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The Dog That Caught The Car
The Pro-Life movement was never ready for Roe to be overturned and it shows
But once Roe gets overturned, that will create a who new world for Republicans in Congress and pro-life advocates around the country.
The first will be something I identified back in September:
Republicans in Congress to finally get serious about passing a Human Life Amendment. No such amendment has been introduced in this Congress. Only the Life at Conception Act has been introduced. But even those bills are only supported by 122 House Members and 17 Senators. Too many Republicans in Congress are missing in action on life issues and the fact that so few members of the Republican caucus are supporting these bills is alarming.
A Human Life Amendment that really accepts the idea of the Consistent Life Ethic would help.
The second will be preparing for new legislative battlegrounds on abortion. The abortion battle will now be engaged primarily at the state level, where individual states will be responsible for passing abortion legislation. The more states end abortion, the closer we will be to outlawing it once and for all.
But Ryan T. Anderson really gets to the heart of the matter.
He’s absolutely right. It will no longer be good enough for Republicans who say they are pro-life to say so on the basis that they are against abortion. It is time for Republicans who are truly pro-life to expound upon what that means. To be pro-life is to be pro-family, and it will be time to finally talk about the policies supported by pro-life activists and politicians that are far beyond abortion.
Except the National Pro-Life movement turns out to be the dog that caught the car. They had no idea what to do next after the Dobbs decisions. And it’s very clear that they still don’t:
For half a century, the pro-life movement was forced to rely primarily on a legal strategy to protect the unborn child. The conservative legal scholar Ed Whelan, my colleague at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, called the Dobbs decision the “crowning achievement of the conservative legal movement.” But that legal victory, while necessary, only put the pro- and anti-abortion forces on a level political playing field. It didn’t win the contest. And since then, the scoreboard is telling an ugly story.
Kansas voters rejected a pro-life ballot amendment by 18 points in August 2022. Three months later in Kentucky, which voted for Trump by 26 points in 2020, a similar measure failed by 5 points. Montana, another red state, voted down an amendment that would have required medical care to be provided to infants who survived an abortion attempt. Two-thirds of voters in California, and three-quarters of voters in Vermont, approved broadly worded amendments guaranteeing an individual’s right to “reproductive freedom.” A similarly sweeping abortion referendum in Michigan passed by 13 points. And most recently, voters in Ohio turned down a constitutional amendment largely seen as a proxy fight over abortion rights by 14 points.
The abrupt shift into a world of direct democracy has left the pro-life movement exposed. The question can’t help but linger in some conservatives’ minds: Why weren’t pro-lifers better prepared for a post-Roe America?
Last night the Abortion Amendment passed easily in Ohio. Not Maryland. Not New Jersey. Not New York. But Ohio, a state that just elected J.D. Vance to the U.S. Senate and was twice carried by Donald Trump.
I am 100% pro-life from conception until natural death. But the good guys are getting their asses kicked pretty badly in this fight.
There are no easy answers here. Not at the ballot box. Not in public opinion. It cannot be fixed by an election. It cannot be fixed by a political “Death Star”. It cannot be fixed by anything that will come quickly.
This will take a new message. A new approach. A new forward-looking way of thinking about how to save the lives of the unborn.
It’s about time for the pro-life professional class to extricate themselves from their victory lap and get serious about protecting the unborn. The Pro-Life Movement may have won the legal battle, but we are losing the bigger war of ending abortion.