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Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at soss.submissions@gmail.com. Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

After Roe, building a Culture of Life Will Take More Than We Thought

Olivia Gans Turner

President

Virginia Society for Human Life   |  26 May 2024

 

The removal of Roe v. Wade was a long sought for victory by pro-life people all over America.  No one can argue that it was a historic event in the story of how America treats the most vulnerable among us.  However, the aftermath has created a tumult of emotions, anxiety, and frustration.  The Supreme Court removed the dreadful ruling but left the responsibility back in the hands of elected officials in the 50 states. This has created a patchwork of new laws that aim to save as many lives as possible. It has also created numerous efforts to pass dangerous amendments to state Constitutions that will overturn protective laws effectively opening the door in those states to unrestricted abortion through all nine months of pregnancy in those states.

The good news is that babies’ lives are being saved in many places because of the new laws and women are not being subjected to the grief and other risks that come after having an abortion. This is a good thing, no doubt, but there is a dark side to the current public debate that must be addressed.

 

Pro-life people are stunned that so many others in our society seem so openly hostile to these new protective laws. They are shocked that states that lean conservative politically have failed to stop the passage of reckless constitutional amendments.  The fear that more states may not be able to stop this process is a valid one. It is critical that pro-lifers reckon with the realities of what has happened in our culture since January 22, 1973.

First, it is essential to understand how deeply wounded so many have been by legal abortion for 50 years.  Every aborted baby has a mother, father, and family that may or may not have grappled with the tragic reality that there is someone missing from that family tree.  Mothers still trying to rationalize why they needed an abortion, fathers who may have forced a girlfriend or wife to abort their child, or fathers who never had a chance to protect their offspring. Parents who played different roles good and bad, including some requiring daughters to abort their grandchildren.  Not to mention healthcare workers who allowed their skills to be redirected to the performance of abortions and fear facing the facts about what they do daily.

So many years of drinking the deadly rhetoric potion that allows so many to believe that abortion is a wise thing to do.  The skill of abortion promoters to manipulate facts and create fear among the general public about the goals of pro-life people and the laws we want to pass has never been more amazingly successful. Lies and confusion are being driven by a hostile secular press that has never shown any interest in telling the truth about abortion in America. Is it any wonder that women and their family members are falling for the fabrications that suggest that women won’t be able to get legitimate health care or life saving treatment if they face the rare situations that make some pregnancies dangerous.

The evidence of this is the polling data from states like Ohio where the most recent constitutional amendment fight took place. It was a shock to pro-life leaders that voters who identify as regular church goers and many who were registered Republicans voted to pass the amendment in surprisingly high numbers. There has been much head-scratching about this problem.


It is not a surprise to those like me who have had abortions. We understand that one of the key after affects of every abortion is the amount of justification and rationalization about why we did it.  This is also a major problem in the minds of the families of these women.  It helps to explain the strange support these amendments seem to find. If a young woman’s church-going grandmother knows her beloved granddaughter had an abortion last year because she was told her health was in danger, that woman’s concern is to protect what she now believes was a necessary evil. The wording of these amendments is deceptive and sound sensible.  That concerned grandmother would have no clear idea that voting for such an amendment will allow unchecked abortion for any reason throughout pregnancy. 

 

Mainstream pro-life groups have always understood that the life of the mother presented a different case and requires that doctors take immediate life-saving action. Thankfully, none of the laws that have been passed in America since the fall of Roe would prevent legitimate care, but you’d never know that from the mainstream press.  So, it makes it much harder for pro-lifers to communicate the truth.

Virginia is one of several states that will be facing a state constitutional fight in the months ahead. A number of states, including Florida and Missouri are bringing a pro-abortion referendum that will be on the ballot this fall.  Virginia has a different process that takes more time which may help pro-lifers to stop it but not without a lot of hard work. Any change to the Constitution must pass in the General Assembly with a state election in between, only after that would it be presented as a ballot measure for the public to vote on.  The Governor has no part to play in the process. For Virginians who are currently facing a radical pro-abortion majority in our General Assembly, the best hope we must stop this dreadful amendment, which was already introduced during the 2024 Session, will be the statewide off-year elections of 2025. 

Planned Parenthood and their cohorts in the abortion industry have the money, the airwaves, and plenty of elected partners in legislatures all over the country, including Virginia. Most importantly they control the generations of women who had abortions and have yet to confront the hard truth that they paid someone to end their baby’s life.  They came seeking help and the only “help” they were offered was abortion. The damage is profound and has touched four generations of women and their families. If we are to prevent more damage the pro-life movement must address this wound.  Nearly every family has been touched and needs help so as to heal the hurt.

Pro-lifers don’t have much time to send the right messages to the public. Pro-abortion forces were ready for the end of Roe and had these amendments ready to go. They know that passage of these extremist measures will mean legalized abortion for decades in the states that pass them.

It is critical for concerned Virginians to get involved in this fight now. Become active members of Virginia Society for Human Life. Distribute petitions and flyers that help others understand the threat. Organize events at your church to educate your friends. There is a short window of time to mobilize against this dreadful threat, and we must do it now.  Americans in other states should do the same.

The worst thing we can do is to point fingers at those who have been and continue to be manipulated by the deceptive rhetoric of abortion promoters. Unfortunately, I have heard some voices condemning the women who are being used by abortion groups to sell their ghastly agenda.  The loud protests and shouting of women claiming they need abortion is frustrating to those of us who understand all too well that the helpless victim of every abortion is a tiny unborn child. The current hysteria swirling around the abortion debate can help us comprehend what has happened to America since Roe.  

 

America is not the same place that it was in 1973. So many have participated in the greatest human rights tragedy of the twentieth century. The pro-life message must reject the notion that abortion is healthcare and help the nation see the faces of the unborn whose lives hang in the balance.  Abortion is never healthcare for them or their mothers. We need to remain dedicated to being the teachers and leaders we are called to be.  There is work to do.

 

Pro-lifers must expand the services and care that we offer to pregnant women. We must challenge our officials to support mothers and families beyond the birth of her baby. We must be the voices of hope and compassion to a society without hope. We need to live in a society that opens doors for each new life.

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