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In a post-Roe world, communities must step up

baby big family welcome
A multi-generation Hispanic family standing in the park together. A 16 month old baby girl is the center of attention. Her back is to the camera as she walks toward her family, all smiling with their arms open, reaching for her. |

Ever since Roe v. Wade was decided nearly 50 years ago, Americans have been shackled to a culture of death. If the recent oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization are any indication, the U.S. Supreme Court may be ready to break the deadly chains of constitutional error and allow citizens to protect the lives of our most innocent and vulnerable Americans. But, with Roe gone, the choice will now be ours, and those who have long been pro-life advocates must rise to the occasion.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe would be only the first step in protecting life in the womb. What happens after that will take courage, commitment, and perseverance. It will take the collective conscience of a nation to reimagine a culture where all life is embraced and welcomed.

States whose citizens wish to fully protect life must stand ready to enact policies eliminating elective abortion. With more than 2,300 children killed in the womb each day in the United States — making it the leading cause of death in America — there is no time to waste. This means that politicians identifying as pro-life will need to walk the talk, enacting pro-life policies and standing firm in the face of opposition and sophistry. Voters must back such courageous officials, while also supporting comprehensive policies that empower women to confidently enter motherhood.

At the same time, communities will be charged with the task of supporting new parents and babies who otherwise may have succumbed to abortion. We cannot decline this mission if we hope for a flourishing pro-life future. The community will need to open their homes for adoptive children, support pregnancy care centers, revitalize church ministries for single moms, and look for community-specific ways to show charity. These acts must be intentional and tangible, supporting the fact that abortion never actually was a solution.

Fortunately, the pro-life movement has been building a “post-Roe” plan for decades. For example, the state of Texas has an unprecedented number of public and private programs, providing women with assistance for safe housing, education, securing employment, health care, transportation, food, clothing, and other material goods.

Heartbeat InternationalCare Net, and the National Institute for Family and Life Advocates together coordinate thousands of pregnancy centers across the country, providing free ultrasounds, prenatal care, maternity homes, parenting classes, diapers and baby clothes, and other resources. How many Planned Parenthoods provide any of these things to their clients?

Most abortion-vulnerable women do not actually want an abortion but feel that it is their only option because of a lack of resources in these areas. But the abundance of services provided for women through pro-life organizations proves wrong the abortion industry’s claim that abortion is “necessary.”

Where, post-Roe, states act to fully protect life from the moment of conception, it will take coordinated efforts of many pro-life individuals to be a shining example to other states unsure about whether abortion is “necessary.”  Pro-abortion arguments — and decades of rhetoric — have claimed that women can’t participate as equal citizens in society unless we selectively take the lives of our offspring. That lie will be fully exposed once abortion-free areas turn out to have more and more thriving mothers. 

At an interpersonal level, we will need to redouble our enthusiasm to celebrate parenthood. We will need to insist on the dignity of every human life, with full-throated consistency. I hope and believe this part will be easy. We instinctively rejoice at the birth of a baby or the announcement of a friend or relative’s pregnancy. I know this firsthand: I am currently six months pregnant and can attest that I have felt celebrated and congratulated nearly everywhere I go, including by many strangers. Let’s celebrate life even more in the days after Roe, knowing that many people in the next generation would have never had a chance at life under the abortion-on-demand regime.

A post-Roe America has the potential to pave the way for a national culture that deeply values life as the most fundamental human right and gift from God. Our nation while imprisoned by Roe could never do that. Let’s get ready to show the world what a marvelous difference there is. 

Denise Harle is senior counsel and Director of the Center for Life with Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal).

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