What You Should Know About the Supreme Court Decision on Abortion

How churches can get involved after the reversal of Roe v. Wade

“A true turning point for the pro-life movement”

The 2022 release of the Dobbs decision marked a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. Let us rejoice that we live in a nation where past injustices can still be corrected, as we also roll our sleeves up to save preborn lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities.

What happens now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned?

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, individual states will be free to make their own decisions on abortion. Many states have laws in place that will now automatically protect or prohibit abortion access. Other states will almost certainly become contested battlegrounds for control of state legislatures and the governorship in order to pass measures in either direction. 

2023: The One Year Anniversary of the Dobbs Decision

It has been over a year since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and drastically altered access to abortion in our nation. Millions of pro-life activists had worked and prayed for this moment. Yet, the nature of the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization didn’t outlaw abortion; it sent the decision-making back to the states, setting off a chain of events, some positive and life-saving, some predatory and destructive.

As we recognize the anniversary of the monumental Dobbs case, read more for updates on pro-life issues across different states to see how churches are needed now more than ever to save preborn lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities.

What is ministry like one year after Dobbs? Two pregnancy resource center directors demonstrate the dramatic difference in states”

As we recognize the anniversary of the monumental Dobbs case, we talked to two heroes who have provided a view of pro-life ministry in Tennessee and Illinois. To consider how different their experience has become is staggering.

Recent ERLC Pro-Life Updates

What did the Supreme Court decide in the Mississippi abortion case?

In a 5-4 decision on June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court held that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.” This is the most significant moment in the pro-life movement in decades, and we should rightly celebrate this decision that will save thousands of precious preborn lives. The 5-4 decision overturns the horrendous precedent set in both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the other justices in a 6-3 ruling upholding the Mississippi abortion law even though he did not join the majority opinion overturning the prior precedent.

Key Questions About the Supreme Court Decision on Abortion

Click on the questions below to read more. 

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court was reviewing a Mississippi law titled the “Gestational Age Act” that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, except in a medical emergency and in cases of severe fetal abnormality. This law replaces the ‘viability standard’ created by Roe. The court examined whether pre-viability restrictions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court admitted that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting unborn human life, but concluded that that interest did not become compelling until viability, because at that point the unborn child “has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb.” However, the choice of viability as the point before which a state may not forbid abortion is entirely arbitrary. Even the author of Roe and two authors of Casey’s three-justice plurality have admitted this. When the “viability standard” was initially created in 1973, viability was around 28 weeks, but it is now around 21 weeks. The viability line will keep moving as our modern medicine continues to improve. No Supreme Court decision has ever provided a principled justification for the viability standard.

In a 5-4 decision on June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court held that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.” This is the most significant moment in the pro-life movement in decades, and we should rightly celebrate this decision that will save thousands of precious preborn lives. The 5-4 decision overturns the horrendous precedent set in both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Of note, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the other justices in a 6-3 ruling upholding the Mississippi abortion law even though he did not join the majority opinion overturn the prior precedent.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Dec. 1, 2021 and handed down their ruling on June 24, 2022.

Roe v. Wade” or “Roe”  are terms often heard in the abortion debate. Sometimes this language has been used even as a synonym for abortion itself, but despite its immediate name recognition, many do not actually know what was decided in Roe v. Wade and how that has impacted the right to life in our country. 

Prior to 1973, abortion was illegal in most states with a few restrictively allowing the procedure in certain circumstances. The disastrous Roe v. Wade decision established a national, legal right to abortion, regardless of each state’s laws or desires. This moment marked the birth of the modern pro-life movement that has worked tirelessly for 49 years to protect the lives of the unborn and to educate the public on both the scientific and legal reasons that Roe and the viability standard were wrongly decided.

Click here to read more.

Sometime this summer, the Supreme Court will issue a ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, one of the most monumental abortion cases of the century. Here are six other Supreme Court cases related to abortion you should know about:

  1. Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
  2. Roe v. Wade (1971)
  3. Doe v. Bolton (1973)
  4. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992)
  5. June Medical Services LLC v. Russo (2020)
  6. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (pending)

Click here to read more about these cases.

According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, around 119 million unplanned pregnancies occurred each year between 2015 and 2019. Of those pregnancies, around 61%, or 73 million, ended in abortion. These numbers represent 73 million precious lives lovingly created in the image of God. The fight to save preborn lives like these and see an end to the atrocity of abortion continues around the world, even as several countries are moving to legalize abortion for the first time.

Many countries around the world are seeing abortion legalized for the first time, even as efforts to end abortion in the United States are growing.

Click here to read an overview of some of the countries making moves on both sides of the abortion debate.

Christians believe strongly in the sanctity of human life. It’s woven into the Bible’s narrative, from the very beginning, where we see Moses describe the origin of life in the most descriptive of ways. Most of creation is spoken into existence by the word of the Lord, but the text of Genesis then pauses to draw out the way in which God crafted human bodies and souls. We read that the entire Godhead was involved: Let us make man in our image. The Christian tradition is the only religion in the world that gives such a breathtaking view of humanity. Even cultures that are increasingly antagonistic toward Christianity unconsciously borrow their sense of justice and dignity from the Bible’s vision of what it means to be human. 

The rich theology of the imago Dei changes the way Christians see our neighbors. There are no disposable people in God’s economy. Every human being has dignity and worth. This should shape our posture in the world. It means we should think long and hard about difficult ethical issues and, as redeemed image-bearers, actively advocate for policies that respect the dignity of our fellow image-bearers. We will, of course, disagree on the best approaches toward alleviating the suffering of our neighbors and the feasibility and wisdom of policy proposals, but our disposition toward the vulnerable should be one of advocacy, care, and love.

Click here to read more.

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the question of abortion to the states, many people are wondering what they can do to make their states more pro-life.

There are a number of ways you can work to make your state more pro-life. You can begin by researching what your existing state laws are and how they protect life. There’s likely an existing coalition of pro-life leaders and ministries in your state. It would be beneficial to begin developing relationships with them and learn about opportunities to get plugged in and serve your local communities.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make your state more pro-life from a policy perspective.

La Guía de oración contiene una lista de 48 solicitudes de oración específicas para guiarlo a usted, a su familia y a su iglesia en sus oraciones durante las próximas semanas y meses. Descarga aquí.

How can churches serve vulnerable women and children now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade?

Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Christians and churches must step forward to serve vulnerable women, care for preborn lives, and support families in crisis. 

Here are several key ways you can stand for life in your community:

Partner: Churches are uniquely capable and equipped to serve families in crisis, and one of the most effective ways to do this is through a strategic partnership with crisis pregnancy centers. This could mean financial support (which is sorely needed), but it could also mean helping connect the passions, interests, and skills of church members.

Serve: The problem is not a lack of resources; it is connecting the right resources with the people who need them. Churches can mobilize their members to meet needs and provide resources where they are needed most. Although resources are not one-size-fits-all, most crisis pregnancy centers share a need for volunteers with skills such as mental health, language and communication (especially bilingual skills), sewing skills (for blankets, socks, etc.), childcare, GED/ESL opportunities, and admin work.

Pray: Oswald Chambers once said, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.”  Pray for your local pregnancy centers, and let them know. These ministries have been and will continue to serve, love, and minister to women and children, but they are also on the receiving end of much anger, misinformation, and hostility. The staff and volunteers at pregnancy resource centers are often tired and need our encouragement, prayer, and vocal support.

As we move forward into this new chapter for the pro-life movement, may God help us exemplify the truth and grace of Jesus and uphold the dignity of every life we encounter.

 Video Resources For Your Church

Brent Leatherwood responds to the Dobbs ruling overturning Roe v. Wade

Brent Leatherwood explains what the court decided, what this means for the pro-life movement, and how you and your church should respond to this monumental decision. 

What your church should know about the Mississippi abortion case

Chelsea Sobolik explains why this case is so significant and shares more information to help your church understand and pray for this important case.

An update on oral arguments
from the Supreme Court

Brent Leatherwood and Chelsea Sobolik joined us live at the Supreme Court after oral arguments to explain what the Dobbs case is about and why it could overturn the disastrous Roe v. Wade decision.

As we respond to the ruling in this case, we want to be faithful to pray. This free Dobbs prayer guide contains a list of 48 specific prayer requests to guide you, your family, and your church in your prayers over the coming weeks and months.

When you download the prayer guide, we’ll also send you key resources from this page and future updates on this case directly to your inbox. 

La Guía de oración contiene una lista de 48 solicitudes de oración específicas para guiarlo a usted, a su familia y a su iglesia en sus oraciones durante las próximas semanas y meses. Descarga aquí.

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24