Seventy-seven percent of anti-abortion leaders are men. 100% of them will never be pregnant.—Planned Parenthood advertisement

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Oklahoma officially moved back into the Stone Age with the recent passage of cruel, unusual and invasion of privacy concerning abortion. Oklahoma passed law requiring the names of women who have received an abortion to be placed in a public database, a gross violation of doctor patient confidentiality and current privacy laws. On the heels of its version of placing a Scarlet Letter on women’s blouses, the legislature outdid itself and came up with a law requiring women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion, which is certainly cruel and unusual punishment.

In the 21st century expectations of a kinder and gentler society are woefully misplaced. There is no concern for human life in these laws, in fact, it is a blatant disregard for it, because most of those passing these laws and therefore their constituency, are also antisocialism or Welfare! They are pro-birth and it ends at the point. Or does it?

Since this is a movement kept alive by the Christian Right, a look at Christianity’s roll in abortion should undergo examination and the results aren’t pretty, at least for card carrying Christians.

· Of those receiving abortions in the United States, 70% are Christians.[i]


· Forty-three percent of women receiving abortion are Protestants and twenty-seven% are Catholics.[ii]

· One out of six abortion patients describes herself as born-again or an evangelical Christian. [iii]

· More than one third of born-again adults (33%) say that abortion is a morally acceptable behavior. [iv]

· Those professing no faith make up 22% of abortion patients and are only 16% of the population.[v]

Ironically, almost a third (30%) of all U.S. abortions takes place in the states of the Old Confederacy, the most religious portion of the country and also the home of the so-called Religious Right.[vi] It sounds like the choir is hard of hearing because as the number suggest, the preaching is ignored. Many Christians that wind up at an abortion clinic end there precisely because of religion. Rather than face the religious judgment of family and friends, many women opt for the abortion clinic.

As the statistics show, despite the shrillness of the debate, one thing is clear: Christians use abortion services more than any other group in the country.

Half of the roughly 1.2 million U.S. women who have abortions each year are 25 or older.[vii] Employed women account for nearly 70% of abortions in the United States and women whose household incomes are $50,000 or more obtain 11% of abortions.[viii] About half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy, and at current rates, more than one-third will have an abortion by age 45.[ix]

Women with one or more children account for nearly 60% of abortions in the United States. In addition, married women obtain seventeen percent of all abortions.[x] Forty-six percent of women having abortions did not use contraception during the month they became pregnant. This group includes “impulse sex,” meaning that person did not expect sexual intercourse. More than four-fifths of pregnancies to teenagers are unintended and account for more than one in five unintended pregnancies nationwide.[xi] Large portions of this number came from religious backgrounds opposed to teaching contraception.[xii]

It gets worse. Kansas recently adopted a bill that requires doctors to provide the state with more detailed information about the abortion they perform. This bill would allow family members to sue health care providers over late term abortions, meaning that ex-husbands, parents and even “kissing cousins” could come out the woodwork to block an abortion because they don’t like it.

These brutal and vengeful tactics if left on the books pushes abortion back into the alleys with less than professional operators, unsanitary conditions and will raise the rate of maternal deaths due to botched abortions. It won’t go away. The rich will do as they always did in the past—they make arrangements. Meanwhile, poor women are left to their own devices, including self-induced abortion.

A Little History

In the United States during the 1950’s and 1960's, it is estimated that annually 200,000 to 1.2 million women had illegal abortions under unsafe conditions.[xiii] The number of illegal abortions performed each year in the United States varies, but the large death toll from these procedures stood by itself. Despite improvements in the safety of abortion, as recently as 1965, illegal abortion still accounted for an estimated 201 deaths—17% of all officially reported pregnancy-related deaths that year. Epidemiologists believe the actual number was likely much higher, but most deaths were officially attributed to other causes, to protect women and their families. [xiv],[xv]

A woman could obtain a legal abortion by getting the approval of a hospital committee established to review abortion requests, but it was an option available only to the rich and well-connected. Less affluent women had few alternatives aside from dangerous and illegal abortion.[xvi] According to a study of abortions performed at a large New York City hospital from 1950 to 1960, the incidence of abortion was much higher among patients with private physicians than among women without their own doctor.[xvii] Low-income women found themselves admitted to the hospital for post abortion care following an illegal abortion.[xviii]

Abortion Today

Abortion deaths in the United States dropped to 8 a year compared to nearly a thousand in 1950.[xix] Abortion was a leading cause of maternal mortality in pre-Roe America, and it remains so today in many developing countries in which abortion is illegal. The lowest abortion rates in the world—less than 10 per 1,000 women of reproductive age—are in Europe, where abortion is legal and available.[xx] The highest rates of abortion occur in countries that severely restrict abortion like Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil.[xxi] In the United States where religion is strong, abortion is highest compared to other industrialized countries.

Abortion certainly splits the United States at the voting box, but research shows that evangelicals are just as likely to seek abortions and that many are two and three time visitors. Perhaps publishing the faith of those receiving abortion might help make the hypocrisy apparent, but if one thing is apparent in all of this, those in-favor of the punitive and vengeful legislation are absolutely blind when it comes to the obvious that they have met the enemy and it is them.




· [iv] The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2008 & Women Who Have Abortions, National Abortion Federation

· [v] The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2008 & Women Who Have Abortions, National Abortion Federation

· [vi] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007

· [vii] Who has abortions? Not just desperate teens, Associated Press, David Crary, January 20, 2008

· [viii] Abortion in the U.S., Guttmacher, 1993.

· [ix] Abortion Facts - United States, AbortionRecovery.org, 2007

· [x] The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2008 & Women Who Have Abortions, National Abortion Federation

· [xi] An Overview of Abortion in the United States, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Guttmacher Institute, January 2008

· [xi] An Overview of Abortion in the United States, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Guttmacher Institute, January 2008

· [xii] Abortion Recovery International, Abortion Facts - United States, March 31, 2005

· [xii] Abortion Recovery International, Abortion Facts - United States, March 31, 2005

· [xiii] Tietze C and Lewit S, 1969, op. cit. (see reference 11).

· [xiv] AGI, 1990, op. cit. (see reference 18), p. 3.

· [xv] Tietze C and Lewit S, 1969, op. cit. (see reference 11).

· [xvi] Tietze C, The effect of legalization of abortion on population growth and public health, Family Planning Perspectives, 1975, 7(3):123–127.

· [xvii] Hall RE, Therapeutic abortion, sterilization and contraception, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1965, 31(4):518–532.

· [xviii] Burnhill MS, Estimating the number of patients hospitalized after an induced abortion by demographic analysis of hospitalized abortion patients, in: Hasegawa T et al., eds., Fertility and Sterility, Proceedings of the Seventh World Congress, Tokyo and Kyoto, October 17–25, 1971, Amsterdam: Excerpta Medica, 1973, pp. 389–392.

· [xix] Bartlett et al., 2004 (1988–1997 data)

· [xx] An Overview of Abortion in the United States, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Guttmacher Institute, January 2008

· [xx] An Overview of Abortion in the United States, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Guttmacher Institute, January 2008

· [xxi] Boonstra, 2006

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Comment by Loren Miller on April 30, 2010 at 11:08am
"Unborn child" is a term with no bearing, at least regarding law. A fetus remains a fetus until it breathes air, or that's the current case in most places I'm aware of.

Regarding a fetus as a child introduces more legal entanglements than I care to count, and as for third-trimester issues, the late Dr. George Tiller dealt with complications during those last three months without blinking. He died because a purist couldn't see any distinction between a healthy fetus and a malformed one and the priority the mother should be under such circumstances.

As to my preference for "rare" abortions, that was no apology, though if you wish to regard it as such ... whatever floats yer boat. I was stating a preference to contraception over abortion for physiological reasons, which I believe most women would embrace. Granted, I'm speaking purely as an observer, since I'll never need an abortion, and I wouldn't presume to stand in the way of a woman who desired one.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on April 30, 2010 at 11:00am
Makes no difference where I stand, I will never have an abortion. However, for those seeking an abortion, these Draconian laws are designed to bully, belittle and embarass. They go against the right of privacy and more importantly, they go against caring for mankind. They are punitive in nature, hoping to scare women and doctors away from the procedure, but as you may have noticed the stricter the measures the worse the results. It is not new, just new for the Christian Right who were noticeably absent when Catholics started this movement back in the 60's.
Comment by Rusty Gunn. on April 30, 2010 at 10:39am
"In the 21st century expectations of a kinder and gentler society are woefully misplaced. There is no concern for human life in these laws, in fact, it is a blatant disregard for it..."

I'll count you amongst the throng who have a blatant disregard for the life of the unborn child.
Comment by Loren Miller on April 30, 2010 at 8:29am
"Rare" can as much be for the sake of the mother as for that of the supposedly "precious" fetus. Any medical procedure can have an impact on the patient. In the case of abortion, said procedure's side-effects may include everything from sterility to death in extreme cases, and if the patient wants to have kids in future ... yeah, that is an issue!

So how about making sure your Yaz prescription is up to date or that you DO have more than one condom in your pocket, in consideration of both parties involved, never mind any potential third parties?
Comment by Loren Miller on April 30, 2010 at 7:58am
And RARE, if possible???

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