The June Medical v. Russo distraction
By Sarah Quale — As if there wasn’t enough injustice to go around right now, the US Supreme Court just handed conservatives another loss, as it struck down Louisiana’s hospital admitting privileges law in June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo. But as leaders in the pro-life movement express their anger and frustration at the court’s decision today, those of us on the ground need to stop and consider what we sought from this decision in the first place and whether the path that we’re on is a viable one.
What were we seeking?
Was it to regain a small foothold after the disastrous Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision in 2016, which upheld Planned Parenthood v. Casey’s undue burden test and radically redefined the level of scrutiny that abortion legislation must meet to be considered constitutional? If it was, why did we put our faith in a Louisiana law that was almost identical to the Texas law that was deemed unconstitutional in Hellerstedt?
Was it to protect women and children from abortion? If it was, why did we put our faith in a mere regulation that allows abortion to remain in the realm of legitimate medicine? To argue that abortion is a surgical procedure that should be subject to just as many safety regulations as any other procedure doesn’t pull back the sterile curtain to expose the lie. It permits the lie to be further covered up.
Was it to congratulate ourselves on electing a president who would appoint conservative justices to “overturn” Roe? If it was, why didn’t we consult history to learn that, in the 38 abortion cases the Supreme Court has decided since 1973, over 75% of the votes to re-affirm Roe were from Republican judicial appointees?
It’s time to honestly evaluate the Supreme Court as a strategy to end abortion
We will not make abortion illegal or unthinkable until:
- We decide to come out from under the weight of judicial tyranny in this country
- We stop merely saying that Roe is an unjust decision and build solutions in our local communities that provide real support and protect pre-born children from being killed, whether or not Roe is ever overturned
- We humbly acknowledge that incremental steps to regulate and restrict abortion only embed abortion further into our laws
- We reject compromised incrementalism, which sacrifices human lives to achieve political gain, whether real or perceived
- We acknowledge that the only viable Supreme Court strategy, if we entertain one at all, is to challenge Roe at its very core—the denial of the personhood of the pre-born human being—and do so without exception and without compromise.
In the meantime, cases like June Medical v. Russo and all other “chip away” strategies that are based on health code regulations, nominal restrictions, type of procedure, gestational age, pain capability, and even the presence of a heartbeat are a distraction from our mission. In fact, as Russo and so many other court decisions have proven, they are a direct threat to it.
We cannot compromise with the evil of abortion and expect to find victory.
Sarah Quale is president of Personhood Alliance Education, founder of Educe® online learning, and author of the Foundations online pro-life curriculum. She is an award-winning curriculum and instructional designer who has worked for over 20 years in corporate, academic, and ministerial environments.