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Friday, August 12, 2022

Women will thrive in a post-Roe world

The post-Roe era has officially begun now that the U.S. Supreme Court has handed down its much-anticipated opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and upheld Mississippi’s law protecting unborn life. Now that legal and policy decisions on abortion have been returned to the American people, what will it mean for American women?

From working with Mississippi to draft its pro-life law to serving on the Mississippi legal team defending that law at the Supreme Court, my colleagues and I at Alliance Defending Freedom have been privileged to ensure that women and their unborn children are protected and cherished in Mississippi. We stand ready to help other states achieve this aspiration.

And we are confident that American women will thrive in a world without Roe. Nearly 50 years of abortion-on-demand has incalculably harmed women and their families. And now we have the opportunity to right the wrongs that Roe wrought.

A full and frank national discussion of the myths and facts surrounding abortion is long overdue. Truth was one of the first casualties of Roe. To secure and advance their radical agenda, abortion rights proponents repeatedly and brazenly misled Americans. We must advance a comprehensive, life-affirming agenda, while correcting the falsehoods still being peddled by abortion supporters.

Many claim that abortion does not kill a baby, but simply terminates a “clump of cells” or a “potential life.” As the legislative findings supporting Mississippi’s law protecting life after 15 weeks’ gestation recognized, an unborn child’s heart begins beating by six weeks, the child begins to move about in the womb at eight weeks and all of his or her basic physiological functions are present by nine weeks. Anyone who has ever viewed a pregnancy-related ultrasound recognizes its striking images as a living, developing human being.

Abortion rights advocates imply that women are not strong enough or capable enough to manage motherhood and a job, school or other interests. But Americans never fully believed this. In a 2018 Marist poll, 52 percent of respondents acknowledged that in the long run abortion “does more harm than good,” while only 29 percent believed that it improves a woman’s life.

They also argued that American women wanted unrestricted and unregulated access to abortion paid for at taxpayer expense. This bold assertion purposely ignores that many vulnerable women only reluctantly “choose” abortion after the financially incentivized abortion lobby convinces them that abortion is their only choice.

Proponents of abortion tout it as beneficial to women’s health, often hiding evidence that the procedure carries significant physical and psychological risks, and that these medical risks increase as the pregnancy progresses. This lie continues today as these proponents aggressively market dangerous chemical abortions to American women. A 2009 Finnish study revealed that complications were nearly four times more frequent after chemical abortions than surgical abortions.

Rather than abortion, American women need laws that protect them and their families. They need more social and financial support, better access to life-affirming care and the perceived ability to say “yes” to life.

2005 study from the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute found that more than 93 percent of abortions were motivated by social and economic concerns. Other studies have placed this number at nearly 97 percent.

The Supreme Court has given state legislatures permission to protect the unborn and promote a culture of life. But this historic decision won’t end the circumstances that drive women to seek abortion. Some women will still fear that abortion is their only option. These women need financial, material and other resources, as well as the unequivocal life-affirming support of American churches and social agencies.

The pro-life community must seize this opportunity to demonstrate that abortion is a false answer to a real difficulty, that choosing life is the answer and that pro-life policies going forward will set the conditions for women and their babies to truly flourish.

Denise Burke is senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal), where she is a member of the Center for Legislative Advocacy.

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