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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Land of the free: until you're faced with an unwanted pregnancy...

Lately I have found myself fascinated with people who are against abortion, particularly those people who are anti-abortion activists. My fascination grew as I began to collect the brochures discarded in our waiting room by women who were there to have an abortion. The pamphlets are handed out by anti-choice street "counselors." These pamphlets are an extreme embellishment of possible complications involved in abortion procedures and include dramatic photos of mothers and children, images of fetuses throughout pregnancy, and describe the procedure using words that create images of dismembered babies and knife like objects inserted into a woman's vagina. They are such an embellishment on the truth that I think it's safe to say these kind of pamphlets are lies!

I recently stumbled upon a documentary called UNBORN IN THE USA: Inside the War on Abortion. This documentary included interviews with dozens of pro-life activists and sheds light on the anti-abortion movement throughout the country. The documentary explored training institutes for college-aged students such as the Focus Institute where young people receive intensive instruction on how to "minister" to pro-choice people and women to encourage them to join anti-abortion forces. The students at this institute practice role playing in order to gain skills about how to approach pro-choice people. The tactics are pretty sick, including giant gruesome pictures of dismembered fetuses as a conversation starter. I have said it before and I will say it again we need a training institute for pro-choice, pro-women, pro-family warriors! The longer I work in this field the more I think we need practical training for doctors, medical assistants, nurses, ultrasound technicians, and counselors. Thankfully there are organizations like Medical Students For Choice. We need pro-choice people trained to provide the services necessary in abortion provision.

One of the most sickening things said in the whole documentary was during one of these training sessions. The facilitator addresses how to deal with the "concern" of rape. One of the questions the students are encouraged to ask women who have been raped is if the child should pay for the crimes of their father. As someone who has been raped before and who has helped many women who were pregnant as a result of rape seek abortions I cannot even comprehend how this seems plausible to anyone, anti-abortion or not. No person's experience of rape can be minimized to a "concern," and surely most sane people would not agree with the notion that a woman should carry a pregnancy that is a result of rape so that the "child" does not pay for its father's crimes.

Another key tool developed by the anti-abortion right are Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC). Staff from a CPC located next door to Dr. Tiller's clinic was interviewed. This clinic offered multi-dimensional ultrasounds and was identified by the staff as a tool to help women choose motherhood. A Time Article from August 2010 estimates that there are over 4,000 CPCs in the U.S. and nearly five times as many CPC's as there are abortion clinics. These clinics purposefully choose location close enough to abortion clinics that they can easily be confused for the abortion clinic. I have spoken to dozens of women who have stumbled into these kind of centers. They are a waste of time, money, and energy. Maybe we could turn these centers into day care centers where women can bring there children during the multiple appointments that are often required to obtain an abortion.

Overall I found this documentary extremely informative; it shed light on the weapons used to fight against abortion. I hope to see the day that pro-choice people are fighting back even harder. The documentary is definitely worth checking out -- know thy enemy!


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