PRI Review

President's Page: The International Abortion Movement's Stealth

In talking recently with the director of our Latin American office, Carlos Polo, I have grown increasingly worried about the gains that the abortion movement is making throughout Latin America. Their plan is clever — diabolically clever, one might say. Instead of seeking to overturn existing laws against abortion — nearly impossible in these Catholic countries — they are seeking to do an end run around existing laws by promoting chemical abortions.

Anti-Lifers and Latin America

Here’s what they are trying to do in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and other countries: they are encouraging pregnant women to use Misoprostol. Drugstores commonly stock this drug — one of the components of the abortion cocktail RU-486 — because it does have a legitimate medical use: It is approved by the FDA for the treatment of gastric ulcers.

Know also that drugstores throughout Latin America dispense medications without a prescription. In effect, all drugs are available “over the counter” making Misoprostol extremely easy to obtain.

The purpose of pushing Misoprostol on pregnant women is to start them bleeding. Once they have started bleeding, the women are told to go to any public hospital or clinic and claim that they are suffering from a miscarriage. The doctors on duty will then, without checking to see if the unborn baby is still alive, do a D&C to complete what they think is a “spontaneous” miscarriage. Of course, it is anything but.

Our Strategy

We are trying to devise a strategy to combat this devious new abortion tactic, but it is proving difficult:

  • If the abortion movement were setting up their own clinics to complete the abortions, they could be subject to regulation and closure, Instead, however, they are misleading medical professionals working out of existing public and private clinics into performing their dirty work.
  • This tactic also obscures the reasons that a woman may seek an abortion. Serious underlying issues, such as rape or incest, are hidden from the law, no less than mere convenience abortions. Health issues that may have led to the desire for an abortion are left untreated.
  • As a result of years of groundwork by the abortion movement, most ministries of health in Latin America have issued regulations affirming that “attending to an incomplete abortion is not an act punishable by law.” The treatment of an incomplete abortion, these regulations say, does not "constitute abortion in penal terms.” Such regulations are perceived as falling entirely within the medical domain, and do not require any modification of the existing criminal code. They are thus extremely difficult to successfully oppose.
  • Most doctors in Latin America object to performing abortions on conscience grounds, but these chemical abortions, as we call them, neutralize the conscience objection. Physicians are seen as having a duty to care for women suffering from miscarriages, or even from incomplete abortions, because the life of the mother is at risk. Were they to refuse to care for a woman hemorrhaging — even if they were certain that the woman had deliberately caused the hemorrhaging by taking Misoprostol — they could be sanctioned by the local medical board.

All of this is a relatively recent development. It was only in 2003 that Dr. Beverly Winikoff established the NGO Gynuity, dedicated exclusively to developing and promoting chemical abortion all over the world. Winikoff, it should be noted, worked for 25 years at the Population Council as the director for Reproductive Health.

The next major step was taken in 2005, when the governments of the UK, Denmark, Norway and Sweden created the Safe Abortion Action Fund, or SAAF to finance “safe abortion” campaigns in less developed countries under the direction of the IPPF: On 18 May 2007, the IPPF announced that SAAF: would award 11 million in grants to underwrite 45 projects in 32 countries.

Three of the projects were in Latin America. In Uruguay, the Pereira Rossell Hospital began “counseling” women about existing abortion techniques for women with unwanted pregnancies.

In Brazil, the local IPPF branch, called BenFam, announced the establishment of a counseling system for women who want to interrupt their pregnancies. BenFam has the public support of the Health Minister.

In Argentina, the Algerich Hospital announced the establishment of a “counseling service” directed at women before and after the "interruption of the pregnancy.” All of these “counseling services” exist to encourage women to abort themselves — or at least begin the abortion — using Misoprostol.

Targeting Other Countries

Other Latin American countries are being targeted as well. In September 2007, Gynuity issued a new study entitled, “Options to introduce Medical Abortion in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru” with a focus on chemical abortions.

While a major focus of these efforts are the Catholic countries of Latin America, Gynuity and IPPF are actively promoting chemical abortion on every continent. In many countries, they have already moved beyond "counseling” to the actual provision of abortion services, and the training of physicians in chemical and surgical abortion techniques under the rubric of “post-abortion care.”

As always, they are attempting to legitimate their new stealth abortion strategy by attempting to create the impression of a global consensus. Several international conferences have already been held, such as the "Global Safe Abortion Conference 2007,” held in London on the 23–4 October 2004, and “Women Deliver: A Global Conference,” also in London on the 18–20 October 2007.

Pray that we will be able to devise a strategy to stop this deadly new assault on Life.

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