Undercover at a pro-abortion meeting: Part III
Posted by Dan Blackman on 21 February 2012
The final speaker at the Voice for Choice meeting (see Part I and Part II) was another American called Marge Berer, editor of Reproductive Health Matters, herself post-abortive.
The first part of her talk was a stroll through the Department of Health abortion statistics.
Her entire talk was ambitious in trying to present some sort of all-encompassing strategy for abortion supporters, with copious rhetorical questions like: "What do we mean by repeat abortion?" Berer seemed baffled that the abortion lobby has failed to convince the general public about how wonderful abortion is. Berer rattled off a list of 'anti-choice' arguments, and in response, described the arguments as lies, without actually interacting with any of the evidence.
For example, Berer ignored the largest study on the relationship between abortion and mental health, lead by Priscilla K. Coleman, which concluded that women who have an abortion experience an 81% increased risk of mental health problems. Published in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry, the review also found almost 10% of all mental health problems are shown to be directly linked to abortion.
Coleman and academic colleagues have recently launched the World Expert Consortium for Abortion Research and Education which contains some of the latest and most up-to-date evidence on abortion and mental health, amongst other things. Neither did Berer spend any time discussing the evidence presented by the likes of Professor Joel Brind who published his 1996 meta-analysis of 23 epidemiological studies on the abortion-breast cancer link which the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) said could not be disregarded and contained no methodological shortcomings; or the published studies of Joel Brind and Dr Angela Lanfranchi at the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute; or the studies presented by the Coalition on Abortion-Breast Cancer.
As for 'business' and 'financial gain aspects' of the abortion industry, its own financial reports on the Charity Commission website and Companies House, the numerous abortion provider job adverts calling for business development mangers and so on, and the huge salaries of the top staff and abortionists, speaks for itself. Did you know that 8 members of BPAS staff earn over £70,000? Ms Berer claimed that studies unfavourable to abortion could be "torn limb from limb." The sad irony was not lost on me.
Berer's talk concluded with a call to decriminalise abortion, and called for abortion supporters to work with young people (see this shocking recent report on the abortion industry's plan for young people). Berer also drew audience attention to a recent vigil held outside a hospital in Paris - a separate post on this will appear on this blog soon. On several occasions Berer talked about the "violence of prayer meetings", but provided no evidence to support this description. Like Dr Harris, Berer was very thin on any evidence. One of the few examples given was that of a study done in Oldham on the use of contraceptives. However, during the question and answer session, Dr Evan Harris had to correct Berer's faulty understanding of the study, to which she could only conclude "I'll have to go back and read the study again." The audience also had to correct Berer on her faulty understanding of the abortion statistics and the relationship profile of mothers having abortions.
The audience were then treated to short speeches by two young women who work for Brook. Both basically said the same thing, whilst constantly using the same buzz words: signposting, access, services, rights, anti-abortion tactics, and even 'covert movement against choice' - sounds like they have been reading the same internet forums as Dr Evan Harris. It was a stunt to give a glimmer of hope to the audience. A flat end to a private, pro-abortion talking-shop.
The Q&A provided a chance for the audience to let off some steam - most of whom seemed to worked in the abortion industry. One woman claimed it was the role of the RCOG to defend abortion, under the umbrella of treating the diseases of pregnancy. Another woman talked about the 'violence' of removing access to contraception and abortion.
There was also a convoluted debate on whether abortion supporters should be promoting contraception, and what attitude to take towards contraception. People were frank in speaking about the serious problems with current widespread contraception strategies, and the problems of contraceptive devices themselves, particularly long acting reversable contraception (LARC). Abortion was presented by some as part of contraception, as a back-up if the condom splits, or the woman takes her hormonal pill at the wrong time or forgets to take it. Dr Lohr called abortion "part of the fertility control spectrum", seemingly not realising that abortion doesn't control fertility, it kills a child. Some members of the audience described the promotion of contraception as misleading, because it suggests that abortion is in some way to be avoided or a morally undesirable choice. One member of the audience argued that abortion was a way of "saving women from violence during pregnancy, from violent relationships, from pregnancy itself."
Dr Lohr said that there is a need for all medical workers to be able to direct women towards an abortion even if they consider it to be morally wrong. SPUC has recently been involved with a case in Scotland, defending the conscientious objection of two midwives to any involvement in abortion. The pro-life movement should be more confident about exercising and promoting conscientious objection for all medical staff. Not long ago the findings of a survey amongst medical students found that an increasing number are rejecting abortion. In contrast, in 2010 one major abortion organisation made their own survey disappear when 94% of respondents to an online poll said NO to the question "Should abortion be legal in Ireland?"
Myself and Paul Smeaton were invited to stay afterwards. There were a few jugs of water and glasses on a table in the next room. With BPAS chief executive Ann Furedi earning at least £115-120,000, I'm sure they could have at least provided tea and coffee!
LifeSiteNews recently covered part of this report