Marjorie Dannenfelser

What Comes After Roe - June 24, 2022

Marjorie Dannenfelser
June 24, 2022
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Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, spoke with Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewHour after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which effectively overturned Roe v. Wade.

WOODRUFF: We're going to hear from leaders on both sides of this issue about what comes next. First, I'm joined by Marjorie Dannenfelser. She's the president of the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America organization. Marjorie Dannenfelser, welcome to the "NewsHour." So what is your reaction, the reaction of the anti-abortion movement? How much of a victory is this?

DANNENFELSER: Well, for the pro-life movement, this is a culminating moment of 50 years of what we believe is the greatest human rights movement of our time. In every single abortion, there are two that must be served. And the experience of women's since 1973, when they were told that this would be the great liberator, has not been that. It has been quite the opposite. And now when — now that the states and the Congress, every elected body will be able to discuss this issue in the public square. The merits of the arguments will be meted out in ways that aren't closeted, as the Supreme Court required all those 50 years ago, and the will of the people will make its way into the law. And women will be served in ways that they deserve.

WOODRUFF: I do want to ask you, because you told another reporter today, you said that you and others will work to ban abortion — and I'm quoting — "in every state and in every legislature, including the Congress." So is your goal to ban abortion nationwide?

DANNENFELSER: I think that, if you look at what I said, you would see that I will work, and so will the pro-life movement, so will all the legislators, so will Democrats that don't like abortion after the first trimester, to work to be as ambitious as possible in every single legislature. That will be different state to state to state. North Carolina will be different from Alabama, will be different from Vermont and California. It means that the state law will reflect the will of those people.

WOODRUFF: We see — and you're aware of this — public opinion polls have been done by Pew. I mean, the "NewsHour" itself has commissioned polls in the last couple of months that show still that a majority of Americans think Roe — thought that Roe should not the overturn, that most people believe American women should have a right to an abortion. So, how does that public view square with what we're seeing today, do you think?

DANNENFELSER: Judy, I have to believe that you have looked at the rest of those polls. When you look at the rest of those polls, you see that Democrats, women, diverse groups of people — this is not a partisan issue — think that abortion should at least be restricted in the second and third trimester. This seems reasonable to most people. Again, it doesn't please both sides. But it definitely is something that is a consensus in this nation, doesn't reflect that poll bit that you just communicated. And it's because people want restrictions, people want limits that Roe simply would never have allowed, and that has not been understood. The other piece of this is, is the service to women is vital. And it has been going on. And this is a moment of flourishing to serve them in the way that our original women who got us into politics in the first place, Susan B. Anthony and the rest, saw as serving women, and not allowing them to be exploited by the so-called abortion liberators, who would liberate them by build — trying to build their rights on the broken rights of their children.

WOODRUFF: I do want to ask you one other question, Marjorie Dannenfelser, and that is one that comes up from the anti-abortion movement. And that is the fundamental unfairness of saying to women who don't have the financial means who live in states where abortion will no longer be legal that they are, in effect, either going to give birth to a child they are not prepared to give birth to, whereas women who have financial means are going to be able to travel somewhere if they want an abortion to get it.What about that?

DANNENFELSER: Well, that would be unfair if that were true. But pro-life, not anti-abortion, is pro-life at birth and throughout life. And that is the commitment of the pro-life movement. It is my personal commitment, every leader that I know. And not just that small number of people, but the governors that I have spoken to, 22 so far in the states that are most likely to limit abortion very early on, that commitment to those who are perceived as outliers, people who are perceived as can't manage allowing their children to be born, those are the people that we go to first. Those are the people that we love. Love is at the center of this movement. And it is exactly what makes us flourish. And while we will succeed.

WOODRUFF: Marjorie Dannenfelser, thank you very much, the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. We appreciate it.


PBS NewsHour. 2022. "An anti-abortion advocate on what comes after Roe." June 24.