There was a Women's March on Washington, D.C., on Saturday. I find this odd, because the mayor of D.C. has limited public gatherings to 50 people or less in the name of "science" and "experts." Also, there wasn't a lot of media coverage, as there has been for other leftist marches. Maybe CNN caught word that one of the marchers
In January 2019, New York passed the Reproductive Health Act. It was hailed as a watershed moment for women’s rights in the state. The NYRHA was meant to “codify Roe,” meaning to bring state laws into accord with the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. We’ve heard a lot from Democratic candidates regarding their wish to “codify Roe” on a federal level. Many voters believe codifying Roe would just assure reasonable protections for women facing problematic pregnancies, not realizing Roe is part of two decisions handed down by the Supreme Court. On the same day Roe was decided, Doe v. Bolton was also handed down, with the court clarifying these were “companion cases.” Companion cases are meant to be read together when determining how a court decision should be interpreted. In large part, codifying Roe means codifying Doe as well. Roe determines how states are permitted to limit abortion, based on the trimester of pregnancy. In the third trimester, a state is permitted to outlaw all abortions except when the health of the mother is involved. This is where Doe comes in. Doe defines what constitutes health. In Doe, the Supreme Court clarifies health as anything “physical, emotional, psychological, familial, [or related to] the woman’s age, relevant to the wellbeing of the patient.” Pro-abortion advocates don’t want you to focus on Doe, because then you’d understand what pro-life advocates mean when they reference “abortion until birth.” Doe classifies “health issues” as situations such as a financial crisis, or single-motherhood. So, essentially, this means anything involving a pregnant woman that may cause a rift in her life. Codifying Roe means women will have access to abortion if a doctor determines their health is threatened by their financial situation (97 percent of all abortions are currently performed due to the financial status of the woman involved) or their age, regardless of any physically life-threatening situation. It also means with the current push to characterize pregnancy in general as life-threatening to women, pregnancy itself will eventually be considered sufficient reason to gain access to abortion throughout all three trimesters. Within the space of a year after New York enacted the Reproductive Health Act, some local pro-life advocates began noticing women successfully accessing abortions post-viability, meaning after the point the baby’s life could be saved in a NICU. I wrote about one such instance I was personally involved in, here. If Roe is indeed codified, to suppose expanded access won’t happen everywhere is foolish. During the Democrat presidential primaries, Kamala Harris, who is now Democrats’ vice presidential candidate, elaborated on a frightening vision for a country where Roe is the law of the land. Her plan involves creating a “Reproductive Rights Act,” which would require states that have previously been seen as hostile to abortion access to have Department of Justice approval for any laws restricting abortion. Modeled after the Voting Rights Act, Harris’s proposal positions abortion as a civil rights issue. Yet while the Voting Rights Act was created to allow the federal government to enforce provisions detailed in the 15th amendment, there is no right to an abortion in the U.S. Constitution. Even the Roe decision indicates its legitimacy rests on the idea that the fetus isn’t a person — indeed, if we ever established it is, Roe would be finished. Because there are no provisions allowing women to end the lives of their children, using the Department of Justice to police state laws would be a serious overreach. In New York, unrestricted abortion until babies are 24 weeks along is accessible in many clinics. If Roe were codified at the federal level, the same would be permitted in all states — including those which currently consider themselves pro-life. To pass any law related to abortion care, pro-life states would have to ask permission from the federal government, even if the legislation was written solely to assure women were protected from unsafe conditions. We’ve seen how this turns out in many states, with clinics able to avoid inspections to the point women have died due to unsanitary conditions and the unlicensed workers involved. Beyond 24 weeks of an unborn child’s age, abortion is more difficult to procure in New York, but it’s still legal and as long as a woman can find a willing doctor, she’s going to be able to terminate her pregnancy. As time goes by, more clinics may also be willing to venture into the third trimester because, in addition to “codifying” Roe, New York eliminated abortion from its criminal code — meaning there are no repercussions even if it’s proven a physician provides an abortion to a woman who wasn’t facing a life-threatening ailment. In the space of fewer than two years, we’ve started seeing some women seeking care in hospitals willing to terminate later-gestation pregnancies for non-emergent health reasons. Codifying Roe will expand this type of access to every state, and end any abortion-limiting laws for at least the next decade. While states battle out the constitutionality of restrictions to their laws, abortion advocacy groups and abortion clinics will be able to bypass our votes, supported by an administration whose pen and phone will create a constitutional right to abortion that isn’t in the Constitution and hasn’t gone through our established amendment process. Many pro-life individuals believe they must gather any life-affecting issues under the pro-life umbrella, rightly understanding to truly be a life-affirming person, we must meet those in need beyond the clinic walls. Unlike past elections, however, we potentially face a major shift in expanding abortion access. Never before has a candidate openly stated he or she will essentially bypass the constitutional amendment process to grant one group of people (women) the right to harm another group of people (the unborn) and use the Department of Justice to ensure no one stands in the way. Groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL already have the mechanisms in place to begin opening clinics in states that have been made virtually abortion-free due to the hard work of pro-life voters and advocates. With leftist politicians guiding the Department of Justice decision-making process regarding abortion laws, we are looking at a confluence of political influence that will have the power to reverse virtually all pro-life gains of the last 40 years with the stroke of a pen. Every election we are told we’re in crisis mode, with each candidate telling us they’re the answer to all of our problems. This year is different. We are at a crossroads, and our choices in both state and federal elections will decide whether Roe and all of its implications will become the law of the land. Make your choice wisely. Millions of lives may depend on you.
In 2016, many pro-lifers doubted Donald Trump’s commitment to our cause. He appeared to be an unlikely, and presumably unreliable, champion for human life in the womb. But the president has delivered for us. Not only have his policies, rhetoric, and judicial picks been resolutely pro-life, his populism has invigorated conservative interest in the economic, as well as social, preconditions for strong families. For most pro-lifers, Trump’s presidency is a cause for jubilation. An Attempt to Make a Pro-Life Case for Biden His pro-life work is, however, a problem for diehard Never Trump figures who claim to be pro-life. They now have to justify sitting out the coming election or, in some cases, supporting the most pro-abortion Democratic ticket in history. It is not easy for those who claim to be pro-life to explain why they are voting for candidates who support taxpayer-funded abortion on demand until birth. Mona Charen has taken up the challenge, arguing that even if Trump’s policies on abortion are better than Biden’s, this need not be dispositive for pro-life voters. She says Trump is terrible in other ways, Biden isn’t that bad, and presidents don’t matter that much to the pro-life cause. Charen derives her argument that presidents are inconsequential for the pro-life movement from a column by David French, which was picked up by others, including a National Review piece by Cameron Hilditch. I am weary of writing about Never Trump in general, and French in particular, but their outsized media influence necessitates that they not be ignored. The heart of their “pro-life” case against Trump is that the annual number of abortions has been dropping for decades, regardless of who was in office. They conclude, therefore, that the pro-life movement can succeed despite lacking the political power of the presidency. What Is Success? This might be true if the pro-life movement is willing to redefine success to mean only ameliorating the toll of abortion, rather than also seeking its abolition. But the pro-life movement has done both, working to reduce abortions now while fighting for the ultimate abolition of elective abortion. French and Charen are surrendering on the second part of the struggle. By their standard, it would be a success if, in another 20 or 30 years, there are “only” half a million abortions in the United States each year — all government-funded and protected by a fortress of rulings, regulations, laws, and judges. French, Charen, and other Never Trump pro-lifers might respond that they do not want surrender, just a strategic retreat to get rid of Trump, but they refuse to acknowledge the full cost of this retreat. As president, Biden would restore federal funding for overseas abortion promotion, and he has promised taxpayer funding for abortion on demand in the United States. He would choose judges who will read a maximalist abortion regime into the Constitution. He and congressional Democrats would preempt state and local restrictions on abortion and harass pro-life organizations, including religious groups, as part of an escalating culture war. A Biden presidency would reverse pro-life efforts toward abortion abolition. Charen nonetheless justifies her support for Biden on the grounds that, “Being pro-life is part of an overall approach to ethical questions. It’s wrong to take innocent life. But other things are immoral too. … Donald Trump is a daily, even hourly, assault on the very idea of morality.” This hysteria is grotesque when set against the absolute immorality of abortion, which destroys the primordial basis of human life and relationships. Abortion responds to the dependence of a new human life with violence. It turns the interests of the mother, father, and child against each other. Instead of a self-giving love that nurtures life, abortion is selfishness culminating in death. Nothing Trump has done in office comes close to the moral atrocity of nearly 1 million abortions per year, which Biden promises to encourage and have us all pay for. Championing and funding that violence is far more corrupting to society than any oafishness, immorality, or incompetence of which Charen might accuse Trump. This corrupting effect is why the canard of making abortion unnecessary while keeping it legal is an illusion, and why decades of abortion on demand have not been the solution its advocates promised. Indeed, Americans are increasingly alone and childless, in large part because we have violently severed the elemental bonds of love that unite men and women with each other and their offspring. Biden’s Disqualifying Position This is the America of Biden and the Democratic Party’s radically pro-abortion regime. Biden has other personal and political sins, but his pro-abortion stance alone is disqualifying. In contrast to Charen, French does not overtly support the former vice president. Instead, he has reiterated that neither candidate has earned his vote, while adumbrating more reasons presidents don’t have much effect on abortion. French’s arguments are self-defeating, however. As he notes, most legislation against abortion is taking place in the states, rather than at the national level. These local efforts still undermine his case against Trump, for state-level regulations and restrictions on abortion are subject to review by the federal courts. Judges, and the president who picks them, are essential to state-led efforts against abortion. Trump’s judges have changed the legal battlefield. Despite the perfidy of the George W. Bush-appointed John Roberts, many abortion restrictions are being upheld throughout the courts. Some restrictions are going unchallenged because Planned Parenthood and its allies are litigating scared. For example, they have been reluctant to challenge many state bans on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. One of Trump’s judges even upheld closing all abortion facilities during the initial stage of the pandemic. The result is that pro-life laws are going into effect and abortion clinics are closing. These pro-life victories would not be happening if Hillary Clinton had been filling the courts with pro-abortion judges, as even French half-admits. The Results of Trump Derangement Thus, to maintain his anti-Trump position, French must minimize state-level efforts to reduce abortion, even though he had just praised them. He dismissively writes that even if Roe v. Wade were overturned, the permissive abortion regimes many states would retain means that “for the nation as a whole, the abortion rate would likely shrink by only 12.8 percent.” That would “only” save about 100,000 lives per year, and we might not even need to overturn Roe to achieve this; there is, for instance, only one embattled abortion clinic left in Missouri. Pushing abortion out of pro-life states would lower the overall abortion rate, despite the efforts of pro-abortion states to encourage “abortion tourism.” Furthermore, states eliminating elective abortion would invigorate the pro-life cause. French is correct that most Americans don’t really want abortion. He does not draw the obvious conclusion, which is that a coalition of states showing that abortion is neither inevitable nor necessary would have great persuasive power for the cause of life. These state efforts would also prepare the way for the federal action that will be needed for national abolition. The struggle to protect the unborn has been prolonged, our victories have been hard-won, and there is much still to do. But we have had victories, and there are more on the way, thanks to Republican legislatures, Trump judges, and the valiant work of grassroots pro-lifers. Throwing that away by handing political power back to those who want federally funded abortion on demand would be a suicidal, self-inflicted wound. It would literally be a deadly setback to our goals of abortion reduction and eventual abolition. President Trump is an unlikely pro-life hero, but we should rejoice in unexpected blessings, not reject them.