AL#8 Abortion Aftereffects; Feminism
This is the eighth in a series of emails on abortion and related subjects. To be removed from this mailing list please send an empty email from the account in which it was received with the subject line "REMOVE." If you find the materials you will be receiving worthwhile you are encouraged to forward them to your own email lists. If you missed any of the other emails (AL#1..., AL#2..., etc.) and would like to receive them, please let me know.
[ 2/17/2004 - It might have been better to have sent this email much earlier in the series since focusing on the woman is known to facilitate communication with those not favorably disposed towards this cause. But I wanted to get my own material out early before too many people left the list since I have not seen similar things elsewhere - especially on rape, religion, language and parallels to war.
Although the Republicans did well in the 2002 elections, the loss of the governorship in Michigan was disheartening (we have really been paying for this lately) and it was three months before I sent out this next email. I hope you find it useful.
Al Lemmo ]
I didn't expect the break after the fall elections to be this long but other priorities arose. There should be only two more emails in this project after this one. AL#9 will deal with a variety of related subjects and AL#10 will be recommendations for where we should go from here.
Once again, this email is intended more for the non-activist readers on the mailing list although the activists may still find it useful. I do not have much material of my own on the subjects of this email so will be mainly providing references to websites that I believe will be of value and interest.
If you are not already familiar with post-abortion effects, I highly recommend that you spend some significant time exploring material posted at the website of The Elliot Institute (www.afterabortion.org). This subject area could very well change your outlook on the whole matter of abortion, especially if you are not already favorably disposed towards the pro-life cause. Much of what is posted on this particular website is explicitly directed towards Christians, but I believe that it applies to any compassionate person of good will, which I also believe includes everyone on this mailing list. Please don't let the Christian orientation of any of the writers I reference (or myself for that matter) put you off.
The founder of The Elliot Institute, Dr. David Reardon, is one of the foremost researchers on abortion aftereffects. A good place to start in his website is with Dr. Reardon's discussion on how focusing on the woman can result in a very effective pro-life strategy (http://www.afterabortion.org/strateg.html). In fact, if you read nothing else referenced in this email, please read this item. The website also includes back issues of the Institute's publication, the Post Abortion Review (http://www.afterabortion.org/PAR/index.htm) and much more. Among other articles I would recommend are those dealing with abortion in the case of pregnancies resulting from sexual assault (summary of book at http://www.afterabortion.org/news/Victims.html, table of contents at http://www.afterabortion.org/Victims/contentsv.htm). I dealt with this from another perspective in email AL#1. Other excellent material includes Despair Versus Hope (http://www.afterabortion.org/despair.html - part one of three - all are very worthwhile), Making Abortion Rare:A Healing Strategy for a Divided Nation (book overview with chapter summaries at http://www.afterabortion.org/MAR/marsum.html) and The Jericho Plan: Breaking Down the Walls Which Prevent Post-Abortion Healing (book summary at http://www.afterabortion.org/flyer_j.html, index with some chapter summaries at http://www.afterabortion.org/jericho/index.htm). Some of these items also deal with the effects of abortion on others, such as the men involved, a woman's other children, etc.
The Elliot Institute's 2002 Year End Report included this concise summary of one its five published studies in 2002 on abortion complications:
"Compared to delivering women, women who have abortions have an elevated risk of death from all causes which persists for at least eight years. Projected on the national population, this effect may contribute to 2,000-5,000 additional deaths among women each year. (Southern Medical Journal)"
In other words, there may be as many women actually dying at least in part due to legal abortion as were claimed in the completely fabricated statistics for maternal deaths (5,000-10,000 annually) due to illegal abortion, which abortion crusaders deceitfully used to sell their cause. The official U.S. government figure for the number of maternal deaths due to illegal abortion in 1972, the last year before Roe v. Wade, was 39.
The most recent issue of The American Feminist, the magazine of Feminists for Life of America (FFLA), listed a number of other websites dealing with post-abortion outreach. These include: www.abortionfacts.com, www.hopeafterabortion.com, www.pregnancycenters.org (includes listings of U.S. and international crisis pregnancy centers), www.priestsforlife.org/postabortion/postabortiontestimonywomen.htm, www.ramahinternational.org, www.rachelsvineyard.org and www.helpafterabortion.com (website of The National Post-Abortion Awareness Campaign: Silent No More - 800-707-6635 - now seeking women who are ready to speak out about the pain they experienced after an abortion).
Perhaps the most significant and deadly impact of abortion on women has been its effect of increasing the incidence of breast cancer. The effect is especially pronounced if the abortion is committed early in a woman's or teenage girl's first pregnancy, when breast tissues are experiencing rapid increases in new cells and before breast tissues have fully matured (this occurs late in a first full term pregnancy) and thereby reduced their susceptibility to breast cancer. With roughly half of all abortions in this country occurring early in first pregnancies, this poses a huge public health problem, especially as the known and accepted risk factor of age comes into play later in life. Yet the necropimping major media have been overwhelmingly silent on this matter. If even a small fraction of the observed statistical link could be attributed to some chemical produced by the political left's favorite whipping boys, big bad private industry, that chemical would be pulled from the market immediately. It remains to be seen how many more women -- and it could be millions -- will be sacrificed to the sacred idols of Abortionites before anyone outside the pro-life movement will even sound the alarm.
The connection between abortion and breast cancer has been discussed in the mass media in Russia, where women have many abortions. The Russian news agency, Pravda, has been quite open about it. But as Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics puts it, "No one has a more controlled media than the United States does, it's just not controlled by the government. It's controlled by the radical, Godless left in America."
The following websites can provide much more information on the link between abortion and breast cancer, including the biological mechanisms that produce it:
www.abortionbreastcancer.com (Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer)
www.etters.net (Abortion and Cancer link)
www.bcpinstitute.org (Breast Cancer Prevention Institute)
This past June (2002) I attended a presentation at the National Right to Life Convention by Dr. Joel Brind of Baruch College in the City University of New York, one of the leading researchers on the breast cancer link to abortion. It has been typically reported that only roughly three-quarters of the pertinent studies have shown the link statistically. Dr. Brind presented the raw data from several of the studies alleged to have not shown the link. By accounting for the steps that had been taken in these studies which hid the link, Dr. Brind demonstrated that it was not only present but pronounced, even in these studies where it had supposedly not been seen.
I briefly alluded to the original pro-life stance of the nineteenth century feminists in email AL#3. What is usually described as feminism today is really a grotesque corruption and betrayal of the vision of these original, genuine feminists. Their philosophical descendants are still here, however. Rather than try to speak for them, I'll refer you to the website of Feminists for Life of America at http://www.feministsforlife.org. I recommend exploring this website in depth. You might want to start with the landmark speech by the organization's president, Serrin Foster, entitled "The Feminist Case *Against* Abortion" at http://www.feministsforlife.org/news/commonw.htm. I will also attach to this email an article by Frederica Mathewes-Green, one of the pioneers of reviving the original feminist perspective, which appeared in NRO (National Review Online) this month (January, 2003). It is used with her permission as copyright holder.
(now accessible at http://cul.detmich.com/lemmo_common_good/Frederica_Lessons_of_Roe.html)
Birthist Abortionite literature sometimes reveals a deep sense of insult or even humiliation that women should be "equated" with fetuses in any way, even in terms of the obvious quality of simply being alive. Pro-lifers have never asserted any rights for a prenatal child beyond the right to life itself. It has no right to enter into contracts, make other decisions for itself, vote, drive a car, etc. Even if such ludicrous claims were somehow possible, prenatal children would be constrained in the same way postnatal children are. They deserve our protection precisely because they are vulnerable and dependent, not our contempt and dismissal. I've also seen the claim that requiring a pregnancy to be continued "reduces" a woman to a "mere vessel in its (the fetus') service." How is it that we can justify requiring the service of men to protect our country in ways that can be extremely costly to them but can make no claims on any woman to serve the most basic needs of the most innocent and helpless among us whose very existence is usually at least in part due to actions of the woman? Does this attitude really enhance the standing of women or does it "reduce" them to childlike status? Whatever happened to being responsible for one's own actions and their consequences, things we expect and demand of adults? I touched on this approach in email AL#1.
Interestingly, some Catholic prayer forms speak of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a "vessel." It is a highly respectful and honored description (with modifiers) for having carried the Lord Jesus in her body.
On December 6th I was in London, Ontario on a one day business trip when the company I was visiting observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims of violence against women. It happened to be the 13th anniversary of a 1989 shooting spree at a Montreal college in which 14 women were killed. The gunman had said he was "fighting against feminists" before he killed himself as well. I remembered this incident and some of the media speculations about why so many men harbor some sense of antagonism towards women (some writers expressed it in much stronger terms). These reactions prompted me to help organize a discussion session in my singles club on the subject of male and female roles in the 90's. All were invited to contribute suggested discussion points but most of what was used came from me, edited by another club member. I don't have the original material submitted but below is a reconstruction of most of what we discussed. I had submitted my points under a question asking why men have negative feelings towards women. This was removed before the points below were discussed.
1) This society permits women normal, healthy human emotions and feelings which men are conditioned to deny and suppress as unmanly.
2) Society delivers the message that men need sex (women), but women do not need men.
3) Women are exalted as life-givers and nurturers, which are seen as natural roles, whereas men must constantly "prove they are men." The phrase is a part of the language with no counterpart for women. (Many women, however, often feel compelled to have a child to get their "ticket punched.") Men must act to validate their identities; women need not. Men have no intrinsic value.
4) For men, life is one big performance, and, as in show biz, you are only as good as your last act. Even sex is a performance. The pressure never lets up.
5) A man builds his identity around his work. If it is not rewarding, he is in big trouble. He has, unlike women, no other life option. Unemployment is more devastating for men because of this identity factor, and they die relatively soon after retirement.
6) Studies of primitive societies show that their character is largely determined by the male roles. In our society, women have so completely encroached upon and usurped male roles that there are virtually no uniquely male roles left.
7) Society constantly delivers the message that men are brutal oppressors of women and enjoy many privileges over women. But most men do not experience themselves as having any special power or significance - not at home and certainly not at work. The contradiction of message with actual experience can be infuriating, although most men simply ignore the message or suppress their emotional response to it.
8) The message to men from the women's movement is "who needs you?" Single women are even becoming pregnant by artificial insemination to exercise their mother instinct without a man. Many men feel ( at least subconsciously) that biologically they are nearly irrelevant to propagation of the species. Women are in control of life itself. They have nearly total control of children and can even destroy a man's children before birth entirely without his consent.
9) Except for moral reasons, a man has no incentive to get married. It is an invitation to give a woman everything he ever worked for, including his children.
10) With the "me generation," women are refusing to be submissive and men are refusing to sacrifice themselves for their families.
11) As Steve Martin's character expressed it in the movie "Parenthood," "Women have choices; men have responsibilities."
I remained silent during the first part of the discussion as the women present could be seen doing a slow burn at having their victimhood challenged. But the point of the exercise was not to claim victimhood but merely to demonstrate that life is not easy for any of us and that some of the messages emanating from what masquerades as feminism is not making it any easier for anyone. Point #8 in particular relates to what abortion has done to male-female relationships. It has been devastating to the male role of protector of his children, although, unfortunately, too many men have welcomed the removal of responsibility.
Some of the ideas in the above list were drawn from "The New Male" by Herb Goldberg (2nd in a trilogy). Another interesting but difficult read is "Sexual Suicide" by George Gilder which has been rewritten under the title "Men and Marriage."
I massed faxed the following letter to the editor nationwide in an attempt to demonstrate how abortion is related to other social problems, such as postnatal child abuse and school shootings which were much in the news at about that time, as well as to many problems experienced by the complementary sex.
Feb. 16, 1996
To the Editor:
The Universal Law is to love one's neighbor as one's self. But America is suffering for its failures to heed this Law. Legal abortion has ruptured the ties that bind us, delivering the message that human lives have value only when wanted by those more powerful. This has deepened the alienation, anger, rebellion and hopelessness that feed crime and other social ills. "Every child a wanted child" has made every child a conditional child to immature parents, contributing greatly to postnatal child abuse (contrary to popular myth, abused children were wanted - for the wrong reasons - more often than those not abused). Abortion's easy availability has exposed women and young girls to increased sexual exploitation and subsequent coercion to use this deadly cover-up. It has been disastrous to the physical, emotional and spiritual health of women, the breast cancer connection alone now killing far more women than illegal abortion ever did. A more powerful vehicle for the abuse, subjugation and suffering of women could hardly be imagined.
Human history is littered with failed attempts to mistreat others without consequences. How much must it cost us before we concede that the Universal Law is as real and immutable as the laws of physics?
A basic idea that I wanted to convey in this letter is that when we violate a law given to us for our benefit by our God, who knows us and our relationship to the rest of His creation better than we can ever know ourselves, we almost necessarily hurt ourselves, often in ways that are not apparent. It is almost as though it is somehow hard-wired into the universe. It is this law that we violate whenever we depart from the ethic of holistic environmentalism that I described in email AL#7.
What follows was written in the early 1980s as a contribution towards promoting chastity as a preventive measure, with the target audience being young men rather than the usual target audience of young women. It was based on my observations of the motivations for sexual adventures among my acquaintances in college and was intended to speak to an individual's conscience. This would hopefully lead to an examination of motivations rather than just warn of possible consequences. It is an exercise in practical application of what I called the "Universal Law" in the letter above. Although it takes the form of a young man's pledge, its ideas can easily be adapted to other formats. Some people I sent it to also told me it could just as easily apply to young women. In any case, please use it to best advantage where you feel it may help. The same kind of destructive attitudes I observed then are now flaunted on some of the most popular television shows, among many other places.
Will your boyfriend sign this pledge? If not, you'd probably better learn the real reasons why he won't.
A YOUNG MAN'S PLEDGE
Recognizing that growing up is to a large extent a matter of becoming more responsible for both myself and for others, I pledge to strive for maturity by exercising restraint and by foregoing those activities for which I and the young women in my life are not yet prepared. In particular, my responsible and loving concern for them will be evidenced
by the following:
- I will never ask any other person to compromise her moral code for my pleasure or for any other reason, even though we may have strong feelings for each other
- I will never jeopardize any young woman's mental or physical health, her self-image, her reputation or her educational or other future plans by engaging in sexual activity with her outside of the institution of marriage
- I will never risk fathering my children in situations wherein I and their mother are not prepared to give them the long-term loving care to which every child is entitled
- I will never attempt to use another human being to prove anything about me to myself or to others
- I will never ask another person to prove her feelings for me by any actions which either of us suspect to be improper or unwise
- I will not engage in conversation in which women or relations between men and women are spoken of in a degrading fashion
- I will promote healthy relationships between myself and the women in my life, and prevent destructive attitudes, however subtle, from taking hold in me, by avoiding materials in which women are degraded or in any way depicted as less than human beings deserving of love and respect
- I will not seek sexual experience for its own sake outside of the committed and loving relationship of marriage
- I will never attempt to influence the behavior of others for the pleasure of exercising power over them, especially in matters of sexual activity
- I will keep my own conscience clear and my self-image positive by being responsible and genuinely loving in the ways I use my sexuality
I am fully aware in making this pledge that keeping it will not always be easy, that it runs counter to prevailing notions about the uses of sexuality and that signing it may very well expose me to the ridicule of my peers. However, I regard these things as a small price to pay for the benefits that keeping it will bring in my life, the lives of those who interact with me, and ultimately in the world. I will become a responsible, mature and truly loving person by keeping this pledge. I will become capable of establishing and maintaining healthy and mutually fulfilling relationships. I will contribute to the betterment of my world by not adding to its problems and by reserving my energies for positive activities rather than the undoing of avoidable mistakes. Aware of these benefits which I desire for my life and for the lives of those I care about, I now confidently and proudly sign my name to this pledge.
A volunteer for one of the local crisis pregnancy centers who does computer graphics easily turned this pledge into a brochure complete with clip art illustrations of young people in typical school scenes (standing around lockers, etc.). You are invited to do similar things.
That's as much as I have to say in this email. Thanks again for reading. I hope you made the time to explore at least some of the referenced websites or will save this to do so in the future, especially if you're not already well acquainted with the subject matter.
February 2, 2003