Today hundreds of thousands of people are rallying in Washington, D.C., to protest Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, reports USA Today.

In the midst of this crusade, it is crucial for Americans to understand and emphasize that abortion bans are not “pro-life” but anti-life. The genuine pro-life position holds that a woman has the right to choose an abortion.

Outlawing abortion would violate the rights of—and thus damage the lives of—women and their partners and doctors. Among other rights violations, abortion bans would force pregnant women to carry the fetus to term, even in cases of rape and incest, and even at risk to the woman’s life or health; outlaw common types of birth control that might prevent implantation of an embryo; outlaw common fertility treatments that result in the destruction of unused embryos; and preposterously treat women who get abortions as murderers.

On the basis of religious dogma (or other mystical “insights”), those who advocate abortion bans seek to sacrifice the actual person—a pregnant woman who wishes to get an abortion—to the potential person—an embryo or fetus.

The ralliers and most anti-abortion advocates explicitly ground their protest on religious beliefs. For example, the “March for Life” organization behind the rally invokes “the law of God” for its cause. Only religious dogma or the like, not reality-based morality, can declare a clump of largely undifferentiated cells living within the body of a woman to be a person with full legal rights, on par with a born infant.

That abortion bans threaten and sometimes end the lives of women became obvious to Savita Halappanavar and her loved ones, when Halappanavar died after being denied a life-saving abortion in Ireland because of the anti-abortion laws there. . . .

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