But the timing — and manner — of this week’s leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion that would strike down the landmark 1973 decision, which legalized abortion nationwide? That counts as a bombshell.
To discuss the big scoop by Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward, Religion Unplugged convened a panel of top religion journalists who have written extensively about the abortion debate.
Clemente Lisi and I moderated the panel. Lisi, who teaches journalism at The King’s College in New York, is a ReligionUnplugged.com senior editor who focuses on Catholic news.
The panelists were:
• Adelle Banks, Religion News Service production editor and national reporter (see “If Roe goes, Black church leaders expect renewed energy for elections”).
• Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News religion reporter and associate national editor (see “As some rallied over Roe v. Wade, these Christians prayed”).
• BeLynn Hollers, Dallas Morning News reporter who covers women’s health, politics and religion (see her coverage of Texas’ restrictive abortion law).
• And Kate Shellnutt, Christianity Today senior news editor (see “This is and isn’t the moment pro-life evangelicals have waited for”).
Among the tantalizing questions the panel explored: Is the abortion debate a religion story?
Yes and no, Hollers said.
Yes, Dallas said. “But maybe not for the reasons people might assume,” she quickly added.
Banks’ RNS colleague Jack Jenkins interviewed demonstrators outside the Supreme Court after the leak.
“He noted how much of a religious presence there was there, which I guess in some ways answers that question,” Banks said. People for and against abortion, she said, were “there for religious reasons.”
Shellnutt said, “It’s kind of hard to ignore, I think, the differences among faith groups you see on this.”
The future of religious groups’ activism on abortion — on both sides of the issue — was a major topic, too.
BOBBY ROSS JR. is Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.