In Roman times, abortion and the destruction of unwantedchildren was permissible, but as out civilization has aged, itseems that such acts were no longer acceptable by rational humanbeings, so that in 1948, Canada along with most other nations inthe world signed a declaration of the United Nations promisingevery human being the right to life. The World MedicalAssociation meeting in Geneve at the same time, stated that theutmost respect for human life was to be from the moment ofconception.
This declaration was re-affirmed when the WorldMedical Association met in Oslo in 1970. Should we go backwardsin our concern for the life of an individual human being?The unborn human is still a human life and not all thewishful thinking of those advocating repeal of abortion laws, canalter this. Those of us who would seek to protect the human whois still to small to cry aloud for it’s own protection, have beenaccused of having a 19th Century approach to life in the lastthird of the 20th Century. But who in reality is using argumentsof a bygone Century? It is an incontrovertible fact of biologicalscience – Make no Mistake – that from the moment of conception, anew human life has been created. Only those who allow their emotional passion to overidetheir knowledge, can deny it: only those who are irrational orignorant of science, doubt that when a human sperm fertilizes ahuman ovum a new human being is created.
A new human being whocarries genes in its cells that make that human being uniquelydifferent from any and other human being and yet, undeniably amember, as we all are, of the great human family. All the fetusneeds to grow into a babe, a child, an old man, is time,nutrition and a suitable environment. It is determined at thatvery moment of conception whether the baby will be a boy or agirl; which of his parents he will look like; what blood type hewill have. His whole heritage is forever fixed.
Look at a humanbeing 8 weeks after conception and you, yes every person here whocan tell the difference between a man and a women, will be ableto look at the fetus and tell me whether it is a baby boy or agirl. No, a fetus is not just another part of a women’s body likean appendix or appendage. These appendages, these perfectlyformed tiny feel belong to a 10 week developed baby, not to hisor her mother. The fetus is distinct and different and has it’s own heartbeat.
Do you know that the fetus’ heart started beating just 18days after a new life was created, beating before the mother evenknew she was pregnant? By 3 months of pregnancy the developingbaby is just small enough to be help in the palm of a man’s handbut look closely at this 3 month old fetus. All his organs areformed and all his systems working. He swims, he grasps apointer, he moves freely, he excretes urine. If you inject asweet solution into the water around him, he will swallaw becausehe likes the taste. Inject a bitter solution and he will quitswallowing because he does not like the taste. By 16 weeks it isobvious to all, except those who have eyes but deliberately donot see, that this is a young human being.
Who chooses life or death for this little one becauseabortion is the taking of a human life? This fact is undeniable;however much of the members of the Women’s Liberation Movement,the new Feminists, Dr. Henry Morgentaler or the Canadian MedicalAssociation President feel about it, does not alter the fact ofthe matter. An incontrovertible fact that cannot change asfeelings change. If abortion is undeniably the taking of human life and yetsincere misguided people feel that it should be just a personalmatter between a women and the doctor, there seems to be 2choices open to them. (1) That they would believe that other actsof destruction of human beings such as infanticide and homicideshould be of no concern of society and therefore, eliminate themfrom the criminal code.
This I cannot believe is the thinking ofthe majority, although the tendency for doctors to respect theselfish desire of parents and not treat the newborn defectivewith a necessary lifesaving measure, is becoming increasinglymore common. (2) But for the most part the only conclusionavailable to us is that those pressing for repeal of the abortionlaws believe that there are different sorts of human beings andthat by some arbitrary standard, they can place different valueson the lives of there human beings. Of course, different humanbeings have different values to each of us as individuals: mymother means more to me than she does to you. But the right tolife of all human beings is undeniable.
I do not think this isnegotiable. It is easy to be concerned with the welfare of thosewe know and love, while regarding everybody else as lessimportant and somehow, less real. Most people would rather haveheard of the death of thousands in the Honduras flooding disasterthan of a serious accident involving a close friends or favouriterelatives. That is why some are less disturbed by the slaughterof thousands of unborn children than by the personal problems ofa pregnant women across the street.
To rationalize this doublestandard, they pretend to themselves that the unborn child is aless valuable human life because it has no active socialrelationships and can therefore, be disposed of by others whohave an arbitrary standard of their own for the value of a humanlife. I agree that the fetus has not developed it’s full potentialas a human being: but neither have any of us. Nor will any of ushave reached that point: that point of perfect humaness, when wedie. Because some of us may be less far along the path thanothers, does not give them the right to kill us. But those infavour of abortion, assume that they have that right, thestandard being arbitrary. To say that a 10 week fetus has lessvalue that a baby, means also that one must consider a baby ofless value than a child, a young adult of less value than an oldman.
Surely one cannot believe this and still be civilized andhuman. A society that does not protect its individual members ison the lowest scale of civilized society. One of the measures ofa more highly civilized society, is its attitude towards itsweaker members. If the poor, the sick, the handicapped, thementally ill, the helpless are not protected, the society is notas advanced as in a society where they are protected.
The moremature the society is, the more there is respect for the dignityand rights of all human beings. The function of the laws of thesociety, is to protect and provide for all members so that noindividual or group of individuals can be victimized by anotherindividual group. Every member of Canadian society has a vitalstake in what value system is adopted towards its weak, aged,cripple, it’s helpless intra-uterine members; a vital stake inwho chooses life or death. As some of you may know, in 1969, the abortion laws werechanged in Canada, so that it became legal for a doctor toperform an abortion if a committee of 3 other doctors in aneccredited hospital deemed that continuation of the pregnancyconstituted a severe threat to the life and health, mental orphysical of the women. Threat to health was not defined and so itis variously interpreted to mean very real medical disease toanything that interferes with even social or economic well being,so that any unwanted or unplanned pregnancy thus qualifies.
Whatreally is the truth about the lasting effect of an unwantedpregnancy on the psyche of a womem? Of course there is adifference of opinion among psychiatrists, but if unbiased,prospective studies are examined certain facts become obvious. (1) The health of women who are mentally ill before they becomepregnant, is not improved by an abortion. In fact in 1970 anofficial statement of the World Health Organization said,”Serious mental disorders arise more often in women previousmental problems. Thus the very women for whom legal abortion isconsidered justified on psychiatric grounds, are the ones whohave the highest risk of post-abortion psychiatric disorders. (2)Most women who are mentally healthy before unwanted pregnancy,despite a temporary emotional upset during the early weeks forthe pregnancy, are mentally healthy after the pregnancy whetherthey were aborted or carried through to term. Do we accept killing a human being because of a temporary,emotional upset? All obstetricians and gynaecologists know ofmany cases where the mother, be her single or married, has spokenof abortion early in the pregnancy and later on, has confessedher gratitude to those who have not performed the abortion.
Onthe other hand, we have all seen women what have been troubled,consumed with guilt and development significant psychiatricproblems following and because of abortion. I quote Ft. John L. Grady, Medical Examiner for Florida State Attorney’s Office, “Ibelieve it can be stated with certainty that abortion causes moredeep-seated guilt, depression and mental illness than it evercures”. We used to hear a lot about the risk of suicide among thosewho threatened such action if their request for abortion wasrefused. How real is that risk – it is not – in fact, the suiciderate among pregnant women be they happy of unhappy about thepregnancy, is 1/4 of the rate among non-pregnant women in child-bearing years.
An accurate 10 year study was done in England onunwed mothers who requested abortions and were refused. It wasfound that the suicide rate of this group was less than thataverage population. In Minnesota in a 15 year period, there wereonly 14 maternal suicides. 11 occurred after delivery. None wereillegitimately pregnant.
All were psychotic. In contrast, amongthe first 8 deaths of women aborted under the liberal law in theUnited Kingdon, 2 were from suicide directly following theabortion. Are there any medical indications for abortion?? Is it validfor a doctor to co-operate in the choice for abortion? The lateDr. Guttmacher, one of the world leaders of the pro-abortionmovement, has stated: “Almost any women can be brought throughpregnancy alive unless she suffers from cancer or leukemia, inwhich case abortion is unlikely to prolong her life much lesssave it. “As an opponent to abortion, I will readily agree, as willall those who are against abortion, that pregnancy resulting fromrape or incest is a tragedy.
Rape is a detestable crime, but nosane reasoning can place the slightest blame on the unborn childit might produce. Incest is, if that is possible, even worse, butfor centuries, traditional Jewish law has clearly stated, that ifa father sins against his daughter (incest) that does not justifya second crime – the abortion of the product of that sin. The actof rape or incest is the major emotional physical trauma to theyoung girl or women. Should we compound the psychic scar alreadyinflicted on the mother by her having the guilt of destroying aliving being which was at least half her own? Throughout history,pregnant women who for one crime or another were sentenced todeath, were given a stay of execution until after the delivery ofthe child: it being the contention of courts that one could notpunish the innocent child for the crime of the mother. Can wepunish it for a crime against the mother?If rape occurred the victim should immediately report theincident.
If this is done, early reporting of the crime willprovide greater opportunity for apprehension and conviction ofthe rapist, for treatment of venereal disease and prevention ofpregnancy. Let is give our children good sex education; and letus get tough on pornography, clean up the newstands, literatureand “Adult Movies” and television programmes which encouragecrime, abusive drugs and make mockery of morality and goodbehaviour and therefore, contribute to rape. By some peculiar trick of adult logic, proponents ofabortion talk about fetal indications for act. Whatever abortionmay do for the mother, it so very obviously cannot be therapeuticfor the fetus. Death is hardly a constructive therapy. As Dr.
Hellegers of John Hopkins Hospital says, “While it is easy tofeel that abortion is being performed for the sake of the fetus,honesty requires us to recognize that we perform it for adults”. There is no evidence to indicate that an infant with congenitalor birth defect would rather not be born since he cannot beconsulted. This evidence might exist if suicides were commonamong people with congenital handicaps. However, to the contrary,these seem to value life, since the incidence of suicide is lessthan that of the general population.
Can we choose death foranother while life is all we ourselves know? Methods are beingdeveloped to diagnose certain defects in the infants of mothersat risk before the infant is born. The fluid around the fetus canbe sampled and tested in a very complicated fashion. If we killinfants with confidential defects before they are born, why notafter birth, why not any human being we declare defective? It isno surprise of course for many of us to learn that in hospitalsacross North American Continent such decisions affecting thenewborn and the very elderly or those with incurable disease, arebeing made. What is a defect, what is a congenital defect? Hitlerconsidered being 1/4 Jewish was a congenital defect incompatiblewith the right to life.
Perhaps you have all heard this story :One doctor saying to another doctor, “About the terminationof a pregnancy, I want your opinion. The father was syphilitic(venereal disease). The mother tuberculous (small lumps on skin). Of the four children born, the first was blind, the second died,the third was deaf and dumb, the fourth also tuberculous. Whatwould you have done?””I would have ended the pregnancy”. “Then you would havemurdered Beethoven”.
Not content with the Abortion Act of 1969 which allows40,000 unborn children to be killed legally in our country in1973, many noisy and emotional people are campaigning forabortion on request. They are aided by a crusading, misguidedpress and media which continues to utter as fact, the fiction offertile imaginative minds. We have been told by the media thatthe majority of Canadians wish to have abortion legalized but thelatest census taken by the Toronto Star in March of 1989 reportsthat 35% of those polled thought that abortion was already easyto obtain, 26% thought it too hard, 19% about right and 21% hadno opinion. Men more then women thought it too hard.
Even if themajority did want it, this does not make it right. Centuries ago,most Americans thought slavery was right. The elected leaders ofthis country must have the wisdom and integrity for what isright, not for what might be politically opportune. One of the uttered justifications for abortion on demand isthat every women should have the mastership of her own body, butshould she? To quote Dr.
Edwin Connow, “Should she have the rightfor what is really judicial execution of new life – not a cat,not a chicken but a human being – not only potential but actual”. In a society one is not totally free to do what one will withone’s own body (we don’t have the right to get drunk or high ondrugs and drive down Young Street. ) The great concern has beenshown for the innocent victims of highjacking but what isabortion but this? The highjacking without reprieve, of aninnocent passenger out of his mother’s womb. Should we reallyleave the right to hijack as a personal decision only?Those campaigning for further liberalization of the abortionlaw, hope to make abortion available and safe for all who wish itduring a pregnancy. Qualifications have been placed on theabortion on demand routine by other groups, for example, a timelimit for the duration of pregnancy or clause that the operationbe performed in an accredited hospital.
Before exploring thereality of so-called safe abortion, let me tell you a littlemethod of procuring an abortion. Before 13 weeks of pregnancy,the neck of the womb is dilated – a comparatively easy procedurein someone who has already had a child – much more difficult ifchildbirth has not occurred. The products of conception in manyhospitals are removed but a suction apparatus – considered safeand better that the curettal scraping method. After 13 weekspregnancy, the fetus is too big to be removed in this was andeither a dangerous method of injection a solution into the wombis carried out, this salting out method results in the mothergoing into what is really a miniature labour and after a periodof time, expelling a very dead often skinned baby. In somehospitals because of the danger of this procedure to the mother,an operation like a miniature Caesarean section called ahysterotomy has to be performed.
There area also many othermethods. Let us now look if we can, at consequences of such licenseto kill an individual too small to cry for it’s own protection. Abortion by suction curettage is not just as simple as apelvic examination performed in a doctor’s office as Dr. Morgentaler and the television programe W5 who were doing a greatdisservice to young women in Canada would have us believe. InCanada as reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal(the Statistics from Statistics Canada), the complication rateand this being for immediate complications of early abortion is4. 5%.
According to the Wyn report with statistics from 12counties, women who have a previous induced abortion have theirability to bear children in the future permanently impaired. There is a5-10% increase in infertility. The chances of these women havinga pregnancy in the tube increases up to 4 times. Prematuredelivery increases up to 50% and when one realizes thatprematurity is the commonest cause for infants being mentally orphysically defective, having cerebral palsy or otherdifficulties, then one realizes that those doctors doingabortions in great numbers south of the border or across thewater, even in Canada may not be doing the women and her family aservice.
They will tell you that abortion has almost nocomplications. What most of them will not tell you, is that oncethe abortion is done they may refuse to see the women again andthat she must take her post-abortal problems elsewhere. Those seeking repeal of the present abortion law willrapidly point out that nevertheless, it is safer to have a legalabortion than illegal abortions, safer for the women that is. This I don not dispute, but here is the real rub. Liberalizedabortion laws do not eliminate illegal, back street abortions andin some cases, the overall number of illegal abortions actuallyrise, usually stays stagnant, and rarely falls. There are stillpeople who would rather try it themselves or go somewhere theywill be completely anonymous.
Another factor enters the totalnumber of people seeking abortion, legal or illegal rises. Theoverall pregnancy rate rockets and people become careless withcontraception and a women can have 3 or 4 abortions during thetime of one full term pregnancy. Are doctors really being kind to the girl to allow her tochoose life or death for her unborn child? In aborting a 16 yearold this year with so-called informed consent, we may bepreventing her from having even 1 or 2 children 10 years laterwhen happily married. No, repealing the abortion law does notmake it possible for every women to safely eliminate, what is forher, an unwanted pregnancy.
Would limiting abortions to accredited hospitals make itsafer? Yes, safer for the women, not for the fetus and it wouldjeopardize the continued well being of all of the members of thecommunity with the gross misuse of the medical manpower, hospitalfacilities and money. With almost 31,739 abortions performed inOntario in 1989, the cost to OHIP is about 9 million dollars. Yetto do as has been done in the U. S. A and the United Kingdom -namely to make legal, abortions is to turn so-called ‘backstreetbutchers’ into legal operators.
Patients now go into the office through the front doorinstead of the rear. I have heard it said that is abortionsbecame available on request, many less children would be born andwe could use the pleasant delivery suites and postnatal beds forabortions. As I have pointed out, however, before today,liberalization of abortion does not reduce the birth rate. Therewould be little increase in available facilities or indeeddoctor’s time. By the very nature of the operation and becausethe longer pregnancy lasts, the more difficult it is, patientsfor abortions are admitted as urgent cases or emergencies so thatall other members of the community must wait longer for theirhospital bed or the surgery they need. Who will pay for there abortions? With medicare, of course,it is you and I.
I know one full tern pregnancy costs most thanan abortion, but not much more. And it does not cost more than 3abortions and that is what happens when the climate or choice forlife or death of the unborn child changes. Let us use this moneyfor constructive purposes, not destructive. It has been suggestedthat abortions on request would enable the poor to secureabortion as easily as the rich but regrettably, it has been shownthat abortion-minded physicians in great demand will respond tothe age-old commercial rules, as has already happened in theStates and in Britain. Abortion on demand a women’s right to choose not to continuean unplanned pregnancy would prevent there being unwantedchildren in this country, so we are told.
This is the final anddesperate emotional plea of people anxious, at whatever price, toescape the responsibility for their actions. Nobody here or inCanada, wants there to be unwanted children in this city, and inthis country, and also in this world. There is nothing morepitiable or heat rending that an unwanted fetus becoming anunwanted babe or an unwanted babe becoming an unwanted child, oran unwanted child becoming an embittered adult. But few wouldthink it right to kill or have killed an unwanted baby to preventit from becoming an unwanted child.
Then how can they think itright to kill an unwanted fetus, even more defenceless than anewborn babe just because it may grow into an unwanted child. Once a women has conceived, she already is a parent, be itwilling or otherwise. The only way she ceases it be a parents isby a natural death or an act of killing. Killing in any form isnot the solution to so-called unwanted human beings at any age. Hitler thought this was right.
Canadians surely do not. It is apermissive and frightened society that does not develop theexpertise to control population, civil disorder, crime, poverty,even its own sexuality but yet would mount an uncontrolled,repeat uncontrolled, destructive attack on the defenceless, verybeginnings of life. Let us marshall all our resources financial,educational, those of social agencies, but above all, of humanconcern and passion for our fellow humans. Let us by all means,make available to all, knowledge of conception and methods ofcontraception. Let us offer ourselves as loving humans to thosealready in this country who are unwanted by their naturalparents. And incidentally, I am sure I don not need acquaint youwith some of the facts about so-called unwanted children.
TheChildren’s Aid Societies in Toronto and in fact in every majorcity across our country have many more potential parents anxiousand willing to adopt infants and young children than they havesuch children available for adoption. Let us marshall ourtechnology and humanity in the service of the unfortunate. And in conclusion, I would like to read to you a letter which amember of Birthright received. Dear Birthright:I heard about your work in Birthright and think you can helpus.
We’re in our late 20’s and have been married 7 years. After 3years of waiting, we became the happy adoptive parents of aprecious baby girl last fall. This is how you can help us. Please tell every unwed motherwho places her baby for adoption how much we love her. We thinkeach of those girls are the most generous, charitable, kinddevoted and loving mothers on this earth.
We know she must have carried her child out of love or in thisday and age should have found some way to have an abortion. Wecan never thank her enough for the 9 months of time and energyshe spent for us. Maybe if she knows that we think she’s the most lovingperson in this world we will never know, it will help us both. As Jenny grows older, we are telling her she has two sets ofparents.
We’ll tell her how she came to be our child this way. Her first mommy didn’t have a home or a daddy to help love andcare for her. She loved her so much that she just couldn’t lether daughter grow up without love of two parents and all thethings that make a happy home. We’ll tell Jenny that her 1stmommy thinks of her often and wonders how she is.
She will alwayslove her baby. Maybe our thoughts will someday reach Jenny’s 1st mommy. What she did was an act of faith in mankind, hope for herdaughter’s future and love toward us. We think the strength ofher love enabled her to place her precious baby with us. We havefaith that as Jenny grows up learning she was placed out of loveand not abandoned by her 1st mommy, both Jenny and she will be atpeace. Thank you.