Planned Parenthood should change its name….

to Planned Abortion Services Ltd. Here are the 2008 stats of the “services” provided by Planned Parenthood courtesy of Jill Stanek and the American Life League:

Abortions: 324,008 (up 6.1% from 305,310 in 2007)
Prenatal care: 9,433 (down 14% from 10,914 in 2007)
Adoption: 2,405 (down 51% from 4,912 in 2007)

This pie chart is fun to see as well:

Doesn’t really look like there is much choice at Planned Parenthood, does it?

Pro-life 101: Jill Stanek asks a good question

As pro-lifers, we will meet a lot of hostility from pro-choicers. We must be ready to defend ourselves when called upon and even though the University of Toronto Students of Life offers Pro-life 101 sessions throughout the school year (you should get on the mailing list to find out when and where they will be located!) I’m offering an online Pro-life 101 session now. The tireless pro-life fighter Jill Stanek recently had a back and forth e-mail session with a pro-choicer and here is how it went:

Jill then goes on to ask what the pro-life answer to “Why don’t you people put up or shut up – pay for the care of pregnant mothers in crisis and adopt the unwanted or “defective” babies?”. The comments section had some really good answers. They included:

1. Pro-lifers already help women with unwanted pregnancies: They are called crisis pregnancy centres, like this one

2. If your neighbour was beating his wife and kids, would you have to marry the wife and adopt the kids before calling the police and children’s aid?

3. If pro-aborts pro-choicers really care about choice, what are they doing to ensure that this woman has the support she needs to actually make a choice?

4. If I am against car theft, I don’t have to be a policeman or part of the Neighbourhood Watch to tell others to not steal cars. 

5. How many children would I, a pro-lifer, have to adopt to make my pro-life views known? Would me adopting 20 children instead of 2 children make abortion worse, or is abortion wrong for the fact that an innocent child is killed? (I came up with this one)

These are just some of the responses I picked out. If you have more, feel free to share!

Why would you join a movement that tried to ensure your mother could kill you?

This post from Jill Stanek is too good not to share:

Newsweek posted an interesting piece on April 16, “Remember Roe!”, with the byline, “How can the next generation defend abortion rights when they don’t think abortion rights need defending?”

How ironic. As I commented to a millennial who wrote an article at RH Reality Check attempting to refute Newsweek, “Elise, just one question: What in the world draws you to join a movement that tried every way possible to ensure your mother could kill you, unrestrained by any law or regulation whatsoever?”…

I wonder how you’d turn that into a recruitment slogan…

And some highlights from the article itself:

NARAL president Nancy Keenan had grown fearful about the future of her movement even before the health-care debate. Keenan considers herself part of the “postmenopausal militia,” a generation of baby-boomer activists now well into their 50s….

[W]hat worries Keenan is that she just doesn’t see a passion among the post-Roe generation – at least, not among those on her side.

This past January, when Keenan’s train pulled into Washington’s Union Station… she was greeted by a swarm of anti-abortion-rights activists. It was the 37th annual March for Life, organized every year on Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe. “I just thought, my gosh, they are so young,” Keenan recalled. “There are so many of them, and they are so young.” March for Life estimates it drew 400k activists to the Capitol this year. An anti-Stupak rally two months earlier had about 1,300 attendees.


Millennials also came of age as ultrasounds provided increasingly clear pictures of fetal development. “The technology has clearly helped to define how people think about a fetus as a full, breathing human being,” admits former NARAL president Kate Michelman. “The other side has been able to use the technology to its own end.”…

[W]ithin the abortion-rights community there’s a growing consensus on a promising path forward: start an open discussion about the moral, ethical, and emotional complexity of abortion that would be more likely to resonate with young Americans. “It’s a morally complex issue that both sides have tried to make black and white,” says Greenberg. “We have to recognize the moral complexity.”

Abortion-rights activists have traditionally hesitated on this front, viewing it as a slippery slope toward their own defeat. Instead, they often go to extremes to fend off even the smallest encroachments, opposing popular restrictions like parental-notification laws and bans on late-term procedures. Lately, though, Keenan has been more convinced that NARAL must adopt a more nuanced stance. On the 35th anniversary of Roe… she bluntly told a crowd… in Austin, TX… that “our reluctance to address the moral complexity of this debate is no longer serving our cause or our country well. In our silence, we have ceded moral ground.”

Of course, though abortion is often extremely complex emotionally, psychologically or even practically speaking, it’s not morally complex—is the unborn a human person or not? The reason that abortion advocates are so hesitant to address the moral complexity is that it’s hard to admit there’s anything wrong with abortion unless we’re talking about the unborn as a human person, in which case… how can we justify elective abortion to begin with?

Oh, and one other thing worth pointing out regarding NARAL: the last surviving founding member is now pro-life.

Extremism and fatigue with the abortion debate

Sometimes, I get tired of extremism all around. Well, it’s not extremism so much as a lack of an attempt at empathy that gets me. I set aside these links in January. Both appeared in my feed reader around the same time.

On the pro-life side, Jill Stanek wrote a post about how a silver coat hanger pendant was described as “gorgeous and touching” by an abortion proponent. It is an incredibly odd thing to say, but there’s no attempt at understanding on Stanek’s part—however challenging that may be. Is it seen as “gorgeous and touching” because it’s a tribute to women who died from unsafe abortions? (Why that’s a poor argument for legalized abortion is a matter for another post.) Instead of attempting to understand what would cause someone to make such a bizarre statement, Stanek just takes the opportunity to point out how crazy the other side is.

I get tired of that sometimes. Point out how absurd the arguments are, but I’m not sure I see the value in ridiculing the people…

And on the other side, you can always rely on Feministing to be void of empathy for anyone they disagree with. We’re referred to as “antis” (1984 was not an instruction manual…), and in a lengthy post about sidewalk counselling at abortion clinics, Jos is entirely incapable of even imagining—for a split second—what might possess us antis to try and talk a mother out of killing her unborn child. We’re all stupid, think lowly of women and just want to harass them. I suppose it’s totally inconceivable (pun not really intended) that anyone might be thankful that they were caused to re-think a decision to get an abortion.

Sometimes, it’s just tiring to constantly hear all the strawman arguments and caricatures. It’s easy to show how illogical the arguments in favour of abortion are, but the real challenge is to respond compassionately and empathetically to those who speak most violently against us, rather than to descend into the same bouts of name-calling or ridicule…

*sigh* </rant>

I’ve probably been guilty of the same thing. Here’s to making more of a conscious effort to criticize what people say, rather than simply ridiculing the people themselves.

What do Pro-Lifers think about contraception?

As a club, Students for Life doesn’t take a stance on contraception. Opponents often (smugly) question why pro-lifers wouldn’t add their unconditional support to contraceptives in order to reduce unwanted pregnancies, but the issue is really more complicated than that (even ignoring contraceptives that act as abortifacients).

As Janet Smith explains:

Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the [1992] Supreme Court decision that confirmed Roe v. Wade, stated, “in some critical respects abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception… for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.”

The Supreme Court decision has made completely unnecessary any efforts to “expose” what is really behind the attachment of the modern age to abortion. As the Supreme Court candidly states, we need abortion so that we can continue our contraceptive lifestyles. [emphasis (and link) mine]

The smug assumption that more contraception means less abortion is really a sloppy simplification of the relationship between contraception and abortion. When our society attempts to separate sex from pregnancy, and we organize our sexual relationships based on that assumption, a pregnancy is a failure — one that we aren’t willing to accept — and people often turn to abortion as the “solution.”

But, if people are going to be having sex without an openness to pregnancy anyways, shouldn’t we promote contraception to reduce the chances of unwanted pregnancies? We offer clean needles to drug addicts, even though we don’t want to promote drug use…

This past weekend, Jill Stanek asked her readers the following questions:

Do you agree or disagree that the contraceptive issue is tied to the abortion issue?

Why or why not?

Do you think pro-lifers should accentuate or ignore contraception in our discussion of the sanctity of life?

Check out the conversation in the comments.

Personally, I think Students for Life is right not to take a stance on the issue, so long as we don’t shy away from talking about it. I’m hesitant to bundle ideas, and the relationship between contraception and abortion is complex. Though, we shouldn’t be afraid to address the issue. But there’s room for debate and disagreement.

What do you think?

WARNING: Abortion Causes Dead Babies

RH Reality Check’s “common ground” site on abortion has been anything but a “common ground” so far. Jill Stanek offers her own, no non-sense common ground suggestion.

Obama said yesterday in a meeting with Catholic reporters

“I don’t know any circumstance in which abortion is a happy circumstance or decision, and to the extent that we can help women avoid being confronted with a circumstance in which that’s even a consideration, I think that’s a good thing.”

It sounds an awful lot to me as if Obama thinks there is something wrong with abortion, much like NYC officials think there is something wrong with smoking. Here is their plan, according to AOL News, July 1:

“A proposal from [NYC's] Dept. of Mental Health and Hygiene suggests prominently displaying antismoking signs near the cash registers of all cigarette retailers.

The legislation would be the first of its kind in the U.S. And while Canada, New Zealand and Australia currently have sign requirements, NY would be the first to include graphics…” [note: I've certainly seen graphic signs in Toronto...]

Here are the salient points, from the New York Times:

“It’s really about getting them at the point-of-sale moment,” said Sarah Perl, the health department’s assistant commissioner for tobacco control….

We want them to also think about the consequences about what it will do to them,” Ms. Perl said….

“This type of signage which communicates purely factual information about a commercial transaction is legal,” she said.

Does anyone else see where this is headed?

If we all agree abortion is something be “avoid[ed],” as Obama said, then we could easily launch the same sort of anti-abortion campaign, using “factual information about a commercial transaction” at the “point-of-sale moment,” as Perl stated, of signs showing abortion at abortion mills, since it “can be effective to display gruesome health effects….”

The NYC anti-smoking campaign ad:

NYC anti-smoking campaign

And Jill Stanek’s suggestion:
WARNING: Abortion causes dead babies

Somehow, I’m guessing abortion supporters would call one of these ads “factual” and the other “manipulative.” I’d love to hear someone try to explain why.