I was looking forward to quietly settling back into a normal schedule after the January events and catching up with phone calls, meetings, and the regular business of serving the Church for Life. But the Lord had other plans for me!
When my friends at the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List asked me to testify at a hearing related to H.R. 2975, the “Women’s Health Protection Act”, which would overturn state and federal laws designed to protect women from abortion, my first thought was to say “no!” I hate the political side of this issue. But then I thought: who else could I send, especially knowing how mean-spirited pro-abortion people can be to people who think babies in the womb should be protected? So, I said yes and began praying. I also immediately started working on my testimony.
To me, it was especially important that I be a voice for women—for those who were emotionally and spiritually damaged by abortion and later sought help, for those who were physically harmed during an abortion, and for those who lost their lives to this “safe and legal” procedure.
I wanted to tell the committee members:
- That hundreds of thousands of women and men who have had abortions or been involved in an abortion decision have sought help and recovery from their experiences. One organization we work with has helped over 326,000 individuals alone. Clearly, abortion is hardly a harmless or beneficial experience.
- That from 2015 to present, there have been a total of 384 reports of medical emergencies at abortion facilities. In 2019 alone there were 104.
- That there have been 28 abortionists in 15 states whose medical licenses were revoked or surrendered under threat of revocation and that there have been 51 clinic closures in 18 states in the last 10 years due to regulatory/licensing issues. Almost all clinics that have been subject to inspections (and 18 states don’t inspect at all) have failed at least one inspection. Some of the most cited deficiencies are: dirty conditions, cross-contamination, failure to monitor patients during surgery and recovery, expired drugs and supplies, and inadequately trained staff.
- That, according to the CDC, 439 women have died from “safe and legal” abortion since 1973. And, because there are no mandatory reporting laws, only some data concerning abortion related medical emergencies exists. Most of what we know comes from reports from sidewalk counselors or 911 records.
I knew I wouldn’t be facing a friendly crowd, nor one that was particularly interested in hearing facts like these. But God opened the door—and so all I could do was obediently walk through it.
At the four-hour hearing were three abortion supporters – Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, military veteran Holly Alvarado who had to travel out of state to abort her child, and Alabama abortionist Dr. Yashica Robinson – who spoke in favor of the bill. Law professor Teresa Stanton Collett and I testified against the bill.
Questions were then posed to us as witnesses by the members of the subcommittee, and their determination to hear only what they wanted to hear was never more evident. One representative was especially angry with Professor Collett for daring to suggest there were similarities between the biased research presented years ago in defense of smoking by the tobacco industry and the studies authored and paid for by the abortion industry, which they keep citing as proof concerning the benefits of abortion! Other committee members asked both the doctor and Ms. Alvarado to repeat their comments multiple times, the doctor focusing on how cumbersome it was to require informed consent and Mrs. Alvardo on how difficult it was for her to access abortion services in her home state of North Dakota. No one asked me any questions about the women who died by abortion.
After the hearing, I felt a good deal of anger. I felt the same the night I stood alone at the Supreme Court at the end of the March for Life in 2002. I had been holding my homemade sign that read: “I Regret Choosing to Abort My Baby.” The pro-aborts were gathering for a candlelight vigil, and I stood there, hoping they would reach out to me and offer me help – but they didn’t. One woman said, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” but the rest of them looked at me with disdain. As a woman who regrets her abortion, I was invisible to them. Similarly, at the hearing, facts, just like women and babies when they are inconvenient, are dismissed by abortion supporters. The irony came full circle as I thought about a comment made by one of the Congressman. He said, “Anti-choice people have an ideological bias in what facts they choose to address!” The reality is the pro-aborts have an ideological bias in the people and testimonies to which they choose to listen!
And yet there is hope. After 47 years of fighting, polls are now showing that people don’t love abortion. More folks are describing themselves as pro-life or that they support limiting abortion to the first trimester. That is why we as the Church must intensify our awareness efforts. We must increase our ministry outreach programs to pregnant women, so they reject abortion. Finally, we must advocate before God’s throne for those in need of forgiveness because of past abortion experiences.
But we need your help to do this! Look back at the bullet pointed items from earlier in this post. Please memorize one or two points and share them with people you meet with, friends and family members, fellow church congregants, and social media followers. We at AFL are working to develop a fact sheet, derived from my written testimony from the hearing. Using this resource and working together, we can get the truth about abortion out into the public, regardless of pro-abortion bias, so that the facts survive ideology!
If you are interested in receiving a copy of the fact sheet, email our Administrator directly.
Written by AFL President Georgette Forney