Given that America is a predominantly Protestant nation, how did abortion end up outlawed in all fifty states in the first place? For much of American history there were negative attitudes toward Catholicism in many sections of the country. That was true as late as 1960 when there was fear among Democrats that JFK's Catholicism would hurt his chances in the presidential race. If opposition to abortion was merely a Catholic thing which Baptists, Lutherans, and others didn't share, then how did abortion end up outlawed in Alabama, Kansas, Idaho, and other areas where Catholics are a distinct minority?
Why, when the moral relativism of the 1960s spawned a pro-abortion movement, was it not stronger in the less Catholic parts of the country? It would seem it would have had a head start there, since there was no religious basis for opposition to abortion in the first place. But there doesn't seem to be any evidence that that's the case. New York legalized abortion, and it's heavily Catholic. True, they tried to unlegalize it in 1972. But the point is that a bill to legalize abortion would have been crushed by a landslide in the Georgia legislature in 1970. Yet Georgia has few Catholics. So where did the strong opposition to abortion there come from if Protestants didn't care about the issue?
From what I can see, both Catholics and Protestant Evangelicals opposed abortion all along. It was secularists and CINOs (Christians in Name Only) from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds who pushed legal abortion. I guess we could add in liberal Jews, but most of them are secularists, and aren't religious like pro-life Jewish leader Yehuda Levin.
It was actually outlawed more in the late 19th century, as I understand it, when anatomical knowledge became more commonplace. When fetuses (which is Latin for baby) were seen to be REALLY tiny babies, and the picture plates in textbooks demonstrated that, minds were changed.
I came across that a number of years ago while working in the archives and rare books section of a major medical library. DaVinci may have been the first to illustrate life in the womb, but it was the work of artists much later that changed a lot of hearts and minds.
“I was just wondering where the idea that Protestants were indifferent to the issue until sometime after Roe vs. Wade came from.”
Many Protestants this very day are actually in favor of legal abortion on demand. Remember the location where Tiller the Killer was exterminated.
It's also true that many Protestants are deeply pro-life.
But when folks talk about the delayed Protestant response, I think they're talking about abortion in the modern era. Certainly, going back a century or more, all Christians were very much united on the issues of life, on abortion, and on contraception.
For us Catholics, we view the first breach in the dam as being when the Anglicans accepted artificial contraception in 1930. To us, it then seems a logical progression through the ensuing decades of increasing acceptance on the part of many Protestant communities of the incipient culture of death.
And those Protestant communities that were most politically engaged were usually also those that ultimately took a pro-abortion stand.
It is primarily evangelical (or fundamentalist or “conservative” - to me these groups all roughly belong together even though amongst yourselves, a “fundamentalist” may bristle at being called an “evangelical,” or vice versa - to me, it's easiest to call you all evangelicals) Protestant Christians who have joined us Catholics on the front lines for life. Even pro-life Protestants from mainline Protestant communities that are pretty much pro-abortion often think of themselves as evangelicals within their larger communities.
And although there may have been evangelical Christians who were pro-life going back to the abortion wars that began in earnest in the mid- to late-1960s, this was still a time when most evangelical communities viewed political involvement with some suspicion or concern.
It isn't that evangelicals weren't individually or corporately pro-life. It's that it wasn't until well into the 1970s that many understood that to press their pro-life beliefs, it might be necessary to become deeply involved in politics and public life.
Nonetheless, it is true that the Southern Baptist Convention, from 1971 to 1977 that started out as being rather faintly pro-life but by 1977 could easily be read as "personally we're against it but,..." "Be it further RESOLVED, that we also affirm our conviction about the limited role of government in dealing with matters relating to abortion, and support the right of expectant mothers to the full range of medical services and personal counseling for the preservation of life and health." [from the 1976 and 1979 resolutions of the convention concerning abortion]
But before the 1970s were out, there was clearly a broad and growing movement throughout these Protestant communities to join in the battle for life, to become politically active in the fight.
Nonetheless, it is not unfair to say that this broad-based corporate evangelical response came after the Catholic Church's own response to the modern war over abortion.
I used to work with a Protestant pro-life group, and learned this from the folks who ran the group. What they told me was that the Catholic bishops had actually privately assisted them in setting up their pro-life group, because, well, they were a little late to the game, and needed a little help.
Interestingly, if the black-robed tyrants hadn't ruled as they did on Roe, but had left it to the states, the abortion "rights" movement had already pretty much peaked politically by 1973, and the abortion "rightists" were on the run almost everywhere that abortion had previously been made legal.
It is likely that had Roe not been thusly decided, the mentality of the culture of death and of abortion on demand would have lost its toe-hold in America, and abortion would be legal in few places, likely under much more restrictive circumstances.
This is why the pig liberals took the issue to the judiciary, because they knew they were losing democratically.
The seven tyrants who voted for Roe probably burn in a much nastier place in Hell than even Tiller the Killer likely burns.