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Pro-lifers rally at the Supreme Court for Mississippi abortion case

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After morning Mass Dec. 1, some parishioners headed from St. James Church in Falls Church to a nearby abortion clinic to protest prayerfully. Others, including Carol Nyce and Mary Marlowe, headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Outside the nation’s highest court stood hundreds of people on both sides of the abortion issue. Inside, the justices heard oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — a case challenging an abortion-restricting Mississippi law. The state of Mississippi hopes the litigation will upend Roe v. Wade — the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion across the U.S. nearly 50 years ago. 

Nyce and Marlowe said they came to the court to support the justices with prayer. “Last night, I was thinking about all the children who have never had the opportunity to be born,” said Marlowe. “Over the years, there have been so many children who have not been allowed to live and who’s going to speak for them? Every Catholic should care about every human life.”

Marlowe also thought about her 86-year-old mother. “She was recently in the hospital and I had to stay with her because she needed somebody to speak for her,” she said. “She couldn’t remember that she fell, she couldn’t remember that she needed hip surgery, that she couldn't just get up and try to walk. It made me realize that there really is a continuum for life. There are stages in human lives that are vulnerable and it's our call as Christians to help the vulnerable.”

Though the oral arguments for the case began at 10 a.m., people arrived at the Supreme Court much earlier, carrying signs and sporting T-shirts championing their cause. Some pro-life signs included slogans such as, “ ’Tis the season to say yes to life,” “Birth doesn’t magically turn you human” and “The ’70s called, they want their ruling back.” Pro-lifers greatly outnumbered pro-choice protesters. 

Monica and Mark Sellers traveled with nine of their 13 children from Ohio to witness the occasion. Mark carried their 6-year-old, Victoria, on his shoulders as she hoisted a sign reading “Empower Women, Promote Life.” 

“I really believe that with prayer and if we do our part, we cannot only make abortion illegal, but even more importantly, we must make abortion unthinkable,” said Monica. 

Noah Slayter, a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in Manassas and a freshman at The Catholic University of America in Washington, had spent hours outside the court by the time arguments began. “This is a historic day,” he said. “This will be something you talk to your grandkids about. I was there when this happened.”

While science and faith inform his pro-life beliefs, the issue is also personal for him. “My family is a foster family, we had a good number of foster children in our house over the course of about five to six years,” he said. “A lot of times, the pro-abortion people will say, ‘Oh abort your child because they could end up in foster care,’ and I find that horrendous because I know the kids that they’re talking (about). You're talking about the person that’s living in the room next door to me.”

Jamie Scherdin came to the court with the national pro-life organization Students for Life. The senior at Winona State University in Winona, Minn., said she faces a lot of opposition for her pro-life belief on campus. Last month, someone poured rubbing alcohol on her as she and members of the pro-life club wrote pro-life messages in sidewalk chalk throughout their campus. 

Though she believes science proves life begins at conception, she cited her Catholic faith for getting her involved in the pro-life movement. “From this court case, I am really hoping to see this law go into effect in Mississippi at the bare minimum, but I am definitely praying and hoping and looking toward a post-Roe America,” she said. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021