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.”
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.