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Thursday, June 1, 2023
June 1, 2023

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Allen: If Roe ends, pro-life work begins


Abortion-rights supporters’ sky-is-falling hysteria is contributing mightily to the misapprehension that a leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade means abortion is suddenly, somehow, totally banned in the U.S.

Unfortunately, it’s not.

Any discussion of Justice Samuel Alito’s powerhouse 98-page draft opinion remains purely speculative until the court actually releases it. The decision, of course, is subject to change until that occurs.

I, for one, hope that it stays as he wrote it. But even were Roe to end today, abortion would still be legal in many places, some with few or no restrictions at all.

Texas is one of 13 states that so far used the democratic process to enact a trigger law, which would make abortion illegal upon the long-hoped-for collapse of Roe. Of course, the state’s cleverly crafted and legally durable heartbeat bill has already served to significantly reduce abortions in the state.

Meanwhile, 17 states and Washington, D.C., did the opposite, enshrining in their laws protections for abortion, some up until birth. That leaves the question of abortion’s future legality in the remaining states up to democratic self-determination.

For strict constitutionalists, abortion’s fate being determined through legislative means and not judicial fiat has always been the primary goal.

But that isn’t the end sought by the pro-life community, which seeks not to simply make abortion illegal but also wholly unnecessary.

Many pro-lifers have spent the last 50 years protecting the unborn by serving women in crisis pregnancies in hopes of achieving exactly that end. Their efforts, by and large, have gone unnoticed and unacknowledged.

In many cases, they have been drowned out by the loudest voices in the pro-abortion movement, which often seem less interested in advocating for choice than they do in promoting abortion itself.

In that sense, the fall of Roe would be a new beginning for the pro-life movement.

It would be an occasion to make the case for life in an environment where there is real possibility of dramatically changing hearts, minds and laws.

More importantly, Roe’s end would be an opportunity to illustrate how, for 50 years, the pro-life cause hasn’t just been pro-birth, but pro-woman and pro-family.

Abortion-rights supporters have resorted to false tropes about those who oppose the practice, the most pernicious of which is that pro-lifers don’t care about expectant mothers, just babies, and just until they are born. Nothing could be further from reality.

There are five times more crisis pregnancy centers throughout the U.S. than there are Planned Parenthood clinics.

In Fort Worth, Texas, there are places such as Mother and Unborn Baby Care that walk with women in crisis not just during their pregnancy but years after, providing money for rent or education — whatever assistance is needed.

There is the Gabriel Project, which similarly helps women who are considering abortions to locate and secure the resources they require to keep and raise their babies.

Then there is Catholic Charities Fort Worth, which, through a combination of paid staff and volunteers, administers a variety of programs that serve the poor, the immigrant community and other marginalized populations — many of whom are struggling mothers seeking help through a short-term financial crisis.

And because pro-lifers recognize that abortions still occur even when alternatives are offered, there are also organizations like Rachel Ministries that serve women (and men) who are emotionally and mentally suffering after choosing to abort.

These organizations and others, both religious and secular, have been steadfast in their efforts to make abortion an unthinkable alternative.

And as we consider the now very real prospect of a post-Roe world, we need to stay laser-focused on this mission in particular.

Because the end of Roe, if it comes, will be when pro-life work begins anew.