If you want a preview of what we are in for should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, just observe the pro-abortion hysteria over the Texas “heartbeat” law protecting the lives of helpless infants in their mothers’ wombs.
“Extremist law” blares a headline in The Atlantic over an inflammatory charge that “conservative legislators in Texas” are “willing to let pregnant patients suffer and die.”
“Vigilantism,” shrieks NARAL Pro-Choice America about the law’s empowerment of private individuals to bring civil suit against purveyors and abettors of abortions. One would think abortion promoters, after years of falsely accusing pro-lifers of wanting to “put women in prison,” would be relieved that this law avoids criminalizing abortion. And, as vigilantism involves private action without regard to legal process, it hardly applies to bringing suit in a court of law.
Nor is the hysteria limited to words. The head of Georgia-based game development studio Tripwire Interactive was forced out after tweeting his support for the law. And Newsweek published a list of “Companies Who Donated to Co-Sponsors of Texas Abortion Bill,” clearly inviting blacklisting. Add to this the quiescent toleration, by progressive politicians and mainstream media, of last year’s left-wing rioting that destroyed lives and property and terrorized cities across America, and we have some idea of the hatred and violence that await if Roe is overturned.
To be sure, there is also negative reaction to the Texas law among Republicans and conservatives–including some who identify as pro-life, and whose sincere prudential differences with the law’s approach should be respected.
But there are also those establishment Republicans and economic and foreign policy conservatives who are ambivalent–and in some cases outright hostile–toward the pro-life cause. They want pro-life votes as part of their electoral coalitions; but they never really work to advance pro-life policies, either because they see them as politically detrimental, or because they don’t actually believe in the pro-life cause.
Look, these folk are telling pro-lifers now: pro-abortion President Joe Biden is in serious political trouble, with the Afghanistan catastrophe, the ongoing border crisis, and the COVID spike. But the Texas abortion law is allowing him to distract attention from those things, solidify his base, and jeopardize our chances to take back the White House and Congress–without which, we cannot advance pro-life legislation.
But pro-life people have been hearing this for fifty years. Just elect us, they are told, then we can help your cause. Then once these politicians do get elected, there are always other issues that take precedence. Or, as in this case, they don’t like pro-life “tactics.” There is always some excuse for deferring action on pro-life initiatives. But come the next election, they are back seeking pro-life votes.
Should pro-lifers, to mollify such ambivalence, turn their backs on true pro-life public officials, like those in Texas, who act courageously to protect unborn lives? If they do, who can they expect will ever stand with them again?
Some pro-life politicians and commentators echo the objections of ambivalent Republicans and conservatives: the Texas law is “too extreme,” it will be politically damaging. Others are discomfited by the strategy–using civil actions by private citizens to prevent abortions.
David French, in a thoughtful and moving piece that deserves a thorough read and detailed discussion, nevertheless labels the Texas law “dangerous.”
That’s ironic. French, who is clearly pro-life, surely understands the mortal danger that innocent children–tens of millions of whom have already been killed–are in every day, as long as our culture of unrestricted abortion remains intact; the danger to women, too many of whom have already been killed, physically injured, or emotionally scarred by the brutality of abortion; the danger to other vulnerable populations, as long as the abortion culture’s “destroy the victim” mentality dictates our responses to human suffering; and the danger to our nation as now, almost 50 years on from Roe v. Wade, the breakdown in respect for human life is evident in the violence that permeates our city streets, college campuses, even political protests.
These are the existential dangers that drive the pro-life movement; and any approach, however imperfect or temporary, that peacefully mitigates them while the work goes on to build a culture of life, is welcome.
As Nathanael Blake writes in The Federalist, “We should cheer Texas’s new law prohibiting abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, and we should rejoice as it saves lives and changes the culture.”
“For the first time since Roe v. Wade,” observed the Catholic bishops of Texas, “the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a prolife law to remain while litigation proceeds in lower courts. We celebrate every life saved by this legislation.”
That is the bottom line.
By crafting this law to involve civil rather than criminal liability, Texas enabled it to immediately take effect. Once it did, Blake quotes the New York Times, “Abortion clinics reported dramatic drops in patients on their schedules. And pregnancy crisis centers, where anti-abortion groups offer pregnancy services, reported surges in phone calls and walk-ins.”
While legal challenges are heard, right now, every day that this law is in effect, lives are being saved.
That is indeed cause for celebration–and for gratitude, to Gov. Greg Abbott and the pro-life legislators of Texas.