Roe v. Wade Symposium

On June 24, 2022 the Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and voted to overrule Roe v. Wade, finding that there is no constitutional right to abortion.  

The Land Center asked four Christian leaders to share their answers to a few questions in response to this historic moment.

Daryl Crouch has served churches in Tennessee and was most recently the senior pastor of Green Hill Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. He is the Executive Director at Everyone’s Wilson and serves on the advisory board of the Land Center.  

Nathan Finn serves as provost and dean of the university faculty at North Greenville University. He serves as a Senior Fellow at the Land Center. 

Dana Hall McCain writes about faith, culture and politics for She serves on the advisory board of the Land Center. 

Ben Mitchell who serves as the editor of Ethics & Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics and as senior editor of Renewing Minds: A Journal of Faith, Learning, and Culture. He serves as a Senior Fellow at the Land Center.


What were your initial thoughts after the Roe v. Wade decision came down? 

Cautious optimism in May was followed by profound gratitude when Dobbs was officially announced on June 24. Not only does this ruling save lives now, but it empowers a culture of life in our nation that will serve future generations. 

Daryl Crouch 


My first thought was thankfulness. Like many, I had hoped and prayed for many months that this would be the outcome. Ever since the leak of the earlier draft of the decision, part of me was even expecting this ruling. But I still wasn’t prepared to read the news on my phone. My wife texted me the decision while I was sitting in my vehicle in a parking lot at our university. I got choked up and just had to sit there for a minute. I gathered my composure, walked into a building on our campus, and shared the news with a couple of our professors. We praised the Lord together. 

If I’m being honest, for years I wasn’t sure that this day would come. I feared that pro-life politicians would capitulate, or that pro-life activists would grow weary, or that churches would make peace with the status quo and move on to other issues. It’s only been in the past two or three years that I had begun to allow myself to believe that this day would come. Thanks be to God. 

 — Nathan Finn 


Like many pro-life advocates, I was paradoxically relieved and a bit anxious when the decision was released in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. I say “relieved” for two reasons. 

I exhaled with relief because even though the draft opinion leaked weeks earlier had given us a glimpse of where the Court might land (or at least where Justice Alito was on the issue), I harbored a bit of fear that public pressure might chill the Court’s resolve. Indeed, this is the most plausible, likely motive of the leaker. As the days and weeks rolled by after the leak, I think many of us were holding our breath, praying that the final decision would look very much like Alito’s draft opinion but worrying that it might be something far less decisive in the end. Learning that the final opinion completely overturned Roe and Casey was a great relief. 

I felt relief because existing laws protecting the preborn in multiple states could now go into effect. I realized that thousands of children nationwide whose mothers were planning to abort them that very day would be saved. The whole thing mirrored an action movie scene wherein you see a beloved character facing certain doom, then spared miraculously at the last moment. I wonder: what testimonies of God’s faithfulness will arise from the stories of women and their babies whose steps were redirected in the nick of time by this decision? How will the world be impacted and God be glorified by this thunderbolt of sudden change in many states? I can’t wait to hear those stories. 

My anxiety centered around whether the decision would provoke increased violence, particularly toward the faithful men and women who operate our Christian pregnancy resource centers. Thankfully, the level of violence hasn’t escalated tremendously since the day of the decision, and I pray that it continues to subside. 

Dana Hall McCain 


My first reaction was thanksgiving to God and gratitude to those faithful men and women who have worked so hard during the decades to see a bad decision overturned and the lives of future unborn babies saved. There’s no room for gloating or triumphalism. Had Southern Baptists been reading their Bibles and doing good theology in the 1960s, Roe v. Wade would never have been handed down. Our Catholic friends were far ahead of us in working this out. Humanae Vitae (1968) should have raised the consciousness of evangelicals to the direction the culture was moving. We should have been standing arm-in-arm with them. 

 — C. Ben Mitchell 


What does the next phase of the pro-life movement look like? 

Some people have said, “This is just the beginning.” I’d rather think of it as the second leg of a relay race. Important ground has been gained, but we still have much work to do to advocate for life through public policy work and to build a culture of life through serving mothers, fathers, and children. 

The Supreme Court acted justly, some would even say, heroic. But the Court does not have the power to change hearts or transform our nation. It’s the faithful witness and practical work of Christians the Lord will use to do that. So, we do not exult over pro-abortion proponents. Instead, we continue to engage with convictional conversations, upright advocacy,  and sacrificial service. 

Daryl Crouch 


I wrote on this topic for Baptist Press back in a November 2021 essay titled Pro-life Ministry in a Post-Roe World. The pro-life movement will focus more on advocating for state laws that promote the sanctity of human life. This is not new, of course, but the Dobbs decision affords national organizations the luxury of channeling more resources into state-level initiatives. Every state will be different, ranging from outlawing all or nearly all elective abortions to passing sweeping pro-abortion legislation. The key will be determining where each state is and developing contextual strategies that are well-resourced. 

Some women will still want an abortion or believe abortion is their only option. There will still be the need for pro-life pregnancy resource centers in local communities. In states where elective abortion remains legal, those centers will continue to compete with abortion clinics. There will continue to be children in need of foster care and adoption, perhaps in some places more than there are at present. Churches must remain committed to forming disciples who are committed to the sanctity of human life. The goal of the pro-life movement is to advocate to make abortion illegal and educate to make abortion unthinkable. 

 — Nathan Finn 


There will be two tiers to the pro-life movement in the post-Roe United States. On one level, we know that overturning Roe doesn’t eliminate abortion but simply puts the decision back into the hands of state governments. Therefore, we must continue to educate and advocate for an end to abortion in states where it remains legal. 

Secondly, we must continue our work of creating a culture of life in every state. This means serving mothers and their children who face unplanned pregnancies. It also means advocating for public policies that make parenting easier: access to better education, better jobs, good healthcare, and paid family leave. Some of our most conservative states- where it was easy to pass legislation to outlaw abortion- may be among the hardest to convince to pass pro-family policies with a price tag. So I expect some spirited discussions of what it means to govern in a way that promotes human flourishing at this moment in our history. How do we apply biblical principles to public policy in this area? The answers likely won’t be easy, but these are necessary conversations. 

Dana Hall McCain 


I many practical ways nothing changes. There’s the hard slog in the churches to help Christians understand what the Bible teaches about the life issues from abortion to euthanasia and in between. There’s the hard slog state-by-state to support lawmakers who are shaping appropriate protections for the unborn. And there is the hard slog in our communities to provide alternatives to abortion, support women with unplanned pregnancies, provide job training and child support for women who decide to keep their babies, and to make adoption easier for everyone involved.  

 — C. Ben Mitchell 


How would you say this decision ranks historically? 

Not unlike the abolition of slavery or civil rights legislation turning back Jim Crow laws, the Dobbs decision is a historic benchmark in the chronicles of our nation. 

As the Obergefell decision of 2015 upended the definition of marriage and welcomed even greater brokenness in the already compromised family structures of our nation, the Dobbs decision of 2022 has the potential of catalyzing a seismic shift in our culture that not only preserves life, but promotes the rightness, normalcy, and beauty of a mom and dad who love each other and love their children. 

Daryl Crouch 

I am 43 years old. I believe Dobbs is the most consequential Supreme Court decision of my lifetime. 

As a historian, I see an analogy between abortion and segregation. Plessy v Ferguson (1896) claimed racial segregation was constitutional, leading to two generations of Jim Crow in the South and other forms of structural racism in other parts of the country. When Brown v Board of Education (1954) rightly overturned a terrible decision, it took another generation of grassroots activism and legislative decisions to implement the implications of Brown and reverse some of the worst effects of racism. And because racism and its consequences remain with us to varying degrees, the battle against racism continues. 

In the case of abortion, Dobbs (2022) reverses two awful legal decisions: Roe v Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v Casey (1992). So now we move to the stage where grassroots activism and legislative decisions implement the implications of Dobbs. Unlike racial segregation, abortion has been returned to the states, so the pro-life movement will play out differently from the Civil Rights movement. But like racism, it abortion and its consequences will be with us for many years to come, so the battle for the sanctity of every human life will continue. 

Nathan Finn 

Undoubtedly, the Dobbs decision is a landmark one in every sense of the word. (Interestingly, Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, when I was born. So my life to this point has been marked by the “bookends” of these two massive SCOTUS decisions.) But Dobbs is only as influential as the states and Congress allow it to be. It doesn’t prevent progressive states from expanding abortion rights. It doesn’t prevent Congress from codifying a right to abortion in federal law. So while it reversed 50 tragic years of wrongly-decided law, it doesn’t deliver us to a culture of life in and of itself.  

We must view Dobbs as a much-needed tool God has seen fit to grant us. But we must continually seek wisdom to use it effectively. We must work earnestly to maximize its lifesaving potential. If we do so, I think history will view it as the most critical SCOTUS decision of the modern era. 

Dana Hall McCain 


It ranks very high among bad SCOTUS decisions overturned (fewer than 2% have been overturned). It ranks high among rulings that acknowledge and protect human dignity from conception onward. And it ranks high among decisions that educate the moral consciousness of a nation who has been under the pall of abortion on demand for nearly half a century. Pro-life people of faith should be on their knees in thanksgiving to God for his mercy and grace. 

C. Ben Mitchell