Growing Up in Post-Roe America

Born in the mid-60s, I grew up in the years sandwiched between Roe and Reagan. My earliest memory of Roe v. Wade is that my grandparents boarded a bus in Western Pennsylvania and headed for Washington, D.C., for their first political demonstration "for the babies."

In the following years we joined the March for Life with Mom and Dad, brothers and sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, and classmates through high school and into college. Despite the seriousness of our endeavors, the atmosphere of the March was one of joyful camaraderie by those united for the cause of the tiny babes that gives a voice to the voiceless.

It’s been 30 years since that fateful day that made the babe within his mother’s womb a legitimate target for destruction. Every January since then, the hardy and faithful marchers have come to Washington to remind America of its own holocaust. Neither sun, nor snow, nor freezing rain has kept them from remembering the little innocents condemned by the Herodian Court of 1973.

Moms and dads, tykes and tots, priests, rabbis and ministers, school kids, high schoolers and college students join the ranks of the young, the old and the in between who believe that nascent human life is a gift from God and deserving of protection by our culture and our laws.

The pro-life torch is passing to the next generation. In the past few years, my older children have joined in the ranks of the March for Life. It is a bittersweet moment. As their mother, I rejoice that they understand the beauty and humanity of the tiny child. At the same time, my heart breaks as they know the horror of some of the pictures displayed at the March that portray the very real evil of abortion’s toll on a baby’s body.

In one fell swoop, King Herod decreed that all baby boys under the age of two be slain so that the newborn Christ Child would never be a threat to his throne. Babes in the womb today may pose a threat to our thrones of convenience or lifestyle. I have yet to meet a convenient case of morning sickness, but it doesn’t give me the right to kill my child.

The arbitrariness of killing a child at six months gestation or 12 weeks gestation indicates that as a society we cannot acknowledge when life begins. As we fiddle around with whatever date allows us to do what we want to do while still feeling moral and responsible, we slide inexorably down a slope in which nothing matters at all. Reason tells us that human life begins at conception. No other time makes any sense.

On the other side of the pro-choice equation are those who have been convinced that the fetus (Latin for little one) is not a child. Sometimes years later, much to their sorrow, they are plagued by memories of the child who has never been born, or eating disorders or fractured relationships, physical pain or depression.

Why would a woman have nightmares after an abortion but not after an appendectomy unless something very traumatic happened? The core of her being cries out for the child she has lost. Anyone who doubts the existence of post-abortion trauma should read the book Forbidden Grief, which provides a glimpse into the overwhelmingly sad world of the post-abortive woman.

Where do we go from here 30 years after Roe? Life after Roe is a winding road with many detours on the way back to restoring respect for the sanctity of human life. We will trudge our way back by changing hearts and minds one at a time. Every time a child learns that life is a gift, he is being prepared to defend the right to life of those weaker than himself. Every time a pregnant woman in need receives help from caring hands to make it through, life is safeguarded. Every time adoption is encouraged, life is vindicated.

As we come upon the 30th remembrance of that terrible January day, we must keep in mind that in the long run, King Herod’s attempt to slay the Christ Child by killing all the innocents possible was a colossal failure. One day, the Herodian Supreme Court decision of 1973 will be relegated to the historical ash heap of evil monstrosities. The Dred Scott case fell, the Third Reich fell, the Gulag fell and Roe will fall.