Tag Archives: Abortion

Aborting the Lies

Is it any surprise that there are many more fake pro-life “abortion clinics” than there are actual abortion clinics? Is it any surprise that if you try to Google anything related to abortion services, you will get many, many more hits for fake pro-life Trojan-Horse sites than actual legitimate abortion service sites?

Frankly this should come as no surprise to anyone. This is what these fanatical pro-life activists do. As documented in the excellent HBO film “12th and Delaware” (see here) and others, Christians set up fake abortion clinics to lure in distressed, vulnerable pregnant women under false pretenses. Like any good confidence operation, they are warm and welcoming and sprinkle in as many facts as they can so that they can manipulate these women.

However, once lured into these “abortion counseling services,” the women find that the pressure on them will build and build, becoming more manipulative as these pro-life fanatics try to persuade or coerce or even trick the woman into delivering her baby. This manipulation is not merely limited to appeals to emotion, but includes many outright distortions and lies. One such tactic is to intentionally under-report the gestational age of the baby to make the client believe she has much more time than she actually has to perform the abortion. They outright lie to trick the women into delaying their abortion until it is too late. In fact, they feel justified to lie about anything and everything necessary to “save” the baby.

Clinics and web sites make the women watch “informational videos” to help in this coercion. Many are produced by an infamous anti-abortion doctor named Dr. Anthony Levitano. He has one such propaganda video on medical abortion (see here), which is an extremely safe and effective procedure. I encourage you to watch this because it provides a great crash course in how to manipulate others and what to watch for to avoid being manipulated. It starts out for the first minute or so as a fairly straight-forward description of medical abortion. The manipulation kicks in by pointing out that the medical abortion can be “reversed.” This is factually inaccurate, but pro-life advocates like to say it anyway to plant the seed of doubt – the doubt that many women “come to their senses” too late to save their baby.

At about a 90 seconds in, the video starts to turn palpably darker, emphasizing ominous words like “severe” and “heavy” and introducing phrases intended to appeal to emotion like “force the dead baby out.” Notice that they intentionally call it a baby, not a fetus or embryo, because they use every possible ploy to make the mother feel emotionally connected. After that, Levitano proceeds to up the temperature by warning that the process can be “very intense and painful.” From there it gets quickly worse, gratuitously pointing out that the woman could “loose her baby” at any time, then following up with images of a woman on a toilet “expelling her baby down the toilet which she will then flush.” The repulsive imagery that Levitano fully intends to invoke is masked under a transparently thin veil of clinical detachment.

And this is only half-way through the thing! The video goes on to repulse the viewer with increasingly horrific and increasingly blatant appeals to fear, guilt, and revulsion. He points out, for example, how [if the woman were to sift through the tissue in the toilet] she might be able to detect fingers and toes. Levitano claims that 1% of women require hospitalization after a medical abortion, but this is at least a hundred-fold exaggeration and in the extremely rare case when there is hospitalization, it is rarely serious or even the result of the abortion drug. Levitano closes his manipulation by sharing his own personal realization that “all abortions are wrong.”

Let me be perfectly clear. This is factual and emotional manipulation with no tactic too subtle or too blatant. Whatever true facts are presented are only included to establish enough credibility to sell the big lies and manipulations to come. It is sad that so many women fall prey to this kind of hateful and harmful manipulation dressed up and rationalized as Christian morality and charity. Whether they are in front of abortion clinics or hosting their Trojan-Horse web sites, in their minds no tactic is out of bounds, no lie is a lie to them if it advances their cause.

liesBut this should come as no surprise. After all, all of religion is nothing but selling lies. It can be nothing else because it has nothing but lies to offer. Scriptures, angels, salvation, afterlife, god, devils… its all lies and Christians spend all their energy believing or convincing others to believe these lies. Is it any wonder then that Christians should have no trouble believing and spreading lies about abortion as well? Religion is not benign. Becoming comfortable rationalizing religious nonsense directly impacts our capacity to rationalize equally crazy thinking in consequential matters like abortion.

And as with religious fantasy, it is immaterial whether they sincerely, devoutly, fervently believe the nonsense they spread about abortion or how selfless their intentions might be. Their lies, deceits, manipulations, misinformation, and misguided efforts do great harm to a great many people regardless of their motivation – harm to the women directly affected as well as to the men and families in their lives.

If you are seeking an abortion, ask the clinic early and directly if they provide abortions on their premises. If you do not receive a clear and unambiguous yes, hang up. Ask again the minute you walk in the door. If they begin to use any of these tactics on you, leave immediately because their only goal is to do whatever it takes to prevent you from obtaining a legal and safe abortion.

 

Liberal Moderation

ModerationAll things in moderation” is a pretty sound truism. It is true for most things, but there are exceptions. Lead is never good to ingest even in moderation. Likewise, activism is not usually very effective and can even be harmful when taken in moderation.

Imagine you were an abolitionist living in the 1760’s. Would you demand a complete end to slavery or would you politely request limits on slave whippings?

Or how about if you were a feminist in the 1860’s? Would you demand equal rights or would you have request (demurely) that women be allowed to smoke in public?

How about if you were a civil rights activist in the 1960’s? Would you demand nothing less than equal rights or would you go out of your way to show how nonthreatening you are by simply asking to sit a few rows further up in the bus if all seats further back are taken?

This was the very question that troubled Martin Luther King in 1963. In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” King pushed back against his well-meaning supporters and their strident calls for moderation. He correctly assessed that these friends were a bigger hindrance to the achievement of equal rights than were his opponents. The modest calls of his so-called allies undermined his own demands by making them seem unreasonable and even radical in comparison.

I feel his same frustration. In all the causes I care about, I feel thwarted by fellow “activists” who demand only minor incremental improvements with negligible benefits. Often doing a little bit is worse than doing nothing at all. It often gives the impression we’ve already “fixed” that issue, making it even harder to come back later for real effective change.

That was certainly true for Healthcare. Failing to demand national healthcare and accepting at least a public option was a tactical mistake of President Obama from the beginning. Now we are stuck with a private for-profit “solution” that addresses none of the systemic private-market abuses of our healthcare system.

JoyBuzzer.pngIn fact, President Obama took years to figure out that his moderate reasonable approach in all areas were doomed to fail. Over and over he reached out across the aisle with modest requests of Jokers in Congress, only to accomplish less than nothing. It took him what, 5 years of getting joy-buzzed to finally understand that moderation did not make his opponents any more reasonable or receptive.

Bargaining isn’t a new or complicated skill. In bazaars all across the continents merchants show us how to do it. You demand 10 times what that trinket is worth and finally settle for “only” 5 times its actual value. Only a fool starts out with its actual value and hopes to get anything close to it.

Yet far too many activists fail to apply these simple bargaining rules. In a vain hope of looking reasonable, they ask for next to nothing and if they are unfortunate enough to get it, it becomes extremely difficult to come back for more. The other party always wins when they give away next to nothing. Yet we see these moderate activists in every important area diligently undermining the “extreme militant activists” who might without their “help” bring about real change.

Healthcare: What we asked for and got was a “reasonable” giveaway to the private healthcare sector. What we should demand in the next round is nationalized healthcare. We may be willing to settle for a quality low cost public option.

Gun Control: What moderates call for are “sensible” expanded background checks and mental health services. What we should demand is a near total crippling of the gun industry and close security monitoring of those who own certain guns. We might settle for reestablishing the right to sue gun manufacturers and dramatically increased gun controls and insurance requirements.

Climate Change: What moderates call for are “realistic” industry-friendly systems like carbon trading. What we actually have to achieve in order to save our planet is a near total shutdown of carbon-based fuels and greatly expanded emission limits. Our planet simply does not have the time for moderation on this.

Campaign Financing: What moderates call for are modest reforms that do nothing except create yet more loopholes and workarounds. What we should demand is a complete prohibition from politicians receiving any outside money or working in the private sector for 10 years after leaving office rather receiving a generous government pension. We might settle for public campaign financing.

Atheism: “Non Angry” atheists call for mutual respect and a live-and-let-live attitude toward religion. What we should demand is that magical thinking, like racist or homophobic thinking, not be taken seriously in any aspect of civil society. What we might settle for would be a far stricter enforcement of the separation of church and state including an elimination of all religious carve outs and tax benefits.

War Funding: Our “pragmatic” moderates are thrilled if we can just limit the amount of annual increase in the Pentagon budget. What we should call for is a 90% reduction of our military budget and a retuning of our military industrial complex. Perhaps we might settle for only a 50% reduction.

Abortion: Supposedly hardcore Choice advocates feel lucky if they can mange to push back on just a few of the State actions to restrict abortion. We should call for Federal funding of abortion services and a requirement that all institutions receiving Federal funds provide abortion services. We might settle for much stronger Federal protections of abortion services that prohibit any State legislation that intentionally or unintentionally inhibits abortion services.

Income Disparity: Moderates beg for a slightly higher minimum wage. What we should demand is a steeply graduated progressive tax up to 90% with a maximum income cap based on some multiple of a guaranteed minimum income. We could possibly negotiate on the threshold levels.

Presidents: Moderate liberals feel lucky if they can elect a President that is only slightly to the Left of their Republican opponent, even if that takes us much farther to the Right than before. They should support Bernie Sanders and maybe settle for Hillary Clinton. But they should not vote for her out of fear. The timidity and fear of our liberal moderates ensures we keep losing ground and that is why our nation has drifted steadily Right for nearly 40 years.

In the end, moderation in activism does more harm than good. Moderation does not ever sway our opponents or make the battle any easier. The effort to achieve ANY compromise is not significantly lessened if the demands are modest. Rather it is often easier to get ones opponent to accept a significant compromise if far below the demands. And in the end the ground gained through a small compromise of modest demands is far less than the ground gained by a large compromise on grander demands. Further, you often only get one compromise in a decade or more so incremental movement is often a delusion, or at least far too slow for the people or the planet involved.

A bolder and smarter enemy will give a bit of inconsequential ground to keep their key institutions safe. They will give a bit of ground to gain a bunch of ground elsewhere. That is all the Conservatives give us in response to our modest demands. Conservatives are bold and smart and they know how to demand and bargain and play the long game.

But like President Obama, liberal moderates have no clue. They are neither bold nor smart and they generally lose the long game on every front by moderating each other with continual calls for moderation.

 

Gun Liberty Protections

safety-firstAbortion safety advocates have a ton of great ideas about how to protect the life and well-being of expectant mothers. Even though the health risk of abortion procedures is essentially zero, these concerned citizens are so dedicated to health and safety that no legislative restriction is deemed too costly or too onerous. In states all across the country, they are proposing and enacting common sense regulations to ensure that abortion facilities are safe and that expectant mothers are afforded every possible protection.

We should be inspired by their efforts and apply the exact same kind of common sense safety regulations to gun sales to ensure that buyers and sellers alike are afforded their Constitutional right to acquire incredibly dangerous killing machines in the safest manner possible. Following are some proposed gun sales legislations, all modeled upon actual abortion legislation, and intended only to enhance the gun industry and ensure the safety of all concerned in gun sales.

The Gun Seller Freedom Act

  • 14 states require abortion providers to have an affiliation with a local hospital. Although such affiliations offers no benefit whatsoever, we should likewise require that gun shop owners be formally affiliated with a local police department just to be safe.
  • 13 states require that providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital or an agreement with another provider who has admitting privileges. Since guns are far more dangerous than abortions, we should likewise require that gun shop owners have admitting privileges at a local hospital as well.
  • 38 states require an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician. Similarly, we should require that all gun shop staff who sell guns should have to take a 4 year training course and complete a supervised apprenticeship of at least 3 years. After they pass a multipart examination, they may apply to a government-appointed board for a sales license.
  • 18 states require the involvement of a second physician after a specified point in the process. We should likewise require that a second licensed salesperson assist in every gun transaction.

The Gun Store Patriotism Act

  • 22 states have onerous but according to them, essential, licensing standards for abortion clinics that are comparable or equivalent to the state’s licensing standards for ambulatory surgical centers. We should put in place equally stringent licensing standards for gun stores and require meticulous enforcement by the ATF.
  • 21 states specify the size of the procedure rooms and/or specify minimum corridor widths. We should likewise require that all gun store facilities meet minimum size standards to ensure a safe environment with sufficient evacuation capacity in the event of an event. To ensure safety, all walls and windows should be certified to withstand high-velocity sustained gunfire using the most penetrating ammunition available in the store.
  • 10 states require abortion facilities to be within some minimum distance from a hospital. We should likewise extend this protection to gun shops since they have far more potential for catastrophe.
  • 17 states extend regulations to sites where medication abortion (handing out a pill) is provided, even if surgical abortion procedures are not. We should likewise apply all the same gun shop protections to all stores that sell cap guns or BB guns.

The Gun Buyer Defense Act

  • 28 states require a woman seeking an abortion to wait a specified period of time, up to 72 hours, between counseling and the procedure itself. 14 of these states have laws that effectively require the woman make two separate trips to the clinic to obtain the procedure. We should apply these same common sense protections to gun purchasers.
  • 17 states mandate that women be given counseling before an abortion that includes information on at least one of the following: the purported link between abortion and breast cancer, the ability of a fetus to feel pain or long-term mental health consequences for the woman. None of this information is actually true, but the abortion safety advocates care so much about women that they want them to be aware of even imaginary risks. We should likewise require gun stores to provide pre-sales counseling to ensure that purchasers are made aware of the potential adverse consequences of their gun purchase decision.
  • 28 states mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion and requires the provider to show and describe the image, or offer the woman the opportunity to view the image. We should likewise require that prospective gun purchasers be shown images of gunshot victims and require that salespersons describe the horrendous gunshot wounds in graphic detail.

The Firearms Integrity Act

  • 4 states require the abortion drug mifepristone to be provided in accordance with the outdated FDA protocol rather than the simpler evidence-based protocol that has been proven to be safe and effective. We should likewise require that sales of any model gun be forced to comply with all safety regulations relating to a Revolutionary War era muzzle loader.
  • 18 states require that the clinician providing a medication abortion be physically present during the procedure, thereby prohibiting the use of telemedicine to prescribe medication for abortion remotely. Likewise all mail order or internet sales of guns should be prohibited.
  • Nearly all states limit the gestational age limit for the procedure. We should likewise limit the size of guns sold to the first trimester of gun and magazine size as there is some anecdotal evidence that guns with more than a 6 bullet capacity have some level of self-awareness.

We owe a great debt of thanks to all those dedicated abortion safety proponents for championing these important protections for expectant mothers.  We should join them in solidarity by proposing and passing similar common sense protections for prospective gun owners.

ADDENDUM

I’ve just become aware that at least one great legislator, Missouri State Representative Stacey Newman, has introduced HB 1397 which is exactly along these lines (see here). As of this moment a hearing on this bill is not scheduled, but keep at it Stacey!!