REEVES: The New Pro-Life Agenda
For 50 years, the pro-life movement in America has steadily and resiliently marched forward. With unparalleled grace, they have consistently made the case for the lives of unborn children. They built their foundation on truth and showcased the science that backed it up. They revealed to the nation the righteousness of their cause and the fervency of their commitment to it.
Now, having built a movement over decades, their moment has come. The Supreme Court very well may overturn Roe v. Wade, the tragic and profoundly flawed decision which paved the way for the slaughter of over 60 million children.
The leak that emerged a few weeks ago was a disgraceful attack on the institution of the Court. However, I am optimistic and hopeful that the opinion it revealed from Justice Alito will ultimately be the decision of the Court.
For 50 years, this precedent has never been accepted by the American public. Indeed, by creating a supposed “constitutional right” to kill unborn children out of thin air, the Supreme Court in the 1970s actually did a great deal to further political divisions. The Court should right this wrong by returning debate on this issue to where it belongs: to the people through the democratic process.
Only with more conversation not less, only by reinvolving the American populace in the decision-making process on abortion can we begin to heal some of the political divisions that have ruptured.
And, let’s be honest — America has long been wildly out of step with the rest of the developed world on this issue. Out of the 42 European countries that allow elective abortion, 39 countries limit elective abortion to 15 weeks’ gestation or earlier. The majority of these 39 nations set limits for abortion at or before 12 weeks. This is far earlier than even the current Mississippi law being considered by the Supreme Court.
Yet, whether it’s one day or 100 days, it’s clear that abortion is an unthinkable wrong that has wiped out an entire American generation. We can never fully right that wrong, but we can work to ensure that our nation turns away from this dark past and embraces a vastly brighter future.
Indeed, should this decision be appropriately rendered by the Supreme Court, this will not be the end. In many ways, the true challenge for the pro-life movement will only be beginning.
The objective has never been to win a court case. The objective has been to create a culture of life. That is how we fundamentally destroy the cult of abortion in America.
Being pro-life is about more than just being anti-abortion. It requires working to ensure that every child who is brought into the world, no matter their situation, is given every opportunity for future success.
While some states like New York and California have already announced their intention to double down on their barbaric abortion laws, in Mississippi we will build a culture of life, and we will do so with an ambitious new pro-life agenda. This agenda will stretch across a range of institutions and programs. It necessitates that policy leaders reflect on how they can incorporate pro-life policies into their work.
Over the last five months, I have already directed my administration to conduct a thorough analysis of our state’s laws and regulations in order to identify any possible existing rules that might present an obstacle to expectant mothers.
We’ve already begun taking tangible actions to achieve this goal. Just a few weeks ago, I had the honor of signing first-of-its-kind legislation that makes $3.5 million of tax credits available for pregnancy resource centers that help provide care, sonograms, and counseling to mothers who are most in need.
We’re going to work to extend safe haven laws that allow for mothers to give up children they can’t care for. We’re going to strengthen adoption services and help more children find their forever homes. We’re going to build grant programs that support mothers in getting the care they need before, during, and after pregnancy. And we’re going to strengthen our social services infrastructure.
When it comes to the future of the pro-life movement, I believe this is the way. We will build a robust and compassionate community of care that focuses relentlessly on providing families the support needed to bring life into this world.
A decision to overturn Roe will not only help to heal the nation by returning decision making authority to the states and reinvigorating the democratic process on this issue, but it will give all those who care about the lives of unborn children an immense opportunity to continue building a world that celebrates and encourages a culture of life. The path before us is daunting, but we have the opportunity to build a new future in which the dignity of every life is valued — and abortion is made not just illegal, but unthinkable.
Tate Reeves is the 65th governor of Mississippi.