Monday, September 30, 2013

Millennials and Marriage


Millennials and marriage

September 18, 2013 (The Public Discourse) - It’s a cold, sleety Minnesota day, and I’m in a classroom with 25 undergraduate students, talking about marriage. This discussion is the culmination of a mini-unit in which (among other things) we examined sociological data showing worrisome marital trends in America.

We discussed how various social problems, particularly among the poor, might be ameliorated through a strengthening of marriage. Charles Murray’s portrayal of “Fishtown,” combined with the New York Times’ “Two Classes, Divided By ‘I Do,’” painted vividly the challenges that a weak marriage culture creates for poor families. Now I put the question to the students: What might help? How can we better encourage people to get and stay married?
A young man raises his hand. “This unit was interesting, but the university should offer whole classes on marriage. A lot of people don’t realize how important it is, for their kids and just for having a happy life.”

Another hand. “They should talk about this in high school, too. It seems like we heard a lot of warnings about drugs and dropping out and safe sex. I don’t remember hearing anything about marriage.”

A third student chimes in, “Parents should talk with their kids about it. Mine never did. I sort of wanted them to, but it was awkward to ask, you know?” A number of heads nodded in agreement.
The first time I heard students talk like this, I was amazed. I have rarely known undergraduates to be so self-aware. I would almost have thought that they were telling me what I wanted to hear, had not long experience taught me that students were thoroughly inept at discerning what I wanted to hear.
Now, after several semesters of discussing marriage with my introductory ethics classes, I’ve heard these concerns expressed enough times to conclude that, for all their righteous zeal concerning sexual freedom, undergraduates do actually know that they are confused about marriage.

This is interesting, particularly since the young people in question are not particularly religious or conservative. My students represent a fairly standard cross-section of middle-class American 20-year-olds. They can talk all day about the evils of global warming and homophobia, but the decline of marriage is, for most of them, a fairly new subject. Nevertheless, they are easily convinced that our society has a marriage problem, because they know that they have a marriage problem, which their teachers and parents have done little to help them resolve.

To me, this frank uncertainty about marriage makes a fitting centerpiece in the tragic tableau of today’s young Americans. They seem to be almost perfectly unsuited to the social and political climate of their time, like hothouse flowers whose cultivators failed to note that they were destined to be planted in an alpine tundra. The problem, in a nutshell, is this: young people want the right things (security, love, and a prosperous life), but they have very wrong ideas about how best to attain them.
Today’s undergraduates are not, for the most part, radicals and revolutionaries. They harbor conventional hopes of professional success and happy marriages. But while they believe that the first can reliably be secured through hard work and dedication, marriage seems in their minds to require a mysterious mixture of good fortune and good chemistry, perhaps combined with the social status that they hope to win through professional success.

Unfortunately, they have things exactly backwards. A good marriage is the sort of thing that almost anyone can aspire to, regardless of skills, education, or status. The most important ingredients for marital success are within any individual’s power to attain. Professional success, by contrast, does reflect hard work and commitment, but it also depends on complex external factors that no individual person can control. For today’s rising generation, those external factors are not looking promising.
The students of private universities are, for the most part, children of privilege, and they behave as such. David Brooks has written extensively on this, and my observations agree largely with his: today’s undergraduates are industrious, well-habituated rule followers who have been superbly socialized to conform to the expectations of their elders. They take it as axiomatic that they have obligations to alleviate the suffering of the less fortunate through political action, which is the duty they pay for their ideological commitment to equality.
At the same time, they regard it as their birthright to inherit the prosperous and secure world that their parents mostly enjoyed. Even as they stand on the cusp of significant political and economic change, I find my students to be curiously uninterested in helping to reshape the future. For the most part, they are content with their conventional goals of upward mobility, material comfort, and marital success.
The first two will not come easily. Recent studies suggest that college graduates are struggling to find jobs and that those who do are likely to find themselves busing tables or stocking shelves. The mainstream press has been writing about this for some time now, but oddly, the reality does not seem to have set in for most of my students. They remain convinced that they are among America’s best and brightest, which is an odd assumption for a middling student at a university that US News classifies as “an A-Plus School for B Students.”
I got a particularly nice illustration of this complacency a few years ago, when the peak of the Occupy Wall Street frenzy happened to coincide with a mini-unit my class was doing on work and the ethics of labor. I attempted to use current events as a lead-in by asking the students for their views on the protests. What, in their view, had precipitated the outburst? Was the anger justified? I expected that this, if anything, would be a great example of a “youth issue.”

I was mistaken. My students knew almost nothing about Occupy Wall Street, and they showed little interest in learning more. I was amused to find myself making the sympathetic case for the OWS protesters, while my students comfortably asserted that graduates of “a good four-year school” like theirs were unlikely to find themselves in such an awkward situation. Clearly none of them had (like me) seen in these angry, disaffected twenty-somethings the specter of themselves a few years down the road.

Their confidence might seem inexplicable, given the hard data. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, young Americans under 25 are currently unemployed at almost twice the rate of older workers; more than 10 million are out of work. College graduates are not immune to this trend, as seen in a decline in wages (down 8.5% since 2000), benefits, and overall employment rates.
With storm clouds forming on their professional horizons, where do marriage and family fit into the average undergraduate’s plans? As my students’ comments reflect, they are far less confident on this point. Most of them do value marriage. A recent Pew survey suggests that 70% of millennials hope to marry someday, and in my discussions with students, I have yet to hear them claim that marriage should be jettisoned as an expression of trite, bourgeois values. Even those who don’t definitely wish to marry will readily agree that marriage is, in general, a good thing.
Yet they don’t know how to get there. Even as their path to professional success was being artificially and perhaps fraudulently over-programmed, the path to a happy married life was mostly left for them to discover on their own. They have some idea of the goods that they hope to attain through marriage: stability, emotional fulfillment, family. But they aren’t sure how this package of benefits should fit together—let alone how they should go about attaining it.

The wisdom they do have fits nicely with current statistical trends and with what is coming to be known as the “soul mate” or “capstone” model of marriage. According to this model, marriage should be put off until one is established, or on the cusp of becoming established. Very few of my students seem to expect or hope to be married during their college years or shortly afterwards, which may help to explain why newlyweds (particularly those with university degrees) have been getting steadily older.

According to the “capstone” model, proper time should be taken to develop a relationship before marriage is considered. Early marriage and brief courtships are condemned in the harshest terms by students, who regard intimacy and demonstrated personal compatibility as the best safeguards against marital unhappiness or divorce.

Much ink has been spilled over the connections among age, education, and marital success. By now it is an accepted fact that the capstone model has worked moderately well for the educated upper class, and far less well for poorer and less educated Americans. Americans across all demographics place more emphasis on the emotional and romantic aspects of marriage than their great-grandparents would have done.
Talking with the relatively privileged attendees of a four-year university has made me realize, however, that the rationale behind late marriage goes far beyond the romance. College students take comfort in laying out a path to marriage that connects with another area of life that they think they understand, namely, educational and professional ladder-climbing. Good spouses, they often suggest, will be found in higher-status professions and social circles, and they themselves will “qualify” for a good marriage if they achieve similar professional status.
Having devoted so much energy and attention to the education game, they naturally fold happy marriage into the spoils they already associate with professional accomplishment. The organic link between marriage and parenthood may be severely weakened, but marriage, prosperity, and professional success are coming to be seen as an “organic” package of a different kind.
As crass as this view may seem, there are actually some upsides. Young people see marriage as a prize worth working for and worth protecting once it has been attained. Statistical data would also suggest that they are not entirely wrong to think that marriage becomes easier when a couple is more mature and better established.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of reasons to worry. If marriage is a reward for professional establishment, this means that success in life comes in a kind of double-or-nothing package. If that is the case, one ramification will be that fewer good jobs will mean fewer good marriages. Even among the elite, this is not a promising model in an economic downturn. The unemployed young, in particular, will end up rootless, purposeless, and lacking the stability that marriage and commitment can provide.

There is no getting around the fact that this is a difficult time in which to come of age. As they move into adulthood, millennials will suffer more disappointment than their parents. They will have to work harder in exchange for less security, less comfort and less upward mobility than their parents enjoyed. At this point, it is probably beyond anyone’s power to change that sobering reality. But it may still be possible to help the rising generation by showing them that their basic paradigm for success in life is upside-down. They imagine that worldly success is readily attainable, and hope to be lucky in love. They must be brought to understand that committed love can be chosen and cultivated even in difficult circumstances, while worldly success depends much more heavily on the winds of fortune.

It is encouraging to find, at least, that many young people today are open to learning more about marriage. They may be relieved to hear that it is not, after all, such a mystery. Eons of wisdom can help us to make sense of what it is, and how it works, and how it can be made to work. Marriage has given structure and purpose to the lives of an incredibly diverse array of people, across millennia of human history. It can work for young Americans today. And the consolations of family life could help to compensate for the other disappointments and challenges that these over-optimistic youth are likely to encounter once they move beyond the classroom.

Millennials want to hear this, and they need to know. If their elders want to atone for the mistakes of yesteryear, now is the time to start talking about marriage.
Reprinted with permission from The Public Discourse

Source; LifeSite News

Assisted Suicide

Dutch Euthanasia Deaths Double in 10 Years, Mentally Disabled and Psych Patients Targeted

by Steven Ertelt 
Euthanasia is targeting people in the Netherlands like never before and the number of people killed via euthanasia has doubled over the last 10 years. A new report indicates Dutch euthanasia deaths jumped 13 percent last year as  4,188 people died.
The report also indicated the mentally disabled and psychological patients are being targeted — with 42 people with dementia and 13 with psychiatric problems dying via euthanasia.
From the report:
Voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide, where a doctor is present while a patient kills themselves, usually by drinking a strong barbiturate potion, has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002.
Requests have risen steadily since 2003 when 1,626 people applied for medically administered euthanasia, in most cases by a lethal injection, or assisted suicide.
As previously controversial “mercy killings” have become socially and medically acceptable, the number of cases, the vast majority of medical euthanasia, have more than doubled over the decade to 2012.

One explanation for the steep rise of Dutch cases is the introduction last year of mobile euthanasia units allowing patients to be killed by voluntary lethal injection when family doctors refused.

Around 80 per cent of people who request euthanasia die at home and are killed by doctors on the grounds that they are suffering unbearable pain and are making an informed choice. The opinion of a second doctor is also required.
Those suffering from nervous system disorders were in second place, 257, followed by the euthanasia of 156 people suffering from cardiovascular disease.

Forty two people with dementia and 13 patients suffering severe psychiatric problems were medically killed in cases that are rarer and still generate concern over the competence of individuals to request death.
The report details the case of one patient with dementia who was supposedly in a “lucid moment” long enough to tell her doctor, “Yes, I want euthanasia.”
The Netherlands has been under fire for racing to approve euthanasia for disabled newborns and there have been significant abuses. 

Source: LifeSite News

Making A Difference


Rick Santorum’s failure convinced me I’m a winner in the fight aganist abortion

Earlier this month, I sat in a Denver, CO conference room eager to hear former Senator Rick Santorum speak. Santorum was an honored guest at the 2013 CareNet National Pregnancy Conference. He came to share encouraging words with leaders and staff workers from hundreds of Pregnancy Resource Centers across the country.

It was my first time hearing Santorum speak in person. Watching televised speeches and interviews gave me a glance into his heart. I admired the way he cared for his daughter Bella and was inspired by his stand against abortion.
I was struggling with feelings of failure the night before Santorum spoke. I felt ashamed because of situations in my life where I desired to share truth with others but let fear silence me. When Santorum mentioned failure and fear, I paid attention. He talked about a time in his life when he was afraid. He was afraid to speak out against abortion while in the Senate. People told him if he did, his career would be over. They would label him as a ultra conservative freak or religious nut. For a while he remained silent. Then it got to a point where he couldn’t be silent any longer.

Partial-birth abortion was being debated, an act so gruesome and utterly offensive it demanded a voice to fight against it. Rick became that voice. In 1999 he debated a Ban on Partial birth abortion with Barbara Boxer. Not an easy or pleasant feat, but he did it well. This is one of the most heartfelt and honest speeches against abortion I’ve ever heard. He sounds like a modern day William Wilberforce.

One debate with Boxer on Partial Birth abortion lasted 6 hours. The vote was to be taken the next morning. After 6 hours Rick still had to more to say. He went back out before two people and a TV crew and spoke for an hour and a half about disabled children and abortion. He finished the debate and went home to wait. The next morning he got the devastating news that they loss by two votes. Rick said he felt like a failure, as both a leader and father.  He felt guilty for taking time away from his wife and children to fight a losing battle.

Five days later Rick received an email from a college student at Michigan State Univ. The man said his girlfriend and him were sleeping on the couch, flipping channels when they stopped at Rick’s speech on CSPAN. As they listened the man turned to his girlfriend and saw tears running down her face. ”I’m pregnant”, she said. “I had an abortion scheduled in a few days but I’m not going to go through with it now”. This young man told Rick, “You may have lost the vote to override President Clinton’s veto that day but you saved the life of my child”.

I wept when I heard that story. Rick told us we’re winners in the fight for life. Even when we feel like we’ve failed we’re still making a difference. In 2005 I lived in Washington, D.C  with a company of young people at the Justice House of Prayer who prayed  for governmental leaders to oppose abortion. In one season most of that company was stationed in another location. Their were just three of us left in D.C who went to the Supreme Court to pray. Tiffani, Marybeth and myself. We stood in front of the marble steps, waved to the police offers and prayed earnestly. At that point we had one main request. We prayed for the Ban on Partial birth abortion to pass. Others were praying with us. A YMAM team in D.C, our intercessors friends in South Carolina and people around the nation. Although we stood as 3 girls in front of the Supreme Court we represented thousands of voices.
That was a hard season for me. I failed often during that time. Yet I kept praying and believing my voice counted in heaven. I was privileged to be praying at the court when news broke that they upheld a federal law banning Partial birth abortions. A newspaper snapped my picture. If you look closely you can see tears rolling down my face. It was a moment of victory.
Silent Prayers for Partial Birth Abortion Ban
Silent Prayers for Partial Birth Abortion Ban

We all feel like failures at times. In the fight to end abortion it can often seem like we’re Davids before the Goliath of government or Planned Parenthood. In moments of uncertainty remember your voice counts. Your making a difference and daily winning the battle for life. Clinics are closing, laws are changing, babies are being saved, men and women are confessing abortion has hurt them. Rick thanked us for the work we do. I want to thank you. Don’t lose hope, you’re on a winning team.

Source: LiveAction News

How Sad


Former President George H.W. Bush acts as witness at gay ‘wedding’

KENNEBUNKPORT, ME, September 27, 2013 ( – Former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush acted as witnesses at a lesbian “wedding” last Saturday.

The 41st president of the United States signed the legal document on behalf of Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen.
The two women, who own a store in the town of Kennebunkport, have known the Bushes for decades.

They said having the president play a ceremonial role in their union helped normalize homosexuality.
“Who would be best to help us acknowledge the importance of our wedding as our friends and as the former leader of the free world?” Clement asked. “When they agreed to do so, we just felt that it was the next acknowledgment of being ‘real and normal.’”

She quickly posted a picture of the 89-year-old signing the license in his wheelchair, wearing his signature loud socks, one red and one blue.
Barbara and Laura Bush have both stated they support same-sex "marriage." Both also support abortion-on-demand.

George W. Bush's daughter, who is also named Barbara, supports marriage redefinition, as well.
Perhaps most impacted is son Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who hopes to become the third Bush in the White House in 2016. Jeb says same-sex “marriage” should be left up to the states to decide, but stated last year that loving gay couples “should be held up as examples for others to follow.”
The elder President Bush's reversal of his “no new taxes” pledge, his willingness to sign a bill enforcing racial quotas, and his indifference to social issues like abortion triggered a primary challenge from pundit Pat Buchanan.
In his speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, Buchanan said, “This election is about much more than who gets what. It is about who we are. It is about what we believe. It is about what we stand for as Americans.”
He said the election was one front in a large “cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.”

Some blamed Buchanan's speech, rather than Bush's lackluster campaign, for the president's loss – a tactic repeated with Sarah Palin in 2008 and the pro-life/pro-marriage movement in 2012.

Source: LifeSite News

Abortionist's View


Abortionist Susan Robinson says “other doctors look down on you and think of you as like the lowest of the low”

Four of the most notorious late-term abortionists in the United States — LeRoy Carhart, Warren Hern, Shelly Sella, and Susan Robinson — may have been portrayed as noble martyrs in the new documentary film After Tiller. They received standing ovations at the Sundance Film Festival, and certainly receive plenty of adulation from the likes of pro-abortion extremists like Amanda Marcotte and Wendy “Abortion Barbie” Davis. But evidently, they’re the only ones.
In a recent interview, Robinson talked about how she gives mothers little keepsakes and mementos of the viable babies she murders, and refers to her work as “euthanasia” and “abortion medicine”.
Yet somehow, she’s surprised and saddened that abortionists are shunned and stigmatized by other doctors.
‘If you do abortions, it is very hard to get the privilege to work in a hospital, because they don’t like abortion providers.
‘They are almost all done in outpatient clinics, free-standing clinics, in this country,’ she says.
‘Being an abortion provider is very stigmatized. Other doctors look down on you and think of you as like the lowest of the low.’

Is it really that surprising that most doctors wouldn’t want to associate with abortionists — and especially not with late-term abortionists? Even the pro-aborts are forced to acknowledge that there are fewer and fewer doctors choosing to learn how to perform abortions. Sarp Aksel, the president of Medical Students for Choice, has said that students who want to learn about abortion are shunned in medical school.
Doctors take an oath to do no harm, yet abortionists like Robinson make a very lucrative living by ripping babies to pieces, babies who would almost always be able to survive outside of the womb. Doctors tend to want to save lives, not take them. It’s easy to see how butchers who take lives for a living would be frowned upon.

Source: LiveAction News

Pro Choice and Men


Is your favorite actor on NARAL’s #MenForChoice (aka abortion) list?

Last week, NARAL Pro-Choice America posted their first BuzzFeed article of pro-choice male celebrities, using #MenForChoice. Remember Mark Ruffalo’s pro-choice rant of a statement, I guess we would call it?

Well, he is second on NARAL’s list. Other mentions include David Cross from Arrested Development, Ed Harris, Jack Black, Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Stanley Tucci and William H. Macy. There are others on the list, but these are the ones I’m familiar with and fans of.

Now, I’ll admit I love Mark Ruffalo. What girl doesn’t love lame but cute romantic comedies like 13 Going on 30 and Just Like Heaven? And Shutter Island is one of my favorite movies, of all time.
I will admit it, and some pro-lifers will no doubt be shocked with me, that his pro-choice opinions, no matter how fired up and inarticulate they may be, do not matter one bit to me. The same goes for the actors I mentioned above. Honestly, I don’t care what they say about abortion, at least I don’t anymore or less than what anyone else has to say about abortion. And I’m pretty much used to Hollywood being full of celebrities not in agreement with me, and I say good riddance. Most of them are a bunch of nuts anyway.

When I watch a movie, my decision to watch it comes down to as to if I think it looks like a good movie.  The same thing goes for when I listen to a song. I’m subscribing to the entertainer’s talent, not their political beliefs on abortion or any other issue.
When I went to a Pitbull concert, he said something along the lines of how music brings all sorts of people together. Amen! Pitbull was there to sing and bring us together to enjoy his music, not to discuss policy. Coldplay, on the other hand, I am disappointed with, and that’s because Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Action Fund was at their concert. Not the time or the place, regardless of how you feel about abortion.

Would I like any of these celebrities more so if they were pro-life? Absolutely. Of course I would. I don’t find that one’s acting ability has anything to do with their pro-choice or pro-life viewpoints though. I’m not going to stop seeing Mark Ruffalo’s movies because he says one dumb thing about abortion which I don’t agree with. Now, if he were to get involve himself in a movie where he spouts all the best things in the world about abortion, well, I wouldn’t see that movie.
Admittedly, it is pretty cool and worth rejoicing over to have celebrities on our side on this issue. And it is true that there would be further reason to like that celebrity, but because of their status as a positive role model rather than their acting or singing ability.

NARAL Pro-Choice American can tout all they wish to about having these 11 #MenForChoice. Let them. Wouldn’t the joke be on them if one of the eleven turned out to be pro-life someday? Sometimes it seems like it would be cool to have more celebrities agree with us on this issue, and we may question how come we don’t. It would also be nice if our organizations got money from the government, like Planned Parenthood does, or if the mainstream media and entertainment business made being pro-life super cool.

At the end of the day though, we have truth and love on our side. The abortion industry can glitz up their side all they want to, but that’s because they actually have something a lot more awful to convince people here.

You may choose to only involve yourself with celebrities who are pro-life, or to allow your children to do so. That’s fine, and there is merit to subscribing to those we know are good role models in that they share this same belief. But, I know that I’m a strong enough pro-lifer that it doesn’t matter to me if Mark Ruffalo or David Cross share my viewpoint on abortion. Shutter Island may be one of my favorite movies and Arrested Developed may be pretty darn funny, but I don’t need either of its stars to reinforce my pro-life beliefs.

Source: LiveAction News

Friday, September 27, 2013

Abby Johnson and Conversion


The ultrasound that changed my life - Abby Johnson’s pro-life conversion in her own words

Note: The following is the first chapter of Abby Johnson’s forthcoming book. To find out more about the book, which will be released January 11, click here.
January 10, 2011 ( - CHERYL POKED HER HEAD INTO MY OFFICE. “Abby, they need an extra person back in the exam room. Are you free?”
I looked up from my paperwork, surprised. “Sure.”

Former Planned Parenthood director, and now pro-life activist Abby Johnson. 
Though I’d been with Planned Parenthood for eight years, I had never been called into the exam room to help the medical team during an abortion, and I had no idea why I was needed now. Nurse-practitioners were the ones who assisted in abortions, not the other clinic staff. As director of this clinic in Bryan, Texas, I was able to fill in for any position in a pinch, except, of course, for doctors or nurses performing medical procedures. I had, on a few occasions, agreed at a patient’s request to stay with her and even hold her hand during the procedure, but only when I’d been the counselor who’d worked with her during intake and counseling. That was not the case today. So why did they need me?

Today’s visiting abortionist had been here at the Bryan clinic only two or three times before. He had a private abortion practice about 100 miles away. When I’d talked with him about the job several weeks before, he had explained that at his own facility he did only ultrasound-guided abortions — the abortion procedure with the least risk of complications for the woman. Because this method allows the doctor to see exactly what is going on inside the uterus, there is less chance of perforating the uterine wall, one of the risks of abortion. I respected that about him. The more that could be done to keep women safe and healthy, the better, as far as I was concerned. However, I’d explained to him that this practice wasn’t the protocol at our clinic. He understood and said he’d follow our typical procedures, though we agreed he’d be free to use ultrasound if he felt a particular situation warranted it.

To my knowledge, we’d never done ultrasound-guided abortions at our facility. We did abortions only every other Saturday, and the assigned goal from our Planned Parenthood affiliate was to perform 25 to 35 procedures on those days. We liked to wrap them up by around 2 p.m. Our typical procedure took about 10 minutes, but an ultrasound added about five minutes, and when you’re trying to schedule up to 35 abortions in a day, those extra minutes add up.

I felt a moment’s reluctance outside the exam room. I never liked entering this room during an abortion procedure — never welcomed what happened behind this door. But since we all had to be ready at any time to pitch in and get the job done, I pushed the door open and stepped in.
The patient was already sedated, still conscious but groggy, the doctor’s brilliant light beaming down on her. She was in position, the instruments were laid out neatly on the tray next to the doctor, and the nurse-practitioner was positioning the ultrasound machine next to the operating table.
“I’m going to perform an ultrasound-guided abortion on this patient. I need you to hold the ultrasound probe,” the doctor explained.

As I took the ultrasound probe in hand and adjusted the settings on the machine, I argued with myself, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to take part in an abortion. No, wrong attitude — I needed to psych myself up for this task. I took a deep breath and tried to tune in to the music from the radio playing softly in the background. It’s a good learning experience — I’ve never seen an ultrasound-guided abortion before, I told myself. Maybe this will help me when I counsel women. I’ll learn firsthand about this safer procedure. Besides, it will be over in just a few minutes.
I could not have imagined how the next 10 minutes would shake the foundation of my values and change the course of my life.

I had occasionally performed diagnostic ultrasounds for clients before. It was one of the services we offered to confirm pregnancies and estimate how far along they were. The familiarity of preparing for an ultrasound soothed my uneasiness at being in this room. I applied the lubricant to the patient’s belly, then maneuvered the ultrasound probe until her uterus was displayed on the screen and adjusted the probe’s position to capture the image of the fetus.

I was expecting to see what I had seen in past ultrasounds. Usually, depending on how far along the pregnancy was and how the fetus was turned, I’d first see a leg, or the head, or some partial image of the torso, and would need to maneuver a bit to get the best possible image. But this time, the image was complete. I could see the entire, perfect profile of a baby.

It looks just like Grace at 12 weeks, I thought, surprised, remembering my very first peek at my daughter, three years before, snuggled securely inside my womb. The image now before me looked the same, only clearer, sharper. The detail startled me. I could clearly see the profile of the head, both arms, legs, and even tiny fingers and toes. Perfect.

And just that quickly, the flutter of the warm memory of Grace was replaced with a surge of anxiety. What am I about to see? My stomach tightened. I don’t want to watch what is about to happen.
I suppose that sounds odd coming from a professional who’d been running a Planned Parenthood clinic for two years, counseling women in crisis, scheduling abortions, reviewing the clinic’s monthly budget reports, hiring and training staff. But odd or not, the simple fact is, I had never been interested in promoting abortion. I’d come to Planned Parenthood eight years before, believing that its purpose was primarily to prevent unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing the number of abortions. That had certainly been my goal. And I believed that Planned Parenthood saved lives — the lives of women who, without the services provided by this organization, might resort to some back-alley butcher. All of this sped through my mind as I carefully held the probe in place.

“Thirteen weeks,” I heard the nurse say after taking measurements to determine the fetus’s age.
“Okay,” the doctor said, looking at me, “just hold the probe in place during the procedure so I can see what I’m doing.”

The cool air of the exam room left me feeling chilled. My eyes still glued to the image of this perfectly formed baby, I watched as a new image entered the video screen. The cannula — a strawshaped instrument attached to the end of the suction tube — had been inserted into the uterus and was nearing the baby’s side. It looked like an invader on the screen, out of place. Wrong. It just looked wrong.

My heart sped up. Time slowed. I didn’t want to look, but I didn’t want to stop looking either. I couldn’t not watch. I was horrified, but fascinated at the same time, like a gawker slowing as he drives past some horrific automobile wreck — not wanting to see a mangled body, but looking all the same.

My eyes flew to the patient’s face; tears flowed from the corners of her eyes. I could see she was in pain. The nurse dabbed the woman’s face with a tissue.
“Just breathe,” the nurse gently coached her. “Breathe.”
“It’s almost over,” I whispered. I wanted to stay focused on her, but my eyes shot back to the image on the screen.

At first, the baby didn’t seem aware of the cannula. It gently probed the baby’s side, and for a quick second I felt relief. Of course, I thought. The fetus doesn’t feel pain. I had reassured countless women of this as I’d been taught by Planned Parenthood. The fetal tissue feels nothing as it is removed. Get a grip, Abby. This is a simple, quick medical procedure. My head was working hard to control my responses, but I couldn’t shake an inner disquiet that was quickly mounting to horror as I watched the screen.

The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if it were trying to move away from the probing invader. As the cannula pressed its side, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that it could feel the cannula, and it did not like what it was feeling. And then the doctor’s voice broke through, startling me.
“Beam me up, Scotty,” he said lightheartedly to the nurse. He was telling her to turn on the suction — in an abortion the suction isn’t turned on until the doctor feels he has the cannula in exactly the right place.

I had a sudden urge to yell, “Stop!” To shake the woman and say, “Look at what is happening to your baby! Wake up! Hurry! Stop them!”

But even as I thought those words, I looked at my own hand holding the probe. I was one of “them” performing this act. My eyes shot back to the screen again. The cannula was already being rotated by the doctor, and now I could see the tiny body violently twisting with it. For the briefest moment the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone. And the uterus was empty. Totally empty.

I was frozen in disbelief. Without realizing it, I let go of the probe. It slipped off the patient’s tummy and slid onto her leg. I could feel my heart pounding — pounding so hard my neck throbbed. I tried to get a deep breath but couldn’t seem to breathe in or out. I still stared at the screen, even though it was black now because I’d lost the image. But nothing was registering to me. I felt too stunned and shaken to move. I was aware of the doctor and nurse casually chatting as they worked, but it sounded distant, like vague background noise, hard to hear over the pounding of my own blood in my ears.
The image of the tiny body, mangled and sucked away, was replaying in my mind, and with it the image of Grace’s first ultrasound — how she’d been about the same size. And I could hear in my memory one of the many arguments I’d had with my husband, Doug, about abortion.

“When you were pregnant with Grace, it wasn’t a fetus; it was a baby,” Doug had said. And now it hit me like a lightning bolt: He was right! What was in this woman’s womb just a moment ago was alive. It wasn’t just tissue, just cells. It was a human baby. And it was fighting for its life! A battle it lost in the blink of an eye. What I have told people for years, what I’ve believed and taught and defended, is a lie.

Suddenly I felt the eyes of the doctor and nurse on me. It shook me out of my thoughts. I noticed the probe lying on the woman’s leg and fumbled to get it back into place. But my hands were shaking now.

“Abby, are you OK?” the doctor asked. The nurse’s eyes searched my face with concern.
“Yeah, I’m OK.” I still didn’t have the probe correctly positioned, and now I was worried because the doctor couldn’t see inside the uterus. My right hand held the probe, and my left hand rested gingerly on the woman’s warm belly. I glanced at her face — more tears and a grimace of pain. I moved the probe until I’d recaptured the image of her now-empty uterus. My eyes traveled back to my hands. I looked at them as if they weren’t even my own.

How much damage have these hands done over the past eight years? How many lives have been taken because of them? Not just because of my hands, but because of my words. What if I’d known the truth, and what if I’d told all those women?
What if?
I had believed a lie! I had blindly promoted the “company line” for so long. Why? Why hadn’t I searched out the truth for myself? Why had I closed my ears to the arguments I’d heard? Oh, dear God, what had I done?
My hand was still on the patient’s belly, and I had the sense that I had just taken something away from her with that hand. I’d robbed her. And my hand started to hurt — I felt an actual physical pain. And right there, standing beside the table, my hand on the weeping woman’s belly, this thought came from deep within me:

Never again! Never again.
I went into autopilot. As the nurse cleaned up the woman, I put away the ultrasound machine, then gently roused the patient, who was limp and groggy. I helped her sit up, coaxed her into a wheelchair, and took her to the recovery room. I tucked a light blanket around her. Like so many patients I’d seen before, she continued to cry, in obvious emotional and physical pain. I did my best to make her more comfortable.

Ten minutes, maybe 15 at most, had passed since Cheryl had asked me to go help in the exam room. And in those few minutes, everything had changed. Drastically. The image of that tiny baby twisting and struggling kept replaying in my mind. And the patient. I felt so guilty. I’d taken something precious from her, and she didn’t even know it.

How had it come to this? How had I let this happen? I had invested myself, my heart, my career in Planned Parenthood because I cared about women in crisis. And now I faced a crisis of my own.
Looking back now on that late September day of 2009, I realize how wise God is for not revealing our future to us. Had I known then the firestorm I was about to endure, I might not have had the courage to move forward. As it was, since I didn’t know, I wasn’t yet looking for courage. I was, however, looking to understand how I found myself in this place — living a lie, spreading a lie, and hurting the very women I so wanted to help.

And I desperately needed to know what to do next.
This is my story.
To read the rest of the book, click here.

Source;LifeSite News

HHS Mandate

72 Congressmen urge Boehner to repeal HHS mandate as deal to avoid govt shutdown or debt limit fight

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 26, 2013 ( – A group of six dozen Congressmen have asked House Speaker John Boehner to use every parliamentary procedure available to him in order to exempt the American people from the HHS mandate and protect religious liberty.

In effect, the strategy – contained in a letter drafted by Congressman Joe Pitts, R-PA, and signed by 72 Congressmen – would force Senate Democrats to repeal the HHS mandate or risk either shutting down the government or defaulting on the national debt.
Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act's HHS mandate, employers must provide all employees with insurance plans that include abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception with no co-pay, or pay a fine of $100 per employee per day.

Business owners who are evangelical, Catholic, or otherwise hold to traditional values have sought relief from ObamaCare's crushing provisions in the courts.

The Health Care Conscience Rights Act, introduced in March, would exempt all employers from that requirement, as well as strengthening the conscience rights of health care providers.

It immediately received the strong support of the nation's Roman Catholic hierarchy. Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged Congress to pass the bill within a week of its introduction.
However, the legislation stands little chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate – at least, on its own.

Rather than have a direct vote, the representatives are asking Boehner to attach the bill's provisions to either the continuing resolution that keeps government funded past next Tuesday, or to legislation allowing the government to raise the debt ceiling.
H.R. 940 's sponsors – Diane Black, R–TN; Jeff Fortenberry, R–NE; and John Fleming, R–LA – were among the letter's signatories.

The Congressmen told Boehner they “respectfully request that you ensure that adequate protections for these fundamental liberties.”
The FY14 Continuing Resolution would fund the government for the coming fiscal year, which begins October 1.
The nation will reach its debt limit by October 17, if Congress does not raise it.
House Republicans have concentrated on the debt ceiling limit, introducing a number of provisions building the Keystone XL Pipeline, repealing crushing EPA regulations on coal, and limiting medical malpractice suits.
According to one report, a Congressman also suggested including a 20-week abortion ban in the resolution.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said this afternoon that President Obama would not allow House Republicans to “extort” his signature health care bill by placing legislative qualifications on its funding.
Obama, he said, will not “engage in an attempt by Republicans to extort from him what they could not get through the legislative process, what they could not get at the ballot box, what they could not get at the Supreme Court.”
He added that Republican attempts to defund ObamaCare would "derail the essential function of government."
If a conscience measure were to pass, it could be stripped out before being signed into law. Or the president could attempt to raise the debt ceiling without congressional authorization.
Obama had previously threatened to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally, relying upon authority Timothy Geithner claimed the president has under the 14th Amendment. Legal scholars expressed doubts – and then-Congressman Tim Scott said such an act would an impeachable offense – causing Obama to back down.
House Republicans hope additional pressure on the debt ceiling will cause Senate Democrats to come around this time, as well.

“People have to recognize there’s never any compromise until the stakes are high,” Representative Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA, said.
The letter reads in full:
Dear Speaker Boehner:
As fellow pro-life Members of Congress committed to protecting the right to life, religious freedom, and the rights of conscience, we would like to thank you for your past support and again respectfully request that you ensure that adequate protections for these fundamental liberties are included in legislation that will be signed into law before January 1, 2014. Specifically, we are asking that you incorporate H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, along with a cessation of federal dollars for abortions into the continuing resolution or on legislation addressing the debt ceiling.
The provisions of H.R. 940 would amend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to ensure that the federal government cannot require individuals,charities, or businesses to buy insurance coverage that includes items or services against which they have deeply held moral or religious objections. It would also ensure that the federal government, and any state or local government receiving federal financial assistance does not discriminate against any health care entity or worker for abiding by their conscience and refusing to provide, train, or refer for abortion services. The Health Care Conscience Rights Act would ensure a private right of action for victims facing discriminatory practices.
A growing number of court cases assert a pattern of federal discrimination against religious freedoms enshrined in and protected by theFirst Amendment. In fact, more than 200 plaintiffs have filed suit against the unconstitutional HHS mandate. First issued on August 3, 2011 the HHS Mandate requires that insurance plans include “all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”
Most recently, a federal appeals court ruled on September 17, 2013 that Michigan-based Autocam Corporation does not have legal standing to seek an exemption from providing certain drug coverage now required under Obamacare. This ruling is despite the fact that the HHS Mandate violates the deeply held religious beliefs of the Kennedy family, devout members of the Catholic Church and the owners and operators of Autocam Corporation. The Kennedys seek to run their business in full accord with their Christian beliefs including a commitment to provide generous medical benefits to employees. Under Obamacare’s HHS Mandate the Kennedys would be forced to choose between adhering to their Catholic beliefs and paying ruinous fines or violating their conscience.
The egregious anti-religious, anti-life provisions of Obamacare do not end here.
Prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act federal law was explicitly clear that federal funds do not subsidize insurance coverage that includes abortion. However, the new health reform package rolls back decades of abortion policy and instead pays for policies with elective abortion.

Anyone who enrolls in a federally-subsidized health care plan that covers elective abortions will pay a separate “abortion fee” of at least $1 per month into an abortion slush fund to pay for abortion on demand. In addition, under the secrecy clause, plans that cover abortion are only allowed to disclose the abortion surcharge “as a part of the summary of benefits and coverage explanation, at the time of enrollment.” Many families may choose a plan that covers abortion without realizing it or because thatplan is the only one that covers the critical care that their family needs.
In addition, under the ACA, the law directs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to contract with and administer several health insurance plans to be made available across the country (referred to as multi-state plans). Until passage of the new health care law, the Director of OPM was forbidden from contracting with plans that pay for elective abortion. Under the new health care law, the opposite is true. The Director of OPM may administer plans that cover elective abortion and even ensure that elective abortion is included in all but one of the plans he or she administers.
For this reason, as the health insurance exchanges go into effect, beginning October 1, 2013, Congress must enact legislation that stops the public funding of abortion coverage in the ACA.

This attack on the pro-life conscience of America demands immediate congressional action. Nothing short of a full exemption for both non-profit and for-profit entities will satisfy the rights guaranteed in the First Amendment, and nothing but a complete prohibition on public funding for abortion coverage will keep the status quo under the Hyde amendment. In recent years, the Obama Administration has committed unprecedented attacks against the unborn and the religious freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, all under the guise of “access to health care.” Congress cannot ignore this relentless assault on life and the First Amendment.

Joe Pitts, Diane Black, Chris Smith, Paul Broun, Jim Jordan, Trent Franks, Steve King, Tim Walberg, Louie Gohmert, Steve Scalise, Walter B. Jones, Michele Bachmann, Tim Huelskamp, Marsha Blackburn, Vicky Hartzler, Frank Wolf, John Fleming, Jeff Fortenberry, Paul Gosar, Scott Garret, Randy Hultgren, Bill Huizenga, Michael Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, Andy Harris, Raul Labrador, Thomas Massie, Mike Pompeo, Keith Rothfus, Jeff Miller, David "Phil" Roe, Charles Boustany, Stephen Fincher, Matt Salmon, Kerry Bentivolio, Phil Gingrey, Randy Forbes, John J. Duncan, Jr., Doug LaMalfa, Robert B. Aderholt, Jim Bridenstine, Bill Cassidy, Rich Nugent, Marlin Stutzman, Randy Weber, Robert E. Latta, Joe Barton, Robert Pittenger, Alan Nunnelee, Brad Wenstrup, Mike McIntyre, Bill Flores, Steven Palazzo, Steve Daines, Jason Smith, Doug Lamborn, Gus Bilirakis, John Culberson, Mike Kelly, Dan Lipinski, Gregg Harper, Rob Bishop, Kevin Cramer, Howard Coble, Renee Elmers, Scott DesJarlais, Ralph Hall, Andy Barr, Kevin Yoder, Dan Benishek, Sean Duffy, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Source: LifeSite News

No Surprise Here


Wendy Davis said to be set to run for Governor of Texas

By Dave Andrusko
Pro-abortion Texas state Senator Wendy Davis
Pro-abortion Texas state Senator Wendy Davis

Attributing the information to “two unnamed Democrats with knowledge of her decision,” the Associated Press is reporting that pro-abortion Texas state Senator Wendy Davis will run for governor to replace pro-life Gov. Rick Perry, who chose not to seek another term. In all likelihood, Davis will square off against pro-life Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Earlier this month, Davis used an email to supporters to say she would state her 2014 intentions—a run for governor or United States senator—by early October.

Davis rose to media super-stardom when she filibustered HB 2, a pro-life measure with many components including a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, a time by which the unborn child can feel pain, and commonsense regulations for the largely unregulated abortion trade.
But Gov. Perry called a second special session and HB 2 passed.

Democrats haven’t won a state-wide race in the Lone Star State since 1990 when Ann Richards won the contest for governor. (She lost four years later to George W. Bush). And Republicans will be sure to remind Texans that Davis is of the same party as President Obama, who lost Texas by 11.8% in 2008 and 15.8% in 2012.

According to published accounts, Attorney General Abbott currently has a hefty fundraising advantage over Davis, but the universal consensus is that Davis will be able to raise plenty of money, much of it from out of state.

But what made her a “icon” to liberals—the filibuster—may not play well in Texas. For example the ban on post-20 week abortions, which Davis filibustered, was supported by 62% of Texans, according to a June University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.
One other point about the filibuster and a contest for governor. As anyone who has studied abortion politics would have predicted, the approach Davis will take is not to talk about WHAT she defended (how could she?) but rather to turn the discussion into a celebration of her “courage” against a wholly imaginary “hostile” reaction by Republicans—a.k.a. a “war” not only against women in general but Davis in particular.

The usual pro-abortion forces will add their own resources, which include the capacity to demagogue on a colossal scale.
But what else would you expect? That is who they have been, are, and always will be.

Source: NRLC News

More on Gosnell

Inside the mind of abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell: Part Four of Four

By Dave Andrusko
Gosnell84There are two reasons for today’s Part Four devoted to what was revealed (and hidden) by an investigation into abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell. There was more to ponder, and I wanted to see what others outside the pro-life orbit would say about Steve Volk’s story for “Philadelphia” magazine which he turned into a small e-book.
Slate’s Amanda Marcotte, as pro-abortion as they get, makes two astute observations. She rightly notes that there is not a lot new in Volk’s oddly titled piece “Kermit Gosnell’s Babies” and that Volk is trying desperately hard to make Gosnell’s conviction on three counts of first-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter symbolic of some larger political importance. (There were politics involved—pro-abortion politics.)

As you would expect, Marcotte misses/avoids all the specifics that makes Gosnell so shocking and reprehensible. She chooses instead to burnish the credentials of the “reputable abortion community” which, she says, Volk failed to mention “rejected Gosnell.” That “respectable” pro-abortionists shielded Gosnell for at least 17 years goes unmentioned.

And, as I anticipated, those that did mention Volk’s piece still don’t get what the case was about. Take CNN’s Jake Tapper. He intones that “Kermit Gosnell was called a monster for what he did, and how he did it–ending the lives of fetuses past the legal limit in Pennsylvania.” True, he did abort babies past the legal limit in Pennsylvania (a limit which Volk makes clear Gosnell felt only contempt for). However what earned his three consecutive life sentences was not that he aborted past 24 weeks but rather that he aborted babies (not “fetuses”) alive and then murdered them by slitting their spinal cords.

But Tapper (assisted by Jessica Metzger) does observe in passing
“There is also an incredibly fascinating antidote [anecdote] about Gosnell fleeing the country in 1972, after taking part in a horrific abortion experiment.”
That part of the story is an antidote to anyone who persuades themselves that pro-lifers are to blame for the politics behind Gosnell’s “House of Horrors.” The truth is that pro-abortionists did not want “access” limited, so they simply looked the other way or refused to investigate clear evidence that the Women’s Medical Society was a hell-hole, including the death of Semika Shaw in March 2000. And that directive came directly from the governor’s office, as the Philadelphia Grand Jury report made clear.
The antidote/anecdote speaks volumes about Gosnell. (For a full explanation, see “Abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s ‘Mother’s Day Massacre.’”
In 1972 he participated in a hideous experiment on unsuspecting women in their second trimester that to this day is almost beyond belief. According to the Grand Jury, Gosnell used an experimental device called a super coil [“basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball”] “developed by a California man named Harvey Karman, who had run an underground abortion service in the 1950s.” But instead of “only” slicing the unborn baby, it also tore up the women’s insides. The Grand Jury wrote
“The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health subsequently did an investigation that detailed serious complications suffered by nine of the 15 women, including one who needed a hysterectomy.
“The complications included a punctured uterus, hemorrhage, infections, and retained fetal remains .The CDC researchers recommended strict controls on any future testing of the device.”
Not only does this tell us all we need to know about Gosnell’s attitude towards his patients, what Volk says next reminds us that even in the 1970s Gosnell was not particularly worried about prosecution:
“Gosnell fled to the Bahamas [for a year], reasoning that if Pennsylvania’s board of medicine failed to take action in his absence, he might return to find his license still valid.”

Which proved to be the case then, and later, as the abuses piled up.
Volk elaborates on the tack taken by the headline writer for the Philadelphia Daily News. He/she labeled David Gambacorta’s 2010 interview with Gosnell–“DOCTOR FROM HELL . . . OR GODSEND?”
Volk keeps trying to emphasize how to parts of the community Gosnell remains a hero—“The Good Doctor.” He is never able to explain why Gosnell’s career “bifurcated” when he came back from the Bahamas:
“His return to the States within a year, and eventually to Philadelphia begins a narrative that splits in two, with one track spanning a life of routine good deeds and another leading to indictments encompassing more than 200 criminal deeds.”

Volk rejects the prosecution’s argument: greed. Gosnell made $1.8 million a year and had properties galore. But since Gosnell lived in unimaginable squalor and left many purchases unopened, that convinces Volk it must be something else.

Volk offers his own bevy of explanations which begins with Gosnell’s insistence that he was looking for more “merciful” ways to abort. His staff said Gosnell stopped using Digoxin to attempt to kill the child in utero, because he was so incompetent. Gosnell denies he stopped. Why is that important to Gosnell?

“He said he’d never actually seen a baby move, beyond a ‘reflex’ when the scissors snipped the spinal cord. He snipped the necks of dead babies, he claimed, merely to prevent any possible pain reception—as if dead babies feel any pain at all.”
Volk chases him down but Gosnell continues to bob and weave.
“I pressed him on this, explaining that it simply didn’t seem credible for a medical doctor to be worrying about the pain experienced by a fetus he felt sure was dead. …He could never explain himself. And his answers seemed carefully couched: ‘I never saw anything I took as fetal movement.’”

The piece comes to a preliminary climax when Volk provides Gosnell with a rational for what he had done in a direct and more eloquent way than Gosnell could articulate. In an email, Gosnell tells him, in effect, you got it, buddy. Volk tells us
“I stared at that email for a long time, because as near as I could figure it, Kermit Gosnell was on the verge of confessing. He used unlicensed, unqualified staff, leading directly to the death of Karnamaya Mongar, because he simply didn’t respect state regulations. He judged the length of pregnancy of the women who walked into his office not on strictly medical terms, but based on his own ethical judgment: If my daughter were in these circumstances, would I want her to have access to an abortion? And finally, according to staff members, babies did—by the operative legal definition—show signs of life at 3801 Lancaster. Then Kermit Barron Gosnell, presiding, stabbed them in the back of the neck with scissors. Only in his mind, because he had injected them with Digoxin, they were going to die anyway. To him, their weak movements weren’t signs of life; they were signs of how close death stood.” …
“’Dr. Gosnell,’ I told him, ‘you’ve admitted, on all the major charges, you’re guilty.’
“He was quiet for a long time before saying in a slow, weary voice: ‘No, I’m innocent.’

So what is Volk’s own “explanation” for how Gosnell could do what he did (and implicitly, live with himself)? First, we read Gosnell’s all-purpose excuse.
“In an ideal word,” he responded, “We’d have no need for abortion. But bringing a child into the world when it cannot be provided for, that there are not sufficient systems to support, is a greater sin. I consider myself to be in a war against poverty, and I feel comfortable with the things I did and the decisions I made.”

This prompts Volk to write
“Suddenly, the central mystery of Gosnell—How could he kill those babies?–had an answer: In his mind they were casualties of that larger war; their blooming and birthing and the suffering they would experience and cause represent a greater harm, a bigger sin, than pruning them away.”
In other words, “in his own mind,” all the ghastly things Gosnell had done (“the lies to his staff, the babies he killed, the bogus ultrasound measurements and unsafe, unsanitary conditions”) were “forgiven: The situational ethics demanded of a man at war.”
Talk about a cop-out.

One final thought. You KNEW there had to be a kind of moral equivalency lurking somewhere in the piece. We would be told that, ethically, in some way, Gosnell and pro-lifers had been separated at birth. But how?

Gosnell insists he was and is a Christian (now that he is in prison he’s taken up studying the Bible for the first time, we’re told). And Volk takes Gosnell’s reference to “sin” as evidence he has a kind of religiosity.

Blend that half-baked religiosity with a faith–so to speak–in “situational ethics” (earlier Gosnell told Volk, “I am a big believer in situational ethics”), mix it with an overweening “sense of righteousness” and, voila, you get the religiosity that, Volk argues, “We normally think of …as the province of the pro-life movement.”

Gosnell made his peace with what he was doing a long time ago–long before the woman who started coming into his abortion clinic were much further along in their pregnancies. His “bifurcation”—practically Dr. Welby to some members of his community for his care during the day and a moral monster at night—is straight out of Robert Lewis Stevenson.
He could be a soldier in the war on poverty and make money hand over fist off of poor women of color by performing, according to Volk, up to 25 second trimester abortions on “any given Tuesday” (or Wednesday or Thursday). As the women got bigger Gosnell just adjusted the ultrasound results so that they were always close to the legal limit of 24 weeks.
Gosnell has such contempt for the law on abortion (and murder) that he has to blame “religion and politics” for his trial.
“I have come to believe that the presumption of guilt was compounded by religious convictions,’ Gosnell said. … ‘Were you aware that Seth [Williams, Philadelphia’s district attorney] was an altar boy? Did you know of the strong Catholic presence in the homicide division?””
His attorney, Jack McMahon, feeds into Gosnell’s enormous ego and sense of persecution.
“Relatively well-off law-enforcement personnel, he said, with no experience of abortion clinics could not have been prepared for what they would see.”
What did these “relatively well-off law-enforcement personnel” see? Here’s what former employees Latosha Lewis and Kareema Cross told the Grand Jury.

“They described the odor that struck one immediately upon entering – a mix of smells emanating from the cloudy fish tank where the turtles were fed crushed clams and baby formula; and from boxes of medical waste that sat around for weeks at a time, leaking blood, whenever Gosnell failed to pay the bill to the disposal company. They described blood-splattered floors, and blood-stained chairs in which patients waited for and then recovered from abortions. Even the stirrups on the procedure table were often caked with dried blood that was not cleaned off between procedures. There were cat feces and hair throughout the facility, including in the two procedure rooms. Gosnell, they said, kept two cats at the facility (until one died) and let them roam freely.
“The cats not only defecated everywhere, they were infested with fleas. They slept on beds in the facility when patients were not using them.”

But that was only the physical setting. When officers raided the clinic, they found half-naked, drug-stupored women in various stages of delivery of huge babies, all of whom were (un)attended by untrained, unsupervised staff dispensing powerful drugs for which they had no medical training. It was straight out of Dante’s Inferno.

Gosnell was not a “rogue” (the favorite term pro-abortionists use to distance themselves from Gosnell). My guess is that, over time, we will find there are more just like him—minus the lice and dead cats

Source: NRLC News

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Abortion and Disability


Is Abortion justified when a baby is disabled?

By Paul Stark
DownSyndromeLifeThe New York Times recently published an article titled “My Abortion, at 23 Weeks.” The author explains that she was pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl, but that the boy was diagnosed with a herniated diaphragm. He would require surgery and life support for a period after birth.

The author and her husband could not bear “the thought of hearing him gasp for air,” so they chose to have their son aborted with a lethal injection into his heart. “He died in a warm and loving place, inside me,” she writes. It was for his own good, she thought.
Is abortion justified in the case of a fetal disability, “deformity” or “defect”? Is it justified when an unborn child is expected to die during pregnancy, childbirth or soon after? These circumstances—though they account for only a tiny fraction of abortions—are gut-wrenching. They call for some clear moral thinking.
Two points about the abortion of disabled babies are important. First, ability (or disability) is irrelevant to the worth and dignity of a human being. We do not (or should not) think less of people who have physical and mental handicaps. Parents may not kill their toddler if they learn that she has autism. They may not execute a 10-year-old with spina bifida because they think she would be better off dead.

Since disability itself does not justify killing, the killing of disabled unborn babies could only be justified if the unborn (whether disabled or not) do not have the same value and right to life as human beings at later developmental stages, such as toddlers and 10-year-old children. But this is only a different form of discrimination. Just as ability is irrelevant to human value, so too is age, size and location. All human beings share an equal right to life simply by virtue of their humanity. Killing disabled people, in the womb or out, is morally wrong.

Second, it is deeply mistaken to suppose that the life of a disabled person is not worth living. People with disabilities live meaningful and often happy lives. And caring for them, though difficult, is enriching and rewarding, as parents and caregivers attest.

Sometimes a child in the womb is diagnosed with a disease or condition that is fatal. She will likely die before, during or shortly after birth. Surely a pregnant woman should not have to endure such an emotionally traumatic pregnancy, abortion advocates argue.
But the fact that someone will soon die provides no moral justification for killing her. We may not kill terminal patients in the cancer ward or elderly grandparents in the nursing home. All of us, in fact, will die at some point in the future, but we ought to be treated with dignity and respect in the present. The reality of natural death (by disease) does not mean that unnatural death (intentional killing) is okay.

Moreover, abortion even in these tragic circumstances does not serve the emotional and psychological health of pregnant women. “There is no research to support the popular assumption that terminating the pregnancy is easier on the mother psychologically,” explains “In fact, research to date suggests the opposite.” One 2004 study (published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology) concludes that abortion due to “fetal malformation” is a “traumatic event” that “entails the risk of severe and complicated grieving.”
There is another option. Perinatal hospice acknowledges terminally ill unborn children as real patients while providing support to grieving families. This is a wonderful alternative that is ethical, compassionate and healthy for everyone involved. Organizations that help families deal with adverse prenatal diagnoses include Prenatal Partners for Life and Be Not Afraid.
Caring is always better than killing.

Editor’s note. Paul Stark is Communications Associate for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life This ran in the summer 2013 issue of MCCL News.

Source: NRLC News

Heart Breaking


Should-have-been birthdays

Hannah Rose Allen-Luke's Heaven DayAs summer turns to autumn and the leaves on the trees begin changing hues and the air gets a bit cooler, my heart remembers. This is the time of year I should have welcomed my first child into the world. He should be turning four this year, as he was due at the end of September or beginning of October.

He should be playing, laughing, learning, growing, and a part of my every day. I should be baking a birthday cake with four candles to be blown out. The day should be full of balloons, presents, and all things related to a little boy’s birthday.

Instead, I must carry the weight of his absence for the rest of my days on earth. I carry the grief over losing him and knowing he should be here, bringing joy and beauty to this world, had it not been for a sinful decision I made. Regret barely conveys the depth of my profound emotion. At times over the past four years, the deep grief and sorrow has threatened to consume me.

If I had not taken the RU-486 pill on February 6, 2009 at 6 weeks gestation, I would have a four-year-old now. Although it was too early to know for sure he was a boy, I believe God has revealed that knowledge to me. A son whom I’ve named Luke Shiloh, meaning “light and peace” because God has brought light in the midst of the deepest darkness and peace to my wounded and aching heart.

I was distraught as my baby grew, distraught as I took that little pill that I thought would “fix things” and distraught afterwards. I did not fight for my baby’s life, like a mother should. I did not place his life before my desperate thoughts of self-preservation. I was deceived into thinking he was not really a baby yet at that gestation, so what I was doing was perfectly okay.

A fog settles in on my heart around this time of year, just as a thick fog settles on a city on a cold, rainy day. I don’t quite know how to picture how my Luke would look, who he would have grown to be by now. Each time I try to imagine, it seems just out of my grasp, like how a dream feels when you’re waking up and trying to remember what you were dreaming of. Healing has taken place. But, the ‘what-ifs’ remain. What would my baby be like today if I had chosen LIFE? What color would his eyes be … would he like trains or dinosaurs … what shape would his nose have … what would his first word have been … who would he be growing up to be … a mighty man of God … a voice for unborn life …

When I made “the choice” that should never have been mine to make, nobody ever told me about how each year, I would ponder what might have been.
It is my prayer that in being honest about the devastating reality of abortion and how it’s a decision that impacts the rest of one’s life, other women will not buy into the lie that it’s the quick fix to a tough situation. The challenges of an unintended pregnancy are temporary, but the scar of abortion lasts a lifetime. I shudder at the thought that anyone else live through the “should-have-been birthdays” and other painful anniversary dates.

But, for those of us who did believe abortion to be the easy fix and must go on without our babies, I declare this - there is healing and hope to be found after your child is gone. You can never have your child back, but his/her life can make an impact on this world! For the men and women who cannot undo their devastating “choice,” it is my hope and prayer that through our stories, others will choose LIFE. This is a call to action – we must stand up and be willing to share the truth of how abortion hurts everyone involved. We must be the voice for our children who lost their voice. We must sound the alarm on their behalf.

I would give anything to go back and embrace Luke Shiloh’s life, but since I cannot, I will live with this profound loss forever. The grief I feel is hardly as big as the love. This abiding love I have for my baby knows no bounds. My heart is broken that I discovered this love too late. Nonetheless, I have hope in the assurance that I will know him in eternity in a way that I never would have here. It brings me great joy to tell others of his valuable life and the beauty God has wrought in me due to his precious life. God has placed within me a passion and purpose because of him
If you are in search of a way to honor your lost baby on what would have been their birthday, consider lighting a candle, writing them a letter, naming him/her, having a balloon release, or getting a name plate for them at the National Memorial for the Unborn in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I have found it crucial on my journey towards healing to take active steps to honor, remember, and celebrate Luke Shiloh.

The words from Flipsyde’s song “Happy Birthday,” about his aborted child, resound in my head during this time each year… “Happy birthday, Luke Shiloh, I love you, whoever you would have been.”

Though he went to Heaven before taking his first breath, my precious child’s life is worthy of celebration; so in his honor each year, I will bake him that birthday cake.

You can follow my journey at

Source: LiveAction News

1 Child Policy

One-child policy still a massive threat to women, expert warns

By Elise Harris
Reggie Littlejohn meets Pope Francis during the 2013 MaterCare International Conference in Rome. Credit: Reggie Littlejohn.
Reggie Littlejohn meets Pope Francis during the 2013 MaterCare International Conference in Rome. Credit: Reggie Littlejohn.

Rome, Italy, Sep 25, 2013 (CNA/EWTN News)– In the wake of the 33rd anniversary of China’s one-child policy, a women’s rights activist has raised concern about those who believe the policy has ended, warning of the dangers it still poses.

“The one child policy is definitely still happening. Any report that states that China is abandoning the ne-child policy is false,” Reggie Littlejohn said in a Sept. 22 interview with CNA.
Littlejohn is the founder and president of “Women’s Rights Without Frontiers,” an international coalition aimed at exposing forced abortion, gendercide, and sexual slavery in China.
Wednesday marks the anniversary of the country’s one-child policy, which was instituted during the Mao era in China in 1979 as a means of population control. The measure restricts most Chinese families to one child each, and uses a quota reward system for the Family Planning Officials who carry out the birth control policies.

“The one-child policy causes more violence towards women and girls than any other official policy on earth, than any other official policy in the history of the world,” Littlejohn said, adding that the Chinese communist party has boasted about having “prevented four hundred million lives” through the policy.

“Women are forced to abort babies up to the ninth month of pregnancy, and sometimes these forced abortions are so violent that the women themselves die along with their full-term babies.”
In addition to her advocacy for China’s women, Littlejohn also led the international effort to free Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who arrived in the United States in May, 2013.
Known as an international expert on the country’s one-child policy, she has testified at the U.S. Congress as well as the European, British and Irish Parliaments, and has briefed the White House, the U.S. Department of State, and the Vatican on the issues of women’s rights in China. Most recently, she addressed a maternal health care conference in Rome, where she was able to meet Pope Francis.
Littlejohn rejected media perceptions in the West that the one-child policy is waning, countering that “when the Chinese communist party tweaks the policy, makes a minor adjustment to it, for some reason that fact gets reported as ‘China is abandoning the one-child policy,’ which is not true.”
According to her, coercion involved in the one-child policy is being used to keep the communist party in power.

“The core of the policy, the centerpiece of the policy, is not how many children the government allows a woman to have, it’s the coercion with which they enforce the limit,” she said.
Littlejohn added that even if a couple is granted a second child, they would still need to have a birth permit – if they do not get one, the mother is still subject to a forced abortion until the end of her term.
Outside of forced abortion, the one-child policy has opened the door to other human rights issues, such as human trafficking and gendercide, Littlejohn said.
“The fact that the Chinese government imposes this coercive low birth limit, combine that with the preference for boys and what you end up with is sex-selective abortion, or gendercide.”
“Right now there are thirty-seven million more men living in China than women,” she said, “and that’s driving human trafficking and sexual slavery, not only within China but the surrounding countries.”

Littlejohn said that the coercion used to enforce the one-child policy serves the double purpose to also keep the communist party in place in China, stating that when the policy was initiated, the birth rate was about 5.9, whereas now it “more like 1.7, which is well below 2.1.”
“China’s population problem is not that they have too many people, it’s that they have too few young people. So I believe that it has transformed into a policy of social control that’s a way for the Chinese government to demonstrate its power.”

She also listed China’s system of informants, who are specifically assigned to watch women and report anyone whose abdomens “look bigger than they should,” and the money that the government makes in profit from the “exorbitant” fines they charge to families with more than one child, among the reasons she believes that the policy is being used to keep the current party in place.
When the informants catch a woman, Littlejohn said, China’s Family Planning Police come “in the middle of the night, grabbing women out of their beds, strapping them down to tables and forcing them to abort babies they want up to the ninth month of pregnancy.”
“That is a form of violence against women, its official government rape in my opinion, and it’s a way of terrorizing the entire population.”

Littlejohn emphasized the need to raise awareness about the one-child policy, pointing to the resources on her group’s website as a place to start. The video, “Stop Forced Abortion: China’s War Against Women,” gives a short, but good introduction that can easily be shared on social media to help spread information, she said.
She also suggested her organization’s “Save a Girl” campaign, which offers a monthly stipend for a year to mothers who are considering aborting their babies, simply because they are girls, as a way to give assistance.

After being offered the stipend, in “ninety-five percent of the cases, women choose to keep their daughters,” Littlejohn noted.

“Whenever I feel sort of frustrated about the enormity of ending forced-abortion in China,” she said, “I’ve got this binder of all these beautiful faces of these baby girls that we’re saving.”
“We’re ending gendercide, we’re ending forced abortion one baby at a time.”
Editor’s note. This article has been reprinted with permission of the Catholic News Agency.

Source: NRLC News