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The biggest divide between the Democrats and the conservative Republicans is quite possibly the issue of abortion.

While there are pro-choice Republicans under the big tent of the GOP, for the most part they ignore each other until there is a pro-choice nominee of the party and some withhold voting for that candidate in the general election.

Concord’s Steve Duprey learned a few weeks ago when he attended a Planned Parenthood political fundraiser that there are just some in-your-face, spitting-into-the-wind things you just don’t do when you are elected by the state party to be the national committeeman to the Republican National Committee (which has a pro-life platform, as does the New Hampshire GOP).

Planned Parenthood’s Mother’s Day message last Sunday went beyond tacky and bad taste to reprehensible to many mothers, and not just pro-life ones.

In a series of four cards celebrating mothers across the globe, Planned Parenthood urged their supporters to share their favorite card on Facebook. One said, “Being a mother makes me very appreciative for our rights: All women should have the choice to do what they want with their own body.” Another proclaimed: “I’m grateful for Roe v. Wade. I’m grateful for birth control. I’m grateful for quality health coverage. And I’m thankful for the women before me who’ve fought for and defended the right to be a mom by choice.”

While so many mourn those millions of unborn children, is it really smart to rub salt in the wound? Women who have lost children to illness or accident always have a really tough time when Mother’s Day rolls around. How do you think those grieving mothers felt seeing Planned Parenthood celebrating their supporters’ ability to end the life of their unborn child?

What drives the staunch position of those with pro-life beliefs? One has to look at hard facts and statistics.

Since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in America, there have been 54.5 million abortions. Currently 20 percent of all pregnancies in America are terminated with an abortion. Only 1 percent are due to the woman being raped. Only 12 percent are due to “health” reasons, not the life of the mother being endangered but health reasons that in some cases are pretty minor and subjective. That leaves 87 percent of abortions in America for what basically comes down to inconvenience: I can’t afford it; I don’t have time because it would interfere with my work or school; I didn’t want to get pregnant.

Bear in mind that here in New Hampshire, every pregnant woman gets free health care if she is within 300 percent of the poverty level ($30,600 a year for a single person) and her child gets a minimum of one year of free health care. Recent statistics from the Guttmacher Institute (a pro-choice entity) peg the rate of abortions in New Hampshire for 2011 at 3,200 abortions, which was an abortion rate of 17 percent of total pregnancies. Almost 10 abortions every day just here in New Hampshire.

People who are pro-life believe that life begins at conception. It is a biological fact that when fertilization occurs, a life begins. Congress has been debating a piece of House legislation called the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which passed the House this week and now moves on to the U.S. Senate. Science has confirmed that babies are capable of feeling pain at least as early as 20 weeks. There are 13,000 babies killed every year after this benchmark, which is a stage of development that is survivable with modern science if delivery happens at this stage. What the pro-abortion lobby doesn’t want talked about is the absolute gruesome method of abortion.

At this stage, the unborn child is often “vacuumed” out of the womb, the limbs torn piece by piece from the child, causing great pain. Roe v. Wade was about early-term abortions and clearly allows reasonable limitations. But you don’t see Planned Parenthood or their supporters getting behind even this humanitarian legislation.

Bill Clinton, a staunch pro-choice president once said, “Abortion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare.” Does anyone really think that almost a million snuffed out lives a year counts as rare?

Pro-choice women seem to identify their right to choose abortions with controlling what happens to their own body, but who looks out for the created life within that body? A woman can choose to not get pregnant by abstinence or birth control. (Statistics show that half of all unwanted pregnancies occur in women who don’t even bother with birth control.)

When an unexpected pregnancy occurs, there is no longer a stigma of being an unwed mother. There are many couples wishing to adopt newborn children. Is it too inconvenient to take a pregnancy to term and give someone who can’t become a mother the chance to be one? Or is “I am woman, hear me roar” more important?

And while pro-choice women demand reproductive choice, legislation recently introduced in Illinois would ban pro-life women’s reproductive choice. The law would forbid any medical provider from exclusively being a provider that is pro-life. Women in Illinois would no longer be able to choose reproductive care at a practice that does not refer or arrange for abortion in any way.

Roe v. Wade opened the door to many potential parameters on abortion. Even “Jane Roe” (Norma McCorvey) of the infamous decision is now pro-life and admits that her case before the Supreme Court was based on many untruths. However, there is no give by the pro-choice lobby.

While very pro-life activists will never accept abortion of any kind, the great majority of Americans are becoming more and more in favor of reasonable parameters, from parental notification on minors getting abortions, to waiting limits, to required counseling on alternatives – including sonograms to show the developing, unborn child.

Who is the extremist on this issue?

Article written by Fran Wendelboe. She is a former seven-term Republican legislator, longtime conservative grassroots activist and small-business owner. She lives in New Hampton.

Article also published in the Concord Monitor. 

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