The late, great Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, who tirelessly dedicated his life to saving the preborn, had a dream. That dream was that there would once again be a day that, as former President George W. Bush (who credited Neuhaus as a spiritual mentor) said, “All children will be welcomed into the world and protected by the law.”
Besides helping the former president articulate this dream, Neuhaus added, “The pro-life movement that began in the 20th century laid the foundation for the pro-life movement of the 21st century … We have been at this a long time, and we are just getting started.”
That foundation is now beginning to bear fruit. Something incredible is happening in statehouses across our great land – something that even abortion advocates cannot deny, even if they do so grudgingly.
In the first half of 2021, in states across America, 90 pro-life laws have been passed and signed into law – a new record (the previous record was 89 in 2011), according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute’s recent report, “State Policy Trends at Midyear 2021: The Worst Legislative Year Ever for U.S. Abortion Rights.” The Guttmacher Institute is the research arm of Planned Parenthood.
But there is a key difference between 2011 and 2021. The laws passed in 2011 were designed to stop advances by the pro-abortion movement in wake of Obamacare. It mandated faith-based privately held businesses and faith-based groups to provide abortifacients through their health insurance plans and threatened the conscience rights of pro-life medical professionals, among other things.
In 2021, rather than passing laws against something, state lawmakers are passing laws for something – the right to life for the preborn child.
New Protections For At-Risk Children
In the first seven months of 2021 alone, six states have enacted laws setting gestational age limits on abortion. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation to protect perhaps the most vulnerable of preborn children – those who have been diagnosed with Down’s syndrome (South Dakota) or genetic abnormalities (Arizona) and have been stigmatized by many as “flawed” and “unworthy” of life. Eight other states now limit the availability of drugs that cause chemical abortions, while six others now protect children who have survived an attempted abortion.
So, despite the rhetoric and threats coming out of Washington D.C. to do away with the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion, and to enact laws that will make it easier to deny a preborn child the fundamental right to life in states across the country, more lawmakers and ordinary Americans are going the opposite direction – to ensure that the preborn child is welcomed and protected by the law.
Pro-Abortion States Out of the Mainstream
There are still some outliers, of course. Vermont has established an absolute right to abortion through the ninth month – right up to the time of live birth. Their law opens the door, as Wesley Smith of the Discovery Institute points out, to depriving “embryos and fetuses of any rights – whether or not in a uterus,” thus making them available to be used for experimentation and organ transplant supply.
The Vermont legislature is now trying to enact a constitutional amendment that would be even more extreme. It’s devising ghoulish new ways to interfere with the creation and gestation of the preborn child.
But Vermont, and other pro-abortion states, are increasingly becoming out of the mainstream. Many Americans cannot be fooled. In the years since the tragic Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, modern technology such as the ultrasound machine has provided conclusive proof that the preborn child is not a “blob of tissue,” the dismissive claim of abortion advocates, but a living, breathing, and feeling person, made in the image of God and deserving of life. It is the abortion advocates who are in denial of reality, not those who believe in the right to life.
So, while the Alan Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood may think 2021 has been the “worst legislative year ever for U.S. abortion rights,” let’s instead join with millions of Americans and celebrate that this has been the best year ever for the fundamental right to life for the preborn child. To quote Neuhaus, “We are just getting started.”