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A Woman's Right or Right for Women?

By Georgette Forney


The June 9th issue of Newsweek magazine featured a series of articles discussing the rights of the unborn. It showed page after page of color ultrasound photos that clearly illustrate the humanity and the dignity of the child in the mother’s womb. It’s great that mainstream media has acknowledged the scientific evidence that proves it’s a baby with a heartbeat. I am encouraged that they are recognizing that the unborn may be entitled to certain human rights.

Many of us hope more people will acknowledge that it’s a baby, and abortion will end. But I wonder about that because according to abortion supporters, abortion isn’t about the baby and it’s rights, but the mother and her rights. They believe women’s reproductive rights trump everyone else’s -- including the baby’s and the fathers.

I think that’s why many people consider themselves pro-choice. They accept that abortion is the killing of a child, but believe it must remain legal because women want the right to exercise their reproductive rights and have abortions.

I like how Father Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life explains it: "The difference between the pro-life and pro-choice movements is not that we care about the fetus and they care about the woman. Rather, they say you can separate the two and we say you can't. One cannot love the child without loving the mother, nor can one destroy the child without destroying the mother."

People need to consider abortion from the mother’s perspective instead of the women’s rights perspective. They need to realize that abortion really has two victims: the baby and the mother. That’s why efforts like the Silent No More Awareness Campaign are so important. Until people become aware of the after-effects of abortion on women, they won’t realize that abortion advocates are more concerned with protecting the right to abortion than doing what’s right for women. In other words, women’s rights should focus on helping women and not on keeping abortion legal.

Based on my own abortion experience and years of working with other women who have had abortions, I know that abortion hurts more than it helps. There are many negative consequences from the ‘procedure,’ but post-abortive women are afraid to talk about them. We sense we’re not allowed to discuss our painful abortion experiences because it was supposedly our choice. But I believe when "pro-choice’ people begin to hear our stories of how abortion affected us emotionally, physically and spiritually, abortion won’t be seen as an acceptable choice, instead it will become unthinkable.

The truth is an unplanned pregnancy creates a crisis for the woman. We want a quick, simple solution so we choose abortion, although sometimes we want the baby but other people coerce us into aborting.

Unfortunately, after the procedure, there is a lifetime of regret, a sense of guilt, despair and loss. The experience is always with us. We think about death, consider suicide and sometimes succeed. Drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, and nightmares fill our lives. Our most important relationships become strained and broken and we struggle to bond with or parent other children. The guilt creates a myriad of emotions in us, which affects those around us, and we end up feeling twice as bad.

One woman writing to me said, "Throughout the years, grief has consumed me at different times in my life, and because I have never dealt with this, I have made some very bad relationship choices. I was in two very bad marriages, and most of the men that I have chosen are no good. I know it stems from abortion, and from me not feeling worthy of love because I did a horrible thing… I had my abortion 17 years ago and I still feel the pain. I can’t forgive myself. I’m the mother of 2 beautiful well-adjusted children. But I am always thinking about it. I don’t take care of myself and I weigh 300 pounds. I feel like I am destroying myself because of the terrible thing that I did…"

During the January 2003 Silent No More event in Washington D.C., many women shared stories like this. They also shared the truth about the physical problems they had after their abortion. According to a study by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, 11% of women having abortions experience immediate complications like excessive bleeding, infections, uterine scarring and perforation, cervical trauma, failed abortions and incomplete abortions.

Consider the aftereffects of these safe, legal abortions:

a.. In 1997, a 27 year-old woman died because the doctor punctured her uterus and cut into her bowel—she bled to death.

b.. In 1998, Lou Ann Herron bled to death in a Phoenix Clinic.

c.. In 1999, a 22 year-old woman bled to death in a Brooklyn clinic.

d.. In 2000, a woman in Bucks County, Pennsylvania went home from an abortion facility in pain, she called the clinic back because she was having painful bleeding but the doctor never responded. She went to the ER and had emergency surgery to remove the fetus from the fallopian tube.

e.. In 2001, a woman had an emergency hysterectomy after complications from abortion.

f.. In 2002, 25 year-old Diana Lopez died at a Los Angeles clinic because the staff failed to follow established protocols before and after the abortion. If they had, they would have realized she wasn’t a good candidate for abortion because of blood pressure problems. Afterwards when her cervix was punctured during the abortion they should have called for an ambulance. These are real women, going through real pain (physical and emotional) because of abortion. These are the facts that those who support abortion need to understand. (Click here for a complete list of women who have not survived safe legal abortions.)

In 1973, women stood in front of the Supreme Court building saying they will be silent no more, because women were being killed from illegal abortion. In 2003, almost 100 women stood in front of the same building sharing how legal abortion had caused them injury and pain. Maybe we should learn, legal or illegal, abortion is bad medicine for women.

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign is revealing what 30 years of experimenting with women’s reproductive rights has done to women. As more people hear the truth, I believe they will stop worrying about abortion rights and start working for women’s rights that truly benefit all women. Abortion should be unthinkable and unacceptable, both women and children deserve better.

Now that Newsweek has done a story on the rights of the unborn children, they should do a story on the truth of how abortion hurts women.

Copyright © 2003 LifeNews.com. All rights reserved

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