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Feelin’ Lucky?

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March 2012

Neither the Giants nor the Patriots called the most controversial play of the recent Super Bowl.  Chrysler did, with a commercial that stopped millions of viewers dead in their tracks.  Its power came not just from its words but also from the man who spoke them.  Since his days as ramrod Rowdy Yates on TV’s Rawhide, Clint Eastwood has been making people take note.

He sure did as San Francisco police inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan.  His lunch interrupted by an armed robbery, Harry kills two robbers and wounds a third.  As that man reaches for a loaded shotgun, Harry confesses that he lost track of the bullets still chambered in a .44 Magnum pointed at the man’s head. Eastwood delivers a line that remains a Hollywood classic. “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’  Well do ya, punk?”

Some think that legalized abortion protects women from unsafe abortions.  They claim that with qualified physicians performing abortions, no “luck” will be needed.  The thought is nice but incorrect, for it fails to account for God’s design.  God has made us most exquisite creations.  We are a combination of hard and soft, physical, mental, and emotional subsystems fashioned to serve Him now and to cooperate with His plan for the next generation.  The problem is that abortion unnaturally interrupts what comes naturally.  Abortion causes physical and emotional reactions, some very intense, some even violent.  Many women cannot handle its aftermath.  Many will not learn that fact until it is too late.

Abortion is a physically brutal act.  First-trimester abortions are generally performed as dilation-and-curettage (D&C) procedures. An abortionist inserts dilating tools through a woman’s cervix to widen it.  A suction tube connected to a vacuum is inserted.  Given the baby’s softness, the suction turns the baby into mush.  The physician then inserts a curette to scrape the delicate uterine wall, hoping to remove any remains of the baby and the placenta.

By the second trimester, the baby has become bony and so a dilation-and-evacuation (D&E) procedure is usually used.  After widening the cervix, an abortionist suctions the amniotic fluids surrounding the baby.  He then inserts a Sopher clamp, its jaws over two inches long, almost an inch wide, and containing rows of sharp teeth.  Its job is to not let go.  The abortionist grips whatever he feels, and pulls. The baby is dismembered.  As the baby’s head is crushed a white gelatinous material, the baby’s brains, pours out the cervix.

What makes the procedures even more shocking is that they are generally performed blind.  Imagine a blind surgeon operating on you.  An abortionist does not see inside the uterus.  Instruments pushed too far will perforate a uterus, sometimes requiring major surgery including a hysterectomy.   If the uterine artery is cut, hemorrhage and shock will likely result.  A Sopher clamp might lock onto the uterus itself.  One abortionist reported that he pulled out what he thought was part of a baby.  It was the mother’s intestines. If an abortionist fails to completely empty the uterus dying tissue rots, causing life-threatening infection.  If he misdiagnoses a pregnancy still in a fallopian tube, the tube itself can rupture, causing hemorrhaging and infertility.  Studies show that women experiencing physical complications following their abortions are at increased risk for complications in later pregnancies.   And women do die from legal abortions.  The Blackmun Wall, named for Roe v. Wade author Harry Blackmun, lists 347 confirmed deaths from legal abortion.  Death by abortion is underreported, so there are likely many more.  Each woman had probably thought that abortion was safe.

Sadly, some who don’t die from abortion wish that they had.  Compared to woman delivering their babies, women who abort are as much as 6-7 times likely to kill themselves.  On survey of post abortive women found that 60% experienced suicidal feelings and 28% actually attempted suicide, with attempts by teens especially prevalent.  It’s easy to understand why: because abortion is irreversible, the women have no basis to hope for a better outcome. When desperate women can no longer live with themselves, they find no reason to live at all.

Women who do not take their lives often try to numb it.  Substance abuse is a huge problem for post-abortive women.  They are 4-5 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as women who delivered their children.  The abuse has been linked to violent behavior, divorce or separation, vehicle accidents, and job loss.

It is also linked to major nervous problems.  Post-abortive women are 160% more likely to need hospitalization for psychiatric problems in the first 90 days, and their need for treatment remains significantly higher over the next four years.  In a long-running study, researchers found that many women experience post-traumatic stress disorder.  Over time, the short-term relief of abortion yields to long-term negative emotions.  PTSD symptoms include flashbacks, the numbing of responsiveness, and sleep problems.  It also creates sexual dysfunctions.  Studies report that as many as 30-50% of women experienced a loss of pleasure having sex, increased pain, aversion to sex and/or men in general, or sexual promiscuity.

In 2008, candidate Barrack Obama remarked that if his daughters became pregnant out of marriage, he wouldn’t want them “punished with a baby.”  He wasn’t thinking clearly.  Abortion is the punishment, not a baby.  The punishment can last a lifetime.  Any procedure having death as its object cannot be made safe.  We need to educate our women, young and old, about the well-documented physical and emotional risks of abortion.

And we need to get our women and teens to ask themselves that one question: Do I feel lucky?

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 and have six children.

©  Paul V. Esposito 2012.  Culture of Life.  Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted.  Comments?  Visit us at

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