As someone who has been in the pro-life movement since I learned what the word “abortion” meant, I can sometimes find it difficult to relate to pro-choicers. I often exclaim in exasperation, “How could they think that? How could someone believe that?” To cut through the thick fog of propaganda most people have been fed all their thinking lives, what we really have to get to is THE HUMAN PERSON.
THE HUMAN PERSON.
“…the person is a good towards which the only proper and adequate attitude is love” – Pope Saint John Paul II
Who are you? I’m a human person. I gather, if you’re reading this, you are too. You have a human body with human DNA (unique to you and maybe a twin), cells, and organs. I also happen to believe you have a soul. You think. Even if you didn’t think, I wouldn’t slight you for that. The body is how human beings relate to each other. I understand you may have heard catchphrases, learned concepts, and you may be hurting. I get that. I’m a human person. Read More
May 8th, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the surrender of German forces and the liberation of the concentration camps used in WWII to systematically murder and persecute millions of people.
The upcoming day has caused me to reflect and think about the Holocaust and the estimated 11 million people who lost their lives. I’ve been thinking about the people who survived and how most of them have passed away, taking their stories and memories with them.
And I’ve been thinking about the moment that the Holocaust shifted from being a subject I learned about in school; a chapter in a history textbook accompanied by an appropriate-for-elementary-school photo of some sad scared kids behind a fence to something that really happened.
That moment came one summer afternoon at my grandparents’ house. Their home was like a museum – packed full of all of the things that make up a life. My grandpa was something of a pack rat, never getting rid of anything. When an aunt had gone back to visit in her 20’s she cleaned out her things and dropped them off at a local second hand store. After she left my grandpa went down to the store and convinced them that there had been a mistake. He brought everything home and put it all back where it had been. My grandparents raised 7 children in this place and the bedrooms and main rooms of the house looked the same as they did 20-30 years prior. Closets and dressers still full of teenagers’ things: perfume bottles, journals, MAD magazines, clothing, high school reports, trophies and 4H ribbons.
One of my favorite things to do at their home was to explore all of these belongings. I felt like an archaeologist – digging though the old things; quietly piecing together the lives of the people who lived and grew up in this old white farmhouse. Read More
The organization called Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) is now well known for its vocal condemnation of the pro-life movement seeking to pass laws which will save only some babies from abortion. From their perspective, any legislation which does not ban all abortions is a compromise with the abortion industry, sends some number of babies to their deaths, and is therefore to be vehemently opposed and decried as immoral. Under this logic, parental notification laws, waiting periods, health codes, bans on late term abortions are all incremental measures and, on principle, not to be supported.
From AHA’s website:
“You cannot abolish any evil by justifying or allowing it to continue in some cases. Any strategy for ending abortion in this country which allows for the continued occurrence of some abortions for the sake of eventually outlawing the rest, though seemingly pragmatic, is compromise and it’s [sic] promises of effectiveness are false.”
Last month, I wrote about one of the ways Christians might be sabotaging the pro-life movement. I wish there was only one way but in fact, I think using exclusively religious language to frame our debate is only part of the problem. There is an even stronger method of self defeat in which we are engaging that has the potential to do far more damage to the cause of the unborn. And it’s something good mothers do every day…
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Once upon a time, I was a typical, passionate activist. I stood outside the Planned Parenthoods; I engaged in debates on college campus; I wrote ardent letters to the newspaper, sought out discussions online and bought my pro-life checks. I did what I could to help further the Pro-Life cause.
And I felt righteous… checking off that box of good behavior and moving along. Read More
You can’t have it both ways. You can hurt and be angry for the victim of the most recent “womb robbery” whose baby died but she will survive. You can be disturbed at the disorder that would cause a woman to want to cut open a 7 month pregnant belly and try to remove the baby. Be horrified. But the worst you can call it is 1st Degree Assault and “Unlawful Termination of Pregnancy”. But your sympathy can only go so far. You can’t with a clear conscience, join with the voice of the victim to claim that her baby was killed, at least not if you are an abortion rights supporter. The sympathy offered has to be abbreviated lest the double standard show.
Colorado law allows for outpatient abortions up to 26 weeks and ‘medically indicated’ (e.g. if the baby has a genetic disorder or fetal anomaly) abortions up to 34 weeks. The baby that was killed on the 18th was about 28 weeks or so… in the gray area of whether or not he or she could be considered a human being. According to law, either a pregnancy was unlawfully terminated, or a baby was killed. A matter of days on either side of the 26 weeks could be the deciding factor, or whether the baby took only one gasp of air or five… if any.
The absurdity of dancing the viability dance and ‘born alive’ clauses seem to cruise by our national conscience unchecked. Supposedly Americans generally support abortion in cases of rape and incest. Yet most Americans feel increasingly uncomfortable with abortion as a pregnancy progresses. Viability comes into play where a baby has no rights one week, but does the next… or will be protected in one state but not another. Not to mention how the standard of whether being “wanted” or not determines if one baby gets a medical team fighting for his life and another baby gets a quick, sanitary death. I always had a sick sort of respect for President Obama on one point: while people everywhere (pro-life and pro-choice) were disturbed by his stance supporting partial-birth abortion — and voted against banning it in 1997 — I think it illustrated his willingness to be consistent. In a sense, he saw infanticide as something no different from abortion. If abortion was legal, why does the geographical location of a fetus’ head make a difference when it’s being killed?
Some day, God-willing, lawmakers and law enforcers will realize how complicated and inconsistent our standards and laws are. Sick, and horrifying tales like this are certainly never welcome to hear, but I can’t help be thankful for the conversation coming up again and again: we NEED to be reminded of the ludicrous, legal corner we’ve backed ourselves into with the passage of Roe vs. Wade that ties our hands in extending our fullest compassion to the parents of this baby. May the victims of this crime find healing and peace and may their pain not be in vain.
Recently I received an e-mail about a Bill being heard in the Washington State Senate. It’s a parental notification bill. In Washington State, and 11 other states in the country (and Washington DC), a minor girl does not need consent from her parents to procure an abortion. For most people, the image that comes to mind when we think of parental notification is a girl ashamed of her teen pregnancy, wanting to hide from her parents. While this sad scenario is probably common, a more sinister and dangerous problem lurks behind minors getting abortions without parental consent.
Imagine checking your voicemail and hearing the sweet voice of your teenage daughter saying,
“Hey mom (or dad), I’m going to the Mall with some friends. We’re just going to hang out for a while. Don’t worry, I’ll be home around dinner.”
She doesn’t come home.
She is brought home months later, rescued from a sex trafficking ring.
She has been abused, raped,
and given an abortion.
That last part? Yeah, that’s legal in California, Connecticut, Washington DC, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington (according to the Planned Parenthood website).
In these states, helping a minor procure an abortion without notifying her parents is perfectly legal. For pro-lifers this is horrifying and infuriating. As it turns out, it’s even infuriating for some pro-choicers, like this mom.
Did you read the comments on Ellie’s post from last week How Christians Might Be Sabotaging the Pro-Life Movement? They were just as interesting as the post! Ellie’s post went live and within 24 hours there were over 60 comments, plus more on Facebook. The response was more than I was anticipating, and I was relieved to see that the majority of the comments were encouraging and positive. But there was some debate and infighting and name calling, and to be honest, my heart sank a little. Granted, I’ve heard worse between my own five young sons (“Dummy” is the insult of the week), but it was still discouraging for me. It wasn’t even pro-lifers arguing with people who are pro-choice! It was people who all want the same thing.
It left me wondering: Is our best energy spent arguing with one another?
We are on the SAME team. We all want the same thing, right?
I agreed to be a part of this blog because I fully support the Anti-Choice Project and its mission of making abortion impossible to ignore or trivialize and I want to step up my involvement in ending this holocaust. But is this really something I want to deal with? Maybe my skin is too thin. Is this what it means to be pro-life: Pointing out straw-man arguments like it’s my part-time job? Trying to outdo another with my ability to copy and paste Bible verses to prove a point? Read More
This Sunday is International Women’s Day, the apex of our nation’s very own “Women’s History Month” celebrated every March. (I worry the men are feeling left out of the celebrations—supposedly there is an International Men’s Day— but let’s get real, it’s all about Movember.)
Women on the other hand, need not fear; the voices clamoring for recognition and equality have not died down since the days of our foremothers, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Back then it was the right to vote. Now it is a right to abort. And sadly mixed in are all those real and pressing issues that should be on our consciences as a nation: concerns about pay gap, maternity leave, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, the objectification of women, and child support. (Yes, I said that politically charged phrase: child support—we must be willing to shell out some public dollars to offer women the economic support they need to raise a child. Granted, how said dollars are distributed is another topic. But pro-lifers must all do better to raise our voices in saying that we support women and babies BEFORE and AFTER birth, otherwise we are empty suits.) During all these celebrations of women, I wish these items would be the focus. Yet, I’m certain we’ll be reading news clips all next week about all the Very Important Persons who insist women are still suffering to claim their full ‘reproductive rights.’
Driving down the highway recently, I noticed a prominent, very large billboard that featured the ultrasound photo of an embryonic baby and the Bible verse: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
I cringed. Not because the verse isn’t beautiful or evocative, but I cringed at what a waste of space and money the sign was. A sign that could’ve had a much stronger impact by using non-religious words. How many more people would have paused to think? Christians: we might be sabotaging our own movement.
By continuing to inject religion in every component and in every venue of pro-life activism, we push away an increasingly secular culture. We have to face the very real fact that we live in a post-Christian society. Holding up signs at Planned Parenthood that say “God is pro-life” will not only fall on hardened hearts… it will damage the entire perception of what it means to be pro-life. Using the Bible or religious arguments to appeal to people who are either completely anti-religion or casually relativist at best, is a sure way to lose credibility. I have been in many debates over abortion and the minute people find out that I’m a Christian, my message suddenly becomes offensive. They think I’m just preaching to them and refuse to consider anything else I have to say. Is it right? No. Is it unfair? Yes. But it is the reality that we have to deal with. I don’t hide my faith when I discuss abortion nowadays, I am just very careful to omit that information before the time is right. You can’t pluck a fruit before it is ripe and expect goodness to follow…
What follows is an exchange of ideas that took place on Facebook between ACP Co-director Tom Herring and a Catholic woman named Rachel.
“I fundamentally don’t agree with the position that including the picture of a murdered baby on a poster “humanizes” that baby. It isn’t a power struggle in which one side has destroyed the humanity of a child and the other is restoring it. That’s not our job and we can’t do it–God grants human dignity, we either honor it, or we don’t. We can’t destroy the God-given dignity of another human being, no matter what we do. We can’t destroy the image of God in them.” -Rachel
It sounds like you are confusing two separate issues. The issue you are speaking to here is whether or not unborn children possess intrinsic human dignity, and of course we would agree that they do, and that there is nothing anyone could ever do to strip it away from them.
The issue I was speaking to in a post above was in response to your argument that “these images objectify the babies they portray.” I pointed out that, on the contrary, these children were objectified during the rationalization of their slaughter, and that exposing the truth about what happened to them forces all of us to recognize these were more than clumps of cells — these were human beings. And in that sense, the pictures of victims humanize a baby that was aborted, often for the first time, in the minds of those with a functioning conscience. Read More