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Thank you. Human Sexuality. The last in a series of seven classes being given that is part of a four college course in human sexuality sponsored jointly by Amherst not Holyoke and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts today. Dr. Phillips aroud a gynecologist at Westover Air Force Base discusses abortion. I think it's important for you all to realize that like it or not
abortion is a fact of life. In a recent meeting in Virginia a paper was presented by Dr. Harry Shapiro an anthropologist from the Museum of Natural History in New York which he presented a study of over 300 cultures. It was only one culture that did not practice abortion. So all of the civilized cultures all of the primitive cultures as a matter of fact there is even one culture that records it for which records exist that became extinct through the practice of abortion. And so it's a rather potent method of population control and it is a aspect. Of human sexuality and a subject that is really become a hot issue within the last five years. Many many changes are taking place. Many new laws are being written.
Many much new thinking is being done by the medical legal certainly the clergy professions. And it's very important then at least I think that you have a concept in your mind of the current status of abortion. In October of 1967 following law was passed by the British parliament and it reads as possible as as follows. Be it enacted by the Queen's most excellent Majesty by and with the advice and consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal and commons. In this present parliament assembled and by the authority of the same as follows medical terminations of pregnancy subject to the provisions of this section a person shall not be guilty of an authentic under the law relating to abortion. When a pregnancy is terminated by registered medical practitioner it to registered medical practitioners are of the
opinion formed in good faith that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family. Or that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped in determining whether the continuance of pregnancy would involve such risk of injury to health as is mentioned in paragraph above. Account may be taken of the pregnant woman's actual or reasonably foreseeable environment. This law. Is a rather revolutionary law in terms of the practice of abortion. It says From a practical point of view that if a woman does not wish to be pregnant she doesn't have to continue a pregnancy. And within that law
is a philosophy. Which is based on a moral code that says it is more immoral for a woman to continue a pregnancy than it is immoral to terminate a pregnancy. Washington is terminations of a pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation have gone by. And in terms of how common this happens or how often this happens in the United States we estimate that there are a million abortions a year. Most of these abortions are criminal of Washington's done by a select group. How many of you saw our the film abortion and the law. Well in that film you heard that abortion is a three hundred fifty million dollar a year bracket in the United States. That abortionists are not good friends but criminals. And although on the surface it may seem that they are performing a function for
society. My experience is that the typical criminal of Washington Post is nothing but a criminal. And so we have this terrible situation in our country where a million women a year have to turn to a criminal for help. And I think that's a very sad state of affairs. Abortion however is not simply a medical question. It's a combined question it's a legal question it's a theological question. It is a moral question. It is a problem that is felt on a global level. And I'd like to go over some of the. Aspects of abortion in the world and in the United States of course from an intellectual point of view. These are the facts. And then as I always try to do I'd like to concentrate on what it means from a personal point of view. From a religious point of view the religions differ.
Dr. Fletcher who is a professor of theology at Cambridge who is a spokesman for the Protestant church in this country says and I quote when it comes to abortion religious views have never been convincing only in hip inhibiting. Can we justify compulsory pregnancy as human being a psycho social organism or an insolvent. And the stand is then taken that when pregnancy becomes compulsory it should not be continued. The Jewish point of view is a rather fascinating one because the baby while it is or the pregnancy while it is within the mother is considered the property of the mother. And if the property is more damaging to the home and the
property may be removed. If a Jewish baby dies within 30 days of birth there is no funeral is no prayer for the dead. It is not yet a human being. And so throughout the history of Judaism although there has been great debate over when you are taking a life or when you are doing removing products of conception in contrast to taking life. This is a stand which has had its voice felt throughout that history. Now the Catholic point of view today a traditional Catholic point of view is that life exists from the moment of conception the moment that that egg is into and the sperm meant as a life has begun that has not always been the Catholic point of view and the Jesuits today still argue.
I Saint Thomas of that life did not begin until there was quickening or movement. This was approximately one hundred and twenty days of gestation. And I've heard. A good spokesman for one of the traditional Catholic Church say that the church does not know that insolvent occurs at the moment of conception. However it believes that from a practical point of view the church by not knowing really should not be involved with the law as it relates to abortion that the Catholic should decide for himself herself within his in her belief and that to become involved with the law is not in keeping with the religion. And that opinion was stated by one of the professors of law artful in law school.
And I might throw in that the Grand Mufti of Jordan says that life begins when there is formed shape and in the in Islam. I believe that that is at about one hundred twenty days of a gestation. Now is all of this a lot of talk or is it of some significance going to the personal point of view. One of my patients who delivered approximately two weeks ago had been raped and become pregnant and she's a young girl 16 years old and following the rape she had tried to obtain an abortion. Her friends were her first sauce all the kids in high school surely someone would know how to get an abortion and they took her to a doctor and he gave her some pills and of course nothing happened. There's no magic pill that causes abortions and so she tried all sorts of things including drugs.
She went on LSD feeling well maybe this will have some effect on me. And the pregnancy being a rather tough pregnancy she did not avoid when she came to see me. At that time she was about four months pregnant. It was still no fetal life from the point of view of hearing the heart healing movement. She had only one request and that was that I tell her where she can get an abortion. And obviously as a physician I am not in that position although I felt very strongly that a 16 year old unmarried girl even if she had not been raped certainly ought to qualify from the blush. At the time I was not in a position to help her and in fact Another month went by and after the next month went by the baby started to move. Well just two days ago she said to me you know once the baby
started moving I realized there was a life inside of me. And I realize and then I became very upset at what I tried to do. And for the rest of the pregnancy all I did was worry that I had somehow hurt the baby. And her feeling of great relief Plus a feeling of tremendous attachment to her baby the hardest thing now has been that her baby is being given up for adoption. Her tremendous attachment to this baby really focuses on that moment when she realized there was life inside of her. And of course folk philosophy from a philosophical point of view from a religious point of view this realisation that there is a time when a bunch of cells become a life I think is more than just a legal or medical philosophical statement it's a very real personal statement. I think the case demonstrates it very well. And when we talk
about abortion we really talk about terminations of pregnancy before their movements of the baby before you can hear the heart of the baby before 20 weeks of a pregnancy have gone by. Now there are lots of ways to do an abortion. I mention the morning after pill a mini abortion pill. And that is a girl has into cos at the time that she obviously it's. And the egg is fertilized and she takes a high enough dose of estrogen within four days of having it cos the fertilized egg will not implant in the uterus and sell that little speck of dust will be passed out of her body. The only way to interpret that really is as a mini abortion so it's one way of understanding abortion. The Swedish am pill which was
designed to bring about abortion. After a period had been missed. Doesn't appear to be working very well. However there are there is a great deal of experimentation being done in trying to find a pill that a woman can take after she's had intercourse and after she has missed the first period some of the cancer drugs I think I mentioned that last week have also been tried and all of these drugs you must understand are abortifacients that is drugs which bring about an abortion. Now lots of things you will hear about people will tell you are abortifacients Humphrey's 11. Every drugstore pharmacist will offer you Humphreys 11 and around God knows how long and there are a tremendous number of women who swear by Humphreys 11 works every time. Well we know first of all that many women who believe they are pregnant and not 10 percent of the women who have gone to abortionist for an abortion
have not been pregnant. And we also know that 10 percent at least 10 percent of all pregnancies and spontaneously and in an abortion. It is quite important for you not to realize that you don't have to take something to have an abortion or if a girl happens to have an abortion. It doesn't mean she's had a criminal of blushing. What a spontaneous abortion means usually is that the cells of the pregnancy did not have that potential for developing into a human being. That is that was not enough chromosomal material from either the sperm or the egg for a human being to develop. And the natural solution to this is for an abortion to occur and spontaneous abortions usually occur within the first three months of pregnancy and it's thought that women do this perhaps as often as every four months. At the end that's put out
that's released does not have the potential of developing into a human being. In fact Dr. Koerner who spoke at one of the meetings I've attended recently in Dr. Quander is a doctor who discovered along with another doctor who discovered progesterone the hormone we've heard so much about. We discovered it back in one thousand twenty nine Dr. Cohen are still around studying pregnancy and tissue of pregnancy. And he estimates that perhaps a third to half of all pregnancies don't make it. That is very often the girl has a period did not realize that she was pregnant. Well that is a spontaneous abortion and there are many other causes for spontaneous abortion infection may be a factor. A study that I probably should recently gonorrhea causing abortion is a questionable study but even so in a number of patients we could not find any
other factors except that we were able to culture gonorrhea. And so a correction maybe infection may be a factor. When it comes to the kinds of abortions that doctors we are talking of really three different kinds. First of all there is what's known as a DNC. How many of you have ever heard the expression a DNC. All of a DNC means all except one a DNC means that you dilate the cervix the opening to the uterus and then you take a cue right. This is a cure right. And the cure right fits into the uterus and you scrape out the tissue that's left. When a woman has started to have a miscarriage if she is beyond four weeks pregnant and less than 12 to 14 weeks
pregnant very often some of the tissue of pregnancy is left behind. If you leave it behind it becomes a source of bleeding and a saucer of infection. And so you scrape out what's left. This is done at under anesthesia. This is a procedure which takes less than 10 minutes to do. It is a procedure which is entirely safe if done by a physician. And it's a procedure with which solves the problem as simple as that. So none of you should fear the DNC if you should have to have a DNC DNC have done for other reasons. And it kind of bleeding from the uterus that's abnormal. May lead to a woman's having a DNC on but very often the DNC is being done the cost products of conception are left behind. Now criminal of washing ist's don't usually do a DNC. And I'll get to the kinds of techniques that criminal the lushness to use in a minute.
Physicians usually do a DNC. Another technique is a back in the extraction. Now in countries where tremendous numbers of abortions are being done particularly in the communist countries. In Russia last year they did 6 million illegal abortions. They have had to develop techniques of doing abortions rapidly and so they have a tubing something like Jurek which is attached to a suction tubing and all they do is put it into the uterus and it sucks out a pregnancy. I've had the experience in both in Yugoslavia and Hungary sitting in a little room. Women who had been approved for abortions came at the rate of 14 or 15 a day to the centers. And these were in small cities in these countries. And they would all be lined up and you'd put in some local anesthesia and put in the vacuum and suck out the pregnancy. And that is the approach to population control in those
countries. That sucks the suction cure right. We have suction keiretsu in this country. And the fact that many different universities now have suction curates is perhaps an indication of the change in thinking in this country about doing legal abortions because you know we've gotten sick and tired of all the complications of criminal of washings. You have a million criminal abortions you have a lot of sick women. The number three or four hundred that die that's a drop in the bucket. But the huge number who are hospitalized. One of the estimates. When New York City was in it was costing something like 3 million dollars and hospitalisation a year for women who had had abortions. I think the toll is probably yes three million dollars. That's probably a low estimate. And physicians now have come to see a wider indication for doing abortions. I think an interesting
innovation of the suction Carette is the technique used at Hopkins these suction curates are rather expensive and sometimes the machines get messed up and they don't work too well. And they found that Johns Hopkins that a milking machine would do just as well. In fact they could hook up four tubes at once and send them out in different directions. And so that's how that's how they do the suction at that famous university. The last technique is that of say lean injection. That is if a pregnancy is beyond 12 weeks. A doctor would not do a DNC. It's too dangerous. The uterus is to live. The chances of poking a hole in it too great the chances of hemorrhaging at too great. Most abortionists won't touch a woman who is three
months pregnant and the technique that I know for Unfortunately in this country and the place in which this technique was really developed was in Scandinavian countries and countries where legal abortions are done. It takes a long time for the legal machinery to get going. Takes a long time for the doctors to be seen for the committees to meet and for permission to be given. So it's not unusual in Sweden for a woman to be four months pregnant when she is approved for an abortion. They had to develop techniques other than the DNC and the technique that was developed was a very simple one of injecting a solution into the uterus that would cause the SAC within the uterus to swell and the patient would go into labor and then a boy. And this is called a salient injection I was surprised to find in my last months in New Haven. That's about two years ago that the criminal Bosches Swift
picked up the sailing technique. And so now they've learned how to inject a high a high salt concentration solution into the uterus to cause an abortion. But the usual technique that abortion abortionists use is that of a catheter. This is a catheter the famous red rubber catheter. They take the catheter and they put it into the uterus and they leave it there. They may squirt some solution through the catheter. Well they may may just leave it hanging up in the uterus. The other end is in the vagina the vagina is very rich in bacteria. And so eventually the bacteria work their way into the uterus. They cause an infection and the woman aborts No wonder we have such complications of criminal abortion because the technique is infection. You say. And that's the magic technique of the criminal abortionist. The problems of overcoming
legal abortion are great. How does one obtain a legal abortion Well first of all you have to know something about. You say this is the method of criminal and washing obviously want to avoid it. If a girl happens to be pregnant and she's going to have an abortion then there is reason to believe it would be wise for her to try and get a legal abortion. She could go to England and American girls are being aborted in England and wish positions on very happy about it. No country likes to do the dirty work for another country. She can't go to Sweden. The Swedes have to have stopped a long time ago doing abortions for girls who have come from out of the country. She can go to Japan. The Japanese law is very liberal and it's estimated that there are about a million abortions a year. She can even get a travel tour to Zurich and have all of the hotel and expenses and legal fees and round trip plane fare included.
It costs about $2000. Or she can find a place in this country where the law has been changed. And there are states where the law has been changed. If you look at the Massachusetts law it states that you can do an abortion to save the life of the woman in most of the laws of the state say that Connecticut has its own little variation it says you can do an abortion to save the life of the woman and the life of the baby but no one's ever figured out how you save the life of a baby by doing an abortion. And of course this is one of the major problems about abortion in the US. The problem is that most of them are very vague. Most of them were passed a long time ago. And as I'll mention in a minute there are many many grounds for their being unconstitutional. And that's why there were changes being made.
In Colorado California North Carolina Maryland Mississippi Georgia and in 1969 just recently in Arkansas law. New new abortion laws have been passed. Some of the states say that in the wash and cannot be done for a girl from out of state. Some do not say that. In general they have liberalized the abortion law from saying that abortion can be done only to save the life of the woman. Just saying that it can be done to save the life of the woman. If the if the health of the woman is in danger including her mental health. If rape or incest has been the cause of the pregnancy. And in some states if the girl is under a particular age and just three weeks ago the Connecticut legislative committee on abortion passed their recommendations for the Connecticut legislature to
change the Washington law so that all of these other things would be included. Hell rape incest. But in addition to that in the wash and could be done for any girl under the age of 17 who wished in of volition who was not married. How far that will go in the state of Connecticut of course is very questionable because legislatures have to pass these laws and then Governors have to sign them. And of course in California they have the easy out of the governor just not passing it so that the law became law without his signature. The problem with abortion laws is that they set down a code they set down a way of doing an abortion. It's not unusual for it to be spelled out in the law that if a woman wishes to have an abortion she has to fulfill the requirements of the law. She has to go to a physician. She has to be. He has to say yes she is pregnant. And generally speaking the indications of psychiatric so she has to be seen by two
psychiatrists and then the two psychiatrists have to say that this pregnancy is a threat to the life of the woman at least in the England states. That's what they have to say and you know it's very hard for psychiatrists in true faith to say that since they know that the suicide rate among pregnant women is very very low it's much lower than the suicide rate among psychiatrists. So. The situation is somewhat bizarre and to give you no idea of what it's like for a woman to go through this. I'd like to read what one woman had to say who is and this is quoted from a paper by Dr. fleck of psychiatry at Yale. And the patient who applied for and Washington was applying because her last child had been born with an inherited disease and died. And there was a 25 percent chance that our current
pregnancy would result in an abnormal child who would die for the same reason. And she had to go the male of psychiatry as PTS gynecologist and wait. And this is what it's like she says. I am sick of Al a male dominated society. I have always been one to chafe under the lowly position of females in this society. But now a new element has entered the sordid situation. The element of sadism any social phenomena involving a female directly is treated with such a lack of appropriateness that I can only express impotent hysterical rage. Here I am a woman pregnant for the fourth time and not only interested in terminating the situation immediately but justifiably so due to the fact that this child has a 25 percent chance of being the victim of a fatal hereditary disease. Birth wise this works out 100 percent 0 0 0. Frankly that's a diabolical game. I've played one
and now would like to leave the game with my chips. How can I accomplish my reasonable and aim well. It seems that in that social system designed and controlled by men there is a way. One must be willing to go through the talk to trail of being seen by doctors to be sure one is pregnant. Apparently one man's diagnosis isn't enough. And then man has a new delight to offer us women. The firing squad of so lots presents itself in the guise of two psychiatrists who only want to help but one must prove upset innocence of one's physical condition. Expressing the idea of self mutilation or suicide should do it. Then one must wait. Man works from 9 to 5 meetings a car every two weeks. But this woman is pregnant all day all night 7 times weekly. Although my male partners assure that something will be done such assurances given to the lady in distress in the most they and general terms. Gentlemen I want this done and now and my contempt for your
system is so complete. I wonder at your morality that seems to leave you unaware of your crimes. Women we have left this world to men too long. They are inept inappropriate and dangerous. We have been unfairly used. Well you see as I may have said before our women aren't very important in this country and as a beautiful description of just how unimportant because you have to live your life as a woman under a code designed and ruled by men whether it has to do with contraception whether it has to do with abortion and the laws that govern abortion. And usually it's not left for you to make an individual decision about your own life. Now that is the direction that abortion reform is going in today. Fortunately we have lots of brilliant women who are fighting for the cause and if they weren't bringing women fighting for the cause and
I don't think anything would be done. The. Policy that most groups are now advocating is that we should not have new abortion laws that we should have no abortion laws and not of blushing should be a decision between an individual patient and her physician. Now no one knows if it's going to come to that in this country but it has come to that in other countries. This is known as abortion on demand in Russia in Hungary. If a woman is pregnant and she wishes in a blush she goes to a physician the physician says yes Mrs. So-and-so is pregnant. She takes her note to the hospital. They admit her and they do an abortion. If the abortion is done on medical grounds such as tuberculosis rheumatic heart disease whatever the medical indication that it's free as is all the medical
care or most medical care in the Eastern European countries. If it's done on social grounds. Well in Hungary it cost a dollar and 12 cents. And Czechoslovakia about a dollar twenty six. And even in these countries there is still the vestige that if it's done off or social grounds then there is some charge made. Interesting Lee enough in Czechoslovakia where the fee for abortion is about a dollar and a quarter dollar twenty six it costs much more for a woman to use birth control. Now in a country where everything is free from a medical point of view all medical care all drugs and so on the only thing that was charged for when it was brought into the culture was the pill. And so you can imagine that their contraceptive program has not been very successful. The Russians have run the same problem. They have found however that when you combine if you have just abortion as a method of family planning like birth control that abortion becomes
rampant in Hungary. Well in the United States we do 8 legal of Washington's for every thousand live births. Sweden we think of the liberal Swedish abortion laws in Sweden they do about 50 and the number varies and they've just liberalized or a little bit so that Swedish girls on have to go to Poland anymore for abortions and now they do between 50 and 60 of Washington's legally per thousand live births in Czechoslovakia. They do about 500 abortions per every thousand live births in Japan they do about a thousand abortions for every thousand live births. And in Hungary they do about fourteen hundred in Moscow and Leningrad they do three abortions for every live birth. One of the women I started to do an abortion on it in Yugoslavia
to change her mind. S. was hooked up. Anastasia was put in and she said I'm just I change my mind I don't want abortion. She said it knew going in Serbian. I really didn't know what she was talking about Unfortunately the doctor spoke very good English and he said now she changed her mind it and I said I see what American girls go through to have an abortion is one changing mine. And he explained this was her fifth abortion in two years. So this time she decided to go through with the pregnancy. In a study done in Hungary they found a group of 2000 women who had just abortions and no birth control offered to them. Five hundred had another of washing within two years. If they if they coupled contraception to abortion they drop the number from 500 in 2000 to 80 in 2000 and I think that for our culture.
That contraception is a much better answer although sometimes I wonder. Now here's a letter from a student who once attended this school who happened to be a patient of mine who's been living in Japan for the last four years and she writes as follows and this letter came not very long ago. She says the reason for this letter is that I am still on I want to know if I'm one milligram and it has been almost four years since I started them. I feel fine and have been well. However people are always commenting Japanese on how they think the pill is not healthy for any one of a million reasons and I begin to get it begun to get a little worried. As you know abortions here are cheap can be as low as $15 and they do about a million of them every year. So the threat of getting pregnant isn't really so terrible here. So I have the following questions 1 Should I stop the pills for the duration of my stay in Japan i.e. would it be healthy to be off them for six or seven months or permanently. Two is an abortion done by a
good doctor something to be wary of so that we shouldn't risk such a thing. 3 What is the latest the law in the United States on the effects of the pill taken so long. Well you see that before we started talking about abortion that may not have seemed like a very reasonable letter to you. I doubt if very many of you would say well you know I don't want to go have an abortion. And yet here is a tremendous effect of the culture. Sure there are problems with the pill. We've talked about the dangers of the pill. There are other methods of birth control too. But abortion is a method of birth control is not a safe method of birth control. And now a system of obtaining abortion legally in this country is so difficult that we can't talk about abortion in the way that a girl living in Tokyo can. And I think that's very important to realize. I've seen two girls this semester from colleges seniors who read the article in The Saturday Review of literature that blasted the pill and they talk about all the chemical
changes of the pill and all complication the pill and so on itself. And so they stopped and they became pregnant and then they had to go and have an abortion. And of course we have no place to send them legally. I have no place to send them illegally and they were on their own. Now what happens when a girl is on her own. When you're on your own it becomes a matter of sort of putting your head out in the hall of the door and saying who knows where there's an abortionist. And there are lots of dances. I've been amazed to find out that college students know more abortionists than all the kind of colleges Steinle put together. You have a great line. This is your resource. You know how to get Dr. Bell in Philadelphia. You know how to get Dr. Rappaport wherever he is. You know how to get any one of a number of famous wash n'est and none of us to and none of us ever do because although these men have been doing in Washington for a long time.
In fact one of them I want to mention with what the abortionists have to say. It's a great line abortionists. One of the Washington Post recently wrote a paper for the conference that I attended in October and he talked about his experience of the last 25 years. He said in the last 25 years I've done 30000 abortions. Half of the patients I saw were referred by friends. About a third by physicians and about 10 percent by counsellors a third of the patients I saw or who I treated were Catholic. Twenty percent of them were referred by priests. Sixty four percent of the patients I saw. Were unmarried. And in recent years the average age of these patients as the
median age excuse me has been twenty one and a half years. Now it's always been taught that criminal abortions in this country or done for unmarried women and their late 30s but married women in their late 30s to they have birth control. And so there's been this precipitous decline in the number of married women in their late 30s who have abortions and a tremendous increase in the number of 19 20 21 and 22 year olds having criminal abortions. And I was perhaps the most fascinating thing about this particular abortionists statistics. Now he happened to be a physician. He happened to do DNC. He treated his patients very well and he said that in his 30000 abortions he didn't have a death. Wow. You know you have to take everything with a grain of salt because if any of his patients became deathly obvious and go back to the treatment they went someplace else and he never knew about it.
Other criminal blushing just discussed some of their criteria. It was very fascinating for a gynecologist to hear what's been going on on the other side of the fence. One of the abortionist said that he regularly did abortions for college students many of whom flew down to his Southern city from New England. And a college student had to fulfill certain criteria she had less than a B average. He wouldn't do an abortion for that. That he would never do a repeatable Russian U.S. Code of Ethics. Some of the Russian Istar in one study done by a sociologist he pointed out that the Russians came from many different fields one was an antique dealer. Another was an auto mechanic one of the auto mechanics did abortions in the garage in a grease pit. And some of the lushness and not infrequently had as one of their criteria for doing abortion that the woman have and have intercourse with him before he would do it.
This was a very bitter experience that I have had with patients. I've never referred a patient to an abortionist. And as a very young man. I've always been taught if any patients come to me who request an abortion then I should refer them to my superiors. And over the years one of the great resources was Puerto Rico. And then I saw one of the girls who went to Puerto Rico. It cost us something like thirteen hundred dollars by the time she was finished. The man insisted that she have intercourse with him first and it was just a horrible experience. When you see this kind of experience you wonder if there isn't some other way out. First of all you wonder how does a college girl get into such a fix. Here's a letter from college girl written to me not very long ago. And she says the only things we knew about abortions were the hard reports one
reads in the newspaper. And I admit ignorance of the situation in general. I was simply afraid to seek out the pill believing that I would encounter raised eyebrows and admonishing from the medical world. This kind of ignorance can only be combatted by out and out education for the general public. Something to the effect of the kind of costs you give at home. Must I say may I say that I plan to initiate a campaign to obtain such an opportunity for the women at my school is no excuse for my kind of ignorance the kind that may lead to the heartbreak and expense of an illegal abortion which is what she went through when she called me up. I told her that in Philadelphia there was a clergyman's group who could help her and this is something that all of you should know about. Throughout the country there are a set of services called a clergyman's
consultation service in different cities different faiths are represented. And most of these groups can be looked up. In the telephone book in New York City if you look up on birth control or you look up on family planning you'll find the clergyman consultation service list and the clergyman consultation services in New York alone has seen and I'm sorry I don't have the figures but I believe it was something like 4000 women last year. And what's done with the clergyman's consultation service is that they will first say I have an answering service. Are you pregnant. If you do not know we want you to go to a gynecologist be examined went to a doctor be examined and bring proof of pregnancy. An appointment is then given for the couple or the girl alone or whoever she's with to speak to one of the clergyman functioning in the
service. And all of the possibilities of resolving the pregnancy are discussed marriage. Adoption election what the pregnancy means to the girl. The clergyman becomes a tremendous resource. What can be common of course as these services have become flooded. The men have been spread rather thin. However here's someone to turn to. You see here is someone who is understanding someone who has the insight to the problem and as is the case in 95 percent of the women who go to the clergyman consultation service if the decision is that abortion is the only solution then the women are referred to an abortionist. Now they are not referred to an abortionist with a catheter and are not referred to the greasepaint. They are referred to physicians in New York City as you will read in the article that was handed out to you tonight and that's copied from Look magazine as you read in that on a column the
group in New York oncet is a group of eight Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All of whom teach in medical schools or on the stabs of hospitals who are doing these abortions not in hospitals because of this experience of hospital blushing because legally they could not be doing them in private operating rooms and they're doing them quite safely and you can read that article for yourself. Well the problem with this is of course that it's illegal and although none of the men none of the clergyman services and they now are all over the country and we've compiled a list of the services all over the country for you that this is still illegal and we don't know how it's going to resolve itself. We do know that the laws that have been passed have not been very good and they're not really answering the problem of abortion for the women who need it.
I think however that the clergyman consultation service is really the best thing that is available today for women. What's the best thing that's available as contraception but next to that. I think that the clergyman Consultation Service is answering a need. The girl from Philadelphia said to me what else do I need to know. And I said well if you go to an abortionist you must never go alone. You must always have someone with you. That if there is any problem you have to have someone who can get you to the hospital. I told her the names of gynecologists in Philadelphia who could help her if there was a problem. And I also and I'm not sure if it was that wise but I also gave her the names of two or three different psychiatry's pts in the Philadelphia area who she could talk to if she felt that there were problems after the abortion. And I think it's important to state that many many
studies have been done of the psychiatric aftereffects of abortion and one of the finest studies by Dr. Comer at the University of California Los Angeles showed that there are no serious aftereffects at the feeling of a woman who has had an abortion where pregnancy was intolerable the feeling after abortion is that of a release of relief. That's not to say that every woman has had an abortion has been well studied and so that we can talk about this in a very knowledgeable way. But so far the psychiatric evidence is not that someone who has an abortion is going to have to have an ongoing psychiatric care. One of the major problems of abortion in this country is it doesn't fulfill these very minimum criteria that every consumer in this country is entitle to in I believe
1964 President Kennedy stated the rights of the consumer and he said one right is the right to null. And you don't know when you have a criminal I'm blushing. You don't know what's happening. The right to safety. It's not very safe and the right to be heard. And that really is the great problem. The people who need abortions and don't need abortions. Women need coalitions and those who need abortions in this country haven't been given the right to know and the right to be heard. And until women can somehow band together I don't think we're going to see any very dramatic changes. Although I must say a lot. We've come a long way in the last four or five years. I've come a long way. I have always been very anti abortion I guess. It was a reflection of my upbringing. My father was chief of the
service of Obstetrics and Gynecology in a Catholic hospital that all my life I was taught how horrible abortion was and remember in the Depression there were two methods of birth control. The husband slept on the roof or you got an abortion and that's how they had the lowest birth rate in the history of our country. I don't have pills and I didn't have very effective methods of birth control and so all of the horrors of abortion became very well known to someone such as my father was a young man. During the Depression in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. But I see that it's unfair and I see that our system is not very good. I see that there is terrible discrimination when it comes to abortion. If you look at legal abortion in this country you find that if you take a class of what a group of white middle class patients at the abortion rate is one for every hundred three live births. If you take a group of
Negro lower class patients the number of legal abortions is one for every fourteen thousand live births. Now does that mean that the law is constitutional on the point from the point of view of discrimination. Obviously not. I said that I mentioned something about the unconstitutional ality of the Lord I think you know certainly with the lore such as we have now where we forced one out of every four pregnant women to go to a criminal abortionist. This is not decent treatment. And so if our laws preclude decent treatment they could be considered unconstitutional. Is this cruel and unusual punishment to subject such a large part of our population to criminal abortion. Well I don't know the discrimination between poor and rich between black and white. Even the criminal of Washington's discriminate one negro licensed nurse in the South who did criminal abortions went to them for Negroes
rather unbelievable. Is the church and the state involved in our present abortion laws. When I answer them and this is a country where the church and state are not supposed to be involved following this formal presentation in this for college course in human sexuality questions from the audience it resulted in an elaboration of the ideas presented in the lecture. Well I think that abortions be done by physicians and or at least by physicians supervised or physician trained personnel. If we get to the situation that they have in Russia no want to want to be a physician. Because I know at this meeting I attended I stood up and I said it sounds terrible to me to do six million abortions a year. I went out to the gynecologist and as a young
gynecologist an obstetrician I enjoy delivering babies I wouldn't want to spend all my day doing abortions. And it seems to me if you do that many abortions that's what the doctors must do they must spend all the time doing abortions and in the end I said that because in the hospitals I had visited I found that men spent as much as a third of their entire training as a specialist doing abortions even in Stockholm. A man would spend three months sitting on a stool doing abortions. And that to me is not you know the result of my four years of liberal arts education unlike all of my medical school training and so on. I don't even know how to synthesize enzymes in order to do abortions. And I don't need to have an understanding and feeling for human beings. I'm going to sit on a stool doing abortions all day and so I raise that point I say and it doesn't sound very reasonable to me and a lot of the people to meeting said well gee that's just too bad you're going to be doing it. And afterward the Russian who was at the meeting
came up to me and put his arm around my shoulder and he said don't worry. The professors don't have to do any of the abortions and all the young men do them. Are there any complications. Yes there are. In any surgical procedure there are complications there are complications in taking tonsils out and there are complications from doing abortions. If it's done too late you know by the time the girl goes through that all of these committees and doctors in the head of the hospital and so on passes on this by that time she may be very far along in a pregnancy maybe four months and then the doctor tries to do a DNC and gets into a lot of trouble. In general however abortions can be done legally can be done very safely. And I can give you some statistics on that. From a statistical point of view in Japan
where they do many many abortions in one thousand fifty four they are point 0 8 deaths per thousand operations in Hungary in 1963 1964 they did three hundred fifty eight thousand abortions there were two deaths. That's point almost six per thousand operations. The death rate for pregnancy itself is about point to about one in 5000 deliveries. So you see it's far less than the death rate from pregnancy itself. The NCSA usually not done without an anesthetic. It is painful. And the anesthetic can either be given locally or the patient can be given pent Athol put to sleep even though it's only for 10 minutes it's still quite safe when I do DNC as I usually do them under general
anesthesia. Now let's say the patient is you know started to abort in a Chinese restaurant and she's got all the soy sauce now and she's going to take general anesthesia and vomit and have pneumonia and along and so on. And you do it under local anesthesia. I think if you go through the physicians and women are referred to through the clergyman services then I think there's a good chance that it's done under anesthesia. As I said I don't have very much experience with it and from what I have seen no it's quite safe and it's not painful. But you know I don't recommend it for just for trying. I recommend avoiding you ask what resources are there in other parts of the country. But in certainly in Chicago
there is a clergyman service and I'm not sure of all of the others throughout the Midwest. But once again this is a growing movement. You know when it comes to an out of wedlock pregnancy I guess the easiest solution is to have an abortion because it resolves the problem right there and then the next most difficult solution is to get married and you get married and then later on you get divorced and sell you. You know it just dragged out you've made it a legal birth and then you have all the hardships of divorce. The most difficult solution in my experience has been adoption. I think that it is very haughty. You're right you're talking about girls in a community where everyone knows them. If they leave the community everyone knows they left and
it's hard it really is and there's no simple answer. The simplest answer is not to get pregnant when you don't want to get pregnant. And there's no reason why women who are intelligent should you know pray except for the psychological need which may be unconscious which may be overpowering. And in those circumstances it's too bad we don't have a culture such as the Swedish You know in Sweden women can keep the child. And if a baby is born out of wedlock the woman is called Mrs. and the baby has all rights of inheritance supported by the father of the baby. Fifty percent of the women who have a baby out of wedlock married the father of the baby.
Human sexuality
Episode Number
#7 (1 Of 2)
Producing Organization
University of Massachusetts (Amherst campus)
Mount Holyoke College
Smith College
Amherst College
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This series features lectures given as part of a class on human sexuality.
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Producing Organization: University of Massachusetts (Amherst campus)
Producing Organization: Mount Holyoke College
Producing Organization: Smith College
Producing Organization: Amherst College
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-SUPPL (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:59:50
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Chicago: “Human sexuality; #7 (1 Of 2),” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
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APA: Human sexuality; #7 (1 Of 2). Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from