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Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Experiences of Women Who Have Had Abortions

Dakota Voice is reviewing the Report of the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion, in light of the upcoming November vote on Initiated Measure 11 to end most abortions in South Dakota.

Pertinent sections of the report will be reviewed each week for the next several weeks which may shed light on Initiated Measure 11.

First week: The Incorrect Assumptions of the Roe v. Wade Decision

Second Week: What Has Been Learned From the Practice of Abortion Since the Roe v. Wade

Last Week: The Current Practice of Abortion in South Dakota

The following is from Section II.A.5 on the findings of the report:

We received and reviewed the testimony of more than 1,940 women who have had abortions. This stunning and heart-wrenching testimony reveals that there are common experiences with abortions. Women were not told the truth about abortion, were misled into thinking that nothing but "tissue" was being removed, and relate that they would not have had an abortion if they were told the truth.

They relate that they were coerced into having the abortion by the father of the child or a parent, and that the abortion clinics also apply pressure to have the abortion. They almost uniformly express anger toward the abortion providers, their baby's father, or society in general, which promote abortion as a great right, the exercise of which is good for women. They almost invariably state that they were encouraged to have an abortion by the mere fact that it was legal.

They are stunned by their grief and the negative impact it has had on their lives. Many of these women are angered by grief at the loss of a child they were told never existed. One woman testified before the Task Force about three abortions she was misled into having, only to find that she was rendered infertile by the vacuum aspiration that damaged her fallopian tubes. She was distraught at having to explain to her new husband why they could never have children. Each of these women's stories is powerful.

The overwhelming majority of women testified that they would never have considered an abortion if it were not legal. Their testimony revealed that they feel that the legalization of abortion simply gave a license to others to pressure them into a decision they otherwise would not have made. Most of the women stated that abortion should not be legal.

Ms. Linda Schlueter, Vice President and Senior Staff Attorney of The Justice Foundation, testified that it is particularly significant that both of the plaintiffs in the landmark abortion cases, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, have sought to have the courts overturn the decisions because it is now so clear how abortion violates the rights, interests, and health of women. Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade, believed that an abortion would help her, but she was never told about any physical, emotional, or psychological consequences. She actually never had an abortion herself, but her work in several abortion clinics caused her to see the truth. Sandra Cano, Doe in Doe v. Bolton, subsequently told the court that she never even wanted an abortion and her case was a fraud.

A year ago, Judge Edith Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, often mentioned as a candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote a published opinion in which she referred to the evidence provided by Ms. McCorvey in the Roe case, including the sworn affidavits submitted to this Task Force. Judge Jones stated that this evidence provided new and fresh information never before considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

We find the testimonies of these women an important source of information about the way consents for abortions are taken, as well as many other matters relevant to the mandate given to this Task Force by HB 1233.

The 2005 South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion was created when the South Dakota legislature passed HB 1233 with a bipartisan majority in both houses. The purpose of the task force was "to study abortion and to provide for its composition, scope, and administration." The report was completed in December 2005 after several months of meetings.


Haggs said...

Didn't that Task Force exclude all information from the other side of the debate? It doesn't seem like a good idea to use misinformation to support your views on Initiated Measure 11.

Dakota Voice said...

The task force didn't exclude the information from the other side of the debate, only the propaganda offered by the other side of the debate--primarily because that's all the other side had to offer.

The so-called "minority report" compiled by the pro-abortion members of the task force illustrates my point.

Rather than include scientific information directly related to the child in the womb, the 42-page report is comprised of the following:

- Some 25 pages, or 60% of its volume were spent promoting contraception and access to contraception. The purpose of the task force was to "to study abortion and to provide for its composition, scope, and administration," not promote contraception and sex-ed.

- The minority report spent six of 42 pages, or 14% of its volume, on material that might be considered scientific. Those topic consist of mental health, fetal pain, breast cancer and child mortality. Of that, biased studies are cited...all of which are contradicted by the evidence presented at the task force meetings. The testimony of many women illustrates the mental anguish that usually follows abortion. The fetal development of the brain and nervous system at a few weeks development, in addition to observed and documented behavior of fetal response to touch and pain contradict assertions that the unborn child feels no pain as it is chopped apart. Assertions that abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer are contradicted by studies which clearly show the production of undifferentiated cells--which later become milk-producing cells--is interrupted by abortion and those cells can later become cancer cells if they do not reach their eventual purpose; this link is so strong that a study last year found a direct and predictive correlation between abortion rates and breast cancer rates in different parts of the UK. The child mortality factor was mentioned in the minority report, but no substantive information was provided.

- The minority report completely ignored the most relevant and important question: Is the subject of the abortion human life, and thus deserving of the dignity, rights and life afforded to human life? While the minority report has not a single thing to say on the subject, the official task force report contains extensive molecular biology, DNA and fetal development evidence (which was unavailable in 1973) of the unborn child's (a) human DNA, (b) unique human DNA making the child NOT a part of the mother's body, (c) the human biological development and function of the unborn child at even a few weeks gestation.

If the pro-abortion contingent had anything other than emotionalism and pro-sexual-license ideology to bring to the debate, it would be worth at least considering.

They had their chance with the so-called "minority report" without any input or votes from the other side whatsoever--and still weren't able to offer anything substantive.

In the end, it isn't just morality that's on the side of the pro-life position, but science itself.

Haggs said...

I love how you assume the minority report is biased and the main report the pro-lifers handed in didn't have any bias. Once again pro-lifers are stretching the truth to match their deluded version of reality.

1.) Contraception: Most of the pro-choicers who want to reduce abortion (like me) believe promoting contraception will cut down on the number of unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions. It wouldn't completely eliminate abortion, but neither would a ban. Though I do agree that they spent too much time focusing on this issue in their part of the report. They should've spent more time countering the pro-lifer's "facts."

2.) Contradiction: So what if the minority report contradicted parts of the pro-lifers arguments? That's what was supposed to happen! Both sides were supposed to look at abortion from their perspectives and then come together to create a balanced study. If the pro-lifers presented studies of women having mental illness following an abortion and the pro-choicers presented contradictory evidence, then the task force needed to look closer at that issue instead of ignoring the pro-choice evidence. But instead they ignored it creating bias in their favor. That shows that the pro-lifers weren't interested in finding the truth, they only wanted to reinforce their own beliefs. And that wasn't what the task force was set up to do.

3.) When life begins: I see a lot of pro-lifers have co-opted science to answer what is a spiritual question. When does life begin? A lot of pro-lifers are adamant that life starts right when a sperm enters an egg. It's a deep theological question that we can never answer because we aren't God. That question is on the list of questions I hope to ask God when I meet Him in Heaven. And I think it's funny that conservatives are using science to help their arguments when they disregard science whenever it doesn't fit their beliefs. That's hypocracy.

4.) Biased group: The task force was doomed from the start. Gov. Rounds loaded it with more pro-lifers and pro-choicers. I wish it would've been more even so maybe it would've presented a more balanced study.

5.) Emotionalism: It's funny that you think the pro-choice side is the emotional one when I see nothing but emotion coming from pro-lifers. Whenever I get in an abortion debate, it's the pro-lifers using emotionally charged terms like "murder". I can't have a calm, rational discussion about the issue because pro-lifers always bring in emotions.

I'm sorry, but I believe the tast force is a biased piece of pro-life propaganda that should not be used to misingform the good people of South Dakota.

Haggs said...

Whoa. I just reread my last post. Sorry for all the misspellings. I should've proof read it before posting. My bad.

Bob Ellis said...

Contraception can be useful to prevent pregnancy. However, the primary biological function of sex is reproduction. It's going to happen despite our best efforts. Once a human being is conceived, there is no role for contraception. The only option (sadly) remaining at this point to prevent a child from coming into the world is to kill it. Contraception is not relevant to the issue of abortion...unless perhaps you view abortion as a form of contraception.

When life begins is a good question, one hard to answer with rock-solid certainty. However, we have some pretty good clues, both from the Bible and from science.

The Bible contains numerous references which refer to the value, dignity and connection to God of the unborn child.

Science also tells us that from the moment of conception, the unborn child has human DNA. Science also tells us that from the moment of conception, that DNA is unique, meaning it isn't a part of another person's body. So we have unique human DNA...that isn't human life? Give me a break.

When does the soul enter the body? Maybe at conception? I think that's as likely a time as any. We know that babies are being born preemie at younger and younger ages and surviving--and there is no indication they lack a soul. And since babies are born both vaginally and by C-section--and the C-section babies don't seem to be lacking a soul, so therefore there doesn't seem to be anything magic about passing through the birth canal that instills a soul in a human being, nor does it seem likely that simply being exposed to air does the trick either. Therefore, it seems most likely that the soul is instilled in a human being at the moment when they become a distinct and unique human being--which is at the moment of conception.

Even if I'm mistaken and it's at 3 weeks, 5 weeks, or 15 weeks...shouldn't the approach be, as with all important things, to err on the side of caution? We get bent out of shape at the thought of upping even by a few points the allowable parts-per-million of dangerous substances in drinking water...yet we treat human life with such cavalier disregard?

Finally, though it can be used emotionally, murder is a legal term. It is used to identify the act of wrongfully taking an innocent human life. If emotion comes with the word, it should. Murder should get us worked up emotionally, because it's wrong. And it's wrong because it defines a willful act, the results of which can be defined and measured clinically and scientifically.

Life in the womb can also be measured clinically and scientifically. We know that sperm and egg join to create a unique human being with DNA different than anyone else on the planet. We know that if uninterrupted, that human being will continue its development until it is able to live outside its mother's womb, just as severely injured human beings are eventually able to survive outside the support system of a hospital. Science tells us that the child's nervous system and brain have begun forming before most women even realize they are pregnant. Science tells us that by the time most abortions occur at 8 weeks, the child has a beating heart, blood is flowing through their veins, and the eyes and lungs and arms and legs and fingers and toes are starting to form.

Murder should provoke us to an emotional response, because of the wrongful taking of innocent human life which is created in the image of God. And that emotional response is based on the verifiable facts of science, not whim and self-interest.

The pro-abortion argument really has no science whatsoever on it's side. All it has are fear-based emotions which spring from self interest.

All of us have had those kinds of emotional responses; it's a part of being human. But we shouldn't allow them to lead to the taking of innocent human life. And government, the primary duty of which is to protect innocent human life, should not indulge emotional responses that lead to the taking of innocent human life.

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