Even as anti-abortion legal experts in Arkansas celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’’s recent decision striking down a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, they cautioned today that abortion foes must not relent and looked ahead to what’s next.
In an online meeting with the Family Council and others, Leon Holmes, a retired chief federal judge In Little Rock, and attorney Robert Shafer, a constitutional law expert, spoke briefly and fielded a few questions.
On the next task for the pro-life movement, Holmes said, “The next step, whether it’s through a constitutional amendment or not,” is “national recognition for the right to life from conception through natural death.” He did not elaborate on what that might mean, but presumably physician-assisted deaths are among the targets.
As co-authors of Arkansas’ Amendment 68 and founders of the Unborn Child Amendment Committee in 1984, Shafer and Holmes pioneered the effort to prevent public funding of abortions and make Arkansas the first state to affirm in its state constitution legal protections for the unborn, according to the Family Council.
Amendment 68 provided that no public funds could be used to pay for any abortion, except to save the mother’s life.
After the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last month overturning the 1973 ruling of Roe vs. Wade, Arkansas immediately banned all abortions except those to save the mother’s life. There is no exception for rape or incest no matter the victim’s age.
“I have prayed that [Chief Supreme Court Justice] John Roberts would preside over the case that would decide Roe vs. Wade,” and that prayer was answered, Holmes said. But the decision came only after 50 years of perseverance and prayers by people like himself, he said.
“If we ever stop talking about abortion, we’re going to be losing,” agreed Jerry Cox, the Family Council’s executive director.
Shafer said the Supreme Court’s recent decision “points out very clearly … that Roe was always egregiously wrong.”
Asked about the chances of Congress passing abortion-on-demand legislation, Holmes said, “I think the chances of [that] happening are very low considering the makeup of the Senate at the moment.”
Further, he said, the Republican Party “is pretty motivated on the pro-life” issue. As the makeup of Congress changes, though, Holmes said there could be a push for what he called “a pro-abortion agenda.”
“And that’s something we need to be very alert to,” he said.
“In large segments of our population, the battle over abortion has not gained traction in terms of convincing some people outside the churches that life is sacred,” Holmes added. “That’s because many of them don’t believe in anything that is sacred.”
The path ahead for anti-abortion activists, Holmes suggested, is to ask themselves what kind of example they set. “Do they [those on the other sides] see Christ in us?” They probably don’t, he said, adding that he and others need to work on this problem.
Holmes suggested anti-abortion activists should become more meek as taught in the Sermon on the Mount. “The more Christians live as Christians, their lives become [more] attractive … The less we do so, the more they will see our hypocrisy and the more they will resent us.”
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