Roe's shaky edifice is built on a studied and stubborn refusal to address the foundational question about who the law is for. This reticence is all the more remarkable because none of the seven justices in Roe's majority seems to have believed that the unborn really are persons. They reckoned nonetheless that the constitutional law they produced could not be grounded in any answer—theirs, yours, mine—to that philosophical question. Their reticence was supposed to credential the Court's judgment as somehow uniquely objective and thus supremely authoritative.
Despite the claims of some abortion advocates, Daniel Williams notes how the prolife movement formed in many states before Roe.
In the spring of 1971, pro-lifers defeated abortion legalization bills in all twenty-five of the state legislatures that considered them. The next year, their record was almost as successful: Only one state liberalized its abortion law, and it did so only under court order. Pro-lifers were equally successful at the ballot box. When Michigan and North Dakota introduced voter initiatives to legalize abortion in 1972, pro-lifers defeated both measures by wide margins. By the end of 1972, pro-lifers thought that they were probably within only one year of repealing New York's permissive abortion law, and the director of Planned Parenthood's Western Region division worried that pro-lifers would soon make abortion illegal in California too. "In the West we view '73 as a difficult year for abortion," he confided to a colleague in the summer of 1972.
Michael New reviews Dr. Monica Miller's book Abandoned.
Overall, the best service this book provides is to give the reader a window on the pro-life movement from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. During this time, clinic blockades played a prominent role in the right-to-life movement. This was for a couple of reasons. First, the Roe v. Wade decision occurred as the Vietnam War was concluding. Many thought that the same civil-disobedience tactics used by opponents of the Vietnam War would be useful in stopping abortion. Second, those who engaged in clinic blockades thought that these tactics were strategically shrewd. When arrested, pro-lifers invoked a "necessity" defense — stating that their conduct was justified as necessary to prevent public or private injury. They hoped a necessity defense would allow attorneys to present evidence documenting the humanity of the unborn — and ultimately lead to a reversal of Roe v. Wade.
The Pope has tweeted support for the March for Life.