How Pro-Life Candidates Can Respond to 10 of the Most Common Pro-Abortion Arguments

By Karen Cross, Political Director

Editor’s note. This appeared in the October issue of NRL News. Please share this and other stories from this 41 page edition.

Without question, abortion is going to play a huge role in the 2024 elections.

Pro-abortion candidates plan to build upon their 2022 playbook by leaning heavily on the issue to motivate and mobilize voters. We got a taste of this following the first GOP Presidential Primary debate when the Biden campaign announced a $25 million online advertising blitz targeting women on the issue of abortion in the key battleground states. Biden campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodriguez told NBC News that the advertisement is “the first of many” to highlight what the campaign calls the “extreme, losing positions” of the pro-life Republican presidential candidates.

Pro-life candidates running for office at every level need to clearly articulate their views to voters, forestall pro-abortion attacks, and defend their views when challenged. They should also not be afraid to take the fight to their opponents by highlighting areas where the pro-abortion position is out of step with voters.

When pro-life candidates attempted to run and hide from the issue in the wake of the Dobbs decision in 2022, pro-abortion candidates pounced. By ducking from the issue, pro-life candidates allowed their opponents to define them. Pro-life candidates were then portrayed as heartless, out of touch, and extreme. We cannot let this happen again in 2024.

Here are 10 of the most common pro-abortion arguments seen so far in the 2024 election cycle and examples of how pro-life candidates can effectively respond. (This by no means a fully exhaustive list. If there are pro-abortion arguments you routinely hear hurled at pro-life candidates, drop us a line.)

1. “You want women who have abortions to be prosecuted, punished, and even imprisoned.”

No pro-life law in the country penalizes women who have abortions. National Right to Life penned an open letter with the signatures of over 75 pro-life leaders and organizations reaffirming the pro-life movement’s opposition to punishing women who have abortions. In every abortion, there are two victims: the unborn child who loses his or her life and the woman who is left to bear painful aftereffects including grief, shame, and regret. Abortionists and the abortion industry, which target and profit off vulnerable women in their most desperate hours, are the ones who should be held responsible.

2. “There is no such thing as a late-term abortion. But even if these abortions did occur, they would be performed only when the mother’s life is threatened or in cases when the baby would be born with a severe disability or genetic condition.”

Each year across the country, thousands of abortions take place late in pregnancy. Thousands take place past the point that unborn babies can feel pain, recognize their mother’s voice, and, in some cases, even survive outside the womb. These can be performed for virtually any reason in some states. But don’t just take our word for it. According to notorious abortionist Warren Hern, who specializes in late abortions, as many as half of the abortions he performs are purely elective.

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Congressional Democrats have demonstrated opposition to even the most modest protections for unborn children and their mothers. They are pushing the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, which would enshrine unlimited abortion until birth in federal law and strike down state-level pro-life measures, including those in states that protect unborn babies from late abortions.

3. “Due to the Dobbs decision and abortion bans in the states, women may not be able to receive treatment for ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, or other life-threatening conditions.”

We are concerned about protecting the lives of women and unborn babies. Pro-life protections have exceptions for those rare cases when the mother’s life is threatened or when she faces a medical emergency.

A miscarriage is not the same thing as an abortion. Women deserve quality healthcare, including treatment for miscarriages. If your doctor says he or she is unable to differentiate between a miscarriage and an abortion, get a new doctor. An abortion actively takes the life of a living unborn baby whereas in receiving treatment for a miscarriage, the baby in the womb has already died.

4. “Due to the Dobbs decision and abortion bans in the states, hospital emergency rooms will turn away women suspected of undergoing illegal abortions.”

Thanks to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (also known as EMTALA), federal law since 1986, hospital emergency rooms are not legally permitted to turn away patients facing a medical emergency, regardless of the circumstances that caused it.

Every abortion, lawful or otherwise, can result in complications and consequences that negatively impact a woman’s health and even threaten her life. We want to protect her and her unborn child. We want to expand alternatives to abortion and eliminate the factors that cause far too many women to believe abortion is the only viable solution to an unexpected pregnancy.

5. “Abortion bans threaten contraception.”

Not one state that has enacted protections for unborn children and their mothers has made contraceptives illegal. In fact, throughout the nation, contraception is easier to acquire than ever before. The Supreme Court firmly established a right to contraception in Griswold vs. Connecticut (1965) and the U.S. Congress codified this right in 2022. Unlike abortion, which takes the life of a living unborn baby, contraception by its very definition prevents conception, and therefore does not end a life. We are concerned with protecting the unborn babies and mothers who are already living among us and who desperately need support and care.

6. “You only care about life before birth. After that, you would leave mothers and their children to fend for themselves.”

The pro-life movement stands up for babies and their mothers, before and after birth. We support the incredible work of more than 3,000 pregnancy help centers operating today across the country, which offer pregnant women the crucial support, care, and resources they deserve. These centers not only administer to women before their babies are born, but they are there for her and her baby afterwards with many centers offering free diapers, baby formula, baby clothes, housing, parenting classes, occupational opportunities, and more. Over the past year alone, pro-life elected officials have advanced bills, implemented policies, and allotted funding for initiatives aimed at helping mothers and their young children. As admirable as these efforts are, we believe our society can and should do even more to extend the social safety net to cover all women, children, and families in need.

7. “If elected, you will push for a national ban on abortions with no exceptions.”

At this time, there is nowhere near the level of public support nor the votes in Congress to pass a nationwide protection for the unborn. It takes sixty votes in the Senate to pass any kind of ban. Currently there are only 48 pro-life Senators. No national ban can pass now or in the next Congress, therefore you (the candidate) are not seeking one.

On the federal level, we are advocating for the passage of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act to stop Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars from being used to pay for abortions. 60% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, according to a recent McLaughlin & Associates poll. We are also pushing for legislation to help pregnant women and families in need.

By contrast, pro-abortion lawmakers are the ones pushing a sweeping, national policy on abortion. They want to enact the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine unlimited abortion in federal law and strike down virtually all state-level protections for unborn babies and their mothers, including parental involvement and informed consent laws. Abortion without limits, for any reason, and at any point in pregnancy. That is the truly extreme position on abortion.

8. “Young women growing up today have fewer rights than their mothers or grandmothers had.”

Women in the United States have more rights and opportunities than ever before in our nation’s history. This is something we should celebrate! Yet, there is still progress to be made. It is a huge disservice that most discussions about “women’s issues” in a political or public policy context are reduced solely to abortion. Today, there are numerous opportunities before Congress and state legislatures to improve the lives of American women in terms of job opportunities, healthcare affordability, education, childcare, family leave, housing, and more. Our elected officials should seize those opportunities. Instead, many elected officials seem content with inaction and when elections roll around, they simply rely on fearmongering and misinformation on abortion to turn out women voters. Women deserve better than this. It is a misogynistic view that women need unlimited abortion to be successful or that women cannot achieve their dreams unless they end the lives of their unborn children.

9. “Our democracy itself is threatened by Supreme Court rulings like Dobbs vs. Jackson.”

In Dobbs vs. Jackson, the Supreme Court returned the authority to set abortion policy to the American people through their elected representatives. That is a big win for democracy! For the first time since 1973, Americans and the individuals they choose to represent them are able to weigh in on abortion policy. They should be the ones determining public policy, not nine unelected judges. Someone who truly supports the concept of democracy should welcome the robust abortion debate taking place in the states and in Washington. A Rasmussen poll taken in June 2023, one year after the Dobbs decision was handed down, found a majority (52%) of Americans supportive of the ruling compared to 46% who say they oppose it.

10. “The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) is not extreme. It merely codifies Roe v. Wade.

The so-called Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) goes way beyond even the scope of Roe. The WHPA is extreme because it would enshrine unlimited abortion in federal law and policies and tear down existing state-level protections for unborn children and their mothers. Commonsense protections with broad public support such as parental involvement requirements, women’s right to know laws, protections for unborn babies capable of feeling pain, and limits on taxpayer funding for abortion would be invalidated. Every state, regardless of the views of its residents, would be forced to allow unlimited abortions, for any reason, until the moment of birth. Most Americans do not support a sweeping nationwide policy like this. In most polls, majorities of Americans consistently support some limits on abortion and oppose the use of their tax dollars to pay for them.

Predictable results of the WHPA’s passage would be an increase in the overall number of abortions (particularly those done later in pregnancy), an increase in minors getting abortions without prior parental knowledge, and an increase in taxpayer dollars being used to pay for abortions. Our leaders should be looking for ways to reduce the number of abortions, not ways to increase it.