For pro-lifers, what comes after Roe will be even harder

Most consequentially, however, a victory in the Court will bring pro-lifers to a much more difficult challenge than uprooting a bad Supreme Court decision. I’ve written before that the largest obstacle for pro-life activism is that people in modernity rebel against what they perceive as unchosen obligations.

And this is an insidious problem for pro-lifers. Even if pro-lifers could, through technology and legal reform, ease and eliminate all the dangers of pregnancy, all the hassle of child-bearing and legal adoption, there would still be demand for abortion. Because legal abortion extinguishes all claims that a child has on his or her parents in this world. Abortion promises (falsely) to eliminate the possibility of regret. Or the knowledge that one’s son or daughter is out there somewhere, wondering about their origins.

If the pro-life movement succeeds in the Court, suddenly it faces its real problem, of which legal abortion is the result. The pro-life movement will be facing the sexual revolution itself. And it will suddenly be in the position where it must argue that sexual liberation is simply impossible. The partisans of liberation will try to make the case for long-term contraception, perhaps even seeking to make it mandatory as a public-health issue. But there simply is no set of social arrangements, no taboos that can be eliminated or chemicals that can be ingested, that perfectly guarantee humans the ability to separate the erotic impulse from sexual consequence. This reality gives our erotic longings real moral and even political consequence.