Erin Hawley: The Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Leading The Fight To Create A “Culture of Life”

Erin Morrow Hawley, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, holds an impressive legal resume that includes spearheading the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade.

A recent article in Politico pointed out that although the media most commonly refers to her as the spouse of senior U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, Erin Hawley has blazed her own influential path since graduating from Yale Law School.

Long before she joined the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, marriage and family, parental rights, and the sanctity of life, Hawley was laying the groundwork to become the formidable court presence she now leverages at Alliance Defending Freedom.

After clerking for Chief Justice Roberts, Hawley litigated high-profile appellate cases at the Supreme Court. Along the way, Hawley cultivated a reputation as a “top-notch brief writer,” and “lawyer’s lawyer.” Her career path also included serving as the law clerk of Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and as counsel to Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Hawley joined Alliance Defending Freedom in 2021, where her legal acumen and fierce convictions have proven a powerful combination. Some suggest Hawley actually wields more tangible influence in shaping modern social policy than her better-known husband. As one acquaintance stated, “Josh is a show pony. Erin is a workhorse.”

What is Alliance Defending Freedom?

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, marriage and family, and the sanctity of life.

Alliance Defending Freedom Church Alliance and Alliance Defending Freedom Ministry Alliance are ministry arms of Alliance Defending Freedom that extend legal defense services to churches, ministries, and other faith-based groups. This support equips them to navigate potential lawsuits, subpoenas, or complaints, ensuring unhindered operation in line with their religious convictions.

As vice president of the Center for Life and Regulatory Practice, in addition to being senior counsel, Hawley was a critical part of the legal team at Alliance Defending Freedom that successfully argued the landmark Dobbs case, which overturned Roe v. Wade — the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that had found a constitutional “right to abortion.”

Politico referred to it as “the most consequential Supreme Court abortion case in the 50-odd years since Roe itself was decided.”

Alliance Defending Freedom president and CEO Kristen Waggoner referred to Hawley as a “brilliant, fearless, and devoted attorney” and an “invaluable asset” to ADF’s litigation efforts. Colleagues and Yale contemporaries describe her as a brilliant yet kind lawyer – a dedicated professional who does not shy away from defending her Christian beliefs.

Hawley is not resting on her laurels after the monumental Roe v Wade victory. She is now lead counsel in an upcoming Supreme Court case that could be almost as far-reaching in its impact as Dobbs.

This spring, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in FDA et al vs. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al.

Hawley has already argued and won at least partial victories surrounding this case in two lower courts.

FDA v AHM, concerns mifepristone – the drug used in over half of U.S. abortions today. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing medical groups challenging the FDA’s rollback of safety restrictions surrounding chemical abortion.

Over the past decade, the agency has stripped requirements that require doctors to directly screen patients before prescribing mifepristone and monitoring patients afterward. Yet these abortion pills have documented risks, including complications like severe bleeding.

By enabling broader at-home use without ongoing physician oversight, ADF says the FDA unlawfully jeopardized safety.

Alliance Defending Freedom is asking the Supreme Court to uphold lower court rulings, finding that the agency failed to adequately regulate the drugs.

For Hawley, it’s a personal mission. She has often shared the story of attending a planning meeting for the Dobbs case toting her then-six-month-old daughter, who interrupted the meeting with her cries. Hawley said she interpreted this as a sign underscoring what she was fighting for — the notion that children are infinitely precious gifts from God.

In her testimony to the the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Hawley wrote, “A post-Roe America is one in which we can celebrate the unprecedented access that expecting mothers of all backgrounds and socio-economic status have to medical care, social services, and community support. These praiseworthy advances—ignored by the Abortion Industry that seeks to keep women in the dark—will only accelerate with the overruling of Roe as States and their citizens are finally permitted to not only affirm life as a human right, but also to create a culture of life that promotes the flourishing of the mother and her child.”

Dobbs is not only a legal victory for life; it is a rallying cry to States and pro-life individuals to provide even greater support to mothers as we walk alongside them. Dobbs allows our society to focus resources where they are most needed,” she added.

Hawley’s multipronged fight for a “culture of life where women, their children, and their communities thrive” continues to make progress.

As a vital part of the powerful Alliance Defending Freedom team, this brilliant yet kind warrior works untiringly within the legal system to advance her vision of protecting every human life, one history-making case at a time.