Prepare to build a post-egg world
For the first time in decades, the pro-life movement allows itself to dream of a post-Roe deer world. With the arguments at the hearing of the Supreme Court of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health is going as well as you would expect for the anti-abortion movement, pro-life activists and abortion advocates are increasingly convinced that over the next year or so, Roe deer will die finally, predeceased by 60 million American children aborted. If this happens, the main objective of a strong and dynamic political movement will be achieved and the discussion turns to what follows.
Plans to ensure that women and children receive the support they need in a restrictive abortion regime have been in the works for some time. Last year Emma Green write an article for the Atlantic titled “Anti-Abortion Movement Prepares to Build a Post-Roe World,” detailing some of the pro-life organizations and funders that are laying the groundwork. Meanwhile, like Politics reported in an essay titled “‘A Post-Roe Strategy’: The Next Phase In The Fight Against Abortion Has Already Begun,” Other Groups Such As Students for Life of America and Americans United for Life Prepare to Lobby State Legislatures to ensure that abortion bans pass after Roe deer falls.
Daniel K. Williams, professor of history at the University of West Georgia, has his own ideas. Author of the seminal story Advocates for the Unborn Child: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade (Oxford University Press), Williams’ most recent book, The policy of the cross: a Christian alternative to partisanship, came out earlier this year. In a long chapter on abortion, Williams details the story of how abortion grew from an issue that both liberals and conservatives deeply cared about – an almost exclusively partisan issue. Even the The Kennedy family was once divided over abortion–And if Sargent and Eunice Shriver had been successful in making pro-lifers welcome in the Democratic Party, American politics could be very different.
A publication-Roe deer world will certainly pose many challenges, but could also offer unprecedented opportunities for political realignment. Williams’ take on the pro-life movement’s alliance with the GOP is nuanced. On the one hand, it clearly paid off. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade Next year – which Williams thinks likely – will be the successful conclusion of a decades-long strategy of electing Republicans in exchange for judicial appointments. In the long run, however, the marriage of pro-family social conservatives with libertarians and big business has also had significant drawbacks.
“There is a strong relationship between abortion and poverty,” Williams told me. “Fifty percent of women who have abortions in the United States today live below the poverty line, and an additional 25% are considered low income, with annual incomes barely above the poverty line. The majority are already mothers of at least one child. One of the most common reasons they give for an abortion is that they fear that they will not be able to care for another child.
As Williams detailed in Advocates of the unborn child, many politically progressive pro-lifers in the early 1970s wanted to reduce the abortion rate by creating a social safety net for low-income women experiencing pregnancies in crisis. “This strategy would still make sense today, as the correlation between poverty and abortion is even stronger than it was half a century ago,” noted Williams. This is because in most places it costs thousands of dollars to give birth and usually a few hundred to have an abortion. From a pro-life perspective, the financial pressures and incentives are going precisely in the wrong direction.
While some states are looking to fix this – Texas has a $ 100 million fund for alternatives to abortion, for example – other states have terrible records. Mississippi, Williams pointed out, has some of the tightest restrictions on abortion, but “some of the stingiest anti-poverty programs and has refused to expand Medicaid coverage to reach women whose annual incomes are falling.” are between 100 and 138% of the poverty line. A woman who cares for two children and earns only $ 25,000 a year would not be eligible for Medicaid coverage in Mississippi.
There is compelling data to suggest that these factors play into abortion decisions. “Over the past thirty years, the annual number of abortions obtained by middle-income women has fallen by 67%, but the annual number of abortions obtained by poor women has not decreased at all,” he said. Williams. “If pro-lifers are serious about reducing the abortion rate, they will have to understand why poor women have abortions, and then find a way to meet their real needs. ”
The question is: can the abortion rate be reduced by policies now considered – in American politics, anyway – as liberal? Williams and a number of other pro-life academics believe this is the case. Most low-income Americans need expanded health care coverage, along with better wages and possibly help with tuition fees. (Like I discussed with Family Minister Katalin Novak here at TAC, this is precisely what Hungary has been doing for several years now and the abortion rate is steadily declining.)
“In a post-Roe deer world, it will be easy for conservative state legislatures to pass restrictions on abortion, but it will be much more difficult to allocate resources to expand health care coverage or to provide assistance to children in need. specialties, such as Down syndrome, ”Williams told me. “To make sure women and their children get the help they need, pro-lifers may need to ally themselves with politicians they haven’t traditionally seen as friends, that’s that is, progressive politicians who may be pro-choice but who will be more likely than conservative Republicans to favor the expansion of health care assistance and the social safety net. “
Of course, one possible and much-discussed alternative is an evolved GOP rooted in a coalition between social conservatives and the working class – and detached from big business. Like I discussed in the TAC last year with pro-life academics Robert P. George and Charles Camosy, the Trump years have exposed the possibility of a realignment, and with big business waking up and going after socially conservative Americans (threatening states that pass pro-life laws with boycotts, for example), it is high time the GOP coalition was reconsidered. Some GOP stars – Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley – and even establishment animals like Mitt Romney (the Family Security Act) have realized that a new approach to family support is needed.
“While a significant number of abortions – perhaps even the majority of abortions – are at least in part the result of low-income women ‘fear of not being able to care for an additional child, all policy that empowers low-income single women to feel economically secure and provide for their children would likely have a significant effect on lowering the abortion rate, ”Williams said. In fact, Catholic leaders have long advocated policies such as the “living wage,” and American Protestants also have a long tradition of advocating family-centered economic policies.
Many American social conservatives have opposed government aid based on suspicion of a big government and fears that such policies could encourage births out of wedlock. Williams disagrees.
“Most of the critics of the ‘big government’ are not consistent in their criticism,” he told me. “Most, for example, do not oppose government-subsidized interstate highways or government-provided unemployment insurance. They also do not uniformly criticize the government’s health insurance for the elderly (Medicare) or the government’s insurance program for individual bank accounts (the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). In calling for expanded health care for the poor and increases in the minimum wage, I am simply asking that a government that is already subsidizing a lot of middle class amenities also give the working poor the help they need to keep themselves alive. ensure that after working 40 hours or more per week, they will have enough to feed, clothe and support their children.
Williams agrees that we “must avoid encouraging out-of-wedlock births,” but argues that the policies he deems most necessary, such as extending health coverage for the poor, “are not policies that reward women to have children out of wedlock or that would encourage them to avoid marriage. Rather, they are policies that will allow them to make the choice to save life and care for their children, and which can ultimately give them the economic security that will make it easier for them to get married at some point.
As far as Williams is concerned, there is a Biblical mandate for this as well as practical political aspects. “Under the Old Testament Mosaic covenant, certain rights were guaranteed to the poor, including the right to harvest grain from the edges of neighboring fields. Applying the principle behind this teaching to our contemporary society, I think we could argue that policies that give struggling working poor the tools they need to provide for their children are fully consistent with the principles of respect for human dignity and concern for our neighbors.
With the potential for realignment revealed by the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, the real possibility of aRoe deer world, the growing recognition among GOP politicians and movement conservatives (led by Yoram Hazony of the Edmund Burke Foundation) that libertarianism and free market absolutism are not the global answers to a healthy society, now is come for this discussion. How to ensure that unborn children are protected in the womb while making abortion fundamentally unnecessary? How to ensure that the cost of childbirth is not prohibitive? As the pro-life movement enters a new era, this is an issue that deserves careful consideration.
Jonathon Van Maren is a speaker, writer and pro-life activist. His commentary appeared in National exam, the European conservatives, the National postt, and elsewhere. Jonathan is the author of The war of cultures and Seeing is believing: why our culture has to deal with abortion victims as well as the co-author with Blaise Alleyne of Assisted Suicide Discussion Guide.