Last week in Seoul, South Korea, pro-life doctors of American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) were banned from speaking at the last minute because their presentations were deemed to “threaten women’s reproductive rights.” They were also described as “unscientific” and “political.”
These three doctors were scheduled to present at the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA) conference. It apparently doesn’t matter to the leaders of MWIA that these doctors had relevant and important information to present. It’s ironic how such people call themselves pro-choice, isn’t it?
The AAPLOG website has links to the three presentations each of the doctors – Dr. Mary Davenport, M.D.; Dr. Donna Harrison, M.D.; and Dr. Martha Shuping, M.D. – would have given. The topics to be discussed, respectively, included “Preterm Birth and Abortion,” “Maternal Mortality and the Myth of ‘Safe’ Abortion,” and “Women’s Mental Health after Abortion.”
On a page titled “MWIA Confrontation,” the AAPLOG website also describes how these doctors were then invited by their host, Anna Choi, who is head of a group of South Korean doctors who had stopped providing abortions, to give an interview for the press in which they would have time to discuss what they would have presented. The panel-style interview turned into a television interview rather than a radio or newspaper one. Here is part of the account of what happened in Dr. Davenport’s own words:
They put the three of us up front like a “panel” discussion, and the reporters started asking us questions about our presentation, allowing us an opportunity to talk about what we came to present. About 20 minutes into the interview, the Secretary General of MIWA, a Canadian woman, burst into the room (I kid you not. …and all of this is on camera), and came up to the table and said “What presentation is this? Donna Harrison said “it’s not a presentation”. So she snarled “Why are you being interviewed? At that point, the answers were left to Anna, our host. Anna said that this was a requested interview by the press.
The SecGen then said “Who gave you permission to interview these people?” And the reporters said “We are the press, we don’t need anyone’s permission. We have freedom of the press” And the Sec Gen snarled at Anna and said “Did you arrange this? Did you talk to the organizing committee?” And Anna said “I am on the organizing committee. I don’t need to talk to anyone.” And the Sec Gen stood in front of the camera, and refused to move, and said “The interview is over.” Then the reporters said “You can’t do this. We have the freedom of the press. You are interfering with the freedom of the press.” But the Sec Gen would not move and said “The interview is over.”
We exited to the hall, and a Belgian and German woman were waiting. They started to make fun of the Korean translator, and to snap pictures in her face. And she said “You can’t do this. This is my country. I will call the police.” And they actually grabbed at her, and then one of the Korean reporters put a huge camera in the Belgian woman’s face and started taking photos of her. A fist fight almost ensured [sic] between the women, but another of the Koreans stepped in and kept any contact from happening. And all of this was on camera. And then our Korean hosts ushered us down the hall, and down the elevator, along with the reporters and camera crew, and we resumed the interview in the commons area downstairs by the trash cans and the bathroom. We were able to complete the entire interview, and instead of our audience being a few women doctors from the conference, we now have an audience of probably a few thousand.
Okay, so it’s bad enough that these three medical doctors, who were invited, were then told they could not speak. But then, when the press was still interested in hearing what these doctors had to say, and providing an outlet so that others could be informed, they were silenced, and there were even attempts of physical intimidation. It is at best biased and immature to bar someone from speaking, at your conference or anywhere else, because you don’t agree.
For the secretary general, though, and others with MWIA, who are supposed to act like the adults that they are, to act in such a manner gives the lie to their self-administered label of “pro-choice.” It’s not at all a choice when you withhold information from women. I thought women were supposed to be able to make that decision for themselves. How can they make the best decision when they’re not getting all the facts?
And Molly Loesel makes a telling point in her piece for Human Life International (HLI) when she highlights the similarities between those pro-“choicers” in Texas and MWIA in South Korea. Not only do we have to protect ourselves, but we must also wonder: is there anytihng these people will not stoop to?