Kristen Walker Hatten

How I became pro-choice, before I became pro-life

Kristen Walker Hatten
By Kristen Walker Hatten
Image

February 7, 2012 (LiveAction.org) - It is my third week on the job. I am 24 years old. I think this place is pretty cool because it’s in downtown Dallas and they don’t care that I have my nose pierced. The offices are upstairs in a historic building with hardwood floors. I have my own giant office and a huge, ornate antique desk.

My boss is in her early 30s and just finished grad school at Columbia. She is the rich daughter of the rich owner of the business. I get the feeling she hired me because she thinks I am young and rad and she herself wishes to remain young and rad.

She asks me to go with her to run an important weekly errand. I feel important. I feel that her car is important. It is a BMW. It is very clean inside, with no sign of her two-year-old daughter but a sippy cup in the console. The upholstery is spotless. It smells like achievement.

She is talking to me about working with the mentally ill while earning a psychology degree. She uses the phrase “mentally ill” a lot. She tells me about a woman who stabbed her infant son with a fork, a prostitute who bit another prostitute’s finger off, and a janitor who was hiding body parts in a fridge. They were all “mentally ill.” She feels sorry for them and says that people don’t get it.

“People don’t get it,” she says.

She tells me that most homeless people are mentally ill, most murderers are mentally ill, most perpetrators of domestic violence are mentally ill, and most drug abusers are mentally ill and trying to self-medicate.

I sit there and nod as she drives through downtown, watching the homeless people walk by, the multifarious crackheads who harass me for change every day as I journey from the bus stop to my office and back again. Mentally ill, I think.

She is explaining to me how people don’t understand that prison isn’t the answer, being “tough on crime” isn’t the answer. She tells me we need more social programs, more treatment for these people, more public understanding of mental illness, better shelters, more rehab programs and halfway houses.

“People don’t get it,” she says.

She takes a left at an intersection. “I’m gonna go a back way,” she says. “I always do this.”

A few minutes later she slows the car dramatically and pushes the button that lowers her window. She sticks her arm out. I duck my head and look out. Across the street from us is a squat, tan brick building. In front of it on the sidewalk are about five people. A few of them are holding signs. One of the signs has a close-up of a smiling infant. There are two middle-aged women with scarves on their bowed heads praying a rosary.

That’s when I realize where we are. I guess I knew there were abortion clinics. I just never thought about it. And I suppose I knew people sometimes protested. But again, I had never thought about it.

My boss’s hand is stuck out the window of her BMW. She crawls past the clinic with her middle finger up. No one notices her so she comes almost to a stop. The person behind her honks his horn. The protesters look in our direction. They see her middle finger. They seem neither shocked nor offended. They just look at us. My boss grins at them and then at me with a gleam in her eye.

She yells, “Go home!” at the same moment the person behind us honks again. Her voice is drowned out. She is a little embarrassed and steps on the gas too hard and fast. The BMW lurches forward and she clears her throat and rolls up the window.

It’s only years later that I see the desperate awkward grasping pettiness of her actions. At that moment, though, I am enthralled. This woman is standing up for the oppressed. She is a crusader for human rights against the barbarians who would throw the mentally ill in jail for murder when it isn’t their fault. She stands up to the intolerant zealots who harrass women and assail them with judgmental nonsense when they seek to exercise their right to choose what to do with their own bodies.

I have never given abortion much thought until this day. It will be years before I have even the faintest idea of what it really is, what it does, or what it means.

In the coming years, I will only think about abortion when someone questions whether or not it should be legal. Then I will loudly and angrily argue for abortion “rights.” About three years later, I will have a conversation in which I finally, for the first time ever, learn some facts about abortion, and I will leave that conversation pro-life, and remain so.

Driving past the abortion clinic, watching my boss flip the bird to a group of praying strangers, I only have the foggiest notion of what “pro-choice” means. Like “mentally ill,” it has an ephemeral quality to it, a sense of non-meaning, as though it’s not so much a phrase as a magic blanket that can stretch to cover anything we wish. But I like the sound of it. It sounds inclusive, warm, reasonable.

Pro-choice.

I think the words in my head and decide I like them. I like the club I belong to now. I will worry about the details later. Or maybe I won’t.

Sitting there in my boss’s Bimmer, I feel a sense of pride and belonging. I am a smart, liberated, enlightened young woman. I am a feminist and a believer in human rights. I am one of the sane ones, the caring ones, the indispensable right-thinking ones.

I am pro-choice.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Reprinted with permission from Live Action’s blog.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Émile Bayard's classic illustration of Cosette in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.
Anthony Esolen Anthony Esolen Follow Anthony

Tracts and sermons alone won’t form pro-life children. Here’s what will.

Anthony Esolen Anthony Esolen Follow Anthony
By Anthony Esolen

What is remarkable in our age is not that half of our citizens believe it is wrong to kill the child in the womb, the child whose existence, except in the rare case of rape, is owing to our own voluntary actions.  That would be like congratulating ourselves for believing that it's wrong to steal someone's car, to lie under oath to hurt an enemy, to throw our aged parents into the street, or to desecrate churches.  Where is the great moral insight?  What's remarkable instead is that half of us believe it is all right to snuff out the life of that child – because nothing must be allowed to interfere with our “right” to pursue pleasure, as we use the child-making thing as a sweating-off spa on our way to money, prestige, a five-bathroom mansion for two, a tenured chair in Women's Studies, the mayoralty of Camden, another year of nights out on the town, whatever.

How have we come to this pass?  Our imaginations are stunted or diseased, that's how.
 Let churchgoers beware.  You cannot spread pro-life icing on a cake made of flour and rat poison.  Our children meet with rat poison everywhere.  Do they watch Friends on television, that un-funny amoral “comedy” about nihilist young urbanites trading depressions in the mattress with one another?  Rat poison.  Do they watch movies like – well, the moronic Titanic, wherein a shrewish girl and a pouty boy fornicate before they are swallowed by the deep blue sea?  Rat poison.  Do their school teachers feed them such exalted lyric poetry as that of Sylvia Plath, imagining what it would be like to smash her sleeping husband's head like a rotten pumpkin?  Or the bogus Laramie Project, making a hero out of a deeply disturbed young man, killed in a meth deal?  Or Toni Morrison's maudlin obsessions with race and adultery?  Is it an endless cafeteria of ghouls, vampires, girl-murderers – Lord of the Flies, without the severe moral imagination and the talent of William Golding?  Lord of the Flies, Lady of the Flies, Cheerleaders of the Flies, Lifeguard of the Flies, Mr. Goodbar of the Flies, Fight Club of the Flies, Hunger of the Flies?  Rat poison, with that peculiar character of rat poison, that the more the critter consumes, the thirstier it grows.  Vice is the addiction that mimics the habit of virtue.  One hour a week on Sunday does not flush out the strychnine.  Theology lessons are band-aids when your arteries are porous inside.  The forming of a moral imagination is not something additional in the education of a child.  It is the education of a child. 

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Your child sees a commercial for Planned Predators.  The commercial baldly states that it doesn't matter who your “partners” are, how many you have, or what you do – because you are the only one who has any say in the matter, and nobody has the right to judge you.  This is not the morality of a cad or a tramp.  Cads and tramps have attacks of conscience.  It is the bland oh-so-self-assured anti-morality of a demon.  It is one hundred proof grain stupidity.  It is distilled evil.  Now, we want to raise children who will do more than say, “I don't agree with that.”  Wonderful enlightenment!  We want to raise children who would look upon anyone who uttered such a thing as they would look upon someone who would fish his food out of a septic tank: incomprehensible, base, inhuman, insane.  That's the negative.  Let me give the positive.  We want to raise children who will understand and cherish the virtues of love and purity.  Those virtues must not remain mere terms or notions.  We must clothe them with flesh and blood.  Consider the following scene from Victor Hugo's masterpiece, Les Miserables.  Two pure young people, Marius and Cosette, have long beheld one another from a distance.  They have fallen in love, and finally, after many months and much seeking, the youth and the maiden meet and speak.  Here is how Hugo describes what they do every evening:

Throughout the month of May . . . in that poor, wild garden, under that shrubbery each day more perfumed and dense, two human beings composed of every chastity and every innocence, overflowing with all the felicities of Heaven, closer to archangels than men, pure, honest, intoxicated, radiant, glowed for each other in the darkness.  It seemed to Cosette that Marius had a crown, and to Marius that Cosette had a halo.  They touched, they gazed at each other, they clasped hands, they pressed close together; but there was a distance they did not pass.  Not that they respected it; they were ignorant of it.  Marius felt a barrier, Cosette's purity, and Cosette had a support, Marius' loyalty.  The first kiss was also the last.  Since then, Marius had not gone beyond touching Cosette's hand, or her scarf, or her curls, with his lips.  Cosette was to him a perfume, and not a woman.  He breathed her.  She refused nothing and he asked nothing.  Cosette was happy, and Marius was satisfied.  They were living in that ravishing condition that might be called the dazzling of one soul by another.  It was that ineffable first embrace of two virginities within the ideal.

Victor Hugo was a man well acquainted with the squalor of the streets, and the wicked things that people do to themselves and one another.  His blood ran hot, not cold – hot with indignation against the wickedness, and hot with greathearted love for what is noblest in man; with what he would call the work of God in man.  Our purveyors of rat poison have not witnessed one hundredth of the miseries and the sins that he witnessed!  But they turn our children's vision to what is dark and dead, and he raises our eyes to the everlasting hills, whence cometh our help.
 We want to raise boys like Marius and girls like Cosette.  We cannot do it with tracts in church teaching and a sermon on Sunday, as needful as those things are.  They may give us the moral, but they do not nourish the imagination.  Without story, without flesh and blood, they flare in the ear but do not ring in the conscience.  Hence the need for art and song, for stories and poetry.  Jesus taught in parables.  These are not just instruments.  They are of the essence.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

Medical staff arrested in India after accidentally aborting baby at 8 months

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A doctor and a nurse at a prominent private hospital in India have been arrested after they allegedly administered abortion drugs to a eight-months pregnant woman accidentally, resulting in the death of her unborn child.

"We have immediately registered a case and arrested the doctor, whose negligent act has caused this," said South Jammu Superintendent of Police Rahul Malik, according to the Hindustan Times.

The woman's husband, Rakesh Sharma, told the paper that the doctor mistook Shruti Sharma for another patient who was scheduled for an abortion at the JK Medicity Hospital in Jammu on Friday afternoon.

Shruti had gone to the hospital after her gynecologist advised a routine medical examination to safeguard her and her baby's health.

Rakesh alleged that the doctor gave his wife the abortion pills without consulting her medical records. “Doctors and paramedical staff instead of administering glucose, gave her abortion medicine, which was actually meant for another patient,” he said.

"It is the worst case of negligence. I feel strongly that such hospitals should be closed. If this has happened to me today, tomorrow it can happen to any body else," Rakesh said.

While the JK Medicity's administration said it has launched an inquiry into the incident, a report from the Jagran Post stated that the district government has revoked the hospital's license.

"Jammu and Kashmir Government has ordered sealing of the private clinic after suspension of its license to operate in the wake of the incident," said Minister for Health and Medical Education Taj Mohiuddin according to the report.

National media have reported that the incident has brought illegal abortion practices in India to the attention of both the public and government officials.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

According to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, abortion is legal in India up to 20 weeks. However, the opinion of a second doctor is required if the pregnancy is past its 12th week, and abortion-inducing drugs such as mifepristone and misoprostol are allowed only by prescription up until the seventh week of pregnancy.

Moreover, abortions can be performed only in government licensed medical institutions by registered abortionists.

Indian Express reported that the accused in the incident, Dr Amarjeet Singh, practices ayurvedic medicine (traditional Hindu medicine) and is "unsuitable for carrying out abortions."

A video posted by IndiaTV shows the parents surrounded by family members and relatives at a protest outside the JK Medicity hospital where the group is demanding punishment for those involved in the death of the child.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Queen James Bible
Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

,

News editor fired for criticizing ‘gay Bible’, files complaint

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

The former editor-in-chief of Iowa’s Newton Daily News has filed a religious discrimination complaint after he was fired over a post on his private blog criticizing the pro-gay Queen James Bible.

The Bible revision was produced by homosexual activists who claim to have edited the eight most commonly cited verses against homosexual behavior “in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.”

On his private blog, which has since been deactivated, Bob Eschliman wrote in April that “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo” are trying to reword the Bible “to make their sinful nature ‘right with God.’”

After public outcry from homosexual activists, Shaw Media, which owns the paper, fired him on May 6.

In a statement the day of his firing, Shaw Media President John Rung said Eschliman’s “airing of [his opinion] compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it.”

“There will be some who will criticize our action, and mistakenly cite Mr. Eschliman’s First Amendment rights as a reason he should continue on as editor of the Newton Daily News,” Rung said.  “As previously stated, he has a right to voice his opinion. And we have a right to select an editor who we believe best represents our company and best serves the interests of our readers.”

Rung said the company has a duty “to advocate for the communities we serve” and that “to be effective advocates, we must be able to represent the entire community fairly.”

Eschliman, who has been writing professionally since 1998 and became editor-in-chief of the Newton Daily News in 2012, says that the company was aware of his personal blog when he was hired and never indicated it would be a problem for him to continue sharing his personal political and religious views.

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

In his religious discrimination complaint against the company, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), he says that he believes he was singled out for termination because of his Christian views concerning homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.”

“As a lifelong writer, I have maintained a personal blog on the Internet with some personal thoughts and writings,” Eschliman wrote. “Newton Daily News, my employer, never had a policy prohibiting personal blogging, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media. In fact, my employer encouraged us to engage in social media on a personal level and I am aware of several employees of Newton Daily News who continue to blog and are still employed with Shaw Media.”

“There is no question that I was fired for holding and talking about my sincerely held religious beliefs on my personal blog during my off-duty time from the comfort of my own home,” Eschliman wrote. “Shaw Media directly discriminated against me because of my religious beliefs and my identity as an evangelical Christian who believes in Holy Scripture and the Biblical view of marriage.

“Moreover, Shaw Media announced that not only were they firing me based upon my religious beliefs, but that they would not hire or allow anyone to work at Shaw Media who holds religious beliefs similar to mine, which would include an automatic denial of any accommodation of those who share my sincerely held religious beliefs,” he added.

Neither Shaw Media nor the Newton Daily News have been willing to provide further comment to the press on the matter, citing pending litigation.

Matthew Whitaker, an attorney with Liberty Institute who is assisting Eschliman with his complaint, said the law is on his client’s side.

“No one should be fired for simply expressing his religious beliefs,” Whitaker said in a statement. “In America, it is against the law to fire an employee for expressing a religious belief in public.  This kind of religious intolerance by an employer has no place in today’s welcoming workforce.”

According to Whitaker, if the EEOC rules in Eschliman’s favor, Shaw Media could be forced to give him back pay, front pay, and a monetary settlement.


Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook