Monday, November 28, 2005

Abortion is a form of birth control, statistics wrong

Original Chimes Article Here
[This is not one of mine, but a rebuttal someone wrote to this piece of mine.]

When I read Swagman’s article in the Chimes last week in Crossroads I could not help but laugh at his ridiculous statistical claims. Where he gathered this information I’m not sure, he doesn’t say, but I gathered some information on my own so Calvin students can know the truth about these numbers. I called America’s Crisis Pregnancy Hotline and spoke with the Executive Director.

First Swagman claims that “80 percent (of abortions) deal with more complicating factors,” such as the woman’s health, incest or rape. In fact, the real number is even less than 2 percent, which is quite a difference. Swagman also claims that before abortion was legalized an estimated 1.2 million abortions were conducted annually. Actually there are about 1.2 million abortions performed annually now that it is legalized compared to an estimated 100,000 abortions prior to legalization.

But numbers and statistics are not the real issue here. The real issue is, do we value the sanctity of human life? Planned Parenthood gives the public arguments about government invasion of privacy and a woman’s right to choose to skirt the real question: Is the fetus a baby? Nobody in his or her right mind would kill a baby. I have heard many stories of women who were thoroughly convinced that they were simply getting rid of a “blob of tissue” only to be horrified at the sight of well formed body parts extracted from them.

In most cases, contrary to Swagman’s story, abortion is a form of birth control, a convenient way to end an unwanted pregnancy. I have personally been to Planned Parenthood, posing with a friend of mine as a pregnant couple, to do research.

The information we were given was clearly written to show that having a baby is very inconvenient to a woman’s social life and future plans, and suggested abortion as a “safe” alternative.

These brochures asked questions such as “Does having a child fit the lifestyle I want?” and “What’s in it for me?” If those aren’t questions of convenience, I don’t know what would be.

We need to open our eyes and see that abortion is a very selfish act, as well as a business for Planned Parenthood.

We need to be sympathetic to women who feel trapped into this decision and realize that it is not an easy position to be in. But we also need to see the abortion industry for what it is. One way to start is by getting our facts straight.

Update: In order to give this some context, I am reposting below the original article that this letter was in response to.

Original Chimes Article Here

Pro-choice is not pro-abortion

[ see also Human life begins at conception ]

It is with a tired attitude that most writers now approach the issue of abortion. After being a controversial topic for the past 30 years, what is left to say that has not been said already? You have heard all the arguments; if you are not already convinced of one position or another, who am I to think my rhetoric will win you over?

However, as protesters on both sides have recently been in the news once again, I would like to explain why I am pro-choice.

Perhaps the biggest fallacy of the pro-life movement is equating pro-choice with pro-abortion. I am not going to deny that abortion is sketchy moral territory. The fundamental principle behind pro-choice is not that abortion is okay, but that a woman should have legal authority over what happens to her own body.

The decision over whether or not a woman should carry a child to term is not a decision that should be made by society. It is a personal choice, and should be made by the woman in question. To ask a woman to go through nine months of pregnancy is no light request.

Planned Parenthood states strongly that, “There can be no more extreme invasion of privacy than requiring a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. If government is permitted to compel a woman to bear a child, where will government stop? The concept is morally repugnant. It violates traditional American ideas of individual rights and freedoms.”

We cannot fight abortion by making it illegal. In every case where a society has outlawed abortions, the practice has continued illegally. In the United States, for example, before abortion was legalized, some estimate that illegal abortions were as high as 1.2 million annually. If done legally and correctly, abortion is 11 times safer then giving birth.

However, illegal abortions are much more dangerous. It is roughly estimated that in the two decades before legalized abortion, thousands of women died and ten of thousands were mutilated by botched illegal abortions.

Making abortion illegal is also discriminatory towards the poor. The rich can travel wherever is necessary to obtain a safe legal abortion, while the poor are forced to resort to back alley abortions.

If abortion cannot be combated by making it illegal, what can be done?

The first answer is to try to create an atmosphere in which abortion is unnecessary. Contraceptives should be provided to those who are sexually active and there should be an increased education effort to inform young people on how to use these contraceptives. However, since contraceptives can and do fail, this is only part of the solution.

The second answer is to try to make abortion less desirable. This is done by helping a mother provide for a child once it is born. Planned Parenthood cynically notes the irony of many on the religious right, who on the one hand fight against legalized abortion, while at the same time fight against health and nutrition programs for these children once they are born: “The anti-abortion groups seem to believe life begins at conception, but it ends at birth.”

Finally, much of pro-life rhetoric portrays a woman having an abortion as someone who simply does not want to be inconvenienced by having a baby. In fact, only 20 percent of abortions occur as a form of birth control.

The other 80 percent deal with more complicating factors. For example, in many cases, the woman’s health is at risk. Sometimes the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. In other cases the fetus is severely deformed.

The abortion debate is not quite as simple as slogans on both sides have made it out to be. We need to keep abortion legal so that women in these situations will have help.

We can not legislate abortion away -- it is here to stay whether it occurs legally or illegally. Abortion should, therefore, be kept safe and legal.

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