Monday, August 29, 2005

No Reply [Updated]

Update:
Since this entry was originally published, I've received two replies from one of the site administrators. The thread is below:

Thank you for your email, and sorry it took so long to get back to you - we were on vacation.

The paper you site is from Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading abortion provided -- and a biased partisan toward unrestricted abortions. What they fail to state is the obvious: abortions cannot be prevented in any state simply do to the fact that there is a "woman's health" exemption - and mental health (for any reason) is included. The laws they illustrate are merely minor "restrictions.

To which I replied:
I appreciate your reply, thank you.

However, I must say - the data in the chart compiled can be found anywhere. All one needs to do is look up the various restrictions currently on the books in each state. To quibble over the source, here, I think is little more than a red herring.

Further, I think that if your point below is to criticize a health exception, then those are the words most appropriate to use. The existing statement on your site is entirely misleading, and creates the impression that a healthy woman can walk in, healthy late-term fetus intact, and have it aborted. This is not the case. And if education is your sincere goal, then accuracy ought to be your watchword, not your argumentative foil.

Again, hyperbole is beneath you. It may appeal to the converted, but it will do little to impress the millions of moderate Americans who clearly abhor abortion but are decidedly "on the fence" about increasing restrictions.

Of course, your reply begs the question -- in the event a woman's health *is* threatened by her pregnancy, are you advocating that she should be completely denied the option to abort? Are you endorsing the view that a dead mother is preferable to a dead fetus?

I look forward to your response.

To which he replied:
We clarified the statement by adding the “mental health exception.” Per your question about the health of mother exception, scores of health experts (including Dr. Koop) have stated that there are not clear cases whereby a woman must choose between her own existence and her unborn child. This myth, however, is persistently delivered by pro-abortionists as a propaganda tool. The only clear exception to this is an ectopic pregnancy, whereby the baby has no chance for survival, and the mother has a good chance of dying if the fetus is not removed.

Thanks for taking the time to review our sections, and please stay in touch.

I give him credit where it's due for amending the page, but am disappointed that he accuses pro-choice advocates of propaganda while citing Dr. Koop (who is well known for his bias on the topic), and disregarding out of hand the highly relevant quality-of-life problems his absolutism ignores.

While I'm tempted reply and document the instances (outside of ectopic pregnancy) in which continued gestation can threaten the health of the mother, I realize I'm simply not dealing with a receptive audience. Further, to continue the debate would likely turn an otherwise civil exchange ugly, and I'm just not inclined.

Nevertheless, in the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to let you all know how this finally turned out. Make of it what you will.



Original diary:

In researching for past & future entries, I paid a visit to abortiontv.com. They're a heavily Google-bombed pro-life site. Their "Abortion Statistics" page lists a comprehensive set of numbers compiled by the CDC and the Allan Guttmacher Institute, both of which are the primary trackers of abortion rates and demographics in the country.

All of the stats listed were cited to their original studies, save but one. It is this one stat that I wrote to their contributors about. That email is below:
I notice that all of you carefully cite the source studies for all of your published statistics, all save for this one: "Abortion is legal in the USA at any time throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy... FOR ANY REASON."

A cursory examination of state laws shows that this is simply not the case. Researching this claim's accuracy requires on the order of roughly 30 seconds, so anyone curious can easily discover that this is a serious misrepresentation of existing law. (Here's one of several comparison charts of state laws, for your reference: http://www.thehelpline.org/unplanned_pregnancy/abortion/abortionlaws.pdf)

That you have omitted any kind of citation for this "fact" makes it suspicious on the face, but in light of your staff claims that education is your primary goal, this overt attempt at hyperbole damages your overall credibility significantly.

Before you dismiss this message or its author as just another flame email from a rabid "pro-abortionist", let me assure you this is not the case. Regardless, my personal political motivations are irrelevant to the accuracy of the data you have published on your site.

Having said that, I don't have any objection to your agenda or any argument with your otherwise straightforward methods. That you contribute to the discussion over abortion is your right and personally, I welcome the input. However, in the interest of honest debate and legitimate discussion -- the kind that yields real progress in this arena, I respectfully request that you remove this particular sentence from the Statistics page.

Now, before anyone gets hysterical, what I said is true. I welcome anyone's contribution in this debate provided that their input is honest and forthright. I may not agree with any of this site's positions, but I have no argument with their stats page, since I can just as easily find all of the numbers listed as they can -- except that one humdinger.

The point of my disclosure here? To date, I've received only two replies, from people that politely disavowed any authoring responsibility for that page. Both women added that they hoped I'd hear back from the relevant people.

To date (nearly 3 weeks later), I have not received any other responses.

Go figure.

5 comments:

Daisy Girl said...

Can't say that I'm surprised you haven't gotten a response. Did you really expect one? In my experience, organizations, regardless of cause, rarely respond to points of conflict addressed to them by the public. It would be nice if accountability was a concept of the present, and not just the past, for the populations of people, as well as the giant corporations and small businesses that make up the commerce of our world.

Lily said...

Well the fact that they put such a thing on there should tell you what to make of their credibility, so don't hold your breath! But why take the trouble to do it, then throw that in there-
It reminds me of the welfare reform years ago when there were funny stats like "welfare women make more money than their social workes" and "more than half of welfare recipients use the money for alcohol"...etc. etc. In America, anyone can say anything. Watch the 700 Club!!!!

Geo_Chick said...

I can say without a doubt that there are other examples. I have bad kidneys and throughout my pregnancy I was told I may have to terminate. When I came to the last trimester I was told I would have to deliver early. I was lucky to make it there. When my daughter was born (several weeks early) my kidneys had shut down. We were both in serious danger. She had infections from the lack of filtration of the anmiotic fluid, and was at risk of death from them. My kidneys were shut down and I was in serious danger from that. They told us we might both die, but we were VERY lucky. I recovered and was insane enough to want a second child. At first I was told "If you want to live to be a mother to your first child you need to think very seriously about this." After a couple of years my kidneys were again stable and I decided to try again. I was again told I might have to abort at some point. Luckily I have two healthy kids, but truly now I cannot have another pregnancy. I was seeing doctors 3 to 5 times a week during both pregnancies. Specialists including a Perinatologist (high risk pregnancy specialist) and a Nephrologist (kidney doctor). To the administrator's claim that mothers lives in danger is a myth, I reply that I am his counter example. It could just as easily gone the other way for me and my children. And in my doctors offices there were many other women as counter examples as well. He has only to contact someone with real knowledge of medicine, and no agenda, to find the fallacy with which he amuses himself in order to rationalize his beliefs.

And just as a side note, his email is a good reason to not trust your spell check. I mean provider and provided, do and due, sigh. But to his credit, he did reply and amend his site. But it still says, "Abortion is legal in the USA at any time throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy... FOR ANY REASON (due to a woman's "mental health" exception)" with the CAPs highlighting the untrue statement. It isn't 'for any reason' when it is due to mental health, it is 'for certain reasons', or 'for a few reasons'.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

I know.... Like I said, I don't see the point in continuing an exchange, especially in which I attempt to convey the gravity of his semantic errors.

As to examples, any time I've tried to explain the various reasons why terminations happen, those adamantly opposed are quick to dismiss them all as such rare exceptions as to be unworthy of legal protection. It matters little how many can be offered up when they have someone like Dr. Koop to quote as gospel.

Lily said...

Well as I've said, those that defend their stance on "no choice ever" would say that the mother should die. Or have the baby from rape, incest, or whatever. That the baby should not suffer, that we have no right to take life... blah blah you know. Same old stuff. They claim that the majority of terminations do not fall into those categories anyway. Returns me though to my point that we cannot be an authority on somebody else's circumstances. I respect choice, admittedly I do so quite begrudgingly. I want more availability of earlier options. For teens too.
I saw an ultrasound picture of a fetus taken before the mother aborted at around 17 weeks- all this talk aside, it broke my heart to see the physical features. We can try to be academic or point to our religion or biological point vs. point- for my simplistic mind, that picture changed MY view. I know my view is just mine. I have views about bombing people and killing children, or letting people starve, or genocide too... why do these people not seem to devote energy to that? Why not direct some outrage at the war?