Now, Hillary’s ‘gaffe’ upsets both sides of abortion debate

The leading candidate in both parties don’t know how to talk about life.

Shouldn’t that disqualify them?

Alas, abortion and what’s referred to as ‘the question of when life begins’ (as if it’s uncertain and therefore debatable) has played into elections for decades now. It certainly will for the rest of this election year. How candidates respond to specific questions relating to abortion, rights, and human life reveal a lot about their ideology or lack of a well-formed belief system, their adherence to talking points or lack of a base of knowledge about the topic. Any version of those is revealing.

So when Hillary Clinton was asked by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press when and whether an unborn child gets constitutional rights, I recalled having heard that question put almost that same way to candidate Barack Obama in the Saddleback Civil Forum by Pastor Rick Warren.

When Warren asked when life and human rights begin, McCain’s succinct reply, “At conception,” and mention of his pro-life voting track record were greeted with some of the loudest applause of the evening.

Obama’s pro-choice stance and flippant language were not.

“Whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective,” Obama said, “answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade.”

…a former spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops…called the comment a “dodge that wasn’t even intellectually respectable.”

Clinton’s response to Todd was very close to Obama’s back in 2008.

“Well, under our laws currently, that is not something that exists,” Clinton answered. “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights. Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t do everything we possibly can in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support.”

(So, wait a minute…What’s the difference between an unborn person not having any constitutional rights, and doing everything possible in some instances to help a mother carrying a child to make sure the child will be health with appropriate medical support? The elasticity of the semantics of political ideology, and dishonesty of the culture of relativism.)

Following that appearance on Meet the Press, Clinton was asked for clarification on The View by Co-Host Paula Varis.

VIEW HOST: You said, ‘the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.’ And my question is at what point does someone have constitutional rights? And are you saying that a child, on its due date, just hours before its delivery still has no constitutional rights?

HILLARY CLINTON: Under our law, that is the case. I support Roe v. Wade because I think is important statement about the importance of a woman making this most difficult decision with consultation by whom she chooses… and under the law, and certainly under that decision, that is the way we structure it.

That default “that is the way we structure it” talking point response is almost the same as Donald Trump responding to MSNBC’s Chris Matthew’s question about punishing women who get abortions if the law changes, by saying ‘yes, there should be some punishment.’ Both are responses made under the pressure of the moment to pry out the candidates’ most deeply held beliefs about human life. But one had talking points and an entire industry prepping and propping her, while the other hadn’t thought it through well or for long and had virtually no prep.

However, both responses tell us a lot. Human life is a relative idea, protection of the most vulnerable young human beings is strategically embedded in political ideology more than inherently so in a mother’s womb, and facts not only don’t determine a candidate’s well formed positions on first principles, they actually get in the way of those positions when candidates don’t seek to be well informed and grounded in science, maternal/fetal medicine and fundamental morality.

Both Clinton and Trump have been exposed and made more vulnerable by questions relating to abortion. No doubt Clinton will be drilled by her camp, and Trump will do whatever he does to prepare for facing challenges to his views and beliefs.

But this is an issue central to Election 2016, and it’s going to remain so through November, and beyond.

Trump managed to upset everyone on abortion

But it put some important questions into the arena of public debate.

No matter how to whatever degree Donald Trump’s campaign has tried or managed to change the wording and intent of his response to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews about punishing women who have abortion if it were to become illegal, the correction will not catch up with the original statement. Matthews set up a ‘gotcha’ trap and Trump walked right into it. The news cycles ever since have fed on the resulting sound bites, and will continue to for months now that the hot button candidate has stumbled on the hot button issue.

So let’s clarify, and set the record straight, apart from whatever Donald Trump or any other political candidate, politician, or activist might say.

This came up as an abortion activist ploy in 2007, which I wrote about in a now defunct publication, as soon as it came out that pro-lifers were being ambushed with a variation on Matthews’ question. It was a new tactic to silence them, and at first, it seemed to work (and history has seemingly repeated itself in this political moment).

Here’s what I wrote then:

The question is simple and blunt: “If abortion is criminalized, what should the penalty be for a woman who has one?” It’s amazing the abortion movement has taken more than three decades to come up with it, but even more dumbfounding that they see it as the “eureka!” moment, the great trump card that will, they believe, stop pro-lifers in their tracks.

This is their new strategy?

“Gotcha!”

(Nine years ago, I could never have imagined the pun in that line “the great trump card” the abortion movement was playing.)

Continuing:

Now, they have begun to ambush pro-life people outside abortion clinics with a camera, drop the big question about making women criminals, and post the video online.

Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen hardly contained her enthusiasm over this new strategy in her piece titled “How Much Jail Time for Women Who Have Abortions?” (Newsweek, August 6, 2007). It starts with the description of a YouTube “mini-documentary shot in front of an abortion clinic” in Illinois. “The man behind the camera is asking demonstrators who want abortion criminalized what the penalty should be for a woman who has one nonetheless. You have rarely seen people look more gobsmacked. It’s as though the guy has asked them to solve quadratic equations”.

Quindlen relishes this story. Especially reporting these responses by pro-lifers: “I’ve never really thought about it”. “I don’t have an answer for that”. “I don’t know”. “Just pray for them”.

End of Newsweek snip, at which point I say:

This is unacceptable. Her cynicism? [No.] That’s the level of discourse we get in the media these days. The ambush tactic? [No.] That’s the type of attack we can expect in the abortion battle at this point. But Quindlen’s report on the inability of committed pro-lifers to answer the big questions that still confuse this culture is totally beyond the pale. Because the debate has shifted dramatically in recent years, especially since South Dakota [passed an abortion ban], the pro-life movement owns the argument. There is not one question they should fear, and not one answer the abortion movement can honestly claim as validation for what they do.

But this isn’t about honesty. It’s about talking points and spin control. Now they’re spinning this myth that pro-lifers want to criminalize abortion, and make women criminals for getting one illegally.

Quindlen declared it triumphantly: “A new public-policy group called the National Institute for Reproductive Health wants to take this contradiction and make it the centerpiece of a national conversation, along with a slogan that stops people in their tracks: how much time should she do?” They are celebrating their cleverness.

But consider the big picture…

This much Quindlen gets right: “If the Supreme Court decides abortion is not protected by a constitutional guarantee of privacy, the issue will revert to the states. If it goes to the states, some, perhaps many, will ban abortion”.

But she draws a false conclusion: “If abortion is made a crime, then surely the woman who has one is a criminal”. Wrong. Not one state has written or planned language in abortion ban legislation that would consider — or allow anyone to consider — the woman a criminal for having an abortion. The party guilty of a crime would be the abortionist. Quindlen and her abortion-backing colleagues came up with this false dichotomy. They propose that, by their logic, the woman is a criminal. And they’re pinning that tortured logic on pro-life people.

At least on the ambush video and in print articles like Quindlen’s. That is, until she inadvertently stumbles on the truth: “Lawmakers in a number of states have already passed or are considering statutes designed to outlaw abortion if Roe is overturned”, Quindlen writes. “But almost none hold the woman, the person who set the so-called crime in motion, accountable”.

Exactly.

Get it straight, pro-life people, pro-abortion people, media who write about the issues and ask candidates about them, politicians who are asked those question, and voters confused by the breathless news cycles.

Here’s the truth:

Pro-life legal experts, legislators and advocates know that women are already victims in abortions. Whether the abortionist is a doctor or a back-alley hack, they would be held accountable for breaking the law wherever abortion is banned. This is information all pro-life people need to understand thoroughly.

The South Dakota abortion ban, House Bill 1215, states in Section 4:

“Nothing in this Act may be construed to subject the pregnant mother upon whom any abortion is performed or attempted to any criminal conviction and penalty.

“The South Dakota legislators who drafted it had already crafted legislation to protect women in the earlier informed consent law, HB 1166. Here is one of its provisions:

“Require that the State create a written disclosure form that requires the abortion doctor to provide the mother, in person, with all of the risks of abortion to the mother and her unborn child. Require that this disclosure take place before the woman pays for the abortion and before she is taken to the procedure room. Require that the mother must also be provided sufficient time for personal review and discernment.”

In other words, a standard informed consent that any medical procedure requires. Planned Parenthood immediately took the law to court and blocked its enforcement. Their argument before the district judge and then the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals was that the abortionists’ freedom of speech (i.e., not to tell women about all the risks) trumped the women’s right to know.

Which got virtually no coverage outside the pro-life world and social media.

Quindlen’s article in Newsweek wraps up with this: “The great thing about video is that you can see the mental wheels turning as these people realize that they somehow have overlooked something central while they were slinging certainties.”

Actually, abortion activists have been slinging their own certainties for decades. It’s only a matter of time before a video turns up that captures their wheels turning, while the most committed abortion supporters confront a few questions and see whether there are any true epiphanies.

(That was eight years before the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood employees answering questions about obtaining and making available for sale baby body parts after abortions.)

In 2007 through present times, one could and can ask…

Questions like: “If the abortion movement is really all about ‘choice’, why are you so opposed to actually giving women one, by following the standard medical procedure requirement of obtaining ‘informed consent’?” “When informed consent laws in different states actually make it close to passage, why do you fight them so vigorously?” “If you really are ‘pro-choice’, what do you have against giving women a two- or three-day consideration period … or even 24 hours … after allowing her to know all her options?”

(These aren’t actually answered, or even confronted.)

The Newsweek column concludes that “there are only two logical choices: hold women accountable for a criminal act by sending them to prison, or refuse to criminalize the act in the first place. If you can’t countenance the first, you have to accept the second. You can’t have it both ways.” But that is wrongheaded and illogical. This is the abortion movement contriving an untenable calculation.

Americans United for Life Senior Counsel Clarke Forsythe published this clarification in April 2010 about states not prosecuting women even before Roe v. Wade. It’s very thorough and should be read now.

The political claim—that women were or will be prosecuted or jailed under abortion laws—has been made so frequently by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and NOW over the past 40 years that it has become an urban legend. It shows the astonishing power of contemporary media to make a complete falsehood into a truism.

For 30 years, abortion advocates have claimed—without any evidence and contrary to the well-documented practice of ALL 50 states—that women were jailed before Roe and would be jailed if Roe falls (or if state abortion prohibitions are reinstated).

This claim rests on not one but two falsehoods:

First, the almost uniform state policy before Roe was that abortion laws targeted abortionists, not women…

Second, the myth that women will be jailed relies, however, on the myth that “overturning” Roe will result in the immediate re-criminalization of abortion. If Roe was overturned today, abortion would be legal in at least 42-43 states tomorrow, and likely all 50 states, for the simple reason that nearly all of the state abortion prohibitions have been either repealed or are blocked by state versions of Roe adopted by state courts. The issue is entirely academic. The legislatures of the states would have to enact new abortion laws—and these would almost certainly continue the uniform state policy before Roe that abortion laws targeted abortionists and treated women as the second victim of abortion. There will be no prosecutions of abortionists unless the states pass new laws after Roe is overturned.

This political claim is not an abstract question that is left to speculation—there is a long record of states treating women as the second victim of abortion in the law that can be found and read. (emphasis added)

So media have the task, embedded in their profession, to find and read it.

Meanwhile, more from my article in 2007.

The week the Quindlen column came out in Newsweek, two post-abortive women, Georgette Forney and Janet Morana, co-directors of the ‘Silent No More Awareness Campaign’, reacted to the continuing deceit of the abortion movement in public statements. “To Anna Quindlen and anyone else I would say that women are already serving time for abortion right now in our own prisons”, Forney said. “No condescending dismissal of women’s torment by abortion ideologues can diminish the daily punishment of guilt, shame, and remorse post-abortive women experience.”

Morana made it clear what the overwhelming majority of pro-life people believe: women who have abortions are frequently victims as well because of the way abortion businesses sell abortions to them with misinformation….”The abortion profiteers and their shills in the press have been telling society for years that whatever it is that abortion terminates, it’s not a baby,” she said.

“This propaganda onslaught has taken its toll on women who believed that lie and who emphatically state today that had they known that their child was not just a “clump of tissue,” as abortionists told them, they would have never aborted,’ Morana added.”

This is going to remain a big issue in Election 2016. Good.

Abortion activists want to put the big questions out there. Let them be prepared to answer them, to carry the argument through to its logical conclusion. Why does an abortionist have more of a right to remain silent about abortion risks than the woman patient does to receive it, when her health is at stake?

(Re: informed consent law claims by Planned Parenthood and NARAL)

Why did NY Salon’s abortion forum, titled ‘What’s So Bad About Abortion?’ refuse any participation to the women from ‘Silent No More’, who could actually answer that question? Why does NY Salon’s website claim the group “believes passionately in free speech and discussing ideas robustly” but they would not allow Forney to discuss the idea that abortion is bad for women? After all, they already stacked the forum with four abortion advocates, from NARAL, the National Abortion Federation and a British abortion business. But the forum did not include any women who have had abortions and regret that decision. So, did they really want to know what’s so bad about abortion, after all?

Furthermore.…Why has the abortion movement turned its back for so long on Norma McCorvey after she was useful as “Jane Roe”, after she turned pro-life and Catholic and began to work so hard to inform the public about the impact of abortion? Do abortion activists realize that “reproductive rights” is a euphemism to fool the public into blanket acceptance of all contraception and abortion, or are they deluded as well? Although, if they’re deluded, they can’t answer that.

There’s a principle in law and logic that applies here. Never ask a question you can’t answer.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds late term abortion ban

Most press just call it ‘the controversial abortion law’. Why is it controversial?

Because most big media are complicit with the abortion industry and therefore against any restrictions on abortion whatsoever. But the Texas law bans abortions after 20 weeks, which means killing five month old babies in the womb. We should at least be able to agree on that.

But instead, we’ve had high drama and intense, pitched battles over the legal ‘right’ to kill five month old babies. ‘Choice’ and ‘termination of pregnancy’  and ‘a woman’s right to an abortion’ have dominated news stories, still. After the Kermit Gosnell trial, most or many of us thought we wouldn’t go back there again, to that dark place of disguising the horrible truth of what the abortion logic really is.

So the Texas battle reached the Supreme Court and they ruled this week. Here’s how it played in the press that should have grown more mature in its reporting by now.

CBS News.

A sharply divided Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Texas to continue enforcing abortion restrictions that opponents say have led more than a third of the state’s clinics to stop providing abortions.

What kind of lead is that? Tendentious.

The justices voted 5-4 to leave in effect a provision requiring doctors who perform abortions in clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Which…what?…sounds at the very least logical. Especially given the number of times and cases across the country when an ambulance has had to pull up to an abortion clinic to rush a woman off for critical life-saving medical treatment after a botched abortion. So…

The court’s conservative majority refused the plea of Planned Parenthood and several Texas abortion clinics to overturn a preliminary federal appeals court ruling that allowed the provision to take effect.

Note that these stories never report how ‘the court’s liberal majority’ ruled on other opinions that meet media approval.

NBC News reported this:

Part of the new state abortion law requires doctors who perform the procedures to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

Women’s groups and doctors had challenged the law, and a federal court in Texas last month blocked enforcement of that provision the night before it was to take effect. The judge said the law had no medical purpose.

But just three days later, on Oct. 31, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision, allowing the law to take effect. It said the law was an additional check on a doctor’s qualifications.

Which can only be good for the women they’re treating, right?

Women’s groups asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put the ban on enforcement back in place.

Wait. Which “women’s groups”? That’s vague and unspecific. And left so in the article, though it’s widely known that Planned Parenthood and other abortion backers were the groups fighting this law. Here’s part of what they claim:

“Over one third of the facilities providing abortions in Texas have been forced to stop providing that care and others have been forced to drastically reduce the number of patients to whom they are able to provide care. Already, appointments are being canceled and women seeking abortions are being turned away,” they said.

Notice that the word “care” is used twice in that paragraph. Define “care.” How is unregulated abortion, with no backup care in nearby hospitals by treating doctors, considered “care”?

CNN reported this:

The original lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Austin by Planned Parenthood on behalf of more than a dozen women’s health care providers across Texas, alleged the state’s new abortion law violates the constitutional rights of women and puts unreasonable demands on doctors who perform abortions.

It is not an “unreasonable demand” that those doctors have privileges at local hospitals. In fact, it should be required for any and all “women’s health care providers”, to be truthful.

The bill originally failed to gain approval because of a Democratic filibuster led by state Sen. Wendy Davis…

Davis, who is running for governor, blasted Tuesday’s decision.

“Clinics will close and women’s health will be hurt because of this law. This is an abuse of power by politicians in Austin. I trust women to make their own decisions and will continue to work to make sure that women and mothers are safe and have access to adequate health care,” she said in a statement.

Wait. Women’s health will be hurt because the law requires women’s doctors to have admitting privileges in local hospitals? A prominent abortion activist promises to make sure “mothers are safe and have access to adequate health care”, while opposing the very law that ensures that?

The New York Times.

“Reasonable minds can perhaps disagree about whether the court of appeals should have granted a stay in this case,” Justice Scalia wrote. “But there is no doubt that the applicants have not carried their heavy burden of showing that doing so was a clear violation of accepted legal standards — which do not include a special ‘status quo’ standard for laws affecting abortion.”…

State officials told the court that the law, which requires that doctors have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of where they perform abortions, protects public health by “fostering a woman’s ability to seek consultation and treatment for complications directly from her physician.”

The officials added that the impact of the law was modest, saying that more than 90 percent of women seeking abortions in the state will still live within 100 miles of an abortion clinic….

At bottom, the two sides in Tuesday’s ruling differed about what it means to maintain the status quo while a case proceeds through the courts. Justice Scalia said that the status quo is upheld and federalism principles are vindicated when validly enacted state laws are allowed to stand while their constitutionality is definitively resolved.

I would arrange the priority of reporting in this Fox News story in reverse order.

First:

The law also bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and beginning in October 2014 requires doctors to perform all abortions in surgical facilities.

Sounds good and reasonable.

During the trial, officials for one chain of abortion clinics testified that they’ve tried to obtain admitting privileges for their doctors at 32 hospitals, but so far only 15 accepted applications and none have announced a decision.

Many hospitals with religious affiliations will not allow abortion doctors to work there, while others fear protests if they provide privileges.

Many have requirements that doctors live within a certain radius of the facility, or perform a minimum number of surgeries a year that must be performed in a hospital.

This is all reasonable. Safety and regulation should be foremost in everyone’s mind.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday said the office is “pleased” with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“These are commonsense – and perfectly constitutional – regulations that further the state’s interest in protecting the health and safety of Texas women,” Lauren Bean said.

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry also said he was happy with the court’s decision.

“This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions,” Perry said.

Like Kermit Gosnell, to remind of something I thought we wouldn’t soon, if ever, forget.

Dear MSNBC: Do a series on Human Life 101

I was consideirng making that a question as a header. But there’s no question.

Not when things like this still turn up in what some people still consider ‘mainstream media.’

During a recent MSNBC show on abortion, [host] Melissa Harris-Perry made a comment that will surely make people wonder whether she has any grasp on the science behind fetal development.

Harris-Perry talked about how much it costs “to have this thing turn into a human” when referring to an unborn baby.

During the rest of her talk she “accidentally” breaks a model of a fertilized egg, claims there is no science supporting the notion that unborn children are human beings, and dismissively refers to babies.

Okay, starting with basics, women have an abortion when they discover they’re pregnant and either don’t want the child or are pressured into ‘terminating it.’ And they are aborting or terminating is a fertilized egg, which makes a woman pregnant. Which means the doctor treating her has two patients. 

A charitable presumption would be that the MSNBC host is one of those people who believes that conception, making a woman pregnant with a fertilized egg, means a ‘blob of tissue’ is there, and that by removing it, you can prevent it from becoming a baby. But if that presumption is true, such archaic thinking should exclude any candidate from the position of a major television network host if that network is pursuing honorable journalism.

As the best informed consent law in the country – which stands after multiple court challenges by Planned Parenthood and its affiliates – states explicitly:

…abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” The law required doctors to disclose that abortion may cause women psychological harm, and that the mother’s relationship with the human being she carries is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Human life is already present at conception of a fertilized egg. You can call that a person or not consider that a person. Your terminology doesn’t change the reality.  That human being either has rights or doesn’t have rights. But…isn’t that the same argument that raged over slavery?

Can we be honest about this?

UN studies ‘status of women’

That requires a qualifier, depending on what constitutes the UN, and which group there is being cited. 

Who is best looking out for the rights of women judging from, say, the the recently held United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women? Especially given this year’s theme of ‘violence against women,’ which is a huge concern around the world, with ongoing gendercide against baby girls and murder attempts on girls who publicly speak out on education for girls?

The Permanent Observer to the Holy See, for one.

In this connection, the Holy See has urged nations around the world to recognize women’s inalienable right “to life” and to “security,” rights articulated in the justly admired Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Isn’t it amazing that it takes a Vatican representative to call nations of the world to recognize women’s inalienable right to life? And security? Both of which are covered in the now much overlooked UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights? It’s not surprising that the Catholic Church would be taking such a prominent stance for human dignity and rights for women as well as men and children. No exceptions.

What might be surprising to most Americans are some of the additional and genuinely bold human rights positions staked out by the Holy See at this conference. These are positions likely to make more than a few developed nations more than a little uncomfortable.

“Developed” is a relative term here.

Take, for example, the Holy See’s position on health care and medicine. The Church is arguing for a “right” to basic health care in situations involving violence against women and men. Not to mention a “right” to medicines for populations which are either in danger, or unable to afford a medicine they desperately require for their health. These of course are not new positions, as Catholic institutions have been at the forefront of providing health care for victims of violence in all corners of the globe for centuries, but they are consistent positions which put people in need ahead of interests in profit.

The Holy See is also requesting global agreement to oppose forced sterilization and forced abortions.

Does this not just make every sense in the world? Can we not agree, for crying out loud, to oppose forced sterilization and forced abortion?

Apparently not, judging from the aggressive efforts of certain forces at the UN.

Over 20 groups are asking U.S. Secretary of State to end the U.S. obstruction over abortion at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Here is the letter sent today…

And it’s embarrassing and shameful that a US Secretary of State had to be presented this letter by over 20 groups. Seriously.

Dear Secretary Kerry,

This week the United States has an opportunity to advance international efforts to prevent violence against women and girls through the UN Commission on the Status of Women. We are disturbed to learn that the U.S. delegation is, instead, exploiting this effort to insist on language that the former Secretary of State and others say includes abortion. The delegation is also not supporting language that upholds national sovereignty.

That is unacceptable.

It is especially shocking that the U.S. called for deleting a reaffirmation that every human being has the “inherent right to life, liberty and security of persons.” This contradicts a foundational principle of citizens and civilizations worldwide.

This contradicts civility, reason and basic human rights. Read that again, though it makes my country look very bad. Or the delegation representing the official US power elite at the UN.

Last year, negotiations at this same Commission failed to reach agreement because the U.S. insisted on language that has been defined as abortion without limits. The U.S. also required that the agreement not recognize that countries have a say in how policies are implemented. This principle of national sovereignty is fundamental to U.S. independence and a necessary standard for other countries as well.

This position contradicts current U.S. laws, which allow limits on abortion and bans funding abortions internationally. The U.S. delegation’s work will lead people to believe that the Administration is attempting to undermine U.S. laws through little-noticed agreements at the U.N.

Because that is what the US delegation is doing, on behalf of the Administration.

The delegations at the Commission are under exceptional pressure to reach agreement this year. It appears the U.S. is holding the agreement hostage to impose policies that violate America’s own standards. The U.S. delegation’s position risks our country’s reputation of helping women victims of violence worldwide, to replace it with abortion as the ultimate priority.

We respectfully ask that you direct the U.S. delegation to end its demand for controversial abortion-related language, and support language upholding national sovereignty.

And in the end, the protection of women’s rights and human life only won the day by joint force with developing nations that refused to be bullied.

A last ditch effort by ambassadors and top UN officials failed last night to reach agreement on policies to end violence against women because powerful western developed countries want to scrap previous agreements that do not recognize abortion as a right.

After four weeks of intense negotiations, ambassadors were brought in to negotiate the late night session. The United States and European countries raised the stakes at this year’s Commission on the Status of Women, a UN body of 45 UN member states that formulates policies for women, making agreement more elusive.

By Friday morning, the last day of the meeting, the Commission had agreed to exclude “sexual and reproductive health services” from the final agreement. The term is associated with abortion-causing drugs.

I would call this a silly game if it were only that. But it involves so much more, and worse. You won’t hear that from major ‘elite’ media.

Contrary to reports by Reuters, the Associated Press, and an unsigned New York Times editorial, no delegation participating at the commission proposed that cultural, religious, or traditional values should be used to excuse violence against women. During the week over 400 organizations wrote in support of the Holy See and nations that protect life, the family, and acknowledge the important role of cultures and religions in ending violence against women…

The agreed conclusions, which have no binding effect, are a testing ground for future UN conferences on the subject of abortion, population control, and homosexual rights. Wealthy countries want to commit African leaders to spending billions of dollars on family planning programs. Efforts are underway to influence Islamic groups on gender issues and reproductive rights. But abortion and homosexual rights’ policies have not been welcome in traditional countries.

Hold firm to your principles and values, people of goodwill and advocates of true human rights.

Of Benedict XVI and Andrew Cuomo

So there, side by side in two top-of-the-fold articles in the Sunday New York Times the other day, were two stories that are seemingly unrelated, but are totally of a piece. A few days later now, they demand attention.

One was ‘Papal Electors Are Sizing Up A Field of Peers’ by Laurie Goodstein, which revealed a good deal more homework preparation than her piece right after Pope Benedict’s resignation announcement. The one next to it was ‘Cuomo Bucks Tide With Bill To Ease Abortion Limits.’

What to say…

Start with Goodstein’s article about the conclave, although I’d prefer to focus on Benedict while he’s still in office. I will do that in the days to come, and probably for years afterward, frankly. He’s that profoundly important to the global mission of peace and brotherhood and the correct understanding of the human person at the center of it all.

She got to speak to Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George, who is brilliant and practical and right on target with where the church is in the modern world at this moment.

“People are reluctant to speak about themselves,” said Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who voted in the conclave that elected Benedict in 2005. “So you go to a friend and say, Can you tell me about cardinal so-and-so?”

“The questions are usually about the qualities you want to see in a pope. Is he a man of prayer, is he deeply rooted in the apostolic faith, can he govern, is he deeply concerned about the poor?” Cardinal George said in a telephone interview. “It matters far less where he happens to be living or where he’s from.”

Pay attention, media. Because while you’re absorbed in political thinking about ‘constituencies’ and ‘succession battles,’ the electors who will make this transcendent decision are concerned with humanity at its core.

Goodstein cites Vatican expert Sandro Magister, thankfully, because he’s a longtime trustworthy source of truth about the church and faith. Besides handicapping the papabili candidate, she quotes him on something that receives far too little attention for these times.

The other Italians who are more solid candidates, Mr. Magister said, are Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan and a theologian who has often addressed the challenges of secularism and Islam in Europe…

Papal biographer and world renowned Catholic Church expert George Weigel makes a point of those challenges and the need to address them in this tribute to the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI, brief as the piece is. Weigel calls Benedict “a hinge man, the pivot on which the turn into the evangelical, mission-driven Church of the third millennium was completed.”…

Why? Because he understood that, for postmoderns uneasy with the notion that anything is “true” or “good,” the experience of beauty can be a unique window into a more open and spacious human world, a world in which it is once again possible to grasp that some things are, in fact, true and good (as others are, in fact, false and wicked).

(more on that in a moment)

He proved an astute analyst of contemporary democracy’s discontents, as he also correctly identified the key twenty-first-century issues between Islam and “the rest”: Can Islam find within itself the religious resources to warrant both religious toleration and the separation of religious and political authority in the state?

There is so much to unpack from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, we will be doing it for decades. Others will for centuries.

But since so much of it is about the ‘new humanism,’ the human person having inestimable dignity and worth, value that pre-exists the State and – because it doesn’t derive from the State cannot be deprived by the State – it relates to all the issues of the day from economics to foreign policy, arms control to sustainable development, digital communications to immigration.

And that relates to the Andrew Cuomo story. Because there’s such a disconnect there involving a Catholic governor using such radical rhetoric to push such an aggressively anti-human agenda, it’s jaw-dropping.

Bucking a trend in which states have been seeking to restrict abortion, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is putting the finishing touches on legislation that would guarantee women in New York the right to late-term abortions when their health is in danger or the fetus is not viable.

Wait…what? Do people in politics and media who talk like this even think about what they’re saying, much less proposing and enforcing? We need to re-set the conversation about what abortion is. Every abortion is the termination of the life of an already existing human being in its mother’s womb.

“Late-term abortions” are acts of infanticide. What qualifies as ‘health in danger’ is so elastic these days, it is not defined or definable in current law. And talking about a “late-term abortion” when “the fetus is not viable” is just incoherent, besides being inhumane. (If it’s “late-term” it’s viable, and it’s a baby no matter how much the term fetus is used to distract from that fact.)

Mr. Cuomo, seeking to deliver on a promise he made in his recent State of the State address, would rewrite a law that currently allows abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy only if the pregnant woman’s life is at risk. The law is not enforced, because it is superseded by federal court rulings that allow late-term abortions to protect a woman’s health, even if her life is not in jeopardy. But abortion rights advocates say the existence of the more restrictive state law has a chilling effect on some doctors and prompts some women to leave the state for late-term abortions.

Read that paragraph again. It’s very revealing of the radical abortion agenda. Right down to the language used for “abortion rights advocates” as opposed to “anti-abortion activists” or other jargon for pro-life advocates.

Mr. Cuomo’s proposal…would also clarify that licensed health care practitioners, and not only physicians, can perform abortions. It would remove abortion from the state’s penal law and regulate it through the state’s public health law.

Okay, two things. Now he proposes going from bad to worse, letting the broad field of “health care practitioners” to perform abortions and “not only physicians.” And states’ public health laws haven’t been equally applied to regulating abortion clinics as they have other medical facilities, in many states. That’s a smokescreen.

There’s so much wrong with this. Which is confirmed by how it’s being received.

Abortion rights advocates have welcomed Mr. Cuomo’s plan, which he outlined in general terms as part of a broader package of women’s rights initiatives in his State of the State address in January.

We need to examine “women’s rights initiatives,” which we will continue to do here.

But the Roman Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups are dismayed; opponents have labeled the legislation the Abortion Expansion Act.

And once again, the Times and other major media outlets revert to their updated, agenda driven style books for reporting that requires pro-life groups to be labeled “anti-abortion groups” and “oppenents,” giving readers the cue to think negatively about…what?…human life? Yes.

I saw a clip from Gov. Cuomo’s press conference in which he firmly declared and then repeated two more times “It’s a woman’s body. It’s a woman’s body. It’s a woman’s body.” And, he said, it’s her choice what to do with it. But the other body, and it may be female as well, is the one inside the woman’s body. It is not her body, she is only carrying that child she conceived. No matter how strongly Cuomo states his refutation of that fact by his single focus on the ‘woman’s right to choose,’ that doesn’t change the reality that the doctor seeing a pregnant woman has two patients. And the abortionist kills one of them.

Pope Benedict has addressed life issues, as Pope John Paul II did, over and over in every message whether spoken or written, on one way or another, because it’s the consistent ethic of life that determines how a society will live. Or not.

In this one, Pope Benedict said “…everyone must be helped to become aware of the intrinsic evil of the crime of abortion. In attacking human life in its very first stages, it is also an aggression against society itself. Politicians and legislators, therefore, as servants of the common good, are duty bound to defend the fundamental right to life, the fruit of God’s love.”

And again:

Life is the first good received from God and is fundamental to all others; to guarantee the right to life for all and in an equal manner for all is the duty upon which the future of humanity depends.

Weigel says Pope Benedict understood and showed the way to “a more open and spacious human world, a world in which it is once again possible to grasp that some things are, in fact, true and good (as others are, in fact, false and wicked).” Whoever succeeds Benedict will need to continue making that robust affirmation.

ACLU’s communist connection?

Why isn’t this story in more of the media? Or in any major media? If the organization at the center of it were, say, the NRA, you can bet it would be…

So says Dr. Paul Kengor, the political science professor who wrote it for the National Catholic Register. It’s not that there’s a conspiracy of silence in the editorial offices of elite media, he told me today in an interview. It’s that this is just not a subject or specifically, a story, that they would give any attention.

It deserves attention.

I often get asked why something I’ve found in communist archives from, say, the 1920s, pertains to America right now in the 21st century. Well, indeed, past is often prologue, as what happened a century ago is hardly irrelevant to today’s political stage.

That certainly seems the case with what I’ve found on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), from its challenging of Christmas carols in public schools seven decades ago to its recent actions trying to compel Catholic hospitals to do abortions and denouncing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for opposing birth control and contraception in “health care” reform legislation. Few organizations have been as consistently radical in advancing abortion as the ACLU, to such a degree that Alan Sears and Craig Osten, authors of The ACLU vs. America, refer to “the ACLU’s crusade against the unborn child.”

How ironic that I would find the seeds of these things in communist archives or, even more directly, in the pro-communist or pro-Soviet writings of the ACLU’s founders.

What?

I’ll focus briefly here on the founder of the ACLU: Roger Baldwin.

To get a sense of where Baldwin stood on all of this, probably the single best source is his 1928 book, Liberty Under the Soviets. The title was no joke. This champion of American “liberties” and founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, was, like many ACLU founders and board members, alternately fascinated and enthralled with the Leninist-Stalinist state, having traveled there with other progressives in the hope that they had found the “new world.”…

This is the quite interesting, quite untold history of the founding of the ACLU, conveniently sunk into a historical-educational black hole.

Kengor tried to submit the story to the New York Times, whose opinion page editor is a nice enough man to respond to him, although the answer was “No” and the editor didn’t elaborate about the ‘why not’.

This early connection of the ACLU to the Soviet legalization of abortion, which Baldwin called “a great advance,” helps explain the organization’s zeal for legal activism to uphold free and unfettered access to abortion at any time for anyone. But what’s hard to understand is why the ACLU hasn’t learned from Soviet Russia’s abortion access.

Within a decade, there were millions of abortions in the country. It got so bad that Joseph Stalin, a mass-murdering tyrant, was horrified — for pragmatic (not spiritual/moral) reasons — and temporarily banned abortion, given that entire future generations were being wiped out in the womb. Re-legalization took place under Nikita Khrushchev in the mid-1950s. By the 1970s, there were a staggering seven to eight million abortions per year in the U.S.S.R., with some five million-plus in Russia alone, according to official Soviet statistics. The very worst year for abortion in America, post-Roe, pales in comparison to the average year for abortion in the Soviet Union. It was a death culture that makes modern America look like a life culture. To the extent that Roger Baldwin, ACLU founder, supported that legalization, here was the bitter fruit.

So it’s not surprising that they join with Planned Parenthood in cases like the new law in South Dakota requiring that women have a real choice. Or any other case in which the ACLU comes down on the unreasonable side of the American liberty cause.

Thomas More Society’s amendment (HB 3156) to the Illinois Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Act will help prevent medical abuse against women during a crisis pregnancy…Thomas More Society attorney Peter Breen’s testimony aided an amendment to move toward a full vote by Illinois state representatives. This amendment, drafted by the Thomas More Society, will require abortion clinics to meet the same safety standards as all other outpatient surgical centers…

“I thank the Illinois House Agriculture Committee for its efforts to close a loophole that traps women in unfettered abortion facilities. Women need the peace of mind that every surgical facility in Illinois plays by the rules,” says Breen. “I’m amazed that the ACLU found the time and money to print t-shirts mocking this committee for standing up for women’s rights, rights that require abortion facilities to match standards including licensing, a statutory number of scrub stations, and washable ceilings in the procedure and recovery rooms and ventilation. Why is the ACLU opposing sanitary medical facilities for women?”

Counslor Breen, meet Prof. Kengor.

South Dakota passes abortion law

The Mt. Rushmore state has been at the forefront of women’s health and protection laws applying to crisis pregnancy and abortion, and they’ve done it again. Lawmakers recently passed legislation requiring both a waiting period for abortion, and access to information about alternatives. So women really do have a choice.

Tuesday, it was signed into law by the governor. Here’s how some major media are reporting it.

Women who want an abortion in South Dakota will face the longest waiting period in the nation — three days — and have to undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers that discourage abortions under a measure signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

To clarify, the state is making sure women really will be informed before they sign any informed consent papers in an abortion clinic.

Dr. Allen Unruh of the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls has been out in front of the ongoing work to reduce abortions in that state, hoping more states will follow the trail they’re blazing in South Dakota. He provided me with some background on this law, including a recent letter to the editor of the Argus Leader by a former abortionist in the state, Dr. Patti Giebink urging the governor to sign the bill and the public to support it.

There is no true “doctor patient relationship” when you first meet the doctor after you already paid your money, signed the ‘consent’ form, and taken off your clothes in the procedure room…Women are treated like cattle and moved through the process before they can change their mind. That is…demeaning and insulting to women! Nowhere else in medicine is there such sub-standard care. If the public really knew what goes on in these abortion clinics, they would demand even stricter laws to protect their daughters, wives, nieces and grandaughters.

Unruh says that’s happening now. “This bill does not outlaw abortion,” he said. “Its intent is to prevent women from uninformed and coerced abortion.”

Women get alternatives in pregnancy help centers and free services and resources. They get a choice.

If the law providing for it withstands the lawsuits coming from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.

When is abortion murder?

What went on in the Pennsylvania abortion clinic authorities called a “house of horrors” raises critical questions that can’t go by as news cycles change.

As the grand jury report asks, how could this have gone on for so long? What regulations are there to prevent this kind of horror? And who’s minding the regulations’ compliance?

When they finally resumed routine inspections of abortion clinics last year after more than 15 years, Pennsylvania health regulators ordered 14 of the state’s 22 freestanding clinics to remedy problems, a review of records shows.

But none of the conditions found remotely approached the filthy and illegal operations described at the now-shuttered Philadelphia women’s clinic presided over by a doctor who faces eight counts of murder related to his work there.

The grand jury that investigated Dr. Kermit Gosnell, his wife and eight other clinic workers had scathing criticism last week for Pennsylvania’s state health and medical regulators for allowing the conditions at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society to exist unchecked for years.

The most common deficiencies found by Health Department inspectors at the other abortion clinics, according to records obtained by The Associated Press, were failures to properly report medical conditions that qualify as “serious events” and not keeping resuscitation equipment readily available. Also cited were failures to test or record urine protein and blood sugar levels, and issues related to checking on patients after surgery, in the recovery room.

Prosecutors blamed “a complete regulatory collapse” for allowing Gosnell’s routine late-term abortions for poor women, mostly minorities.

How could that happen? How many more clinics are out there defying regulations with unchecked disregard?

How can abortion clinics escape laws that apply to other medical clinics? Probably with the ease with which they skirt other laws protecting the health and safety and well-being of human beings. By making false claims and getting authorities to believe them.

Look at Colleen Carroll Campbell’s opening paragraph alone. Then follow the ‘logic’ she eviscerates.

Everywhere you looked, there were dead bodies: in the refrigerator and freezer, milk jugs, orange-juice cartons, shoeboxes and cat-food bins.

Not to worry, though. The bodies and body parts — including the jars of tiny feet that Philadelphia abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell kept around for “research” — were not those of real, rights-bearing human persons. They were the corpses of unborn or, in some cases, prematurely newborn infants targeted for abortion. They were mere fetal matter, objects of that much-revered constitutional right to privacy that seven U.S. Supreme Court justices discovered in an emanation of a penumbra 38 years ago this month.

Which leads to the question many of us are asking, when protection of a vulnerable human being, or denial of both, depends on a matter of inches and minutes. What does the law mean?

Once you admit that an unwanted human being barely outside the birth canal is a rights-bearing baby, it’s tough to argue that one inside the birth canal is disposable fetal material. Similarly, the distinction between the 24-week-old fetuses Gosnell aborted legally and the 25-week-old fetuses he aborted illegally makes little sense, given that infants born younger than 24 weeks sometimes survive…

Abortion law has been stretched to include infanticide, and the industry thrives on this confusion.

Gosnell himself seemed perplexed about the outrage surrounding abortions he was once hailed as a hero for performing, back when they were thought to be legal.

“Is it possible you could explain the seven counts?” he asked at his arraignment. “I understand the one count because of the patient who died but not the others.”

One could ask abortion-rights defenders like Obama the same question: Could you please explain why some abortions are an outrage and others merely a choice? And could you explain exactly how — in a nation that has allowed clinics like Gosnell’s to operate with impunity and an estimated 50 million children to be aborted since 1973 — Roe has made abortion “safe, legal and rare”?

OK, another abortion round

Judges, legislators and activists are tangling with some interesting back-and-forth attempts to regulate the abortion industry in Oklahoma and give women an informed choice…..or not.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has declared that an Oklahoma law regulating abortion practice and requiring ultrasounds for women seeking abortion violated the state constitution’s single-subject rule, saying it contained multiple subjects for legislation. 

The high court struck down SB 1878, upholding the August 2009 decision of Oklahoma County Judge Vicki Robertson, who ruled the multiple legislative mandates in the law required separate bills to pass constitutional muster.

OK, let’s untangle this…

Sounds like abortion backers won on a technicality, and they did.

The abortion law required abortionists to perform an ultrasound within an hour before the abortion procedure, and established the right of women to engage in civil action against abortionists who violated the law. 

Excellent provision for women’s rights to information about their pregnancy before terminating it.

The law also required abortion clinics to have a notice prominently displayed in plain view declaring that: “it is against the law for anyone, regardless of his or her relationship to you, to force you to have an abortion.  By law, we cannot perform, induce, prescribe for, or provide you with the means for an abortion unless we have your freely given and voluntary consent.  …  You have the right to contact any local or state law enforcement agency to receive protection from any actual or threatened physical abuse or violence.”

Good, solid and vital information necessary for women’s rights to protection and the real freedom of choice (for crying out loud).

The law also regulated the prescribing of RU-486, dealt with informed consent, and established rules banning “wrongful birth” lawsuits.

This was all about protecting women, their rights, and the ability to make a choice based on information of all options and consequences. Who in the world (OK, in the state), was against that?

The abortion industry, of course. And those ideologically aligned with them.

So the judge said those provisions of the law were separate ones rolled into one, and you can’t do that, and therefore the law was struck down in toto.

Attorneys for the state argued that the bill was constitutional because it addressed the same subject, namely, abortion.

But that’s too obvious and logical.

They said that the Court’s interpretation would have a paralyzing effect on the legislative process not intended when the single-subject rule was adopted, by turning every topical sentence into a new subject for legislation.

That’s how abortion activists and their ideological cohorts on the bench need to break down – or at least slow down – the process. Piecemeal….nickel-and-dime it….hairsplit the syntax.

Proponents of the law were prepared for this.

…Oklahoma legislators have already submitted single-subjects bills – plan B in case the state Supreme Court rejected the law – that covers the multiple aspects of the single bill struck down by the high court. 

For instance…

A bill requiring abortionists to give women ultrasounds before an abortion passed the state House of Representatives on Thursday.

OK, good. Keep at it.