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altered. Despite a number of admonishing letters to the doctors by the state Health Department clearly citing health law violations, even mentioning deadline dates, else prosecution, no criminal action was ever taken on about 600 pertinent violations I reported from June 1974 through March 1965. A trip to Albany, New York with my town attorney on February 13, 1974 to see the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Ingraham, obviously was to no avail in the matter of enforcement of law or investigation of the office's operations either.
At this point I think it might be enlightening to elaborate on the specifics of the operation. The doctors and personnel arrive early on a Friday evening. They have motored in from Montreal or flown in from New York City. Shortly after their arrival at the farmhouse, chauffeured limousines and chartered buses from Canada arrive with their patient loads. Until recently when a house trailer was set up adjacent to the brick house, the patients waited their turn in the idling buses and limousines or when the weather was hospitable, on the lawns. The French, English language barrier incidentally has made no close friends of patients and resident neighbors, especially when a patient recovering from local anesthetic is walked around by her escort on the neighbor's lawn. The neighbor has no compassion in the first place because he has experienced the embarrassment of trying to answer his young children's inquiries as to what's going on next door and he has found out that his .real estate has depreciated in assessment because of the neighboring abortion clinic. Abortions continue early into Saturday morning and may resume late Saturday morning and end amid Saturday afternoon. There is no affiliation with local hospitals in case of emergencies. If there is a need for emergency treatment or further recovery the patients are rushed to Montreal hospitals at high speed, chauffeurs armed with a pink slip to offer state and local police as a legitimate medical trip excuse.
It is no secret that for one weekend in June 1975, the drilled water well went dry and abortions were still performed as scheduled that weekend. They are now expanding their septic sewage system which will cost about $6,000 we understand. This after two years of operation and over 2,700 abortions. The refuse and remains of the operations are stored in the small cellar or put into large “baggies" and transported back to Canada by car. Some Canadians contend that the discarded fetuses are sold to research labs in Canada.
The quarter or better million dollar business in Schuyler Falls accounted for 1,287 abortions in 1974, these were acknowledged, and in 1975, 1,422. At a conservative fee of about $200 per patient it stands to be a lucrative business. However it cost the town in registrar fees $700 plus another $100 in postage. The only income the town gets from the business is the real estate taxes assessed on a 100 year old brick farm-house labled as a summer or vacation residence for the podiatrist who says the doctors doing abortions there are his professional guests. Total real estate taxes are probably $300 or less. An associated press correspondent, of Pullitizer Prize renown, spent a couple days in Schuyler Falls last March and did research for a short article on the international ramification involved with the Schuyler Falls operations. No articles ever appeared. In fact despite news releases about our legal dif. ficulties no paper south of Albany, New York, to my knowledge, has seen fit to analyze nor expose the surreptitious nature of the small town's unwanted commercial enterprise.
Last September, one referral agency head in Montreal had a falling out with the local doctors over, among other things, improperly kept records necessary for Provincial insurance reimbursement for abortions. Sums of $85 are paid to Canadian patients for the abortion service even though for all intents and purposes abortion is illegal in Canada. The embarrassment of not being able to get insurance reimbursement for patients and the more numerous complaints of incomplete abortions prompted the referral head to "get even" if you will, by affording me with medical records which he knew might incriminate the doctors in various wrong doings. Prior to this because of not being able to administer “due process” on Canadian citizens, I was unable as registrar to verify my claims that (1) the head counts of patients did not jibe with certificates submitted (2) some patients were beyond the 12 week pregnancy allowed by Supreme Court decision to be terminated in offices; (3) some patients had falsified certificates relating to country of birth and address.
The A.P. Correspondent who visited me in March told me how irate one of the doctors of the office became when he told him in an interview that 40 to 60 abortions done by one admitted doctor in attendance in so short a time was
superhuman or just not possible. The very next weekend in March the certificate submitted dropped to about 12 the number.
As a result of the lastest divulgement in September to me of patient lists from the alienated referral agency, I reported to the state over 700 nonreportings, over 100 cases which were over the legitimate 12 week limit, and over 50 falsifications of certificates. The state Health and Education Department has had such information since September and no action has been taken criminal or otherwise. Not even an inspection of the premise has yet transpired.
Armed with the excuses of incest, rape and female disease, the proponents for abortion convinced the state legislatures and supreme court to make abortion on demand a part of our American way of life. In the words of some Medical authorities, a therapeutic necessity with good portents for society.
When (1) abortion practitioners commercially advertise their services, (2) establish abortion referral agencies to direct patients to themselves, (3) do abortions on minors, 13 and 14 years of age with out parental consent, (4) sell parturated fetuses to research laboratories, (5) pay commission fees to individuals who will bring abortion patient prospects to them and (6) arrange contracts for selling fulltime babies if the prospective abortion patient gets “cold feet”, then the American public and even legislative servants should see the miscarriage of the intent of abortion legislation-legislation meant for social and medical necessity, not liberal expediency.
The least that government should do until this infamous blot on the American family life is erased, is to enforce the laws pertinent to its legislation, something I allege has not been done.
I ask the question, how long must the public wait for the government to be concerned about such an issue that communication media would rather shun than bare the terrible truths about it? Is it really right for citizens to suffer depreciation in property and disruption of their normal mode of life because of a law imposed upon them other than local jurisdiction? Because doctors and their lawyers wield such money and political influence, should they be given the right to usurp the law? Why should we locally subsidize the use of our laws by the aliens? Lastly, will upholding this permissive legislation, which already has gone beyond its original intent, bring a better way of life to Americans?
[From the Family Coordinator, October 1974] ABORTION, PERSONAL FREEDOM, AND PUBLIC POLICY
(By Raymond J. Adamek?) This position paper considers the recent success of the abortion "reform" movement in the United States and its relationship to the Amer. ican value system. A review of the arguments and data pro-abortionists have utilized to establish present policy suggests that this rather extreme solution to personal and social problems has been adopted without adequate evidence as to its necessity, efficacy, or desirability. Some alter
nate perspectives and solutions are suggested. Within the short span of six years (1967–1973), public policy on the abortion issue in the United States has gone from one of the most restrictive among the developed countries (generally allowing abortions only to save the life of the mother), to the most permissive (allowing abortion up to the birth of the child). This dramatic turnabout was due to many factors. One of these was the fact that those who advocated an elective abortion policy were able to marshal certain traditional American values such as the right of self-determination, emphasis on the importance of the individual, attraction to innovation and that which is "modern," coupled with a disdain for the “old ways," and economic rugged individualism. Translated into the modern vernacular, these values involved the right to do one's own thing without being hassled by the establishment, and the desirability of experimenting with alternate life styles.
1 The research on which this paper is based was completed between January and October of 1973. The paper was presented at a roundtable discussion at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations in October, 1973, at Toronto, Canada. The author wishes to thank Rancel D. Hill, Marvin R. Koller, and Jerry M. Lewis for their comments on an earlier version of this paper.
_2 Raymond J. Adamek, Ph. D., Is Associate Professor of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242.
In a broader context, the pro-abortion movement has its roots in the change of the American familial institution from sacred to secular, and from status to contract, with the far-reaching implications these changes have for women's roles. Its emergence also appears to be related to the anti-child nature of much adult-liberationist thought, and the generation-gap concerns of "middle America."
In this position paper, I will consider the arguments of those who advocate elective abortion as a solution to individual and social problems, and question whether, in fact, such a policy enhances personal freedom.
HUMANITY OF THE UNBORN
Any discussion of the abortion issue must first come to grips with the question of when human life begins, since the humanity of the developing zygote-embryofetus continues to be challenged or ignored by pro-abortionists. From a biological and genetic standpoint, there is little question as to when the life of an individual human being begins. We have all known, at least since high school, that the way one distinguishes a member of the human species from other living things is by its chromosome count and structure. The individual first acquires the complement of 46 chromosomes which mark him off as a unique human being when sperm joins egg. Human life is continuous from conception to death. The changes occurring between conception, six-week's intra-uterine life, six weeks after birth, and adulthood are only stages of development and maturation, affecting the same organism. There is no magic moment after conception, either biological, sociological, or psychological, at which a non-human becomes human. We may deny or ignore the humanity of the unborn by using such terms as “bag of cells," "blob of protoplasm," "termination of pregnancy,” and “menstrual extraction," but such semantic camouflage cannot change the fact that from a biological standpoint, abortion destroys human life.
Of course, one might want to employ philosophical, psychological, or sociological criteria to determine when human life begins. Such considerations are brought up when the question of the individual human being's "personhood" is considered. Utilizing socio-psychological criteria, for example, I might hold that the individual is not a human person until he attains some sense of selfhood, perhaps sometime between one and two years after birth. Given the state of development of these disciplines, however, it would be almost impossible to draw an accepted empirical line separating the “human" from the "non-human.” In any case, modern developments in fetology (Liley, 1967) suggests that the more we learn about pre-natal life, the closer to conception we would draw the line. Moreover, from a value standpoint, if we are in fact a society concerned about the development of each individual to his fullest potential, it is quite inconsistent to justify destroying some individuals on the basis that they have not yet developed their potentialities enough.
POLICY CONSIDERATIONS The basic issue for public policy as I see it, therefore, is not a question of fact: “When does human life begin?" but rather one which calls for a value judgment. This isue is whether, in establishing public policy, we should concentrate on the difference between humans, and find in these differences reasons to deny life or other rights to some, or whether we should concentrate on the similarities between humans (we were all zygotes, embryos, and fetuses at one stage of our lives), and find in these similarities reasons to protect all equally.
We have, of course, a long cultural tradition of focusing on the differences between people and utilizing these to justify denying rights to some. Focusing on racial and cultural differences, our ancestors branded the Indians savages (less than human), killed them off, and pushed them off their land. These same differences justified the enslavement of Blacks. Focusing on the difference of sex, Western societies throughout recorded history have considered women to be less than fully human, and we have therefore denied them political,
3 See the report of the First International Conference on Abortion, cited by Willke and Willke (1972, 7–8). Many pro-abortionists are strangely inconsistent in their approach to modern biology and genetics. While they would rely on them to determine whether a child in utero is likely to be deformed, and advocate the right to abort based upon such a probability, they ignore evidence that it is a highly complex. unique, human organism Interacting with its environment (Gesell, 1945). Decrying our "Medieval" restrictive laws, they would have us adopt the Medieval medical view of the fetus prior to "quickening'' as an inert vegetable.
economic, educational, and social rights. Our present policy of focusing on differences in stage of development to justify denying the right to life to some carries on in this tradition.
Let us consider the arguments pro-abortionists have used to shape present public policy, in order to understand its cultural origins and to determine whether this policy does enhance personal freedom. 1. A woman has a right to control her own body
In general I agree. (Women had the right to control their own bodies prior to the Supreme Court decision, of course, and could do so to incur fewer unwanted pregnancies.) The point that seems to be missed by this argument, however, is that the developing child is not the woman's body. It has its own unique set of chromosomes, and is like no other part of her body in genetic makeup. True, the fetus is totally dependent on the woman's body. Does this give her the right to destroy it? The Supreme Court response was, “Yes,” since it disregarded the findings of modern genetics and fetology and declared one party to the dispute to be a non-human non-person, while stating that a woman's right to privacy took the question of abortion out of the realm of public concern. But abortion is certainly not a private matter in the sense that it is something the woman does alone against herself. The unborn child, the father, the doctor, and society as the protector of rights and provider of social welfare programs are also directly involved, and thus have a legitimate right to attempt to regulate her behavior through legislation.
Among the staunchest supporters of elective abortion are some who identify with Women's Liberation. It is sad to see how many who are developing a new realization of their being feel they must assert an essential freedom to control their destinies by destroying the being of others. It is sad, also, to see how quickly they deny any rights to the male involved, after having stated that Women's Liberation would also mean Men's Liberation. Speaking to these points, Sidney Callahan (author, wife, mother, N.O.W. member) says:
Feminists justly demand equal male-female cooperation, decision-making and mutual responsibility in all areas of social life. In particular, women will no longer bear the sole responsibility for childrearing. They insist (quite rightly) that men and the society at large accept that responsibility for the next generation by providing public day-care, health programs and other measures which will support and help women. Only with abortion does community concern become disallowed. Men are angrily disqualified, although over half the aborted fetuses are male and all fetuses are fathered. Each fetus not only has a direct link to a male, but genetically and physically it is linked to the human species as a whole. Who owns the human species? Or the gene pool? Who owns life? We don't let people in the name of private property, pollute their own water, contaminate their own air or shoot their own eagles ; so how can aborting potential human life not be
a public sociological concern? (1972). Those who are for elective abortion maintain that laws should not require a woman to undergo a "compulsory pregnancy," since this would deny her freedom of choice. I know of no law which requires a woman to become pregnant against her will. Except in cases of rape, a woman becomes pregnant as the result of a voluntary act. Once pregnant, our laws did restrict her freedom by stating that she could not destroy the new life within her, but almost all laws restrict the rights of some to secure the rights of others. 2. Women should be free to choose abortion since it is safer than childbirth
This argument also ignores the existence and rights of the child. Certainly abortion is not safer than childbirth as far as the child is concerned. It is paradoxical that some who express concern about the defoliation of Vietnamese forests and the killing of eagles in Wyoming can so readily accept the destruction of human life. In the first two years under its permissive law, 550 unborn children per day were destroyed in New York City alone (Dailey et al., 1973). The 1.2 million abortions forecast for the U.S. in the first year of the Supreme Court's decision represent two times the number of American lives lost in all our wars, including the Revolutionary War to the present.
Even ignoring the child's life, the idea that abortion is safer than childbirth is hardly an "established medical fact,' as the Supreme Court would have us believe. Hilgers (1972) cites data from Denmark, Oregon, England and Wales, Sweden, and Maryland which indicate higher maternal morality rates from legal abortions than from live births. Separate statistics for abortion in the first trimester in Oregon and Denmark fail to reverse these findings. Geis (1973) reports a legal abortion death rate of 38/100,000 as against a live-birth death rate of 32/100,000 for New York State. Willke and Willke (1972) note that Canada's legal abortion death rate also exceeds its live-birth death rate. In failing to report such studies, advocates of abortion are violating women's right to know.
Even ignoring the probability of death, abortion is hardly the simple, safe, "just like going to the dentist” procedure that some pro-abortionists would have us believe. Pakter and Nelson (1971) report a short term complication rate of ten percent (which they admit is under-reported) in New York City's first nine month's experience with Its permissive law. Tietze and Lewit (1971), reporting on 42,598 abortions performed in 64 institutions in twelve states, also report a similar 10.1 percent complication rate over-all, and a more conservative 1.2 percent for major complications. Hilgers (1972) cites eleven studies in Europe and the U.S. reporting similar or higher short term complication rates.
Focusing on the the long range effects of legalized abortion, Wynn and Wynn (1972) reviewed some 72 publications from twelve countries and report that having a legal abortion increases the probability of complications for both mother and child in subsequent pregnancies. They note that following the liberalization of abortion, various countries have reported a 40 percent increase in premature births (incurring greater risk of handicap to the child), a doubling of the rate of stillbirths and perinatal deaths, a 100-150 percent increase in ectopic pregnancies, a fourfold increase in pelvic inflammation, menstrual disorders, and an increase in sterility. One wonders to what extent these data are made known to women seeking abortions by those (if any) who counsel them, 3. Women should be free to have legal abortions so that they are not "forced"
to go to "back-street" abortionists This justification for legalizing abortion assumes that legal abortions replace illegal ones. There is considerable evidence to indicate, however, that legalizing abortion has no effect on illegal rates, and sometimes is even accompanied by an increase in such rates. Fredericksen and Brackett (1968) find this to be true in their review of data from seven Eastern European countries, Sweden and Japan. Hilgers and Shearin (1971) reach the same conclusion after reviewing sixteen studies of ten countries and the state of Colorado. They report that after abortion was legalized, the illegal rate remained constant in nine jurisdictions, and increased in two. The reasons for these trends are not clear. They may include the greater anonymity, lesser cost, or greater availability of illegal abortions, or simply a belief that once abortions are legally sanctioned, it makes little difference where they are obtained.
Some authors favorable to a permissive policy do report that legal abortions have replaced illegal ones, at least in New York City. Pakter and Nelson (1971) report that only one maternal death from illegal abortion was recorded in New York City in the first six months of 1971, and "all hospitals report a sharp decline in complete or 'septic' abortions since the liberalization of the law." Their data indicate, however, that the percent of maternal deaths due to abortions (both legal and illegal) had been declining steadily since 1964, increased in 1970 actually being higher in the latter half of the year when a permissive law first went into effect), and again decreased in the first four months of 1971. Tietze (1973) maintains that in the first two years of New York City's experience, legal abortions replaced over 86,000 illegal ones. He bases his estimate on the decrease in the number of births in the city, however, assuming all of the decrease is due to abortion, his estimation process is open to question.
Nationwide, the number of maternal deaths caused by illegal abortions is not definitely known. Geis (1972) states that some estimates run as high as 10,000 per year, but notes that Tietze suggests the actual figure is closer to 500. Willke and Willke (1972) report the number of such deaths recorded by the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics in 1968 to be 130. Whatever the figure, it is a tragic toll, and certainly few would oppose effective and humane measures to decrease it. Public
* For many with anti-abortion sentiments, the text of the Court's decision reads more like a pro-abortion treatise than a judicial weighing of all the evidence. In the matter of maternal deaths, the Court cites data only from New York and Eastern Europe, which are favorable to its contention, but neglects to cite contrary evidence. The reader is invited to read the text (U.S. Supreme Court Reports, 1973), and critiques of it by Horan, Gorby, and Hilgers (1973), Noonan (1973), and the dissenting justices, Rehnquist and White.