Daniel Heffington
Daniel Heffington
April 17, 2024

Dear Readers,

Have you followed the recent narratives about the state of the pro-life movement?

According to many mainstream commentators, pro-lifers have overplayed their hands with heartbeat bills and state restrictions after the overturn of Roe v Wade, and should expect to get socially and politically pummeled for the foreseeable future.

First, I have to say that I disagree with a lot of that type of characterization. I think the pro-life movement is possibly the strongest it’s ever been and is poised for historic wins on the side of human rights. (More on that in a minute.) 

But secondly, I find myself slightly unsure what the takeaway is supposed to be. Let’s pretend for a moment that the mainstream narratives are exactly right. That pro-lifers are simply going to be ostracized and vilified.

Frankly, that sounds a lot like "business as usual" for the pro-life movement—except in a much better world of post-Roe possibilities.

Since the early days, being pro-life has cost you something. Much like how the signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors to the cause of American independence; pro-life advocates have often given up influence, comfort, money, and even their own liberty to advocate for this most basic of human rights. 

Wendy Wright, president of Christian Freedom International and a beloved speaker at GenJ's iGovern camps, endured public scorn, judicial corruption, and imprisonment for her pro-life stance. And there were many others who faced similar obstacles. 

Despite this fierce opposition, the pro-life movement has managed to make enormous progress in recent years. Between the years of 1973 and 2022, significant state-by-state progress had largely been stymied by the looming specter of Roe v WadeIn the post-Roe era, the landscape has changed dramatically. And I believe that it’s changed largely in the favor of life.  

But even as we celebrate victories, I think it’s important to be honest about the nature of the mission. If pro-life advocacy is still necessary (and it certainly is), then it means that we do not yet have a critical mass of society on our side.

I firmly believe that there will be a day in America when the tragedy of abortion will be a ghost of the past rather than a scourge of the present. The tide will be turned one step at a time and once voice at a time.  But we aren’t there yet. Our work is still needed.

Pro-life advocates have consistently engaged as outsiders, reaching out to a society that ranged from ignorant, to apathetic, to overtly hostile to their message. 

And yet, those are the very conditions under which we’ve seen the recent victories. The momentum is on our side. And the pro-life movement needs to press the advantage with strategy, clarity, and compassion.

When backlash comes, it’s important to remember a couple of things: 

  1. Resistance tends to ratchet up when we are winning. It’s rare to see the pro-abortion lobby up in arms over a pro-life defeat. They might be nasty or exultant, but they don’t feel threatened. But with the overturn of Roe, and the growing number of state-level protections for the unborn, pro-abortion activists can see their grip weakening. And they’re mad. This provides an incredible opportunity for us to show both the truth and the grace of Christ. How we handle victory can say at least as much as how we handle defeat.
  2. Major human rights victories take time. (And sometimes, we take two steps forward and one step back.) Think about William Wilberforce’s work to end the slave trade in England. Or the dedication of the abolitionist movement in the United States. Think about the long march toward women’s suffrage or the setbacks faced by the civil rights movement. We celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday now, but how do you think his fellow civil rights advocates felt the morning after his assassination? Blowback and setbacks are not final—in fact, they can escalate during the death throes of an unjust status quo.  

We’ve got to be aware, strategic, and realistic. But most of all, we’ve got to be consistent. Our hope can't be tied to the wavering support of fair-weather friends or self-interested politicians.

Our hope as Christians must be anchored in Jesus. And our hope as advocates must be anchored in the conviction that every human life is worth protecting. That's what keeps us showing up.

The message of dignity and hope resonates with a world that is hungry for meaning and redemption. And it's why our numbers are growing every day. 

I consider it a privilege to stand in this cause with the GenJ community. Together, we can show the world that we are the pro-life generation. 
Daniel Heffington
Daniel Heffington

Daniel Heffington grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Pro-life advocacy caused him to become active in state politics as a young homeschooler. Now in his role as Communications Manager for Generation Joshua, Daniel leads publications, marketing, and messaging efforts for a national nonprofit. His background in small business, grassroots politics, and ministry has prepared him to tackle multifaceted challenges and opportunities for the organization. Daniel has a passion for ministry and healthy leadership and has a heart for equipping young people to change the world. He loves meeting new people and helping to create life-giving cultures for teams accomplishing great missions. Daniel is also a worship leader, recording artist, and coffee enthusiast. He lives in Berryville, Virginia with his wife, Abigail, and their daughters: Ellie and Piper. Follow Daniel on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Instagram.

April 17, 2024