CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Women and Abortion

Oct 13, 2008

With the recent passage of a very liberal abortion bill in Victoria, we see once again the way in which telling lies for one’s cause can pay off. The pro-death camp has been quite successful at promoting falsehoods, half-truths and distortions of fact to sell their unpalatable agenda. Baby killing is simply baby killing, no matter how we dress it up.

But the pro-abortionists have become adept at defending the indefensible. Indeed, they do so by changing the subject. They try to get our eyes off the real issue here – the killing of unborn babies – and seek to pitch their agenda as something that is in the interests of women.

Thus they resort to misleading and false information in order to bamboozle a gullible public and distort the real heart of the abortion debate. I have already looked at various myths perpetuated by the pro-abortion lobby. I have looked at misleading claims about abortion being a woman’s issue; abortion helping women; and abortion being about the control of a woman’s body.

Here I wish to examine two more myths about abortion and women. The first concerns the claim that abortion is somehow a harmless and safe medical procedure. The second concerns the myth that women suffer no long-term mental or psychological ill-effects after an abortion.

Abortion is a safe and harmless procedure for women

Pro-abortion advocates argue that we must have legal abortion in order to keep the procedure safe and harmless. But the truth is quite the opposite.

There are a number of serious physical problems associated with abortion – even when it is legalised. Death is the worst complication. Former abortionist Carol Everett recounts a number of cases where botched (and legal) abortion led to the death of the mother. How many women die as a result of abortion is not known, but the figure must be quite high.

There are many other physical complications. Internal bleeding, for example, is normal after an abortion. Not uncommon are perforated uteruses. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection which occurs with abortion may occur in as much as 30 per cent of all cases. And women who have had an abortion are two to four times more likely to experience an ectopic pregnancy.

Then there is the growing scientific consensus on the relationship between abortion and breast cancer. One American expert, Dr Joel Brind, an Endocrinology Professor, has said that “the single most avoidable risk factor for breast cancer is induced abortion.”

And bear in mind that legalising abortion did not make abortion safer. It was made safer in the 1940s and onwards with the availability of antibiotics. As one doctor explains, “Death rates from infections and all types of surgeries, including illegal abortions, had already fallen precipitously after World War II, when antibiotics finally became available to the general public.” Women still die today in abortion mills even with legal abortion.

Women do not suffer after an abortion

Pro-abortionists often argue that abortion is not really a big deal, and deny that women suffer any negative outcomes as a result of it. But the evidence clearly points in the opposite direction.

Women do suffer after an abortion: physically, emotionally, and psychologically. A number of support groups exist around the world to help women cope with the after effects of abortion. Groups such as Women Hurt by Abortion and Victims of Choice deal with women each day who are coming to terms with their abortions.

One counsellor who has dealt with many women who have abortions says this: “One psychological effect we see almost all the time is guilt. Others are suicidal impulses, a sense of loss, or unfulfillment. Mourning, regret and remorse. Withdrawal, loss of confidence in decision-making capabilities.”

Many studies could be referred to here. One longitudinal study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that women who have an abortion are more likely to experience mental health problems later in life, including depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse.

An important book was recently published in Australia by Melinda Tankard Reist entitled Giving Sorrow Words. The book grew out of small ads placed in newspapers and magazines asking for stories of women hurt by abortion. Hundreds of women responded. This book is a collection of some of these stories. It is a painful read. Every one of the women featured here regrets her decision, mourns the loss of her child, and grieves months and years afterwards. Pro-abortionists try to deny these stories, or explain them away. But they cannot go away. The stories contained in this book are a testimony to the truth that abortion kills little babies. The mothers know it.

And a newer Australian book is also very important to this whole issue. Post-abortion grief counsellor Anne Lastman has listened to over 1000 personal stories of women who have had abortions. The result is her new book, Redeeming Grief: Abortion and its Pain. It is a very powerful and moving volume, especially considering the fact that Anne Lastman had two abortions herself. This is how she describes the plight of the woman who has had an abortion:

“We need to realise that with the termination of the life in the womb, her originally designed womanhood is changed or at best seriously affected, and the person after the abortion is no longer the person she was before. It is almost as if two people die on the surgical table, one physically and one spiritually and emotionally.”

She notes that baby death through abortion is qualitatively different from that from, say, a miscarriage: “Although there is a strong similarity between pregnancy loss and abortion loss, the trauma following abortion is much greater due to the fact of the participation or even volitional aspect of the mother. Although this participation is often little more than the giving of an indifferent consent, and at times this consent given under pressure, the guilt component of her emotions, coupled with the eventual realization of what she has done becomes unbearable.”

She continues, “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders specifies that a trauma is more severe and longer lasting when the stressor is of human design, as in the volitional aspect, or consent, to the decision to abort.”

Conclusion

To say that the choice to have ready access to abortion is in the best interests of women is a bit like saying the choice to have ready access to nicotine is in the best interests of the smoker. Neither one helps people, and both in fact result in devastating consequences. We need to do more to let women know that legalised abortion is not about helping women or empowering women. It is certainly not in the best interests of the baby, but is clearly a real detriment to the well-being of women.

[1133 words]

14 Responses to Women and Abortion

  • Well said, Bill!
    The dishonesty over abortion and life issues extends to what my old philosopher colleague called “woolly thinking” as he circled a puzzled face with his open palm just 10 centimetres away.
    In their attempts to ‘justify’ their woolly thinking, the Broads, the Brumbys and the Baillieus, the Hartlands and the O’Rourkes of this debate have retreated from logic towards emotion – and towards a twisted form of “compassion”.
    In the last half-century, the name most linked to conscientious objection from within the affected generation was that of Albert Langer. Others made their mark in the debate, but Albert Langer was of the generation that could have been conscripted for service in Vietnam.
    The O’Rourke argument against doctors enacting their conscience in rejecting abortion would have gone well (sic!) when addressed to those facing the ‘raffle’ of the 1960s and early 1970s: “You don’t have to serve in Vietnam, Albert … but YOU TELL ME WHO WILL GO IN YOUR PLACE!”
    Kevin Butler

  • The trouble is Bill that we are dealing with mindless and irrational nutroots, obsessed with and hell-bent (I use the words advisedly) on getting their way. Arguments, no matter how valid or compelling, are lost on them – and that includes the politicians. I despair of ever getting anything into the thick skulls of leftist politicians – and that’s what we’re up against.
    It is up to the Christians, esp., those in the medical profession, now to defy the law, in particular those aspects which require a doctor who will not perform an abortion to recommend one who will. But Christians are so weak-willed, so ignorant, and so compliant with even the worst legislation, that I despair of ever seeing them have any backbone.
    I think of the election last year, when Saltshakers tried to awaken concern over abortion, and how Julia Gillard was a signatory to Emily’s List, but all we got was shrill rhetoric on how we failed to consider “the poor” (and therefore to vote Labor). The Social Gospel has replaced the Gospel of the Living One, who has brought life and immortality to light (2 Tim.1:10).
    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Bill, all you have written about the real aftermath of abortions are true. I meet these women in my role as a midwife in 30+ years of practice. The guilt & the dark secrets are not spoken but definitely palpable when we interact as women during their subsequent pregnanies & childbirths after having previous abortions (both spontaneous & induced). Physical & emotional trauma of abortion to their bodies & minds leave long term damage. There are those who chose not to mention their termination of pregnancies in the initial prenatal interview. How can legislators be so blind & deaf to the many real stories written in the books you quoted? My quest is to continue to pray & work on the “coal face”, offering counsel, information & support to those who are desperate for a word in season, to make sense of the “silence of the lambs”, to reach for the only One who can forgive their past.
    Mei Cheah

  • Hi Mei Cheah,

    I just want to say how enthusiastically I want to encourage your continued work. I hope I speak for others here when I say I’m thrilled to hear from you! I can only imagine the wealth of stories you would have over your years of work. Many blessings as God uses you to shine His light on women in these situations. 🙂

    Mark Rabich

  • Thanks Mark

    Yes I was going to say the same thing. Well done Mei Cheah and all the others involved in counseling, support and care for women in this position. You perform an invaluable service. There are so many, like yourself, like Anne Lastman, and countless others who are tirelessly working in these areas, usually as volunteers with no financial recompense, helping women out in so many ways. So thanks again for all your tremendous efforts.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I was going to yell my “good on you” to Mei Cheah even louder than Mark Rabich or you, Bill. How about a book Mei? Surely your words would carry more punch than most on this subject.
    God bless you always.
    Ian Brearley

  • To Murray especially. I am troubled by these intimations of readiness to judge various health professionals, especially christian ones, for being spineless or otherwise failing some test set for their appropriate conduct. There is too much judgement, altogether, of people and whether they have made an appropriate “pro-life grade” or not. Many of the health professionals you are presumably referring to here have signed numerous letters declaring their positions to the enemy. These people have made many sacrifices, monetary, years etc to train sufficiently. They are doing tremendous life-affirming good already. They hope to continue their work. They will do as much to witness to life as they feel called to do in their individual circumstances. They may have to make mighty sacrifices or make small gestures. They may have to spend time counseling a woman against abortion or they may have to face being entrapped by a pro-abortion activist. Will Murray be there to help that professional and their family if they are de-registered or face legal defense costs or fines? Some young doctors are commencing training in a time in which training positions are insufficient and hospitals may seek to weed out pro-life applicants. How much practical support will be forthcoming for them? Less judgement and more respect for different ways of being pro-life is necessary.
    And no, it is not up to Christian doctors. What good their efforts if the young pregnant woman meets contemptuous looks on the street, where young single mums are vilified in the media and the supermarket queue. Where a mother cant cope with her kids but no-one ever offers her non-judgmental, compassionate help. What about those carrying “defective” babies. How many will be prepared to offer practical support underpinned by love. Such support might be necessary for a few days until the baby dies, or it might be a life time of need. Where is this support? How generous are our hearts towards the disabled or ill babies God blesses us with? Once the doctor has done their part there is still a great deal that must be in place to help a mother choose life.
    Angela Conway

  • Kevin Butler says rightly that we are succumbing to ‘a twisted form of compassion’. We have been taught to place our human compassion (a gift of God) on things that do not fit God’s understanding of ‘good’. In abortion, misplaced compassion for the woman (because she does suffer), and none for the child or greiving father; in surrogacy, misplaced compassion for the adults seeking a child (the conflicts of surrogacy are well-recorded), and little for the child who can have up to eight adults laying claim be its parents; in cloning, misplaced compassion towards those who might receive cures from embryonic stem-cell research (because it is highly unlikely that cures will come), but none for the newly conceived embryo. The list goes on! May God save us from this ignorance!

    Geoffrey Bullock, Toowoomba

  • I am absolutely convinced that sooner or later the truth of abortion and all it’s destruction will become widely known to the general public. Once the outbreak of truth starts it will gather momentum and break open like a dam wall. The lies and deception cannot be maintained forever as more and more women are wounded by abortion (unfortunately the babies cannot give an account).
    As terrible as this legislation is, perhaps we have to hit “rock bottom” before we can start to climb out of the abyss. In the mean time, we must keep “flying the flag” and as you quoted Bill, never, never, never give up.
    Peter Coventry

  • Dear Angela Conway,

    I am sorry but I really cannot make head or tail of your comments.

    There are so many dis-jointed and un-connected statements, that I had to give up.

    Please can you rewrite it?

    John Angelico

  • If anyone happens to be in London this Saturday, 18th you would be really welcome to fall in and join the footsoldiers

    www.ccfon.org/docs/procession18oct8.pdf

    Davis Skinner, UK

  • I’m with John Angelico. I couldn’t make much sense of Angela’s comments either. It seems to be a very judgmental diatribe against the sin of being judgmental. Perhaps Angela would benefit from reading Bill’s previous excellent article Thou Shalt Judge

    Ewan McDonald.

  • It is very concerning that several posters here have been unable to cope with my response, except by being insulting. I suggest that you re-read Murray Adamthwaite:
    “It is up to the Christians, esp., those in the medical profession, now to defy the law, in particular those aspects which require a doctor who will not perform an abortion to recommend one who will. But Christians are so weak-willed, so ignorant, and so compliant with even the worst legislation, that I despair of ever seeing them have any backbone.”
    Perhaps these posters simply have very little understanding of the work a very large number of doctors did to try and oppose the Abortion Bill. Perhaps they are ignorant of the fact that by signing their names to protest letters they have left themsleves open to legal prosecution and entrapment once the Bill is law. Perhaps they have no concept of the huge financial sacrifices and sacrifices of time entailed in qualifying as a doctor and the heavy practice costs most modern physicians deal with. Perhaps these posters have little understanding of modern clinical realities, the fact that doctors support families and that there are many things pro-life doctors do to promote a culture of life in the day to day practice of medicine. Most’s pro-life work has come at a cost, during University and in training and in practice.
    So I think that this statement of Mr Adamthwaite was very insensitive to the very real predicament and threats facing many pro-life doctors at the present time, and the real fear that they might lose everything. They want to work in pro-life ways in their medical vocation. If people have little understanding of those realities they should refrain from accusing them of being weak, spineless, of being likely to act against life etc. Perhaps, instead, they could contribute to a pro-life medical defence fund to make their pro-life concerns tangible, not to mention make material their Christian concerns for persecuted bothers and sisters. There may be many ways a doctor might seek to proceed so as to continue to maintain a pro-life practice. Doctors may be able to use prudence and cunning to avoid or mitigate aspects of the law so as to keep going with their vocation to pro-life medicine.
    And whether our culture becomes more pro-life or not does not just hinge on doctors’ decisions alone. Isn’t that obvious?

    Or perhaps these gentlemen are just choosing to be obtuse. And I think they are ungentlemanly.

    Angela Conway

  • Can I just say that, Angela, “Religion” will fail, but God does not, and his sacrifice of his son does not.
    I don’t believe it is our job to judge, but to live by following Jesus, cause in him there is no wrong. By looking at the world today I can totally see that some people don’t follow Him. But it’s about you and God, not others. Of coarse God wants us to stand up for the truth, but not by slandering others, for we all do wrong, but that is why God has given us hope in his son. Pray for those doctors girl, pray for the politicians, and the people in authority that are making rules to legalize abortion, pray for their salvation, that they would get God’s heart for the millions of children that die.

    Thanks for listening,
    God bless

    Sara Elizabeth

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