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The physical and mental scars of abortion

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 Contents - Sep 2008AD2000 September 2008 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: World Youth Day 2008: the challenge ahead - Michael Gilchrist
WYD08: World Youth Day 2008: what the media missed - Deborah Baker
WYD08: Impressions of youth - Bridget Pati and Berni Sullivan
WYD08: Faith: alive and well! - A pilgrim's progress - Catherine Sheehan
WYD08: A reflection on WYD - Tim Cannon
WYD08: Memories of homestay hosts - Emidio and Phyllis Restall
News: The Church Around the World
WYD08: Theology on Tap: young Catholics' response to relativism - Patrick Langrell
The physical and mental scars of abortion - Charles Francis
Foundations of Faith: Priesthood and the sacraments: Divine help for eternal salvation - Br Barry Coldrey
Liturgy: No smoke without fire: Benedict XVI and true liturgical reform - David Birch
Vatican: Restoration work completed near tomb of St Peter
Letters: World Youth day (letter) - M. & L. MORRISSEY
Letters: Courage of young Jozef Ratzinger (letter) - Frank Bellet
Letters: Invaluable work of Anne Lastman (letter) - Errol Duke
Letters: Moral equivalence (letter) - Leo McManus
Letters: Abortion grief - Anne Lastman
Letters: Buddha in church (letter) - E. Makaus
Letters: Sex abuse apology (letter) - M.J. Gonzalez
Letters: Vatican II (letter) - Frank Mobbs
Poetry: The Sermon at Templestowe - Bruce Dawe
Books: Saving Those Damned Catholics, by Judie Brown - Catherine Sheehan (reviewer)
Books: THE WISDOM OF NAZARETH: Stories of Catholic Family Life - Siobhan Reeves (reviewer)
Books: SAINT BENEDICT'S RULE: A New Translation for today, by Patrick Barry OSB - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: FAITH AND FIDELITY, by Anthony Meredith SJ - Michael Daniel
Books: Books available from AD2000 Books
Reflection: Archbishop Burke of St Louis: the responsibilities of a bishop - Archbishop Raymond Burke

Abortion is the defining moral issue of our era. It not only violates the Commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill', but there is particular evil in killing one's own children because in doing so we desecrate God's plan for the future. It is ironic that some environmentalists such as the Greens, who claim they want to maintain the earth in good condition for future generations, have no hesitation in supporting abortion of the children who would be the beneficiaries of a green planet.

There has been some media criticism of leaflets distributed by the Tell the Truth Coalition showing explicit pictures of aborted babies. The critics exhibit selective moral indignation - they have not exhibited the same concern about what those pictures represent.

One woman, whom I represented in a legal action, sued an abortionist for failing to warn of psychological trauma caused by abortion, after the procedure delivered recognisable fetal parts, including a small head with glassy, staring eyes.

The woman developed gross post traumatic stress disorder with severe depression. Four years later when her action was settled, she was still in a dysfunctional state, depressed and unable to work. No leaflet could depict the horror experienced by this woman.

It should be remembered that it was not until William Wilberforce, the great slave trade abolitionist, showed his colleagues the terrible plight of black slaves aboard British ships that the Slave Trade Act of 1807 was passed.

The abortion industry is an evil enterprise born of economic convenience, twisted moral rationalisation on 'equal rights' for women, and patronising arrogance and elitism. Just as the slave trade was based on the assumption that blacks were not fully human, so today the fetus is regarded as the 'property' of its mother.

It is sad that the Victorian Law Reform Commission, entrusted in 2007 with reforming the law on abortion (exactly two centuries after slaves could no longer be carried on British ships), instead of accepting evidence - pictures, videos and DVDs from abortion abolitionists showing the humanity of the unborn child and the brutality of abortion - chose instead to rely on the arguments of the abortion industry which has a vested monetary interest in aborting every fetus delivered into its grasp.

Abortion abolitionists have nothing to gain financially from opposing abortion. Indeed many babies they save cost money in terms of help pro-lifers give the mother. Yet the VLRC rejected their evidence.

The VLRC Report claimed there was no need for anti-coercion legislation despite case histories cited by myself and barrister Michael Houlihan, and in Anne Lastman's book Redeeming Grief, showing that often abortion was not the choice of the woman but resulted from pressure by a husband, boy-friend or family. We also provided important statistics from the Elliott Institute, USA (www.

Similarly, the VLRC rejected pro-life recommendations that women considering abortion be given warning of physical and psychological risks.

Increased risks

This is despite well-documented information provided on the increased risk of premature birth with consequent cerebral palsy for subsequent babies, the increased risk of breast cancer, the incidence of which has risen 40% since the de facto legalisation of abortion in Victoria following the Menhennitt ruling of 1969, and the mental health risks reported by (pro-choice) Professor David Fergusson of New Zealand and the (pro- choice) Royal College of Psychiatrists in Britain.

In several American states there is anti-coercion legislation as well as legislation on providing mandatory information. Even abortion clinics accept the possible increased risk of breast cancer. Why aren't Australian women protected by similar legislation?

If the copious amounts of research data presented to VLRC Chairman, Professor Neil Rees, by abortion abolitionists was not enough to convince him to heed warnings, two case histories should give him pause.

In 2004 in the NSW Supreme Court in Bruce v. Kaye, 15-year-old Kristy Bruce who suffers from severe cerebral palsy, lost her case for damages against her mother's obstetrician, Dr Alan Kaye. The judge found that Kristy's cerebral palsy was not caused by any negligence of Dr Kaye, but by a previous abortion her mother had, causing her uterus to rupture and depriving Kristy of oxygen during birth.

In the UK, artist Emma Beck hanged herself after her eight-weeks gestational twins were aborted. In her suicide note she wrote, 'I told everyone I didn't want to do it [have the abortion] , even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies: they need me, no-one else does.'

These cases were a stark reminder to Professor Rees of physical and mental consequences of abortion: the lifetime of regret for Kristy's mother and the unresolved grief of many women who experience abortion.

In 1785 a 'conversion experience' to Christianity for William Wilberforce resulted in his lifelong concern for reform. Besides opposing slavery, he championed causes such as the Society for Suppression of Vice, the introduction of Christianity to India, creation of a free colony in Sierra Leone, foundation of the Church Mission Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Wilberforce died three days after hearing that the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire, had passed through Westminster Parliament.

We need to pray for a Christian conversion experience to change the hearts and minds of the VLRC and pro-abortion lobbyists, Emily's List and abortion practitioners.

Charles Francis, AM, QC, RFD, is a retired barrister, former Chairman of the Victorian Bar and former MP in the Victorian Parliament.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 8 (September 2008), p. 9

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