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The Court Is Not Going to End Abortion, So Here’s What We Do

Pro-life Americans could be excused for overestimating the importance of recent changes on the U.S. Supreme Court.  They have endured one of the most mind-numbing legal battles in the history of modern man, arguing that it shouldn’t be legal for a medical professional to murder tiny human beings while being consistently thwarted by supposedly friendly judges who seem intent on maintaining a status quo that is outdated, unscientific, unconstitutional, immoral, and horrifically bad jurisprudence.

Remember at one point in recent years, Republican presidents had appointed 7 of the 9 Supreme Court justices and abortion on demand had never been so judicially impenetrable. 

That’s why I don’t fault the euphoria that existed in pro-life circles when the Supreme Court looked to be restocked with Federalist Society-approved, constitutionalist judges, who could finally do to the dreadful Roe ruling what a previous Court had done to the dreadful Plessy ruling: overturn it, rectify it, and judicially apologize for their predecessors having screwed up so badly an issue of basic morality and humanity.

Personally, even if I allowed myself to consider the pipe dream, I never joined in the euphoria because I long ago gave up the hope that a modern Court would ever have the moral courage to rebuke the spirit of the age.  For all the talk about Chief Justice Roberts and his loyalty to the Constitution’s text, he has always demonstrated himself to be far more loyal to the legacy and institution of the Court itself.  If there was ever any question about that analysis, Roberts himself answered it when he engaged in the most flagrant act of judicial activism in a generation, literally rewriting the Obamacare law from the bench in order to help it pass Constitutional muster.  Roberts capitulated to cultural expectation rather than hold to constitutional fidelity.  It was all the writing on the wall a person could need in wanting to know how he might rule on a Roe challenge.

And so even prior to the Kavanaugh furor and during the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch I wrote regularly warning pro-life Americans that they likely had only two votes on the Court to overturn Roe: Thomas and Alito.  And now after both Trump appointees have taken their seats, I’m not convinced they have any more.  Perhaps Gorsuch.

David French does an admirable job explaining why the Court’s recent decision to stay the implementation of a common sense Louisiana law that says a medical professional who is going to commit an abortion on someone needs to have hospital admitting privileges – in other words, it’s a law that protects the health and life of the mother enduring the abortion – is proof yet again that the Court’s “conservatives” aren’t about to mess with abortion.  He writes,

[The] ruling was an ominous moment for those who’ve voted, worked, and fought for so very long to end the judicial philosophy that brought us one of the most monstrous court precedents in American history. When Justice Roberts joined the court’s progressives to grant the emergency stay and temporarily block Louisiana’s law while the case is pending before the Supreme Court, he did more than benignly push pause on the enforcement of the Louisiana law. Emergency stays are granted only when — among other factors — “there exists a significant possibility of reversal of the lower court’s decision.”

French also outlines that even though Kavanaugh did not join Roberts in his betrayal of common sense, the newest justice signaled in his own written dissent that he would be very limited in how far he would go to let a state restrict abortion access.  The Court’s liberals unsurprisingly felt no need to detail a nuanced position.

The whole charade brings me back to what I’ve been desperately pleading with pro-life Americans to realize for a while now: the courts aren’t going to save babies.  We have to.  And we do it by:

  1. Praying.
  2. Building pregnancy resource centers across the street from every Planned Parenthood in America, driving them out of business.
  3. Using every gift we’ve been given to testify to our neighbors, friends, coworkers, parishioners, congregations, family members – everyone we have influence with – the truth about life: how it’s a gift, how it’s precious, how it’s imbued with the image of the Divine, how it’s always wanted.
  4. Harnessing social media to make positive, life-affirming testimonies as well as offering loving, but clear cautions about the consequences of a culture where the innocent aren’t protected by law.
  5. Visibly and relentlessly prodding people to think about and answer the simplest questions: what is in the womb of a mother, and when should that being have legal rights?

Only when the culture moves will politicians move.  Only when culture moves will courts move.  The problem is our culture.  The solution is us.  Stop waiting on Kavanaugh and Roberts to do what you and I must.

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