Editor’s note. This first ran last November. We’re re-running it in conjunction with “Archbishop Chaput and keeping the door open to reconciliation.”
I try always to give credit where credit is due. In the space of less than a week New York magazine (by no means in our corner) has published two hugely revealing stories about abortion.
The first we talked about yesterday. The title of the piece is “One in three women has an abortion by the age of 45. How many ever talk about it? New laws, old stigmas. 26 stories.” Our take on the story—“The abortion accounts of 26 women weep pain and regret and remorse” can be read here. (I will talk about another of the stories below.)
The second, “Why the Abortion Pill Didn’t Change Everything,” was written by Ann Friedman.
The former could have been put together by someone intending to prove how abortion is no answer to anything, indeed creates a multiple of new and worse problems. Yet the goal was to “destigmatize” abortion. In that objective, it failed…miserably.
The latter, by Friedman, begins by quoting from two over-hyped articles, which posited that clearly RU-486 would “change everything” (TIME magazine, 1993) and constituted a “little white bombshell” (The New York Times, 1999).
Friedman’s thesis is, “By 2013, though, it’s become clear that the pill hasn’t revolutionized the way most women get abortions; it’s become just another front in the legislative and legal battles over reproductive rights, one more method pro-choice activists must fight to defend.”
Let’s dig into that a bit. We should not overlook that according to Friedman “one quarter of abortions prior to nine weeks “were chemical abortions (or “medication abortions,” as pro-abortionists like to call them). Nor should we miss something we will write about tomorrow.
Whereas the FDA wanted use of chemical abortions confined to the first seven weeks, abortionists are already using the two-drug RU-486 regimen through the ninth week—and are agitating to use these powerful combination into the second trimester! Never mind that at least 14 women have died after having ingested RU-486.
So where is Friedman correct–and why—and what should she be credited with acknowledging? We’ll alternate that with misstatements.
*Surely there was and is and will be immense opposition to “webcam” abortions in which the abortionist is not even on site when by remote control he opens a drawer from which the woman extracts the two drugs. This is such a profit center for the abortion industry—one abortionist can (once removed) abort dozens of women in a single day, women who may be hundreds of miles away—that they will fight like the dickens.
*Where Friedman misleads the reader is in assuring them that at “some veterans of the abortion wars” never bought into the hype. “It wouldn’t be a panacea for women and for abortion rights, nor would it be as easy as popping a pill. It was so hard to get that across,” former Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt told Friedman several years ago. “Because people just want the abortion debate just to go away.”
I’m sure there must be “some [pro-abortion] veterans of the abortion wars” who didn’t swallow the company line. But in fact, if you go back to NRL News’s coverage, you’ll find pro-abortion leader after pro-abortion leader singing hosannas to the wonderfulness of chemical abortions. They really did see a new day dawning.
*Where Friedman is most to be commended is for her brutally honest assessment of how much more complicated chemical [medication] abortions are in reality. Here’s a long paragraph worth quoting in full:
Then there’s a general false perception among women that medication abortion will be quicker and easier than a surgical procedure. “The majority think, ‘Hey, I’m gonna pop a pill and that’ll be it,’” the receptionist at an abortion clinic in Nebraska told me. With an early surgical abortion, a woman goes into a clinic and is sure she’s no longer pregnant when she comes out a few hours later. With medication abortion, the process can take up to 48 hours. Even after counseling at a clinic, many women are unprepared for the experience. “I took one pill at home, and I remember at one point actually feeling my cervix open. It was a terrifying feeling,” says Katie, who had a medication abortion in 2004. Another woman described pain that was “so intense that it’s hard to really remember. You sort of feel like you’re tripping or something.” A nurse at an abortion clinic once told me, “Women who have done both will go back to surgical. I’ve never had anyone who’s done both go back to medical.
But even that understates how ghastly the experience can often be. From the 26 accounts we talked about yesterday there is this from “Abby, 28.” After she took the first drug (mifepristone) she tells us that she vomited and emptied her bowels. She then writes
“After the contractions started, my hands turned into claws. I was dehydrated. I had this underlying feeling that I was being made to suffer, to repent for my situation. I called my boss. He took me to the ER. It cost $2,000. When I stood up, the bed was covered in blood. … When I went home, I got up to pee, and this gray golf-ball thing came out. I thought, So I just flush the toilet?”
*Back to the less-than-accurate observations: Contra Friedman, there are not eight women who’ve died after taking the two-drug regimen but (at least) 14—and that’s data from several years back. “The anti-choice movement has been quick to publicize them — most recently, an anti-abortion site carried an exhaustive report of a British woman who died after taking mifepristone.” The implication here is that somehow it’s not good form to point out that women die. And then “And every few years, a woman makes headlines after she orders abortion pills illegally and administers them herself at home.” We’ve covered that case in great detail. If what happened doesn’t enrage you, you must be working for a pro-abortion outlet.
*Friedman ends with this:
“For those of us who are pro-choice, it can be easy to forget that our task isn’t just to push back against abortion restrictions and, as the classic stickers say, keep abortion legal. It’s to be educated about abortion options — after all, one in four women American under age 30 has already had one — and talk fearlessly about the pros and the cons. It means knowing the statistics about how safe early abortions are, but also acknowledging the possibility that something could go awry. It means telling women frankly that the price of a private, non-surgical, at-home abortion is that it may take longer and be more painful. Open, fact-based dialogue — not a little white pill — is what has a real chance of moving the abortion debate forward.”
As important as it is to tell women these truths—for example, that chemical abortions can be unbelievably painful and “take longer”—there is much more, as we have outline above, that she overlooks. Women do die after taking the abortifacients. It will expand—perhaps greatly—the number of abortions, which only PPFA and its ilk could applaud. And the siren call of chemical abortions—it’s not really like a surgical abortion—can and has enticed doctors who should know better into abortion’s web.