Today marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which is an important and life-changing decision for women. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I could not make the rally at the Capital today, but I would have like to be there not just because I’m pro-choice but because the turn the pro-life movement has taken over the last decade with the sheer amount of abortion restrictions should offend women, men, science-believing and God-loving people everywhere.
Our Virginia state legislature passed a law last year and blocked its repeal this year that mandates an ultrasound (either abdominal or vaginal) for any woman seeking an abortion as well as marking in the woman’s medical record whether she chose to look at the ultrasound and listen to the fetal heartbeat. (source) No matter where anyone falls on the spectrum of the abortion debate this bill is wrong. When entire movement decides that the moral high it once felt like it stood upon can be cast aside to manipulate and force women to experience unnecessary medical procedures, it has clearly lost its way. There is no God who calls us to judge, hurt and push pointless practices on women to prove a point, and there is no science that holds up the necessity of an ultrasound to have a safe first trimester abortion unless the woman’s doctor deems it necessary in very specific circumstances.
Of course, my state’s story is not unique. In 2011 and 2012, more state-level abortion restrictions were enacted than ever. (source)
The pro-life movement has all but given up on a direct repeal of Roe v. Wade and has moved on to chipping away at a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion. Twenty-six states, including mine, force women to spend 24 hours considering their decision as though we women are so small-minded that we would’ve never spent the weeks leading up to that difficult push of the door into an abortion providers lobby while being called baby killer, deep prayer and meditation and counsel.
But the hardest of the pro-life movement for me to understand are those who profess to counsel women while spouting lies, and I truly believe purposefully ignore medical science is lying. The people who give misleading counseling, like the employees and volunteers at The Pregnancy Centers, which have cropped up throughout this country, make me more upset that the protestors screaming hate across the street from a clinic because they pretend to be there to help women, but they lie about women’s choices. Those centers don’t have a big sign stating: We don’t believe in abortion. Instead, they manipulate already vulnerable women by listing the complications without including how rare the complications are. Or by making up post-abortion syndromes because the only stories they want to hear are the one’s filled with regret and shame even though a recent longitudinal study came out that women who have abortions do better than ones who carry unwanted pregnancies to term. (source)
We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. There are other interesting findings: even later abortion is safer than childbirth and women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later. (source)
These Pregnancy Centers and similar places rely on bad data, such as comparing wanted pregnancies to those who sought abortions, if they use science at all, and when confronted, they fall back on God. I wonder how the employees and volunteers sleep at night because I don’t remember Jesus teaching that the ends justify the means. In fact, I find the god of the pro-life movement confusing. He must be so small to need so many laws to get his way.
I am worried that abortion will soon be legal in name only beyond a handful of states, and although the pro-life movement may celebrate at first, their daughters and granddaughter will not. The pendulum will swing back because the movement is not based on love or compassion anymore. It has become devious and deceptive. The pro-choice movement will prevail even though this is a dark time. I have faith in God, too, and my God is loving, kind and His plans for each person are much bigger than pro-life and pro-choice. There are no scarlet letters in His eyes.
To read some of my previous thoughts on pro-choice, pro-life and abortion: