Saturday, February 05, 2011

Great podcast, and my thoughts thereon

Life Report PodCast:

Episode 1: Are Pro-Lifers Getting Off-Topic by Discussing Live Action Sting / Dr. Gosnell?

1. "Why don't you have ME on?" How about featuring activists who do their own small part? The sidewalk counselor, the letter writer, the CPC worker, the niche blogger? I think it would work very well. Ashli McCall and her perspective on hyperemesis gravidarum, Myah Walker and her perspective on anencephaly, etc.

I think part of the problem with the prolife movement is that too many people get stuck into pigeonholing. They either think that their way is the only way, and everybody else is wrong, or they see what one group is doing and think that because that particular thing isn't their thing, they have nothing to contribute. So having guests on who do different things and fill different niches can help address both these problems, and also help people to network or think of new ways to do things.

2. Mike in Colorado. His use of a teachable moment was actually pretty good.

Did you know that in Texas, a minor can't legally get a tattoo AT ALL, not even WITH parental consent? Abortion yes, tattoo no.

"What would you accept as evidence that your position is wrong?" is a great approach. The suggestion to say, "Here is what you'd have to convince me of," and allow the other person to then indicate what we'd have to convince THEM of. (And I've found that just getting people to be skeptical of claims that the abortion lobby makes is often enough to get them thinking independently, and that in turn is often enough to bring a conversion.)

Mike's point about finding common definitions is excellent. As is the suggestion to ask open ended questions to bring people out. It gets them to THINK rather than just recite, which is something everybody needs to do no matter which camp they're in.

3, Rich from Atlanta: The Personhood movement. Absolutism versus incrementalism. Especially the way many Personhood supporters are divisive and attack incrementalists. Personally, I'm an incrementalist who does not oppose Absolutists.

I'm an incrementalist because we're fighting against an entrenched regime, both socially and politically. We have to save as many mothers and babies as we can. We're like the Danes smuggling Jews out of Denmark, like Oskar Schindler saving the Jews under his influence, like Corrie ten Boom saving what Jews she could personally hide. I don't see a moral superiority in allowing those we could save to be sacrificed so that we can feel like moral purists. We are fighting an enemy that has demonstrated a willingness to break the law, and they would defy Personhood laws with utter impunity. Even if we passed them, all that would happen would be to revive the old interstate abortion rings that thrived in the very early 1970s.

But if aboslutists feel called to push for all-or-nothing, I see value in their efforts in that they do promote debate. But I think that is ALL they accomplish, And I want them to -- pardon my French -- shut the fuck up about how morally superior they think they are to people who are out in the trenches every day actually saving lives.

And I think all the points raised on the show are excellent.

They discussed rape and incest exceptions, which I think are a horrible idea because it in effect concedes the idea of abortion as a beneficial thing, but that we're only willing to concede to those we consider sympathetic. But if abortion were a good thing, I'd not be opposed to it. It's a bad thing, in and of itself. Why, of all the women we throw under the abortion bus, would we single out these painfully vulnerable women and girls? Are they not entitled to the most help and support, not the least? Why would we single out them, among all women, to be abandoned to the Steve Brighams and Kermit Gosnells?

And we need to be articulating that clearly. The whole idea of criminalizing abortion is so that only the women who hatetheir babies and are hell bent on killing them -- the most unsympathetic women, who openly and willingly choose to do so -- are put in the hands of abortionists, and that if they want to put themselves in abortionists' hands, we won't be party to it.

And that's where we need to hold the abortion lobby's feet to the fire. They had their way in Philadelphia. "Access" was their god. And Kermit Gosnell was the result. And while they say they want better for women, their actions prove otherwise. They'd rather see a desperate woman in the hands of Kermit Gosnell than see that woman helped by a pregnancy center. Kermit Gosnell proves our point -- that legalization was about protecting abortionists and making their lives easier, not about helping women. And were abortion illegal again, just one woman in the hospital would be enough to at least temporarily close down a Kermit Gosnell --- until the worshippers of "access" set him free to kill again, as they evidently did with the likes of Lucy Hagenow.

The "bodily rights" argument was brought up, an argument I think is utterly bankrupt for two reasons:

A. The vast majority of abortions aren't being performed on women who are killing their unborn children in order to assert a right. They are engaging in an act of desperation that they would, if given the chance, avoid. We need to make it very plain that in the vast number of cases, it's an abortionists' rights issue -- do abortionists have an absolute right to frightened, desperate, abandoned, ill-informed victims, or do the women have a right to information and real help?

B. For the minority of women who are aborting because they claim it as a bodily right, they saw off the very limb they sit on. If their right to bodily autonomy extends as far as a right to permanently impose on the baby's body via death, then the baby's right to bodily integrity extends to the lesser distance of temporary imposition due to pregnancy.

4. The idea that the law would be persnickety about whether somebody is a "person" or a "human being" is a huge deal. Legal hairsplitting can totally trump common sense and human decency. William Waddill got away with strangling a 32-week live-born baby in front of multiple witnesses because his lawyer was able to leverage an obscure legal definition of "death" into a hung jury.

5. The nasty blood libel against incrementalists is one I've touched on. The discussion about unity of effort is well worth listening to. What debates should we be having privately, and which should be public debates?

6. Onto the News: Abby Johnson's book, Kermit Gosnell, Live Action's videos of PP staff expressing willingness to facilitate sexual slavery of underage girls. There was concern about getting off-topic and speaking as if these issues are the reason abortion is wrong. But of course, they're not the reason abortion is wrong. They're an outgrowth of the wrongness of abortion. And they are evidence that when you embrace abortion, the well-being of women will fall by the wayside. And that's no surprise. We don't oppose abortion because we are taking the baby's side in some sort of baby versus mother conflict. We're taking the mother-and-child side in a mother-and-child versus abortionist conflict. An abortionist is no more helping a woman than a drug dealer is helping an addict. Instead, he is making money from somebody else's self-destructive behavior.

The nastiness isn't why abortion is wrong. The nastiness is evidence that permitting abortion does not achieve its stated goal of helping women.

A. The Abby Johnson book exposes the way a willingness to tolerate abortion because you think doing so allows you to "help" just ends up dragging you into doing things that you'd never have thought you'd participate in. It sucks you in and enslaves you.

B. The Kermit Gosnell debacle exposes the lie that the abortion lobby protects women.

C. The Live Action scandal exposes, as did Abby's book, that once you start accepting abortion as a means, it starts becoming its own end.

We were sold the idea that pregnant women and their unborn children are natural enemies, and that abortionists are the women's allies. Abby Johnson's book, the Kermit Gosnell mill, and the Live Action stings serve to demonstrate that the mother is not naturally her baby's enemy, and the abortion lobby is not her friend. We need to be showing that the baby and the mother are allies, that helping one helps the other. And that the unborn child is not the enemy; abortion is.

They go on to some good discussion about how to use the Gosnell story to open dialogue and get people thinking and articulating. Let people talk about why they find Kermit Gosnell so deplorable, then get them thinking and articulating why it's so disturbing. Very few people can start with, "It's inexcusable murder to deliver this baby and then kill it with a scissors in the neck," and go to, "It would have been a good thing, or at least palatable to me, if he had jammed those scissors into the baby's neck a moment sooner, when the head was still lodged in the mother's birth canal.

We can also use Gosnell as a springboard into discussing the reasons these abortions were being done, and why abortions in general are done.

I've found that it's very common, especially among prochoice citizens, to believe that abortion is only legal in the first trimester, and then only for reasons people would find compelling. Gosnell is a perfect introduction to the real legal status of abortion, and the real goals of the abortion lobby -- which includes the idea that the only wrongness to Gosnell's baby killing is that he let the babies gasp for air before killing them.

The recommended dialogue is to keep asking questions. Make the person articulate what he stands for and why, and what he opposes and why. The discussion is excellent. How do you use current events to open dialogues that get people to think about and articulate their beliefs.

Closing: They're planning to have the live call-in show every Friday at 6 p.m. I plan to listen and to call in. But not this upcoming Friday due to family commitments.


Kathy said...

I'd suggest you get in contact with whoever is setting up the podcasts, asking to be one of the people on it. A lot of times, people who do things like this are excited to get volunteers, but otherwise only "draft" from those they already know. It certainly couldn't hurt to introduce yourself and offer your services.

M Hastings said...

This whole post is fabulously compelling and well-written. I am especially in love with this, "We don't oppose abortion because we are taking the baby's side in some sort of baby versus mother conflict. We're taking the mother-and-child side in a mother-and-child versus abortionist conflict."

Christina Dunigan said...

Kathy, I sent the entire post to them in an email.