Author, podcaster, and TV host Jen Hatmaker believes there are a “dozen terrifying implications” that could come to fruition after the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion showing Roe v. Wade could soon be overturned.
Among Hatmaker’s grievances, she accused “legislative opponents to Roe” of largely partaking in “political theater.” What’s her rationale, you ask?
Hatmaker, who identifies as Christian, listed off a slew of benefits and efforts she thinks would be on display if those legislatively opposed to Roe were “genuine,” detailing her perspective in a recent blog post.
“Because if this rabid energy was genuine, if it had any integrity, it would come baked in with the fiercest and staunchest advocacy for free birth control, comprehensive sex education, maternal health care, paid maternity leave, subsidized child care, affordable housing, marriage counseling and family support systems, guaranteed food security, victims’ rights for all the rape and incest survivors forced to carry their abuser’s baby, subsidized medical care for all the women forced to carry a baby to the detriment of their own health or that of their baby, life insurance for the families whose mothers died in forced childbirth, and every conceivable support for a mother, baby, and family from birth until forever,” Hatmaker wrote, adding adoption agencies would ideally be teaming with parents ready to raise all the unwanted babies.
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Hatmaker then dismissed the “fanatical crusade against reproductive rights” and claimed the aforementioned reactions don’t unfold among these pro-lifers.
The author, of course, failed to note the charities and efforts many of these pro-life individuals have founded and run — and the measures that address many of the issues she listed in her treatise questioning opponents’ integrity.
Is there more work to be done? Absolutely. But the idea that pro-lifers who are legislative opponents to Roe aren’t legitimately and authentically working toward what they believe to be a moral good — and helping women along the way — because they haven’t kowtowed to every item on Hatmaker’s list is a plainly unfounded claim.
The ‘Power’ Argument
Hatmaker’s statements continue from there. She said abortion is a “convenient lightning rod for power and political capital.” Of course, 43% of American women — the people Hatmaker and others say will be hurt if Roe is overturned — call themselves pro-life.
And most people voicing their viewpoints on the matter aren’t doing so for “power and political capital.” These advocates are standing up based on their belief the most innocent among us deserve protection.
It is conviction and not a quest for authority over others that drives these efforts.
Hatmaker said she respects others’ views and knows people arrive at these perspectives for different reasons. But the accusation about “political theater” was bombastic enough to erase any such acknowledgment.
For her part, Hatmaker said she spent time in recent days in “panicked group texts” and “tried to get centered” before speaking out on the Supreme Court’s draft opinion.
Bad Rulings Are (Thankfully) Revisited
Hatmaker’s central contention is the high court’s impending decision could harm women if the justices indeed upend the status quo on abortion. And since she believes the issue is settled, she seems shaken.
“There are a dozen terrifying implications here (the destabilization and politicization of the Supreme Court overturning settled law with double precedence stands out), but what I want to focus on is the immediate, disproportionate harm this will cause women,” Hatmaker wrote. “And not just emotional harm; physical and legal harm.”
I can hardly imagine these same concerns arising if the court were to issue decisions comforting with Harmaker’s views. And while everyone keeps discussing “settled law” as though these complex and monumental issues can be set in stone once and for all and never revisited, that’s simply not how any of this works.
For instance, the Dred Scott v. Sandford case in 1857, a tragic circumstance in which the Supreme Court ruled that “enslaved people were not citizens of the United States and, therefore, could not expect any protection from the federal government or the courts,” is just one example to keep in mind.
Luckily, this ruling — considered by many to be the “worst ever” to come from the high court — was overturned later by the 13th and 14th amendments. Still, some could have argued in the years following that it was “settled law.”
Fortunately, it wasn’t.
Understanding a Post-Roe World
Hatmaker also said making abortion illegal won’t lower abortion rates, though it should be noted that overturning Roe v. Wade doesn’t immediately outlaw abortion; instead, each state would be free to make its own regulations surrounding the terminations of pregnancies.
Some states will possibly have unfettered abortion until birth, while others would likely severely restrict it. But there won’t be an outright ban across all 50 states. While Hatmaker didn’t claim as much, the lack of clarification on this across the board on the pro-choice side calls for it to be rehashed again and again.
But one of the most intriguing elements of Hatmaker’s piece is her recap of why women seek abortions. Among the “endless personal reasons,” she led with the mother’s health, the baby’s health, incest, rape, and viability. She also discussed other potential explanations like financial considerations.
Research shows some of the reasons Hatmaker led with, though, are smaller percentages when it comes to the real-world reasons women seek an abortion. One survey from 2004 found that 25% of women said they weren’t ready, or the timing was wrong, and 23% said they couldn’t afford a baby.
Just 4% said they had a physical problem, and 3% cited a possible issue impacting the fetus’ health.
Florida tracks the reasons for abortions each year, and the state’s explanations seem to reflect this same pattern. Of reported abortion reasons in 2022 thus far, 2,811 were for economic reasons, 325 for emotional and psychological reasons, 218 for physical but non-life-threatening reasons, 25 for life-endangering issues to the mother, and 109 for serious fetal defects and other related problems.
Agency For Me, None for the Baby
Hatmaker went on to say she believes women “deserve agency and choice not only with their bodies but over the decision to parent for the rest of their lives” and said those who oppose abortion are free to do so but that their convictions should only apply to themselves and their families.
One cannot help but wonder, though, why unborn babies, who also have “their own bodies,” are so vociferously denied their own agency over “their own futures.” It’s a question that goes unsurprisingly unaddressed in Hatmaker’s response.
And finally, Hatmaker borrowed from the panic so many are pedaling over the court’s impending Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, warning that other “civil and human rights” could be on the chopping block.
“Although the leaked opinion cites an absence of constitutional mention of abortion as its key justification, we currently enjoy numerous civil and human rights not explicitly stated in the Constitution, so be prepared to see those on the chopping block of democracy too,” she wrote. “This precedence is the key that will turn the lock to a catastrophic loss of freedoms. This one may not come for you, but the next one might.”
There’s no indication the Dobbs case will deal with any other issue outside of abortion, yet these scare tactics continue to emerge — whether intentionally or unintentionally — among conservative opponents.
Everyone needs to stop and breathe before issuing such fervent warnings.
Hatmaker is no stranger to controversy in Christian circles. She came out in support of same-sex relationships in 2016, and debate ensued. Her abortion stance will likely be unsurprising to those familiar with her more progressive ideals.
Continue to pray for the Supreme Court justices as they navigate the issue and prepare to unveil their official Dobbs ruling.
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