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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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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