Well, how will Big Life respond? Now that at long last, they have finally gotten what they wanted: the repeal of Roe v. Wade. The cancer that made progress virtually impossible and stained our nation with the moral sin of abortion is now gone. Things will likely change, and in a hurry. So how will Big Life respond?
Perhaps I am being too crass in calling the pro-life movement “Big Life,” but the reality is that the movement has become more of an institution than a fighting force. It was assumed that the movement was fighting a losing battle so long as Roe remained in effect. Fund-raising, speeches, conferences, and legal action under the canopy of Roe had become familiar. What will all of that look like without Roe?
To put it more bluntly, after 49 years of being the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters, what will the pro-life movement do in a game that isn’t rigged? Will it have the guts and fortitude to keep fighting, or was it only comfortable so long as defeat was all but certain? Was it easier to lose with a good excuse (“Hey, what are you gonna do? Roe!) or is it better to have the prospect of winning, even if after an inevitably brutal dogfight?
After all, Roe being overturned is merely one step in a long journey. God bless those five justices and President Trump who did what was right. Truly. But abortion is not outlawed in America, and it isn’t even outlawed in many of the more “conservative” states. No, for the first time in 49 years, the pro-life movement is going to have to do more than be a good sport after losing. Now, it will have to do that which is even more uncomfortable: truly defend life from conception to natural birth, being consistent with what that means.
This uncomfortable fight will take place in three ways: reconsidering popular exceptions, prosecuting all who are involved in the murder of the unborn, and raising the uncomfortable question of whether a nation divided on this issue can stand and, therefore, working to undo abortion even in blue states.
Reconsidering “Popular” Exceptions
The pro-life movement is pretty unanimous in wanting to end all abortions, but exceptions other than the health of the mother are often made. In Europe, diagnoses in utero of Down Syndrome are cause enough for an abortion. But generally, it is rape or incest that are the most common exceptions in America. Truly, little is as horrifying as sexual assault, and to take the evil of those actions seriously, I would love to see harsher penalties for them.
But the child should not also be made to be a victim of that violence. It compounds the sin. Many people conceived under such horrible circumstances have been born, and were glad to have been given the gift of life.
There are also practical reasons to reconsider these exceptions. For example, how will they be enforced? Are we to take the mother’s word for it? What would be the logistics of proving that a conception, now 12 weeks along, is actually the result of a rape three months ago? Would the woman have to create a police report or rape test kit to the abortionists, not knowing at the time of her rape if pregnancy would result? I can only imagine with NARAL would do with that requirement, and for good reason. All of that is extremely unsavory.
But hopefully the point is clear. The exceptions may sound reasonable. After all, around 1-2% of all abortions are the result of rape or incest, so allowing for that exception would still eliminate 98% of abortions. But what are the exact legal mechanisms that could be put in place to keep the abortionist and the woman (and everyone in her life pushing for the abortion) from simply lying about how the conception came to be? Any that could be proposed (in utero DNA tests, anyone?) seem an impossible burden.
Prosecuting All Who Are Involved in the Murder of the Unborn
The pro-life movement also generally only wants legal repercussions for the abortionists and those who assist them. The mother - and father, I presume - are always exempted. The mother seems to always have the victim card to play, or maybe the fear is that prosecuting the mother would mean a key witness to the crime would be less willing to cooperate.
But if the core principle is that life begins at conception, and assuming she is not under duress or undue pressure, exempting the mother will only make it that much harder to criminalize abortion. After all, we are moving into the era when more abortions will be performed using medicine than at the hands of a doctor. If equal protection is ever going to be achieved for the unborn, then that means equal punishment must at least be possible for all involved.
Perhaps that will give DA’s leverage in using the woman’s testimony against the abortionist in exchange for immunity. Or perhaps a mother who knowingly and willfully takes the life of her child will receive justice, just as if a mother who abuses her child to the point of death should also receive justice.
I know the pro-life movement, being ever careful of its moderate and loving image, would never say such things. But with Roe no longer an obstacle, and with only incremental wins no longer the only possibility, perhaps it is time to call a spade a spade. While many abortions are the result of horrible events and committed by true victims, many are not. They are the decisions of people who could care for their child or put them up for adoption, but choose not to. If life begins at conception, then the mother needs to be prosecuted, too. It should at least be on the proverbial table.
Is State Rights the Highest Victory?
The end of Roe does not mean that abortion is illegal in all 50 states. Many states will continue to offer abortion, and apparently even “destination” packages to encourage it. All that was accomplished was that states are now empowered to end abortion or not.
But, if I may be so bold, are there some issues that some states rightly find unacceptable not only within their own borders, but within the borders of our nation as a whole? Was that not the justification for the Civil War, the revulsion among Vermont’s denizens that Louisiana’s denizens could own slaves? Was it not said that a house divided could not stand?
While I cannot imagine and would never condone armed conflict over the cause of abortion, if the pro-life community is content with this merely falling back to the states and gives up on pro-abortion states, then they will really be proven to be more “happy losers” than “joyful warriors.” The pro-life movement cannot be satisfied with Roe merely being overturned; it must continue the work until abortion is abolished in all 50 states without exception, including self-induced abortions.
And that is just the work concerning abortion! Abortion is truly the end point for a degenerate culture that is anti-family and pro-licentiousness. To shamelessly advocate for strong marriages, children having a mother and a father, the bearing of many children is not the same thing as calling for a Handsmaid’s Tale existence. It is simply living out God’s original great commission: to be fruitful, to multiply, and to have dominion.
So let’s see where we go from here. We have 50 years of Roe’s stink to get off of us. The next 50 years will include promoting the family, ending the paternalism of the welfare state, getting father’s back into homes, and reclaiming sex as God’s gift for a purpose rather than a dehumanizing and joyless hobby. That is what still stands before the pro-life movement. We better get to work.
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