We will never forget the day it happened.
A steamy sunny morning in the nation’s capital on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court for the eighth decision day in a month when we heard these incredible words: “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
Screams of joy, cheers and tears surrounded me as I stepped to the podium to address the hundreds of pro-life Americans who had gathered for the decision. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that this happened in my lifetime.
The Dobbs v. Jackson decision that was handed down from the U.S. Supreme Court on that fateful day, June 24, 2022, was 50 years in the making. For half a century, millions of men, women and children have been praying for the end of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision made by seven men at the court that made abortion legal in the country.
All that work, all the marches for life, all those battles with Congress to try to protect the least of these, children unable to speak for themselves. We had some important victories along the way — there was the Hyde Amendment that prevented the federal government from using taxpayer funds to pay for abortions, there was the Mexico City policy that did the same on the international level, there was the ban on partial birth abortion that President George W. Bush signed into law in 2003, but our hands were tied with that one decision half a century ago that did not align with the values of the American people.
There were also many state laws that set some limits but due to both the Roe and Casey decisions states could not prohibit abortion pre-viability which is about 22 weeks gestation. Five and a half months is very late in pregnancy by any standard and not in line with the majority of American’s thinking on the issue.
Most Americans never bought the lie that the only solution to an unplanned pregnancy is to destroy the human life growing in the mother’s womb. Consistently since Roe v. Wade was decided around 70% of the American people believe there should be restrictions. The overwhelming majority, 79%, believe late-term abortions should be prohibited, and 25% believe abortion past the first trimester should be prohibited, according to the latest Marist poll.
So, there is consensus as Presidential candidate Nikki Haley suggests.
Yet, Republicans at the federal level did not take advantage of this win. In the 2022 Congressional campaigns, Democrats made abortion their theme, spending millions blasting Republican candidates for supporting this decision. On the other side, GOP consultants told their candidates to avoid the issue, and they did not counter the attacks, only talking about inflation and Joe Biden’s failures. Republicans spent only $11 million on pro-life messaging truthfully countering with their opponent’s extreme position of support for abortion any time, any number, for any reason, all paid for by the taxpayers. Why was this not done?
The Left also put money into state propositions and is digging in their heels to get radical policies passed in blue states.
As a conservative Christian organization founded in 1979 specifically to fight this battle for life, Concerned Women for America has always focused attention on state legislation and legislators with our state leaders and activists. With the Dobbs decision the government closest to the people, “their elected representatives” as the decision read, will now be the battleground for our side as well as abortion radicals, who have not had to fight in state legislatures for their barbaric and extreme abortion policies.
No doubt, the blue states got more radical while the red states implemented more restrictions on abortion answering to the people in their state. Some have limited abortion altogether; some have no limits at all. But at the end of the day according to the Society of Family Planning, we know that more than 30,000 babies were saved in just the first six months due to the overturn of Roe v. Wade. How much more can we be grateful for after one year? But we have many other battles left to win.
As a country that now affirms life, we need to look for areas to make it easier for women to make the right choice to choose life. There are a myriad of services and resources for women at the federal, state, and county levels that can ease their burdens and help them through this decision. The United States spends over $ 1 trillion per year in social services plus millions more in private resources. These should not be so difficult to find and understand.
Working with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-South Carolina) to develop the concept, CWA is encouraging federal and state legislatures to propose a concept - Life.gov, a one-stop-shop for information young women can use to know their options. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the state health services would be responsible for the creating, updating, and promoting this valuable web-based resource. One click is all it would take to learn by state and zip code all the available alternatives needed to choose life including resources for housing, education, healthcare, legal assistance, adoption, mentoring, and other support.
We must also make it easier and economically feasible for Americans to adopt, foster, and take care of the little ones born in this new post-Roe world. According to research data by George Barna for Arizona Christian University, only 15% of women choose adoption when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. The main reason, according to research, was a lack of understanding about adoption. Young women are confused about the adoption services and think it is too complicated. They don’t know that birth mothers’ expenses are often paid by adopting parents, that they can still work until the baby is born, that each state and county has counselors to help them through the process, and that they can choose both the right family for their baby in an open or closed adoption.
Our mission is to help and equip women and their children in this new post-Roe world with education and information and to persuade along the way that choosing life is a better solution. We can never turn back to those lost 50 years that took more than 60 million lives from us, but our work has just begun to care more compassionately for women and their babies.
Penny Nance is the President and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy organization for women. She is a recognized national authority on cultural, children’s and women’s issues.