Introduction to Abortion—A Crisis of Facts
It often becomes necessary to remind people—pro-lifers and others—that it is not only a surgical abortion that takes the life of a preborn baby. The life of a preborn baby can also be taken via several forms of contraception. It is frequently forgotten, or not realized, that this can occur, but it happens daily. Read today’s commentary for more on why stating all the facts is of utmost importance.
A crisis of facts exists among the many folks who hold pro-life leadership roles. This came to the public view most recently when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued its recommendations for full coverage of birth control for everyone, thus making it “free” at our expense.
Having exposed the myths relating to that politically motivated act in my previous commentary, I now turn to my fellow pro-lifers who perhaps ignorantly, or without thinking, contribute to the false idea that when the word “abortion” is brought up, there is no suggestion that pro-life goals include the elimination of any and all forms of birth control that can kill preborn babies.
For example, when discussing the IOM recommendations, Americans United for Life (AUL) attorney Anna Franzonello, speaking specifically about the chemical abortion drug ella said, “Despite the fact that ella can kill a human embryo even after implantation, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled the drug as emergency contraception. Thus, the IOM’s broad inclusion of the ‘full-range of FDA approved contraceptives,’ includes ella. This really was a one-two punch by the FDA and IOM to force all Americans to pay for the abortion-inducing drug.”
While this is true, and the scientific evidence is mounting that ella can kill a preborn child at any point from his biological beginning until well after implantation, it is also true that the pill and the IUD can kill prior to implantation.
Whether the consumer is using ella or a simple birth control pill, the result can be the death of a human being. We would encourage Franzonello to include all chemical and medical abortion practices in her public statements in the future.
I recommend the same to Jeanne Monahan of Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity. When Monahan was interviewed by NPR, the following was reported: “[A]bortion opponents argue that some emergency contraceptives—so-called morning-after pills—can cause very early abortions by preventing the implantation of fertilized eggs into a woman’s uterus. ‘So those 7 to 10 days before a baby can implant, Plan B can prevent implantation and thereby cause the demise of that baby. So we’d be opposed to those drugs being included because they act as abortifacients.’”
I would like to point out to Ms. Monahan that the term “fertilized egg” is scientifically inaccurate. Professor Dianne Irving quotes human embryologist Ronan O’Rahilly, who has laid out the facts,
[T]he use of terms such as “ovum” and “egg”—which would include the term “fertilized egg”—is scientifically incorrect, has no objective correlate in reality, and is therefore very misleading—especially in these present discussions. Thus these terms themselves would qualify as “scientific” myths. The commonly used term, “fertilized egg,” is especially very misleading, since there is really no longer an egg (or oocyte) once fertilization has begun. What is being called a “fertilized egg” is not an egg of any sort; it is a human being.
Further, we would encourage Monahan to make sure that when she talks about abortion, she includes the possibility of death by chemical as well as the medical and surgical varieties of abortion. No matter how the abortion occurs, the result is sadly the same.
It has been my contention for nearly 40 years that, as pro-life leaders, we have a special obligation to use language that makes our case perfectly clear. When we fail to do that we create the illusion that facts about human persons are fungible. I know we do not intend to do that, but when it happens, Planned Parenthood and its allies step in, rake in the money, and kill more babies.
This is why American Life League enumerates every type of abortion with great care:
Surgical Abortion: The surgical killing of babies in the womb
Medical Abortion: The killing of an already implanted human being through the use of RU 486 and similar products
Chemical Abortion: The killing of human beings by preventing implantation
Laboratory Abortion: The killing of human beings in research facilities
Each time we speak to the media, let us resolve to understand that we are introducing them, and those who hear or read our interview, to abortion as it really is—not as pro-death zealots claim it is. Truth is victory.