Right-wing figures warn of looming 'civil war' over abortion laws

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver

As the abortion rights debate continues, some prominent right-wing American Christians have shared an ominous warning: that conflict over abortion access may lead to a new civil war.

With restrictive abortion bills passing around the US - like the Alabama abortion ban and foetal heartbeat bills, which restrict elective abortion at the about six weeks into pregnancy - America seems divided on a woman's right to choose.

Both lawmakers and influential Christians sources have reinforced this narrative. Charisma magazine, a spiritual Christian magazine, ran six or so articles on the potential of an imminent, abortion related civil war in America.

These articles include a profile of pastor and author Michael L Brown, who blames what he describes as a “coming civil war” on “militant abortionists”.

In this profile, Mr Brown told the Christian magazine: “A civil war is coming to America, only this time, it will be abortion, rather than slavery, that divides the nation”.

Candice Keller, a Republican lawmaker from Ohio, made comparisons to the Antebellum era, where the North and South were at odds over the right to own slaves. Ms Keller said, in a comment to the Guardian: “Whether this ever leads to a tragedy, like it did before with our civil war, I can’t say.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by Matt Shea, a Republican legislator from Washington known for his initiative to criminalize abortion.

Mr Shea said, when asked if the two sides could unite for their country, “I don’t think we can, again, because you have half that want to follow the Lord and righteousness and half that don’t, and I don’t know how that can stand.”

At this current point, is abortion based civil war likely in America? Perhaps not.

Robert Evans, journalist and host of It Could Happen Here, a podcast which explores potential scenarios for a new American civil war.

Mr Evans said that the Christian right “generate a lot of the extremist language in mainstream politics”. However, “there’s more talk about violent insurrection from the white nationalist right than the Christian right, because there’s less faith in politics”.

As for faith in politics, the Christian right is relying on potential legal challenges coming from the abortion restriction bills, as the end goal is to have the Supreme Court overturn Roe V Wade.