What the Right Claims

Conservative claims about abortion and women’s reproductive issues appear in many places: on TV and radio, in newspapers and pamphlets, and of course on the Web. The following examples of key arguments from the Right about abortion shed light on how social conservatives present their case.

"The Culture of Life Battles the Culture of Death: Abortion Must be Stopped

“Safe, Legal, and Stigmatized” by Fred Barnes
This article from the conservative journal Human Life Review discusses the strategy changes that have occurred in the anti-abortion movement from a “pro-life” point of view, focusing on the success of stigmatizing abortion.

“Introducing Gospel of Life Ministries.”
The mission of the Gospel of Life Ministry, a media presence for antiabortion efforts led by Priests for Life head Rev. Frank Pavone, is to promote the Culture of Life. The group believes in the sanctity of all life, from fetuses of all stages of development to the sick and dying. They believe not only in banning abortion, but also banning all forms of “violence” that would end a life prematurely.

“The Vatican’s Summary of the Evangelium Vitae”
This official explanation of a 1995 encyclical explains the Roman Catholic Church’s views of the “Gospel of Life” and the threat of a so-called “culture of death.”

“Focus Celebrates Option Ultrasound Success” by Shana Schutte
Focus on the Family highlights the success of a program they started in 2004 called “Option Ultrasound” and its web presence Heartlink which put ultrasound machines into 650 pro-life pregnancy centers across the country.

“Mexico City Policy: Stopping the Spread (and Funding) of Western Errors”
Population Research Institute, a pro-life supporter of the currently disbanded Mexico City Policy commonly known as the Global Gag Rule, argues that American dollars should be denied to any foreign aid groups that dispense contraception and even discuss abortions. The article goes into detail about how this policy works in practice.

“Pro-Life Pharmacies Opening around the U.S.”
This Catholic News Agency article provides some interesting quotes from pharmacists who are refusing to fill prescriptions for drugs they disagree with, like contraception and Plan B.

“Fathers in Crisis: Dads are Key in Preventing Abortions,” by Michael Leaser (PDF)
This article argues that a man has a right to be a part of the decision when a woman considers an abortion. It also discusses the tactic of counseling men so that they can “save lives” by becoming more involved in the decision and care of pregnant women and their “unborn children.”

“The Third Victim of Abortion,” by Nathan Tabor
Acknowledging that men are affected by an abortion as well, this conservative article argues that a man deserves to be notified about an abortion before it happens, and he deserves to have some say in that abortion.

"Women and Children Must be Protected from Harm"

“Is Abortion Safe? Medical Complications”
The National Right to Life Committee’s misleading list of the physical and psychological complications that can occur as a result of an abortion.

“The Link between Abortion and Breast Cancer: What Every Woman in the World has a Right to Know”
A flyer published by the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer circulated at international meetings, designed to bring the “abortion/breast cancer link” message to other countries.

“Are You Suffering from Post Abortion Stress?”
A Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS) quiz from the Elliot Institute, the leading advocacy group for PAS, designed to encourage women who have had an abortion to believe they suffer from a psychological disorder.

“Free Posters”
The Elliot Institute has produced this series of posters that focus on the alleged harm of abortions.

“Coercive Abortion Prevention Act Assumes Male Guilt, Opens Door to Unfair Prosecutions” by Jeffrey M. Leving and Glenn Sacks
Conservative fathers rights advocates discuss their opposition to a 2006 Michigan bill, the Coercive Abortion Prevention Act, that would have prohibited a potential father from intimidating or otherwise coercing a woman to have an abortion. They claimed the law would violate men’s rights by presuming guilt.

“Forced Abortions in America” by the Stop Forced Abortions Alliance of Missouri
Formed to help pass a coercive abortion prevention law, this website presents “pro-woman” arguments that are designed to appeal to pro-life feminists.

“If She’s in Trouble, He’s in Trouble, Too” by Feminists for Life (PDF)
A poster arguing that women who have an unplanned pregnancy deserve better than to be coerced by men who would pay for an abortion but refuse to support a child.

“CDC Reports: Condoms Do Not Prevent HPV”
A conservative review of a CDC report about the effectiveness of condoms in reducing HPV transmission from Concerned Women for America. The review misleadingly states that condoms offer no protection against HPV, while CDC has stated that condoms “may reduce the risk for HPV-associated diseases.”

“Catholic Teaching Has the Best Way to Stop AIDS”
“Does the distribution of condoms lessen its spread or actually fuel transmission of the fatal, incurable disease?” This article reflects the Roman Catholic Church’s refusal to use condoms because of its position that contraception encourages premarital and extra-marital sex: “Condoms exacerbate the problem by promoting promiscuity.” Pope Benedict XVI echoed this sentiment in his comments before his first Papal visit to Africa in 2009 when he claimed that HIV/AIDS "cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."

“Teens Can’t Afford to Gamble at the STD Roulette Wheel”
An essay by a conservative M.D.reprinted by an abstinence-only curriculum site. The author argues that sexual activity gambles away teen health, because teens don’t use condoms consistently and that condoms are “flawed,” putting them at serious risk for STDs.

“A Merck-y Business”
A conservative argument against mandatory vaccination of pre teen girls with the HPV vaccine, Merck’s Gardasil, based on the fear that “a powerful urge to have sexual intercourse that begins at puberty” will drive girls to have sex, that mandatory vaccinations, like the programs suggested at the time this article appeared, reduced parental authority, and finally, that Merck was motivated more by profit than by any other health factor. The latter argument also appeals to populist, anti-corporate liberals.

“Executive Summary--Abstinence Education: Assessing the Evidence”
This summary of a Heritage Foundation “Backgrounder” was produced to coincide with the first Congressional hearing abstinence education in April 2008. The full paper misleadingly claims that most abstinence education programs studied had positive results.

"The Unborn Baby is a Person"

“Mission Statement”
The mission statement for the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (HLA). The Human Life Amendment, first proposed in 1973 and a perennial campaign of this group, would protect the lives of “unborn children” by giving them civil rights, making abortion illegal by violating the human rights of the “pre-born child.”

“Life Counts!”
A website prepared for the 2008 Colorado state election which advocated for passage of Amendment 48: the Colorado Fetal Personhood Bill. The unsuccessful campaign would have defined a “person” as a human being from the moment of fertilization on.

“ ‘We Shall Overcome…Abortion,’ says National Black Pro-Life Union President”
A press release by Day Gardner, who links the struggle for equality of African Americans to the struggle to overcome disproportionate numbers of abortions in the African-American community.

“Why Abortion is Genocide” by Gregg Cunningham
The Genocide Awareness Project brings graphic images of aborted fetuses to college campuses for shock value, linking abortion to examples of mass murder like the Holocaust or the Cambodian Killing Fields.

“Comparing Abortion to Other Forms of Historical Genocide”
A comparison of abortion to the Holocaust and to slavery, designed for an African-American audience. Disturbing graphics.

“Abortion! Because Lynching is for Amateurs”
An especially extreme example of the common tactic of demonizing abortion providers by comparing them to the Ku Klux Klan. Focuses on Margaret Sanger’s eugenicist ideas. Website includes disturbing graphics.

“Contraception and Abortion: The Underlying Link” by the Rev. Walter J. Schu, L.C.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes position papers on various topics. This one links contraception with abortion. Opposing the argument that contraception actually reduces abortions, this argument claims that condoms encourage sexual activity which leads to more unintended pregnancies.

“Key Facts on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act”
The National Right to Life Committee explains the importance of this federal legislation, enacted after a five year fight in 2004, and the companion state laws that make “fetal homicide” a crime.