By Maria Gallagher, legislative director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
Roe v. Wade, the most famous U.S. Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott v. Sandford, is now turning a decidedly gray 41 years of age. The inescapable fact is that the ruling has been with us for a long time—more than one generation, if you use the Oxford Dictionaries definition of a generation being about 30 years.
So millions upon millions Americans have grown up with Roe, raising the natural question, “When did you learn that this thing known as legal abortion existed?”
For me, it was a Sunday, circa sixth grade, when I saw poster-sized pictures of unborn babies in the church vestibule. Why were they there, I asked? I heard it was because of abortion—that people were actually taking the lives of babies who, up until that point, were living peacefully in their mothers’ bellies.
The questions that arose in my eleven-year-old mind were: Why would anyone do that? And why was this terrible thing allowed to go on?
Flash forward to my adult self: Sitting in another church, a couple of days after Christmas, I was privileged to hear what many in the congregation said was one of the best sermons they had ever witnessed. The wise pastor said something so profound, yet so utterly simple: The reason, he said, that unborn children were allowed to die from abortion was because of politics.
A priceless human being sacrificed on the altar of pro-abortion politics. So unjust, so inhumane, and so incredibly un-American.
When we talk about the impact of Roe and its largely overlooked companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the most astounding aspect is this: More than 56 million U.S. citizens have died as a result of these two devastating 1973 court decisions, authored by Justice Harry Blackmun. It’s an unfathomable figure.
Consider, for instance, that statistics from the American Cancer Society indicate about a half-million people will tragically die from cancer in a given year. Based on the figures reported by abortion facilities themselves, more than 1.2 million children will die from abortion on an annual basis. And they’re kids, for crying out loud.
Add to that the collateral damage which is only gradually becoming known: the women who have died either directly following a surgical or chemical abortion, or indirectly from substance abuse or suicide. Or the women who, like many women who have lost a child, feel that “part of themselves died” after their abortions.
Strong evidence also suggests that Roe has corrupted relationships—especially between men and women. A generation of women who grew up singing Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” quickly learned that the feelings of their boyfriends were not mutual, particularly when an actual baby was involved. They had given their all to a relationship only to learn that not all of themselves had been accepted. Desperate to try to salvage their romantic relationship, they turned to abortion only to learn that along with their baby the relationship, too, would die.
Once their boyfriends learned of their pregnancies, they were essentially told, “You’re on your own, kid.” This calls to mind the survey of post-abortive women which stunningly revealed that, if one person—just one person—had offered support, the respondents would not have chosen abortion.
Research has indicated that as many as 60 percent of women may, in fact, be pressured to abort—by boyfriends, parents, friends. So they are choosing what others want—rather than what they want for themselves.
And, of course, the little girl in the womb has no choice at all.
The individual reasons that women give for choosing abortion vary, but it is the politics of destruction that has forced them into such a painful position—the politics that keeps Roe alive, even as so many actual human beings have died.
Roe has given us four decades of broken babies, broken lives, and broken hearts. It is a legal travesty which has led to a social experiment gone terribly wrong.
The fact that more than half a million people are willing to drive all the way to Washington, DC to brave bitter cold to march in opposition to this tragically flawed decision says something about the human spirit. So, too, the thousands who will march at their state capitols.
Even in the face of incredible odds and the politics of despair, the dream of an America in which every child is welcomed, and every woman supported, marches on.
Because there is that innocent child within each of us who cries out, “Why is this terrible thing allowed to go on?” It is the pro-lifer who hears that cry, and is committed to respond with love.