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Dr. SHOUP. Many eggs we scramble for breakfast are fertilized eggs; if there happens to be a rooster in the barn yard they are fer
Senator BAYH. When we eat them we can't tell that. In a certain point in the gestation period you can't.
The situation of the doctor in Boston, I guess it is, whatever happened to that? Is that case in the court?
Ms. Lowry. Are you speaking about the Boston City Hospital case ? Senator Bayh. Yes.
Ms. Lowry. There are two different cases going on. One was the researchers, and one was a physician who, in 1972, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, with the authorization of the hospital, performed a hysterotomy, which is a minicesarean section on a patient with medical disability who had been approved under the hospital's therapeutic abortion system. The case attracted no attention whatsoever until certain groups, who were strongly opposed to abortions and who wished to create some publicity surrounding a research proj,ect going on at the same time subpoena all the city hospital's records and in the process of going through those records found this one particular patient's record.
Senator BayH. Is that Doctor Kenneth Edelin?
That file was pulled and singled out for special attention. In the initial months surrounding the case in the press there was a great deal of confusion as to what the nature of the case was. The attorneys filed for a bill of particulars which was granted several months later.
The district attorney said in various press releases that Dr. Edelin was going to be charged with smothering a baby boy. The court has now granted a bill of particulars and admitted that the baby was delivered dead, that the cause of death was anoxia, which means oxygen supply being unavailable because of the placenta being detached. Given the fact the State did recognize this was a dead birth, the case will certainly be dismissed.
But I think this kind of case sort of brings to a boil all of the negative feelings—it is an ugly situation for everybody. I have been fighting for abortion rights ever since I became aware of the problem, but I personally feel very uncomfortable with the very clear reality of the second trimester abortions, and I can understand the reservations and the very grave concern that people feel in this kind of a setting. I think it must be particularly difficult for legislators who are not people who are involved day to day, with medicine and hospitals and the realities of that, to try to puzzle this out. Ones' reaction to seeing a second trimester fetus is usually to recoil. It is a very difficult thing, and I think that most of the focus, for this reason in fact, of the antiabortion groups is to stress what a second trimester fetus looks like, with all of the gory pictures. You have probably gotten tons of them.
Senator BAYH. Without all the strategy business, it seems to me where women have rights, it would seem to me that it is not unreasonable to suggest that unborn fetuses also have rights.
Ms. Lowry. It is not unreasonable and I can respect people who feel that. My problem is this: it is such a unique situation that it is hard to find a parallel that takes it out of an emotional
Senator Bayi. It is relatively easy for me to sort out in my mind the one extreme. The question is how you go. You may disagree with that. Suppose this had been a live 24-week birth, and the mother wanted to have an abortion; she didn't want the child the baby was removed, and it was alive.
Ms. Lowry. My feeling is that if that had been a live birth that there would have been an obligation, and is in fact under the law an obligation, because an infant that is born is considered legally a person—there is a clear obligation in my mind for medical personnel to respond in the same way they would any other person.
Senator Bayh. Does that same obligation apply to a baby, to a fetus that is at the same age of development in the use of the saline position?
Ms. Lowry. Well, I will tell you why I don't think so, but this is a very hard one.
The dilemma is the unique relationship between the fetus and the woman. We have a traditional leaning in this country toward the underdog and toward any innocent party—and clearly
the fetus is an innocent party. There is just no question about that. We also have a lot of respect for individuals and their rights to be free of coercion and pressures. The dilemma is this: Can we, much as we are concerned about the fetus, set a precedent that says that one individual may be forced, contrary to their will, for the best of reasons, maybe, but still forced, to utilize their body, their blood, their oxygen, their nutrition their calcium, to support the life system of another being, person, whatever you want to say?
Senator BAYH. This is not quite that simple. I mean, I understand that strong feeling, but that runs into an equally strong legal precedent that all of us as human beings, who are in command of our mental capacities, have to be responsible for our own actions.
Ms. Lowry. We are responsible for our own actions, but, for example, there are people who are using kidney machines and without these machines they will die. It is possible and certainly has been tried in primates to hook up to the urinary system of a healthy person or primate and by recycling through the healthy individual you can clean out the system of the ill person and keep them alive. I identify with the patient in a situation like that. I think the person has a right to the health care and the machine, but I could not support legislation which compelled, against his will, another individual to lie down on that table and to act as the human kidney dialysis machine. I am not sure I can explain it, but I feel that that sets such a dangerous precedent, no matter how much emotion one might feel for the patient, no matter how much one might recognize the dilemma, and I can see the room dividing with 50 percent going here and 50 percent going there.
Senator BAYH. May I suggest that I don't believe there is a direct parallel because the person you would force to sit down with the dialysis machine had nothing to do with the creation of the kidney machine; whereas the mother who becomes pregnant participated in the action which resulted in her pregnancy.
Ms. Lowry. That is fair, because in challenging it he helps to sort out one's feelings. I think a lot of people agree with you that the circumstances are slightly different. But I have trouble equating sexual activity with the final result of pregnancy. The person who is willingly sexually active is not willing an abortion candidate no more than the person who is willingly a smoker is willingly a cancer victim. I have a Massachusetts drivers license and I take my life in my hands whenever I go out driving. But that doesn't mean, if an accident happens, that—well, as you say, it isn't simple. I think it would too facile to say someone who willingly participates in sexual intercourse willing accepted the pregnancy.
Senator BAYH. You are going to get yourself in some very hot water because if that is true of the mother, then it is not also true of the father. Where do you impose a responsibility of the father to care for the children? I don't really think you want to get yourself in a position where you suggest two adults who participate in a sexual activity don't bear responsibility for that very human, wholesome activity.
Ms. Lowry. I think one can make out a case for responsibility. It is interesting in terms of the law where the lines of responsibility have been drawn, and they have been based on birth. A father in a case where the couple is not married has not ever been held liable for the cost of abortion, for example. I think it is undefined and gray, and because it is not simple we will continue to debate this and think about it and shift back and forth, but in a way it would seem to me totally inappropriate for the Congress of this Nation to pass legislation which attempts to say that it is simple.
Senator Bayh. I would like to hear the views of any of you who care to comment on one of the concerns that has been expressed by folks on the other side. In all too many instances abortion has been presented as sort of the in-thing. There has been a great pressure and movement toward abortion without fully exploring and explaining alternatives. That has been of particular concern to parents of unwed daughters. Should we give more attention to this? What has been the practical experience ?
Ms. Lowry. I would say in one sense they are right. I wouldn't disagree. I think in any time of movement or change the pendulum swings and there are good people and bad people on all fronts. There are "crazies” on both sides. I think there are some people who have been so wrapped up in making a political point, again on both sides, that they have acted in a way which is not in the best interest of other individuals who come across their path. I think that is the tragic thing of this being a political football. As soon as we get it out of the political arena I think that will happen less and less. Some groups have been very responsible and good. I think that there are some groups that don't have such a good record: without naming names, people who have a vested political interest in pushing one way or the other, or people who have a vested financial interest in pushing one way or the other. Traditionally there were social workers who would tell you there was nothing worse than abortions, not because of a moral belief, but because the adoption home where they worked needed revenue; and at the same time there were front groups for commercial abortion referrals. But I don't think that enacting legislation of a rigid and particular viewpoint is going to address that.
In order to be here this morning I had to forego an executive committee meeting of the Massachusetts Planned Parenthood League.
Right now they are working on a statewide watts or 800 line, so they can refer callers to every kind of social help, contraceptive care, psychiatric counseling, adoption services, abortions services; and if all of this political business was not going on we could be back home working on setting up good systems, positive systems, that I think would go a long way toward eliminating the kind of abuse that the right-to-lifers are very wisely concerned about. Mrs. ROUDEBUSH. Could I add something to that?
We are very attentive in our State to the counseling association with abortion procedures in the clinics that are existing in the State. I believe that options are discussed with any potential abortion patient. I know particularly about one clinic which gives the patient the opportunity to explore all means of solving her pregnancy. would say that it is more likely that the other side is offering only one way to go and I do believe that counseling should be an integral part of a good abortion service.
Senator Bayh. Well, I appreciate very much your taking your time to help on our study, and I appreciate your contributions.
Thank you very much.
Our next witness will be Dr. Jane Furlong Cahill, member of Catholics for a Free Choice, Georgia, to be introduced by Father Joseph O'Rourke of New York.
STATEMENT OF DR. JANE FURLONG CAHILL, MEMBER OF
CATHOLICS FOR A FREE CHOICE, GEORGIA, ACCOMPANIED BY FATHER JOSEPH O'ROURKE, NEW YORK CITY
Father O’ROURKE. I am the Catholic coordinator of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility of the National Council of Churches, the national director of Catholics for a Free Choice. I am a priest, a Roman Catholic priest recently dismissed from the society of Jesuits for baptizing the child of a mother in Marlboro, Mass., who stood publically for the Supreme Court decision in favor of legalizing of abortions for reproductive freedom generally.
Senator BAYH. Was that the child or the mother?
The refusal of Boston priests to baptize this child exhibited the lengths that a minority faction in the Catholic church are ready to go to defy individual rights and church community and to preserve the present narrow-minded power against the common good in the United States. This denial of religious liberty in the church, I suppose, is to be deplored generally.
But it does place the hierarchy's good citizenship in question, I believe, insofar as my right to minister the Catholic sacraments for those who hold the reproductive freedom is threatened and this mother's right to speak for reproductive freedom is also crushed and discloses the commitment of the Cardinals to coerce conscience against the laws of the land in good sense. And for me in my job it raises the question of the whole social strategy of the hierarchial of the church.
The question of whether they may be backing off from a commitment of individual liberties of free information to equal medical and social services to all, landing the all-Catholic identity on this antiabortion stand. If the church is sincerely against abortion, it seems to me that it should, for example, reorient all its relief services to respond to spontaneous abortion in the world by working on malnutrition and poverty that is the root cause rather than spending so much effort lobbying against the rights of American women.
So today I stand against the Vatican, two Catholic churches, the position of the Jesuits, John Courtney Mury, and Cardinal Cushing, the former archbishop of Boston, and the present Supreme Court decision that would say that abortion must remain a legal alternative.
I must say I delight in a sense of freedom in the Catholic community and the majority of people in the Catholic poor and in the Catholic theological world that stand for leaving abortion a legal alternative for their own religious liberty and especially for baptism and everlasting life that speaks truth that frees
Senator Bayh. Did I understand you to say that your position is a majority position in the Catholic Church ?
Father O'ROURKE. That is my understanding.
Father O’ROURKE. Well, there have been opinions, sir, that were raised, that Catholics in the pews, about 88 percent of them hold for abortions under some circumstances—the National Catholic Reporter on November 16, 1973. Certainly in the theological schools which I am familiar with it is the position.
Senator Bayh. Is that beyond the life-of-the-mother exception?
Father O’ROURKE. Yes, it depends, of course, but I think it stands that under some circumstances reproductive freedom is held.
Senator Bays. As a Catholic man, did I understand you also include Catholic priests in that category?
Father O’ROURKE. Not Catholic laymen.
Father O’ROURKE. I would say theologians. Every American priest I wouldn't speak for, but it is certainly an opinion held by some parish priests in the United States; in fact, I would say a lot more than is generally known precisely because of our own organization. Many Catholics are afraid to join because of fear of excommunication or suspension or dismissal, as in my case.
Senator Bays. Well, I think it is a relative question, because we are not here testifying the theological points of any religious group involved in this issue, and there are many on both sides. But I think it goes to the depth of your feeling to ask a question: What does dismissal mean relative to you as a theologian or as a human being ?
Father O’ROURKE. Well, I am afraid it means that the sense of religious liberty growing in the Catholic community is also being dismissed, and there is also a general attempt to crush the cries of Catholic conscience enmeshed in serious moral issues.
Senator BAYH. What I meant, Father, as far as you and your Maker or the hereafter, what does that mean?
Father O’ROURKE. Not very much. I am pretty sure my everlasting life is not in jeopardy. One might even raise a counterquestion here.
Senator Bayi. Perhaps we will go on to the next point here.
Father O’ROURKE. I am still a priest, if that's what you are talking about, and I do hope for readministration of the Jesuit Order, par