Pro-life leader Pavone says post-Roe movement must reorganize

Pro-life leader Pavone says post-Roe movement must reorganize

Pro-life leader Pavone says post-Roe movement must reorganize

The U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, celebrated as a landmark victory, should be viewed as the starting line, not the finish line, for the pro-life movement, says former Catholic priest Frank Pavone.

Unfortunately, the pro-life activist fears that’s not the case, he told the "Jenna Ellis In The Morning" on American Family Radio last week. 

As pro-abortion groups target state constitutions as the new battleground, Republicans and pro-life supporters have appeared unprepared for life after Roe.

Pavone, Fr. Frank (Priests for Life) Pavone

“Under Roe, a lot of the legislators and even some leaders of different groups would say, ‘Oh, well, you know, the court decided the issue, so it's off our shoulders.’ That’s kind of a way of skirting their responsibility,” Pavone told Ellis.

In fact, as states assume control of abortion, pro-life groups and leaders need to be more organized and active than ever before.

“They can't put it on the courts anymore, so they put it on the states. It's like, wait a second, in neither scenario should we shirk our own responsibility for this. It’s truly in our hands now. It's more our responsibility than before, so to speak,” Pavone said.

An abortion fight in Arkansas

A proposed Arkansas amendment is one of 12 potential ballot measures across the country. Ohio voters approved an amendment to put abortion rights in their constitution last November.

Pro-abortion amendment backers in Arkansas have been very careful in the language of what they hope to place before voters. They’re not comparing themselves to Ohio, where the measure passed 56% to 43%.

As it’s currently written, the amendment would legalize abortion through 18 weeks and in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly, and risk to the life or health of the mother, according to The Southwest Times Record of Fort Smith

Gennie Diaz, communications director for Arkansans for Limited Government, says the group has adjusted its goals for the amendment.

“This policy that we're proposing is not a political statement on abortion,” Diaz said. “We're not saying, ‘Hey, the government cannot restrict abortion in any circumstance because a woman has an inherent right to choose.’”

“We believe that,” Diaz told The Times Record , “but that is not policy that, from a pragmatic standpoint, will pass in Arkansas.”

More than 350 trained volunteers are canvassing the state in search of the 91,000 required signatures to get the measure on the ballot, she said.

Arkansas’ law, signed under former Gov. Asa Hutchinson in 2022, allows abortion only to save the life of the mother.

About a half-dozen amendment opposition groups have formed, including one with close ties to current Ark. Gov. Sarah Huckabee.

University of Arkansas political science professor Janine Parry told The Times Record she believes the amendment will pass if it reaches the ballot.

Diaz is confident. She told The Times Record only five state lawmakers have taken a vocal stand against them.

'Playing God' with abortion limits

Pavone said debating where to set a proposed number of months for restrictions in a state that has already set that number at zero is “playing God.”

It would be a different discussion in a different state that currently recognizes no limits, he said.

Alaska, Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, D.C., currently have no limits on abortion.

“Suppose those lives are protected. Like, for example, in Arkansas, the pro-abortion people are having a dispute as to where they should draw the line with a proposed ballot initiative. Should we just put it at 12 weeks in the hope of getting more support? Should we go all the way for an unlimited right to abortion? What should we do? Well, you can't draw any line. You can't take protection away from human life,” Pavone said.

'We've got to love them both'

Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), a longtime pro-life advocate, said it’s important to remember to keep as much focus on the mother as the unborn child.

“We’ve got to love them both and help them both, especially if it’s a difficult situation for the mom,” he recently told the Washington Watch program. 

Smith, Chris (R-NJ) Smith

Pregnancy care centers have been invaluable in that regard, Smith said, but those centers face a new challenge.

“Pregnancy care centers are a gift from God. They do amazing work. The abortion movement is trying to eviscerate those from the face of the earth as well,” Smith told show host Tony Perkins.

Smith said conservative lawmakers need to double down in the face of attacks from the Left on the question of abortion.

“Political consultants, and that goes for some Republicans as well, have so warned members of Congress and other elected people to not engage the issue. I believe just the opposite. Even when they lie about us, which I had in my last three campaigns, you repel it. You bend into the wind and not with it. As soon as they see your back, you’re toast politically,” he said.

From the standpoint of legislation, the Congressman added, at some point pragmatism comes into play.

Doing what you can with what you have

“There’s a big distinction between saying, ‘Hey, here's what I can do right now. I can't go beyond it, but I can't do the impossible. That’s not a moral compromise, that's just recognizing the limits of my power right now, versus, ‘Hey they're protected, but I'm going to start taking that protection away.’ Then you're playing God,” Pavone said.

The overturning of Roe removed responsibility for abortion from nine men and women and involved countless others in the process.

In the new abortion landscape, pro-life advocates need to be more involved than ever.

“The lawmaking process allows for much more bandwidth than the court process. There’s all kinds of hearings, legislative hearings, witnesses, arguments, counter arguments, lobbying, amendments, et cetera. The people are more directly involved,” Pavone said.