News Articles

LIFE DIGEST: ‘We had abortions’ campaign ignores women with regrets; doctors say ultrasound images ‘dangerous’

WASHINGTON (BP)–Ms. Magazine wants as many women as possible to confess they had abortions — as long as they don’t regret them.

The latest issue of the quarterly magazine, which is owned by the Feminist Majority Foundation, will hit newsstands Oct. 10. Included will be a petition signed by women who have undergone abortions and are opposed to restrictions on the procedure.

Ms., however, has demonstrated it will not include in its “We had abortions” campaign the names of post-abortive women who wish they had not taken their unborn children’s lives.

Women affiliated with the post-abortion organizations Silent No More and Operation Outcry submitted their names and comments to the Ms. petition effort but were either ignored or rejected.

Georgette Forney, cofounder of Silent No More, told LifeNews.com that members of the organization sought to be included in the “We had abortions” campaign, but “the magazine did not even extend the courtesy of a response.”

Luana Stoltenberg, a leader in Operation Outcry, wrote Ms. editors about her abortion and received a less than positive reply.

“[J]ust because you had a negative experience and post-abortion regrets does not mean that the choice to have an abortion should be made illegal –- or extremely difficult -– for the millions of women who still would make that choice,” the editors wrote, according to LifeNews.

Stoltenberg wrote in response, LifeNews reported, “Your response shows no compassion whatsoever. Why am I being told to be tolerant and know your side but you refuse to listen to my side?

“How is it that you can profess to care about all women and refuse them the information to truly be educated and informed about the ‘choice’ they could make? That doesn’t seem caring at all to me. It seems that you are driven by your agenda and not by your concern for women.”

A woman wrote to Dave Andrusko, editor of the National Right to Life News, with a suggestion he published on the NRLC website: “When the Ms. petition is published, I think all pro-lifers should get a copy of the list and each of us should ‘adopt’ one of those women and start praying for her BY NAME. We may not know her personally, or know anything about her circumstances … but we know that each and every woman on that list has been deceived and broken by abortion and is now, in some way or another, living in bondage to her past ‘choice.’”

The Ms. list will include about 1,000 names in the magazine, but about 5,000 women signed the petition, a magazine spokeswoman told AP. Among those who have signed the petition, according to the Associated Press, are feminist and magazine founder Gloria Steinem as well as actresses Amy Brenneman and Kathy Najimy.

In addition to asking for the names of post-abortion women, the Ms. petition also requests financial contributions.

In an AOL poll promoted by Ms., a plurality of respondents considers the petition wrong-headed. As of Oct. 9, more than 164,000 people had responded, with 47 percent saying the petition was a “bad idea,” 29 percent considering it a “good idea” and 23 percent with “mixed feelings.”

‘DANGEROUS’ LOOK –- Some British doctors and scientists have called new ultrasound technology that shows 12-week-old unborn babies appearing to “walk” in the womb “dangerous.”

Those scans are hazardous — “to the Culture of Death,” a popular Southern Baptist commentator on cultural issues said in response.

The images from a four-dimensional ultrasound method have prompted a re-evaluation of abortion law in England, The Times of London reported Oct. 3. The 4-D technique, which was developed by Stuart Campbell of the Create Health Clinic in London, has produced photos that show unborn children kicking and bouncing in the womb at 12 weeks of gestation, yawning and sucking their thumbs at 16 weeks and opening their eyes at 18 weeks, according to The Times.

The scans have prompted pro-life advocates to call for a tightening of British law, which permits abortions for most reasons until 24 weeks of gestation. Former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard has said he would support a 20-week limit, and Prime Minister Tony Blair may support a reconsideration of the law, The Times reported.

Some medical specialists have reacted negatively to the impact of the images.

“I had two reactions when I saw those photographs,” said Donald Peebles of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University College London, according to The Times. “One was that this was a fantastic piece of technology that showed very clearly what we knew already about the [fetus] in a way that was comprehensible to the public.

“But there was also a temptation to associate these movements –- sucking a thumb, gasping as if talking –- with adult movements, to think it is sucking its thumb because it is happy. It’s that feeling which I think is extraordinarily dangerous.”

Huseyin Mehmet, a reader in developmental neurobiology at Imperial College London, told The Times, “Personification of the [fetus] at that age is dangerous. I was worried when I saw those images. To suggest that an early [fetus] in utero has those kind of human qualities of being able to suck its thumb and move, that it meets the biological definition of being really viable outside the uterus, is very difficult indeed.”

R. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, agreed the images are dangerous but said their threat is to the abortion rights movement.

The scans “are, of course, extraordinarily dangerous -– dangerous to the Culture of Death,” Mohler wrote on his Oct. 5 weblog.

“[Peebles] fears that we will associate the fetal actions with ‘adult movements,’” Mohler said. “Actually, that is largely beside the point. No one is mistaking the fetus as an adult -– but those movements are recognizably and undeniably human, and that is the point.

“That baby has been human from the moment of conception -– the point of fertilization,” he wrote. “As such, the baby deserves full protection and respect. Our eyes have now seen this baby at 12 weeks, and we see the revelation of who that baby really is -– one of us. This is one key reason why the abortion debate is on shifting ground -– and why the abortion rights movement is playing defense.”

NO GO IN OHIO -– A federal judge struck down Ohio’s effort to restrict the distribution of the abortion pill RU 486 in accordance with a recommendation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Judge Susan Dlott invalidated the 2004 law in a ruling issued Sept. 27, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. Dlott said the law was vague and could threaten women’s health, the newspaper reported.

The Ohio measure banned the prescription of RU 486 for a woman after her seventh week of pregnancy.

“If the judge doesn’t like vagueness, I know some dead people who can make it quite clear why RU 486 is a problem,” Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said in a written statement.

Eight women’s deaths in the United States have been associated with RU 486, as well as nine life-endangering situations, about 120 blood transfusions and more than 200 hospitalizations, Sen. Jim DeMint, R.-S.C., said recently. DeMint, a staunch opponent of FDA approval of RU 486, has held up a vote on Andrew von Eschenbach to head the federal agency for his refusal to suspend sale of the abortion drug during his year as interim director.

RU 486, also known as mifepristone, is used as the first part in a two-step process in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. Mifepristone causes the lining of the uterus to release the embryonic child. A second drug, misoprostol, is taken two days after mifepristone and causes the uterus to contract, expelling the baby.

The FDA approved the sale of RU 486 in the U.S. in 2000, four months before President Clinton finished his second term.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists brought the legal challenge against the Ohio law.

DAY OF SILENCE -– College, senior high and junior high students in at least 47 states and four countries will stand for unborn babies by staying quiet Oct. 24.

The third annual Students Day of Silent Solidarity will be observed on that date in an effort to reach young people with the pro-life message. Students will wear red armbands and/or red duct tape over their mouths and will distribute “Why I am Silent” flyers when asked.

“It’s done to give students and young people a tool to stand up and be a voice for their generation,” said Bryan Kemper, president of Stand True Ministries, which sponsors the event. “It’s a tool to help them learn how to get involved.

“[Christian young people] have the opportunity to reach out to their generation to not only stand up for life but to stand up for the gospel.”

Kemper told Baptist Press he knew of two pregnant girls who approached students observing the day of silence last year and chose life for their babies as a result.

He estimated Oct. 9 that students from possibly as many as 800 schools had signed up for the observance. Usually, a few hundred register in the last couple of days before the event, Kemper said. Some homeschool students observe the day by going to shopping malls with their armbands, duct tape and flyers.

Information on the Day of Silent Solidarity is available online at www.silentday.org.