Re: 'Pro-life Clinics povide choice for women who need help' [Village News, Reeder letter, 6/30/22]
Last updated 7/13/2022 at 7:32pm
Dear Ms. Reeder,
Regarding your op-ed piece, there were points with which I agreed but some points I felt were oversimplified or facts omitted.
One of the main points of your piece was to say that pro-pregnancy/anti-abortion clinics have been attacked recently, assumedly due to the recent Supreme Court decision. I agree with you that any attack or violence against any group or organization is abhorrent and should be condemned. You cited 24 pro-pregnancy clinics that have been attacked in the last month. Most were vandalized with graffiti, windows were broken, and a few were firebombed. This is absolutely unacceptable.
However, you neglect to point out that clinics that provide abortions saw an increase of 125% of attacks between 2019 and 2020. In 2021, there were increased incidents of stalking (600%), blockades (450%), suspicious packages (125%), and assault and battery (128%).
Since 1993, 10 people have been killed by anti-abortion terrorists (Forbes, June 24, 2022). This does not justify attacks on pro-pregnancy clinics but points out both sides have extremists. Moderate supporters of both sides should condemn violent methods.
You mentioned some make the argument that abortions should be available for those who become pregnant due to rape or incest (RRP) and said you “believe that number is less than 1%.” You accurately stated that “The centers for Disease Control and Prevention…reported almost 3 million women in the U.S. experienced RRP.” If you continued to read the next sentence, you would have seen that 18 million women were raped for a rate 16.6% RRP.
Another of your main points is to illustrate the many positive benefits provided by pro-pregnancy clinics. I agree, the Hope Clinic does marvelous work supporting women who choose to keep their baby or choose adoption. Providing health care referrals, adoption agency referrals, and basic baby supplies is a wonderfully supportive thing.
I have never gone to the Hope Clinic nor do I know anyone who has. However, my stepson fulfilled a portion of his community service requirement for graduation by reading pamphlets provided by the clinic and writing reviews on the effectiveness of those pamphlets. This is how I became acquainted with their positions.
Assuming the information in their pamphlets is representative of the counseling that occurs in person in the clinic, I disagree that they provide accurate and complete information on which to make an informed choice. The Hope Clinic strongly counsels against abortion (and birth control) and actively discourages it as an option.
For instance, the pamphlet “Your Friend and Abortion” stated abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 40-50%. The American Cancer Society cited at least six studies that found no increased risk of breast cancer after abortion.
The pamphlet “Adoption or Abortion?” listed health risks and complications of abortion but no statistics on incidence or frequency, nor did it cite the risks and complications of carrying a child to term and giving birth.
The National Library of Medicine cites 1.3% complications of abortions (minor and major) in the first trimester and 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions. A UCSF study in 2014 cited .002% women who had first trimester abortions had major complications requiring hospitalization, surgery, or transfusion and 2% had minor complications including excessive bleeding or infection.
In contrast, the CDC cites 23.8 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies in the U.S. in 2020 and 17 per 100,000 pregnancies in 2018. The CDC cites complications per 100,000 of full-term pregnancies in 2014: hypertension 900, postpartum hemorrhage 39, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism 2. The numbers show that a first term abortion is statistically safer than carrying a baby to term. However, that information is not given at pro-pregnancy clinics.
The pamphlet “Adoption or Abortion?” also stated 93%-48% of women who had an abortion suffered psychological harm (guilt, depression, suicidal feelings). However, their source is the Elliot Institute which is an anti-abortion organization. In contrast, the APA cites longitudinal studies that found women who had abortions had no increased incidences of guilt, depression, or suicidal feelings. They found 97% of women who obtained abortions said they thought it was the right decision five years later.
Finally, the Hope Clinic pushes a strong religious and patriarchal viewpoint. Three different pamphlets mentioned God and hat God wants people to do. Three different pamphlets talked about traditional and stereotypical ideas about gender roles and sexuality, repeating the message that girls/women have sex for love but boys/men have sex just to have sex. Frankly, my 17-year old boy was insulted by that oversimplification and overgeneralization.
I’m not writing to debate the topic of abortion and its legal or ethical foundations. I support choice. But I support informed choice. The Hope Clinic provides an excellent service and resource to those seeking adoption and to those wanting to keep their baby. However, please do not white-wash them as fair and unbiased.