Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Pro-lifer Stockholm Syndrome: Rape, Todd Akin and appeasing abortionists

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, August 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the last couple of days, though it remains in the high 90s around here, the hysterical shrieking of feminists around the internet has woken me out of my usual late Italian-summer torpor. Congressman Todd Akin, who is running for the Senate in Missouri, said that in cases of “legitimate rape” the chances of becoming pregnant are slim, and made the apparently outrageous suggestion that in cases of pregnancy due to rape it might be better to punish the rapist, not his innocent child. And the ladies who like abortion are having a rather predictable and unconvincing attack of the vapours over it.

If we can make ourselves heard over the shrieks of stage-outrage, I think we should actually be thanking Mr. Akin for presenting us with this golden teaching moment. The entire edifice of lies that is the “rape exception” needs to be shredded, and as publicly as possible.

Mr. Akin, widely regarded as a “pro-life” politician, referred to it as a “particularly tough sort of ethical question,” and a great many pro-life people seem to agree. This is a problem because the rape argument is actually about as sturdy as a soap bubble, and way more fun to pop.

The fact is, the abortion movement has invented the rape exception as a useful propaganda tool, a club with which to bludgeon pro-lifers into silence. They have succeeded in this because they know that a lot of pro-lifers will crumple at the first sign of shouting. It might not be a popular thing to say out loud, but in my travels I’ve met a significant number of “pro-lifers” whose primary concern is to find ways to demonstrate how “pro-woman” they are and are only too eager to rush to agree with the abortionists, or at least provide excuses for them, on the rape exception.

The fact that the feminist crocodile tears over rape-induced pregnancy have succeeded in driving a wedge into the pro-life movement is a sign that pro-lifers, particularly our politicians, are in desperate need of both a sturdy plank for their backs and some solid training in apologetics. We are already seeing pro-lifers in blog posts, comment boxes and on private lists fighting to get on the bandwagon, saying, “What a despicable thing to say!” and it’s only a tiny step from there to a friendly, placating, “There, there. We’re the nice pro-lifers. Of course we support a rape exception…”

I have coined the term “Pro-lifer Stockholm Syndrome” to describe a mental state in which a pro-lifer has become so concerned with being liked, or at least not hated, that she has actually gone over to the other side. In the old days, spiritual writers used to call this the error of “human respect.”

We might be able to concede that Akin spoke poorly, but it is imperative that we never abandon a single inch of the field to the pro-abortion side, yes, even when they’re screaming at us. It should be a rule that when a pro-lifer makes a mess of things, first, we don’t abandon him; second, we take control of the narrative and start demanding that they back up their claims with facts. Always call them on their assertions. Always.

The rape exception is nothing more than an emotional red herring and we pro-lifers have played along. At the very least, we don’t talk about it. But it is probably the easiest of all the abortion slogans to refute. Something to remember about abortion-supporters is that they are 1) liars, and 2) bullies; they’re counting on us panicking. But this is a perfect opportunity to come out swinging.

So, I’d like to offer here a free ten-minute, back-stiffening lesson in pro-life apologetics. The first lesson is about appeasement and comes from Winston Churchill: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last”. Not only is it damaging to the cause to try to appease the other side, it is unnecessary. We can even leave completely alone for now the question of the reality of the unborn child and the strange fact that suddenly these people are advocating the death penalty for the totally innocent child of a rapist.

If we are focusing strictly on the needs of women, ask first, “How does abortion make a woman un-raped? Does it change anything at all about the experience or the trauma?” Abortion pushers like to say these days that abortion is a “difficult” or “traumatic” choice that a woman never takes lightly. OK, then why are they suggesting that she should undergo another traumatic experience to cure the last one? Exactly how is this helping?

Next, let’s talk about how dedicated the abortion movement is to women’s wellbeing after rape. What have we seen happens when an underage girl goes to Planned Parenthood after a statutory rape? She’s scared, she’s humiliated, she’s alone and full of hurt and shame and anger and fear. What does Planned Parenthood do? Do they call the police? Is there concern about her psychological trauma? The videos we’ve seen show that the only concern is about whether the pimp’s credit card clears.

I’m not even going to bother refuting the trumped-up pretense that we don’t know what he meant by “legitimate rape”. He meant violent assault by a stranger, as opposed to date rape or statutory rape, which, yes, are different. But on this question, you might just ask why Mr. Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape” were so horrific but Whoopi Goldberg’s nearly identical comments that Roman Polanski wasn’t guilty of “rape rape” were not. It couldn’t be, could it, that its because Akin’s a pro-life Republican and she’s a card-carrying liberal feminist Democrat? Nope, no double standard under here.

Then we can address the scientific questions. Akin’s comments are being shouted down as ludicrous or unsupported by science and the media are busily trotting out legions of obstetricians to denounce him as a heretic. But what exactly are the effects of extreme stress on a woman’s ability to conceive?

Before Mr. Akin’s comments suddenly made it politically incorrect to talk about it, there was a body of research asking the question, some of which found lower rates of pregnancy among rape victims. And yet we’re being asked to believe that the stress and trauma of being forcibly violated by a stranger has no impact whatsoever on fertility, that there is, essentially, no physical or hormonal difference between violent rape and a loving encounter between spouses.

How can we know whom to believe when the same medical and scientific community roundly denouncing Akin today says with a straight face every day that pregnancy starts at implantation and not fertilization, that a child before birth cannot feel pain or is “just a blob of cells”. No, instead of asking for evidence like peer-review articles, the MSM is allowing them to just continue shouting. This, of course, is how seizing the narrative works: tell the big lie and never give the opposition any credit for anything whatsoever.

A look at the statement on the controversy from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists will illustrate what I mean. “Each year in the US, 10,000 –15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies are a result of reported rape or incest. An unknown number of pregnancies resulting from rape are carried to term.”

Neither of these statements actually addresses the question. ACOG is not telling us how many pregnancies are the result of rape, only how many are aborted and we are not asking how many are carried to term. And they don’t mention the fact that they have no idea how many abortions there are in the US, for rape or otherwise. A statement from their ethics committee dated January 2009, said, “Obtaining accurate statistics about abortion prevalence is difficult given underreporting of abortion and lack of a national requirement for reporting abortion.”

Despite not apparently knowing the answer, or even understanding the question, however, they don’t hesitate to dive in and make the claim that “there is absolutely no veracity” to Akin’s belief about pregnancy and rape.

Then we are told, “A woman who is raped has no control over ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg (ie, pregnancy). To suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths.”

Indeed, if anyone were saying that a woman who is raped has the conscious ability to stop her ovaries from generating gametes or to stop a sperm from penetrating one, that would be absurd. But of course, anyone who is not blinded by a political imperative knows that neither Akin nor the pro-life movement is saying anything like this.

This statement is what we called the “straw man”; ACOG is setting up something obviously ridiculous and saying, “See? What an idiot! I’ll bet he thinks God created the universe.” Yeah, ACOG: the group that has tried to dupe the public into believing that “emergency contraception” never, ever causes an early-term abortion, despite what it says on the package.

Why should I believe these people when they refuse to address the scientific data on the negative psychological after effects of abortion? The links to cancer? Maternal mortality? Depression? Substance abuse? Suicide? They keep saying we don’t have scientific evidence but it is amply demonstrated that they refuse to cooperate with science for political reasons.

Take away the hysterical politics and the question becomes quite ordinary. There is ample evidence showing that stress negatively impacts general fertility. What does the sudden horror of violent rape do to it? When a woman is violently raped does her body’s chemistry react differently?

We are expected to jump like rabbits every time someone shrieks about pregnancy due to rape. But they only do this because they know it works. I can understand it, who likes to be shouted at and called nasty names? But it is imperative that we learn that this is nothing more than a political slogan, a rather dirty trick.

As our friend the pro-life apologetics trainer Scott Klusendorf likes to say, “So OK, if I change my position to support legalised abortion in the 0.0001 per cent of cases of pregnancy due to rape and incest, will you then drop your insistence on restriction-free abortion on demand?

“Yah, didn’t think so.”

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Drew Belsky

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2016 candidates react to the Supreme Court’s marriage decision

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Five days after the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision mandating the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, most of the 2016 presidential candidates have made their opinions on the issue known.

While all of the Democrats currently in the race aggressively supported the ruling, the Republicans' reactions to the Supreme Court's marriage ruling have been more varied.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon, criticized the Obergefell decision, calling it "a grave mistake." Walker suggested that "the only alternative" to Friday's decision is "to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage."

Texas senator Ted Cruz has doubled down on Walker's call for a constitutional amendment. Not only is Cruz seeking an amendment to protect states' right to define marriage, but he also hopes to amend the Constitution to demand "periodic judicial retention elections" for Supreme Court justices – namely, Cruz said, for those who "overstep their bounds [and] violate the Constitution."

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush shied away from a constitutional marriage amendment. "Guided by my faith," Bush said in a statement, "I believe in traditional marriage." However, "in a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate."

Florida senator Marco Rubio agreed with Bush, exhorting Republicans to "look ahead" and concentrate on the nomination process for new judges. Likewise with Ohio governor John Kasich, who said on Face the Nation that "it's time to move on" and "take a deep breath."

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

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina concurred. While "I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage," Fiorina said, "[m]oving forward...all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience."

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham forthrightly condemned a constitutional marriage amendment as "a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail." Graham told NBC News, "I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court's ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American."

Libertarian-leaning Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wrote in Time Magazine that the federal government should remove itself completely from the marriage issue. "Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not Washington, D.C.," Paul wrote.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal "strongly disagree[s]" with the Obergefell ruling, but he admitted on Sunday that his state would ultimately comply with the Supreme Court's decision. "We do not have a choice."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went one step farther. While he "agree[s] with Chief Justice John Roberts" that "this is something that should be decided by the people, and not ... five lawyers," the governor admitted that "those five lawyers get to impose it under our system, and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land[.]"

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum foresees a widespread silencing of those who dissent from the Supreme Court's interpretation of marriage. "There's no slippery slope here," Santorum told the Family Research Council Friday; "religious liberty is under assault today – not going to be, it is – and it's going to be even more so ... with this decision."

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee expressed similar sentiments, excoriating the Supreme Court for flouting millions of Americans who voted to affirm "the laws of nature." Huckabee said on Friday, "I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat."

On the other end of the spectrum, former Democratic Maryland governor and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley contended that it is homosexuals, not religious objectors to the Obergefell decision, who need more protections from the state.

Calling the ruling a "major step forward," O'Malley proceeded to demand passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that criminalizes "discrimination" based on an "individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity." Opponents worry it would force religious employers to hire homosexuals and transgender people.

Passing ENDA, O'Malley said, would help "more fully realize the vision of an open, respectful, and inclusive nation that Friday's decision aspires us [sic] to be."

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Drew Belsky

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Obama Department of Justice to Virginia school: Let girl use boys’ bathrooms

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The Obama administration's Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a "statement of interest" Monday in support of a Virginia high school sophomore who is seeking to use bathrooms designated for members of the opposite sex.

In June 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Gloucester County School Board on behalf of 15-year-old Gavin Grimm, who is biologically female but wants to use male bathrooms and locker rooms.

Grimm claimed that she had used such facilities without incident for seven weeks until December 2014, when the school board enacted a policy requiring "transgender" students to use private restrooms.

Grimm testified in early 2015 that "[n]ow that the board has passed this policy, school no longer feels as safe and welcoming as it did before[.] ... Being singled out is a glaring reminder of my differences and causes me significant discomfort every time I have to use the restroom."

The Obama administration declared in May 2014 that sex discrimination under Title IX applies to those who identify as "transgender."  The Department of Education followed up last December by ordering federally funded schools to classify students based on "gender identity" rather than biological sex.

Regardless, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco told LifeSiteNews in June of this year that Grimm's and the ACLU's discrimination claims would not hold water.  Citing a district court case in Pennsylvania, Tedesco noted (emphasis in original) that "[t]he Court ... highlighted that Title IX's implementing regulations state that schools do not violate Title IX when they 'provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"

Title IX, part of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, is a statute that "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity."

"Every court to consider this issue has held that single-sex restrooms and locker room facilities are permitted under Title IX," Tedesco concluded.

Now, according to the DoJ's "statement of interest" in support of Grimm, filed this week, "[t]he United States has a significant interest in ensuring that all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to learn in an environment free of sex discrimination and that the proper legal standards are applied to claims under Title IX" (p. 2, all citations omitted).  Per the DoJ, Grimm "is likely to succeed on the merits" of her Title IX claim, and "it is in the public interest to allow [Grimm] ... to use the male restrooms at Gloucester High School."

Regarding the Pennsylvania case mentioned by Tedesco, the DoJ claims that "[t]he district court's reasoning in that case was faulty and should not be followed."

One Gloucester County School Board member who voted against the December bathroom policy fretted that "federal dollars are at stake." Her concern was well-founded: five months later, the Obama administration threatened to deny Virginia's Fairfax County School Board $42 million in federal funding if the board refused to change its own bathroom protocols.  The Fairfax board ruled in May – over the strenuous objections of parents in attendance – that "transgender" students could use facilities in accordance with their "gender identity."

"Although certain parents and community members may object to students sharing a common use restroom with transgender students," the DoJ declared in its brief for Grimm, "any recognition of this discomfort as a basis for discriminating would undermine the public interest."

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Lisa Bourne

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Girl Scouts returns $100,000 donation over transgender stipulation

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - An unusual request from a major donor to a regional branch of the U.S. Girl Scouts has drawn attention to the organization’s ongoing support for gender ideology and transgender issues. 

Girl Scouts of Western Washington CEO Megan Ferland revealed last week that the council had recently received a donation for $100,000. However, after the Girl Scouts’ practice of allowing boys who identify as girls to join the Scouts hit the news during the media’s coverage of the Bruce Jenner case, Ferland says she received a note from the donor putting a condition on the donation.

“Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls,” the donor reportedly asked. “If you can’t, please return the money.”

In the end, Ferland said she chose to give the $100,000 - what could have comprised nearly a fourth of the council’s annual fundraising goal - back to the donor.

“Girl Scouts is for every girl,” Ferland stated in a report from SeattleMet.com. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

In the meantime, the council used the publicity over the refused donation to launch a social fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo, a social fundraising site. The #ForEVERYGirl has far exceeded its goal, raising over $300,000 for the group in just three days.

"Our vision at Girl Scouts of Western Washington is that EVERY girl in our region—regardless of her race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or geographic location—is empowered to unleash her potential, build her future and transform her world," states the campaign.

This is not the first time that Ferland has been involved in a controversy over the Scouts’ support for transgenderism.

When a boy self-identifying as a girl attempted to join a Colorado Girl Scout troop in 2011 and was initially refused by the leader because of his male gender, Ferland, then head of the Colorado council, issued a statement welcoming boys identifying as girls, and saying efforts were in progress to find the boy a troop. The council also renounced the troop leader’s actions in refusing the boy access.

“Every girl that is a Girl Scout is a Girl Scout because her parent or guardian brings her to us and says, ‘I want my child to participate,’” Ferland stated at the time. “And I don’t question whether or not they’re a girl.” 

Western Washington Girl Scouts current program brochures show that gender ideology is woven right into the council’s programming for girls, with promotion found right in the council’s workshops:

SafeZone for Girl Scouts Sat, May 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tacoma Learn how you can become an ally and advocate for your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) peers. Includes activities and discussion around: inclusive language, the process of coming out, the power of the straight ally, how to respond to homophobic/trans-phobic incidents, where to go for help and much more. Bring lunch.

Girl Scouts and radical feminism

For years, pro-family leaders have raised alarms about partnerships and programs that indicate that the Girl Scouts have moved toward embracing a radical feminist identity.

As far back as 2004 a U.S Catholic Bishop intervened when a Girl Scout-Planned Parenthood partnership threatened young girls. 

Then-Austin Bishop Gregory Aymond warned local Catholics not to sign their children up for Planned Parenthood’s “Nobody’s Fool,” a sex-ed campaign designed for pre-pubescent children which had been integrated into the local Girl Scouts.

A survey, also from 2004, found that many Girl Scouts councils were partnering with Planned Parenthoood in some fashion. 

In 2010 the Girl Scouts were found to be pushing a radical agenda on its young members with Planned Parenthood given access to distribute an explicit ‘sex guide’ at a closed-door, no-adults-welcome meeting at the UN sponsored by the Girl Scouts.

Lincoln, Nebraska Bishop James Conley warned in 2011 as auxiliary bishop of Denver that involvement in the Girl Scouts could serve to make girls more open to the pro-abortion agenda.

Roughly 90 Girl Scouts of Northern California members and their families marched in San Francisco’s 2013 Gay Pride Parade. 

"The San Francisco Girl Scouts participate in many parades that celebrate the diversity of San Francisco," Girl Scouts of Northern California Communications Manager Dana Allen told LifeSiteNews at the time. "Girl Scouts is inclusive and reflects the communities we serve."

A sexuality-based Girl Scout troop was started earlier this year in Utah aimed at gay and lesbian families and boys who consider themselves “transgender.” It meets at the Utah Pride Center.

"As long as a youth identifies as a girl or with girls, even if they are genderfluid on the day that they registered, then they can become a Girl Scout," Shari Solomon-Klebba, the Utah Girl Scout outreach coordinator, and an open lesbian who started the troop, told a local news station at the time.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged caution last year in engaging with the Girl Scouts after conducting a two-year examination of the scouts. That study identified concerns about several Girl Scouts USA policies, affiliations and structural weaknesses.

Girl Scout alternatives

The representatives of two organizations for girls frequently considered a Christ-centered alternative to the Girls Scouts told LifeSiteNews this latest incident with the Western Washington Scouts underscores the need for other options for families and their children.

“There has been a huge cultural shift in redefining life-long truths that have many families carefully considering their youth program options. American Heritage Girls has often been regarded as a Christian-based alternative to the Girl Scouts,” American Heritage Girls National Communications Specialist Jennifer Troutman said.

American Heritage Girls marked its 20th anniversary this past week. There are more than 40,000 members within the organization.

“Now more than ever American Heritage Girls recognizes the importance of bringing Christ-centered, character development programming to girls across the nation.”  

The head of Little Flowers Girls’ Club concurred.

“I feel very blessed that we can offer an authentically Catholic alternative to Girl Scouts,” Joan Stromberg told LifeSiteNews.

Little Flowers started over 20 years ago, not as a reaction against what Girl Scouts were doing, or where they are now, Stromberg said, but as a way to help moms and girls bond together to learn about the world through a Catholic lens.

“It is sad that Girl Scouts policies and positions have put them in direct conflict with Church teachings,” Stromberg continued. “I am just pleased that girls and moms have alternative places like Little Flowers where they can go.”

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