Washington, DC — Operation Rescue President Troy Newman was among a group of pro-life leaders who gathered in Washington, DC to conduct prayer vigils during oral arguments in two historic abortion cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. These are the first abortion cases to be heard by new Chief Justice John Roberts.
Newman and others prayed and held “Stop Abortion Now” signs near the steps of the nation’s highest court, while a group of pro-death supporters marched and shouted their tired old chants for the benefit of the media.
“In all these years, you’d think they could come up with something new,” said Newman. “It just goes to show they are living in the past. Times are changing, the court is changing, and abortion will soon follow the dinosaur into extinction.”
While the drama of opposing forces unfolded on the sidewalk, nine black-robed men and women began hearing oral arguments or an unprecedented third time in the NOW v. Scheidler case. The National Organization for women has sued Joseph Scheidler and others under federal anti-racketeering laws claiming their protests hurt their abortion business. Scheidler won an overwhelming victory in 2002 when the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the pro-lifers First Amendment free speech activities did not qualify as racketeering under the law.
Justices harshly questioned NOW attorney Fay Clayton, who seemed more on a personal vendetta against Scheidler than concerned about the law. Scheidler supporters who observed the courtroom exchange were encouraged and confident that the Supreme Court would once again rule against what has become little more than a 20 year-old harassment suit.
Next up were arguments in Planned Parenthood v. Ayotte, a case challenging the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s parental notification law. Among technical legal matters under consideration was the question as to whether the lack of a “health” exception made the law unconstitutional. The law, which only requires parental notification — not consent — before a minor girl can receive an abortion does contain an exemption if the mother’s life is endangered.
While Justice Breyer seemed concerned about unrealistic worst-case-scenario hypotheticals, Chief Justice Roberts seem to be looking for a way to keep the parental notification statute intact. Again, pro-life observers left the courtroom encouraged.
“We feel confident that this court will do the right thing in both of these cases,” said Newman. “Their decisions could change the landscape of the abortion battle in our nation. A Scheidler win will give pro-lifers the confidence they need to exercise their right to offer help to abortion-bound women. I think it will greatly empower the activist side of the movement.
“A win in the Ayotte case would protect and encourage common-sense parental notification laws across the nation and could also change the way this kind of legislation is handled when challenged in court. In all, this was a great day for the pro-life movement.”
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