As of six months after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade states with pro-life laws were set to save nearly 200,000 unborn lives annually, according to a national pro-life organization.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America released a statement in the fall, 100 days after the Dobbs decision, saying that the 24 states that had were about to implement pro-life laws were, “anticipated to protect as many as 200,000 unborn children annually.”
These state laws regulating abortion are not just about saving the lives of children, said Danielle White, general counsel for Heartbeat International, rather also changing the lives of their mothers as well. Heartbeat is the world’s largest network of pregnancy help.
“These pro-life laws are helping to save lives because they're protecting the rights of the baby,” White said. “And at the same time these pro-life laws are giving pregnancy centers a space to step in and help women with the practical resources that they need to be able to provide for that child.”
A nation divided over abortion
In September, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, introduced legislation in their respective Congressional bodies that would set a minimum federal limit on late abortions after 15 weeks, a point at which unborn babies can feel pain, according to scientific literature. Neither piece of legislation has moved through its chamber.
Meanwhile, abortion states like California and New York passed laws protecting abortion until birth, and at the federal level the Biden administration and House and Senate Democrats pushed for abortion on-demand and with no limits, according to the SBA statement.
They “are determined to use the full weight of the federal government to impose abortion on demand until birth with no limits, paid for by taxpayers, nationwide,” said SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Their agenda is wildly out of step with America.”
“What we're observing is, unfortunately, polarization between the states in many instances,” White said. “Though the laws that are pro-life are protecting the life of the unborn child at the time of conception or at the time of the baby's heartbeat can be detected, what we're seeing states like California or New York do is push those abortion limits later and later and then using taxpayer funds to pay for women to get abortions or to cover other costs associated with getting an abortion.”
Pregnancy help centers remain poised to help women
No matter where a woman lives, in a life state or an abortion state, pregnancy help centers across the country bridge the gap of decision-making with medical services and resources. The Dobbs decision has not affected that work, according to Heartbeat International leadership.
“There are states that are doing more to restrict abortion,” said Heartbeat President Jor-El Godsey. “That is just driving more need for pregnancy help.”
“The work of pregnancy centers continues just like before [Dobbs],” Godsey said.
Tweet This: No matter where a woman lives, in a life state or an abortion state, pregnancy help centers are ready with medical services and resources.
“The goal of the [pregnancy help] movement is, of course, to save those lives and to protect those women from the heartbreak of abortion,” White added. “But it's also to see families and communities thriving, and that's where pregnancy centers could really step into the gap.”
While abortion is illegal in some states due to trigger laws, many of those states, such as Wyoming and Utah, have been sued to overturn such legislation. And other states continue to promote abortion, creating ‘abortion tourism destinations’ in states such as New Mexico and California. Abortion providers have even initiated a mobile abortion clinic campaign in states like Colorado and Illinois.
Requests for abortion pills by mail has increased by nearly 158 percent, Godsey said.
“It's difficult to enforce [laws prohibiting mailing abortion pills],” he said, “and they're doing what they can to pretend that women don't still have access to abortion in some form. It’s a false narrative.”
For these reasons pregnancy help remains even more vital, and while states with pro-life laws can help save unborn lives, providing pregnant women with the services and resources they need is also critical.
“Pregnancy help is just as necessary as ever,” Godsey said.
Widespread pro-abortion misinformation
Since the Dobbs decision and more states enacting pro-life laws, misinformation about emergency pregnancy care, such as miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, has been circulated by abortion proponents, frightening both women and medical providers. Yet, as the SBA release states, no life state prohibits miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy medical intervention.
“Every state with strong pro-life laws on the books allows necessary and timely medical treatment to save the life of a pregnant woman,” the statement said.
“Every pro-life law on the books that I'm aware of allows for a woman to receive medical care after a miscarriage,” she said. “It’s non-controversial.”
“And in the pro-life world, I'm not aware of a single individual who would want women to not be able to receive lifesaving care,” said White. “So, it's really just not true.”
Tweet This: Every state with strong pro-life laws on the books allows necessary and timely medical treatment to save the life of a pregnant woman.
“We're seeing some of this mixed messaging where people are picking up on the narrative to be fearful of talking to people about an abortion lest they be considered illegal or they could be reported,” Godsey said. “Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth.”
Other misleading information includes that, abortion is illegal since Dobbs. Not true, Godsey said.
“There's an overarching narrative in the country that's driven by Big Abortion and its allies that suddenly, abortions are illegal and they're unavailable,” he said, “which also is not true.”
Challenges and changes
Godsey said combatting misinformation and instantaneous access to abortion pills are challenges that pregnancy centers need to address.
“I know our friends in West Texas are having to deal with the fact that New Mexico is ramping up more and more of its abortion services,” he said, “so the idea of abortion tourism and the idea of reaching these women before they cross state lines and enticed to make that journey, are going to require some changes.”
Godsey also said abortion pill peddlers are closing the window of intervention because they are making the sale of chemical abortion virtually immediate.
“She can click on click a website and she can purchase abortion pills and have them delivered to her home, so she doesn't have to travel,” he said.
Rising to challenges and changes, along with pro-life laws, are major ways to impact women and save unborn lives.
The lessons and challenges affect every center.
The pregnancy help movement must do all it can to reach a woman in her critical time of need, said Godsey, no matter where she is.
“We're going to have to be able to get better at reaching her in those moments,” said Godsey.
“I mean reaching and serving her in those moments, not just finding her and saying, ‘Hey, we're here for you, come visit us,’” he said.
“We have to figure out how to get a portion of our services into that virtual environment so we can begin to help her in her decision-making process before the other side comes and closes the door on that, really fulfilling the temptation that abortion offers being very easy to say yes to,” he continued.
Other considerations pregnancy centers should think about to help more women choose life include revisiting hours of operation and offering telehealth.
“We're going to have to see her as a client before she ever comes to the center,” said Godsey. “And because she may never come to the center, we can see and serve her at a distance because that is going to be the key the other side is basically creating.”
“How do we make ourselves available to her? That's going to push us in the future, I think,” he said.