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Jewish World ReviewApril 19, 1999 / 3 Iyar 5759

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Legal abortion not the salvation that feminists claim

(JWR) ---- (
IT'S THE HYPERBOLE that always gets me. The pro-abortion feminists are wrought with it. Take, for example, Gloria Steinem's quote eulogizing Justice Blackmun (author of Roe vs. Wade): "Justice Blackmun saved more women's lives than any other person in history."

Really? More women died in voluntary illegal abortions per year than of breast, ovarian and cervical cancer -- none of which required intentional activity on the part of the victim? The developers of the mammogram, Pap smear and CA-blood tests have individually saved fewer lives? You believe that?

The discoverer of the germ theory of infection and disease, as well as the scientist responsible for penicillin, cutting down the risk of deaths from infections during childbirth, have saved fewer women? Really?

The individual responsible for hormone replacement therapy, cutting down the death rate of post-menopausal women from heart disease and osteoporosis, saved fewer lives than Blackmun's act to legalize abortion? Really?

And at what cost? Since abortion was legalized in 1973, close to 40 million human beings have been terminated early in their journey toward a potential holy, creative, loving, rewarding life.

Teen-age girls have become more and more casual about their sexuality, knowing abortion is there if "a mistake" happens. Other teen-age girls give birth only to strangle, drown, suffocate, abandon or beat their newborns to death, apparently seeing no difference between killing a newborn or an unborn.

And, as many women have told me through letters, faxes and calls to my radio program, there is the lingering horror, guilt and regret that haunts their later, more mature attempts to be happy and fulfilled in love, children and family.

The crass view of early, developing human life extends even to those who desire nothing more than to conceive. A new advance, "selective reduction," is a technique that promises the joy of family to infertile women. One catch, though -- each life heralds death. The woman is given fertility drugs to stimulate the production of numerous eggs. The eggs are combined with sperm (in vitro fertilization) in laboratory glassware and then placed inside the woman's uterus. The hope is that some will implant and begin development.

The nightmare is when too many succeed. The woman is told that unless she wants to give birth to a litter or is willing to accept the possibility that all the fetuses might die from lack of room or nourishment, the physician (you remember, the guy who took the Hippocratic oath to "do no harm") uses instruments to go into the uterus and kill and remove one or more of the precious lives that the infertile couple so longed for -- and spent so much money on. Pick one. Any one. Designer mothering.

It is one thing to consider abortion as a "necessary evil" if, for example, the mother's heart is too weak to survive a pregnancy or if she requires serious and severe cancer treatment to save her life. It is quite another thing to celebrate human terminations as a right of reproduction (oxymoron?) and a virtual saving grace for women.

First of all, outside of rape, sexual intercourse (and the potential for pregnancy) is voluntary; unfortunately, so is responsibility. I have been stunned at the number of young women callers over the years who have told me, after I suggested adoption (the other "A" word) as a solution to their inconvenient pregnancy, that it would be too upsetting for them to give a child up for adoption. "Oh, I couldn't do that," they say. "That would be painful for me."

There it is. Life and death are secondary to one's feelings of discomfort or guilt.

I disagree with Gloria Steinem's reverential quote about Justice Blackmun. I think that the number of potential magnificent females killed by abortion far surpasses the number of adult females dead from illegal abortions. Even for an adamantly pro-abortion feminist like Gloria, that's got to be a breath-sucking revelation.


04/12/99: Moral parents struggle against upside-down value system
03/31/99: Children need attention before they cry out for it
03/29/99: Family values fall victim to advertising whims
03/19/99: Snooping can be healthy if it saves a child in trouble
03/05/99: Traditional religions offer optimism to adherents
03/05/99: Tearing down foundations, brick by brick
02/26/99: With power comes obligation to lead by example
02/19/99: National Prayer Breakfast inspires public servants
02/12/99: Overcoming selfishness leads us closer to human potential
02/09/99: Youth's difficult lessons make us better adults
02/02/99: Rituals, icons remind us of our obligation to G-d
01/22/99: 'Consenting adults' don't always examine consequences
01/18/99: Day care no substitute for love of mom and dad
01/08/99: Don't use others' misfortunes to build your self-image
12/31/98: Tracking HIV-infected people makes good sense
12/24/98: How can we teach ethics without defining morals?
12/18/98: Parents afraid of firm values leave their children adrift
12/11/98: Spread righteousness by refusing to accept the 'code'

©1999, Universal Press Syndicate