I’m proud to have made the pro-life case for Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. Now that he’s been sworn in, I’m eager to help him build a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade and wipe out the “abortion distortion” that has plagued judicial rulings for decades. So when it comes to filling Justice Scalia’s vacancy, it’s essential to assess how the various candidates on President Trump’s Supreme Court list measure up on that score.
That’s why I must respectfully disagree with Andy Schlafly, son of the late and great Phyllis Schlafly, whose vocal opposition to almost all of the candidates on President Trump’s list has, caused confusion and consternation among pro-life activists. Schlafly claims there is only one candidate among the 21 on the President’s list worthy of his endorsement.
Even candidates like 11th Circuit Judge William Pryor, who has decried Roe v. Wade as the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law” and as having “led to the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children,” do not satisfy Schlafly’s qualifications. Pryor has won my approval, and has strong backing from Federalist Society, Alliance Defending Freedom and others whose opinion I highly value.
Phyllis Schlafly herself helped put several candidates on President Trump’s list. She praised them as “top-notch.”
Former Scalia clerk Ed Whelan (who has long argued for Roe to be overruled) has thoroughly argued against Schlafly’s criticisms.
Last week Whelan wrote a response to Schlafly’s condemnation of 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch pointing out that Gorsuch, in a powerful opinion, argued for allowing the state of Utah to defund Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business. Gorsuch has written a doctoral dissertation and a book arguing against assisted suicide and euthanasia and has also declared that “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” Further, Gorsuch strongly supported the religious-liberty rights of Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor against the HHS mandate on abortifacient drugs and devices.
Schlafly claims that Gorsuch “thinks courts should not correct their own mistaken precedents.” But the sentence written by Gorsuch quoted by Schlafly, from the panel ruling in a case United States v. Games-Perez goes on to call for his court to overturn its wrong precedent.
Schlafly also criticizes the Federalist Society for not being, and never being, pro-life. The Federalist Society doesn’t take institutional positions on any issues. But Justice Scalia helped to found the Federalist Society and remained a good friend of it until his death, precisely because of the sound legal principles that the Federalist Society helps to promote. I have every confidence that the Federalist Society is helping President Trump fulfill his pledge to appoint pro-life justices.
Truth is the pro-life movement’s strongest ally in our fight to change hearts and minds in the culture while also building protections for the unborn into our nation’s law. The names being surfaced as finalists for President Trump’s Supreme Court pick provide a historic opportunity to fill the Supreme Court with strong constitutionalists who would defend the right to life of Americans born and unborn.
Marjorie Dannenfelser is the president of the national pro-life advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List. SBA List has more than 465,000 members across the country.