Exploring Twelve Common Myths About Legal Abortion - Part II
PART II – Myths #7-12 (Please read Part I here first).
We have so far seen discrepancies in six reasons that abortion activists and the pro-choice community use for keeping abortions legal. Here are six more.
MYTH #7: “The ‘fetus’ feels no pain.”
The unborn baby’s thalamus (brain portion receiving signals from the nervous system) starts forming in the fifth week of pregnancy. The pain receptors begin in the seventh week.
The U.S. Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2005 specifies that women who seek abortion must be notified that their unborn baby may experience pain. This was a big blow to pro-choice groups and abortion clinics. Some form of Unborn Child Pain Awareness bills have been introduced in approximately nineteen states. Unfortunately, most still don’t call for pain medication.
Myth #8: “The mother feels no pain and walks away unharmed.”
We’ve already seen that women can be hurt or even killed during legal abortions. But even if they appear unscathed immediately afterward, there is substantial evidence that women experience subsequent long-term emotional, physical, social, and mental ailments. “Post Abortion Syndrome” has been compared to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Since the new millennium, religious and secular foundations alike have been publishing well-researched, alarmingly high statistics among post-abortive women:16
• Post-abortive women are 144% more likely to abuse another child.
• 80% of them have reported feelings of self-loathing, loss of self-esteem.
• 70% will have a romantic relationship end after abortion.
• 60% are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol (only 10% stating they used before).
• 45% will have another abortion.
• 36-50% will have ongoing anxiety, guilt and confusion.
• 36% will experience nightmares, difficulty sleeping.
• 28% will attempt suicide (The risk of suicide is nearly 7 times higher than mothers who give birth. Successful suicide rates are unknown).
• 25% are more likely to visit psychiatrists.
• 23% will experience Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
• Many will have an inability to form subsequent loving relationships, will have eating disorders, and may have difficulty conceiving again (post-abortive women lose 100,000 subsequent pregnancies per year).
Why isn’t this general knowledge? Pro-choice organizations rely on and distribute their own statistics which pre-date newer material by about ten years, and they work hard to discredit these statistics.
Myth #9: “We shouldn’t let deformed babies be born.”
Since the late 1990s, doctors have been able to perform in-womb surgeries to correct defects at gestation periods as low as 20 weeks.
In 1999, photographer Michael Clancy was hired by USA Today to photograph a ground-breaking, in-womb procedure on a baby at 21 weeks gestation. After a sonogram showed that tiny Samuel Armas was going to be born with spina bifida, surgery was performed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to correct the defect. Armas was then carried by his mother for a normal remaining pregnancy.
During the surgery, a C-section incision was made and the baby was re-positioned in the womb for proper access. The baby's fingers are shown clasped around the doctor’s finger in Clancy’s photo capturing this event.17
Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once described a baby he operated on to correct a defect as having “a huge omphalocele (a sac containing the baby’s organs) much bigger than her head,” one of the worst defects he’d ever seen. Years later, she became the head nurse in his intensive care unit.18
What about conditions that will affect the baby’s whole life, like Down Syndrome? Although Down is not yet curable by surgery, some of its complications can be. According to healthcare guidelines for Down babies, about 30-60 percent may have congenital heart conditions, but if detected early, with surgery at three to six months old the prognosis can be improved.
When raised in a positive, optimistic environment, many Down children – apart from looking different – can develop near-normal intelligence, participate in sports, finish their education, live semi-independently with light monitoring, and hold down modest jobs.
Myth #10: “A woman’s body is her own. It’s between her and her God.”
It might be between her and her God, but without knowing some of these facts, and without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, she will not be armed with all her decision-making capabilities.
Scriptural truths like “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit – it is not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) seem “intolerant” to most feminists and abortion advocates because it symbolizes a need to “submit” to a higher authority than themselves.
But “forced abortions” have come to light here in the United States. This certainly takes away from “a woman’s body being her own.” The courts have failed to fault abortion doctors, boyfriends, or family members.
• An Eleventh Circuit Court case revolved around a woman who had a change of heart when placed on the abortion table. As the doctor began probing with instruments, she asked him to stop and let her get up. Instead, the doctor held her down with aid from nurses and completed the abortion, making a mistake that injured her intestines. Shockingly, the court ruled in favor of the doctor and the clinic.19
• A 25-year-old woman, four months pregnant, changed her mind in the procedure room. She ran back to the clinic entrance where her boyfriend stopped her, stating he’d already paid for the abortion. Three clinic workers and the abortionists surrounded the women, sedated her by injection, and then took her back into the procedure room. After the forced abortion, she awoke in a closet.20
• Jennifer O’Neill, an actress ("Summer of ‘42") who became a Christian, wrote two books about her abortion and salvation experience: From Fallen to Forgiven (W Publishing) and You're Not Alone: Healing Through God's Grace After Abortion (HCI Publishing). O’Neill had been coerced by a fiancé to have an abortion. She describes the suffering she went through afterward, even enduring shock treatment to overcome her grief and depression.
In 2003 along with Dr. Alveda King, O’Neill formed the activist group Silent No More Awareness, and testified before the Supreme Court in 2010 along with King and 45 other women about the negative effects of abortion.21
Myth #11: “There are too many unwanted babies and abused children in the world.”
Whether this is true or not doesn’t justify abortion, as stated by Francis Beckwith in an apologetics speech, “A Case for Moral Absolutes” (for Biola University taken from his book Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice, Cambridge University Press 2007). He cites statistics that 90 percent of abused children are from wanted pregnancies, and that evaluating a child’s worth by whether they are wanted by their birth parent or not sets a dangerous precedent:
• It implies superiority of some people over others.
• The powerful cannot be allowed to want and unwant children at will.
So many couples are waiting to adopt babies that the wait in the U.S. can be 12-18 months.22 Many couples resort to costly foreign adoptions, thinking it will be faster.
What about the population explosion? In China, where families have traditionally been restricted by law to have only one child – and only valued if it’s a boy - women with repeat pregnancies are forced into abortion. It is reported that baby girls are left out in the elements to die or placed in overcrowded orphanages. As a result, China’s official statistics show as many as ten men to every one woman. There are therefore fewer marriages, more cases of sexual violence against women, and not enough people for the workforce.23
A Scourge on the African American Population
Through the “unwanted baby” theory, abortion is also the leading cause of death for African Americans – above gang violence or heart disease. While comprising only 12 percent of the U.S. population, as of 2005 black women accounted for 32 percent of all abortions.24a Newer figures between 2008 and 2014 rise to 36 percent.24b This is a substantial and long-term harmful effect.
Myth #12: “A lady named Jane Roe started it all.”
Norma McCorvey, the real “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, passed away in February, 2017. However, she had become a Christian some years before her death, and an adamant speaker against abortion. Her book Won by Love (Thomas Nelson, 1997) reveals the truth behind the court case. In 1969, pregnant and desperate, she allowed herself to be manipulated by attorneys from a powerful women’s rights group that had been lobbying for legal abortion for some time.
She admits lying that she was raped to cover up her shame of pregnancy, but thought the lawyer went into court just to get her, as an individual, a safe abortion at a legal medical facility. She wasn’t told her case was being used to get abortion legalized nationally. She didn’t know much of what went on in the courtroom. And she never even had the abortion. Roe v. Wade was based on a charade.
Evidence such as presented here seems hard to deny, but people still downplay its value as somehow being drummed up by conservative extreme right-wingers. The testimonies, stories and books cited in this article have been communicated to numerous news outlets and organizations. The books are easily found in stores or on the Internet. Still, the secular media rarely jumps at the chance to tell about them, and people who come forward testifying against abortion often have had their reputations smeared by pro-choice activists.
You can help your friends grasp the truth through these valuable cases and statistics, even if they don’t believe the Bible protects unborn life. It’s not a baby’s responsibility to pay for our impulsive indiscretions. Micah 6:7b says: “Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” See an excellent Debate on Abortion which was sponsored by Ratio Christi's chapter at Wayne State University for more information.
Bright Spots and Good News
With thanks to new sonogram techniques and DNA evidence about the origins of life, some great acts have come out of Congress and been passed into law. The tiniest victims are being acknowledged once again:
The 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act. In 1993, nurse Jill Stanek at Christ Hospital near Chicago found that a co-worker was ordered to take an aborted baby, who was born alive, to the utility room. He was left there to die.
The child had been diagnosed with Down syndrome, and at their doctor’s advice, the parents had allowed a drug that dilated the mother’s cervix and made the baby drop through the birth canal at about 21 weeks’ gestation. He wouldn’t live without adequately developed heart and lungs, but he was not dead after the abortion.
Stanek found the baby struggling to breathe in the utility room. He died as she remained there with him. She found out this wasn’t a one-time occurrence; the hospital was not willing to stop the practice, and it was also going on at other hospitals.
Stanek searched for ways to expose this and eventually found Concerned Women for America, the national women’s organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of family values. The despicable act of purposefully aborting and leaving babies to die in this manner became known as “live birth abortion.” Stanek testified before Congress and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush in August of 2002.
Do you find “live birth abortion” impossible to believe? Many scientists favor it as a type of “sympathy euthanasia.” John Harris, a British government official, professor of bioethics and member of the Human Genetics Commission, expressed this outrageous opinion: “I see no distinction between a late-term abortion and euthanizing a child with disabilities shortly after birth.”25
The 2004 Unborn Victims of Violence Act (“Laci & Conner’s Law”). The Lord has used the very sad and unfortunate murders of Laci Peterson and her unborn son Connor in a very big way. Laci Peterson’s husband, Scott Peterson, was convicted of first degree murder for Laci and second degree murder for the unborn baby. This law amends Title 18, United States Code, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice to protect unborn children from assault and murder:
Whoever engages in conduct that violates any of the provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury (as defined in section 1365) to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate offense.26
Please look over the resources below in support of the statistics and facts given in Parts One and Two of this article. You can help Ratio Christi be an effective apologetics voice to our nation by contributing here to our efforts in reaching the Media or by becoming a Ratio Christi “Booster.”
ENDNOTES and Other Resources:
16 Post Abortive Syndrome complications gathered from:
- National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, Inc., Milwaukee, WI., 1-800-5WE-CARE., or see http://www.noparh.org
-Dr. Theresa Burke with Dr. David Reardon, The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, Battle Creek, MI: Acorn Books, 2002.
- Ibid no. 10, with facts taken from the Elliott Institute - Study of Post-Abortive Women, 2001.
- Abortion & Increased Risk of Child Abuse: Child Maltreatment and Perinatal Loss, Acta Pædiatrica, 2005.
- Alan Guttmacher Institute - http://www.guttmacher.org/
- Nebraska Catholic Conference - http://www.nebcathcon.org/
17 Photographer Michael Clancy’s recounting of the events and photo, http://michaelclancy.com/ (retrieved 3/7/06, 12/22/16).
18 Ibid no. 14.
19 United States District Court Middle District Of Florida, Orlando Division, Deposition Testimony Of William P. Egherman, M.D., August 28, 2002: Jane Roe, Ii, Plaintiff, Vs. Aware Women Center For Choice, Inc., Edward W. Windle, Jr.,Patricia B. Windle, William P. Egherman, M.D., Defendants; Case No.: 6:99-Cv-850-Orl-19krs.
20 “Forced Abortions Legal in America,” Life Site News, March 9, 2004 (retrieved 11/28/07, 12/22/16). More examples at “Forced Abortions in America: Case Before Supreme Court,” Population Research Institute, May 1, 2004 (retrieved 12/22/16).
21 “Jennifer O’Neill, Dr. Alveda King and 45 Others Testify at Supreme Court,” Christian Newswire found at Catholic Online, 1/20/2010 (retrieved 12/22/16).
22 “Domestic vs. International Adoptions,” American Adoptions (National office in Overland Park, KS) - (retrieved 5/4/06, 12/22/16).
23 Yan Tai, “Women shortage grows grave,” United Press International, The Washington Times, World Section, March 8, 2004.
24a Randy Hall, “Abortion Causing ‘Black Genocide’ Activists Say,” Feb. 7, 2005, CNSNews, still carried at Crosswalk.com (retrieved 12/20/16).
24b "The Case Against Abortion: Abortion and Race," abort73.com (retrieved 1/3/17).
25 Steven Ertelt, “British Government Official Suggests Infanticide for Disabled Children,” LifeNews.com Editor, January 26, 2004, reprinted with permission at Christian Life Resources (retrieved Jan. 2005, 12/22/16).
26 108th Congress of the United States of America, January 20, 2004.
• U.S. Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, January 1973. Text can be found here at Legal Information Institute.
• U.S. Supreme Court, Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, January 1973. Text can be found here at Legal Information Institute. Also Heritage Foundation: Judicial Activism: Doe v. Bolton.
• National Right to Life Abortion Statistics retrieved 12/22/16.
• Kara Platoni, “The Making of a Martyr; Holly Patterson's death,” (Death by RU-486). San Francisco, CA: East Bay Express, December 17, 2003, online 12/18/03 (retrieved 3/3/06, 12/22/16).
• Statistics New Zealand, 5/15/2005, citing Demographic Trends of 2004.
• Norma McCorvey, Won by Love, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997, p.56.
• McCorvey and Cano stories found in Tom Neven’s “Thirty Years of Lies,” Focus on the Family Magazine, January 2003, p. 2-4.
• Baby’s Development: “The First Nine Months,” brochure, Colorado Springs, CO: Focus on the Family, February, 1995 and ibid no.21, Newsweek, pp.40-41.
• “Health Care Guidelines For Individuals With Down Syndrome,” Down Syndrome Quarterly, a Report by Denison University, Granville, OH., Volume 1, Number 2, June, 1996.
• Jill Stanek’s experience leading to The Born Alive Infants Protection Act can be found in “Holding on for Dear Lives,” Jonathan Imbody, CWA’s Family Voice Magazine, Winter 2002, pp 8-13 and 18.
• Results of “Hooking Up” or “Friends with Benefits”:
- "O"Magazine in 2002 ("Girls and Sex," no longer available) and TIME in 2005 ("A Snapshot of Teen Sex," abstract retrieved 12/22/16, full article still available by subscription).
- Barbara Meltz,“FWB trend distorts lessons of sex and love,” Boston Globe, Oct. 2004 (retrieved 12/22/16, still online in full.)
-HPV responsible for Cervical Cancer: "HPV and Cancer," National Cancer Institute, Cancer.gov (retrieved 1/3/17).
An earlier version of this article was written by Ms. Young and published in the Florida Baptist Witness Newspaper in 2008. New paragraphs and resources have been added.
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