Millions Now Living Will Never Be Born
BY “AWAKE!” CORRESPONDENT IN SWEDEN
MILLIONS of children now in the wombs of their mothers will never be born. They will not get a chance to see or to know their own parents or to enjoy their genetic and legal inheritance. They will be dispossessed of everything. Why? Primarily because they have come into existence without being wanted and those who do not want them will decide to get rid of them. The execution of this decision is called abortion.
Although many countries do not keep statistics on abortions, there is evidence that millions of “legal” and illegal abortions take place in the world every year. About half a million “legal” abortions were performed in the United States during 1971. In Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Yugoslavia, there are more abortions than live births. And around 744,000 abortions were performed by specially appointed physicians in Japan during 1969.
Liberalizing Abortion Laws
Almost everywhere the number of unwanted pregnancies is increasing. The cry in many countries is for liberalizing abortion laws. One example of this is Sweden. With certain exceptions for specially distressing circumstances, the current legislation in Sweden outlaws abortion. But many more women are wanting abortions for reasons other than those allowable by the law. Thousands of pregnant women go to nearby countries with less rigorous legislation to get an abortion. Many others get illegal abortions. This has led to a liberalizing of the application of the present law and an increasing number of exceptions being made. All of this has given a basis for considering new legislation. Therefore, back in 1965 an officially appointed committee of experts in Sweden began work on a report, setting forth recommendations for such new legislation. In 1971 the report was presented to the head of the Department of Justice and to the public. The committee recommended that the community should protect the woman “by giving her the legal right to be operated on as early as possible and always with the procedure least demanding for her.”
Why Women Want Abortions
In developing lands, poverty, sickness and overpopulation are prime factors in the desire for abortions. But in Sweden and other more technically advanced lands, individual circumstances are the major consideration in wanting abortions. It may be physical weakness, dislike for children, fear of delivery, overage, underage, rape, infidelity of either mate, education setback, unknown father or several possible fathers, pressure from parents, shame and the like. The so-called sexual revolution, with its promiscuity and early sexual awakening among youths, has led to a tremendous increase of unwanted pregnancies, especially out of wedlock. This, too, has increased the demand for making it easier to get abortions.
However, the problem of unwanted pregnancies is not solved simply by legalizing abortion. Abortion is not just another form of contraceptive. It is a delicate operation on the human body, which requires hospital beds, skilled surgeons, nursing staffs, medical treatment, instruments and, of course, money. Abortion results in killing the fetus, and it may also injure the mother both physically and mentally.
Dilation and curettage (D and C) is a procedure used in early abortions, when the fetus is no older than twelve weeks. The patient is anesthetized and the uterine cervix is dilated with metal instruments. Then the surgeon “scrapes” the inside of the uterus with a curette, a scoop-shaped instrument, until the fetus comes out. Possible complications from this operation include extensive blood loss, infection and perforation of the uterus. The operation may also lead to menstrual disturbances, infertility and complications in future pregnancy.
Suction or vacuum aspiration is steadily replacing dilation and curettage in early abortions. First the cervix is dilated. The surgeon then introduces a plastic tube. This tube is connected with a vacuum pump, which, when turned on, sucks out the fetus, the placenta and the membranes. The operation may be followed by scraping with a small curette to ensure that all fetal and placental tissue has been removed. Complications, though less serious for the suction method, are similar to those of dilation and curettage.
The injection method is used after the twelfth week of pregnancy. In Denmark and Great Britain medicated soaps (utus paste) are injected. In other countries a similar injection of a 20-percent salt solution is used until the sixteenth/seventeenth week of pregnancy.
After this stage of pregnancy another injection method is commonly employed. The surgeon inserts a long hollow needle either through the abdomen below the navel or through the vagina and the cervix into the uterine cavity and withdraws some of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus. He then slowly injects a corresponding quantity of salt solution. Instead of salt some physicians use glucose or Formalin. The solution kills the fetus and induces labor contractions, usually within twelve to forty-eight hours after the injection. The fetus is expelled in the same way as at a normal birth.
The possibility of complications in this form of abortion is greater than in those performed at earlier stages of pregnancy. Placental tissue may remain. Infection may result. Often these complications are accompanied by fever and bleeding. In some instances, part of the salt solution passes into the bloodstream of the woman. This can lead to convulsions and blood-clotting disturbances.
Performing an abortion by cesarean section, hysterotomy, is similar to the operation performed when a woman cannot give birth to a full-term child in the normal way. The patient is anesthetized, and thereafter the surgeon makes an incision through the lower abdomen into the uterus. The fetus and placenta are then removed from the uterus.
This means of performing an abortion involves greater risks than the injection of salt solution. Then, too, the scar in the uterus may open at a later normal delivery. That is why many doctors feel that future deliveries should be performed by cesarean section.
Other Risks and Detrimental Effects
Regardless of the stage of pregnancy, fatal loss of blood is a possibility in every abortion operation. For this reason even very early “legal” abortions are undertaken in well-equipped hospitals. There the blood group of the woman is always determined beforehand, and bottles of blood are kept in readiness for emergency transfusions.
After an abortion a woman may be rendered sterile. One of a number of possible causes for this is postoperative inflammation in the Fallopian tubes.
An abortion also entails a certain degree of mental suffering, which is a most serious effect. A pregnant woman knows that she is responsible for the continued life of another human creature. It is only natural for her to think about the child that is developing. Hence, if forced to look for someone to kill the fetus, this places a considerable mental strain upon her, as it is contrary to maternal love. She may try to persuade herself that a six-, twelve- or sixteen-week-old fetus is not yet a real child and that she can always have another baby. Yet she knows that there is a possibility that she may never be able to bear a child again, and she definitely knows that it will be impossible to bear the same child again.
In connection with the abortion itself many women experience mental strain. The waiting between the salt injection and the following miscarriage is very trying for a considerable number. The woman must first experience the killing of the fetus and then has to take an active part in the strenuous process of delivery.
At a hospital in Sweden reactions of women who underwent the salt solution abortion were investigated. Some expressed themselves as follows: “When they injected the salt solution, I knew there was no turning back.” “I went to the lavatory and the miscarriage came. I had to handle the fetus myself.” “I felt something come out of me and when I pulled off my cover I caught sight of the fetus.” “It was terrible.” “It is not half as painful to deliver a child.”
Even years after getting an abortion, a woman still feels the emotional impact. Writes clinical instructor Naomi Leiter: “She never really forgets the pregnancy, the panic, and the abortion. Frequently, she feels depressed, at times guilty.” Naomi Leiter also notes: “I have seen several women who fifteen years after their abortion were having feelings of regret and remorse, because now they were menopausal and childless.”—New York State Journal of Medicine, December 1, 1972.
If trying for many women, an abortion is also trying for many surgeons, nurses and other members of the medical staff. Some abortions occur very late and the fetuses are strong and healthy when they come out. There have been instances of aborted babies reviving on their own in garbage bags alongside hospital incinerators. Especially the disposal of living fetuses leads to conflicts of conscience. Nurses have quit so as not to break down completely. In some cases they have been tempted to give large, living fetuses a chance to survive by nursing them in private.
The Scriptural View
In spite of all the risks and unsavory aspects of abortion, there are those who justify the practice. But it may be asked: If it is wrong to kill newborn babies, is it not just as wrong to kill a baby that is developing in the womb? If it is right to try to preserve the life of premature babies in incubators, is it not right to preserve the life of a fetus in the womb?
The Creator of life, Jehovah God, considers life to be sacred. Deliberately induced abortion is a criminal act in God’s sight. His law to Israel, for example, protected the life of an unborn baby. If a pregnant woman, in a struggle between men, suffered an accident fatal to the fetus, life had to go for life.—Ex. 21:22-25.
The frequency of abortions today is also related to man’s ignoring other laws of God. People have wanted so-called free morality, and they have received unwanted results—unwanted mates, unwanted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. In their efforts to get away from the consequences the easy way, they want easier divorces, easier medical treatment and less rigorous legislation. But this has not spared them from additional tragic consequences. The only solution to the tragic moral situation today is for a man and a woman to love each other within marriage bonds, sensibly planning their life together and loyally obeying their God and Creator.
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“ABORTION MAY BE THE SINGLE MOST WIDELY USED METHOD OF BIRTH CONTROL IN THE WORLD TODAY.”—U.N. Population Division
Some abortions are performed after the twentieth week. At eighteen weeks, this is the living creature that is destroyed
Most abortions are performed at twelve weeks of gestation or earlier. At eleven weeks, this is what is destroyed