Today, we learned the Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs. Wade. Many, even among those most dedicated to the preservation of life, never thought they would see this day come.
For the last 50 years there has seemed no star more firmly fixed in the political firmament of American politics than Roe v. Wade. The 1973 Supreme Court decision which invented a constitutional right to abortion has been a contentious third rail of our culture ever since.
Thousands upon thousands of Americans and others have fought for five decades to bring about the end of abortion in the United States. Below are 15 of them who deserve special attention in this apparent moment of victory. This list will doubtless leave out important contributions, but be that as it may, these 15 heroes of the pro-life movement deserve recognition and celebration on this tremendous occasion for America.
There may never have been a happier hero of the pro-life movement and of freedom for women to pursue their goals, even those of being a homemaker, than Schlafly. As an attorney and activist she drew both love and ire, becoming a symbol of conservative American women. Schlafly died in 2016, at the age of 92, not quite making it to the promised land of Roe being overturned, but few if any people deserve more credit for this day arriving.
Thorn, who died this year, was the founder of Project Rachel and the executive director of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her deep understanding of the long-lasting emotional toll that abortion has on both women and families played a key role in shaping the national debate.
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II said in 1995 that euthanasia and abortion are “crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize.” One of the most powerful Catholic figures of the 20th Century, the Polish Pope was equal parts loving and unequivocal in his call to end abortion. In 2013 he became a saint of the Church, in no small part due to his dedication to life.
Abby Johnson has fought against abortion with the zeal of a convert since resigning her job at Planned Parenthood after witnessing an abortion taking place in 2009. Since then she has been a tireless champion of the unborn and a key witness into the industry that murders millions. She remains at the forefront of the anti-abortion fight.
God works in mysterious ways – and then there’s Donald Trump. The former billionaire playboy, not exactly widely known as a pillar of moral rectitude, appointed three of the five Justices set to overturn Roe. Trump focused hard on choosing Justices specifically for the purpose of overturning Roe, and the effort has paid off. This decision is a lynchpin in Trump’s legacy.
Nellie Jane Gray
In 1974, just after Roe was decided, Nellie Gray founded the annual March for Life in Washington DC. Even to this day thousands of souls gather, not just in DC, but around the nation each year to reaffirm their commitment to life. She has also been credited with coining the term “pro-life,” the clarion rally cry of an entire movement.
Nat Hentoff spent 50 years as a columnist for the Village Voice. It’s an unlikely place to find a pro-life activist, but throughout his days Hentoff was a true champion of the unborn. His secular approach to the issue of abortion opened the doors to non-religious pro-lifers and his masterful style as a writer brought thousands on board who might otherwise have stood on the sidelines.
It was Reagan who famously quipped, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” The Gipper did not start off as a champion for life. In 1967 as governor of California, he signed a law liberalizing abortion. But later in life, and certainly by the time he occupied the White House in the 1980s, Reagan was a stalwart force against the evil of abortion.
Maria McFadden Maffucci
As editor of The Human Life Review, founded by her father JP McFadden in 1975, Maffucci has given space for some of the most important journalism and legal opinion writing in the pro-life movement. A tremendous activist and gifted publisher, she has been a guiding light for generations of Americans dedicated to saving the unborn. Many of the documents and ideas that ultimately paved the way for the overturn of Roe are found in the pages of The Human Life Review.
In 2013 Daleidan founded the Center for Medical Progress, and broke a huge national news story about Planned Parenthood selling the baby parts of aborted fetuses for medical research. For his trouble he was slandered by the press who falsely claimed that his video evidence was manipulated and edited. Since then he has thrived in a firestorm of legal battles and remains a key voice for the unborn.
Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., King became a pro-life advocate in the 1980’s after having had two abortions herself. Her personal story of the pain which the procedures caused her are honest and heartbreaking. Always leading with the human face of the movement, King has been a force for good, emblematic of the humility and fervency in the voice and actions of her uncle.
Bob Casey Sr.
The second most important Supreme Court decision regarding abortion is Planned Parenthood v. Casey, with Bob Casey Sr., former governor and senator of Pennsylvania, as the Casey in question. In 1989 he ushered and signed legislation restricting abortion in the Keystone State and eventually won the lawsuit filed against him. For years Casey was the leading Pro-Life Democrat in America, though those are few and far between today, his legacy on the issue is secure.
Founder of the Abortion Survivors Network, Ohden has woven her personal story of surviving abortion, and eventually finding her birth mother into a tale that has inspired countless pro-life activists. Through Ohden’s work we see how deeply individual each abortion is, and keep in our hearts the ultimate need to protect every single human life.
Holloway is the founder of Pro-Black Pro-Life. Her focus on stemming the tide of abortion in the black community has brought her around the country, educating her listeners about the power of motherhood and the civil rights issue of ending abortion. Her important work continues today.
Bowman created the Right to Life Foundation in Britain to fight for the lives of the unborn. A Catholic who converted from Judaism, she was made a Dame of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II. An important member of the international pro-life movement, her contributions will never be forgotten.
These are just a handful of the millions of people whose fight for life is finally paying off as we witness the overturning of Roe.
May they serve as an inspiration to us all.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.