Protesters at the annual "march for life" in Washington (held each year on the anniversary of the Roe vs Wade decision) were reportedly jubilant over the expected confirmation of Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court.
The marchers have every right to be happy. There is every indication that Alito is an extremist in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. President Bush, after all, promised to name men to the courts who emulated that dynamic duo. All but two of the members of the Supreme Court have now been appointed by Republican presidents who have vowed to make abortion illegal.
Times were very difficult for women in the days before Roe vs Wade and if Alito votes to restrict a woman's right to make her own health care decisions those difficult days will return.
Many clergy people took extraordinary risks to support women who needed an abortion in the pre-Roe days. Their stories are chronicled in a piece available for download on the web site of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
Today there are still many in our churches - both ordained and lay people - who are willing to risk much to make sure that women have both the legal rights and the access they need to make their own decisions. A victory for Bush, Alito and their allies in the Religious Right will not end the debate.