By Paul O'Rourke, CEO of Emily's Voice.
The anger isn’t new, but the recent intensity of my rage has shocked even me. It’s always there, sitting just below the surface, rising and falling like the molten rock in an active volcano, bursting to life in response to seismic shifts in society. I like to think it’s usually a controlled and measured righteous indignation, but sometimes my white-hot anger is out-of-control, fuelled by my utter frustration and a despairing disbelief that society can be so blind to the damage that abortion causes women, children, relationships and, ultimately, society. Our colossal stupidity to this fact constantly astounds me. Abortion is a national tragedy; it's by any objective measure inhuman, disturbing, barbaric, illogical, unjust and a crime against the weak and vulnerable, the very ones a civilised and caring society is meant to protect.
Don't tell me to settle down, that it's none of my business, a woman's right, not really a baby, is necessary to prevent child abuse, save a relationship, stop overpopulation, ensure every child is a wanted child, and prevent women having backyard abortions using coat hangers. The debate has been reduced to these clever and yet false catchphrases; another being: "If you don't like abortion then don't have one.'' Substitute any other crime for the word "abortion'', and you realise the stupid and sinister nature of the rhetoric.
We want to tax, encourage or scare smokers out of their filthy habit, end the whale hunt, protect the rainforests, save the orangutans, protect the planet, and ban factory farming, while equally defending and promoting the right of any girl or woman, independent of any man, to kill her child, damage herself, as well as current and future relationships. We’re rightly outraged at the annual deaths of 15,000 Australians from smoking-related causes, but blindly accept the annual deaths of 80,000 little Australians through abortion as somehow unavoidable. Why? It makes no sense.
How is it that we can we see through the Japanese claims that they need to kill lots of whales to study them, but fail to see that abortion is wrong because it ends the life of a human being and wounds many others? Whales have rights, but not unborn children.
Surely only the blind and deceived can believe that a child nestling safely at the entrance to the birth canal is a fetus, not really human, or with any inherent value or rights, but the infant to emerge at the other end is a human baby. It makes me think of the line from Seinfeld
when Jerry asks George how to beat a lie detector: "Remember Jerry, it's not a lie if you believe it.''
My wife and I watched in stunned disbelief the Sixty Minutes
story on Aussie actor Mary Coustas who sacrificed through "selective reduction" two of her triplets conceived through IVF, only to lose the third, stillborn at 21 weeks. It was a tragedy on many levels. Mary told how they took pictures of the stillborn child, cuddled the baby and grieved with friends. Months later, As part of the healing process, she returned to the delivery room with a grief counsellor to remember the loss.
There are two groups whose views are conspicuously absent from the discussion about abortion: The first are the women who are the victims of abortion, the walking wounded whose lives have been deeply damaged by a decision often made under duress, when they were vulnerable, and often without all the information needed to give informed consent. The pain didn't go away after a few days as promised, no matter how hard they tried to pretend. They suffer, most silently, as those supposedly representing their best interests presume to speak on their behalf about the merits of abortion.
Perhaps outspoken feminist Germaine Greer was having a bad day when she described abortion as a "humiliating and painful procedure presented to women as a privilege".
The other group never represented are children, and yet theirs are the lives and futures we are stealing. Try to explain to those under 14 why us enlightened adults, again speaking on their behalf, have decided some children deserve to live, and others not. Explain to them why some of their siblings, cousins and potential playmates didn’t make it into the world. Look them in the eyes and tell them some children were rejected because mummy and daddy had enough children, wanted a boy instead of a girl, couldn't afford a baby, or would prefer a perfect baby, one without defects. Make sure to tell them it was a "difficult decision" for those involved.
My anger exploded again this week to unprecedented levels when Tasmania’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Craig White, a career health bureaucrat, told the Legislative Council hearings into abortion that legalising abortion would ‘’improve the health and wellbeing of Tasmanian women’’, and that abortion was “just another medical procedure’’. Dr White, on behalf of the Health Department, would like abortion-on-demand to 24 weeks. I imagined the respected health professional, dressed in a dark and moderately-expensive suit and tie, delivering his carefully-prepared speech impassively and yet with all the authority and confidence that accompanies his decades of experience and learning. I imagine the same women who think pro-life men are ignorant and automatically disqualified from the abortion debate partly because they are men, complimenting Dr White on his speech and thanking him for his time. Little children would remark: “The emperor has no clothes.”
I’m angry because people are influenced by Dr White as he defends the indefensible along with a small but well-funded, well-prepared and incredibly strategic-thinking minority who are literally getting away with murder. Most Australians have no idea there are around 80,000 surgical abortions each year. They mistakenly believe that we need abortion because a woman will die without one, that she has been the victim of sexual assault, or that her offspring has a severe disability. Most people are dumbfounded when told these make up around 3% of all abortions. I know, because I spend half my life telling people the truth about abortion and watching their stunned reaction. "Really? 80,000 a year? A third of all women of childbearing age? That can't be right. I didn't know there were so many, or that most were for emotional or financial reasons.'' So much for abortion being safe, affordable and rare. We have tolerated 80,000 annual abortions for more than two decades.
It’s true that 60-80% of Australians are generally in favor of abortion, yet most are strongly opposed to the financial and emotional reasons why 97% of abortions occur. Our research earlier this year shows Tasmanians are against abortion, even when the child has a mild disability or abortion is being considered for financial or lifestyle reasons. Australians want fewer abortions, believe women should be given alternatives, more support and independent counselling. The experts, the enlightened progressives, large sections of the medical community, the media and, of course, the abortion business, talk-up abortion like every woman needs one. And so comments such as Dr White's largely go unchallenged. We've become comfortably numb, or should it be comfortably "dumb''.
I want to ask Dr White to comment on our research, and defend his comments about abortion being good for women with respect to research released in just the past three years by Coleman; Calhoun et al, and Bellini and Buonocore which conclusively and definitively show the physical and mental health consequences of abortion.
I want to ask him if it’s true that around 10% of do-it-yourself abortions using wonder drug RU 486 fail, requiring women to have a surgical abortion to finish the job.
I want to ask him if he has ever read Melinda Tankard Reist’s book, Giving Sorrow Words,
containing dozens of personal accounts of traumatic abortion experiences from women who responded to a small newspaper ad inviting submissions. How does he explain such widespread and profound pain and regret?
I want to ask Dr White to confirm that Tasmanian women can already access abortion-on-demand, without a GP’s referral, by getting the endorsement of two doctors, both working at any of the State’s abortion clinics? Given that I already know the answer is “yes,’ I’d like to ask Dr White if he believes the proposed legislation for Tasmania simply provides a safer legal environment for abortion clinics to expand their businesses.
I want to ask him how much an abortion costs and, based on the market potential, how much can abortion clinics make each year? I wan to ask Dr White if it's accurate to call an abortion facility a ''clinic'', given pregnancy is not a sickness or disease, and no one gets "healed'' as a result of the procedure.
Given his comments about abortion being “just another medical procedure’’, I want to ask Dr White to explain how unborn children are aborted at 24 weeks, and whether they feel pain, knowing full well they do. I want to ask Dr White at what age does an unborn child have a heartbeat, knowing that the answer is 28 days after conception.
I’d wait for his answer and then respond: “So, isn’t it true that almost all abortions stop a beating heart?”
I want to remind Dr White, and those who share his views, that they only get to express their opinion about the need for abortion because their mothers chose not to have one. It should be bleeding obvious, but I'm astounded at how easily those who have a life want to prevent others from having one, if the mother should so choose. It's all about choice, so long as you are the one with the choice.
But most of all, I want Australians to wake up to the far-reaching effects of abortion, and to get angry, really angry, so angry they do everything within their power to protect the unborn and defend women; to rail against the lies, the injustice and the heartlessness of a world gone mad.
Paul O'Rourke is a husband, father of three adult children and grandparent of four children. He is an advocate for children, writing and speaking widely on issues relating to children. He has authored five books, including Why Satan Hates our Kids: How Children are Suffering and Why the Church Should Care.