What kind of organization takes a devastated, bereaved mother and uses her as a human shield to protect their allies' political and financial interests?
The name of the organization is NARAL Pro-Choice America. The bereaved mother is Dana Weinstein.
Dana's pain is very real, as is the pain of women in similar situations. What compounds the tragedy is that her horrible anguish is being used for the political and financial gain of abortion practitioners and the political organizations they work with and through.
Using this poor woman as a human shield is absolutely despicable. This woman has been lied to at every turn by people she trusted.
Anencephaly does NOT cause the baby pain. Dana did NOT have to be alone, because perinatal hospice is available. Serious fetal problems are a MINORITY of the reasons for late abortions. This woman had already been abused by her health care providers and by Warren Hern who charged her thousands of dollars to kill her baby. She doesn't need to be exploited by people who are afraid of being called out on their lies and instead put them into the innocent mouth of a bereaved mother.
There are three important responses to this appalling exploitation:
1. Hold Dana's health care providers accountable for lying.
Dana was already traumatized beyond what any mother should have to endure in learning that her baby was going to die. It was an unconscionable act of cruelty to then tell her the flat-out lie that anencephaly would cause her baby pain. Though there is disagreement as to what, if anything, babies with anencephaly feel, the range of possibility runs from "the normal sensations any baby would feel" to "no sensations at all."
What possible justification could anybody have for lying to Dana, when she was already staggering beneath the horrible blow of devastating news? What justification could there be for adding to her anguish? Wasn't she already suffering enough? In fact, she was told that her only choice was abortion.
We can't know why the health care professionals in Dana's life chose to heap false horror on top of real tragedy. We do know, sadly, that this is not at all uncommon. Doctors -- such as the doctors these women had to deal with -- need to start being held accountable for bullying their patients.
2. Hold Dana's health care providers accountable for failing to provide appropriate care.
It's long been well documented that many women have very poor emotional and psychological results from abortions. Certain risk factors make it more likely that the woman will suffer serious emotional and psychological trauma from an abortion. Among those risk factors:
* The woman wants her baby.
* The abortion is taking place late in the pregnancy.
* The abortion is being done for some sort of medical indication.
* The woman finds the abortion decision to be a difficult one.
Dana, with all of these risk factors, was a poor candidate for an abortion. However, given the flat out lies she was told about her baby's condition, I sincerely doubt that she was informed of this. I also sincerely doubt that she was told about the option of perinatal hospice.
Perinatal hospice helps the parents of a gravely ill unborn child the way a children's hospice helps the families of a gravely ill child of any age. The parents are given emotional support, help with writing a birthing plan, assistance in making plans for making the most of whatever time they might have with the child, and support in making arrangements for a memorial service.
There are also online supports available to parents who are facing a grave prenatal diagnosis. Again, I doubt that mentioning these supports to Dana even crossed anybody's mind.
In fact, Dana said that she felt alone when she got the diagnosis. So clearly she was not told that there are networks of people ready to help her, networks including families who faced exactly the same terrible diagnosis she and her husband were facing for their child.
3. NARAL needs to be held accountable for the full depth and breadth of the falsehoods they managed to cram into such a short ad.
FIRST: It's perfectly understandable that Dana believed that anencephaly would cause her baby to suffer needless pain. She was told this by her trusted health care professionals. But NARAL had a responsibility to vet the facts. Even something as brief and superficial as a Google search would have revealed that babies with anencephaly don't suffer any more pain than any other baby, if indeed they suffer pain at all. Including Dana's mistaken beliefs in the final cut amounts to a deliberate lie, that Dana's abortion was necessary to prevent her baby from suffering needless pain. I don't know why Dana's health care providers lied to her, but I have my suspicions about why NARAL lied to the public.
SECOND: NARAL can't fail to be aware of the facts about late abortions for fetal health reasons. The only reason the general public isn't more aware of the facts -- the terrible risk of psychiatric problems afterward, the high rate of browbeating women into aborting wanted babies -- is because organizations like NARAL deliberately hides these facts and presents to the public a picture that is the diametric opposite of reality. This is disgusting and inexcusable.
THIRD: NARAL asserted that late abortions "often happen in the most tragic circumstances." They knew full well that situations like Dana's are not even remotely representative of abortions past 20 weeks. Clearly, somebody even told Dana that late abortions are typically cases such as her own, on order to have this bereaved woman unwittingly spouting their own lies, because who could challenge anything poor Dana said?
Even Ron Fitzsimmons, head of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, has called upon the prochoice movement to stop lying about the reasons women undergo late abortions. George Tiller, the nation's most famous (or infamous) late term abortion practitioner admitted that only 8% of his third-trimester abortions were done for fetal indications. And remember, "fetal anomaly" is a broad category that includes everything from a fetal condition like anenecephaly to conditions like Down Syndrome -- hardly a fate worse than death -- to simple cleft palate. It also includes mere suspicion of a fetal abnormality. So putting Dana in front of a camera and presenting her as if she is a typical late-abortion patient is a bald-faced lie. If late abortion is really something society can get behind, why aren't abortion advocates putting forth more typical cases? (For more on this theme, see Late Abortion Lies: They're Only Done for Health Reasons.)
Every decent human being in the United States needs to call NARAL out on this despicable stunt.