WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pro-life advocates may have faced political setbacks across the country since Roe v. Wade was overturned, effectively granting states the ability to regulate abortion.
As thousands gathered in the snow Friday on the National Mall ahead of the march around the Capitol to the Supreme Court, many called for a continued expansion of the pro-life cause to include policies and programs to help mothers and families, not just work on legal battles.
“It’s important that we not just combat the harm of abortion that it’s causing our patients, but also recognize why women are oftentimes seeking abortion and do something about that,” Christina Francis, CEO of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), told Fox News Digital on the sidelines of the March for Life Friday.
But some pro-life activists in the health profession told Fox News Digital they see other wins since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson overturned nearly 50 years of Roe precedent. Doctors and medical professionals are rejecting messages from advocates for abortion.
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“We definitely have seen a growth in our membership in the last two years, especially right after Dobbs. We had a huge increase in membership,” Francis said.
AAPLOG’s medical student and resident fellowships increased from about 200 to around 400 since the 2022 Dobbs decision, and total membership increased from 7,000 to around 7,500. In the past decade, the group tripled in total membership.
Some new members join AAPLOG due to feeling left behind by the pro-choice stances of the major medical institutions, according to Francis.
“What they’re realizing now is that we are under active attack, I would say … not just from pro-abortion advocates, but from our major certifying bodies,” Francis said.
“Many of them are seeing the veil has been lifted, I think, on the true position of some of our major medical associations.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), according to Francis, has acted inconsistently with many OB/GYNs’ beliefs about providing quality health care.
In August 2023, ACOG Interim President Christopher Zahn wrote in a letter to The Washington Post expressing the belief abortion access should not be limited.
“Abortion is safe. It improves and saves lives, and it must be available without restrictions, without limitations and without barriers — just as any other critical part of health care,” Zahn wrote.
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“I think that many physicians are seeing now how radical that position is,” said Francis. “Maybe they’re not exactly in the same position I am on abortion, but they recognize that there should at the very least be some limitation, and there should be safeguards put into place for women’s safety and to ensure that they’re in good care. We really are seeing a lot of physicians and other medical professionals wake up to what’s been going on in our profession for quite some time.”
ACOG last year released a fact sheet that dismissed as misinformation some pro-life terms — particularly the claims that abortion defenders want abortion to be legal to the point of birth.
“‘[A]bortion up until birth’ or ‘abortion after birth’ are examples of derogatory language used by opponents of abortion access that is not based in facts. Neither is accurate, and neither uses clinically appropriate language,” ACOG’s website states.
ACOG also says abortion later in pregnancy is rare and indicates that “something has gone terribly wrong regarding the patient’s health or the pregnancy.”
Viewing abortion as something involving a single patient, according to Francis, is one of the issues driving medical practitioners to question the major health groups that insist abortion is health care.
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“We know that induced abortion is not health care. It ends the life of one of our patients, and it significantly harms our other patients,” said Francis.
“They need to point out the extreme, radical nature of what [Democrats] will do if they get into office and have the majorities in the House, Senate and the White House. It’ll be abortion until birth. In debates, when facing down your Democratic opponent, make him or her defend that.”
“This abortion fight is it’s not just Planned Parenthood clinics and the pregnancy centers, it is in health care today,” said Chris Faddis, president of Solidarity HealthShare.
“The health care system is pushing people more and more towards early fetal testing, so they can push people to abortions and their children into, you know, Planned Parenthood for regular female care, so they can get them on birth control and a board of patients and those things,” Faddis said.
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Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance told Fox News Digital a priority for the pro-life movement must be expanding ways for struggling pregnant women and mothers to get assistance, be it public or private.
“We know the No. 1 reason a woman chooses abortion is that she isn’t supported,” said Nance.
One proposal is a national clearinghouse where a pregnant woman can search her zip code for resources near her — not just medical, but financial assistance, help with bills and food or employment. The idea is similar to a program in Mississippi that launched in the past year to collect public assistance and nonprofits into one searchable database.
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March for Life has also been a political advocacy group, and in light of recent setbacks at the ballot box for abortion issues, pro-lifers have urged pro-life politicians not to avoid the issue, but to put Democrats on the defensive.
“They need to point out the extreme, radical nature of what [Democrats] will do if they get into office and have the majorities in the House, Senate and the White House. It’ll be abortion until birth. In debates, when facing down your Democratic opponent, make him or her defend that,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.