In my previous post I addressed the heart of the abortion debate: Personhood. We need nothing more than to address this issue if we are to make a solid case against abortion. But abortion is multifaceted, and insidious in more ways than just the taking of innocent life. Abortion kills the weakest among us, for this reason alone it ought to be illegal and universally condemned, but in addition to this it also hurts the very women it claims to help.
A culture that practices abortion and infanticide is a culture that demeans women and disrespects their unique contribution to the task of reproduction
-Nancy Pearcey, Love Thy Body
Abortion advocates claim that abortion access is crucial to women’s health. This is simply untrue, not only is abortion not central to the health of a woman, it is harmful to women emotionally and physically, and it creates an entire culture of misogyny.
The culture promoted by the pro-choice ethos is one that pits a woman against her body, leading her to believe she must denounce her body’s natural and uniquely female function as a mother and pitting her against her own offspring. Abortion tells women that their fertility is not a gift but a curse, that it is not the circumstances of unexpected pregnancy that ought to change, but that her children must be sacrificed to her circumstance. Abortion puts a woman at war with her children, and turns her womb into the battleground.
This war has immense casualties. Women sacrifice their children, and their own mental and physical health in the name of “progress”. They are given a false hope that abortion will solve whatever problems they face that make pregnancy seem unbearable. But the aftermath of a successful abortion is not hope, it is one person dead and another wounded.
The emotional wounds of abortion are well documented, even abortion advocates cannot deny the staggering numbers. The high rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal behaviors that result in women who choose elective abortion testify to its detrimental effect on women. Abortion advocates claim that such results are due to our culture’s shaming of women who have abortions, but considering the fact that Roe v. Wade passed 46 years ago, and the mainstream culture has shifted from calling for abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare”, to “shout your abortion”, by this logic those numbers should have decreased. Yet, they have only increased since Roe v. Wade passed. Pregnancy itself is full of emotions, of course ending one would produce complex emotions, certainly more than abortion advocates claim when they say it is no more emotional than having a tooth extracted. No sane woman weeps at the dentist over her lost tooth, but many sane women–most in fact–suffer from life-long mental trauma as a result of choosing an abortion.
The emotional trauma that results from an abortion is not a result of cultural shaming, but rather because we know, deep within ourselves, that we are taking life. Women are not unscathed by this. Women are suffering because of their decisions to abort their children, and the abortion industry is telling them that it is not the fault of abortion, they are writing off this suffering and leaving women to deal with it alone. Is this Women’s Health?
It is not just women’s emotional health that suffers at the hand of the abortion industry, but women are being told that abortion has zero effects on their physical health too, and this is simply a lie. Two studies in Denmark (a country with some of the most lax abortion laws in the world) found that maternal mortality rates were increased in women who had abortions. Read that again. Abortion puts women at higher risk for breast cancer, and later pre-term births. And that’s not even mentioning botched abortions, for which abortion clinics are not held responsible. Is this Women’s Health?
Abortion advocates will say that more women will die from septic abortions if abortion is outlawed, and we need to provide safe abortions for women’s health. But there is no such thing as a safe abortion. Certainly none of us want women to suffer from a botched, illegal abortion, but the answer isn’t to provide sterile surgeries that hurt women and kill another person, the answer is to help women who have come to such desperation to seek an abortion in the first place.
If we care about women we ought to be treating the circumstances that have created the idea that makes them believe abortion is their only choice. Making women believe that their best option is killing their own children is not a sign of anything but misogyny. The abortion industry has created a culture of death that preys on women in crisis, deceiving them into believing their child is their enemy and making a profit in the meantime. It leaves women emotionally and physically wounded, and claims it is through no fault of its own. A woman has to experience the very real horror of a womb emptied by force, and the murder of her child, and then she is told she shouldn’t feel anything more than if she had a tooth pulled.
Is this Women’s Health?
If we love women then it is the culture around her and within her that must change. A woman should never be forced to choose between having her child killed or not. Telling women to sacrifice their children is not progressive, it is barbaric. Telling a woman her ability to bear children is a curse that must have a bloody end is not empowering, it is captivity. We ought to put our efforts and resources into creating a culture that truly helps women. One that aids a woman in embracing motherhood in whatever circumstances she is in. This means aiding women who are in abusive relationships, empowering families, funding adoptions, providing resources for those in financial struggles, and equipping parents. If we care about women we will come along side them as they deal with the fall-out of choosing an abortion, we won’t deny the existence of the wounds it has inflicted, we will help them heal. That’s a culture that values women. That is how we pursue Women’s Health. And that is what pro-life pregnancy centers have been doing for decades.
The following links and articles provide data on the mental and physical risks of abortion, and the Denmark studies on Maternal Death