Disappointed but not despondent
Abortion | After today’s Supreme Court ruling, pro-lifers look with hope to the future
by Ciera Horton
Posted 6/27/16, 03:34 pm
WASHINGTON—Outside the Supreme Court on Monday morning, Pam Messina stood holding a poignant poster: “I regret my abortion.”
Messina had an abortion 30 years ago in a center that later closed due to health violations. On Monday, she stood among throngs of pro-life protesters awaiting the court’s historic ruling.
“Abortion does not help women, it hurts women,” Messina said. “Emotionally, spiritually, and many times physically. We all know many people who can’t have children after they’ve had an abortion.”
In arguably the most significant abortion case since 1993, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Texas lawmakers enacted unnecessary health regulations on abortion facilities by requiring them to meet ambulatory surgical center standards. The law also required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
Pro-life advocates argued the case had more to do with safe healthcare than fighting abortion.
“This is a common-sense law that was passed in Texas … an abortion facility that’s actually been cited for multiple safety violations is the one who brought it here to the Supreme Court,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life. “Do they think low income women are entitled to dirty healthcare that puts their lives at risk?”
Despite the court’s ruling, pro-life advocates are hopeful for change.
“Today’s ruling is a minor setback for the pro-life movement,” said activist Katherine Beck. “Obviously we would love to see Roe v. Wade overturned, we would love to see abortion unthinkable above all. But this was really about women’s health and women’s safety.”
As they waited for the ruling’s announcement, pro-life and pro-abortion advocates faced off with banners and music. Women held signs saying, “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and “Dear Scotus, I had an abortion.” Pro-life advocates wore strips of red tape on their mouths with the word, “Life.” A single banner saying, “We are abortion abolitionists” divided the courtyard between the pro-abortion and pro-life groups.
Abortion activists, dressed in purple, danced to hip-hop and cheered for their speakers. Sara Imershein, a well-known abortionist, led chants of “Abortion is medical, not political,” to roaring approval.
“I performed my first abortion in 1980,” Imershein told me. ”I think [the court] will recognize freedom includes the ability to make our own decisions, that these laws are a sham.”
One pro-abortion speaker asked women in the crowd to raise their hand if they’d had an abortion. Cheers erupted as hands flew into the air. Pro-abortion speakers also argued the Texas law disproportionately impacted low-income, minority women. They urged the crowd to support what they deemed “reproductive justice.”
When the Supreme Court announced the verdict overturning the state health regulations, the pro-abortion crowd turned on “We are the Champions” and started shouting, “Women won today.”
Though outnumbered, the pro-life activists held their ground. Protesters with Students for Life hoisted their signs, and shouted through megaphones, “Abortion hurts women!” Many knelt in prayer on the Supreme Court steps. One man had friends keeping his arms held high.
Although disappointed by today’s ruling, pro-lifers insist they have plenty of reason for hope.
In the crowd, a little girl named Nora smiled over her sign: “I am the pro-life generation.”
Ciera Horton is a WORLD intern.