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Posts Tagged ‘pro-life debate’

The Abortion Debate Doesn’t Have a Color

A typical scene at our UNC GAP. (Click to enlarge.)

by Mick Hunt

Earlier this month, a woman verbally and physically abused Created Equal (CE) staffers who were showing abortion victim photos in Columbus, Ohio.  The incident was caught on tape and received extensive news coverage, including an interview on the Sean Hannity show (link here).

The attacker repeatedly called CE staffers misogynist and racist.  If you are engaged in important work like CE and CBR, it won’t be long before someone says those things about you … if you are white and male.

But when women and people of minority races express pro-life views, it proves the issues of race and gender to be irrelevant to the argument.

The pro-life movement has a number of prominent African-American leaders like Dr. Alveda King (niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.) and Rev. Clenard Childress (a CBR director).  To help complete the picture, however, I’d like to share a few black voices.  These are stories written by staff and volunteers who helped with our recent GAPs in North Carolina, but they might have come from any state.

UNC-Chapel Hill  (March 31-April 1, 2014)

p A black female student told me her brother was supposed to be aborted, but her mother went through with the pregnancy and her brother turned out fine.  She was glad we were showing the truth.

p I gave a brochure to a black man and asked if he would like to know how we make the genocide comparison.  He took the brochure and said emphatically, “It is genocide!”

p A black male student said, “I thought it was OK until maybe 3 months, until I saw these pictures.  I had no idea!”

p Black male psychology student said, “Human fetus = person.”

p Conversation with an older black female:  Q: Would you like some information?  A: No, because I agree with you.

p Tony, a black student, was staring at the signs, listening to the crazy NARAL woman, and asked her, pointing to the signs, “How is that hate?” (This was in response to a comment she had made repeatedly.)  She said, “I’ve had an abortion, and I’m not ashamed of it, but their signs are trying to shame me for my choice.”  Tony was not buying any of it.  I was standing right there, so we began talking, along with two other black women.  Tony said, among other things, “It seems like anything pro-God, pro-morality, pro-creation, etc. gets stifled on this campus.  It’s ironic that they try to profess tolerance, and yet with their appeal to the Dean, they are trying to shut you up, and take away your rights.  That’s what is hate.  If we don’t have the First Amendment, we don’t have anything.  Them trying to get you guys off campus, we might as well be back in the 50’s.  It’s just like the racist saying, ‘Get in the back, n***’”

North Carolina State University (April 2-3, 2014)

p A black female student was raised in a pro-life church and family; she didn’t know about the NCSU Students for Life group and immediately signed up.  She came back to volunteer the next day.  Her Bishop came as well and we encouraged him as a black pro-life pastor.  Four of our folks went to his church on Friday to support their work.

Next time: African-American performance artist Shawn Welcome’s poem “Civil War.”

………………………….
Mick Hunt (Meredith Eugene Hunt) is a FAB contributor.  He has helped organize more than 50 Genocide Awareness Projects (GAPs) all over the Southeast and elsewhere.

Teaching the teachers about abortion

CBR volunteers show what "family planning" looks like to NEA delegates.

CBR volunteers show what “family planning” looks like to NEA delegates.

On Monday morning, July 1st, delegates of the National Education Association’s (NEA) annual assembly were in for an eyeful as they made their way to the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

CBR volunteers from all over Georgia stood at the intersection of Andrew Young International Boulevard and Marietta Street with CBR’s handheld “Choice” signs, which depict images of early-term aborted fetuses. Our group’s positions were adjusted throughout the morning to adapt to changing traffic patterns.

CBR was working alongside other pro life organizations, including Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) and Pro Life Educators of America (PLEA), to bring a message to the NEA: adopt a neutral position on abortion.

“We are not asking the NEA delegates to do a one-eighty and change our union’s abortion position and activism to being pro-life,” said Bob Pawson, Director of PLEA and  NEA member, “We are asking that our union be verifiably neutral and totally non-involved regarding abortion. And stop hiding their advocacy behind euphemistic language such as ‘reproductive freedom’ or ‘all methods of family planning,’” Pawson said.

CBR works to effectively dismantle such euphemisms. While other pro life advocates used text signs to exhort the NEA to neutralize it’s pro-abortion position, the graphic pictures we used showed exactly what certain methods of “reproductive freedom” and “family planning” do to unborn children (and future students).

The Truth Truck made several rounds in front of the CNN News Center in Atlanta

The Truth Truck made several rounds in front of the CNN News Center in Atlanta.

NEA members were also shown the true meaning of these genteel phrases by billboard-sized abortion images on CBR’s “Truth Truck.” Our truck made rounds in the Georgia World Congress Center vicinity throughout the mornings and afternoons of July 1 and July 2, insuring that as many NEA delegates as possible would be exposed to the brutality that their union’s official resolution currently supports.

“Normally, in America’s news media, when citizens hear or read press reports about teacher unions and picketing, it is the union DOING the picketing; usually demanding more money. This event is one of those unusual instances in which the NEA Teacher Union is the TARGET OF PICKETING; ironically, by NEA members, taxpayer-parents, and students. The very constituencies which the NEA leadership touts itself as supposedly serving,” said Pawson.

While we received some of the usual irate responses, several passersby paused to observe and ask questions about the images. One driver, a young African-American woman, rolled down her window to address one of our volunteers when stopped at the traffic light:

“Excuse me, is that a real picture?”

“Yes, it is”

“Awe.” She was audibly saddened by what she saw.

Much conversation was overheard among pedestrians regarding abortion and the NEA’s stance on abortion. While some doubted that the NEA took a pro abortion stance, others indicated that they were previously unaware of the fact before encountering the message being shown to them. Pro life NEA members in particular expressed appreciation of CBR’s message and our assistance in reforming the teacher’s union.

For more on the NEA’s position, please see http://www.grtl.org/?q=NEA-pro-abortion-tendencies

Submitted by: Lincoln Brandenburg

Pro Life on Campus at Auburn University

Crowd gathers at Auburn University

A crowd gathers at Auburn University. (Click to enlarge image.)

We took our Pro-Life Training Academy (PLTA) and our Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) to Auburn University earlier this month.  We had a great location on the Haley Concourse, right in front of the Student Center.  You can see the large crowd in the photo (right).  We were hosted by the Auburn Students for Life.

Converting the neutral and activating the converted.  Nicole spoke at length with a student who was marginally pro-life until we showed up.  She spent hours volunteering at the GAP display and is now on fire to do more.  She joined the Auburn Students for Life and we know we’ll see her again!

Too late.  Nicole also spoke with a young man who was obviously distraught.  She said, “You are obviously upset by what you are seeing.  Would you mind sharing with me what you are thinking?”  As it turned out, this young man had advised his sister to get an abortion, just two weeks before.  Clearly, we needed to be at Auburn last year.  In fact, we need to be on every campus every year with GAP.  Additional visits with “Choice” signs would be good, too.  Nicole, who is post-abortive herself, explained about the many physical and emotional risks that his sister now faces.  She also recommended counseling.

Abortion is not genocide … so they say.  Many people are confused about the definition of genocide and assert that abortion is not genocide.  Of course, abortion is neither murder nor genocide if the preborn is anything less than a living human being.  But if the preborn is a living human being — science and common sense tell us that the preborn is both human and alive — then abortion kills 1.2 million American human beings every year.  If not genocide, what else would we call it?

They try to say that abortion cannot be genocide because the government doesn’t perform the killing.  That’s a silly argument because (a) government leadership is not part of the definition of genocide, and (b) the US government actually pays for a lot of abortions and will, under ObamaCare, pay for all of them.

There is no one definition of genocide.  In our years of studying this crime, we have identified three different classes of definitions: general, legal, and scholarly.  Within each category are literally hundreds of definitions.  We use the definition of genocide embodied in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96, which defines genocide as “a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings….”  Resolution 96 goes on to say genocide is a crime “whether committed on religious, racial, political or any other grounds …” (emphasis added).  With abortion, the “entire human group” denied the right of existence is unwanted, preborn children.

GAP a wrap at George Mason University

A crowd gathers at George Mason University

A crowd gathers at George Mason University

We’re way behind in reporting on our continuing I-95 GAP tour!  It will take weeks to catch up!

The second day of GAP at George Mason University (GMU) was a huge success.  One GMU administrator told us that he had never seen so many people engaged in serious discussion as he observed on the Johnson Plaza in front of our GAP display.

Lily Bolourian, president of Patriots for Choice, was quoted in the paper as saying, “We believe that the whole notion that abortion is genocide is absolutely ludicrous.”  She is, of course, correct … if the preborn child is anything less than a living human being.  The problem for her side is that medical school textbooks, embryologists, and pro-choice philosophers all agree that the preborn child is a living human being.  That means we are killing 1.2 million human beings every year.  What else would she call it?

I had a productive (I think) discussion with Ms. Bolourian.  We actually share a lot in common.  We both want to live justly with our fellow man.   She is just confused about who her fellow man is.  We shouldn’t be too harsh in our judgment on that point; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and even George Mason himself were similarly confused.  They excluded human beings on the basis of skin color.  Because if it, millions of people had their lives stolen from them.

When Ms. Bolourian brought up the breast cancer link, I was able to show her the latest compilation of studies that address the link.  It is true that some studies have failed to show this link to be statistically significant, but because of my background in experimental statistics (PhD minor), I could explain the difference between (a) failing to show that two populations are different at a statistically significant level and (b) actually proving that they are the same.  I was able to explain that if abortion increases a woman’s chance of breast cancer from an ambient level of 10% to an after-abortion level of 13%, we can estimate that 300,000 women have died from abortion-induced breast cancer since Roe v. Wade (source).

Ms. Bolourian thanked me for the kind of dialogue we were able to have.  She thought respectful dialogue to be a rare commodity between our two sides.  She said that’s why they encouraged their members not to engage with us.  I said, “You mean you told your people not to come and talk to me?”  She admitted that she had.  I replied, “Looks like you broke your own rule!”  We had to laugh as we parted ways.

UNF student praises GAP project

UNF GAP Team

UNF GAP Team

Got a nice e-mail from Michael Oliveros, a student at the University of North Florida (UNF):

It was really nice to see you on campus, since I am around a very pro-choice environment so much.  I am really excited about the pro-life club that you are starting!  It will give me a way to express my pro-life views, as well as a place for support, and to be around people of like mind.

Again, I’d like to reiterate how appreciative I am of you all coming out.   I commend all of you for your courage in being a voice for these babies, and for standing up for life.   I hope and pray that I can have the same courage and dedication that all of you have as I become a part of this pro-life club.

God bless, and all of you are in my prayers!

Michael Oliveros

Thanks to all of you who support our work!  You make it possible!

Pro Life on Campus at U of North Florida (UNF)

CBR's Nicole Cooley explains the comparison of abortion to slavery.

CBR's Nicole Cooley explains the comparison of abortion to slavery.

We’re up and running with our pro-life display at the U of North Florida (UNF), an important and growing university in Jacksonville.  Our pro-life GAP display is situated on the main sidewalk leading from the Student Union to the academic buildings.

It’s a busy day on campus.  We’re seeing lots of student tours.  In fact, this might be the perfect day to reach high school students.   We’re guessing many of them (and their parents) are out of high school (and work) for Presidents Day, so this is a logical day for them to schedule a university tour.

A crowd gathers at the University of North Florida

A crowd gathers at the University of North Florida.

Pro Life on Campus at Students for Life of Georgia

Welcome to Georgia, one of the thirteen orignial colonies

Welcome to Georgia, one of the thirteen orignial colonies.

FAB is coming to you today from Macon, Georgia, where CBR is co-sponsoring a state-wide conference of the Students for Life of Georgia.  Pro-life students have come from all over Georgia for a day of leadership training and networking.  In fact, a few interlopers from South Carolina may have snuck in as well.  All-told, there are about 50 students in the crowd.

As one of the speakers for this conference, your humble correspondent addressed the students on the history of social reform, and how that history can guide us as pro-lifers.  We are not the first social reform movement, and we can learn a great deal from successful reformers like William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, the abolitionists in America, Lewis Hine, and Dr. Martin Luther King.

Poll: Pro-aborts agree with us on several points

Abortion Protest

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A common logical fallacy they teach in pro-abortion debating school is the ad populum technique.  (That means appeal to popularity, for all you people in Rio Linda.)  It is often combined with the ad hominem attack, like this:

  1. Most people disagree with you. (ad populum)
  2. Therefore, you are an extremist. (ad hominem)
  3. Therefore, you must be wrong.

Rejoice when they try that.  Without exeption, the pro-abortion debater will be so extreme in his/her views as to be an embarrassment to the typical pro-abortion citizen.  A recent Gallup poll found several points on which pro-choice people actually agree with us:

  • Third trimester abortions should be illegal.  (79% of pro-choicers agree)
  • Informed consent should be required.  (86% of pro-choicers agree)
  • Partial-birth abortions should be banned.  (63% of pro-choicers agree)
  • 24-hour waiting period should be required.  (60% of pro-choicers agree)
  • Perental consent should be required for minors.  (60% of pro-choicers agree)
  • Second trimester abortions should be illegal.  (52% of pro-choicers agree)

Compare these results to the typical pro-abortion activist who agrees with none of these statements.

Gallup concludes:

Abortion politics have been quite contentious in the United States; however, self-described “pro-life” and “pro-choice” Americans broadly agree on more than half of 16 major abortion policy matters Gallup tested in June and July.  These policies generally have to do with protections for women’s vital health, preventing late-term abortions, and ensuring that abortion patients and parents are fully informed before an abortion.

FAB will accept these results as largely accurate, because they are within the range of other polling data we have seen.  However, a word of caution is in order.

Always be wary of abortion statistics, whether they be trumpeted by pro-lifers or by pro-aborts.  Unlike many people on both sides of the issue, FAB tries to avoid the two most common errors we see:  (1) dismissing the results we don’t like and (2) taking the results we like as the final word.  It’s almost comical to watch both sides hold up the same poll and claim final victory.

We approach statistics with a certain amount of skepticism.  In that spirit, we found some major curiosities in the results of this poll:

  1. Only 97% of pro-choicers agreed that abortion should be legal when a woman’s life is in danger.  What is the other 3% thinking?  How can they claim to be pro-choice?
  2. Only 91% of pro-choicers agree that abortion should be legal when the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest.  What are the other 9% thinking?
  3. On the flip-side, 35% of “pro-lifers” want abortion to be legal in the first trimester.  How could such people claim to be pro-life?  Could it be that 35% of pro-life people simply don’t pay a bit of attention to what they are doing when answering a poll?
  4. Gallup says 9% of “pro-lifers” want abortion to be legal when when the woman/family can’t afford a child.  Again, how could such people claim to be pro-life?
  5. Only 90% of “pro-lifers” want abortion to be illegal in the 2nd trimester and only 94% want it to be illegal in the third trimester.
  6. Bottom line:  Somewhere between 6% and 35% of pro-life respondents aren’t paying attention.  Same is true for between 3% and 9% of pro-choice respondents.

Artscape 2011: The “Art” of Abortion

The "Art" of Abortion display at Artscape 2011 was visible to thousands

The "Art" of Abortion display at Artscape 2011 was visible to thousands.

This report from CBR Maryland Directors Kurt and Samantha Linnemann:

Artscape is the largest art festival in the country, bringing 350,000 people to Baltimore over a 3-day weekend.  We were strategically located in the center of the festival, where thousands upon thousands of people walked past our display.  In addition to 4 GAP signs and 3 hand-held “Choice” signs, we also displayed a banner that said, “The Art of Abortion, The Slaughter of The Innocent.”  All of the signs featured graphic pictures of abortion.  CBR volunteers handed out pro-life literature to passersby.

When we showed the signs, the Baltimore City Police threatened to arrest us.  We simply asked what we were going to be arrested for.  Knowing they had nothing to charge us with, they backed down.  Fifteen police officers stood by and watched our display go up and stay up for the following 3 hours.

Our photos precipitated many meaningful conversations.  But more importantly, thousands of young people, many of whom said they support abortion, were faced with the reality of what abortion does to an innocent human being.   Many were challenged to re-evaluate their pro-”choice” position.

Click here to view pictures from Artscape 2011 

The Art of Abortion at Artscape 2011 in Baltimore

The "Art" of Abortion at Artscape 2011 in Baltimore

Abortion, Medical Honesty Battle Takes Shape at University of Virginia

The Human Rights and Scientific Honesty Initiative

The Human Rights and Scientific Honesty Initiative

A group of Virginia college students, banded together to form The Human Rights and Scientific Honesty Initiative asked me to pass this story along to you:

Abortion, Medical Honesty Battle Takes Shape at University of Virginia

A national treasure of a building, Thomas Jefferson’s Rotunda at the University of Virginia (UVA), has a leaking roof and crumbling columns.  The University and state government have begun the chess game over how much it will cost to repair, and who will be picking up the tab.  But right across the street in the UVA president’s office, they have much bigger worries about what they have been doing with state, federal, and student funds the last 20 years under the leadership of John Casteen .   New UVA President Theresa Sullivan has been handed a series of shocking allegations from our group, The Human Rights and Scientific Honesty Initiative.

Students for Life of America has already identified the University of Virginia as one of the institutions of higher learning that has been financing elective abortions with student health funds, and not even giving their students and their students’ parents the opportunity to opt out of that.  What most people at UVA and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) are totally unaware of is that these schools have both been secretly performing thousands of elective abortions right in their own teaching hospitals!  And, yes, these are both state taxpayer funded universities who also receive federal education grants to boot.

Elective abortions being performed secretly at taxpayer-funded universities are bad enough.  On top of that, UVA has been giving misleading information on a wide range of reproductive issues, neglecting the principle of informed consent.   Sadly, it seems one of America’s top universities allowed itself to be sucked into the Planned Parenthood template for misinforming women and keeping them in the dark about numerous threats to their health.  Somebody finally noticed.

The national pro life movement has been overlooking the universities for too long.  Sometimes we forget that it is not all about Planned Parenthood.  Pro-life activists have a lot to contend with in Charlottesville, a city of only 45,000 people that already has two other abortion facilities as it is, and a large pro-abortion cabal that includes City Council.  One of Live Action’s recent stings of Planned Parenthood aiding and abetting child sex trafficking took place at their Charlottesville area facility.  But right there, in such a hostile environment, we have a whole new front opening in the battle for human rights in America.  And what better place to start than Mr. Jefferson’s University.

We are accepting additional endorsements for our document.  If you are a student, faculty, or alumnus of any Virginia college or university, you can add your name by sending an email to co-author Siobhan Casey at siobhan-casey@hotmail.com.  Thomas Jefferson, who founded UVA back in 1819 near his home at Monticello, once wrote that “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

Abortion poll by Gallup: What does it mean?

Gallup poll shows most people believe abortion should be legal under only a few or no circumstances. This is also true of younger voters.

Gallup poll shows most people believe abortion should be legal under only a few or no circumstances. This is also true of younger voters.

Earlier today, Gallup published the results of their latest poll on abortion.  What does it all mean?

The Good

  1. When given choices between none, few, most, and any circumstances, 61% said abortion should be legal only in a few or no circumstances, whereas 37% say it should be legal under any or most circumstances.  These numbers are very much opposed to the status quo (i.e., abortion legal under any and all circumstances).
  2. Only 40% of younger people (18 – 34 years) believe that abortion should be legal under any/most circumstances, whereas 59% believe it should be legal under few/no circumstances.  This is almost identical to the opinions of those in the 35 – 54 age group and the population at large.  Again, a resounding defeat for the status quo.
  3. Most people believe aborton to be morally wrong (51%) as opposed to morally acceptable (39%).  This is a 12% margin of victory for our side, but it is also puzzling.  Apparently, there are many people out there, maybe 10%, who won’t say abortion is morally wrong, but still believe it should be generally restricted (i.e., available only under a few or no circumstances).

The Bad

  1. The numbers aren’t changing much.  On the main question (whether you consider yourself to be pro-choice or pro-life), the results were 49% pro-choice and 45% pro-life.  This isn’t radically different from the 1998 results, which were 48% pro-choice to 45% pro-life.  Yes, the numbers bounce around, but it is hard to assert there are any consistent trends.
  2. Despite a lot of conflicting data that others have touted, this poll shows that younger people (18 – 34 years) are pro-choice by a margin of 51% pro-choice to 42% pro-life, almost the same as the 35 – 54 age group, but more pro-choice than the overall population (49% pro-choice to 45% pro-life).  [Yet, as was detailed in item 2 under The Good, young people also believe abortion should be legal under only a few or no restrictions.]

The Ugly

  1. The poll did not differentiate between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester abortions.  Attitudes change dramatically based on the age of the baby.
  2. People’s attitudes are inconsistent because most people simply don’t know much about it.  You could see that in the 1998 Wirthlin poll, which found that 61% of the people said abortion should be legal in the 1st trimester, but also found that 58% oppose abortion after the onset of the heartbeat.
  3. Since 1998, the numbers have bounced around, with both sides claiming “trends” that could be expected to continue into the future.  The latest data suggest no such trends, only sampling noise.
  4. Not much difference between genders, except that women tend to be more polarized.  More women than men thought abortion should be illegal under all circumstances (24% of women vs 19% of men).  But the women’s strong views also are evident at the other end of the spectrum, where more women than men also thought abortion should be legal under any circumstance (29% of women vs 24% of men).  Looking at it another way, 53% of women held one of the two polar opposite opinions, whereas only 43% of men held one of them.

So, is this good news or bad news?  Please comment!

Pro Life in the median strip at Johns Hopkins University

A crowd gathers in front of GAP and CBR's "Choice" signs at Johns Hopkins University.

A crowd gathers in front of GAP and CBR "Choice" signs at Johns Hopkins University.

On Tuesday, CBR brought the Genocide Awareness Project to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).  This is a private school, and we had no student sponsorship, so we actually set up our display in a grass strip at the front entrance.

About mid-day, a handful of pro-abortion students showed up to provide a stark contrast between reasoned debate and juvenile buffoonery.  Fortunately, we were able to bring the truth about abortion to a steady stream of students entering the JHU front gate.

Pro Life Training Academy in Baltimore

Jay Watts of the Life Training Institute is our featured speaker.

Jay Watts of the Life Training Institute is our featured speaker.

We’re doing the Pro Life Training Adademy in Baltimore today. Each student will learn how to articulate and respectfully defend the pro-life position. We’d love to bring the Academy to your town!

Tomorrow, it’s on to the University of Delaware!

Abortion debate, Part 3: The unanswered challenge

When does science tell us that life begins?

When does science tell us that life begins?

In her opening remarks, Dr. McLean asserted that the fetus is not a human. She made several other assertions and arguments that I rebutted, but this was the most glaring error of the debate. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

My introductory comments were posted yesterday. In them, I challenged Dr. McLean to prove her assertion that the fetus was not human. I would accept almost all of her points. I would agree that abortion should be legal, that abortion should be covered by insurance, that I would even quit my job and find another career. I would do all of this, if and only if she could present conclusive scientific and/or philosophic evidence to show that the preborn child is not human. As you may be aware, no such evidence exists.

To rebut the myth that the unborn child is not human (or that life doesn’t begin at conception), I quoted both medical textbooks and pro-abortion sources:

Zygote. This cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm during fertilization. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo). … [The zygote] marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual. (Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th ed., Philadelphia: Saunders, 2003, pp 2,16)

It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant mingling of the nuclear material … that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual. (Bradley M. Patten, Human Embryology, 3rd ed., New York: McGraw Hill, 1968, p 43)

We of today know that man is born of sexual union; that he starts life as an embryo within the body of the female; and that the embryo is formed from the fusion of two single cells, the ovum and the sperm. This all seems so simple and evident to us that it is difficult to picture a time when it was not part of the common knowledge. (Alan F. Guttmacher. Life in the Making: The Story of Human Procreation. New York: Viking Press, 1933. p 3.) [Alan Guttmacher is a former president of Planned Parenthood.]

Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus from conception onward on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, homo sapiens. A human fetus, after all, is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development. (David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002, p 20)

In the top drawer of my desk, I keep [a picture of my son]. This picture was taken on September 7, 1993, 24 weeks before he was born. The sonogram image is murky, but it reveals clear enough a small head tilted back slightly, and an arm raised up and bent, with the hand pointing back toward the face and the thumb extended out toward the mouth. There is no doubt in my mind that this picture, too, shows [my son] at a very early stage in his physical development. And there is no question that the position I defend in this book entails that it would have been morally permissible to end his life at this point. (David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003, p xiv)

Case closed, but if you want more proof, check out this article: When does life begin?

More coverage to follow in Part 4.

Abortion debate, Part 2: My opening remarks

Shouldn't we respect them?

Shouldn't we respect them?

More on my debate at EKU.  See Part 1 here.

These are my opening remarks, sort of. In the interest of continuous improvement, I’m revising them as I go. But this is mostly what I said.

Opening Statement

Thank you for coming to participate in this debate.

I’m going to take it for granted that all of us here tonight want to live justly with respect to our fellow man. We disagree about who constitutes our fellow man and who does not.

I want to caution you not to believe anything I tell you. I’m an advocate, and so is my opponent in this debate. You can’t know if either of us is telling the truth or not, unless you check it out for yourself. You can’t know if I’ve left out important facts. My conclusions might be flawed. Even if I have plausible arguments, perhaps my opponent has decisive ones. You must do your own research and ask hard questions of both sides.

In America today, preborn humans have the right to life if and only if their mothers want them. This is true through all 9 months of pregnancy. That’s the status quo. And I’m willing to support it. I’m willing to concede that Dr. McLean is entirely correct in almost everything she will say. I’m willing to say there should be no restrictions on abortion. It should be treated just like any other medical procedure. I’m willing to say that abortion is certainly nothing like genocide. I’m willing to concede all of this, quit my job at CBR, and go into another line of work. I’ll do all of that … if. I’ll do all of that if and only if Dr. McLean can present good scientific and philosophic evidence to show that the preborn child is not human. I look forward to hearing that evidence.

The difference between us is not that she is pro-choice and I am anti-choice. I am vigorously pro-choice, as much as any person here, and probably more than most. I believe that every woman (and every man) should be free to choice her own health care provider, her own school, her own religion, her own career, etc.

Unlike many on the political left, I believe people should have the right to choose whether or not they join a union. They should not be forced to pay dues that will be diverted to political campaigns. Washington leftists disagree. I believe doctors and nurses should be free to choose whether they will perform abortions, according to the dictates of their own consciences. Washington leftists say no. I believe people should choose the charitable causes they wish to support, rather than the government choosing for them. Leftists even demand to decide what light bulb you buy, whether you can use a voucher to send your child to the school of your choice, and whether you buy health insurance under ObamaCare.

Yes, we are all pro-choice about some things, but nobody here is pro-choice about everything. Most choices are really matters of personal morality. Even though I may disagree with your choices, I have to respect your right to make them and vice versa. It’s your life. But some choices can be harmful, even deadly, to others. We don’t allow anyone the right to kill another human being simply because she is in the way and cannot defend herself. We don’t allow people to commit rape or child abuse. In a civilized society, no person has the right to unjustly take the life of another.

To put it simple, if the preborn child is not a human being, then no justification for abortion is needed. But if the preborn child is a human being, then no justification for abortion is adequate (except when the mother’s life is in danger).

To open our discussion about abortion, we need to define what it is. And to know what abortion is and does, we need to see it. I’m alerting you up front that some of you will not want to watch the video I’m about to show.  Feel free to close your eyes or look away from the screen.

Some may object to images of abortion because they somehow substitute emotion for reason, but that really misses the point. The question is not whether the pictures are emotional—they are—but whether the pictures are true. If the pictures are true, then they must be admitted as evidence.

Naomi Wolf is a pro-choice author who agrees with us on that point. She wrote,

How can we charge that it is vile and repulsive for pro-lifers to brandish vile and repulsive images if the images are real? To insist that the truth is in poor taste is the very height of hypocrisy. Besides, if these images are often the facts of the matter, and if we then claim that it is offensive for pro-choice women to be confronted by them, then we are making the judgment that women are too inherently weak to face a truth about which they have to make a grave decision. This view of women is unworthy of feminism. (Naomi Wolf, “Our Bodies, Our Souls,” The New Republic, October 16, 1995, p 32)

But Ms. Wolf is a bit off target.  With the pictures, our intended audience is not just women, but both women and men, because everybody needs to know.  The Elliot Institute says that as many as 64% of abortions are coerced, and it doesn’t take a genius to know who is doing the coercing.  Men need to know that irresponsibility comes with a heavy price that others will often have to pay.

I’ll show the video now.

[I then showed the Choice Blues video.]

I yeild back the rest of my time.

End of Opening Statement

In Part 3, I’ll describe the unanswered challenge.