The Supreme Court is activist, abortion is healthcare, pro-life laws are confusing, and abortion drugs are safe.
Those were the talking points from Democratic senators and their witnesses at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing held on April 26 titled “The Assault on Reproductive Rights in a Post-Dobbs America.”
Committee chairman Richard Durbin, D-Ill., opened by criticizing the Supreme Court’s “judicial activism” in overruling Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which invented and affirmed a constitutional right to abortion.
No one attempted, or even suggested, that Roe had properly interpreted the Constitution or explained how correcting such a grave error could be called “activist.”
Instead, it was clear that, to Durbin, an “activist” decision was simply one he didn’t like.
While Durbin charged that pro-life laws amount to a “war on women’s health,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the committee’s ranking Republican, focused on the “war on the unborn.”
Graham explained how, under Roe v. Wade, the United States had one of the most permissive abortion regimes in the world. Now that Roe has been overruled, Democrats in Congress have introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would prevent even the few abortion restrictions that Roe allowed.
He noted a new poll released earlier that day by National Public Radio, showing that two-thirds of Americans say “abortion should be legal in, at most, the first three months of a pregnancy.” This includes 42 percent of Democrats and three-quarters of independents. Polls have consistently shown that few Americans support abortion on demand.
Democrats and their witnesses referred interchangeably to “abortion care” and “healthcare,” with Durbin even claiming that mifepristone, one of the drugs used in a majority of abortions today, is “used by women seeking care for miscarriage.”
Not according to the Food & Drug Administration. One resource posted on the FDA website, for example, opens by stating that mifepristone is “approved … to end an intrauterine pregnancy.” Planned Parenthood simply calls mifepristone “the abortion pill.” The difference between a miscarriage and an abortion is the difference between dying of natural causes and dying from homicide.
The first witness was Amanda Zurawski, a Texas woman who described a very complicated pregnancy and her doctor’s professed confusion about whether he could perform an abortion. Her real point came later in her testimony: “No one should be forced to remain pregnant against their will for any reason, emergency or no emergency.”
Dr. Ingrid Skop, an obstetrician/gynecologist who has practiced in Texas for more than 30 years, addressed the supposed confusion among doctors regarding pro-life laws.
No law anywhere in America requires that death be certain or imminent, she explained, and they allow doctors to do what they have always done by using their own medical judgment in following the appropriate standard of care.
Skop’s written testimony examined in detail the science regarding when an unborn child can feel pain and how various maternal health conditions can be treated without an abortion.
“A woman and her unborn child,” Skop said, “are not natural enemies … It is misleading to say that elective abortion is healthcare.”
Michele Goodwin, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, clearly opposed the Supreme Court’s decision overruling Roe v. Wade, but made no attempt to argue that Roe had been correctly decided. Instead, she made the unusual argument that pro-life laws amount to “cruel disregard for the lives of those most affected.”
Unborn children targeted for death are the ones most affected by abortion and laws protecting their lives are the opposite of “cruel disregard.”
Goodwin also criticized the Supreme Court for “neglectfulness and bias in its turn to history.”
The Court has indeed twisted abortion history in order to support a preferred outcome, but that happened in Roe v. Wade. Goodwin was instead focused on Dobbs, insisting that the Court should have looked at “involuntary reproductive servitude” and falsely claiming that this, and not protecting the lives of children in the womb, motivated 19th century laws prohibiting abortion.
Dr. Monique Wubbenhorst, a practicing ob/gyn who has cared for women all over the world, quoted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of abortion as intending to terminate a pregnancy in a way “that does not result in a live birth.”
Abortion, she explained, “neither prevents, treats, or palliates any disease. Instead, it has as its goal the death of a human being. Abortion is therefore not health case, for either the mother or her fetus.”
Wubbenhorst, like Skop, insisted that “clinicians caring for pregnant women have two patients: the mother and her unborn child.”
This perspective stood in stark contrast to Democrat senators and their witnesses, who completely ignored the unborn child. Wubbenhorst also responded to the claim that abortion drugs, such as mifepristone, are “safer than Tylenol.”
She explained that the research supposedly backing this claim actually focused on deaths from Tylenol overdoses, not its normal or ordinary use. The truth is that abortion, whether surgical or chemical, not only kills children, but harms women.
Wubbenshorst closed her testimony with a word of hope.
“The social landscape post-Dobbs offers many opportunities to help women carry their unborn children to term,” she said. “The pro-life message is one of hope and healing, and of love, of walking with women and parents through often difficult circumstances, of helping families to thrive, and working to avoid abortion’s harms to women and children.”
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