Focusing solely on Roe causes us to miss important opportunities to serve women and change minds.
Pro-lifers celebrated Wednesday at the possibility of what they’ve long hoped for coming true: the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, the case legalized abortion nationwide. Since then, over 60 million unborn babies have been aborted in the U.S. While overturning Roe seemed nearly impossible for decades, conservatives now see their chance.
Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday. On July 31 this year, he’ll officially step down. This means that President Donald Trump gets to appoint yet another Supreme Court justice.
With a Republican majority in the Senate (albeit a narrow one), Trump’s pick is likely to be confirmed early this fall. If he chooses from his famous List of 25, comprised mostly of solidly conservative judges from around the nation, we’ll get a reliably conservative majority on the nation’s High Court.
So yes, it’s possible. Even liberals are admitting it, and worrying. Roe v. Wade could soon be nothing more than history.
But in the excitement over this new possibility, pro-lifers must be careful not to throw all our eggs in that basket. Not two years ago I spoke with a peer who counsels women at a pregnancy resource center in Dallas, Texas. She warned pro-lifers not to cast all their hope on the possibility of overturning Roe. And I agree. Focusing solely on Roe causes us to miss important opportunities to serve women and change minds.
They Won’t Be Silent
Let’s imagine what will happen if Roe is overturned. Abortion advocate Jessica Valenti already gave us a hint. After noting that Roe could be “on the chopping block,” she tweeted:
This is a good time to find your local abortion fund and give generously. https://t.co/0gjwCDVAdq
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) June 27, 2018
Pro-abortion activists will not simply throw up their hands and shrug their shoulders if Roe is no more. They’ll be devastated, yes. Angry, for sure. But they won’t be silent.
They’ll pour more money into organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL, and smaller abortion facilities in their local regions. State by state, they’ll lobby Democratic lawmakers — who could be in the majority soon enough — to weaken protections for the unborn. And they’ll work harder on grassroots campaigns than ever before. They’ll try to convince Americans that abortion is a woman’s right. A right that’s been stolen by Republicans and a conservative Supreme Court.
Neither Were We
And why wouldn’t they? After all, that’s what pro-lifers have done.
After Roe supposedly settled the question of abortion’s legality, pro-lifers got to work. We supported pro-life pregnancy centers that existed at the time, and paved the way for thousands more. We lobbied for pro-life laws protecting the unborn, in states and in Washington, D.C. (And we’ve been successful.) We’ve started multiple grassroots efforts, from an annual march drawing thousands to student education campaigns. We’ve spread the message, backed by science, that life begins in the womb.
The result? Today, young adults are more pro-life than their parents. This despite the fact that at the time of the Roe decision, young adults were more likely to support abortion than older generations. More Americans are acknowledging that babies in the womb have human rights and deserve to be protected. And all this happened while Roe was the law of the land.
Don’t Let Up
The point? We can’t let up just because a Supreme Court decision gets overturned. Such decisions are massively important. They don’t just reflect but influence the moral beliefs of millions of Americans. But if we remain a people that doesn’t value human life in the womb, overturning Roe will be at best a partial and temporary fix.
Pro-life group New Wave Feminists says, “we don’t work to make abortion illegal. We work to make it unthinkable and unnecessary.” I say we can strive for both. Let’s hope and pray that Roe v. Wade is overturned, sooner rather than later. If it is, millions more unborn babies will receive protection under the law, as they should.
But let’s never let up in our quest to lobby for their rights in the court of public opinion. Let’s never stop providing real help for pregnant women and mothers and families. Let’s never let up in our mission to educate rising generations about the importance of protecting life.
Through grassroots work and hands-on ministry, the pro-life movement has not only saved millions of lives, but changed millions of hearts. We still have a long way to go, even if the Supreme Court delivers what we want.