On the 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, President Joe Biden once again kowtowed to the abortion lobby by announcing a new task force on “Reproductive Healthcare Access.” This move was accompanied by a grant of $6.6 million to abortion businesses in seven states—with a total of $1,408,536 concentrated in Texas. Biden’s insistence on attacking the vulnerable in a state that has democratically chosen to protect unborn lives past detection of a fetal heartbeat is further evidence of what has always been true: Biden is incredibly out of touch with Americans’ pro-life values. Thankfully, faithful pro-life legislators are refusing to back down from protecting the unborn citizens of their states.
The pro-life movement is hoping 2022 will be the year the U.S. Supreme Court finally overturns Roe v. Wade. The focal point of this optimism is the Court’s upcoming decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case concerning whether Mississippi’s law protecting unborn children after 15 weeks gestation is constitutional. If the Court sides with the state of Mississippi, that could spell the end of the current legal precedent set by Roe and its companion case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which prevent pre-viability protections for the unborn.
Although the Dobbs case could bring a massive pro-life triumph if the Court sides with Mississippi, it is important not to lose sight of the many smaller-scale pro-life victories also happening in the states.
One of these victories recently took place in Lubbock, Texas. In May 2021, the citizens of Lubbock voted in favor of making their city a sanctuary for the unborn, with 62 percent supporting the lifesaving measure. Planned Parenthood initially attempted to block the city ordinance. But on January 21, it dropped its appeal, marking the first time since Roe that a law completely protecting the unborn beginning at conception survived a court challenge. This could prove to be a prophetic moment in the year the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe. Either way, it is proof of Texans’ dedication to protecting the lives of the unborn.
In another Lonestar state victory, the Texas Heartbeat Bill, which protects the unborn after the detection of a fetal heartbeat (typically around 3 to 4 weeks after fertilization), has once again survived a legal challenge thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court rejected a request to send the bill to a federal district court and instead returned it to a state-level court. The bill credits its survival to its unprecedented enforcement mechanism that allows private citizens to bring suits against abortionists or their accomplices. Since going into effect in September, the bill has protected an estimated 4,500 babies each month, resulting in over 15,000 Texan babies saved today.
The Texas Heartbeat Bill has inspired legislation around the country as states seek similar protections for their unborn citizens. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced two pro-life bills last Friday during the March for Life. One of the bills protects life after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, employing the same unique enforcement system as Texas. The other bill requires a physician to examine a woman in person before dispensing chemical abortion pills. This would add a level of protection for women from some of the abortion pill regimen’s serious health risks that are only increased by mail order or telemedicine prescribed pills. This bill would turn Noem’s existing executive order into law.
Another heartbeat protection was introduced in Arizona in January, and a Georgia bill to require in-person examinations prior to chemical abortions was introduced last Tuesday. In Nebraska, pro-life senators outdid the heartbeat bill they introduced earlier this year with a new bill that protects life from conception and only makes exceptions for medical emergencies. This influx of state-level legislation to protect life is essential, as an overturn of Roe would likely give states the opportunity to decide the level of protection they will offer the unborn.
Although the overturning of Roe and Casey is the preeminent goal of the pro-life movement this year, advocates’ hopes for change do not rest in Dobbs alone but also in the smaller-scale victories. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (NIV). The pro-life movement is unwavering in its pursuit of justice for the most vulnerable humans. Regardless of the outcome in Dobbs, pro-lifers will find their motivation in the overarching goal of protecting defenseless babies.
In his speech at the March for Life, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who is the House Pro-Life Caucus Chair, encouraged the crowd of thousands when he said, “The injustice of abortion need not be forever.” Congressman Smith is correct in his hopes—the abortion industry is living on borrowed time so long as faithful pro-life advocates continue to persevere in efforts large and small. Despite his best efforts, President Biden cannot shake the pro-life heartbeat of the United States.