an After abortion

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Tuesday, July 6, 2004

David Reardon of The Elliot Institute is circulating a petition that calls on the Republican and Democratic parties to add platform planks addressing the concerns of women who were coerced into abortions.

Many leaders of post-abortion ministries have already signed
the petition.
It will be presented to the chairs of each party later this summer.

You can add your signature electronically by following
this link.

The text of the petition appears below. Anyone is welcome to sign. Please consider signing and identifying your affiliation with your own blog or other group.

Dear Chairman:

Approximately 30 million American women have had one or more abortions. But neither major political party has acknowledged their unique experiences and concerns. These 30 million women, and millions more who empathize with them, represent a growing contingency of disenfranchised voters.

Research indicates that between 30 to 60 percent of women having abortions have felt pressured into unwanted abortions. Many abortions are the result of horrendous domestic violence. Moreover, the majority of women who have had abortions struggle with one or more negative emotional or physical reactions associated with their abortions, not the least of which is the fear that others would judge and blame if they knew about their abortions.

The failure of this political party to acknowledge and empathize with the emotional struggles of women who have had abortions, and the party's failure to express concern about preventing coerced abortions, contributes to feelings of alienation and abandonment that are common among these women.

A recent national poll commissioned by a pro-woman advocacy group found that most Americans support government involvement in providing post-abortion counseling programs, funding research into abortion complications, and prevention of coerced abortions. It also found that 63% of women who describe themselves as pro-choice say they would be more likely to vote for a political candidate who would supports grief counseling programs for women who experience emotional problems after an abortion.

Despite this high degree of empathy from the American people toward these key concerns of women who have abortions, these issues continue to be ignored by both major political parties.

To correct this oversight, I ask that you will support the inclusion of the following two paragraphs into the party's 2004 national platform:

We are deeply concerned that many women are being coerced into unwanted abortions. These coercive pressures often come from male partners, parents, or others. Studies show that women who are pregnant are more likely to be verbally abused, beaten, or kicked out of their homes. Some become targets of homicidal attacks or other acts of violence intended to cause a miscarriage. In fact, homicide is now the leading cause of death among pregnant women. Similarly, coerced abortions and brutally induced miscarriages have become two common forms of domestic violence. Victims of incest and rape are also being pressured into unwanted abortions by sexual predators whose only concern is to cover-up their crimes. We therefore support and encourage new legislative efforts that will facilitate the prosecution of these abuses of women. As a positive first step to encourage prosecution of attacks on both women and their unborn children, Congress has passed Laci and Conner's Law.

Even when a woman freely consents to an abortion, her decision is often in conflict with her own moral beliefs, her desire to have the baby, or both. Any psychological conflict between their fundamental beliefs and actions can result in profound feelings of regret, grief, despair, and more. As a result, research has shown that abortion is associated with elevated risks of depression, anxiety, psychiatric hospitalization, divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide, and death from all causes. Therefore, we believe greater compassion and support are indispensable to the process of healing the pains and traumas caused by abortion. To this end, we applaud the many privately funded programs providing post-abortion counseling to women, men, and families suffering from the negative effects of past abortions. We encourage state and federal health departments to provide support or make referrals to these programs. We also support the efforts of congressional leaders to provide federal grants for post-abortion counseling programs and for the additional research that is necessary to document the full extent of abortion-related complications.

No person of good will could object to the language above. Certainly, people on both sides of the political controversy surrounding legal abortions should be able to agree that women should not be subjected to coerced or dangerous abortions. People on both sides should also be able to agree that those women, men, and families that are negatively affected by grief, guilt, or other psychological or physical injuries following abortion should receive competent and compassionate care.

Yet these issues have been mostly neglected in the past due to the great polarization caused by the ongoing political battles over abortion. Now is the time to clearly address these concerns.

I thank you in advance for you support for including this important policy statement in the Party's upcoming platform.

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