The savants who cover U.S. Supreme Court oral hearings have divined that Roe v. Wade may be overturned later this spring. In December, the high court heard oral arguments in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The tea-leaf reading from veteran court watchers is that SCOTUS will overturn Roe v. Wade, on its shaky constitutional grounds, by a 6-3 margin.
For the pro-life movement, it would be a major victory and a reason to celebrate.
However, as we enter the USCCB’s “9 Days for Life” novena (Jan. 19 to Jan. 27), and ahead of the 49th anniversary of The March For Life in Washington D.C. on Jan. 21, which began as a result of the Roe v. Wade case, Democrat-controlled states are drafting and have been passing evermore draconian abortion laws to combat the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade.
In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is Catholic, has touted the state as a nationwide “haven” for women seeking an abortion, and Attorney General Letitia James has asked lawmakers to create a state fund to pay for abortions sought by women who live outside of New York, similar to a planned initiative in California. The fund would cover the cost of the abortion, plus travel and hotel expenses for women traveling to the state, according to James’ proposal.
New Jersey recently passed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, which expands and mandates abortion as a state constitutionally protected right. The bill also lifts any previous medical limitations on late-term abortions.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who is also Catholic, has said he will sign the bill despite vocal reaction from the state’s bishops’ conference. Those bishops, in a letter to lawmakers, expressed their “profound disappointment and deep concern about the passage of (the bill), which codifies into state law an individual’s right to an abortion, including late-term abortions. This law departs from the fundamental Catholic teaching that all life is sacred from conception to natural death.”
Pro-life laws are also receiving pushback on the federal level. In Texas, a bill banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy became law on Sept. 1. Since then, the Texas Heartbeat Act has been bounced around the courts and has been targeted by the Biden administration, which sued the state in an attempt to block the law.
On another front, the New York state bishops are losing a key pro-life advocate in Albany with the news that lobbyist Kathleen Gallagher is set to retire at the end of the month. Gallagher has been the director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference for almost four decades.
“In that time, she has … been a national leader in the pro-life movement, advocating against abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia, and in favor of supports for pregnant women in need and people near the end of life,” New York Archdiocese’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan said.
While there have been, and could be more, recent victories for pro-life advocates, it’s beginning to feel like three steps forward, two steps back.
Let this serve as a lesson that even in times of victory, we can never let our guard down and get comfortable because there is always another fight to be had.