More than 600 people gathered for a black-tie gala at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., last night attended by Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife Karen.
If that’s all you knew about the event, you might not be all that interested. After all, this is Washington, where such events take place almost every night of the week.
What was different about this event? It was for the unabashedly pro-life Christian group, Save The Storks.
In the past six years, Save The Storks has gone from start-up to become one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial organizations in the pro-life movement, with a 2018 budget of around $6-million. According to its founder, Joe Baker, Save The Storks has a simple but audacious mission: “to revolutionize the meaning of pro-life.” The group accomplishes this mission with innovative marketing designed to “change the language and conversation around pro-life.”
Even the name of the organization, a clever nod to the ancient myths in which storks bring babies, is designed to encourage questions and conversations, especially from those who might not have pro-life views.
Save the Storks began when Joe Baker was volunteering with another pro-life organization and saw the power of an ultrasound photograph. When women see an ultrasound photo of their babies in their womb, something happens inside of them, he said. Some surveys suggest that when abortion-minded women see these ultrasound photos, as many as 90 percent of them change their minds and decide to keep their babies rather than have their planned abortions.
Because of the power of these photographs, the larger pregnancy care centers have purchased ultrasound machines for their facilities. But the cost of these machines is in the tens of thousands of dollars, and they require trained personnel to operate. Furthermore, an abortion-minded woman still has to come to the pregnancy care center. And even though there are more than 2000 pregnancy care centers in North America, hundreds of thousands of women by-pass them every year and go straight to abortion providers. Though the number of surgical abortions in this country are in decline (to less than 700,000 last year), the number of chemical abortions is on the rise, and the overall number of abortions remains stubbornly high.
Joe Baker wondered: What if we could take high-quality van, fully outfitted with an ultrasound machine, right up to the doors of the nation’s abortion facilities? Working with local pregnancy care centers, that’s what Save The Storks did. The organization now has about 50 fully-equipped Save The Storks vans deployed around the country, with at least a dozen more in development. Storks, working with local pregnancy care centers, deploys the mobile units near abortion facilities, college campuses, night clubs, and rural areas.
In addition, Save The Storks now offers training for the staff of pregnancy care centers. The training is designed to share “best practices” among the pregnancy care centers that are currently using the vans, and to encourage others who plan to use the mobile units.
According to Save The Storks, these mobile units have “helped save nearly 5,000 lives since 2014.” The groups claims that “4 out of 5 women who board a stork bus choose life.”
Last night’s gala in Washington featured more than a surprise appearance by Vice President Pence and his wife Karen. Other guests included Eric Metaxas, who emceed the event, and actor Kirk Cameron and his wife Chelsea (who have adopted four of their six children) also spoke. Music was provided by Matt Hammitt and Steven Curtis Chapman. Organizers said the event raised about $1.8-million.
Victoria Robinson, the Director of External Relations for Save The Storks, presented the group’s annual Stork Award to Allie Stuckey. Stuckey bills herself on-line as “The Conservative Millennial” and speaks often about life and abortion. Her CRTV podcast “Relatable” is one of the nation’s top podcasts, and her on-line videos have millions of page views. In a short speech accepting the award, Stuckey said in the “fight for life” we have already won the battle.
“Jesus has won the battle,” she said. “We are fighting as those who already know the outcome. We are not fighting against logic and science. We are fighting against ignorance and apathy, and we are fighting with knowledge and love. Those are the only tools in our arsenal. And they are enough.”
Editor’s Note: For more information about Save The Storks, go to www.savethestorks.com Warren Cole Smith and John Stonestreet included the story of Save The Storks in their 2015 book Restoring All Things, which you can get here.
This article is one in a series based on the ideas in the book Restoring All Things: God’s Audacious Plan To Change The World Through Everyday People by Warren Cole Smith and John Stonestreet. To see all the articles in this series, click here. If you know of an individual or ministry that might make a good “Restoring All Things” profile, please email firstname.lastname@example.org