NOTE: This article is one of a series on the “top ten” accomplishments of the pro-life movement over the past 40 years since unborn children were stripped of their legal right to life by the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings.
In a series of articles these past ten days, I’ve been discussing the concrete accomplishments of the pro-life movement since the U. S. Supreme Court stripped unborn children of their legal right to life in their Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rulings, handed down 40 years ago today.
This series has been intended to serve two purposes. First, it offers a response to the criticism coming from some in the pro-life movement, mostly newcomers, that little has been accomplished since Roe. As I have shown, this is profoundly not the case.
Secondly, this series offers some perspective, both on what things might have looked like in the absence of all the pro-life Americans have done over the past 40 years, and on what a valuable legacy we have to build upon.
With the 40th anniversary of Roe and Doe upon us today, I offer here a wrap-up of my list. As we soberly, somberly reflect on the legacy of these rulings—over 55 million dead and a society deeply wounded—may this overview of our accomplishments give us courage and confidence moving forward:
#10: We have kept abortion on the front page. Abortion advocates thought they’d settled the issue with their big court victory in 1973, and that Americans would quickly fall in line. But we’ve kept abortion controversial for 40 years.
#9: More and more Americans are calling themselves pro-life. Despite relentless propaganda against the pro-lifers and the pro-life position, we’re winning people to our side—though the challenge remains of translating pro-life sentiment into pro-life action.
#8: Most doctors now refuse to do abortions. Our protests and education campaigns have had an impact in the medical community, and now the shortage of abortion providers is creating a crisis in the abortion industry.
#7: Hundreds of abortion clinics have been shut down. Abortion advocates wanted to “mainstream” abortion into hospitals and doctors offices, but we’ve “contained” abortion to free-standing clinics—and we’re shutting them down one-by-one.
#6: Pro-life laws have been enacted at the federal, state and local level. Measures like the federal partial birth abortion ban and state parental involvement laws both educate the public on the horror of abortion and save lives.
#5: Abortionists’ dreams of taxpayer funded abortion have been thwarted. The Hyde Amendment and other measures have saved at least a million lives and fostered widespread public opposition to taxpayer funded abortion—a legacy to build upon as Obamacare presents new threats.
#4: We have helped women find healing after abortion. Abortion harms women, especially spiritually and psychologically. The pro-life movement has been living up to its duty to help them.
#3: The 55 million victims of abortion have not been forgotten. Hundreds of memorial sites have been erected across the country in answer to Our Lord’s promise, “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
#2 Pregnancy centers have given women the help they need to choose life. Every year, the nation’s 3,000 pro-life pregnancy resource centers serve hundreds of thousands of women with nowhere else to turn.
#1: Countless babies have been saved by pro-life witness on the street. We will never know how many lives have been saved through the individual witness of pro-life activists on the street or sidewalk—our greatest accomplishment by far—but God knows.