Roe v. Wade Conference: Women Share Graphic Stories About Abortion’s Toll on Their Lives

Penny Starr | January 22, 2013 | 5:04pm EST
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Irene Beltran spoke to the media on Jan. 22, 2013 on Capitol Hill about having a saline abortion and the physical and emotional scars she and her family have suffered since that time. ( Starr)

( – One after another, women came to the microphone at a Capitol Hill press conference on Tuesday to tell members of the media about how abortion had scarred their lives, some of them sharing graphic stories of an event they said had lifelong consequences. The conference was held on the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Irene Beltran told how she had a saline abortion when she was six months pregnant.

“When the abortionist administered the poison in my stomach I was mortified and shocked because I felt my child kick and turn hastily,” Beltran said. “Later, I found out she was being burned and could feel the pain.”

Instead of returning to the abortion clinic the next day to complete the process, Beltran went with her family to a hospital to see if the baby could be saved. But her daughter did not survive.

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“My parents and other family members were able to cradle her in their arms and we spent the last moments with her,” Beltran said. “Then the nurse walked in and carried her small, helpless, now cold, lifeless body out of the room.”

Kelly Stauffer said she was 14 when she got pregnant and was 5 months along when her doctor confirmed her pregnancy.  Her parents told her an abortion “was the best way to rid our lives of this problem.”

Stauffer said that was not the case.

“I can still, 17 years later, vividly remember the five-day process of being slowly and painfully dilated, of laying on an examination table and feeling the baby inside me frantically demand my attention right before the abortion’s needle ended her life, and I remember feeling utterly alone as I was forced into labor, delivering my baby’s lifeless body,” Stauffer said, choking back tears. “No, life, sadly was never the same.”

Olivia Gans-Turner, who now is director of American Victims of Abortion (AVA), said she had an abortion when she was a college student. She said she was intimidated by the abortion clinic staff and not given information she would later learn and that would add to her emotional struggle for years to come.

“I was told repeatedly that I was immature and foolish not to have an abortion,” Gans-Turner said. “Worst of all, I was not told vital information about the child I was carrying, including the medical fact that by the time I had an abortion at 12 weeks, my baby already had a beating heart and brain waves.”

Linda Shrewsbury, who helped found AVA and Black Americans for Life, said although the details of her abortion 41 years ago have faded, her dedication to helping end the practice is still very personal.

“As an academic and as a black person, I was shocked -- as I have researched and looked at this issue -- I was shocked to discover the racist, elitist roots of abortion,” Shrewsbury said, citing the belief in eugenics of Margaret Sanger, a pro-abortion advocate who founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which later became part of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

From left, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), visits with women who spoke to the media on Jan. 22, 2012, about the harm they suffered after having abortions, Linda Shrewsbury, center, and Olivia Gans-Turner, founding member and director, respectively, of the American Victims of Abortion. ( Starr)

Shrewsbury said that abortion was a strategy of population control in the eugenics ideology and that the general population had to be persuaded that abortion was a positive idea.

“How convenient to pose their compliance with destroying their offspring as their choice and their right,” Shrewsbury said. “For Planned Parenthood – mission accomplished – 30 percent of all abortions are performed on black women and children.”

Data on abortions show that more than 30 percent of abortions are performed on African Americans while they represent only 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who is co-chairman of the House Pro-life Caucus, introduced the women at the conference, which was called “Forty Years of Victims: The Legacy of Abortion.”

“Forty years today marks the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous, reckless and inhumane abandonment of women and babies to abortionists,” Smith said. “Forty years of victims – dead babies, wounded women, shattered families.”

“Forty years of government-sanctioned violence again women and children,” Smith said.

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