As the nation awaits the final decision from the United States Supreme Court on the constitutionality of states banning abortions beginning six weeks in pregnancy, many commentaries have surfaced that one should be wary of especially those that falsely claim against what scientific data actually show.
In an op-ed on The Christian Post, Mary Szoch, Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, reported that Center for Reproductive Rights Senior Director of U.S. Litigation Julie Rickelman made five false claims during the December 1 oral arguments held by the Supreme Court in line with the Mississippi Gestational Age Act that is on spotlight through the Dobbs v. Jackson's Women's Health Organization case.
The first claim is on the "severely negative impact" a ban on abortions for 15 weeks of pregnancy will have on women in terms of their place in society.
"People who need abortion after 15 weeks are most often in the most challenging circumstances...In fact, the data has been very clear over the last 50 years that abortion has been critical to women's equal participation in society," Rickelman said.
However, Szoch said this is untrue and cited a report entitled, "Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health," that was released by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization renowned to be pro-abortion.
"Questions and Answers On Late-Term Abortion," a study made by pro-life organization Charlotte Lozier Institute and released last February 1, 2019, highlighted the Guttmacher Institute's study where "data suggests that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment."
The study was conducted on two groups of women: one who had abortions at 20 weeks with a total of 272 respondents and another group who had abortions prior to 20 weeks with a total of 169 women.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute highlighted that the Guttmacher study did acknowledge women who had late-term abortions do have the same reasons with women who had early-term abortions, which are "stressful circumstances of unprepared pregnancy, single-motherhood, financial pressure, and relationship discord. "
Szoch stressed that Rickelman's claim on this matter is untrue because "killing a child is not the solution to challenging circumstances."
Another claim Rickelman made was that most countries have abortion on demand or have laws that allow abortion prior to viability. Something that is contradictory to the Charlotte Lozier Institute study entitled, "Mississippi's 15-Week Gestational Limit On Abortion Is Mainstream Compared To European Laws", which former Vice President Mike Pence cited in comparison to U.S. policy on abortion in line with the Supreme Court oral arguments.
"When it comes to abortion policy, America has more in common with China and North Korea than it does with Western nations of Europe. By upholding Mississippi's law, the Supreme Court can move America away from the radical fringe and squarely back into the mainstream of Western thought and jurisprudence," Pence said.
The "Mississippi's 15-Week Gestational Limit On Abortion Is Mainstream Compared To European Laws" study revealed that 47 out of 50 European countries impose limitations on abortions to 15 weeks or earlier unlike that of the U.S.' which is said to be "radical" and similar to Communist China and North Korea, as well as, Canada and Vietnam. Only a total of six countries and not a majority of countries permit abortion on demand.
Rickelman also claimed that the viability line for abortions as a determining factor of pregnancies having "undue burden" as an issue that is being changed by the Mississippi Gestational Age Act when it has allegedly been consistent before.
"The only thing that's at issue in this case is the viability line, and the viability line has been enduringly workable. The lower federal courts have applied it consistently and uniformly for 50 years. And the Fifth Circuit here below had no difficulty striking down this law unanimously, 3-0. So it's been an exceedingly workable standard," Rickelman reasoned.
To which, Szoch retorted, "The Truth: The viability line has shifted from 28 weeks when Roe was decided in 1973 to 22-24 weeks today. Multiple babies have even survived at 21 weeks. Viability is not a standard that can be uniformly applied because it varies from person to person. Characterizing viability as an 'exceedingly workable standard' is either wishful thinking or willful ignorance."
Rickelman also argued that the unborn's viability is only a "philosophical matter" and not one considered as having a life as Justice Samuel Alito raised during the arguments.
"It (the viability standard) is principled because, in ordering the interests at stake, the Court had to set a line between conception and birth, and it logically looked at the fetus' ability to survive separately as a legal line because it's objectively verifiable and doesn't require the Court to resolve the philosophical issues at stake," Rickelman deduced.
But the truth says otherwise. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch painstakingly pointed it out through the amicus brief she sent the Supreme Court in July, presenting scientific fact on fetal development. A fact made visual and more obvious by the supporting amicus brief sent by a group of doctors to the Supreme Court in July showing 4D ultrasound colored images clearly revealing that the unborn are alive and fully human and functional at 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Finally, Rickelman also alleged that abortion access was an American tradition stating that, "At the founding, women were able to end their pregnancy under the common law. And, in fact, this Court...specifically called out and relied on Roe's conclusion that at the time of the founding and well into the 1800s, women had the ability to end a pregnancy."
Of course, history shows otherwise. The Thomas More Society pointed out in its amicus brief for Dobbs v. Jackson that American colonies criminalized abortion through early state laws while regarded abortion after "quickening" as a serious crime.
While lawyer Josh Craddock explained in his "Protecting Prenatal Persons: Does the Fourteenth Amendment Prohibit Abortion?" that "quickening" was meant to preserve the unborn as soon as it is detected to have life during the time of the American founding.
There are other amicus briefs that point out similar instances in American history such as during the ratification of the 14th Amendment where the unborn is referred to in dictionaries as a "person" and "human being" such that laws protect them even though abortion is legalized under the "right to privacy."
Rickelman's poor claims has made legal experts project that the Supreme Court Justices would most likely uphold the Mississippi Law, if not overturn Roe v. Wade fully though a Notre Dame Professor says they would.