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Saturday, April 30, 2011

That time of year again

If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know that I'm a law student. As exams approach, this blog becomes less "news of the day" and more "news of whenever I get around to it." Please excuse the sporadic timing of my posts over the next couple weeks. Our guest bloggers will continue to pipe in with updates.

And please, don't forget to continue sharing AbortionSafety.com. Thanks!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pro-life training event tomorrow in PA

Tomorrow, Students for Life of America is sponsoring a pro-life training event at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA. Representing SecularProLife.org will be Phil Eddy, speaking on activism/outreach technique. Phil has extensive knowledge of grassroots activism; in addition to his years of service with the pro-life movement, he is also active in groups that promote veganism and animal rights in the Philadelphia area. We can all learn a lot from him.

What: Transforming Your Campus for Life
Date: Saturday, April 30
Time: 9:00am-4:30pm
Where: Eastern University, St. Davids, PA
Food: FREE breakfast and lunch

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ron Paul on Abortion

Pro-life doctor and Congressman Ron Paul recently spoke out on prenatal rights. His strong pro-life stance is due in part to a shocking personal experience: while a resident ob/gyn, he witnessed a failed abortion, and watched as the tiny newborn struggled to breathe. The child, who received no medical attention, didn't stand a chance. (Jill Stanek, who was a nurse before becoming a famous pro-life blogger, has a similar testimony.)

I applaud Ron Paul for everything he has done for the right to life on a national level. Interestingly, however, he says that abortion should really be a state issue:
He also argues that he is against Roe v. Wade not because it legalized abortion per se but because it nationalized an issue that should be decided at the state level: "I consider it a state-level responsibility to restrain violence against any human being."
In a way, this makes perfect sense. After all, laws against post-natal murder are enacted at the state level. There is generally no need for federal laws banning murder, assualt, rape, and other forms of violent crime.

The key difference, of course, is that there is no ideology, adopted by nearly half of Americans, which holds that assualt is a constitutional right. Assault is guaranteed to be illegal in every state by popular demand; abortion is not.

When Roe v. Wade is overturned, pro-life advocates are prepared to go to work to protect preborn life state by state. In some states, this will be easy. But other states-- I'm thinking primarily of New York and California-- are pro-abortion strongholds. This could lead to an unacceptable divide of "life states" and "choice states," similar to the antebellum free state/slave state divide. History suggests that such variation in human rights from state to state will become untenable. There will be pressure for uniform federal protection of the right to life, perhaps in the form of a constitutional amendment.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Midweek News Roundup: 04/27/11

Domestic News: The Indiana legislature passes a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks in addition to cutting all state funding to Planned Parenthood. Governor Mitch Daniels (R) is expected to sign the legislation. The Florida House has passed a slew of new legislation regarding abortion. Here's an excerpt from the Associated Press on the legislation:
The Senate also began floor action on two of six abortion-related measures passed by the House and is set to vote on them Thursday. One is a constitutional amendment and the other a bill that would ban public and insurance exchange funding of abortions.

Other bills would require women to undergo ultrasounds before getting abortions and make it more difficult for minors to get court waivers from Florida's existing parental notice requirement.

Another would give funds raised from the state's "Choose Life" license plate to a private organization that promotes the tags nationwide.

Finally, there's a comprehensive abortion regulation bill that would expand the category of prohibited abortions beyond the third trimester to include cases in which the fetus is deemed viable by a doctor. Other provisions would require doctors who provide abortions to undergo ethics training and require that abortion clinics be owned by doctors.
Kansas' legislature passed legislation requiring new safety measures for abortion clinics. In addition to regular inspections, one unannounced inspection will be performed per year. Governor Sam Brownback (R) is expected to sign it.

International News: During the Canadian election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C) said that he will not push the issue of abortion if they gain a larger majority. Individual members may still propose legislation, but the Harper administration will not propose legislation regarding abortion. The President of the Philippines had to recently clarify his stance on abortion stating clearly, "I am against abortion." He opposes it, but has pushed family planning legislation that pro-life groups have been strongly opposed to - he said that, "In the range of options and information provided to couples, natural family planning and modern methods shall be presented as equally available...The State must respect each individual’s right to follow his or her conscience and religious convictions on matters and issues pertaining to the unity of the family and the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death.” I'm not sure what this means specifically, any Filipino readers who have insight, feel free to fill in the gaps.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Tale of Two Protests

In the town of Dixon, CA, pro-life teens were shocked to discover that Planned Parenthood-- which does not have a facility in the area-- had set up a booth at last Saturday's street fair. Coordinating through a local church youth group, they quickly organized a peaceful protest. Pro-lifers stood with their backs to the Planned Parenthood display, holding signs that educated the public about Planned Parenthood's abortion business. The results were dramatic:
The Planned Parenthood staff was not happy; they hastened to the police and accused us of harassment. Of course the police had no problems with our demonstration which had two immediate effects: 1) Since our signs simply said the word “abortion” and were next to a Planned Parenthood booth, traffic to the booth instantly stopped. There were no more visitors to their booth for the rest of the day. As soon as the booth was actually associated with their true purpose, people wanted nothing to do with them – their ruse as child-friendly community helpers was off. 2) The witness of the young people’s demonstration inspired the rest of the fair’s attendees.
The Planned Parenthood booth packed up early; the fair organizers apologized and said that Planned Parenthood would not be back.

This is an excellent example of protest done right. The pro-life youth of Dixon did not vandalize the Planned Parenthood display. They did not engage in attacks or insults. They simply presented the facts, in a calm, confident, peaceful manner.

Contrast that with the behavior of pro-abortion students at Clarion University last Wednesday. Clarion Students for Life, like many pro-life student organizations, traditionally puts together a "Cemetary of the Innocents" display each year. Such displays use cemetary symbols, such as crosses, flags, or flowers, to memorialize abortion victims. Clarion displayed 350 crosses, with a sign stating that each cross stood for ten aborted children, for a total of 3500: the number of babies aborted each day in the United States.

Pro-abortion students were not interested in having a peaceful counter-protest, or in attempting to persuade anyone of the correctness of their position. Instead, they vandalized the display by:
1) Splattering red paint on it
2) Turning the crosses upside down, a symbol of religious intolerance
3) Writing the word "pro-choice" in red paint
4) Using red paint to create "bloody footprints" of a baby

I can't make this stuff up.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Carhart under investigation

Late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart is under investigation for some key omissions in his application for a medical license in Maryland:
Carhart does not mention on his application that he worked for late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller for more than a decade doing late-term abortions on pregnant women near and after viability for the unborn child. Newman says that omission and the lack of any information about the abortions Carhart has done in other states, helps to conceal the truth about the nature of Carhart’s late-term abortion business.

“Looking at his Maryland medical license application, there is no mention of abortion anywhere,” Newman says. “One is led to believe that Carhart is an emergency room physician and university professor. There is no indication on that application that he is the most notorious late-term abortionist in the nation.”

“When the most notorious abortionist in the world tries to cover up what he does for a living, you know he has something to hide,” he added.

Operation Rescue has submitted to the Maryland Board of Physicians documentation on Carhart’s involvement in the death of a mentally disabled Texas girl, Christin Gilbert, who was 19 year-old at the time of her death from the abortion Carhart did at the abortion center Tiller ran in Wichita, Kansas before he was killed.
It is not clear whether or not the Maryland Board of Physicians would have granted Carhart his license if this information were known to them from the beginning. In any event, they were perturbed enough by the omissions to open an investigation. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Iowa Right to Life is concerned that Carhart may have plans to expand his business into Iowa. From a recent email:
We have been told by some that Mr. Carhart is not REALLY going to enter Iowa. It’s just a scare tactic we are using to pass a late-term abortion ban (House File 657.) Mr. Carhart’s website, www.abortionclinics.org suggests that these are not idle words. A visit to his website reveals this statement, “When abortion becomes the choice you have to make, we believe you deserve the very best.” Above that line there is a working tab marked “SW Iowa” and below that line, “South West Iowa – AVAILABLE SOON”.

Upon selection of the “SW Iowa” tab, the visitor is directed to a page that contains a link to “Abortion Fees.” For example, a surgical abortion at 4 weeks will cost $464 with a credit card; while an abortion at 24 weeks costs $3,090.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Taking the weekend off

I wish our Christian readers a happy Easter. And if you're a fellow student, good luck on the end of your semester! The blog will return on Monday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

News bulletin

~We've raised nearly $400 for AbortionSafety.com! Keep those donations coming!

~Pro-life atheist and conservative political commentator S. E. Cupp has an incredibly eloquent response to the pro-abortion Keith Olbermann, who insinuated that her parents should have killed her prenatally. His exact words were "On so many levels, she's a perfect demonstration of the necessity of the work Planned Parenthood does."

~Americans United for Life summarizes what's wrong with "Maria Talks," a sex ed website that shamefully glosses over the risks of abortion ("it's much easier than it sounds"), while noting that adoption is "pretty tough." Pro-life groups are demanding that the site, which is funded by the government of Massachusetts, be taken down. (For a pro-life alternative to Maria Talks, check out Grow Your Knowledge, a SecularProLife.org project!)

~Jezebel shares the fascinating story of Gaby Rodriguez, a high school senior who faked a pregnancy for nearly seven months in order to study social attitudes toward teen moms.
Before taking off her fake baby belly in front of the entire student body, Gaby told her audience, "Many things were said about me. Many things traveled all the way back to me."

Then, she asked several students and teachers to read statements from 3x5 cards, quotes people actually said about her during the course of her experiment.

Her best friend, Saida Cortes, a 17-year-old senior who was sitting in the front row, read card No. 3: "Her attitude is changing, and it might be because of the baby or she was always this annoying and I never realized it."

It grew quiet in the gym as more and more quotes were read aloud. Then Gaby dropped her bomb: "I'm fighting against those stereotypes and rumors because the reality is I'm not pregnant."
What Gaby did took incredible courage and dedication. Unfortunately, the full results of her research are not yet available. I look forward to learning more. Did her fellow students encourage her to "take care of it," lest she "ruin her life"? Or did she find a supportive community of life-affirming teens? What about the attitudes of her teachers? Was she subjected to "slut-shaming," or treated as just unlucky? Gaby will present her findings to a board of community members in May, so let's hope for a follow-up story.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Announcing AbortionSafety.com!

SecularProLife.org is pleased to announce our most ambitious project to date! We are on a mission to catalogue malpractice complaints against abortionists all across the country. Public records can provide a wealth of information about dangerous abortionists. But most women in crisis pregnancies simply do not have the time or resources to undertake that research for themselves. By gathering it all together and sharing it on an easy-to-use website-- AbortionSafety.com-- we can protect women's health and prevent abortions!

Kristan Hawkins from Students for Life of America believes that when AbortionSafety.com goes live in November, it will save thousands of lives. We need your help to get there! Click here to learn more about the project, and consider making a donation. Share this post with your friends, or write it up on your own blog.

In light of everything that's happened with Kermit Gosnell, James Pendergraft, and countless others, this project is serving an absolutely critical need. Please support us in whatever way you can. You can follow our progress on the Abortion Safety Project blog. On behalf of all the women and children who will be served by this effort, thank you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Planned Parenthood Not Attacking New Pro-Life Bills?

A number of new pro-life legislation has been passing on the state level. The odd part? Planned Parenthood has not been as active in opposing them. Here's an excerpt from the article:
Despite a wave of late-term abortion restrictions being signed into law in state capitals, advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood so far have held back on filing any legal challenges.

The hesitation could be a sign that the groups are concerned about their chances in court. The new proposals would ban most abortions after about 20 weeks into pregnancy, narrowing the window in which a woman can seek an abortion, based on claims that a fetus can feel pain after that period. Though these proposals are seen by pro-choice advocates as an assault on reproductive rights, the litigation hasn't started flying.

Mary Spaulding Balch, state legislation director for the National Right to Life Committee, suggested that's because the momentum is against those groups.
"It would seem to me that they fear a public debate that focuses on the pain of the unborn child," she told FoxNews.com.

The latest state law to impose these restrictions comes out of Oklahoma. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin on Wednesday afternoon signed a bill, one of two anti-abortion measures, making abortions after the 20-week mark a felony for the doctor.
Read the whole article - very interesting.

Unfortunate news from the Peace Garden State

For months now, I've been tracking the progress of North Dakota's personhood bill, HB 1450, the Defense of Human Life Act. Things were looking pretty good; it passed the House with a lager margin than 2009's bill, and it was written to deal with issues that had been brought up, from life-of-the-mother treatment to IVF to birth control.

Then the bill was passed to the Senate, and nothing happened for a while. Then, earlier this month, there was an update. The Senate had voted "do pass". I looked into the documents and read through the Senate's amendments, and noticed that among them was one that said the homicide code would not apply to "[t]he termination of a pregnancy that resulted from gross sexual imposition, sexual
imposition, sexual abuse of a ward, or incest, as those offenses are defined in
chapter 12.1-20.".

Now, this was bad news for more than just the obvious reasons of loss of life. You see, the personhood section was still universal; the restriction only said the homicide code didn't apply. Essentially, children conceived in rape were people under the law, but they could still be killed. This would appear to violate the equal protection and right-to-life sections of the North Dakotan constitution.

I'm not familiar with the North Dakotan procedure, or how their Century Code (which HB 1450 amends) works, but if it doesn't have a severability clause, HB 1450 could be struck down entirely if the rape exception is found unconstitutional.

However, this may all be moot. The next day, I looked again and found another update. There was some legaleze that I couldn't make out (nor could our resident legal expert Ms. Hazzard), but I could make out that Senator Sitte got the rape amendments separated from the rest such that they could be voted on separately. Later, I checked my email and saw the following explanation from PersonhoodUSA:

Help Revive Pro-life Bill

Dear Pro-life Friends,

We were thrilled when HB 1450 The Defense of Human Life Act passed the North Dakota House of Representatives 68-25. We’re deeply upset by what happened next.

Senators Olafson and Nething ruined a great pro-life bill.

Just as in 2009, Senator Olafson, while calling himself “pro-life”, led the pro-abortion charge. In good faith and with great patience, Senator Margaret Sitte and all the pro-life groups worked with Olafson to find language on which we could agree. But Senator Olafson managed to get rape and incest exceptions added to the bill before he tabled the bill on the Senate floor, disallowing a vote.

Sen. Olafson and certain other Republican leaders betrayed us and the babies whose lives depend upon us.

We thank the many Democratic legislators who stood for life and supported this legislation.

Even though this bill was tabled, it is still possible to revive it before the end of the session. We need your help to give life to HB 1450 so as to give life to unborn children.

Even if you’re from out of state, please contact these senators. Tell them to remove the rape and incest exceptions and put HB 1450 up for a vote.

HB 1450 (with exceptions removed) would ban all abortion in North Dakota.

Email all 47 senators (copy and paste into one email):

jandrist@nd.gov, sdberry@nd.gov, bbowman@nd.gov, raburckhard@nd.gov, rchristmann@nd.gov, dcook@nd.gov, ddever@nd.gov,jdotzenrod@nd.gov, rerbele@nd.gov, tfischer@nd.gov, tflakoll@nd.gov, lfreborg@nd.gov, tgrindberg@nd.gov, jheckaman@nd.gov,dhogue@nd.gov, rholmberg@nd.gov, rkilzer@nd.gov, jklein@nd.gov, kkrebsbach@nd.gov, llaffen@nd.gov, olarsen@nd.gov, galee@nd.gov,jlee@nd.gov, lluick@nd.gov, slyson@nd.gov, rmarcellais@nd.gov, tmathern@nd.gov, joetmiller@nd.gov, pmmurphy@nd.gov, cnelson@nd.gov,dnething@nd.gov, glnodland@nd.gov, doconnell@nd.gov, doehlke@nd.gov, colafson@nd.gov, lrobinson@nd.gov, dgschaible@nd.gov,macschneider@nd.gov, msitte@nd.gov, rsorvaag@nd.gov, bstenehjem@nd.gov, rtaylor@nd.gov, ctriplett@nd.gov, guglem@nd.gov,tmwanzek@nd.gov, rwardner@nd.gov, jwarner@nd.gov

Tell the senators to take HB 1450 off the table, remove the exceptions, and hold a clean vote for all human life!

Demand a vote on HB 1450 today!

End abortion in North Dakota now.

The legislative telephone number is (888) 635-3447. Give a message for the Senate Majority leader that you want a vote on HB 1450. Most importantly, email all the senators!

Email, make copies, put on Facebook—go viral!

Click here to see each action taken on HB 1450: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/62-2011/bill-actions/ba1450.html


While Personhood USA is an unapologetically Christian group, this is nonetheless a laudable goal. We were this close to legal recognition of the rights of the unborn, and a possible challenge to Roe v. Wade. Let's let the North Dakota senate know that this country takes the right to live seriously, and that we won't quit until every child is protected by love and by law.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Numerous abortion centers close

There have been several abortion center closings over the last week!

Two facilities in Delaware, which were closed while under investigation by state authorities, are likely to remain closed. The investigations were prompted by the centers' relationship with Kermit Gosnell. The
centers went by the name "Atlantic Women's Medical Services."

In Las Vegas, abortionist Frank Silver has been evicted from his office space. It is unclear whether or not he plans to resume his lethal practice elsewhere.

In Northern California, a "feeder" Planned Parenthood facility, which issued abortion referrals rather than performing them on-site, has closed due to "decreased patient volume and increased costs."
“We have worked hard with our Trinity County Advisory Council and the Weaverville community to brainstorm solutions, expand marketing, get creative, and do anything and everything we could to maintain the current level of service,” [a Planned Parenthood] official said. “We have been part of the Trinity County community for over 25 years and know that patients like you need and value our services.”
Sounds like people of Weaverville, CA who want legitimate gynecological care have chosen to take their business elsewhere!

Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Thoughts?

Though we usually focus on abortion, today I’m writing about the Washington Post’s embryonic stem cell research article. Last September, Timothy Atchison received 2 million cells (a small amount) developed from human embryonic stem cells in the effort to reverse his paralysis. He damaged the oligodendrocytes (they insulate the nerves) around his T7 vertebra. They hope that the “stem cells injected into damaged area might develop into oligodendrocytes that could once again sheathe exposed nerves with myelin [emphasis added].”
Though this quote is from the Washington Post, the lack of certainty shown reflects the confidence that this treatment will work without complications. Though I honestly do hope that Timothy recovers function of his legs, I am more concerned about his risk of tumors. This is the first therapy applied to humans after over 25 years of research into creating just this type of cell from mice embryos and ESC treatments for mice are infamous for causing tumors.

I believe that much of the research for this treatment started with the Nistor study (2004) “Human Embryonic Stem Cells Differentiate into Oligodendrocytes in High Purity and Myelinate After Spinal Cord Transplantation.” This study tested the development myelination of Oligodendrocytes in mice after transplants, in effect exactly what Timothy is receiving. Notice that in the title, they pride themselves on their “high purity” rate. In stem cell research, purity is getting all of the stem cells to become what you want them to be.

“Within 1 week, cells with a characteristic oligodendroglial morphology were
evident (Fig. 3a–f), that labeled with GalC (Fig. 3g,h), a marker of oligodendroglia. Quantiļ¬cation of immunostained cultures indicated that 95% +/- 4% of cells labeled
with the oligodendroglial marker GalC (Fig. 4a), 95% +/- 2% of cells labeled with
the oligodendroglial marker RIP (Fig. 4b), and 85% +/- 5% of cells labeled with the oligodendroglial marker 04 (Fig. 4c).”

95% purity sounds pretty good. If it were a grade, it would be an A. However, this indicates that 5% of the cells did not become what was desired. What do these extra cells become? Teratomas, a very nasty sort of tumor.
 
One Israeli child with a degenerative neural condition received injections of fetal neural stem cells in a Russian hospital in an effort to save or improve his life. He was nine. Over the course of four years, he received three transplants, but they did nothing to help him. In 2005, he began to complain of headaches. After receiving an MRI, it was discovered that he had several tumors growing in his brain and spinal column. At fourteen, the tumor in his spinal column was removed and was found to contain both XY and XX DNA. In otherwords, one of the fetuses that “donated” the stem cells was a girl.
 
Though the type of stem cell in that case was different, the risk is much the same. If tumors still grow in Embryonic Stem Cell petri dishes, what’s to prevent them from growing in his spine?

Those are my issues with the matter before we even involve the ethics of ending one life to benefit another. Yes, the embryos from which the cells were gathered were probably going to sit in a freezer their entire life, but does that devalue them? Should they be killed when other alternatives are readily available?

I’m not even talking about adult stem cells, which are pretty cool. There are over 70 adult stem cell treatments (they’ve cured sickle-cell, though it’s hard to find a match). No, Induced Pluripotent Stem cells work almost exactly like embryonic stem cells, without the ethical qualms. Created by adding one gene to a skin cell, Induced Pluripotent Stem cells behave the same way as Embryonic Stem Cells do. They have the same disposition to turn into tumors as embryonic stem cells, but at least they do not end a life.
What are your thoughts on Embryonic Stem Cell research? Does the potential out way the risks and loss of life?

P.S. Only slightly related, but still interesting. Humans have been cloned and we somehow didn’t hear about it. Much like Dolly the sheep, Dr. Wood, cloned himself using his skin cells and an unfertilized human egg. He developed five of these embryos, each living for five days, before he destroyed them to confirm that they were indeed clones. Apparently, this is not the first human cloning, which occurred in 2001 and the embryos lived two days. I always figured this would be bigger news.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Political Rhetoric

Jill Stanek's blog features political cartoons every Sunday. This one was too good not to share with you all.If you have a hard time with the font, he's saying "It's time to stop all the silly political rhetoric and get down to working on this budget with the GOP which wants ALL WOMEN TO DIE OF CANCER!"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pro-Life Job Opportunities

The Center for Bioethical Reform says "Most of the people who are working to kill babies are full-time, paid professionals while most of the people working to save them are part-time, amateur volunteers." There's something to that. If you're a committed pro-life advocate who wants to do more, consider a full-time job in the movement! There is some sacrifice involved-- you certainly shouldn't expect to earn the $337,066 that Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards earns-- but it is possible to do full-time pro-life work and raise a family without living on the street.

AbolishAbortion.com has an awesome pro-life jobs and internships page that is updated regularly. I would love to see these jobs filled by individuals who are dedicated to making abortion unthinkable for everyone, religious or not. Several organizations are hiring right now, but I'm going to highlight just one:

Students for Life of America, which has always been very supportive of SecularProLife.org, has an opening for Operations Coordinator. The position is for someone who has a four-year degree, is passionately pro-life, and has excellent organizational skills. It pays $30-40K plus health, dental, and other benefits. Learn more here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Feminism and Abortion

Earlier this week my history class discussed the modern feminist movement.  From my lecture notes:

"In 1970 NOW launched major action: Women’s Strike For Equality.  This was across the US and the demands were equal pay for equal work, universal child care and the legalization of abortion.  'We are the 51% minority.'  Even this moderate agenda was polarizing. Counter protest: men 'we love women in the kitchen and in the bed.'  'This morning I made love to my wife and she loved it.'

None of these major goals were achieved.  By 1980 women still earned $0.59 to men’s dollar.  Today they earn $0.77 to the dollar.  Universal child care was a total failure.  And abortion rights are sharply limited throughout much of the US."

Ok, a couple of things: 

1) Abortion rights are sharply limited in much of the US compared to where?  From my understanding the US has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world.  I'll need to look into this more.  I suppose you could argue that some places in the US have severely limited abortion access compared to other places in the US, but all places in the US allow abortion for any reason through the first trimester, and to my knowledge everywhere in the US must allow abortion after that if the woman's health is threatened, with "health" being rather loosely defined.  

2) I think it's true that woman's child-bearing capabilities make her unequal to man.  It's inevitable.  Even if you decided to put a child up for adoption, carrying and bearing that child will be time-, emotion-, money- and energy-consuming.  Once the child is born I don't know of any biological reason why women and men can't pour equal resources into raising the child, but up until that point no one can make it an even playing field.

That being said, abortion doesn't make it even either.  At the very least, the woman still has to find the money and use the time to have an abortion.  At the most it could be emotionally traumatizing, it risks complications, etc.  And of course all of this is when you consider the woman alone, and the fetus none at all.

You could argue that even if abortion doesn't make things perfectly equal, it brings them closer to equal than if women had to bear every child they conceived, and especially if they had to raise every child they bore.  If abortion makes things more equal, and pro-lifers argue against abortion, does that imply pro-lifers are sexist?

No.  Of course not.  You don't have to believe women are inferior to believe that children's lives should be protected.  If a mother had a two-year-old that was exhausting her and preventing her from pursuing her career and keeping her connected to a man she now despises, I would still say she should not be allowed to kill the two-year-old.  So would almost everyone else.  This is not because people in general think the mother is worth less than the father, somehow.  It's because people think the two-year-old has a right to live, and any problems incidental to the child's existence will have to be dealt with in ways other than killing her.  This is obvious to everyone, including feminists, yet people can't fathom how a pro-life woman could consider herself a feminist.  All you have to do is believe a fetus and a 2-year-old both have the right to life.

Meanwhile, even if abortion were illegal, things could be equal if men and women always shared equally in child-rearing, and/or if society--whether through private companies or the government--offered quality, affordable daycare and paid maternity-/paternity-leave, etc.  Indeed, some argue these solutions do more to work toward true equality--addressing the reasons why having children affects women so much more than men--than liberal abortion rights ever could.  And I'm happy to see these kinds of reforms take place both for the sake of equality and for the sake of fetal life.  However absent such solutions, I would rather let biology prevent me from having equal opportunities to those of men than I would kill my own progeny for the sake of feminism.  Women's rights don't transcend human rights.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Midweek News on India

Normally I'd be providing a midweek news roundup, probably talking about the new abortion legislation in Kansas or the bill that just sent to committee regarding sonograms in Texas. Instead, today I leave you with an excerpt from a New York Times article entitled, "A Campaign Against Girls in India." Gender-selective abortion in becoming a bigger issue by the day in India specifically and the outcome may be devastating. Here's the excerpt, but read the whole article:
The figures tell an old and cruel story: the systematic elimination of girls in India. In the 2001 census, the sex ratio — the number of girls to every 1,000 boys — was 927 in the 0-6 age group. Preliminary data from the 2011 census show that the imbalance has worsened, to 914 girls for every 1,000 boys.

Women’s groups have been documenting this particular brand of gender violence for years. The demographer Ashish Bose and the economist Amartya Sen drew attention to India’s missing women more than a decade ago. The abortion of female fetuses has increased as medical technology has made it easier to detect the sex of an unborn child. If it is a girl, families often pressure the pregnant woman to abort. Sex determination tests are illegal in India, but ultrasound and in vitro fertilization centers often bypass the law, and medical terminations of pregnancy are easily obtained.

Some women, like 30-year-old Lakshmi Rani from Bhiwani district in Uttar Pradesh, have been pressured into multiple abortions. Ms. Rani’s first three pregnancies were terminated.

“My mother-in-law took me to the clinic herself,” she said, her voice matter-of-fact but barely audible. “It wasn’t my decision, but I didn’t have a choice. They didn’t want girls.”

Now her husband’s family is pushing her to get pregnant again, and she is hoping for a boy. Despite government campaigns against aborting female fetuses, she does not believe she will be allowed a choice.

Ms. Rani’s story is echoed across Uttar Pradesh, a state that has among the most skewed sex ratios in India. Census figures show the female-male ratio in the 0-6 year group slipping from 916 in 2001 to 899 in 2011.

In a 2007 Unicef report, Alka Gupta explained part of the problem: Discrimination against women, already entrenched in Indian society, has been bolstered by technological developments that now allow mobile sex selection clinics to drive into almost any village or neighborhood unchecked.

The 1994 Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act was amended in 2003 to deal with the medical profession — the “supply side” of the practice of sex selection. However, the act has been poorly enforced.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

China to move to 2-child policy by 2015

China has announced a plan to modify its one-child policy by 2015, allowing families to give birth to two children. Pro-lifers have long criticized the one-child policy as a violation of human rights. Pro-life leaders are rightfully skeptical that a two-child policy will be much better. Steven Mosher of the Population Research Institute, a Catholic pro-life center which has long focused on human rights abuses in China, writes:
Did the Party leadership finally begin to regret the massive and ongoing human rights violations that the one-child policy entailed? Hardly. It takes a pretty hardened leadership cadre to send mobile abortion squads to hunt down pregnant women, to arrest them for violating the one-child policy, and then to abort and sterilize them against their will. This has been going on for 30 years. It is highly unlikely that Hu Jintao simply woke up one morning wracked by guilt and said to himself, “This is wrong.”

No, the reason that the policy may be ended has nothing to do with human considerations at all, but with cold dollars and cents calculations. You see, as a result of the elimination of 400 million productive young people from the population over the past three decades, China now has a labor shortage.
Although Mosher doesn't mention it, I wonder if the policy change was also influenced by the notorious gender imbalance that the one-child policy has caused. In a culture where sons are valued more than daughters, sex-selective abortion and female infanticide have created a population with millions of "missing" girls and "extra" boys. The ability to give birth to two children-- and, with it, two chances to have a son-- may help alleviate the problem. However, baby girls will only benefit if, by the luck of the draw, they have no more than one older sibling. In a country the size of China, no matter how aggressively the government pushes sterilization and birth control, it's inevitable that some women will conceive more than twice in their lifetimes. Mosher continues:
[The two-child policy] will not eliminate the abuses, of course. Women will still be arrested for the crime of being pregnant, locked up until they give their consent for an abortion, and then aborted against their will. But these now will be women who are pregnant with their third child, not with their second.
Sadly, we are a long, long way from international acceptance of prenatal rights and women's rights. If you are interested in learning more about these critical issues, and what you can do to help, I urge you to check out All Girls Allowed and Women's Rights Without Frontiers.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ironic headline: "Keep Planned Parenthood Alive"


As soon as Planned Parenthood keeps unborn children alive, we'll be happy to return the favor!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Down to the wire

Budget negotiations are intensifying; ABC News is calling today "Shutdown D-Day." Taxpayer funding for scandal-plagued Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, is a huge sticking point. Some pro-abortion Democrats have signaled that they would rather see a government shutdown than end funding for Planned Parenthood. Democrats for Life president Kristen Day cautioned that such a course would be a "huge mistake."

Hoping to preserve Planned Parenthood's $300 million+ annual subsidy, abortion advocates organized a "Pro-Choice Lobby Day" in Washington, D.C. yesterday. They were hoping for 5000 supporters to show up. Planned Parenthood reported 4000. Students for Life of America, which infiltrated the rally, puts the count at closer to 1000. For purposes of comparison, the annual March for Life draws a quarter of a million pro-life advocates to Washington!

The pro-abortion enthusiasm is waning. We have the power to defund Planned Parenthood! It's time to end subsidies to the organization that ends the lives of more than 300,000 innocent unborn babies every year.

Our elected officials need to hear from us NOW. Enter your zipcode here to get in touch with your representative.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In their own words: why abortion is not health care

Today is World Health Day. To mark the occassion, The A Word has suggested that pro-life blogs write on the theme "Abortion Is Not Health Care."

The central objections to abortion are based upon the human rights of the unborn child, as well they should be. This means that secondary arguments are often overlooked; one of these is the objection that abortion corrupts medicine.

The Hippocratic oath famously commands that a physician shall "Do No Harm." In modern ethical terms, this is the principle of non-malfeasance. The classical Hippocratic oath also specifically bans the use of abortifacients.

At most medical schools, the Hippocratic oath has been replaced by a more recent version which, shockingly, does not require a commitment to do no harm. It does, however, include the statement "I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm."

Abortion differs from legitimate health care in a number of significant ways. It is the only "medical" practice that is considered "failed" when it does not do lethal harm. There is often no meaningful doctor-patient relationship. Abortion centers have shown that they cannot be trusted to provide informed consent. In short, abortion is fundamentally incompatible with basic medical values. Abortionists and their employees know this to be true-- and in their more self-aware moments, many have admitted it:
"No doctor, for ethical, moral or honest reasons wants to do nothing but abortions..." ~Edward Eichner
"You have to become a bit schizophrenic. In one room, you encourage the patient that the slight irregularity in the fetal heart is not important, that she is going to have a fine, healthy baby. Then, in the next room you assure another woman, on whom you just did a saline abortion, that it is a good thing that the heartbeat is already irregular....she has nothing to worry about, she will NOT have a live baby..." ~Abortionist Szenes
You are doing a destructive process. Arms, legs, chests come out in the forceps. It's not a sight for everybody." ~William Benbow Thompson
"You certainly know that you will start with a living fetus and that it will be dead by the end of the procedure. But when you start a second-trimester abortion, you don't know when the fetus will die. Every patient is different. ~L. Carhart
"It's necessary to remember that these days abortion is done on request and therefore not a procedure you undertake in the interest of the fetus..." ~Gordon Douglas
"I dismember the fetus - pull it apart limb from limb - and remove it piece by piece and two hours later I've forgotten them." ~Phillip Bennett
"This can burn you out very, very quickly...not so much by the physical labor as the emotional part of what's going on. When you do an ultrasound, particularly if you have children, and you see a fetus there, kicking, moving, living, doing things that your own child does, bringing it's thumb to its mouth, and things like that- it's difficult." ~Ed Jones
"We've come a long way since my mother's time. The idea of abortion to save the mothers' life is something that people cling to because it sounds noble and pure- but medically speaking, it probably doesn't exist. It's a real stretch of our thinking." ~Don Sloan
"[I've seen women] who have just had an abortion ... lie in the recovery room and cry, 'I've just killed my baby. I've just killed my baby.' I don't know what to say to these women. Part of me thinks, 'Maybe they're right.'" ~Anonymous nurse, quoted in American Medical News
Abortion has no place in the healing profession. I applaud physicians of conscience who are attempting to practice ethically in a field that has abandoned its responsibilities toward its youngest patients. On this World Health Day, let us renew our commitment to ending abortion and restoring the integrity of medicine.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Midweek News Roundup: 04/06/11

Did someone order a midweek news roundup today? No? Well here's one anyway.

Domestic News: A bill in Montana which would have prevented federal / state money for the recent health care reform act's health care exchanges to be used for abortions was vetoed by Governor Brian Schweitzer (D). Schweitzer said that "...the measure violates Montana's constitutional guarantee of a right to privacy and access to reproductive health care." In Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell (R) offered an amendment to the State Budget which would do the same thing as the aforementioned Montana law. The amendment is facing opposition by "abortion rights" supporters. A law in Florida requiring the viewing of an ultrasound prior to the performance of an abortion just made its way out of a State Senate committee. A similar measure was vetoed last year by former Governor Charlie Crist (I).

International News: With the upcoming parliamentary elections in Canada, Prime Minister Harper (C) has said that his Government, if they receive the majority, would not propose legislation to change the current laws on abortion. Now, this does not prevent individual MPs from proposing the law, but it does show that Harper does not seem willing to rock the boat on this issue just yet. Harper has been on the record as being pro-life in the past. In one of the oddest stories I've reported on here, in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro state Governor Sergio Cabral said the following when arguing in support of legalizing abortion:
“Who hasn’t had a mistress that needed an abortion?”
Word's can not begin to describe how wrong that statement is on so many different levels.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Heroes

I’ve decided to write about my current personal hero, Rachel Smith. You might have seen her video on Jill Stanek or Stand for Life. She has personally saved at least forty lives, that she knows of, in the last five months. You should listen to her story, I’m sure I’ll get some of the details confused, but I will retell it for those who are pressed for time.

Shortly after the birth of her youngest child, Mrs. Smith had an epiphany about sidewalk counseling. It is so often impossible to talk to the girls going in to get an abortion, they refuse to look at us or see our signs. One day, she decided to go inside and talk to them, showing them her newborn child. She scheduled a pregnancy test, sat in the waiting room, and let nature take its course.

Other patients cooed over the baby, passing her around, and asking questions. She uses these opportunities to start a conversation. She’s supportive and warm-hearted, but she tells them the truth of how she feels about abortion. She doesn’t lie to them. When they call her name, she really does go back and take a pregnancy test. By being there, by being one of them, she has personally walked forty women out of clinics.

Of course, she has to travel often to remain successful. She doesn’t go to the same clinic twice. Most clinics have policies prohibiting babies. She ignores that particular rule and goes in anyway. She says it usually takes about fifteen minutes for them to realize that she has a child with her. During that time she is still able to talk to the women there.

Her baby is five-months old now. Together they’ve saved forty lives. Can you imagine saving eight lives a month? I don’t advocate that we all run out and do this. I know that many people wouldn’t have the temperament for it. I doubt I’d be able to remain calm and normal throughout the appointment. But I think we can all learn from how she speaks to these women. When she speaks to them in that waiting room, she is one of them. They open their eyes and see her and her child. They open their hearts and their minds and they HEAR her.

(But really, you should go watch the video)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Anti-non-defensive-killing"

In my experience one of the most frequently debated subjects within the abortion debate is the accuracy of the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" labels. Instead of arguing about issues that really matter--the definition of personhood, the effects of restricting abortion--people bicker about the technicality of labels. I'd like to get this out of the way.

Some insist you cannot be “pro-life” if you support military interventions, the death penalty, eating meat or killing mosquitoes. If you support any institution or action that involves killing anything, it is hypocritical to call yourself “pro-life”.


By that reasoning I suppose if you support any institution or action that restricts choices, it is hypocritical to call yourself “pro-choice.” Thus you cannot be “pro-choice” if you support the existence of police stations, prisons or Child Protective Services. Against the choice to beat children? Then you’re not really pro-choice. Apparently.

And so people suggest allegedly more accurate titles: anti-life, anti-choice, pro-abortion, anti-abortion, etc. Here’s the problem:

Anti-life:

Pro-choice people don’t want everyone to die. Very few of them are serial killers. They don’t have a widespread problem of suicide. I know it sounds ludicrous for me to point these things out, but being “anti-all-life” is what “anti-life” (or even worse, “pro-death”) implies. Even if you argued that “anti-life” implies specifically “anti-fetal-life”, consider that plenty of pro-choice people have children of their own. In fact, about 61% of abortions are obtained by women who have one or more children.

Anti-choice:

And of course pro-life people don’t want to take away all choices. Shockingly, pro-life people make hundreds of choices every day. You can argue that this isn’t about “anti-all-choice” but rather “anti-reproductive-choice.” Yet pro-lifers aren’t fighting the choices to have sex, practice abstinence, have your own children, adopt, put children up for adoption, etc. And while admittedly the pro-life movement is divided on contraception, there are pro-lifers, including many here at SPL, who are pro-contraception. The only choice pro-lifers are consistently against is the choice to kill an unborn child.


(See more SPL stickers here.)

Pro-abortion:

Some people view abortion as a way to combat environmental problems. Some see it as an act of mercy. Some people have even gone so far as to call abortion the ultimate motherly act. In these cases, people believe abortion is not just a necessary evil but a social good. Here the term “pro-abortion” is appropriate.

Yet there are many people who are politically pro-choice but “personally pro-life.” They defend the right to have an abortion not because they think abortion itself is good, but because they believe the ability to get an abortion is necessary to preserve women’s fundamental rights. There are plenty of pro-choice people who would not get an abortion or want their partners to get an abortion, but who feel compelled to defend the choice to get an abortion. Here the term “pro-abortion” does not fit.

Anti-abortion:

Personally I feel this term is fairly accurate. However please note the majority of the pro-life movement recognizes the right to an abortion when the mother’s life is endangered or when the pregnancy is a result of rape. Furthermore, the idea behind the pro-life movement goes beyond saying abortion specifically is wrong to saying all non-defensive taking of human life is wrong. (Yes, there are those that believe the death penalty and some military interventions are defensive. That’s a separate discussion.) “Anti-abortion” doesn’t quite cover the scope of what we’re trying to say.

In the end, not one of these labels is entirely correct. The reality is that the abortion situation involves a combination of factors that make broad labels difficult to apply. We could start using labels like “Anti-non-defensive-killing” or “Pro-the-choice-to-abort” and thus perhaps avoid petty quibbling over rhetoric. Or we could just call each side by their preferred-yet-not-wholly-accurate name, and move on.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Weekend update

Pro-abortion Congressman Ron Kind had this to say about a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion, with an exception for rape:
[O]ne of my fears of what’s before us today is that it could lead to some very perverse unintended consequences — almost encouraging low-income women, that would have this benefit denied from them, to file false claims of rape — whether it’s against a boyfriend, whether it’s against an acquaintance, perhaps even a husband — in order to avoid, you know, the consequences that this legislation, the financial consequences that this legislation would bring.
Rep. Kind apparently didn't get the memo that the abortion movement's new motto is "trust women." NRLC's Doug Johnson took him to task:
It is true that some taxpayers of both sexes sometimes tell lies, but does Kind really believe that lots of women will falsely accuse their intimate associates of a serious crime, in order to get a tax-subsidized abortion? He seems to assume a high level of dishonesty and a low level of common sense among the low-income women to whom he refers, presumably including those residing in his own district.

One week ago, an angry pro-abortion man pulled a gun on a pro-life woman identified only as Terry. The incident occurred outside a San Diego abortion business, where Terry was participating in a 40 Days for Life campaign. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Arizona is a hotbed of pro-life activity. The governor recently signed legislation to ban abortions that are based on the victim's sex or race. She is also expected to sign a ban on telemed abortions today. A telemed abortion is administered via Skype or a similar videoconferencing service; the abortionist chats with the customer, then presses a button that opens a drawer of RU-486 pills. This means that the abortion "doctor" gives no physical exam.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

This post has been removed because, apparently, some people didn't understand that it was an April Fool's Day joke. You can view the original here. Sorry.