With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Christian Dominionism, History, and the War on Abortion in Mississippi

“We have a plan to make Roe irrelevant or completely reverse it,” Kevin Theriot, the vice president of the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Center for Life, told a crowd of anti-abortion activists at the Evangelicals for Life Conference in Washington, D.C. The event, which Right Wing Watch first reported, took place on Jan. 20, 2018—two days before the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which ended state bans on abortion nationwide.

ADF is a Christian legal organization with ties to Christian dominionists that works through state legislatures and federal courts to enshrine the views of the Christian right into law and government policy. The plan Theriot previewed included a draft piece of legislation his organization crafted that state legislatures could use to ban abortion at 15-weeks gestation. 

Within weeks of his remarks, the Mississippi Legislature passed the ADF’s proposed bill, and the governor at the time, Phil Bryant, signed it into law, sparking a federal court battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court this month.

“The decision is ripe for overturning. We think we have justices in place that will understand things have changed since Roe was decided,” Theriot told EWTN’s “Pro-Life Weekly” program in November 2020, mere weeks after U.S. Senate Republicans confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett to join the nation’s high court. The ADF vice president said the Mississippi law his organization’s attorneys drafted could serve as the vehicle to strike down Roe.

On Dec. 1, 2021, Barrett was one of nine justices who heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in which Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s office implored the court to overturn down Roe v. Wade and uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, also known as the Mississippi Gestational Age Act. Barrett, like most on the majority GOP-appointed court, appeared ready to oblige the state’s request.

‘A Christian Worldview In Every Area of Law’

Alliance Defending Freedom’s founders included Mississippian Don Wildmon, who also founded the Tupelo-based American Family Association. Wildmon and the others in the group of nearly three dozen conservative Christians who launched the organization in 1993 as the Alliance Defense Fund envisioned it as a counter to the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed overt efforts to mix religion and government and was known for its support of abortion rights and the rights of sexual minorities.

Read entire article at Mississippi Free Press