It finally happened.
Roe v. Wade was repealed and the U.S. is not any more one of the countries with the less restrictive abortion laws in the world, a group led by China, North Korea, Colombia, and Iceland, famous for “ending” Down Syndrome through abortion.
This is a historic day for the U.S. and for civil rights. It’s as important as the end of slavery, the end of segregation in schools, or the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
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But, as the end of slavery, segregation, and expansion of voting rights to black people didn’t magically end racism or improve the socio-economic conditions of black people, Dobbs v. Jackson won’t magically end abortion.
After all, states like California, New York, and Colorado still have no term restrictions for abortion, meaning you can murder your own child throughout the whole pregnancy, while many other states will still allow abortion up to 24 weeks—which still puts them at the level of China, North Korea, and Iceland.
And of course, these states will likely somehow finance abortion travel for women in states with abortion restrictions. Likewise, many companies such as JPMorgan, Disney, and PayPal have said they will cover abortion expenses for their employees (they’d really rather help you kill your own child instead of paid maternity leave).
Moreover, even if a federal abortion existed (which should be the next legal goal), the sad reality of abortion would not disappear. Women would still seek abortions illegally and in dire conditions.
The immediate goal of the pro-life movement is not just to ban abortion but to make it unthinkable. Dobbs v. Jackson is a welcome step in that regard, but it’s just the beginning.
What else should be done?
For starters, adoption regulations should be more flexible. Pregnant women that cannot be mothers shouldn’t choose between abortion or foster care when there are about 36 families wanting to adopt each child placed for adoption.
Funding for crisis pregnancy centers, paid maternity leave, and child tax credits are just some of the few pro-family, pro-life policies that should be prioritized from now on. Restricting abortion won’t work if abortions don’t actually go down. In that case, it’s just a dead letter.
Don’t get me wrong: restricting and banning abortion is important. In the end, the law is a moral master; it encourages certain social attitudes and restricts others. But it is merely the first step.
The pro-life Republican Party
Republicans would be wise to fully embrace the nature of the future of their party: a pro-family party above all, to seek to become a country where no family has to ask itself if they can afford another child and pregnant women have nothing but support from their families, their workplaces, and the healthcare system.
Lastly, it’s about creating a culture of life. A culture where no doctor pressures a woman to abort her child with Down syndrome, where a family doesn’t believe they can afford a third child, or where fundamentalists don’t chastise young women for getting pregnant, and a culture that understands that every child has an infinite dignity that must be protected, respected, and loved.
The culture of death where having a child is seen as a career-breaker, as a pause in your life, an issue, or a headache that must end. Every child is a precious gift from God; it’s as God told humankind “it’s good to be alive” and “this is how much I love you.”
And cultural changes take a while. Republicans should start looking for solidly pro-life, pro-family candidates in state legislatures because that’s where the policies for big cultural shifts will occur, and pro-family DA’s because healthcare professionals who procure an abortion deserve nothing less than jail time, and women pressured to abort deserve nothing but mercy and love. It’s time for the Republican Party to stop being merely anti-abortion and wholly embrace its pro-life, pro-family identity.
Today, we celebrate. Kudos to all the pro-life activists that have been working for this for decades. But tomorrow is the day to start accompanying women in crisis pregnancies and walking with them so they feel welcome and loved and see that their precious child deserves to live.
The goal of the pro-life movement is the same as it’s ever been: to protect, cherish, and respect life from conception to its natural end.
Edgar is political scientist and philosopher. He defends the Catholic intellectual tradition. Edgar writes about religion, ideology, culture, US politics, abortion, and the Supreme Court. Twitter: @edgarjbb_ // Edgar es politólogo y filósofo. Defiende la tradición intelectual católica. Edgar escribe sobre religión, ideología, cultura, política doméstica, aborto y la Corte Suprema. Twitter: @edgarjbb_