Bad form, Kathy. This is the kind of image you put after a jump and I’ll tell you why.
I remember during my first pregnancy searching for whatever number of weeks I was pregnant and seeing anti-abortion sites come up in a Google image search. I was scared of pregnancy and always so afraid that something was wrong with my baby and that I would miscarry. Needless to say, I sobbed when I saw images of dead fetuses as a pregnant woman.
Do what you gotta do, Kathy, but a lot of people refer pregnant women to your childbirth education site. A little sensitivity, por favor?
Also, I sit and read my Google Reader with a kid of my lap often. I am really glad my three and a half year old wasn’t sitting with me today.
I get your point. This is a message (warning) about FOCA removing all abortion legislation, and that this late stager should only be allowed if mom is dying or the baby is non-viable.
However, some babies look like this or worse after being put through manipulations at the hands of an angry doctor during a wanted and anticipated birth, and this is something that should be out in the open. The fact that some women are receiving unwanted term abortions, and some infants are horribly mangled for life, due to medical malpractice, needs to be acknowledged in the spirit of informed consent to birth in hospital.
Picketers outside the hospital on induction days with posters of injured babies would turn women away from seeking elective inductions. Maybe it would turn doctors away from using forceps, vaccums, and unwarranted force. Maybe.
I have edited the post to remove the picture, but every day another 38 babies of about this gestational age or greater will have their lives ended by abortion. Which is worse, that this many babies will be killed, or that you saw the picture of what abortion is? I agree with River Eden Doula that the aftermath of an abortion is incredibly disgusting and disturbing. I would prefer the solution to be that abortions not be performed at all, but especially after the age of viability, rather than just to be hidden away that no one would be disturbed by the pictures of what happened. Were it not for the act, there could be no pictures; if the pictures are disturbing, how much more the act?
I am strongly pro-life, but I do not bring up abortion frequently, and when I do it is usually tangentially. Today was different. But I have no desire in just being shocking. It is shocking and disturbing, though it happens behind closed doors. If you are worried that I will be posting pictures like this in the future — no. Will I be harping on abortion more frequently in the future — no. But roughly a million abortions are performed every year in the United States alone, and every time a human heart stops beating. That grieves me.
I still saw the photo on my bloglines reader, with my six year old daughter playing very closely nearby – thankfully (THANKFULLY!!) she didn’t see this. If I didn’t already “know” you, there’s *no way* I would be back. I understand your position on abortion (which is not mine) and totally support your advocacy of it… I just question the efficacy of posting a picture like that – it upsets people, surely, but I don’t know how many minds it changes. Two of my favorite bloggers, http://www.uppercasewoman.com/wastedbirthcontrol/ and http://uncommonmisconception.typepad.com/home/ have affected my thinking about abortion much more than an upsetting picture ever would.
I personally came back to your blog again because of the photo. I struggle with the idea of losing my nerve to share my pro-life view’s as I pursue being a doula/childbirth educator. And the reason is that it is not the politically correct view point and may turn potential readers/clients away. But I have to remind myself that I am pro-life for the same reason I am passionate about natural birth, and that’s my love and respect for the female body and mind!
I think that abortion should be regulated and selective. Any one seeking an abortion after about 14 weeks should receive mandatory government funded counseling first with an accredited counsellor so the woman can really examine the reason she is seeking the procedure, including information about how to receive federal funding to help with any financial difficulty the pregnancy may create, and help in filling out any forms. New funds should be available for women seeking shelter from unsafe environments during and after the pregnancy, including funds for relocation.
Second, if she hasn’t changed her mind, she should be provided information about adoption including open/closed adoptions, and the fact that her medical bills and will usually be paid for if she opts for this.
Third, if she is still seeking the procedure, she should be informed of the consequences of her actions so she can give her valid consent. This should include not only a video of the procedure, but information that the baby will be able to feel pain, and that her womb may be damaged in the process, rendering her infertile, and that she may suffer from depression because of what-ifs. This should include a companion study sheet with fill-in-the-blanks to be completed during the video.
This could occur over a two week mandatory waiting period so she has time to let the information sink in.
I think any woman who is healthy and who is carrying a healthy baby should not abort after about 14 weeks, but have to draw the line at saying they cannot.
Also, any procedure after 14 weeks should include pain relief for the fetus. Babies should have the same access to humane death as cats and dogs.
Personally, I couldn’t see myself aborting even a non-viable fetus, but for the women who do, and the women with massive health problems, there should probably be specialists who only perform to the highest of standards, who do not cross over into OB/GYN, as no abortionist would be able to summon the proper compassion to attend a birth.
I respect your cause, and think that if you want to write pro-life articles and put them up you should. The grisly pictures that so articulate the reality of later stage abortions might be too much for some women though, especially ones who have lost much wanted pregnancies, or whose baby died from mismanaged labor or malpractice.
Don’t forget though, that OBs are using the dead baby card every day to conjure up out of parents imaginations the most effective dead baby picture possible, to scare them into non-consensual compliance. When that happens, it’s called IIED or Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and it’s a civil tort.
Pictures or videos of dead babies and procedures, when the outcome is meant to be a dead baby, falls into the realm of seeking valid consent.
A two week mandatory wait period would create an increased procedural risk, as well as advancing the maturity of the pregnancy and therefore the chance that the embryo in question might feel pain. Frankly, other than late term abortions, I feel that access to safe and affordable abortions is crucial to women’s health. Already too many babies are born to mothers that are not prepared for motherhood.
In Washington, Oregon, and Idaho there are kiosks in our malls that have photos and ads of kids currently in the foster system awaiting adoption. Some have been there for years. Go to state child welfare agency websites and look at the sheer number of children- and these are just the ones that are legally free and not expected to return to parents OR family members. Many children on the sites were born drug addicted, have some variety of fetal-alcohol syndrome, show mental symptoms of early maltreatment or neglect that can impair mental development, etc.
I know of several women who have terminated pregnancies because they knew they were unable to end their addiction. They took responsibility for their actions and had an abortion. Neither one enjoyed it, who would enjoy being up in stirrups having the products of conception removed from the uterus?
Please. As an ‘informational’ website you could at least show both sides of the story.
Also, it should be noted that in several states (PA being one) counseling and a wait period is already mandatory. Additionally, they will not allow you to abort until they can see the gestational sack and confirm heartbeat- I know this because I knew by 3-4 weeks that I was pregnant (confirmed by test) and went to a clinic. The day they were to do the abortion they could see that I was pregnant but could not clearly make out a gestational sack or see a heartbeat- so I was sent home and told to come back in two weeks.
This severely limits the window in which a woman can seek abortions.
Also, whatever happened to the practice of removing the products of menstration that occurred occasionally in the 70’s?
Some 90% of journalists consider themselves to be pro-choice advocates, as opposed to roughly half of the population of the United States. Considering the platform that the abortion advocates have in the media alone, I don’t really think I need to “present both sides of the story.” And do all your pro-abortion websites show “both sides of the story”? Do they show the girls who have been returned to their statutory rapists or incestuous stepfathers who were able to hide their actions because of the abortion industry that didn’t tell the girls’ mothers? Do they show the women who commit suicide after having an abortion, like Emma Beck in the UK, who killed herself after aborting her twins at her boyfriend’s insistence? Do they show the women who unwillingly get up on the abortionists’ tables, not exercising their “choice” but because they feel as if they have no choice? Do they show women fetal development, so that they know what they are destroying when they have an abortion? Do they show the women who have had abortions and come to regret it? Do they show women who were lied to, when they chose their abortions, being told that they were just removing “a clump of cells” or “just tissue, really,” only to find out in a later pregnancy how developed their first baby was that they destroyed? Do they show pictures of what the aftermath of an abortion is at the various stages of fetal development? Do they tell women that an abortion may render them infertile? Or make an ectopic pregnancy much more likely? Do they present the fetuses’ side of the argument? Do they “show both sides of the story” in presenting what the baby might want?
You and I have two different ways of dealing with “unwanted children” — your solution is to remove the children, mine is to remove the “unwantedness.” We have had abortion on demand for the past 36 years — has the problem of foster children and unwanted children gotten better or worse since the 1960s and early 70s? (Btw, most of the adoptive couples I know have adopted the so-called “unwanted” or “unadoptable” children, just like you’re describing here — older children from foster care, babies born to drug-addicted mothers, and multi/bi-racial children, as well as foreign adoptions. I recently read that there are over one million infertile couples in the United States alone [I think just those seeking adoption, but perhaps all], while there are fewer than 40,000 babies and children available for adoption every year. There are approximately 1 million abortions every year, and most are *not* done on mothers addicted to drugs and alcohol.)
As for the women who were addicted so chose to remove “the products of conception,” I can imagine it not being an “enjoyable” experience — far better for them to have “taken responsibility for their actions” and either gotten more help to end their addictions, or kept themselves from getting pregnant in the first place. This is one way in which abortion does *not* serve “women’s health” — it allows women to continue in their addictions because abortion offers an “easy way out.” I don’t really understand why you feel like it is okay to kill the “product of conception” since that really means that it is okay to kill you, since you and I and everyone else on this planet is a “product of conception.”
Believe it or not, it is probably a life-saving and health-saving measure (to many women, though not to their babies) that abortionists are required to find the gestational sac and find a heartbeat prior to performing an abortion. If there is a problem such as ectopic pregnancy, there will be no gestational sac visible in the uterus; if an abortion procedure is performed, the woman will remain pregnant, and any pain and complications from the ectopic pregnancy rupturing the fallopian tube (threatening the woman’s life) would be passed off as being normal post-abortion pain, causing delay in seeking treatment. Many women have died because of this. Also, many pregnancies end in natural miscarriage, due to a malformed embryo, in which the baby stops growing and dies, thus rendering an abortion unnecessary. Performing an abortion unnecessarily only introduces the medical risks of an abortion, with no “benefit” since the pregnancy was doomed anyway.
And “the products of menstruation” is a horrendous euphemism for an abortion. If you menstruate, that is evidence that you are not pregnant; if you don’t menstruate, that is generally evidence that you are pregnant. If you menstruate, you don’t need an abortion because you’re not pregnant; if you remove “the products of menstruation” then it isn’t menstrual fluid you are removing, but a baby.
The woman’s body is marvelously and spectacularly designed to create and carry a baby. Feminism should applaud and triumph in this wonderful feat, rather than try to deny biology and become more like men. No, abortion is truly demeaning to our sex, our femininity, our womanhood — and the early feminists such as Susan B. Anthony knew this. Not until Margaret Sanger and her eugenics movement did abortion become tied to “women’s rights.” Margaret Sanger promoted abortion as well as mandatory sterilization in an effort to remove the unwanted — anyone whom she thought to be less genetically blessed than herself, which included the “inferior races,” which was by her definition blacks and, well, most everybody who was not European. Hitler was also a eugenicist. I would no more present his side of the argument when talking about the slaughter of the innocent Jews in Germany, Poland, and elsewhere, than I would present the pro-abortion argument in speaking of the slaughter of the innocents in the womb.
Is the picture upsetting to some because it is the truth? It would seem so. Abortion is gruesome, period. Any woman who can look at pictures of aborted babies and still maintain that this is a “choice” to be upheld has a few screws loose.
Kathy, I support you wholeheartedly. I’m sorry people don’t want to stare this issue in the face.
Jen– Kathy doesn’t have to show both sides of any story. It’s her blog.
Mary– You missed the point. In fact, that’s one of the lines that demonstators used when holding up such pictures and passing out materials in front of museums frequented by families in my town. “You’re just turning a blind eye to the truth!” No, I’m just telling you that the venue is inappropriate. I don’t want my three year old seeing dead babies today and, in this case, I’d prefer to not send refer pregnant women who are often terrified because of today’s societal overuse of technology and pathologization of pregnancy that their baby will die inside them to a site with a dead baby picture. Doctors are so quick to play the dead baby card when it comes to vaginal birth anyway. It’s not an image to take to childbirth and not an image that’s appropriate for a childbirth education web site, IMO.
However, it’s Kathy’s blog and she can do whatever she wants. I wholeheartedly support you in campaigning and writing about things from your perspective. I’ll read anything you write, K. You could write about the gum on your shoes and I’d read it.
The pic inspired dialogue and that’s a good thing.
Just curious, how do you feel about the 9 year old in Brazil who was raped since the age of 6 by her stepfather and became pregnant with twins? Her doctors felt that there is no way a 9 year old girls frame could survive carrying the fetuses to term. The 9 year old had an abortion to save her life and was excommunicated by the catholic church, as was her mother and doctors. The rapist was forgiven by the church.
I have not read extensively about this case — just one news story.
If the abortion were truly necessary to save her life, then it is regrettable but understandable, since if she were to die before the twins were able to survive without her, all three would be dead, instead of only two. Almost no abortions are done to save the life of the mother — as a percentage, abortions due to rape, incest and to save the life of the mother are, if I remember correctly, less than 1% of all abortions performed in the U.S. The one story I read did not indicate that her life was at risk — just that with her immature pelvis, she probably couldn’t give birth vaginally; I wondered with Brazil’s C-section rate in many hospitals being about 90% why that was such a big deal, since she would likely have a C-section anyway, especially since she was pregnant with twins.
My feelings about the entire story in general is one of repulsion — how can such a man be allowed to live? as well as of tremendous sorrow for what this poor girl endured for the past three years. At the very least, the man should be incarcerated for the rest of his life, to keep him from preying on any other young victim; I would prefer much harsher penalties for such scum. The girl deserves endless sympathy.
Tell that to the nurses who have to see babies born to drug addicted women in cities on a daily basis. There are so many children in the foster system waiting for all of the want-to-be-parents-of-disabled-children to come along and adopt them. Have you fostered an alcohol syndrome child? I have.
I have seen the heartbeat in MY OWN FETUS with MY OWN HUSBAND and I still continued with the abortion with no regrets. Like I said, many states require an ultrasound that confirms gestational sack and heartbeat before the procedure. If you look at neonatal physiology, they are incapable of surviving outside the uterus before 23 weeks- no matter the amount of medical intervention expended. If I were to miscarry, or you or another woman who wanted her pregnancy were to miscarry (which would be unfortunate) then the fetus would be born, it would suffer whatever little amount it were able to live, and it would die.
Life is hard. There are gory parts of everyday life. Perhaps I am more connected to the cycle of life than some, since I raise my own meat. I have personally wring and sliced the necks of chickens and then eaten them that same evening. Animals that have fed from my hand have ended up supporting my body as I digested their proteins. It’s life. It’s blood and gore and the ending of one life and the beginning of another.
For every woman that killed herself post abortion there are many stories of pregnant women and teenagers, heck, children that have committed acts of self harm and suicide because they were pregnant and felt like they had no options. Couple that with the many women who have died due to botched back alley abortions and child birth,.. if you are saying that abortions should be stopped because childbirth is lower risk that is blatently false.
You might have seen the articles about the student republicans at PSU which put a HUGE installation up on campus of pictures of aborted fetuses alongside pictures of victims of nazi genocide victims. It’s not the same. By posting pictures without factual information you do yourself, and the women you serve, a disservice. Fine. It’s your blog, but have a disclaimer that you write this not as a public health servant but as a woman with a personal opinion to press upon the world.
Heck, I’m not attaching my professional credentials to my postings, just posting my opinions based on the studies I have seen as well as anecdotal stories (my own, and that of friends who were battling addictions).
The pic did not inspire me to dialogue, I could be so much more eloquent as this. If I were to engage in intellectual dialogue I would quote studies, show figures, link to articles and journals, and sign it with my name and credentials. As I previously mentioned, I am staying anonymous because this is my opinion. Professionally, I am not allowed to have an opinion. My duty, professionally, is simply to serve the local population as best I can considering their personal circumstances, opinions, and desires. Period.
I have not fostered a FAS child, but I have known several children who had worse diagnoses, and I don’t think that murdering them is the proper option. Yeah, it’s tough for my pastor’s family to raise their daughter with a genetic disorder that keeps her at the mental level of a 3-5 year old, but as you said, life is tough.
The fact that you have no regrets about your abortion means nothing to the women who *do* have regrets about their abortions. The fact that unintended fetal deaths happen does not make it right for intentional fetal deaths to happen, any more than the fact that people die in car accidents gives me the right to go out and start shooting at people. And, I beg to differ, but there *are* babies that have survived being born prior to 23 weeks — a baby from Florida named Amilia Taylor (iirc) was born at 21 weeks.
Your point about women who kill themselves after an abortion vs. those who kill themselves because they “don’t have options” is simply incorrect.
Let’s talk a little bit about so-called “back alley abortions”. I first heard that term as a teenager, and it conjured up an image of a woman actually undergoing an abortion procedure in a dark alley somewhere, lying down on a dirty street just next to an overflowing garbage can while rats scampered about her. But that’s not what it is. “Back alley abortions” were abortions done by doctors in their clinics or private practices, and the term refers to their practice of letting pregnant women in through the back entrance (from the alley-way; possibly after hours) to avoid being seen. Let me be very plain here — the same doctors who performed abortions prior to legalization performed them after legalization; the same equipment was used; the same procedures were used. Let that sink in a minute. The only difference between an illegal abortion and a legal one was the fact that a doctor couldn’t be put in jail for performing an abortion — and it made prosecuting them for any deaths or injuries they caused that much harder, because basically women and their families were told “them’s the breaks, he did nothing wrong”; or if he *did* do something wrong or just downright stupid, these women were thrown under the bus by “pro-choice” advocates who stood up for these men rather than the women who were injured or killed. Mary Calderone, past president of SEICUS said in the 60s that 90% of abortions were performed by doctors. Half of the remainder were performed by other medical professionals (midwives, dentists, etc.), and only 5% of abortions were either self-induced or undertaken by amateurs. If abortion was dangerous when it was illegal, it is still dangerous after legalization.
Here are a couple of reasons why mortality statistics blamed on abortion vs. those blamed on childbirth are wrong: First, a study from France which shows that almost all cases of maternal death during and after childbirth were accurately reported, while deaths from abortions were almost never reported. Secondly, this article looks at abortion deaths that were accidentally or purposely not included in the CDC’s official statistics. As one abortionist put it, reporting maternal death or other problem to the CDC is rather like turning yourself into the IRS for an audit. The article begins with noting FOUR abortion deaths in the state of Maryland in one year, when the state reported only ONE abortion death for the ENTIRE DECADE. It continues by looking at the slipshod way the CDC finds and reports abortion mortality — primarily, abortion deaths are hidden by not saying “this woman died of an abortion” on the death certificate, but rather labeling the cause of death “therapeutic misadventure” or septicemia, DIC, amniotic fluid embolism, infection, etc. (the fact that these “causes of death” were a direct result of the abortions these women underwent is deliberately obscured or overlooked). The article article also talks about known abortion-related deaths being far less than those officially reported: “While not intended for release to the general public, this memo is clear evidence that public health authorities know far more about abortion-related deaths than is being shared in the “official” statistics. For this same time period (1981-1984), New York’s top health official had identified 30 deaths in New York City alone, while the CDC’s official report shows only 42 abortion-related deaths during this period for the entire nation.”
Essentially, the way the CDC counts abortion mortality statistics is analogous to putting a basket in an apple orchard, counting all the apples that happen to fall into the basket, and then declaring that the total number of apples in the basket is the total number of apples that fell off of the trees.
I have not read this article either so I will not comment specifically about that situation. But I did want to add that what it appears we are discussing is who and at what stage of development do we as humans feel compelled to love, save, support. For some it may be a grown woman who has already found her way in this world. And others may feel compelled to support and save the 9 year old girl who has been suffering the cruel humility and physical pain of rape for so long. Many of us feel just as compelled to love, and hope to save the unborn. I personally feel strongly for all three of those. I survived an abortion that my mother was advised to get to save her own life. I survived rape as a 7 year old and again at age 15. And I was also told to abort my own child at age 25 to save my life. While I realize that my life was not made easier by these circumstances, it was made richer, more meaningful. Because the circumstances of my life remind me that life is hard, but equally meaningful. And that women are stronger than they give themselves (or each other) credit for. Sometimes we protect ourselves from the very things that we were created to survive!
jen, your argument seems to boil down to “Life sucks so might as well embrace abortion.” But just because there are so many other bad things in the world strikes me as a pretty odd reason to heap on just one more horror.
Abortion, when you get right down to it, is just heaping more pain, anguish, and despair on somebody who, most likely, has already had heaping helpings of all three.
How does that help?
The prolifers try to meet the woman in her despair and help her find a way out of it. Why do you find that so utterly objectionable?
Kathy, you said, “Almost no abortions are done to save the life of the mother — as a percentage, abortions due to rape, incest and to save the life of the mother are, if I remember correctly, less than 1% of all abortions performed in the U.S.”
You have to remember that the estimated number of abortions for “hard cases” is based on self-reporting. There is no real research into exactly what constitutes maternal and fetal indications. They merely take that the woman self-reported concerns for her health, or concerns about the baby’s health, as a reason for aborting.
So a self-reported concern for her own health can range from life-threatening conditions to “I’m too old for this” or “Having kids is gonna wear me out.” One thing that we need to be insisting on is real research into those “maternal indications”. I could (and probably should) write a lengthy blog post on this. There are certainly enough cases I’ve seen of women being pushed or abandoned into unwanted abortions because of medical issues, and I’d bet that there are a lot of women aborting based on rumor and hearsay, and nobody at the facility bothers to find out if their fears are founded or not.
Ditto for women self reporting that they’re aborting due to concerns about the baby’s health. These can range from a diagnosis of anencephaly, to “I had a glass of wine before I found out I was pregnant and so why take any chances?” We simply don’t know how many fall into what category, and what real information and options are being presented. The only thing we know for sure is that there have been serious problems with doctors pushing hard for abortions in cases where they, personally, just think it’s better, for reasons of their own.
But we’re not likely to get that research because “maternal or fetal indications” make such a nice wedge for abortion on demand that really, the abortion lobby (who are also the people with the wherewithal to do the research) doesn’t want to explore this. If they start providing these women with real options based on solid research and best medical practices, that becomes the standard of care. That’s the last thing the abortion lobby wants.
Christina-you are so right. When my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was pregnant with me she was denied medical care by two hospitals before she found a hospital that would perform surgery while she was pregnant. And she was manipulated and given false information to encourage to abort. She was told that there was no possibility of having a healthy baby. And of course I was.
When I was pregnant with my son I was diagnosed with the same blood clotting disorder as my mom and was told to abort. I was told that if I didn’t abort I had a 50% chance of having a serious blood clot or stroke. The dr.’s just assumed I would abort. As soon as I insisted that I wouldn’t they changed their tune and my treatment was very manageable. In fact, I have three children now and have only had to take a baby aspirin during my last two pregnancies.
The dr.’s started with the 50% chance to live first hoping I would terminate instead of giving me my options if I kept the baby. Makes me wonder how many women have terminated in the same situation.