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Fr. Pavone comments on South Dakota Victory


Priests for Life



Many are also aware of the action of the South Dakota state legislature in recent days, passing a law to ban abortion in the state. I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with many South Dakota legislators and their people, and have admired their pro-life conviction for a long time. I thank them for taking this bold and decisive action. I applaud them every step of the way.

Many citizens do not realize the extent to which Roe vs. Wade insulted the states and removed their ability to legislate in favor of the unborn. Roe said that even if all the people of a state, together with their elected officials, want to give legal protection to their children before birth, that they are forbidden to do so! This is an inexcusable intrusion of Federal government into the affairs of the states. Moreover, it is not even a legitimate act of government at all. To decriminalize an act of violence is a violation of the very purpose of government.

All of this is to say that the decision of South Dakota to ban abortion is an expression of the kind of right that has to be restored not only to the unborn but to state governments across our land.

Sure, the law will be challenged in Court. Nobody doubts that. But I don’t know of any move that the pro-life movement can take in the legislative arena that won’t be challenged in one way or another by pro-abortion forces. That’s the nature of the battle. Colleagues in the battle may disagree about issues of timing; but the fact is that in this instance, the legislature has already acted. The issue now, it seems to me, is to capitalize on this action and use it as an opportunity to teach our fellow citizens how un-American Roe vs. Wade is. Let’s use this action of one state to continue to undermine the decision that blocked every state from protecting its citizens.

The other point to keep in mind is that while some argue that we need to wait until there is another replacement on the Supreme Court, the fact is that we never really know the course that our efforts will take. Moreover, what is being expressed in South Dakota is more than the result of strategic planning and arguments on one or another side of the fence. It is, instead, an expression of a deep, unyielding longing rooted in the human heart itself saying that we must be free: we must be free of tyranny, we must be free to protect our own children, we must be free to shake off the yoke of oppression, whatever form that yoke takes: slavery, terrorism, or abortion. That yearning will always express itself; it can never be shut out or delayed.

Whatever the legal outcome of South Dakota’s action may be, a prophetic word has been spoken, and a prophetic action has been taken. The days of abortion in this nation are numbered. In ways that nobody can trace for sure, the day of freedom is approaching.

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