It’s been one year since Roe v. Wade fell. What’s next?

Planned Parenthood, pro-life, Roe v. Wade

One year ago, the nearly 50-year effort to overturn Roe v. Wade came to fulfillment when the Supreme Court ruled that states can protect preborn children from abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. While that day — June 24, 2022 — is one to be celebrated, the fight to end abortion is far from over. It continues on both the state and federal levels with differing opinions on how the right to life for preborn persons will ultimately be won.

The states

The Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs didn’t outlaw abortion across the nation, but rather undid what Roe v. Wade had done in 1973 — which was to force legalized abortion on every state, whether that state’s government agreed or not. Thanks to Dobbs, states can now pass laws that protect preborn children from abortion at any point in pregnancy. Several states have since enacted pro-life laws, while other states have attempted to, but have had their laws held up in legal battles brought on by pro-abortion businesses and organizations.

Meanwhile, several states with pro-abortion leaders and legislators have enacted laws that have expanded abortion, and pro-abortion companies have begun to pay for the abortions and abortion-related travel expenses of employees who choose to travel from pro-life to pro-abortion states for an abortion.

Pro-abortion research groups are now claiming that since Roe v. Wade fell, abortions have declined. #WeCount, a research project from the pro-abortion Society for Family Planning, reported that there were an estimated 25,000 fewer abortions committed in the nine months after Dobbs was handed down, from July 2022 through March 2023. However, as Live Action Research Fellow Carole Novielli explained, abortion travel played a large part in keeping abortion numbers high as women in pro-life states sought out abortions in states with no protections for the preborn.

In addition, Novielli noted, “[I]t is important to look at these numbers honestly and recognize that some of the decreases could be an overestimate. The reason? It is not possible to count all sales and use of abortion-inducing drugs in the U.S.”

Beyond restricting abortion, states can also enact pro-family laws that ensure new mothers have access to health care for a full year following the birth of their child and that fathers pay child support. States can also enact stricter fetal-homicide laws and child-endangerment laws, expand state child tax credits to include preborn children, and ensure that preborn children are considered persons under their state constitutions.

While it’s important for the pro-life movement to continue advocating for pro-life state laws and working with state legislators to create and enact pro-family, pro-life laws, efforts must also be made beyond the state level.


The nation

Live Action is leading a coalition of 26 pro-life groups and individuals in the publication of The New North Star Coalition Letter, which presents a clear goal for the pro-life movement post-Roe — ending abortion by ensuring preborn persons receive the equal protection that is guaranteed to them under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Dobbs ruling held that the “Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.”

The 14th Amendment is clear: “[N]o state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The coalition letter explains, “There can be no distinction between someone’s biological humanity and his or her legal personhood. All human beings are persons. There are no classes of sub-personal human beings. The very idea of a human being who is relegated to the status of a non-person is a moral atrocity. From the earliest embryonic stage to the very end of life, each and every human being is a person and a bearer of fundamental dignity and an unalienable right to life.”

The New North Star seeks to ensure that every branch and every level of government takes the necessary steps to ensure that preborn persons receive equal protection. This includes acknowledging through legislation and constitutional provisions that from fertilization, every human being is a legal and constitutional person deserving of equal protection. It also speaks to the need for the enforcement of fetal-homicide laws and child-endangerment laws, including the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

In addition, The New North Star aims to ensure state and federal child tax credits include preborn children as qualifying children on tax returns, and that frozen embryos are not considered legal property. It also seeks to pass and enforce prenatal child-support laws, in addition to other steps to protect preborn human beings as persons. Read the letter here.

Target petition

Assisting families

Beyond legislation — whether at the state or federal level — the pro-life movement must continue to come to the assistance of women and families facing challenges during pregnancy. When challenges are difficult enough to cause the desperation that often leads to abortion, it’s clear that what women and families need is support, not death.

Pro-life pregnancy centers have been under heavy attack since Roe v. Wade fell and pro-abortion states are working to disparage pregnancy centers to prevent them from reaching women in need of support. Every pro-lifer in every state should be helping to support pro-life pregnancy resource organizations in their local areas. From a simple cash donation to a fundraiser, from help installing security cameras to help with building renovations, from a baby shower for a mom in need to offering respite to a new mom, there are abundant opportunities for good pro-life advocates to step in and help where help is needed.

Roe v. Wade may be history, but abortion isn’t. In the words of St. Francis, “Let us begin again, for until now we have done nothing.”

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