America After Dobbs: Addressing Misconceptions and Creating a Pro-Woman, Pro-Family Future

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruled Roe v. Wade. In the words of Public Discourse Editor-in-Chief R. J. Snell, Roe was “a stain on the Court, an offense to our Constitutional system, and a moral horror.” With its protection of life and human rights, and its restoration of constitutional principle and the rule of law, Dobbs may be—as Public Discourse author Michael Stokes Paulsen put it—“the most important, magnificent, rightly decided Supreme Court case of all time.” Yet the Dobbs decision marks not the end but the beginning of a new phase in the struggle to protect and support life. In many ways, public debate on this question continues to be shaped by myths and misconceptions, as well as questions or misgivings about the decision’s political, legal, and cultural implications.

To provide clarity, expertise, and insight on these difficult issues, Public Discourse has created this special resource that addresses two important areas of concern both inside and outside the pro-life movement. First, we identify common myths about the Dobbs decision in particular and abortion ethics in general. To address these misconceptions, we offer some of the very best political, ethical, and philosophical essays from our recent contributors and from our archives. Second, we present a collection of essays concerning the future of the pro-life movement—how it might develop pro-family policies, how it might continue to build and sustain a culture of life, and how it might navigate new frontiers for life amid rapid technological and medical change.

We hope that this collection—which will be updated regularly—serves as a valuable resource for pro-life individuals and groups who plan to expand and develop their work, as well as anyone who simply wishes to learn more about a transformative legal moment that creates the possibility for enduring social and moral change.

Addressing Myths about Abortion and the Pro-Life Movement

Common myths about abortion:

Myth 1: The Dobbs decision means threats to maternal life won’t be treated

Myth 2: The Dobbs decision is illegitimate

Myth 3: Abortion regulations are based solely or largely on religious principles

Myth 4: Abortion is about bodily autonomy

Myth 5: We don’t know when life begins

Myth 6: Abortion is necessary for women’s equality and health

Myth 7: Abortion rates are not influenced by social programs

Myth 8: Abortion regulations are more permissive internationally

Myth 9: Abortion is not psychologically harmful for women

Myth 10: Judaism is fully compatible with political support for abortion

Myth 11: The pro-life movement is not politically or ideologically diverse

Myth 12: The pro-life movement doesn’t care about life after birth

Myth 13: The terminology adopted in medicine or law determines the moral issues of abortion 

Myth 14: The Bible does not say anything of relevance to abortion 

What Is Next for the Pro-Life Movement?

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