FROM PASTOR TIM JOHNSON:
This past week has been an historic week with the Supreme Court overturning the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that was enacted by the Supreme Court in 1973. Today’s Supreme Court’s decision has caused confusion and uncertainty about the future of abortion. In this quick note I’d like to share my thoughts on the decision and how it might impact us.
First, today’s Supreme Court’s decision did not end abortion. The “right” to an abortion has never been made a law. The original Roe decision indirectly allowed for the right to an abortion, but the decision was not a law whereby the voters’ representatives enacted a law to guarantee that right.
Prior to the 1973 Roe decision, individual states had the right to make their own laws on abortion, and many states chose to prohibit abortion. The 1973 Roe decision was a “backdoor” avenue that bypassed the voters thereby causing abortion to be “considered” legal in EVERY state.
The current Supreme Court has argued that the Roe decision was improper and has overturned the 1973 decision stating that voters should determine abortion’s legality through the creation of a law rather than through a ruling by the Supreme Court. It is very rare for one Supreme Court to overturn a ruling made by a prior Supreme Court.
The current Court has thus returned the United States to the period prior to the 1973 Roe decision. What this means is that individual states once again have the right to make their own laws on abortions.
Thus, some states will prohibit abortions, others will allow it. In the end, abortion will still be legal in those states that wish to allow it, however, now states can prohibit abortion if they like.
Wisconsin has a law going back to the 1860’s prohibiting abortion, and that law was suspended with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Now that the 1973 Roe decision has been overturned, Wisconsin’s current law prohibits abortion except in cases where the life of the mother is at stake.
Recently, Wisconsin’s Governor and Attorney General both indicated they will not enforce that law, and, will offer clemency to those who continue to practice abortion. The rule of law is therefore being undermined and causes unnecessary confusion. But that’s politics!
The current court’s decision is a huge victory for those who value life. But there will be a great deal of suffering as a result, and the local church has an opportunity to minister to those who are confused or even angry.
Many feel that abortion is a “right” that has been removed. Technically speaking, that is inaccurate because the right to an abortion was never made a law; it was, at best, “assumed” because of the 1973 Roe decision.
One danger that the local church faces is that many who found the Church to be an important ally and avenue to overturn abortion may now be left wondering what the core purpose of the church really is.
We all know the core purpose is to promote the Gospel of our Savior Jesus. The church exists within a political context, but at its heart it is a spiritual entity designed to glorify God through the Great Commission.
Let us pray in thanksgiving that many states now have the freedom to prohibit abortion. Abortion is a scourge on society, especially at a time when we need more nurses, truck drivers, shipyard workers, police officers, fire fighters, teachers, etc. Wisconsin will need a new Governor and Attorney General if it’s going to enforce a law that is already on the books.
Pray for God’s will, and for how you can wisely engage. But above all, pray for opportunities both to share the Gospel and to love those who struggle with this issue. Pray for peace as America makes this transition and learns how to live in a new set of circumstances.
Rescued by Christ,