I’ve never taken an easy stance on abortion. In high school, and part of University, I was pro-life and an evangelical Christian. Prior to high school, I was pro-choice, and after University, I was pro-baby killing1. That has been my stance for much of my adult life. A few years ago, I listened to an interview with Caitlin Flanagan2. In her attempt to understand the pro-life argument from a liberal perspective, she discussed the reality of Lysol abortions juxtaposed to images from modern 3D ultrasounds3. The recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, which overturned of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, is not the end to women’s rights. It is an end to an entitlement that had been legislated from the judicial bench, returning the controversial topic back to the people. The US Congress and the Senate could propose legislation, enshrining some form of abortion into federal law. However, the topic is so divisive any proposals would be unworkable. This means laws about abortion return to individual states, placing such legislation much closer to the control of individual citizens.
The World Stage
Many world leaders are criticizing the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in repealing Roe v. Wade, despite their own nations having abortion restrictions that are less than the 15-week restriction of the Mississippi law that was challenged4. France limits abortions to the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, Sweden 18 weeks and the United Kingdom 24 weeks5. Greece only allows abortions up to 12 weeks, except in cases of rape or incest, and much of Europe allows abortions only with in the first 10 to 14 weeks of pregnancy6. Until the Dobbs decision, America had one of the least restrictive positions on abortions compared to many of our European counterparts.
That isn’t to say, because many European nations have such laws, that makes them better. EU nations may have better transportation, and have ended capital punishment, but they pale in comparison when it comes to the freedom to speak and firearm rights. Still, with regard to the controversial topic of abortions, America’s uniqueness may not have been a strength. Abortion was only legalized in Ireland in 2019, and only after a national referendum. Although the mainstream media would have everyone believe that most Americans support abortions without any limits whatsoever, a 2019 poll showed that a majority of pro-choice people supported having some restrictions on abortion7.
The Final Term
The vast majority of nations that have legal abortions do not allow abortions within the last term of pregnancy. Late term abortions beg the question: who goes through six months of pregnancy and preparations, only to give up on their child in the final few weeks? The answer might be found in the following statement by Ana Navarro:
“I have a family with a lot of special needs kids. I have a brother who’s 57 and has the mental and motor skills of a 1-year-old. And I know what that means financially, emotionally, physically, for a family. And I know not all families can do it. And I have a step-granddaughter who was born with down syndrome. And you know what, it is very difficult, in Florida, to get services. It is not as easy as it sounds on paper, and I’ve got another … step grandson who is very autistic … people who are in that society, who are in that community, will tell you that they’ve considered suicide, because that’s how difficult it is to get help. Because that’s how lonely they feel. Because they can’t get other jobs. Because they have financial issues. Because the care that they’re able to give their other children suffers. And so why can I be Catholic, and still think this is a wrong decision? Because I’m American. I’m Catholic inside the church. I’m Catholic when it comes to me. But there’s a lot of Americans who are not Catholic, and are not Christian, and are not Baptist, and you have no damn right to tell them what they should do with their bodies. Nobody does.” -Ana Navarro8
What percentage of late-term abortions come about when the parents learn their child will have a debilitating heart condition, or will be born without an arm? How many come after an incident where the fetus is starved of oxygen, leading to high risk of brain injury? In America, late-term abortions are incredibly rare, with less than 2% of terminations occurring after 21 weeks of pregnancy9. I suspect most late-term abortions, that are well past the point of viability, are due to parents not wanting to bring a child into the world with disabilities. Some may see such views as pragmatic, while others see them as psychopathic or within the realm of eugenics.
My roommate, and best friend in University, had a brother with mental disabilities. That friend told me he was adamantly against abortions because discarding a human due to a congenital condition would have meant the brother that he grew up with and loved, would have never been born. While I was overseas, that old roommate passed away. His mother had already lost a fight to cancer, and his father passed away not long after, leaving his disabled brother in the care of his only remaining sibling.
“I remember the time, I tell ya, I was about—I was little—I don’t know, four, five years old, something like that. We had this old dog, and it had a litter of puppies, and I walked in the bathroom one day and my mother was standing there, kneeling down. Dog had a litter of about eight and my mother was bending over and she was killing each one of these little puppies in the bathtub, and I remember I said, “Why?” She said, “I’m just killing what I can’t take care of.” Then my mommie said to me; she looked at me and she said, “I wish I could do that to you.” Maybe she … maybe she shoulda.” -_Spun_ (film 2002)
Steven D. Levitt, one of the authors of Freakonomics, argued in 2005 that Row v. Wade likely resulted in the reduction of violent crime in America. The Donohue-Levitt hypothesis argues that, prior to Row v. Wade, by analyzing the rollout of abortion by individual states, combined with abortion legalization and violent crime statistics from Romania, Australia and Canada, shows the reduction of violent offenses is directly related to access to abortions10. If their hypothesis is true, we should start to see an increase in violent crime in states where abortion accessibility is limited or denied, once the coming generation of children reaches adolescence and adulthood.
The Great Pivot
“Was using that narrative, the ‘Don’t say gay.’ … I thought well this is interesting .. where did this phrase come from? … It probably is not just a hashtag that organically originated … I found that … it actually originated from Planned Parenthood. They’ve used this phrase for the last 5 [or] 6 years to describe bills like this in different states … the ‘Don’t say gay’ phrase .. As we’ve come to the point where Roe v. Wade might be overturned and their abortion business might be threatened. They’ve actually switched their business model … they’re now one of the biggest distributors of transgender hormone therapy, to young people; as young as 16 … they’re also the … biggest educator of that radical sex [education] that happens in schools. So they are an active part of this pipeline” -Liz Wheeler11
Planned Parenthood claims only 3% of their services are abortions, which is a blatant lie12. Abortion clinics are already closing around the country, often the result of trigger laws designed to go into place in the event of a new decision on Roe v. Wade13. Planned Parenthood is the largest distributor of transgender sex hormone therapy to young people; a pivot of their business model in anticipation of this decision11.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a eugenicist who openly called for reducing the black population by advocating for abortions in their communities, and saw birth control as a means of balancing the birthrate between the fit and unfit14. The fact that current the leadership of her organization is now pivoting towards treating (and likely encouraging and enabling) the use of sex change hormones in teenagers, is greatly troubling.
Roe v. Wade was a divisive decision that granted new entitlements, which many Americans still disapprove of to this day. It was a classic bench decision, granting the courts powers they did not have. The Dobbs decision was the recognition of a mistake by the Supreme Court. Some would say they renounced entitlements, but in reality, they relinquished power they did not have.
Some would consider Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation an example of both an Executive Order, and a Wartime Proclamation. Could an incoming president undo Lincoln’s words with his own Executive Order, revoking such privileges? Unlikely, since Lincoln granted equitable entitlements. Also, Lincoln’s words were soon usurped by law, with the 13th amendment. His orders were implemented by the senate and the states because slavery was growing unpopular throughout much of the world at that time. Ending slavery had grown into the American psyche as the morally right thing to do.
America has never really been okay with Roe v. Wade. It has never been codified into federal law, and has only grown more contentious over the years. With many blue states already ignoring federal law with cannabis legalization, one could argue the SCOTUS decision may have prevented another dispute between the enforcement of federal law over state authority.
The argument for abortion, if made honestly, requires many words: It must evoke the recent past, the dire consequences to women of making a very simple medical procedure illegal. The argument against it doesn’t take even a single word. The argument against it is a picture. -Caitlin Flanagan3
The morality of abortion should never be an easy question to answer. The 90s chant of “Safe, legal and rare,” has been shortened to simply “safe and legal.” When women started celebrating their abortions, the social contract had been broken irrevocably. We cannot know how many women died due to Lysol douching, coat-hangers and botched abortions3. Therefore, I think abortions should be legal during the first 12 ~ 14 weeks. At the same time, we shouldn’t dress such decisions with Orwellian doublespeak such as women’s health. Rape and incest are rare causes for abortion, but I don’t think a total ban with exceptions are reasonable. After all, a woman with no moral compass could easily fabricate claims against innocents15 to justify not carrying a child to term. A late-term abortion should probably be viewed through the lens of justifying eugenics; not an untenable position, but one that requires paragraphs of arguments for moral standing.
I wonder if somewhere in our wide universe, an egg laying species of animal has come to sentience. Would destroying one’s eggs even be an issue if they resided outside the body? Would eating one’s own eggs be considered cannibalism? For now, we can only focus on human beings on this planet. While the Dobbs decision seems like a landmark reversal, it is really only a representation of the unresolved moral question of the rights of one potential human against another that must carry it. It should give everyone pause, to reflect on the path that led humanity to consider some life sacred while other life expendable.
The Dishonesty of the Abortion Debate Why we need to face the best arguments from the other side. December 2019. Flanagan. The Atlantic. ↩ ↩2 ↩3
The Mississippi law that the Supreme Court upheld today bans abortion after 15 weeks. France bans abortion after 12 weeks. 25 June 2022. mtracey. (Tweet) ↩
Abortion laws around the world: from bans to easy access. 5 January 2015. Duncan. Redden. Watts. The Guardian. ↩
Poll: Majority Want To Keep Abortion Legal, But They Also Want Restrictions. 7 June 2019. 7 June 2019. Montanaro. NPR. ↩
‘The View’s’ Ana Navarro Gives the Hands Down Worst Take on Roe v. Wade - DM CLIPS. 27 June 2022. The Rubin Report. ↩
The truth about late-term abortions in the US: they’re very rare. 8 March 2019. Chalabi. The Guardian. ↩
Toppling Queer Theory’s House Of Cards With Liz Wheeler - A Bee Interview. 15th June 2022. The Babylon Bee. (16m:15s) ↩ ↩2
EXPOSED: Planned Parenthood ‘3% of Services are Abortion’ a Total Lie…. 24 September 2016. Team Crowder. Louder with Crowder. ↩
Abortion clinics across the country close after Roe v. Wade ruling. 25 June 2022. Herb. Axios. ↩
What you need to know about Margaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood. 26 August 2015. Team Crowder. Louder With Crowder. ↩