We want to re-brand the pro-life movement.” With entrepreneurial enthusiasm and a few years of proven results under his belt, Joe Baker (MWSB class of 2002) describes the driving and passionate vision he carries as the leader of a movement God has led him to spearhead, a movement fronted by the work of the non-profit he started called “Save the Storks.”
A couple of years ago, Joe and his wife Ann were living in the back of a Mercedes Sprinter van, traveling America with the hope that they could make a dent in the darkness of, what some would call, our generation’s black-eye—the abortion industry. In a short amount of time, Save the Storks has nearly 100,000 supporters that have rallied together to raise roughly three million dollars in the work that they are saying is “the best way to serve mothers and save babies.”
ANSWERING THE CALL
For Joe, God’s call on his life to lead Save the Storks began in 2010. He took a mission trip to New York City to volunteer with a pro-life group that tried to convince women to keep their babies by offering sonograms in an RV-like outfit on the streets outside of abortion clinics. “When I got there [NYC], I saw this shady looking mobile parked outside of an abortion clinic. It looked like it cost about $5,000. I thought no women in their right mind would get in there.” Joe was shocked when a young woman said yes when asked if she wanted to “climb aboard and get a sonogram.” After spending a few minutes of seeing her baby on the RV’s sonogram screen, she came out onto the sidewalk and began dialing a number on her phone. Shocked that she got on the ratty RV to begin with and curious as to what happened, Joe approached her.
Joe Baker, MWSB class of 2002
“Who are you calling?”
“I’m calling my mom,” she replied. “I want to tell her she is going to be a grandma.”
It was a light bulb moment for Joe and he was, as he describes it, hooked. “That day, fifteen other women chose life after seeing a sonogram in that shady van.” Seeing the power of a sonogram showed Joe a way in which he could make a difference towards one of the greatest injustices in humanity’s history.
Joe recalls, “From there I sought to answer two questions: Why is this not being done everywhere? And why can’t it be done with excellence?”
ABORTION IN AMERICA
Many groups have published statistics on abortio nover the last forty some years since Roe v. Wade (1973). The Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that has historical ties to Planned Parenthood, reports that by 2011 “nearly 53 million abortions had been legally performed” since 1973. That number is higher than the total population of 231 of the 257 countries that exist in the world today. The Institute also reports, “One in four women have an abortion by age 30.” That means that in a room of one hundred women, aged 18-30, twenty-five of them have had an abortion.
“Most women who end up having abortions think that is their only option,” laments Joe. On their website, Save the Storks says, “84% of post-abortive women say they felt that abortion was their only option.” Joe says that one of the things he and his team are working tirelessly on is showing abortion-minded women that they do, in fact, have other options besides abortion.
SERVING MOTHERS, SAVING BABIES
Save the Storks’ flagship strategy in reaching and serving abortion-minded expectant mothers is through their Stork Bus initiative. A Stork Bus (pictured left) helps pregnancy centers and their staff “go mobile” by offering their services, specifically counseling and sonograms, wherever abortion-vulnerable mothers are likely to be—outside of abortion clinics, on university campuses, and at public events and places. Save the Storks believes these buses help “minimize the distance and roadblocks between pregnancy centers and the women who most need their services.” These Stork Buses have provided testimony after testimony of how women have literally been ripped away from the fatal decision of abortion and have, instead, chose light over darkness by choosing life over death.
To date, Save the Storks has partnered with pregnancy centers to deliver seventeen Stork Buses in cities all over America, from Sacramento to Savannah and as north as Boston, on down to Venice, Florida. They have plans laid out for at least nine more cities, with even bigger hopes beyond that as well.
Joe shares that the idea for the Stork Bus came when his heart was broken over the losses abortions bring. “Whenever you face an injustice, you can either turn to anger, or you can turn to brokenness and grief before God. We believe that it is out of brokenness and grief that God gives us the innovative spirit needed to find creative ways to minister to people facing an injustice.”
WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE
In considering our own involvement, perhaps that is the first step we all should take—being broken and grieving in prayer before God over the loss of so many lives being taken from their mother’s womb. Much of the recent news surrounding Planned Parenthood has provided the reality of the situation that is forcing our nation to either shrug in apathy or, in brokenness and grief, ask God what you can do as one person or one family to “serve mothers and save babies.” Joe also encourages people to “tell the story of abortion, how it’s affected your family or someone you know. This can help people stop treating abortion as this silent thing, but instead bring it to the light.”
“We believe that it is out of brokenness and grief that God gives us the innovative spirit needed to find creative ways to minister to people facing an injustice.”
If you are interested in engaging in the pro-life movement with Save the Storks specifically, Joe encourages you to start by praying and asking God to show you what He wants you to do. (Note: Joe says a great way to get involved locally is to partner with your local pregnancy center in some way.) If you want to give financially, Save the Storks is always encouraging people to become a monthly partner (Joe has asked “everyone he has ever met” to consider giving $30/month). Save the Storks is also hiring for several positions this year, so if you are interested in becoming involved in any of these ways, you can get more information at savethestorks.com.
As the recently released Planned Parenthood videos circle the internet, one thing is clear—ignorance has quickly become a non-option for those who love and follow Christ. Hopefully we will be challenged to follow Joe Baker’s example and consider how God may lead us and our families to engage in serving mothers and saving babies.
One of the “Stork Buses,” where pregnant women can receive an ultrasound.