‘Babies are murdered here’: The protest outside Planned Parenthood centers by an anti-abortion activist
Jason Storms, his wife Sara, and their ten children hand out leaflets to women visiting a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin. Their conviction highlights the flaws that have led to the US Supreme Court on the verge of overturning Roe v Wade.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jason Storms, his wife Sara, and their ten children are spending the day together.
The two oldest girls sing and play the guitar.
Charlotte, three, is pushing five-month-old Hazel in a doll’s pram while one of their boys is scrolling on his smartphone.
On a sunny afternoon, it could be any happy family. However, the Storms tribe is not present at the park.
They are on the sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, and they spring into action whenever someone drives into the parking lot.
The older kids approach women on their way to appointments, handing them leaflets and telling them they “don’t have to go through with it.”
One holds a sign that says, “We will adopt your baby,” while another says, “Babies are murdered here.”
America is at war over the right to choose abortion, and this is the frontline.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision that will represent a seismic shift in American life and law any day now.
At least five of the nine Justices are expected to vote to overturn Roe v Wade, the name given to a landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide up to the point of fetal viability.
If they do, they will overturn a half-century of legal precedent and give the 50 states the authority to decide independently on the right to choose abortion.
Around half of the states are expected to outright ban abortion or impose severe restrictions.
Mr. Storms’ views are extremely conservative, even among pro-life or anti-abortion activists.
Babies have value from the moment they are born.
He is the founder of Operation Save America, an evangelical organization that opposes same-sex marriage, the morning-after pill, and abortion from conception.
“We should clarify in our laws that children are made in God’s image. They hold value from the moment they are born”, he said.
Abortion has traditionally been opposed in America on religious grounds, but it has been hijacked by politicians over the last half-century to bring people to the polls, and groups like Operation Save America are increasingly influential among right-wing lawmakers.
Mr. Storms denies being misogynistic by appearing outside abortion clinics to persuade women to reconsider a decision they may have considered long and hard.
“Thinking very hard and thinking properly is not the same thing,” he explained.
“Life is a right that should be protected for everyone, regardless of their gender.”
I would defend the rights of any woman who is about to be assaulted, just as I would defend the rights of a small child who is about to be assaulted, even if the person who is about to assault her is her mother.”
The majority of people support Roe v Wade.
Julia, his 18-year-old daughter, sees abortion in similar terms and believes it should be illegal even when conception is the result of rape or incest.
“Two wrongs do not equal a right,” she explained.
“And, like the mother, that child is a victim; they did not choose to be in that situation. The child is no less valuable than a child conceived consensually.”
Almost two-thirds of Americans want the Roe v Wade decision to be upheld.
The pastor is concerned if Roe v Wade is overturned.
Reverend Jonah Overton, a local pastor, appeared outside the Planned Parenthood clinic to launch a counter-protest.
Rev. Overton is concerned that the constitutionally protected right to choose abortion will be eroded.
A world in which access to healthcare is selective based on where you live and the whims of your state legislature, they said. I am extremely concerned about what will happen, especially to poor and black and brown women who do not have access to alternative options in the same way as wealthy white women in this country.”
Mr. Storms and Rev. Overton are microcosms of America, divided over an issue that has come to define a country that has often been divided in two, and with such a monumental decision just around the corner, that divide will only grow.