By Valerie Huber
This article originally appeared on The Washington Stand
The Dobbs verdict is a remarkable victory for the protection of women’s health and for the constitutional right to life. A decision to ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade affirms what I have always held to be true — abortion is not a fundamental human right and is neither explicitly nor implicitly included in the Constitution.
This Supreme Court ruling signals the beginning of a massive shift in domestic politics, yes, but it will undoubtedly have a ripple effect throughout the world. The more immediate — and less discussed — effect will be on the international abortion debate.
Let’s not allow the post-Roe discussion in America to obscure the fact that President Joe Biden and his administration are working diligently to enforce a pro-abortion line all over the world. Their efforts to characterize abortion as a “fundamental right” trample upon the conscience of health providers, the sovereignty of nations, and the future of vulnerable women and unborn girls globally.
I recently visited the best hospital for high-risk mothers in a developing nation, and circumstances were desperate. High-risk women in preterm labor sat in chairs along a hallway because the beds were filled. Women recovering from C-sections recuperated on blankets on the floor for the same reason. Premature babies on oxygen had no incubators, and women were expected to bring their own IVs with them.
These are the women who suffer while ideologues preside over international aid efforts.
Overturning Roe gives us the chance to begin a new conversation about women’s health, at home and abroad. It’s a chance to insist that abortion be a separate conversation, one each nation has freely and on its own terms. It’s a chance for nations who value life at all stages to re-enter the global effort to improve women’s health — this time as leaders.
The Biden administration and their progressive allies have been leveraging American soft power to pressure countries that dissent from their preferred, pro-abortion legal regime for far too long. It’s past time to stop our dangerous meddling in other nations’ affairs, and resume true political neutrality when it comes to improving women’s health.
The primary significance of a post-Roe political order is the impact it would have on vulnerable women and their families. As things stand now, about 800 women die daily from preventable pregnancy-related causes. Nearly all, or 94%, of these maternal deaths occur in low- to lower-middle-income countries. What’s more, sex-selective abortion results in a higher percent of girls aborted than boys around the world.
Women all over the world need our help, but abortion ideological priorities stand in the way. I know this because I regularly meet with members of parliament and other political leaders across the globe to discuss women’s health on behalf of the Institute for Women’s Health. While their perspectives vary, they tell me the same tragic story: Foreign assistance rarely comes without ideological diplomatic blackmail.
I hope that, post-Roe, we will shift the conversation back to the hard facts of life and death. I hope it will serve as a reminder that being pro-woman isn’t about fighting ideological battles; it’s about effectively delivering critical medical support, nutritional aid and safety. It is now, and it always has been.
The right to life is a fundamental one. It upholds all other rights. And each new life is born to a particular mother, who may be in desperate need of help. Supporting them could look like more shared responsibility between parents, preventive health assistance, improved care during pregnancy and long after. It could look like food and shelter.
If we protect these women, we will uphold the deepest, truest human right. We will foster families where new lives will flourish, where they will know safety and health. We will cultivate a global aid community that doesn’t propose killing the unborn as the only feasible solution to a desperate woman’s hardship.
Because it’s not. And pretending otherwise is costing us countless precious lives each day.
With Roe now reversed in America, I hope that foreign nations will feel empowered to stand more firmly and confidently in their efforts to promote women’s health. Both domestically and abroad, we have a chance to build an alternative vision for women’s well-being. Every woman and girl has inherent dignity, no matter how old or how young. She deserves safety, justice, and respect. It’s time to act like it.
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.