Ever since the Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, half-truths and outright falsities have widely circulated, confusing and even scaring those exposed to them.
From faulty legal interpretations, to hasty generalizations, to claims women will no longer have access to life-saving treatments — here is a by-no-means comprehensive list of rebuttals to fraudulent claims being made following the ending of the supposed “right” to abortion in the United States.
Overturning Roe *Did Not* Outlaw Abortion
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade does not outlaw abortion in the United States. Rather, the 5-4 majority of justices decided the Supreme Court was incorrect to rule in 1973 that the Constitution includes a “right” to abortion.
By overturning Roe, the Supreme Court ultimately returned the issue of abortion laws and regulations “to the people and their elected representatives,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion. Now, citizens will be able to elect officials who represent their views on abortion and who will put policies in place that reflect those views — i.e., abortion law will be determined by states according to the democratic process.
Following the court’s decision, corporate media outlets and left-leaning pollsters were quick to report that most Americans oppose Roe’s overturning. But those reports ignore critical context. Most surveys actually reveal that a large amount of voters do not understand the Roe case, as well as what would happen as a result of its overturning.
For example, a recent Monmouth University poll showed that while 60 percent of respondents oppose the court’s decision, 44 percent say states should decide their own abortion laws — which is exactly what overturning Roe results in. Another poll released this week by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), shows that when voters are educated about the Roe case, the majority of them end up supporting the court’s decision to overturn it.
More directly, a May poll from the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that one quarter of Americans falsely believe overturning Roe v. Wade would make abortion illegal nationwide.
Overturning Roe Has No Impact on Treating Miscarriages, Ectopic Pregnancies
A flood of viral posts and online misinformation accompanied the court’s historic ruling, falsely warning women that states with abortion bans will also ban miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy treatments. Some posts even equated elective abortion procedures to the ones performed during the removal of miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.
“People who are intentionally fear-mongering and spreading this false narrative — that women are not gonna be able to receive life-saving care — not only are they blatant lies, but they’re also making women feel very fearful that they will not be able to continue to receive the excellent healthcare that they always have,” American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) CEO-elect and board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Christina Francis told Breitbart News.
Biden claims that Roe v Wade being overturned means that hospitals and doctors would hesitate to treat women who've had a miscarriage. pic.twitter.com/8S5zTr1gzA
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 8, 2022
Francis, who has worked as an OB/GYN for 14 years, laid out the difference between procedures for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages, and emphasized they are “not related to [elective] abortion in any way.” Breitbart News also previously reported that even if state laws do not explicitly name exceptions for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages, the laws always give exceptions “for the life of the mother.” Both ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages can be life-threatening, meaning treatments for those would fall under that category.
“Not one of them criminalizes the treatment of ectopic pregnancy, and not one of them criminalizes miscarriage treatments. So this whole fear-mongering that is being done, it is completely not based in reality,” AAPLOG CEO and board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Donna Harrison added.
SCOTUS Cannot Use Dobbs Decision to Overturn Gay Marriage, Right to Contraception
After the Supreme Court released a decision in the Dobbs case, which overturned Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden reacted to the decision by warning that reversing Roe would mean undoing the right to contraception in Griswold v. Connecticut, and other rights involving privacy. “If the rationale of the decision, as released, were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question.”
However, Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion for the majority explicitly states that the Dobbs decision only applies to abortion. No matter, Democrats’ fears were stoked even more by Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion.
The widespread assumption was that the Court wouldn’t ever *really* overturn Roe. Clearly that was wrong.
The Court’s senior conservative Justice immediately says he wants the Court to come after decisions legalizing same sex relationships, birth control and same sex marriage.
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) June 24, 2022
In his opinion, Thomas states that he agrees with the majority opinion that “[n]othing in [the Court’s] opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” However, he says that he wants to remove the “substantive due process” doctrine on which Roe had been based, and on which other decisions had also been based:
For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold [contraception], Lawrence [sodomy laws], and Obergefell [gay marriage]. Because any substantive due process decision is “demonstrably erroneous” … we have a duty to “correct the error” established in those precedents.
Thomas does not rule out the possibility that the rights established in those cases would still exist. He just says that they should be based on other provisions of the Constitution, such as the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause, and not on the “substantive due process” doctrine itself, Breitbart News reported.
“Thus Thomas is not, as critics allege, trying to overturn the right to contraception or gay marriage (though that is theoretically possible). Rather, he wants to put those rights on different, and more solid, constitutional footing, because he believes that ‘substantive due process’ is a doctrine that can easily be abused by the Supreme Court,” wrote Joel B. Pollak, senior editor-at-large at Breitbart News.
SCOTUS’s Decision Has Nothing to Do with ‘Separation of Church & State’
Corporate media have implied or outright stated that the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision violates the “separation of church and state.” For example, Katherine Stewart opined in the Guardian that “the core of the Dobbs decision lies the conviction that the power of the government can and should be used to impose a certain moral and religious vision — a supposedly biblical and regressive understanding of the Christian religion — on the population at large.” This argument is rife with legal inaccuracy and generalizations of the pro-life movement overall, not to mention the fact that “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution.
Firstly, nowhere in Justice Samuel Alito’s Dobbs opinion did he cite religion, faith, or Christianity as the basis for overturning Roe. Instead, the 5-4 majority looked to the Constitution and found that the 1973 Supreme Court incorrectly decided that the United States’ founding document guarantees a right to abortion.
Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return the authority to the people and their elected representatives.
It should also be noted that liberal-leaning legal scholars and even liberal-leaning Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — while supportive of abortion – have agreed with their conservative-leaning peers that Roe was decided on shaky ground, the Los Angeles Times reported.
What is also implied by decrying “separation of church and state” is the false belief that the pro-life movement is a monolith of white Catholics and evangelicals. While the pro-life movement is in large part made up of people of faith, many in the movement may have no religious affiliation at all. A prime example is the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), whose founder is a self-professed left-wing atheist. Many of the group’s members would be likely to support Democrat causes and may or may not have a faith, but they all agree on the sanctity of human life.Matt Perdie / Breitbart News
Other groups similar to PAAU exist, such as Secular Pro-Life, Feminists for Life, Pro-Black Pro-Life, Rehumanize International — and the list goes on.
I don't know who needs to hear this, but you can be nonreligious and anti-abortion at the same time. In fact our group welcomes you specifically.
Kelsey, Monica, and Terrisa
(all pro-life atheists)
— Secular Pro-Life (@secularprolife) May 6, 2021
Advancements in science have enabled a more detailed and accurate picture of life in the womb, which makes denying the humanity of the unborn much more difficult — whether one is religious or not. There are also thousands of physicians who acknowledge the humanity of the unborn based off of science and not religion, such as AAPLOG.
Women Have Not Lost Their Rights
Following the release of the Dobbs decision, many took to social media to assert that overturning Roe means women are being “sent back to the 1950s.” Some have even asserted that “guns have more rights” than women.
Many have also discussed the loss of bodily autonomy and perceived control over one’s destiny, which are often at the forefront of the abortion debate. For context, out of all the reasons women have for obtaining an abortion, 74 percent say “having a baby would dramatically change my life,” according to a 2004 report from Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group.
Justice Breyer nails this line in his Dobbs dissent: "[The majority] says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A State can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs."
Guns have more rights.
— Kimberly Wehle (@kimwehle) July 9, 2022
Abortion like all healthcare should be safe, accessible, legal & free everywhere. Roe v Wade in the US being overturned sends women’s rights back to the 1950s. It won’t stop abortions, it will simply make them riskier. What a regressive move. Our bodies our choice! FU patriarchy.
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) June 24, 2022
Once again, the overturning of Roe has not outlawed abortion, meaning in states such as California, Colorado, and New York, women will be able to obtain abortions, sometimes up to the moment of birth. States with more pro-life voters will elect politicians who limit abortion — which would be the *choice* of the people living in those states.
Women still have all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, a right to bear arms, a right to a speedy trial, a right to vote, etc. None of those rights are gone just because the Supreme Court decided the right to an abortion exists *nowhere* in the Constitution. The bodily autonomy argument also often omits the fact that a pregnancy involves two bodies, not one.
As far as the “guns have more rights” argument, guns are inanimate objects and have no rights. However, the right for Americans to protect themselves and their families and to stay armed in the event of government tyranny *is* in the Constitution.