Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

The pro-abortion movement and the psychopathic mentality

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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November 24, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - When I read the words of pro-abortion leaders like Colombian psychologist Florence Thomas, who calls unborn babies “tumors” and says that they are only human if their mother wants them, a disturbing question comes to mind: what is, fundamentally, the difference between this type of perspective, so often expressed by abortionists, and the clinical definition of a “psychopath”?

Although the stereotypical image of a psychopath is that of a serial killer, or a dangerous madman locked in an asylum, psychologists tell us that such people only represent a small minority of those who fall under the category of a “psychopath.”  In fact, we are told, our society contains a larger number of psychopaths than we may suspect, and psychopaths may even disproportionately occupy positions of importance in business, government, and other important fields.

While psychopaths are theoretically capable of committing murder and other acts of cruelty without remorse, the definition of a psychopath is much broader than the image evoked by popular culture.  According to mental health professionals, a psychopath is someone who is fundamentally lacking in human empathy, who sees other human beings as mere objects of manipulation.  The relationships of a psychopath are typically superficial and fluid, and are often sexually promiscuous. The psychopath has a fundamentally egoistic, selfish personality, unable to transcend his own personal sense of self to recognize the dignity of others.

Psychologists estimate that up to four percent of the population falls under the definition of a “psychopath,” ranging from the more tame manifestations, which are included in the broad category of sociopathy or anti-social personality disorders, to the more extreme cases of serial killers. They are often able to deceive others with a veneer of sanity and reasonableness that hides their fundamentally predatory nature.

“Psychopathic” movements

The four percent figure, if accurate, implies that the United States includes a population of more than twelve million psychopaths or sociopaths, and globally the figure would theoretically reach into the hundreds of millions. This startling statistic inevitably raises the question: is it possible for psychopaths to group themselves into movements based on their common inclinations?  History suggests that this can, and indeed does happen.

The classic candidate for a “psychopathic movement” is that of the National Socialist or Nazi Party, which came to power in Germany in the 1930s through a series of economic catastrophes and inept decisions by the German political establishment. Adolf Hitler himself has been diagnosed posthumously with psychopathic tendencies, and many Nazis exhibited symptoms of the same. Moreover, although the majority of Nazis and the Germans who cooperated with them were probably not clinically psychopathic, the movement as a whole seemed to be predicated on a fundamentally psychopathic mentality, one that disposed of human beings as mere fodder for the racial aspirations of the German state.

The same tendencies have been found in other mass movements arising in the last century, especially Marxism, which left an unprecedented toll of tens of millions of deaths by execution and induced starvation in order to achieve its political ends. Again, although it is unlikely that most Marxists are clinical psychopaths, their movement has repeatedly spawned regimes that behave precisely the way one would expect of the most extreme sufferers of the disorder.

The troubled mentality of the pro-abortion movement

In light of the clinical definition of a psychopath, and the historic manifestations of “psychopathic” movements, it is difficult to avoid the comparison between psychopathy and the perspective that is openly expressed by many leaders in the global pro-abortion movement.

Florence Thomas is only one example of the troubled thinking that seems to characterize pro-abortion leaders.  Her comparison of her own unborn child to a “tumor,” that is, a diseased piece of tissue, is not only unscientific; it suggests a mind that is unwilling, or perhaps unable, to transcend itself and empathize with the humanity of another.  Her claim that a fetus is only human if it is desired by its parents is almost a caricature of ego-centrism, implying that one’s personal wishes confer dignity and rights on other people. The conclusion of Thomas flows inevitably from her premises; she believes that women should be free to kill their unborn children for any reason, in order to preserve their “freedom.”

Thomas’ thinking is echoed throughout the anti-life and anti-family movements of our age. Margaret Sanger, the founder of the modern birth control movement, spoke with the chilling rhetoric of eugenics when she dismissed children who are “unwanted” by their parents, referring to them as “human waste” in her 1920 work, “Women and the New Race.”

“Each and every unwanted child is likely to be in some way a social liability. It is only the wanted child who is likely to be a social asset,” wrote Sanger, who also asked, “Can the children of these unfortunate mothers be other than a burden to society—a burden which reflects itself in innumerable phases of cost, crime and general social detriment?”  In another chapter she infamously states that “the most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

The famous Princeton “bioethicist” Peter Singer applies the same fundamental principle embraced by Thomas, Sanger, and others, but takes it to a more explicit conclusion.  Singer acknowledges that unborn children are human beings, but openly denies that they have a right to life, unless their parents want them. Moreover, Singer extends this reasoning to infants after birth as well, offering a moral endorsement of infanticide.

“The difference between killing disabled and normal infants lies not in any supposed right to life that the latter has and the former lacks, but in other considerations about killing,” writes Singer in the second edition of his book, “Practical Ethics.” “Most obviously there is the difference that often exists in the attitudes of the parents. The birth of a child is usually a happy event for the parents ... So one important reason why it is normally a terrible thing to kill an infant is the effect the killing will have on its parents.”

“It is different when the infant is born with a serious disability,” Singer continues. “Birth abnormalities vary, of course. Some are trivial and have little effect on the child or its parents; but others turn the normally joyful event of birth into a threat to the happiness of the parents, and any other children they may have. Parents may, with good reason, regret that a disabled child was ever born. In that event the effect that the death of the child will have on its parents can be a reason for, rather than against killing it.”

Singer’s explicit endorsement of infanticide should be unsurprising to pro-life activists, who are aware that children who survive abortions are often left to die without medical help. A fundamental indifference to human life and the personhood of others is endemic among pro-abortion thinkers, which should bring pro-lifers to ask ourselves if we are really understanding our opponents in this debate.

In reading Florence Thomas’ recent account of her abortion, a tragically flawed personality comes to the surface. A brilliant woman with much to offer the world, Thomas faced a profound moral dilemma at the age of 22, and was hardly able to recognize it as such. She blithely refers to sexual intercourse with her boyfriend as “love,” as if she has no inkling of the concept beyond a physical act of pleasure, without any commitment or spiritual dimension. She dismisses her unborn child as a “tumor,” and says that she has never felt the slightest remorse for her decision to kill it.

As a human life and family news reporter, I have become all too accustomed to this mentality, and my response has changed over the years from feelings of outrage to a calm, resolute commitment to fight the culture of death and its perverse mentality by systematically exposing it. However, I increasingly find myself experiencing another response when I report such stories: a great sadness in the face of people who seem to be missing something fundamental in the deepest levels of their psyche, something that they may never have known by experience.

Are they suffering in silent desperation or are they utterly oblivious to their loss? Did they freely choose this path, or are they victims of something beyond their control?  Ultimately, is there anything that can be done for them, or are they doomed to play their grim role in the global empire of death?  I do not know, and cannot know. I can only pray for them, and leave it in the hands of a merciful God.

Related links:

Famous pro-abortion feminist calls unborn child a ‘tumor’

Women and the New Race, by Margaret Sanger (full text)

Excerpts from Practical Ethics, by Peter Singer, 2nd edition, Cambridge, 1993, pp. 175-217

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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