It’s election season again, and our country’s ongoing debate over abortion is raging. In watching newscasters and reporters comment on the abortion debate, I’ve pinpointed three common myths about abortion perpetuated by people in the media.

MYTH #1: Believing abortion should be outlawed in most or all cases is an extreme position.

The pro-life position is not extreme. It is the view held by a majority of Americans today. Consider this recent poll from CNN:

CNN has released the results of a new poll showing a majority of Americans want all or most abortions prohibited — a clear pro-life majority.

The survey asked: “Do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal under only certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?” Some 62 percent want abortions illegal in all cases or legal only in certain instances while just 35% want abortions legal for any reason.

When it comes to extremism on this issue, President Barack Obama has demonstrated his firm commitment to abortion rights. He even bucked other staunch pro-choice Democrats like Barbara Boxer to vote against a bill that would protect the lives of babies who survive abortion. According to the transcript of the discussion, then Senator Obama was concerned that the bill would put undue pressure on the abortionist:

As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child — however way you want to describe it — is now outside the mother’s womb and the doctor continues to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. Is that correct?

People in the media continue to paint the pro-life position as an extreme minority position when, in fact, the majority of Americans want strict regulations on abortion. At the same time, they let the President’s radical commitment to abortion rights go unchallenged. (Not to mention other radical positions, such as Thomas Friedman’s.)

MYTH #2: A pro-life position is unpopular with women and risks losing their votes.

Many of the talking heads on TV bring up Romney’s pro-life position as if it were a liability with women. They speak of his views (and especially Ryan’s) as inherently alienating to women. Being pro-life risks losing the women’s vote. But this is another myth, as recent polls show women want more abortion restrictions than men do.

The polling firm asked:

Unless an abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life, do you think abortion should be permitted after the point where substantial medical evidence says that the unborn child can feel pain?

63% NO, ABORTION SHOULD NOT BE PERMITTED [women:70%; men:55%]
21% YES, ABORTION SHOULD BE PERMITTED [women:18%, men:25%]
8% DEPENDS (VOLUNTEERED)
4% DO NOT KNOW (VOLUNTEERED)
3% REFUSED (VOLUNTEERED)

MYTH #3: Abortion is one of many women’s health issues.

The third myth perpetuated by the media concerns the framing of the abortion issue. Reporters usually speak of abortion in terms of “women’s health issues” and “women’s reproductive choices,” as if abortion were similar to breast cancer, contraception, or other challenges unique to women. Those who oppose abortion are then described as people who oppose women’s health.

This framing of the abortion issue is biased. For pro-life people, abortion is not, first and foremost, a women’s health issue. It is a human rights issue. At stake is our commitment to cherishing and protecting human life at all stages of development.

Interestingly enough, the same media personalities who frame the abortion issue as dealing with “women’s health” choose to ignore recent opposition to bills banning sex-selection abortion, including the recent “sting” operations that show Planned Parenthood employees assisting women who want to abort their babies if they are female.

Conclusion

Pro-life politicians often get tongue-tied when speaking on this subject because of these three unchallenged mythical assumptions of those in the news media. (For example, here is how Todd Akin should have answered when pressed on the legitimacy of abortion in the case of rape.) When the subject of abortion comes up, we would do well to bust the myths and reframe the conversation.

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45 thoughts on “3 Media-Made Myths about Abortion”

  1. MarieP says:

    “MYTH #2: A pro-life position is unpopular with women and risks losing their votes.”

    And when a woman walks out from the abortion room, they’ve lost at least one potential vote already…

  2. Marty Duren says:

    And the most recent likely voter survey finds Mr. President’s slip in approval rating comes almost entirely from eroding female support.

  3. AJG says:

    RE: Myth #1.

    Doing what the majority thinks is never a good argument for whether something is right or wrong.

    1. You’re right but in this case the majority is right (or at least closer to it) than the media suggest.

  4. Caleb B says:

    @AJG
    That’s true, but that’s not what Trevin said or argued. He is merely pointing out myths about abortuon that media perpetuates.

  5. Rob says:

    Trevin, what would you reccomend Christians outside of Congress do to combat the horrific and terrible crime of abortion?

    1. I can’t speak for Trevin, but as an active Pro-Lifer there is much you can do to love women, fathers, and their babies.

      1) Pray/sidewalk counsel at clinics: MANY WOMEN GO IN FEELING TRAPPED! YOU CAN BE THE ONE TO TELL THEM THE TRUTH ABOUT THEIR BABY!
      http://40daysforlife.com/index.cfm

      2) Find your local pregnancy center and HELP THEM! If it’s a lame-o one, get on the board and help make changes!

      3) Recommend PRO-LIFE women’s HC providers to friends and fam. http://www.aaplog.org/

      4) Speak for the voiceless. I was at a REPUBLICAN event and ended up talking about babies. Most people don’t wanna hear about the truth but you have to tell them.

      5) LOVE KIDS! Find a boys&girls club, volunteer with a public school, mentor a little boy. We have to love the people who did make it outta the womb

      6) Lobby and vote pro-life first. Sign this pledge and encourage other to as well! http://www.ivoteprolifefirst.com/ I have SEEN A 16 year old CHOOSE LIFE because of local laws (no abortion after 12 weeks). Laws matter! Vote pro-life!

      1. mel says:

        may I add, Welcome Single Parents into your church and share Christ’s love with them. Do not tell them that they have to get their life to your acceptable level before they are welcome in your world. Do not act like your children were not born into as much sin theirs and so you have to keep them separate.

  6. Neo says:

    Of course, one of the biggest media-made myths regarding abortion is that it’s “safe”, when you hear the “safe and legal” mumbo-jumbo spewed by the media. But ask any doctor who performed D&C procedures and they will let you know that there is always a risk from surgeries like this of uteran puncture, internal bleeding, scarring, hemorrhage and even death – but the media does all it can to bury stories like this. I personally HATE hearing the word “safe” applied to abortion, because it isn’t – even when performed at the most expensive hospitals.

    Another thing well-hidden by the media regarding abortion is abortion clinic 911 calls. Plenty of interesting YouTube videos on this topic as well.

  7. Excellent. Thanks for putting information like this out there. This is a valuable service and well-done.

  8. Thanks Trevin for this article– will be an excellent resource!

  9. DKJ says:

    Maybe if more Christians adopted or took care of children that weren’t wanted, there would be less abortions too.

    1. Michele says:

      Maybe you should ask a couple that have adopted a baby in the U.S. how long that had to wait. I don’t think a shortage of couples waiting to adopt is the problem.

    2. MzEllen says:

      > Maybe if more Christians adopted or took care of children that weren’t wanted, there would be less abortions too.

      That’s one of the myths (lie) that I see out there a lot- that Christians don’t adopt unwanted children.

      In one sentence, the accuser gets to promote abortion AND imply that Christians are uncaring…bonus!

      I work in a school with impaired young adults. 25% of my students are adopted. One of them was adopted by a relative. The rest were adopted by Christian families. One of my new students is a young woman with Down Syndrome, who was adopted by a pastor and his wife…along with another youngster with Down Syndrome and two other children with other impairments.

      School wide, over my 15 years with this school system, that’s about average. Most impaired young people are adopted by Christian families, followed by being adopted by relatives. I really don’t remember having a student that was adopted by a non-relative that was an unbeliever.

      So the “Christians should adopt” line is a “bologna sandwich” – we can, do, have, will continue to adopt children in need.

      1. DKJ says:

        I AM a Christian. Who said I wasn’t? I never said I was for abortion. I haven’t met any Christians personally who have adopted or are willing to adopt…they all want to have their own kids. It’s just frustrating when Christians say “give up the child for adoption” when they are not willing to adopt any child themselves.

        1. Dana says:

          I’m perfectly capable and able to have biological children (or at least I am assuming I am since we got pregnant with my son in our first month trying). However, we specifically want to adopt our second child through DSS so that we can help a child in need. We have been on the waiting list for over 9 months and this is short compared to friends from church that have been on the list longer. Most people that I talk to wait around 2 years through DSS. Remember DSS is dealing with kids that have at best been abandoned (either by parent choice or health issues) at worst abused. The system needs to be changed to allow willing and able couples to be able to give these kids a chance.

    3. Phil says:

      DKJ: Your comment is just an uninformed snipe, lacking fact or perspective. If you look around, you’ll notice that a huge portion of adoptions are arranged through faith-based (read: Christian, mostly) organizations. Pro-life groups have a host of various agencies (again, Christian-based) to refer moms who decide for adoption over death. As for taking care of children that “weren’t wanted”, that’s something we have been doing since first century Christianity: Roman society typically abandoned unwanted (disabled, deformed, illegitiamte, etc.) babies to die in a field, whereas Christians were known as socially awkward for taking on these abandonded children. We do the same ot this day, in various forms, too.

      The abortion rate has nothing to do with any shortage of adoptive parents, Christian or otherwise.

  10. Carlo says:

    Another myth:

    The public has “progressed” on the issue of abortion and now demands tax payer funded, totally unrestricted abortion.

    Reality, most of us want it over yesterday.

  11. J. Chohan says:

    I would like to add this as food for thought. The reality to the abortion issue for social liberals is REALLY a women’s superiority issue. Abortion puts the desires and wishes of women above those of men. Most would agree that any sperm-donor father should be required to pay child support. Mostly, I do too. But that is because I think that both men an women should realize there are “consequences” to having casual sex with no intention of understanding the responsibilities of such sex. Sex has responsibilities that go along with it, people. However, that being said…we live in a society that has all but eliminated all such responsibility for casual sex. Right down to killing the unwanted product of casual sex, a baby. But, do men have the option to opt in or out of an abortion? Do men who donate one-half of the DNA have any say what-so-ever as to whether they have any
    desire to
    be a father? No. Untill that child is born, their voice is completely null and void in America. But, the SECOND that baby is born, they are hit with child support until that child is an adult. Did anyone ever ask if that man wanted a child or to be a dad? If a father wants a baby aborted, shouldn’t that same father have the right to opt-out of financial support of that child once it is made? Alternatively, shouldn’t a father have the right to say, “Fine, you don’t want that baby we accidentally made, so I will take it and raise it.” and the mother could opt-out of the financial game too. I’m not saying this is an ideal scenario…I’m just saying, THAT is equal rights. If it is really a woman’s right to choose, then lets let her bear all the financial responsibility once she chooses life…see, no one would go for that. Please understand that I am completely pro-life. I just want to make another point. Abortion makes women a superior gender. Period. Lets talk about that on CNN for a little while!

  12. Dean P says:

    J.: I hear you and see your point and I think that there is some truth to this view of men and women’s responsibility in consential non marital sex. However I would still argue that the vast majority of men who participate with women in non-marital sexual relations where it yields pregnancy would still rather be absolved from all personal responsibility to the child and would rather get out as quick and painlessly as possible. Thereby absolving themselves from any type of responsibility. It’s this action that makes it very easy for society the church and the media to make men an easy target and therefore easy to by default see women as a victim and not superior. It’s because of this that it isn’t really a women as superior issue but more of an issue of a whole lot of men just acting inferior.

    1. J. Chohan says:

      @Dean…I don’t believe you are exactly addressing the point, which is that men do NOT have equal rights when it comes to deciding the validity of a life they helped create. Everyone says this is a woman’s right to choose…her body, her choice. Okay then, follow that rationale to its logical conclusion and that woman who chooses to keep a baby regardless of the man’s wishes, should then have to make the choice to raise the baby alone, without assistance, or put the child up for adoption. That is rational and logical according to that line of thinking and makes gender equality sense. But that isn’t what we have. Women are not victims in this debate. They are powerful victors. And we have taken all that is moral and valued completely out of the equation in favor of women’s, quite superior, rights. How about, as the author said, human rights. Why should a woman have the right to decide upon the validity of a human life without anyone else’s input? Their uterus?! How about the other half of that DNA growing in there?! They allowed it to get in (yes, even if it was a mistake, it was allowed if sex was consensual…and remember your facts and percentages here, almost all unwanted pregnancies result from consensual sex)! The point I am trying to make is that IF I WERE A MAN, and I am not, but if I were, I, at the very least would be advocating for paternal consent for abortions or legal absolution from any unwanted pregnancy. After all, a woman has that right in this country. I think men need to rise up…and if they did, and people could see the ludicrosity of this whole issue (ludicrous that we even have the option to discuss ending a life) and I think there would be a LOT more regulations on abortion. NO WAY would there ever be legislation allowing for men to opt-out financially because they asked a woman to abort and she didn’t….see what I mean?!

      1. Mzellen says:

        That’s what Roe was about – “privacy” – taking the father out of the decision making process.

  13. buddyglass says:

    I see four common positions:

    1. Abortion should legal only when the mother’s health is in danger,

    2. Abortion should be legal when the mother’s health is in danger or when the pregnancy resulted from rape and/or incest,

    3. Abortion should be legal when the mother’s health is in danger, when the pregnancy resulted from rape and/or incest, or in certain other situations (e.g. fetal deformities, reduction of multiples, etc.).

    4. Abortion should be legal in any and all cases subject to the existing viability restrictions in case law.

    That CNN poll shows only 17% of those polled holding position #1. This is approximately the same percentage that holds position #4.

    What’s hard to get at is the breakdown between groups #2 and #3. It’s also worth noting that many of those who hold view #1 don’t consider those who hold #2 to be “pro-life” and especially not those in group #3.

    1. Laura says:

      You can go to the Guttmacher Institute site and look at the breakdown of reasons why women have abortions.

      If you allow life/health of the mother, rape, and fetal abnormalities, you’ll still disallow the majority of abortions.

      In 2004 they reported on a study of women who had had abortions and who gave reasons that contributed to their decisions. Here are some of them.

      Victim of rape, 1%. Incest, <5%

      Contrast this with:

      Having a baby would dramatically change my life, 74%
      Can't afford a baby now, 73%
      Don't want to be a single mother or having relationship problems, 48%

      And so on. Here's the link – take out the spaces.
      http: // www . guttmacher . org/pubs/journals/3711005 . pdf

      1. buddyglass says:

        That sounds about right. It still doesn’t tell us how many people fall into my categories #2 and #3 above, though, because the categories are delineated by the situations in which people support the legality of abortion, not the situations in which people actually *have* abortions.

  14. Mel says:

    Wow, can’t you get sued for just making up lies and calling them facts? haaaaaaaaahahah…. I love this one: “MYTH #3: Abortion is one of many women’s health issues.” We’re calling that a MYTH?? That sounds like an opinion to me. It’s a women’s health issue to women (Like me) but maybe not to you, Mr Trevin Wax since you (probably) do not have a uterus. You silly Anti-Choice men make me laugh.

    1. Simon says:

      Is being pregnant unhealthy? Is it something that needs to be rectified in order to restore you to health? I seriously would like to know how abortion can be framed as a health issue?

      1. DKJ says:

        Sometimes something can go wrong with a pregnancy which can be dangerous to the mother. Not all pregnancies go smoothly.

        1. MzEllen says:

          How often? Not how often a woman had a health issue that needs treatment that requires the child die.

          How often does a pregnancy cause a health concern require the death of the child?

        2. Phil says:

          Red herring there, DKJ. No one is talking about emergency procedures to save the life of the mother.

          1. Laura says:

            Phil, there are those who would deny abortion to women with an ectopic pregnancy. I didn’t believe that when I first read about it, but so it is.

          2. Steve D says:

            Actually, Phil personhood bills and amendments DO seek to block all abortions whether for the life of the mother, rape, o any reason. So, yes, there are people who are against abortion in all cases, no exceptions.

            Whether or not there are a lot of women whose lives are threatened or not is a bogus point. Part of the job of the law is to protect everyone. It seems to me that if the woman dies, the unborn child dies, that not allowing abortion is tantamount to killing the mother.

            Being truly pro-life means that you must face some difficult choices.No matter how infrequently they occur.

          3. Rayber says:

            You tunnel helpless tunnel visioned sheep. The GOP platform that was announced during their convention flatly states NO abortions for any reason. Romney isn’t so hardline but Ryan is.Ryan doesn’t believe in any birth control. No pills. (No masturbation then either) It’s considered destroying a potential human. Romney doesn’t even belong to a Christian church. He has to comply with the GOP or not put himself in a position to make billions of dollars for his billionaire friends, none of whom pay the percentage of taxes the majority of the viewers of this post do. The question is not is abortion good or bad, right or wrong. I don’t like abortion either especially 3rd trimester abortion. The problem is every American has the RIGHT TO CHOOSE. The hard line Christians that have absolutely NO business in our government want to take away that right. We fought a war way back when to get the Church of England out of our government. Their dictatorship is not much different then the Taliban. There is no FREEDOM OF CHOICE in their “church”. There are hundreds of different churches in this country. These hardliners are saying the rest of the country is wrong because we don’t follow their church rules. This is American. We have the right to choose. Repeat that out loud. This is America, we have the right to choose. I am German, I am British, I am Irish, I am an American Indian. I believe there is a higher being and that being has many many names. I also believe the evil man does things in this being name.
            We have the right to CHOOSE. Please don’t let this part of being an American be destroyed.
            Planned Parenthood DOES NOT PAY for Abortions, it’s a source of information. They do supply BC pills. Obama is NOT telling the church it has to support birth control. He’s saying the INSURANCE company has to OFFER bith control. By the way Obama is a Christian and belongs to a Christian church, ROMNEY DOES NOT.

          4. J. Chohan says:

            Wow, Rayber. You are incredibly misinformed on so many issues. I will only speak to one, since that’s what this forum is about. Planned parenthood DOES, itself, subsidize abortions. They sell abortions. That is what they do. Look at their own facts and figures, and that is their PRIMARY source of income…to the tune of BILLIONS, not millions, BILLIONS a year. And, yes, Americans have the right to choose, but not to murder. Abortion ends a life. Period. That is what this discussion is all about. When does life begin? That is the debate. Americans have many rights, but not EVERY right. For the good of society, many choices are limited, for instance, Americans do not have the choice to walk out of a store with a TV without paying for it without a being jailed. Americans do not have the choice to run their car into the window of a building. Americans do not have the choice to make and sell heroine. Americans do not have the choice to strangle their neighbor. And Americans do not have the choice to end an old persons life just because the person doesn’t want to suffer. Each and every one of these choices, while able to be acted upon, have serious consequences. That is where many of us see abortion to rest. It SHOULD NOT be a legal choice in the US. Period. Abortion ends the life of a child without an advocate. A woman should have the choice of whether or not she would like to be a mother, but not as to whether the child that has been given life within her body has the right to live or not. No matter the circumstances, conception is a miracle. Just ask the thousands and thousands of loving and willing to parent couples that struggle with infertility. It is a delicate, precious, miracle when every condition within the body comes together to be blessed with life. It is sad when there is tragedy which causes this blessing, but that doesn’t negate the fact of the life. Let a woman choose. Let her choose adoption. Let a dad choose. If you are SO keen on choices, do you not think it unfair that the father of the growing child has no choice as to whether his child is aborted? America has the right to choose, say that again, and then say that abortion is right when a father’s rights are nonexistent in that scenario. This is not about a woman’s choice, my friend. Not at all.

        3. Simon says:

          Don’t quote me on this because I can’t remember where I read it or if they were even correct but I think it is less than 1% (possibly less than 0.5%) of abortions are carried out due to the pregnancy endangering the mother’s life.

          Surely if this is the only framework from with abortion is a women’s health issue then we can limit abortion to only these circumstances.

          I think it is far more obvious from the data the abortion is not a women’s health issue but more a women’s lifestyle issue.

    2. mel - there is more than one says:

      I’m a woman. I have been a teenage single parent. It is not about health. It is about getting caught up in a moment and it results in pregnancy. It’s about figuring what the solution is based on how you are going to be treated and what your resources happen to be. AND how your social group is going to treat you.

      I was treated horribly by people, women are the worse, from both sides of the aisle. I had to quit all high school activities but the girls that had abortions (yes everyone knew) were cheerleaders and on the homecoming court, ect. Teachers and other adults still held them up as examples but we never talked about their pregnancies because it was now “private” because it ended in death. My pregnancy was continually talked about. Conservative people judged me for having sex that resulted in a baby. Liberal people judged me for not putting myself first and getting on the track for college and career.

      Now I understand that girls do not have to quit everything but the attitude towards any girl that keeps a baby is the same. Unless you are rich, beautiful and a celebrity then the liberals will allow you to have your baby because you are fitting it into a career without the help of a man. So much hypocrisy everywhere.

      1. J. Chohan says:

        Wow! So well said! I am heartbroken over your experience. I did not have a teenage pregnancy, but living in a small conservative town, I can completely identify with what you experienced. That was EXACTLY what happened there. Abortion is rewarded and/or looked past while accepting the “consequences” and doing what is right is judged. It’s sad, and you have to keep telling your story because it’s too common and those sitting on the other side of the fence need to know that single women need love and support not judgment. PLEASE KEEP SHARING YOUR STORY.

  15. A myth prevalent in my country:

    “The abortion debate is settled”

  16. Mzellen says:

    Therecisnt a link to “reply” undercLaura’s post…but:

    Please read the segmen on ectic pregnancy here: http://www.prolifephysicians.org/rarecases.htm

    And, please supply a link to a politician, telling us that an abortion should not be allowed in the case of an pesto pic pregnancy.

    And…abortion for convenience atvan abortion clinic should be allowed, because some women need to have an ectopic pregnancy removed by their medical doctor?

  17. Laura says:

    Want to mention about abortion of a pregnancy due to incest:

    If we are talking about a grown woman who is pregnant from an encounter with another family member, that shouldn’t lead to abortion. There’s no reason for it to. It should lead to other things, like a profound change in behavior, but not abortion.

    If a child is pregnant because she was molested by a family member, abortion isn’t the first thing we should think about and it’s not the thing that is going to restore her to her pre-victim status. The priority should be to stop the incest and send the offending party to prison. That being the case, abortion is much, much more likely to enable the predation to continue than to fix the problem.

    Same with girls who are pregnant due to statutory rape. And that pregnancy is one reason why it’s illegal to have even “consensual” sex with an underage person – there are potential consequences which they can’t be counted on to have the brain maturity to anticipate and to deal with. Also, it’s possible for an older man to have a coercive relationship with a teen and take her for abortions to cover up what he is doing, counting on the fact that she is too young and immature to help herself.

  18. Laura says:

    Oh, meant to add that there is an error in my comment above. Fewer than 0.5% of abortions had incest as a contributing factor.

  19. Jonathan says:

    Those two parties are extreme. No exceptions to either postion? Sounds pretty extreme to me. Getting an abortion for no reason would be considered wrong by most people. Not allowing for the survival of the mom would also be extreme in the scenario where the mother and child will both die, and the baby will die no matter what.

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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