On June 24, 2023, pro-life Americans celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. In Dobbs, the Court finally overturned its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in every state.
As the nationwide effort to end abortion continues, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)—an ordained Southern Baptist minister and longtime Baptist youth camp director—recently offered some insights on how candidates should deal with the abortion question during political campaigns. First, Sen. Lankford urged candidates to speak about abortion directly. The Senator indicated that some Republican and conservative candidates are “‘terrified’” to talk about abortion, but he cautioned that the issue “‘doesn’t just go away’” if candidates choose not to discuss it.
Second, Sen. Lankford noted that candidates “‘do have to talk about [abortion] on state levels and on national levels.’” The Senator asserted that some politicians would prefer to dismiss abortion as a state issue; however, he also pointed out that the United States passed a federal law banning the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion some years ago.
Third, Sen. Lankford emphasized that there is a moral dimension and a political dimension to abortion. “‘When you start to make a decision about [whether a] child [is] valuable, that’s not a political decision,’” the Senator said. “‘It’s a moral decision. And you’ve got to determine: What are my moral, ethical beliefs here? That’s one set of issues. And then you start looking at politically what’s possible… How do we save as many children as possible? That’s a political conversation.’”
Sen. Lankford’s observations are spot-on. Like Rep. Elise Stefanik recently did at Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, pro-life candidates should speak out for the unborn. Candidates for office cannot hope to win hearts, minds, or elections by remaining silent about abortion, especially when a pro-abortion president intends to make the issue a focal point of his re-election campaign. The federal government does have a role to play in protecting life, especially in regard to the crucial question of whether federal tax dollars are used to prop up America’s largest abortion provider. And abortion does have moral and political dimensions; every pro-life candidate should work to end abortion altogether, and every pro-life candidate should seek to pass the most pro-life laws that he or she possibly can—even if those laws are imperfect.