Since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade, returning abortion regulation to the states, there has been a campaign of misinformation about what constitutes an abortion.
Celebrities and pundits who support abortion on demand are the biggest culprits, using their substantial platforms to scare women into believing that treatment for ectopic pregnancies and medical care after miscarriage would be banned under a post-Roe regime.
On June 27, actress Halle Berry tweeted, “The treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is abortion. … The treatment for a miscarriage that your body does not release is abortion. If you can’t get those abortions, you’ll die.
The tweet, so dishonest it would make Pinocchio blush, got more than 390,000 likes.
A few days later, a roundup of celebrity “abortion stories” in The Hollywood Reporter included two accounts by actors who mistakenly describe the medical care they received after a miscarriage as an abortion.
“Roe v. Wade protected my rights as a woman to miscarry without examination,” actress Hilarie Burton wrote on her Instagram account.
“Your miscarriage will make you a murder suspect,” she continued.
Burton’s post got nearly 85,000 likes.
What Berry and Burton describe – ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage – is tragic.
Speaking from my own experience, I know that losing a child at any stage of development is deeply painful. And miscarriages, which are estimated to end prematurely in 10-20% of known pregnancies, are extremely common.
But miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies are also completely natural occurrences that sometimes require medical attention.
In either case, the embryo or fetus is dead or will die, as will the mother in more serious circumstances, unless she receives medical attention.
It is not the moral, medical or legal equivalent of abortion as we know it.
There is no ethical correlation between a woman who seeks to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and a woman who needs emergency care after losing one naturally.
Pro-life doctors, who do not perform abortions, willingly provide life-saving treatment and care to women who have suffered pregnancy loss and ectopic pregnancy.
And even states that restrict (or intend to restrict) elective abortions make concessions where the life of the mother is at risk. In Texas law, “abortion” is specifically defined to exclude ectopic pregnancy and the removal of a naturally dead fetus.
Efforts to confuse abortion and miscarriage care are hard to take seriously, but with many Americans still unsure of what the Dobbs decision actually does, it’s no surprise that proponents of abortion seek to sow more confusion.
To wit, a Harvard-Harris poll taken after the court ruling found that 72% of those polled said they supported abortion up to 15 weeks — the exact law at play in Dobbs — while 49% did not. only went to six weeks.
As writer Charles CW Cooke explains, “These two views were incompatible with Roe, meaning that whether they knew it or not, many Americans said they supported Roe while opposing what Roe was actually doing.”
And a worrying number of cultural elites are still misinformed about the state of abortion around the world. In much of Western Europe, abortion is restricted to the first trimester, a shorter period than the 15-week ban in Mississippi that led to the Dobbs case.
If abortion proponents really care about the future of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage care, now is the time to make sure lawmakers in all 50 states understand the difference between these treatments. and elective abortion.
If nuances need to be made to protect women who have experienced pregnancy loss, they have ample opportunity to minimize confusion and enshrine protections in future laws.
But if proponents of abortion continue to spread these false narratives, it will be obvious that protecting abortion — not women — is their main goal.
Cynthia M. Allen is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Readers can email him at [email protected]