Roe v. Wade: The Beginning, Not the End
With the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, everyone is talking about overturning Roe v. Wade. A solid conservative majority could pave the way to putting that unpopular decision out of its misery.
The funny thing about controversy is that it is not really about Roe v. Wade. Everyone on both sides admits it is a flawed unsound document with little basis in the Constitution. No one is defending Roe v. Wade as it is written.
Both sides also realize that overturning Roe v. Wade would not solve the abortion debate. It would only throw the debate back to the states as in 1973. Abortion would be legal in some states and illegal in others. The intense battle for the unborn would continue unabated.
The real controversy is about Roe v. Wade has come to mean something else. Each side has attached a symbolic meaning to the decision. They see beyond the text. Roe is the hill that no one wanted to fight on that has now become the center of the Culture War.
Disaster on the Left
The specter of losing Roe v. Wade is much more serious for the pro-abortion forces. They have always assumed the decision would stand forever. There is no plan B.
The pro-aborts can see the handwriting on the wall. The defeat would be the beginning of the total elimination of abortion. For years now, the pro-abortion forces have been losing and in retreat. The symbolic defeat of Roe v. Wade could well set the stage for their collapse.
The pro-life movement has attacked the pro-abortionist from all sides. Its activists have cut their funding, restricted their movements, laid siege to their clinics, filmed their lies, counseled mothers, set up parallel clinics, provided ultrasound pictures, and prayed in the public square for forty days and nights.
The pro-life movement has passion; it is full of young people who can be seen at marches for life nationwide. The pro-abortion movement has lost a lot of its fire; its most militant members are liberal politicians and aging feminists left over from the sixties.
The cover of Time magazine of January 14, 2013 said it best: “Forty years ago, abortion rights activists won an epic victory with Roe v. Wade. They’ve been losing ever since.”
Thus, the loss of Roe v. Wade would represent a major psychological defeat for the pro-abortion forces. It would invalidate their efforts in the eyes of the public. The left knows they will not get a second chance.
Moreover, as protesters correctly surmise, this reversal would also be a major blow against same-sex marriage, transgender “rights”, and other such social issues that are inextricably linked to abortion.
Indeed, in their mind, the whole edifice of the sexual revolution will be shaken should this keystone be removed. And they are right.
That is why their activists have become so rabid and frantic. They see the whole picture crumbling. They have thus cut off rational debate and entered into a polarized uncivil war against any who defend some kind of morality.
A Vindication of a Long Struggle
An overturning of Roe v. Wade would represent a major unexpected victory for the pro-life movement. It would vindicate long years of battling to defend innocent life and God’s law when most people said all was lost. It would inject new enthusiasm and momentum into the fray.
For the anti-abortion movement, the defeat of Roe v. Wade would represent a beginning, not the end. As long as abortion remains legal in any state, the fight is not over. The fate of the innocent should not depend upon geographical location. Pro-life activists will not rest until all abortion is eliminated throughout the United States.
Like those on the other side, there are also those in the pro-life side who see Roe as a symbol of the whole Culture War. It rests upon the foundations of the sexual revolution of the sixties that shattered and still shatters the lives of countless Americans.
The overturning of the decision must also be the beginning of a restoration of marriage, the family, and faith if it is to be truly effective. It must signal the return to a moral law with a respect for God and His law. This represents a great challenge to those defending the unborn since the culture is decadent. The struggle ahead will still be great, but the rewards will also be substantial.
Thus, the two sides are engaged in a great battle that extends well beyond the text of the faulty decision. For the pro-abortion side, it could mark the beginning of the end of abortion and a major demoralization of their ghastly cause. For those defending life, it could mark freedom from the curse of abortion and the beginning of the restoration of moral society. There is little middle ground on this desolate hill.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons