FRC Blog

Myth #6: “Abortion is safer than childbirth.”

by Ingrid Skop, M.D.

January 15, 2019

Due to the controversial nature of abortion, it is very difficult to find reliable data in order to compare pregnancy outcomes of women in the United States. When most observers consider safety related to abortion, they only consider physical complications, but they should also consider psychological complications, which can also lead to a woman’s death. One comprehensive study analyzed 22 studies which considered mental health consequences of abortion. It found that there was an 81 percent overall increased risk of mental health problems after abortion. The safety of abortion is determined less by whether it is legal, and more by other factors such as available technology, gestational age in which it is committed, and the skill of the practitioner.

The frequency of complications increases as the pregnancy advances. Only half of U.S. states require abortionists to report their complications and no states require non-abortion doctors, coroners, or emergency rooms to report abortion-related deaths for investigation. Deaths are counted by the CDC only if they happen to come to their attention through death certificates, anecdotal reports, reports to state health agencies, quality committees, or Morbidity & Mortality committees.

For many reasons, the information about a preceding abortion may not make it onto a death certificate. The abortion may have initiated a cascade of events resulting in death, but only the most proximate events may be listed on the death certificate. The physician who completes the death certificate may be unaware of the abortion, which could happen if a sick woman presents to the emergency room, but leads the staff to believe that it was a miscarriage and not an abortion that led to her complication. If she is too sick to give a history, the family may be unaware of, or may be embarrassed about the abortion.

An ideologic commitment to legal abortion may lead a physician to leave this information off of the death certificate. A single investigative reporter was able to document 30 percent more abortion-related deaths nationwide than the CDC had listed, merely by correlating public documentation of malpractice cases with autopsy reports.

It is clear with the incomplete records available in the U.S., the political nature of abortion, and the ideological commitment of many academic researchers to legal abortion, that the question of comparative safety of abortion to childbirth is unlikely to be answered in our country.

A more complete, and less biased way to look at this question is to perform a records-linked study in a country with a more neutral view on legalized abortion, single payer health care so that records on all procedures are readily available, and more complete death certificate documentation.

Studies in other countries such as Finland have shown that women who have had abortions are 3.5 times more likely to die within a year than women who have carried their pregnancies to term. Researchers concluded that this may be due to the fact that carrying a baby to term has a protective effect on women’s bodies by reducing the risk of breast cancer as well as the risk of emotional stress.

For more, watch the rest of our video series and read our new publication Top 10 Myths About Abortion.

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Myth #5: “A fetus does not feel pain during an abortion.”

by Ingrid Skop, M.D.

January 14, 2019

Science now shows that unborn babies can feel pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization, and most likely even earlier.

The first requirement for fetal pain perception is the presence of cutaneous sensory receptors, which begin to develop in the peri-oral area at seven weeks and spread to the palms and soles by 11 weeks. Early in the second trimester, the fetus reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human, in much the same ways as an adult, for example, by recoiling. 

Fetuses can be seen reacting to intra-hepatic vein needling with vigorous body and breathing movements, increased heart rate, and increased blood flow to the brain. There are many instances in medical practice in which doctors take extra precautions to prevent pain in human beings by administering anesthesia to those who have experienced brain death, are in a vegetative state, or are being given the death penalty.

However, this same precautionary use of anesthesia is not extended to unborn children who are being aborted by brutal abortion procedures, such as the most practiced second trimester abortion method of dismemberment where a child is literally torn limb from limb in the womb. This is a grave injustice.

For more, watch the rest of our video series and read our new publication Top 10 Myths About Abortion.

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Seventeen Years Later, Controversy Emerges Over Painting of “Ground Zero Cross”

by Alexandra McPhee

January 14, 2019

In Camdenton, Missouri, a county commission is facing the threat of a lawsuit for a painting hung on a courthouse wall in remembrance of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A year after almost 3,000 people were killed in the worst terrorist attack on American soil, a local high school student painted an image of a firefighter and young girl pointing to the “Ground Zero Cross,” a cross-shaped steel beam pulled from the rubble of Ground Zero in New York City and mounted on a platform. After the attacks, rescue and recovery workers found comfort in this new memorial, and the Camden County community saw the painting as a marker for a period of renewed national unity after catastrophic loss of life.

Commissioners called a public hearing after an activist secularist legal group, Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), demanded its removal. Despite the specter of high legal fees to defend the painting in court, residents are holding fast.

What say ye, if it costs Camden County a tremendous amount of money. Does the painting stay?” a commissioner asked.

Most, if not all, hands were raised. Voices from the crowd shouted: “We have people in the hall, too.” “Raise my taxes!”

Legal arguments grounded on the so-called principle of the “separation of church and state” are based on the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

FFRF argues that the painting’s depiction of a cross-shaped beam constitutes an endorsement of Christianity, and thus, a violation of the separation of church and state. It dismisses the fact that a federal appellate court held that the very Ground Zero Cross depicted in the Camden County courthouse painting passed constitutional muster after a challenge to its exhibition in the National September 11 Museum by another secularist legal group.

Recent letters released en masse by FFRF demonstrate that the group’s understanding of the Establishment Clause fails to account for Supreme Court precedent that grounds its reasoning in the original meaning of the text of the U.S. Constitution rather than cut-and-paste phrases from previous Court opinions. In Marsh v. Chambers (1983), Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC (2012), and Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014), the Supreme Court shows that it is increasingly relying on legal history, which recognizes the role religion has played in our nation, to decide various government actions.

The Supreme Court has not made clear whether this look at historical practices will be the standard under which courts consider establishment clause challenges to religious symbols located on government property. Hopefully, this will change now that the Court is slated to decide whether a war memorial in the shape of a cross and maintained by a local government can stand under the Establishment Clause. We have submitted a brief in that case urging the Court to recognize the pivotal role of religion in society and commemoration and to let the cross stand.

But even under the most subjective legal standard, which the Court put forth in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) (looking at the primary effect of a government action, the purpose of the action, or the extent to which the action entangles government with religion), the courthouse painting passes muster. The local artist’s sister-in-law said it best: “I think it’s sad, that this many years later, we’re all here. I obviously see [a cross] . . . but I see it as a symbol of hope and a reminder to what we’ve lost.”

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The APA is Crazy: “Traditional Masculinity is Psychologically Harmful”

by Cathy Ruse

January 11, 2019

The American Psychological Association (APA) has decided that “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful.”

That’s what should be known as traditional asininity. According to the APA, “[t]he main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful.”

The APA’s report condemns itself. It should be read far and wide. But reader, be warned that you will encounter gibberish like this: “Though men benefit from patriarchy, they are also impinged upon by patriarchy.” 

Rod Dreher rightly sees this nonsense as yet another diktat from the elites: “The more I think about it, the more Soviet this seems. Dissent from gender ideology (not just the transgender stuff, but the establishment’s view of what men and women are)? Well, then you must be insane. Expert opinion says so!”

I agree with David French at National Review: “We do our sons no favors when we tell them that they don’t have to answer that voice inside them that tells them to be strong, to be brave, and to lead.” 

I have daughters, not sons. But I pray my daughters marry masculine men, not the kind the APA would mold.

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Family Research Council Opposes the “Equal Rights Amendment”

by Family Research Council

January 10, 2019

On January 10, 2019, a press conference was held by The Family Foundation to oppose the “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA). Two spokeswomen for Family Research Council made the following statements.

Alexandra McPhee – Director of Religious Freedom Advocacy:

The ERA fails procedurally—it is legally moot, and thus, off the table for ratification. In 1972, when the amendment passed, Congress itself conditioned ratification on a deadline: March 22, 1979. A later extension moved the date to June 30, 1982. Proponents of the amendment failed to rally enough states to ratify the amendment at either juncture, and in that time five states withdrew their ratification.

Now, 36 years later, proponents believe they can and should revive this stale effort. But they cannot and should not.

Congress reasonably imposed this deadline because a lot can happen in five years, and even more in a lifetime. The deadline was binding enough when the ERA thought it would win. Now that it has lost—twice—proponents argue that the rules need not apply.

If Congress represents the will of the people, why ignore that? 2019 is not the time to undermine the will of the people in 1982, when the people of at least 15 states decided that the ERA should fail. And what ratifying states wanted in 1982 and earlier should not dictate the voice of the people in 2019.

Assuming all of this, whatever ERA proponents want the General Assembly to pass will have to make its way anew through Congress by a 2/3rds vote. Based on the current makeup of Congress, the ERA will not garner the necessary votes.

As a woman, the ERA does not support my interests, so I do not support ERA—nor should it find support in those who understand the negative consequences that will result from this amendment. I urge all representatives to Vote NO.

Patrina Mosley – Director of Life, Culture and Women’s Advocacy:

Women are continually used as props to push an agenda. The ERA is not about women, it is really a smokescreen for abortion. Abortion has extinguished over 60 million children from our nation and by design, our poor and minority communities have been disproportionately affected.

The majority opinion of Roe written by Justice Blackmun is laced with eugenic ideology and has even been acknowledged by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The abortion industry, from day one, has used the courts to force its agenda. Now that it seems that the courts may be stacked against them, they will use any backdoor (or prop – even if it’s women) to preserve abortion.

Abortion lobbyists who fatten the wallets of legislators knows that abortion has no actual constitutional basis and are convinced they need a constitutional amendment to keep abortion “legal.” 

While trying to protect abortion, the ERA leaves women unprotected by threatening legal distinctions based on sex. This puts men in women’s shelters, prisons, bathrooms, showers, sports, and more. Instead of achieving “equality,” the ERA has undermined the already achieved protections specifically designed for women.

But today, we act like we don’t even know what sex/gender means! So, if the ERA really cared about protecting women it would have seen it as necessary to define what it means to be a woman. It does not.

This amendment has failed so many times because it is disingenuous and has no moral compass—therefore it continues to trip over itself.

The ERA is bad all the way around. I urge all representatives to Vote NO.

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The ERA: A Bad, Old Idea

by Cathy Ruse

January 10, 2019

Yesterday a senate committee in Richmond voted in favor of Virginia ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Yes, I am speaking of your grandmother’s ERA.

The deadline Congress set for states to ratify the amendment has long since passed—nearly three decades ago. Proponents couldn’t convince enough states that it was a good idea within the deadline, and since then five states have withdrawn their ratification.

The issue is officially moot. But proponents hope they can convince enough states to go through the motions anyway, and then convince a lawless judge to ignore the deadline.

The Left loves lawless judges.

Women deserve to be treated with respect and fairness. We can all agree on that. But the ERA won’t deliver these things—in fact, it will undermine them.

The same lawless judges who might ignore ratification deadlines could also employ the ERA to eliminate the recognition of male and female. But that puts men in women’s shelters and prisons. It puts men in women’s bathrooms and showers. It puts men in women’s sports.

We don’t need that kind of help.

The ERA is not only anti-woman, but anti-children—especially the most vulnerable waiting to be born. 

Proponents say the ERA is not about abortion. But look at what they do: Every time a state considers ERA language that is abortion-neutral, they kill it. That’s because abortion is at the heart of the ERA.

Women deserve safe spaces, privacy, and a level playing field. Children deserve a fighting chance to be born.

When the Virginia Senate takes up the measure in the days ahead, they should waste no time in putting to rest this bad, old idea.

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Myth #1: “Abortion does not destroy a human life.”

by Ingrid Skop, M.D.

January 8, 2019

Some say that abortion does not destroy a human life because we can’t know exactly when life begins. This is a false statement. Life is commonly defined as organisms that “maintain homeostasis, are composed of cells, have a life cycle, undergo metabolism, can grow, adapt to their environment, respond to stimuli, reproduce and evolve.”

Any basic physiology textbook will tell you that at the moment of fertilization, a one-celled human embryo with a complete set of 46 chromosomes comes into existence that is uniquely different from that of either parent. This one-celled embryo will then begin dividing and growing rapidly. Basic obstetrics textbooks tell us that a biomolecular communication system is established between the zygote/blastocyst/embryo/fetus and mother that is operative from before the time of implantation and persists through the time of birth.

In an unborn child, the precursor to the nervous system appears between days 12 and 17. By 21 days after conception, the heart starts beating and pumping blood; by 30 days, arms, legs, and brain begin to form; and by 35 days, mouth, nose, and ears begin to develop. By 9 weeks, fingernails are forming, and he can be seen on the sonogram sucking his thumb; by 10 weeks, he squints, swallows, and frowns; by 12 weeks, he smiles and has intricate hand and feet movements.

For more, see our new publication Top 10 Myths About Abortion.

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