A Supreme Court abortion decision is expected any day. Here’s what you need to know.

The U.S. Supreme Court traditionally releases its major opinions in the month of June. We have already seen blockbuster rulings on LGBT employment discrimination and DACA. Next up: June Medical Services v. Russo, which will determine the fate of a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice.

Image via the Katrina Jackson for
Senate District 34 facebook page

The common-sense, bipartisan law was spearheaded by then-state representative (now state senator) Katrina Jackson (pictured), a Democrat. It is not a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. Instead, it seeks to harness the power of existing medical institutions to identify and stop abortionists who are especially dangerous to women. As pro-choice author William Saletan noted years ago in his chilling Back Alley series, the medical community knows full well who these shoddy abortionists are and quietly declines to work with them — but historically, they have refused to speak up for political reasons. Admitting privileges requirements make these “open secrets” truly open, and force the abortion lobby to live up to the “safe” part of its empty motto.

Side note: Any news coverage of this case that fails to mention Kevin Work is sham journalism. He’s exactly the type of abortionist that Louisiana’s law is meant to address. Read more about him here
Louisiana’s law is similar to the Texas law that the Supreme Court tragically struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, although the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals noted some differences when it upheld Louisiana’s law in 2018. Pro-life advocates were horrified by Hellerstedt, which prioritized abortion access and industry profits over women’s safety. Hellerstedt was a 5-3 decision, when the Court had only eight Justices due to the death of Justice Scalia. (The three in the minority were Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Alito.) Since then, pro-abortion Justice Kennedy has retired, and Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh — widely believed to support the right to life — have joined the Court. 
Here are the possible outcomes to watch for in Russo, from worst to best:
  • The Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana’s law. This would mean that at least one of the Justices believed to be an anti-abortion vote is not, and that pro-life groups have received little in return for their decades of putting up with the Republican Party. If this happens, expect absolute chaos to ensue.
  • The Supreme Court upholds Louisiana’s law without overturning Hellerstedt. This would essentially ratify the Fifth Circuit’s approach. Lower courts would be instructed to consider other states’ admitting privileges laws on a case-by-case basis, depending on such factors as the number of abortionists in the state and what criteria the state’s hospitals use to grant or deny admitting privileges. 
  • The Supreme Court upholds Louisiana’s law, recognizes its past mistake, and reverses Hellerstedt. This would be a victory for women’s health and babies’ lives.
  • The Supreme Court finds that the plaintiffs lack standing. This is a long shot, so don’t get your hopes up, but a decision on the basis of standing would be huge. The legal concept of standing means that a person can’t sue merely because they dislike a law; they have to have a certain level of direct involvement. To give an obvious example, the plaintiffs in the LGBT employment discrimination cases decided earlier this month were, not surprisingly, LGBT people whose employers discriminated against them. In Russo, the plaintiffs are arguing that Louisiana’s law unduly burdens women’s right to an abortion — but the plaintiffs in Russo aren’t women, much less pregnant mothers seeking abortions and facing legal burdens. The Russo plaintiffs are abortion companies whose hired abortionists don’t have admitting privileges. Although many past cases have involved abortion companies legally standing in for abortion-seeking mothers (e.g. Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Hellerstedt), allowing that type of substitute standing in a safety regulations case creates a serious conflict of interest. Women’s desire to obtain the best possible care and avoid quacks like Kevin Work is directly at odds with abortion vendors’ desire to cut costs. If the Supreme Court finally expresses some long-overdue skepticism at the idea that abortion businesses represent women’s interests, our legal system could finally escape, or at least reduce, the influence of abortion industry money.
Dr. Michael New of the Charlotte Lozier Institute puts it best:

A Supreme Court abortion decision is expected any day. Here’s what you need to know.

The U.S. Supreme Court traditionally releases its major opinions in the month of June. We have already seen blockbuster rulings on LGBT employment discrimination and DACA. Next up: June Medical Services v. Russo, which will determine the fate of a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice.

Image via the Katrina Jackson for
Senate District 34 facebook page

The common-sense, bipartisan law was spearheaded by then-state representative (now state senator) Katrina Jackson (pictured), a Democrat. It is not a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. Instead, it seeks to harness the power of existing medical institutions to identify and stop abortionists who are especially dangerous to women. As pro-choice author William Saletan noted years ago in his chilling Back Alley series, the medical community knows full well who these shoddy abortionists are and quietly declines to work with them — but historically, they have refused to speak up for political reasons. Admitting privileges requirements make these “open secrets” truly open, and force the abortion lobby to live up to the “safe” part of its empty motto.

Side note: Any news coverage of this case that fails to mention Kevin Work is sham journalism. He’s exactly the type of abortionist that Louisiana’s law is meant to address. Read more about him here
Louisiana’s law is similar to the Texas law that the Supreme Court tragically struck down in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, although the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals noted some differences when it upheld Louisiana’s law in 2018. Pro-life advocates were horrified by Hellerstedt, which prioritized abortion access and industry profits over women’s safety. Hellerstedt was a 5-3 decision, when the Court had only eight Justices due to the death of Justice Scalia. (The three in the minority were Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas and Alito.) Since then, pro-abortion Justice Kennedy has retired, and Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh — widely believed to support the right to life — have joined the Court. 
Here are the possible outcomes to watch for in Russo, from worst to best:
  • The Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana’s law. This would mean that at least one of the Justices believed to be an anti-abortion vote is not, and that pro-life groups have received little in return for their decades of putting up with the Republican Party. If this happens, expect absolute chaos to ensue.
  • The Supreme Court upholds Louisiana’s law without overturning Hellerstedt. This would essentially ratify the Fifth Circuit’s approach. Lower courts would be instructed to consider other states’ admitting privileges laws on a case-by-case basis, depending on such factors as the number of abortionists in the state and what criteria the state’s hospitals use to grant or deny admitting privileges. 
  • The Supreme Court upholds Louisiana’s law, recognizes its past mistake, and reverses Hellerstedt. This would be a victory for women’s health and babies’ lives.
  • The Supreme Court finds that the plaintiffs lack standing. This is a long shot, so don’t get your hopes up, but a decision on the basis of standing would be huge. The legal concept of standing means that a person can’t sue merely because they dislike a law; they have to have a certain level of direct involvement. To give an obvious example, the plaintiffs in the LGBT employment discrimination cases decided earlier this month were, not surprisingly, LGBT people whose employers discriminated against them. In Russo, the plaintiffs are arguing that Louisiana’s law unduly burdens women’s right to an abortion — but the plaintiffs in Russo aren’t women, much less pregnant mothers seeking abortions and facing legal burdens. The Russo plaintiffs are abortion companies whose hired abortionists don’t have admitting privileges. Although many past cases have involved abortion companies legally standing in for abortion-seeking mothers (e.g. Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Hellerstedt), allowing that type of substitute standing in a safety regulations case creates a serious conflict of interest. Women’s desire to obtain the best possible care and avoid quacks like Kevin Work is directly at odds with abortion vendors’ desire to cut costs. If the Supreme Court finally expresses some long-overdue skepticism at the idea that abortion businesses represent women’s interests, our legal system could finally escape, or at least reduce, the influence of abortion industry money.
Dr. Michael New of the Charlotte Lozier Institute puts it best:

Google Trends Suggest Historic Moment in Abortion Debate

Four short months ago, we reported that according to Google Trends, interest in abortion was at a 15-year high. News about permissive late-term abortion laws in New York and (nearly) Virginia earlier this year, together with federal legislative efforts to ban infanticide when babies survive abortion, drove more abortion-related keyword searches than at any point since the 2004 election.

That record has already been shattered (click to enlarge). 

Pro-life legislative efforts in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and elsewhere; the possibility of Missouri becoming the first abortion-free state since Roe, if the courts allow it to close the dangerous St. Louis Planned Parenthood facility; Democratic candidates competing to out-abortion each other in the 2020 presidential primary… all of these things and more have combined to create a perfect storm of media coverage. People who normally prefer to sit out the debate are forced to take notice.

With the caveat that correlation is not causation, this could be related to the latest Gallup poll (taken May 1-12) showing a positive trend in favor of prenatal rights. “Pro-life” now holds a 3-point advantage over “pro-choice,” and the percentage of Americans who say abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances” or “legal in only a few circumstances” is up 7 points since last year. This is in spite of Google’s alleged manipulation of abortion-related search results to disadvantage grassroots pro-life organizations like Live Action.

I can’t help but feel that we are living in a moment that will make the history books. But history is written by the victors. Are you prepared to contribute a chapter?

Google Trends Suggest Historic Moment in Abortion Debate

Four short months ago, we reported that according to Google Trends, interest in abortion was at a 15-year high. News about permissive late-term abortion laws in New York and (nearly) Virginia earlier this year, together with federal legislative efforts to ban infanticide when babies survive abortion, drove more abortion-related keyword searches than at any point since the 2004 election.

That record has already been shattered (click to enlarge). 

Pro-life legislative efforts in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and elsewhere; the possibility of Missouri becoming the first abortion-free state since Roe, if the courts allow it to close the dangerous St. Louis Planned Parenthood facility; Democratic candidates competing to out-abortion each other in the 2020 presidential primary… all of these things and more have combined to create a perfect storm of media coverage. People who normally prefer to sit out the debate are forced to take notice.

With the caveat that correlation is not causation, this could be related to the latest Gallup poll (taken May 1-12) showing a positive trend in favor of prenatal rights. “Pro-life” now holds a 3-point advantage over “pro-choice,” and the percentage of Americans who say abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances” or “legal in only a few circumstances” is up 7 points since last year. This is in spite of Google’s alleged manipulation of abortion-related search results to disadvantage grassroots pro-life organizations like Live Action.

I can’t help but feel that we are living in a moment that will make the history books. But history is written by the victors. Are you prepared to contribute a chapter?

Last chance: send comments to HHS on the Protect Life Rule

Tomorrow is the deadline to submit your comments to the Department of Health & Human Services in support of the Protect Life Rule. This regulation limits the ability of abortion businesses to obtain government subsidies through the Title X program. Title X is intended to fund contraception, not abortion. The Protect Life Rule will prioritize funding for federally qualified health centers and other community clinics that provide legitimate healthcare, including contraceptives, without killing anybody.

You can read the proposed rule here and submit your supportive comment here. I wrote:

I strongly support the proposed rule. For too long, Title X funds have subsidized abortion vendors. The provision of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood—which has repeatedly defrauded Medicaid and failed to report the sexual abuse of children, among other scandals—is especially troubling. Federally qualified health centers and other community clinics are far more deserving recipients of Title X funds, and are fully capable of meeting women’s nonviolent family planning needs.

Abortion lobbyists have predictably mischaracterized the Protect Life Rule as a “gag rule” that censors doctors. That’s nonsense. Abortionists remain welcome to say whatever they like. And the government remains free to direct its tax revenue to deserving healthcare providers that do not destroy innocent human lives.

The Protect Life Rule is not even particularly novel. A similar rule was briefly put in place by the Reagan administration (but soon reversed by the abortion-friendly Clinton administration). Abortion industry groups brought a legal challenge at the time, which the Supreme Court rejected, holding that the funding limitation did not run afoul of the First Amendment; rather, the government “has merely chosen to fund one activity [family planning] to the exclusion of the other [abortion].”

Planned Parenthood would stand to lose, and nonviolent clinics would stand to gain, $60 million a year when the Protect Life Rule is enacted. While we’d still have a long way to go in removing Planned Parenthood’s total government subsidy of approximately $500 million a year, this is a substantial first step. Submit your comment today!

Last chance: send comments to HHS on the Protect Life Rule

Tomorrow is the deadline to submit your comments to the Department of Health & Human Services in support of the Protect Life Rule. This regulation limits the ability of abortion businesses to obtain government subsidies through the Title X program. Title X is intended to fund contraception, not abortion. The Protect Life Rule will prioritize funding for federally qualified health centers and other community clinics that provide legitimate healthcare, including contraceptives, without killing anybody.

You can read the proposed rule here and submit your supportive comment here. I wrote:

I strongly support the proposed rule. For too long, Title X funds have subsidized abortion vendors. The provision of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood—which has repeatedly defrauded Medicaid and failed to report the sexual abuse of children, among other scandals—is especially troubling. Federally qualified health centers and other community clinics are far more deserving recipients of Title X funds, and are fully capable of meeting women’s nonviolent family planning needs.

Abortion lobbyists have predictably mischaracterized the Protect Life Rule as a “gag rule” that censors doctors. That’s nonsense. Abortionists remain welcome to say whatever they like. And the government remains free to direct its tax revenue to deserving healthcare providers that do not destroy innocent human lives.

The Protect Life Rule is not even particularly novel. A similar rule was briefly put in place by the Reagan administration (but soon reversed by the abortion-friendly Clinton administration). Abortion industry groups brought a legal challenge at the time, which the Supreme Court rejected, holding that the funding limitation did not run afoul of the First Amendment; rather, the government “has merely chosen to fund one activity [family planning] to the exclusion of the other [abortion].”

Planned Parenthood would stand to lose, and nonviolent clinics would stand to gain, $60 million a year when the Protect Life Rule is enacted. While we’d still have a long way to go in removing Planned Parenthood’s total government subsidy of approximately $500 million a year, this is a substantial first step. Submit your comment today!

Iowa passes heartbeat bill; abortion industry responds with desperation and lies

Last Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed historic legislation to prohibit abortions where the baby’s heartbeat can be detected. The law includes exceptions for medical necessity, rape, and incest.

The heartbeat law will not immediately confer protection on any Iowa children. There will be a legal challenge, and the law will almost certainly be enjoined while the case is pending. And the abortion industry plaintiffs will succeed in the lower courts, which have no power to deviate from unjust precedents set by higher courts. Iowa lawmakers knew all of this when they cast their votes. This is a long-term strategy; it will take a couple of years for the law to reach the Supreme Court, by which time they hope that one or more of the older pro-abortion Justices will have been replaced with a pro-life Justice. If they’re right, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Justice Kennedy, who has long provided the decisive fifth vote condemning preborn children to death, has been the subject of retirement rumors for years. He is 81 years old. The oldest member of the Court is 85-year-old Justice Ginsburg, a strong abortion advocate who will surely refuse to retire if there is any chance her replacement will recognize the right to life. Justice Breyer, also a reliable vote against pro-life legislation, is 79.

Even if the heartbeat law is ultimately killed by the courts, however, it still has some value as an educational tool. Recall that the pro-life movement pursued a ban on partial-birth abortion for well over a decade before it was finally upheld by the Supreme Court; during those years, partial-birth abortion was frequently in the news and the public was informed about the brutality of abortion methods. In the case of the heartbeat bill, we’re educating the public about prenatal development. The heartbeat bill has forced abortion advocates to adopt the talking point that the heartbeat begins “around six weeks, before some women even know they’re pregnant.” It’s impossible to reconcile that statement with the ignorant clump-of-cells view of abortion, or with prior pro-abortion obfuscation about when the heartbeat begins.

Abortion industry groups are caught off balance, as demonstrated by this unintentionally hilarious quote by a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood’s Iowa affiliate:

“The bill weaponizes fetal heartbeat, which is by all accounts an arbitrary standard that bans abortion long before the point of fetal viability,” Lee said in an email to Reuters.

You guys. They think that heartbeats are “arbitrary” and that fetal viability isn’t! I actually laughed out loud when I read that.

Another response from the abortion industry has been much less amusing. They’ve resorted to fearmongering, falsely telling Iowans that medical schools are required to teach abortions, and therefore the heartbeat law will cause the state’s only ob/gyn residency program to lose its accreditation, and therefore the state’s ob/gyn shortage will get worse.

Wait a second, you might be thinking. If every medical school has to do abortion training to be accredited, how are Catholic medical schools a thing? Right you are. There is a federal law that addresses this very issue: if an accrediting body penalizes a school for not teaching abortions, the school is deemed accredited anyway. But that fact didn’t stop the Iowa City Press-Citizen from running an entire article based on the premise that the heartbeat bill could “effectively kill the only obstetrics and gynecology residency program in the state.”

I brought this up with Robin Marty, who is one of the most honest pro-abortion journalists out there. You can read our twitter conversation here. Suffice to say, the article is indefensible and its authors, Aimee Breaux and Will Greenberg, should be ashamed of themselves.

Iowa passes heartbeat bill; abortion industry responds with desperation and lies

Last Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed historic legislation to prohibit abortions where the baby’s heartbeat can be detected. The law includes exceptions for medical necessity, rape, and incest.

The heartbeat law will not immediately confer protection on any Iowa children. There will be a legal challenge, and the law will almost certainly be enjoined while the case is pending. And the abortion industry plaintiffs will succeed in the lower courts, which have no power to deviate from unjust precedents set by higher courts. Iowa lawmakers knew all of this when they cast their votes. This is a long-term strategy; it will take a couple of years for the law to reach the Supreme Court, by which time they hope that one or more of the older pro-abortion Justices will have been replaced with a pro-life Justice. If they’re right, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Justice Kennedy, who has long provided the decisive fifth vote condemning preborn children to death, has been the subject of retirement rumors for years. He is 81 years old. The oldest member of the Court is 85-year-old Justice Ginsburg, a strong abortion advocate who will surely refuse to retire if there is any chance her replacement will recognize the right to life. Justice Breyer, also a reliable vote against pro-life legislation, is 79.

Even if the heartbeat law is ultimately killed by the courts, however, it still has some value as an educational tool. Recall that the pro-life movement pursued a ban on partial-birth abortion for well over a decade before it was finally upheld by the Supreme Court; during those years, partial-birth abortion was frequently in the news and the public was informed about the brutality of abortion methods. In the case of the heartbeat bill, we’re educating the public about prenatal development. The heartbeat bill has forced abortion advocates to adopt the talking point that the heartbeat begins “around six weeks, before some women even know they’re pregnant.” It’s impossible to reconcile that statement with the ignorant clump-of-cells view of abortion, or with prior pro-abortion obfuscation about when the heartbeat begins.

Abortion industry groups are caught off balance, as demonstrated by this unintentionally hilarious quote by a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood’s Iowa affiliate:

“The bill weaponizes fetal heartbeat, which is by all accounts an arbitrary standard that bans abortion long before the point of fetal viability,” Lee said in an email to Reuters.

You guys. They think that heartbeats are “arbitrary” and that fetal viability isn’t! I actually laughed out loud when I read that.

Another response from the abortion industry has been much less amusing. They’ve resorted to fearmongering, falsely telling Iowans that medical schools are required to teach abortions, and therefore the heartbeat law will cause the state’s only ob/gyn residency program to lose its accreditation, and therefore the state’s ob/gyn shortage will get worse.

Wait a second, you might be thinking. If every medical school has to do abortion training to be accredited, how are Catholic medical schools a thing? Right you are. There is a federal law that addresses this very issue: if an accrediting body penalizes a school for not teaching abortions, the school is deemed accredited anyway. But that fact didn’t stop the Iowa City Press-Citizen from running an entire article based on the premise that the heartbeat bill could “effectively kill the only obstetrics and gynecology residency program in the state.”

I brought this up with Robin Marty, who is one of the most honest pro-abortion journalists out there. You can read our twitter conversation here. Suffice to say, the article is indefensible and its authors, Aimee Breaux and Will Greenberg, should be ashamed of themselves.

TODAY: Rally against California SB320

At 11:00 a.m. Pacific time, pro-life advocates will rally outside the Office of the President at UC Berkeley (1111 Franklin St., Oakland, CA) in opposition to California SB 320. This disastrous bill would turn campus health centers into chemical abortion facilities. You can read more about SB 320 here.

Our very own Terrisa Bukovinac (right), who is also the head of Pro-Life San Francisco, will speak at the rally. Come join us! You can also follow the rally on twitter using the hashtag #StopSB320.

TODAY: Rally against California SB320

At 11:00 a.m. Pacific time, pro-life advocates will rally outside the Office of the President at UC Berkeley (1111 Franklin St., Oakland, CA) in opposition to California SB 320. This disastrous bill would turn campus health centers into chemical abortion facilities. You can read more about SB 320 here.

Our very own Terrisa Bukovinac (right), who is also the head of Pro-Life San Francisco, will speak at the rally. Come join us! You can also follow the rally on twitter using the hashtag #StopSB320.