Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Pro-lifer Stockholm Syndrome: Rape, Todd Akin and appeasing abortionists

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, August 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the last couple of days, though it remains in the high 90s around here, the hysterical shrieking of feminists around the internet has woken me out of my usual late Italian-summer torpor. Congressman Todd Akin, who is running for the Senate in Missouri, said that in cases of “legitimate rape” the chances of becoming pregnant are slim, and made the apparently outrageous suggestion that in cases of pregnancy due to rape it might be better to punish the rapist, not his innocent child. And the ladies who like abortion are having a rather predictable and unconvincing attack of the vapours over it.

If we can make ourselves heard over the shrieks of stage-outrage, I think we should actually be thanking Mr. Akin for presenting us with this golden teaching moment. The entire edifice of lies that is the “rape exception” needs to be shredded, and as publicly as possible.

Mr. Akin, widely regarded as a “pro-life” politician, referred to it as a “particularly tough sort of ethical question,” and a great many pro-life people seem to agree. This is a problem because the rape argument is actually about as sturdy as a soap bubble, and way more fun to pop.

The fact is, the abortion movement has invented the rape exception as a useful propaganda tool, a club with which to bludgeon pro-lifers into silence. They have succeeded in this because they know that a lot of pro-lifers will crumple at the first sign of shouting. It might not be a popular thing to say out loud, but in my travels I’ve met a significant number of “pro-lifers” whose primary concern is to find ways to demonstrate how “pro-woman” they are and are only too eager to rush to agree with the abortionists, or at least provide excuses for them, on the rape exception.

The fact that the feminist crocodile tears over rape-induced pregnancy have succeeded in driving a wedge into the pro-life movement is a sign that pro-lifers, particularly our politicians, are in desperate need of both a sturdy plank for their backs and some solid training in apologetics. We are already seeing pro-lifers in blog posts, comment boxes and on private lists fighting to get on the bandwagon, saying, “What a despicable thing to say!” and it’s only a tiny step from there to a friendly, placating, “There, there. We’re the nice pro-lifers. Of course we support a rape exception…”

I have coined the term “Pro-lifer Stockholm Syndrome” to describe a mental state in which a pro-lifer has become so concerned with being liked, or at least not hated, that she has actually gone over to the other side. In the old days, spiritual writers used to call this the error of “human respect.”

We might be able to concede that Akin spoke poorly, but it is imperative that we never abandon a single inch of the field to the pro-abortion side, yes, even when they’re screaming at us. It should be a rule that when a pro-lifer makes a mess of things, first, we don’t abandon him; second, we take control of the narrative and start demanding that they back up their claims with facts. Always call them on their assertions. Always.

The rape exception is nothing more than an emotional red herring and we pro-lifers have played along. At the very least, we don’t talk about it. But it is probably the easiest of all the abortion slogans to refute. Something to remember about abortion-supporters is that they are 1) liars, and 2) bullies; they’re counting on us panicking. But this is a perfect opportunity to come out swinging.

So, I’d like to offer here a free ten-minute, back-stiffening lesson in pro-life apologetics. The first lesson is about appeasement and comes from Winston Churchill: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last”. Not only is it damaging to the cause to try to appease the other side, it is unnecessary. We can even leave completely alone for now the question of the reality of the unborn child and the strange fact that suddenly these people are advocating the death penalty for the totally innocent child of a rapist.

If we are focusing strictly on the needs of women, ask first, “How does abortion make a woman un-raped? Does it change anything at all about the experience or the trauma?” Abortion pushers like to say these days that abortion is a “difficult” or “traumatic” choice that a woman never takes lightly. OK, then why are they suggesting that she should undergo another traumatic experience to cure the last one? Exactly how is this helping?

Next, let’s talk about how dedicated the abortion movement is to women’s wellbeing after rape. What have we seen happens when an underage girl goes to Planned Parenthood after a statutory rape? She’s scared, she’s humiliated, she’s alone and full of hurt and shame and anger and fear. What does Planned Parenthood do? Do they call the police? Is there concern about her psychological trauma? The videos we’ve seen show that the only concern is about whether the pimp’s credit card clears.

I’m not even going to bother refuting the trumped-up pretense that we don’t know what he meant by “legitimate rape”. He meant violent assault by a stranger, as opposed to date rape or statutory rape, which, yes, are different. But on this question, you might just ask why Mr. Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape” were so horrific but Whoopi Goldberg’s nearly identical comments that Roman Polanski wasn’t guilty of “rape rape” were not. It couldn’t be, could it, that its because Akin’s a pro-life Republican and she’s a card-carrying liberal feminist Democrat? Nope, no double standard under here.

Then we can address the scientific questions. Akin’s comments are being shouted down as ludicrous or unsupported by science and the media are busily trotting out legions of obstetricians to denounce him as a heretic. But what exactly are the effects of extreme stress on a woman’s ability to conceive?

Before Mr. Akin’s comments suddenly made it politically incorrect to talk about it, there was a body of research asking the question, some of which found lower rates of pregnancy among rape victims. And yet we’re being asked to believe that the stress and trauma of being forcibly violated by a stranger has no impact whatsoever on fertility, that there is, essentially, no physical or hormonal difference between violent rape and a loving encounter between spouses.

How can we know whom to believe when the same medical and scientific community roundly denouncing Akin today says with a straight face every day that pregnancy starts at implantation and not fertilization, that a child before birth cannot feel pain or is “just a blob of cells”. No, instead of asking for evidence like peer-review articles, the MSM is allowing them to just continue shouting. This, of course, is how seizing the narrative works: tell the big lie and never give the opposition any credit for anything whatsoever.

A look at the statement on the controversy from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists will illustrate what I mean. “Each year in the US, 10,000 –15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest. An unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term.”

Neither of these statements actually addresses the question. ACOG is not telling us how many pregnancies are the result of rape, only how many are aborted and we are not asking how many are carried to term. And they don’t mention the fact that they have no idea how many abortions there are in the US, for rape or otherwise. A statement from their ethics committee dated January 2009, said, “Obtaining accurate statistics about abortion prevalence is difficult given underreporting of abortion and lack of a national requirement for reporting abortion.”

Despite not apparently knowing the answer, or even understanding the question, however, they don’t hesitate to dive in and make the claim that “there is absolutely no veracity” to Akin’s belief about pregnancy and rape.

Then we are told, “A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie, pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.”

Indeed, if anyone were saying that a woman who is raped has the conscious ability to stop her ovaries from generating gametes or to stop a sperm from penetrating one, that would be absurd. But of course, anyone who is not blinded by a political imperative knows that neither Akin nor the pro-life movement is saying anything like this.

This statement is what we called the “straw man”; ACOG is setting up something obviously ridiculous and saying, “See? What an idiot! I’ll bet he thinks God created the universe.” Yeah, ACOG: the group that has tried to dupe the public into believing that “emergency contraception” never, ever causes an early-term abortion, despite what it says on the package.

Why should I believe these people when they refuse to address the scientific data on the negative psychological after effects of abortion? The links to cancer? Maternal mortality? Depression? Substance abuse? Suicide? They keep saying we don’t have scientific evidence but it is amply demonstrated that they refuse to cooperate with science for political reasons.

Take away the hysterical politics and the question becomes quite ordinary. There is ample evidence showing that stress negatively impacts general fertility. What does the sudden horror of violent rape do to it? When a woman is violently raped does her body’s chemistry react differently?

We are expected to jump like rabbits every time someone shrieks about pregnancy due to rape. But they only do this because they know it works. I can understand it, who likes to be shouted at and called nasty names? But it is imperative that we learn that this is nothing more than a political slogan, a rather dirty trick.

As our friend the pro-life apologetics trainer Scott Klusendorf likes to say, “So OK, if I change my position to support legalised abortion in the 0.0001 per cent of cases of pregnancy due to rape and incest, will you then drop your insistence on restriction-free abortion on demand?

“Yah, didn’t think so.”

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Are you praying for the upcoming Synod on the Family? You should be, and here’s why

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By John-Henry Westen

Catholics, and all Christians who value family values, should be praying earnestly for the Catholic Church as a struggle over critical family issues is coming to a head in the run-up to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which takes place October 5-19. 

Augmenting the concerns is the fact that some of the cardinals closest to Pope Francis himself are increasingly in public disagreement over crucial matters related to faith and family. For some, the concerns reach right to the pope himself.

While Synod preparations have been going on for a year, Sunday’s weddings of 20 couples in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope Francis presented a figurative, and perhaps foreboding launch.

In a press release prior to the ceremony, the Rome diocese inexplicably went out of its way to highlight the fact that some of couples the pope was going to marry were cohabiting. "Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others,” it said. “There are those who are already cohabitating; who already have children.”

Unsurprisingly, the mainstream press took the bait and seized upon this statement to run headline after headline pushing the confusing notion that the event was a prelude to, or evidence of, a change in Church teaching on marriage.

Headlines like: 

All I can do is pray that the public fallout from these wedding ceremonies does not foreshadow the public outcome of the Synod. If so, we could be headed for a tragedy akin to the tragedy of the late sixties when, despite the proclamation of the truth of Humanae Vitae against contraception, the effect among ordinary Catholics was a near universal rejection of the teaching in practice.

What to expect at the Synod

The official list of those taking part in the Synod includes 114 presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, 13 heads of Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, 25 heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, nine members of the Ordinary Council for the Secretariat, the Secretary General, the Undersecretary, three religious elected by the Union of Superiors General, 26 members appointed by the Pontiff, eight fraternal delegates, and 38 auditors, among whom are 13 married couples and 16 experts.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Cardinal Kasper’s intervention at the Consistory of Cardinals earlier this year, in which he laid out a contentious proposal to allow Catholics who have been divorced and then ‘remarried’ outside the Church to receive Communion. 

Since then a bevy of heavy-hitter cardinals have fought that proposal, including:

Today, however, Cardinal Kasper said the “attacks” from these cardinals were not so much directed at him but at Pope Francis, since, claims Kasper, he discussed his intervention with the pope and gained his approval.

The claim has some basis, since the day after Kasper made the proposal, before it was made public, Pope Francis praised it publicly.  According to Vatican Information Service, the Holy Father said:

I read and reread Cardinal Walter Kasper's document and I would like to thank him, as I found it to be a work of profound theology, and also a serene theological reflection. It is pleasant to read serene theology. And I also found what St. Ignacius described as the 'sensus Ecclesiae', love for the Mother Church. ... It did me good, and an idea came to mind – please excuse me, Eminence, if I embarrass you – but my idea was that this is what we call ‘doing theology on one's knees’. Thank you, thank you.

Of note, Vatican correspondent Sébastien Maillard, writing for France’s La Croix, reports today that Pope Francis is “irritated” by the release of a book containing criticisms of the Kasper proposal by five cardinals.

As LifeSiteNews.com reported yesterday, one of those authors, Cardinal Raymond Burke, is being demoted from his headship of the Apostolic Signatura. The only post planned for the 66-year-old cardinal thus far is patron of the Order of Malta. 

Cardinal Burke’s pre-Synod interventions go beyond the divorce and remarriage question and into the matter of homosexuality.  In a recent interview Cardinal Burke gave a clear refutation of the misuse of Pope Francis’ famed ‘Who am I to judge’ quote to justify homosexuality.

While the issue of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality is seldom raised in reference to the Synod, with most of the emphasis being placed on the question of divorce and remarriage, it is mentioned in the working document, or ‘Instrumentum Laboris’, of the Synod.

As with the matter of divorce, no doctrine regarding homosexuality can be changed, but much confusion can still be sown under the auspices of adjustments to “pastoral” practice. Without a clear teaching from the Synod, the effects could be similar to the shift in “pastoral” practice among dissenting clergy after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, which led to the use of artificial contraception by most Catholics.

Already and for many years there has been de facto broad acceptance of homosexual sexual practices in many Catholic schools, universities and many other institutions, with many staff being active homosexuals in open defiance of Catholic moral teaching.

Regarding the Synod’s deliberations on homosexuality, it does not bode well that one of Pope Francis’ personal appointees to the Synod is retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels.  The selection is remarkable because of Danneels was caught on tape in 2010 urging a victim who had been sexually abused by a bishop-friend of Danneels, to be silent.  Then, only last year Danneels praised as a “positive development” that states were opening up civil marriage to homosexuals.

Then, just this week, as reported on the Rorate Caeli blog, one of the three Synod presidents gave an interview with the leading Brazilian newspaper in which he said that while stable unions between homosexual persons cannot be equated to marriage, the Church has always tried to show respect for such unions.

The statement matches that of another prominent Synod participant, Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who in 2010 spoke of giving more consideration to ‘the quality’ of homosexual relationships. “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships. A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous,” Schönborn said.

In the end, while there is currently a public battle in the Vatican that is unprecedented in modern history, the faith will not and cannot change.  As faithful Catholics, and Christians, we must cling to the Truths of Christ regarding the family and live them out in our own lives first and foremost.  That is difficult, to be sure, especially in our sex-saturated culture, but with Christ (and only with Him) all things are possible. 

Plead with heaven for the pope and the bishops in the Synod.  LifeSiteNews will be there reporting from Rome, and, with your prayers and support, be of service to those defending truth.

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Poet: I ‘would’ve died’ for my aborted daughter’s ‘right to choose,’ just ‘like she died for mine’ (VIDEO)

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By Ben Johnson

What kind of mother asks her baby to die for her? And what kind of media outlet celebrates that?

To take the second question first, The Huffington Post is promoting a video featuring Scottish “poet” Leyla Josephine, celebrating her decision to abort her daughter. The video, “I Think She Was a She,” was uploaded to YouTube a month ago.

In the video Josephine, decked out in military camouflage, justifies herself in part by saying that she would have been willing to serve as a sacrifice to abortion just as she offered her daughter to the idol of “choice.”

“I would’ve supported her right to choose – to choose a life for herself, a path for herself. I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine,” she said.

In the next rhyming line, she addresses her unborn daughter: “I’m sorry, but you came at the wrong time.”

“I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed," she continues – a phrase she repeats a total of six times. She repeats the phrase "This is my body" three times. (She also takes the Lord's name in vain once.)

In the early part of the video, she describes her belief that her child was a girl and imagines a life where she had given birth to her daughter.

“I know she was a she,” she says. “I would have made sure that there was space on the walls to measure her height,” she adds. “I would have made sure I was a good mother.”

At one point she appears to describe the emotional aftermath of her choice as “a hollowness that feels full, a numbness that feels heavy.”

But she later calls the idea that her child was a girl or a boy “bull---t” and affirms, yet again, she is not ashamed.

This provokes a few observations:

1. If she knew her child's sex, she must have had a late-term abortion. Our gentle, healing restoration is needed in a world marred by so much aggression and anger in the name of political orthodoxy.

2. Fr. Frank Pavone has written, ”Did you ever realize that the same four words that were used by the Lord Jesus to save the world are also used by abortion advocates? 'This is My Body.'” To paraphrase him, he notes the difference. One, by surrendering His life on the Cross, gave life to the world. The abortion industry uses this phrase to impose its will on the bodies of separate, living human beings who have not harmed anyone.

3. The most chilling phrase in the video is her statement, “I would’ve supported her right to choose...I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine.”

First of all, her daughter did not die for the “right to choose.” Her daughter was not sacrificed for the inalienable “good” of keeping abortion-on-demand legal (and, in the UK, taxpayer-subsidized). Politicians are bribed to maintain it; no baby needs to die for it. Josephine's child died because HuffPo's hero of the moment chose not to carry the baby to term and place him/her in the hands of loving adoptive parents who would have cherished her baby – whether it was actually male, female, or intersex.

Josephine describes the emotions that actually led to the abortion only metaphorically – e.g., she compares the abortion to chopping down a cherry tree – but that angst is the root (so to speak) of the abortion, not the great and grand cause of assuring that other women have the right to go through the same soul-crushing grief.

That intimation that her daughter died for “choice” – that she offered her baby as a living sacrifice on the altar of abortion – confirms the darkest rhetoric of the pro-life movement: That for some in the movement, abortion is sometimes regarded as an idol.

And that raises one other, more universally held question: What kind of parent asks his son or daughter to die for the “right” to abortion? Parents are supposed to be the one who sacrificially care for their children, who forsake their own comfort, who do whatever is necessary – even die – to keep their children safe, healthy, and well. Josephine's blithe, “Sorry, but you came at the wrong time” sounds as hollow as a gangland assassin's apology to the family caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting. Abortion severs the love that God, or Mother Nature, or evolution, or whatever you choose to believe in placed within every pregnant woman to link the mother to her child.

The abortion lobby's rhetoric, which increasingly disregards the value of unborn life, is untethered by the bonds of human compassion, is fundamentally selfish and cold-blooded, and lacks a sense of humanity and brotherhood to the point of obliterating maternal love itself.

“Will a woman forget her child, so as not to have compassion upon the offspring of her womb?” God asks through the prophet Isaiah. “But if a woman should even forget these, yet I will not forget thee, saith the Lord.”

The pro-life movement exists precisely to set this upside-down order aright, to reinstate the natural love and compassion everyone should have for all of God's creation – most especially that between a mother and the innocent child she has helped create and fashion with her own DNA.

Cross-posted at TheRightsWriter.com.

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Cardinal Dolan greets worshipers and guests on the steps of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan after Easter mass on April 8, 2012 in New York City. Lev Radin / Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

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Catholic leaders criticize Cardinal Dolan’s defense of gay group at St. Patrick’s Parade

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By Lisa Bourne
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New York Cardinal John O'Connor on the cover of the New York Post on January 11, 1993. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended his decision to serve as grand marshal for the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Wednesday, in the wake of widespread criticism from Catholics after he praised the organizing committee for allowing a homosexual activist group to march.

“If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object,” Dolan stated in his weekly column. On the contrary, he argued, “The committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture.”

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, was not impressed with the cardinal’s argument. This is precisely about publicizing advocacy contrary to Catholic teaching,” he said.

“As a Catholic father I find there is rapidly contracting space where this shameful agenda is not stuck in the faces of my children,” Ruse told LifeSiteNews. “The Church should be protecting our children rather than abetting those who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of innocent souls."

Pat Archbold, a popular blogger at the National Catholic Register and who runs the Creative Minority Report blog, lambasted Dolan for suggesting the embrace and promotion of “gay identity” can be separated from the sin of homosexuality.

“This identity is not a morally-neutral God-given attribute such as male or female, black or white,” he said. “The identity is with the immoral choice to engage in immoral behavior.”

“The best that can be said in this situation is that these people choose to proudly identify themselves with an intrinsic disorder.  But in reality, it is worse than that,” he continued. “The people find their identity and pride in sin.  Either the Cardinal knows this or he doesn't, either way Cardinal Dolan reveals himself unequal to his responsibility as a successor of the Apostles.”

The parade committee changed its longstanding policy on September 3 after decades of pressure from homosexual groups. Upon being announced as the parade’s grand marshal later the same day, Cardinal Dolan said he had no trouble with the decision at all, calling it “wise.”

The organizers had never prohibited any marchers, but did not ban issue-focused banners and signs, whether promoting homosexuality or the pro-life cause.

Cardinal Dolan stated in his column Wednesday that he did not oppose the previous policy.

“This was simply a reasonable policy about banners and public identification, not about the sexual inclinations of participants,” he explained.

“I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching,” he said as well, “but simply identifying themselves as ‘Gay people of Irish ancestry.’”

The homosexual activist group that will march is called OUT@NBCUniversal, which describes itself as the employee resource group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at the media giant.

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The network held the broadcast contract for parade coverage. Reports indicated the contract was about to expire, and that NBC joined in pressuring on parade officials.

Cardinal Dolan conceded in his column there were many thoughtful reasons for criticizing the parade policy change, and noted that he shared some of them.

“While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions, I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision,” he said. “You observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an ‘aggressive Gay agenda,’ which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality.” 

However, he said, the most important question he had to ask himself was whether the new policy violated Catholic faith or morals.

In stressing that homosexual actions are sinful while identity is not, Cardinal Dolan said, “Catholic teaching is clear: ‘being Gay’ is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.”

Making opinion paramount, the cardinal offered that the parade committee “tried to be admirably sensitive to Church teaching,” and even though the original policy was not at all unfair, the committee was “realistic in worrying that the public perception was the opposite, no matter how often they tried to explain its coherence and fairness.”

“They worried that the former policy was being interpreted as bias, exclusion, and discrimination against a group in our city,” Cardinal Dolan wrote. “Which, if true, would also be contrary to Church teaching.”

When the decision was announced and Cardinal Dolan named the parade’s grand marshal, Philip Lawler, director of Catholic Culture and editor for Catholic World News, called it a significant advance for homosexual activists, and a significant retreat for the Catholic Church.

Pointing out in his column that the media will be correct to concentrate on that narrative at next March’s event, Lawler identified what he said is almost certain to be the result of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Next year there will be only one story-line of interest to the reporters who cover the annual parade in the world’s media capital: the triumph of the gay activists,” Lawler wrote.

“Photographers will be competing for the one ‘money’ shot: the picture of the contingent from OUT@NBCUniversal marching past the reviewing stand at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under the benign smile of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”

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