Slavery and Abortion: A Legitimate Comparison

by Roger Resler

When the pro-abortion left finds something particularly annoying I take notice. It usually means they’ve encountered a solid argument they don’t want to (or can’t) confront with sound logic and reason and must therefore resort to emotional attacks, logical fallacies and name-calling. Case in point: the analogy between abortion and slavery. Most pro-abortion/pro-choice proponents find the comparison particularly bothersome. Take this article by Imani Gandy for example. The title alone: Abortion Is Not Like Slavery, So Stop Comparing the Two, conjures Shakespeare’s famous adage: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”  

Holding nothing back right out of the gate, Gandy describes the comparison between slavery and abortion as “nonsense, devoid of fact and logic, stripping women of agency and co-opting this country’s brutal racial history to score a political point against ideological foes.” To support this thesis, Gandy begins with a bold half-truth: “Abortion is not slavery, nor is it comparable to slavery.” While obviously correct that abortion is not slavery, the idea that the two are not legitimately comparable is wishful thinking. It is precisely the legitimacy of the comparison that annoys pro-choice proponents.

Gandy writes: “An abortion is a medical procedure that results in the termination of a pregnancy,” while, “slavery, on the other hand, was the centuries-long system under which Black men and women were treated not as human beings, with attendant freedom and liberty, but as chattel—human property owned by other humans, stripped of their freedom and cruelly forced to work under inhumane conditions.”

No doubt the irony of Gandy’s prose escapes her. Nevertheless, it’s striking that she correctly identifies a key injustice of slavery – that human beings were treated as non-humans – while simultaneously employing exactly the same treatment to the primary victims of abortion and then stepping it up a notch by ignoring their very existence. By Gandy’s definition abortion merely terminates a pregnancy, whereas slavery oppresses human beings. The irony becomes even clearer when you consider that slave owners used the same type of “reasoning” to justify their actions: slaves were not humans, they were property. There were therefore no human victims of slavery and consequently no injustice. Similarly, the unborn are not humans, they are instead “a pregnancy” – a mere condition occurring within the body of a pregnant woman – and therefore there is no human victim of abortion and consequently no injustice.

The purpose of an argument from analogy is to consider similarities between a non-controversial situation and a controversial one with the hope that insight can be gleaned as to how best to proceed or react to the controversy. Gandy seems to understand this when she writes:

“Comparisons between abortion and slavery are popular among the anti-choice crowd because most people agree that slavery is morally wrong. If anti-choice forces can equate slavery and abortion, and draw parallels between an “unborn” person and an enslaved person, then surely no morally righteous person could continue to defend abortion as a medical procedure that enables women to retain some modicum of control over the [sic] physical selves and their economic realities.”

So Gandy herself acknowledges that if parallels can be drawn between “an ‘unborn’ person and an enslaved person,” then it logically follows that “no morally righteous person could continue to defend abortion.” Hence the frustration. This begs the question: Can unborn humans legitimately be compared to enslaved humans? Obviously Gandy doesn’t think so. But what reasonable grounds does she offer to reject the comparison? She continues:

“Such arguments are the bread and butter of the rabid anti-choice crowd—who ignore any discussion of the hostile birthing environment that exists for women of color and low-income women to this day. Moreover, such arguments ignore the horror that slavery was for Black people, and the unique ways in which Black women in particular suffered under slavery.”

So far Gandy’s logic suggests that one reason unborn humans can’t be compared to enslaved humans is because the “rabid anti-choice crowd” ignores discussions about the “hostile birthing environment that exists for women of color and low-income women to this day.” Needless to say, even if Gandy had offered concrete support to this fantastically broad claim (which she doesn’t), it would still be a completely irrelevant point. If it could be demonstrated, for example, that “the rabid anti-choice crowd” were actually paying attention to discussions about hostile birthing environments would Gandy then concede that comparisons between the unborn and slaves are now acceptable? I doubt it. So, in addition to being ridiculous on its face, the point is useless.

Gandy then moves on to offer support for the second part of her thesis which suggests that the slavery/abortion comparison ignores “the horror that slavery was for Black people, and the unique ways in which Black women in particular suffered under slavery.” To illustrate this point she criticizes Texas Federal Judge Lee Yeakel’s opinion, in Planned Parenthood et al. v. Abbott. According to Gandy, Judge Yeakel wrote: “almost as if he were apologizing to the anti-choice forces that worked so hard to ram HB 2 through the Texas legislature.” Here is the section Gandy quotes and finds particularly offensive (emphasis Gandy’s):

“Today there is no issue that divides the people of this country more than abortion. It is the most divisive issue to face this country since slavery. When compared with the intensity, emotion, and depth of feeling expressed with regard to abortion, the recent arguments on affordable healthcare, increasing the debt ceiling, and closing the government retreat to near oblivion. Sincere and caring persons of good will are found on both sides of the issue, but neither side will ever change the position of the other.”

Gandy’s primary objection to Judge Yeakel’s words is the inference she imposes on them that “sincere and caring persons of goodwill” could be found on opposing sides of the slavery issue. The glaring fallacy is that Judge Yeakel never suggested what Gandy infers from his statement. Nevertheless, Gandy takes Judge Yeakel to task by suggesting that:

“His characterization of slavery, well-meaning though it may be—is based on a romanticized notion of slavery that simply never existed. In Judge Yeakel’s hagiographic version of slavery, well-meaning white folks were to be found on both sides of the issue. This is simply not true.”

I’m sorry, but this is absurd. What is “simply not true” is the notion that Judge Yeakel expressed any view of slavery in the statement Gandy quotes, much less a hagiographic version of it. If Judge Yeakel has a particular view of slavery, he certainly didn’t express it in this quote. To be clear, he never claimed there were sincere and caring persons of good will on both sides of the slavery issue. He merely claims that there are currently sincere and caring persons of good will on both sides of the abortion debate. In Gandy’s apparently black and white world, she may not be able to agree with that. Judge Yeakel’s suggestion that abortion is the most divisive issue to face this country since slavery does not imply that he also believes there were sincere and caring persons of good will on the pro-slavery side of the issue. That is an illegitimate inference that cannot be derived from his statement. To suggest that slavery was divisive is not to suggest that good and caring people could be found on both sides of the issue. But that’s entirely what the rest of Gandy’s thesis rests on, which is why it fails.

To punctuate her error, Gandy asks: “We are talking about the same slavery, right?” and then proceeds as if the strawman she’s fallaciously erected is an accepted and necessary component of any comparison between abortion and slavery. She accurately describes the genuine evils of slavery such as “the slavery that saw human beings beaten into submission” and “the slavery that saw Black female slaves exploited as breeding mares and sexual objects ripe for rape” in an effort to contrast those genuine evils with her own illegitimately imposed inference of Judge Yeakel’s allegedly “romanticized notion of slavery.”

It becomes clear beyond doubt that Gandy either seriously misunderstands or is deliberating twisting Judge Yeakel’s words when she answers her own question:

“That is the slavery supported by ‘sincere and caring persons of good will’?

No.”

Utter nonsense. To reiterate, Judge Yeakel never said anything about slavery in the statement Gandy quotes other than the fact that it was divisive. The fact that a civil war was fought over the issue should provide adequate support for that assertion. Of course it’s true that slavery was evil. There’s no disagreement on that which is precisely why the analogy to abortion is perfectly valid.

Here’s the bottom line: If pro-choice proponents are correct that abortion merely “terminates a pregnancy” and there’s really no killing of any human involved in this otherwise safe and legal procedure, then they win. We can all pack up and move on to the next controversy. But suggesting something is true while ignoring clear evidence to the contrary is worse than merely acting out of ignorance. There is one thing that Gandy and I might actually agree on. Despite their condescending rhetoric, slave holders were well aware that black humans were human beings who suffered tremendous injustice because of their desire to own slaves. But because of her desire to be “pro-choice,” Gandy can’t agree with me that pro-choice proponents are well aware that unborn humans are human beings who suffer the ultimate injustice because of pro-choice proponents’ desire to keep abortion legal.

Janet Mefferd Interview

by Roger Resler

January 22nd marked the 43rd Anniversary of one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of all time: Roe v. Wade. Nationally syndicated talk show host Janet Mefferd interviewed Dave Sterrett and me on that day. Listen to the podcast here.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been interviewed live and it was a challenge to boil long answers down to quick responses. (Meaning: I failed miserably). In fact, I was cut off in mid-thought twice because we were up against breaks. What made matters worse is the fact that I could not hear the music rising in the background – which is the usual cue to wrap it up – so I simply kept talking!

The point I was trying to make the first time was that a key argument by Sarah Weddington in Roe v. Wade was that the anti-abortion laws that had come on the books in the late 1800’s (one of which – the Texas law – was the one Weddington was attacking) had only come on the books out of a concern to protect women from the dangers of abortion in the 1800’s. There was a partial truth to this argument since abortion, in the days prior to antiseptics, certainly was a dangerous undertaking for the pregnant woman. But Weddington was dealing in half-truths. In reality, the primary reason anti-abortion laws, like that of Texas, came on the books was a concerted effort to protect unborn human life. Ironically, even Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the Roe decision, openly (yet somewhat covertly) acknowledges this in the majority opinion!

Although buried in the midst of dry, legal ramblings, anyone who cares to take the time to look can still find this pro-life acknowledgment under the heading: “The Position of the American Medical Association” beginning on page 141 of the Roe majority opinion.

Prior to the mid 19th century, in the United States, English common law had prevailed. In general, abortion was considered a serious misdemeanor prior to “quickening” (the point in pregnancy when the mother first feels the baby move – which is generally around 17 weeks), and a felony after. Weddington ignored the fact that abortion after quickening had, for centuries, been a serious offense (even capital in some cases), and while Blackmun acknowledges it, he nevertheless tended to downplay the significance.

In the mid 1800’s, after fertilization in mammals began to be observed due to the improvements of microscopes, medical doctors became increasingly aware of the deficiencies of abortion laws that were based on the archaic notion of quickening. As Blackmun freely admits, these pro-life doctors began lobbying legislators to update the laws. As a result the quickening based abortion laws were replaced with even stricter laws nationwide. Many of these laws, like that of Texas, allowed for no exceptions other than a life-threatening situation for the mother.

So a key premise in Weddington’s arguments in Roe v. Wade was, at best, erroneous.

The second point I was attempting to make when time again ran out, was that the Texas attorneys who were arguing the pro-life position, were not well prepared and fell into the trap of arguing for “personhood” at conception instead of focusing on the biological beginning of human life. In short, they simply suggested that a fetus is a person because the state of Texas says so. This was obviously not a satisfactory argument for the pro-choice majority of Justices in Roe, who, ironically, ended up arguing the same way – only in reverse – by holding that a fetus is not a “person in the whole sense” because the Supreme Court says so. Unfortunately for millions of unborn humans, the say-so of the Supreme Court trumped the say-so of Texas.

by Roger Resler

Having just posted the transcript for the bulk of the conversation between Chris Cuomo and Marco Rubio during the Rubio interview on CNN last week, let’s now take a closer look and see what insight might be gleaned from this conversation.

Chris Cuomo Interviews Marco Rubio on CNN, August 7, 2015.

Chris Cuomo: Why do you not see rape and incest as areas for potential carve-outs even if you are pro-life?

Just so we’re clear about what’s going on here, as I pointed out earlier, this is side B of the catch-22 set-up pro-choice proponents adore employing. Side A: You believe life begins at conception? How can you support rape and incest exceptions for abortion? Side B: You don’t support rape and incest exceptions? You’re obviously a backwards thinking misogynist barbarian who’s out of touch with modern women. Classic no-win. Enter Rubio.

Marco Rubio: First, I think both of those instances are horrifying and fortunately they’re extremely rare. It happens. And any time it happens it’s horrifying. It’s a tragedy. But I personally and honestly and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of protection irrespective of the circumstances in which that human life was created. I personally believe that you do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy. That’s how I personally feel very strongly about. I believe all human life – irrespective of the circumstances in which it came into being is worthy of the protection of our laws. And I recognize this is a tough question. It’s a very difficult question. And I understand that. Believe me, I do.

But by the same token, if I have to weigh the two equities here, I’m always going to err on the side of life. And that’s, that’s how – and I think that’s a timeless principle. Certainly our economy has evolved. But when it comes to issues like the value of every human life I think that’s a timeless principle. It was true before, it’s true now and it will be true in the future.

You do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy. Bingo. To develop Marco’s point a bit further, pro-choice proponents love to sell abortion as though it solves the problem of unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. It doesn’t. That’s the glaring fallacy here very few people take the time to think through. Abortion doesn’t solve the problem. The woman is already pregnant and the rape already occurred. Nothing can change that. Abortion can’t put her in a time machine and transport her back to a time before the rape and then let her live her life from that point forward as though she had never been raped.

No. What abortion does is bring violence to her body a second time and rips up the developing child in the process. Sure, it will end the pregnancy, but it won’t change anything about the fact that she was raped against her will yet made the decision to respond in a way that guarantees a dead child.

I can hear my critics now – oh, what an outrageous thing to say! So what is your solution? Must I believe (naively) as you do that abortion does not kill a child, when all the evidence says you’re wrong? Must I not speak the truth because it’s not nice to call things as they are when a rape has taken place? As Marco points out both rape and incest are horrible things that should never happen. Period. They are tragedies and the perpetrators should be punished to the full extent of the law. But just because one tragedy has occurred doesn’t mean a second tragedy is morally acceptable.

It would only be morally acceptable IF the unborn child really were nothing more than a blob of tissue. This, of course, is what many pro-choice proponents want to believe (because it makes their stand on abortion so much more reasonable), but they’re simply dead wrong. IF they were right about that, then there would be no controversy over abortion. We wouldn’t be having this discussion. It would be a no-brainer. But they’re not right about that. And sometimes the truth is painful. One unplanned tragedy does not justify a planned tragedy. Only if the child in the womb is really just a blob of tissue is abortion not a tragedy; and in that case abortion would be morally acceptable at any time for any reason.

But Cuomo is looking to set a trap for Rubio and he’s confident he’s got the perfect trap:

Chris Cuomo: It’s interesting that you draw distinctions about the old and the new in certain regards but in this one you say, “It’s timeless,” because as you know, cultural mores in this country and certainly the opinions of women are not in step with what you’re saying right now. You’re comfortable with that?

Marco Rubio: But the value of life is timeless. No, no, no, the value of life is timeless. The idea that a human life is worthy of the protection of our laws is not something that over time anybody should evolve on. I mean you can change your economic policies…

Chris Cuomo: right but the idea – you’re, you’re deciding…

Marco Rubio:   …to address the fact that the economy’s different. You can [inaudible] changes… The idea that human life is worthy of protection is a timeless principle. I don’t care how much the world changes.

Don’t you realize you’re out of touch with women, Marco? Doesn’t that bother you? As the guy who wants to look to the future, why do you want to go back to the past? More fallacious drivel.

Marco didn’t comment on it, but the premise of Cuomo’s question was flawed from the start when he suggested that Rubio’s position is “out of step” with the opinions of women, as though every woman in the United States disagrees with Rubio. It would be about the same to accuse a female who is not a fan of the Denver Broncos of being out of step with the opinions of men. Not all men are Bronco fans (sad to say) and certainly not all women are pro-choice. So Cuomo’s question was illegitimate from the start.

No matter. Rubio defeats the question anyway. The value of life is timeless and that value should not change over time. Period. Grand Slam. No disagreement about that from Cuomo.

Chris Cuomo: I know but you’re deciding when it is human life. Let me ask you something, you… Uh…   When you’re looking at the future…

Did you catch that? “I know,” says Cuomo. What does he know? He knows Rubio is right when he says a human life is worthy of protection under the law and that’s a timeless principle that doesn’t or shouldn’t change. Cuomo has no choice but to agree, and he does; but then quickly moves on to: “but you’re deciding when it is human life.”  Ah! So there we go! Finally. There’s the crux of the issue. Cuomo really wants to believe that Marco Rubio (and in essence everyone who is pro-life) is deciding when it’s a human life. And of course, the implication is that we’re deciding incorrectly.

Marco Rubio: No, science has decided when it is human life.

Chris Cuomo: Science has not decided it’s at conception.

Marco Rubio: No, no, let me correct you. Science has, absolutely it has.

Chris Cuomo: Not at conception.

Marco Rubio: Science has decided that… science has concluded. Absolutely it has. What else can it be? It cannot turn into an animal; it can’t turn into a donkey.

Chris Cuomo: No, but you know that the law has perused this. The fact that it…

Marco Rubio: The only thing it can become is a human being.

Chris Cuomo: Look, of course, I understand the logic but it’s a little too simple that…

Marco Rubio: Everything – it’s a human life, it can’t be anything else.

Rubio is, of course, correct. There is no question about it. This is basic biology. The only thing humans can reproduce is other humans. Period. A human zygote is simply a human at his or her earliest stage of development. Period. There’s no question here. There’s no doubt. It can be nothing else.

Now, of course, astute abortion proponents are quick to point out (although Cuomo didn’t) that not all zygotes develop into babies. That is correct, but that merely means something went wrong. What they’re describing is an abnormal situation, not a normal one. If something goes wrong then a zygote may not be able to develop any further, but virtually every human alive or who has ever existed – as in 100% – began as a zygote. Period. End of discussion.

So human life does indeed begin at conception. Look at any reputable embryonic textbook. There is no question. Biologists are not in doubt. Have I emphasized this enough yet? To be honest, it’s ridiculous we’re even having this debate. It’s like debating whether or not you can fall off the edge of the flat earth. The only reason the illegitimate “debate” persists in popular culture is because a substantial number of people want to be pro-choice and a debate over the beginning of human life greatly facilitates that desire. Take (as merely one example) this White Paper report for instance which concludes:

Based on universally accepted scientific criteria, a new cell, the human zygote, comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion, an event that occurs in less than a second. Upon formation, the zygote immediately initiates a complex sequence of events that establish the molecular conditions required for continued embryonic development. The behavior of the zygote is radically unlike that of either sperm or egg separately and is characteristic of a human organism. Thus, the scientific evidence supports the conclusion that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically well defined “moment of conception.” This conclusion is objective, consistent with the factual evidence, and independent of any specific ethical, moral, political, or religious view of human life or of human embryos.

–  “When Does Human Life Begin? A Scientific Perspective,” Maureen L. Condic, Westchester Institute, Volume 1, Number 1 October 2008

There are no competing theories over the beginning of human life that are being debated by biologists. It’s settled science. As the paper aptly points out the question is not about when a human life begins but rather “at what point and for what reasons do we have an obligation to respect and protect that life.”

In other words, at what point do we get to the point where even Cuomo agrees that “human life is worthy of protection.” But Cuomo wants to have it both ways. He wants to suggest that the actual beginning of human life is legitimately questionable yet he can’t – or won’t – offer any other rationally acceptable possibility, 1. because there are none, and 2. because doing so would require him to rationally defend such a point, and 3. identifying any point defeats the useful ignorance that is central to pro-choice philosophy.

So Rubio is simply correct and Cuomo is simply incorrect. Cuomo, however, proceeds with the interview as though he’s perfectly and uniquely correct. We will, accordingly, continue to analyze this conversation in the coming blog posts. Stay tuned.

More on CNN – Rubio Interview

by Roger Resler

My last blog entry covered the first part of a Chris Cuomo CNN interview with GOP Presidental candidate Marco Rubio last week. The interview goes fairly quickly if you’re watching it on youtube, but in written form it’s a bit lengthy, mainly because Cuomo and Rubio are talking over each other a lot. Still I think the content of this interview is such a classic example of how the pro-choice crowd attempts to railroad pro-life people into a no-win situation, it’s worth making and posting a transcript here, so I can comment on it for my next entry. This transcript is mine. I think it’s pretty accurate but it hasn’t been done by any official company. Here it is:

Chris Cuomo Interviews Marco Rubio on CNN, August 7, 2015.

Chris Cuomo: Why do you not see rape and incest as areas for potential carve-outs even if you are pro-life?

Marco Rubio: First, I think both of those instances are horrifying and fortunately they’re extremely rare. It happens. And any time it happens it’s horrifying. It’s a tragedy. But I personally and honestly and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of protection irrespective of the circumstances in which that human life was created. I personally believe that you do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy. That’s how I personally feel very strongly about. I believe all human life – irrespective of the circumstances in which it came into being is worthy of the protection of our laws. And I recognize this is a tough question. It’s a very difficult question. And I understand that. Believe me, I do.

But by the same token, if I have to weigh the two equities here, I’m always going to err on the side of life. And that’s, that’s how – and I think that’s a timeless principle. Certainly our economy has evolved. But when it comes to issues like the value of every human life I think that’s a timeless principle. It was true before, it’s true now and it will be true in the future.

Chris Cuomo: It’s interesting that you draw distinctions about the old and the new in certain regards but in this one you say, “It’s timeless,” because as you know, cultural mores in this country and certainly the opinions of women are not in step with what you’re saying right now. You’re comfortable with that?

Marco Rubio: But the value of life is timeless. No, no, no, the value of life is timeless. The idea that a human life is worthy of the protection of our laws is not something that over time anybody should evolve on. I mean you can change your economic policies…

Chris Cuomo: right but the idea – you’re, you’re deciding…

Marco Rubio:   …to address the fact that the economy’s different. You can [inaudible] changes… The idea that human life is worthy of protection is a timeless principle. I don’t care how much the world changes.

Chris Cuomo: I know but you’re deciding when it is human life. Let me ask you something, you… Uh…   When you’re looking at the future…

Marco Rubio: No, science has decided when it is human life.

Chris Cuomo: Science has not decided it’s at conception.

Marco Rubio: No, no, let me correct you. Science has, absolutely it has.

Chris Cuomo: Not at conception.

Marco Rubio: Science has decided that… science has concluded. Absolutely it has. What else can it be? It cannot turn into an animal; it can’t turn into a donkey.

Chris Cuomo: No, but you know that the law has perused this. The fact that it…

Marco Rubio: The only thing it can become is a human being.

Chris Cuomo: Look, of course, I understand the logic but it’s a little too simple that…

Marco Rubio: Everything – it’s a human life, it can’t be anything else.

Chris Cuomo: Senator, I understand that but it’s oversimplifying it a little bit…

Marco Rubio: It is simple and straightforward.

Chris Cuomo: This is not my argument. This is a presented argument of science – it having a DNA map, so does a plant. Uh, it’s about when it becomes a human being. I’m not saying what I think, in answer to that question, that’s not my position. But don’t you think, if you want to be a leader of the future, that’s a question that deserves an answer that is definitive beyond your faith? When does life begin? None of you…

Marco Rubio: At conception.

Chris Cuomo: …are calling for any type of panel…

Marco Rubio: At conception.

Chris Cuomo: That’s your faith. That’s your faith. That’s not science.

Marco Rubio: No it isn’t. It’s science.

Chris Cuomo: It is not definitive science.

Marco Rubio: Absolutely it is.

Chris Cuomo:   I will have scientists on this show…

Marco Rubio: It absolutely is.

Chris Cuomo: …all morning, from all walks of life who will say: “We cannot say it is definitely human life at conception.”

Marco Rubio: So what are…

Chris Cuomo: It’s more faith than it is science.

Marco Rubio: Oh, so… well if they can’t say it would be human life, what would it become then?

Chris Cuomo: You’re talking about the potential of it…

Marco Rubio: Could it become a cat?

Chris Cuomo: It’s when it becomes an actual human being.

Marco Rubio: Could it become a…

Chris Cuomo: I’m not saying what my position is on it. I am also a Catholic. What I’m telling you is…

Marco Rubio: Well, I can tell you this… no I can tell you this: that every single one of us started at the same stage. That it can’t become anything other than a human being. And that…

Chris Cuomo: But it is about science.

Marco Rubio: And that it’s neither up to you, nor I, nor any politicians to decide that we’re going to allow this life to move forward and this life not to.

Chris Cuomo: But…

Marco Rubio: A human being. It’s heart starts beating within, you know, very early on in that process.

Chris Cuomo: Yeah but not right away.

Marco Rubio: By the time people find out they’re even pregnant it is well developed.

Chris Cuomo: But not right away. And I’m not arguing for…

Marco Rubio: Chris, do you really want to have a government in the [position] of deciding what a human life is and what’s not a human life?

Chris Cuomo: No, I don’t . No I don’t.

Marco Rubio: That’s a human life. It can’t be anything else.

Chris Cuomo: No I don’t.

Marco Rubio: Well that’s a radical position you’re taking.

Chris Cuomo: Senator that’s what I’m saying. You’re over-talking the question. And that’s your right of tactic. But I’ll tell you this: ‘when it begins’ should not be a focus of faith or of suggestion. It should be of science. Just like we did when one life ends. We used to have these same arguments 25, 30 years ago. You had scientists come together and talk about brain activity and the end of life, and it clarified a lot of positions. I’m saying, if you’re going to be a leader of the future, this is something that deserves an answer that goes beyond faith. That’s all I’m saying as a suggestion. Not as an answer…

Marco Rubio: And again, I’m just telling you that…

Chris Cuomo: Not as a suggestion to the answer of the question.

Marco Rubio: First of all I’m happy that my faith… Let me tell you something, I’m happy that my faith influences my political position because my faith teaches me to care for the needy; my faith teaches me to respect and love even my enemies; my faith teaches me to forgive those who slight me. So people should hope that my faith influences my political position. And in this case, yes, I’m proud to say that my faith influences me.

CNN ‘Gotcha’ Interview Backfires

by Roger Resler

Every now and then I run into (or have) a conversation on abortion (I know, not a typical topic of conversation for normal folks) that – how do I put this… uh… makes my blood boil. Current Exhibit A: CNN’s Chris Cuomo interviews Presidential candidate, Senator Marco Rubio on the heels of the first Republican National debate of the 2016 Presidential race. During the debate, Fox’s Megyn Kelly (who is awesome, but, nevertheless) mischaracterized Rubio’s stance on abortion as allowing for exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

Rubio corrected the record, indicating his position on abortion does not now nor has ever included allowances for rape and incest. After hearing this exchange – and sensing Republican red-meat – the ever-vigilant yet under-performing CNN felt compelled to investigate the accuracy of Rubio’s claim and invited the unsuspecting Senator to appear on the network the following morning to clarify things. In other words: CNN was prepared to unleash a typical liberal “gotcha” interview on the topic of abortion with a high-profile Republican they view as a real threat to the Democratic status quo. Knowing that whenever abortion can be discussed within the context of rape and incest it’s a win-win for pro-choice liberals, how could CNN resist? They couldn’t.

Armed with undeniable evidence that Rubio had indeed voted for a bill that (gasp!) included: “a carve-out for rape and incest,” the ever-confident Cuomo, suggested that Rubio had his own record wrong and asked if that were something he’d like to correct. Unfortunately for Cuomo, that’s as far as the ‘gotcha’ part of Plan A went. Rubio noted that virtually every pro-life senator supported the bill in question, exceptions and all, (double-gasp!) and, for that matter, so did every major pro-life group because the bill prevents abortions. Oops.

Not willing to let a perfectly good ‘gotcha’ moment slip away, Cuomo shot back: “But it included the exception.” Rubio conceded the point and reminded Cuomo that, “Any bill that reduces the number of abortions is a bill that I’m going to support.”

Here, playing out in living color (see the video – here – thanks to the Blaze who I’d rather link to than CNN), is the classic rape-incest tactic pro-choice proponents are so fond of employing. ‘You say life begins at conception, so how can you support rape or incest exceptions?’ And on the flip side: “You don’t allow for rape or incest exceptions?? Barbarian!’ Like the race-card, it’s the same old song and dance they’ve been playing for decades. And for good reason – it usually works.

But Rubio was having none of it. In an admirable attempt to respond in good faith (as though the entire exchange thus far had merely been a case of Cuomo’s legitimate lack of understanding) Rubio suggested that Cuomo could: “Think about it this way. I’m in favor of a 20 week abortion ban. Does that mean I’m in favor of abortions at 19 weeks? No. Any bill that reduces the number of abortions is a bill that I’m going to support.”

Bam! So simple a caveman could understand it! This is where a reasonable journalist concedes to the water-tight logic, realizes his gotcha tactic didn’t work and moves on. Instead the now visibly agitated pro-choice proponent who also moonlights as an objective CNN anchor doubled down: “I don’t think it’s an analogy. But the bill did have that carve-out and you said you’ve never been near it.”

Really?! This is where I realize how much better a man Rubio is than me. Rubio had just finished explaining – and in rather simple and eloquent terms – that Cuomo was committing a basic non-sequitur fallacy wherein Cuomo’s desired conclusion doesn’t follow from his premise. In caveman terms: Just because one votes for an abortion bill that allows for rape and incest exceptions does not mean that one must advocate for those exceptions as part of his own stance on abortion.

Politics has been described as the art of compromise. Both Rubio and Cuomo understand that. Rubio voted for the bill because he – and every other pro-life senator and group – understood it was a reasonable compromise that would prevent abortions and had no chance of passing otherwise. That’s reality. The exception clauses had to be put in the bill in order to satisfy the other side of the PC rape-incest argument that cries “barbarian” without it. There’s no doubt Cuomo knows this (stay tuned). There’s no question about it. He’s not stupid. But he, like many other PC proponents, sees the whole tragic rape-incest phenomenon as the perfect means of forcing pro-life proponents into a no-win, catch-22 scenario.

Make no mistake about it. Cuomo and his PC cronies have no more compassion for rape and incest victims than do pro-life proponents like Marco Rubio. In fact, I suggest they have less compassion because they are the ones who are all too eager to exploit the tragedies of rape and incest simply to benefit their own political agenda – which is keeping abortion legal at any stage of pregnancy for any reason.

Want proof? Exhibit B: After failing to trap Rubio in what instead turned out to be his own non-sequitur fallacy, Cuomo predictably reverted back to plan B, which, in a nutshell, states that if your pro-life opponent admits to not allowing for rape and incest exceptions, suggest he’s holding on to a backwards, barbaric position: “But let’s take your position as you’ve presented it this morning. To not have a carve-out for rape and incest is also something that seems very backward looking in terms of the cultural mores that we have today. Why do you not see rape and incest as areas for potential carve-outs even if you are pro-life?”

Blood boiling yet? Rubio, as usual, proceeded with poise and grace. Me? Not so much. This is the point where I need to take a break or I might say something I’ll regret later. My next blog entry will continue with analysis of this – shall we say – fascinating exchange.

Planned Parenthood Exposed. Again.

by Roger Resler

I applaud the Center For Medical Progress on the release of their latest undercover video exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby body parts. My understanding is that there are more videos to come and the hope is that the impact of these videos will create enough ruckus for Congress to finally discontinue its annual multi-million-dollar donation to the abortion behemoth.

Still, it’s frustrating that it takes something like this to get people’s attention and spur action. Unfortunately the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind,” remains true. Nevertheless, thanks to the CMP, we now not only have the optics, we have the disturbing audio (and transcript) to solidify the deal.

It comes as no surprise that Planned Parenthood is profiting from baby body parts. They profit from killing them in the first place, so why not double-dip? What is surprising – shocking even – is the cavalier language used in the video by Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services at Planned Parenthood, as she casually describes the destruction of unborn humans over lunch.

In the video, actors posing as buyers from a human biologics company meet with Nucatola at a busy restaraunt to discuss how they might acquire specific human body parts from Planned Parenthood. According to CMP’s press release, Nucatola “has overseen medical practice at all Planned Parenthood locations since 2009. She also trains new Planned Parenthood abortion doctors and performs abortions herself at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles up to 24 weeks.” So when Nucatola callously mentions that:

 “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

she knows what she’s talking about.

For those who’ve researched and studied the barbaric phenomenon known as legal abortion for decades, the idea that large, for-profit abortion providers consciously strategize on how best to preserve specific fetal body parts while killing unborn humans is nothing new. What is new is the fact that CPM has managed to expose the casual dialogue we always knew went on behind closed doors.

Predictably, Planned Parenthood insists that it has done nothing wrong. Eric Ferraro, Vice President of Communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America suggests that the transfer of fetal body parts is done “with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards.”

Ferraro goes on to suggest that the CPM is a “well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services” and describes the video as “heavily edited,” and “secretly recorded.” The “heavily edited” allegation falls apart immediately since CPM has also released the complete, hours-long video. As far as “secretly recorded” is concerned, yeah, that’s the whole idea. The point is that Nucatola obviously doesn’t know she’s being recorded, otherwise she wouldn’t be casually talking about her proficiency at selective destruction and preservation of various fetal body regions during abortions.

This video is shocking and revealing in more ways than one. Obviously Planned Parenthood abortionists understand what pro-life proponents have been trumpeting for years. Newsflash: Unborn humans slated for abortion have human body parts. Sort of makes it a bit more challenging to continue promoting the notion that what is destroyed in an abortion procedure is just “a cluster of cells.”

That, of course, is still the pro-abortion party line. “Move along folks, no real humans are being destroyed here. Just cell clusters that resemble human body parts that we donate to science.” This time, however, thanks to the hard work and tenacity of CPM, the world can see behind the smoke and mirrors.

 

Silencing men – or at least pro-life men.

by Roger Resler

My Dr. Seuss post from February, 2013 continues to draw comments, mainly from pro-choice proponents. One recent supportive comment, however, came from Carlos Zamora. He writes: 

Great argument Roger. It pleases me greatly to see such an educated and well informed individual standing up for the rights of the unborn. Especially a man. Far too often have I been scorned and my opinion completely disregarded on the matter simply because I do not possess ovaries. In reality, that is a very stupid point. Never before in history were you expected to be either a victim or a perpetrator of an injustice in order to speak out against it. But like I said, great information and great blog. I hope to get a chance to read your book soon.

Of course this will likely be dismissed by those on the pro-choice side (especially the females) as merely one “anti-choice” male complimenting another for promoting misogynistic ideas. The simplest stereotypical explanation is usually preferred when a genuine understanding of the opposing point of view would otherwise require thoughtful consideration.

Ironically, while neither Carlos nor myself had any choice in the matter of our gender, neither (presumably) did our female critics who seem confident that “femaleness” is a necessary prerequisite to free speech when the topic is abortion. Carlos makes a good point when he observes that:

Never before in history were you expected to be either a victim or a perpetrator of an injustice in order to speak out against it.

Like Carlos, I’ve run into the “gender objection” from pro-choice advocates on many occasions – and it always seems to be pro-choice females who raise the objection. Take for example this blog entry. Simply stated, the idea is that men don’t get pregnant, therefore they have no right to speak against abortion. Conversely, you might think – at least for the sake of consistency (or at the very least the appearance of consistency) – men should also not be encouraged to speak in support of the pro-choice cause, right? Wrong. Take for instance this NARAL endorsed “Men For Choice” celebration marquee that reads:

We appreciate the men who stand proud for reproductive rights, and we’re thrilled to celebrate their contributions at two exciting Men For Choice events! 

Or this one, which “honors” pro-choice Massachusetts State Representatives Carl Sciortino and Jim O’Day and then lists their accomplishments for the pro-choice cause. Not only does NARAL allow these men to speak about abortion, they furnish a platform and then promote their comments.

Or how about feminist Colleen Crinion’s admonition that abortion rights is “still an issue [men] need to support.” Crinion suggests that:

Just as gay rights needs straight allies and civil rights needs white supporters, abortion rights need men. If you know and love a woman then you should care about access to abortion.

And then there’s the love-fest between NARAL and 11 Men For Choice.

There’s clearly a double standard here. It seems that men (who can’t get pregnant whether they’re pro-choice or not) can speak about abortion if their speech conforms to acceptable pro-choice guidelines.

But what if you’re male and you sincerely believe induced abortion is an injustice? What do you do in that case? According to pro-choice feminists you can either change your views or shut up. Why? Well, basically because you can’t get pregnant. Consider again Carlos’s observation:

Far too often have I been scorned and my opinion completely disregarded on the matter simply because I do not possess ovaries.

As Carlos notes, based on his own experience, you can’t speak out about abortion if you’re male and you see abortion as an injustice. This conveniently eliminates potential criticism from half of all would-be pro-choice critics. For the remaining segment of the population, again, as Carlos points out:

Never before in history were you expected to be either a victim or a perpetrator of an injustice in order to speak out against it.

In this case the smallest victims can’t speak out (other than a very few abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden) and the perpetrators won’t (other than a few brave souls who’ve changed their positions like Abby Johnson, Bernard Nathanson or Carol Everett).

What this all boils down to is the idea that the only people who allegedly have any moral grounds to actually speak about abortion are women who approve of it and the males who agree with them. If you’re a male and you believe in “a woman’s right to choose” abortion on demand for any reason, then speak all you want. But if you’re male and you sincerely see abortion as an injustice, then shut up because you can’t get pregnant. And if that doesn’t silence you then prepare to be accused of wanting to control women and having your opinions branded as either religious imposition or misogynistic hate speech.

The debate over “personhood” was created by pro-choice proponents in order to make the pro-life position impossible to maintain. From the same playbook, pro-choice philosophy also attempts to impose ground rules on free speech that make it impossible for abortion critics of the wrong gender to have a voice. As one blogger puts it:

men are dismissed on the basis of their sex as an anti-intellectual manoeuvre to try to shut down critical enquiry on this ideologically-charged topic.  

What we see from the prevalence of all this is that many – if not most – pro-choice advocates simply aren’t interested in having a legitimate, civil discussion. They’re not interested in listening to and understanding the claims made by those on the other side. If there’s any truth to pro-life arguments, they don’t want to hear it. They prefer to stereotype, caricature, marginalize and silence the opposition. This is an example of the ad hominem fallacy wherein “a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.” People who are arguing a weak case are particularly prone to this kind of fallacious response. When this type of response is commonly resorted to among pro-choice proponents – to the point of being openly posted on pro-choice websites (see for example this or this) – it’s a pretty clear indication that there must not be much left for them to fall back on.  

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.