A. By that argument, we're all blobs of cells! Likewise, hands up who wasn't once an embryo? Many terms are used for the unborn- zygote, embryo, fetus, depending on the stage of development, but they are all just that, stages in human development, the same as newborn, toddler, adolescent. It is age discrimination in the extreme to say it is acceptable to end the life of a person at one stage of it's development and not another.
Q. Doesn't "safe, legal" abortion safeguard against hundreds of women dying from dangerous backstreet abortions?
A. Pro-abortion campaigners have always claimed that legal abortion is necessary to stop thousands of dangerous back-street abortions going on and many women dying as a result.
This argument, accompanied by alarming statistics, has been used all over the world to persuade politicians to change the law on abortion but there is little evidence to suggest that backstreet abortion is the massive problem some campaigners claim it to be. For example:
- Dr Bernard Nathanson, joint founder of NARAL in the US (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws) admitted when he changed his mind about abortion that the drive to legalise abortion was based on lies. He said: "We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the US. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000." (Bernard Nathanson, Confessions of an Ex-Abortionist)
- In Portugal in 1982, it was claimed that 2000 women were dying from illegal abortion every year. However, only 2099 women of childbearing age had died from all causes, according to the then most recent available statistics. Either Portuguese women never die of illness or accident, or the 2000-a-year figure was false. (The Abortion Threat to Northern Ireland Intensified, p. 11)
- Dr Malcolm Potts, a pro-abortion campaigner and the former director of the international abortion provider International Planned Parenthood Federation, wrote: "Those who want the law to be liberalized will stress the hazards of illegal abortion and claim that hundreds, or thousands, or women die unnecessarily each year, when the actual number is far lower." (Abortion (CUP, 1977) p. 529)
Legal abortion does not stop backstreet abortion. Between 1968 and 1988, there have been 986 recorded abortions performed illegally and 293 prosecutions in the UK. So much for 'controlling' illegal abortion. (House of Commons Hansard, col. 276, 17 January 1990)
The fact that abortion happens is not a reason for making it legal. Murder, rape and domestic violence occur on a daily basis and cannot be entirely prevented, but no one suggests legalising these crimes or allowing them to take place in a hygienic environment.
Q.What about rape?
Pregnancy as a result of rape is extremely rare. A woman is only fertile for 3-7 days during her cycle and the extreme physical and psychological trauma of being raped makes it difficult for fertilisation or implantation to occur.
Pregnancies as a result of rape therefore only account for a tiny proportion of the hundreds of abortions carried out in Britain every day. Abortion is not a 'solution' to rape. The experience cannot be undone and should be responded to with compassion and support. For many rape victims who find themselves pregnant, the biggest trauma is not being pregnant but the memory of being raped. (Mahkorn and Dolan, Sexual Assault and Pregnancy: New Perspectives on Human Abortion, 1981.)
Abortion is itself a violent and invasive procedure. It should be remembered that many women who are traumatised by abortion describe a sense of having been violated. It is old-fashioned and socially unacceptable to judge a child by his/her father's actions or to punish a child for the crime of the father. A child may be conceived as the result of rape but cannot be held responsible. Pam Stenzel and Julie Makimaa were two such children.
- "My biological father is a rapist. But I am still a human being and I still have value. My life isn't worth any less than yours because of the way I was conceived. And I did not deserve the death penalty because of the crime of my father." (Pam Stenzel, Straight talk from Pam Stenzel (1998) Vision Video Inc. PO Box 540, Worcester, Pennsylvania, 19490, USA)
- "It doesn't matter how I began. What matters is who I will become." (Julie Makimaa, http://www.afterabortion.org/rape.html)
Abortion providers are not primarily interested in abortion for rape victims but use them as a
smokescreen to cover up their real intentions. They want abortion to be available to anyone, regardless of the circumstances. The use of rape victims is exploitative and trivialises the terrible damage done to women by rape. What makes rape a terrible crime is not the potential for a woman to become pregnant but the reality that she has been subjected to a violent and humiliating attack.
- "I, having lived through rape, and also having raised a child 'conceived in rape,' feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. I feel that we're being used by proabortionists to further the abortion issue, even though we've not been asked to tell our side." (Kathleen DeZeeuw http://www.afterabortion.org/rape.html)
- Lisa was 16 when she was raped on her way home from school. When she found out she was pregnant she was devastated, but said: "I had to have the baby. He was just as much a victim as I was and I wasn't going to make him suffer." However, when the baby was born, she rejected him to start with because he resembled her attacker. "I couldn't look at him. I didn't want to hold him. I told them to take him away." Eventually, she came to love him and says: "It never ceases to amaze me that something so precious and wonderful came from something so terrible. He's my beautiful boy and I wouldn't change him for the world." (The Sun, 21 January 2004)
Q. What if a woman's financial or social situation forces her to have an abortion?
No woman should be driven to abort her baby through poverty or social exclusion. Abortion simply allows society to get away with ignoring the problems facing women in crisis pregnancies. The compassionate response is to allow women, whatever their background, the resources necessary to bring up their children.
Abortion discriminates against the poor. Margaret Sanger, the founder of International Planned Parenthood, the world's largest abortion provider, argued in 1922 that "all our problems are the result of overbreeding among the working classes." (Cited by Steve Mosher and Michael W Bird in their review of Margaret Sanger's The Pivot of Civilisation)
Planned Parenthood has argued that abortion is "cost-effective" because "for every $1.00 spent by government to pay for abortions for poor women, about $4.00 is saved in public medical and welfare expenditures incurred as a result of an unintended birth." (Bad Science in the Service of a Lethally Racist Ideology, Angela Franz. Cited on the nrlc.org website)
It is in the interests of governments to pay for abortion rather than providing housing and maintenance for women and children in need. In the UK, mothers in need can ask for state benefits and housing. The law requires fathers to contribute to the maintenance of the child. If a man fathers a child he
cannot simply run away.
Pro-life charities such as Good Counsel and LIFE offer housing and support to women in crisis pregnancies. SPUC will always respond to requests for help from pregnant women: there is no need for women to face a crisis pregnancy alone. Women in actual danger can request police protection and safe housing.
Q.What about the woman's right to choose?
A.We all have the freedom to make decisions about our lives, but with freedom comes responsibility. Every society restricts choices that harm others. A drunk person does not have the right to drive a car. The right of other road-users to safety is considered more important than a person's right to drive home after a few drinks. Similarly, the choice to commit child abuse is always wrong.
Every woman has the right to make decisions about her own body, but mother and baby are always two separate people, with different genetic codes, nervous systems, fingerprints and even bloodstreams. The baby is still dependent on the mother long after being born but no one claims that the baby is part of the mother's body for that reason.
Portraying abortion as a woman's right hides the fact that women are often pressurised into abortion for financial, social or personal reasons.
- A study in 1989 found that only 30% of abortion decisions are made by the pregnant women themselves. In 33% of cases, the woman's partner made the decision, doctors in 20% of cases, friends in 10% and parents in 7% of cases. (Franco et al. (1989) cited in Psychological Aspects of Abortion: an Update, Dr David Kingsley MB, ChB, MRCPsych, Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Liverpool. p. 7.)
- More pregnant women now suffer domestic violence than pregnancy complications: a study in March 2003 found that 17% of pregnant women had been the victims of domestic violence and 3.4% had been violently attacked during their current pregnancy. (Reuters, 6 March 2003)
- When society loses its respect for the unborn, it follows that it also loses its respect for pregnant women. Women also bear the brunt of the abortion aftermath. 80% of relationships break up after an abortion. (Ney, (2000) Dr David Kingsley, op. cit.)
Q.What if the baby will be so disabled it's life won't be worth living?
A person with a disability has the right to life along with every other member of society: aborting a baby because he or she has, or even might have, a disability, is the ultimate form of discrimination. In Britain, it is legally permitted to abort a baby on grounds of disability up to birth. It is generally assumed that parents will opt for an abortion if pre-natal screening reveals a disability and they are often put under pressure to do so.
9 out of 10 unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida are aborted. (BBC News Online Surgery Hope for Unborn babies 10 July 2003) A similar proportion of Down's Syndrome babies are aborted. (Trends in prenatal screening for, and diagnosis of, Down's Syndrome: England and Wales, 1989-97 by David Mutton et al. British Medical Journal, 3 October 1998)
Encouraging abortion on grounds of disability encourages negative stereotypes about people with disabilities. In an article published on a pro-abortion website, Anne Furedi, a leading abortion advocate, argued that 'to deny this woman's choice is to condemn her to carry to term and give birth to a child that she may dread and wish dead.' (Ann Furedi How We Can - And Should - Explore Ethical Concerns About Abortion While Remaining Committed to Women's Needs. Hard Choices, Autumn 1999.) Why should a woman 'dread' having a disabled child as though he or she was a monster? There is nothing disgusting about having a disability. What is disgusting is society's inability to give people with disabilities the respect and value that is their right.
Many people argue in favour of aborting disabled babies on the grounds that they are 'better off dead'. How does anyone know this? How can anyone - doctor, parent or member of government - be arrogant enough to decide whether a person should or should not live? Even when babies are born so disabled that they can only live for a short amount of time, they have the right to live out their natural lifespan, however long or short it is.
Some claim that abortion 'prevents' disability but all it does is kill those who happen to have a disability. No doctor would claim to be curing cancer by killing cancer patients.
In May 2003, the International Down Syndrome Screening Conference was held in London. A group of people with Down's syndrome had asked if they could speak at the conference but were not allowed to. They turned up anyway and one of them, Anya Souza, was finally allowed to say something about her own condition. She said: "I can't get rid of my Down's syndrome, but you can't get rid of my happiness. You can't get rid of the happiness I give others either. It's doctors like you that want to test pregnant women and stop people like me being born. Together with my family and friends I have fought to prevent my separation from normal society. I have fought for my rights... I may have Down's syndrome but I am a person first."
Q. What if abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother?
Between 1967 and 1990, only 151 abortions have been carried out to save the mother's life, a figure amounting to 0.004% of all abortions. (Dr Michael Jarmulowicz, cited in The Physical and Psycho-Social effects of Abortion on Women: A Report by the Commission of Inquiry into the Operation and Consequences of The Abortion Act, June 1994 p. 5)
In 1992, a group of Ireland's top gynaecologists wrote: "We affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child." (John Bonner, Eamon O'Dwyer, David Jenkins, Kieran O'Driscoll, Julia Vaughan, 'Statement by Obstetricians', The Irish Times 1 April 1992)
When Dublin's National Maternity Hospital (where 10% of all births in Ireland occurred) investigated the 21 deaths of pregnant women there between 1970-1979, they found that not a single one of those deaths could have been avoided by abortion. (Irish Medical Journal 1982 vol. 75, pp. 304-306)
Ireland, a country where the unborn child is constitutionally protected, has the lowest maternal death rate in the world. The UK, where abortion is available practically on demand, has over five times Ireland's maternal death rate. (World Health Organisation: maternal deaths, three-year average)
Developments in medicine mean that the 'abortion to save the mother's life' argument is becoming harder and harder to justify. It is now possible for women with heart defects to carry a baby to term with expert help and life-threatening conditions such as cancer can often be treated without harming the unborn child. Women facing difficult pregnancies have a right to the best available medical support.
Direct abortion is the deliberate killing of an unborn child. Treatment to save the life of the mother that results in the death of the child as an expected but not intended side effect is not a direct abortion, e.g. in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. In this situation, the baby begins to develop in the woman's fallopian tube and has to be removed or the tube will rupture and cause the death of the woman. This involves the unavoidable death of the unborn baby but the aim of the operation is to save the mother not to kill the baby.
Q. Surely every child should be wanted?
This slogan sounds compassionate, but what it really means is 'every unwanted child a dead child'.
Abortion has done nothing to end child abuse. In the UK and USA, recorded cases of child abuse have increased substantially since abortion was legalised. Northern Ireland, which is not covered by the 1967 Abortion Act, has the lowest incidence of infant death in the UK. (World Health Statistics Annual 1996, Geneva: World Health Organisation,1998, B-635 - B-647)
Most abused children were originally 'wanted'. In a landmark study of 674 physically abused children, 91% of the children had been wanted and planned for. (Study by Dr. Edward Lenoski, professor of paediatrics and emergency medicine at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, Heartbeat, vol. 3, no. 4, Dec. 1980.)
A study carried out shortly before abortion was legalised in the US found that "most women who were most regretful of the pregnancy now claim they would have the child again if given the opportunity [whereas] one of every six mothers who were initially pleased with pregnancy would choose not to have the child again." (P. Cameron et al. "How Much do Mothers Love Their Children," Rocky Mt. Psychological Assn. May 12, 1972)
Most children are not particularly 'wanted' when they start crying at two in the morning. Nobody seriously suggests that it is acceptable to kill a child when they stop being appealing.
Abortion is the ultimate form of child abuse, giving parents the right to kill their unborn children if they are not exactly what they want e.g. if they are a girl rather than a boy, if they have a disability or come at an inconvenient time.
Most content taken from The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children- http://www.spuc.org.uk/students/abortion/abortion