There is a fascinating philosophical argument going on in the comments section of my last post. The argument is not new, but it is nonetheless interesting. Something that has re-asserted itself in my mind: the abortion debate is just as much as a spiritual battle as one of morality, or law, or health. You can present someone with the facts, and then they completely ignore those facts and say you’re being “emotionally manipulative.” Complete blindness. Really, you should check it out. I really want to thank Jon, who has singlehandedly blown away the adversaries. And he was decidedly UN-emotional, thank you very much. Quite rational.
Though I do allow myself to get emotional over abortion. How can I not? Having children of my own, carrying them for nine months in my body–a thought ocurred to me at three in the morning. Take my eldest: He is so full of life and spunk. He’s the light of my life. He says things that slay me. He doesn’t like milk on his cereal. He enjoys reading the table of contents almost better than the book itself. He enjoys going to the bathroom with the light off. He only eats spiced meat. He logs in upwards of 25,000 words a day. He enjoys swinging as high as he can. He states the camel as his favorite animal. Everything he is, every unique and sometimes annoying thing, he had in his make-up the moment he was conceived. So, to argue–even only until the baby is “viable”–that that baby could be destroyed, you’ve destroyed all that with it. It is a tragedy beyond words.
As far as fetal pain, hell YES it’s a genuine concern. A whole lot of abortion advocates–and I mean most, perhaps all who are strongly pro-abortion–argue their position from an “it’s the mother’s ultimate choice.” So, I assume, in their understanding, this choice should be available to her just as much at the end of the pregnancy as at the beginning. So, what do these abortion fanatics think about the reality of fetal pain then? This has been repeatedly ignored. I imagine a baby would feel its skull being punctured and its brains being sucked out. I would imagine a baby would feel its limbs being torn off. I would imagine that a baby would feel the burns of a saline abortion. Indeed, there are a number of people walking around with these burns on their bodies–they survived the horrific procedure.
They are now in a catch-22. If one then said that abortion should stop after the fetus can feel pain–and there isn’t conclusive data to establish when that is yet, but it’s looking like a lot LESS than 26 weeks–is to admit that life begins only when someone can feel pain. If I’m under general anesthesia, I can feel no pain. So am I then dead? (As far as when a fetus can feel pain, consider this statement made in a British medical journal: “Try sticking an infant with a pin and you know what happens. She opens her mouth to cry and also pulls away. Try sticking an 8-week-old human fetus in the palm of his hand. He opens his mouth and pulls his hand away. A more technical description would add that changes in heart rate and fetal movement also suggest that intrauterine manipulations are painful to the fetus.”)
Another component of abortion that is completely ignored is its effects on the women who undergo them. Direct harm includes physical injury and death, psychological trauma, and increased risk of breast cancer. (There is a definite link between abortion and breast cancer, where three out of four peer-reviewed studies reveals a significant correlation between abortion and cancer.) Indirect harm includes sexual promiscuity and increased risk of STDs, including increased incidence of cervical cancer, coarsened relationships between men and women, domestic abuse, child abuse, and increase in the repeat abortion rate. So, with all these negative consequences for women, can abortion still be called a “necessary evil?” Arguably, abortion-on-demand has been the largest experiment on women and society ever.
Come on concerned feminists: abortion hurts women. Where is your outrage? Research the Silent No More campaign to read more about the devastating effects of abortion on women. There are a number of prominent converts to the pro-life cause, as well, such as the founder of NARAL, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, and Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” of Roe v. Wade.
The more I read and immerse myself in this issue, the more strengthened is my resolve to do my part to stop it. If that means simply blogging about it, well, I’ll do it. And I’ll never stop praying.
The pro-life movement continues to make huge strides here in the US. Anyone who would claim otherwise needs to widen their scope. Consider these headlines:
“There is a clear and definite trend toward a drop in access to [abortion].” -Susan Tew, the Alan Guttmacher Institute
“Abortion is a matter of choice in this country not only for women but for physicians as well. All over the country, most physicians are choosing not to do it.” -American Medical News
“Unless drastic changes are made, American women will lose the right to abortion and the Supreme Court won’t be the cause of it…the reason will be that physicians either can’t or won’t perform this essential service.” -Barbara Radford, former director, National Abortion Federation
“…the availability of abortions is diminishing because fewer doctors are willing to perform the procedure.” -The Washington Post
“Those who run abortion clinics, even in large cities, say that recruiting doctors is now their most serious problem.” -The San Fransisco Chronicle
“…no doctors want to come and work in abortion clinics. Guess what? No nurses want to come and work in abortion clinics.” -Genevieve Grein, manager, Choice Medical Group, Santa Cruz, Calif.
“Those doctors who have the skill and the courage to provide abortion in today’s political climate are a shrinking population. New providers are not coming along at anything like a replacement rate.” -Jospeh Felmand, director of counseling and education, Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona
“We have got to have more providers to replace those who are leaving…” -Eleanor Smeal, founder, Feminist Majority Foundation
Continue the good fight! We are winning; the tide is turning.
I’m adding Jill Stanek’s blog to my blogroll. If you don’t know her story, here is an excerpt of an article she wrote, titled “The Ultimate Civil Rights Movement: A peek into the future of pro-life efforts to end abortion”:
“I was baptized by fire into the pro-life movement seven years ago on discovering the hospital where I worked as a registered nurse committed late-term abortions that sometimes ended with live births. Babies spunky enough to survive their abortions were nevertheless shelved to die in a labor and delivery department soiled utility room in accordance with their mothers’ intent.
Holding one of those babies for the 45 minutes he lived changed my life. Before then, I was an apathetic pro-lifer, uncomfortable with the topic and disconcerted by activists. Would that all pro-aborts might have held that little guy. Would that it wouldn’t take that.”
Jill Stanek has become a leader in the pro-life movement and helping stop “live-birth abortion,” and in 2002 President Bush asked Jill to attend his signing of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. Yes BAIPA, the same BAIPA that Barack Obama voted against. If you would like to read her full story, here is the link: http://www.priestsforlife.org/testimony/jillstanektestimony.htm
She goes on to say later in the article:
“The graphic images were my biggest hurdle. I thought they were over-the-top.
But if picketers like Joe Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League were willing to protest in front of my hospital, I took them, along with their graphic signs.
One particular time I was standing next to Joe holding my non-graphic sign while he held the one with the photo of the baby’s head being held by forceps.
You usually don’t talk much during pickets, one of the culture’s nuances. Time is spent praying with or without a Rosary, or just watching faces in cars going by as they view our signs, which is always interesting.
Well, I began to stare at the little aborted baby’s picture.
I decided he looked the same age as the aborted baby I held. I noted this little guy’s dark hair and beautiful little round head, even though half his face was torn off. I imagined how his hair should have smelled like baby lotion.
Suddenly, he bacame a real baby to me. And I began to feel ashamed that I was embarrassed about his baby picture, grotesque as it was. I thought, what a difference will that baby’s life and death make if I don’t honor him by showing the world his first (and last) photo?”
Ever since, I have held a graphic aborted baby sign at any picket I’ve attended.”
She goes on,
“Fr. Farank Pavone of Priests for Life teachies that graphic photos have been a vital part of all modern social justice movements, such as those of Emmett Till.
Emmett was a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago. In the summer of 1955, Emmett convinced his mom to let him visit relatives in Mississippi. Emmett didn’t realize how blacks were viewed in the south, and on a dare he said hello and then, “bye, baby” to a white teenager working in a grocery store.
This prank cost Emmett his life. Three days later, two of the girl’s relatives pulled Emmett from his uncle’s home, stripped him naked, beat him beyond recognition, shot him in the head, gouged out one of his eyes, wrapped barbed wire around his body, tied his neck to a 100-pound cotton gin fan, and dumped his body into the Tallahatchie River.
When Emmett’s mother received her boy in his casket back in Chicago, she insisted on an open casket and asked a new magazine at the time named Jet to print photos of her slain, disfigured son. Mrs. Till’s actions ignited the modern-day Civil Rights movement.
She said, ‘After the body arrived, I knew I had to look and see and make sure it was Emmett. That was when I decided that I wanted the whole world to see what I had seen. There was no way I could describe what was in that box. No way. And I just wanted the world to see.’
Some 50,000 people viewed Emmett’s mutilated body over the course of three days. And Jet magazine ran the pictures.
The publisher of Jet magazine recalled, ‘There were people on the staff who were squeamish about the photographs. I had reservations, too, but I decided finally that if it happened it was our responsibility to print it and let the world experience man’s unhumanity to man.’
That issue of Jet sold out immediately. Those photos did as much as any other event to traumatize Black America and prepare the way for the Freedom Movement of the sixties.”
Make no mistake: abortion is a civil rights issue. Babies have a civil right to LIVE. If graphic images of aborted babies bother you, thank the Good Lord for it, because it means you still have a conscience.
I will never stop fighting to end abortion.