Beneath Abortion’s Rhetoric

I’ve been listening to the words some of our politicians use to frame their stand on publicly-funded abortion – terms such as “access,” “reproductive rights,” and “women’s health issues.” These are words constantly repeated in the political arena, words carefully selected to assuage any doubt, words that seemingly promise freedom, choice, and a healthier future for a woman choosing to terminate her viable pregnancy through abortion. Look at their implied opposites – “denial,” “reproductive bondage,” “physical unwellness.” I can understand why many, guided by a sense of compassion for women facing an unwanted pregnancy, would embrace the former. But in our current climate, words and emotions are accepted as fact. They have real legislative and care impact. What lies beneath them?

Using these words, Steve Marchand, a candidate for governor, is arguing for a seismic shift in New Hampshire’s abortion policies, urging we make it state policy to publicly fund abortions, eliminate state restrictions on abortion, as well as drop the parental notification requirement and the partial birth abortion ban. He’s not alone, joining with other political pro-abortion voices to propose New Hampshire become the ninth state to “explicitly protect the right to have an abortion.” According to Marchand “(abortion) is a medical procedure and should be treated as such,” making it sound that wresting a baby from a woman’s womb is akin to having her appendix removed.

Beneath the words and carefully-crafted soundbites, there is another story. Start with Margaret Sanger’s guiding principles firmly rooted in her strong eugenics beliefs. This, from a PBS American Experience Article, “Eugenics and Birth Control:” “Eugenics was a dominant theme at her birth control conferences, and Sanger spoke publicly of the need to put an end to breeding by the unfit. In 1920 Sanger publicly stated that “birth control is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit (and) of preventing the birth of defectives.”

Sanger drew a line between desirables and undesirables. To her, poverty was a distinctly undesirable societal trait. Her answer was to discourage breeding in poor minority populations and encourage it in more advantaged (read white and affluent) circles.

In Sanger’s writings, you will find words designed to separate her eugenics beliefs from today’s more enlightened abortion policy. Our country’s abortion industry is killing the children of minorities and the poor in disproportionate numbers, an outcome entirely consistent with Sanger’s economic and racial eugenic principles.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, 61.5 percent of abortions in 2014 were performed on black, Hispanic, and other non-white minorities, while only 10 percent were on white women. To further underscore the disproportionate impact on the poor, the Guttmacher Institute published an infographic that clearly illustrated a significant rise in the percentage of abortions secured by women below the federal poverty level (from 30 percent in 1987 to 49 percent in 2014.)

Today’s debate centers on the lack of access to abortion services by this same population, implying the number should be far higher. When I hear these passionate arguments for greater abortion access by poor women, my heart cries, “This can’t be the answer.” When did life become the problem? What about lifting women out of poverty, giving them real options? Is abortion, founded in the belief that some are worthier of life than others, really the highest form of compassion and affirmation we can offer them?

Public funding of abortion isn’t just a possibility, it’s already happening. In a 2015 article published in Forbes, Chris Conover concludes U.S. taxpayers already subsidize 24 percent of all abortion costs. Planned Parenthood’s own 2015-2016 annual report discloses $554.6 million in “Government Health Services Reimbursements and Grants” out of total revenue of $1.35 billion, representing over 40 percent of total Planned Parenthood funding.

While Planned Parenthood terminated 328,348 pregnancies, the organization made just 2,889 adoption referrals nationwide – 83 abortions for every adoption.

This is what is on my heart. Don’t just accept the political sound bites at face value. I urge everyone who reads this to look beyond the rhetoric and lofty-sounding words and ask your own questions. Examine what really lies beneath this critical life issue and form your own conclusions.

This article by Cornerstone Executive Director Shannon McGinley was originally published in the New Hampshire Sunday News, July 29, 2018.