Clash at the Supreme Court: Life and Death and Hope for a New Generation

Scene at the Supreme Court during oral arguments in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, March 26, 2024.

By Al Perrotta Published on March 27, 2024

The streets in front of the Supreme Court were closed off Tuesday as if for a block party. From a distance one might have mistaken the commotion for a celebration, as loud music blared, chants bounced off the marble and stone, and characters in brightly colored shirts and costumes straight out of a Halloween store worked their way up the sidewalk.

But this was no party. This was life and death. Pro-life. Pro-abortion. Neither side willing to give an inch, but both sides vying to be heard as the U.S. Supreme Court listened to oral arguments in another crucial abortion case — this one concerning the fate of mifepristone, one of the two drugs most commonly used to induce chemical abortions in the U.S..

Specifically, the Court was asked to consider whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sacrificed women’s safety in 2021 when it removed crucial restrictions on the availability of mifepristone and how it is administered. Whereas women once needed a doctor to administer the drug and monitor its effects over two or more visits, now they can have the drug delivered through the mail and take it at home without medical supervision. 

The Setting

Hundreds of advocates on both sides of the issue were on hand in the District of Columbia Tuesday, along with establishment media and slew of citizen journalists, including The Stream. On the north side of the Supreme Court’s portico were rowdy, angry pro-abortion protesters; on the south side, the calmer pro-life supporters. In the middle, the two groups merged, sometimes debating, sometimes clashing, sometimes just standing side by side for the cameras. 

Here we see a pro-life demonstrator trying to get a word in with a pro-choice woman who objected to being called a woman. (She insisted she’s a “person.”)

Sometimes the two sides were screaming at each other. I was particularly intrigued by two black women: one was using a stereo system and megaphone to try to drown out pro-life speakers and screaming pro-abortion slogans at any pro-life person in her path. The other, whose sign labeled her “anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-abortion pill,” had equally strong lungs and her own mic, matching her counterpart in both passion and decibels. At regular intervals the two would find each other and scream over each other for several minutes.

Their attitude suggested this was not the first time they had met, nor would it be the last. 

The Sickening and the Heartbreaking

Many of the pro-abortion protestors were older women, that generation that came of age with “women’s lib” and the “victory” of Roe v. Wade. They reminded me of old rockers who still sing about fighting the establishment while accepting corporate sponsorships and insisting their fans obey government vaccine mandates. (You just gotta shrug.)

However, my heart broke at the sight of the many young women there who have been brainwashed into believing that abortion is not only to be allowed but celebrated. Some of them had a coldness that was stunning to behold. For instance, one woman boasted she was on her way to have an abortion less than a mile from we were standing. Another woman was dressed in blue doctor’s scrubs covered in blood. Some of the protestors looked like outcasts searching for a place to belong. Some repeated slogans like robots. (Which, was ironic, because a robot actually was circling the plaza promoting access to the abortion pill. Yes, a killer robot.)

Many were pleasant young women who just didn’t seem to understand the value of life — the value of their lives.

While I was riding the subway to go home, I saw a blonde woman no older than 20 with the sweet, round face of an angel holding a heart-shaped sign reading “Mife  + Miso.” (Signaling her affection for “mifepristone + misoprostol,” the two-drug combination that induces chemical abortions.) A heart? For drugs whose function is to stop a heartbeat? Love? 

I pray that girl and others like her who are deceived will learn the truth. She knows not what she does.

However, some people clearly do know better. No sign, not even the vulgar ones, was as infuriating to me as this one.

Knowing how many girls were at the rally, all I could think of was Jesus’s warning to those who lead children astray. What an unholy sight to take in this Holy Week. Who can profess to serve God while condoning flushing His “fearfully and wonderfully made” children down the toilet?

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I had a second moment of outrage when one of the pro-abortion speakers led supporters in singing two songs, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” and “We Shall Not Be Moved.” These are anthems from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. In fact, the latter is an African-American spiritual dating all the way back to the days of slavery. These are songs that lifted the spirits of those who were being whipped and chained, and later those lynched and blasted with firehoses for insisting they were equal to members of other races, that they were fully human. Those spirituals provided the soundtrack to a movement that stressed the divine spark and equal value of every life. Every black life. Using those songs to advocate snuffing out life, denying the humanity of the unborn child, and celebrating an organization literally founded by a woman who wanted to exterminate blacks is sacrilege. 

At the far end of the National Mall rests a memorial to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His statue  looks out toward the Jefferson Memorial and the promise of the Declaration of Independence. One can imagine King turning toward the Supreme Court yesterday, hearing “We Shall Not Be Moved,” and being stirred — until he learns it is being sung as a call to kill millions of children, a disproportionately high number of them black. He would weep. 

But we don’t want to leave the Supreme Court with weeping. We want to leave with hope.

The Survivor

A group of folks who came to D.C. from Amarillo, Texas, were cheering on the case against the FDA. They carried signs showing support for the Texas judge who first ruled that the FDA had violated the law when it removed safety restrictions from mifepristone, Judge Matthew Kaczmaryk.

One member of this contingent was a woman named Robin who served this nation 21 years in the U.S. Navy, making the rough rise from enlisted personnel to officer. A proud Christian, she told The Stream she traveled to the District to call on the FDA to “enforce the law,” and to spread the word that Amarillo is a pro-life town. Robin’s own mother tried to abort her, obviously unsuccessfully. “God has broken vessels,” she said enthusiastically, tapping her chest, “but He also fixes them!”

Robin’s decades of service to this country and full life — her very existence —  demonstrate what is gained when a woman chooses life for her unborn child — and what is lost when she chooses abortion. She is also a living, breathing testimony to the miraculous power of Jesus in one’s life. 

The New Generation

Earlier, I mentioned the deceived young women at the abortion rally who were shouting “2, 4, 6, 8, the abortion pill in every state!” “Abortion Pills Forever!,” “Abortion is Health Care” and whatever other bumper-sticker slogan they could come up with. However, for every one of them there was another young woman who had come to the Supreme Court to support life. While some stood quietly, calmly, others had no problem mixing things up. 

If I had to pick one image to capture the two sides of the abortion debate in 2024, it would have to be this shot of a young woman from Students for Life interviewing/challenging an older woman who reeked of disdain and anger. With the steadiness of a surgeon, she sliced the older woman’s arguments, while remaining unrattled in the face of insults and eyerolls. 

Let us agree in prayer that this new generation of pro-life activists represents the future, not the tired old lies and faded, embittered concepts of feminism. 

We Didn’t Need Speeches. We Just Needed Melanie

For the two hours or so as I watched, speaker after speaker talked about the case being heard inside the building, including the lawyers who would present the arguments and several women who had been severely harmed by mifepristone — crucial voices all. However, perhaps the loudest person present didn’t have to say a word. 

Melanie Salazar didn’t shout. She didn’t preach. While she had no problem engaging with any pro-abortion protester who came her way, she mostly stood still, holding her sign high, being an obvious 31 weeks pregnant. Across her exposed, swollen belly were the words “Fully Human.”

Melanie told The Stream she has been to plenty of pro-life demonstrations. In fact, she was present at the Court the day Roe was overturned; this is the second time she’s been at the Supreme Court while pregnant. “But this is the first time showing,” she added with a mischievous smile. 

I asked her how the other side was reacting to her.   

“Pro-abortionists don’t like that I am proudly pregnant and humanizing my baby,” she said. “When I am humanizing myself, I am humanizing my child, and it breaks the binary, the dichotomy that you can’t be pro-life and pregnant and fight for your child. It’s probably a break in the matrix for them.” 

The High Court is expected to release a ruling on the case later this year; early indications were that it might not go the pro-lifers’ way, given key questions the justices asked about standing. But the real battle isn’t inside the Supreme Court building; it’s in the streets and towns and coffee shops and college dorms where these conversations are being had and minds are being made up.

May women increasingly choose to take Melanie’s “red pill” of seeing the unborn as fully human unborn rather than the “abortion pill.” 


Al Perrotta is managing editor of The Stream, coauthor with John Zmirak of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and coauthor of the counterterrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism.

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