It's a hopeful time for the pro-life movement in the United States. A decision in the monumental Dobbs. v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case is likely to come sometime next summer. Pro-lifers across the country are holding their breaths that the erroneous precedents set in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which falsely invented a constitutional right to abortion,may finally be overturned.
The day after the Dobbs oral arguments, Family Research Council was pleased to host legislators from 39 states for our Pro-Life State Legislative Summit. FRC experts provided their take on the possible outcomes and impact of Dobbs and what state legislators can do to promote pro-life policy in the months and years ahead.
Mary Szoch, FRC's Director of the Center for Human Dignity, hosted and moderated the event. FRC President Tony Perkins opened with prayer, highlighting the significance of the moment and the important role state legislatures have taken in the pro-life movement in the United States:
"The Dobbs case would not have been before the Supreme Court had it not been for a state legislature. This is really a moment where I think we need to pause for just a second and point to how we got here. We got here because of courageous men and women who were willing to go against the cultural tide from a policy standpoint and advocate for the sanctity of human life..."
Katherine Beck Johnson, FRC's Research Fellow for Legal and Policy Studies, spoke about Mississippi's Gestational Age Act, which triggered the Dobbs case. Based on what was heard in the oral arguments, Katherine said that she believes it is "very, very unlikely" that the Court would choose to strike down Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban while leaving current precedent established by Roe and Casey unchanged. She is optimistic that the Court will ultimately overturn Roe and Casey and return the authority to legislate abortion to the states. She urged lawmakers to sponsor and support abortion bans that would apply to as early in pregnancy as politically possible.
Connor Semelsberger, FRC's Director of Federal Affairs for Life and Human Dignity, provided an overview of the ways in which FRC is poised to help state legislators advance pro-life legislation in their respective states. Connor highlighted FRC's state model legislation, including the Total Abortion Ban and the Cease Abortion Subsidies in Healthcare (CASH) Act, as well as legislation to ban or regulate dangerous abortion-inducing drugs. He spoke on the importance of legislation to defund abortions and abortion businesses, even for states that have successfully outlawed abortion, given the federal government's funding of abortion and states' participation in federal programs such as Medicaid. Connor also highlighted FRC's online pro-life maps, an interactive resource that state legislators and constituents can use to see how their state stacks up in the effort to pass pro-life laws.
State legislators showed up in a big way last Thursday and are sure to continue the fight to protect life in America, bringing us closer to the day when every unborn child is afforded the protection they deserve.