School Preparation and the NRL Educational Trust Fund
By Joe Landrum
Sorry, kids, but it's time to start thinking about term papers again. Teachers, start thinking about how you are going to make life as interesting as possible for your students for the next several months. Allow me to fill you in on a few resources the Educational Trust Fund has that might help you both.
Our newest resource is a full-color eight-page leaflet titled The Choice I Made. This publication originally appeared as an insert in the December 2003 issue of NRL News. (See www.nrlc.org/news/2003/nrl12/index.html. Click on the articles under "Special Supplement.")
Why is this insert critically important? Many women having abortions are not celebrating their "freedom of choice," but have their abortions because they do not believe that they have realistic alternative choices. The Choice I Made dispels some of the misconceptions they may have about abortion, motherhood, and adoption. Public school classes examining social/cultural movements or studying psychology could make use of the information it contains. Private religious schools and home-schoolers can obviously also make use of such a resource.
The insert features the searing first-person accounts of three young, single teens who faced unplanned pregnancies. One kept her baby, one had an abortion, and one chose adoption. The Choice I Made helps the reader understand the thinking that led to the decision each made, and the consequences that followed.
"Candi," a 16-year-old from Massachusetts who kept her baby, tells of her baby's narrow escape. Candi was literally up on the operating table before finally screaming out, "I can't do this!" She talks candidly about the challenges of single motherhood, but relates how she's grown up and overcome many obstacles. Candi speaks joyfully about her daughter "Kinsey."
"I love being a mother," she writes. "I could not imagine my life without her!"
"Gemma," of New York, was raped at a party at a friend's house. Afraid to tell anyone, feeling like she had no real options, she had an abortion at three months. Now, she admits that the abortion solved nothing and only made things worse.
"Rape is an awful thing for any woman to go through, but instead of salvaging the one good thing, the beautiful, innocent son, that came out of my awful experience, I added one tragedy on top of another," Gemma writes. "Now I deal with both the rape and the abortion."
Annie H. from North Carolina was a pre-med student and a cross country runner in college when she found out she was pregnant. She chose adoption. Annie recognized it could be emotionally difficult, but knew "there was no way I was going to violently kill my baby for my personal temporary comfort."
The insert also features a powerful essay by Trust Fund researcher Laura Antkowiak Hussey, titled "I Can Do It." She addresses the ways society has made the abortion "option" into a virtual obligation and denied the positive and empowering experience of motherhood.
An extended article on pregnancy care centers details the support and services offered by over 3,000 centers across the United States. Here women have real choices, a complete contrast with abortion clinics, whose only "option" is death.
The eight-page insert also contains helpful short articles that address common fears and misconceptions pregnant teens may have, the different types of adoption, medical risks associated with abortion, and basic facts about the baby's development in the first trimester. The back cover provides 10 toll-free numbers where a pregnant teen can call for help.
In addition, there is information about a web site where she can find information on centers in her area or send in queries by e-mail. She can expect a quick, confidential reply. The reader will also learn about a web site where she can read stories of other girls and women who have also faced a crisis pregnancy.
The Trust Fund has also produced a fetal development brochure titled a baby's first months. Not only is it beautiful and highly informative, a baby's first months fits nicely into a purse or pocket and can be easily distributed. This is our best tool for describing the wonders of fetal development in scientific detail with extensive footnotes. It includes full-color photos of the unborn child at various stages of development.
This is a "must have" for any student defending the pro-life cause or any teacher discussing human development in biology class. The booklet makes only brief references to abortion near the end, allowing the pictures and descriptions to speak for themselves.
Another excellent resource is Abortion: Some Medical Facts. (See www.nrlc.org/abortion/index. html for the complete text.) This small but highly useful brochure describes the various abortion techniques, and physical and psychological risks associated with abortion. The information is well documented with over 100 footnotes referencing the textbooks and medical journals from which the information is drawn.
A more in-depth resource is a book titled "Women's Health After Abortion: The Medical and Psychological Evidence." Now in its second edition, this excellent resource describes physical and psychological complications following abortion.
While the abortion industry still touts abortion as safer (for the mother) than childbirth, the evidence keeps mounting that many women suffer serious, sometimes life-threatening, consequences. Increases in breast cancer rates; ectopic pregnancy; infertility; drug, alcohol, and tobacco use; and psychiatric complications have been documented among women who've aborted rather than giving birth.
The Trust Fund also has a number of fact sheets on various aspects of the abortion issue, and these are available for free on our web page. They can be viewed at www.nrlc.org/onlinebrochures/Downloadables/FactSheets.htm
Our newest fact sheet discusses several deaths associated with the abortifacient RU486. Others deal with such topics as responding to arguments in favor of abortion, the activities of Planned Parenthood, the disproportionate impact of abortion on minorities, abortion statistics, and the issue of embryonic stem cell research.
For those without Internet access, single hard copies are available on request. You are free to make as many copies as you need.
The fact sheets present a great deal of information in a compact format and can easily form the basis for essays, presentations, and classroom discussions. The range of topics they deal with makes them useful for classes in government, sociology, biology - - you name it. Check the web page - - www.nrlc.org - - frequently, as we are always striving to add new fact sheets to the list.
THE INTERNET AND NRLC
As you may have noticed, I frequently refer to the Internet for these resources. Teachers and students are well advised to start their research there.
On our web page, www.nrlc. org, students in government class can search for information about bills in Congress that NRLC supports and those it opposes. Students in government and political science classes will no doubt want to keep a close eye on the race for the White House, which NRL News is covering in detail. There also is a great deal of material here for students learning how grassroots citizens' groups can impact the course of a nation.
Scanning the NRLC web page, students researching, say, the connection between abortion and breast cancer or the controversial topic of embryonic stem cell research can search the indexes of NRL News going back to 1998 and find many, many articles dealing with these topics. They will also find links to other organizations with particular expertise.
"Death As a Salesman: What Wrong With Assisted Suicide"
Students wanting more information on euthanasia and assisted suicide can read the detailed four-part series, Why We Shouldn't Legalize Assisting Suicide, which presents strong pro-life answers to the arguments in favor of legalization. Again, the address is www.nrlc.org.
For teachers or students ready to pursue the subject of assisted suicide further, the Trust Fund offers both Brian Johnston's book and updated video Death As a Salesman: What Wrong With Assisted Suicide. Speaking about the 2003 updated video, Johnston, the film's director, said, "I was particularly concerned that the abuses in Oregon be made known. There are so many facts about the death of vulnerable patients that the state's 'official reports' tend to gloss over." (Assisted suicide is legal in Oregon.)
Recent revelations of wide-spread abuse and non-reporting in the Netherlands have also come to light. "These are things that have to be looked at and talked about," said Johnston. "Sadly this is a topic that many are uncomfortable with; they may feel intuitively that something's wrong, but they don't know how to talk about it. All of the 'public discourse' seems to glibly report that it is a 'controlled and compassionate situation,' but nothing could be further from the truth."
Filmed throughout the world, the 20-minute documentary is an overview of the debate, and is suitable for public broadcast. It is structured for viewing in a classroom or discussion group setting.
If you wish to request materials from the Trust Fund or if you are a student who needs a little more information, please let us know and we will try to assist in any way we can. If you are interested in purchasing materials, single copies of The Choice I Made cost $1. For orders of 20 or more, the cost is 10 cents each plus shipping. A baby's first months costs 45 cents each plus shipping, with quantity discounts at 100 (35 cents each) and 450 (25 cents each). Abortion: Some Medical Facts costs 25 cents each plus shipping, with quantity discounts for 100 or more (22 cents each) and 500 (20 cents each). Women's Health After Abortion costs $16 plus shipping. The Death As a Salesman book costs $10 plus shipping, and the video is $15. Shipping for all items above is $3.95 for orders up to $20, or 20% for orders of $20 and over.
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (202) 626-8829, or by writing us at 512 10th St., NW, Washington, DC 20004.
Joe Landrum is administrative assistant for public information for the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund.