By 2013 Missionary for Life Karen Shufflebarger
The week I spent on Capitol grounds at Austin, Texas was an eye-opening experience that demonstrated the contrasts between the pro-abortion and the pro-life movements. In under a week, Students for Life of America (SFLA) organized the national Students #Stand4Life Bus Tour to Austin to counter the pro-abortion rallies and further support women, pro-life Texans, and their legislators. After a thirty-hour bus ride, the fifty-person bus rolled up to the Texas Capitol on Monday morning and a week of intense activism and support began.
Our first event, the “Let Texas Speak: rally, included countless speakers from Texas giving their testimonies concerning abortion and its grievous effects on women and encouraging Texan representatives and senators to support the House and Senate bill. This bill is fourfold: abortion providers must have admitting rights at nearby hospitals in case of emergencies, facilities must be at the safety level of surgical ambulatory centers in order to operate, the physician must be present to administer the abortion pill to further the safety of women, and finally, the bill bans abortions after twenty weeks, when we know the preborn baby can feel pain. Although the bill faced, and continues to face, the abortion lobby’s strong opposition, Texans, the majority of whom support this commonsense bill, refuse to be silenced.
Throughout the week, SFLA supported Texas Alliance for Life, Texas Right to Life, and countless other local pro-lifers in making sure that the people of Texas were heard. Amid rallies and shouts of “Hell no, we won’t go,” “Who’s choice, My Choice,” and “Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate,” from abortion advocates, pro-lifers silently witnessed and prayed for the opposition, legislators, women, and the preborn.
After crashing two Planned Parenthood rallies, silently witnessing with SFLA’s Planned Parenthood Project display (an initiative to expose Planned Parenthood’s role as the country’s abortion Goliath) outside the Capitol, meeting pro-life representatives and legislators, witnessing and praying outside a Planned Parenthood facility, and supporting pro-life Texans, the week culminated on Friday, with the Texas Senate’s consideration of the abortion bill.
The line for the gallery was filling by mid-morning, with both abortion supporters and pro-life Texans waiting to enter the gallery at 1:30 p.m., to watch the Senate debate beginning at 2 p.m. SFLA dedicated themselves to distributing water and snacks to people in line on both sides of the issue, and eventually a few students and I got in line to take seats in the gallery. After waiting in line for seven hours, pro-abortion protestors at the Capitol were becoming increasingly more dangerous. We were called to move to a representative’s office for lockdown to watch the proceedings. We learned that security officers had confiscated bricks and multiple jars of urine and feces, which abortion supporters intended to hurl at pro-life legislators. Even information that pro-abortionists were covering themselves with paint and chaining themselves to gallery seats eventually gave way to the exciting news that the Senate had passed the bill.
What a victory for Texan women, children, and all of humanity! The bill will ensure that abortion facilities meet minimal medical standards. It will also spare countless women and children from the pain of late-term abortion. What a victory, indeed.
However, the pro-life fight is not over; rather, the work of countless advocates continues. While abortion advocates will continue to cover up the fact that abortion has eliminated over fifty-five million babies and devastated and degraded women, we will never cease to bring to light the truth of the culture of life, and we will not stop until we make abortion unthinkable. This is a pivotal point in the pro-life movement.
These events offer a lot to reflect on. There is a stark difference between pro-life and pro-abortion activists. Pro-life signs, witnesses, and advocates are mainly peaceful, loving, and calm. Pro-abortion activists had no problem with uncouth chanting, vulgar displays, and violent rage. It’s interesting to think about this, because abortion supporters claim that they’re all about respect: namely, respect for their choice to kill a child in the name of privacy.
Their crude drawings of genitalia, t-shirts featuring ovaries with the slogan “Come and take it,” and inappropriate chanting are anything but respectful of anyone. Do they believe that respect comes from this charade? Do they expect to gain respect after planning to douse legislators in urine and feces, after idolizing mob rule? The answer is clear: this type of activism neither makes anyone on the fence want to support abortion on demand, nor does it gain any respect for their movement.
The use of children as supporters of women’s “choice” is even more saddening. While in the Capitol, I saw countless women with their elementary school-aged children wearing orange shirts and cheering for the pro-abortion movement during rallies. This is sickening when you think about it, because while the children just wear the orange shirt, presumably because their parents told them to do so that day, the children may not even know what they are standing for. Do they realize that they are standing for something that kills innocent children? That demoralizes and exploits women? That empowers men to use and dispose of women as they please without consequences? I would hope not. Movements often begin with the youth, and if children are indoctrinated into the lies and horrors of the pro-abortion movement at such a young age, who knows what could happen further on down the road in terms of activism with this type of youth brainwashing.
Another aspect worth reflecting on is the total disregard for authority that we experienced while in the Capitol. Abortion supporters glorified mob rule, creating riots and disturbances without any consideration of lawful order. Again, let’s return to the question of gaining respect: how do the abortion supporters expect credence when they refuse to respect themselves and authorities? When protestors cover themselves in red paint and chain themselves to gallery seats, when they’re arrested rioting, only to have attorneys on hand so that they can quickly return to the mob, and when pro-aborts chant “Hail Satan” in full force, they’re not doing their movement any favors.
The whole issue seems to be like something out of a science fiction novel: the fact that society accepts and encourages women to treat their children as commodities and to kill them when they are inconvenient or unwanted does not seem real. Yet it is real, and this reality must not be forgotten. Blessed Mother Teresa succinctly said, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants,” and it seems that abortion supporters have taken this idea of using violence to the extreme in order to obtain their goals of absolute “women’s reproductive rights.”
But, all is definitely not lost. Research continuously shows that the United States is increasingly becoming pro-life, and the injustice of abortion and its promoters is being exposed more and more every day. Activists are stepping up to the plate in order to abolish abortion in this lifetime,through Students for Life of America, Priests for Life, National Right to Life, Susan B. Anthony List or simply in their community, and no matter the opposition, truth will win out at the end of the day. Every small action furthers the cause: even if you cannot see immediate effects, know that your advocacy has immeasurable influence. The battle for the right to life will continue to be fought by those who believe that it is a worthy fight, and what could be more worthy than fighting for the most basic human right for all – the right to simply live?