Today, we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act being “triggered,” making it unlawful to intentionally terminate the life of an unborn human being in the Commonwealth.
We also honor our founder, Kent Ostrander, and countless other pro-life advocates throughout the Commonwealth and nation upon whose shoulders today’s pro-life movement stands. Without their faithfulness, Roe’s exercise of raw judicial power never would have been ended and the authority to regulate and prohibit abortion never would have been returned to the people and their elected representatives.
Ending an Appalling & Shameful Injustice
Like other appalling and shameful injustices in our nation’s history, it took decades of faithful citizens refusing to remain silent, decades of Christians actively standing up for the Truth that life is sacred and should be respected.
But after nearly 50 years under the oppressive injustice of Roe, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which recognized that “procuring an abortion is not a fundamental constitutional right because such a right has no basis in the Constitution’s text or in our Nation’s history.”
The June 24, 2022 decision pointed to the “unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment” which “persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973.” In 1973, Roe disregarded the reality that each State was permitted to address abortion in accordance with the views of its citizens. This had been the status quo for the 185 years since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution until Roe interrupted this unbroken tradition and effectively struck down the abortion laws of every single State, including the 30 States that prohibited abortion at all stages.
Beyond getting it wrong, the decision in Roe is also problematic because of its “exceedingly weak” reasoning, unworkable legal tests, and distortion of important legal doctrines.
Kentucky’s Struggle for Life
During the first legislative session following Roe v. Wade’s voiding of Kentucky’s prohibition on abortion, the 1974 Kentucky General Assembly ensured that abortion was prohibited to the fullest extent possible (post-viability) and enacted a law clearly stating that if Roe was overturned, “the declared policy of this Commonwealth to recognize and to protect the lives of all human beings regardless of their degree of biological development shall be fully restored.” KRS 311.170(5)
This commitment to the sanctity of life has repeatedly been reaffirmed through the Kentucky General Assembly’s overwhelming support of pro-life legislation in the years that followed. In the five years leading up to Roe being overturned, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted multiple laws intended to 1) Protect maternal health and safety; 2) Eliminate particularly gruesome or barbaric medical procedures; 3) Preserve the integrity of the medical profession; 4) Mitigate fetal pain; and 5) Prevent discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or disability.
The Court in Dobbs recognized that Kentucky and other states have legitimate interests in these goals, validating these laws. All of Kentucky’s pro-life laws are currently in effect, and no serious legal challenge to them is ongoing. Lives are being saved.
Dreaming of a Culture Reclaimed for Life
With Roe v. Wade and the legal challenges to Kentucky’s pro-life laws behind us, now is the time to dream of a culture fully reclaimed for life.
That is why The Family Foundation is casting a vision to reassure, safeguard, and assist women; reduce the perceived need for abortion; educate the public about life in the womb; treat preborn humans with equal humanity, dignity, and worth in the law; unleash the full power of the law to prosecute abortion traffickers; and incentivize support for those that provide relief to women in need at the local level.
Together, we can move beyond the vital step of preventing death to reclaiming culture by more fully embracing and cherishing life. The sooner we accomplish this, the sooner the intentional killing of an unborn human becomes unthinkable – and that is the true dream.