Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gendercide by Planned Parenthood in America

This week Live Action released two new undercover investigations surrounding Planned Parenthood. However, this time Planned Parenthood is aiding woman in their pursuit of gender discrimination against female children in the womb. 

Although we have been aware of Planned Parenthood's involvement in gendercide for a number of years, these videos are shocking. Please watch Live Action's latest investigations below. 

There is currently a bill in the house that will be voted on today to stop gendercide in America. Please take immediate action:

Please call and email your congress members NOW. Message to Congress:

VOTE “YES” ON H.R. 3541 – the “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”.

For the Dignity of the Born and Unborn,


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Have To Face It

Last week we discussed a recent Gallup poll showing that the number of Americans calling themselves "pro-choice" is at an all-time low.  William Saleton at considered the same poll when asking, "Why are Americans becoming more liberal on homosexuality but not on abortion?"  He points out:
At best, support for abortion is barely holding its ground, way below support for contraception, while approval of gay sex and gay marriage are soaring. Something about abortion continues to alienate people who are willing to take a more liberal view of birth control and homosexuality. What is it?
Saleton goes on to reference many surveys that show the population has become more supportive of women's rights and reproductive freedom in other ways, yet, regarding abortion, public opinion has not shifted toward the pro-choice perspective.  If anything, it has shifted away, toward the pro-life view.  Saleton concludes:
When public opinion turns toward reproductive freedom and equal rights for women but continues to oppose abortion, it punctures our dismissal of pro-life sentiment as a vestige of right-wing sexism. Spin and soundbites won’t make the evidence go away. Sooner or later, you'll have to face it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wants vs. Needs

[Today’s post is written by guest blogger Leslie.]
Sometimes life puts me in situations that cause me to remember what I knew all along—that love, food, shelter, and clothing are the only real essentials.  Sometimes I am reminded of this when I read about survivors of natural disasters.  When people are escaping with only the clothes on their backs, they aren’t wondering when they are going to get a new TV; they are concerned with only the most basic needs.
              Of course, human nature being what it is, once those basic needs are covered, chances are we are going to start wishing for more, especially if we have been used to having more.  Here’s where newborn babies have an advantage over the rest of us; for them, wants and needs are exactly the same.  And those needs are simple and few—to be loved, to be fed, and to be safe and warm.
              For a while after my daughter, Lorelei, was born, there were stacks of magazines around my house that I hadn’t had time to go through.  Finally reading one of them—devoted to the equipment “needed” for a newborn—and making a trip to Babies ‘R’ Us to look at baby gates made me consider the role consumerism may play in the abortion decision.
              The magazine (a thinly-veiled advertisement, actually) informed expectant mothers of all the things they simply could not be without.  For example, the writers claimed you would want a “station” for the baby in every room in which you would be spending some time:  a crib in the baby’s room, a bassinet in your room, a playpen (let’s call it what it is, not by its modern euphemism “play yard”) in the family room, a bouncy seat in the kitchen.  I’m thinking as I’m reading, Why not hold the baby?
              My trip to the baby store cracked me up, frankly.  There I found strollers, now known as “travel systems,” that cost well over $200, have “designer” labels, and match diaper bags, high chairs, and bedding—and of course, you must have them all!  High-end car seats come with cup holders and more, costing nearly as much as the strollers and making you feel like a negligent parent if you opt for the $40 model, which meets all federal safety requirements.  Baby stores even try to find a way to make money from one of the truly superior free things in life, human milk, by insinuating that all nursing mothers need expensive breast pumps, fancy bottles for expressed milk, and special clothes and shawls to nurse “discreetly.”
              I imagine a frightened pregnant girl, without much money or support, picking up one of these magazines or walking through the baby store, wondering what she is going to do.  She is probably already wondering what kind of mother she is going to be, how she can afford to take care of a baby, what kind of life she will be able to provide.  Society’s message is that having a baby is an expensive proposition, that her baby will be deprived if she can’t afford to give him all these things.  I can see her buying into the concept of “compassionate abortion”:  it would be selfish to give birth to this baby when I can’t provide it with the kind of life it ought to have.
              I like to think I’ve learned a few things after having five babies.  You’d think by this time I would have accumulated lots of equipment; actually, I keep getting rid of it.  For the way we parent, we don’t need it.  With five kids, we’d rather have the space.
              Anyone who knows Lorelei can attest that she is the happiest, healthiest baby you could ever hope to see.  She sleeps in bed with us; she doesn’t even have a crib, let alone a nursery.  Her car seat is the cheapest one that meets safety requirements.  She doesn’t have a “travel system.”  For now we carry her or wear her in a sling; at some point we will buy a $20 foldable stroller.  She wears good old-fashioned cloth diapers with pins and plastic pants.
              There’s nothing inherently wrong in having a decorated nursery and every bit of equipment under the sun if you can afford it and it makes you happy.  But I wish there was some way to assure expectant mothers that it isn’t necessary.
              Babies don’t care what the nursery looks like; they just want to be near Mommy.  Mommy has what baby needs:  warmth, love, and milk.  And those are things even a young, low-income mother can provide.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Emotional Effects

How women feel about their abortions varies.

Sometimes the pro-life side underscores the negative mental and emotional impacts for post-abortive women.  Pro-choice advocates often reject such claims and instead suggest women frequently feel relief after an abortion.

Other times the pro-choice side claims most women don’t even want abortions, but feel they have no choice due to their circumstances; some pro-choicers insist women feel terrible about needing an abortion in the first place.  Pro-life activists will respond with skepticism, pointing to pro-abortion (distinct from “pro-choice”) apologetics saying abortion is “like getting a filling at the dentist.”

Arguments about the emotional effects of abortion rage on, but even if we achieved consensus, it’s not clear to me how that would change things one way or another. From the pro-choice perspective, it should be legal for a woman to obtain an abortion even if it will emotionally scar her.  From a pro-life perspective, it should be illegal to kill the fetus even if the woman feels relieved after her abortion. 

It’s important to understand the effects of abortion for the purposes of informing abortion-minded women and determining optimal processes for women obtaining abortions. However, as far as the legality of abortion, do emotional effects matter? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Scandal = Executive pay cuts, unless...

Since arriving at my parents' home in Florida a few days ago, I have been bombarded by radio and print advertisements concerning Health Management Associates (HMA), which owns dozens of hospitals across the country.  The advertisements attack HMA for basing executive pay solely on profits, "even though HMA has been plagued by multiple government investigations, lawsuits, and scandals."  Sure enough, the website offers extensive documentation of these issues.

Naturally, I'm as opposed to health care scandals as the next person, so I found the campaign enlightening.  The advertisements also got me thinking about another nationwide healthcare provider that has been plagued by multiple government investigations, lawsuits, and scandals: Planned Parenthood
Cecile Richards and
husband Kirk Adams

Here's where it gets interesting.  The anti-HMA campaign is sponsored by "the doctors, nurses and caregivers of the Service Employees International Union."  The SEIU's health care division is operated by long-time labor organizer Kirk Adams.  And Kirk Adams is married to none other than Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood.

In short, scandals at clinics are bad, and the executives who oversee them ought to take a pay cut-- unless it's your wife, making $340,000 a year at the nation's largest abortion chain.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Poll Finds Decrease in Self-Described "Pro-Choicers"

A new Gallup poll found that the number of Americans describing themselves as "pro-choice" has hit a record low of 41% (compared to 50% who call themselves "pro-life").

  • The amounts of Democrats describing themselves as "pro-choice" versus "pro-life" has remained relatively stable over the last year.  
  • Self-described "pro-life" Republicans have increased from 68% to 72%, while "pro-choice" Republicans have decreased from 28% to 22%.  However the poll's margin of error is +4%, making the increase in "pro-life" Republicans statistically insignificant.  
  • The change is more marked for independents: "pro-choice" Independents have decreased 6 percentage points while "pro-life" Independents have increased 10 percentage points.
(Gallup notes that the shift in views is not due to a different political composition in the sample set; the political composition of this poll's sample set is similar to the sample set used in 2011.)

While there has been a shift in identification as "pro-choice" versus "pro-life," Americans' views on the morality of abortion remain nearly identical to the views expressed in the 2011 Gallup poll: 51% of Americans consider abortion morally wrong, and 38% consider it morally acceptable.  Similarly, when asked whether they think abortion ought to be legal under any circumstances (25%), legal under certain circumstances (52%), or illegal under all circumstances (20%), the percentages are statistically the same as the results from 2011.

In other words, in the last year Americans' labels for their abortion positions have shifted significantly, but their views on the morality and legality of abortion have remained steady. 

What do you think may have caused this increase in self-described "pro-lifers," especially among Independents?  Is this useful to the pro-life movement?  Why or why not?

UPDATE: A Washington Post blog entry explores the new Gallup poll, including a look at the religious tone of the pro-life movement:
Many past civil rights movements in this country, such as the move to end slavery or the fight for women’s suffrage, were deeply rooted in religious conviction. Such is the case with the pro-life movement. But with each of these movements there was a tipping point where Americans saw that one need not be a devoutly religious person to recognize the social justice issue at stake and to get behind the cause. This is happening with abortion in America.
Let's hope so! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Whole Life Video Contest

I Am Whole Life is an organization dedicated to promoting respect for the intrinsic dignity of the human person regardless of ability, age, status, ethnicity, or sex.  According to their FB page, I Am Whole Life specifically focuses on fighting human sex trafficking, embryo destruction, eugenics, abortion, and capital punishment (among other issues).

I Am Whole Life is currently hosting a video contest with the following instructions:

  1. Pick a song with a Whole Life theme.
  2. Cover the song and submit it as a video response by May 31st.
  3. Explain the Whole Life theme in the description.
Winners will receive a Whole Life t-shirt. :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Language Disconnect

[Today's post is written by guest blogger KB.]

Let’s set the record straight. 

Pro-Choicers: When talking about abortion, the vast majority of pro-lifers do not hate women.  They do not think women should be subservient to men, should have no life outside of childrearing and most don’t even believe the government should stand in the way of women controlling their own bodies.  That isn’t the focus of the pro-life belief system at all.

Pro-lifers: When talking about abortion, the vast majority of pro-choicers do not simply want to kill babies.  They do not think it is okay for people to run around screwing everyone and avoiding consequences, and many recognize abortion as a hard, painful, and potentially terrible decision to make.  Murder isn’t the focus of the pro-choice belief system at all.

This national conversation we are having on the rights of a fetus versus the legalization of abortion is getting us nowhere.  Sure, some minor laws have been passed, some good, some bad,  but nobody is convincing anybody to switch teams.  People have selected their sides and cling more tightly to their opinions than their religion.  The result is a huge language disconnect that makes it difficult to have a rational conversation about the topic and actually make progress on what really matters for all parties: a system that gives respect to individual life and liberty.

The problem is not that pro-lifers and pro-choicers don’t believe in the sanctity of life and liberty, it is that they morally define these concepts differently.  We pro-lifers believe that “life” begins at conception, and the “liberty” to experience the opportunities of life should be well guarded for all people. 

Pro-choicers love life and liberty too.  However, most genuinely do not believe that life begins at conception.  To them, the liberty to live one’s life and all of its opportunities is something that should be protected for those they consider alive.  In that case, it is the mother, and only the mother.  People vary in their view as to when life begins, but ask any pro-choicer and they will tell you they cannot fathom how a 3-week-old embryo would be considered a human being.  It is outside of their classification system, but it doesn’t make them bad or unapproachable people.

Much like the word “god”, the definition of “the start of life” is ambiguous, and every human has their own version.  The lack of a standardized, provable definition is problematic; there is no rational way to convince someone who has already made their mind up on one definition or another.  Barring any 100% solid proof of god the way I define god, I don’t care what you say, I am not going to believe in god.  Similarly, I am not going to believe that a unique human DNA combination, never before seen in the world and never again to be seen, is not a brand new life.  The premise of unique DNA as life is a good one in my opinion, but I will admit it is one qualification out of many that people use to define life.  Others will say a soul, a beating heart, the ability to live independently.  (In the world of unclear and contested definitions, I’d make the argument that it is better to be safe, and save a non-life, than sorry, and destroy a life, but this is rarely a good sell.  They’d argue it is better to be safe and protect a woman’s freedom than sorry and condemn her to servitude.)

So where does that lead us?  How do we bridge that language barrier?  Well, this gives us a few major DON’Ts when talking to a pro-choicer.  Don’t call them a baby-killer; it is a conversation stopper.  Don’t oversimplify their argument to “the rights/life of a mother outweigh the rights/life of a baby”.  Many do not and cannot see a fetus as a baby, so they do not see this dichotomy.  Telling them a fetus has developed organs, that it appears to be able to feel pain, is likely not going to convince them.  

And on the other hand, if someone starts yelling at you, saying your motivations are secretly founded by right wing evangelical Christians who want to keep women forever pregnant (even as you say the only life we have is now, thus it must be protected), stop talking to that person.  At best you’ll walk away frustrated.  At worst you’ll end up becoming emotional and they’ll trot back to their friends, detailing how ignorant and angry pro-lifers are.

Don’t assume you know that in every situation the abortive-minded woman sees the issue as black and white.  In the world of the hypothetical, it is easy to say, “you protect or you kill life – there is no grey area.”  That is true of the result.  That is not true of the rationale.  Parents-to-be may be flooded with far more than rational thoughts when going through an unexpected pregnancy, “Are we doing the right thing?  Can we even afford this?  What will our friends, family, bosses, boyfriend think?   Would we be dooming the child to a horrible life?  Am I even healthy enough to have a child?”  Without understanding that background music, you may come off as callous, na├»ve and unrealistic.

Watch out for treating pro-life as a religion.  Not everything that goes on in the pro-life world is gold and we need to be prepared to call foul on people with whom we normally agree. For example, when I discuss abortion with my pro-choice friends, I make clear to them that I support non-abortive PP activities; I am not simply part of a club.  This helps demonstrate that I come to my various conclusions independently and we avoid a “my side/ your side” argument.

In the meantime, we need to develop a culture of life – one that takes great pains to help women never have to make that choice, even if it is legal.  One that, if a woman is in a position where she might consider that choice, she gets all the treatment, information and non-judgmental counseling she may need to lift she and her partner out of any emotional fog they may be experiencing.  Instead of protesting a clini (which will do nothing except maybe make staunch pro-choicers hate you more, and women who really feel unsure of what to do have more cause to avoid your perspective), work in your community to make adoption, or becoming a parent, more of a possibility, on both a financial and technical level, as well as a social level.  The stigma of out-of-wedlock children is not as strong as it once was, but it is still there.

Promote contraceptives to those who will listen, even if you personally do not believe contraceptives are a good thing in your moral code.  It is far better for others to to use them than abortion.  If even one abortion is prevented because a woman and her partner used contraception, I’d say it was worth it, wouldn’t you?

This may seem like a weak approach to the topic of abortion, but it is not.  It is the only way to effect real change in the long term and encourage a civil cultural shift, as opposed to more heated, useless arguments.  I don’t think abortion will be something this country truly and finally decides on in my lifetime, so in the meantime, let’s try to do what we can to reduce abortion and make child bearing easier for women who understand that they carry a life.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Open Adoption

Homepage for the Independent Adoption Center.

Among the many reasons women cite for obtaining abortions are the following:

  • Having a child would interfere with the woman's education, work, or ability to care for dependents;
  • The woman cannot afford a baby; and/or
  • The woman is having relationship problems/does not want to be a single mother.
It seems adoption would largely (albeit not wholly) mitigate these potential problems for women with unplanned pregnancies.  However some women believe that, after having carried their child for nine months, adoption would be very emotionally painful.  Some women fear the idea of "always wondering"--wondering how the child is developing, how the adoptive family is treating the child, and whether the child wonders about her mother.

Perhaps this is where open adoption would be helpful.  The Independent Adoption Center (IAC) cites studies showing that adoptees in open adoptions have better psychological outcomes than adoptees in semi-open or closed adoptions.  Additionally, as the IAC explains:
Birthparents in open adoptions typically demonstrate positive self-esteem related to responsible decision making and feeling in control of their life -- making a plan for the baby, instead of abandoning him/her. Birthparents with open adoptions work through the normal feelings of grief much more quickly and easily. 
While open adoption does not solve all the problems of unplanned pregnancy, it is a type of family structure that may make it more plausible for a woman to give life without wreaking havoc on her own.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Gay marriage, abortion back in campaign spotlight"

"There's no equivalent embrace of abortion rights in Hollywood's products; films depicting unintended pregnancies generally opt for a birth."
As we head into the fray of election season, the San Francisco Chronicle contrasts the gay rights movement and the abortion rights movement. The article notes several differences between the two issues:

  1. Public opinion regarding same-sex marriage has shifted drastically in the last 10 years, with more people accepting the idea; public opinion on abortion has not had such drastic changes (although slightly more Americans now call themselves "pro-life").
  2. Americans who are ambivalent about gay marriage can opt for a live-and-let-live mentality; the moral questions involved with abortion tend to allow less flexibility.
  3. Homosexuality has been largely accepted in popular culture (e.g. Glee, Modern Family); there's no equivalent acceptance of abortion in Hollywood (e.g. Knocked Up, Juno).
  4. Young people are considerably more likely to accept same-sex marriage than older people; there's no equivalent age gap on abortion views.
  5. The gay rights movement is attempting to change the status quo; the abortion rights movement is defending the status quo.
We want your take on this, dear Reader.  Why is the abortion debate so intractable compared to other social issues?  How can we overcome some of that intractability and expand the pro-life movement?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pressure To Abort After Diagnosis

Instead of writing this week there are two stories I would like to share with you surrounding misdiagnosis of the child's health condition while in utero. These misdiagnosis that have lead to women being faced with a difficult choice.

What I would like to point out is that doctors are often wrong when diagnosing babies in the womb and many children are missing today because of this diagnosis followed by pressure to abort. Here are just two stories showing the struggle many parents face today:

A seven month pre-born baby in Vietnam was diagnosed by ultrasound as having a disability and was aborted. When family went to barry the aborted child she was still alive: story on Life News.

In 1994 a doctor told parents that their child was at high risk of having a blood disorder which both parents carried and advised them to abort. The little girl is now getting ready to graduate high school: Alyssa shares her story.

For the Dignity of the Born and Unborn,


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is attachment parenting pro-life?

Attachment parenting is getting a lot of attention, from people on all points of the ideological spectrum.  This is largely in response to a TIME magazine article on the subject, featuring the now-infamous cover photo of a woman breastfeeding her nearly four-year-old son.  

Slate author Hanna Rosin explains her objection to attachment parenting as follows: 
There is the very basic objection that it is virtually impossible to do what the [attachment parenting] advocates say is best for your baby and have a job, which the vast majority of American mothers have these days. . . . But this leads to my second and more profound problem with it. Attachment parenting demands not just certain actions you take with your baby but also certain emotional states to accompany those actions. So, it’s not just enough to breast-feed but one has to experience “breast-feeding induced maternal nirvana.” And it’s not enough to snuggle—you have to snuggle enough to achieve a spiritual high. As Badinter has said, once women were just expected to tolerate their babies, Betty Draper style, but now they are expected to experience “jouissance,” loosely translated as “orgasm.” And this is what makes the movement truly oppressive.
If I'm interpreting Rosin correctly, she doesn't really mind if individual, well-off mothers decide to follow the attachment parenting model-- but she cares very much about making sure that this does not become a societal expectation.  I agree.  And as a pro-life advocate, I would add that a social obligation to practice attachment parenting is not only oppressive for the mothers, but for the children as well.  

"Every child a wanted child" is a favorite phrase for abortion advocates.  ("And if they're not wanted, kill them before they're born" doesn't seem to fit on the bumper sticker.)  But that's only the beginning.  In addition to merely demanding that a mother want her child, we have also, as a society, imposed additional expectations.  Oh, sure, no one would ever force a seventeen-year-old to have an abortion, but really, that's what she ought to do-- and if she chooses life, we'll punish her departure from the social norm with condescending stares at the grocery store. Teens, low-income women, women who struggle with mental illness-- all are looked down upon as women who "shouldn't be moms."  Whether pro-choicers are willing to admit it or not, this attitude is very much connected to their arguments that abortion is necessary to prevent kids from growing up in poverty or otherwise having a poor "quality of life."

Now imagine if attachment parenting becomes the societal norm.  How many more classes of women will be added to the "shouldn't be moms" club?  (Moms who work full-time outside the home, perhaps?)  How many will be told that they cannot give their unborn baby the life that he or she deserves?  How many will be pressured into having an abortion?

This is not only oppressive and deadly, it's also just wrong as a scientific matter.  Psychologists who research parenting and child development have developed a theory of "good enough" parenting, which posits that a parental focus on attaining perfection is counterproductive.  Obviously, abuse and neglect are horrible and unacceptable.  But once you get above that basic threshold, parents actually have a lot of leeway.  Kids turn out just fine within a huge range of parenting styles, from attachment parenting to "free range" and everything in between.

As the public service advertisements for foster parenting say: "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent."  Pro-lifers need to spread this message far and wide.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why did people laugh during Roe v Wade?

[Today's post is written by Stacey Trasancos, originally posted on her blog, "Accepting Abundance." The article is reposted with permission.]

Have you ever listened to the Roe vs. Wade arguments?
I’ve heard about this conversation before, but it is even more chilling to listen to the words that were actually spoken in our courts 39 years ago. Mrs. Sarah Weddington, age 26, is thought to be the youngest person to win a Supreme Court case. The legality of abortion hinges on the “fact” that our laws do not recognize the unborn human as a “person” and therefore, the human has no constitutional right to protection. 
Here are the recordings and transcriptsClick the play button on the Oral Reargument recording (the second one). The transcript below is from 20:40 to 24:40. Listen along, it's better heard than read. It's a piece of history, a tragic one. This is how it was argued that a mother has a right to kill her own child. With [Laughter].
Justice Harry A. Blackmun: But tell me why you didn’t discuss the Hippocratic Oath.
Ms Weddington: Okay.
I guess it was– okay, in part, because the Hippocratic Oath, we discuss basically the constitutional protection we felt the woman to have.
The Hippocratic Oath does not pertain to that.
Second, we discuss the fact that the state had not established a compelling state interest.
The Hippocratic Oath would not really pertain to that.
And then, we discuss the vagueness jurisdiction.
It seem to us that that– that the fact that the medical profession, at one time, had adopted the Hippocratic Oath does not weight upon the fundamental constitutional rights involved.
It is a guide for physicians, but the outstanding organizations of the medical profession have, in fact, adopted a position that says the doctor and the patient should be able to make the decision for themselves in this kind of situation.
Justice Harry A. Blackmun: Of course, it’s the only definitive statement of ethics in the medical profession.
I take it, from what you just said, that you’re– you didn’t even footnote it because it’s old.
That’s about really what you’re saying.
Ms Weddington: Well, I guess you– it is old, and not that it’s out of date, but it seemed to us that it was not pertinent to the argument we were making.
Justice Harry A. Blackmun: Let me ask another question.
Last June 29, this Court decided the capital punishment cases.
Ms Weddington: Yes, sir.
Justice Harry A. Blackmun: Do you feel that there is any inconsistency in the Court’s decision in those cases outlying the death penalty with respect to convicted murderers and rapists at one end of lifespan, and your position in this case at the other end of lifespan?
Ms Weddington: I think had there been established that the fetus was a person under the Fourteenth Amendment or under constitutional protection then there might be a differentiation.
In this case, there has never been established that the fetus is a person or that it’s entitled to the Fourteenth Amendment rights or the protection of the constitution.
It would be inconsistent to decide that, after birth, various classifications of persons would be subject to the death penalty or not but, here, we have a person, the woman, entitled to fundamental constitutional rights as opposed to the fetus prior to birth where there is no establishment of any kind of federal constitutional rights.
Justice Harry A. Blackmun: Well, do I get from this then that your case depends primarily on the proposition that the fetus has no constitutional rights?
Ms Weddington: It depends on saying that the woman has a fundament constitutional right and that the state has not proved any compelling interest for regulation in the area.
Even if the Court, at some point, determined the fetus to be entitled to constitutional protection, you would still get back into the weighing of one life against another.
Justice Byron R. White: And that’s what’s involved in this case, weighing one life against another?
Ms Weddington: No, Your Honor.
I said that would be what would be involved if the facts were different and the state could prove that there was a person for the constitutional right.
Justice Potter Stewart: Well, if it were established that an unborn fetus is a person within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment, you would have almost an impossible case here, would you not?
Ms Weddington: I would have a very difficult case. [Laughter]
Justice Potter Stewart: You certainly would because you’d have the same kind of thing you’d have to say that this would be the equivalent to after the child was born.
Ms Weddington: That’s right.
Justice Potter Stewart: If the mother thought that it bothered her health having the child around, she could have it killed.
Isn’t that correct?
Ms Weddington: That’s correct.
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger: Could Texas constitutionally– did you want to respond further to Justice Stewart?
Did you want to respond further to him?
Ms Weddington: No, Your Honor.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Is it really so hypothetical?

[Today's post is written by Jameson Graber, originally posted on his blog, "I think, therefore I blog." Excerpts are reprinted with permission.]

The following comment on facebook made by a pro-choicer was meant to challenge pro-lifers on their belief that abortion really is murder: 
What if there was a building in your town where they chucked two year olds into a furnace. Would you be able to go about your day in a normal fashion if you knew that was taking place? Would you shake your head and say "We need to start some grassroots organization to lobby congress to put an end to that"? Would you go a period of a few days where the fact that kids were being tossed into a furnace wasn't the most pressing thought in your head? Would you solemnly condemn someone who violently attacked that establishment or the people who work there in order to stop the constant, unapologetic murder of babies that took place there every day?
My response: is it really so hypothetical? People have to live with these kinds of contradictions every day, actually. It's not like people three hundred years ago people had no idea how bad the slave trade was. It's not like Americans in the nineteenth century didn't know how awful the Trail of Tears was. It's not like Germans under the Nazi regime really thought it was okay to lock up millions of Jews in concentration camps. These things really happened, not because people were so different from you or me. They happened because normal people like you and me aren't so wonderful as we think we are. It's remarkably easy to justify evil. You'll even hear words like "freedom" used to justify these atrocities: Hitler thought Germans should "liberate" themselves from the Jews, as I'm sure American Southerners wanted to free themselves from the presence of the Cherokee Nation.

The simple answer to the commenter's question is, sadly, yes. Yes, I can go about my day in a "normal" way, knowing that thousands and thousands of my fellow human beings are being killed at the hands of people who probably feel justified. Yes, I do think that for now the political process and grassroots movements are probably the best means I know of for doing anything about this problem in our society. Yes, I will condemn acts of terrorism done in the name of the pro-life movement, partly because I think it's wrong to fight fire with fire (I'm not even sure the Civil War was justified for all the blood that it spilled), and partly because I think it's futile to act in this manner. If a pro-choicer really wants to understand how pro-lifers don't go insane under the mental strain of knowing what injustice is committed in the name of "freedom," well, maybe the answer is that it kind of does drive us insane. Maybe if you think about it long enough, you'll start to understand why the rhetoric gets so heated.


To sum up: don't kid yourself with such "hypothetical situations." In many ways, the world really is as bad as the worst hypothetical you can come up with. It's only because your brain can only handle so much stress at once that you choose to mostly ignore it. And I'm right there with you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Girls become lovers who turn into mothers."

(I woke up with the above-quoted John Mayer song stuck in my head.  Seems fitting.)

(Via Pinterest)

My first niece (whom I will call "Z") was due last Tuesday, but still hasn't made her appearance.  We are all very (impatiently) excited for Z's arrival, but in the interim the pregnancy has gotten increasingly uncomfortable for my l'il sis.  Birth would be a nice Mother's Day gift; she is very ready to not be pregnant.

I have four siblings, and this is the first time any of us has been expecting.  My sister has told me a lot about this new experience and how it has affected her body and her daily routine; indeed, though she is also pro-life, my sister has previously written about how being pregnant has given her a new understanding of the bodily integrity argument.

Even for women who plan to get pregnant, the myriad of physical and emotional side effects of pregnancy can make the whole process difficult and intimidating.  Watching my sister go through this process has given me a whole new appreciation for the courage and endurance of women who choose life, particularly women with unplanned or crisis pregnancies.

To all of the women who made the choice, particularly under difficult circumstances, to embrace motherhood: we salute you.  Happy Mother's Day!