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Roe v. Wade: Pro-life leaders react to Chicago mayor’s ‘incendiary’ call to arms

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Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot leads the city's Pride Parade as Grand Marshal, June 30, 2019. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot leads the city’s Pride Parade as Grand Marshal, June 30, 2019. | Vashon Jordan Jr. via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Catholic and pro-life leaders are condemning the Chicago’s mayor’s “call to arms” in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting that justices will overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

“To my friends in the LGBTQ+ community—the Supreme Court is coming for us next. This moment has to be a call to arms,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat in a same-sex marriage, tweeted on Monday. “We will not surrender our rights without a fight—a fight to victory!”

Catholic and pro-life leaders expressed concern with Lightfoot’s wording at a time when abortion activists are threatening Supreme Court justices and attacking Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers.

“It is seriously concerning to see politicians like Mayor Lightfoot use incendiary language with violent undertones at a time when certain Supreme Court justices need additional security and churches and pregnancy centers are under actual attack by the abortion movement,” Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, told CNA.

She added, “Efforts to intimidate jurists and frighten pro-lifers will not prevail, but they are reckless and must be condemned.”

The ​​March for Life Chicago — which unites thousands of Midwesterners every year to promote life — expressed concern about Lightfoot’s wording amid the ongoing violence.

“The March for Life Chicago condemns Mayor Lightfoot’s ‘call to arms,’ especially following a Molotov cocktail being thrown into a pro-life organization’s office just 150 miles from Chicago,” the group told CNA. “The March for Life Chicago calls upon Mayor Lightfoot, civic leaders, and all Midwesterners to peacefully build a society where preborn children and their parents are protected from the violence of abortion.”

Amy Gehrke, the executive director of Illinois Right to Life, also called out the mayor.

“At a time when violence in the city of Chicago is spiraling out of control, it is mind-boggling that Mayor Lightfoot is putting more taxpayer money towards the violence of abortion,” she told CNA. “It is also mind-boggling that, with violence against pro-life advocates rising sharply, that Mayor Lightfoot would use irresponsible and incendiary language such as issuing a ‘call to arms.’”

On Monday, Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health announced an allocation of $500,000 for supporting “access to reproductive healthcare for Chicagoans and patients seeking safe, legal care from neighboring states that have or ultimately will ban abortion if the Supreme Court decides to strike down Roe v. Wade.”

“Through this investment, my administration is reaffirming our commitment to ensure safe access for anyone seeking safe reproductive healthcare,” Lightfoot said. “That includes access to transportation, lodging, care, and, if necessary, safe and legal access to an abortion procedure.”

Gehrke responded, “By welcoming women to Chicago for abortions Mayor Lightfoot is putting the women of our neighboring states at risk.”

“Talk of threats to the LGBTQ community and others is a straw man,” she concluded. “Abortion advocates know when they talk about the real issue — the deliberate killing of preborn children and the harm it causes their mothers — they lose.”

The mayor’s press office did not respond with comment by time of publication to expand on the meaning of Lightfoot’s remarks. When Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado’s third congressional district called Lightfoot an “insurrectionist” in response to her “call to arms” tweet, Lightfoot responded, “Excuse me. Insurrection is your thing. Not ours.”

In response to the Supreme Court draft opinion, which the court noted “does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case,” some Democrats such as President Joe Biden have claimed that overturning Roe would threaten  LGBTQ and contraception “rights.”

The draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, takes pains to say otherwise.

“To ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” Alito writes. “Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedent that do not concern abortion.”

“Roe’s defenders characterize the abortion right as similar to the rights recognized in past decisions involving matters such as intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage, but abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called ‘fetal life’ and what the law now before us describes as an ‘unborn human being,’” the draft reads.

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Roe v. Wade: Pro-life leaders react to Chicago mayor’s ‘incendiary’ call to arms