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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Abortion is Unnecessary

There are other life-preserving options, even in life-and-health-of-the-mother situations

By Dr. Donald Oliver, MD
Rapid City, South Dakota

*This is reprinted from the print edition of Dakota Voice published in November 2006. At that time, the abortion bill before the voters of South Dakota contained no exception for rape as Initiated Measure 11 does. HB 1215 (aka Referred Law 6) only had an exception for the life of the mother.

I have been a pediatrician in Rapid City for 26 years now. During those 26 years it has been my job and privilege to attend the births of many infants whose pregnancies were complicated in various ways: prematurety, infections, toxemia, multiple births among many others.

My job is to care for the infant and give him or her the best chance at a whole and satisfying life. Sadly medical technology and my own skills have not always been up to the task, but the intent was to give the baby the best care available.

I want to tell you from a medical perspective that it is very, very rare that a physician would need to choose between the life of the mother and the life of the child. There is almost always something that can be done for both. This has always been traditional obstetric practice.

We now can do amazing things with fetal medicine. Diagnoses are being made earlier and earlier. Treatment interventions are being devised and implemented. Surgery is now being done on unborn babies while they are still in the womb, amazing. Why are all these incredible things being done? Because all life is precious and God given. All children deserve the life that God has planned for him in His infinite wisdom.

Our opponents in this campaign would have you belief that if the law banning abortions in South Dakota is upheld doctors will go to jail and women in South Dakota will be left with no health care. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Currently no South Dakota doctors do abortions; therefore no South Dakota doctors would be prosecuted under HB1215 when it is upheld. The only abortions done in South Dakota are done by 4 physicians from Minneapolis brought in to SF by Planned Parenthood. The bill also specifically protects physicians doing a legitimate medical procedure to save a woman’s life. It protects doctors doing a legitimate procedure where something goes wrong and a baby is inadvertently harmed. South Dakota physicians and South Dakota women have nothing to fear from this legislation.

The overwhelming number of abortions done in South Dakota and across our nation are done for expediency or convenience. They are done on perfectly healthy babies and perfectly healthy mothers. They are not done for rape, not done for incest, not done for fetal anomalies, and not done to save the life of the mother. They are done because a pregnant woman feels hopeless or helpless. We as a society and especially a Christian community need to seek out these women and be instruments of God’s grace and compassion.

I have in my practice now a 16 year old mother who was raped by her brother. So here we have in one case the two stumbling blocks that most people have with HB1215. She decided that the only innocent person in this unfortunate situation besides herself was her unborn child. What a brave decision for anyone to make, much less a traumatized 16 year old. I have great hope and faith that if a 16 year old can get it right so can the rest of South Dakotans.

The psychological literature is full of data indicating that abortion following a rape is more traumatic than the rape itself and leads to more long lasting emotional and psychological complications. We have interviewed many women who have told us their child has been the healing instrument from the trauma of the rape. And if it unfortunately happened to them again that they would make the same decision.

HB1215 does contain a specific provision for woman to receive emergency contraception following a sexual crime. We desire for them to receive complete and compassionate medical care and for them to receive justice. An abortion in theses situations is not compassionate and denies justice. An abortion in these situations causes long term harm for the mother and protects the rapist. Is this really what we want to do in South Dakota?

I have also over the years had the privilege of caring for many malformed, abnormal children whose lives were cut short or handicapped in human terms. Perfect in God’s plan, but not in our clouded viewpoint. NONE of the families that I have served, in these situations, have regretted their child’s life. They ALL celebrated and treasured something special in their child’s life, however brief. I have counted it a privilege by Gods grace to be involved with these families. I of course have some in my practice now. There are people who adopt children with special needs. I can think of several of them easily. In fact you will hear from one of these amazing persons soon. They are almost all Christian people who feel led by God to do this work, may God richly reward their faithfulness.

Surveys have shown that 80% of people agree that abortion is morally wrong; but, women in a crisis pregnancy don’t know where to turn or are frequently coerced. They are rejected by pro-life people for becoming pregnant and considering an abortion or having one, and not told the truth or had their feelings validated by the poor choice side. There have now been 45 to 50 million abortions done in our country. Therefore there are at least that many hurting women in our society. They are all someone’s daughter, mother, sister or aunt, sorority sister or best friend.

There are also an equal number of men who suffer in various ways. Perhaps they were the ones who coerced the abortion in the first place.

If our countries population is around 300 million, think for a moment with me what a staggering toil this sin has extracted from our society. I have in the past pondered how many firemen, teachers, plumbers we have aborted over the years. How many priests and pastors, concert musicians and geniuses. How many ordinary working folks who comprise our society. I continue to ponder that from time to time.

But today I focus more of my attention on the millions of people who have been harmed psychologically by abortion. The lost wages and productivity. The depression and suicide. The child abuse and neglect. The substance abuse and addictions of all kinds. The lose of hope and happiness direction and purpose. The destruction of marriages and families.

Oh what a burden our society carries for it’s sin. What an opportunity to be instruments of God’s healing grace. Please God let it start here in this state today. Let your grace and mercy go forth and heal our land. Whatever the results of the election may be. Abortion is not an unforgivable sin.

My pastor reminded me recently that Moses, David, and Paul all had something in common. They were each guilty of murder. Our Savior once had an encounter with a woman caught in the very act of adultery and deserving of stoning. Our savior did not condemn this woman for her sexual sin, in fact He specifically said I don’t condemn you, go and sin no more.

I trust my brief comments have reassured you that even in complicated pregnancy cases there is something that can be medically done.

I believe this law protects the women and physicians of South Dakota. There is a provision in the bill to help victims of sexual crimes. The human costs in terms of suffering in our country are enormous .Several years ago I served in the army. There was a saying about the good soldier: The good soldier, the brave soldier was the one who when he heard the sounds of battle, he picked up his weapon and ran towards the sound. In the video you heard from such soldiers. Even though badly wounded they pickup their weapons and run towards the sound of battle.

We need an army of such soldiers as these. We need you. Martin Luther once said “If you are a Christian soldier, and if you are not were the battle is the hottest, you are a traitor to the cause”.

I am a board member of VoteYesForLife.com, a coalition of people from all across South Dakota. We come from all the major political parties, from different denominations and walks of life. We are united in our desire to save babies and women from the harmful physical, emotional, and psychological effects of abortion. We desperately need your help.

We know this is God’s battle but He chooses to work thru His people. We need you to talk to your congregations, to preach God’s healing message of grace by which we all are saved. Those of us who are from the Reformed faith, all across the nation, will be fasting and praying on Sunday Nov. 5th . We need you to talk to friends, relatives, and neighbors. We need campaign volunteers.

Listen,….Listen….can you hear it? There is a battle raging for the hearts and minds of God’s people. Who among you will pickup your “weapons” and join us?

Dr. Donald Oliver is a respected Rapid City pediatrician. He is also a board member of VoteYesForLife.com.


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