By / Jan 20

In a few days, President Joe Biden will speak before a joint session of Congress and deliver his second State of the Union address. In the message, the president will fulfill his constitutional duty to “give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” 

While President Biden might mention abortion in his speech, he is unlikely to discuss the varied ways the issue has changed since the overturning of Roe v. Wade and in the past few months. Here is what you should know about the state of abortion in 2023.

Most abortions are illegal in 14 U.S. states

Earlier this month, the Supreme Courts in Idaho and South Carolina issued rulings on pending cases concerning abortion. In Idaho, abortion is now allowed only to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest. Sadly, in South Carolina the state Supreme Court ruled a 2021 Heartbeat Bill to be unconstitutional, granting the right of an abortion up to 22 weeks.

Abortion is currently banned in 13 states. In Georgia, where a complete ban was blocked by the courts, it is allowed only in the first six weeks. Eleven more states have restrictions between 15 and 22 weeks of gestation. Abortion is legal beyond 22 weeks’ gestation in 25 states and Washington, D.C. 

FDA allows retail pharmacies to offer abortion pill

In the final days of 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated a rule allowing retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens to dispense the abortion pill mifepristone. The change in expanding access to the drug came amid a wave of state efforts last year to impose restrictions. Until 2021, mifepristone could only be dispensed in person by a physician. The Biden administration relaxed that requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed the drug to be dispensed by telemedicine prescription and mail delivery. That rule was later made permanent. 

The new rule requires pharmacies to apply for a special certification process. The rule also will only apply in states that have not banned abortion. More than a dozen states have laws that would prohibit the abortion pill from being prescribed. However, women will be able to cross state lines and obtain mifepristone from states in which abortion is allowed within the first 10 weeks. 

Medication abortions—abortions that are a result of abortion pills rather than surgery—currently account for more than half of all abortions in the United States, so the ease of access is likely to increase the total number of abortions.  

Justice Department clears Postal Service to deliver abortion pills in states where abortion is banned

A day before Christmas Eve, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a legal opinion concluding that the mailing of abortion pills does not violate Section 1461 of title 18 of the U.S. Code, commonly known as the Comstock Act. According to the Justice Department, that law does not prohibit the mailing of certain drugs that can be used to perform abortions where the sender lacks the intent that the recipient of the drugs will use them unlawfully.

“Because there are manifold ways in which recipients in every state may lawfully use such drugs, including to produce an abortion,” states the ruling, “the mere mailing of such drugs to a particular jurisdiction is an insufficient basis for concluding that the sender intends them to be used unlawfully.”

The decision allows abortion pills to be shipped through the U.S. Postal Service as well as by other carriers, like FedEx and the United Parcel Service. But it does not guarantee legal immunity for those involved in sending or receiving abortion drugs in states that restrict them. The opinion also does not prevent state or local prosecutors from using state laws to charge people criminally for violating abortion bans or restrictions.

Congressional Democrats still refuse to protect children born alive after abortion

On Jan. 11, all but two Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against legislation that would require immediate medical attention for babies who are born alive after an attempt was made to abort them. In contrast, 210 Republicans and one Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, voted to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (one other Democrat, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, voted “present”). 

The legislation says that any infant born alive after an attempted abortion is a “legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States.” Doctors would be required to admit such infants to a hospital for further care. Any violation of this standard could result in fines and imprisonment for up to five years. 

Despite passing by a majority vote in the House, the Democrat-controlled Senate is unlikely to bring the legislation for a vote.

By / Jan 6

In this episode, Lindsay and Brent discuss the latest development with abortion pills, the ongoing deliberations regarding Speaker of the House, and Damar Hamlin’s terrifying collapse on the football field. They also talk about the latest issue of Light magazine. 

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  • Dobbs Resource Page | The release of the Dobbs decision marks a true turning point in the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates and many others have worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. Let us rejoice that we live in a nation where past injustices can still be corrected, as we also roll our sleeves up to save preborn lives, serve vulnerable mothers, and support families in our communities. To get more resources on this case, visit ERLC.com/Dobbs.
  • Sexual Ethics Resource Page | Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the constant stream of entertainment and messages that challenge the Bible’s teachings on sexual ethics? It often feels like we’re walking through uncharted territory. But no matter what we face in our ever-shifting culture, God’s design for human sexuality has never changed. The ERLC’s new sexual ethics resource page is full of helpful articles, videos, and explainers that will equip you to navigate these important issues with truth and grace. Get these free resources at ERLC.com/sexualethics.
By / Jan 6

The events of 2022 had an effect on many issues that we will be dealing with in this new year. Four stories related to ERLC concerns that you should watch in 2023 are:

  1. Abortion after Roe v. Wade
  2. Legislation in a divided government
  3. A religious liberty Supreme Court case
  4. The SBC’s formal response to sexual abuse

Find out more below.

Abortion after Roe v. Wade

The overturning of Roe v. Wade in last year’s Dobbs decision marked a true turning point for the pro-life movement, a moment that Christians, advocates, and many others worked toward tirelessly for 50 years. 

Now, the pro-life movement will be faced with other challenges to protect life in the womb. 

A key issue is how we will deal with “medication” abortion. 

In 2020, abortion via pills rather than surgery accounted for the majority of all United States abortions for the first time in the pills’ 20-year history. Reinforcing access to these medication abortions was one of the Biden administration’s first responses to the fall of Roe. President Joe Biden “directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to identify all ways to ensure that mifepristone [one of the two drugs used in pill-based abortions] is as widely accessible as possible.” 

This week, the Justice Department cleared the U.S. Postal Service to deliver abortion drugs to states that have strict limits on abortion. But states may be able to fight back by prosecuting people who send abortion pills through such mailings. In addition, as Jason Thacker explains, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a regulatory change this week that allows pharmacy chains and local pharmacies to distribute the first of the two-stage abortion pill regiment known as Mifepristone

Legislation in a divided government

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the GOP controls the majority by only 10 votes (222-213), while in the Senate the split is 49-49 with independents who caucus with the Democrats. 

The result is that neither party will be able to pass any major partisan pieces of legislation this year. 

Lack of bipartisan support will also prevent anything from being passed other than funding requirements (debt ceiling, farm bill, government funding, etc.). 

One possible long-shot exception is immigration reform. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) have proposed legislation that would increase spending on border security by more than $25 billion, provide pay raises to Border Patrol agents, extending Title 42 for at least a year, creating regional centers to swiftly process asylum claims, and provide a pathway to citizenship for 2 million immigrant “Dreamers” who came to the U.S. as children. 

(Note: A key part of ERLC’s policy agenda is support of a permanent solution for Dreamers, the young immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents and that remain without permanent legal status despite having broken no laws.) 

A religious liberty Supreme Court case 

This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue its ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis, an important case for free speech and religious liberty. 

The case involves Lorie Smith, founder of the web design firm 303 Creative, who challenged a Colorado law that violates her First Amendment rights. It is the same law that was used to target Jack Phillips and which led to the 2018 Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. In that case, the Court ruled favorably for Jack Phillips on narrow grounds but failed to address the underlying conflict between anti-discrimination laws and free speech rights. 

This case has significant implications for the free speech of all people. If the court rules against Smith, it would establish a precedent that artists can be forced to create and communicate messages that violate their beliefs.  

The SBC’s formal response to sexual abuse

At the 2022 SBC annual meeting, a 288-page report was released by a task force commissioned to address allegations of sexual abuse by senior members of the denomination’s Executive Committee, mishandling of abuse allegations, and mistreatment of victims.

During the annual meeting in New Orleans this June, SBC messengers will likely be asked to address some or all of the recommendations outlined in the report. 

Some of the recommendations are:

  • Forming an Independent Commission and later establishing a permanent Administrative Entity to oversee comprehensive long-term reforms concerning sexual abuse and related misconduct within the SBC.
  • Creating and maintaining an Offender Information System to alert the community to known offenders. Make the OIS available to churches on a voluntary basis.
  • Providing a comprehensive Resource Toolbox including protocols, training, education, and practical information.
  • Creating a voluntary self-certification program for churches, local associations, state conventions, and entities based on the implementation of “best practices” to bring awareness to, and enhance prevention of, sexual abuse.
  • Improving governance controls, including the use of enhanced background checks, Letters of Good Standing, and Codes of Conduct to voluntarily strengthen hiring standards and improve governance.
By / Jan 5

In 2020, “medication” abortion—abortion via pills rather than surgery—accounted for the majority of all United States abortions for the first time in the pills’ 20-year history.1

Reinforcing access to these medication abortions was one of the Biden administration’s first responses to the fall of Roe. President Joe Biden “directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to identify all ways to ensure that mifepristone [one of the two drugs used in pill-based abortions] is as widely accessible as possible”2 in the very same statement in which he asserted a right to engage in interstate abortion trafficking.3 

These are the emergent twin frontiers of the pro-life legal battle: abortion pills and abortion trafficking. 

These abortions aren’t as “safe and effective” as they’re made out to be, either.4 Abortion pills are four times more likely to land vulnerable mothers in the emergency room than first-trimester surgical abortions.5 Surgical abortions pursued out-of-state can be risky, too, as the side effects can be severe for mothers. Women undergoing out-of-state abortions risk being stranded away from family or friends while they suffer potentially extreme pain, bleeding, 6 grief, or anxiety.7

However, these two abortion strategies have become the preferred ways for the federal government and regulatory agencies to advance abortion after the Dobbs ruling—thereby hampering pro-life legislators at the state level.8 

The text of the Dobbs decision was clear: the court sought ultimately to allow “each State to address abortion as it pleases.”9 It specifically rendered judgment that no “right to abortion” is derived from the U.S. Constitution. 

In other words, while it was a tremendous pro-life victory that allows elected officials to make laws protecting children in the womb, Dobbs emphatically did not end abortion in the United States. Much of the fight to protect vulnerable little ones remains with us.

Remembering why we advocate for abortion’s end

That’s why it is essential that legislators, activists, and Christians remember why we “address” abortion at all: to end the ongoing massacre of innocent, human life in the womb. 

As early as six weeks,10 a heartbeat of about 110 BPM is detectable in the womb—no matter how hard pro-abortion activists may fight to revise longstanding, uncontroversial medical consensus.11 By 12 weeks, all of the little human’s major body systems are present and reflexes begin to develop.12 At 18 weeks, children can hear their mothers’ heartbeat.13 In the last trimester, they can taste—and smile or grimace at—the flavors of the food their mother eats.14

This is not simply a political or campaign issue. This is not just the states’ legal responsibility. This is the gravest human rights abuse in our society. These are children. They always have been and always will be. Children were at the heart of the pro-life movement from its inception—as individuals sought to protect these vulnerable neighbors from the abortion provider’s hand—and they remain there to this day.

A legislation rundown

Yet there is legislation on the books in aggressively pro-abortion states to expand the legal killing of these children. Seven states have no gestational limit on abortion whatsoever,15 and another 26 states16 only limit abortions at or around the point of “fetal viability,” generally between 22 and 24 weeks.17

Given the fact that 91% of U.S. abortions occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy,18 viability protections translate into unrestricted abortion access for the vast majority of women who desire an abortion. In other words, many of the children who may have been killed under Roe may also be killed under Dobbs.

The state-level response to Dobbs is varied, and a range of pro-life strategies are before the courts at this very moment.Thus far, six states responded by introducing “personhood amendments,” amendments to their state constitution that would permanently enshrine the human child in the womb as a legal person.19 The Dobbs decision explicitly sidestepped the question of fetal personhood, so these amendments—and the litigation battles they spawn—are breaking new legal ground.20

Other states, like Missouri, are exploring protecting children from abortion traffficking.21 Following a model like Texas’ novel S.B. 8 law, Republican Missouri Rep. Mary Coleman introduced legislation that would allow private citizens to sue anyone they knew had pursued an out-of-state abortion.22 

Additionally, 19 states required abortion pill providers be present for the administration of the first dose, making out-of-state “telemedicine” in these cases effectively illegal.23 Part of this provider requirement is often a guarantee of emergency care for women undergoing “self-managed” abortions—a surprising stipulation if they are in fact as safe as proponents make them out to be.24

However, international providers are untouchable by current federal regulation.25 One such provider, Aid Access, is based in Europe and provides medical abortions to Americans in states where life is protected.26 It’s run by a pro-abortion activist and was actively pursued by the Trump administration’s FDA for providing “unapproved” forms of the drugs used in medical abortion, but continues providing abortions-by-mail to this day.27 Aid Access claimed it received more than 10,000 requests for the abortion pill regimen in the week after the Dobbs decision.28 

International pills pose deep and dangerous risks for women who may not have consulted their own doctor who knows their medical history. An incorrect dose could lead to a hemorrhage, for example, or if a woman is Rh negative and doesn’t receive Rhogam at the time of her abortion, she could be putting herself at serious risk in future pregnancies. 

The work before us 

The future of the pro-life movement is growing much more complex. We are not merely fighting to protect women and children from a badly-reasoned 1973 Supreme Court precedent. We are fighting to defend them against international activists, other states, domestic activists, and even the current administration. Addressing the use or expansion of abortion pills and abortion trafficking, in all their forms, will become essential as we seek to protect human life in the womb in America. 

But there is another side to this picture. Legally protecting children in the womb alone fails to address the very real and pressing needs of vulnerable mothers all over the nation who are in desperate need of material, emotional, and social support. So—as voters, as members of the pro-life movement, and as Christians—we must rally around women, as well. 

We need to find a way to restore motherhood to its rightful status as a role to be celebrated, cherished, and protected. 

It will take charity, humility, and tireless work from all parts of the pro-life movement in order to do so: part legislative, part community-based, part spiritual ministry, and part prayer. 

But it is possible. And it is imperative that we work to realize it. Millions of children in the womb and their mothers depend upon us, now more than ever. The legacy of the pro-life movement hangs in the balance, and we cannot afford to lose momentum or clarity.

So work and pray. Pray in gratitude for each life rescued by existing abortion restrictions, many enacted by the Dobbs decision. And work fervently to rescue children in the many states where their lives are not yet protected or valued. The very fabric of our society depends upon it. 

View the latest issue of Light magazine here.

By / Dec 27
By / Dec 27

In 2020, “medication” abortion—abortion via pills rather than surgery—accounted for the majority of all United States abortions for the first time in the pills’ 20-year history.1https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2022/02/medication-abortion-now-accounts-more-half-all-us-abortions

Reinforcing access to these medication abortions was one of the Biden administration’s first responses to the fall of Roe. President Joe Biden “directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to identify all ways to ensure that mifepristone [one of the two drugs used in pill-based abortions] is as widely accessible as possible”2https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/06/24/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-actions-in-light-of-todays-supreme-court-decision-on-dobbs-v-jackson-womens-health-organization/ in the very same statement in which he asserted a right to engage in interstate abortion trafficking.3https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/06/24/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-actions-in-light-of-todays-supreme-court-decision-on-dobbs-v-jackson-womens-health-organization/ 

These are the emergent twin frontiers of the pro-life legal battle: abortion pills and abortion trafficking. 

These abortions aren’t as “safe and effective” as they’re made out to be, either.4https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/it-still-legal-me-get-abortion Abortion pills are four times more likely to land vulnerable mothers in the emergency room than first-trimester surgical abortions.5https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/new-study-finds-chemical-abortion-leads-to-higher-rate-of-er-visits/ Surgical abortions pursued out-of-state can be risky, too, as the side effects can be severe for mothers. Women undergoing out-of-state abortions risk being stranded away from family or friends while they suffer potentially extreme pain, bleeding, 6https://cspregnancycenter.com/side-effects-of-abortion.htm grief, or anxiety.7https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6207970/

However, these two abortion strategies have become the preferred ways for the federal government and regulatory agencies to advance abortion after the Dobbs ruling—thereby hampering pro-life legislators at the state level.8https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf 

The text of the Dobbs decision was clear: the court sought ultimately to allow “each State to address abortion as it pleases.”9https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/is-it-legal-to-travel-for-abortion-after-dobbs It specifically rendered judgment that no “right to abortion” is derived from the U.S. Constitution. 

In other words, while it was a tremendous pro-life victory that allows elected officials to make laws protecting children in the womb, Dobbs emphatically did not end abortion in the United States. Much of the fight to protect vulnerable little ones remains with us.

Remembering Why We Advocate for Abortion’s End

That’s why it is essential that legislators, activists, and Christians remember why we “address” abortion at all: to end the ongoing massacre of innocent, human life in the womb. 

As early as six weeks,10https://lozierinstitute.org/science-at-6-weeks-unborn-babys-heart-rate-is-approximately-98-beats-per-minute/ a heartbeat of about 110 BPM is detectable in the womb—no matter how hard pro-abortion activists may fight to revise longstanding, uncontroversial medical consensus.11https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2022/september/a-flat-out-lie-doctor-dismantles-stacey-abrams-viral-claim-that-theres-no-such-thing-as-a-heartbeat-at-six-weeks By 12 weeks, all of the little human’s major body systems are present and reflexes begin to develop.12https://www.thebump.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/12-weeks-pregnant At 18 weeks, children can hear their mothers’ heartbeat.13https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/when-can-a-fetus-hear In the last trimester, they can taste—and smile or grimace at—the flavors of the food their mother eats.14https://www.insider.com/babies-smiled-at-carrots-grimaced-at-kale-taste-womb-study-2022-9

This is not simply a political or campaign issue. This is not just the states’ legal responsibility. This is the gravest human rights abuse in our society. These are children. They always have been and always will be. Children were at the heart of the pro-life movement from its inception—as individuals sought to protect these vulnerable neighbors from the abortion provider’s hand—and they remain there to this day.

A Legislation Rundown

Yet there is legislation on the books in aggressively pro-abortion states to expand the legal killing of these children. Seven states have no gestational limit on abortion whatsoever,15https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/us/abortion-laws-roe-v-wade.html and another 26 states16https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/us/abortion-laws-roe-v-wade.html only limit abortions at or around the point of “fetal viability,” generally between 22 and 24 weeks.17https://www.insider.com/guides/health/reproductive-health/fetal-viability

Given the fact that 91% of U.S. abortions occur in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy,18https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/99/41/9941f2a9-7738-4a8b-95f6-5680e59a45ac/pp_abortion_after_the_first_trimester.pdf viability protections translate into unrestricted abortion access for the vast majority of women who desire an abortion. In other words, many of the children who may have been killed under Roe may also be killed under Dobbs.

The state-level response to Dobbs is varied, and a range of pro-life strategies are before the courts at this very moment.Thus far, six states responded by introducing “personhood amendments,” amendments to their state constitution that would permanently enshrine the human child in the womb as a legal person.19https://time.com/6191886/fetal-personhood-laws-roe-abortion/ The Dobbs decision explicitly sidestepped the question of fetal personhood, so these amendments—and the litigation battles they spawn—are breaking new legal ground.20https://time.com/6191886/fetal-personhood-laws-roe-abortion/

Other states, like Missouri, are exploring protecting children from abortion traffficking.21https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-law-and-business/abortion-travel-bans-emerge-as-next-frontier-after-roes-end Following a model like Texas’ novel S.B. 8 law, Republican Missouri Rep. Mary Coleman introduced legislation that would allow private citizens to sue anyone they knew had pursued an out-of-state abortion.22https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-law-and-business/abortion-travel-bans-emerge-as-next-frontier-after-roes-end 

Additionally, 19 states required abortion pill providers be present for the administration of the first dose, making out-of-state “telemedicine” in these cases effectively illegal.23https://abcnews.go.com/Health/abortion-pill-restricted-state-bans/story?id=86069230 Part of this provider requirement is often a guarantee of emergency care for women undergoing “self-managed” abortions—a surprising stipulation if they are in fact as safe as proponents make them out to be.24https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/european-doctor-prescribes-abortion-pills-u-s-women-over-internet-n1012676 

However, international providers are untouchable by current federal regulation.25https://abcnews.go.com/Health/abortion-pill-restricted-state-bans/story?id=86069230 One such provider, Aid Access, is based in Europe and provides medical abortions to Americans in states where life is protected.26https://abcnews.go.com/Health/abortion-pill-restricted-state-bans/story?id=86069230 It’s run by a pro-abortion activist and was actively pursued by the Trump administration’s FDA for providing “unapproved” forms of the drugs used in medical abortion, but continues providing abortions-by-mail to this day.27https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/european-doctor-prescribes-abortion-pills-u-s-women-over-internet-n1012676 Aid Access claimed it received more than 10,000 requests for the abortion pill regimen in the week after the Dobbs decision.28https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/03/health/abortion-pill-access-roe-v-wade.html 

International pills pose deep and dangerous risks for women who may not have consulted their own doctor who knows their medical history. An incorrect dose could lead to a hemorrhage, for example, or if a woman is Rh negative and doesn’t receive Rhogam at the time of her abortion, she could be putting herself at serious risk in future pregnancies. 

The Work Before Us 

The future of the pro-life movement is growing much more complex. We are not merely fighting to protect women and children from a badly-reasoned 1973 Supreme Court precedent. We are fighting to defend them against international activists, other states, domestic activists, and even the current administration. Addressing the use or expansion of abortion pills and abortion trafficking, in all their forms, will become essential as we seek to protect human life in the womb in America. 

But there is another side to this picture. Legally protecting children in the womb alone fails to address the very real and pressing needs of vulnerable mothers all over the nation who are in desperate need of material, emotional, and social support. So—as voters, as members of the pro-life movement, and as Christians—we must rally around women, as well. 

We need to find a way to restore motherhood to its rightful status as a role to be celebrated, cherished, and protected. 

It will take charity, humility, and tireless work from all parts of the pro-life movement in order to do so: part legislative, part community-based, part spiritual ministry, and part prayer. 

But it is possible. And it is imperative that we work to realize it. Millions of children in the womb and their mothers depend upon us, now more than ever. The legacy of the pro-life movement hangs in the balance, and we cannot afford to lose momentum or clarity.

So work and pray. Pray in gratitude for each life rescued by existing abortion restrictions, many enacted by the Dobbs decision. And work fervently to rescue children in the many states where their lives are not yet protected or valued. The very fabric of our society depends upon it. 

  • 1
    https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2022/02/medication-abortion-now-accounts-more-half-all-us-abortions
  • 2
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/06/24/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-actions-in-light-of-todays-supreme-court-decision-on-dobbs-v-jackson-womens-health-organization/
  • 3
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/06/24/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-actions-in-light-of-todays-supreme-court-decision-on-dobbs-v-jackson-womens-health-organization/
  • 4
    https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/it-still-legal-me-get-abortion
  • 5
    https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/new-study-finds-chemical-abortion-leads-to-higher-rate-of-er-visits/
  • 6
    https://cspregnancycenter.com/side-effects-of-abortion.htm
  • 7
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6207970/
  • 8
    https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf
  • 9
    https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/is-it-legal-to-travel-for-abortion-after-dobbs
  • 10
    https://lozierinstitute.org/science-at-6-weeks-unborn-babys-heart-rate-is-approximately-98-beats-per-minute/
  • 11
    https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2022/september/a-flat-out-lie-doctor-dismantles-stacey-abrams-viral-claim-that-theres-no-such-thing-as-a-heartbeat-at-six-weeks
  • 12
    https://www.thebump.com/pregnancy-week-by-week/12-weeks-pregnant
  • 13
    https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/when-can-a-fetus-hear
  • 14
    https://www.insider.com/babies-smiled-at-carrots-grimaced-at-kale-taste-womb-study-2022-9
  • 15
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/us/abortion-laws-roe-v-wade.html
  • 16
    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/us/abortion-laws-roe-v-wade.html
  • 17
    https://www.insider.com/guides/health/reproductive-health/fetal-viability
  • 18
    https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/99/41/9941f2a9-7738-4a8b-95f6-5680e59a45ac/pp_abortion_after_the_first_trimester.pdf
  • 19
    https://time.com/6191886/fetal-personhood-laws-roe-abortion/
  • 20
    https://time.com/6191886/fetal-personhood-laws-roe-abortion/
  • 21
    https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-law-and-business/abortion-travel-bans-emerge-as-next-frontier-after-roes-end
  • 22
    https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-law-and-business/abortion-travel-bans-emerge-as-next-frontier-after-roes-end
  • 23
    https://abcnews.go.com/Health/abortion-pill-restricted-state-bans/story?id=86069230
  • 24
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/european-doctor-prescribes-abortion-pills-u-s-women-over-internet-n1012676 
  • 25
    https://abcnews.go.com/Health/abortion-pill-restricted-state-bans/story?id=86069230
  • 26
    https://abcnews.go.com/Health/abortion-pill-restricted-state-bans/story?id=86069230
  • 27
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/european-doctor-prescribes-abortion-pills-u-s-women-over-internet-n1012676
  • 28
    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/03/health/abortion-pill-access-roe-v-wade.html
By / Jul 29

Demand for abortion pills has increased significantly since the recent Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to put greater restrictions on abortion. Axios reports that organizations that provide information about or access to abortion pill has skyrocketed in the weeks since the Dobbs decision was released. The result is that chemical abortion is likely to become even more common in the near future. Over half of abortions in the U.S. (54%) in 2020 were medication-induced, up from 39% in 2017, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports access to abortion.

Here is what you should know about abortion pills. 

What is an abortion pill?

The abortion pill is the most common type of chemical abortion. 

The two broad methods for legal abortions in the U.S. are chemical and surgical. A chemical abortion (sometimes referred to as a medication abortion, medical abortion, or pharmaceutical abortion) is a method that uses an abortifacient to stimulate uterine contractions and end the pregnancy in a process similar to miscarriage. An abortifacient is a chemical or drug that causes embryonic death by either killing the child directly or by preventing implantation of the embryonic child in the uterine lining.

While all abortion pills are abortifacients, not all drugs that have, or may have, an abortifacient effect are classified as abortion pills, which have an abortifacient intent. For example, some forms of “emergency contraceptive” may prevent implantation and therefore cause the death of an embryo, but because their intent is not to cause abortion, they are not generally considered abortion pills.

How do abortion pills work?

The method approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for chemical abortions is a two-step process involving the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone (brand name Mifeprex) ends a pregnancy by blocking the hormone progesterone, which is needed to maintain a pregnancy. Because this hormone is blocked, the uterine lining begins to shed, removing the child (in the embryonic state) that was attached. The second step, which occurs 24 to 48 hours later, requires taking misoprostol which causes the woman to expel the child and the uterine lining in a matter similar to a miscarriage.

How do abortion pills differ from “emergency contraceptives”?

Emergency contraception—sometimes also known as the “morning after pill”—is a method of contraception that is taken after sexual intercourse with the intention of preventing pregnancy by delaying ovulation (i.e., the process in which a mature egg is released from the ovary).

There are three main types of emergency contraception approved for use in the United States. The first type uses Levonorgestrel (Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, After Pill, Take Action, and My Way). As with oral contraception, it is unclear whether this drug can ever have an abortifacient effect.

What is Mifeprex (RU-486)?

The most common drug used for medical abortion is Mifeprex, the brand name for mifepristone, a drug that was formerly known as RU-486. The drug was developed in France in the 1980s and banned by President George H.W. Bush Administration’s FDA in 1989. In 1993, President Bill Clinton asked the FDA to review the ban, which was lifted in 2000.

Currently, the drug is approved by the FDA provided it is “dispensed in certain healthcare settings, specifically, clinics, medical offices and hospitals, by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber.” In 2016, the FDA extended the time the abortion pill could be taken to 70 days into a pregnancy. In December 2021, the FDA relaxed some of the rules on mifepristone, allowing patients to pick up the drug at their pharmacy or receive it in the mail.

(Despite how the name might sound—“Are you for 86?” (“86” being slang for ejecting something or someone—RU-486 was derived from the initials of the French pharmaceutical company that patented the drug (Roussel Uclaf) and the serial number (486).)

Is the ‘abortion pill’ restricted by state bans?

It’s currently unclear whether states have the power to restrict abortion pills. After the Dobbs ruling, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said, “States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy.”

Greer Donley, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, said that Garland’s statement “was really a nod to the idea that state abortion bans theoretically have to have an exception that allows the dispensing of medication abortion.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 32 states require that the provider who administers a medication abortion be a physician. If abortion is illegal within a state, a physician licensed within the state would be unable to prescribe an abortion pill. 

How do telemedicine restrictions limit the use of the abortion pill?

Telemedicine is the use of electronic communications and software to provide medical services that are usually offered in a clinic without an in-person visit. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the popularity of telemedicine, and it became increasingly possible to visit a physician by phone or computer and have a abortion pill mailed to one’s home.

Organizations that provide telemedicine in the U.S., however, are subject to state laws. Currently, 19 states require the person (doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) providing a medication abortion to be present when the patient takes mifepristone. This prohibits the use of telemedicine for the procedure and prevents doctors from other states from prescribing the abortion pill. More states that ban abortion may choose to implement such restrictions in the future. 

However, women seeking chemical abortions in states that ban the procedure are already finding ways to get around the laws. For example, there has been an increase in the use of telemedicine organizations that operate in foreign countries, which are able to circumvent state and federal laws and mail the abortion pill directly to anyone in the U.S. 

Women seeking a chemical abortion may also be able to use telemedicine within a state that allows abortion and have the abortion pill sent to someone they know in the state or remailed from an in-state address to their own home. 

Thus, Christians must work to ensure that they do not confuse the passing of pro-life legislation or the overturning of the precedents in Roe and Casey as the end of the fight against abortion. Important as that is, if people still desire abortions, these pills will be available. Christians must work tirelessly to proclaim the dignity of every human life and address those factors that lead women to consider abortion.

By / Jul 12

Southern Baptists affirm that every life is worthy of protection, beginning with the preborn. We believe life begins at conception and that abortion denies precious human lives both personhood and protection. Scripture is clear that every person is made in the image of God—including the preborn—and God’s knowledge of the preborn even precedes the creative act of conception (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13).

Southern Baptists affirm that every human is created in the image of God. As stated in a 2022 resolution of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Bible “affirms that the preborn child is a person, bearing the image of God, from the moment of conception (Luke 1:44); a truth to which Christians in every century have testified and are called to bear witness in every age and in every sphere of life.” Further, the convention’s Baptist Faith & Message affirms that “children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord” and calls us to “speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.”

The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022 requires states to allow the transportation of abortion pills from other states. This bill would defy existing restrictions in at least 19 states and expand access to abortion pills nationwide. Abortion pills accounted for over half of all abortions in 2020, and are four times more dangerous than surgical abortions.

This bill would also functionally provide a federal protection for the emerging trend known as abortion tourism. Abortion tourism is quickly emerging as a trend promoted by some individuals, companies, and even some lawmakers. This would, in effect, seek to create pathways for access to abortion that sidesteps the compelling interest of governments that want to pursue avenues that save vulnerable preborn lives.

The ERLC strongly opposes the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022. This bill would enshrine access to the dangerous abortion pill in federal law and would promote abortion tourism nationwide. We encourage the Senate to reject this harmful bill that would handcuff state legislatures and put thousands of preborn lives and vulnerable mothers at risk.

By / Jul 12

Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a pair of bills titled the “Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022” and the “Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022.” This vote is expected to be largely along party lines, with every Republican and likely only one Democrat, Rep. Cuellar (D-TX), voting against the harmful bills. Together, these pieces of legislation are some of the most pro-abortion bills ever considered by Congress.

Speaker Pelosi brought these bills to the House floor in response to the recent landmark Supreme Court decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned disastrous abortion precedents and returned the issue to the states.

What is the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022?

The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 removes all restrictions and limits on abortion and allows for abortion up to the point of birth. Additionally, this bill removes all pro-life protections at the federal and state levels and eliminates a state’s ability to legislate on abortion. This bill also fails to protect the conscience of American taxpayers and would force taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. Longstanding pro-life protections such as the Hyde Amendment and the Weldon Amendment would be permanently removed.

Despite the bill’s name, vulnerable women and families will only be put at greater risk if the Women’s Health Protection Act were to ever become law. The reality is, abortion is not healthcare. Because dignity is bestowed upon each person when created in the womb, then abortion is not only an assault on those made in the image of God but also causes irreparable harm to a vulnerable life. We believe abortion denies precious human lives both personhood and protection, and therefore cannot be considered as healthcare.

The role of government should be to protect these vulnerable, preborn babies, not to exploit them by removing restrictions on abortion that put their lives in grave danger.

This bill is extraordinarily pro-abortion and ought to shock and grieve our consciences.

What is the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022?

The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022 requires states to allow the purchase and mailing of abortion pills from across state lines. The bill weaponizes interstate commerce protections to prevent states from restricting access to FDA-approved abortion pills bought in other states. This bill would defy existing restrictions in at least 19 states and expand access to abortion pills nationwide.

Not only would the bill curb state authority to restrict access to the abortion pill, but it would also prevent states from restricting or impeding interstate travel for the purpose of obtaining an abortion. Some lawmakers and advocacy groups have proposed laws that would prevent people from traveling out of state to obtain abortions or open out-of-state providers to civil liabilities. This bill would ban such efforts nationwide.

The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act of 2022 would enshrine interstate access to the dangerous abortion pill in federal law and would promote abortion tourism nationwide. The bill is extremely pro-abortion and should be opposed by pro-life advocates.

How is the ERLC involved?

The ERLC is strongly opposed to these bills and any effort to support the abortion industry, including the legalization of abortion. We urge the House to vote down these destructive pieces of legislation and would ask the Senate to note give any consideration to these bills. Their passage would endanger thousands of vulnerable preborn lives, handcuff state legislatures from enacting pro-life protections, and steamroll over the the consciences of millions of Americans who do not wish to pay for or be compelled to provide abortions.

The ERLC will always advocate for life before Congress, the courts, and in the public square, and we are working toward a day when abortion is illegal and lives are saved, mothers are no longer told the lie that it is necessary by a predatory abortion industry, and our culture views this grievous practice as completely unthinkable. We desire to see a culture of life created where mothers are supported, resources are provided that promote the flourishing of families, and where every life is honored and valued. 

By / May 6

Which women in America get an abortion? The answer is more complicated than is often portrayed in the media or in online discussions. The women are indeed likely to be low income, but are also likely to be educated (and in graduate school). They are unmarried, but are also mothers. They are also likely to have already had an abortion, and to self-identify as Christian. 

As the end of Roe looks to be near ​​and the pro-life cause is moving into a new phase, Christians need to be more prepared to argue and serve based on facts and the shifting demographic realities. Here are some statistics that will help you gain a better understanding of the women in America who choose to have an abortion.

The majority of abortions are for women in their 20s.

Women in their 20s accounted for more than half of abortions (56.9%), according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control in 2019 (the last year that data was available). Women aged 20–24 and 25–29 years accounted for the highest percentages of abortions (27.6% and 29.3%, respectively) and had the highest abortion rates (19.0 and 18.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 and 25–29 years, respectively). 

By contrast, adolescents aged <15 years and women aged ≥40 years accounted for the lowest percentages of abortions (0.2% and 3.7%, respectively) and had the lowest abortion rates (0.4 and 2.7 abortions per 1,000 women aged <15 and ≥40 years, respectively). Adolescents aged 18–19 years accounted for the majority (70.2%) of adolescent abortions and had the highest adolescent abortion rates (8.6 and 12.2 abortions per 1,000 adolescents aged 18 and 19 years, respectively).

Women of color have the most abortions.

Among the 30 areas that reported race by ethnicity data for 2019, non-Hispanic White women and non-Hispanic Black women accounted for the largest percentages of all abortions (33.4% and 38.4%, respectively), and Hispanic women and non-Hispanic women in the other race category accounted for smaller percentages (21.0% and 7.2%, respectively) 

Non-Hispanic White women had the lowest abortion rate (6.6 abortions per 1,000 women) and ratio (117 abortions per 1,000 live births), and non-Hispanic Black women had the highest abortion rate (23.8 abortions per 1,000 women) and ratio (386 abortions per 1,000 live births).

The majority of women who abort are unmarried.

Among the 42 areas that reported by marital status for 2019, 14.5% of women who obtained an abortion were married, and 85.5% were unmarried. The abortion ratio was 46 abortions per 1,000 live births for married women and 394 abortions per 1,000 live births for unmarried women.

The majority of women who abort are mothers.

Among the 45 areas that reported the number of previous live births for 2019, 40.2% of women had no previous child, 24.5% had one, 20.0% had two, 9.2% had three, and 6.0% had four or more children. In total, a significant majority of women who had an abortion (59.8%) had previously had a child. 

Almost half had more than one abortion.

Among the 44 areas that reported the number of previous induced abortions for 2019, the majority of women (58.2%) had previously had no abortions, 23.8% had previously had one abortion, 10.5% had previously had two abortions, and 7.5% had previously had three or more abortions. Altogether, 41.8% of women who had an abortion in 2019 had previously had at least one abortion. 

Most women who abort are educated.

Fewer than 1 in 10 women (9%) who had an abortion in 2014 of abortion patients aged 20 or older had less than a high school degree, while the overwhelming majority — 91% — had graduated from high school. More than 1 in 5 had a college degree, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group that supports abortion rights  

Almost 1 in 4 (24%) of women who had an abortion in 2014 were currently attending school. That number includes 72% of minors and 53% of 18–19-year-olds. Only 14% of those currently in school had not graduated from high school. About 2 in 3 (66%) had some college or a college degree, suggesting, according to Guttmacher, “that most abortion patients who were students were pursuing postsecondary degrees.”

Most women who abort are low income.

Almost half (49%) reported having family incomes of less than 100% of the federal poverty level (equivalent to less than $21,720 for a family of 3 in 2020). But a majority were not in poverty. More than 1 in 4 (26%) had incomes that were 100–199% of the poverty threshold (between $21,720 and $43,223), while 1 in 4 (25%) had incomes of 200% or more of the poverty threshold ($43,440 or greater). 

Most women who abort identify as Christian.

More than 1 in 3 women surveyed (38%) did not identify with any religion. About 1 in 4 identified as Roman Catholic. About 17% identified as mainline Protestant while 13% identified as evangelical Protestant. Altogether, 54 of women who had an abortion identify with a Christian tradition. Another 8% identified with some other religion. 

As Christians grapple with this information, some of it surprising, one of the ways we can respond is by praying for wisdom in how to use it to care for women, proclaim forgiveness and redemption through Christ, and plead for the preborn girls and boys to be given a chance at life. And while we pray, let’s tirelessly work toward and for a future where abortion is unthinkable.