Abortion “rights” were always a tissue of lies. A lie about the U.S. Constitution, to be sure, but before that the lie that “a woman has a right to control her own body.” Which no one denies, up to a point. That point is clearly defined by the sound principle that your right to swing your arms stops at the tip of my nose. There’s another living, human body (half the time a very young woman’s body) also involved in abortion – which admittedly complicates matters. But that body had to be lied into invisibility with talk of “clumps of cells” and “products of conception” before the other lies could become even remotely plausible.
Yet after fifty years of such lies, vigorously promoted by our dominant cultural and political institutions as simple, progressive truth (even though progressives say “truth” is, in other contexts, a kind of violence and hate), we never heard the fanciful claims that have begun to appear since the Dobbs decision – with more on the way.
Some of those claims might even be regarded as rather comic, if the stakes were less serious. For instance, Dobbs has even spurred some people into a kind of lying poetry. Take this blunt couplet, which was chanted by 2,000 people who marched in front of NYC’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral the weekend after Dobbs:
F*** the Church, f*** the State,
You can’t make us procreate.
This lie (that Dobbs or the churches are forcing anyone to do anything) is intimately connected, so to speak, to another lie: that the act that naturally makes babies is, willingly engaged in, not supposed to make babies.
Some pro-abortion voices, indirectly, admit as much. Take the new argument (click here for one among many other examples) that “women,” to use an indefinite term at the moment, who fear pregnancy in states with limits on abortion post-Dobbs may now consider turning lesbian. Or even forgoing sex altogether.
In America anno Domini 2022, anything is possible when it comes to sex. Still, this particular bit of “news” seems to serve a double purpose, like many of the new lies. It confirms the apostles of gender fluidity in their belief that one option, now that the Holy Writ of Roe has been debunked, is just to switch-hit, which maybe you were thinking about doing already anyway. But it also seems to be intended to induce second thoughts among pro-lifers: take away abortion and you’ll get even more gays, non-binaries, child-avoiding “birthing people.”
Even conceding the absurdity of the premise, how many people will actually face pressure to make such moves? There have been about 900,000 abortions annually in recent years, and the available figures show that at least two-thirds take place in the states with high abortion rates, like California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Michigan. Among high-abortion-rate states, only Florida seems likely to change anything significantly.
And the lying hardly stops there. We’ve all just been treated to the horror show of the 10-year-old girl in Ohio who was raped and, it was said, had to travel to Indiana to get an abortion. (She actually didn’t need to, since Ohio’s abortion laws have a “medical emergency” exception for such cases.)
But there was something obviously fishy from the start when the doctor – a pro-abortion activist – who made this case national news announced that the girl was six weeks and three days “pregnant” and therefore just outside Ohio’s six-week limit on abortion. Most medical texts define pregnancy as beginning at “implantation,” i.e., when the fertilized egg actually attaches to the uterus, a process that can take from one to two weeks.
Many women have discovered when they give birth that the doctors were wildly off about the due date. So it beggars belief that, in the Ohio case, at such an early and uncertain stage, a doctor in another state could say, with high scientific accuracy, that a poor Ohio girl was in distress because she was only three days beyond the legal limit.
The Indiana doctor, to be charitable, may only have been engaging in misguided compassion to make a point. But to the uncharitable eye, this looks very much like a deliberate and politically motivated lie by a medical professional
We’ll hear many more of them as the Dobbs ruling plays out. The president of the American Medical Association, which expresses rock-solid certainty about affirming every LGBQT+ claim and even seems untroubled about pumping puberty blockers into children and performing surgery on them at their merest request, claims that post-Dobbs “confusion” is making many medical professionals “deny” or “delay” legitimate treatments out of fear of the law.
Given the AMA’s ideological track record, count me skeptical.
Doctors aren’t the only ones allegedly “confused.” Many people in other countries and the foreign press are, too. Somehow the message has gone out to the world that America has “banned” abortion. A few of the individual States may do something close to that. But as the case of the 10-year-old Hispanic girl indicates, even if you are very poor and from a marginalized minority group, it isn’t hard to get around State-level restrictions. Yet many people abroad, seeing the lies of our own public officials and media, reach the opposite conclusion.
So what is to be done?
As with any regime of lies, the first thing is not to let the liars have their lying way. It will take great courage and much preparation, steadiness about when it’s wise to speak and not, but above all conviction that, despite the passionate debates over Dobbs, truth is powerful. Which is why many institutions these days deny truth-tellers a platform.
As happened after Soviet Communism unexpectedly fell, the fall of Roe will, yes, lead to serious conflicts. But the main thing that’s happened – the disappearance of a murderous and mendacious tyranny – needs to be constantly kept in mind, because our new freedom to speak the truth is now the foundation for great hopes.
*Image: The Lie by Felix Vallotton, 1898 [Baltimore Museum of Art]
You may also enjoy:
Stephen P. White’s A Beginning by the Bishops, Not the End
Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky’s Different Drum, Same Drummer