Activate Series: #17 – When Did Abortion Become Health Care?

Educe online pro-life curriculum

Our weekly #Activate vlog series uses clips from Educe® online courses to illuminate the truth behind the cultural battles of today (and tomorrow) and move Christians from education to action in their communities, churches, and circles of influence.

321,384 pre-born children aborted in 1 year. 1,027 every business day. Over a decade of declining services. Decreases in patient numbers. Sustained taxpayer funding… As the pro-life movement exposes the disturbing statistics in Planned Parenthood’s just-released annual report, an important question also rises to the surface: When did abortion become “health care?” The answer is one of fascinating history. Let’s take a quick tour:

  • The 1930s—The Great Depression crisis created an opportunity for eugenicists to push socioeconomic and mental health rationales for abortion. Although it was illegal, physicians who performed abortion began to insist, with the help of a willing media, that the only way to reduce maternal deaths from abortion was to increase the number of trained physicians to perform them. So veiled newspaper ads for abortion began to distinguish between “good” and “bad” abortionists.
  • The 1940s—Abortionists were able to drastically decrease the number of maternal deaths due to the mass production and use of antibiotics, further making their case for abortion as a safe and legitimate practice. Abortion was still illegal, but laws were generally not enforced. As long as the woman didn’t die, or her death wasn’t reported, no prosecution occurred.
  • The 1950s—The years after WWII brought a crackdown on illegal abortion, so abortionists created the idea of “therapeutic abortion,” attempting to again shift it from criminal to medical. Some hospitals formed committees to allow abortion on a case-by-case basis, moving it behind a protected, sterile curtain.
  • The 1960s—Leveraging public panic from the thalidomide scare and the rubella birth defect crisis, abortion proponents undertook a massive PR campaign to paint abortion as a reducer of physical and mental suffering, both of the pre-born child and the mother. Meanwhile, although 90% of abortions were performed by trained medical personnel, “back alley” abortion deaths were grossly overstated and hyperbolized to, once again, promote the need to bring abortion into the clinic setting.
  • The 1970s—By this time, eugenics, the sexual revolution, and second-wave feminism had pushed abortion to the Supreme Court, where it became a right to privacy for the woman and a right to practice for the abortionist. This massive effort produced the all-too-familiar equality, choice, and reproductive freedom rhetoric, which would be used exhaustively for the next 30 years.

But something happened in 2010 that planted abortion rhetoric firmly into its current position—at the very tumultuous center of women’s health care. This week’s online course clip reveals this trigger point, the backlash it created, and the tragic reality it overshadows.

This course excerpt is from Session 6: Awakening, the final course in our Foundations online curriculum.

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If you’d like to dig deeper into where we’ve been, how we got here, and where we’re headed, but aren’t sure if online learning is right for you or your group, we can help! Enroll for FREE in our 10-minute introductory course to see how our Rise Up in the Truth curriculum helps Christians build the historical, philosophical, and biblical foundation that’s necessary to compassionately engage the culture and defend human life, from its earliest biological beginning to its natural end. Visit our FAQ page to learn more and contact us with any questions you have.

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