Now that Roe is reversed, we’re finding out very quickly where the culture is at on the issue of abortion. In contrast to popular perception that the Roe reversal ended abortion, the reality is that America is in a new era of division, litigation, activism, regulations, and referendums. The Supreme Court did not end abortion, nor did it find a right to life for unborn children in the Constitution. The Dobbs ruling sends it back to the states to decide.
America has seen this before on the issue of human slavery, and it didn’t turn out well. The Missouri Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, just to name a few prominent pre-Civil War attempts to manage human slavery, eventually failed because neither established the core issue of human slavery: do all persons have intrinsic value?
State by state, and in fairly short order, we’ll find out exactly where the culture stands.
Consider the example of Ireland’s 2018 referendum on the pro-life protections found in the eighth amendment to its constitution. By a 2-1 margin, voters in the predominantly Catholic nation voted to repeal the protections, marking the first time in world history that a nation has voted to embrace abortion on demand as opposed to having it forced up in them by the courts or politicians. Why? Ireland’s culture shifted long ago, and the abortion referendum exposed a result of that shift.
Could the same happen in America? Absolutely.
It is significant to note that abortion supporters in the U.S. are already engaged in heavily funded culture change strategies in post-Roe America. Not all of this is bad news for the pro-life movement. After all, the reason abortion supporters are throwing their full weight into changing the culture is that they have not yet won the culture – and the high negatives associated with abortion are the reason why. Case in point: recent professional marketing research revealed that when middle-ground millennials are asked if abortion is best for the woman, only 10% of respondents agreed. When asked if abortion is best for the baby, slightly more than 6% agreed.
Still, the pro-life movement must recognize threats on the cultural front or risk being flanked while tying the majority of its hopes to politics and the courts, all of which are downstream from the culture.
Even a Supreme Court ruling can be overturned, as supporters of Roe know. Without due diligence and the right priorities, Dobbs could one day suffer the same date as Roe.
It is undeniable the pro-life movement did a great job in political engagement, most notably in winning the battles necessary to tilt the Supreme Court to its most conservative make up in over half a century. But the movement is lagging in the ability to inspire and innovate, two vital elements in winning hearts and minds. Deficiency in these areas, if not corrected, will eventually lead to losing the culture.
The battle to win the cultural tipping point on abortion is in high gear, right now.