The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a shock and a blow to pro-lifers. He was a dependable vote on the court when it came to protecting our youngest and most vulnerable American citizens. But even with his death, I’m as optimistic now about ending abortion as I was before his passing.
Pro-life momentum in America is huge. Since 2010, states have passed more than 280 laws that protect unborn babies and their mothers. Since the undercover videos demolished Planned Parenthood’s slick, pink façade, exposing their grisly sideline in selling baby body parts, eight states have voted to take away their state funds. Eleven states launched investigations into Planned Parenthood. The nation’s most aggressive provider and promoter of abortion on demand is on the defensive, and keeping timid legislators on a leash has become a bigger challenge.
Even more amazingly, for the first time ever Congress put a bill on the president’s desk ending most of Planned Parenthood’s tax funding. Obama vetoed it, of course, and the Senate didn’t have enough votes to override, but it was an enormous milestone victory.
All in all, 2015 was the most dramatic, event-filled year in the 40 years I’ve been in the pro-life movement.
Since Roe v Wade, the five votes we need on the Supreme Court have eluded us, even with Justice Scalia’s reliable pro-life presence. In spite of that, we continue to make slow, steady progress and the momentum is undeniably building.
Justice Scalia’s death does create uncertainty about the two pro-life cases currently before the Court. Zubik vs. Burwell deals with the Obamacare mandate requiring religious-sponsored non-profits to facilitate coverage for abortion-causing drugs. And Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole challenges a Texas law requiring abortionists to have local hospital admitting privileges and that their killing centers meet the same requirements as any other outpatient surgical center.
Should the Court deadlock in a 4-4 tie, the lower court ruling would stand, which would favor Texas but go against the religious non-profits. We must commit these situations to prayer.
Between now and the November elections we must maintain constant and direct access to our senators. Grassroots involvement is critical. We must hold the Senate’s feet to the fire to be sure they pledge that the next president, not the most pro-abortion president in history, nominates Justice Scalia’s replacement.
Scalia’s tragic death has sounded a clarion call—it’s critical that we elect a pro-life president. If pro-lifers didn’t understand the importance of that vote before Justice Scalia’s death, they certainly should understand it now. Staying home on Election Day because a pro-life candidate isn’t perfect is not an option. Not long ago I talked with Dr. Jerry Johnson, president of National Religious Broadcasters. He said that in the last presidential election, only about half of the nation’s Christians were registered to vote, and only half of those actually voted. That can’t happen this year—either in the primaries or in November. (You can watch our conversation in 2016: A Call to Action.)
Justice Scalia’s death underscores the power and effectiveness of pro-life education. It’s the foundation on which we build legislative and political victories regardless of who’s on the Supreme Court. Talk with your neighbors and friends about these issues and the need for all pro-lifers to vote. Talk with them about abortion. Educate them about the fraud and abuse in the abortion industry. Encourage your pastors to talk about abortion from the pulpit and what it’s done to our nation. You can steer them toward the resources on our website.
And pray. Please pray for Justice Scalia’s family, who are in deep mourning. Don’t let all this political upheaval take your attention away from their pain. And please pray for this great nation whose Constitution he so faithfully labored to protect.