In November 2008, just after the historic election of Barack Obama, I wrote a piece titled, "Pro-Life Death?" I noted that America's choice of Obama as president and, equally important, of a massive liberal majority in Congress, constituted the death of the pro-life movement as we know it. That is, the pro-life movement had sought to reverse abortion through legislative action and the courts, and had made tremendous gains through eight years of George W. Bush–enough to place the nation at a crucial turning point. Unfortunately, we failed to turn the corner on Election Day 2008, instead moving in the exact opposite direction.
It was a moment of decision, one authorized by millions of pro-life Christian voters, many of whom gave this go-ahead to the Death Culture unwittingly, oblivious to the ramifications of their choice at the voting booth that day.
According to CNN exit polling, 45 percent of Protestants and 53 percent of Catholics voted for Obama, giving the green light to a man who was without question the most radical abortion advocate of any serious presidential nominee in the history of America.
This is background, of course, to what happened this week, as President Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. A 50-year-old former Harvard Law dean, Kagan's abortion stance is surely one Obama supports, even as Obama seems reticent about discussing it openly. That reticence is understandable, with Republicans threatening to take back Congress in November–a conservative backlash that could halt Obama's sweeping agenda–and with most Republican senators having voted against confirming Kagan to her post of solicitor general.
Nonetheless, pro-life groups, who monitor the likes of Kagan for a living, are deeply concerned. Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, legal arm of the pro-life movement, calls Kagan "an ardent abortion supporter," telling LifeNews.com: "Elena Kagan has strong ties to abortion-advocacy organizations and expressed admiration for activist judges who have worked to advance social policy rather to impartially interpret the law."
Seconding Yoest is Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which backs pro-life women who run for office. "Kagan has been a strong supporter of the pro-abortion agenda," says Dannenfelser. Among other things, Kagan "vigorously opposed the de-funding of taxpayer-funded clinics which promote abortions." Dannenfelser added: "If confirmed to sit on the Supreme Court, Kagan will serve as a rubber stamp for President Obama's radical pro-abortion agenda."
Dr. Kevin Roberts, executive director of Catholic Families for America, says Kagan has been "actively hostile … to the unborn," and expresses "grave concerns" about Kagan's "dangerous internationalism"–i.e., a disturbing recent trend among certain "progressive"/activist judges to cite, say, European Union law rather than the U.S. Constitution.
On the other side of the divide, Terry O'Neill, president of the adamantly "pro-choice" National Organization for Women, says her group "applauds" Kagan's nomination.
Let's bring this back to the big picture:
Kagan is Obama's second court pick into a year-and-a-half presidency, with the previous being Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor, like Kagan, is very young by court standards. Both could live long enough to spend 30 years on the court–longer if they match Stevens' longevity.
They are merely two picks by President Obama. Next, Obama will likely replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With those three picks alone, Obama should be able to ensure three more decades of Roe v. Wade. Thus far in America, Roe has given birth to 52 million legal abortions. Will the next 30-some years produce another 50 million?
As I wrote in November 2008, Obama's election means the pro-life movement can no longer rely on changing law–though that fight should not be abandoned–but must redouble efforts to change hearts and minds. Pro-lifers must devote more resources at worthy causes like placing ultrasound machines into crisis pregnancy centers. That window into the womb has proven the single most effective instrument in convincing young women not to proceed with abortion.
When those women see that child, alive and real, it changes them more than any philosophical or legal argument. Indeed, it's no surprise that the abortion lobby is scared to death of this technology–which, ironically, increases a women's knowledge and empowers her "choice"–and will not support taxpayer dollars to subsidize it, even while pushing taxpayers to subsidize abortions.
With these Supreme Court picks by Obama, we are now in the inevitable process of suffering what America authorized on November 4, 2008. Obama is implementing what his fellow Americans–including tens of millions of pro-life Christians–made possible. As for us in the pro-life movement, we must make the best of it, in the hopes that the next 30-some years of Roe will not generate another 50 million abortions.
– Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision Values at Grove City College. His books include "The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand," "God and Ronald Reagan" and "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism."