A review of The Cost of “Choice”: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion. Edited by Erika Bachiochi.

Encounter Books, 2004.

Abortion, we are often told, is a women’s issue, and men should just butt out. But given that half of all abortion victims are male, this seems like an odd demand. But if one still insists on a women-only discussion, this book at least will qualify.

This book features twelve women who all think that abortion is far from being pro-women. Instead, they all believe that abortion is basically anti-women, and that it is time women rethink the past three decades of pro-abortion propaganda on the issue.

And they are well qualified to speak on the host of issues associated with the abortion debate. The authors are lawyers, doctors, academics, political scientists and ethicists, all experts in their fields. And all are convinced that women have been sold short by the pro-abortion camp in particular, and the wider feminist movement in general.

In this regard it is interesting to note that the original feminist movement was strongly pro-life. As one of the authors informs us, “Without known exception, the early American feminists condemned abortion in the strongest possible terms”. She notes the irony of the fact that the US anti-abortion laws of the latter half of the nineteenth century were the direct results of the advocacy work of the early feminists.

Of course many in the current crop of feminists seem to believe that the right to abortion is the quintessential feminist issue. But as these twelve women argue, that is not necessarily the case.

Indeed, a central theme of these essays is that women have been the big loser in the Sexual Revolution, and that abortion-on-demand is harmful to women. Pro-choice feminists and their allies have assured women that sexual freedom and abortion for any reason would bring them liberation and wholeness. Instead we see bondage and disintegration, argue the authors.

There has been a high price paid by women especially, although all of society has suffered. But women have born the brunt of the broken promises, with many harmful mental, medical and psychological consequences. Entire chapters are devoted to some of these social problems and health risks, and rightly so, because the mainstream media is often quite reluctant to let the truth be told about such complications.

A number of essays look at the very real physical consequences of women who have abortions. The research clearly shows that abortion is associated with an increased long-term risk of breast cancer, pre-term birth, maternal suicide and a host of other medical complications.

The abortion-breast cancer link for example is quite extensively documented. If women were told of just this one possible risk, much harm could be prevented. Indeed, it could mean that many thousands of women might be saved each year.

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese goes so far as to say that abortion is really a “war against women”. Another author argues that while women are the big losers, there are several major beneficiaries. Certainly abortionists are getting the benefits: they are getting rich. And men have also benefited: they can simply “love ‘em and leave ‘em” and not face any of the consequences, while women are left holding the bag, or the baby.

Another author makes the connection between abortion and the return of eugenics. The push for designer babies and the attempt to weed out any imperfections in our offspring is taking us back to some dark times in recent history. But we seem to have short memories. Thus we are now putting a whole new generation at risk in our search for the perfect baby. Such eugenic activity is clearly of a piece with the abortion mentality.

The cumulative case against abortion as expressed in these essays should be enough for many women to have a rethink. Indeed, many of the authors in this book did just that: many were originally pro-choice, but as they became exposed to the truth of the issue, they had a radical change of mind and heart.

Perhaps other women reading these essays will undergo similar sorts of conversion. For their sakes, as well as for the sake of the unborn, and all of society, it is hoped that this is indeed the case.

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