Cross-posted from LifeSiteNews.com – When 20-year-old Desiree Hawkins was contacted by a Drug Enforcement agent this year, she was completely unprepared for what she had to tell her: that the abortionist she had visited in 2009 for a traumatic abortion had kept the severed feet of her unborn baby in a jar in his clinic.
That abortionist was Kermit Gosnell, who is currently on trial for murdering four newborn infants, as well as hundreds of other criminal charges related to his abortion practice at his “House of Horrors” clinic in Philadelphia. Hawkins was slated to testify in rebuttal against Gosnell during his recently concluded trial. But because Gosnell never took the stand, Hawkins never had the chance to tell the jury her story. But that doesn’t mean she is remaining silent.
In a video released this week by the creators of the documentary 3801 Lancaster, Desiree and her mother are sharing the details of Desiree’s nightmare experience at Gosnell’s clinic, and their repentance for their part they each played in the death of Desiree’s unborn child.
When Desiree found out at the age of 16 that she was pregnant, she was terrified to tell her mom. Her fears weren’t without basis. The young girl broke the news to her mother during a joint meeting with a school counselor, but while her mom told her that she loved her, she also said she couldn’t care for both Desiree and a baby, and that Desiree would have to leave home if she had the baby.
On November 19, 2009, Desiree went to Hagerstown Reproductive Services, where she was told that she was 19 weeks pregnant, past the time when they were willing to do an abortion. But they referred her to Gosnell. Desiree would later obtain her medical records, and find out that she was actually 21 weeks pregnant, meaning that, at the time Gosnell aborted her child, she was 23 weeks pregnant.
“I was so overwhelmed and hurt,” Desiree says about that discovery. “If I had known I was 23 weeks, I would have (chosen) adoption.”
As for the abortion itself, it was an experience that Desiree would rather not remember.
The abortion took place on December 4, 2009 – which, unbeknowst to Desiree, was just fifteen days after Karnamaya Mongar had died at Gosnell’s clinic after a fatal overdose of anesthesia, administered by Gosnell’s unlicensed and largely untrained staff. Gosnell faces third-degree murder charges in the death of Mongar.
Desiree can barely speak when she recalls the actual procedure. She says that she remembers the abortionist laughing and telling her to “stop being a baby.” She also says she has a confused memory of Gosnell picking something up and leaving the room. She says she feels that it may have been her baby. “I think I’ve convinced myself that that’s what it is,” she says.
For the next three years Desiree kept that abortion a secret. Then, in March of this year, she received a phone call out of the blue from the Drug Enforcement agent, who told her that one of the “specimens” kept by Gosnell was from Desiree’s baby. Desiree’s mom remembers how, after that call, her daughter “called my phone screaming at the top of her lungs. Screaming and crying.”
Desiree says that one of the photos of the feet that have been circulating online includes the jar with the feet of her child.
“The pictures themselves are horrible,” says Desiree’s mom tearfully. “Just once you see them … they stick.” Her daughter adds, “You don’t even know how to respond when you find that a human or somebody else has kept the foot of your baby. You don’t know how to answer to that. You just want to cry and you just want to get sick. You don’t want to believe it. I still don’t.” “I think about it every day,” says her mother. “Because these are choices that we all live with. … It’s more me, because I’m the mother. So I do live with it every day.”
Cross-posted from Life Training Institute:
I spoke to 1,500 Catholic high school students in Ontario (Canada) today. I get another 1,300 tomorrow.
Catholic schools in Canada are funded by the government and are overwhelmingly secular. The dominant worldview is not much different than your average class at U.C. Berkeley. By far the most common objection I get from Canadian “Catholic” students goes like this. “You say you oppose all killing. So, are you a vegetarian?”
Today was no exception, as a female student made it very clear her beef with me was one of consistency: How could I be pro-life and enjoy a good Alberta steak whenever I visit Calgary? (Alberta has the best beef around—period!) Obviously, the student was channeling her inner Peter Singer. Indeed, the question stems from her belief that human life is morally equivalent to all other sentient beings.
Of course, her reply was flawed on several levels. For starters, my argument today wasn’t that all killing is wrong. My argument was that it’s always wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Elective abortion does just that, thus, I oppose it. Moreover, the sword cuts both ways: The student supported abortion, but not killing animals. Didn’t that make her inconsistent as well?
But I didn’t stay there. She was friendly and willing to engage, so I zeroed in on her God-given moral intuitions by relating two events from yesterday.
Me: During my drive from Albany (NY) to Guelph (Ontario), the car in front of me unintentionally flattened a squirrel who didn’t look before crossing. I didn’t stop to lend a hand. Was I wrong?
Student: No, that happens. As long as you didn’t try to hit him yourself, you didn’t do anything wrong.
Me. Agreed. Now how about this. Three hours later, just after crossing into Canada, I witnessed a horrific accident. A car behind me and to my left collided with the center rail and flipped end-over-end multiple times before finally coming to a stop (on its side) into a ditch. I immediately summoned 911 and stopped to lend assistance. (Miraculously, two women crawled out of the wreckage, but I’m doubtful the driver—trapped inside—made it.) I ended up staying on scene for two hours until the police finished clearing the crash site and interviewing me.
Student: That would freak me out.
Me. Ya, it didn’t make for easy sleep last night. But let’s change the story.
Me: Suppose instead of stopping to help, I just drove on—like I did with the squirrel. Would that have been wrong?
Student: Ah, ya…
Me: But not wrong with the squirrel?
Student: Um, no.
Me: Why is that?
She had to leave for class, but hopefully that gave her something to chew on.
FridayLife is a weekly opinion column which appears on the ProLife NZ blog every Friday morning.
Today we are are going to examine the important issue of abortion parental notification laws, and more specifically; whether it is morally permissible for a pro-lifer to support them.
For those who don’t know, an abortion parental notification law requires parental consent to be granted before any abortion can be carried out on a girl under the age of sixteen.
These laws have broad support within the pro-life community because they have been shown to lower abortion rates in areas where they have been implemented and properly policed, and thus they are an effective means of reducing the evil of abortion and saving human lives.
These laws also have broad support within the pro-life AND wider community because of the fact that such laws prevent outside parties from imposing themselves upon a family by procuring an abortion for one of the underage members of that family without parental consent, and usually without even parental awareness.
So, is it morally permissible for a pro-lifer to support a law which requires parental consent for abortions to be carried out on underage girls?
I believe that answer to that question is ‘yes’.
Why do I think that support for an abortion parental notification law is morally acceptable?
Firstly, an abortion parental notification law protects parental and familial rights by preventing an outside party from interfering in a family by arranging, or carrying out, an abortion on one of the young members of that family.
(Not to mention that it can also prevent sexual abusers from hiding their crimes by arranging secret abortions to hide pregnancies caused by their abuse of a minor.)
Support for an abortion parental notification law is NOT predicated on support for abortion, or on support for legal abortion, instead it is predicated on support for the natural law rights of parents to govern their own families without unwarranted, excessive or immoral interference from outside parties.
I really can’t stress this first point enough, because in many ways it is the central and most important point of this whole issue.
It is vitally important to stop and consider the fact that what lies at the heart of abortion parental notification law is actually informed consent, and more precisely this is actually about informed consent for serious surgical/medical procedures.
Parental notification laws are built on the vitally important truth that minors cannot give proper informed consent to serious life altering decisions primarily due to a lack of maturity in several important areas required for the processes involved in giving informed consent.
This is precisely why fit and proper parents who, by virtue of natural law rights, are solely and ultimately responsible for the care and formation of their own children, are the only right and proper persons to be giving consent to surgical/medical procedures involving their children.
In no other area of medicine could a child simply request a major surgical/medical procedure and be granted it, nor could someone else, under ordinary circumstances, step in without parental consent and arrange for a minor to be subjected to a serious surgical/medical procedure.
In many ways the fact that this issue is being raised in relation to abortion muddies the waters a bit, and causes some to lose sight of the fact that parental notification is actually a law which recognizes and protects parental rights, and people often also lose sight of the fact that not having parental notification laws is a violation of the important principles which govern informed consent.
As a result of this confusion some wrongly think that supporting parental notification requires support for abortion (rather than support for natural law parental rights) – they also usually miss the important fact that the lack of a parental notification law leaves young people far more vulnerable to various forms of coerced abortion.
Another area where people get tangled up in evaluating parental notification laws is by focusing on the case where a parent will use the parental notification law to consent to abortion for their child.
I would argue that any parent who chooses, or supports, abortion for their child is failing terribly in their duty as a parent (and a grandparent), and they are doing something gravely evil (which, in 99% of cases, will be caused by ignorance in one area or another).
But such a grave parental failure does not mean that good parents should be denied the right to actually parent well, and to be legislatively empowered with a parental notification law that allows them to reject evil and choose good for their children and grandchildren, and to protect them from the evil of abortion.
Secondly, support for an abortion parental notification law doesn’t actually require support for abortion itself, or even support for legalized abortion – I can still be vehemently opposed to the act of abortion, and to legalized abortion, while at the same time, where abortion is legal, supportive of a parental notification law.
In a similar vein, I can be totally opposed to pornography, and to legalized pornography sales, while at the same time, in a country where pornography is legal, firmly committed to an R-18 age restriction on pornography sales, and to laws which prohibit its retail display in public spaces.
Support for the legal restriction of an act is not the same thing as support for the act itself, or for keeping that act legal.
Thirdly, traditional moral philosophy is very clear that when we cannot take direct action that will be successful in ending an evil, we should engage in morally acceptable actions that will limit the evil.
The simple fact is that under current cultural and social conditions the chances of successfully passing a law that will bring about an end to abortion is probably several generations away from being a reality.
It is not defeatist, immoral, or even lacking in hope to accept and admit to this basic truth, in fact it is quite important for our own good, and for the good of the pro-life movement in this country that we do actually acknowledge this fundamental reality about our cause.
The important point is that in a moral, cultural, social, and political climate such as ours, our pro-life efforts are constrained by the fact that a legal end to the killing of unborn persons is decades away.
In the meantime I believe that we have an obligation to support any and all morally acceptable measures which will limit the evil of abortion, and thus reduce the number of innocent human victims that abortion will claim if it is allowed to operate without any restrictions whatsoever.
Abortion parental notification laws are one of these measures which restrict the evil of abortion, and which reduce the number of innocent human beings that it will kill, and the number of women that it will harm.
And because parental notification laws are NOT intrinsically evil, giving support to them would not be a case of using a good end (restricting abortion) to justify an evil means – which can never be acceptable to any person of goodwill.
Let me finish by once again pointing out the key point mentioned earlier – parental notification laws are NOT predicated on support for abortion, rather they are predicated on support for the natural law rights of parents to govern their own families without unwarranted, excessive or immoral interference from outside parties.
A trusted doctor, a medical professional, that three vulnerable pregnant women went to see for help proscribes an abortion drug against even more vulnerable unborn children. Knowingly. Willingly. The punishment? A six month ban from practicing medicine. A story from the dark ages? The centre of the most remote jungle? No people, this is our very own New Zealand.
Cross posted from Right To Life (with a few spelling corrections & links added).
Right to Life Media Release Monday 30th April 2013
A New Zealand doctor has been suspended by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal from practicing medicine for 6 months after three of her patients were unlawfully prescribed the abortion drug misoprostol.
The doctor who unlawfully prescribed this dangerous drug has broken the law. The Crimes Act 1961, under section eight, Crimes Against the Person, has section 183, Procuring Abortion by any means. It reads, “Everyone is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years who, with intent to procure the miscarriage of any woman or girl, whether she is pregnant or not,-[a]Unlawfully administers to or causes to be taken by her any poison or any drug …
These are serious crimes against the right to life of three defenseless unborn children. Right to Life questions the Tribunal as to why these serious crimes were not reported to the Police in order that charges could be brought to the High Court.
The doctor concerned has violated the Hippocratic tradition and the ethics of the medical profession which requires that doctors have the utmost respect for human life from the moment of conception. The three unborn children whose death she brought about were her patients and they deserved her respect and protection, tragically she failed them.
She also failed to protect the health and welfare of the vulnerable women who came to her seeking help. Doctors don’t help women by killing their children. By failing to protect the lives of the three precious unborn patients she has forfeited her right to practice medicine.
It is possible that the doctor is also a certifying consultant appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee to authorise abortions. Right to Life asks that if she is a certifying consultant, have these unlawful acts been reported to the Committee, in order that consideration be given to revoking her appointment as a consultant.
Right to Life.
The real story of Savita’s tragic death
Last year the death of an Indian woman was exploited as an example of Ireland’s “archaic” abortion laws. But the under-reported inquest tells a different story.
The inquest into the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar has reached a verdict of “medical misadventure”. However, this was not the view of opponents of Ireland’s pro-life laws and those with an anti-Catholic or militant secular agenda. Catholic dogmatism, they have claimed, was responsible for the death of a pregnant woman from sepsis.
The media narrative is that Savita Halappanavar died because she was denied a life-saving abortion. The right to life of her unborn child trumped her own right to life. One tweeter produced the evidence: a religious statue outside the hospital where Savita was treated.
Whilst the Irish constitution guarantees to respect and defend the life of the unborn child, stating that the lives of mother and child are of equal value, Ireland is also one of the safest places in the world in which to give birth. It boasts maternal death rates that are 33 times lower than Savita’s home country of India, and 3.5 times lower than the US. Pro-life Chile has the lowest maternal death rates in Latin America, and Poland, another pro-life country also fares well. Countries which respect the life of the unborn also ensure the highest standards of medical care for pregnant women.
The progress of septic shock
Savita Halappanavar died from septic shock resulting from an E.coli bacterial infection which had entered her bloodstream via the urinary tract. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has attributed most of the deaths of pregnant women in the UK with a baby under 24 weeks gestation, from sepsis, as being due to “substandard care… in particular a lack of recognition of the signs of sepsis and a lack of guidelines on the investigation and management of genital track sepsis”.
Severe sepsis of the type that killed Savita has a mortality rate of 60 percent. The RCOG’s 2012 green top guidelines note that early recognition of symptoms and initiation of treatment are vital when it comes to increasing patients’ chances of survival. The diagnosis of sepsis must be confirmed by blood cultures and early swift administration of broad spectrum antibiotics is the key to the survival of the patient, together with regular monitoring.
Savita Halappanavar first presented at University College Hospital Galway on the afternoon of Sunday, October 21, with backache but she was sent home following an examination. Savita had a history of back problems. She returned later that evening having experienced blood loss and was admitted. A blood sample was taken.
Crucially, the results of the blood tests, which showed an elevated white blood cell count indicating that an infection was present, were never followed up. The inquest heard that though the results were processed almost instantaneously, the first time they were accessed was some 24 hours later by an unidentified member of staff, and later by Dr Katherine Astbury, the consultant in charge of her care, at 11.24 on the Wednesday morning. This was five hours after she had been diagnosed with sepsis and after her condition had rapidly deteriorated.
Speaking at the inquest, Dr Astbury stated that if she had had access to the blood results earlier, she would have taken measures to terminate Savita’s pregnancy on the Monday or the Tuesday. However, she had been judging Mrs Halappanavar on the basis of clinical signs only and it had been her opinion that Savita was “distressed, but not unwell”.
Delay, not dogma, was the problem
It is difficult to see how Irish law, let alone Catholicism, should be held to account for this delay in diagnosis. Irish law allows for an unviable pregnancy to be terminated in the event that a mother’s life might be at real and substantial risk; sepsis would certainly fall into that category. A real and substantial risk does not need to be immediate, as with an ectopic pregnancy. The question is whether the woman will die if an abortion is not performed.
A bacterial infection needs to be aggressively targeted by broad spectrum antibiotics administered intravenously. Following her admission into hospital, Savita’s membranes had spontaneously ruptured very late on the Sunday evening. Her cervix was thought to be fully dilated, leading the staff to believe that delivery was imminent. The ruptured membranes put Savita at a 30-40 percent increased risk of infection and on Monday she was given a course of oral antibiotics as a precaution.
The burden of proof for infection in this situation is low. However the inquest discovered that vital four-hourly observations were missed, in addition to the failure to monitor her blood results. Regular blood tests to identify trends in white blood cell count and observations of her vital signs would have constituted optimal care, but this did not occur.
Furthermore, it was not until 1pm on Wednesday, October 24, that the correct broad spectrum antibiotics to target the infection were administered. Prior to this, Savita had been given erythromycin, a variant that was resistant to the E.Coli infection which was rapidly spreading throughout her body.
In addition, a lactate serum test which could have definitively confirmed the presence of sepsis was taken at 6am on the Wednesday morning and stored in an inappropriate bottle before being sent to the lab which could not process it. Even if the sample had been stored correctly, the lab would have been unable to analyse the test which should have been performed at a point of care unit on the ward.
The inquest heard that after 1pm on Wednesday, October 24, when Savita was taken into theatre where she spontaneously delivered her deceased child, and was then admitted to a high dependency unit, she received the highest possible standard of care. But there had been significant failures prior to this.
Did her survival hinge on a termination?
Opinion is divided as to whether or not a termination would helped Savita. The presence of an infection is a contraindication to surgical intervention, because the clamps and forceps required in a procedure risk further infection.
Furthermore Savita’s unborn child was not the source of her bacterial infection, the uterus and membranes being a sterile environment. Use of the drug misoprostol to contract the uterus and expedite delivery would not have guaranteed that the process would have been any swifter nor ruled out the necessity for surgery.
Conservative management is the preferred clinical approach in cases of spontaneous miscarriage. In the absence of obvious signs of infection, masked by her painkillers, it is not surprising that the medical staff decided that intervention was unnecessary. With ruptured membranes and a dilated cervix, it was perfectly reasonable to assume that nature would soon take its course. The outcome for the baby would have been tragically inevitable, but there would have been no long term ill-effects for the mother.
A failure of communication
Another troubling aspect of Savita’s case was failure to communicate the reasons for the hospital’s approach. Upon learning that a miscarriage was inevitable, Savita requested a termination so that she could leave the hospital as quickly as possible. Her parents had been visiting her and were about to leave the country. She wanted to be able to say goodbye to them at the airport.
Dr Astbury refused the request, couching this in purely legal terms, stating that Irish law did not allow for abortion.
This response was a cause of much distress for Savita and her husband Praveen. A discussion ensued with Ann Maria Burke, a midwife on duty, as to why abortion is banned in Ireland, unlike India. In response to Savita’s assertion that India was a Hindu country, Ms Burke replied that Ireland is a ‘Catholic country’ by way of explaining the background to the law.
Ms Burke has apologised. But the damage was done. Savita and Praveen blamed Irish law and Catholicism for the hospital’s unwillingness to do an abortion and the remark was seized upon by pro-abortion campaigners after her death. But whatever Ms Burke meant, she was not in charge of determining the appropriate course in Savita’s case.
Should the law be changed?
At the inquest, Dr Peter Boylan, an expert witness with a publicly stated position in favour of relaxing Irish laws on abortion, laid the blame solely on the legal position. He opined that were abortion legal in Ireland, Savita would have been alive today.
In recording a verdict of medical misadventure the inquest jury implicitly repudiated this. Instead it accepted and endorsed the coroner’s recommendations which emphasised a tightening up of procedures to remedy acknowledged systems failures.
Instead of recommending that the law should be reviewed, the jury said that the Irish Medical Board guidelines should be more explicit in describing the circumstances under which a woman’s life might be considered to be at risk.
The response from Galway University College Hospital seems to accept this, with no mention that the law had put doctors in an impossible position. Savita’s husband also seems to have rejected Dr Boylan’s analysis. When interviewed by the Irish Times after the verdict, he expressed exasperation at Dr Astbury’s conduct. He said that the world of obstetricians was a small one and suggested that the law was being used as a convenient shelter.
It is certainly difficult to see how the law is at fault for the initial failures in Savita’s care. Every year in Ireland there are 14,000 miscarriages, many of them carrying an infection risk, and no maternal deaths on record where the obstetrician felt that the law was inhibiting them.
Dr Sam Coulter Smith, master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, says that he has terminated a pregnancy in four instances where women had been diagnosed with sepsis and in all of them the baby did not survive. In any event, there is no evidence to suggest that the hospital staff believed that they had a desperately ill patient or that they were waiting until her condition became critical.
The coroner explicitly stated that the verdict did not mean that the blame for Savita’s death should be solely attributed to systems failures at University College Hospital Galway. Sepsis is still a very rare occurrence, as is spontaneous second trimester spontaneous foetal abortion. This occurs in 0.5 percent of single pregnancies of women with no previous history. In the last 40 years in Ireland there have been five cases of septic abortion. Its detection relies upon staff being alert to its possibility and symptoms.
Savita was the first maternal death in 17 years at the hospital, as opposed to the 100 mothers who have died in childbirth in London in the last five years. Once sepsis has taken hold, its spread is incredibly difficult to control. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but there is no guarantee that Savita would have survived even with the highest standard of care.
A background of austerity
What perhaps is of more relevance is that concern had been expressed about the hospital’s overall performance. In two successive months in 2011 it had been named as Ireland’s worst performing hospital. There had been calls for the Irish health minister to intervene.
It is far more likely that the austerity measures imposed upon Ireland, leading to an over-stretched and under-resourced maternity department, had far more impact upon Savita’s care. This is not what Ireland’s Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, currently engaged in a war of words against Catholicism in what some believe to be a diversion away from his party’s handling of the economy, wants to hear.
Savita Halapannavar has become the poster girl for Ireland’s abortion advocates. It will be a terrible irony if her legacy is more tragic deaths of the unborn. Far more fitting would be the successful implementation of precautions to prevent more deaths from sepsis. Anyone looking to improve maternal safety would be wise to highlight the dangers of E. Coli bacteria and the measures that women should take to avoid infection.
Cross-posted from MercatorNet from a post by Caroline Farrow
What gets implied by holding a pro-choice view, or put another way, what does a “pro-choice world” look like?
I got hit by a thought once that being pro-choice-of-abortion-being-legal means supporting something that could have cut your life short while you were in gestation.
As I think more about it, holding this viewpoint seems like a burden. What I mean is in the sense of a belief that is unhelpful (at the least) and probably makes one sad to hold it (but one feels like one must), to some degree.
Think about it; those strongly in support, or apathetic about, abortion being legal must admit – must – that they support something that could have gotten them killed by someone else’s choice with the full support of the law.
Perhaps one recourse is to then believe that a foetus isn’t a human. I guess that can be done. It’s unscientific & doesn’t stand up philosophically but it can be done (a lot of things can – eg the Matrix). Are there good reasons behind it? Well, I guess there’s the freedom to kill a foetus, but why is that such a good thing? Why is it so worth fighting for, that you were not a human, but alive in your mother’s womb, and that it was okay to kill your non-human thing that turned into you?
Hmm, just doesn’t strike me as happy stuff. Seems like a cold, clinical, dark, grey, morbid way to think, maybe.
Now, just on a ‘preference’ kind-of level, sure, I do ‘prefer’ the pro-life view. Yes, I do want to live in a inclusive world where people with different abilities, different looks, intelligence, development, etc. are included.
Now THAT’s a view of the world which I can see happiness and colour inside (yes, even in the midst of suffering), and which rings true (the existence of lies doesn’t ruin the truth).
FridayLife is a weekly opinion column which appears on the ProLife NZ blog every Friday morning.
I once remember someone referring to the horror of abortion as a ‘holocaust’, which of course attracted immediate and cynical scorn from other people listening at the time, but the more I think about this issue, the more I realise that this person was right, and that abortion truly has become a holocaust.
Now in no way am I trying to belittle or reduce the severity of the very grave suffering of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis by my use of this word in relation to abortion, I am simply pointing out that the number of human beings who have been killed by abortion, and who continue to be killed by abortion each year, truly has become genocidal in proportions.
It can be very tempting for us as pro-lifers, and even more so for those of us who have the unenviable duty of appearing in the media and other public forums, to try and soften the blow of our opposition to abortion by talking only about the serious risks and harm that abortion does to women, or only about the lack of informed consent in relation to abortion laws.
Yes, it is very appropriate, and only too right that we present the truth about the harm that abortion does to women, after all, pro-abortion lobby groups are more than willing to promote the lie that abortion is a simple and straightforward procedure that doesn’t really harm anybody.
Not only that, but they’ll normally take things one step further and blame any harm that is caused to women, particularly psychological harm, on pro-lifers by suggesting that the only reason that women will feel pain and regret after an abortion is if they are tricked into feeling guilt by pro-lifers.
And yes, it is very appropriate that we draw public attention to the fact that almost all women undergoing abortion in this country are not provided adequate information about risks, fetal development and alternative options, and that many of them are being coerced into abortion either by circumstance or by another person – which of course makes an absolute mockery of the pro-abortion mantra that women are making a free and informed choice to abort.
But ultimately, our response to abortion needs to focus not just on the health of women, and the lack of information provided to them, but also on the rights of the unborn child, who is unjustly killed by an abortion.
I think that in many ways, warning people about risk factors, and denial of rights is far easier than raising the issues of morality and killing that are part and parcel of abortion, which is of course why there is a tendency not to mention the later as often as we should.
It takes a bit more work to present the moral case against abortion than it does to present the risks associated with it, and it actually requires a much thicker skin to get through the initial accusations of insensitivity and anti-woman fundamentalism that are used as the stock standard insult on anyone who dares to mention the fact that abortion kills a living human being.
It certainly comes across a lot better from a PR perspective if you fight abortion on the grounds of injustice and harm to women, especially because our culture has been conditioned to wrongly believe that abortion is nothing more than a women’s rights issue, and so appealing to that confusion regarding rights and womanhood can seem like an approach that would be attractive to our culture.
In fact, I once heard an international pro-life speaker tell an audience that one of the errors of the pro-life movement was that they focused on the unborn baby, and if they framed the abortion issue around the women involved then they would be more successful in their efforts.
The problem is that these sorts of sentiments aren’t actually correct.
Don’t get me wrong, there is some truth in this notion, and as I have already stated I firmly believe that there is a place for addressing the harm that abortion does to women, and the lack of informed consent, etc, but ultimately, solely arguing that abortion is wrong because of risk factors to women, or lack of informed consent is both disingenuous and not very fruitful.
Firstly, abortion isn’t actually morally wrong because of the risks to women, and it isn’t morally wrong because of the lack of informed consent in the health system, it is morally wrong because it kills an innocent human being.
So trying to argue against abortion without ever mentioning the unborn child is not actually an honest representation of the pro-life position, and it also ends up playing right into the hands of the pro-abortion ideology, which holds firm to the belief that the unborn human being, and their rights are unimportant and they shouldn’t be given any real weight or focus in the abortion debate.
Secondly, trying to argue against abortion without mentioning the unborn child is almost always a fruitless path to head down because while the reliable research showing the harm that abortion causes to women is sound, the pro-abortion lobby groups also have their own studies which, they claim, show that abortion is harm free, or nowhere near as risky as is claimed by pro-lifers.
This reduces the argument to little more than a fight about whose research is better, which effectively turns the debate about abortion into a popularity contest, and in such cases 99.99999% of all people who support abortion will simply go with the research which appeals their already pre-existing pro-abortion bias and beliefs, rather than stopping and considering the very sound counter research which is put forward by the pro-life camp.
And on the issue of informed consent, the argument against abortion stalls as soon as the issue of informed consent is addressed by a government, or as soon as the pro-abortion supporter you are debating agrees that lack of informed consent is an issue that needs to be fixed – but of course, this still doesn’t resolve the core issue; that abortion is always a grave evil regardless of whether informed consent is occurring or not.
As pro-lifers our opposition to abortion isn’t an opposition to a lack of informed consent, or an opposition to the harm that abortion does to women (even though we are opposed to harm caused to women), instead we are opposed to the fact that abortion unjustly kills an innocent human being, and because of this it is one of the most serious violations of human rights that can be carried out.
Which brings me back to my original point, abortion has become the greatest human holocaust in our history, and it is not at all extreme or overly emotive to refer to it in such terminology precisely because of the fact that every abortion kills an innocent human being.
If abortion was simply a risky proposition for women, or an act where women aren’t making an informed decision, then yes, calling abortion a holocaust would be extreme and totally irrational.
But referring to an action which has killed millions, upon millions, upon millions of untold innocent human beings as a holocaust is not at all irrational or extreme, it is simply being honest.
The problem is that many people in our culture have been deceived, and others are in denial, and, as Orwell famously once said, “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
And woe to anyone who dares to draw a comparison between state sanctioned abortion and the state sanctioned killing of the Nazi regime – you’ll be met with instantaneous and harsh insult and scorn before such sentiments have hardly even had time to find their way out of your mouth.
In a sense, comparing our modern state sanctioned abortion to the killing of the Nazi regime isn’t really apt at all, because the fact is that we have managed to institutionalize, normalize and create widespread social acceptance of the state sanctioned killing of innocent human beings, and that’s something that the Nazis never managed to achieve.
Cross-posted from (LifeSiteNews.com) A federal judge has dropped nine charges – including three murder charges and one count of infanticide – against Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, as his trial resumed this morning.
Local media report the judge has determined Gosnell will not face three counts of murder, one count of infanticide, and five counts of abuse of a corpse. The latter charges related to Gosnell’s keeping the severed feet of aborted babies in jars in his clinic. Gosnell still faces the remaining four charges of first degree murder in the deaths of newborn babies, and an additional charge of third degree murder over the death of one of his abortion clients. Gosnell’s defense attorney, Jack McMahon, had asked that all seven charges of first degree murder be dismissed due to lack of evidence, a standard tactic. McMahon claimed that the prosecution could not prove that the babies were born alive.
“I am shocked that these counts have been dismissed,” said Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser for Operation Rescue. “I have heard testimony by very credible witnesses to the effect that these babies were murdered in cold blood by Gosnell as they cried and struggled for life.”
Testimony in the trial so far has featured several of Gosnell’s former employees, who have recounted how babies were routinely born alive during Gosnell’s “abortion” method. Gosnell, or one of his untrained medical staff, would then “snip” the spinal cords of the babies. Witnesses have described seeing newborn babies breathing, writhing, screeching, and, in one macabre case, flailing about in a toilet “trying to get out,” before meeting their demise at Gosnell’s hands.
“If Gosnell gets off scot-free, that will send a message that murdering live babies and abortion patients is now acceptable behavior in America and that abortionists who engage in such depraved practices are above the law,” Sullenger added. “This would put women and babies in grave danger – more than they already face – at abortion clinic throughout the nation.”
The judge did not indicate why he dropped the nine charges, according to reporters in the courtroom. The “house of horrors” abortionist’s trial resumed today with the defense, after the prosecution ended its case on Wednesday. The trial had been scheduled to resume Monday but was delayed due to McMahon’s illness. Gosnell, 72, still faces the death penalty if convicted on the remaining charges of murder. “We pray that justice will be done in the remaining five victims of Gosnell’s horrific slayings,” Sullenger said.
The last few years has seen increasing attention and opposition to sex selective abortion (abortion sought because of the sex of the child, usually a girl). Groups like All Girls Allowed campaign to expose and oppose sex selective abortion.
This practise was and remains widespread in China, India, Asian communities in the West (including the UK), Georgia, and other countries in eastern Europe. On 3 October 2011 The Council of Europe passed a resolution condemning most sex selective abortions in Council of Europe member states, with the exception of sex-linked genetic disorders i.e. eugenic sex-selective abortion. A similar Bill in America was proposed in May 2012 but defeated. In February 2012 Britain’s Daily Telegraph published its undercover investigation on sex selective abortion in the UK, leading to the suspension of some doctors filmed authorising abortions based on the sex of the child. Sex-selective abortion receives both support and ambivalence from abortion groups. UK based Voice for Choice coalition, which British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas) is a member of, published an open letter of support for abortionists, claiming that sex-selective abortion is not gender discrimination or a cause of gender discrimination. Sex-selective abortion highlights the paradox of campaigning for abortion as a woman’s rights issue yet condemning innocent baby girls to death at the hands of an abortionist simply for being girls, which is profoundly anti-woman.
Recently a report appeared in Britain’s Daily Mail about researchers who have almost finalised a procedure by which ovaries from aborted babies girls will be used for IVF. The news was announced at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Madrid. The procedure has been trialled by researchers in Holland and Israel. It involves tissue from seven baby girls aborted at between 22 and 33 weeks. Slices of their ovarian tissue were grown in a culture of chemicals and hormones. Over four weeks, the follicles matured to the stage just before an egg appears.
The abortion and fertility industries are showing us ever more destructive ways to kill and commodify children, especially baby girls.
Ever seen those lists of over-used words? Terms deemed to be losing their oomph or being misused get identified, published, and hopefully (according to the list authors) the terms become less used.
Thinking specifically now, I reckon there are some terms related to pro-lifeness that could go on such a list. It’s the least we can do.
In no particular order, and said by informed and uninformed people, some terms I think would make sense being thrown out are…
“Bringing into the world”
This one makes it sound like there is an alternate universe we can teleport things from if we so choose. Of course, the womb (and the human inside) is in the world already. The only situation this term really applies to is a hypothetical child before becoming pregnant. Which leads me to the foll0wing:
But what actually IS it?
It used to be pretty common to see a ticket advertised as ‘a half’ (for kids) instead of ‘a full’ (for adults). Sure, some people look down on kids but I’m not sure if that’s where the term originated from for when someone says “I’m 1-and-a-half” when pregnant (although I’ve only heard this a handful of times in my life). I prefer the term “eating for 2 now” which I’ve heard a bit more often - which makes me smile and gives me hope for interesting language!
“It’s a foetus, not a human”
But language isn’t always mutually exclusive. And the term ‘foetus’ itself is a very human term (obviously for human offspring, not pregnant whales). Nevertheless, it would be cool if I ever heard someone say “foetal human” instead. But that sounds clunky – no-one would say ‘adult human/adolescent human’ etc. except maybe in a textbook. I guess it would just be coming up with a term to counter-act a term that’s been twisted to mean something that was never in scope.
Unfortunately in English, there is little scope for referring to something personal with no known sex as something other than ‘it’. I would dearly love to call growing little humans some nice neat little word like ‘he’ or ‘she’ (before I know the sex), but it doesn’t exist! In French, sexless objects get referred to as ‘il’ (he) or ‘elle’ (she). Oh well, in the meantime, there are many news stories (when the context is nothing to do with abortion) that use the term ‘unborn baby’ which makes a lot of sense in the interim.
Calling people a condition
Now, I don’t actually mind being called a ‘diabetic’ – although I know some people much prefer PWD (person with diabetes). I don’t feel like I’m being dehumanised, but my condition isn’t particularly noticeable all the time. I think there is a particular issue with some conditions wherein people begin to identify the condition with the person (I saw a great interview where a father corrected a reporter referring to his Downs Syndrome daughter – he preferred “daughter with Downs Syndrome” which is particularly person-affirming). When it comes to terms that really are dehumanising either implicitly or explicitly (eg calling a human a “vegetable”), we could do with changing the language if we see an opportunity to.
Last of all, one term I’d like to see getting more (or at least as much) airplay compared with substitutes is:
I think this term actually engages the issue better (from both sides). It’s an accurate, non-emotive term (i.e. less likely for people to shut down into their mind bunkers) and is intuitive. What is unjust killing? Discuss. There is common ground on this.
Feel free to add good suggestions in the comments!