NC Values director: Roe v. Wade draft is a glimpse of hope

·3 min read
N&O file

The U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Whole Woman’s Health gave the pro-life community a glimpse of hope — a moment we have been praying for since Roe was decided 49 years ago.

If Roe and Casey are overturned, as the draft opinion indicates, we must build consensus for the strongest protections possible for unborn children and women in North Carolina, and we are ready for this moment in history.

We agree with Justice Samuel Alito that the Fourteenth Amendment never contemplated a right to abortion which was fabricated by the Court. As the draft states, “three quarters of the States made abortion a crime at all stages in pregnancy” when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted.

After 49 years, there appears to be a majority on the court that recognizes abortion is “fundamentally different,” because it destroys fetal life — an unborn human being. Alito stated in the draft: “Roe was “egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak and the decision has had damaging consequences . . . Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” And that’s what this opinion would do — not outlaw abortion, but give power to the states.

Elected state officials are naturally closer to their constituencies, while Roe puts distant, unelected federal judges in charge of abortion policy. Local control over abortion law allows citizens to have productive, tough discussions so their elected officials can have a direct consensus. Legislators should take this opportunity to educate voters about the implications of abortion law and address solutions on community care for mothers and their babies in unplanned pregnancy situations.

There are 2,700 pregnancy centers across the country, and 83 in North Carolina. These pregnancy care centers, along with churches and the government, are here to provide a safety net for women. We should aid mothers with programs, and encourage adoption.

One innovative idea to consider is the Texas Abortion Alternate Plan which gives $100,000 million to provide counseling, material assistance, care coordination and housing support for women. The pro-life movement is here to love and serve both mother and child.

Scientific advancements in the last five decades have revealed the humanity of unborn babies. We have discovered that at five weeks, unborn babies have heartbeats and at 10 weeks can feel pain and kick when startled. At 15 weeks, almost the entire body responds to touch, and the baby can taste, make facial expressions and suck her thumbs. This science is changing minds about abortion, and the law needs to catch up with the science.

Fortunately, polls show opinions are shifting. A poll by Marsist Knights of Columbus found 71% of Americans reject abortion after three months, including 70% of independents and 49% of Democrats. Ninety-four percent say abortions should not be allowed up to birth.

The U.S. is not in line with other countries on abortion either. As Justice Alito noted, the U.S. and Netherlands are the only nations that rely on viability as a standard for abortion law. The U.S. is one of eight countries that allows abortions beyond 20 weeks.

Though people accept or reject abortion to varying degrees, science is proving the humanity of unborn babies and minds are being changed. We should continue to stand firm that life is a human right.

As a society, we need to move towards a discussion on solutions to helping pregnant women in crisis. Lawmakers and citizens should muster moral courage and be a voice for the voiceless. We should take a compassionate “pro-care” approach with the goal of caring for mothers and their babies instead of advocating for death and heartbreak.

Tami Fitzgerald is Executive Director of NC Values Coalition.

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