For many in the pro-life movement, a Republican/Conservative in the White House means more Conservatives on the SCOTUS bench, which—apparently—spells good news for the fight against abortion.
This is generally one of the last (or first) arguments that reluctant Republicans will throw out to justify their support for Trump. And I simply don’t buy it. Not because I don’t trust Trump (I certainly don’t), but because as a pro-life advocate, I honestly don’t care a bit about who is on the Supreme Court.
I want to repeat that for the sake of clarity.
When it comes to abortion, I do not care if the SCOTUS leans more to the left or to the right. It does not matter, because it’s not going to make a difference.
The biggest myth sold to the pro-life movement is that Republican presidents appointing Conservative justices are crucial in the fight against abortion. And yet, both Roe vs. Wade AND Planned Parenthood vs. Casey were decided with a conservative majority. Not only that, but over the last 45 years, we’ve had 9 Republican House majorities, 10 Senate majorities, and 5 Republican Presidents, none of which have been successful in ending abortion. Furthermore, time, after time, after time, after time, after time, after time, after time, after time, legislation restricting abortion was either found unconstitutional or failed to make it to law.
Yet, major Pro-Life organizations such as Priests for Life, National Right to Life, and the Susan B. Anthony List continue to push the narrative that we must elect Trump, because he will put pro-life Justices on the bench, which will give us the upper hand in the fight against abortion.
But here is the truth of the matter that all of us in the pro-life movement need to accept: fighting abortion in the courts will never play out in our favor. It is not a proper means to an end because this issue is significantly more complex than we realize.
If we want to effectively end abortion, we need to stop focusing on where and how, and start focusing on why. What drives a woman to abort her child in the first place and what can we do to alleviate it?
Even if we were to successfully overturn Roe v Wade, the matter would only be sent back to the states, over half of which would keep abortion legal. That’s not an honest win to anyone who is serious about being pro-life. At best, it would serve as a nice symbolic victory, but it wouldn’t address the actual reasons that women give for terminating a (usually unexpected) pregnancy, which—as I’ve pointed out in a previous post—are primarily:
∙ Dramatic change in life, including potential job loss, and/or concern over other children or dependents.
∙ Financial instability, including a lack of access to childcare and/or healthcare.
Or in other words: no money, no healthcare, no support, and fear.
What restrictive legislation has attempted to address these issues? What is to become of these women in a post-Roe world? Have we actually considered these questions? Have we honestly weighed the consequences? Or have we been so busy opposing the politicians and activists who support abortion that we’ve ignored the women who are actually having them?
We have to think deeper. We can sit here and talk about oughts, and rights, and sexual morality until we’re blue in the face, but if we want to make any real progress, we have to face up to the fact that most of the women having abortions aren’t privileged, liberal femi-nazis. They’re women in poverty who feel like they don’t have another option. The fear of not being able to provide for the child, of losing their job, of not having access to proper healthcare, or of not having a support system is painfully coercive. And if we’re going call ourselves pro-life, that’s where we need to focus our attention.
Make no mistake: I live for the day that abortion is eradicated from our world. But the Supreme Court is not an effective means for achieving this goal. It’s time for those of us in the pro-life movement to refocus our strategy, do away with idea that the GOP is the party of life, and start providing comprehensive solutions that address real needs instead of chasing our tails in a continuous circle.
What is it they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?