Planned Parenthood Director Reverses Course, Embraces Life

After working as the director of Planned Parenthood’s operation in Bryan, Texas for more than 2 years, Abby Johnson recently left her position there.  But her change of direction is more profound than merely changing employers.  In fact, Abby has changed sides in the battle over abortion.

“It seemed like maybe that’s not what a lot of people were believing any more because that’s not where the money was. The money wasn’t in family planning, the money wasn’t in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that,” said Johnson.

Many people do, particularly because Planned Parenthood receives a considerable part of its funding from government sources, then uses that money to provide abortion services. 

While that is a major sticking point for those who oppose Planned Parenthood, it is not the fundamental issue.  Abortion, pro-life advocates say, should not be performed in this country except, perhaps, in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in immediate danger.  The issue over funding, while legitimate, is not primary among their concerns.  As with Ms. Johnson, it’s abortion itself that is the problem.

What will Abby Johnson do next?  It’s unclear what she will do for work at the moment, but she’s made the decision to join Bryan’s Coalition for Life, an anti-abortion group that aims to counter Planned Parenthood’s influence in the community.

CoL’s web site leads with a story about Abby Johnson, saying:

This is by far the most amazing thing that has happened to the Coalition for Life throughout its entire history…we thank God!

The site also has this blurb and a picture of a newborn saved from abortion:

We recently received report of a life saved from abortion. The mom said that she chose life for her child because of all the volunteers out there praying for her and because of a Sidewalk Counselor who reached out to her.

Perhaps that’s why Abby Johnson can look ahead with hope after spending 2 years in one of the most morally ambiguous businesses in America.

Johnson said she realized she wanted to leave, after watching an ultrasound of an abortion procedure.

“I feel so pure in heart (since leaving). I don’t have this guilt, I don’t have this burden on me anymore that’s how I know this conversion was a spiritual conversion.”

More power to her.  Regardless of your position on the subject of abortion, you have to give Abby Johnson credit for following her own conscience.  In a word in which we too often align ourselves socially and politically without thinking – and without changing – the sight of a woman who recognizes that she’s doing something dreadfully wrong and reverses the course of her life is inspiring.

Must We Draw a Line on Free Speech?


In response to the murder of abortionist Dr. George Tiller, the Houston Chronicle’s editors asked a pertinent question today – “When does anti-abortion rhetoric cross the line from free speech?”

Before I begin, a question in return:  from free speech into what, exactly? 

Presumedly the editors mean a criminal act.  Fair enough – speech is either free or prohibited by force of law or the threat of same.  The boundary of our protected First Amendment rights is circumscribed by the jagged, piecemeal line of preceding incitement rulings. 

The law, imperfect as it is, draws the final line in the sand at the end of free speech.  As such, the standard ought to be heavily weighted in favor of the speaker and the burden of proof placed on those who would restrict speech.  Anything not explicitly forbidden is permitted.

Incitement to violence is one such legitimate prohibition of speech and radicals who call for violence are in violation of that standard.  Such cases are particularly egregious when committed with premeditation; conversely, we would be wise to overlook extemporaneous utterances, even when repulsive or offensive.  After all, no one can claim to control his or her tongue without fail. 

Angry, even hateful speech should not be criminalized, while deliberate incitement must be, for a crime is in the action, not in the talking, and to incite is to act deliberately.

To this end, the editors rightly point out that “[Bill] O’Reilly had excoriated “Tiller the baby killer” and his “Nazi stuff” for several years, as had Operation Rescue and other abortion foes.”

Did O’Reilly act with the intent of inciting Tiller’s murder?  It’s unlikely to say the least that such a case could be made, if only for the simple fact that O’Reilly’s quoted description of Tiller’s profession is, above all, accurate.

Tiller’s was one of only three centers in the United States to perform abortions after the 21st week of pregnancy.

If a hard line is to be drawn the law, fully restrained by the state’s burden of proof, must be the tool used to make the final mark separating legal speech from the illegal.

Yet the law should, in addition to being the final solution, also be the last.  Is it necessary to have decades of mindless shouting over issues such as abortion?  It’s obvious that neither side’s extremists can ever be satisfied and that a compromise no one likes will eventually be agreed on.

Abortions are not generally available after 16 weeks in most of the civilized world. It is inevitable that the debate in the United States eventually settle on a similar standard.  The only question is how many more babies – and how many more abortionists – must die needlessly before that happens.

Federal Judge OKs "Morning After" Pill for Juveniles – Parental Consent Unnecessary

U.S. District Judge Edward Korman says that the Food and Drug Administration’s refusal to approve Plan B for over-the-counter use by juvenile girls was politically motivated.

“These political considerations, delays, and implausible justifications for decision-making are not the only evidence of a lack of good faith and reasoned decision-making,” Korman said. “Indeed, the record is clear that the FDA’s course of conduct regarding Plan B departed in significant ways from the agency’s normal procedures regarding similar applications to switch a drug product from prescription to non-prescription use.”

Korman’s justification for his ruling is that the FDA rejected the advice of a committee it assembled to review the question of allowing minors access to the drug.  Was the committee’s opinion binding in some way?  Undoubtedly not.  Still, the facts may be as Korman has stated them.

What is clear is that 17-year-old girls are still subject to parental control, making the issue one that, like abortion, concerns parents just as much as it does the sexually active teen.  The parents’ legal rights and responsibilities now seem to have been swept aside in favor of those of minors engaged in ill-advised activities.

Will another birth control opportunity help reduce total teenage pregnancies?  Or will it provide another excuse for teens to have sex long before they are mentally, physically, or fiscally ready to assume responsibility for their actions? 

Sounds like a Master’s thesis question waiting to be developed.

The Virtue of Minding One’s Own Business

Catholic Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho’s excommunication of the mother of a 9-year-old girl who had an abortion after being raped by her step-father has infuriated many people in Brazil and elsewhere.  This is a case when being right in principle results in being wrong in fact.


Abortion is much more serious than killing an adult. An adult may or may not be an innocent, but an unborn child is most definitely innocent. Taking that life cannot be ignored.

The Catholic Church may not want her or her mother in their membership, but there are plenty of other Christian denominations that would be far less judgmental.

I dare say that the little girl was innocent as well.  The Archbishop should know that two wrongs do not make a right.  Forcing the girl to carry to term would have been a hideous crime in its own right.  This was a no-win situation, in other words, that Sobrinho would have done well to have looked away from.

Courts in this country would be wise to do the same in regard to acts of conscience by people whose professions can put them in situations in which they would have to violate their own personal, religious, or ethical beliefs in order to render service.

The Obama administration has already announced that it will restrict the rights of health care workers to be governed by their consciences by overturning the Bush administration’s “Conscience Rule” that protected  health workers who refuse to take part in abortions or provide other procedures or medicine that goes against their personal beliefs.

Now Catholic florists in Connecticut are worried that the state’s new law allowing gay marriage will force them to provide services for homosexual couples in violation of their personal religious beliefs.

Yes, the Bush Conscience Rule may have been too broad and Connecticut florists might be overly paranoid about future customers’ sexual foibles.  But the bottom line is that the right of people to make their own decisions about what is right and what is wrong is at the heart of what it means to be free.  The government has no business forcing people to undertake actions that they find objectionable.  Rather, the state should simply stay out of matters of conscience and stop attempting to bully everyone into toeing the politically correct line.

I’m sure that gay-friendly florists support that principle for reasons of their own, one of which is their economic prosperity.  Virtue is its own reward, after all.

Dawn Johnsen: Another Lying Liar in Line for an Important Job with the Obama Administration

The National Review’s Andy McCarthy been absolutely brutal in refuting Dawn Johnsen’s testimony that the DOJ Office of Legal Council nominee gave to Senate Judiciary Committee.  In exposing Johnsen’s lies about her own written record, McCarthy exemplifies everything that is good about the American media.  A virtual round for Andy, please, on the house.

Here’s what Ms. Johnsen believes about abortion, in her own words:

Statutes that curtail [a woman’s] abortion choice are disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude, prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment, in that forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest.

After learning that her inane legal argument had been unearthed and aired at NRO, Johnsen professed to be shocked that her words would be taken at face value.

It’s always pathetic to see People Who Would Be Important demonstrate that they lack the courage of their convictions when confronted about their actions.  How much worse, then, to witness an accomplished lawyer deny her own work that’s part of the public record?

Johnsen certainly wasted no time in doing just that by denying that she’d ever invoked the 13th Amendment in her legal arguments when Arlen Specter, hardly a conservative ideologue, came down on her.

When I read in your writings that abortion bans go beyond the Thirteenth Amendment, which bars slavery, and that “forced pregnancy requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state’s asserted interest” — it seems to me just candidly beyond the pale.

Johnsen’s denial is an obvious lie, as Andy points out.  Moreover, Johnsen’s “analogy”, as she now calls it, is no departure from the core of her beliefs, as Andy also brings to the forefront:

This line of argument was not an aberration. It is consistent with a major theme of the brief, to wit, that abortion restrictions result in “forced pregnancy” and government “conscription” of the woman’s body for its own purposes. Thus, for example, Johnsen wrote elsewhere in the brief: “[The woman] is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not wholly her own: the state has conscripted her body for its own ends.” Consequently, she concluded, abortion restrictions “reduce pregnant women to no more than fetal containers.”

Not only is the logic of Johnsen’s argument distorted beyond anything recognizable as such, it clearly demonstrates her willingness to say anything to advance her cause, regardless of whether it’s right or wrong.

The Department of Justice is a branch of the government that demands higher-than-average ethics and comportment than almost any other.  Those not afflicted the Alzheimer’s will recall the Alberto Gonzales affair.  As of Yesterday, Dawn Johnsen has been shown to be a proven liar.  As such she is apparently cut from the same cloth as Gonzales, a man deemed not to deserve to hold a position of authority in the DoJ.

Worse still, Johnsen is a radical abortion rights advocate who will stop at no depth of ethical depravity to advance the cause of abortion in this country, even to the point, as Specter rightly said, of going beyond the pale and into the realm of the deranged.

It’s one thing to be a radical in favor of 1.5 million infant killings per year.  It’s another to lie about it in front of Congress.  Johnsen’s confirmation must be voted down if there’s any decency to be found on Capitol Hill some 30-odd days into the Age of Change.

Culture War’s End in Sight? Not Likely.

Damon Linker writes at The New Republic that it’s not beyond the pale to think that Barack Obama may be able to lead liberals to a victory in the decades-old culture war.  How?  By subtle, gradual conversion away from conservative positions on 3 traditional value issues: Church/State Separation, Homosexual Rights/Gay Marriage, and Abortion.

Not bloody likely, in my estimation.  Then again, ordinary Americans undoubtedly felt safe in their majority at the beginning of the left’s radicalization, certain that both right and numbers were on their side.  Conservatives should beware now, as they should have half a century ago.

It should be remembered that it was the left that declared the culture war in the first place.  After all, America was in one state in 1961 and an entirely different one in 1965.  It wasn’t the right and center of American society that were in the streets burning down the country, it was the left.  Now the radicals want an end to the fighting. 

On what terms?  I ask.  And Damon answers.

Church/State Separation

Mr. Linker lands with both feet squarely on former President Bush, saying “the president was telling them [non-believers] that their failure to conform to traditionalist Catholic-Christian moral teaching made them bad citizens.”

This is nonsense but it serves to springboard Damon to his real point, which is that he thinks Obama can lure conservatives away from their position – namely that some Christian morality and expressions thereof are good for the nation’s soul and belong in schools, courtrooms, and legislatures – by simply not discussing the issue.

That idea is a non-starter because, though the far left makes a practice of demeaning the intelligence of conservative Christians, the fact that monuments to the 10 Commandments are being removed from county courthouses, high school football games can no longer start with a much-needed prayer, and the ACLU is still witch-hunting after teachers who dare to bring a Bible to school will not escape them.

Christianity has always been a central feature of American life.  In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:

In the United States the sovereign authority is religious,… there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.

If only that were still so.

What middle America – I’m speaking both geographically and politically here – didn’t know in the 1960s was the degree of ferocity the radical liberals of the Baby Boom would use to further their agenda.  The Silent Majority could not stand against them but that does not mean the America that existed before the Summer of Love has been forgotten.

Although the generations that were brought up in an American still based on Christian morality are fading fast, enough of the historical record documenting the relative peace and prosperity that existed prior to the radicalization of liberalism still exists to inform current conservative leaders.

Unfortunately, history is a thin thread compared to the left’s extreme liberalization of the political, judicial, and educational systems.  Perhaps Linker is correct then, for history can be obfuscated and/or revised and is often forgotten by the very people who ought to heed its lessons.

Homosexual Rights/Gay Marriage

Damon says that the right has already lost the battle over gay marriage.  He’s overly optimistic as the passage of Prop. 8 in California, by far the most liberal state in the nation, demonstrates.  It is not often that the citizenry rebukes a state supreme court in such public fashion. 

Logical consideration shows that homosexual rights and gay marriage are distinct issues.  Our legal and medical systems do unfairly discriminate against homosexuals by denying them the same rights as heteros.  The right to will property to and utilize the medical benefits of a gay partner should be affirmed as elemental to citizenship.

Gay marriage is another issue altogether and one on which I trust I’ve previously made my position clear.  Suffice to say that a majority of Americans believe as I do, that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman.  Moreover, American Christians will not accept any other definition of the institution.  Period.  Nor should they.  The entire history of mankind supports this line of thinking and conservatives are correct to believe that America has gone quite far enough in accommodating so-called alternative lifestyles.


The way forward on abortion, Damon says, is through compromise up to and including the narrowing or reversing of Roe v. Wade.  The far left is utterly unable to accept such an outcome peacefully; however, it is the only way that this issue can ever be resolved to the satisfaction of a sizable majority. 

Linker’s most excellent argument:

this is the core of the problem. Roe “settled” the question of abortion by saying that the pro-choice side wins 100 percent of the time, now and forever: America is a pro-choice nation and those who don’t like it can (respectfully) go to hell. No wonder we’ll still fighting these battles 36 years later. (This is also why it’s so unfortunate that Tim [Fernholz] is content to tell abortion opponents, in effect, to go fuck themselves: if abortion rights make “the religious right angry, that’s what happens in a liberal democracy.” No, what normally happens in a liberal democracy is that two sides in a rancorous public debate seek to reach a compromise

Indeed, the problem is the same on all 3 issues under discussion but none more so than abortion.

To imagine, as radical feminists groups purport to do, that Christians will ever accept the status quo of Roe is to live in a fantasy world.  For an excellent discussion of why this is, read Gary Graham’s essay at Big Hollywood.  There’s little more to add than what Gary has written here. 

An important snippet:

I’m telling you, once you draw that line and say this is the moment it’s a human being…you’ve lost the argument. Because it’s arbitrary. On this date it’s a baby, but yesterday it was just a bunch of cells…this blob of a nothing and you can do anything you want with it, it’s okay. Babies have been born premature in the second trimester and lived. Happens all the time. So please, somebody tell me how is taking a baby and delivering all but the head, then plunging a tube into its skull and sucking the brains out…how is that not murder? This is what happens in partial-birth abortions, and unfortunately, this happens all the time, too.

And we as a nation…as a people…are all right with this?

I understand the hate that is leveled at someone like me who reminds people of this. To contemplate the reality is daunting. The act is horrendous and made more tragic when you consider the numbers of babies that are being disposed of every day.

Our willingness to tolerate such a holocaust says volumes of how our entire culture has been coarsened.

Still, I do think that a significant number of Christians would agree to lay down arms on this issue if abortion were restricted to the first trimester, for example.  Not all, not by any stretch of the imagination.  But enough that a solid center could be formed on this issue, if the left could reciprocate.

The question of whether the left can compromise on abortion is similar to that posed of moderate Muslims in the Middle East.  Will the moderates who are in the vast majority be able to reign in the destructive tendencies of the radicals?

Given the lessons that can be drawn from the initial phase of the war the left declared on America in the 1960s, the answer is a clear “No”.  Radicals fight with the single-minded purpose and strength of cornered animals, whether it makes sense to fight or not and whether their cause is right or not.

The cause of abortion is not right, make no mistake.  But they will fight on anyway, to the literal death, at least of the children.

Pro-Life in the Obama Era

One social issue American liberals no doubt hope to push back on in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s election is that of abortion.  While I’m hopeful that the new president will refrain from pursuing a radical abortion agenda, many pro-life causes must be feeling nervous about their missions’ future right about now. 

In this post, Kathleen McKinley briefly describes some of the worthy organizations she’s worked with in support of the most innocent of human lives.  Well worth the quick read and our support.

The Left’s Claim to Value Life

One of the American left’s great lies is that they value human life.  This claim is manifested primarily in their opposition to the practice of executing violent criminals and the prosecuting of wars against evil nations and their rulers.  There are reasons for thinking people to take these positions; however, for a liberal American to then support unfettered access to abortion, a mandatory position in liberal circles, is nonsensical.

Abortion is probably the greatest evil of all time.  Tens of million American babies have been sacrificed on the alter of easy abortion and with them a portion of the soul of this country.  The left, abortion’s champions, deny this obvious truth. 

In logical terms it’s unthinkable for a supporter of partial birth abortions to oppose the war in Iraq on humanitarian terms given the vast disparity in the number of lives lost to each cause.  Yet they do and demonstrate their lack of critical thinking.

At Comments From Left Field, Kathy proudly flouts the absence of this trait in her latest post, an attempt to cut Sarah Palin down for her moral beliefs, specifically her rejection of abortion.

For Palin, it’s not human life that’s precious — it’s innocent human life. And “innocent,” of course, is defined in this context as “not born yet,” or, stretched to the definition’s limits, just born.

This is what makes it possible for her, and others like her, to blather about the “right to life of the unborn” while ignoring or, worse, denying, the right that every human being on this planet has to their own life. Just consider, for one moment, how extraordinary it is that someone who calls herself “pro-life” could utter a sentence like the above: “In times like these, with wars and a financial crisis, it’s easy to forget even as deep and abiding a concern as the right to life.” I mean, it almost robs me of the power of speech (not quite, though). Could it be any clearer that Sarah Palin thinks of “the right to life” as a subject separate from war, unrelated to it?

Actually, yes, it could be quite a bit clearer.  It’s impossible that Sarah Palin – or George W. Bush, for that matter – considers war to be without consequence.  But the numbers, Kathy!  Have you considered them at all?

There is also the question of innocence.  To my way of thinking there were many innocent lives lost in Iraq.  That needs to be stated up front to dispel the obvious anti-war retort.  But it’s ridiculous to put those deaths at Sarah Palin’s feet.  Neither are they the responsibility of President Bush, though it’s certainly true that his misjudgment provided the killers in Iraq the excuse and opportunity to implement their murderous plans.  Most of the dead in Iraq belong to the Muslim terrorists who choose to execute them to further their vile agenda of civil war in that country.

Returning to the subject of abortion, is there any doubt that the most innocent lives among  us belong to the youngest?  No.  By definition the termination of such a life is the most abhorrent.

This logic too the left often seeks to evade by attempting to place the beginning of life at the first breath of air, an transparent falsehood, as demonstrated by the survival of premature babes the world over.

The most honest among them will admit that abortion is the cold-blooded ending of a human life, most often done for the convenience of the mother.  But this position, while completely truthful, is not one that can hope to garner support with the populace at large, hence the subterfuge.

Kathy calls Sarah Palin’s support for the war in Iraq truly deplorable given her call for the right to life.  But she, like so many of the liberal left, leaves the truth and consequences of her own beliefs unexamined, thereby missing the true evil that such relativistic values allow to come into the world.

Obama and Infanticide

Andrew McCarthy tells the tale of babies born alive after failed abortions and how Barack Obama was more concerned about doctors’ legal liabilities than the innocent lives at stake. 

The transcript Andrew quotes from shows a staggering lack of concern for the living newborns:

one of the things that we were concerned about, or at least I expressed some concern about, was what impact this would have with respect to the relationship between the doctor and the patient and what liabilities the doctor might have in this situation. So, can you just describe for me, under this legislation, what’s going to be required for a doctor to meet the requirements you’ve set forth?

As Andrew says:

Through Obama’s radical prism, everything “is about abortion and not live births.” But in reality, this had nothing to do with “burden[ing] the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion.” It was about the legal and moral responsibilities of doctors and nurses in circumstances where, despite that decision, a living human being was delivered.

Moreover, it should be recognized that Mr. Obama lied on the public record about his vote against Illinois’ Born-Alive bill while serving as a state senator.

Regardless of the reasons for his vote, Mr. Obama cannot say that his critics are lying. He did oppose a bill virtually identical to the one unanimously passed in the U.S. Senate. And now, five years later, he might end up paying a political price for that decision.

Let’s hope justice is served.  Barack Obama is a smart person and, like many intelligent people, has a tendency to overanalyze things that are rather simple.  A baby born alive – despite medical science’s best efforts to kill it – must be helped or those who watch it die are in violation of every ethical standard Americans hold dear.  Yet Barack Obama defended this immoral inaction with his vote.

McCarthy on Born-Alive laws:

Such laws were enacted by overwhelming margins. In the United States Congress, even such pro-abortion activists as Sen. Barbara Boxer went along.

Not Barack Obama.  Whatever nuances of thought led him to his heinous decision to side against dying infants are lost on most of the rest of us.

Peggy Noonan lays it out:

…on abortion in particular, Mr. McCain seemed old-time conservative, which is something we all understand, whether we like such a stance or not, and Mr. Obama seemed either radical or dodgy. He is “in favor . . . of limits” on late-term abortions, though some would consider those limits “inadequate.” (In the past week much legal parsing on emanations of penumbras as to the viability of Roe v. Wade followed.)

As I watched I thought: How about “Let the baby live”? Don’t parse it. Just “Let the baby live.”

Simple, right?  It’s not such a complicated issue after all.

Obama on Abortion

From Rick Warren’s forum on religion with Barack Obama and John McCain (caps Warren’s):



Pretty reasonable statement for a presidential candidate to make.  Some women do make the decision to have an abortion casually, just as some do it without consulting the father.  Neither is ethical or desirable, yet it happens.

Despite my own certainty that abortion is a crime against both God and America – I think that the right for couples to have an abortion should be maintained.  Not because abortion is good – it’s not – or because women’s rights to choose are exclusive – they’re not – but because a reasonable window of opportunity must be provided to allow a couple to determine if they want to become parents.  This is a fundamental right of self-determination and, quite possibly, self-damnation.

Some choices are unpleasant.  My position is that nearly all women who have abortions would better serve themselves and America by carrying their child to term and allowing him/her to be adopted.  But that opinion should not be the law of the land for one simple reason:  Law is the minimum standard for tolerable behavior, not the ideal.  As such it’s not meant to pacify ultra-paranoids like TChris:

Does a fetus have the right not to lose its liberty without due process? Does the fetus have a right, independent of the mother’s, to petition for habeas corpus if the fetus, having committed no crime, finds itself in a prison cell? Is that what John McCain meant when he answered that babies acquire human rights “at the moment of conception”? Is he among those who would lock a woman up at any stage of a pregnancy if she acts in a way that endangers the “rights” of a fetus?

The answer is obvious, as is the fact that such questions only become relevant when laws are used to mandate ideal behaviors.  Simply put, Americans need to recognize that it’s OK for other people to make decisions that they don’t agree with, even it it harms the decision-maker.  That’s part of being a free people.

There is an ultimate judge of right and wrong and our accountability is to Him far more than to any man-made law.