Restoring a Culture of Life
Abortion is no longer a protected federal right. That is the essence of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v Jackson’s Women’s Health that overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday. For 49 years, Roe was the law of the land that said that mothers had a constitutional right to abort their babies. As one who’s dedicated his entire life to protecting the unborn by law and restoring a culture of life, I didn’t think I’d ever see this day. Oh, me of little faith!
Some wonder why the Court radically reversed itself. I believe abortion ceased to be federal policy precisely because the pro-life Christian community saw the unborn as a neighbor to be loved and women in crisis pregnancies as neighbors to be cared for. Consider pregnancy care centers (PCC’s). According to the Lozier Institute there are 3000 PCC’s in the U.S. and 49 PCC’s within the Commonwealth that provide counseling, support, and material sustenance to women in crisis pregnancies. All free of charge. This tender care of countless women and their unborn children have softened hearts and changed attitudes toward abortion.
Like the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, the pro-life movement was birthed in churches. For decades, pastors and priests have preached Sanctity of Human Life sermons, where they took seriously passages like those found in Psalm 82:3, which calls us to ”defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” These same churches have staffed and financially supported pro-life pregnancy cares centers. In fact, dozens of churches in the Frankfort area recently participated in the Baby Bottle Campaign, where proceeds went to support Avenues for Women PCC, located across the street from CPC’s office.
Yet as much as the pro-life movement is grounded in love and compassion for the individual, there are social and political implications. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” This motivates Christians to live out the faith in a public way, including in their politics. Pro-life supermajorities occupy both chambers in Kentucky’s legislature because pro-life Christians have run and won lawmaking positions. And when it comes to justice and restoring the rights of the pre-born, the state legislature passed 13 pro-life laws since 2016.
At the federal level, five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to intercede and do justice for the most vulnerable among us and admitted the High Court made a mistake in 1973. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” the Court said in its 69 page majority opinion.
The consequences are that 296,035 pre-born Kentucky babies have been surgically aborted since 1973. An estimated 62 million babies have been aborted nationwide in that same time period. The shocking numbers don’t tell half the story. Each of those represented a precious human life infused with gifts, talents, and dreams. These pre-born boys and girls were ready to enlarge a family, contribute to their community, and bring love into the world—all dashed to pieces with convenient abortion.
This will no longer be the case in the Commonwealth, as the abortion-ending Trigger Law shut the doors on the two abortion centers in existence. Twelve states have a similar law. Another dozen states are expected to ban most abortions in the near future. At the same time, left-leaning states are expected to liberalize abortion laws.
Yet, the Dobbs’ decision doesn’t close the book on restoring a culture of life. It’s the beginning of a new chapter. There is a Yes for Life Amendment (Question #2) on the ballot this fall. It simply says that abortion is not a protected right under the Kentucky Constitution and public tax dollars cannot be used for abortion. There will be many other opportunities for the faithful to affirm and elevate human dignity by greater care for women in crisis pregnancies. There is an anticipated need for adoptive homes and likely a greater need for foster families. In the end, the same love and compassion and drive for justice that helped bring an end to Roe will be present in the next chapters to restore a culture of life.