Sunday, February 27, 2011

Abby Johnson is being Unfairly Savaged by Some Pro-Lifers [Scott]

A small but vocal band of pro-lifers is attacking Abby Johnson for allegedly saying that we shouldn't get in a "tizzy" about rape abortions. These pro-lifers are intellectually dishonest. Indeed, the very video used to attack Johnson proves she is not guilty of the charge.

Put simply, Johnson's comments must be viewed within the context of discussing abortion-control legislation aimed at limiting evil insofar as possible given current political realities. Her specific remarks center on ultrasound and right to know bills. Nowhere does she say she endorses permanent legislation permitting rape abortions. Instead, she expressly says, "that no matter the circumstances, a child never deserves to be killed." However, as we work for that goal, "it's important for us to win some battles before we win the war." In short, she says that when it comes to this particular piece of legislation, we shouldn't get in a tizzy over rape but should work to promote the good insofar as possible. This is sound moral thinking: If you can't eliminate the evil, you work to limit its impact. To suggest that Johnson endorsed rape abortions in general is to ignore the context in which she made her remarks in the first place.

Update 2PM: A few Facebook replies to the content of my post above are instructive...

Reply #1: "Scot so we can kill a little for awhile? Pro aborts get that if we are "choosing to kill a few" we are NOT legitimate pro lifers and they call us hypocrites and rightly so. Abby thinks she is doing what is right but so did Paul before God opened his eyes. To be politically correct is to Godly wrong."

Me: We are not chosing to kill--the abortionist is. We are choosing to save as many as we can while we work to save all. You assume this is immoral thinking but you don't provide any evidence to back up that rather bold claim. You simply assert it.

Reply #2: "Sadly, I was once blindly following other 'Christians' in the exceptions camp, then God, in all His love, grace and mercy showed me the error of my thinking."

Me: Raw assertions that you are following God while the rest of us are ignorantly following a Satanic compromise do not an argument make. What's divisive is the intellectual dishonesty that takes Johnson's comments completely out of context and then falsely demonizes her. Pathetic.


  1. Amen, Scott.

    I too was very alarmed by the public assassination that was taking place on Facebook a few evenings ago. I engaged two of the leaders involved in a lengthy, private dialogue, and pleaded with them to
    a. take Abby's comments in context and admit that this is a conflict over strategy, not ideology;
    b. follow Jesus' teaching about keeping conflict between believers private until all avenues for reconcilliation are exhausted;
    c. treat Abby with extra grace as a new believer, still-healing post-abortive mother and abortion facilitator who left a promising career with no promise of a new one, lost friends and her church family, and has come under vicious attack from all fronts since her conversion.

    I was deeply disappointed with their responses and told them so. They are both pro-life heroes of mine and I use some of their resources in the PRCs I direct. I asked them to "say it aint so." They exclaimed that Abby's comments were a personal attack, that she's a flash-in-the-pan, and that ultimately they were speaking up because they are concerned for her and angry at her "handlers" who have promoted her like a rock star. Not once did they acknowledge that their methods for "teaching" Abby were harsh, unscriptural and potentially damaging to all of us fighting for life. I am still sad.

    I suspect there is a good dose of sour grapes going around certain segments of pro-life leadership regarding Abby's lightning "success." I believe that some strong reminders about Jesus' call to servant leadership and the last being first are in order.

  2. Michelle, Abby says we're not to "get in a tizzy" over exceptions to child-killing in the form of laws that do not include protecting children from being killed in the cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. Do you support Abby Johnson in this?

  3. Hello Scott, thank you for bringing up these very important issues. Many in the pro-life movement will insist that we remain silent on things that matter to us in order to have “unity.” But the reality is that there is not unity within the pro-life movement on every issue and on strategy. We may say we want unity, but really, we’d like everyone else to either agree with us, or keep it to themselves. I think it’s beneficial for all to have logical discussions on issues involving strategy, and hopefully through these discussions we’ll at least gain more understanding.

    I’m very thankful to have this opportunity to address the efficacy and import of what you refer to as “the incremental approach” to legislating abortion. I’ve written a piece which is the #1 ranked philosophical abortion essay on Google, and I’m well-able to articulate logical arguments on the subject, but for me, this is far more than merely a philosophical exercise. You see, I was conceived in rape and nearly aborted at two back-alley abortionists. But the dangerous conditions and the fact that it was illegal caused my birthmother to back out. She did not choose life for me. She chose abortion. Pro-life advocates and pro-life legislators chose life for me by making sure abortion was illegal in Michigan back then, even in cases of rape – 100% pro-life, no exceptions, no compromise, no incrementalism. They are my heroes and I owe my life to them! This is why I, in turn, do the same for others. I wasn’t lucky – I was protected. And so, it is with this sense of gratitude, purpose and urgency that I address these issues here.

    I often hear the “burning building” and “sinking ship” analogies when speaking of allowing for exceptions – that you should try to save as many as you can. I believe that these analogies fail for several reasons. First of all, with the sinking ship, you are making a judgment call as to whom you should save – who is worthy of being saved first. This judgment call speaks volumes as to what values a society or organization holds dear. The saying, “women and children first” became a protocol used in marine disasters after it was established with the sinking of HMS Birkenhead in 1845, later employed in the sinking of the Titanic when 74% of the women on board were saved and 52% of the children, but only 20% of the men. By contrast, when the French ship SS La Bourgogne sank in 1898 killing 546 people, of the 165 survivors, 104 were crew members, 61 passengers, and only one woman. This was a product of the French Revolution and considered to be shameful to the entire French merchant marine. When we choose who we will save, it speaks volumes about what we really believe and who we are. Allowing for the rape exception says that children conceived in rape are disposable. It’s like putting us out there as infantry soldiers on the front lines, and then taking a huge step back, because you think that this current battle needs to be won and you perceive it’s the only way to achieve victory. But we are not column fodder!

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  5. Part 2:

    Secondly, with the “burning building” analogy, the assumption would be that you would make efforts to go back and save the rest, right? In your blog, you state: “We are choosing to save as many as we can while we work to save all.” Well Scott, I would love to see the statistics as to how many times anyone has gone back to save the 1% after the 99% were already safe. How much are these incrementalists truly “working to save all?” I just don’t see this happening. Instead, all I’ve witnessed is that once the 99% are “safe”, the firehoses are being shut off, the fire engines are sent home, and unprincipled incrementalists are allowing the building to be burnt to the ground because, after all, those stuck inside are “only 1%.” Why bother wasting all of that water, manpower and other resources for only 1%?

    The Hyde Amendment is a glaring example of this. A generation ago, the Hyde Amendment allowed for taxpayer funding of abortions in cases of rape. And instead of the pro-life calvary returning to save the 1% who’d been left behind, we had the celebration of the proposed Stupak Amendment a generation later as being a pro-life victory. In fact, NRLC originally sent out a press release saying that the Stupak Amendment wouldn’t provide for the funding of any abortions, which of course was not true because the rape exception was in there. When this fact was exposed, then NRLC and others dismissed it by saying that it “merely” incorporates the terms of the Hyde Amendment, and again, “it’s only 1%.” And so, mediocrity begets mediocrity. For me, this is so much worse than pro-choicers who would say to me “I think your mother should have been able to abort you / if I have my way, you’d be dead right now.” No, it’s much worse because it’s saying, “And our tax dollars should have paid for it!” Ouch! And that’s pro-life??? When you’re the 1%, you feel it, you get it, and it’s not a strategic game plan – it’s the lives and deaths of those similarly-situated. They are not a nameless-faceless irrelevant 1%.

    Next, these analogies fail because the assumption is that 99% of the others’ lives have been saved by this unprincipled incremental approach, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. What I’ve observed is a mediocre attempt to save the lives of the 99%, but in reality, very few have been saved by these measures, and they have not brought us any closer to ending legalized abortion – especially now with chemical abortions so readily available. Instead, many pro-lifers have become satiated with these so-called victories. When you’re satisfied with baby steps, why bother exhausting yourself with a giant leap? But after 40 years, you haven’t even made it across the room!

  6. Part 3
    Fourth, these analogies and unprincipled incrementalism are based on the faulty assumption that you can’t save them all, and that simply isn’t the case. Scott, on your blog, you mentioned “abortion-control legislation aimed at limiting evil insofar as possible given current legal restraints” and “given current political realities.” Oh really? And what are those current political realities? Is it some supernatural phenomenon which is truly out of our sphere of influence or control? Of course not! The current political realities are lawmakers who have been re-elected because they’ve repeatedly received the exclusive endorsement of major pro-life organizations’ PACs in recurring election cycles, despite the fact that those lawmakers have not voted 100% pro-life. These lawmakers do not make the rape exception in a political vacuum. They make the rape exception because they are able to make the rape exception and get away with it. Too many pro-life organizations are not holding them accountable because they are allowing for it as well. Accepting rape exceptions = allowing for rape exceptions = supporting rape exceptions = making rape exceptions. The outcome is all the same, and what you support and applaud as a victory speaks volumes as to what your true values are. We will always have lawmakers who will insist on the rape exception as long as we have major pro-life organizations which tolerate, and thus, condone it. Instead of trying to push legislation through as quickly as possible, those who are 100% pro-life should hold out, as the Democrats did when they got what they wanted with the national health care legislation. They kept working their fellow lawmakers until they had them convinced and had the votes to win.

    I just recently testified before a state house committee on a pro-life piece of legislation which had no exceptions. The sponsor of the bill was hoping for a 12 – 8 vote before the hearing began, but in the end, it passed with a 15 – 5 vote. Many legislators who make the exception have never really been challenged on this issue and have never put a face to it. I find that it’s rather easy to change the minds of those who make the rape exception – challenge them, hold them accountable, and put a face, a voice, a story to the issue. Even if it’s anecdotal, it’s still okay Scott. My observation is that many people like to keep this discussion in the philosophical realm so that the can play “let’s make pretend we’re not talking about real people,” so that you don’t have the opportunity to penetrate the stone wall they’ve built around their hearts with a personal story. But I’ve found that there’s nothing which pierces the heart like a personal story.

  7. Rebecca,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes, I do find your position and that of other absolutists morally indefensible. Any view that says we shouldn't save anyone until we can save everyone is counterintuitive and should be rejected out of hand. Such a view makes William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln moral monsters.

    Moreover, you, like others who attack incrementalism, assume that pro-lifers like me are choosing whom to save. We are doing no such thing, as the federal courts have decided for us. Indeed, they have decided that no child has a right to life and all can be killed for any reason or no reason. While we work to elect candidates who will help reconfigure the courts so that all unborn children are protected, we try to save as many as we can given the restraints placed on us. It's intellectually dishonest to claim pro-lifers are the ones deciding, as if we had the power to save all but deliberately chose to save only some.

    On the claim that I'm a compromiser, Pope Bendict has argued very effectively (when he was still CR) that pro-lifers who support incremental legislation aimed at limiting the evil done are not compromising morally when they do not have the power (votes) to enact a total protection for unborn humans. If their intent is correct (desiring to protect all), they do not compromise limiting the evil insofar as possible given current political realities.

    You can read my posts on the matter at the links below:

  8. Wow,so you criticize those who quote the Bible, but you'll quote the Pope? Nice one. Hope everyone's paying attention.

  9. As I am also conceived in rape, I find it unceasingly frustrating to have my life and the lives of others conceived in rape, both born and unborn, being used as bargaining chips in this debate. The lifesaving ability of these laws containing exceptions is based on speculation and wishful thinking, the proof only coming in retrospect. I am very uncomfortable sacrificing the lives of the rape conceived in order to promote wishful thinking. I also have trouble seeing the benign innocence of creating and endorsing laws with exceptions. If these laws are meant to save lives, there is a very definite, conscious choice being made about who the law will protect built into them and those who are in control of drafting the laws are making those decisions. I agree with Rebecca, and Scott, this may also be your view, that we are suffering the consequences of decades of passively accepting that including the exceptions is the best we could do. It is encouraging that there is currently a strong re-engagement in the political process by so many in the pro life movement.

    I posted the following as part of the original Facebook discussion of Abby's "tizzy" comment. I would like to include it here as a little food for thought.

    "I just don't understand it. Can anyone supporting these laws with exceptions answer a few questions? Why do supposedly pro life people think that laws with exceptions equals progress? If this is a debate about strategy, then what is the strategy? Will the laws be tightened sometime in the future? Will this legislative energy be mustered again anytime soon to pass a law that really means something? Laws passed to slow down the abortion process: informed consent, ultrasound, parental notification, fetal pain, and others are welcome because they bring a little sidewalk counseling into the abortion clinics. It is totally counter productive to continue attaching exceptions to every new incremental law. How does that change anything? The biggest change will be the sudden increase in reported rape cases. The abortion industry welcomes any and all exceptions. They already ignore existing laws regarding rape and incest of minors. Handing them another exception will give the clinics an easy way around these new laws. Why does it make sense to build into the abortion process an area of law and law enforcement that is a complete mess already? How can these laws with exceptions be touted as pro life triumphs? I have noticed that each time one of these laws with exceptions is proposed, there is never any discussion of enforcement or oversight. Who has the burden of proof? What is the process? Will a full rape investigation be required? Who gets to draw the lines of proof? Is a check mark for rape on a medical form sufficient to allow the abortion to proceed? Do you foresee a time when and if the rape and incest exceptions are the last exceptions standing, that they will be challenged in court and found discriminatory or unconstitutional?"

  10. Rebecca, When the Pope is right, there's nothing wrong with quoting him. As anyone who has studied reformation history knows, Calvin, Luther, et al, quoted Catholic church teaching often and reserved their fire mostly for those points where the doctrines of justification and church authority conflicted with the Reformer's own views on those points.

    On pro-life issues, I'm happy to give credit to my Catholic freinds for the hard work they've done defending life.

    Meanwhile, let me know when you want to address the substance of my arguments rather than taking pot shots. Frankly, I expected better from an attorney who boasts about having the most googled article on a particular ethical question.

  11. Jim, We are not sacrificing lives by suppoorting legislation aimed at limiting the evil done. Like I explained to Rebecca above, that is an intellectually dishonest way to characterize the debate.

  12. SK, please be so kind as to list here the legislation you've supported which is aimed at limiting the evil done. I'm only looking for a list at this point in time. Thank you.

  13. Rebecca, you write of "unprincipled incrementalism." Are you using the adjective because there is a correct form, a principled incrementalism? If so, what is it?

    I've read your posts, and I still do not understand your position. Are you suggesting that if we can't do the best thing we should do nothing? Suppose, for example, you live in a state that is very liberal on abortion but you realize that only a partial-birth abortion ban is possible, since even your largely liberal fellow citizens find such a procedure grizzly and inhumane. Are you saying that you should do nothing? But suppose your state is less liberal and the only sort of law that you could pass is one that restricts abortion in the last two trimesters. Are you saying that you should do nothing? But suppose your state is even less liberal than that and the only sort of law that you can pass is one that restricts all abortions except in cases of rape or incest. Are you saying that you should do nothing? If you do nothing in each case, essentially you are abstaining from acting to save as many innocents as you can because it's not perfect? On what account of virtue is that a good thing to do, to allow innocents to be killed because an ideal to save them all cannot be actualized? If the perfect is the enemy of the good, you lose both goodness and perfection.

    Although your personal story is inspiring and deeply moving, I can't quite figure out why that should matter, since the question of how best we should try to protect the fetuses that presently exist is the point in dispute. No one doubts or seeks to diminish the power of your story.

  14. Scott, PBA, Hyde, parental consent, to name a few.

    I've written previously on why Carhart helps us in terms of premises put in place for future success.

    If you are going to argue that none of these saved lives or put in place premises that helps us save lives, I will need empirical data to accept your point.

    You bear a huge burder of proof here, Scott. If I understand you correctly (correct me if I am wrong) you are claiming these incremental laws have no impact on saving lives. That's a big claim and places on you a huge burden of proof. My claim is more modest: While these laws don't ban abortion, they do help us limit the evil insofar as possible.

    I await your evidence.

  15. Scott, I don't know your testimony. Are you a born again Christian?

  16. So when God said, "Thou shall not murder," who was He referring to?

  17. Scott, To quote Ronald Reagan, "there you go again" tossing out a Scripture and assuming you carry the day.

    The Mosaic Law was given to Isreal who was governed as a theocracy. It contains God's moral law, but the moral law is not limited to the commandments. Indeed, the command against murder predates the Mosaic convenant and is reiterated in the new (James 3:9, Matt. 5:21). Thus, the command not to take human life unjustly applies to us even though the Mosaic covenant is no longer in force.

    Now, all you need to do is show how my view violates that moral law and we are in business.

  18. By the way, Scott, I have an article coming out in The Christian Research Journal next month entitled "Cherry Picking the Commandments: Seventh-Day Adventism, the Sabbath, and Evangelical Inconsistency." I'll send you the abstract if you like.

  19. The command does not state not to take human life. That would contradict the death penalty which was ushered in after Noah's flood. The command specifically states not to murder. You wrote the command, "...unjustly applies to us..." How so?

  20. Scott, My sentence was unclear and needed a comma. My fault. I am arguing that the command not to take human life without justification applies to us today given it stems from God's holy character. That is, even if one (correctly, I believe) argues we are no longer under the Mosaic Law, the command against murder applies to us anyway. In short, I think we agree on that point.

  21. I agree with you completely. So if "Thou shall not murder" applies to literally everyone, when you support laws that say in essence, "Thou shall not murder unless the political climate does not cooperate," then you, as a Christian, are supporting laws that violate, "Thou shall not murder." The 6th commandment does not state, "Thou shall not murder except..."

    You're saying to pregnant women everywhere, "If you jump through certain hoops, I believe it should be legal for you to kill your baby right now until I and/or others can figure out a way to make it illegal for you to kill your baby. We don't know how we're going to accomplish that exactly, but we're working on it. You're saying, "If you view an ultrasound first, then you can kill your baby with my blessing. I will not stand in your way. It's your choice, after all, if you just view that ultrasound first."

    And who's monitoring and enforcing these laws? Are there policemen in abortion mills watching what happens in there? Are all these laws even being enforced? If so, by whom? Have you heard of any abortionists being caught and arrested for violating any of these laws?

    So today, 3,000 to 4,000 preborn babies were killed in their mother's wombs despite every single exceptions law on the books, just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, all the way back to January 22, 1973. Congratulations.

  22. Scott, I'd hoped we could have a civil dialogue, but I see my hopes were not grounded in reality. Congratulating me for the killing of unborn humans is way beyond the pale. Barring an apology from you, this will be your last comment on this post.

    Again, the entire premise of your argument is wrong as I've already explained above. We are not supporting the death of any child. If we are, than the sword cuts both ways. That is, while we (according to you) say rape babies can die, you say ALL must die until all can be saved. If my position is evil for choosing who lives and dies--a premise I flatly reject--your own view is immesurably worse. You've said to all unborn humans "none of you can live until we can protect all."

    I think saying that might make you feel morally superior to those you disdain, but it's cold comfort to a dead child.


  23. Scott E.

    Could you answer a quick question for me. Lets say Roe V Wade is overturned and the abortion question is now up to the legislature. We lobby very hard for a personhood law that would protect every single human being - but it doesn't pass. Another bill is introduced that makes abortion illegal with the exception of rape and incest. It looks good that such a bill will pass.

    Do you believe it is morally impermissible to support that second bill and hope that it passes? Would a supporter of that bill be violating the commandment not to murder? In your view, would it be better to wait until the next legislative session to introduce the personhood bill again while abortion remains legal?

  24. Scott Evans,

    I deleted your comment and as long as you behave that way you will not be allowed to post on this blog. And if you wanted to respond to Rich you could have done that before your nasty invective.

    God bless,

  25. Actually Scott, you hardly addressed anything I said. And my last post in it wasn't approved I guess. I'll resend it tomorrow. It's late.

  26. Final piece of my original comment:
    As a strategic means of ending abortion, unprincipled incrementalism has been a complete failure and got us the ruling in Roe v Wade. The majority opinion of the United States Supreme Court in Roe v Wade, Sec. IX, states, "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment." However, the Court noted the following in footnote 54: “When Texas urges that a fetus is entitled to Fourteenth Amendment protection as a person, it faces a dilemma. Neither in Texas nor in any other State are all abortions prohibited. Despite broad proscription, an exception always exists. The exception contained [410 U.S. 113, 158] in Art. 1196, for an abortion procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother, is typical. But if the fetus is a person who is not to be deprived of life without due process of law, and if the mother's condition is the sole determinant, does not the Texas exception appear to be out of line with the Amendment's command?

    “There are other inconsistencies between Fourteenth Amendment status and the typical abortion statute. It has already been pointed out, n. 49, supra, that in Texas the woman is not a principal or an accomplice with respect to an abortion upon her. If the fetus is a person, why is the woman not a principal or an accomplice? Further, the penalty for criminal abortion specified by Art. 1195 is significantly less than the maximum penalty for murder prescribed by Art. 1257 of the Texas Penal Code. If the fetus is a person, may the penalties be different?”

    And then the Court concluded, "In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense."

    You see, the hard lesson from Roe v Wade is that when ALL aren’t protected, NONE are protected. But it’s a lesson of which some are either ignorant, have forgotten, neglected, or have yet to learn. We will never have an end to legalized abortion in the U.S. as long as unprincipled incrementalists have their way.

    Many of the incremental laws which merely regulate abortion are heralded as necessary protections for women. So then why the rape exceptions? Don’t rape victims deserve the same protection? Again, it just makes no sense to throw it in there. If you can’t stand up for the 1% in some of these small measures, how are you going to do it when it comes to actually ending legalized abortion? You’ve already established that we’re expendable.

    For those who would like to put names, faces and stories to this issue, please visit these pages on my site, which include written stories and videos:

    And there are a multitude of others for whom we speak. Never forget that 1% of 54,000,000 = 540,000 people!

    Scott, I would have to be suicidal to acquiesce to a rape exception. I love life! I love the opportunity to live which was afforded to me by others who recognized the value and dignity of children conceived in rape, and that we were worth fighting for. My birthmother is thankful too. In fact, she and her husband legally adopted me 4 months ago – 22 years from the day we met. When you can say that you are committed to holding out for 100% pro-life legislation, it’s like saying, “I get it. You all matter. Yours were lives worth defending.” Now I hope you’ll all proceed from here and do the same for others!

    Rebecca Kiessling, Esq., Pro-Life Speaker/Activist

  27. Jay, you tell me how many times anyone's gone back to save the others.

    Francis, yes, principled incrementalism is doing all you can to save as many lives as you can without compromise your basic principle that all living human beings deserve to have their right to life protected. So it means going state to state and passing various laws each year, but without exceptions and without providing a means to an abortion. And it means that instead of ramming a piece of legislation through with exceptions, then work to convince the few legislators who are demanding the exceptions that they are the ones who need to cave on this. They've always had the upperhand in demanding the rape exception because the motto of "it's only 1%" is so-well accepted and quoted amongst pro-lifers. We need to reverse it and turn it back on them -- tell those legislators to vote for the full bill without the exceptions because "hey, it's only 1%," AND "you won't get our PAC endorsement otherwise, we'll make sure everyone knows you're responsible for this language." Also, educate them on the history of Roe v Wade and footnote 54 -- why the exceptions undermine all of our efforts. The Democrats were good at holding out for the votes they needed. You're telling me we don't have the capability of changing the hearts and minds of the legislators who make exceptions?

    Scott K., you're saying that you're not choosing who to save, but I submit that you are. If there were a bill which protected all but left-handed unborn babies, would you applaud it, saying, "Well, it's only 10%"? What if there were a way to genetically ascertain whether a child is a red-head? Here's one which could really happen some day: What if it protected everyone but those with a claimed "gay gene"? I submit to you that pro-life organizations would be outraged if left-handed babies were singled-out, and they wouldn't stand for it. I believe that rape-conceived babies aren't as fervently fought for because they really aren't as valued. The oft-repeated phrase of many pro-lifers "it's only 1%" will always serve to further devalue those lives.

  28. Rebecca,

    Let's talk about your understanding of the history of Roe v. Wade. As I understand it, you appeal to the language of the decision to indicate that the rape exception in the Texas laws among others (life or health of the mother and serious birth defects) played a role in bringing about our current legal climate. The pre-existence of those exceptions to the arguments of the full humanity of the unbornbefore the Supreme Court weakened the case for life and helped usher in the current age of abortion on demand. Is that right?

    Well that evaluation only works if you consider the final decisions written by Blackmun to be honest. There is compelling evidence that they are anything but honest. First of all, according to Bernard Scwartz's A History of the Supreme Court after the initial conference Justices Douglas, Brennan, Stewart, and Marshall were firmly in support of striking down the statutes that limited the rights of women to get an abortion with Blackmun being unreadable and only Chief Justice Berger and Justice White dissenting. Shortly thereafter it became clear that Blackmun was now apart of the majority, which meant they had five votes even if the case would be reargued before a full court. (The first argument as you know was before a reduced court of seven Justices) During the process of preparing the opinions Blackmun crafted other arguments in support of the abortion statutes being struck down that failed to please his associates in the majority and only after re argument before the now full court did he ultimately manage to craft the final decisions with considerable help from Brennan, Douglas, and Marshall with the expressed goal of crafting a decision that could stand up to eventually being revisited. The intention all along was to strike down the statutes, and there was never a point in the process where the majority considered the Texas exceptions and said, “Well I would vote to preserve the statutes restricting abortion access, but there are those troubling exceptions already in existence so the fetus must be less valuable.” They presupposed the lesser value of the unborn and crafted a decision to rationalize that presupposition.

    That view is also supported by Blackmun's dishonest historical survey of abortion to support the final decisions. As has been pointed out by numerous critics, Roe v Wade was undergirded with the history of abortion as it was laid out by Professor Cyril Means Jr. whom Blackmun exclusively quoted seven times in his decision. The problem is, quoting Joseph Dellapena in Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History, that “Professor Means' history was neither objective nor accurate. When Means wrote his first article, he was General Counsel for the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws... and was still devoted to the movement when he wrote is second article... Means' research was funded by the Association for the Study of Abortion (ASA), another branch of the abortion reform movement.”

    So why is the decision loaded with slanted history from a professor devoted to and employed by those that wanted to liberalize abortion laws? Because it was never about reaching a fair decision through the examination of evidence. The course was set and they were going to strike those statutes down one way or another.

    Does that mean that rape exceptions are okay? Of course not! But there is a difference between their being evil by nature and them being responsible for the current legal climate especially when there is compelling evidence to the contrary upon closer scrutiny of the history of Roe v Wade.

  29. Rebecca,

    As to your earlier question to me, I assume you are responding to a post I deleted out of respect for you.

    But to answer your question, when did we stop going back for them?

    Dr. Beckwith has written multiple books and articles defending the full humanity of the unborn. Scott has written a book, the industry standard in training material, and numerous articles defending the full humanity of the unborn. This ministry has sent people all over the world arguing for the full humanity of the unborn including those children conceived in rape and incest. That is not even mentioning the other pro-life advocates you seem to think so little of that have never stopped fighting for the full humanity of the unborn.

    So if you want to level charges that some of my friends have slacked off in the full defense of all innocent unborn human beings then you will have to come with more than assertions. I see them laying themselves out in speeches, debates, and writing and I have never seen them compromise on our message. Not once. Not ever.

  30. Rebecca writes: "As a strategic means of ending abortion, unprincipled incrementalism has been a complete failure and got us the ruling in Roe v Wade."

    At this point, I am going to have to pull rank on you. You really don't know what you're talking about.

    First, Roe v. Wade is not the result of a strategy employed after Roe v. Wade. That is actually impossible, unless you believe in time travel and backwards causation.

    Second, both the Human Life Amendment and the Human Life Bill of the early 1980s failed to pass. So, based on your reasoning, non-incrementalism is a complete failure, since each was a non-incremental approach.

    The problem is how we judge success and failure. But none of us is ever in the position to make that judgment, since success may require literally centuries to undo the damage of the Enlightenment (which took about 300 years to unravel the moral foundations of Western Civilization). If anything, what we have seen over the past decade or so is a real shift in opinion from prochoice to prolife. And it happened after the partial-birth abortion debate and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA), both of which shifted the focus from "choice" to the nature of the unborn. The prolife movement was not going to have a chance unless it changed the question in the debate, which has been largely owned by the other side.

    Think about the same-sex marriage advocates. They first began with decriminalizing homosexual acts, then moved to civil unions, and then once those were in place they raised the question, "So, what's the difference between these couples and different gendered ones?" That question could not have been asked in 1970 without snickers from even liberals. SSM is now a reality in at least five states.

    Incrementalism is the only way to go, since it shifts the premises assumed by the wider culture making it nearly impossible to resist the next step. In the prolife case, that is precisely the strategy as well. If a child killed by PBA is protectable, why not the one killed by D&C two months earlier by a method no less brutal though its victim is smaller? Or the BAIPA. If the state must save the child who survives the abortion, why not a minute earlier, or a month earlier?

    It's not always about what people explicitly believe. It's sometimes about what they implicitly believe and are eventually forced to concede given the trajectory of their worldview.

    Incrementalism for its own sake is indeed counterproductive. But incrementalism for the sake of breaking new ground to push people in the prolife direction when they otherwise would not entertain it is ingenious.

  31. The problem with "incremental" or regulatory legislation is that the debates over these types of bills don't give us the opportunity to teach true principles. When you're arguing over a 24 hour waiting period, you're not making the case that tiny embryos are valuable human beings. That doesn't necessarily make such regulatory legislation evil. After all, the purpose isn't to teach but to, perhaps, save a few babies.

    If we want to teach true principles, we have to introduce legislation based on true principles.

  32. Rebecca,

    I deleted your last two comments on this thread. One because it duplicates a comment you left on a newer thread and so it would be better seen there. The other because you insist on referring to a comment I posted at 1AM and deleted at 4AM out of respect for you. If you are going to parse through that comment then you need to respond to it all. Since you chose not to I figured the best thing to do was move on.

    In the comment that I deleted you stated that whether Blackmun was dishonest or not in how he framed the Roe & Doe decisions it did not undermine the fact that he was right in footnote 54.

    Well that is a morelimited claim than you earlier one which I reprint here:

    {And then the Court concluded, "In short, the unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense."

    You see, the hard lesson from Roe v Wade is that when ALL aren’t protected, NONE are protected. But it’s a lesson of which some are either ignorant, have forgotten, neglected, or have yet to learn. We will never have an end to legalized abortion in the U.S. as long as unprincipled incrementalists have their way.}

    It was this assertion, that incrementalism played a central rule in ushering in the age of Roe v Wade. That seems pretty clearly refuted by only two of the scores of works that highlight the dishonesty of the Roe v Wade decision.

    Dr. Beckwith also offered a refutation for that contention as well.

    I am about done here. Agree with you or not, you are not nor never have performed an abortion so there is only so much positive progress that comes from arguing here. This thread is closed.