Sarah Terzo

‘Is it a baby?’ Abortion clinic workers respond

Sarah Terzo
By Sarah Terzo
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April 10, 2013 (LiveActionNews.org) - Pro-choice counselors at abortion clinics occasionally have to deal with a woman who asks, point blank: “Is abortion killing my baby?” Many former clinic workers have said that the expected response is “no.”

Carol Everett, former owner of two abortion clinics and administrator of four, said that:

Every woman has these same two questions: First, ‘Is it a baby?’ ‘No’ the counselor assures her. ‘It is a product of conception (or a blood clot, or a piece of tissue)’ Even though these counselors see six week babies daily, with arms, legs and eyes that are closed like newborn puppies, they lie to the women. How many women would have an abortion, if they told them the truth?” (1)

Another former clinic worker, Linda Couri, who worked at Planned Parenthood, described how she responded when a teenager considering abortion asked her the following question: “If I have an abortion, am I killing my baby?”

Couri said:

‘Kill’ is a strong word, and so is ‘baby.’ You’re terminating the product of conception. (2)

But Couri was haunted by the girl’s question and troubled about her response. She began questioning whether providing abortions was really moral. She recalls asking her supervisor if she had done the right thing. The supervisor did not deny that abortion was killing a baby but told her that in the teenager’s case, abortion was a “necessary evil.” Struck by the use of the word “evil,” Couri continued to question her position at the clinic. Eventually, she left, and now she is a pro-life speaker.

Clinic worker Peg Johnston, who works in an abortion clinic in New York, revealed how she dealt with women who said they were killing their babies in a 2005 article:

She first says that when the women came asking if they killing their babies, she thought they were repeating what they heard from pro-life protestors and sidewalk counselors who spoke to them as they entered the clinic. But as she talked to more and more women who repeated the question:

They weren’t mouthing an anti-choice message – they were acknowledging that this was serious stuff. How can I want one kid and not the other? (3)

In the article “In Search of New Words: Redefining the Abortion Debate,” Johnston speaks about this at length:

“I would go out there and scream at them. [pro-life protesters] Then I would come back in and listen to a woman talk. Frequently the words were almost the same. The protesters would be saying, ‘You’re murdering your baby,’ and the women inside would be saying, ‘I feel like I’m killing my baby.’ I used to think, well, they’re just echoing what they are hearing. There was a time when I would correct them if they used those words.”

“The word killing was hard. It was so difficult to see women that guilty or distressed,” continues Johnston, who has run the clinic since 1981. “But eventually we got into conversations about the difference between murder and killing. Now our reaction is more: well, does it feel like killing to you and how are you going to make peace with that?”

Johnston acknowledges that many women suspect that having an abortion is killing a baby. It seems that when directly misleading women fails, she uses semantics to separate the concept of “murder” from “killing.”

On the blog “Abortion Witness” in a post entitled “Talking about the babies: saying the things we cannot say,” a clinic worker discusses a similar situation when she describes a conversation with a patient.

“You’ve written in your chart that you feel guilty.” I say to the patient I am screening. “Can you tell me more about this? Why do you feel guilty?”

“I feel guilty because I am killing my baby,” she answers. “That’s why I feel guilty.”

The first time an abortion patient said this to me, I was completely unprepared for it. Although I was a long-time pro-choice activist, a Ph.D. who had studied feminist theory , and a former abortion patient myself, nothing in my experience had prepared me to talk with a woman about killing babies. “Oh no,” I said to her as gently as I could. “It’s not a baby- it’s just tissue.”

But the clinic worker later came to feel that her response was wrong.

She describes how pro-choice activists have trouble with using the word “baby” to describe the child who is killed in an abortion and says:

We all know that an unborn child dies in each abortion. And the majority of abortion care workers accept responsibility for our roles in these deaths. We have, for various reasons, determined for ourselves that having a part in these deaths is an important- and ethical- thing for us to do[.]

The blogger describes how a female abortionist who was 18 weeks pregnant performed an abortion on an 18-week-old unborn baby and felt her wanted baby kick just as she was pulling a leg off of the baby she was aborting. The blogger says:

We might start these honest conversations by asking what differentiates these two eighteen week unborn babies? The short answer – which is both incredibly simple and very complicated – is that the unborn baby moving inside the physician/mother is being carried by someone who has chosen to complete her pregnancy and deliver a living child, and the other unborn baby is being carried by someone who, for reasons that we may or may not understand, has decided that she cannot complete her pregnancy. In other words, the life or death of the unborn baby is determined by the mother’s decision about whether she wants to share her body with another being[.]

The blogger admits that “the distinction can feel unsatisfying to many people” but reiterates that it is moral to kill an unborn baby whose mother does not want her. She goes on to say:

… We should never deny that abortion kills an unborn child. When the topic comes up, a simple “yes, I know – and so do women who have abortions” will often suffice. Several years ago, the director at the clinic where I worked was on a radio talk show about second trimester abortion. A caller said, “You can’t tell me it’s not a baby. And you can’t tell me that baby won’t die!” Yes, she said calmly, it is a baby and yes, it is killed. Women know this, and they have abortions anyway. This is exactly why abortion is complicated, like many of life’s challenges. We must remember, though, that complicated does not necessarily mean wrong.

The clinic worker now suggests that the proper response to a woman in an abortion clinic who says “I feel like I’m killing my baby” is something like:

“Ok. Let’s talk about how you are going to cope with knowing that you’ve killed your baby. What do you believe happens to us when we die?” From this point, the woman and I could have an honest conversation about how she understood her abortion decision within the context of her own life circumstances, beliefs, and ethics.

The blogger then finishes her post by saying:

Women have always known that pregnancy means a baby and abortion means the baby will die. When women care enough about the lives of their children – born and unborn – and about the role lives to make that decision, we owe them the respect and support that honesty conveys.

Such honesty is becoming more and more common. A number of articles from Live Action have documented both pro-choice activists and abortion providers admitting that abortion is murder. As horrific as it is to imagine a clinic worker telling a woman that yes, abortion will kill her baby, but that she should abort anyway, perhaps pro-lifers can take comfort in the fact that even many pro-abortion people are beginning to reject euphemisms and talk about abortion as what it really is – the killing of an innocent unborn child. Their honesty leaves no doubt about what is at stake in the abortion debate.

1. Carol Everett “A Walk Through an Abortion Clinic” ALL About Issues magazine Aug-Sept 1991, pg. 117
2. TIM GRAVES “From Planned Parenthood to Pro-Life” National Catholic Register Aug 24, 2011
3. “Listening to women about abortion” Fairfield County Weekly May 26, 2005
4. David Daleiden and Jon A. Shields “Mugged by Ultrasound: Why so many abortion workers have turned pro-life”. The Weekly Standard JAN 25, 2010, VOL. 15, NO. 18

Reprinted with permissin from LiveActionNews.org. Sarah Terzo is a pro-life author and creator of the clinicquotes.com website. She is a member of Secular Pro-Life and Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians. 

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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.

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