Abortion Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up

A federal government out of control. Without any evidence, Attorney General Eric Holder took a woman to court for obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic. The judge threw out the case and ordered the government to pay $120,000 to the woman. Yes, it’s good that the woman was compensated, but this case should have never gone to court.

I think Julian Assange has been irresponsible for dumping secret data that, in many cases, has put lives at risk or tipped our hand to enemies. Still, it’s nice to know that, in all that, George W. Bush has been vindicated in his handling of the Iraq/WMD situation.

I agree with the sentiment that the teen’s shirt said, "Jesus Is Not A Homophobe". However, I also think that the folks he thinks need that message aren’t, for the most part, homophobes either, if, by "homophobe" you mean "someone who agrees with 2000 years of Christian teaching".

Global Warming Update: "The number of [polar] bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt."

James O’Keefe is at it again. He, a white guy, to prove that voter fraud really is simple, something that Attorney General Eric Holder denies, was able to (almost) vote in the primary as Eric Holder himself, a black guy. Extremely easy.

An atheist who threatened to sue over a Nativity scene, was helped in his time of need by the very Christians he had threatened. Result: He’s now a Christian preparing to enter the  ministry.

John Stossel, libertarian and (when he was at ABC News) a contrarian in the media, describes the liberal bias at his old network.

Ever since Jimmy Carter got snookered by giving food to North Korea in exchange for an empty promise not to pursue nukes, we keep hoping that they’ll change their mind about belligerence if we bribe them well enough. It hasn’t worked, and it won’t work. A dictator that will spend who knows how many millions on a missile program while his country starves is patently not concerned about his people. Period. No amount of appealing to his better nature will change that. Now that N. Korea has test launched (what Rick Moore calls) a "three-stage artificial reef", now we’re serious. Now we mean business. Well, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Civility Watch: "Moderate Caucus" chairman, a Democrat, tweets, "Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams."

The Ethics of "After-birth Abortions", Part 2

[Please click here for part 1, as this just picks up where that left off. Also, another blogger found the article again at a new URL on the same site. I’d searched using their advance search form with no success, but glad that it’s back so people can read the whole thing.]

The newborn and the fetus are morally equivalent

The authors, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva,  start this section with their definition of personhood.

Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.

Thus, to be a person, you have to know you’re a person and be able to value it. The state of not knowing, however, lasts quite a bit beyond newborn status. The authors, again, fail to address this. More than fail to, actually, they refuse to address it, as we shall see.

Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life. Indeed, many humans are not considered subjects of a right to life: spare embryos where research on embryo stem cells is permitted, fetuses where abortion is permitted, criminals where capital punishment is legal.

The equivalence here is somewhat flawed, not the least because they start to blur the moral right to life with the legal right to life. Further, they equate giving up your legal right to life (by, for example, murdering someone else) with a fetus or embryo being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Depending on your morals, all three examples have a moral right to life, it’s just in the last case it was actively forfeited.

Read the rest of this entry

The Ethics of "After-birth Abortions", Part 1

Last Friday, I noted in my Friday Link Wrap-up "Medical "ethicists" are seriously arguing that post-birth newborns are ‘not persons’ and can ethically be "aborted". I also posted this article on Facebook, and one of my friends took me to task on it. He said that "sloppy agenda laden journalism" has misinterpreted their intent, and that "the researchers are attempting to provoke debate on the ethics of abortion, not the desirability to kill newborns."

I’ve read the whole piece by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, and I come to the conclusion that, while their stated intent may not be to suggest that it is desirable to kill newborns, the result will be the same. The main problem I see is that, while they have their personal moral stances regarding how often and in what circumstances what they call "after-birth abortions" would take place, their stances would not be what others use to make their determination. Would they accept a gun manufacturer’s statement that "I don’t intend my product to kill innocent people"? Perhaps not, but it can be used that way, and abortion kills millions upon millions because they are merely inconvenient. The authors’ morals will not be used to put into practice their suggestions. Keep that in mind.

(Note: While putting this blog post together, the article was removed from the Journal of Medical Ethics website. The link takes you to a "Not Found" page, and no amount of searching for title, text, or authors could find it. I’m not sure if it was taken down for some reason, or if, perhaps, only the most recent articles appear on the website. In any event, the article is no longer there. I’ll continue to look to see if it gets posted elsewhere.)

(Second note: This is why I haven’t posted anything this week so far. I’ve been spending my time working on this.)

Read the rest of this entry

In Defense of Santorum

I’m still not sure who I’ll vote for in the Republican primary, and with Super Tuesday less than a week away, I don’t have much time to make my decision. However, it’s been very instructive to see how scared of Santorum the Left and media are. How else to explain their gross distortion of what he has been saying? (Well, I’m trying not to insult their intelligence, but that’s always a possibility, too.)

Santorum has said that contraception has been harmful to women, and to society in general, because of the changes it made to our society. James Taranto cites the facts and figures, and scholarly support, for Santorum’s claims.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the pill for contraceptive use in 1960. Over the next half-century, the marriage rate declined and the illegitimacy rate skyrocketed, Charles Murray notes in a recent Wall Street Journal essay adapted from his new book:

In 1960, extremely high proportions of whites in both Belmont [Murray’s metaphor for the upper middle class] and Fishtown [the working class] were married—94% in Belmont and 84% in Fishtown. In the 1970s, those percentages declined about equally in both places. Then came the great divergence. In Belmont, marriage stabilized during the mid-1980s, standing at 83% in 2010. In Fishtown, however, marriage continued to slide; as of 2010, a minority (just 48%) were married. The gap in marriage between Belmont and Fishtown grew to 35 percentage points, from just 10. . . .

In 1960, just 2% of all white births were nonmarital. When we first started recording the education level of mothers in 1970, 6% of births to white women with no more than a high-school education—women, that is, with a Fishtown education–were out of wedlock. By 2008, 44% were nonmarital. Among the college-educated women of Belmont, less than 6% of all births were out of wedlock as of 2008, up from 1% in 1970.

The same trends have been noted among blacks, although they started earlier and are more severe. Of course it would be a fallacy (post hoc ergo propter hoc, for those keeping score at home) to declare Santorum’s argument proven on the basis of these facts. But they do demonstrate that the argument is not inconsistent with the facts.

The usual criticism we’ve heard is that it is absurd to suggest a causal link between birth-control advances and illegitimacy because, after all, birth control prevents pregnancy, and giving birth out of wedlock entails pregnancy. By that logic, though, illegitimacy rates should have remained low, or even declined further, after the inception of the pill. The Santorum argument may be counterintuitive, but the counterargument flies in the face of the facts.

But Santorum’s argument is not really all that counterintuitive. It posits that the availability of birth control changed the culture in ways that encouraged illegitimacy. There is scholarly support for this hypothesis, in the form of a 1996 study in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, which served as the basis for a brief written by George Akerlof and Janet Yellen and published by the centrist-liberal Brookings Institution:


Santorum has come under particular attack for saying that contraception is "harmful to women." It may reasonably be said that this is an overgeneralization: There are many women for whom birth control has not been harmful–those who don’t want children, who prioritize career over family, or who have been able to find husbands in the post-sexual-revolution mate market. Still, Akerlof and Yellin make a compelling case that birth control has been harmful to many other women, and it is not implausible to think, as Santorum does, that it has been harmful to women on balance.

Instead of discussing whether or not Santorum’s conclusion follows from the advent of the pill, mostly what we get is feminist sloganeering about government wanting to take away womens’ right to their bodies or similar tirades that just don’t address what he said and miss the point entirely. They scream about their rights but won’t address the other issues that Santorum is trying to focus on; illegitimacy, children having babies, and the explosion of the welfare state because of it. Even the huge increase in abortions, which, you would have thought, would have gone down with the pill. This hurts, not just women, but society in general.

No, instead, his detractors try to make it all about themselves. The narcissism of the Left is truly breathtaking.

Vasectomy = Abortion? Democrats Fail Biology.

Revenge is not a proper motivation for proposed legislation. It makes you do foolish things like this.

A state lawmaker says turnabout is fair play when it comes to restricting abortion:  she wants to ban vasectomies for men.

Democrat Yasmin Neal of Jonesboro is protesting a bill that would restrict most abortions in Georgia to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

She says it’s only right, if Republicans are truly serious about "thousands of children" being "deprived of birth."

She tells Channel 2 Action News, "The Georgia General Assembly at this point is trying to legislate and dictate what women can do with their bodies. We’re just trying to do the same thing in reference to the men."

Is Ms. Neal really that unaware of the issues that concern the pro-life movement? Worse, is she that blissfully ignorant of the biology of it all? Have her parents had that "birds and bees" discussion with her yet?

Let me make this plain, if you, too, think the two procedures are equivalent.

A vasectomy prevents a sperm from leaving the man. This is equivalent to a tubal ligation for a woman, which prevents eggs from getting to the uterus. A sperm, or an egg, if cared for properly in a proper environment, will never, ever be anything other than a sperm or an egg. Pro-lifers do not consider a sperm or an egg human life, and the movement is not trying to pass laws prohibiting either procedure.

An abortion, on the other hand, occurs after the sperm has fertilized the egg. For pro-life people, this is, indeed human life. (The question of whether or not it is life is really the only question that matters, and if it is, it should be treated as such.) And if it is life, then we as human beings have limited rights when it comes to killing it.

Because here’s the thing; a fertilized egg, if cared for properly in a proper environment, can become President of the United States, a great doctor, a wise counselor, or even a revenge-filled lawmaker from the state of Georgia.

Friday Link Wrap-up

California, like Greece, has been spending like there’s no tomorrow. And, like Greece, there may not be a tomorrow, if they can find $3.3 billion in the couch cushions.

Occupy Wall Street complained about how powerless they were against big banks and other members of "the 1%". Their solution was more government intervention to make things "fair". Ironically, their best success came when they themselves, the people, switched banks to protest fees and other things. In many cases, we don’t need government to act for us, we just need to act. The people already have the power. Use it!

James Taranto on the fallout from the Planned Parenthood / Susan G. Komen for the Cure dustup: "Planned Parenthood’s bitter campaign against Komen–aided by left-liberal activists and media–is analogous to a protection racket: Nice charity you’ve got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it. The message to other Planned Parenthood donors is that if they don’t play nice and keep coughing up the cash, they’ll get the Komen treatment."

Speaking of which, if even a New York Times columnist recognizes press bias in anything dealing with abortion, you know it’s getting much worse.

Speaking of which, while the media did report that donations to Planned Parenthood were up after the controversy, they conveniently didn’t report that Komen donations doubled.

Abortion pill via vending machine. Talk about changing the concept of "over the counter". What does it say about our society that a university finds it useful to dedicate entire vending machines to abortion pills? A cousin of mine commented, "These are the same people, of course, who will freak out at the presence of Chemicals In Food. But take a pill strong enough to abort before the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall? No biggie."

Churches using school buildings during weekends is not a church-state issue. It just isn’t. New York City politicians are evicting some because of fear of lawsuits, not for any actual legal reasons. As Ed Stetzer says, "Any constitutional concerns about church use of public school buildings can be answered by a religion-neutral approach. A government that is religion-neutral we will not discriminate based on the content of speech–even unpopular religious speech. Thus, I stand with my Muslim friends who wish to rent on Friday, my Jewish friends on Saturday, and my Christian friends on Sunday–all paying money to use space that belongs to us all."

For the Left, Everything’s Political

The breast cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has guidelines as to who it will fund with its money. There were some recent changes, the results of which caused a political firestorm.

Komen said it could not continue to fund Planned Parenthood because it has adopted new guidelines that bar it from funding organizations under congressional investigation. The House oversight and investigations subcommittee announced in the fall an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s funding.

Planned Parenthood has been at the center of a lot of heated political battles lately. Most center on whether the group, as an abortion provider, should receive government funds for other services it provides, such as offering contraceptives and preventive screenings.

For the Left , Planned Parenthood, and abortion in general, is a serious political hot potato that must not be curtailed in the least. So when judging whether or not any action against PP, by Komen or anyone, is reasonable, the first question they ask is…well, they don’t ask questions. It’s just wrong by definition. And also by definition, it’s politically motivated.

Never mind what people or organizations actually say, or that they’re in line with previously enacted guidelines. Nope, doesn’t matter at all. It’s always political.

Civility Watch

Rick Santorum and his wife went through the tragedy of a stillborn baby. Normally, pundits on the Left would be silent or respectful. Don Surber points this out.

JACQUELINE Kennedy suffered the three worst outcomes of a pregnancy.

She suffered a miscarriage in 1955. Her daughter, Arabella, was stillborn in 1956. And in 1963, her son, Patrick, died two days after his birth.

I don’t remember a newspaper columnist or television commentator making light of her personal tragedies.

That was then, this is now.

Nearly 50 years after the death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, some liberal commentators made political use of the death of Gabriel Santorum, who died within two hours of his birth.

As his mother, Karen, wrote in 1998 in her book, “Letters to Gabriel,” she and her husband brought him home before his burial. She had to explain to two young children the death of the baby brother they had expected.

His father is a Republican who now is running for president.

After Rick Santorum won the Iowa primary, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and Alan Colmes of Fox News decided to make fun of how the Santorums handled this death.

“He’s not a little weird, it’s that he’s really weird,” Robinson said of Santorum.

“And some of his positions he’s taken are just so weird, um, that I think that some Republicans are gonna be off-put.

“Um, not everybody is going to, going to be down, for example, with the story of how he and his wife handled the, the, the stillborn ah, ah, child, ah, um, whose body they took home to, to kind of sleep with it, introduce to the rest of the family. It’s a very weird story.”

Peter Wehner, writing at Commentary, finds this rather unwierd.

On these comments I have three observations to make, the first of which is that spending time with a stillborn child (or one who died shortly after birth, as in the Santorum case) is commonly recommended. The matter of taking the child home for a few hours is less common, but they did it so that their other children could also spend a little time with the deceased child, and that is definitely recommended.

Wehner cites recommendations from the American Pregnancy Association. Going back to Don Surber, he notes one particular circumstance why taking the stillborn child home to the family might not be done.

Charles Lane, editorial writer for the Washington Post, responded to the Santorum controversy by recalling his family’s loss of a son whose heart stopped two hours before birth.

“I regret that, unlike the Santorums, who presented the body of their child to their children, we did not show Jonathan’s body to our other son, who was six years old at the time,” Lane wrote.

“When I told him what had happened, his first question was, “Well, where is the baby?”

“I tried to explain what a morgue is, and why the baby went there. It was awkward and unsatisfactory — too abstract.

“In hindsight, I was not protecting my son from a difficult conversation, I was protecting myself.”

Perfectly understandable, but to go ahead and do it is most certainly not "weird".

So what’s the difference between then and now? Back to Wehner:

The second point is the casual cruelty of Robinson and those like him. Robinson seems completely comfortable lampooning a man and his wife who had experienced the worst possible nightmare for parents: the death of their child. It is one thing to say you would act differently if you were in the situation faced by Rick and Karen Santorum​; it’s quite another to deride them as “crazy” and “very weird,” which is what commentators on the left are increasingly doing, and with particular delight and glee.

We are seeing how ideology and partisan politics can so disfigure people’s minds and hearts that they become vicious in their assaults on those with whom they have political disagreements. I would hope no one I know would, in a thousand years, ridicule parents who were grappling with unfathomable human pain. Even if those parents were liberal. Even if they were running for president and first lady.

The third point is it tells you something about the culture in which we live that in some quarters those who routinely champion abortion, even partial-birth abortion, are viewed as enlightened and morally sophisticated while those grieving the loss of their son, whom they took home for a night before burying, are mercilessly mocked.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the times.

Some of this may be attributable to "the times" in general, to be sure. But I would like to note the blatant hypocrisy of liberals who claim to care more than their conservative brethren. This from the ideology that, as Wehner so aptly puts it, "champion[s] abortion, even partial-birth abortion". That is a culture of death, one that does not value life or give it the proper reverence, especially for the least of these.

I always find the term "Christian Liberal" as something of an oxymoron. I understand why Christians might be drawn to some of the Left’s rhetoric and positions, but this sort of behavior belies much of what goes on beneath, and it’s not something I could bear to support. I can still love my fellow man, give to good charities, and care for the poor without having to support a political party where this sort of attitude is barely beneath the surface.

Yeah, It’s an Abortion Mill

Planned Parenthood is a "women’s health" organization only in the most technical of senses. Their 2010 annual report shows 329,445 abortions in all of the US vs. 841 adoption referrals and 31,098 other prenatal services. 91% of its services are abortions.

So never mind what euphemism they come up with, call it what it is; an abortion mill.

This should carry more weight than, say, someone like me suggesting it.

The scientist who led the team that cloned Dolly the sheep has urged fellow researchers to forego embryonic stem cell research — which he says is fraught with practical problems — and pursue more promising types of research.

That’s because he believes other research likely will overtake embryonic stem cell research.

Ian Wilmut spoke to a crowd of stem cell researchers Nov. 29 in La Jolla, Calif., telling them that because embryonic stem cells tend to lead to tumors, scientists should spend their time on non-embryonic forms of research, particularly on a new method called direct reprogramming. In direct reprogramming, scientists avoid stem cells altogether and, for instance, reprogram a skin cell directly into a nerve cell. Researchers have had success doing just that with lab mice. It has the support of ethicists who have opposed embryonic research.

"I’m not quite sure why this hasn’t been pursued more actively," said Wilmut, who led the team that cloned Dolly the sheep in the 1990s.

Follow the money, Mr. Wilmut. I have a feeling not even your credentials are enough to get this to happen. But we can keep trying.

The thing is, there is a vastly superior option, with none of the ethical or moral issues.

Wilmut’s speech was reported by the North County Times (Escondido, Calif.), which paraphrased him as saying direct reprogramming would provide the benefits of embryonic stem cell research without the risks. The government, he added, likely won’t spend money on embryonic research if a safer method is available.

If successful, direct reprogramming would turn the political and ethical debate upside down, making moot discussions over which types of stem cells are most promising. Wilmut was speaking in the same state where California voters in 2004 approved a 10-year, $3 billion investment into embryonic stem cell research. No cures have been found.

With embryonic stem cell research, scientists try to take stem cells from embryos and turn them into specific cells for the body. The process is opposed by pro-lifers because it destroys the embryo. In direct programming, scientists — in theory — would take a skin cell and simply reprogram it into, say, a nerve cell, without involving either embryos or stem cells of any kind.

In the results of one mice lab experiment released in 2010, fibroblast cells — found in connective tissue — were reprogrammed into nerve cells.

But again, it’s not about the science. It’s about the money that some companies want from the government. It’s also about the politics of abortion, attempting to soften the issue of killing a child with the thought that the stem cells might help someone. But the reality is, a child is still dying, and the harvested stem cells are full of problems.

And speaking of abortion, there’s a bill going through Congress that would ban abortions for the purpose of sex selection and based on race. But the opposition to this bill by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the ACLU and others shows that their supposed concern for non-discrimination doesn’t apply to the most vulnerable of us all.

As members of Congress hold a hearing today on legislation that would ban sex-selection abortions and abortions done if the unborn child is of a specific race, leading pro-abortion advocacy groups are strongly opposed to it.

Their opposition could explain why organizations like Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the ACLU almost never speak out against the horrible human rights abuses associated with the one-child policy in China – ranging from sex-selection abortions, to forced abortions, to coercive sterilizations and infanticides.

As members prepare to hear from experts on how the sex-selection abortion culture has made its way from nations like China and India to the United States, according to one study, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, ACLU and a total of 30 pro-abortion groups banded together for a letter opposing the legislation, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.

Feminists are up in arms about sex-selection abortions. OK, sorry, that was some wishful thinking. They ought to be, but aren’t.

Pro-life blogger Rebecca Taylor has noted that feminist groups frequently remain silent on the issue of sex-selection abortions.

“One may ask where are the feminists in the face of this disastrous practice that marginalizes all women?  Where are the champions of women and their reproductive rights?  They are mostly silent,” she said. “They championed choice and now that choice is being used to kill millions of female fetuses and subjugate women, they have nothing to say lest the sacred abortion cow be slaughtered.”

The principles upon which the Left stands, especially regarding science, ironically, are mostly politically convenient ones that fall away when the politics don’t work for them. Which suggests that they aren’t really principles at all.

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