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.”

Red alert! Only 3 days left.

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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!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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