"Defending Life" Season 9 (2004)

The ninth season of Fr. Frank Pavone's "Defending Life" programs was taped in the summer of 2003 and aired from March of 2004 through February of 2005. 

"Church and State"

"The Church and politics: is the Church too involved, or not involved enough?"
With this question as the launching point, Fr. Frank examines the Church's "yes" and "no" to the state. The "yes" is spoken as the Church acknowledges the state to be created by God, and all legitimate authority derived from Him. Believers are to be good, active and law-abiding citizens.
But the "no" is spoken just as clearly when the state enacts unjust laws, or tries, beyond its limited capabilities, to fulfill human destiny. With the apostles, we declare that "we must obey God rather than men!"
This episode also explores what Churches can do regarding elections -- and it is more than most people realize!

Pope John Paul II issued an encyclical letter on the Eucharist in the Spring of 2003. In it he wrote, "Certainly the Christian vision leads to the expectation of "new heavens" and "a new earth" (Rev 21:1), but this increases, rather than lessens, our sense of responsibility for the world today. I wish to reaffirm this forcefully at the beginning of the new millennium, so that Christians will feel more obliged than ever not to neglect their duties as citizens in this world. Theirs is the task of contributing with the light of the Gospel to the building of a more human world, a world fully in harmony with God's plan."-- Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n.20

Throughout her history, the Church has said both Yes and No to the State. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's" is the yes; "Give to God what is God's" contains the no.

The "yes" is echoed in Scriptures such as Rom. 13:1-7 and 1 Pt.2:13ff, indicating that the state is established by God, and that we must honor the emperor, pay taxes, and pray for those in leadership. Jer. 29 even instructs the exiles to pray for and build up the city of their captors!

The "no" takes over, however, whenever a human command or law strikes at the law of God or the core of the faith. We must obey God rather than men (Acts 4 and 5).

So it is with abortion. The Church teaches that laws permitting abortion are not valid laws, and lack all authority.

You and I are called to change such laws by participating in self-governance. Our bishops have written, "The Gospel of life must be proclaimed and human life defended in all places and all times. The arena for moral responsibility includes…the voting booth." -- 1998, US Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, n.33.

There is a lot that the Church can do to encourage people in their political responsibility, including the following:

* Speak about the issues

* Speak about the duties of government

* Declare that unjust laws are unjust

* Inform us of our duty to vote

* Tell us what issues matter the most

* Conduct non-partisan voter-registration drives

* Inform us about where candidates stand on the issues

* Allow a candidate to appear at a Church service

* Allow others to distribute candidate literature in Church parking lots

* Allow political news stories and even ads (at the normal rate) in the Church bulletin.

You can get guidance on all this, including direction toward candidate info, at www.priestsforlife.org/vote.

The Legislative Process

"Is the Church getting tougher on pro-abortion politicians? And are you?"
This interview with Connie Marshner draws on her long experience on Capitol Hill to help believers understand that they have considerable influence over the process by which laws are introduced and passed. Yet that influence is often misunderstood as simply persuading the representative of the rightness of our views, rather than of our ability to get them in or out of office. The first step, then, in the "Church" getting tough on politicians, is for each of us to get involved. This episode helps you learn how.
Click here for a transcript of this show

Transcript of the show

Introduction by Fr. Frank: Is the Church getting tougher on pro-abortion politicians? And are you? Join us now for this and more on Defending Life.

Fr. Frank: Hello, I'm Fr. Frank Pavone from Priests for Life and welcome once again to our Defending Life Program. I'm joined today by Connie Marshner, president of the American Catholic Council. I've worked with Connie for the past 10 years in Washington, DC on various pro-life efforts. Connie, welcome to the program.

Connie Marshner: Thank you, it's great to be here.

FF: We have a lot of viewers out there who are pretty frustrated with the political and legislative process and of course we ourselves often talk about how those that we put in office have betrayed the very purpose of government when they fail to defend the most innocent and vulnerable human lives.

What we want to talk about today is to give people a sense of what politics is. What the legislative process is like. To step back a little bit and say let's understand this process better so that understanding it better, we can be more encouraged about how we can make a difference. So tell us what is politics all about?

CM: I'll tell you what politics is all about. Politics is all about power. It's not about persuasion although that's a step toward it. It's about power. Pro-lifers sometimes think if their Congressman or State Senator returns their phone call or gives them an appointment to see them that they've got it made. That's not power. That's access. It's easily confused. Power is when they've had the visit with the Congressman, with the Legislator and they leave and they exchange pleasantries and after they've walked out the door the Politician sits there and says "I better do what they want me to because otherwise they could get me unelected." That's power.

Politicians...you have the saints and you have the sinners. This is not good theology this is good politics. You've got the people who are always going to do the right things for the right reasons. Paragons of virtue. Jessie Helms comes to mind, Rick Santorum, Senator Brownback. They're always going to vote pro-life no matter what. And you've got the opposite number, the real sinners. Hillary Clinton comes to mind, Senator Schumer. They're always going to do the wrong thing. But most of any elected body are in the mushy middle and they really don't have convictions and they can be persuaded to vote this way and they can be persuaded to vote that way.

So the question is, what persuades them? It's very easy. Politicians understand pleasure and pain and there's one thing that every politician has in common and when the pro-life movement can figure out how to connect our issue to their concerns, we'll start winning. And their interests are very simple: re-election, re-election and re-election. When we can link the pro-life issue with the re-elections chances of a politician then they will take us seriously. We haven't succeeded in doing that.

We are still so naive that pro-lifers go into a Legislator and they talk about the humanity of the unborn and they give pages and pages of documentation and medical evidence and scientific evidence. All that's great but you know what, it's naive to think that's going to control how they vote. Very few of them vote on principle. When you're sitting there giving them all this information, they're sitting there thinking, "click, click, click, click, how many votes do they control? How many people do they control back home who can turn out and unelect me next time around?"

FF: They could be sitting there and saying, "yes this person is right and all these facts are fact but that's not what's relevant to me at this point."

CM: That's exactly it.

FF: "Who can these people influence? Who can they get to the poles, who can they not get to the polls?"

CM: How do we communicate that to a legislator? Very simply. When there's a vote coming up - if they get one phone call from our side and they get ten phone calls from the Planned Parenthood side, it's an easy choice. After all, we're talking about the mushy middle here. Put their finger in the wind. Which way is the wind blowing? That's the way I'll go." Well, we're not matching them. We are not matching them. When these judicial nominations are coming up, when legislative matters come up, when pro-life bills are up, they sit and they wait. They wait for the phone to ring. They wait for the e-mails to come. They wait for the US mail to come. They wait for the home office to call in its daily report of what's going on in the district. And what do they hear from the pro-life side? Silence. Far, far too many districts, far too many cases they hear silence because our people are not organized, our people are not turning out, they're not activated. They're convicted. Pro-lifers believe intensely. But we're not out there doing the things that we have to do in a representative government to get your voice heard.

FF: It's almost like we're so focused on the issue and necessarily so. It consumes us. It's crystal clear to us and we become more and more immersed in the issue and how to articulate it and you're saying we have to broaden the scope here of what we're looking at. There are other dynamics in place here aside from the truth of the issue and the power of the people.

CM: Absolutely, absolutely. We have to put ourselves in the position of the politicians and say, "What are they concerned about? How can we link our issue to their future?"

FF: What are some of the ways of thinking now, on the grassroots level, that people that are watching us now that want to make the difference need to start change? We have to change the fabric of our own thinking. What are some of the specific ways?

CM: Well, let me challenge everyone who is watching us to a question. When was the last time you picked up the telephone and called an elected representative to lobby them on anything? When was the last time you wrote a letter to a Legislator? Do you even know the names of your State Legislators and of your Federal Legislators? I've had people tell me, "Oh yeah, he's from that county and we elected him and he's a Congressman. He's in the State Capital." That's not a Congressman, that's a State Representative. Most states have a House and a Senate - upper chamber and lower chamber. The Senate is the upper chamber. That means that most people have a State Legislator, a State Representative and a State Senator. Then everybody has a US Congressman. He goes to Washington. Everybody has two US Senators. They go to Washington. Right there, that's five people. You should have their names, their addresses, their e-mails, their phone numbers on your refrigerator for easy reference.

FF: How would they find that out if they don't have that information?

CM: You can go to the public library and get it. You can go to the web and get it. They probably are sending you stuff periodically in the mail because they want your vote. That stuff is public information, it is no secret. You should have it and you should call. You pay their salaries so you have a right to communicate with them.

FF: I think the next question a lot of people would have is - if I have these people's phone numbers on my refrigerator how do I know when I need to contact them and how do I know what I need to tell them to do?

CM: That depends on the issue. Watching EWTN you probably hear when there is a big vote coming up or a big piece of legislation. Most everybody is on somebody's e-mail list who's an activist - who is watching our show here today. They're an activist of some kind. They get e-mail lists, they get newsletters, they're subscribed to different things. There are so many good groups out there that are giving the information in a timely fashion. Listen to talk radio, reading the newspaper. When you hear that there is a fight in the US Senate over a nomination of so and so to such and such judgeship and the Senate is going to have to vote on it, don't just say "Oh, isn't that interesting." Say, "I wonder how my Senators are going to vote on that nominee? Do I like that nominee? I do. Well, I don't want to leave it up to chance whether or not my Senator is going to vote for that confirmation, for that appointment. I'm going to call my Senators and tell them how I want them to vote."

You know there's a rule on Capital Hill, Father. For every single phone call they get in a large Senate office they assume there were 100 people who felt the same way but didn't call. So when people say, " Oh it doesn't make any difference, I just get the receptionist." Yes, of course you get the receptionist but you know what? She's sitting there with a log book and she's writing down your name and your zip code because they want to make sure you vote for them. What you say, they do keep track of it. "Oh it doesn't do any good, I just get a form letter back." Yeah, you get a form letter but guess what? If you got the form letter that means you got logged into the computer, you were a constituent contact and your contact was logged and they know. And when the vote comes up the Legislator is going to say to his staff, "check the log for me." "Tell me what the mail is on this." There is a person in the office whose job it is to keep track of all that and say "well we had 275 for and 350 against." And they'll say "well, my constituents want me to vote against this so let's push it in that direction." We are winning nothing at that level. We are losing that fight. Because time after time after time the constituent contacts are coming from the other side.

A word if I may about effective contact. Pre-printed postcards are the least effective constituent contact. Everybody knows that it's easy to sign a post card. Oh, they're not the least effective. The least effective is a signed petition. What's effective: a personal visit. Ask for a personal visit is the most effective.

The next most effective is contacting by phone or in person the local office. Every politician in Washington has a local office. You live in a Congressional District. The Congressional District may have one or may have several offices. They all have staff. That staff usually does nothing except handle social security questions and veterans benefits and things like that. If a constituent shows up on their front door and says, "I want to talk about this pro-life bill in Congress," the staff thinks the sky is falling. And they think, " Oh my gosh, people are really concerned about this." And they get on the phone to Washington and they say, "You better decide what you're going to do about this because the constituents are really upset." And then action happens.

So visiting the local office if you can't visit Washington, telephone calls, e-mails. For Washington, e-mails now a days are better than US mail because they still are having to do the disinfecting of the mail and all that and that's going to go on for probably a long time. So e-mails really are read in Washington. So that's the effective contact.

Don't expect to have a long conversation, don't expect to change their mind, don't expect to give them a philosophical lesson, a biological lesson. You just say, "I vote for you, I'm a registered voter, I live in your district and I want you to vote this way."

FF: Yes, I think sometimes what holds back a lot of people from calling their representatives and saying "Please vote for this bill" is that they feel they don't know enough about the bill, about the reasons for it, the reasons against it. You're saying they don't have to enter into that whole argument or explanation. They just have to say.... it's like raising your hand - "I'm here, vote yes."

CM: Very well said. Very well said. You are not writing a dissertation. You're just connecting your issue and their future. It's a numbers game. Enough contact from our side is what they're needing.

FF: A brief lesson about how a bill comes up in the first place, how it comes into law. I think if people go back - this is like going back to eighth grade social studies - but it's important for us to remind ourselves of this otherwise we forget how much of a role we can play..

CM: Absolutely. The sixth grade civic text books are still pretty good but there is a lot that they don't tell you. In order to get a bill.... before it comes for a vote, you have usually a two-year process that begins with a vision. The vision can be that of a elected representative or it can be a vision of his constituents who goes to him and says "Senator, I'll support you in your election next fall if you promise me that after you're elected you will introduce this bill." Many things come about because a constituent at the campaign level, before the guy is even in office gets a pledge that "I'll take that bill under my wing." That's the first step. You get somebody willing to carry the bill.

Then, he gets elected, you come back to him, knock on the door, "I helped you get elected, remember you promised me you'd introduce this. Here it is." Now they've got to draft the bill. That's a very delicate process because you've got a legislative counsel and lawyers who want to tinker with it and it's got to fit somewhere at the federal level into the federal code, the US code and at the state level, into the state code. You need your own lawyer who can advise you on whether the way they are writing this proposal is what you really want. That can be tricky and time consuming.

Your go through that hurdle. You get the bill written. Then your sponsor takes it to the floor and says, "I'm introducing this bill today." That's called "putting it in the hopper."

Now what happens then? It gets referred to a committee. Depending on what the bill has in it it can be referred to a committee that's going to kill it or that's going to want to pass it.. That's where politics comes in. Politics has been in it all along but there is another level of politics here because what committee it gets referred to. You should know what committee you want it referred to. You should know that based upon what the content is. If it's got anything that can be connected to education and depending on whose on the education committee.

In Washington there are sub-committees. Umpteen different subcommittees. Which subcommittee do you want it to go to? If you've got a friend who's a chairman on this subcommittee maybe that's where you want the bill to be sent even though content wise you could make a case it should go to this subcommittee. You want to go where your friends are so you get it referred to the right subcommittee. The right subcommittee can pass it to the committee. They have to meet and discuss it and say "OK, we'll vote this out to the full committee." Then the full committee has to meet. Then the full committee says either, "we'll pass it out or we'll kill it" or they may just never get around to it. That's where the staff is important. Because the staff basically gives orders to the politician. "We want to pass this, we want to kill this, here's the information you need. Here's what you want to have in the hearing." The staff does all the work.

If you know people who have college age kids who are looking for careers urge them to be staffers on Capitol Hill because there is such a crying need for pro-life, godly staffers. It's a great career beginning. Many people go from there to well paid positions in lots of fields. It's an important thing to do. Make friends with the staff.

FF: People feel, " Oh I just talk with staffers so they think that's not significant."

CM: On the contrary. It probably is better than talking to the elected representative. Because the elected representative has 10,000 things on their mind. The staffer has only 2,000 things on their mind. So if you talk to the staff it's more likely to have consequences.

So, subcommittee level, committee level then the committee assuming they pass it of course. All this can take a long time and every step of the way there is room for influence. Hearing - you have to trot out your best witnesses. Phone calls of persuasion. Letters of persuasion. You can lobby an elected representative to vote a bill out of committee. That's perfectly legitimate. So finally the Committee votes to send it to the floor and the floor will schedule it for some point in the future or maybe they won't schedule it.

FF: So the floor, now you are talking about the whole House of Representatives and the whole Senate voting on that.

CM: Right, or comparable bodies at the state level. And then they vote on it. Again it may take months to vote on it. It may be part of a deal. There is a lot of horse-trading. "Well, I really want this bill on dams." "Well, I really want this pro-life bill passed." "Well, I'll tell you what, if you vote for my dam, I'll vote for your pro-life bill."

FF: A lot of that goes on, and connected with that, tell us a little bit about the idea of how sometimes a particular provision can be passed because it's attached to a bill which is talking about something completely different.

CM: And that happens. Suppose I'm the politician whose got the constituency who are saying "get this pro-life bill out. Get this pro-life bill out. We want this pro-life bill. We want this pro-life bill." Now I'm a politician who has to work on this bill. I have constituents and I have to make them happy. You're trying to get the dam passed. Now I would forget about that pro-life bill except that I keep being reminded by my constituents. That's the first place we fail. We don't keep reminding them. So you're working on your dam and you come to me and say, "Listen, I really need your vote on my dam." If I am on top of things I'll say "I don't have any objection to that dam but I really need some help from you in return. I want to add this provision giving these grants to these crisis pregnancy centers, will you help me out on that? Maybe your bill has a section that has some - because after all you're going to be acquiring new land to build your dam - so maybe there is some little welfare provision and my plan here for helping CPC's would help reduce unemployment. That's a connection to welfare. So you have that welfare clause in your bill so how about if we just attach this to your bill and then you and I make a deal. We agree to attach it. You go to your committee. I go to my committee. At the floor we both say, yes, I'll support that motion."

That's how stuff happens. There's nothing dirty about that. There's nothing shameful about that. There's nothing secretive about it except that people don't talk about it. They don't ask the right questions. That's the nature of the business. It's a perfectly honest and honorable way of doing business. The framers of our Constitution in the Federalist Papers wrote about this process because that's how it's supposed to work. The people are supposed to communicate their needs to their elected representatives. That's all we're doing.

FF: To summarize what you're saying here - if we don't communicate with our elected officials, we have abandoned our own opportunity to govern ourselves.

CM: And then we have no right to complain when they don't do what we want them to do -- if we didn't tell them what we wanted them to do in a way that they would understand. It's like everybody says, how can my kids rebel, don't they know I love them? Well, actually no, they don't know you love them. The same things with politicians. "How can they do this, don't they know how we care?" No, they don't because you can't over communicate with politicians and right now the pro-life movement desperately under communicates.

FF: Well I want to thank you for everything that you have done to alert people - really across the country - to this opportunity they have, this obligation they have. The Church has written about this, the Church has taught about this actually for centuries. That when we have a representative form of government our faith itself impels us to be involved. One of my favorite lines from what our own Bishops have written says, "we are not a sect fleeing the world but rather a community of faith called to renew the earth." It's our prayer that our reflections here will help many of our viewers to take on that mindset.

Thanks very much Connie. Thank you, brothers and sisters, for joining us. God bless you.


"Does your vote really count?"
In another interview with Connie Marshner, longtime activist on Capitol Hill, Fr. Frank explores the question of how and why our vote does count. In fact, while each person can only cast one vote, he or she can influence thousands. This episode discusses how to mobilize more voters and get them to the polls on election day. Getting involved in politics is not "off limits" for believers. We are not required to choose between our faith and our citizenship! And after all the discussion and debate, the one who wins is the one who has the most supporters walk into the voting booths on election day. This episode will prepare you to help your chosen candidate win!

Silent No More

"Women who have had abortions are finding a new voice in the pro-life movement!"
On January 22, 2003, exactly thirty years after Roe vs. Wade was handed down, women gathered in front of the Supreme Court to declare that abortion harmed them rather than helped. They held signs that said, "I Regret My Abortion," and thus launched the national Silent No More Awareness Campaign. This episode features footage from that Washington event. Guests are the two co-founders of this campaign, Janet Morana, Associate Director of Priests for Life, and Georgette Forney, Director of the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life (NOEL). [NOEL changed its name to Anglicans for Life in March 2007]

Post-abortion Testimony

"If you have had an abortion, should your other children know about it? On this show, we talk with someone who knows from experience."
Georgette Forney, Co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, tells the story of her abortion, and of how the child she later had found out about her aborted sister. Georgette's daughter Rebekah shares her thoughts and feelings about being a "sibling survivor" of abortion.
This episode also contains two powerful segments from the movie "Tilly," about a woman who finds healing after abortion. You will never forget these segments, among the most moving that have ever been filmed about abortion.

Well-known Witnesses

"You probably know the women you will see today on Defending Life. What you probably don't know is that they have had abortions."
Actress and model Jennifer O'Neill, and singer and actress Melba Moore have both experienced the pain and grief of abortion and its aftermath. On this episode, you will watch the interviews that Janet Morana, Associate Director of Priests for Life, conducted with each of them. Included in this footage is a message that each of them speak directly to those who have had abortions and who may be considering abortion.

Basics of abortion

"Are abortions even done in the third trimester of pregnancy? See the proof on this program!"
Using statistics obtained from the abortion industry, the federal government, and independent polling agencies, this episode explores how many abortions are done, who gets them, and why. Statistics on the age of the baby and on the phenomenon of multiple abortions are also given. The fact that third trimester abortions are practiced is documented with audio footage from abortionists.
Click here for more details.

Where do we find out the statistics about abortion? There are basically two sources: The Alan Guttmacher Institute (a research division of Planned Parenthood) and the Centers for Disease Control. Find out more about these sources on our statistics page.

Nothing in our world claims more human lives than abortion: no crime, no disease, no natural disaster, no war. In fact, all the war casualties our nation has ever endured do not add up to the number of lives abortion takes in a single year. Click here to see a chart about this.

In our nation's annual statistics about the total numbers of deaths, the babies killed by abortion are not counted. But if they were, it would be obvious that they are the largest group of victims. In fact, the number of deaths by abortion are almost twice that of the next leading cause of death (heart disease), and would constitute 35% of the new total. Click here for a bar graph of the leading causes of death, abortion included, and click here for a pie chart comparing the percentage of deaths by abortion to other causes. These two items were created by combining statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics and from the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

When we begin to examine the numbers of abortions and the reasons women get them, a helpful presentation is provided on the Alan Guttmacher website.

We note especially the following slides in that presentation:

5 -- "Outcomes of unintended pregnancies"

6 -- "Incidence of abortion"
Here the figure given for abortions in the year 2000 is 1.31 million.

7 -- "Annual number of abortions"
It is clear that since 1980 the abortion rate (that is, the number of abortions per 1000 women of childbearing age) has been declining.

10 -- "Most Important Reason Given"
An average of 3 or 4 reasons are given when a woman explains why she wants an abortion. The reasons most frequently given have nothing to do with any medical condition of the woman or the baby. Those reasons are as follows:
* Inadequate finances
* Not ready for responsibility
* Woman's life would be changed too much
* Problems with relationship; unmarried
* Too young; not mature enough
* Children are grown; woman has all she wants

On the other hand, note the percentages accompanying the following reasons at the bottom of the list:
* Fetus has possible health problem -- 3%
* Woman has health problem -- 3%
* Pregnancy caused by rape, incest -- 1%

12 -- "Abortions by Gestational Age"
Here we see that the abortion industry's own statistics show some 12% of abortions occurring after the 12th week of pregnancy. That translates into 157,200 abortions a year, by their statistics. Abortions at 21 weeks and beyond, by their statistics, are 19,650 in the course of a year.

13 -- "Reasons for Abortions after 16 Weeks"
The most common reason given for later abortions is that the woman did not realize she was pregnant. Not paying attention to one's body, along with the power of denial, can easily account for this. Other reasons are likewise rooted in ambivalence and denial: fear of telling others, hope that circumstances will change and then relapsing into despair, or wanting more time to make the decision. In other cases, various difficulties arose in arranging for the abortion, or circumstances changed later in pregnancy, such as a break in the relationship, a change in financial status, or a diagnosis of a medical problem.

Abortionists have different limits at which they stop doing abortions. This in itself raises questions about their position and shows the arbitrariness of any position that does not hold life begins at conception. But one might be shocked at how many perform late abortions, and even Third Trimester abortions.

Following are quotes from abortionists who spoke at meetings of the National Abortion Federation. You can also hear the audio.

National Abortion Federation
16th Annual Meeting
Abortion: Moral Choice and Medical Imperative
April 12-15, 1992 in San Diego, CA

Dr. Martin Haskell:

"In summary, Dilation and Extraction is an alternative method for achieving late second trimester abortions to 26 weeks. It can be used in the third trimester. Among its advantages are that it is a quick surgical out-patient method that can be performed on a scheduled out-patient basis under local anesthesia. Among its disadvantages are that it requires a high degree of surgical skill and may not be appropriate for a few patients."

Click here to listen to the audio clip of Dr. Haskell (mp3 format).

National Abortion Federation
Risk Management Seminar
September 13 & 14, 1992
Dallas, Texas

Ethical Issues in Second Trimester Abortion


"I do a fair number of third trimester abortions though I commonly hear this question about, does it feel pain, and I answer by telling them the fetus is sharing the same medicine you're getting in your blood stream, the placental circulation goes to the fetus and really it's difficult for the fetus up to 32 weeks to really identify pain and integrate it. The answer to the question is, no, the fetus doesn't feel pain. The question is, in the third trimester we have trouble at the margins where, say in a trisomy 21, that's a whole range of things. Some do rather well and have educable IQ's, others do very poorly, high instances of congestive heart disease, duodenal atresia, et cetera. I think the issue is, who makes the decision more than anything else. My opinion is, it should be the mother."

Click here to listen to the audio clip of Jim (mp3 format).

We now move onto a consideration of who has abortions, breaking this question down into various categories and again relying on the charts found on the website of the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

19 -- "Who has abortions -- Age"
Note that the largest single age bracket is not teenagers, but rather 20-24 years (one-third of all abortions), followed by 25-29 years (23.1% of all abortions).

20 -- "Who has abortions - Marital Status"
It should be noted that abortions among married women are a significant problem, constituting some 17% of all abortions (that is, 222,700 abortions in a year), with another 15.6% (that is, 204,360 abortions) among the separated, divorced, and widowed.

21 -- "Who has abortions - Economic Status"

22 -- "Who has abortions -- Race/Ethnicity"

23 -- "Who has abortions -- Religious Identification"

24 -- "Who has abortions -- Prior Pregnancies"

Many are familiar with the statistic that half of the abortions in America are repeat abortions, that is, that the woman has had the procedure at least once before. Not as familiar are the numbers of women who have had two, three, or more previous abortions. According to the Centers for Disease Control in their 1999 Abortion Surveillance report, 48% of women getting abortions had at least one abortion previously. The percentage of women having had one previous abortion was 26.2%, which, in relation to the CDC total for that year (which is lower than the actual total), means 176,975 women getting a second abortion.
The percentage of women who got abortions having had two previous abortions was 11.2%. In other words, in 1999, 75,374 women got their third abortion.
The CDC reports that 7.5% of those who got abortions had obtained three or more abortions previously. The number of women, then, for whom the abortion was their fourth, fifth, or more was 50,682.
(Note: An additional 3.2%, or 21,619, were marked "unknown" as to the numbers of previous abortions. Also remember that the state of California did not report any of its abortion statistics to the CDC in 1999.)

Click here to see a pie chart with these statistics.

Public Opinion

"Americans are turning away from abortion. This show gives a closer look at this good news."

The abortion procedure

"Exactly how does an abortion procedure take place? This episode will show you!"
With the help of Dr. Byron Calhoun, MD, FACOG, FACS, and with the use of fetal models and surgical instruments that were actually used in thousands of abortions, you will watch on this program how two of the most commonly performed abortion procedures are carried out. 

With the help of Dr. Byron Calhoun, MD, FACOG, FACS, you will watch on this program how two of the most commonly performed abortion procedures are carried out. Fr. Frank has obtained the actual instruments used by an abortionist to kill thousands of babies. [Fortunately, that abortionist is now out of business.]

The suction curettage abortion, used in the first trimester, is demonstrated using a fetal model of a baby at 10 weeks after fertilization (the same age as the famous "Precious Feet" pin displays). Click here for the explanation, diagram, and quotations from abortionists about the procedure.

The Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E) method, the most common for the second trimester, is demonstrated next, using a fetal model of a baby at 14 weeks after fertilization. Click here for the explanation, diagram, and quotations from abortionists about the procedure.

This episode concludes with evidence that the abortion industry has engaged in the selling of the body parts of babies that are aborted, including healthy babies in the very latest stages of pregnancy. Fr. Frank shows on the program the actual order forms used in these transactions, with instructions to ship eyes, brains, thighs, and other body parts by FEDEX on dry ice. Price lists show the various prices for different body parts, and some of the forms indicate explicitly that there can be "no abnormalities," hence indicating a healthy baby was killed.

A Corrupt Industry

"In the abortion industry, legal does not mean safe! Find out why, here on Defending Life!"
This interview with Mark Crutcher, President of Life Dynamics, reviews the stunning information found in his book Lime 5. The evidence is clear that the abortion industry routinely exploits women. Sexual abuse of clients is rampant. Learn more about the problem and what you can do in response!

Clinic Workers

"Can working in an abortion clinic get you in trouble with the law? Find out next on Defending Life!"
If you think it is OK to kill babies, there are few other things you will think are wrong. In this interview with Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics, you will learn about how activities like medicaid fraud, insurance fraud, OSHA violations, income tax evasion, failure to report statutory rape, money laundering, physical and sexual assault and harassment, and consumer fraud are regular ways of life within the abortion industry. And any clinic worker can get in trouble as a result. See the special website. www.ClinicWorker.com for more details.

The Unborn Patient

"On this show, watch an operation on an unborn baby and meet the doctor who did it!"
Dr. Julian E. De Lia has been a friend of Priests for Life for many years. He has done groundbreaking work in treating Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome in unborn children. This is a disease of the placenta that strikes about 10% of all identical twin pregnancies. In the US, it affects over 7,500 babies—or 3,800 pregnancies—each year.
This serious condition occurs when twins (or other multiples) share a single placenta that contains blood vessels which connect the twins. These inter-connections may cause one baby (the recipient) to get too much blood, thereby overloading his or her cardiovascular system. This baby may die from heart failure, while the other baby (the donor) may die from the loss of blood.
In this episode of Defending Life, Dr. De Lia explains how he re-routes the blood flow between these babies so that they can grow in a normal and healthy way. In fact, on this program you will actually see video of the procedure!
More information about Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome can be found by contacting the International Institute for the Treatment of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, 5000 West Chambers Street, Milwaukee, WI 53210-1688 (414-447-3535). 

Pro-life Medicine

"Are you getting the best medical advice possible for a complicated pregnancy?"

Dr. Byron Calhoun, President of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and of Pro-life Maternal Fetal Medicine, is our guest on this episode. He shares with us his wisdom and experience regarding dealing with complicated pregnancies. He shares with us his research, such as the recently published study of how abortion increases the risk of preterm delivery (https://www.jpands.org/vol8no2/rooney.pdf). He also explains his pioneering work with perinatal hospice. 

There is a new appreciation for the grief of parents who lose a child before birth. While the tragedies of stillbirth and neonatal death are common, the first studies investigating maternal responses to these tragedies were not published until 1968 and 1970, respectively. Before that, these losses were often viewed and handled by society as "non-events."

Now there is a growing acknowledgement these are losses of a real person. Whether that real person is in the womb or outside the womb, he/she deserves our best care, he/she can be loved, and he/she is grieved when lost.

The response to the terminal illness of adults and children has led to the development of hospice care (adult and neonatal), providing holistic physical and emotional support for dying patients and their families. More recently, the concept has extended to the unborn child, giving rise to "perinatal hospice."

Dr. Byron Calhoun, President of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), is a key advocate of this concept. He writes, "Perinatal hospice…focuses on the persons involved…and places the family in the central arena of care. It provides a continuum of support for the family from the time of diagnosis until death and beyond. It is marked by a cognizance that 'dying involves real people, even unborn fetuses; [and that] significant relationships are disrupted and familiar bonds are severed.' Hospice allows time -- time for bonding, loving, and losing; time so that the entire course of living and dying is a gradual process that is not jarringly interrupted" (Nathan J. Hoeldtke, MD, and Byron C. Calhoun, MD, "Perinatal Hospice," American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 185 no 3 [Sep 2001]; internal quote from Knapp RJ, Peppers LG. Doctor-patient relationships in fetal/infant death encounters. J Med Educ 1979; 54:775-80).

Dr. Calhoun reports that among a group of 32 patients whose children had lethal fetal anomalies, 27 (84%) chose perinatal hospice care. All are all positive about the experience and grateful for the time they were able to spend with their infants before they died. The time of death ranged from 20 minutes to 2 months after birth. There were no maternal complications.

We at Priests for Life are grateful for the work of Dr. Calhoun and for his friendship. He is eager to consult with those in the medical community who want to set up perinatal hospice programs. He is also working with us at Priests for Life to enable priests to more knowledgeably refer people to these options. 

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 • Email: mail@priestsforlife.org