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Senator Bays. What really bothers me, I mean, to talk about the percentage of cases involving this kind of pregnancy, that that could be taken care of with remedial legislation, remedial action, that doesn't avoid the fact that in our country constitutional protections, and certainly the impact of constitutional amendments, the guarantees are one of the distinctions between our country and the others is that we demand they apply to all.
Mr. LOUISELL. Of course.
Senator Bays. There are a few people that are going to be offended, but that's one of the distinctions between our system.
Mr. LOUISELL. What I don't mean at all to deny is the very principle I ultimately stand upon, the very thing you are saying, Mr. Chairman, the essential equality of all human beings. The essential moral equality of every one who ever came as a result of human conception.
Senator Bayh. Professor, I don't want to cut short our dialog, but I feel Senator Scott has something that he would like to enter into here, and we do have a vote going on right now. So, when the next bells ring, we are going to have to terminate our session.
Senator Scott. Mr. Chairman, I commend the distinguished witness for his observations, for his testimony, and express agreement with his thoughts on the Supreme Court legislating, or invading the legislative field. Frankly, I don't see how we can have a republican form of government when we have nonelected people, people appointed for life, writing legislation. There is no question in my mind that that is what the Supreme Court did do.
And if we believe that we have a society in which the ultimate will resides in the people of the country collectively, we can't have appointed officials legislating.
And, Mr. Chairman, I do make a point of order, that the Senate is in session, conducting legislative business; and that it is contrary to the rules of the Senate for us to continue in session.
Senator Bayh. Yes. Specifically the Chair recognizes the point of order from the Senator from Virginia to recess our hearings.
Mr. LOUISELL. Maybe that's the purpose for this
Mr. LOUISELL (continuing). That you pay the closest attention to an analysis of statistics. These statements made about the number of illegal abortions, and so forth.
I thank you for your careful attention, and there will be drawn to your attention some of the warnings that I wanted to go into about the errors, and a recent study of 2 million abortions.
Senator Bays. We will certainly be glad to look into those. We are grappling for the facts, not what some people perceive to be the facts.
Thank you very much.
Senator Bayh. We will recess, pending the call of the Chair, or u final decision that this will be the last hearing.
(Whereupon, at 12:20 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.]
TESTIMONY GIVEN BEFORE
THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
Thomas W. Hilgers, M.D.
Assistant Professor Department of Gynecology & Obstetrics Saint Louis University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
May 21, 1975
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: I wish to thank J. Wendell Davis, M.S., Ph.D., Biostatisician
and Associate Professor of Biochemistry, St. Louis University School of Medicine for his assistance in the computation of Regression Coefficients and F Values used in this Testimony. Also, Mrs. Virginia Bohley, for her secretarial assistance in preparing the manuscript.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, my name is Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers. I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School and did my specialty training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Mayo Clinic and the Medical College of Ohio. Presently I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America. I am privileged to have been invited by the National Right-to-Life Association of Australia and to have been accepted by the members of this Comission to testify before you regarding the question of human abortion. I have been actively involved in this debate for a number of years and have researched and written extensively on this subject.
I intend to share with you today the knowledge I have gained through the research I have conducted on the medical, social and legal implications of human abortion.
I ill make it clear from the outset, and this will be further expanded in my testimony, that there are two human beings who are basically involved when the question of human abortion arises. There is a woman who is pregnant and a child which she carries. Certainly the complexities that surround the question involve many other personalities; husbands, fathers, boyfriends, parents, siblings, friends, social agencies, spiritual advisors, and medical professionals to name just a few. However, it is the woman and her child who are most profoundly involved in the implementation of abortion. I see abortion as a simplistic solution to a complex problem. A solution that does violence not only to the unborn child, but to its mother as well. A solution which is not the best we have to offer women who are pregnant and distressed.
In my testimony today I will review for you the following:
I. Abortion in the United States and around the world.
II. The humanity and behavior of the unborn child.
III. The medical hazards of legally induced abortion.
IV. The problem of criminal or illegal abortion.
V. The effect of legal abortion on infant mortality.
VI. Positive action programs for the distressfully pregnant
VII. Summary and conclusions.
ABORTION IN THE UNITED STATES AND AROUND THE WORLD
In 1959, a respected group of jurors in the United States, The American Law Institute, developed what they called the Model Penal Code. This code was an attempt to provide guidelines for reform of the criminal code. In Section 230.3 of this Code, The American Law Institute stated that a physician should be able to abort an unborn child if he felt there was a "substantial risk that continuation of the pregnancy would gravely impair the physical or mental health of the mother or that the child would be born with grave physical or mental defects, or that the pregnancy resulted from rape, incest or other felonious intercourse (1)." This marked the beginning of pro-abortion activity in the United States whose aim was to change our laws regarding human abortion. Abortion had been legal in the United States only when the physical health of the mother was in danger.
Over the next several years various legislative bodies in our various states attempted to introduce legislation based upon the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code. In the years prior to 1967 these recommendations were considered and rejected by the legislatures of Illinois, Minnesota, New York and New Hampshire (2). On April 25, 1967, the State of Colorado became the first state in the United States to enact an abortion law modeled after the American Law Institute's proposal. In the ensuing couple of years twelve more states adopted similar laws. However, in 1970, the states of Alaska, Hawaii, New York and Washington all enacted abortion laws which were far more relaxed than the American Law Institute proposal. At the time, these laws were the most permissive of any in the world allowing de facto abortion-on-demand.
From 1967 until 1970, great inroads were made in the legislatures of a number of our states to legalize human abortion. This was a reflection of a growing movement in our country to provide abortion-on-demand. At the same time that legislative consideration was being given to change in abortion laws, those who favored abortion worked very strongly through the courts to obtain abortion law change.
Beginning in 1970, the opposition to abortion had grown to such an extent in the United States that change in abortion laws through the legislative process was halted. In 1971, for example, when nearly all of our state assemblies were in session, no relaxation of the abortion laws were passed and, in fact, such legislation was defeated in all of the thirty-four states which considered it. Between the years 1970 and 1973, the pro-abortion movement in the United States had literally been stopped by the growing opposition. Since abortion law change had effectively been stymied in the legislatures there was a growing feeling among advocates of abortion that change would only come through the courts. Since the courts in the United States are not as susceptible to public opinion, the kind of public opinion that had prevented pro-abortion legislative successes between 1970 and 1973, those groups and individuals favoring legalized abortion increasingly shifted their efforts toward influencing the courts to declare