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Punishing a Student for Pregnancy Promotes Abortion!

Punishing a Student for Pregnancy Promotes Abortion!

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Abortion in the News | 0 comments

Abortion clinics in the vicinity of Maryland’s Heritage Academy should be sending the Christian school a thank you card!  Their punishing treatment of a pregnant student ensures that virtually no future students will want to choose life when the costs are so high!

As a New York Times article explained, Heritage Academy students have broken the school’s code of conduct in the past, with such infractions as vandalism, drinking, smoking, and drugs.  They’d been caught, and many had compounded their misdeeds with lies, but none were punished as severely as 18 year-old student Maddi Runkles when she confessed to being pregnant out of wedlock.

Maddi had a 4.0 average, played on the soccer team, and was president of her school’s student counsel, as well as vice-president of the local Keys Club.  But upon confessing her pregnancy to principal Dave Hobbs, she was stripped of her leadership roles and told she would not be permitted to participate in her graduation ceremony (still four months down the road) as a visibly pregnant student.  She was also informed that her fellow students would need to be told what she’d done.

Of course, Maddi could’ve avoided all this shame and punishment by choosing abortion.  It was a solution she admits she considered!  After all, without the pregnancy no one would know she’d broken the no-sex rule. But with the support she was fortunate to receive from her family, Maddi chose to “tell on herself”, and chose to not end the life of her unborn child.

One would think that a pro-life Christian school would embrace pregnant Maddi with compassion and grace.  At very least, that her punishment for breaking the no-sex rule would be no harsher than the punishment for other infractions of the code.  No student is known to have been barred from their graduation ceremony for drinking, vandalism, or drugs!

But apparently the school felt the need to make an example of Maddi.  “She’s making the right choice,” said Rick Kempton, chairman of the board of the Association of Christian Schools International.  “But you don’t want to create a celebration that makes other young ladies feel like, ‘Well, that seems like a pretty good option.’ ”

Right. Better humiliate her in front of the entire school and deny her a graduation with her peers, otherwise girls will be running to get pregnant!  The idea would be hilarious if it didn’t have such real-life impact on young women.

As Maddi tragically put it:

“Some pro-life people are against the killing of unborn babies, but they won’t speak out in support of the girl who chooses to keep her baby. Honestly, that makes me feel like maybe the abortion would have been better. Then they would have just forgiven me, rather than deal with this visible consequence.”

Unfortunately, Heritage isn’t the first school or church community to condemn pregnant women amidst their drive to discourage premarital sex.  Abortion statistics collected by the Guttmacher institute found that between 2008 and 2014, women who identified as Christians had 54% of all abortions.  Of that number, 46% of them had never been married, and 60% were in their late teens or 20’s, with another 25% in their 30’s.  A  study funded by Carenet found that 40% of women who’d had abortions were actively involved in a church at the time of their abortion.  But not only had their church not in any way dissuaded them from abortion, but 2/3 of respondents said they’d felt the church was actually hostile to unwed mothers!

How tragic that it’s Christians — the very people who are most likely to claim to be pro-life — who wind up being responsible for the majority of abortions!  Those who aren’t having abortions themselves are all too often among those making unwed pregnancy look like an option worse than abortion!  They think they’re condoning premarital sex but in reality, the loudest message they’re sending young women is “if you get pregnant you really have no choice but abortion, unless you want to be shamed and ruined!” This school paints a scarlet “A” on any sexually active girl who gets pregnant – an “A” that only that other “A” (abortion) can wash away.

Heritage need look no further than their own staff to see the impact of an attitude of shame toward unplanned pregnancy.  Their 40 year-old athletic director Jessica Klick told New York Times she had two abortions while in her early twenties.

She said she had felt pushed into terminating her pregnancies by her own strict religious upbringing. She was terrified of what her parents would think. When she called a clinic for an appointment, she gave a phony name.

“I went into an abortion clinic knowing I shouldn’t, and God was the last thing on my mind,” she said.

Thankfully for women like Maddi who choose to give birth to the life they brought into existence, not all Christians behave so poorly.  Students for Life, together with initiatives Pregnant On Campus and Embrace Grace are currently collecting funds to give Maddi a proper graduation ceremony as well as a baby shower.  Please consider a contribution if you are able.  Concerned individuals are also being invited to write to Heritage administrator Dave Dodds (dhobbs@heritage-academy.net) to voice their disappointment over the school’s treatment of Maddi.  You can also send a message of encouragement to Maddi here.

Not every young woman will have Maddi’s courage or her supportive family, but none should be treated like an outcast for being pregnant.  Given the high rate of premarital sex even among Christians, there are certainly going to be plenty more Maddis out there.  Even if one believes that the sex that caused the pregnancy was wrong, surely it’s not wrong to be pregnant and to carry and nurture a developing life!  If Christians who form the pro-life majority and claim to be pro-life can’t be the loudest voices of support and love for pregnant women, then they are pro-LIE not pro-life.  No child should have to be sacrificed on the altar of false chastity!

Maddi Runkles ultrasound image

Ms. Runkles, 18, with a framed ultrasound photo of her baby boy. Credit: Nate Pesce for The New York Times

 

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Pro-Life Women March on Washington Like First-Wave Feminists Did!

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in Abortion in the News | 1 comment

 

Lovely Pro-Life ladies at the Women's March!

Pro-Life ladies (L-R) Jennifer, Stephanie, & Kristine at the Women’s March. Jan 21, 2017

When women first began marching and rallying in Washington, the vast majority of them opposed abortion.  Victoria Clafin Woodhull, who in 1872 was America’s first female presidential candidate, viewed abortion as “equal to the killing of a person after birth.”  This sentiment was shared by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, author of feminist newspaper The Revolution.  On February 5, 1868, Stanton decried “the murder of children, either before or after birth,” and argued that “the remedy [is the] complete elevation and enfranchisement of woman.” Woodhull’s solution was nearly verbatim: “The remedy is in granting freedom and equality to woman.”

To the early feminists, abortion wasn’t part of the solution to women’s inequality.  Instead, they argued, equality was the solution to abortion.

First wave feminists march
The 2017  Women’s March on Washington was supposed to unite women of all stripes in our ongoing battles for social, political, and financial equality.  But when The Atlantic published an article about pro-life involvement in the march, feelings of unity over common ground quickly dissipated.  March co-chair Bob Bland had enthused about the diversity of the event, its emphasis on “intersectional feminism,” and its inclusion of “voices that have previously been either marginalized or silenced.”  But within hours of the article’s publication, pro-life group New Wave Feminists was struck from the list of official march partners after a number of people complained.  It seems some people prefer “diversity” that marches only to their own rhythm.

Never mind that Americans largely oppose abortion beyond the first trimester. A recent Marist poll  found that as many as 80% of women and 6/10 of all who identify as pro-choice favor restrictions later in pregnancy.  And according to a 2016 Pew Research study, 40% of American women believe abortion should be mostly illegal, while most Americans oppose tax-funding of abortion.  But when NARAL and Planned Parenthood became the primary sponsors of the Women’s March, apparently they got to define feminism for all of us.

Pro-life women nonetheless participated in the Women’s March, despite our disappointment with the organizers’ treatment of NWF and with their recent addition of abortion support among their “unity principles.”  The presence of pro-life groups at the march was for the most part well received.  Joining NWF in the 500,000-strong crowd were members of  Pro-Life Humanists, Life Matters Journal, Consistent Life, and Democrats for Life.

Pro-lifers attended the Women’s March because we agree with the mission on the march’s website: to “stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.” We also stand with the principle of non-violence, and agree that “Women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free of all forms of violence against our bodies.” But we reject the violence of abortion, and include the very youngest in our list of marginalized humans worth defending.

Ironically, a Women’s March promo video appears at first glance to agree with us. “Because my life matters” says a line-up of women.  “And so does hers,” replies a visibly pregnant woman as she points to her abdomen.  Except pro-life feminists think the fetal girl’s value shouldn’t hinge on the abstract concept of “wantedness” nor on her age-based capacities, which have her temporarily dependent and vulnerable through no doing of her own.

Pregnant woman in Women's March on Washington video

“Her life matters” … but only if the bigger and stronger people decide it does?

It comes down to this: forty years of abortion hasn’t broken the glass ceiling. Women all too often “choose” abortion because they feel they have no other choice.  We can ALL unite in fighting for non-violent solutions like paid parental leave, equal pay, a living wage, national daycare, job protection, better accommodations for pregnancy/nursing/parenting, better sex-ed and birth control, as well as for rights for LGBTQIA, immigrants, and the disabled.

When Alice Paul, author of the 1923 Equal Rights Amendment, declared abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women,” she voiced what countless women still feel today. When you hear a woman say “I’m having an abortion because I don’t have any other choice” that’s not a herald of freedom and liberation.  It’s a sign that society needs to work harder to elevate women to a place where our fertility isn’t a handicap!

Pro-life feminists will continue to march and to fight for a society in which female bodies don’t have to be just like never-pregnant male bodies in order to succeed in life.  The remedy is still “the elevation and equality of women”, and society owes women better than the violent destruction of their youngest dependents!

As the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians put it: “None of us are free until all of us are free, with all our rights intact and guaranteed, including the basic right to live without threat or violence.”  Non-violence and equality — regardless of gender, age, or location — is something well worth marching for!

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Superbowl Ultrasound Doritos Ad Angers NARAL

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in Abortion in the News | 6 comments

It’s apparently been too long since abortion supporters had the  Tim Tebow Superbowl commercial of 2010 to fuss over, but thankfully for them they’ve found something new to protest at this year’s Superbowl.    A contest-finalist Doritos ad shows a late-term fetus interacting with his Doritos-eating father during an ultrasound, moving about as though trying to grab a chip from him, and diving out of the womb to chase after it when his exasperated mom throws the distracting Dorito away.



Unfortunately, the people at NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) didn’t find the commercial nearly as funny as most of its viral audience already has.  Instead they bemoaned the “anti-choice tactic of humanizing fetuses”
Superbowl Doritos Ad. NARAL Tweets: #NotBuyingIt - that @Doritos ad using #antichoice tactic of humanizing fetuses & sexist tropes of dads as clueless & moms as uptight. #SB50
That’s right, folks – cause you know, fetuses are these non-human tissue blobs that are merely fodder for dismemberment.  Anyone who might show them as the least bit alive is so obviously just “anti-choice”.   I mean, how dare the film producer, who apparently used ultrasound footage of his own son in the digitally animated imagery, not champion the message that a woman should have the right to choose death, even for a child about to be born “any day now”?

Unfortunately for NARAL, society is the one who’s #NotBuyingIt – and by it, I mean their mythology that human development begins at birth.  While the ad’s depictions are obviously  exagerated for the sake of humour, studies have long shown us that a fetus responds to his/her environment, particularly in the last trimester.  They learn and respond to music and language, they become accustomed to taste, smells and the spices of their culture’s cuisine…   Decades of ultrasounds have pulled open the curtains on the womb and made NARAL’s kvetching over a late trimester fetus seem absurd.

We “anti-choicers” don’t need to “humanize the fetus”.  Fetuses are already human because they are the biological product of two human parents, and because human is a species designation, not a function designation.  From the time their bodies first comes into existence at fertilization, fetuses are growing, biological members of our species.

In fact, that’s the only reason why another highlight of Superbowl’s 50th anniversary, the Superbowl Babies commercial even makes sense. The kids singing Seal’s Kiss From a Rose parody are called Superbowl Babies because they were conceived after their parents’ team won a Superbowl.  They earn their title because their now grown human bodies first came into existence during or shortly after one of the past 50 Superbowls – as opposed to 9 months later.


So, sorry-not-sorry NARAL, but the fact that fetuses aren’t conscious, sentient or ordinarily chasing after Doritos is a question of how old they are, not of what they are.

 

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Goodbye Baby Munoz

Goodbye Baby Munoz

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Abortion in the News | 2 comments

Eric Munoz poses with family picture

Eric Munoz poses with a family picture of his wife Marlise Munoz and older son

[See this post on LifeNews]

The life of a 23 week-old fetus was aborted in the state of Texas yesterday, and ironically, the child’s mother wasn’t involved in the choice.  In fact, had her* mother still been conscious, a newly passed Texas law prohibiting the abortion of pain-conscious fetuses (beyond 20 weeks gestation) would’ve protected her life today.

But Baby Munoz was not your average “unwanted” fetus.  Neither was the pregnancy that carried her, nor her eventual death anywhere near typical.   Baby Munoz’ mother Marlise became brain-dead on November 26th when the wanted fetus was only 14 weeks old.  In order to give the fetus a fighting chance at viability, her hospital refused to disconnect her from life-support, going against the end-of-life wishes of Marlise and her family.  And so began a lengthy court battle between Baby Munoz’ father Eric and the hospital, as lawyers and bioethicists argued over the Texas law that supposedly forbade the denying of life-sustaining medical care to a pregnant woman.

The Texas Legislature can’t require doctors to do the impossible and try to treat someone who’s dead.” said bioethicist Arthur L. Caplan in a New York Times coverage of the case.  And it’s true that under normal circumstances, maintaining a body that has no hope of recovering consciousness is unethical.  After all, Marlise wasn’t merely vegetative, she had been declared brain-dead.  Were it not for the fetus in question, Marlise’s life-support machines would’ve been turned off and her body interned many weeks ago.   But there was a patient in the equation who was not dead.  A developing human child with her own body and her own rights and whose life-support was currently her mother.

Baby Munoz lost her life yesterday afternoon.  It was her father Eric who got the right to choose in the end, as a judge ordered Marlise taken off life-support per the family’s wishes.  And thus a wanted fetus who had been one of two patients prior to November 26th, was downgraded to a non-entity, condemned to lose her life-support and be buried with her mother’s body.  With rising concerns over fetal abnormalities, the hospital chose to not attempt a preterm delivery.   Instead of only losing one patient, the hospital lost two.

Has the debate over bodily autonomy and “a woman’s right to choose” so blinded society that even when the issue has nothing to do with a woman still capable of choice, and even when the body in question is no worse off on a ventilator than in the ground, we nonetheless cannot grant a fetus the right to what he or she needs to survive?  How have we come to fight for a fetus’ life via fetal surgery on the one hand, and yet deny a nearly viable fetus the basics of oxygen and nutrients on the other hand – simply because her mother’s family wants a body to bury sooner rather than later?

One may fairly point out that organ harvesting cannot be forced on a dead body if doing so violates the desires expressed by the individual while still alive.  Despite the obvious controversy of forced organ harvesting, the case of the so-called “dead incubator” is not entirely analogous.  Under ordinary circumstances a woman has an obligation to provide basic care and protection to her offspring, and as a biological member of the human family, the fetal offspring should see that same obligation extended to him or her.   Where the woman’s right to bodily autonomy conflicts with the right of the fetus to live, the loss of life is a greater loss than the temporary loss of autonomy, and does not nullify the basic rights a fetus should have as a human being.  This is even more true where the loss to the woman is completely null and the loss to her family is but a delayed funeral.

Unfortunately, Baby Munoz is victim of a flawed Texas law being applied at last.  Baby Munoz could’ve been legally aborted at 14 weeks by a conscious mother, so it’s a wonder the hospital saw her as a patient to be fought for in the first place.   There were two bodies present in the Munoz tragedy, one still having had a hope of survival.  For a brief time, the John Peter Smith Hospital acted as though that were true.

So goodbye, Baby Munoz..  You join the countless vulnerable and dependent human beings deemed too young to count as individuals with their own rights.  Perhaps you would’ve been born deformed and brain damaged. Perhaps you would’ve overcome your rough beginnings and survived just like the 27 week fetus recently born to a woman declared brain-dead when 15 weeks pregnant.  We won’t ever know…  But one thing is certain: your brief life has touched many.  You won’t soon be forgotten.

* Fetal gender and name announced today.  She was named Nicole – Marlise’ middle name.

The above blog post has been picked up by LifeNews.  Please visit http://www.lifenews.com/2014/01/27/baby-nicole-munoz-was-never-given-a-right-to-choose/  if you wish to comment on and share the post with friends and family and the wider pro-life community.

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Who Cares for Women’s Health?

Who Cares for Women’s Health?

Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 in Abortion in the News | 5 comments

 

Planned Parenthood rep holds sign advocating women's health

You’ve created an environment in Texas where you’ve put women’s health at risk, and that’s the real issue here.”

Those are the words of Texas Senator Wendy Davis, a recent catapult to stardom among abortion advocates, thanks to her June 25th filibuster during which she spoke for 11 hours, in an attempt to exhaust the clock and prevent a vote on the bill.  Although a last minute vote was held with enough votes to pass the bill, the disruption of hundreds of protesters from among the spectators (what Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst defined as an “unruly mob” see footage here ) prevented the vote from being entered in time for the midnight deadline.  Undeterred, Texas Governor Rick Perry, has called the senate back for a second special session, which began yesterday July 1st and could reportedly last up to 30 days.

So what’s the big deal with this bill, and why is Wendy Davis being hailed as a champion for the health and rights of women?  What is the dreadful and health-damaging law from which Texas women must be protected?  Again and again online media has been flooded with dire warnings from Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups warning us that SB 5/SB 9 “will shut down 37 of 42 abortion clinics”!  Wow!  Sounds drastic! Accordingly, protesters by the bus-full have flooded the state capitol to parade coat-hangers and chant about not losing “the right to choose” in Texas.

The truth, on the other hand, may not have generated quite so many band-wagon picketers and chanters.  The fact that so many of Texas’ abortion clinics would be “shut down” is a simple side-effect of these clinics not measuring up to surgical health standards ironically put in place to ensure the health and safety of women undergoing a surgical procedure.

The bill in question:
– Limits most abortions to the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy (after which point it is believed a fetus can feel pain and abortion becomes much riskier for the woman)
– Requires that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.
– Requires abortion clinics to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgery center. (including ambulance and gurney accessibility)
– Puts new rules around abortion-inducing medications, including requiring that women take such medicines in the presence of a doctor.

The fact is, abortion IS a surgical procedure.  One need look no further to the disastrous results of the recent Kermit Gosnell case in Philadelphia to see that later-term abortions pose an increase in risk.  A clinic not close enough to a hospital or not accessible to ambulance gurney in case of emergency is precisely how an abortion complication becomes a fatality.

Yes, fatalities occur – even under “safe & legal”.    The Center for Disease control counts 386 deaths under legal abortions in the U.S. between 1972 and 2003 – see image below.  (I do not currently have updated stats for the past decade).  And while in no-wise a complete collection yet, www.abortionsafety.com recently launched a growing data-base of reported malpractice suits in the United States for which court documents are publicly available.  These cases involve injuries to patients as well as documented negligence of patients and of health practices.

CDC abortion deaths

While it’s certainly true that injury and/or death is rare in a woman having an abortion in North America , and that most abortions since the introduction of antibiotics are largely safe (for the woman, not the unfortunate child for whom every abortion is intended to be deadly) it is nevertheless true that surgical and medical complications can and do occur.  It therefore behooves anyone who cares for the health of women – as Senator Davis and company claim to – to ensure that if women are subjecting themselves to an abortion, they won’t end up facing a punctured uterus in the middle of a rural county clinic more than 30 miles away from a hospital.

So it seems to me, dear Senator Wendy Davis and fellow protesters who thwarted the passing of SB5 and so blocked a bill that would shut down less-than-safe clinics, “You’ve created an environment in Texas where you’ve put women’s health at risk.

I do however agree with Senator Davis’ statement to Governor Perry:
“Gov. Perry… If you, truly care about women’s health, let’s do something to make sure that we’re protecting them. Let’s make sure that we’re preventing unplanned pregnancies and that we’re committing resources to make that happen. Let’s make sure that we’re working for age-appropriate sex-education in our school system… Because what we do know is that closing down the ability to access that service unfortunately does not take the need away or women’s confronting that issue away.”

Therein lies common ground on which those on both sides of the fence should unite!  Shutting down abortion clinics and making abortion illegal won’t eliminate the crises that women face when affronted by an unplanned pregnancy.  Neither, on the other hand, will abortion.   Abortion eliminates the immediate symptom of the problem, but it’s little more than a cover-over to problems of inequality and societal imbalance that make a new child appear so problematic in the first place.   As feminist writer Frederica Matthewes-Green said: “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche.  She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.”   Abortion sells women a sterile knife to escape the trap, but it leaves the open jaws of the trap lying in wait for the next woman.   Merely removing the sterile knife leaves women to agonize in the trap and risk self-injury.**  Neither option is a full solution.

I therefore urge anyone, whether or not you believe in the humanity of the fetus*, if you at least care about the health and the lives of women, join me in dreaming bigger.   Join me in aspiring toward real choices for women and their children.  Barring a life/death emergency, no woman and no child need ever die or be injured in abortion – be it by coat hanger, knitting needle or suction machine.   Women and our children deserve better than abortion!


* At Pro-Life Humanists we believe that the moral issue of abortion is whether or not it ends the life of a dependent human being. Abortion is not wrong merely because it hurts some women (many personal choices are harmful). If the unborn are not human beings, abortion is not a moral wrong. If they are, outside of immediate self-defense it cannot be a moral right.

** We do hope to eventually see an end to legal fetal extermination. That some women might, even under better societal circumstances still seek dangerous illegal means of killing their unborn offspring does not justify keeping abortion legal – no more than we might feel compelled to offer condoms to rapists so that they might rape another human being without bringing harm to themselves. We are nevertheless compelled as compassionate pro-lifers and Humanists to move toward an ethos of care for the born as much as for the unborn.

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