Kristen Walker Hatten

5 myths about pro-lifers, and how to refute them

Kristen Walker Hatten
By Kristen Walker Hatten
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December 13, 2011 (LiveAction.org) - There are a lot of negative stereotypes about the pro-life movement. I could easily write a list of 20 or more. These five, though, are the ones I personally encounter most often, and in the most capital letters. You’ll probably find them familiar. If you don’t know how to argue against these, you should.

5. We’re all brainwashed.

Since they can’t seem to wrap their brains around how a person might make an intelligent, informed decision to oppose abortion, anti-lifers sometimes like to assume we have all been duped. I have been accused, via Facebook, Twitter, email, and comment, of having been brainwashed by the following people or organizations: the Republican Party, Christians, the Vatican, white men, television, the conservative media, Sarah Palin, and the devil. I am not making any of those up.

While I suppose there are those who were raised inside Vatican walls and never heard a dissenting opinion, the truth is that even kids brought up in homes with pro-life parents were probably exposed to pro-abortion ideology somewhere along the way. It may have even happened without their knowledge.

Let me give you an example: I loved the movie Dirty Dancing as a kid. I wasn’t allowed to watch it, but I managed to watch it almost constantly, starting at around age ten. A major plot line in that movie is a main character having an abortion. Everyone is super casual about it, although they never use the word “abortion.” The girl ends up getting hurt by the procedure, but the impression is that this is because the woman had to go to an unsafe doctor with “a dirty knife and a folding table.” Then a real doctor is called and the girl is okay and everyone dances some more. The impression I got as a kid was that abortion was a tragic and sexy thing that pretty girls sometimes had to get because they were so desirable and awesome.

I don’t remember hearing anything about abortion from my church or my mom or my friends. I only heard about it from TV and movies, and it was always portrayed in the same light: a sad but necessary thing that boyfriends should pay for while wearing sheepish expressions. I ended up pro-choice until age 27, when I made a decision, based on little or no Chinese water torture by any Popes or Palins, that abortion was wrong and must be ended.

The best way to combat this stereotype is to share your own story. Let anti-lifers know the sound, rational, scientific and ethical reasons on which you base your pro-life activism. And don’t let your kids watch Dirty Dancing.

4. We’re violent.

This is my least favorite myth because it’s the least true. The pro-life movement is by definition an outcry against a violent act.

Eight people have been killed in the United States by anti-abortion protesters. Last I heard, they had all been caught and punished. Fifty million babies have been killed — legally — by abortionists since 1973. Yet we’re the side that gets called violent. Fifty million to eight… Those are pretty dramatic numbers. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say it’s safer to be an abortionist than an unborn baby. Somebody somewhere is probably going to quote that in outrage, never mind the fact that is statistically 100% true.

The pro-life movement as a whole continuously and widely condemns acts of violence, yet anyone who professes a pro-life viewpoint is subject to being called a “clinic bomber.” Eight people — out of hundreds of millions — do not represent the movement, especially when their actions have been decried countless times.

If someone accuses you of belonging to a violent movement, remind them that since Roe v. Wade, every year an average of 1.2 million unborn children have been killed in the U.S., versus an average of two-tenths of an abortionist. The numbers don’t lie.

3. We’re all religious, conservative, and old.

There’s nothing wrong with being religious, conservative, or old, but it’s a mischaracterization. I am a conservative Catholic in my early 30s now, but when I became pro-life, I was a liberal agnostic in my 20s. While many — probably most — pro-lifers believe in some sort of deity, or at least in the human soul, not all of them do. The arguments that made me pro-life were grounded in science, ethics, and human rights. They had nothing to do with religion.

The friend who changed my mind knew better than to use a religious argument with me; I would have stopped listening. I was already wary because she was Catholic. I guess I thought she would sprinkle holy water on me while I wasn’t looking. But she didn’t. She just answered my questions — I had a lot of them — and by the end of the conversation I was, quite against my will, pro-life. I have remained so ever since.

I was also not a conservative, and many — including the friend I mentioned — remain pro-life and liberal or Democrat. The atheist, liberal New Yorker writer Nat Hentoff, after “coming out” as pro-life, experienced a backlash of negativity from fellow writers, intellectuals, atheists, Jews, and Democrats, but he stayed pro-life and a “civil libertarian” for the rest of his career.

A lot of people, when they think of pro-life activists, think of little old ladies saying the rosary outside a clinic. God bless those little old ladies and the work they do, but the truth is the pro-life movement is becoming a youth movement. Despite the fact that society in general seems to get more secular and less conservative, more and more young people oppose abortion. There is no consensus as to why, but it may have something to do with advancing science and technology. We know far more about the unborn human today than we did when Roe v. Wade was decided.

If someone tells you all pro-lifers are middle-aged white Christian Republicans, tell them they’re wrong — even if you are a middle-aged white Christian Republican. I have known pro-lifers of every age, color, religion, and political persuasion. If you don’t, try to get to know some. They’re everywhere! Check out Secular Pro-Life, Pagans for Life, or Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League. They may have a perspective you haven’t considered, which will help build your arsenal of pro-life knowledge and arguments, and make your parties more interesting.

2. We’re hypocrites if we oppose abortion but don’t oppose (fill in the blank).

Can you be pro-life and pro-death penalty? Yes. Can you be pro-life and support the war in Iraq? Yes. Can you be pro-life and eat meat? Yes.

You can’t compare these things to abortion. You can’t compare anything to abortion, except certain instances of euthanasia, which by the way are also covered under the pro-life umbrella.

Abortion is child murder. It’s the intentional killing of an innocent human being. And when I say “innocent,” I mean it in the most literal sense. I don’t mean “innocent” of murder, shoplifting, or appearing on “Jersey Shore,” though all of these are undeniably bad things. I mean completely innocent. The unborn child has never harmed a living soul. He did not cause his own existence. He did not ask to be conceived. He is brought to life and, in an abortion, he is killed, most often for the same reason he was conceived: because his mother made a choice.

No act compares to abortion in its heinousness. So don’t let anyone tell you that you must oppose the death penalty, or war, or meat if you are pro-life. Explain the difference between incidental death and intentional. Explain to them the difference between a cow and a human. Explain to them the difference between a convicted criminal and an unborn baby.

1. We have an ulterior motive.

This is the most common argument you will hear, and it honestly doesn’t even deserve the term “argument.” It is a non-argument. An argument would be, “Abortion is okay because the fetus isn’t human,” or “Abortion is okay because the unborn deserve no rights.” Those are arguments. They’re wrong, but they’re arguments. Instead, I am often accused of pretending to be against abortion when what I really want to do is one of the following:

Take all human rights away from women.

Stop everyone from having sex.

Encourage child abuse.

Make promiscuous girls feel bad about themselves.

And so on. So instead of saying, “Abortion should be legal because….,” the presenter of this “argument” says, “Well, you just want to enforce your Puritanical sexual values.” Or, “You just want people to have babies they can’t afford.” And so on.

Look. I’m gonna take this opportunity to come out with it: I am secretly okay with abortion. I honestly don’t mind if women go into clinics and pay doctors to suck their children out of them. What I’m really after, what I’ve really wanted all along, is to engage in “slut-shaming.”

This is my favorite non-argument ever. Written by “freelance journalist and stand-up comic” Amanda Grimes (whose graduate thesis was on “gender and stand-up comedy”), this blog made me literally wipe tears of laughter from my eyes. So she’s got the comedy part down! According to Grimes, pro-lifers aren’t really interested in saving lives. What they secretly want to do — wait for it — is make slutty girls feel bad about themselves. You heard me. The ulterior motive behind the pro-life movement, according to Andrea Grimes, is “slut-shaming.”

Ms. Grimes, if by “slut-shaming” you mean encouraging young women to behave in ways that will result in less pain for themselves, their children, and society, it is certainly on my list of reasons for opposing abortion. However, I hate to break it to you, reason number one is that I am actually nutso enough to believe in the sanctity of every human life. Sorry to disappoint. Now get back to that groundbreaking, totally relevant thesis!

By the way, for the record, you know what changed Grimes’s mind about abortion? I’ll let her say it in her own words:

Well, I got off my religious high horse and on to a sex life I enjoyed and found fulfilling.

That is… profound, isn’t it? She went to college, lost her virginity, and found out sex was fun! So then she discarded all the morals her parents went to the trouble to teach her, and ”went right the f*** out” and got on birth control, which, as it often does, led her to going right the eff out and feeling okay about abortion. “I believe wanting to take that choice away from others is deeply about shame and punishment and judgment, and not about righteousness and love.”

Guess what, Grimes? Just because you believe something about us doesn’t make it true.

So apparently, Ms. Grimes did not believe in the sanctity of life. She was merely having fun “slut-shaming.” But just because she didn’t have strong, factual, righteous, loving reasons for opposing abortion doesn’t mean that’s the case for you, or me, or any other pro-lifer.

Don’t let anyone assign you intentions that aren’t yours. We are pro-life because we care for women and their children. We are pro-life because we believe in human rights. Don’t give an inch when it comes to your reasons for opposing abortion.

If you engage in any kind of pro-life activism you are going to encounter resistance. Not all of it will be honest, pleasant, or fair. If they haven’t yet, people are going to assume things about you and assign you traits and beliefs that don’t belong to you. (We’ll get to the name calling in another article.)

Learn to politely, rationally, tell them why they’re wrong, and bring the issue back to what it’s really about: the reprehensible act of abortion, what it truly is, and why we have to stop it.

Reprinted with permission from LiveAction.org

 

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Pope tells Girl Scouts to oppose ‘ideologies’ against God’s design for marriage

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

ROME, June 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis told Girl Scout and Girl Guide leaders from across the globe last week that it is essential they promote respect for marriage and family according to God’s design.

The pope’s remarks came as both the international organization, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, and Girl Scouts USA face criticism over support for abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, and contraception.

"It is very important today that a woman be adequately appreciated, and that she be able to take up fully the place that corresponds to her, be it in the Church, be it in society,” Pope Francis said in his address on the morning of June 26, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision imposing same-sex “marriage” on the country.

In the face of ideologies that seek to destroy the truths about marriage and family, he said, the formation of girls through Guiding "is absolutely determinant for the future."

"We are in a world in which the most contrary ideologies are spreading to the nature and design of God on the family and on marriage. Therefore, it is a question of educating girls not only to the beauty and grandeur of their vocation of women, in a just and differentiated relation between man and woman, but also to assume important responsibilities in the Church and in society," Pope Francis said.

The pope spoke during a private audience at the world meeting of the International Conference of Catholic Guides (ICCG), which took place in Rome from June 25-30.

Stressing that among educational movements Guiding has played a pivotal role in the faith formation of young women, the pope said, "Education is, in fact, the indispensable means to enable girls to become active and responsible women, proud and happy of their faith in Christ lived in every day life. Thus they will participate in the building of a world permeated by the Gospel."

“To Live the Joy of the Gospel as a Guide” was the theme for the ICCG meeting in Rome, with the stated purpose of reaffirming and strengthening the organization's 50-year-old history within the Catholic Church.

Among the participants at the ICCG meeting in Rome were Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) CEO Anna Maria Chávez and National President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan.

In a statement, Chavez maintained that faith is “at the heart of Girl Scouts, and is woven into everything the organization does to inspire girls to take action to make the world a better place.”

However, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has cautioned that some aspects of the Girl Scouts pedagogy go against Catholic teaching and doctrine.

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A report by the USCCB focused on three issues:

  1. GSUSA's relationship with groups like Planned Parenthood and international affiliate World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS);
  2. GSUSA's views on issues related "to human sexuality, contraception, and abortion";
  3. and various materials and resources GSUSA has that have "inappropriate content."

With regard to WAGGGS, the report notes that while this group claims it does not formally back abortion and "reproductive rights," language on its website leaves no doubt that such support exists, as well as support for contraceptive use.

Numerous pro-life and pro-family groups have organized boycotts of Girl Guide cookies in protest of the organization's embrace of feminist politics and activism.

The pope's address to the ICCG meeting, translated into English by Zenit, is available on the Zenit website here.

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St. Peter Damien (1049): what Church MUST do in response to rampant homosexuality among clergy

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By Steve Jalsevac

June 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The rise of the power and influence of homosexual priests, bishops and cardinals, as well as influential laity, has been a major factor in the growing chaos within Catholicism over the past 60 years. This disorder within the Catholic Church has had a negative impact on the entire world because of the resulting decline in the positive influences that Catholicism has had on civilization for many centuries.

To think that what is happening now is new, however, betrays an ignorance of history. In 1049, when St. Peter Damien wrote his treatise, Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus), to Pope Leo IX, homosexuality and sexual perversion in general were far more openly rampant within the clergy than today.  This horrendous state of affairs is what the Saint addressed in his appeal to the Pope for urgently needed reforms.

We often hear from sleepy, comfortable, cowardly, timid or cultural Catholics, and especially from clergy who are directly implicated in homosexuality, that we should never criticize priests, bishops and especially the Pope. Supposedly, that is a greater sin than that of the heretics and sexual perverts facilitating great personal suffering and sending souls to Hell without anyone doing what is necessary to either convert or stop them.

St. Peter Damien was not so foolish as to listen to such nonsense denying God His justice at a time when the Church appeared to be in its death throes. He understood the grave duty to be blunt about the dangers and sinfulness, to not minimize the catastrophe that would come if strong actions were not quickly taken and to demand corrective actions. And yet, he also emphasized that all of this must be done with charity and Christian hope for the persons involved in the moral corruption. Their conversion was above all hoped and prayed for, rather than their condemnation for eternity.

An Italian translated version of the Book of Gomorrah has recently been published. An English version carefully translated by one of our LifeSite journalists will also soon become available.

On Feb. 11 of this year the Rorate Caeli website published excerpts from the introduction by Professor Roberto de Mattei to the Italian version.

Following are some paragraphs from that introduction that I hope will jar awake some of the faithful, especially considering what is going on now in the United States as a result of the mad Supreme Court decision and the moral chaos around the Synod on the Family regarding Church sexual teachings.
 

Excerpts from the Introduction:

St. Peter Damien (1007-1072) Abbot of the Fonte Avellana Monastery and subsequently Cardinal/Bishop of Ostia, was one of the most outstanding figures of Catholic reform in the XI century. His Liber Gomorrhianus, appeared around 1049, in an age when corruption was widely spread, even in the highest ranks of the ecclesiastical world.

In this writing, addressed to Pope Leo IX, Peter Damien condemns the perverted habits of his time in a language that knows no false mercy or compromises. He is convinced that of all the sins, the gravest is sodomy, a term which includes all the acts against nature and which want to satisfy sexual pleasure by separating it from procreation. “If this absolutely ignominious and abominable vice is not immediately stopped with an iron fist – he writes – the sword of Divine wrath will fall upon us, bringing ruin to many.”

There have been times in (the Church’s) history when sanctity pervades Her and others when the defection of Her members cause Her to collapse into darkness, appearing almost as if the Divinity has abandoned Her.

Peter Damien’s voice resounds today, as it did yesterday, with encouragement and comfort for those, like him, who have fought, suffered, cried and hoped, throughout the course of history.

He did not moderate his language, but kept it fiery to show his indignation. He was fearless in voicing an uncompromising hatred for sin and it was precisely this hatred that rendered his love burning for the Truth and the Good.

Today, at the beginning of the third millennium of Christ’s birth, priests, bishops and Episcopal conferences are arguing for married priests; they are placing in doubt the indissolubility of the marriage bond between man and woman and at the same time, accepting the introduction of laws for homosexual pseudo-marriage. Sodomy is not being thought of as a sin that cries to God for vengeance but is diffused in seminaries, colleges, ecclesiastical universities and even inside the Sacred Walls of the Vatican itself.

Liber Gomorrhianus reminds us that there is something worse than moral vice practiced and theorized. It is the silence that should speak, the abstention that should intervene, the bond of complicity that is established among the wicked and of those, who with the pretext of avoiding scandal are silent, and, by being silent, consent.  

Graver still, is the acceptance of homosexuality by churchmen, thought of as a “positive” tension towards the good, worthy of pastoral care and juridical protection and not as an abominable sin. In the summary Relatio post disceptationem of the first week’s work in the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, a paragraph affirmed that:   “homosexual persons have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community”, with an invitation to the Bishops “…are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing them a fraternal space in our communities?”

This scandalous statement was removed from the final report, but some bishops and cardinals, inside and outside the Synod Hall, insisted on the appeal to look for the positive aspects of a union against nature, going as far as hoping for “a way to describe the rights of people living in same-sex unions.”

St. Peter Damian as a simple monk, and with greater reason as a cardinal, did not hesitate in accusing even the Popes of that time for their scandalous omissions. Will the reading of the book Liber Gomorrhianus instill the spirit of St. Peter Damien in the hearts of some prelates or laypeople, by shaking them out of their torpor and force them to speak and act?

Even if abysmally far from the holiness and prophetic spirit of St. Peter Damien, let us make his indignation against evil, ours, and with the words that conclude his treatise we turn to the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness, Pope Francis, presently reigning, so that he may intervene and bring an end to these doctrinal and moral scandals: “May the Almighty Lord assist us, Most Reverend Father, so that during the time of Your Apostolate, all of the monstrosity of this vice be destroyed and the state of the Church, presently supine, may wholly rise up again in all its vigour.”

The book can be found in Italian here. 

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Phil Lawler

So now is it ‘hate speech’ to deplore the Obergefell decision?

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

June 30, 2015 (CatholicCulture.org) - The ink was barely dry on last week’s Supreme Court ruling when Father James Martin, SJ, began scolding Catholics who were, from his decorous perspective, too strident in denouncing the decision.

”No issue brings out so much hatred from so many Catholics as homosexuality,” Father Martin told his Facebook followers. He repeated the same message several times throughout the day, warning commenters that they must not indulge in “homophobia” and suggesting that someone who questioned whether we were all expected to sing “Kumbaya” was illustrating his point. So is sarcasm now prima facie evidence of hatred?

In my own surfing through the internet, reading scores of posts on the Obergefell decision, I can honestly say that I did not see a single message, a single comment, that struck me as hate-filled. Perhaps Father Martin’s email traffic is qualitatively different from mine. Or perhaps—far more likely, I’m afraid—he sees “hatred” where I see only vehement disagreement.

Is it possible to be angry about the Obergefell decision, to consider it a travesty of justice and a betrayal of the Constitution, without being viewed as a hater? Wait; let’s turn that question upside-down. Is it possible to see all serious disagreement with the decision as hate-speech, without celebrating the outcome of the Obergefell case?

I ask the latter question, you see, because if Father Martin was upset by the Supreme Court ruling, his dismay did not show through on his Twitter feed. He recommended three columns reacting to the decision: one by a fellow Jesuit, recounting how his grandmother could not marry her lesbian partner; another by the gay New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, celebrating the decision; the third by the gay activist/blogger Andrew Sullivan, also celebrating.

The recommendation for Andrew Sullivan’s piece was particularly striking because of the title: “It Is Accomplished”—an explicit reference to the words of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Father Martin, who was horrified by so much of what he read on Friday afternoon, let that blasphemous headline pass without comment. His demand for the use of temperate language, and for avoiding comments that others would find offensive, was applied to only one side of the post-Obergefell debate.

And that’s likely to be the party line for politically-correct Catholics in the wake of this momentous decision. We are allowed to disagree with the Supreme Court, politely, but not too forcefully. Any strident denunciation of the ruling or its logic might be interpreted as hate-speech, which of course is unacceptable. As the secular left clamps down on religious expression—and we’ve already been served notice that the crackdown is coming-- the Catholic left will worry aloud that, yes, some strong public expressions of religious beliefs are distasteful.

The influence of this approach, with its keen anxiety to avoid provocation, has already been evident in the statements released by some American bishops in response to the ruling. Archbishop Gregory says that he disagrees with the Court, but if you don’t know why he disagrees before you read his statement, you’re not likely to be any better informed when you’re finished. Cardinal Wuerl reminds us that we must hate the sin but love the sinner; he neglects to mention what the sin is. And Archbishop Cupich gives no indication at all that he disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling.

We have a long uphill struggle facing us as we seek to restore a proper understanding of marriage, to revive appreciation for the natural law, and to undo this wretched judicial decision. We cannot expect success if we go into the battle unarmed. If we begin the debate by saying that we must not offend our adversaries—even after our adversaries have declared our most fundamental beliefs to be offensive—we are doomed to failure.

We already know how the battle will unfold, because the campaign to crush resistance to same-sex marriage is already underway. The militant left will choose vulnerable targets—a pizza-parlor here, a baker there—and vilify them as “haters.” People who been trained to see “hatred” in any firm disagreement will nod in solemn approval as the alleged offenses are harshly punished. And so juggernaut will keep rolling, gaining momentum, until it reaches us.

There is an alternative. We can speak the truth. Yes, certainly we should avoid making unduly provocative statements. But since we are trying to provoke reactions, we cannot pull all our punches.

More to the point, if we’re going into battle—and we are—we need to know who’s on our side, and who’s working against us.

This article was originally published on CatholicCulture.org and is re-published with permission.

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