Is the pro-life movement ready to win? | Opinion
After receiving a huge boost from the Supreme Court refusing to block Texas’ new abortion restrictions, the main topic of conversation in the pro-life movement today is the possibility that Roe v. Wade either knocked down or weakened. When the court rules on the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case in the coming months, many in the movement are hoping for a big legal victory.
But is the pro-life movement ready to win?
An important lesson Americans must learn from our history is that legal victories without the accompanying cultural change are incomplete. Even after slaves were free in the United States, American culture and civil society did not change to secure the “blessings of freedom,” resulting in Jim Crow and other injustices for black Americans.
The ban made the sale and consumption of alcohol illegal, but Americans still wanted to drink, resulting in years of organized crime and terrible violence.
Are we about to make the same mistake with abortion? Not the mistake of making it illegal, but the mistake of not making it unthinkable at a time. If abortion is made illegal, unplanned pregnancies and sex outside of marriage will not become illegal, so circumstances may still cause some women to seek an abortion, regardless of their legal status. Also, is the company designed to care for children born out of wedlock? Are we focused on building two-parent, married, strong families with unwanted pregnancies? Are we equipped to support single mothers and their children in a way that helps them thrive and thrive and break the cycle of intergenerational abortion?
We need to explore the underlying reasons women give for having an abortion in the first place. For a problem so steeped in the word “choice,” most women who have had an abortion say they feel they have no choice. Their statements may include: “I had no support from the baby’s father,” “I felt I would not be able to complete my studies,” “My parents were chasing me out of the house” and “I would lose. my job.”
Lack of support is often a reason women have abortions. Therefore, to reduce these underlying causes, one must first orient women to the existing support so that they can see a realistic path to life choice. The dichotomy that the pro-choice movement often tries to convince them of – they can either have their babies Where their hopes and dreams – is a false dichotomy. But we need to make sure that the support networks are in place to help women, men and their children.
Currently, the pro-choice movement devotes almost all of its political and social capital to removing legal and cultural barriers to abortion. It spends virtually no capital to remove barriers to childbirth for women facing unplanned pregnancies but who want to bring their children into the world. It functions as if it has no obligation to care for these women during the conception phase to birth. In other words, the pro-choice movement functions more like a “pro-abortion movement” even if it rejects this label.
Pro-life people, through church-based outreach, like Care Net’s “Making Life Disciples” initiative and the pregnancy centers movement, have worked tirelessly for several decades to provide support. missing that women and men need to choose life. But there are millions of women and men at risk for abortion every year, and there are only about 2,700 pregnancy centers in North America.
This is where the pro-life movement can do more. We must continue to support and expand the network of pregnancy centers in North America. And there is a lot of room for growth in church engagement. Indeed, churches must resist the temptation to view abortion only as a political issue, but primarily as a ministry issue – like food for the hungry and clothing for the naked, the ministry calls for compassion for the hungry. pregnant women. There are over 400,000 churches in the United States. They have the potential to provide all the missing support women and men feel they need to choose life over abortion.
Finally, given that 86% of abortions involve unmarried women, it behooves the pro-life movement to stress the importance of healthy marriages and responsible fatherhood as a deterrent to abortion. Indeed, in recent years, pregnancy centers have dramatically increased their reach with men and couples with the aim of building stronger families among those at risk of abortion.
And, once women have chosen life, the pro-choice movement must seek common ground and partner with the pro-life movement to remove any obstacles they face in bringing their babies into the world. Indeed, the pro-choice movement has just as much an obligation to support these women as the pro-life movement. If this outpouring of compassion has become accessible to women who feel that they have “no choice”, abortion becomes unthinkable.
Roland C. Warren is the President and CEO of Care Net (www.care-net.org).