In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s hearing of the oral arguments in the Dobbs case, there is great optimism that, at last, Roe v. Wade could be overturned. But a lot can happen between now and the time of the court makes it final ruling, most likely in June. And that means now is the time to increase prayer for a righteous decision. By no means can we take our foot off the gas.
After the hearings on Wednesday, liberal CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted, “If you believe that women should have the right choose abortion, today's Supreme Court argument was a wall-to-wall disaster.”
Put another way, if you believe in the sanctity of life, beginning in the womb, “today’s Supreme Court argument was a wall-to-wall victory and great cause for celebration.”
Yet, to repeat, nothing is written in stone, and any celebration is premature.
First, the court could simply let the Mississippi pro-life law involved in the Dobbs case stand, with the real possibility of a 6-3 vote. That would be very positive and significant, but it would still not overturn Roe.
Second, even if there was a willingness at present to overturn Roe, say by a vote of 5-4, we have been in this situation before, only for things to change before the final vote was cast.
“In February 1988, [Anthony] Kennedy arrived from California with a deserved conservative reputation from 13 years on the 9th Court of Appeals. He was a substitute for the rejected Robert Bork, and right-wingers chuckled that Kennedy might turn out to be even more conservative. The White House viewed him as a sure vote against Roe v. Wade.
“What happened to him is obscured by judicial secrecy, a curtain of silence broken only by whispers of law clerks and a small paper trail. When the court held its conference on the Casey case in the fall of 1991, Kennedy lined up with a 5-to-4 majority supporting Pennsylvania's statute regulating abortion. Chief Justice William Rehnquist assigned himself the opinion, which would undercut Roe v. Wade's elevation of abortion as an inviolable constitutional right.”
So, all the way back in 1991, in a preliminary, secret, and non-binding vote, Kennedy sided with those ready to overturn Roe. And, with rare exception, the way the court votes privately reflects what the final decision will be.
Tragically, Justice Kennedy was persuaded to change his mind and ended up as the swing vote in the case, thereby upholding Roe.
That very same thing could happen today, despite op-eds in liberal publications announcing that “Roe is dead,” like this one from Dana Milbank in the Washington Post.
It begins with these words: “The six Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court left no doubt in oral argument Wednesday that they would end the constitutional right to abortion that American women have had for nearly half a century. The court will either overturn Roe v. Wade outright or cripple the landmark ruling by eliminating the ‘fetal viability’ standard at its core.”
Would to God that this were true – in fact, would to God that abortion on demand would be abolished in the nation and that a culture of life would arise.
But, to say it once more, rather than feeling self-assured, we need to give ourselves to prayer like never before, saying, “Father, turn the hearts of these justices to Your heart, and give them the courage and integrity to do what is right in Your sight. Give them a heart for ‘the least of these!’”
In this light, an interesting account in the Bible comes to mind.
The revered prophet Elisha was nearing his death when the king of Israel came to him, deeply concerned about his imminent departure. What would they do without him, especially given the threats of their enemies?
Elisha said to the king, “‘Take a bow and arrows.’ So he took a bow and arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel, ‘Draw the bow,’ and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. And he said, ‘Open the window eastward,’ and he opened it. Then Elisha said, ‘Shoot,’ and he shot. And he said, ‘The LORD’S arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.’
“And he said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground with them.’ And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.’” (2 Kings 13:15-19)
Do you grasp the significance of this?
We must not just “beat the arrows” three times – meaning, praying a few times and calling it a day, confident that the victory is ours.
Instead, we need to keep pounding those arrows over and again, crying out to God, day and night, seeking Him with fasting and intercession, until a righteous ruling is passed down.
Not only so, but even if Roe is overturned, in a certain sense, the battle for the life of the unborn and the soul of a nation will have just begun.
So, let us press in to God like never before, also asking for His mercy on our land after the shedding of so much innocent blood and after so much indifference from so many of us. Let us seize this holy, historic moment and not let it go – for the ultimate good of all Americans.
Victory could be near, so accelerate your efforts. No slowing down until the answer comes!
(For a great, encouraging, and invigorating interview with pro-life leader Rev. Patrick Mahoney, go here.)
This column was published on The Stand.
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