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The entire case of Jackson Women’s Health in the U.S. Supreme Court hinged on the argument that women need abortion to achieve their dreams, to have the careers they want, to get whatever it was they wanted to get out of life. The attorney arguing for the abortion clinic repeatedly made this point during questioning in her attempt to sway the Justices to believe women need to deny their fertility in order to succeed. Today, the Court outright rejected that premise and what a day to be alive to see that happen, to see the legal, ethical, and morally abject case of Roe v. Wade be upended.
This is a decision that pro-lifers have long awaited, and I am so humbled to have been a part of that fight for the last 13 years since walking away from Planned Parenthood. During oral arguments last December, I was profoundly aware that not that long ago I was on the other side of the fence where I stood in front of the Supreme Court. I was the one yelling at pro-lifers, screaming all kinds of mean and horrible things at them. I was the one holding pro-abortion signs. I was the one convincing women who came into Planned Parenthood that they weren’t strong enough to have their baby, that they needed abortion to succeed.
It brought me to tears that day, so much so that I went off script when it came time for me to speak in front of Court at the pro-life rally. I publicly apologized for telling women they needed abortion, for lying to them in a kind of false empowerment. Sometimes the weight of my time as director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas is very, very heavy.
But today is a victory, one that the entirety of the pro-life movement has been working toward for nearly five decades. The thing is — our work isn’t over. In many ways, it is just beginning. There are still going to be women who want abortions. There are still going to be women who will be hurt by abortions just like they are now in legal abortion clinics. There are still going to be abortion workers who are desperate to get out and find work that doesn’t involve the brutal and cruel work of putting back together baby parts in the clinic lab.
So much of the news in recent months has focused on polling that indicates the majority of Americans want Roe to stand. Yet, the majority of Americans have not worked in abortion clinics and have not seen firsthand the utter destruction that the physical act of abortion causes on the unborn baby and the mother, but the immediate aftermath of the decision on the woman.
The recovery room in abortion clinics is quite possibly the saddest place on Earth. Many of the former abortion workers who have left their jobs have done so because of what they saw in the recovery room: women crying, some women bleeding horribly, other women just staring blankly ahead, completely lost. Women don’t deserve that, yet that is exactly what Jackson Women’s Health argued is what empowers them the most.
So, what’s next? A lot of work. Now the decision of abortion goes back to the states, where more than half will have already banned abortion due to previous trigger, or similar, laws. The media has been saturated with stories of abortion funds, women traveling hundreds of miles for abortion, how underground networks are gearing up to make sure women have access to abortion no matter what. That’s only one side of the story though.
Pregnancy centers, which outnumber abortion clinics and have been targeted for violence by abortion advocates, stand ready to help women in need. My own ministry, Loveline, has seen an enormous number of calls to the hotline and has helped hundreds of women and children with tangible needs like rent, childcare costs, car payments, clothes, and food. We’ve had to add to our staff quickly and have dispersed more than $236,000 in baby registries, diapers, clothing, and hygiene items since January of this year. There are other options for women besides abortion and there are so many people who are willing to help in this way.
The fight over abortion is far from over. There is nothing greater to fight for than the lives of the innocent and the lives that abortion takes and harms in the process. It is the very definition of evil, which I believe is why the tension is so high. The battle between good and evil is playing out before us. I was on the wrong side of that battle for many years. Now I fight for the good.