Since 1973, Americans have lived under deep angst, confusion, and disagreement regarding the conflict between rights of personal freedom and the value of human life. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) chose to value personal autonomy over unborn human life, thereby allowing abortions for any reason throughout all months of a mother’s pregnancy. There has been a cultural war over this issue for the hearts and souls of Americans ever since.
Under the reign of Roe nearly 64 million unborn infants have been killed and the issue continues to divide an already divided nation in intense emotional ways. The issue is far from settled and refuses to go away. In the last few years states have passed laws to either severely restrict abortion or, as in the case of Alabama, completely ban it.
Because of two Trump appointments to SCOTUS there is increased speculation that the high Court may be ready to end Roe and its dictates. The reelection of Donald Trump and the likelihood that he will appoint further justices to SCOTUS in a second term frightens proponents of abortion and encourages those who hold pro-life views.
Millions of Americans have labored for years to see the end to abortion. They have founded thousands of agencies – pregnancy centers, maternity homes, adoption agencies, counseling agencies, and more – to provide mothers considering abortion life-affirming options to empower them to choose life. Such labors have made a huge difference in reducing abortion, from an annual high of 1.6 million in 1991 to currently under 900,000. Yet, abortion continues to exist because Roe continues to exist.
It goes without saying that abortion will not be ended as long as Roe is on the books. However, the demise of Roe will not end abortion, at least in its immediate aftermath. Rather, the end of Roe would allow each state to determine the legality of abortion and any restrictions required. In fact, in some states the end of Roe may increase abortion activity. For certain, an already intensive cultural division will be furthered widened as pro-life and pro-choice sides battle for influence and control of state legislatures.
States like California and New York will undoubtedly increase their already intensive efforts to expand abortion rights. Both states have in recent years attempted to restrict the speech of those who oppose such efforts. California failed in its efforts to compel pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion on the walls of their offices and in their advertising as SCOTUS, in its landmark 2018 decision – NIFLA v. Becerra – found the law to be unconstitutional.
New York, however, has ignored this decision and passed a law this year essentially prohibiting pro-life agencies, and other religious entities, from hiring only those who agree with their respective beliefs and missions. This law is now being challenged and will hopefully suffer the same fate as the now defunct California law, but the passage of this bill in itself shows the extreme commitment that leaders in pro-abortion states like New York and California have to the expansion of abortion. Such efforts will only intensify in these states when Roe is buried.
In the midst of this coming cultural war one must understand that while abortion is a political issue fought in the political arena it is far deeper than that. It is an issue that reflects the value of every human life in American society. Are all human lives equally valued in America and thus, must be protected under the law? Or, as asserted by abortion proponents, are some human lives less valuable and thus, can be disposed of if deemed inconvenient? The ultimate answer to this question will determine the future of America.
In the meantime, where are the spiritual leaders of our nation? William Wilberforce is one whom history correctly credits with the end of slavery in the British Empire. Yet, Wilberforce did not labor alone. As he fought for the abolition of slavery in the political realm a massive spiritual renewal was taking place in the English countryside as the fires of spiritual revival preached by John Wesley spread. The same must occur in America if the value of all human life is to become once again a foundational tenet.
Roe will one day be gone. It certainly must go. But its demise will not end the practice of abortion and the killing of innocent human life. That will happen only when the nation sees and accepts every human being – born, unborn, handicapped, the dying and the infirm – as valuable and endowed by the Creator with the unalienable right to life.