Culture

Roe V. Wade Showed Me How Shockingly Ignorant People Are About What Happens In The Womb

By Andrea Mew··  14 min read
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I can’t decide which is the worse “hot take”: that guns have more constitutional rights than women do or that intentional murder is healthcare.

After the landmark decision Roe v. Wade was overturned, power was returned back to the individual states in America to decide on their own abortion-related policies rather than one broad, nationwide law. Since then, President Biden doubled down on his pro-abortion policies by issuing an executive order protecting access to the abortion pill and emergency contraception at the federal level. 

In our country where people can’t even seem to agree on what a woman is, it’s no wonder that people are so ignorant about the truth behind pregnancy and abortion. There’s a lot to digest in the pro-life versus pro-choice arguments, so I picked out some of the worst offenses that demonstrate a sheer lack of unawareness of what abortion is all about.

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Stop Insisting a “Clump of Cells” Doesn’t Deserve To Live

It’s on signs, it’s on shirts, it’s on bumper stickers, and it’s probably tattooed on someone's body: The “my body, my choice” argument gets used for a lot of things, but lately it's been the post-Roe feminist slogan since the decision was written in a way that describes unborn children as “potential life.”

Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that specializes in human rights internationally explains that “being able to make our own decisions about our health, body and sexual life is a basic human right.” They elaborate on what is a valid point to an extent, as some countries worldwide restrict women’s access to contraception, force women to marry their rapists, or incarcerate a woman dressing outside her gendered norms.

Where the “my body, my choice” argument starts to get a bit fuzzy is when you bring another life into the picture. Some pro-abortion advocates like to insist that abortion is a demonstration of bodily autonomy because a fetus is just a “clump of cells” and isn’t as complex as a birthed child, a toddler, a teenager, or an adult. While it’s already false that fetuses aren’t biologically complex (they’re actually quite complex), a living human organism no matter its sex, shape, skin color, state of development, or mental ability is worthy enough to be acknowledged as part of humanity. Just because an unborn fetus isn’t as developed as a birthed baby doesn’t mean that it’s not fully human.

Those of us who are against abortion aren’t against bodily autonomy. How could that be? Well, the term really only applies to a single person’s body, not the body growing inside of them. The unborn fetus has its own DNA, different from its mother’s DNA. It has its own male or female body. It’s not only the mother’s body that is affected in an abortion.

West Side Story actress Ariana DeBose retweeted a clip of her recent appearance on The Tonight Show, reiterating her stance that Roe being overturned “is not about one set of rights. This is about human rights.” 

Before sharing platitudes like these, I urge people to think a little more deeply and realize that human rights should be extended to all lives involved in a pregnancy, not just the mother. The law of our land even explains that bodily autonomy only goes so far, with the metaphorical example stating that your right to swing your arms ends right where another man’s nose begins. So I guess, in a backwards sort of way, I’m with her in the sense that yes, restricting intentional abortion isn’t just about one set of rights – it is about human rights!

Abortion Isn’t Healthcare, It’s Intentional Murder

I’m baffled by the number of people who think that intentional murder is healthcare. As I’ve written before, improving our system in meaningful ways that support pregnant women is healthcare, but abortion is not.

Singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers tweeted her firm belief that abortion is healthcare and also further spread the bodily autonomy misrepresentation.

So what makes women think that abortions are healthcare? Well, look no further than the easily debunkable “I’m pro-Becky” meme using hypothetical scenarios to promote legalizing all abortions. This meme traveled so far that even the host of Catfish, Nev Schulman, hopped on TikTok to perform the full, infamous “I’m Pro-Becky” script that details horrific situations.

Obviously, it’s not just television celebrities spreading this “abortion is healthcare” narrative, it’s also our elected officials. Darling of the House of Representatives, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that women who have an ectopic pregnancy are risking death if they’re within the wrong state lines.

Ectopic Pregnancy Treatment Is Not an Abortion

Not only do ectopic pregnancies only occur in about 2% of pregnancies, but treatment for them isn’t an abortion.

To really clarify the difference, let’s take a deeper look at the difference. What happens in an ectopic pregnancy? First we need to know what happens in a normal, healthy pregnancy: The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus, where it implants in the uterine lining. The uterine lining is the source of oxygen and nutrients keeping the embryo alive until the placenta and the umbilical cord form and take over (as well as progesterone production). In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg doesn’t finish its journey through the fallopian tube, but instead implants in the fallopian tube (the most common scenario). What this means is that the embryo cannot and will not survive as the fallopian tube can’t provide the necessary nutrients like the uterus. The unborn fetus will die own its own – a miscarriage. How this differs from a regular miscarriage, however, is that the placement of the embryo does put the mother’s life at risk. The treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is to remove the embryo – which cannot be saved and will inevitably die if left there – for the purpose of saving the mother’s life.

An elective abortion is radically different from an ectopic pregnancy treatment, even though both end up with a dead baby. The difference lies in the circumstances and the intention. In an elective abortion, the woman is not seeking an abortion because her life is endangered by her pregnancy. The intention is to kill the baby, full stop. There is no medical necessity that dictates killing the baby in this situation. Treatments to prevent death are healthcare; inflicting death on another life, no matter how developed, is not. 

If the facts of these two different scenarios aren’t enough, then consider that analysis on the Supreme Court’s decision has affirmed that the statute “specifically excludes from the definition of abortion the use of medicines or procedures performed ‘to terminate an ectopic pregnancy, or to remove a dead unborn human being,’” and that the court specifically identified “the protection of maternal health and safety.”

Looking at this in practice, one of the states with the most rigid pro-life laws is Texas. Their statute restricts abortions after a heartbeat can be detected, yet there is a specific exception for instances where physicians believe a woman is facing a medical emergency. Furthermore, they specify that removing ectopic pregnancies and miscarried, unborn children are not abortions.

Miscarriages Are Not Abortions

The New York Times published their “Sex Ed” quiz in an attempt to provide myth-busting knowledge in an understandable format for a “post-Roe era.” After reading how much genuine misinformation the Times was spreading, a board-certified Ob/Gyn, Donna Harrison, M.D., fact-checked the quiz. One of the questions asked “What’s the difference between an abortion and a miscarriage?” without providing a single correct answer option. 

Miscarriages are the spontaneous and tragic death of a fetus in the womb. About 50% of miscarriages are caused by extra or missing chromosomes, which occurs as the embryo is growing. Other less common factors involving the mother’s health include uncontrolled diabetes, infections, insufficient progesterone, placental abruption, cervical insufficiency, and thyroid disease. Unlike abortions, a miscarriage is not intentional; it’s not the direct result of harm directed against the unborn fetus. Sometimes, in later miscarriages, the uterus has to be cleaned out, which includes removing the dead baby, to prevent infection in the mother. This procedure, known as a dilation and curettage (D&C), is not an abortion in this case (even if the same procedure is used in abortions). In this instance, the unborn fetus has already died and the intention is to preserve the health of the mother.

Singer Halsey shared that she thought an abortion saved her life, but if you read further about her situation, you’ll see that she actually suffered from an incomplete miscarriage. Her seeking treatment for an incomplete miscarriage is not legally an abortion because her procedure’s intent was to complete the partial miscarriage (which had already resulted in a loss of life) to save her from infection. Again, pro-life laws don’t ban treatments for incomplete miscarriages, so when celebrities make broad statements that women will die if elective abortions are illegal, I’m going to have to call them out for fake news!

Guns Don’t Have More Rights Than You

In the past, leading government officials like Hillary Clinton have suggested that its “harder to obtain an abortion” than it is to own a gun in America. It should be glaringly obvious just how hyperbolic these statements are, but they’re still passed around in what appears to be fear-mongering tactics.

One of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, Halle Berry, loudly expressed her outrage on Twitter that guns apparently have more rights than women do. I don’t remember guns having a constitutional right to freedom of speech or the right to vote... 

Last time I checked, we have a full Bill of Rights and many amendments to our Constitution that guarantee a woman many more rights than an inanimate object. Furthermore, that same Bill of Rights actually guarantees women the right to bear arms. 

Certain states have much more streamlined processes for obtaining a gun than others, with only 21 out of our 50 states (and Washington D.C.) requiring background checks when dealing with some firearm sales. That being said, I’ve gone through the process myself in a stricter state, and I can vouch for the fact that it’s really not that easy across the board. Once again, the situation boils down to handing the power back to the states so the people who live there can vote to legalize and legislate in accordance with their beliefs. Those who don't agree have the freedom to move to a state (or even a different country) where their personal values reflect the majority.

Singer-songwriter Katy Perry also foolishly sounded off on this talking point, tweeting, “‘Baby you’re a firework’ is a 10 but women in the US have fewer rights than an actual sparkler smh.”

Knowing that she resides in Kentucky, I checked out the legality of pyrotechnics in her state. Just like how each state should be able to regulate its own abortion and gun laws, each state has its own choice for which pyrotechnics can and cannot be purchased or played with. This is also the same principle (states’ rights and federalism) that allows for some states to handle firearms sales more loosely than others, as I previously mentioned. Kentucky is pretty chill with their fireworks laws, compared to her home state of California, but I still am not understanding how a hand-held firework can even be reasonably compared to a human being. This type of commentary is shallow at best, meaningless at worst.

Bottom Line: You Still Have Reproductive Rights Post-Roe

If words weren’t enough, some women have been taking to vulgar hand gestures to get their points across. At the BET Awards, singer-songwriter Janelle Monae flipped off the Supreme Court as a public display for viewers of all ages to see.

I’m mildly speechless at the fact that people don’t think twice about crude behavior when they’re live for the whole world to see. That being said, crude behavior around young children doesn’t appear to be taboo anymore.

Actress Jessica Chastain apparently felt similarly to Janelle, posting a photo of herself on Instagram flipping the bird twice alongside the caption, “Happy ‘Independence’ Day from me and my reproductive rights.”

The United States Department of Justice recently announced the formation of a Reproductive Rights Task Force to “protect access to reproductive health” post-Roe as United States Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta says that the decision prevents “women all over the country from being able to make critical decisions about our bodies, our health, and our futures.”

As the founder and president of LiveAction, Lila Rose, has debunked, reproductive rights are your “right to decide when and with whom to have sex” and your “right to be free from sexual harassment and abuse.” If you are pregnant, then you have already exercised your reproductive rights, and with your rights come responsibilities.

Yes, a woman’s right to sexual and reproductive health is sacred. These rights include “the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the right to health, the right to privacy, the right to education, and the prohibition of discrimination.” There’s no denying that forced sterilization, forced female genital mutilation, forced virginity examinations, and even outright denial of access to healthcare services are violations of a woman’s human rights. However, we don’t typically see these violations against reproductive health in America. Here, we are granted equal constitutional freedoms regardless of our gender, race, ethnicity, and many other demographics.

Abortions Aren’t Just a Walk in the Park

Singer Phoebe Bridger shared on Twitter that she had an abortion while on tour last year by going to Planned Parenthood and getting the abortion pill. “It was easy,” she said.

Playing whistleblower for the abortion industry, Abby Johnson, who was once the youngest Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director, told her story in Unplanned. The movie was a full exposé on the industry, deconstructing myths like abortions don’t cause pain to the baby or the mother. 

Though every woman who opts for an abortion has different reactions to the chemical or physical procedures, pain, vomiting, and other reactions are all too common. In fact, studies have shown that even in first-trimester abortions that use local anesthetics, 97% of patients experience some degree of pain. The film depicts some of the more severe reactions to an abortion to get the message across that it’s not necessarily just a “gentle emptying of the uterus.”

If you’re having a standard chemical abortion, the drugs you take “block pregnancy hormones and also cause uterine contractions to push the embryo out” within a four to five hour window of time. Bleeding and passage of large blood clots can occur for a few days and spotting can continue for a couple weeks. If you’re having a standard surgical abortion, the fetus in your womb is sucked through a tube, your uterus is scraped and fully emptied, and in cases where you’re further along, forceps might be used. With this style of abortion, you may even bleed for several weeks.

More recently, at-home abortion pills have been gaining popularity as an alternative to standard chemical or surgical abortions. It’s worth noting that things like at-home abortion pills (similar to what Phoebe Bridger was likely talking about) have a 10 times higher risk of death than the physical procedure. Some women have experienced other horrible effects like huge cystic boils, fatal bacterial infections, prolonged bleeding, and even hemorrhaging. Needless to say, none of these options should be glamourized or celebrated as “easy.” 

Closing Thoughts

Just like how your reproductive rights give you reproductive responsibilities, the potentially large platform you have built with followers on social media comes with great responsibility. 

Some people, celebrities especially, end up turning to emotional manipulation through the dissemination of genuine misinformation. They might not mean anything malicious behind their posts, but by perpetuating false narratives they’re essentially spreading propaganda. I may have underestimated just how wrong people could be about what goes on in the womb, but after reading through the media’s strange and puzzling reactions, I feel more sound in my convictions to simply seek truth.

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Seek Truth. Find Beauty.

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