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<v Announcer>Funding for this program has been provided by the Pennsylvania Public Television Network. <v Joyce Holiday>Abortion is a form of violence to women. <v Joyce Holiday>I believe that's very real from women I've talked with who have had abortions. <v Kathryn Kolbert>This bill will not stop abortion. <v Kathryn Kolbert>It will make it more difficult and harassing for a woman. <v Kathryn Kolbert>Submit her to tremendous psychological and emotional trauma. <v Announcer 2>The focus of the national debate on abortion is now shifting to the states. <v Announcer 2>And nowhere is the legislation tougher, the issue more heated than in Pennsylvania. <v Announcer 2>Tonight, Pro-Con looks at abortion and whose business is it anyway? <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Good evening. I'm Charlayne Hunter-Gault. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>After months of some of the most passionate and emotional debate ever heard on the floor
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>of the U.S. Congress, the thorny issue of what to do about abortion <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>is now being taken up in statehouses all over America. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>The intensity of the debate remains high, fueled by armies of activists <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>on both sides of the issue. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>On the one hand, a new political movement operating under the egis of pro-life <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>is trying through a constitutional amendment or a federal statute <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>to either override or go around the 9 year old Supreme Court ruling <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>that says a woman has a constitutional right to abortion, at least in the first <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>3 months of pregnancy. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Both efforts are stalled in Congress at the moment. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>On the other hand, the so-called pro-choice side is fighting to maintain the ruling, <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>arguing that abortion is not a matter of state, but a matter of choice. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Here in Pennsylvania, legislation regarded as the country's toughest set of anti-abortion <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>proposals so far was narrowly defeated earlier this month by <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>a House committee in Harrisburg.
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>In addition to defining life as beginning at conception, its <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>more controversial proposals included the requirements of a 72 hour <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>waiting period before the abortion, before the abortion. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>The option that a patient be shown abortion literature and color photographs <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>of aborted fetuses, death certificates for aborted fetuses, <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>and the presence of a second physician in case it was determined that the fetus <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>could live outside the womb. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Opponents charge that the proposals were vague and unconstitutional. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Supporters have vowed to press the fight. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Tonight Pro-Con examines that legislation and looks at the broad range <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>of medical, legal and moral questions that have so inflamed this <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>issue. First, though, to our public station in University Park WPSX <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>and one of the 2 main sponsors of the anti-abortion legislation. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>He is State Representative Greg Cunningham, a Republican from Center County.
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Representative Cunningham, your bill didn't make it out of committee, but you have vowed <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>to bring it back. Why? <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>Simply stated, because the issue is too important. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>The problem is too pressing to keep it from reaching the floor of the House. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>We've had difficulty traditionally with this kind of legislation in the House Health <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>and Welfare Committee, as was illustrated in 1978 when a <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>piece of pro-life legislation was defeated by that committee and was ultimately forced <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>to be discharged before it could reach the full House, it was ultimately passed <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>into law. The same phenomenon occurred just last session when an abortion funding cutoff <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>bill that passed both the House and the Senate by better than a two thirds majority <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>was very nearly defeated in that committee. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>We don't think it's equitable for 5 percent of the members of the House to be able to <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>keep that kind of legislation from reaching the full chamber. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Well, what's your response to opponents who have charged that your bill is vague <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>and unconstitutional?
<v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>I would submit to you that the people who have <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>made those allegations have either not read the bill carefully or it's clear that they <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>have a philosophical ax to grind. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>And, of course, we respect that. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>This bill was drafted very, very carefully by a team of attorneys from all over the <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>country. Steve Freind and I, the other prime sponsor of the bill, <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>who are both attorneys, worked very, very hard on the drafting of it. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>And it's fair to say that in in every instance in which we were moving into a marginal <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>area, constitutionally, we worked very hard to be sure that the <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>provisions of the legislation were consistent with current federal case law as regards <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>abortion. So we're very confident that this legislation will stand the test of <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>constitutional scrutiny. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>In 10 seconds or less, can you tell me what makes this the state's business? <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>The same thing that made the issue of slavery the state's business. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>You had a situation in which a group of people were saying that Black people were, in <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>fact, not people. They were attempting to justify the institution of slavery on <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>the notion that it in fact, there was nothing morally reprehensible about
<v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>abusing a Black person because that person was not a person. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>We were forced to enact the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to say, in effect, Black <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>people are people. You cannot define humanity in terms which exclude them <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>and then brutalize them, which is exactly what's happening today with unborn babies who <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>have been defined in terms that fall outside of the definition of humanity. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>All right. We'll come back. Even if the anti-abortion proposal is passed <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>by the House, it will still have to be passed by the Senate. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>1 senator who opposes the legislation is with us this day at Station WLBT. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>in Allentown. He is Senator Henry Messinger of Lehigh County and the <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Democratic policy chairman in the Senate. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Senator, why do you think the bill was defeated? <v Sen. Henry Messinger>Defeated in the committee? <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Yes, sir. <v Sen. Henry Messinger>Well, I, I, I believe that many of the members of the committee felt that <v Sen. Henry Messinger>there had too many parts that probably were unconstitutional. <v Sen. Henry Messinger>And I don't believe that they wanted to be in a position of having to release
<v Sen. Henry Messinger>it to the floor. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>You just heard the argument that Representative Cunningham made in terms of the what he <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>thinks is that gives him confidence that it is constitutional. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>What's your response to that? <v Sen. Henry Messinger>Well, you can have arguments on both sides of any question and on a question <v Sen. Henry Messinger>of constitutionality, the final word, and that will be the Supreme Court. <v Sen. Henry Messinger>But I do believe that in past rulings, this <v Sen. Henry Messinger>bill is patently unconstitutional because it takes personhood rights <v Sen. Henry Messinger>away from women and attempts to give them to fetuses. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Is that why you believe this isn't the state's business? <v Sen. Henry Messinger>I don't believe that ?inaudible? <v Sen. Henry Messinger>governments should enact the moral ideas of any particular <v Sen. Henry Messinger>group, because we have in our society a <v Sen. Henry Messinger>society of all types of people, all many, many different
<v Sen. Henry Messinger>ideas, many religions. <v Sen. Henry Messinger>We have the so-called Moral Majority. <v Sen. Henry Messinger>Some people call it the moral mob. <v Sen. Henry Messinger>So we have so many differences of opinion. <v Sen. Henry Messinger>And I don't think that it's a duty of ?inaudible? <v Sen. Henry Messinger>government to enact the moral ideas of any religious <v Sen. Henry Messinger>group. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Briefly, Representative Cunningham, could you just respond to that last point? <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>I would simply like to say that this bill has been terribly, terribly distorted in the <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>press. And when we talk about conferring personhood on unborn babies, it's very important <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>to emphasize that this legislation prohibits abortion in 1 case, in 1 case <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>only. And that is a situation in which we have a baby that is so fully developed <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>that he can live outside his mother's body if the abortionist aborting that pregnancy <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>does not overtly kill him. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>The second class of, of subclass of, of baby in <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>which an abortion is prevented is 1 in which the baby is born alive. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>As a result of a botched abortion, we then confer personhood and we say you cannot
<v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>kill that baby or allow that baby to die. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>All right. We'll come back. As I said earlier, the 2 sides in this abortion <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>argument are clearly drawn. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>But because the issue involves questions of law, medicine and morality, <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>there are many facets to the argument on both sides. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Tonight, in 2 separate documentaries, Pro-Con looks at some of the arguments <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>on each side. First, Pro-Con producer Alan Miceli looks at the pro-life <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>side. Some of the scenes are quite graphic. <v Narrator 1>The Romans knew what was inside the mother's womb during a pregnancy. <v Narrator 1>That's why they called it a fetus, the Latin word for unborn child. <v Narrator 1>If you were an unborn child today, the chances of you getting out of your mother alive <v Narrator 1>would not be very good. For every 3 children born in this country, 1 <v Narrator 1>child is aborted. An astonishing 1 and a half million abortions were performed
<v Narrator 1>in the United States last year, making that operation the most common medical procedure <v Narrator 1>for adults. Abortion has become a form of birth control, a way of eliminating <v Narrator 1>mistakes. And most Americans are disturbed by that fact. <v Narrator 1>73 percent of Americans polled by the Gallup organization, want abortion either strictly <v Narrator 1>limited to such cases as rape, incest and the life of the mother or outlawed <v Narrator 1>entirely. Abortion on demand, that is abortion for any reason at all, is <v Narrator 1>legal in this country. It should be outlawed. <v Narrator 1>Pennsylvania should have an abortion control bill that encourages women to have their <v Narrator 1>children for 2 good reasons. <v Narrator 1>Abortions are killing unborn children and they are inflicting physical and psychological <v Narrator 1>wounds on a large number of women. <v Anonymous woman>I'm 29 years old. <v Anonymous woman>I had an abortion at the age of 19 and a half. <v Narrator 1>This woman has 5 children, a normal child born before her abortion and <v Narrator 1>4 premature children all born after the abortion. <v Narrator 1>Her first child does well in school. Her premature children have learning problems.
<v Anonymous woman>I don't know at this point if there are any learning disabilities. <v Anonymous woman>But I know they're slow. <v Interviewer>And you blame that on the prematurity? <v Anonymous woman>Yes, I do. <v Anonymous woman>On the abortion. <v Interviewer>Have your doctors blamed it on premature babies? <v Anonymous woman>Yes. <v Narrator 1>If you have an abortion, you are 3 times more likely to have premature babies than if you <v Narrator 1>do not have an abortion. An international study has shown that abortion on demand <v Narrator 1>has resulted in an abrupt increase in the rates of premature birth, premature rupture <v Narrator 1>of membranes, spontaneous abortion, perinatal mortality and fetal damage, <v Narrator 1>as well as other complications. <v Narrator 1>Other studies have shown that a woman whose first pregnancy ends in abortion has <v Narrator 1>twice the chance of a miscarriage, twice the chance of a baby born dead, 8 times <v Narrator 1>the chance of a tubal pregnancy. <v Narrator 1>Last year, 15,000 women had major complications after an abortion, <v Narrator 1>and up to 10 percent of all women who have abortions will be unable <v Narrator 1>to ever again become pregnant. <v Narrator 1>Last year alone, that would have been 150,000 women.
<v Sandra Haun>A friend of mine, she was about 39 at the time, found herself pregnant. <v Narrator 1>Sandra Haun is president of the Pittsburgh chapter of Women Exploited. <v Narrator 1>It is part of a national organization whose members have had abortions and have regretted <v Narrator 1>them. A friend's death led Sandra Haun to Women Exploited. <v Sandra Haun>Well, she did have the abortion and she talked to my sister about it, my sister asked <v Sandra Haun>not to have an abortion, but to come and talk to her, to stay with her, whatever she <v Sandra Haun>could do to help. She said no, it just is going to tamper with my life too much. <v Sandra Haun>She had the abortion. She tried afterwards to talk to many people about it because she <v Sandra Haun>was so upset. Nobody seemed to want to talk to her about it. <v Sandra Haun>And she started getting more and more depressed. <v Sandra Haun>And 1 night she went into her garage, she locked the garage, she locked the car doors, <v Sandra Haun>she turned the car on and she just sat there. <v Sandra Haun>And I'm sure her death certificate doesn't mention the word abortion, <v Sandra Haun>but that abortion killed her, that abortion destroyed her very life and it was ironic <v Sandra Haun>because the time she chose to take her life with the month of her baby would have been <v Sandra Haun>born. <v Narrator 1>Over ninety 95 percent of abortions are performed, supposedly to protect emotionally
<v Narrator 1>troubled women like Sandra's friend. <v Narrator 1>An extensive study, however, comparing women with psychological problems who had <v Narrator 1>abortions to women with similar problems who had their babies indicates <v Narrator 1>that having the baby is less stressful than having the abortion. <v Narrator 1>According to the study, if society does not push abortion at women, most will go to <v Narrator 1>term satisfactorily. <v Marci Meenan>Many of the women that are out there are trying to tell people that abortion is is is <v Marci Meenan>the right thing for women cry when they talk about their own abortion. <v Narrator 1>For 3 years, Marci Meenan was an obstetrical nurse at a Pittsburgh hospital. <v Narrator 1>She assisted at 700 second trimester abortions. <v Narrator 1>The abortions she saw were stressful not only for the women, but for the doctors and <v Narrator 1>nurses as well, especially when the dead child was delivered breech and the head <v Narrator 1>was trapped in the mother. <v Marci Meenan>Doctors showed it to me that they just hated this part of the abortion. <v Marci Meenan>It seemed easy to kill the baby with assault downstairs where you couldn't see the baby, <v Marci Meenan>but they didn't want any part of the baby when it was being delivered.
<v Marci Meenan>And the doctors would get upset many times and they would rip the body <v Marci Meenan>away from the child's head that was still inside the mother. <v Marci Meenan>They would write orders to send this mother to the operating room so <v Marci Meenan>that the head could be removed. <v Marci Meenan>The head had to be chopped, if you will, and <v Marci Meenan>remove that way, or she would have a violent infection. <v Marci Meenan>But I would watch these women's blood pressures and they were bouncing around and <v Marci Meenan>dangerous levels to get a doctor there. <v Marci Meenan>They weren't prepared for this by any means. <v Narrator 1>The handicapped child most commonly aborted is the Down's syndrome child. <v Narrator 1>David has Down syndrome. He is the youngest child of Philadelphia gynecologist Dr. <v Narrator 1>Dorothy Czarnecki. <v Dr. Dorothy Czarnecki>We assume, for example, that mentally retarded people aren't happy, can't <v Dr. Dorothy Czarnecki>be happy, can't learn. <v Dr. Dorothy Czarnecki>We assume that they're not worthwhile. <v Dr. Dorothy Czarnecki>But there are so many people that that have dealt with handicapped people, retarded <v Dr. Dorothy Czarnecki>people, physically ill or incapacitated people who tell you that that's not
<v Dr. Dorothy Czarnecki>so. David may not be a doctor. <v Dr. Dorothy Czarnecki>He won't be a lawyer or a teacher. But he's going to be successful because he's going to <v Dr. Dorothy Czarnecki>be independent and he's going to be independent because of the educational <v Dr. Dorothy Czarnecki>process that he's been through with all of us. <v Ann Altamar>I don't know what they think it is, what we all were before we were born. <v Ann Altamar>Is, is- does that mean we were nothing? I don't understand that at all. <v Ann Altamar>I think it's tragic. I think it's absolutely tragic. <v Narrator 1>59 percent of the women in this country agree with Ann Altamar that the life of a human <v Narrator 1>being begins at conception. <v Narrator 1>A majority of all Americans, male and female, believes life begins at conception. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>And I must say that it was only biologic enlightenment, not anything spiritual. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>I'm an atheist and I have no religious convictions, whatever. <v Narrator 1>A decade ago, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a prominent New York obstetrician gynecologist, <v Narrator 1>supervised 60,000 abortions at the world's largest abortion clinic. <v Narrator 1>Scientific observation during that time made him conclude in the England Journal of <v Narrator 1>Medicine that I had, in fact, presided over 60,000 deaths.
<v Narrator 1>He believes there is no scientific doubt that a pregnant woman carries a human life <v Narrator 1>within her. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>But I did spend 4 years working in the area of fetology or perinatology <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>in those years in which the field literally exploded with new information. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>And I think that my daily <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>contact with the fetus through all of our new technology, <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>the ultrasound and amniocentesis and the electronic fetal heart monitoring <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>and fetoscopy, all the other amazing technologies <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>which we produced in the '70s, <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>allowed me to see the fetus in a new light and allowed me to perceive <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>finally the unarguable <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>humanity of that person. <v Narrator 1>Dr. Nathanson was co-founder of NARAL. <v Narrator 1>Known today as the National Abortion Rights Action League. <v Narrator 1>It is the largest pro-abortion lobby in the country.
<v Narrator 1>He believes that America has abortion on demand today, in large part because of the way <v Narrator 1>NARAL treated the facts. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>To some extent, the coalition was built on fabrication. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>Yes. So we also fabricated polls in which we stated <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>that the majority of Americans were beginning to switch to a pro-abortion posture. <v Narrator 1>According to Dr. Nathanson and Government Statistics, NARAL's figure of up to 10,000 <v Narrator 1>deaths a year due to illegal abortions was a gross exaggeration. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>Actually, we know the truth is closer to about 3 or 4 hundred, but <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>the figures were so dramatic that they could not help but be attention grabbers. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>And they became extremely important to us in forming <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>a broad coalition front of pro-abortion forces, pulling in <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>all kinds of liberally inclined organizations and <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>societies into our coalition. <v Narrator 1>Nathanson added that modern medicine has made the whole question of deaths due to <v Narrator 1>abortion obsolete.
<v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>We do have a whole new class of drugs now which are <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>ubiquitous in medicine called prostaglandins. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>They can be used as simple little suppositories in the vagina and they are very <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>effective abortion producing drugs. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>They are also extremely safe and they are also extremely cheap. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>So that if tomorrow morning abortion were again proscribed in the <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>United States by fiat, you can be sure <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>that women would be hurtl- hurrying down to the local drugstore and buying the <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>prostaglandin suppositories under the counter for the purpose of <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>having an abortion at home. <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>No one would ever be going back to the back alley and there would be no increase <v Dr. Bernard Nathanson>in deaths. <v Narrator 1>Another inaccuracy by the pro-abortion lobby has been to emphasize abortions <v Narrator 1>dealing with rape, incest and life of the mother. <v Narrator 1>According to MedicAid statistics, those abortions account for less than 1 percent
<v Narrator 1>of all abortions in this country. <v Narrator 1>NARAL also made it appear that opposition to abortion on demand was a Catholic issue. <v Narrator 1>Today, 90 million Americans belong to religions that oppose abortion on demand. <v Narrator 1>Only 19 million Americans belong to religions that support abortion on demand. <v Narrator 1>A growing number of those opposed to abortion on religious grounds are liberals and <v Narrator 1>feminists like Joyce Holiday, associate editor of the prominent religious publication <v Narrator 1>Sojourners. <v Joyce Holiday>More and more more feminist, myself included, are beginning to see abortion is <v Joyce Holiday>just one more way of exploiting women because it is a form of violence <v Joyce Holiday>to women. And to use the phrase that <v Joyce Holiday>women should have choice to have an abortion. <v Joyce Holiday>I don't believe is accurate because I don't believe that any woman who really has a <v Joyce Holiday>choice, who has a supportive community or has the support of the <v Joyce Holiday>father of the child, would be driven to do something as desperate as to <v Joyce Holiday>take a life from within her body. <v Rep. Stephen Freind>None of us have an absolute right over our own bodies, male or female.
<v Rep. Stephen Freind>We can't sell our bodies in prostitution. <v Rep. Stephen Freind>That's against the law. We can't take certain dangerous drugs. <v Rep. Stephen Freind>That's against the law. As a matter of fact, we can't even commit suicide. <v Rep. Stephen Freind>That's against the law, though I admit that the successful perpetrator is very hard to <v Rep. Stephen Freind>prosecute. So there are no such absolute rights and what people forget even though you <v Rep. Stephen Freind>may have a right to privacy and a right to control, to a certain extent, your own body, <v Rep. Stephen Freind>they never mentioned the next point. <v Rep. Stephen Freind>We're talking about a second separate human being and unborn child. <v Narrator 1>Finally, a problem. <v Narrator 1>A woman in her 30s is pregnant. <v Narrator 1>She has tuberculosis. Her husband has syphilis. <v Narrator 1>They have had 4 children. <v Narrator 1>The first was born blind. The second was born dead. <v Narrator 1>The third was born deaf. And the fourth had tuberculosis. <v Narrator 1>Should this woman have an abortion? <v Narrator 1>If you answered yes, you just voted to abort Ludvig von Beethoven.
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>This is 1 story that has thus far not yielded much compromise. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>And as I indicated earlier, there are few, if any, points of agreement between the 2 <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>sides. Here now is Pro-Con's look at the pro-choice side <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>with narrator Yvonne Millspal. <v Jane Wells-Schooley>She is a living, breathing human being and which a biological event is occurring to her. <v Jane Wells-Schooley>And it is her body. Our organization supports abortion if a woman <v Jane Wells-Schooley>chooses to do so in what she considers to be a necessary situation. <v Rep. Thomas Cannon>Birth control. <v Jane Wells-Schooley>Frankly. And maybe it's easier if I explain to you as a woman, as <v Jane Wells-Schooley>a woman, it is a lot easier to take. <v Jane Wells-Schooley>[Rep. Thomas Cannon arguing back as she speaks]. <v Narrator 2>This exchange is typical of the tension and hostility created by even a formal <v Narrator 2>discussion of abortion legislation. <v Narrator 2>The issues, medical, moral and legal often are overshadowed by <v Narrator 2>the intensity of the discussion. But for those who support abortion rights, the argument <v Narrator 2>comes down to 2 major points. Freedom of choice and the safety
<v Narrator 2>of women. <v Kathryn Kolbert>As you put more restrictions on the access to abortion, the longer you <v Kathryn Kolbert>delay abortion, the greater the likelihood that you have women seeking nonmedical <v Kathryn Kolbert>abortions. Prior to 1973 when abortions were illegal, <v Kathryn Kolbert>many, many, many women saw illegal, unsafe, <v Kathryn Kolbert>nonmedical abortions, which cause incredible complication rates. <v Lynn Harwell>My mother died 52 years ago after 8 pregnancies. <v Lynn Harwell>And it it produced family disruption, <v Lynn Harwell>which people today seem not to even think about. <v Narrator 2>Lynn Harwell of Zionsville, Pennsylvania, has worked for the pro-choice movement for <v Narrator 2>years. <v Lynn Harwell>If she had died of tuberculosis or something like that, that was very common <v Lynn Harwell>in that time 52 years ago, I might have been <v Lynn Harwell>resolved to it, but because it was an abortion,
<v Lynn Harwell>I just felt so outraged. <v Lynn Harwell>The right to choose a medically safe procedure for a <v Lynn Harwell>woman when she makes up her mind to have an abortion is what will <v Lynn Harwell>really spare her life. <v Lynn Harwell>And I've, I really feel the need to defend that right. <v Deborah Sieger>Just before the 1973 Supreme Court decision that allowed safe legal <v Deborah Sieger>abortions, I was a staff nurse in the intensive care unit at ?inaudible? <v Deborah Sieger>Hospital. And within the course of 1 week, I took 3 young women who <v Deborah Sieger>were also in their 20s to the morgue. <v Deborah Sieger>They had died at the hands of a butcher abortionist on the main line, who was obviously <v Deborah Sieger>not very skilled in his trade. <v Deborah Sieger>And between those 3 women, they left behind 4 motherless children <v Deborah Sieger>and 2 fathers and husbands. <v Narrator 2>Under current law, abortion in Pennsylvania is medically safe. <v Narrator 2>According to the State Health Department, nearly all of the abortions performed in 1980, <v Narrator 2>98.6 percent, were reported as having no complications.
<v Narrator 2>Changing the law could endanger this record. <v Narrator 2>Changing the law could endanger the safety of women. <v Narrator 2>It could also endanger the rights of women. <v Narrator 2>Eva Chalker had an abortion. 18 months ago, that was a matter of choice. <v Narrator 2>Today, she is 6 months pregnant. <v Narrator 2>That, too, is a matter of choice. <v Eva Chalker>Having a child was very important to me. <v Eva Chalker>But you know, it it had to be done <v Eva Chalker>the way I want it to because ultimately I was the one responsible. <v Jack Chalker>The bottom line, I left up to her, but it was a decision <v Jack Chalker>that we both pretty well agreed upon. <v Eva Chalker>We weren't really happy with it, but I did have an abortion. <v Eva Chalker>You can talk about other people's morale and you can say, well, she should have done <v Eva Chalker>this. She shouldn't have done that. But when it comes down, you have to live your own <v Eva Chalker>life. <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>I think we as Americans like to think that we are in control of our own fate and we make <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>our decisions good or bad, based on our our own decisions and not
<v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>based on Big Brother making those kinds of decisions for us. <v Jane Wells-Schooley>My own feeling is it's maybe it's 1981 and '84 is creeping up on <v Jane Wells-Schooley>me. But I think that the, this kind of control <v Jane Wells-Schooley>over people's bodies, I cannot even imagine that this is seriously considered legislation <v Jane Wells-Schooley>in the state. <v Narrator 2>There is also the question of interference with the doctor patient relationship. <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>Nowhere else. Have we had legislation which <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>has presumed to interfere with the doctor patient relationship to the degree that <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>this particular bill has. <v Kathryn Kolbert>The part that's the most offensive to me is the state is telling a woman what she must <v Kathryn Kolbert>do when that decision is essentially a private decision. <v Kathryn Kolbert>I think it should wo- be made between a woman and her doctor. <v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>My name is Brooke Mosley. <v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>I am a bishop of the Episcopal Church. <v Narrator 2>And on the moral question, there is an often overlooked fact. <v Narrator 2>There is a solid body of religious thought that believes in the freedom of choice. <v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>Now, those people who support this legislation are entitled, as I said already,
<v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>to their beliefs, to their faith that a fertilized egg <v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>is a living human person. <v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>But I am also entitled to my religious belief and my faith <v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>that God creates a person later <v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>in his wonderous process and not at the very moment of conception. <v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>I can't prove my faith. <v Bishop J. Brooke Mosley>They can't prove theirs. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>And the Supreme Court said that as far as they can find <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>out, the finest minds throughout all the centuries who were theologians, <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>who were scientists, who were medical people, have never been able to arrive at <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>a consensus of when human life begins. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>And without that consensus, you cannot say whether <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>this is a human being or a fetus or an embryo. <v Gayle Henry>We are writing the religious beliefs of one particular religious group
<v Gayle Henry>into the laws of our land. <v Gayle Henry>And this is not the way this- These are not the principles on which <v Gayle Henry>this government was founded. <v Narrator 2>Among the principles upon which our government was founded was the principle of <v Narrator 2>democracy. Of the majority having a say in the way the country is run. <v Kathryn Kolbert>If the public had anything to say about it, if the polls were right, the bill would be <v Kathryn Kolbert>defeated because no one would before- It's clear that <v Kathryn Kolbert>overwhelmingly the public is is pro-choice. <v Kathryn Kolbert>Steve Freind will say straight out that if 99 percent of his constituents <v Kathryn Kolbert>felt that this legislation was bad, he'd push for it anyway. <v Kathryn Kolbert>So will Gregg Cunningham. And what it does is it says to a woman, you're stupid. <v Kathryn Kolbert>You can't make a decision on your own. We have to tell you how to do it. <v Kathryn Kolbert>And therefore, we'll try as hard as we can to supply you with information <v Kathryn Kolbert>that is 1 sided and that will get you to believe what we believe. <v Narrator 2>Among the 1 sided beliefs is the thought that those who perform abortions are somehow
<v Narrator 2>inhuman. <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>People on the pro-life side tend to paint the physician as the abortionist. <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>You know, this ogre that has fangs and he who's going around, he, <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>you know, sort of like Mengele, who was Hitler's <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>physician, who experimented on the people in the concentration camps. <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>They would like to to make us all look like that. <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>No, we are feeling human beings who have made an ethical judgment and are trying <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>to carry out good practice to the best we know <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>how. <v Narrator 2>Many in the medical profession say changing the law could threaten good practice. <v Narrator 2>1 member recalls a case before abortion became legal. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>There was a particular case that I was involved with. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>A tragic case of very attractive young lady in her early 20s came in, in <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>what we call total septic and irreversible septic shock. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>She had no blood pressure, no detectable pulse, she'd had a criminal abortion <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>and was so ill there was literally no way of saving her life.
<v Dr. Louis Gerstley>And I had to do a hysterectomy on this woman under local anesthesia in an attempt to save <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>her life. And we did it and we completed the hysterectomy satisfactorily. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>And I will never forget walking back along the hospital card or hallway with this woman. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>She was holding onto my hand after the operation and was telling me, as <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>they are and it's a tragic thing. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>She was perfectly lucid right up to the end, and she was telling me that, <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>doctor save me. I'm dying. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>I know I'm dying. Help me. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>And there was absolutely nothing left that I can do. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>We had antibiotics pouring into her. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>We had blood going into her. We had cortisone going into her. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>And nothing was saving this girl. And while she was holding my hand, this girl died. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>And I never want to see anything like that again. <v Narrator 2>But it could be seen again. <v Narrator 2>It could be seen again if the law is changed. <v Narrator 2>And it could be seen again because the world isn't a perfect place. <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>And in a society in which we have not achieved perfect methods of contraception, we <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>will continue to have unwanted pregnancies for the foreseeable future.
<v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>And in a society that has as much criminal and personal abuse <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>as we happen to have in our society, incest and rape will continue to occur. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>And the end result is that no matter how one feels about abortion, whether one <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>is in favor of abortion or against abortion, abortions have been going <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>on since the beginning of recorded history. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>They are being done today and they are going to be done in the future. <v Dr. Louis Gerstley>And the only question is who shall do them. <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>In an imperfect society in which we happen to have a at least a 2 <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>to 3 percent and possibly as high as 5 percent incidence of malformed infants being <v Dr. Francis Hutchins Jr.>produced. We will continue to have women who will choose the option of abortion. <v Sharyn Wright>This is a letter which we received here at the clinic from a former-. <v Narrator 2>One woman who chose to have an abortion, wrote about her decision in a letter that <v Narrator 2>makes a simple but moving argument for a woman's freedom of choice. <v Sharyn Wright>The maternal instinct is so strong and that innate feeling to nurture <v Sharyn Wright>and protect starts. I think at the moment of conception.
<v Sharyn Wright>No matter how a pregnancy is terminated, there has to be a sense of loss. <v Sharyn Wright>And perhaps more so in a person who has children, as I do. <v Sharyn Wright>And being over 40 allows me a glimpse of my own mortality and I realize <v Sharyn Wright>the fragile quality of life. <v Sharyn Wright>Abortion is rightfully a sensitive subject. <v Sharyn Wright>It should never be taken lightly. <v Sharyn Wright>It's even wise to listen to the opposition so that we don't become too complacent about <v Sharyn Wright>it. Weighing all the alternatives, my husband and I feel <v Sharyn Wright>that we made the right choice, albeit a prayerful and tearful one. <v Sharyn Wright>What I have done is never far from my mind, and it will always remain a decision with <v Sharyn Wright>which I am not entirely comfortable. <v Sharyn Wright>But each day I thank God for the freedom of choice and for his love, which <v Sharyn Wright>has sustained me through all of this. <v Narrator 2>The safety of women and the freedom of choice, 2 fundamental <v Narrator 2>rights that ought to be protected.
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Representative Cunningham, let me just come back to you briefly, what's your response to <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>the woman in the second documentary who says that what your legislation is really <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>saying is that women are stupid, that they can't make the decisions on their own? <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>I would just cite to the person who made that observation that we have a great <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>deal of law in this country today, which was very badly needed at the time of its <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>enactment and remains badly needed that requires disclosure obligations <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>on the part of the franchising industry, on the part of land sales, business <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>providers of commercial goods and services, motor vehicle sales, lending institutions, <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>the insurance industry, the list goes on and on. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>We are not suggesting paternalistically when we enact these kinds of disclosure <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>requirements the people who buy insurance are too stupid to know what they're doing. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>What we are suggesting is that everybody who purchases insurance is not as- <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>there is no uniformity with regard to the awareness people have in terms of <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>insurance contracts when they come to buy insurance.
<v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>And we think it's very important that a person who is selling insurance has an obligation <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>to disclose material facts with regard to that insurance contract. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>The issue of abortion in Pennsylvania is not a health issue. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>Abortion in Pennsylvania, when we're talking about abortion on demand, is a commercial <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>enterprise. We have a clinic in Pittsburgh that performs 10,000 abortions a year. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>The overwhelming majority of them are simply convenience abortions. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>All right, look, could I just get a response from the senator on that? <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Senator, what's your response to that point? <v Sen. Henry Messinger>Well, I, I personally think that all of the industries <v Sen. Henry Messinger>that we're talking about are those that do not require <v Sen. Henry Messinger>personal information about the body of <v Sen. Henry Messinger>what is being reported on, which evidently is a case, and <v Sen. Henry Messinger>those reports that are required of people who are going to have abortions. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Representative? <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>I would urge the senator read the bill.
<v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>The bill is very, very clear that that we are simply saying <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>a person who is selling an abortion, a person who derives their income from a woman's <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>decision to have an abortion, cannot be expected to reveal facts and emphasize <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>facts about that abortion that are likely to dissuade a woman from having that abortion. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>We are saying that if it is reasonable to regulate the industries that I have just <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>suggested, it is even more reasonable to regulate the abortion industry, which is <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>an entrepreneurial commercial endeavor in this Commonwealth and not a health <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>delivery operation. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Just briefly, do you think you've misunderstood the bill as representative charged <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>earlier, Senator? <v Sen. Henry Messinger>No, I don't think I misunderstood it. <v Sen. Henry Messinger>I really think this bill is not an abortion control bill. <v Sen. Henry Messinger>I think it's a control a women bill and women should <v Sen. Henry Messinger>view it as such. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>All right. We want to get a medical perspective now on some of those arguments in this <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>abortion debate. For that, we have with us 2 nationally recognized medical <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>authorities. First, Dr. Mildred Jefferson, who is assistant clinical
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>professor of surgery at the Boston University Medical Center. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Dr. Jefferson is a veteran anti-abortion activist and is president <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>of the Right to Life Crusade, a national organization. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Dr. Jefferson, as a doctor, what do you think of the kind of legislation that <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Representative Cunningham has proposed? <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>The kind of legislation proposed here has been made necessary by doctors <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>moving away from the traditional Hippocratic obligation, which separated <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>the killing and curing functions of the doctor and oblige the society not to ask <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>the doctor to kill. The 1973 abortion decisions left the <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>matter of the abortion in the decision of the doctor. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>The woman was not given an unqualified constitutional right to abortion, she was given <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>the right to make that private decision and ask any doctor that she could find to do <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>that abortion for a fee. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>The court unfortunately instructed the doctor and what should constitute <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>the medical judgment, which is the thing which finally determines that abortion,
<v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>the unfortunate circumstance exists, that the court depended upon doctors <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>using medical judgment to keep things under control, not understanding that abortionists <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>generally have been the less prudent among doctors and could be relied on to push <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>things out of hand. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>It's a tragedy that you should have to remind doctors of informed consent. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>For example, just letting a woman know the stage of development of the unborn <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>child, what the operation would do and what the consequences are constitute nothing <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>more than informing the patient about the truth of the medical procedure. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>And doctors who object to that, I think are really doing a disservice to the <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>patient. The other thing is simple humanity should remind one <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>that if a child survives abortion, that unfortunate, immature, premature <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>infant should get the help of someone who has not been paid to see <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>that he's killed. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Well, how do you respond to critics who argue that this kind of legislation <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>would intrude? You heard the argument the doctor made on the tape would intrude
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>on the doctor patient relationship in an unprecedented way? <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>Well, in first place, they don't understand the circumstances of the law. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>A doctor's every action is bordered by a network of civil and criminal laws. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>Any time we take the responsibility for a patient's life or health, we <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>are bounded by that network of laws. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>Even if I give you an aspirin, if you have a complication from the administration <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>of that aspirin after I've prescribed it to you, questions are raised. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>If I cannot explain them satisfactorily, I may have to answer in a civil suit. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>If you sue me, if you die, there's a different question. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>If the questions cannot be answered, then they will be raised in by a grand jury, <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>if that's the system of that state. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>But I will have to account for the actions. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>Unfortunately, with the '73 decisions, the Supreme Court itself has set <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>abortion outside the general range of medical practice and now they can <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>handle it in a special way behind a curtain, outside the review <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>of that doctor's peers. And that's not a suitable circumstance.
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Let me just ask you briefly to respond to Ms. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Kolbert, who said on the tape that this kind of legislation will not stop abortion, <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>but rather will submit women to unsafe conditions and <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>to tremendous psychological and emotional trauma. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>Well, that's a very simplistic, emotional propagandizing remark, which is part of their <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>standard campaigns. We know that in circumstance where the permission <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>as such is represented by the Supreme Court's decisions and the money to pay for it <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>are not there, then people do not as readily seek it. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>I think a clearer and more truthful answer is revealed in women who were polled <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>after the New York law had been in effect for 6 months in 1970, <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>when women were asked whether or not they approved of the law. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>They said yes by some 78 percent. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>But when the question came that if such a law were not there, which is equivalent <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>to the open permission of the Supreme Court's decisions now, how many would still <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>seek abortion? The number dropped to less than 30 percent.
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>All right. We'll come back. For a different point of view. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>We go now to an activist on the pro-choice side of the abortion issue. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>She is Dr. Lewis- Louise Tyrer, a New York based obstetrician gynecologist. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>She is also vice president of the medical division of Planned Parenthood. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Dr. Tyrer, what do you think of the kind of legislation Representative Cunningham is <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>proposing? <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>I consider it discriminatory and very restrictive. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>In what way? <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Well, for example, informed consent can certainly <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>be given about the risks and benefits of abortion <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>without having to show pictures of aborted fetuses and the fetus <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>at various stages. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>We don't do that with any other type of procedure. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>And it seems that this procedure has been singled out for special <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>attention above and beyond what is usually accorded other <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>types of medical procedures. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>I certainly do believe that a woman must be advised about the risks of any
<v Dr. Louise Tyrer>procedure that they're undergoing. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>But I think that this goes beyond that. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Is that your principal objection to it? <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>That's one of the major objections. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Do you think the government should be involved in any aspect of a woman's decision to <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>have an abortion? <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>No, I do not. I believe that it's a moral and conscientious decision <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>that must be made by each woman herself and then <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>in consultation with the physician, as far as the medical risks <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>are concerned. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>How do you respond to the argument made in the documentary that society is pushing <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>women into abortion who otherwise might go to full term successfully? <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Well, I don't believe that the data supports that at all. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Even before abortion was legalized, it was estimated that there were <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>well over a million abortions, illegal abortions sought. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>And certainly if someone is seeking an illegal abortion, <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>they're not being pushed into abortion.
<v Dr. Louise Tyrer>They're having to seek it out, go through the criminal system, <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>which is usually controlled by organized crime. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>They hire butchers basically to perform these procedures. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>I think it's discriminatory and certainly does <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>not take into consideration the worth of a woman to force her to go <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>to such extremes to obtain an abortion. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Do you think this- the kind of legislation that Representative Cunningham is proposing <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>is going to result in more of that sort of thing? <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Yes, I do. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>What's your response to that, Dr. Jefferson? <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>Well, I think in the first place, the requirement of informed consent simply <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>brings the abortion procedure under the purview that other medical procedures are <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>surgical procedures have to. I wouldn't think of doing an operation and general surgery <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>on a patient without making sure they understood exactly what the condition <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>was, what I expected to find, and how the procedure would go.
<v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>And most good surgeons, if the patients show any difficulty understanding at all, <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>will by diagrams or pictures, show them exactly what is likely to happen. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>What's wrong with that, Dr. Tyrer? <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Well, I don't see any problem with it. But for the state to force it to occur, <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>you, Mildred, just said that if the patient has any problems understanding <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>an operation, you diagram and show pictures. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>But the state does not force them to show how you're going to do an appendectomy, <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>what the appendix looks like. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>No, but the problem is that the doctor takes this as an obligation <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>in the abortion circumstance with the clinic practice. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>It's a matter of getting them in and out as fast as possible. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>But that's not so. They have counselors. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>The counselors in some clinics, yes, in a few showcase clinics. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>But for the most part, this does not happen. And even the Supreme Court's decisions on <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>the subject pointed out that there is a deficiency of the counseling. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>But in general, if you pick up a young woman who has been in and out of that experience, <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>you will find not only was she not told the truth about the stage of development of the
<v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>child, they did not explain very much to her. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>And in general, they are in and out in something less than 2 hours, a farmer taking <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>having a veterinarian care for his cows would have more attention than that. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Let me ask you on the point that the representative made that are we talking <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>about, Dr. Tyrer, a second separate human being or just <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>what are we talking about in this whole discussion? <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Well, I believe that everyone has the right to make their own decision as to when <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>human life starts. And I do not believe that it is appropriate for the state <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>or any group to legislate that. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>And therefore, I respect Dr. Jefferson's opinion <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>that she believes that human life begins at the moment of fertilization. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>But I believe that I'm entitled to my right to act to-. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>And your belief is that it begins when? <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Well, it's my belief that a human being occurs at the <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>time of birth when they are able to sustain life outside of the uterus. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>And I want my belief respected as much as I respect her belief.
<v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>Well medically I simply could never respect that kind of belief. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>And I'm sorry that any obstetrician gynecologist who believes that is simply not <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>qualified to take care of a pregnant woman who has to come to term and deliver a safe. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Well, [crosstalk] I've taken care of a lot of them, so I believe I'm very qualified-. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>If you thought the child was not alive until it was born, you simply were not qualified-. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>I did not say that, I said that's a human being. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Now, that's very different. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>No-. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Personhood, according to the laws of our our country, does not occur <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>until live birth occurs. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>No, that's simply not so. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>It's a fetus before that. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>All you have is a Supreme Court decision that pointed out that the unborn child had <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>not been defined as a legal person in the meanings of the 5th and 14th Amendment. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>It's an unborn fetus. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>That has nothing to do with law. The Supreme Court is supposed to interpret the law. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>It's not supposed to write the law. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>Well, they did interpret. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>So to say that this decision does not indicate that any law says <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>that the unborn child is not a person, but a doctor has to deal with the biological
<v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>person, not any legal concept of personhood. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>And that's where the abortionist comes in conflict with not only the society, <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>but medicine and medical practice. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Right. I think that's one of the critical issues here where we do not have <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>a consensus on when life begins. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>[crosstalk from both doctors] but we have to move on. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>We'll come back to those points maybe a little bit later on. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Beyond the medical and legal perspectives is the moral dimension. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>To pursue that aspect, we have with us tonight 2 theologians. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>First, back to Allentown and Father Stephen Forish, the pro-life coordinator <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>for the Catholic Diocese of Allentown. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Father Forish, from your perspective, why shouldn't abortion be a private matter <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>between a woman and her doctor? <v Father Stephen Forish>Well, it shouldn't be a private matter simply because modern science shows <v Father Stephen Forish>us that life, the individual human life, does indeed begin <v Father Stephen Forish>at fertilization. Now, I'm astounded at some of the pro-abortion <v Father Stephen Forish>arguments because in no other field of reasoning would someone suggest that
<v Father Stephen Forish>because people in the past did not understand something, that we can't understand <v Father Stephen Forish>it now. For instance, no one would argue that we can't know now that the Earth goes <v Father Stephen Forish>around the sun because people centuries ago believe the opposite, but this is the type <v Father Stephen Forish>of pseudo reasoning that one hears. <v Father Stephen Forish>The reason that the unborn child should be protected is because biologically <v Father Stephen Forish>it is a distinct individual and not a part of the mother's body. <v Father Stephen Forish>Another thing that distresses me is I heard Senator Messinger and I heard someone else <v Father Stephen Forish>suggest that we don't want religious beliefs in law. <v Father Stephen Forish>We don't want to enshrine anyone's religious beliefs in our civil laws. <v Father Stephen Forish>The fact of the matter is that the current laws allowing abortion do enshrine <v Father Stephen Forish>specific religious beliefs. <v Father Stephen Forish>The fact that an unborn child is considered a part of the mother is actually the theory <v Father Stephen Forish>of certain Jewish rabbis. <v Father Stephen Forish>The current state of the law allowing abortion to be the, quote, individual decision <v Father Stephen Forish>of the mother is almost identical to a resolution adopted in May
<v Father Stephen Forish>of 1968 by the American Baptist Convention. <v Father Stephen Forish>Now, if these people are so worried about having religion in law, why doesn't it <v Father Stephen Forish>upset them that permissive abortion actually exist only because there are <v Father Stephen Forish>certain religious theories in the law? <v Father Stephen Forish>Another thing that I would say about the matter is that we have <v Father Stephen Forish>moral principles which are not just based on revelation, God telling <v Father Stephen Forish>us something. They're based on facts, experience and reasoning. <v Father Stephen Forish>And the right to life of an unborn human being happens to be one of those principles <v Father Stephen Forish>which is substantiated on several levels. <v Father Stephen Forish>You don't have to believe in God to see this or realize it. <v Father Stephen Forish>And people who say that, well, you can't legislate it because people will break the law. <v Father Stephen Forish>Are they aware that we have laws against rape and every 6 minutes someone is being <v Father Stephen Forish>raped? Do they know that even though we have laws against murder, every 28 <v Father Stephen Forish>minutes someone is being murdered and so on? <v Father Stephen Forish>Obviously, we don't take laws off the books because not everyone agrees
<v Father Stephen Forish>with them, not everyone accepts them, or because people break them. <v Father Stephen Forish>So these arguments are completely irrational. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>All right, Father, I think I'm going to have to interrupt you on that point because we <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>want to get the other side. I want to get you to respond to that. <v Father Stephen Forish>Alright. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>The other side, we go to public station WDIA in Scranton, where we have <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>the Reverend Everett Francis. Reverend Francis, rector of St. Luke's Episcopal <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Church, has also been an abortion counselor. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Reverend Francis, what do you say to the arguments Father Forish just put forward? <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Take anyone you choose. <v Rev. Francis Everett>There were too many. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Well, why exactly, in your view, should the state not be involved <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>in this question? <v Rev. Francis Everett>Well, I think that there are ways in which the state might be involved. <v Rev. Francis Everett>But one way they certainly shouldn't be involved would be to make <v Rev. Francis Everett>the physician a propagandist or a policeman. <v Rev. Francis Everett>I think that the physician does indeed have the
<v Rev. Francis Everett>obligation to explain procedure as best as he sees fit and <v Rev. Francis Everett>thinks appropriate for the particular person at that time. <v Rev. Francis Everett>The concern that I have is that our church and a significant <v Rev. Francis Everett>number of churches and religious groups, Jewish groups, <v Rev. Francis Everett>have differing opinions. And we believe that it is the positive duty <v Rev. Francis Everett>of people to make these informed decisions as best <v Rev. Francis Everett>as they can under God. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>As a minister who counsels on this matter, what kind of advice do you give to women <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>who are genuinely confused about what to do when confronted with an <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>unwanted pregnancy? <v Rev. Francis Everett>Well, I help them sort out the particular concerns <v Rev. Francis Everett>they have, point out the seriousness <v Rev. Francis Everett>of the proposed of <v Rev. Francis Everett>the- I point out the the the importance of of
<v Rev. Francis Everett>life and recognize that life is part <v Rev. Francis Everett>of a series of continual beginnings. <v Rev. Francis Everett>It is more than biological. <v Rev. Francis Everett>It assumes the care and loving nurture between man <v Rev. Francis Everett>and wife. <v Rev. Francis Everett>And I try to help them explore all of the dim- <v Rev. Francis Everett>dimensions so that they can make the best, most responsible decision <v Rev. Francis Everett>before God and before each other and before society. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>What's wrong with that Father Forish? <v Father Stephen Forish>Well, I agree that there are many dimensions to life. <v Father Stephen Forish>But the 1 thing that we can get a little snobbish about is that the biological isn't <v Father Stephen Forish>important. The fact of the matter is, without the biological, nothing else matters. <v Father Stephen Forish>And we're using the same kind of reasoning in what my colleague, <v Father Stephen Forish>the Episcopal minister said that was used to justify slavery. <v Father Stephen Forish>If you and your conscience before God come to a peaceful decision that this <v Father Stephen Forish>is not a human being, even though we know it's a biological human being, a human
<v Father Stephen Forish>life, well, then you can go right on and the law should ignore you. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Reverend Francis. Let me just get Reverend Francis to respond. <v Rev. Francis Everett>I don't think that's the same thing. <v Father Stephen Forish>Obviously, but it is. <v Rev. Francis Everett>Well, I don't think it is. <v Rev. Francis Everett>I think that we are in our church, a responsible church. <v Rev. Francis Everett>We are within a tradition of moral theology, <v Rev. Francis Everett>and indeed we recognize that there are exceptions <v Rev. Francis Everett>to every particular rule. <v Rev. Francis Everett>If we take seriously the concern about killing, we would say a <v Rev. Francis Everett>policeman cannot kill when someone comes up. <v Rev. Francis Everett>We would say that a person cannot engage in acts of war. <v Rev. Francis Everett>Moral theology has always made provision for exceptions in <v Rev. Francis Everett>this imperfect and fallen world. And all we're saying is that in case <v Rev. Francis Everett>of rape, incest, the physical, and I would say mental health of the mother. <v Rev. Francis Everett>There are times when exceptions have to be made and that privilege and that
<v Rev. Francis Everett>responsibility should be given to the people. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Do you agree with that? Just in a word, because we have to move on, Father. <v Father Stephen Forish>Thank you. Now in a word you're asking an awful lot. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Well, just to that exception that he just layed out. <v Father Stephen Forish>I don't agree with it because he talked about people who were not innocent, defenseless <v Father Stephen Forish>human beings. When he talked about society's allowing war or defense <v Father Stephen Forish>or that type of thing. But I wouldn't question his sincerity. <v Father Stephen Forish>But you are talking about people who are not, in my opinion, taking into account what <v Father Stephen Forish>science tells us about the unborn child and they're trading off that unborn child <v Father Stephen Forish>when the child not only does not have to be, but cannot be traded off. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Representative Cunningham, let me just come back to you for a moment. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Last week, an Associated Press NBC News poll revealed <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>that a majority of Americans believe the decision to have an abortion should be left to <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>a woman and her physician. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Given the defeat you suffered in these kinds of poll results, what's <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>your prognosis for getting your bill passed in Pennsylvania?
<v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>Charlayne we're, we are abundantly confident that we're going to get the bill passed. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>1 of the major problems we have is a problem with which we were afflicted here tonight. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>It's very, very obvious that many of the people who are commenting on this bill in a <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>negative way have simply not read it. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>It's as simple as that. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>It has been suggested the physician should not be compelled to become propagandist for <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>the pro-life movement. With amendments, the bill, as it's as it now, rests <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>with the amendments that have been prepared would require only and I'm reading directly <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>from the bill, would require that a physician only indicate to a woman coming in for an <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>abortion the public and private agencies that exist to assist her through <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>her pregnancy. The fact that if she qualifies for Medicaid, she will receive pre-natal <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>and post-natal services as well as birth services. <v Rep. Gregg Cunnigham>The fact that she's entitled to the child support from the father of the baby. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>I think I get your drift. Let me just get Reverend Francis to respond to that. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Does that make you feel better, Reverend Francis, about the bill? <v Rev. Francis Everett>Well, with some improvement, but there is a provision in the bill, as I
<v Rev. Francis Everett>saw it some time ago, that said it is the policy of the state that birth- <v Rev. Francis Everett>human life begins at conception. <v Rev. Francis Everett>And that's just a point of view that, that, that we disagree with. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>What's your prognosis for this bill? <v Rev. Francis Everett>I think that there's a lot of misinformation indeed <v Rev. Francis Everett>in the first film. I thought that there were some gross distortions. <v Rev. Francis Everett>I think it's still up in the air. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>All right. I'm sorry. I have to move on rather quickly because I want to get a comment <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>from everyone. Father Forish, what's your prognosis for this bill? <v Father Stephen Forish>It's a wonderful bill to protect especially women so that they're not abused. <v Father Stephen Forish>And I've counseled so many who were told by their doctors that they were dealing with <v Father Stephen Forish>blobs of tissue. And when they saw biologically what a five month old child looked like, <v Father Stephen Forish>they've almost gone out of their mind. We just had a letter to the editor- <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>I'm sorry. I just want to get a brief comment from, because I think we get your drift, <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>from Dr. Jefferson about the trouble that the human life amendment has is <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>having in the Congress and the human life statute as well.
<v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Are you concerned about these kind of poll results? <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>And do you see trouble for your side on the horizon now? <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>No because I understand that the release of those polls when the Human Life Amendment <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>hearing started, it's just the latest in a propaganda effort. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>So in other words, you think the polls are-. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>The polls admit that they pro-abortion groups are concerned <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>that the amendment will pass. You see that particular formulation, do you believe <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>abortion should be a private matter between a woman and doctor? <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>Is the one that Judith Blake Davis Polls, studying the decade 1960 to 1970 <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>showed got the favorable answer most often. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>That's why that particular question and the results were run out. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>But we know that the basic findings in her studies are still true, that <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>the majority population in this country still feels that it's wrong to <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>get rid of a baby just because it's there. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>And those people will vote for the human life amendment. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>So you get a different consideration when you say, do you believe there should be a <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>constitutional amendment banning abortion? <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>People usually say no by a majority.
<v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>But when you say, do you believe there should be a constitutional amendment to protect <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>the life of the unborn child, then you get a yes by a majority vote. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Dr. Tyrer, can I just get you to respond on the prognosis for the human life amendment or <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>the statute. <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>I do not believe that they will pass, and I believe that the people <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>in this country realize that a woman's <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>right of choice and a woman's concerns <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>and issues have to come before the issues <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>of the fetus. And I do not believe that we <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>can put the interests of the fetus paramount over the interests <v Dr. Louise Tyrer>of the woman. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>I'm sorry we have to leave it there. <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson> Equal rights, and if the mother now becomes the enemy <v Dr. Mildred Jefferson>of the child, the state has to protect that child. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>And I'd like to thank both of you. We are obviously not going to solve this. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>Thank you all for watching. Thank our other guests for participating. <v Charlayne Hunter-Galt>And thanks for the Public Television Network in Pennsylvania.
Pro-Con with Charlayne Hunter-Gault
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WITF-TV (Television station : Harrisburg, Pa.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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"PRO-CON: Abortion with Charlayne Hunter-Gault examines the specifics of legislation introduced in Pennsylvania that would give the state the toughest anti-abortion laws in the country. The format of this program includes two preproduced documentaries arguing each side, and a live debate among experts on the legal medical and moral questions surrounding the abortion issue. This program aired statewide within days of a critical state House vote on the question. It was designed to give our viewers a balanced look at this complex issue. Since the program aired, the legislation in question was passed but then vetoed by Pennsylvania's Governor."--1981 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: WITF-TV (Television station : Harrisburg, Pa.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Chicago: “Pro-Con with Charlayne Hunter-Gault; Abortion,” 1981, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Pro-Con with Charlayne Hunter-Gault; Abortion.” 1981. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Pro-Con with Charlayne Hunter-Gault; Abortion. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from