Why are abortion rates dropping in Louisiana?
A woman was invited to a recent Acadiana Right to Life meeting where pregnancy center workers, church leaders, board members, doctors and other pro-life activists gathered to collaborate resources. When this woman introduced herself as well, she felt she had nothing to actually share.
Later, while grocery shopping, this woman happened to meet a girl considering abortion. Inspired by the recent meeting, she relayed all of the helpful life-saving resources she could recall. In the weeks following, she saw the same formerly abortion-minded girl at the same grocery store, who had returned to find and tell the woman that she inspired her to choose life and choose adoption.
Praying for that girl to find a wonderful family to adopt her baby, the woman was moved to ask herself, "Why are you praying for her to find the family when you know that you are the family?" She adopted that baby, whose young mom, because of their encounter, chose life.
This is the scene in Louisiana. Not only are there anti-abortion restrictions and more common-sense regulations that curb abortion clinics’ shoddy medical practices, but also pro-life people are practicing what they preach every day.
Care has increased in pregnancy resource centers due to boosted support and awareness. Mothers Googling for abortion options are finding the 30 pregnancy resource centers around Louisiana that offer material, mental, and financial help, and where they can see their unborn’s movement and heartbeat on ultrasound before making a decision. Women’s New Life Center, in addition to crisis pregnancy help, offers holistic women’s health treatment and counseling for girls and women who aren’t pregnant, presenting a true alternative to the neighboring Planned Parenthood.
Pro-life service programs are occurring constantly in the churches. My own parish, St. Philip Neri in Metairie, held a baby bottle drive for a pregnancy resource center and then requested material and financial donations for Covenant House, a home for runaway and homeless youth, the very next weekend.
Especially at what could be the brink of overturning Roe v. Wade, the pro-life people of Louisiana are propelling younger generations to continue their work. High school and college youth are approaching abortion dialogue with clear scientific logic on their campuses, sharing common ground with feminism and progressivism. They are holding conversational panels about adoption and foster care. They are sponsoring baby clothes drives, successfully advocating for lactation rooms on campus, and working on funds to start scholarships for pregnant and young student mothers.
In high school, my mentors gave me the knowledge and conversation tools about abortion from a compassionate human rights perspective and I, in turn, became highly motivated to continue pro-life involvement into college and career. However, I was tested as I faced my own pregnancy crisis experiences.
I became pregnant last August. I’m married, but my husband had just quit his job. I’m a healthy person, but I struggled with hyperemesis graviderium. I’m strong, but I didn’t anticipate the reeling shock and grief when the OB/GYN told me she was “99 percent sure” my child had a severe fetal abnormality. Even though negative tests proved this wrong, I had threats of miscarriage through the second trimester.
But for the past 8 months, I have had a supportive community, including a loving and understanding partner, family, boss, and co-workers, all actively pro-life. Now at 32 weeks of pregnancy, I realize that it not only takes a village to raise a child, it can take a village to just get through a pregnancy.
So I, alongside many others, from education and experience am compelled to continue building stronger villages with anti-abortion education, pregnancy resource center support, adoption networking, foster care improvement, human trafficking awareness, having solution-oriented discussions about social issues surrounding abortion demand, and raising my own daughter to be a compassionate activist.
The Louisiana abortion rate dropped 8 percent from 2017 to 2018, and the abortion rate is at a 10-year low. We are building a stronger pro-life Louisiana. Still, over 8,000 abortions are happening in our state each year. As we rejoice for small and vulnerable lives saved, we must still grieve and take action while other small and vulnerable lives are lost and their mothers continue to struggle. We will continue to change hearts and minds to make abortion illegal and unthinkable.
Alex Seghers is director of education for Louisiana Right to Life.