(Pro-Life Ribbon) In pro-life circles, the release of the Dobbs ruling in June 2022 was cause for joyous celebration. There were tears of joy at the momentous decision that finally overturned the judicial activism of Roe v. Wade. The ruling fifty years earlier, known around the world, that had fabricated a new right to abortion across the United States.
However, it soon became evident that this seemingly great victory was still far from the true goal pro-lifers seek. In a way, Dobbs was for the pro-life cause what D-Day was for WWII.
The major offensive known as The Battle for Normandy carried the codename, Operation Overlord. Today we know it simply as D-Day but it was anything but simple. It was actually a multi-faceted affair. The primary objective was to gain a military foothold in what was then referred to as, Fortress Europe. Upon conquering nearly the whole of Europe, Hitler created an intricate defensive bulwark to thwart Allied efforts at a sustained military effort to retake conquered lands.
The ruling of seven unelected justices in 1972 created a sort of Fortress Roe in the United States. The suddenly discovered “Constitutional” right to abortion was stood up as a bulwark against any attempt to moderate abortion. Roe itself allowed for states to regulate abortion alongside an invented trimester framework with deference to the “health” of the mother. However, the companion ruling decided on the same day, Doe v. Bolton, redefined the word “health” to be so broad – including financial, emotional, and relational – that nearly every abortion could not be infringed.
Fortress Roe survived many legal and legislative assaults through the decades. In 1992, the Supreme Court used the opportunity of Casey v. Planned Parenthood to redefine the trimester framework in favor of “viability.” This opened a small window for Life States to move against abortion procedures developed to abort babies in the 7th, 8th, and even 9th month of pregnancy. But overall the Court used the ruling to reinforce Fortress Roe and maintain the right to abortion.
Just like the Allied forces’ herculean efforts to assemble the largest amphibious effort in the history of the world, pro-lifers worked persistently to create the political opportunity to take on Fortress Roe. This took another 30 years following Casey. In a stroke of providence, pro-lifers marshaled the political ability to replace consistently progressive pro-abortion justices with more conservative textualist judges.
These new justices took up Mississippi’s Dobbs case and voted to correct the judicial wrong of Roe. Justice Alito’s scathing ruling identified the various wrongs the court had cobbled together in creating Roe and, later, reaffirming it. Justice Alito noted, “Like the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe was also egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided.”
While the justices rectified the wrong of Roe in reversing it, they did not take the next natural legal step in recognizing what the 14th Amendment had affirmed all along. In reacting to the evils of slavery Congress declared “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
While Dobbs was not, itself, the victory that so many pro-lifers celebrated that June morning, it was a sort of “beachhead” necessary to even have a hope to imagine a V-Day in the future. Victory Day will only be realized when human life in the womb is as welcomed and protected in law as the persons who are born.
Tweet This: Dobbs was not itself the victory that so many pro-lifers celebrated that June morning; it was a sort of beachhead necessary to have hope
Of course, the Axis forces did not, could not, take the breach of their “territory” in Normandy without responding vigorously and viciously. In the days immediately after the D-Day landings, though caught off guard by clever deception at Calais, the German army quickly mobilized to push the Allied troops back into the English Channel.
In like fashion, the forces of Big Abortion have moved vigorously and even violently to push back against pro-life forces. Deploying shock troops with SS-style terrorism and even fire-bombing pregnancy centers along with spending millions in propaganda to sway solidly pro-life states into amending long-standing state constitutions, abortion proponents have fought back to regain their Fortress Roe.
Just as the defeat of the imperialism of Nazi Germany took a committed and sustained effort from that beachhead in Normandy on D-Day, so will it take to ultimately defeat Fortress Roe and the culture of death ideology at the heart of Big Abortion. Many major battles needed to be fought to retake Europe from the hegemony of Hitler. Some were difficult losses, like Operation Market Garden (Netherlands), while others were critical, yet costly victories, like those in the Battle of the Bulge.
The post-D-Day campaign then was not just one of imposing military might but also involved political will and persistent optimism. The effort involved soldiers and citizens, frontlines and rear actions, regimental commands and resistance cells. Our pro-life effort is similar. Pro-life, by definition, won’t mean military action but will need the very diverse forces deployed now. We need pro-life politicians and local pregnancy centers. We need legal and legislative strategies along with educating our churches and empowering productive protests. We need grassroots engagement and prayer covering.
V-Day for pro-lifers may seem farther away than ever to some. But the Dobbs beachhead gives us hope that we can press the opportunity and continue to battle the cultural, moral, and spiritual evil that is abortion. Just as in 1944 it is the moral imperative of our day. We must press on toward victory.
Editor's note: This article was published by Pro-Life Ribbon and is reprinted with permission.