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.
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,
there are numerous women who led (and continue to lead)
prominent and scot-free lives after their abortions. 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.
A 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 tries
to evoke pity for 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.
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.
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 contact 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.
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.
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
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