Renewed focus on abortion rights across the United States is ramping up conversation about whether Americans should have access to abortion services. Some believe abortion should be outlawed altogether, while others feel access must be protected when the mother’s life is in danger and/or in cases of sexual assault. Still others believe access should be universally supported to ensure women’s reproductive rights.
Finding the truth in all of this debate isn’t easy; abortion is a contentious topic. No matter who you are or where you stand on the political spectrum, you have the right to your beliefs. But as tends to happen with most hot-topic issues, there’s a lot of myths and conjecture out there surrounding newly enacted laws.
Let’s break them down, shall we?
- Alabama’s Abortion Law Instantly Made Abortion Illegal: Not true! While the state did pass a contentious heartbeat law banning abortion after approximately six weeks, the ban has yet to become active. In fact, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already sued in an attempt to repeal it, claiming it contravenes Roe v. Wade.
- Alabama Plans to Imprison Women Who Get Abortions: Again, false. In fact, Alabama’s laws, at least as they stand right now, provide protections for women who receive abortions. In fact, legislation specifically states, “a woman who receives an abortion will not be held criminally culpable or civilly liable for receiving the abortion.”
- Doctors Who Perform Abortions in Alabama Might Go to Jail: This part is true. Alabama’s new laws hold doctors responsible for performing abortions, regardless of the reason they perform it. In fact, it’s a Class A felony with a potential sentence of between 10 and 99 years.
- New Abortion Laws Criminalize Miscarriages: Not at all. This is a wild story dreamed up by the Left. There is nothing in the laws, for any state, that make a woman a criminal solely for having a miscarriage. Some state laws do specify that women suspected of having an abortion must be investigated and/or charged.
- All States Now Ban Abortion: Also untrue. Of all the states that recently approved new bills, none of the bills have yet to become active. Furthermore, only eight states, including Utah, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, have enacted laws to ban abortion. Others, like Rhode Island and Vermont, have actually enacted laws to protect access to abortion almost universally.
- Roe V. Wade is Being Appealed: Maybe. It’s not exactly clear yet what will happen, but some political analysts do believe the current wave of restrictions on abortion is a first step toward reversing Roe v. Wade. Several Republicans have expressed concerns with how the decision takes away the rights of voters and states to choose; many do want the laws overturned. But while Roe v. Wade is being appealed, succeeding with overturning it is a different story. It’s a decision that may play out for years in the Supreme Court.
- Women Will Die After Being Denied Medical Abortions: Also largely untrue, though there are many “grey areas” in newly approved laws. For the most part, if a woman’s life is truly in danger, doctors will have the option to save her by taking a baby early. This isn’t the same thing as having an abortion even if the procedures may be the same in certain cases, and it’s disingenuous of the Left to try and claim it is.
- States with Abortion Laws Will Also Make Contraceptives Illegal: We’re not sure where this rumor started, but even most pro-life supporters agree that having good access to contraceptives lowers the risk for abortion. While Ohio’s HB 182 bill does give insurance companies the option to deny coverage for birth control methods, like the birth control pill or IUD, there’s nothing stopping women from accessing these methods with their own money. There is no criminalization or fine associated with accessing birth control.
The Left has argued that repealing Roe v. Wade will lead to a slew of maternal deaths as mothers access illegal abortion. They also believe it’s virtually impossible to control because you can now order abortion pills online almost anonymously. Whether or not these claims are true is another story. In fact, abortion rates have fallen over the last 20 years, as have maternal deaths during pregnancy. Giving states and voters the right to choose is paramount to our freedom.