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The Facts Speak Louder than “The Silent Scream”

In the mid-1980s, leaders of the anti-abortion
movement produced a video called The Silent
Scream. The video, epitomizing the anti-abortion
agenda and strategy, tried to shift the focus of the
abortion debate away from compassion for the health
and needs of the woman to an exaggerated concern
for the fetus.

Although riddled with scientific, medical, and legal
inaccuracies as well as misleading statements and
exaggerations, The Silent Scream is still wildly
popular with anti-abortion zealots. And it continues to
be a key tool in their propaganda efforts.

Originally designed to frighten American women away
from choosing abortion, the video is now shown
worldwide to troubled women who turn to so-called
“crisis pregnancy centers” for assistance with their
problem pregnancies. Clips from the film even run
continuously on the World Wide Web.

As soon as it was released, Planned Parenthood
®
recognized that The Silent Scream would be used to
propagate harmful myths that could endanger
women’s health and the constitutional right to choose
abortion and jeopardize the lives and careers of
abortion providers. To expose these distortions and
deceits, Planned Parenthood convened a panel of
medical experts to review and critique the video.
Panel members were:



Sally Faith Dorfman, MD
Assistant Professor, Albert Einstein College of
Medicine,
Assistant Clinical Professor, Mount Sinai

Hart Peterson, MD
Chief of Pediatric Neurology, New York Hospital,
Clinical Professor of Neurology in Pediatrics, Cornell
University Medical Center

William Rashbaum, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor, Albert Einstein College
of Medicine

Seymour L. Romney, MD
Professor, Ob/Gyn, Director, Gynecological Cancer
Research, and former Chairman, Department of
Obstetrics and Gynecology, Albert Einstein College of
Medicine

Allan Rosenfield, MD
Professor, Ob/Gyn and Public Health, Acting
Chairman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Center for Population and Family Health,
College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia
University

Herbert G. Vaughan, Jr. MD
Professor of Neuroscience, Neurology and
Pediatrics, Director, Rose F. Kennedy Center for
Research in Mental Retardation and Human
Development, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
WHI1L PAPLR
Published by the Katharine Dexter McCormick Library
Planned Parenthood lederation oí America
434 \est 33
rd
Street, New \ork, N\ 10001
212-261-4¯¯9
www.plannedparenthood.org


Current as oí March 2002
2

Ming-Neng Yeh, MD
Associate Clinical Professor, Dept. of Ob/Gyn
Ultrasound Laboratory, Columbia Presbyterian
Medical Center.

Here is their critique, The Facts Speak Louder, as it
was first published in 1985:


The Facts Speak Louder
The Planned Parenthood Critique of The Silent
Scream


Introduction

Those who seek to restrict or eliminate access to
safe, legal abortion in this country have launched
another attack in their desperate attempt to win the
hearts and minds of the American public. This
approach consists of a “documentary" film titled The
Silent Scream, which allegedly portrays the
performance of an abortion done under
ultrasonography.

The film represents an attempt to shift the focus in
the abortion debate to the fetus and away from any
concern or compassion for women in need of
abortion services. It is an attempt to deny the
desperation that once forced American women into
the life-threatening, humiliating experiences of the
unsafe and often lethal abortions.

The Silent Scream, which was hailed by President
Reagan, sent to every member of Congress, shown
in part or in total on television news and other
programs across the country, and whose text was
read into the Congressional Record, has been
treated as factual, when the opposite is true.

From its title, to the description of a fetus as a
“person,” through the descriptive narration provided
by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the documentary aspects
of this film are flawed and biased. The film is riddled
with scientific, medical, and legal inaccuracies,
misleading statements, and exaggerations. And
through innuendo, the film attempts to denigrate the
efforts of Planned Parenthood and other reproductive
health and rights organizations to provide safe, legal,
inexpensive reproductive health care services,
including abortion, for women who want and need
these services.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in an
effort to increase public awareness about the film’s
flaws and biases, convened a panel of internationally
known and respected physicians who are expert in
various disciplines to review and critique The Silent
Scream. The panel’s finding are incorporated in this
booklet.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America is
committed to assuring that all individuals have
the freedom to make their own decisions about
whether or when to have a child. To help
individuals make and implement those decisions,
Planned Parenthood is committed to expanding
access to all of the information and services
needed to prevent unintended pregnancies.
Likewise, for all women who are faced with
unwanted pregnancies, Planned Parenthood is
committed to preserving the constitutionally
protected right to obtain medically safe, legal
abortions.


Medical Inaccuracies in The Silent Scream

• CLAIM: The 12-week fetus experiences
pain.

• FACTS: At this stage of the pregnancy, the
brain and nervous system are still in a very
early stage of development. The beginnings
of the brain stem, which includes a
rudimentary thalamus and spinal cord, is
being formed. Most brain cells are not
developed. Without a cerebral cortex
(gray matter covering the brain), pain
impulses cannot be received or
perceived. Additionally, experts find that
newborns at 26-27 weeks’ gestation (24-25
weeks’ fetal age) who survive have
significantly less response to pain than do full
term newborns.


The American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists
Statement on Pain of the Fetus

We know of no legitimate scientific information that
supports the statement that a fetus experiences pain
early in pregnancy.

We do know that the cerebellum attains its final
configuration in the seventh month and that
mylenization (or covering) of the spinal cord and the
brain begins between the 20
th
and 40
th
weeks of
pregnancy. These, as well as other neurological
3
developments, would have to be in place for the fetus
to receive pain.

To feel pain, a fetus needs neurotransmitted
hormones. In animals, these complex chemicals
develop in the last third of gestation. We know of no
evidence that humans are different.

• CLAIM: The 12-week fetus makes
purposeful movements (e.g., agitated
movement in an attempt to avoid suction
cannula).

• FACTS: At this stage of pregnancy, all
fetal movement is reflexive in nature
rather than purposeful, since the latter
requires cognition, which is the ability to
perceive and know. For cognition to occur,
the cortex (gray matter covering the brain)
must be present, as well as myelinization
(covering sheath) of the spinal cord and
attached nerves, which is not the case.

An example of the reflex withdrawal without
pain occurs in an anencephalic (absent
brain) newborn. Another known example of
the reflex movement at this stage of human
pregnancy is thumb sucking in utero.

What is termed “frantic activity” by the fetus
is a reflex response of the fetus resulting
from movement of the uterus and its
contents induced by operator manipulation of
the suction curette or the ultrasound
transducer on the abdomen. This same type
of response would likely occur with any
external stimulus. A one-cell organism such
as an amoeba will reflexively move or display
a withdrawal reaction when touched.

In addition, experts in ultrasonography and
film technology have concluded that the
videotape of the abortion was deliberately
slowed down and subsequently speeded up
to create an impression of hyperactivity.


• CLAIM: Ultrasonogram depicts the open
mouth of the fetus.

• FACTS: The mouth of the fetus cannot be
identified in the ultrasound image with
certainty. The statement that the screen
identifies the open mouth of the fetus is a
subjective and misleading interpretation by
Dr. Nathanson. His conclusion is not
supportable.

• CLAIM: The fetus emits “the silent scream.”

• FACTS: A scream cannot occur without
air in the lungs. Although primitive
respiratory movements do occur in the later
stages of gestation, crying or screaming
cannot occur even then. In fact, a child born
prematurely at 26-27 weeks’ gestation (24-25
weeks’ fetal age) cannot scream but
occasionally emits weak cries.


• CLAIM: A fetus is indistinguishable from any
of the rest of us.

• FACTS: A fetus of 12 weeks cannot in any
way be compared to a fully formed
functioning person. At this stage only
rudiments of the organ systems are present.
The fetus is unable to sustain life outside the
woman’s womb, it is incapable of conscious
thought; it is incapable of essential breathing.
It is instead an in utero fetus with the
potential of becoming a child.


• CLAIM: Fetal head at 12 weeks requires the
use of “crushing instruments” for extraction.

• FACTS: At 12 weeks’ gestation (10 weeks’
fetal age) and even 1-2 weeks beyond,
instrumentation other than a suction
cannula is not required when abortion is
properly performed. Cannulas for
aspiration abortion come in varying sizes,
and the larger sizes are adequate for
withdrawing the contents of the uterus.


Misleading Statements, Exaggerations, and
Innuendoes in The Silent Scream

• CLAIM: “Brain waves have existed for six
weeks” in the fetus displayed on the screen.

• EXPERT OPINION: Although some
electrical impulses have been recorded as
early as 10 weeks’ gestation, these cannot
be interpreted as or compared with brain
waves. Genuine brain waves do not occur
until the third trimester.

4

• CLAIM: Fetal heart rate rose from 140 to
200, which is abnormally high and reflective
of fetal response to “imminent mortal
danger.”

• EXPERT OPINION: The heart rate of the
fetus portrayed in the film does not change
significantly at any time. Nevertheless, a
fetal heart rate of 200 is within the normal
range (normal 180-200 beats per minute)
for this stage of pregnancy. It is also
unlikely that the fetus had a heart rate of 140
that rose to 200. A rate of 140 is generally
noted in the latter half of pregnancy.


• CLAIM: The large, well-developed fetal
model intermittently picked up and displayed
during the narrative of the abortion procedure
is representative of a 12-week fetus.

• EXPERT OPINION: The fetal model
displayed during the abortion procedure is
much larger than a fetus of a 12 weeks’
gestation model visualized by
ultrasonography. The model compared in
size to a fetus of 18 weeks’ gestation (about
14cm or 5½” in crown-rump length [CRL]) as
opposed to a fetus of 12 weeks gestation
(about 6cm or 2½” in CRL). Such an
inaccurate comparison is invalid.


• CLAIM: Many women who have an abortion
suffer severe and lasting psychological
damage.

• EXPERT OPINION: Serious emotional
problems following abortion are
uncommon. Most women report a sense of
relief, although some may experience
temporary depression. Serious
psychological disturbances after abortion
occur less frequently than after childbirth.


• CLAIM: There were 100, 000 illegal
abortions annually in the US in 1963.

• EXPERT OPINION: 100,000 illegal
abortions is considered by experts to be
an underestimation. Although there are no
accurate data on the number of illegal
abortions prior to its legal performance, Dr.
Christopher Tietze, a demographer who was
known worldwide for the scientific quality of
his work, estimated that in 1963, the
numbers ranged between 200,000 and
1,200,000. It is generally believed that the
figure was closer to the higher level, and has
risen little since abortion was legalized
(currently about 1,500,000). In 1963, only
those botched abortions having serious
complications requiring hospitalization could
be counted. Without a legal requirement for
reporting, there are no accurate estimations
as to what percentage of the degrading,
dangerous, illegal abortions was successful
without such complications.


• CLAIM: The crime syndicate is heavily
involved in the abortion industry today.

• EXPERT OPINION: There is nothing to
prove or even suggest that the crime
syndicate is currently involved in the
provision of abortion services. However, it is
a well-known fact that organized crime was
heavily involved with illegal abortion. The
high cost of illegal abortion made it lucrative
for underworld elements. In the 1960s,
illegal abortions cost from $750 to several
thousand dollars. Considering inflation rates
over the past 20 years, the cost of illegal
abortions now would be more than triple that
of the 1960s. Today [1985] the average cost
for a first-trimester abortion is $200.


• CLAIM: Quoting from Williams’ Obstetrics,
the fetus is amenable to intrauterine therapy
and is to be considered as a second patient.

• EXPERT OPINION: The statement in
Williams Obstetrics text is true and intended
to stimulate further interest and research in
fetal and maternal relationships so as to
improve the health of the mother and the
autonomous newborn. However, in the film
presentation, Dr. Nathanson focuses only
on the fetus, totally ignoring the pregnant
woman, who is the first patient and the
thrust of the text. He misconstrues Williams’
statement and implies that Williams
considers the fetus the primary patient—an
unacceptable premise under any
circumstances.



5
Questions And Other Problems

• QUESTION: Does a first-trimester abortion
take so long to perform? It seemed to go on
for a very extended period of time.

• ANSWER: No, an uncomplicated first-
trimester abortion usually takes less than
ten minutes to perform.


• QUESTION: Is it appropriate to refer to a
fetus as unborn child, with the same right as
other human beings?

• ANSWER: No. Constitutionally, a fetus
has no rights of personhood. Most legal
precedent in English law attributes
personhood to the live born.


• QUESTION: The film generates sympathy
for the fetus. What about the woman who
needs an abortion? She is conspicuously
absent from the film.

• ANSWER: The film ignores the plight of
the woman seeking abortion and instead
tries to shift the focus to the fetus. It is
essential that this defect of the film be placed
in correct perspective by reminding people
of the horrors to which women were
subjected when abortion was illegal, the
fact that current contraceptive methods
fail, as well as the critical situations that
can occur in a women’s life which lead
her to seek and obtain an abortion.

• It must be remembered that the US Supreme
Court did not invent abortion when it
legalized the procedure with its 1973 Roe v.
Wade decision. Illegal, unsafe abortion
existed for hundreds and probably thousands
of years, and it still exists in some societies.
Legislation to prohibit abortion will not work.
Even if illegal, as in the pre-1973 era, women
of means would continue to have access to
abortion, whereas those who could not pay
the price of safe abortion would be forced
into the degrading, back-alley tragedies of
the past.


• QUESTION: If Dr. Nathanson is so anti-
abortion, how could he participate in the
filming of an actual abortion procedure?

• ANSWER: By involving himself in the
performance of an abortion, which he states
in the film is, in his opinion, the murder of an
unborn person, and by misrepresenting the
medical facts that are widely known,
Nathanson fits the category of a zealot.
Zealots will stop at nothing in their attempts
to win their cause. Such zeal encourages
the kind of fanaticism that exists among
those who [bomb and vandalize abortion
clinics.]


• QUESTION: What about the dead fetuses in
disposal containers that are flashed n the
screen? Are they all products of late
abortion?

• ANSWER: Most of these fetuses are so
large and in such a state of deterioration that
they are actually stillborns (fetuses
spontaneously born dead) rather than
aborted fetuses. It is possible that some of
the smaller fetuses resulted from late saline
abortion. Late abortions (after 22 weeks’
gestation) constitute less than 1 percent of all
abortions. Many late abortions are
performed as a result of fetal abnormalities
that can only be diagnosed later in pregnancy
or other extreme hardship cases.


• QUESTION: What is our response to Dr.
Nathanson’s statement that Planned
Parenthood does not obtain informed
consent for abortion, and should show the
film to all women requesting termination of
pregnancy?

• ANSWER: Planned Parenthood takes
great care to advise and counsel women
and their partners of the various options
for managing an unwanted pregnancy.
These include continuing the pregnancy with
the options of keeping the child or giving it up
for adoption, or having an abortion. Those
who elect abortion are advised, as with other
surgical procedures, of the risks and benefits
that may be associated with the procedure.
They are given a written fact sheet detailing
the potential complications that can occur
with abortion. As part of an individual
6
counseling session, all questions are
answered and an informed request form for
the procedure is signed. For those who wish
further information about the fetus and its
developmental stages, this information is
provided. To require that women receive
such information or view the film when they
do not wish it is punitive. The Supreme
Court has declared that such requirements
go beyond the bounds of information
required for informed consent and have
struck down restrictive ordinances that would
impose such requirements.





Cited References
Dorfman, Sally Faith, et al. (1985). The Facts Speak Louder:
Planned Parenthood’s Critique of “The Silent Scream.”
New York: Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.
The Silent Scream. Produced by Donald S. Smith. 28 min.
American Portrait Films, 1984. Digital Video Disk.




© 1985 Planned Parenthood
®
Federation of America, Inc. All rights reserved. Planned Parenthood
®
, PPFA
®
, and its
logo of “nested Ps” are registered service marks of PPFA.





Media Contacts — New York: 212-261-4650 / Washington, D.C.: 202-973-4882
Public Policy Contact — Washington, D.C.: 202-973-4848

' flaws and biases. It is an attempt to deny the desperation that once forced American women into the life-threatening. including abortion. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Statement on Pain of the Fetus We know of no legitimate scientific information that supports the statement that a fetus experiences pain early in pregnancy. Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.” through the descriptive narration provided by Dr. From its title. of Ob/Gyn Ultrasound Laboratory. the brain and nervous system are still in a very early stage of development. in an effort to increase public awareness about the film’s . and legal inaccuracies. medical. pain impulses cannot be received or perceived. Planned Parenthood Federation of America is committed to assuring that all individuals have the freedom to make their own decisions about whether or when to have a child. Most brain cells are not developed. the film attempts to denigrate the efforts of Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health and rights organizations to provide safe. which allegedly portrays the performance of an abortion done under ultrasonography. the documentary aspects of this film are flawed and biased. legal. These. experts find that newborns at 26-27 weeks’ gestation (24-25 weeks’ fetal age) who survive have significantly less response to pain than do full term newborns. Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Bernard Nathanson. The panel’s finding are incorporated in this booklet. FACTS: At this stage of the pregnancy. to the description of a fetus as a “person. Here is their critique. legal abortion in this country have launched another attack in their desperate attempt to win the hearts and minds of the American public. The film is riddled with scientific. Without a cerebral cortex (gray matter covering the brain). convened a panel of internationally known and respected physicians who are expert in various disciplines to review and critique The Silent Scream. shown in part or in total on television news and other programs across the country. We do know that the cerebellum attains its final configuration in the seventh month and that mylenization (or covering) of the spinal cord and the th th brain begins between the 20 and 40 weeks of pregnancy. for women who want and need these services. Planned Parenthood is committed to expanding access to all of the information and services needed to prevent unintended pregnancies. inexpensive reproductive health care services. And through innuendo. as it was first published in 1985: T h e F acts Sp eak L o u d er The Planned Parenthood Critique of The Silent Scream Introduction Those who seek to restrict or eliminate access to safe. and whose text was read into the Congressional Record. and exaggerations. Medical Inaccuracies in The Silent Scream • • CLAIM: The 12-week fetus experiences pain. sent to every member of Congress. To help individuals make and implement those decisions. The beginnings of the brain stem. has been treated as factual. This approach consists of a “documentary" film titled The Silent Scream. for all women who are faced with unwanted pregnancies. misleading statements. The Silent Scream. The Facts Speak Louder. humiliating experiences of the unsafe and often lethal abortions. Additionally. when the opposite is true. legal abortions. Dept. The film represents an attempt to shift the focus in the abortion debate to the fetus and away from any concern or compassion for women in need of abortion services. which was hailed by President Reagan. MD Associate Clinical Professor. as well as other neurological Ming-Neng Yeh. which includes a rudimentary thalamus and spinal cord. Likewise. is being formed. Planned Parenthood is committed to preserving the constitutionally protected right to obtain medically safe.

as well as myelinization (covering sheath) of the spinal cord and attached nerves. CLAIM: A fetus is indistinguishable from any of the rest of us. all fetal movement is reflexive in nature rather than purposeful. A one-cell organism such as an amoeba will reflexively move or display a withdrawal reaction when touched.g. In addition.developments. It is instead an in utero fetus with the potential of becoming a child. agitated movement in an attempt to avoid suction cannula). The statement that the screen identifies the open mouth of the fetus is a subjective and misleading interpretation by • • • • Dr. and the larger sizes are adequate for withdrawing the contents of the uterus. a child born prematurely at 26-27 weeks’ gestation (24-25 weeks’ fetal age) cannot scream but occasionally emits weak cries. which is the ability to perceive and know. Genuine brain waves do not occur until the third trimester. The fetus is unable to sustain life outside the woman’s womb. Exaggerations. FACTS: The mouth of the fetus cannot be identified in the ultrasound image with certainty. In animals. FACTS: A fetus of 12 weeks cannot in any way be compared to a fully formed functioning person. . Although primitive respiratory movements do occur in the later stages of gestation. We know of no evidence that humans are different. An example of the reflex withdrawal without pain occurs in an anencephalic (absent brain) newborn. His conclusion is not supportable.” FACTS: A scream cannot occur without air in the lungs. • • • Misleading Statements. since the latter requires cognition.. What is termed “frantic activity” by the fetus is a reflex response of the fetus resulting from movement of the uterus and its contents induced by operator manipulation of the suction curette or the ultrasound transducer on the abdomen. instrumentation other than a suction cannula is not required when abortion is properly performed. CLAIM: Fetal head at 12 weeks requires the use of “crushing instruments” for extraction. Nathanson. • CLAIM: The 12-week fetus makes purposeful movements (e. experts in ultrasonography and film technology have concluded that the videotape of the abortion was deliberately slowed down and subsequently speeded up to create an impression of hyperactivity. FACTS: At this stage of pregnancy. To feel pain. Another known example of the reflex movement at this stage of human pregnancy is thumb sucking in utero. For cognition to occur. crying or screaming cannot occur even then. At this stage only rudiments of the organ systems are present. these cannot be interpreted as or compared with brain waves. would have to be in place for the fetus to receive pain. which is not the case. EXPERT OPINION: Although some electrical impulses have been recorded as early as 10 weeks’ gestation. FACTS: At 12 weeks’ gestation (10 weeks’ fetal age) and even 1-2 weeks beyond. CLAIM: The fetus emits “the silent scream. This same type of response would likely occur with any external stimulus. it is incapable of essential breathing. Cannulas for aspiration abortion come in varying sizes. the cortex (gray matter covering the brain) must be present. these complex chemicals develop in the last third of gestation. and Innuendoes in The Silent Scream • • CLAIM: “Brain waves have existed for six weeks” in the fetus displayed on the screen. it is incapable of conscious thought. • • CLAIM: Ultrasonogram depicts the open mouth of the fetus. a fetus needs neurotransmitted hormones. In fact.

EXPERT OPINION: The fetal model displayed during the abortion procedure is much larger than a fetus of a 12 weeks’ gestation model visualized by ultrasonography.000 and 1.200. a fetal heart rate of 200 is within the normal range (normal 180-200 beats per minute) for this stage of pregnancy. well-developed fetal model intermittently picked up and displayed during the narrative of the abortion procedure is representative of a 12-week fetus. only those botched abortions having serious complications requiring hospitalization could be counted. • • • • • • • • . Such an inaccurate comparison is invalid. It is also unlikely that the fetus had a heart rate of 140 that rose to 200. although some may experience temporary depression. EXPERT OPINION: 100. CLAIM: Quoting from Williams’ Obstetrics. CLAIM: There were 100. Without a legal requirement for reporting. EXPERT OPINION: Serious emotional problems following abortion are uncommon. CLAIM: Many women who have an abortion suffer severe and lasting psychological damage. who is the first patient and the thrust of the text. Dr. Nevertheless. The model compared in size to a fetus of 18 weeks’ gestation (about 14cm or 5½” in crown-rump length [CRL]) as opposed to a fetus of 12 weeks gestation (about 6cm or 2½” in CRL). In the 1960s. the numbers ranged between 200. there are no accurate estimations as to what percentage of the degrading. illegal abortions cost from $750 to several thousand dollars. illegal abortions was successful without such complications. Serious psychological disturbances after abortion occur less frequently than after childbirth. It is generally believed that the figure was closer to the higher level. Most women report a sense of relief. Nathanson focuses only on the fetus.000).000. Today [1985] the average cost for a first-trimester abortion is $200. in the film presentation. However. CLAIM: The crime syndicate is heavily involved in the abortion industry today.• CLAIM: Fetal heart rate rose from 140 to 200. the fetus is amenable to intrauterine therapy and is to be considered as a second patient. estimated that in 1963. and has risen little since abortion was legalized (currently about 1. EXPERT OPINION: The statement in Williams Obstetrics text is true and intended to stimulate further interest and research in fetal and maternal relationships so as to improve the health of the mother and the autonomous newborn. Dr.000 illegal abortions is considered by experts to be an underestimation. However. 000 illegal abortions annually in the US in 1963.500. • CLAIM: The large. Although there are no accurate data on the number of illegal abortions prior to its legal performance. A rate of 140 is generally noted in the latter half of pregnancy. the cost of illegal abortions now would be more than triple that of the 1960s. EXPERT OPINION: There is nothing to prove or even suggest that the crime syndicate is currently involved in the provision of abortion services. He misconstrues Williams’ statement and implies that Williams considers the fetus the primary patient—an unacceptable premise under any circumstances. dangerous. it is a well-known fact that organized crime was heavily involved with illegal abortion. In 1963. Christopher Tietze. The high cost of illegal abortion made it lucrative for underworld elements. totally ignoring the pregnant woman. a demographer who was • • known worldwide for the scientific quality of his work. Considering inflation rates over the past 20 years.” EXPERT OPINION: The heart rate of the fetus portrayed in the film does not change significantly at any time. which is abnormally high and reflective of fetal response to “imminent mortal danger.

QUESTION: What is our response to Dr. Even if illegal. how could he participate in the filming of an actual abortion procedure? ANSWER: By involving himself in the performance of an abortion. women of means would continue to have access to abortion. Constitutionally. the murder of an unborn person. QUESTION: The film generates sympathy for the fetus. It is possible that some of the smaller fetuses resulted from late saline abortion. Legislation to prohibit abortion will not work. of the risks and benefits that may be associated with the procedure. It must be remembered that the US Supreme Court did not invent abortion when it legalized the procedure with its 1973 Roe v./ Questions And Other Problems • QUESTION: Does a first-trimester abortion take so long to perform? It seemed to go on for a very extended period of time. as in the pre-1973 era. and it still exists in some societies. back-alley tragedies of the past. • QUESTION: If Dr. These include continuing the pregnancy with the options of keeping the child or giving it up for adoption. What about the woman who needs an abortion? She is conspicuously absent from the film. Wade decision. Nathanson is so antiabortion. whereas those who could not pay the price of safe abortion would be forced into the degrading. or having an abortion.] QUESTION: What about the dead fetuses in disposal containers that are flashed n the screen? Are they all products of late abortion? ANSWER: Most of these fetuses are so large and in such a state of deterioration that they are actually stillborns (fetuses spontaneously born dead) rather than aborted fetuses. and should show the film to all women requesting termination of pregnancy? ANSWER: Planned Parenthood takes great care to advise and counsel women and their partners of the various options for managing an unwanted pregnancy. and by misrepresenting the medical facts that are widely known. an uncomplicated firsttrimester abortion usually takes less than ten minutes to perform. Zealots will stop at nothing in their attempts to win their cause. as with other surgical procedures. unsafe abortion existed for hundreds and probably thousands of years. the fact that current contraceptive methods fail. Those who elect abortion are advised. ANSWER: No. which he states in the film is. Nathanson fits the category of a zealot. with the same right as other human beings? ANSWER: No. in his opinion. They are given a written fact sheet detailing the potential complications that can occur with abortion. a fetus has no rights of personhood. Such zeal encourages the kind of fanaticism that exists among those who [bomb and vandalize abortion clinics. Most legal precedent in English law attributes personhood to the live born. Many late abortions are performed as a result of fetal abnormalities that can only be diagnosed later in pregnancy or other extreme hardship cases. Nathanson’s statement that Planned Parenthood does not obtain informed consent for abortion. QUESTION: Is it appropriate to refer to a fetus as unborn child. ANSWER: The film ignores the plight of the woman seeking abortion and instead tries to shift the focus to the fetus. Late abortions (after 22 weeks’ gestation) constitute less than 1 percent of all abortions. As part of an individual • • • • • • • • • • • . as well as the critical situations that can occur in a women’s life which lead her to seek and obtain an abortion. Illegal. It is essential that this defect of the film be placed in correct perspective by reminding people of the horrors to which women were subjected when abortion was illegal.

© 1985 Planned Parenthood Federation of America. D. Inc. For those who wish further information about the fetus and its developmental stages. Planned Parenthood .” New York: Planned Parenthood Federation of America. D. Inc. Sally Faith.C. this information is provided.: 202-973-4882 Public Policy Contact — Washington. American Portrait Films. 28 min. et al.C. To require that women receive such information or view the film when they do not wish it is punitive.) counseling session.: 202-973-4848 . The Silent Scream. ® ® ® Media Contacts — New York: 212-261-4650 / Washington. All rights reserved. 1984. Cited References Dorfman. all questions are answered and an informed request form for the procedure is signed. Produced by Donald S. PPFA . Smith. and its logo of “nested Ps” are registered service marks of PPFA. (1985). The Facts Speak Louder: Planned Parenthood’s Critique of “The Silent Scream. The Supreme Court has declared that such requirements go beyond the bounds of information required for informed consent and have struck down restrictive ordinances that would impose such requirements. Digital Video Disk.