The Life Center
TLC Pregnancy Services
Mosaic Pregnancy & Health Center
Dr. Tina Gingrich of Maryville Women’s Center
Dr. Anthony Caruso of A Bella Baby OBGYN
In May, ADF sent a letter to the Governor, and they also cautioned legislators about the problems with the bill. ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman stated:
“No state should attempt to rob women of the freedom to choose a pro-life doctor, but that is the choice that Illinois is eliminating by mandating that pro-life physicians and entities make or arrange abortion referrals. To make matters worse, the state did this by amending a law designed specifically to protect freedom of conscience. As our lawsuit explains, the law is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution and both federal and state law, which protect citizens from being forced by the government to live and act in a way contrary to their faith and conscience.”
The fall-out from SB 1564 continues, and we are so grateful to have dedicated and hardworking attorneys to stand up for those who value life.
1. Illinois abortions at a record breaking low
The Illinois Department of Public Health released statistics for 2014 (the most recent statistics available) showing that abortions in Illinois reached their lowest level since the legalization of abortion in 1973. The number of abortions declined in every single age category.
“For the 6th year in a row, Illinois abortion numbers have declined. With over 100 pregnancy resource centers in Illinois available to women in unplanned pregnancies and increased educational efforts by groups like Illinois Right to Life, we have effectively moved closer to our goal of turning Illinois pro-life”, said Emily Zender executive director of Illinois Right to Life. “Step by step we are making Illinois a more welcoming and loving home for women and their unborn children.”
Check out the continuing statistical drop in the number of abortions here.