When was the last time you talked to a woman who had suffered, with regret, through the abortion process? As you listened to her tell her story, what did you learn? Did you hear her regret, frustration, embarrassment, and confusion?
Any time abortion becomes part of the public debate, many people run to their corner with their predetermined position. Their mind is made up, and they have their position on the issue.
I, like many women, return to one simple question that has served as a trustworthy guide over the years: “Who is being harmed?” Learning about harm comes from listening to women, learning their stories. This is not merely intellectual content; it is discernment about what is in the heart of each of us.
The modern abortion culture that once said it was all about “safe, legal, and rare” has today set mothers against their own children as though they are enemies. Instead of providing genuine counseling and support for women during a difficult time and a hard decision, staff members add up tallies on white boards listing the clinic’s abortion quotas for the month, according to what we have heard from former managers of abortion clinics. Managers of those clinics recount being told that “everyone who is pregnant who comes through the door gets an abortion.” Clinic workers are told to “up-sell” everyone with additional testing, products, and services — all to improve the bottom line. Basically, the clinics are looking for profit.
Abortion clinics that 15 years ago would’ve spent an hour with young pregnant women now brag that they see five women in an hour. Many of today’s clinics perform webcam abortions, except in states where these have been banned because of numerous life-threatening injuries and deaths resulting from the practice. The abortion culture has become hardened and coarsened. Is this really a good environment for women?
At a recent congressional hearing on bioethics and fetal tissue by the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, we learned that while sitting in abortion-clinic waiting rooms, women — some who are young, impressionable minors — are lobbied by tissue-procurement techs to donate their babies’ body parts for research. The consent form displayed in our hearing was called “deceptive” by a Democratic witness because it promised treatment and cures for dreaded diseases.
Equally troubling, the same tissue tech aide who is seeking consent is paid a bonus for every part or organ donated. The tech sees the private HIPAA-protected file of the young patient to get her name and her baby’s gestation so that the tech can make more money that day. As one witness said, “contemplating an abortion is among life’s most stressful events,” and now the woman who is doing so has a salesperson, working on commission, trying to get consent for tissue donation. Have abortion clinics become all about the bottom line?
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Recent hearings before Congress have presented the case to ban late-term abortions of babies who are viable, to recognize fetal pain and the harms to women caused by abortion, and to acknowledge that hundreds of people are survivors of abortion — though other babies born alive are allowed to die in the clinic.
So hardened is the abortion culture that on Sunday, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton asserted: “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.” Set aside that this view disregards the many rights given to persons by the Constitution. Consider the appalling fact that abortion advocates now insist that the decision to let a baby die who was born alive during an abortion is strictly between the mother and her doctor. When the idea that a newborn child does not have any rights or personal dignity becomes common, harm — serious harm — is not far behind. The harm comes broadly to children. The harm comes to the very idea of children. And the harm comes to the well-being and long-term health of the mother.
Our communities, families, churches, and government should walk alongside a pregnant woman who faces challenges; we should help her welcome her child into the world. The abortion culture says that pro-life advocates don’t care about the mother or her child after the child is born. That is a lie. We believe that a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy deserves unexpected joy — a life filled with promise that includes her child. In stark contrast, today’s abortion industry cares only about helping itself.
LifeNews Note: Rep. Marsha Blackburn serves as chairwoman of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and is vice chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. She represents the seventh congressional district of Tennessee.