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Statement on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States has issued its final decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization . After months of leaks, protests, attacks against churches and pro-life organizations, and an assassination attempt against one of the Justices, the Court has overruled its prior holdings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey . The majority ruled that no right to abortion exists within the U.S. Constitution, and that Congress and state legislatures may regulate abortion as they see fitAmerica is one of only 7 countries in the world to allow abortion after the 20-week point of pregnancy. Roe and Casey mandated that abortion be legal in all 50 states through fetal viability, and even after viability for pregnancies threatening maternal “health” (defined so broadly as to encompass essentially all pregnancies). With today’s decision, the Court repudiates those errors, and gives Americans the latitude to regulate or even ban abortion outright through laws passed by their duly elected representatives. This decision does not end abortion in America, but turns the question over to Congress and the states. We therefore look with trepidation at our home state of California. Our governor has shamefully declared his desire for California to be “sanctuary state for abortion.” The Legislature is poised to pass legislation to have women in pro-life states come to California to have abortions, with taxpayers paying for the costs of travel, lodging, child care, lost wages, and the abortion itself. Perhaps most frighteningly, the Legislature is poised to vote on an amendment to the California Constitution explicitly guaranteeing an unbound right to abortion, which will be subject to a popular vote in a ballot initiative this November. We cannot establish a just society until every person receives protection under law, from conception to natural death. We pray for our country and our state, that children would be protected, that women and men who have experienced abortion will find forgiveness and healing, and that those struggling with difficult pregnancies will find help and hope. For our part, Right to Life of Central California’s work remains more critical than ever. We remain committed to helping women facing challenging pregnancies, helping women who have suffered through abortion with post-abortion healing resources, working against pro-choice California legislative efforts, and promoting the work of our subsidiary corporation, the Obria Medical Clinics of Central California.

For comment or interview requests, contact RLCC Executive Director John Gerardi at 559-229-2229.

July 2, 2022
John Gerardi

Texas Abortion Law

In our latest installment of the Right to Life Classroom, our executive director, attorney John Gerardi, explains Texas’ new abortion law, and why the Supreme Court kept it in place.

January 24, 2022

Explaining Texas’ Abortion Law

Last week, the Supreme Court decided not to stop a new Texas law limiting abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy to come into effect. This has spurred a lot of misinformation on social media and in major news outlets

Our director, John Gerardi, is an attorney and graduate of Notre Dame Law School, who have extensively studied the question of American abortion law. He provides the following explanation below:

  • Texas’ law does not impose criminal penalties on abortion. Instead, it creates a “private right of action,” a right for individuals to sue abortion doctors or others assisting with abortion, excepting mothers.
  • Usually, someone only has the ability, or “standing,” to sue when they are directly harmed, or if they represent the interests of someone harmed (for example, parents or suing on behalf of their children). Aborted children often lack anyone to represent them, since they suffer the harm of abortion at the request of at least one of their parents, who ordinarily represent their children’s legal interest. Thus, given the extraordinary circumstance of the unborn child as an injured person with nobody to represent her rights reliably, Texas decided to extend the cause of actions to others in Texas, in order to give unborn children someone to protect their interests.
  • Civil liability (the risk of being sued and having to pay money in “damages” to an aggrieved party) is an essential layer of protection American law provides for protecting innocent life. Consider the case of OJ Simpson: while he avoided criminal conviction (many believe wrongly), he was found civilly liable for his two homicides, and was forced to pay a heavy amount of money in damages to his victims’ families. Civil and criminal liability are the main “risks” criminals hazard when they commit crimes, and deters the conduct of potential criminals. Subjecting abortion doctors to lawsuits is not tantamount to “terrorizing” them, as some have described it. It is simply putting the public on notice that there are consequences for assisting in this particular act of homicide.
  • The Texas law does not provide exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, which is presented as evidence of the law’s cruelty. First, while incest is often attendant to rape, incest by itself is not sufficient reason to kill an innocent child. The fact that a child may have genetic abnormalities as a result of incest does not lessen that child’s human dignity, any more than other physical or mental disabilities. It is a distinct form of “ableist” and near-eugenic bigotry to assume that those with disabilities are of lesser human worth on the basis of presumptuous arguments about their likely “quality of life.”
  • It is morally incumbent upon all of society and the political community to do everything possible to assist mothers who become pregnant through rape, through social services, financial assistance, and every other possible method. However, we cannot lose sight of the human dignity of the child. I myself am acquainted with several persons who were conceived through rape: who are mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses, and friends, people with value and importance and dignity. There are far more couples who wish to adopt than babies available for adoption; we must do everything in our power to promote this loving option. We cannot make “value judgments” about a child’s future based on the circumstances of their conception.
  • The Supreme Court did not “uphold” Texas’ law, or overturn Roe v. Wade. Rather, the majority on the Court simply held that they could not impose an injunction (a court order telling a person to stop doing something) against the state of Texas for a law that its officials (district attorneys, the governor, the attorney general) do not enforce. Texas’ law is enforced through private individuals filing lawsuits, not by Texas public officials initiating criminal or civil actions.
  • The Supreme Court will ultimately decide the central question at the heart of this debate this year, when they hear the case entitled Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In this case, the Court will actually decide the central question of whether states can ban abortion for any duration of pregnancy, particularly prior to fetal viability. If decided correctly, this could be the case to overturn Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court cases that have enforced legal abortion for all nine months of pregnancy and for any reason as a near-untouchable constitutional right since 1973. The Court will hear oral arguments for the Dobbs case in October, and then will issue its final decision likely in June of 2022. These cases are constitutional travesties, that created a constitutional right that is found neither in the Constitution’s text, nor in American legal or constitutional history.
  • Texas’ law imposes civil liability for abortions performed when fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around the sixth week of pregnancy. Some pro-abortion advocates have tried to argue that referring to this as “heartbeat” is misleading, and have argued that this is instead “electromagnetic pulses” or “cardiac pole activity.” This is semantic silliness borne out of a desire to avoid identifying the fetus with human vital activity. While the first signs of heartbeat do not emanate from a fully and perfectly formed heart, this is the beginning of heartbeat as we understand it, which doctors monitor for the sake of charting the unborn child’s vital activity.
January 24, 2022
John Gerardi

Outreach Center

Want to make a Difference?

Right to Life of Central California’s “Outreach Center” is  located immediately next door to Planned Parenthood’s main Fresno abortion clinic. Our outreach center is the base of operations for our incredible sidewalk advocacy work, as well as the headquarters for our volunteer efforts and 40 Days for Life campaigns.

Women have chosen life and babies have been saved, as a result of our outreach team sharing pro-life options. Lean more and read their stories. Click below to get involved in Making a Difference for Life!

The 300 CLUB

Less than a dollar a day to fight for LIFE!

Less than a dollar a day to fight for LIFE! The 300 Club is a grassroots effort of Central California residents to FIGHT FOR LIFE! It’s a simple and effective way to give direct support to our mission. 300 Club Members commit to giving less than a dollar a day ($300 a year).

Rachel's Vineyard

Wounded by Abortion?

Rachel’s Vineyard conducts confidential weekend retreats to help
rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats
offer a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment
where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal
and healing.

www.RachelsVineyard.orgLearn More

Right to Life Radio

“Right to Life Radio” is a weekly pro-life news program, hosted by RLCC executive director John Gerardi. It airs 9-10 AM every Saturday morning on Powertalk 96.7 in Fresno. Check it out!

Learn More