Donald Trump’s election did much to invigorate the pro-life community after eight years of having an abortion supporter, Barack Obama, in office.
The president himself is a relatively new defender of the unborn, having only solidified his stance in recent years. In a book published in 2000, Trump even stated, “I support a woman’s right to choose but I am uncomfortable with the procedures.” Naturally, I was unsure just how pro-life he would actually be once in office. I have been pleasantly surprised.
At the top of nearly every Trump supporter’s list was the nomination of a justice to the Supreme Court. For some, this was their main reason to vote for the man. Like it or not, SCOTUS decisions have a wide-ranging and lasting impact on the country. Voters on both sides were well aware of this and knew the 45th president would be filling at least one vacancy.
President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch in the wake of Antonin Scalia’s death – while important – was always just going to bring the balance of the bench back to that of recent times. The president promised and delivered in the form of a jurist who is a textualist and originalist like his predecessor and late friend.
The next appointment is going to be crucial.
Talk of Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring has renewed interest in the possibility of revisiting Roe v. Wade sometime in the future. Unfortunately, the Reagan appointee has been friendly to the pro-abortion community. A committed pro-life justice, appointed by Trump and chosen as Kennedy’s successor, would shift the bench’s balance in favor of life.
And perhaps, Roe v. Wade will be considered once again.
This very possibility is in the minds of at least some state lawmakers around the nation who have been introducing laws that chip away at the decades-long foundation of abortion in our country.
…lawmakers are proposing some of the most far-reaching abortion restrictions in a generation, hoping their legislation triggers the lawsuit that eventually makes it to the high court.
“That could ultimately be a bill that revisits Roe v. Wade,” Ohio state Rep. Ron Hood said of his bill to prohibit all abortions. “One flip of a Supreme Court justice, and revisiting Roe v. Wade looks very, very promising.”
But the aggressive strategy is causing a rift in the anti-abortion movement, with some hesitant to test the limits of the landmark 1973 decision before it‘s clear five justices are willing to overturn it.
Pro-life legislators see major hurdles at the national level and are leading within their own states.
With the current Congressional makeup, passing abortion restrictions within the House is not impossible. When said legislation moves to the Senate, however, the job becomes much more difficult. If you factor in the narrow lead Republicans have in the upper chamber, along with spineless, pro-abort GOPers like Murkowski and Collins who side with abortion proponents, life-affirming legislation essentially becomes dead on arrival.
In March, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a 15-week abortion ban into law. The state’s only abortion provider immediately filed suit. Just last week, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed an 11-week abortion ban. That, too, was almost immediately challenged. This time the ACLU filed suit on behalf of numerous abortion providers in the state.
Though these types of laws are sure to face some sort of legal battle, the initial legislative victories indicate a thirst for pro-life action at the grassroots level. Fifteen-week and eleven-week abortion bans? Those are huge.
And they are causing concern among the pro-aborts.
Abortion-rights supporters argue the incremental approach is more threatening because it rides under the national radar while slowly imposing new hurdles to abortion access, particularly in states with aggressive legislatures.
“Focusing on these blatantly unconstitutional bans on abortion detracts from the slow chipping away that has led to the clinic closures over the years that is less visible to people,” said Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU who focuses on abortion rights.
Since 1973, abortion has been the law of the land. Currently, there are eighteen states that have 20-week abortion bans on the books and holding.
This progress “under the national radar” may not be the ultimate goal, but these gains are moving us closer to the finish line. However, twenty-week bans are a bittersweet victory. Pro-lifers (and even pro-aborts) are well aware that at this gestational age, unique individuals with full personhood are growing within the womb.
— CNN Health (@cnnhealth) November 8, 2017
Still, abortion restrictions before the 20-week mark are shot down. Because in America, you have the “right” to kill your child.
A possible Kennedy retirement and pro-life legislative success at the statewide level may create the perfect storm to bring about a reconsideration of Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court level. It also may not.
Regardless, this should never keep pro-life individuals on the front lines in clinics, local communities, and in state legislatures from promoting the worth of the unborn to the best of their ability with the resources at their disposal.
Ultimately, the current culture of death within our nation, where we sacrifice thousands of unborn individuals daily on the altar of choice, has the best chance of changing from the ground up.
You can’t legislate morality.
We remain hopeful for progress on small and large legislative scales, but in the end, that will not change hearts.
Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.