As a Culture Loses Heart, Pro-Life Unity Can Still Heal

The Biden administration’s Department of Justice has sued Texas to shut down a pro-life law, the Texas Heartbeat Act, which prohibits women from receiving an abortion after the baby’s heartbeat is detected.

The administration’s aggressive reaction may make it tempting for some pro-life advocates to lose heart. However, let this all serve as a signal that the pro-life movement must bravely go up against this powerful force and ramp up efforts to protect the unborn. It really is a matter of life and death.

For decades, Catholics have been called to pursue justice and mercy through solidarity with pregnant women and their babies, all of whom have God-given dignity. Peaceful rank-and-file loyalists have prayed and proposed alternative answers at abortion clinics and elsewhere. This grassroots approach, and those who promote it, must always remain central to the mission. There are so many reasons why.

Segments of our divided, politicized society are speeding in different directions and risking collision along the way. Their strategies for courtrooms, bureaucracies, and bully pulpits leave no time to wait for next year when the Supreme Court is expected to decide Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case tackling questions left unresolved by Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Meanwhile, the Texas law excuses state officials from enforcing its protections, saying private parties should be the activists who sue abortion providers and seek financial damages. Could this law all just be political theater to appease, rather than to truly protect the unborn?

Catholics might ask how the public square can withstand such chaos. The Church, for its part, simply points to the scientific finding that human life begins at conception and challenges us to be all-in as defenders of every person.

But even within that clarity, we see Catholic politicians doubling down to promote a culture of death.

Biden says he wants a “whole-of-government” attack on the Texas law because it seems “almost un-American.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants to enthrone Roe v. Wade in nationwide law without the limitations many states add as exercises of conscience and subsidiarity. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has proclaimed her state a “haven” for women terminating pregnancies. Her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, signed the Reproductive Health Act in 2019, expanding abortion beyond what Roe v. Wade imagined.

While such partisans raise the bridges and lower the rivers, pro-life Americans must not despair about leaving the so-called mainstream. The mainstream is leaving them.

Or is it? Catholics who embrace a coherent culture of life should not conclude that they have lost a battle to an overwhelming force.

The courage of our convictions — aiding the vulnerable, changing hearts, and offering alternatives — can unify us and focus the mission.

The pro-life movement must use its gifts, first to examine itself and its opposition, and then to spread the truth about the sanctity of life.

If we stay informed and engaged, based on faith and reason, we can help stabilize society’s heartbeat.