What Does Social Justice Look Like in an Abortion Culture?

on August 19, 2014

Earlier this August a story circulated about an Australian couple who contracted with a Thai woman to carry a surrogate pregnancy. Surrogate Pattaramon Chanbua, a 21-year-old food vendor with two young children of her own, carried unborn twins for the Australian couple. One was born healthy, the other with Down syndrome and a congenital heart condition. According to an Associated Press report, the couple took the healthy child and returned to Australia, allegedly abandoning their other baby with his Thai surrogate mother, who has reportedly not been paid the full $9,300 fee she was promised. The Australian couple has denied the allegation, although they admit to anger that the surrogacy agency had not conducted tests earlier to detect Down syndrome. Had they known earlier, they probably would have terminated the pregnancy, the father told the AP.

“I don’t think any parent wants a son with a disability,” he said, apparently oblivious that his reasoning was not helping his cause. “Parents want their children to be healthy and happy.”

The story has sparked outrage, with questions being raised about commercial surrogacy. Over at the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse blog, Rickard Newman has a piece examining the problems of third-party reproduction, where children can be treated like objects in a market: disposable when unwanted, purchasable when desired.

But before we cast stones at the Australian couple, Americans should come to terms with the reality that reportedly 9 in 10 Down syndrome pregnancies in our own country are terminated before birth. What seems unimaginable after birth is all too common while the child is still in utero. We need to ask what social justice could look like amidst a culture that is predisposed to abortion. The early church offers us some clues.

Contrary to the assertions of some that pro-life sentiment among Christians suddenly materialized in the late 1970s, early church documents make clear that abortion and infanticide were unacceptable practices among Christians. The first century Didache, or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, addresses Christian ethics, instructing “do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant.”

Indeed, the decision of Christians not to practice infanticide — which Romans did by exposing disabled or unwanted female infants to the elements – set early believers on a significantly different trajectory than the prevailing pagan culture at the time. Historians noted that Christians took in and adopted infants discarded by others.

All of this may seem obvious now – that adults are obliged to care for vulnerable children and that exposing a child to the elements is barbaric – but in the time of the early church, Christians were acting in a counter-cultural manner. Today we do not discard female children at birth, but there are a significant number of people who view the practice of gender-selective abortion to be acceptable.

Part of the role of government is to provide for the common defense – a protection of the population from those who would seek to do harm. With this understanding, I propose that protection of the unborn should be a priority of a just government. But what of social justice for the unborn?

Activists in the pro-life movement are encouraged at the enactment of laws in states such as Texas requiring abortion clinics to conform to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, and requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital in the event of complications. The consequences of this legislation have been profound, with nearly half of Texas’ 40 abortion providers shuttering their clinics as the first phase of the legislation came into effect, and all but 6-8 other clinics expected to similarly close in September with the second phase going into effect.

This is an act of justice, with state officials seeking to prevent the kinds of horrors reported in Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia clinic. But social justice requires something more: the 250 miles separating the Rio Grande Valley from the nearest abortion clinic in San Antonio must be lined with pregnancy centers and ministries to ensure that women facing unplanned pregnancies are cared for. It has always struck me as absurd how “pro-choice” could be interpreted as pointing to the abortion clinic and announcing “there is your choice” without legitimately attempting to make other options available – and in the same manner, Christians must ensure that the shuttering of abortion clinics is met with corresponding support mechanisms from churches and community groups to make abortion alternatives readily available.

Pro-life activists are finding legislative success: more state abortion restrictions were passed between 2011 and 2013 than in the entire previous decade, from 2001 to 2010, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights think tank. In 2013 alone, at least 87 abortion clinics in the nation have shut down or ceased providing abortions. There are now 582 surgical abortion clinics in the United States, a 73 percent drop from a 1991 high of 2,176.

Before many of these laws came into effect, Christians began opening pregnancy support centers across the street from abortion clinics and listing support services on internet search engines under the search term “abortion”. This is gradually expanding outward into the culture, with non-religious pro-life groups such as Feminists for Life and Secular Pro-Life establishing their own voice. There are now at least 2,300 pregnancy centers across the country – vastly exceeding the number of abortion clinics.

These are the beginnings of what social justice might look like in a culture that affirms life in its earliest, most vulnerable state, and where women facing the uncertainty of an unplanned pregnancy are offered something better than directions to an abortion clinic.

  1. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 19, 2014 at 8:12 am

    This movement has it’s merits, but to think that every pregnant woman is going to agree to carrying an unwanted baby, as apposed to seeking an abortion, is just ideologically naive.

    Texas’ Governor Perry only made it more difficult for the “pro-choice” women of his State…and that’s cruel to those American citizens who are seeking to act on their legal rights.

  2. Comment by M Didaskalos on August 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Cruel? Here’s cruel: extinguishing in the name of “choice” these little human beings.


    Gov. Perry signed a bill providing that abortionists (cf. butchers like Gosnell and Karpen) have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals when they’ve botched an abortion and their patient (cf. Tonya Reaves — http://www.lifenews.com/2012/09/11/autopsy-proves-planned-parenthood-killed-woman-in-botched-abortion/ ] is in desperate need of hospital attention. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, and a majority of the Supreme Court refused to stop the law’s implementation.

    That abortionists and abortion providers refuse to comply with the law’s hospital admitting privileges testifies to the abortion industry’s willful, cold-blooded disregard of women’s health and safety.

  3. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 20, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I suspected that my choice in using the word CRUEL, would ignite someone…and such that it did, all I can say is, Duh!
    You dismiss the fact that a baby born to a parent that has no intention of being a parent would also be CRUELTY to the child, so you see, there are two sides to the story…Duh!

    I watched and read both of the links you provided, and I always appreciate one’s preparedness in support of their argument, so job well done.
    That however doesn’t address the fact that there are always going to be women who don’t want to be mothers.

    Also, the likelihood of complications during any medical procedure is always a possibility.
    It is sad, of course, that this woman died. That in itself is not grounds for closing the facility. If their ‘track record’ for treatment shows a trend of malpractice, then of course, they should be investigated, but that’s just due process, and that’s what our judicial system is in place to do.

    At the risk of irritating you with another platitude, let’s not “throw the baby out with the bathwater” just to see your vision of a perfect world, especially in a world that is far from perfect.

    These are choices of our free society. Perhaps not your choice, but then, it’s not your womb, either.

  4. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 20, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I’ve seen this reasoning used to justify killing off the sick and the elderly. Perhaps it’s not your choice to kill off your elderly and infirm mother, but then, she’s not your mother, either. Quality of life (or lack of it) can never be used as justification for murder.

  5. Comment by Karmasue on August 21, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Then how do you justify the death penalty? It is murder, plain and simple. The convicted are full grown, live citizens of the United States. Yet they are legally murdered every day in this country. So pro-lifers – who are never found fighting to save the convicted life – are just hypocrites. You are using “quality of life” as a justification for murder in that instance. So your message is that only YOU can decide who is a murder candidate.

  6. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    There is a difference between innocence and guilt. With an abortion a child is put to death because of no crime he has committed. His or her mother has just decided he should not live. With the death penalty for a major crime (like murder) the person being executed is not innocent, but guilty, and has been examined and convicted in a trial by his peers. I’m amazed that you are unable to accept the difference between the two.

    Generally speaking, since there are times when the death penalty for convicted felons could occur for someone who is actually innocent, I support the practice of life in prison (with the prisons being located far away from population centers).

    Best wishes!

  7. Comment by Karmasue on August 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Don’t be amazed. I have been listening to justification for legal murders for years from people just like yourself. It’s not that amazing anymore. What i find amazing in your reply is that you (generally speaking) support life in prison just in case the prisoner was actually innocent.

    So (generally speaking) would you also support life in prison for the innocent child if not aborted?

    innocence is innocence.

  8. Comment by Karmasue on August 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    There is no difference Jennifer.

    “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

  9. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    So you actually see no difference between a person who has committed no crime and one who has committed a crime?


    Well, life in prison for someone who committed no crime is better than being put to death via abortion. But the moral path here is to allow the child to live, and, if the mother doesn’t want the child, to put it up for adoption. Likewise, someone who is not guilty of a crime should neither be put to death nor incarcerated. Someone who has committed a crime for which the law gives the death penalty has, by committing that crime, voluntarily forfeited his life by his chosen actions. I say that while he may have chosen actions that result in the death penalty society should error on the side of mercy, and instead give him life in prison. The aborted child, however, has not freely chosen to commit a capital crime, has not been convicted of braking any laws, and is only being executed for not being wanted by his mother.

  10. Comment by Karmasue on August 21, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Your use of the word “child” is deceitful. And you know that if you are the least bit aware of biology.

  11. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    The word “fetus” is Lain for “embryo”. It means “child in the womb”.

  12. Comment by Karmasue on August 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    It isn’t about a difference.

    Either you are pro-life, or you are not pro-life.

    You are not. You simply want to force your beliefs on women who don’t meet your religious guidelines.

  13. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 21, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    No. It’s about morality and due process. Every culture throughout human history has had some sort of law to guide it. Those committing crimes that break the law freely choose the penalty of death. The child in the womb has committed no crime to deserve his punishment of death. You are saying that a child has no right to life if he is inconvenient. One need not appeal to religious morality. One comes to the same conclusion via natural law as well.

  14. Comment by Karmasue on August 22, 2014 at 9:36 am

    So under your social justice system, we need to monitor the behavior of pregnant women so that they face a death penalty for an abortion? And using your logic, a miscarriage is also murder of a “child”, even unintentional or inadvertent murder is negligent homicide in our society, so then do you advocate that we start to punish women who have miscarriages? Many get life in prison for crimes of passion or negligent homicides.

    How should we punish the evil mothers? After all, they are committing murder in your eyes.

  15. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 22, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Nope. I said none of what you argue.

    Legislation supports morality. We have laws telling drivers not to pass stopped school buses with lights flashing because we want to protect children. We have laws against murdering a bank teller and stealing all the money because doing so is immoral and harms both the person killed, the people the money was stolen from, and the larger society.

    Abortion is wrong because it takes a human life, a life that has committed no crime, a life that is innocent. Plain and simple, it’s murder.

    Miscarriage is not murder because – as sad as it is to loose a child – it is a natural occurrence. Murder must be committed deliberately.

    I am really amazed that you are not able to see the differences, even if you reject them.

  16. Comment by Karmasue on August 22, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Do you want a law that makes abortion a crime punishable as murder? Is that what you want?

  17. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 25, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I want laws that hold women who murder their children held accountable. Some people take their morality from the legal system, and laws against murdering children in the womb will go a long way to preserving and promoting life.

  18. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 25, 2014 at 8:58 am

    By definition a murder is a purposeful, intentional ending of a life.

    Miscarriage is not intentional.

  19. Comment by Karmasue on August 22, 2014 at 10:46 am

    It isn’t about morality. It is about the right of a mother to determine what is right for her. It is about not losing that right to choose.

    What a typical response to tell me what I am saying. “You are saying that a child has no right to life if he is inconvenient.”

    What I am saying is that it is not your right or responsibility to make my medical, religious and moral choices.

    Abortion is legal. And it IS a choice in this country whether you like it or not.

    I love this part where you say “One comes to the same conclusion via natural law as well.”

    Is that the same “natural law” that prompts you to decide for gays what rights they can and cannot have? It is about the desire to impose your own religious beliefs on others.

    I don’t really care what you personally believe – I care that you are perpetuating a patriarchal need to impose religious control in this nation – and I don’t want to live under the thumb of your religious authority. That is the lot of Iran, Syria, Iraq and other 3rd world nations.

    When you take away the rights of the people in favor of zealotry, even our justice system starts succumbing to the wave of religious hysteria. We are already watching it happen in the Supreme Court. Corporations are now “people of faith” who can deny health care to women based on the religion of the corporation! And it is only women you notice…not men. They still have choices. Viagra, Cialis, whatever it takes to help them impregnate.

    And you are helping to perpetuate this loss of women’s rights to satisfy that patriarchal need for control.

  20. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 25, 2014 at 8:56 am

    No. You do not have the right to decide whether another person lives or dies. You do not have the right to murder a human being residing in your womb just because you don’t want him or her.

    As to corporations, they are made up of people. The fact that an employer might not pay for contraception in no way prohibits a woman from obtaining them. The idea that if your employer does not pay for something somehow equates to being denied access to it is ludicrous. As to men’s ED pills, there is no law for companies to provide them for free, and most do not. The fact that an employer does not pay for them in no way stops men from obtaining them.

  21. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 23, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Natural law has reigned for many millennia, and for reasons that might not satisfy your view of morality, women have found ways of terminating their pregnancies.
    Why, now, is it so important to remove the legal rights of the American woman from making her own decision?
    We call it elective abortion…you call it infanticide.
    It’s not new, and if it’s not your womb, it’s not your business to interfere.

  22. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 25, 2014 at 8:47 am

    You’re correct that murder of children in the womb has always existed. It was murder back then and it is murder today.

    No human has legal rights over his or her body. A person can be put in jail for drug abuse, etc.

    The idea that a person has the right to kill another human being is ludicrous.

  23. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 23, 2014 at 9:32 am


    Why must every pregnancy go full term?

    If a woman has no plans of becoming a mother, and she has taken precautions to avoid pregnancy (aside from abstinence), why shouldn’t she be allowed a legal, medical procedure that eliminates the fetus?

    You’re giving full citizenship rights to a non person. We might as well issue the fetus a passport while your at it!

  24. Comment by Kangaroo52 on August 23, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    You supplied us with the perfect illustration of why naturism is inherently comedic. The rule is, the naturists are the last people you’d ever wish to see in their natural state.

  25. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 25, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Because no person has the right to murder another human being.

    A human being has the right to life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.

  26. Comment by Karmasue on August 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    How about this instead – the pregnant woman simply has the zygote or fetus removed and implanted into a pro-lifer – like you for instance – to carry to full term, birth and raise. That would take care of all your control issues.

  27. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    What a wonderful thought!

    Perhaps that will be possible someday!

    But your belief that not wanting a child is reasonable grounds to kill him or her is terrifying and saddening.

  28. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 24, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Jennifer, you stated “Well, life in prison for someone who committed no crime is better than being put to death via abortion.”

    WOW! Really?!
    Do you think the developing fetus has any consciousness of itself? I guarantee you, the innocent prisoner who’s incarcerated in spite of his innocence, is very aware of every minute! THAT is one of the major differences between those two comparisons. And in my opinion, the fetus doesn’t deserve the same using that comparison.

  29. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 25, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Yes, the developing baby has a consciousness of his own. Watch a video of an abortion, and how the child actually flexes to avoid the scalpel that is being inserted into the womb to cut him to pieces. Don’t forget that there is a heartbeat even before the mother knows she is pregnant.

    But even using your strange logic, you should be opposed to any abortion after about the sixth month, since child born then, while small and premature, are fully conscious. Does it not bother you that doctors all over the country like Gosnell in Philadelphia are murdering children in the womb in the 8th and 9th month, children that could have been delivered normally and had wonderful lives?

  30. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 25, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Jennifer, I have to agree that as the fetus, further develops (ie: third trimester), there wrests greater struggle with the decision to abort.

    I suppose I see this whole condition on a sliding scale. Early termination=More acceptable practice, Late termination=Less acceptable!

    I know this position on the issue paints me as a rationalist, but I’m from the camp of everything existing on some form of scale of balance…hence, my reference to Archemedes principles.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  31. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    The struggle in the second and third trimesters is mostly because the mother literally sees and feels human life in her womb. The heartbeat was there from before the moment the mother wondered if she might pregnant. The child most likely was kicking a bit by the middle of the second trimester. And by the time the child is in the third trimester he or she can survive outside the womb. As the child grows in the womb it becomes harder and harder to deny his or her humanity.

    Medical technology has assisted the Pro-Life cause. An ultrasound can tells mom fairly early whether the child in her womb is a boy or a girl. I don’t think we can ever fully end abortion. I disagree with your thinking but I think it will someday be used to prohibit all abortions after the fifth month. That’s a start, and killing the children prior to then is still murder, but the carnage will have been reduced.

    Thanks for your post.

  32. Comment by Karmasue on August 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Bringing up Gosnell in Philadelphia as representative of doctors who perform legal, safe and necessary abortions is as relative as saying that outed homosexual Ted Haggard is representative of all Christian preachers. Is he??
    But then you wouldn’t know that either, would you?

  33. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 26, 2014 at 8:23 am

    The comparison is not a valid one.

    Haggard did not follow Christian morality and behaved in immoral ways. But no one died. Thankfully most ministers don’t behave like him.

    Gosnell, on the other hand, did the same thing as all abortionists do: he killed babies. The only difference between him and the other abortionists is that he did it right up until the moment of natural birth.

    See the difference? Not all ministers behaved immorally as did Haggard. But all abortionists do the same thing as Gosnell, just at a different time in the life of the child.

  34. Comment by MarcoPolo on September 1, 2014 at 11:34 am

    “…Wonderful lives..” ???
    That’s presumptuous!

  35. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on September 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    All life is wonderful. From conception to natural death.

  36. Comment by MarcoPolo on September 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I’ll admit to being an unabashed optimist, but to assume that every baby that’s born will live a”wonderful” life, is just unrealistic.
    Nature does have its course, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have our way, given the freedoms we cherish and defend.

    In possibly a crude comparison, I’ll suggest that if a woman were to discover that cancer of her breast was destroying her chances for living, she probably would have them surgically removed. Similarly, if a woman discovers that she is pregnant, and she wishes NOT to be, she might have the fetus removed?

    Quality of life for the woman is the case in both instances. Not so much for the cancer, or the fetus, but these are the liberties that we have elected to secure. If your religion prohibits you from having an abortion, then by all means you should not have one, but that restriction shouldn’t pertain to all women in general.

    Let’s “not cry over spilt milk!” We all make choices, and they’re not going to be the same for everyone.


  37. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on September 1, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    You can’t compare a child to a cancer.

    All life is wonderful because it is life. Killing another life is never a moral good. It is always a moral evil.

    Life is no less wonderful because some people have bad experiences. I’ve seen people use lack of quality of life as excuse to murder the young in the womb, those with physical and mental disabilities, and even the elderly. In all cases it is evil.

  38. Comment by Karmasue on August 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Abortion is not “putting a child to death”. There is no child. A child is a living, breathing, viable human.

  39. Comment by vsm on August 22, 2014 at 12:29 am

    You claim that “no child” is put to death in an abortion — as if a human fetus were nothing more than a tumor or a diseased appendix. But science itself — not to mention common sense — tells us that human life is a continuum: it begins at conception and ends at death, with everything in between, including gestation, another stage of development. An abortion destroys that human life. Indeed, that’s its whole point.

  40. Comment by Karmasue on August 23, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Science doesn’t tell us that human life is a continuum at all. A continuum has no beginning or end. You have confused science with religion again.

  41. Comment by vsm on August 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Religion has nothing to do with it. Would you prefer that I have said human life “EXISTS” on a continuum? Fine. That in no way alters the scientific fact that human life “begins at conception and ends at death, with everything in between,
    including gestation, another stage of development.”

  42. Comment by Karmasue on August 25, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Pregnancy begins at conception. Human life begins a birth.

  43. Comment by vsm on August 25, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    If that were so, there would be no need to cause the demise of the fetus in order to terminate the pregnancy.

  44. Comment by Karmasue on August 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    By that same logic, there would be no need for injection to terminate the prisoner.

  45. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    True, a child is a viable human being, but a fetus can not exist outside it’s mother’s womb.
    Why not leave these decisions to the ‘would-be-mothers’, and stay out of their business?
    It’s not your pregnancy…just hers!

  46. Comment by Karmasue on August 23, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    I totally agree. That is exactly what I have been saying, but this is an intregal part of their patriarchal agenda. Women have always been lesser creatures in the Christian hierarchy. They don’t want to lose that control.

  47. Comment by M Didaskalos on August 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    You’ve missed the obvious solution. Instead of Planned Parenthood’s throwing millions of dollars at Wendy Davis’s failed campaign — not to mention the millions the nation’s largest abortionist spends to fight every Woman’s Right to Know law [ e.g., http://www.health.state.mn.us/wrtk/handbook.html — PP fought Minnesota’s law for 9 years], parental notification law for a minor’s abortion, et al. — Planned Parenthood could simply hire a higher class of abortionists, those who are skilled enough physicians to gain admitting privileges to hospitals when they’ve put a pregnant woman’s life in jeopardy. Problem solved. No clinics would have to close.

    Oh, and while they’re at it, Planned Parenthood could stop fighting state health regulations requiring inspection of abortion clinics [ http://www.lifenews.com/2014/01/20/planned-parenthood-missouri-opposes-clinic-inspections-despite-23-botched-abortions/ ] and taking extraordinarily evasive measures to avoid clinic inspections [ http://www.lifenews.com/2014/04/17/planned-parenthood-reschedules-abortions-to-dodge-clinic-inspections/ ].

  48. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 23, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Minnesota’s parental notification law makes it impossible for a pregnant teenager (under the age of 16) to get an abortion.

    If you were to become pregnant at that age, and had no intention of becoming a parent, wouldn’t that law mess up your Life’s trajectory?

    My argument:
    Why penalize the teenager for a sexual dalliance?

    Your argument:
    Why penalize the unborn child for the teenager’s sexual dalliance?

    These questions and more, affect every choice we make throughout our lives. Some of the decisions are easier than others, but life can be hard, and we don’t need to make it harder because our religious beliefs don’t mesh with those of others who believe differently.

    We are fortunate to live in a (somewhat) secular society, where our personal choices are respected, but your religion wishes to take the liberty of “Choice” away from individuals who think differently than you. ( I presume )?

  49. Comment by M Didaskalos on August 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Marco, please read a little more carefully. Here’s the statutory language quoted in the Minnesota Woman’s Right to Know Act [ http://www.health.state.mn.us/wrtk/handbook.html ]:

    “Minnesota Statutes section 144.343 [Pregnancy, Venereal Disease, Alcohol or Drug Abuse, Abortion] requires that parents be notified at least 48 hours before an abortion is performed on an unemancipated minor unless:

    1) the abortion is necessary to prevent the woman’s death and there is not enough time to provide the parental notice;
    2) the parents authorize the abortion in writing;
    3) the woman declares that she is a victim of sexual abuse, neglect, or physical abuse, as defined in Minnesota Statutes section 626.556; or
    4) the woman elects not to allow the notification, and a judge, after an appropriate hearing, authorizes a physician to perform an abortion.”

    Thirty-eight states have parental notification laws, which are supported by sizable majorities of Americans in poll after poll: http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_PIMA.pdf . You’d be hard-pressed to find judges who deny abortions to any minor girls who seek a judicial bypass.

    As for the canard that always attributes pro-life beliefs to religious convictions, try selling that to the more than 6 million non-religious pro-lifers: http://www.secularprolife.org/#!

    One of my favorite SecularProLife.org graphics: “I don’t have a rosary. I’m not interested in your ovaries. I just don’t think you should have anyone killed.” [ http://blog.secularprolife.org/2013/12/the-years-top-graphics.html ]

  50. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I’m of the belief that a girl of any age should be able to get an abortion if she chooses.
    No interference from her impregnator, her parent(s), or anyone other than herself!
    It’s HER life, that is paramount in these cases, and NOT her zygote!
    It is because of States like Texas and Minnesota that make freedom of choice merely a dream, and not a reality.
    Question: If you were thirteen years young, and became pregnant, would you want your parents to know?

  51. Comment by M Didaskalos on August 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Marco, you need to stop tossing around hyperbolic, unfounded accusations like these two:

    “Minnesota’s parental notification law makes it impossible for a pregnant teenager (under the age of 16) to get an abortion.”

    “It is because of States like Texas and Minnesota that make freedom of choice merely a dream, and not a reality.”

    Both of those statements are demonstrably false, as I pointed out by quoting Minnesota state law verbatim.

    Did you bother to read the Minnesota state law I quoted? The judicial bypass provision in the parental notification states that a minor girl does NOT have to inform her parents about her pregnancy if she goes to a judge to get her abortion approved. Again, here’s the Minnesota law I posted earlier: “4) the woman elects not to allow the [parental] notification, and a judge, after an appropriate hearing, authorizes a physician to perform an abortion.” In 37 of the 38 states that have a parental notification law, there’s also a judicial bypass provision so that a minor may get an abortion without having to notify her parent(s).

    Judges almost never deny a minor girl an abortion. A New York Times article from 1986 reported on a minor from Minnesota named Amanda who sought an abortion via judicial bypass. Quoting part of the article: “The evidence showed that it was easy enough, once in court, to persuade a judge to waive parental notification. Minnesota judges approved Amanda’s request and more than 3,500 others between 1981 and 1986, while turning down only nine – one-quarter of one percent.”

    Planned Parenthood, far and away the nation’s largest abortionist, offers state-by-state judicial bypass information for minor girls [ http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-info/abortion/parental-consent-notification-laws ], prefaced by this statement: “You can ask a judge to excuse you from getting permission or telling your parent or guardian. (This is called a “judicial bypass.”)”

    It’d be nice if you started using fact-based arguments rather than rhetorical bombast.

  52. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 24, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Thank you M Didaskalos, for clarification.
    Bombastic behavior never carries much credibility, so I’ll simplify my intention of my previous entry.

    An abortion request for a minor, apparently still needs to go before a Judge. So much for being discreet. One can’t just walk into a clinic and ask for it. However, if the “Morning After” pill were readily available, perhaps that would circumvent the legal process?

    Still, it seems to be a woman in the State of Texas, is also frightening for all the shinanigans that the Governor seems to concoct.

  53. Comment by M Didaskalos on August 25, 2014 at 8:52 am

    One correction, Marco: the judge’s OK is required in 37 of the 38 states that have parental notification requirements and only if the girl doesn’t notify her parents.

    Note that we’re talking parental NOTIFICATION, not parental CONSENT, in most of these states. Did you know that: “For more than a decade, Gallup has found roughly 7 in 10 Americans favoring laws that require women under 18 to receive parental CONSENT [caps mine] for any abortion. “? If we’re talking only parental notification, not consent, the number of people favoring parental notification is about 80 percent in polls.

    Even some affiliates of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, suggest that girls talk to their parents. Witness this from the website of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains affiliate: “No matter what you decide to do about your pregnancy, we think it is important that you talk to your parents about it.”

    When minor girls are required to have a parent’s CONSENT to get an aspirin from the school nurse, to go on a school field trip, and to get a tattoo, why does a minority of citizens consider it so awful that she be encouraged or required to at least notify a parent about a surgical operation that will kill a developing human being in her womb, an irreversible action that leaves myriads of girls emotionally guilt-ridden and devastated? If a girl later regrets getting a tattoo (which she can have removed), how much more likely is she to regret having ended the life of a little human being like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBKKnCtNeRU

    I submit that the kind of shenanigans that would let an abortionist or abortion-clinic “counselor” be a minor girl’s only “advisor” are more repellent than requiring parental notification with a judicial-bypass excuse from notification.

  54. Comment by Wild Child on August 20, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Using your compassionate logic, I can kill my 97 year old mom, because she has vision problems, mobility problems, and can no longer drive or cook for herself. Someone is an inconvenience? Kill them, they are UNWANTED, and it’s OK to kill an UNWANTED person. How would you feel about killing the homeless guys in the park, they definitely look UNWANTED.

    Viva fascism!

  55. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Dear Wild Child,
    Your name belies my image of you, but I digress.
    Of course one can’t kill another person on this side of the womb! That’s illegal, and immoral.
    My mother languished for many years beyond her preference, but there was nothing she could do to relieve her charge of this realm.
    If I face that fate, I’d hope to be allowed to end my own existence, but I can’t make that decision for any other person.

    I almost believe there is as much anticipation on either side of this Life, that the experience of being born, and of dying, is relative to one another.
    You’ve got family on both sides anticipating the birth of a new life, and as one generation passes, it is with as much contemplation from those who have passed before.

  56. Comment by Ken M on August 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Good article, thanks for reminding us that Christians were loving enough to take in babies that were abandoned by the heartless Romans. I don’t even think the ancient Romans culture was as pro-death as our own is.

  57. Comment by EVA-04 on August 21, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    They were very anti-woman as well, with female children often being sold into marriages or slavery.

  58. Comment by Karmasue on August 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Once again you are confusing the Planned Parenthood Centers for “abortion clinics”. What Texas has done is effectively taken away all health care options for pregnancies…wanted or unwanted. And the replacement for our well-rounded health centers – the “Texas Women’s Health Program”.

    “You are eligible for these services if you:

    are 18 – 44 years old
    are a Texas resident and US citizen or legal resident of Texas
    don’t have health insurance
    have a low income* (at or below 185% of the federal poverty level)

    Sadly, however: “You cannot get services through this program if you are:

    or not a legal Texas resident”

    So the anti-clinic movement has continued its crusade to wipe away the rights of the poor and the pregnant. These clinics were meant for those least able to pay for any kind of health services. But Texas is a working oligarchy, and oligarchs make the rules in Texas. And the church wants our Democracy to become an oligarchy. They have been successful closing the Planned Parenthood health clinics across the south, and rendering “christian” oligarch Supreme Court decisions like the Hobby Lobby decision.

    It isn’t just wanting to control a woman’s right to choose any more. It is controlling a country’s right to choose. What will you do next? Will we be facing an American Crusades? How far are you willing to go to change the United States into an oligarchy, like Iran, for instance?

  59. Comment by Karmasue on August 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Closing these clinics walls off access to health care for millions of women. The “collateral damage” of the anti-choicers is devastating to poor women – and in a few years we will see studies showing that a disproportionate number of poor, disadvantaged women die needlessly because of the lack of health care.

  60. Comment by Jennifer Prestash on August 20, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Anytime you add a modifier to justice (i.e., “social”), it ceases to be justice.


    Because the modifier introduces moral relativism.

    It is part of what has led America to the point where murdering children in the womb is considered a good.

  61. Comment by mikehorn on August 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    If we shutter clinics that provide abortions, but also provide prenatal care, who is going to replace that care? If we force women to carry every baby to term, who will pay for the medical costs, the diapers, the vaccines, clothes, toys, lost work hours, daycare, books, beds, education? How about comprehensive sex ed to reduce abortions in the next generation? Who will adopt the truly unwanted? Who will work to make domestic adoption a realistic option that doesn’t cost a year salary just to begin? All these things reduce abortion, but aren’t being fought for except by….those who want legal and available abortion. Ironic that the things most proven to reduce abortion are advocated by those who want legal abortion.

    Any movement claiming to be pro life but allying itself with fiscal austerity, anti-school, anti-healthcare, neo-Randian selfish jerks doesn’t deserve the name pro life. Pro birth is fine. Anti abortion is fine. Anti choice for those also opposed to contraception. But pro life? Not even close.

  62. Comment by M Didaskalos on August 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Uh, who’s shuttering those clinics? Planned Parenthood is, simply because — in addition to doggedly fighting state health inspections of its abortuaries and rescheduling abortions so they’re not being done on the day of a scheduled inspection [cf. links in my post below] — it can’t find enough money in the $1.5 million in taxpayer funds it receives EVERY DAY to hire abortionists who can gain admitting privileges in hospitals after they’ve botched abortions and put women’s lives in peril. And as taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood has burgeoned, its abortions have skyrocketed while its prenatal care has diminished by 32% in the last year alone: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/12/11/new-planned-parenthood-report-149-abortions-for-every-adoption-referral/

    And just who is helping women and children after those children are born? Not Planned Parenthood. Not NARAL. Not NOW. Not a single abortion-flacking organization you can name. Pro-lifers are helping, at their own expense, through donors’ dollars and time and effort. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/01/2380/ — “The Lazy Slander of the Pro-Life Cause”

  63. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    So, M Didaskolas, if the burden of supporting the children after birth falls upon the “Pro-Life” crowd, wouldn’t they be relieved of that charge if they simply stayed out of the business of those individuals that have a right to seek abortions?

  64. Comment by M Didaskalos on August 23, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Good heavens, Marco, what about the parents who bring those children into the world? Do they have any responsibilities for the rearing and support of their children? Do abortion supporters assume these kids will automatically become wards of the government after they’re born? The stories of parents — single and married, low-income and high-income — who make great sacrifices to successfully raise their children are myriad.

    My point — buttressed by some examples: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/01/2380/ — was that it’s the pro-lifers, not the pro-choicers, who willingly and at their own expense offer tangible and intangible support for mothers and babies (and dads, too) both before and after the babies’ births. For us, helping to support those children and their parents is not a “burden”; it’s a privilege.

    And for abortion supporters and the abortion industry, “stay[ing] out of the business” of women facing crisis pregnancies often means lying or fighting to suppress the truth about a preborn baby’s appearance and development.

    Pro-lifers know that Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton effectively have declared open season on the unborn at any time, for any reason. We also know that women who are given an informed choice (viewing ultrasounds of their babies, seeing the information in a Woman’s Right to Know laws: http://www.health.state.mn.us/wrtk/handbook.html ) are much less likely to consent to the deaths of their babies. Informed choice is the bane of the abortion industry’s existence.

  65. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 23, 2014 at 9:11 am

    If the State requires an expectant mother to endure an ultrasound and other tests that are mainly conducted just to change the mother’s mind about her abortion, then that’s just coercion.
    As if that mother isn’t having to endure enough of a heartache deciding upon an abortion, you’d rather place MORE pressure on her to stay pregnant.
    Let’s just let the mother make her own decision, and not try to intervene on a very personal matter.

    Not every pregnant woman wishes to be a mother.

  66. Comment by Sportsfan3 on August 23, 2014 at 10:53 am

    If they don’t want a child, here are four options: adoption, abstinence, hysterectomy, or wearing a condom.

  67. Comment by MarcoPolo on August 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Sportsfan3, What about birth-control pills?
    Or the “Morning after” pill?

  68. Comment by Sportsfan3 on August 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Any birth control pill other than abortifacients (known to cause abortion) is good. Otherwise, the other four options are still alternative to abortion.

  69. Comment by M Didaskalos on August 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Another straw man demolished. Where did I state that any governmental entity should *require* an ultrasound? Let’s try again. “Women who are given an informed choice. . .” = women are provided with options that will enable them to make an informed choice: viewing an ultrasound if they so choose, being given a copy of (if they live in Minnesota, for example) the Woman’s Right to Know Law [ http://www.health.state.mn.us/wrtk/handbook.html ], and being informed of their options via the Minnesota Positive Alternatives Act [ http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/cfh/paa/ ].

    The women are, of course, free to decline all of this information, which historically they’d never been given by “counselors” in abortion clinics.

    Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood Director and Planned Parenthood of Southeast Texas 2008 Employee of the Year, writes:

    “. . . Each year, each Planned Parenthood clinic has an individual budget meeting. With a feeling of dread I drove to Houston to meet with Cheryl and Barbara to receive the budget for my clinic. The assigned budget always includes a line for client goals under abortion services and a line for client goals under family planning.

    “When I looked at the numbers, I did a double take. I noticed that the client goals related to family planning hadn’t changed much, but the client goals under abortion services had increased significantly. My mind started racing. ‘Something’s got to be wrong here,’ I thought. ‘Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Our goal at Planned Parenthood is to decrease the number of abortions by decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancies. That means family planning services — birth control. That is our stated goal. So why am I being asked, according to this budget, to increase my abortion revenue and thus my abortion client count.’

    “And so I asked the question out loud.

    “I came away from that meeting with the clear and distinct understanding that I was to get my priorities straight, that abortion was where my priorities needed to be because that was where the revenue was. This meant that my job as the clinic director was to find a way to increase the number of abortions at my clinic.

    “. . .I was starting to put the pieces together. I couldn’t escape the thought that this organization that had given me my career would soon be in the late-term abortion business. . . . I was finding it increasingly hard to justify what I now saw as Planned Parenthood’s money-first attitude toward abortion, especially late-term abortions. . . . in light of the budget discussions, I couldn’t help but do the math. The later the abortion, the higher the cost. A late-term abortion, I knew, could cost between $3,000 and $4,000. There was big money to be made.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Unplanned-Dramatic-Planned-Parenthood-Eye-Opening/dp/1414339399 — “Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line”

    ** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAYdOaJ8jQ4&feature=player_embedded — Abortion clinic says seeing image of preborn child may “make the decision harder”

  70. Comment by Karmasue on August 21, 2014 at 11:43 am

    So after you have taken control of women’s choices to abort/not abort, will you be regulating their pre-natal and life choices in order to prevent possible miscarriages or make certain they carry to term?

  71. Comment by modoccus1 on August 23, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    The social revolution of the 60s was about the baby boomers rejecting the traditional responsibility of each generation to posterity; they wanted to remain irresponsible and carefree overgrown adolescents in the pursuit of hedonistic self.

    Marriage just doesn’t work like they used to. The natural gender differences between men and women will be profoundly incompatible with each other in the post-Christian hedonistic culture of the self. In this environment, there will only be short term “relationships”

    The traditional American Christian culture taught the young people that the meaning of life was something much larger than the self. When these young people made traditional lifelong commitment to posterity, these this same incompatible features of gender become very complementary to the commitments to God, family, church, and community.

    This was the protective cliff fence for posterity has been largely torn down; thus this article focuses on ambulances down in the valley.

    So many of these children are seriously disadvantaged: starting with prenatal stress, drug and alcohol exposure, suffering emotional and psychological damage, sociologically handicapped, lacking a work ethic, and worst of all — the loss of that religious/ cultural operating software that makes civilization possible.

  72. Comment by Alan on August 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    The best source I have found so far for thinking about the Bible and abortion is the Landover Baptist Church website. E.g.,

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