by Christy Yao
The ending of Roe v. Wade in America, although a celebratory event for many pro-lifers, will present new and unique challenges to the pro-life movement. Although there would be great benefits to antiabortion legislation, a potential drawback is an increase in “DIY abortions” often promoted in online spaces. While the dangers of pre-Roe v. Wade illegal abortions have historically been exaggerated, the mass influx of information via social media and the internet has the alarming potential to turn this myth into an even scarier reality. In a Post-Roe world, pro-life feminists will need to double down on refuting the acceptability of this DIY dehumanization and promoting safe, life-affirming, and empowering choices.
Perhaps the most prominent piece of literature foretelling the challenges for pro-life feminists post-legalized abortion is The New Handbook for a Post-Roe America, which came out in March 2019. This updated version of The Handbook for a Post-Roe America is a pro-choice manual for a future where Roe v. Wade is overturned. The book claims to help “get the health care you need.” This includes self-managed abortions.
The book does not entirely shy away from the dangers of self-managed abortions. According to The New Handbook’s website, the most dangerous part of a self-managed abortion is feeling like you cannot go to the hospital. However, the authors go on to say that the legality and potential for arrest are the only factors that make at-home abortions via medication dangerous. So which is it? If at-home abortions are so safe, why is there a fear of going to the hospital at all?
The waters get murkier. The handbook’s website also says it is better to seek out a legal abortion provider, especially if one is seeking to end their pregnancy in the 2nd trimester, but they then give instructions on how to perform at-home abortions later in pregnancy. The site links to Women Helping Women, a group that encourages those facing at-home abortion complications to lie to hospital staff and claim that they had a spontaneous miscarriage. How is this safe? Wouldn’t this affect medical care?
On social media, many pro-choice activists boast about helping others to end the lives of their preborn children. They truly believe this is the right thing to do, and often have a vigilante-esque air to them. It wasn’t so long ago that I saw my own Facebook friends offering to help their out-of-state friends obtain abortions when antiabortion laws were passed in states such as Georgia. (In my state of Maryland, where the abortion laws are among the laxest in the world, ending a pregnancy is very easy.) I truly believe these pro-choice advocates want to help people facing unexpected pregnancies. However, they are failing to recognize the humanity of the preborn, and in doing so, I believe they are failing to work towards true equity and empowerment. Ending the life of a child will not help improve the lives of women. True empowerment is walking with someone facing a crisis pregnancy, helping her to care for the life inside her. True empowerment is loving both the mother and the child.