In NH, Roe’s New Tagline: “Civility, Compassion, Love”

Less than a mile from New Hampshire’s State House in Concord is the Feminist Health Center on Main Street, an abortion facility from way back. It was founded 39 years ago, just a year after Roe v. Wade. The homey little building is easy to miss on a normal day, with only a modest sign to distinguish it from nearby residences.

Last Saturday wasn’t a normal day. Hundreds of pro-life activists, including myself, marched peacefully from the State House to St. John’s church for New Hampshire’s annual March for Life, passing the FHC and its chanting supporters along the way. The FHC’s tiny front lawn was scattered with little signs bearing assorted messages. In the midst of them was a much larger sign, professionally made and carefully installed, with three words: “Civility. Compassion. Love.”

Put aside for the moment the fact that the dozen or so people chanting at us were carrying things like a handmade drawing of a fried egg (or was it poached?) with the legend “This is not a chicken.”  The clumsy slogan and kiddie art on poster board at least looked like an authentic un-staged production. But that big sign? That one came from the pros.

“Civility. Compassion. Love.” Warm words for such a cold setting. Tried-and-tested, slick, polished focus-group words. Striking and thought-provoking words. There was no sign for “Choice” on the lawn.  “Choice” has apparently worn out its welcome, as one poll after another has driven home the point that choice means something very different to the average American than it does to the average abortion-facility worker. Roe needs new slogans.

Of course it needs them, since the plain language of the decision is insufficient to support the industry that has grown up around it.

Under Roe, according to the Supreme Court, parental notification for minors’ abortions is allowed, as long as there’s a judicial bypass. No parent can stop an abortion under these laws. Decisions based on Roe have affirmed that there may be limits on government funding of abortion. Courts have upheld laws against partial-birth abortion, since nothing in Roe or the decisions flowing from it require that we tolerate a procedure to pull a fetus partway out of its mother before the abortionist gets to the main event. Roe allows for the collection of abortion statistics and other oversight to ensure that abortion providers aren’t harming women. Roe allows informed-consent measures such as notifying the pregnant women of the developmental stage of the fetus.

I have heard a representative of FHC testify against each and every one of these measures in New Hampshire, saying they limit access to abortion. She celebrates Roe nonetheless, trusting that a future Supreme Court will roll back all oversight.

In my state, there’s no requirement that abortions be done by a physician or a nurse practitioner. No licensing or training requirements exist. There is no informed consent requirement. There is no need to report to the state how many abortions are done, never mind if a woman is injured or killed as a result. No one in New Hampshire who touts “safe” abortion can point to objective data confirming the alleged “safety” for the woman undergoing the procedure, whether the abortion is surgical or chemical. And still FHC’s supporters are concerned that New Hampshire now does too much to suppress Roe. 

That’s not compassion. It sure isn’t love. I would even go so far as to say it isn’t civil. It’s outrageous.

And the aborted children? It’s unclear if last weekend’s fried-egg poster outside FHC is reflective of the pre-abortion counseling offered to FHC clients. I see no compassion for the children who are denied their very birth, and I see no civility in any policy that pits women against their children.

The new tagline on display at FHC means that three more words might go the way of “choice,” being misused and distorted. It’s left to pro-life activists to make sure no one can forget what civility, compassion, and love really mean.

 

 

 

 

 

Pro-what? Oh, never mind

“Pro-Choice” is on the way out; “Care, No Matter What” is in. After 40-plus years of debasing the language by equating choice with abortion advocacy, Planned Parenthood has focus-grouped its way into a new message. Jill Stanek reports here about this week’s quiet announcement from PP. Not every partisan of Roe has bought into the new approach, but where PP leads, others will follow.

Maybe the label “anti-choice” can now be retired from active duty. Stay tuned for “anti-care,” although perhaps I’m being pessimistic.

The same I day I read Stanek’s report, I came across the latest issue of Alliance Defending Freedom’s magazine. The cover story is about twelve nurses in New Jersey who fought back in 2011 after they were ordered to participate in elective abortions that were falsely called “emergency” procedures. With pro bono legal help from ADF, they were able to say no and still keep their jobs. They shouldn’t have needed assistance at all, but they did, since neither their employer nor their union was any help. The brief account of the nurses’ experience, coming as it did right after I read Jill Stanek’s post, made me realize that they didn’t have any focus groups to help them figure out the best way to express their beliefs about choice and care. They did pretty well anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Lie with Statistics

Thank you, Marc Barnes, for questioning abortion statistics provided by the Guttmacher Institute. Read his recent post on how Guttmacher manipulated numbers in a Mexican study to link “unsafe” abortions and maternal deaths.

Ironically, some states including New Hampshire refuse to mandate collection of abortion statistics: how many women seek them, whether there are adverse effects, where the abortions are done, and who does them, for starters. All reporting is voluntary here in the Granite State. The Guttmacher Institute’s NH figures are obtained from Planned Parenthood affiliates and are accepted without scrutiny by legislative committees, as I have seen time and again.

The fact is that none of us knows how many women are dying or suffering irreparable harm due to abortion, whether legal or illegal. I believe each of these women deserves respect and truth, and so do the people who love them.  Policymakers and the medical community need accurate data. No one works harder than abortion providers to keep them from getting it.

Fortunately, writers like Marc Barnes and agencies like the Charlotte Lozier Institute are pressing to discover the truth. More power to them.

To DC in January for Roe+40

Roe v. Wade turns 40 in eight short weeks. I just got my ticket for a quick trip down to Washington for the March for Life on January 25. The March is an annual event, but it’s been many years since I was able to go. The expense is a factor. The White House is still occupied by a Roe supporter, though, and he needs to see that Roe isn’t settled, even after four decades, no matter what he hears from advisors or donors or even Sen. McCain.

I went to the March in 1993, the 20-year anniversary, on a day when newly-inaugurated President Clinton was featured on the morning news shows signing executive orders rolling back pro-life policies. By noon that day, I was marching with tens of thousands of people, including an astonishing number of high school and college students whose presence lifted my spirits sky-high.

The March will do more than serve notice to President Obama that we’re watching. It’ll give thousands of people a chance to be renewed and encouraged in their defense of life. It might even show Republicans a thing or two.

_________________

Abby Johnson posted an update today about And Then There Were None, her ministry to abortion workers who want to leave the industry. See my earlier post here.  Johnson reports that business is brisk for ATTWN, and resources are too limited. This is a ministry worth supporting.

ATTWN’s update includes a report about a judge telling one abortion-industry refugee to “get over it” when she told him she would not return to abortion work, no matter how lucrative. Thanks to ATTWN’s supporters, she is getting over it – just not in the way the judge anticipated.

Introducing New Ministry to Abortion Workers

Abby Johnson used to work for Planned Parenthood, and I reviewed her book Unplanned in an earlier post. She has launched an new ministry to what I can safely call an underserved population: workers in the abortion industry who would like to get out. Since leaving PP and going public with her story, Johnson has heard from other ex-workers, as well as from current abortion participants who are having second thoughts about their line of work. In a webcast last night, Johnson unveiled this new ministry, “And Then There Were None” (ATTWN).

The banner on the ATTWN web site says “no abortion clinic workers, no abortion clinics, no abortions.” Ambitious goal, indeed. If that had been written by anyone other than an industry veteran, I’d roll my eyes and dismiss it as hopelessly unrealistic. It sounds like a wish, not a plan. Johnson is making it real by building a team to offer the practical assistance that people need in a difficult time of transition. Leaving the abortion industry is not easy. In addition to wondering where to go to find new employment, the worker may be threatened with legal action, as Johnson learned when she left PP.

ATTWN will give workers leaving the abortion industry access to pro bono legal representation if needed, along with financial support while looking for new work. Emotional support and spiritual counseling are part of the ministry as well.

Leaders in the abortion industry will not be happy to lose workers, and I expect PP and the National Abortion Federation will push back hard against ATTWN. That’s a backhanded tribute to Abby Johnson. We can help her out with prayers & donations. We can help exit-minded abortion workers by referring them to ATTWN – after helping them with our personal support and welcome and acceptance.