Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Several abortion clinics close after court enforces Texas law HB2

Good news from Life News.

Excerpt:

Two years ago, there were over 40 abortion facilities operating in Texas with very little oversight. Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that could result in the immediate closure of 13 abortion facilities, leaving only seven open by this weekend.

A spot-check conducted by Operation Rescue early Friday morning of several facilities that are in known non-compliance with the law shows that some have already shut down while others continue to operate.

The ruling blocks a stay issued by a lower court on enforcement of Texas’ HB2, which provides minimum safety standards for abortion businesses, until the State’s appeal of the lower court’s decision that the law is unconstitutional can be heard.

The ruling allowed the full law to be enforced immediately, including portions that were previously blocked by the lower court that pertained to the requirements that abortionists maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion facilities and that those facilities meet Ambulatory Surgical Center standards.

“This is a huge victory and gives us every confidence that all the provisions of HB2 will prevail upon appeal,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, who has coauthored the new book, Abortion Free, that outlines how to implement strategy to stop abortion, including those used in Texas will soon be responsible for closing 83% of all abortion centers in that state. Previous closures have already caused abortion numbers in Texas to plummet.

[...]“Documenting and exposing abortion abuses can serve as the foundation for safety regulations that can shut down substandard abortion mills and save lives. As a result of yesterday’s ruling we expect thousands of women will be spared the trauma and tragedy of abortion and that precious baby boys and girls will grace their lives with blessings,” said Newman. “Protecting the lives of women and their babies is what our work is all about.”

When I posted about the ruling a few days ago, some jackass came on and talked about how now women would be able to kill their babies more safely. It never ceases to amaze me how people can claim to be pro-life and yet practically be pro-abortion. Being pro-life means saving as many unborn children as possible. If you don’t like this law, then you are pro-abortion. Period. End of issue. You don’t get to take credit for the pro-life effects of this law if you opposed it.

I think the take-home lesson on people who oppose incremental pro-life measures that reduce abortion is this: not everyone who claims to be pro-life is intelligent enough to support laws that actually do something to protect unborn children.

 

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Federal appeals court: Texas can proceed with tough regulations on abortion clinics

Good news on HB2 in Texas from the Associated Press.

Excerpt:

A federal appeals court Thursday allowed Texas to immediately begin enforcing tough new abortion restrictions that will effectively close all but seven abortion facilities in America’s second most-populous state.

A panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans stayed a lower judge’s ruling while it considers the overall constitutionality of key portions of Texas’ sweeping 2013 abortion law, which Republican Gov. Rick Perry and other conservatives say is designed to protect women’s health.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled in August that part of the law requiring Texas clinics to spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades was less about safety than making access to abortion difficult.

Guess who was on the panel? My favorite Supreme Court pick, Edith Hollan Jones.

Life News had this:

When the panel reviewed the bill, they found that the state acted within its prerogative to regulate the medical profession by heeding these patient-centered concerns and requiring abortion practitioners to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The state also found that it would be safer for patients to drive further to receive an abortion at a surgical facility with a credentialed and privileged physician than to seek an abortion at a nearby, substandard clinic. The bottom line is women deserve better than substandard care.

Additionally the opinion written by Judge Edith Jones explained why admitting privileges are necessary. She said, “Requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges would also promote the continuity of care in all cases, reducing the risk of injury caused by miscommunication and misdiagnosis when a patient is transferred from one health care provider to another.”

Judge Jones also noted that Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion.

Abortion is not a safe medical procedure.

Life News says that this law is going to reduce the number of abortion clinics in Texas from 19 to 7. That’s a huge win for unborn children who had no input into their mother’s decision to conceive them. They don’t deserve death sentence just because selfish adults want to be irresponsible.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Does a new, distinct human being begin at conception?

Scott Klusendorf posted a public reply to a critic of his debate on the Unbelievable show, which I blogged about yesterday.

The full reply is here, but I wanted to highlight’s Scott’s scientific defense that the embryo is a human being.

He writes:

First, your claim that because biological life is continuous (an “unbroken tree” as you put it), we can’t say when the embryo’s life begins, is demonstrably false. Just because life is continuous between generations does not mean we can’t tell when an individual human begins to exist. The science of embryology points to a clear, non-arbitrary divide between sperm/egg on one hand, and a newly conceived embryo on the other. That is to say, from the earliest stages of development, embryos are distinct human beings. True, they have yet to grow and mature, but they are human nonetheless. Leading embryology textbooks affirm this.

For example, in “The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology” (Saunders/Elsevier, 2008), Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud write: “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm…unites with a female gamete or oocyte…to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”

T.W. Sadler’s “Langman’s Embryology” (Saunders, 1993) states: “The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”

Embryologists Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller write, “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed” (Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996).

And then he quotes some pro-choice scholars, including Peter Singer and David Boonin, to make the point:

Contemporary defenders of abortion also reject your claim that we can’t tell when individual life begins. For example, in his book “Practical Ethics” (Cambridge, 1993) Peter Singer—a bioethicist at Princeton University and supporter of both abortion and infanticide —denies your claim the beginning of human life is can’t be known. He writes: “Whether a being is a member of given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense, there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.”

Philosopher David Boonin, author of “A Defense of Abortion” (Cambridge, 2002), writes: “A human fetus, after all, is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.”

I tried to space it out a bit to make it more readable. I think what his sources are saying is that when an egg and sperm meet, they create something with a completely different DNA signature than either the sperm or the egg. I think if you have an organism that has human DNA, distinct from the mother and father, and it is developing in a self-directed way (unlike your finger nails, or hair, say), then you have a distinct human life. And I don’t think “because I’m bigger than she is” is an adequate reason to kill that other human being.

I have a rule in my life. Don’t do anything that is likely to get an innocent person killed. Why can’t everyone have this rule? Is recreational pre-marital sex REALLY that important? I don’t think any of the reasons that people give for having sex (self-esteem, pleasure, etc.) are more important than not killing an innocent human being. When little lives are at stake, we grown-ups should all try to control ourselves, so that we don’t harm people who are smaller and weaker than we are. It just isn’t right.

You can read the whole dialog between CoD and Scott on the Unbelievable page.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , ,

Scott Klusendorf defends the pro-life view on the Unbelievable radio show

Here are the details:

The abortion debate reared its head again this summer after controversial tweets by Richard Dawkins made the news.

Justin hosts a discussion between Mara Clarke of the Abortion Support Network and Scott Klusendorf of the Life Training Instititute. Mara believes women need to be decide whether to terminate a pregnancy, but Scott says that all depends on whether we are dealing with a human life in the womb.

MP3 of this show http://media.premier.org.uk/unbelievable/5fd916e8-46a5-4b08-8eb7-0c0dc4473979.mp3

My snarky paraphrase of the debate (not exact):

  • Speaker introductions
  • Klusendorf: no justification for abortion is necessary if the unborn are not human
  • Klusendorf: we need to address the issue “what is the unborn?” Are the unborn human?
  • Klusendorf: SLED: size, level of development, environment, degree of dependency
  • Klusendorf: None of these things affect the value of a human being
  • Klusendorf: Even if we don’t KNOW whether the unborn is human
  • Mara: I’m not going to debate when life begins
  • Mara: Women know when life begins by feelings
  • Mara: The moral decision is “whether I can take care of this child?”
  • Brierley: When is an unborn being human?
  • Mara: I refuse to debate that – the real question is whether women want their babies or not
  • Mara: Forced pregnancy is not OK
  • Brierley: Could your justification for abortion (not wanting to care for a child) work through all 9 months?
  • Mara: Late term abortions are rare, so I don’t have to answer that question
  • Mara: Abortion should be OK through all 9 months of pregnancy because women cannot be restricted
  • Mara: Some women are poor, they need to be able to kill expensive babies at any time
  • Klusendorf: although she says she won’t debate the unborn, she does take a position
  • Klusendorf: she assumes the unborn is not human, because she says that insufficient funds is justification for abortion
  • Klusendorf: no one argues that you can kill a two year old because they cost money, because she thinks they are human
  • Klusendorf: she is begging the question by assuming the unborn are not human, but that is the issue we must resolve
  • Klusendorf: I am pro-choice on many other things, e.g. women choosing their own husbands, religion, etc.
  • Klusendorf: Some choices are wrong – Mara might be right, but she needs to make the case for the unborn not being human
  • Brierley: What is your reason for thinking that an unborn child is different from a 2-year old?
  • Mara: An unborn child is not the same as a 2-year old, in my personal opinion
  • Mara: I am not a debater, so I don’t have to provide reasoning for my assertion, I just feel it
  • Mara: Not everybody agrees with Scott, they don’t have to have a rational argument, they just need to feel differently
  • Mara: From my experience, when a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, then she should be able to not be pregnant
  • Mara: Women shouldn’t be punished with a baby that she doesn’t want, even if she chooses to have recreational sex
  • Brierley: What do you think of women who think the unborn is human and do it anyway?
  • Klusendorf: It’s interesting that they never kill their toddlers for those reasons
  • Klusendorf: I layed out scientific and philosophical reasons for the humanity of the unborn
  • Klusendorf: Her response was “but some people disagree with you”
  • Klusendorf: People disagreed about whether slavery was wrong, or whether women should be able to vote
  • Klusendorf: that doesn’t mean there is no right answer – the right answer depends on the arguments
  • Klusendorf: if absence of agreement makes a view false, then it makes HER pro-choice view false as well
  • Klusendorf: she did make an argument for the unborn child having no rights because of the location
  • Klusendorf: she needs to explain to us why location matters – what about location confers value
  • Mara: I’m not going to let Scott frame my debate for me!!!
  • Mara: women get pregnant and they don’t want their babies! should we put them in jail!!!!
  • Klusendorf: I didn’t just give my opinion, I had science and philosophy, the issue is “what is the unborn?”
  • Mara: philosophical and scientific debates are unimportant, I am an expert in real women’s lives
  • Klusendorf: Which women? Women in the womb or only those outside the womb?
  • Mara: Only those outside the womb
  • Klusendorf: Only those outside the womb?
  • Mara: Women living outside the womb have a right to kill women inside the womb – women have bodily autonomy
  • Klusendorf: then does a pregnant woman with nausea have a right to take a drug for it that will harm her unborn child?
  • Mara: Unborn children are only valuable if they are wanted, unborn children only deserve protection if they are wanted
  • Mara: There are restrictions on abortion – you can’t get an abortion through all nine months in the US
  • Mara: There is a 24-week limit in the UK as well
  • Klusendorf: There are no restrictions on abortion that conflict with “a woman’s health” because Supreme Court said
  • Mara: where are these late term abortion clinics?
  • Klusendorf: (he names two)
  • Mara: that’s not enough!!! we need more! where is there one in Pennsylvania?
  • Klusendorf: well, there used to be Gosnell’s clinic in Pennsylvania, and you could even get an infanticide there….
  • Brierley: What about Dawkins’ view that it is moral to abort Down’s Syndrome babies?
  • Klusendorf: he is ignoring the scientific case and philosophical case for the pro-life
  • Klusendorf: the pro-life view is a true basis for human equality

What I wanted Scott to ask was whether sex-selection abortions were OK with her. Since her reasoning is “if it’s unwanted, it has no rights”, then that would mean sex-selection abortions are just fine. That’s what a UK abortion expert recently argued. And I also posted recently about how sex-selection abortions are not prosecuted in the UK. If you’re looking for a war on women, there it is.

 

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , ,

A simple case for the pro-life position by Scott Klusendorf

Are you able to make a basic case for the pro-life view?

Here’s a short 38-lecture by Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute.

This is a long treatment that talks about the challenge of moral relativism and the case for the pro-life view. He does show a clip of abortion in the video to the audience.

There’s also a 35-minute audio recording of Scott on the LTI web site. (H/T Apologetics 315) You can put that on your podcast player and listen to it. Listen to it a lot and soon you’ll sound like Scott.

Scott also has an article posted on the LTI web site for those who don’t have time for the video or the audio.

In the article makes three points:

  1. Clarify the issue
  2. Defend your pro-life position with science and philosophy
  3. Challenge your listeners to be intellectually honest

Here’s the second point:

Scientifically, we know that from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. Leading embryology books confirm this.2 For example, Keith L. Moore & T.V.N. Persaud write, “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm … unites with a female gamete or oocyte … to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”3 Prior to his abortion advocacy, former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone, much less a medical doctor, would question this. “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge,” he wrote in his book Life in the Making.4

Philosophically, we can say that embryos are less developed than newborns (or, for that matter, toddlers) but this difference is not morally significant in the way abortion advocates need it to be. Consider the claim that the immediate capacity for self-awareness bestows value on human beings. Notice that this is not an argument, but an arbitrary assertion. Why is some development needed? And why is this particular degree of development (i.e., higher brain function) decisive rather than another? These are questions that abortion advocates do not adequately address.

As Stephen Schwarz points out, there is no morally significant difference between the embryo that you once were and the adult that you are today. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not relevant such that we can say that you had no rights as an embryo but you do have rights today. Think of the acronym SLED as a helpful reminder of these non-essential differences:5

Size: True, embryos are smaller than newborns and adults, but why is that relevant? Do we really want to say that large people are more human than small ones? Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.

Level of development: True, embryos and fetuses are less developed than the adults they’ll one day become. But again, why is this relevant? Four year-old girls are less developed than 14 year-old ones. Should older children have more rights than their younger siblings? Some people say that self-awareness makes one human. But if that is true, newborns do not qualify as valuable human beings. Six-week old infants lack the immediate capacity for performing human mental functions, as do the reversibly comatose, the sleeping, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Environment: Where you are has no bearing on who you are. Does your value change when you cross the street or roll over in bed? If not, how can a journey of eight inches down the birth-canal suddenly change the essential nature of the unborn from non-human to human? If the unborn are not already human, merely changing their location can’t make them valuable.

Degree of Dependency: If viability makes us human, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems also have no right to life.

In short, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely with respect to talents, accomplishments, and degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature.

That’s the core of the basic pro-life case right there. There’s also a good interview of Mr. Klusendorf that I blogged about.

Advanced Objections

You can learn more by reading basic pro-life apologetics… from Francis Beckwith. You might recognize Frank Beckwith as the author of “Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice“. He wrote that book for Cambridge University Press, a top academic press. But before Cambridge University Press, Beckwith wrote easy-to-understand essays for the Christian Research Journal.

Here are four essays that answer common arguments in favor of legalized abortion.

Here’s an excerpt from Part II:

Excerpt:

A woman who becomes pregnant due to an act of either rape or incest is the victim of a horribly violent and morally reprehensible crime. Although pregnancy as a result of either rape or incest is extremely rare, [1] there is no getting around the fact that pregnancy does occur in some instances.

[...]Despite its forceful appeal to our sympathies, there are several problems with this argument. First, it is not relevant to the case for abortion on demand, the position defended by the popular pro-choice movement. This position states that a woman has a right to have an abortion for any reason she prefers during the entire nine months of pregnancy, whether it be for gender-selection, convenience, or rape. [3] To argue for abortion on demand from the hard cases of rape and incest is like trying to argue for the elimination of traffic laws from the fact that one might have to violate some of them in rare circumstances, such as when one’s spouse or child needs to be rushed to the hospital. Proving an exception does not establish a general rule.

[...]Fourth, this argument begs the question by assuming that the unborn is not fully human. For if the unborn is fully human, then we must weigh the relieving of the woman’s mental suffering against the right-to-life of an innocent human being. And homicide of another is never justified to relieve one of emotional distress. Although such a judgment is indeed anguishing, we must not forget that the same innocent unborn entity that the career-oriented woman will abort in order to avoid interference with a job promotion is biologically and morally indistinguishable from the unborn entity that results from an act of rape or incest. And since abortion for career advancement cannot be justified if the unborn entity is fully human, abortion cannot be justified in the cases of rape and incest. In both cases abortion results in the death of an innocent human life. As Dr. Bernard Nathanson has written, “The unwanted pregnancy flows biologically from the sexual act, but not morally from it.” [5]Hence, this argument, like the ones we have already covered in this series, is successful only if the unborn are not fully human.

Scott Klusendorf wrote the The Case for Life, which is the best book for beginners on the pro-life view. For those looking for advanced resources, Francis Beckwith, a professor at Baylor University, published the book Defending Life, with Cambridge University Press, 2007.

I found a very polished hour-long talk by Scott on Youtube. That talk was delivered to students and faculty at Furman University.

Finally, if you want to see Scott Klusendorf in a debate with a former ACLU executive, you can see it right here.

My friend Papa Georgio sent me a post that features THREE talks by Scott Klusendorf. (H/T Religio-Political Talk)

Learn about the pro-life case

And some posts motivating Christians and conservatives to take abortion seriously:

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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