It’s CatholicVote.org so, sure, we like to gab about politics. For Catholics, the primary consideration in voting for candidates should be their position on abortion, and we should work to reduce the number of abortions from its reprehensible 1.3 million annually down to zero.
But how to reduce that number? As an economist, the number of abortions is the result of supply and demand: supply of abortions by abortionists and demand for abortions by pregnant women (and the necessary men). Reducing either the supply or demand will reduce the number of abortions, and we should seek to do both.
Reducing the supply can involve more political steps: shutting down dangerous clinics and pushing for repeal of abortion laws via the legislature, President, or courts. Of course, reducing supply can be done outside the political arena too, like reaching out to clinic workers.
Reducing the demand, though, seems more important if we are interested not just in saved lives but in saved souls. Reducing the supply certainly will save the lives of the unborn, but it may do nothing to convert the souls of those who would procure an abortion if it were more readily accessible.
One of the more effective and immediate ways of reducing the demand for abortions begins this Wednesday, when the 40 Days for Life campaign starts in 316 locations worldwide. The 40 Days campaign focus on three “fronts:” 1) prayer and fasting to end abortions, 2) educational outreach to family, friends, and neighbors, and 3) prayerful, peaceful vigils outside of abortion clinics.
In my own town we were blessed to have Elizabeth McClung, the sidewalk counselor who was instrumental in the conversion of former Planned Parenthood darling Abby Johnson, come to speak to our local 40 Days organizers and volunteers. She stressed the need for a positive, prayerful presence outside our nation’s abortion mills, and to make clear to the women and men entering that there are alternatives, places where they and their babies will be cared for. She also relayed stories from former clinic workers that the “no-show” rate for women with abortion appointments increases almost 50% when people are praying outside of clinics, and the rate increases as the number of people praying increases.