Home Christian News Anti-Abortion Movement Faces Internal Divisions After Roe’s Fall

Anti-Abortion Movement Faces Internal Divisions After Roe’s Fall

Anti-abortion activist Doug Lane uses a ladder to peer over the covered fencing as he calls out to patients entering the Jackson Women’s Health Organization clinic in Jackson, Mississippi, moments after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade was issued, June 24, 2022. The clinic is the only facility that performs abortions in the state. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

(RNS) — For nearly five decades, abortion opponents held two truths to be self-evident.

Abortion ends the life of a human being.

Women who have an abortion are “second victims.”

Now, with Roe v. Wade overturned, a small but influential group of abortion foes believes women who have abortions should be prosecuted as criminals. Known as abortion abolitionists, they want to ban abortion with no exception. And they want women who have abortions to face jail time.

“You can’t abolish abortion without criminalizing the act of abortion,” said T. Russell Hunter, co-founder of Free the States Action Fund and Abolish Human Abortion, a pair of Oklahoma-based abolitionist groups.

The rise of groups like Free the States has complicated the post-Roe response of abortion foes, who have long positioned themselves as defenders of both unborn children and pregnant women.

Many established groups opposed to abortion find themselves fighting both supporters of abortion rights and abolitionists who want to ban abortion with no exceptions and oppose any incremental restrictions.

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, said her group will support legislation to “save as many babies as possible.”

Carol Tobias. Photo via NRLC.org

Carol Tobias. Photo via NRLC.org

This would include bans on abortion in more conservative states and in states where abortion is legal, more education for women who seek abortions, as well as laws to protect the conscience of health care professionals who object to abortion.

She said her organization hopes to see an end to all abortions someday. For now, she said, it will support whatever restrictions are possible and push for tighter restrictions in the future.

“Our position has always been to save as many babies as you can, as soon as you can,” she said.

Tobias also encourages abortion foes to communicate to pregnant women that they are not alone. For 50 years, she said, women have gotten the message that abortion is the “easy solution” to an unwanted pregnancy. Now, she said, groups like hers want to stand by pregnant women and encourage them and provide assistance.