Abortion Practice, Volume Three
One more post should be sufficient to close out my thoughts on Warren Hern's Abortion Practice. If you haven't already read the first two, start there. This will be a continuation of the earlier (second) entry, and I'd like to begin by noting a few of Hern's general observations about abortion.
The abortion ratio in the United States has risen… from approximately 1.3 abortions per 1000 live births (in 1963) to 428 (in 1980). (20)
This statement directly refutes the common notion that laws don't influence behavior. Abortion advocates relentlessly maintain the assertion that women will have abortions whether they are legal or not. What they almost never clarify is the fact that while some women will have an abortion even if it's illegal, the vast majority will not.
The longer the interval between the injection and D & E procedure, the better… With this consideration in mind, labor that is established quickly after injection (within 1 or 2 hours), before the fetal heart beat has ceased, may be suppressed by giving the patient a moderate dose of narcotic analgesic. (146)
What Hern is describing here is an amnioinfusion abortion of a baby that is past 21-weeks LMP. To accomplish the abortion, a solution is injected into the amniotic fluid to kill the baby. The problem that Hern alludes to is when the mother goes into labor before the baby is dead. To remedy this, Hern suggests a narcotic that will help suppress labor until the baby's heart stops beating. This is significant because it so clearly demonstrates the absurdity of our existing abortion laws. The only reason this narcotic is given is to ensure that the baby dies inside the womb instead of outside the womb. Never mind the fact that it is the same baby in both places. Hern's maneuvering is nothing less than an accounting trick that allows him to classify the death as abortion instead of infanticide. Morally, they are exactly the same.
…because pregnancy is a community as well as an individual phenomenon; so is abortion. (2)
In light of Hern's vehement public assertion on page 324 that abortion is "a private business," how can he also assert that abortion is a community phenomenon? The claim that abortion is protected by a constitutional right to privacy has always been a disingenuous one, and this statement helps illustrate that.
…women will subject themselves to violence in order to interrupt pregnancy. (4)
If you balk at the suggestion that abortion is an act of violence, consider this remark by Dr. Hern. He makes it to defend his ideologic understanding of pregnancy as disease. If pregnancy weren't like a disease, he asks, why are so many women willing to undergo the violence of abortion to avoid it? Make no mistake. Abortion is an act of violence, as Hern well knows.
The relationship between the [pregnant] female and the [fetus] can be understood best as one of host and parasite." (14)
By definition, a parasite must be of a different species than the host, but this relatively slanderous assertion still proves an important point. At no point in pregnancy is the embryo or fetus simply a part of the mother's body. It is a separate, "foreign" body from beginning to end.
…it is paradoxical to have a woman complain about the idea of an intrauterine device on the grounds that it requires the placement of an unnatural object in one of her body cavities, while she willingly submits to an abortion, requiring the placement of several unnatural objects into her body cavities. (89)
The "unnaturalness" of abortion struck me on multiple occasions while reading Abortion Practice. As Hern frequently notes, it is difficult to destroy something that a woman's body is so uniquely equipped to protect. Forcing the dilatation of the cervix is no laughing matter. The body does not yield access to the womb easily. And in light of the frequent criticisms I've received to the effect of, "What right does a man have to condemn abortion?," Hern's accounts of his forced entry into more than 10,000 wombs left me with a much more significant question. What right does a man have to kill a women's baby?! Dr. Hern has made a career out of artificially manipulating nature to do something it doesn't want to do, and he calls his actions a "cultural adaptation" necessary to combat the "flawed biological adaptation" of pregnancy. (15, 16) Biologically, Hern believes, pregnancy evolved to ensure the survival of the species. He calls it a flawed adaptation, because he believes we're reproducing too much. In his mind, abortion is the necessary next step in the evolutionary chain.
…the risks of complications in the very early pregnancy terminations (4-6 weeks from LMP) outweigh the benefits…. Also, some studies have shown a higher incidence of complications when the abortion is performed in a pregnancy of less than 7 weeks from LMP. (120,121)
Abortion advocates who seek the moral high ground by only claiming to support abortion early in pregnancy should note Hern's recommendation that abortion should not be performed prior to 7 weeks LMP. That's approximately 5 weeks from fertilization, and if you look at Abort73's page on Prenatal Development, you may be surprised at how developed this tiny human being already is.
The vast majority of women having abortions are young, in the teens or early twenties, and are having their first pregnancy… In view of these facts, it is important to determine whether induced abortion impairs later reproductive performance or results in adverse long-term psychological consequences. The first of these questions has been studied extensively with almost wholly inconclusive result. The second has had very little study at all. (275)
This statement is a bit out of step with all the abortion advocates who unequivocally defend the long-term, physical and emotional safety of abortion.
Birth Control and Abortion
Tietze developed a table of risks comparing the mortality consequences of term pregnancy, contraception, and induced abortion on the basis of information available in 1969. Tietze and associates have continued to refine this method of analysis and have reached the conclusion that the lowest possible risk is experienced by women using barrier methods of contraception backed up by early abortion to terminate pregnancies resulting from method failure… The authors estimate that total reproductive mortality would be reduced by one third if women over the age of 35, especially those who smoke, would avoid using oral contraceptives. They point out that methods used for preventing pregnancy now cause almost as many deaths as pregnancy itself. (39-40)
These remarks indicate that the abortion industry is far more concerned with preventing births than it is with preventing abortions. Contraception is not really their end goal. And on page 45, Hern does not even include barrier methods among his list of "more effective" contraceptives. Nevertheless, he recommends that women pair the use of barrier methods with abortion (when those methods fail) as the safest form of birth control.
One of the most difficult (behaviors) for staff members of an abortion facility is the patient who returns several times for repeat abortions… [they] give counselors the feeling that they have failed to help the patient."… A similar sense of frustration is experienced by the counselor who finds herself unable to gain a commitment from a woman seeking an abortion to use any method… of contraception after the abortion. (88)
Here again, why should this be troubling? If there's nothing immoral about abortion, who cares how often women come in for one? Who cares whether they're using birth control or not? Hair dressers, manicurists, and tanning salon owners aren't troubled by repeat visits. They don't think they've failed when they have to cut someone's hair again. The reactions that Hern speaks of clearly demonstrate the underlying knowledge that abortion is an unethical act.
I'll close with a line from the pep talk Hern gives to future abortionists at the end of his book. Abortionists, he says, must be willing "to absorb gratuitous insults and character assassination without wavering from one's purpose." If those performing and defending abortion are willing to demonstrate such devotion to their cause, what kind of devotion must we have who are working to expose and eliminate abortion? If we're not risking insult, we're probably risking too little.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.