WASHINGTON – In December, U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Many legal experts say it presents the most important test yet of Roe deer v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. The issue is the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 2018 law banning most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
As with any high-profile Supreme Court case, dozens of amicus curiae, or “friends of the court,” briefs have been filed both for and against Mississippi law.
Kelsey Hazzard, lawyer and founder and president of the Secular Pro-Life group, is one of the signatories of an amicus file supporting Mississippi’s pro-life law. The brief argues that women’s ‘social, economic and political opportunities’ were already increasing before. Roe deer, and that abortion is not necessary for the socio-economic success of women
The following is a transcript of the CNA interview with Hazzard. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Tell me about you. What is your personal and religious journey? How did you get to where you are professionally?
I grew up attending a United Methodist Church, which is officially a “pro-choice” denomination. Abortion has never been discussed, in the pulpit or elsewhere. As a result, the pro-life stance was not presented as “religious” to me. Once I was old enough to understand what abortion was, I came to the pro-life movement simply by applying my general values, such as standing up for the “little guy”. When I left Christianity for unrelated reasons (it just ceased to make sense to me) my pro-life stance was not affected as it has always been secular.
Professionally, I am a lawyer in private practice; my pro-life advocacy is 100% voluntary. I received my BA at the University of Miami and my JD at the University of Virginia Law School, and have held leadership positions in pro-life student organizations for each [university].
The amicus brief sets out an argument that, unlike the Court’s decision in Roe vs. Wade, abortion did not facilitate the advancement of women and, in fact, hurt women. Can you explain to me the arguments and the evidence in the brief?
In Planned parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court said that although Roe deer was wrong, he couldn’t correct his fatal mistake because American women had come to rely on abortion for their career advancement. This is the infamous “addictive interest”. And yet in the decades that followed Casey, abortion rates have dropped dramatically as women have enjoyed ever-increasing earnings in the workplace. Forget about “correlation does not equal causation” – they don’t even have correlation!
As a professional woman myself, the fact that the highest court in the land attributes my success to the mass slaughter of unborn babies fills me with disgust. It’s the opposite of my values, and I deserve credit for my own hard work.
How come you signed the amicus brief in this case?
One of the Secular Pro-Life board members heard about the ongoing feminist pro-life dossier from another signatory, and we jumped on it!
Have you signed amicus briefs in similar cases in the past? If not, why was this case different for you?
It was my first time joining an amicus brief.
Many say this case has a chance to reverse Roe vs. Wade. Do you agree?
Have you always considered yourself to be pro-life, or was there a moment or event that convinced you to take on the job?
I cannot indicate for a moment. I have been pro-life ever since I heard about abortion.
What are the biggest misconceptions or myths about the pro-life position that you encounter in your professional environment?
That we are all Trump supporters, that we are all Bible hitters, that we are all… anything, really, is a myth! Our movement is incredibly diverse.
Do you ever feel like you are treated differently from others because you are a pro-life woman? In the pro-life movement, do you feel you are treated differently because of your atheism?
The pro-life movement welcomed me with open arms. In my experience, women are the majority of pro-life activists involved. Pro-life female leadership is mundane and mundane. Pro-life atheism is statistically less common – according to Pew, people with no religious affiliation make up about 12% of abortion opponents in the United States – but most pro-religious people welcome the collaboration.
We hear a lot about the pro-life stance as being “anti-science”. Do you often face this accusation? If so, how do you answer?
Pro-life is pro-science. The pro-choice movement has almost become a caricature of itself at this point. I mean, talking about “heart activity” or “palpitations” to avoid saying “heartbeat”? Go on.
Having said that, I think the “cell block” talking point is about to disappear; the truth is just too hard to avoid. Instead, it’s the ad hominem attacks that take the lead: “you hate women”, “you don’t care about children after they are born”, that sort of thing.
How does it feel to lead a secular pro-life organization? How do I counter the “take your rosaries off my ovaries” criticism?
Leading a secular pro-life organization is an honor, and is also reminiscent of cat breeding. Secular pro-life has become a hotbed not only for atheists and pro-life agnostics, but also for members of minority religious groups like Wiccans, Mormons, Muslims and more liberal Christians who do not fit the l ‘religious law’ label.
I had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. It really underscored for me how unique every human being is – and how much the world suffers with every abortion.
What do you hope for the future of the pro-life movement? How can other faithful women support your efforts?
We must remember that success in Dobbs is just the beginning. I’m afraid people will become complacent, thinking that the reversal of Roe deer was the goal. No: saving lives is the goal. The post office-Roe deer the abortion industry will not quietly accept defeat. They will enact increasingly extreme laws in pro-abortion states. They are already trying chemical abortion programs by mail. Increasingly, abortion advocates are dehumanizing not only children in the womb, but also their advocates. It will get worse before it gets better.
Is there anything you would like the pro-life movement, or pro-life people in general, to try to improve, especially when it comes to the possibility of a post-Roe deer country becomes more and more likely?
Pro-lifers have spent decades building an infrastructure of pregnancy resource centers, maternity clinics and other support systems for pregnant women in crisis. We need to continue this investment and do a much better job of advertising what already exists.
What good is a scholarship for pregnant students if the candidate who needs it does not hear about it?
More broadly, we need to repair the capture of mainstream media by pro-abortion interests, so that pro-life efforts to help needy families can get fair coverage.