Roe v. Wade is dead. It’s surreal to even pen those words. I honestly never believed I’d see this day. It was only a month after my birth that the landmark decision granted women a right to an abortion. It’s been a legal ruling that’s been viable my entire life. Now it’s over. But despite this momentous milestone, it’s still legal to kill innocent human beings in the womb.
Reversing Roe is a huge victory, of course. I don’t want to minimize its significance. Pro-life people have worked tirelessly for nearly 50 years to overturn perhaps the most dubious and deleterious Supreme Court decision. This victory is theirs.
It’s important to understand, though, that overturning Roe merely means there is no constitutional right to abortion. What the ruling didn’t do was make it illegal. Women will still be able to kill their unborn children in about half of the states, where abortion will remain legal. Many companies (Starbucks, Disney, Tesla, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.) will provide thousands of dollars to employees to travel out of state to procure those abortions. In other words, the Supreme Court ruling doesn’t do anything to make our laws consistent. Currently, it’s illegal to kill innocent human beings in every state. Strangely, though, those laws allow exceptions (to varying degrees) when that human resides within the womb of a pregnant woman and she asks an abortionist to kill her child.
That means our pro-life work is far from complete. In fact, Roe’s reversal will likely galvanize abortion-choice advocates, and they’ll redouble their efforts to codify abortion into law. Therefore, pro-lifers can’t rest now. There’s more to be done, but what?
Years ago (obviously, before Roe was overturned), I was asked what we need to do about abortion. I argued we should take a three-pronged approach to addressing abortion: personally, publicly, and politically. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, what would I change about my advice? Nothing. What we want is for the same protection that is provided to a three-year-old child or a three-month-old baby to be applied to a three-month-old unborn human being. What we want is consistency. To achieve that, we need to follow these three steps.
First, individuals must personally commit to not having an abortion themselves. Too many people who are attitudinally pro-life aren’t behaviorally pro-life when it matters most. They think their situation is different and, when in a bind, succumb to the pressure to abort. According to Planned Parenthood’s research division, approximately 13% of women who have abortions identify as evangelical Protestant, 17% as mainline Protestant, and 24% as Catholic. That means Christians are killing their own children! That’s unacceptable. It’s hard to call a culture to behave morally when we’re complicit in the immoral act. We need to first act consistently with our values and stop killing our own children.
Second, we need to stand up, publicly, against the killing of innocent human beings. That means we need to learn the art of pro-life persuasion and make a case against abortion to our family and friends. For those with more advanced pro-life knowledge or capabilities, they should write, speak, and debate in broader public forums. Changing minds isn’t the only public impact we can make, though. Standing up publicly against abortion will also require we serve (with our time, energy, and money) women who face crisis pregnancies. One of the easiest ways to serve them is to financially support or volunteer at your local pregnancy resource center. The employees of these centers come alongside women who may be abortion-minded and provide them with the help they need when they need it the most.
Third, we need to fight against abortion in the political realm. Now that Roe v. Wade’s federal impact has been defeated, abortion rights will be determined at the state level. Pro-life politicians and attorneys will need to continue their fight to make the law more consistent, banning the killing of unborn children not just when the mother wants her child, but even when she doesn’t. After all, laws tend to inform the conscience of the culture. When we make a behavior illegal, it helps communicate the fact that the prohibited behavior is also immoral.
By addressing abortion from all three angles (personal, public, and political), we’ll continue to change minds on abortion and eventually make its practice illegal. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Abortion-choice advocates won’t rest until they respond to Roe’s defeat. This is the holocaust of our time. Let’s do what we can to make abortion unthinkable.