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In 1820, the Mason–Dixon line was named the boundary between the free states that prohibited the practice of slavery, and the slave states that permitted it. The split between North and South couldn’t have been starker. In slave states, Black human beings were treated as property based on nothing more than the color of their skin. They were abused, traded, sold, and killed at the whim of white Americans. In the North, the opposing conviction was that our common humanity precludes the practice of slavery. Ultimately, this conflict culminated in the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the abolition of slavery.

Slavery abolitionists held that our legal system cannot morally sanction acts that withhold human rights from our fellow men. The abolition of slavery was a major human rights victory and a testament to the resilience of the American philosophy that championed due process and the human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

But in 1973, more than a century after the emancipation of slaves, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling that legalized abortion on demand for any reason, throughout all nine months of pregnancy, in every state in America. And for the last 46 years, the human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have been unjustly stolen from an entire people group – preborn children – based on the notion that a woman’s so-called “right to privacy” includes the right to kill her innocent child.

The ruling has resulted in the slaughter of over 60 million babies. And the pro-life movement has been fighting to restore rights to preborn children ever since that fateful day in 1973.

The fight has not been in vain. Since abortion rates peaked in the early 1990s at 1.6 million abortions per year, they’ve slowly declined year after year. Pro-lifers have used technology to educate, testimonies to advocate, and reason to persuade their fellow Americans that abortion is a human rights violation that has no place in our American story. And little by little, we’ve made headway.

At this moment in history, however, we may be seeing the formation of a new Mason–Dixon line.

This year, a record number of states defied the unjust judicial overreach of Roe and its companion cases, by passing the boldest abortion bans the U.S. has seen since 1973. Ohio and Georgia passed heartbeat bills, which ban abortion when the prenatal heartbeat can be detected just a few weeks into the pregnancy. Missouri passed an 8-week abortion ban. Alabama passed a near-total abortion ban. Municipalities across Texas have declared themselves sanctuary cities for the preborn, where leaders won’t permit the slaughter of defenseless children.

The opposition, cheered by Planned Parenthood, passed measures in New York and Illinois to preserve abortion at a state law level, ensuring that if Roe is finally ruled unconstitutional, then its deathly status quo will remain intact in those states. Virginia considered a similar law to make abortion a sacred fixture in state law. And in the process, they revealed that their plans also allow for abortion during full-term delivery and even post-delivery infanticide.

To be clear: the opposition is reacting to the boldness of pro-life activists who are demanding human rights for the preborn louder and more confidently than ever before. Pro-lifers are in the driver’s seat, and this is a critical juncture for our movement.

It’s imperative that those in the so-called “mushy middle” on abortion pick a side. The days of remaining ambivalent toward the mass slaughter of abortion must end.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”

While we haven’t always agreed on strategy, pro-lifers have always shared a common desire to make abortion unthinkable and unavailable as quickly as possible. And we’ve always been transparent about this goal. But Christians and our culture have allowed the abortion cartel to get away with cloaking its real objective of taxpayer-funded abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy, using euphemisms like choice, safe, legal, and rare.

No more. We must demand transparency from our opponents and compel them to reveal their truly heinous agenda to the public. And then we must demand that the public take a side in order to bring the raging infection of legal abortion to a head in America, so we can, once and for all, consign abortion to the ugly annals of history, right alongside slavery where it belongs.