NEEDED: CIVILIZED ABORTION LAWS (Oct, 1965)

Sadly this headline is just as applicable now as it was 45 years ago.

EDITORIAL
NEEDED: CIVILIZED ABORTION LAWS

Many voices have been raised recently calling for liberalization of our abortion laws, unchanged since 1803. These include doctors, churchmen, attorneys, newspapers and persons in all walks of life. Some of these have joined together to form the “Association for the Study of Abortion.”

According to CBS Reports, April 5th, 3000 illegal abortions are performed in the U.S. every day. The majority of these are sought not by single girls seeking to escape the penalty of promiscuity, but by desperate married women who are forced to this unhappy solution because of our restrictive abortion laws.

The New York Times’ pointed out in an editorial, “The Cruel Abortion Law,” on April 7th: “Present abortion law offers no honorable, safe escape from hearing a child predictably deformed, physically or mentally. It treats with majestic equality the raped 14-year-old girl, or the victim of incest within the depraved home. It takes no account of other circumstances that might warrant judiciously considered termination of pregnancy. It turns thousands of women and girls away from reputable hospitals and doctors that would like to treat them mercifully and with understanding, and sends them to a barbaric, primitive underworld of crude clandestine surgery, where their lives are in danger.”

Many churchmen also stress the need for change. In a letter to their colleagues, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Fletcher and Rabbi Israel R. Margolies, co-chairmen of the Clergymen’s Advisory Committee of the Association for the Study of Abortion, urged that “each of us transcend the old taboo which suggested that abortion is inherently and always sinful.”

Least happy with our abortion laws are the physicians, who are either kept from performing a humanitarian health service or forced into getting around the letter of the law in their hospitals. Recent surveys have shown a vast majority of them in favor of abortion law reform.

We know that the word abortion is an emotion-laden term that stirs up the prejudices of many persons. But we cannot call ourselves really civilized until our laws dealing with it take into account modern medical practice as well as human compassion.

10 comments
  1. Yaos says: March 23, 20119:19 am

    This has all happened before, it will all happen again.

  2. John Savard says: March 23, 201110:30 am

    This article is very euphemistic. It calls abortion an “emotion-laden term that stirs up the prejudices of many persons”, without addressing the question of whether treating abortion as anything other than homicide doesn’t constitute blatant discrimination against one class of human beings, on a par with the peculiar institution of Negro slavery.

    If they were to honestly address that central part of the issue, and bring rational arguments as to why regarding the embryo as nothing less than a particularly immature human baby is untenable, that would be one thing. But instead, they take the most important part of the question, and treat it as though the issue does not even exist.

    It’s not as if the pro-choice movement has really improved much since then.

  3. RSweeney says: March 23, 20116:40 pm

    60% of all black children in New York City are now not born, but instead aborted.

    Margaret Sanger must be very pleased.

  4. John says: March 23, 20117:01 pm

    RSweeney: Wow. Correct as usual.

    “While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.”
    Margaret Sanger in a chapter from Woman and the New Race (1920) titled “Contraceptives or Abortion?

    She was actually against abortion, but you knew that.

    As to your statistic I’ll stick with the CDC
    Race

    Among women from the 37 areas that reported race for 2007, white women (including Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women) accounted for the largest percentage (55.9%) of abortions; black women accounted for 36.5% and women of other racial groups for 7.6% of abortions

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr…

  5. Tom says: March 24, 20117:00 am

    This is no less a volatile issue than when this article was written. It is one that seems to have no solution or “right answer”.

  6. RSweeney says: March 24, 20116:24 pm

    John,

    Better call Sanger’s organization (Planned Parenthood), and let them know how far they have strayed.

    As to my 60% statistic, after calling Planned Parenthood, call the New York Times and the NY City Health Department and let them know they are wrong too.

    http://www.nytimes.com/…

    But wait, you didn’t actually SAY the 60% figure was wrong, did you. You merely implied it by stating (correctly) that CDC says that 36.5% of abortions are obtained by black women.

    But you forgot to mention that black women make up only 12% of the female population and across America, 40% of their children are being aborted and not born and in NYC, the number is 60%.

  7. John says: March 24, 20117:10 pm

    RSweeney: Don’t try deflecting on me. You didn’t refer to Planned Parenthood but made some ill-informed crack about Margaret Sanger’s legacy which gives me an inkling into your depth of knowledge. That was in fact wrong of you, I think that you will agree. And no I didn’t say the 60% was wrong. I was just presenting some other documented figures contradicting that this is somehow racially significant because you’ll see that nationwide the majority of abortions (still legal) are performed on White women. I will say that I suspect that you’ll maintain your outrage at the 60% figure because if it didn’t exist you probably wouldn’t care about the fate of any living Black children in NYC or anywhere else for that matter. But a statistic about abortions? You can wrap your morals around that.

    At the end of the day, I know that I’ll never change your mind and you aren’t going to change mine. You’re presuming that these women are taking this decision lightly and you need to step in between them and their doctors.

  8. JMyint says: March 25, 20117:36 am

    I suppose that no-one has noticed that over 58% of the women getting abortions already have children. Being pro-choice or pro-life is all well and good but the biggest reasons for abortions are all economic. Who would step up and support these children and provide them with homes, the necessities or life, an education. I don’t think the ones fathering them are willing.

    You can argue whether abortion is good or evil until you are blue in the face but it doesn’t change the fact that some women find it necessary. If you want abortion to end work on getting women into better economic situations and address the fact that it takes two to make a baby.

    Overcome the reasons for abortion and you will overcome abortion. Until then it should remain legal, regulated, and safe.

  9. John says: March 25, 20117:57 am

    JMyint: Cue Applause

  10. Gene says: March 26, 20114:39 pm

    Abortions have been done since the beginning of time. The article quotes CBS saying there were 3000 a day in 1965. Nobody is in favor of abortion, only in that they should be safe.

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