Many pro-abortion advocates would argue that decriminalising abortion helps to make abortion safe, legal and rare. Joseph Shaw has commented on some of the aspects of Tina Beattie’s letter to the Polish Bishops urging them to reconsider campaigning for the total criminalisation of abortion in Poland. It is important to remember the benefits of the criminalisation of abortion.
The legal existence of the abortion industry creates a situation of permanent pressure for the easing of restrictions on abortion, political advocacy for abortion and even advertisements for abortion where allowed.
The abortion industry has demonstrated from a litany of cases worldwide that it has little to no regard for the legal limitations under which it is supposed to operate, or for the safety or well being of its clients. It is incorrect to argue that unsafe and illegal abortions disappear when abortion is legalised. The Gosnell case is a painful reminder of that.
In the Mail on Sunday (4/9/2005), A former administrator of the Marie Stopes Raleigh abortion clinic in Brixton described the atmosphere and environment of her former place of work. She said, “The more people you got booked in for terminations the better your bonus would be, I was under pressure to ensure people had their terminations so that Marie Stopes could keep the money” and “Then there were the consultations… girls would come in expecting to discuss it with a doctor but the clinic would use nurses because it would save time… the nurses would get them over with within ten minutes.”
Legal abortion is also deeply damaging to the medical profession, because training and practice is obliged to take account of abortion as a legal and legitimate procedure. In practice, where abortion is legal, hospitals administrators will put pressure on practitioners to perform the unpopular procedure and make sure it is part of medical training. Some of the medical profession will, against their will, necessarily be involved in abortion. The supposed legitimacy of abortion will have to be taken into account in any discussion of medial ethics. This completely undermines the proper understanding of the role of doctor in relation to patients according to the Hippocratic Oath. One Scottish Hospital spent quarter of a million pounds chasing two Scottish Midwives through the courts of the land for their refusal to participate in abortion procedures through their right to conscientious objection.
Abortion providers that have vested financial and ideological reasons to provide abortions cannot give impartial counselling over the decision to have an abortion. Furthermore, most NHS operations operate under the provision of informed consent (so the patient is fully aware of the operation and the risks of the procedure). Abortion minded women are not offered informed consent by the abortion providers who do not fully inform their patients of the risks involved in the procedure. Most abortions in the UK are farcically provided under the legal assumption that it would be better for the woman’s health to have an abortion. Abby Johnson’s latest book, ‘The walls are talking’ is a painful expose of the damage that abortion does to many women’s health and how many women have been lied to by abortion providers by their behaviour and attitude towards patients. Most abortion providers separate chaperones from women as soon as possible inside abortion centres in order to increase the likelihood of abortion.
Many abortion workers mistakenly believe that they are helping women by providing a service to help them overcome a major problem or mistake in their life. The idea that legal means safe is an urban legend. Abortion harms women physically, psychologically, relationally and culturally. Women who have had abortions suffer an increased risk of anxiety, depression and suicide. The damage that abortion does to women’s health is well documented, but so often the evidence is denied or ignored.
The existence of legal abortion providers leads to the extensive provision of abortion, which in and of itself is deeply damaging to women’s health. Legal abortion does not make abortion safer as women still suffer and die from the procedure. Warren Hern, author of Abortion practice, a leading medical textbook writes that there are few surgical procedures given so little attention and so underrated in its potential hazard as abortion. Most women receive little or no pre-operation counselling about the nature and risks, or alternatives to the procedure. They meet the abortionist just minutes before he operates on them and they are unlikely to ever see him again.
Professor Sebastian Illanes, a Chilean gynaecologist has shown how his country has one of the best rates of maternal mortality in the world and nobody dies from backstreet abortions. In his nation, abortion has been illegal since 1989. Abortion increases the likelihood of pre-term delivery in the next pregnancy, and dramatically increases the chances of depression, drug and alcohol abuse. On public health grounds alone, the case for discouraging abortion is unanswerable.