What Does the Post-Roe Road Hold for the Pro-Life Movement?

COMMENTARY: As we celebrate the end of Roe, we look ahead to the role that Catholics must play in this new era.

The more we work to achieve a true culture of life, the more we will restore the good conscience of our nation.
The more we work to achieve a true culture of life, the more we will restore the good conscience of our nation. (photo: Josh Applegate / Unsplash)

Finally, after 50 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has set things right. They have declared: 

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives. … Roe was egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided.”

Surely many of us feel it surreal that the penultimate goal of the pro-life movement is now achieved — our ultimate goal being that abortion will someday be unthinkable and non-existent in America. At least now, we are no longer in the company of just seven other nations, including China and North Korea, in allowing abortion on demand up until the moment of birth. We are no longer shackled by the legal and constitutional sham of Roe, which tied the hands of so many who recognize the sacred dignity of each and every unborn child, and want to protect them.

Instead of attempting to analyze the legal and political intricacies of what this moment means for Americans, my message now is for fellow Catholics, as we all reflect on what this moment means for us. 

In short, this is a major spiritual victory. For longer than my entire lifetime, Catholics in the U.S. have lived in a nation whose laws are wildly incongruent with a chief tenet of our faith: the sacred dignity of every life. It is tragic that some states are using their newly restored freedom in determining abortion law to double-down on radical policies that deny babies their very own breath. But certainly we can celebrate the overturn of Roe as a win for God, and a huge step in the right direction, now that brutal, painful deaths by abortion are no longer entrenched in the law of our land.

For many years, those who remained steadfast have sounded the alarm against hypocritical leaders who promote the infanticide of abortion. Many Catholic political leaders seem to forget they are entrusted to govern a land that was established as “one nation, under God.” Through their pro-abortion policies, they have repeatedly turned against the Church and its faithful for the sake of political expediency. 

Hours after Roe was overturned, President Joe Biden, a baptized Catholic, gave a 10-minute speech mourning the High Court’s decision, once again proving that abortion is a sacrament to him and the Democratic Party. Then he jetted to the NATO Summit in Spain, where he restated on the international stage that he wants to codify Roe, and would even eliminate the legislative filibuster to do so. His administration is following the president’s lead closely: The Department of HHS is pushing dangerous abortion pills, the Pentagon is dedicated to promoting abortion access for military personnel, and the Department of Justice stated it strongly disagrees with overturning Roe. This only scratches the surface of the administration’s position. 

These statements indicate that the Supreme Court’s decision does not equal the end of our mission, as these sweet unborn lives still need defending against pro-abortion leaders, Planned Parenthood and the culture of death that permeates our society. As we celebrate the end of Roe, we look ahead to the role that Catholics must play in this new era. 

I recently spoke to a group of graduating high school seniors on the topic of how Roe v. Wade was fabricated by abortion activists, who were successful in rewriting American history on the topic of abortion. It was utter hypocrisy — the way they succeeded in sewing a so-called “right” to abortion into the fabric of our federal laws. Many don’t know that as early as Colonial times, statutes were on the books that condemned abortion, calling it a moral evil. You have only to read Justice Alito’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health to learn about the treasure trove of early American legal writings condemning the killing of unborn children as a crime. 

I asked the students to think about this: that if nefarious people in power could successfully deceive a whole nation about something so consequential as abortion, imagine how else they could deceive an entire people? The dissenting opinion in the Dobbs case signed by Justices Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor (the last of whom once blatantly denied the science of fetal pain), is another attempt to keep sewing the “abortion rights” lie, as they write that “today, millions of American women have lost a fundamental constitutional protection.” 

That is why our job as American Catholics is to continue instilling truth in our nation. We must ride on the coattails of this victory to remind our fellow Americans that the end of Roe is not just a political win for pro-life activists. It is a simple affirmation of that first self-evident truth scripted in our Declaration of Independence, the right of every new and pure being to live to see the light of day.

There are no words more perfect to turn to now than those of St. Teresa of Calcutta, who said, “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?” She also said: “A nation that kills its children in the womb has lost its soul.”

She was right. And certainly, we have seen the detrimental effects of legal abortion on our society these last 50 years: the lives of more than 60 million innocent children lost to us. The lives of their mothers torn apart with regret and shame, wounds that sometimes stay with them forever. Men weakened by their decision to shirk responsibility and sacrifice the lives of their own sons and daughters. In short, devastatingly broken families. 

I’d be remiss not to mention that installing a made-up “right” to abortion started a domino effect of major cultural degradation. 

Roe v. Wade cemented in our jurisprudence that the rights of an unborn baby could change based on the way that baby would affect another person’s life. It was the catalyst for so much of the confusion in our nation today about the true nature of the human person. I would add to Mother Teresa’s words, that it should have come as no surprise to us that following the legalization of abortion came the rise of gender confusion and the societal acceptance of same-sex unions, because these are both attempts to change the nature of a being. How could these tragedies not lead to sadness, emotional instability, and a deteriorating society?  

Now that we are out from under the evil shadow of Roe, we can begin to rebuild. And thankfully, there is an ever-growing number of leaders who have already started this important work. They are courageously standing up for the people who are the lifeblood of our country, people of virtue and faith, who will not soon forget the principles our ancestors carried to this country when they first set foot on its soil. We must join with them to protect and build strong families everywhere and support those people who serve as state legislators, pro-life governors, women and men providing resources to young mothers and families. Together we must rise up against political leaders who are concerned with the things of this world: profit, power, ease in this life. 

The more we work to achieve a true culture of life, the more we will restore the good conscience of our nation. The scales are falling from the eyes of her people, and the more Americans understand the brutal reality of abortion, they reject it. Some states have already signed into law a Life at Conception Act, and trigger laws stopping killings by abortion in about half of the states can now take effect with Roe out of the way. Perhaps someday sooner than we once imagined, we could see a Life at Conception Act debated in the halls of Congress. What a moment of divine justice it would be to see such a bill signed into law. 

I hope and pray that my fellow Catholics will join me in this movement to realize fundamental truths in our nation once again. Those realities that enable us to live in the happy freedom of truth. For we know, thanks to history, that our nation was founded by people of faith, who trusted in God to preserve their land. Who better to carry on our nation’s legacy of life and liberty, than us?

Prudence Robertson, a former spokeswoman for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, is the new anchor of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly