The last week has been filled with many interactions about Roe v. Wade. Countless times over the decades I’ve been asked, “Do you think Roe v. Wade will ever be overturned?” My answer always was, “Given the trajectory of our culture, I would have to say no, but one thing is for sure: countless lives have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved just by people doing what they can for the sake of the unborn and their mothers.“
Only in the last few years has it even seemed plausible that Roe v. Wade could be overturned. I marvel at how the God of providence can do what He does, and it brings tears to my eyes to think that at last this nation’s highest court has reversed one of its most horrific decisions ever. It was comparable perhaps only to Dred Scott v. Stanford in 1857, in which the U.S. Supreme Court stated that enslaved people were not citizens of the United States and, therefore, could not expect any protection from the federal government or the courts. The Dred Scott decision was ultimately overturned in 1865 by the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery.
Like Dred Scott v. Stanford, Roe v. Wade was effectively overturned Friday June 24, in Dobbs v. Jackson. The court held that the U.S. Constitution does not confer any right to abortion. Their decision overruled both Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). As a result of the Dobbs decision, abortion will become illegal or severely restricted in at least 22 states which have existing pro-life laws or ones poised to go into effect.
While the spiritual and moral trajectory of America still seems downward, this decision will undoubtedly save many lives. It gives me hope that perhaps God may forestall judgment for the sake of the next generation, including Nanci’s and my grandchildren. These words come to mind: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
I praise God for His faithfulness through all these years, and I am so grateful for the millions of people who have served on behalf of innocent children and needy mothers, most of them behind the scenes. If you’ve watched the news, you obviously know that as great as this victory is, the battle for the hearts and minds of people is not over—not even close. Serving the unborn and their mothers and educating our neighbors about life will be all the more necessary and important now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.
In states such as mine, Oregon, abortion continues to be fully legal, just as it was for years before Roe v. Wade. In other states, abortion on demand will no longer be legal, and new pro-life laws will be implemented, but there will be fierce debates and probably violence against pro-life groups. (The pregnancy resource center in my hometown of Gresham was badly burned a few weeks ago, and the Portland headquarters for the PRC group was vandalized this week. Time will tell if these incidents are unique, but I expect to see more of this as time goes on.)
Just as pro-lifers became more motivated when the law of the land was against the rights of the unborn, so now pro-abortion forces are and will be mobilized and motivated and will aggressively raise funds and recruit volunteers to fight to make abortion universally legal once again. Please pray for the cause of unborn children and be grateful for the change in law, while being alert to the fact that changing hearts and minds, not just laws, is imperative.
As I’ve thought about the events of the last week, I’ve tearfully remembered how from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s Nanci, week after week, offered sidewalk counseling, intervening for unborn children and their mothers at Portland’s Lovejoy abortion clinic—by far the largest in the state. It was one of the most difficult things she ever did, but she did it prayerfully, and God used her to touch lives and save them. She was an introvert—she avoided attention, and therefore, I believe her reward now is all the greater.
I’ve also really been struck with the parallels between the reversal of Roe v. Wade and the closure of the Lovejoy clinic last year. If you had asked me ten years ago what the chances of Roe v. Wade ever being overturned were, I might well have replied, “About the same chances of the Lovejoy clinic closing its doors.” I have never been so happy to be totally wrong about two things!
After Lovejoy’s closure, I recorded a video for a local pro-life gathering. Although it is not specifically about Roe v. Wade, I think you’ll find it encouraging as I say thanks for all the different forms of pro-life activism, from educational to political, from PRCs to direct intervention in civil disobedience, that believers have engaged in over the decades and which have made a big and eternal difference.
An edited transcript is available here.
Finally, I encourage you to download (without cost) my short book Pro-Choice or Pro-Life: Examining 15 Pro-Choice Claims—What Do Facts & Common Sense Tell Us? It will equip you in your conversations and also is a great book to share with those who are pro-choice or are on the fence.
The print version of the book is available from our ministry for a low cost. A single pro-life donor could purchase enough copies for their entire church—a small investment with potentially enormous returns. Our ministry’s goal is to spread this life-saving message as far as possible!