In response to my previous column on abortion published on OpEdNews.com I read each and every response to it and many if not all sounded much like the responses I gave when I was pro-choice. I used many of those same arguments in confronting those who were/are pro-life. So, yes, I did hear you, but still stand my ground as an advocate for unborn children as I have done for the children of The Congo, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.
After I wrote that column, I received an email from someone who I have corresponded with for a long time. She is presently on a political Yahoo group which tends to be progressive in nature. Since I wish to shield her identity, I will call her Rachel and this is what she had to add and mind you she is a Democrat, “I have had an abortion, before I really understood what I was doing. I still feel guilty about it, of course. I hope you will change people's hearts with this, and I think you will.” I do not know about that, Rachel, but let us hope so. Also, Rachel used to volunteer her time for a Right to Life movement and is still a member. While I cannot assuage her guilt, at least I can be her voice. Perhaps helping out with this Right to Life movement is her way of giving back. Good for you, Rachel.
Then I received a very sad comment containing a story from another woman who I will call, Kate. In her email she stated, “A friend of mine used to act as an escort outside women's clinics. He would explain that he was the result of an unwanted pregnancy, and had grown up passed from one relative to another, until he was old enough to enlist in the army. He's bowlegged from rickets, because he didn't have enough to eat. He's single and childless, because he really doesn't know how to do a relationship. He saw himself as saving children from the life he led.” At first, I did not know how to feel of his actions, but thinking further, I saw him imprinting his life on others. Could those children he saw himself saving wind up in the homes of loving parents only to go on to do great things in life? We will never know.
Many folks are raised with hardships, only to turn them around into positives. Some have endured pain that you and I will never know, yet they rise above it all. While Rachel has called me a hero in the past as she has read my numerous columns, the true heroes are the ones you are about to meet. By the way, you will never meet them through groups such as NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) and NOW (National Organization for Women). But, they are our sisters none the less.
I would like you to meet, Gianna Jessen. You may be asking who she is and I will tell you a bit about her. She is a survivor of abortion. No, she did not have one through a botched abortion or a back-alley abortion, but she was the survivor of a late-term abortion. “On April 6, 1977, Gianna's 17 year old birthmother (named Tina) sought a saline abortion at seven months pregnant. Saline abortions involve injecting a caustic saline solution into the amniotic fluid, which (normally) causes the fetus to be scalded to death and then delivered dead. In this case, however, things didn't go according to plan. In the early hours of April 7th, Tina went into labor and gave birth to a living baby girl, Gianna. Fortunately for Gianna, she was born before the abortionist had arrived at the clinic for the day. As a result, instead of being killed at birth by the abortionist, she was transported to a hospital. She was severely injured by the abortion attempt, requiring a three month stay in the hospital, but she survived to be placed in a foster family specializing in high risk babies.”
While she could have turned that huge negative in her life, she has chosen to speak out against the very procedure that could have ended her life. As a result of this abortion that almost ended her life, what resulted was her being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. In that procedure her brain was starved of oxygen. While she has never met her birth-mother and has no anger towards her, she has also met with women who have had this procedure done. I call that the ultimate gift of compassion.
I think what angers me most is this passage, “On April 22, 1996, Gianna testified before the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on the issue of abortion. Sadly, out of 13 members of the subcommittee, only 2 were willing to listen to her testimony; abortion supporters boycotted the meeting.” I have often referred to Scott Ritter and Hans Blix as being the go-to-men when it came to our actions leading us up to the war as being the ones that our congress should have listened to, in this debate, Gianna was that very go-to-woman. At that moment in time, she could have been the true voice of abortion victims. Yet those who failed to show up to listen to her showed their cowardice.
I would now like to invite you to meet, Sarah Smith. Again, you are probably saying who? She too like Gianna is a survivor of abortion as one reads, “In 1970, Betty tried to abort Sarah in Los Angeles. At the time, Betty did not know she was pregnant with twins. One baby was aborted, but miraculously, Sarah survived. Sarah has forgiven her mother -- and for five years they traveled the world speaking together about the pain and suffering caused by abortion.” Her aborted twin was later named Andrew. According to Sarah who is a beautiful woman, she had this to say of Andrew, “Somehow, miraculously, I survived! My twin brother wasn't so lucky. Andrew was aborted and we lost him forever.” I believe that Andrew is her guiding spirit. According to Sarah, to this day, her mother deeply regrets that abortion.
Then we have the story of Amy and no last name given. She too was the victim of a late-term abortion and the facts only became clear to her when later on in life she needed her mother’s medical records. Her mother died a few years later after her birth. The saline abortion did not take and Amy was born healthy. Somewhat sounding angrier than Gianna and Sarah, she said, “My mother had no right to try and abort me, no matter what the circumstances were, no matter how inconvenient her pregnancy was. And if she was here with us today, I'm sure she would agree. Life is too precious to simply throw away. Now I can speak out against abortion from the baby's perspective. Any baby would choose life.”
In reading this one story which was published in the Times Online fifty babies are born alive a year after surviving abortions. In reading this article one will see there is “growing unease among clinicians over a legal ambiguity that could see them being charged with infanticide.” You will also read, “Its (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) guidelines say that babies aborted after more than 21 weeks and six days of gestation should have their hearts stopped by an injection of potassium chloride before being delivered. In practice, few doctors are willing or able to perform the delicate procedure.” In this country, doctors take the Hippocratic Oath and within this oath is “First do no harm” I do not know about you, but as a doctor, I could not bring myself to inject that into a baby’s heart.
In death penalty cases here in the United States, doctors are not the ones to inject the lethal cocktail for this very reason. They are not even in the room when the condemned is being executed. They only pronounce them dead.
So while those babies should have their hearts stopped according to those guidelines, this story made me sit up and take notice, Born at just 22 weeks - Amilla is not yet allowed home. In juxtaposition in which fifty babies survive each year due to abortions this article reports, "A girl born after just under 22 weeks in the womb - among the shortest gestation periods known for a live birth - will remain in a hospital a few extra days as a precaution, officials said." It goes onto report, "Amillia Taylor was born after 22 weeks weighing just ten ounces." According to her doctors she will be fine. If this baby was able to survive outside of the womb at 22 weeks in gestation; shouldn’t we as a society err on the side of life?
In speaking out on this issue, I would be hubristic if I think that any of these columns can affect the course of our national debate. That is not my intent what so ever. My intent is hopefully to reach out to at least one girl/woman who is thinking of having an abortion to tell her that she has other options namely adoption. Hear the voices of Gianna, Sarah and Amy.
In one of the many responses I received to my previous column, one person suggested that I speak out on birth control. As I said in an email to someone should a couple find themselves in the throws of passion and do not have protection, perhaps watching TV or going to the movies is in order. Again, I want to challenge those who see abstinence as being the best guide to decreasing the abortion rate, you are only kidding yourselves. While you preach that schools should only teach abstinence it will do little to decrease the thousands of abortions that take place every day. You say that you are pro-life then prove it. Sit down with your sons and daughters to insist they use birth control should they choose to have sex. By the way, tell them what sex is. If you cannot do that, then allow for these discussions to take place within our public schools. Our children have the right to know and should not be kept in the dark.
As a responsible parent, my two teens know all about sex and how to use protection. Thankfully they have not engaged in sex since we have open and honest discussions.