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A debate with a late-term abortionist: the banality of evil

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren
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February 6, 2013 (Unmaskingchoice.ca) - I suppose that it is a bit strange that I have been in the pro-life movement for close to five years and until the other week I never actually laid eyes on an abortionist. I’ve seen hundreds of pictures documenting their work, read plenty of chilling tell-all memoirs, and watched enough sleep-destroying abortion footage to last me two lifetimes. I’ve also spoken with hundreds of post-abortive women, and have come to recognize that often, the abortion procedure produces victims: the duped and the discarded.

But while many women (and men) have stared agape at pictures of the abortion procedure and come to the sickening realization that the “clump of cells” had a head and limbs that this “medical procedure” violently removed—what of the technicians that perform the invasion with suction aspirators and forceps? They, of course, are perfectly aware of what they’re doing—after all, they or their assistants have to piece the little corpse back together afterwards to ensure that a stray arm or leg is not left behind in the now-vacant uterus to malevolently cause an infection. As I drove to Brock University to watch my colleague Stephanie Gray debate Dr. Fraser Fellows, a long-term practicing late-term abortionist, I couldn’t help but wonder how a man who came face to face with the victims of Canada’s abortion regime every day justified—and coped—with the daily carnage that makes up his profession.

When Dr. Fellows arrived in the lecture hall (packed to standing-room-only with nearly 200 people), I couldn’t help but stare at him a bit searchingly. Was he nervous to debate? Eager to defend? Neither, I decided.  A tall, elderly, somewhat aristocratic looking fellow with his last remaining silver hair swept back over his head, he looked, if anything, a bit nonchalant. I tried to peer at his hands as he walked to the front. He uses those to literally clamp metal tools onto the arms and legs of babies a day away from entering the third trimester and twist them off, I thought. Dr. Fellows has gained a bit of infamy for his willingness to do abortions even later than famed feticide pioneer Dr. Henry Morgentaler—Fellows will perform abortions up to 23 weeks and six days. While most abortionists can simply use a suction aspirator to reduce the developing fetus to bloody slurry, and thus avoid the actual step-by-step conscious process of dismembering and skull-crushing—these activities are Dr. Fellows’ specific specialty.

The debate began with Stephanie giving a twenty minute opening statement, defending the idea that abortion is a human rights violation based on a very simple formula—human beings have human rights, the first and most intrinsic of which is the predicate right to life. Pre-born children are human beings, and thus abortion violates, in a brutal fashion, their most existential right. Stephanie pushed play on an embryoscopy video from the Endowment for Human Development, and I tried to watch the abortionist for any sort of reaction as a stereotypically British narrator explained the development of the tiny, almost translucent human beings on the screen. I briefly wondered how the stubborn looking pro-choicers in the audience would react if a curette was suddenly thrust into one of the babies on the screen and suctioned him into scraps. Probably not well. They’d be shocked-- at least, until they attempted to recover their semi-literate ideological ramblings and drape them over the victim like a discount body bag.

Fellows didn’t even blink. Perhaps it was naïve to think he would, I thought--it’s probably not new information to him. Still, Dr. Fellows is a father. A glimmer of a human response to seeing more vulnerable humans wouldn’t be abnormal, surely.

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Then, Stephanie played the video I had been waiting for—a series of video clips from in-progress, late-term abortions—a video put together to specifically highlight his work. How would Dr. Fellows respond to seeing the work he did behind closed doors, hidden from the public eye, on display to a lecture hall full of university students? The footage was viscerally disturbing—one shot showed a baby almost completely exited from the birth canal, dangling limply, with blood pulsing from his neck. Again—Fellows was impassive. Not a twitch. Only the detachment I imagine butchers have as they go about their work.

Some of you reading this may be thinking, Ah, here goes one of those over-dramatic pro-lifers again. A medical professional shows up to explain his profession and you call him a butcher. If you are one of those, I urge you to watch a video of the procedure he specializes in, and then attempt an alternate description. The “procedure” seems sanitized until you see it.

Cross-examination was the most shocking part of the debate. Stephanie asked him question after question, assuming she’d have to pry the information out of him. A few examples:

SG: Would you say that the imagery that I had is an accurate reflection of what you see and what you do?

FF: Absolutely.

SG: What about Down’s Syndrome?

FF: If the woman decides she does not want to have a child with Down’s Syndrome, so be it.

SG: Have you seen women hemorrhage from legal abortions?

FF: I have seen women hemorrhage from legal abortion, yes.

I guess the reason the debate shocked me may have been a bit naïve. Did Dr. Fellows admit to anything that I wasn’t aware of? No, not really. I knew that the legal abortion procedure frequently results in the death or severe injury of the woman. I knew that abortionists often target disabled pre-born children at the request of the parent(s). I knew that late-term abortion was even more gruesome than early term abortion, especially from the perspective of the abortionist, who has to more physically rip the fetus’ limbs off. And the entire pro-life movement has known for some time, even while our nation’s media and governing bodies completely ignore it, that there is a complication to the abortion procedure known as “live birth,” in which the child is accidentally born alive before the attending technician can snuff it out.

Perhaps what I was hoping for was a little glimmer of humanity, a little empathy towards the victims that would signal that the chasm between Dr. Fellows and us was not unbridgeable. I was hoping that he would have a human reaction to the sight of the severed limbs of younger human beings, to signal that in some way, he had not totally desensitized himself to something that even stunned the predominantly pro-choice university audience. Not a gasp, of course—but maybe a flinch or at least an expression of discomfort. Dr. Fellows didn’t even make an attempt to defend what he did for a living, something that almost everyone, on both sides of the debate, thinks that at minimum needs to be ethically defined and defended one way or another. I wanted, at least, a passionate defence on his part. All we got was a bored look, an attitude that reminded me of the phrase “the banality of evil”. Unrepentant I expected. Apathetic I did not.

Dr. Fellows has a job because the majority of Canadians are apathetic to the work he does. The attitude out of sight, out of mind is not one that only applies to international injustices. It also applies to Canadian children being brutalized and eliminated in clinics across our country. Author Bodie Thoene once noted that “apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.” Dr. Fellow’s debate testimony delivers us a question which demands an answer: Is Dr. Fellows working harder to kill pre-born children then we are to save them?

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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