I was always a big fan of mythology. My particular favorite is Athena, also known as Minerva, goddess of wisdom. She is said to have sprung fully formed from her father Zeus’ head, which was probably a great relief for his wife Hera.
Athena is a myth, but one that ironically calls us to examine the truth. Given what happened last week at the Supreme Court and its aftermath, I think it’s time to dispel some of the myths surrounding the pro-life movement.
Myth: Pro-lifers only care about babies until they’re born
This is such an easy fabrication to dispel, given the long list of agencies that support pregnant women and children. Organizations like Birthright, A Baby’s Breath, Mother’s Home, Heartbeat International, Live Action, Project Rachel Ministry, Catholic Charities, and Carenet are easily accessed on the internet. Of course, those who support abortion rights don’t like to admit that these places exist, because myths are powerful.
Myth: Most pro-lifers are religious zealots
This is another popular idea, particularly since many of the most outspoken advocates against abortion come from the Catholic Church. The first man of science who turned against abortion is Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who performed many abortions in his career before he realized that the procedure ended a human life. Abby Johnson is another person who was so convinced that abortion was a legitimate medical procedure that she became the head of a Planned Parenthood clinic, presiding over thousands of abortions. It wasn’t religion that changed her mind, it was the observation of an actual abortion that did. Dr. Ben Carson, who performed neuro-surgery in utero, is another witness to life. Science can be more powerful than faith in persuading the skeptical.
Myth: Most women support abortion
Whenever abortion is in the news, the loudest female voices are the ones raised in support of “reproductive justice.” It’s only grudgingly that networks or newspapers seek out and promote the views of women who believe that abortion does great damage to both women and society. If we are asked for our opinions at all, it’s usually to act as the uneducated foil for the sophisticated and autonomous women of Planned Parenthood, et. al. Even if Roe is overturned, that dynamic won’t end any time soon. But the truth is very different from that myth of overwhelming female support for abortion rights. A recent NBC poll from 2021 showed that among women, 59% believe that abortion should remain legal, and 38% believe it should be illegal. There are differences between education levels, class and race demographics. But it’s pretty clear that over a third of American women do not support abortion rights, and that most American women favor limits on abortion.
Myth: If Roe is overturned, abortion will disappear
This isn’t so much a myth about pro-lifers as it is about the nature of Roe v. Wade. A disturbing number of Americans believe that abortion was always a national right, and that eliminating the most notorious Supreme Court decision of the last 50 years will destroy that “right.” The Supreme Court isn’t “removing” anything. If Roe falls, the issue will go back to the states and their legislatures to decide whether women have access to abortion. If any “right” is being removed, it’s by your local legislators. But more to the point, there is no “right” to abortion. It’s just not there. You can’t take away what you never had in the first place.
Myth: Men have no right to speak about abortion
This is one of my favorite myths. There is this idea that people who don’t have uteruses don’t get to have an opinion on what ends up in those uteruses. Putting aside the fact that some people with uteruses no longer identify as “women,” and some biological men now present themselves as women, the whole uterus thing goes out the window. A draft of recent legislation to codify abortion rights if Roe is overturned includes this delightful observation: “This Act is intended to protect all people with the capacity for pregnancy.” You might say, “Yeah, women.” But guess who else can become pregnant, according to our legislators? “Cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, those who identify with a different gender, and others.”
But even if we came back to our senses and called people who are about to have babies “pregnant mothers,” abortion rights activists still think that men should shut up, unless they’re Joe Biden acolytes and agree with them that abortion is a human right. That sort of man gets to speak.
There are so many more of these myths, and so little space in which to debunk them. I’ll just leave you with this, in honor of Pallas Athena:
Myths are amusing. True wisdom is eternal, and dead serious. Be like Athena.