When Our Berlin Wall Came Down: One Year After Overturning Roe v. Wade

By John Zmirak Published on June 22, 2023

I was at a conference last fall in Florence with other conservative thinkers, having lunch with luminaries whom I couldn’t believe I’d been invited to join. One of the speakers sat down with us, and the topic turned to the aftermath of the end of Roe v. Wade. I talked about the need to promote state protections for unborn children as comprehensively as possible, and to make federal policy aggressively pro-life … in the event of an honest election at some point in America’s future. 

A fellow who’d given a decent presentation on family policy spoke up. He aimed his remarks at me: “Listen, I have something to tell you on this subject. I’m quoting no less an authority than David French … .”

I have never cited Scripture as solemnly as this fellow did French. So of course, I couldn’t resist: “David French? Okay, I’ll try to keep a straight face, anyway. Continue.”

He merely looked puzzled. Maybe he’d never before encountered someone not fluent in Vichy French: “If the federal government moves to limit abortion, the State of California might very well secede from the Union. I want you to think about that.”

I thought about it. On some levels, it seemed too good to be true, but I didn’t say that. Instead, I inquired: “So the price of keeping that failed state is that it gets to impose its preference for baby-killing on the rest of us?”

“It very well might be,” he warned.

“Let it go, then. In fact, we should pre-empt it by expelling it from the Union, or maybe selling the place to Mexico for a single peso. If Californians don’t want to be governed by pro-lifers, let them be run by the cartels.”

At that, the Frenchman turned away to talk to someone else.

The Unbridgeable Chasm

The point I was making, and which we should all insist on, is that the Life issue finally isn’t negotiable. It’s the Great Divide, the Grand Canyon, as slavery once was. Across it, no lasting rope bridge is possible. Either you think human life is fundamentally good and hence sacred, or you don’t. Either you believe that sexual convenience is a basic human right like life and liberty, or you don’t.

I’ve written here before about how quickly pro-aborts dropped the pretense that “abortion rights” are somehow grounded in the unwritten implications of this or that part of the U.S. Constitution. Justice Samuel Alito’s brilliant, historic majority opinion demolished the rickety, Rube Goldberg constructs of every pro-abortion precedent.

The Pretense Dropped Like a Towel at a Bathhouse

Now leftists have stopped citing “privacy” and “liberty,” which is handy — since they’ve made it clear that they actually believe in neither. If they did, they wouldn’t support secret FISA warrants aimed at Trump supporters and mandates for experimental vaccines. The same people who claimed for decades that “privacy” protected abortions up through nine months were happy to have the hostess at TGI Fridays demand women show their vaccine passports.

Now things are easier for them, in a sense. They can be honest and admit that they don’t care about “choice.” (You can’t choose your vaccine status, your kids’ public school, or what you say on the Internet.) They just care about abortion.

They’re willing to rally with Satanists who claim that it’s their “sacrament.” They don’t want abortions “safe, legal, and rare.” They never did. (When Bill Clinton said that, he was just as sincere as when he promised Hillary that he would “forsake all others.”) They want them easy, plentiful, and profitable — and they want to gaslight women who’ve had them into “shouting” them proudly in public.

To Face the Party of Death, We Need a Party of Life

We should help the left to make this point, that it’s unambiguously the Party of Death. It’s also the party of crime in the streets, child castration, chaotic open borders, racist “diversity” mandates, gun grabs, massive debt, election fraud, censorship, mass indoctrination, torn down statues, Antifa, mob rule, and defunding the police.

Nothing would be more politically foolish, as well as morally bankrupt, than for conservatives to go squishy on the most fundamental issue of our time. For us to say,

Okay, we need a few votes from the Chardonnay moms, so we’ll let women who are proactive enough to have abortions before X number of weeks murder their babies. But if you aren’t prompt enough to act on that pregnancy test, we’re going to treat your child’s life as sacred.

That is a joke in very poor taste.

No, we must insist that the price of having a viable country, one not run by the likes of Lori Lightfoot and Gretchen Whitmer and invaded by cartels, is having a morally decent country that regards life as a non-negotiable good. And if we can’t get that, we’ll walk away politically and let Sodom collapse into rubble.

Re-Evangelizing America

I’ll grant that it makes sense to start with “heartbeat” bills, since there’s an emotional logic (not a scientific one) to acting as if life begins with the heartbeat. Or with brain waves. But that’s the only compromise we should make, and it should just be for starters, to help bankrupt the abortion industry. Just as the left will never finally settle for anything less than infanticide, we should never rest until life is protected from the moment of conception.

We must be clear that we only want to save a country that deserves it, and we don’t expect God to bless or protect a land full of death camps aimed at the innocent.

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Re-evangelizing America on the goodness of human life will not be easy. Things weren’t suddenly easy in Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall fell. Like Roe v. Wade, that monolith was built on lies, illicit power, and cold-blooded murder. And its foundations ran deep.

Life got much worse at first in Russia, which had beaten virtuous habits out of its citizens, and was left with the wreckage. The Communist elites in places like Poland and Hungary didn’t vanish into thin air. Many were burrowed into the courts and schools, and those nations are still trying to purge the holdovers — despite the aid and comfort Western elites give to the old Communists and their heirs.

But we must focus on doing the one thing that really matters: Insisting on laws, and institutions, and a culture, which aren’t built on nihilistic lies and suicidal hedonism. Any candidate who can’t get on board with that is welcome to run without our help for the thankless job of President of Gomorrah.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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