February 24, 2014 | Christine Pasciuti
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The mere word triggers such differing emotional and personal responses across a landscape of vast ideologies, religious persuasions and experiences.
Abortion. Whether we are adamantly opposed, indifferent, radically for it, or cringe in remembrance of a painful decision of our own once upon a time, the word almost never passes through our consciences without leaving its personal calling card.
We hear the term used almost daily in the news, in advertising, among family and friends, and in secret conversations between confidants. And no matter how many times the scientific community tries to assure us—whether in the classroom, the abortion clinic, or in our minds—we’re never really 100 percent certain—are we?—that an aborted pregnancy is “not a baby” or “not a life”, or that it’s absolutely ok and even proper to choose termination if we didn’t intend to get pregnant, and have no desire or means to care for the child.
But once we leave the clinic, no longer pregnant, why is there often such a nagging sense of guilt and sadness that overcomes so many of us? Why do so many women who go through with an abortion experience depression and remorse afterwards? Studies have shown this to be the case, yet we don’t want to acknowledge that we’re one of “those” who are unable to cope with their decision.
No, we’re strong and we did the right thing, we try to convince ourselves, while privately swallowing our own shame and doubt. And, we get even better at it as time goes on, when we decide one more time, that abortion is the best birth control method for us. In fact, after a few times, it becomes easier and easier to just head on back to the clinic, where we are welcomed with open arms, and comforted by friendly staff as they lead us down the hall to the procedure room. With the last remaining few butterflies in our gut rebuffed, we hold our chins up and go… nothing to it anymore, right?
You see, when our inner voices—however subtle—get silenced enough, they stop. Whew, what a relief, right? Or has that faithful little voice actually been our friend? Has it been a beacon of light, trying to steer us away from a path that could scar us emotionally and physically? Some would even say that the voice of our conscience is where the voice of God can reach us. And when we really think about it, how often in our lives have we tried hard (and succeeded) at silencing that voice of reason?
When one looks a little closer at the abortion statistics across our nations, the numbers themselves can jolt us awake out of a complacent stupor. In a previous Prophecy News Watch article entitled “An Alarming Shift in the Demographic of America and Other Developed Nations”, it was reported that between 1960 and 2008, over fifty million (50,642,743 to be exact) abortions took place in America alone.
If we dare zoom in even further for a disturbing micro shot of regional data in the U.S., we’ll need to don some protective gear over our emotions. A report called the Summary of Vital Statistics 2012, The City of New York, Pregnancy Outcomes, prepared by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Vital Statistics, revealed that in 2012, there were more black babies killed by abortion (31,328) in New York City than were born there (24,758). The number of abortions exceeded live births by 6,540 among black babies, and those aborted babies represented 42.4% of the total number of abortions in the Big Apple.
Hispanic women in New York City had 22,917 abortions in 2012, or 31% of the total abortions in that city.
Combined Black and Hispanic abortions in 2012 totaled 54,245 babies, or 73% of the NYC total.
There were 9,704 non-Hispanic white abortions and 4,493 Asian and Pacific Islander abortions.
In summary, the total number of live births in New York City in 2012 for women ages 15-49 was 123,231, which is equivalent to a rate of 14.8 live births per 1,000 women. According to the report, this figure represents the lowest rate since 1979, reflecting a decline of 3.9% in the live birth rate (per 1,000 women) since 2003, when it was at 15.4 per 1,000 women.
Though a total of 73,815 abortions occurred in New York City in 2012, the rate of abortions per 1,000 women was down 8.6% from a year earlier.
Compared to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data compiled for 2010 (later years not released yet), there were 38,574 black babies killed by abortion in NYC in 2010; Hispanic babies aborted: 27,112; white babies terminated by abortion: 9,220; and “other” aborted: 5,368. When “reported by known race and ethnicity”, the CDC calculated total abortions in New York City in 2010 to be 80,274.
Whether one can account for these horrific numbers by considering poverty levels, lack of education, or convenience, what has to creep foremost into the minds of those of us who are willing to ponder the magnitude of this ongoing genocide-of-sorts, is the complete and utter voicelessness of these discarded lives.
The argument for exactly when life begins, scientifically ends at the time of fertilization of a human egg. At that moment, half of the father’s DNA combines with half of the mother’s DNA to form a single, complete set of human genetic information. The blueprints are there and complete—for eye color, personality traits, facial features, character flaws and quirks that make each of us special and unique—all mapped and present at fertilization.
What then, is the abortion data revealing about us, between the lines? That we as a society have perhaps hardened our hearts? Have we become so desensitized to devaluing, discarding and ending life that we have escalated our push in recent years for an even greater assault on innocence, by legalizing late-term abortions?
Although the exact point at when a pregnancy becomes late-term is not clearly defined, 21 weeks is widely considered to be the age of viability, or the minimum age at which the unborn child would be able to survive outside of its mother’s womb.
Keeping that in mind, the following statistics for selected countries shows a considerable percentage of pregnancies being terminated at near, or beyond viability:
Canada in 2003 reported 6.5% of induced abortions performed between 13 to 16 weeks, 2.2% between 17 to 20 weeks, and 0.8% over 20 weeks. This sample included procedures carried out in hospitals and clinics.
In 2005, England and Wales saw 9% of abortions occurring between 13 to 19 weeks, while 1% occurred at or over 20 weeks.
New Zealand in 2003 reported 2.03% of induced abortions done between weeks 16 to 19, and 0.56% at over 20 weeks.
In 2005, Norway saw 2.28% of induced abortions performed between 13 to 16 weeks, 1.24% between 17 and 20 weeks, and 0.20% over 21 weeks.
Data in Scotland for 2005 revealed that 6.1% of abortions were done between 14 to 17 weeks, while 1.6% were performed over 18 weeks.
Sweden in 2005 reported that 5.6% of abortions occurred between 12 and 17 weeks, and 0.8% at or after 18 weeks.
In the United States a total of 848,163 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas in 2003. For collected data in those regions that sufficiently reported gestational age, the findings were that 6.2% of abortions were performed from 13 to 15 weeks, 4.2% from 16 to 20 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks. To put an actual number on that last statistic, 1.4% of 848,163 means that 11,874 unborn children, at or over the age of 21 weeks, were legally killed in the United States of America in 2003.
67 percent of abortion service providers in the U.S. perform abortions after 13 weeks, during the second trimester. Eight percent of these providers will perform abortions at 24 weeks.
As the length of gestation increases, so too does the possibility of a woman’s death from complications associated with abortion. At between 16 and 20 weeks of gestation, the risk of the mother’s death during or after an abortion is one in 29,000, and that risk increases to one in 11,000 for abortions occurring after 21 weeks.
When Julie Armas, an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta, GA, received news late in 1999 that her 21-week unborn baby boy was diagnosed with spinal bifida and that he would not survive if removed from his mother’s womb, she consulted with Dr. Joseph Bruner, a surgeon practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, whose skills included performing special operations while the baby is still in the womb.
The uterus was removed via C-section, and a small incision was made allowing Dr. Bruner to access and operate on the baby. As the surgery for little Samuel Alexander Armas was being completed, his tiny but fully formed hand drifted out through the incision. It was a profound moment. Before tucking the little hand safely back into the uterus, Dr. Bruner gently lifted it with his own gloved finger, and an incredible photograph was taken (view it here).
The photo quickly went viral as the “Hand of Hope”, perhaps appropriately so, as a reminder that life inside the womb is as precious as outside of it and should be highly valued. Samuel was ultimately born in perfect health, and the surgery was 100% successful.
Mother Teresa was once quoted as having poignantly stated, “It is a very great poverty to decide that a child must die that you might live as you wish.”
When we as a civilization lose our sense of wonder for the miracle of conception, pregnancy and birth of a child, something in us dies a little every day, until we become numb to how valued we are by God, who knew us when we were yet a “blueprint” and without form.
God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV)
For all the little ones whose candle of opportunity for life on earth has forever been snuffed out, we must mourn. And for those whose unborn lives still hang in the balance, may the faithful voice of reason never go silent.