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abortion

abortion

Abortion- Norma Mccorvey

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The Jane Roe of ‘Roe vs Wade’ was really Norma McCorvey, but she can no longer be the poster child for the pro-abortion movement she once was, because she is a hallmark example — and given her role in the history of abortion law — an iconic example of God’s way of changing hearts.

McCorvey had a traumatic childhood.   Her grandmother was a prostitute and her mother a violent alcoholic. When her parents divorced she was taken in and then raped by a relative. After an abusive marriage at age 16, McCorvey turned to alcohol and lesbian relationships. By the age of 21 she was pregnant for the third time and sought an abortion. However, state enforcement closed the abortion clinic before she could procure the abortion. This action became the basis for Roe vs. Wade because she had given birth when she did not want to. (She gave her baby up for adoption.) For the next twenty-three years she lived quietly with her lesbian partner, occasionally working in abortion clinics. A sympathetic interview with her, published in the New York Times on the occasion of her first book, ‘I am Roe’ (1994) gives a sense of those years, including death threats and shootings from ‘anti-abortion’ people.

The publication of the book occasioned her meeting an Evangelical pastor which led to her conversion to Christianity and a change of heart on abortion after seeing a poster which illustrated the stages of development of the fetus: “…something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth—that’s a baby!”

The rest of her story is one of a gradual deepening of faith and active prolife work. She appealed to the Supreme Court, based on standing, to overturn the outcome of Roe vs. Wade. After her conversion to evangelical Christianity she ceased her lesbian lifestyle and later sought entrance to the Catholic Church.

Her second book, ‘Won by Love’, (1997) retells the story from her new perspective on life. She died last February 18, 2017 at age 69.

Modernity/Culture

abortion, abstinence, adolescent sexuality, church, McCorvey, Prayer, pro-life, teen pregnancy No comments

Something is going well in America, and the public evidence is that love, prayer, and truth — all combined —are changing America for the good on life/abortion and sexual activity.   Modernity is capable of reform. The drift is not all downward by any means.

  • Teen sexual activity: Prior to pregnancy comes sexual intercourse and on that the data is very encouraging from every perspective. On the sexual side there is good news in the classroom: continued significant decrease in teenage sexual activity, most pronounced among black teenagers who are coming closer to the national norm. We blogged before on Collier County Florida where, through effective abstinence-only education in the public schools, the STD rate plummeted and almost disappeared for some STDs among teenagers, while their teenage birth rate more than halved. This program is spreading throughout the country.
  • The Norma McCorvey story, above, points to the enduring power of love to heal the wounds of hate, rejection, violence, and abuse. The prolife movement has expanded from protest and argument to a much broader and very significant movement of compassion and service to the mother tempted with abortion.
  • Prayer: From myriads of ‘national-sample’ charts we know that the more people pray the more their prayers are answered. Public prayer outside abortion clinics is the face of God and man cooperating in public on this issue; it is the meeting of suffering and compassion. Also, behind this public prayer there is the hidden prayer in homes, in hearts and in churches.
  • The effect of mimetic desire. For a young single woman an unintended pregnancy is a major stumbling block in life, and, as Rene Girard illustrates, when we stumble we desire the easiest way around the obstacle and copy solutions we see others using .   Thus, proximity to abortion clinics correlates with higher incidence of abortion. The absence of abortion clinics removes such mimetic desires and increases the incidence of mothers coping successfully, giving occasion for different desires to awaken, and different models to copy. And, on the issue of teen sexual activity, as reported above, the presence of more and more teens who abstain from sexual intercourse makes it more likely others will desire and copy the same.
  • Sonogram technology makes the baby visible and shows it to be very much alive. Even a poster has had dramatic effects, as the case of Norma McCorvey illustrates.
  • Political action and prayer has led to the closing of a significant number of abortion clinics

So, on the foundational dimension of human behavior, the sexual, teenagers are increasingly going the right direction —- because adults are putting lots of effort into the fundamentals. A new culture is being formed.

Sexuality

abortion, gender, sexuality 3 comments

For men, women are the most desirable of all in God’s creatures.  Not only Adam has had this experience, all is descendants do too, and have their own ranking of the “desirability-from-afar” of women.  However, all men also learn (as do women about men) that up close and real many high rankings crumble because intrinsic to her desirability is her goodness.  Nobody but the insanely lustful wants a physically beautiful woman who comes with major vices. Which, sadly, brings us to “the modern woman”.

The search for the beginning of the end of Western Civilization can go back quite a distance, well into the middle ages.  I vote for Ockham, though others will go further backwards or forward.  But, within the modern maze of cracking foundations many would point to the acceptance of abortion in law as the most significant change. It changed, and was designed to change, the status of all women in law.  In social relations it also changed the more hidden status of those women who bought into it — who accepted “non-marital sex with abortion as backup insurance”.  Such women, at heart, are very different from those who reject regime.   Unwittingly, most of these new women have embraced grave evils.  They are changed and in this they are totally different from women “of old”.

And the men who welcome these new women are of the same heart, and probably even worse because they will have in spades that vice easily inflamed in the male:  to lust after many women, not just one.  He will be prone to lust after, use and then discard the woman of the moment as soon as the next desirable one comes along.  Enter myriad Harvey Weinsteins.   But, in this new regime, no man can be really at ease for all know we have a Harvey close within, locked up, we hope, but in a jail easily broken out of.

There is a real justice to the pursuit of Harvey and his imitators, no doubt, but  I am not sure there is much virtue to it because the rather immediate root causes (abortion as backup to sex outside of marriage) are still sacred cows in the religion of the accusers and the courts of the enforcers.

I am sure it has amazed all men — sexually virtuous or not, guilty as Harvey or not — who have seen some of the accusers still dressing in a way that is real “sexual harassment” of all men.  In effect these women say: “I present myself physically to you so that you will lust after me, but don’t you dare present yourself physically to me in response.  Do that and you will end up in court, hopefully in jail.”  It seems they are flaunting a legally protected form of sexual harassment.

This highlights the modern dilemma for Western civilization and its laws: it has lost its bearings on what it is to be a man and to be a woman, but is not yet prepared to go for deep reform on the difference, the intimate connection between male and female, where the connection which balances that difference is the child.

However, modern sexual relations are legally premised on the exclusion of the child, both in contraception and in abortion.  Yet that very child is the anchor of civilization, its compass and its destination. But no one is talking child as they talk Harvey Weinstein.  And most would think it crazy to bring the child into this conversation. And they are right.  In the modern world it is crazy, most especially in court, where the child, the ultimate victim is not admitted as witness, not even as observer.  Such is the constipated justice in this deserved but exacerbating pursuit of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world.

It used to be true that women were the cause of men becoming civilized.  Today the woman who rejects the child in “contraception + abortion” is incapable of being such a civilizing source.  Now the power to grow civilization lies neither with the man nor the woman but with the one between them — the most powerless of all, their child.  But power provides no path to the child, only love does.  And the love that unites man, woman and child —overwhelmingly is God.  So the data show.

When the child is front and center in all matters sexual the world will have found its way forward again.  And it will be easier for all men to keep their Harvey in jail.

Social Science

abortion, mental health, social science 2 comments

A First Things article berating pro-lifers for overstating the findings on abortion provoked this blog on free speech in the social sciences particularly regarding two-abortion related topics 1) abortion and breast cancer regarding which the First Things author incorrectly stated there is none, and 2) the effects of abortion on the mental health of the mother which the author correctly opined is often overstated by pro-lifers.

Regarding abortion and breast cancer: there is a clear connection but not for all abortions. It seems to be triggered by second trimester abortions, not first trimester abortions.  Once the biology of breast development is understood this impact make sense.  We need much more careful research (which we most definitely did not get from NIH, nor the American Cancer Society, nor The American Psychological Association). Political correctness (cultural Marxism) reigns supreme in the academy when the contentious issues of life and sexuality are in play.

For a review of the research on the effects of abortion on breast cancer, see this critique of all the major studies used by ACA, NIH and APA to make their conclusions: Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer

The better read for most folk is the summary of the article, unless one enjoys digging into extensive, detailed critiques, a tedious task for most laymen. However when publicly taking NIH to task on research negligence as happened in its infamous and stacked conference on the issue, and when taking on the APA as well, one must be careful and precise.

One of the signs of likely robust scholarship on the “natural law” side is that their controversial studies are ignored. Opponents cannot respond in open debate without giving exposure to the research.   The media, sharing many of the same prejudices, do not report them either.

The second area of study — the effects of abortion on the mental health of mothers — is mixed: There are many who are affected and many who are not. Why such is the case is likely a fruitful area of research already underway at the Marriage and Religion Research Initiative at The Catholic University of America under Dr. Paul Sullins, whose published research on this topic is worth reading.

The next stage of Sullins’s research will tease out the different effects of “wanted” vs “unwanted” abortions. The operating hypothesis is that one expects to see quite a difference in the emotional responses of the mothers.

Using the social sciences to cast light on human nature demands research care and researchers’ humility.  Before the data is in and replicated, everyone on both sides has to be tentative about his projections.  There will be many lessons for both sides.  Human nature is not as simple as we tend to make it, nor is it made in the way we often wish it were.

However, one thing I have learned in 45 years of working in this broad domain: there are extraordinarily few in the pro-choice “opposition” who are interested in the unvarnished truth, very few. But they do exist. Dr. David Ferguson of New Zealand comes immediately to mind.  But he too found great difficulty getting his (pristine) first piece of research on abortion effects published. For years he and his research team experienced almost automatic acceptance and publication in top British medical journals of research from the Christchurch Health and Development Study, one of the world’s “gold standard” longitudinal surveys. When they first investigated the effects of abortion they suddenly found their research unwelcome and blocked. In the article above, Fergusson (a “pro-choice” man) states:

These findings [of significant harm] are inconsistent with the current consensus on the psychological effects of abortion. In particular, in its 2005 statement on abortion, the American Psychological Association concluded that ‘well-designed studies of psychological responses following abortion have consistently shown that risk of psychological harm is low … the percentage of women who experience clinically relevant distress is small and appears to be no greater than in general samples of women of reproductive age’ (APA, 2005). This relatively strong conclusion about the absence of harm from abortion was based on a relatively small number of studies which had once or more of the following limitations: a) absence of comprehensive assessment of mental disorders; b) lack of comparison groups; and c) limited statistical controls. Furthermore, the statement appears to disregard the finding of a number of studies that had claimed to show negative effects for abortion. (Cougle et al., 2003; Gissler et al., 1996; Reardon and Cougle, 2002)

Such a statement in a well-regarded journal was, and still is, quite extraordinary. It reveals the anger of a truth-seeking scientist with the abuse of his beloved science. By the way, the APA publication he referred was the APA’s submission to Congress.

The situation today has not changed and is likely worse. The suppression of truth, even in reporting the research, is now a hallmark of the mainline scientific associations when it comes to the contentious issues of life and sexuality. This is a crisis within the social sciences. When scholarly exchange and critique is suppressed the science has metastasized and is destroying itself. However, it is so bad now on some topics I suspect the better-minded politically-correct social scientists will soon begin to revolt.

A side note: Google Scholar is a useful resource to find published articles in most areas. I expected to find the Fergusson article (above) there, but it is not to be found. His later articles which find lesser effects on women as they age are carried. Cultural Marxism, political correctness, may be operating in Google Scholar too, a disturbing characteristic for a much-sued “gateway” to research.

Patrick Fagan, Ph.D.
Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Initiative at The Catholic University of America
see www.MARRI.US for more overviews (by no means comprehensive) of the research on abortion.

Abortion

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Roughly the equivalent of one seventh of the world’s present population has been killed in the womb of mothers over the last century.  (1.01 billion abortions vs 7.4 billion population)

In the US the proportion aborted is even higher: the total number is roughly the equivalent of one sixth of the present US population.  (58 million abortions vs 324 million population)

Government policy is the single biggest cause of this – by far.   The cases of South Africa and Poland demonstrate the historical rise (or fall) of abortion after the legal introduction (or elimination).

These are some of the biggest take-aways from the release of the most comprehensive and most carefully constructed database of abortion statistics for the world over the last century:  Abortion World Wide Report (2017). This PowerPoint by authors Thomas W. Jacobson, M.A., and Wm. Robert Johnston, Ph.D., gives a good overview of the massive report that upends the World Health Organization’s and the United Nations’ contentions on the data.  The debate on good statistics and reporting that this report ought to trigger will be interesting, though when good data is on the side of life and love “the opposition” tends to ignore it rather than bring attention to it by contesting it.

Academia and Abortion

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The academic corruption MARRI previously described is not limited to same-sex marriage data: it is also present in abortion research. Studies repeatedly show that abortion inflicts mental and physical damage upon a sizeable proportion of women. Nevertheless, the American Psychological Association (APA) and similar professional organizations have refused to acknowledge this research, instead opting to cherry pick studies that support their pro-abortion policy agenda. Such an agenda is expected of Planned Parenthood; however, social science organizations are expected to serve the nation through a dispassionate search for the truth, letting the data do the talking.

The academy’s resistant response to David Fergusson’s research on the effects of abortion on mental health shows the distorting effects of abandoning scientific charter. Fergusson, who followed women over a 30-year period and controlled for over 30 variables, found that abortion can increase the risk of mental disorders. Fergusson, himself “pro-choice,” was already a much published and eminent researcher by the time of his first foray into the abortion field. He commented, “We went to four journals, which is very unusual for us – we normally get accepted the first time… I’m pro-choice but I’ve produced results which, if anything, favor a pro-life viewpoint… It’s obvious I’m not acting out of any agenda except to do reasonable science about a difficult problem.”  He is a true scientist.

In 2008, in an attempt to dismiss a significant number of studies confirming abortion’s link to mental disorders, the American Psychological Association assembled a “Special Task Force” of pro-abortion researchers to evaluate the evidence. To reach their pre-determined conclusion, researchers violated many scientific standards. When questioned, lead author of the Task Force was unwilling to release the data for re-analysis because “It would be very difficult to pull this information together.” Despite these shortcomings, academia holds the APA report as the gold standard of research in this field.

Similar biases have marginalized research on the effect of abortion on physical health. For instance, advances in molecular breast biology and epidemiological studies have repeatedly found a link between abortion and breast cancer. After reviewing and synthesizing the existing research in this field, MARRI concluded that induced abortion is an independent risk factor for breast cancer.  Still the National Cancer Institute refuses to acknowledge this clear evidence.

These professional organizations are expected to be “guardians of scientific standards,” and claim to be so. But by deliberately pursuing the academically corrupt practice of cherry picking data, they become agenda-driven organizations that conceal the truth about how women and their unborn babies are affected.

For example, the academy’s failure to publish research evenhandedly on abortion has made it much easier for Planned Parenthood to use women for their own monetary gain. Recently, the Center for Medical Progress released a video in which senior physicians of Planned Parenthood admit to performing abortions in the manner that most efficiently delivers the most profitable tissue/ organs, which are later sold. While haggling prices with potential tissue buyers, Dr. Mary Gatter, President of the Medical Directors’ Council of Planned Parenthood, laughed, “I want a Lamborghini!” It seems many directors of abortion centers treat the women coming to them as business opportunities for the extraction of the fetal body parts that they carry within them, rather than as vulnerable human beings. Needless to say, providing women with the best research-based information on the mental and physical risks associated with abortion would jeopardize Planned Parenthood’s access to these body parts.

Planned Parenthood has no incentive to tell women the truth about the risks of abortion, while academic organizations like the APA refuse to acknowledge robust social science data revealing these risks. They are both complicit in a collusion of silence. Compassionate care for women involves fully informing them about the procedures they undergo and the effects of those procedures; dispassionate social science begins with an objective evaluation of data and subsequent reporting of robust research. At this stage, sadly, the APA cannot be trusted to abide by these basic expectations. That is an abortion of the role of the social sciences.

Abortion and Family Structure

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Abortion and family structure—two leading social issues of our day—are sometimes pitted as mutually exclusive issues. However, statistics mined by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) challenge this hypothesis. The National Survey of Family Growth (a large survey conducted by National Center for Health Statistics division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) showed that, among women aged 38 to 44, having had multiple abortions was least common among those raised in an intact family with two married biological parents.

MARRI’s “Mapping America” highlights two noteworthy points. First, women who were raised in married families with their mother and father present were least likely to have had multiple abortions than women from all other family structures (see Chart 1). The average American agrees, at the very least, that abortion is not a good to be sought after. Still, some liberal propagandists claim that it is not possible to decrease abortions and increase the number of intact families. According to them, unmarried women will inevitably get pregnant, and, unless the woman aborts her child, she will be a single mother. However, this logic is missing a key point: if more women were raised in intact married families to begin with, then fewer women would get pregnant out of wedlock. Decreasing abortion—a commonsense goal regardless of one’s stance on the sanctity of life—necessitates an increase in the number of intact families.

Chart 1

A second compelling point Mapping America highlights is the inherent value of marriage and the insufficiency of cohabitation. Chart 2 shows that roughly the same number of women raised by their biological father alone and with no father figure at all had multiple abortions. Most interesting, multiple abortions were least common among women raised by their biological father married to their biological mother, and most common among women raised by their biological father cohabiting with their biological mother. In fact, four times as many women with cohabiting parents rather than married parents had abortions. Although both groups of women were raised by their biological mother and father in a close relationship, the nature of the relationship contributed to very different outcomes. 

Chart 2

Far from being unrelated to abortion, family structure contributes to sexual mores that impact the rate of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and abortions. An intact, married family is a social good that must be sought after in all instances.

Washington D.C.

abortion, D.C., poverty, Washington No comments

Pat Fagan, Ph.D.
Director, MARRI


Southeast Washington is in Congress’s backyard, so it should be easy for Congressmen to get to know how their poverty programs are working. From the map above, the work of Henry Potrykus of MARRI, one can see the drastic difference between the Northwest (high income) section of Washington, D.C., and the poorest Southeast: rates virtually ten times different. (The rates are shown as fractions/decimals of 1; multiplying by 100 will yield percentage points.)

The rates of poverty tell a similar story … almost ten times the difference as well:


But teenage-out-of-wedlock births do not tell the same story. The highest rates lie elsewhere in the city. When I asked local juvenile crime and violence expert, Ron Moten, who knows the area well, his response was immediate: “Planned Parenthood is much more active there. Abortions are much more common there.” That is not data, but a hypothesis from a well-informed community activist. Is it true? What are the rates of abortion in these different PUMAs? Those data are not available in the American Community Survey (from which these choropleths are derived).


So what has the Welfare State given the poor in SE Washington? Poverty, virtually no marriage, and high abortion rates. This is not exactly a culture that will raise strong men and women capable of hard work, commitment to each other and to the children they beget together. 

Congress has no strategy to bring Southeast Washington alive. Neither does the Government of D.C. Putting such a question to welfare state experts is akin to asking a question for a different planet. But New York City had a similar problem among the Irish in the 1820’s and turned it around.  Dagger John, Archbishop John Hughes of New York devised and executed a very successful strategy.

Does South East DC have any champions for such cultural change? A great clergyman? A great mayor?

Convenience and Childbirth

abortion, child birth, children, economics, family, pro-life No comments

By Avery Pettway, Intern

       Though pro-life advocates can rejoice that the crux of the debate is no longer the question of when life begins, we continue on in an often frustrating conversation with pro-choice commentators. With the life of the fetus scientifically confirmed, choice advocates have become more fixated on nuances and thought patterns that can emotionally inflame the public while distracting from the reality of what abortion is. Amanda Marcotte’s recent article in Slate, “AUL’s ‘Life List’ Crowns the ‘All Star’ States That Attack Women’s Rights Best,” harps on what she claims is the safety imbalance between “extremely low-complication abortions” and the “condition known as child birth that usually requires hospitalization and much more invasive medical interventions.” Indeed, it is difficult at some level to foresee arguments such as this one because of their unfounded logical assumptions, but nevertheless, we must combat them with reason and research.

        For starters, Marcotte’s assertion that “child birth is 14 times more dangerous than legal abortion” is false according to the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Pregnancy and childbirth may be laborious and intense, but it is a natural process of the life cycle supported and strengthened by modern technology—abortion, on the other hand, is far from a natural process and should be regarded skeptically because of how it surreptitiously invades the bodies of women and children.
       
        Even more troubling than inaccurate information, however, is Marcotte’s underlying claim that our basis for judging whether to encourage child birth or abortion is which one is physically less taxing on the woman. If we were to carry out Marcotte’s claim to its logical end, choosing the apparent ease of abortion over time and energy-intensive pregnancies, our society would be in demographic and economic (not just moral) disaster. MARRI research reveals the disturbing extent to which our abortion policy harms our population stability and economic growth. Marcotte’s argument that abortion is less physically dangerous and less expensive than pregnancy quickly breaks down under the study’s finding that “the overall social and economic burdens of the changes created through legalizing abortion eclipse any claimed benefits of the practice…the act undermines the economy, causes disease, and warps society’s most important relationship [of marriage].” When pro-choice advocates are numb to moral accusation, perhaps well-founded portents such as MARRI’s research will strike a new chord with them.

Belonging to the Exception

abortion, abstinence, conscience, economics, education, family, MARRI No comments

By Lindsay Smith, Intern

Over the weekend, I was privileged to attend a lecture taught by a woman who devotes her life to pregnancy center and maternity home ministries.  Her presentation focused on the differences among generations, and how to best reach and engage the current generation, Gen Y (born 1977-1995).  According to her notes, my generation has the most disposable income and is very technologically gifted, but we also suffer from short attention spans and the inability to discern actions and consequences.  On average, Gen Y is passively characterized by (and too often actively boasts in) high levels of sexual promiscuity.  Highly influenced by the media, Gen Y’s are devoted to the doctrine of “cool,” and consequently, they explore true Biblical doctrine only when it enhances (and never contradicts) their fleeting idol of fame. 
“Why?”  Quickly this became the pervasive murmur among the audience.  She gave a few reasons, but implored us to engage in individual research, as she didn’t have time to explore all the factors involved.  Sitting there, pondering this less than glowing portrait of my generation, I could not help but recall MARRI’s “Second Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection.”  
According to MARRI’s report, in the United States, the national rejection score was larger than the belonging score.  Putting faces to these figures reveals the majority of children are living in a broken family as of 2009.  As the speaker described, our culture (sitcoms saturated with sex, personal credit cards, and adult privileges sans consequences) bears some responsibility for Gen Y’s behavior, but the formation of these characteristics begins with a fractured family.  As Dr. Fagan and Dr. Zill predict, “It is unavoidable that the major institutions of future families, church, school, the marketplace, and government will be similarly weakenedas these children gradually take their place within these institutions.”
And indeed, we are seeing breakdowns in these institutions as time progresses.  This weekend’s speaker noted that most of Gen Y holds only part-time employment, and many articles report an unemployed or underemployed status for Gen Y’s.  You can blame a poor economy or the need for a graduate degree, but as articulated in “162 Reasons to Marry,” we need look no further than the broken family for the origin of this trend.  A child glimpses his first working marketplace through his family.  “Within a family built on such a marriage, the child gradually learns to value and perform these five fundamental tasks of every competent adult and of every functional society” – marketplace (work) being one.  If the teaching unit is damaged, how can we expect the lesson to be whole?  If the marketplace isn’t functional in the family unit, how do we expect it to flourish on a national level?
This weekend’s speaker also commented that some large corporations won’t even hire Gen Y’s, and a quick internet search brings up quite a few articles with similar headlines.  As Kelly Clay concludes, based on recent statistics regarding employment and economy issues, “It seems more like a strong indicator of a generation with an issue of entitlement and extreme laziness – despite the opportunities that await them.”  Another recent article titled “The Go-Nowhere Generation,” seems to agree with Clay’s depiction of Gen Y or rather, “Generation Why bother.”   This article describes their lackadaisical reliance on “random” chance rather than an energetic pursuit of opportunity throughout the country. Clearly rejection at the family level is permeating the workplace and the work-ethic applied there. 
A married family does not just positively impact the marketplace.  Children from intact-married families also perform better in school, misbehave less, are more likely to remain abstinent, less likely to live in poverty, and more likely to attend church.  All of these tendencies contradict the typical characteristics of Generation Y.  Clearly, there are exceptions to this generation generalization, and belonging within a family greatly enhances one’s ability to belong to the exceptional group.