Blog Post

Where Were You When Roe Fell?

Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

For those of us who have been fighting in the pro-life movement for decades, we’ll never forget where we were when we heard the news that Roe v. Wade had been overturned. For me, it was a notification that popped up on my phone as I was preparing to attend Mass on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Only God could create the kind of joy that gripped my soul in that moment.

And I’m still pinching myself. Every day I wake up to more news that brings the reality of this decision more to light. For example, as of this writing, 13 states are poised to enact immediate abortions bans with 13 more expected to follow suit shortly thereafter. Five additional states will now enact abortion bans that were put on the books before Roe was decided in 1973.  After doing the math, that makes 31 states where innocent babies will no longer be sacrificed to the “pro-choice” gods.

But it gets better. In spite of the being the target of pro-abortion mobs, crisis pregnancy centers are already planning their expansions.

James Harden, CEO of CompassCare, a Christian pregnancy organization in upstate New York, told Religion News Service (RNS): “For pro-life pregnancy centers, we for the first time have the opportunity to compete head-on with this billion-dollar abortion business.

One of CompassCare’s centers in Buffalo was set on fire by the now infamous “Jane’s Revenge” hate group, but this violence did nothing more than motivate the area’s pro-life warriors to pay attention to states where abortions will continue and learn how to counter the issue on new fronts.

“The war is not over,” Harden told RNS. “The abortion battle lines have simply shifted.”

He's not the only one who’s poised to expand the focus of the pro-life message. The Women’s Choice Network out of Pittsburgh is planning to put new emphasis on its post-abortion care by boosting advertising for their emotional support, counseling, and abortion pill reversal services.

Amy Scheuring, executive director of the group of pregnancy centers, told RNS that she expects the state of Pennsylvania, which allows abortion up to 24 weeks, to eventually enact more restrictions on abortion due to the changing political climate.

However, pro-abortion forces have no intention of taking this lying down. They’re already filing lawsuits in several states to try to stop the inevitable, or at least delay it for as long as they can.

In between those efforts, they’re continuing to do what they do best – obfuscate the issue in any way they can, and with the usual headline grabbing histrionics.

For example, the first thing they did (after lighting their hair on fire) was to whip out the coat hangers and rail about how many thousands of women are doomed to die from back-alley abortions now that Roe is gone. I guess this crowd doesn’t care much for homework because the last time “thousands” of women died from back-alley abortions was in 1942, and even then the number was estimated to be less than 5,000. The introduction of sulfa drugs and penicillin, increased contraceptive usage, and more hygienic abortion procedures has been causing those numbers to drop precipitously ever since.

No one knows this better than Planned Parenthood. In fact, they’ve known about it since at least 1959 – when abortion was still illegal. This is the year their medical director, Dr. Mary Calderone, wrote: “Abortion is no longer a dangerous procedure. This applies not just to therapeutic abortions as performed in hospitals but also to so-called illegal abortions as done by physicians. In 1957, there were only 260 deaths in the whole country attributed to abortions of any kind. In New York City in 1921, there were 144 abortion deaths, in 1951 there were only 15.”

This begs the question - if the abortion industry has known since 1959 that abortion could be illegal and safe at the same time, what’s with the coat hangers?

There’s a simple answer to that question – it’s a political ploy aimed at manipulating public opinion, particularly that of women.

The pro-abortion media also wasted no time disparaging the SCOTUS decision which was written by Justice Samuel Alito. They mercilessly criticized Alito for citing a notorious seventeenth century misogynist named Sir Matthew Hale eight times in his (leaked) opinion. Hale was a British barrister who is well known for wanting to clear husbands from criminal liability for raping their wives and for sentencing two women accused of witchcraft to death. The media spun this story in a way that suggested Alito cited Hale so many times because he agreed with him.

However, when coming across an objective opinion written by Richard Doerflinger in The Public Discourse, we discover that a rather salient fact was left out of those news reports - that Justice Harry Blackmum, the author of Roe v. Wade, also cited Sir Matthew Hale in his landmark decision.

Wait. What?

“…There is a very good reason why Alito has to cite Hale,” Doeflinger writes. “Justice Harry Blackmun cited him in his majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, to argue that British and early American law generally permitted abortion. That great defender of women’s reproductive rights Harry Blackmun had to resort to citing a witch-hunter and rape apologist for his arguments? Was he desperate to show that American legal history is pro-abortion? In any case, Alito had to cite Hale to respond to Blackmun’s historical claim and show why it is flawed.”

We can expect more of the same in the months and years ahead, but with one big difference – the so-called “constitutional right” that unleashed decades of unspeakable violence upon millions of innocent babies is now a thing of the past.

The first word I uttered the moment I heard that Roe v. Wade was overturned is still echoing in my heart at this very moment.


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