Last week the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down North Dakota’s pro-life “heartbeat bill” which would ban abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected.
On Sunday the Fargo Forum editorial writers made an amusing little attempt to play hotline psychic and to boast of their ability to predict this ruling. But, as I anticipated, they forgot about having been proved completely wrong regarding all the other pro life bills that the state passed in 2013 when they guaranteed that the state would “certainly lose” on all of them and that this would cost the state “millions of dollars.”
The decision from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals was not, obviously, what pro lifers had hoped for but it was much better than many of us expected. In their decision the court unequivocally called for the Supreme Court to take up this matter and to reconsider their decades old rulings that prohibit equal protection under the law for about-to-be-born children. The benefits of this ruling for the pro life movement have already been thoroughly explained here at SayAnythingBlog (here, here, and here).
An under discussed aspect of the decision, however, is a point made by the judges of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that shows why, ultimately, the Supreme Court will revisit the abortion issue and why, someday, this nation will provide equal protection under the law for about-to-be-born children. Put simply, abortion is not working.
The advocates of abortion promised fantastic social benefits as well as opportunity and equality for women. But those who have worked in maternity homes and crisis pregnancy centers know that abortion is not working. Those who help post abortive mothers and families facing a crisis pregnancy know that the status quo cannot stand. The decision from the 8th Circuit Court observes:
“Roe’s assumption that the decision to abort a baby will be made in close consultation with a woman’s private physician is called into question by” declarations from women who have had abortions. Id. at 851 (Jones, J.,concurring). These declarations state women may receive abortions without consulting the physician beforehand and without receiving follow-up care after, see, e.g., J.A. 1550, that women may not be given information about the abortion procedure or its possible complications, see, e.g., J.A. 1541, and that the abortion clinic may function “like a mill.” J.A. 1556. The declaration by Dr. John Thorp, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, further states that “coercion or pressure prior to the termination of pregnancy occurs with frequency.” J.A. 973. One woman declared her husband threatened to kick her out of the house and take her children away forever if she did not abort a pregnancy that was the product of an affair. J.A.1555.
The declarations from women who have had abortions also show abortions may cause adverse consequences for the woman’s health and well-being. One woman reported that “[t]he negative effects of my abortion resulted in ten years of mental and emotional torment.” J.A. 1533. Another reported she “suffered for years from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, low self esteem” and “suicidal ideation.” J.A. 1519. Yet another reported her abortion caused “numerous female health issues, including an ectopic pregnancy, chronic bladder infections, debilitating menstrual cycles, cervical cancer and early hysterectomy.” J.A. 1525. Dr. Obritsch also explained some studies support a connection between abortion and breast cancer.
We further observe that the pseudonymously named plaintiffs in two of the Supreme Court’s foundational abortion cases later advocated against those very decisions. Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, sought relief from the judgment in her case on the ground that changed factual and legal circumstances rendered Roe unjust. See McCorvey, 385 F.3d at 850 (affirming denial of McCorvey’s Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) motion). Sandra Cano, the “Mary Doe” of Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973), Roe’s companion case, similarly sought relief from the judgment in her case. See Cano v. Baker, 435 F.3d 1337, 1342 (11th Cir. 2006) (per curiam) (affirming denial of Cano’s Rule 60(b) motion). Cano also filed an amicus brief in this case arguing “that abortion is psychologically damaging to the mental and social health of significant numbers of women.” Women Injured By Abortion, et al., Br. of Amici Curiae, at 5; see also Gonzales, 550 U.S. at 159 (citing Cano’s amicus brief in that case). McCorvey’s and Cano’s renunciations call into question the soundness of the factual assumptions of the cases purportedly decided in their favor.
This is why, whether or not they take up North Dakota’s heartbeat law, the Supreme Court will someday revisit the abortion issue. This is why Coca-Cola, Xerox, Ford and other corporations are dropping their support of Planned Parenthood. This is why the number of pro life laws passed grows each year. This is why young voters are the most pro life. This is why Planned Parenthood will eventually lose their $500 million in taxpayer funding. Abortion is not working. It is not delivering what was promised either to society as a whole or to individual mothers.
“Pro choice” has been a politically effective euphemism but there is nothing more anti-choice than killing an innocent child. Death takes away all the choices you can take from someone. And it turns out that the “choice” to kill a child is not just a choice that no one should have but also a choice that is anything but liberating.