Ruling Moves Battle to New Arena, Foes Agree
Anti-abortion forces hailed the Supreme Court decision today restricting abortions, declaring it will help end “legalized child killing,” but pro-choice supporters blasted the decision as a “war on women.”
It was clear to all sides that the court’s 5-4 departure from past decisions marked the beginning of battles that will be fought out in election booths, state legislatures and the high court itself.
“We see this as a remarkable victory for us in the pro-life movement. It’s the beginning of the end of legalized child killing in our nation,” said Barbara Magera, spokeswoman for the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue based in Binghamton, N.Y.
Pro-choice leaders, including Norma McCorvey, who was the Roe in the court’s 1973 ruling legalizing abortion, said the ruling will cut back access to abortions for poor people.
“It saddens my heart very deeply to know that poor women are once again going to be going to back street abortionists and possibly be mutilated and not having the right to choose,” she told Cable News Network.
“I personally think it’s war against women, and we will respond accordingly,” declared Molly Yard, president of the National Organization for Women, in fiery remarks on the steps of the Supreme Court building.
Randall Terry, head of Operation Rescue, a militant wing of the anti-abortion movement that stages disruptive blockades of clinics offering abortion, called the ruling “a faltering step in the right direction.” The “writing is on the wall,” he said. “Roe is going to go down.”
Terry promised to flood legislatures with an “avalanche of new legislation” aimed at further restricting abortions.
Partisans on both sides had camped out in front of the Supreme Court waiting for the decision. When it was announced, shouting matches erupted among the crowd of about 2,000.
On Capitol Hill, Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) called the decision dismaying and predicted that it will lead to “rampant inequalities” between states that permit abortions and those where women are “subjected to government dictates.”
Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) urged those angry to complain to their U.S. senators and representatives about the decision--the court’s last ruling before it broke for a summer recess. “We’ve seen this whole court session of marching backwards, ripping up rights right and left, and, you know, they rip up another one and now they’re leaving town,” she said.
But Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus, said, “This is a substantial victory for the unborn. . . . Our ultimate goal is simply to stop the killing, to provide positive alternatives to abortion and to make this country abortion-free.”