How abortion opponents organized to influence the Republican Party and, In the end, someone reverse a decision taken 50 years ago? A look at the historic decision of the Supreme Court of the United States taken this Friday, June 24 with Darren Dochuk, professor of history at the Catholic University of Notre Dame (Indiana).
What kind of public was the first to oppose the legalization of abortion?
Both Catholics and Protestants have long opposed the “Row versus Wade” regime, even though they were the first to sound the alarm in the 1960s. Even before, the Catholic hierarchy has always historically positioned itself against abortion and for the sanctity of life. They were joined by Protestants in the 1970s, so even though they share the same point of view, they have no hierarchy.
How was this movement organized to influence elected officials?
Even if it was the Republican Party that positioned itself the fastest to attract them, the movement, which had long ago organized itself on a national level, understood that it was the most important part of presidential elections. But it was not that his influence would be the most decisive. Ronald Reagan gave evidence of Supreme Court decisions that were not to his liking. They understood then that they had to organize themselves differently and form an organization bottom to top To influence all possible levels of jurisdiction, such as at the political level. As a result, countless district judges, both at the state level and now in the Supreme Court, are ardent believers, taking positions in line with the interests of the movement. It is therefore impossible to overestimate the power of the religious right in its ability to influence the Republican Party.
Do Catholics and Protestants position themselves differently in terms of views on abortion?
Catholics have always referred to a very clear doctrine on the sanctity of life and the protection of unborn beings. Protestants, for their part, most evangelists—and those who refer to the writings for their spiritual guidance—do not take a clear position on the subject because the writings do not clearly provide clear answers. Due to the lack of theory, he had to refer to a hierarchy that took longer to build and conveyed a clearer message. Some evangelists, moreover, hold the right to life and the right of women to dispose of their bodies on an equal footing, leading to a complex stance on the subject. It was not until the late 1970s that Protestant leaders declared themselves to be strongly opposed to the practice.
Do you think the Court’s decision last Friday will have a significant impact on the mid-term elections?
Yes, just as it will be important for the upcoming elections, including 2024. Beyond the two “camps” that will certainly be galvanized as before, it is centrist voters who are more likely to be at heart. The Republican Party still needs some voters to feel their way of seeing things. There may be some concern about determination.
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