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The Roe vs Wade Overturn Was Just the Beginning

“Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person… are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator…. Therefore, from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.”

Gaudium et spes, ¶ 27 & 51

In June of 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court made the momentous decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. With the stroke of a pen, the Court invalidated the supposed constitutional “right” to abortion that the Court had creatively “discovered” in 1973.

For fifty years, pro-lifers had organized, protested, and prayed with this goal in mind. When the event finally occurred, it was difficult to fathom that after so much blood, sweat and tears, the day had finally come.

And yet, those of us who have been involved in this fight for decades were also keenly aware that the overturning of Roe was just the beginning of a much larger battle. As I have so often reminded my readers here, ending Roe did not end abortion. All it did was return the issue to individual states.

In a country as radically divided as ours, it was inevitable that some states would respond by strengthening their pro-abortion laws while others would move in the other direction. And indeed, many states have either severely restricted abortion, or in some cases, all but completely banned it.

This map by the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights provides a very handy visual representation of the state of abortion laws across the U.S. Unsurprisingly, blue coastal states like California, Washington, and New York have all responded to the overturning of Roe by expanding abortion access. Sadly, this means that mothers and their preborn children in those states are even less protected than they were before.

On the other hand, across middle America, states have moved to ensure that the rights of preborn children are protected, with total or near-total abortion bans now in place in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and others.

Guttmacher Institute: Women Are Crossing State Lines

What many people, both pro-abortion and pro-life, are wondering is what precisely this patchwork legal situation means for abortion in the United States. In all likelihood, it will take a few years for full clarity to emerge.

One of the challenges the country faces in protecting preborn children and their mothers, especially in an age that is as mobile as ours, is that there is always the possibility that people seeking abortion can simply drive to a pro-abortion state and have an abortion done there.

This makes counting the number of abortions complex, since some of the decrease in abortion rates in pro-life states will be offset by women crossing state lines to nearby pro-abortion states.

A recent report by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, formerly the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has attempted to quantify the number of women who have left pro-life states to have their preborn children aborted in neighboring states.

According to Guttmacher, around 170,000 women travelled out of state to get an abortion since January of last year. The Institute states that the rate of out-of-state abortions has doubled since 2020. No doubt, some of this increase is due to the repeal of Roe.

Resist the Pro-Abortion Propaganda

Pro-abortion media have seized upon this report to suggest that somehow the overturning of Roe has backfired. This is one of the most classic tricks used by the pro-abortion movement. How often have you heard pro-abortion activists claim that even if we outlaw abortion, women will get abortions, anyway?

All of the evidence flies in the face of this. Prior to the legalization of abortion, the numbers of abortions were a fraction of what they were post-legalization. This is why pro-abortion groups simply made up the number of illegal back-alley abortions and the number of women who were harmed by such abortions.

The abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who later became a committed pro-life activist, recounted how he and his colleagues routinely claimed that between 5,000 and 10,000 women died from illegal abortions every year prior to Roe. “I confess that I knew the figures were totally false,” he explained. “But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?”

The point of these lies was to convince people that abortion was inevitable and that nothing could be done to prevent women from aborting their children. They were to convince people that the best thing that we could do was accept the inevitable. In other words, the point of these lies was to discourage and deflate people, training them into feeling helpless.

On the one hand, it is extremely important for pro-life activists to remind themselves—frequently—that we are far from achieving our goal of abolishing abortion and the mindset of abortion in the United States. Women are travelling from pro-life states to pro-abortion states to abort their children. And until we have a federal ban, individual states will continue to be havens for child-killing, and abortionists and pro-abortion groups will do everything in their power to help women travel to those states to have their preborn children aborted.

On the other hand, it is also the case that we must resist attempts by pro-abortion groups to discourage us. The reality is that Roe was one of the most egregiously decided U.S. Supreme Court cases in U.S. history. Its demise is one of the greatest restorations of justice.

As Dr. Michael New, a senior associate scholar at the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, told the Catholic News Agency, the Guttmacher Institute report and the gleeful media coverage is clearly designed “to downplay the impact of protective pro-life laws and make pro-life policies appear ineffective.”

“It is true that some women circumvent pro-life laws by obtaining abortions in states where the laws are more permissive,” Dr. New said. “However, it is also true that a substantial body of birth data from Texas and other states that have recently enacted protective pro-life laws shows that recently enacted pro-life laws have saved thousands of lives.”

As Dr. New points out in another interview, the mainstream media and pro-abortion groups are deliberately cherry-picking data to suggest that overturning Roe has somehow backfired for the pro-life movement. While some media have suggested that public opinion has swung pro-abortion since Dobbs, this is not the case. As Dr. New points out, public opinion has remained stable, providing pro-life activists with a solid platform from which to continue building a pro-life consensus.

Guttmacher Institute: Overturning Roe has Devastated Abortion Access

Indeed, another recent report from the Guttmacher Institute points to the many ways that overturning Roe has massively impacted the killing of preborn children.

In this report, the Guttmacher Institute warns their supporters that the “volatile, chaotic legal landscape that erupted in the wake of Dobbs” has caused “myriad harms” for abortion access. “[I]t will not be easy to repair the devastation” caused by the repeal of Roe, the organization warned.

As the report notes, within just 30 days of the repeal of Roe, 43 abortion facilities ceased killing preborn children. By 100 days, it was 66 facilities that had stopped doing abortions.

Pro-abortion activists are especially concerned by Florida’s heartbeat bill, which just went into effect in May. As the Guttmacher Institute notes, Florida was a destination for many women who crossed state lines to obtain abortions. However, as Kelly Baden, vice president for public policy at Guttmacher notes, Florida’s law “will be devastating not only for Floridians, but also for the thousands of others who would have traveled there after being denied care in their home states.”

Of course, Florida’s new law will not be devastating for the thousands of preborn children who would have been legally killed there. As Dr. New pointed out above, the evidence points towards the fact that thousands of children are alive today because of Texas’ abortion ban. There is every reason to think that Florida’s new abortion ban will also save thousands of lives.

And indeed, the more states that pass pro-life laws, the more preborn children will be saved. That includes not just preborn children in that state but also in neighboring states. Where women might have been tempted to travel for an abortion, they may think twice when all the neighboring states also defend the life of their child.

We Can’t Give Up!

In the end, I can only repeat what I have said so many times here. We must not give up an inch of ground in the fight to defend the rights of our innocent preborn brothers and sisters in the United States.

Overturning Roe did not end abortion in America. What it did do is open opportunities that we never had in the past. Previously, the iron fist of Roe prohibited even the most pro-life states from restricting abortion pre-viability. Now, the sky is the limit. In theory, we could pass total abortion bans in every state, or even at the federal level, and such laws would survive constitutional challenges.

However, opportunities are only opportunities. It is up to us to seize those opportunities. And that means that we must be more resilient, more determined, more creative, and more committed than the pro-abortion activists who are doing everything in their power to use the repeal of Roe to drum up support.

Let us take encouragement from the words of Pope St. John Paul II to a group of Italian pro-life activists in 1998: “Dear brothers and sisters of the Pro-Life Movement, persevere in your courageous efforts!” he exhorted his listeners. “Every sacrifice and every hardship will be compensated by the smile of the many children who, thanks to you, can enjoy the priceless gift of life. I warmly encourage you to make every effort so that everyone’s right to life will be recognized and an authentic democracy, inspired by the values of the civilization of love, will be built.”

Such are the stakes—and the potential rewards—of this great battle for life.

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8 Comments

  1. Colleen on June 25, 2024 at 7:11 PM

    I so agree. I was for Trump but now I do not trust him either.I do truely believe that if Trump said NO abortion, no matter what and then and only then would he be our next President.I will not vote for anyone who does not say no more abortions. No mater what!

    • Anne B. on June 26, 2024 at 7:32 PM

      “… if Trump said NO abortion, no matter what and then and only then would he be our next President.” Sorry, no, he probably wouldn’t. Too many people have been brainwashed by the pro-aborts into thinking that abortion is “essential women’s health care,” and the biased media would paint him as “extremist.” He’s saying the right thing: that for now, the states are the proper battleground.

      I agree that Trump has many flaws – but Biden, who wants unlimited taxpayer-funded abortion to be enacted at the Federal level, thus invalidating all pro-life state laws, is a thousand times worse! Many voters who call themselves “pro-choice” still want limits on abortion and don’t want it funded by taxpayers – so if they know that Biden is the real extremist, Trump can beat him by being seen as moderate.

  2. Colette Simeons on June 25, 2024 at 3:23 AM

    Good morning.
    If abortion has become center stage in American politics, that we can hope it God’s plan.
    The horror of the numbers of slain human beings must be out in the open.
    If people still wish to defend it, knowing the facts, then no excuse to anyone who defends it… politicians, men and women
    The facts must be know and spoken about in my view. Let’s face it how can a politician claim to help create a flourishing society when advocating the disposal of humans by the millions.
    Let the politicians talk, the elephant in the room can no longer be covered up! Talk!

  3. Martin Connartonl on June 24, 2024 at 8:13 PM

    Thank you father for this very sophisticated and loving and Christ inspired message and reflection we still have a long way to go in a rather demonic culture the justifies murdering children it is incredibly irrational and untenable this clinical social worker runs into this with other social workers sadly but we are turning it around with dialogue and through the grace of God thank you for all you are doing you are doing great work for the kingdom and for truth goodness beauty love and the safety of our children and families so needed in a culture of death in a culture of violence we will fight back with god’s help

  4. Julia Gurule on June 24, 2024 at 7:09 PM

    Such a good article. The truth has been stiffled for so long. I’m still finding people who say they were not aware of the organ harvesting going on by Planned Parenthood! I think if people really knew of how the slaughter is being done in those clinics, there would be a lot fewer abortions done! We must get the truth, the whole truth out as to how these murders are being done, and I think the tide will begin to turn in favor of life.

  5. Liz Donnelly on June 24, 2024 at 4:31 PM

    Well spoken Emil! People must know in their heart of hearts that this is wrong. Very difficult to get to the other side of.

  6. Marilynn on June 24, 2024 at 4:07 PM

    Abortion and gender manipulation will be the downfall of this country. Like a loving and patient Father, God has given us ample time to turn this disastrous course around, but God will not be mocked. If we persist in celebrating evil we will be left to the mercy of our enemies, just like the ancient Israelites when they abandoned the precepts of Jehovah.

  7. Emil Hagamu on June 24, 2024 at 1:58 PM

    Thank you Father for this well thought of article and argument. Those of us who are outside of the United States of America are bewildered as to why ‘abortion’ has become the center stage in US politics. It has even made Trump, once a hard core pro-lifer, to turn to the center with the intent of winning an election on the promise of not offending those who advocate killing their own unborn children. It is pathetic. The only request we make is that please don’t export your abortion agenda into my country with the promising of giving us more money is we accept your Satanic agenda.

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