Myths about Roe v. Wade

Hobby Lobby Day!

SCOTUS

As both an active member of the pro-life movement and a law student, I am frequently confronted with the fact that the vast majority of activists on both sides of the abortion debate have many misconceptions about what Roe v. Wade actually says about the legality of abortion. Most of this arises from the fact that they have not read the case themselves, or if they did read it, they were unable to understand it due to a lack of legal training. My goal is to attempt to clear up four of the most common myths surroundingRoe v. Wade, and the legal state of abortion in general, so that our conversations about the issue will be more informed going forward.

Myth #1: Abortion is a “Fundamental Right”

Many abortion supporters, including elected officials and leaders of pro-abortion organizations, will tell you that the Supreme Court declared abortion a fundamental right in Roe v. Wade, but this simply is not true. In fact, no majority opinion by the Supreme Court has ever declared abortion a fundamental right.

In Constitutional Law, there are three levels of “judicial scrutiny” the Court will use when deciding cases, these levels are: (1) Strict Scrutiny, (2) Intermediate Scrutiny, and (3) Rational Basis Scrutiny. When a fundamental right is at issue in a case, the Court must use the highest level of scrutiny, Strict Scrutiny. Under Strict Scrutiny, the Court presumes the policy to be invalid unless the government can demonstrate a compelling interest to justify the policy being challenged.

While much of the language used in Roe seemed to imply Strict Scrutiny, the Court did not actually declare the right fundamental, and subsequent cases prove this. Indeed, many of the abortion cases that the Court heard between Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey dealt with overturning this presumption by the lower courts, though often with contradictory results.

For example, the Court struck down all abortion regulations inPlanned Parenthood v. Danforth (1976), City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, Inc. (1983), and Thornburg v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (1986), but upheld similar and further regulations in Harris v. McRae (1980), Rust v. Sullivan(1991), Connecticut v. Menillo (1975), and Bellotti v. Baird (1976).[1]

In these sometimes contradictory rulings, the Court seemed unsure of how to apply its own rule from Roe. For example, while Thornburgcalled abortion a “fundamental right,” the Court did not apply Strict Scrutiny.[2] Likewise in Bellotti and Harris, the Court referred only to an “undue burden” or “unduly burdensome” analysis, again ignoring the usual standard of review for “fundamental rights”.[3]

Finally, in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court clearly ruled that abortion is not a fundamental right by adopting an Intermediate Scrutiny approach known as “Undue Burden.” Instead of the government having to prove a “compelling interest”, the burden of proof was now placed on those challenging the law, who must prove that the law places an “Undue Burden” on a woman seeking an abortion. Since then, the “Undue Burden” standard has been used in every case dealing with abortion to be heard before the US Supreme Court, clearly showing that abortion is not a fundamental right.

Myth #2: Roe legalized abortion only in the first three months.

This myth was actually repeated by my Constitutional Law professor last year, until I corrected him, and is so pervasive that the vast majority of Americans genuinely believe that it is true. In fact, when polling is done regarding public opinions about Roe,many of the pollsters frame their question in these terms: “In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that states laws which made it illegal for a woman to have an abortion up to three months of pregnancy were unconstitutional, and that the decision on whether a woman should have an abortion up to three months of pregnancy should be left to the woman and her doctor to decide. In general, do you favor or oppose this part of the U.S. Supreme Court decision making abortions up to three months of pregnancy legal?”[4]

The actual ruling in Roe split the ability of governments to regulate abortion into three categories, based on the medical classification of trimesters. Under this trimester framework, the Court banned any regulations during the first trimester, allowed minimal regulations related to maternal health in the second trimester, and allowed most regulations in the third trimester.[5] In short, the Court actually legalized all abortions prior to viability,which it placed at about 28 weeks, which is about seven months, not three months.[6]

However, in both Roe and the companion case Doe, the Court ruled that even after the child is viable, there must be a “health exception” that allows the mother to abort for almost any reason:[7]

“All factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age-relevant to the well-being of the patient…”

“Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases … the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will consider in consultation.”

Under these factors, pro-life legal scholars have pointed out that since the abortionist is the one who determines whether a woman’s health is at risk, the “definition of a woman’s health is so broad that there would never be a time when a woman could not find an abortionist willing to perform an abortion.”[8]

Myth #3: Overturning Roe will put women in jail.

Another common myth is that women would be thrown in jail for getting an abortion if Roe was overturned. However, Roe’s core holding is that abortion cannot be banned by the state, so overturning it would not result in a nation-wide ban on abortion; it would merely return the issue for the states to decide for themselves. In order for a nation-wide ban to occur, the Court would have to go a step further than just overturning Roe, and hold that the preborn are “persons” under the 14th Amendment, and therefore abortion is a violation of the Due Process Clause. Unless the Supreme Court did this in addition to overturning Roe, abortion would remain legal unless a state chose to expressly ban it.

While it is true that some states, like my home state of Louisiana, have trigger laws that would automatically ban abortion if Roe is overturned, most of them do not. The reality of a post-Roe America would most likely mirror the level of regulations that exist in the present day- conservative states with many current regulations might chose to ban abortion, more liberal states would leave their regulations the same and still allow abortions to continue as before.

Even in those states that would chose to  ban abortion, it would be very unlikely that women would be sent to jail for getting an abortion. Looking back pre-Roe, when most states banned abortion, there are only two known cases in which a woman was charged in any State with participating in her own abortion- one in Pennsylvania in 1911, and one in Texas in 1922. There is no documented case since 1922 in which a woman has been charged in an abortion in the United States.

In reality, the woman was typically treated as a second victim of abortion, the real target of these laws, and of the criminal prosecution that resulted from them, was the abortionist. Prosecuting a woman as an accomplice to the abortionist raised serious evidentiary problems that made it counterproductive- the testimony of an accomplice alone is not enough to meet the burden of proof in a criminal case, and the accomplice’s testimony must be corroborated by another source. It was difficult to prosecute abortionists under this requirement, and in order to convince women to testify against the abortionist, prosecutors had to promise them that they would not be charged for admitting to an abortion.[9]

Myth #4: Abortion bans were created to protect women because abortion was dangerous.

In their oral arguments before the Court, Roe’s lawyers argued that most state laws against abortion were implemented solely to protect the woman from a dangerous procedure; but this could not be further from the truth.  In fact, in the opinion Justice Blackmun wrote in Roe, he acknowledged that it was the attitude of the medical profession that played a significant role in the enactment of the stringent criminal abortion legislation of the late 1800s, and even quoted the American Medical Association’s 1857 report on abortion, in which the AMA called abortion an ”unwarrantable destruction of human life,” and called to upon state legislatures to revise their abortion laws and encouraged state medical societies to press the subject.[10] The result of this, which has been called “The Physician’s Crusade against Abortion”, was the implementation of many of the same abortion bans that were struck down by Roe nearly a hundred years later.

 Footnotes

[1] Planned Parenthood v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52 (1976); City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, Inc., 462 U.S. 416 (1983);Thornburg v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986); Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980); Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991); Connecticut v. Menillo, 423 U.S. 9, 10 (1975); Bellotti v. Baird, 428 U.S. 132 (1976).

[2] Thornburg, 476 U.S. at 772.

[3] Bellotti, 443 U.S. at 640; Harris, 448 U.S. at 235.

[4] Harris Polling Question from The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB114668092648642849

[5] Roe, 410 U.S. 154-6

[6] Id., at 160.

[7] Doe, 410 U.S. at 180; Roe, 410 U.S. at 149.

[8] Clarke Forsythe et al., Constitutional Law & Abortion Primer, 10 (William L. Saunders ed., Americans United for Life 2011) available at: http://www.aul.org/primer/.

[9] Forsythe, Clark, Why the States Did Not Prosecute Women for Abortion Before Roe v. Wade. http://www.aul.org/2010/04/why-the-states-did-not-prosecute-women-for-abortion-before-roe-v-wade/

[10] Roe, at 141-2.

****I’ve done a shorter version of this post as part of my series about the Viability of Roe, but I wanted to update it and expand it for a full length article for Live Action. You can also read it here on their site.*****

The Viability of Roe, Part 5: Is Abortion Good for Women?

Image

“All factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age-relevant to the well-being of the patient…”[1]

“Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. Psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it. In other cases … the additional difficulties and continuing stigma of unwed motherhood may be involved. All these are factors the woman and her responsible physician necessarily will consider in consultation.”[2]

These are the words used by Justice Blackmun in Roe and her companion case Doe v Bolton, to describe the so-called “health exception” in regards to the right to abortion. Additionally, Justice Blackmun implied that abortion was safer for the mother[3]. He also repeats this and go, saying that “advances in medicine and medical techniques have made it safer for a woman to have a medically induced abortion than for her to bear a child.”[4] But the credibility of these sources cited in regards to this claim, has been seriously called into question by many people.[5] Even today, maternal mortality and abortion mortality rates cannot be compared, due to the fact that neither federal nor state governments maintain any system of human form and mandatory reporting of abortion deaths or injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depends completely on voluntary reporting systems and estimates the maternal deaths are underreported by 30 to 150 percent.[6] also things that have nothing to do with the biological risks of pregnancy, such as accidents, and homicides are also included in maternal death figures, this means that maternal death numbers are likely inflated, while the lack of reporting requirements means that abortion death figures are likely under  reported.[7]

Even Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, acknowledges that abortion has many short-term risks, including blood loss, blood clots, incomplete abortions (which occur when part of the unborn child or other products of pregnancy are not completely emptied from the uterus), infections, and injury to the cervix or other organs, including cervical lacerations and incompetent cervix – a condition that can also affect subsequent pregnancies.[8]

Additionally, at that time there had been no studies done on the long-term effects abortion can have on women, both physically and emotionally. In the more than 40 years since Roe, doctors and psychologists have documented at least six long-term risks associated with abortion[9]:

  • Increased risk of preterm birth or premature delivery and future pregnancies.
  • Increased risk of placenta previa and future pregnancies.[10]
  • Increased incidence of drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Increased risk of suicide in psychiatric admission after abortion.
  • Loss of the protective effect against breast cancer of the first full term pregnancy.
  • Increased risk of violence and assault after abortion

Preterm birth occurs when the child is born prior to the 37th week of pregnancy, and it is very dangerous to the child. In fact, according to the US Center for Disease Control premature birth is a leading cause of infant mortality in the United States.[11] Preterm birth can also be a risk factor for later disabilities, including cerebral palsy and behavior problems in the child.[12]

As of right now over 130 published studies have shown statistically significant association between induced abortion and subsequent preterm birth or low birth weight. Three different systematic studies were performed in 2009, and each one demonstrated the risk of preterm birth following induced abortions.[13] The increased risk of preterm birth in these studies fell between 20% and 37%, increasing exponentially to over 100% when the woman had multiple abortions. The Institute of Medicine, a section within the National Academy of Science, also lists first trimester abortion as a risk factor for subsequent preterm birth. [14]

Placenta previa, which is when the placenta covers all or some of the cervix, is another condition associated with previous abortions that can cause serious health risks for women. The mother can experience life-threatening hemorrhaging, and the child is placed in danger of perinatal death or medically indicated preterm birth.[15] Three separate studies showed a 50 percent increase in the risk of placenta previa after an induced abortion,[16] while another study found that the risk of placenta previa can more than double when the mother has had two or more abortions.[17]

The link between breast cancer and abortion has been hotly contested over the years, but it is scientifically indisputable, that a woman’s first full-term pregnancy can reduce her lifetime risk of breast cancer.[18] A 2003 study concluded that “clinicians are obligated to inform a pregnant woman that a decision to abort her first pregnancy. They almost doubled her lifetime risk of breast cancer through loss of the protective effect of a completed full-term pregnancy earlier in life.”[19] Additionally, at least thirty-one studies have raised the possibility that induced abortion is an “independent risk” for breast cancer, or that induced abortion can directly cause breast cancer.[20]

One of the most disturbing consequences of abortion is the mental health impact. While Justice Blackmun focused on the opinion that pregnancy and motherhood could lead to psychological distress or harm, we now have evidence that abortion increases a woman’s risk of mental health problems. As Dr. Mary Calderone, the former medical director of Planned Parenthood, once admitted: “…in almost every case, abortion, whether legal or illegal, is a traumatic experience that may have severe consequences later on.”[21]

In 2011, a groundbreaking study on the effects of abortion on mental health was published in the British Journal of psychiatry, which is a publication of Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists. The results of this study showed a moderate to high increased risk of mental health problems after abortion, specifically a 34% higher risk of anxiety, 30% higher risk of depression, 110% higher rate of alcohol use, 220% higher marijuana use, and 155% higher risk of suicidal behavior.[22] In fact, in his book Abuse of Discretion, Clarke Forsythe points to the fact that there have been more than one hundred peer-reviewed studies published in international medical journals, suggesting an association between abortion and adverse mental health outcomes.[23]

Recently there have been disturbing cases of men attempting to force or trick their partners into abortions, such as New York pharmacist Orbin Tercero, who was convicted in 2011 of lacing his partners drink with an abortive drug or Thomas Hill, who sexually assaulted his partner in front of their children after she refused to get an abortion for a subsequent pregnancy.[24]

While not all studies agree with these outcomes, and some come down on both sides of the issue, there’s clearly a need for further research into this issue. At the very least, these studies suggest that the Supreme Court was too hasty in supposing that abortion was good for women.

 

[1]

[2] Doe, 410 US at 192

[3] Roe, 410 US at 149

[4] Doe, 410 US at 190

[5] Abuse of discretion, pages 155-180

[6] Letter of Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H, , director, Centers for Disease Control, July 20, 2004, reprinted in brief amicus cure I have the American Center for Law and Justice in Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 US 124 (2007), Gonzales v Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2005 US briefs, 1382.

[7] Abuse of discretion, page 175.

[8] See http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/abortion/in-clinic-abortion-procedures-4359.asp

[9] The cost of choice (Erika bachioci); Reardon, strahan, thorpe and shuping, deaths associated with abortion compared to childbirth, 20 J.contemporary health law and policy, 279, spring 2004; Clarke Forsythe and Stephen B Presser, tragic failure of Roe V Wade: why abortion should be returned to the states, 10 Texas review of law and policy, 87, 2005; abuse of discretion, pages 155 through 180;  Thorpe, hartmann and shadigian, “long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion.

[11] Jim Thorpe et al, long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortions: review of the evidence, obstrectial and gynecological survey 58(1):67, 68 (2003).

[12] W.M. Callaghan, contribution of preterm birth to infant mortality rates in the US, pediatrics 118(4): 1566 (oct 2006); B.Rooney & B.C Calhoun, induced abortion and risk of  later premature births. Physicisans & Surgeons 8(2): 46, 46-47 (2003).

[13] P. shah et al. induced termination of pregnancy and low birth weight and preterm birth: a systematic review and meta-analysis, B.J.O.G. 116(11):1425 (2009); R.H. van Oppenraaij et al, predicting adverse obstetric outcome after early pregnancy events and complications: a review, Human Reproduction. Update Advance Access 1:1 (Mar. 7, 2009); H.M. Swingle et al., Abortion and the Risk of Subsequent preterm Birth: a systematic review and meta-analysis, J. Repro. Med. 54:95 (2009).

[14] R.E. Behrman, Preterm Birth: Casues, Consequences and Prevention 519 (2006)

[15] J.M Thorpe et al., supra at 75.

[16] see  Forsythe abuse of discretion, page 255

[17] J.M. Thorpe et al., supra at 70-71

[18] Reeves, Kan, Key, et al., Breast Cancer Risk in Relation to Abortion, at 1741. See also Forscythe, Abuse of Discretion, supra pg 263-4

[19] JM Thorpe et al., supra, at 76

[20] See generally, Lanfranchi, The Abortion-Breast Cancer Link; M.C. Pike et al. Oral Contraceotive Use and Early Abortion as Risj Factors for Breast Cancer in Young Women, British Journal of Cancer 43 (1981); L.A. Brinton et al., Reproductive Factors in the Etiology of Breast Cancer, British Journal of Cancer 47 (1983)

[21] Calderone, illegal abortion as a public health problem, at 951.

[22] P. Coleman, Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009, BJP 199:180-186 (2011)

[23] Page 257 ,citing  Letter to office of the United Nations High Commissioner on human rights, November 27, 2009 attachment  two, available at http://www.aaplog.org/internationalissues/aaplog-objection-to-incusion-of-universal-acess-to-reproductive-healthcare-as-a-part-of-mdg-5-letter-to-un-high-commissioner-on-human-rights/.see, e.g., Berlin at all, reasons for induced abortion, 36; Cougle, Rearden and Coleman, generalized anxiety following unintended pregnancies; Gissler et al., injury, death, suicides and homicide; Bradshaw and Slade, the effects of induced abortion or emotional experiences and relationships.

[24] Forsythe, Clarke D. (2013-09-24). Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade (p. 442). Encounter Books. Kindle Edition.

Testimony on HB 388 before the LA House Health & Welfare Committee

Deanna Candler & HB388 Sponsor Rep. Katrina Jackson before the House Health & Welfare Committee

Deanna Candler & HB388 Sponsor Rep. Katrina Jackson before the House Health & Welfare Committee

My name is Deanna Candler, I am a resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a law student at LSU, and am representing Law Students for Life of America. I am here today to support the proposed regulations in HB 388.

Ladies and gentleman of the committee, you will hear today that these regulations are medically unnecessary, but this simply isn’t true. The proposed regulations are common sense regulations that would protect the health of women who undergo procedures in these clinics.

These regulations are needed in Louisiana- this need is evidenced by the history of violations and complaints against Baton Rouge’s own abortion facility, the Delta Clinic. The Delta Clinic has a history of botched abortions, unsanitary conditions, multiple violations, as well as of protecting rapists, going back to 1974, and continuing to the present day. Additionally, the Delta Clinic previously employed a woman by the name of Eileen O’Neill, who after leaving the Delta Clinic, surrendered her medical license due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Ms. O’Neill  went on to practice medicine without a license, in the Philadelphia abortion clinic of Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murdering innocent children who were born as a result of botched abortions, and causing the death of and  countless injuries to, the women who visited his clinic.

The women of Louisiana deserve to be protected when they walk into an abortion clinic, and this regulation would do much to assure their safety.

From a legal standpoint, this regulation will not violate the standards set up by the Supreme Court. In the landmark case, Planned Parenthood v Casey, the Supreme Court noted that “not all burdens on the right to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy will be undue,” and acknowledged that a state’s interests in protecting unborn life,  in preserving the integrity of the medical profession, preventing the coarsening of society’s moral sense, and promoting respect for human life more generally, are strong enough to warrant restrictions prior to viability, even if those regulations might make abortion more difficult or expensive to obtain.

Justice Kennedy also pointed out in the 2007 case Gonzales v. Carhart, that “Medical uncertainty does not foreclose the exercise of legislative power in the abortion context any more than it does in other contexts,’ stating that State legislatures are empowered to make their own determinations of what regulations and restrictions are medically necessary.

Under these principles, the Supreme Court has upheld many abortion restrictions and regulations, including informed consent requirements, waiting periods, parental consent for minors, reporting requirements for clinics, funding restrictions, and even a total ban on partial birth abortion.

Requiring doctors to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals would serve to protect the health and safety of Louisiana women, and since they do not violate the principles the Supreme Court follows in determining whether an abortion regulation is an “undue burden”, I ask you to support this bill.

 

*****************************************************************************************************************

HB 388, HB 305, and HB 1262 are the work of the amazing Bioethics Defense Fund! It’s been an honor to work with them on these important pieces of legislation! Learn more about this great pro-life group and their groundbreaking work at their website: http://www.bdfund.org/

Pro-Life Hulk

When I get angry I shake uncontrollably… sometimes I’m afraid I’m going to explode into a hulk-like monster when I do this. But it takes a certain type of thing to make me that angry, and as I read the LSU Reveille today- it happened.  There was an article about why Planned Parenthood should receive government funding, and the “arguments” not only pissed me off, they turned my stomach. Let’s take a look:

1. By the regulations put in by federal law, Planned Parenthood can’t put any of their government funding into abortion services because it isn’t considered to be family planning.

This is strangely worded to begin with, but I’m guessing she means that they aren’t allowed to pay for abortions with federal money. And this is true, but it is also a mere technicality. In 2011 (the most recent numbers available), federal taxpayers were forced to give Planned Parenthood $524,000,000 which accounts for nearly half of their total budget and doesn’t include state tax dollars given to regional Planned Parenthood affiliates.  With about half of their revenue coming from tax dollars, we are indirectly subsidizing abortion, even if the money isn’t going to directly going to pay for them. It is just a bait and switch argument. If it wasn’t for this funding, they wouldn’t be able to operate the clinics, or hire the doctors that perform the abortions.

2. Only three percent of all the services it (Planned Parenthood) provides are abortion.

Pro-aborts LOVE this argument, and never bother to examine how Planned Parenthood came up with this number. They did it by counting every single little thing they do as a separate “service.” Let’s look at one appointment and find see how many services we can count using Planned Parenthood counting. You walk in and get a pregnancy test, 1 service. Since you’re sexually active, they recommend you get an STD test too- that’s another service, now we are up to 2. The doctor asks you if you are on the pill and if you’re happy with the type you are on- that’s “birth control counseling” and the count is 3. The doctor does a pelvic exam and pap smear- 2 more services, now you’re at 5. Finally as you walk out the door, he gives you 5 condoms, and each one is counted as a service. So that is 10 services at one appointment. They do the same thing with counting the abortion process. Legally, you must take a pregnancy test, receive counseling and view an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion; Planned Parenthood counts each of those as an individual service, and not as part of their abortion services.

Additionally, a lawsuit recently settled by Planned Parenthood in Texas resulted in them paying the Texas Government over $4 million for charging state Medicaid for services that were never rendered, meaning that they falsified the number of services provided.

The 3% number is clearly false, so let’s look at some other numbers:

  • 1 in 4 abortions in America are performed at a Planned Parenthood clinic or affiliates
  • Planned Parenthood performed 915 abortions per day
  • 92% of pregnant women who go into a Planned Parenthood get an abortion
  • Planned Parenthood does 391 abortions for each adoption referral it provides
  • In 2011, Planned Parenthood made $150,000,000 in profit on abortion procedures.
  • There are over 8,000 community health centers that provide low cost healthcare without profit from abortions.

3. Conservative government officials, mostly men, are the ones trying to take away these fundamental and essential care options.

Ah, the classic pro-lifers are mostly men argument. While pro-life elected officials are mostly male, the same is true of pro-abortion elected officials, and elected officials in general. Women make up over 50% of the voting public but hold less than 5% of elected offices. So the governmental argument is non-unique to the pro-life side of the argument.

But if you look at who the leaders of the pro-life movement you’ll see that it is mostly women! Some examples include women such as Abby Johnson, Live Action’s  Lila Rose, Charmaine Yoest who is President of Americans United for Life, Carol Tobias who is President of National Right to Life, Marjorie Dannenfelser who is President of SBA List, Concerned Women for America, and Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oh and not that I’m in the same league as these amazing women, but last time I checked I was a woman. I’ve been to my share of pro-life meetings, lectures, and events, and in my experience women almost always outnumber the men by a large number.

Additionally, the last time Gallup did a study on abortion views, an equal percentage of men and women polled said that they believed abortion was “morally wrong”. 51% of both genders agreed on this. Furthermore, 5% more women than men felt that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Nearly a quarter of all women polled would be in favor of making abortion illegal in all cases. Recent polls on Pain Capable Abortion Bans show that actually women support these bans by a significant majority.

4. All abortion arguments and stances aside, here is the cold truth about them: unless you’re the person getting the abortion, abortions don’t affect you. Read that again, because few people understand this concept.

This is the same “logic” as the oft repeated line “Don’t like abortions, don’t have one” and is laughable at best. Martin Luther King told us that “injustice anywhere is an affront to justice everywhere,” and we see the truth of that in many of history’s greatest movements.

Take slavery for example- William Wilberforce was a member of British Parliament who was decidated to ending the slave trade, would you tell him “don’t like slavery, don’t own slaves”? Slavery didn’t directly affect him, but his heart broke for his fellow humans and the atrocities that were being perpetuated against them. The rallying cry for British abolitionists was “Am I not a man and brother?”. I ask the same question- if I see a travesty occurring at my neighbor’s home am I supposed to ignore it? What about other things that don’t affect Americans- genocides in other countries and natural disasters that occur overseas? Should we have ignored the Holocaust? Should we ignore Joseph Kony and his indentured army of enslaved child soldiers? Should we keep our money for ourselves next time a tsunami kills and displaces millions of people in another country? Of course not! Because Dr. King was right, “injustice anywhere is an affront to justice everywhere”.

5. You may love babies and you may think that taking away a person’s right to “kill” said “baby” is making the world a better place, but the only real thing you’re doing it using your hate and narrow- minded belief about the sanctity of life to dictate someone else’s.

Honestly, this one just confused me… how is it hateful to protect vulnerable human life? It seems infinitely more hateful to me, to rip a baby apart piece by piece and then vacuum it out of the womb. Because that is the reality of abortion.

Oh wait, I called it a baby, not a “baby”. I’m guessing the author would rather you call the preborn child a fetus. Which is fine because fetus is just Latin for “offspring according to its kind” and our kind, humans, call our offspring babies… so fetus pretty much means baby.

I suppose “the narrow-minded” claim could be truthful, but it’s not a bad thing. Abortion abolititionist Greg Koukl sums it up clearly: “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.”

I could write a whole different article on scientific facts regarding fetal development, but a picture I took at a protest in San Antonio this summer handles it pretty well. The guy holding it was a member of the group Secular Pro-Life, a group of atheist and agnostic pro-lifers. Here’s the picture:

science

And finally, the part that truly pissed me off:

6. People in favor of defunding this wonderful service need to look past the silly three percent of abortion services and see the bigger picture.

There is nothing SILLY about abortion. Most pro-abortion advocates will admit that, and say that it is a very difficult decision. This author disagrees. She thinks that 333,964 innocent, helpless, vulnerable human beings being killed is SILLY. There are no words to accurately describe the disgust I feel when I read her sentence. 333,964 human beings. 333,964 voices silenced. I won’t ignore that. I won’t “look past” it.

I AM THE PROLIFE GENERATION!

 prolifegen

“We will not stand down. We will expose injustice. We will fight against the lies told to our generation. We will face persecution. We will help those facing crisis. We will fight against a third of our generation being taken out before they are born. We will not be silent. We will not back down until abortion is abolished.”

–Students for Life of America

Unwanted

Imagine that there are three little children, two girls and a boy. They are all unborn, unplanned, and for all purposes, unwanted.

Girl # 1 will be the oldest, her mom will have her at only 14 years old. She will grow up neglected, and see things that no little child should see. She will be placed in foster care around the age of 5.

Her little brother will be born two years later, when her mom is 16. He too will be neglected, but he will also be physically abused by some of mom’s boyfriends. He will grow up with special needs. He is 3 when they are placed in foster care.

Last comes the baby of the family, Girl #2, who is born when her mom is 19. She will not spend much time with her mom, but what little time she does spend will be marked by neglect. She will be placed in foster care before she is even a year old.

All of this sounds pretty horrible- a lot of suffering, a lot of neglect, and little love. Would it be better for these three little children to never have been born? After all, then they would never suffer from neglect, never be hungry, never be hurt, never have to cry themselves to sleep. Many abortion advocates will talk about how it would be better to abort than to bring unwanted children into this world, and would consider the fate of these three children to prove their point…

But this is only half of their story. 

998443_10151777014580519_1070256357_n (1)

They are adopted, all of them at the same time, by two amazing parents. Their parents love and adore them; they do more than just feed and clothe them, they teach them right from wrong, they kiss boo-boos, they take them to Disney World, take them hunting and fishing, teach them to ride a bike, help them with algebra homework, cry as they watch them walk across the state at graduation. They are a family, a close and loving family. And these three little children grow up to be adults.

Girl #1, Stephanie, is a strong, independent, military wife, who loves photography, and plans to start a family of her own soon.

The boy, Kenneth, loves to read and play video games. He lives on his own and has a steady job.

Girl #2, Deanna, graduated from college and is now in law school, Girl #2 is me.

This is my family. This is my story. A story that shows that even unplanned children born looking like they have no future still deserve a chance at life. That even “unwanted” children can be wanted and loved very much. The next time you hear an abortion advocate say “Every Child A Wanted Child” think of me and my family, and know that there is no such thing as a  truly unwanted child.

#Stand4Life in Austin

Thursday at 5:30 am, after a 10 hour greyhound bus ride to meet Students For Life in Austin, I was unsure of what to expect from the many pro-abortion supporters I knew had gathered at the Texas state capitol.

The first day was great- the Students for Life group got to meet Rick Santorum, who encouraged us in our fight for the unborn. I definitely consider him to be one of my personal heros, so having him speak to us was amazing! We also met with Texas Representatives Bryan Hughes and Steve Toth, who welcomed us to the Capitol with open arms and lots of prayers. Later on, these two fine gentlemen would provide our group with hotel rooms just for us to shower in, after the YMCA kicked SFLA out.

After lunch, we headed down to San Antonio to meet the Planned Parenthood bus tour for a silent protest. There are pictures of some of the signs below, although several of them were simply too vulgar to post. While the people that showed up for that event weren’t as bad as the ones we would see the next day, there was still some vitriol hurled our way. But most horrifying to me was that when people read the sign the girl next to me was holding, that said “Wendy Stands With Gosnell”, they had no idea who Gosnell is.

Friday morning we arrived at the Capitol around 10 am and got to work. Some of us, like me, were passing out red “LIFE” tape; others were going around getting our fellow pro-lifers to sign the Statement of Peace, vowing to remain a peaceful presence; still others handed out snacks and water to ALL of those standing in line waiting to enter the gallery, pro-life or not.

At lunch, we walked to a park near the Capitol, where the Austin Knights of Columbus were nice enough to provide us with burgers, chips, cookies and drinks. Earlier in the week they had provided SFLA with many inflatable mattresses so that we didn’t have to sleep on the floors of the churches we were staying at.

When we returned from lunch, Representative Bob Duell provided us with blue shirts to pass out, along with water for anyone that needed it. Once back inside, things had taken a turn for the ugly- as we prayed, we were yelled at repeatedly (See videos below) and we began to hear the reports of DPS confiscating bricks and bottles of urine and feces, that pro-aborts had planned to throw at the senators after voting. At one point, a member of our group was violently shoved by the protesters as he recorded the scene in the Rotunda. We had heard other rumors about potential violence planned by the protesters, and had been warned that we might be asked to evacuate at any moment.

Keeping this in mind, a friend and I got in line for the gallery, hoping to be there when the historic vote finally went down. As we snaked through the line, things continued to get louder and louder as the majority of the pro-abortion crowd gathered in the rotunda, chanting, and strangely bouncing tampons off an orange flag. As we neared the gallery, the roar grew so loud that we could hardly hear each other talk, we later found out that this is when the group of women tried to padlock themselves to the gallery railing, one of which succeeded and had to be cut free. Shortly after this, we were informed that DPS had determined that the atmosphere was too dangerous for those wearing blue, and pro-lifers were being escorted out of the public parts of the Capitol, and into various offices. Our group gathered in Representative Hughes office, where we were locked in for our own safety and guarded by DPS officers.

As more than fifty people sat in the office, we were able to watch the live feed of the vote, and saw history in the making. When the final session started in the wee hours of Saturday morning, our group stood in a cramped office and prayed along with the Senate, while the pro-abortion advocates outside the gallery booed the same prayer. Minutes later, cheers rang out all around me and tears of joy were shed, as the final vote count was announced and the bill officially passed. A victory for the unborn had been achieved, and I was glad I had been on the right side of history. But history was not the only thing I had experienced in Austin. As I knelt in prayer in the rotunda, and was surrounded by hundreds of pro-abortion protesters angrily mocking my faith, I became convinced that I also experienced spiritual warfare. As a Christian, I felt secure that God would keep me safe, and I knew there were people all over the nation praying for our safety, but in my heart I knew fear.

I am so thankful for the Texas DPS who worked hard to ensure our safety, and to Representative Hughes for providing us a safe harbor in this storm. I am also grateful to the many people who donated food and supplies to the SFLA group, so that we could focus on supporting the bill, and saving babies!

Below I have compiled pictures and videos of the sights and sounds from this weekend. WARNING- some of the signs are very vulgar and may contain foul language. Unless otherwise noted, they are my personal photos and videos.

“Pray you’ll need it” Chant

“You Don’t Care if Women Die” Chant