Media Blackout on the Kermit Gosnell Case May Be Lifting

The local Philadelphia press has been covering the case, but today Yahoo news carried a lengthy reprint of a story on Gosnell’s trial first published by The Atlantic. Slate’s Dave Weigel also wrote about the case and the lack of coverage. #Gosnell is now trending on Twitter. In what could be titled, “Confessions of a Pro-Choice Journalist,” add Daily Beast to that list. Now WaPo…

I was glad to see these articles which pull no punches in reporting the case of Gosnell who performed abortions in violation of numerous health codes and is accused of overseeing a killing field of women and newborn babies. The story is not for the weak but needs to be told.

When this story first broke, I posted extensively about it, including some original reporting:

Gruesome abortion/murder case in Philadelphia (1/19/11)

Abortion clinic regulation scandal in PA (1/20/11)

PA Senate to hold hearings on failure of abortion clinic regulation (1/21/11)

PA Abortion clinic inspections stopped to avoid barriers to abortion (1/21/11)

Did the Hyde Amendment keep Kermit Gosnell in business? (1/25/11)

National Abortion Federation quietly removes reference to Gosnell’s Delaware clinic (1/29/11)

National abortion funding network member visited notorious Philadelphia abortion clinic (1/31/11)

National Abortion Federation suspends Delaware abortion clinic (1/31/11)

UPDATE: Anderson Cooper’s AC360 show covered the Gosnell trial tonight.

Jake Tapper too…

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  • Ralph

    Warren:

    Thank you for taking the time to cover this horrific story. The national media has barely covered it. These women were poor and what a tragedy that many of these babies, mostly black, were murdered when they took their first breath and not one church group (other than a group from the south) has even mentioned it, or spoken out about it. Silence. Gosnell got away with this for many years until it was brought to light last year. No special religious service for these innocent souls children and adults, by any local or national church leaders or groups. Where are/were the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Episcopals, the Pentecostals, the non-denominaionl? What a tragedy that these children died and none of these groups said a word publicly about it. You are the conscience of the internet. Thank you for taking the time to remember these babies and their mothers. It means alot.

  • hardindr

    It isn’t true that there has been a media blackout about the Gosnell case, please see the following Sara Posner column:

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/7027/yes__let_s_talk_about_kermit_gosnell/

  • David Blakeslee

    Thanks Warren, I think by media blackout he might mean CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC and CBS; NYT and WPO. I believe Posner is

    A pretty horrific event by a man who should have been supervised by state and local authorities.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/04/a-wapo-reporter-explains-her-personal-gosnell-blackout/

    The What Liberal Media discussion never goes anywhere, but for the record.

    In my next post, I’ll tell you how it went when I looked at Politico‘s Gosnell coverage and Atlantic.com’s — it’s also pretty interesting.

    The picture above, for what it’s worth, is of the reserved media seats at the Gosnell trial. It was taken by JD Mullane, a news writer and columnist for the Bucks County Courier Times, The Intel and the Burlington County (NJ) Times. He says:

    Sat through a full day of testimony at the Kermitt Gosnell trial today. It is beyond the most morbid Hollywood horror. It will change you.

    I was surprised by the picture and asked “really?” He responded “Local press was there, Inky, PhillyMag, NBC10 blogger. Court staff told me nobody else has shown up.”

  • ken

    I disagree with the characterization of a “media blackout”. While they may not have made it front page news, several media outlets (including CNN, FOX etc) had stories about Gosnell back in 2011 when the story 1st broke, and many have had a follow ups recently on the trial.

    Simply because the story wasn’t featured as prominently as some would have liked, doesn’t make it a “media blackout.”

  • David Blakeslee

    A strange lack of uproar…given the pure innocence of the victims.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    More important to make excuses for the media.

  • David Blakeslee
  • Teresa

    I know nothing about the Kermit Gosnell case. Was FOX News reporting this story, or at the hearings, from 2010 til now?

  • Emily K

    What exactly is the end hope for people commenting here? That abortion will be made illegal again? You guys know that this type of horrific situation is what happens when accessible reproductive care is NOT provided, right? And that back-alley clinics like this were the NORM in pre-Roe days?

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2004/09/way-it-was

    So if people here are truly “pro life” then they’ll realize that saving a fetus might serve well for their personal ideology, but that the women serving as incubators by-proxy for their ideology might disagree vehemently. There are strong, intelligent, loving mothers in my family who have made the difficult choice to have abortions. Their lives are better off for it. And there is NOT a lack of children ready for adopters to give loving homes.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Emily – I can only speak for myself. While I might wish everyone thought as I do about preborn life, I know that will not happen. My hope is that increased coverage of the trial will lead state and federal regulators not to look the other way when there are red flags at abortion clinics (or any kind of clinic).

  • Tom Van Dyke

    What exactly is the end hope for people commenting here? That abortion will be made illegal again?

    That people might come to face the truth of what late-term abortion looks like, and that these babies are human beings not only when they’re butchered on the abortionist’s table, but in the five minutes just before as well, when they were on the other side of the birth canal.

    You don’t have to believe life begins at conception to agree that this is murder.

    80% of Americans think third-trimester abortions should be banned.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

    61% think it should be legal in the first trimester, but 64% think it should be banned in the 2nd trimester. We actually have a pretty strong consensus on abortion. Maybe this horror will wake the rest of the people up.

    If the media cover it.

  • Teresa

    Thanks for the Gallup Poll Link, Tom.

    The first graph is very interesting to watch the rise and fall of each position: specifically, the ‘under any circumstances’ of pole positions, and a more regular graph for the mid-pole position.

    What I found enlightening, at least to me, is that the position I hold has lost ground from 1975 vis-a-vis 2013. A rather small percentage drop; nevertheless, a drop. I had thought, otherwise.

    This reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw: “Don’t believe everything you think”.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Emily

    Late-term abortions are also pretty horrific, and more should be done to stop them happening (unless they are an unintended consequence of an absolutely necessary medical intervention) … just as we do not want knitting needles in back alleys.

    Whether one is (in principle) ‘pro-life’ – like me – or ‘pro-choice’, we must surely all agree that there are certain things that are simply unacceptable. And those who are ‘pro-choice’ have an interest in ‘keeping their own house in order’ (as do those who are ‘pro-life’, of course … hence threats and violence on their part are totally unacceptable).

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Tom

    I would caution against the use of the term ‘murder’ with respect to abortion. ‘Murder’ is a technical term that is defined by the laws of a particular jurisdiction; in those jurisdictions where third trimester abortions are legal (e.g. Canada, China, Vietnam), they are (at least technically) not murder. I am also concerned by the way in which the ‘loose’ use of terms like ‘murder’ can in extremis result in heightened emotions that may themselves lead to ‘anti-life’ outcomes.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    When it comes to these viable babies, I stand behind “murder.” Scott Peterson was convicted of the murder of his wife and the in utero “Baby Connor.”* Richard, I’m disgusted and appalled that we tiptoe around this issue, and the 80% of us who think late-term abortion should be banned need to stop letting ourselves be bullied into silence by “reasonable” people. Frankly, I think they’re moral imbeciles who refuse to face up to this grave moral dilemma. And the rest of us are cowards for allowing ourselves to be silenced.

    And I say this as a person who thinks all abortion is a moral crime, but isn’t certain enough about the first-trimester to call it “murder”–or even insist it should be banned. But late-term abortion is indeed murder, and it’s about time we stop hiding behind euphemisms like “choice.”

    ________________________

    *”In California and 26 other states, an act of violence that results in the death of an unborn child can already be charged as murder.”

    http://articles.latimes.com/2003/may/30/opinion/oe-cooper30

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Tom

    I share your view about both ‘tiptoeing around the issue’ and the attempts to ‘morally justify’ abortion per se. As far as legal specifics are concerned: here in the UK, the time limit for abortions is 24 weeks, and my own view is that – given all the (free at the point of use) medical facilities we have here – this is too late. (So – yes, Emily, I do favour a change in the law here in the UK, though not by any means a total ban.)

    But the fact remains that the issue of abortion generally is a very difficult one: the life of the pregnant woman is also an issue for anyone who is IMO genuinely ‘pro-life’.

    I am also concerned about the ‘blame’ for the phenomenon of abortion being pinned on certain people; right-minded attempts to reduce the (IMO unacceptably high) levels of abortion in places like the UK and the USA are, in part, the responsibility of all of us, and is probably more a ‘cultural’ matter than a legal one, although having an appropriate legal framework is obviously imperative.

    (I have difficulties with the ‘absolutist ideological positions’ held by both some ‘pro-lifers’ and some ‘pro-choicers’; as I have suggested, I am ‘in my heart’ a ‘pro-lifer’, but do accept the need for an appropriate legal framework for those women who sincerely believe that the only realistic choice open to them is to have an abortion.)

  • Emily K

    Can I also assume that the people who want to “save babies” support accurate sex education for teenagers, who make up the greatest amount of people who seek late-term abortions? And “abstinence only” doesn’t work. I’m talking about the kind of sex education that not only acknowledges that people have sex, but that people find it pleasurable and fun, even if they don’t end up getting married the next day.

    And I love it when people use the “abortion procedures are gross” excuse. All invasive surgeries are gross, and some might seem downright horrific. All talk of bright lights, surgical masks, gloves, and sparkling-clean tools aside, when a doctor is performing the procedure, they are elbow deep in bone, blood, and gristle.

    So spare me the scare talk of “tearing a fetus apart piece-by-piece.” The end result is that this pregnancy be terminated. It won’t be pretty. But equally “not-pretty” is a woman dying of a hemorrhage on the street because she was too ashamed to make her way past screaming protesters. Equally “not pretty” is a child being shuffled from foster home to foster home in a broken system for 18 years.

    If this were all about “saving babies” instead of shaming women for daring to have (and maybe, gasp! ENJOY) sex, then everyone here would be clamoring for government subsidies to give paid maternity leave to working women. And free or highly-subsidized birth control for people of child-bearing age. Or at least, free condoms. And an end to “abstinence only” sex “education.”

  • Tom Van Dyke

    So spare me the scare talk of “tearing a fetus apart piece-by-piece.”

    It’s not “scare talk.” It’s the truth, let’s face up to it.

    If this were all about “saving babies” instead of shaming women for daring to have (and maybe, gasp! ENJOY) sex

    That’s not only changing the subject, it’s BS.

    ____

    the (IMO unacceptably high) levels of abortion in places like the UK and the USA are

    What’s “acceptably low?” Again, this is the wrong discussion, indeed “acceptably low” has never been part of any discussion except the empty rhetoric of making abortion “rare.” What we’re talking about here is that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe there comes a point in a pregnancy where aborting it is no longer “acceptable,” and this Gosnell case is just the sort of galvanizing moment that could bring us out of our moral slumber.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Emily

    Well, I not only support ‘accurate sex education’, I have also delivered it (and tried always to do it in a way that gives ‘ownership’ to the learners). And I do think that that men need to take their responsibilities seriously – it is simply unacceptable to regard leaving a woman ‘holding the baby’ as in any way a ‘morally-acceptable’ option. (One technique I have used is to ask male learners to consider what advice they would give to a 14 year old daughter of theirs with respect to how she might relate to a boyfriend. There happened to be an inspector in one such lesson … and he liked what he witnessed!)

    @ Tom

    Make no mistake: I would like to see a society where no woman was put in a position where she felt that abortion was ‘the only option’. I know this is probably an unattainable ideal (particularly since there will always be circumstances where a woman’s life is threatened by the fact of her being pregnant), but do think we can do a whole lot better than we are doing at present. And I agree that there is point where having an abortion becomes unacceptable (I’d say 18 – 20 weeks if pushed), unless an ‘abortion’ is a necessary adjunct to a life-saving (for the woman) procedure … I cannot see how we can deny a woman the right to life in order (possibly) to save the life of an unborn child – it MUST be her choice, surely?

  • Emily K

    Tom I’m perfectly aware it’s the truth. See: my description of invasive surgery in general. An your refusal to acknowledge that women have sex for recreation as well as procreation (and oftentimes just for the former) is extremely telling. But I wouldn’t expect las from someone who swore they were never returning to this website again about 200 comment ago.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Emily, you’re not going to drag me into the fog with that “women aren’t supposed to enjoy sex” nonsense. First of all, it doesn’t represent my view in the least and secondly, it’s the usual distraction tactic away from the real issue, which is that late-term abortion is the unjust taking of an innocent human life.

    Richard, if the mother’s life was saved, it was self-defense, and morally defensible on that ground.

    The problem with this issue in particular is that we refuse to do any real moral reasoning, we just hide behind “rights talk” and the whole menu of familiar cliches. And as I admit on behalf of all the rest of us, a desire not to make waves or be uncool so we cower in silence.

    _____

    FTR:

    But I wouldn’t expect las from someone who swore they were never returning to this website again about 200 comment ago.

    You must be thinking of someone else, Emily. There are people hereabouts who wish I would go away, but I’m not one of them.

  • Teresa

    I’m not trying to derail this thread, but …

    Actually, if I’m not mistaken, Tom, you did say you were going to stop commenting here, not too long ago. At least, that’s how I read one of your comments.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    I don’t think so, Teresa. I’m used to being personally abused for saying unpopular things–it’s all part of the bullying game that I spoke of earlier. I don’t threaten to commit suicide.

    If they want me dead, I make the bastards execute me. ;-P

    What I’m hoping is that more people start realizing that being a Christian doesn’t mean becoming a soggy moral coward. The Sermon on the Mount isn’t the Barney the Dinosaur show, la-la-la.

    And it doesn’t mean we surrender to the moral fog. Our reason is God-given and it’s a sin not to use it. The problem isn’t that people disagree, the problem is the lack of clarity on the issues. I’m not the pope and you’re not God. All we can do is reason together. So first we have to seek clarity–there are some things we know, so many more things we don’t know.

    I hope we grow to understand each other better from here on. We have so many cliches and smokescreens to wade through. I’ve been reading what you and Ann and Emily have been writing to each other–and to the internet at large–and first and foremost admire your courage in trying to help each other puzzle it all out. The “experts” are so full of shit and politics that they’re no help atall. There are only a few people like Eve Tushnet and Melinda Selmys putting themselves on the line, and their personal and moral courage makes whatever moral courage I try to find look trivial. I look up to you, not down. Please know that. This is hard stuff, the hardest.

  • David Blakeslee

    Legal abortion was supposed to protect women from procedures that would harm them. In this case a few died.

    Think of the babies and the mothers in this case where an abortionist was operating in a legal clinic—no back alley here.

  • Teresa

    Tom,

    Thank you for straightening :) me out on my comment, and your kind response.

    I know Melinda Selmys, personally, and, speak to her occasionally; although, she lives in Canada and I’m here in Michigan. I corresponded briefly sometime ago with Eve Tushnet.

    Let me introduce myself to you, Tom, a bit more personally; albeit, it’s at Warren’s discretion and on his blog. I’m an older, Catholic, single woman who happens to have same sex attraction. I am very grateful to have stumbled upon Warren and his blog, and his absolute dedication to finding and speaking the truth on same sex attraction (and now his interest in history) even at cost to himself. I’ve learned a lot from Warren and his many commenters.

    Speaking only for myself, I think of myself as single, and let it go at that. Seeing myself in the single state helps keep me from thinking I’m ‘terminally unique’; although I struggled much with that, at one time. I don’t identify as gay, and only when necessary and always with some level of prudence and discretion do I talk about my same sex attraction. Since I’m pursuing a life of chastity/celibacy, it helps me to minimize my difference and seek commonality with everyone else … and, there is much of that.

    Although I’m no longer 20, 30 or 40, Tom, I am acutely aware of how difficult it is for younger persons with same sex attraction to come to terms with life and what that will look like for them. Having same sex attraction is confusing and disorienting in itself, but now the culture has made it more difficult to find one’s way.

    End of story, Tom. Warren and his blog was here when I needed him. He sorted through the chaff and the wheat and continues to do that. He is someone I look up to and admire. I wanna be like Warren when I grow up … mmm, sounds like something a gay woman would say. :) :)

  • Ann

    The problem isn’t that people disagree, the problem is the lack of clarity on the issues.

    Tom Van Dyke,

    To me, you are 100% right. I also like your courage and agree with your perspective.

    Knowing there is a lack of clarity or even credible knowledge about all the degrees and dimensions of orientation, it is staggering to read and hear all the opinions (on either side) of the individuals who posture themselves as experts, without any more knowledge than anyone else has.

  • Ann

    And I agree that there is point where having an abortion becomes unacceptable (I’d say 18 – 20 weeks if pushed)

    Richard Willmer,

    Did you know that there is a medical detectable heartbeat at around 3 weeks after conception? For me, this is a sure sign of viability and life. To stop that heart from beating is, to me, terminating a life.

  • Bill Fortenberry

    I don’t have time to comment at length, but I would like to suggest that everyone consider some of the research that I have done on the abortion issue by visiting the website: http://www.personhoodinitiative.com

  • David Blakeslee

    “”Over the years, there were hundreds of ‘snippings,’” said the grand jury. ‘Sometimes, if Gosnell was unavailable, the ‘snipping’ was done by one of his fake doctors, or even by one of the administrative staff. But all the employees of the Women’s Medical Society knew. Everyone there acted as if it wasn’t murder at all.”"

    Quoted Grand Jury testimony found at http://cnsnews.com/news/article/grand-jury-abortionist-murdered-hundreds-children-me-adam-lanza-murdered-20

    Don’t like comparison with Lanza…but the testimony is chilling.

  • Ann

    The only way to save those babies is to attack the ones performing the abortions.

    Bill Fortenberry,

    Thank you for what you are doing. Regarding the above statement – if anyone has an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, they should be given accurate information about the possible psychological and medical risks of terminating the life within them. Changing a heart would prevent ever going to a doctor to get an abortion.

  • Emily K

    Richard, thank you for supporting accurate sex education; I think if it really were all about “saving babies” GOPers would support taxpayer-subsidized maternity leave and contraception, as well as accurate and frank sex education.

  • Emily K

    ” I’m used to being personally abused for saying unpopular things–it’s all part of the bullying game that I spoke of earlier.”

    Good lord…

  • ken

    Bill Fortenberry says:

    April 15, 2013 at 9:45 am

    “The only way to save the the kids is to attack the man doing the killing.”

    This is the sort of mentality that leads to clinics being bombed and doctors and other workers being killed.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Thx, for sharing tha,t Teresa. It’s a pleasure to get to know you and Ann. Emily, not so much. :-(

    if anyone has an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, they should be given accurate information about the possible psychological and medical risks of terminating the life within them.

    This is what gets me so angry at the experts–their dishonesty in service of their ideological agenda. One of the largest and longest longitudinal studies has been in New Zealand by Dr, David Fergusson and others. They’ve continually tried to bury or distort his results.

    I see Warren was on this back in 2006, but still the coverup continues. He might as well not have bothered.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/jan/20/20060120-091648-6456r/?page=all

    Why isn’t there better research on the effect of abortion on women? Mr. Fergusson says the political issues surrounding abortion crowd out scientific objectivity. In his view, “The abortion debate and its implications drive out the science.”

    In her own way, Ms. Russo agrees, “There is a pro-life political agenda to prove abortion is harmful to women in order to overturn Roe v. Wade. The research that specifically aims to causally link mental health problems and abortion has been conducted by those opposed to abortion.”

    So was Professor Fergusson out to link mental health problems with abortion? “I’m immune from that charge because I’m pro-choice,” he says. In a remarkably candid statement, Mr. Fergusson reveals, “I might rather not have found what we did, but we found it and you can’t be intellectually honest and only publish results you like.”

    TVD again: In other words, statistically, abortion may create more problems than it solves. We treat our young women like battleships instead of the delicate human beings that they are. Go ahead and “experiment” with your sexuality. Hey, it’s Sex Week.* Date the starting defensive backfield. And go ahead, have an abortion–it’s no different than having a tooth pulled.

    Well, people don’t work like that.

    ______

    *No, I’m not kidding.

    http://collegeinsurrection.com/2013/03/eureka-sex-week-limit-exists-for-some-college-administrators/

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Emily K

    I really do believe that pretty much all of the strategies to reduce the damage done by abortion should be ‘progressive’ / ‘liberal’ in nature: good sex education, more respect by men of women, more social cohesion so that real alternatives are available, better availability of affordable contraception, especially for the poorest woman in society …

    Those of us who want to see as little abortion as possible should IMO be PRACTICAL about it. And threats and violence against those who are already vulnerable is, for the Christian, IMO a moral turpitude.

    @ Tom

    I agree with you that ‘sex for fun’ attitude can be dangerous. Sex is fun, but real fun is not a ‘self-centred’ thing – and sex is something which should always be about ‘sharing’.

  • Bill Fortenberry

    Ann and Ken,

    You are taking a single comment from an illustration and ignoring its context. I am not in any way advocating bombings of abortion clinics. I am calling for a very different kind of attack, and I explain what that attack entails within the context of the comment.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    If you’re purporting to agree with me, Richard, you’re really not–first with the familiar roster of government programs to address human sexuality [and implicit ad hom conservative-bashing] and second, reducing sexuality to the Barney the Dinosaur level of “sharing,” as if it’s a candy bar.

    The topic is the moral obscenity of late-term abortion and relatedly, what can be permanent psychological scarring from even an early-term one—damage that the “experts” seldom want to admit exists, let alone study.

    The rest serves only as a smokescreen. All of a sudden the American Psychological Association mouthpiece Dr. Nancy Felipe Russo is an expert on constitutional law and doesn’t want to talk about the psychological damage of abortion. What a bunch of diversionary crap.

    It’s time to start dispelling the fog.

  • Richard Willmer

    (I might just develop my ‘sex and sharing’ theme a little further: perhaps it could be argued that, without some kind of a context of genuine sharing, sexual acts might not be pursuant – at least ‘morally-speaking’ – to genuinely ‘informed’ consent? But maybe I’m on rather ‘thin ice’ here … although it does reflect an aspect of my thinking with regard to sexual relationships. And I have no doubt that some situations in which abortions take place [have] involve[d] some kind of deceit or dissembling … especially on the part of the man? More ‘thin ice’? Perhaps I’d better shut up now!!! Nighty-night!)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Richard, I don’t disagree, but I’m not really going to moral judgment, just to the possible harmful consequences for the human persons involved. “Liberated” sexuality likes to think there aren’t any, but we know that’s just not so.

  • Richard Willmer

    Depends what form the ‘liberation’ takes, I suppose. (I was really just ‘flying a kite’, although it is a moral issue worthy of some kind of consideration. And there is surely a link between honesty and commitment in relationships, and women being placed in the most invidious position of having to consider having an abortion: I was, the other day, speaking with someone who had ‘encouraged’ an ex-girlfriend to have an abortion [which she eventually, and - according to him - somewhat reluctantly, did ... within the law, I would add] and he certainly indicated to me that he felt great remorse about his part in the situation. I made no judgement as such, but he clearly did. I could ‘feel his pain’.)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Well, he should feel great pain and remorse, Richard. For the baby, for what he may have done to his girlfriend.

    Ex-girlfriend. My best friends in college were a long-time couple who ended up getting an abortion. Unsurprisingly, the relationship couldn’t take the strain and they split up. Susan came out OK, I think, marrying some Antonio Bandaras-looking guy. But Michael married some skank and ruined his own life.

    They don’t tell you that stuff. I know that if Michael had it to do all over again…

  • Richard Willmer

    I share your view that he ‘should’; but whether or not he ‘should’, he did – and that at least is to his credit. (I might add at this point that he was not aware of my own views and feelings on the issue.)

    We all can ‘rationalize’ all sorts of things, but should never lose touch with our deepest instincts and emotions … one of which, for most of us, is the desire to ‘be alive’ – a desire that we (usually correctly) ascribe to others. And those who are parents have an innate desire to see their offspring live and prosper … which makes abortion, however ‘necessary’ it may seem in a particular set of circumstances, something that is profoundly ‘counter-intuitive’.

  • ken

    Bill Fortenberry says:

    April 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    “You are taking a single comment from an illustration and ignoring its context. ”

    No, I’m pointing out that the language you use is full of violent images. And that it is the same sort of rhetoric that is used by those who bomb abortion clinics.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    This is the game, Bill. They’ll distort anything you say to stay on the attack and change the subject. Anything but admit that the difference between Gosnell killing the babies after he pulls them out of the womb instead of while they’re still in the womb is nil.

    That’s why the press won’t cover this. Even now, after being called out, they’re just pretending to cover it. We are moral imbeciles.

  • David Blakeslee
  • Ann

    You are taking a single comment from an illustration and ignoring its context. I am not in any way advocating bombings of abortion clinics. I am calling for a very different kind of attack, and I explain what that attack entails within the context of the comment.

    Bill,

    I’m not sure why you included my name for this response. My comment regarding your web site was positive and I thanked you for your doing it. The point I was trying to make about providing women with all the information they need regarding the potential negative physical and psychological consequences of abortion was to prevent her from ever seeing a doctor (credible or unethical) for an abortion in the first place. I think that would save babies physically and psychologically, as well as the women carrying them. The stories of life long regret, only because the women involved felt trapped with no choice, are sobering.

  • Teresa

    David B.,

    Thank you for the link.

    I give Marc Lamont Hill credit for being honest about this … finally. I give him credit for acknowledging that “it’s a bad idea, I think it’s dangerous” concerning the left’s media blackout surrounding Gosnell’s trial. However, we would have heard next-to-nothing from any MSM if it hadn’t been for Kirsten Powers rattling their cages. They would have gotten away with their sleight-of-hand, no one the wiser.

    Journalism’s first work ethic should be to report the ‘truth’, objectively and impartially, no matter whose ox is being gored. Skewering the news to fit an agenda, left or right, leaves the viewership intellectually and morally crippled, ill-equipped to make sound and well-reasoned decisions for the common good.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee says:

    April 17, 2013 at 10:19 am

    “This is interesting:”

    made more interesting by the fact the cnn msnbc and foxnews websites have reported many stories about the trial. CNN has had new story about it nearly every day on their home page. Which I why I’m a bit confused about the insinuations of a “leftist media coverup” of the case.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    “Abortion seems like a polarizing issue in America. That’s the way it plays out in the press and in politics: America is a 50/50 pro-life to pro-choice country, with the advantage trending in the pro-life direction as millenials of the “sonogram generation” poll more pro-life than their parents.

    But this 50/50 narrative on abortion doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of opinion about abortion in the real world in America. Many Americans, and probably a growing number, find themselves in what columnist James Taranto calls the “mushy middle.” These people can see that the difference between “snipping” the spine of a just born child and crushing the skull of the same child inside the birth canal is the difference between illegal and legal, and nothing more. In fact, it is the difference between Kermit Gosnell and Leroy Carhart. But only one of them is on trial for murder.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/345824/governor-cuomo-dont-let-gosnell-be-new-york-story-too

  • Richard Willmer

    Clearly (to me) there is not a dime of difference between a ‘late’ abortion (say at 28 weeks) and killing an ‘premature’ (eg born at 28 weeks) baby. Both are utterly horrendous and totally indefensible, morally and (in the vast majority of jurisdictions) legally.

    When it comes to abortion generally, I suspect that it is not so much a case of a ‘mushy middle’, but a ‘tension’ between ‘morality’ and what the law ‘should’ be. ‘Morally’, I would be something of an ‘absolutist’; on the issue of what laws should be in place, I feel bound to recognize that, as far as we are able to judge, countries with the most ‘liberal’ abortion laws have the lowest rates of abortion (many of which are in Western European countries) … although it would be grossly simplistic to suggest that the legal situation re. abortion is the main driver of levels of abortion (for example, in many countries where there is much grinding poverty, women may feel that they must have an abortion simply because they are deeply fearful of the ‘financial burden’ of having [yet] a[nother] child).

    Like so many, I want to see (much) less abortion (ideally none at all), but do not think that either (a) focusing too much on cases such as this (horrendous) one or (b) removing all laws that allow for abortion is the answer. Strategies that promote greater respect for human dignity – particularly that of women – and tackle poverty would IMO be much more fruitful.

  • Richard Willmer

    (The one caveat to my first paragraph above would have to be the situation where the women needs an essential ‘life-saving’ medical intervention that would likely lead to the death of the baby she is carrying. In such circumstances, the woman in question must IMO have the right to choose whether or not to risk losing her own life.)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Thx, Richard. Again, I feel I must restate that “life of the mother” and early-term abortion are not being argued against–here or pretty much anywhere.

    What we have is over 60% of Americans think abortion should be banned in the 2nd trimester and 80% think it should be banned in the third*. President Obama was just out there complaining 90% favor his gun control legislation [untrue, but that's not relevant], but 80% of us think abortion should be banned in the third trimester and we hear…nothing.

    *http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

  • Richard Willmer

    Understood – and I certainly do not agree (with the President???) that there should be a kind of ‘blanket legalization’ of third trimester abortions (which are currently not legal as such in [most of] the USA?). (And here in the UK – which, by the way, has an incidence comparable to that of the USA of abortion – we do not [technically at least] have ‘abortion on demand’ at all.)

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Yes–Many or most Americans are unaware* that most of Europe has more restrictive abortion laws*. The problem here, I believe, is that Roe v. Wade declared abortion a constitutional right, and as such is less subject to popular moral sentiment.

    ____

    *Again, I do blame our media.

    **For example http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2268815/UK-abortion-limit-Born-23-weeks-twins-modern-medicine-marvel-raise-questions-laws.html

  • Ann

    There is a movie called “October Baby” that tells the story of a late term abortion and the effects on all the individuals involved – it can be found at most Catholic Church libraries or can be rented through media outlets. Usually abortion is either thought of as right or wrong, with a limited amount of individuals involved, should the procedure be done. The story in this movie is different and it tells the truth about the consequences of late term abortions and redemption. It actually makes all the opinions of activists sound shallow, which, in my opinion, they are.

  • Richard Willmer

    But, Tom – the incidence in the UK is hardly any lower than that in the US (and the UK rate is at the higher end of those of W. European countries). This suggests that, when one compares ‘affluent’ societies, the precise nature of the laws is not a particularly relevant factor.

    I agree, Ann, that the ‘positions’ held by activists are simplistic, sometimes based on false premises, and certainly often fail to grasp the broad – and the often interdependent – nature of the factors that influence the incidence of abortion. My own antipathy towards abortion is ultimately just that – my own antipathy; it is not by itself a basis for advocating a particular ‘policy’, and it is certainly no excuse for labelling or demonizing other people.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    But, Tom – the incidence in the UK is hardly any lower than that in the US (and the UK rate is at the higher end of those of W. European countries).

    The incidence–”rarity*”–of abortion is a rhetorical dodge from pro-choicers, a smokescreen, Richard. 80% of us think that any abortions in the 3rd trimester are unacceptable. The story I linked about the healthy 23-wk premie twins should be the end of the discussion.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2268815/UK-abortion-limit-Born-23-weeks-twins-modern-medicine-marvel-raise-questions-laws.html

  • Richard Willmer

    24 Weeks is towards (but not yet at) the end of the second trimester, Tom. That said, the birth of these twins does raise questions about the law here in the UK.

    Don’t quite see how looking at statistics necessarily constitutes a ‘rhetorical dodge’.

  • Zoe Brain

    I don’t know if anyone’s interested in my views – but hopefully the reasons for them might be of help.

    First – is the question “when does life begin” the right one, or do we mean “when does personhood begin”?

    Both sperm and eggs are alive. So there seems nothing particularly special about life before or after conception. Moreover, as the result of various development paths after fertilisation, no “unique blend of DNA” happens, well, not always. Cell genetic makeup late in development can differ significantly from that at conception.

    A conceptus may develop

    a) As a hydatidiform mole – a cancer.

    b) As two people, who may be of different sexes

    c) As half a person, a contributor to a chimera

    d) As a miscarriage or “heavy period”

    e) As a human, which may or may not be a legally alive person in terms of brain activity.

    So the whole idea that “life begins at conception” idea is not useful. It doesn’t. For those who believe in Judeo-Christianity, there’s no scriptural support for that contention anyway, it’s a relatively modern innovation.

    When does personhood begin – or end? Surely the same criteria should be used in both situations. When a person has most of their neurology destroyed, their heart still beating but no mind being supported, they are legally dead in most jurisdictions. In some, a “persistent vegetative state” is enough, others require no detectable brain activity. The line is blurry, but any metric that would not count as anencephalic infant as “alive”, or as I’d put it, a living person, is to my mind wrong, the bar set too high.

    Based on these facts, apparently I’d put “personhood” as starting around week 23-26. No earlier than 23, no later than 26, and it will vary between individuals.

    I don’t see being born has any significance. I don’t see viability outside the womb as being a significant metric either. Neither is foetal heartbeat. There are people alive with no heartbeat, and bodies with a heartbeat that are dead.

  • Richard Willmer

    “I don’t see being born has any significance. I don’t see viability outside the womb as being a significant metric either. Neither is foetal heartbeat.”

    Well, I do.

  • Zoe Brain

    FWIW I’ve been involved with three medical emergencies involving people dear to me. In one case, I helped resuscitate my father from flatline, no heatbeat. Unfortunately his heart was too badly damaged, 2/3 akinetic, no salvage, and 12 hours later I signed off on the morphine overdose that may have (let’s not beat around the bush *did*) terminate his life a few minutes early), but meant he didn’t feel himself dying again. He wanted it – he was fully compos mentis – and he would have done the same for me.

    20 years of PTSD Flashbacks is a small price to pay.

    The point was, he was not dead before resuscitation even though his heart had stopped.

    In the second, I performed CPR on my 94 yr old Father in Law. I got him back breathing even before the Ambulance came. I couldn’t detect a heartbeat, but I didn’t have time to be certain, too busy keeping his brain oxygenated, heartbeat or no. Had I not performed CPR, yes, he’d be dead. But is not.

    In the third, a good friend, younger than myself, suffered sudden cardiac arrest. I wasn’t there, and despite her husband’s frantic attempts at CPR, she required a ventilator to breathe in the hospital.

    We saw the brain start swelling on the scans, obviously catastrophically damaged, necrotic, and turning into undifferentiated pudding. But her heart kept beating even though her lungs were inflated by machine.

    She’d left us long before her heart stopped, the base-brain reflexes suppressed at last from the pressure of the rest of the dead brain disintegrating. Only took two days, thank goodness, and twenty minutes after the ventilator had been removed. It could have been a lot worse if the damage hadn’t have been so obviously fatal.

    If I saw an infant trapped in a burning building, roasting to death in agony, and had a gun – then of course I’d shoot. Infanticide is sometimes not just justified, it’s immoral not to do it. Similarly with conjoined twins, both dying, but where there’s a chance to save one if separated. If one is already dead, there’s no moral or ethical issue that arises. Not to separate is murder most foul.

    Similarly in some “abortions”, of dead and rotting foetuses to save the mother, regardless of stage of development. “Pro-Life” Fanatics who would make abortion illegal under any circumstances are morally bankrupt.

    Pregnancy termination in the earliest stages – call it the “first trimester” though I’d put it later than week 14, more like week 23, is a tragedy, an extinction of a potential person. But not murder. Infanticide in the third trimester, past week 28, is just that – infanticide, whether birthed or not – but in some cases may be mandatory, not just justified. In between – a matter for medical judgment. It depends – we have at least two conflicting rights,, the right of the mother not to bear the very real risk that she will die in childbirth, and the ethical decision as to whether the pregnancy involves a person or not. Even if it does – do we have the right to force a rape victim to be the involuntary incubator for her rapist’s spawn?

    Only those involved directly can make that decision, and others, like myself, have no right to second-guess, no matter how strongly we may feel about it. I would advocate with my last breath for the rights of a child who’s the product of rape, using every power of persuasion I have on the mother to let this innocent baby live. But I would not compel her to.

    In that regard, I guess I’m Pro-Choice. And if it had ever come to a choice of whether I or my unborn child would live, that’s an easy one. My child would come first. MY decision though. MY choice.

  • Zoe Brain

    Richard Willmer wrote:

    Well, I do.

    You’re hardly alone there. But why? Is that based on scripture, ideology, or practicality, or some other reason?

  • Richard Willmer

    No offence, Zoe, but while I think you do raise some important and pertinent questions, your ‘conclusion’ reaches into a kind of absurdity. I suspect that the vast majority of ordinary folk DO think those things are ‘significant’ events / considerations.

    ‘Life’ could, I suppose, be reduced to a set of ‘religious’ or ‘scientific’ nostrums, but I think this would show a worrying lack of respect for the ‘mystery’ of life. It is also IMO an abuse of religion or science – neither of which has the right to claim to have all the answers.

  • Zoe Brain

    No offense taken – how could I take offense at something said by someone of such obvious goodwill?

    Can I put your reply down to “ideology” then? I have a comment stuck in moderation at the moment that may explain my position more clearly.

    NOT a majority one by any means, I might add. But morality isn’t a matter up for vote, there both I and those diemetrically opposed to my position agree.

  • Richard Willmer

    I would put down my position to a kind of ‘instinct’, I suppose.

    It’s a fair question, to which I cannot really offer an ‘intellectual’ answer. But I do think ‘instinctive’ or ‘intuitive’ responses are important.

    I agree that philosophical and/or moral principles are not things that can be ‘put to a vote’. And ‘majorities’ can be wrong (we are both familiar with ‘majority views’ in certain places that are based on demonstrable falsehoods – an obvious example being the line “those who do not fit ‘traditional’ patterns of sexual identity or sexuality are ipso facto a threat to families and children” … arrant nonsense that can be shown to be such!).

  • Zoe Brain

    Intuition – Gnosis – is sometimes all we have, and when it comes to moral issues, objectively it has a very good track record. Not 100% perhaps, but we distrust it at our peril. That quiet, small voice that says “No, this offends the conscience”. I’m not sure anything has a better track record, in fact.

    I’m too good a Scientist not to see that.

    It was also a conclusion I came to when auditing a Theology course at the Australian Catholic University. Too many times we start with a conclusion we know to be true, then shore it up with logic and evidence, lacking the ruthless introspection and intellectual honesty needed to see that’s what we’re doing.

    If we admit that we came to the conclusion first, then we no longer unwittingly cherry-pick our data in support, but try to undermine our initial conclusions, to test our Gnosis. Only then, after it’s passed the tests, can we consider it reliable. Imperfect, just likely better than anything else.

    It’s hard, and I know I sometimes fail, no matter how hard I try. Fortunately there are those like you with different views to keep me honest!

    Thanks for the helpful clarification.

  • Richard Willmer

    “If we admit that we came to the conclusion first, then we no longer unwittingly cherry-pick our data in support, but try to undermine our initial conclusions, to test our Gnosis. Only then, after it’s passed the tests, can we consider it reliable. Imperfect, just likely better than anything else.”

    Very well put, Zoe. (Though even the most rigorous ‘testing’ of our intuition will not necessarily prevent people from coming to different conclusions.)

  • Richard Willmer

    I might just ‘indulge’ myself a little, and expand on what I’ve put in parentheses above.

    If one ‘feels’ that “gays are ipso facto a threat to children”, one can disabuse one’s self of this by simply bothering to look around and noticing that most gay people pose no such threat. On the other hand, when one talking about “when a human person’s life begins”, it is much ore difficult to come to some ‘definite’ answer. After all, a six-week-old baby is utterly dependent on others for its survival; does this mean that it doesn’t really have a ‘life on its own account’? Similarly, there have been tens of billions of instances in human history of a unique ‘human story’ starting with implantation and running through to ripe old age. Does this mean that, once implantation has occurred, a ‘life’ has begun? Those are two ‘extreme’ understandings, to be sure; but arguments could be constructed for both. And if presented with those two extremes, I’m pretty certain which one most people would ‘vote’ for (our agreement about avoiding majoritarianism as the arbiter of ethics notwithstanding).

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Don’t quite see how looking at statistics necessarily constitutes a ‘rhetorical dodge’.

    Richard, reducing abortions from 1.5 million a year to 1 million a year may be significant to some, but I think is a hollow accomplishment.

    ________________

    It was also a conclusion I came to when auditing a Theology course at the Australian Catholic University. Too many times we start with a conclusion we know to be true, then shore it up with logic and evidence, lacking the ruthless introspection and intellectual honesty needed to see that’s what we’re doing.

    Too bad–you must have had a poor instructor. Observing that the sun rises isn’t a “conclusion,” it’s an observation of a phenomenon that requires working backwards to ascertain its cause.

    If you want to test your philosophical mettle and manifest brainpower, permit me to recommend Edward Feser, an absolute giant of Aristotelian-Thomistic [Aquinas] thought [and a very funny guy].

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/

    If a sophomore thinks they can punk Aristotle and Aquinas, I assure you they’re not understanding what’s going on.

  • Richard Willmer

    Well, Tom, I think that Zoe is actually pointing to something that is often done, even by the most well-intentioned of people. If one is engaged in looking for the truth, one must ‘ruthlessly’ appraise one’s own thought processes.

    As for the ‘statistics’ thing: I think it rather depends HOW those statistics are used. Simply pointing out that the US and UK abortion rates are similar, despite differences in the laws in those two countries, is not of itself ‘rhetoric’. It is simply a fact.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    “Reducing” abortions [say from 1.5 million to 1 million] is the hollow rhetoric. Making abortion “rare” is not only a lie [at 1-plus million a year] it’s rhetoric only used by the pro-choice side.

    BTW, Roe vs. Wade was based on lying about statistics, and lying about history. True story. Ever hear of Dr. Bernard Nathanson?

    No, I didn’t think so.

    “I remember laughing when we made those slogans up,” recalls Bernard Nathanson, M.D., co-founder of pro-abortion group NARAL, reminiscing about the early days of the pro-abortion movement in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

    “We were looking for some sexy, catchy slogans to capture public opinion. They were very cynical slogans then, just as all of these slogans today are very, very cynical.”

    http://www.pregnantpause.org/abort/remember-naral.htm

    ___________

    Well, Tom, I think that Zoe is actually pointing to something that is often done, even by the most well-intentioned of people.

    Zoe is not talking about principled study of Catholic-Thomistic thought. If you or she is interested in the best arguments, not sophomorizing the worst, again I recommend

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/

    I assure you you’ll learn something. Native intelligence isn’t enough to approach philosophy*, you need to learn what it took the greatest minds of human history 1000s of years to develop.

    __

    *Believe me. I tried. ;-O

  • Richard Willmer

    Lost you, Tom.

    I repeat: citing statistics is surely not in itself ‘rhetoric’.

    Zoe’s general point about ‘testing one’s conclusions’ seems entirely reasonable to me.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Yes, you did lose the thread, Richard. Probably my fault. But you may be being obtuse. I can never tell in these things. But if either conversation were to move head, read the link about Bernard Nathanson and invest a little time in the link to Ed Feser. They are well worth any reader’s time.

    Bernard Nathanson. M.D.:

    “We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one,” recalls the movement’s co-founder. “Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60 percent of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000.”

    “”Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.

    “Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500 percent since legalization.”

    There’s some statistics to consider. The truth hides in plain sight.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Tom

    I think we were talking about two different things, actually. I was simply making the point that the differences in laws in our two countries seem not to have resulted in (significantly) different incidences of abortion. Assuming that the current statistics are correct (is there a good reason not to?), this is simply a ‘matter of fact’. My interpretation of this ‘fact’ would be along the lines of: in affluent societies, factors other than the precise nature of the laws appear to be the key drivers when it comes to levels of abortion. I did not cite, or comment on, figures presented during the debates of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Nor was I advocating a particular position or ‘remedy’ for the current situation (which both Zoe and I would appear to agree – any differences between us notwithstanding – contains ‘tragic’ elements).

    I’ll look at the stuff you’ve posted when I’ve got more time.

  • Ann

    I was simply making the point that the differences in laws in our two countries seem not to have resulted in (significantly) different incidences of abortion.

    I think a woman who wants to terminate a pregnancy, is going to do it, regardless of any law. Doctors are not needed to perform a procedure, they just make it easier. If we want to reduce the amount of terminated pregnancies, resources must be available that tell the truth of the abortion procedure and how a life is terminated, including all the physical and psychological consequences for the woman having it. Oh, by the way, sometimes those consequences are not actually felt or realized for many, many years.

    These resources must also provide education and alternatives that are life giving and open doors of opportunities to consider. When making this kind of life changing decision, choices are imperative, not just the term”choice”.

  • Richard Willmer

    Exactly. From where we are, the way forward is surely around education which leads to a paradigmatic shift in thinking on the part of many, including a decisive move away from any idea that abortion is ‘just another method of birth control’.

    Providing realistic ‘alternatives’ is something that is a matter of ‘collective responsibility’. But perhaps the greatest efforts should be directed at avoiding as much as possible the scenario where a pregnant woman is in the invidious and painful position of having to ‘choose’ at all … (and men have an important role in this!!!)

  • Ann

    Providing realistic ‘alternatives’ is something that is a matter of ‘collective responsibility’. But perhaps the greatest efforts should be directed at avoiding as much as possible the scenario where a pregnant woman is in the invidious and painful position of having to ‘choose’ at all … (and men have an important role in this!!!)

    Richard Willmer,

    Thank you for saying this. It is a collective responsibility and one that we can all be a part of, even in the smallest of ways that can make a big difference. Often, we do not know how a person’s perspective can change on just some kind words that offer real alternatives that otherwise would be unknown. Of course, the bigger picture would include many other contributions that, collectively, we are all capable of.

    Thank you as well for what you said about a man’s role in responsibility. This cannot be said enough. As old fashioned as I might sound, I believe men should know, from an early age, this role and all the power and goodness it brings to them.

  • Richard Willmer

    I do my best, Ann! :-)

    But it’s not really ‘rocket science’, is it?

  • Tom Van Dyke

    I was simply making the point that the differences in laws in our two countries seem not to have resulted in (significantly) different incidences of abortion.

    I think a woman who wants to terminate a pregnancy, is going to do it, regardless of any law.

    We’ve gone from 100,000 a year to over a million a year since Roe v. Wade. I guess I just can’t get anyone to actually rad the statistics. Legalizing abortion is built on lies.

    Bernard Nathanson. M.D.:

    “We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one,” recalls the movement’s co-founder. “Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60 percent of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000.”

    ”Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.

    “Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500 percent since legalization.”

    Migod, people. If you think there’s nothing wrong with abortion, fine. That’s one thing. But this willful blindness to the facts is a moral disgrace.

    [And BTW, the abortion rate in the UK is far higher than the rest of Western Europe. Britain has its own moral blindnesses, although to their credit at least they ban late-term abortion, which we don't even have the guts to.]

  • Richard Willmer

    Well, the rate in the UK is at the high end of the range in W Europe, which is 6 – 18 per 1000. The average is about 12 per 1000. Rates in NW Europe tend to be higher than those in SW Europe.

    I still think we are talking about different things, Tom. Just to clarify for you once again: the point I was making was the differences in UK and US laws seem not to result in markedly differently rates of abortion. That was all. (Obviously you have chosen to broaden the discussion on statistics, but I am disinclined to go that route; instead I prefer the perspective that Ann and I seem to be embracing.)

  • Ann

    But it’s not really ‘rocket science’, is it?

    No, but it does take substance and courage to say it :-D

  • Tom Van Dyke

    Then by all means continue with meaningless pap, richard. you seem to want to paper over the horror of all this.

    I still think we are talking about different things, Tom. Just to clarify for you once again: the point I was making was the differences in UK and US laws seem not to result in markedly differently rates of abortion. That was all.

    To which I responded that legalizing abortion in America increased the number of abortions by 15x!

    i understand you fine. you aren’t hearing me, or you’re choosing not to. I can only hope other people are still reading and going, geez I had no idea that Roe and the ‘pro-choice” position is built on so many lies.

    And hopefully, some pro-choicers will learn how many arguments for legalized abortion they thought were true are simply lies. Reducing the 250 deaths a year [NOT 10,000!, that was a lie] from illegal abortions is much more doable than reducing 1.5 million abortions to “only” one million.

    We are moral idiots.

  • Richard Willmer

    But, Tom, I never said anything about claims made in the 1960s and 1970s. I was comparing current data for our two countries.

    You weren’t responding to any point I’d made; you were simply ‘making your own pitch’. That’s okay, but see it for what it was.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    No, ’tis you who refuse to compare apples to apples, abortion before and after Roe v. Wade. That the UK and the US are facing similar moral crises and therefore have similar abortion rates is not a point of disagreement. Further, since late-term abortions represent a small %age of total abortions, the abortion rates whether or not late-term abortions are permitted should and don’t show a significant statistical difference. As you say, it’s not rocket science.

    I see it fine, Richard. There is a grave moral crisis here but people would rather ignore the ugly statistics and paper them over with easy platitudes.

    That’s the entire lesson of this whole discussion and we prove it every time we bury it under more meaningless platitudes.

  • Richard Willmer

    But, Tom, I wasn’t talking about statistics from before and after Roe v. Wade; I was mentioning current (2011/2012) statistics for our two countries.

    I’m going to withdraw from this dialogue now; I really don’t see it going anywhere. I can’t quite understand why you are getting so heated.

  • Ann

    Tom,

    It might be said that I have a limited view, however, I don’t think anything is right about abortion. Laws might deter doctors from performing them, however, if a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy, she will do it with or without a doctor. Nothing has changed there since the beginning of time. I think where society has failed is covering up or lying about the horror of the procedure and the inevitable physical and consequences to the woman, let alone the pain a fetus suffers. We have also failed in our collective effort to offer resources and education to these vulnerable women who too often make a decision on the only choice they think is available. And as Richard said, and I completely agree with my own words, men must realize their power and responsibility in preventing an unwanted pregnancy in the first place.

  • Tom Van Dyke

    however, if a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy, she will do it with or without a doctor.

    How can you keep saying that when abortions grew by 15X since it was made legal?

    But, Tom, I wasn’t talking about statistics from before and after Roe v. Wade; I was mentioning current (2011/2012) statistics for our two countries.

    I’m going to withdraw from this dialogue now; I really don’t see it going anywhere. I can’t quite understand why you are getting so heated.

    Because comparing the current statistics from the 2 countries is completely irrelevant to the discussion and buries the larger truth.

  • Ann

    however, if a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy, she will do it with or without a doctor.

    How can you keep saying that when abortions grew by 15X since it was made legal?

    Tom,

    I guess what I am trying to say is that if abortions were illegal, women would find ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies – they always have and they always will. Offering education that creates knowledge about the truth of abortion or form or procedure to terminate a pregnancy (life), I think, would change hearts. Also, offering knowledge about alternatives through a collective effort, would bring a whole new meaning to the word “choice”. Do you agree?

  • Tom Van Dyke

    “Choice” is a hollow word, Ann. To stipulate it would be to stipulate that any crime against God, nature, or fellow man is a “choice.” Well, of course it is. That’s meaningless.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that if abortions were illegal, women would find ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies

    Some will, true. But 15X more won’t! The difference between 100,000 abortions and 1.5 million! So that’s why the “reducing the number of abortions” argument doesn’t mean anything to you, and means not a lot to me either. It’s meaningless to both sides!

    Now I want to say–as I have all along–that banning abortion from the moment of conception is not on the table. Ain’t gonna happen. 61% of us according to the polls think it should be legal, and push come to shove, I bet even more.

    [And I'll say here that the history of abortion since the dawn of history drew a line between conception and "quickening," where the fetus starts to move on its own. So we've never really been discussing the 1st trimester in all these 90 comments.]

    i do want to add a fresh point here that I’ve seldom seen anywhere else–social attitudes to unwed motherhood since 1973 and Roe v. Wade have changed almost 180 degrees–pro-life types realized that you can’t condemn unwed motherhood AND abortion at the same time, you have to make a choice as to which is the lesser moral evil, and the choice is blatantly obvious, the difference between life and death.

    So a lot of what drove illegal abortion 50 years ago doesn’t even exist anymore. We need to take a fresh look at all this, Ann. We know a lot more than we did then–how much pro-abortion forces like NARAL were fucking lying about everything, what a baby experiences in the womb, what a mother suffers psychologically by choosing to abort her baby.

    “Take what you want, God says, and pay for it.”—old Spanish proverb

    ______

    I realize I’m throwing a lot at you and Richard. Thanks for listening and for taking all this to heart. I’ve been giving all this a fresh look over the past year and I’m amazed how much truth has been hiding in plain sight that I never bothered to look for. Make no mistake, I’m a moral coward too.

  • Richard Willmer

    The ‘principle’ is straightforward, Tom: abortion is not a good thing (and I suspect that many ‘pro-choice’ folk would never try to suggest that it is – their contention is that the pregnant woman has the right to choose); the reality is complex: simply passing this or that law – without looking at more fundamental personal and social issues – is not going to be a fruitful response to a situation that causes most of us profound unease, to say the least (and this is really the contention of people like Ann and me).

    We’re all moral cowards up to point: but I reckon that the ‘cowardice’ has less to with ‘not speaking out forcefully’ and more to to do with the failure to put our own comfort and security on the line in order to promote the common good. I could certainly plead guilty to that charge.

  • Ann

    i do want to add a fresh point here that I’ve seldom seen anywhere else–social attitudes to unwed motherhood since 1973 and Roe v. Wade have changed almost 180 degrees–pro-life types realized that you can’t condemn unwed motherhood AND abortion at the same time, you have to make a choice as to which is the lesser moral evil, and the choice is blatantly obvious, the difference between life and death.

    Tom,

    I have brought this up before and think it is worth reading again. It reminds me of the unmarried woman who brings her child to church and is shunned because she is unwed instead of being embraced for bringing her child (who is alive) to church.

    It is important to remember that the moral issue you are referring to about unwed mothers probably applies more to the endorsement of pre-planned or repeated pregnancies without the benefit of marriage rather than embracing and supporting an unwed mother who had an unplanned or initial unwanted pregnancy and decided to carry the pre-born child to term so it could live.

  • Ann

    So a lot of what drove illegal abortion 50 years ago doesn’t even exist anymore. We need to take a fresh look at all this, Ann. We know a lot more than we did then–how much pro-abortion forces like NARAL were fucking lying about everything, what a baby experiences in the womb, what a mother suffers psychologically by choosing to abort her baby.

    Tom,

    The lies that have been told about abortion are staggering. Just now people are starting to talk about the devastating physical and psychological effects. Not only are we hearing from the individual who had the procedure but also from the man who impregnated her, the grandparents, the doctor who performed the procedure(s), the other medical staff, and others who in some way were a part, up to the person who handles the accounting. Nothing is forgotten forever – it lingers until there is a conscious awakening and then it comes out and often lasts a life time.

    The answer to all this – I do not know. I do know there are choices we all can make though. Prevention of unwanted pregnancies to begin with,with men realizing they have as much responsibility as woman in this area. Education with an abundance of resources to teach and instill the consequences of abortion and the alternatives that are available. I think this should be part of school education and after through other venues. Also, collectively, we must do what we can to remove the desperation factor that leads to making a desperate choice like abortion to begin with. Right now decisions are made on what someone doesn’t want to endure for 9 months, without realizing the decision to have an abortion will last them a life time.


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