An organization in Little Rock, Arkansas, recently concluded two months of life-changing help to women devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Did it offer to help these displaced women build new homes? No. Did it offer to help pay their bills for medical care, regular check-ups, prenatal pills and tests? Nope. Did it offer to find adequate childcare so they could go to work and earn money? Wrong again. This Arkansas organization offered a new form of hurricane relief: free abortions.
Little Rock Family Planning Services has added to the number of casualties from the Hurricane. Go to the section titled State Mandated Information on LRFPS's website and you will see that hesitant women are told that when carrying a pregnancy to term, "the risk of death and/or major health problems of the mother are twenty times greater than those associated with having a pregnancy terminated in the first twelve weeks." Naturally, it omits the health risks for her implied child, and when listing the medical risks women face with abortion, it sheepishly broaches the topic of death by immediately adding the parenthetical clause: "It is much safer to terminate a pregnancy than to remain pregnant."
Is this true? We aren't on the Oregon Trail anymore. The truth is that abortion is dangerous, both physically and psychologically. Yes, women may initially feel relief from circumventing the burdens of raising a child, but new and far heavier burdens form in abortion's wake: depression, severe grief, and suicidal thoughts that sneak up on women slowly over a period of 5 to 20 years after the procedure. This condition is generally known as Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS).
Anxious clinics like LRFPS provide brief counseling with every abortion, but that is as effective as placing a Band-Aid on a developing tumor. The LRFPS clinic offers no additional counseling to the hurricane-devastated patients -- one more sign that the "charity" of abortion is hollow.
In September, John Leland wrote about this Little Rock clinic in the New York Times. (The article is featured on LRFPS's website.) When he asked the assisted women for comment, most of them admitted regret, saying: "I'm too old to make these mistakes"; "I probably will regret it...it's my own fault"; "I believe it's wrong...Never, never again."
The director of the clinic on its home page, Ms. Anne Osborne, told Leland, "I very often hear [from patients], 'I don't believe in this, but my situation is different.'" It's no wonder we don't see women wearing the "I had an abortion" T-shirts Planned Parenthood tried to distribute last year; few women look back on that day with anything but horror.
The clinic answers women's calls with the words, "Abortion access" and its website greets them with: "You've made the most difficult decision of your life." Assuming, of course, that the "decision" is already made. So much for clinics like LRFPS being pro-choice.
On October 31, after two months of providing free abortions to hurricane victims, LRFPS finally ended its morose charity drive. (The clinic has not disclosed the total number of abortions it donated after the hurricane.) But it has started a trend. Complimentary abortions are now being offered by Dr. William Harrison to victims of Hurricane Katrina at the Women's Clinic in Fayetteville and clinics in Texas are following suit.
Let us hope that other organizations emerge to provide a less evolved form of "charity" -- one that conforms to John Quincy Adams's definition of charity as "bearing no malice or ill-will to any human being." That includes the unborn.
Mary Rybak is an editorial intern at The American Spectator.
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