Almost 50 years ago, seven men spotted the word “abortion,” written in invisible ink in our nation’s founding Constitution, and in two decisions – Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton – they destroyed all abortion laws in the 50 states.
It created legal chaos.
They bullied their pro-abortion viewpoint into the law without evidence, a trial, or even any national consensus. They also made possible the deaths of more than 63 million preborn infants and counting. But according to a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson case that challenged Roe’s extremism, Roe and Doe may soon be historical footnotes.
Despite the frenzied response of the billion-dollar abortion franchise, the sky is not falling (although their profits might). In fact, what happens next is a return of the issue of abortion to the states for a discussion and a debate blocked by the courts for too long. The reason is simple. While abortion is not in the Constitution, states’ rights are.
Roe’s flaws in blocking engagement with people drew even the ire of pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who, like many people, believed the Supreme Court was mistaken when it bypassed “we the people” and “invited no dialogue with legislators.” It also had no connection to logic or the law.
In 1973, in the Yale Law Journal, legal luminary John Hart Ely wrote a devastating analysis of Roe’s flaws. Though he supported abortion, he knew Roe and Doe were nonsense.
Ely ridiculed the Supreme Court’s choice for viability as a “magic moment” that offers certain rights for humans without explaining the reasoning behind that unprecedented line in the gestational sand.
The state has a right to make laws, even when humans are not involved. Ely wrote that in fact, “It has never been held or even asserted that the state interest needed to justify forcing a person to refrain from an activity, whether or not that activity is constitutionally protected, must implicate either the life or the constitutional rights of another person. Dogs are not ‘persons in the whole sense’ nor have they constitutional rights, but that does not mean that the state cannot prohibit killing them.”
And that’s an important point, can a state pass laws to protect preborn life? Before 1973, the answer was yes. And we’ve been trying to get back there ever since.
After Roe shut down most discussions of abortion, several cases challenged its iron rule. Not much happened. But in 1992, a case known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey cracked open the door for more regulation of abortion.
It’s important to understand that prior to Roe, almost all states severely prohibited abortion or limited it to saving a mother’s life. And that’s how it will be again, each state making a choice (and pro-choice is supposed to be good, right?)
Today, 26 states are ready with limits on the deadly procedure. And Students for Life Action has been working to add even more.
Over the last two years, Students for Life Action has worked in 30 states, to rebuild protections for life with an emphasis on early abortion — as more than 9 in 10 abortions take place by 12 weeks, according to the CDC. As we said to members of Congress just this week, “If we are not focusing on limiting early abortions, we are not really addressing the violence of abortion at all.”
One example is Heartbeat legislatio
While we work to protect life in law, we also work to protect life in service. For SFLA, that means our Standing with You initiative that connects women with vital resources. The pro-life movement has always prioritized caring for women and their children, born and preborn as our hallmark achievement. As noted at a pro-life coalition event on Valentine’s Day, “We live in a country with about 3,000 pregnancy resource centers and approximately 400 maternity homes, offering free services and tangible support to women and their families during pregnancy and motherhood.”
While the pro-life movement is making plans to expand legal protections for the preborn and their mothers, as well as adding supportive services for them, others prepare to bring abortion violence to the streets.
As I wrote in Newsweek, pro-life work today means being ready for ugly confrontations.
Threats and acts of violence against pro-life activists are becoming increasingly common. Students for Life students and team members have endured everything from physical attacks and arson to bomb threats and intimidation, making security issues a vital concern and expense for pro-life events. When Justice Brett Kavanaugh — who was seen as a possible pro-life vote — was confirmed to the Supreme Court, protestors stormed the Court, banging on the doors. Outside the U.S., violent protests broke out in Poland and Latin America when those countries contemplated pro-life policies. Black-clad demonstrators have protested my own speaking tours and recently the Chicago March for Life.
But as I travel across the country on behalf of an organization that operates in all 50 states, I find courageous Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Y ready to take their place on the front lines to make abortion unthinkable and unimaginable. Their love is fierce and focused, and they’re ready to vote pro-life first.
On the other side, all they have is the deliberate ending of innocent life – for profit — hidden behind talking points. But if your “healthcare” kills people on purpose, you’re doing it wrong.
Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America & Students for Life Action with more than 1,250 groups on educational campuses in all 50 states. Follow her @KristanHawkins or subscribe to her podcast, Explicitly Pro-Life.