Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Life Links 6/30/09

Dan Gilgoff reports that there is a growing schism among common ground advocates regarding legislation on abortion. One side wants the two segments of the common ground package (preventing unwanted pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion) introduced in one bill while another side wants them introduced separately.

Joe Carter writes about how the language we use could be effecting how we think.
When you stop to consider the differences between such phrases as “methods of procreation” and “reproductive technology” it begins to become clear why social conservatives are losing ground in the fight to preserve the concept of human dignity. Any attempt to argue that embryonic human life is deserving of a particular moral status is undercut when we are using such phrases as ‘blastocysts produced by the technological advances of in vitro fertilization.” The language of the factory and of human dignity is as incompatible as would be the interchangeability of machine and life. Such degradation of language only leads to linguistic confusion and muddy thinking.

Algerian singer Cheb Mami has been arrested in France and accused of participating in an attempted forced abortion.
Prosecutors at Thursday's trial in Bobigny will allege that Cheb Rami was one of a group who abducted and beat the woman, a French photographer, in the Algerian capital, Algiers, in 2005.

The woman was allegedly forced to undergo an abortion, but on returning to France she discovered she was still pregnant and later gave birth to a daughter.

France issued an international arrest warrant for Cheb Mami after he skipped bail in Paris in May 2007 and fled to Algeria.

CBS News is featuring a story on a Cedars-Sinai medical study where doctors attempt to heal the hearts of patients who've had heart attacks using their own adult stem cells from their hearts.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Trouble with Coherency

Jill at Feministe links to a part of Bloggingheads discussion (entire discussion here) between Beliefnet’s Stephen Waldman and Slate’s William Saletan where they discuss the possibility of paying women to not have abortions and then writes ,
The whole thing is so infuriating I’m having trouble coming up with a coherent response. Steven Waldman from Beliefnet suggests paying women some amount of money to not have an abortion — not just because women who continue pregnancies often undergo tremendous financial strain, but as an incentive for her to give the baby up for adoption. Nowhere does he suggest that maybe we should provide economic support for all women, before and after birth, so that they can choose to maintain their pregnancies and raise a child if they wish; the whole idea is to bribe women into giving birth so that they’ll give the baby to a nice family.

I suppose that’s where there’s always going to be a fundamental disconnect between pro- and anti-choicers. Pro-choicers are concerned with women first and foremost; providing economic support for women probably sounds great to most of us, while providing an economic incentive to give birth and put the baby up for adoption at least strikes me as deeply problematic — Waldman and Saletan even liken it to surrogacy, which is troubling. Many anti-choicers, on the other hand, aren’t honestly all that concerned with women, and consider them more like incubators than people — financial coercion to give birth and give the baby up for adoption, then, is a pretty fine idea.
She's right about one thing: she has trouble coming up with a coherent response.

This response is almost completely incoherent because both Saletan and Waldman are pro-choice and favor keeping abortion legal. In their writings, they both appear to have some moral qualms with at least some abortions but they're certainly not pro-life. It’s exceptionally bad form to put out some assertion about prolifers (i.e. anti-choicers aren’t concerned with women) based on a policy prescription to lower the number of abortions from two pro-choicers.

It's almost like Jill can't respond to any discussion she disagrees with about abortion without personally attacking prolife people.

Life Links 6/29/09

A Brazilian designer has created an invention which allows him to create plaster models of unborn children from 3-D ultrasound scans.

The Mirror notes that recent research presented at the annual European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Amsterdam has found that having abortion (especially multiple abortions) is associated with giving birth to premature child later in life:
Women who have had an abortion or miscarriage are more likely to give birth to a premature baby, researchers have found.

A single termination raised the risk by 20%. Two or more increased the chances by 90%.

And women who have had more than one abortion double their risk of having a "very" premature baby - classed as being born before 34 weeks.

Lead researcher Dr Robbert van Oppenraaij said: "It can be concluded that a history of abortion is associated with an increased risk for premature delivery and very premature delivery."

He added more research was needed as the findings showed only an association between abortions and pre-term delivery and not necessarily a direct link.

Another female Episcopalian priest (not Kathryn Ragsdale) wrote a letter to her denomination’s web site claiming God looks favorably on a woman’s choice to have an abortion. Rev. Nina Churchman is mad her denomination’s General Convention will consider prayers in which women seek God’s forgiveness for having an abortion.

The Telegraph has statistics about repeat and teen abortions in the UK.
More than 450 teenagers below the age of 14 terminated pregnancies between 2005 and 2008, including 23 girls aged 12, the statistics from the Department of Health disclosed. Over the same period, 52 teenagers terminated four or more pregnancies before they reached their 18th birthday, as the total number of “repeat terminations” hit record levels across England and Wales....

The Government data disclosed that 64,715 repeat abortions were carried out across all age groups last year — the highest level on record and a rise of 22 per cent in a decade. They included 46 women who terminated at least eight pregnancies.

The Daily Mail has an article on a child born weighing about 1.5 pounds at 23 weeks is doing well.
Today she weighs a healthy 9lb 11oz, has passed all her sight and hearing tests and is beginning to show interest in objects and toys like any normal child.

The only difference is she is the size of a six-week-old, not a six-month-old.

Burglars broke into a Dallas abortion clinic and stole laptops and some anesthetic bottles.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life Links 6/26/09

The Washington Post has an article on New York's move to allow women to sell their eggs to researchers for human cloning research experiments.
The Empire State Stem Cell Board, which decides how to spend $600 million in state funding for stem cell studies, will allow researchers to compensate women up to $10,000 for the time, discomfort and expenses associated with donating eggs for experiments.

AUL's blog describes some the issues involved in the challenge to Virginia's ban on partial-birth abortion with some hints at what it could possibly mean for future prolife legislative efforts.

A man in California has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly attempting to run over a prolife protestor with his SUV.
Carrillo said Canfield is a regular demonstrator at Planned Parenthood and also at the Women's Health Center on Fir Street. He has a large sign with a graphic photo of an aborted fetus.

The investigation revealed Haver had a child with him in the vehicle, and as they drove by the demonstration, the child asked what was on the sign.

Carrillo said it appears Haver became enraged over the picture of the aborted fetus, lost control of his emotions and tried to strike Canfield with his vehicle.

Thousands of Indian women recently took to the streets to protest sex selection abortions.

A 70-year-old man in Washington has admitted to making a potentially threatening phone call to the abortion clinic of Warren Hern.
After questioning from the Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday night, the Washington man confessed to the call, according to Ken Deal, chief deputy marshal in Denver.

But Deal said the call was more of an "inappropriate communication" than a credible threat. The man has not been arrested or indicted, and that decision will be made by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Deal said.

Why should anything be illegal?

That's the question I had after reading this exceptionally thoughtless tidbit from Fred Block commenting on Mark Sanford's infidelity at the RH Reality Check blog. After setting up a litany of strawman, Block writes,
But this makes no sense. If we are all like the politicians who get caught -- frail, imperfect human beings who cannot actually live according to these Biblical rules -- then it is only logical that the laws that we construct together should reflect a compassionate recognition of that fact. This means abandoning the ancient prejudice against homosexuality. It also means that when a woman happens to follow her heart and gets pregnant, she should be able to correct the mistake through an abortion. But, of course, the conservative culture warriors cannot see this point.

What Block apparently cannot see is that if we act like people can't live according to laws and are laws should only reflect compassion for those who make mistakes, then we're left with no reasons to have any prohibitions on any actions.

Why should stealing be illegal? Why should murder be illegal?

It seems Block thinks it's logical to scrap laws simply because laws get broken. Kind of like a "Laws are meant to broken so why have them anyway" ideology. This destroys any argument for punishing anyone, including people like George Tiller's murderer, whom I'm guessing Block wouldn't want to be able to "correct his mistake." It also fails to understand some basic reasons for laws and doesn't recognize that lawmakers know that laws will be broken.

It's completely illogical to argue that we should scrap moral laws and standards merely because someone who believes in these laws and standards fails to live up to them.

Not understanding your own argument

Yesterday, in a post I wrote that Jill of Feministe (a leading pro-choice feminist blog) might not "understand the basis of the bodily autonomy argument" after reading one of her posts.

But then in another post yesterday dealing with men who don't want to pay child support, Jill made it clear that she doesn't understand one of the basic premises of the bodily autonomy argument in favor of abortion.

She writes,
The right to abortion isn’t a right just because we think women should be able to opt out of parenthood; it’s a right because forcing a woman to maintain a pregnancy for nine months against her will is an impermissible infringement upon her physical being. The fact that a desire to opt out of parenthood may be a factor in some women’s decisions to have abortions doesn’t change the reality that abortion rights are based on the right to control your own body. When there’s another person involved — a child — your obligations and freedoms change.

Not according to the bodily autonomy argument, they don't. When Judith Jarvis Thomson first came out with the Violinist analogy, it's force was that it argued abortion wasn't immoral and shouldn't be illegal even if the unborn were persons. Now Jill is claiming a woman's obligations and freedoms change when there's a child involved. This kind of destroys the basic premise and force of the bodily autonomy argument because all a prolifer has to do is point out that the unborn (though smaller, less developed and more dependent) are children or ask the pro-choicer to prove the unborn aren't persons which leads directly to the personhood argument.

One of the basic problems with the Violinist and the bodily autonomy argument is that they prove too much. If women have complete bodily autonomy and can't be told what to do with their bodies then pro-choicers are forced to defend a host of rather unpleasant situations like sex-selection abortion, elective third trimester abortions, women intentionally taking drugs which they know could seriously injure the unborn and failing to use their bodies to properly take care of born children.

It almost seems Jill like is trying to avoid some of the unpleasantness that goes hand in hand with the basic premise of the bodily autonomy argument by coupling it with "the unborn aren't persons" argument.

But if so, why not just use the personhood argument? Maybe because she doesn't want to defend the unpleasant conclusions the personhood argument leads to, such as no problem with killing newborns?

Regardless, I think this example shows that even some of the most steadfast pro-choicers aren't really comfortable defending the logical conclusions of the bodily autonomy argument.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Life Links 6/25/09

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Virginia’s ban on partial-birth abortion in a 6-5 vote. The Center for Reproductive Rights isn’t happy about it.

Micah Watson asks, “Is the Abortion Debate Over?” and reviews Scott Klusendorf’s The Case for Life.
Nevertheless, the philosophical debate about the normative dimensions of the abortion issue still comes down to the aforementioned watershed difference: either human beings as such have a right to life, or some human beings have a right to life and are thus persons, and some are not and are thus expendable.

While pro-life philosophers must continue their work by applying principles to emerging bioethical questions, the argumentative clarity achieved by their work in the abortion debate has implications for pro-lifers who seek to continue to influence both the law and the culture. Perhaps the most important implication is also the most obvious. If the philosophical debate about abortion is over, the political debate remains.

MercatorNet interviews Donna Harrison about the number of women who die from unsafe abortion.
MercatorNet: Does it matter very much if the numbers are not accurate? Governments do have to address all aspects of maternal health, including abortion, don’t they?

Donna Harrison: Actually, it matters enormously because of the implications for planning national policy. If a country finds that a large percentage of maternal deaths happen from a lack of skilled birth attendants at delivery, and a very small number come from induced abortions, then it becomes clear that funding should be directed to skilled birth attendants and not to abortion agencies.

But if a country where abortion is illegal uses methodology which allows spontaneous abortions to be counted as induced abortions, a falsely high number of maternal deaths may be attributed to “unsafe abortions”. The country will then be under international pressure to legalize abortion, on the assumption that it would result in the immediate lowering of the hospital admissions owing to abortion, and the associated costs.

Getting fuzzy

Jill at Feministe offers up this insight after relaying the case of a woman who was arrested for attempting to breast feed her child while she was allegedly “extremely intoxicated.”
This is one of those situations where bodily autonomy arguments get a little fuzzy (although either way, child neglect is a pretty severe crime to charge her with). If she was pregnant, I think it would be pretty clear that this would be a serious violation of her rights — after all, she has a right to consume legal substances like alcohol, pregnant or not. But things get tricker when they involve another human being, who cannot care for itself, being fed potentially dangerous substances — even if those substances are made dangerous by someone else engaging in a perfectly legal activity.

Isn’t the cognitive dissonance amazing? The whole bodily autonomy argument gets a “little fuzzy” because the woman’s actions endanger “another human being.” Yet Jill can’t seem to grasp that the same actions (becoming extremely intoxicated) while pregnant also involve another human being who cannot care for herself being fed potentially dangerous substances.

Maybe Jill doesn’t really understand the basis of the bodily autonomy argument. If you accept the argument that abortion should be legal (regardless of whether the unborn are human beings or not) because women should be allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies and that they have no special responsibilities to their children (born or unborn), I don’t see how you can be opposed to someone getting drunk and breast feeding. You can’t say “but it could hurt the child” in one case (getting drunk and breast feeding) but not in the other (getting drunk while pregnant) if you accept the premise of the bodily autonomy argument that whether the unborn are human beings or not is something that doesn’t really matter because a woman’s bodily autonomy matters more than the life or health of the child.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Life Links 6/24/09

Recently released tapes show that President Nixon had some exceptions to his position on abortion, including thinking that the abortions of bi-racial children were "necessary." Ugh....
Nixon is heard on a muffled tape recording telling his special counsel that abortion is necessary in some cases — including instances of multiracial pregnancy.

Speaking to Charles Colson after the January 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, the president said: "I admit, there are times when abortions are necessary, I know that." He gave "a black and a white" as an example.

"Or rape," Colson offered. "Or rape," Nixon agreed.

Brent Bozell notes the obvious bias in PBS's recent program dealing with the murder of George Tiller.

National Right to Life Committee's Dave Andrusko on Barack Obama's Father's Day comments.
Obama has eloquently written of what he went through when abandoned by his own father, the price that he paid. Without the selfless involvement of his maternal grandparents, the young Barack Obama would never have had the advantages that made it possible for him someday to become President.

But the point of his essay in Parade--made over and over--is that fathers matter, and that they matter most of all when times are tough.

At the risk of stating the obvious, there are fewer more difficult times than when the father of the baby (often, but by no means always, not married to the mother) learns she is carrying their baby.

What's worse - attempting to cover up statutory rape or receiving training and support from conservative organizations? From his Alternet piece on Lila Rose, it appears Bill Berkowitz think the latter is worse. His research is also so flimsy, he appears to think Rose founded the Advocate (a prolife student publication at UCLA) in the last couple of months.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Life Links 6/23/09

Joe Carter on the Uneasy Conscience of a Pro-Choice Apologist:
But while this shift in focus from rhetoric to morality will ensure that the pro-choice movement will lose ground, it does not necessarily mean a win for the pro-life cause. A primary reason is that the number of morally serious pro-choicers willing to confess in public to harboring such qualms remains discouragingly small. Even more importantly, the bar for what constitutes moral seriousness has been set so low for the pro-choice cause that people like Saletan and Kissling can admit that a viable fetus is a living human being yet still maintain that people should have the legal right to kill them.

Nevertheless, pro-choicers expressing pangs of conscience is a trend that should be encouraged. Pro-choice apologists may be able to live with the cognitive dissonance but others who are forced to face the morality of abortion may choose differently. And in the Age of Obama, that may be the best we pro-lifers can hope for.
Jessica at Feministing has linked to the piece mentioned above by former Catholic for a Free Choice head Frances Kissling in which Kissling notes there are some abortions she thinks shouldn't be performed. The majority of Feministing's commenters oppose Kissling's view and some don't even oppose women getting abortions because they wouldn't like the astrological sign their child would be born under (an example given by Kissling).

Their views may be abhorrent but at least they're consistent. If you think women have a right to complete bodily autonomy then you shouldn't have a problem with a woman having an abortion because she prefers to have a child born under a certain astrological sign.

A Florida man has been arrested for beating and sexually assaulting a pregnant woman.
Officers allege Daniels abused the woman, hitting her in the stomach, putting his hands around her throat and telling her she would never see her children again, an arrest report stated.

Daniels had been dating the 36-year-old Gainesville woman about a week and wanted her to have an abortion because the child wasn't his, the report stated.

Father Frank Pavone writes about how men can choose abortion.

Researcher in California are hoping they'll be able to use placenta stem cells to help treat minority patients who often have a difficult time finding an exact bone marrow match.
In a study published this month, Dr. Kuypers' team documented that stem cells taken from the placenta survived transfusion into animals, and indeed began producing healthy blood cells. That is the key to their effectiveness in treating diseases of the blood, like sickle cell anemia....

Placenta blood also has advantages over options like bone marrow transplant because the donor match does not have to be as exact.

I think I've previously noted how abortion clinics in the UK will soon be allowed to advertise on television. This article in the Daily Mail notes some opposition to this move and then includes this reasoning for the change:
The plan to allow pregnancy advisory services and abortion clinics to advertise on TV and radio was announced earlier this year by the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice.

They believe it could reduce the UK’s teenage pregnancy rate – the highest in Europe – and sexually-transmitted infections.
How would abortion advertising lower STIs and the teen pregnancy rate?

Case for Life Review

About a month or so ago it was my pleasant surprise to receive a complimentary copy (thanks Scott!) of The Case for Life: Equipping Christains to Engage the Culture by Scott Klusendorf. I was in the midst of reading a couple of other books when it arrived so I’ve just finished reading it in the last week or so.

Scott begins his book by arguing that the one question that trumps all others in the abortion debate is “What is the unborn?”

In the next set of chapters, he discusses moral relativism and its various problems, soundly debunks the idea that the Bible somehow tacitly supports abortion decisions, and provides a quick foundation for the Christian worldview.

Scott then uses the next set of chapters to help prolifers move conversations with pro-choicers to more of a dialogue than debate and provides helpful responses to common pro-choice objections including a chapter devoted to the bodily autonomy argument.

His last section of chapters encourages pastors to do more on the life issue, provides what he shares with post-abortive women and provides example of how he thinks Christians can help to win on this issue.

Each chapter is followed by helpful review questions and I found the book to be quite readable. The book is directed at prolife Christians and hopes to give them the tools to make the case for life with other individuals who may or may not be Christians. I wish the book could be something a non-Christian would be more interested in reading since I think Scott does a great job providing persuasive arguments in favor of the Christian worldview but I can understand why Scott is targeting this book towards a Christian audience.

What I think Scott does so well is take the ideas and arguments of people like Hadley Arkes and Francis Beckwith and makes them accessible to your average reader who is unlikely to delve into Natural Rights and the Right to Choose or Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Argument Against Abortion Choice. It’s kind of like a master carpenter sharing the tools of his trade with someone who will probably never build a rocking chair but needs help with a repair project. Not every prolifer who reads this book will be debating the past president of the ACLU on college campuses but the book provides them with the tools to influence friends and neighbors who may have never heard the prolife position properly presented.

Life Links 6/22/09

Career advice columnist Penelope Trunk discusses her two abortions.
I got two abortions to preserve my career. To keep my options open. To keep my aspirations within reach.

I bought into the idea that kids undermine your ability to build an amazing career.

And here I am, with the amazing career.

But also, here I am with two kids. So I know a bit about having kids and a career. And I want to tell you something: You don’t need to get an abortion to have a big career. Women who want big careers want them because something deep inside you drives you to change the world, lead a revolution, break new barriers.

Jill at Feministe claims a resolution (which is currently being blocked) to condemn violence against abortion providers is “not at all controversial.” Maybe she missed this paragraph (my emphasis).
Whereas there is a history of violence against providers of reproductive health care, as health care employees have suffered threats and hostility in order to provide crucial services to patients;
I find it at least somewhat controversial to call performing abortions “provid(ing) crucial services.” I also find it interesting that the resolution never uses the word “abortion.”

We also get a shot of Jill’s less-than-impeccable logic where she argues that because talk show host Joe Scarborough wanted to defend a guy who killed an abortion provider (and who he happened to know) back when he was a lawyer and was later supported by National Right to Life when he ran for Congress as a prolife candidate, therefore National Right to Life and the Republican Party support violence against abortion providers. Maybe MSNBC also supports violence against abortion providers because they hired Joe Scarborough to be a talk show host.

Charmaine Yoest argues in the Washington Post that Judge Sotomayor’s position on abortion would be worse than Justice Souter’s. Yoest argues that Sotomayor likely holds the position of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund which opposes limits on abortion like parental and informed consent legislation.

Jill Stanek has posted videos of Mike Huckabee and Jon Stewart discussing abortion on the Daily Show. I think Huckabee does a pretty good job (and certainly better than most politicians or ex-politicians) but I wish he just did a little more to gently pull away Stewart’s “control their own reproductive system” rhetoric. Something like, “Jon, you can only use that rhetoric if you ignore that some choices end the life of a human being. You’re not prolife if you think a woman should be able to have her unborn child killed.”

Ed Brayton should do some more basic research before commenting on stem cell issues in Michigan and providing a knee-jerk reaction. Ed seems unaware of what Proposal 2 did in Michigan. He seems to think it only allowed the killing of human embryos who were “not suitable” for implantation which is why he opposes legislation which attempts to provide a definition for what “not suitable” means along with a number of other regulations. But if he read the language of Proposal 2, he would know that it allowed the killing of human embryos who were created via IVF for family building but are no longer wanted by their parents and would otherwise be discarded or are not suitable for implantation.

Ed’s a fairly knowledgeable guy, so I’m trying to imagine how little the average Michigan voter knew about Proposal 2.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Life Links 6/19/2009

Joe Carter laments President Obama's disbandment of the President's Council of Bioethics.
In other words, the Obama administration already knows where it stands on all those pesky moral issues like human cloning, chimeras, and euthanasia, and just needs a group to provide advice on how to implement its preferred policies. Whereas the previous councils wrestled with such questions as “What is the nature of human dignity?” the new one will most likely be addressing more practical policy options, such as “How much should we pay women to harvest their eggs for cloning?”

Legislators in Michigan have introduced legislation to provide some regulation for researchers in Michigan who kill human embryos research. In 2008, Michigan voters voted in favor of Proposal 2, an amendment to the state constitution which legalized the killing of human embryos for research. Proposal 2's proponents, who promised the research would be regulated, are already fuming about the legislation.

Prolife groups in Kansas have reported receiving death threats in the wake of George Tiller's murder.
A third Wichita-based anti-abortion group, the Kansas Coalition for Life, also has received threats, said the group's president, Mark Gietzen.

Gietzen said he received three serious threats since the shooting, two of which were "bad enough that I called police," he said.

One person left a text message a few hours after the shooting. The message: "One of you is going to die for what you did to Tiller."

Abortions appear to be on the rise in Portugal.
At the Amadora-Sintra Hospital, which caters for 700,000 habitants, the majority of which suffer social and economic difficulties, voluntary abortions have risen by 23 per cent, while the birthrate is dropping.

Doctors fear this may be directly related to worries caused by the economic crisis and the impact it will have on extending families.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life lInks 6/18/09

RH Reality Check has launched section of their web site devoted to finding common ground entitled ”On Common Ground” with posts by various individuals (a couple of whom are prolife) and various legislative proposals which attempt to find common ground.

At World Magazine’s blog, Alisha Harris writes, “The problem I see so far is that finding common ground makes it hard to break new ground or move the debate forward. Civility is vital, but it is also pointless if it suffocates an authentic discussion of the deep tensions still there.”

CBN’s David Brody notes,“One quick note: on a separate part of their site they blast religious right organizations. It really takes away from their credibility when it comes to seeking common ground. It's a confusing message.”

Fallopian tubes removed during hysterectomies could be another source for adult stem cells. From the BBC:
The latest work by a Brazilian team from the University of São Paulo suggests fallopian tubes, discarded during the course of hysterectomies or female sterilisation operations, can be added to this list.

Once harvested, the scientists were able to multiply and then coax the mesenchymal stem cells to turn into apparently healthy muscle, fat, cartilage and bone cell lines in the lab.

Rebecca Taylor writes on how embryo adoption sends chills up the spines of some abortion advocates.
Here in lies the twisted hypocrisy so typical of those who defend abortion at all costs. Some couples want to use their "reproductive rights" by "adopting" other couples unwanted embryos. But this might just wake up the public to the fact that embryos and fetuses are actually living human organisms which is a threat to abortion-on-demand and research on embryos. Therefore, it is okay to disparage couples who choose "adopt" embryos and the people who facilitate the adoption as "anti-abortion" and "anti-stem cell" even though they are just exercising their "reproductive rights."

So tossing your "left-over" embryos or donating them to research is good because it fits with the whole pro-abortion mentality. But putting your embryos up for adoption and allowing them to finish their lives is bad because it challenges the morality of abortion-on-demand and embryo-destructive research. No wonder "embryo adoption" has pro-choicers worried.

While the rest of California is struggling to stay afloat, the budget of their embryonic stem cell agency is slated to increase by 25%.
The largest component of the budget goes for salaries and benefits, which are projected at $7.4 million for 47 employees. That is $1.9 million more than this year's estimated figure of $5.5 million. Personnel costs next year amount to an average of roughly $150,000 in salaries and benefits for each CIRM employee.

Cytotec - the drug of choice for men all over the world who don’t want their wives or girlfriend to have a baby. This time a man in Ghana has been arrested for slipping the drug into his pregnant girlfriend’s drink.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Life Links 6/17/2009

Trevin Wax interviews Scott Klusendorf regarding a variety of prolife news items including how prolifers should respond to people who blame George Tiller's death on people who are prolife.

Wesley Smith asks what's wrong with serial infanticide if infants aren't persons.

Dan Gilgoff discusses the Obama administration's possible common ground plan and the concerns of both sides of the abortion debate.

According to MIT's Technology Review, Advanced Cell Technology will seek approval for a clinical trial using embryonic stem cells to treat vision loss.

"Emmie" chooses to kill her child

"Emmie," the woman who wrote into a New York Times parenting blog looking for advice regarding her unplanned pregnancy has decided to have an abortion and her thought process seems to mirror the thought process of many women in unplanned pregnancies who eventually end up choosing abortion.
So many of the comments urged me to consider adoption but I already feel so attached to the little zygote inside of me (my friend named it Ziggy) that I don’t think I could carry a baby to term just to give it away. The mere thought of handing my child to someone else, as altruistic as it is, breaks me.
Notice the claim of attachment right alongside the attempt at dehumanizing her child by using a term (zygote) which attempts to make her unborn child sound less developed. The thought of altrustically not killing the child and making an adoption "breaks" her but the thought of killing the child seems to have no negative consequences.

After the father decides he can provide emotional support for the abortion and drive her to the clinic, Emmie writes,
I firmly believe that there’s nothing to regret here and we didn’t do anything wrong. Birth control fails. People get scared. They underestimate themselves and each other. Everything will be okay
But what about Ziggy? Will Ziggy be okay? You know, the child you were just so attached to you couldn't make an adoption plan?

But this comment takes the cake:
The one thing I realized, when I pulled all the comments together, was that a baby is too precious and wonderful to not plan for — I owe the children I have a better head start.
So you'll kill the ones that you can't give the best head start to so they don't have to go through life starting behind? What a sickening attempt to act like this act of selfishness is an act of selflessness.

Monday, June 15, 2009

If only this was satire....

Check out this post by Jonathan Grindell, a self-described "anarcha-feminist who society has forcibly identified as a male", entitled, "Why I'm a Pro-Choice Dude."

I think my favorite part is when he calls himself an animal liberationist, then complains about the overpopulation of dogs and cats and advocates the "humane choice to alleviate some of their future suffering."

Or maybe it's the next sentence when he writes, "I refuse to take part in suffering and death to non-humyn animals, so I am vegan."

NY Times notes sex selection abortions in U.S.

The New York Times has an article on the growing disparity between the number of girls and boys born to Asian parents in the United States. The article also has some quotes from a couple who likely would have had an abortion if their third child was a girl.
The first time Angie became pregnant and learned that the baby was a girl, she and her husband were merely disappointed. They had planned on having a second child anyway. When she learned she was pregnant with a girl again, though, the couple considered an abortion.

Their doctor argued against terminating the second pregnancy, they said. The couple reluctantly agreed to try for a third child.

“Our theory was that to raise kids, it’s tough already, so we didn’t want too many,” Rick recalled.

They explored various forms of sex selection, which could cost $15,000 or more, but they feared that because Angie was so fertile, the process would result in multiple births. She became pregnant a third time naturally. The couple were delighted to learn they were finally having a boy.

“If the third one was going to be a girl, then I would say probably I would have terminated,” Angie said.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, cultural relativists who profit from cultural biases against girl aren’t helping.
“The patients come in and they all think they owe me an excuse, but the bottom line is it’s cultural,” said Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, medical director of the Fertility Institutes, a California clinic that began sex-selection procedures in New York in March.

The Fertility Institutes, which does not offer abortions, has unabashedly advertised its services in Indian- and Chinese-language newspapers in the United States.

“Culturally, there are a lot of strange things that go on in the world,” Dr. Steinberg said. “Whether we agree with it, it’s not harming anyone.”

Life Links 6/15/09

After recently claiming he would perform third trimester abortions in Kansas and seemingly misleading Associated Press writer Margery Gibbs into thinking Nebraska had stricter abortion laws than Kansas, abortionist Leroy Carhart is now claiming he will perform third trimester abortions at his Nebraska abortion clinic.
For the time being, Carhart said he will offer late-term abortions in his Bellevue clinic. He said Nebraska’s abortion laws are flexible.

“As long as I get referrals from other doctors that say the fetus is not viable, then it's my intent to take care of those patients,” Carhart said.
This is in contrast to what the Associated Press wrote after interviewing Carhart less than a week ago. That article claims,
Carhart has run his own clinic in Bellevue, Neb., since 1985, but had performed late-term abortions at Tiller's clinic because of Nebraska's more restrictive abortion laws.

NOW on PBS has a short online debate between Troy Newman and Cristina Page. Page’s only evidence for the supposed need for third trimester abortions comes from details about a late term abortion (no specific gestation is given) in an pro-Tiller opinion editorial in the Cleveland Plains Dealer, which was originally published in the Kansas City Star. The editorial provides no medical reasoning for why killing the twins of Phillip Wood and his wife would be preferable to delivering them.

Another article which also has the Woods’ story claims, “Doctors told the couple that the twins wouldn't survive, and, without an abortion, the couple would not be able to conceive again.” I’m not seeing any information on how injecting digoxin into the hearts of the twins before delivering would somehow save the fertility of Phillip Wood’s wife.

A government official in Sweden is calling for an abortion registry.
The author of the government report, Anders Milton, writes in an article in Dagens Nyheter, that “for whatever reasons, we in Sweden have more abortions than other countries in western Europe”.
Milton believes many of the abortions may be performed on individuals not born in Sweden and proposes free contraceptives for anyone under the age of 25 and more sex education as a means to solving the problem. The article notes that contraceptives and emergency contraception are already available for free at youth centers.

A couple from the UK is deciding what do after receiving an undisclosed sum when physicians at the NHS implanted their last embryonic child into the womb of another woman. The article claims the woman “chose to take an abortion pill before the embryo was allowed to implant into her womb” but it seems more likely the woman aborted the pregnancy after implantation had occurred.
"We just wanted to get out of there. The actual mention of the termination part of it really upsets us because we tend to think of the embryo as the little boy that we have got because he was from the first batch of embryos."

The mother of Ireland’s first sextuplets notes how doctors persuaded her to abort some of her children.
At 14 weeks, she said she was given the option of terminating some of the unborn babies. "They more or less advised us to," she told the Sunday Express. "They told us about the risks we faced if we went ahead with the pregnancy."

But the former fashion store sales supervisor insisted on putting her faith in God and pressing ahead despite the risks. "Whatever God laid out for our lives we were taking it," said 26-year-old Nuala.

Three people in India have been arrested after forcing a woman to undergo five sex-selection abortions.
Yagnik became pregnant eight months into the marriage. But her in-laws forced her to terminate the pregnancy after sonography carried out at a Anand hospital revealed a female foetus. The Bhatts' desire for a boy child led to four other cases of female foeticide. Yagnik said her daughter, Kamya, could not have been born had the in-laws been given a chance to run a sex-determination test.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Life Links 6/12/09

Stephen Drake of Not Dead Yet points out that even Art Caplan is fearful that Hollywood's Jack Kevorkian biopic won't tell the true story. Drake also argues that Kevorkian might have been the best thing for the assisted suicide movement because he allowed them to appear moderate.

A couple of Indian news outlets have the story of a young girl named Paramita (or Pramita) Aich who had a Stage IV neuroblastoma which was successfully treated with the help of a stem cell transplant.

According to Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), Judge Sotomayor claimed to him that she had never thought about whether the unborn have rights. I wonder if liberals will have as hard of time believing this as they do Justice Clarence Thomas' claim that he couldn't recall discussing Roe v. Wade while in law school.

The Chicago Tribune has an article on a blogger who created a blog (currently taken down) to fictionalize an account of giving birth to a terminally ill child.
By Sunday night, when "April's Mom" claimed to have given birth to her "miracle baby" -- blogging that April Rose had survived a home birth only to die hours later -- her Web site had nearly a million hits.

There was only one problem with the unfolding tragedy: None of it was true....

By Monday, outraged followers on dozens of Christian parenting Web sites unmasked "April's Mom" as a hoaxer, and hundreds more vented their anger...

Beushausen said she really did lose a son shortly after birth in 2005. She started her blog in March to help deal with that loss and to express her strong anti-abortion views, she said....

"I've always liked writing. It was addictive to find out I had a voice that people wanted to hear," Beushausen said.

"Soon I was getting 100,000 hits a week, and it just got out of hand," she said. "I didn't know how to stop. ... One lie led to another."

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I hate lines like this:
Maybe a good mother knows when it’s time to terminate, for her sake and for her child’s.

It’s the last line in an e-mail from a pregnant woman, who e-mailed a New York Times parenting blog looking for advice from the blog’s readers on what she should do.

What kind of person actually thinks that terminating their unborn child is something to do for the sake of the child?

Do they not understand abortion isn’t something where the child is put on pause and then magically reappears when the mother is more ready to give birth?

Do they not understand that abortion, err... I mean, termination kills the child?

Imagine the amount of convoluted rationalizing it must take to think that you’re going to kill your unborn child for your child’s sake.

It's almost like she knows she shouldn't have an abortion just because her situation isn't perfect so she has to think of some way to not make it completely about her own desires.

UPDATE:If you want to make yourself sick, read some of the comments replying to the e-mail. You'll get an idea about how selfish and broken some segments of our society are. An example from Billy Bob,
Get an abortion. I know the advice is so 80’s, but get an abortion. It’s cheap and simple. There are too many people around anyway.

Still not getting it

Patricia Beninato, the founder of the I’m Not Sorry web site, recently joined the chorus of pro-choicers who are seemingly appalled at Justice For All’s training manual. Patricia admits she hadn’t yet read all of the PDF pages posted by RH Reality Check but she still believes it’s one of the “most (expletive)-up documents” she's ever read. I left the following comment trying to understand the pro-choice reaction to this training manual:
I’m trying to understand the pro-choice fury over this training manual and I’m just not getting it. You don’t provide any example of what’s so horrible in the document. Marcotte and Jill from Feministe claim the documents is filled with lies but I can’t find any example where Justice for All is trying to intentionally deceive people into believing something they know to be false. I just don’t understand what’s so heinous about having a manual which trains prolifers to talk about the issue with college students some of whom who will obviously be pro-choice.

Here’s her response:
J–as the saying goes, if I have to explain it to you you’re not getting it. Is this group going into the ghettoes and saying stuff like this to young black women? Are they going to historically black campuses with this stuff? That would be a resounding no. Groups like these focus on young nubile white women, the last hope of the Aryan race. THAT’S what pisses me off.

This response seemed even stranger than being horrified that a prolife organization training volunteers to talk to college students. Especially, since if you take a look at JFA recent campus events, you can see that most of them appear to be at large state schools (which typically pride themselves on ethnic diversity) in states with high percentages of minorities.

Is it me or does it not make any sense at all to be opposed to a prolife organization having a training manual for volunteers because those prolifers set up displays with images of displays of aborted children on large college campuses as opposed to ghettos?

Life Links 6/11/09

Abortionist Leroy Carhart is claiming he plans on performing 3rd trimester abortions in Kansas.
Carhart isn't saying whether his plans include opening a new facility or offering the abortions at an existing practice. He says such details are "something that doesn't need to be talked about" until everything is in place.

Reuters reporter Maggie Fox really ought to do a little more research. She has an article whose title falsely claims, “Murder leaves just two U.S. clinics for late abortions.” The article also has this astoundingly ridiculous quote from abortionist Pratima Gupta:
Gupta calls Tiller's murder devastating. "There are two other providers out there, but frankly, right now, they are not wanting to be very public about the services that they offer," she said.
Does Gupta mean Warren Hern and Leroy Carhart (see above)? But of whom have been extremely public about providing late-term abortions in the days after Tiller's murder.

The Washington Times has an editorial regarding Judge Sotomayor’s position on abortion.
Other evidence is more direct. Consider that from 1980 until October 1992, Judge Sotomayor served on the board -- at times as vice president and at times as chairman of the litigation committee -- of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. The New York Times in 1992 described her as "a top policy maker on the board." During that time period, the fund filed briefs in not one, not two, but at least six prominent court cases in strong support of "abortion rights."

Alveda King responds to Leroy Carhart comparing the death of George Tiller to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Life Links 6/10/09

George Tiller's abortion clinic will be permanently closed. Here's the statement from his family.

Here's an interesting quote from an LA Times article on abortion fatigue after Tiller's death.
"I am currently exploring every option to be able to continue to make second- and early, medically indicated third-term abortions available," said Tiller associate LeRoy Carhart in a statement. Carhart, a Nebraska physician, performed abortions at Tiller's clinic on a rotating basis with two California doctors.
So besides Carhart, there were at least two other doctors who would help Tiller perform late abortions. I don't how many news stories I've read this week which have blindly accepted Warren Hern's assertion that only three doctors in the U.S. provide third-trimester abortions.

Rebecca Taylor highlights the following sentence from an article entitled, "Getting beyond the welfare of the child in assisted reproduction" in the Journal of Medical Ethics about assisted reproductive technology.
Assisted reproduction is primarily about us, actual people in an actual society, and how potential children may affect us.

Isn't it funny when some pro-choicers attack a prolifer by claiming that the prolifer is saying something which must mean they think people are dumb and then the pro-choicer goes on to show themselves to be woefully misinformed. Jamelle at The United States of Jamerica does this in a post entitled, "Ross Douthat thinks you're stupid."

She goes on to show she only has a rudimentary knowledge of abortion polling,
According to Gallup, this is how it breaks down: roughly a quarter of Americans believe abortion should be legal in every circumstance, roughly half of Americans believe abortion should be legal in some circumstances, and roughly a quarter of Americans believe abortion should never be legal. What’s more, I’m sure that Americans would be fully in favor of the Roe v. Wade/Casey v. Planned Parenthood status quo if it were described to them free of propaganda.

This is absolutely hilarious considering most polls which ask people about Roe v. Wade falsely claim it only legalized abortion in the first trimester. And if you actually ask people when they'd specifically allow abortion, a large percentage of people in the "some circumstances" turn out to be people who only favor legal abortion in cases of rape or life or serious physical health risk to the mother and would completely oppose the current legal regime in our country.

Then Jamelle tries to tell us what she thinks Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey did (free of propaganda, of course)
That is, a status quo where first trimester abortion is virtually unregulated, second trimester abortion is subject to restrictions of varying degree, determined by each state, and third trimester abortion is illegal except in extreme circumstances.
I'm wondering what second trimester restrictions she referring to? In Roe's trimester framework, states are allowed to make second trimester restrictions which are "reasonably related" to the mother's health but this really doesn't allow for much restriction at all. Even states like Mississippi, which have passed nearly every kind of restriction you can think of, haven't been able to restrict second trimester abortions. The lone Mississippi abortion clinic advertises that it will perform second trimester abortions. Planned v. Casey allowed regulations on abortion which aren't an "undue burden" on the mother and for years an "undue burden" was basically whatever Justice Sandra Day O'Connor thought was an undue burden. Now it's basically whatever Justice Kennedy believes to be an undue burden.
This actually gets to the other thing I don’t like about this column – Ross Douthat thinks we’re stupid. No, he doesn’t outright say it, but his argument only works if his readers are complete and total idiots.
Actually, Ross is assuming his readers are somewhat informed. Jamelle is obviously not.
Under current law, there already is substantive debate over second and third trimester abortion. States already can regulate and restrict abortion in both periods, and in many states, there already is a “saner, stricter legal regime.”
She then fails to note a single second trimester restriction and fails to note a single state which has been able to ban or severely restrict second trimester abortions. Nor does she ever mention that "health" as defined by Doe v. Bolton is so all-encompassing that allows for abortion throughout pregnancy as long as a woman wants one and can find a physician willing to perform one.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Life Links 6/9/09

The New York Times has an article on the prolife movement in Wichita, its history and the effect of George Tiller's murder and the possible closing of his clinic.

This is weird. Some guy named Randy Alcorn (and I'm presuming it's not the same Randy Alcorn who's the author of "Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Argument" and "Why Pro-Life") has an editorial in the Daily Sound which argues that abortion is prolife because our world can't sustain all our lives, so some of us have to go. Mr. Alcorn, of course, doesn't volunteer to sacrifice his life to save the rest of the human race. It's much easier to push for abortions and population control efforts in developing nations.

Ross Douthat's editorial in the New York Times notes how the lack of ability to strictly regulate abortions is one of the reasons why third trimester abortions receive so much attention.
Indeed, the argument that some abortions take place in particularly awful, particularly understandable circumstances is not a case against regulating abortion. It’s the beginning of precisely the kind of reasonable distinction-making that would produce a saner, stricter legal regime.

If anything, by enshrining a near-absolute right to abortion in the Constitution, the pro-choice side has ensured that the hard cases are more controversial than they otherwise would be. One reason there’s so much fierce argument about the latest of late-term abortions — Should there be a health exemption? A fetal deformity exemption? How broad should those exemptions be? — is that Americans aren’t permitted to debate anything else. Under current law, if you want to restrict abortion, post-viability procedures are the only kind you’re allowed to even regulate.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an editorial of a medical student who plans on offering abortions as part of her practice if and when she becomes an OB-GYN entitled, "Why I Plan to Emulate Dr. George Tiller."
I still have a long way to go in my medical training. I’ve never witnessed an actual abortion procedure...
I wonder if she'll change her mind after actually seeing abortions performed especially since it's difficult to imagine someone who doesn't "claim that abortion is morally acceptable" regularly performing late-term abortions.

A team of Canadian researchers has discovered another way of creating induced pluripotent stem cells without using viruses.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Life Links 6/8/09

The Washington Post has an article on state legislation to restrict abortion. It notes how Mississippi abortionist Joseph Booker admits he breaks the law.
Booker, who performs about 60 abortions a week, said he is careful to follow state law. But, citing medical research, he refuses to comply with the legislative mandate to tell women that abortion increases the risks of breast cancer and infertility. During one counseling session last week, he called them "two things definitely not associated with having an abortion."

Carl Olsen shreds a Huffington Post piece on abortion.
I love it. She spends the entire...thing...saying how horrible it is that pro-lifers force people to have babies and want to make mothers do this and that—and then she turns around and tells us what to do and not do. Typical liberal logic: "Do as I say, not as logic, tradition, commonsense, and a good conscience tells you to do."

Scott Roeder, the accused murderer of George Tiller is claiming he knows of other planned attacks on abortion providers.
Scott Roeder called The Associated Press from the Sedgwick County jail, where he's being held on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the shooting of Dr. George Tiller one week ago.

"I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal," Roeder said. When asked by the AP what he meant and if he was referring to another shooting, he refused to elaborate further.

It wasn't clear whether Roeder knew of any impending violence or whether he was simply seeking publicity for his cause. Law enforcement authorities including the Justice Department said they didn't know whether the threat was credible.

Andrew Sullivan posts how one woman thinks about her abortion.
I never regretted my decision to terminate the pregnancy. But I also never believed that I had harmed an unborn child with the abortion. I’m not a Christian and I don’t believe that life begins at conception. Life, to my way of thinking, has no beginning and no ending. The idea that it begins at conception always seemed rather arbitrary to me. And I also suspect that this life is not our only shot. There is quite a bit of evidence that we live countless lives. Check out the research of Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia on the verification of past lives remembered by children. I think it’s far more likely that when a pregnancy is terminated, that soul is simply born to a different mother. I don’t deny that terminating a pregnancy can be a mournful event for a mother and a family. But I’m not so sure that it’s a devastating event for the unborn child. And I don’t see why pro-life folks are so sure about this
Ummm.....Couldn’t this same argument be used to okay the killing of just about anyone? Why would shooting a teenager in the head be a devastating event for them, they’ll just be born again and live another life?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday Baby Blogging

Life Links 6/5/09

The Washington Post has an article on late-term abortions which basically allows Warren Hern, Leroy Carhart and the National Abortion Federation's Vicky Saporta to make a number of unsubstantiated claims about the women who come to them for post-viability abortions and the only response is a couple of short quotes from Operation Rescue.

Why couldn't the Post find a prolife doctor who specializes in helping women who want to carry their children with fetal anomalies to term?

Meanwhile, the LA Times features an article on Warren Hern and his clinic. Apparently, the only prolifer they could find to reply to Hern was Colorado Right to Life's Bob Enyart, who has two quotes.
Bob Enyart, spokesman for Colorado Right to Life, which has demonstrated against Hern for decades, said that although his group doesn't condone Tiller's slaying, abortion providers should expect that violence begets violence.

"If a Mafia hit man gets killed, people recognize it's an occupational hazard," he said....

Enyart has no sympathy. "The perpetrators of widespread injustice like slave traders and Nazis expect to go home and live in tranquillity. That's an absurd expectation."
Really Bob? Is your desire for publicity so strong you're willing to pull a Randall Terry just to get quoted in the LA Times?

An abortion clinic employee is suing a protestor and claiming he injured her back by hitting her with his car.
The suit alleges Mull’s car “without warning accelerated,” hit her and she was thrown to the ground.

Mull’s attorney, Joseph Green, says that’s a claim that’s been “very, very vigorously denied.”

“It was a low-energy impact, if it even occurred,” Green said, noting that, if anything, Mull’s side mirror may have touched Murphy. “Certainly it wasn’t anything intentional, and any contact was very slight if it occurred.”

A man in California has been convicted of two counts of murder after killing his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child.
Stallworth said that's because Ashley, who has a wife and three children, testified on Monday that he lost control of himself when Grayson, who was eight and a half months pregnant, told him that he wasn't the father of her unborn child.

But prosecutor Casey Bates said he thinks that the evidence in the case indicates that Ashley killed Grayson, using a pair of scissors, because she wouldn't get an abortion or give up the child for adoption.

Bates said that when Ashley finally called many hours after he stabbed Grayson, he said, "My baby's mother has been stabbed."

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Is this "faking compassion?"

In light of recent accusations that the Justice for All training manual wants prolife volunteers and staffers to fake compassion, I thought I'd link to the blog of Lauren Harrast, a Justice for All employee who raises her own support.

On her blog, Lauren has chronicled numerous conversations she's had with college students at various universities in front of Justice for All displays along with how the students felt about her and the exhibit.

Do the unborn feel pain or not?

What I’ve found really interesting over the last week is that a number of pro-choicers are attempting to justify the late-term abortions of unborn children with fetal anomalies by saying they were “mercy” abortions since the unborn child was or would be in pain.

I find this so curious because when National Right to Life Committee was prominently promoting legislation which would inform women considering abortions after 20 weeks that their child is capable of feeling pain, prominent pro-choice bloggers were almost uniformly against this measure, often times claiming the unborn likely couldn’t feel pain until much later in pregnancy. Many of them were even quite upset with NARAL after NARAL took a “neutral” position on the legislation.

What’s also interesting is you have to think: “Did these parents who were so concerned about their unborn child’s pain ever consider that abortion could cause their child some degree of pain?” Or “Aren’t there better measures in modern medicine to relieve pain than kill the individual in pain?”

Life Links 6/4/09

RH Reality Check blogger Emily Douglas is claiming Jill Stanek is aiding and abetting people who want to kill abortionists because Jill posted photos of Leroy Carhart’s dump of an abortion clinic.
She and her readers just want "to take a look." Why? She wants to prove her point that it's a dingy building? Over Carhart's safety, and the safety of his staff and patients?
If posting the photos of Carhart’s “dingy” abortion clinic is aiding people who want to harm abortionists, then wouldn’t Carhart also be aiding people who want to harm abortionists because his web site (which is also rather dingy) posts the address of his clinic and maps to it?

RH Reality Check has gotten around to posting the PDFs of the Justice For All training manual. It’s really disturbing to see all the reactions by pro-choice bloggers and commenters to this rather straightforward prolife training manual. Jill from Feministe calls it a “‘How to Lie’ instruction guide.” These kinds of completely irrational reactions make me wonder if some of these pro-choice people could ever be reasoned with. It just appears like they’ve gotten to the place where they’re more focused on attacking and belittling any prolife person or organization that they no longer have the ability to even understand where a prolife person is coming from.

I’m with Jen R. What can we do to help make Randall Terry go away and stay away? Who still supports this guy?

The Wall Street Journal has a Stephanie Simon article about the practices at Tiller’s abortion clinic.

Maggie Gallagher writes on the murders of George Tiller and Army Pvt. William A. Long.
At The New York Times, one story is front-page news; the other is buried in the back pages. Are anti-war voices that condemn the U.S. military responsible for Pvt. Long's atrocious murder? No....

But the man who murdered Dr. George Tiller will have to answer not only for his own evil act, but for the pall he casts by association on the good men and women of this country fighting for equality for all human beings, the born and the unborn -- for our equal, inalienable right to live. Just being human is enough to give us this right. Smart people share it with dumb people. Good people with bad people. Fully grown adults with the tiniest human life in the womb.

None of us has the right to be jury, judge and executioner. None of us can be trusted with the power to decide, on our own individual initiative, who is worthy of life and who deserves death.

None of us.

The UK’s Telegraph has a story about a man who killed his girlfriend after she had an abortion.
Wilson, 28, told Sheffield Crown Court that he lost his temper and felled Mrs Preece with one blow after she told him she had had an abortion a few days earlier.

"I was angry that she had not asked me if I wanted to keep it," he said.

He admitted that he punched her in the mouth, knocking her straight to the floor, punched her again and then stamped twice on her head with "severe" force.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"Earth 2100"

I knew ABC's "Earth 2100" was going to be bad. But I couldn't fathom how bad it would it be. I think it was the silliest piece of propaganda I've ever seen. If you ever want to have a good, hearty laugh at a bunch of doomsday theorists and green-obsessed television producers, check it out. I think my favorite part was when the world suddenly loses power and the internet in something like 2075 and no reason is given for how this would happen.

Or maybe when China and India go to war.

Or maybe when New Yorkers are forced to flee because the future dam breaks down and can't be closed in time.

Life Links 6/3/09

Scott Roeder has been charged for George Tiller's murder.

Both Ramesh Ponnuru and Jay Watts respond to William Saletan's argument individuals who kill abortion providers are the only ones who truly believe the unborn are as valuable as the born.

The more I think about, the more I can't believe how thoughtless Saletan's argument is. For example, take his argument and use it on other movements. Does he think those who resorted to violence (like John Brown) were the only abolitionists who really thought that slaves were persons? Did William Wilberforce not really believe slaves were equal to free men because he didn't kill slave traders?

Pro-choicers often assert something along the lines of "what ever choice a woman makes regarding her pregnancy is the best choice." In a RH Reality Check blog post, Ann Rose departs from this line of thinking and claims that abortion is the "best solution" for women whose unborn children are diagnosed with fetal anomalies late in pregnancy.
Without a doubt, the number one reason for abortions past 24 weeks is the late discovery of a fetal anomaly incompatible with life. I've talked with many women who find themselves in this situation and it is always an extremely difficult and heart-wrenching situation. Many women even underwent infertility treatments to become pregnant. But, when the pregnancy goes horribly awry, a Mercy Abortion is the best solution in a no-win situation. These are women who need abortion more than many others.

A child who weighed a mere 12.5 ounces at birth is set to leave a hospital in Pittsburgh.
Weighing 12.5 ounces and measuring 10 inches long at birth, Taylor Rideout is the tiniest baby ever to survive at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

The baby was born on March 12 to Brittany Rideout and Adam Bouchat of the South Side. The due date was June 17.

Normally a baby born at 26 weeks of gestation weighs about 25 ounces, said Dr. Jennifer Kloesz of Magee's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Mrs. Rideout has lupus and the pregnancy was posing a risk to her life, so doctors had to deliver the baby. Lupus patients often have pregnancy complications, and the couple was aware of the risks.

Amanda Marcotte's Hot Rhetoric and Inability to Know What a Lie is

I've always thought Amanda Marcotte was a few eggs short of an omelette but this post at the RH Reality Check blog makes me wonder if there are any eggs at all.

Amanda got her hands on a training booklet from the prolife organization Justice for All which regularly coordinates large displays of images of aborted children at college campuses. The training booklet is to help volunteers who stand near the displays share their prolife views and respond to pro-choice objections. The title of Amanda's piece claims there are "all-out lies" in the booklet yet she can't name a single instance in which the booklet lies or instructs volunteers to lie.
Since my scanner is slow, and time is limited, I didn't turn all 113 pages into a PDF, and since much of it is just Q&A sections and scripture, I didn't feel I had to. But I did grab some interesting pages on arguments to make and rhetorical strategies to use against pro-choicers who try to engage anti-choice activists.
What's interesting is that Amanda doesn't provide links to the PDFs of the pages with all these supposed lies. If these pages are so filled with lies, why not post them for reader to judge for themselves instead of having Amanda's inaccurate descriptions.

Here's how Amanda describes the section which instructs volunteers on how to respond to questions about contraception.
So instead of allowing members to admit their hostility to all forms of contraception, they instruct them to conceal their beliefs until a target has been softened up to hear about their true message--sexual abstinence for all not trying to procreate--through a series of dodgy, misleading arguments, including misinformation about how the birth control pill works.
Here Amanda is playing on the ignorance (including hers) of many pro-choicers. Not everyone (and likely not the majority) of individuals who volunteer with Justice For All are opposed to "all forms of contraception" or that we only think people trying to procreate should have sex (since when did prolifers become opposed to sex among people past the child bearing age?). Note how Amanda doesn't share a single one of these "dodgy, misleading arguments" and then respond to it. She just labels them and moves on.
Once you realize this, the movement's half-hearted denunciations of Dr. Tiller's murder, coupled with the enthusiastic return to calling Dr. Tiller a monster, become all the more chilling.
So a prolife organization's training volunteers to talk about their views on contraception and abstinence before marriage makes the denunciations of Tiller's killing "more chilling." This is nonsense.
The section "What If The Mother's Life Is In Danger" is particularly outrageous, in light of the fact that it spreads many of the lies that led directly to Dr. Tiller's assassination. Dr. Tiller performed a number of medically indicated late term abortions, and anti-choice attempts to use legal persecution to catch him fudging the ugly realities proved fruitless.
Amanda clearly knows next to nothing about Tiller's abortion operation. The late-term abortions he performed weren't medically indicated. Those procedures are typically performed in hospitals. They were abortions on girls who either hid or denied their pregnancies until late into pregnancy or late-term abortions on unborn children with fetal defects. Neither is medically indicated. Amanda also fails to mention (likely because she doesn't know) that Tiller's actions of hiring a Kristin Neuhaus to approve abortions on girls who were more than 22 weeks pregnant were under investigation by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts.

Amanda continues:
This casual disregard for women's lives is acknowledged as a credibility-wrecking problem in another section "Women Will Die in the Back Alleys with Coat Hangers." It's clear that Justice for All activists have convinced themselves that making abortion illegal actually doesn't hinder access to safe abortions (!), but followers are instructed to pretend to concede that illegal abortion is dangerous, to gain credibility.
Ummmm.....this is called conceding something for the sake of the argument. It's fairly common and it's not deceitful.

I think one of Amanda's big problems is that she seems to have no clue what a lie is. She seems to think "a lie" is something she disagrees with rather than someone saying something which they know to be untrue. This is on display with regards to the assertion that "abortion is genocide."
Shocking as all this is, perhaps the most shocking is the section addressing what Justice For All believes about the motivations of doctors who perform and women who obtain abortion, in a section titled "Abortion Isn't Genocide!" Yes, they believe that abortion is genocide, and their rationales for this belief depend on a bunch of out-of-context quotes suggesting that terminating a pregnancy is exactly the same thing as targeting a people for elimination. People commit genocide because they hate the group in question, so the implication (barely implied, and almost directly stated) is that doctors and women who have abortions do so because they hate fetuses. Not because the woman can't go through a pregnancy for a myriad of personal reasons. Not because the doctor is trying to help the woman. No, because pro-choicers hate fetuses.

This is the sort of vicious lie that led to Dr. Tiller's assassination.
Try to ignore the stupidity of the claim that prolifers think women hate fetuses and notice how Amanda notes that JFA "believe(s)" that abortion is genocide and supposedly believe that pro-choicers hate fetuses. She then claims this "lie" led to Tiller's murder. Well, if they believe it then it isn't a lie, is it? It could certainly be a false statement but it can only be a lie if the person stating it doesn't actually believe it to be true.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Life Links 6/2/09

William Saletan rather thoughtlessly attempts to argue that it makes sense for prolifers to kill abortionists.
I applaud these statements. They affirm the value of life and nonviolence, two principles that should unite us. But they don't square with what these organizations purport to espouse: a strict moral equation between the unborn and the born.
Yes, they do. If it is wrong to kill unborn humans because they have inherent worth and intrinsic value, then it is also wrong to kill born humans (including George Tiller and other abortionists) because they have the same inherent worth and intrinsic value.
If a doctor in Kansas were butchering hundreds of old or disabled people, and legal authorities failed to intervene, I doubt most members of the National Right to Life Committee would stand by waiting for "educational and legislative activities" to stop him. Somebody would use force.
Well, there was that case not so many years ago of a deranged man who killed and assisted in the suicides of more than a hundred people in Michigan. Most of people weren't terminally ill and some of them weren't even sick. They were often found dead in hotel rooms or delivered by van to hospitals. The ghoulish individual even removed organs from at least one victim. For years authorities failed to intervene and failed to convict more than a couple times when they did intervene. Yet no members of the National Right to Life Committee attempted to use force or violence to stop Jack Kevorkian.

USA Today has an article which provides more details on Scott Roeder, George Tiller's alleged murderer.
Scott Roeder called himself a citizen of the Republic of Kansas who didn't want to pay income or Social Security taxes or register his car. In the 1990s, he belonged to a group that said its members were not subject to federal or state laws.

His brother, David, said in a written statement that Roeder has a history of mental illness. His ex-wife said in an interview that his views led to the breakup of their 10-year marriage.

A local NBC station has a few more details from Roeder's ex-wife and his mug shot from 1998.

Americans United for Life has hired prolife blogger Dawn Eden.

Monday, June 01, 2009

"Don't blame the crazy lone gunman, mainstream prolife organization are at fault!"

Jill Filipovic has an misleading piece a in the Guardian which blames mainstream prolife organizations for the murder of George Tiller. She writes,
Not surprisingly, his killer is strongly suspected to be affiliated with the "pro-life" movement.
Ummm.... how is Scott Roeder affiliated with the prolife movement? He apparently left one comment on one Operation Rescue blog post and now he’s affiliated with the prolife movement?
Some pro-life groups are issuing statements of condemnation and attempting to paint this murder as the work of an extremist. But this latest act of terrorism is, sadly, not an anomaly.
I guess it depends on how you define anomaly. George Tiller isn’t the first abortion provider to be killed but it certainly isn’t a regular occurrence.
It is part of a clearly-established pattern of harassment, intimidation and violence against abortion providers and pro-choice individuals. And mainstream pro-life groups shoulder much of the blame.
Pro-life organisations routinely refer to abortion as "murder", a "genocide" and a "holocaust".
So prolife organizations are to blame for the murder of an abortionist because they use terms Jill disagrees with to describe abortion? If some crazy, anti-war loon killed a soldier who returns home from Iraq, should the ladies of Code Pink shoulder much of the blame if they’ve used terms similar terms to describe the deaths from the war in Iraq? If some crazy, pro-choice loon kills a prolifer should those pro-choicers who call prolifers “fascists” shoulder the blame? If someone attacks an individual who is opposed to same-sex marriage because of their political views should those in favor of same-sex marriage who use words like “bigot” to describe opponents of same-sex marriage shoulder the blame?

Here’s where Jill goes from bad assertions and starts to intentionally mislead people:
They post the full names abortion providers on their websites, along with their addresses, their license plate numbers, their photos, the names of children and the schools those children attend (sometimes with helpful Wild-West-style "Wanted" posters offering $5,000 rewards).
They?? Who’s they??

The way Jill words it, it sounds like all (or at least a good deal of) the prolife organizations issuing condemnations are the same organizations who are encouraging violence against abortion providers and providing their home addresses.

She continues and again acts like mainstream prolife organization who condemned Tiller’s murder are giving out the addresses of abortion providers.
When you convince your followers that abortion providers are the equivalent of SS officers slaughtering innocents by the millions, tell them that "it's all-out WAR" against pro-choicers and then provide the home addresses and personal information of the "monster" "late-term baby-killer" abortion providers you're supposedly at war against, you can't act surprised when those followers conclude that it's morally justified to use the information to kill doctors.

If you recall, Jill has a history of attempting to equate mainstream prolife organizations with those on the extreme fringe. When I noted her error of thinking the Army of God’s Rev. Spitz's more friendly-sounding “Pro-Life Virginia” wasn’t a mainstream prolife organization, she quietly edited her post without a note.

She continues:
Words mean things. Anti-choicers should certainly have every right to express their views, but they must also realise that actions have consequences and their rhetoric is not harmless.
So prolifers have First Amendment rights as long as they don't call abortion “murder” because simply calling abortion “murder” could cause someone to kill an abortion provider?

Then Jill again goes back to “they’re providing addresses” line for the third time:
If you yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, it's reasonably foreseeable that people will panic and someone will be injured. And if you yell "Murderer!" "Baby-Killer!" and "Holocaust!" long enough, it's reasonably foreseeable that someone will take it upon themselves to make sure that vigilante justice is done (especially if you provide the name and address of the person who you claim is committing "genocide").
Yes, because National Right to Life and its state affiliates, Family Research Council, Americans United for Life, Feminists for Life, Focus on the Family are all providing the home addresses of abortion providers.
This was not the act of a lone extremist. It is one more act of violence to add to a long, long list of crimes committed by anti-choice terrorists, and it is the logical outcome of years of increasingly violent, dehumanising and threatening rhetoric and action on the part of supposedly mainstream pro-life groups.
Which mainstream prolife organizations have taken part in violent, dehumanizing and threatening rhetoric and action against abortion providers? Or is simply calling abortion “murder” now considered violent, dehumanizing and threatening rhetoric?
The responsibility for George Tiller's death surely falls on the shoulders of the person who actually pulled the trigger. But when pro-life groups did everything but give him a gun, their hands are hardly clean.
Oh... so lone, crazed killers are responsible for their actions except when it’s an abortion provider being killed. Then the movement made them do it. “Did everything but give him a gun” must mean “call abortion names I don’t like.”

What Jill doesn't seem to understand is that the vigilante killing of anyone (including abortion providers) undermines the main tenet of the prolife movement: human beings have inherent worth, are intrinsically valuable and it is wrong to intentionally kill them without proper justification. This is why all those prolife organizations have non-violent position statements. Even though prolifers view the abortions George Tiller did daily for years as vile and inhumane, we think killing him is just as vile and inhumane.