Published November 18, 2021
Read other pieces by EPPC scholars published in National Review’s “End Roe” issue:
We’re approaching 49 years of neither wearying nor resting in the fight to protect unborn children under the law, and a major victory has rarely felt so close.
A Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that recognizes the shallowness of the Roe v. Wade decision and the empty-headedness of Planned Parenthood v. Casey is far from assured. But should it happen, a favorable ruling in Dobbs would be an unprecedented victory for the millions who have marched in January snow and held innumerable prayer rallies for an end to legalized abortion.
Of course, it would also send the Left into paroxysms of fury, with calls for boycotts, secession, or worse. And unfortunately for social conservatives, recent history suggests that elected leaders who share their views are ill equipped to brave such a storm. The wall of shame is crowded with names of Republican governors who have backed down on socially conservative legislation when faced with a media firestorm, activist boycotts, or corporate pressure.
A post-Dobbs world may lead to similar capitulations. Untold numbers of nominally pro-life politicians have been able to get elected without thinking they’d end up playing with live ammunition. How many Republican governors are ready for Fortune 500 companies to move out of their states? For major airlines to threaten to stop serving midsize airports in red states? For the NBA or WNBA to celebrate Planned Parenthood with uniform patches and percentages of gate revenue?
The pressure campaigns on religious freedom and voting bills would look like child’s play if a state moved to enact restrictions potentially enabled by Dobbs. Social conservatives need to prepare a counteroffensive. A meaningful legislative agenda, coupled with a strategic PR campaign, could help steady the movement in the first heady and unstable months following, God willing, a favorable decision in the Dobbs case.
Patrick T. Brown is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where his work focuses on developing a robust pro-family economic agenda and supporting families as the cornerstone of a healthy and flourishing society.