Pro-life and pro-choice advocates in the state are giving their reactions to Friday’s historic decision by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
On Friday, SCOTUS struck down the landmark abortion decisions of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.
The 6-3 decision will allow states to set their own laws on abortion. The decision came in response to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, ruling in favor of a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Alabama has a very restrictive abortion law on the books that was passed in 2019. Alabama's Human Life Protection Act allows for an abortion only when the procedure is necessary to either save the life of the mother or if there is a serious health risk to the mother's health. However, U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson issued an injunction stopping the implementation of the Human Life Protection Act in October 2019. Attorney General Steve Marshall asked for the injunction to be lifted following the Supreme Court decision, and Thompson granted his request Friday afternoon.
Pro-life and pro-choice activists alike are detailing their reactions to the decision, as well as detailing future plans.
“Today marks a historic human rights victory for unborn children and their mothers and a bright pro-life future for our nation,” said Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
“Today the Supreme Court, in line with modern science and overwhelming public consensus, recognized the truth in every mother’s heart and that pro-life advocates have argued all along: unborn children are human beings, deserving of protection," Dannenfelser said.
1819 News spoke to Lauren Frazier, media relations with Planned Parenthood Southeast, who said that, although they have been planning for this for months, the decision still comes as a disappointment.
Frazier said, “Our reaction is one of devastation, one of anger, and certainly one of empathy for the patients who, across this country, will find themselves now living in an abortion desert or in a state where abortion is severely limited.
"The folks most impacted will be black and brown folks, it will be LGBTQ+ folks, it will be young people, and it will be people in rural communities. This is the travesty of what the Supreme Court has done.”
Frazier said that Planned Parenthood would continue to educate women seeking abortions on their local laws and the laws in surrounding states but predicted that some clinics in southern states would be forced to close.
Frazier said, “Folks will certainly be looking to probably travel out of state for support, and that’s certainly something that we are aware of, and our partners are aware of, and we are working closely with our lawyers.
“…From state to state, it is going to look a little bit different. We are, again, going to be working very closely with our lawyers to really understand the implications in each of those states, and we’re going to do what we can to support folks as best [as] possible within the confines of those laws.”
Planned Parenthood placed a notice on its website on “What the Supreme Court Decision means for abortions in Alabama” that said “Due to state law, abortions are not currently available at Planned Parenthood health centers in Alabama. Go to abortionfinder.org or call your nearest Planned Parenthood health center for help finding an abortion provider.”
With protests currently taking place in the U.S capital and protests planned on Friday night in Montgomery, some have speculated concern for the possibility of retaliation against pro-life organizations and churches.
1819 News spoke to Robyn Blessing, Executive Director of Life on Wheels, a Montgomery-based mobile free ultrasound service.
When asked if she was afraid of any violent reactions to the SCOTUS decision, Blessing laconically replied, “No.”
“We are thrilled,” Blessing said. "I’m really excited and happy, but it won’t change anything that we do. Our mission statement is we use the power of ultrasound to serve women, save babies, and share Jesus, so that’s exactly what we do, in that order.
“… Although we are glad that abortions will not be happening on South Perry Street in Montgomery, we are still going to be serving the women in our community because that is our mission, and that’s what we want to do; we believe God has called us to that."
Representatives for Reproductive Health Services, the clinic on S. Perry St. in Montgomery that Blessing referred to, were unavailable for comment.
Activists with End Abortion Alabama (EAA), an abortion abolitionist organization, are calling on lawmakers to enact a total ban on abortion in light of the SCOTUS decision.
“Praise God! Alabama now has the opportunity to establish justice for preborn children by abolishing abortion without the federal judicial overreach that was Roe v. Wade,” said EAA Activist Maegan Pierce.
“We must continue urging our lawmakers in Montgomery to provide equal protection of the law to preborn children by abolishing abortion in Alabama,” said Paul Abbott with EAA. “Abortion is murder, and our laws should reflect that.”
“It’s just amazing; it’s like David and Goliath,” said Ellen Hermann, Director of Pro-life Tuscaloosa.
Hermann said that, while she would no longer have to do sidewalk work at the abortion clinics, she is still dedicated to continuing support and education for women.
“We do more of just helping with pregnancy resources, housing mothers, and educating girls, which is something I would really like to do," Hermann stated. "It’s funny, Planned Parenthood gets millions to go into the school system, and for me to even go in [schools] to talk about the pros and cons of abortion and decisions people make, it costs around $30,000 - $50,000 just to get your foot in the door."
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