June 24, 2022, proved to be the most consequential day in the modern pro-life movement as the U.S. Supreme Court handed down their decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. This 6-3 ruling held that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to abortion and sent the issue back to the states. This ruling is a culmination of nearly 50 years of focused work by the pro-life movement to overturn Roe v. Wade and protect the preborn.
Nearly a year prior to the ruling, in July 2021, the ERLC, alongside other pro-life organizations including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Association of Evangelicals, and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, filed an amicus brief in this case requesting the Supreme Court overturn the Roe (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) decisions. The ERLC’s brief asserted that “the Constitution does not create a right to an abortion of an unborn child before viability or at any other stage of pregnancy. An asserted right to abortion has no basis in constitutional text or in American history and tradition.”
In March of 2022, we released and promoted the Dobbs Resource Page on our website which was designed with pastors, leaders, and other curious individuals in mind to be a one-stop shop for all things related to this once-in-a-generation Supreme Court case. This site has been continually updated throughout the year as the content team produced more articles. It also includes an interactive state map which allows visitors to the site to click on their state and learn more about local abortion laws, as well as pregnancy resource centers and foster care options near them.
The ERLC team was expectant on the morning of June 24 and ready to respond with several resources. Our team immediately released a video highlighting why the ruling was so important and what it means for churches moving forward as they seek to serve mothers and vulnerable children. In just one day, our team produced several articles, emailed pastors with a statement to equip them to discuss the Dobbs ruling with their own church, and were quoted in multiple national media outlets and Baptist papers. In addition, several members of our team fielded off-the-record questions from pastors and other leaders about the ruling.
Radical abortion legislation
As a result of the historic Dobbs decision, some politicians are pushing for radical legislation that would codify abortion protections. In July 2022, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 219-210, but did not receive a vote in the Senate. This bill would allow for abortion up to the point of birth. Additionally, this bill removes all pro-life protections at the federal and state levels and eliminates a state’s ability to legislate on abortion. This bill also fails to protect the consciences of American taxpayers by utilizing taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. This bill is the most pro-abortion bill to ever pass the house. The ERLC and the pro-life community strongly opposed this bill. The ERLC sent several letters to Congress voicing our opposition.
Again, in July 2022, the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022, which requires states to allow the purchase and mailing of abortion pills from across state lines, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 223-205. The Senate has not yet voted. Not only would the bill curb state authority to restrict access to the abortion pill, but it would also prevent states from restricting or impeding interstate travel for the purpose of obtaining an abortion. Some lawmakers and advocacy groups have proposed laws that would prevent people from traveling out of state to obtain abortions or open out-of-state providers to civil liabilities. This bill would ban such efforts nationwide. The ERLC has strongly opposed this bill, as it would enshrine interstate access to the dangerous abortion pill into federal law and would promote abortion tourism nationwide, and will continue to urge the Senate to vote down this destructive piece of legislation.
The abortion landscape in the U.S. continues to change post-Roe and poses new challenges to the pro-life movement. In the midst of this, the ERLC will proclaim the dignity of every person and will always advocate for life in the public square, before the courts, and before Congress.
*This article is an excerpt from our 2022 Annual Report. Download and read the full report here.