In a blog in November 2021, I wrote, “Respect for the rule of law is a foundation stone for a healthy democracy. This respect begins with the cop on the corner and extends to decisions made by the Supreme Court. Without respect for the rule of law, anarchy and vigilantism will eventually rule the day.”
After some additional comments about pending decisions by the Supreme Court, I continued, “If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade…the response from the abortion industry (from social workers to pharmaceutical producers to politicians and fundraisers) may be troubling. Some abortion supporters are warning of an intense, even violent response if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned. This issue may provide a fresh test of our respect for the rule of law. For the most part, pro-life supporters have accepted Roe vs. Wade as the law of the land. We have worked to change it, while nonetheless respecting the decision. It will be interesting to see how the other side responds if this precedent is overturned.”
In light of the Supreme Court’s recent reversal of Roe v. Wade, my concluding comments from the previous blog were prescient. I wrote, “My hope is respect for the rule of law will carry the day. My fear is it may not. While our legal system is far from perfect, it is a positive and essential component of a healthy democracy. We cannot tear it down and expect to build society up. We can reform it (and should from time to time) but we cannot function without it…. Despite the polarizing divisiveness of the issues, respect for the law and our legal system is essential for a stable society to endure. We must agree to foster that, even when we disagree strongly about specific legal issues.”
Abortion advocates are promising protests, legal maneuvers, and legislative actions to preserve the availability of abortion in various states. My continued hope is they will do so within the rule of law, recognizing the new legal limits are now just as binding as those imposed by the Court 50 years ago. While Americans are free to work within our systems to create change, we cannot sanction or condone actions that destroy the systems which preserve our society. Most of us in the pro-life community have waited impatiently for a long time for the recent Court decision, working with the current structures to affect change. My genuine hope is the pro-choice movement leaders will call for the same restraint as this cultural conflict continues over the next few years.
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