Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back Alley Butchers?

This is the speech that I gave about the question of whether legalizing abortion would increase maternal deaths from back alley butchers - a very important question as pro-lifers because we do care about baby AND the mother. 

I don’t know where you stand on the issue of abortion, but regardless I’m guessing that you’ve all heard the following arguments:

“If anti-abortion extremists successfully prohibit abortion, it will usher back to the back alley butcher era. Before the legalization of abortion there were 1 million unsafe abortion and 5,000-10,000 maternal deaths due to these unsanitary ‘coat-hanger’ abortions. There are 1.2 millions abortions a year now, and 1 million before Roe - the only difference the legalization of abortion made was to make them safer. If Roe v Wade is overturned, mothers will die - you don’t want that, do you?”

This seems pretty convincing, I must admit that these stats sound pretty convincing as a good reason to keep abortion legal. But do you know where these stats came from?

“ONE MILLION illegal abortions every year before 1973”
 The source is from a study by Bates and Zawadzki in 1984. But where did they get their number? Original research? No, they got the number 1 million from a researcher named Taussig in 1936, and that researcher got his number from the researcher Kopp’s original study in 1934. Kopp published a study that found that at the New York City Sanger Birth Control Clinic, the ratio for abortions was 1 for every 2.5 pregnancies. Taussig then took this statistic and applied to the entire urban population of the United States. Next, Taussig used another study done by a researcher named Plass in order to "find out the rural population ratio of America". Plass’ study was a  questionaire sent to doctors in Iowa that asked the doctors to roughly estimated how many abortions they guessed women had per pregnancy. The guesstimation came out to be 1 for every 5 pregnancies. Taussig used this ratio of 1 to 5 and applied to the entire rural population of the United States, added this number to his urban ratio of 1 to 2.5. This totaled that 631,600 illegal abortions were being performed every year. All the Bates and Zawadski study did was to take the number 631,600 and project it onto the current day population of 1964. Ta da: 1 million!

It doesn’t take one long to see the errors that occurred in coming up with the number 1 million illegal abortions every year. It was derived from 30 year old statistics that were flawed studies in the first place. The New York clinic was one of the most radical clinics in the whole country and their ratios did not accurately reflect the current national average. Additionally the Iowa study was based on GUESSES - no scientific data was actually compiled to back up the doctors’ claims.

In 1981 a man by the name of Syska created a more reliable study that looked pregnancy maternal mortality rates and credible estimates of greater risk illegal abortions. He calculated that there was an average of 98,000 illegal abortions per year with 210,000 as the high in 1961.

Legalization did increase the numbers of abortions, no questions asked. There were about 100,000 illegal per year before 1973 and now tragically that number has skyrocketed to 1.2 million a year.

Further evidence that there were not millions of upon millions of women clamoring for abortions before the legalization is that in 1973 there were only 781,000 abortions. It wasn’t until 1977 that the number hit 1 million. This piece of information is the last nail in the coffin for the magic number ONE MILLION. It is a number that was constructed to purposefully mislead the public into thinking that abortion was an already accepted and desired practice and that legalization would only make it safer.

“5,000 to 10,000 women died every year from illegal abortions"
This number originated from the same researcher: Taussig. He discovered from stats from the 1920’s and from Germany that old studies showed that there was a  .6% chance of death from illegal abortions. He didn’t think that the number was high enough -surely there was a higher chance than that - the numbers were just hidden, so he doubled the chance of death. When he applied 1.2% to the 631,600 illegal abortions that he estimated, he got the number 8,000 to 10,000 maternal deaths annually. In 1942, Taussig himself revised the number to 5,000 because he admitted it was too high.  But the pro-abortion advocates used this faulty number to further the debate in 1973 and still use the number to today. Abortion advocate Dr. Hall, president of the Association for the Study of Abortion said in 1967, “[Taussig’s estimate] is certainly not valid now. There are in fact fewer than 1500 total pregnancy deaths in this country per annum...and of these 1500, probably no fewer than a third are the result of abortion.”

Abortion advocates love to point out that legalizing abortion reduced maternal death rates, but in fact the rates starting falling LONG before ‘73. Why, you might be asking? Antibiotics were invented! In the 1940-50 decade, maternal death due to abortions reduced from 1407 to 260. From 1960 to 1972 the death rate still fell further: from 260 to 39 - deaths that were needless, tragic deaths nonetheless. This drastic decline was due to the addition of intensive care units and better surgical techniques.

So would back alley butcher abortions increase if abortions were made illegal again? The short answer is no. If the number of abortions were reduced, even if there is higher risk per illegal abortion, there would be less maternal deaths. Plus, the medical advancements of each decade will not disappear - mothers will not be forced to go to a "dirty back alley butchers" or use a coat hanger and be left to die in the street. Infection was the cause of death for many self-induced abortions before 1940‘s, but the modern day antibiotics will never disappear from the medical practice.

Bottom line, abortionists who were performing abortions illegally just brought their signs from the back door and moved it to the front door in 1973. The same abortionists who performed abortions the day before Roe v Wade, performed the abortions after Roe. The same medical procedures were used before Roe and after Roe (and many are in fact still used TODAY). The legalization did not make it any “safer”. The idea of back alley butchers was a scare mongering tactic, which was very effective in 1973 and still is an effective tactic today.

So what does uncovering these statistics show us? 
If abortion becomes illegal, it would NOT increase the deaths of mothers. That claim was based on fabricated myths. Medical technology would be able to save lives of mothers who had botched abortions, as it has saved lives since the invention of penicillin and ICU's were integrated into the health care system.

The abortion industry propagates that abortion saves lives and prevents deaths. The truth is that the only thing saving women during the abortion process is the secondary doctor who rescues them after the abortionists' invasive dangerous procedure ends the life of their babies and puts their health at risk during every single abortion.

Fact: before Roe, there were not one million abortions per year. This number was falsely created with 30 year old data to justify abortions. “You’re oppressing women by not allowing abortion, it is an option that every woman wants and has always wanted.” But in reality, it took several years for the idea of abortion to become an accepted, prevalent “choice” in our culture through non-stop propaganda of the pro-abortion industry.

If the abortion industry claims to truly care for women, they need to realize that the only solution that really cares for women are the life-affirming alternatives that don’t include killing their children.

If abortion becomes illegal -
it would save the lives of mothers...
it would save the lives of their unborn children....
and it would save mothers from being fed the lie that abortion is a positive option and it would save them experiencing the devastatingly trauma of going through an abortion.

Mothers deserve better answers than the death of their children through the violence of abortion, legal or illegal.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Capturing the moments.....

Life goes by so quickly. I have been in Washington DC for 3 1/2 weeks already and sometimes it seems like I've been here forever and some days it seems like I just arrived.... I am torn between feelings of dying to be back home and sadness that this once in a lifetime experience is going to end. Every morning I wake up and am so utterly grateful to God for blessing me beyond belief this summer.

I was telling my aunt this morning - God has answered so many of my prayers large and small. I had all these little dreams about this summer that seemed pretty unrealistic and really weren't that important. I hope that I get to go swing dancing at least once this summer... Wouldn't it be great to get to go kayaking in DC? ...I would love to just sit underneath a tree and read some day this summer... etc, etc, etc. This past week has been a testament that God cares for each of his children SO much and loves to remind us every day that he is with us every step of the way.

I just have to share about all the fun times that we were surprised with this last week and a half!

The Academy was invited to a swing dance party last week- Andrew's friend from school had a friend from high school who lives in this AMAZING mansion in Virgina, and he invited a wide variety of people to a swing dance party! This house was amazing - and we only got to see the basement! It had a two story library, a fantastic backyard with too many little nooks and crannies to count, a lovely swimming pool a water fountain in the garden, a soccer field, etc. We were going to dance under the terrace on the patio but it was pouring down rain so the family rented a ballroom dance floor to put in their basement! We danced our socks off all evening. All three of our NRLC guys - Devyn, Andrew, and Brandyn (an intern who has become a good friend to us all) were amazing dancers by the end of the evening, and Anna, Natalie and I (who all love to dance) especially had a blast! I love how God answers prayers more than we could ever ask for or imagine.

This weekend was also a nice respite from the classwork. On Saturday, 5 of us went to Eastern Market - a lovely, huge outdoor market a few metro stops from the Capitol. I felt like I was transported back to Europe!!! Little stands everywhere were selling everything imaginable - from antiques to beautiful photography to hats to jewelry to fresh fruit to flowers to old ancient map! The three of us girls wandered through and made it out successfully with only a few purchases: fresh peaches, beautiful cupcakes, fresh squeezed lemonade, AND Anna and I both bought maps! "Map Man" had hundreds of old maps and we dug around in the piles until we found maps that were beautiful and were special to us. I found a map from 1910 of Asia and Europe - Romania and India, my two loves. Did I need it? No, but I justified it by the fact that this opportunity would probably never come again, and it would look great on a wall in my house someday :-)

Then we found a bookstore STUFFED with books. I've never seen a more disorganized book store in my life - but the fact that it was books from floor to ceiling helped my OCD-ness take a break and just enjoy being in the environment :-) I found a Hebrew Primer for children. I was so happy that I could still read it after not being in Hebrew class for several months. It has several of the Sabbath and Passover prayers in the back... and pictures. A treasure! After all this treasure hunting, we spread out our blanket underneath a tree in the nearby park to enjoy our cupcakes and read our homework. What a day!

Sean, one of the interns who has really become a good friend and hangs out with us alot on the weekends suggested that we kayak on the Potomac. He did all the hard work of finding a place to rent kayaks and we just had to walk a couple blocks from GW to Georgetown. For just $20 each, we kayaked all afternoon. It was such a lovely, lazy Sunday afternoon..... There's no place I would have rather been at that moment. We kayaked around Roosevelt Island, and toward Lincoln and Washington Monument... across the river from the monuments, we beached and ate a picnic 'dinner' and then got back in our kayaks to go see the Jefferson Monument. This was definitely a dream come true day!

Andrew and I decided to go to a new church on Sunday - Capitol Hill Baptist. It had been recommended to me by a friend who interned for Mike Pence last year. It took us longer to metro-it than we thought, so we arrived a few minutes late. I didn't expect it to be SO crowded - the church met in a very large old house that had been converted into a beautiful V-shaped sanctuary. We looked in the window and didn't see one open seat anywhere, when an usher told us that there was a balcony and fortunately there were a few seats still open. Packed almost to capacity (a few hundred people), I could sense an excitement/anticipation in the congregation of young and old, families and college students. It was a relatively traditional liturgical service with hymns, responsive readings and several passages of scripture read out loud, but to my surprise not a single element seemed rote or "dead". It seemed as if they were hungry for a fresh revelation of who Jesus was through each part of the service.

The sermon, on Hebrews 12:1-3 was very timely for me:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

This summer has emphasized for me that what I desire most is to fix my eyes on Jesus with everything in me in order to run the race with perseverance. It was convicting to realize how often my eyes stray to focus upon lesser things. When the fight for the Right to Life seems absolutely hopeless, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus. When I am overwhelmed with so many questions of how God is going to put all the pieces together to form my future, I need to fix my eyes on Jesus. When I try to pull away and run this race on my own, the only thing that will help get me to the finish line is to refocus and fix my eyes on Jesus. Then and only then, we will not lose heart and finish the race strong.

Something else that has been re-emphasized this summer for me (with Washington DC and my earlier trip to India in June) is that I am definitely apart of a Larger Story - God's story. He has given me an important role to play, just like he has given you a role to play too. Its an Adventure, its a Battle, its a Romance... And I don't want to miss any second of this Story. After getting a sense of the Larger Story going on the pro-life movement, how can I be content to sit on the sidelines and just be happy to go on and try to live the monotonous American Dream life? After seeing a glimpse of the Larger Story in India and how God is moving so mightily there, how I can be content to only think of myself for the rest of my life and what will make me happy? God is calling each of us to someway, somehow rise up and participate in God's adventure. Now, more than ever, I declare, Yes Lord! Here am I! Send me!

Every man dies.  Not every man really lives.  ~Braveheart

 I want to live, really live.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Unwanted Children?

This slogan sounds like nice rhetoric, but have you ever stopped to think what this really means?
Every unwanted child a dead child. 
Abortion advocates say that Abortion reduces child abuse and crime rates. Is this true? 

Abortion advocates presume that unwanted unborn children are less than, and therefore it is okay to kill them. The concept of unwanted-ness is actually the attitude of others towards you. How scary? If others determine that you are unwanted, that makes you worthy of killing? But this logic doesn't hold true for any other stage of human life than unborn: it would be unthinkable to kill a three year old who was being particularly bratty and the parents decided that they didn't want their toddler. Or perhaps this situation: would a lethal injection be a worthy solution to a teenager who was being rebellious and his parents decided that he was too much effort? Of course not. So what makes abortion a positive alternative? "It will decrease abuse because there will only be wanted children". So killing the child is better than beating it? Abortion is the ultimate form of child abuse. Does this line of logic make sense: I don't want you, I will probably abuse you, I really care about you, so I am going to abort you? The truly compassionate solution if the child is really unwanted is adoption. And for other women who feel like abortion is the only alternative because of their extreme poverty, crisis pregnancy centers and other organizations all over the U.S. are there to help in dire circumstances. A poor mother who aborts her baby is still poor, except now she has a dead baby. Is the best solution our country can come up with to advocate killing her child to solve her problems? 

Additionally, there is no correlation between abortion and a reduction in abuse. There is not a single study that supports this idea, in fact experts agree that child abuse has increased dramatically in 30 years - 330% from 1976 to 1987. Did you know that 85% of abused children are wanted children? Seems very counter-intuitive, but in fact when the parents want the child, many times they imagine a perfect family. They plan for the baby to go to Harvard, decorate the nursery beautifully and wait until Baby Perfect arrives. But when the baby does not fit his parents' perfect image when he cries and is messy, child abuse is likely. Additionally there is a 144% higher risk for women who have had an abortion to abuse their subsequent children, because of all the guilt and shame from their traumatic abortion experiences.

This idea of unwantedness actually stands on shaky ground: 85% of women initially reject their pregnancy, but by the end of their first trimester 85% to 90% have accepted it and are looking forward to their baby. It is so sad to me that many women are encouraged and even pursued to have abortions while their feelings toward the baby are mixed, and then the child is aborted before his mother ever has a chance to change her mind and reach acceptance and excitement about the baby.

Abortion reduces crime - because it reduces unwanted children. A study by Donhue and Levitt supported this idea that the legalization of abortion got the ball rolling. But actually these two researchers used flawed data and didn't separate the age groups of the offenders. Crime right decreased as a whole, but decrease happened in age groups that were too old to be personally affected by the legalization of abortion. Another study by Lott and Whitley challenged the Donhue-Levitt study and found that murder rates skyrocketed in the late 80's to early 90's = the first generation whose peers were aborted. "Essentially, the message is, if you choose death, you get death. With interest." (Randall O'Bannon).

"Unwanted" children: since when did the right to life depend on other people wanting a life? The social problems of poverty, crime and child abuse are real - but the solution for solving them is not by the people to whom the problems happen. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

CHOICE - the C Word

A woman has a right to control her own body....
              RIGHT TO PRIVACY
                              RIGHT TO CHOOSE
Before this Academy, it was when I heard this argument that I got nervous. What do you say in response? How can I argue against the feminist agenda that has indoctrinated our culture and made women feel like killing their children is the only way to complete equally with a man in the workplace? This argument is the most common that pro-lifers face and it basically boils down to: Don't Force Your Morality on Me.

Because of the prevalence, I would that I would share a few talking points that we learned on Friday (but its a complex topic that we spent the whole day on, so I won't share ALL that I learned. If you want to know more, ask me).

It can't be taken for granted that this argument has an effective, emotional pull? You want to force mothers to carry their babies to term? But in our society, freedom of choice is limited to the fact that it doesn't involve or trample upon another person's rights. "She has the right to control the use of her arm by choosing to swing her arm. However, that right stops when her arm approaches the tip of my nose." A woman certainly has rights to her own body, but the baby inside of her is a completely, new human life with rights of its own. An example can be taken from slavery - when slaves were erroneously assumed to be just property, white people were given the freedom to keep slaves. But when the argument was raised that slaves deserved equal rights, slavery was considered an abomination and many fought for those rights for years. No one's right to choice should ethically involve taking away another's right - especially the right to life.

Judith Jarvis Thompson wrote an article in 1971: "Must an unwilling pregnant woman provide her body for the use of the child?" Through her very influential, yet flawed argument she clearly demonstrated that this issue is a conflict of rights - the child's and the mothers. Let's examine these 2 rights.
Right A: the right of the unborn not to be killed.
Right B: the right not to sustain the unborn.
Thompson's conclusion is that the mother's rights prevail because the child is a parasite, invading her privacy and forcing "itself" upon her. But the only way to have Right B is to violate and override A. Let's suppose that these rights were combined into one situation: a pregnant woman must decide between death or having to sustain the child for nine months, what do you suppose she would choose? The right to Life - because this right is more fundamental and necessary for the other right to exist at all. So the priority of rights - between the right to not be killed and the right to not sustain the life of one's baby - definitely falls on the baby's right.

Now let's compare the violation. Taking away to the right to life is irrecoverable - it irreversibly ends life. And although pregnancy can be a severe inconvenience for many women, it is limited to 9 months and that inconvenience does end. The raising of a child is a lifelong journey, with many ups and downs, joys and headaches but many parents say that it is one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. But if a mother absolutely does not want to take care of a child, rather than abort her baby, she should put it up for adoption where it has the possibility of a wonderful, loving home (one of the 1 to 2 million in the US who are waiting for children to be placed in their homes).

Bottom line, the right to life is higher than the right to be inconvenienced. The right to choose should not include the right to end innocent life.

Additionally, reason and historic experience teaches us that unless we protect the rights of others, our own rights soon diminish as well.

Women should have to stop apologizing for the fact that they bear children. To expect women to kill their children in order to succeed in the world (i.e. to achieve complete equality with men) is to treat women as second class citizens. Abortion proponents pit mother and child against each other - and it is crucial to reveal to women who love the phrase, "My Body, My Choice" that the child is not an enemy but a gift.