The lucrative abortion industry, led by America’s abortion corporation Planned Parenthood, has marketed lies to women for decades. The central message of their anti-Life campaign is that women “need” abortion in order to succeed. Celebrating 100 years of eugenics and abortion last fall, Planned Parenthood tried to claim that all women owe their success to none other than Planned Parenthood. How can Pro-Lifers respond?
At a recent talk for Young America’s Foundation, Texas Right to Life Education Director Veronica Arnold Smither confronted the anti-Life lie that abortion is necessary for women to succeed. Veronica argued that to be Pro-Life is pro-woman, and she addressed what women really need to succeed. Far from glib, Veronica’s talk does not sugarcoat the difficulties women face. She responds directly to some of the most challenging anti-Life objections.
The central question of Veronica’s talk is, “What is it that women need to be successful? Do they need abortion to be successful?” The instances in which the abortion lobby insists women “need” abortion are above all when women are in poverty, when women are in school or a successful career, and cases of rape. Veronica addresses each case, as many Pro-Lifers have, and she challenges others to confront the lies.
The abortion industry often claims that they “serve” underprivileged women who would not otherwise receive care and that what women need is to eliminate the burden of pregnancy. Veronica argues, “Poverty is a multi-faceted crisis. Does abortion fix any of these things?” Abortion takes the life of a child and does not solve any of the problems that drove the mother to choose abortion.
Furthermore, Planned Parenthood’s claim that they are the only ones to care for women in difficult circumstances has been proven wrong countless times. There are thousands of Federally Qualified Health Centers that are capable of providing legitimate health care for women without offering abortion, a procedure which the majority of Americans find morally objectionable. In every state, including Texas, Federally Qualified Health Centers vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities. Texas has also taken great care to support women’s health care through the Healthy Texas Women initiative and the Alternatives to Abortion program.
Veronica also emphasizes that abortion is discrimination against the poor. The child in the womb is already present, and telling mothers they must kill a child simply because that child will be born into poverty is deadly discrimination. As Veronica states, “Just because someone is raised in poverty doesn’t make their life less worth living.”
The idea that women cannot continue school or careers with a child is also a lie. Countless families testify to the truth that through hard work and dedication, mothers can finish school, continue in their careers, and raise their children. The path is not easy, which is why life-affirming assistance for mothers and their families is so important. Texas Right to Life has been privileged to work with passionate Pro-Life students who establish scholarships for pregnant and parenting students. When women receive the message that they can succeed and they know there are resources to help them, they do not have to accept the lies of the abortion industry.
Finally, Veronica addresses the very difficult and very personal objection that women need abortion in cases of rape. The tragedy of rape is not in any way lessened or alleviated by the violence of abortion. Veronica encourages her listeners to help the mother first: “Address the issues. Address the trauma. Talk about the rape. Get her help- physical help, psychological help.” Only once the very real tragedy has been addressed can the woman make a choice about her child. Planned Parenthood, far from helping women in difficult circumstances, returns victims to their abusers, no questions asked.
The actual experiences of women who have suffered the trauma of rape and conceived a child is much different than the anti-Life narrative most people hear. Veronica speaks movingly of the mothers who courageously chose Life for their children in order to end the cycle of violence. They did not want to inflict pain on their own children after they had suffered such great pain. Veronica says, “Women need to be empowered to know that they can be heroes. They can take a situation that was tragic and turn it into something good and beautiful.”
The predatory abortion industry has advertised lies for decades. Their business model is dependent on the myth that women cannot succeed without abortion. Confronting these lies head-on reveals the truth that, even in the most difficult circumstances, being pro-woman means being Pro-Life. The choice is not between loving the mother or loving her child. The Pro-Life movement emphatically shows that we can love them both.