Roe’s Reversal is Ringing Worldwide
As I wrote last week, the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is having immediate life-saving effects in the United States.
Overnight, abortion became illegal in a number of states, causing abortion facilities there to shut down operations and send their staff home. In Alabama, for instance, Attorney General Steve Marshall immediately ordered abortion facilities to “cease and desist operations.” In Louisiana, all three state abortion facilities shut their doors, as did the last clinic in South Dakota. And on and on.
Already thousands of unborn children have been spared a gruesome death at the hands of abortionists. Countless more will be saved in the coming months and years.
A Decision with Global Consequences
However, what I am hearing from pro-life and pro-abortion leaders around the world is that Dobbs is a decision that is also having immediate global impacts.
“The fallout from this calculated decision will also reverberate worldwide,” worried Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), in a statement, “emboldening other anti-abortion, anti-woman and anti-gender movements and impacting other reproductive freedoms.”
Even better is the statement from Elizabeth Schlachter, IPPF’s Director of Advocacy. The Dobbs decision, “is not just about the anti-abortion movement in the US,” she noted, “this is concerted and calculated global effort by anti-women, anti-gender, anti-LGBTQI+ conservative and religious, white supremacist extremists, who are using dark money and undemocratic means to deny people their human right to healthcare, equality, bodily autonomy and ultimately, freedom.”
I have absolutely no idea what Schlachter is going on about with her conspiratorial mutterings about “white supremacists” and “dark money.” But what is clear is that she’s worried. Very worried.
So, too, is Licha Nyiendo, Chief Legal Officer at Human Rights First, who in a similarly conspiratorial statement called the decision “a frightening signal to authoritarians around the world that they can strip long-established rights from their countries’ people.”
Others who are worried are Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who called the decision “horrific.” Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, proclaimed that the decision “will embolden anti-abortion and anti-women forces in other countries too.”
Legal Abortion is Not Inevitable
They ought to be worried.
Over the past few decades, one of the greatest feats of the architects of the sexual revolution was convincing much of the world that the sexual revolution was “inevitable.”
Yes, certain “backward” nations might resist the forces of “progress” for a while. But in the end, they would join the enlightened, forward-thinking, rich, developed nations in their vast social experiment. In the end, they too would embrace sexual hedonism, pornography, contraception, abortion, the dissolution of the family, the elevation of “alternative lifestyles,” etc.
“History,” the sexual revolutionaries smugly told, “is on our side.”
And sometimes, one wondered if they weren’t right. Since the ’60s, the tide of the sexual revolution has swept across large portions of the globe. Numerous countries have opened the doors to the once unthinkable. In recent years, we have even witnessed the unspeakable tragedy of once-staunchly pro-life nations like Ireland and Argentina allowing legal child-killing within their borders.
Indeed, the day Ireland fell in 2018 was one of the blackest days in the history of the pro-life movement. For decades, the Irish people had stood firm, repeatedly voting in national referenda to protect life. Ireland stood as a beacon of light, showing the whole world that it was possible for a developed first world nation to protect the lives of the unborn while boasting of some of the best maternal health rates in the world as well as a booming economy. Abortion, affirmed Ireland, was not necessary for so-called “progress.”
With Ireland gone, and with staunchly Catholic nations in South America beginning to buckle to the pressure from a network of wealthy, uber-powerful global NGOs, one sometimes wondered if it was only a matter of time before the abortion juggernaut marched on.
Dobbs, however, has given a resounding answer.
“No!” It is not just a matter of time. Nothing is inevitable. Humans possess the freedom to resist the forces of death and evil. Grave injustices can be rectified. What has once been chosen can be unchosen. All that is needed is boundless faith in the providence of God and a huge supply of grit and determination.
We have two examples with Poland and Hungary, both having made dramatic moves to restrict the violence of abortion and support marriage and family: Poland with a 1993 law that virtually eliminated abortion on demand; and Hungary with its 2011 “Easter Constitution,” which not only supported traditional marriage but also declared that the unborn child deserves protection from the moment of conception. Hungary’s document even made special mention of Christianity as lying at the heart of the country’s identity. These decisions did not come without ridicule and rejection from the European Union and the West. But despite these pressures to get in line with the anti-life and family ideology of the West and abandon Christian identity and morality, both Poland and Hungary today continue their efforts to reclaim and advance their Christian identity and to return to a Culture of Life.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was right when he said, in the wake of Dobbs, that the decision “clearly has massive impacts on people’s thinking around the world.” That is why pro-life activists worldwide are celebrating Dobbs. It has put a spring back into their step. If the largest, most powerful democracy in the world can turn its back on legalized abortion, then maybe pro-lifers in nations worldwide can bring about the same outcome.
That’s the feeling of pro-life Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen. “The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court is good news for the defenders of children’s rights!” she said recently. “This decision will have global implications for the debate on abortion. The decision gives hope to the rest of the world that laws can also be changed to protect a child’s life.”
The Power of Never Giving Up
The U.S. pro-life movement has reason to be extremely proud right now.
What we must not forget is that Dobbs was the culmination of decades of concerted, highly-organized, and indefatigable effort on the part of pro-life activists who simply refused to give up in the face of overwhelming odds. Time and time again the U.S. Supreme Court rejected opportunities to overturn Roe. Instead of giving up, pro-life activists found a thousand ways to chip away at abortion, through state-level legislation, educational efforts, and boots-on-the-ground activism, strategizing and waiting for the next opportunity.
Dobbs didn’t come out of nowhere. It came out of a pro-life movement that is introducing hundreds of pro-life bills at the state level every year, flooding state legislatures with life-affirming initiatives. Some of these bills are big, bold bans on abortion; others are smaller measures, pushing for better informed-consent requirements or waiting periods.
Anything and everything that could save human lives has been tried. Every gap in the breach was tested. Some of these laws looked years into the future, putting in place the foundation for a pro-life state should Roe ever be repealed.
When you think about it, it’s a marvelous, almost-miraculous outcome. In the face of the billions of dollars of government money sent to abortion juggernauts like Planned Parenthood, and in the face of overwhelmingly pro-abortion news, entertainment, educational, economic, and political institutions, American pro-lifers marched on, gaining back ground bit by bit.
Although in one sense Dobbs came suddenly, so that many of us could scarcely believe that it happened, in another sense we should not have been surprised. The U.S. pro-life movement has successfully been building towards this day for decades. As Justice Alito noted in Dobbs, Roe itself was such an egregiously poorly-decided case, that its demise was at least as “inevitable” as its continuation.
The power of Dobbs is that it has broken the spell of the pro-abortion propaganda. The “march of history” is not on the side of legal abortion. The powerful, globalist leaders and institutions that have poured trillions of dollars and all their savvy into protecting abortion are not invincible.
The Victory is the Lord’s
Sarah Shaw, a pro-abortion activist with Marie Stopes International (MSI), is warning her ideological allies in the wake of Dobbs that many of the nations they are lobbying have abortion laws that are somewhat more liberal than the people’s pro-life sentiment. “So they are very, very fragile,” she said. “So it’s not going to take much to undermine them, overturn them.”
Beatrix von Storch, a senior member of Germany’s Alternative for Germany party, recently predicted that the Dobbs decision will “radiate to the entire West.”
Let us hope so! All that is needed is for pro-life activists to keep pushing. To keep educating. To keep protesting. To keep praying. To keep fighting. After all, the little guy with truth on his side can win. David can defeat Goliath.
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin,” David said to the well-armed Philistine, “but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied…. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
The battle is the Lord’s. The victory of Dobbs is the Lord’s. Let us thank Him for this gift. And let us pray for our pro-life brothers and sisters around the globe. Let us pray that this is the beginning of the turn in tide.
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Father Shenan J. Boquet was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI as its President in August 2011. Father Boquet earned a BA from Saint Joseph Seminary College, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology, a Certification Program in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and a Master of Science in Bioethics (MSBe) from the University of Mary in Bismarck. In 2018, Father Boquet was awarded an honorary visiting professorship by the Benedict XVI Catholic University in Trujillo, Peru. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing email@example.com.