Analysis

Abortion supporters think abortion matters. So should pro-lifers.

Texas, pro-life

Recently, pro-abortion activists have made it clear they will “vote like [their] abortion access depends on it.” A recent article from Rolling Stone serves as a reminder of how pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood are determined to encourage voters to go out to the ballots in full force and elect pro-choice politicians. 

“In November, our lives are on the ballot. For people in black and brown communities, this election is critical… Our collective ability to be equal, live freely, and achieve our dreams starts with our ability to secure reproductive freedom,” the article reads. 

Planned Parenthood is using its familiar brand to call on its supporters to vote out “anti-abortion politicians” who want to “undermine [their] rights and [their] reproductive health care.”

If abortion advocacy groups can hone in on abortion to persuade people on the importance of the abortion issue, then pro-life organizations can focus on the same issue with a similar level of intensity. 

The Issue That Matters 

A recent op-ed in the Washington Post highlighted how some pro-lifers will rationalize that there are other issues at hand, and  that abortion should not be the primary focus during an election. There are issues like an ongoing pandemic, immigration, and increased division between the nation’s two main political parties. Shouldn’t pro-lifers broaden their focus? In short, no.

It’s important to remember a crucial syllogism that serves as a moral basis for any argument against abortion: It is always wrong to deliberately take the life of an innocent human being. Abortion always takes the life of an innocent human being. Therefore, abortion is always wrong. 

 

A position like this does not rest upon the character of the arguer, nor does it mean pro-lifers must support politicians who support abortion just because a candidate promises to fix other societal problems. 

Clearly, this does not mean pro-lifers do not care about other causes. The fact that 2,300 pregnancy centers serve 1.9 million women and their children every year attests to this. But the idea that the pro-life movement must resolve other issues over abortion relies on flawed reasoning which implies that the preborn are not human. This stance assumes that in order to convey a sense of consistent ethics, the pro-life movement must ignore their principles in favor of other issues. 

This is, of course, not the case at all.

Pro-Life Laws Reduce Abortions 

A study from The Lancet Global Health determined that legal protections for the preborn are the key to reducing the likelihood that an unintended pregnancy will be aborted. The study analyzed data from 166 countries between 1990 and 2019. What’s noteworthy is that between 2015 and 2019, in countries where abortion was mostly legal, 70% of women who experienced an unintended pregnancy chose abortion. 

However, countries where preborn children enjoyed some rights under the law saw reduced instances of abortion for women in similar circumstances. The Lancet is linked to the Guttmacher Institute — the former research arm of Planned Parenthood — which claims reductions in abortions are due to the effectiveness of contraceptive programs. But other studies that analyzed fertility rates across countries have found the availability of birth control has little effect on unintended pregnancy rates. 

The incidence of abortion is tied to its legal status. After Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, between 1973 and 1980, the U.S. abortion rate increased by 80%. Laws frequently serve as a guide for moral behavior, and this is why legalized protections for the preborn are so important. 

Policies like the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which sought to make sex-selective abortion illegal, or the Mexico City Policy that forced taxpayers to fund foreign abortions, have an impact. A failure to enact certain protections or the passage of certain policies allow for more abortions to take place, and more innocent lives to be taken. 

As Dr. Michael New recently wrote:

An important reason why the U.S. abortion rate has declined during both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations is because of the tireless work of pro-lifers. Our educational, service, and legislative efforts are paying dividends. A higher percentage of Americans identify as “pro-life.”… [T]here has been a significant increase in the number of state level pro-life laws that have been enacted. Pro-lifers would do well to stay the course.

Abortion is a bipartisan issue, an issue of human rights, and it should matter to everyone.

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