Pro-Lifers See Opportunities as Supreme Court Hands Down ‘Grievous’ Decision
After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down pro-life policies and thwarted bipartisan support for a state law, diverse pro-life voices share what it means.
“We are bitterly disappointed,” said Prudence Robertson, spokeswoman for Susan B. Anthony List. “This Louisiana law upheld the safety of women, and the court has turned their back on women in this case.”
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that mandated abortion providers maintain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The state law had been introduced by African-American pro-life leader, today State Senator Katrina Jackson (D).
In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas called the decision and its precedents “grievously wrong.” Outside the court, more than a dozen diverse pro-life advocates spoke out against the ruling.
“This decision is clearly wrong,” said Terrisa Bukovinac, founder of Pro-Life San Francisco. “History is going to show that is the case. Why is the Supreme Court getting involved at the state level to keep abortion clinics unregulated?
“Ultimately, this type of extremism helps to highlight what is actually happening and builds momentum in the pro-life movement.”
High Court Strikes Down ‘Commonsense’ Law
One 20-something young woman traveled from Lafayette, La. to speak out as a pro-life advocate. Krista Corbello serves as executive board president for Rehumanize International.
“It’s important for people to know the diversity in the movement,” said Corbello. “A lot of people say the pro-life movement is old, white men — and I’m none of those things. I’m a young Filipino woman.”
Formerly on-staff at Louisiana Right to Life, the self-described “pro-life feminist” spoke about specific policies at stake. Striking down the admitting privileges standard for abortion providers concerns doctors and women alike.
“This is a very commonsense law,” said Corbello. “Radiologists should not be performing abortions. I wouldn’t want a radiologist to pull my tooth out. It certainly isn’t quality medical care for an unqualified person to be performing medical procedures.”
Robertson put a finer point on state health issues.
“Women are being hurt and killed by the abortion industry,” she said. “They are being put in danger by the substandard of care of abortion facilities. This law was an attempt to regulate abortion facilities through health and safety standards.
“Now the court has refused to respect the right of the state of Louisiana to protect the women who live there.”
Court Ruling Plays Into Election-Year Politics
Moments after the decision released, pro-life advocates on both sides of the political aisle spoke out at a rally at the high court.
SBA List touted how this decision will “raise the profile of the issue” for voters. During coming months, the group plans to contact four million voters in nine swing states. “This could motivate them to vote for Trump, because he’s a strongly pro-life president,” said Robertson.
Other groups echoed this, including the March for Life. “This decision underscores the importance of nominating and confirming judges who refrain from legislating from the bench,” stated Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life. “[It’s] something pro-life voters will certainly remember come November.”
On the left, Bukovinac laments that her party has rejected pro-life liberals.
“Going into an election season with a Supreme Court decision that is really unpopular, is only going to help Republicans,” she said. “You don’t see any pro-choice people out here today. It hasn’t helped to rally any of their people whatsoever.”
Having protested outside Democratic debates, she notes the disconnect between party leaders and the grassroots. “The vast majority of Democrats, if they understood what this law is about, would support the pro-life position,” said Bukovinac. “We see the pro-life movement is growing stronger and more diverse. It’s certainly going to push voters into the Republican Party.”
Yet some view the Trump Administration’s response to recent race-related protests as reflecting a lack of concern for human dignity.
“Those are important issues of dignity and respect,” replied Robertson. “Without the right to life being defended in this nation, how can we fight for other human rights? Life is the most important thing, and Trump has fought to protect that.”
‘Abortion Is Violence’
Looking ahead to the presidential debates, Bukovinac is under no illusions that her pro-life liberal views will be mirrored by either party.
“Pro-life Democrats do not have a candidate right now,” she said. “It is crucial that we do demand a candidate and they make space for everyone in the Democratic Party.”
Among the pro-life women advocates, TJ Burgess of New Orleans was one of few men who stood at the court. Founder of National Men for Life and currently a college student, he responded to the ‘bro-choice’ label that has been popular on social media.
“I see ‘bro-choice’ as guys taking a back seat in the abortion argument and taking a back seat in their relationships,” said Burgess. “Unfortunately, less that 30 percent of men in the U.S. consider themselves to be pro-life. But men have a great role in this movement to defend and protect women.”
His friend Corbello sees a silver lining despite disagreeing with the court decision. “Defeat can be good for us, because it makes us want to work harder,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of youth education at the grassroots level. It’s important that people like me keep speaking out against abortion and build a culture of life.
“At the end of the day, everyone can agree that abortion is violence and we need to put it in the past.”
Watch below for response from State Senator Katrina Jackson, author of the Louisiana law struck down.
A graduate of the University of Colorado, Josh M. Shepherd covers culture, faith, and public policy issues for media outlets including The Stream and The Federalist. Find him on Twitter and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.