The war over abortion is far from over. Indeed, three recent events have sparked a new battle in the conflict over abortion. The main cause of the renewed hostilities is the publication of a book containing stories of post-abortion grief. Melinda Tankard Reist’s book, Giving Sorrow Words has certainly rekindled the anger of the feminist/pro-abortion camp. The reaction has been swift and extreme.
The book, published in March, has been subjected to scathing reviews and letters to major newspapers. And those who have defended the book have also come under stinging attacks. Consider a few of the hostile reactions.
Leslie Cannold, writing in the April 8 Age did not so much write a review of the book as attack Tankard Reist. She claimed that reading the book is “like time-warping back to the victim-feminist hey-day of the late 1970s and ‘80s”. “Such victim rhetoric [is] now largely discredited” she wrote. Discredited by whom?, one is tempted to ask. Moreover, Tankard Reist “struggles to depict women as helpless, indoctrinated, coerced victims”. Depict? These are the women’s own words! Is Ms Cannold suggesting that Tankard Reist has just made all this up? She also says that if Tankard Reist – along with Brian Harradine – would stop trying to “derail, defund and legally harass” abortion clinics there would be “fewer sorrowful women”. Making abortion even more available, in other words, is supposed to reduce the amount of post-abortion trauma. That is like saying if we open more Mexican restaurants we will reduce the amount of indigestion.
Several reviewers who dared to find some good in Tankard Reist’s book were also hounded mercilessly. Angela Shanahan had a sympathetic review in the Weekend Australian (April 8-9) which was assailed by two items (an article and a letter) on the 13th. Sarah Madison of the Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL), called Shanahan a “self-appointed moral guardian” and said that women who have abortions “are fully aware that what they are doing is preventing a child from being born”. Yet for decades feminists have told us that this is not a child, but a blob of tissue. What a startling admission! But it remains the case that most women do not know it is a child, because they are lied to by abortionists and their supporters into believing it is indeed just a clump of tissues, and the procedure is not unlike a tonsillectomy.
Another critic, from the Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne, called Shanahan’s review a “mischievous piece of work” from a “mouthpiece for fanatical anti-woman and anti-choice groups”. The writer claimed that women who have abortions do so “for valid and serious psychological reasons”. In other words, after-the-fact contraception. Lifestyle choices take precedence over life for the unborn.
When Frank Devine wrote a supportive piece on the 10th of April for the Australian, he too was set upon by the WEL, this time in a letter on the 13th. The writer, Beryl Holmes, claimed that if “early abortion were legal” basically all of our problems would be solved. Then women could “approach their doctor and clinic for a pregnancy test and receive the result in a non-judgmental way”. But that is exactly what happens now. How many abortionists tell the woman that what they are doing is wrong, that they are in fact killing their unborn child?
These attacks spring from the simple fact that for years abortionists and their feminist allies have claimed that there is no such thing as post-abortion trauma. Now that a whole collection of such stories have been assembled and made public, the truth is out. The facts speak for themselves. But even here, feminists manage to distort the facts. Cannold says that “what women find so painful are problematic pregnancies, not problematic abortions”! Perhaps Ms Cannold has been reading a different 286-page book. What is clear in Giving Sorrow Words is that women are genuinely devastated by their abortions, by their lost children. That much is overwhelmingly clear, and that explains the hysterical reactions from the feminist/abortionist camp.
The second event which has reignited the abortion debate appeared in much of the print media on April 11. In the Northern Territory a baby girl that was aborted was allowed to live and suffer for 80 minutes before she died. The baby cried and struggled for those 80 minutes, before finally dying of neglect. When the midwife, distressed over the fact that the baby’s vital signs were good, called the doctor about the fact that the baby was alive, the doctor said, “So? I will see [the mother] in the morning”.
The NT coroner made some interesting comments about the case: “The fact that her death was inevitable should not affect her entitlement to such care and attention”. This is a revealing admission. The death of the baby was the aim of the procedure. Abortionists have long argued that they are not killing a baby, but “terminating a pregnancy” or other such euphemisms. Here is a clear admission that the purpose of an abortion is to kill a living human being.
Moreover, the grizzly details of this story would have been quite a revelation to many Australians. Of course pro-lifers know this scenario is all too common. Babies are often left to die after a “botched” abortion. But for this dirty little trade secret of the abortion industry to be so publicly discussed must be a real setback for the pro-abortion cause.
The third story, which was almost a non-event in the Australian media, was a recent decision by the US Congress to ban late-term, or partial-birth, abortions. This has occurred two times previously, but on both occasions it was vetoed by President Bill Clinton. However, this time, the vote went through with a large enough majority to prevent it being vetoed. The ban, voted on April 5, was carried by a 287-141 margin. Now that America has finally banned the barbaric late-term abortion method, other countries, like Australia, might follow suit.
All in all, these three events have unleashed the fury of radical feminists and pro-death crusaders. They know the truth is finally getting out and they don’t like it. Much as the slave traders of a previous era did not want the real story to get out concerning their sordid practices, so too the abortion industry and the feminist camp are doing all they can to prevent the truth about abortion from being known. For they realise that if the general public knew the real story of the horrors of abortion, the outcry would be loud and clear. And that is what is beginning to happen.