Scott Tibbs
Published in Hoosier Review, 01-25-1999

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Is NARAL "pro-choice" or pro-abortion?

The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) has given Indiana a failing grade in terms of providing access to abortion, according to the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette. This is good news for Hoosiers who value the sanctity of human life. NARAL claims that Indiana's restrictions on abortion are inconsistent with the 1973 ruling that first allowed the right to an abortion.

But NARAL's criticism of Indiana deserves closer examination. First, NARAL complains that Indiana prohibits a procedure medically known as intact dilation and evacuation, or partial-birth abortion. NARAL claims that "government should not interfere" in the decision to abort even at such a late stage. NARAL shows its extremism here, in supporting legal protection for a procedure that even pro-choice liberals like House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon, and New York Senator Patrick Moinihan have voted to ban. NARAL claims to represent American women, but is clearly out of the mainstream on this issue.

Along the same lines, NARAL opposes Indiana's lack of a "health of the mother" exception in banning post-viability abortions. But the "health of the mother" exception is a facade. This exception does not merely cover physical health, but court cases have used this exception to open the door for abortion on demand, even after the child is viable.

NARAL also complains that Indiana requires minors to obtain parental permission for an abortion. Apparently, NARAL feels that while abortion is a personal decision, the decision on how to raise one's children is not. Instead, they would take away the right of parents to be involved in such a central decision to their daughter's life. NARAL would give this decision to other family members or even school counselors, shutting out parents from their daughter's life.

But three additional criticisms that NARAL has leveled against Indiana reveal that they are not "pro-choice", but pro-abortion. First, NARAL believes that public funds should be used to pay for abortion, denying "choice" to those who oppose abortion but are forced to pay for it.

In addition, NARAL's objection to Indiana's requirement that only a doctor licensed in Indiana can perform abortions is cause for concern. Why would NARAL oppose this? Abortion is an invasive procedure, as is any surgery. It is only common sense that safeguards would be in place to ensure the safety of the patient. It is difficult to imagine another organization demanding that doctors be able to perform other surgeries without being licensed. This is not an issue of denying "choice" to women who desire an abortion, but ensuring the safety of the procedure. Even people who are pro-choice should welcome such safety regulations. Opposition to such restrictions shows the extremist agenda of NARAL.

But the most infuriating of NARAL's criticisms of Indiana is their objection to Indiana allowing doctors or hospital personnel to refuse to participate in an abortion. NARAL would force doctors and hospital personnel to participate in a procedure they find morally objectionable. NARAL claims to be "pro-choice", but what about the choice of the doctors? Do their rights not matter? More than anything, this proves that NARAL is not "pro-choice", but a group of radical pro-abortion extremists. One common pro-choice slogan is "if you don't like abortion, don't have one". But NARAL's desire to force people to precipitate in this procedure show that this extremist group has abandoned that idea.

In Indiana, it is still legal to kill an unborn child, and that is tragic. But it would be even more tragic if Indiana's common-sense restrictions on abortion were to be overturned in the name of "choice".