Saturday, February 26, 2011

Take a Deep Breath. Read. Repeat.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about legislation related to abortion and/or fetal life.

Of course there is the Pence Amendment. I’ve seen people use this legislation as evidence that pro-lifers really don’t care about abortion and really do just want to control everyone’s sex lives by preventing them from accessing vital health care (Did you know? Pro-lifers are even against cancer screenings!) I point out that (a) money is fungible and (b) the Pence Amendment does NOT remove funding for health care services, but rather reallocates it. I also point out that we aren't some small, extremist group shoving an outdated ideology on everyone else: roughly half of the country identifies as pro-life. It seems these and other counterarguments are irrelevant. Let’s not confuse the stereotypes and amazing exaggerations with facts.

Then there was the legislation in South Dakota that apparently legalizes shooting abortion doctors. Never mind that the bill's sponsors say they are simply trying to make their defense laws consistent with other fetal homicide laws. Never mind that even the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota said she doesn't believe the intent of the bill was malicious. Instead of rational discussions about what the bill actually says, I've mostly seen fits of hysteria as people indignantly demand "How is this 'pro-life'??" over and over.

Finally there is the Georgia legislation that allegedly allows the Uterus Police to investigate miscarriages (and, if women can't prove it was an accident, they receive the death penalty! I'm starting to think Mother Jones may not be the bastion of objectivity.) Here's the actual text of the bill.

This bill is a bit ridiculous; it says a lot of things about why Georgia doesn't have to acknowledge Roe v. Wade or the authority of the Supreme Court or Congress in certain cases. I'll leave that as a separate debate. It seems that the most contentious part of this legislation hinges on what on earth it means to "investigate miscarriages". The first image I get is of cops knocking on a woman's front door and asking suspicious/derisive questions about a potentially very painful and certainly very personal event.

But that's not what this legislation suggests. The investigation is to be done by a physician, and apart from that nothing is specified at all. Given the lack of detail, I'm inclined to believe it'll be an "investigation" in the same sense as how they've been "investigating" spontaneous fetal death up till now already. If I'm reading this right, this legislation alters already existing legislation and the alterations primarily involve removing references to abortion. The references to miscarriages were already there. So how have "investigations of miscarriages" worked up till now in Georgia? I haven't heard any horror stories. The entire thing sounds like it has more to do with medical record-keeping than criminal investigations.

What is the take home lesson in all of this inanity? If you want to know what effects new laws will have, don't get swept away in ranting blog posts and editorials. Take a deep breath, and read the actual legislation.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Virginia to regulate abortion centers

After a Democratic-controlled state Senate committee that traditionally kills pro-life bills defeated the abortion clinic regulations measure, Del. Kathy Byron, a Republican, on Monday put forward an amendment to SB 924, a Senate bill on health and safety regulations for hospitals. The amendment essentially attached the pro-life bill the Virginia state Senate Education and Health Committee killed earlier this month to the legislation.

Because of the change to the Senate bill, it went back to the state Senate for a concurrence vote.

After a long and passionate debate on the Senate floor, senators voted 20-20 and pro-life Lt. Governor Bill Bolling cast the tie-breaking vote to send the bill to Governor Bob McDonnell, who will sign the measure into law.
Abortion is surgery, and the offices that do them should be regulated like other outpatient surgical centers. Despite pro-abortion slogans, legality does not guarantee safety. After the Gosnell scandal, it should be obvious that giving abortion businesses special treatment is terrible public policy. I'm shocked that the vote in the Virginia Senate was so close. Still, the fact that the legislation did pass is great news for women and babies in Virginia.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Planned Parenthood's strategy: What abortions?

Planned Parenthood's reaction to the House passage of the Pence Amendment has been to pretend that abortions are an insignificant part of its business. For instance, in an online appeal for petition signatures, Planned Parenthood described itself as providing "birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care." Moderate pro-choicers are seeing right through that euphemism:Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards took to the television, where she said that defunding Planned Parenthood would result in restricted access to mammograms. It does no such thing, because as pro-life activists found out simply by looking at their website and calling up affiliates, Planned Parenthood doesn't provide mammograms. It only refers clients elsewhere-- most likely to some of the 1200 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that provide comprehensive care.

Meanwhile, anti-Pence bloggers are clinging to the talking point that abortion constitutes only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services. Live Action has an excellent summary of why that's misleading.

Planned Parenthood, along with the entire pro-abortion movement, is in a tricky situation. At the core, what they're dealing with is a serious disconnect between the extremist leadership, which can be fairly described as pro-abortion, and the grassroots of people who identify as "pro-choice" but dislike abortion and support common-sense restrictions on it. The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion, whether direct or indirect. That necessarily includes a huge percentage of people who identify as pro-choice. So in order to get the support it needs to overcome Pence, Planned Parenthood has to appeal to a reluctant base. The solution? Deceive them.

Planned Parenthood wants regular, pro-choice-by-default people to believe that:
1) Abortion is not central to Planned Parenthood's operations. False.
2) Planned Parenthood offers mammograms, and defunding Planned Parenthood is therefore a mean-spirited attempt by anti-women Republicans to give people cancer. False.
3) Planned Parenthood offers women's health services that no other federally funded clinics provide. False.

Please pass this on to friends of yours who call themselves pro-choice and support Planned Parenthood, but who are open-minded and listen to their consciences. I may disagree with them, but they don't deserve to be tricked.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Midweek News Roundup: 02/23/11

Domestic News: Following the horrors involving Gosnell in Pennsylvania, legislators in Delaware are looking to enact safety and health regulations regarding abortion clinics. The bill would require clinics to be registered with the state and inspected regularly. In Indiana, an informed consent law passed the State Senate. The bill would require doctors to inform patients of the pain the unborn feel during an abortion and information on the risks of infection, hemorrhage, breast cancer, and infertility. A controversial new billboard is up in New York City. The billboard is sponsored by the group Life Always and states, "The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the womb." This is in reference to the significantly higher percentage of abortions performed on African-American women. The billboard is causing quite a bit of discussion on both sides of the aisle.

International News: In the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are releasing new guidelines which state that doctors are required to mention that there is no connection between abortion and breast cancer. A number of women in the United States and Australia have won law suits with doctors who did not disclose that there is a connection between the two. In other news out of the UK, a bid by women trying to be allowed to take the abortion pill at home was rejected by the courts. Those seeking to use the abortion pill are still required to visit a doctor twice, once for each pill. Canadian pop star Justin Bieber is facing backlash following the revelation that he believes that abortion is wrong.

Discussion Topic: What pro-life celebrities do you admire? Are there any pro-life celebrities that you admire?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Great Things in North Dakota!!!

A new bill has passed in the North Dakota House of Representatives earlier this month called The Defense of Human Life Act- HB 1450. This bill states that EVERY person in ANY stage of life is a person under the law and therefore is protected as an individual! WOW... isn't that what we've been fighting for all along, for people to open their eyes and see that we are ALL equal!! No matter what stage of life a person may be in, they are still a person that should be protected under the law of the land.

State Representative Dan Ruby called the bill "Common Sense", and stated that " Of course every human being is a person". Seems like the politicians in North Dakota are seeing that being pro-life is very much common sense! The bill will allow women to still use emergency contraception such as Plan B, and birth control of any method. And women who need medical abortions will still have access to them. Women who are seeking abortions and are caught will not be charged with a crime either. Frozen embryo's will also be protected under this bill.

The next phase for this to become an official law, the bill needs to pass the Senate but pro-life groups are hopeful it will! We will have to wait and hope this becomes set in stone. As for me, all I can say is " Go North Dakota!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Update on Baby Joseph

Yesterday, we reported on the tragic story of Joseph Maraachli in Canada. The removal of Joseph's life support, which was scheduled to happen today, has been postponed. He may be transferred to a hospital in Michigan.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The sad story of Joseph Maraachli

Joseph, a severely disabled Canadian infant, will die in a hospital next week. A judge recently ordered that his life support be removed. The events are reminiscent of the Terri Schiavo saga both in the diagnosis-- persistent vegetative state-- and the intense media interest.

But unlike Terri's case, no one is trying to keep Joseph alive. All parties agree that his condition is terminal. The dispute is about where he will die. Joseph's family wanted a tracheotomy performed on him, so that he could leave the hospital and die peacefully at home. The family was able to do this when Joseph's older sibling suffered from a similar condition. This time, however, the hopsital refused to do a tracheotomy. It's apparently easier for the hospital to just take him off life support.

The judge's ruling in favor of the hospital means that Joseph's last days will not be spent at home. All appeals have been exhausted, and the family is devastated. The removal of life support is scheduled for tomorrow morning; the decision was made on Thursday, but the judge wanted to give the family time to say goodbye to their little boy.

Again, this is not a scenario where anyone's life could have been saved. But it's an important case for pro-lifers to consider in a broader sense. Here is a family that just wanted to make sure that their baby's final days were spent in comfort. They did not have that choice. And yet, the choice to end the life of an unborn baby, by dismembering him or her alive in an abortion, is protected and hailed as a responsible "parenting decision."

What a messed-up world we live in.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lots happened yesterday

I'm sure you're all aware by now that the Pence Amendment passed! H.R. 1, the continuing resolution, also addresses a number of other pro-life topics. Jill Stanek has a summary. In addition, the House decided not to fund Title X, which provides legitimate, non-life-taking women's health care. (My guess? It's a bargaining chip. The Senate still has to sign on to H.R. 1. The Susan B. Anthony List writes that defunding Planned Parenthood is "non-negotiable." House Republicans will restore Title X in return for the Senate keeping Planned Parenthood ineligible. But we'll see.)

Also yesterday, the pro-life movement suffered a setback in the form of weakened conscience protections for doctors. Although it appears that pro-life physicians are still protected as far as abortion is concerned, other procedures and medications (most notably Plan B and ella) are no longer covered. Medical Students for Life director Dominique Monlozun issued a statement calling the revisions "a direct attack on the entire medical community's conscience." There is also a concern that weak conscience protections will cause some physicians to leave their practices, which could be devastating for people in underserved areas.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vote on Pence Amendment TODAY

The vote will happen very soon. The National Right to Life Committee has a convenient page for finding your representative's phone number.

The Pence Amendment would deny all federal funding to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates for the rest of the fiscal year. It would not impact the amount of funding given to family planning programs under Title X; it simply makes Planned Parenthood ineligible for those funds.

Some Republicans are proposing to suspend all Title X funds as a cost-cutting measure. A lot of people are angry about that, and abortion advocates are eagerly lumping the Pence Amendment together with that, calling both "anti-woman." Remember that the Pence Amendment is not the same bill! Simply put, the Pence Amendment will solve the Planned Parenthood funding problem without decreasing the amount spent on legitimate women's health programs under Title X. Any money Planned Parenthood loses will be diverted to eligible health providers.

Via Jill Stanek, here are Congressman Pence's comments on the amendment:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Will there be justice in Kansas?

After a two-year delay, criminal charges against Planned Parenthood of Kansas are moving forward. The charges include 23 felonies and chiefly concern illegal post-viability abortions and failure to report statutory rape. Jill Stanek has a short synopsis of the case's convoluted history.

Kansas pro-lifers are trying to be optimistic. But they know that Planned Parenthood can and will appeal all the way to the state supreme court if it has to. In Kansas, supreme court justices are appointed rather than elected. Five of the seven justices were appointed by pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius, and one once worked for a pro-abortion "public interest" firm. We can only hope that they are willing to put their biases aside and view the case objectively.

Meanwhile, former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who initiated the case, has been ruthlessly targeted. Despite the findings of three judges that his charges against Planned Parenthood have merit, an ethics trial will begin on February 21. He is accused of allowing his pro-life views to override his prosecutorial responsibilities. Kline is unashamedly pro-life, but if there is probable cause to believe that PP has committed a crime--as, again, three different judges have ruled-- then there is no ethical conflict.

On the other hand, ignoring legitimate criminal accusations for political reasons-- which is essentially what abortion advocates wanted Kline to
do-- would have been a violation of Kline's ethical duties. Attorneys General represent the people, and must investigate all criminal matters with due diligence.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Midweek News Roundup: 02/16/11

Domestic News: In Iowa, a bill defining life as beginning at conception passed through its first hurdle, it passed in a 3 person House subcommittee by a 2-1 vote. It then moves onto the House Human Resources Committee. Pro-life leaders are optimistic that it will move out of that committee and get approved by the general House, but in the Democratic controlled Senate, the bill's future is uncertain. In North Dakota, a bill banning all abortions passed the State House of Representatives in a 68-25 vote. Around February 25, the bill will move onto the State Senate. After 2010 Republican gains in Maine, pro-life legislators are pushing to tighten Maine's abortion laws. Proposed legislation would require a 24 hour waiting period, parental notification, and require a reading of a detailed description of the fetus to any woman or teenager prior to performing an abortion. Another bill would make it a separate crime when a person harms an unborn child while assaulting a pregnant woman.

International News: Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber is, apparently, pro-life. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Bieber said, "I really don't believe in abortion. It's like killing a baby?" New Zealand high court overturned a requirement by the nation's Medical Council which required doctors confronted with patients who did not want to continue their pregnancy to recommend an abortion. According to LifeNews, the requirement violated "...the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, which legalized abortion but provided conscience rights."

Editorial: Peter Tuci of the Daily Caller has a new piece entitled, "We should pay women not to get abortions." It's an interesting piece and worth a read.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I realized that we haven’t posted any sidewalk counseling stories in a few weeks. Unfortunately, the past few Saturdays have been busy. It reached a peak on January 22 (anniversary of Roe v. Wade) which was fitting, I guess. They were still there when I drove by at 6 pm, which is about four hours longer than they are usually open. It was the busiest I’d ever seen it. There were more abortions in the winter here last year, too. I think that this is because of end of term parties. I want to see if there will be more in late March/early April, too. (It’s 8-12 weeks after Valentine’s Day, this would correspond to the large number of November babies).

We’ve started offering roses to women. I don’t know if this is more effective, but I feel it puts out a positive message at the very least. More women have been talking to us. This might be because of the roses. However, I feel it has more to do with how close to us they are forced to park. Usually, they only fill two rows, which leaves them at least twenty feet away from us at all times. Recently, though, it’s been so busy that they have no choice but to park about eight to ten feet away from our line. We’ve been handing out a lot more information and getting a few more stories.

One girl, a week or two back, was being coerced by her mother. Both of them freely admitted this. We handed them our sheets about coercion and legal rights, but the girl was unwilling to press charges against her mother or to seek financial or legal independence. She said that she personally wanted to keep the baby, but that it was her mother’s decision. Her mother was completely unapologetic and felt she was doing what was best for her family. We offered her financial and emotional assistance, but she seemed content in letting her mother make this decision for her, even if it’s not what she really wanted.

On a happier note, we had an ambulance come by the clinic for the first time since I’ve been there. I took pictures, because I thought it might be something important, but they just got a stretcher out to check if it fit through the doors. As this happened right after the Gosnell case was released, I figure Dr. Payne wanted to make sure his clinic is up to code. I’m glad that the stretcher fit (because we scary sidewalk counselors really do care about women).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Things we missed

The Defense of Human Life Act has passed North Dakota's House of Representatives. The measure is written to ban abortion, but not contraception. There is only one abortion facility in North Dakota.

Pro-life Christians are disgusted with Pastor Chuck Smith. On his radio show, Smith advised a woman to abort her conjoined twins. (He later said that the mother's life was in danger, but the original broadcast doesn't back him up.)

Donald Trump has announced that he is pro-life. His earlier "pro-choice" statements were pretty moderate, so I can believe that he's turned around. Still, a little skepticism is healthy. Time will tell.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vigil for Victims: Monday

The Expose Planned Parenthood coalition has a protest planned for Monday, February 14. (Which is Valentine's Day, for any forgetful men out there.) From noon to 1pm, pro-lifers will stand outside their local Planned Parenthood facilities in solidarity with the victims of underage sex trafficking and abortion. For some, this will be a prayer vigil. Others will simply stand in protest. There are no religious restrictions. We want the entire pro-life community to unite! You can also bring signs; they have some suggested slogans, all secular.

After the event, don't forget to send us your photos! Email them to info[at], and I'll feature some on the blog.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our Truths

Yesterday, instead of doing P-chem homework, I wandered around the internet. A friend had mentioned The Abortioneers blog, where people who perform abortions or help women get access to abortions write about their experiences and, I think, seek solidarity. Curious, I read a few posts. It’s a bit like staring through the Looking Glass into some parallel but opposite world. They’re passionate, unified, determined, they believe in their motivations, their cause…and they are diametrically opposed to us.

At the bottom of the page are links to “Abortion-Friendly Web Sites,” which I also perused. There was one for Men and Abortion where men who wanted to support their partner's choice could get practical questions answered and blog about their feelings regarding the whole thing. I skimmed. In one post a man said the abortion was right “most of all for our unborn child.” He had been divorced once before and didn’t want to risk the unborn child going through the pain his current 10-year-old endures due to divorce. I wonder: does the 10-year-old wish she’d never been born? I read another post in which a man asked his unborn child to forgive him, and said her grandmother was already waiting in heaven.

I didn’t feel much while reading that blog. First of all, men don’t really have a choice. They have influence: they can cajole or plead or manipulate or reason or demand that their women carry the pregnancies. Ultimately, though, it is up to the woman. Reading about men who call the fetus an unborn child, who feel they need forgiveness, who regret—it makes me sad, but it doesn’t bewilder me. He may not have wanted this, but he had no choice. It happens, and he regrets it, but he can’t stop it.

Secondly, the bits of the blog I skimmed didn’t seem to describe the fetus the way I see it. The fetus seemed like an abstract concept—an entity that, should it be allowed to live, would someday be a child, but wasn’t a person right now. Obviously I disagree with that view, but I can wrap my head around the idea that if you don’t consider the fetus a person, abortion is something you can live with.

My perusal continued through Exhale, The Coathanger Project (which seems to have been abandoned?) and landed with Our Truths – Nuestras Verdades. Edition No. 3 is “Feelings About the Fetus.” I read a piece called “My Fragile Fossil” in which a woman describes seeing her fetus on a sonogram and her visceral reaction to that moment.
“My fetus. At about two inches magnified, it looks like a picture of a fetus that I had seen in my high school health book: a bulbous head bigger than its body, tiny hands and feet, and a long curly tube—the umbilical cord—which looks like an intestine.”
“Leaning forward, I notice the fetus following my body’s rhythms like a buoy bobbing in the ocean, moving with the tide. I am not prepared for the emotions that hit me as I gaze at the image. In this moment, my fetus becomes more than a tiny gob of cells or a picture from an old textbook. The longer I stare at the screen, the more I begin to fantasize about how the fetus will change as it develops and becomes full-term. Will it grow to have dark skin like it’s father? Will it have short, stubby toes and wide feet like me? Will it later have my mother’s hair, black and sleek?
Tears fall like torrents down my cheek, reminding me of my difficult and complicated decision.”
The woman chooses to keep a picture of the sonogram. She goes through with the abortion a week later using Mifepristone. Immediately after taking the pill she is pretty distraught. A nurse takes her aside to see if she’d like to talk, and the office they enter has another copy of the picture of her fetus on the bulletin board, which of course makes the woman even more upset. The story ends with her walking out of the office while touching her notebook, which contains her own copy of the sonogram picture.

My first reaction: great sadness. The woman is miserable, the fetus is dead, what a stupid situation. Also anger. Why did she risk putting herself in this stupid situation? And once in the situation, why couldn’t she put the child up for adoption? Is it more upsetting to watch your kid raised by others then to be the mother of a dead fetus? I suppose it must be, or she may have chosen otherwise.

After arguing about one topic perhaps hundreds of times over the years, it’s hard to feel continuously upset. Sadness and anger will well up occasionally, but they don't persist. For me the final reactions, the lasting feelings, are simply bewilderment and defeat.

I find myself, by default, believing that many people are pro-choice because they don’t view the fetus as I do. They think of the fetus abstractly (blob of tissue, clump of cells, product of conception) or as an aggressor (parasite, tumor, invader). If I believed this is what a fetus amounted to, I would probably also be pro-choice. I don’t agree, but I can comprehend. This default mindset is also an outlook with hope. Convince people of the humanity, strengthen the pro-life side, and maybe someday (perhaps not the foreseeable future, but someday) the tide can turn. Maybe.

But there are pro-choice people who view the fetus more the way I do: alive. Not in some technical sense, not by a biological definition, like a virus or cells going through mitosis. Alive like I’m alive. A human being. A very small, underdeveloped human being, to be sure, but a human being nonetheless. I can comprehend choosing to “terminate a product of conception” or “remove a parasite.” But killing a human being?

Even then, I can imagine someone being “personally pro-life, politically pro-choice.” They are conflicted. They value fetal life, but abhor forced gestation. That place is a little harder for me to mentally stand in than the “product of conception” view, but I can get there.

But there are women who view the fetus the way I view the fetus, and personally choose abortion? That’s not a position I can reach. I don’t understand. You see what I see, yet you can stomach it. You can choose it. I don't understand.

What hope, then, can the pro-life movement possibly have? Even if we could convince the whole country, the whole world, that “person” begins at conception, it still may not change abortion law.

I participate, in my limited ways, in the Pro-life movement largely because I don’t believe it can do any harm. But often I’m not convinced it does much good, either. This isn’t all one big misunderstanding. It’s understanding and fierce disagreement. Irreconcilable disagreement. How can we overcome such an intractable position?

Midweek News Roundup: 02/09/11

Domestic News: New videos from LiveAction have been released from a New York Planned Parenthood. Like the other undercover videos from New Jersey, the Planned Parenthood was willing to assist a person who described themselves as a sex trafficker of underage, non-English speaking girls. Kermit Gosnell may face the death penalty for his crimes. Prosecutors are considering all options, including seeking the death penalty. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for today. Following in the footsteps of Nebraska and Georgia, legislators in Iowa are proposing legislation to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks based on when the fetus can feel pain. It's currently facing a hurdle in committee where 2 pro-life legislators say they oppose the legislation because it doesn't go far enough, they want a complete ban on abortions.

International News: The abortion rate in Israel has dropped 19% in recent years according to government statistics. On average, 40,000 abortions are performed annually in Israel. A new poll of lawmakers in Brazil shows that a majority oppose easing restrictions on abortions. Headlines were made last year when now President Dilma Rousseff voiced support for legalizing abortion under certain circumstances. She has since promised that she would not push for legislation easing restrictions on abortions.

Thoughts / opinions on this week's articles are welcome.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What are we doing?

When the news about Kermit Gosnell first came out, I was appalled. I read the entirety of the 261 page Grand Jury Report. Afterwards, I tried to figure out just what about the case horrified me so much. Yes, he killed babies, but that’s what abortionists do. That he killed them a few weeks later and on the other side of the womb doesn’t change the end result. The fact that he had a high school student dispensing drugs and delivering dead and dying babies is sickening all unto itself. That there was not a single certified person working at that clinic, himself included, is also appalling. He was an abortionist without a painted on veneer of professionalism. When pro-lifers picture an archetypical abortionist, Gosnell is what springs to mind. There is not one of our claims about abortionists that Kermit Gosnell fails to fulfill; from hurting women to being serial-killer-esque and collecting body parts.

I think it’s important to remember that though Gosnell is on the far end of the abortionist spectrum, he is still on the spectrum. The bureaucracy isn’t the only thing that failed that community. Pro-lifers failed them too. I could be wrong. Maybe there were sidewalk counselors outside that clinic, pleading with women for the lives of their children, but somehow I doubt it. I searched online for sidewalk counselors and after fifteen minutes I could only find one group that counsels at only one of the four abortion clinics in Philadelphia (five before Women’s Medical Society was closed). And they only counsel for an hour on Saturday mornings.

If sidewalk counselors had been there, they could have saved so many lives. They could have used the Chicago method of counseling and told women about the numerous suits that were pressed against him. (He was involved in the Mother’s Day Massacre in 1972) Counselors could also have observed some of the outside conditions of the clinic and the condition that patients arrived and left in. They also would have been able to observe the advanced state of pregnancy that many of his patients were in. We also have a tendency to get to know the staff, and I would expect that they would learn early on that a fifteen year-old was working in the clinic.

Now, there would be little that sidewalk counselors would be able to do directly. We can only tell others what we have observed. However, we are tenacious. If a single counselor had made a complaint against them and then spread word to their friends, who would spread word to theirs, the DOH would have been forced to make at least a cursory look into the clinic. If only one inspector had walked into this clinic, it might have been shut down.

Also, we need more people like Lila Rose, who would have gone into the building and recorded what she saw. This again might have made the difference in the lives of so many women and children.

I feel that we, the pro-life community, failed these women and their children. We were not there, we did not try. I do not expect us to immediately make a radical difference on the large scale. We are fighting an uphill battle. But we are capable of changing the hearts of individual women. We can get them to see the humanity of their unborn children. We can make sure that the clinics abide by the regulations that are in place so that less harm is done. We can provide resources for pregnant women and new mothers AND we can let them know that these resources exist. Though we are limited by law, we can still make a difference on the small scale and we can attempt to broaden this. If we do not try to save lives (whether by trying to change laws, minds, or hearts), then what are we doing?

Abortion Rights vs. Sexual Assault

I recently read this statement from several people on Twitter, "Today, the greatest sexual assault on women is the assault on her right to choose."

I’ve seen the comparison over and over again between rape and taking away abortion rights but that comment really hit me. In fact I found it highly insulting and brought me back to a place I would have rather left alone.

It got me thinking, do people actually legitimately think this? Do people who have gone through the traumatizing effects of sexual abuse really honestly think that the taking away of abortion rights would be a worse experience than that?

Or maybe the people who are writing these slogans have never actually been a victim to sexual assault. Maybe they’ve never felt what it is like to have someone else physically take your body and use it for their own pleasure and their own power. Do they not realize how highly insulting it is to be told that I should feel more pain and anguish due to not being able to kill my preborn child than from a man placing his hands on me without my consent?

Sexual assault involves the woman’s body and hers alone. That is something she SHOULD have full control over and no one should ever have the right to take that from her.

Abortion is not just about her body. Abortion involves two bodies.

Pro-choice advocates, kindly never tell me that I should be more traumatized by me losing my “choice” to kill my own child than having my body be taken and used by a man against my will.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Obamacare: What's our next step?

If proves anything, it's that the pro-life movement is far from monolithic. I do believe that our diversity is, on the whole, beneficial. However, we have to be careful to avoid infighting. During the initial debate over Obamacare, I was disappointed by the rift that developed regarding pro-life Democrats.

Republicans campaigned very successfully on a "repeal and replace" platform, and Obamacare is back on the table. I don't want us to repeat our same mistakes this time around. So here, as I see it, are the major areas of agreement and disagreement.

Areas of agreement:
1) Our current health care system has serious flaws. We would all like to see more people insured, especially children. There's room for debate about the best solution, but no one seriously disputes that there is a problem.
2) Health care reform should not involve taxpayer funding of abortion. There is broad pro-life support for legislation that would clarify and codify Obama's Executive Order. Even the Catholic Health Association, which denied that Obamacare contained abortion funding to begin with, thinks that this legislation couldn't hurt.

Areas of disagreement:
1) Should we try to improve Obamacare, or do we need to scrap it and start over? Conservatives advocate a policy of "repeal and replace," but do not have the votes to repeal. On the other hand, the liberal pro-life opinion is that there is a lot of good in the bill, and that keeping most of it intact is the best way to promote life and health. (This is also the apparent position of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.)
2) Supposing a "repeal and replace" view, what should be the replacement?
3) Let's not forget about Gunner and other people with disabilities. The National Right to Life Committee has been particularly vocal in its concern rationing is inevitable under Obamacare. With or without Obamacare, how can we practically ensure that society's "undesirables" aren't sent to the end of the line?

Please discuss.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Time to defund Planned Parenthood

Live Action continues to release undercover videos of its sex trafficking sting. In my opinion, the New Jersey video (released first) captured the most egregious behavior. Still, check out what's coming out of Richmond, Falls Church, Roanoke, and Charlottesville.

The New Jersey and Richmond videos were featured in last night's Expose Planned Parenthood webcast, which urged people to contact their federal legislators in support of H.R. 217, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. This bill would forbid abortion centers like Planned Parenthood from receiving money under Title X, which is the federal funding mechanism for women's health services.

Two important things to note:
1) Under current law, Title X money cannot directly fund abortions. However, indirect funding occurs when the same organization provides both legitimate family planning services and abortion. Mike Pence, the bill's sponsor, put it this way:
Now, in fairness, Planned Parenthood will be quick to say, well, you can't use Title X funding to provide abortion services, and I'm sure they technically comply with that. I think we're all adults; we understand that money is fungible. And to the extent that Planned Parenthood can use public resources to subsidize a Title X clinic, that frees up other of their resources, other streams of income, to subsidize their abortion clinic, which in many cases is in the same building-- sometimes it's right down the hallway.

2) The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act does not reduce the amount of funding for family planning. Planned Parenthood's supporters are attacking this as an anti-women's-health measure. The truth is that any money that would have gone to Planned Parenthood will simply be diverted to other organizations, such as local health departments; you know, places that don't have a record of covering up sex trafficking and statutory rape, lying to patients, and killing millions of unborn babies.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Are conservative pro-lifers trying to redefine rape?

UPDATE: The language has already been changed.

ORIGINAL POST: The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a recent proposal that has not yet been passed, contains the usual exceptions for rape, incest, and the mother's life. But unlike earlier legislation like the Hyde Amendment, it uses the phrase "forcible rape." This has concerned pro- and anti-abortion feminists alike. All Our Lives writes:
Because neither the bill nor the Federal criminal code defines "forcible" rape, it is impossible to be sure of what this means. Does it include date rape? Rape in which the victim was drugged to the point of being unable to consent? Rape in which the victim was asleep or unconscious? Rape in which the victim was threatened with force, even if that force was not ultimately used? Rape in which the victim was mentally impaired and could not consent?

All of these situations are rape. Women who have had these crimes committed against them, whether or not they become pregnant, are harmed if we as a society deem their experiences to be something less than "real" rape.
As a law student, my initial thought is that this is a case of bad drafting. Somebody thought "We should put a negative adjective before 'rape,' to show that we think rape is really bad"-- and wound up communicating exactly the opposite. If I'm right, we can expect the word "forcible" to disappear in the wake of bad p.r., with no actual effect on how the law operates. Slipping someone a date rape drug is a use of force, as is threatening someone at knifepoint or imposing sex on a mentally disabled woman.

Nevertheless, feminists are right to demand clarification. The uncertainty of the language is itself damaging. Abortion advocates are using this to malign us all. Now is the moment for pro-life women to stand up.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Midweek News Roundup: 02/02/11

Happy Groundhogs' Day to our American readers.

Domestic News: In Georgia, lawmakers are proposing legislation to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. Based on a similar law in Nebraska, the law would make the cutoff point the point after which science has proven that the unborn child can feel pain. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) indicated that he would sign the law if it comes across his desk. Pro-life legislators in Massachusetts are proposing new legislation to allow taxpayers to personally decide on whether their tax dollars go to fund abortions. How so? If the bill becomes law, taxpayers would be allowed to signal that the percentage of their income taxes that would normally be directed towards abortions or abortion counseling for low-income women, would instead be spent on public information campaign for the Baby Safe Haven Law. The Baby Safe Haven Law in Massachusetts allows parents to drop off unwanted newborns at hospitals, police, or fire stations.

International Opinion Piece: Samar Halarnkar of the Hindustan Times wrote a compelling editorial entitled "India's Silent Genocide." Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the article.
I remember being disturbed enough to stop watching the 2003 Hindi movie Matrubhumi(motherland). Set in the future, it depicted an Indian village populated only by men. It gets that way after a man, yearning for a boy, publicly drowns his newborn girl in a vat of milk, sparking a custom
that wipes out women. So the men watch porn, fornicate with farm animals. A father marries his five sons to a woman from the outside and the six men take turns raping her. Eventually more men in the village get involved. She is tied to the cow shed and gangraped every night.

Matrubhumi was excessively brutal, I thought, but it addressed a silent, growing genocide that emerging India prefers to ignore.

At least 1,370 girls are aborted every day in India. For perspective, some 250 Indians die every day in road accidents. Terrorists killed about six people, on an average, every day in 2009. In the last two decades of economic progress, 10 million girls have died before being born. More are strangled, slowly starved or simply tossed in the trash.

This is mass murder on a scale unseen in any other country this century. Only China runs us close. The overall Indian sex ratio should be at least 950 women to 1,000 men (Nature produces more males than females as boys are more vulnerable to infant diseases than girls). But the child sex ratio, the number of girls to every 1,000 boys in the age group zero to six, has dropped from 1,010 girls in 1941 to 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001, according to census figures. The 2011 census will reveal a further decline based on mostly disturbing trends.
Please read the entire article, it's a compelling look into the horror of gender selective abortions in India.

Discussion Topic: As many of you have seen, I'm a Maryland resident who lives near Baltimore City. As was pointed out over the weekend, a Judge ruled that anti-crisis pregnancy center laws enacted by the Baltimore City Council as unconstitutional. Are there any local legislative actions that you feel strongly about regarding life issues? If so, tell us about them!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NJ Planned Parenthood aids undercover "sex trafficker"

In August 2009, pro-abortion blogger Amanda Marcotte wrote an article (or, more accurately, a string of ad hominems) entitled "Birthers and Anti-Choicers: One and the Same?" She concluded by saying that "the anti-choicers have moved on to concocting theories about how Planned Parenthood is part of a child sex ring that they’re covering up..."

At the time, this was inaccurate, and I told her so in the comments section:
Planned Parenthood as "part of a child sex ring" is a far different accusation than "PP is not complying with statutory rape reporting laws, and we have videotape."
To which she replied:
"Planned Parenthood is not complying with the law" is the sort of dog whistle cleaning up job I patiently explained right wingers do with conspiracy theories, to make them sound sane enough to get them on TV and confirm what the nutters suspect. You see Fox do a story about an anti-woman/anti-health care sting in Planned Parenthood, and the audience is supposed to know that this is PROOF that they're running a CHILD SEX RING.
Well, every now and then, life imitates the speculative ravings of a pro-abortion idealogue. Live Action's latest undercover operation shows a manager at Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey coaching a "sex trafficker" on how to get abortions for his 14- and 15-year-old victims. (Fortunately, in this case, the pimp and prostitute are actually pro-life actors.)

Planned Parenthood is not running a child sex ring. But it is willing to play along and profit from child sex rings operated by others. That should be enough to horrify any true feminist. Live Action is not "anti-woman and anti-health care"; it's pretty clear who is.

I have hope for the nurse practitioner, who "likes to dig" and who the pseudo-feminist manager dismisses as a "f***ing c*nt." If she's reading this: please, reach out to us! Pro-lifers in your area can help you get out of this bloody business. You don't belong there.