Clarke Forsythe, Senior Counsel for Americans United for Life, has been involved in the pro-life movement since 1985. He is the author of Politics for the Greater Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square and, most recently, Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade. In a recent Life Chat episode, Illinois Right to Life Program Director, Dr. Steve Jacobs, sat down with Forsythe and discussed the role Roe v. Wade has played in our society.
Dr. Jacobs begins the podcast episode with a commentary on the importance and magnitude of the court case, and then asks Forsythe what role he believes the case has in the country’s fight against abortion. Forsythe explains that, while of course the overturning of this case is crucial in the country’s fight against abortion, we can’t expect it to happen overnight.
“I think it’s easy for us, because it has such gravitas and from a life perspective, it’s easy for us to want it to be overturned today,” he explains. However, “wanting instant results is following the culture,” and this is not what the pro-life movement is about. We know there will not be instant gratification in regards to this case, but we must work tirelessly to fight anti-life legislation nonetheless.
“We can argue that the unborn child is a human being from conception, but it’s much more important to put that into the law. If we can’t put that into the law with abortion, we can put it in with fetal homicide laws, fetal injury, safe haven, etc.” Forsythe emphasizes the importance for putting the humanity of the child into every piece of legislation possible, so that slowly and steadily it might make its way into abortion laws as well.
As an example of a non-abortion-related law that respects the life of the unborn child, Forsythe cites the “safe-haven law.” Safe-haven laws give parents a safe place to leave a child that they can no longer take care of with no strings attached. Sometimes there will be a box at a workstation or a police station where mothers can leave their children. “Safe-haven laws are in effect in all 50 states, and they’re actively used. They certainly do eliminate the stigma and help alleviate the pressure [for the parents],” Forsythe explains.
Another tactic Forsythe believes can be used to weaken the ground Roe v. Wade stands on are the public health issues abortion clinics consistently face. Forsythe points out that, “some states, as you know, don’t even do clinic inspections!” He reminds us that we need to stay on top of any news involving violations of safety and health codes. “The pro-life movement has to be on the side of women, because Planned Parenthood isn’t. Abortion advocates are not.”
Forsythe believes that behind the continued legalization of abortion are so many misconceptions about abortions that Americans have learned to accept. He thinks that once these myths are busted, we will be so much more on track to have a post-Roe America.