The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

It’s Wednesday, May 11, 2022.

I’m Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

Part I

‘Safe, Legal, and Don’t Tell Your Parents’: Senate Democrats Set Vote Today on Bill That Would Codify Roe v. Wade as the Law of the Land

The biggest news today is the vote that is likely to take place on the floor of the United States Senate, a vote about whether or not to advance a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade. There is a huge story behind this, and the story has to do with the fact that the Democratic leadership in the United States Senate, and of course the majority leader is Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, that Democratic leadership believes that it is to the party’s political advantage to seek to put every single United States senator on the line on a bill that would basically make Roe v. Wade the law of the land. Indeed, when I say basically, it would materially by legislation replace Roe v. Wade as a Supreme Court decision with an act of Congress that will be tantamount to the very same thing.

Now, one of the things we need to look at is the politics of this situation, because that’s deeply tied to worldview. The politics of the situation is that when you’re looking at a controversial development like this, both political parties are doing what political parties do. They are seeking to understand what is to their partisan advantage. That’s not just a Democratic temptation, it’s not just a Republican temptation. As a matter of fact, it is just a matter of political survival. Political parties only survive by eventually being on the right side of the argument with at least enough people to win some elections somewhere. And as you’re looking at the Democratic Party, what we need to recognize is that that party has now put all the eggs in the basket when it comes to abortion. It is absolutely all in.

And as we’re going to be seeing today, we have one concrete piece of evidence that just about every egg that could be in the basket is in the basket. So, let’s look at the bill. The bill itself is not going to be voted on in the Senate today. That’s a procedural matter. It’s going to be reported in the news as if the Senate voted on the bill. They’re not. They’re actually voting on a vote that would have to come before the bill itself would be on the floor of the Senate. And this is where the word filibuster comes in. Before the Senate takes up legislation, it has to agree in advance by a vote to take up that legislation. That turns out to be really, really crucial. That’s one of the reasons why Democrats in particular hate the filibuster so much.

Now, they will like it once again when they find themselves in the minority in the Senate, but right now, they are in the majority, although with a 50-50 senate. And as they are in the majority right now, they want to exploit it. But on the other hand, there’s an additional political calculation that is going into the equation, what will take place in the United States Senate today or at least is anticipated, scheduled for today, promised by the Senate majority leader, a vote. This is going to be a vote that is going to be relatively safe for every United States senator. Because as you’re looking at this vote, it’s a vote about whether or not to vote. And so, you will have at least some who will say they had voted in order to bring the consideration to the floor. They weren’t actually signaling how they would vote on the legislation itself. Now, that’s the argument I’m encouraging you today. Don’t buy that argument.

Because once the issue hits the floor, all it needs is a majority of senators. And that means that if you are voting to advance this legislation, you are actually, in effect, voting for this legislation. If the legislation hits the floor of the Senate with the current Senate, it will pass, it will pass narrowly, but it will pass. We have to avoid it passing. That means we have to avoid it actually being considered. And that is why the filibuster turns out to be so important. But the other thing we need to recognize about this bill is that it is incredibly radical. One of the interesting things we need to watch right now is that in the national discussion and debate, after the leak of the draft opinion from the Supreme Court just days ago, a part of what’s going on in politics is that the pro-abortion side is making the argument that reversing Roe v. Wade is a radical argument.

Now, in one sense it is, let’s just say that the reversal of nearly a half century of precedent, that’s a big thing. But it’s a very important act that must be undertaken by this Court because it is an atrocious precedent that must be struck down, must be reversed. But what we need to note is that it is Roe itself that was so radical. Not just radical in declaring in all 50 states a woman supposed right to an abortion, not just the matter of terminating the unborn human life in the womb, but the fact that Roe put together an argument and a structure that eventually, when it was joined by the Doe decision, that is Roe and Doe, two different decisions, everyone talks about Roe, fewer talk about Doe.

And by the way, those are pseudonyms, those are names that were dropped in as in John Doe, an anonymous plaintiff. But in this case, of course, it wasn’t John, it was a woman. And yet, when you put the Roe and Doe decisions together from 1973, the big issue is that the radicalism was hidden in the language. The radicalism comes down to this. Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion, invented the idea of the meaningfulness of trimesters in pregnancy. It’s easy when you think about the math. Human pregnancy averaging nine months, you can divide that by three, you have three trimesters of three months. And as Blackmun was seeking to legislate from the bench, in this case a right to abortion, he made a distinction between the rights of the unborn child in the first trimester, the second trimester, and the third trimester.

In the first trimester, he argued that the woman has a basically unrestricted right to an abortion for any reason or for no reason at all. In the second trimester, it was suggested that the state has an increasing interest in the unborn life and that some restrictions can be put in place. It really didn’t define those some restrictions. In the third trimester, and of course at that point, even in the 1970s, it was known that a baby in third trimester of development even looks like a baby, is undeniably a baby, the argument was that the state would have the right to step in on behalf of the unborn and declare abortion to be unavailable in that state in the third trimester. That was Roe, that was 1973. But all that changed with Doe when it was ruled that in that third trimester, the state could not intervene in an abortion if the life or health of the mother was at stake.

Now, as you think about life or health, you understand, well, you think we know what we’re talking about when we say life, that means if the woman is at the point of making a decision about life or death. And when it comes to health, the obvious first thing that comes to mind is that this would be a situation in which it would be claimed that the abortion would be necessary in order to protect the actual physical vitality and sustenance of the woman. But that’s not what the courts actually said. That is not how those words turned out to be meaningful in the abortion debate. It turned out that when the courts decided that life and health also included emotional and psychological health, it basically meant abortion on demand all the way up until the moment to birth.

You’re often told that Roe doesn’t offer abortion on demand until birth. But the reality is, with the exception of a woman’s life and health and the health being broadened to include emotional health, just about any woman seeking even a late-term abortion could find some doctor who would offer her some kind of argument for a danger to emotional health that would justify illegal abortion. As a matter of fact, the only reason that third trimester abortion is not more widely available in the United States is that even most abortion doctors don’t want to have anything to do with aborting a baby in the third trimester. Again, that’s just a Christian common grace general revelation argument. It becomes increasingly difficult even for the most ardent of abortionists to undertake abortions when they have to come face to face with the fact that this is and was and always was a baby.

The Wall Street Journal rightly points to the fact that when Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, a Democratic president, he was a pro-abortion president, he nonetheless ran on a platform when it came to abortion in which he famously said that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. Now, the Democratic Party meant the safe in some sense they argue that a woman should be able to get a safe abortion. And when it comes to legal, I mean, that’s the most important issue, as the pro-abortion movement argues that abortion must be legal, it’s supposedly a constitutional right by their argument. But as for rare, the fact is that the Democratic Party did not mean that in 1992 and resisted every meaningful action that would make abortion rare. And by now, it would be an embarrassment to the party that we would even bring up that that kind of language had ever been used.

The key insight of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board on this issue is that it cites Bill Clinton’s artful framing, safe, legal, and rare, and says that the new Democratic policy is safe, legal, and don’t tell your parents. In other words, in an editorial that is entitled, “Schumer’s Radical Abortion Bill,” the editors of The Wall Street Journal… And I mentioned this particular editorial because it’s just incredibly important to make clear that there is a major newspaper in the United States, a major newspaper with wide influence and with a very big circulation that actually will stand up against the regime of abortion Planned Parenthood and Roe v. Wade. That editorial board is The Wall Street Journal. That deserves mention.

It’s a shame to recognize that there are two Republican senators who are pro-abortion senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, but it’s important to recognize that even they have said that they cannot support the current Democratic bill that would codify Roe that will come before the consideration of the United States Senate. Lisa Murkowski, speaking of the bill she will not support today said, “I have long supported a woman’s right to choose, but my position is not without limits. And this partisan Women’s Health Protection Act simply goes too far.” It’s also important to recognize that even Susan Collins in this case is not going to vote for this particular bill or the motion to move it forward to the floor of the Senate because the bill explicitly exempts itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

And at least to her credit in this regard, Senator Collins recognizes that that will be a direct attack upon religious institutions and religious groups when it comes to the abortion issue. Senator Collins has recognized that this particular bill being brought forward by the Democrats would undermine “basic conscience protections for religious healthcare providers”. But that clever phrasing by the editors of The Wall Street Journal deserves a closer look at the end of the comment. Again, it echoed Bill Clinton’s statement that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, that’s what the Democrats have abandoned, and the new Democratic policy, safe, legal, and don’t tell your parents. Why that last part? It is because the bill that Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are going to bring to the Senate today that they say would just codify Roe v. Wade would also undercut any parental involvement including parental notification laws.

Instead, the Democrats are actually arguing, though they don’t want to say this much out loud to the American people, that they know that when parents get involved, it just might put a damper on the entire abortion industry. By the end of today’s session of the United States Senate, we are likely to know a very great deal, and we’re going to be looking closely at what we learn over the course of the next several hours. These are going to be crucial hours in the fight for the sanctity and dignity of human life in the United States, very revealing hours. But already, some have revealed their hand. One of them was Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, again a Democrat, and he was elected as a moderate Democrat. He was elected as someone who supposedly wasn’t a zealot on these issues, but he says he will support this legislation even with the effort to subvert parental notification laws.

And in a statement that was reported in National Review, he said this, “Ultimately, I feel that young women at a certain age should have the rights to make these kinds of decisions with their doctor.” He says, “I’m not going to be the arbiter of an age and a timeline.” That is a form of intellectual cowardice that is so quintessential, we dare not miss it. Here you have someone who says, “I believe this right kicks in for a young woman at a certain age, but don’t ask me what that age is, I’m only a United States senator who says he’s going to vote for this legislation.” That is a cop out that is so spectacular, we dare not miss it.

Part II

The Apple that Fell Far from the Pro-Life Tree: Senator Bob Casey Jr. Promises to Support Senate Abortion in Major Moral Shift from Political Life and Legacy of His Late Father — Gov. Robert Casey as in “Casey Decision”

But meanwhile, as we’re looking at this extremely urgent story, it’s also important to recognize that sometimes, an echo of history shows up in a very telling way.

A story that ran yesterday in The Washington Post tells us, “In shift, Senator Bob Casey to vote yes on Democrats’ abortion legislation.” Senator Bob Casey. Senator Casey is a Democratic senator from the State of Pennsylvania. He has been to some degree, even as he equivocates, he has been to some degree less enthusiastic about abortion rights than most other Democratic elected officials at the national level. And there’s an important history there. Because his father, the late Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, was a stalwart opponent of abortion, he was a stalwart defender of unborn human life as a Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, which was at that point a rather pro-life state. But things change. The Democratic Party has changed, Pennsylvania has changed.

But in the case of Senator Bob Casey, he’s changed in a way that even caught the attention of The Washington Post. And as the story came out yesterday, Amy B. Wang and Seung Min Kim reported, “Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. said Tuesday that he would support legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade into law, a dramatic shift for one of the few remaining Democrats in Congress with relatively conservative views on abortion rights.” So again, Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. said yesterday that he would vote for this radical bill that would not only codify Roe V Wade, but would actually as we have noted, take the logic of Roe v. Wade, the pro-abortion logic further. And this is someone who had been known as one of the very few remaining Democrats in Congress who was pro-life to any extent. Well, that’s all disappeared.

But as soon as I saw the headline, I knew we had to talk about it today for this simple reason. Again, the senator’s name, Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. If there’s a junior and I am one, it invokes a senior. In this case, the senator’s father, the late Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr. Now, what’s the difference between senior and junior? Well, Senior was so pro-life and the Democratic Party was moving in such a pro-abortion direction that in 1992, the sitting governor of Pennsylvania, a Democratic governor, was forbidden to speak to the delegates of the Democratic National Convention precisely because he was pro-life. Just factor that into your thinking about the timeline. As far back as 1992, do the math, 30 years ago, the Democratic Party would not allow a pro-life sitting Democratic governor to speak to the Democratic National Convention. That is massive.

But this is not a story primarily about Governor Robert P. Casey, this is a story about Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. But what’s remaining to be told? Well, just remember, the controversy over the draft opinion that we now know was drafted by Justice Samuel Alito, it was calling for, and we hope the Court eventually follows through, in reversing Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood versus who, versus Casey. That is versus governor Robert P. Casey, the then governor of Pennsylvania. So, when we talk about the Roe decision and the Casey decision, we’re not just talking about a common last name, in this case, we are talking about father and son. The old adage is that the acorn does not fall far from the oak. But in this case, that aphorism turns out to be untrue.

In this case, the son, Robert P. Casey, Jr. is basically in every way, morally and politically reversing the position of his father. He is actually committing something like treason against the Casey of the Casey decision. Well, there has to be some explanation for this and at least part of that explanation, even as the national media and media in Pennsylvania recognize as political expediency, Pennsylvania is to a far lesser degree pro-life, to a far greater degree pro-abortion than back when Robert P. Casey, Sr. was the governor of that state. Now, you have Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. who is facing threats from within the state, from his own party if he were to hold to a pro-life position. And so, there it goes, or you might say, there it went.

In the process say of the last 24 hours or so, we’ve learned a lot about Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. But we’re going to be learning a lot about a lot of senators today and we’re going to have to watch this very closely. No doubt we’re going to get a very clear indication of at least where those senators stand by the end of today’s session of the United States Senate.

Part III

The Crown on the Throne but No Queen?: Prince Charles Delivers Queen's Speech as Authority of Monarchy in Parliament Stands, Even in Her Absence

But finally, as we speak about history being made, history was made in the House of Commons of the British Parliament yesterday as Parliament in both houses, the House of Commons and the House of Lords, met for the annual queen’s speech. That is the official opening of Parliament. But the queen didn’t give the speech yesterday there in Parliament on that official state occasion, an occasion of rare ceremony. She didn’t give the speech and it was blamed on a lack of mobility given her age.

But the interesting thing is, of course, that the Prince of Wales, her heir, gave the speech, Prince Charles delivered the queen’s speech before Parliament. Now, there’s a lot of politics involved here. The speech is actually written by the Parliamentary majority party, is not written by the monarch, is delivered by the monarch. The big issue here is the ceremony that is involved and the historical political tradition that is represented there. Then in this case, the important thing to recognize is that Prince Charles was not there to give Prince Charles’s speech, not the Prince of Wales’s speech, it was the Queen’s speech, and the queen wasn’t there. But guess what was there, her crown sitting on a throne. It wasn’t just any of the crowns Queen Elizabeth II might wear, it was the Imperial State Crown, and that crown represented the monarchy.

The monarchy was there even as the queen was not, represented by the crown. And you ask, “Why is that so important?” Well, most people wouldn’t even think about this, but as you look at the pictures of Prince Charles delivering the queen’s speech with the throne next to him and the crown on the throne, you need to recognize that something represented there was actually a prelude to what would become the constitutional republic of the United States of America. The British monarch, as represented in the state opening of Parliament, is not an autocrat, is not a dictator, is not a totalitarian, is not an absolute monarch. The actual constitutional order of the British monarchy is the crown-in-parliament. It’s often referred to as the king-in-parliament, or in the case of Queen Elizabeth II, the queen-in-parliament.

But the issue is the constitutional principle of the queen-in-parliament. In other words, this is a recognition of the fact that even as the monarchy is separate from the Parliament, the Parliament and the monarchy are inseparable. And the monarch does not reign and does not rule independent of the legitimacy of the British government. The British government also draws its legitimacy from the venerable nature and tradition, the majesty of the crown. But for so many years, as I’ve been aware of British constitutional history and have considered that history a pre-history to American constitutional history, and as often as we have heard the principle of the crown-in-parliament, it was never so clear as was visible yesterday with the crown of Queen Elizabeth II, the Imperial State Crown, without the queen sitting on the throne.

A lot of symbolism there. And most Americans wouldn’t recognize that’s at least a symbolism that in logic, eventually pointed to no throne and no crown. So, the images from the queen’s speech given by the prince in parliament yesterday, they’re pictures that point back to something like a thousand years of tradition. And whether Americans recognize it or not, we’re a part in our own way of the continuation of that tradition.

But finally, honestly, I did not know this was going to come right after that previous story about Parliament, but to know me is to know my love for what Winston Churchill called the History of the English-Speaking Peoples. I proudly stand in the theology and doctrine or the English Reformation and I enjoy connecting the events of history to the great issues of our own day.

And I want to invite you to go with me on a very special tour of the United Kingdom. It’s going to be September the 23rd through October the 5th of 2023. If you’re able to go, together we will see with our own eyes places that ring through history, ranging from Westminster Abbey in London to Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, York, St. Andrews, a succession of places that in space and time where the stages on which history has happened, doctrines were understood and debated, the Bible was translated into English and the Christian faith was shaped.

We’ll have a good deal of fun along the way. I’m excited about it. And for more information about this opportunity, just go to That’s

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

For more information, go to my website at You can follow me on Twitter by going to For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to

I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me using the contact form. Follow regular updates on Twitter at @albertmohler.

Subscribe via email for daily Briefings and more (unsubscribe at any time).