Image for article titled These Abortion 'Hot Takes' Are Bad, Actually

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When the Supreme Court declined to block Texas SB8—which bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, functionally banning the procedure altogether—it set off an emotional shockwave. People processed their feelings on Twitter, firing off all manner of spicy tweets about backwards Texans, ignorant male politicians who don’t know a Fallopian tube from a cervix, and, unfortunately, full-on Islamaphobic dogwhistles about “Sharia law” coming to Texas.

Tweeting through it might feel good in the moment, but none of these takes are as harmless as they seem on the surface. They perpetuate misinformation and prejudice, and everyone who supports abortion rights should know better. Here’s a quick guide to common bad takes so you can call them out when you see them.

“This came out of nowhere!”

Absolutely none of this is new. Abortion has existed as long as pregnancy has, and for most of human history, it was actually considered pretty normal. This means that people have always had abortions, regardless of what the law says—which also means that no matter where you live or what the laws in your state look like, there are already people on the ground working to help people get abortions.

If you want to help, too, focus your donations and volunteering efforts locally. You can find your local abortion fund through the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF).

“So we’re going back to coat-hanger abortions?”

Absolutely not. Medication abortions (in which you take a pill to induce a miscarriage early on in pregnancy) are safe, effective, and accessible, especially now that at least 20 states and Washington, D.C., allow prescribers to distribute pills through the mail. If you have questions, the NNAF has a ton of resources on self-managed medication abortions that should help.

“Evangelicals want us all to go back to the Middle Ages!”

This one’s off by a few centuries. While bringing back someone’s idea of The Glory Days is the goal of hardline anti-abortion politics, those days are Jim Crow (and, arguably, slavery), not the Middle Ages.

Anti-abortion activism in the United States didn’t begin with Roe v. Wade; it’s roots are actually in taxes and segregation. In the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, evangelical churches opened “segregation academies” across the South in an attempt to opt out of court-ordered desegregation. These operations were tax-exempt until 1970-71, when a group of Black parents from Mississippi successfully sued the United States Treasury Department to revoke the schools’ tax exemptions.

Facing considerable back taxes, formerly apolitical evangelical leaders suddenly became very interested in politics. Strategists like Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell had been looking for an issue to unite evangelicals as a political entity, and anti-abortion rhetoric fit—even though evangelicals had long viewed abortion as a “Catholic issue.” It offered the perfect “religious freedom” cover for the real goal, which was, of course, to bring back legal segregation.

This is a very short version of a long, complicated story. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this 2013 episode of NPR’s Throughline podcast, and/or The Lie That Binds, a six-part podcast series on the subject from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“I can’t believe people in the South keep voting for this!”

Well, they’re trying really hard not to—but wave after wave of voter suppression laws are making it increasingly difficult for anyone without time, money, or both to get out and vote. This rigs the game in favor of white, wealthy voters, who consistently elect white, wealthy, right-wing candidates, who in turn fill the courts with like-minded judges. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Right-wing politicians have to rig the game to win, and they know it. Abortion rights are hugely popular. The majority of Americans approve of fully legal abortion and support Roe v. Wade. This includes blue state voters, red state voters, and even the politicians and attorneys advancing anti-abortion legislation—at least behind closed doors. (As writer and activist Lindy West told The Daily Show host Trevor Noah in 2018, politicians’ wives, daughters, and mistresses will always be able to have an abortion.) Poor and working-class people in red states aren’t uneducated bigots who are too stupid to realize they’re voting against their own interests—they’re stuck in a system that doesn’t care what they want.

“Why don’t they just move?”

This brings us to the worst “well-meaning” abortion take: “If they don’t like it, they should move!” What an ignorant, simplistic, cruel suggestion. Why should people in Texas (and elsewhere) have to leave their homes and communities just to get an abortion? Even if they did choose to leave, where would they go, and with what money?

Remember: Abortion bans are rooted in racism and cruelty, and blaming people who need or want an abortion will only make things worse.