Recall Abortion: Ending the Abortion Industry’s Exploitation of Women
by Janet Morana (Saint Benedict Press, $22.37, 211 pages)

A new book, by a co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, argues that abortion is a terrible product which should have been recalled long ago. “Abortion is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated against women, and those who profit from abortion are the snake oil salesmen of our time,” writes Janet Morana in Recall Abortion: Ending the Abortion Industry’s Exploitation of Women. Her premise is that abortion should be subject to the same standards as other procedures and products that were taken off the market after they caused much less injury and death than abortion.

 Examples include recalls of contaminated food, the 1978 Ford Pinto, and the Dalkon Shield (an IUD). Procedures such as female circumcision, partial birth abortion (in the U.S.), and lobotomies have also been banned. There are now campaigns to stop declawing cats. “Our priorities are askew,” writes Morano. “We think more highly of our pets than we do of our own children in the womb.”

Morano lists and explains the evidence that abortion does not live up to its promises and that it does indeed cause more harm for the unborn babies, the mothers, the families, and society. She debunks the myth that abortion is “safe, legal, and rare” or that abortion results in the feminist pro-abortion motto that “every child is a wanted child.”

 In fact, abortion leads to a “contraceptive mentality” that commodifies new life.

There is also an examination of whether the intended and real effects of abortion and contraception are liberating for women, a discussion of the harmful effects of abortion in cases of rape and incest, fetal abnormalities, the physical and psychological harms of abortion, and the history and consequences of the birth control pill.

In the concluding chapter, the evidence against abortion is related back to the idea of issuing a government recall. It is a call to action to “recall the product which, with false and empty promises, has not only failed to deliver its stated benefits, but has left a path of devastation, the extent of which has only partly been told.” It is also a question of recalling or reminding society of the dignity of human life.

Morana also provides a list of ways to recall abortion, which includes signing a petition, sharing abortion testimonies, and helping post-abortive women find healing. The most interesting suggestion is changing the reaction and language towards pregnancy and motherhood by, for instance, buying Mother’s and Father’s Day cards for expecting parents and replacing the expression “crisis pregnancy” with a more positive one.

Morana, the co-founder of Silent No More and the executive director of Priests for Life, was, as she recounts in the book, a lapsed Catholic. She used the birth control pill while married and eventually stopped once she learned about the health risks. After a pregnancy scare, she got a tubal ligation. Morana finally found her way back to the Catholic Church with the help of her mother and Fr. Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life. She learned more about the birth control pill and felt serious guilt over the possibility that she may have had several abortions by taking it. Her pro-life work inspired her to help establish Silent No More to help women who have experienced abortion find a voice.

Morana’s background contributes to the information she includes in the book. There are many testimonies from the women of Silent No More, which expose the poor conditions in abortion facilities, physical and psychological effects of abortion, and pressure and even coercion to have the procedure. These testimonies put a personal face on the information in the book, making it easy and interesting to read. Apart from that, Morana marshals interviews and statements from numerous medical experts, pro-life activists, and even some former abortion providers.

Morana takes a Catholic approach to some issues, citing Catholic objections and approved alternatives to IVF and birth control such as NaPro Technology and Natural Family Planning. These help buttress Morana’s argument that IVF and birth control directly and indirectly lead to an abortion mentality that commodifies children.

The book also provides insight into the history and workings of the abortion lobby, dealing with the early history of Planned Parenthood, clinical trials for the first birth control pill in the U.S., the back alley abortion myth, and how legal contraception led to legal abortion.

This wide selection of evidence and abortion-related topics is linked together to make a case for recalling abortion, and doing so in an easy and engaging read for pro-life newcomers and veterans alike. In the end, it not only makes a compelling case against all abortion, but also implicates contraception and IVF as contributors to the culture of death which must be overcome to create a life-affirming society.

 Pauline Kosalka is a writer for The Interim.