In this issue...
by Kathleen Cassidy, J.D.
As any coach knows, focusing solely on defense never leads to a win--you only lose more slowly. The emergence of a brilliant new offensive legal strategy has invigorated the frustrated Pro-Life Movement and will send the abortion industry running back to regroup. Countering the lies espoused by the abortion industry, this energetic, massive project focuses on this truth about abortion: abortion hurts women.
The National Foundation for Life and the Texas Justice Foundation are leading a women's national mobilization effort against the coercion of women through abortion. Countless women have been deceived into believing that abortion was their only solution. But these same women are now coming forward to tell the courts of this nation the real truth regarding their personal experience with abortion. Abortion survivors are telling the courts how abortion has ravaged their lives. Each woman's personal experience details the devastating mental, physical, and spiritual impact that the abortion "right" continues to have. This article will tell you why you need to be involved.
Donna Santa Marie is the young woman whose case has started this extraordinary movement to end the exploitation of women and the worst human rights tragedy of today. She was sixteen years old when she was forced to abort her child. Donna discovered she was pregnant a few weeks before her sixteenth birthday. She and her boyfriend, James, decided to marry. But Donna's mother dashed Donna's hopes and insisted that she submit to an abortion. For weeks, her parents and another family member tried to convince her that motherhood would ruin her life. Donna, however, was uncompromising in her refusal to take the life of her unborn child. In response to her unwillingness to undergo an abortion, her parents threatened to file criminal charges against James because he was several years older than Donna. Out of fear for James, Donna complied and accompanied her parents to the abortion facility.
At the abortion facility, Donna was asked to sign a consent form. One of the questions on the form asked: "What do you consider abortion to be?" Donna wrote: "Killing my baby." To a question regarding whether she was being forced by anyone to have the abortion, she replied: "Yes, my parents." The abortionist showed the form to Donna's parents and refused to perform the abortion. Donna's father was infuriated and, later, punched her in the stomach. Neither Donna nor the baby was seriously injured. When she was nine weeks pregnant, Donna's parents once again repeated their threats about James and took her to another abortion facility. Donna, expecting the same opportunity to explain her circumstances, was taken into the procedure room without ever filling out a form and placed into the position for an abortion. While paralyzed by fear and confusion, Donna had her baby taken from her. The abortionist terminated the life of her precious child. It is difficult to comprehend the trauma this sixteen-year-old girl endured. Although she received counseling, the emotional suffering continues.
EXCITING, INNOVATIVE LEGAL THEORIES
Donna has filed suit against the abortionist who wrongfully took the life of her unborn child, but because her case involves abortion, she is treated differently from other women who have suffered the wrongful loss of a child. The state court has barred Donna from filing suit because of Roe v. Wade. Instead of protecting women's rights, Roe has stolen Donna's rights and the rights of millions of other women. It is through the innovative legal theories developed by lead attorney Harold Cassidy that women's rights, perverted by Roe v. Wade, will be restored.
Harold Cassidy litigated the famous Baby M. adoption case. He applies the same legal principles established in the Baby M. case in the abortion context. The Baby M. case established a legal precedent that is followed in most states. It requires a waiting period following the birth of a baby to allow the mother to make a truly informed decision regarding the waiver of her relationship with her child. Before the baby is born, a woman cannot know what she would be giving away through adoption. Without actually seeing, feeling, and holding the baby, she does not truly know, understand, and appreciate what she would be giving away. There can be no informed consent until after the baby is born.
A woman placing her child for adoption is provided protections for her rights and against her uninformed waiver of those rights. No such protections are provided for mothers seeking abortions. Abortion, like adoption, is the termination of the mother-child relationship. However, women seeking abortions have been denied the equal rights and due process protections afforded to a third group of similarly situated women. Women who are charged by the state with the abuse or neglect of their children are provided numerous legal protections to ensure that their relationships with their children are not terminated inappropriately. There are no such protections for women who are seeking an abortion. These legal strategies and other legal theories in the Donna Santa Marie case have not been presented yet to the courts in the abortion context.
EXPERTS TESTIFY TO THE HUMANITY OF THE CHILD
In 1973, when abortion was legalized, the United States Supreme Court acknowledged that at that time there was wide disagreement about the point at which the life of a child began. With this new litigation, renowned scientists, physicians, and fetal surgeons will testify regarding the humanity of the unborn child and provide the court with new, valid scientific information not previously presented to the courts. These experts will testify that the medical developments over the past three decades demonstrate that abortion is destructive to a woman's physical and emotional health. The new facts regarding the separate humanity of the child and the novel legal theories are bringing hope to people in every state in the United States--hope that the tragedy of abortion will end.
THE CRUELEST MISREPRESENTATION
The initial phase of this national litigation project has already started. Harold Cassidy has filed suit in New Jersey Federal Court on behalf of women who were never told by abortionists about the real nature of abortion. In Donna's case the coercion is blatant, but millions of women have been deceptively coerced into believing that abortion is performed for the mother. It is the cruelest misrepresentation of all.
Abortion is coercion for a mother who cannot help herself. As Donna Santa Marie's case shows, abortion helps others, not the mother. True compassion is not found in inducing a mother to take her child's life. True compassion is not found in failing to inform her about her child's humanity, leaving her to discover later for herself the reality, the tragedy, of what she has done. It is not compassionate to leave her to bear the guilt and shame alone. Others thought it was too hard for them to give Donna real help. There was no real compassion. The abortion was sought for their benefit, not hers.
Each day, woman after woman allows an abortionist to take the life of her unborn child, believing that abortion is the solution, only to discover later that it was the greatest mistake of her life. The abortionist never told her that other options were available. She was never told that the unborn child within her could feel pain. She was not informed that having an abortion could increase her chances of having breast cancer or that she could be rendered sterile. She was never told that if she let her child live that the father could be required legally to support her child and that services were available to help her financially. The abortionist told her that the abortion would be over within a few minutes, but he never told her that it would haunt her for years to come.
WOMEN MUST TELL THEIR STORIES
Another very important step will be the upcoming trial in New Jersey state court in late spring in which a jury must determine whether a first trimester abortion terminates the life of a living human being. The plaintiffs have assembled an international team of world-class experts to prove that it does. The findings of fact by the jury will be binding upon the appellate courts including the New Jersey Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. Those courts, bound by the jury's finding of fact, will have to determine substantial constitutional issues including whether the laws deny the mothers equal protection of their constitutionally protected interest in their relationship with their unborn child, and whether the child possesses constitutional rights.
"ROE" AND "DOE" JOIN FORCES
Also involved in this national litigation strategy are the two women to whom history has attributed the responsibility for the legalization of abortion. Norma McCorvey was known as "Jane Roe" in Roe v. Wade. In the companion case, Doe v. Bolton, Sandra Cano was known as "Mary Doe." Through that case the "health exception" was established and now allows legal abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. McCorvey and Cano were used by the abortion industry but now have come forward to support this innovative legal effort to expose pro-abortion arguments as coercive, destructive lies.
McCorvey and Cano are represented by the Texas Justice Foundation and lead attorney, Allan Parker. Parker is a former professor of law who taught civil procedure. Both women are supporting Donna Santa Marie's legal efforts in a "Friend of the Court" brief and are telling the court that abortion is not in a woman's interest.
Roe v. Wade, although decided by the United States Supreme Court twenty-seven years ago, continues to haunt Norma McCorvey. As the plaintiff in the suit that legalized abortion in the United States, she says the responsibility of the decision weighs heavily on her heart. This young woman was lured into a false understanding of the nature and consequences of abortion. But because of her role as Jane Roe, McCorvey feels that she bears responsibility for the deaths of at least thirty-five million children and their mothers' continued suffering. Although she herself never underwent an abortion, McCorvey is telling the court that she was deceived and that the courts hearing the Roe case also were deceived because of the lack of testimony and the lack of valid information presented to them. Ultimately, the deficiencies in evidence presented to the Court in 1973 led the Court to a faulty legal conclusion that abortion was a "right" when, in fact, abortion is the waiver of a right--the right of a mother to her relationship with her child.
While Roe purports to stand for the proposition that women have a choice regarding their bodies and reproductive capacity, in actuality, the truth behind Roe reveals a perversion of choice. True choice involves a meaningful decision based on knowledge and the availability of a range of options. A woman possesses the requisites for evaluating a decision in light of her values only when equipped with such knowledge and options. If she is denied valid, truthful information, a woman is lured into a false version of reality and, therefore, is denied the opportunity to comprehend the true nature of her decision. McCorvey did not possess or receive complete information about the nature and consequences of abortion, nor was she given a range of options. Her so-called "choice" was non-existent.
In her statement, Sandra Cano tells the court how young, poor, and uneducated women are easily victimized by those whose agendum it is to present abortion as the solution. Cano, in fact, never wanted an abortion for herself and fled to Oklahoma to avoid being forced into aborting her child. She was told that her baby could live if she came back and remained silent about the reason she fled. In the lawsuit filed on her behalf, lawyers alleged that she was denied an abortion by two hospitals. But Cano had not sought the abortion. Instead, others had sought an abortion for her and then sued when it was denied.
Cano now explains to the court that after twenty-seven years of legalized abortion, it is clear that the considerations of a pregnant woman's physical, emotional, and psychological health are the reasons the abortion tragedy must end. Ironically, those are the same considerations that were given as the Supreme Court's justification for Doe's expansion of Roe's legalization of abortion. Too many women who have lost their children through abortion have told Sandra Cano of their emptiness, their sadness, the void in their lives, and how others forced them to have abortions and then blamed the abortions on the mothers themselves. Abortion is a false solution coercively imposed upon a pregnant woman by others.
THE NEXT STEP
The next step in the litigation process will be to file suit in Texas with similar legal theories on behalf of Texas women who have been victims of abortionists and denied equal protection. These women's constitutional rights have been violated by a lack of informed consent and by being treated differently under the law than women in other contexts. The Texas Justice Foundation needs post-abortive women everywhere in the United States to come forward to tell the courts how they have been injured by abortion. Then suits may follow in other states. These women are needed to tell how their lives have been damaged by abortion--not only physically injured, but emotionally. The Texas Justice Foundation is asking each woman who has suffered in any way from abortion to fill out the "Affidavit" form giving the personal facts surrounding her abortion. The form is located on page 18 in this issue of At the Center (download form2.pdf). It is through the testimony of these women that the litigation will be successful in ending the tragedy.
Any woman who has undergone an abortion is encouraged to take this step to help the healing process. Many women have felt that the actual process of writing down their story has helped them tremendously in dealing with their feelings of shame, grief, and blame. If you will write your story, you can help prevent other's pain. Regardless of when the abortion occurred--two weeks ago or twenty years ago--your story is needed. The personal testimony of women will help the courts to understand the widespread damage abortion has caused throughout the United States.
Once the "Affidavit" form is completed, it should be taken to a Notary Public to be signed and notarized. The Notary Public will not have to read the form, only the title. While every woman's full name is needed for the form to be legal, her identity may remain confidential if she checks the box asking that only initials be used. The forms should then be mailed to the Texas Justice Foundation, 8122 Datapoint, Suite 812, San Antonio, TX 78229. You may make unlimited copies of the "Affidavit" form to provide them to people you know who have had abortions. The Texas Justice Foundation is available to answer questions and to help women fill out the forms. Call 1-210-614-7157 or contact us at www.operationoutcry.org.
EVERYONE CAN BE INVOLVED!
The really exciting part of this litigation is that the legal process is just in the beginning stages. Everyone, including you, can be involved in stopping legalized abortion in the United States! Every woman, whether post-abortive or not, is urged to sign a form becoming a "Friend of the Court" attesting to the courts that "It is not in the human or legal interest of any mother to kill her own child. A mother's true interest is in her child's life and her relationship with her child. Roe v. Wade should be overturned." The "Friend of the Court" form in this issue of At the Center on page 17 (download form1.pdf) is for your use, and you may make as many copies as you need to distribute to everyone you know who agrees with the above statement. The plan is to present one million names as "Friends of the Court" to demonstrate to the United States Supreme Court the massive number of women who disagree with current abortion law.
The National Foundation for Life Litigation Project and the Texas Justice Foundation urge you to become part of this history-making effort to overturn Roe v. Wade. Forms also can be obtained by contacting the National Foundation for Life Litigation Project, P.O. Box 516, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0516.
Kathleen Cassidy, J.D., is an attorney, the Women's Health Protection Task Force Leader for the Texas Justice Foundation, and a part-time professor. She can be reached at the Texas Justice Foundation, 8122 Datapoint, Suite 812, San Antonio, TX 78229. Phone (210) 614-7157 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.