It has been said that one human death is a tragedy, but a thousand are merely statistics.  In no arena is this ancient proverb more appropriate than in the field of abortion.  Each year in North America over a million and a half preborn children are destroyed by this process; our minds have been dulled and our hearts hardened because of the horrendous numbers involved and the considerable semantic gymnastics employed to give credibility to the lucrative abortion industry.  But who has ever seen even one of these little ones in their life and death struggle with the abortionist?


Last week, for approximately twenty minutes, I was an eyewitness to the stark reality of a woman’s “freedom to choose.”  I watched an abortion from the perspective of an unborn child who was, in a few brief moments, barbarously robbed of her life. 


No, this was not one of our continent’s estimated 60,000 annual late-term abortions (over 15 weeks) where the well-developed, sensitive baby is dismembered alive by the increasingly popular D and E method (dilation and evacuation); popular because there is no possibility of the dreaded “complication” of a live-born baby.  Nor was it a late-term saline infusion or “salting out” abortion, where the fully-formed baby is chemically poisoned by an injected toxic solution and burned to death. 


Rather, this was your every day abortion – a suction aspiration of a twelve-week old child, the kind that occurs over 4,000 times a day in North America – once every 20 seconds. 


The real-time, ultrasound documentary film was the brainchild of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who at one time ran the world’s largest abortuary in New York City.  Through his subsequent experience as the head of fetology at a large teaching hospital, this self-confessed Jewish atheist has become a stalwart in Pro-life ranks.  Highly suspicious that the unborn child (who, by the way, is considered a “patient” if he/she is wanted) did not passively submit to the abortion procedure, Dr. Nathanson   filmed an actual abortion from the victim’s point of view, a documentary which he entitled The Silent Scream.


As the film began, I watched the living, delicately-formed and minutely-detailed little girl enjoying the security of her inner-space capsule.  She stretched, turned, and easily found her mouth and sucked her thumb. 


Then, her sanctuary was invaded by the abortion instruments.  For several minutes the abortionist thrust at the amniotic sac and tried to break the baby’s bag of waters.  It was not difficult to see that the small child instinctively knew she was under attack.  With each thrust, she would quickly retreat to the farthest corner of the womb, trying to keep the maximum distance between herself and the instruments.  Her heart-beat accelerated dramatically.  After each attempt she would lie on her back and grasp in her mouth the only source of comfort available – her thumb. 


Finally the amniotic sac was pierced and in an instant the fluid was gone.  At this point, the tiny girl thrashed violently in a futile attempt to escape.  As the instrument touched her body, sucking it apart, the child’s face turned toward me and then turned upward while she arched her back in agony.  Her mouth opened and seemed to utter an anguished silent scream.  Her limbs were quickly ripped off and a part of her spine disappeared.  Her tiny heart finally stopped beating and I watched her die. 


The dismembered remains were quickly sucked out, all but the head, which was too large to pass through the tubing.  A pliers-type forceps with locking ratchet teeth was inserted.  The abortionist hunted down “number one,” as the head-removing procedure is called, and crushed it.  In seconds the pieces flew through the tube.


Another “safe, legal” abortion was completed.  A little girl’s life was gone, forever.  Interestingly enough, the doctor who performed this procedure (and had previously performed thousands of abortions) was present at the editing of this film.  To this day, he has never performed another abortion. 


This, then, is the “health care” spoken of by Canada’s No. 1 advocate of unrestrained feticide, Dr. Henry Morgentaler.  This is what happens ten to fifteen times a day when his Toronto abortuary is running “beautifully.”  (Vancouver Sun, January 16, 1985).  We must also be aware that this is exactly the  same procedure performed some 70,000 times per annum in our tax-funded Canadian hospitals and rubber stamped by so-called “Therapeutic” Abortion Committees under the guise of “health care.” 


I would challenge all those who espouse the “pro-choice” position, particularly those editorial writers who assail the so-called “persecution” of the “good” Dr. Morgentaler to view this film.  I am convinced they will find that the direct object of the “persecution” is not the abortionist, but the unborn child who is forced to make the supreme sacrifice in order to facilitate his/her mother’s “freedom of choice.” 


How ironic that Morgentaler, once himself an “unwanted” human being in Dachau, describes his survival in the July edition of Saturday Night as a “celebration of life.”  There will be no such “celebration” for the 18,000 lives (Morgentaler’s own figure) cut down by this man’s hand.  (Our pro-abortion B.C Teachers Federation should be interested to know that the abortion toll of Morgentaler alone is just 3,000 shy of the entire 1985 school population of Greater Victoria.)


These little ones, small though they may be, are none the less human beings.  As the toddler of today is the teenager of tomorrow, the developing baby today is the child tomorrow.  The difference is size, growth and refinement, but there is no difference in essence.  Each and every abortion is an act of violence – hidden from our eyes, perhaps, but violent nevertheless.  Every abortion wipes out the entire life span of an innocent human being. 


The real questions facing our nation today have nothing to do with Morgentaler’s euphemistic right of a woman to “health care.”  The real questions are: “Is it a criminal act to kill developing babies, such as each of us once was?  Does the “freedom to choose” stop where the basic rights of other human beings begin?


No one will argue that a woman with an unwanted pregnancy deserves our compassion and practical assistance.  But if our answer to this social problem is the surgical holocaust of unrestrained abortions, we will adopt a policy which has already made Herod’s slaughter of the innocents look like a trivial pursuit by comparison. 


Arla Rendle is the President of The Pro-Life Society of British Columbia.    


In B.C. The Silent Scream is available through the Pro-Life Society of British Columbia.  It is also available through Life Cycle Books, 2205 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario. M4C 1K4.