What It Means to Choose Life After Dobbs | Opinion

When I received a text on Friday morning telling me the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, it felt as if I could let out a breath I had been holding since I was a young child. Among my very earliest memories are the greetings and goodbyes surrounding the death of my baby sister. I was nearly three when my mother delivered her. She lived for a few hours and then died. Her name was Judith.

My mother had known Judith was developing abnormally in the womb and had little chance of a normal life or even surviving at all. But she resisted the doctor's advice to abort her baby. In that single act, my parents taught me more about the inherent value of human life than I could ever learn elsewhere, and demonstrated the humility and courage it takes to live in a way that upholds that value. There was sadness in our family, and while it never fully dissipated, happiness returned to a great extent with the birth of my sister Hannah.

When I was about 11, that lingering sadness was joined by confusion and anger when I first learned what abortion was. For several years after, I wondered if a suntan parlor or a dermatologist office did abortions. When my parents realized this was occupying my mind, they lovingly and tactfully walked me through the complexities of life and the hope of heaven.

Still, I could not understand how parents could willingly dispose of their children, in light of the loss of my baby sister. Needless to say, I am proud to be a part of America's pro-life generation. But how did we arrive here?

Americans' peculiar appreciation for knowledge and inquiry has primed us to be susceptible to issues claiming the mantle of "science." The early abortion movement came out of the progressive race-tinged eugenics movement, which emanated from across the Atlantic. It claimed to be securing an empowering future of opportunity, gender equality, and convenience made possible by scientific advancement.

U.S. Supreme Court building
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: The sun sets on the U.S. Supreme Building as protests occur in reaction to the announcement to the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Court's decision in the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Ironically, it was also science that made possible the game-changing technology of ultrasound imaging that allowed mothers and others to see what was happening in the womb in real time. And it advanced our understanding of fetal development, unborn ability to feel pain, and the uncertain moral line represented by delivery at birth. So too did the investigative and whistleblower accounts of how deranged doctors, shocking medical procedures, and financial interests exploited would-be mothers and ended viable human lives.

The Supreme Court has now returned the issue of abortion to the states within our federal system of government. It is a welcome opportunity for people to choose to live in communities that match their beliefs on the basic question of life. As the eminent constitutional scholar Roger Pilon wrote in 2005, "if ever there were a case in which the court should have let the political process unfold naturally, this was it. Were the court to have done so, we would not have had over three decades of endless political and legal turmoil."

I'm glad communities like the one in which I grew up now have a chance to uphold life to the fullest. My family still visits Judith's grave, and the inscription her tomb bears still brings my entire life into perspective when I read it: "We Shall Be Caught Up Together With You In the Clouds To Meet The Lord In The Air." Because of my mother's conviction and my father's perseverance, my sister Judith—who only breathed for a few hours—continues to shape my belief that unborn life and all human rights are worth defending.

And I am not alone. In this difficult time in American history, tens of millions of people can now draw hope from the fact that a great injustice has ended, paving the way for democratic lawmaking and further progress in the days ahead. As we prepare for the Fourth of July holiday, perhaps we can all recommit ourselves to the first on the list of inalienable rights extolled in our foundational Declaration of Independence—the right to life, from which all other rights flow.

Marion Smith is president and CEO of the Common Sense Society.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.