The passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973 gave rise to the pro-life movement, a cause dedicated for the majority of its existence to seeing Roe v. Wade overturned. However, nearly 50 years and 62 million lives lost later, a different approach is making its way into the national spotlight.
Inspired by a Supreme Court that is marginally conservative for the first time since the 1930s, governors of conservative states are seizing the chance to push through pro-life legislation limiting Roe v. Wade’s influence. For example, South Dakota has passed both the “Born Alive Bill” on February 24 this year, which gives each child born alive the right to health care, and HB 1110 on March 29, which bans abortions for the reason of a fetal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Each of these new laws are designed to limit the impact of Roe v. Wade.
While this is a newer take for the pro-life movement, it is by no means a new political strategy. Abolitionists led by William Wilberforce in England employed similar tactics in their fight to see an end to slavery. The slave trade was made illegal in England in 1807, preceding the abolition of slavery by 30 years. Roe v. Wade doesn’t necessarily have to be overturned to make abortion ineffective. Incremental restrictions can have great impacts. Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League noted in a Kraiser Health News Interview,
“Will this court overturn Roe v. Wade? It’s possible, but I think we’re more likely to see this court put more restrictions on abortion. I think five years from now we’ll realize that Roe v. Wade was slowly overturned without it ever making a big headline.”
Science and technology have undergone significant developments since 1973. That progression should be reflected in legislation. Montana Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway, whose proposed bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, argues:
“When a doctor goes into a pregnancy monthly checkup, he is treating two patients. He takes the mother’s heartbeat and growth and takes the child’s heartbeat and growth to prove that those are two separate individuals, and we keep getting that clouded with somebody not wanting to be pregnant … this is about the child and only the child. Science would side with us on our position on pro-life.”
Eric Metaxes, a well-known author and speaker put it succinctly:
“If the baby's DNA in the womb is different than her mother's DNA, how can it be the same body? Roe v. Wade is anti-science!”
The argument that there are two lives to consider in any pregnancy grows stronger every day. Defining correctly at what point human life begins is a major step in seeing the end of abortion in America. Defending those who are unable to defend themselves, and speaking for those without a voice is just as important now as it has always been. Keep speaking. Keep fighting. Make your voice heard and an entire generation might get the chance to use theirs.