Susan Wills, J.D., LL.M.Associate Scholar
Susan Wills, J.D., LL.M., served for 20 years as Assistant Director for Education and Outreach for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, prior to her retirement in July 2013. She earned a J.D. cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law and an LL.M. in International Law from Georgetown University School of Law, where she was awarded the Thomas Bradbury Chetwood, SJ Prize for the highest academic average. Mrs. Wills has written hundreds of articles and resources on a broad array of legal, bioethical, and life issues for both Catholic and secular periodicals, including National Review, The Washington Times, American Thinker and Public Discourse. Her scholarly articles have appeared in Linacre Quarterly and The Journal of Health Law and Policy (The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law). While at the USCCB, Mrs. Wills oversaw preparation of the bishops’ annual Respect Life Program and developed training and outreach materials for the Church’s Project Rachel Ministry. She has been a frequent speaker at statewide and diocesan conferences and a guest on national radio. In 2012, she received the Catholic Bishops’ “People of Life” award. Since her “retirement,” Mrs. Wills has continued to write and edit, notably as a senior writer and editor for Aleteia in 2014 and early 2015.
Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act—banning almost all abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation—raises the question: “Why 15 weeks?” A person with pro-life convictions could reason that an abortion at six weeks’ gestation ends the life of a child just as surely as an abortion at 15 weeks, or from the moment of fertilization. Someone who supports abortion might argue that Roe v. Wade established a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy up until birth—under Doe v. Bolton’s “health” exception—if the mother is distressed due to the inconvenient timing or other circumstances of her pregnancy. And yet the choices, risks, and long-term consequences faced by a woman with an unplanned pregnancy differ significantly in the first trimester of pregnancy compared to those in the mid- and late trimesters. These very real and serious consequences seemingly never make it into the national discussion of abortion, to the detriment of the women who bear these burdens.
Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court rarely attract much public interest. One news cycle and a few op-eds are probably the norm for even the most important and sweeping decisions. But one Supreme Court decision eclipses all others in the past century. Far from being forgotten, in the almost 50 years since Roe v. Wade announced that the “constitutional” right to privacy encompasses a woman’s decision to abort her child, including late-term abortions, its fame (or infamy) just keeps growing.
In this paper, CLI scholar Susan Wills compiles evidence which shows that emergency contraceptives can operate as abortion inducing drugs. Wills examines the latest scientific studies and explains how emergency contraception has been shown to prevent newly created embryos from implanting in the uterine wall, thus facilitating early abortion.
This report examines the declining abortion rate in the United States and questions the standard line that better contraceptives are the key to reducing abortion.