April 26, 2009

Making A Difference - A Conversation On A Campus

Justice For All, jfaweb.org, is an organization that displays this exhibit to many college campuses across the United States. The following is some of the dialogue that Lauren from JFA had with a student on the campus of Texas A&M University. Read more of her interactions with students at laurenjfa.blogspot.com.

This was a TOUGH conversation. I wanted to walk away several times. I wanted to cry. I wanted to yell. I wanted to go off and sit in a corner by myself. I wanted to do anything but continue this conversation. But God gave me the strength to stick through it, and He changed Joseph. I talked to Joseph for about two hours. He started out by saying, "I'm pro-choice."

Joseph: It's not a baby.
Me: Do you think that it becomes a baby?
Joseph: Yes.
Me: At what point do you think it becomes a baby?
Joseph: When it comes out.
Me: So would you say that its value is completely dependent on its location?

(Pointing to Samuel on Exhibit)

Would you say that Sammy became a baby when he reached his arm out of the womb and then was not a baby when he put his arm back inside?
Joseph: That's a good point. I guess that I would say it's a baby when it can live outside the womb. It doesn't rely on the mother for everything anymore.
Me: Well, I would say that a newborn relies on the mother as much as or even more than a fetus. The mother has to feed the newborn and wake up during the night and change the diapers and do a lot for it. It's not really independent is it?
Joseph: Well, I heard that if we stopped abortion, the crime rates would go up, because these kids are the ones who would turn into criminals.
Me: So, you've read Freakonomics?
Joseph: Haha, yeah.
Me: Well, let me ask you a question. If there was a five-year-old who was showing criminal tendencies--maybe stealing toys from his friends or hitting his sibling, would you say that we could kill that five-year-old?
Joseph: It's debatable. I wouldn't kill that five-year-old. But if we knew that he was going to be a criminal, why not kill him before he has a chance to commit crimes?
Me: Wait. So you think it is OK to kill anyone who has the possibility of becoming a criminal?
Joseph: Well, I wouldn't, but society could. It's like the death penalty.

(I stared at him in shock.)

Joseph: I'm sorry. I'm not trying to upset you.
Me: I'm fine. It just scares me when people are OK with killing for things like that..
Joseph: I wouldn't kill a fetus after the second trimester.
Me: Did you know that the unborn has a heartbeat at three weeks? Do you think that it is wrong to stop a beating heart?
Joseph: I did one time.

(I had no idea what I was about to hear and was praying that God would give me wisdom and courage.)

Me: What do you mean?
Joseph: I worked at a vet's office. I was helping with a surgery on a horse and saw that the horse was pregnant with a tiny baby horse. I pinched that baby horse until it died.

(I just stared at him. I had no idea what to say. Do I show my shock and horror? Do I pretend that he must have been doing something logical and ask for his reasoning? Who am I talking to?!)

Joseph: Do you think that I am a murderer?
Me: Why did you kill that horse?
Joseph: He had a twin. One of them had to die, so it wouldn't kill the other. Do you think it's wrong to kill animals?
Me: I don't think that you should just kill things to be killing things.
Joseph: Well, I think it is wrong to kill a baby once it has a heartbeat.
Me: That's at three weeks.
Joseph: OK, well I don't think abortion should be allowed after three weeks then, and it should only be allowed if the girl was raped.
Me: Do you know how abortions are performed?
Joseph: No.

(I explained the options of first trimester procedures)

Me: Do you think that those would be good options for a woman who was raped?
Joseph: Well, it doesn't sound very nice.
Me: And there are many side effects that can happen to her. But more than that, do you think that the pain of abortion would take away the pain of being raped?
Joseph: Hmm..probably not..well, I don't think abortion is a good idea. I'm a Christian, so I wouldn't have an abortion. But I don't think we have any right to tell others what to do.
Me: Do you think that we should ever tell other people what to do? Do you think that if we seeing someone beating their child, we should tell them that they can't do that?
Joseph: I don't know. They aren't doing anything to me.
Me: You were saying that you are a Christian. Did you know that the Bible says that we should "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves" in Proverbs? Do you think that it was good that people stood up for the victims of the Holocaust?
Joseph: Yes, probably. But this is different. The world is becoming so overpopulated. People aren't dying as much.
Me: What do you mean? Doesn't everyone die still?
Joseph: Yes, but they live longer because of medicine and stuff.
Me: Ya know, I hear a lot of people talk about overpopulation, and I just wonder why we see humans as such a problem..is it so bad to have living people? Why do we see people as just eating up the resources and not giving anything back?
Joseph: How many abortions are there every year?
Me: There are 1.3 Million in the United States each year.
Joseph: See, what would we do with 1.3 million more people? How would we feed them?
Me: We would find a way! I've heard that the entire population of the world could fit into Texas...and farmers are being paid to not produce to full capacity to help the economy. We would find a way because people are valuable.
Joseph: Well, I really can't think of any reason that abortion should be allowed. It doesn't really make sense economically, logically, or morally.
Me: I agree.
Joseph: Well, this group definitely works. You changed my mind. Thank you for being patient and putting up with me. You've really helped me.

April 22, 2009

Observations Of The World We Live In, April 2009

As I look across America's landscape, I ask myself, "What is going on here?"

1. We aren't suppose to use the word "terrorist" to describe a terrorist who wants to kill Americans. We can only use it for pro-lifers, returning military, or those who generally disagree with anything the Obama administration stands for.

2. Miss California, Carrie Prejean, says that (brace yourself) marriage should be between a man and a woman, and she was demonized by the person asking the question. If she would have said she was pro-life, she probably would have been arrested on the spot for being a right-wing terrorist. Thank you Miss California for not backing down.

3. The Democrats led by President Obama decry the torture of prisoners, and there are many questions if most of that was actually torture. But even if they are right, since these same people are for abortion, they agree to the torture of unborn babies. It's real torture to dismember, suction, or use a saline solution on the unborn until it dies. Obama even believes that if they don't die using these procedures, they should be left to die outside of the womb. According to them, the populace should have the right to choose torture on the innocent lives of the unborn.

4. What's behind most of what the far left fights for is ultimately their goal to silence any Christian. For example, they eventually want it to be a hate crime to say anything negative about gay marriage from the pulpit, in church groups, or just in private conversations.

5. The global warming movement is one of the biggest frauds and scams ever perpetrated in American history.

6. We have a leader of America, who obviously doesn't like this country. He hasn't said a sincere positive word either here or overseas about capitalism, businesses, or the people running those businesses. He has criticized many leaders who came before him, and he would like nothing better than to silence anyone who disagrees with him. The people he doesn't try to silence are the dictators who are bashing the United States. He listens to them, and then says nothing to discredit their beliefs.

7. Today Hillary Clinton said that she wanted abortion to be rare. Why doesn't anyone ever ask a Democrat who wants to make abortion rare, why he or she believes it should be rare? They should be put on the spot to answer that question honestly. Next question: If you want abortion to be rare for whatever, then why are you for somebody else having the right to have one? That's the same as saying that they want murder to be rare for whatever reason, but if someone else wants to do it, that's up to them.

8. If people who are against abortion are called pro-life, shouldn't the people who are for abortion be called pro-death?

April 17, 2009

What Is The Best Pro-Life Approach?

On occasion, I read or hear remarks about different approaches to fighting the pro-life battle. Usually there are criticisms of methods that are different from what that particular pro-lifer is doing. I have been guilty of this when I see so much effort applied to passing pro-life legislation, only to see it fail.

In fact, there's quite a bit of discussion about what to call the other side. Some feel that we need to call them pro-choice and find common ground with them and then ease them into our point of view. The pro-lifer doesn't want to offend them, so they take the soft approach. Then there's another pro-life view that we should just cut out the nice method and directly tell them that abortion kills a baby and that they are pro-abortion. "Look at this picture of an aborted baby. That is the killing of a human."

Of course, along with these, there are many other methods: showing the ultrasound image, legislation advocacy, participating in marches, having pro-life internet sites, sidewalk counseling, praying or other religious activities, donating money, etc.

Most of these methods have had a limited degree of success that can be quantified. The problem in analyzing which method is best is that there usually isn't a way to get concrete statistics because there often is such a delayed reaction. For instance, if a person sees a picture of an aborted baby, they may be initially repulsed and verbally attack the pro-lifer. But because of seeing that photo, they may decide to keep their baby if they are pregnant in the future. Another example is that legislation that is closely shot down this year, might have an easier time passing next year, because both sides have had a chance to closely examine the issue and maybe a compromise occurs. The methods that seem to have the most direct impact on the other side, such as sidewalk counseling, seem often to be favored by many pro-lifers because of the immediacy of the result.

So what is the most effective way to convey the pro-life message? There is no right answer because each method is needed. Also, every pro-lifer is wired in a unique way that makes a certain method work best for them. Someone may have the gift of conversing with a girl as she enters an abortion mill but might have a tough time putting their thoughts down on a website. Also, someone who is comfortable being very confrontational might not have patience dealing with politicians in a legislature. Someone who works with the political process might have no desire to interact with college students at a pro-life exhibit.

The receivers of the pro-life message also have their own set of biases which could make one method work better for them. For example, if they are not particularly religious, they probably will be turned off by someone quoting scripture or talking about how God disapproves of killing. Then the pro-life message is shot down before it can take hold. There are many who are visually oriented who would grasp the message from a video of an abortion or aborted baby photos. Many of these same people might not change their abortion position by just verbally discussing the issue with a pro-lifer.

In conclusion, all of these methods are needed to make the whole pro-life movement work. Some seem to have better results than others, but one baby saved by any method is enough to say that approach works. Most causes, both liberal and conservative, have many different methods for the same belief, like spokes on a wheel: the financial aspect, street activism, legislation, internet sites, and even a religious aspect at times. The pro-life movement needs to be cohesive even when there are differing methods to reaching the same goal - saving the unborn babies.

April 8, 2009

The Walter Hoye Story

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from the Birmingham Jail - 1963

Walter Hoye was released on April 7th after serving 18 days in jail.

April 1, 2009

Ultrasound - A Key To Reducing Abortions

Video from American Life League.

What is the most effective way to reduce the amount of abortions? There isn't one right answer, but some methods have been very productive. For example, the ongoing 40 Days For Life campaign proves that a prayerful presence at an abortion mill results in the saving of hundreds of lives. Also, the internet has been shown to be a tremendous asset when delivering the pro-life message. Pictures and videos of abortions or aborted babies have displayed reality to many who either ignored the issue or proclaimed that they were pro-choice. Even though this method is extremely effective, there is a reluctance by many to view such graphic material. Also, if shown in public, local governments and school administrations often try to block the exhibit.

One alternative that has become quite effective is the increasing use of ultrasound, especially the 4-D type, that really brings the humanness of the baby to those watching. The main outcry against this has been from Planned Parenthood and other abortion mills, because they realize that ultrasounds reduce the number of abortions and, thus, their profits.

For the last five years Focus on the Family has had the program Option Ultrasound, where they have provided over 400 grants for ultrasound machines and training at pregnancy clinics in 49 states. These machines cost from $21,000 to $33,000, plus several thousands in training costs. They have found that the use of ultrasound doubles the potential number of babies saved compared to only counseling, resulting in nearly 63,000 lives saved with this project. Testimonials and more information are available at Heartlink.

Of course, there are many other smaller groups that provide the option of ultrasound to pregnant women. One organization is Project Defending Life in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They recently had an ultrasound demonstration called Window to the Womb at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque. Some of the student's responses reveal how much of an impact an ultrasound can have.

“I felt a big burden lifted off my chest and a growing spirit to step forward and show the world that maybe a few people like me could make a difference ... joined with so many people in prayer for a sole purpose ... a sense of hope that maybe we could make some sort of impact on our world ... We, working together, can change the world”

“the ultrasound was very moving, and it really opened my eyes ... If I was in the situation and was thinking of getting an abortion, and I saw my little baby inside of me, I would definitely change my mind ... I think that anyone who says that the child is just a bunch of cells and is not a baby should look at an ultrasound and try to say that once they’ve seen it. They wouldn’t be able to because they would see that it truly is a baby with a heartbeat ... I pray and hope that someday, maybe in our lifetime, that abortion will become illegal”

“I believe that the ultrasound presentation was very educational ... not only should high school students be required to see an ultrasound but so should the women who want to have an abortion ... Learning all this information made me appreciate my life so much more ... I don’t understand why people support something so cruel”
“The ultrasound reinforced how special life is ... so many innocent lives are lost ... its not the babies fault.”

“Babies are so innocent and so full of love ... they bring joy to people. Life is not a mistake but a gift. I believe that these women who go in for an abortion are scared and afraid of what is to come, the huge responsibility it takes to raise a child. But what they don’t see is how much love and happiness this child will bring ... they see that ultrasound, they see that love and happiness.”

“I never really sat down and thought about a child developing within its mother in those nine months of pregnancy ... about how tiny we all start out in our lives, and how easy they can be taken away. Viewing an ultrasound before an abortion will save many innocent souls. God creates and makes things happen for a reason ... I never thought of the pain and destruction ... It is an unfair and cruel thing to do to such a gentle and pure being. I pray and hope that God takes these children that are lost with open arms and hugs them and takes them into his kingdom of eternal life.”

“... truly a life changing experience. Being able to see the actual heartbeat was completely amazing to me, almost mesmerizing ... a true eye opener. These babies have no voice ... I will now be a voice for them, and will openly and passionately join the fight against abortion. Life is a gift that starts at conception and it should not, under any circumstances be taken away by abortion”

There is a trend in the state legislatures to pass laws that give the option for a pregnant woman to view an ultrasound. They are not required to see the ultrasound before having an abortion, but they must be given the option. Twelve states have adopted such a measure which undoubtedly has saved numerous lives.

When parents see the ultrasound of their unborn baby a connection is made that cannot be forgotten. This connection has been extremely vital in reducing the number of abortions. As previously exhibited, the ultrasound can also be a tremendously effective educational tool to show everyone what really is killed in an abortion. When many just hear information about abortion, it doesn't have nearly the impact of five minutes of viewing the unborn baby with an ultrasound machine. It also eliminates the uneasiness and complaints even with some in the pro-life community about the displays of graphic material about abortion.


Since this was originally posted over two years ago several more states have ultrasound laws in one form or another.  The summary of ultrasound laws are as follows:

9 states require verbal counseling or written materials to include information on accessing ultrasound services.
18 states regulate the provision of ultrasound by abortion providers.

4 states mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion, and require the provider to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image.

1 state requires the abortion provider to perform an ultrasound on each woman obtaining an abortion after the first trimester, and to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image.

10 states require that a woman be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image if her provider performs the procedure as part of the preparation for an abortion.

4 states require that a woman be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image.