There’s a lot of hope that the inclusion of Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court means that America is closer than ever to removing the highly polarizing Roe v. Wade court decision. If that happens, the legality of abortion would revert back to the states. However, overturning Roe won’t mean much if hearts and minds of people aren’t changed as well.
In the pro-life fight, one of the biggest white whales is Roe v. Wade, the historic pro-abortion decision that, in conjunction with its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, has resulted in legalizing abortion until the moment of birth. It’s a deeply unpopular decision, with both pro-life advocates and, surprisingly, some pro-abortion activists as well.
Famously, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, an icon for the pro-abortion crowd, expressed her disapproval about how the decision was structured.
In a New York University Law Review, Ginsberg wrote, “A less encompassing Roe, one that merely struck down the extreme Texas law and went no further on that day, I believe and will summarize why, might have served to reduce rather than to fuel controversy…
“The Roe decision might have been less of a storm center had it both homed in more precisely on the women’s equality dimension of the issue and, correspondingly, attempted nothing more bold at that time than the mode of decisionmaking the Court employed in the 1970s gender classification cases.”
She’s right. The decision is bad, but not just for its lack of judicial reasoning.
Roe v. Wade in many ways has allowed death to become an acceptable form of medical treatment for unwanted pregnancies and for preborn babies with certain prenatal diagnoses. That won’t be changed if Roe is repealed, but instead it requires cultivating a pro-life culture within Americans across the country.
According to the most recent Gallup Poll, 50% of Americans believe that abortion should remain legal in certain circumstances. Only 20% believe that it should be illegal in all circumstances and 29% want abortion legal in all circumstances. Unfortunately, the number of Americans who want abortion to remain legal in all circumstances has gone up over the last 10 years from a low of 21% in 2009.
Surprisingly, the poll also reveals that 47% believe that abortion is morally wrong, while 44% believe that it is morally acceptable. Over the last 20 years, 49.5% of Americans believe that abortion is morally wrong. If that’s true, then why is there generally still so much support for keeping abortion legal in some or all circumstances?
When it comes to the satisfaction that Americans have in the nation’s abortion policies, the results are rather mixed. Only 8% are very satisfied, 24% somewhat satisfied, 26% somewhat dissatisfied and 32% remain very dissatisfied.
For those that are dissatisfied, about 24% want stricter laws and 22% want less strict laws.
Support for Roe remains strong, with 60% not wanting to overturn the decision and only 33% who want to overturn it.
It shows that no matter what happens to Roe, a lot of confusion remains about the impact of abortion policy on the country.
Though Justice Barrett may become instrumental in overturning Roe, pro-life activists should not rely on a court decision to suddenly result in a passionate pro-life country. In fact, overturning Roe may result in violent civil unrest. Instead, focus on sharing the truth about life and how pregnancy resource centers can help women make life-affirming decisions, despite the difficult realities of pregnancy, childbirth, relationships and motherhood.
That’s where true change will happen.
Photo from Reuters Photographer
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