Jeanne Mancini: it’s so important that we’re honest about what happens when a woman does choose abortion…
Jim Daly: Right.
Jeanne: … and that we’re honest that there’s always hope and healing. That with Christ anything can be forgiven, and you can find deep peace. And with God, all things are possible.
End of Excerpt
John Fuller: Jeanne Mancini joins us today on Focus on the Family. She’s the president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. And the pro-life movement continues to gain momentum. We’re gonna be talking about that today. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller. And Jim, we’re in New York City to visit with Jeanne on a very important topic.
Jim: We are, John. In just a couple of weeks the 47th annual March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C., like it is every year. And you are calling, Jeanne, for the protection of boys and girls who haven’t been born yet. And that is such an awesome calling. I get excited about it. The March will be on Friday, January 24. And I want to discuss many of the things that have happened in the past year to motivate millions of people in the pro-life cause. And to update them on where things are at.
Jeanne Mancini has served in her role with the March for Life since 2012. And she’s dedicated most of her career to restoring a culture of life and dignity for all people. Jeanne, welcome back.
Jeanne: Oh, thank you so much for having me.
Jim: There’s always a great energy. I love hanging around with you ’cause it’s just – there’s just so much positive energy in what you’re doing with the March for Life.
Jeanne: Well, I feel the exact same way. I couldn’t wait to see you guys this morning.
Jim: You know, there seem to be so many confusing messages about women in culture. Specifically, we hear that in order to be pro-woman, you have to be pro-abortion.
Jim: I mean, that can’t be further from the truth, right?
Jeanne: Absolutely, and especially, in a year when there might be a lot of, you know, political messaging as well about what it means to be pro-woman, we want to do our part at the March for Life to provide clarity about authentic womanhood, essentially, because so many – especially young girls are just incredibly confused and conflicted and pulled in so many different directions about how they can find, you know, themselves and how they can find fulfillment in being a woman. Does it mean that I’ve got to be the same as a guy? Does it mean that I have to, you know, do things that I don’t really feel good in my conscience about, et cetera? But – but no, it doesn’t.
Jim: Jeanne, with The March for Life, I mean, hundreds of thousands of people come. I’ve been there. It’s a big crowd on the Mall in Washington, D.C. And what’s amazing is how many young people are there. When you look at the country and you see that we’re, you know, closely divided, 50-50-ish, when it comes to the issue of abortion and it being either a woman’s right or immoral, what are you sensing when you’re leading this incredible effort and you see all those young people show up?
Jeanne: Yeah, well, we may be divided, you know, when you look at all the age demographics, but we’re not divided when it comes to young people.
When you look at, for example, the General Social Survey, which is the U.S. government’s longitudinal social study, basically, young people in that cohort has become more pro-life over the last 20 years, more than any other age demographic.
Jim: I get that question a lot from people, particularly older people. Why is that? That’s the question.
Jeanne: You know why? I think because young people know – they know truth. And they’re attracted to it. So, they know that this is, A, the social justice issue of our time and that it’s taking the life of an unborn child. They’ve grown up with little pictures on the refrigerator of their brothers and sisters on their ultrasounds.
Jeanne: I mean, they know that – they know what truth is. And they know that abortion takes a life. They also had friends choose abortion and be sad about that, you know, really suffer sadness and anxiety after that.
Jim: Watch the consequences of it.
Jim: Jeanne, the theme for this year’s March for Life, which is just a couple weeks away, what is it?
Jeanne: Absolutely, yeah, I’m so excited about our theme. So, “Life Empowers: Pro-life is Pro-Woman.” And here’s why we chose that theme this year. So, 2020 celebrates the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which is a woman’s right to vote. So, all of the suffragists were pro-life – all of the suffragists. These early, you know, feminists, so to speak, were all pro-life.
So, we are going to do our part this year to educate the culture about the early pro-woman advocates, the early suffragists, and how pro-life they were. How they understood that the inherent dignity of the human person went from conception to the moment of death.
Jim: Wow. That is a great theme. I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to join you there. It’s gonna be so much fun, along with 200,000 other people.
Jeanne: We are so excited to have you speak, Jim. It’s gonna be awesome to have you.
Jim: Well, I’m looking forward to it. I hope you have enough beverages, like, coffee and everything (laughter).
Jeanne: And doughnuts, et cetera.
Jim: Hey, let me – let me point to something. I think you either posted or did in an email from a young woman named Reagan. Let’s listen to this now.
Pre-produced reading: “The March for Life is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I came in not knowing exactly where I stood, but I do now. I know that I am a pro-lifer. And I am so very proud of it. I am proud to say that I stand for others’ lives and not just my own. It was amazing to see people of all colors, religions, states and countries all come together for one cause. I feel so strongly about this topic now. And I want everyone to know the truth. The March for Life was absolutely amazing. And now I know that I am the pro-life generation.”
Jim: That doesn’t get any better.
Jeanne: I know.
Jim: Mission accomplished, right?
Jeanne: Absolutely. I think what happens is these wonderful young people come to the March for Life, many of them for the first time. And they’re blown away by solidarity with so many other young people. They’ve never been to an event where they’ve seen so many young people. And their energies are channeled towards the single greatest human rights abuse of today. And so, their spirits are buoyed. And they go home, and they want to change the world.
Jeanne: It’s really exciting.
Jim: It is exciting.
Jeanne: And it’s like, the experience of being at the March for Life itself is – it converts our hearts on this issue. It’s really quite beautiful.
Jim: Yeah. And you have another story I think, from last year. I think there was a snowstorm last year. But, a young person was coming away, and what happened in that context?
Jeanne: Well, yeah, this was – it was called “Blizzardgeddon” in Washington, D.C. Even our – our staff got snowed into the hotel for, like, three days after the March for Life. I mean, I know you guys out in Colorado Springs – get a lot of snow. But in D.C., for us to get 36 inches is…
Jim: That was big.
John: That’s a lot of snow anywhere.
Jim: Yeah, that’s big in Colorado, too.
Jeanne: It was a big deal. So, lots of marchers that were traveling from far away hit some rough terrain on the way home. So, in particular, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you may recall, shut down for, like 18 hours or something.
Jim: Oh, yes.
Jeanne: And so, there were buses upon buses of marchers on that Pennsylvania Turnpike. And so, they did things like, invited people onto their bus to use the facilities. Or they shared, you know, their food with different people and just did this phenomenal experience. And the following year, one of those schools, University of Mary from North Dakota, who’d brought something like nine buses – I mean, it was unbelievable – they led the March. They shared their testimony from the stage, because we always have a student speaker at the March for Life. So, it was – it was really incredible, and I would have to say that year, the bulk of the media coverage was about the marchers stranded on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. And it was great, because they were so happy.
And, there were miraculous stories. So, for example, one of these buses had a bus driver who had had an abortion. And she’d never really thought about it. And to see the joy of these young people, even, you know, in these dire scenarios, here stranded on the turnpike, it changed her heart. And she shared her testimony with the- with the students on the bus and went and sought hope and healing following that scenario. Isn’t that amazing? God works in mysterious ways.
Jim: God is always working at all levels.
Jim: That’s what so – the national level – and then on a bus driver’s heart. I mean, that’s what’s so beautiful – beautiful about our Lord.
Jim: And, you know, one of the critical things, Jeanne, is we recognize that Jesus is the core for forgiveness. That’s what we as Christians believe, is that you can be forgiven for those decisions.
Jeanne: Thank you. Yes.
Jim: And God is there for you, and He understands that. But if you’re struggling in that way, call us. We have counselors who can help. We’re there for you, if you’re going through that kind of trauma.
Jeanne: Amen. And there’s always hope and healing.
Jeanne: And it’s something that I’m aware. Look, we are walking in a culture of – we’re in a culture of walking wounded. But it’s so important that we’re honest…
Jeanne: … about what happens when a woman does choose abortion and that we’re honest that there’s always hope and healing. That with Christ, anything can be forgiven, and you can find deep peace. And with God, all things are possible. And He brings good from all things, so yes, yes.
Jim: I love it.
John: Yeah, just stop by our website for details about counseling resources. And you can even schedule a consultation time with one of our caring Christian counselors.
John: Our website is focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
Jim: Uh, Jeanne, 2019 led to some significant pro-life moments. I mean, what Governor Cuomo in New York did. And you and I were here for our…
Jeanne: It was amazing.
Jim: …Alive from New York event – and then, of course, the Virginia governor – a pediatrician, I believe, if I recall – talking about infanticide. Speak to some of the big events that have galvanized even more so the pro-life movement because that overreach that we have talked about for years, the slippery slope that Francis Schaeffer, a Christian philosopher, and Chuck Colson used to talk about. The idea that once we degrade human life, where does it stop? And now we’re there where they’re beginning to talk about killing a child who may have a physical handicap…
Jim: …because it’s unworthy of life.
Jeanne: Absolutely. So sad.
Jim: Speak to those big issues.
Jeanne: Yeah, so it’s hard to say, but I think in some ways the Supreme Court makeup is motivating some of these different laws being passed at the level of the states. And while we march at the national level, really, what’s happening is at the level of the states. I mean, there’s so much going on, either for – for good or for bad.
So, it was late January when New York, as you said- and here we are in New York – passed the most extreme abortion law, I mean, essentially creating a right to abortion until birth and even – even after birth.
Jeanne: And then lit up the Empire State Building in pink to celebrate. And they had all of these different state legislators just cheering and chanting when they passed this legislation. And, so that – that was heartbreaking. And just a few weeks later, Jim, as you mentioned, the governor of Virginia was on just a regular media interview and, wow, I would say made the snafu of a lifetime talking…
Jim: Let me – let me, in fact, play it and then you can…
Jeanne: …Much better, yeah.
Jim: …Come off of that. So…
(SOUNDBITE OF GOV. NORTHAM – ARCHIVED RECORDING)
Ralph Northam (audio clip): Third-trimester abortions – these are done. And it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s nonviable. So, in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated, if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.
Jeanne: Being from Virginia, I mean, it’s just so terrible to hear, you know, these things coming from an elected official. So, those were some of the things that happened in the early year. The flip side is that I could tell you, you know, we’re always about changing hearts and minds. I know Focus on the Family is, too. It’s like God changes hearts and minds. Well, guess what? This didn’t sit well with New Yorkers, with Virginians, with people in the United States at all. So, there was a public opinion poll taken in early January on where people stood on late-term abortion and on abortion. And then it was taken in middle February, so, you know, like, a month, a month and a half later. Never – since Roe and Doe were approved by the Supreme Court, or happened at the Supreme Court level in 1973 – have we seen such a change in public opinion in such a short period of time…
Jim: What was it?
Jeanne: …In the direction of life. I don’t have the numbers right in front of me, but it was something like a 10-point change with people self-identifying as being pro-life and not being for late-term abortion. And I mean, I could tell you just, you know, anecdotally, I had text messages from family members who don’t see eye-to-eye with me who said, “Even I’m not OK with this…
Jeanne: … This is terrible what’s happened in New York and in Virginia.” Well, fast-forward a few months down the road, we saw the other side of this. Many states begin to pass heartbeat bills, so really recognizing the humanity of the unborn child, because their heartbeats at, like, 6 weeks, you know, LPM. And so, it’s amazing how many bills have passed at the level of the states in this year.
Jim: Yeah, I think eight states, including Georgia, Missouri, Ohio and five others. Uh, you know, one of the things that really caught my attention was the companies that boycotted Georgia, one included Disney. And I thought that is nonsensical.
Jeanne: How ironic.
Jim: They’re – they’re encouraging the termination of their customer base. I mean, that just to me was bizarre that Disney would jump in there and boycott Georgia…
Jim: … for passing the heartbeat bill. That’s the kind of nonsensical blurriness that the world is in right now. They don’t know…
Jeanne: Yeah, I think you’ve said that really well.
Jim: Yeah, they don’t know what they’re doing, in my opinion.
Jeanne: They see this as a good, you know? And – and yet, it’s not. It’s like they’re defying common sense, essentially.
Jeanne: And what you’re saying, that fuzziness. I mean, it’s just so terrible.
Jim: Somebody said to me the other day truth and time go together.
Jim: And I just – I think when it comes to this issue, we have gone through a long period of darkness. But I think God’s truth and time work to his plan.
Jeanne: I love that.
Jim: And I think that’s what’s being revealed, you know, even with the innovation of ultrasound machines. By the way, we’ve had 440,000 babies saved through that effort, but…
Jeanne: At Focus.
Jeanne: That is so beautiful. Thank you so much for your generosity. I mean, you’re saving lives.
Jim: Well, and praise God and the people listening now who support the Option Ultrasound effort.
John: And Jim, there may be somebody in the audience that doesn’t know, so just give a quick sketch of what Option Ultrasound is.
Jim: Well, you know what’s beautiful? Around the country we have pregnancy resource clinics. These are a lot of, you know, local, community-based women’s clinics who are trying to help women make the right choice. And they’ll supply a free ultrasound for these women who come in looking for one. Now, if they go to an abortion clinic, usually those screens are covered, if they do an ultrasound. The baby’s referred to as not a baby at all. They get the exact opposite discussion when they go to these clinics, and Focus plays a role in helping grant these machines to these clinics. And I just want to say thanks to the folks listening who have helped to do that. We have saved – directly – saved babies lives. And it’s exciting.
Jeanne: That is so beautiful. And if usually, you know, we’ll go from, like, the 30,000-foot view down to the more of the details. If I can take a step back to the 30,000-foot view, just to talk about how Focus is impacting culture through, you know, Option Ultrasound, et cetera. When we look at abortion data over the years, the highest number of abortions was in the early 1990s. And thank God, it’s down ticked since then.
Jeanne: But when we look at abortion clinics, that was also the highest number. It was, like, in the late ’80s, the early ’90s. And there were nearly 2,000 abortion clinics at that point. At the same time, there were only about 500 – at that time, we’d call them crisis pregnancy centers.
Jeanne: But they’re – now we know they’re pregnancy resource centers, or pregnancy care centers. Well, today that has flipped. There are well over 3,000 pregnancy care centers in the United States. And there are less than 700 abortion clinics in the United States. And I believe that it’s things like Option Ultrasound that have led us in that direction and that are changing culture.
Jim: That is so exciting.
Jeanne: Isn’t it?
Jim: I hadn’t heard of the stats in that way, but that’s true. Life is gaining ground…
Jeanne: It absolutely is.
Jim: … in every way. You talked about the millennials being more pro-life than ever. You talked about the overreach of the abortion industry. I think that data was something like 60 or 70% of pro-abortion people did not support late-term abortion. It was a big number.
Jeanne: Absolutely. No, I mean, on that number, too, we’re talking for 11 years strong, when you look at public opinion polls – and I’m throwing a lot of data out there, and hopefully not too much – but one of the groups that we rely on a lot is Marist. Marist is used by McClatchy, NBC, News Corp (ph), so they’re considered very sort of centrist.
Jim: So, news sources go to them for the data.
Jeanne: Exactly, sort of mainstream media, so to speak. So, 11 years strong, 8 out of 10 Americans would limit abortion, at most to the first three months of pregnancy. And that includes 6 out of 10 pro-choice Americans. Is that the law in the United States? No, it is not. We are one of seven countries in the world that still allows late-term abortion in the United States.
Jim: List a couple of those countries.
Jeanne: China, North Korea, Canada. I mean, so we’re really in cahoots with, you know, people who are not pro-life here.
Jim: Right. It’s amazing when you – you think of it in that way.
Jeanne, also, we’ve seen some work by those in the Christian community that have gone in, even taped transactions or conversations with Planned Parenthood executives. David Daleiden. And it’s been, you know, wow, amazing to see how blatant, how much they disregard life. And speak to that environment where – and he’s on trial.
Jeanne: He is, right?
Jim: You know, it’s crazy.
Jeanne: Yeah, here – he was on trial in October and November. And it was amazing to see all that came into the light. This is – one of my theories on this issue is just bring it into the light, baby.
Jeanne: I mean, bring it into the light for the positive and the negative.
Jim: What were some of those powerful clips that he captured that got your attention?
Jeanne: OK, so just rewinding the clock a little bit back to 2015. That’s when David’s videos through the Center for Medical Progress came out. And there were some astounding just moments to watch. For example, there was one abortionist swilling a big glass of red wine over lunch and bragging and laughing about how she has to manipulate parts of the baby to get, you know, a really robust liver, or what have you, so that she can sell it.
Jim: Organ harvesting. Amazing. Jeanne: Yes, yeah. They’re harvesting little hearts, little lungs, little livers in the name of science. So, what happened after that in 2015 is that Planned Parenthood came out and said, “These videos were manipulated. They were spliced. They’re not accurate.”
Jim: And they weren’t.
Jeanne: They weren’t. So that’s what’s come out in late 2019. These abortionists had to go on trial and had to go on the record. There was no manipulation. There was no splicing of the videos. They were actually saying these things. There was another abortionist who bragged about how she needed a Lamborghini, so that’s why she was in this business. And she – she actually went on the record saying, “Well, I was, you know, joking around.” But, she talked about sort of the resources that come from doing this kind of work and why she’d be in the business of harvesting little hearts, little lungs, little livers.
Jim: Jeanne, when you look at that, you know, there’s a certain anger that comes with that from our perspective. How do we spiritually manage that? How do we say, “Lord, OK, this is your battle, ultimately”? Because we can work ourselves into a pretty deep emotional problem.
Jim: So how do you, as a woman – let me just ask you that question – how do you manage that – that anger, seeing people being so disrespectful to God’s creation in that way?
Jeanne: I think, in some ways I think that there’s a tension here. On one hand, if you were told, Jim, that you had one year and if you didn’t sort of accomplish this particular goal at the end of the year, your family would be gone, like, they’d die. You would do everything in your power to accomplish that goal in a year.
Jim: It’d be all-consuming.
Jeanne: Yes, you couldn’t think of anything else. And I say that only because I think we’ve gotten a little bit desensitized to what actually happens in abortion. And so, the anger is righteous anger, on one hand. On the flip side, we need to be beacons of peace, beacons of grace, beacons of God, in His joy and His light to be able to accomplish anything. I mean, what are we? We’re really humble instruments in the vineyard of the Lord – right? – and letting His grace work through us. And so, I do think that as instruments, especially in this culture of death where there’s so much anxiety and so much darkness, the light and the peace attracts people. And to the extent that we let the Lord and the Lord’s grace work through us is it’s… we’re just going to be so much more powerful. And when we find ourselves struggling with the emotion of anger and the emotions of anxiety, et cetera, it’s so important to take a step back and to recover our peace, because we’re just so much more powerful instruments of the Lord when we’re able to do that.
Jim: Well, it’s well said. I mean, that is the Gospel. That’s what the Lord did. You know, He didn’t back up on truth. But He – He really gave people His love and concern.
John: And I really appreciate what you’re saying there, because Jim, when we were here in New York, in Times Square last year for Alive from New York City, it was amazing, the clarity of grace and joy. It was a celebration. It wasn’t a condemnation.
Jim: Well, Jeanne, you remember that. You co-hosted that event with me. There were 20,000 people in Times Square. We were up on that stage.
Jeanne: I will remember it.
Jim: What were the memories that you have from that?
Jeanne: Well, first of all, it was one of the highlights of my career being there. I mean, it was so special. And so, one memory that I have is the day before, walking through Times Square and thinking, “What in the world are we doing!?
Jeanne: I mean, are we crazy? This is crazy that we’re doing this,” you know? And this is a person who’s been through now, like, eight marches, so – but of course, actually, hands down the most significant memory of that day was, actually not even seeing the keynote, so to speak, the ultrasound on the screen. It was hearing…
Jim: That heartbeat.
Jeanne: …The heartbeat. And you could hear a pin drop in Times Square. And it was – I don’t know. It was a grace-filled, one of the most profound moments I’ve had in my – in my work, working for the pro-life…
Jim: It caught me the exact same way. It was profound how silence fell over that – that, you know, crazy environment of Times Square. In fact, we have a clip. And you’ll hear the technician as she’s describing what people are viewing in the ultrasound.
(PRE-PRODUCED CLIP OF ULTRASOUND WITH MUSIC)
“He’s moving a little bit. Oh! Totally on. Oh, big stretch! Rolling the head back and forth. (Chuckling) You can see the heart right here. And the spine. Let’s listen to the heartbeat. (Click of the ultrasound and the thumping of the little heartbeat is now heard.) Beautiful!”
Jim: Wow. I mean, Jeanne. That heartbeat. I remember the protesters that were there, 3-400 protesters. I just remember they’re holding signs over their heads. You know, they were watching. But, when that heartbeat and that image played, the signs fell. And their jaws were just slack. It’s like they had never seen it before.
Jim: Do you remember?
Jeanne: I do. I do. I mean, this is – just to even to hear that that heartbeat, this is why we do what we do. I mean, this is why you ask – why are young people pro-life? This is it.
Jim: Jeanne, this has been, I hope, informative for the listeners. And also, I want to make sure people know that the March for Life is coming up January 24. And it will be a celebration of life, speakers, probably 100 to 200,000 people, who knows. You’ve done this for how many years now?
Jeanne: For me, I’ve been there since 2012, so this will be my 8th March for Life this year.
Jim: And the March for Life overall, how many years?
Jeanne: Oh, my gosh, so we’re going into our 47th year.
Jim: Forty-seventh year of standing for life in Washington D.C. on January 24. If you can make it, come! Join us! This is the time to stand up for life and to declare what it is we believe God is clearly saying.
John: Yeah, please join us on January 24 for The March for Life and register beforehand. We’ll have the link at the website. When you sign up, we’ll send you our Advocacy for Human Life toolbox. And when you get to the event, Focus on the Family will have a tent. Jim, you are speaking there. We’ll have a presence. Stop by our tent. We’ve got signs and some free gifts for you as well. All the details at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.
And Jim, this is a good time to let our friends in the listening audience know about something we’re going to be doing later this year, Focus on the Family’s Alive 2020.
Jim: Well, we are, John. It’s the day before Mother’s Day, May 9. We’re going to expand what we did here in New York and go to five other cities, including Southern California and Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Chicago and Southern Florida. So, mark it in your calendar now, May 9th. We want people to come to that event, too, and to celebrate live ultrasounds, great music and speakers, like we did here in New York.
And Jeanne, thank you again for being a partner and co-hosting that event with me. Thank you.
Jeanne: Oh, yeah, we’re – we’re totally excited to be part of it again. Like I said, it was one of the highlights of my work, in working towards a culture of life last year. And I can’t wait for it this year.
Jim: It’s going to be a celebration. If you want to express your pro-life position, this is going to be it, May 9th, in addition to the March for Life in January. So, join us for both events. And stand for that baby.
John: And here at the close of our broadcast, if you would please, consider joining our work to support life, to stand for life. Donate today. Jim, you mentioned Option Ultrasound earlier. Sixty dollars through that program saves a baby’s life.
Jim: That’s incredible.
John: It is.
Jim: I mean, $60 to save a baby’s life.
Jeanne: Oh, my gracious.
Jim: I think it’s about 600 to do an abortion.
Jim: So, think of that. You can save a baby’s life for $60.
John: Make a monthly pledge of $60 and know that you’ll be saving a baby’s life every month with that gift. If you can’t commit to a monthly pledge, a one-time donation of any amount certainly helps in the effort to save life. So, thanks. Call 800-A-FAMILY to make that donation.
Jim: John, let me add just the power of prayer, too. Remember these dates.
Jim: I’m gonna – remember these dates, January 24 for the March for Life. Pray for that and for Jeanne and her team that that event goes well. And then, again, May 9th, the day before Mother’s Day, celebrating Alive 2020 with Focus on the Family. Put those dates down for prayer. Thank you.
And Jeanne, thank you for being with us today.
Jeanne: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
John: Well, on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back next time, as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.