Church and state

Our labors have only just begun in this vale of tears

by Michael Schuttloffel

“We’re winning.”

If you’re involved in pro-life ministry, it is very likely that you have heard this said recently. Such thinking is understandable, especially to anyone who remembers the dark days of 25 years ago when abortions peaked at around 1.6 million per year (600,000 more than 2015) and the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe v. Wade in the abominable Casey decision.

Since that time, the pro-life position has become more culturally mainstream. A national ban on partial-birth abortions was passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. More pro-life laws have been passed at the state level in the last five years than in the previous 15, Kansas being a prime example.

There is reason to see in all of this and much else trend lines that favor an eventual repeal of Roe. However, short of the eschaton, victory over the culture of death is not some sort of historical inevitability. And the near-term picture may not be nearly so rosy as we would like to believe.

Start with the fact that there are still over one million abortions per year in this country. The rivers of innocent blood being spilled every single day make for a strange type of “winning.”

Moreover, advocates for the abortion industry are promoting an astonishingly aggressive agenda, apparently in the belief that pro-lifers have failed to capture the nation’s hearts and minds. This year for the first time, the Democratic Party’s platform explicitly calls for repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer Medicaid dollars from funding most abortions.

Gone is the rhetoric of “safe, legal and rare.” Instead, a social media campaign is encouraging women to “shout their abortion,” and politicians who danced around the issue 20 years ago now make no attempt to disguise their pro-abortion extremism. This summer, in an act of pure political partisanship masquerading as a judicial opinion, the Supreme Court struck down a common sense pro-life law from Texas 5-3.

At the nation’s founding, slavery’s supporters mostly defended it as a necessary evil, and its opponents believed that it was on the path to extinction. Roughly 40 years after the ratification of the Constitution, however, attitudes changed. High profile Southerners in public life began defending slavery as a positive good, and it became clear that slavery was not just going to run its course and die. Forty-three years after Roe, something similar may be happening.

Let us not be deluded into thinking that as our culture and our politics descend into the abyss, the family is destroyed and unlimited sexual freedom becomes the top priority of the body politic, that respect for the unborn will somehow, inexorably defy these trends and win out.

Our labors in this vale of tears have only just begun.

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Michael Schuttloffel

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