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adolescent women and children. As an involved citizen, I have looked at the statistics showing the rising number of adolescent pregnancies. I have become acquainted with the problems of pregnant young women in my own community and in others and I have talked with health professionals and counsellors who are trying to meet their many and varied needs. In the process, I have seen that increased programs of medical care and social services were needed at the federal, state and local levels and have worked actively to initiate and promote such services.
It is my judgment, and that of the professionals in the field with whom I hare consulted, that the passage of either of the bills before us today would make a significant improvement in the services available to young pregnant women and their children.
I serve as President of American Citizens Concerned for Life, a national organization actively involved in this area. We have as one of our priorities the restoration of legal protection for the unborn and the safeguarding of the rights of other vulnerable members of the human family. We are also involved in attempting to deal with significant problems that are present in the lives of many distressed individuals and those that they depend on for their well being. “Protect-Cherish-Enhance Human Life" is the motto which we have adopted and which accurately reflects the spirit and purpose of this organization. In addition to advocating the right to life, we in ACCL feel that society must accept responsi. bility for the subsequent quality of the lives of unborn children. Maintaining the quality of a child's life after birth is of as much concern to us as is safeguarding the legal protection of life before birth. Abortion in our eyes really involves two issues-one of justice and rights, and one of loving and caring. It is around the second issue that much cooperation and progress can occur, while the first still remains a focus of debate and division. We in ACCL do not feel that the rights of women should include the freedom to choose to destroy their unborn children, so we have worked for laws to correct the present injustice we believe is present. A widespread consensus does not yet exist on that point in this country. But people who disagree about the relative rights of the mother, the unborn child, and society usually can agree that abortion is generally not a good thing and should be avoided whenever possible. Many proponents of "freedom of choice" allege that they are basically opposed to abortion. They believe that the woman's decision to abort is not wrong but they may still see abortion itself as undesirable. It should be expected that most "freedom of choice” advocates would actively support the bills before us today.
This will be particularly true when it is made clear that many poor women, pressed by financial circumstances, presently have only the "freedom” to abort and that for women of limited means abortion is far more accessible than medical assistance, financial aid and a supportive and caring environment. Surely, advocacy of the "right of a woman to choose" does include the right for her to choose to continue the pregnancy, and give her baby a chance to continue life. In the process she should be able to maintain her own self-respect, dignity and physiological and psychological health. Programs like those under consideration today must be implemented if women are to have such a choice available. If this is not done, then in the words of a famous Janis Joplin song, "freedom is just another word.” Abortion proponents have an opportunity by actively supporting these bills and other similar programs to insure that freedom is not just an empty word for the troubled pregnant women of this country.
For detailed information about the lack of alternatives to abortion and the need for developing alternatives to abortion, I refer you to our previous testimony presented before Senator Bayh's Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments. I am requesting that that testimony be entered into the record of this hearing. I would also refer you to the remarks that Senator Kennedy and Senator Bayh made accompanying introduction of their supportive services bills.
Proponents of legal protection for the unborn should easily be able to support these bills also. Their concern for the life of the unborn child surely includes advocacy of programs promoting the well-being and health of the child in utero. Pro-life people know that the mother's needs must be given every consideration if they are truly concerned for the health and well-being of the unborn infant. It is she who is the baby's first and only line of defense. It is on her that the unborn child depends for nutrition, warmth, shelter, physiological and psychological support and life itself. To be consistent, a pro-life philosophy needs to provide protection for and enhancement of a baby's life after birth no less before
birth. I should extend to the troubled pregnant mother, the father and the family facing the crisis.
It should also be apparent to pro-life groups and individuals that passage of these bills will result in the saving of many unborn lives. One of my friends in Minnesota, who heads an active Birthright emergency pregnancy service, explained to me that most of their clients come in seeking abortion, but after finding that supportive services are available nearly all of them elect to continue the pregnancy. Many of these young women who were looking for a solution to their problem really wanted something other than abortion and readily chose other options when they were offered. It is intolerable that uninformed, frightened young women are being aborted because they don't know where else to turn for help.
Mr. Senator, you no doubt are very proud of your sister, Eunice Shriver, and the leadership she has shown in developing alternatives to abortion. Her challenge, "Instead of destroying life, let us destroy the conditions that make life intolerable,” should find acceptance by people on both sides of the abortion issue. We in the pro-life movement welcome her challenge to help make life more tolerable for pregnant women and children. Our neglect and apathy must not contribute to the tragedy of abortion. Support for S. 2360 and S. 2538 will give us an opportunity to demonstrate our consistent concern for human life.
Many other interested groups have seen the need for the types of services these bills authorize. On March 2nd, 1973, the National Council of Churches released a study paper on abortion containing a section on "The Churches' Responsibilities" that stated the following:
"... Although diversity about abortion remains, surely it can be agreed that it is imperative to end the need for abortion. Abortion is never a desirable solution, though it is often at present regarded by some as a necessary one. Therefore, the churches are called to act as advocates for the development of public policies which contribute to a climate in which a valid choice can be made.
Alternatives to abortion must be real if freedom of conscience and responsibility are to be more than rhetoric. This means that society must offer good health care, both pre and post-natal; day care facilities; homemaker services where needed; maternity and paternity leave; family service centers; and expert counseling services ...
... Basic to the entire subject of abortion is a reorientation of priorities to those which are life enhancing. The agony of private and social decisions regarding abortion can be eliminated as alternatives become real. It is
toward this end that the churches must work ..." The February 13, 1973, Pastoral Message of the Administrative Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that: "... We praise the efforts of Pro-Life Groups and many other concerned Americans and encourage them to:
A. Offer positive alternatives to abortion for distressed pregnant women. ..."
The Continental Congress on the Family, a national conference of 1800 evangelical Christians that met in St. Louis the week of October 13, 1975, issued an "Affirmation on the Family” that contained the following statement supporting programs of alternatives to abortion :
“We acknowledge that Christians differ in their view concerning the time when personhood begins, but we agree that God had admonished us to choose life instead of death, and has set penalties for those who would, even accidentally, cause a pregnant woman to be injured in such a way that an unborn child is harmed. We believe that compassion for distressed mothers and families and concern for unborn children require us to offer spiritual guidance and material solace consistent with the teachings of God's Word. We encourage the church to influence the social-moral climate in which unintended pregnancies occur. We see no grounds on which Christians who are concerned for all human life and for the well-being of the family can condone the free and easy practice of abortion as it now exists in our society. At the same time, we exhort the church to show compassion on those who suffer
herause of the abortion experience." On June 5, 1975, the Minnesota United Methodist Annual Conference petitioned the 1976 General Conference to modify the statement on abortion in the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church to provide that:
"... Our belief in the sanctity of unborn life make us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and
well-being of the mother, ... A decision concerning abortion should be made only after thorough and thoughtful consideration by the parties involved, with medical and pastoral counsel. Mothers and fathers confronted with unplanned and unwanted pregnancies are urged to seek creative positive alternatives to abortion. Moreover, the United Methodist Church supports responsible family planning and sex education, increased counseling services for distressed mothers and fathers in the event of unplanned pregnancies, improved adoption procedures, more research into genetic defects, and generally, an ethical stance which seeks solutions that are life-enhancing for
mothers, fathers, and their unborn children." There is reason to expect that church bodies and their members will readily support and welcome legislation of the type being considered today.
Bills providing alternatives to abortion have been passed in a number of state legislatures, indicating constituent interest in service in these areas. For example, this year the Maine State Legislature passed a bill requiring health insurance plans to provide maternity benefits regardless of marital status, The Minnesota State Legislature has enacted similar legislation, along with laws extending Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC) coverage to an unemployed pregnant woman prior to the birth of her child, requiring vaccinations to prevent birth defects from rubella infections during pregnancy, requiring health insurance coverage for newborn infants from birth and providing state income tax deductions for adoption expenses and state subsidies for adoption of handicapped children. Other legislative proposals have included elimination of the “illegitimate" designation on birth certificates, maternal and child nutritional food supplements, child "abuse prevention programs and the creation of a commission to study family social services.
In Minnesota, a statewide Women's Political Caucus convention passed a Resolution endorsing alternatives to abortion. Both major political parties in Minnesota have also endorsed this concept at various levels and in 1972 the Republican National Convention Platform Committee heard testimony on the need for supportive services for pregnant women as an alternative to.abortion.
Citizens who have seen the unmet needs of pregnant women have organized themselves to provide “hot line” crisis help to pregnant women through a large and growing number of groups known as Birthright, Alternatives to Abortion, Inc., Emergency Pregnancy Service, Lifeline, and the like. There are over 800 such groups affiliated with one national organization alone. For most of these volunteers, who have given countless hours to assist troubled pregnant women, it is a matter of deep concern that coordinated adequate pregnancy services are often not available. Most emergency pregnancy service workers should be in favor of these bills. .
I would also expect that innumerable other groups who are concerned about the welfare of young children, the integrity of the family or the advancement of women will be supportive of this legislation.
There is great need for the additional services provided by the School-Age Mother & Child Health Act of 1975" and the “Life Support Centers Act of 1975." In the minds of most of the public, preventing adolescent pregnancy would be far preferable to treatment following its occurrence. Once a very young women is pregnant there really are no "good" choices. All of them carry the possibility of emotional and/or physiological scars for both mother and child. New efforts must be launched to find ways to reverse the trend of increasing teenage pregnancy. Provision of contraceptives to young children is not an adequate answer to the problem even though that may minimize conceptions which would result in still further problems. The promotion of responsible sexuality and parenthood and a stable family unit must be given a high priority if we wish to turn the tide. These bills would allow for such programs and include the counseling, family planning and the personal attention that would hopefully reduce recidivism. ACCL believes that family planning methods appropriate to people of differing backgrounds and beliefs should be available to those who choose to use them, provided that these methods do not end a pregnancy already begun.
ACCL's August 21, 1974 testimony before Senator Birch Bayh's Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments contained our pledge to work as partners with Congress in building an America in which abortion is not necessary to meet the social, psychological or medical needs of pregnant women. Our later testimony before that same subcommittee elaborated on those needs and called upon Senator Bayh to urge hearings on these topics before this subcommittee. Subsequently, the bills being considered today were introduced and these hearings were scheduled.
Clearly, Senator Kennedy, the leadership you and Senator Bayh have shown in choosing to author and to advocate the passage of these bills could make a positive difference in many lives. So great a number of people have been touched by the crisis of adolescent pregnancy that there is scarcely anyone unfamiliar with its potential tragedy and heartache, S. 2360 and S. 2538 offer a ray of hope to people across this country that we are willing to face these problems openly and realistically and to dedicate some of our resources to their solution. Fiscal responsibility does require prudent spending of the resources we have available and I believe that the modest funding necessary for these proposals is an investment in our nation's future that we can ill afford to reject.
We ask the country and the congress to rally around and support the bills before us, putting our differences aside, knowing that the women and children of this country desperately need our help.
In this year of the woman, with its focus on women's rights, let it not be said that we turned our backs on those thousands of young women who want to live up to the responsibilities a pregnancy entails—those who will not reject their unborn child but who struggle against great odds to give the life entrusted to them a chance.
A MODIFIED HUMAN LIFE AMENDMENT BY JODY BRANT SMITH My sincere thanks to chairman Don Edwards, by whose invitation to place this statement in the printed record of his abortion hearings this statement is prepared.
I propose the bill, and subsequently explain the bases upon which it is predicated :
A BILL limiting abortion-on-demand to a period no later than the first 12 weeks of human
gestation, and proscribing all but physically-necessary abortions after that time As far as the present writer is aware, this is the only compromise amendment proposal submitted. It does not redundantly seek what other proposals seek, 1.e., proscription earlier than 12 weeks; neither does it seek to continue the intolerable present statuete allowing abortion in every state through at least the 24th week of gestation."
Much the same proposal is printed in the Senate Subcommittee Hearing Record (Vi. II)'on' abortion, Birch Bayh, Chairman. The rationalë presented here, however, differs considerably from that presented in the earlier Record.
Convinced by available empirical data that human life is individuated at a time far earlier than 12 weeks gestation, viz., at conception, I shall first outline my summary-reasons for submitting this bill-proposal. Subsequently, I shall amplify on points which seem applicable of such treatment.
(A) My first reason for submitting a modified, moderated proposal is simply based on the conviction that any reduction in the present 24 week allowability of abortion-on-demand would be an improvement. (B) I hold (A) for at least two further points,
(1) It is far more possible that the 2nd trimester fetus is pain-perceptive, than is the 1st. The techniques used in post-1st trimester procedures are barbaric—salt poisoning may require up to six (6) hours to kill-considerations of this sort are relevant, if death is already foredoomed, for no rational being would wish for a death accompanied by unnecessary suffering.
(2) The related concepts of “viability” and “person", assigned by the Court as not existing before the 24th week”, are in their own right sufficiently disturbing as to indicate the desirability of their mitigation rather than their propitiation : such a goal would for the present be attained by the reduction of legalized abortion to 12 weeks, removing it from any ques
tions or implications surrounding "via ty" or of “person". (C) Even if the Modified Amendment is not immediately approved, its promotion will alert the public to the excesses of the present law:: A still further (and, to this writer, preferable) conservative amendment might be the reactive result: this proposal would be catalytic.
1 Supreme Court Reporter, 93 S. Ct., 705 (1973), p. 706. 3 Ibid., p. 732.
3 Certain media have repeatedly described the Court ruling as half-truth; subsequently, most people seem to believe the law stops at 12 weeks ; Kevin Phillips, syndicated columnist, quotes recent surveys addressing this mis-understanding. See, ex., Tallahassee Democrat March 9, 1976.
I turn now to a more-extended analysis of the concept person, and “viability" (I enclose this in quotes in indication of my suspicion of its validity in any but a reified sense, i.e., from the condition to substance. See discussion in Senate Subcommittee Record, Vol II).
It has become fashionable in some quarters to bifurcate a distinction between "person" and "human being".: Such proponents grant that the human fetus is a member of the (Genus and) species, Homo sapiens, but deny that on this account alone, it is necessarily a person. According to this view, which seeks to emphasize "autonomy" and "being able to remember the past and plan for the future", etc., all persons are human, but not all humans are persons.
Evidently, the 93 S. Ct. concurs with much of this view, and moreover, treats the opposing position—that full hominization occurs with conception—as just another view among the multitude; quite ignores the overwhelming empirical data of the biological sciences positing the contrary.
If such is the case, we should cease at once from describing murder under the term 'homocide, and refer to something more considerate, “personacide".
True that individuation and independence are not equivalent, I suggest that “viability", defined as ability to exist independent of the mother, entails independence. But reflection indicates how tenuous such an independence may be, not merely for fetuses but equally for adults and children: Which of us is truly independent of each and every other living being? No One! Does this absurd view not, if accepted, imply that actions similar to feticide might someday be practiced on anyone who, by definition is not “viable" because he or she is nonindependent? The position of in utero and/or “non-viable" fetuses should give pause even to those who otherwise have no qualms about abortion as the law now exists.
Not infrequently matters have a way of shifting from one extreme to the opposite extreme. Now if there is no real "viability, really no utter independence, does this not leave open the door to a telescoping, collapsible, Hobbesian Leviathan, in a word, to a totalitarian/totalist state? Perhaps so and perhaps not, but the former is so undesirable as to urge its preclusion by every means, well in advance of its overt manifestation.
The putative mother's "right to privacy" ? is the ostensible but adjudicated basis upon which the present law is predicated. Has an admirable interest is individual welfare not only ignored another individual, and unintentionally laid the foundation for its very converse, a collectivist state in which no individuality is recognized ?
That the above is not delusive thinking can be easily shown by reviewing the comments of several prominent abortion-favoring thinkers. Consider:
“If people want to control population, it can be done ... permit each couple a maximum of two children ... accidental pregnancies beyond the limit would be interrupted by abortion. If a third child were born without a license,
or a fourth, the mother would be sterilized”.8 and, Garrett Hardin is quoted as having said that “Coercion is a dirty word to most liberals now, but it need not forever be so"... "Voluntarism is insanity”. The same source reporting Hardin above also reputes to the founder of “Zero Population Growth (ZPG)”, Richard Bowers, a 1969 statement that "Voluntarism is a farce".10
Ashley Montegu has asserted that no child is a human person until he or she has been, or so it is claimed, "socialized”.u
I submit that comments such as these are sufficient to depart from “viable”.
Says Barry Commoner. G. Hardin uses ethical rubrics for covertly political ends. I should like at this point to make note of historical occurrences which have also used euphemisms with disastrous success against innocent human life: “All correspondence referring to the matter was subject to strict language rules' ... it is rare to find documents in which the bald words such as 'extermination', 'liquidation', or ‘killing' occur, the prescribed code names for killing were
4 Cf. M. Tooley, in Philosophy and Public Affairs, Fall, 1973.
8 Davis, Kingsley, "Declaration on Population and Food", Daedalus, Fall, 1973. qunter hy Commoner, Barry, 'How Poverty Breeds Overpopulation," Ramparts, September, 1975, p. 22. * Mark, Paul, 'The Mercy Killers," Palos Verdes Estates, Ca. No date. (No specific source named.)
10 ] hid. (No specific source named by Dr. Marx.)