Updated at 2:43 p.m. ET
Anyone who wants to understand National Institute of Family Life Advocates v. Becerra, which the Supreme Court will hear Tuesday, would do well to start with a viewing of Jackson, Maisie Crow’s 2016 documentary about the abortion battle in Mississippi.
In one memorable scene in the film, Barbara Beavers, director of the pro-life Center for Pregnancy Choices, asks donors to fund a “crisis pregnancy center” across the street from the state’s only abortion clinic: “The closer you can get the CPC to the abortion clinic,” she explains, “then the closer you can get a woman to choose life for her child. Having a place that’s walking distance, that’s huge, because a lot of times these women are dropped off. That’s the greatest need, for the CPC to be as close to the abortion clinic was we can get it.”
In the film, protesters near the abortion clinic intercept women entering: “You know there’s a Crisis Pregnancy Center and they offer lots of free help and sonograms?” says one. Another asks, “Can I give you this free card so you can go to a free clinic?”
The film goes inside both the abortion clinic (called the Jackson Women’s Health Organization), and CPC, the “crisis pregnancy center.” Inside the clinic, Dr. Willie Parker, the medical provider, counsels a young woman (her face is not shown) who has come for an abortion: “The state requires me to tell you that there’s a risk of bleeding, there’s a risk of infection, there’s a risk of damage to any of your organs. Now, guess what? All of those complications are also associated with having childbirth. The thing I have the most problem with having to tell you but am required to tell you is that if you have an abortion it might increase your risk for breast cancer. There’s no scientific evidence that abortion increases your risk of breast cancer. I can’t say enough: This is your decision, this is not anything you have to be ashamed of. Disregard those people out there. They know nothing about your life, they know nothing about you. This is health care and we’re here to make sure you can have safe, legal access to abortion. And that’s your choice and that’s your right to do that.”