Last week I wrote about a pro-choice editorial that argued that pro-lifers should not offer information about abortion to women entering clinics that perform them. We should "let women do what they want," according to the authors.
However, there is that pesky issue of informed choice. Let's say you were about to drink what you thought was a Coke, but it was actually a glass of poison. As far as you knew, it was perfectly safe to drink. Now, if somebody sitting at the table next to you knew that it was poison, wouldn't you want them to tell you? And might that information change your decision to drink the Coke? Furthermore, don't you deserve to have full information about what's in the glass before you make the decision whether or not to drink it?
As I mentioned in my previous post, there are scores of post-abortive women who have spoken out to say that if they had only been told X, Y, or Z before the abortion, they never would have gone through with it. (See point #2 of this piece about crisis pregnancy centers for a heartbreaking example of this.) So clearly, there are some types of information that have the ability to influence this decision. Shouldn't women be given such information, before rather than after the fact?
Just two days ago, Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility, penned one of the most compelling arguments for informed choice that I have ever read. It involves her horrific experience of a medication abortion - specifically, eight weeks of excruciating abdominal pain and cramps, gushing blood and lemon-sized blood clots coming out of her, and the fear that she might be dying - and her subsequent realization that the abortion clinic staff knew that all of these things were likely to happen, yet did not inform her beforehand.
It is difficult to read Abby's reflection and come away with the impression that women always know everything there is to know about the abortion decision when they are entering a clinic. Clearly, they do not. It is inexcusable that the law does not uniformly require abortion providers to give women this kind of information. And it is even more inexcusable that dedicated pro-lifers are criticized for taking it upon themselves to stand out on sidewalks and offer the information that the law inexcusably fails to require.
Ferguson, MO, What's Next?
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