Last week, the Detroit Free Press ran a story under the headline, ‘We should be terrified’: What Michigan women should know if abortion becomes illegal. The article is an example of one of the most common fear-mongering strategies among abortion activists. For decades, they have claimed that abortion must remain legal, because if it is illegal, women will be “forced” to go to dangerous back-alley abortionists. Despite the strong emotional resonance of this argument for many people, it’s simply not true. This argument ignores the fact that the legal abortion industry has preyed on women and displayed the same abusive and damaging patterns of behavior as back-alley, illegal abortion operations. Additionally, the argument assumes that women experiencing unplanned pregnancies need elective abortion and will seek it even if it is illegal.
In the recent article in the Detroit Free Press, the author interviewed abortion facility owner and activist Renee Chelian who describes her own horrific abortion at the age of 15 before abortion was legal in Michigan. Chelian was traumatized by the experience of undergoing an abortion at the direction of her parents. Because Chelian was in the second trimester, she was given drugs and interventions to induce labor and was sent home to deliver her baby.
Chelian claims that after the legalization of abortion, she started abortion facilities to prevent other young girls and women from suffering the trauma that she endured. She said she wanted an abortion center to be “a place that would be spotless and where people would be treated with respect and dignity. And patients would just never feel like I felt.” But is this what happens?
In legal abortion procedures today, including medication abortions early in pregnancy and days’-long late-term abortions, mothers are routinely sent home with the possibility of delivering their deceased babies alone, without assistance, and without warning about what they will experience and the trauma that can result.
A former Planned Parenthood manager described women bringing their babies back to the facility in Ziploc bags after a medication abortion. They would say, “You told me it was a heavy period. You told me it was just tissue, and here’s my baby.” No matter how spa-like the abortion environment, the violent and gruesome nature of abortion does not change. The body of the preborn baby must be delivered or extracted, and often women are left to endure this alone.
Abortion is lethal to the preborn baby and can also be lethal to the mother. Recently in Michigan, two women were rushed to the hospital following injuries sustained in botched abortions. Also in Michigan, legal abortion took the life of 24-year-old Cree Erwin-Sheppard in addition to the life of her preborn child. Her family is still seeking answers from the legal abortion industry and has yet to receive justice.
Additionally, women and young girls experiencing unplanned pregnancies are vulnerable to abuse, whether in illegal or legal abortion situations. Girls coerced to undergo abortion at 15, like Chelian, are often revictimized by an abortion industry that fails to report abuse, actively cooperates with sex traffickers, and ignores statutory rape, incest, and intimate partner violence. Legal abortion has not made victims of abuse safer; it has only made it legal for the abortion industry to end the lives of preborn children and send their mothers back to their abusers.
Further evidence of this can be seen in a grotesque interview with back-alley abortionist Joseph Blaine. Last year, Jezebel published an interview with Blaine trying to make the argument that if abortion is illegal, criminals like Blaine will once again profit from the abuse and mistreatment of pregnant mothers. The only problem with this argument is that all of Blaine’s crimes are found in the legal abortion industry. Jezebel seems to tacitly acknowledge this in the statement, “Blaine’s career spotlights the varied dangers American women faced before and after legalization (emphasis added),” Those dangers continue today.
Blaine committed abortions in unsanitary environments without basic medical equipment. Much of the legal abortion industry today is largely unregulated and uninspected (the state of Illinois has inexplicably recently passed a law ensuring a lack of oversight). When abortion facilities are inspected, government regulators frequently uncover gross violations of health and safety standards.
Blaine, who was already married, impregnated his underage girlfriend and committed an abortion on her, a disturbing form of abuse still present today. In addition, Blaine sexually abused an unknown number of his patients, something which continues to occur in the legal abortion industry. Despite nearly killing several women in botched abortions, Blaine escaped jail time, an injustice which continues to occur in the legal abortion industry.
The evidence is clear that whether legal or illegal, the abortion industry violently ends the lives of the preborn and inflicts harm on their mothers. Despite abortion activists’ claims, abortion is never medically necessary and it is possible to address the needs of women experiencing unplanned pregnancies without resorting to ending their children’s lives.
Furthermore, statistics and anecdotes confirm that when abortion is illegal, women are less likely to seek abortion. The way to help women is to address their needs and the needs of their preborn children instead of sending them to the predatory abortion industry.
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