"The issue of human life and its preservation and development is one that begins with conception and ends only when God calls a person back to himself in death. If we are consistent, then, we must be concerned about life from beginning to end. It is like a seamless garment; either it all holds together or eventually it all falls apart." Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, 1975

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saying Patients are PVS Allows Courts to Starve Them to Death, What if the Diagnosis is Wrong?

by Bobby Schindler | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 4/21/14 12:50 PM

I have written time and time again about the dangerous and dehumanizing persistent vegetative state (PVS) diagnosis. Actually, we saw in my family’s battle to save my sister, Terri Schiavo, from death by dehydration, that a tremendous amount of debate raged over whether or not she was in this condition.
In fact, this diagnosis is what allowed the court to order the removal of Terri’s food and water. Yet despite continuing research validating that the PVS diagnosis is growing in its inaccuracy, the medical community uses this diagnosis to end countless lives of our medically vulnerable patients who are allegedly in this condition.

This latest finding is one of a continuous stream of reports that have been issued on the inaccuracy of the PVS diagnosis. From the Report, Brain Scans Show Vegetative Patients May Actually Recover:

The Journal’s report, released on Feb. 3, revealed that some patients who were believed to be in a PVS were actually able to understand and communicate. Through the use of functional magnetic resonance scanning (fMRI), researchers in the United Kingdom estimated that a percentage of those patients suffering from profound brain injuries possessed the capacity to comprehend and communicate in limited ways.
Indeed, every time these studies are published we should move to abolish the PVS diagnosis, in particularly, using it as a reason to kill. Sadly, however, despite these imaging studies and what they reveal about the human brain, the vast majority of the medical community sees nothing improper about using such an unscientific diagnosis for, what usually turns out to be, reasons almost never in the best interest of the patients.

Furthermore, not only can the PVS diagnosis be used as an actual death sentence for a patient, but as a death sentence figuratively speaking, as well. And it seems both are supported under the pretext to save health care costs. You see, the PVS can also be used to cut off funds for a person in need of vital rehabilitation. Because once insurance providers receive the PVS diagnosis in regards to the patient’s condition, no longer are they willing to pay for any rehabilitative services.

Consequently, with no way to afford rehabilitation, families are left to either care for their loved ones at home, or place them in a nursing home. The patients, who could benefit from such services, are basically warehoused and abandoned by a system, ironically, which if it permitted the rehabilitative services to continue, could prove to save costs over the life span of the patients.

Predictably, our mainstream media supports this “quality-of-life” standard agenda and the many years and millions of dollars that have been invested in manipulating our culture to accept killing our most vulnerable persons.
It is incumbent upon all of us, but physicians in particular, to ensure that the lives of vulnerable people are not needlessly ended by flawed diagnostic practices, careless legislation, or the idea that a person with a disability must prove themselves worthy of life’s most ordinary and basic needs: food and water.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Life Matters: A Catholic Response to the Death Penalty


Abortion, euthanasia, domestic abuse, gang related violence, terrorism, murder, mass shootings, expressions of hatred or racism and other acts contrary to the dignity of persons… all of these crimes cry out for justice. Yet we are a people of hope, and St. Paul reminds us that "in hope we were saved" (Rom 8:24).
We are confident that we serve a God of life, of hope and mercy. We know that all human life is a gift from God, a gift that God charges us to protect. To be worthy of being called his disciples, Jesus urges us to love others as he has loved us (Jn 13:34-35). Our response then to a culture in which hostility towards others is commonplace, in which killing is often considered a legitimate solution to social problems, is to both live and proclaim a gospel of life, hope and mercy.

For people committed to upholding the sanctity of human life, the death penalty can present a challenge. Properly understood, however, Catholic teaching against the death penalty is both persuasive and eminently pro-life. It begins with the affirmation that human dignity applies to every human being, to victims as well as those who have committed crimes against life. Our teaching also holds that recourse to the death penalty may be justified only under the most narrow circumstance, namely, if it "is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor" (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], no. 2267). The teaching reminds us that if non-lethal means are capable of protecting society, these are preferable as "more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person" (CCC, no. 2267).

Blessed John Paul II was instrumental in challenging the world to reconsider the use of the death penalty. In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life, "EV"), he explained that, "The Gospel of God's love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel" (no. 2). Quoting the Second Vatican Council's Gaudium et Spes (no. 22), "By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every man," he added that, "This saving event reveals to humanity not only the boundless love of God… but also the incomparable value of every human person" (EV, no. 2).

In the first chapter of EV, "The Voice of Your Brother's Blood Cries to Me from the Ground" (Gen 4:10), Blessed John Paul II presents the story of Cain and Abel to illustrate that God's mercy embraces even a murderer. Despite Cain's deliberate killing of his brother, despite his lack of remorse, his arrogance, his lies to God and utter callousness about what he had done ("I do not know [where Cain is]. Am I my brother's keeper?" Gen 4:9), God nevertheless refuses to take Cain's life as punishment. But he does not leave the crime unpunished. He tells Cain that he will not be able to grow crops and that he will be a fugitive and wanderer on the earth. Cain complains that such leniency is still too harsh, fearing that someone might kill him on sight.

God then reveals still greater mercy towards Cain, putting a mark on him "so that no one would kill him at sight" (Gen 4:15) and promising that "If anyone kills [you], [you] shall be avenged seven times" (Gen 4:15). Although Cain is spared execution, justice requires that he live the rest of his earthly life alone and outcast, but with time to reflect on his crime, to perhaps feel remorse and at last seek forgiveness and reconciliation with God.

The story of Cain and Abel shows that, though we reject and betray God through our sinfulness, his love for human beings is always faithful, merciful, compassionate and patient. Writing about this passage, Blessed John Paul II observed, "Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this" (EV, 9). We must never lose our conviction that even the worst offenders are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Certainly, one of the principal failures of the death penalty is that it denies the opportunity for repentance and conversion by definitively cutting short the efforts of the Holy Spirit to transform the condemned person's soul in this life. In effect, we are condemning the accused not only to death, but possibly also to hell. The finality of the death penalty compels us to ask, who are we to thwart God's desire that all might be saved? Who are we to put an end to the work God is trying to accomplish in anyone's soul?

From a purely secular perspective, it is a fact that simply because states have always exercised the power to kill persons convicted of murder or treason, it does not follow that this power always has been exercised wisely or well. Given mankind's seemingly infinite capacity to err, we must admit that the death penalty poses significant problems. With scandalous frequency, people on death row have later been shown to be innocent of the crime for which they were convicted. As of 2012, 141 people incarcerated on death row in 26 states have been exonerated and freed when conclusive evidence of their innocence was later discovered. But we cannot always rely on DNA evidence to demonstrate guilt or innocence because DNA evidence exists in only 10 percent of cases.

Even if the death penalty were always imposed without error, should we support its use? We teach that killing is wrong by responding with mercy and justice, not more killing. We don't want a government that kills when society can be protected fully by the bloodless means of life imprisonment. By fostering a spirit of vengeance, which should have no role in the administration of justice, the death penalty contributes to the increasing disrespect for human life in our culture.

Today a growing movement in the United States, led by Catholics, opposes the use of the death penalty. As a result, more states are restricting or abolishing its use, but many other states retain this penalty.

As Catholics, we believe and put our hope in a merciful and loving God. We are conscious of our own brokenness and need for redemption. Our Lord calls us to imitate him more perfectly by witnessing to the inherent dignity of every human being, including those whose actions have been despicable. Our faith and hope is in the mercy of God who says to us, "Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy (Mt 5:7) and "I desire mercy, not sacrifices" (Mt 9:13). As Christians we are called to oppose the culture of death by witnessing to something greater and more perfect: a gospel of life, hope and mercy.

Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, recently summed up the case against the death penalty in these words: "As children of God, we're better than this, and we need to start acting like it. We need to end the death penalty now." Let us then join in efforts to end the death penalty and show that we are people of life, hope and mercy.

Anthony Granado is a Policy Advisor in the Office of Domestic Social Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

A liberal for life


By Mike Cummings

Is it possible to be liberal and pro-life?

Not according to most pro-choice advocates.

They argue that no liberal is a good liberal unless she or he supports the "woman's right to choose."

The truth is, there are thousands - perhaps even millions - of liberals who oppose abortion. Good liberals.

I'm one of them. From the time I supported John F. Kennedy for president, I have steadfastly promoted liberal causes: civil rights, the school lunch program, equal pay for women, day care, guaranteed health care for all Americans, and empowerment programs for the homeless, the unemployed, the poor. I have also supported the cause of the unborn. Like the homeless, the unemployed and the poor, they are disenfranchised, powerless, unable to speak for themselves. But are the unborn really human?

There are two possibilities: Either the fetus developing in the womb is a human being, or it is a blob of protoplasm.

There can be no in-between. There can be no half-humans. If pro-choice advocates can prove that a fetus at any stage of development is not human, then their position becomes the correct one.

But if they cannot furnish such proof, then the pro-life position becomes correct one.


Consider the following analogy.

A hunter in the woods spots a moving object in heavy brush. Although he's almost certain it's a deer, he realizes there's a one in a thousand chance it could be a human being. Nevertheless, he fires a round at the object, not wanting to miss an opportunity. Has he committed a wrong?

Moral theologians of any religion - Moslem, Jewish, Christian, Hindu - would answer yes. The hunter was not certain, after all, that his target was not human. If there was a 1 in 1,000 chance that the target was human - or a 1 in 1 billion chance that it was human - the hunter could not fire under humankind's prevailing moral law. He could not even fire if there was a 1 in 1 trillion chance that the target was human.

Why is it, then, that a fetus - which even many pro-choicers believe could be human - does not receive the same respect? Why is that a fetus is so often reduced to the status of "blob"

The reason, I believe, is that the leaders of our society have arrogated unto themselves a kind of "benign moral pragmatism" that bases decisions not on what is right or wrong but on how the decisions affect individuals negatively or positively. Thus:

If abortion rescues a poor woman from the struggle of child-rearing - or a rich woman from social embarrassment - it must be good. Likewise, if abortion prevents the birth of a deformed child - or helps prevent overpopulation - it is the right thing to do.

Sadly thousands of our legislators embrace such specious arguments, some of them for political gain, and many of our judges follow their example.

Because no one has ever come forward with conclusive proof that a fetus is not a human being, I believe abortion is wrong in every instance. There can be no justifying it, just as there can be no justifying the action of the hunter in the woods.

America would do better to abandon pro-choice legislation in favor of pro-people legislation that strengthens child-care and adoptions programs that seek to improve the lot of the medically, socially and educationally deprived and underprivileged.

That is the real mission of liberalism: to provide for and protect the least and most defenseless of God's creatures, not eliminate them.

Mike Cummings can be reached at mcumming@csrlink.net

The Feminist Case Against Abortion

America:  The National Catholic Review, January 19-26, 2015 Issue,
by Serrin M. Foster
Recovering the pro-life roots of the women’s movement
ON THE MOVE. A suffrage parade, New York City, May 6, 1912
Not all feminists support abortion. Properly defined, feminism is a philosophy that embraces basic rights for all human beings without exception—without regard to race, religion, sex, size, age, location, disability or parentage. Feminism rejects the use of force to dominate, control or destroy anyone.
The organization Feminists for Life continues a 200-year-old tradition begun by Mary Wollstonecraft in England in 1792. Decrying the sexual exploitation of women in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Wollstonecraft also condemned those who would “either destroy the embryo in the womb or cast it off when born,” saying: “Nature in everything deserves respect, and those who violate her laws seldom violate them with impunity.”
Mary Wollstonecraft died from complications following the birth of her second baby girl, who was named Mary in her honor. Like her mother, the younger Mary would become a great writer, producing one of the greatest novels ever to address the dangers of violating nature—Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley.
Fifty years after Mary Wollstonecraft’s book was published, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton traveled to England to fight for the abolition of slavery. Barred from speaking at the 1842 World Anti-Slavery Convention simply because they were women, Mott and Stanton determined to hold a convention advancing the rights of women.
At that time, American women could not vote or hold property. They could not control their own money, sit on a jury or even testify on their own behalf. Women’s rights to assemble, speak freely, attend college and maintain child custody after divorce or spousal death were severely limited. Marital rape went unacknowledged. The early American feminists—facing conditions similar to those in developing countries today—were strongly opposed to abortion; despite their own struggles, they believed in the worth of all human lives.
Abortion was common in the 1800s. Sarah Norton, who with Susan B. Anthony successfully argued for women’s admission to Cornell University, wrote in 1870:
Child murderers practice their profession without let or hindrance, and open infant butcheries unquestioned.... Perhaps there will come a day when...an unmarried mother will not be despised because of her motherhood...and when the right of the unborn to be born will not be denied or interfered with.
In 1868 Eleanor Kirk, a novelist turned activist, linked the need for women’s rights with the need to protect the unborn. When a woman told her that suffrage was unnecessary because she and her husband were “one,” Kirk asked what would become of her babies if her husband ceased to provide for them:
What will become of the babies—did you ask—and you? Can you not see that the idea is to educate women that they may be self-reliant, self-sustaining, self-respected? The wheel is a big one, and needs a strong push, and a push all together, giving to it an impulse that will keep it constantly revolving, and the first revolution must be Female Suffrage.
Without known exception, the early feminists condemned abortion in no uncertain terms. In the radical feminist newspaper The Revolution, the founder, Susan B. Anthony, and the co-editor, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, refused to publish advertisements for “Foeticides and Infanticides.” Stanton, who in 1848 organized the first women’s convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., classified abortion as a form of “infanticide” and, referring to the “murder of children, either before or after birth,” said, “We believe the cause of all these abuses lies in the degradation of women.”
Early feminists argued that women who had abortions were responsible for their actions but that they resorted to abortion primarily because, within families and throughout society, they lacked autonomy, financial resources and emotional support. A passage in Susan B. Anthony’s newspaper states:
Guilty? Yes, no matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh, thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!
Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president (in 1872), concurred. In her own newspaper, Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly, Woodhull wrote: “The rights of children, then, as individuals, begin while they yet remain the foetus.” Woodhull and her sister, Tennessee Claflin, declared, “Pregnancy is not a disease, but a beautiful office of nature.”
Clearly, we have a wealth of evidence contradicting the lie that feminists must support abortion. Some who begrudgingly admit the early American feminists were anti-abortion have suggested that their stance arose from Victorian attitudes about sex. That is not true either. Elizabeth Cady Stanton shocked Victorian society by parading around in public visibly pregnant. She raised a flag to celebrate the birth of her son. Stanton celebrated womanhood. She was in-your-face about her ability to have children.
But like today’s pro-life feminists, our feminist foremothers also recognized that women need not bear children to share in the celebration of womanhood. Susan B. Anthony was once complimented by a man who said that she “ought to have been a wife and mother.” Anthony replied:
Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them.
In her later years, Anthony passed on the responsibility for women’s rights to a new generation, just as we must prepare to do. At the turn of the century, one young woman, Alice Paul, assumed leadership. Paul fought tirelessly for passage of the 19th Amendment, which in 1920 finally guaranteed to American women the right to vote.

The Betrayal of Modern Women

Much later in life, Alice Paul was asked by a friend what she thought of linking abortion to women’s rights. The author of the original Equal Rights Amendment called abortion “the ultimate exploitation of women.” Yet what earlier feminists called a “disgusting and degrading crime” was, in the 1970s, lauded as the most fundamental right, without which all other rights are meaningless. So how did the second wave feminist movement come to embrace abortion?
Two of the male founders of the National Association to Repeal Abortion Laws were among the first to portray abortion as a “right” rather than an act of violence. Larry Lader promoted abortion as population control. His NARAL cofounder, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, saw a botched abortion in Chicago and reasoned that “legal” would mean “safer.” Nathanson later became pro-life. But in the early 1970s, the men traveled the country advocating the repeal of what they believed to be antiquated abortion laws. After failing to convince legislators that anti-abortion laws were “archaic,” Lader saw an opportunity. According to Nathanson, Lader approached leaders of the women’s movement. He reasoned that if a woman wanted to be educated like a man, hired like a man and promoted like a man, women should not expect their employers to accommodate pregnancy.
Forty-two years after the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, many within the pro-life movement focus on the undeniable humanity of each unborn child, clearly visible through the millions of sonograms obtained by proud parents each year. But it is also a good time to evaluate the impact that Roe v. Wade attorney Sarah Weddington’s pro-abortion arguments have had on women.
In 1973, Weddington exposed the discrimination and other injustices faced by pregnant women who are poor or in the workplace or school. But she did not demand that these injustices be remedied. Instead, she demanded for women the “right” to submit to these injustices by destroying their pregnancies. Weddington repeatedly said that women need “relief” from pregnancy, instead of arguing that women need relief from these injustices.
What if Weddington had used her legal acumen to challenge the system and address women’s needs? Women are not suddenly stupid when they become pregnant. They can still read, write and think. But by accepting pregnancy discrimination in school and in the workplace, by accepting the widespread lack of support for pregnant women and parents—especially among the poor—Weddington and the Supreme Court betrayed women and undermined the support women need and deserve.

The Failing Report Card

Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the United States. According to the Guttmacher Institute, their former research arm:
• Three out of four women who have abortions say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for a dependent.
• 69 percent are economically disadvantaged.
• 61 percent are already mothers.
• Women of color are disproportionately at risk of abortion.
• Half of all abortions are performed on women who have already had an abortion.
• 44 percent of all abortions are performed on college-age women.
All too often, the root causes underlying these statistics are shame and fear generated about pregnancy by the attitudes of parents, friends and the fathers of children. Fatherhood has been diminished. Children are disconnected from their fathers, who have rights as well as responsibilities. And millions of women have paid the price. Women, many impoverished because of the billions owed to mothers for child support, are struggling in school and the workplace without societal support. After all, when “it’s her body, it’s her choice,” it’s her problem.
For all these reasons and more, more than a million times a year in the United States, a woman lays her body down or swallows a bitter pill called “choice”—driven to abortion because of a lack of resources and support.
Abortion solves nothing. Almost four decades after Roe, we mourn the loss of 57 million American children that we will never meet. We will never know what they might have contributed to this world. But we must also remember the hundreds of women and teens who have lost their lives to legal but lethal abortion because they did not want to inconvenience us with their pregnancies.
We mourn with the parents of Holly Patterson, who died from sepsis after she took RU-486, and with the parents of Dawn Ravenell, the 13-year-old girl who never came home after she had an abortion without her parent’s knowledge. We mourn with the husband of Karnamaya Mongar, a poor immigrant who died as a result of her abortion at the hands of the convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell. Where is the outrage from women’s advocates?

Hard Cases, Exceptional Choices

Talking about abortion brings out raw emotions. Nothing is more divisive than talk about pregnancy and rape, and nothing challenges pro-life beliefs more than this heated issue. Just as we have challenged thinking about special-needs babies and their parents, we must help women who have conceived during rape and welcome children conceived in violence.
We must help people have the courage to look into the face of a child conceived during rape and say, “You didn’t deserve the death penalty.” The circumstances of one’s conception do not determine a person’s worth. These children should not be regarded as “exceptions.” But their mothers should be recognized as “exceptional.” And as advocates of life, peace and justice, we will never trade one form of violence for another.
Today we stand in solidarity with women coerced into abortion because they felt they had no choice. We stand with women who were vulnerable because they were young, or poor, or in schools or workplaces that would not accommodate their needs as mothers.
We stand in solidarity with women who have been betrayed by those they count on the most, with women who have underestimated their own strength, with women who have experienced abortion and are silent no more, with young men and women who mourn their missing siblings. We mourn with men who weren’t given a choice or who contributed to an abortion that they now regret.
In all its forms, abortion has masked—rather than solved—the problems women face. Abortion is a failed experiment on women. Why celebrate failure?

Addressing Root Causes

For decades, abortion advocates have asked, “What about the woman?” And pro-lifers have answered, “What about the baby?” This does nothing to address the needs of women who are pregnant. We should start by addressing the needs of women—for family housing, child care, maternity coverage, for the ability to telecommute to school or work, to job-share, to make a living wage and to find practical resources.
As pro-life employers and educators, we must examine our own policies and practices in our own communities, workplaces, colleges and universities. With woman-centered problem solving, we can set the example for the nation and the world. We must ramp up efforts to systemically address the unmet needs of struggling parents, birthparents and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Because 61 percent of abortions are performed on mothers who already have dependents, Feminists for Life is determined to help those facing tough economic times; FFL has published “Raising Kids on a Shoestring,” a national directory filled with creative, frugal and free solutions for pregnant women, parents and advisors.
And Feminists for Life advocates unconditional support for women who lovingly place their babies into the arms of adoptive couples. We applaud birthmothers like the former FFL board chair Jessica O’Connor-Petts, who tells us that “adoption can be an empowering option for women.”
We must focus our efforts on collegians who have never known a day without legal abortion. Forty-three percent of all abortions are performed on college-age women, women who will become our future leaders and educators in every field. For these reasons, Feminists for Life’s flagship effort is our college outreach program.
In addition to teaching the rich, pro-life feminist history that we have uncovered, we have been moderating FFL Pregnancy Resource Forums at campuses across the country. The first such panel discussion was at Georgetown University in 1997. Administrators, community leaders and students came together in a nonconfrontational setting to identify available resources on and off campus and to set priorities for new policies, resources and ways to communicate nonviolent options.
Within two years, Georgetown University’s board of trustees set aside endowed housing for parenting students. The Hoya Kids Learning Center was established. Pregnant and parenting students had access to health services and user-friendly information on the school’s website. Students created volunteer babysitting services. A “safety net” team of university administrators organized to ensure that no pregnant women—including birthmothers and international students—fall through the cracks. And every year, Georgetown hosts a Pregnancy Resource Forum to take another look at ways they can improve.
The first Georgetown forum started with the story of a woman who had an abortion because she did not know where to go for help. At the 14th annual forum, babies played on the floor. Beaming mothers told us they have “everything [they] need.” This past fall I moderated the 19th annual forum at Georgetown University. Because of our early efforts at Georgetown, Villanova and Notre Dame, this is the first year that babies born with the support of administrators are now likely entering college themselves.
Other colleges have also expanded their support for student parents. Pepperdine University created a task force to support pregnant women, adjusting policies to better suit student parents’ needs and building family housing. A donor recently stepped forward to fund a housing scholarship. Abbot Placid Solari and the monks of Belmont Abbey donated land adjacent to Belmont Abbey for “A Room at the Inn,” now called Mira-Via, so that women will not feel pressured to terminate either their pregnancies or their educations. Pregnant women and new mothers can now have their babies and continue with school.
Pro-life and pro-choice students came together at Wellesley College to hold a rummage sale benefitting a pregnant student who lost her financial aid for housing. The young woman had her baby and graduated. A University of Virginia student started a babysitting club. Berkeley Students for Life held bake sales to pay for diaper decks. Students for Life at St. Louis University started a scholarship fund for child care. There are many other examples like this as the ideas of Feminists for Life members and supporters go viral.
In 2010, FFL Pregnancy Resource Forums findings became the inspiration for federal grants to states through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Pregnancy Assistance Fund. After the first 10 years of FFL’s College Outreach Program, Planned Parenthood reported a 30 percent drop in abortions among college-educated women.

Women Deserve Better

Abortion betrays the basic feminist principles of nonviolence, nondiscrimination and justice for all. Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women—and that women have settled for less. Women deserve better.
Forty years after Sarah Weddington capitulated to inherently unfair practices against pregnant and parenting women, we say no to the status quo. We refuse to choose between women and children.
More than a century ago, the same women who fought for women’s rights and for the rights of slaves to be free also fought to protect women and children from abortion. We continue their fight in the spirit of Mattie Brinkerhoff, who wrote in 1869 in The Revolution:
When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we can safely assume that there is something wrong in society—so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged.
Feminism was born of abolition. All people are equal. Not all choices are equal. We envision a better day, a day when womanhood is celebrated, mothers are supported, fatherhood is honored and every child is cherished.
If you refuse to choose between women and children, if you work to systematically eliminate the root causes that drive women to abortion, then you already follow in the footsteps of Susan B. Anthony and our other feminist foremothers, whether you call yourself a feminist or not.
Serrin M. Foster is president of Feminists for Life of America, the creator of the Women Deserve Better campaign and editor in chief of The American Feminist. Since 1994 the author has focused her efforts on serving women at high risk of abortion, including the poor, victims of violence and college-age women. This essay, adapted from the landmark speech“The Feminist Case Against Abortion,” is part of America’s coverage of issues related to the Synod of Bishops on the Family.

Six Reasons Why Men Can Speak on Abortion

by Marc Barnes | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 1/16/13 1:34 PM

The injustice of abortion is the free choice of a woman who sees it working towards her good. This has lead to the common call for men to remove themselves from the debate surrounding the injustice. It is, after all, a woman’s issue.
While I sympathize with the thought, it doesn’t hold to the light of reason. Women bear pregnancy and birth, as they physically and emotionally bear the sad experience of abortion. As such, they are certainly the most experientially trustworthy spokeswomen for the issue. But this pride of place does not exclude the male voice. Here’s why.

1. Josiah Presley.
Men can speak about abortion because men are aborted. Is it wrong for Josiah — who survived an abortion with only a deformed left arm — to speak in favor of rendering illegal the cause of his suffering? It’s certainly a popular thought, that he should shut up over an obviously women-only issue, but he stands against all odds as a living, breathing testament to the fact that it’s not. It’s a human rights issue, and men and women hold the marvelous distinction of being human in common along, with the less-than-marvelous distinction of being threatened, maimed, or killed by abortion.

2. The majority of women are pressured into having abortions.
The study “Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women” published in Medical Science Monitor found that 64% of American women “felt pressured by others” to have an abortion. We can safely assume that some of the individuals doing the pressuring were men.
This is a crime, and it points to a reality glossed over by many in the pro-choice crowd. Men are not absent from the abortion debate in the private sphere, but will and do impose their desires on women. To remove the male voice from the public sphere won’t remove it from the private sphere. It will only reduce the number of men who hear, from their brothers, that abortion is wrong, and pressuring women into an abortion far worse.

3. Children — those human lives threatened by abortion — are under the care of their mother and father.
The logic of abortion would have us believe that a husband bends to his wife’s swelling belly, kisses it and sings a song to her dear cellular clump, which at some arbitrary time decided by his wife (and who knows when? That’s the magical part!) will become his child. This, of course, is stupid. Unborn children are the children of a mother and father.
There is no legal distinction on the duty of parents to their child made on the basis of sex. Every parent has the duty to provide his or her children with the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter, and necessary medical care. To do otherwise is child abuse.
Now if parental duties towards children have nothing to do with sex, how can the question of the very life of that child have everything to do with sex? Why are men exempt from duty towards their children before they are born?
The issue here is one of consistency. If we are going to say that the creation of new life is one that, for 9 months, is entirely the responsibility of the mother and entirely not the responsibility of a father, we have to come up with a really good reason for the father receiving the exact same amount of responsibility when the baby does pop from the womb.
It can’t be because he participated in making that new human life. He made it 9 months ago, and had no say in the discussion of its continued existence. We must base the responsibility of the father to his child on something besides creation.
On the fact that he is capable of direct physical contact with the baby? So are others. On the fact that he promised to take care of the baby (once it “became” his baby by virtue of leaving the uterus)? A man must support the child he didn’t “mean” to create with the woman he never liked. What then? Is sex an implicit commitment to being responsible for a new human life (after a 9 month delay)? But why, if not because — by way of sex — a man participates in making a new human life? And if that’s the reason why, we’re back at our primary problem: He participated in making a new human life 9 months ago. Why the delay?
We are left in a shamble of responsibilities, the existence of which have no origin.

4. Male abortionists.
I searched around a break down of the male/female populations of abortionists and abortion-performing doctors without luck, so I don’t know whether most abortionists are male or female. But the fact that there are male abortionists poses an interesting question. It is a woman’s free choice to undergo an abortion. It is a male abortionists free choice to perform an abortion. If a man can’t speak of a woman’s free choice that he could never truly experience, assumedly he can speak of a man’s free choice that he could experience. Thus men are free to enter the debate on abortion.

5. If this moral debate is to be sex specific, so must others.
If abortion is to be a women’s issue because it is a woman choosing to have an abortion, and men cannot know what that’s like, then an obvious problem arises. (It might seem like a ridiculous problem if you believe that the human life within a pregnant woman is not, in fact, a human life, and therefore that abortion is just, but suspend disbelief for a moment and imagine it so, that the position of the other might make a little more sense.)
Sex slavery is an injustice largely — if not entirely — perpetrated by men on women. It is a free choice made by men. This does not mean that the outrage over sex slavery should be limited to male outrage.
Now the differences are obvious, but they don’t change the fundamental truth here.
The victims of sex slavery are mostly women — of course women should protest! Well, the victims of abortion are often men. It follows that they should too.
But the victims of sex slavery are conscious of the injustice perpetrated on them, while the fetus is not! Then we arrive at the real question: Is an injustice only an injustice if the person affected by it knows he is affected by it? Can you kill a man while he’s asleep? Can he you suffocate a coma patient? Can you drink your friend unconscious then slit his wrists, for it is no injustice if the victim of injustice does not experience it?
That’s quite a discussion, but it proves something I suspected all along. Any discussion of whether men can speak on abortion will inevitably lead to and be decided by the question of whether abortion is wrong.

6. Abortion is wrong.    
The human person experiences good and evil as universal. Murder is not wrong-for-some. The fact that rape is a free choice does not negate our ability to protest it, even if we’ve never experienced rape. Abuse is not “complicated” and thereby above the judgment of those unaffected by abuse.
If you come to the conclusion that it is unjust for a human life to be intentionally killed in utero, it is impossible not to apply this realization of reality to the universe. Thus:  We will not rest until we have affected its abolition.