Facts vs. Myths in today’s abortion rhetoric

rbg 93 senate hearing thumbnail“The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.”
  -Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1993 Senate confirmation hearing

The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is weighing heavily on groups like ours who work so hard to advocate for women’s reproductive rights. Yes, she cleared so many paths, but she also worked as a wall against discriminatory policies. We MUST fight for our rights in our own states/commonwealths as we prepare for the inevitable Supreme Court decisions that will cut away at the protections of Roe v. Wade, or overturn it altogether.

The Massachusetts ROE Act has been stalled in the Joint Judicial Committee. The MA Catholic leadership has been urging their congregations to contact legislators to voice opposition, and our legislators have been receiving those messages. We ask each of you to contact your state legislators to insist this bill be moved out of committee and onto the floor of the legislature for a vote. The current legislative session continues, and despite that it’s “election season” we must insist the ROE Act is PASSED now.

Our leadership group worked to create on a quick reference for you to use when faced with opposition to abortion care access.  Thank you to Laurie Veninger for compiling our research in an easy to read, downloadable and shareable document, Abortion Myth – Fact.  Here is the same sheet in image format, click on the thumbnails to download and share by using the link:

Here in MA, the Catholic Bishops, anti-choice groups, and the MA GOP have adopted the national rhetoric that is full of myths.  In other words, they are hijacking certain medical and legal language, making false statements over and over, twisting facts to fulfill a narrative full of lies that defy medical science and laws.  And, that narrative has taken hold in too many places here in MA and around the country.

An important observation: All too often the mainstream media is guilty of adopting and parroting these myths.  We must start calling them out whenever we see this happening!

Laurie’s Myth – Fact Sheet includes the following text:

  • Myth: Catholic clergy say the ROE Act will legalize ‘post birth abortion.’
    • Fact: The use of this term attempts to confuse abortion with infanticide which the ROE Act will NOT legalize.
  • Myth: Republicans call the ROE Act the ‘infanticide act.’
    • Fact:  Infanticide is murder and already illegal.
  • Myth: The ROE Act will eliminate the law that requires doctors ‘preserve life and health.’
    • Fact: The law is redundant. Doctors are already obligated to attempt life-saving procedures on babies born alive, unless there is no chance of survival, then, comfort care is provided.
  • Myth: Catholic bishops say the ROE Act would allow late-term abortion ‘on demand’ and for ‘virtually any reason.’
    • Fact: Abortion after 24 wks is not for women who ‘change their minds.’ It is only legal in the most tragic of circumstances, such as fatal fetal anomaly or maternal health/death. This is extremely rare and less than 1% of all abortions.
  • Myth: Evangelical Christians say the Bible forbids abortion under any circumstance.

    • Fact: The Bible, the Torah, and the Koran, all value the mother’s life over the fetus.
  • Myth: Current HHS officials and others say that abortions are dangerous, especially outside of a hospital, and the ROE Act shouldn’t eliminate that requirement.

    • Fact: Abortion is safer than a colonoscopy or tooth extraction and abortion medicine is safer than most prescriptions. In fact, abortion is actually 14x safer than full term pregnancy.
  • Myth: Conservatives are concerned for a ‘fetal heartbeat.’

    • Fact: What is heard is an electrical impulse; the cells that make up the heart would beat in a petri dish.
  • Myth: Conservatives think they are ‘pro- life’ by restricting abortion and birth control.

    • Fact: U.S. abortion rates are down since the ACA mandated birth control coverage. Abortion rates are highest in countries with the tightest restrictions. (In the U.S. states with the strictest abortion laws, making abortion access more difficult, also have the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality rates per CDC.)

The ROE ACT S1209/H3320

In a state known for high-quality health care and near universal insurance coverage, no person should be forced to leave the state for care, no one should be forced to have their medical decisions signed off by a judge, no medical professional should be forced to deny a patient the best possible care out of fear of criminal liability, and no person should be denied affordable access to abortion because their legal or economic status prevents them from obtaining insurance coverage. Yet, these are the realities in MA. The ROE ACT will improve access to affordable abortion by removing unnecessary and burdensome provision that delay and deny care.

The ROE Bill will:

  • expand access after 24 wks in cases of fatal fetal anomalies eliminate government intrusions and criminal penalties
  • end intrusive reporting requirements
  • remove medically inaccurate and inflammatory language
  • abolish medically unnecessary restrictions including waiting periods or requirements they take place in a hospital
  • eliminate the onerous judicial bypass process teenagers must navigate and align it with their ability to access other care
  • bolster safety net coverage regardless of income or legal status aligning it with other pregnancy-related care
  • codify the principles of reproductive freedom and prevent future restrictions on the right to safe, legal abortion


  • Carter, Neil. “What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?” Patheos.com, October 2016.
  • Diocese of Springfield. MCC Abortion Statement. May 2019.
  • Diocese of Springfield. Anti-ROE Flyer.
  • May 2019 Factcheck.org, the Annenburg Foundation
  • Fox, Maggie. “Abortion Rates Go Down When Countries Make it Legal.” NBC News. Mar 2018.
  • Greene-Foster. “Socio-economic Consequences of Abortion Compared to Unwanted Birth.” APHA. Oct 2012.
  • Guttmacher Institute. “Fact-sheet: Induced Abortion Worldwide.” Mar 2018 and “Policy Trends in the States 2017.” Jan 2018.
  • Guttmacher Institute. “Evidence You Can Use: Later Abortion.” Jan 2017. and “Abortion is Common Experience for US Women Despite Dramatic Declines.” Oct 2017.
  • H3220/S1209 An Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access
  • Harmon, Amy. “‘Fetal Heartbeat’ vs. ‘Forced Pregnancy’: The Language Wars of the Abortion Debate.” NYT. May 2019.
  • Jatlaoui et. al. “Abortion Surveillance-United States, 2015.”
  • MMWR Surveillance Summaries, CDC, Nov. 2018: 67.
  • MA General Law, Part I, Title XVI, Sections 12K-12U.
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Raymond et. al. “The Comparative Safety of Legal Induced Abortion and Childbirth in the U.S.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feb 2012, 119: 215-19. Ungar et. al.
  • “Which States Have the Worst Maternal Mortality?” USA Today, Nov. 2018.
  • Upadhyay, et. al. “Incidence of Emergency Department Visits and Complications After Abortion.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, Jan 2015, 125:175-83.


late term rhetoric

(If you see errors or omissions please contact CapeCodWomenforChange@gmail.com)

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