Protect Unborn Children and Their Mothers from the Violence of Abortion

Rep. Chris Smith

By Rep. Chris Smith  

Editor’s note. On Thursday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to reinstitute the pro-life Mexico City policy. On a 25-17 vote Republicans and one Democrat on the committee turned back an amendment by pro-abortion Rep. Howard Berman (D-Ca.) to strip the language from the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. The Mexico City policy prohibits tax funds from going to overseas organizations that perform or promote abortion as a method of birth control.

“Every human life is precious, and sacred and worthy of respect. No one, I say again, no one is expendable,” pro-life Rep. Chris Smith saod , according to the Associated Press. “Thus, family planning funds and the NGOs that they empower cannot be allowed to be the Trojan horse for a global abortion industry.”

Smith delivered the following remarks  in defense of the Mexico City Policy during the bill’s mark-up on Wednesday .

Protect Unborn Children and Their Mothers from the Violence of Abortion

Today, most African and Latin American countries protect the lives of their unborn children, and the real threat to those laws and policies are coming from the United States and European nongovernmental organizations and the money behind them.

Indeed, prior to January 2009, the pro-life Mexico City Policy guaranteed that unborn children in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere not be put at risk of death by the NGOs that we fund.

Every human life is precious, and sacred and worthy of respect. No one, I say again, no one is expendable. Thus, family planning funds and the NGOs that they empower cannot be allowed to be the Trojan horse for a global abortion industry.

Americans agree with our efforts to reinstate the Mexico City Policy. The Gallup Poll found by a margin of 2––1, 65 percent to 35 percent, Americans oppose President Obama’s Executive order reversing the Mexico City Policy. They support his other Executive orders, but not that one.

Stripped of its many euphemisms, abortion is violence against children and often harms women emotionally and psychologically and physically. Abortion methods either dismember the fragile body of a baby to death or poison the infant or chemically induce premature labor, leaving the immature child unable to cope with his or her new environment.

UN Millennium Development Goal No. 4 calls for reducing child mortality rates by two-thirds from 1990 levels. It is clear that myriad cost-effective interventions need to be expanded to save children’s lives. These include treatment and prevention of disease, as well as greater access to adequate food and nutrition, clean water, childhood vaccinations, oral rehydration packets, antibiotics, and drugs to inhibit mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Abortion is, by definition, child mortality, and it undermines the achievement of the fourth Millennium Development Goal. There is nothing benign or compassionate about procedures that dismember, poison, induce premature labor or starve a child to death. Indeed, the misleading term “safe abortion” misses the point that no abortion——legal or illegal——is safe for the child and that all can be fraught with negative health consequences, including physical, emotional and psychological damage, for the mother.

Talk of “unwanted children” reduces children to mere objects, without inherent human dignity and whose worth depends on their perceived utility or how much they’re wanted. One merely has to look at the scourge of human trafficking and the exploitation of children for forced labor or child soldiering to see where such disregard for the value of life leads.

The oft-neglected health of mothers is prioritized by UN Millennium Development Goal No. 5, which rallies the world to cut maternal mortality rates 75 percent from 1990 levels.

We have known for more than 60 years what actually saves women’s lives: skilled attendants at birth, treatment to stop hemorrhages, access to safe blood, emergency obstetric care, antibiotics, repair of fistulas, adequate nutrition, and pre- and post-natal care.

A landmark study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and published in the British journal the Lancet in 2010 is a great encouragement to governments that have been seriously addressing maternal mortality in their countries. The study, confirmed by similar numbers in a World Health Organization (WHO) report, shows progress in the fight against maternal mortality; the number of maternal deaths per year as of 2008 has been reduced to 342,900——or 281,500 in the absence of HIV deaths——some 40 percent lower than in 1980. And contrary to prevailing myths, the study underscored that many nations that have laws prohibiting abortion also have some of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world——Ireland, Chile and Poland among them.

At least 102 studies show significant psychological harm, major depression and/or elevated suicide risk in women who abort.

The Times of London reported that, “[S]enior……psychiatrists say that new evidence has uncovered a clear link between abortion and mental illness in women with no previous history of psychological problems.” They found, “that women who have had abortions have twice the level of psychological problems and three times the level of depression as women who have given birth or who have never been pregnant””  In 2006, a comprehensive New Zealand study found that 78.6% of the 15-18 year olds who had abortions displayed symptoms of major depression as compared to 31% of their peers. The study also found that 27% of the 21-25 year old women who had abortions had suicidal idealizations compared to 8% of those who did not have an abortion.  At least 28 studies——including three in 2009——show that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer by some 30-40% or more yet the abortion industry has largely succeeded in suppressing these facts.

So-called safe abortion inflicts other deleterious consequences on women as well including hemorrhage, infection, perforation of the uterus, sterility and death. Last year, a woman from my home state of New Jersey died from a legal abortion, leaving behind four children.  Abortion has harmful effects on children born to women who have had an abortion. At least 113 studies show a significant association between abortion and subsequent premature births. For example a study by researchers Shah and Zao showed a 36% increased risk for preterm birth after one abortion and a staggering 93% increased risk after two.   Similarly, the risk of subsequent children being born with low birth weight increases by 35% after one and 72% after two or more abortions. Another study shows the risk increases 9 times after a woman has had three abortions.

What does this mean for her children? Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant mortality in the industrialized world after congenital anomalies. Preterm infants have a greater risk of suffering from chronic lung disease, sensory deficits, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairments and behavior problems. Low birth weight is similarly associated with neonatal mortality and morbidity.

The harmful impact of abortion on women is well documented. Less well researched is the chilling anecdotal evidence that suggests that fathers, even siblings, are also negatively impacted by abortion.

Finally, can we not see or appreciate or understand that birth is an event in and not the beginning of a child’s life?

And the stunning breakthroughs over the last three decades in treating unborn children who are diagnosed with diseases or disabilities only brings into sharp focus that the child in the womb must be regarded as a patient in need of benign and compassionate interventions. Not poison shots or razor-sharp curettes that kill, but medicines and procedures that cure.

The Mexico City Policy holds children harmless in our family planning programs throughout the world.

I truly believe that the right to life is the most fundamental human right issue on Earth. Unfortunately, abortion and the promotion of abortion is the only violation of that basic human right that has the audacity to call itself a right.

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