After Dobbs: Our Work Is Cut Out for Us

After Dobbs: Our Work Is Cut Out for Us
Pro-life activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after the Court announced a ruling in the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization case in Washington on June 24, 2022. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
Erin Hawley
June 24 marks one year since the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that states have the right to protect the lives of their unborn citizens. In the year since that tremendous victory, we’ve seen real, measurable progress toward creating a true culture of life—and we have also seen just how much work we have left to do.
First, the good news: Overturning Roe v. Wade has literally saved tens of thousands of lives. While data on abortion can be difficult to obtain, there’s no question that abortions dropped post-Dobbs. An April study of 13 states with abortion regulations triggered by Dobbs showed that abortions decreased by nearly 96 percent in those states.
In real numbers, this means tens of thousands of babies saved. WeCount, a research project from a pro-abortion group, found that between July 2022 and March 2023, there were 25,640 fewer abortions nationwide than in that same period a year before (pdf).

This is a huge victory, and we should all celebrate it. Each and every one of these lives is of incalculable value and worth. Each of these children now has the most basic of rights: the right to life.

Yet when we dig a little, it’s clear that our work at creating a culture of life is far from over. WeCount found that abortions rose by 56,000 in states without pro-life laws, indicating that many women traveled across state lines to obtain abortions.

These numbers show that while reversing Roe was a crucial step in protecting life, changing the law is not alone enough to create a culture of life. The work of the pro-life movement is to not only foster good laws but also to create an America in which abortion is unthinkable and choosing life feels possible for every mother.
In just the year since the power to protect life was finally returned to the people, states are leading the way in creative, proactive approaches to fostering a culture of life. In March 2023, the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that 16 states authorize funding to life-affirming pregnancy care organizations, including “pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, maternity homes and life-affirming social service agencies.” These life-affirming states are Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.
States offer a variety of ways to care for the unborn and their parents. Missouri just created a $75,000 budget allocation for raising awareness of Missouri’s Alternatives to Abortion Program, and also offers a tax credit of one-to-one for donating to pregnancy resource centers. Since 2017, North Carolina has allocated funding to a pro-life organization, Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, to provide women with access to safe, free maternity care. Texas has a statewide Alternatives to Abortion program that offers free counseling and education, material assistance from diapers to car seats and formula, and even housing support and childcare coordination help.

This Texas program goes the extra mile in creating a true culture of life by offering these services for up to three years postpartum, up to two years post-adoption, and even for 90 days after a miscarriage or pregnancy loss. Texas is showing that pro-life states are committed to facilitating the flourishing of women and their children beyond pregnancy and birth. The state offers care for families for years after birth or adoption and recognizes that the loss of a pregnancy is a significant grief that merits special support.

Studies show that the vast majority of women who have abortions say they would choose life were circumstances different. Indeed, women are consistently more pro-life than men. And yet, post-Dobbs, many continue to believe they have no choice but to make the heartbreaking decision to end the life of their child. We must work to ensure that every one of these women believes they have the support they need to choose life and to flourish as parents or the resources and support needed to place their child with a loving adoptive home.
It’s not all on the states to create a culture of life and to ensure that every woman has the support she needs to choose life. Individuals and non-profit organizations must join in this work as well—and post-Dobbs, that takes courage. Since March 2022, when the opinion in Dobbs was leaked, pregnancy resource centers have faced an onslaught of violence and vandalism from pro-abortion groups. CatholicVote reports that, as of June 7, 87 attacks on pregnancy resource centers have occurred since the leak. These centers are generally apolitical and exist to offer free medical care, supplies, and resources to women in need. Yet pro-abortion groups are so determined to push their message of death that they would rather these organizations shut down than women receive the help they need.
Fortunately, centers haven’t given up. Even some centers that were so damaged that they had to close down found alternative sites to offer their free care.
This is the spirit of perseverance and hope that the pro-life movement must adopt in the months and years to come. While overturning Roe was a miraculous legal victory, the real work remains before us. Now we’re working to win over the hearts and minds of millions of Americans to support the flourishing of women and their children through pregnancy and beyond, and to bring about a true cultural shift so that abortion isn’t only unlawful but unthinkable.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Erin Hawley is senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal) and served on the Mississippi legal team defending the state’s Gestational Age Act at the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
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