Thoughts about the fall of Roe v. Wade

The following excerpt from my book American Idols seems even more relevant in light of the recent news from the Supreme Court:  

How do we protect the life of the unborn? For most of my life, the answer from the pro-life side has focused on legislation and the courts: Capture statehouses, and urge representatives to pass laws that restrict abortion. Elect Presidents who will appoint Supreme Court justices who will then overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that made abortion legal in the first place. In light of Scripture, a ruling that prioritizes a “right to privacy” over the life of a child is indeed evil, and therefore these political efforts are worthy. But overturning Roe v. Wade won’t end abortion in America. It will merely allow individual states to make their own abortion laws. One study found that if Roe v. Wade were overturned, it would only reduce abortions by 13%.[ii]  And even if the pro-life movement were able to ban abortion in all fifty states, thousands of abortions would still take place each year. So when the day comes that Roe v. Wade is overturned, we shouldn’t celebrate as if the battle is won. It’s only getting started.

How do I know this? The abortion rate has been declining in America for over forty years, and today it’s actually lower than it was in 1973, the year of Roe v. Wade.  That’s right, women were more likely to obtain abortions before the procedure was legal than they are today. In other words, changing the law won’t change the fact that many women who are pregnant do not feel they can bring their baby to term. If abortion is banned, many will still find a way to terminate their pregnancies. To truly be pro-life, we cannot simply ban abortion. We must seek to end it.            

How?  I think the answer requires asking other questions, such as: What factors have caused the abortion rate to decline? What factors drive women to seek abortions in the first place? Obviously, if we want to save unborn lives, we should work to accentuate the first set of factors, while addressing the second set. What about the men involved in these pregnancies? Could tougher laws against deadbeat dads reduce the number of abortions?

Of course, we know the answers to those questions will vary, depending on the source. Conservatives will say that the ultimate answer is to strengthen families, while maintaining a healthy overall economy. These should be supplemented by supporting adoption, foster families, and the work of crisis pregnancy centers. Progressives will point to initiatives such as more access to contraceptives, free child care, and an increase in the child tax credit. Thinking biblically instead of politically means being willing to try any solution–even those that don’t fit with our own political ideals—that saves lives. Are we as evangelicals willing to support all proposals that will reduce the number of abortions, even if some of those proposals seem “liberal”? If not, then we’re guided by political idolatry, not our Scriptural convictions.

You can find American Idols: Overcoming the False Gods that Keep Us From Abundant Life by clicking here, or by contacting me directly.

[ii] David French, “In a Post-Roe World, Pro-Lifers Would Still Have a Lot of Work to Do.” National Review, July 19, 2019.

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