Texas Law is Saving Lives

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.                                     

Published by Rick Hinshaw

I have spent the last three decades in primarily Catholic communications work: as a reporter, news editor, columnist, and for eight years editor of The Long Island Catholic; several years as co-host and co-producer of The Catholic Forum program on the diocesan Telecare channel; two stints as Director of Communications for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; and a year as Associate Director for Communications at the New York State Catholic Conference. I also served for three years as Public Information Officer for the late Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon, a staunchly Catholic and active pro-life leader. Over that more than 30-year career, I have gained an ever deeper understanding of and appreciation for the moral and social teachings of our Church. In my various roles I have lent my voice to articulating those teachings and their applicability to the critical issues of our time. That is what I intend to do with this blog. Moreover, at a time when our political and social disagreements seem to have degenerated into constant vitriol, vilification, verbal abuse and intolerance of those who hold differing opinions, I hope that this blog can contribute, in some small way, to a restoration of respectful debate and discussion, where we can defend our beliefs forcefully without demonizing any who disagree with us. As a Catholic commentator, that is what I have always striven to do--remembering that even as we are called to stand firmly in defense of our Church, her teachings, and our right to be heard in the public square, we are also called always to be the face of Christ to the world--most especially to those with whom we disagree.

5 thoughts on “Texas Law is Saving Lives

  1. So we’ll said, thank you Rick.

    I believe we need to latch on to faith and trust in Jesus that will lift us above fear of recriminations over bold pro-life accomplishments like this. We must all pray with confidence every day – especially the Rosary as asked so often by our Blessed Mother.

    Jesus, I Trust in You!

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    1. Thank you, Walter. You are so right, we can accomplish nothing except through prayer–remembering, in the turbulent times ahead, to always trust in Jesus, as St. Faustina did.

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  2. Following the tortured logic of the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, early pro-lifers naively believed that education as to what abortion really is would win the day, and that Roe would be overturned by a subsequent decision or a constitutional amendment. But in a culture of convenience and instant gratification, “education” didn’t move the needle very much.

    The hysterical reaction to the recent Texas statute is based on the reality that access to legal abortion for any reason or for no reason is now the norm and that anything else is unthinkable. That there was ever a time when abortion was considered aberrant and horrifying (not to mention illegal) is unimaginable to many (most?) of those born since 1973 – which are most Americans. The current “argument” against the Texas statute is, sadly, baked into the Planned Parenthood v. Casey SCOTUS “logic” of 1992: we, as a nation, have come to rely on access to abortion, so let’s not rock the boat. I think that mindset prevails, and, even with kudos to Texas, little will change, certainly not here in New York.

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    1. Thank you, Larry, insightful as always. Yes, we thought early on that once Americans were educated as to the living humanity of the unborn child, abortion would be widely rejected. Yet today, while that living humanity in the womb cannot be plausibly denied, support for abortion remains widespread. While I do believe that our efforts have borne some fruit–witness the significant numbers of young people who, born after Roe and constantly propagandized in favor of abortion, in their schools, entertainment venues, media, nevertheless are pro-life–you are right, there has not been the groundswell we might have expected against this mass extermination. And yes, even if Roe is overturned, it will make no difference in states like New York; in fact, as other states institute legal protections for the unborn, we will surely see an increase in abortions here, as New York enhances its infamy as the abortion capital of the nation. Still we soldier on, knowing our cause is just, and happy for whatever lives (and souls) we may be able to save.

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