On June 27, in a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two of the four provisions in HB 2—a Texas pro-life law that passed in 2013 by bipartisan majority vote. In a win for abortion providers who sued the State of Texas, the two provisions deemed unconstitutional by the high court established health and safety requirements for abortion practices.
Dozens stood silently in prayer outside the court, as hundreds of pro-life advocates gathered to await a decision on the Texas case.
Following the ruling, Matt Lockett leads a group in prayer and communion outside the Supreme Court (Photo: Josh Shepherd)
Several leaders involved directly in crafting and defending this law, many who have participated in the Texas Loves Life prayer coalition, react to the breaking news.
Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, Texas Legislator Who Authored Pro-Life Law HB 2
Outside the Supreme Court on March 2, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stands with State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (center) and other leaders (Photo: Office of Ken Paxton / Twitter)
“This decision is bad news for women and a sad day for our nation,” said Representative Jodie Laubenberg, the Texas State legislator who authored HB 2. “Women deserve the same standard of care at abortion clinics as they would receive at a medical facility.”
“Obviously, the politics of abortion supersedes the health and safety for women,” she concluded. Her statement mirrors the disdain expressed in scathing dissenting opinions written by Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas.
Alito stated in part: “The court’s patent refusal to apply well-established law in a neutral way is indefensible and will undermine public confidence in the Court as a fair and neutral arbiter.”
Matt Lockett, Executive Director of Bound4LIFE International
Matt Lockett (L) appears on the front page of USA Today on June 28, 2016 (Image via USA Today / Newseum)
“Much prayer and God-inspired activism were behind Texas’ common sense law HB 2. Therefore, I know there will be good fruit produced from it in spite of the Supreme Court’s nonsense ruling,” says Matt Lockett, who has been praying weekly (or, at times, daily) outside the U.S. Supreme Court since 2005.
“The ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt sends a clear message to America: This Supreme Court is willing to protect abortion at any costs—even at the expense of quality health care that women deserve. What a clear majority of Americans call ‘common sense,’ the Supreme Court has bent over backward to call ‘unnecessary.’ Women lost in this case, and that is an unacceptable tragedy.”
Yet Lockett has hope for the future. “Too many miracles occurred along the way for this to be so easily dismissed. I await with eager expectation to see what will develop next in the efforts to save lives and protect women. I enthusiastically ask again today, ‘Where do I sign up?’”
Christina Marie Bennett, Pro-Life Advocate Serving in Pregnancy Care Center
Christina Marie Bennett leads a pro-life rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court (Photo via Christina Bennett)
“As a woman of color whose people group is disproportionally affected by abortion, this decision is particularly disheartening,” said Christina Marie Bennett who has served for years at a pregnancy care center in Connecticut. “In an attempt to make abortion convenient, the Supreme Court is allowing women to pay the ultimate cost by sacrificing their safety and dignity.”
Bennett, who led a pro-life rally for this case outside the Supreme Court on March 2, continues: “In today’s decision, the Supreme Court chose access to abortion services over quality care for women. The safety regulations for abortion clinics protected women from abuse at the hand of a multi-billion dollar industry that profits from their painful circumstances. The common sense regulations for abortionists—to have admitting privileges to hospitals—ensured women received continuity of care.”
“Lest we forget, Texas’ HB 2 law was a response to the Philadelphia grand jury’s report during the trial of former abortionist Kermit Gosnell. In order to prevent further mistreatment of women, the grand jury suggested responsible and reasonable regulations. Those regulations were wrongly struck down today. Women deserve better and the Supreme Court has failed them with their decision.”
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America
Outside the Supreme Court, Kristan Hawkins leads a pro-life rally on June 27, 2016 (Photo: Students for Life of America)
After leading a pro-life rally outside the Supreme Court today, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America spoke out in a brief interview: “Women lost today. The Supreme Court decided that the right to abortion is more important than keeping women safe and alive. They’ve ruled that states don’t have the rights to protect half their citizens. This is, once again, five unelected judges politicizing this human rights issue which is a travesty.”
Hawkins, whose network recently marked the launch of its 1000th local campus group, continues, “We’ve got to keep praying, because we don’t know how the Lord is working. We don’t know what His plan is. Even though today’s decision was a devastating blow—more women and children will suffer because of it—we know God ultimately has a plan and He is in control. We can do what He’s called us to do; we can be faithful to that.”
“We are changing our culture,” she says. “The majority of Americans agree with these common sense laws. We’re releasing polling data this week that shows 53 percent of millennials are in favor of making abortion illegal in all or most cases. This is huge. We’ve seen the tide turn; the problem is, we have antiquated thinkers in Washington, DC who’ve been here since the 1970’s and probably still haven’t seen an ultrasound. Laws are downstream from culture, so we still have hope.”
Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values
Jonathan Saenz with Nicole Hudgens (R) and Christiana Holcomb outside the Supreme Court (Photo: Josh Shepherd)
“Our main concern is the protection of innocent life and Texas women,” states attorney Jonathan Saenz who leads the Austin-based group Texas Values. “We will continue to stand for women to keep them safe so they are not maimed or die in abortion clinics.”
“Even though the number of abortions and abortion clinics in Texas are already declining due to women choosing life and public opinion growing in support of the value of the human child in the womb, the Supreme Court is attempting to control the ability of Texas leaders to keep women safe,” says Saenz.
He continues, “We want to specifically thank HB 2 bill authors Rep. Jodie Laubenberg and Comptroller Glenn Hegar, Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Solicitor General Scott Keller for their leadership in defending this important law. This effort to protect the life of women and children is far from over.”
Dr. Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn
Dr. Alveda King, niece of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., leads a pro-life prayer gathering (Photo: Aaron Wong)
“This decision will hurt women and kill babies. The Supreme Court and the abortion industry cannot serve the public by killing the public. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!” stated Dr. Alveda King, echoing her uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She serves as director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, affiliated with Priests for Life.
“In the end, natural law, God’s law will always trump common law. Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant,” continued Dr. King, citing Galatians 6:7. “Do not fear or be confused or deceived. Remain prayerful. Keep looking up. God will have the final word in this matter.”
Allan Parker, Attorney Working on Behalf of Women Harmed by Abortion
Allan Parker serves as President of The Justice Foundation based in San Antonio, Texas (Photo: Josh Shepherd)
President of The Justice Foundation based in San Antonio, Texas, Allan Parker has been engaged in pro-life legal advocacy for over 20 years. His public interest legal group submitted an amicus brief in the Texas case on behalf of 3,348 women injured by abortion.
“Having represented the ‘Roe’ of Roe v. Wade and the ‘Doe’ of Doe v. Bolton, in their efforts to overturn their own cases, which the Supreme Court refused to even hear, I believe today the Supreme Court committed another crime against humanity,” said Allan Parker, referencing his legal clients Norma McCorvey and the late Sandra Cano. “With the Texas decision, more women will suffer physical and psychological injuries and death from abortion.”
Parker is also a man of great faith, as evidenced by his statement which continues, “Without massive repentance, America is doomed as a nation. But God is still saying, ‘America, return to me and I will return to you.’ Time is very short. The abolitionists called the Dred Scott decision a ‘covenant with death and an agreement with the grave’ based on Isaiah 28, words that still ring true today.”
“His Word states in Isaiah 28:18: ‘Your covenant with death will be annulled, your agreement with the grave will not stand.’ We will continue to speak up for the poor and helpless, both women and children, and see that they get justice.”
Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, speaks at a pro-life summit prior to the annual march on January 22, 2016 (Photo: Aaron Wong for Bound4LIFE International)
“Being pro-life means wanting what is best for women and babies,” begins Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life, in reacting to the decision. “The Texas law was in the best interest of women’s health. Because of the decision today, beauty parlors, veterinarian clinics and public pools will be held to higher sanitary and health standards than abortion clinics.”
“As president of an organization that works for a culture where abortion is unthinkable, my hope is that no woman would choose abortion. But can’t we agree to care about safety and health standards?” Mancini asks, backed by her decade of experience defending women’s lives and health.
“For years, abortion advocates have equated greater access to abortion with improving women’s health. In doing so they have advocated for substandard health regulations. This is not pro-woman. Women and babies are the real losers of today’s decision,” she concludes.
Dr. Michael New, Associate Scholar at Charlotte Lozier Institute
Michael New, Ph.D. has lectured at Notre Dame and served as a research fellow at Harvard (Photo via Dr. Michael New)
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is both a disappointment and a setback for pro-lifers,” says Michael New, Ph.D., who teaches at Ave Maria University and authors research analysis at Charlotte Lozier Institute, a think tank committed to principles of human dignity. “After the Kermit Gosnell trial in 2013, I do not know how any serious person could think that abortion clinics need less regulation.”
“Furthermore Justice Breyer’s majority opinion is poorly argued. He claims that in the aftermath of HB 2, abortion would only be available in Texas cities. However, in many states, the only abortion clinics are located in cities. That is not unique to Texas. He also claims abortion is a safe procedure. However, reporting of abortion deaths and injuries is very weak—partly because clinics are so poorly regulated.”
“In light of this decision I would like to offer pro-lifers some encouragement,” New shares from his years of pro-life policy work. “Very often the judiciary has struck down pro-life legislation. However, in light of these decisions pro-life legislators have been able to re-draft legislation in such a way so that subsequent versions were upheld by the court. This was the case with partial-birth abortion bans, parental involvement laws, and informed consent laws. A revised version of HB 2 may well be upheld.”
“Overall, pro-lifers should hold their heads high. Every year, abortions are going down, more people identify as pro-life, and more states are enacting pro-life legislation. Today was a setback, but future victories await pro-lifers!”