Last year, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar claimed that pro-life advocates are “religious fundamentalists,” who want to “impose their beliefs” on society. Delivering her remarks on the House floor, Omar parroted a series of myths about the pro-life movement’s so-called anti-science, anti-woman, religious zealotry.
MYTH #1: The pro-life movement is anti-science, and simply means to control women.
“The recent efforts like those in Alabama and Georgia are only the latest in a long history of attempts to criminalize women for simply existing and to punish us when we don’t conform to their attempts to control us,” Omar said. (emphasis added).
THE TRUTH: While there are many religious individuals and organizations working to end abortion in the United States and around the world, the pro-life movement includes many secular groups fighting to end abortion. The pro-life movement seeks to extend basic human rights to all people, including preborn children in the womb.
Moreover, science proves that life begins at fertilization, and not at some arbitrary point during pregnancy.
The pro-life movement is also not interested in controlling women. Rather, thousands of pro-life pregnancy centers across the United States, run by both religious and non-religious organizations, show that pro-lifers care deeply about women. These centers are staffed mostly by volunteers and they survive on donations. They provide women with maternity clothes, baby gear, baby clothes, diapers, help with insurance, and assistance with daycare. Some provide parenting classes, and others provide housing.
And despite the pro-abortion movement’s emphasis on choice, women are often pressured into abortion by boyfriends, family, and husbands. According to a study by the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, almost three-quarters of women with a history of abortion reported feeling pressured to abort.
MYTH #2: The pro-life movement puts women in danger.
Omar claimed that the pro-life movement “is dangerous because history has proven that when abortion is criminalized, the number of abortions do not simply go down. The number of deaths and injuries to women increase.”
THE TRUTH: Pro-life laws save lives, namely the lives of preborn children in the womb. Unfortunately, pro-abortion lawmakers like Omar do not think children in the womb are human beings. Ironically, this position places her at odds with scientific evidence demonstrating when life begins (see Myth #1).
For instance, laws requiring waiting periods before abortion save lives by allowing women time to carefully consider their decision to have an abortion. One study found that eight percent of women decided against abortion during the mandated 72-hour waiting period in Utah.
The Hyde Amendment, which has prevented taxpayer dollars from funding abortion since 1976, has, according to one study, saved millions of lives from abortion.
Many still believe that before Roe v. Wade, unsafe, “back-alley” abortions claimed thousands of women’s lives. According to the CDC, 39 women died during illegal abortions in 1972. Yet, that same year, 24 died during legal abortion procedures (before Roe v. Wade, abortion was legal in several states).
MYTH #3: Women are naturally “pro-choice” because the pro-life position is contrary to a woman’s self-interest.
Omar urged women to “stand up and tell those who challenge our voice, our place, and our right to decide for ourselves to not be silent, to speak up and to reclaim their right to choose.”
THE TRUTH: The pro-life movement is largely run by women, including women who had abortions, and later came to regret their decisions. Pro-life women know about the false choices women seeking abortions are forced into.
The abortion industry and pro-abortion advocates tell women they are not good enough to be mothers to their children or strong enough to carry their children to term and place them for adoption.
Abortion tells women they can’t have it all, and it frequently leaves women feeling broken by depression and remorse.
Editor’s Note, 1/20/2019: This article has been updated since its original date of publication.
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