Education Before Legislation
It's unlikely that the law will change, until lots of minds change.
The more someone knows about abortion, the less likely they are to have or recommend one – which is why Abort73 puts so much energy into educating people about abortion. In the short run, education spares individual lives. In the long run, it can reform an entire culture.
According to the Planned Parenthood website, outlawing abortion is the #1 worst way to prevent abortion – based on the premise that women will have abortions whether they're legal or not. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. Even if we assume that they have a sincere desire to eliminate abortion, history shows us that the legality of abortion has a huge influence on a woman's willingness to have an abortion. Changing the law goes a long way towards changing behavior. Nevertheless, Abort73 has embraced a strategy for ending abortion that has nothing to do with legislation and everything to do with education. This decision owes not to the recommendations of Planned Parenthood, but to the firm conviction that abortion laws won't change, until a lot of minds change first.
To put it simply, Abort73.com exists because a general understanding of abortion does not exist. People on both sides of the debate are more familiar with the slogans than they are with the facts. Abortion may be one of the most common surgical procedures in the world, but an accurate abortion education is hard to come by. It's not provided by most schools; it's not provided by most media outlets, and it's certainly not provided by the abortion clinics themselves. In the United States, this educational void goes all the way back to 1973, when seven, non-elected Supreme Court justices determined that abortion was a Constitutionally protected act. With one judicial decree, all state prohibitions against abortion were struck down – without a vote and without any widespread, public dialogue. More than thirty years and 50 million abortions later, the nation is hardly more informed about abortion, today, than it was in 1973.
Because Abort73 has embraced a strategy for eliminating abortion that focuses on education instead of legislation, it's an approach that's hard for abortion advocates to criticize. After all, if we're going to "trust a woman with a choice" (as the saying goes), shouldn't we trust her enough to hear both sides of the debate? Or should she be strategically shielded from anyone who has serious, ethical concerns about the legitimacy of abortion? The "Abortion" page on the Planned Parenthood website says that, "Learning the facts about abortion may help you in making your decision." That's exactly what Abort73 is doing; we're making the facts about abortion accessible in ways they never have been before.
Though we want to see the law change, we're not pursuing that change through lobbying, petitioning, or political pressure groups. We believe that educating people about abortion offers the best hope for eliminating abortion – which is an end goal that almost everyone supports, though abortion-advocates generally frame it in different terms. They speak of eliminating the need for abortion, still bristle at being labeled "pro-abortion", and struggle to frame abortion as anything less than a sort of necessary evil. They know abortion is wrong, they just haven't grasped (or admitted) how wrong.
To illustrate, consider that prior to the election of Barack Obama, the official Democratic National Platform stated that "Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare". If there is nothing wrong with abortion, why should it matter if they're rare? Likewise, if abortion is a perfectly legitimate choice, why does a whole page of Planned Parenthood's website ostensibly offer ways to prevent them? Though President Obama has abandoned the claim that the Democratic party wants abortion to be rare, that doesn't make the population at large any more comfortable with the act of abortion itself.
The abortion industry knows that the more familiar the average person is with the mechanics of abortion, the less likely they are to have one, recommend one, or support one as a matter of public policy. At the same time, since abortion has been sold as a matter of individual choice, they must give at least tacit support to the idea that education is important. They'll do this, as long as they can keep a tight reign on exactly what the content of that education is. On their teen website (teenwire), Planned Parenthoood has a page called "Abortion Myths: Fact vs. Fiction", which urges teens to "make sure you have information that is accurate and unbiased". This is their ace in the hole – the assertion that any information which calls the morality of abortion into question is inaccurate and biased. What website does teenwire link to for "accurate and unbiased" abortion information? They link right back to Planned Parenthood's parent website which summarizes abortion this way:
Abortion is a safe and legal way for women to choose to end pregnancy.
Because Abort73 actively advocates the position that abortion is immoral and unjust, many charge us with being biased. Is Planned Parenthood less biased? Is it just a coincidence that, of the women Planned Parenthood counsels, there are 120 abortions performed for every 1 adoption?! Is it unreasonable for the National Council on Adoption (which takes no position on abortion) to point out that "many women would not choose abortion if there were better pregnancy counseling"? It's understandable that Planned Parenthood would actively promote the merits of abortion (after all, abortion makes them hundreds of millions of dollars a year), but how can they possibly get away with calling themselves objective and unbiased?
The central question in the abortion debate, the only one that really matters, is this: Does abortion unjustly kill a human being? No where on their site does Planned Parenthood even address this question. They never bother with an attempt to defend the moral legitimacy of killing an unborn human being, nor do they provide a single fact about prenatal development. Instead, they list "neutral" and "objective" facts like this (from their page "Thinking About Abortion"):
Overall, more than 1 out of 3 of all U.S. women will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.
Women have abortions because they care about themselves and their families or their future families.
Most women look to their husbands, partners, families, health care providers, clergy, or someone else they trust for support as they make their decision about an unplanned pregnancy. And many women go to the clinic with their partners. But you don't have to tell anybody.
Teens are encouraged to involve parents in their decision to have an abortion... But telling a parent is only required in states [that]... force a woman under 18 to tell a parent... In most of these states, if she can't talk with her parents — or doesn't want to — she can appear before a judge... [who] will decide whether an abortion is in her best interests.
Whereas Abort73 does everything we can to consider, respond to and refute the claims of our ideological opponents, Planned Parenthood simply pretends that the debate doesn't exist, except to warn teenagers against the scare tactics of those (like their parents, perhaps) who would try to "emotionally manipulate [them] into continuing their pregnancies". To ensure that young girls aren't unfairly "manipulated" by those with a vested interest in their decision, Planned Parenthood describes the actual abortion procedure this way:
Either a hand-held suction device or a suction machine gently empties your uterus.
Most women feel pain similar to menstrual cramps with both of these abortion methods.
The risk of death from childbirth is 11 times greater than the risk of death from an abortion procedure during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
You may have a wide range of feelings after your abortion. Most women ultimately feel relief after an abortion. Some women feel anger, regret, guilt, or sadness for a little while.
Planned Parenthood is a government-supported, non-profit organization that has a strangle-hold on the mainstream perception of abortion. Thank God for the internet. Seriously. Where else can margianalized viewpoints so effectively circumvent the traditional obstacles of the politically-correct establishment? Never before has there been such a remarkable outlet for widely communicating those points of view that would otherwise be censored and silenced. At the end of the day, even if you disagree with the conclusions that Abort73 comes to, don't both sides of this debate deserve a hearing? Or should women only hear from those who have a financial interest in convincing her to abort?
If Abort73 brings a bias to the table, it is not without basis. Our bias, if you want to call it that, is built on a straightforward examination of the evidence, an examination that naturally led us to the conclusion that abortion is immoral and unjust. We have never "forced our morality". We appeal to reason, not to force, and the reason we can't be more "neutral" about abortion is because neutrality on this issue is an impossibility. The "neutral" position (that the law should allow people to make up their own minds) assumes that abortion is a legitimate, moral choice. In other words, the only way to be neutral about abortion is to believe there is nothing wrong with it. You can no more be neutral about abortion than you can be neutral about slavery or segregation. If abortion were more broadly covered in the classroom or community, there would be no need for a resource like Abort73. Since it isn't, there is. If you doubt that, take a look at Abort73.com and PlannedParenthood.org (side by side) and decide for yourself who is providing a more thorough and complete examination of abortion.
This page was last updated on October 18, 2011. To cite this page in a research paper, visit: "Citing Abort73 as a Source."