January 22 marked the
31st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Roe v.
Wade and Doe v. Bolton, that discovered a constitutional right
to abortion for all nine months of pregnancy. The key is Doe’s
definition of “health.” The court said that abortion
could be performed “...in the light of all factors -
physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s
age - relevant to the well being of the patient. All these
factors may relate to health.” 410 U.S. 179, 192. Voila
- abortion up to seconds before exiting the birth canal.
The sordid history and spurious cases which brought the issue
before the Supreme Court have been documented elsewhere, most
notably in Aborting America by former abortionist and NARAL co-founder
Bernard Nathanson, and in John Willke’s Why Can’t
We Love Them Both?, the “bible” of the pro-life movement.
And the lies concerning partial-birth abortion and the “morning
after” pill are effectively refuted at the National Right
to Life Web site, nrlc.org.
Women have a “choice” but
it is seldom informed or a “free” choice. Pro-abortion
groups fight to ensure that women are not told of the frequent
physical and psychological complications of “safe, legal
abortion.” Reporting of complications has been resisted
as invasion of the doctor-patient relationship or simply disregarded.
Immediate consequences may include hemorrhaging, perforation
of the uterus with subsequent infection, and even death. While
abortion remains controversial in the U.S. and Canada, making
such studies “politically incorrect,” studies in
other countries report the long-term complications that can
occur, among them depression, self-destructive behavior, sterility,
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), miscarriage of a desired
pregnancy, ectopic pregnancies, premature birth, and a possible
link to breast and other cancers. Women’s Health after
Abortion: The Medical and Psychological Evidence by Elizabeth
Ring-Cassidy and Ian Gentiles (Toronto: The deVeber Institute
for Bioethics and Social Research, 2002) extensively covers
the research both here and abroad. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese,
professor of Humanities at Emory University and a noted feminist
writes, “It is hard to see the intentional withholding
of such essential information as a contribution to women’s ‘liberation,’ much
less their dignity and well being.”
Choice” is a lovely word but the reality is that, for most
women and girls,“coercion” is a better description.
Studies of post-aborted women show that support for continuing
a pregnancy would have prevented the abortion. Pressure from
parents, boyfriends, and even husbands who don’t want to
deal with the consequences of unexpected pregnancy contributes
to a feeling of abandonment in the pregnant woman and to subsequent
abortion. Abortion has been sold by radical feminists as vital
to liberation from male domination. Actually, it is just another
way to control and manipulate women. Little wonder that Playboy’s
Hugh Hefner is a hefty contributor to abortion advocacy groups.
Women are considered as no more than sexual playthings; abortion
keeps them available and frees men of any responsibility. Even
when men want to take responsibility for their unborn child,
they are legally forbidden to have any say in the matter.
We cannot ignore the consequences of over 1.5 million abortions
annually in the United States. The abortion culture has corrupted
society. Violence against women has increased as the number
of abortions has risen. The refusal of a woman to abort her
often results in domestic violence. The 1999 case of basketball
star Rae Carruth, who hired men to kill his girlfriend when
she refused to have an abortion, is not unique. National Right
Life News (nrlc.org) has documented a depressing number of
cases of physical abuse and even murder of women in an effort
them to abort.
Abortion covers up child abuse, incest, and prostitution. The
Honolulu Star-Bulletin (October 30, 1990) reported on a Baltimore
father who raped his three daughters repeatedly over nine years,
causing 10 pregnancies, each of which were aborted. Abortionists
refuse to report these cases to authorities, citing privacy
concerns. Thus they become enablers for the continued abuse
girls. For the “true believer,” abortion trumps any
concern for victimized women and girls.
The “rightness” of legal abortion has permeated our
culture. The New York Times, April 18, 199l, reported “New
York City reached an agreement yesterday with 22 present and
former female correction officers who said they were forced to
have abortions or to take brutal assignments to keep their jobs.” Abortion,
purported to be a “private” matter between a woman
and her doctor, has become a weapon used against women.
Abortion has corrupted medicine, psychology, and social work.
Medical authorities are unwilling to discipline doctors performing
sloppy abortions, killing, and maiming women. In an effort
to suppress information about post-abortion psychological problems,
activists succeeded in removing abortion as a factor in post-traumatic
stress syndrome from the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and
Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV). Theresa Burke, a graduate
psychology student in the 1980’s, worked with a group of
women with severe eating disorders. During her meetings with
them, “...it became dramatically clear that all but two
participants were experiencing painful and traumatic feelings
surrounding earlier abortions. When I told my supervisor about
the fiery dramatics that had erupted in our group...my supervisor
shook his finger in my face and said, ‘You have no business
prying into people’s abortions. Abortion is a private thing.’” (Letter
in The Washington Times, September 12, 2002.) Burke established
one of the first therapeutic healing groups for post-abortive
women and published a treatment model in Rachel’s Vineyard
: A Psychological and Spiritual Journey for Healing (1995). Problems
such as newborns left to die in trash cans and toilets, post-traumatic
stress, abuse of subsequent “wanted” children, self-destructive
behaviors, and broken relationships arising from a previous abortion
must be acknowledged by the helping professions if they care
about supporting women in crisis.
The pro-life/pro-woman-and-child activists do not look for
a civil war over abortion but a more civil society. That
there are more pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S.
than free-standing abortion clinics. The truth is out there...if
you dare seek it.