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Opinion: Why this abortion case could be a turning point for Utah’s pro-life cause

Being pro-life means more than fighting to end abortion. It also means ensuring there is more support for women who are struggling with pregnancy and parenting

A group of anti-abortion protesters pray together in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
A group of anti-abortion protesters pray together in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 1, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

Advocating for the most vulnerable members of our community, including mothers and unborn children, has been one of my most sacred priorities in Congress. I believe that we must empower women who become pregnant to choose life by giving them the support they need to be successful so they can have both their baby and their dreams.

I also passionately believe that every child should be given opportunities to thrive, no matter the circumstances of their conception or birth. That is why I support resources for low-income mothers and children, including housing, child care, health care, and access to better educational opportunities and contraception. It is why I have been a vocal advocate for our adoption and foster care systems. And it is why I am standing with Utahns across the state who are waiting eagerly for a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the most consequential abortion case in decades.

The Supreme Court began oral arguments the morning after my fourth son was born. Welcoming our son into the world makes the pro-life movement even more personal to my family. This is why I am watching the Dobbs case with rapt attention.

The facts of the case are simple: Mississippi passed a state law that would ban all abortions 15 weeks after the start of pregnancy. The justices will consider the “viability” standard, which holds that states do not have the authority to ban abortions before an unborn child could survive outside the womb. This arbitrary standard means that states cannot typically ban abortions until 24 weeks into a pregnancy (although modern medicine is allowing us to save the lives of premature babies who are born even earlier).

On July 29, I joined 227 of my Republican colleagues urging the Supreme Court to strike down this outdated, top-down standard and instead grant states the ability to determine for themselves how and whether to permit or limit abortion.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh seemed sympathetic to this argument during oral argument, positing that in the absence of a constitutional right to abortion, elected officials — rather than the courts — should be responsible for arbitrating this inherently moral debate. Under this solution, each state could reach its own consensus, and Utah could finally implement legislation to provide greater protections for unborn children.

But this Supreme Court decision and subsequent renegotiation of state laws would be just our first step. We must foster a culture that advocates for and supports life at all stages. Like the profound cultural shift that made segregation unthinkable in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education, we too must use this opportunity to change the national discourse and commit ourselves to protecting life and supporting expecting mothers.

Being pro-life means more than fighting to end abortion. It also means ensuring there is more support for women who are struggling with pregnancy and parenting. I was honored to host a roundtable in Utah’s 1st District this fall to meet with pro-life stakeholders who are working to help women choose life in our community. I also introduced the Care For Her Act with my colleagues to facilitate resources for women who are struggling with an unexpected pregnancy. By expanding the child tax credit, coordinating state and federal resources, distributing grants for housing, health care, and job training, we can fulfill the unmet needs of pregnant and parenting mothers.

Adoption also plays a major role in the pro-life movement. I have been incredibly blessed by my four adopted nieces and nephews, and my family can’t imagine our lives without them. We are forever grateful that their birth mothers chose life.

This year, I co-led the Improving Adoption Outcomes and Affordability Act to authorize grants to state or local governments, public or private adoption agencies, and faith-based organizations for the purpose of enhancing medical support services and mental health resources for mothers considering adoption.

As my wife and I look at our newborn son, we know how blessed we are to bring life into the world. I am all the more resolved to ensure that every parent can give life to their child with the support that they need, and I will continue to use my role in Congress to make this a reality for every family.

Blake Moore is a congressman representing Utah’s 1st District.