Dustin Siggins

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When is an abortion not an abortion? When the media says so.

Dustin Siggins
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Co-authored with Drew Belsky

Shortly before the new year, a number of religious organizations were given protection from the HHS abortion and contraception mandate.  While social conservatives and defenders of the First Amendment cheered, numerous prominent media organizations manipulated basic scientific facts to deny that the mandate - required by federal law - forces people to fund abortion-inducing drugs.

Media Matters did this at least twice, on January 1 and January 2, with the The New York Times and NBC News doing likewise.  While Pew Research did not deny that the mandate requires abortion funding, its weaselly assessment of the debate surrounding the mandate was almost as bad.  To wit, Pew stated that many with religious beliefs "oppose abortion and believe that using emergency contraception like the morning-after pill is akin to abortion" (emphasis added).

Like Pew, Politico tried to have its cake and eat it, too (emphasis added):

While the FDA calls those products [i.e., intrauterine devices (IUD) and "morning-after pills" like Plan B and ella] contraception, many organizations say that they could prevent the implantation of a fertilized embryo, which they consider akin to abortion.

These excerpts are symptomatic of the media's aggressive push to frame the HHS mandate as a contraception issue.  But the coverage of potentially abortifacient drugs like Plan B and ella, as well as indisputably abortifacient intrauterine devices (IUD), makes this an abortion issue as well.

As pointed out at JustFactsDaily.com last February:

[R]egardless of whether Plan B, Next Choice, or ella cause abortion, the Obama administration is forcing insurers, and thus, their customers to pay for devices that destroy embryos before they implant, which many doctors, scientists, and citizens consider to be abortion.

And this says nothing about IUDs, of which HHS's own Office of Women's Health says, "It [sic - If] fertilization does occur, the IUD keeps the fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus."

So how do Media Matters, the Times, and others justify their claim about the mandate's abortion requirements?  They say life begins at implantation, not fertilization, and thus drugs and devices like Plan B, ella, and IUDs do not cause abortions.

This is a Clintonian strategy: it all depends on what the definition of "conception" is.  Also "pregnancy," "contraception," and "abortion."

First, "conception": in 1965, the American Congress (then the "College") of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)changed its definition of this term to denote implantation of a human blastocyst in the uterine wall, rather than the union of spermatazoon and ovum to form a unique single-celled human organism.  Under this new definition of "conception," any drug or device that destroys the new human being after fertilization but before attachment to the mother's uterus is a contraceptive rather than an abortifacient.

But doctors are not above being wrong.  And with a moment's scrutiny, even the average citizen can tell that this definition is absurd.

First and foremost, one can find ample scientific evidence that human life begins at fertilization.  Likewise, embryology textbooks declare fertilization, not implantation, the beginning of a human's existence.

One can also simply apply common sense: are we human beings because of what we do (implant in our mothers' uteruses), or because of what we are (living organisms with human DNA)?  The latter definition resonates on a fundamental level - indeed, advocacy groups from abolitionists to suffragettes have used it to push for rights and privileges based on common,inherent humanity, not on actions or behavior.  Even homosexual activists use this tactic to great effect.

With the above understood, one's definition of "conception" will necessarily color what one means when referring to "contraception" and "abortion."  Using ACOG's - and Planned Parenthood's - "implantation" definition of conception (and, therefore, pregnancy), there would have to be six to twelve days when a woman's body shelters and supports a new human life - yet, according to ACOG, she is not pregnant.

Semantic gyrations like these are as ludicrous after nine months as they are after nine days.  Take the other end of the pregnancy spectrum: the left often defines abortion as "termination of pregnancy," which means that even C-sections and births by induced vaginal delivery qualify under this absurd definition, as do miscarriages.

It's clear that when one uses the accurate definitions of "conception" and "pregnancy" -- founded on fertilization -- any drug or device that prevents implantation in the mother's womb is an abortifacient.  The copper IUD, included in HHS's mandate,qualifies without question, because it is designed to kill a baby after fertilization and before implantation.

Regarding Plan B and ella, there is intense debate about whether these drugs, and others like them, interfere with implantation.  However, Plan B's own packaging warns that the drug may destroy a newly conceived human being (referred to as "a fertilized egg" on the box), and the scientific evidence strongly indicates that ella kills "a fertilized egg."

One might think the media was blissfully unaware of these facts.  However, last week, NBC let the mask slip when its editors changed an originally correct article from noting that the mandate requires abortion coverage to the following (italics in original):

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated the Affordable Care Act requires companies to offer health-care coverage that provides abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. It does not.

On Twitter, NBC News White House Producer Shawna Thomas - listed as a contributor to the article - doubled down on the faulty "correction":

@DustinSiggins I contributed some info to the piece but was not the author. Originally article mistakenly said abortion-drugs were required.

-- Shawna Thomas (@ShawnaNBCNews) January 2, 2014

@DustinSiggins Contraception mandate covers Plan B. Sometimes this is erroneously called an abortifacient.

-- Shawna Thomas (@ShawnaNBCNews) January 2, 2014

But as the above information proves, for Thomas and her media colleagues to state that the HHS mandate does not require abortion-inducing drugs is disingenuous in the extreme.  And while Pew and Politico do not go as far as their mainstream colleagues, they do give the impression that the mandate may end human life in the womb - even though IUDs unquestionably do this, and Plan B and ella likely do as well.

In 1973, the Supreme Court infamously decided that even though it "[was] not in a position to speculate as to the answer" of "when life begins," it would err on the side of death.  Over 40 years later, the media is setting the stage for the Obama administration to make the same fatal mistake.

Dustin Siggins is the D.C. correspondent for LifeSiteNews.com and a co-author of the forthcoming book Bankrupt Legacy: The Future of the Debt-Paying Generation.  Drew Belsky is the American Thinker's deputy editor and Live Action's communications director. This article is cross-published at AmericanThinker.com.

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The flaws, foibles, and failings of Emily Letts’ ‘abortion’ video

Dustin Siggins
Dustin Siggins

In March, Philadelphia actress and abortion counselor Emily Letts posted a video that ostensibly recorded an abortion she had. The video, which has garnered praise from many abortion advocates, has also garnered its share of pro-life critics, including LifeSiteNews' own Ben Johnson. Our U.S. Bureau Chief pointed out that Letts' video merely "purports to be" about abortion, since "it does not show the abortion procedure, the doctor, nor anything below her waist."

It's not just pro-lifers who are hammering Letts, either. One abortion supporter wrote that Letts' cavalier attitude ignores that “abortion is not something to be taken lightly or glorified. It is for most women a heavy decision."

More recently, another critic has offered her own takedown of Letts. In a 10-minute video worth watching, sharing, and promoting -- hence this blog post -- Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society absolutely shredded Letts.

Content Warning: While this video is excellent, and a must-see, it is also quite graphic with regards to imagery and language regarding the realities of abortion.

Among Miller's many excellent points:

  1. Letts' video did not show her unborn baby even once. "Abortion is the dismemberment of an innocent human being. That character, that person, was completely absent and completely invisible in your video,” says Miller.
  2. Letts did not clarify what "I'm kind of early" in the pregnancy meant in the video. Miller said this lack of specificity -- "the facts of fetal development" -- indicates Letts may be "hiding the baby" and does "not want to confront the reality of abortion."
  3. A music overlay of the actual abortion procedure may be hiding "the sounds of the surgical instruments," says Miller. "Where the heck is the sound of the suction machine [that] is dismembering your child?" she asked.

Citing Letts' piece in Cosmopolitan about the video, Huffington Post reports that Letts says she "searched the Internet, and I couldn’t find a video of an actual surgical procedure in the clinic that focused on the woman’s experience. We talk about abortion so much and yet no one really knows what it actually looks like." As Miller, Johnson, and others have pointed out, Letts' video provides no further knowledge on that subject.

One final point: Huffington Post says Letts was not using birth control when she got pregnant. In other words, she engaged in consensual sexual activity, knowing that pregnancy is a predictable result of that activity. And rather than own up to it -- she admits to not being ready to be a mother -- she decided killing her child to make a point was preferable to adoption.

Miller has it right -- this wasn't a video about the realities of what happens to children and women during an abortion. It was, instead, Letts' "fantasy abortion." 

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Planned Parenthood president: Say ‘yes’ to life…if you make it out of the womb

Dustin Siggins
Dustin Siggins

Ah, irony. From Cecile Richards' commencement speech to Barnard College, an all-women school:

These women didn’t wait to be asked. They just jumped headfirst.

To borrow some wisdom from Lena Dunham, "Don’t wait around for someone else to tell your story. Do it yourself by whatever means necessary."

If you hold out for an invitation, chances are good you’ll miss the party. And by the party, I mean life.

Growing up, Mom always told me, "The answer to life is yes."

This is the only life you have so make the most of it. Take every opportunity and risk you can. You’ll only regret the things you didn’t do because you were afraid to try.

That's right. The head of Planned Parenthood, the world's largest abortion provider, thinks that "the answer to life is yes."

Of course, Richards was talking about saying "yes" to life after birth. Prior to that stage of being, it's clear that one of the nation's most powerful women is much against women saying "yes" to life. Over 150,000 women, in fact, will never have the opportunity to make a decision about whether to say "yes," "no," or "maybe" in 2014 because of Planned Parenthood.

According to my calculations, Planned Parenthood is killing off six percent of the females who would otherwise leave the womb with a chance to say "yes" to life.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Consider the following:

For 2014, it is projected that there will be 4.28 million births in the United States of America. Of those, 48.8 percent will be female. (1.0 girls are born for every 1.05 males.) This means 2,088,640 girls will be born this year.

According to the latest available data, for 2011, there were 1.06 million abortions. Assuming this drops slightly due to pro-life laws that are being enforced across the nation -- among other factors -- let's assume that one million abortions will happen in America this year. (Abortion rates have been on a steady decline for most of the last two decades.)

This means that 18.9 percent of babies will be aborted in 2014. So how many lives are Richards and her subordinates responsible for ending?

Planned Parenthood claimed credit for 333,964 abortions in 2011, which means 31.5 percent of abortions in America were done in the clinics of Planned Parenthood. (This does not count the abortifacients Planned Parenthood handed out, which is not included in the organization's annual report.)

So, assuming 48.8 percent of abortions in America are done to girls, and 31.5 percent of them are done by people working under Richards' umbrella, 153,270 unborn girls will not be given the chance to say "yes" to life this year because of Planned Parenthood.

Oddly, a search for the word "abortion" in Richards’ speech brought up no references to Planned Parenthood's favorite procedure. Perhaps even she thought it a bit much to talk about supporting women while acknowledging her organization is responsible for killing so many.

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Signs of the times: Is worshipping Satan protected under religious freedom?

Dustin Siggins
Dustin Siggins

In America, we tend to support more religious freedom than less. And after last week's Supreme Court decision to allow prayer at public meetings, Catholics and other Christians rejoiced.

However, that freedom is now being tested by two groups that are using Harvard and the state of Oklahoma as Ground Zero for poking a stick in the eye of Christianity.

First up is the group re-enacting a Satanic "Black Mass," which was designed to offend and mock Catholics. (Unlike a true "Black Mass," the organizers say they are not using a consecrated host.) The student group hosting the event said it is meant to be "educational," not disrespectful, according to Fox News:

“Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes, but instead learn and experience the history of different cultural practices," the club's statement said. The statement went on to say that the mass will use a piece of bread but will “unequivocally” not use a consecrated host. 

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, a Satanic group says if Christians can have the Ten Commandments on public property, they can have a statue of Satan:

While many of the project’s backers are Satanists — as in, they worship Satan — the piece is actually intended to make a broader point: That a statue of the Ten Commandments on public property seems to violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which separates church and state. (This view is also held by the ACLU, which is challenging the Oklahoma government’s right to display the Ten Commandments.)

So what does this all mean? A few thoughts:

First, this is nothing new. Mockery of Christianity, and worship of Satan, have long been part of human history.

Second, this is one of the risks of defining freedom as the ability to do what one wants, not what's best for a person or society. In other words, the secular definition of "freedom" technically allows one to do more...but true freedom relies on Christ.

Clearly, using the Prince of Darkness as the launching pad of religious freedom fails to rely on Christ.

Third, this is a sign of our time. Morally, the president of Harvard has said she is attending tonight's Eucharistic Holy Hour and Benediction held in response to the Black Mass re-enactment. While it is good to see such a prominent person using the Church to stand against support for Satan, the question must be asked: Does Satanic worship qualify as "religion," especially when its sole purpose is to cause harm to society?

Likewise, such harmful activities would have been condemned a century ago, if even acknowledged. But modern technology means the Black Mass re-enactment has gotten national attention -- which is probably what the organizers intended.

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air put it well:

The educational argument for conducting the ceremony is nonsense. One can have a lecture on the practices of satanists without actually conducting their rituals. Are Harvard students so obtuse that they couldn’t learn about Aztec history without watching a human sacrifice re-enactment, to use just one example? This is just an attempt to attack Christianity and the Catholic and Orthodox faiths in particular by conducting a denigration of their worship practices. If Harvard feels that this qualifies as educational freedom, I wonder what would happen if their extension club mocked Islam in a similar manner. I’d bet they wouldn’t be nearly as sanguine about that kind of campus event, nor should they be.

Morrissey also pointed to how a local priest asked if Harvard would be so accepting of re-enacting a KKK ceremony.

Fortunately, the Archdiocese of Boston is not taking this insult lying down, which is important since the same group pushing for the Oklahoma statue is involved in the Black Mass re-enactment. Via The Boston Globe:

“For the good of the Catholic faithful and all people, the church provides clear teaching concerning satanic worship,” the archdiocese said. “This activity separates people from God and the human community, it is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil.”

A black mass is an often obscene mockery by satanic cults of the Mass performed in the Catholic Church. The ritual, for example, might substitute the bare back of a woman for an altar. To complete the desecration, the black mass generally uses a consecrated host, the bread or wafer blessed at Mass that Catholics believe is the body of Christ.

 So what do these situations say about our times? Mostly, they indicate the hypocrisy of our culture, which promotes immoral sexual relationships, sleeping around, and abortion -- and arguments against those practices are condemned. But a Black Mass re-enactment brings full-fledged support for the secular version of "freedom."

I wonder what would happen if the same college group burnt a Koran for the "educational" discussion that would ensue...

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