In a recent piece in Women’s Health, “5 Things Every Woman Needs to Know about Abortions,” the one salient point is the publication’s abortion advocacy — and its reliance on the abortion industry for information.
The overriding problem with putting forward abortion advocacy as health information is that it is not scientific. The editors deny the science of embryology, which states that, at conception, the new single-cell organism is a distinct, living, whole human being.
They assume the unborn are not human beings with valuable lives deserving of protection. This skews everything that follows.
Here are the “five things” they put forward in their article:
- One-third of abortions now happen at home.
- After 10 weeks, abortions occur “in clinic.”
- After the first trimester, getting an abortion becomes more difficult.
- State laws are constantly in flux.
- The vast majority of women don’t regret their abortions.
But let me take these points on — and tell you what the Women’s Health editors don’t and won’t.
1.) At-home abortions are 100 percent deadly to human beings (what those health editors call “clumps of tissue”). While at-home abortions are on the rise, abortion pills have been legal in the U.S. by prescription for over 16 years — yet they are still not part of mainstream OB-GYN practice. This may be due to stigma and over-regulation, as Forbes notes. (Or, in my opinion, OB-GYNs are remembering from their training that each pregnancy represents two patients they must treat.)
At no point does Women’s Health tell its readers their regular doctor won’t likely cooperate with their plan, and that the provider they do see will not likely treat them if there are complications. And isn’t it just a little misleading to reassure women about having an abortion in the comforts of their home — while not warning them they will have to deal with the “remains”? That will involve either retrieving the fetus from the toilet or soiled linen, and/or making the devastating decision to flush.
The closest Women’s Health comes to advising of this dilemma is: “You can expect to pass big clots and clumps of tissue, similar to a super-heavy period.” Not only is the magazine denying science by describing a human embryo or fetus as “clumps of tissue,” but it is also misleading women about the true facts of the developing child!
By contrast, when referring to early fetal development, Web MD says you are dealing with a baby from the start. The Endowment for Human Development has tracked the human lifespan from day one, a project completed in 2010.
2.) The magazine tells readers that after 10 weeks, “surgical abortions … gently remove pregnancy tissue from the uterus.” Um, “pregnancy tissue”? This gets personal for me. When I was 12 weeks pregnant, I was told my “pregnancy tissue” was not a baby.
And although it’s hard to grasp, I accepted that. Somehow it seemed so early that the “pregnancy” was distinct from a baby. When clinicians said, “tissue,” I pictured menstrual flow — which is how the article referenced above describes both baby and what would come after, “similar to a super-heavy period.”
It may be on me that I fell for that, as I panicked about my future. But it is on the magazine’s editors for advancing that lie to millions of readers today. As publishers of health information, they are either ignorant — or ideologically driven to obscure the truth.
3.) Second-trimester abortions are more difficult. If you’re thinking that Women’s Health can no longer deny the humanity of the unborn child now that the baby’s development includes the human face, fingers and toes, you’d be wrong. The only concern these editors pass along is the increased cost — and the fact that some states have restrictions on abortion after the first trimester. From that “health” magazine, readers will learn how few doctors will do a later-term abortion — but they won’t find out that the U.S. is one of only seven countries to allow abortion past 20 weeks. We’re joined in that by China, North Korea, and Vietnam.
And although Women’s Health assures its readers abortion is still safe, the publication fails to point out that the methods change to facilitate the removal of the more fully formed “pregnancy tissue.” This may involve a D&E, in which the provider “dilates” the cervix to facilitate inserting forceps to “extract” the baby, literally limb by limb. The other later-term procedure involves injecting saline or digoxin directly into the baby’s heart to bring about death and stillbirth. Often the imprecise nature of the injection leads to a premature live birth — and the denial of care to hasten the death.
Abortion advocates gloss over the reality that the local ER is their backup plan if a woman’s health is at risk due to excessive bleeding or a poorly performed procedure.
Laws are in place to require care for a child who survives an abortion attempt. These laws are controversial.
So, yes — it is more difficult. But not just in terms of money or travel by the woman to get access to the procedure.
4.) “State laws are always in flux.” Women’s Health plays back abortion advocates’ talking points by noting that one in five women must travel over 40 miles to obtain abortions, blaming states for restrictive laws.
In speaking with hundreds of women and men impacted by abortion, I know that policy and access are seldom top concerns. I heard from a woman who had to travel some distance and book a hotel room for the procedure to dilate her cervix — before the abortion two days later. She said she was concerned she was in a hotel, and where would she go if there were problems afterward? Abortion advocates gloss over the reality that the local ER is their backup plan if a woman’s health is at risk due to excessive bleeding or a poorly performed procedure.
Abortion access is an issue and a business problem for providers; for those seeking abortion, not so much. Anyone determined to have an abortion will find one, and will also find an abortion advocate to help get access to it. The stories I hear are more often stories of anger because of abortion hustles and high-pressure tactics to “get in and get it done,” and many women decry the lack of government oversight.
5.) “The vast majority of women don’t regret abortions.” Here are the facts: There is no standard of care in the mental health community if a woman says she is troubled by her abortion experience. There is no routine screening of women who present with depression, suicidal feelings, eating disorders or many of the other problems that have been shown in the research to impact women after abortion. And to the shame of abortion advocates, there is no screening for a woman’s fragile or vulnerable emotional state prior to abortion, nor questions addressing whether a woman is being coerced into a procedure.
Instead, as Live Action has demonstrated, abortion providers have shielded and enabled pimps and incestuous men by allowing them to procure abortions for young women and even underage minors.
But research does exist (check here, here, and here) — showing the harm abortion does to women’s emotional and mental health. In 2014, the Nordic Societies of Public Health reported that in Finland, despite efforts to address the problem, “women with a [recently] induced abortion still have a twofold suicide risk. A mandatory checkup may decrease this risk. The causes for the increased suicide risk, including mental health prior to pregnancy and the social circumstances, should be investigated further.”
The Finland information is illuminating for a few reasons. That country’s universal health care pays for abortion and mandates reporting by providers. This means there is no societal stigma causing women distress, and no disincentive on the part of women or providers to underreport, as there may be here in the U.S., given that abortion remains controversial. Finland also allows medication abortions and limits abortions after 12 weeks.
What do you suppose so troubles those mothers in mourning after losing their children to abortion?
Now — here are, for real, the “five things every woman needs to know about abortion”:
1.) At-home abortion is the brutal and difficult loss of an innocent human being — your child.
2.) Abortions “in clinic” seldom include full information and often rely on deception and manipulation, leading to the brutal and difficult loss of an innocent human being, your child.
3.) Later abortions are not allowed in most of the civilized world because it is clear as the child develops that abortion leads to the loss of an innocent human being, your child.
4.) State laws are in flux — but policy aside, abortion brings about the loss of an innocent human being, your child.
5.) “Abortion regret” is not likely to be recognized, even by mental health professionals, but you may need help and support to come to terms with your role in the death of an innocent human being, your child.
All of these problems and more are being prevented every day in the pregnancy help community — where women will find help and support to make a life-affirming decision no matter how difficult the circumstances of a pregnancy may be.
It’s also where thousands of us have found hope and healing even decades after abortion.
No one ever needs to resort to abortion. That’s the one thing pregnant women really must know.
Kim Ketola is the host and executive producer of Cradle My Heart Today, a companion to her award-winning book, “Cradle My Heart, Finding God’s Love After Abortion.” Her radio work earned her induction into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2013. Cradle My Heart is a safe space for listeners to share stories and connect with others who are finding God’s love — especially during unintended pregnancy and after abortion.