Recently published research shows that anti-abortion laws that went into effect after Dobbs are preventing abortions, saving the lives of approximately 32,000 babies per year. (To understand how this squares with other research suggesting a rise in abortions, see this article.)
The researchers reached this conclusion by examining birth rates in states with and without pro-life protections. This is a commonly accepted method for assessing the impact of pro-life legislation. For instance, it is how we know that over 2.5 million Americans are alive today thanks to the Hyde Amendment. My quarrel is not with the research, but with how mainstream media covered it.
The New York Times reported that “almost a quarter of women who would have gotten abortions carried their pregnancies to term” and that “the [anti-abortion] laws caused around 32,000 annual births.” It quoted a researcher as stating that “when you take away access [to abortion], it can affect fertility.” While none of these statements are untrue, they are dancing around the obvious. In an article about babies, they can’t bring themselves to talk about babies! Not until the fifth-to-last paragraph is there any sort of acknowledgment that the pregnancies carried to term, the births, the “affected fertility,” represent actual human people:
“The insinuation of a lot of coverage of such data points is that it’s a bad thing for there to be more children welcomed in states with better laws than in states that fast-track abortion,” said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, in an email. “It’s a triumph that pro-life policies result in lives saved.”
CNN’s reporting is even worse, quoting no pro-lifers and stating that “rising birth rates could indicate that unmet need persists” — by which they mean the “need” (desire) to terminate human lives in abortions, before they can become pesky, breathing statistics.
We are used to seeing this type of dehumanizing language used against children who are still in the womb. But even after these “pregnancies” are born, they are mere “births” if their lives were saved by Dobbs. This is extremely concerning. As these babies grow older, how will the abortion-industrial complex oppress the people who dare to be alive without its permission?