Dangerous fallacies are being promoted by Dr Leslie Cannold and other elite advocates for abortion rights, warns pro-life campaigner Babette Francis.
The ABC TV drama Dangerous Remedy, about Dr Bertram Wainer’s campaign to legalise abortion, provoked very different emotions in me from those felt by Dr Leslie Cannold (The Drum, November 2, 2012). It is not apparent whether she knew Dr Wainer, but I had friendly phone conversations with him because I thought he was sincere, albeit grossly mistaken.
While Dr Wainer was battling police corruption, my late husband, Charles Francis AM QC, was doing the same. In 1976, as state Liberal MP for the Victorian seat of Caulfield, my husband became aware of corruption by politicians and police in regard to government land deals while Rupert “Dick” Hamer was Victoria’s premier.
Prior to Charles’s election to parliament, our beach house was set on fire. We suspected the culprit was the young son of a friend of Hamer’s. When my husband complained to Hamer that the police investigation had deliberately been stalled, the premier replied: “Some of the children of my friends have set fire to houses…”.
The culprit was eventually identified because his accomplice confessed, but the episode convinced my husband that neither the premier nor some of the police at that time could be trusted. Charles Francis abstained from voting on a no-confidence motion by the Labor Opposition on the land deals and was subsequently disendorsed by the Liberal Party for the seat of Caulfield for the next election.
During this challenging time, Dr Wainer phoned us on a number of occasions. He knew we were pro-life, but he respected Charles’s integrity and offered him financial help with his campaign to contest Caulfield as an independent.
Charles politely declined, explaining he could not accept money earned from abortions.
Recognising some idealism in Wainer, I tried to persuade him to help women in ways other than by killing unborn children.
He replied: “Yes, I know it is murder. But if I don’t do it [abortions], some women will die because they will go to an incompetent [practitioner].”
Wainer’s response may reflect a failure — at that time — of the pro-life movement that we did not have enough resources to offer women attractive pregnancy support.
The situation is different now — no woman or girl need fear a lack of help with her pregnancy and care of her baby. There are government and private services and many prospective adoptive parents if the mother does not want to keep her baby.
Dr Cannold promotes the fallacy that abortion is in the interests of women.
Abortion is a very short-sighted “solution” that may solve temporary career dilemmas, but 18 years down the track, that mother has lost a daughter or son she would have loved and who would have loved her and been a friend and companion.
Do elite women advocates for abortion rights, such as former Senator Lyn Allison, Dr Anne Summers and Sarah Weddington (lawyer for Roe in Roe v. Wade which legalised abortion in the US) ever mourn their own lost children? Or are the plaudits of their feminist colleagues enough to sustain them in their retired years?
Do they regret the absence of grandchildren and that physical link with the future? And, on Christmas and New Year’s Day, do they seek comfort in reading old articles about themselves in the newspaper? Is it enough to warm ageing hearts?
It is a fallacy to assert that heaps of women do not bitterly regret their abortions.
Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, is now a staunch pro-lifer. Denise Mountenay, founder and president of non-profit society Canada Silent No More, regrets her abortion, has written books about her grief and lobbies energetically at the United Nations and in Europe and Asia in the hope of persuading other women not to make the same mistake, as does Molly White, from Women for Life International.
Another Cannold fallacy is that the pro-life movement is a patriarchal or paternalistic enterprise. The leading opponents of abortion are women, such as Margaret Tighe and Denise Cameron, and many more speak out of personal heartbreak, such as Anne Lastman of Victims of Abortion.Rachel’s Vineyard offers counselling for post-abortive women.
Charles Francis, during his long legal career, won settlements for women who were not warned of the psychological trauma or the increased risk of breast cancer caused by abortion.
Since the earliest study in 1957 (Japan), there have been 51 studies showing the increased risk of breast cancer caused by induced abortion. (See “Epidemiologic studies: Induced abortion and breast cancer risk”, Breast Cancer Prevention Institute Fact Sheet, updated May 2012).
To decrease the risk of breast cancer — a leading cause of premature death for women — her baby is a woman’s best friend.
It is to be hoped that Dr Cannold, having succeeded in taking abortion out of Victoria’s criminal code and sold it as a “health service”, will provide women with this vital information.
The ABC has shown excellent documentaries on the cruelties involved in the live cattle trade and the sheep slaughter in Pakistan.
So come on, Aunty! Have the courage to show what happens to the unborn child in an abortion. We have lots of pictures you can screen.
Babette Francis, B.Sc (Hons), is co-ordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc. An abridged version of the above article appeared on the ABC online opinion journal, The Drum (November 21, 2012).