Abortion is Not a Single Issue, Pro-Life Concerns Touch Everyone

Opinion   |   William Saunders and Mailee Smith   |   Nov 1, 2012   |   12:59PM   |   Washington, DC

“We can’t be single issue voters.” That mantra surfaces during every election season.

However, in reality the “abortion issue” is not a single issue. Rather, it is comprised of hundreds of issues, issues that touch each and every one of us. To demonstrate the breadth of these issues, we list the life-related issues that came to mind upon a moment’s reflection (explained in more detail below): economic issues/funding (taxpayer dollars); women’s health; parental involvement/parental rights; conscience issues; bioethics (including embryo research, human cloning, embryo adoption, and egg harvesting); assisted suicide; and U.S. Supreme Court appointments.

Economics: Within the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”), there is an “abortion premium” mandate that will force Americans to subsidize abortion-on-demand. This is explained in a brief AUL filed in partnership with other pro-life organizations. (That brief is available here.)

Moreover, the federal government is, at an estimated 1 million dollars a day, providing government funds to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. In the current economic climate, it makes little sense for the hard-earned tax dollars of our nation’s citizens to be subsidizing a corporation with a total annual revenue exceeding a billion dollars and with over 1 billion dollars in assets.

Women’s Health: In the 40 years since Roe v. Wade was decided, many studies have proven that abortion is riskier for maternal health than carrying a child to term. Further, women who abort face an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even suicide. (For more on the risks associated with abortion, see AUL’s latest brief in the case Isaacson v. Horne, located here.)

Parental Rights: Parental involvement laws (i.e., laws requiring parental consent or notice before a minor has an abortion) advance key state interests: protecting the health and welfare of minors (as noted above), and protecting the constitutional right of parents to rear their children as they deem appropriate. In addition, such laws ensure that parents have the opportunity to discuss their daughter’s medical issues with a physician.

Freedom of Conscience: In recent years we have seen increased attacks on the freedom of conscience. States like Washington and Illinois have attempted to force pharmacists to provide life-ending drugs, regardless of the pharmacist’s religious or moral beliefs.

Under Obamacare, organizations and businesses will be forced to provide coverage of all FDA-approved “contraceptives,” which include drugs with life-ending mechanisms of action—i.e., drugs that can prevent a distinct human being from implanting in his or her mother’s womb or disrupt implantation once it occurs. While the Obama Administration promises that there will be an “accommodation” made for certain non-profit organizations, no accommodation has even been “promised” for private citizens and businesses.

Bioethics issues: Then there are the issues connected to bioethics. These include destructive embryo research, human cloning, embryo adoption, and egg harvesting.

Currently, the Obama Administration is funding research that destroys human embryos (i.e., tiny human beings) in order to remove – and use in research – their stem cells. Both destructive embryo research and human cloning treat human embryos as commodities to be used for profit.

Presently, there are over 600,000 human embryos, frozen in suspended animation, in the United States alone. One life-protecting option for those embryos is adoption, which allows the embryo to be raised by others. Yet in 2012, the Obama Administration sought to cut funds to the Embryo Adoption Awareness Campaign, though those funds totaled just 1.9 million dollars, much less than the amount the Obama Administration gives to Planned Parenthood every two days.

Further, both destructive embryo research and human cloning hinge on the ability of researchers to amass large numbers of human eggs in order to conduct such research efficiently. However, human egg harvesting is full of risks for the women who supply the eggs (including risks to future fertility and of certain cancers). Further, egg harvesting appeals to young women who are in financial need, such as college students, thereby objectifying and exploiting them.

End of life issues: And there are issues involving the end of life. For example, physician-assisted suicide is being actively promoted in the United States as “respect for choice” of terminally ill persons. However, experience in the Netherlands has conclusively demonstrated that once assisted suicide becomes prevalent, it will lead to euthanasia and it will not be limited to the terminally ill. As the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law concluded, “[A]ssisted suicide and euthanasia are closely linked; as experience in the Netherlands has shown, once assisted suicide is embraced, euthanasia will seem only a neater and simpler option to doctors and their patients.” In other words, what was touted as “choice” for the terminally ill will evolve into the direct killing of patients by doctors, contravening their primary obligation to “do no harm.”

Judicial appointments: The Supreme Court created a right to abortion in 1973 in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. It did so in an opinion that is derided by liberals as well as conservatives for its lack of grounding in the Constitution. Obviously, it is important that judges who respect the Constitution be appointed to the federal judiciary in the future.



Clearly, abortion is much more than a single issue. It implicates many policies that concern the protection of the innocent and of the vulnerable, at both the state and national level. We have only mentioned a few.

It is also, in one sense, not about “issues” at all; it is about lives. Over 50 million lives have been taken since 1973, and countless women’s lives have also been ruined. It’s time to stop relegating abortion to the “single issue” category, and to realize that human lives are on the line when people step into the voting booth.