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tv   Mississippi Solicitor General and Attorney General Discuss States Abortion...  CSPAN  December 5, 2021 7:13pm-8:01pm EST

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morning at age 98. an article, a panel discussion with scott stewart about mississippi's supreme court abortion case. panelists talked about arguing before the coat -- before the court. [applause] >> i get the best job of all, i think the, getting to hear from the advocates today. the great task is done, at least for today. the work and the prayers and, frankly, the burning dreams of five decades, which is really more than two generations, cull my may noted with what happened this morning in the highest court of our land. maybe it's just that it's the christmas season and i'm trying to kick it into gear, but i keep thinking of that line from the
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old carol, the hopes and fears of all the years are meant in this room tonight the -- are met in this room tonight. i think of all the young people who will come here in just a few weeks to march in the march for life. as young people have been marching by tens of thousands year after year since roe first passed. some of those young people are here in the room tonight, and some of them have not grown old, but just more experienced working and praying not just for the opportunity that was presented today at the highest court of our land, but they've been working and praying, creating a culture of life in our communities. a culture that's compassionate, empathetic, supporting and loving of women and hair families. and their families. so is the jurisprudence including roe v. casey, states like mississippi have been unable to protect unborn children until viability. that's the developmental point which is considered around 22
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weeks at which a child can survive outside of her mother's womb. and because roe and casey are constitutional decisions, there is absolutely nothing that the political branches or anything else can do about it. in fact, long-term abortions will remain legal until the supreme court returns the issue of abortion to the people. under the supreme court's abortion jurisprudence, it is the only once a baby is viable that states are able to enact protections for the unborn children and their mother subject to certain court-mandated exceptions. this is the viability rule that you herald so much about today. -- you heard so much about today. in 2018 we have herald that mississippi legislators passed and governor bryant courageously signed the gestational act, that's the first 15-week
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abortion ban in the nation. an abortion clinic immediately file a lawsuit, and in may the u.s. supreme court a agreed to hear that student to specifically discuss whether statements can limit abortion before a baby is viable outside of her mother. and as we heard today, it is that question that cuts to the very heart of roe and casey. today supreme court precedent says, no, and it prohibits even modest abortion laws like the one mississippi passed. the gestational aid act comes into effect only at 15 weeks leaving pregnant women months, months to obtain an abortion, it and creates exceptions for the life and health of a mother. it applies at a time when the most common abortion proceed your is dilation and evacuation. a cruel procedure in which the abortion essentially involves crushing and dismembering the
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unborn child. it protects the life of an unborn child who at 15 weeks can hear her mother's heartbeat, can move, can stretch, can open and close the fingers, can smile, can hiccup. the child has fully taken on human form, and emerging scientific the evidence suggests that she can likely feel pain as early as 12 weeks. yet despite this modest, modest reach, the lower federal courts struck down this law finding that roe and its progeny forbids statements from restricting abortion prior to viability no matter how strong the state's interest is. you see, the radicalness of abortion policy mandated by roe is illuminated also by the global protections for the unborn. the 15-week law is at least the as per permissive of the abortin laws of over -- guess how
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much -- 90% of other countries. as chief justice note today the, the united states is one of only a handful of countries that allows abortion up until viability, and we are one of four countries, including in the company of china and north korea, that allow elective abortion throughout pregnancy. under roe united states provides less protection to unborn life than nearly every other country in the world. it's time for roe to go, and it's time for the least among us to have something better. this evening it's the my privilege to introduce to you some extraordinary people who have bravely advocated for life in the highest court of our land and in the court of public if opinion, and they've done it with excellence. first, attorney general lynn fitch. general fitch was sworn in as mississippi's 40th attorney general and, as you herald, the first woman -- as you heard, the first woman attorney general in
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the state. she has more than 35 years of legal experience both in private practice and public interest worst, and if she served as elected state treasurer for eight years. general fitch has ensured throughout this case that her office has championed life in the courtroom and the public square winsomely and with great compassion. second, you'll hear from scott stewart, shis to have the general scott stewart. scott served as a law clerk to justice clarence thomas and -- [inaudible] of the u.s. court of appeals for the ninth sir consistent. prior to scott's tenure as solicitor general, scott delivered more than 40 oral arguments x today he argued his first supreme court decision, again, with excellence. if finally, erin holly will join us, senior counsel here at alliance defending freedom, and before joining ads, he practiced
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appellate law at king and smalledder. she's litigated extensively and served as counsel to u.s. attorney general michael mukasey. erin also clerked at the u.s. supreme court for chief justice john roberts and with judge wilkinson in the fourth circuit, and erin has had the privilege of assisting mississippi with the litigation to the supreme court. so would you please welcome our panel. [applause] general fitch, i want to start with you. we've talked already, you're first female attorney general in mississippi, and you just continue to make history. i mean, it's amazing that you stood before the highest court in the land along with scott
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today, and you argued that we should have the right to empower women and to protect unborn children. can you just tell me a little bit about your thinking about day. what was that like in. >> first of all, to god be the glory. wow, what an incredible cay for all of us -- day for all of us. [applause] not going to be able to talk after watching those videos. i'm so grateful for that. but this is truly an effort by all of us. we've all prayed, worked so hard for this i day, and it all came together because everyone here, everyone that's been involved across our country were believers. we knew this day would come. so to embrace the moment for all of us, it's just amazing. but we all did that because god selected this case. he was ready, the justices were ready to hear what we were all going to be talking talking abo. look at it from a whole list of
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perspectives, that we empower women, and we do promote life. you don't have to make choices, you coit together. so for me -- do it together. so for me, just an incredible moment as it is for each of you. but all of us working together, my team is amazing. they've done a tremendous job, and i want to say thank you to my entire team. [applause] so thank you. [applause] i'm so grateful that we've gotten to this point. and, again, it took the everyone here, everyone praying, again, looking forward to the day -- i've been in practice for a long time, and i don't think i ever thought i would see this moment. but we've all shared it, and we immediate to embrace it, and now we move on until we get that wonderful opinion that overturns roe v. wade, and we then go to a new world where we're in a post-roe world, and we get to make exciting things happen with one another. but there's precious unborn children that will be brought
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into the world for those mothers. so thanks to each of you all. thank you. [applause] >> now, one of the things i love when you're talking about a case, you have such passion and conviction about it, and it just comes -- it's so clear. yes, it's your duty to defend the law. that's what an attorney general does. but this law and the way that you've gone about it is you've made it clear that it's exceptionally important to you to defeinted life, to defend the unborn, to protect women. why is that, and are there a few moments during the course of the last few months or even today that stick it to you that you'll just remember? >> there's so many. i think about all the different times that we have been together or we've been working on getting ready for the brief how every partner, every friend, everyone stepped up. so, you know, just amazing things. like the rally. everything has come together seamlessly because everybody believed in making it happen today. so just reflecting back as this
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all came together as a strategic plan, everyone, again, doing their part, seeing people who had not been involved step up who wanted to be a part of the movement. again, just so exciting. and, you know, for me to be able to work with all of you and to really stop and reflect about how we are empowering these women, how we are going to help these beautiful children become into the world, and we all had a part in that. and so there are just so many times we'd stop, we'd work late hours, through the weekend, whatever it took to get to this moment. it's almost surreal. it's like i can't believe we're all here. we all just need to pinch ourselves to say that it happened. and it will continue to glorify god because this is how it's supposed to be. and again, i'm so grateful, so blessed. >> i mentioned viability role my comments, and i have heard you talk about that before and
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express concerns. can you talk a little bit about concerns you have about viability rule and the opportunity that was here to sent the law correctly? >> absolutely. you know, the question is we all look at it, we all work together. again, it's all about the partnerships. and we really thought, okay, how can we really take on this question. but we really need to have the argument, and we need to just act like, frankly, that's a jumbled set of rules by a bunch of unelected judges, justices. that's so unfair because there are no rules. so what we needed to do was say flatly, you need to overturn this, because that's the only answer that we need because we've not been able to work within those parameters. we have seen it time and time again. sixty years has gone by. things are so much different by. i mean, think about sixty the years. so many of you weren't born. but we think about how things have changed for women, for men.
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i mean, workplace has changed. we've altered the way we have our professional roles. you know, women are very successful, and they have successful family lives. and what has happened in those 50 years because of this jumbled set of rules that really weren't very concisive, they didn't apply. society was moving to embrace women and embrace family life and know that they could be done together. but what they didn't do is they didn't allow us to move forward because roe didn't give us the permission to do that. we had no sent woundilies -- boundaries, rules on how we could incorporate them into society. it was extremely tough for our laws to get caught up. and so argument in knowing that was question, that's why we had to be very strong and very committed to asking, overturn. that's the answer.
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[applause] >> well, scott, you've worked for many months for this day, and you did the an absolutely phenomenal job. there are 81 amicus briefs, there are a whole lot more opinions than that out there on this issue, and people that wanted to provide you advice along the way. also my own experience is there will be a lot of monday morning quarterbacking that will come, and lawyers all think they're pretty smart and could have cone it. just my hypothetical. [laughter] i guess what i want to say and make sure that this audience knows is that at the end of the day, it's the team that gets you there, and at the end of the day you're the one standing there, and you're taking those questions, and that burden falls on you, and the angst falls on you. and so for that, i commend you. >> thank you. [applause]
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but i also want to know if you have a pregame ritual. >> if i what? a pregame in. >> he has a pregame ritual. how's he warm up? >> i was asked this recently, do you have like, do you eat a doughnut before the argument or something like that, and i really -- i guess i'm just too, i don't have enough forward thinking to figure that sort of thing out. [laughter] i will say that i always wear a blue tie with white dots if that's worth anything. [laughter] it's served me well so far. won a lot of cases with these ties. so we'll see how this one goes and hopefully keep up with that if it goes well. >> i had an attorney once that always wore same pair of socks, and i like the tie idea better. [laughter] >> i will say this morning we were sitting in the attorneys' room kind of going through the everything, and scott said i think i need to pace. i said, help yourself. i'll be sitting right here. [laughter] it's okay.
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he was definitely in a mindset. getting ready for the big game. [laughter] >> well, i do want to ask you, scott, about call to overturn the roe. i know you made that with general fitch and that the you were working closely on it. ultimately, it's her call, but again, you're the one that writes it in the brief as well, and you have to stand up there and take the arrows. so will you tell us a little bit about how you and general fitch got to that conclusion? because it's highly unusual that you would stand before the supreme court and tell them they're wrong and it's time to fix it. >> sure. thank you. and before i go any further, i just want to say it's a great joy to be here with you all. it's a great honor for me to work under general fitch, and i just thank everyone for your support. i had a lot of reaching out with support, advice, help. some people i don't know were actually e-mailing me advice as recently as last night about things definitely to include in
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the argument today. [laughter] not all of them made the final cut -- [laughter] but it was, i'm very grateful for the support. i'm, to answer kristin's question, i'm always more comfortable taking a bold, principled position than any other position. you're right, say you're -- if you're right, say you're right and do your best to reasonably, honestly and soundly persuade with someone that you're right, and don't be embarrassed about it, just be bold and clear and stick to what you know to be true. and boldness and courage are contagious, and people are inspired by people who stand for the right thing. the right thing to do was to make a powerful case for the court to overrule roe v. wade. so we did that. we put in innumerabling hours to make best possible case we
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could, and we knew it would come with hard questions. it was, as mentioned, the count, you know, you're eling court you got with it wrong. it's a hard case but stick to your guns when you're right, don't back down, and good things happen, hopefully, when you cothe that. [applause] >> one of the things i enjoyed about your arguments most was that there were several moments where the justices said things that were wrong, you know? there's a position, and instead of going along to get along, you respectfully disagreed with it and let 'em know that you respectfully disagreed with it. can you tell us about some of those moments, maybe what was going through your mind at the time? >> i was having some fun. [laughter] it was, i think the, you know, i think people, people ask are you
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nervous on argument day, that kind of thing, and i'm just like -- if you're a quarterback, you train for the super bowl, it's like, you know, if you're solicitor general of a state, especially a state like mississippi, you do all your work for this day to get it right. and so i kind of invite the -- i know that it's not personal with the justices. you know, they're trying to figure it out. there are hard issues here, and to me, the biggest thing was, you know, just do my best to get the answers that we know are right, that we're comfortable with. be firm but respectful and and realize it's the not personal. we're fighting hard for the right things, but just be patient and answer with calm, and and that's what's persuasive and, ultimately, we're hoping to persuade the court to do the right thing. that was mostly what i was trying to do. >> yeah. wither isty.
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you did -- with sincerity. you did it well. erin, you clerk for the chief judge, and court watchers are very, very interested in what the chief judge is going to do here. they're also watching justice kavanaugh quite closely too. what information did you green today from the questions you herald and the interactions that went on? >> absolutely. well, as was alluded to earlier, i think all of us who were able to hear live stream were so encouraged by the argument, by answers as well as by justice's questions. i really could not have been more encouraged. and i think when we speak specifically about the chief justice, the chief justice made really clear that the viability rule has no place in the constitution. he was crystal clear on that, which is a really good sign that he's leaning toward upholding mississippi's law. now, always hazardous to read supreme court tea lees, and there's a lot of time between now and june.
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but it seems like this was move anything that direction as the chief justice is comfortable overruling at least in part casey. and i'm hopeful because as you look at what would be required to write an opinion just upholding mississippi's law and not striking down roe, it's really tough. as scott can explained in oral argument, you have a standard that is really unworkable and how do you write that away and you're sort of upholding casey but also sort of overruling it. what does that even look like. so i'm hoping that the justices getting to the right process that the chief will be persuaded that we should just go all of the way. i was even more encouraged by justice kavanaugh's questions. i think he asked questions both of jackson women's health clinic as well as scott about isn't the constitution neutral. it's neither pro-life, nor pro-choice, and given that shouldn't we as supreme court be scrupulously neutral? and, of course, scott answered,
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yes. that's a fantastic idea. [laughter] and i think that justice the kavanaugh at least was really of the mindset that a maybe we should get the court out of the business of legislating abortion law. [applause] >> erin, there were also a number of briefs and questions that focused on the harm of abortion, fetal development, the interest of the state. can you talk a little bit about why that mattered? >> absolutely. so there were so many great amicus briefs that focused on different harms that abortion causes. there were briefs that laid out that in the past 20 years, for example, there's been increasing data and evidence showing the harm that abortion causes to women, the increasing health risks that the increase exponentially as gestational age goes along are as well as the mental health risks of abortion. and then, of course, supreme court recognized in the second
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carhart case the integrity of the medical profession that, as you mentioned, procedure at 15 weeks which mississippi's law thankfully prohibits is dilation and evacuation which is a really brutal procedure. and thirdly and maybe most importantly, is protection of the unborn child. and again, as you mentioned, it's actually interesting. the roe court talked about specialty of human life -- potentiality of human life, and then you see a picture of an ultrasound in 1973, and you really couldn't see much. and then today you look, 4-d ultrasound of a 15-week-old baby, and the baby has fully taken on the human form. she can smile, she can taste what her mother tastes. all of these things. and she can even lightly feel pain. and regardless of who is right on the pain factor, certainly
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states are entitled to take that into account, the fact the baby can move, can stretch, that she can possibly feel pain should be on table when states are considering abortion policy. >> we heard some questioning today, scott, and the respondent has also argued that if the court were to overurn the roe and caste city, it would be mired until politics. justice kavanaugh also in his questions today rebutted that in some sense by essentially saying multiple times that the the constitution is silent on the issue and seemed to advocate for some sort of neutrality, even said scrupulously neutral. what are the consequences, would you say, of asking justices to draw lines on such a politically charged issue? >> that's a good question, and it's one that i'm glad the argument touched on so well. the problem in this area, and we were able to ever size this during argument -- emphasize this during argument, is that judges, their job is to act based on neutral principles, to look to a constitution, to look to an authoritative text, to
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look to a rule of law, to a history, a tradition. and the problem with abortion is that the constitution doesn't speak to it. it because, as justice kavanaugh said, scrupulously neutral on the question which got it exactly right. and when the constitution count give an answer, judges have to look within themselves. they just can't look to the law. and when they take that on, when they start the drawing those lines, that's the task of a legislature. i alluded to an observation that justice gorsuch had made about judges need a neutral principle, something outside of themselves, otherwise they just look within, and that the ends up inevitably being their own political or policy judgment. it's not a knock on them, it's just inevitable. so i was glad the issue came up, and he was -- i tried to emphasize to the court in response to various concerns about won't the court look political, that kind of thing,
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concerns that the had been mentioned in casey, the court has done, has done the greatest thing when it stood firm and stood strong and stood the by principle. that's why brown v. board of education is the greatest decision in this court's history, because it stood for the right thing when right thing was hard. and if it does that here and if it because that anywhere, that is by far the best thing from the count, and it's the opposite -- the court, and it's the opposite of political. >> well, of course, before brown v. board, there was let's city v. ferguson. so let's talk about starry -- stare decisis. it's a term that was thrown around quite a bit or at least the principles in your argument, and what responsibilities would argue is that stare decisis means this count should be reluctant to overturn past decisions. you had to respond to that. justice the kavanaugh had a few questions on that as well, even naming some cases that have overturned past precedents.
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how do you think stare decisis doctrine will work itself out and be applied potentially in this decision? >> sure. well, as i kind of emphasized to the court, you know, half of our brief -- more than half of our brief was devoted to stare decisis. and what that's really about is that the court doesn't want every case to be a new adventure. part of law is stability, predictability, rules not changing with, you know, trends or different membership on court. so when court looks to overturn a precedent, it looks are there special grounds, are there particularly strong justifications for doing it. and we devoted a great number of reasons in our brief, and i urged the justices to embrace those reasons odd and said a number of them, roe and casey, they aren't just wrong, they're green juice isly wrong. they uniquely recognize a fundamental -- to end a life. no one can agree on what they
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mean. the supreme court can't even agree on what casey means, and we're now almost 30 years later. they've inflicted profound damage on the nation, our politics, our discourse. they've kept statements shackled to a view of the fact is decades out of date, and they remain 30 and 50 years on outliers in the law. so those are all kind of factors we emphasized. look, you have every reason to overrule roe and casey, and i hope court embraces those, but we emphasized those as you alluded to, kristin, justice kavanaugh here and in a recent very thorough opinion on stare decisis really emphasized, look, we're very careful to overrule precedent, but some of the greatest decisions in the court's history are overruling precedent. there was, of course, the overruling of plessy. justice kavanaugh mentioned a
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good number of major, fundamental cases today during the argument, and i think it was spot on to recognize, you know, look, the question here is, is the court delivering on principles that the constitution promises, particularly when stakes are very high. and we're just asking the court to do here as it has done in some of best decisions in its history. [applause] >> and i just have to ask but you can decline to answer because i probably would, or you cannot answer and just answer whatever it is you want to answer, but i told you i was going to throw one at you. when you think back to oral arguments, is there the anything that surprised you about it? a question you got, an argument other side made? generally, you're going to get every question if you prepared well, and i know you did, but anything that you're just like, wow, i wasn't -- i didn't think that was going to happen or some unique moment? i don't know, maybe something
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justice sotomayor said? [laughter] just throwing it out there. don't go there. i advise you not to go there. >> i actually really, really enjoyed justice sotomayor's questions. like, again, i mean, justice sotomayor, i had good fortune of meeting most of the justices. she's delightful. i had the good -- the honor of having lunch with her and my co-clerks. nothing personal, you know, even if she seemed skeptical of our position, you know? she's doing her best to get the case right, as every one of the justices is doing. but i will say on maybest the not a surprise exactly, so as kristin mentioned earlier, i had honor of clerking for justice thomas, and you hear about, you hear from friends who have argued at the court before, former bosses, and i've previouslied had the honor before the other judge i clerked there's a special honor to the
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arguing in front of your former boss, particularly when you respect your former boss, and there was just something about justice thomas now that he is, seems to be getting the lead line of questioning. there's just something unbelievable of him saying general stewart. like, that's not how we talked to each other in chambers. [laughter] it was just quite an honor to hear, i mean, one, it's always an honor to talk with justice thomas, and it was a quite enjoyable thing to have the good fortune to lead off argument after the opener with colloquy with justice thomas with his excellent questions and kind of a nice back and forth. so that was a special moment. >> i'll bet. [applause] erin, we have many of the authors of the amicus briefs here and nearly every national
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pro-life group filed a brief as a party or on their behalf, and they're here tonight the as well in this room. when you look at different am cuts briefs, what role do you think those played odd? were there any roles old that you saw the amicus briefs kind of impacting the oral argument? >> oh, we had so many great amicus briefs that were filed in this case. i think this is correct, that this is the first time that the amicus briefs on the pro-life side have numbered those on the pro- outnumbered those on pro-choice side, so that's a huge step. [applause] and u.s. amicae, you know, wrote on everything as the harm to women, as a harm to children, to the special rules that apply only in the abortion jurisprudence. and i think one kind of fun example of the way an amicus brief came up today was with the chief justice and his mention of
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justice blackman's papers. he, first of all, advised all of the justices not to keep their papers. [laughter] but in addition, he mentioned that justice blackman, the author the of roe, had himself called the viability line arbitrary. and at least one of the amicus briefs had responded to the history of roe. and as many of you know, justice blackman spent some time at the mayo clinic researching abortion, comes back, crafts an opinion. and in that opinion he actually sents the line -- sets the line for the time period that statements can regulate abortion at the end of the first trimester. i'm not sure, what about viability. and justice blackman says, well, they're both arbitrary, so let's go with viability. so a really strong point in favor of the chief's point that viability has no basis in the constitution, is not a constitutional rule and rather something that looks more
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legislative. >> so i just want to close that loop here, scott. what's that mean? for those that aren't in that precedent as deeply. if viability goes by the wayside, your argument is standard should be -- >> sure. it should be the rational basis of review that applies to all laws. in other words if the constitution does not mark something off for special protection, then the people get to decide it with judicial review that largely respects people's choices. the way i like to think of it, chief justice the rehnquist had this great line in one of the most important cases before casey called webster, and what he says is the goal of constitutional adjudication is to hold true the balance between that which the constitution puts beyond the democratic process and that which it does not. and our fundamental position is that roe and casey got that balance wrong. court should restore that
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balance, and the standard should be rational basis review particularly because this is such an important issue and it's, therefore the, just so vital that the people get to decide this for themselves. >> and one last question. we, the hours that are just a little geeky about it, we read articles about what other advocates have said, and one thing, paul clement says when he walk withs out of an oral argument, when he leaves he's saying would you rather be us or would you rather be the other side. answer the question. [laughter] >> i'd always rather be me. [laughter] no matter how it went. [laughter] >> so true. [laughter] >> drop the mic, you're done. very true. okay. erin, i want to ask you in terms of the options the way it plays out, i think it's probably
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better for you to prognosticate than the gentleman who just argued case. there are certain options that could come out of this. can you just lay out what we're looking at, the possibilities? >> absolutely. so i think the possibility we're all hoping is the supreme court would take scott's arguments and the attorney general's argument and overrule casey. and i think that's very much on the table. a number of justices expressed a lot of frustration with sort of tough position the justices are now in in applying something that's the idea of if judges are make abortion policy rather than leaving it to the state. so i think that's a good possibility and was really encouraged by argument. i think sort of middle option is that the justices, the majority on court could uphold mississippi's law. so as has been mentioned, mississippi's 15-week law, so the court could say something
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like the 15-week law maybe meets the undue burden standard, or they could sort of move the viability line to the 15 weeks. this is a pretty tough opinion to write because how do you, on the one hand, you're sort of deferring to stare decisis and prior precedent, but on the other hand, you're gutting what casey call roe's core holding which is the viability line. so it's a little bit messy and something that some of the justices will be pushed into writing something more principled which i think is overruling. and then the third option, of course, they could affirm the fifth circuit decision below and stick with the viability line that is in casey and roe. i'm hoping they don't do that. from every indication we gotted today, there are a number of justices who see problems with that. as mississippi so ably argued, this harms the democratic process and a right to abortion is found nowhere in the text, structure or history of the constitution. so i'm betting that is the last
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option. >> as we draw our time to a close, i wanted to spend a couple minutes looking to the future. what does a perhaps post-roe world look like assume ising that the court strikes down roe, essentially overturns it, and these questions with return to the individual states. as we do that, i think it's vital that we acknowledge that these are difficult issues for women. this is a difficult choice that the many times unplanned pregnancies are the result of challenging and even deeply, deeply painful circumstances. it can be a very tough journey to watch. one of the things i've loved about hearing you advocate in the public square in terms of this case, general, is you talked about abortion doesn't have to be the end of that story. and that really to empower women, abortion doesn't empower women, it disempowers women. can you tell us a little bit
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about how you see that plague out as we consider a -- playing i out as we consider a post-roe america? >> absolutely. it's going to be a great time when we get there. but, absolutely. as we return it to the statements, the tapestry will be different. but it's our responsibility to be there for those women, for those children to help along the way because they are tough choices. we immediate to sport them. -- we need to support them. i thank you for all you've each done to make this happen, but there's some more days ahead of us. we have to be there supporting. we have to be embracing. you know, that's -- abortion is not the answer, and some of those women had some very difficult times. they live in poverty or they're in an abusive relationship or they don't have a degree or job training or they don't have a great support network to help them. we need to rally together and be there for them. we need to be helping them along the journey, because if we help them, we help that child.
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and it's important. [applause] and we are so blessed. we have so many phenomenal groups that are signed up helping right now, ready to go. our faith-based organizations, everyone is engaged. and know that if we do this together, we can make a tremendous impact in such a positive way. but we also have some other hard work that we all have to do. we have to continue to work with our outstanding legislators and our governors, because we need to make sure that those laws that are being passed both end empower women and promote life. and so we've got some great days. it's an incredible message, and i truly believe that we're going to attain that. [applause] >> and, erin, lastly for you, as you think general fitch just talked about the care that we need to provide for women and
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the support we need to provide for women. there are many people in this audience that are doing that, thousands of pregnancy resource centers. we need more of that. can you talk for a minute in terms of at the legislative level as well as through litigation what you see also playing out in the post-roe scenario. >> absolutely. so i think it was allude to earlier, but if the statements are returned the authority to protect life, i think you're going to have states making different choices. i've been so impressed with adf life team. they've been in this fight for a very long time. and i know that they and others like them are ready to step into the gap and provide policymakers with information about life and with resources and those sorts of things and support them in litigation as well. and i loved attorney general's description of empowering and embracing women. i was visiting with a gentleman earlier this evening, and he mentioned something that 70% of
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the women they see who have had abortions actually say they would have liked to have been a mother or at least had the child if they would have been in different circumstances. and i think that's something that i here in this -- i think you here in this room are changing and that in a post-roe world can, should and must change. so we need to come together to make that happen. >> right. [applause] general fitch, i talked a little bit about the burden that was on scott's shoulders this morning as he paced and then went into court. but i also know that there was an even bigger burden on your shoulders. ultimately, that final decision about whether to go after roe sits with you. st your name. you were -- it's your name. you were elected to the position, and you call scott. so i just want to, first of all, commend you for your courage and honor you for the leadership that you showed and that you
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exercised it well, with grace. and that was important. and in terms of final words for tonight though, i also think that because of that i want to make sure you have the opportunity to have final word on the panel in terms of what would you like our friends in the audience returning home when they're thinking about this day, when they're thinking about the evening, when they're focusing on the months ahead. because we're not done. we don't walk away now. what do you want them to remember or know? >> first of all, again, i want to say embrace this time that we've all made happen together. it's an incredible day in history. we, today the, turned the page on roe v. wade, and we get to start a new chanter in american history -- chapter in american history, and we get to do that together. but there's the work ahead of us, and it takes every one of us. the continued messaging, the prayers, the compassion, lifting each other up. we know we've got tough times
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ahead, but we're reined. and we know -- we're reined. we're prepared for this job -- ready. we have to continue to exercise along the way. this has been a god thing. we've all been called, we've all been waiting, and now it's here. but we don't stop now. we start the next chapter for what we all have to do probably for that june decision. but we need to be mindful that we do have hard work but, again, we're ready. everyone in this room, you're ready. we're all a united front, and for the first time we're going to say we believe, we have feint, and we're going -- we have feint, and we're going into a new world post-roe v. wade. so thank you for all that you've done and for all that you will do. may god bless each of you. thank you so much. [applause] >> as we conclude our time on the panel tonight the, i just want to end with one final
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thought that i think captures the night so well. we don't protect life, as general fitch talked about, for abstract or philosophical purposes. it's not a theoretical question. 63 million lives have been lost since roe v. wade came to be. the scripture also tells us that every human being is made in god's image, that they're worthy of dig dignity, respect and cred for a specific purpose. we work to give these tiny children their the moment, to bring them into the light of day, to grow into the remarkable, one of a kind purpose for which each of them and each of us was tend ther thely created. so the miracle is that each life in fulfilling its purpose does so much to bless and to strengthen all of the rest of us. thank you. [applause] thank you to the panel. [applause]
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>> here is what is coming up tonight. una is next, journalist j.b. mackinnon discusses his new book. he explores what would happen to the economy and environment if the world cut consumption by 25%. then from london, this week's prime minister's questions on. afterwards, we reflect on the life and legacy of bob dole. he passed away today at age 98. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more, including cox. >> cox is committed to providing affordable internet. bridging the digital divide one
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connected and engaged student at a time. cox, bring us closer. >> cox supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. ♪ host: j.b. mackinnon, your latest book is one you describe to your readers as a work of imaginative nonfiction. what does that mean? j.b.:

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