Rebecca Kiessling

Dear Ann Coulter: babies conceived in rape are not cannon fodder

Rebecca Kiessling
By Rebecca Kiessling

November 9, 2012 (RebeccaKiessling) - I knew this would happen! I predicted that Republican party apologists would blame Richard Mourdoch and Todd Akin’s losses on the fact that they are 100% pro-life, instead of acknowledging that the losses were due to how poorly they expressed their positions. And sure enough, the day after the election, Ann Coulter did just that. In her article entitled, “Don’t Blame Romney,” she spent half of the article blaming these two Senate candidates for daring to defend the life of every preborn child. Her exact words were, “these two idiots decided to come out against abortion in the case of rape and incest,” calling them “pro-life badasses,” “purist grandstanders,” with “insane positions,” who were “showing off.” Unfortunately, Coulter has a huge following and will surely influence many uninformed readers with her misstatement of the facts and her flawed reasoning. I have great concern that these Senate losses will have a chilling effect on pro-life legislators and voters. Hence, a swift and thorough response is in order.

Ann Coulter, referenced “all the hard work intelligent pro-lifers ... in the trenches” and what they have accomplished, as if she was one of them. Well, I’ve been in the trenches since 1995, and I must point out that Ann Coulter has been missing in action. I’ve never once seen her in here, so I can’t comprehend how she could possibly include herself in this group. I’m a hard-working, intelligent pro-life activist, and I’m 100% pro-life – for good reason. I was not only conceived in rape, but nearly aborted at two back-alley abortionists. The only reason I wasn’t killed through a brutal abortion is because I was legally protected. My heroes are those pro-life legislators and activists who were hard-working and intelligent enough to understand that mine was a life worth saving.

Coulter went on to erroneously write that Mourdoch and Akin lost because they had “abortion positions that less than 1 percent of the nation agrees with.” Her figure is way off, and she has totally ignored the fact that their abortion position adheres to the Republican party platform! All she’s doing is further alienating the base. Mitt Romney alienated the base – not only by making the rape exception, but also by his own gaffes, such as when he said, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Pro-life leaders were left to mop up that mess, from which he never recovered. Many pro-lifers who were already skeptical either voted third-party or stayed home. Three million more Republicans stayed home than in 2008.

Making matters worse, Romney ran ads in battleground states suggesting that it’s extreme to be 100% pro-life. How could anyone deny that such ads hurt Senate candidates like Akin in Missouri, Mourdoch in Indiana, and Smith in Pennsylvania, as well as congressional candidates like Koster in Washington and Bachmann in Minnesota? And let’s not forget how the party leadership threw these candidates under the bus – something Democrats do not do to their own.

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Additionally, the 1% figure Coulter threw out there is just not even close to being true. Polls in the last few years have consistently shown that the number is between 20 to 24% of Americans who believe abortion should be illegal in cases of rape. The other 31%+ of Americans who are pro-life with exceptions are 99% of the way there, and only need to be nudged another 1%. My experience shows that this is easy to achieve – if you try. I think of how my story changed the heart of Gov. Rick Perry during his presidential campaign. And that’s the key. Who has really tried?

I know that the number of 100% pro-life Americans would be much higher if the pro-life movement as a whole actually went after this ground. Instead, Coulter is right in pointing out where the effort has been focused – on things like parental notification laws and efforts to ban partial birth abortion. The lives of children conceived in rape are often minimized with the standard dismissive language of: “Well, it’s only 1%.” Why continue to minimize? Why not stand up and really defend our lives? We need to try to gain ground on this issue, by educating the public, by equipping candidates and legislators on how to most effectively respond to the rape question, by making ads with children conceived in rape available for anyone who wishes to utilize them, and by removing rape exceptions from the law, beginning with the Hyde Amendment.

My response to people like Ann Coulter is – WE ARE NOT CANNON FODDER! You do not get to put us out on the front lines and then take a giant step back. The “burning building” analogy fails because you have no interest in working to save all. You do not get to call yourself pro-life by shutting off the water, sending the fire trucks home, while you stand there watching the building burn down with the one inside of it. If you want to see who the real extremist is, Ann Coulter, come on Fox News with me, look me in the eyes and tell me how you think my birthmother should have been able to abort me. Tell me that my life was not worthy of protection and that I don’t deserve to be living, and I’ll show you who is the one who is extreme.

Some strategists will suggest that you have to accept rape exceptions in order to get candidates elected and legislation passed. This is untrue – just look at Right to Life of Michigan as the model. They have been a standard-bearer in this cause and have never accepted the rape exception. You can’t get their PAC endorsement if you make the rape exception, and they will not put their stamp of approval on legislation if it has an exception. When they didn’t have the votes to pass the ban on Medicaid funding of abortion without a rape exception, they worked on the exception-legislators to convince them to change their positions. When they still didn’t have the votes, RLM targeted them in their primaries, got them voted out, then passed the ban without exceptions. That’s how you get it done!

Now Right to Life of Michigan has mentored many other state NRLC affiliates to go to this model of being a standard-bearer, maintaining the principle that all are worthy of protection. Since the change on their Board of Directors nearly 12 years ago, Georgia Right to Life has passed more pro-life legislation then they’d ever passed before. They were told at the time by the Republican party leaders that they were dead, irrelevant, and called extremists. Now, every constitutionally-elected official – Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, are all 100% pro-life with no exceptions. The lobbyist for Georgia Right to Life, Dan Becker, wrote a book about it, “Personhood: A Pragmatic Guide to Prolife Victory in the 21st Century and the Return to First Principles in Politics.” Tennessee Right to Life and Alaska Right to Life are other examples of state affiliates who successfully transitioned from the compromising model of accepting the rape exception to being a standard-bearer with no exceptions.

We must not discriminate! Children conceived in rape are surely the most outcast members of our society, being unfairly demonized and portrayed as a “horrible reminder of the rape,” “the rapist’s baby,” “tainting the gene pool,” and even “demon spawn.” This not only affects the pre-born, but also those born under such circumstances. Can you imagine if a law was introduced with an exception in cases of bi-racial rape? I could hear the rationale, “Well, it’s only 1% of 1%,” and “the child would look more like the rapist and would surely be more of a reminder of the rape” – an argument which I’ve actually heard before. There would be a national outcry for such discrimination! Civil rights leaders would be outraged and demand that the exception not only be removed, but that the legislator who introduced it must immediately step down. And yet, half of pro-lifers think nothing of discriminating against children conceived in rape, and it’s wrong!

If we are going to gain ground in this effort to protect unborn children, we must maintain a standard, and we must make more of an effort to educate. I believe that the best people to do so are those of us who have been on the front-lines as pro-life speakers who were conceived in rape, who have been spending our entire adult lives defending our right to life. We’ve heard every question, every challenge, every argument. Why not utilize us? Just to name a few, there is Ryan Bomberger, Susan Jaramillo, and Pam Stenzel. On my website, there are dozens of stories of others conceived in rape and who became pregnant by rape. We’ve publicly shared our stories for a reason – please use them! I’m partnering with Personhood Education to form Save The 1 – an organization which will implement the strategies necessary to defend the 1%, as well as the 99%. Here are three of our new ads which will be launched soon.

Back to Ann Coulter’s article – she wrote that “No law is ever going to require a woman to bear the child of her rapist.” I don’t believe that. Laws did protect children like me and these protections can and should be restored. She went on to add: “Yes, it’s every bit as much a life as an unborn child that is not the product of rape.” Ann, your words speak volumes as to what you really believe. A preborn child is not an “it.” He or she is a life, a human being, a person, a son or a daughter. They have a gender. This is not a mere philosophical or political exercise, but real people’s lives are at stake. When I represented the mother in Michigan’s “frozen embryo” case, the fertility doctors testified at deposition that from one cell, they are literally male and female, and ascertainably so! Just as it says in Genesis, “male and female, He created them.” Using words of gender serve to demonstrate the humanity of these children.

Lastly, Ann Coulter goes on to suggest being 100% pro-life is not wise because too much of a good thing can harm you – like too much iron, or too much sugar in your coffee. I couldn’t help but think of the words of Mother Teresa: “How can you say there are too many children? That’s like saying there are too many flowers.” No offense Ann, but I’d rather heed the words of a godly woman like Mother Teresa than you.


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African denounces Western elites pushing population control in his country

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By Ben Johnson

An op-ed in one of the leading publications in Uganda has denounced the promotion of IUD use and other long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) in the nation as a colonialist form of population control.

An article published in New Vision, which bills itself as “Uganda's leading daily,” and which was posted online after being translated into broken English, contradicts the frequent claim that there is a desperate cry from Africans and brown people generally to provide the “unmet need” for contraception in the Third World.

Programs to convince African women to use the IUD or other forms of contraception “are projects of multibillion international agencies distributing them under the guise of helping the poor countries to control birth rates,” Stephen Wabomba wrote.

The use of the IUD leads to an increase in “the spread of STIs/HIV/AIDS, infections or increased rates of Pelvic Infection Diseases (PID),” and other maladies, he said. The IUD, which is inserted into the uterus and may work for years at a time, offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases and often does not prevent fertilization.

Western governments and NGOs are very much “aware of the side effect[s] but still force them on us through sensational marketing strategies by claiming that there is unmet need” for contraception “in Uganda,” he wrote.

He instead suggested the use of Natural Family Planning methods as the “best alternative” for married couples, as well as increased “funding of chastity and abstinence education in Uganda.”

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He called on every citizen of Uganda “to stand up and be counted as a lover of life” and become a “protector of the voiceless and defenseless unborn children being aborted every day.”

Wabomba is heeding his own advice by acting as director of the Pregnancy Help Center in Jinja, the second largest city in Uganda. The town of 87,000 is perched on the shores of Lake Victoria.


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Guilherme Ferreira Araújo

UN tells Chile and Peru to legalize abortion

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By Guilherme Ferreira Araújo

On July 7 and 8, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) discussed Chile’s abortion laws and issued a report asking for liberalization of those laws.

According to the report, Chile “should establish exceptions to the general prohibition of abortion, contemplating therapeutic abortion and in those cases in which the pregnancy is a consequence of a rape or incest.”

Chile is one of the few countries that prohibits abortion in all cases.  So far, the country has managed to stand against internal and external pressure to legalize abortion.

But during her campaign, President Michele Bachelet promised to make the legalization of abortion a priority.  Indeed, last May she stated that her intention was to reopen the debate so that the government could approve therapeutic abortion before the end of this year.  The U.N. report also said that Chile “should make sure that reproductive health services are accessible to all women and adolescents."

One of the reasons the UN is using to pressure Chile’s government to change their abortion laws is the high number of clandestine abortions allegedly taking place in Chile. The UNHRC points to “official data” showing 150,000 annual clandestine abortions. However, not only is it impossible to corroborate that figure, but other sources show that this number could be exaggerated by a factor of 10.  According to an article published in the Chilean news publication, Chile B, the annual number of clandestine abortions in Chile may vary between 8,270 and 20,675.

Inflating the number of illegal abortions and maternal mortality is a common tactic of the pro-abortion movement’s effort to legalize the deadly practice. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), famously admitted the tactic after becoming pro-life.

“We claimed that between five and ten thousand women a year died of botched abortions,” he said. "The actual figure was closer to 200 to 300 and we also claimed that there were a million illegal abortions a year in the United States and the actual figure was close to 200,000. So, we were guilty of massive deception."

Chile has also been used as a prime example that legalized abortion does not reduce maternal mortality.

A study published in 2012 by Plos One Institute found that since 1989 when Chile banned abortion, there has been an annual decrease in maternal death. That study, and others compiled and published by the Chilean MELISA Institute strongly challenge the myth that abortion is safe or even necessary to increase maternal health.

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Notwithstanding the empirical data, the United Nations is also hard at work to pressure Chile’s neighbor to the North, Peru, to liberalize its own abortion laws.  In the case of Peru it is the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that has issued the report, not the UNHRC.  CEDAW representatives examined Peru’s case on July 1 and suggested that Peru should legalize abortion in case of rape and severe abnormalities of the unborn child.

The organism suggested that the government eliminate all laws that punish women who abort and asked that Peru “urgently” adopt a law to fight violence against women, a notion often used as a euphemism for legalizing abortion.  

The CEDAW commission presented the conclusions of the report on July 22 and put special emphasis on the abortion issue. This happens despite the strong opposition to abortion in Peru. A recent survey showed that 79 percent of Peruvians support the Catholic Church’s position on abortion.

The CEDAW pressure on Peru is not new. In 2011, after the UN sanctioned Peru for denying an abortion to a teenager, Carlos Polo, Director of the Population Research Institute’s Latin American office, stated that the UN organism doesn’t have the right to force Peru to approve abortion.


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People ask me all the time, “How do you live with your past?” My answer is silly, but it is a true story. Youtube screenshot
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I helped so many women abort their babies. Now how do I live with that?

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By Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson business card Planned Parenthood

I have many memories of my time with Planned Parenthood. I spent eight years of my life there. Some memories are good, some are not. But they are contained in my mind. It’s easy to forget them. I have forgotten so much about my time there in just four and a half short years. 

I found my old business card the other day. That is a tangible memory for me. It made me think of the day that I heard I had been promoted to direct the clinic. I was so happy…hugging and jumping up and down with my supervisor. She was so proud of me.

I thought about the day I moved everything into my new, big office. I put pro-choice stickers all over my file cabinet. I called my parents to share the news. They were, of course, proud of me, but hated my work. I can’t imagine how conflicted they were in their minds and hearts. Human resources sent me my new paperwork. There was my new title, my new and amazing salary. 

A few days later, my new business cards came. I remember putting them in my new business card holder on my desk. I filled up the business card holder that I kept in my purse. I had already become used to hearing myself say my new title.

I was proud of myself. I was proud of the hard work I had put in to earn that new title. I worked so many hours, sacrificed so much time from my family. But I knew it would be worth it. And now I had the job title to prove it.

I remember proudly passing out my new business cards to anyone that would take one. Being pro-choice was not just a movement to me; it was a lifestyle. I wholeheartedly embraced that lifestyle and loved being a part of it. 

These tangible reminders that I occasionally find are sometimes hard to work through. I remember receiving the records from my medication abortion. That tangible reminder of my past was difficult to manage. I look at my “Employee of the Year” award that I received from Planned Parenthood and think back to the night I received it. I ended up putting that old award on my desk as a reminder of where I came from and how much my life has changed. Seeing that plaque no longer brings back those tangible memories. 

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One of the reasons I was so taken aback when finding my old business card was not just because it was a reminder of how proud I had been to run an abortion clinic…something I find deplorable now. It was because of the things I took part in while I had that big title.

The memories of handing women small monetary checks in order to pay for their silence after we had left them with a serious infection after their abortion. The memories of watching women bleed out on our abortion table and being instructed not to call the ambulance because we didn’t want to let the pro-lifers know that we had a medical emergency. The memories I have of “joking” about the babies that died in our facility by abortion. The memories I have of training our abortion facility employees on the “normalcy” of abortion and how to convince women that abortion is the best choice for them.

Part of being a former abortion clinic worker is learning how to deal with your past sin. It may be the lady who came to your clinic for an abortion that you bump into at the store. It could be standing in front of your former abortion facility and remembering all of the damage your words and actions did to so many women. It could be finding that old business card that reminds you of the pride you felt when you became the director of an abortion facility. 

People ask me all the time, “How do you live with your past?” My answer is silly, but it is a true story. 

One day I was watching the kid’s movie “Kung Fu Panda” with my daughter. In the film there is a wise, old tortoise named Oogway. He is talking to one of his students who is frustrated with his current situation. Oogway asks his student, “Do you know why today is called the present? Because it is a gift.”

That little line by an animated tortoise hit me like a ton of bricks. Today is a gift. There is absolutely nothing we can do with our past. And there is very little we can do to control our future. We live NOW. We serve NOW. We choose to move on from our past NOW. 

I don’t know what your past sins are. And I don’t know how frequently you are reminded of them. But as someone who has to face their past sins on pretty much a daily basis, I can tell you that you can be free from their burden. Being reminded of your past doesn’t mean that you have to live with constant grief. It simply means that you have been given the opportunity to transform your past into something positive…maybe you can help others make different choices than you did, maybe you can help others heal from the same struggles that you lived through. I don’t know what you are being called to do, but as the saying goes, “God can turn our mess into a message.” 

Carrying around past burdens doesn’t help us in any way. Know that you can be forgiven. Accept that forgiveness. Use your life to help others. The present is indeed a gift.

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