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NORWOOD — Erika Bachiochi, editor of and contributor to the book, “The Cost of ‘Choice’: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion” spoke on the 30-year legacy of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade decision at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Norwood Jan. 30.
The book came about after a symposium, “A Thirty Year Reflection,” held at Boston College in 2003, because participants wanted to share the information presented with a larger audience, said Marianne Luthin, director of the archdiocesan Pro-life Office. Bachiochi, a mother of two who holds a theology degree from BC and a law degree from Boston University, volunteered to take on the task and bring it to completion.
"There really weren't too many publishers who were interested in a compilation of pro-life essays, particularly by distinguished pro-life women," said Luthin. "They'd rather have us think that women who are opposed to abortion are somehow in the dark ages."
Over the past three decades, those who support abortion have battled for the reproductive rights of women while pro-life people battled for the rights of the unborn, Bachiochi said. Although many Americans understand that abortion takes a life, the pro-abortion movement has convinced many that they cannot impose that belief on others.
"Many good-willed people have bought this idea -- hook, line and sinker -- but medical evidence, sociological data and the lived experience of many women has revealed a very different reality -- abortion has harmed women, physically, psychologically, relationally and culturally," she added.
Post-abortive women are more likely than other women to experience high rates of anxiety, depression and suicide along with greater difficulty conceiving and bringing to term a healthy baby, Bachiochi said.
"Astonishingly, many states do not require that abortion-related complications be reported to their health departments," she said. "When Planned Parenthood approximates that 43 percent of women will have abortions before they turn 45 years old, and with more than a million abortions performed each year, these data reveal a serious women's health issue that must be addressed. Yet, all too often, the data is simply denied or ignored."
Few women know that abortion is an invasive surgical procedure with serious consequences before they meet the abortionist, just minutes before the surgery, and abortion clinics “are less regulated then veterinary clinics,” she said
"It is no wonder, then, that 81 percent of women surveyed in a 1992 study reported in the Journal of Social Issues said that they felt victimized by the abortion process, that they were either coerced into the abortion or that information about alternatives or the actual procedure had been withheld," she said.
Men who do not have children are the most “enthusiastic fans” of abortion, and a study found that about 40 percent of post-abortive women “reported that boyfriends or husbands pressured them into having the abortions,” Bachiochi said.
"For many women, the pro-abortion euphemism, 'reproductive freedom,' has meant that women continue to negotiate all that comes with reproduction, while men enjoy the freedom of sex without consequences," she added.
Abortion, according to advocates, is supposed to help the working woman, the poor woman or parents of a child with prenatal defects, but “America’s reliance on abortion has relieved a market-driven culture from the costs associated with creating environments truly hospitable to women and their children,” she added.
"More and more women today are challenging the pro-abortion feminist idea that our children are a burden to our success and equality," she said. "Sacrificing autonomy and worldly success for the lives of those we love isn't the conduct of one oppressed but an act of one freed to be the all for another."
"Women can rise to the challenge of an unintentional or even abnormal pregnancy if they have the emotional, financial and professional support they need," she said.
Although carrying and giving birth to a child is a challenge that takes sacrifice, “women who have aborted and who have merely lived during this era of abortion have sacrificed far more over the past three decades.”