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servative organizations and authoritarian religious groups—which joined forces to try to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. I think the really sad thing is that the focus of these groups who may be very sincerely and thoughtfully opposed to abortion has been on people like you, has been on the legislature, has been in the form of filing bills and attaching riders and trying to amend the U.S. Constitution, because the reality is that an antiabortion victory, if you want to call it that, that comes out of oppressive legislation is a very hollow one. It serves only those who are truly vindictive, because a legislative change isn't going to stop abortions. There are very few people who could honestly come before you and suggest that making abortion illegal is really going to make a significant difference.
Senator Bayh. Let me deal with that question. One of you or all three of you.
We have had figures printed that show there has been an increase. How significant an increase depends on whose figures one relies on, but at least the number of abortions that we know about have gone up significantly. It is, of course, always difficult to nail down the number of illegal abortions.
Is it your opinion that there would be no difference in the numbers, that there might not be a good number of women who didn't have the $800 when forced to look at that test of doing something illegal or dangerous, might decide to have the child; do you have any data?
Ms. Lowry. Well, I think we have probably seen the same studies. I would agree with what you say. I think there has been an indication that legally situation has made a difference and that certain groups have gotten abortions that would not in the past have gotten abortions.
Senator Bay. Perhaps I should ask you too-it might be more helpful and easier on you to confine your answer to that question to the statistical area that you are familiar with. What about Massachusetts ? What data do you have about illegal abortions before and the number of abortions that are performed now?
Ms. LOWRY. I have one piece that covers really New York rather than Massachusetts and one I will have to say undocumented impression from our own group in Massachusetts. A significant study was done by Dr. Tietze in New York that indicated that certain groups, the very young and older women were getting abortions that would not have in the past. We, of course, saw this in the Pregnancy Counseling Service in Boston.
The people under restrictive laws who did not get abortions, yet who wanted them were usually the 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds who didn't come to the office until they were literally 19 and 20 weeksextraordinary situations where the parents didn't know that the girl was pregnant, even though to anybody else looking at her, she was obviously pregnant. The very young teenager who was terrified to tell anybody, who really just hoped it would go away, and really didn't say anything until it was too late. For this kind of person, at 19 weeks, to go to an illegal abortionist is to invite death right there. An illegal abortionist just wouldn't touch a pregnancy that far
along. To have a hospital-based, second trimester abortion is not, I can't say, the world's simplest procedure, but it is done and in fact the second trimester procedures tend to be on the very young, so I think it would be fair to say there has been a transition—that before the laws changed that particular segment did not get abortions.
The trouble is, if we turned back, what would happen! We have thousands of physicians who have dealt with abortion as a medical rather than a legal issue. They have seen it as an integral part of medical care. Could you plunge that whole group back into the Dark Ages? I think that one could probably say that in an area where alcohol was unavailable and you suddenly legalized alcohol you might see an increase in consumption. Where it was generally available and you banned it, given the people who knew how to make bathtub gin, I wonder, I wonder, looking at prohibition particularly, whether one would
back Senator Bayh. I am not too sure, although some of that bathtub gin was powerful stuff and had a powerful impact on people, I am not too sure the impact on people of drinking a little illegal booze was the same thing as a person having an illegal abortion.
Ms. Lowry. Not at all, but I draw on this image as a parellel in terms of human nature. The fact is, from our experience, women who want to have an abortion will have an abortion come hell or high water. What really happens is, if you make a law restrictive you don't change that fact. You certainly effect the circumstances. You can set up a very punitive system so that people who get abortions will have them under the worst possible circumstances, but they will have them. That is a subjective statement and I realize you are bombarded with subjective statements.
I feel there is a better way for people who are concerned about abortions and don't like abortions or are sensitive to the difficult moral questions that abortions present to attack this. I think that there are lots of ways that we can really fight abortions.
Senator Bayh. How?
Ms. Lowry. Well, starting with the field that I am most interested in, family planning and sex education should receive the widest possible support. I know some people have trouble with their religious backgrounds and birth control. So there are other approaches as well.
Senator Bayh. We are dealing here with an area that-take politics out of it, if it is possible for somebody who is running for reelection to do so. After the election there will be no question about my ability to do that. But try as I have to look at it'objectively, I have never faced anything that has even approximated this issue in combining a deep moral fervor, and on both sides. Those who are talking about the right to choose in this country and the people who feel that that is taking life feel very strongly about it. I can certainly understand that from my own personal standpoint.
The scientific-medical-legal question is very complex. So here we are asked to get the Government involved in trying to sort this out, which is a very, very difficult thing to do. I ask this question only because the Government is being asked by some to sort this out, not that I feel that the Government has any position to sort out the question I am about to address to you.
First of all, let me say I don't believe the Government has a role in trying to determine bedroom practices dealing with the differences that some people have about the morality or immoralities of certain types of birth control methods, short of abortion.
Have you noticed any change in the attitudes that prevailed earlier relative to the immorality of using certain kinds of birth control? Has there been a movement toward feeling maybe we can bend a little bit and accept certain types of birth control as being better than the abortions?
Ms. LOWRY. Oh, yes. I think there is no question but that birth control is now used by members of religious groups that have traditionally opposed contraception. While the hierarchy may still stand in that position, the hierarchy isn't going to deal with the results of the problem. Certainly most young people with education are strongly in favor of contraception and birth control, and that usage by certain religious groups which have a traditional posture against it is actually identical to use by groups that don't have that religious background. I think that is very significant.
I think another thing, in addition to the changing values and attitudes on contraception, is that the women's movement of the support by the general populace of the improvement of women and their image of themselves and their options has been every bit as good a contraceptive and contraceptive motivator as have birth control pills. I think motivation is a key thing here. If you are going to fight abortion you have got to look at why people get pregnant if they don't want to get pregnant, and, too, why people who get pregnant feel compelled to terminate it because of external circumstances. We have a classic image of who this person is, who is pregnant, and who is seeking an abortion, and we settle on an 18-year-old college student, but the reality is that this is not the typical case. Our society is not very tolerant of the 35-year-old mother who has four children who is pregnant and wants to go through with this pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption. Our society is very, very punitive to that person. She is a "bad" mother. She is a “terrible” mother. She doesn't like her child enough to keep it. What kind of dreadful person must she be. So this woman is faced not with the choice of continuing the pregnancy and giving up for adoption, or continuing and keeping, and terminating. She is faced with the question "can she live in her neighborhood or not,” and if she personally feels she cannot handle a fourth child she doesn't have the option of giving it up for adoption, not because of the law but because of the attitude. I think we can work to change these broad punitive attitudes—anything. It is the whole gambit; it is better education; better welfare rights; better health care, all of these things that make people feel they can't have one more child. I think that is something everybody should be able to work for. That is the direction we have to go in. We cannot go back to the days where a woman in Portland, Maine, had to get up at 2 a.m. to go to a clinic in New York for a 10:30 appointment and then to turn around and get back on that bus and ride for 7 hours to get back to her home town after an abortion procedure. We just
can't go back to that. We can't go back to the time before that, when women who could raise $800 or $1,500, traveled to London or Japan and the women would couldn't get that kind of money went underground and went down the back alleys. We can't go back that way again.
I hope we never go back to the way it was 10 years ago, when, with $187 in my pocket, I walked down the lower end of Massachusetts Ave., the seedy side of the town, the seedy side of the tracksI won't go into all of the details, but it ended up in a chiropractor's office and it is the kind of experience which changes your life. It changed mine. It made me feel very strongly that whatever energies I had, whatever education I had, what skills I had, had to be put toward making sure that no other woman would ever have to do it the way I did it: prevention, wherever possible, in all ways possible, but there had to be options for people like me.
I realize this is a politically sensitive issue. I realize you must be under pressure, but I really hope that what comes through from these hearings, from the letters that come in to you and even from a sense of what people are thinking, what the majority of people think, that you can perceive there are good arguments on both sides and can respect those arguments and particularly can support a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which echoed that respect and which was not proabortion, but prochoice—which set down as the law of the land a ruling which said that each and every individual should be free to follow his or her most sincere conscience and religious beliefs in that matter free from coercion or interference by the U.S. Government.
That is all I have to say.
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Thank you, Senator Bayh, for permitting me to speak with you about this serious matter in an atmosphere that is deliberative and trustful. I commend you for the many hearings you have held relative to these proposed amendments and the spirit of fairness and honest inquiry with which they have been conducted.
I am Mrs. George Roudebush of St. Louis, Mo., president of the committee for legal abortion in Missouri. Our citizens' group was formed in 1969, at first to establish in Missouri the legal right of any woman to secure a safe abortion; and to protect that right, after the Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1973, affirmed it. Our committee is affiliated with the National Abortion Rights Action League, of which I am a director.
My interest in many aspects of family planning and maternal health extends over many years and has led me into many activities. I am currently on the board of directors of the Planned Parenthood Association of St. Louis, and on its Speakers' Bureau. In the sixties I headed a citizens committee to initiate birth control services in public health institution of the city and county. Subsequently I chaired a coalition task force bringing together agencies in the field which has now developed into the St. Louis Metropolitan Area Council for Voluntary Family Planning, Inc. These activities all stem from my abiding belief that women are entitled to know how to manage their reproductive life, for their good, for the good of their children, for the well-being of society. My concern tells further that they must have access to the best possible medical services and reliable information within their financial reach to plan their childbearing-always on a voluntary basis. While my activities in the field of family planning have been exclusively as a volunteer, I am professionally trained as a counselor, having received the M.A. degree in that specialty from Washington University as recently as 1968. Let me anticipate your possible questions and add that: I am married to a lawyer, we are the parents of three grown children, and the grandparents of three. I am a lay reader in the Episcopal Church.
Obviously, with this background and experience, I speak not as an expert-you have heard from many in many fields—but as an active citizen. I intend to limit my remarks to the question before the committee which is, I understand: Shall the Federal Constitution be amended to deny women the right to choose whether to continue pregnancy, a right upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in January of 1973. I hope to focus on the moral issue surrounding the right of privacy and freedom of conscience for the individual woman.
Our committee supports the decision of the court and continues to believe that it represents a compromise in that it leaves open and available the option of abortion, yet imposes it on no woman. The court recognized that a woman is more than a reproductive unit-to use a label applied by one of our opponents whom you have heard here, that she is a person of dignity, competent to make decisions about the most intimate aspect of her life. The court opinion frees her to act according to her best judgment—and she will aways choose the greater good as she see it. Her childbearing is not to be dictated by the State; before the court ruled, legislatures could hold that a woman must bear that child, once pregnant. For compulsion by legislatures, the Supreme Court decision substitutes the judgment of the individual woman; she is given the privilege to choose according to her own reason and moral sense. Surely this is the way we have traditionally dealt with moral choices in our free society-with high regard for a wide diversity of views. There is nothing in the Supreme Court decision that prohibits a woman from acting in according with the moral teachings of her church, nor from seeking counsel with any other source of help that she respects. The moral and ethical teachings she received will be factors in her decision, of course. The kind of teaching that will reduce the need for abortion might be a more constructive program for those against abortion rights than attacking the U.S. Supreme Court. I am speaking of early instruction in sexuality and values of family planning in the schools, involving parents ideally. The goal of such courses should be to “develop positive standards of responsible sexuality and responsible parenthood”-to quote from the Reverend Warren Schaller whom you heard for the opposition on August 21.
Our position that the abortion decision is rightfully the woman's is far from advocating abortion. And it is a long way from giving the States the power to compel a woman to go through with an undesired pregnancy, or the power to compel a woman to terminate it. This fear of government control is very real to our opponents. Yet experience in other countries does not justify that fear. For example, Sweden and Denmark legalized abortion in the 1930's, Japan in 1948. Nothing like imposed euthanasia, or compulsory sterilization, or gov