The June Medical v. Russo distraction

By Sarah Quale — As if there wasn’t enough injustice to go around right now, the US Supreme Court just handed conservatives another loss, as it struck down Louisiana’s hospital admitting privileges law in June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo. But as leaders in the pro-life movement express their anger and frustration at the court’s decision today, those of us on the ground need to stop and consider what we sought from this decision in the first place and whether the path that we’re on is a viable one.


What were we seeking?

Was it to regain a small foothold after the disastrous Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision in 2016, which upheld Planned Parenthood v. Casey’s undue burden test and radically redefined the level of scrutiny that abortion legislation must meet to be considered constitutional? If it was, why did we put our faith in a Louisiana law that was almost identical to the Texas law that was deemed unconstitutional in Hellerstedt?

Was it to protect women and children from abortion? If it was, why did we put our faith in a mere regulation that allows abortion to remain in the realm of legitimate medicine? To argue that abortion is a surgical procedure that should be subject to just as many safety regulations as any other procedure doesn’t pull back the sterile curtain to expose the lie. It permits the lie to be further covered up.

Was it to congratulate ourselves on electing a president who would appoint conservative justices to “overturn” Roe? If it was, why didn’t we consult history to learn that, in the 38 abortion cases the Supreme Court has decided since 1973, over 75% of the votes to re-affirm Roe were from Republican judicial appointees?

It’s time to honestly evaluate the Supreme Court as a strategy to end abortion

We will not make abortion illegal or unthinkable until:

  • We decide to come out from under the weight of judicial tyranny in this country
  • We stop merely saying that Roe is an unjust decision and build solutions in our local communities that provide real support and protect pre-born children from being killed, whether or not Roe is ever overturned
  • We humbly acknowledge that incremental steps to regulate and restrict abortion only embed abortion further into our laws
  • We reject compromised incrementalism, which sacrifices human lives to achieve political gain, whether real or perceived
  • We acknowledge that the only viable Supreme Court strategy, if we entertain one at all, is to challenge Roe at its very core—the denial of the personhood of the pre-born human being—and do so without exception and without compromise.

In the meantime, cases like June Medical v. Russo and all other “chip away” strategies that are based on health code regulations, nominal restrictions, type of procedure, gestational age, pain capability, and even the presence of a heartbeat are a distraction from our mission. In fact, as Russo and so many other court decisions have proven, they are a direct threat to it.

We cannot compromise with the evil of abortion and expect to find victory.

Sarah Quale is president of Personhood Alliance Education, founder of Educe® online learning, and author of the Foundations online pro-life curriculum. She is an award-winning curriculum and instructional designer who has worked for over 20 years in corporate, academic, and ministerial environments.

41 comments on “The June Medical v. Russo distraction

  1. If your neighbor killed your dog and the dog was pregnant, no one would say that baby dog was not a dog. And a veterinarian would agree. So why do we have doctors who say humans are not humans? Because we have stupid arguments from intelligent persons for rationalizing their grave sins and we have a legal system which denies the truth of which our Constitution makes clear and plain. Every person is a person, whether born or unborn. And we have atheists who are on the Supreme Court who live a life of denial. And who have no hope of eternal life until they repent of their sin against the unborn child.

  2. Arleen Lipke says:

    I was more than a little concerned that Chief Justice Roberts would be a problem, when in his confirmation hearings he invoked the importance of “stare decisis” (sp.?) in deciding cases regarding abortion. Because Roe V Wade, and Doe V Bolton were on the books for many years, at the time of his appointment, I was apprehensive as to the extent that “stare decisis” would play as precedence, should an abortion case be heard in his court. Needless to say, my fears have been realized. Thus far, Chief Justice Roberts has been a huge disappointment. And so I pray daily for him and for all our government officials that Jesus would cover them with His Most Precious Blood, protect them from evil and sanctify them.

  3. Steve Bowman says:

    This speaks loudly to the folly of putting our “eggs in one basket” that being the SCOTUS. It becomes the whim of the swing vote on the court as to whether humans live or die, and even with Roberts saying the 2016 decision for Texas- which was at core the same question- was wrongly decided against the same requirements, he (Roberts) would let the principle stand due to precedent. What a horrible failure of a justice!! Politics exerts a huge impact on the SC, to our surprise? Thanks for your clarifying statements and your important work!

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Thank you, Steve!

  4. Rick De Prisco says:

    I’m as zealous as they come on the issue, having even been arrested once long ago for rescue work (non-violent and even non-obstructionist at the abortion mill) to save babies from abortion. We should not retreat an inch in calling it murder, and murder of the worst kind, since an innocent and defenseless life is being slaughtered each time. I still wince at dismissing all other prongs of attack in the battle. Jesus’ disciples wanted to call fire down from heaven when they observed someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name without following with the group of disciples. Jesus answered, “Do not hinder him, for he who is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:49-50). As long as there isn’t true compromise involved, incremental sallies against this evil should be welcomed, whether from justices, legislators, or executives. In this case, a right SCOTUS decision would have closed all abortion clinics in Louisiana but one, and surely many precious lives would have been saved. And conscience is a strange director. For instance, I could back a bill that said “Abortion is illegal if X is involved,” but I couldn’t back one that would have the exact same consequences but which said, “Abortion is legal if X is not involved.” It may be a fine point to some, but it makes all the difference in the world in how the matter is acknowledged, rightly. Incrementalism can be done carefully so as not to yield on the moral issue. To use a metaphor: if the wicked abortion donkey is racing along such that hunters seeking to shoot it can’t keep up with it, but those along the road throw straws on its back as it gallops by, to the point that the weight eventually causes its legs to buckle and slow, such that it can be caught and killed, then more power to the straw-throwers. Pro-abortion people rarely listen to reason, their position being so heinous on the face of it, but enough of them at the fringes can be worn down via multiple approaches to make a difference. Remember, a war is often won when the prosecutor of it pays heed to both strategic and tactical factors/plans. Let’s not disparage any weapon, so long as it is truly non-compromising.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Thank you, Rick, for your excellent commentary. I am in agreement that incrementalism isn’t itself evil. There are many ways to advance personhood step by step, and yes restrictions do sometimes save some lives. But if we are to pursue them, then we must also pursue our ultimate legal end without ceasing – equal protection under the law, i.e., personhood. I think the biggest problem here, though, is compromised incrementalism, as you note as well, which comprises 99% of bills put forward and laws passed. And even though an admitting privilege mandate itself may not include explicit exceptions, the law it is attached to does. And admitting privilege mandates by nature feed the argument that abortion is a legitimate medical procedure – a falsity that is so egregious that it has taken the abortion industry almost 100 years to cement it in the American conscience. We must not continue to accept this narrative. Again, thank you for your excellent points, and your sacrifice for the least among us. God bless you!

  5. Robert Wahl says:

    I usually don’t add my comments to these email messages but as an active Pro-Lifer I was inspired to do so by several of the replies to this article. I often wonder why in this day and age it has become necessary to prove the personhood of a pre-born human child in utero. How is it that our current society fails to acknowledge the “natural fact” that each of us started life in exactly the same way? Every human being living today was created and formed through the natural human gestation process that took place in his or her mother’s womb. I am no scholar but I was taught that human biology prevents the impregnation of a human female by anything other than a human male. It seems like such a simple argument to say that the result of this natural process is a human being from the moment of conception and if allowed to complete the full term of gestation will emerge to be born and remain as a human being for the remainder of his or her life. To me, this is “natural law” and is not something to be redefined nor restricted by our current legal system at any level.
    The founding fathers declared certain “truths to be self evident” with the paramount among these being “life” itself. If we Pro-Life warriors are to continue to do battle against the forces of evil who have redefined the meaning of “life” in order to reflect their deviant interpretation of “the legislation needed to protect our rights under the law” then we must accept this, “Unless we are willing to join all of our Pro-Life voices to speak as one powerful, rational, unified voice, we can expect to make little to no impression on their way of thinking.” Today we are witnessing a historic exercise of our right to protest against killings perpetrated by those entrusted to protect our civilian population and demanding changes to assure all are equal under the law. Will it take similar mass protests to get our cause moved forward and for our society to regain the moral values on which it was founded?
    As others have commented, we cannot rely on the political affiliation of those elected to represent us nor of those appointed as judges in our courts to unquestioningly defend and protect the God given right to life of all human beings. If we truly believe all human beings are created in His image, then may God have mercy on them and on us for allowing our free will to so alter His divine plan and ignoring His Commandments thus enabling the wanton legalized killing of entire generations of human beings. In November we will go to the polls or vote by absentee ballot for the entire House of Representatives. We will have the opportunity to make certain that only those candidates whose proven belief in the value of all human life make them worthy of our support. Let us hope and pray when they receive our votes, regardless of which political party they are presented by, that when elected they will hear our united Pro-Life voices and legislate in accordance with “natural law” and God’s will. Thank you for all you do to defend and protect our culture of life! Stay safe and stay healthy!

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Thank you, Robert. Very well-stated. Many blessings to you!

  6. LarryGarber says:

    Please go, stand, pray, vigil and plead for the lives of innocent defenseless children at the abortion mill. Send mothers to the pregnancy center so we can help them. Let’s make abortion unthinkable!

    1. Wayne Costello says:

      As this piece suggests, the so called conservatives are anything but, bare the very few. The despicable posturing of so called conservatives who have shown immense cowardice perpetually compared to their rigid leftist confrere on the bench demonstrates that most of these justices are motivated by self interest and self preservation, bar the few notable noble exceptions.

  7. Jessica Chesterton says:

    That,s dibolical Hospitals are most neededeverywere The conservetifs are the most ethical party They should get their priyoritys right

  8. Barbara F. says:

    I really appreciate the comments I have just read from you Sarah. I was not looking at abortion the right way either, and also thought that striking down that law was wrong. Now I see that we need to be standing stronger in striking down abortion as legal and getting rid of abortion instead of worrying all about the “rabbit trails” we go on when we do not look at the whole picture. I agree, we need to be eliminating abortion as a right and as a regular process instead of trying to put in all these laws that have nothing to do with eliminating abortion in the first place.

    God bless you for your clarity of thought in these times of doubt and a world full of shadows instead of the bright light that needs to be turned back on again, full force, against abortion itself.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      This truly blesses me, Barbara. Thank you.

  9. Joe Fitzgerald says:

    At the moment of conception the child in utero becomes a member of the species Homo sapiens and a unique human being. The U.S. law Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 recognizes the child in utero (at any stage of development) as a legal victim if the child is injured or killed during the commission of a crime. 38 states have similar laws calling the child in utero not only unborn human beings but persons.
    Tragically there are those who refuse to accept the humanity, the personhood of the child in utero. There are even those who using 21st century surgical techniques, harvest parts from the living child in utero for sale. This gruesome practice is remindful in centuries past of condemning the guilty to death by “drawing&quartering”. No need to describe the barbaric detail but at least the victim was deemed guilty and there is no record of its body parts being put up for sale.
    The SCOTUS in l857 made an abominably wrong decision, declaring the slave Dred Scott was not person, that he was an “inferior class of human being”, that he was property and could be bought and sold. The Nation corrected this monstrously wrong, 19th century decision, by a long, brutal and bloody civil war.
    The SCOTUS back in the last century made one of its worst and most consequential rulings i.e. Roe v Wade, making the killing of the child in utero legal. It’s long past time for the SCOTUS or CONGRESS to correct last century’s intrinsically wrong decision and recognize the truth, the personhood of the child in utero and as a person is constitutionally protected by the 5th and 14th amendments, both of which state “no person shall be deprived of life, without due process of law”

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Absolutely, Joe! And we will work at the state and local levels to bring change as well because “an unjust law is no law at all.”

    2. Sandra Luz says:

      Phillip , Must everything be blamed on the church that Jesus Himself instituted and promised would stand until the end of time?! Good grief!

  10. I saw this danger coming from the Catholic Church where an issue was centered on parental notification and the Church took a side on it. The illusory idea that you can can take steps to stop murdering children by regulating the practice of it is stupid. The Church needs to recognize the stupidity of allowing for murder by making silly arguments that appeal to scientistic thinking. One of these is pain capable. Imagine murdering your neighbor and arguing in court that he didn’t feel a thing when you sucked his brains out. Scientism is at the root of stupid thinking, and the Church needs to get away from those kinds of stupid arguments which appeal to “feel good” superficial thinkers who win small points. The Church needs to stop majoring in the minors and focus on the real issue, which is murder, not whether the murdered victim can feel it, has a heartbeat, or had his grandparents notified.

  11. Dean says:

    Although I am Canadian, not American, we have the same challenges with our Supreme Court as you have. Namely that we both have courts that are administered by activist judges who have an agenda, and who are quite willing to deviate from well-established legal precedents based on rational thinking, in order to promote it. That’s why I suspect that counting on the courts to defend moral absolutes is pretty much a lost cause in North America.

    On the abortion issue, winning the hearts of citizens to the pro-life view, in my opinion, often involves focusing on two key issues, the humanity of the unborn and the reasons for which the vast majority of women have abortions (convenience). In one-on-one discussions with a number of people, I’ve noticed that they have great difficulty arguing against the person hood of the unborn, especially when the fields of neonatology, embryology and genetics are brought into the debate. It’s also difficult to argue that inconvenience is a good reason to kill a child. If the pro life case is presented reasonably and compassionately, it can sometimes get the abortion supporter to re-think his or her position.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Excellent thoughts here, Dean. Indeed we cannot rely on the courts, and it is imperative that we work to present the case for personhood and against the taking of human life in a compassionate and reasoned way. Thank you for your heart for life!

  12. William Milan Uhlarik, MBA, ARM says:

    Aside from religious convictions for being against abortion, I think that there is also simple ethical humanistic basis for abortion being illegal and unethical because I think that most abortions are done because they are acts done for no other reason than it is a simple, convenient form of birth control to be rid of a child that the couple never wanted to conceive. That seems to be an act of gross negligence and criminal intentional homicide when low to no cost highly effective forms of birth control are readily available to everybody to prevent unwanted children being conceived. Abortion is like a couple getting into vehicle drunk and killing an innocent person in an accident when they knew full well that drunk driving is illegal. In these types of situation, most will be charged and convicted of vehicular homicide. Of course, there will be those that will argue that an unborn child is not a person; however, there is case law out there where those causing the death of an unborn child in his/her mother’s womb has been convicted for murder. And even if, an unborn child is not considered a person, the fetus is still a living thing so that driving drunk and then killing an animal or living things is still a crime for which people are convicted every day. Just a thought on a possible way to make abortion illegal.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Very well-said, William. Fetal homicide laws are a valid incremental effort in which the personhood of the pre-born child can be enshrined into law to allow it to gain a foothold in state codes and statutes. Wrongful death cases can also serve as a way to move personhood forward. This is a strategy our Alabama affiliate is using to bring personhood to the Alabama Supreme Court.

  13. Larry W Gaines says:

    The Supreme Court is going Liberal and Roberts needs to resign along with a few others, like the 3 females. They are not neutral and fair

  14. While I’m all for abolitionism, I think it’s misdirected anger to attack the pro-life community. There are many politicians who are pro-life in name only and will never vote for abolition. It’s sad but it’s still true. The bigger problem is that these same politicians who aren’t even voting for incremental laws are sure to deny flat out abolition bills. The point of incremental bills is to convince wicked politicians that they should give us something to appease us. Meanwhile, we then simply go further with our demands. The hope is that, little by little, we’ll regain ground until we finally get to the point where the personhood of the unborn is recognized. Personally, I’ll fully support any abolition bill brought to light. When it fails (and it will), I’ll also support the incremental bills that come up until the next abolition bill can rise. Maybe that next abolition bill will pass if the world gets used to the small progress in between. I think the only way we’ll ever see abortion eradicated is by using abolition bills and incremental bills is tandem.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Personhood can actually be supported in some incremental efforts. It’s just that most, if not all, incremental efforts put forward by legislators include exceptions and allow for the killing of specific groups of human beings. That we cannot get behind.

      1. Catherine Murphy says:

        Agree 100%!

  15. Catherine Murphy says:

    I was utterly disappointed in the SCOTUS decision, but sadly I can’t say I was surprised. Chief Justice Roberts continues to disappoint. Thomas is my hero among the justices, with Alito as a close second. Kavanaugh—yet-to-be-determined. Your stat about the voting record of Republican appointees was eye-opening and, again, disappointing. Notice how the liberal faction NEVER disappoints its base?! You are absolutely right—it’s long past due to stop settling for the legislative table scraps the pro-abortion crowd is willing to throw us, and call out abortion for what it really is. AND go for the jugular—eradication of it as a legal procedure.

  16. Ruth says:

    ALL of the organizations that fight against abortion need to unite and go after Roe vs Wade as a cohesive body. All of the resources from those organizations need to be put to work under one small legal committee to maximize this effort. The problem so far has been that every organization in this fight has been coming at the problem from a different direction causing money, man power, and creativity to be wasted. The enemy is single-minded, and you need to be also.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Let’s unite on personhood! It’s what the movement already says it believes. We just need to be consistent and principled in the actions we take to walk out that belief. Thanks for your comment!

  17. Gwen Cooper says:

    Please keep fighting the good fight for the sake of these little people

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Thank you, Gwen!

  18. Erwin says:

    Good comment Sarah
    you have the best name on the Bible to speak about keeping and having a baby
    However worse option is to have Democrats in the court, they have as a political goal to promote abortion
    See Biden last promise to the solution for free sex by abortion
    At the very least with Republicans we have the hope to stop the killings
    We need to keep praying for Trump to heave the chance to put two new justices
    Also praying for the heart and mind of the chief justice

  19. We reject compromised incrementalism, which sacrifices human lives to achieve political gain, whether real or perceived
    We acknowledge that the only viable Supreme Court strategy, if we entertain one at all, is to challenge Roe at its very core—the denial of the personhood of the pre-born human being—and do so without exception and without compromise.
    This may be what Our Lord has been waiting for.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Thank you and amen!

  20. Mindy Sharrae Robinson says:

    Prayerfully , but boldly, we do indeed need to take Roe, head on, which legalized the murder of the unborn.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Then let’s answer it with personhood. It’s the only strategy that will take it down.

  21. Laura Romo says:

    We will not relent! We will fight the good fight and we will be confident that in God’s time our nation will be restored in the culture of life. We will prosper again because we follow truth and with God behind us who could be against us!

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Amen, Laura!

  22. David Nelson says:

    I agree completely with this position. Each loss at the court ends up a double loss–the case itself and the further entrenchment of it. Justice Thomas seems to see that clearly in his comments which were very heartening.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Agreed, David. Justice Thomas continues to be a light in great darkness.

  23. Joy says:

    Thank you, Sarah for bringing clarity and perspective. Hopefully the pro-life community will begin to understand why we haven’t made any headway toward ending abortion – and what strategies will truly work.

    1. Sarah Quale says:

      Thank you!

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