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Spring 23 clickable cover
- About this issue . . .. . . As I write, legislative battles over abortion once again travel to and from the Supreme Court, this time over the “safety” of the so-called abortion pill mifepristone. We continually report on fast-changing developments on our website (www.humanlifereview.com) where senior editor William Murchison recently viewed the latest controversy with dismay: “The politicization of the ‘choice’ issue means you strive to put into power those who promise to work for your cause. It’s warfare . . . .” And yet “Abortion as a moral issue,” he notes, “too infrequently comes into view in our time: which suggests, in place of guerre à outrance, as we’re accustomed to observing all around us, the need for meetings, frequent ones, of minds and hearts” (“Go to the Mattresses?” p. 78).Meetings of minds and hearts instead of war—yes!—this is our mission. George McKenna’s essay “Getting There” and the symposium that follows (“Where Do We Go from Dobbs?” p. 21) are a shining example: a meeting of the great minds of several of the Human Life Foundation’s Great Defenders of Life! We are thrilled that Professor McKenna will be joining them as our honoree at our gala in October, along with Thomas Brejcha, founder and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society—the organization responsible for defending the legal and civil rights of scores of pro-life and religious leaders (see p. 75 for more information).Persevering after Dobbs means being open to new partnerships, says Thomas Clark in our lead essay (“The Myth of Dobbs Losing the Midterms”). “Imagine an election,” he writes, “where, with all due thanks for the past alliances that brought about the needed demise of Roe, new alliances are struck up by pro-life forces. . . . drawn by a shared respect for the needs of the vulnerable, including, most immediately, the needs of women in difficult pregnancies. Credible proposals to support women in crisis pregnancies and to hold fathers accountable must also be a part of this political program.”Well, how about starting with the pro-life movement itself? In “A Joint Statement” (Appendix B), Jonathan Van Marsen, Eric Scheidler, Charles Camosy, and Josh Braham announce: “We are pro-life conservatives, moderates, and liberals united in our conviction that every human life has value—including the lives of both the unborn child and that child’s mother. We believe that our society should prioritize the needs of both, and that ultimately this can only be achieved by significant changes in public policy.” Read what they propose (p. 91) and perhaps you will want your name among the many who have signed their statement.Our thanks go to National Review and First Things for permission to reprint Michael J. New’s encouraging report “New Data Show a Large Decline in Abortions Post-Dobbs” and John Murdock’s sorrowful “Sing Your Abortion” (Appendices C & D.) Finally, we reprint “We Shall Not Weary, We Shall Not Rest,” the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’s immortal speech to the 2008 National Right to Life Convention (Appendix A). His words give us renewed purpose: “We contend, and we contend relentlessly, for the dignity of the human person, of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God.”Maria McFadden Maffucci
Editor in Chief
- Where to begin? Since the Dobbs decision last June, abortion has dominated the news and even made a brief return to the Supreme Court. As I write, the justices have just issued an order overturning lower-court restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone. While this case is largely procedural—Do the plaintiffs have standing? Do statute of limitation laws apply?—eventually other cases, ones posing constitutional questions—Does the word “person” in the 14th Amendment include unborn children? Does the U.S. Constitution supersede state constitutions?—could make their way to the Court. But for now, the action is in the states, and the question on many minds is: Are pro-life defeats in elections since Dobbs evidence of a mounting backlash?
Not really, argues Thomas Clark in “The Myth of Dobbs Losing the Midterms,” our lead article. “What was most clearly shown,” he writes, “was that what abortion restrictions (or any political cause) cannot easily withstand is exposure to $5 billion in unanswered media attacks.” That’s right. Five billion. “It is estimated,” he goes on, “that Republicans and Democrats spent about $10 billion in political advertising in the midterm elections, more than in the 2020 election.” And while “Democrats went all in on abortion, spending by some estimates twenty times more than they spent on abortion in 2020,” Republicans chose “in effect to concede the field and focus on other issues” (e.g., inflation, crime, and immigration). True to form, abortion advocates flooded the airwaves with factually deceptive and emotionally charged messages, giving voters the impression that jail was just around the corner for anyone seeking to access or perform any abortion, even one to save the life of the mother.