Commentary by Judie Brown
Congressman Henry Waxman would not get my vote for the most pro-life Democrat in Congress. In fact, quite the opposite is true. But his latest antics have proven that even a pro-abortion Democrat can descend to new depths for the sake of his deadly agenda.
When Waxman (D-Calif.) recently filed a minority report with the House Committee on Government Reform, he turned a cartwheel to transpose true statements into total fabrications. It is one thing to argue a health question on its merits, but it is quite another to create myth after myth in a concerted effort to sate the abortion monster while misrepresenting those who care for expectant mothers and their babies.
Maybe you saw the headlines that blared across the pages of newspapers and websites from coast to coast. Let me cite a couple for you: "Pregnancy centers mislead girls" and "Pregnancy centers found to give false information on abortion." In addition we saw "Pregnancy centers abortion info faulted," and my favorite, "Pregnancy resource centers rapped over blatant misinformation."
If the average American saw headlines such as these, and did not know much about the pro-life centers where babies are saved and mothers are spared the agony of aborting a child, surely he or she would think there was something terribly despicable about these pro-lifers. I can imagine people thinking it's about time that pro-lifers have been exposed for what they really are -- people who lie. Such torrid headlines supported by nothing but slanted, one-sided reporting only contributes to the ongoing public suspicion that pro-lifers are -- if nothing else -- fanatics who will stoop to any level just to coerce a pregnant woman into rejecting abortion. And I can imagine people saying, "You know, I cannot imagine who would lie to a young girl in that kind of trouble."
Well, I can tell you who. Let's start with Congressman Henry Waxman himself. Waxman claims that pregnancy centers frequently mislead teens who are expecting a baby. He claims that the medical risks of abortion are inflated if not nonexistent. He claims that teen girls are given false information about the link between abortion and breast cancer, infertility and mental illness.
Now we should understand at the outset that Waxman favors abortion for any reason whatsoever and under any circumstance. So it is quite natural that his "findings" might leave more than a little room for suspicion. The minority report states, for example, that "Pro-life advocates assert the existence of a condition called 'post-abortion syndrome." The report proceeds to cite an expert panel of the pro-abortion American Psychological Association as the source for their opinion that post-abortion syndrome simply does not exist.
What the report fails to acknowledge is the diligent research and study that has been done by Dr. David Reardon of the Elliot Institute, Dr. Theresa Burke of Rachel's Vineyard, Dr. Phillip Ney and Dr. Anne Speckhard. In each of these cases, and in many more, the resulting evidence is clear: post-abortion syndrome is real and it is tragic. But then again, when your desired outcome is a set of fallacious conclusions, there are certain groups or individuals you simply do not want to interview. There is certain information you are unwilling to evaluate.
Waxman's report says that pro-life centers inaccurately link abortion and breast cancer, even though years of effort by several well-known scientists has shown that the link is not only there, but extremely easy to discern -- that is, if you are honest and willing to see it. The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons published a scientific review of ten prospective studies pointing out that seriously flawed research is being used to support the claim that there is no connection between abortion and breast cancer. But the National Cancer Institute has led the effort to debunk that which we know is true -- that there is a link and it can be and has been clinically proven.
Perhaps the most egregious aspect of the Waxman report, however, is the outright falsehood regarding the connection between abortion and miscarriage. The report claims that there is no adverse effect on future fertility if a mother aborts her first child. And yet there are medical studies, including one by Planned Parenthood, that refute this claim. The Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood Research reported in 2003 that the risk of having a premature delivery or a low birthweight baby "tends to be higher among women whose first pregnancy is terminated by induced abortion." Further, the study corroborates others on the subject by stating that "women whose pregnancy is terminated by dilation and evacuation may have an increased risk of subsequent premature delivery and a low birthweight baby."
Waxman and his allies seem committed to using whatever type of deception is needed to disallow federal funding for pro-life pregnancy centers and otherwise besmirch the reputation of some of the most heroic organizations on the face of this planet.
These outright fabrications bring suspicion upon the entire Committee on Government Reform. One could say that the credibility of the committee is now on the line, and will remain there unless the chairman, Congressman Tom Davis (R-Va.) corrects the record immediately and makes it clear that the Waxman report is sorely lacking in balance, justice and accuracy.
I hope the committee takes the appropriate steps to set the record straight and to acknowledge the academic facts that exist on both sides of these questions. That would be much preferred to the outright falsehoods that are, as of this writing, part of the public record.
It is my sincere desire to see the committee revisit the entire question of pro-life pregnancy centers and their services with an eye toward having expert witnesses testify from the medical, social and educational fields on the actual evidence about what abortion does to mothers who choose it. I could see an entire week of hearings during which those who do this work and have examined these questions would be given the privilege of telling the truth, which is far more preferable to the flimsy gobbledygook that makes up the Waxman report.
Let's hope truth gets its day in the committee.
Release issued: 20 Jul 06