Let's Talk About Health Hazards

by Mike Richmond
Cancer Awareness Canada
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Note: This article represents the views of the author, and not necessarily those of Pregnant Pause. Which is to say that we think his views are interesting but we don't entirely agree with them.

(A book review of Making Abortion Rare by David Reardon)

Your daughter, seventeen year old Amy, has been smoking for 4 months and your arguments about future lung cancer and heart attacks have fallen on deaf ears. Do you keep harping on the same old health hazards? No, you appeal to her perceived self-interest. Since Amy has a "time horizon" of about 3 days, lung cancer 50 years hence has zero importance. You tell her:

  1. Since she started smoking, her 'steady' Ken has stopped asking her out. Ken has told you (not Amy) that 'ziggies' disgust him.
  2. She failed to make the high school tennis team since she 'runs out of gas' early in the second set. This never happened last year when she was on the team.
Since Amy loves tennis and adores Ken, you have just improved your odds.

How does this example relate to the pro-life campaign to make abortions extremely rare events? The main argument directed to the "vast middle" (neither strongly pro-life or strongly pro-abortion) is that killing a living pre-born being is murder and must be stopped. Has this argument won vast numbers to the pro-life side? Clearly, NO! Should this approach be abandoned? Under the current "moral climate", David Reardon (Marking Abortion Rare) recommends making the main appeal the health of the mom (physical and emotional) the key focus. The health of mom and the unborn baby prosper as a pair or is defeated as a pair. Reardon assumes that the readers are aware that induced abortion is a health disaster for women. (His previous book, Aborted Women, Silent No More, provides documentation). For him a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion (except for carefully regulated exceptions) is one of the last steps. Abortion must become unthinkable. Some key components of his strategy are:

  1. Facilitate malpractice suits: remove statute of limitations; state mandated minimum health warnings but require "clinics" to be legally liable for providing a full set of possible health hazards on consent forms.
  2. Mandate that no advance payment for abortion may be required (or accepted). Abortion is the only medical procedure where payment is made in advance. Women unhappy with the outcome may be unwilling to pay and with no advance payment there is less pressure to go through with the procedure.
  3. Pro-life groups support a new 'Post Abortion Recovery Research Institute' (my term) to conduct professional research into the health consequences of abortion.
  4. On all levels (political, media, educational, etc.) pro-lifers stress that they are pro-woman and favor healthy choices for women.
  5. All surgeons must carry malpractice insurance (perhaps $3-5 millions). Some (many?) abortionists are currently practicing bare (i.e. no insurance).
Should the fate of the unborn be ignored? Pro-lifers should never forget the baby, but for now I agree with Reardon that the "message that sells" is, you can't hurt the baby without hurting mom's health. Since abortion is slowly dying, some may want to stick with the current tactics. It could take 50 years at the current pace to make abortion rare. A switch to smarter tactics (such as advocated by Reardon) could bring about the 'fall of the Berlin Wall of Abortion' in less that 10 years.

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Posted 9 Sep 2000.

Copyright 1997 by Mike Richmond.
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