Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (97), September 19, 1989

War Against Unborn, Not Women

I have to admit that it is sad to see abortion proponents repeat the same tired non-truths and half-truths, ad nauseum, and then not to answer honest ethical and intellectual questions which reveal their one-sideness.

Barbara Smith’s August 30th My Turn column seems to run in this vein. When she cites the women who died in illegal abortions in 1972 and prior, she calls it a “war on women.” But does she cite the fact that 90% of the illegal abortionists were in fact licensed physicians? Now we legalize them. Does she mention that only 39 women died (according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta) in 1972 from illegal abortion, not the thousands that abortion advocates usually claim? That is 39 too many in 1972, or several hundred too many around 1958 when their numbers were at their highest. But they died tragically and needlessly while killing their unborn children. The war is against the unborn, not women.

Male chauvinism, poverty, economic stress etc. discriminate against women and children. But is the answer to kill the unborn? Ms. Smith’s citing of countries where people can “barely feed existing children” is misplaced. The problem is not overpopulation or lack of resources (see A.J. Dyck, On Human Care, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1877, 1980, pp. 32-51 [chairman of population ethics at Harvard], and the definitions of “crisis environmentalists,” “family planners,” and “developmental distributivists,” and their concerted anti-family policies and distortion of the facts). When Texas Congressman Micky Leland recently died in Ethiopia on refugee work, it was once again brought to public attention on how sparsely populated and fertile that country is — the starvation is a direct result of Marxist policies that put self-serving politics over and against human welfare.

The truly :awesome power” being exercised in over the lives of the unborn. What about equal rights for unborn women? In our peaceful work in front of Preterm abortion clinic (no blockades, no arrests, cooperation with the police), in Brookline, we have a huge banner that says, “You have the power to choose life.” This is not “anti-choice,” rather is powerfully pro-choice. Show me a courageous and compelling choice, and it will be a choice for life, not death.

Ms. Smith has a good point about Congressman Mavroules’ exception clause for rape and incest. All human life should be equally affirmed, no matter what the circumstances of a child’s entrance into this world. However, Ms. Smith will be disappointed about her “70%” pro-choice figure. It depends how you ask the question. The Boston Globe defined many of these people under the reality that “78%” of people oppose 90% or more of all abortions. Also, as my surveys reveal, as our future ballot question will reveal, 70-80% of people know that an individual human life begins at conception.

And ad nauseum is goes in this debate. But the nauseum reality is that 4,5000 unborn children are purposely destroyed every day in this country, on the basis of pro-abortion rhetoric that conspires to ignore the humanity of the unborn. Many issues Ms. Smith raises are genuinely compelling and in need to address. But equality for women will never be achieved by the blood of unborn children.

John C. Rankin, New England Christian Action Council, 11 Pleasant St.