WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Although e-mailing a Mother's Day card to the woman who brought you into this world, and cared and sacrificed for you sounds impersonal, that is the way many kids will express their affection for Mom in this day and age of Al Gore's Internet. I just hope they don't accept the offer to do so through the website of the organization that has done more to prevent motherhood than perhaps any other -- Planned Parenthood.
The more than 40 million abortions since 1973 that Planned Parenthood has performed or enabled are apparently insufficient for The Washington Post, which complained in an editorial last week that "80 percent of U.S. counties have no abortion provider," and encouraged abortion proponents to "keep looking for ways to produce them."
One of the ways the abortion industry now exterminates unborn children is the controversial abortion pill RU-486, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2000. Bill Clinton's embrace of the deadly chemical contradicted his "desire" to make abortion "safe, legal and rare." The legal maneuvering applied to achieve accelerated approval for this experimental drug was unprecedented. A 1992 provision in the FDA regulations was drafted to protect pharmaceutical companies from liability for injuries resulting from experimental drugs.
Originally, these regulations applied only to promising therapies for patients dying of terminal diseases, like AIDS. But the provision was abused by Clinton's cronies who wanted RU-486 approved quickly, fearing a new administration would reject the dangerous "abortion in a bottle."
Last fall, New Scientist magazine reported that one of the drugs used in RU-486, misoprostol, has caused an "epidemic of birth defects around the world." Now, a "Dear Health Care Provider" letter posted on the FDA website from the manufacturer of RU-486, Danco Laboratories, reports that several women have suffered severe health problems, including two deaths, after taking the drug. It is this new cautionary letter that prompted The Washington Post to rally to the aid of the beleaguered abortion industry.
Excusing the injuries and defending the "safety" of RU-486, The Post observes the root of the problem is a shortage of doctors willing to perform abortions because they belong to "a generation of doctors who have not seen the effects of illegal abortion." Their conclusion -- that more abortionists are needed because RU-486 may not be a wonder drug after all -- is nothing less than twisted.
What is discouraging about this issue is that for many years the radical feminist movement has encouraged young women to renounce the "hindrances" of motherhood -- even if that means aborting their children to make way for career. The emotional anguish suffered by a generation of women whose career achievements and financial success have not replaced their yearning for motherhood was recently revealed in an explosive Time magazine cover story. The bottom line is that modern myths of finding total fulfillment and material gain do not negate nature's call to nurture.
A new book by Harvard economist and self-identified feminist Sylvia Ann Hewlett, "Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children," chronicles the tales of disheartened women leaving the workplace in their late 30s or early 40s only to learn that they were betrayed by a feminist movement that valued career over kids. They are victims of a misinformation campaign by feminist special interests who are alarmed to learn that despite medical advances, the biological clock cannot be held back.
Attempting to overcome infertility is now a $1 billion industry. Why? Because many women who sacrifice children for career eventually embrace their desire to give birth, but do so too late in life. Amara Bachu of the U.S. Census Bureau points out that in the last 20 years, childlessness among women 40 to 44 years old has doubled, because "Among women in the childbearing years, postponement of marriage and childbearing is viewed as a pathway to a good job and economic independence."
Unfortunately, census data cannot weigh the emotional toll of an empty womb. Pamela Madsen, executive director of the American Infertility Association, told Time, "I cringe when feminists say giving women reproductive knowledge is pressuring them to have a child." Writing in USA Today, freelance author Patricia Pearson explains that for childless women, the conversation is so uncomfortable that asking about "absent children" has become "taboo."
While the psychological toll documented in Hewlett's book is grim, the candid assessment of fertility is welcome indeed. Armed with the facts, perhaps more women will choose family and avoid a lifetime of regret.
In the last month, one national publication candidly addressed a difficult topic so that more women may thoughtfully choose life, while another publication sought to encourage an industry of death. On this Mother's Day, I thank God for Betsy, my best friend and mother of our four children. They are so blessed to have a mom who sacrificed a promising career to devote herself to them.
As a stay-at-home mom, a full-time friend and a primary educator, Betsy, and other mothers like her, were often the objects of feminist ridicule. However, as we recently welcomed our third grandchild into the world, we know ours has been the fuller life. Happy Mother's Day, Betsy.