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Delicate issue, difficult solution

Tears fall down

July 13, 2011
This isn't an easy column to write. To be honest, it's been one that I've wanted to write for some time, but I either haven't been able to find the right words or, to be honest, I've been scared to put those words on paper.

You see, this is a column that probably won't make me many friends. But events of the last week — really the last 18 hours or so — have made me realize that I must write it, if for no other reason than to be true to myself. It may not change your mind — it probably won't — but, hopefully, it will get you to think.

As I sit here on Wednesday morning, July 6, it was just a few short hours ago that a jury in Orlando, Fla., found Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Americans — both men and women — are in disbelief, because the evidence seemed to point to an uncaring "mother" who valued partying at nightclubs more than taking care of her child.

Those people are right to be upset. At the worst Anthony is a killer; at the best she is a horrible, horrible mother.

Yet, roughly 50 percent of people don't bat an eye when a woman "chooses" to abort a pregnancy. They somehow don't see the disconnect. A baby in the womb really isn't a baby, they say, and, no matter, it's the woman's right to choose.

How can killing an innocent child be a right, not just a woman's, but anybody's? Is it OK just because we can't hold the baby yet? Research, however, shows that babies in the womb have a heartbeat and they respond to stimuli. They are beautiful, precious beings that are as alive as you and me.

Since Roe v. Wade, there have been approximately 50 million-plus legal abortions in the United States. Think about that: 50,000,000. That is an amount equal to 83 percent of the population of Italy. Just imagine the horror if 83 percent of Italians were killed.

Another reason I decided finally to write this column was something I just read in another newspaper. It was a brief article praising Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.

The piece detailed how Sanger fought for the legality of women to attain and use birth control. If that was where her story ended, I would have no issue with Sanger. In fact, I, too, would be applauding her. Contrary to the red herring often thrown out against those who are pro-life, I don't care what happens in a person's bedroom. It's none of my, nor anyone else's, business, and we shouldn't have laws legislating that. However, unfortunately, that's not where Sanger's story ends.

Sanger, in "A Plan for Peace," an article that she penned for the journal The Birth Control Review in 1932, supported taking measures to limit segments of the population whose condition she deemed "detrimental to the stamina of the race," including, but not limited to, "feebleminded, idiots, morons, insane, syphilitic, epileptic, criminal, professional prostitutes," and in "defending the unborn against their own disabilities."

She favored "a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring" and giving "certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization."

In her defense, however, eugenics, unfortunately, was accepted by many at the time, including the State of Indiana, which passed the world's first eugenics-based compulsory sterilization law in 1907 (aren't we proud?), and the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in its 1927 Buck v. Bell decision, upheld a Virginia law allowing forced sterilizations on patients in mental hospitals. Between 1907 and 1963, more than 64,000 people were forcibly sterilized in the United States.

While Sanger herself was against abortion, the organization she founded in 1916 — the Planned Parenthood Federation of America — has relied on abortion to maintain its existence. Planned Parenthood claims that abortion services constitute just 3 percent of the procedures it administers. That's disingenuous as Charlotte Allen pointed out in the Oct. 22, 2007, edition of The Weekly Standard:

"An abortion is invariably preceded by a pregnancy test — a separate service in Planned Parenthood's reckoning — and is almost always followed at the organization's clinics by a 'going home' packet of contraceptives, which counts as another separate service. Throw in a pelvic exam and a lab test for STDs — you get the picture. In terms of absolute numbers of clients, one in three visited Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test, and of those, a little under one in three had a Planned Parenthood abortion."

Taking a look at Planned Parenthood of Indiana, a review of its 2010 annual report shows that of the 85,030 unduplicated patient services it provided that year, 5,580 — or 6.5 percent — were abortions. Of its almost $15.7 million in total revenue, $10.9 million was from patient services, including abortions, while the rest was from donations, government funding and miscellaneous sources. Using the reported $450 average cost of an abortion at Planned Parenthood, abortions generated $2.5 million — or 23 percent — of PPIN's 2010 patient services revenue.

It's no wonder PPIN has been fighting tooth and nail against state legislation from this past session that would cut off state Medicaid funding to agencies that provide abortions as well as require doctors to inform patients wanting abortions that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks or less. The laws, which were to take effect on July 1, have been stayed by a U.S. District judge who ruled that defunding PPIN would exact a "devastating financial toll on Planned Parenthood of Indiana and hinder its ability to continue serving patients' general health needs."

That's true, PPIN will be hindered, but patients won't as PPIN isn't the only clinic in the state to offer the non-abortion reproductive health procedures to low-income women. In fact, according to the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning, there are seven other providers of family planning services that accept Medicaid in Floyd County, the site of the closest Planned Parenthood clinic.

In her ruling, the judge indicated that there was no evidence of inappropriate commingling of state dollars used for birth control, cancer screenings and tests for sexually transmitted diseases. Pro-life advocates, however, question that. And, even if true, the above numbers show that Planned Parenthood, based on statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is responsible for about half of all abortions in Indiana.

Hopefully, the judge's ruling will be overturned and the new state laws will be upheld by higher courts. Don't be surprised if they don't eventually make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Anyone who says that judge appointments no longer have a bearing on the legality of abortion is wrong.

Yes, the Casey Anthony verdict appears to be a travesty of justice, especially for the beautiful, innocent 2-year-old girl who, in all likelihood, was murdered by her so-called mother, and people have a right to be upset, both angry and tearful. However, that anger also should be voiced and those tears shed for the 50 million-plus innocent, wonderful children who have had their lives aborted because of a so-called right to choose.

Oh what have we lost because we chose we'll never know

And loving You is better than feeling alone

And all our claims to freedom have become these heavy chains

And in the name of rights we keep filling nameless graves

Let the tears fall down

Let them soften this ground

Let our hearts be found

God forgive us now

— BarlowGirl, "Tears Fall"

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