After years of fighting Roe, conservatives celebrate but have an eye to the future

Charmaine Yoest was up and at her desk by 10 a.m. on Friday morning, despite having returned home at 3 a.m. from being out of town.

“I ... set an alarm to be sure I was up in time to watch for the decision,” Yoest, the former president of Americans United for Life, told Yahoo News. “I was refreshing SCOTUSblog every couple of seconds, knowing the decision might come out today.

“My heart was racing waiting for the news to come through,” she said. At 10:11 she saw the news come across the web. Roe v. Wade, the decision she had worked most of her adult life to overturn, had fallen by a vote of 5-4 at the Supreme Court.

“It’s hard to take in that you are living through a truly historic moment. It still doesn’t seem real even though the day has been a whirl of calls and texts,” Yoest said. “Getting texts from friends and colleagues I’ve worked with for decades has been deeply meaningful.”

A crowd of anti-abortion advocates hold up signs saying: Roe is dead.
Anti-abortion advocates celebrate outside the Supreme Court on Friday. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images) (OLIVIER DOULIERY via Getty Images)

Deana Bass, a conservative public affairs consultant who worked for Ben Carson’s presidential campaign and as a Carson aide in the Trump administration, was not watching the news closely on Friday morning.

“I was editing videos, so I wasn’t paying attention to news alerts,” she told Yahoo News.

Bass’s sister, who runs their consultancy with her, told Bass around 10:30 a.m. when she dropped by her house.

“We were both elated,” Bass told Yahoo News. “We didn’t cry as we did when the opinion was leaked. We watched some of the coverage at the court and are still confused as to why people are so unwilling to call a baby a human being.

“This is why I voted for Donald J. Trump twice. I’m ready to fight for life in statehouses and wherever else it is needed,” she said.

Two people hug as they celebrate the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Anti-abortion advocates outside the Supreme Court. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images) (MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images)

The response to the court’s ruling among anti-abortion advocates was a similar mixture of jubilation and a forward-looking resolve. Those who have worked on the issue closely know that the court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will shift the focus of the abortion debate to state legislatures.

But other conservative Christians said the future could wait.

“Attention Christians: Stop with the ‘work is just beginning’ stuff please. Today, just celebrate, revel and boast in who God is!” tweeted Sean Feucht, a former congressional candidate in California who has built a following holding musical concerts around the country.

Other conservatives took the opportunity to taunt people who disagreed with the decision. “Can we help you pack?” tweeted Ned Ryun, a conservative political consultant, to a woman who said she was considering moving out of the country.

An activist holds up a sign reading: Goodbye Roe.
Anti-abortion activists protest outside the Supreme Court on June 13 ahead of the justices’ expected decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images) (Bill Clark via Getty Images)

Others, like Robert P. George, a leading conservative scholar who teaches at Princeton, espoused a kinder way.

“Pro-life friends,” George tweeted. “Let us not exult over those of our fellow citizens — good people who are sincerely concerned about women’s welfare — who see the demise of Roe as a disaster. Malice towards none; charity for all.”