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Lancet: Alito, Abortion Banners Will Have Women’s Blood on Their Hands

The editors of the 200-year-old medical journal The Lancet are committed to protecting and improving human life through science. In their latest editorial, they note that the apparent intent of United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and his fellow conservatives to reverse reproductive rights for women in America runs counter to the mission of The Lancet and the medical profession to protect and improve life:

What is so shocking, inhuman, and irrational about this draft opinion is that the Court is basing its decision on an 18th century document ignorant of 21st century realities for women. History and tradition can be respected, but they must only be partial guides. The law should be able to adapt to new and previously unanticipated challenges and predicaments. Although Alito gives an exhaustive legal history of abortion, he utterly fails to consider the health of women today who seek abortion. Unintended pregnancy and abortion are universal phenomena. Worldwide, around 120 million unintended pregnancies occur annually. Of these, three-fifths end in abortion. And of these, some 55% are estimated to be safe—that is, completed using a medically recommended method and performed by a trained provider. This leaves 33 million women undergoing unsafe abortions, their lives put at risk because laws restrict access to safe abortion services.

…The fact is that if the US Supreme Court confirms its draft decision, women will die. The Justices who vote to strike down Roe will not succeed in ending abortion, they will only succeed in ending safe abortion. Alito and his supporters will have women’s blood on their hands [editorial, “Why Roe v. Wade Must Be Defended,” The Lancet, 2022.05.14].

The Lancet reminds us that the right to control when and whether one becomes pregnant and gives birth is central to women’s health and equality:

The 2018 Guttmacher–Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights For All concluded that these rights, which included the right to safe abortion services and the treatment of complications from unsafe abortion, were central to any conception of a woman’s wellbeing and gender equality. The availability of an essential package of sexual and reproductive health interventions should be a fundamental right for all women—including, comprehensive sexuality education; access to modern contraceptives; safe abortion services; prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmissible diseases; prevention and treatment for gender-based violence; counselling for sexual health; and services for infertility. What kind of society has the USA become when a small group of Justices is allowed to harm women, their families, and their communities that they have been appointed to protect? [editorial, 2022.05.14]

Banning abortion does not fit with any core American values. Banning abortion does not embrace freedom, individual choice and responsibility, reasonably limited government, or equality under the law. Banning abortion reverses two centuries of progress in recognizing that all the people who are created equal include more than just the white male elites who signed Jefferson’s declaration of that principle in Philadelphia. Banning abortion marks a relapse into our ingrained Puritanism, a weirdly selective impulse in a land where T&A sells everything but where we will punish women for daring to make their own decisions about their bodies.

And as The Lancet and history and American women who grew up before 1973 can tell us, banning abortion means more women will die.


  1. Mark Anderson 2022-05-15 09:26

    It’s all well said Cory. Now it’s a voting matter, many more voters need to have this as a main issue. It’s time to rid the country of the lies and delusional of the Republican party.

  2. Neal 2022-05-15 09:30

    The Lancet seems to think that overruling Roe means abortion will immediately become illegal in all 50 states.

    News flash: abortion will remain legal in the vast majority of states, and for the vast, vast majority of people.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-05-15 09:43

    Neal, don’t dissemble. Your side’s endgame is a total, national abortion ban.

    Even before reaching that goal, bans in South Dakota and other states locked in the past will result in deaths among women who can’t afford to jet around the country the way Kristi Noem does.

  4. 96Tears 2022-05-15 09:54

    I disagree, Neal. Every state that voted for Trump in 2020 or 2016 will enact the ban, blocking access for anyone who can’t afford to drive or fly to a state where safe, legal abortions are provided. It’s highly unlikely that a 13-year-old child in Houston who’s pregnant from her dad after being beaten is going to set up a GoFundMe page so she can fly to L.A. for the procedure.

    It was disappointing that the turnout for the rallies in Rapid City and Sioux Falls were as small as what I saw on the KELO website. Ideally, I’d like to see a couple thousand people come to Pierre to put wire hangers on America’s Party Girl Kristi Noem’s new mansion fence. At least, the public might find some practical use for that silly fence by decorating it in a meaningful way.

  5. Neal 2022-05-15 10:02

    Oh Cory, you have no idea what “side” I’m on, but it’s kinda funny to see how quickly you jump to assumptions.

    I know you don’t live in SD anymore, but have you forgotten what happened in 2006?

  6. Mark Anderson 2022-05-15 10:03

    Well nation wide state votes would be nice. Roe is favored by two thirds of the American people.

  7. Jake 2022-05-15 10:13

    Neal, just what pertinence is that? You are more ‘off-base’ than most Trumpists, not surprisingly.

  8. larry kurtz 2022-05-15 11:50

    The Catholic Justices on the Court should have recused themselves from this decision in the first place as the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers control such a monstrous portion of health care in the US, especially in light of more Vatican wrongdoing.

    Right to life, indeed.

  9. Mark Anderson 2022-05-15 12:33

    You know the governor of Nebraska wants to protect the rights of rapists. He’s all for protecting the blastocyte. I wonder, if that’s the case he’ll have to lock up God who wipes out well over half the human race before implantation.

  10. Mark Anderson 2022-05-15 12:37

    Sorry it’s Blastocyst. Need to check my spelling earlier.

  11. Bob Newland 2022-05-15 14:19

    It’s not difficult to see what side Neal is on. It’s the wrong one.

  12. 96Tears 2022-05-15 15:25

    Theocrat, sadist and full-time fool Gov. Dick Ricketts exceeds the idiotic standard for what does and what does not constitute a rape victim, according to Rapid City Bill Napoli’s famous quote and laugh riot from back in the day: “A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.”

    How I yearn for the days when dumb chumps who thought their religion was also our government were harmless because their stupid ideas would be stopped by a nonpartisan, objective SCOTUS. Now the dummies are taking themselves all too seriously and they don’t care who gets hurt or killed. They didn’t suddenly become smarter. Not at all. Now they’re really dangerous.

  13. Francis Schaffer 2022-05-15 22:09

    So equal protection is no longer a thing? It is interesting for me to listen to my sister and brother catholics discuss the beginning of life. The majority will claim life begins at conception. Yet my research tells me there is a difference between life and a person. Catholic teaching seems to be conflicted about when and if a fetus is a person as ensoulment does not occur at conception. I know in catholic cemeteries a section is reserved for the unbaptized, mainly stillborn infants; as they couldn’t be buried in the consecrated part of the cemetery. Which forces me to remind myself that our government isn’t a theocracy.

  14. John 2022-05-16 07:54

    WAPO has an expansive article on the history of abortion – history that Alito’s draft conveniently ignored.

    “This is one reason critics of originalism say the historical understanding doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t, matter. The legal scholars Alito quoted lived in a world where women were property, babies could be “monsters” and abortion was dangerous.”

  15. Loti 2022-05-16 16:36

    A female comedian suggested why not fix the men or males, problem resolved. What an idea.

  16. oldtimerDon 2022-05-16 17:04

    We castrate male livestock to prevent unwanted births. Seems like the theory should be tested.

  17. mike from iowa 2022-05-16 17:25

    Why would Alito care about actual history when he knows they have the ideological numbers to screw up every important case of the last100 years plus? The activist court magats have complained about for decades is upon us and it is the magats themselves that are driven to madness.

  18. O 2022-05-16 18:32

    Loti’s suggestion is the only way in a post-ban environment to protect a woman’s right to not carry a rapists’ child. I also like shifting the discussion to accountability on the fathers.

    It really is a small dystopian step to make the argument in this environment that rape that produces a pregnancy, legally protected in a post-ban state, is a protected act. Fathering a child is an absolute right. What meaning does “consent” have without recourse?

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