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IS ROE V. WADE REALLY “SETTLED LAW”? A Quarter Million Americans Just Asked the Supreme Court to Reconsider the Case
On October 1, just days before the Supreme Court’s 2019-2020 season convened on October 7, pro-life Americans unfurled a petition in front of the Court, calling for the justices to reverse the controversial Roe v. Wade decision. The petition, a full 125 feet long and five feet wide and including almost 250,000 names, was organized by a coalition of pro-life organizations who together called their effort The Moral Outcry. They had as their goal waking up the nation and galvanizing the national conscience to end the scourge of abortion in America. The petition declared that as a people, we do not accept the compromise that leads to the unnecessary death of millions of innocent babies.
I talked this week with Allan Parker, president of The Justice Foundation, who was among major organizers of the event. “Every signature,” Parker said, “is by itself evidence, under the law of judicial precedent, that Roe v. Wade should be reviewed…. This way, anyone who is pro-life can do something to contribute to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.” In the rally at the Supreme Court, Parker thanked the hundreds of pro-life Americans who gathered in the nation’s capital. “We are honored,” he said, “that so many have joined us in calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe.”
In addition to The Justice Foundation, at least 18 other pro-life groups have joined the campaign to solicit signatures for The Moral Outcry – among them Priests For Life, National Life Chain, Human Life Alliance, Red Rose Rescue, the American Family Association, and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. Signatories who have shown their support for a reconsideration of Roe v. Wade include pro-lifers who oppose abortion, as well as women (such as those in the Silent No More campaign) who have had abortions and who regret that decision.
The petition called on the Supreme Court to redress and correct the grave injustice being perpetuated by the Court’s earlier decisions in three abortion cases: Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. As evidence that the Court has reversed decisions in the past, the petition listed the unfortunate 1857 Dred Scott decision which defended slavery, and the “separate but equal” doctrine which was cited in Plessy v. Ferguson and later applied in Brown v. Board of Education.
And why should the Supreme Court reverse Roe at this time? The Moral Outcry listed five reasons, based on constitutional law:
Continued Controversy – The cases have not been accepted by scholars, judges and the American people, and remain the most intensely controversial cases in American history and at the present time
Scientific Evidence – New scientific advances have demonstrated that life begins at the moment of conception and the child in the womb is a human being.
Harm to Women – Scientific evidence and personal testimonies document the massive harm that abortion causes to women. (See www.operationoutcry.org and www.afterabortion.org.)
Safe Haven Laws – Changes in the law, including implementation of Safe Haven Laws in all 50 states, has eliminated the burden of child care from women who do not want to care for a child. (See www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org.)
Changing Attitudes Toward Adoption – Public attitudes favoring adoption have created a culture which welcomes adoption in the United States. As evidence, many families are waiting long periods of time to adopt newborn infants.
Among cases presented for consideration by the Supreme Court in the coming year are (1) a challenge to a Louisiana law which requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and (2) a call to reinstate an Indiana law requiring women to undergo an ultrasound 18 hours before an abortion. A third case emanating from Chicago asks the Court to grant more leeway to pro-life sidewalk counselors to approach women as they enter an abortion clinic to end their pregnancy. As of this week, the Court announced that it will consider the Louisiana law, bringing abortion front and center on their agenda for the year.
The Louisiana and Indiana laws were among cases up for discussion in a private session of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, at the same time that Moral Outcry protesters gathered in front of the Court. The cases provide opportunities for the high court – including its newest member, Trump-appointed conservative Catholic Justice Brett Kavanagh – to reconsider earlier laws which called abortion a “right.” Justice Clarence Thomas, already on record as opposing abortion, believes that Roe was wrongly decided and has gone on record saying “The Constitution itself is silent on abortion.” And both conservatives and liberals have voiced their concern over whether liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who has faced several cancer surgeries and other serious health crises, will be able to complete another term on the bench. This could be the year that begins the change.
It’s not too late to affix your name to the petition. As Allan Parker explained, once the Court decides whether to hear the Louisiana or the Indiana cases, the Justice Foundation will submit its amicus curiae brief. Every signatory to the Moral Outcry petition will have his or her name printed on the amicus curiae brief which will reach the Supreme Court. To make your voice heard, visit The Moral Outcry website.