For tens of millions of American women, the option to choose abortion has been a way of life – something they have always known, something that was established before they were born. No wonder, then, that so many are terrified by the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Now, with social media and legacy news sources fanning fears into flames, the number of scenarios to fear seems to increase by the day.
What, exactly, are these women afraid of? How much truth is there to their fears?
Let’s look at some of the more common scare tactics being used to stoke the hysteria.
1. All abortions will be banned across the nation.
This is a very common misconception, and while many pro-lifers wish this were true, it is not. The overturning of Roe v. Wade simply sends the matter back to the states, where elected officials will craft laws as directed by their voters.
Ironically, some are claiming that the Supreme Court’s decision, which was simply good law, is a threat to democracy.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem, now 88 years old, stated, “Obviously, without the right of women and men to make decisions about our own bodies, there is no democracy.”
While the quote sounds powerful, it dismisses two points. First, the people of America will make decisions at the voting booths. Second, this is a decision affecting an additional party: the baby in the womb. That’s what this whole life and death debate is about.
Unfortunately, many Americans have thought that the overturning of Roe v. Wade meant that all abortions for all reasons would be immediately banned nationwide. That’s why such a high percentage of those polled have said they want the policy established by Roe v. Wade to remain law.
2. Birth control will be next.
It is understandable that women are now concerned that they (or the men they are with) will no longer be allowed to use birth control. That’s partly because Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion, argued that the Court’s rulings on the use of contraceptives and same-sex “marriage” should also be reexamined.
In reality, however, each of these cases stands or falls on its own, as Justice Alito was careful to point out in his opinion for the majority, noting that only Roe v. Wade involved “potential life.” In addition, the pro-life movement is not united around a call to ban contraceptives (this would amount to more of a Catholic-Protestant divide).
As pointed out by Adam Kleinheider, a pro-life spokesman in Tennessee, “Contraception and abortion are not the same thing. One is a responsible way to prevent pregnancy. The other ends a human life. It is a flagrant attempt to change the conversation and it won’t work.”
3. Women will be prosecuted and imprisoned if they have abortions.
At present, not a single state with pro-life legislation (either pending or already in place) intends to prosecute women for having abortions.
As of 2019, a pro-life website reported that “it is clear that the tide has turned against the idea of prosecuting women for the death of their pre-born children, except in the most blatantly-egregious of circumstances. And yet, such prosecutions are limited to just four states.” Nothing of substance has changed since then.
Pro-life elected officials, such as South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, are reiterating this point. Additionally, since some states do have old laws on the books that would hold mothers legally responsible for their abortions, legal officials in these states are issuing public statements that these laws will not be enforced. (See here for related examples; for the pro-life rationale behind not prosecuting women, see here.)
4. Women will be forced to have back-alley abortions using coat hangers, endangering their lives.
Of course, pro-lifers are encouraging pregnant mothers to not abort their babies, rather than forcing them to have back-alley abortions. When it comes to choosing to have an abortion, the worst-case scenario would be that these women would have to travel to another state where abortion on demand remains legal.
Again, pro-lifers grieve that babies can be killed so easily. Though the fact remains that states like New York and California are advertising their abortion services, while companies are lining up to say that they will pay for their female employees to travel to another state to get the terminal procedure done.
Not only so, but as one pro-choice advocate pointed out, “[Abortion] pills are among the reasons that we are not going back to the era of coat hangers. They can be prescribed via telemedicine and delivered via mail; allowing for the prescription of an extra dose, they are ninety-five to ninety-eight per cent effective in cases of pregnancy up to eleven weeks, which account for almost ninety per cent of all abortions in the U.S. Already, more than half of all abortions in the country are medication abortions.” This is tragic, but true.
5. This is just the first women’s right to go. Everything else will follow suit.
As expressed by Debbie Walsh of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, “One of the things that I keep hearing from women is, ‘My daughter’s going to have fewer rights than I did. And how can that be?’ If this goes, what else can go? It makes everything feel precarious.”
Why would other women’s rights, such as equal pay or the right to vote, be affected by the removal of Roe v. Wade? How does the Court’s decision, which correctly stated that a woman does not have a constitutional right to terminate the life of the child in her womb, impinge on these other rights? Where is the logical or legal slippery slope? There is none.
In the days ahead, we will see more and more headlines and stories like this one, posted June 24 in The New Yorker, by Jia Tolentino: “We’re Not Going Back to the Time Before Roe. We’re Going Somewhere Worse. We are entering an era not just of unsafe abortions but of the widespread criminalization of pregnancy.”
Let each charge be examined carefully and dispassionately, and let facts be separated from fiction.
There are certainly some pro-life sentiments that could fan the fuels of some of these fears. However, the reality is that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a specific decision about a specific situation: saving the lives of unborn babies.
Let us continue to make the case for life, and rather than mocking these women’s fears, let’s speak the truth in love.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries and is the author of 40 books. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.