Roe v. Wade has not been challenged at the United States Supreme Court in nearly three decades. While several abortion-related cases have been reviewed by the Court in that time, none of these cases addressed the core of the Roe precedent — until now.
On December 1, oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only case to challenge Roe since Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, will be heard by the Supreme Court.
Read the Freedom Center’s summary of the Dobbs case here: Roe v. Wade in the balance: What you need to know about Dobbs v. Jackson
The fact that Roe is being challenged at the High Court is revelatory of those who have been the hands and feet of Christ. The Church has an obligation to fight against the evil of abortion, to be caretakers of women who have been struck by fear and manipulated into having abortions, and to ensure policy and judicial safeguards are established to eradicate abortion and maintain its inexistence.
But this battle cannot be won without divine intervention.
While on his deathbed, early Church leader John Wesley penned a final letter of encouragement to William Wilberforce, who ultimately spearheaded the abolition of slavery in Great Britain. In his letter, Wesley wrote:
“Unless the divine power has raised you up to be as Athanasius contra mundum [a servant to the world] I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? O be not weary of well-doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.”
Wesley knew that Wilberforce’s just pursuit was far beyond the accomplishing possibilities of one man, even with his team beside him. Our mission, like Wilberforce’s, is a divine calling, and such a calling demands daily prayer and attentive surrender to the One who told us to “go.”
As Christ-followers and advocates for justice, we must ensure that all policy or judicial acts advancing the abolition of abortion are prefaced, nurtured, and saturated in prayer. Here are five ways the Church should be praying in the time before and after Dobbs v. Jackson is heard:
1. Pray for the Church’s Repentance
God’s grace, and that alone, has spared the Church from His just wrath — a righteous anger — in response to the Church’s passivity towards the great evil of abortion. To be clear, the Church has taken a very strong anti-abortion position and those on the front lines of eradication bear the badge of Christ. But the activism, in contrast to the apathy, and compared to what is necessary to abolish abortion, reveals a great sin of the Church.
A great revival is necessary as a fundamental means to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Church must be unified in acknowledging our failures, recognizing where we must become active, and intentionally marching towards eradication in the name of Christ and in step with His plan for justice.
2. Pray for the Lawyers Involved in the Case
Not only is it important to pray for a major change in current abortion laws in our nation, it is also vital to pray for the lawyers who will be involved in this case.
The lawyers representing the pro-life side of the argument have the ability to turn hearts away from Roe. The words they say and the arguments they present have the potential to save the lives of countless unborn babies.
We must be praying that their arguments are strong and what they say is clear, and that what they say touches the hearts of the pro-choice side, softening their hearts to hear truth.
The pro-life lawyers have the opportunity to completely change our country for the good, and we must be praying for wisdom as they prepare for this landmark case.
On the pro-life side, Mississippi’s Attorney General Lynn Fitch filed an amicus brief petitioning the Court to take on this case. In her brief, she said:
“The national fever on abortion can break only when this court returns abortion policy to the states — where agreement is more common, compromise is more possible, and disagreement can be resolved at the ballot box.”
Fitch will be joined by Thomas Dobbs, state health officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, and Kenneth Cleveland, executive director of the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure.
While we must be praying for the pro-life side to speak clearly and for a favorable outcome, we must also be praying that hearts and minds will be changed in the pro-choice camp.
Sacheen Carr-Ellis will be representing the pro-choice argument. Carr-Ellis is an abortionist in the state of Mississippi who said that women should be able to terminate a pregnancy at any point and should not have to go out of state to acquire care.
“A woman who is pregnant should have the ability to make the decision that is best for her about the course of her pregnancy, based on her own values and goals for her life,” Carr-Ellis said.
It can be hard to imagine a post-Roe America. An America where life, born and unborn, is seen as valuable and worth protecting. We pray to see an America where the thought of abortion is unfathomable. We know God can change the hearts of man — consider the apostle Paul. On the Cross, Christ changed the heart of a prisoner who was being crucified and the heart of a Roman centurion — one of the ones who oversaw His death! Prayer changes things, and it is important for us to pray for the heart of the abortionist and the abortion-minded in our country today if we want to see our country as a whole change for the better.
3. Pray for the Supreme Court Justices
Six of the nine Supreme Court justices are reputably conservative, with room for variable jurisprudence. This gives the pro-life community hope that we could see the end of Roe as we currently know it, thus saving the lives of millions of preborn babies. For an in-depth approach to how each Supreme Court justice may rule, see the Freedom Center’s analysis: How is each Supreme Court Justice likely to rule in Dobbs?
The Bible says that the heart of man is deceptive above all other things. Even a judge who rules with good intentions is still ruling from a state of depravity. Pray that God moves in the hearts of the Supreme Court justices. True justice, as is supported by the U.S. Constitution, is not exclusive from biblical justice.
God changed the hearts of the hardest leaders throughout scripture. Changing the hearts of the Supreme Court justices is not beyond the power of the all-powerful.
4. Pray that God Shows Favor Towards Those Pursuing Abolition
For many years, Christians have been spearheading legal initiatives to end abortion. But this isn’t just an attempt to end abortion but to help women as well. Christians have been developing programs to help women who are considering abortion by meeting their financial, physical, and counseling needs as a holistic means of avoiding abortion.
Those in the womb are known and loved by God, and thus their lives, like lives outside the womb, are to be revered. While the unborn are just as valuable as the born, the unborn deserve additional advocacy since they have no voice of their own. The Church must work to eradicate abortion from a policy angle, from a heart-changing angle, from a ministerial angle, and ultimately as a means of advancing the Gospel message of Christ.
We must pray that the Church will not only continue these efforts but do even more in providing aid and support to mothers considering abortion. It is the pro-choice argument that pro-lifers only care about a baby’s life until it is born and then don’t care what happens to the baby afterward, whether that be foster care, unstable familial relationships, poverty, or other life circumstances. This argument is false, as the Church has been a huge component to proactive programs, but we have an opportunity now to make that even clearer.
5. Pray that the Church boldly initiates conversations related to abortion and how to properly take care of women considering abortion.
The topic of abortion is so controversial today that many pastors and churches choose to simply avoid the issue.
Churches are to be a place where truth is spread boldly and in love. As Christians and members of the body of Christ, we must pray that the Church will rise up and tackle these hard conversations head-on.
We should pray that the Church can boldly rebuke and educate about abortion while also loving those in their congregations and in the community who have had an abortion or been involved in an abortion. Instead of condemning them, the Church can be the light they need, standing alongside them, supporting them, and showing them that no matter what decisions they made in their past, Jesus still loves them and has grace for them. Finally, we should pray that those women who are grieving their decisions will recognize the love and grace of Christ and will live for Christ moving forward.
Approximately 90 percent of abortions happen before 13 weeks, and about 100 abortions a year happen after 15 weeks. So, of the upper-hundreds of thousands of abortions occurring in America every year, what’s 100? Besides the significance of those ~100 lives, the Mississippi law challenges Roe, which, depending on the ruling, could save hundreds of thousands of lives a year.
The United States is only one of seven countries that allows abortions past the 20-week mark. Abortions in the U.S. can happen almost all the way to birth, even though third-trimester abortions aren’t as encouraged or common.
The March for Life found that a staggering 76 percent of Americans want abortion limited to the first three months, which is only 12 weeks. They also found that 80 percent of Americans believe that third-trimester abortions should be illegal, as that is at the point where unborn babies are usually considered viable.
Pro-life advocates are hopeful that this case will be the end of Roe, or at least the Roe we know now. This case could be a major step in the right direction for guarding the lives of the unborn. If Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health rules in favor of the unborn, it will depend on the Court’s application of the ruling as to whether it will overturn Roe, sending the power to regulate abortion back to the states, as it was pre-1973, or whether 15 weeks will be the new standard nationwide. If Roe is overturned and regulation is sent back to the statehouses, many states would most likely allow nearly unrestricted access to abortion, but others will be able to put safeguards in place to protect the unborn.
According to U.S. News and World Report’s guide to abortion laws by state, the states most likely to restrict abortion would be Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. States more likely to provide nearly unrestricted access would be Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, and Washington.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health may take America nearer to abolition, and then the world will wonder how, like slavery, abortion was ever allowed to be legal.