Roe v. Wade is Reversed. Did our Pro-life Work Just Get Easier or Harder?

Fr. Frank Pavone

June 28, 2022


If you're like me, you're still pinching yourself and absorbing the reality that Roe v. Wade has been overruled!

That 1973 decision brought about the killing of 63.5 million babies in the womb.

It also brought about the shockwaves of abortion for countless moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, other relatives and friends, and also for the abortionists, their staff, and the pro-life advocates who tried but were unable to save those babies.

What Dobbs did - and I urge you to read the decision itself - was to leave abortion policy "to the people and their elected representatives" (Dobbs decision, p. 1).

The Court in Dobbs did not set policy on abortion. "To be clear, then, the Court's decision today does not outxADlaw abortion throughout the United States" (Justice Brett Kavanaugh, concurring).

In fact, it was precisely the Court's goal here to get out of the business of setting abortion policy. That was precisely one of the errors of Roe v. Wade: by drawing various lines as to when and in what way the state could intervene in the abortion decision, the Roe Court acted more like a legislature than like a Court, and had no constitutional basis for acting as it did.

In this Dobbs case, as in so many abortion cases in the past, the pro-life and pro-abortion sides made conflicting arguments about the rights of the baby, the impact of abortion on women, and many other abortion-related matters.

The Dobbs decision declares, "This Court has neither the authority nor the expertise to adjudicate those disputes" (p. 65).

Until now, the Supreme Court was declaring a "winning side" in the abortion debate. It cut off the ability of the states to protect the baby and the mom from the devastation of abortion prior to viability.

The decision explains on page 44:

"Casey described itself as calling both sides of the national controversy to resolve their debate, but in doing so, Casey necessarily declared a winning side. Those on the losing side--those who sought to advance the State's interest in fetal life--could no longer seek to persuade their elected representatives to adopt policies consistent with their views. The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who dissented in any respect from Roe."

But now, the Court has reverted to a neutral position on abortion, and a legislature (whether state or federal) can protect babies in the womb - and their moms - at any stage of pregnancy it chooses. In fact, the door is open for any pro-life law that reasonably advances a legitimate state interest. Protecting babies and moms are legitimate state interests.

So the question is, has our work now become easier or harder?

My contention is that our work will remain very much the same, and that on balance, it's easier for us and harder for the other side.


Because now, all the hard work we've done in educating people about abortion, electing pro-life lawmakers, and passing pro-life laws, will actually result in those laws being enacted instead of being blocked by the courts!

The work of educating uses the same arguments, elections are elections, and lawmaking is lawmaking. We keep doing what we have always done, but we get more "bang" for the buck!!

We have always made our pro-life case before the public and the lawmakers. And the pro-life lawmakers have made their case in the same way.

But the pro-abortion side has not had to make its case at all, because they simply declared at every step of the debate, "Abortion is a Constitutional right!" and that was supposed to end all discussion.

It is their work that becomes harder now, not ours. They can no longer hide behind the judges and the courts. They have to persuade lawmakers and voters that dismembering and decapitating a baby is somehow good.

Yes, we have to fight in 50 states and the District of Columbia. But we as a pro-life movement were fighting in 50 states and in DC already. That really doesn't change much. The circumstances and opportunities were always different from state to state. The pro-life movement has a foothold in every state and dedicated state organizations and workers who have been around for decades. All that work continues.

And our work in Congress continues, too, because Congress still has a role in protecting the unborn, and will continue to pass pro-life laws.

Again, all this work just pays off more easily now that Roe is gone.

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