Dobbs Redux: Naming What’s Really at Stake
By: Helen M. Alvare
Written: June 23, 2023
Since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June 2022, advocates of legal abortion have been frantically active, not only proposing to reestablish a legal right to abortion, but seeking to quash even the smallest legal gesture toward respecting unborn human lives.
Pro-life advocates, too, are active at both the state and the federal levels. They are meeting with much success in some legislatures and courts, but also facing unexpected animosity and lack of will on the part of lawmakers who previously could hide behind Supreme Court opinions that forbade them from showing “undue” respect for unborn children.
As usual, abortion advocates contend that the territory at stake in this inevitable tug-of-war is women’s agency, and that this agency is in a zero-sum struggle, with the “rights” of an entity they inevitably fail to acknowledge is both human and alive.
While pro-life advocates advance a genuinely creative array of legal means to protect unborn lives as much as their relevant electorates will allow, I propose one alteration in our strategy going forward. We need to remind everyone what territory is really at stake, which is Americans’ willingness to acknowledge that we humans are responsible for one another, especially for those who can’t help themselves.