A Historic Victory for Life: Dr. Dobson Reacts to the Reversal of Roe v. Wade - Part 1 (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, greetings everyone. I'm James Dobson and you're listening to Family Talk, which is a division of the James Dobson Family Institute. It is indeed a pleasure to be back into the studio with you because it means my Shirley and I are getting back on our feet. We encountered a couple of events in the month of May that we call suddenly. I don't know if you use that term in your family, but that explains what occurs when something unpleasant comes out of the blue and turns the boat over. On this occasion, Shirley tripped on a throw rug in late May and fell hard. She broke her hip and she cracked her femur. She underwent major surgery and spent five weeks in the hospital in rehab. The day before she was released, if you can believe it, she tested positive for COVID. And so we were quarantined at home, which means we almost had no help in the house during that time.

I want to thank the many people out there during that dark time who sent flowers, and cards, and delicious food and told us of their prayers for God's healing touch. Shirley is walking now, even if a little gingerly, and life is returning to normal more or less. Again, thanks so much for your love and concern.

While we were sequestered, the United States Supreme Court issued an historic ruling on abortion that most of you have been celebrating. As you know, Roe v. Wade was struck down, which millions of people have been cheering. They prayed diligently for these past 49 years and 63 million babies have been murdered in those five decades. There have been times of despair, real despair and disappointment along the way. At last, the tide has changed and the legality of abortion has been given to the people to decide where it belonged in the first place.

With us on the phone today to discuss this momentous decision is my great friend and colleague, Gary Bauer, whom I met in the White House in 1984 during the Reagan Administration. I had been invited there to consult with the president about the institution of the family and Gary served there as chief domestic policy advisor to the president. We struck up a friendship almost immediately. And during that era and since we have continued that friendship for 38 years. After Reagan's second term ended, Gary became a senior vice president at Focus on the Family with us and he headed up the Family Research Council in the nation's capital. The remarkable thing is that Gary and I still see eye to eye on just about everything. And Gary, I'm telling you, not even Shirley and I, agree on everything. So our friendship is unique and it's a pleasure to have you with us today.

Gary Bauer: Jim, it's great to be with you. It's great to hear your voice, particularly after the last couple of weeks that you and Shirley have gone through. I hardly know how to act in our conversation today because it's been so difficult to have big victories over the last several decades, but it's hard to imagine a bigger victory than this one. I want to take the chance before I forget, Jim, to thank you for everything you did and continue to do on the sanctity of life. It's been a pleasure to stand next to you in that battle, but you never wavered. I'm stuck in Washington, DC. People get up in the morning trying to figure out how to waver. You get up every morning trying to figure out how to move the ball down the court and the direction of making America that shining city on a hill. So God bless you, man. Without you I don't know if this would've ever happened.

Dr. James Dobson: Hey, Gary, everything you've said about me comes right back to you because you never wavered either. That's why our friendship has been so fast, so strong because we both have a passion for the same things, and life is at the top of the list. And I can't tell you the number of conversations that I remember that you and I had through the years where we were commiserating with each other. You and I saw something in the '80s that ... I don't want to be self-congratulatory, but we saw something other people didn't seem to recognize. And people are saying to me now, "You told me this was coming. You told me that there would be an effort among the gay community particularly to undermine marriage. You told us these things were coming and I didn't believe you. I believe you now." There is a certain satisfaction. Maybe it's not deserved, but I enjoy it.

Gary Bauer: Yeah. I'm hoping you don't find a Bible verse indicating that what we're feeling is a sin because it feels too good to stop doing it. Jim, we have talked about this for a long time and I know one of the things you've worried about and I've worry about it too, I've always felt that God's hand was on America. I think millions and millions of Americans have believed that all of our history that all the way back in founding of the country, colonial times, the war of independence, time and time again, it just seemed like God's hand of protection saved us when it was seemed unlikely. And we've both have worried as millions of men and women have worried that the country is on a path that would certainly justify God taking his hand of protection away from us. And when you look at the list of things that might cause that, at the top of that list would have to be the fact that 63 million babies made with God's image stamped on them in a way that we can't even fully understand. That those babies were sacrificed on the altar of the popular culture. And if it feels good, do it. And if something's in your way, dispose of it. And I think we both have worried that how much longer would He grant this country mercy?

Dr. James Dobson: Gary, God is not mocked. You can't defy Him, you can't do evil without paying the price for it. That's what I've always believed and I believe it now. And if we ever deserve judgment, it's in killing so many of His precious children. It's just amazing that we have not fallen victim, if you want to call it that, to that judgment along the way. It almost feels overdue. And that maybe judges the almighty and I don't mean to do that, but anyway, that's why made this victory so sweet.

Gary Bauer: It surely did, Jim. And your listeners know that one of the extraordinary things that happened before this decision came out was the leak of a draft of the decision. And that set off, of course, a chain of events that I think we were both worried might actually cause one of the justices to waiver or get cold feet because what we saw were threats on the justices, demonstrations outside their homes. We saw the Justice Department failing to enforce the law, which outlaws demonstrations outside judges' homes in an effort to intimidate them or to influence the decisions they make. So there's been a lot of praying in the weeks leading up to when the decision was finally released.

Dr. James Dobson: Well, the far left is now complaining and they're livid because they say the decision to strike down Roe v. Wade is an assault on democracy, but how can letting the people decide for themselves at the ballot box be anything other than government 'of the people, for the people, and by the people?' How can you say this is an assault on democracy? It's taking it away from five members of the Supreme Court and letting them decide for maybe 320 million people and turning it back to the states to decide. That is an exercise in democracy.

Gary Bauer: Absolutely. That is the key point and you just expressed it well, Jim. I hope everybody wrote a note to themselves because this is the mantra right now that's being used in the media and so forth. If you go all the way back to the '60s and '70s, this issue was with the people of the states. And some states unfortunately were beginning to go down the wrong road on abortion, but many states, a majority of them, had very restrictive laws or didn't allow it at all. And so in '73, when the court snatched it away from the people of the several states and brought it to the court's determination, they short circuited that whole debate. And they really cut off the democratic process that we have in our constitutional Republic.

So, you said it exactly right. That what the court did is probably one of the most democratic things, small democratic things that has happened in American a long time. This is giving the people more of a chance to debate, to argue, to make their points. And then through their state legislatures and governors, make the decisions about to what degree they want to bring all of our children in that particular state into the world and protect them by the laws.

Jim, in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's going to be interesting to see which states continue to go down the road to abortion on demand and which states will restore the sanctity of life. And I think the ones that restore the sanctity of life, in some way that I can't describe, I believe those states will end up and the people of those states will end up being blessed in ways that the other states won't.

Dr. James Dobson: Gary, I think the most important point we can make today in this summary of Roe v. Wade's demise, if you will, is that this is not the end of the battle.

Gary Bauer: No.

Dr. James Dobson: This is just the beginning. There's going to be battles in 50 states. You just referred to it that they're going to have to decide for themselves what to do. And there'll be battles in every state legislature. People can't go to sleep on this issue. There's still babies dying every day.

Gary Bauer: You're right. And the warning is an important warning because we've seen before when we lose many of people on our side will end up saying, "Well, we lost the battle." Instead of trying even harder. The other side when they lose they double down. So then what happens when one side wins one of the battles? Well, we tend to win and go home and celebrate and then move on with our lives. But you're right. This battle is going to dominate public discourse in America for a long time. And we can see what the reaction of the other side is. The attacks on crisis pregnancy centers, some of the vicious things that are being said and written. And I know there's a lot of wealthy billionaires that are going to spend unbelievable amounts of money to try to promote abortion in every city, every community, every state and the union. So we got to keep praying, we got to keep working. I don't know if you've thought about this, I'm sure you probably have Jim, this is another opportunity for those pastors that really weren't in the battle, some just weren't in the battle. And now we won in spite of the fact that they were absent without leave. Well, now there's another chance for those pastors to jump into the fray and make sure that in their state and their community, the sanctity of life is recognized.

Dr. James Dobson: I have heard it said and I have no data to back this up. There's nothing that I can say that will be convincing, but I've heard that many pastors are afraid now to even mention this Roe v. Wade decision that came down for fear they will irritate women and that people will leave the churches. Who knows what the motivation is or even if that's accurate? But I pray that it is not. That people will have the courage to stand up in the pulpit and say, "Because of this decision, millions of babies will live. They will have an opportunity to grow and to become adults." We must not lose sight of that fact. Why would we not celebrate it?

Gary Bauer: Yes. Absolutely. Jim, this has been one of our mutual frustrations. We're both students of history. And I still can't believe when I look back on it, that many pastors in the 1840s and 1850s didn't preach about the sin of slavery of one man owning another, because they didn't want to upset the apple cart or they didn't want to anger the local slave owner or whatever. We look back at that now and we feel shame that would've ever happened. Now, look, there were pastors, as we know, that led the abolitionist movement. And so I think someday the church will look back on this issue and wonder why more pastors really didn't get into the battle.

I heard a pastor say once, Gary, "I can't find the word abortion in the Bible." Well, my goodness, the whole Bible is a message of choose life. If you're preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, do you really need to find the word abortion in the Bible to know that the whole theme of the Bible is that life is precious and we should always choose life?

Dr. James Dobson: Gary, we've talked about the decision and it comes back to Justice Alito who wrote the statement for the majority that was leaked to the country and created such a furor. But I have been told by some judicial scholars who said that was one of the most brilliant statements that has ever been written for a Supreme Court decision. And I have one phrase from it. This is from Justice Alito who said, "We hold that Roe and Casey, which was another pro-abortion decision, must be overruled. The constitution makes no reference to abortion." This is a key point. "And no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision." That's the essence of the decision in one sentence and it took a lot of courage for that man to stand up and do that. And we should be grateful to him for doing it.

Gary Bauer: You're right. The opinion was extraordinary. There were pages and pages of footnotes and citations. None of those things were in the original Roe case. And the reason the original Roe case was not one that was backed up by a lot of research was because they made it up out of whole cloth. I've seen a lot of analysis, Jim, that says that this is a terrible moment because this is the first time the court took away a constitutional right. That's incorrect. There never was a constitutional right. The Roe court, back in 1973, lied about that. They made up something that was not there. And scholars, even scholars that were pro-abortion were shocked that the Roe court claimed that there was something in the constitution written by our founding fathers that would authorize abortion on demand. So that was a terrible mistake. Alito calls it an egregious mistake. That means a really, really bad mistake. And what the court did after 49 years was correct that egregious terrible mistake.

Dr. James Dobson: Well, thank God that they had the courage to do it. Gary, I'm going to say something very controversial. Some people are not going to like what I'm about to say, but what else is new? I don't think it's fair that people will not talk about or acknowledge the fact that before the election of 2016, Donald Trump promised that he would give us a more Conservative court. Do you remember that? And it was on that basis that a lot of people supported him because we depended on him to keep that promise. He did it. And we would not be celebrating this Dobbs decision today if he hadn't had the courage to put Conservatives on the court. And somebody ought to say that. Whether you like Donald Trump or not, whether you supported or voted for him or not, if you are supportive of this Dobbs decision that struck down Roe v. Wade, you have to mention in the same breath the man who made it possible.

Gary Bauer: Well, Jim you're right. A lot of people will find that controversial, but it is absolutely a description about why we're in the position we're in right now. Look, you mentioned earlier that I worked for Ronald Reagan for eight years. He was pro-life, but at least one of his Supreme Court appointees, he either was misled or he wasn't careful enough and that appointee ended up disappointing us on this issue. And the same thing happened with other presidents that sought the votes of pro-life voters, but then really didn't do the job in making sure their court appointees believe that our children born and unborn were part of the American family protected by the laws of our country and the founding documents. Donald Trump had three opportunities and all three of his appointments ended up being home runs on this issue.

I know we don't do partisan shows, but we're just talking about the facts here. If those three appointments had been made by a different president, not only would we not be where we are now, where the monstrosity of Roe is overturned, but we would be in a position where our religious liberty and many of our other rights right now would be in deep, deep trouble. So those three Supreme Court appointments can overcome a lot of mean tweets.

Dr. James Dobson: Yeah. Well, earlier I talked to you about one of the false claims that the left is making about this being an assault on democracy. They're also saying it's an assault on women and that's not right either.

Gary Bauer: No. It isn't. And look, obviously women are impacted by all of this, but let's just go back to the basics, Jim. Over half of all the 63 million babies that have been aborted were little girls. So literally, little baby girls were dying because of abortion on demand. But in addition to that, Jim, women are exploited by abortion. Abortion on demand among other things gave men an excuse to once they got a woman pregnant to say to her, "Well, you're on your own. Don't look at me. I'm not going to hang around for this. You know what you can do." So it increased the exploitation of women, it left a lot of women psychologically damaged by the act of abortion because God made women to be life givers. And at the end of the day, many women were haunted by the thoughts of the little boy or little girl that they ended up not having.

We also know that abortion has coarsened our culture in ways that I don't think we even fully understand. It was a culture of death that spread throughout our society. I think it's led to all sorts of things that you can't prove it in a court of law, but logic tells you it's played a role in the increasing crime we have. Some of the horrible things you see happen to women and children in our society where women are afraid to walk down the street at night. All of that I think gets back to the culture of death. Of course one of the big things that the pro-life movement did and that you supported, Jim, and I tried to support was this network of crisis pregnancy centers that stood with women that were abandoned when nobody else would stand with them and help those women be able to choose life. And it's not an accident now that not only are the Supreme Court justices under attack, but those crisis pregnancy centers are literally under attack, as we do this show. The centers have been burned, they've been destroyed in many ways, and you've got political figures in our country and in the media using rhetoric against them that makes these attacks on those crisis pregnancy centers more likely.

Roger Marsh: Roger Marsh here. I hate to interrupt this important conversation on today's edition of Family Talk, but unfortunately we're out of time for today's broadcast. You've been listening to Dr. Dobson and his good friend, Gary Bauer, as they celebrate the long waited overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Make sure you listen again tomorrow to hear the balance of their conversation.

Now, if you missed any of today's program, be sure to visit us online at drjamesdobson.org/familytalk and you can hear the program there in its entirety. That's drjamesdobson.org/familytalk. Now, the reversal of Roe v. Wade is without question a victory for life. But as many pro-life leaders have been repeating, this really is just the beginning in our fight for the pre-born. Now that the power and responsibility to protect life or destroy, it has moved back to the states, we must work even harder to ensure that women know their choices and are empowered and equipped to choose life. As you know, Dr. Dobson has been on the front lines of the battle for life ever since Roe passed on the 22nd of January, 1973.

Here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, we will continue to lock arms with other pro-life organizations and share the truth about the pre-born until abortion is unthinkable. Can we count on you to help us in our mission? To make a financial donation to the JDFI today, visit drjamesdobson.org. That's drjamesdobson.org. Or give us a call, (877) 732-6825. Thanks so much for listening to Family Talk today and be sure to join us again tomorrow as Dr. Dobson continues to reflect on the reversal of Roe and the future of our nation.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
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