Select Page

October 20 was Day of Silent Solidarity —

Resource: Blood Money —

Nurses for Life —

Maafa 21 —

Keep Conscience Protections —

Charnette's (age 32) Testimony about her Breast Cancer

Personal Testimonies Describing the Breast Cancer Link with Abortion

CDC Report Suggests Abortion and Pregnancy Rates Dropping to Historic Lows (several states do not report)

Guttmacher Institute Claims Contraception Lowers Abortions, Data Shows Otherwise 

Second Abortion Increases Risk of Premature Babies: Canadian Study

Guttmacher Wrong: Legalizing Abortions Yields More, Doesn't Make Them Safer

Groups Call Guttmacher Study on Illegal Abortions a Propaganda Piece

Study Claiming 70,000 Women Die From Illegal Abortions Relies on Dubious Facts

Abortionist Reflects on Dismembering One Baby While Feeling Her Own Flutter in Her Womb

UN Petition for the Unborn Child —…

October 5 is Pro-Life Memorial Day

Resource: Blood Money


Nurses for Life. Medical professionals are on the frontlines of battle in life issues. From abortion to assisted suicide and euthanasia and all issues in between we are challenged in the workplace to defend our beliefs and risk our employment. The National Association of Pro-life Nurses has been here for nurses since the beginning of this battle. Join with us in our efforts to protect those voices at


Keep conscience protections
and stop abortion mandates: ABC Link Commercial

Charnette's (age 32) Testimony about her Breast Cancer

Personal Testimonies Describing the Breast Cancer Link with Abortion and Hormonal Contraceptives Featured in You Tube Videos

ED. NOTE: While these are not medical studies, they are personal testimonies of women who have made the personal connections between their past abortions and their cancer experiences. These stories are offered so that you can reach your own conclusions based on the experiences of others. We don't have to re-invent the wheel all the time; it is possible to learn from the experiences of others.

Two videos confronting the disinformation about the link between the skyrocketing incidence of breast cancer, and abortion and hormonal contraceptive use have been posted to You Tube.

The first video, produced by Ignatius Productions, features a victim of breast cancer, who states that abortion and hormonal contraceptive use at a young age destroyed her health.  She says she is fighting desperately to beat the disease so she can raise her children. (see the video —

The second video, produced by Ends of the Earth Productions, features Karly Houldsworth, who reports findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showing that breast cancer rates climbed more than 40% between 1973 and 1998. The increase took place only in the youngest of three generations of women studied – the Roe v. Wade generation – which suffered a more than 40% increase in breast cancer cases since the mid-1980s. These were women young enough to have had access to legal abortions starting in 1973. The increase in breast cancer rates didn't take place among women from the two older generations that couldn't obtain legal abortions. (link to video here)

Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, said in a press release that the videos expose the cover-up of two breast cancer risks – abortion and hormonal contraceptives (containing estrogen and progestin) – and reveal the cruel impact that the cover-up has had on women.

"Cancer groups lied to women about the risks of using combined (estrogen + progestin) hormone replacement therapy and 'the pill' when conclusive evidence of a breast cancer risk became available in the 1980s," said Malec, "and they are still lying about abortion."

"I realize that the breast cancer epidemic has been tremendously profitable for the cancer establishment," continued Malec "but those who've participated in this cover-up should be deeply ashamed of themselves for the incredible suffering they've inflicted.  These people are not pro-choice.  They are cold, calculating abortion zealots driven by greed and fear of widespread medical malpractice lawsuits."

Malec explained that scientists began extensive research on the abortion-breast cancer link in 1957 and recognized two breast cancer risks associated with abortion.

"All experts recognize the first risk, that abortion denies women an opportunity to reduce their risk for breast cancer through childbearing. Scientists only debate the second risk – known as the 'independent link,'" Malec said.

"Eight medical organizations and a bioethics journal recognize the independent link – that abortion leaves a woman with more cancer-vulnerable cells than she had before she became pregnant. An additional medical group, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, has called for 'full disclosure' of a 'highly plausible' relationship between
abortion and the disease," Malec concluded.

During October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer encourages women to send cancer research groups the links to the two videos.

The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is an international women's organization founded to protect the health and save the lives of women by educating and providing information on abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.
[1 Oct 09, T. M. Baklinski, ]






CDC Report Suggests Abortion and Pregnancy Rates Dropping to Historic Lows (several states do not report)

[When reading this article, keep in mind that several states, including California, do not report abortion numbers to the CDC]

A new report released yesterday from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows the number of abortions, the abortion rate and the pregnancy rate all declining from the period 1990-2005.

The new CDC National Vital Statistics Report shows there were an estimated 6,408,000 pregnancies in the U.S. in 2005.

That number includes 4.14 million live births, 1.21 million induced abortions, and 1.06 million miscarriages or other fetal losses that are not from abortion.

The good news from the CDC is that the abortion rate fell more than one-third during the years studied.

Among married women, seven out of 1,000 pregnant women got an abortion in 2005, down from 11 per 1,000 pregnant women in 1990. Among unmarried women, 31 per 1,000 pregnant women had abortions in 2005, compared to 48 per 1,000 women in 1990.

The report shows that, despite claims by abortion advocates to the contrary, the abortion rate fell during the first five years of the Bush administration while the birth rate began rising towards the end as more women chose to carry their unplanned pregnancies to term.

In 2000 when Bush won his first presidential election, the CDC figures show the abortion rate at 21.3 percent and it declined to 19.4 percent by 2005, the latest year for which the CDC has data available.

The abortion rate was at its highest in the late 1970s and early 1980s (peaking at 29.3 percent in 1981) as abortion became mainstreamed following the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed it virtually on demand in 1973.

The rates began falling in the late 1980s and then fell dramatically starting in 1990 and have continued falling ever since.

As the CDC has shown throughout the years, women between the ages of 20-24 have the highest abortion rate followed by women between 18-19 and then women between 25-29 years of age.

However, the abortion rates in each category are falling while the abortion rates of women 35-39 years of age are rising slightly and those between the ages of 30-34 and 40-44 are holding steady. The abortion rate on teenage girls continues to decline as well.

The new CDC data shows that, in 2005, black women continued to have much higher abortion rates compared to their white and Hispanic counterparts. Black women had abortions at a rate of 37.2 per 1,000 women compared with 18.1 for Hispanics and 12.5 for white women. However, the rates are declining among all races.

Abortions continue to remain high among unmarried women while they are significantly lower in all races among married women.

White unmarried women have abortions at a rate of 17.2 per 1,000 women while married women are lower at 4 per 1,000. Black unmarried women have an abortion rate of 62 per 1,000 and married at 18.8 per 1,000 while Hispanics are at 45.5 for unmarried and 9.3 for married.

The estimated pregnancy rate for 2005 was 103.2, about 11 percent below the 1990 peak (115.8 per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years), but very similar to the rate of 102.7 when the series began in 1976.

The pregnancy rate for teenagers fell 40 percent during the 1990–2005 period, to 70.6 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19 years. This rate was the lowest reported since 1976.

The overall decline for teenagers is reflected in significant declines in rates for live births and induced abortions, with much steeper declines for abortions (down 53 percent) compared with live births (down 32 percent).

The pregnancy rate declined much more rapidly from 1990 to 2005 for younger teenagers 15–17 years (48 percent) than for older teenagers 18–19 years (30 percent). Pregnancy rates declined by 47–49 percent each for black and white non-Hispanic teenagers and by 23 percent for Hispanic teenagers.

Preliminary data on births extending to 2007 show that the long-term decline in the teenage birth rate was halted with increases from 2005 to 2006 and from 2006 to 2007. But abortion rates for that time period are not yet available from the CDC.

Related web sites:
See the report at
[15 October 09,
by Steven Ertelt, October 15, 2009, DC,]






Guttmacher Institute Claims Contraception Lowers Abortions, Data Shows Otherwise

The new report issued earlier this week by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute claims promoting expanded birth control and contraception has lowered abortions worldwide. However, firm statistical evidence from various nations shows abortions increase despite contraception promotion.

The report from the Guttmacher Institute, a former affiliate of the Planned Parenthood abortion business, has already been panned for relying on pro-abortion groups to draw its conclusions and promoting a dubious number of how many women have died from illegal abortions worldwide.

The Guttmacher study also claims "increases in global contraceptive use have contributed to a decrease in the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions."

It claims "positive global trends in increased contraceptive use" have helped "lower unintended pregnancy rates and declining abortion numbers."

"The rate of abortions in a given country corresponds mostly to the rate of unintended pregnancy, which in turn corresponds closely to rates of contraceptive use," Guttmacher claims.

However, recent news out of England dispels the long-held myth that promoting contraception and birth control reduces the number of abortions.
According to the London Daily Mail, teen pregnancy rates in England are now higher than they were in 1995 and pregnancies among girls under 16, below the age of sexual consent, are also at the highest level since 1998.

That is despite the British government spending £300 million (that's over $454 million for those of us in the United States) in an attempt to cut the number of teen pregnancies in half by promoting comprehensive sexual education.

The British teen abortion rate, according to the newspaper, has also climbed steadily since 1999 when the government released its Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.

That would be an aberration were it only an isolated case, but it is not.

Last year, officials in Sweden reported that the number of abortions increased 17 percent in Sweden from 2000 to 2007 despite sal

es of the morning after pill increasing during the same time period.

The morning after pill became a drug that could be sold over the counter in Sweden in 2001. In that time, sales of the drug tripled in the nation's capital and doubled nationwide.

Still, new national figures show 37,205 abortions in Sweden in 2007, up approximately 17 percent from the 30,980 done in 2000. In Stockholm, 10,259 abortions were done — a 6.9 percent increase in just one year from the 2006 figures.

Meanwhile, last year the number of abortions in Scotland rose for the third straight year despite a heavy push for women to use the morning after pill.

Abortions in Scotland rose four percent according to a report from the British National Health Service and now number 13,703. That increase came after NHS reported 13,081 abortions in 2006, up from 12,603 the previous year — an increase of nearly 3.8 percent.

Not only is the increased promoting of the morning after pill resulting in more abortions, not less, the number of women having repeat abortions is increasing as well.

NHS reports more than a quarter of women, 26.3 percent, who had an abortion in Scotland last year had at least one prior abortion before that. That's 3,600 women who had one or more abortions prior, according to the government's statistics.

Finally, a report from Planned Parenthood of Western Washington shows abortions are on the rise in Washington state even though it participated in Washington state’s Take Charge pilot program.

Take Charge is a Medicaid section 1115 Waiver program initiated in 2001 to provide free contraceptives to low-income women not already covered under Medicaid. It was originally funded for five years in 2001, then extended for three more years, and comes up for renewal in 2009.

Yet the PPWW annual report indicates abortions rose 16 percent from 7,790 in 2006 to 9,059 in 2007.

Abortion advocates have claimed higher use of the Plan B drug through over the counter sales will result in a drop in unintended pregnancies and fewer abortions.

Mary Emanuel, who runs the web site Abortion in Washington, studied the report and also found that the abortion increase occurred despite sales of over 106,000 emergency contraception kits to Planned Parenthood customers.
[15Oct09, PLEASE VISIT ORIGINAL ARTICLE for several links at
Ertelt, October 15, 2009, DC,]







Second Abortion Increases Risk of Premature Babies 93%: Canadian Study
 A new Canadian study has shown that abortion increases the risk of future premature pregnancies and low birth-weight babies; however, the author has refused to say that abortion should be avoided, instead calling for improved abortion techniques.
Published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Canadian researchers found that women who had undergone a first or second trimester of pregnancy, when most are conducted, increased the risk of low birth-weight babies and premature babies 35 and 36 per cent respectively.
Those women who had undergone more than one abortion had a 72 per cent increased risk for low birth weight and 93 per cent risk of prematurity.
The figures come from an analysis of 37 studies around the world, carried out between 1965 and 2001, to discover reasons why babies are born underweight and premature.
Far from recommending that women not have abortions, the lead author of the study, Dr. Prakesh Shah of the department of paediatrics at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto, said that the solution is to improve abortion techniques.
However, "when a woman comes for induced termination of pregnancy, she should be counselled about that risk. At least she will be able to make an informed choice," he said.
Shah told media that he was fearful that "anti-abortion groups" would seize upon the study as proof of the damage abortion does to women.
"I think it should not be used as a way of saying, this is bad and we should not be doing this kind of thing. There is an association which we should be aware of, and we should let mothers be aware. I don't want unintended pregnancies to increase."
The Guardian newspaper reports that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists concurs. The RCOG spoke of the "importance of support for women's choices." "Abortion remains an essential part of women's healthcare services," they said.
Professor Philip Steer, editor in chief of BJOG, was also anxious that the study not be used by the pro-life movement. "The most important message is not that this should be used in any way to prevent women having a termination of pregnancy.
"The effect has to be balanced against the serious effects of forcing women to continue with unwanted pregnancies," he said. "Any medical procedure is likely to have side-effects."
Anthony Ozimic of Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) commented, however, that the evidence speaks for itself.

"The more evidence which emerges about the harm abortion causes, the more the supporters of abortion insist that abortion not be restricted. We will be exposing the contradictions in their responses to the study's findings."
[September 17, 2009; Hilary White,;]


NOTE: Over 60 studies now suggest a significant relationship between abortion and premature delivery / birth and low birth weight babies. It should also be noted that Black women abort at 3 times the rate of white women, and also experience an inordinate number of preterm deliveries, and low birth weight of subsequent children.



Guttmacher Wrong: Legalizing Abortions Yields More, Doesn't Make Them Safer Note: Anna Franzonello is a staff attorney for Americans United for Life. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame School of Law.

The Guttmacher Institute released a survey Tuesday concluding the “key difference” between nations where abortion is legal and those where it is restricted was not abortion rates, but a “high rate of deaths and medical complications from unsafe clandestine abortions in restrictive countries.”

Their solution: remove abortion restrictions in these countries. This suggestion is ideologically driven by the Guttmacher Institute’s abortion-promoting agenda. Their own research contradicts the conclusion.

Abortion restrictions and the incidence of abortion

Sharon Camp, president of the Guttmacher Institute said, “Legal restrictions do not stop abortion from happening. They just make the procedure dangerous.” But the Institute’s own research refutes this claim. The data shows that restrictions on the legal status of abortion have made a real impact on the incidence of abortion.

We know from history that legalizing abortion leads to more abortions. A prime example is the United States. Between 1973, when the Supreme Court overturned state laws restricting abortion in Roe v. Wade, and 1980 the number of abortions more than doubled.1

But where abortion has been restricted, abortion rates have decreased. Since t

he 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey acknowledging a State’s right to enact some abortion restrictions, the number of abortions in the United States has been steadily and significantly declining.2

Social Scientist Dr. Michael New’s research utilizing data from both the Guttmacher Institute and the Centers for Disease Control shows a correlation between reductions in the incidence of abortion and the enactment of informed consent laws, public-funding restrictions, and parental-involvement laws.3 Dr. New points to studies appearing in the Guttmacher Institute’s own Family Planning Perspectives that provide evidence that pro-life legislation at the state level reduces the incidence of abortion.

A 2004 study that appeared in The Journal of Law and Economics analyzed how changes in abortion policies in post-communist Eastern Europe affected the incidence of abortion. The authors concluded that modest restrictions on abortion reduced abortion rates by around 25 percent.

Poland is one of the few countries to have significantly tightened restrictions on abortion. With a rejection of communist rule came a rejection of their liberally interpreted abortion law. In 1993 a new Act “on family planning, human fetus protection and conditions of permissibility of pregnancy termination” restricted abortion to cases where the life or health of the mother was threatened, where the child was disabled, or in cases of rape.

Even these grounds for abortion have been strictly governed. A pregnancy threatening a mother’s life or one in which genetic defects have been identified can only be terminated in a hospital. A physician other than the one performing the abortion must certify the health risk exists. In the case of rape, it must have been reported to the authorities.

The number of abortions in Poland has drastically decreased. Simultaneously, still births and infant mortality rates have been on the constant decline. Health services in Poland are comparatively poor to those of the United States, but according to the U.N. Population Division “World Mortality Report 2005” less women die per 100,000 labors in Poland than in the U.S.

The experience in Poland and the United States show legal restrictions do keep abortion from happening, and women are not dying as a result.

“Safe” and “legal” are not synonymous

In 1998 a young woman bled to death in an Arizona clinic from a two-inch laceration in her uterus.4 An emergency room was less than five minutes down the street, but her doctor, who was eating lunch in the break room, refused requests to check on her condition.

Abortion advocates have long argued that legal abortion is safe abortion. However, there is abundant evidence, like the example above, to show permitting the procedure by law has not resulted in making abortion safe. Abortions in sanctioned clinics produce the same horror stories of seriously injured women, unsterile conditions, and brutal treatment that we were assured would end when abortion was legalized.

The fact reported by the Guttmacher Institute that women unnecessarily injured and dying is a problem. The solution, however, does not require the liberalization of abortion laws.

Women need to be presented with alternatives to abortion, not forced into feeling like it is their only option. The poverty level and poor quality of health care in the developing countries where the Guttmacher Institute notes these “high rate of deaths and medical complications” is a significant factor that cannot be ignored. Improved prenatal care and financial support for women and families will do more to reduce abortion related injuries and deaths than sanctioning the procedure.

The facts show liberalizing abortion laws can only promise to increase the incidence of abortion, not the safety.

[1] See chart at

[2] See chart at

[3] Michael New, “Analyzing the Effect of State Legislation on the Incidence of Abortion Among Minors,” Heritage Foundation, Feb. 2007

[4] Denise M. Burke, “Abortion Clinic Regulations: Combating the “True Back-Alley,” Defending Life (2009) available at“true-back-alley” Note: Anna Franzonello is a staff attorney for Americans United for Life, a national pro-life organization. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame School of Law.
[October 15, 2009, Anna Franzonello]



Pro-Life Groups Call Guttmacher Study on Illegal Abortions a Propaganda Piece

Pro-life advocates are responding to the new study disseminated by the Guttmacher Institute claiming that abortions should be legalized worldwide because of a supposed epidemic of unsafe abortions killing women. They say the study is nothing more than a propaganda piece by a group that supports abortion.

Guttmacher is formerly known as the Alan Guttmacher Institute and was an official affiliate of Planned Parenthood, where Guttmacher was a former president, until it disassociated itself with the abortion business to gain mainstream credibility.

The organization, which still advocates legalizing abortions on a global scale, issued a report yesterday claiming as many as 70,000 women die from illegal abortions.

Anthony Ozimic, the communications director for SPUC, the British pro-life group, says the Guttmacher study is false.

"The Guttmacher report is not independent academic research but propaganda from the pro-abortion lobby," he told today. "The Guttmacher Institute was set up to promote abortion and contraception. The report's acknowledgments are a roll-call of the pro-abortion lobby."

Ozimic says "Guttmacher's figures are based on highly spurious guesstimates, which even the report itself is forced to admit."

"The pro-abortion lobby has a proven track record of exaggerating illegal abortions numbers. Abortion numbers in Britain today are many times higher than before the 1967 Abortion Act, despite ever-increasing access to birth control drugs and devices," he added.

Scott Fischbach, the head of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, a statewide pro-life group with a global outreach program that has seen it promote the pro-life perspective at the United Nations, also chimed in on the report.

He says Guttmacher should be promoting medical advances and better health care in the developing nations where it says abortions should be legalized because of supposed illegal abortion problems.

"The Guttmacher Institute refuses to address the greatest need of pregnant women: good medical care. This is the most important factor in reducing maternal mortality," Fishbach told

"Even though Guttmacher admits that its abortion numbers in the developing world are based on conjecture and are therefore unreliable, it continues to stridently argue that the legalization of abortion is the answer to the problems facing poor women," he added.

"Pregnant women need access to doctors, hospitals, medications, nutritional care, safe childbirth and other medical care in order to reduce the risks of pregnancy and childbirth. The legalization of abortion does nothing to improv

e women’s health or welfare," he said.
[; by Steven Ertelt Editor, October 14, 2009, New York, NY (]




Study Claiming 70,000 Women Die From Illegal Abortions Relies on Dubious Facts

The Guttmacher Institute released a study on Tuesday claiming 70,000 women die from illegal abortions every year worldwide. However, the statistics appear to be based on disputed figures and claims from pro-abortion groups and abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood.

As reported yesterday, the Guttmacher Institute study is based on the work of numerous organizations that have as their main agenda promoting the legalization of abortion on a global scale.

Today, pro-life advocates analyzed and commented on the report and found it to be so polemic that they referred to it as a propaganda piece.

Still, the mainstream media is taking the Guttmacher report as gospel and showering it with headlines proclaiming the 70,000 figure.

However, it appears the number is based on very sketchy reports.

According to Guttmacher, the claim of 70,000 illegal abortion deaths comes from WHO guesses of the number of illegal abortions as old as 1998 and not any new corroborating information.

Dr. Randy O'Bannon, Education Director for National Right to Life, has talked previously about how the WHO estimate is merely a shot in the dark.

"The precision implied in such numbers is highly misleading," O'Bannon has said.

Figures given for developing countries and regions, where researchers report the vast majority of "unsafe" abortions and abortion-related deaths, "are based on meager data and a lot of assumption-laden extrapolations," said O'Bannon. "Many of these countries do not maintain detailed birth or mortality records, much less abortion statistics, making even the roughest of estimates problematic."

WHO also relies on what is calls "public source data" to provide illegal abortion death guesses. Typically, a "public source" is a journal article, report, or unpublished document, often from a pro-abortion organization — which raises questions about its objectivity.

O'Bannon says these sources of information are unreliable.

In Uruguay, for example, the WHO data Guttmacher relies on is based on studies with samples sizes of 5, 14, and 23 individuals to extrapolate the number of deaths due to illegal abortions for the entire country. In addition, the studies were done in the 1970s and 1980s and are not current.

The data may provide anecdotal evidence of abortion-related deaths but does not validate the claims of thousands of such deaths, O'Bannon concludes.

David Reardon, Ph.D., director of the Elliot Institute and one of the leading researchers into physical and emotional damage caused by abortions, has said before that that legalizing abortion doesn't make it safer.

"I absolutely support the international goal of protecting women from unsafe abortions. This is why we must work diligently to prevent legalization of abortion because that only increases the number of women exposed to unsafe abortions. Legal abortion is inherently unsafe," Reardon explains.

Reardon says abortion is known to be linked to higher rates of maternal death, reproductive problems including subsequent premature deliveries and related handicaps among newborns, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and a host of other negative problems impacting women and their families.

"If the international community is serious about protecting women from unsafe abortions, it will work diligently to reverse the trend toward legalized abortion," Reardon concludes.
[, by Steven Ertelt Editor, October 14, 2009 New York, NY (]






Abortionist Reflects on Dismembering One Baby While Feeling Her Own Flutter in Her Womb
"There was a leg and foot in my forceps, and a 'thump, thump' in my abdomen. Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes." So writes abortionist Lisa Harris in a disturbing article relating her experiences as an abortionist, particularly her anguished and "brutally visceral" experience of dismembering an 18 week gestation unborn child, while 18 weeks pregnant herself.

In the article, entitled "Second Trimester Abortion Provision: Breaking the Silence and Changing the Discourse," Harris, an abortionist and assistant professor at the University of Michigan, explains the ethical position that she says helps her and other abortionists continue practicing despite the moral and psychological hurdles involved in what she describes as an undoubtedly "violent" procedure. The article was originally published in "Reproductive Health Matters" in May 2008.

"Abortion is different from other surgical procedures," Harris writes in her candid article.  "Even when the fetus has no legal status, its moral status is reasonably the subject of much disagreement. It is disingenuous to argue that removing a fetus from a uterus is no different from removing a fibroid." 

Harris says that there is a need to "cross borders and boundaries (including seemingly inflexible ones like 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life')" in order to "reflect seriously on the question of how providers determine their limit for abortion," and warned that the issues surrounding the question "may frankly be too dangerous for pro-choice movements to acknowledge."

Harris then describes how she once performed an abortion on a woman whose fetus was at 18 weeks gestation. Ironically, Harris herself was pregnant at the time, and her baby was also at 18 weeks gestation.

Consequently, she explains how she was "more interested than usual in seeing the fetal parts when I was done, since they would so closely resemble those of my own fetus."

"I went about doing the procedure as usual," she writes. "I used electrical suction to remove the amniotic fluid, picked up my forceps and began to remove the fetus in parts, as I always did. I felt lucky that this one was already in the breech position – it would make grasping small parts (legs and arms) a little easier."

With my first pass of the forceps, I grasped an extremity and began to pull it down. I could see a small foot hanging from the teeth of my forceps.

With a quick tug, I separated the leg.

Precisely at that moment, I felt a kick – a fluttery "thump, thump" in my own uterus. It was one of the first times I felt fetal movement. There was a leg and foot in my forceps, and a "thump, thump" in my abdomen.

Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes – without me – meaning my conscious brain – even being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely.

A message seemed to travel from my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts.

It was an overwhelming feeling – a brutally visceral response – heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics. It was one of the more raw moments in my life.

Doing second trimester abortions did not get easier after my pregnancy; in fact, dealing with little infant parts of my born baby only made dealing with dismembered fetal parts sadder.

Harris concludes that the "visually and viscerally different" component of a second-trimester abortion, as opposed to a first-trimester one, leads to questions such as: "What kind of dissociative process inside us allows us to do this routinely? What normal person does this kind of work?"

To answer the questions, Harris notes that the "violence" of abortion must be acknowledged, and relates a "bizarre" experience she once had of observing a premature baby struggling to survive immediately after dismembering an unborn child the same age:

The last patient I saw one day was 23 weeks pregnant. I performed an uncomplicated D&E procedure. Dutifully, I went through the task of reassembling the fetal parts in the metal tray.

It is an odd ritual that abortion providers perform – required as a clinical safety measure to ensure that nothing is left behind in the uterus to cause a complication – but it also permits us in an odd way to pay respect to the fetus (feelings of awe are not uncommon when looking at miniature fingers and fingernails, heart, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands), even as we simultaneously have complete disregard for it.

Then I rushed upstairs to take overnight call on labour and delivery.

The first patient that came in was prematurely delivering at 23-24 weeks. As her exact gestational age was in question, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) team resuscitated the premature newborn and brought it to the NICU. Later, along with the distraught parents, I watched the neonate on the ventilator.

I thought to myself how bizarre it was that I could have legally dismembered this fetus-now-newborn if it were inside its mother's uterus – but that the same kind of violence against it now would be illegal, and unspeakable.

Harris then goes on to explain that she rationalizes the bizarreness of the situation by the "location" of the baby, whether it is "inside or outside of the woman's body," and "most importantly, her [the mother's] hopes and wishes for that fetus/baby."

However, she says, "this knowledge does not change the reality that there is always violence involved in a second trimester abortion, which becomes acutely apparent at certain moments, like this one. I must add, however, that I consider declining a woman's request for abortion also to be an act of unspeakable violence."

Harris points out that the abortion lobby's discomfort with "the violence and, frankly, the gruesomeness of abortion" has led to a pro-abortion discourse that she says "contradicts an enormous part of" the abortionist's experience.

While pro-abortion activists may claim abortions "don't really look like" the graphic images often displayed by pro-life protesters, Harris notes, "to a doctor and clinic team involved in second trimester abortion, they very well may." 

"Of course, acknowledging the violence of abortion risks admitting that the stereotypes that anti-abortion forces hold of us are true – that we are butchers, etc.," she adds. 

Harris also touches upon the psychological burdens second trimester abortion care lays upon its providers, including "serious emotional reactions that produced physiological symptoms, sleep disturbances (including disturbing dreams), effects on interpersonal relationships and moral anguish."

Harris tackles the "ethical and moral positions that allow for grey areas" in abortion provision by advocating the "gradualist perspective" – stating that "the respect owed to a fetus increases as pregnancy advances and the fetus becomes more like a born person."  This, she says, serves to "close the gap between pro-choice rhetoric and the reality of doing a second trimester abortion," and "allows us to simultaneously acknowledge the value of early human life and be woman-centred, an ideal position for a second trimester provider." 

While the "gradualist" approach raises the spectre of later abortions being "more serious" than early abortions, says Harris, the concern is allayed by the fact that "women have all sorts of compelling and legitimate reasons for choosing abortion" – particularly, she says, in second trimester abortions. 

Still, for Harris, there remains the problem of abortionists "caught between pro-choice discourse that, while it reflects our values, does not accurately reflect the full extent of our experience of abortion and in fact contradicts an enormous part of it, and the anti-abortion discourse and imagery that may actually be more closely aligned to our experience but is based in values we do not share."

Harris conjectures that the needs of abortionists in this regard are not met because "frank talk like this is threatening to abortion rights."  "While some of us involved in teaching abortion routinely speak to our trainees about the aspects of care I've described, we don't make a habit of speaking about it publicly. Essays like this bring the inevitable risk that comments will be misinterpreted, taken out of context and used as evidence for further abortion practice restrictions," she writes. 

"We might conclude at this point that a provider who feels that abortion is violent is simply ambivalent, conflicted, is not really committed to women's abortion rights, and just shouldn't be doing this work," Harris writes.  "'Pro-life' supporters may argue that the kind of stories and sentiments I've relayed spell the end of abortion – that honest speech acts regarding the reality of abortion will weaken the pro-choice movement to the point where it cannot sustain itself any longer.

However, she contests the point, arguing that, rather than weakening the argument for abortion, facing abortion with "honesty" can "be the basis for a stronger movement – one that makes it easier for providers and the teams they work with to do all abortions, especially second trimester abortions."
[Kathleen Gilbert, ANN ARBOR, MI, October 15, 2009]






We [AAPLOG] will continue to bring to your attention the the world abortion scene.

Governmental and non-governmental agencies are applying immense pressure on countries where abortion is not legal, seeking to force laws that will legalize abortion.

A m

ajor push is being made to prevent maternal mortality, esp. in underdeveloped countries, by legalizing abortion to decrease the number of women who bring pregnancies to term.

The number of women who die of abortion complications will almost certainly be under-reported (as they probably are in the USA right now-as you know, abortion reporting here is "voluntary"—it is difficult to get accurate stats with "voluntary" reporting of data.)

To counter worldwide pressure to legalize abortion, C-Fam is sponsoring a UN Petition for the Unborn Child.

It declares the "right to life of every human being, from conception to natural death, each child having the right to be conceived, born and educated within the family." This petition has a strong prolife message, whatever your religious affiliation.

Check it out at
and consider adding your name.
[AAPLOG, 21 October 2009]