". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


FITCH: Hope, Respect, and Intention will Build a Sustainable Culture of Life

When the U.S. Supreme Court published its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it gave the nation an opportunity for healing. The Constitution provides us the tools for balancing competing interests and for finding resolution for tough questions through the two branches of government accountable to the people at the ballot box.

Roe v. Wade deprived the American people of the use of these political mechanisms for hashing out our differences on abortion for five decades. Dobbs opened that door to us once again, and as we walk through it, we must do so with hope, respect, and intention if we are to heal our nation and build a sustainable culture of life.

In the weeks between the leak of the draft Dobbs opinion and the publication of the actual opinion, some abortion advocates became increasingly hostile, angry, and even violent. They picketed justices’ homes, doxed the justices’ children, and committed acts of vandalism and violence against pro-life pregnancy centers.

Their efforts were targeted not only at the justices, but at the hearts and minds of the American people. They need the American people to believe that a post-Roe world will be steeped in chaos and hostile to women. They believe that we will turn women into criminals despite the fact that that has never been the goal of the pro-life movement.

While Roe stood for the proposition that women must choose between their own future and their child’s life, Dobbs stands for the principle that we can both empower women and promote life. It never had to be one or the other, and, in fact, a healthy society, built on strong and healthy families, must do both.

If we are to build this post-Roe America around life, we must begin with the way we react to their hostility. It is crucial that we react with humility and grace. We must put our concern for the dignity of the woman front and center in all that we say and do. And we must turn our attention to serving the very women that have been most misused by the Roe regime for so many years.

These are the women who live in poverty, who have limited job skills or education, and may lack steady employment or any employment at all. They may be in abusive relationships and without any support network to lean on when they find out they are expecting. They may feel that they are without hope or help and for years they have been told that abortion is the answer.

The life movement has always held these women and their children as their mission. Millions of Americans have stepped up to privately fund and staff a safety net for women in difficult circumstances like these. Approximately 3,000 pregnancy resource centers across the U.S. offer free services like ultrasounds, STD testing, diapers, car seats, and baby formula. Centers like these were virtually non-existent when the Supreme Court decided Roe in 1973. Today, they can be found in every corner of the country, often in communities where they are most desperately needed.

We must fortify this safety net and we must fill in its gaps by connecting these women to the job training and education opportunities that will help them and their families thrive together. We must improve child support enforcement and make child care more affordable and accessible to uplift these mothers. And we must make adoption easier and foster care better to connect children with loving families when that is their best option.

What we do in these weeks and months following the Dobbs decision is so important. We must be intentional about our words, actions, and tone. We have the power to shape the immediate reaction and the lasting conversation. It is vital that we exhibit humility, hopefulness, and respect and that we lead with civility.

Mainstream media will look for sparring, anger, fear, and vitriol. I do not believe that the abortion advocates sowing violence and fear are representative of most Americans who call themselves pro-choice. If we seek them out, we will find there are more commonalities amongst us than there are differences.

Now that we are on the cusp of building the culture of life we have fought for for so long, we cannot get distracted by those who continue to want to divide us. The very same passion and energy we have poured into overturning Roe v. Wade these past 50 years must now be channeled into empowering women who find themselves in challenging circumstances. These efforts may not grab the mainstream headlines, but they embody the spirit of the Dobbs decision: that there is dignity worth defending in all human life.

Lynn Fitch is the attorney general of Mississippi.