QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT ABORTION
JOHN C. WILLKE, MD
BARBARA H. WILLKE, RN
This book is the third in a series, each about the same subject, each quite different as it responds to the needs of our changing times.
The first American edition of Handbook on Abortion was published 1971, revised 1975 and 1979, with 21st printing March 1983.
Other language editions included Latin American (Hiltz & Hayes, 1974); French (France Empire, Paris, 1974); Malayan (India, 1974); Continental Spanish (EUNSA, Pamplona, 1975); Italian (Milano, 1978); Chinese (Hong Kong, 1978); Portuguese (San Paulo, 1980); Swedish (Jarfalla, 1980); German (Vorarlberg, 1982).
Abortion: Questions & Answers was published in 1985 and revised in 1988 and 1991. Its other language editions were Japanese (Tokyo, 1991); Italian (CEC Edizimi Internazionali, 1995); Spanish (Editorial Bonum, Argentina, 1992, and Hayes, Cincinnati, 1993); Russian (Moscow, 1992); Czech (Cor Jesu, Cesky Tesin, 1993); Slovak (Cor Jesu, Cesky Tesin,1993); Lithuanian (Caritas, 1996); and Polish (Wydanie Uzupelnione, Gdansk, 1990).
Copyright 1997 by Hayes Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved ISBN 910728-21-6. Used with permission.
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Phone (513) 681-7559 Phone/Fax (513) 681-9298
WHY CAN'T WE LOVE THEM BOTH
by Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke
The other obvious fact is that the two sides remain completely polarized. There seems to be no middle ground, no chance for compromise. When one strips the issue to its bare bones, the reason for the lack of middle ground is only too obvious. This either is or is not a living human from conception. This living human either continues to live or is killed. It is obvious that this being can’t be just a little human, or perhaps not human at one point and then human at another. He or she either is or is not. Just as simply there is either life or death. There is no middle ground.
Pro-abortion advocates, who call themselves pro-choice, are unwilling to concede any ground at all. Would they allow passage of laws in either nation for-bidding abortion in the third trimester for sex selection, to pick an extreme position? No! they have fought any such attempt.
Would true blue pro-lifers, if they had their choice, allow abortion for pregnancy resultant from assault rape and incest, or for pregnancies when the developing baby is severely handicapped? No, they might be forced into this as a political compromise, and as a temporary measure. But ethically speaking, no real pro-lifer would consent to this. It would seem then that the chance for compromise simply does not exist. On the other hand, it is obvious that people of goodwill must continue to try for a solution.
Ultimate Pro-Abortion Goals:
Many of the ultimate goals of those who favor abortion already exist. Abortion is legal in both of our nations until birth for social and economic reasons. Many areas use tax money to pay for elective abortions. What pro-abortion forces have not achieved has been to mainstream this procedure into the day to day practice of medicine. They also have not achieved a status of respectability, as the word "abortionist" still is one of low esteem, or even condemnation. Also, abortion is still strongly condemned by substantial segments of the cultures of both U.S. and Canada.
The Ultimate Pro-Life Goals:
The ultimate pro-life goal is quite direct and very simple. Pro-lifers want an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to the Canadian Charter of Rights that will give equal protection under the law, to all living humans from the time their biologic life begins at conception until natural death. Understanding that such a goal remains yet in the future, pro-life people have an intermediate goal. It is a Constitutional Amendment returning the right to make decisions about abortion to each individual state in the U.S. and the equivalent in Canada to each individual province. This would take federal judges out of the mix completely, and make legislating on abortion a state’s issue. States and provinces could then allow abortion, forbid it, or anything in between.
Since the above intermediate goals also remain yet unattainable, pro-life forces today are seeking more immediate goals, particularly so in the United States.
These include parental notification and consent for abortion for minor daughters; specific public health regulation of free-standing abortion facilities; women’s right to know, or informed consent laws; forbidding of certain types of abortions (such as brain suction or partial birth abortions); forbidding of abortions for certain reasons, such as sex selection and after a certain age of fetal development.
Certain allied issues can also be legislated such as forbidding destructive live fetal experimentation. Freedom of conscience can be guaranteed, both for individuals and for institutions. Laws to ban the use of tax monies for elective abortions have been the first line of attack for pro-lifers, but much yet can still be done. There are many avenues where federal monies have been given to pro-abortion organizations. A major ex-ample is family planning which includes abortion as a method of family planning. Government support for institutions that have encouraged and referred for abortions could be terminated and such monies redirected to those that support women before, during, and after birth.
There are certain constructive areas that can be encouraged that should be non-controversial. An obvious one is adoption. Certainly, the pro-life side has been warmly supportive of this. Tragically, the pro-abortion side, while giving lip service to adoption, nevertheless, has in practice strongly discouraged adoption to the point of not so subtly condemning it. The typical
Planned Parenthood type of advice to an unmarried teenager contemplating adoption is to hold it up as a fate worst than death for her unfortunate child. Sadly, adoption should be, but has not been common ground.
A major thrust of pro-abortion rhetoric has been the assumption that if only young people were given adequate education in how to use contraceptives, and then adequate access to them, the problem would be solved.
A portion of the pro-life side has serious moral reservations about contraception per-se. Many other pro-lifers do not share this. Almost universally, however, pro-lifers feel that pushing contraceptives onto teenagers encourages fornication and at younger ages. Most pro-lifers oppose contraceptives for premarital sex, for adultery, and for homosexual liaisons.
Title X, the U.S. federal family planning program which has expended billions of dollars giving contraceptives to teenagers over the last three decades, has proven to be a colossal failure. Wherever its clinics have been established, an intense campaign has been launched to teach contraceptive use to unmarried teens. The result? The pregnancy rate has gone up. The sexually transmitted disease has gone up. The abortion rate has gone up. The age of first sexual encounter is younger. Planned Parenthood has reported that 60% of women getting abortions had used contraceptives the month they became pregnant (Chapter 35). This evidence, along with other studies, has convinced many that the siren song of "give them contraceptives and the problem will be solved," is not part of the solution, but rather part of the problem.
But legalizing abortion was sold to us as a cure for many of our social ills.
Let’s look at the record.
|Children with Single Mothers||11%||22%|
|Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000)||36.4 2||73.|
|Teen Suicide Rate||5.9%||11.3%|
|Children on Welfare||8.5%||11.9%|
Love Them Both:
Your authors have been teaching, writing, and lecturing in the field of human sexuality for forty years, and have been in the thick of the struggle over abortion for twenty-five years. Is there any common ground?
We certainly can take sides, and many do with great passion, and dedication. We, however, see one glimmer of light, that hopefully would appeal to both sides, and certainly would to those in the middle. It is the recent emphasis on the simple question, "Why can’t we love them both?"
Why can’t we all stand with the pregnant woman? Why can’t we tell her that we share the agony of her decision? That we really know of no "convenience" abortions? Why can’t we tell her that we stand with her, not against her? Why can’t we begin to discuss constructive alternatives to abortion, adoption being an alternative par excellence?
Why can’t we cooperate in giving her all the information there is to be given from both sides of this controversial issue? Why not fully informed consent? Give her all the reasons for abortion? The law allows, even requires this. But also give her all the reasons for waiting, and most emphatically offer to her all of the constructive alternatives that now exist. If our laws continue to dictate that she be given that choice of life or death for her unborn, at the very least that choice should be a fully informed one. It should not just be in-6 formed in terms of technical information. No, it should also be a choice that is made in view of the fact that there is a warm and loving alternative to the technical quick fix of abortion.
In the coming years, the hallmark of the pro-life movement at least, should not be just to save the baby, but to love them both.