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


On the Anniversary of Dobbs, Let’s Demand Pro-life Politicians Defend the Unborn

June 24, 2023

One year ago today, I was in my living room playing with my 11-month-old son when my phone notified me of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. As I read the court’s ruling, I danced for joy. My baby giggled.

Since that wonderful day, 14 states have been able to enforce laws protecting life from conception. Four more have passed legislation significantly advancing protections for the unborn that are currently blocked pending litigation.

With state pro-life laws saving as many as 24,000 unborn children and their mothers from the evils of abortion since Dobbs, the commitment of the pro-life movement to creating a country where every child is treated with the dignity he or she deserves has only gotten stronger.

Despite vandalism, FBI raids, terroristic threats, brutal beatings, and ostracization, the pro-life movement — not people who are paid to work to defend life, but the grassroots, people like my parents, Dick Schaefer, Mark Crosby, Janet During, Kristi Brown, and Andrea Lantzy — people who have prayed outside abortion clinics for years, supported or ran pregnancy resource centers, marched in the freezing cold, or spoken out about their own regret of having an abortion, have only worked harder to defend the unborn.

Unfortunately, though, as the pro-life movement has risen to meet the challenge of stopping the abortion industry, many Republicans, including congressional members and presidential candidates, have cowered away debating whether protecting life is a “winning” or “losing” issue.

In the six months following Dobbs, the number of Americans who consider themselves “pro-choice” increased from 57% to 61%. The 2022 election was expected to be a red wave but turned into more of a slow drip, with those defending life losing on ballot measures in Montana, Kentucky, Michigan, Kansas, Vermont, and California. Many concluded the Republican stance on protecting life in the womb was to blame. 

Sadly, in 20 states, unborn children are still not protected until the moment of birth. (It is noteworthy that despite the pro-abortion industry touting a number of state legislative “victories” in these primarily blue states, the threat to unborn lives in these states remains the same as it was under the tyranny of Roe.)

In the 2022 election cycle, despite an insistence that life was a paramount issue, Democrats outspent Republicans 45 to 1 on advertising surrounding the killing of the unborn. After the election, with a Republican majority in the House, the only two pro-life bills passed were the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protections Act and a resolution condemning violence against pro-life groups, centers, and churches. 

And while it is wonderful that these bills were two pro-life “wins,” neither went anywhere in the Senate, and a congressman hardly need be pro-life to condemn violent attacks or say that a baby who is born deserves medical attention. 

As the 2024 elections draw near, politicians who are in the party whose platform proudly states that members “protect life and offer real solutions for women” and support a “human life constitutional amendment” must live up to this to be worthy of being called “pro-life.”

Republican presidential and congressional candidates cannot be allowed to look for a “middle ground” or a “consensus” on protecting life, when the only “consensus” Democrats want is to be on par with North Korea taking innocent unborn lives on demand through birth.

Similarly, candidates cannot both claim to be “100% pro-life” and believe that the federal government has no role in protecting the unborn. Voiceless unborn children in California and New York cannot be left to speak for themselves as congressional members and candidates argue that protecting unborn children is a “state issue.” 

Since 1973, presidents and members of Congress have worked to defend life. Successes, like protecting unborn children from partial birth abortion, shielding taxpayers’ money from funding abortion, and defunding abortion businesses, have been few and far between. But just as Democrats demand full allegiance to their culture of death — including a willingness to turn a blind eye to infanticide — Republicans must demand a total commitment to building a culture of life. 

Certainly, what candidates prioritize on life may look different. Some may want to focus on different starting points, like protecting life at various gestational stages; others may want to prioritize defunding abortion businesses; others clarifying what is encompassed in existing federal protections for the unborn and making sure those protections are enforced. But no candidate can simply pass on protecting the unborn.

Though there will undoubtably be momentary setbacks along the way, the only way to shift the political window on life is for all members of the pro-life movement to stand firmly in defense of the truth. And so, every candidate must be committed to working toward the goal of an America where people no longer vote on who has the right to life and who does not.

On this Dobbs anniversary, let’s hold our politicians responsible for fighting for the most vulnerable with the same courage as those members of the pro-life movement who spend their Saturday mornings praying in front of Planned Parenthoods and their Wednesday nights volunteering at pregnancy resource centers. The fight to defend life is far from over, but we must persevere until the day when every mother has the chance to experience the joy of hearing her baby giggle. 

Mary Szoch is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.