Hundreds gathered under St. Louis’ trademark Gateway Arch this weekend for a pro-life march.
A “battleground” bordering Illinois, one of the country’s most permissive abortion states, Missouri effectively shut down its abortion industry in 2022, banning abortion just hours after the Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Now pro-lifers look to the east and south while continuing to lobby at home, fighting the passage of several referendums that could permit more abortions.
Speakers called for justice for pregnant women and their unborn, highlighting the deadly effects of chemical abortions on women and their children as abortion drugs are federally endorsed and become increasingly available.
“Our voice is especially important as we combat the abortion industry’s new frontier, chemical abortion,” said speaker Reagan Barklage, Students for Life national field director. “Chemical abortion not only ends the lives of preborn children but it is extremely harmful to women. While all abortions are dangerous, chemical abortion is especially, as it is four times more dangerous than surgical abortion.”
Fifty percent of America’s abortions are chemical; 670 of the unborn die daily by such methods.
“That number will only continue to increase, as that is the direction the abortion industry wants to head,” Barklage said. “This is alarming, and should be the motivation we all need to remember the battle is not yet won.”
Illinois’ Pro-Abortion Policies
Just across the state line, Illinois supports the big business of abortion, providing a permissive and lenient atmosphere for abortion facilities and serving as a “destination location” for those looking to end the life of the unborn in neighboring states that have restricted or outlawed abortion. Adhering to the Reproductive Health Act, state law in Illinois requires private insurers to cover abortions, allows nonphysicians to administer chemical abortion drugs to women and minors, allows monetary “kickbacks” for abortions, removes the parental notice requirement for minors previously in law, and does not hold most abortion facilities to licensing and inspection regulations.
“Illinois is radically pro-abortion … and there are zero standards,” said Scott Davis, marcher and life advocate in Carbondale, Illinois. There are “no inspections, and legislators specifically passed a bill that would allow doctors who have lost their licenses in other states to come and do abortions here. Women’s health? No. This is not health care. It’s the abortion industry.”
Abortion Industry Expands After Dobbs
The small town of Carbondale fast-tracked funding the business of abortion following the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization ruling. A year ago, no abortion facilities existed within city limits. Now there are two, with a third, large facility under construction. The town of around 22,000 now provides abortions daily. It’s been featured on the hit ABC show “Grey’s Anatomy” as an abortion “safe haven.”
Locals also contend with a radically pro-abortion city council. In January, the city council voted unanimously in favor of “bubble zone” legislation, making it illegal for pro-life sidewalk counselors to go within 100 feet of those entering health care facilities. On the books in Illinois, abortion is still “health care,” and those offering women life choices are interfering.
“They posted it on the website on a Friday and passed it on a Tuesday and modified it on the fly,” said Brian Westbrook, executive director of Coalition Life. “The entire room was packed with local pro-lifers, not in favor.”
One Group Saving Lives
But the business of abortion in Carbondale has a serious opponent. Coalition Life has served, counseled, and cared for abortion-minded women in southern Illinois for years. Their model has been widely successful, saving the lives of more than 3,000 children. In 2011, counselors were turning away mothers from the last active abortion facilities in Missouri, and the group now runs one of the state’s 75 pregnancy resource centers. They have turned their focus to Carbondale, with a professionally trained staff and methodology that continuously improves.
“We take statistics of every conversation we have,” Westbrook said. “We work with counselors not doing as well in reaching women. We study the stop rate, literature handout rate, and turnaround rate. Every single shift is recorded from start to finish for legal protection and training, ongoing, constant training.”
“The abortion industry pumps billions of dollars into staffing abortion facilities to take the lives of unborn children, they are bringing on professional individuals with the sole purpose of killing innocent human beings, so why would we not react in a very professional, strategic way to save those lives and continue to raise the bar?”
Westbrook said even women driving from several hours away for an abortion in Carbondale are responding to Coalition Life’s counselors, and turning around.