Aug 04

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!”

Whatever one thinks of Walter Scott’s 19th Century epic poem perhaps best remembered by that line, you have to give him and his writing credit for pithy insight.

Enduring insight, given the politics of our time. Take this Wall Street Journal column by William McGurn, for instance.

‘When the science is inconvenient, when the facts don’t match up with the ideology, they are cast aside.”

So charged Sen. Barack Obama in a Planned Parenthood speech in 2007. The line was a dig at George W. Bush for his approach to abortion and reproductive rights. Eighteen months later, the new president repeated his snipe in his inaugural vow to “restore science to its rightful place.”

Today President Obama is the one finding the science inconvenient. In the past, the president hasn’t hesitated to weigh in on other controversies while they were in progress—from an altercation between a black Harvard professor and a local white cop to more recent comments about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby. Suddenly, however, he has nothing to say about two [now five] secretly recorded videos that include one Planned Parenthood doctor talking about a “less crunchy” abortion technique that would leave fetal organs intact for harvesting.


Then again, for all Mr. Obama’s talk about restoring science to its proper place, his promises made clear that, if elected, he would not only be the first African-American president but have a good claim to be deemed as the first Planned Parenthood POTUS as well. The price was jettisoning the soothing Bill Clinton language—“safe, legal and rare”—for a more militant approach in which no abortion is beyond the pale.

In the process, President Obama has had to overlook the contradictory approach to science among his own allies. Take sonograms, or ultrasounds. In the first video, Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Deborah Nucatola describes using ultrasound to help those doing the abortion “know where they are putting their forceps.”

On “Fox News Sunday” last weekend, Carly Fiorina underscored the contradiction. Planned Parenthood lobbies against laws requiring women to have an “opportunity to look at an ultrasound before she makes an incredibly difficult choice to end the unborn life within her,” said the Republican hopeful. “And yet they are using that same technology to harvest body parts.”

Just follow the logic. And the story line.

At other times when the facts don’t match up with his ideology, Mr. Obama retreats to silence. In 2013, when Kermit Gosnell’s abortion horrors were before the American people, Mr. Obama’s then-spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the president couldn’t comment on an ongoing trial.

The reporter pressed for an answer, noting that the president’s position had special relevance for this case. As an Illinois state senator, he pointed out, Mr. Obama had opposed a bill that would have provided medical care “to babies who would be born after a botched abortion” like those that Dr. Gosnell was accused of killing.

That’s worth pausing on for a moment, since it was so overlooked during both election cycles. This was all foreseeable, for those who paid attention.

Two weeks after that White House news conference, Mr. Obama made history as the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood. Two weeks later, Dr. Gosnell was convicted of murdering three babies. Still, the president has said nothing.

Now we have two Planned Parenthood docs on film [and five videos so far] talking about the value of human organs in a fetus whose humanity they would deny. In private the euphemisms disappear. “When they talk to the public or to women about to get an abortion they talk about ‘tissue,’ ” says Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life. “But when they talk to someone buying body parts, it’s about intact hearts, livers and lungs.”

Tuesday, the WSJ Opinion page carried this response from Gail Finke.

William McGurn’s “The Political ‘Science’ of Planned Parenthood”… about President Obama’s sudden ignorance of science when it comes to abortion doesn’t go far enough.

Abortion advocates say that a fetus is a baby only if the mother wants it to be. A woman is 10 weeks pregnant with a baby if she wants to be a mother; another woman whose “fetus” is exactly the same age but who doesn’t want to have a baby can pay a doctor to “evacuate” the “products of conception.” If four embryos are created in one round of in vitro fertilization and two are implanted in a woman’s uterus, they are much-wanted children. The other two, their biological siblings, are nothing more than “extra embryos” that can be frozen or otherwise disposed.

The only difference between the thing being discussed (the person being discussed) is what the woman wants. You can call that many things, but one thing you can’t call it is science.

The tangled web is unraveling.

The fifth video was released Tuesday, involving negotiation of harvesting and selling body parts of five month old babies. More on that in the next post…

Mollie Hemingway lays out the different major strands of this sequential eruption of truth that is happening beyond the reach or control of the power elite who have controlled the message for so many years now, until now. She tells you that Planned Parenthood sought and got a temporary restraining order against the release of more videos, but that the injunction was not constitutional. Two more videos have been released since then.

She reports that Planned Parenthood hired a crisis communications firm to help manage its public relations crisis. The background is interesting.

There’s the suspicious claim that Planned Parenthood was hacked  in “an attack by extremists”, an intriguing account Hemingway unravels.

And the diminished attention major media outlets have given this major story.

The reaction last week by Hillary Clinton is very interesting, and Hemingway notes that, along with the link to Clinton’s interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader piece in which the Democratic front runner for the presidency called the videos “disturbing”. But since I first read that piece last week, it has been updated to read differently, giving Planned Parenthood a good deal of cover.

“Planned Parenthood is answering questions and will continue to answer questions.

(No, they’re really not.)

I think there are two points to make,” Clinton said. “One, Planned Parenthood for more than a century has done a lot of really good work for women: cancer screenings, family planning, all kinds of health services.

(Another myth. “In 2013, abortions made up 94% of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services, while prenatal care and adoption referrals accounted for only 5% (18,684) and 0.5% (1,880), respectively”, according to study findings by the Susan B. Anthony List.)

Hemingway continues on Hillary Clinton’s remarks:

And this [video series] raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country.”

(Actually, the video series is about Planned Parenthood’s practices in our country.)

“And if there’s going to be any kind of congressional inquiry, it should look at everything and not just one part of it,” she said.

How about both/and. It indeed should look at everything in the abortion industry and ideology and the whole abortion culture. And it should look at Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and marketing of baby body parts in particular, and whether that breaks the law, as some of the videos seem to reveal. Like the latest one.

Captured on video is Planned Parenthod Gulf Coast Director of Research Melissa Farrell discussing with a potential buyer about the best way to harvest organs from aborted babies. Farrell states at 8:05 in the video that at Planned Parenthood, “if we alter our process, we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers.” She also notes that they are willing to modify the abortion procedure to collect body parts, saying, “We deviate from our standard in order to do that.” Modifying an abortion procedure to obtain organs is prohibited under federal law.

And let’s put that claim of screenings, at least mammograms (number 10 in Hemingway’s piece), to rest finally.

No…97 percent of Planned Parenthood’s work is not mammograms. In fact, zero percent of Planned Parenthood’s work is mammograms because Planned Parenthood doesn’t do a single mammogram. Planned Parenthood falsely made the claim that they did during their campaign to shame the Komen Foundation into continuing to fund them, and some media asserted it as well. President Obama has regularly made the claim during his War on Women messaging.

The only problem is that it’s just not true. From a Washington Post fact check a few years ago:

“The problem here is that Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms or even possess the necessary equipment to do so.”

So let’s get to the truth. And stop the deceptions.

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Mar 10

“This is about the government coercing religious institutions to violate their own beliefs.”

So clarifies the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in their feature ‘The Truth Should Not Be A Secret’. It aims to debunk the top myths that quickly circulated out of spin control centers from the administration and their complicit media partners.

I’ve heard every one of them and have had to counter them with facts, time and again, so this post by Becket Fund helps center and ground the debate.

Take this one, for instance:

Myth #5: The federal mandate actually protects women’s health because it increases access to free birth control.

Truth: Access isn’t the issue. 9 out of 10 employer-based insurance plans already cover these services. There is no need for the government to force religious groups to provide these services against their religious convictions.

One could launch a whole debate just on component parts of that sentence in Myth #5.

And then a whopper:

Myth #6: In a recent poll, 98% of Catholic women said they already used artificial birth control anyhow. So what’s the big deal?

The ‘lie repeated often enough’ that is not only addressed succinctly here but nailed perfectly by Michael Cook here.

The government would just prefer that we focus on Catholics and their beliefs about birth control. Because that deflects attention from the far less winnable battle for the Obama administration over denying fundamental religious liberty in America for individuals and institutions.

But that’s what the controversial HHS mandate is about. Which is why so many religious leaders and scholars are speaking out.

Like Dr. Timothy George and Chuck Colson.

The Catholic bishops in America have responded quickly, decrying the Administration’s decision for what it is—an egregious, dangerous violation of religious liberty—and mobilizing a vast grassroots movement to persuade the Administration to reverse its decision.

We evangelicals must stand unequivocally with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. Because when the government violates the religious liberty of one group, it threatens the religious liberty of all.

And Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, who testified by a House Committee on the mandate.

While we are opposed in principle, not to all forms of birth control, but only abortion-causing drugs, we stand with our friends in the Catholic Church and all others, Christians and non-Christians, under the free exercise and conscience provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

“Religious people determine what violates their consciences, not the federal government. The conscience is a sacred thing. Our church exists because overzealous governments in northern Europe made decisions which trampled the religious convictions of our forebearers.

They’re facing off with an overzealous government in the US with either a short memory or deliberate defiance of fundamental founding principles or both. And, as President Harrison told me at the end of the week, opponents of this mandate are not going away. There’s too much at stake.

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Mar 08

And in greater numbers, they’re showing up in media and the public forum to say the HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, and Nancy Pelosi don’t speak for them.

Like Cathy Cleaver Ruse.

And Colleen Carroll Campbell.

In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to make a request of America’s political and media elites on behalf of America’s women: Stop lumping us together.

To be more specific: Stop telling us “what women want” in the next president, which political stands are sure-fire winners (or losers) of “the women’s vote” and what constitutes “the women’s view” in debates over everything from the morality of abortion to the limits of government and the best path to national prosperity.

While you’re at it, please stop quoting a handful of self-appointed “women’s advocates” as if they were proxies for all 156 million Americans who carry two X chromosomes. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards no more represents my views than Sarah Palin represents hers. And I think I can speak for all women in saying that no single woman or women’s group speaks for us all.

Both women were on my radio program last Friday (3/2) for a roundtable discussion on this issue of the moment, which the Obama administration made the issue of news cycles for the unforeseeable future by mandating contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacent drugs in mandated health care coverage as ‘women’s preventive health.’

What it prevents is normal fertility of the female body. And the continued existence of newly conceived life in the womb (hence ‘morning after’ pills as abortifacents). And yet some politicians and complicity media call opposition to this government mandate a ‘war on women’.

Cathy Cleaver Ruse:

When liberal women announce that something is an attack on women’s rights, too many members of the liberal media just dutifully fall in line…It’s about religious freedom, it’s about federalism, it’s about constitutionalism, it’s even about common sense and fair play. We don’t play the gender card, we don’t play that game. We’ve got substantive reasons to oppose this mandate.

When we see polls about Catholics and contraceptive use, we’ve got answers. The Guttmacher Institute may claim that 98 percent of Catholic women use birth control. We know the survey is flawed, but it’s not relevant to the issue we’re talking about. We’re talking about the federal government…pushing birth control pills through religious employers. It’s not about who uses what and when.

If the Guttmacher Institute is correct, and 98 percent of Catholic women are using birth control, it shows that Catholics don’t need help from president Obama on the issue of contraception. They know how to access it, they know how to get it and apparently they know how to use it. So leave us alone. We don’t need our Catholic institutions to get into the business of providing it.

Colleen Carroll Campbell takes issue with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claiming that fewer pregnancies means cost savings for the health care system (which she told a House panel).

Secretary Sebelius says ‘If we prevent birth, we lower health care cost.’ Now think about the logic of that. Anything that prevents birth and prevents life is something the government embraces to lower cost. So we’re one step away from forcing abortion coverage. When we have the HHS secretary saying that’s how they save costs, we’re marching right down the path of abortion and euthanasia.

Cathy says we’re already there.

The thinking is fewer people to drain the resources means benefits for us. It’s all about choosing who are the winners and losers. Fewer babies means more for us. We’re going to be rationing care, so there is more for us. That’s Obama’s approach to ‘health care’. He campaigned on the belief that abortion is basic healthcare. We know he already believes elective abortion is basic healthcare…

It’s the easiest thing in the world to be a contracepting Catholic in the world today. Everyone will congratulate you and cheer you on (intellectuals, media, dominant culture). It’s the Catholics who follow the Church teachings who are the victims today. We have to swim against the tide. The idea that women are oppressed today, it’s completely illogical.

Colleen wraps with this:

The casual observer would get the impression that the bishops are over here, and women are over there. And the feminist establishment is the abortion establishment. But there’s a chorus of women across the nation groaning when they hear that.

There’s a trend we’re seeing among young women, and they’re vastly pro-life. They’re really driving this ship. The March for Life is dominated by young women, the trends are moving in our direction. It’s our job to spread this awareness.

Dr. J and a young woman from the Catholic University of America did that today on the program. If Sandra Fluke is the poster child of the ‘contraception as necessary health care’ mentality, either Monica Israel or Mary Clare Spence qualify as a poster child of the ‘fertility is not a disease’ belief. 

Which at least attempts to correct the record on women’s history, and take its account out of the hands of revisionists.

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