Archive for the 'Abortion' Category

Pro-life proliferation in Texas

In January 1984, President Reagan declared the 3rd Sunday in January as “Sanctity of Human Life Day.” The 3rd Sunday falls closest to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, January 22, 1973. 

Since Reagan’s first declaration, every pro-life president has made similar annual declarations. Each pro-choice president has not. In years without a presidential decree (e.g., 2015), pro-life groups still commemorate the occasion. Henceforth, January 18th was Pro-Life Sunday.

It’s a good time to review the landscape of a controversial topic. Some call abortion the great issue of our time, not unlike William Wilberforce’s quest to end the slave trade in England in the early 1800s or Abraham Lincoln’s acts to abolish slavery in America half a century later.

Others, of course, say the issue is an ultimate test of civil liberty: what one can or cannot do with his or her body.

Let’s start with a recap of the numbers. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider of abortions. It receives $550 million per year from the United States government.

Guttmacher Institute, a government-funded “reproductive health” research group formerly associated with Planned Parenthood, reports that more than one million abortions occur in the United States each year.

If abortion were listed among the leading causes of death in the U.S., it would rank at the top above heart disease (595,000 deaths per year) and cancer (550,000 deaths per year).

According to Guttmacher and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:

> Roughly 1 in 3 women will have an abortion by age 45.

> About half (49%) of abortions happen in women and teens under the age of 25.

> Eighty-four per cent of women who have abortions are unmarried.

> African-American women make up 13% of the female population but 35% of the abortions.

The National Down Syndrome Society estimates 92% of babies prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. I thought the world was missing some joy.

Pollsters are showing the country more or less divided on the issue. Technology is clearly driving increased opposition. Higher definition and three dimensional sonograms are showing parents just how lifelike fetuses can be despite their in utero status.

Policy decisions are also supporting pro-life efforts. Conservative legislatures like Texas’ have required parental permission, waiting periods, counseling sessions and sonogram viewing, all aimed at reducing the procedure’s prevalence.

In 2013, Texas passed a law requiring abortion clinics to be overseen by a doctor who can quickly get a patient admitted to a nearby hospital should something go wrong. Roughly half of the state’s forty abortion clinics lacked such an overseer and were forced to close.

The 2013 Texas law also required clinics to be outfitted like surgical centers. This part of the law is presently under further review by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans as it would likely cause another 12 Texas clinics to close.

Pro-life proponents advocate for reform in light of the cruelty of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted in 2013 of multiple counts of first degree murder. The travesty is recounted in vivid detail in the documentary “3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy” (www.3801Lancaster.com).

The Gosnell clinic was surely a worst case scenario. However, its gruesomeness makes me want not to even get close to the possibility again. The more safeguards we can put around the lives impacted by abortion, the better.

 

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. He can be reached at kevin@kwt.info.

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