The Battle to Protect the Unborn

The Battle to Protect the Unborn

We all have questions as we await the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case. Recently, Colleen Holcomb, a local attorney and member of the Care Net family, wrote a blog post that details the situation from a pro-life legal perspective. It provides some history, insights, and a look ahead at what comes next for abortion across the country and here in Virginia. 

As pro-life Americans, in many ways, we are living in the days we have been praying for: the day the news declares that Roe v. Wade is dead!

Although it is not yet official, a leaked draft confirmed to be authentic indicates that a majority of the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. These two cases have supported the Supreme Court’s claim that the U.S. Constitution contains a right to abortion.

Indeed this is great news! But, tragically, the battle to protect the unborn is far from over.

The legal situation surrounding abortion is confusing even for Constitutional legal scholars. The following is just a brief overview of the history of federal abortion law, a description of the current legal landscape, and actions pro-life Americans can take to keep defending innocent life.

The Age of Roe v. Wade

In its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court claimed that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution contains a “right to privacy” and that this right to privacy guarantees a right to have an abortion.

Because of this determination, the Court established a policy (which is not the Court’s job) dictating what kinds of regulations states were allowed to impose on abortion during each of the three trimesters of pregnancy. Roe prohibited the states from placing restrictions on abortion during the first trimester.

The Supreme Court expanded protection for abortion in the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. In Casey, the Court left in place the Roe Court’s claim of a constitutional right to abortion but rejected the trimester framework. The Court in Casey held that any state restriction on abortion before “fetal viability,” meaning the time the baby could live outside the mother’s womb, must not pose an “undue burden” on a woman seeking termination of her pregnancy. This decision and its intentionally vague language empowered the abortion industry to successfully challenge most regulations on abortion at any stage of pregnancy.

The End of Roe v. Wade

On May 2, 2022, Politico published a leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In Dobbs, the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after fifteen weeks, the gestational age that current scientific data indicates that an unborn child can feel pain.

The draft opinion indicates that most of the Justices have voted to overturn Roe and Casey, and the idea is music to pro-life ears!

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito finally acknowledged:

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

So, Roe and Casey have been overturned, but does that mean abortion is now illegal?

Sadly, no. Through the Dobbs decision, the Supreme Court has determined that the Constitution does NOT contain a right to abortion. So, no federal “law of the land” requires states to allow abortion. But similarly, there is no federal law requiring states to protect unborn life. Therefore, in the absence of a federal right to or prohibition of abortion, the legality of abortion falls to the states, as it was before Roe. 

Justice Alito explained in his draft opinion why it is more constitutionally appropriate for abortion policy to be determined by the states: 

We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.

Justice Alito then quotes the late, imminently pro-life Justice Scalia’s words from his dissenting opinion in Casey:   

The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.

Immediately following the leak, pro-abortion leaders in the Senate attempted to pass a law that would have enshrined Roe in federal law by establishing a federal right to abortion at all stages of pregnancy, even to the moment of birth.

The Senate currently has a pro-abortion majority, so if the law had been brought to the Senate floor for a vote, the law would have passed. But thankfully, Senate procedural rules require a sixty-vote threshold to invoke “cloture,” meaning to end discussion of any proposed legislation and move to a final vote. Praise be to God; enough Senators opposed the legislation to keep it from moving to a vote.

Federal Legislators on both sides of the aisle are advocating abortion legislation to protect life and to require abortion. So, we need pro-life Americans to stay engaged!

Here are just some pending pro-life federal bills to watch and encourage your Congressional leaders to support:   

    • Born Alive Protection Survivors Act – This act would create a federal requirement that medical personnel must act to save the life of any child born alive after an attempted abortion.
    • Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act This would create a federal prohibition on abortion after the specific time science has indicated a child can feel pain in the womb. Some versions of this bill reference 20 weeks, but scientific advances since the bill’s introduction, have now indicated that children in the womb can feel pain at 15 weeks.
    • Women’s Right to Know Act This act creates a federal requirement that abortion providers must inform women seeking an abortion of their child’s gestational age, fetal development, and the risks associated with the procedure. 
    • SAVE Mom and Babies Act – This would prevent abortion drugs from being distributed through the mail or via telehealth and prevent the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from approving new abortion-inducing drugs. 
    • Heartbeat Bill – This bill would establish a federal prohibition on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected or around six weeks of gestational age. 

What Does This Mean for Virginia?

Twenty-six states have existing laws on their books or pending legislation ready to pass once the Dobbs decision becomes official that will ban abortion either entirely or within the first few weeks of pregnancy. Sadly, Virginia is not one of them. Virginia law currently allows abortion through the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.

In recent years, Virginians passed several laws to protect women and empower them to choose life, but when a pro-abortion majority took control of the General Assembly in 2020, they eliminated these protections.

However, a pro-life majority regained control of Virginia’s House of Delegates in 2021, and the pro-abortion majority holds the Virginia Senate by just one vote. If pro-life Virginians can build on those gains in 2023, we have an opportunity to save lives. Governor Glenn Youngkin has stated that he will support a twenty-week ban on abortion.

What Can You Do to Defend Life in This Season?

Now is an exciting time to engage in conversation about life. According to recent polling:

    • 56% of Americans support the decision in Dobbs
    • 71% oppose abortion after the first trimester
    • 58% oppose taxpayer funding for abortion
    • 65% would support a candidate who supports abortion limits

Despite what the media tells us, abortion is not popular with a majority of Americans.

Now is the time for pro-life Americans like yourself to get involved in the discussion, voice your support for life, continue to pray, fast, march, vote, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, continue to partner with organizations like Care Net Peninsula to support the mothers and fathers facing unplanned pregnancies. Let everyone know that we are not just pro-birth but pro-abundant life! 

Colleen Holcomb, J.D., Guest Author

June 13, 2022

Read More News Updates

Critical Year-End Ministry Update

Tragically, 15 children in Virginia died from Covid-19. But since March 2020, 300 times that number of babies died from abortion . . . on the Peninsula. That’s over 4,000 preborn lives taken from our community in less than 3 years. But it would have been more.

Read More »

2020 Impact Report

Providing Help & Hope Through a Difficult Year

2020 Impact Report

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Peter’s response to Jesus is my go-to during ‘dark nights of the soul’, theologians talk about. 2020 delivered plenty of those nights for many of us. Peter’s words have two implications. We have unending hope when our health, our culture, even when our whole world seems to be collapsing around us. It also means there’s a God-sized hole in the heart of man that can’t be filled in any other way. The women we serve are fed a steady stream of lies that abortion will fill that hole. It will not.  

Unfortunately, in 2020 those lies got a little louder. New abortion laws and Covid-19 combined to create the potential for an abortion BOOM. For example, a national abortion provider just launched new ads targeting women in our community by offering the abortion pill “discreetly mailed in 2-4 days” without ever leaving home. This was against the law just 12 months ago.

BUT THERE IS HOPE. As part of the Care Net Peninsula family, you helped share words of eternal life with 506 women on the Peninsula last year. Your faithful giving, your prayers, the cookies you dropped off for the staff when we remained open in the early days of the lockdown – those things speak life to me, to our ministry, and to the women and babies we served this year. 

You equipped Care Net to invest more than ever to reach vulnerable moms on the Peninsula. We never shut our doors. We added STI testing. We launched a digital learning platform to equip our clients for parenting. We’re doing whatever we can to ensure the Peninsula is a community where, no matter what, moms have the help and hope they need to choose life for their baby. 

Thank you so much for being part of the Care Net Family. 

Ryan Holloway, Executive Director

LOCAL PREGNANCY STATS

New abortion laws in Virginia eliminated the ultrasound requirement

The new laws also lowered the standards for where and by whom abortions could be performed

Under the guise of being a “study”, national abortion organizations started providing the abortion pill by mail

Unplanned Pregnancies and Abortions

• 3,016 unplanned pregnancies
• 1,435 abortions

2020 Clinic Stats

2020 Expenses

The Care Net Team

Board of Directors

Garrett Maroon

Chair

Wayne Holcomb, J.D.

Secretary

Ms. Bobbie Lewis

Board Member

Heatherly Cabral

Board Member

Pastor Shaun Brown

Board Member

Dyan Gurley

Board Member

Jerrid Neeley, M.D.

Board Member

staff members

Ryan Holloway

Executive Director

Shantelle Giles

Clinic Director

Anne Sych

Director of Development

Gail Slocum

Director of Operations

Dr. Elizabeth Lunsford

Medical Director

Meg William, RN, BSN

Nurse Manager

Kinta Dye, RN, BSN

Nurse Manager

Carla Branson, RN, BSN

Nurse

Sherri Pigue

Client Relations Manager

Meg William, RN, BSN

Nurse Manager

Sheri Coker

Senior Client Advocate

Karen Reynolds

Client Advocate

Amanda Franks

Media Specialist

Maggie Jervey

Community Relations Manager

Linda Mesibov

Adminsitrative Assistant

Make a Donation Today to Provide Help and Hope to Local Women on the Peninsula!

Critical Year-End Ministry Update

Tragically, 15 children in Virginia died from Covid-19. But since March 2020, 300 times that number of babies died from abortion . . . on the Peninsula. That’s over 4,000 preborn lives taken from our community in less than 3 years. But it would have been more.

Read More »

Telabortion

Telabortion

Telabortion is a research study that sells abortions without having any in-person care

TELABORTION IS A STUDY
Medical abortions account for 42% of abortions in our country, and they come with issues that are often not discussed. Very recent legal actions have changed the landscape of abortion today – allowing ‘telabortion study’ options. This study attracts the attention of a woman facing a crisis and is packaged as an easy solution. However, it is putting the health and safety of vulnerable young women at risk. Advertisements tout ease and simplicity, BUT ignore the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) warnings regarding the medications used in medical abortions (mifepristone and misoprostol).

UNDERSTANDING THE RISKS
There are very specific guidelines in place for the use of mifepristone and misoprostol. The FDA has classified mifepristone under the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program. REMS is meant for drugs known to have serious safety concerns. Also, there are necessary medical tests that should be completed before and after they are prescribed. The FDA website currently states: “Mifeprex may only be dispensed in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider”.

Yet these drugs, risky as they may be, are being mailed out – to be taken at home, alone – without a physician to care for the patient.

Here’s the real deal: Telabortion is a research study that sells abortions without having any in-person care. There is a glaring absence of the “one on one” relationship with a medical provider covering all the protocols. Specific recommendations for medical abortion protocol should be based on established published scientific literature. The steps should include screening for eligibility, counseling, education, informed consent, medical history, physical examination, laboratory evaluation, medication, follow-up care, and conclusion of treatment. Don’t take any shortcuts with your reproductive health.

WE CAN DO MORE FOR THE WOMEN IN OUR COMMUNITY

At our clinic Alcove Health, you will get the Real Deal. We are the only free clinic on the Virginia Peninsula that will meet with you one on one and cover all of the options available to you when making a pregnancy decision. We offer confidentiality, accurate medical information, resources, and trustworthy counsel. You’re not part of a “study” here. You get a human relationship with listening ears and options tailored to your needs. Your decision today can have a long-lasting impact. 

Critical Year-End Ministry Update

Tragically, 15 children in Virginia died from Covid-19. But since March 2020, 300 times that number of babies died from abortion . . . on the Peninsula. That’s over 4,000 preborn lives taken from our community in less than 3 years. But it would have been more.

Read More »

Delivered Discreetly To Your Home

Delivered Discreetly to Your Home

Abortions Are An Unnecessary Risk

We can all agree there are times when our only option is a risky one. For instance, if I was being chased by someone with a knife, then I’d probably risk knocking on a stranger’s door for help. Or if I was stranded on a deserted island and a stranger offered to help me home, I’d probably risk accepting help from a stranger.

Because these risks would be worth it.

Because the alternatives would be riskier.

But then again, there are times when the risk isn’t worth it when it’s not even necessary.

Mail-to-home abortions fit into this last category.

The FDA requirements for medical abortions (by pill) require that a woman see a provider in-person to receive the medications. This requirement has been removed temporarily during the COVID pandemic.

While the restriction has been removed, the need it met has not been removed. There are good reasons – for our health as women – that a visit to the provider is required by the FDA. You see, good medical care often requires care that can only be provided in person. 

Like an ultrasound. It can’t be delivered to your mailbox. For years, an ultrasound was required standard of care prior to receiving an abortion in Virginia. Why? Because it gave a woman the information she needed. Because it protected her health. An ultrasound shows if a pregnancy is ectopic. An ultrasound reveals if there is even a viable pregnancy. We’re smart women – these details are important. 

Maybe not to the abortion provider. To the abortion provider these details – an ectopic or nonviable pregnancy – mean their services will not be purchased. 

But to a woman’s health, well, this information is vital.

And ultrasounds – here in Hampton Roads – are available. And free. Right at our clinic Alcove Health. No gimmicks. Just safe care because we care about the women in our community. 

Risky procedures don’t make sense when we have better options that are free.

There are times I’ll take some risks. 

But not with my health. Not when I don’t have to. Not when the safe answer is also the free answer.

Say no to risky procedures; say yes to safe medical care. 

Critical Year-End Ministry Update

Tragically, 15 children in Virginia died from Covid-19. But since March 2020, 300 times that number of babies died from abortion . . . on the Peninsula. That’s over 4,000 preborn lives taken from our community in less than 3 years. But it would have been more.

Read More »