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NRL News
Page 3
November/December 2009
Volume 36
Issue 11-12


By Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

In March of 1993, a Gallup poll determined that about a third of respondents (32%) wanted abortion to be “legal under any circumstances.” In the same year, Mark Donald of the Dallas Observer (5/18/1995) wrote this:

On June 28, 1993, Charlotte [Taft, then director of the Routh Street Women’s Clinic in Dallas] publicly aired her evolving views about abortion. ‘We have learned a great deal from the movement that calls itself pro-life,’ Charlotte told the Dallas Morning News. ‘We (the pro-choice movement) were hiding from women some of the pieces of the truth about abortion that were threatening.... It is a kind of killing, and most women seeking abortion know that.’ …

But the reaction to Charlotte’s public pronouncement was swift—and the response certain. Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League, was quoted as saying she ‘would never tell someone they are killing through abortion’; instead, she would say ‘they were terminating a stage of fetal development and potential life.’”

In other words, pro-abortionists should withhold the truth.

In September of 1996, Gallup found that support for abortion to be legal “under any circumstances” had dropped by nearly a third to 24%! (In July 2009, support was down to 21%.) What had happened?

Let us get an answer from obviously “pro-choice” Jennifer Senior of New York magazine (11/29/2009). She wrote after the recent passage of the Stupak Amendment in the House (11/7/2009):

But in late 1995, a Florida Republican congressman named Charles Canady [working closely with NRLC] had a stroke of insight that would shift it to the realm of both the metaphysical and brutally physical, which is precisely where the pro-life movement wanted it all along. On the floor of the House, he introduced a bill that would ban so-called ‘partial-birth abortions,’ a second-trimester surgical method previously known as intact dilation and extraction. The procedure was extremely upsetting to behold. In it, the fetus—or is it a baby?—is removed from the uterus and stabbed in the back of the head with surgical scissors. It’s a revolting image, one to which the public was ritualistically subjected on the evening news as the debate raged on the House and Senate floors. Defending it was a pro-choice person’s nightmare. Pat Moynihan compared it to infanticide. Clinton still vetoed the ban in 1996, but it was eventually signed into law in 2003 and withstood a Supreme Court challenge in 2007. More important, women were spooked. ... ”

Also, Senior can’t overlook that the biological facts of life are not on the pro-abortionists’ side:

Generally, science is the friend of progressive political causes. Not this one. As fetal ultrasound technology improved during the nineties, abortion providers, conditioned to reassure patients that the fetus was merely tissue, found it much harder to do so once their patients were staring at images that looked so lifelike.”

And then, of course, there is the increasing unease of abortionist themselves, as Senior noted:

Last year, Lisa Harris, a Michigan doctor, wrote an incredibly powerful essay for Reproductive Health Matters, trying to come to terms with the goriness of second-trimester abortions while simultaneously recognizing their validity: ‘What do we do when caught between pro-choice discourse that, while it reflects our values, does not accurately reflect the full extent of our experience of abortion and in fact contradicts an enormous part of it, and the anti-abortion discourse and imagery that may actually be more closely aligned to our experience but is based in values we do not share?’…

Harris … wrote about performing an abortion on a woman who was 23 weeks along and then immediately running to deliver a premature baby … of 23 to 24 weeks. ‘I thought to myself how bizarre it was that I could have legally dismembered this fetus-now-newborn if it were inside its mother’s uterus,’ she writes, ‘but that the same kind of violence against it now would be illegal, and unspeakable.’”

So what we have seen so far is this: NRLC’s determined efforts to pass federal and state legislation to ban partial-birth abortions has had an enormous impact on the public’s attitude about abortion—and, therefore, has saved hundreds of thousands, more likely millions, of lives. The biological facts of life, as revealed by sonograms and the science of fetal development, are on our side. Abortion doctors know exactly what they are doing—but it takes a sort of “schizophrenic” mind set to do it, either for profit or for the sake of “progressive” ideology.

Dr. Harris’s reflection “how bizarre it was that I could have legally dismembered this fetus-now-newborn if it were inside its mother’s uterus, but that the same kind of violence against it now [outside the womb] would be illegal, and unspeakable” speaks of a deeper truth which she hasn’t yet grasped—and we pray that she will.

That truth is exceptionally well expressed by Kathryn Scharplaz (letter to the editor, November 2009 issue of First Things):

[Those] who think in harmony with the Church correctly perceive that abortion profanes the very core of our faith, which is the incarnation of God as a human being. God could have chosen to save fallen man in any way he wanted, but he chose to do it by becoming one of us. And he did not choose to appear suddenly as a fully mature human—Almighty God chose to become incarnate as a tiny zygote in Mary’s womb. God Himself, a human being like us! Part of what makes the Good News so good is that the inherent dignity of human beings can never again be in doubt. …

To accept abortion is to deny the very nature of man—and of God. Killing a fellow human being at the same vulnerable, prenatal stage at which Jesus’ earthly life began naturally seems more abominable than anything else we can imagine. It is not only a violation of justice and compassion but, at some level, a rejection of God’s ineffable gift of intimacy with himself, which he has given us precisely by means of his life as a fellow human being.”

We at NRLC wish you a blessed Christmas!