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January 2008

Hard to figure what will click. Who would have thought that a quiz show would rank among television’s longest running programs. But Jeopardy, first broadcast in the mid ’60s and continuously running since the early ’80s, is just that. And from all appearances, its run is far from over. It’s a simple game, really. Contestants pick categories and are given answers. Their jobs are to figure out the matching questions. Sounds easy enough.

So let’s play. The category is American culture. The answer is Colleen Chambers. And the question? Don’t know, huh? How about Dorothy Brown and Pamela Colson? Ring any bells? Okay, try Lilian Cortez. Still no answer, er, question? Surely you must know Holly Patterson. She made the news. The silence is deafening. So who are these women of American culture? We’ll get there.

On January 22, we mark the anniversary of a change in American culture, a change for the much worse. On that day in 1973, without the consent of the people, totally unrestricted abortion became legal. We don’t mark this day with cake and candles. We mark it with a death toll. It now stands at almost 49 million. Few saw this day coming. Certainly the unborn didn’t.

But lost in the unborn body count are other victims of abortion—most notably the women. On January 22, 1973, women were told that the era of the unsafe, back-alley abortions was over. Their “problem” could now be fixed in the safety of a doctor’s office. Whether encouraged by a boyfriend, spouse, parent, school counselor, friend, or by what they read or otherwise heard, women believed the hype. And from the very moment they chose abortion, their lives were in jeopardy. Not the game-show kind. Real jeopardy.

So who are those five women? They are ones who the abortion industry, pro-choice politicians, and believers in the “right to choose” would love to forget. They are women who didn’t see it coming — women killed not by back-alley abortions but by legalized abortion. And there are hundreds of them. Information about the women is contained in public records (See and Where privacy requires or information is lacking, only a first name is listed. These are just the known victims. A full grouping may be hundreds, even thousands more.

How did the five women die? Colleen Chambers died from blood clots. Dorothy Brown hemorrhaged following an incomplete abortion. For Pamela Colson, death came from a perforated uterus. Lilian Cortez’s heart just stopped. And 18-year old Holly Patterson suffered an agonizing death after taking the “killer pill,” abortion-producing RU-486. That’s the pill so “safe” that the FDA approved it just a few years go. So far, thirteen women have died from it worldwide, most in the United States. Although these and other women were of different races, creeds, and backgrounds, a common thread joined them. They were all fooled to death. They were misled into believing that a procedure intended to kill their children could ever be made safe for them.

We must not allow these women’s deaths to be in vain. We can start by loudly speaking the truth: abortion kills women, and we are killing ours! As we have done with smoking, drugs, and alcohol, we must educate young and old alike to the life-threatening dangers of abortion. It’s doubtful that those women were meaningfully told, if told at all, that they risked death from so-called “safe” abortion.

We must expose the truth about the abortion industry. And if you don’t believe it’s an industry, here’s an answer: 264,943 and $55.8 million. The question: what are the abortion and profit tallies of Planned Parenthood for 2005-06 alone? Quite literally, Planned Parenthood and others like it are dealing in blood money, with death an acceptable exchange for profit.

We must challenge our politicians. Do your candidates receive money from Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood’s political action committee, or similar organizations? If we are serious about protecting women, we must defeat politicians who pander to women but pledge allegiance to those running the death machines.

And we must be there for the women. Their problem must be ours. Their solution must be in and through us. In big and small ways, through spiritual and corporal works of mercy, we must help them over troubled waters. The alternative is their drowning in the whirlpool of abortion. No woman deserves that.

Our task is enormous; it is not overwhelming. It starts where it always should start — on our knees in prayer. It continues with hard work consistently and joyfully done. It never loses sight of the God we serve.

Legalized abortion has been around almost as long as Jeopardy, but it is no quiz show. It’s a horror show. And it’s time to end its run.

For good.

Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois, where they raise their six kids.

© 2008 Paul V. Esposito. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is freely granted.

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