“I thought I was going to throw up. But I didn’t. I knew this was gonna happen.” This is how a staff member at an abortion provider in Illinois responded to the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. By contrast, a woman in Oklahoma said, “I am overjoyed. This is not a negative for women. This is the biggest positive that’s ever happened.”
When the ruling was announced last Friday, I issued a Daily Article Special Edition discussing what happens next in the states. Today, let’s focus on what should happen next for pro-life Christians. After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling, a pro-life leader responded, “We are ready for the challenge of a post-Roe America.”
Each of us will need to be.
The so-called “Night of Rage”
After the ruling, the New York Times reported that “thousands of mostly outraged abortions rights demonstrators” gathered outside the Supreme Court building. They clashed with “small groups of joyful anti-abortion activists who blew bubbles and celebrated the end of the federal guarantee of [what the Times euphemistically called] access to a safe and legal means of ending a pregnancy.”
One protester said, “All these males out here who are chanting against abortion and are enthused and happy—smiling, singing songs, and laughing—it’s just really disgusting.” The so-called “Night of Rage” was filled with anger and the display of protest signs, some of which were profane and blasphemous.
As pro-abortion advocates continue to express their anger at the Court’s ruling, it is vital that pro-life advocates respond in ways that are truly “pro-life.”
Each protester is someone for whom Jesus died. Our Lord’s admonition is clear: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). He asked, “If you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” (v. 46).
We should see every pro-abortion activist as our sister or brother, someone created in the image of God just as we are (Genesis 1:27). Otherwise, when our opponents label us merely “pro-birth,” we are guilty as charged.
What Americans thought of the Court’s decision
In a poll released yesterday, 52 percent of American voters said the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a “step backward,” while 31 percent called it a “step forward” and 17 percent said it was neither. In CNN’s polling dating back to 1989, the share of the public in favor of completely overturning the landmark 1973 decision has never risen above 36 percent.
As I noted last Friday, the Court’s decision does not eliminate legal abortion. At least sixteen states still offer elective abortions. Demand for so-called “medication” abortions (which is how more than half of abortions in the US are obtained) is surging; these pills are available to anyone who orders them from within a state that allows abortion. And congressional efforts to legalize abortion on a federal level are continuing as well.
As a result, it is vital that pro-life supporters continue to make the case for life in all its dimensions. Women who chose abortion said they did so primarily because of finances (40 percent), timing (36 percent), partner-related reasons (31 percent), and the need to focus on other children (29 percent). Churches and ministries can and should respond to each of these needs.
Women facing an unwanted pregnancy need help with childcare, employment, parenting resources, and financial support, especially as the economy worsens. If we celebrate the Court’s decision, it is incumbent on us to respond to it as proactively and compassionately as possible. This includes support for ministries on the front lines of caring for women, daily intercession, and personal outreach to those we know who need what we can offer.
Jesus taught us that when we care for those in need, we minister to our Lord himself (Matthew 25:40).
“Though men treat me as a doormat”
To manifest the character of Christ in these divided and divisive days, it is vital that we seek the power of the Holy Spirit.
Oswald Chambers observed, “Jesus Christ calls service what we are to him, not what we do for him. Discipleship is based on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on adherence to a belief or a creed. . . . Our Lord’s first obedience was to the will of his Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of his obedience to the Father.
“If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a doormat.”
When we are “filled” and controlled by the Holy Spirit, he will manifest the “fruit” of love for Jesus and for everyone Jesus loves (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:22). Without such empowering, I will “soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter.” So will you.
But with the Spirit’s help, I can love those who reject my pro-life beliefs with compassion and humility.
“Enter the temple of your heart”
The animosity being directed toward pro-life supporters in these days is our opportunity to prove how “pro-life” we are. It is our chance to demonstrate the sincerity and consistency of our love for our neighbor (Matthew 22:39), no matter who they are or how they respond to us.
To this end, let’s follow the advice of St. Lawrence Justinian (1381–1456), the first Patriarch of Venice: “Enter the temple of your heart that you may be purified in spirit and cleansed of the pollution of your sins. In everything we do God considers our disposition rather than our actions.
“And so, whether we retire mentally to God in earnest contemplation and remain at rest or whether we are intent on being of service to those around us with good works and worthy undertakings, let our object be that we are motivated only by love of Christ.”
What love motivates your faith and life today?