Yesterday marked the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. While it may make some people uncomfortable to talk about, abortion is an incredibly important issue and one that is surrounded by a large amount of misinformation and ignorance. With that said, here are eight things most people don’t, and should, know about the abortion debate.
- Science is in agreement that a new human life begins at conception.
- It is a fact that from the moment of conception, a new human being with a unique and independent DNA structure is created. Also determined at conception is a person’s blood type, gender, and hair and eye colors. Two weeks after conception, before almost any woman even knows she is pregnant, the fetal heart begins beating. This means that every abortion that has ever occurred has been on either a boy or a girl, and has stopped a beating heart.
- The original feminists were pro-life.
- Contrary to the mantra that to be opposed to abortion is to be anti-woman, the early suffragettes and women’s equality leaders were not only passionately opposed to abortion, but saw it as harmful to women. Susan B. Anthony frequently condemned it in her newspaper, The Revolution. Her close friend and ally, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, called it “degrading to women.” Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president, said “Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.” Alice Paul, who authored the original constitutional amendment to give women equal protection under the law, said “Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.” These women, constituting the first wave of feminism, were not only responsible for some of the greatest advancements for women in American history, but laid the foundation for all the other advancements in the pursuit of women’s equality. It is therefore telling that they were uniform in their belief that not only is abortion not a “woman’s right” as the tired mantra goes, but it holds women back, reducing them to fetal containers and providing deadbeat men with a mechanism with which to objectify women and shirk responsibility for their decisions.
- Under Roe v. Wade, abortion is legal in all nine months of pregnancy.
- The original ruling allowed states to restrict abortion moderately in the third trimester, slightly in the second trimester, and not at all in the first. Dubbed the trimester method, this system was thrown out by the Court in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, as it was clearly illogical and based on absolutely nothing in either the Constitution or the fetus’s development. The replacement standard for restricting abortion, is based on the viability, or ability to live outside the womb, of the fetus. Under this system, states are allowed to ban abortion up to viability (set at about 24 weeks). Though its important to remember this standard is also based on nothing in the Constitution, it’s even more important to remember the Court did not ban abortion after the child reaches viability; it merely said states could if they chose to. To this day, nine states and the District of Columbia have zero restrictions on when abortions can be performed. This means that in those states a woman can go into labor in the ninth month of pregnancy with a fully formed baby that has long been able to live outside of the womb, then decide she wants an abortion, and legally get it.
- The original plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, Norma McCorvey, who used the legal pseudonym Jane Roe, is now a pro-life advocate.
- McCorvey, who never actually had an abortion, and suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction, worked at an abortion clinic until becoming pro-life in the 1990s. Though distinct in the coverage it generated, McCorvey’s conversion is not itself unique. Bernard Nathanson, one of the earliest advocates of legal abortion and an original organizer of the pro-choice group NARAL, as well as Abby Johnson, a former abortion clinic director who herself had multiple abortions, are just two examples of high profile pro-choice people who have defected to the pro-life side.
- The Democratic party’s platform endorses taxpayer funded abortion on demand.
- Despite Democrats’ public pronouncements that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” their actual policies say the opposite. The 2012 Democratic party platform backs the right to have an abortion “regardless of ability to pay,” a roundabout way of saying taxpayer funding of abortion, something almost two thirds of Americans oppose. The platform goes on to say the party “oppose[s] any and all efforts to weaken or undermine” the right to have an abortion, meaning the Democratic party is opposed to even commonsense late-term and partial birth abortion restrictions, a position so extreme it places it squarely opposed to 80% of Americans.
- The Democratic party’s leaders support dismembering live babies outside the womb.
- Ok, stick with me here, I’m really not exaggerating I promise. In 2003 Congress passed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The law, as the name suggests, banned partial birth abortion, which is a type of late term abortion where the abortionist partly delivers the baby so the head is sticking out of the mother, then proceeds to jam scissors into the head and suck his/her brains out. No really, that actually exists. Nearly every single one of those in Congress who voted against the ban in 2003 were Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi and then-Senator Hillary Clinton, whose husband vetoed similar bans twice during his time in office. Meanwhile, when he was in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama not only voted against a state ban on partial birth abortion, but repeatedly voted no or “present” on bills requiring that babies who survive failed abortions be kept alive when they are outside the womb. Think about that. The current president of the United States once voted to allow abortionists to kill newborn babies instead of giving them lifesaving treatment. Think it doesn’t matter? It does. Think it would never happen? It has. And Barack Obama is just fine with it happening.
- Americans, including women, are becoming more pro-life and side with pro-lifers on nearly every major abortion issue.
- Again the narrative, constructed by pro-choice advocates and their allies in the media, that being pro-life is the extreme position is fundamentally not based in reality. Gallup, which is widely regarded as the most accurate polling institution in the country, has been tracking American’s views on abortion for decades and in 2009 found, for the very first time, more Americans calling themselves pro-life than pro-choice. In 2012, Gallup found the number of pro-choice Americans at a record low. In addition, rather than there being the uniform agreement among women in support of abortion one might expect if you just listened to the media, women were pretty evenly split, with 2% more being pro-life. On specific restrictions, the gap is even more pronounced. The most common restrictions enacted at the state level, including parental consent for minors, informed consent, the ultrasound requirement, and a 24 hour waiting period, all garnered at least majority support in the most recent Gallup poll. Finally, the most contentious restriction currently being debated in state legislatures and the courts, a ban of abortion at 20 weeks (based on the medical evidence that that is when a fetus starts to feel pain), enjoys such widespread support among women in particular that the Washington Post ran an online article last year specifically highlighting it.
- Pro-lifers are winning.
- This Time magazine cover from last year says it all. 2013 saw more state restrictions enacted on abortion than any other year save for 2011, and more state restrictions were enacted on abortion from 2011-2013 than in the entire previous decade. As more and more Americans are confronted with the reality of abortion, more and more are rejecting it. Polling data has indicated that young people, in defiance of their more liberal views on other social issues like gay marriage and marijuana legalization, are tilting more strongly pro-life than any other generation in decades, demonstrating the ability of the issue to transcend existing social trends. In addition, four justices on the Supreme Court currently support overturning Roe v. Wade, meaning only one more is necessary to overturn Roe, a fact that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. Moving forward, I am hopeful about what the future holds and I take comfort that, no matter what happens, when history documents the fight over abortion in America, I will be on the right side of it.
Original Post is by Stephen Morris, the 21st Century Conservative, an old friend of mine. Please check out his blog and follow for more righteous posts.
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