From Roe to Gosnell

You may have heard of the very disturbing story of Kermit Gosnell's abortion mill. He is currently on trial for 8 counts of murder due to what happened there.

Here's an interesting commentary about what implications this case...
From Roe to Gosnell: The case for regime change on abortion.

Gosnell, as we noted in January 2011, is charged with eight counts of murder. One of his alleged victims, Karnamaya Mongar, was a 41-year-old woman. The other seven did not live long enough to acquire names. They were infants who were born when Gosnell induced labor in their mothers. According to the Philadelphia grand jury report, he or his employees then killed them by using scissors to sever the neck and spinal cord:

He called that "snipping."
Over the years, there were hundreds of "snippings." 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.
Most of these acts cannot be prosecuted, because Gosnell destroyed the files.
The trial opened March 18, as the New York Times reported on page A17 of the next day's paper--its last word to date on the topic.

What accounts for the media's lack of interest in a trial that not only is sensational but implicates the most divisive social and political issue in America? PJMedia.com's Roger L. Simon has the answer: "The trial of Dr. Gosnell is a potential time bomb exploding in the conventional liberal narrative on abortion itself." He demonstrates via self-reflection:

I can give you two guinea pigs to prove this point--my wife Sheryl and me. We were in the kitchen last night, preparing dinner, when we saw a short report of this story on the countertop TV.
Both lifelong "pro-choice" people, after watching only seconds, we embarked in an immediate discussion of whether it was time to reconsider that view. (Didn't human life really begin at the moment of conception? What other time?) Neither of us was comfortable as a "pro-choice" advocate in the face of these horrifying revelations. How could we be?
Yes, Dr. Gosnell was exceptional (thank God for that!), but a dead fetus was a dead fetus, even if incinerated in some supposedly humane fashion rather than left crying out in blind agony on the operating room floor, as was reportedly the case with one of Gosnell's victims. I say blind because this second-trimester fetus did not yet have fully formed eyes. (Think about that one.)
So I don't think I'm "pro-choice" anymore, but I'm not really "pro-life" either. I would feel like a hypocrite. I don't want to pretend to ideals I have serious doubts I would be able to uphold in a real-world situation. If a woman in my family, or a close friend, were (Heaven forbid) impregnated through rape, I would undoubtedly support her right to abortion. I might even advocate it. I also have no idea how I would react if confronted by having to make a choice between the life of a fetus and his/her mother. Just the thought makes my head spin.
Anyone who he thinks he knows how he would respond in these situations--and hasn't--is doing nothing but posturing.

Welcome to the mushy middle, Roger. This columnist has been here for quite some time, as you can see from this 1999 piece. But we too, when we were very young, were a "pro-choice" libertarian. We came to question, and ultimately rejected, that position, although fully accepting the "pro-life" side of the argument remains a bridge too far for us.

Our path was more cerebral and less visceral. It started with our education in constitutional law. Although we thought abortion on demand was a good policy, we knew how to read, and the Constitution had nothing to say about the matter. We came to view Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that declared otherwise, as a gross abuse of power by the Supreme Court, notwithstanding that it was in the service of a cause we agreed with.

A funny thing happens when you dissent from Roe v. Wade: You come to see that there's not much else by way of intellectual content to the case for abortion on demand. Roe predates our own political consciousness, so we have to assume there were once stronger arguments. But these days the appeal to the authority of Roe is pretty much all there is apart from sloganeering, name-calling, appeals to self-interest and an emphasis on difficult and unusual cases such as pregnancy due to rape.
read the rest here

Could prenatal DNA testing open Pandora's box?

Could prenatal DNA testing open Pandora's box?
By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer – 1 minute ago
NEW YORK (AP) — Imagine being pregnant and taking a simple blood test that lays bare the DNA of your fetus. And suppose that DNA could reveal not only medical conditions like Down syndrome, but also things like eye color and height. And the risk for developing depression or Alzheimer's disease. And the chances of being gay.
So far that's still science fiction. But scientists have been taking some baby steps in that direction. And some ethics experts say it's time to start talking now about what that could mean for parents and society.
"If no limitations are put on, you can have a couple get a prenatal genetic test in the future saying their fetus has ... a 60 percent chance of having breast cancer at the age of 60 and a 30 percent chance of being gay," says Dr. Brian Skotko, a board member of the National Down Syndrome Society.
Since such information would come early enough for an abortion, Skotko says, "The ultimate question for society is, What forms of human variation are valuable?"
Then there's the possibility of direct-to-consumer companies stepping in to fill demand, King said. Couples who go that route may miss out on getting help in understanding the nuances of what the test results really mean, said Dr. Mary Norton, a Stanford professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
Once the prenatal information is available, another question arises, King said: Should a woman be allowed to get an abortion for any reason, even a trivial one like test results about height or eye color? Some state governments have passed laws outlawing abortions on the basis of sex, she said. But it's not clear whether those are constitutional, and a woman might simply not reveal her true reasons for wanting the abortion, King said.
Skotko points out that people use their own personal perspective in deciding what they want for their children. Some couples who are deaf from a genetic condition already use current technology to avoid having children with normal hearing. "It's their lens by which they view the world, and they want a child who views the world through that same lens," he said.
Greely sees other concerns. Will the testing become so routine that women won't even realize they authorized it, and then be faced with information and an abortion decision they didn't necessarily want? How can they be helped to make an informed decision on whether to be tested? And if offered a choice of genes to be tested, or results to be told about, who will help them sort through the long list to decide what they want to know? Few doctors are informed enough, and there aren't enough genetic counselors go around, he said.
knitted uterus

Accurate scientific fetal development information

I'm often shocked by how little most people, even well educated intelligent people, know about fetal development. I have often heard people claim that the thing being killed in an abortion is 'just a few cells' or 'just a ball of cells'. In reality fetal development occurs very quickly in the early stages of pregnancy. I find this website fascinating: The Visible Enbryo. It gives detailed information about development particularly the early stages. It's produced by a scientific institute for training scientists and medical students, so people can't claim that it's pro-life propaganda. (Well they can but they won't have much of a leg to stand on, not that that will necessarily stop them.)
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Bernard Nathanson, NARAL founder who went on to renounce abortion, has died

Dr. Nathanson died last Monday

Dr. Nathanson, an obstetrician-gynecologist practicing in Manhattan, helped found the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (now NARAL Pro-Choice America) in 1969 and served as its medical adviser.

After abortion was legalized in New York in 1970, he became the director of the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health, which, in his talks as an abortion opponent, he often called “the largest abortion clinic in the Western world.”

In a widely reported 1974 article in The New England Journal of Medicine, “Deeper into Abortion,” Dr. Nathanson described his growing moral and medical qualms about abortion. “I am deeply troubled by my own increasing certainty that I had in fact presided over 60,000 deaths.”

His unease was intensified by the images made available by the new technologies of fetoscopy and ultrasound.

“For the first time, we could really see the human fetus, measure it, observe it, watch it, and indeed bond with it and love it,” he later wrote in “The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind” (Regnery Publishing, 1996). “I began to do that.”

Despite his misgivings, and his conviction that abortion on demand was wrong, he continued to perform abortions for reasons he deemed medically necessary.

“On a gut, emotional level, I still favored abortion,” he told New York magazine in 1987. “It represented all the things we had fought for and won. It seemed eminently more civilized than the carnage that had gone on before.”

But, he added, “it was making less and less sense to me intellectually.”

The Realchoice blog has more on some of the shady tactics of the early days of NARAL
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Disturbing story from Pennsylvania abortion clinic

DA: Pa. abortion doc killed 7 babies with scissors

PHILADELPHIA – A doctor whose abortion clinic was described as a filthy, foul-smelling "house of horrors" that was overlooked by regulators for years was charged Wednesday with murder, accused of delivering seven babies alive and then using scissors to kill them.
In a nearly 300-page grand jury report filled with ghastly, stomach-turning detail, prosecutors said Pennsylvania regulators ignored complaints of barbaric conditions at Dr. Kermit Gosnell's clinic, which catered to poor, immigrant and minority women in the city's impoverished West Philadelphia section.
Prosecutors called the gruesome case a "complete regulatory collapse."
"Pennsylvania is not a Third World country," the district attorney's office declared in the report. "There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago."
Gosnell, 69, was arrested and charged with eight counts of murder altogether in the alleged killings of seven babies and the death of a woman from an overdose of painkillers. Nine of Gosnell's employees — including his wife, a cosmetologist — also were charged.
Prosecutors said Gosnell made millions of dollars over three decades performing thousands of dangerous abortions, many of them illegal late-term procedures. His clinic had no trained nurses or medical staff other than Gosnell, a family physician not certified in obstetrics or gynecology, prosecutors said.
At least two women died from the procedures, while scores more suffered perforated bowels, cervixes and uteruses, authorities said.
Under Pennsylvania law, abortions are illegal after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or just under six months, and most doctors won't perform them after 20 weeks because of the risks, prosecutors said.
In a typical late-term abortion, the fetus is dismembered in the uterus and then removed in pieces. That is more common than the procedure opponents call "partial-birth abortion," in which the fetus is only partially extracted before being destroyed. Prosecutors said Gosnell instead delivered many of the babies alive.
He "induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord," District Attorney Seth Williams said.
Gosnell referred to the practice as "snipping," prosecutors said.
Prosecutors estimated Gosnell ended hundreds of pregnancies by cutting the spinal cords, but they said they couldn't prosecute more cases because he destroyed files.
"These killings became so routine that no one could put an exact number on them," the grand jury report said. "They were considered 'standard procedure.'"
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The Pro-Life Movement as the Politics of the 1960s

Ran across this article from a couple of years ago and I thought it gave an interesting perspective on our cause.

Whatever else it is, the pro-life movement of the last thirty-plus years is one of the most massive and sustained expressions of citizen participation in the history of the United States. Since the 1960s, citizen participation and the remoralizing of politics have been central goals of the left. Is it not odd, then, that the pro-life movement is viewed as a right-wing cause? Reinhold Niebuhr wrote about "the irony of American history" and, were he around to update his book of that title, I expect he might recognize this as one of the major ironies within the irony.

These are the issues addressed in a remarkable new book out this month from Princeton University Press, The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right, by Jon Shields, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College. The book is by no means a pro-life tract. It is an excruciatingly careful study, studded with the expected graphs and statistical data—but not to the point of spoiling its readability—in the service of probing the curious permutations in contemporary political alignments.

The Port Huron Statement issued by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1962 called for a participatory democracy in which, through protest and agitation, the "power structure" of the society would be transformed by bringing moral rather than merely procedural questions to the center of political life. Almost fifty years later, Shields notes, "some 45 percent of respondents in the Citizens Participation Survey who reported participating in a national protest did so because of abortion. What is more, nearly three quarters of all abortion-issue protesters are pro-life, an unsurprising fact given that the pro-life movement is challenging rather than defending the current policy regime. Meanwhile, all other social issues, including pornography, gay rights, school prayer, and sex education, account for only 3 percent of all national protest activity."

Shields says there are three categories of pro-life politics: deliberative, disjointed, and radical. Representative of the "deliberative" are Justice for All (JFA) and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), which have trained thousands of young people to engage in nonconfrontational pro-life persuasion on college campuses. The "disjointed" politics includes innumerable and loosely organized activities such as sidewalk counseling, prayer vigils, marches, demonstrations, and counter-demonstrations. The "radical" includes what he calls "the broken remnants of the rescue movement," focusing on civil disobedience and the closing of abortion clinics. "In many respects [the radical] is the exact opposite of deliberative politics, except for the fact that it too is highly coordinated and organized."

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Australian couple aborts twin boys for being boys; desperate to have a girl

A couple that aborted twin boys conceived through IVF because they wanted a baby girl are trying to win the right to choose the sex of their next child.

The couple, who have three sons naturally but lost a baby girl shortly after birth, chose to terminate an IVF pregnancy when they learned the twins they were having were both boys, The Herald Sun reports.

They have gone to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) in an attempt to to win the right to choose the sex of their next child using IVF.


A lot of times you hear about the sex-selection abortions in India and China because of the cultural preference for boys in those countries, but this just goes to show that it can happen anywhere.
Psych - Sup?

Careers in pro-life causes?

I know this is an unorthodox question, but I am currently looking for a career change and it dawned on me that one of the things I am most passionate about is the pro-life cause. So I was wondering, does anyone know if there is such a thing as having a career working for a pro-life organization? I understand that most of them are volunteer-based, and others involve people in the medical profession (I am not medically trained). Is there any room in there for people who want to work more in the area of communications, for example?

Any ideas? I realize this is a long-shot, but figured it was worth asking! Thanks!
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    hopeful hopeful
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New organization focusing on promoting "Non-violent choices" for women

I just received the latest Consistent Life newsletter and found out about a fledgling organization called All Our Lives. As they explain on their website at http://www.allourlives.org their focus is on:
"a world free of domination, coercion, and violence in our sexual and reproductive lives. We are working for reproductive peace.

"Reproductive peace" is a philosophy that combines principles of the reproductive justice and consistent life ethic movements. Like our sisters in the reproductive justice movement, we condemn and fight the many intersecting injustices that work against women's ability to live, love, and reproduce -- or not -- freely. And like consistent life ethic proponents, we reject violent solutions such as abortion and seek to respond to injustice and challenges in ways that preserve human life before and after birth."

I think it's an interesting and important concept, and I hope this new organization does well. They just recently hit 400 followers on facebook so if you're interested in this approach to the pro-life view help them hit 500. :)