By Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq. — With the fall of Roe v. Wade imminent, it’s time to unite the fractured pro-life movement around its core principle—equal protection, without exception.
The pro-life movement is about to be given what it has always wanted: The chance to enact laws to build a culture of life in the United States. But with that opportunity comes the daunting task of convincing our fellow citizens of the absolute evil of abortion.
Abolishing slavery did not immediately end discrimination or guarantee equal protection for Black Americans. Similarly, overturning Roe v. Wade and eliminating the so-called fundamental right to abortion will not end the killing of the pre-born or grant them equal protection under the law. As with slavery, we as a people must recognize and protect the personhood of every human being.
Now that the fall of Roe v. Wade appears imminent, the pro-life movement must unite around our shared, fundamental, inviolable belief: Life begins at conception and intentionally taking the life of an innocent pre-born child is never acceptable.
A fundamental principle: Equal protection under the law
Pro-lifers know that overturning Roe v. Wade will not be enough to protect the pre-born. What is needed is the equal protection of the law as applied to the pre-born child.
“Equal justice under the law” is so fundamental to the American ideal that it is literally carved into the stone facade of the United States Supreme Court. In constitutional law, this ideal has been developed into the principle of equal protection.
We must put behind us old disagreements that have fractured us—not the least of which was how to end Roe v. Wade. We must focus on how to convince our fellow citizens to pass legislation that reinforces the equality of the pre-born child and avoids drawing irrelevant distinctions.
Compromise is not acceptable
The temptation will rise to try to poll our way into political wins. Politicians will do what politicians do—they will compromise. But the pro-life movement must not compromise.
There is no compromising on matters of life and death.
While politicians have to compromise to achieve legislative objectives, our job as pro-life citizen advocates is different. Our job is to insist on legislation that does not violate our principles.
If abortion law is put back in the hands of state legislators, pro-lifers must singlemindedly advocate for pro-life legislation throughout the country that recognizes the equal dignity of the child in the womb, while simultaneously pouring ourselves into the work of making our communities more life-affirming.
If we do not advocate for equal protection, we will undoubtedly slide towards a European model where abortion is somewhat regulated, and the child is denied equal justice.
Discrimination is not justice
We know that courts have exploited internal inconsistencies in pro-life legislation to justify discrimination against the pre-born. A perfect example of this is illustrated in Footnote 54 of Roe v. Wade:
“When Texas urges that a fetus is entitled to Fourteenth Amendment protection as a person, it faces a dilemma. Neither in Texas nor in any other State are all abortions prohibited. Despite broad proscription, an exception always exists.”
Some pro-life commentators argue that Justice Blackmun was not being serious in Footnote 54. But justice demands consistent application of fundamental principles. Blackmun was indeed serious in pointing out that pro-lifers were not willing to practice what they preached. Either the right to life of innocent human beings is fundamental, or it isn’t, posited Blackmun.
The time to unite is now
The pro-life movement faces a monumental task and an incredible responsibility, just as we always have. My prayer is for unity of purpose among the pro-life ranks.
It is time to unite the clans.
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Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq., is the legal counsel and former president of the Personhood Alliance and is the executive director of the International Human Rights Group. For the past 15 years, Mr. Garcia Jones has served as a legal expert on human rights issues for various organizations and campaigns in the U.S. and internationally. He is a member of the bar in the Commonwealth of Virginia, has drafted dozens of legislative proposals, and advocates for the defense of human rights before international, federal, and state governments. Mr. Garcia Jones has submitted numerous legal briefs before several courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of Colombia.