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240 Women scholars challenge the narrative that abortion leads to equality


Jacob Lund | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 10/10/21 - updated on 10/10/21

“This brief overthrows the fiction that women need and rely upon abortion rights to participate equally in civil society"

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson on December 1, a pro-life feminist organization is challenging the narrative that abortion leads to equality for women. An amicus brief recently filed in the case cites some 240 professional women who say it does not. 

The amicus brief, summarized by New Wave Feminists, presents empirical evidence and data relating to the success and advancement of women since Roe v. Wade. The brief states that there is no causal relationship between the availability of abortion and the “capacity of women to act in society.” 

Michele Sterlace, who represents Feminists Choosing Life of New York commented:

“This brief overthrows the fiction that women need and rely upon abortion rights to participate equally in civil society; this was central to the Casey Court’s decision to uphold Roe.”

History and statistics

CNA reports that the amicus brief uses statistics to show that women were advancing long before Roe v. Wade. They cite precedents such as Jeannete Rankin, first female Governor of Montanna, who was elected before women even secured the right to vote. 

The brief then follows a long list of 20th-century laws that prevent discrimination based on gender, secure fair and equal pay and employment, as well as those that ensure a place in the public sphere. The authors note that all of these advancements were won without any reference to the need of abortion. 

The amicus brief offers a counter to the argument that abortion leads to the socioeconomic success of women. CNA’s Katie Yoder notes that abortion rates declined by as much as 46% between 1990 and 2016. During that same period the percentage of women in the workforce with a college degree or more rose from 24.5% to 41.6%. Similar stats are cited for women in highly skilled professions — such as law or medicine — and the amount of women-owned business, which has more than doubled. 

Humanity Overlooked

New Wave Feminists quoted Kathy McQueen, president of Feminists for Nonviolent Choices, who brought up another important element of the discussion. She noted that the arguments for abortion tend to ignore the humanity of the involved parties. She said: 

“The pro-choice narrative dehumanizes children in utero and their pregnant mothers. It elevates the right to kill unborn offspring as a rite of passage to equal status. This not only twists reality, as the brief demonstrates, but undermines efforts to enact and implement crucial policies necessary for pregnant women and mothers to participate in society on equal footing with men. Roe and Casey have hurt women. It’s time both are overruled.” 

Read an in depth summary of the amicus at CNA

AbortionHistoryUnited StatesWomen
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