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Saying Abortion Is ‘Democratic’ Is a Dangerous Lie

By June 22, 2022January 5th, 2024Op-Ed4 min read
By: Valerie Huber



This article originally appeared on Townhall

A representative democracy accords a number of unprecedented rights and securities to those lucky enough to live within it. The right to an abortion is not one. And not only are abortion advocates lying when they make this argument, they are degrading democracy as they do so. 

One of the boldest and most cherished hopes of a democratic society is that liberty and dignity for all might organize politics. Too many dark days of history are filled with violence, injustice, and exploitation, with a parade of indignities to the human person marching throughout.

Democracy is a precious exception to this history. It’s foolish and dangerous to co-opt it for the sake of these ideological purposes.

Of course, we make mistakes as men and women. We judge wrongly. History displays those errors in glaring detail. Let’s learn from history. 

From a human rights perspective, respecting the rights and liberties of all truly means all persons — not just the convenient or politically favored ones — but also those most vulnerable. If a nation denies the transcendent human dignity and right to life of every person, then that nation loses its moral compass for good and evil. My human dignity is expressed by “acting” human and therefore requires that I also respect others’ human dignity.

A child can easily be cast as an inconvenience in part because children are, in fact, inconvenient in precisely the same way every other person with whom we’re obliged to share the world with is inconvenient. And, yes, they do place limits on one’s individual autonomy. But this is exactly the point, because autonomy without restraint — the autonomy that abortion-activists seek to ensconce at the heart of democracy —  is tyranny upon others. 

Healthy societies and healthy people dwell in community, where we learn to live in ways that stretch us to be more selfless — and less selfish.  Every person’s being, and their right to being, is unequivocal. We do well to remember that. 

Enshrining abortion as some notion of a democratic society also demonstrates a grave misunderstanding of what health and thriving for women really look like. 

We’re told again and again that abortion is women’s “healthcare,” that access to it is a fundamental “right.” Let’s be clear: Abortion is not “healthcare,” and it is certainly not a “right.”  Rather, life itself is a fundamental right. 

And this is more than a debate over semantics. The Institute for Women’s Health insists that the focus turn to the development of real healthcare options for women in need. But instead, the Biden administration and progressive allies in power all push a divisive pro-abortion agenda that ignores the real and critical health needs of women — here and abroad.  

Take, for example, the extreme conditions for many women living in the Ukraine — where many lack the basic needs for labor and delivery — skilled medical professionals for emergency care, antibiotics, IV, and even sheets or blankets for their beds. Some will lack maternal care altogether.

Abortion advocates responded to these conditions by demanding that women fleeing from Ukraine be provided with access to abortion under the increasingly broad banner of “sexual and reproductive health services.” 

Of course, this wouldn’t do anything to meet the very real needs for specialized health professionals, fight a serious infection, preserve the lives of both mother and baby during childbirth, or relieve her pain. 

Frankly, abortion is an insult. It’s the fruit of a divisive ideology parading as a solution to pressing, complex needs. Promoting it as a mode of “women’s healthcare” is a dereliction of social and moral duty. 

I’ve spent much of my life in the political policy world. I’ve heard the same tired, cynical, disingenuous lines over and over. I’ve just returned from Hungary,  doing what I can to listen and share honestly about the needs of women there and across the world. Speaking at CPAC Hungary and the Transatlantic Summit of the Political Network for Values, I insisted that other agendas should not slow progress toward meeting these pressing health needs. I met with political leaders and influencers from more than 30 nations across the globe. From many, I heard a palpable undercurrent of resentment for the ideological colonization of their countries by abortion advocates. 

So, partially on their behalf, I refuse to accept the abortion doublespeak about women’s healthcare any longer. And I ask that you join me. 

Insist on moral honesty when politicians discuss women’s healthcare. Insist on moral honesty when they invoke a concept as precious and fragile as “democracy.” 

Insist, with me, that American women and children are worth defending, as well as the democracy that secures their safety and articulates their dignity. Insist with me that women all over the world deserve safety, respect for their dignity and authentic care. This is health care that is offered — and provided — without ideological agenda.

Valerie Huber is the founder and president of the Institute for Women’s Health. She previously served as the U.S. special representative for Global Women’s Health.


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