I read over the blog post on losing faith in the pro-life movement (How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement” by Libby Anne). I can see some of the points made, but ultimately found some of them based on a particular subset of the pro-life movement and others I simply did not find convincing.
Economics. The economics behind abortion is the author’s final point, but I will list it first because on this point we are in strong agreement. The primary pressure turning people towards abortion is economics- if a woman must work to earn income to sustain herself or her family, then she cannot easily afford to be pregnant; if pregnancy will hamper career advancement, she cannot easily afford to be pregnant; if a woman will be kicked out of school for getting pregnant, she cannot easily afford to be pregnant. And these pressures should be alleviated if we are to be truly pro-life. That is why being pro-life must be bigger than just outlawing abortion. Pro-life advocates should be saying FMLA is a great start but needs to be stronger and provide paid time off. Employers should be more flexible with parents- telecommuting, flexible hours, allowing children in (safe) workplaces, subsidizing childcare, etc. ObamaCare™ should be applauded by pro-lifers for reducing the demand for abortion through providing contraceptives and mandating a minimal amount of health care (but unfortunately many pro-life advocates are blinded by partisanship). Finding ways to create jobs that can support a family should be a top priority of any pro-life politician.
And many pro-life ministries deal with those economic realities. For example, Mom’s House (http://www.momshouse.org/) provides free child care and career counseling to single parents who chose life and are furthering their education. Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services (http://svps.org/Services.aspx) provides education on adoption, local support services (medical care, financial services, etc.), parenting classes, financial counseling, etc. YWAM’s Adoption Ministry (http://adoptionministry.net/node/73) provides comfortable residential housing, academic tutoring, and medical care so that women who do not wish to keep their babies but wish to give them up for adoption can have a supportive and comfortable environment.
Abortion laws do not reduce abortions. Not able to read the study the author referenced since it is not linked to, I can only go by what she summarized and a similar WHO study summarized in the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/health/abortion-worldwide-rate-stopped-falling-after-2003-researchers-cite-scarcity-of-contraception.html?ref=worldhealthorganization). In both cases another correlation (and a more likely causation) is to be found and that is the link between abortion rates and economics/industrialization/age demographics. (In these studies, the term “rate” is abortions per # of women, not abortions per # of pregnancies.) US and Western Europe have low rates while Latin America and Africa have higher rates and of all of Africa, South Africa (the most industrialized) has the lowest rate in Africa. However, the more industrialized and economically well off a nation is, the more access to birth control there is, the more incentive to use birth control and keep families small, the better the education system is (and more likely the population is to be educated about birth control), the more likely public assistance is available to provide income for a woman who keeps her baby, and age demographics shift from a younger, more fertile population towards a older, less fertile population.
Abortion laws cause women to put their lives at risk. This is true in the same way that banning pharmaceutical companies from selling cocaine or meth leads to people poisoning themselves with black market versions containing who knows what. But unlike that rather crude comparison, women are subject to many forces which direct them to abortions. The primary pressure is economics- if a woman must work to earn income to sustain herself or her family, then she cannot easily afford to be pregnant; if pregnancy will hamper career advancement, she cannot easily afford to be pregnant; if a woman will be kicked out of school for getting pregnant, she cannot easily afford to be pregnant. And these pressures should be alleviated if we are to be truly pro-life. That is why being pro-life must be bigger than just outlawing abortion. (See Economics.)
Contraception. I am all for contraception. People are going to have sex whether contraception is available or not. It is better we educate and make contraception available than use abortion as contraception. We should not start confusing contraception with abortion. They are two different subjects. I understand that Catholic pro-life arguments often blend the two because they feel strongly about both. But as the author pointed out, most contraceptives do not cause miscarriages.
Zygotes and the supposed lack of concern regarding them. When my wife and I had 3 miscarriages, all within the first trimester, we did not just lose a collection of cells we had no feelings for as the author accuses. We lost 3 children whom we mourned deeply and still do. If you ask just about anyone who has lost a baby through miscarriage they will share similar feelings. There has been extensive research by the medical community to help prevent miscarriages. In our case it was a simple hormonal imbalance that prevented proper implantation. Once this was corrected our next daughter was able to fully develop and she is a source of joy.