NBC hosts anti-abortion leader for a softball interview as the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

Marjorie Dannenfelser: “This is just the beginning. We have been waiting to open the door for 50 years.”

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Citation From the June 24, 2022, edition of NBC News Special Report

LESTER HOLT (ANCHOR): Also with us is Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that aims to end abortion in the U.S. Can you give us your first reaction to this ruling on what you have seen?

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER (PRESIDENT, SUSAN B. ANTHONY LIST): Yes, it is the culmination of almost 50 years of work. Back then, 50 years ago, every single pro-life law was wiped off the books in every — all 50 states. It was the court saying we don’t care what your opinion is on this deeply moral and difficult decision. Today, the court has reversed that decision saying, yes, what the people care about does matter, and it should be allowed to make its way into the law. That is how democracy works in our nation.  And the reason it has been so divisive, so difficult for almost 50 years — building in difficulty — is because that has not been allowed to happen. So today is a day of hope and certainly a day of celebration for the pro-life movement. And we will stay focused exactly as we always have been and that is saving every life and serving every woman.

HOLT:  Does this end it for anti-abortion efforts, or is there a next goal here?

DANNENFELSER: Oh, no. This is just the beginning. We have been waiting to open the door for 50 years. Now the door is open, we go to every state and the Congress and the territories and make sure that we are doing all we can to be as ambitious for women and unborn children in the law and that we are serving them at every step along the way.

HOLT: As we have noted, this decision was telegraphed a few months ago — that draft leaked opinion. When you saw that, did you anticipate that that would be what we would see today or were you concerned that something may change along the way?

DANNENFELSER: Well, we were certainly hoping that it was. We thought that it was probably leaked so it would put pressure on Roberts, that there would be a lot of violence and civil unrest based on the leak, that it would pressure on the court to do something different. So that was certainly a concern. But I think it probably — it had the opposite reaction, which is perhaps to cement some of those decisions. But basically, those decisions were made on terms of the text and history of the Constitution, not on what is happening at the — in front of justices homes or the firebombing of pregnancy care centers. That did not work. And that is a vote yes for democracy. And I think that we will see this as something really important as we move ahead in trying to depolarize this world.

HOLT: Abortion rights supporters will now likely look to Congress. What do you anticipate could happen there?

DANNENFELSER: Well, what I see first and what I've been working on with our allies in the movement for many months is movement in the states. Right away there will be pre-Roe bans on the book say at 15 weeks, 20 weeks from conception, and trigger laws that will allow laws to go into effect in about 16 states or so. And there will be battlegrounds where there is great hope and possibility for unborn children and their moms in other states. The reality on the federal level is that we have a lot of work to do. Over the last several election cycles, we have had votes on the 20-week pain-capable week bill in the Senate, and it's barely gotten a majority and it certainly hasn’t gotten a filibuster proof majority. So we have a lot of work to do there, and i will certainly be in the center of the midterms and in a way that will advantage our pro-life candidates all over the country, especially U.S. senators and governors and House members looking to take over the House and the Senate.