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Dobbs gives us a chance to create a culture of life. Let's not blow it.

  • John Quinn

In a recent article in The Atlantic, David Frum draws an analogy between the struggle over temperance and prohibition in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the conflict about abortion in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The analogy is strained, but I think Mr. Frum makes some good points about the nature of such political struggles and the opportunities and risks we in the pro-life movement face after Dobbs.

Here's what I take from Mr. Frum's analysis. The pro-choice side overreached when they succeeded in enshrining a right to abortion in the Constitution and thus sowed the seeds of their own defeat. But if pro-lifers take the Supreme Court's correction of the fundamental errors in Roe as a license to impose our moral convictions on those who don't share them, that also will be overreaching and will result in the loss of what has been gained in Dobbs. The better course going forward is to concentrate on giving pregnant women and families a real choice by providing ample support - moral, cultural and ,when needed, financial - to those who decide to carry unplanned and life-altering pregnancies to term and to the children who are born because of those decisions. We're a rich country. We can afford to be generous with our support.

Abortion is not the sort of issue on which people are effectively persuaded by force, shaming or punishment. But they can be persuaded by the knowledge that the rest of us honor and will actively support their decisions to bring new life into the world. The pro-life position has a great force for good on its side, namely, parental - and especially maternal - love. Given a chance, most women who carry unplanned new life in their wombs will choose life, provided they are given the freedom to decide and are supported in bearing the burdens imposed by their decisions. But if we take a heavy-handed approach and try to force our moral position on others, as correct as that position clearly is, we will deserve to lose and we will lose in the long run.

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