Pro-Life Groups: Roe Decision Only Half the Battle

Pro-Life Groups: Roe Decision Only Half the Battle
Pro-life supporters hug outside the Supreme Court in Washington after the court formally overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Beth Brelje

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade represents a victory for women and children throughout the country, pro-life organizations say, but add that their work is only halfway finished.

“Of course, we are rejoicing that the Supreme Court has seen the need to overturn this dreadful decision that has led to millions of deaths of unborn children and harm to their mothers who have suffered the violence of abortion,” Olivia Gans Turner, director of the American Victims of Abortion Outreach program through National Right to Life, told The Epoch Times in a phone interview.

The court has correctly decided that a right to abortion is not in the Constitution, she said.

It means the rules governing abortion go to individual states and Americans will have more say, through their elected representatives, in when and how a woman may access abortion.

“Many of us believe that our job is halfway done. This was the first step and now we must work even harder to pass protective pro-life laws across the United States, particularly in those states that are currently obstacle courses to those sorts of things.”

“This is a joyful day for mothers and their children,” Gans Turner said. “Women like myself who have had abortions can rejoice today, because we realize that this is finally recognition that the children that we paid to have abortions for are human beings that should be respected and protected under the law.”

Students for Life Action President Kristan Hawkins said in a statement that the decision to return abortion decisions to the states is a historic moment that will determine the fate of millions of children. Students for Life Action is made up of pro-life college and high school-aged individuals.

“Now, it’s time to get to work. This weekend, for example, Students for Life Action is hosting dozens of state legislators and student leaders in our nation’s capital for national training, preparing these leaders for the state legislative sessions to come. We are ready to protect life in law and in service,” Hawkins said.

States Make the Rules

The decision adds a new layer of importance to state governor and legislative races. Governors and state legislators will now drive local abortion policy.

Roe v. Wade called state laws that fully ban abortion unconstitutional, but with this decsion, that is no longer the case. Current state laws vary widely and while none could fully ban abortion under Roe, that restriction is off the table.

Texas’s heartbeat bill went into effect Sept. 1, 2021, banning abortions once a heartbeat is detected. Texas also passed an Alternative to Abortion Program in 2021, dedicating $100 million to serve 150,000 women for three years after the birth of the child. Texas has more than 300 pro-life pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption centers that provide resources for women with unplanned pregnancies. The legislature also passed the Texas human Life Protection Act. It is a trigger law designed to go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, which it now has. Under the act, Texas would fully ban most abortions.

Other states with similar trigger laws already in place are Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Leaders of other states have vowed to keep abortion accessible.

New York legislators passed the Reproductive Health Act in 2019, allowing abortion for up to 24 weeks [6 months] and longer if the mother’s health is at risk.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said in December that he aims to make the state a sanctuary for those seeking an abortion. In California, abortions are available after up to 24 weeks of pregnancy and the state insurance for low-income individuals will cover the cost of an abortion.

Oregon allows third-trimester abortions, after 27 weeks, with no restrictions, and requires health insurance to cover the procedure.

Beth Brelje is a national, investigative journalist covering politics, wrongdoing, and the stories of everyday people facing extraordinary circumstances. Send her your story ideas: [email protected]