Turning In Her Grave...

Planned Parenthood has a news item cheering Elizabeth Cady Stanton and all she did for women's suffrage. Coline Jenkins, Stanton's great great-granddaughter, wrote the article and also granted Planned Parenthood the use of photographs from the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust to celebrate Women's Equality Day on August 26, which was the anniversary of the date that the women's right to vote was ratified into law in 1920.

Coline's mother, Rhoda Jenkins, who is Stanton's great-granddaughter, is quoted as saying:

"If you can't control your reproduction, you can't get a job and get enough money to be independent," she told me. "Now that reproduction is controlled, you can invest in an education and use it. At the present time there are more women in universities than men. During the time of my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in the early 1800s, the doors of universities were closed to women.

"A general belief was that the study of Greek and mathematics would render a female sterile. Education was dangerous; females were in constant danger of losing 'femininity.' Well, as a teenager, my great-grandma studied Greek, won the school prize, a Greek lexicon, and went on to birth seven kids.

"Obviously, if she had seven children, she wasn't practicing birth control. At the time many women didn't understand the mechanics well enough, other than abstinence. Large families were all the fashion, to populate the United States that was fairly empty at the time.

"Planned Parenthood is absolutely necessary. I support it very highly."

I find it difficult to understand why it is that Planned Parenthood equates the right to vote with the right to abort. Why is it that Planned Parenthood is celebrating Women's Equality Day? The right to vote was a great victory for women's rights - there's no doubt about that, but how is that right somehow linked with the right to abort? Why, on Women's Equality Day, would we want to view this as an abortion rights issue?

Of course, the answer is that Planned Parenthood wants us to view abortion rights as tied to women's rights. The right to abort is not the same as the right to vote. It does not make us equal. How many men do you know that have had to have an abortion? How many men have had to sacrifice their children in the pursuit of education, career, or the happiness of others. As Rhoda Jenkins put it, "If you can't control your reproduction, you can't get a job and get enough money to be independent...Now that reproduction is controlled, you can invest in an education and use it." Is that what it boils down to? We need to have abortion on demand available so that women can be successful?

Anyone can control reproduction without having an abortion by knowing the fertility cycle and abstaining on days that sex is likely to result in pregnancy. Not to mention, I know women who were able to go to school, get a job, and make enough money to be successful while they raised children. Stanton herself was able to become educated while she birthed 7 children, and she did it without having to resort to having an abortion.
  • Stanton is quoted as classifying abortion as a form of "infanticide." The Revolution, 1(5):1, February 5, 1868
  • She also is known for stating: ""When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit" Letter to Julia Ward Howe, October 16, 1873, recorded in Howe's diary at Harvard University Library
  • Concerning abortion she stated, "There must be a remedy even for such a crying evil as this. But where shall it be found, at least where begin, if not in the complete enfranchisement and elevation of women?" The Revolution, 1(10):146-7 March 12, 1868
Naturally, Planned Parenthood neglected to mention that Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the original pro-woman pro-lifers, and I can only imagine that she is turning in her grave knowing that her great-grandchildren are selling her out.


Truth or Intimidation?

Perhaps the biggest organization that utilizes the "truth trucks" is the Center for Bioethical Reform, or CBR for short. Called "The Reproductive Choice Campaign," CBR drives fleets of large trucks with huge pictures of bloody aborted babies plastered on the sides. They are also using airplanes to fly over heavily populated areas with a large picture of an aborted baby flying along behind.

Their tone seems to be one of, "Yes, we know no one really wants to see these pictures, but we have to show them so that people will know the truth about abortion." I recall an interview where someone affiliated with CBR mentioned that any pro-lifer who did not approve of their campaign could not truly be pro-life. Well, I for one am about as pro-life as one can get, and I don't think I could disapprove of their campaign more if someone paid me to do it. Let me tell you why.

1. Children. These pictures are enough to shock an adult. For those of you with kids, can you imagine your little one seeing
this image pass next to them while you are driving down the highway? Would he or she ask you about it? Would they file that image away without talking to you about it? What would you tell your 3-year-old if he or she did ask what it was? As a mother, I do not want my child to learn about abortion this way. CBR makes the claim that "the same risks to children exist every time the television is turned on. Sickening images are likely to appear, even during early prime time." I don't know what kind of sick channel they are watching, but I can assure you that bloody, mangled babies do not flash by the TV screen when my child is watching. I am able to control the images my child sees on TV, but to avoid these trucks when they are in town, I would need to stay inside. That is not feasible for mothers and fathers with children.

2. Post-abortive women who are happy with having had an abortion. Most likely, it will not cause the women who aren't regretting their abortion to see the light. Most likely, it will seem to a woman as if we are on the lunatic fringe since she had an abortion, and it wasn't that bad. This will further solidify for her that pro-lifers are not on her side. Another brick is put onto her wall of denial, and should she ever become repentant, she may not venture toward the pro-life camp because she will think that she cannot identify with them and that we would not want to identify with her. She links all of us together as having the same judgmental attitude.

3. Post-abortive women who have regret. This could do a couple of things to someone who regrets her abortion. (1) It could bring her to her knees in tears for her baby, especially if she has not accepted forgiveness. (2) It could also drive her away from the pro-life people who want to help her because she will think, "I can't go to them for help - look what they think I did!" The message of a bloody picture does not comfort and reach out to these women!

4. Pregnant women. This is where CBR is trying to have the biggest effect. They want pregnant women to shriek in horror and run away from the abortion clinic as fast as they can. This might happen in some cases. These cases are few and far between though. Most women who are contemplating abortion are going to wonder if those pictures are exaggerated. And who are they going to ask? The abortion clinic workers. And what are they going to say? "Of course they are exaggerated dear. Now come on in and lie down on this table."

When a woman is contemplating abortion, for the most part, pro-lifers are the enemy. We want to take her choice away. We want to tell her abortion is a sin. Do you ever notice women walking toward the protesters outside of the abortion clinic? No. What do they do? They run past the protesters straight into the clinic, because they don't want to feel the sting of judgment. They're trying to run away from the thought of the baby they are carrying. They aren't going to look up and think, "This is what abortion will do to my baby...I can't do it." They are going to look down and run toward the abortion clinic, right into the arms of the ones who "care."

I'm a firm believer in that whatever method we use to help women choose to give birth, it should not hurt. They should not be wary of us or our intent. They should be 100% sure that we have their best interests at heart. I do not see the "truth trucks" in line with this method. I do not see a gentle, compassionate, Christ-like attitude in the truth trucks, and when I think, "What would Jesus do?" I cannot see him driving a truck. Can you?

A much better way of doing this is to invest the time and effort (think of the gasoline costs!) into promoting a way to reach women in a gentler way. Outreach programs into colleges for instance - instead of the upsetting
Genocide Awareness Project that CBR puts on. You want to drive trucks around all day? Put some pictures of prenatal development on the sides, although I still don't really think this approach will win many over. Buy some air time on radio stations and TV channels that talk about local pregnancy centers. The point is to do something that isn't so antagonistic. Nobody wins by putting people on edge.


Can Abortion Ever Be Good?

Truth is not relative: it is absolute when we believe what the Bible says about it.

  • Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. (Ps 119:142)
  • Yet you are near, O LORD, and all your commands are true. (Ps 119:151)
  • All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. (Ps 119:160)
  • Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
  • Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)
Therefore, no...in the sense of ultimate truth, abortion cannot be a good thing. It goes against God's will, and anything that goes against the will of God is not good. However, all sin (which is anything that goes against God's will) has initial benefits. If I steal food, I might not be hungry anymore. If I have an affair, I'll have a good time. If I gamble money, I'll feel good about my chances of winning. If I get drunk, I'll have fun while I'm drunk. However, all these things have a negative end, don't they? Just like a vengeful hangover, abortion can carry consequences with it that are not good.

Sometimes that initial "good" moment is enticing enough for a woman to have an abortion. Let's look at some common reasons why a woman might feel this way.

1. Pressure is gone. Have you ever been nagged by someone to do something you really don't want to do? Then you probably understand the frustration women feel when they are being subtly or blatantly pressured. You can probably relate to the feeling of "I'll just go and do it so they will leave me alone!" Can you picture the woman who has a significant other who has told her in no uncertain terms that she cannot have this baby if she wants him. A woman who has a mother who is telling her she just can't raise a child. She also has a school counselor telling her that a baby would be too hard to fit in right now or a boss who sends her subtle undertones that lead her to believe that she cannot advance with a child in tow. If she has children currently, every time she looks at those little faces, she feels she cannot give time to another child or her living children will go without, and the pressure piles higher. Friends give their $0.02, and while sometimes she will come across a friend who will tell her that she can do it, quite often the friend has a laissez-faire attitude about the whole thing.

You can see, in the face of pressure from one person or several others, how a woman might just throw her hands in the air and give in, can't you? If no one is supporting her, or if no one in whom she needs the support of is supporting her, 8 or 9 times out of 10 she is going to have an abortion if she does not find enough support out of her immediate circle. Some women don't even seek out support from other areas. Other women try but are brushed off by a condemning attitude or all talk but no action - no real help. Other women are embraced. They find support from other family members, those helpful friends, and supportive organizations that encourage her to do what she knows is the right thing. These pillars of support balance out the unsupportive atmosphere that she is facing at home.

Where do we fit in? Obviously we need to make sure that we are not condemning, not unhelpful and make sure that we are offering real help and support to women. We also need to be able to give women the reason why others are so unsupportive while, at the same time, sharing with her that her feelings are every bit as valuable as everyone else's - if not more so. We need to build a culture that supports women in unplanned, ill-timed pregnancies. I don't think we can have a "culture of life" until that is done.

2. No more financial concerns. If you've had a child, you know that one of the biggest worries is "Where is the money going to come from?" Eventually, the sticker shock wears off as you realize that it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, but unfortunately, abortion has made it possible for women to never reach that point. If you're a college student who finds yourself pregnant and you're facing zero support by way of your significant other, panic is going to set in. You can't live in a dorm with a baby. Where are you going to live? You can't go to school full time because you need to work, and if you don't go to school full time, the scholarship money is going to go out the window. What are you going to do? How are you going to finish school? You don't have any health insurance. How are you going to get some while working part time and going to school?

One by one, the fears start to build up until you, again, throw your hands up in frustration and make an appointment for an abortion. There aren't easy answers to these questions that are readily available. Why is that? Why isn't there a plan for college students (or other women in other situations) that supports a woman through this time? All it takes is one person to come alongside this panic-stricken woman and show her answers:
- You are going to file for child support.
- You are going to live here.
- You are going to work here.
- Here is a plan for finishing school.
- You are going to apply for daycare assistance.
- You are going to apply for Medicaid.
- I know these things are scary and a major change, but I am here, and I will not leave you to do this alone.

Obviously, we need to be the ones making those statements. We need to be bending over backwards, falling over ourselves to provide women with real help. I think we also should be looking into the areas of getting easy assistance available to college students and women in other general situations. What if instead of looking to abortion, women knew of a program that started the ball rolling for them looking into child support, a place to live, work, finish school, etc?
Michigan has started such a plan in college campuses.

3. Goals are realigned. When you have been coasting through life with no major hiccups, an unplanned pregnancy can send you into a tailspin. Other children's lives will be thrown off to accommodate the new baby. Budgets will have to be reconfigured. School/work will need to be readjusted. You might need a bigger car, a bigger house. That vacation might need to be cancelled. It isn't only the finances that can cause panic but the general chaos of life with a new baby.

There is no doubt that a baby changes everything. I think our role is to show that it doesn't change things for the worse. Take some of the burden off women by helping them come up with a plan for their concerns. The Nurturing Network, for instance, is a great organization that does just that. Help her get involved with a local mother's group or church that will help her with various day-to-day activities and emotional support. Help her find a good deal on a car. The bottom line is show her you care. Don't be all talk, no action. Along the same lines, don't withdraw your support once she has decided to keep the baby. She needs your support for as long as she needs it - whether that's days or years.

I have two "asides" for you.

We often hear that supposedly there are very few women who are being pressured and very few who abort for lack of finances. Reading pro-choice blogs and websites, you might walk away believing that women choose abortion because it makes them feel empowered. However, nothing could be further from the truth. I have never worked with a woman that aborted simply because she wanted to. I'm willing to believe that that is due to the nature of the work I am in - if women don't feel they need help, they aren't going to look. What I am saying to you is that we need to assume that no woman is happy about aborting.

There is also the contingent of
women who are not sorry. This often presents a problem for us as pro-lifers. Don't let it. First, it should be understood that women who have no understanding (no faith, no medical knowledge, and no moral compass, etc) will feel no need to repent until those things change. Sometimes converting to a certain faith will bring regret. Sometimes seeing pictures of prenatal development or carrying a subsequent pregnancy to term will do it. Other times, it's just a natural feeling of "I went against my maternal instincts." This can take weeks, months, years, decades. And sometimes it never happens. When this happens, it is because either no growth was made (no faith was started, no education was done, etc) or there has been a large wall of denial built, and nothing can pierce through. Sometimes women talk so much about how good abortion is, that they leave no room for a change of heart. They become calloused. This is very sad to watch, but this is not an unusual occurrence in any situation. Our response is to be there to love them no matter what they say. That is incredibly hard to do. I know. But that is what our Heavenly Father does, and we are here to be Christ-like - to be about our Father's business. (Luke 2:49)


Where Does Feminists for Life Fit?

This article has to do with recent Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, and his wife, who is affiliated with Feminists for Life. It explores some of the differences between FFL and the "mainstream" pro-life movement.

Feminists for Life is where the policy meets the pavement, Foster told Christianity Today. By addressing the forces that push women toward abortion, Feminists for Life tries to make abortion "unthinkable," not just illegal. Whether lack of support from a father, the need to work full-time, or a lack of resources on a college campus to care for a child, their feminist concern for the vulnerable motivates their concern for both the baby and the woman.

Their emphasis on eliminating the reasons why women choose abortion has influenced the whole movement. "If you focus only on trying to convince people that the unborn child is a human being, then you may not get as far as you would like," says Ruse. "There is a broader drama going on." Many young people, Ruse says, choose abortion because they don't have the resources or support to care for a child and because society views abortion as an acceptable alternative to an unplanned pregnancy.

I encourage you to visit Feminists for Life's website and read through their information. FFL truly embraces a pro-woman point of view.