Aug 29 2014

About the ice bucket challenge

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A few people have emailed or asked whether I would do it. No, I wouldn’t, because I never want to encourage the use of embryos for scientific research. (NB: Stem cells need not be embryonic. There is much research that can be done without using embryos, and to date, it’s been more effective, anyway.)

Then I saw this about Matt Damon who disagrees with the challenge for different, but also valid, reasons.

He was creative in his rejection of the challenge, as you can watch below.

It got me thinking. How could pro-lifers be creative in rejecting the challenge? What I like about Matt Damon’s response is he drew positive attention to his cause. A little levity can go a long way. So pro-lifers, what could we do?

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Aug 29 2014

Anti-human trafficking walk September 27

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Human trafficking, prostitution, pornography, sex slavery: All of the above are linked and happen under our noses right here in Canada. If this is something that concerns you, consider joining in on this event. The info below is from Ashley Elliot, walk coordinator:  

The term “human trafficking” often conjures images of brothels in South East Asia or forced labour in sweatshops throughout the developing world, but unbeknownst to many in our own communities, it is happening in Canada as well.

Join us September 27th at the inaugural [free-them] Freedom Walk to be a part of the solution to end slavery in Canada! Hear from some of Canada’s greatest voices on the issue of human trafficking from our government, law enforcement, and survivors of human trafficking. Then head into the streets of Ottawa to walk for freedom.

WHEN: Saturday, September 27th

Breakfast & Honourary Ceremony: 9:00am at the Ottawa Convention Centre, 55 Colonel By Dr.

Walk: 11:30am route: Elgin – Catherine – Bank – Parliament Hill

Speakers: Ottawa Deputy Mayor Steve Desroches; Minster of Public Safety Steven Blaney; Ottawa Police Detective Carolyn Botting; and survivor of human trafficking Simone Bell. The morning will be emceed by Ken Evraire.

Register individually or as a $15 includes complimentary breakfast, guest speakers, slave-free marketplace and a kid-zone prepared with fun activities for children.  Join the purple wave, [free-them] t-shirts available for $15 and will be free to those who raise $100 or more.

Join the freedom movement and walk with us Saturday, September 27th!!

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Aug 27 2014

What did Dawkins really mean re: DS babies?

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I’m sure you’ve all heard about Richard Dawkins’ tweet regarding unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome.  He was asked what should be done if a woman discovered she was pregnant with a child with DS. His response:

Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.

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Aug 26 2014

“Please wake up, Feminism. Because you look stupid”

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I appreciate the sentiments expressed here. Some harsh language, but hey, it’s called for in instances:

However, allowing women who constantly commodify their bodies for the highest bidding award show or best paying record label to proclaim themselves as “feminists” without any outrage means we’re okay with them prostituting all of our bodies. Because this isn’t just damaging to them. They are creating a culture that sees all of us as parts and pieces to be acquired, sold, and traded at leisure.

This is precisely what has happened, past tense, in my opinion. Now we are left to undo the damage. Yet women cannot expect men to treat us respectfully when we don’t treat ourselves respectfully, as human beings, a trinity of mind, body and soul.

As an example of all of us being prostituted, let me give you this example.

A bunch of us girls go to help a friend move. I put on my moving clothes (FYI: not sexy) and show up in the summer heat. Our job is window cleaning–inside, and there’s no AC, since the windows are all open at this point for cleaning. It’s kind of hard work. Again, we are all in our moving clothes in an apartment in upheaval. I’m painting a picture so you can understand how not sexy this event was. We stop for a break. Popsicles! Hurray. Who doesn’t love popsicles, a childhood treat. We also need to a take a break because one of the windows jammed and could not be budged. We call the property manager for help, and he arrives to try and fix said window. He ends up joining us for popsicle treats.

Here’s where the pornification of culture happens. One of my friends is eating her popsicle, like every normal person does. He, the landlord, becomes somewhat fixated on watching her and though I find it weird, and notice it, I can’t figure out why. Finally he says, come on, can you just stop that! As if there is something criminal about eating a popsicle. And I realize what is happening. He is watching too much porn, and his mind has taken her eating a popsicle–an innocent, childlike activity–to a dirty place. If it can happen with my friend, it can happen with your daughter. We can debate causation here, but women and men: those who prostitute their own bodies for the making of porn, those who watch it, and a steady diet of advertising and movies that promotes women as sex objects are all to blame.

If some women claim objectification as empowerment, we are contributing to the problem, not solving it. This is not a post, btw, about victim blaming. Neither is it a post about “slut-shaming,” a term I see being used to ensure no one ever speaks responsibly about this sort of topic. It is a post about examining what constitutes empowerment, as women and men who must live together in this world.

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Aug 25 2014

A quote that resonates

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Matters of denomination are inside baseball, as they say, so if you are not Christian at all, then you can just skip to the next post. But for those of us who are Christian, I think Mark Pickup is asking the right question:

Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” – Mark Davis Pickup

I stumbled across this because he did a post about including people with Down’s. Which came from this post about a new clothing line for people with Down’s. Cool.

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Aug 22 2014

These days in history

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It was August 21, 1968 that Prague Spring was overrun by the Soviets. Some pictures here, to remember. My favourite shot is below, because it shows the military might juxtaposed against a normal guy, leaving work. What would you do?



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Aug 20 2014

“Pro-Choicers Are Doing Our Work for Us”

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Ben Wetzel over at BreakPoint uses two articles published in the last few weeks to demonstrate how “pro-choicers are doing our work for us.” One article is the Janet Harris piece that I wrote about a few days ago. I’ll excerpt the following from Wetzel where he discusses a piece from Esquire (some of it is pretty gruesome):

Within the past several weeks, however, two pro-abortion articles have appeared that demand the attention of pro-lifers. The arguments of the two pieces actually contradict each other, revealing the stark divide present even within the circles of abortion rights activists. Pro-life people might seize on the paucity of both arguments to make even more compelling cases for life in general and adoption in particular.

The first piece, the one getting the most attention, appeared in the online edition of Esquire on July 30. The article profiles the “abortion ministry” of Dr. Willie Parker of Mississippi…

The author, John H. Richardson, first describes the abortion operation—what he calls in Orwellian language “remov[ing] her pregnancy.” But then he gets to the really gruesome aftermath, the part where fetal body parts are clearly identifiable: “There’s the skull,” Parker says as he gestures toward a Pyrex dish, “what’s going to be the fetal skull . . . that’s an eye . . . here’s the umbilical cord”—and so it goes on, with Richardson adding his own commentary: “Floating near the top of the dish are two tiny arms with two tiny hands.” [...]

Harris’s cavalier treatment of abortion loses all credibility when juxtaposed with the palpable suffering and moral dilemmas encountered by real people in the Esquire piece. The untold numbers of women who have publicly mourned their own abortions—documented at sites like this—militates against the idea that abortion is just another surgical procedure. Moreover, few people undecided about abortion can read of Parker’s laboratory coldness to fetal body parts without feeling that something is dreadfully wrong here. In short, if these are the best arguments pro-choice advocates can come up with, they’re making it easy for the pro-life movement to respond. May we do so with grace and power.

Read the rest here.

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Aug 18 2014

Loving and reaching abortionists and clinic workers

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I just listened to Josh Brahm interview Abby Johnson. As most of you know, Abby is a former Planned Parenthood clinic manager and author of the book Unplanned. She’s now a pro-life activist and helps abortion workers and abortionists exit the abortion industry by providing emotional support, legal counsel, counselling and assistance in finding new jobs. (According to Abby’s experience, having an abortion clinic on your resume hinders future job prospects and she helps workers overcome this challenge.) All this is done through her ministry And Then There Were None.

In the last year, she has helped over 100 people exit the abortion industry. In July, she helped five workers leave one clinic alone, leaving that abortuary without staff.

In the interview she talks about how the pro-life movement needs to reach out to clinic workers and staff in kindness, and not direct their anger and frustration at them. She shares two personal stories which demonstrate her experience with both sides of the prolife movement. One hate-filled activist employed terrible (and ineffective) tactics to pressure Abby and her co-workers at Planned Parenthood to stop conducting abortions. His approach convinced Abby that she couldn’t befriend a Christian sidewalk counsellor who had been reaching out to her. A few years later, the consistent kind words and love of those sidewalk counsellors changed her mind again, and Abby fled to them when she realize that she could no longer work at Planned Parenthood. Abby had witnessed an ultrasound-guided abortion and saw the fetal child fight for his life before being killed, and she knew she could no longer deny the truth about abortion.

So listen to the interview. It’s insightful. Abby makes some fair critiques of the pro-life movement. We still have some work to do.


Andrea adds: This is very interesting. I remember when I met with this woman who worked for Planned Parenthood a couple of times for coffee; she was very ardently pro-choice. We were both trying to convert each other, I think, but those were good conversations. It’s way too easy to demonize or point a finger from behind the computer screen.

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Aug 16 2014

Pro-choice activist: don’t call abortions “difficult decisions”

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Janet Harris had a piece run in The Washington Post this week. Entitled “Stop calling abortion a ‘difficult decision,’” she expresses her frustration that pro-choice persons and organizations, including Hillary Clinton and NARAL, call abortions a “difficult decision.” Why does this upset her? Because doing so implies some level of concern or thought for the unborn child:

But there’s a more pernicious result when pro-choice advocates use such language: It is a tacit acknowledgment that terminating a pregnancy is a moral issue requiring an ethical debate. To say that deciding to have an abortion is a “hard choice” implies a debate about whether the fetus should live, thereby endowing it with a status of being. It puts the focus on the fetus rather than the woman. As a result, the question “What kind of future would the woman have as a result of an unwanted pregnancy?” gets sacrificed. By implying that terminating a pregnancy is a moral issue, pro-choice advocates forfeit control of the discussion to anti-choice conservatives.

I have a number of issues with this opinion piece.

The author cares so much about language (does this language fit into our camp’s or theirs?) that the humanity of the unborn gets summarily dismissed. Or perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps she has no concern in general for these guys and girls:

Child in the womb

She acknowledges, with stats from the Guttmacher Institute, that the vast majority of abortions are for reasons other than concerns for fetal or maternal health, or pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest.

The far more common situation, accounting for 51 percent of all pregnancies among American women, is an unintended pregnancy, either mistimed (31 percent) or unwanted (20 percent). A 2008 study found that 40 percent of unintended pregnancies, excluding miscarriages, ended in abortion. It is in these cases that the portrayal of hand-wringing and soul-searching is more likely to be at odds with the day-to-day reality.

She then concludes that since the vast majority of these abortions occur because the pregnancies are simply “unwanted” or “mistimed,” that the women must make the decision to abort their children as a matter of fact. That women in these situations don’t struggle with a “difficult decision.” This conclusion seems like a huge leap to me. I think our friends at Silent No More may have some thoughts on that.

She also assumes that since most women state they had their abortions fairly quickly after discovering they were pregnant, that they did not face the harrowing “difficult decision.”

Another survey suggested that “once women suspect pregnancy, most of them who seek an abortion act fairly quickly.” In fact, most women — even those who obtained abortions within the first six weeks of pregnancy — would have preferred to have their abortions earlier than they did.

Could it be perhaps that they felt they had no other choice? They were pressured? They didn’t realize there were resources available to them? That they were coerced? That they believed that once the abortion procedure was over, they would no longer struggle with whatever they were feeling about being pregnant?

This brings to me a few words from the article I posted yesterday, How I lost faith in the pro-choice movement. When we are dishonest with ourselves and each other about the realities of sex, there is reason for an emotional response and confusion. From Jennifer Fulwiler, the author of that piece:

I was looking through a Time magazine article whose infograph cited data from the Guttmacher Institute about the most common reasons women have abortions. It immediately struck me that none of the factors on the list were conditions that we tell women to consider before engaging in sexual activity. Don’t have the money to raise a child? Don’t think your boyfriend would be a good father? Don’t feel ready to be a mother? Women were never encouraged to consider these factors before they had sex; only before they had a baby.

The fundamental truth of the pro-choice movement, from which all of its tenets flow, is that sex does not have to have life-altering consequences. I suddenly saw that it was the struggle to uphold this “truth” that led to all the shady dealings, all the fear of information, all the mental gymnastics that I’d observed.

Sex has life-altering consequences. As a result of sex, you may get a disease and you may get pregnant. If a couple gets pregnant and deems that this pregnancy is “mistimed,” they may rush headlong into an abortion in hopes of simply getting back to their regularly scheduled life. They may not have given themselves the time to research the abortion procedure and its consequences, learn about fetal development or seek out resources and help.

Harris then moves on to the pro-choice movement’s new strategy: collapse in economic concerns to appeal to a broader demographic:

Abortion rights groups are struggling to expand their message from “pro-choice” — which they say no longer resonates with voters as it once did — to more broadly encompass women’s health and economic concerns. The movement needs such recalibration precisely because it was drawn into a moral debate about the fetus’s hypothetical future rather than the woman’s immediate and tangible future. Once these groups locked themselves into a discussion of “choice,” terminating a pregnancy became an option rather than a necessity. Pro-choice groups would be a lot stronger, more effective and more in sync with the women they represent if they backed away from the defensive “difficult decision” posture.

I don’t understand her use of “future.” The fetal child is alive and growing. As far as I’m concerned, something that is alive, kicking and hiccuping and will be born in a matter of months has a “tangible future.” Right? Or is a future only “tangible” if it includes interrupted college studies? Or the fast track at a Bay Street firm? Does not living and being and growing require some kind of “tangible” future? Or do only certain humans, with certain capabilities and a certain quality of life have a “tangible future”?

She then goes on to explain that abortion is a difficult decision “not something any woman wants to go through.” But she explains that this is not due to the fact that most women struggle with the idea of ending the life within them, but because they will feel judgement from others or that abortions cost too much.

I don’t know. I feel more judged now for being pro-life than I ever did being pro-choice. What about you?

There are other aspects of this article that demand comment, but I have to go live out my five month old son’s intangible future with him. I leave you to the comments section. As always, I appreciate your thoughts.

photo credit: drake lelane via photopin cc

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Aug 15 2014

“How I lost faith in the pro-choice movement”

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I was pro-choice as a teenager without a clue as to what went on in the womb. Had someone at my high school shared with me the facts about fetal development, I would have likely become pro-life then and there.

Some will argue, even when faced with the realities of biology and fetal development, that the killing and dismemberment of fetal children is still somehow necessary. But I hope that most, when faced with the facts, would pause and re-evaluate the pro-choice position.

Like this woman did:

My first tipoff that something was wrong in the pro-choice movement was when I realized that there was a great fear of information…

I found some images and descriptions of fetal development, and was amazed by how much I hadn’t known. For all the time I’d spent talking about abortion rights, I’d never bothered to learn the details about what, exactly, happens within a woman’s womb when she’s pregnant, and no one had encouraged me to do so. I had never heard that fetuses have arms and legs and tastebuds at eight weeks gestation, or that they began practicing breathing at 11 weeks. I paused and thought about that for a long time. It didn’t make me question my pro-choice stance, but for the first time I could understand how someone could be uncomfortable with abortion.

The biggest thing I noticed, however, was that pro-life sites had this information in abundance. The pro-lifers encouraged women to educate themselves about the details of pregnancy, suggested that they view ultrasounds to know what was happening within their bodies, and offered resources to educate women about all aspects of the female reproductive system.

On the pro-choice side, it was a totally different story.

Read the rest here.

h/t Big Blue Wave

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