Forty years. Forty years of freedom? Or 40 years of death and destruction since the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of Roe v. Wade in 1973?
Many thought that the landmark ruling would end the debate over abortion. Instead, the ruling ignited a firestorm of controversy that has burned out of control for 40 years.
At first, abortion gained acceptance. The first year saw a 28 percent increase in abortions. By 1980 the annual abortion rate doubled to 1.5 million. 1990 brought the peak, with at total of 1,608,600 abortions performed.
Then came the controversy over partial birth abortion, a gruesome procedure that shocked the nation. Ultrasounds proliferated and increased the awareness of the inherent brutality of abortions.
Ultrasound is a technological advancement that allows a woman to see for herself that the “blob of tissue” she is carrying has a beating heart at 24 days, brain waves at 43 days and sucks its thumb at four months.
Abortion numbers dropped throughout the 1990s and the 2000s, decreasing 25 percent from 20 years ago. A recent Gallup poll shows that only 41 percent of Americans now call themselves “pro-choice.”
The vast majority of Americans, 83 percent, now support restrictions on abortion, as evidenced by a proliferation of state laws requiring parental notification, waiting periods, informed consent, fetal pain protection, etc.
Many Oregonians are not aware that, unlike most states, Oregon has absolutely no laws restricting abortions. Furthermore, abortion clinics do not have to measure up to the same standards that other surgery centers are required to meet.
Abortion has not just one, but two victims — the fetus who dies, and the woman who has the abortion. Hundreds of studies worldwide show that post-abortive women are significantly more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts and behavior than women who carry their babies to term.
Although some women repress their feelings for years, many women are tormented by guilt, loss, and emptiness. Abortion commonly causes problems in women’s relationships, at times resulting in separation and divorce.
In addition to psychological trauma, injuries and complications from abortion can cause infertility, an increase in future miscarriages, and increased chance of tubal pregnancies.
Although the connection between abortion and the devastating disease of breast cancer is still hotly debated, women should at least be aware of a possible link. Breast cancer has increased in America 50 percent since abortion was legalized in 1973.
Dozens of studies worldwide show a definitive link between abortion and breast cancer if a woman has an abortion before she has carried a baby to full term. During a first pregnancy, abortion interrupts the growth and hormonal changes of breast cells preparing to produce milk, which may leave the cells vulnerable to abnormal growth later.
Forty years of freedom, or 40 years of death and destruction? More and more Americans, particularly younger Americans, are recognizing the truth: Abortion harms both children and women.
Carol Lovegren Miller has been actively involved with Douglas County Right to Life since the early 1990s. An Oregon State University graduate, she writes and teaches in Oakland. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.