Reality Check for RH Reality Check

Posted on | February 18, 2011 by Tyler Ament |

Today, RH Reality Check accused Rep. Latta (OH) of being a bully, and then went on to define the term “pro-life” in wholly disingenuous terms while worrying about cutting US tax dollar contributions to international “family planning.” Yet, a brief look at RH Reality Check’s definition and scare tactic statistics shows that they aren’t really concerned about the truth.

Jodi Jacobson characterizes the “pro-life” position, and Rep. Latta’s amendment in the following manner:

Mr. Latta is of course “pro-life” (of course) which in our world means you cut off every form of reproductive and sexual healthcare available to women, including the means to prevent unintended and untenable pregnancies, so that they resort to abortion more often and so that more of their newborn infants die at birth. This is exactly the effect Mr. Latta’s amendment would have.

Ms. Jacobson’s characterization is wrong on at least two points: 1) that pro-lifers want to “cut off every form of reproductive and sexual healthcare available to women”, and 2) that the lack of contraceptives leads to “resorting to abortion” and “more of their newborn infants [dying] at birth.”

1) Pro-lifers don’t want to cut off every form of reproductive and sexual healthcare, they just want real maternal and child healthcare for women. Abortion and contraception are not essential to women’s health, they are means of avoiding the real and natural consequences of sex, i.e. the transmission of human life. The focus in developing countries should be founded on a desire to fix the underlying problem that kills mothers and their babies, not just the means of “mitigating” the effects of the deeper problem. That’s real women’s healthcare, that’s what it really means to be pro-life.

2) Although it is indeed true that women who have problematic or unwanted pregnancies resort to abortion, there is another part of the story that Ms. Jacobson refuses to tell. What she doesn’t tell is that the reason women in developing countries feel obliged to resort to abortion is because the life-affirming alternatives to abortion aren’t offered, and because abortion providers position themselves as the source of women’s “health care.” For example, one of the largest international abortion providers (IPPF) brags that they have more service points than McDonald’s. How convenient.

Since the practical focus in women’s empowerment and women’s rights movements and organizations is on abortion and contraceptive access, things like access to simple education about motherhood, clean water, health infrastructure, skilled birth attendants, and other obstetric care have been left out of the equation, or in practice, given lower priority. They don’t genuinely support women who have a child and are worried about it, they just tell them to get rid of it. No working through the real problems that lead a woman to resort to abortion, just the phone number for the nearest abortionist or misoprosol distribution center.

Ms. Jacobson goes on to reproduce statistics in order to put blood on the hands of pro-lifers who want to defund international family planning programs:

Estimates by Population Action International indicate that cutting U.S. international funding for family planning and related services would result in an additional 7.8 million unintended pregnancies, an additional 3.7 million abortions, and additional 87,000 newborn deaths, and an additional 12,000 maternal deaths per year.

Again, what she fails to see is that if the focus in the developing world would be on maternity education, access to basic obstetric care, and basic health infrastructure, there wouldn’t be such a precarious situation. There wouldn’t be mothers dying from lack of access to a C-Section or clean water if they would stop focusing on condoms and abortions.

Thus, the real mischaracterization is on the abortion and contraceptive lobby’s part. They fail to realize or admit that their plan has some seriously fatal flaws, and that their desire for “rights” and “access” haven’t fixed the underlying problem which their “services” cover up and “mitigate.”



Turtle Bay and Beyond is a blog covering international law, policy and institutions. Our experts - at the UN, European Institutions, and elsewhere - explore an authentic understanding of international law, sovereignty, and the dignity of the human person. We expose those who would seek to impose a radical social vision that is contrary to these principles.


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