Should We Interfere with the Difficult and Agonizing Abortion Decision?

The “Agonizing Decision”?…

Nowhere is the pro-abortion mentality more schizophrenic than when it considers the state of mind of women who are pondering having an abortion.

The effort to rationalize abortion publicly has been going on for decades. In 1989, radical female “clergy” conducted a service entitled “Praise Our Choices, Lift Our Voices” at the so-called “Rally for Women’s Lives” in the nation’s capital. The sparse crowd prayed, “Filled with the fullness of this day, with the stories of our sisters, with the bread of our community…. Let us go forth to stand, sit, cry, pray with women making reproductive choices, especially the difficult choice for abortion.”1

What pro-abortionists are implying with the “agonizing decision” slogan is that any act is justifiable if even a token amount of thought or contemplation goes into planning it. More importantly, they allege that anyone who opposes abortion is cruelly heaping even more mental stress on a woman who has “already made up her mind.”

crazy woman

Of course, the people who have blown up abortion mills and murdered abortionists have testified in court that they did a lot of planning and thinking about their crimes and even “agonized” over them. Does this validate such violence?

No amount of thinking and pondering a crime or a sin makes it right or ethical.

Women do not torment themselves over having warts removed or having their fingernails clipped, because they know such procedures have no ethical or moral dimension whatsoever. So why do so many women agonize over abortions? Because they instinctively know that killing a preborn child is wrong! Paradoxically, pro-abortionists acknowledge that women suffer as they go through the process of making the abortion decision. But their advice to women suffering after abortion or miscarriage can be summed up in three words: “Get over it!”

The pro-abortion mentality requires the denial of responsibility for one’s own actions. Indeed, it has become common to blame pro-lifers for the guilt that women feel. Barbara Ehrenreich wrote:

The anti-abortion movement…has succeeded in getting even pro-choice people to think of abortion as a “moral dilemma,” an “agonizing decision,” and related code phrases for something murky and compromising…. In liberal circles, it has become unstylish to discuss abortion without using words like “complex,” “painful,” and the rest of the mealy-mouthed vocabulary of evasion. Regrets are also fashionable, and one otherwise feminist author writes recently of mourning, each year following her birthday, the putative birthday of her discarded fetus. I cannot speak of other women, of course, but the one regret I have about my own abortions is that they cost money that might otherwise have been spent on something more pleasurable.2


…Or the Trivial Decision?

Sadly, some women are indeed extremely cavalier about killing their own preborn children. However, due to ignorance and confusion spread by Hollywood, the pro-abortion media, and “pro-choice” groups, most are not entirely culpable for their actions, as abortion has frequently been depicted as a trivial decision.

For example, Beryl Benderly, in her amusingly-entitled book Thinking about Abortion, says, “The Supreme Court placed the decision to end a pregnancy, like that to remove a wart or straighten a nose, in the hands of the patient and her doctor.”3 And Pam Crosby, a Maryland abortion mill worker, says, “For the most part it [fetal remains] is thrown out like in many doctors’ offices. If you had a wart removed or whatever, you could make that analogy.”4

pregnant woman pink dress

Not surprisingly, the spiritual father of the “pro-choice” movement, the Marquis de Sade, was the first to publicly trivialize abortion, just as he was the first to voice the “woman’s body, woman’s choice” slogan. He compared God’s greatest creation, the preborn child, to a bowel movement: “Do not put up with these disgraceful fruits of one’s debauchery. One disposes of these hideous consequences in the same way as the results of one’s digestion.”5

This torrent of misinformation has led to many women obtaining abortions for convenience;

  • A study of 2.4 million abortions in six states over the time period 1996-2020 showed that only 3.5% of all abortions were performed for the “hard cases” of rape, incest, birth defects (eugenics) and to save the life or health of the mother.
  • A Guttmacher Institute study shows that nearly half of all women obtaining abortions in the United States were not using birth control at the time they conceived.6 This means that these women are using abortion as birth control.
  • Two major Guttmacher Institute surveys of thousands of women obtaining abortions found that only 5% were done for the “hard cases.”7

As one abortion clinic director said, “‘Women don’t do this [abortion] lightly.’ I’m sick and tired of hearing this. 98 percent of the women do do it lightly in here, but I never say that. And they do it lightly. They think of abortion like brushing their dime teeth, and that’s OK with me.”8


Celebrating Abortion

Not only is abortion not a difficult decision for many women, but many pro-abortion groups actually celebrate it!

Bored girl with glass of drink sitting by table at birthday party while her friends communicating near by

The renegade group ‘Catholics’ for [a Free] Choice (CFFC) issued a pamphlet entitled “You Are Not Alone.” It includes detailed instructions for conducting two fake ‘religious’ ceremonies (more closely approximating witchcraft, actually) that literally celebrate and “affirm” the abortion decision. Predictably, no CFFC pamphlet includes a ceremony for affirming the right to choose life.

Rebecca Altafut is another person who actually celebrates the killing of preborn children. She discusses the “many gifts of abortion,” and recommends that women use it as a fertility self-test. She also baldly acknowledges that another “gift” of abortion is that women “have no need for birth control.”9

Then, of course, there is Ann Gaylor’s book Abortion is a Blessing, which can be downloaded from the website of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Gaylor says:

I have become impatient with those apologists who, while granting the right to abortion, insist that somehow a woman must feel guilt and remorse. I have come to suspect that the persons who refer to abortion as “a tragic option,” or “a terrible alternative,” hold allegiance not to women’s freedom but to a male-dominated world gone by.…abortion is a blessing, not only for women but for society.10

Finally, we see that some pro-abortionists are doing their best to make the public believe that abortion is as inconsequential as sitting down for lunch.

The website bills itself as a place “where women go when they are being selfish, and where their selfishness is applauded.” Here, women brag and boast about their abortions, submit photos of themselves holding silly slogans, and explain why they are proud of their abortions.

Among dozens of examples, S.E. Smith posted a photo of herself holding a card that says “Abortion is Awesome,” and says, “I wear my abortion on my sleeve (so to speak) because I want other people to know that they don’t need to feel shame about choosing to get an abortion.” Lesley Kinzel’s photo shows her holding a sign that says “If I was pregnant TODAY, I would get an abortion. (Cats are enough, thank you).” And finally, ably representing the self-centered and uncaring tone of the entire website, Helena Andrews scrawls in huge letters, “I chose life. MINE.”

Close up of old English dictionary page with word selfishness

All of this shows that pro-lifers must not be fooled by the contrived “sympathy” of the pro-abortionists when they claim that “abortion is a difficult decision for all women.” It is indeed a difficult decision for those women who still have a functioning conscience, but for many it is indeed as trivial as “having a wart removed.”

We must not be distracted by the schizophrenic propaganda of the pro-abortion movement. Regardless of the state of mind of women considering abortion, we must continue to focus on the primary victim of the procedure, the preborn child. And, when women inevitably suffer when they realize that they have killed their own child, we must be there for them as well.

+ Endnotes

[1] This pseudo-religious “service,” entitled “Praise Our Choices, Lift Our Voices,” was held on November 10, 1989 at the Reflecting Pool/Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, to “celebrate the Rally to Mobilize for Women’s Lives” (known more accurately by pro-lifers as the “March for Death”). The “service” was written by Diann Neu, co-director of the New Age group called WATER, or the “Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual;” Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, the Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; and Mary Jane Patterson, Director of the Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church, USA. For the complete text of the “service,” e-mail Brian Clowes at

[2] Barbara Ehrenreich. “Hers” column in The New York Times, February 7, 1985. Quoted in Rebecca Chalker and Carol Downer. A Woman’s Book of Choices: Abortion, Menstrual Extraction, RU-486 (New York City: Four Walls Eight Windows Press), 1992.

[3] Beryl Benderly, Thinking About Abortion. Quoted in Leslie Bond. “Pre-Natal Program Funds Used for Abortion.” National Right to Life News, May 1, 1986, page 9.

[4] Pam Crosby, Clinical Coordinator at Prince George’s Reproductive Health Services, on the clinic dumping second-trimester babies in their trash. Quoted in Debra Braun. “Bodies of Aborted Babies Thrown in Trash at Maryland” National Right to Life News, December 8, 1983, page 5.

[5] The Marquis de Sade. La Philosophie dans le Boudoir [Paris: Pauvert Publishers, 1970 reprint], page 59b [NOTE: The primary characteristics of La Philosophie dans le Boudoir are vividly duplicated in much of today’s anti-life literature, in that it was virulently anti-religious and anti-morality, viciously attacked the family and social structures, and enthusiastically advocated sodomy, incest, lust and cruelty for their own sakes. Note also that de Sade trivializes abortion, saying that it is as trivial as “disposing of the results of one’s digestion,” much as latter-day pro-abortionists have likened abortion to “removing a wart or a fingernail.”].

[6] Rachel K. Jones, Jacqueline E. Darroch and Stanley Henshaw. “Contraceptive Use among U.S. Women Having Abortions in 2000-2001.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health [formerly Family Planning Perspectives] [Guttmacher Institute], November/December 2002 [Volume 34, Number 6], pages 294 to 303. Table 1, “Percentage Distribution of Women Obtaining Abortions in 2002, by Contraceptive Method Used in the Month of Conception, and of Women at Risk of Unintended Pregnancy in 1995, by Contraceptive Method Used.”

[7] 1987 Survey: Aida Torres and Jacqueline Darroch Forrest. “Why Do Women Have Abortions?” Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988, pages 169 to 176, Table 1. 2004 Survey: Lawrence Finer, Lori F. Frohwirth, Lindsay A. Dauphinee, Susheela Singh and Ann M. Moore. “Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives.” Perspectives in Sexual and Reproductive Health, September 2005 (Volume 37, Number 3), pages 110 to 118. Table 3, “Percentage Distribution of Women Having an Abortion, by Their Most Important Reason for Having the Abortion, 2004 and 1987.”

[8] Marilyn Buckham, director of the Buffalo GYN Womenservices Clinic abortion mill, quoted in the Revolutionary Communist Party’s Revolutionary Worker, March 6, 1989.

[9] Rebecca Altafut. “Abortion with Dignity.” New Haven Advocate, February 26, 1987.

[10] Ann Gaylor’s book Abortion is a Blessing, downloaded from the website of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF).

Brian Clowes, PhD

Dr. Brian Clowes has been HLI’s director of research since 1995 and is one of the most accomplished and respected intellectuals in the international pro-life movement. Best known as author of the most exhaustive pro-life informational resource volume The Facts of Life, and for his Pro-Life Basic Training Course, Brian is the author of nine books and over 500 scholarly and popular articles, and has traveled to 70 countries on six continents as a pro-life speaker, educator and trainer.

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