Reflections on the Road to Dobbs – The Christian Post | Candle Made Easy

For life
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The past month has seen a flurry of reactions to the Supreme Court decision dobbs, overrule the untenable abortion decisions of 1973 and 1992. Some have called for a “summer of wrath” to protest the verdicts. Most alive today did not live in a time when abortion was not a legal or common practice. Some take resorting to the potential protection of the unborn almost as a personal affront. Some claim their autonomy and life goals are being compromised or destroyed.

As someone who spent the first 20 years of his life in a nation where abortion was not a household word, let alone a household maker, today’s resentment is hard to digest. Liberal voices in the early 1970s focused primarily on the war in Vietnam. Young people reacted to the horrifying decade of the 1960s when the nation faced the assassination of the Kennedys and Martin Luther Kings. Drugs and “free love”, flower children and non-violence were the dominant themes at the end of the decade.

In this environment, the liberalization of abortion was still a bolt from the blue. I remember unfolding The Chicago Tribune in my early-morning art history class at Notre Dame and reading the blatant headline that the Supreme Court has struck down the laws of all 50 states—even the permissive ones—in favor of a legal abortion-to-birth regime. It took months for the nation to appreciate the magnitude of the court-wrought change and how it had come about — with the report’s author, Harry Blackmun, retiring to the Mayo Clinic to put together his idiosyncratic account of legal and medical history .

It was only much later, when the papers of various judges were released for public scrutiny, that scholars like Clarke Forsythe revealed how the majority of the court tossed about arbitrary time limits for their inventive trimester scheme. More cases would follow, most of them either small victories for right-to-life advocates or sweeping defeats like the Casey and Hellerstedt verdicts.

The biggest victory came in 1980, when the court upheld the Hyde Amendment by a margin of 5 to 4 and with the support of a strong amicus brief from Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives.

In the same year Ronald Reagan came into office. He advocated federal measures to protect the unborn child and stated that he saw no reason to treat people in the womb any differently than any other human life possessed and entitled to the protection of the Constitution.

In his remarkable 1983 address to the National Association of Evangelicals, he said: “One day the human life legislation that will end this tragedy will pass Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does.” Until it can be proved that the unborn child is not a living being, its right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness must be protected.”

Reagan’s eloquence went unrewarded, and the early 1980s saw the defeat of pro-life action in Congress. The ultimate defeat of the right to life was imminent. A critical mass of the movement turned its energies to establishing pro-life pregnancy centers across the country and ultimately around the world. The government is investing most of its resources elsewhere, serving a population control agenda in partnership with private financiers like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Until the mid-1990s, when the issue of partial birth abortion reignited a federal legislative agenda, the pro-life movement was unable to break the iron grip of Harry Blackmun’s trimester program.

The rock bottom likely came in 2010, when the Democratic majority in Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and pushed a remnant of pro-life Democrats to support its abortion subsidies provisions. For a veteran of the pro-life cause, the following decade culminated in the Dobbs Decision seems like a miracle. How did it happen? I think there were four factors.

First, with private, community-based funding, the pro-life movement built a vast network of support for women and their unborn children.

Second, prenatal science exploded and is now rightly called a revolution, with all indicators pointing to the personality and “patience”—the ability to receive and benefit from medical care—of the unborn child.

Third, in a trend underestimated by the media but now explosively evident, the pro-life leadership in Congress and the States, while leaning towards one party, is being replaced by a growing number of women and minority legislators populated. As this trend accelerates, the polarizing epithets of the progressive left are ringing hollow.

Eventually, the pro-life movement caught on Dobbs because it proceeded in peace, endured opposition, offered rational argument, and used all the traditional avenues of American civic life.

Today we rejoice in the ability to once again defend the vulnerable unborn child. But there is deep realism about the daunting task ahead and no talk of triumph. Justice has been served. Ours will be a summer of service, not anger. But we earned this victory by confirming the best of this great nation.

Charles A. “Chuck” Donovan is President of the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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