Legalized Abortion Harms Women and Children

by Ellie Dillon

Today [January 22, 2000] marks the 27th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. It is a time for reflection. Has legalized abortion helped to solve society's ills, as promised 27 years ago? Has abortion been good for women emotionally and physically? Have society and the medical community accepted abortion as a positive?

Abortion was supposed to reduce teen pregnancy. But the unmarried teen pregnancy rate has risen from 49.4 per thousand in 1972 to 99.2 per thousand in 1990. Abortion has encouraged irresponsible behavior and sex without any consequences. Our young daughters don't have a good reason to say no to sex as long as abortion is an option. And abortion is a great way for men to pursue their sexual pleasures. One study of 46,500 school-age mothers found that two-thirds of the girls were impregnated by adult fathers with a median age of 22. These are men who prey on young girls and then try to hide their crimes with abortion.

Child abuse rates were to drop due to the elimination of unwanted children. But the figures show a 331 percent increase in child abuse in two decades. Sanctioning and even encouraging parents to kill their offspring has clearly devalued children born or unborn.

We were told abortion would "empower" women and let them make their own choices. But research has shown that 80 percent of women are pressured by their husbands or boyfriends or by their parents to abort their baby. Is this empowerment?

Abortion is not a true "choice" for a woman; it is an act of despair. The psychological impact of abortion is so profound because women are acting against their maternal instincts and consciences. They react with guilt, anger, depression, substance abuse and suicide. The only people who are empowered are men. They can have sex without any responsibility to their partner or their unborn children.

The pro-life movement is still here fighting the good fight and, we see no reason to give up. Our numbers continue to grow as does our clout. An article by Fortune magazine lists National Right to Life among the 10 most effective lobbying groups in Washington. The pro-abortion groups, NARAL and Planned Parenthood were ranked 43rd and 65th.

The effort to pass a partial-birth abortion ban has permanently changed the terms of the abortion debate to our advantage. Many Americans for the first time are recognizing abortion as the killing of a baby, and realizing just what Roe vs. Wade allows. Even "pro-choice" legislators voted to ban this barbaric procedure because they saw and heard the truth.

And now the public is learning about the trafficking of body parts from these partial-birth abortions. Late-term fetuses are being dissected and their parts sold for huge profits. Only 2 percent of these late-term fetuses have any abnormalities. They range in age from 16 weeks to 30 weeks. Sometimes the babies are born alive, and the doctor must break their neck or beat them to death. Is this acceptable?

After 27 years, it is clear that legalized abortion has been detrimental to our society. But there is a fundamental decency in the American character. People continue to be moved by the cruelties of abortion. The pro-life majority will continue to unmask the atrocities of the abortion industry, which profits from pregnant women and their unborn babies. And eventually truth will prevail.

Ellie Dillon, Brentwood, is president of Missouri Right to Life-Eastern Region.