Women who’ve had abortions don’t owe loyalty to the abortion industry

Since Roe v. Wade, there have been over 60 million abortions committed in the United States. Even if 40% of those were repeat abortions (statistics vary by year), about 36 million women have had at least one legal abortion in the past 40 years.

Some current and former abortion workers have wondered where all these women are. Why aren’t more of them active in the pro-choice movement? Certainly, there are many who are. But there has been no massive uprising of post-abortive women fighting for abortion rights. Despite high profile campaigns like Shout your Abortion, most post-abortive women keep their abortions to themselves. The fact that the pro-life movement is so powerful, even when such a large number of women have had abortions and would seem to have every reason to support that right, is telling.

Jeannie Jones counseled women and helped them get abortions both before and after Roe. She says:

I became convinced within a year or two of doing abortion counseling to great numbers at Amherst Medical that the whole thing – society’s condemnatory attitude toward abortion – was going to change so dramatically because there were all these women of all ages who had abortions and members of their families who knew about it. They had this experience of making this tough decision. I thought that was going to change the political landscape and I can’t believe [that opposition to legal abortion] is still going on. There’s this enormous number of women having abortions still, but it’s like you had one and you don’t have any sympathy or concern for anyone else. Where is this enormous population of people who personally had this experience? Where are their families?

[Source: David P Cline Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961 – 1973 (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2006) 206]

Abortion is highly stigmatized despite many women having abortions.
Former abortion worker Robin Dizard is so frustrated that more post-abortive women haven’t been fighting for abortion rights that she contemplated “outing” her former patients. The fact that many post-abortive women just want to go on with their lives, and others join the pro-life movement, angers her. She writes about exposing women’s secret abortions in order to shame them into being pro-choice, or to discredit their pro-life activism:

[I]t’s something that has been used very effectively in outing [of gay people], for example. I’m not in favor of it but look what it does. And look what happens when the hypocrites who are holding elected office get found out: “Oh, Senator whoever you are, your office is full of pornography, that’s very interesting,” and then the guy pipes down a little bit.

[Source: Ibid. 207]


Ironically and perhaps unintentionally, Dizard compares having an abortion to looking at pornography. This comparison acknowledges the stigma surrounding abortion.

Many pro-life post-abortive women are in fact open about their abortions; they see them as tragic events in their lives. Often, it is the abortion experience that motivates post-abortive pro-life women, whether they feel comfortable talking about their abortions or not.

Abortion worker Steph Herold also expresses her frustration:

We need our patients, who we do everything for, to stand up for us. We don’t need them to tell their abortion stories to everyone they know, although of course that would be great. We need them to fight for abortion access in whatever way makes sense to them. If one in three US women has an abortion by age 45, where are these women? Why don’t they stand up for us?

[Source: Sarah Erdreich Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2013) 175]

Herold’s fake “one in three” statistic has been debunked.

Herold isn’t seeing the women who had abortions at her facility on the pro-choice picket line.

Abortion facility owner Maggie Cage ran a full-page newspaper ad during Operation Rescue’s campaign. While pro-lifers staged sit ins in front of the facility door, Cage called for her former patients to come and “defend” the facility:

Where are you? Where are all the people we’ve helped over the years? We need you now. When you needed us, we were there. We held your hand and supported you. We see you in restaurants and at the grocery store, at PTA meetings and softball games. You are the businesspeople, the school officials, the politicians, the voters. We kept you safe. We held your secrets. But now we need help. Where are you?

[Source: Susan Wicklund This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor (New York: Public Affairs Perseus Books Group, 2007) 160]

All the current and former abortion workers quoted here avoid coming to an obvious conclusion: many women don’t consider their abortion experience empowering. At “best,” they want to forget about it. At “worst,” they actively work against abortion.

What about the numbers? How many women who have had abortions are active in the pro-life movement vs. the pro-choice movement?

Unfortunately, current statistics aren’t available. But there is an older study, done in 1981, which found that more post-abortive women were involved in National Right to Life than in NARAL (one of the most prominent pro-abortion groups, then and now).

[Source: Donald Granberg, “The Abortion Activists” Family Planning Perspectives July – August 1981]

The study was done by pro-choice researcher Donald Granberg and published in the journal of the Alan Guttmacher Institute. It found that 3% of women in National Right to Life and 36% of women in NARAL had had abortions. At first glance, it seems like women who have abortions are far more likely to join NARAL and be pro-choice. But when you actually count the numbers up, you find that more post-abortive women were members of National Right to Life.

At the time of the study, there were 12 million women in National Right to Life and 156,000 in NARAL. This means that 39,000 women in NARAL had abortions. In National Right to Life, the number was 245,000.

What this translates to, if you do the math, is that there were six times more post-abortive women in National Right to Life than in NARAL.

Of course, there is only so much we can determine from the study. It only includes two organizations (though at the time, they were the largest), and it is from decades ago. So, we don’t know how much it can be applied to today. But it is seems clear that the majority of the 36 million American women who have had abortions are not pro-abortion activists.

[Today’s guest post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program.]

Women who’ve had abortions don’t owe loyalty to the abortion industry

Since Roe v. Wade, there have been over 60 million abortions committed in the United States. Even if 40% of those were repeat abortions (statistics vary by year), about 36 million women have had at least one legal abortion in the past 40 years.

Some current and former abortion workers have wondered where all these women are. Why aren’t more of them active in the pro-choice movement? Certainly, there are many who are. But there has been no massive uprising of post-abortive women fighting for abortion rights. Despite high profile campaigns like Shout your Abortion, most post-abortive women keep their abortions to themselves. The fact that the pro-life movement is so powerful, even when such a large number of women have had abortions and would seem to have every reason to support that right, is telling.

Jeannie Jones counseled women and helped them get abortions both before and after Roe. She says:

I became convinced within a year or two of doing abortion counseling to great numbers at Amherst Medical that the whole thing – society’s condemnatory attitude toward abortion – was going to change so dramatically because there were all these women of all ages who had abortions and members of their families who knew about it. They had this experience of making this tough decision. I thought that was going to change the political landscape and I can’t believe [that opposition to legal abortion] is still going on. There’s this enormous number of women having abortions still, but it’s like you had one and you don’t have any sympathy or concern for anyone else. Where is this enormous population of people who personally had this experience? Where are their families?

[Source: David P Cline Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961 – 1973 (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2006) 206]

Abortion is highly stigmatized despite many women having abortions.
Former abortion worker Robin Dizard is so frustrated that more post-abortive women haven’t been fighting for abortion rights that she contemplated “outing” her former patients. The fact that many post-abortive women just want to go on with their lives, and others join the pro-life movement, angers her. She writes about exposing women’s secret abortions in order to shame them into being pro-choice, or to discredit their pro-life activism:

[I]t’s something that has been used very effectively in outing [of gay people], for example. I’m not in favor of it but look what it does. And look what happens when the hypocrites who are holding elected office get found out: “Oh, Senator whoever you are, your office is full of pornography, that’s very interesting,” and then the guy pipes down a little bit.

[Source: Ibid. 207]


Ironically and perhaps unintentionally, Dizard compares having an abortion to looking at pornography. This comparison acknowledges the stigma surrounding abortion.

Many pro-life post-abortive women are in fact open about their abortions; they see them as tragic events in their lives. Often, it is the abortion experience that motivates post-abortive pro-life women, whether they feel comfortable talking about their abortions or not.

Abortion worker Steph Herold also expresses her frustration:

We need our patients, who we do everything for, to stand up for us. We don’t need them to tell their abortion stories to everyone they know, although of course that would be great. We need them to fight for abortion access in whatever way makes sense to them. If one in three US women has an abortion by age 45, where are these women? Why don’t they stand up for us?

[Source: Sarah Erdreich Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2013) 175]

Herold’s fake “one in three” statistic has been debunked.

Herold isn’t seeing the women who had abortions at her facility on the pro-choice picket line.

Abortion facility owner Maggie Cage ran a full-page newspaper ad during Operation Rescue’s campaign. While pro-lifers staged sit ins in front of the facility door, Cage called for her former patients to come and “defend” the facility:

Where are you? Where are all the people we’ve helped over the years? We need you now. When you needed us, we were there. We held your hand and supported you. We see you in restaurants and at the grocery store, at PTA meetings and softball games. You are the businesspeople, the school officials, the politicians, the voters. We kept you safe. We held your secrets. But now we need help. Where are you?

[Source: Susan Wicklund This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor (New York: Public Affairs Perseus Books Group, 2007) 160]

All the current and former abortion workers quoted here avoid coming to an obvious conclusion: many women don’t consider their abortion experience empowering. At “best,” they want to forget about it. At “worst,” they actively work against abortion.

What about the numbers? How many women who have had abortions are active in the pro-life movement vs. the pro-choice movement?

Unfortunately, current statistics aren’t available. But there is an older study, done in 1981, which found that more post-abortive women were involved in National Right to Life than in NARAL (one of the most prominent pro-abortion groups, then and now).

[Source: Donald Granberg, “The Abortion Activists” Family Planning Perspectives July – August 1981]

The study was done by pro-choice researcher Donald Granberg and published in the journal of the Alan Guttmacher Institute. It found that 3% of women in National Right to Life and 36% of women in NARAL had had abortions. At first glance, it seems like women who have abortions are far more likely to join NARAL and be pro-choice. But when you actually count the numbers up, you find that more post-abortive women were members of National Right to Life.

At the time of the study, there were 12 million women in National Right to Life and 156,000 in NARAL. This means that 39,000 women in NARAL had abortions. In National Right to Life, the number was 245,000.

What this translates to, if you do the math, is that there were six times more post-abortive women in National Right to Life than in NARAL.

Of course, there is only so much we can determine from the study. It only includes two organizations (though at the time, they were the largest), and it is from decades ago. So, we don’t know how much it can be applied to today. But it is seems clear that the majority of the 36 million American women who have had abortions are not pro-abortion activists.

[Today’s guest post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program.]

Pro-choice ethicists: OK to use aborted baby’s ovaries to create new children

[Today’s blog post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program. Sarah is a pro-life atheist, a frequent contributor to Live Action News, a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and the force behind ClinicQuotes.com.]

Fetal tissue harvesting and experimentation on aborted babies are logical outgrowths of the pro-choice position. After all, if unborn babies are mere “tissue,” then there

is no need to respect their remains.

But some proposals of what to do with those remains

are truly bizarre – and deeply disturbing.

In an article titled “Transplantation of Aborted Fetal Ova: a Short Analysis” that was published in The Wanderer on August 4, 1994, author Lawrence Roberges described grisly experiments done by Dr. Robert Gosden of Edinburgh University. Dr. Gosden proposed harvesting the egg cells from the bodies of female aborted babies and using

them for in vitro fertilization, as well as implanting ovarian tissue from aborted babies

into the ovaries infertile women. He has had success with this process in mice. What the

experiments would entail is obtaining female aborted babies from clinics (increasing

clinic revenue), then slicing open the aborted children’s ovaries (ovaries actually start

developing in the first trimester) and harvesting their eggs. The article went on to describe

experiments he has done on mice:

A paper written by Dr. Gosden in the April 1992 Journal of Assisted Reproduction and

Genetics reviews the outline of this research a full two years before his research proposal

became news. This paper bases his proposal on prior work in which Dr. Gosden has extensively

performed mouse fetal tissue transplants studies to restore the fertility of sterile mice. These

studies included using mice fetal tissue to restore fertility to sterile mice, restore endocrine

function to mice without ovaries, and freezing and storing mouse fetal ovarian tissue for later

successful implantation. Dr. Gosden’s work promises to harvest eggs from aborted fetuses at

the 12 to 16 week stage. They would then fertilize the eggs by in vitro methods and implant

them into previously sterile women.… it would restore the fertility of women who have

prematurely undergone menopause, thereby giving them extended years of childbearing.

Can you imagine going through life knowing that your mother was an aborted baby? The

prospect is deeply disturbing. Many adopted children grow up wondering what their birth

parents were like, but I cannot even begin to imagine how a person would come to terms with

the fact that their mother never drew a breath outside the womb. It leads to all kinds of

disturbing and macabre thinking.

In the Journal of Medical Ethics, Jonathan M. Berkowitz, a supporter of Gosden’s proposal,

sidestepped the issue:

Certainly there may be many emotions associated with the knowledge of being conceived

outside sexual intercourse… [A] study concluded that “the majority [of children produced

via IVF] were performing above the norm for the chronological age but were subject to

a “significantly higher incidence of… behavioral and emotional problems.

Jonathan M Berkowitz, “Mummy Was a Fetus: Motherhood and Fetal Ovarian Transplantation” Journal of Medical Ethics 21:298 – 304 (October 1995).

Of course, knowing that your mother was an aborted baby is very different from knowing

that you were conceived through in vitro fertilization. It’s hard to understand how he does

not see the difference.

The New York Times summarized Fletcher’s argument:

Dr. John Fletcher [an ethicist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville] said most of the

ethical qualms  pale beside the good that can be done

for infertile couples. For example, he said, even though a child might be troubled to learn that

its genetic mother was an aborted fetus the child would almost certainly rather have been

born from the fetus’s eggs than not to have been born at all.

“The idea that you would be filled with self-loathing if 50% of your genes are from the ova of

an abortus seems to me highly questionable,” he said. 

Questionable? Really? It is questionable that knowing that your mother was an aborted

baby (or, as he says, “abortus,” a dehumanizing term if I’ve ever heard one) would be

traumatic and disturbing? I can’t imagine any human being not being affected by the horror

of this type of beginning. The psychological ramifications are enormous – and so are the

social ones. What would America be like if it were socially acceptable for people to be born

with an aborted baby for a birth mother? It reminds one of the society portrayed in the

book Brave New World.

One might think that the concept of harvesting fetal ovaries for future implantation in

women and extracting fetal eggs for in vitro fertilization would be just an aberrant idea that

would be quickly forgotten. But in 2003, BBC News described experiments with aborted babies’

ovaries taking place in Israel:

The lead researcher, Dr Tal Biron-Shental, from Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, Israel, conceded that the concept of taking egg follicles from an aborted baby was controversial.

Presenting the work to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Madrid, she said: “I’m fully aware of the controversy about this – but probably, in some place, will be ethically

acceptable.” 

It is hard to suppress a shudder when imagining a society that would condone this way of

creating children.

Dr. Biron-Shental went on to describe the benefits of her work, saying “There is a shortage of donated oocytes (eggs) for IVF – oocytes from aborted foetuses might

provide a new source for these. There are a huge amount of follicles in the foetal ovary.”

Fortunately, Biron-Shental’s work is still in its preliminary stages – no embryos or fetuses

have been created using this method – at least as of 2003. But it is deeply disturbing to

think about where this research is going. What will the future hold?

Pro-choice ethicists: OK to use aborted baby’s ovaries to create new children

[Today’s blog post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program. Sarah is a pro-life atheist, a frequent contributor to Live Action News, a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and the force behind ClinicQuotes.com.]

Fetal tissue harvesting and experimentation on aborted babies are logical outgrowths of the pro-choice position. After all, if unborn babies are mere “tissue,” then there

is no need to respect their remains.

But some proposals of what to do with those remains

are truly bizarre – and deeply disturbing.

In an article titled “Transplantation of Aborted Fetal Ova: a Short Analysis” that was published in The Wanderer on August 4, 1994, author Lawrence Roberges described grisly experiments done by Dr. Robert Gosden of Edinburgh University. Dr. Gosden proposed harvesting the egg cells from the bodies of female aborted babies and using

them for in vitro fertilization, as well as implanting ovarian tissue from aborted babies

into the ovaries infertile women. He has had success with this process in mice. What the

experiments would entail is obtaining female aborted babies from clinics (increasing

clinic revenue), then slicing open the aborted children’s ovaries (ovaries actually start

developing in the first trimester) and harvesting their eggs. The article went on to describe

experiments he has done on mice:

A paper written by Dr. Gosden in the April 1992 Journal of Assisted Reproduction and

Genetics reviews the outline of this research a full two years before his research proposal

became news. This paper bases his proposal on prior work in which Dr. Gosden has extensively

performed mouse fetal tissue transplants studies to restore the fertility of sterile mice. These

studies included using mice fetal tissue to restore fertility to sterile mice, restore endocrine

function to mice without ovaries, and freezing and storing mouse fetal ovarian tissue for later

successful implantation. Dr. Gosden’s work promises to harvest eggs from aborted fetuses at

the 12 to 16 week stage. They would then fertilize the eggs by in vitro methods and implant

them into previously sterile women.… it would restore the fertility of women who have

prematurely undergone menopause, thereby giving them extended years of childbearing.

Can you imagine going through life knowing that your mother was an aborted baby? The

prospect is deeply disturbing. Many adopted children grow up wondering what their birth

parents were like, but I cannot even begin to imagine how a person would come to terms with

the fact that their mother never drew a breath outside the womb. It leads to all kinds of

disturbing and macabre thinking.

In the Journal of Medical Ethics, Jonathan M. Berkowitz, a supporter of Gosden’s proposal,

sidestepped the issue:

Certainly there may be many emotions associated with the knowledge of being conceived

outside sexual intercourse… [A] study concluded that “the majority [of children produced

via IVF] were performing above the norm for the chronological age but were subject to

a “significantly higher incidence of… behavioral and emotional problems.

Jonathan M Berkowitz, “Mummy Was a Fetus: Motherhood and Fetal Ovarian Transplantation” Journal of Medical Ethics 21:298 – 304 (October 1995).

Of course, knowing that your mother was an aborted baby is very different from knowing

that you were conceived through in vitro fertilization. It’s hard to understand how he does

not see the difference.

The New York Times summarized Fletcher’s argument:

Dr. John Fletcher [an ethicist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville] said most of the

ethical qualms  pale beside the good that can be done

for infertile couples. For example, he said, even though a child might be troubled to learn that

its genetic mother was an aborted fetus the child would almost certainly rather have been

born from the fetus’s eggs than not to have been born at all.

“The idea that you would be filled with self-loathing if 50% of your genes are from the ova of

an abortus seems to me highly questionable,” he said. 

Questionable? Really? It is questionable that knowing that your mother was an aborted

baby (or, as he says, “abortus,” a dehumanizing term if I’ve ever heard one) would be

traumatic and disturbing? I can’t imagine any human being not being affected by the horror

of this type of beginning. The psychological ramifications are enormous – and so are the

social ones. What would America be like if it were socially acceptable for people to be born

with an aborted baby for a birth mother? It reminds one of the society portrayed in the

book Brave New World.

One might think that the concept of harvesting fetal ovaries for future implantation in

women and extracting fetal eggs for in vitro fertilization would be just an aberrant idea that

would be quickly forgotten. But in 2003, BBC News described experiments with aborted babies’

ovaries taking place in Israel:

The lead researcher, Dr Tal Biron-Shental, from Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, Israel, conceded that the concept of taking egg follicles from an aborted baby was controversial.

Presenting the work to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Madrid, she said: “I’m fully aware of the controversy about this – but probably, in some place, will be ethically

acceptable.” 

It is hard to suppress a shudder when imagining a society that would condone this way of

creating children.

Dr. Biron-Shental went on to describe the benefits of her work, saying “There is a shortage of donated oocytes (eggs) for IVF – oocytes from aborted foetuses might

provide a new source for these. There are a huge amount of follicles in the foetal ovary.”

Fortunately, Biron-Shental’s work is still in its preliminary stages – no embryos or fetuses

have been created using this method – at least as of 2003. But it is deeply disturbing to

think about where this research is going. What will the future hold?

“Sacrifice”

[Today’s blog post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program. Sarah is a pro-life atheist, a frequent contributor to Live Action News, a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and the force behind ClinicQuotes.com.]

Every now and then, during my research on abortion, I come across a quote or statement that just makes me shake my head. Such as this quote from a post-abortive woman named Sue Nathanson. Nathanson, a self-proclaimed feminist, apparently regrets her abortion. But she regrets it not because she lost her child, even though she acknowledges this fact. No, she wishes that her child could have been “sacrificed” in a more “compassionate and loving” environment:

I wish now that my fourth child could have been sacrificed with my love and tears, even with my own hands, in a circle of a family or community of women, in a circle of a compassionate and loving community of men and women who might be able to perceive my vulnerability as a mirror of their own, and not as it was, in a cold and lonely hospital room with instruments of steel.

Wow, what a lovely sentiment! She wishes that she could have killed her baby herself. It’s hard, as a pro-lifer, to understand this kind of mentality. However, it is a logical outgrowth of the pro-choice position. I have debated many pro-choicers, and I have found that many of the most hard-core ones are willing to admit that abortion takes a life. As shocking as this is, it is an argument that sometimes stops the debate cold – if your opponent thinks killing babies is okay, it’s hard to know what to say next. The argument they put forth is that of bodily autonomy – a woman has a right to kill her baby because the baby is residing in her body. This argument overlooks the fact that the child is an innocent victim who, in 99% of cases, was put there by a consensual act of the woman herself. (According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, only 1% of abortions are done because of rape or incest).

They claim that if the woman’s circumstances are bad, abortion is the best choice for both her and the baby. Under this mentality, killing can be compassionate – it can relieve the woman of a bad situation, and it might even be kind for the child as well, who does not have to grow up “unwanted.” Killing people to help them. What a twisted concept. Perhaps telling themselves that killing a baby is good for the baby is the only way that some of these pro-choicers can sleep at night.

If Nathanson’s idea of “love” is killing, I sincerely hope she never “loves” anyone else. Killing with love. Wishing you had killed your unborn baby with your own hands, because somehow that would be more “loving” and “compassionate” than having an abortionist do it? I’m not sure how many pro-choicers would flinch at this quote, maybe many of them – but Nathanson has obviously been persuaded by the most virulent and extreme pro-abortion rhetoric to come to the opinion she has. It is a truly twisted philosophy.

* * *

Editor’s Note: The idea of abortion as “sacrifice” seems to be becoming a minor theme in pro-abortion rhetoric. Sarah has actually written about it previously; in that article, an abortion worker talked about “respecting” abortion victims by “thanking [them] for [their] sacrifice so that the woman could continue on the path she was on.”

At the risk of sounding judgmental (oh, who am I kidding), this strange way of thinking about “sacrifice” always makes me think of Lord Farquaad from Shrek; specifically, this scene:

“Some of you may die… but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make.” Yeah, that about sums it up.

“Sacrifice”

[Today’s blog post by Sarah Terzo is part of our paid blogging program. Sarah is a pro-life atheist, a frequent contributor to Live Action News, a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, and the force behind ClinicQuotes.com.]

Every now and then, during my research on abortion, I come across a quote or statement that just makes me shake my head. Such as this quote from a post-abortive woman named Sue Nathanson. Nathanson, a self-proclaimed feminist, apparently regrets her abortion. But she regrets it not because she lost her child, even though she acknowledges this fact. No, she wishes that her child could have been “sacrificed” in a more “compassionate and loving” environment:

I wish now that my fourth child could have been sacrificed with my love and tears, even with my own hands, in a circle of a family or community of women, in a circle of a compassionate and loving community of men and women who might be able to perceive my vulnerability as a mirror of their own, and not as it was, in a cold and lonely hospital room with instruments of steel.

Wow, what a lovely sentiment! She wishes that she could have killed her baby herself. It’s hard, as a pro-lifer, to understand this kind of mentality. However, it is a logical outgrowth of the pro-choice position. I have debated many pro-choicers, and I have found that many of the most hard-core ones are willing to admit that abortion takes a life. As shocking as this is, it is an argument that sometimes stops the debate cold – if your opponent thinks killing babies is okay, it’s hard to know what to say next. The argument they put forth is that of bodily autonomy – a woman has a right to kill her baby because the baby is residing in her body. This argument overlooks the fact that the child is an innocent victim who, in 99% of cases, was put there by a consensual act of the woman herself. (According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, only 1% of abortions are done because of rape or incest).

They claim that if the woman’s circumstances are bad, abortion is the best choice for both her and the baby. Under this mentality, killing can be compassionate – it can relieve the woman of a bad situation, and it might even be kind for the child as well, who does not have to grow up “unwanted.” Killing people to help them. What a twisted concept. Perhaps telling themselves that killing a baby is good for the baby is the only way that some of these pro-choicers can sleep at night.

If Nathanson’s idea of “love” is killing, I sincerely hope she never “loves” anyone else. Killing with love. Wishing you had killed your unborn baby with your own hands, because somehow that would be more “loving” and “compassionate” than having an abortionist do it? I’m not sure how many pro-choicers would flinch at this quote, maybe many of them – but Nathanson has obviously been persuaded by the most virulent and extreme pro-abortion rhetoric to come to the opinion she has. It is a truly twisted philosophy.

* * *

Editor’s Note: The idea of abortion as “sacrifice” seems to be becoming a minor theme in pro-abortion rhetoric. Sarah has actually written about it previously; in that article, an abortion worker talked about “respecting” abortion victims by “thanking [them] for [their] sacrifice so that the woman could continue on the path she was on.”

At the risk of sounding judgmental (oh, who am I kidding), this strange way of thinking about “sacrifice” always makes me think of Lord Farquaad from Shrek; specifically, this scene:

“Some of you may die… but it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make.” Yeah, that about sums it up.

“To me, it was not an act of murder…”

[Today’s guest post is by Sarah Terzo of ClinicQuotes.com.]
There are many good reasons for pro-lifers of faith to familiarize
themselves with secular reasoning against abortion. Christian pro-lifers often cite religious texts and doctrines to oppose
abortion. And while “God hates abortion” may be a compelling argument for fellow Christians, we need to recognize that pro-choicers can use religion too. People’s interpretations of scripture differ, of course. And apart from scripture, “my personal religious beliefs” can be manipulated by a
creative person to justify practically anything.
I stumbled across an example of this in the book Our
Choices, Our Lives: Unapologetic Writings on Abortion
 [1]. I was reading the story
of a woman who had three abortions. The woman, who gave her name as Chandra Silva,
was a rape survivor who had her first abortion as a teenager when she was well
into her second trimester. Her baby, at this point, was highly developed. Chandra describes the injection of prostaglandin, and the pain she experienced as
her body tried to expel her child:

I felt the need to use the bathroom when something started
descending and my mother, who was trying to help me to the corner store style
bathroom, kept forcing an orange bedpan underneath me. At one point, in
desperation, I glanced between my legs and I saw a head. It was dark and
bluish, and seemed to have little dark hairs. In that split-second instant
there was a nurse on the floor searching between my legs. She was in a bit of
panic herself, fumbling with gloves and clamps, then whisking away the bedpan
contents.

When reflecting on this abortion, as well as her other two abortions, Chandra wrote:

What I experienced was unique to me and my evolving self.
To me, it was not an act of murder, as the religious zealots and right-wing
oppressors would condemn, because I believe the soul and personality (which
includes the body) are separate energies. I believe that we can check in and
out of our physical vehicles when the situation requires it – or desires it.
And I think that in cases where a woman chooses to terminate her pregnancy,
there is an agreement between her soul self and that of her child. There is
always agreement.

Chandra’s talk of the
“soul self” and “separate energies” and unborn babies agreeing to be killed are obviously religious ideas, in the sense that they rely upon supernatural assumptions. Her
claim that the soul of the baby makes an agreement with the soul of the mother,
and that the baby somehow agrees to be aborted, can never be proved – but is a justification of abortion
that makes sense to her, in the same way that “If you have an abortion, you’ll go
to hell” makes sense to Christians. I doubt that Chandra could be argued out of
her religious beliefs, any more than most fundamentalist Christians or devout
Catholics could be argued out of theirs. If a Christian were to come up to her and tell her that God had intended her to have her baby instead of aborting, I
doubt that Chandra would listen.
Perhaps it is too late to reach Chandra, but the point I’m
trying to make is that religious arguments can be used by either side. It is
just as easy to support abortion with religious arguments as it is to oppose it.
Pro-lifers are not the only ones who use religious beliefs to support their
position. From a secular standpoint, religious arguments often seem
nonsensical. No doubt, most Christians would find Chandra’s beliefs absurd. Yet
people who are not a part of the Christian faith may find the concept of an
unborn John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb after encountering the
unborn Jesus just as absurd.
Christian pro-lifers should take note that as nonsensical
and unconvincing as Chandra’s rationalizations are, when they put forth their
Christian religious arguments against abortion, they sound just as unconvincing
to those who do not share their religious beliefs. The result is that pro-lifers and pro-choicers who do not share the same religious background end up talking right past one another. By focusing on areas of consensus, like human rights and the science of prenatal development, pro-lifers are far more likely to reach someone like Chandra.

[1] Krista Jacob, editor Our Choices, Our Lives:
Unapologetic Writings on Abortion (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2002, 2004) 32 – 34

“To me, it was not an act of murder…”

[Today’s guest post is by Sarah Terzo of ClinicQuotes.com.]
There are many good reasons for pro-lifers of faith to familiarize
themselves with secular reasoning against abortion. Christian pro-lifers often cite religious texts and doctrines to oppose
abortion. And while “God hates abortion” may be a compelling argument for fellow Christians, we need to recognize that pro-choicers can use religion too. People’s interpretations of scripture differ, of course. And apart from scripture, “my personal religious beliefs” can be manipulated by a
creative person to justify practically anything.
I stumbled across an example of this in the book Our
Choices, Our Lives: Unapologetic Writings on Abortion
 [1]. I was reading the story
of a woman who had three abortions. The woman, who gave her name as Chandra Silva,
was a rape survivor who had her first abortion as a teenager when she was well
into her second trimester. Her baby, at this point, was highly developed. Chandra describes the injection of prostaglandin, and the pain she experienced as
her body tried to expel her child:

I felt the need to use the bathroom when something started
descending and my mother, who was trying to help me to the corner store style
bathroom, kept forcing an orange bedpan underneath me. At one point, in
desperation, I glanced between my legs and I saw a head. It was dark and
bluish, and seemed to have little dark hairs. In that split-second instant
there was a nurse on the floor searching between my legs. She was in a bit of
panic herself, fumbling with gloves and clamps, then whisking away the bedpan
contents.

When reflecting on this abortion, as well as her other two abortions, Chandra wrote:

What I experienced was unique to me and my evolving self.
To me, it was not an act of murder, as the religious zealots and right-wing
oppressors would condemn, because I believe the soul and personality (which
includes the body) are separate energies. I believe that we can check in and
out of our physical vehicles when the situation requires it – or desires it.
And I think that in cases where a woman chooses to terminate her pregnancy,
there is an agreement between her soul self and that of her child. There is
always agreement.

Chandra’s talk of the
“soul self” and “separate energies” and unborn babies agreeing to be killed are obviously religious ideas, in the sense that they rely upon supernatural assumptions. Her
claim that the soul of the baby makes an agreement with the soul of the mother,
and that the baby somehow agrees to be aborted, can never be proved – but is a justification of abortion
that makes sense to her, in the same way that “If you have an abortion, you’ll go
to hell” makes sense to Christians. I doubt that Chandra could be argued out of
her religious beliefs, any more than most fundamentalist Christians or devout
Catholics could be argued out of theirs. If a Christian were to come up to her and tell her that God had intended her to have her baby instead of aborting, I
doubt that Chandra would listen.
Perhaps it is too late to reach Chandra, but the point I’m
trying to make is that religious arguments can be used by either side. It is
just as easy to support abortion with religious arguments as it is to oppose it.
Pro-lifers are not the only ones who use religious beliefs to support their
position. From a secular standpoint, religious arguments often seem
nonsensical. No doubt, most Christians would find Chandra’s beliefs absurd. Yet
people who are not a part of the Christian faith may find the concept of an
unborn John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb after encountering the
unborn Jesus just as absurd.
Christian pro-lifers should take note that as nonsensical
and unconvincing as Chandra’s rationalizations are, when they put forth their
Christian religious arguments against abortion, they sound just as unconvincing
to those who do not share their religious beliefs. The result is that pro-lifers and pro-choicers who do not share the same religious background end up talking right past one another. By focusing on areas of consensus, like human rights and the science of prenatal development, pro-lifers are far more likely to reach someone like Chandra.

[1] Krista Jacob, editor Our Choices, Our Lives:
Unapologetic Writings on Abortion (Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2002, 2004) 32 – 34

Planned Parenthood: Committing an Abortion is Like Swimming

[Today’s guest post by Sarah Terzo of ClinicQuotes.com is part of our paid blogging program.]

During my research on Planned Parenthood I stumbled across a quote from a Planned Parenthood clinic director that I’d like to share. It is from an old article (Sandra G. Boodman, “The Dearth of Abortion Doctors; Stigma, Low Pay and Lack of Personal Commitment Erode Ranks” The Washington Post, April 20, 1993), but the quote is so revealing of PP’s attitude towards abortion that I thought it deserved a mention.

Irving S. Rust, director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in the South Bronx, was asked about the declining number of doctors doing abortions. His response was that abortions are “boring” to perform, and that is why many doctors won’t do it. It’s an argument I have seldom encountered. A first trimester abortion is “like swimming,” he said. “It can be sort of boring and kind of monotonous, but unless you’re good at it, you can wind up with some major complications.”

It is amazing how many incriminating quotes by Planned Parenthood one can find when digging through news archives. It is disturbing (but not surprising) that a Planned Parenthood director viewed killing unborn babies so casually.

Planned Parenthood campaigns to allow non-physicians to perform abortions and opposes even modest safety regulations for abortion clinics. But these candid words from a Planned Parenthood director reveal that they are well aware of the dangers of abortion, especially when done by people without much experience. They know that even first trimester abortions can be dangerous to women, contradicting their public position that abortions are safe because they are legal.

The comparison to swimming is particularly callous. Does Planned Parenthood believe that an abortion is no more morally significant than a swim in the pool? It’s stunning how lightly the largest abortion provider in the United States views killing unborn children. Even midway through the first trimester, the baby is very well developed. By 7-8 weeks after conception, the child has arms and legs with fingers and toes. He or she has a beating heart at 21 days. Jewels Green, who worked in a clinic that performed abortions in the first trimester only, nevertheless testified to sorting through recognizable body parts. (If you have a strong stomach, see for yourself what an aborted baby at 8 weeks looks like.)

Since 1993, the number of doctors committing abortions has declined even further. Abortion advocates are getting nervous:

[T]he number of state-based restrictions on abortions has increased significantly over the last two years. Defining a “scarcity” of abortion providers to mean a state where either 60 percent of the women live in a county without an abortion provider, or where there are 200,000 or more people for each abortion provider, we found that fully 32 states were experiencing scarcity as of 2008, the last year for which these data are available. 

The number of abortion facilities in the United States continues to decline rapidly, with 87 closures in 2013 alone. May the trend continue in 2014 and beyond!

Planned Parenthood: Committing an Abortion is Like Swimming

[Today’s guest post by Sarah Terzo of ClinicQuotes.com is part of our paid blogging program.]

During my research on Planned Parenthood I stumbled across a quote from a Planned Parenthood clinic director that I’d like to share. It is from an old article (Sandra G. Boodman, “The Dearth of Abortion Doctors; Stigma, Low Pay and Lack of Personal Commitment Erode Ranks” The Washington Post, April 20, 1993), but the quote is so revealing of PP’s attitude towards abortion that I thought it deserved a mention.

Irving S. Rust, director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in the South Bronx, was asked about the declining number of doctors doing abortions. His response was that abortions are “boring” to perform, and that is why many doctors won’t do it. It’s an argument I have seldom encountered. A first trimester abortion is “like swimming,” he said. “It can be sort of boring and kind of monotonous, but unless you’re good at it, you can wind up with some major complications.”

It is amazing how many incriminating quotes by Planned Parenthood one can find when digging through news archives. It is disturbing (but not surprising) that a Planned Parenthood director viewed killing unborn babies so casually.

Planned Parenthood campaigns to allow non-physicians to perform abortions and opposes even modest safety regulations for abortion clinics. But these candid words from a Planned Parenthood director reveal that they are well aware of the dangers of abortion, especially when done by people without much experience. They know that even first trimester abortions can be dangerous to women, contradicting their public position that abortions are safe because they are legal.

The comparison to swimming is particularly callous. Does Planned Parenthood believe that an abortion is no more morally significant than a swim in the pool? It’s stunning how lightly the largest abortion provider in the United States views killing unborn children. Even midway through the first trimester, the baby is very well developed. By 7-8 weeks after conception, the child has arms and legs with fingers and toes. He or she has a beating heart at 21 days. Jewels Green, who worked in a clinic that performed abortions in the first trimester only, nevertheless testified to sorting through recognizable body parts. (If you have a strong stomach, see for yourself what an aborted baby at 8 weeks looks like.)

Since 1993, the number of doctors committing abortions has declined even further. Abortion advocates are getting nervous:

[T]he number of state-based restrictions on abortions has increased significantly over the last two years. Defining a “scarcity” of abortion providers to mean a state where either 60 percent of the women live in a county without an abortion provider, or where there are 200,000 or more people for each abortion provider, we found that fully 32 states were experiencing scarcity as of 2008, the last year for which these data are available. 

The number of abortion facilities in the United States continues to decline rapidly, with 87 closures in 2013 alone. May the trend continue in 2014 and beyond!