Female scholars to SCOTUS: Abortion deserves no credit for women’s success

By Cassy Fiano-Chessers

An amicus brief has been filed on behalf of over 200 women for the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court case, arguing that women do not need abortion to be successful.

Filed by law professors Teresa Collett and Helen Alvaré along with legal scholar Erika Bachiochi, the brief represents 240 women scholars and professionals, all of whom “reject the argument that the ‘ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation’ requires the availability of abortion.” On the opposing side,  500 female athletes have filed an amicus claiming women do need abortion in order to be successful.

Women began to succeed outside the home before Roe v. Wade

According to the brief opposing the idea of abortion as necessary, there is no evidence that legal abortion has had any effect on women’s success in the workplace. “Data regarding women’s participation in the labor market and entrepreneurial activities, as well as their educational accomplishments, professional engagement, and political participation, reveals virtually no consistent correlation with abortion rates or ratios,” they wrote. “And, certainly, in the absence of correlation, there can be no causation.”

Furthermore, they pointed out that women began breaking boundaries and finding success long before abortion was legalized under Roe v. Wade.

 “The election of the first woman in Congress, Jeanette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, predated even the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. And in the years following its ratification, a number of women entered political office at the highest levels. Their ranks included U.S. Senators, Congresswomen, and governors. Women’s political accomplishments were not limited to their elections to public office,” they wrote. “In 1938, Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (2012) establishing a minimum wage without regard to sex, due in part to the lobbying efforts of women. In Fay v. New York, 332 U.S. 261 (1947), the Supreme Court recognized that women are equally qualified with men to serve on juries. The pace of such changes accelerated in the 1960s, well before Roe v. Wade.”

They also wrote that the National Organization for Women (NOW) did not include abortion as part of its roadmap to equality in 1966. In fact, it was men who invaded the feminist movement and pushed for the legalization of abortion.

‘Impossible to claim’ abortion is responsible for women’s progress

Laws that improved life for women in many different areas — education, employment, marital property, homeownership, the ability to own property, the ability to have credit, and more — also did not involve abortion in any way. “It may be possible to claim anecdotally that a particular woman’s abortion seemed to preserve her opportunity to pursue a particular job or degree,” they explained. “But it is impossible to claim that abortion access is specially responsible for the progress that American women have made in any of the above arenas, as compared with the massive array of statutes and cases described above and women’s vigorous pursuit of the opportunities they provide. Indeed, there is no study design that could credibly tease out such a causal link.”

The brief also discussed the issue of whether abortion improves women’s lives, which the abortion industry attempts to affirm most often using flawed scientific studies. 

“First, most commonly, these studies ignore a wide variety of confounding variables, including and perhaps most importantly, the vast number of cases and laws powerfully fostering women’s social equality,” they said. “Second, the research, conducted almost exclusively by abortion proponents, is riddled with scientific flaws. Finally, the studies ignore evidence that recent decades’ precipitous declines in abortion rates (abortions per 1000 women of childbearing age) and ratios (abortions per pregnancies, excluding miscarriages and stillbirths) have accompanied dramatic rises in women’s educational, economic and other societal gains.”

Abortion equates to women giving in to hopelessness and despair

Rather, they said, women’s successes are due to a “complex mix” of “multiple factors,” and any attempt to give abortion credit for these successes is nothing short of exploitative.

“In the end, attempts to both aggregate and untangle women’s personal stories – reflecting individual values, familial, health, and educational histories, economic and cultural resources, access to opportunities, and the impact of a changing legal and social environment – in order to isolate any effect that access to abortion may have had on women’s participation in the economic and social life of their communities, appear doomed from the start,” they wrote. “The impossibility of isolating abortion as a cause of women’s increased economic and social participation has not stopped abortion advocates from claiming certainty about abortion’s role in women’s advancement.”

Claiming that abortion is responsible for women’s success is agenda-driven, and pushing abortion on women does not help them; it only incorrectly implies that they are incapable of accomplishing their goals if they become mothers.

“It is a frightening statement for women who want children, and who are already aware of employers’ low enthusiasm for their female employees’ childbearing,” co-author Helen Alvaré told Catholic News Agency. “It is a ‘throwing-our-hands-up’ in despair, as if it is hopeless for professional women to expect help or encouragement in the difficult task of doing justice first at home and also at work.”