Making Abortion Unthinkable: Even More Important than Making It Illegal

Here are John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera making a great point about “making abortion unthinkable”:

To quote a friend: The goal of the pro-life movement should be to make abortion unthinkable–not just illegal. Let me explain why.

Ever since Roe v. Wade, and especially in recent years, pro-lifers are making dramatic legislative gains in restricting abortion. Thank God for that. But we should never lose sight of the fact that the ultimate goal is to change hearts and minds, not just laws.

Why this distinction matters was illustrated in a recent op-ed in the New York Times. As you might guess, especially from the title, “What Happens When Abortion is Banned,” the piece was not a ringing endorsement of the pro-life position.

Still, the author, law professor Michelle Oberman, made some points we need to hear.  She points to Latin America as a harbinger for what might happen if abortion becomes illegal in parts of the United States. Specifically she cited two countries, El Salvador, where abortion is banned without exception, and Chile, where the same was true until just last year.

As Oberman wrote, when she visited Chile in 2008, she “expected to find hospitals overflowing with dying women,” victims of back-alley doctors and self-inflicted abortion attempts. But she found no such thing.

The reason was the ready availability of abortifacients, what Oberman called a “revolution that has replaced back alleys with blister packs ordered online.” She continues, “Abortifacient drugs have become so readily available in places like Chile and El Salvador that today it is impossible to enforce abortion bans.”

They’re “readily available” because they “cost pennies to make” and the most commonly-used one, misoprostol, is also used to treat stomach ulcers. While misoprostol alone is “less effective” (i.e., less lethal to the unborn child) than the combination used in the United States, when used in the first trimester it induces an abortion ninety-percent of the time. Thus, in Brazil, where abortion is illegal in most instances, these drugs are estimated to result in half a million abortions every year.

Read more: Breakpoint