A Woman’s Right to Know

One of my dear friends is serving her first term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. This week, she presented a bill that addresses a 2001 Arkansas law entitled The Woman’s Right to Know Act of 2001. After some 14 years, it’s reasonable to think changes in the law are timely and appropriate.Ingraham

My friend’s efforts to advance this bill through both legislative chambers and deliver it to the Governor’s desk were noticed by radio talk host and syndicated columnist Laura Ingraham (see Tweet above) as well as The Washington Times. The bill asserts women who are considering abortion have a right to know and have informed consent about risks associated with abortion. Further, by increasing the waiting period from 24 to 48 hours, the bill provides a greater period of reflection for women to weigh the possible psychological and physical costs of an abortion. Continue reading “A Woman’s Right to Know”

March For Life

An event that took place in our nation’s capitol today, the annual March for Life, attracts a huge crowd of marchers … but often fails to garner more than cursory attention from the nightly news. (Digital accounts usually offer some attention.) In the March for Life, people from around the country gather to mark the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Sanctity-of-Human-Life-MonthAbortion is an issue that tends to make people squirm … as it should. Some people consider abortion a “necessary evil” we must tolerate because of the number of unplanned pregnancies that occur; opponents of abortion maintain that unplanned pregnancies can be (and should be) addressed apart from destroying the precious, unique lives of unborn babies. Supporters of abortion uphold the procedure as an important choice – a woman’s sacred right to choose; opponents argue at least two individuals are involved in every abortion “choice” and the humanity of unborn babies is casually denied and ignored. Continue reading “March For Life”

Disperse! Ye Shades of Night

Variously characterized as an “English writer and philanthropist,” “a British playwright, abolitionist and philanthropist,” “an Evangelical philanthropist,” “an educator, writer and social reformer,” poet Hannah More’s name is one with which I was unfamiliar. A contemporary of John Newton and William Wilberforce (among others) and a woman who mingled with many of London’s literary elite, More lived from 1745 to 1833.

FierceConvictionsWith a recently released biography, author Karen Swallow Prior provides a portrait of Hannah More, a cultural figure who engaged her times and challenged the conventional norms of her time, including prevailing attitudes on slavery. The book is Fierce Convictions with the subtitle The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More:  Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist. Continue reading “Disperse! Ye Shades of Night”

Do Black Lives Matter?

One of the lead stories of this morning’s news was the monstrous traffic jam in Massachusetts I-93 caused by protesters, arms voluntarily inserted into sand- or concrete-filled barrels, positioned directly in the highway right-of-way reserved for vehicles. At least one report indicated the protesters wished to make a statement about “improving race relations” due to recent deaths perceived to have a racial component.

protesters2In the photo above, the white barrel includes this warning:  Caution. Moving barrel will cause injury and prevent disengagement. Of course, this message was a subtle warning for law enforcement, a means to coerce officials to take every precaution before resolving the traffic snarl … protect the protesters no matter the costs and delays.

The protester manifestos are available online, but I have no intention of providing any additional web hits they’d love to have, so I won’t link here. In a nutshell, their protests were designed to deliberately shut down the highways leading “from the predominantly white, wealthy suburbs” into Boston. Continue reading “Do Black Lives Matter?”

GroupThink On Campus

At Oxford, no less! The story this week shows how discourse on college campuses has become utterly homogenized. It began when the Oxford Students For Life (OSFL) announced they planned to sponsor a traditional debate on the affirmative motion:  “This House Believes Britain’s Abortion Culture Hurts Us All.” Two individuals were scheduled to deliver their responses to this motion. Arguing in favor of the motion, historian Timothy Stanley is an author and blogger who writes for the UK Telegraph. Disputing the motion, Brendan O’Neill is a columnist and blogger who writes for the UK Spectator and edits Sp!ked, an online magazine.oxford debateThe debate was scheduled for Tuesday night, November 18th. When the chosen venue at Christ Church (the Blue Boar Lecture Theatre) withdrew its permission for the event and another venue could not be booked, the event was cancelled. If you want to read more about the controversy, these are some helpful links:  summary at BuzzFeed, the Oxford Students For Life website, a report detailing the “College Censors” vote to withdraw their permission, commentary by O’Neill after the event was cancelled, another summary from vox.com, and finally, links to the statements with which Stanley and O’Neill planned to present as their debate opened … if they hadn’t been banned from the public square.

I also want to include the blow-by-blow commentary of Executive Director of Right to Life Peter D. Williams, who carefully dismantles (with numerous additional links) the claims of those whose efforts successfully quashed this exercise of free speech. Continue reading “GroupThink On Campus”

Rebranding Despicable

Lately, I’ve been wondering, when did it become okay to kill children? Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, I know at least 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States. Yes, they were “legal” based on the standard instituted through the Supreme Court’s Roe decision. Nevertheless, women who sought abortions used to drive to neighboring towns to obtain abortions; they didn’t stand on Main Street with signs and brag about having killed their unborn children.

4D Sonogram, from http://pregnancy.healthguru.com/video/advantages-of-the-4d-sonogram
4D Sonogram, from http://pregnancy.healthguru.com/video/advantages-of-the-4d-sonogram

A woman who had an abortion acknowledged there was a natural stigma about it, supposedly an admission that the procedure was the “only” choice rather than the “preferred” choice. Even politicians adopted the “safe, legal and rare” mantra. Why rare? Because of its moral component! Because having an abortion was thought to be a BAD choice (albeit in their minds a necessary choice, nonetheless)!

I haven’t heard the “safe, legal and rare” (SL&R) mantra in a long time. I think, in part, the phrase fell out of favor because there were those who recognized this specific phraseology carried a negative inference (specifically, the moral component) … and God forbid, any woman who has an abortion should feel shame (or moral condemnation) for taking the life of her unborn babe! Continue reading “Rebranding Despicable”

Osteenification

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/7boqlx
FROM: http://tiny.cc/7boqlx

Today is the seventeenth anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death. Though she was an Albanian by birth, this diminutive woman lived most of her life in India serving the poorest of the poor. She began her life as a Catholic missionary at age 18 and devoted the rest of her 87 years to mission work, living among those for whom she cared.

Even though I’m a non-Catholic, I’ve respected the dedication of Mother Teresa whose sacrificial service was significant. I found her especially endearing when (in 1994 at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC) she spoke before a crowd of more than 3,000 attendees and boldly advocated on behalf of the unborn.

One quote must suffice here because the speech is lengthy, but in part, she told her audience:   “… the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion … if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”

Notwithstanding her status as a Nobel Prize winner (1979), she was widely criticized for her decision to speak so fearlessly about her deeply-held convictions. Among the dignitaries on the dais as she spoke were President and Mrs. Clinton as well as Vice President Al Gore.

Standing before powerful people didn’t dissuade this woman from speaking the truth as she understood it. Continue reading “Osteenification”

Life Is A Gift

On Wiseblooding, I post periodically about abortion. It’s an issue about which I feel strongly. I am unwaveringly pro-life. Back in the late 70s, I composed a simple poem that summed up the debate of that time. Those were the days when discussion seemed more focused on the specious question:  When does life really begin?

Over time, this question was shoved aside, because for many supporters of abortion, it didn’t really matter. Whether life was judged to begin at conception or later (as late as the child celebrating his/her second or third birthday), these individuals supported abortion without regulation or reservations.

As you read the poem below, please imagine in your mind’s eye the intertwined strands of cascading human DNA. The short lines and sustained simple rhymes are meant to evoke that image.

Epitaph, abortion, down-syndrome, termination, infanticide, poem, poetry, verse
Poem: Epitaph

You Asked For It!

Yes, there used to be a television series in the 1950s by that name. No, this post has no connection to the tv show.YouAskedFort

Over at the MindfulDigressions blog today, Doobster posted his reaction (entitled I Just Don’t Get It) discussing the Supreme Court decision in re: Hobby Lobby.

Later in the day, he added a follow-up post (entitled Let Me Have It) that expresses surprise (or possibly disappointment?) that his earlier post didn’t generate the level of pushback he apparently anticipated (only two dissenters).

ASIDE: I could be wrong but the later post seemed especially condescending to the two dissenters. I suspect I won’t fare any better than they did, but since Doobster solicited, I humbly offer my response.

It’s simple, really. With all due respect, you don’t have to “get it.” You obviously have a difference of opinion. The Greens (owners of Hobby Lobby) hold one view, you hold another. You’re not going to change their minds on the issue and I imagine your stance is just as firm as theirs. Continue reading “You Asked For It!”

Thank Your Mother

Branches of the military have a Code of Conduct. Private businesses often have a similar set of dos and don’ts for their employees. These rules for behavior promote an orderly operation and enable members of the organization to understand (1) what’s expected of them and (2) where the boundaries are. Having specific guidelines for behavior protects both people and organizations against the “Oops, I didn’t know” defense.

Likewise, civil societies have adopted an implicit code of conduct for acceptable and/or unacceptable acts and behavior. Codes may be prescribed via laws and regulations, as well as a shared awareness of right and wrong. For centuries, public disfavor or implied reproof were sufficient to discourage bad behavior. When social condemnation failed, offenders were jailed.Vacant_Prison_Cell_clip_art_hight

Through the years, a commonly accepted rule for good conduct has been protecting women and children. From medieval times, the inclination of a society to look after women and children was considered chivalrous. (See this previous post about my thoughts on chivalry.)

I remember in childhood the first time I viewed the movie Titanic (1953). This movie presented a societal code of conduct:  the captain would not abandon ship, women and children were given life jackets and placed in lifeboats. One male character dressed as a woman and sneaked onto a lifeboat; eventually they noticed his presence and all considered his bad behavior shameful.

Our 2014 topsy-turvy culture has it backwards now. No question, women (gender feminists) have been party to this upset. God forbid any man should open a door for a woman! God forbid a woman expresses her appreciation for the husband who supports her! God forbid she betrays any weakness, any indication she isn’t totally capable of caring for herself in every aspect of her life! (Reminds me of a small child refusing help:  “No, I can do it!”)

Now, we’ve come so far the culture isn’t just topsy-turvy … it has moved into the surreal, with bizarre demonstrations of just how “liberated” we are. Instead of accepting the protection society used to offer, women have voluntarily turned away from it, to the extent that women and children are now the first to be harmed, jettisoned and ravaged. The strong will always survive, but the weaker among us − most often, women and children − are often used up and spat out.

A newsworthy example of this philosophy run amok was reported this week. More than likely, you’re familiar with the story:  a pregnant abortion counselor videotaped her own abortion as it was being performed. In her comments, she says:  I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby. I can make a life …” The truth is, she didn’t make that baby, she didn’t make that life. But she did TAKE that life! She destroyed that life, having it flushed from her uterus with extreme prejudice.

Sure, we can talk viability. This woman was in her first trimester, the fetus was quite small, certainly unable to live on its own at that stage. An infant is also unable to live on its own. Should we destroy them too? There are times when a teenager seems incapable of doing anything on his or her own … i.e. nonviable. If non-viability is the yardstick for who lives and who dies, who takes the measure? Are there stages of non-viability?

Great Grandmother with great grandson
Great Grandmother with great grandson

When a society refuses to protect its most vulnerable, all of us live under threat. When a society refuses to protect its most vulnerable, we have relinquished our humanity. Animals in the jungle don’t have a code of conduct. They prey on the weak, the old, the infirm, the young. When humans refuse to protect the vulnerable among us, we’ve ceded our civility. We have become animals … in an uncivil jungle.

Most people know Sunday is Mother’s Day. I suspect many of us had mothers who instilled within us a specific code of conduct. I know my mother did. (Read about my mother here.) One of the rules she emphasized again and again was our responsibility to care for and protect others, to have compassion for others. She encouraged us, in Christ-like respect, to love others more deeply than we loved ourselves.

I live with the daily reminder that my mother gave me Life. In a sense, this Gift was everything she had. I also live with the confidence that she’d have died in my place, if necessary. There is no other gift so precious as the Gift of Life.

Thanks, Mom. I’m forever grateful.