By Personhood Alliance leadership — With President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, the jury is still out on whether she would help overturn Roe v. Wade. But we believe the bigger questions are: What would happen next, and why are we still waiting?
The courts, and particularly the Supreme Court, are supposed to be the least-politicized, least-partisan branch of our civil government. Yet that is no longer the case. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and President Trump’s duty to appoint a replacement, at the end of his term in the midst of a deeply divided culture, is demonstrating just how politicized and partisan the Supreme Court and the nominating process have become. Our vacant Supreme Court seat has become the issue. All because of abortion.
With President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, battle lines are being drawn. But the jury is still out on whether Amy Coney Barrett would vote to overturn the unjust decision of Roe v. Wade. Former Personhood Alliance president, Gualberto Garcia Jones, explains:
“As a self-described originalist and a student of the late Antonin Scalia, it remains to be seen whether Amy Coney Barret will follow Scalia’s legal positivism or Justice Thomas’ fundamental understanding of the law as inclusive and governed by higher principles, such as our inalienable rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. While legal positivists would look no further than the written man-made law in considering a challenge to Roe, an originalist with an understanding of inalienable rights would subject man-made law to a higher fundamental standard—our paramount right to life.”
In her now famous Notre Dame law review article, Amy Coney Barrett made clear that Roe v. Wade, unlike Brown v. Board of Education, is not a super precedent and therefore, could be overturned. Beyond her writings and her judicial record, Amy Coney Barret is clearly an example of how a woman in America can be open to life and motherhood while achieving the highest levels of professional success. This infuriates the radical feminist Left.
The battle has begun
Pro-abortion politicians and organizations are gearing up for the fight of their lives in the Senate, through the media and in the political arena. They’re busy firing up their base, and some are even threatening violence; all to protect what they believe is a fundamental right to kill children.
Their pro-life counterparts are responding with equal and opposite zeal, without the calls for violence. The fundraising letters on both sides of this contentious issue are being blasted to inboxes all across America.
The Personhood Alliance, which is made up of principled, grassroots local, state, and national activist groups, has a different perspective.
A time for caution
Personhood Alliance leadership is cautiously optimistic that the new court would overturn the travesty of Roe, and we call for the Senate to approve President Trump’s nominee. But that won’t end legal abortion.
If Roe is overturned, the right to abortion would fall to the states; a possibility for which many states have already been preparing. Governors have signed trigger laws on both sides that would either immediately protect the so-called “right” to abortion or deny that claim in the state. Twenty-one states already have laws that prohibit or restrict abortion, while thirteen states have laws that explicitly protect abortion—some through all nine months of pregnancy. The remaining states would need to determine how to proceed.
This is hardly the victory many pro-lifers assume it would be, as almost all state laws set in place to limit or restrict abortion would actually protect it to varying degrees if Roe fell. We would need to overturn bad state court decisions and repeal decades of laws that have entrenched and regulated abortion. We would also need to pass laws that recognize the personhood of pre-born children, giving them equal protection under the law from their biological beginning.
Anticipating the demise of Roe and the pro-life response that would be needed in the aftermath, pro-abortion organizations have been working diligently for several years to find alternative ways for abortion “access.” Through webcam abortions and mail-order abortion pills, they are advocating self-managed abortions that circumvent the FDA and state laws and put women and girls at risk.
Meanwhile, the pro-life movement is offering very little in terms of coherent strategy for ending abortion in a post-Roe world, especially given that 88% of abortions occur in the first trimester and almost half of those are done via the abortion pill. We’ve been so focused on compromised incrementalism—pain-capable laws, bans on certain procedures, and regulatory rules—that we have failed to see the forest for the trees.
Overturning Roe has been the pipe dream of the pro-life movement for almost 50 years, but the movement is decades behind abortion advocates’ work to secure it at the state level.
Not to mention we’ve been at this precipice many times before.
Fool me once
While Amy Coney Barrett is highly qualified and the Senate should take up her confirmation quickly, we must consider history when it comes to the Supreme Court and Roe.
For decades, the pro-life movement, conservative movement, and many Christians have made their primary focus electing Republican presidents and senators, hoping to get pro-life, or at least originalist, justices on the Supreme Court. Over the past 47 years, national pro-life/conservative organizations have raised millions of dollars, while at the same time, sought to simply regulate the killing of pre-born children. Too often, they’ve used the language of personhood—declaring life at conception and equal protection—but in practice, carried out Bill Clinton’s goals of making abortion “safe, legal, and rare.”
So how has this strategy of working and waiting for the Supreme Court played out for us?
We must remember that the original court that decided Roe in 1973—that overstepped its authority and turned the rule of law on its head—consisted of a majority of Republican-appointed justices. This included Harry Blackmun, who specifically stated he was ignoring the question of the personhood of the pre-born in writing the majority decision.
After abandoning several attempts at a Human Life Amendment in the 1980s, as well as principled legislative efforts, pro-lifers worked for the election of Ronald Reagan, and in the 90s, George HW Bush. The reward was an 8 to 1 Republican-appointed majority on the court. In the early 90s, the opportunity to overturn Roe came in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The result? The Court upheld and even strengthened Roe. In every precedent that has followed, up to present time, the court has denied the personhood of the pre-born and further embedded abortion as “a women’s right.”
Yet, here we are again; scrambling to put another justice on the court who could, maybe, possibly, overturn the unjust decision of Roe v. Wade.
What if Roe isn’t ever overturned?
The work to end abortion and protect all God’s image bearers from the moment of conception in love and in law has already begun.
We do not need to wait for bad court decisions at the state, federal, and Supreme Court level to be overturned.
We cannot wait.
Personhood Alliance president Les Riley notes:
“We cannot go along with the lie that court decisions are ‘the law of the land’ and be guilty of perpetuating injustice. We must reclaim the authority of state and local governments from the overreach of the federal courts. We can start now to work in our states to see laws passed that recognize personhood and give pre-born children equal protection under the law.
The time is now for Christians to step up in our local communities to reclaim charity from the civil government. To continue and expand the care that churches, families, pregnancy centers, homes for unwed mothers, adoption ministries, and countless others are doing to protect children and aid mothers. And regardless of when or if Roe is ever overturned, we must share the Gospel and teach a Biblical worldview in a post-postmodern culture set adrift by utilitarianism, eugenics, the sexual revolution, and family breakdown.”
It’s time for a new approach
The fact is, the courts have let us down again and again. Most national pro-life organizations have told us that if we just send them money to lobby states to regulate abortion and help elect Republicans, one day—someday—the Supreme Court will end abortion.
Pro-life Christians have placed far too much emphasis on national elections and too much hope in future Court decisions. The oft-mentioned definition of insanity might be considered here: “Repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results.”
Personhood offers a new approach, different in both principle and strategy. Grounded in the biblical concept of the Imago Dei—that all human beings are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27)—the personhood movement boldly proclaims that our inalienable rights are universal, inherent, and essential to our humanity.
The Personhood Alliance advocates for the recognition and protection of the God-given, inalienable right to life of all human beings as legal persons, at every stage of their biological development and in every circumstance. We believe the pro-life movement has done great harm to its own ability to succeed by promoting legislation that abandons children conceived in rape, children with disabilities, and other politically unfashionable human beings. We reject this line of thinking and declare that exceptions must not be made when defending human life.
Beyond state-level legislative efforts, we believe the answer lies at the local level.
A local strategy to end legalized abortion
The Personhood Alliance’s Safe City initiative is a principled strategy that God is using to impact local cities and counties all across America to bring abortion to an end, regardless of what happens in Washington, DC. The duty to end abortion, to see unjust courts reigned in, and to restore equal protection in love and in law lies with us as individuals and with the Church as a whole—with the assurance of the blessing of God when we place our hope in Him.
Personhood upholds God’s standard for defending all human life equally and for the dignity of all human beings as His image bearers. We invite you to join us—and end all legalized abortion, without exception and without compromise—for good.
To learn more about what the Personhood Alliance is doing to end abortion and other direct assaults on human life, subscribe our email list.
Les Riley, Gualberto Garcia Jones, Sarah Quale, and Deborah Riffenburgh contributed to this article. Banner photo: Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP
18 comments on “Trump picks Barrett: If Roe goes, then what?”
The main issue in society today is the collapse of morals to the point where humanity now attacks itself . We can see it by viewing all the issues which are at the top of the list of problems that we face . And because humanity tries to sort those issues out by applying ” laws ” , they will never be solved when we try using worldly standards and judgement and the problems are of Spiritual nature which the world CANNOT understand .Galations 3 ;23 teaches us that the law is as a teacher to teach us about God who created us and the law is based on the CHARACTER of Christ …..it is the foundation of the law so sin ( which is the breaking of the law ) ensures that law can be broken no matter how hard we try to get it obeyed . Morals are the basis of laws so laws cannot save us even right from the position of conception being pre-born . If our courts of law try to make laws to command a ruling , they will fail if they aren’t based on the standards/laws God has already given us . Such is the corruption of the law that sin puts us into and why preaching the gospel is paramount . ” The Last days on earth will be as in the days of Noah ” . The story of Sodom is also an illustration of God’s dealing with such moral corruption .
Of course we must keep persevering saving human life in all situations while understanding why our struggle is such a battle……..because it is ” fought in the heavenlies “
You did an awesome job of presenting the facts in this article, and I am thrilled to hear someone finally make it clear that abortions are wrong, regardless of circumstance. Right is right and wrong is wrong, and both are defined by what IS God and what is NOT God. So, either taking the life of an unborn baby is right or it’s wrong. God is Life and no child comes into being except that God pours Himself into His Creation. This is not a philosophical matter where truth may be negotiated based on a person’s emotional and physical ability to pursue a particular course. Inconvenience and trauma do not define what is right or wrong. Some pregnancies are inconvenient and some pregnancies are traumatic. We must do everything in our power to help women overcome these challenges, not redefine morals to cater to their crisis. This is also not a matter of judging the mothers; what they are going through is real, it’s difficult and may even be terrifying. But God has a solution to every crisis and it does not involve taking the baby’s life. I actually believe that if we have the courage to follow through with the “difficult” decision to do what is right in honoring the life of the baby, this particular crisis offers an opportunity to share the Love of God in more ways than usual. …Switching gears to the basic practicality of the issue, what if, for the price of an abortion, a woman could enter a program that would counsel, teach and equip her to either start life with her new baby or to give her baby up for adoption?
Thank you Gualberto and personhood. Permit me to echo your analysis with a bit of Kansas history. The problem goes back to contraception. The contraceptive mentality that sees children as unwanted, something to be avoided maybe not completely but at least some of the time or in some circumstances. What happens when contraceptives fail when you really really did not want to be pregnant?
Then there is the reality that everyone either ignores or is unaware of, that contraceptives can and do take the life of a developing baby, that is abortion.
It is the avoidance of that reality, that fuels and has fueled from the beginning, the so called incremental strategy. The strategy that sees restricting and regulating some abortion rather than spending efforts and resources toward prohibiting all abortion. Precisely because in order to prohibit all abortion you have to prohibit contraception. Return to Humanae Vitae and the rejection by so many Catholics and Bishops.
If only the Bishops from the beginning had resisted….? Instead we have endured 47 years of a failed strategy. In Kansas, in 1970, Right to Life of Kansas did that; resisted all abortion; fighting the 1970 Kansas bill that decriminalized virtually all abortions in Kansas, and the Kansas Catholic Bishops who wanted to pursue the incremental strategy. We did so until we were replaced in 1980 on the NRLC board with a new organization that would do the bidding of the Bishops.
In 2018 the Kansas Supreme Court used an incremental bill authored by the NRLC affiliate and supported by Kansas Bishops, to issue a ruling that cemented in place in the Kansas Constitution a “right to abortion”. Predictably, the NRLC affiliate and the Bishops began a campaign not to oppose the court ruling, but instead to write into the constitution the “right” of Kansas Legislature, not to prohibit, but instead to REGULATE abortion. Just as you said, the court ruling in Kansas was put in place anticipating an “overturn” of Roe. The proposed suppose to be prolife amendment would ensure that the killing of unborn babies would continue forever. It would take another constitutional amendment to undo that. With the 2018 Kansas court ruling in place, a Constitutional Amendment would be to say the least an uphill battle, especially given the makeup of the supposed to be prolife Kansas legislature. Reality check again. Nearly 40 years of NRLC affiliate supported legislators who only need to agree to back abortion REGULATION in order to win prolife endorsement, how many would support prohibiting all abortion? Were the constitutional amendment giving the right to regulate abortion to pass, my guess is that there would be little incentive for another amendment to ban all abortion and contraceptives.
Some further notes, the Kansas Bill of Rights preceding the federal fourteenth amendment guarantees the natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Framers also wrote statutory law punishing abortion as the crime of homicide. Unfortunately, they wrote an excaption for the life of the mother. In 1950s, a former Planned Parenthood official along with a physician formerly with WHO joined the Kansas Health Department with the goal of changing the law to permit contraception and abortion. In 1957 they managed, almost secretively to change the law from the felony of homicide to a simple misdemeanor. This opened the gates wide at the most prestigious Kansas University and other hospitals to do abortions simply by using the life of the mother exception and claiming that a woman’s life would be at risk if she could not have an abortion. They could only be charged with a misdemeanor if they were challenged. In Kansas we were well prepared by 1970 to take up the mantle of leadership in the abortion industry. We understood well the exceptions risks to preborn babies. Thank you for the opportunity to spout what I have been preaching for some 50 years, Pat Goodson (cofounder Right to Life of Kansas).
A decision clarifying that the Fourteenth Amendment protections used to support Roe actually demand it be overturned as the “life, liberty, . . . property” rights that apply to “any person” include the unborn as the language makes no exclusion for the unborn nor any specific application to the born (unlike citizenship).
Such clarification, coupled with a Roe overturn abolishes abortion nation wide.
So if it is outlawed should we have more programs for the children that will be born then, and possibly enlarge the foster care networks? That would be a wise thing to consider, especially since there will be more births and we’ll need solutions to that.
Yes! Absolutely. Our Safe City initiative focuses on *local communities* creating the support networks and ministries that will care for and serve children and families. We’re doing this in spite of Roe still being in place and will continue to do it if Roe was ever overturned. The point here being it doesn’t matter what happens to Roe. We need to move forward with a new strategy. We can work at the local level to create a culture that honors life before and after birth, while also putting local protections in place to prevent children from being killed before they’re born.
We must never give up, and keep working for life.
A further note. Somewhere along the line, following Roe, a compromise was floated, most notably, by Congressman Hatch. The Hatch or states rights amendment returning abortion to individual states to decide. For a whole it was resisted by most prolifers. Around 1980 it was the issue that most separated Right to Life of Kansas from NRLC. Today there is not even a discussion ot is simply understood to mean that overturning Roe just means returning to individual states the decision of whether to allow the killing of preborn babies.
But did we not try that once before? It was Abraham Lincoln who said that this nation can not survive half free and half slave. If that was true when the issue was enslaving fellow human beings, how much true can it be when the issue is killing them?
Very good article, but hard for those who live under the rule of Herod Cuomo, emperor of NY, to implement. Have spoken out against, demonstrated, and prayed since NYS legalized abortion in 1970. Reversal of Roe would make a big difference for pro-abortion states where locals are hindered from reversing legal abortion.
Thank you for your efforts there in NY! It’s an uphill battle, to put it mildly. One of the main points this article makes is that we don’t (and shouldn’t) wait for Roe to be overturned. The idea that we are stymied by the courts is one that we need to reject. It’s certainly harder in some states than in others, but the local level is where the power really is. NY needs some safe cities and counties, particularly upstate! Again, thank you for your sacrifices in fighting this very worthwhile battle.
Personhood Education NY, Inc., and Personhood New York, Inc. is an affiliate of Personhood Alliance. We are looking for you to join this grass roots effort! Give us a call: (631) 487-7578.
Legalized abortion is a symbol of all that is wrong – America has spit on God, and rejected His Son,
Jesus Christ, our only Savior. I believe that when Christianity became embedded in politics, belief in
Almighty God and Jesus Christ took a dive. Today’s political Christians wholeheartedly support
abortion-loving Israel; they worship at the throne of Trump, more than at the throne of Our Savior
who was butchered on a cross to pay for all of our sins. And now, the horrors of a world run by satan
are before us. Jesus said, “Those who endure until the end, will be saved.” Endure. Fight for the unborn.
Stand up for Jesus Christ, against the communists who have taken over America and the world.
“Endure,” dear brothers and sisters. It will be difficult; but then Eternal Life in Heaven will be astonishingly
well worth it. Amen. (Thank you for this excellent article.)
If we cannot get abortion to be outlawed, why can we not tax the procedure to the point where noone can afford it. If one insists on ending the life of a future tax payer, they should make up for the lost revenue and social security funds that dwindle more every year. Right out of the Dem’s own playbook.
Image bearers humans are not unless you admit it is the image of the devil. ORIGINALLY we were made in God’s image but after the fall we lost all of that image which by Biblical definition is holiness and true righteousness and we are all in the image of fallen totally depraved Adam. Because originally made in God’s image we have the prohibition of murder and the death penalty in Genesis.
The fall does not make us the image of Satan. Satan cannot create. He was tested and rebelled against God and His plan for creation. Now, instead of helping us and serving us, as he was supposed to do, he fights against us, trying to keep us out of God’s Heavenly Kingdom. We are still made in God’s imagine and likeness; we have intellect and free will. We lost sanctifying grace through the fall; we are now subject to a dull intellect and weakness. We are restored to grace through baptism in Christ Jesus. This is a good thing for us, for because of the fall, God Himself became one of us! He took upon Himself our humanity, so that we, in Him, may share in His Divinity. What was lost through sin, Christ redeemed through the offering of Himself on the cross to the Father. Love is not love if it is selfish. Paradise itself was not enough for man. And equality with God was grasped at, by Eve and Adam (and us). We all must be tested and tried. God is Love. Love does not seek self. God forgives all who repent. We are called to do the same. Only God knows the heart; therefore we are called to forgive the unforgivable and let God sort out the details- Who knows all things. For only undeserved love heals the heart who is so unworthy, and makes that heart able to heal from hatred and malice. That is why Our Lord says, “Love your enemies. Do good to them who hate you.” Only then can you be sons and daughters of God.
To win the battle against abortion, we must take the ax to the root!
May God bless all soldiers of Jesus Christ and Mary, Mother of God!
Couldn’t agree more