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It's a Post-Roe World. Now What? My Conversation with Ben Watson

It's a Post-Roe World. Now What? My Conversation with Ben Watson
Posted by Keith Simon

Ben Watson could have chosen the easy path. He could have been “like Mike” and refused to get involved in politics or speak out on divisive cultural issues because, as Michael Jordan told Sam Smith, “Republicans buy sneakers too.” Why let personal convictions turn away potential customers? 

Watson could have kept his pro-life views private instead of publicly speaking out on one of America’s most sensitive and contentious issues. But he’s never been one to take the easy route, whether on the football field or in the public arena.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit with him about his book, The New Fight for Life: Roe, Race, and a Pro-Life Commitment to Justice

I want to share parts of that conversation with you because some of the things he shared are very relevant to where the abortion conversation is today.

Ben started the book on June 24, 2022, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe. I think his reaction mirrored many prolifers, except that he had a suspicion that the movement wasn’t prepared.

Watson rightly predicted the fiery debate that ensued after the Court’s decision. To many people’s surprise, the overturning of Roe didn’t outlaw abortion but only returned the issue to the states. Fifty state debates replaced one national argument. Ben explains that overturning Roe didn’t end the fight for life.

Many prolifers focused the last 50 years on gaining political power to change laws but neglected to persuade their neighbor that abortion is morally wrong even if it’s legally permissible. Since the Court’s decision, even some conservative states have surprisingly voted for more permissive abortion laws. 

While it’s impossible to know with certainty why that’s happened, many believe pro-life legislation restricted abortion in ways voters weren’t ready for. So, should the pro-life movement embrace incrementalism and a “go-slow” approach? Or should it seek to ban abortion outright? Listen to Ben explain the need to enact laws and change hearts and minds.

To reduce abortions, we need to understand why women have abortions. In this clip, Watson and I went back and forth about whether the main drivers of abortion are economic or family breakdown. He says that we must be honest and admit that a higher percentage of black babies are aborted. Listen as Ben is willing to say difficult things that most people aren’t.

One thing I respect about Watson is that he tackles uncomfortable topics with truth and grace. In this part of our conversation, he brought up the fact that the abortion rate among black women is three to four times the rate among white women. Ben explains that this hasn’t always been true. Hear him get into some key stats.

The pro-life movement spent 50 years fighting to overturn Roe v Wade, but it’s now obvious it wasn’t ready for the post-Roe world. If it hopes to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s decision to return the issue to the states, it must sharpen its arguments and expand its coalition.

These insights from Ben Watson clearly define the challenges and opportunities for the pro-life movement. This isn’t the time to rest. With wisdom and grace, prolifers must work to make elective abortion not just illegal but unthinkable. 

In The New Fight for Life: Roe, Race, and a Pro-Life Commitment to Justice, Ben Watson maps out a path forward.

Want to read more on how to choose truth over tribe when it comes to the issue of abortion? Check out some of our past articles.


Posted by Keith Simon

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