Mark Crutcher

Life Dynamics Inc.,

Denton, Texas 318 pages, $19.95 (US)

Reviewed by

Mike Mastromateo

Readers who get through the first chapters of Lime 5, Mark Crutcher’s provocative exposé of the abortion industry in the US. will be excused if they pause to catch a breath of fresh air.

The chapter accounts case after case of women being abused, injured, and even killed as a result of shoddy, careless work by abortionists. While it makes for some gruesome slogging, the chapter steels the reader for the stark realities that follow.

Lime 5 is a powerful, no-holds-barred critique of the abortion business in the U.S., particularly as it has evolved since 1973. The title refers to the distancing technique some clinics employ to depersonalize patients. Women coming in for an abortion are not referred to by their names, but by an impersonal code name, such as Lime 5.

This is a sorry tale of malpractice, corruption, fraud and misinformation posing as progress in the name of reproductive choice. It’s not enjoyable reading, but no book dealing with the business of abortion has much room for sweetness and light.

Clearly there is no pretence to objectivity in Lime 5. Crutcher is founder and president of Life Dynamics Incorporated, a Texas-based organization offering legal and financial support to women who have been physically or emotionally injured at the hands of abortionists. But while the author has a definite agenda to promote, he bases his attack entirely on public records, thorough research and solid investigation.

Lime 5’s central argument is that abortion supporters have sacrificed basic safety and health standards in their rush to keep the procedure legal and widely acceptable. This is especially true for the freestanding abortion clinics, which have mushroomed since the 1973 Row vs. Wade decision. These clinics have become the new backwater of American medicine, populated by shady operators who favour high-volume business over the wellbeing of their vulnerable, often frightened patients. Many of the worse case clinics were recommended by Planned Parenthood, or the National Abortion Federation.

In addition to the clinic nightmare, Lime 5 criticizes the federal and state governments for failing to maintain standards to provide accurate information on the risks associated with abortion. The highly regarded Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, for example, is shown to be dominated by pro-choice supporters. The author suggests that instead of providing proper statistics on the health risks of abortion in the U.S., the CDC is more concerned with “damage control” of the industry.

The US legal system is also a prime target of Lime 5. Crutcher says abortion-injured women have little chance of finding redress through the courts. “In the case of abortion, the last 20 years have proven at least two things,” Crutcher says. “While the pro-choice community urges women to make their voices heard loud and clear in support of the right to an abortion, it turns right around and tells women who are injured during one to just sit down and keep their mouths shut.”

Crutcher also takes the mainstream media to task for its failure to report on the true nature of the abortion industry. “Today, the decision makers in the American press are almost completely under the thumb of the abortion industry,” Crutcher writes, “and they simply refuse to tell the story. In fact, many don’t want anyone else telling it either.” A case in point, a number of prominent US newspapers including USA Today, refused to run advertisements for Lime 5.

There is one curious component to the author’s criticism of the mainstream media. While Crutcher attacks the press for its failure to report on the failings of the abortion industry, several of the abuses cited in Lime 5 are lifted from investigative work undertaken by US newspapers. To a point, the mainstream media has become the whipping boy for the pro-life movement. There is little doubt however, that the media is consistently more sympathetic to the pro-abortion point of view.

To his credit, Crutcher doesn’t sound the note of triumph in predicting a sudden end to abortion. He offers a number of recommendations to better protect women undergoing abortion or seeking redress if they are injured during the procedure.

The author notes that after more than 20 years of legal, readily available abortion in the U.S., the practice has yet to win the social acceptance its proponents so desperately crave. Crutcher believes the abortion industry is slowly decaying from its own abuses and from the high physical and emotional toll it exacts from injured patients and its own practitioners. This might be the only note of optimism in a story overflowing with abuse, corruption and broken lives.