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How Did We get Here? Roe, Dobbs, and Abortion

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

In 1969, a young woman named Norma McCorvey living in Dallas, TX, found herself in a predicament. At 22 years old, unmarried, and pregnant, Norma knew she wasn’t prepared to care for a child. So she explored her options—including abortion. At the time, abortion was illegal and not widely practiced, so she reached out to a lawyer to arrange an adoption for her baby.

The lawyer, a woman by the name of Gloria Allred, said she would help Norma find adoptive parents for her baby but also had other plans. Allred introduced Norma to another lawyer looking for some help with her lawsuit challenging pro-life laws that she was filing against the District Attorney’s office in Dallas County.

In 1970, the two attorneys convinced Norma McCovey to sign an affidavit suing District Attorney Henry Wade because she could not have a legal abortion. Norma claimed in the lawsuit that she had been raped but later admitted that wasn’t true. She signed the document under the pseudonym “Jane Roe.”

The case would eventually reach the Supreme Court as Roe vs. Wade in 1973.

In response to this case, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.[i] This paved the way for abortion to be legalized in all fifty states, bypassing an individual state’s ability to pass their own legislation.

Remarkably, 50 years later, Roe vs. Wade is still being contested. With protests erupting and vandalism escalating, every news outlet on TV is talking about this landmark case once again. This decision from decades ago is back in the courts thanks to a new court case: Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Before we dive into some background information, it’s critical to understand what will—and what will not—happen as a result of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade.

Contrary to what many are saying, overturning Roe vs. Wade will not outlaw abortion. It will, however, push that decision back to each state where they can make their own laws because—according to Article IV of the Constitution—the Federal government does not have the authority to force the states to enforce federal law. Several states are prepared to ban abortion from the time that a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Let’s look briefly at how we got here. In March of 2018, Jackson Women’s Health Center, the only abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi, sued Thomas E. Dobbs, the state health officer, on the same day that Mississippi passed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks. This court case (Jackson Women’s Health Organization vs. Dobbs) argued that Roe vs. Wade established that a pre-born baby was not “viable” until 24-28 weeks and that it was illegal for a state to overrule the federal law in this case.

At the request of Jackson Women’s Health Care Center (JWHCC), the district court prevented Mississippi’s “Gestational Age Act” from taking effect.

Thomas Dobbs, MD and the state also implored the court to hear expert testimony showing that viability, or “the ability [of a developing fetus] to survive independent of a pregnant woman’s womb,” happens much earlier than 24 weeks—the timeframe specified 50 years ago. The court sided with JWHCC and refused to hear the testimony.

However, before the final judgment was to be passed on this case, Dr. Dobbs and the State of Mississippi filed a countersuit to challenge the ruling. Dr. Dobbs requests in the lawsuit that the court reconsider the “gestational age of viability.” Thanks to ultrasound and other medical breakthroughs, we have considerably more information than we did in 1973.

This now infamous case filed on June 15, 2020—known as Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—just received a final judgment before the Supreme Court.

This seemingly pedestrian court case escaped the notice of the general public until May 2, 2022. On this day, a document written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was released without proper authorization. The opinion paper authored by Justice Alito reveals that a majority in the Supreme Court was calling for Roe vs. Wade to be overturned!

What I find fascinating is that, although the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization challenged the constitutionality of the laws which regulate abortion, this has provided an opportunity for the Supreme Court to re-evaluate the constitutionality of the practice of abortion.

5 Reasons Why Roe vs. Wade was (and Justifiably so) Overturned

Throughout our history in America, people of all religions and faiths have condemned abortion.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI forbade abortion and most birth control methods. Although this stance has been disputed in recent days, many within the Catholic Church still valiantly defend the rights of the unborn child. Sister Deirdre Bryne, a retired Army officer, and surgeon discussed her work serving the poor in Haiti, Sudan, Kenya, and Iraq. The largest marginalized group in the world, though, Sister Dede stated, is not outside our borders. They are here in the United States and they are the unborn.

Many within the Jewish community support life-saving solutions to unplanned pregnancies. Rabbi Yakov David Cohen founded the Coalition for Jewish Values to provide pro-life education, Jewish-friendly pregnancy care, adoption referrals, and “healing after the terrible trauma of abortion.”

Christians of all denominations and affiliations recognize that, although there are a lot of social issues in America today that the Bible doesn’t have any direct answers to, the case for protecting innocent life isn’t one of them.

For example, Genesis 1 proclaims that God made man in his image; Exodus 20 records the Sixth Commandment, “You must not murder”; and Psalm 139 declares boldly and beautifully how life begins at conception. Very severe warnings are given against those who would harm children in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Luke 17:2, for example, states: “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble”(Travis, 2021).

But the argument for overturning Roe vs. Wade isn’t just a moral one. Compelling legal, medical, and social reasons justify why it’s time for a post-Roe America. Here are just a few:

5. Legally speaking, Roe is bad law.

Using the Roe vs. Wade decision to create a precedence for why federal law should trump state law is unconstitutional. The federal government oversees how the states create and pass legislation, but not the content of the law.

Many states have used their constitutional rights to sue the United States government for overreaching. For example, in December of 2021, The State of Georgia filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden (and won), seeking immediate relief from forcing federal contractors and subcontractors to receive COVID-19 vaccination to keep their contracts. Six other states joined this suit, including Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia.

The courts based its ruling of Roe vs. Wade in 1973 on the idea that abortion is implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution; however, as Justice Alito argues in his opinion piece, “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.”

Wow, not even implicitly protected.

4. The abortion laws in the United States are extreme. Most other countries do not view abortion as a fundamental right. In fact, according to the Washing Post article from October 9, 2017, only seven of the 59 countries surveyed permit elective abortions after 20 weeks. Of those seven, only three have no federal restrictions in place to limit the age of the child: China, North Korea, and the United States. Let that sink in.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that China permits abortion on demand at any time. “Abortion is virtually freely available in China, and there are no defined time limits for access to the procedure,” according to Pew Research Center. (Ye Hee Lee, 2017) Human rights advocates have criticized China’s extreme population control measures—namely its “one-child” policy instituted in 1970. Even though China amended its policy to allow for two children per family in 2016, state-run birth control programs are still in effect.

Countries that outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of gestation include but are not limited to Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, and many more. That’s just the first half of the alphabet!

This raises a question: Why does the United States—one of the champions for human rights around the world—legalize late-term abortion when most developed nations do not?

3. The debate is no longer about whether a fetus is a baby. Before ultrasound became widely available around 1978, many argued that a developing fetus was simply a clump of cells. Norma McCorvey’s lawyers successfully argued that a pre-born child doesn’t reach viability until around weeks 24-28 of the 40-week pregnancy.

Thanks to advances in technology, we now know that’s not true. A baby’s heartbeat can be detected as early as 22 days; brainwaves can be measured at 6 weeks, and all internal organs are present by 9 weeks. Experts speculate that children in the womb can feel pain as early as 8 weeks gestational age.

Dr. Ben Carson made the most persuasive argument proving the viability of pre-born children in a statement in July 2015 calling on Congress to stop funding Planned Parenthood: “If it’s not a human being, then why are you harvesting organs from it?”

Although many Americans don’t want to believe this is happening, tragically, plenty of evidence has surfaced. Committee members on a special House of Representatives panel investigating the claim that baby organs are being harvested and sold uncovered startling proof. According to the official report dated December 30, 2016, a researcher paid a middleman procurement company $3,340 for a fetal brain, $595 for a “baby skull matched to upper and lower limbs,” and $890 for “upper and lower limbs with hands and feet.”

Abortion is a multi-billion (with a b) dollar industry. Please don’t be fooled: politicians and activists fighting to uphold abortion rights aren’t worried about protecting “a woman’s right to choose;” they are protecting their cash cow.

2. Abortion is not Healthcare.

Since its inception, the abortion industry was never intended to be healthcare; it was designed to perpetuate a genocide.

Margret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood believed in eugenics. Eugenics supports the idea that a superior society can be created by encouraging procreation among the higher classes and discouraging it among the poor and uneducated classes.

As a resident of New York City, Sanger first implemented her “Negro Project” by establishing a birth control clinic in Harlem, a predominantly black neighborhood, in 1923. In short, Sanger sought to reduce or eliminate the black population through various birth control methods, including abortion. Even today, 62% of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics are located in “targeted neighborhoods” where there is a high African American population.

Sanger’s influence on the African American community is tragic. Each year more African American children are aborted in New York City than are born. Even abortion activist groups such as the Guttmacher Institute admit that black women are more than five times as likely as white women to have an abortion.

In 2019, the CDC reported that in Mississippi 74 percent of the abortions in the state were performed on black mothers—even though African Americans make up only 39.7% percent of Mississippi’s population. (Jeffrey, 2021, pg. 2)

Dr. Alveda King, Chair for the Center for the American Dream at America First Policy Institute and niece of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, was asked about this CDC report by

“Abortion is one of the most violent, reprehensible, discriminatory crimes against humanity,” King said. “There is overwhelming evidence that many abortions have been performed to reduce minority populations in America.

Planned Parenthood is also under fire for its business practices. Even though many of the clinics stayed open during 2020 when churches, gyms, and many small businesses were closed, PP clinics received over $80 million in federal funds as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—even though they were ineligible. The Small Business Association responsible for distributing the aid is demanding it back.

The number 1 reason why it’s time to reverse Roe: Abortion hurts women and kills children.

No one understood this better than Norma McCorvey, the face of ‘Roe.’ Although McCorvey was a willing participant in the initial lawsuit, she soon recognized how she had been exploited by her attorneys and the justice system. Even other pro-choice activists acknowledged that Norma was a sacrificial lamb for their cause.

McCorvey never had an abortion herself but took several jobs at abortion clinics. She was—by her own admission—unskilled, uneducated, with alcohol and drug problems, and had trouble finding and keeping a job. Because of high turnover rates, abortion clinics were always looking for employees.

After several years working in the industry, however, she deeply regretted her involvement and eventually changed course. In 1995 while working at a clinic in Dallas, Norma met a seven-year-old girl by the name of Emily when Operation Rescue moved in next door to the clinic. Although McCorvey and the other abortion workers were very upset to discover a pro-life organization had moved next door, Emily’s innocence and kindness softened her heart.

Eventually, McCorvey accepted Emily’s mother's invitation to church and was introduced to Pastor Philip Benham. The two quickly became friends. McCorvey experienced a radical conversion to Christianity and was baptized by Benham. Soon after, McCorvey denounced the abortion industry and began advocating for the pro-life movement. She tells the story in her 1997 book Won by Love (Thomas Nelson, 1997, p. 155-156).

Because of her newly found convictions, McCorvey implored a court in New Jersey in 2000 to revisit the Roe v. Wade decision because the basis was built upon false assumptions. During an official deposition given by Norma McCorvey to a New Jersey court in March 2000, she said:

After I saw all the deception going on in the abortion facilities, and after all the things that my supervisors told me to tell the women, I became very angry. I saw women being lied to, openly, and I was part of it. There’s no telling how many children I helped kill while their mothers dug their nails into me and listened to my warning, “Whatever you do, don’t move!” I can assure the court that the interest of these mothers is not a concern of abortion providers. (McCorvey, 2000, p. 4)

In essence, McCorvey testified that abortionists lie, women suffer, and babies die.

Also, during her deposition, McCorvey painted a graphic picture of the conditions of these abortion clinics and the unprofessional manner of the abortionists she worked with. Read her full statement here. McCorvey continued to speak out against abortion and the damage caused by Roe vs. Wade until she died in 2017.

For the past few decades, many organizations across the country have continued the push to defund and criminalize abortion providers for this very reason. Intrinsically, many individuals from different faiths and political affiliations understand that abortion hurts women and kills children.

Attorneys for Dr. Dobbs during the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health case referenced another case, Gonzales vs. Carhart from 2007. During this trial, the court upheld that Congress can Constitutionally ban gruesome and inhumane types of abortion. The legal team also submitted testimonies of 375 women hurt by late-term abortion—both physically and psychologically.

Late-term abortion, according to the women’s testimonies, causes “devastating psychology consequences.” Read the full amicus brief here.

In contrast, life-affirming pregnancy centers care for both the mother and child from “womb to tomb.” According to Carole Novielli in a May 6, 2022 article, pregnancy resource centers help approximately 2 million people each year by providing free services including but not limited to ultrasounds, STD testing, pregnancy tests, parenting education, and trauma counseling.

Pregnancy centers are growing in popularity and outnumber abortion facilities by 3 to 1. In addition, 400 maternity homes in the U.S. offer help, hope, and housing for moms in need.

If you live in the Pittsburgh area and are in need of pregnancy care and/or post-abortion support, please contact our friends at East Liberty Women’s Care Center. Visit or call 412-956-5433.

As we close, I encourage you to not lose sight of the importance of this moment. Even though abortion will not end in our country, we are closing the book on the historic Roe vs. Wade decision. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I find the timing of this event fascinating. In 2022—exactly 49 years after the decision to legalize abortion in all 50 states took effect in 1973—we may be experiencing our own Year of Jubilee, as detailed in the Old Testament.

Isaiah 61:1-2, speaks of Jesus who, as the author of liberty, sets the captives free:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

Because the Lord has anointed me

To bring good news to the afflicted;

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to captives

And freedom to prisoners;

To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord

And the day of vengeance of our God;

To comfort all who mourn,…

As we approach the 50th anniversary of this monumental turning point in our country, could the Lord be setting future generations free from the devastating consequences of abortion on both women and children? Only time will tell.

This decision is a remarkable victory for women, children, and all in America who value life. I hope you will join me in praying for peace in our cities during this tumultuous time. May God bless you, and may He continue to bless America.

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