Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Republicans Renee Ellmers and Jackie Walorski derail vote on 20-week abortion ban

I’m afraid I have some bad news to report.

This is from the Federalist.

Excerpt:

Evidently, Republicans don’t feel competent enough to make a case against infanticide. Why else would the GOP pull its 20-week abortion limit bill?

[…]A Quinnipiac poll found that 60 percent of women support limiting abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. A CBS News poll found that 60 percent of Americans thought abortion “should not be permitted” or available only under “stricter limits.” A CNN Poll found that 58 percent of Americans believe abortion should legal only in a “few circumstances” or “always illegal.”

Yet the GOP caves on a bill that would prohibit most abortions after 20 weeks and promises instead to pass another worthless ban on taxpayer funded abortions—which we all know can be ignored by hiring an accountant.

Polls change. Polls don’t make you right. I know. But today is the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. And while the media continues to treat every Obama non-starter and crowd-pleaser as genuine policy idea, the 20-week abortion ban was predictably framed as another divisive play by zealous conservatives. Controversial. Republican leadership helpfully confirmed this perception by abandoning the only bill their party has come up with in years that widely supported.

[…][T]he most mystifying aspect of the GOP’s retreat on the 20-week ban is that the 20-week ban is not new. Most of these same Republicans voted on the same legislation before the midterm elections, including some of the same representatives that reportedly withdrew their support for the bill. Nearly every GOP candidate running in the midterms publicly backed the idea, even in high-profile races where Democrats made abortion the central issue of their campaign.

Yet, at the same time, Obama continues to support unrestricted abortion on demand for any reason at any time by anyone. There is no one to moderate his position. No one to make him veto a bill. No one to ask him about it. The president has no compunctions about supporting infanticide…

[…]This is about politics. Tragically incompetent politics. Even though a veto was imminent, you have to wonder: If the party representing the pro-life position, a party with a sizable historic majority, can’t pull together a vote on an issue as unambiguous and risk-free as this one, what are the chances if it coming to a consensus and offering compelling arguments on issues like health care or tax reform? Very little, I imagine.

Before anyone goes crazy and starts to talk about not voting for Republican candidates in general elections, I want to point out that the vast majority of Republicans in the House would have voted for this bill. The opposition to the vote was led by a few Republican women – women who were known to be moderates.

The Federalist reports on that, too:

Two of the representatives who caused the biggest stink about the bill were Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina and Jackie Walorski of Indiana. Last week, Ellmers said she didn’t think it was a good idea to vote on the legislation so early in the session (an argument that makes no sense, but let’s put that aside). Yesterday the women pulled their sponsorship of the bill over what they said were concerns over the rape reporting requirement. And yet here are both women speaking in favor of this exact same legislation two years ago…

Renee Ellmers, from North Carolina:

Jackie Walorski, from Indiana:

The rest of the article discusses what a blunder this was for the GOP.

But their conclusion is important:

Newsflash to the geniuses in her policy shop: there are few issues the Republicans can have with as much support, much less as much passionate support. If you’re cowering in fear on popular stuff, what are you going to do when the going gets tough?

What are they going to do on Keystone XL? What are they going to do on Obamacare? Are they going to fight the tough battles when they retreat on the easy ones?

So what’s the answer? I think that the answer is that the grassroots have to do the following:

  1. Never give money to Republican groups, but only to individual candidates who have pro-life achievements.
  2. Find out who the candidates are in the primaries and vote for the most conservative one. You can always vote for the moderate Republican in the general election, should it come to that.
  3. Call your elected representatives in Washington and let them know how you feel about these moderate Republican women.

It’s generally not a good idea to vote for a third party or a Democrat in an election, that would be worse than voting for a moderate… except in the case of these two ring leaders. I think we can send a message to the GOP by voting for a third party or voting Democrat just for these two. That way, the rest of them will learn not to do what they did. I don’t recommend doing this for trivial things, but for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks? I think some retaliation is in order, for the ring leaders. Ellmers is garbage anyway, and needs to go. Her betrayal is a surprise to no one.

Ellmers won her primary

Of course, we should first try to defeat these RINOs in the Republican primaries, where the Republican candidate for the general election is selected.

Ellmers won her last primary because her opponent had no money:

According to his most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, Roche had raised only $23,000 through the middle of April, less than three weeks before election day. Ellmers, meanwhile, had raised nearly $1 million over the election cycle and had $424,000 in cash on hand.

In other words, Ellmers had over 18 times as much cash on hand as Roche had raised over the course of the entire race.

Ellmers has also had the backing of the GOP establishment in North Carolina and well-funded national pro-amnesty organizations ranging from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg via his political advocacy shop FWD.us to ImmigrationWorksUSA, a business group pushing amnesty.

[…]Tea Party Patriots, which is led by national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin, has already faced some criticism for where its resources have been focused. Ingraham hosted Martin on her program last week, and asked why she hasn’t spent any of the $2 million Tea Party Patriots spent on polling, fundraising and consulting fees on candidates like Roche or House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary challenger Dave Brat.

“If you could knock off Cantor and you can knock off Ellmers, that sends shockwaves through the establishment that you seem so committed to upending, and yet you haven’t done the research?” Ingraham pressed Martin. “It’s a little late in the game to be doing the research. What’s the hold up?”

But Martin’s group is hardly the only one where this issue–which is not necessarily because of nefarious motives, but more likely because of political inexperience and a pack mentality in the conservative political action committee world where one group goes into a race all others follow–has arisen. Because of actions from various conservative groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), Madison Project, FreedomWorks and more–which are focused on races like Matt Bevin’s unlikely-to-succeed challenge to Mitch McConnell or Milton Wolf’s lagging bid against Pat Roberts–candidates like Roche either go unnoticed, underfunded or ignored.

We actually did knock off Cantor – this actually works. But it works better when pro-lifers start to think about all the issues, not just abortion, and start to primary candidates who are liberal on any issue, not just on abortion.

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Obama issues veto threat against Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

The Daily Signal reports:

The White House announced today President Obama would veto the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act if it came to his desk.

The bill, which is scheduled for a vote in the House Thursday, would ban elective abortions after twenty weeks–or five months of pregnancy.

That’s a policy that has huge public support.

According to a November Quinnipiac poll, 60 percent of Americans back banning abortion, except in cases of rape or incest reported to the authorities, after 20 weeks. There’s virtually no gender divide: 59 percent of women support the ban. Furthermore, the age breakdown shows widespread support for the ban by:

  • 57 percent of 18-29 year olds
  • 61 percent of 30-49 year olds
  • 63 percent of 50-64 year olds
  • 58 percent of 65+ American voters

In this divided age, there’s little that unites Americans in such large numbers as this ban does.

Most of the world already has such a ban. Only six other countries besides the United States allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, including China and North Korea.

By the time a pregnancy is 20 weeks along, the unborn child is hearing, has fingernails and toenails, and a beating heart.

The child is also close to being potentially able to survive outside the womb. In 2011, 21-one-week-old Frieda Mangold was born in Germany.

She made it.

Little Frieda faced huge obstacles: she weighed just over a pound when born. Sadly, her twin brother didn’t survive. But Frieda’s birth shows how incredibly developed these 20-week-old babies are, even at this early stage.

Why will Obama veto this bill? Because he is radical on the abortion issue.

First, he supports late-term abortions, as reported by the Weekly Standard.

Excerpt:

The Washington Post reports that President Obama is running his reelection campaign as a “culture warrior,” trying to cast his opponents as extremists on such issues as abortion in the case of rape and requiring religious institutions to pay for contraception. But could Obama’s own extremism on abortion come back to bite him?

During a 2003 press conference, Barack Obama indicated that he thought abortion should be legal in all situations, even late in pregnancy:

OBAMA: “I am pro-choice.”

REPORTER: “In all situations including the late term thing?”

OBAMA: “I am pro-choice. I believe that women make responsible choices and they know better than anybody the tragedy of a difficult pregnancy and I don’t think that it’s the government’s role to meddle in that choice.”

In another interview, Obama said: “I voted no on the late-term abortion ban, not because I don’t recognize that these are painful issues but because I trust women to make these decisions.”

And second, on abortions where the baby is born alive(infanticide):

When Obama opposed a bill to stop infanticide as a member of the Illinois legislature, he said he did so because it reportedly contained language that would have contravened the Roe v. Wade decision. However, documents uncovered during the 2008 election show Obama has misrepresented his position.

Obama, as a member of the Illinois Senate, opposed a state version of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, a measure that would make sure babies who survive abortions are given proper medical care.

It also protected babies who were “aborted” through a purposeful premature birth and left to die afterwards.

On the federal level, pro-abortion groups withdrew their opposition to the bill after a section was added making sure it did not affect the status of legal abortions in the United States. Ultimately, the bill was approved on a unanimous voice vote with even leading pro-abortion lawmakers like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry backing it.

And finally, Obama very likely supports sex-selection abortions.

Excerpt:

President Barack Obama appears to oppose the ban on sex-selection abortions that the House of Representatives debated yesterday and will be voting on today.

ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper posted a new report indicating President Obama opposes the bill to prohibit performing or coercing abortions to eliminate unborn babies of an undesired sex. Tapper raised the question at Wednesday’s White House press briefing, but did not receive a respond to his question about Obama’s position.

[…]White House deputy press secretary Jamie Smith told him in a statement: “The Administration opposes gender discrimination in all forms, but the end result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision.   The government should not intrude in medical decisions or private family matters in this way.”

National Right to Life legislative director Douglas Johnson was upset to learn Obama opposes the common-sense bill, telling LifeNews:  “It is appalling, but not surprising, that President Obama now stands with the pro-abortion political committees and his Hollywood donors, rather than with the coerced women, and their unborn daughters, who are victimized in sex-selection abortions.”

The Democrat Party also  supports sex-selection abortions. Their view is that the mere fact that an unborn child is female is sufficient reason to kill that child. Is that pro-women? What could be more discriminatory and anti-women than that?

I still know Christians who think that Obama is pro-life and pro-natural marriage. I hope that stories like this will wake them up to the fact that he is actually a radical leftist on social issues. Just because a person is handsome and can read a teleprompter, it doesn’t mean that he is pro-life and pro-marriage.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Canadian court rules that pro-life students can’t show images of abortion on campus

Map of Canada

Map of Canada

This is from Life Site News.

Excerpt:

In a stunning reversal of recent rulings in nearby provinces, British Columbia Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson has ruled that Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to pro-life students seeking space on the University of Victoria campus to demonstrate.

Former U Vic student Cameron Cote and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association had petitioned for a declaration that the university administration had breached the Youth Protecting Youth pro-life club’s Charter rights when, in early 2013, it refused permission to display pictures of aborted and healthy babies.

But the Charter only applies to government bodies and Hinkson ruled that the university, though funded mostly by taxpayers, and incorporated by the provincial government, which also appoints a majority of its directors, was acting privately when it decided to deny YPY use of its property. So even though the decision was based on the content of YPY’s pro-life message, the Charter protection of free speech and assembly does not apply.

The university is funded by taxpayer dollars – it’s not private. But, any port in a storm for this judge.

More:

[T]he University of Victoria, by simply refusing YPY space to air its views, was acting as a private landlord, ruled Hinkson. But what Hinkson isn’t getting, said John Carpay, head of the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom, is that universities respect freedom of speech, and alternately impose censorship, very selectively.

“Universities censor pro-life students for showing graphic pictures of aborted babies,” said Carpay. “But universities allow Falun Gong supporters showing graphic pictures of members tortured by the Chinese government. They also allow those promoting use of seat belts to show graphic images of people with their heads halfway through windshields.”

“Free expression is a cornerstone of democracy,” Carpay added. “But a lot of people seem to believe they have a right not be offended, and this outweighs free speech.”

[…]YPY’s battle with the U Vic student society goes back at least to 1999, when the pro-life club won a human rights discrimination ruling. In 2010, a second human rights complaint against the society was settled out of court in the club’s favor.

In all these cases pro-abortion students complained that they felt “harassed” by YPY’s posters, pamphlets, or pictures. The student society then suspended the group’s club status, resulting in the removal of the privilege to use university property for its activities.

As well, pro-abortion protesters have stolen YPY displays, covered others in cat feces, and pelted members’ belongings with smoke bombs and stink bombs with no response from the university administration. “They’ve created a culture of bullying. They can get away with treating pro-life students badly,” said Anastasia Pearse, western co-ordinator of the National Campus Life Network.

I’m not sure what secular leftists are learning in college, but it sure isn’t the ability to separate fair process from political correctness. If anyone disagrees with a secular leftists, then the rules don’t apply and anything can be done to stop us from exercises the same rights that everyone else gets. It’s not fair, and I fear that we need to just be more serious about whether what we are doing is going to reverse this problem of not having any influence. I recommend that each one of us not be content with a normal life. In order to fix these problems, we need to aim to have an influence.

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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

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Pro-life couple decides to allow extra embryos from IVF to be adopted

This story is from Life News.

Excerpt:

One of the problems with in vitro fertilization is that unused or unwanted embryos are often discarded or destroyed. Unfortunately in 2011, a study in the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine revealed that 19% of unused embryos are discarded and 3% are donated for scientific research.

However, thankfully, there are many people advocating for “embryo adoptions,” which is the implanting of unwanted or unused embryos in an adoptive mothers’ womb. Although this doesn’t remove all the ethical concerns with artificially creating human beings, it does provide an alternative to discarding embryos and destroying lives.

[…]When Becky and Chris Henderson decided to use in vitro to start their family, they decided to keep their 11 unused embryos on ice because they believed life began at conception. Now another family has been blessed by the Henderson’s unused embryos.

They link to this story from the Christian Post for more:

Two couples have been blessed by one couple’s decision to donate their unused embryos and adopt them out to other couples in need.

“We have been blessed with three when we didn’t think we’d have one, so, what kind of awesome thing is it to bless another couple and let them experience the same kind of joy we did?” Becky Henderson told USA Today.

Henderson and husband Chris gave birth to twins via in vitro fertilization and then had a “miracle baby” five years later. After the twins were born, the couple still had 11 embryos frozen; they decided to keep them on ice until they could come to a decision about what they wanted to do. They both believe that life begins at conception, so they decided to place the embryos up for adoption. Eventually, they found Kelli and Dan Gassman, who were looking to have a family of their own.

The four decided to have an “open adoption” and after the Gassmans welcomed son Trevor and, two years later, daughter Aubrey, they still remain close. They share pictures of the children, who are biologically related.

“It was kind of like a joining of hearts,” Gassman said.

“Having an open adoption with communication helps you get over the fears and the doubts,” Becky said. “The what-ifs? It helps get beyond that.”

Now that the Gassmans have their own children, they have returned the remaining unused embryos to the Hendersons. The Hendersons have found another family to help and will continue to do so until all of the embryos are used.

One of the reasons why I blogged about infertility yesterday is because I wanted to people to plan to marry early and about using IVF. The trouble with IVF, as the Life News article notes, is that there are often leftover embryos. Most people, as they noted, just discard the extra embryos, but this is wrong. Each embryo is a distinct genetic code for a male or female human being. Each one is a boy or a girl. Each one has a right to life equal to any able-bodied adult. You and I were all embryos when we were started off. So in order to avoid having to make tough decisions with these extra embryos, I recommend that people plan to marry earlier and have children normally.

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