By Roger Drinnon
As part of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s “Free to be Faithful” education and awareness initiative, Timothy Goeglein, vice-president of External Relations for Focus on the Family in Washington, D.C., discussed this year’s March for Life, the promising outlook for the pro-life movement and some pending legal cases in a Worldwide KFUO interview Jan. 20.
Listen to the interview here.
A lifelong LCMS member, Goeglein previously served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush and as press secretary to U.S. Sen. Dan Coats. He also is the author of The Man in the Middle: Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era.
Goeglein reflected on this year’s March for Life — the 30th march he has participated in.
“It has been 30 marches that all of us in the pro-life movement wish we never had to be part of, but we’ll keep marching until justice is done,” he said.
Goeglein said he is encouraged by the growing participation at the annual event, especially among younger people.
“Every year, this march gets larger and larger, and it gets younger and younger,” he said. “There was a time in the early pro-life movement when people thought the momentum might not be as strong … [but today] more than 75 to 80 percent are now 25 years [old] or younger.” (See related story: “Lutherans lead life march with joyful hymns despite snowstorm, protests.”)
Last year was a year of both tragedy and hope for the pro-life movement, especially in the wake of what was revealed by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) undercover videos made public last year. The videos show Planned Parenthood and some of its affiliated officials casually discussing the sale of aborted fetal organs for research.
Since those videos were made public, a Houston-area district attorney has brought charges against CMP Director David Daleiden and his employee Sandra Merritt purportedly for using fake IDs and a fictitious company to gain access to abortion facilities and for allegedly attempting to purchase fetal body parts. Despite these charges, a forensic analysis conducted by Coalfire Systems Inc. has determined the videos to be authentic, and the analysis also confirmed the videos were not manipulated, as alleged by pro-abortion advocates. Daleiden reportedly posted bail for the indictment Feb. 4 as he also rejected a plea-deal and called for an apology from the district attorney behind the dubious charges.
Goeglein said the undercover videos helped re-energize the pro-life movement.
“Not only do I think [the CMP videos] had an impact on the pro-life movement, I believe it had a major impact on those who are pro-abortion,” said Goeglein. “It’s really powerful journalism … For the first time en masse, we are all taking a look at what [abortion] is actually about.”
Goeglein compared current pro-life discussions emboldened by what was revealed in those videos to events that occurred following the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case, which sought to dehumanize slaves in America and which later became an impetus for the abolition of slavery.
“We have every right to be hopeful, optimistic [about the pro-life movement],” said Goeglein. “Cultural change is incremental … Any type of cultural renewal takes lots of years, lots and lots of time … to undo what was done in a short time by judicial fiat.”
As court cases loom regarding abortion procedures and the federal mandate requiring employer health insurance carriers to subsidize contraception and abortion, Goeglein discussed some pending cases affecting the pro-life movement. This year, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to take on two life-related cases. One case is Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which involves a Texas law requiring abortion doctors to be admitted and credentialed to practice in local hospitals, and that abortion facilities meet the same requirements as most medical facilities in terms of quality and care.
“Can an ‘undue burden’ be placed on an abortion-minded woman [by mandating abortion clinics have] minimal standards of hygiene, administration and all the things we require of hospitals and doctors’ offices?” he asked.
The LCMS recently participated in an amicus brief pertaining to Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. That brief is available at lcms.org/board/amicusbriefs.
In another case, a federal appeals court ruled that the Catholic organization Little Sisters of the Poor must comply with the federal mandate requiring employer health insurance carriers to subsidize contraception and abortion-inducing drugs for employees or otherwise face significant fines.
“If this seems irrational and crazy, it is. It’s one of the strangest government policies in the history of strange government policies — that [the federal government] can mandate an order of nuns to pay for abortion,” said Goeglein. “This is primarily a case of religious liberty and a rights of conscience case that we’re watching closely.”
He said he is more optimistic about the potential outcome of the Little Sisters of the Poor case and that he is “praying deeply” about the Texas case.
“We’ll know the outcome of both these cases no later than June,” Goeglein said.
Visit lcms.org/freetobefaithful to learn more about the “Free to be Faithful” education and awareness initiative.
Roger Drinnon (email@example.com) is manager of Editorial Services for LCMS Communications.
Posted Feb. 5, 2016