By Rev. Kate Braesutrup
In what my husband, at least, regards as a masochistic quest to understand the phenomenon of abortion in America, I’ve been watching films and reading books. Most recently, I watched a documentary, entitled Hush. (Available on Amazon Prime!) In it, a pro-choice director, Punam Kumar Gill, investigates the question of whether the health effects of abortion on the women who have them are being generally, even systematically, distorted or concealed.
The short answer, it seems, is yes. She makes it clear, for instance, that the supposedly debunked link between abortion and breast cancer hasn’t been debunked at all. And there are excellent reasons to believe that abortion rates explain why our neonatal intensive care units are chock-full of wanted infants delivered too soon, and why the fact that African-American women are over-represented among abortion patients may explain why they are also disproportionately prone to breast cancer and preterm delivery. There are also (duh) clear links between abortion and increased vulnerability to mental illness in women. Why, Ms. Gill asks, aren’t women warned about these risks?
It can’t be just that the data is inconclusive. There are many dangers that are unproven — mere correlation, not proven causality! Yet we are given urgent warnings, told we must make adjustments or even significant sacrifices to protect ourselves from even remote risks. Don’t use plastic in the microwave! Discard your kitchen sponge! Coat your entire body with SPF 50 every day! And, of course, don’t smoke or drink, and for God’s sake, lose some weight and take a walk!
As Gill, to her credit, repeatedly makes clear, “choice” is meaningless unless it is a truly informed choice. If breast cancer, premature delivery or clinical depression are part of a woman’s family medical history, for example, the possibility that abortion would increase those risks could tip the balance in favor of her choosing to continue the pregnancy, for her own sake (if not for the sake of the baby). Given what the data shows, even if it cannot be called “settled science,” wouldn’t any responsible doctor want to take a medical history that reveals these risk factors, and introduce them into the cost-benefit analysis that pre-abortion counseling of a panicked (though of course, still “trustworthy”) pregnant woman presumably entails?
And surely if the aim of a truly comprehensive sex education program is to empower young people to make good, healthy decisions about their bodies and lives, the curriculum should include information about these risks, even if they aren’t proven 100 percent? My beloved denomination will happily frighten its youth into believing that a January thaw or the sight of a deer in the backyard are harbingers of environmental doom. Shouldn’t we be willing to say “oh, and by the way … it is possible that having an abortion increases your risk of breast cancer, premature birth and depression?”
Gill is an honest storyteller, and she really does go where the facts lead her. That’s impressive. To her great credit, she takes the concerns of pro-life doctors and researchers seriously, and documents exactly how strenuously the scientific establishment protects abortion from inconvenient truths. She does not spend as much time as she might on the question of why this is happening.
She primarily ascribes it to the anxiety pro-choice advocates and abortion providers feel over the imminent threat pro-lifers pose to a woman’s right to choose.
And indeed, “protecting choice from those religious nutters” is probably the motivation when it comes to physicians, journalists, public health advocates, state regulators and other groups that are not directly concerned with abortion yet nonetheless help to maintain the manifold deceptions that the abortion industry demands — e.g., parroting the line that late-term abortion is rare and only used when the mother’s life or health is endangered or the baby is catastrophically deformed.
Because everyone would prefer to believe this to be the case, Americans, in general, go along with it too. Invited not to think too much about the grubby details, we … don’t. Then we stick pink ribbons on our bumpers, join in those “Awareness” 5k fun runs, and vaguely declare racism to be the cause of breast cancer mortality and infant morbidity among African-Americans.
Hush provides strong evidence that the culture of defensive deception around abortion is putting the lives of women (as well as babies) in jeopardy.
Copyright 2018 © Kate Braestrup