How Christians Can Prepare for the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monumental Abortion Ruling

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Imagine a world where the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is no longer considered the “law of the land.” Thanks to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case the court heard on Dec. 1, this hypothetical world may be only months away.

Legal experts assert that nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports Roe’s so-called constitutional right to abortion. And many abortion advocates admit the case’s core argument was poorly reasoned, even if they desperately desired the policy outcome.

Dobbs challenges the Gestational Age Act, a 2018 Mississippi law that limits abortions after 15 weeks in gestational age, permitting them only in medical emergencies or for severe fetal abnormality. Lawmakers enacted the law to protect the health of pregnant mothers from the harms of a late-term abortion, promote the dignity of unborn children, and preserve the integrity of the medical profession.

The central question before the court is whether “the people, acting through their state legislature, [can] establish restrictions on abortion—restrictions that protect legitimate interests of the state [emphasis added]—before this uncertain and disintegrating line called viability?” Abortion proponents point to Roe and offer a resounding “no.” The state of Mississippi (and numerous others who have filed friend-of-the-court briefs) argue that Dobbs and the court’s previous abortion rulings (especially Roe) are on a direct collision course.

Mississippi has argued that Roe is “irredeemable” and that “large legislative majorities” adopted “modest restrictions to pursue important interests.” The court’s decision–likely at the end of the court’s term in June–will reveal how many justices embrace the state’s arguments. The country stands at the important inflection point–when the Supreme Court could uphold Mississippi’s law and actually strike down the core of Roe. In light of this possibility, how can Christians prepare to respond?

Abortion advocates rely on the myth that women need abortion in order to operate as fully useful and equal members of society.

1. Understand and influence state and local laws.

If Roe is overturned, most abortion policy will revert to the state and local level. Democrats in Congress have attempted to enshrine Roe’s abortion “rights” into law using the Women’s Health Protection Act, but they don’t have the supermajority required to enact such broad legislative policy.

If Christians, like the Jews of Jeremiah’s day, are to seek the welfare of the “city” where they live, they’d be wise to understand their state’s current legal framework or even the ordinances specific to their town or city. Numerous pro-life advocacy groups offer thorough summaries of state laws and all the policy papers, fact sheets, polls, and legal briefs a curious and motivated Christian could desire. Understanding, then, for many Christians should also lead to advocacy.

2. Know your audience and seek to win hearts, not just minds.

If the court upholds Dobbs and reverses Roe, the fight for hearts and minds will continue and likely intensify. Christians believe that every image-bearer–born or unborn–is worthy of protection. Scripture certainly lends support to this conviction and advocates can use a host of logical and well-reasoned arguments in defense of the unborn person. But an effective advocacy won’t just aim for the head; it will seek to reach the heart.

This link-rich list isn’t comprehensive, but it can encourage creative, winsome, and audience-specific engagement.

Kind and compelling advocates won’t yell or haunt passersby with graphic images—tactics that usually end conversations and traumatize vulnerable, uncertain women. Instead, they might point to the world’s most premature baby who has confounded the medical establishment and exposed the arbitrary nature of “viability.” They celebrate the heroic women who choose to keep their children tragically conceived through rape. Christians in a post-Roe era can employ even more effective advocacy for the unborn and help create a culture of life.

3. Empathize with, encourage, and empower those closest to the unborn child.

A robust advocacy for the unborn will usually lead Christians to effectively serve those closest to the unborn child–the child’s mother and father. Pro-abortion advocates sometimes sneer that pro-lifers stop caring about babies as soon as they’re born; thankfully, those critics are usually wrong. Thousands of life-affirming pregnancy care centers (often affiliated with Heartbeat International, CareNet, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, or the Human Coalition) offer spiritual, emotional, and material support for those most tempted to get an abortion.

But the church (both its pastors and its people) must understand and address the motivations for and reasons why abortion exists. Abortion advocates rely on the myth that women need abortion in order to operate as fully useful and equal members of society. In the Dobbs case, a group of 240 professionally and academically successful women have filed a Supreme Court brief challenging that myth. Instead of helping women, they note, the data suggest that abortion correlates with the feminization of poverty and women’s declining levels of happiness.

Abortion hurts women. After all, it’s a tragically distorted view of the female person that demands permission for a mother to end her unborn child’s life. But opposing such a corrupted view of femaleness doesn’t make motherhood easy. And all the data or legal arguments in the world don’t immediately alleviate the fear, anxiety, or pressure of pregnancy—expected or otherwise. Without idolizing and airbrushing motherhood, the church–through public preaching, counseling, and discipling–should continue to celebrate and support the unique role that women play in continuing the human race and cultivating the kingdom of God on earth.

4. Express reliance on the Giver of life.

Whether or not this Supreme Court overturns Roe, Christians should express their absolute reliance on the Giver of life through prayer. He cares when even a sparrow falls. He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. He directs kings’ hearts like streams of water and is able to direct the hearts of today’s Supreme Court justices. In many cases, pro-life advocates have acknowledged and elevated the power of prayer through vigils and organized events. But it’s difficult to imagine a world where Christians are praying too much.

So, imagine, if you would, a world where Roe no longer is the “law of the land.” What would you do next?

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Jessica Prol Smith

Jessica Prol Smith is a writer with 15 years of Washington, DC experience in public policy and on Capitol Hill (including advocacy for the unborn). Her work has been published in USA Today, The Christian Post, The Washington Times, The Daily Wire, and others. She lives in Cumberland, MD with her family.

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