Analysis

How misinformation helps the abortion industry to advance

abortion industry

The 2022 midterm elections were held last week, and results were mixed for both sides of the abortion debate. While many pro-life governors and members of Congress retained their seats, three states chose to enshrine abortion as a “right” in their constitutions. Abortion advocates have claimed the elections were a sign of how Americans truly feel — but how did the abortion industry really advance its agenda? By spreading misinformation.

Misleading language

An article in the Washington Post noted that the abortion industry did not campaign on the issue of abortion itself; instead, the debate was framed as one of “freedom.”

“In purple and red states, abortion rights advocates have used a message that in other circumstances might be a Republican slogan: Keep the government out of Americans’ private medical decisions,” Rachel Roubein noted, adding that the abortion industry took a page out of the conservative playbook. “The notion of personal freedom is a salient message to more conservative voters. Republicans embraced anti-government messages amid the pandemic, opposing vaccine mandates and lockdowns. A few years earlier, they used language of government overreach in railing against Obamacare. This message is also primed to target those who may personally oppose abortion.”

This strategy has been widely adopted not just by politicians, but by the abortion industry at large. Groups like NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and EMILY’s List have argued that this is an issue concerning “freedom” and “women’s rights,” as opposed to what it actually is: the legalized killing of innocent humans.

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A winning strategy

Earlier this summer, Kansas served as a sort of test run for this kind of misleading messaging. Kansas voters rejected an amendment that would have confirmed that there is no right to abortion in their state constitution. Abortion would have remained legal, but lawmakers would have been able to decide the state’s laws regarding the issue. Yet that is not the message voters were given; instead, the abortion industry put forth a campaign of disinformation — and won.

A coalition led by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other pro-abortion organizations called itself “Kansans for Constitutional Freedom,” and led voters to believe that voting for the amendment would ban abortion in Kansas completely. By falsely claiming this amendment was an outright ban on abortion, the coalition then claimed that this was an issue of constitutional freedom and government overreach. The amendment was defeated.

This strategy was used again during midterms. In Vermont, for example, Vermont Right to Life reported that Planned Parenthood again led voters to believe that voting against Proposal 5 — which would enshrine abortion as a right in the Vermont constitution — would make abortion illegal in the state, which was completely false.

Writer Alexandra DeSanctis pointed out that a similar strategy played out in Michigan as well. “We need to recognize that voters are regularly lied to about abortion policy, and Republicans don’t do enough to counter those lies. Consider Michigan, where Proposal 3 succeeded in codifying an absolute right to ‘reproductive freedom for all’ in the state constitution,” she said. “The full language of the ballot measure didn’t even appear on the ballot, and what did was airbrushed to make it seem far less radical than it is. Despite valiant efforts by Michigan pro-lifers, the falsehoods won out.”

Lying about what abortion is

Further clouding the debate is the unwillingness of abortion supporters to admit what an abortion actually is — and who its victims are.

The Guardian, for example, shared photos of empty gestational sacs, without embryos, and argued they were proof that the pro-life movement lies about fetal development. The idea was to counter the humanity of preborn children; instead of an identifiable human being, albeit a small one, all women are really throwing away is a clump of white tissue resembling a cotton ball, according to The Guardian.

 

Medical misinformation is something in which the abortion industry regularly engages, as Live Action investigations have found. And the abortion-friendly media has run with the lies as well, particularly surrounding the heartbeats of preborn humans. In recent months, people have publicly claimed that these heartbeats (or cardiac activity) are “manufactured,” denied that preborn children are human beings, and even called for biology-based pro-life views to be completely censored by the media.

How can anyone make an informed decision when what they are being told isn’t true? Voters are likely not merely choosing to support unlimited abortion; instead, they are responding to misinformation, lies, and manipulation from the abortion industry. The pro-life movement must do more to combat these lies going forward, because when people learn the truth, their hearts and minds are changed.

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