From a Pragmatic Pro-Life Perspective, Was the Overturning of Roe a Good Thing?
It could be argued that a more incremental approach to the overturning of Roe might have been better than its dramatic overturning in June. After all, some might say, the Court could have made a series of incremental decisions, beginning with letting the Dobbs case stand, thereby triggering a less extreme reaction from the pro-abortion side. As it is, the pro-abortion pushback has been intense and costly.
More states have passed radical, pro-abortion bills, and strong pro-abortion sentiments may have helped the Democrats (and hurt the Republicans) during the midterms. Perhaps the Court acted too quickly?
Here are 5 reasons why that line of thinking is deeply flawed.
Roe and Casey Were Bad Law
First, Roe was bad law from the start, made even worse by the reaffirmation and expansion of Casey in 1992. Both of these cases were decided poorly — no, outrageously — and the sooner an egregious law can be overturned, the better. All the more is this the case when that law has given the appearance of legality to the shedding of oceans of innocent blood.
We Don’t Know How Long This Window of Opportunity Would Have Lasted
Second, we have no way of knowing how long the Court will have the same pro-life sentiments. What if this group of justices ruled to uphold Dobbs (which, in itself, would have been positive), but by the time the next case made it to the Court, sentiments (or justices) will have changed? What then? The best opportunity we had would have been squandered.
It’s also fair to ask if the justices should allow potential public reaction to their decision to overrule the setting aside of a bad law. The answer is no, they should not.
The Overturning of Roe was an Answer to Prayer
Third, pro-lifers have been laboring tirelessly and praying unceasingly for the overturning of Roe, not simply for positive, incremental decisions. What the Court did was an answer to prayer, infusing life and strength and courage and hope in the pro-life movement. With Roe overturned, more and more states can now put pro-life legislation into effect.
Pro-Abortion Forces Were Already Radical
Fourth, radical pro-abortion laws were being passed before Roe was overturned. For example, on Jan. 24, 2019, Breitbart reported, “The New York State legislature has put in place one of the most radical abortion laws in the United States following a vote in both chambers on Tuesday.”
New York did not need the overturning of Roe to pass this draconian bill. Nor did Virginia.
As the Daily Citizen reported on March 2, 2020, “A year after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam espoused the practice of infanticide, the Virginian legislature officially removed abortion regulations that were protecting women and preborn babies. It’s a demonstration of what happens when a Red state turns Blue.”
That’s why, in 2021, before Roe was overturned, I could write:
Was there a time in living memory when America was more divided? I’m 66, and I certainly can’t remember any time like today.
It seems as if the right and the left are becoming more and more polarized, with less and less people in the center. From woke ideology to race issues to political divides to LGBTQ activism to religious conflicts to cancel culture to immigration, the divisions are deep and broad.
But the ultimate dividing line is abortion.
On no other issue are the passions so intense. And no other issue has such massive court cases attached to it.
The ideological civil war over abortion has been inevitable for years. The overturning of Roe just pushed the inevitable forward.
Babies are Being Saved Because of Dobbs
Fifth, babies are being saved because of the Court decision. Already in November 2021, Life News noted:
Overturning Roe v. Wade will stop abortions and save babies’ lives, and even abortion activists openly admit it.
In an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, a group of 154 prominent economists and researchers estimated that abortion numbers would drop by about 120,000 in the first year and potentially even more in subsequent years if the high court overturns Roe and allows states to ban abortions again, the AP reports.
How accurate was this estimate? It will take some time to get data from across the country, but Catholic News reported this on November 3:
More than 10,000 unborn babies are alive today because of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a new report by a pro-abortion group suggests.
Society of Family Planning’s #WeCount initiative reported on Friday that there were 5,270 fewer abortions in July and 5,400 fewer in August after the court’s June 24 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation, which overturned Roe and freed individual states to decide abortion policy.
As the New York Times pointed out in an article on the #WeCount study, abortions declined almost to zero in states with bans, but they increased in many states where abortion remained legal.
In August, fewer than 10 abortions were performed in each of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
To focus in on one state, Life News noted:
State abortion statistics for July 2022, the first full month after Texas’ total protections for preborn children regained effect, reported 68 abortions. The same time period a year prior saw 4,879 abortions, an average of 150 per day. That means there were over twice as many lives taken each day of July 2021 than in the entire month of July 2022. From September 2021 to June 2022, the Texas Heartbeat Act decreased the number of abortions to 2,500 per month on average.
Turn these numbers into people — human beings who would not have been alive but are alive now — and we have our answer loud and clear.
Yes, yes, yes, it was good that the Supreme Court overturned Roe. Let us continue to build on that momentum.
Or would you rather come to the end of 2022 still wondering if Roe would ever be overturned? I think not.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is The Political Seduction of the Church: How Millions of American Christians Have Confused Politics with the Gospel. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.