How Christians should respond to Dobbs
A leaked draft majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, which would overturn Roe v. Wade and return abortion regulation to states, has important ramifications for Christians seeking to uphold the sanctity of human life.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” reads Associate Justice Samuel Alito’s draft. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Some disclaimers are necessary: A draft does not necessarily indicate a final opinion; justices have changed their minds before. The source of the leak, and that person’s motives, remain unknown, although taking action to disrupt the integrity of the judicial process should be universally vilified no matter what ends were intended. Nevertheless, Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed the draft’s authenticity.
If the Court is overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the question for Christians becomes: what’s next? Many will be stunned to find a precedent that stood for nearly five whole decades fallen like Ozymandias’s statue to the ground. So much prayer and advocacy have been dedicated to the destruction of Roe that a post-Roe world will look unfamiliar. How do we respond to such a groundbreaking shift?
Christians should give thanks and praise to God for such a decision if it is handed down. It is He who works justice for the oppressed. It is He who rescues from death. It is He whose scepter holds sway over all the rulers of the Earth and whose court will never issue a decision that needs to be overturned.
Even amid our celebration, Christians should not forget to lament the horrific damage wrought in America by abortion. The National Right to Life Committee, via data from the Guttmacher Institute, estimates that there have been nearly 63.5 million abortions in the U.S. since Roe was decided. Each of these lives had inestimable value in the sight of God, and they should be mourned and remembered. That is to say nothing of the scourge of abortion felt around the world, practiced in the name of liberty in some nations and in the name of science and practicality in others, and continually gaining new legal enshrinements and recognitions as a supposed “human right.”
Christians should be clear-eyed about the future of abortion. The Sexual Revolution rages on, manifested in the proliferation of apps for quick hookups, the reworking of education to include anti-Biblical sexual messaging at ever-younger ages, and a divorce rate that should make us shudder. Therefore, sex and pregnancy in America will often remain untethered to committed, stable marriages and the resulting sway of abortion will be powerful.
Moreover, while some states will have laws prepared to go into effect the moment Roe is overturned, or will pass laws soon after, many others will not. Sadly, many cities with large underprivileged populations, where abortion is prevalent, will be included in the latter category. Abortion will be legal in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and countless other cities. In swing states, with cities like Philadelphia and Detroit, the legality of abortion may change with tides of political momentum. Even in states that do outlaw abortion, the question of how it should be policed and penalized will be contentious. The fight to defend unborn life in our nation’s laws will be far from over.
Most importantly, Christians should respond with compassion. If more children are now put up for adoption, we should be the first to provide them with loving and welcoming homes. If desperate mothers are in need of a job, a ride to doctor’s appointments, money, housing, food, or diapers, we should be the first to meet those practical needs. If their children need babysitters, friends, or male role models, we should be eager to build a Christ-like community around them.
Christians should be so enthusiastically, overwhelmingly kind toward expecting mothers that even the most ardent feminist begins to question whether motherhood is really the severe burden that they thought it was. Frankly, in the post-Dobbs landscape, Christians will need to have offered pregnant women our help before they get a call from a friend with a Planned Parenthood bumper sticker and a tank full of gasoline offering a ride across the state border. We should strive for a world in which a woman has barely read the positive result on her pregnancy test before the thought crosses her mind that the Church in her neighborhood will be able to help. We should strive to provide that kind of assistance because God’s grace is on our side, and because lives depend on it.
Finally, Christians should look ahead to a day when the curse of the pain of childbirth will be removed, tears wiped away, and death swallowed up in victory. Our hope is not in any judge except the Judge of all, any king except the King of Kings, any law except the one that God will write on His people’s hearts and minds, any life except the imperishable life that is hidden with Christ in God. Let us thank God for blessings he gives in his providence until that day, and hold fast to our hope that all things will be made new.
Originally published at Juicy Ecumenism.
Josiah Reedy is an intern with the Institute on Religion and Democracy. He recently graduated with a degree in political science and criminal justice from George Washington University. He is also a member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and a lifelong Washingtonian.