Dr. James Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener-supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.
Roger Marsh: Well, welcome back to Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh, and as you learned on yesterday's broadcast, it has been a long road to overturning the major pro-abortion case known as Roe v. Wade. It's really encouraging that we have achieved that milestone in this country in our lifetime. So what does that mean for the fight for life today? Well, our guest here on Family Talk is Marjorie Dannenfelser.
She's back on the program today to update us on the progress of the Pro-Life Movement at the Capitol and state levels, and she'll do so with our co-host JDFI's own Gary Bauer. Gary is the Senior Vice President of Public Policy here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, and he will share more about Marjorie Dannenfelser, who is the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. Well, there's so much to get to for this program. So let's join Marjorie Dannenfelser and Gary Bauer right now, right here on Family Talk.
Gary Bauer: Hello friends. I'm Gary Bauer, Senior Vice President of Public Policy here at the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm also the host of Defending Faith, Family and Freedom, the podcast here at JDFI. I am honored to serve alongside my good friend Dr. James Dobson. Our guest on the program today is a strong voice in this nation in the fight for the sanctity of life. Her name's Marjorie Dannenfelser.
Marjorie's president of the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which is America's largest grassroots pro-life political organization. Marjorie, you know, I'm fairly familiar with Susan B. Anthony, but you've built, with God's blessings, an incredible organization, and I'm always amazed at the resources you have. We had one of your experts on the James Dobson Family Institute's Family Talk not too long ago. Tell us a little bit about those experts, the doctors, scientists, all sorts of people.
Marjorie Dannenfelser: Yeah. I think Dr. Ingrid Skop was on with you recently, and she is a powerhouse. She's amazing. But as we grew this political idea and we started, there was a reality that we had a lot of elected officials that needed support in terms of expertise. We really started to grow out the mission so we created the Charlotte Lozier Institute that actually Chuck Donovan, the president of that created, and that's our research arm. There are close to a hundred credentialed experts from top universities, from every medical field, physicians all over the country that testify all over the country in legislatures and in the federal government.
Every single session, you'll see Charlotte Lozier Institute scholars there. Also, a few years back, we hoped and prayed that we would overturn Roe versus Wade with God's grace. And that if that happened, we needed a very concrete, specific voice answering the woman who said, "What am I going to do? I'm up in the middle of the night. What does tomorrow look like for me?" And so we created a program called Her Plan that has many employees in many states that are identifying resources to woman-and-child, especially in the first two years of life, that address the seven points of why she would be drawn to the abortion center door at the first place. And they range from addiction to cycles of physical abuse by a partner, education, all sorts of resources for woman-and-child. Those two programs are very quickly growing.
We also have a team of 20 in our affairs that handles federal lobbying. And then a massive network of lobbyists in each region of the country lobbying on the legislative level. And then the last thing is probably the most powerful thing that we have done since we started was field teams going into states with very tight races, whether they be federal races or referendums, going door to door, human being to human being, talking to the right person to encourage them to vote the right way. That has been probably the most influential political thing that we've done since our founding. It has made an enormous difference in electing- senate, a president, and now, winning referendums.
Gary Bauer: I think that's a fantastic idea. I remember, within 24 hours, Dr. Dobson and I talking about what had happened and just the joy in his voice. We've been dealing with this issue for so long, and you know abortion, by its very nature, is an act of violence. Every abortion is an act of violence. A woman has been psychologically exploited and harmed, and a human life's been ended.And so I guess when you think about that when you think of the violence of abortion, it probably shouldn't surprise any of us that when the decision was announced and the weeks and months that followed, and even up to right now while we're talking, the pro-abortion side seems naturally to have engaged in violence that is a reflection of the violence inherent in every abortion.
Marjorie Dannenfelser: That's exactly right. And if you can't win, you try to win by force. Let me just back up a little bit because I'm sure everybody listening knows, but if you don't know, you should know that Dr. Dobson and Gary Bauer, for many, many years, could shut down the Capitol switchboard in a second when they brought up the violence of abortion and that a love that mother naturally has for her child. And that your congressmen and senators are not doing the right thing right now, give them a call. It took about 15 minutes for them to be so jammed up that that's a model of what citizen activism is, and that's what we need more of.
So yes, in terms of now the other side, seeing that success and not winning in the public forum, knowing that they are in the... behind in the polls when it comes to passing laws that save lives and serving women in the way that they deserve. They seek to shut us down in other ways through violence at our pregnancy centers all over the country, at churches, pro-life leaders who have been outspoken like me and others trying to shut down states in their ability to pass laws that save lives through referendums. And then, ultimately, a national law that they have a lot of momentum for because there is a lot of fury right now at the center of their movement, a national law that would wipe out any laws in the country that now protect the unborn.
Almost half the country has acted, as you know. It would wipe out all of those laws, and it would wipe out anything that might come. It would preclude any national protections whatsoever, even the most modest ones. So they have... they are ginned up, their generals are aligned, their strategies, as always, are as good as humans can come up with. Nobody is better at strategy than that side. They don't have the power of the Holy Spirit. But one thing that I know is that we should never think that our job is done. Our job is beginning. We just kicked that door wide open, and now every single pro-life person, every single believer, needs to walk through that door.
Gary Bauer: So you kind of just glided over that, but you experienced some of this right here in the office, as I recollect. I had my tires flattened, and another good group in Washington, Concerned Women for America, had some things that happened to them I can't even describe over the radio. Stuff was going on outside their office, so this is real. I saw a study out of the University of Chicago that said a depressing, incredibly high percentage of pro-abortion Americans believe it's acceptable to engage in violence, to restore, quote-unquote, "My right to abort."
Marjorie Dannenfelser: It's Jane's Revenge. That's the name of that group. They're the ones who were going after Kavanaugh at his home every day, and of course, there's an assassination attempt against Kavanaugh. I mean, they mean business, and they don't believe in the democratic process.
They believe in the bottom line, and the ends justifies the means. I haven't really, but you're the first person I'll tell on the air this because it's been a little while, but immediately in the middle of the night, people were approaching my house, and we saw what happened at Kavanaugh, so we were ready.
Gary Bauer: Yes.
Marjorie Dannenfelser: But not everybody is ready. The crisis pregnancy centers across the country, the people who were truly at the front lines in truly serving women in ways that no one will see, but in ways that she deserves the cycles of abuse and poverty and addiction and all the things that they are helping her with and that they are such a focus of the other side wrath just shows that the good and evil right there.
And I actually think when better people prevail, better voices, if we can elect some good people who can calm some of this down. A lot of the people involved in the other side are decent people that are not violent who should expect of the Democratic Party and these movements to actually be serving women. And I think that's something I see in coming in the future. There will be more pressure for that. At least that is my hope, and it's what we're working on.
Gary Bauer: That's a great point. You touched on something a little while ago that I think goes to a matter there's a lot of confusion about. A lot of people, a lot of analysts, have said, particularly politicians, "Well, the Supreme Court has turned the issue back over to the states." And so they then say, as a congressman or a senator or a government official here in Washington, "I don't really have to get involved in this anymore. It's no longer a federal issue."
Hey, that's not what the Supreme Court did. It turned the issue back over to the representatives of the people. It didn't specify whether that would be our representatives in Congress or our representatives in state legislatures or in a governor's office. Marjorie, elaborate on that a little bit.
Marjorie Dannenfelser: Thank you. Because that has been probably the most misunderstood and most difficult issue that we have dealt with since June 24th at 10:10 in the morning. In fact, Kavanaugh said in his concurring opinion that this goes back to the people and their elected representatives in state legislatures and the Congress. So Congress may act. And so there are some, I think, especially legislators that are afraid on the federal level that choose these states only option.
Now, some have authentic libertarian style, and there's intellectual history behind perhaps that maybe that of no federal involvement. But that is not the dominant argument. The dominant argument is not much of an argument. It is basically fear. It is, "Let's watch and see what the states do." Basically, let's watch the polling. Let's watch and see what the American public thinks. It doesn't matter how much polling that we show them. There's just this reluctance, and we're seeing the same thing on the federal presidential level as well, moving into debates, these upcoming debates that'll be throughout the coming months.
And abortion will come up on those stage. And if you hear somebody say, "This is a state's only issue," just consider one thing that almost half the states have acted. If those are all allowed to go into effect, we will still have two-thirds of the nation's children unprotected and those women in those states underserved or not served at all.
Gary Bauer: We're talking about the sanctity of life, and obviously that's very important. But you know the other side has attempted to draft these pro-abortion state constitutional amendments in a way that would not only allow abortion all nine months of the pregnancy for any and all reasons but they're written so broadly that they also strike down any efforts in those states to regulate this whole gender dysphoria issue.
It seems to have come out of nowhere, but it's spreading like wildfire because of social media and all sorts of other reasons. We've seen this in states like Michigan. So talk a little bit, Marjorie, about that because I think it's also likely to come up in some other states in the months ahead.
Marjorie Dannenfelser: Well, that's right, and this is one of their three most important areas on the pro-abortion movement is to move into some very strongly pro-life states and pass constitutional amendments that they're much better at doing than our side that have deceptive language and thereby doing what you have described, wiping out every pro-life protection. Then also, because of the way their perfect language is their model language that is now in Ohio, this November will be voted on.
And that language is so broadly communicated that it's tempting for anyone to think that this sounds like a reasonable, smart thing. Don't get involved in the reproductive decisions of other people. Sounds kind of instinctively, maybe okay. Except that what it does is it applies to parental involvement in the abortion decisions of their children. It applies to any pro-life protection that state might've already passed through their legislatures. So in Ohio, that's a heartbeat law that would be wiped off, and no pro-life protection could be allowed up until the very end.
That language is being... A lot of people say, "Ah, you people just say that because you think that's going to call the vote that you need for the..." No. The ACLU has confirmed, "Yes, this is exactly the intent. We don't want..." This is... Look at it from their perspective. They think that it is a human right to be able to abort a baby up until the end. They think it's a human right for a child to insist upon transgender surgeries for themselves through the help of a guidance counselor or someone that's not their parent.
They think that is a human right. There is a polarizing question that if you disagree with that, you better get involved in Ohio this November, where that will be voted on. And then eight more states have been pointed to by the Left to do the same thing. And we're not talking about California and Michigan. They've... Sadly, Michigan's done it, and California already has too. We're talking about North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Arizona, Florida, and a handful of other states that are deeply pro-life.
Gary Bauer: Yes, and all this is built on deception. These are pro-life states. States that, generally, pro-life candidates have had a really good chance and opportunity to get elected in. But the financial resources of the other side, the biased media that promotes the pro-abortion agenda, it really makes it hard for us to win these referendums. So to me, this is another example where groups like yours and obviously the James Dobson Family Institute and the work that we're all doing it's important. But it's not enough unless the church stands up and helps us educate the people that are sitting in the pews every Sunday and the politicians step up who say they're pro-life and they be bold making the pro-life case.
Marjorie Dannenfelser: You know, there is something good in [inaudible] legislator that looks to see what the will of the people is before they act, but you have to act. You cannot keep an open mind forever. What did Chesterton say? "The value is an open mind is like the value of a mouth. You have to close it around something solid eventually or... because that's the purpose of both." It's to arrive at a position, and when you arrive at that position, you may or may not be supported by vast majorities of the population. But right now, it's basically a really easy decision to make for most legislators.
The people of their states that are passing laws right now are passing them, are insisting upon strong pro-life protections. If you are a federal legislator and you're fighting against the increase of the top 1% tax bracket getting higher taxes, your polling is basically on that tax issue about the same as the 15-week limit, which is so modest that pro-choice people also support it. So somehow, the financial thing is easy, but somehow the really incredibly popular pro-life protection that everyone agrees with, you're really struggling with. And that is a time where actually you could be voted out of office, and that they should be afraid of.
Gary Bauer: Marjorie, there are so many young women that are pro-life, and they've been really a big part of the movement. And as you know, a lot of the volunteers in the crisis pregnancy centers are women and young women. But I think we're all aware of the fact that for decades, since Roe versus Wade, American girls and women have been taught that part of being a modern woman is to have this right to destroy your innocent unborn child.
And there is some polling evidence that indicates that a segment of young women are particularly angry, some portion of them, about the overturn of Roe. Now, as a woman yourself and your organization seeks out pro-life women that are willing to run for office, this is a big deal that we're now going to tell young women, "Look, you can be successful. You can be whatever you want, but you don't have to violate your God-given instincts to be a loving mother for a child that you've conceived."
Marjorie Dannenfelser: It's so important what you're saying there, Gary, and a couple of things I want to add. One just very specific, and the other more general. The specific thing is the young women that are being spun up by others or just by their basic understanding about what abortion is and what it means in their lives. Even they support some restriction. They don't generally realize that abortion has been allowed up until birth. So even that group of people supports some consensus stuff. And so that's a beginning. That is what incrementalism is.
And so when you say, "Okay. Well, you don't think that a baby should be aborted after 15 weeks. What is different between 15 and 14? What's the difference between..." And we can go through those developmental stages, and you find out at nine weeks a baby has a fingerprint, sucking left or right hand depending on whether they're going to be left or right-handed, their nose and their eyelids are forming and beautiful, their … all their organs. So all those arguments. So that's important. But on the more general, and I think that's where we'll head, it's another opportunity when things are polarized to discuss what you're... really talk about, what you're talking about, and we need those presidential candidates to do that.
On a more general level, I mean, I remember being so pro-choice, I called it, so adamant that I didn't even want to talk about it and that any man, of course, just because he was a man, didn't have strong, compelling arguments even though he was a man, he didn't have any business talking to me about what I would do with my body. But what convinced me, in the end, was beautiful witnessed by non-judgmental, loving, smart people who didn't have to have all the right words, but they definitely heard what I said and challenged basically what is that thing that's being taken out, during an... What is that?
And would you risk it if you start to believe that it's just like you and me? And that's why we called Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America while we name ourselves after Susan B. Anthony and all the original feminists, all the women who were completely counter-cultural during their times. Up until Alice Paul, the original author of the Equal Rights Amendment, all believed that abortion was the ultimate exploitation of women. That there was this natural bond between woman and child. And when you break that bond, the repercussions for the culture and her and obviously her baby are huge and have to be countered.
Gary Bauer: Marjorie, we're basically out of time, but I wanted to give you an opportunity to share something here if something comes to mind. Dr. Dobson and I have talked about this a number of times over the years. One of the most gratifying things that happens at the end of a speech, at a church event, or wherever, a woman will sometimes come up and say to Dr. Dobson, and it's happened to me a couple of times. They'll say, "I was on my way to get an abortion, and I turned the radio on, and I heard you talking Dr. Dobson about the sanctity of life. And I pulled over to the side of the road, and it changed my mind."
I remember former Senator Santorum told the story about being on the floor of the Senate and arguing against the horror of partial birth abortion. I think on that particular vote, he was outvoted, and he was kind of down about it. And then many, many months later, a woman came up to him and said, "I have twins now because I was watching TV and I turned on C-SPAN, and there you were debating the sanctity of life. And I started listening, and for the first time, I started thinking about my plan to abort my children, and you changed my mind." Over the years, have you ever had women just thank you on a very basic level that you helped them see the light, and they ended up choosing life?
Marjorie Dannenfelser: I have had some of those situations, but I have also prayed for some of those. But the one thing I'll just say on that level, though, that now is a constant consolation. It should be to you, should be everyone listening, everyone who's never heard, somebody say specifically, "You saved a life and made a difference." And it takes such consolation in that 60,000 children estimated are living now that would not be living had it not been for the overturn of Roe versus Wade, 60,000.
And if other laws go into effect that are caught up in courts twice at it should be 120,000 a year 120,000 children is beyond the mind to imagine. But just imagine or even spiritually adopt one of those children and know that because you decided to take this stand, children are living, and also their mothers are receiving help that they deserve. But I can't imagine any job satisfaction any greater than that, and I can't wait to meet some of those babies up there in heaven.
Gary Bauer: What a wonderful thought. Marjorie, when the final history is written by the only historian that matters, which of course is God our Father, I believe you will be in the hall of heroes and heroines on this issue and that what you've done and what the organization has done, I have absolutely no doubt that you and everybody at Susan B. Anthony will hear the words we all long to hear, which is, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
God bless you for all your work, for the sanctity of life. I appreciate you. I value our friendship, and I look forward to many victories ahead that Dr. Dobson and you, and I can celebrate along with the JDFI team as we try to make America that shining city on a hill that our founding Fathers were so committed to giving us.
Marjorie Dannenfelser: Thank you, Gary.
Roger Marsh: Well, that was the conclusion of a special two-part conversation featuring
Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America organization and our own Gary Bauer. Please keep the lives of the preborn in your prayers. And remember, if you missed any part of this special two-part discussion, you can hear it in its entirety when you visit our website at drjamesdobson.org/familytalk.
Now, another major issue that is becoming more pressing these days is that of the attack on gender. So how can Christians effectively engage with and address the rising tide of transgenderism? In his book What Does the Bible Teach About Transgenderism? Dr. Owen Strachan shares a unique understanding of the complexities involved, and his insights can help deepen your perspective on this crucial issue as well. Now, in collaboration with Dr. Strachan, the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute has compiled a wide range of helpful resources for you on this topic.
You can access them now. The list is available without cost. Just go to drjamesdobson.org/transgenderism. That's D-R James Dobson.O-R-G/transgenderism. I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks so much for making Family Talk a part of your day, and be sure to join us again next time right here for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.