Tag Archives: Pro-Abortion

Awakening the “moral sense” of the public in the abortion debate


Young pro-life women protest Planned Parenthood
Young pro-life women protest Planned Parenthood

Scott Klusendorf linked to this article from the Public Discourse. The article talks about the need to augment logical arguments in other ways in order to awaken the moral sense of the public so that they will support the pro-life cause and vote to repeal pro-abortion laws.


In a manner similar to the case of slavery as outlined by Douglass, there are two simple points that, once admitted, join to condemn clearly the practice of abortion: (1) the embryo is a human being from the moment of conception, and (2) all human beings have a natural right to life.

The second point, as in the case of the natural right to liberty, doesn’t require serious argument on the level of ordinary judgment, even though many pro-choice philosophers have tried to argue that only persons have a right to life, and the unborn, in their view, aren’t persons. To make such arguments, however, requires choosing an arbitrary cut-off point for personhood, as pro-life philosophers such as George, Tollefsen, and Lee have shown.

The first point is more often chosen as promising ground for challenges, but it too is plainly obvious to the unbiased mind.

Once conception occurs, the embryo is something other than the woman who carries it. The fact that the embryo requires the mother’s body to live is no argument against this—dependence does not exclude otherness, otherwise none of us would be distinguishable from everyone and everything else in the world upon which we depend in innumerable ways. The embryo is obviously something other than a part of the mother, but what is it?

This is where it gets easy, despite the messy, abstract philosophical arguments. The more appropriate version of the question is the following: What else could it be besides a human being? Is there a single example in natural history of sexual intercourse between two individuals of the same species resulting in something other than another individual of that species? Is it plausible to guess that sexual intercourse between two human beings might result in a fish, at least initially? Or maybe a frog? Such speculation is entirely fanciful and runs directly contrary to our experience of the world since the beginning of recorded history.

It should be obvious to anyone that the two points hold, and that the embryo is a human being possessing a natural right to life from the moment of its conception. The problem is that the younger and less developed the embryo is, the less it excites what some have called our “moral sense,” our sympathy with it as another human being like us. And as Hume correctly notes, human beings tend to be moved more by their passions and feelings, including the so-called “moral sense,” than by their intellectual understanding of the world when determining their actions. Even if our reason and common sense tell us clearly—as they undoubtedly do—that the embryo is a human being with the right to life, our moral sense or sympathy lets us off the hook.

So where does this leave pro-life advocates? How can we bridge the Humean—and human—gap between intellectual understanding and actual practice in our nation? The answer lies in the parallel between the issue of abortion and those of slavery and subsequent civil rights. The pro-life movement needs to model more closely in its organization and practices the antebellum abolition movement and the civil rights movement in order to achieve similar success in ending the evil of abortion. It needs to take up the mantle of these causes in a manner beyond rhetorical parallel or intellectual analogy and be prepared to undergo similar hardships before achieving its goals.

Both of these historical movements ultimately succeeded not by winning arguments, but by awakening the moral sense or conscience of a majority of the nation. Legislation relating to the provision of an ultrasound prior to an abortion, currently in place in some form in more than twenty states, is very well suited to this purpose. The dissemination of graphic images relating to abortion procedures, though controversial in pro-life circles, is also highly appropriate to this purpose.

The civil rights movement was driven forward significantly by television and photographic coverage of the inhuman treatment of protestors, as well as the publication of vivid written reports of racially motivated cruelties. Moral senses or sympathies are sparked most effectively by distasteful, unsettling, and shocking information; and when intellectual argument has had its day in trying to awaken consciences and has shown itself insufficient, recourse must be had to the level of moral sense and feeling.

There can be no doubt that pro-lifers are the abolitionists of this generation, urging the powerful not to take advantage of the powerless.

This reminds me about the story of Emmett Till. Have you heard of that? Here it is explained in a letter from Gregg Cunningham of CBR, a pro-life group.


Many pro-lifers have heard about Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old black boy from Chicago who, while visiting relatives in Mississippi, was tortured to death, allegedly for whistling at a white woman (or bidding her farewell with a flippant “bye baby” – accounts vary). But this tragic civil rights story offers more lessons for effective pro-life activism than is generally understood.

BlackPressUSA.com, August 27, 2001, reported in a story entitled “1955 – Emmett Till Killed in Mississippi” that Emmett’s mother “had insisted that the casket be opened when it arrived in Chicago, although it had been sealed when it left Mississippi.” There was a reason that authorities in Mississippi did not want the world to see the body of Emmett Till.

The Washington Post, August 28, 2005, published a story on the legacy of Emmett Till entitled “Dead End,” with a subhead which read “On the Trail of a Civil Rights Icon, Starting Where He Did”:

…Ahmed A. Rayner Sr., … prepared Emmett’s body for services after it was pulled from the Tallahatchie River – with a cotton-gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. Tortured and bruised, with most of his teeth missing, his remains were returned in a sealed box on a train to Chicago.

Ahmed Rayner is dead and the family-owned funeral home is run by his granddaughter [Pamela Rayner].

[…]‘I remember him saying that he had to do something because the way that he [Emmett] was brought up here, he looked so bad that it would probably scare most of the people,’ says Rayner. There was the eye that her grandfather had to put back into Till’s head and the fixing of his swollen tongue that hung out of his mouth – the stitching and patchwork to make the boy presentable in a glass-covered casket.

There was also a reason that Emmett’s mother demanded the unsealing of the crate in which the condition of her son’s body had been hidden:

‘After the body arrived I knew I had to look and see and make sure it was Emmett. That was when I decided that I wanted the whole world to see what I had seen. There was no way I could describe what was in that box. No way. And I just wanted the world to see.’ (BlackPressUSA.com, February 21, 2001, ‘A Disturbing Picture’)

Sounds a lot like abortion: no way it can be described; vital that we show the world how horrifying it looks.

I think the right approach is to give the arguments and the evidence first, and then to show the ultrasound images or the graphical images second (warning people to look away if they are squeamish, first). This is the way that moral people have always argued against injustices. If it worked to change minds then, then it will probably work to change minds now, too. For my own part, I’ve chose not to engage in sexual behavior at all until I am in a position where I can welcome a child into the world. I want to give my future children a safe environment with a committed mother and father. And if I have to give up short-term recreation in order to avoid putting myself in a situation where abortion might be a temptation, then that’s what I’m going to do. It’s called acting responsibly.

What did early church fathers think about abortion and infanticide?

Unborn baby scheming about early church traditions
Unborn baby scheming about early church traditions

This is from Birds of the Air.


Recently I came across a reading of the Didache. “The what?” you may ask. The Didache is a book written somewhere in the first or second century. For a long time it was up for consideration as Scripture. It was believed to be the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Eventually it was agreed that the book was an excellent book, but not inspired Scripture. So I was pleased to be able to download this admirable book containing good teachings from the early Church fathers.

The book seemed to be largely a lot of quotes from Scripture. You’ll learn the basic rules of Christianity — “First, you shall love God who made you; second, love your neighbor as yourself.” You’ll learn that “grave sins” are forbidden, like adultery, murder, fornication, and so on. (They specifically include pederasty in the list.) There are instructions regarding teachers, prophets, Christian assembly, and so on. Lots of the normal, good stuff. But, since this was written sometime prior to 200 AD, I was somewhat surprised at this instruction: “You shall not murder a child by abortion” (Didache, Ch 2).

I got curious about what babies look like when they are just a few weeks old, so I went looking for pictures of them.

This post from Life News has ten excellent pictures of life inside the womb.

Here’s my favorite from 10 weeks:

Unborn Baby - 10 weeks old
Unborn Baby – 10 weeks old

This is a first trimester baby!

I decided to go hunting to see what is developed at this time, and found this list:

  • From this week until birth, the developing organism is called a fetus.
  • The fetus is now the size of a small strawberry.
  • The feet are 2mm long (one tenth of an inch).
  • The neck is beginning to take shape.
  • The body muscles are almost developed. Baby has begun movement.
  • While still too small for you to feel, your little one is wriggling and shifting.
  • The jaws are in place. The mouth cavity and the nose are joined.
  • The ears and nose can now be seen clearly.
  • Fingerprints are already evident in the skin.
  • Nipples and hair follicles begin to form.

The unborn baby is now called a fetus. Though the fetus is constantly moving, you will not be able to actually feel fetal movement for several more weeks. All of the organs, muscles, and nerves are in place and beginning to function. As the hands and feet develop fingers and toes, they have lost their paddle like look. The touch pads on the fingers form and already have fingerprints.

During this week of pregnancy the crown to rump length of the fetus is 0.9 inch to 1.2 inches (22 to 30mm), weight 0.07 ounce (2gm). They are now on the way to forming their testicles or ovaries, getting ready for the next generation. Until the ninth week of fetus development, the fetal reproductive apparatus is the same one for the both sexes. The head is still large and curves into chest.

Each week your uterus grows larger with the baby growing inside it. You may begin to see your waistline growing thicker by this time. A pelvic exam will detect that your uterus has grown from it’s normal, size of your fist, to a little bigger than a grapefruit.


Donald Trump should be running as a Democrat, he has no conservative views

Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants
Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants

I’ve been trying not to pay attention to the fact that a leftist is leading the Republican primary. You see, I’m actually familiar with Trump’s previous positions on things like taxes (he’s for raising them), partial-birth abortion, i.e. – infanticide (he supports it), amnesty (he’s for that), government-run health care (he’s for it)… and so on. In fact, Donald Trump’s record is not conservative on a single issue. He has never advocated for conservative policies. Not one. He’s a leftist, through and through.

What this 90-second video, showing Trump in his own words:

Leftist clowns like him do not change their positions short of some serious study, and there is no evidence that he has studied a thing.

Here’s Jonah Goldberg writing in National Review to express how frustrating it is to people like me who prefer conservative candidates who have actual records of achievement on conservative issues.

Jonah says:

Yes, I know Trump has declared himself pro-life. Good for him — and congratulations to the pro-life movement for making that the price of admission. But I’m at a total loss to understand why serious pro-lifers take him at his word. He’s been all over the place on Planned Parenthood, and when asked who he’d like to put on the Supreme Court, he named his pro-choice-extremist sister.

Is that real? Yes, you can read about it here. Trump has no pro-life record. You cannot believe anything that a person running for office says during his campaign speeches. We already had that happen when Obama promised so many things in speeches that he never delivered on. And yet here we are in a GOP primary and a bunch of lazy Republican voters are just believing everything that a candidate says, and not looking at his actual record.

More from Jonah:

In his embarrassing interview with Hugh Hewitt last night, Trump revealed he knows less than most halfway-decent D.C. interns about foreign policy. Twitter lit up with responses about how it doesn’t matter and how it was a gotcha interview. They think that Trump’s claim that he’ll just go find a Douglas MacArthur to fix the problem is brilliant. Well, I’m all in favor of finding a Douglas MacArthur, but if you don’t know anything about foreign policy, the interview process will be a complete disaster. Yes, Reagan delegated. But he knew enough to know to whom to delegate.

Yeah, guess what? A clown like Donald Trump knows nothing about foreign policy. He could not tell the difference between Iran’s Quds force and the Kurds in northern Iraq. I am only a software engineer, and even I have blogged about the Quds force, and their leader many, many times. I understand that lay people don’t need to know about the Quds force, or the threat they pose to us, but presidential candidates do need to know. Trump’s ignorance on national security and foreign policy ought to terrify us. We can’t afford to elect someone completely unqualified.

More from Jonah:

If you want a really good sense of the damage Donald Trump is doing to conservatism, consider the fact that for the last five years no issue has united the Right more than opposition to Obamacare. Opposition to socialized medicine in general has been a core tenet of American conservatism from Day One. Yet, when Republicans were told that Donald Trump favors single-payer health care, support for single-payer health care jumped from 16 percent to 44 percent.

I blogged before about the horrors of government-run health care in Canada and the UK. And yet the TV-watching clowns who support Trump cannot be bothered to look at the research. If Trump praises single-payer health care (and he has), does that one sentence from a clown override the good, solid data from studies? Are Republican voters too busy watching TV to do any research? Or do we just accept whatever a “confident” clown tells us without looking at the evidence for ourselves? Can facts be established by a clown’s confident words?

You know, I really thought that we were electing the leader of the free world here. Someone who has a record of moving laws and policies that solve the actual problems we are facing: Iran nuclear weapons, loss of religious liberty, abortion, gay marriage, demographic crisis, $18.5 trillion dollar debt, record low labor force participation, aging ballistic missile submarine fleet, only 10 carrier strike groups, aggression from Iran, Russia and China, rising health care costs, rising tuition costs, poorly-educated young Americans who can’t find work, aging Minuteman ICBMs, declining entrepreneurship because of over-regulation, Obamacare, Social Security funding, Medicare funding, welfare reform, Keystone pipeline, and on and on and on. I didn’t realize that we were so pleased with the last incompetent comedian we elected that we want to elect another one. Is this a serious country? Or do we think that presidential elections are for our amusement?

I really recommend that you take a look at this article from the leftist Washington Post, which looks over some of Trump’s past words, past actions, and past affiliations. In it, you will find that Trump does not have any record of achievements as a Republican. He just hasn’t moved the conservative ball forward in any way, shape or form.



Then: On “Meet The Press” in 1999, Trump said he was “very pro-choice.” “I hate the concept of abortion,” he said. “I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. … but I just believe in choice.”
Now: In an interview with Bloomberg Politics in January, Trump said, “I’m pro-life and I have been pro-life.” He said he believed there should be exceptions in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.


Then: In an interview with Larry King in 1999, Trump said he was “very liberal when it comes to health care” and that he believes in “universal healthcare.”
Now: During his announcement, he called Obamacare “a disaster called the big lie” and said the deductibles were so high they were “virtually useless.”

Hillary Clinton

Then: Either Trump or his son donated to Clinton in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007, he invited her to his 2005 wedding in Florida, where she sat front row, and he’s donated at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. He also said in an appearance on the Howard Stern show in the mid-2000s that she was a fantastic senator.
Now: On NBC on Wednesday, he called Clinton “the worst secretary of state in the history of our nation” and said she would be “a terrible president.”

The Stream has an article talking about where candidates stand on de-funding of Planned Parenthood. All the Republican candidates who have addressed the issue are either clearly for de-funding Planned Parenthood (Cruz, Carson, Fiorina, etc.), or even better – they’ve actually done it as governor (e.g. – Jindal, Walker, Perry, Bush, etc.). Trump is the only one who has waffled on the issue, which is not surprising given his past statements on abortion. Republican voters – there is a huge difference between “I de-funded Planned Parenthood as governor” and clowning in front of cameras. When assessing candidates, we have to look at the past record of the candidates, not their words during a campaign.

Obama administration will investigate whistleblowers who filmed Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood senior executive: organ harvesting so she can get a Lamborghini
Planned Parenthood senior executive: organ harvesting so she can get a Lamborghini

I know, I know. You thought that the Obama administration would investigate Planned Parenthood for being caught selling the body parts of unborn babies. But you were wrong.

The Federalist has the story. (H/T Ari)

Full text:

The U.S. Department of Justice announced plans to investigate the group that produced undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood employees admitting that they harvest and sell organs ripped from the bodies of aborted babies. Politico reported the news of the coming DOJ investigation earlier today:

JUSTICE TO PROBE CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS — While congressional committees investigate Planned Parenthood’s practices, the Justice Department agreed to look into whether the group that released the sting videos obtained the footage legally. In response to a request by House Democrats, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday afternoon that Justice would “review all of the information and determine what the appropriate steps moving forward would be.” Planned Parenthood has staunchly defended its practices and claims that the Center for Medical Progress illegally obtained its footage, then excessively edited it to misrepresent what the organization does.

The DOJ investigation of the Center for Medical Progress, which, unlike Planned Parenthood, is not in the business of killing healthy, viable unborn babies in order to sell their organs for cash, was announced after several Democratic lawmakers called for the organization to be targeted:

Four Democrats in Congress — Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Zoe Lofgren, Jerry Nadler, and Yvette Clarke — have written to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and California Attorney General Kamala Harris, asking them to open investigations into the Center for Medical Progress. The Democrats say the videos were filmed as part of an “elaborate scheme” — using “fake identification” and without the approval of the Planned Parenthood doctor who appears in them.
It’s interesting that Lynch decided so early to make a statement about the group. There are certainly more videos to come, and if Planned Parenthood’s panicked press releases are any indication, the footage may be far more damaging than anything that’s been revealed thus far. However, given the abject politicization of multiple agencies under Obama’s command — including the Internal Revenue Service, which targeted conservative non-profits, and the DOJ, which has been hesitant to investigate Obama allies — it seems unlikely that Lynch and those who report to her will ever crack down on Abortion, Inc.

This is not surprising, given the lead from the White House:

And this from Life Site News.


The Obama administration has taken a firm position on new undercover videos of national Planned Parenthood leaders discussing the harvesting and sale of aborted babies’ body parts: It’s all a lie.

Rather than dispute whether the abortionists commit partial birth abortions to profit from the sale of human organs, the administration instead echoed concerns raised by a public relations firm hired by Planned Parenthood that the eight-minute-long versions of the videos were misleading.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a press conference today that, while he had not spoken with President Obama about “the actual videos” — and he believed President Obama had not seen either video in question — Earnest was “confident” that Obama had read reports “raising considerable concerns about the way those videos were selectively edited to distort, not just the words of the individuals speaking, but also the position of Planned Parenthood.”

Earnest’s words today were longer than his previous statement on the growing scandal. When asked if the Obama administration would consider withholding federal funds from Planned Parenthood over the scandal, Earnest replied curtly, “no.”

The investigative organization the Center for Medical Progress has released both two shorter videos that are eight minutes long, as well as two videos, each roughly two hours in duration, which it says is the full and unedited conversation.

Planned Parenthood has not disputed the legitimacy of the longer, uncut footage.

Still think it’s a good idea to sit home during the next election, evangelicals? Because, you know… stuff is actually happening in the real world outside your church. Stuff you ought to care about.

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Planned Parenthood senior executive who sells baby parts: “I want a Lamborghini”

Planned Parenthood senior executive: organ harvesting so she can get a Lamborghini
Planned Parenthood senior executive: organ harvesting for a Lamborghini

A Lamborghini is a very expensive car, so you have to do a lot of late-term abortions and organ harvesting if you want to save up enough money to afford one.

Here’s the second video from Center for Medical Progress:

Story here from Rachel Alexander, writing for The Stream.

She writes:

The Center for Medical Progress has released a second undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood abortionist discussing the cost of selling aborted fetuses. Perhaps even more so than in the first video, it appears that Planned Parenthood is committing federal felonies, selling body parts for profit.

[…]The exposé begins with a statement by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards that the organization is not selling the fetuses for profit. “I want to be really clear,” she declares, “the allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true.”

Then it moves to the undercover footage. The undercover buyers sit down for a business lunch with Dr. Mary Gatter, president of the Planned Parenthood Medical Directors’ Council, and another unidentified woman. When the undercover buyers ask what the cost is for intact tissue, Gatter responds, “Well why don’t you start by telling me what you’re used to paying?” They haggle over who is going to throw out a number, and the buyers instruct her not to lowball it. Gatter finally says $75 per specimen. She admits she’s sold them for $50 in the past at a different location, and — in a clear attempt to cover her tracks about negotiating the profits — explains that Planned Parenthood is not in it for the profit and doesn’t want to be accused of selling tissue. She asserts there are costs associated with “the use of space and such.” The buyers then offer $100, and Gatter doesn’t object but seems pleasantly surprised.

Later on, she says “I want a Lamborghini” – a very expensive car.

Rachel suggests two ways that Planned Parenthood appears to be violating the law.

Here is possibility number two:

Planned Parenthood also appears to violate the law after the undercover buyers tell Gatter they are interested in second trimester 10-to-12 week old specimens. Gatter explains that to obtain them intact at that stage, they have to change the suction method used, which means a change in their protocols. She says she can ask their surgeon to change the suction method to “a less crunchy” technique, but admits that it contradicts the patient consent form, which says they are not changing any of their procedures with them. The consent form states, “I understand there will be no changes to how or when my abortion is done in order to get my blood or the tissue.”

When the buyers in the video ask Gatter if she’s comfortable with having the doctor change the procedure despite the consent form’s stipulation not to do so, she says she’s fine with that since, as she asserts, it doesn’t increase the pain and the patients surely wouldn’t care if they knew. Congress passed the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993 prohibiting abortion doctors from altering procedures or timing in cases where a fetus is to be used later for medical research.

Getting Gatter to talk about this at length is useful, because it shows her thought process and rationale. It will be interesting to see what the Republicans in Congress do with this, and whether they are going to be able to overcome Democrat support for organ harvesting for profit. After all, Planned Parenthood donates tons of money to the Democrat Party, and why would the Democrats want to do anything to cut off their supply of campaign funding?

In fact, the Obama administration is taking a position on Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting – they support it:

On Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the group’s explanation was good enough for the White House.

“I did read the news reports indicating that the policies that are followed by Planned Parenthood are entirely consistent with the strictest ethical guidelines that have been established in the healthcare industry,” Earnest said.

He then tried to refer questions about Planned Parenthood’s compliance with those standards to the group itself, and deflected when a reporter pressed him on whether the president believes it is ethical to sell aborted fetus remains.

Here’s Barack Obama speaking at Planned Parenthood:

Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood
Barack Obama and Planned Parenthood

Here’s Hillary Clinton speaking at Planned Parenthood:

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood
Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

That’s what Democrats think about rich white people selling the parts of murdered black babies in order to buy Lamborghinis for themselves. They have no problem with it.

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