A rally held Monday by Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute celebrated what anti-abortion advocates hope could be the end of the constitutional right to an abortion as the U.S. Supreme Court prepared to hear arguments in a case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade.
The state’s most prominent abortion opponents gathered on the eve the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization hearing, which concerns a Mississippi law that bans abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before the viability standard established in Roe.
Among these abortion opponents was an attitude of confidence that the conservative majority on the court would rule in favor of Mississippi and strike a devastating blow to Roe.
“We must labor to not only make abortion illegal, but unthinkable,” said Centennial Institute director Jeff Hunt. “Our work is just beginning.”
Hunt compared the fight against abortion to the fight against slavery, something he’s done in the past.
“William Wilberforce is kind of a patron saint to me,” Hunt said. “I’ve modeled my life and my work in public policy after him. If you don’t know, he and a small group of people in London brought about the end of the slave trade in England.”
Hunt and the Centennial Institute have over the past several months joined the conservative scourge against critical race theory. A panel at the Centennial Institute’s Western Conservative Summit in July was titled, “The Plot to Change America: How Critical Race Theory and Identity Politics are Dividing U.S.”
Hunt emphasized that part of CCU’s mission is to “impact culture in support of the sanctity of life” and “train up students to embrace the sanctity of life.”
“I think a U.S. Supreme Court justice will one day come from Colorado Christian University and a president of the United States will one day come from this campus,” Hunt said. “This is the vision.”
Colorado Right to Life president Dr. Biff Gore appeared confident that the court would overrule Roe: “Abortion is unconstitutional because a person is a person no matter how small.”
Gore led the event attendees in prayer, saying, “I pray that you would go into that courtroom and be with those lawyers, the people on the side of Dobbs. I pray that the people on the other side, that their arguments would be as idiotic as the people on the other side of [Kyle] Rittenhouse.”
Gore also appeared to compare vaccines to cannibalism, saying, “The majority of states were pro-life until the federal government stuck their nose in it just like this federal government is sticking their nose in all kinds of mandates and then cannibalizing us by using aborted fetal tissue in some of the treatments that they are pushing on us.”
There is no aborted fetal tissue in any of the COVID-19 vaccines. Cell lines derived from aborted fetal tissue have been used to manufacture vaccines for decades, including those against rubella, chickenpox, and hepatitis A, in addition to drugs against diseases like hemophilia and arthritis. Cell lines are not aborted fetal tissue, as some anti-abortion and anti-vaccine advocates falsely claim. Fetal cell lines are grown in labs and descend from cells taken from two abortions that occurred decades ago, and the cell lines that are currently used in the development of certain vaccines are thousands of generations removed from the original fetal tissue.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine used fetal cell structures in its development and production. The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines did not.
Autumn Stroup of the Colorado-based Family Policy Alliance also spoke at the event. The Family Policy Alliance is an anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ religious lobbying group and an affiliate of Focus on the Family. Stroup urged the crowd to prepare for a post-Roe era.
“After Roe is when the real work begins,” she said, emphasizing that without Roe, states have the power to decide when and how to ban abortion. “Colorado is one of the worst states and we have a lot of work to do to prepare after Roe.”
“We are approaching a new era,” she said. “For decades, Roe has been a black cloud over America. Its days are numbered. We know that.”
Other event speakers included President of Democrats for Life of Colorado Tom Perille, Students for Life’s Lauren Castillo, Republican National Committeeman Randy Corporon, Alternatives Pregnancy Center’s Lori Ann Satriano Arfsten, Focus on the Family’s Nicole Hunt, and Catholic Charities’ Lynn Grandon, among others.
The court heard arguments in the Dobbs v. Jackson case Wednesday morning, and a decision is expected sometime next year. On Nov. 1, the court heard arguments in two cases concerning Texas Senate Bill 8, a near-total ban on abortion that has been in effect for three months now. The court has not yet issued a ruling.
The outcomes of all of these cases will drastically reshape the landscape of abortion access in the U.S., not just in Mississippi and Texas. Ruling in favor of Texas or Mississippi gives other conservative states the green light to pass similar abortion bans and restrictions, something around half of U.S. states appear poised to do. If the court overrules Roe entirely, 12 states have laws on the books that would ban abortion immediately.
Colorado has better access to abortion and fewer restrictions than most states, and due to Democrats’ control of both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s mansion, the right to abortion is relatively safe. Colorado does not, however, have a law or constitutional amendment that affirms the right to abortion.