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Roe, Trump, and the Ways of God

Published in Blog on July 03, 2022 by Susan Foy

I was in ninth grade in 1974, a year and a half after the Roe v. Wade case was decided by the Supreme Court. My history teacher liked to have “social” discussions in his class involving issues like racism, war, and, of course, abortion. The teacher, a somewhat mature hippie, was decidedly pro-choice and let us know it; the class was divided on the subject, but even at that young age I knew I was pro-life. It was somewhat daunting at the age of 14 to try to defend these views in a public high school, but I did my best.

During my teen years and into my adulthood, my large extended family got involved in the pro-life movement in various ways. I remember picketing at various places that performed abortions, and many years groups from my family would attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

In the early 2000’s I participated in the 40 Days for Life in Wilmington, and around the same time joined an organization called Delaware Stork Bus, whose goal was to set up a mobile sonogram facility which would provide free ultrasounds to pregnant women considering abortion.

But it was easy to get discouraged. It seemed like nothing would ever really change.

Our most hopeful moment was in 1992 with the Supreme Court case Casey v. Planned Parenthood. Since Reagan and Bush had appointed some supposedly more conservative justices to the court, many people believed that Roe would be overturned that year.

However, one of the conservative justices (Kennedy) was persuaded to change his vote to uphold the right to abortion, so the Casey case didn’t really make much difference from a practical standpoint.

As the years went on, many pro-life people began to say that abortion rights would never end in the U.S. I personally came to the conclusion that it would really take a miracle from God. If twelve years of Reagan and Bush didn’t change anything, the cause seemed hopeless apart from divine intervention. And I can’t say that I often had enough faith to pray for it.

Fast forward to the election of 2016. Seventeen candidates were running in the Republican primary, among them Donald Trump. Personally, I considered Trump to be the worst of the bunch.

Along with many other objections, I wasn’t convinced that he was really pro-life. It seemed to me just a position he had adopted in order to win the primary. My sister and I would laugh at some of the “Christian” things he said to sound good that to us sounded ridiculous.

We watched all the debates and prayed fervently on primary days, and sometimes we fasted, too. Personally I was praying for Trump’s defeat. The last significant primary was on May 3 in Indiana. That night I posted on Facebook: “I guess I’m like David after his baby son died. I’ve been fasting all day, but now that it's over, I might as well eat. :-( :-( :-(”

Trump did win the Indiana primary, the Republican nomination, and as everyone knows, he went on to win the general election. I’m sure historians will be debating his presidency for the next hundred years: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But what is unquestionable is that Trump appointed three new Supreme Court justices who voted with the majority to overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood last month. In light of the hopelessness that so many felt for so long, I really do believe this was divine intervention.

I don’t know why Trump succeeded where Ronald Reagan failed. That seems strange to me. Was Trump actually more pro-life than Reagan? Only God knows their hearts, but I think it’s likely that my early judgment of Trump was mistaken.

So what is God trying to tell us all through this?

My conclusion is that God accomplishes his purposes in his own time and through his own means. Sometimes he wants us to keep praying through discouragement and not lose heart. Sometimes he responds to our prayers in a negative or disappointing way because he is accomplishing purposes that we don’t understand. Sometimes he uses very unlikely people in very surprising ways.

In the end, he wants us to give the glory to him and not to men. And most importantly, we should never become hopeless, because with God all things are possible!

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