“I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law….Roe v. Wade is a constitutional right that is well established.”

Thus spake Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), according to a CNN report.

But which Roe v. Wade decision does Sen. Collins stand by? There’s the imaginary Roe, which dictates that unregulated abortion be available throughout pregnancy. Then there’s the actual Roe, which permits states to leave abortion unregulated but also permits many laws protecting the lives and safety of mother and preborn child.

Where does Sen. Collins stand on First Amendment protections for peaceful pro-life witnesses outside abortion facilities? After all, McCullen v. Coakley is “established decision, established law.” Or does she consider peaceful pro-life witness to be an attack on abortion rights?

How about restrictions on public funding of abortion and abortion counseling? The Supreme Court OK’d such restrictions decades ago. Abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU Reproductive Rights Project use terms like “gag rule” to describe efforts to keep abortion providers out of taxpayers’ wallets. In the Senator’s view, do restrictions on public funding amount to “hostility” to Roe v. Wade?

Parental notification for minors’ abortions, reflection periods before abortion, informed consent laws, restrictions on mid- and late-term abortion, protections for children who survive attempted abortion: certain forms of these laws have been found consistent with Roe. Then again, PP and ACLU consider such measures attacks on abortion rights.

The pro-Roe Senator Collins could vote with a clear conscience for a jurist who supports the abortion regulations that have been approved by the Supreme Court since Roe. Such a nominee would not be hostile to the actual Roe decision, even if that nominee displeased PP and the ACLU.

Maybe one day there will be less deference to a precedent that’s inconsistent with human dignity. For now, though, we’re left with wondering what Senator Collins means by “hostility.”

Ellen writes about the life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. 

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I was in the midst of the March for Life in Washington a few days ago. No count was possible from my vantage point, but you can view this time-lapse image from Students for Life to get an idea of the crowd. Not many satellite trucks around, though, except for EWTN’s. Other news outlets managed to find their way to Washington for the Women’s March the next day, so it’s not as though they were unfamiliar with the area.

The 2018 March for Life passing in front of National Archives. Ellen Kolb photo.

We weren’t exactly under the radar. Gotta love social media and the countless posts from participants in the March. President Trump’s address drew some news coverage. Still, as has been the case since the first March in 1974 observing the first anniversary of Roe v. Wade, there was plenty of room for more coverage. A civil rights march in defense of the right to life rates at least as much attention as a presidential tweet.

As a public service, I hereby announce for the benefit of all reporters, bloggers, and commentators that the next March for Life in Washington will be on Friday, January 18, 2019. Mark your editorial calendars now. No excuses. Rain, shine, or snow (and I’ve marched in all those conditions), the event goes on.

A mother and daughter carry signs at the March for Life in Washington.
Mother and daughter at March for Life 2018, Washington D.C. Ellen Kolb photo.

Come for the youth. The number of high school and college students will astound you.

Come to see how many states are represented. If the March is something new to you, you’ll be surprised.

Walk around the National Mall before the March and check out the meet-ups and mini-rallies going on, apart from the formal program that precedes the March.

Many states and large cities have their own marches for life on or near the anniversary of Roe. The March in Washington rates a special trip. With or without the news coverage it deserves, it’s a place and event full of inspiration and encouragement. Plan now for 2019: see you in D.C. on January 18.

Ellen Kolb is a writer and blogger specializing in public policy on the right to life. She works (and hikes) in New Hampshire. Read her coverage of life issues in the Granite State at Leaven for the Loaf. 

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