Editor's note: A local clinic has disputed portions of this editorial . For details, click here.
By Sylvia Hampton
January 24, 2014 (San Diego)--Since the January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision striking down all state laws prohibiting doctors from performing abortions, the anti-abortion forces have done everything in their power to make abortion as difficult to obtain as possible. Hundreds of state laws have been passed and then struck down by the courts because they placed an undue burden on women or were simply medically unsound. So the crusaders resort to trickery and bearing false witness.
“Crisis Pregnancy Centers” have been around since the early 1980’s and are now very slick in their operations. They are funded and run by anti-abortion organizations. They attract pregnant women and girls who are considering abortion by offering free pregnancy tests and ‘information.” Some are not licensed health centers.Their goal is to prevent abortions. So they mislead women to believe abortion is riskier than childbirth. There are about 16 such centers in San Diego County, according to The Progressive Law Group. The centers are careful to use language to stay within the law but still mislead.
When you GOOGLE “abortion” one of the first sites to pop up will be one of these fake clinics with a picture that looks like a doctor or nurse. But once the woman enters the center she is given subtle anti-abortion messages to convince her it is physically and emotionally damaging to have an abortion. The conversation is designed to get her to become emotionally attached to the pregnancy regardless of her situation. They lie to her about the physical and emotional risks.
According the American Psychological Association, abortion is not a psychological risk:
“The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy.……….”
If the woman is informed and supported in whatever decision she makes, she will do better than if she is made to feel fear and guilt.
Fake clinics claim success in leading women and girls to carry to term about 15 to 20% of cases. Once the woman gives birth the center works to keep her on the anti-abortion roles and make her an anti-abortion voter and/or activist. Guilt and ignorance of the facts are their most powerful tools.
According to the Columbia University School of Public Health report “Overview of Abortion in the United States” developed by Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) in January 2003 the facts about abortion are:
- Unintended pregnancy and abortion are common among all groups of women.
- Almost half of all pregnancies are unintended and almost half of unintended pregnancies end in abortion.
- In 2000, 1.31 million pregnancies were terminated by abortion.
- 2.1% of all women aged 15–44 had an abortion in 2000.
- Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States.
- Almost 90% of abortions are performed in the first trimester of pregnancy
- More than half of abortions are performed before 9 weeks after the last menstrual period, or within 5 weeks of the first missed period.
- Fewer than 2% of abortions are performed after 20 weeks.
- The risk of death when a pregnancy is continued to birth is about 11 times as great as the risk of death from induced abortion.
- Each year, about 10 women die from induced abortion, compared with about 260 who die from pregnancy and childbirth.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists latest statement on abortion can be found here:
For further information and the latest statistics about this health issue check the Centers for Disease Control: CDC’s Abortion Surveillance System FAQs.
Medical practitioners deal in facts, not guilt, trickery and ignorance. We must trust women to make their own reproductive health choices in light of information and consultation with their doctors and loved ones. There needs to be a strong effort to educate women about the risks of fake clinics in San Diego County.
The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.