What Has Roe Done for Abortion in America?

As an abortion abolitionist, my goal is to not just make abortion an unthinkable option in the mind of every American, not to dramatically reduce the number of abortions, but to make abortion illegal.

Yet, many pro-life Americans have trouble themselves envisioning this future, a one where every American, born or preborn, is welcomed in life and protected by law. A future where we go back to an America where preborn children are protected members of our society and, yet, move forward into an America that seeks to really help those women facing an unplanned, crisis pregnancy, ensuring she has the support and resources she needs to parent or place her child when an adoptive family, forward into an America that doesn't shun her or hid her away for 9 months.

And it's my job to help paint this vision, so that others will see the possibility of what is to come and join our human rights campaign.

But first, we must dispel the 41-year old fear tactic that Planned Parenthood and their allies love to propagate - that abortion must be legal, in order to be "safe" for women, to protect women from dying in back alleys. Even though the majority of America rejects abortion, we have been told that we must accept it in order to protect women. That is simply not the case.

It's time we stop backing away from they fear tactic and engaging in this debate.

This week, Students for Life of America has launched a groundbreaking new campaign, the "What has Roe Done for Us?" Tour. In the next few weeks, we will reach 26 campuses, in 20 states breaking down the abortion industry's fear tactic and that old stand-by argument they bust out whenever they begin to lose a debate on abortion.

Our 13 billboards don't focus on the preborn baby girl or baby boy who dies in every abortion; instead, they focus on her. Our wall of victims doesn't list the name of every baby killed by legal abortion; instead, it lists the name of every mother.

Our tour walks her though a conversation about abortion.

We show her what Roe v. Wade has given us, pointing out that suicide rates among aborting women are 6 times higher than those who give birth, showing her that 53 out of 68 worldwide studies have proven that abortion increases a woman's risk for breast cancer, and highlighting the undisputed fact that abortion significantly increases her risk for pre-term delivery in future pregnancies.

We ask her to consider who is really profiting from her crisis by showing off Planned Parenthood's own 2011-2012 Annual Report, where they boasted they had received over $542,000,000 in taxpayer funds, committing over 333,964 abortions for a profit of over $150,600,000.

We dispel the myth of the back-alley abortion and the myth that tens of thousands of women were dying from illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade by showing her the real stats. We list the Center for Disease Control's own 1972 report which tracked 39 deaths from illegal abortions and 24 deaths from legal abortion, a year before Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood former director's, Mary Calderon, statement in 1960 remarking that 90% of illegal abortions were being performed by licensed physicians.

We break down the common argument that abortion is needed to make pregnancy safe by pointing out that despite having the world's most liberal abortion laws, America has the highest maternal death rate for any industrialized nation and those nations like Chile, which ban abortion, have the lowest maternal mortality in the Americas.

We ask her if she thinks abortion exploits women, showing her the studies that found that 64 percent of women who had abortions felt pressured or forced by others and that proved that murder is the leading cause of death among pregnant women.

We introduce her to Douglas Karen, Leroy Carhart, and Kermit Gosnell and his Philadelphia House of Horrors, celebrated abortionists with a history of killing women and profiting from their crisis.

And, finally, we memorialize Jennifer Morbelli, Karnamaya Monar, Tonya Reeves, and Marla Cardamone - all women killed by legal abortion.

So the next time you are in a discussion about ending abortion, remember that tired, old argument that abortion must be legal to be "safe" is nothing more than a fear tactic. Abortion is never safe, legal or illegal.

Kristan Hawkins is the President of Students for Life of America, the nation's largest pro-life youth organization with over 700 groups nationwide. She is author of the new book, Courageous: Students Abolishing Abortion in this Lifetime.

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