Roger Severino, the former director of the Office of Civil Rights at Health and Human Services under Donald Trump, told a group of more than 2,000 high school and college kids at the Students for Life annual conference Saturday that they can win the abortion fight by having tons of babies.
“You have to do your part,” he said. “Get married and have kids—lots of them.”
Students who support abortion rights, Severino added, are at a natural disadvantage because they “don’t reproduce.” (Nevermind that the average abortion patient, according to the New York Times, is already a mother.)
Politico reporter Alice Ollstein posted updates from the Washington, D.C., conference on Twitter Saturday, noting that students took a vote on what kinds of abortion bans they’d like to see now that Roe v. Wade was overturned, and one speaker made a very unfunny joke about the national diaper shortage.
Sunday will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Roe decision, and the anti-abortion movement apparently has no plans of taking their feet off the gas now that they got the opinion overturned. At the annual March for Life Friday, attendees chanted, “One, two, three, four, Roe v. Wade is out the door...five, six, seven, eight, now it’s time to legislate,” as leaders called on politicians to get down to the business of banning abortion through laws.
“We have to work very hard to make sure we keep our eye on the prize, that we don’t say, ‘Hey, Roe v. Wade is overturned. We’ve done our work. Now it’s time to go home.’ I would say, to be transparent, that was a concern of ours,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, according to Ollstein. “I think some people were a little bit frozen in time and not sure what to do.”
Of the state ballot initiatives post-Roe, in which voters in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana and Vermont made clear that they want to keep abortion rights, Dannenfelser said conservatives need to simply “up [their] funding game” rather than abide by the will of voters.
“I think those ballot initiatives were a wake-up call that 50 years of work can be wiped out in a second unless you’re ready to go with a real battle plan,” she said.
Needless to say, the overturning of Roe was never about sending the issue back to the states, as conservatives have claimed for decades—it was about getting the green light to impose their will on the whole country.