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Babette Francis replies to Pamela Bone's "Law for a moral conundrum" published in The Age, 22/2/98

Abortion law would be no moral conundrum if it were not bedevilled by a tissue of lies. For women to make an intelligent choice, they must have access to honest information, but from the beginning of the abortion debate in the late sixties the issue has been obfuscated in a welter of misinformation, censorship and outright lies. ("lt's not a baby, it's just a clump of cells").

Consider Norma McCorvey, plaintiff in the cause celebre US Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade which gave America abortion on demand up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Actually up to the time of delivery, hence the ingenious "partial-birth" abortion technique where the baby is turned around in utero so that it is delivered feet first, the head still in the birth canal is punctured with sharp scissors and the brains suctioned out so that the skull collapses and a dead baby - oops - a dead clump of cells can be delivered.

You see dear, if the head was born first, the clump of cells might emit a cry and take a breath, and in any case if the head was delivered first, the shoulders and feet might slide out before we could puncture the head and then we would be stuck with a live clump of cells. Yes, dear, I know it is uncomfortable for you while the doctor manipulates your abdomen to turn the clump of cells the wrong way round, but it will all be over soon.

Back to plaintiff Norma McCorvey. She told the Supreme Court - or rather her feminist lawyers told the Court that she had been gang-raped but was denied an abortion in her home state. However, Norma, now 50 and a grandmother, says she deeply regrets her role in unleashing "the holocaust of abortion on to the nation". She said she would spend the rest of her life to trying to undo the law that bears her name. "I would like nothing more than to have this law overturned, either by an Act of Congress or a reversal in the Supreme Court" she said. Well there's no moral conumdrum there.

Norma's progress towards the truth has been gradual. In the 1980s she admitted she had not been gang-raped. She had lied to the Court at the suggestion of her feminist lawyers to win sympathy for abortion. Some time later, while working in an abortion clinic, Norma began to be haunted by the sight of empty swings in a children's playground nearby. "They were swinging back and forth, but they were empty. I thought,'Oh my God, the playgrounds are empty because there's no children. Because they've all been aborted"', she said.

About this time Norma became friendly with an Operation Rescue volunteer in the building next to the abortion clinic where she worked. No doubt the volunteer showed her medically explicit pictures of aborted babies foetuses, clumps of cells, call them whatever you like, but they look like babies, and that's why the abortion industry and its feminist cohorts are so desperate to keep these pictures out of sight of pregnant women. The media are complicit in this censorship if just one TV station or newspaper would regularly show pictures of what an abortion does to that clump of cells, there would be a dramatic decline in the industry. The excuse that the pictures are too gory won't wash - after ER and Chicago Hope, we have become innured to the sight of a little blood.

Norma did not reject Roe v Wade straight away. Initially she said merely that it had "gone too far". But now in 1998, she has publicly repented her role and is striving to make amends. As has Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, who aborted two of his own babies and was responsible for 60,000 other abortions. He also, as he later admitted, concocted the figures for the numbers of women allegedly dying from backyard abortions.

This ploy of inflating the figures of backyard abortions will undoubtedly be used in Western Australia to counter the current prosecution of an abortionist. The figures are never balanced by the numbers of women who fall victim to depression, broken relationships, drug abuse and suicide as a consequence of their abortions.

Dr. Nathanson's road to Damascus began with his work in fetology and the gradual realisation that he was killing babies. This is why the abortion industry recommends that when abortionists are using ultra sound to determine the size and age of the fetus, they turn the screen away from the pregnant mother so that she doesn't see her infant – the "clump of cells" on the monitor. (What the poor dear doesn't know won’t hurt her - the excuse used by tyrant censors through the ages to keep the populace in ignorance). This recommendation actually appeared in a government-funded report on abortion in Australia.

Then there's the censorship on the increased breast cancer risk for women who have an abortion before their first full-term birth. One otherwise reputable medical journal published an article stating that the increased risk was not absolutely proven, and that women considering abortion should be given the benefit of the doubt. Benefit? To whom and for what? For the mother who might have a higher risk of developing a lethal, mutilating disease which is the major killer of women before old age? To the fetus which is about to be terminated? Or to the abortionist who is going to collect a tidy fee?

There are also the "mistakes". On 17 February the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a report on abortion prepared for the National Health and Medical Research Council by a panel (which included the ubiquitous family planning, abo rtion service providers and women's studies representatives) had been withdrawn because it includes errors. NHMRC Chairman, Professor Stephen Leeder, said the report had a chequered history and the mistakes were an "embarrassment".

The mistakes were identified by Canberra writer, John Coochey, whose articles have also appeared in our Endeavour Forum Newsletter. He wrote to Health Minister, Dr. Wooldridge, pointing out several errors which "appeared to have been made to back up claims that the abortion rate had not increased..... It's been incredibly sloppily put together". One of the report's co-authors misquotes 1937 figures on the numbers of abortions and miscarriages, and also misquotes 1961 figures. The co-author insists the errors were genuine mistakes. If it had not been for the vigilance and persistence of John Coochey, the abortion politburo would have gotten away with it. Now that they have been caught out, can we, the taxpayers, get our money back?

The ultimate lie by the abortion industry is that they operate out of concern for women. Pro-lifers will believe this when abortionists offer their services for free without requiring their clients to pay and without forcing taxpayers to subsidize their blood sport through Medicare payments. Pregnancy support services are free, and the volunteeers who work there often dip into their own pockets to help pregnant women.

Who should women trust?

The feminist lobby's claim that women must have a choice would ring more true if they were not so insistent on concealing information from pregnant women. In every country feminists have opposed legislation requiring women considering abortion to view films on fetal development.

In the US they have fought advertisements in public transport systems warning of the increased risk of breast cancer. Abortion service providers want ultra sound screens turned away from their pregnant patients. What are they afraid of? There is an old saying that if it looks like a duck, moves like a duck and quacks likes a duck, it probably is a duck. What ultra sound and real-time photos show looks like a baby, it moves its arms and legs like a baby, swallows fluid like a baby and sucks its thumb like a baby. It probably is a baby and must be given the benefit of any doubt.

Babette Francis


National & Overseas Co-ordinator

Endeavour Forum







Member Organisation, World Council for Life and Family

NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN