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NRL Convention celebrates one-year anniversary of Dobbs

by | Jun 24, 2023

Surviving and Saving lives in a Post-Roe world

By Dave Andrusko

Day two of National Right to Life’s 52nd annual convention began with a joyous celebration: it was exactly one year ago today that the Supreme Court, in Dobbs, dispatched Roe v. Wade into the dustbin of history.

In the memorable words of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, 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. …Our opinion is not based on any view about if and when prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after birth. The dissent, by contrast, would impose on the people a particular theory about when the rights of personhood begin. According to the dissent, the Constitution requires the States to regard a fetus as lacking even the most basic human right—to live—at least until an arbitrary point in a pregnancy has passed. Nothing in the Constitution or in our Nation’s legal traditions authorizes the Court to adopt that ‘theory of life.’

David N. O’Steen, formerly the executive director of National Right to Life, provided a fascinating explanation of the real meaning of polls taken before and after Dobbs v. Jackson. As he said, “Our job is to dig deeper into the numbers.”

Using polls taken by Gallup, Maris, and McLaughlin it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, the power of language. O’Steen contrasted “banning” abortion versus “allowing” abortion in very limited circumstances, such as for life of mother, life of mother, rape and incest, life of mother rape, incest, and medical emergency.  The latter has vastly more support than the former,

James Bopp, NRLC’s general counsel, spoke next. “The world has changed” post-Dobbs, “and we must change,” he said. For example, Bopp pointed out we can have very strong pro-life laws on the books but we face the dilemma of almost 100 attorneys general who have already said they not enforce a pro-life law.

Another sign of how the world has changed. Fifty years ago we obeyed the laws, even when we disagreed completely. But “Democrats don’t give a damn what the law says,” Bopp said.

He offered concrete strategies for fighting back, including the use of civil remedies. Both Bopp and O’Steen agreed pro-lifers are used to combatting pro-abortionists and will continue to do so as long as it takes until all unborn babies are protected in law and welcome to life.

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