Sunday afternoon, Plutonium Page marked the outrageous hypocrisy of George W. Bush having declared January 21, 2007 "National Sanctity of Human Life Day." Page showed the callous disregard of the Bush administration for human life and dignity, at home and abroad - and it is a gut-wrenching display.
It's important also to note that the date - January 21 - was clearly chosen to be the day before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. The "sanctity of human life" in this context means only preventing abortions, and only through the following means:
We are vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, abstinence education, crisis pregnancy programs, and the vital work of faith-based groups.
Parental notification laws: The costs of parental notification laws are perhaps most famously illustrated by the case of Becky Bell, an Indiana teenager who died after having an illegal abortion rather than telling her parents she was pregnant and asking their permission for a legal abortion. And even for teens who seek legal abortions despite parental notification laws, there are costs:
Young women who live under these laws and cannot tell their parents about their pregnancies must either travel out of state (enactment and enforcement of CCPA pending) or obtain approval from a judge — known as a "judicial bypass" procedure — to get an abortion. The result is almost always a delay that can increase both the cost of the abortion and the physical and emotional risk to the woman, since an earlier abortion is a safer one.
In Minnesota, for example, the proportion of second-trimester abortions among minors terminating their pregnancies increased by 18 percent following enactment of a parental notification law. Likewise, after Missouri's parental consent law went into effect in 1985, the proportion of second-trimester abortions among minors increased from 19 percent in 1985 to 23 percent in 1988.
Adoption: Adoption can be a wonderful option for biological mothers, adoptive parents, and children - when it is freely chosen. Before legal abortion, young women were often forced to give their children up for adoption.
Though two-thirds of teenage mothers in this era married before their babies were born, one-third remained single, and 1.5 million children were relinquished for non-family adoptions between 1945 and 1973.
In The Girls Who Went Away, birth mothers speak of other shared experiences: guilt, isolation, and shame. During the three decades Fessler chronicles, social stigma against unmarried mothers prompted high schools and colleges to require that pregnant students withdraw immediately. "Some families made their daughters hide in the house so their pregnancies wouldn't be seen, drawing the drapes, and making them duck down when they were in the car," writes Fessler.
In Fessler's book, one teenager in the throes of a difficult labor is denied pain medication until she signs adoption papers. A second refuses to surrender her child, only to have her parents place her in a mental institution until she complies. A third says, "I never felt like I gave my baby away. I always felt like my daughter was taken from me."
Legal abortion means that women who give children for adoption are more likely to do so of their own free will.
Crisis pregnancy centers: These are one of the anti-abortion movement's slimiest tricks. They advertise as if they offer medical care, but their true function is to persuade women not to have abortions. BarbinMD laid it all out about a year ago:
But the center does have a doctor and nurse practitioner and offers free ultra-sounds, so if you did have a medical question about abortion, you could get the answers at A Woman's Choice, right? Wrong. According to the medical director, the ultra-sound's function is, "persuasive, not diagnostic."
And if the religious arguments, the fake risks or the ultra-sound picture of your bouncing baby embryo didn't convince you to forego an abortion, you could talk to some of the women from their post-abortion group. They might even comfort you with a poetry reading, "written in the voice of an unborn child"
Planned Parenthood offers Five Ways to Prevent Abortion. In brief:
- Make contraception more easily available.
- Give young people a better teacher than experience.
- Increase the involvement of men.
- Create new birth control methods.
- Make America friendlier to children.
- Roe v. Wade did not "invent" abortion.
- Since Roe v. Wade, women have obtained abortions earlier in pregnancy when health risks to them are at the lowest.
- Deaths from abortion declined dramatically during the past two decades.
- Medically safe, legal abortion has had a profound impact on American women and their families.
- The health and well-being of women and children suffer the most in states that have the most stringent anti-abortion laws.
Elise has Roe v. Wade-related action. The anti-abortion movement is especially motivated on this day. Let's match them.