Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons

Pro-Life Movement in America

A Pretense of Virtue and Piety

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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You may have never heard of Defenders of the Catholic Faith or its host Steve Ray, one of dozens of anti-abortionist crusaders whose singular mission is to prevent women in this country from the right to choose what is best for them and their families. Ray has been on active duty as a soldier for this cause since the mid-1970s, and his message is as clear as it is unforgiving.

No one, no matter what the circumstance (rape, illness, poverty, etc.), should ever be allowed to have an abortion in this country. And with a stroke of unabated absolute extremism, he will prognosticate that the next abortion (despite overwhelming scientific odds against it) may prevent the world from the next great composer like Ludwig van Beethoven or gospel singer and actress Ethel Waters or even the Christian savior Jesus Christ, all who came into this world under difficult circumstance.

The beliefs of Ray, his allies, and followers are worrisome and, in some isolated cases, dangerous to abortion providers, but they are not representative of our nation, for the majority (and that includes men and women) believe that choice is a woman’s right that should be protected.

Enter the Republican party …

The pro-life movement has for over 30 years been the backbone of the Republican Party. It is an absolute that any candidate from that party who wants to run for President of the United States must be pro-life. The pro-life groups have flexed their muscle whether it be financial in backing politicians running for office at all levels of government or picketing abortion clinics with the intent of stopping women from using their services. Our history is checkered with the killing of abortion doctors, the bombing of abortion clinics, and all the while the perpetrators claim they are carrying out God’s will. And all of this despite the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973.

With the election of President Obama in 2008, Republican strategy has been to run candidates promising jobs and working to restore a depressed economy — only once they are elected, they ignore these pragmatic policies and work to pass some of the most onerous legislation against women’s rights to have a legal abortion. Republican governors and state legislators (a considerable amount of whom are Tea Party followers) have passed laws closing abortion clinics and requiring women to undergo unnecessary procedures like vaginal ultrasounds, and have used doctors as a tool to describe fetuses to their patients against the patients’ wishes and robbing their personal dignity. In some states even access to birth control, an issue thought to be decided long ago, has been put back on the table of political opportunism.

From the time of Ronald Reagan abortion has been a wedge issue that Republicans have employed to garner votes and portray the left as anti-life. They have homesteaded the mythical high ground of this issue and opened a revenue stream for their party and their candidates. But what they have also done is polarize a nation and given anti-abortion extremists cover, some of whom have gone on to commit violence and murder in the ironic paradigm of being pro-life.

Conservatives have created an oasis for the hypocrisy that a pro-life philosophy be reserved only for the unborn while simply choosing to ignore the suffering of the babies and children who are already here. From cutting food stamps or lunch programs to neglecting the necessities that all children need to succeed in life, such as health care, proper housing, and a good education, the right wing’s behavior is akin to a child who wants a puppy desperately but has no thought for taking care of it once it’s born.

When President Obama prepared to give his State of the Union address in January, the annual oratory on how we should go forward to solve the crucial problems of our time, including extending unemployment benefits to 1.6 million people who must battle each day to put food on their family’s table, House Republicans found only one issue of true importance. They passed a sweeping anti-abortion bill, HR 7, that the mercurial Senator Steve King from Iowa later exclaimed was necessary to prevent federal dollars from being used to fund abortion. This statement flies in the face of the reality that the Hyde Amendment, passed some 30 years ago, already accomplishes this task. Trying to pass redundant and gratuitous legislation, when many of the very children already brought into this world are without nutrition, only underlines the fanaticism the pro-life stance has brought to the party of Lincoln.

In a world where the term obscenity is often defined in the narrow context of explicit sex, the justification of forcing women to have babies they cannot provide for has an obscene nature far more profound. Anglers like Steve Ray and Steve King throw their lines in the waters of mendacious and self-righteous propaganda in their attempt to catch the next ambiguous phrase or image to convince the uninformed.

This has ultimately led one of the two major parties in our political landscape to keep one eye on the till as they continue to collect financial support for supporting a stunted definition of pro-life while turning a blind eye to the cognitive dissonance the anti-abortion movement has really become.

Jeffrey R. Moualim lives in Santa Ynez. He is treasurer of the Committee of Ten Thousand, a national grassroots advocacy organization for people with hemophilia, HIV, and HCV, based in Washington, D.C., and Santa Barbara.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

They are parties to corruption, but there is only one party of stupid.

spacey (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If the Republican party truly wants to be the party of small government and less regulation, they need to de-regulate individual choices that women can make with their own bodies instead of having the heavy hand of government make it for them.

Otherwise, the veil of hypocrisy will never be lifted from the party of "smaller government and deregulation".

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2014 at 1:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I also used to be pro-choice because I used to collectivize all the thoughts of Republicans together and it seemed they had less interest in preventing the murder of human beings who happened to be living inside of a womb and seemed instead to just want other people to stop having sex for some reason.

Then I actually used my brain for a minute.

Just because a group of people are making the wrong or insincere argument for a particular issue doesn't mean their conclusion on that issue is wrong. In fact, that is precisely why the establishment loves to steer the narrative in this country is so that they can define the arguments. You will often find if you look at political issues from a libertarian perspective that both the left and the right are completely wrong and miss the point of most political issues entirely. Again, this is by design, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of CIA operatives in the media working to steer the narrative so that they can have two groups of people who hate and resent each other and important issues never will be properly resolved.

I am pro-choice not because I think that ending the life of an innocent unborn person and calling that murder is bad argument, but because I don't know if I would define a fetus in the first trimester a human being. But there is a point where I myself and most other people believe an abortion would be immoral. Most people can agree a third trimester abortion is immoral. On top of that, there are many logistical issues to enforcing pro-life policies that could severely interfere with the privacy of pregnant women. But I don't pretend like my position on the matter is definitely the correct position or that some how their argument of wanting to protect innocent life is absolutely wrong, that would be foolish.

For the record, libertarians are generally split on the issue of abortion, about half being pro-life and about half being pro-choice. This is similar to the statistics for the general population.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2014 at 2:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Honestly I don't even care whether a politician is pro-life or pro-choice when I vote for them, the entire issue is a red-herring in modern politics. ("The idiom "red herring" is used to refer to something that misleads or distracts from the relevant or important issue."-wikipedia)

How many pro-life Republican Presidents have we had since Reagan with their Republican House and Senate, yet we see NOTHING done with regard to the legality of abortion? It's just a distraction, it is part of a strategy being used by the elite to "divide and conquer" our country and this article and the author is doing a great job of continuing to perpetrate this divide and conquer strategy.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2014 at 2:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It is never right for a woman to kill her own offspring.

That is not freedom of choice: that is murder. Conservatives are content seeing a secular form of the 10 Commandments because there are immutable values, even in the world of progressive moral relativism.

Thou shalt not kill. Anyone. Make your freedom of choice ahead of impregnation by choosing to say no.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2014 at 3:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Conservatives do not agree on abortion, with more and more being Pro-Choice.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2014 at 3:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If more and more conservatives are becoming pro-choice, then more and more Democrats must be becoming pro-life because the pro-life position is becoming increasingly more popular these days.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2014 at 3:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Aging baby boomers become more conservative, as they accumulate life's lessons. They will be skewing the polls in their favor, just like they always have.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2014 at 3:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just have a hard time with a party that says that government regulation of assault weapons and 50 round magazine clips is a violation of their rights, while they also say it's the government's business what a woman does with her own body.

I don't see how this can be rationalized.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 26, 2014 at 5:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What can I say? People are never going to agree on this issue . 'Better get used to it.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2014 at 1:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Extremely well expressed, Mr. Moualim. I particularly appreciated your analogy to a child wanting a puppy, unaware that pets require care. At the end of the day the pro-life movement can be seen as the effort of a vocal minority to ensure that their 'rights' (not to be offended?) are more vigorously defended than the rights of anyone else.

sbelcap (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2014 at 10:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

For Botany and everyone on this board:

When was the last time you were not Human and Not Alive?
Go back 1 second at a time until one or both of these were not true.

That was just before conception.

Botany: It's not about regulating a woman's body, it's about regulating the destruction of living humans, which happen to be inside of and dependent on a woman's body for 9 months, but which does not make them dead or non-human. (Human is defined as having Human genetics).

With that said....

Every woman should have the unabridged right to hire someone to kill the living human inside her for any reason she pleases (including the 93% of abortions that Planned Parenthood self-reports are for reasons of convenience) and at any time during her pregnancy without the father or sex-partner's knowledge or permission. After all, her 21+ week terminated pregnancy is only an organ/tissue/seed/bodypart/unfeeling and doesn't have a heart/unique genes/nervous system and there are no waiting adoption parents, charities to help her through her pregancy and definitely zero government services and benefits if she chooses to keep the "tissue" since "tissue" doesn't qualify for WIC, food stamps, EITC, free state health care, etc. It's also really, really, really tough to raise a child when you are poor (everyone agrees this is a perfectly acceptable reason to kill a living human inside you) and no woman who has sex and is poor knows that she is poor before or during intercourse and subsequent pregnancies. She only knows this after waiting 24 weeks (6 months) to decide to get an abortion - she needs *at least 6 months* to make the decision. So Pro-Lifers are clearly radical and woman-hating.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2014 at 12:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Would be nice if those who were 'pro-life' also came out against: war, corporations (who are definitely NOT people) polluting causing unjust suffering to the living, and all the other perpetrators of disease and contamination of our species that kill us slowly in the name of profit. Or we can have government take in the unwanted through orphanages, paid for through taxes. No Child Unwanted. Big job creator since the job creators seem a bit lazy in this time.

spacey (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2014 at 1:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Someone needs to care for an unwanted child. If the mother or father don't want to care for it, who will care for it? You, me, the government? Unwanted children often spend their entire lifetimes in the system, one way or another.

So do we need to give a woman with an unwanted pregnancy a choice between delivering an unwanted baby and a coathanger? Or maybe it's her just desserts for having careless sex.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2014 at 1:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spacey: the vast majority of people who are pro-life do come out against most of the things on your list. The Christian Church is pro-life and it is against *all* of the things you list and comes out publicly against them.

Botany and Spacey: I am pretty sure the child wants *itself* even if 93% of abortions are for socioeconomic convenience purposes. (according to self-reporting by Planned Parenthood).

You are also not in a good position to predict whether a child will or will not be wanted by others and be raised in an adoptive parents' home or via taxpayer funded welfare and other aid.

Having a potentially difficult and publicly costly life ahead is no reason to kill a living human -- and if you disagree that's some pretty hard core, cold blooded and inhumane world views you hold. Congrats to you for sleeping well with that!

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2014 at 4:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You're right. I am not in a good position to determine whether a child is wanted or not, but the mother is. That is why the mother should make the decision, not you or me.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2014 at 5:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nice going, Botany! I also have a "hard time with a party that says that government regulation of assault weapons and 50 round magazine clips is a violation of their rights, while they also say it's the government's business what a woman does with her own body."
Much better education -- both parental in the home and at public school -- is part of the answer, and with women teaching girls and young women (and boys) how to respect their own bodies and avoid long-term stuff until "ready".
And you called it about yourself, reality, "Pro-Lifers are clearly radical and woman-hating." Too bad.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2014 at 5:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Since the argument often comes down to religion, I'll offend some by injecting science. I read about a case of a baby born after 4 and a half months and not only survived, but was viable and had no permenant ill effects.

Take it from there.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 27, 2014 at 8:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't really think any hatred of women is involved here. It's a matter of people injecting their religious beliefs into politics and government, I really resent having someone else's religion telling everyone how they need to live their lives. Religion and politics never mixed well and they never will.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 28, 2014 at 7:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany and DrDan -

WHY is this so hard for you?

It is not only the women's own body that she is deciding about when she chooses to get an abortion.

It is also (and much more consequentially) the unborn living human inside her. Killing a living human just because you don't want it in your life is a pretty flimsy justification for such a violent, irrevesable action - especially when that living human can be adopted by loving parents... or worst case the state, which itself is not as bad as being killed (at least according to the vast majority humans that have been born).

It's only during these 9 months that reasons of "I don't want it" or "it's inconvenience to me" that you support a pregnant mother killing the unborn human inside her.

What does this say about you? I think it says a LOT about how you don;t value unborn human life. Just say that explicitly so we all know where you stand. Should be real easy for you.

ps: I am sure you are both anit-death penalty and big animal rights proponents. Good grief.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2014 at 9:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany I'm not sure how you can justify raising an army of dangerous individuals controlled by corporations to go kill or kidnap peaceful people who want to defend themselves or their property and then when those same peaceful people try and stop what they consider a murder from occurring you call it 'hypocritical'. It makes you sound like a violent sociopath from that perspective, doesn't it?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
March 3, 2014 at 11:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I believe women should have the right to choose an abortion during the early phases of pregnancy. If in fact the fetus has a soul and is truly a "person" then: A) The mother should speak for that soul not the government and B) If it is an evil act then let god take care of the consequences. If there really are souls, a god, heaven etc then sending the fetus straight to heaven doesn't seem all that bad, they get to by pass all the suffering that life often entails. In addition the reality of the situation is that we should be putting a lot more resources into to preventing unwanted pregnancies: free birth control, sex education, etc. I also realize that 90% of this sort of conversation is a waste of time; very few people change their minds as a result of what the other side says.

Noletaman (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2014 at 5:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Loon, I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about.

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2014 at 7:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I haven't the slightest idea what *I'm* talking about.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
March 4, 2014 at 9:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dear Noletaman -

It turns out that having a soul or not has nothing to do with whether it is legal or illegal to kill a human. No one can measure a soul or know if it exists.

Your idea to support abortion during early phases of pregnancy is purely indiscriminate. It's just your guess. From the moment of conception it is both human and alive.

All you need to be protected from being harmed *after* you are born is to be human and alive - no mention in the law of a "soul".

And who are you to decide that others who are unborn would be better off not living at all? That's a very scary and dangerous thought - that you can decide they're better off being aborted anyway. Wow.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
March 5, 2014 at 8:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

To Jeffrey Moualim:

OK, we get it. You’re a Democrat, and you don’t like Republicans, but you might like them if they became Democrats. Beyond that, though, what exactly is your point?

nativeson (anonymous profile)
March 7, 2014 at 1:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"And who are you to decide that others who are unborn would be better off not living at all? That's a very scary and dangerous thought - that you can decide they're better off being aborted anyway. Wow."

This sounds like an argument against birth control as well. How dare we not procreate? Someone will be deprived of life if we don't. Who are we to decide whether or not to procreate anyway?

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 7, 2014 at 2:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Question: Do pro-abortionists (especially those elected to political office) support laws that make it a double homicide if one kills a woman who is pregnant? If so, how do they justify this?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 7, 2014 at 8:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Or should a pregnant woman that attempts suicide be charged with attempted murder?

Silly questions really. What you are saying is that when a woman becomes pregnant, her body is not her own and becomes property of the state until that baby is born. Without the woman's body (for most of the pregnancy) the baby would not survive, therefore the state should have jurisdiction over her body.

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 8, 2014 at 5:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe a pregnant woman that drinks or engages in sports or risky behaviors should be charged with child abuse as well.

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 8, 2014 at 5:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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