Paul Kengor: Supreme Court decision is a victory for pro-lifers
The Supreme Court has struck down a California law compelling pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions — that is, centers established for the very purpose of providing alternatives to abortion. The centers viewed the law as an unconstitutional infringement of their rights of speech, not to mention religion and conscience.
The high court agreed, barely. The 5-4 opinion was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, who was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Anthony Kennedy, the court swing-vote who in June 1992 preserved Roe v. Wade by writing the majority opinion in the infamous Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling. The Supreme Court’s four liberals dissented in lock-step.
The case was a victory for the pro-life cause, but the truth is it should have never gotten this far.
The reactions by the pro-choice movement are telling. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Abortion Rights Action League insist that pregnancy centers “manipulate and deceive” pregnant women by not advertising abortion. Planned Parenthood Action called these centers “harmful” to women, accusing them of “lying to women.”
Abortion activist Heidi Hess said the high court “voted to control women.” She fumed that this was done by the court’s “five male Supreme Court justices.”
That complaint seems the height of hypocrisy. It was an all-male Supreme Court that gave America Roe v. Wade.
The reactions reveal not only the stridency of the “pro-choice” movement; they also reveal how far too many “pro-choice” activists merit the very label they hate: pro-abortion.
Consider: For decades, these same activists have refused to counsel non-abortion options in abortion clinics. There has long been a grassroots push by pro-lifers to have ultrasound machines in abortion clinics; 80 percent to 90 percent of women considering abortions change their minds when they glimpse their unborn babies.
A friend of mine who runs a pro-life center told me that pregnancy help centers are proliferating at a rapid rate in direct proportion to the shrinking of abortion centers. And that’s the real story here. Abortion centers are losing business to pregnancy help centers that give women alternatives. They threaten the financial survival of abortion clinics.
“Pro-choice” activists know this, which is why they fight legislation requiring ultrasounds. And how does that help a woman’s “choice?” Do pro-choicers want women to have maximum information for their best “choice” or not?
I’ve met women in tears who have told me about walking into Planned Parenthood clinics and receiving no option but abortion. One woman, an 18-year-old freshman in the 1990s, terrified of her parents learning she was pregnant, hoped that someone, somewhere, on her way to or inside a clinic in downtown Pittsburgh, would provide her with options other than abortion. She was given no such option, nor any compassion. Her baby was destroyed. She has never gotten over the trauma.
Today, she’s a donor to crisis pregnancy centers. She gives them money to provide abortion alternatives, not to promote abortion. The California law sought to undermine that very purpose. Shame on the “pro-choice” movement and Supreme Court justices who refuse to understand that.
Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.