Despite the narrative from certain organizations that last year’s Dobbs ruling in the US Supreme Court was a victory, the grim truth is that not only have abortion rates skyrocketed in certain states where abortion remains unrestricted, but the hidden toll of non-surgical abortions via chemical abortions and telehealth clinics has increased dramatically, both after the Dobbs ruling and post-COVID pandemic.

Axios has the numbers:

Abortion access has effectively disappeared in some parts of the country as Republican lawmakers act on decades of promises to impose near-total bans if they could.

    • Clinics in some blue states have seen enormous influxes of new patients, many of them crossing state lines.
    • Planned Parenthood of Illinois — a blue island in the Midwest’s sea of red — has seen a 54% jump in abortion patients over the past year, Axios’ Tina Reed, Oriana González and Torey Van Oot reported.

Meanwhile, the Guttmacher Institute reports that more than half of abortions in the United States are chemical abortions, fueling a rise in abortion rates where surgical abortions are being replaced by chemical methods — a crossover which occurred in 2015 according to Pew Research.

To make matters worse, due to the nature of how chemical abortifacients are prescribed, Guttmacher and the CDC have no firm grasp on how many chemical abortions are in fact effected, meaning that the numbers presented are a theoretical minimum and not the true scope of how many abortions are occurring in the United States.

While some pro-life organizations are touting the statistical dip in abortions as a victory, pro-abortion advocates are championing the number as a sign of how at-risk the abortion industry is, attempting to demonstrate a crisis while obscuring the deepening impact of chemical abortions and telehealth while pushing for direct access to teenage girls which would bypass concerned parents entirely.

Unfortunately, there are many in the pro-life movement who are willing to settle for regulations which allow for a six week or even 20-week open season with no tag limit on babies under the mask of a “heartbeat bill” or “viability” requirement — two standards rejected by modern science and modern embryology as when human life begins.

Thus what Dobbs has accomplished is a threefold massacre.

First and foremost, it has split America’s pro-life movement into two — one side remaining pro-life and defending the dignity of every human person, the other becoming the pro-regulation arm of the abortion industry.

Second, pro-abortion advocates such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL are finding common cause with the transgender community, pushing for “gender equality” as a means of working around parental notification and parental consent laws in the same manner that marriage amendments were ultimately bypassed.

Third and perhaps most damaging is that neither of the two major political parties believe that the question should be resolved.  Democrats, who believe that Dobbs rescued their 2022 hopes with one of the weakest presidents in modern US history, have already proven that they intend to run on a stack of dead babies.  Republicans meanwhile want little to do with any question which impacts either the economy or jeopardizes fragile majorities, and therefore are content to concede ground on social issues provided they can recapture Wall Street as a consituency.

Of course, there are three types of lies in this world: lies, damned lies, and statistics.  That the true numbers are hidden by the bean counters is a political sleight of hand.  That no one seems to care about the consequences of not protecting and defending the basic right to exist seems more important.  Democrats can’t create social justice on a pile of dead babies; Republicans are forgetting that economies ultimately work for people and not for its own sake.

Meanwhile, for those who are and remain committed to the defense and dignity of every human person from beginning to end — the basic right to exist — the uphill climb is steep indeed.  Yet if the dystopian nightmare of valuing one another on the basis of how we can be used or manipulated (or taxed) is ever to end, we have to remind ourselves that we are indeed one another’s keeper, that life is worth living, and that a deeper love based on our intrinsic worth — not pleasure and not wealth — is our highest good.  Destroying that good (us!) is the bedrock of every injustice.

Pro-lifers instinctively know that floating straw looks like a life raft to a drowning man, which is the problem with embracing speed bumps as victories.  A statistical blip isn’t win, it’s a stalking horse to remind the movement that the job is far from done and that this isn’t a job for government.

Whether or not Americans are willing to embrace this truth is another matter altogether.  At present, only 11% of Americans are willing to say that every life should have a chance — a number that has barely moved since Roe.

We have work to do.