From 1973 to 1987, over 22 million abortions have been performed. Pro-lifers would call that a terrible waste of human life. True, 22 million lives were taken, but I believe that we are better off without those. Please let me explain in the following report.
What is abortion?
Webster's dictionary defines abortion as "the expulsion of a nonviable fetus." Abortion might possibly be the most controversial topic right now.
I'm sure by now that you've heard of all the different types of abortion. Almost all abortions performed in the US are surgical abortions, where the fetus is removed by suction or other means. (Medication offers another option, to be discussed later in this report.) During a suction abortion, the fetus is dismembered and disposed of by a small tube. This process takes but about 10 minutes, and the mother experiences very little or no physical discomfort. Pro-lifers immediately say that emotional trauma and guilt haunts every woman after she has an abortion. However, during my research, I found numerous women who led (and continue to lead) prominent and scot-free lives after their abortions. I think that the mental state of the mother depends very much on her personal feelings toward abortion, and the actual experience the had before and during the abortion.
In my study of pro-lifers, I have found that most of the time, they employ the use of a few strategies for making their views known. One tactic pro-lifers use to convince people of their views is to play on fear and emotions. Their graphic descriptions and gruesome pictures are a crude attempt to "scare" people out of abortion, while their pious talk and sobbing try to make us feel sorry for them and the unborn.
Another popular strategy of pro-lifers is to protest things like "Life begins at conception! The fetus is human!" Science has proven these facts, and pro-choicers are by no means trying to deny them. However, pro-choicers feel that the rights of the parents (namely the mother) override the rights of the unborn child.
Neither of these tactics work on pro-choicers like myself. True, pro-lifers are entitled to voicing their opinion (just as I am), but I feel that some of their methods (as illustrated in the next section) are very unorthodox.
Some pro-lifers don't seem to be for "the preservation of human life." The tables on page 7 clearly illustrate how often pro-lifers contradict their "pro-life" ideals by resorting to violent and disruptive acts to try to force their views on people.
New legislature controls irate pro-lifers
A new bill was introduced in April 1994. The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (aka FACE or FACEA) protects women seeking abortion, and the facilities performing them. Specifically, FACE protects reproductive health service staff and patients from violent threats, assault, vandalism, and blockades. FACE was signed by President Clinton on May 26, 1994, but angry pro-lifers still violate this law. The consequences for a first-time offender cannot exceed one year in prison and/or a $100,000 fine. Repeat offenders face a maximum 3 year prison sentence and/or a $250,000 fine. If any injury is incurred, the sentence jumps to 10 years. If death results from the offense, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
I think it is about time for FACEA. Pro-lifers have gone far enough with their "demonstrations" in front of clinics nationwide. Many news clips have shown pro-lifers throwing things at women as they walk into a clinic. In one extreme case, an off-duty police officer (acting as a bodyguard) and the husband of a woman seeking an abortion were shot at by pro-lifers. The police officer died"”the husband was severely wounded. Even though FACEA will not put a stop to the violence toward abortionists and clients, I think it will definately decrease it.
RU486 and "M&Ms"
Different medications are offering a safe and private alternative to clinic abortions. RU486 is an abortion inducing pill that allows women to have non-invasive, safer and easier abortions in the privacy of their own homes. This option also eliminates any with livid pro-lifers and their antagonistic methods. RU486 also offers great medical promise in the research and possible cures/treatments of breast cancer, endometriosis, prostrate and brain cancer. Right now, pro-lifers are preventing RU486 from being used in the US. However, it is currently on the market in a number of countries, and is being used with great success.
The "M&M" abortion is named after the two drugs used to induce it: mifepristone and misoprostol. This process is based on the same theory as RU486, and has been thoroughly tested at Planned Parenthood, Inc. in Omaha, NB. Mifepristone is administered to disable the pregnancy hormones and break down the lining of the uterus. The only know side effects are slight nausea, headaches, weakness and fatigue. After two days, the woman takes a dose of misoprostol. This drug causes uterine contractions, and expels the fetus. This stage can be somewhat painful and messy. The woman stays at the clinic for about four hours after the abortion for observation.
I think that the use of RU486 and other medication would definately help the dilemma of abortion. By making them readily available to any woman, any confrontation with pro-lifers is avoided. During this difficult time, the last thing a woman needs is the harassing shouting of a psycho pro-lifer outside the clinic.
A new perspective
Pro-lifers are bent against abortion, but what other options do they offer? Most pro-lifers are anti-contraceptive. An over-stated fact among pro-lifers is "the long waiting lists for couples wanting to adopt." Sure, lots of people want to adopt children, but with over 1.5 million abortions each year, imagine the over-population of the orphanages! In Silent Scream, the number of abortions in the US per day was quoted at 4,000! The pro-life point about having the baby and putting it up for adoption is very unrealistic.
I haven't heard any other pro-life options besides adoption. I guess their most obvious (and equally unrealistic) suggestion would be to have the baby and deal with it. But what if the mother can't handle the commitment, or isn't financially secure? The pro-lifers have to think of better solutions before criticizing the one we are using now.
Why am I pro-choice?
I think one of the main reasons that I am pro-choice is the amount of poverty in this country. Although I haven't found any data to confer with this, my hypothesis is that most of the abortions are performed on lower-class, perhaps poor, women. Without this, just think of the poverty our country would have! At the rate of 4,000 extra people a day, the US would literally run out of room in a short time!
My opinion of Silent Scream and pro-lifers
I think that Silent Scream was another feeble attempt to scare people out of abortion. Judging by the reaction of the class, people have wised-up to pro-lifers. People will no longer tolerate being bombarded with graphic descriptions, gory pictures, and sorrowful testimonies. To but it bluntly, I am fed up with extreme pro-lifers. Granted, not all of them are as bad as I make them out to be, but about a year ago, while walking out of my dad's office at Jewish Hospital, we were "harassed" by three pro-lifers. At first I thought they would respect our privacy and let us pass. However, they blurted out "Did you know that there are abortions being performed at Jewish Hospital?!" What did they intend that question to accomplish? We tried to ignore them kept walking, but they persisted and attempted to force their pamphlets and handouts on us. I would have had no problem had they simply offered us a pamphlet, but I felt violated when they thrust them into our faces.
After researching this report, I still hold my ground about being pro-choice. I think that the woman's rights override those of the fetus. Regardless of the reason or circumstances safe, reliable abortion should be made available to any woman..Acts of Violence Against Abortion Providers and Clients
1,991 1,992 1,993 1,994 1,995 Total
Murder 0 0 1 4 0 5
Attempted Murder 2 0 1 8 0 11
Bombing 1 1 1 3 0 40
Arson 10 16 9 5 8 100
Attempted Bomb / Arson 1 13 7 4 0 68
Invasion 29 26 24 2 0 347
Vandalism 44 116 113 42 1 596
Assault & Battery 6 9 9 7 1 96
Death Threats 3 8 78 59 13 238
Kidnapping 0 0 0 0 0 2
Burglary 1 5 3 3 3 37
Stalking N/A N/A 188 22 4 214
Total Acts of Violence 95 194 434 159 40 1,754
Refers to all 1995 incidents up to April 30 in all tables.
Refers to 1977 to April 30, 1995 in all tables.
Stalking wasn't tracked until 1993.
Acts of Disruption Against Abortion Providers and Clients
1,991 1,992 1,993 1,994 1,995 Total
Hate Mail/Phone Calls 142 469 628 381 33 1,856
Bomb Threats 15 12 22 14 5 317
Picketing 292 2,898 2,279 1,407 90 7,868
Total Acts of Disruption 449 3,379 2,929 1,802 139 10,071
Abortion Clinic Blockades
1,991 1,992 1,993 1,994 1,995 Total
No. of Incidents 41 83 66 25 3 637
No. of Arrests 3,885 2,580 1,236 217 34 33,699