One really awesome thing Hillary has accomplished through the presidential debates is bringing the issue of abortion to the surface. Abortion is a topic that many people usually avoid. It’s emotionally charged. It’s sad. But the past few weeks, social media has been blown up with this topic. I’ve learned a lot about both the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life perspectives. I hope that my approach to this topic has changed accordingly. However, the facts have not changed: Abortion murders children, hurts women, and is almost always unnecessary. It is a topic that is vital to talk about. We cannot be silent. Not only are children’s very lives at stake, but women’s physical and mental health.
Let’s start off by identifying the positions and their core beliefs. I’m going to make it as simple and straightforward as possible by narrowing it down to two positions: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice, although I recognize the following does not fit everyone perfectly.
The Pro-Choice position usually presents the following beliefs:
- Women have a right to decide what their bodies go through, whether that be pregnancy and delivery or abortion.
- Women have the right to end a pregnancy based on fetal defects, financial and relationship status, rape, birth control, or any other reason.
- Abortion is often necessary.
- Elective abortion should be legal.
The Pro-Life position usually presents the following beliefs:
- The preborn child has the right to life from the moment of conception, having a different body separate from the mother.
- No one preborn child is any less of a person than another; all have the right to life regardless of fetal defects or the mother’s situation.
- Services to help pregnant women should be made readily available, whether that be medical care in the event of a difficult pregnancy, financial assistance, or adoption services.
- Abortion is rarely medically necessary.
- Elective abortion should be illegal.
Hillary’s comments on partial-birth abortion helped me realize that Pro-Choice people often don’t understand the Pro-Life perspective. If I saw what Pro-Choice people were seeing, I wouldn’t want to be Pro-Life either.
The main misconceptions I found were these:
- Christians believe receiving and/or performing an abortion is unforgivable.
- Pro-Life people do not care about women’s physical or mental health, their financial status, their relationship status, or if they have been raped.
- Pro-Life people expect a mother to die along with her preborn child in the event of a life-threatening pregnancy.
- Pro-Life people are blind to the instances where abortion may be medically necessary.
While the Bible does say killing the preborn is wrong, the Bible never says a sin is unforgivable if the person asks for forgiveness. Everyone who asks is freely forgiven.
Pro-Life people are not always good at expressing their concern for women because we get so caught up in the life-and-death situation of the preborn child. We focus so much on the rights of the child, we forget about the needs of the mother. We need to be better at caring for women. Please forgive us for not doing our best in this area.
I think it is time for Pro-Life people to change their approach in two ways. The first is to start focusing on women. One of the ways to show we care about the mental and physical health of women is to talk about what abortion does to the woman. The second is to explain why abortion is almost always unnecessary rather than just make that claim.
Abortion Hurts Women
So how does abortion hurt women? Let’s look at the different abortion procedures and their risks.
In a first trimester medical abortion, the woman takes a drug called Mifepristone (RU-486), which cuts off nourishment to the baby. The baby starves and dies. The mother takes Misoprostol (Cytotec) 24-48 hours later, which causes severe cramping, contractions, and heavy bleeding to expel the baby from the mother. During all this, the mother is not under medical observation. Women may experience abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and heavy bleeding. Women have died from medical abortions, usually because they are performed before an ectopic pregnancy can be detected. (An ectopic pregnancy is when the baby implanted in the Fallopian tube rather than the uterus). Medical abortion is also mentally traumatic, as the mother is often alone during this process, may see her baby, and often must flush her baby down a toilet. (1)
First trimester surgical abortion, also called Suction/Aspiration Dilation and Curettage (D&C), is the most common abortion procedure. Dilation & Evacuation (D&E) is a similar procedure done in the second trimester. During pregnancy, the cervix is naturally clamped shut, protecting the child. During a D&C and D&E, the cervix is unnaturally forced open so that the abortionist can gain access to the baby, either to break him/her apart with a suction tube in the first trimester or with sopher clamps in the second trimester. Because the cervix is forced to stretch, damage is often done that increases the risk of spontaneous miscarriage in future pregnancies when the mother may want a successful pregnancy. After the baby is broken apart, the uterus is scraped to draw out any body parts and tissue that may have been left behind. Sometimes, not all the tissue is removed, and as it rots, infection can occur, and sepsis may set in. This is life-threatening for the mother. Another risk is perforation, hemorrhage, damage to the reproductive and digestive organs. Sometimes, mothers are assured the bleeding is normal, only to go home and hemorrhage. This is an especially high risk in the D&E procedure.(2) (3)
A third trimester abortion procedure called Induction and Stillbirth also poses great risk to the mother. A large needle is pushed through the mother, and Digoxin is injected into the baby. The mother is then sent home to wait for her cervix to dilate. She may go into labor at any time. She may be unable to make it to the clinic in time and give birth on her own at home or wherever she is staying. She may be alone. Women in this situation often give birth over a toilet or in the bath tub. I cannot imagine how terrifying a situation this is for the mother. If the baby is not delivered whole, a D&E must be performed, and the mother faces the same risks mentioned previously. (4)
Partial-birth abortions create less risk of perforation and hemorrhage for the mother. The mother is induced. The cervix is still unnaturally dilated, so the risks of damage to the cervix and future miscarriages still exist. Forceps are used to turn the baby feet-first into a breech position. Giving birth breech is painful and dangerous for the mother. Most mothers in labor with breech babies have c-sections, but not so in the case of a partial-birth abortion. Once the baby is fully delivered except for the head, scissors are forced into the base of the skull, opened, and twisted. Suction is then used to remove the brain. After that, the dead child is delivered. (5)
Of course, the worst physical risk to women concerning abortion is death. Studies find that in America, Denmark, and Finland, maternal death is significantly higher in abortion cases compared to delivery. (6) Unfortunately, in America, it is impossible to know how many women die from abortion, as that is often not listed as cause of death on death certificates. Instead, the secondary cause of death is listed (uterine perforation, hemorrhage, sepsis, etc.). (17)
Unfortunately, the physical risks of injury, infection, future spontaneous miscarriages, and maternal death are not the only ways abortion hurts women. The emotional trauma is often far, far worse.
Rape is perhaps one of the biggest crimes possible, in my opinion. It strips women (and men) of confidence and leaves them with fear. Although most rape cases do not result in pregnancy, some do, and it is important not to forget the women who do face such situations. While it makes no logical sense to kill a person for the sole and simple fact that he or she was conceived in rape, we need to remember to also focus on the mother. She has been through a trauma. Putting her through yet another trauma is cruel. Many argue that nine months of carrying her rapist’s child is trauma, and while I believe it is true that this would be psychologically distressing, the trauma of ending a child’s life is far worse. For more on rape and abortion, this article goes into great detail and is well worth the read: (7) http://afterabortion.org/2004/rape-incest-and-abortion-searching-beyond-the-myths-3/
I have held the hand of a friend who has been through this nightmare of a situation. Through absolutely no fault of her own, she was raped. She became pregnant. She had an abortion. Although the rape itself has caused post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the abortion experience is included in her flashbacks and nightmares. Even worse is the guilt she has felt. For the first couple years, she and I spent nearly every evening talking. I tried my best to keep her calm as she faced another night of nightmares. I told her as often as I could that she is forgiven, both by Christ and by her baby in heaven. There were nights I cried out to God because I wasn’t sure if she would ever believe she could be forgiven. There were nights I wasn’t sure she wouldn’t take her own life. I am not saying that she had some terrible days here and there; I am saying every day was like this for years, despite professional help. I never, ever want to see another woman broken by rape further shattered by abortion. My friend’s reaction is not rare. The term Post Abortion Sydrome (PAS) now exists, and professional counselors are trained to treat it. You can learn more about PAS at http://postabortionsyndrome.org/. (8)
Abortions also aid rapists. Not only can rapists get away with their crime and from parental/financial responsibility in the event of abortion, but abortion conceals the crime, allowing it to be repeated. The terrifying reality in many incest cases is that minors are raped by a family member, become pregnant, and are coerced into getting an abortion. The minor is then sent home with her rapist, and the cycle continues. This was the case for three teenaged girls living in Baltimore. The father repeatedly raped them for nine years, resulting in ten abortions. At least five of these abortions were performed at the same clinic. Had that clinic done as required and reported that these girls were minors (sex with a minor is rape), the rape would have been revealed. (9)
While I lived in Fort Wayne, the abortion clinic there went under investigation. Indiana Right to Life made a Freedom of Information Act request, which revealed 1,833 errors and omissions in Dr. Klopfer’s reports at his abortion clinics. The omissions included failure to report abortions done on minors. One of these girls was only 13 years old. Once these errors and omissions were revealed, Dr. Klopfer’s back-up physician with admitting privileges ended his professional relationship with Dr. Klopfer in December 2013, which caused Dr. Klopfer to no longer be able to practice abortions in Fort Wayne. While this investigation was underway, the 40 Days for Life Campaign was in process. I took part by sitting outside the abortion clinic, praying. Even after the campaign was over, I continued visiting on Thursdays, the days that abortions were performed. I remained silent and peaceful. I simply prayed. It was cold; it often rained. My heart broke each time I watched the last nurse leave and lock up. I couldn’t understand how a person could let the rape of a 13 year old girl go unreported. Eventually, Dr. Klopfer’s license was revoked, and the clinic closed. (10)
Legal Elective Abortion is Unnecessary
It’s clear that abortion hurts women. But is it ever necessary? Let’s assume that it is sometimes necessary to end a pregnancy in order to save a mother’s life. Before the legalization of elective abortions, the practice of ending a life-threatening pregnancy was legal. Most Pro-Life people would want one life saved rather than lose two lives. We simply ask for the laws to return to this status.
The sad fact is that the vast majority of late-term abortions performed are not to save the mother’s life. According to the National Coalition of Abortion Providers in 1997, about 3,000 to 5,000 partial birth abortions are performed each year, with most of them being performed in healthy pregnancies.(11) Surveys performed in 2003 and 2006 report that no late-term abortions were performed to save the life of the mother. A survey of 18 clinics in 1998 revealed that only 9.4% of late-term abortions were for medical reasons. Among that 9.4%, the majority of late-term abortions were done because of fetal defects rather than to save the mother’s life. (12)
Even if the mother’s life is in danger after the 24th week of pregnancy, and the pregnancy ending is the only solution to save her life, such as may be the case with conditions like preeclampsia, ending the life of the baby is completely unnecessary. Nurse Christy Lee Parker explains this from her first-person experience. Because late term abortions are done after the age of viability, the baby can survive. The two scenarios go like this: Induce the mother, kill the child, and deliver – or induce the mother and deliver the child. That middle step in the first scenario does not need to happen. The first scenario also poses greater risk to the mother. The logical choice would be to deliver a live baby rather than abort. (13)
What about abortions including those done before the 24th week? Dr. Alan Guttmacher of Planned Parenthood said, “Today, it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life.” Dr. Landrum Shettles says, “Less than one percent of all abortions are performed to save the mother’s life.” Only 2.8% of abortions are performed for medical reasons, including non-life-threatening reasons. (14)
Even in cases where abortion is often recommended, such as ectopic pregnancy, there are other options that sometimes go undiscussed. Between the years 1809 and 1935, there were 316 ectopic pregnancies that resulted in live births. In 1914, a German doctor performed an autotransfusion rather than an abortion in an ectopic pregnancy. In 2002, autotransfusion had a 99.84% success rate, where both the child and the mother survived. In 1917, a child in an ectopic pregnancy was successfully transplanted from the mother’s Fallopian tube to the uterus. With today’s technology, why aren’t we doing more to make ectopic transplants a reality? Many mothers who experience an ectopic pregnancy desperately want their baby to live. How many mothers would get to keep their child in the event of an ectopic pregnancy if we stopped focusing on abortion and started focusing on treatment? (15) (16)
So what can we do to help women? We can help them with resources. We can make sure our churches are readily prepared with a list of Pro-Life clinics. We can financially support Pro-Life pregnancy centers that provide free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds, free medical care, free counseling, and free adoption assistance. We can love pregnant women, regardless of the way they became pregnant. We can forgive women who have been through abortion and help them find professional counseling for PAS.
But these resources are going to be harder to come by, depending on how this election plays out. If you are like me, you are struggling with this election. Hillary is a terrible person. Trump is a terrible person. Hillary is obviously Pro-Choice, as she wants to make even partial-birth abortion legal nationwide. Trump, who was previously Pro-Choice, claims he is Pro-Life (except in the case of rape), and who knows if he will do anything to defend the preborn. Very few third party candidates are Pro-Life. Evan McMullin is Pro-Life, but who knows if voting for a third-party write-in will make a difference. I believe the biggest issue in this election, bigger than finances, bigger than guns, bigger than war, bigger than what Hillary and Trump have done or said in the past, is the abortion issue. Three thousand babies die every day in America because of someone else’s choice. That means over 47 million babies have died since elective abortion was legalized in 1973. Remember, only one percent of them were aborted to save the mother’s life. To put this in perspective, how many Jews were killed in the Nazi Holocaust because people decided they were flawed and less valuable? Six million. The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the following definition of a holocaust: “a mass slaughter of people.” Abortion is the American Holocaust, and not just babies are victims. Over 47 million times, women have been hurt by abortion.
This election matters because the next American president will nominate between one and four Supreme Court Justices. If Hillary wins, she will not appoint Pro-Life justices. If Trump wins, he might appoint Pro-Life justices. If Pro-Life justices are not nominated, elective abortion will never be made illegal in our lifetime. Another 47 million children will be sacrificed. Women will be traumatized another 47 million times. The American Holocaust will continue.
When I was 12, I read The Diary of Anne Frank. I remember asking my mom why Americans didn’t help the Jews in WWII sooner than we did. Where was help? I ask the same question in today’s holocaust. Where is help? Who will help?
And now I ask you.
I cannot vote for Hillary. Even if I agree with every other stance she takes, even if I think her email security scandal is unimportant, the lives of 47 million cry out to me. I am not voting for Hillary. I’m not voting for Trump. I am voting to give the Supreme Court a chance. I am voting Pro-Life. I am voting for the preborn. I sacrifice my vote to give a preborn child a voice.
- Medical abortion procedure and risks http://abortionprocedures.com/abortion-pill/
- D&C abortion procedure and risks:http://abortionprocedures.com/aspiration/
- D&E abortion procedure and risks: http://abortionprocedures.com/
- Induction abortion procedure and risks: http://abortionprocedures.com/induction/
- Partial-birth abortion procedure and risks: http://www.abortionfacts.com/literature/partial-birth-abortion
- Maternal death risk in abortion: http://afterabortion.org/2012/higher-death-rates-after-abortion-found-in-u-s-finland-and-denmark/)
- Rape and abortion: http://afterabortion.org/2004/rape-incest-and-abortion-searching-beyond-the-myths-3/
- Post Abortion Syndrome: http://postabortionsyndrome.org/
- Baltimore girls raped and forced to abort: http://afterabortion.org/2004/rape-incest-and-abortion-searching-beyond-the-myths-3/
- Fort Wayne abortion clinic has 1,833 errors and omissions revealed: http://www.lifenews.com/2015/11/04/abortionist-forced-to-stop-abortions-at-last-indiana-abortion-biz-after-breaking-state-laws/
- Most partial-birth abortions done in healthy pregnancies: https://rtl.org/prolife_issues/partialbirthabortion.htm
- Most partial-birth abortions done in healthy pregnancies: http://liveactionnews.org/why-do-women-get-late-term-abortions/
- Unnecessary third trimester abortions: http://madworldnews.com/hillary-abortion-remarks-fact/
- Less than 1% of abortions performed are to save the mother’s life: http://www.abortionfacts.com/facts/8
- Successful ectopic pregnancies: http://www.personhoodinitiative.com/fact-sheet-on-ectopic-pregnancy.html
- Successful ectopic pregnancies: http://www.personhoodinitiative.com/ectopic-personhood.html)
- Maternal deaths resulting from abortion: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/01/22/women-are-dying-form-legalized-abortions-but-the-mainstream-media-will-never-tell-you-about-it.com