As faithful readers of this blog know, I am an attorney, for my sins no doubt. It supplies me with bread and butter for my family and myself as well as an opportunity to observe the frailty, follies, crimes and, occasionally, the nobility, of the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve. However, that is just my day job. For over a decade now I have also been chairman of the board of directors of the Caring Pregnancy Center located in Pontiac, Illinois in Livingston County, the county in which I live. There, dedicated pro-life volunteers, almost all of them evangelical women, labor ceaselessly to help women in crisis pregnancies. In the movie the Agony and the Ecstasy Pope Julius II is depicted as saying that when he comes before God he will throw into the balance the ceiling painting of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel against the weight of his sins and he hoped it would shorten his time in purgatory. If such an opportunity exists for me, it will be due to my association with the Caring Pregnancy Center and their truly awe-inspiring and selfless female volunteers.
On April 14th, we held our 25th anniversary banquet which was a grand affair, with our supporters and well-wishers turning out in en masse. I opened with a few introductory remarks where I talked about the Center and its 25 years of service to the women of Livingston County and their babies. I also asked why we did this. First and foremost to protect innocent human life, and, second, because we remember with Thomas Jefferson, “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” It will come as a vast shock, no doubt, to faithful readers of this blog that I somehow worked into my remarks the surrender of Fort Sumter 150 years before on April 14, 1861 and Mr. Lincoln’s remarks in his Second Inaugural Address that the terrible war the nation had been through was God’s punishment on both the North and the South for the sin of slavery. I ended by stating that it was still possible for America to turn around and repent for the great sin of abortion and that the great words of the prophet Isaiah, as always, give us hope: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be made white as snow.”
Abby Johnson was our speaker, and she gave the most effective pro-life speech I have ever heard and I have heard many over the decades.
She was funny and moving at the same time. Her delivery was as natural as if she was talking to a next door neighbor, but every word she said was riveting. Continue reading
There’s a smug view out there that anti-abortion opinions are the purview of the safely bourgeois, and have little to do with the lives of real people with real problems. Calah of “Barefoot and Pregnant” refutes this handily with a powerful post about her experience of being a “woman in crisis”:
Amidst the debates swirling around about defunding Planned Parenthood, some oft-repeated catch phrases are being tossed around like word grenades. One of these are “women in crisis.” I’m sick and tired of hearing about “women in crisis” and how they need access to emergency contraception and abortions. That is a huge, steaming pile of lies, propagated by people who like to murder babies. Women in crisis do not need access to abortions. What they need is love, support, a safe place to live, and people (even strangers!) who will tell them the truth: that they are more than capable of being a mother. That they can do this. That their crisis, no matter how terrible, will be healed in the long, sometimes painful, always joyful process of becoming a mother.
Think this makes me heartless, speaking from my comfortable suburban home, having never known trials in my cushy little life?
When I got that positive pregnancy test, the one that changed my life, I was addicted to crystal meth.
And do you know what the people around me did? They didn’t take the secular line and say, “this baby’s life would be horrible. You’re unfit to be a mother. Better for it to not be born at all.”
But neither did they take the typical pro-life line in that situation and say, “you are clearly unfit to be a mother, but all you have to do is carry the baby to term and give a stable couple a wonderful gift.”
The Ogre said, “you’re a mother now, and I’m a father, and together we’ll raise our child.”
My parents said, “marry that man, and raise that baby. You’ve made the choices, you have to live with them.”
My friends said, “you screwed up, big time. But we love you. We’ll throw you a baby shower, buy you maternity clothes, and babysit while you finish your semester.”
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, being a newly-pregnant drug addict. But it gave me something to live for. Someone to live for….
If Tim Roach questioned his own manhood after six months of unemployment, consider the question asked and answered. Tim Roach is a man, a good man.
In mid February, Tim, got a call from his local union with the news every laid off worker longs to hear — a job offer.
It couldn’t have come at a better time. Tim’s unemployment benefits were about to run out. He could hardly believe what the voice on the other end was presenting to him — an offer to be a job foreman for at least 11 months, with a salary of $65,000 to $70,000 a year.
Perfect, Tim thought. Then came the bad news — he would be working on construction of a new Planned Parenthood Clinic in St. Paul on University Avenue. The highest of highs became the lowest of lows as he quickly turned down the offer.
Tim’s Union rep tried to get him to reconsider saying he wasn’t sure if abortions would be performed there but he simply responded, “It’s a Planned Parenthood. No.”
In all of the furor over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s bill to curb the power of public employee union to careen the state of Wisconsin into insolvency, other stances of the Governor have been overlooked. Leftist magazine Mother Jones notes in a current story that Walker is an ardent foe of abortion:
Walker, the son of a minister, attended Marquette University in Milwaukee from 1986 to 1990, where he served as chair of Students for Life. He dropped out of the school without graduating in 1990, and unsuccessfully ran for the Assembly that fall. He ran again in 1993 in a special election and won an Assembly seat representing Wauwatosa, a city just outside of Milwaukee. It didn’t take long for him to take up the abortion fight.
In November 1996, Walker and Assemblywoman Bonnie Ladwig R-Caledonia announced plans to introduce a bill banning “partial-birth” abortions, or what’s medically known as dilation and extraction. Anti-abortion groups have condemned the practice, but groups that back abortion rights argue the procedure could save a woman’s life in the case of severe late-term complications during a pregnancy. Walker said partial-birth abortions are “never needed” to save lives, adding, “This procedure is not a medically recognized procedure.” Continue reading
A reader asked me to take a look at this study (abstract here) and see if it reaches a valid set of conclusions. The study was conducted in California among ~80,000 women who receive birth control pills paid for by the state as part of a program for low income women. Previously, women in the program have received a 1 or 3 months supply of birth control at a time, and then have to go in to the clinic in order to receive a refill. In the study, a portion of these women were given a full year’s supply instead of one or three months, and state medical records were then used to see if this resulted in a change in the rate of unplanned pregnancy and abortion among the women who received a full year supply of birth control.
Researchers observed a 30 percent reduction in the odds of pregnancy and a 46 percent decrease in the odds of an abortion in women given a one-year supply of birth control pills at a clinic versus women who received the standard prescriptions for one – or three-month supplies.
The researchers speculate that a larger supply of oral contraceptive pills may allow more consistent use, since women need to make fewer visits to a clinic or pharmacy for their next supply.
“Women need to have contraceptives on hand so that their use is as automatic as using safety devices in cars, ” said Diana Greene Foster, PhD, lead author and associate professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. “Providing one cycle of oral contraceptives at a time is similar to asking people to visit a clinic or pharmacy to renew their seatbelts each month.”
Oral contraceptive pills are the most commonly used method of reversible contraception in the United States, the team states. While highly effective when used correctly (three pregnancies per 1,000 women in the first year of use), approximately half of women regularly miss one or more pills per cycle, a practice associated with a much higher pregnancy rate (80 pregnancies per 1,000 women in the first year of use), according to the team. [source]
The details of that decrease are as follows: Continue reading
The death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson has undoubtedly affected all of us who are dedicated to the pro-life cause. In the decades since his defection from the pro-abortion camp and his conversion to the Catholic faith, he was one of the nation’s most outspoken defenders of innocent human life. Among the many contributions to the cause for which we can thank Dr. Nathanson is his exposure of the deceptions and falsehoods employed by the pro-abortion movement – some of which he invented himself – in order to legitimize abortion in the eyes of the public and set the stage for its legalization in the 1960’s and 70’s.
And it is quite interesting, and perhaps even providential, that in remembering the life and works of Dr. Nathanson, we can consider how they affect the ongoing debate among Catholics over the use of lies and deceptions in order to undermine the pro-abortion movement and industry.
One of the great strengths of the pro-life cause is its ability to make converts among its adversaries. Bernard Nathanson was a prime example. An obstetrician\gynecologist, Dr. Nathanson became an abortionist out of ideological committment to what he perceived as a necessary element in the liberation of women. During his career as an abortionist, he took the lives of 75,000 unborn children. One of them was his own child: ”In the mid-sixties I impregnated a woman… and I not only demanded that she terminate the pregnancy… but also coolly informed her that since I was one of the most skilled practitioners of the art, I myself would do the abortion. And I did.” He was a founding member of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws.
Unlike most of his colleagues in the abortion trade, Nathanson was not a marginally skilled doctor. He was highly trained and kept up with medical developments. When ultrasound came along in the seventies he began to use it and quickly reconized its worth in pre-natal examinations. It also revealed to him something he had done his best to ignore: the humanity of the unborn. Continue reading
Some time ago I wrote a post expressing some of my reservations about the activities of Lila Rose and her organization, Live Action. In light of their most recent undercover sting operation, it is a good time to revisit some of the objections and debates that came up earlier. Initially I believed that Live Action’s activities were morally questionable in some cases, and definitely wrong in others.
I have to say that I stand by this assessment today, for several reasons I will state below.
First I want to make clear that I am 100% pro-life; I make no exceptions for rape, incest, or “to save the life of the mother”, for it is never permissible to kill an innocent human being to save another human being. At the legislative level I would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, in which case many pre-Roe abortion bans would immediately regain their full force in many states.
There are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.
Today is my 54th birthday. I am pleased that I share my natal day with the man I consider the greatest president of my lifetime: Ronald Wilson Reagan, who was born one hundred years ago today in Tampico, Illinois. I greatly admire Reagan for many reasons: his wit, eloquence and good humor; his prime role in bringing about the destruction of Communism as a ruling ideology in the former, how good it is to write that adjective!, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; his restoration of American prosperity by wringing inflation from the American economy; his rebuilding of the nation’s defenses; his restoration of American pride and optimism. However, there is one stand of his that, above all others, ensures that he will always have a special place in my heart, his defense of the weakest and the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.
In 1983 Reagan submitted an essay on abortion to the Human Life Review, then and now, the scholarly heart of the pro-life movement. He entitled it, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. Go here to the Human Life Review’s website to read it.
Reagan in the article attacked Roe on its tenth anniversary and stated that Roe had not settled the abortion fight:
Make no mistake, abortion-on-demand is not a right granted by the Constitution. No serious scholar, including one disposed to agree with the Court’s result, has argued that the framers of the Constitution intended to create such a right. Shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision, Professor John Hart Ely, now Dean of Stanford Law School, wrote that the opinion “is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” Nowhere do the plain words of the Constitution even hint at a “right” so sweeping as to permit abortion up to the time the child is ready to be born. Yet that is what the Court ruled.
As an act of “raw judicial power” (to use Justice White’s biting phrase), the decision by the seven-man majority in Roe v. Wade has so far been made to stick. But the Court’s decision has by no means settled the debate. Instead, Roe v. Wade has become a continuing prod to the conscience of the nation.
Reagan saw that abortion diminished respect for all human life and quoted Mother Teresa as to the simple truth that abortion is the “greatest misery of our time”:
We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life—the unborn—without diminishing the value of all human life. We saw tragic proof of this truism last year when the Indiana courts allowed the starvation death of “Baby Doe” in Bloomington because the child had Down’s Syndrome.
Many of our fellow citizens grieve over the loss of life that has followed Roe v. Wade. Margaret Heckler, soon after being nominated to head the largest department of our government, Health and Human Services, told an audience that she believed abortion to be the greatest moral crisis facing our country today. And the revered Mother Teresa, who works in the streets of Calcutta ministering to dying people in her world-famous mission of mercy, has said that “the greatest misery of our time is the generalized abortion of children.” Continue reading
“What we want, and all we want, is to have with us the men who think slavery wrong. But those who say they hate slavery, and are opposed to it, but yet act with the Democratic party — where are they? Let us apply a few tests. You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong? Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other? You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow it to be even called wrong! We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!”
Abraham Lincoln, speech at New Haven Connecticut, March 6, 1860
Thirty-eight years ago today, the US Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade struck down the laws against abortion throughout the country on the grounds that they were unconstitutional. The decision was, as Justice White noted in his dissent, a “raw exercise in judicial power”, as there was no basis at all in the Constitution to support the ruling. Since that day approximately a million, on average, unborn children have been put to death each year, and a large and powerful faction has championed these deaths as right and proper and opposed all efforts to ban or restrict abortion.
It is fitting that as we observe this dreadful anniversary, the nation is shocked by the revelations at the murder mill run by abortionist Kermit Gosnell for over three decades. As Paul noted in his post on Gosnell here last week the grand jury described his activities in gruesome detail and noted that he was able to do this only with the complicity of the local authorities:
We discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.
The State Legislature has charged the Department of Health (DOH) with responsibility for writing and enforcing regulations to protect health and safety in abortion clinics as well as in hospitals and other health care facilities. Yet a significant difference exists between how DOH monitors abortion clinics and how it monitors facilities where other medical procedures are performed.
Indeed, the department has shown an utter disregard both for the safety of women who seek treatment at abortion clinics and for the health of fetuses after they have become viable. State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health’s neglect of abortion patients’ safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design. … Continue reading
It may not be common knowledge, but the next Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has been an ardent foe of abortion since entering Congress in 1991, and a leader in the fight. As indicated in the video above, while accepting the Henry Hyde award from Americans United for Life earlier this year, for Boehner this is an emotional issue, and he is heart and soul on our side. A refreshing change from Nancy Pelosi. Continue reading
Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson, tireless crusader for the unborn, died on Saturday October 16, 2010 at age 84. Born in Carthage, Texas in 1927, she overcame all the disadvantages of being black in the Jim Crow South to be the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1951 and, additionally, the first female surgeon to graduate from that school. She was professor of surgery at Boston University. After Roe she helped found the National Right to Life Committee and was President of the Committee for three terms. She never ceased to speak out for the unborn. Continue reading
Today is my birthday, which means that while I get cake, ice cream, and annoyance for having to study on my birthday, you get to realize that the November elections are merely a month and a week away. In the Catholic blogosphere, this means that the “republicath” & “Catholyc” labels are getting dusted off for use in the political war.
For example, MM has launched an
humorless satirical website a mini-crusade against Thomas Peters & CatholicVote. Specifically, he’s angry about the very high rating they gave to Sharron Angle, a Republican running against Harry Reid. While I disagree with some of the exaggerations (if he thinks that’s a racist ad, he doesn’t watch much TV during October), I think his question is a good one: when ought a Catholic group be offering endorsements? Continue reading
Next week, New Hampshire Republicans, and probably some irritating Democrats, will decide who the Republican Nominee is for the Republican New Hampshire Senate Candidacy. It appears to the best of my knowledge that Ovide Lamontange is the only consistent pro-life and limited government candidate on the ticket. I urge anyone you know who lives in New Hampshire to vote for Ovide. No, he’s not a genius, but he’s principled, more than the others. Primaries should be about principles. Playing Machiavelli can wait until November. We have to choose the right people to put up for office, and the right people are principled people who think that government is more than simply another way to stimulate the economy. We have a debased and corrupt form of politics that only recognizes the material dimension of our lives. We need candidates who understand that material life is not the only good, and that material well-being is in some way really dependent on our spiritual well-being. Our spiritual well-being is in a real way determined by our laws, and our politicians create our laws, not just “our jobs” (which is ridiculous, politicians don’t create jobs). We need to look for politicians who have but an inkling of an understanding of this countercultural idea. Our laws are not just about money; they are about truth and justice and goodness and even beauty.
Republicans are upset about not being in power. Republicans are not in power because they have failed to live up to their principles, and everyone knows it. Republican principles are good principles, and we should not concede them because we have hopes of winning an election. Republicans have won elections, and they have acted frivolously and ignorantly with their power because they were not principled. We need to elect politicians who will behave responsibly with their power, and not just win the election. Elections don’t matter; justice and truth do.
My old employer, the Susan B. Anthony List, has launched a new initiative encouraging the GOP to include Pro-Life legislation in it’s latest Contract for America.
SBA List President, Marjorie Dannenfelser, explains why this initiative is needed:
“The Republican Party must show what it is made of this time around. They can do so by acting on their convictions and those of their party, and by making a commitment to passage of common-sense, life-saving legislation. Missing from the GOP’s original Contract in 1994 was any emphasis on policies protecting the unborn. Pro-life legislation was not made a priority in the following Congress. With the support of a vibrant pro-life movement that understands the urgency of addressing the tragedy of nearly 4,000 abortions per day coupled with the vast majority of Americans who support a commonsense pro-life agenda, enacting that agenda would not require a heavy lift.”
Check out the SBA List’s petition for more information and to join their cause.