Jesurgislac’s Journal

June 4, 2008

This is what “pro-lifers” want

From Repairing the damage before Roe, by Waldo L. Fielding, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Boston for 38 years:

Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion — darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.

Another method that I did not encounter, but heard about from colleagues in other hospitals, was a soap solution forced through the cervical canal with a syringe. This could cause almost immediate death if a bubble in the solution entered a blood vessel and was transported to the heart.

The worst case I saw, and one I hope no one else will ever have to face, was that of a nurse who was admitted with what looked like a partly delivered umbilical cord. Yet as soon as we examined her, we realized that what we thought was the cord was in fact part of her intestine, which had been hooked and torn by whatever implement had been used in the abortion. It took six hours of surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries and repair the part of the bowel that was still functional.

When pro-lifers plunge into eager discussion of how awful abortion is (for obvious reasons, pro-lifers tend to focus on the small proportion of abortions performed late in pregnancy, and for obvious reasons, pro-lifers tend to claim that late-term abortions are performed for the same reason as early abortions) it’s worth noting: what they want is to criminalize abortion. They don’t care about preventing abortions: they don’t support free provision of contraception to all, informative sex education for all, nor do they support free universal support for pregnant women and mothers: health care, employment protection, paid maternity leave.

They just want to return to the good old days when women who had abortions sometimes died of it, because the government had claimed the authority to force any woman who got pregnant to go through with the pregnancy and give birth against her will.


Update: Sharon (the same Sharon of the God of Bloggers shall strike thee down) came up with some statistical data:

The fact is, the number of teen pregnancies has dropped 15 to 53% in all reporting areas. This is during a time when abstinence-only programs have been in effect.

Unfortunately, Sharon has a long history of losing arguments when she ventures away from her own blog (on her own blog, she can delete comments…) so she naturally didn’t want to come here. While the research tells a consistent tale: abstinence-education doesn’t work in preventing teenage pregnancies, what Sharon misses is that the number of teenage girls getting pregnant dropped in all reporting areas – but dropped faster in areas where schools were still allowed to teach comprehensive sex education. The data is available from the CDC, though last time Sharon and I argued about the merits of preventing teenage pregnancies she didn’t like those big figure-filled tables and didn’t look at them.

That thread, incidentally, is further evidenc that pro-lifers do not care about human life in any respect: a horde of pro-lifers who love the Iraq war and don’t want to think about the million Iraqis dead.


  1. We do care about preventing abortions — it’s just that we do it in the form of preventing pregnancy by means of abstinence. I won’t provide full links (since that has made comments on other blogs gone into “spam”), but you can look up for more info (including facts and research) on abstinence-based programs, as opposed to “comprehensive” sex ed. My main problems w/”comprehensive” sex ed is that it serves more to titillate the minds of young people than to inform them on how to prevent pregnancy. Preventing pregnancy is not that difficult — avoid sex. I would be fine with sex ed that had an emphasis on abstinence, and also gave clear, non-biased information on male and female anatomy, the female cycle, and what happens during pregnancy. Here is a quote from the above-mentioned organization, of what “comprehensive” sex ed includes:
    * Advocating showering together as a no risk activity.
    * Promoting methods for sexual stimulation.
    * Conducting sexual role-play on how to help a partner maintain an erection.
    * Describing how to eroticize condom use with a partner.
    * Suggesting teens wear shades or a disguises when shopping for condoms so adults and parents won’t recognize them.
    This information is not necessary for pregnancy prevention; rather, it is a formula for promoting sexual activity.

    As far as the particulars on abortion, I would recommend that you read’s post on this same topic. The author provides numerous examples of how pre-Roe abortions were not the only ones that mangled and damaged and killed women.

    Comment by Kathy — June 4, 2008 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  2. I just posted something, and it doesn’t say “your comment is awaiting moderation” so it might have gone to the spam folder.

    Comment by Kathy — June 4, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  3. Sorry about the delay rescuing your comments from the spam queue, Kathy – I don’t look there often enough. (They both went there, for some reason.)

    Will respond to your longer comment in more detail later – I have to go out in about ten minutes, so don’t have time now.

    Comment by jesurgislac — June 9, 2008 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  4. In belated response to your comment, Kathy: when people claim that they “want to prevent pregnancy” but tout a method that they know has the lowest success rate of preventing pregnancy or STDs, they are lying about wanting to prevent pregnancy. Promoting abstinence has a higher failure rate than any other method of preventing pregnancy, for fairly obvious reasons: a person who intends to be abstinent is statistically likely to fail in their intentions, but is very unlikely to be using any method of pregnancy or disease prevention when they do have sex.

    And either you have never bothered to research the effects of abstinence-promotion – the increasing rates of teenage pregnancy, teenage abortion, and teenage STDs – or else you are perfectly aware that it doesn’t work and you tout it anyway, because you care more about promoting abstinence than you do about preventing pregnancy.

    Here is a quote from the above-mentioned organization, of what “comprehensive” sex ed includes

    I see nothing wrong with any of that. I do have a problem with the appalling rates of teenage pregnancy and high abortion rates due to unplanned unwanted pregnancies. You evidently don’t have a problem with teenagers getting pregnant and needing to have abortions because all they had at school was “abstinence education”. So you make my point for me – thank you.

    Comment by jesurgislac — June 11, 2008 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  5. I’ve heard this before. Do you have any studies that show this? One study that a “comprehensive sex-ed” promoter gave me showed identical rates of just about everything (pregnancy, STDs, age at giving up virginity, etc.), but the few things that had a statistical difference showed that AOE was better. What the study did say, was that one’s peers was the biggest determining factor in whether or not a person remained abstinent. This study was among teens at high risk for sex. It was not a slam-dunk for AOE, but it certainly didn’t put kids at higher risk of pregnancy or catching an STD.

    Comment by Kathy — June 14, 2008 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

  6. I’ve heard this before.

    So, you can’t pretend ignorance: You know that advocating “abstinence education” does nothing to prevent teenage pregnancies and abortions, and yet you continue to support it over, hey, here’s a novel idea – preventing abortions.

    Like I said: it’s clear pro-lifers do not care about preventing abortions. You are an example of a pro-lifer who doesn’t want to stop teenagers getting pregnant and needing abortions: you just want to promote the idea that they shouldn’t have sex.

    As for “Do you have any studies that show this?” – Oh, come off it. You are the one advocating a position where all the evidence is against you – that it’s enough to just tell people not to have sex, and they won’t do it. That’s never worked, and it’s not working: you can’t show that anywhere this is practiced, teenage pregnancy/abortions have gone down.

    Providing contraception works, though. That pro-lifers actually spend time campaigning against provision of contraception, is proof enough that they don’t care about preventing abortions.

    Comment by jesurgislac — June 15, 2008 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  7. […] don’t care about preventing abortions (a pro-lifer showed up in the comments to that post to confirm this): but if you ask them, they’ll claim their justification for trying to make abortion […]

    Pingback by US: Pro-life politicians are anti-children « Jesurgislac’s Journal — June 15, 2008 @ 8:07 pm | Reply

  8. No, I don’t “know that advocating abstinence education does nothing to prevent teenage pregnancies and abortions.” I’ve heard that claim. Just as I’ve heard the claim that Elvis is alive.

    Comment by Kathy — June 15, 2008 @ 11:07 pm | Reply

  9. No, I don’t “know that advocating abstinence education does nothing to prevent teenage pregnancies and abortions.” I’ve heard that claim.

    So while you support “abstinence education”, you have never bothered to go look up any of the research that’s been done on the effects? You see supporting “abstinence education” as an end in itself, and you don’t care whether it prevents teenage pregnancies and abortions?

    Kathy, you came on to this thread endeavouring to claim that it just wasn’t true that pro-lifers don’t care about preventing abortions. Yet you yourself have been proving the point in every comment you make: you don’t care if teenagers get pregnant and need to have abortions: you think the only thing that matters is telling them not to have sex. You don’t care enough about this as a strategy for preventing abortions to go look up the effects – yet “abstinence education” has had millions of taxpayer’s money poured into it, in Texas since Bush became governor, nationwide since Bush became President. If it worked, Texas would by now have the lowest teenage pregnancy rate in the US: instead (predictably) it has the highest.

    So, if you cared about preventing abortions at all, you would by now be vehemently against abstinence education. You’re not: so you don’t.

    Comment by jesurgislac — June 16, 2008 @ 6:29 am | Reply

  10. Perhaps Kathy you should do a little research and go back in time. A colleague of mine did some statistical research and made a nice chart that he presented at a recent international behavioral conference in Chicago. Basically, since sex education has been instituted in schools, teen pregnancies has dropped by half. We’re talking tens of milions. It steadily went down starting around the 1960’s (yes, the 50’s weren’t as proper as people’s memories make it out to be) and continued to drop even through the “free-love” era which gave abstinence-only people the irrational thought that since multiple partner sex increased, teen pregnancy must have increased as well. It simply isn’t true. You have to look at the entire history of pregnancy and abortions, not just in the past few years. In actuality, teen pregnancy actually made its first increase since the 1960’s during the Bush Adminstration, where abstinence-only programs were installed. The truth is…I hate to tell you….abstinence-only programs don’t work!! What has been statistically based and research-proven has been a combination of comprehensive sex education with an “abstinence is safest” message. Yes, I am talking about teen pregnancies…but abortions don’t happen without the pregnancy in the first place. And the sex ed topics you listed….laughable. A very good friend of mine taught sex ed at hundreds of schools for many years and the stuff you claim is simply not taught. When you look at statistics and research at what really works, I’m sorry to say that your theories don’t hold a candle.

    Comment by SS — June 19, 2008 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  11. Oh yeah, my friend’s chart also showed how “sinful” countries like Amsterdam (who has sex ed classes) had extremely low rates of teen pregnancy where Asian countries that focused on shame-based prevention measures (and no sex ed courses) had teen pregnancy rates of nearly triple the U.S. Giving teenagers sex education classes is not a message that they should run out and do it. It is simply giving them the tools to make healthy choices for themselves WHEN they do find themselves in situations.

    Comment by SS — June 19, 2008 @ 10:50 pm | Reply

  12. “sinful” PLACES, that is….obviously Amsterdam is not a country : )

    Comment by SS — June 20, 2008 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  13. Perhaps we shouldn’t teach 12 year old girls about their periods, either. It might make them want to have a baby.

    Comment by SS — June 20, 2008 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

  14. No wonder my sed ed classes were so boring, we didn’t have this teacher:

    * Advocating showering together as a no risk activity.
    * Promoting methods for sexual stimulation.
    * Conducting sexual role-play on how to help a partner maintain an erection.
    * Describing how to eroticize condom use with a partner.
    * Suggesting teens wear shades or a disguises when shopping for condoms so adults and parents won’t recognize them.

    Honestly, I’ve never heard of any schools in the U.S. discussing these things during sex ed.

    Comment by Deb — July 22, 2008 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  15. oops, that should read “sex ed”

    Comment by Deb — July 22, 2008 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  16. Jesurgislac, we appear to have similar beliefs and opinions. I invite you to read my blog, entitled:
    “Understanding the Motivation of the Right Wing Fundamentalists”, which can be read at:

    I was hoping after you perused my blog, you would be open to listing it on your blogroll, and I would like to list your blog on my list of:
    “My favorite websites”.

    Thanks for your consideration,


    Comment by Deb — July 22, 2008 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

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