By Troy Newman, President Operation Rescue
(Revised 1-21-06)

The 1990’s seemed a dismal era for the Life Movement. Many pro-life organizations were dejected and close to throwing in the towel. Pro- lifers had little political clout as the Clinton/Reno regime ruthlessly investigated and prosecuted peaceful protesters and spent government money on abortions faster than Americans could pay taxes.
Plagued by bad press and allegations of violence, the activist arm of the pro-life movement was nearly crushed with the passage of the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which made it a felony to block access to abortion mills. Pro-abortion Republican Bob Dole ran a dismal Presidential Campaign 1996 that succeeded only in further emasculating conservatives, and pro-life hopes of Supreme Court victories were ruthlessly dashed as we helplessly watched each abortion decision swing further to the left.
Although discouraged, a core of pro-lifers never gave up. We improved our rhetoric and methodology. Hard work and grassroots activism began to pay off. The numbers of pro-life pregnancy centers skyrocketed while new activist tactics yielded dividends in closed mills and fewer abortionists. Slowly, conservatives began to infiltrate seats of power.
Looking back, the 90’s decade may have handed us some setbacks, but it was also the decade where the seeds of victory were sown by the sacrifices of those involved in the Rescue movement. The 90’s recorded a dramatic decrease in the rate of abortions as well as a huge popular shift toward the pro-life position. Rebuilding and retooling our movement, pro-lifers emerged from the 90’s as clear winners in the 2000 Presidential election. We were becoming powerful “players” in the body politic that political candidates ignored at their risk.
In 2004, exit polls shocked the political left and make their worst nightmare come true. The polls showed that blue collar Protestants and Catholics voting on moral issues — abortion first among them — swung the election to the right. The subsequent Allen Specter flap in November, 2004, proved that pro-lifers had the political muscle to discipline pro-abortion Republicans who wandered off the conservative reservation.
Then last year, a major shift in the nation’s highest court began as Judge John Roberts, who once argued on behalf of Operation Rescue, was easily confirmed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Later, when President Bush nominated the unproven Harriet Miers, right-to-lifers flexed their biceps once again and vociferously forced her withdrawal.
Within days President Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito to the resounding cheer of his conservative base. This month, pro-life Justice Samuel Alito will be added to the Supreme Court, joining the Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas Team — another vote closer to and end to the national calamity of decriminalized abortion on demand.
It is ironic that O’Connor’s left-leaning robe will be worn by a man who outlined a 1985 legal strategy to defeat Roe v. Wade. Now, two decades later, the pro-life movement prays Alito will somehow have the opportunity to implement his Reagan-era strategy.
Today, those who believe that abortion takes the life of an innocent baby have effectively shed the false media image of the past and have become more politically influential. The hard work is paying off. The pro-life movement has increasingly been winning tactical skirmishes and is now poised for decisive victory. We can see the day ahead when the protections of legal personhood will once again be restored to the pre-born, and that makes us more determined than ever to work unwaveringly toward our goal.
So in retrospect, the middle 90’s were not such a dismal era for pro-lifers, but a crucible that our movement had to pass though in order to enter the new millennium with a dauntless commitment toward ultimate victory. And with loss of over 45 million innocent lives in the 33 years since the infamous January 22, 1973 Roe decision, that victorious day can hardly come soon enough.