WASHINGTON, D.C., October 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life advocates unrolled a giant scroll containing over 250,000 signatures outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday demanding that it reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that has allowed abortion throughout the country.
The petition effort, launched by a group called the Moral Outcry, is asking the Supreme Court to “reverse, cancel, overturn and annul Roe v. Wade” so as to “redress and correct the grave injustice and the crime against humanity which is being perpetuated by your decision.”
The petition, which when unrolled was 125 feet long and 5 feet wide, was submitted as the Supreme Court gears up to begin its new term next week.
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life joined other pro-life leaders on Tuesday to present the petition.
“The Moral Outcry is giving a national platform to the voices of countless Americans who want Roe v. Wade reversed,” Father Pavone said. “We’re doing it now as the Supreme Court begins a new term.”
Almost twenty pro-life groups are involved in the petition, including Missouri Blacks for Life, Anglicans for Life, Human Life Alliance, Red Rose Rescue, the Justice Foundation, Priests for Life, Human Life Alliance, Center For Bio-Ethical Reform.
In a press release, Priests for Life said that the petition is allowing “countless Americans” to voice support for reversing Roe v. Wade. It noted that the Supreme Court will hear cases as soon as this week that provide the Justices with an opportunity to weaken, modify, or reserve the watershed decision, even if the cases do not directly address core questions of the decision.
“This is so because any case dealing with abortion ultimately finds its foundations in the case that legalized it to begin with,” the press releases stated.
LIVE @ The Moral Outcry Petition presented at the US Supreme Court https://t.co/exaIjVEskR
— Fr. Frank Pavone (@frfrankpavone) October 1, 2019
While the pro-life organization noted that the Supreme Court is not a usual target of “lobbying,” it recognized that the court is not “disconnected from the views of the American people.”
This week, the court may look at two life-related cases from Indiana and Louisiana. The court will consider a case involving the First Amendment rights of sidewalk pro-life counselors in Illinois who try to dissuade women from abortion.
The 2014 Louisiana law that requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion facility where they work is being challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing two Louisiana doctors and an abortion facility. The Center argues that if the law were to go into effect, Louisiana would be left with but “only one doctor to care for every woman seeking an abortion in the state.” While a federal appeals court upheld the law, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with four liberal colleagues to put it on hold until all nine justices could consider whether to take up an appeal.
A similar Texas pro-life law was overruled by the court in 2014. Louisiana has argued that its law requires a higher level of competence for physicians than required by Texas, even while critics such as Planned Parenthood claim that there is no medical justification for the requirement. A spokesperson for the Center for Reproductive Rights told CNN that this Supreme Court system is crucial, having concluded that Louisiana seeks to “unlawfully” restrict abortion.
During this term, the Supreme Court may also examine a 2016 Indiana law that requires expectant mothers to be offered an ultrasound image of their unborn baby, as well as an opportunity to hear the baby’s heartbeat at least 18 hours before an abortion. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU oppose the law, claiming that it places substantial burdens on women. Soon after the bill went into effect, lower courts blocked its implementation.
Even with the two justices added to the court during President Donald Trump’s administration, there is still no pro-life majority on the court. The confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh was said to herald a new five-member pro-life majority on the nine-member court. However, Kavanaugh joined Chief Justice John Roberts in voting with the four-member liberal justices in refusing to review lower court decisions allowing individual patients to challenge states’ exclusion of Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider.
While Justice Clarence Thomas has argued that Roe was wrongly decided and that there is no right to abortion contemplated in the Constitution, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan are expected to rule in favor of the Roe precedent. Bader Ginsburg signaled that the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, and the admission of Trump’s picks, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, has increased the stakes for those promoting abortion. She said this spring that Kennedy’s retirement will prove to be “of greatest consequence for the current term, and perhaps for many terms ahead.”