This past weekend in Houston, I had the opportunity to speak at a religious liberty conference about transgender issues, homosexuality and contraception. The conference happened to open on the same day that the Dobbs decision overturning Roe vs. Wade was released by the Supreme Court.
There was a noticeable “buzz” in the air because of the Court’s decision. Whenever a speaker would mention the ruling, spontaneous applause would erupt from the audience. Young and middle-aged conference attendees, most of whom had grown up with Roe vs. Wade, couldn’t recall a time in their lives when abortion-on-demand had not been legal in all states. There was a strong sentiment that because of the decision, we had reached a turning point as a society, with an onerous weight finally being lifted from the conscience of the nation.
Abortion-on-demand was the law of our land for nearly a half-century, ending the lives of more than 63 million vulnerable unborn humans. Because of judicial brute force for five decades, the moral sense and reasoning ability of many citizens was weakened, with many Americans growing accustomed to the ongoing practice. A number of other nations also legalized abortion, following our troublesome lead.
This historic reversal by the Supreme Court has myriad implications. People are stirring again and beginning to ponder their longstanding complacency. Many are starting to ask how a country professing “liberty and justice for all” could enshrine killing on such a colossal scale. Other nations are re-examining their policies. The jolt from the court’s decision is also prompting questions about the enormous sums of American taxpayer money that have been funneled into the coffers of the abortion industry. We stand at a pivotal moment, a moment of reawakening, dialogue, conversion and renewal.
This historic Dobbs decision has also sent shock waves through the abortion industry as it suddenly realizes that its profitable enterprise of death is facing an existential threat in many states. Its forces are certain to intensify the relentless misinformation campaigns that have misled people for decades, relying on support from corporate America, Hollywood, and the media. Those same forces have already shown that they will not hesitate to gin up noisy, and sometimes violent, protests around the country.
With the Court’s decision, a first and important first step has taken place. What Dobbs did, as noted on the first page of the decision, was to leave abortion policy “to the people and their elected representatives.”
Now that the Court has assumed a neutral position on the issue, and state or federal legislatures can enact measures to protect moms and their unborn children at any stage of pregnancy, the door has finally been opened to protect human life by revamping and strengthening state and local laws.
As new legal initiatives made possible by Dobbs begin appearing on state legislative dockets, Americans will have an opportunity to mount a full-court press to bring abortion to an end in their home states. Bold legislators, courageous governors and informed voters will need to work together.
Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute offers some helpful recommendations:
“In states that do not yet ban abortion, we must work with Pro-Life state legislators to protect all human lives. Where a complete ban is not possible, we must advocate for Heartbeat legislation, that will prevent all abortions after six weeks, understanding that this is only a way station on the way to a complete ban. At the local level, talk to your city councilman or county supervisor about making the place where you live a sanctuary for the unborn. Outlawing abortion within city or county limits is possible even in hostile states like New York or California if you happen to live in the more socially conservative parts of these states. Even closer to home, support your local crisis pregnancy centers, whose services will now be more in demand than ever before from young women who have nowhere else to turn. Volunteer if you can, donate if you can’t.”
The years of dedicated work that have gone into educating people about the harsh realities surrounding abortion, setting up crisis pregnancy centers, drafting Pro-Life legislation and electing Pro-Life candidates, has created critical momentum for definitively enacting Pro-Life laws and securing the human rights of unborn children around the country, state-by-state, instead of having such initiatives almost continually enjoined by courts. We should all have a renewed sense of hope and determination as a great nation once again comes to its senses in the face of abortion’s longstanding injustice and violence.
Anchor columnist Father Pacholczyk earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, and serves as the director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. See www.ncbcenter.org and www.fathertad.com.