A majority of Americans are decidedly not “pro-choice.” This is according to a recent Gallup poll in which 49% of respondents reported that they consider themselves pro-life, compared to 46% who identify as “pro-choice.” This marks the first time since 2013 that a majority of survey respondents in a major poll identify as pro-life.
The notable shift in polling shows that hearts and minds can be and are being changed, which is arguably more important than any law we could pass. You see, we don’t have to wait until the legislature passes laws that limit abortions or until Roe v. Wade is overturned in order to end this scourge on our society, though we should still work diligently to make those happen. We can actually have an immediate impact in our communities by changing the hearts and minds of people on this issue.
That being said, public opinion on abortion has no doubt had a significant impact on abortion policies across the country, resulting in a flurry of laws aimed at either curbing abortion or expanding it.
The ideological Left and abortion advocates nationwide are going crazy over new laws in Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri that establish important restrictions on abortion in those states. So much so, that they are passing their own radical abortion-on-demand bills in states like Illinois and New York that will allow abortion for any reason up until the moment of birth.
The issue of abortion has become so heated of late that in response to Georgia’s “Heartbeat Bill”, Hollywood is actually boycotting the state. Hollywood elites and abortion proponents seem to be concerned about the strong possibility that a case will come before the U.S. Supreme Court that challenges its current Roe v. Wade precedence, especially as the makeup of the Court is trending more and more strict constructionist.
Last month we concluded our “No Pink Lights Over Richmond Tour” around the Commonwealth in which we discussed legislation concerning the sanctity of life. We were encouraged to receive positive feedback and great participation. During the Q&A Session following one of the presentations, a participant asked what our thoughts were on the recent heartbeat legislation being pushed in other states and whether we could expect something like that here in Virginia. Given what transpired in Virginia this year, it would not be surprising to see “Heartbeat” legislation introduced next year. But let’s more fully unpack the context of the heartbeat legislation.
In an attempt to start the process of challenging Roe v. Wade, Alabama passed a law that makes it a felony to perform an abortion except in cases when the mother’s life is in danger, effectively eliminating the practice of abortion in the state. Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill into law on May 15, 2019 and issued the following statement:
"No matter one's personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions. Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur."
The Alabama law sets in motion what will inevitably become a contentious and long legal battle that will take years to traverse the court system. Only time will tell if the case ever makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless, this law was clearly a bold move to return the issue of abortion back to the states by forcing the Supreme Court to finally reconsider (and overturn) the landmark 1973 decision.
Meanwhile, at the federal level, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) introduced the “Abortion is Not Health Care Act”, which could disincentivize some abortions by disallowing taxpayers from deducting abortion costs from their taxable income. Under Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code, abortion expenses paid during the taxable year that were not covered by insurance, by the taxpayer, his/her spouse, or a dependent may be deducted from income if they exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income.
These legislative actions represent two important approaches to policy-making with slightly different intended purposes. The first approach, which is the primary purpose of the Alabama law, is to impose certain restrictions on abortion that would trigger a legal challenge that is intended to reach the Supreme Court. The second approach is a pragmatic form of policy-making meant to restrict, defund, and limit abortions. While the later approach doesn’t strike at the heart of the abortion issue like the Alabama law, it is extremely valuable for keeping an abortion industry that desperately wants conduct its activities uninhibited in check.
For example, the legislature in Virginia has incrementally imposed vital protections for mothers, such as informed consent, 24 hour waiting periods, requirements that second trimester abortions to be performed in hospitals, and ultrasound requirements, to name a few. These pragmatic laws force abortion providers to follow strict rules so as to at least ensure the safety and informed consent of vulnerable women considering such a consequential decision. For the abortion industry, however, they are seen as an impediment to more profit. These achievements didn’t happen overnight, and they could easily be eliminated if legislation like Delegate Kathy Tran’s bill (HB 2491) is ever passed.
We know these vital protections and safety standards work because they were vigorously challenged by the abortion industry in Falls Church Women’s Center v. Oliver. For a summary of this case and what happened during the bench trial, you can read our blog posts “Falls Church v. Oliver", "The Plaintiffs Rest", "Defense Makes Its Case", and “Case Closed”.
The reality is that until the Supreme Court is filled with the right-minded judicial philosophy necessary to overturn Roe v. Wade precedence, we must continue to share our hearts for the unborn and exercise compassion for mothers struggling with this decision.That’s where the greatest change is going to happen.