In 1973, the Supreme Court decided in the case of Roe v. Wade that restrictions on abortion were unconstitutional. Justice Harry Blackmun saw in the 4th Amendment right to privacy emanations and penumbras of a right to kill your unborn children. Ever since then, abortion has been a flashpoint in the culture war, perhaps the one issue on which social conservatives have scarcely wavered.
Republican politicians, on the other hand, quickly learned that abortion was a great way to raise funds and win campaigns, but once in office they suddenly found it hard to do anything about it. The Republican-controlled Congress could not even stop government funding of Planned Parenthood in 2017.
The last few years, then, have seen movement at the state level. In 2021, the state of Texas passed a law essentially banning abortion if a baby’s heartbeat could be detected. The Supreme Court refused to vacate the law last year, and many observers believe that they will overturn Roe v. Wade when they announce their full decision later this year.
The Texas heartbeat bill was the result of ten years of dedicated efforts on the part of pro-life organizations. Other states passed their own versions of the bill, as well as new laws that impose stricter regulation of abortion clinics, a waiting period, and a requirement that mothers see their baby on ultrasound before going through with the procedure.
Idaho passed our own heartbeat bill in 2021, but it included a clause that said it would only go into effect if federal courts struck down legal abortion. This year, the legislature passed a much stronger bill that bans abortion after six weeks.
Governor Little signed the bill but expressed his reservations. “I stand in solidarity with all Idahoans who seek to protect the lives of preborn babies,” Little wrote, but added, “While I support the pro-life policy in this legislation, I fear the novel civil enforcement mechanism will, in short order, be proven both unconstitutional and unwise.”
If only the governor was as enthusiastic about protecting the lives of the unborn as he is about spending taxpayer money.
This week, the Oklahoma legislature went even further, passing a law that bans all abortions. It is awaiting the governor’s signature at the time of this writing.
These new state laws are a cause for celebration. This is some of the first victories in the war against abortion in a long time. However, we must not forget what is happening on the other side of the culture war.
In 2020, New York and Virginia both passed laws codifying the right to abortion up to the moment of birth. Right now, California and Maryland are debating laws that would essentially decriminalize infanticide. Colorado has passed a law protecting the right to abortion up until birth. Oregon has announced that they will pass measures to make abortion easier to get for people coming there from Idaho.
We are seeing the divide in our culture war become even more geographical. Blue states are explicitly endorsing abortion as a public good, while red states are banning it as an evil and barbaric practice. While it remains abhorrent that abortion is legal anywhere in the United States of America, this is a clarifying moment in our culture wars. Does your state support innocent life, or does it go out of its way to destroy it?
The most basic judgment of a society is found in the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens. There is no human being more vulnerable than an unborn child. Despite Governor Little’s hemming and hawing about the letter of the law, there is no better hill to die on than that of protecting innocent life.
We all know that Roe v. Wade was a bad decision. The founders of this country could not have predicted that their posterity would twist the Constitution to find a right to murder their unborn children. Perhaps it was their mistake, and ours, to be so naïve about the nature of evil that we did not use stronger words to protect the unborn. There is no time like the present. There is no downside to making Idaho a sanctuary state for the unborn. Let California, Oregon, and New York erect their alters to Moloch while we proclaim loud and clear that children are a gift from God and that their lives matter.