WASHINGTON (April 22, 2004)"As abortion activists gather this weekend to protest what they see as new threats to 'choice,' abortion providers are in court describing the grisly reality behind the political slogan," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., Director of Planning and Information for the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Her comments came in regard to the so-called March for Women's Lives that will take place here April 25. The National Organization for Women, a sponsor of the event, describes it as "the most significant and massive abortion rights march in over a decade." The reason for the urgency, according to organizers, is the new threat to "choice" arising chiefly from the ban on partial-birth abortion.
As "pro-choice" activists prepared for the march, federal courtrooms coast-to-coast heard graphic testimony, with little media coverage, about exactly what happens to unborn babies during partial-birth abortions. Lawsuits were filed against the federal ban when it was enacted last November, and trials began March 29 in federal courts in Nebraska, New York, and California. The Nebraska and California trials recently ended, though no rulings have been issued. The New York trial is still underway.
"The trials this month create a telling backdrop for the 'pro-choice' demonstration this weekend," Ruse said. "The star witnesses, seasoned abortion doctors, have taken the stand to describe in astonishingly frank terms how they crush the skulls and dismember the bodies of infants in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy. This is the true face of 'choice.'"
(Transcripts of the trials, available in full at www.usccb.org/prolife, also include testimony from a pediatric pain specialist about the "excruciating pain" experienced by unborn children and by medical experts who say the procedure is "never necessary.")
The "March for Women's Lives" comes 31 years after the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision. "Roe v. Wade has been a social experiment on the lives of women and children," Ruse said. "After thirty-one years we know almost nothing about abortion's impact on women's health, on marriages, or on surviving siblings—we don't even know with certainty how many children have died."
"Legalized abortion has been an unstudied, unchecked experiment," she said.
Maternal health risks, fetal health complications, and rape account for only about 7% of abortions annually, according to statistics gathered by abortion supporters. The two overarching reasons that women have abortions, according to their statistics, are a lack of practical resources and emotional support.
"In other words, women abort their babies because they need practical help and emotional support and no one will give it to them," Ruse said. "This is the dirty secret of the pro-choice movement. Abortion is a reflection that we have failed to meet the needs of women."
"No compassionate person wants a woman to go through the personal tragedy of abortion," she added. "Women deserve better than abortion."