Is the End of Roe within Breach?

Is the End of Roe within Breach?

May 3, 2022

It was the scene that wasn't supposed to play out for another seven weeks -- angry protestors outside the Supreme Court, clutching signs and shouting at the building's dark offices. As word of the unprecedented leak on Dobbs started to spread, the crowd swelled, spilling into the sidewalks until the wee hours of the morning, as everyone speculated on what this window into the most important abortion ruling in 50 years could mean. While police raced to put up barricades around the court after the scandal hit the wire, one thing was crystal clear: a seismic shift on one of the fiercest political debates in America was already underway.

In the hours after Politico's story exploded, insisting that the collapse of Roe v. Wade was imminent, the shock of the situation started to set in. On both sides, there was outrage -- for the Left, that the days of federalized abortion-on-demand could be numbered; for the Right, that this leak represented the deepest betrayal of the Court and was intended -- many suppose -- to squeeze the majority votes into submission. "It's impossible to overstate the earthquake this will cause inside the Court, in terms of the destruction of trust among the Justices and staff," SCOTUS blog tweeted in the aftermath. "This leak is the gravest, most unforgiveable sin."

By morning, members of Congress, lawyers, court watchers, and journalists were still trying to digest the historic breach. Chief Justice John Roberts, who hadn't voted on Dobbs in the February draft of Justice Samuel Alito's ruling, released a firm statement Tuesday, vowing that "the work of the Court will not be affected in any way." "To the extend this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed." Then, confirming that the draft opinion was in fact genuine, Roberts cautioned that "it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case."

To pro-lifers, it was Roberts's last comment that set off alarm bells. Whoever violated the justices' trust is throwing a rock at the Supreme Court wall, hoping it will crack. If Roberts doesn't close this case now -- or worse, the justices cave to pressure and flip their votes -- the woke forces trying to undermine the court will win. It would be open season on the justices and their credibility, "the antithesis," NRO's editors point out, "of a system that insulates the judiciary from politics so that cases can be decided pursuant to law, without fear or favor."

That's why, since late Monday night, there's been a growing demand for the court to speed up its timeline and rule, sending a powerful message that the justices refuse to be intimidated. "Issue the decision now," urged Missouri Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). Other Republicans piled on, joining the cry for Roberts to heed the urgency of the moment and give a country rocked by this upheaval some finality. If he doesn't, the leaks will keep coming -- and so will the doubts that one of America's most important institutions can be trusted.

In the meantime, the Left's reaction to this controversy has certainly been an eye-opener for voters. Democrats' vitriol against the justices, which is really just a continuation of their leadership's running threats ("I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: you will pay the price," Senator Chuck Schumer has said), is completely unhinged now. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joined Schumer in smearing the Dobbs majority as liars -- "unaccountable" justices who "ripped up the Constitution" and "defiled" precedent at SCOTUS's reputation.

Their extremist rank-and-file took things a step farther, insisting it's time to eliminate the filibuster and pack the court. "There is no other recourse," Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) tweeted. "We must expand the court." President Joe Biden used the leak as an opportunity to fundraise for Democrats, claiming Congress will "need more pro-choice senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe..." Another loud chorus of congressional Leftists raised their voices for permanent abortion-on-demand legislation -- leading some experts to speculate that maybe the leakers weren't trying to harass the court so much as to "influence Congress to act before the election" or "affect the election itself."

But if the Left thinks upending Roe v. Wade will galvanize voters, they're misreading the national landscape. For years, the Democratic Party has overestimated the public's appetite for barbaric late-term abortions. So while the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund claims, "people are furious" and that this November they will "vote [pro-lifers] out," polling suggests the exact opposite (here, here, here, and here). Most Americans want limits on abortion. They like the idea of a 15-week limit like Mississippi's -- not the Left's heartless, taxpayer-funded open season on babies seconds away from birth. Seventy-one percent of Americans want commonsense restrictions on abortion (including 49 percent of Democrats). Another 65 percent think it should be illegal in the second trimester (like it is most places around the world).

Even so, Democrats are in no position to pass sweeping legislation on abortion. The last time they tried, this past February, a bipartisan bloc of senators stopped them. So what now? Like the enraged mob outside the court, their answer is simple: "Let's burn this place down." As far as most of them are concerned, "the Court as we know it isn't worth having if it doesn't uphold Roe," Rich Lowry suggested. At the end of the day, the Democrats' irreverence for our institutions is just an outgrowth of their disdain for every moral norm. If there is a silver lining to this controversy, it's helping to expose the far-Leftists for what they are -- which is not everyday people with good intentions, but lost and hardened extremists who've made evils like abortion their idol. They're a desperate group willing to do anything to keep their grip on the killing culture they worship.

For Christians everywhere, who've marched, worked, and voted for an end to 49 years of bloodshed, this is an urgent moment. Join us in praying for the justices' safety and courage, for Alito's powerful rebuke of Roe to stand, and for the beginning of a new chapter in the fight to protect the unborn in states across the nation. May this be the dawn of a day we all prayed for -- where all human life is welcomed into our arms and cherished in our laws. "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV).

** Check out FRC's updated Prayer Guide for the Dobbs decision and the consequences of Monday's leak here.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

While Roe Takes on Water, Mississippi Is Full Steam Ahead

May 3, 2022

A leaked, early draft of the Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling -- in which a majority of the court would uphold Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban and strike down Roe v. Wade -- sent the Left into hysterics this week, but the state of Mississippi has good reason to keep calm and carry on. "Once we went through the Dobbs case and had the oral arguments," explained Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, "we knew then that it was very important in Mississippi that we show the way that we lead when it comes to setting up a scenario in a post Roe v Wade world."

Reeves recently signed into law the Pregnancy Resource Act, which provides $3.5 million in tax credits for contributions to crisis pregnancy centers. The program will function similar to an Educational Scholarship Fund, "where people can earmark a portion of their tax liability to go toward these crisis pregnancy centers," FRC President Tony Perkins summarized. Mississippi currently has 37 crisis pregnancy centers, and Reeves hoped this law would both increase their number and bolster their work. "This will provide the necessary funding for those individual crisis centers, so that they can then provide services to those individual moms."

"Mississippi is modeling how states should go forward," said Perkins. "Their pro-life law... made its way all the way to the Supreme Court. That decision is going to come any day now, [but] Mississippi's not waiting for that. They're modeling what it looks like in a post-Roe world, and that is meeting the needs of women who find themselves in unwanted or crisis pregnancies."

In their zeal to justify abortion, the Left ignores the pro-life movement's pro-woman attitude. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) called the leaked draft opinion "an invitation to have 'Handmaid's Tale'-type anti-feminist regulation and legislation all over the country." Abortion advocates often compare the end of Roe v. Wade to the dystopian society from "The Handmaid's Tale," in which men keep women as concubine slaves, as if abortion is women's only protection against lifelong servitude. (This is silly, of course. American women possess all the same constitutional and natural rights as men. Not only can they read, own property, and vote, but they can also go to college, start a business, and run for office. They have been able to vote for over a century, and their streak of independent thinking and political advocacy long predates that.)

Mississippi is Exhibit One in the case to dismantle abortion activists' faulty smear of the pro-life movement. "Being pro-life is about more than just being anti-abortion," Reeves responded. "We must take all available avenues to build a culture of life." Yes, government should prohibit deliberate killing of innocent babies, in or out of the womb. But Mississippi goes one step further by providing women with a network of support and resources, which is often sadly lacking (data show a majority of women who abort are pressured to).

Pregnancy resource centers are the compassionate hands of the pro-life movement. For women who want to keep their baby, crisis pregnancy centers provide training, clothing, and diapers to help them succeed. For women who can't keep their baby, these centers walk with them through the pregnancy and help connect them with potential adoptive parents.

All their good works earn crisis pregnancy centers the eternal enmity of abortion extremists. When the California attorney general (first Kamala Harris, now Vice President, and then Xavier Becerra, now Secretary of Health and Human Services) tried to force pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion, they had to appeal all the way to Supreme Court, who protected their free speech in NIFLA v. Becerra (2018). But the more effective they are, the more the Left will attack them.

Even before the Supreme Court releases its official ruling in Dobbs, Mississippi's government is "already paving the way forward on how we need to operate in a post-Roe world," said Perkins. "There is an army, a compassionate army, out there ready to serve." When Roe v. Wade is finally discarded, the real battle to help women with crisis pregnancies will have only begun.

Medical Experts Agree to Disagree on Levine's Latest Lie

May 3, 2022

Anyone who's followed the latest culture wars understands that there's not a lot of consensus between the two sides, especially on the LGBT front. So the idea that anyone -- least of all Joe Biden's second-in-command at HHS -- would suddenly declare that there's absolute agreement on the Democrats' unpopular agenda to transgender children is unbelievable, even from this administration. It's also news to medical experts across the disciplines, who didn't waste any time setting the record straight.

"There is no argument among medical professionals," the man who identifies as Rachel Levine insisted, "about the value and the importance of gender-affirming care." "Pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, adolescent medicine physicians, adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists," Levine told NPR, they all agree "about the value and the importance of gender-affirming care."

Turns out, they don't all agree -- including some of the pioneering doctors of the transgender movement. Just two weeks before Levine's absurd lie, Dr. Erica Anderson, who underwent a radical operation himself, openly told reporters he was horrified at the rush to push children down this path. "I have these private thoughts: 'This has gone too far. It's going to get worse. I don't want any part of it,'" he said. Despite being "on the forefront of transgender care" and undergoing surgery in his late 50s, he strongly believes the pendulum has swung "to an extreme."

"A fair number of kids are getting into it because it's trendy," Anderson told the Washington Post. "I think in our haste to be supportive, we're missing that element..." Anderson thinks kids are leaning into gender treatments, hoping it helps with other psychological problems -- and then struggle to dig out of the depression when it doesn't. "I have a dictum: When in doubt, doubt," she told the LA paper. "Questioning is a good thing. How are you going to find out if you are lockstep with whatever conclusion you come to first?"

Levine ignored that advice, repeating the absurdity on Saturday at Texas Christian University. "The positive value of gender-affirming care is not in serious scientific or medical dispute." The president of the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), Quentin Van Meter, told FRC President Tony Perkins he "would beg to differ." On "Washington Watch" Monday, he explained that ACP has "spent a great deal of time and effort... in large numbers against the mandate to affirm -- socially, medically, and surgically -- children with gender dysphoria. Because of the known demonstrated harms of this particular set of treatments, even something as simple as social affirmation has been clearly shown to have detriment to the child."

Van Meter debunked a number of politically-motivated studies taken from "convenient samples" of "activist groups." Actual clinical science from Sweden, "which is the only the only place that's published true population studies... have found that there is absolutely no long-term benefit for medical and surgical and social affirmation. So there is the science."

His organization, which represents 66,000 doctors, has openly criticized these treatments as "child abuse" and points to other groups like the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine (SEGM), whose apolitical conclusions are similar to the ACP's. "They have condemned [this transgender] affirmation in minors with very good background and literature that supports their theory. So this concept that there's no opinion against this in the medical community or among pediatricians is absolutely an untruth."

Look, Van Meter said, when there's an explosion of transgenderism -- 250 to 500 times greater than the past norm -- it proves there's no genetic basis for this.

"For every one of these children, there's no question [that] there is suffering going on... But it is extremely important to [encourage whatever pastors, parents, and counselors] are working with them to tell them, 'Hang in there. You are deeply upset about something in your life.' And [we need to] work on those deep issues that are beneath the surface instead of putting the band-aid of transgender affirmation over the top of a volcano, and then watching it erupt later on. So the real compassionate treatment is to... not make it something that clearly has no biologic basis whatsoever, is a mental health issue completely and utterly, despite the fact that people don't like to say that -- that's where the truth is."

As Perkins pointed out, the spiritual nature of this debate makes it especially complicated. "Satan seeks whom he can destroy. And so, parents, don't second-guess yourself. Lovingly guide your children to the truth." Don't give into the Leftist bullying, where the false choice for parents is that they can either have a transgender child or a dead one.

You don't have to be a conservative, FRC's Meg Kilgannon argues, to see how adults who advocate these kind of ideological positions are dangerous. That's why it's important for parents to respond and engage as they are all across the country. "Even if you're a homeschooling family or your kids are out of the house, what happens in your public school matters for the entire community. And you need Christians to be involved."

Perkins put a fine point on that, harkening back to when the Bible and prayer were removed from public schools because the kids were too "impressionable." "Now we're putting in the Bible's place this indoctrination that tells children they can create their own reality by defining their own gender. I thought they were impressionable? They are. And that's why the Left has seized upon this. And this is why, parents, you have to take responsibility over the education of your children."

Staying Strong to the Finnish

May 3, 2022

Päivi Räsänen, a courageous Member of Parliament of Finland, is back on trial for the Bible. Räsänen was acquitted of criminal "hate speech" charges for quoting the Bible, specifically Paul's description of homosexuality as sin in Romans 1:24-27, and for publishing a pamphlet titled, "Male and Female He Created Them." Prosecutors have now appealed the case, hoping to relitigate the entire case in front of a new audience. "Unlike many other legal systems, under Finnish law, the prosecutor can appeal 'not guilty' verdicts all the way to the Supreme Court of Finland," explained FRC President Tony Perkins. "Yes, unfortunately, that is what we expect," responded Lorcán Price, attorney for ADF International who represents Räsänen. "This case is now headed to the Court of Appeal first."

Watch Tony's full interview with Lorcán Price on "Washington Watch."