Our take on the life issue in the news this week
International abortion: President Trump has re-instated the Mexico City policy which has been on-again off-again since President Reagan first signed the executive order in 1984. The policy bans US federal funding of international NGO’s which perform abortions or promote it. One of the most extreme reactions came from The Guardian whose headline warned “Trump once said women should be punished for abortion. Now, he’s making it happen” The premise here is that lack of abortion access punishes women by forcing them to carry a problematic pregnancy. The reality is that the policy protects the youngest members of the human family under the law by partnering with those organizations who don’t kill them.
Takeaway: Protecting the lives of the youngest members of the human family punishes no one. Pregnancy is a normal, natural, beneficial function of female biology. To suggest that “denying access” (i.e. prohibiting intentionally killing innocent human beings) is a punishment from government is unhinged morally and emotionally. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council here sets out a case for a ‘wall of separation’ between taxpayer money and abortion.
Celebrating children targeted for abortion: Families are sharing their stories on Twitter of physicians coercing them to abort due to a prenatal diagnosis of down syndrome or other issues. The hashtag #MyUnintendedJoy says it all.
Takeaway: Research a decade ago showed 92% of babies diagnosed with down syndrome were aborted. New findings place the percentage at a much lower rate, yet many women still feel as if choosing life for a child with special needs is an abnormal, impossible or even a morally wrong choice. This may be due to the misperception about the abilities of those with down syndrome and stereotypes of lifelong suffering.
Planned Parenthood sting finds no prenatal care: Live Action went undercover to investigate whether Planned Parenthood affiliates offer prenatal care as the organization’s leaders have claimed repeatedly. PP argues that their services are needed for expectant mothers. The investigation alleges no such services exist.
Takeaway: Planned Parenthood offers limited healthcare services, not including mammograms or prenatal care, and all of which can be found at many other Medicaid providers which do not also offer abortion services. The call to defund Planned Parenthood rests in part on the existence of over 13,000 community health care clinics, compared to under 700 PP locations (map here) available to serve the needs of women with lower incomes.
Senate Investigation depicts a wild west of largely unregulated abortion: Women are endangered by shoddy abortion providers like Kermit Gosnell. He is serving life in prison without parole for felony murder of babies born alive who had their spinal cords snipped and manslaughter for the death of a patient who was given anesthesia by unqualified personnel at his facility. The abortion industry distanced themselves when the evidence came to light, claiming Gosnell was an outlier. Documentarian Phelim McAleer mines the Senate report for the clear evidence that there are an untold number of other dangerous unregulated practicioners like Gosnell violating the law and getting away with it. We spoke with his wife Ann McElhinney when their investigation of Gosnell began. She told me facing the grand jury report on the realities of abortion changed their minds completely, saying, “We were pro-choice. But we were ignorant.”
Takeaway: The only major news outlet to cover the Senate report this month was the Washington Post. The reporter clearly did not even skim the 418 page document. And – shocker – the next day the Editorial Board headlined that the report lacked evidence of wrongdoing. Yet, according to The Daily Signal, “The panel’s eight Republicans recommended a criminal investigation of Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast based on evidence it violated Texas and U.S. law in fetal tissue transactions. They also made nine criminal and regulatory referrals in the cases of abortion providers and tissue procurement companies in Arkansas, California, and Ohio. Finally, they recommended that Congress take steps to improve practices in biomedical research, such as by establishing ethical guidelines for using tissue from aborted babies.” Democrats on the Panel cried foul. Maybe time to let your Rep know how you feel?
Lit major says ultrasound is a fiction: The Atlantic published a lengthy piece aimed at
obscuring presenting the facts surrounding proposed legislation which would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The writer is a student of comparative literature at Yale and offered little evidence of credential which would make her qualified to advance a medical opinion. Nonetheless the writer “debunks” ultrasound technology which illustrates the beating heart. The article is being skewered (see here and here also) and rightly so.
Takeaway: A study released last October from Oxford University showed studies of the heartbeat in fetal mice indicate human fetal heartbeats are likely present at 16 days gestation, much earlier than previously thought. When the Atlantic magazine asks, “What is a fetal heartbeat? Why does it matter?” you know that only a heartless conclusion awaits.
The undeclared American Women’s Civil War continues: The Womens’ March on Washington drew 500,000 to DC and hundreds of thousands in other locations for a day of solidarity and inclusion, and to set forth an agenda in protest to the stated policies of President Trump. The organization officially uninvited pro-life groups while cleaving to abortion rights as their pretext for excluding some from their pledge to be inclusive to all. Meanwhile the 44th annual March for Life will take place this weekend. Much ado was made about the March for Women in the press, we’ll see if the media returns the favor with the comparatively boring message of protecting the youngest members of the human family.
Takeaway: Most Americans remain deeply uneasy about abortion rights. And most women were embarrassed by the antics on display by those whose new tactic is to position abortion as a social good which should be available “without apology and on demand.” My friend Melissa Bruner who has worked with Alliance Defending Freedom said it best in a Facebook posting this week: During my first year of law school I was asked to speak at a NOW meeting (National Organization of Women). My platform was that the issue of abortion would completely divide women and handicap the progression of the women’s movement. It amazes me that of all things, women have grasped onto such a gruesome thing as killing their unborn children to advance themselves as women. We as women were uniquely made with the ability to carry and birth children, something no man can ever do. Yet women fight to kill their own flesh and blood as a representation of who they are as a woman? Yes, abortion will be the demise of the women’s movement. Women killing women.
The Final Take: As followers of Jesus Christ we know the end of the story, and we can afford to be gracious, even in the face of deceptions, foolishness and apparent setbacks. But we cannot be complacent in the face of abortion, the intentional killing of innocent human beings. Do not be dismayed. Pray for the women hurt by abortion who have buried it so deep they can’t express their pain directly but now spend their lives leading other women down that deadly path. Pray for our leaders. Keep speaking truth.