Aug 22 2014

These days in history

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It was August 21, 1968 that Prague Spring was overrun by the Soviets. Some pictures here, to remember. My favourite shot is below, because it shows the military might juxtaposed against a normal guy, leaving work. What would you do?

WorkingMan

 

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Aug 20 2014

“Pro-Choicers Are Doing Our Work for Us”

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Ben Wetzel over at BreakPoint uses two articles published in the last few weeks to demonstrate how “pro-choicers are doing our work for us.” One article is the Janet Harris piece that I wrote about a few days ago. I’ll excerpt the following from Wetzel where he discusses a piece from Esquire (some of it is pretty gruesome):

Within the past several weeks, however, two pro-abortion articles have appeared that demand the attention of pro-lifers. The arguments of the two pieces actually contradict each other, revealing the stark divide present even within the circles of abortion rights activists. Pro-life people might seize on the paucity of both arguments to make even more compelling cases for life in general and adoption in particular.

The first piece, the one getting the most attention, appeared in the online edition of Esquire on July 30. The article profiles the “abortion ministry” of Dr. Willie Parker of Mississippi…

The author, John H. Richardson, first describes the abortion operation—what he calls in Orwellian language “remov[ing] her pregnancy.” But then he gets to the really gruesome aftermath, the part where fetal body parts are clearly identifiable: “There’s the skull,” Parker says as he gestures toward a Pyrex dish, “what’s going to be the fetal skull . . . that’s an eye . . . here’s the umbilical cord”—and so it goes on, with Richardson adding his own commentary: “Floating near the top of the dish are two tiny arms with two tiny hands.” [...]

Harris’s cavalier treatment of abortion loses all credibility when juxtaposed with the palpable suffering and moral dilemmas encountered by real people in the Esquire piece. The untold numbers of women who have publicly mourned their own abortions—documented at sites like this—militates against the idea that abortion is just another surgical procedure. Moreover, few people undecided about abortion can read of Parker’s laboratory coldness to fetal body parts without feeling that something is dreadfully wrong here. In short, if these are the best arguments pro-choice advocates can come up with, they’re making it easy for the pro-life movement to respond. May we do so with grace and power.

Read the rest here.

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Aug 18 2014

Loving and reaching abortionists and clinic workers

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I just listened to Josh Brahm interview Abby Johnson. As most of you know, Abby is a former Planned Parenthood clinic manager and author of the book Unplanned. She’s now a pro-life activist and helps abortion workers and abortionists exit the abortion industry by providing emotional support, legal counsel, counselling and assistance in finding new jobs. (According to Abby’s experience, having an abortion clinic on your resume hinders future job prospects and she helps workers overcome this challenge.) All this is done through her ministry And Then There Were None.

In the last year, she has helped over 100 people exit the abortion industry. In July, she helped five workers leave one clinic alone, leaving that abortuary without staff.

In the interview she talks about how the pro-life movement needs to reach out to clinic workers and staff in kindness, and not direct their anger and frustration at them. She shares two personal stories which demonstrate her experience with both sides of the prolife movement. One hate-filled activist employed terrible (and ineffective) tactics to pressure Abby and her co-workers at Planned Parenthood to stop conducting abortions. His approach convinced Abby that she couldn’t befriend a Christian sidewalk counsellor who had been reaching out to her. A few years later, the consistent kind words and love of those sidewalk counsellors changed her mind again, and Abby fled to them when she realize that she could no longer work at Planned Parenthood. Abby had witnessed an ultrasound-guided abortion and saw the fetal child fight for his life before being killed, and she knew she could no longer deny the truth about abortion.

So listen to the interview. It’s insightful. Abby makes some fair critiques of the pro-life movement. We still have some work to do.

_____________________

Andrea adds: This is very interesting. I remember when I met with this woman who worked for Planned Parenthood a couple of times for coffee; she was very ardently pro-choice. We were both trying to convert each other, I think, but those were good conversations. It’s way too easy to demonize or point a finger from behind the computer screen.

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Aug 16 2014

Pro-choice activist: don’t call abortions “difficult decisions”

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Janet Harris had a piece run in The Washington Post this week. Entitled “Stop calling abortion a ‘difficult decision,’” she expresses her frustration that pro-choice persons and organizations, including Hillary Clinton and NARAL, call abortions a “difficult decision.” Why does this upset her? Because doing so implies some level of concern or thought for the unborn child:

But there’s a more pernicious result when pro-choice advocates use such language: It is a tacit acknowledgment that terminating a pregnancy is a moral issue requiring an ethical debate. To say that deciding to have an abortion is a “hard choice” implies a debate about whether the fetus should live, thereby endowing it with a status of being. It puts the focus on the fetus rather than the woman. As a result, the question “What kind of future would the woman have as a result of an unwanted pregnancy?” gets sacrificed. By implying that terminating a pregnancy is a moral issue, pro-choice advocates forfeit control of the discussion to anti-choice conservatives.

I have a number of issues with this opinion piece.

The author cares so much about language (does this language fit into our camp’s or theirs?) that the humanity of the unborn gets summarily dismissed. Or perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps she has no concern in general for these guys and girls:

Child in the womb

She acknowledges, with stats from the Guttmacher Institute, that the vast majority of abortions are for reasons other than concerns for fetal or maternal health, or pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest.

The far more common situation, accounting for 51 percent of all pregnancies among American women, is an unintended pregnancy, either mistimed (31 percent) or unwanted (20 percent). A 2008 study found that 40 percent of unintended pregnancies, excluding miscarriages, ended in abortion. It is in these cases that the portrayal of hand-wringing and soul-searching is more likely to be at odds with the day-to-day reality.

She then concludes that since the vast majority of these abortions occur because the pregnancies are simply “unwanted” or “mistimed,” that the women must make the decision to abort their children as a matter of fact. That women in these situations don’t struggle with a “difficult decision.” This conclusion seems like a huge leap to me. I think our friends at Silent No More may have some thoughts on that.

She also assumes that since most women state they had their abortions fairly quickly after discovering they were pregnant, that they did not face the harrowing “difficult decision.”

Another survey suggested that “once women suspect pregnancy, most of them who seek an abortion act fairly quickly.” In fact, most women — even those who obtained abortions within the first six weeks of pregnancy — would have preferred to have their abortions earlier than they did.

Could it be perhaps that they felt they had no other choice? They were pressured? They didn’t realize there were resources available to them? That they were coerced? That they believed that once the abortion procedure was over, they would no longer struggle with whatever they were feeling about being pregnant?

This brings to me a few words from the article I posted yesterday, How I lost faith in the pro-choice movement. When we are dishonest with ourselves and each other about the realities of sex, there is reason for an emotional response and confusion. From Jennifer Fulwiler, the author of that piece:

I was looking through a Time magazine article whose infograph cited data from the Guttmacher Institute about the most common reasons women have abortions. It immediately struck me that none of the factors on the list were conditions that we tell women to consider before engaging in sexual activity. Don’t have the money to raise a child? Don’t think your boyfriend would be a good father? Don’t feel ready to be a mother? Women were never encouraged to consider these factors before they had sex; only before they had a baby.

The fundamental truth of the pro-choice movement, from which all of its tenets flow, is that sex does not have to have life-altering consequences. I suddenly saw that it was the struggle to uphold this “truth” that led to all the shady dealings, all the fear of information, all the mental gymnastics that I’d observed.

Sex has life-altering consequences. As a result of sex, you may get a disease and you may get pregnant. If a couple gets pregnant and deems that this pregnancy is “mistimed,” they may rush headlong into an abortion in hopes of simply getting back to their regularly scheduled life. They may not have given themselves the time to research the abortion procedure and its consequences, learn about fetal development or seek out resources and help.

Harris then moves on to the pro-choice movement’s new strategy: collapse in economic concerns to appeal to a broader demographic:

Abortion rights groups are struggling to expand their message from “pro-choice” — which they say no longer resonates with voters as it once did — to more broadly encompass women’s health and economic concerns. The movement needs such recalibration precisely because it was drawn into a moral debate about the fetus’s hypothetical future rather than the woman’s immediate and tangible future. Once these groups locked themselves into a discussion of “choice,” terminating a pregnancy became an option rather than a necessity. Pro-choice groups would be a lot stronger, more effective and more in sync with the women they represent if they backed away from the defensive “difficult decision” posture.

I don’t understand her use of “future.” The fetal child is alive and growing. As far as I’m concerned, something that is alive, kicking and hiccuping and will be born in a matter of months has a “tangible future.” Right? Or is a future only “tangible” if it includes interrupted college studies? Or the fast track at a Bay Street firm? Does not living and being and growing require some kind of “tangible” future? Or do only certain humans, with certain capabilities and a certain quality of life have a “tangible future”?

She then goes on to explain that abortion is a difficult decision “not something any woman wants to go through.” But she explains that this is not due to the fact that most women struggle with the idea of ending the life within them, but because they will feel judgement from others or that abortions cost too much.

I don’t know. I feel more judged now for being pro-life than I ever did being pro-choice. What about you?

There are other aspects of this article that demand comment, but I have to go live out my five month old son’s intangible future with him. I leave you to the comments section. As always, I appreciate your thoughts.

photo credit: drake lelane via photopin cc

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Aug 15 2014

“How I lost faith in the pro-choice movement”

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I was pro-choice as a teenager without a clue as to what went on in the womb. Had someone at my high school shared with me the facts about fetal development, I would have likely become pro-life then and there.

Some will argue, even when faced with the realities of biology and fetal development, that the killing and dismemberment of fetal children is still somehow necessary. But I hope that most, when faced with the facts, would pause and re-evaluate the pro-choice position.

Like this woman did:

My first tipoff that something was wrong in the pro-choice movement was when I realized that there was a great fear of information…

I found some images and descriptions of fetal development, and was amazed by how much I hadn’t known. For all the time I’d spent talking about abortion rights, I’d never bothered to learn the details about what, exactly, happens within a woman’s womb when she’s pregnant, and no one had encouraged me to do so. I had never heard that fetuses have arms and legs and tastebuds at eight weeks gestation, or that they began practicing breathing at 11 weeks. I paused and thought about that for a long time. It didn’t make me question my pro-choice stance, but for the first time I could understand how someone could be uncomfortable with abortion.

The biggest thing I noticed, however, was that pro-life sites had this information in abundance. The pro-lifers encouraged women to educate themselves about the details of pregnancy, suggested that they view ultrasounds to know what was happening within their bodies, and offered resources to educate women about all aspects of the female reproductive system.

On the pro-choice side, it was a totally different story.

Read the rest here.

h/t Big Blue Wave

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Aug 14 2014

Great article about ditching the Pill…

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on conservative, Catholic, Canada.com? What? A great article.

A growing number of young, educated professional women are turning to fertility awareness, a form of natural family planning that sounds like your grandmother’s rhythm method but is way more accurate.

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Aug 14 2014

Your morning not funny

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This makes me mad. I don’t eat at Burger King–I guess that makes a boycott easy. But it is lazy, irresponsible, disrespectful, uncreative and insulting to make this ad. It remains a man’s boy’s world with respect to respect for women. I’m glad the model spoke out.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

 

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Aug 14 2014

Your morning funny

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MosesMidway

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Aug 13 2014

Another Canadian pro-life activist attacked and handcuffed

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These stories cannot get enough coverage:

The incident on the Calgary campus occurred the evening of February 19, 2013. Nicholas McLeod, president of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, ventured to campus and was distributing postcards containing graphic imagery when he was approached by security members and asked to stop.

McLeod said Monday in his first interview since the incident that when he refused to hand over his postcards he was knocked to the ground and swarmed by as many as five guards. [...]

McLeod claims he’d been recording the guards on his phone and stuffed the device in his pants to prevent them from seizing it. He said he was taken to a holding room and remained handcuffed for three hours.

“They wouldn’t let me call a lawyer, they wouldn’t let me do anything,” he said. “They put the cuffs on extremely tight . . . I was in agony.”

He’s launched a $120,000 lawsuit. Good for him.

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Aug 13 2014

Pondering suicide after the death of a loved comic

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Robin Williams was a comedic genius. His death has left many reeling and mourning. There is something terrible and sad about suicide always, but particularly when a life was dedicated to making others laugh.

His suicide is a springboard to a broader point about combating suicide. For if current “death with dignity” folks have their way, we’ll soon have no logical reason to decry suicide at all.

How do we help people in a severe depression see through to a brighter time?

Certainly not by selling exit bags on the Internet. Pardon the extremely macabre nature of this, but exit bags are placed over one’s head, tied at the neck and used with a sedative-type drug so that our natural instincts for survival don’t take over when the carbon monoxide levels rise in the bag.

(Some help combat suicidal tendencies. Others provide the tools. It’s truly almost hard to believe.)

There has been no approval of suicide after his death, only shock and mourning. Suicide is always tragic, let it not be considered a viable option in any circumstance. Death with dignity does not mean providing an exit bag, it means providing hope. If Robin Williams had thought his death through more completely, and requested it, under current euthanasia legislation presented in Quebec right now, he would be granted it.

Things to ponder as we try to create a brighter world for people suffering in the dark realm of depression.

Robin Williams, Rest In Peace.

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