The fallout from the Roe v Wade revocation in the United States continues. The pro-abortion lobby has been devastated by the change, while pro-lifers celebrate perhaps their biggest victory ever. What implications can we expect from the recent landmark decision? More importantly, what can we learn?
1. Abortion Bans in the United States – Where are they likely?
The recent ruling (Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization) by the Supreme Court does not ban abortion. In fact, it doesn’t directly change abortion legislation in the US. What it does do, however, is reverse the decision made (in Roe v Wade) that abortion is a right protected under the Constitution.
In this sense, the decision is far less radical than the current pro-abortion hysteria would suggest. All it does is give the states the power to allow, limit, or ban abortion. It’s their choice.
In contrast, what Roe v Wade did was force states to legalise abortion to one degree or another. Sounds very pro-choice, doesn’t it?
The important question is: will there be any major change in the United States?
According to Fox News, thirteen states will immediately ban abortion, while thirteen others could follow suit shortly.
Several states have ‘trigger laws’ that will automatically ban abortion following the ruling. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming will immediately ban the practice.
Another five states (Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin) have old abortion bans from before Roe v Wade that will go into effect now that the ruling has been overturned. Ironically, some of these states have Democratic governors.
Other states also seem likely to ban abortion at some point in the near future.
In total, twenty-five or twenty-six states seem likely to ban abortion in short order.
As Shane Pruitt, the National Next Gen Director of the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, said, there is still work to be done.
‘A massive step in helping babies have the opportunity that so many haven’t: LIVING!
Still have ways to go. Both laws & hearts need to be changed.’
2. Homosexual Marriage: The next challenge?
The ruling may even have the unforeseen (and curious) flow-on result of bringing down same-sex marriage in the US. Unlike in Australia (where a voluntary postal survey was held), homosexual marriage was forced on US state governments in 2015 by the nine (unelected) justices of the Supreme Court.
There was certainly no pretending that the decision was democratic.
In the recent ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas called on his colleagues to re-examine old cases where similar Supreme Court mistakes may have been made.
Apparently, the decision made yesterday highlights an issue with the ‘substantive due process’ in the Supreme Court. According to Justice Thomas, this same faulty reasoning was involved in rulings made concerning contraception and LGBTQ issues (including same-sex marriage).
Hence, the decision has potentially broad legal implications.
“We have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.” (Justice Clarence Thomas)
But will it happen? It’s hard to know. It seems like a long bow…
Certainly, pro-family campaigners should not hold their collective breath. Still, Friday’s ruling does have implications that could one day lead to the 2015 same-sex marriage ruling being revoked. We’ll see what happens.
3. The Australian Pro-Life Movement: What can we learn?
Finally, the recent decision has momentous implications for the Australian pro-life movement. Australians have much to learn from their American counterparts. Here are two thoughts:
Firstly, the US outcome should be an encouragement. For years, pro-life activists in Australia have encountered setbacks and legislative defeats. Abortion is now legal in all states around the country.
But the American situation tells us that change is possible in the long run. We should be encouraged. If America can do it, perhaps we can too!
Secondly, we need persistence and diligence if we are to roll back the dreadful death laws around our nation. And here, again, the American situation is advisory.
It was only through the grace of God – through faithful prayer and diligent effort – that Roe v Wade was revoked. It came on the back of a huge cultural shift. Australians need to mobilise prayer for our nation to wake up to the horror of its death culture.
Similarly, we need to get behind fantastic pro-life lobby groups and organisations like Cherish Life QLD, LifeChoice Australia, the Australian Christian Lobby and Emily’s Voice.
So much needs to change in Australia before we can see the kind of progress on this front that we see in America. A widespread, passionate movement is emerging; cultural reform is underway. But we have a long way to go yet.
Encouragingly, pro-life cultural change is something we are seeing now around the world, particularly in my generation.
Be encouraged, but keep up the fight for life!
Photo: Maria Oswalt