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Friday, May 31, 2013

Who poses the threat to women's health?

The abortion industry has really been on the run lately. Gosnell was just the start. Then came the death of Jennifer Morbelli at the hands of late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart. Then came Douglas Karpen, the "Texas Gosnell," under investigation for killing newborn abortion survivors. Then came Associates in OB/GYN Care, which killed 38-year-old Maria Santiago in an abortion at just 12.5 weeks; details are still emerging on that as well.

And on Wednesday, two nurses who once worked for Planned Parenthood of Delaware abortion centers testified to legislators about the disgusting conditions they witnessed there. These included a fast-moving abortion "assembly line" in which mothers received inadequate care; rooms not sanitized; instruments not sterilized; expired supplies; and shoddy record-keeping.

Planned Parenthood's response is a mixture of denial and playing the victim: "The Division of Public Health findings do not in any way support the allegations of former employees who are now working with organizations whose mission is to oppose our services."

In fact, the DPH uncovered numerous serious safety issues. Planned Parenthood is conveniently focusing only on a follow-up DPH report which indicated that Planned Parenthood is trying to fix its problems and come into compliance. Bad publicity will do that.

There's no indication that either nurse quit out of pro-life conscience, either. One, Joyce Vasikonis, made clear in her testimony that she still believes in the "right" to abortion. The other, Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich, quit Planned Parenthood after less than a month because she was worried about her liability for her employer's malpractice. Pro-life organizations are of course publicizing the testimony, but this is not a conspiracy.

But good news! In response to all the recent scandals, the FBI has announced its intention to question leaders of the nation's largest abortion chains, and the New York Attorney General is issuing subpoenas to... oh wait, oops, that's what the FBI and NYAG are doing to a leader of pro-life pregnancy resource centers.


Talk about misplaced priorities! Apparently the IRS targeting scandal hasn't taught anyone anything.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Condoms and Caution

CNN reports that condom company Sir Richard's has adopted the charitable strategy of TOMS Shoes: buy one, and one will be donated to a developing country. They're starting with Haiti, where HIV has spiked in the years since a devastating earthquake overwhelmed its healthcare system.

It's a clever idea, and there's no doubt that condoms are crucial to the fight against HIV/AIDS. However, the company does seem to be hyping this more than is warranted. The CEO is quoted as saying that "If everyone bought our condoms, we could really change the world. That's an extraordinary proposition, but it's very real." Of course, a cynic might note that the same result could be obtained if people simply donated condoms on their own, bypassing Sir Richard's coffers.

What's more, although the main focus of the article is HIV/AIDS, the company is also touting this as the great solution to unplanned pregnancy around the world. Unfortunately, as we can see in the United States, the widespread availability of cheap condoms at every pharmacy and free condoms at every college dorm does not always lead to low rates of unintended pregnancy.

In large part, that's because condoms are much better at stopping the AIDS virus than they are at stopping the little swimmers. According to the CDC, while condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV transmission, the typical use failure rate for condoms as a contraceptive is a dismal eighteen percent. People often fail to make that distinction, and therefore do not appreciate the chances of pregnancy as fully as they should. No doubt that misunderstanding will be magnified in a region that has little in the way of healthcare access and sex education.

What do you think? Is this a good idea, a problematic idea, or something in between?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today: Pro-life protest in Chicago

This afternoon at four, the Pro-Life Action League is leading a protest against President Obama and Speaker Pelosi, who are both ardent supporters of abortion through all nine months of pregnancy (and, in Obama's case, arguably beyond). The protest will be held outside Chicago Hilton & Towers, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, where Obama and Pelosi are headlining a Democratic fundraiser.

Note: Although the Pro-Life Action League's announcement emphasizes Catholic themes, there is no reason why non-Catholic pro-lifers can't show up. (It's an open invitation, having appeared on LifeNews.) I say the more diverse the crowd that confronts Obama and Pelosi, the better!

Also, be advised that there will be graphic images of abortion victims at this protest.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weekend update

I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend! Here are some stories you may have missed.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an Arizona law restricting late-term abortions (after 20 weeks). Americans United for Life explains why the ruling was flawed: the Supreme Court has clearly recognized the legitimate interest in protecting women's health throughout pregnancy, and Arizona presented undisputed evidence that the risks of abortion to the mother skyrocket after 20 weeks.

Meanwhile, some members of Congress are pursuing a nationwide ban on abortions after 20 weeks. Jill Stanek, who testified at the hearing, exposes the duplicity of pro-abortion groups, which praised male Congressmen opposed to the bill, then used a picture of the same Congressmen to suggest that the bill was being pushed by men with no female input! (The women who were present were left out of the photo because they were testifying in favor of the bill. How terribly inconvenient for the propagandists.)

Unfortunately, Maryland authorities are refusing to hold abortionist Leroy Carhart accountable in the death of Jennifer Morbelli. They have, however, cited Carhart for unsanitary conditions at his facility.

Another Maryland abortion chain, Associates in OB/GYN Care, is facing medical license suspension for a range of dangerous practices, including failure to have CPR-trained employees or a working defibrillator.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Her story: a post-abortive sibling.



Guest Blogger Renee shares her experiences upon finding out her mother is post-abortive.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-r-7kj2xkWMs/TkabEbHEIvI/AAAAAAAAAW8/UpWvdFpDWoU/s1600/holding+hands+b+w.jpg 

Hi, my name is Renee, though many know me as Susi O Fanabba. I am relatively new to the pro-life movement, as I only started speaking out in March of last year.  It was quite a transition, considering that I had avoided this very thing for about six years, after finding out I lost my youngest brother (Joseph ‘Joey’ Michael) to abortion. That news was surprisingly painful. While I was never in favor of abortion, I admit I never gave it much thought—until I felt that pain.

You know, sad as it is to think about sometimes, I am so thankful we found out about Joey. Mom showed great strength in telling us, and it led to a whole new way of looking at abortion-minded and post-abortive people. Hearing her speak, it made me realize that it is not as easy a decision as it’s sometimes made out to be. There is great suffering before, during, and after. I hate that she and so many others know that pain. I became quite defensive of her, and any time I heard someone speak against abortion, I took it personally, as if they were speaking of Mom directly.

I also became more aware of the graphic images out there. Suddenly they were much worse for me, because I never knew if I was possibly looking at part of him. Such a horribly painful thought. And I worried about Mom and the others being reminded of their own abortions. For years, I did my best to avoid any abortion-related discussions. In additions to the reasons listed above, I really did not feel like going through the grieving process again (having lost my dad some years earlier).

Eventually I got to the point where I was ready to seek healing. I assumed that because there were so many options for post-abortive parents, naturally there would be lots of choices for me. What a shock I was in for! The only option I found was the Lumina retreat in New York, and I couldn’t make it there. I couldn’t even really find online support, so for awhile longer I dealt with my pain alone.

As the next anniversary of Joey’s death went by, I was again anxious to connect with others. My three younger siblings were the only other post-abortive siblings I knew, and we didn’t talk too much about Joey or what happened. One major barricade to getting support was the fact that I didn’t want to use my last name—I didn’t want people in our lives to find out about Mom’s abortion and start trashing her, so most of my searching was online. I opened a new email account with a pseudonym: Susi O Fanabba, an acronym for SUrviving SIbling OF AN ABorted BAby. I wrote to a number of pregnancy centers nationwide that offered post-abortive counseling, but with no luck.

I finally found a program for siblings in Rhode Island called Silent No More. I actually never connected with those siblings, but hearing about them inspired me to write and share a reflection on my pain. I shared it with Lumina, hoping it would in turn be shared at their upcoming retreat. To my surprise and great gratitude, Lumina helped me get to the retreat to share my reflections in person!

That retreat was a turning point. It was amazingly healing to be with other siblings who knew my pain. They did not judge me or my mom, and we all got along so well! Since that time I have become much braver about speaking out. I am determined to let people know about our pain, in the hopes of saving lives with our perspectives.

I am also sharing my stories about being apart from the pro-life movement, and how I feel about abortion-minded/post-abortive people and the graphic images. I hope there can be more peace between both the pro-life and pro-choice sides. I especially want to do my part to reach out to hurting siblings. I’ve created a Facebook page and blog for that purpose (Abortion Hurts Siblings And Others and www.survivingsibling.wordpress.com).

It can bring such comfort to read about others who have been through the same losses and issues. My dream is that in the future siblings will have a much easier time finding help. I would love to see more retreats, secular or not, as well as casual meet and greets and so forth. It would be great if post-abortive siblings did not fear speaking up, as I once feared.

I am so fortunate that my mom supports me 100% in this, and is now sharing her story as well! While I felt horrible about not helping her before or right after the abortion, I think working alongside her has brought great healing to both of us. She is truly heroic. She grew so much from the abortion. She is a great, non-judgmental listener, and by openly sharing her pain, I believe she has saved lives. By sharing how she told her children about her abortion, Mom can hopefully inspire and help other families heal.  

In closing, I thank Secular Pro Life and all of you for all you are doing for the pro-life movement! As a sibling, it excites me to see so many groups working together to help us, as abortion affects ALL of us, secular or religious.  Keep up the good work!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Saving lives from suicide

At Secular Pro-Life, our primary goal is to unite people of every faith and no faith in the fight against abortion. Every year in the United States, over one million unborn children's lives are violently snuffed out in the name of "choice."

But in focusing on this tragedy, we do not mean to minimize other serious threats to human life. And sadly, sometimes the greatest threat is within a person's own mind. The odds are good that you know someone who has struggled with depression. In my own family, two cousins have been lost to suicide.

The Overnight Walk is a fundraiser benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It will take place in Washington, D.C. on June 1-2, less than two weeks away.

Every January, hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans congregate in our nation's capitol to raise awareness at the March for Life. Imagine harnessing those numbers to participate in, or donate to, the Overnight Walk!

I encourage all readers of this blog-- whether you're a fervent pro-lifer, a casual observer, or our loyal opposition-- to give to this important cause. And while you're at it, take a moment to learn more about the risk factors and warning signs for suicide.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Facts are not gaffes

E. W. Jackson
Democratic activists are going nuts over statements by E. W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia. The quote all the news pieces are highlighting: "Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was."

Reporters are treating this as an unimaginable gaffe. Their theme is that, by picking a candidate who would say such a thing, the GOP has proven that it hasn't learned anything from its poor performance in recent elections. I won't comment on whether or not the GOP has learned anything; only time will tell. My gripe with this news coverage is that none of the reporters bothered to point out that what Jackson said about Planned Parenthood is factually accurate.

It is true. Full stop.

In 2011, the last year for which figures are available, Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions in the United States. Nationally, 37% of abortions are performed on black women, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. We can therefore surmise that in one year alone, Planned Parenthood killed approximately 123,567 unborn African-American children.

As for the KKK, estimates vary. The Tuskegee Institute has documented 3,446 lynchings of black Americans between 1882 and 1968. But not all KKK murders were done by lynching, and some lynching incidents were committed by racists independent of the KKK. In any event, the number of blacks killed by the KKK, in its entire history, does not approach 123,567.

Secular Pro-Life is not a partisan organization. Jackson may or may not be the best choice for lieutenant governor of Virginia; that is for voters to decide. He's taken controversial positions on many other issues, including opposition to gay rights, which should absolutely be up for debate.

But if you're going to oppose him, oppose him because of his opinions. Don't oppose him because he dared to state an uncomfortable fact. Facts are not gaffes. And facts that support the pro-life position are... still not gaffes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Douglas Karpen is the New Kermit Gosnell

[This post is reprinted with permission from Difficult Run.]

Aside from wishing that people would simply not talk about Kermit Gosnell at all, pro-choice groups in American politics would really like everyone to understand that Kermit Gosnell was a horrific aberration. As a group, the pro-choice movement tends to circle the wagon around late-term abortionists and idolize them. George Tiller, for example, was considered a hero even before his murder made him a martyr. So, when the late term abortion is legal, you’re a women’s rights crusader and paragon of sacrifice and bravery. But, if you take the exact same fetus and more or less the same method of execution and carry it out outside the womb, then all of a sudden that is something completely and totally different. So: killing human beings inside the womb at (for example) 24 weeks and killing human beings outside the womb (also, for example, at 24 weeks) are basically unrelated practices, as far as the pro-choice movement is concerned. One gets you awards and fame, the other gets you a life-term prison sentence.

APphoto_Abortion Clinic Deaths
Kermit Gosnell, after being sentenced.
The pro-life side is, to put it mildly, rather skeptical of this bright-line distinction.

When pro-choice individuals are honest, of course, they also admit that there’s not much of a distinction at all. Pro-choice philosophers openly call for infanticide (aka “after birth abortion“), so have Planned Parenthood spokespersons, and most notably there’s an extensive article called “Second trimester abortion provision: breaking the silence and changing the discourse” by an abortionist about the personal trauma she feels when carrying out late-term abortions. The truth is undeniable: abortion–and especially late-term abortion–is an act of savage and barbaric violence that dehumanizes everyone concerned: the woman, the abortionist, and of course the unborn (or born, does it really make a difference?) human being.

This may seem judgmental to women in crisis pregnancies, but the pro-life movement has from the earliest days of woman’s suffrage understood that abortion is a means for exploiting women who, because of an unplanned pregnancy, are in an incredibly vulnerable position. Rather than the stereotypical angry abortion clinic protester yelling at women or calling them murderers, the pro-life movement as I have known it my entire life is best summarized by this bumper sticker I once saw: Abortion has two victims: One killed and one wounded.

Today I read tragic news from Texas that confirms the pro-life understanding of abortion (especially late-term abortion) as a dehumanizing practice. WARNING: THIS NEWS IS GRAPHIC.

The Daily Mail reports that a new “house of horrors” has been discovered in Texas where abortionist Douglas Karpen delivered live babies during third trimester before killing them. The extreme nature of the charges explain why the story is getting it’s biggest coverage in a UK tabloid, but the evidence is credible. The New York Times reports Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has called for an investigation, and the Harris County district attorney’s office is opening one. In addition, the Houston Chronicle vetted the three eyewitnesses at the center of the case and determined (based on pay stubs) that they had indeed been employed by the clinic. There are also photos and videos, although I don’t have the stomach to look at more of those.

2013-05-17 Karpen
Douglas Karpen
So, what was Karpen up to? Like Gosnell, he would “snip” the spinal cords of living newborns with scissors. Alternatively, he killed some by physically twisting their heads off with his bare hands or ripping their throats out with forceps. I guess he was experimenting with different techniques? If they were too big to deliver whole, he would dismember them in the womb and then pull the pieces out. (Why is that controversial? It’s the standard legal abortion technique.) This wasn’t some weird exception, either. The news coverage of Gosnell’s conviction mentions that he was found guilty on three counts of murder, but they neglect that he killed hundreds of newborns. They just didn’t have physical evidence that the others had been delivered alive before being killed. After all: if you kill the unborn human being inside her mother’s womb it is (generally, depending on the state) legal. Same thing was going on in Douglas Karpen’s clinic. Here’s testimony from a clinic worker:
When he did an abortion, especially an over 20 week abortion, most of the time the fetus would come completely out before he either cut the spinal cord or he introduced one of the instruments into the soft spot of the fetus in order to kill it…. or actually twisting the head off the neck with his own bare hands. It was still alive because it was still moving and you could see the stomach breathing.
What will it take for people to understand that infanticide is not just the inevitable theoretical but also the practical consequence of America’s gruesomely liberal abortion laws? When you tell doctors that they can take $4,000 for killing a human being and that this not only acceptable but laudable, when you treat these men and women as heroes, what do you expect to be the result? The reality is that killing a human being is psychologically traumatic. People who do that for money, as their career, either have something wrong with them already or break something inside of themselves as they go. That’s the reason abortion clinics are becoming so rare, by the way. It’s really hard to convince idealistic, freshly minted MDs to take up the practice of killing instead of healing. I haven’t found any reporting on the condition of the clinic–Kermit Gosnell’s was filthy, filled with body parts of dead bodies, and was operated in a racist way that gave preferences to white mothers over black mothers, but I would be surprised if a lot of the same weren’t also true of Douglas Karpen’s facility.

UPDATE: I’ve since found that at least one of Karpen’s patients died. Denise Montoya was given an abortion in 1988 when she was 15 years old and 25 weeks pregnant. Karpen performed the procedure which led to Montoya’s death. Her parents sued, alleging that the clinic “failed to adequately explain the risks of the procedure, and had not provided consent forms, or had the parents sign any informed consent document, prior to the fatal abortion.” Another lawsuit stemmed from Nicolette C.’s partial abortion. Nicolette called from Louisiana to ask for advice, and the clinic quoted her a price of about $900 and said it would go up every week. They quoted her over $1,000 after she waited 10 days, but when she arrived at the clinic they said the price was $1,800. Nicolette, alone, 16, without parental notice or consent, tried to pawn her jewelry to meet the higher price. She finally had to return home and borrow money before the clinic would begin the abortion by inserting a laminaria to start dilation. Nicolette changed her mind, however, and returned to the clinic to beg them to remove the laminaria and stop the abortion. (This is a procedure that can be done.) According to the suit the clinic and Karpen lied to Nicolette and refused to remove the laminaria. Finally Nicolette and her mom sought emergency help at a hospital where Nicolette gave birth to a premature little girl. The baby girl survived 6 months before dying. As I suspected, the pattern of wanton cruelty and indifference lives on with late-term abortion providers.

One of the most important consequences of revelations about Gosnell, Karpen, and other late-term abortionists is the collapse of the myth that pro-life activists are concerned only with stopping abortion and not with helping women. Was it really concern for women that led pro-choice groups to cover for Kermit Gosnell? To screen him from any oversight or regulation? To allow him to refer patients from the mainstream National Abortion Federation to his own clinic? To refuse to report his clinic despite being invited to take a tour of the grisly facility? Is it concern for women that leads national organizations like Planned Parenthood to continue to fight tooth and nail against common-sense regulation of abortion clinics that would, for example, hold them up to the same standards as other medical outpatient surgery facilities or require that abortionists have admitting privileges at local hospitals in case something wrong? Is it concern for women that leads Planned Parenthood to not only fail to report evidence of statutory rape, but also to help cover it up? Because let me tell you: if that’s what concern for women looks like, women need some new allies.

2013-05-17 Karpen Eyewitnesses
The three former Karpen employees that are testifying against him.

I can’t speak for every pro-life organization because I’m not familiar with all of them. I’ve primarily worked with the Virginia Society for Human Life (state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, which is the oldest and largest pro-life organization) and with Secular Pro-Life. Everyone I’ve met at those organizations, and also in my informal discussions with other pro-life activists, cares deeply and sincerely about the welfare of women. We believe that elective abortions are not only wrong because they unnecessarily end innocent human lives, but also because they perpetuate the exploitation of women. Feminists for Life is not an oxymoron. In fact, given the way that the pro-choice movement expresses concern for women by enabling abortionists like Gosnell and Karpen, you might be forgiven for starting to wonder if it was actually the other way around.

It’s perfectly true that late-term abortions are rare. I understand that. As a result, it’s possible for pro-choice people to sincerely believe in early-term abortions as a fundamental right without accepting that elective late-term abortions ought to be legal. But those well-intentioned pro-choice individuals need to understand that their moderate views are not being reflected by the leaders and institutions they often support. If you’re pro-choice and you think Gosnell and Karpen are anomalies, I have news for you: they aren’t. They are logical extensions of the ideology that currently holds sway in the upper echelons of the pro-choice movement. If you’d like to work to reform your own movement to try and make them anomalies, that would be great. But you just might have to overturn Roe v. Wade in the process, because the framework it set up (along with Doe v. Bolton) doesn’t leave an awful lot of wiggle-room.

Are you prepared to do that?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Wall Street Journal: Abortion is "America's Second Civil War"

Daniel Henninger writes:
No other public policy has divided the people of the United States for so long and so deeply. Abortion is America's second civil war. 
. . . Across the 40 post-Roe years, the idea of a deeply personal decision, or choice, has taken a back seat to the hard face of public politics. The partisans in the abortion battles will deny they have demoted personal concerns, and that may be true. But when every nominee to the Supreme Court must run the abortion gauntlet, when every presidential convention must include strict nightly commitments to "choice" or "life," when bishops battle politicians, and "litmus test" means only one thing, then abortion's public politics have overwhelmed its human tragedies. After 40 years, we still have too much of both. 
Can the Gosnell case change that? If it doesn't, we're in trouble. 
What do you think? Is the abortion conflict on par with the Civil War? It has certainly pitted "brother against brother."

He also offers some speculation on how this civil war will end:
Where this column is heading is not to a cri de coeur that the Gosnell case proves abortion should be banned in America. It should be. But that's not going to happen. About a quarter of the country wants a ban, a quarter wants no limits, and half want something in between. The chance of a total ban is zero. Abortion in some degree will be legal in the U.S. But to what degree?
Here I part ways with the author. The road to ending abortion will be a long one, undoubtedly. But public opinion today is not necessarily the public opinion of tomorrow. The American public once accepted any number of ideologies that are utterly rejected today. I am confident that America's "abortion era" will be condemned in the history books of the future.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Secular options for abortion healing

I am often asked if I know of any non-religious resources for post-abortion recovery. Most post-abortion programs are Christian, with a particular emphasis on doctrines relating to repentance and forgiveness. And for some women, that's fine. But many post-abortive women are not Christian, and not interested in conversion. They struggle with the same issues of guilt, grief, and interpersonal conflict. Where can they turn?

There is, believe it or not, a pro-abortion post-abortion healing program. It's called Exhale, and it comes with the abortion lobby's seal of approval. They even refer women to Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation! That creates a pretty serious conflict of interest if you ask me. How can you help someone come to terms with the guilt of killing a human being if you believe that they haven't actually done so? How can you help someone grieve the loss of a child if you believe that it was just a "potential" life?

So there's a pretty big void that needs to be filled: post-abortion healing that recognizes the nature of abortion, but is not confined to a particular religion. Happily, women are beginning to fill this void themselves, through the power of the internet.

PASS With Love is a one-on-one and group counseling service developed by an Arizona woman who was once pro-choice and had two abortions. Her approach is secular and she specifically reached out to Secular Pro-Life to offer herself as a resource.

AfterAbortion.com is not a formal counseling system, but a collection of message boards where post-abortive women can support one another through their pain.

Albany Rose (who is active in Secular Pro-Life) found that it helped her to reclaim her medical records from the abortion facility. She has posted a YouTube video about her experience.

Individual women sometimes adopt secular elements of Christian post-abortion healing programs, including rituals such as naming the unborn child, and dedicating a pair of baby shoes or other memorial to the child. Some also benefit from one-on-one therapy with a psychologist--but of course, you have to carefully choose a psychologist you trust.

Finally, remember: if you are in a place where you want to harm yourself or end your life, dial 911 or call 1-800-SUICIDE immediately! Healing takes time, and most post-abortion programs take the long view. That's all well and good, but it's not appropriate in an emergency situation.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How Pro-Choice People Tend to Corrupt the Debate

The abortion debate certainly has a tendency to become emotional. There are many logical arguments used to argue for and against abortion, but these can be largely ignored in favor of appeals to emotion (such as trying to argue that pro-life people are trying to take away an important “choice” for women to make). Now, I’m certainly willing to talk to my own side and illustrate ways in which pro-life people make bad arguments in the hopes that they’ll make better ones (I credit my friend and pro-life mentor Josh Brahm for helping me see the value in treating both sides fairly, as well as my friend and pro-life philosopher, Steve Wagner, through my work with Justice for All).

In this article, I’d like to focus specifically on the pro-choice side, and illustrate three big (but subtle) ways in which they tend to corrupt the abortion debate. I call them subtle because I’m not even sure they’re aware that they’re actually doing some of these things.

Making a distinction between preborn life and postborn life.

This is one I see quite often. They’ll say something like “abortion should be legal because the rights of living, breathing women trump those of ‘potential life.’” But how do they define life? The problem here is that the unborn are just as alive as we are. They respond to stimuli, they grow through cellular reproduction, and they metabolize food for energy. The only things they need to thrive and survive are the same things we do: adequate nutrition, environment, and an absence of fatal threats. So the unborn are not “potential life.” They are actual life.

But perhaps they mean in a more philosophical sense, that the unborn aren’t morally relevant life? In that case, they would have no rights at all (so trying to compare rights that trump another’s rights is meaningless if you truly perceive that the unborn are not morally relevant human beings). Second, as I have just shown, the unborn are biologically alive, just as we are. Plus, they do breathe oxygen. As Scott Klusendorf mentions in his book The Case for Life, the method, not the fact, of breathing is what changes at birth. It’s like switching from AC to DC power once the child is born and begins breathing through his lungs. So saying that women differ from the unborn because they are “living and breathing” is simply biologically incorrect. Trying to make a distinction between preborn life and postborn life is simply a distinction without a difference.

Choice

I’ve written about this before. Both terms used for each side (pro-life and pro-choice) and bad terms to use and unfairly demonize people on the other side of the issue. However, I would argue that the term “choice” corrupts the debate in a way that the term “life” doesn’t.

The problem is that simply saying you support choice doesn’t tell us anything. Everyone supports choice. In order to realize whether or not we should support a choice in a given area we have to look at what that choice is. Simply saying that we have the choice does not automatically make the choice a moral one. So calling yourself pro-choice really begs the question because what the whole debate is about is whether or not the “choice” to abort is right or wrong. Besides that, women will always have the choice to abort, even if it becomes illegal. People have a choice right now to rape, murder, or steal, even though those choices are illegal.

Forcing women to “be” pregnant.

This is one I see all the time. Pro-choice people tend to argue that by making abortion illegal, we’re forcing women to be pregnant. That’s not exactly true. No one is forcing a woman to become pregnant. In the vast majority of pregnancies, the woman chose to engage in intercourse. No one made her pregnant, it was her choice to engage in an act intrinsically ordered toward procreation that resulted in her being pregnant.

However, what we are advocating would force her to remain pregnant once she is pregnant already. The reason for this is that there is an innocent human life at stake, one that is helpless and deserves our protection.

So pro-choice people try to turn pro-life people in monsters by claiming that we’re trying to force pregnancy on women, which is just an unfair characterization of what the pro-life position entails.

These are just a few ways in which pro-choice people tend to corrupt the debate. If we’re looking for open and honest dialogue, it would help if pro-choice people would keep these things in mind. And surely, there are things pro-life people do to corrupt the debate, as well. So don’t take my focusing on pro-choice people in this article as trying to single them out, or act like our side doesn’t make mistakes. I’m just trying to help to break through much of the confusion around this issue and help to keep clarity in our conversations.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I am not a myth

[Today's guest post is by the wonderful Melissa Ohden.]

"This idea of an infant being born alive in the process of a botched abortion and people not making efforts to resuscitate -- I think that's a myth they like to propagate. It's just not something that really happens." So said Jessica Arons, an abortion advocate at the Center for American Progress, in Sunday's CNN piece on Kermit Gosnell.
 
The next day, Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder in the deaths of born-alive infants at his "clinic."

Abortion survivor Melissa Ohden
“The type of abortion where an infant would be delivered, those only happen in hospital settings and they’re incredibly rare,” Arons said. I’ve heard statements like those of Ms. Arons from the abortion industry and their supporters more often than I can count. I’ve also received her statement in the form of a question, by people around the world, more times than I can count. “Late term abortions only happen in hospitals and they’re rare, right?”

WRONG. Although the exact figure of late term abortions and late term abortion survivors is not clear, the truth is that late term abortions happen more often than most people want to think. We know that Gosnell's abortion facility is not the only "house of horrors" in this country. Live Action’s recent Inhuman investigation has shed further light on the normalcy of the abortion industry’s practices, including late term abortions and infanticide. Try as abortion supporters might to deny the hard truth, I am not a myth.

My medical records state that a “saline infusion for an abortion was done but was unsuccessful” when I was approximately 31 weeks gestation. My birthfamily has shared firsthand the horrific details of what happened when my birthmother was forced to abort me 35 years ago. My birthmother has stated that it’s a miracle that I’m alive. 

And I am not alone. Over the past five years, I have had contact with 131 other abortion survivors. Just this past week, I met survivor #130 of these 131, a beautiful 16-year-old girl, whose twin lost their life through the abortion. The abortionist didn’t realize that Courtney was there in the womb, too, which is why she’s alive to share her story today. Just yesterday morning, I heard from survivor #131—a 45-year-old mother who just recently learned about her survival.
 
Those 131 other survivors are not a myth, either. We are living testament to the truth about life in the womb and the horror of abortion. Just because the media and the pro-abortion industry doesn’t want to acknowledge the truth about our lives and about late term abortion, that doesn’t make us and what we’ve experienced less real.

Jessica Arons calls us a myth. Our very existence says otherwise.