Commentary Magazine


Topic: abortion

The Lethal Compassion of Modern Liberalism

The Philadelphia abortionist, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was found guilty Monday of murdering three babies born alive in an abortion clinic. (Gosnell severed the necks of the newborn babies.) He was acquitted in the fourth baby’s death, and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of an adult patient. 

Planned Parenthood applauded the verdict. “The jury has punished Kermit Gosnell for his appalling crimes.” 

The abortion rights organization should have stopped there. But it didn’t.

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The Philadelphia abortionist, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was found guilty Monday of murdering three babies born alive in an abortion clinic. (Gosnell severed the necks of the newborn babies.) He was acquitted in the fourth baby’s death, and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of an adult patient. 

Planned Parenthood applauded the verdict. “The jury has punished Kermit Gosnell for his appalling crimes.” 

The abortion rights organization should have stopped there. But it didn’t.

“This verdict will ensure that no woman is victimized by Kermit Gosnell ever again,” said Planned Parenthood spokesman Eric Ferrero. “This case has made clear that we must have and enforce laws that protect access to safe and legal abortion, and we must reject misguided laws that would limit women’s options and force them to seek treatment from criminals like Kermit Gosnell.”

So what’s missing from this Planned Parenthood statement? That’s right: any reference to the murdered infants. Because in the disturbing and distorted world of Planned Parenthood, murdered infants cannot be mentioned, even in the case of an abortion doctor who is convicted of murdering three of them.

One can see how the Gosnell trial has complicated life for those in the abortion industry. They know that Gosnell’s actions are morally repellant–yet Planned Parenthood cannot utter a single word of sympathy for the murdered infants. So the solution is to applaud the verdict but ignore the lethal actions that led to the verdict.

Planned Parenthood’s commitment to abort any child, for any reason, at any point in pregnancy (or post-delivery) is simply unshakeable. The organization seems to view abortion like a secular sacrament, as a demonstration of emancipation. There is something quite twisted in all this. And it tells you a great deal about Barack Obama that he is so impressed with the lethal work of Planned Parenthood that he is the first sitting president to address the group. And why not? As a state senator in Illinois Mr. Obama opposed legislation that would grant legal protection to a newborn child that had been marked for abortion but survived.

Of course, a story like this shouldn’t obscure the fact that liberalism is the philosophy that defends the weak, the vulnerable, and the defenseless. Except for when it comes to snipping the necks of newborn children.

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Gosnell Verdict Isn’t the End of This Story

We can all breathe a little easier this evening knowing that justice triumphed at the trial of Kermit Gosnell. A Philadelphia jury found the abortionist guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for his killing of three infants who were born alive after botched abortions. He was also convicted of a count of involuntary manslaughter for the death of one of his patients as well as more than 200 other charges involving conducting illegal late-term abortions or not observing the mandatory waiting period before performing the procedure. The 71-year-old doctor will now face the sentencing phase of his trial, as the court will decide whether he gets the death penalty or a lengthy prison term.

The trial closes one chapter in the story of this one doctor and the butchery committed at the clinic he ran. But there is more to this controversy than the fate of one person convicted of monstrous crimes. The national media had to be shamed into covering a case that showed the country the dark side to abortion that has rarely been discussed in the decades since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion. Abortion rights supporters have argued that this is an isolated case and demonstrates the need for support for better health care choices for women. But the question hanging over the country today is whether there are other places where doctors are performing dangerous late-term abortions resulting in similar atrocities.

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We can all breathe a little easier this evening knowing that justice triumphed at the trial of Kermit Gosnell. A Philadelphia jury found the abortionist guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for his killing of three infants who were born alive after botched abortions. He was also convicted of a count of involuntary manslaughter for the death of one of his patients as well as more than 200 other charges involving conducting illegal late-term abortions or not observing the mandatory waiting period before performing the procedure. The 71-year-old doctor will now face the sentencing phase of his trial, as the court will decide whether he gets the death penalty or a lengthy prison term.

The trial closes one chapter in the story of this one doctor and the butchery committed at the clinic he ran. But there is more to this controversy than the fate of one person convicted of monstrous crimes. The national media had to be shamed into covering a case that showed the country the dark side to abortion that has rarely been discussed in the decades since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion. Abortion rights supporters have argued that this is an isolated case and demonstrates the need for support for better health care choices for women. But the question hanging over the country today is whether there are other places where doctors are performing dangerous late-term abortions resulting in similar atrocities.

While prosecutors brought evidence about seven murdered infants in the last several years, there is no telling how many might have died in the last 30 years during which the doctor masqueraded as a pillar of society. Pennsylvania’s failure to stop Gosnell is in a way similar to the media’s failure to pay sufficient attention to the issue until quite recently. Just as many journalists feared that highlighting Gosnell would boost the right-to-life movement, pro-choice governors of the state and other officials de-emphasized regulations of such clinics because they feared too much scrutiny of the abortion industry would be interpreted as an attempt to restrict women’s choices.

What we now need to know is whether this lack of scrutiny has enabled this industry to erase the line between early abortions that may have majority support and legal protection and late-term procedures that border on, if not cross over into, infanticide. That is especially true since medical science now makes it possible for premature infants to survive long after they would have been written off when Roe v. Wade was decided.

Supporters of abortion rights may regret the fact that Gosnell has given a new impetus to their pro-life opponents. But the reason that may be true is that perhaps for the first time since Roe, we have glimpsed a disturbing vision of what abortion can mean. Instead of being able to argue that legalization ended back-alley abortions where women were victimized by quacks, Gosnell has shown that Roe brought us exactly that situation, only this time with the imprimatur of the law up until just three years ago when agents investigating the sale of illegal drugs at the clinic (for which Gosnell will go on trial in the fall) stumbled into his house of horrors.

Let’s remember that a Planned Parenthood official testified in Florida earlier this year against a bill that would have required doctors to come to the assistance to babies born as the result of botched abortions and said the issue was one of choice rather than obligation. Gosnell seemed to think he was being paid to kill infants and remains puzzled as to what the fuss is about.

While it is unlikely that Gosnell will lead to a reversal of Roe, what it ought to do is to light a fire under health authorities across the nation to see what is going on at abortion clinics under their jurisdiction. We can hope that their efforts will show that Gosnell is an exception, but there is good reason to fear they will find he isn’t the only person making a living terminating pregnancies that have crossed the line into infanticide.

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Which Lives Matter to the Media

Last month, the American media had a brief moment of accountability when many in the press and broadcast networks acknowledged that they had largely ignored the case of Kermit Gosnell. The trial of the murderous Philadelphia abortionist flew below the radar for weeks. But some journalists were willing to fess up to the fact that their lack of interest in a sensational crime had something to do with their lack of comfort in discussing a case that might throw a shadow on an issue most in the media see as pitting an enlightened advocacy of “choice” against an unreasoned support of “life,” even when it comes to late-term procedures. But after a brief spurt of interest in Gosnell, the broadcast networks and the newspapers have reverted to form, and with the wait for the verdict in Philadelphia have once again lost their interest.

Perhaps that is understandable. But anyone who watches a lot of cable news, as I do, can’t help but contrast the Gosnell blackout with the enormous coverage accorded to other criminal trials. The Jodi Arias murder case has pretty much taken over CNN’s Headline News channel and has gotten the lion’s share of attention on most of the other networks as well. The publication of a new book by Amanda Knox, who was convicted and then exonerated in an Italian murder case, has also garnered for her efforts to fight a retrial and potential extradition the sort of attention Gosnell never received.

Why should that be? The answer is obvious. Both of these murder trials involve sex and young white women. Gosnell’s crimes were committed against African-American women—the one he is accused of killing was an African immigrant—and defenseless babies just plucked from the womb, not unfaithful lovers. The networks understand that the Arias and Knox cases will attract viewers while they fear too much about Gosnell will turn them off. But before we let the media off the hook for bias and merely indict it for profiteering, it’s important to think about what this preference says about both them and their audience.

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Last month, the American media had a brief moment of accountability when many in the press and broadcast networks acknowledged that they had largely ignored the case of Kermit Gosnell. The trial of the murderous Philadelphia abortionist flew below the radar for weeks. But some journalists were willing to fess up to the fact that their lack of interest in a sensational crime had something to do with their lack of comfort in discussing a case that might throw a shadow on an issue most in the media see as pitting an enlightened advocacy of “choice” against an unreasoned support of “life,” even when it comes to late-term procedures. But after a brief spurt of interest in Gosnell, the broadcast networks and the newspapers have reverted to form, and with the wait for the verdict in Philadelphia have once again lost their interest.

Perhaps that is understandable. But anyone who watches a lot of cable news, as I do, can’t help but contrast the Gosnell blackout with the enormous coverage accorded to other criminal trials. The Jodi Arias murder case has pretty much taken over CNN’s Headline News channel and has gotten the lion’s share of attention on most of the other networks as well. The publication of a new book by Amanda Knox, who was convicted and then exonerated in an Italian murder case, has also garnered for her efforts to fight a retrial and potential extradition the sort of attention Gosnell never received.

Why should that be? The answer is obvious. Both of these murder trials involve sex and young white women. Gosnell’s crimes were committed against African-American women—the one he is accused of killing was an African immigrant—and defenseless babies just plucked from the womb, not unfaithful lovers. The networks understand that the Arias and Knox cases will attract viewers while they fear too much about Gosnell will turn them off. But before we let the media off the hook for bias and merely indict it for profiteering, it’s important to think about what this preference says about both them and their audience.

It should be conceded that the focus on Arias rather than Gosnell stems in no small measure from the fact that her trial is being captured on camera in Arizona while his is not being filmed. As for Knox, her tale is the sort of saga that resonates with the vast majority of Americans who know little of the world and fear being subjected to foreign jurisdictions.

But as both the Arias and Gosnell trials wind up, with Knox waiting to see if she is re-tried, let’s understand that the obsession with the plight of young white women and the disdain that is accorded the fate of black women and babies tells us a lot about our national culture as well as the mindset of our media.

It may be that more TV viewers or even readers care about Jodi Arias or Amanda Knox than about Gosnell and his victims. If so, it says something about our attitudes about race as well as about our national appetite for titillating stories, and perhaps would lead some to say condemnations of the Gosnell near-blackout is simply a function of broadcast economics. But let’s be honest. If the media had invested a fraction of the energy it has invested in telling the story of Arias or similar stories into Gosnell, they might well have generated a surge of interest in the case and related issues.

Fear of going outside the audience’s comfort zone has not prevented many network shows from focusing on obesity or global warming or any other issue that isn’t about white women and sex. What the Gosnell case lacked was a commitment on the part of journalists to telling the story of his victims that has not been absent elsewhere. That’s why the claim that the decisions of producers, reporters and news readers on many stations are solely motivated by their audience’s preferences aren’t entirely credible. Maybe a lot of Americans don’t care much about the Gosnell victims because of their race and would prefer to fixate on accounts of crimes of passion. But don’t let anyone in the media who has ignored Gosnell, as most have, tell you that they don’t have the same mindset.

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Waiting for the Gosnell Verdict

The wait for the verdict in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell went on today as a jury continued to weigh the multitude of charges that the Philadelphia abortionist faces for butchering women and their babies. The case has gotten more attention in the mainstream media in recent weeks after conservative columnists lambasted it for ignoring a gruesome story that remains an embarrassment to the pro-choice side of the abortion debate. But it’s still unclear whether the country has even started to fully assimilate what these crimes mean about the state of health care for poor women in this country. Nor are many of us asking the big question that hangs over the Gosnell proceedings: how much of an aberration are the instances of infanticide that the testimony against the defendants revealed?

But there is one thing we know for sure. If Gosnell’s attorneys manage to convince a jury not to convict him, you can forget about any expectations that this case will lead to more scrutiny of clinics where late-term abortions are being conducted.

Abortion rights defenders are right to say that the charge that Gosnell’s crimes, which include the murder of infants born alive after botched abortions, should not be imputed to anyone else in what is a large sector of the health care industry. But the problem in Philadelphia is that due to a politically-motivated decision by a pro-choice Republican governor a decade ago, inspections of such clinics were shelved lest they be interpreted as an attempt to make abortions less available. But if a jury is persuaded that the Gosnell prosecution is about race or an attempt to roll back Roe v. Wade, the impulse in the media as well as among a political class that largely wishes to avoid entanglement in this issue will be to forget about it, allowing any other Gosnells out there to go on killing babies and mistreating their patients with impunity.

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The wait for the verdict in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell went on today as a jury continued to weigh the multitude of charges that the Philadelphia abortionist faces for butchering women and their babies. The case has gotten more attention in the mainstream media in recent weeks after conservative columnists lambasted it for ignoring a gruesome story that remains an embarrassment to the pro-choice side of the abortion debate. But it’s still unclear whether the country has even started to fully assimilate what these crimes mean about the state of health care for poor women in this country. Nor are many of us asking the big question that hangs over the Gosnell proceedings: how much of an aberration are the instances of infanticide that the testimony against the defendants revealed?

But there is one thing we know for sure. If Gosnell’s attorneys manage to convince a jury not to convict him, you can forget about any expectations that this case will lead to more scrutiny of clinics where late-term abortions are being conducted.

Abortion rights defenders are right to say that the charge that Gosnell’s crimes, which include the murder of infants born alive after botched abortions, should not be imputed to anyone else in what is a large sector of the health care industry. But the problem in Philadelphia is that due to a politically-motivated decision by a pro-choice Republican governor a decade ago, inspections of such clinics were shelved lest they be interpreted as an attempt to make abortions less available. But if a jury is persuaded that the Gosnell prosecution is about race or an attempt to roll back Roe v. Wade, the impulse in the media as well as among a political class that largely wishes to avoid entanglement in this issue will be to forget about it, allowing any other Gosnells out there to go on killing babies and mistreating their patients with impunity.

Even if, as even most objective observers insist, what happened at one clinic in West Philadelphia is unimaginable at Planned Parenthood clinics, this trial ought to cause Americans to begin thinking about whether a politically-motivated lack of concern has created an opening for other Gosnells. One of the most powerful arguments for legalized abortion was always the certainty that whether or not they were allowed under the law, such procedures would continue to be performed. But what we have learned from the Gosnell case is that the horrors of back-alley abortions didn’t end when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe.

Even more troubling is the talk we’ve heard recently from Planned Parenthood in which it was made clear that a) some in the group think giving medical care to infants born alive after abortions was optional and b) the horror stories emanating from the Gosnell office were not considered sufficiently shocking by local Planned Parenthood officials to report them to the authorities. If such reactions are possible, then it is far from unreasonable to conclude that a culture of indifference to human life, even when it has emerged from womb, may be operating on the margins of our health care system.

Let us pray that that whatever it is that happens to Kermit Gosnell, the gut-wrenching facts of this case are sufficiently publicized to cause enough Americans to do some soul-searching about what this trial says about the state of ethics and respect for human dignity in our country today.

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Obama’s Planned Parenthood Payoff

Even in an administration as skilled in manipulating the media as that of Barack Obama, there are still some things that are more greatly valued than a finely crafted piece of political spin. One of those is the need to pay back supporters for their efforts in the president’s re-election campaign. That’s why President Obama will be addressing Planned Parenthood in Washington on Friday. Given the prominent role that PP President Cecile Richards played last year as surrogate speaker for the president, and the organization’s central part in promoting the idea that Republicans were waging a “war on women,” Obama’s decision to speak at the event seems only natural. But the timing of his appearance at a Planned Parenthood conference couldn’t be worse.

The problem stems from the admission on the part of an official of the group’s Southeastern Pennsylvania affiliate reported last week by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Speaking with Gloria Steinem at the group’s annual Spring Gathering at Philadelphia’s Constitution Center, Dayle Steinberg said Planned Parenthood was aware of problems at the infamous abortion clinic operated by Kermit Gosnell:

Steinberg said that when Gosnell was in practice, women would sometimes come to Planned Parenthood for services after first visiting Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, and would complain to staff about the conditions there.

“We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,” Steinberg said as she sat with Steinem before Tuesday’s events.

While this doesn’t make the group responsible for the atrocities that were allegedly committed by Gosnell, it does raise questions as to why an organization avowedly dedicated to protecting the health of women chose not to take any action on its own or to investigate what was going on. As Wesley J. Smith noted at National Review yesterday, it does remind one of the old saying, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Coming as it does, in the aftermath of a damaging comment by a Florida Planned Parenthood official who thought whether clinic personnel should render medical assistance to a baby born as a result of a botched abortion was an open question, the comments about the ongoing Gosnell trial might have made the group politically toxic. But President Obama owes Planned Parenthood too much to pass on a chance to embrace them.

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Even in an administration as skilled in manipulating the media as that of Barack Obama, there are still some things that are more greatly valued than a finely crafted piece of political spin. One of those is the need to pay back supporters for their efforts in the president’s re-election campaign. That’s why President Obama will be addressing Planned Parenthood in Washington on Friday. Given the prominent role that PP President Cecile Richards played last year as surrogate speaker for the president, and the organization’s central part in promoting the idea that Republicans were waging a “war on women,” Obama’s decision to speak at the event seems only natural. But the timing of his appearance at a Planned Parenthood conference couldn’t be worse.

The problem stems from the admission on the part of an official of the group’s Southeastern Pennsylvania affiliate reported last week by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Speaking with Gloria Steinem at the group’s annual Spring Gathering at Philadelphia’s Constitution Center, Dayle Steinberg said Planned Parenthood was aware of problems at the infamous abortion clinic operated by Kermit Gosnell:

Steinberg said that when Gosnell was in practice, women would sometimes come to Planned Parenthood for services after first visiting Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic, and would complain to staff about the conditions there.

“We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,” Steinberg said as she sat with Steinem before Tuesday’s events.

While this doesn’t make the group responsible for the atrocities that were allegedly committed by Gosnell, it does raise questions as to why an organization avowedly dedicated to protecting the health of women chose not to take any action on its own or to investigate what was going on. As Wesley J. Smith noted at National Review yesterday, it does remind one of the old saying, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Coming as it does, in the aftermath of a damaging comment by a Florida Planned Parenthood official who thought whether clinic personnel should render medical assistance to a baby born as a result of a botched abortion was an open question, the comments about the ongoing Gosnell trial might have made the group politically toxic. But President Obama owes Planned Parenthood too much to pass on a chance to embrace them.

The increased coverage given the Gosnell trial as a result of criticism of the major media blackout of the story should have put Planned Parenthood in the cross hairs of the controversy after Steinberg’s statement. But the same outlets that were doing their best to ignore Gosnell are not saying much, if anything, about Steinberg’s admission. The reason for this is obvious, even for those who support abortion rights. While groups like Planned Parenthood assert that Gosnell’s crimes make the need for quality health care, such as the services they provide, even more important, the trial’s revelations about the cavalier way late-term abortions are carried out seems to make many people in the “pro-choice” community—a term that includes much of the media—uncomfortable.

Planned Parenthood retracted their Florida representative’s statement about babies born after attempted abortions and now they need to answer some questions about Gosnell. But none of this is likely to affect an Obama White House that sees the group as integral to their struggle to depict their opponents as hostile to women’s health care.

Whatever one may think about the charge that Republicans were waging a war on women (a canard that was boosted by the stupid comments of former Representative Todd Akin about abortion and rape), Steinberg’s statements give the impression that Planned Parenthood was indifferent to the war Kermit Gosnell was waging on women and babies at his West Philadelphia clinic. That might have caused a president less beholden to them to stay away from them. But the debt the president owes the group is far greater than any questions that might be asked about his presence at their event.

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Where Is the Promised Coverage of the Gosnell Trial?

The few straight news reporters covering the Kermit Gosnell case have all seemingly come to the same conclusion: It’s one of, if not the most, gripping trials they have ever witnessed. Last week, an uproar started by blogger Mollie Hemingway led many mainstream outlets to justify their non-coverage of the case and the trial. Some, including Slate‘s Dave Weigel, admitted that at least part of the reason for the lack of coverage is a pro-choice bias among most reporters who were dissuaded from an obviously newsworthy trial by the way this particular case undermines pro-abortion absolutism.

The Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff initially told Hemingway that she would not be covering the trial because it was a local crime story, off her beat as a national healthcare reporter. Hemingway, in response, produced a tally of all of the other “local crime stories” that Kliff deemed appropriate to cover, including the 2009 murder of abortionist George Tiller. After the crush of attention the New York Times and the Washington Post both agreed to send reporters to the trial and the media, who have been few in number throughout the trial thus far, reported on the presence of these mainstream reporters among their ranks. 

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The few straight news reporters covering the Kermit Gosnell case have all seemingly come to the same conclusion: It’s one of, if not the most, gripping trials they have ever witnessed. Last week, an uproar started by blogger Mollie Hemingway led many mainstream outlets to justify their non-coverage of the case and the trial. Some, including Slate‘s Dave Weigel, admitted that at least part of the reason for the lack of coverage is a pro-choice bias among most reporters who were dissuaded from an obviously newsworthy trial by the way this particular case undermines pro-abortion absolutism.

The Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff initially told Hemingway that she would not be covering the trial because it was a local crime story, off her beat as a national healthcare reporter. Hemingway, in response, produced a tally of all of the other “local crime stories” that Kliff deemed appropriate to cover, including the 2009 murder of abortionist George Tiller. After the crush of attention the New York Times and the Washington Post both agreed to send reporters to the trial and the media, who have been few in number throughout the trial thus far, reported on the presence of these mainstream reporters among their ranks. 

Two days ago on Hot Air Ed Morrissey posted a guest blog from a documentarian, Phelim McAleer, who decided to spend a few days in the media benches while visiting Philadelphia. McAleer told Hot Air readers:

I have covered the troubles in Northern Ireland and child trafficking in Indonesia and Romania. I have never come across a more sensational case. There is plenty of meat for the tabloid or the “serious” journalist. That they have mostly ignored it is part of the reason their industry is in decline.

McAleer discussed how few in number his fellow reporters were (just three locals) and how, despite the fact that this is likely one of the largest mass murders in American history, his notes on the trial will be one of the only records of the case outside of court documents. Yesterday, more news emerged on the trial’s progress. A local Philadelphia paper describes the theatrics between the prosecution, defense and the trial judge: 

“Based on the totality of the evidence . . . you cannot testify to anyone that this fetus was born alive?” Gosnell lawyer Jack McMahon asked Medical Examiner Sam Gulino.

“No I cannot,” replied Gulino.

Then Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron flipped around McMahon’s question: “Can you think of any reason why the neck was severed if that baby was not born alive?”

Again, Gulino agreed. McMahon tried to salvage his first answer, only to be interrupted by Cameron.

McMahon exploded in anger, but was topped by Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart.

“Mr. McMahon, behave yourself!” yelled Minehart. “Act like a lawyer.”

Lawyers and judges exploding in anger is something seen often on crime shows like Law & Order but which McAleer claims is, in real-life courtrooms, exceedingly rare. The testimony that followed helps explain why tensions have run high over the course of the trial: the details are horrific. Yesterday’s evidence centered on the dozens of human remains stored at the clinic, sometimes overflowing the toilets, complete with horrifying photographic evidence. The family of the adult victim, a 41-year-old woman, wept in the stands today listening to testimony. All of these details appeared yesterday in the local Philadelphia media.

After the media bias uproar started by Hemingway, which gained momentum on Thursday night, Americans were promised coverage of the trial, finally. So where is it? Reporting on the lack of media attention doesn’t count. The Post‘s Kliff has written a summary of the case for her readers, posted yesterday, who before then were completely unaware of the case if the Post is their only source of news. Late last night the Post‘s reporter on scene filed a story about the only adult victim Gosnell is on trial for murdering, a survivor of camps in Nepal which ran on page A2 of today’s edition of the paper. There was little mention of Gosnell’s alleged infant victims, but still, it’s a start. Where are the cable news stories and where are the dispatches on the graphic and gripping details from this week’s testimony from other national reporters on scene? 

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The Lethal Logic Behind the Abortion Rights Movement

Kirsten Powers wrote a powerful piece in USA Today on the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. (The 72-year-old Gosnell is charged with killing a woman patient and seven babies.) 

By all accounts Gosnell was a butcher of newborn, or about to be born, babies. The specifics are gruesome but probably necessary to comprehend the level of depravity we’re talking about. So here we go.

This account comes to us courtesy of delawareonline.com (h/t Allahpundit): 

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Kirsten Powers wrote a powerful piece in USA Today on the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. (The 72-year-old Gosnell is charged with killing a woman patient and seven babies.) 

By all accounts Gosnell was a butcher of newborn, or about to be born, babies. The specifics are gruesome but probably necessary to comprehend the level of depravity we’re talking about. So here we go.

This account comes to us courtesy of delawareonline.com (h/t Allahpundit): 

A Delaware woman who worked for Kermit Gosnell testified Tuesday that she was called back to a room at his abortion clinic in Philadelphia where the bodies of aborted babies were kept on a shelf to hear one screaming amid the bodies of aborted babies kept on a shelf….

“I can’t describe it. It sounded like a little alien,” [Sherry] West said, telling the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge and jury that the body of the child was about 18 to 24 inches long and was one of the largest babies she had seen delivered during abortion procedures at the Women’s Medical Society clinic….

West, who said she called aborted babies “specimens” because “it was easier to deal with mentally,” said a co-worker had called her back to the room that night because she did not know what to do. West said the baby’s eyes and mouth were not yet completely formed and it was lying on a glass tray on a shelf and she told the co-worker to call Gosnell and fled the room.

She later made it clear that she called it “a baby” in her testimony “because that is what it is.”

And this from NBC Philadelphia:

An unlicensed medical school graduate delivered graphic testimony about the chaos at a Philadelphia clinic where he helped perform late-term abortions.

Stephen Massof described how he snipped the spinal cords of babies, calling it, “literally a beheading. It is separating the brain from the body.” He testified that at times, when women were given medicine to speed up their deliveries, “it would rain fetuses. Fetuses and blood all over the place.”

About all this I wanted to make several points, the first of which is that this is the kind of brutality many people in the pro-life movement warned was at the end of the lethal logic behind the abortion rights movement. If we accept–and in some quarters, celebrate–abortion as a modern emancipation, you end up with people like Kermit Gosnell, who view an unborn child that has been targeted for abortion as marked for death even after birth. And before you dismiss Gosnell’s views as rare among those who champion abortion rights, consider the views of representatives of Planned Parenthood, an organization which (a) receives $500 million in government subsidies and (b) is the most conspicuous abortion rights group in America.

As George Will tells it:

Recently in Florida, Alisa LaPolt Snow, representing Florida Planned Parenthood organizations, testified against a bill that would require abortionists to provide medical care to babies who survive attempted abortions. Snow was asked: “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?” Snow replied: “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family and the physician.” She added, “That decision should be between the patient and the health care provider.” To this, a Florida legislator responded: “I think that at that point the patient would be the child struggling on a table. Wouldn’t you agree?”

As I said, there is a lethal logic at work here. 

In light of this, perhaps it’s worth reconsidering how absurd it is to portray those who oppose abortions as waging an imaginary “war on women” while ignoring the very real war on the unborn and the newborn.

Which brings us, finally, to the matter of media bias. As Powers points out, the elite press obsessed over Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke as a “slut”–a comment for which Limbaugh apologized–while they have paid almost no attention to the Gosnell trial. Perhaps it’s because the Limbaugh story allowed many journalists to zero in on someone they loathe while the Gosnell story poses a terribly inconvenient challenge to their sanitized, settled views on abortion. It complicates matters immensely when you have to make room in this discussion for the baby who suffers a severed neck before being aborted, doesn’t it? 

My guess is most journalists (and most people who consider themselves pro-choice) would not feel comfortable defending what Dr. Gosnell did, even if they can’t articulate where exactly (or why exactly) a line should be drawn that separates a woman’s right to choose and a baby’s right to live. Rather, I suspect they are avoiding the story because it demonstrates an undeniable fact: abortion is an act of violence against an unborn child.

It isn’t easy to defend such things. So why not just ignore them? Because that’s what journalists are supposed to do. Isn’t it?

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Why They Won’t Talk About Kermit Gosnell

In 2011, the journalist Mara Hvistendahl published Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, detailing the societal effects of sex-selective abortions that target women the world over and resulted in the absence of perhaps more than 100 million girls who by now should have been born. But Hvistendahl soon learned the downside to uncovering what many believe to be a shocking trend in human rights offenses: people will want to do something about it. And so she lashed out, declaring that “anti-abortion activists have been at work in a disingenuous game, using the stark reduction of women in the developing world” to argue for pro-life policies that could save those women.

Hvistendahl’s plaint recalled the incredible work of Edwin Black, most notably his book War Against the Weak, which detailed the role American eugenics played in the monstrous ethnic cleansing in Europe in the 20th century culminating in the Holocaust. One of the most important personalities in this terrible saga was the eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood. Yet like Hvistendahl, Black was concerned about the implications of what he had uncovered. In the introduction, he writes: “Opponents of a woman’s right to choose could easily seize upon Margaret Sanger’s eugenic rhetoric to discredit the admirable work of Planned Parenthood today; I oppose such misuse.”

But what Black and Hvistendahl betray in their defensiveness is an awareness that an ideology that supports unlimited (or practically unlimited) abortion has consequences, and those consequences are exacerbated immensely by the fact that the supposedly “progressive” practitioners of such an ideology resort to the denial of human life where it obviously exists. To dehumanize is to invite a world of trouble. And that world of trouble unfortunately empowers evil such as that displayed by the “doctor” Kermit Gosnell, who stands accused of using his Philadelphia abortion practice to provide what is essentially child execution by killing babies who survive an abortion procedure and are born alive.

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In 2011, the journalist Mara Hvistendahl published Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, detailing the societal effects of sex-selective abortions that target women the world over and resulted in the absence of perhaps more than 100 million girls who by now should have been born. But Hvistendahl soon learned the downside to uncovering what many believe to be a shocking trend in human rights offenses: people will want to do something about it. And so she lashed out, declaring that “anti-abortion activists have been at work in a disingenuous game, using the stark reduction of women in the developing world” to argue for pro-life policies that could save those women.

Hvistendahl’s plaint recalled the incredible work of Edwin Black, most notably his book War Against the Weak, which detailed the role American eugenics played in the monstrous ethnic cleansing in Europe in the 20th century culminating in the Holocaust. One of the most important personalities in this terrible saga was the eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood. Yet like Hvistendahl, Black was concerned about the implications of what he had uncovered. In the introduction, he writes: “Opponents of a woman’s right to choose could easily seize upon Margaret Sanger’s eugenic rhetoric to discredit the admirable work of Planned Parenthood today; I oppose such misuse.”

But what Black and Hvistendahl betray in their defensiveness is an awareness that an ideology that supports unlimited (or practically unlimited) abortion has consequences, and those consequences are exacerbated immensely by the fact that the supposedly “progressive” practitioners of such an ideology resort to the denial of human life where it obviously exists. To dehumanize is to invite a world of trouble. And that world of trouble unfortunately empowers evil such as that displayed by the “doctor” Kermit Gosnell, who stands accused of using his Philadelphia abortion practice to provide what is essentially child execution by killing babies who survive an abortion procedure and are born alive.

The details of Gosnell’s alleged actions are more than unpleasant; they are damned-near soul scarring. And they are coming out because he is on trial for them, because what he is accused of is murder.

You may not have heard much about Gosnell’s case. That’s because the mainstream press has chosen by and large to ignore it. There is no area of American politics in which the press is more activist or biased or unethical than social issues, the so-called culture wars. And the culture of permissive abortion they favor has consequences, which they would rather not look squarely at, thank you very much. The liberal commentator Kirsten Powers has written a tremendous op-ed in USA Today on Gosnell and the media blackout. Powers writes of the gruesome admissions that Gosnell’s former employees are making in court, some of which amount to “literally a beheading” and other stomach-turning descriptions. On the media’s refusal to inform the public, Powers writes:

A Lexis-Nexis search shows none of the news shows on the three major national television networks has mentioned the Gosnell trial in the last three months. The exception is when Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan hijacked a segment on Meet the Press meant to foment outrage over an anti-abortion rights law in some backward red state.

The Washington Post has not published original reporting on this during the trial and The New York Times saw fit to run one original story on A-17 on the trial’s first day. They’ve been silent ever since, despite headline-worthy testimony….

You don’t have to oppose abortion rights to find late-term abortion abhorrent or to find the Gosnell trial eminently newsworthy. This is not about being “pro-choice” or “pro-life.” It’s about basic human rights.

The media should be ashamed beyond description for this behavior. The American left should come to terms with what it means to talk about a human life as if it were a parasite, or merely a clump of cells. And they should most certainly stop lecturing the rest of us on compassion, on pity, on social obligation, on morality.

Powers is right when she says the alleged revelations about Gosnell “should shock anyone with a heart.” Which is precisely what the press is avoiding.

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Moral Presuppositions and Politics

In an essay that appears in a book he edited, Imaginative Apologetics, the theologian Andrew Davison tells about being in India and coming across a person with leprosy. As a Christian, he saw the leper and felt compassion and aided him, though much to the unease of Indians. It then struck him that those who believe in karma and reincarnation, as Hindus do, see a leper as someone atoning for past sins and doing what needs to be done for a future, and better, reincarnation. So they interpreted aiding the leper as doing something inappropriate.

Davison wrote, “We do not first see neutrally, and then interpret. The leper is seen as unfortunate, as someone upon whom to show pity, or seen as a miscreant, as someone to be reviled. Axioms operate at this very direct level as well as in more discursive reasoning.”

Professor Davison uses this illustration to show how our worldviews shape our interpretation of events and reality, to demonstrate how people can see the same situation and react to them in wholly different ways. 

This doesn’t mean there is no such thing as objective truth. I’m not post-modern enough to believe that reality is something that is simply shaped by, and objectionable actions can be simply excused by, interpretation. But Davison’s illustration can help civilize our politics just a bit. Let me explain what I mean.

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In an essay that appears in a book he edited, Imaginative Apologetics, the theologian Andrew Davison tells about being in India and coming across a person with leprosy. As a Christian, he saw the leper and felt compassion and aided him, though much to the unease of Indians. It then struck him that those who believe in karma and reincarnation, as Hindus do, see a leper as someone atoning for past sins and doing what needs to be done for a future, and better, reincarnation. So they interpreted aiding the leper as doing something inappropriate.

Davison wrote, “We do not first see neutrally, and then interpret. The leper is seen as unfortunate, as someone upon whom to show pity, or seen as a miscreant, as someone to be reviled. Axioms operate at this very direct level as well as in more discursive reasoning.”

Professor Davison uses this illustration to show how our worldviews shape our interpretation of events and reality, to demonstrate how people can see the same situation and react to them in wholly different ways. 

This doesn’t mean there is no such thing as objective truth. I’m not post-modern enough to believe that reality is something that is simply shaped by, and objectionable actions can be simply excused by, interpretation. But Davison’s illustration can help civilize our politics just a bit. Let me explain what I mean.

Most of us assume people see issues – abortion, same-sex marriage, gun control, higher taxes on top income earners, entitlement reform, illegal immigration, climate change, judicial originalism, criminal justice, enhanced interrogation techniques, drone strikes, the Iraq war, and many others – through essentially the same prism we do. But it’s rather more complicated than that. 

Our interpretative frame and intellectual and moral tropisms are the product of many factors. The philosopher Cornelius Van Til once said that there is no such thing as a brute fact. Our presumptions alter the way we interpret things, including justice. For example, if one views abortion entirely through the lens of a woman’s right to choose, then restricting abortions is a gratuitous offense. If one views abortion through the prism of the rights of an unborn child, on the other hand, then subsidizing abortion is a grave transgression.

Or take same sex marriage. Some believe championing gay marriage places one on the side of equality, tolerance, and human dignity, as heirs of the civil rights struggle. On the flip side, opponents of gay marriage often root their views in their understanding of male-female complementarity, procreation and the health of the institution of marriage. They are acting to defend what they believe are traditional and necessary social norms. The differences on this issue can be explained by reasons other than bigotry on the one hand or wanting to rip apart our social fabric on the other.

What happens is we tend to deny to those with whom we disagree any benefit of the doubt. We assume they see facts, events and justice just as we do, which makes their differing conclusions from us very nearly inexplicable. This in turn makes it easy to characterize one’s opponents as malignant. Only a cretin could hold views at odds with ours. See Paul Krugman’s attitude toward those who differ with him for more.

It really would help our political culture if we understood that every one of us has an imperfect angle on reality and that our presuppositions refract truth. That our perception of justice is always distorted, even just a little bit. All of us see through a glass darkly and know things only in part. 

That doesn’t mean that some people aren’t much closer than others to apprehending truth, beauty, and goodness. Nor do I believe for a moment that efforts at persuasion are fruitless. I just happen to believe that Professor Davison’s illustration is a good one to bear in mind from time to time. If we did, our politics might be characterized by a touch more grace, a bit less anger, and a little more sympathy. There are worse things in the world.

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Do Demographics Point to a Permanent Democratic Majority?

The inevitable narrative after a presidential election is that the losing side is on its way to extinction. In 2008, the argument was that the GOP had become a regional party of white southerners. We’re seeing a variation on that this time around, with the claim that Republicans can’t win an election because minorities and women are eclipsing the white male demographic:

The Los Angeles Times is leading the charge with a story headlined “Obama’s reelection marks a turning point in American politics: With the growing power of minorities, women and gays, it’s the end of the world as straight white males know it.”

Even more than the election that made Barack Obama the first black president, the one that returned him to office sent an unmistakable signal that the hegemony of the straight white male in America is over. …

Exit poll data, gathered from interviews with voters as they left their polling places, showed that Obama’s support from whites was 4 percentage points lower than in 2008. But he won by drawing on a minority-voter base that was 2 percentage points larger, as a share of the overall electorate, than four years ago.

The president built his winning coalition on a series of election-year initiatives and issue differences with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. In the months leading up to the election, Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, unilaterally granted a form of limited legalization to young illegal immigrants and put abortion rights and contraception at the heart of a brutally effective anti-Romney attack ad campaign. 

The result turned out to be an unbeatable combination: virtually universal support from black voters, who turned out as strongly as in 2008, plus decisive backing from members of the younger and fast-growing Latino and Asian American communities, who chose Obama over Romney by ratios of roughly 3 to 1. All of those groups contributed to Obama’s majority among women. (Gay voters, a far smaller group, went for Obama by a 54-point margin.)

There are two ways conservatives can respond to this analysis. One is to devolve into a Buchananite frenzy that the White Male is under siege and the country is being hijacked by minorities and women who are fundamentally at odds with the Republican Party. Not only is that unhelpful, it also buys into identity politics in a way that runs counter to the conservative and American message.

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The inevitable narrative after a presidential election is that the losing side is on its way to extinction. In 2008, the argument was that the GOP had become a regional party of white southerners. We’re seeing a variation on that this time around, with the claim that Republicans can’t win an election because minorities and women are eclipsing the white male demographic:

The Los Angeles Times is leading the charge with a story headlined “Obama’s reelection marks a turning point in American politics: With the growing power of minorities, women and gays, it’s the end of the world as straight white males know it.”

Even more than the election that made Barack Obama the first black president, the one that returned him to office sent an unmistakable signal that the hegemony of the straight white male in America is over. …

Exit poll data, gathered from interviews with voters as they left their polling places, showed that Obama’s support from whites was 4 percentage points lower than in 2008. But he won by drawing on a minority-voter base that was 2 percentage points larger, as a share of the overall electorate, than four years ago.

The president built his winning coalition on a series of election-year initiatives and issue differences with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. In the months leading up to the election, Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, unilaterally granted a form of limited legalization to young illegal immigrants and put abortion rights and contraception at the heart of a brutally effective anti-Romney attack ad campaign. 

The result turned out to be an unbeatable combination: virtually universal support from black voters, who turned out as strongly as in 2008, plus decisive backing from members of the younger and fast-growing Latino and Asian American communities, who chose Obama over Romney by ratios of roughly 3 to 1. All of those groups contributed to Obama’s majority among women. (Gay voters, a far smaller group, went for Obama by a 54-point margin.)

There are two ways conservatives can respond to this analysis. One is to devolve into a Buchananite frenzy that the White Male is under siege and the country is being hijacked by minorities and women who are fundamentally at odds with the Republican Party. Not only is that unhelpful, it also buys into identity politics in a way that runs counter to the conservative and American message.

Instead, why not challenge the notion that people vote primarily based on their allegiance to an identity group, rather than their individual interests? It’s supported by the statistics. While immigration is an important issue for Hispanic voters and can have a big influence on their vote, their biggest individual concern in 2012 was jobs and the economy. The same goes for women voters and abortion. 

Just look at the Jewish vote. The overarching issue that connects American Jews is Israel, but as a bloc they vote reliably for the party that has a weaker record on Israel because it is liberal on social issues.

The point is, people don’t always vote based on their primary identity interest. There are, however, group sensitivities that need to be considered. A Democratic politician who sounds like Tom Tancredo isn’t going to win over Hispanic voters, just like Jewish voters aren’t likely to support Charles Barron, no matter how liberal he is on abortion and welfare programs. 

It was these sensitivities that Obama exploited. He was able to use his presidency to indulge identity groups in small but concrete ways, while arguing that Romney would set back their interests if he were elected. Hence, the executive order on immigration, the “evolution” on gay marriage, the birth control insurance mandate, the auto bailout, and so on. This was helped along by Romney’s hard line on immigration during the primary, Romney’s inability to support gay marriage, controversial comments from Republicans about abortion, and Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout.  

But that strategy isn’t going to be as easy for Democrats in 2016. First, the Democratic candidates won’t be able to distribute these handouts before the election. And second, Republicans aren’t likely to give Democrats as many opportunities to demagogue them on immigration and women’s issues (at least not if they learned any lessons from this year).

Rather than pander to different groups, it’s more helpful to find common ground between identity groups and broader national interests. For example, the GOP isn’t going to become a pro-choice party anytime soon, and it doesn’t need to. The majority of Americans support restrictions on abortion to some degree — just not in cases of rape and incest. Pro-life politicians would be smart to focus on the former and steer clear of the latter. Even if they personally oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest, there’s no need to bring those controversial personal views into the policy debate. 

Tone is just as important here as policy. It didn’t matter that Romney wouldn’t have governed as a hardliner on immigration; Democrats were able to use his comments from the primary to portray him as anti-immigrant. And it didn’t matter how many times Romney’s campaign insisted he wouldn’t support an abortion ban — Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock set the tone for the entire party.

The only way the Democratic Party can keep its identity-based coalition together in 2016 is if Republicans give them enough fodder to do it.

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Romney’s Sister: He Would Never Ban Abortion

Mitt Romney’s sister, Jane Romney, probably didn’t do him any favors with values voters with her comments on abortion today. But give her credit for being one of the few campaign surrogates to speak about this issue honestly.

Republican leadership and the Romney campaign know a Romney administration isn’t going to be able to outlaw abortion even if it wanted to. But instead of just saying it outright, they usually just hem and haw around the issue (h/t Politico):

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Mitt Romney’s sister, Jane Romney, probably didn’t do him any favors with values voters with her comments on abortion today. But give her credit for being one of the few campaign surrogates to speak about this issue honestly.

Republican leadership and the Romney campaign know a Romney administration isn’t going to be able to outlaw abortion even if it wanted to. But instead of just saying it outright, they usually just hem and haw around the issue (h/t Politico):

Mitt Romney’s eldest sister, who has backed prominent Democrats for office and is Tampa showing support for her brother, had some reassuring words Wednesday for women concerned about the Republican Party’s hard line on abortion.

“He’s not going to be touching any of that,” she said. “It’s not his focus.”

Democratic warnings that abortion rights are under threat are an ungrounded fear tactic, Jane Romney said. “That’s what women are afraid of, but that’s conjured,” she said. “Personally, I don’t think abortion should be used as a football in the political arena.” …

A ban on abortion is “never going to happen” under a Romney administration, Jane Romney said. “Women would take to the streets. Women fought for our choice, we’re not going to go back.”

Republicans and Democrats are both equally to blame when it comes to misleading their bases on this issue. The Democrats pretend that a Romney victory would mean the end of legal abortion in America, and Republican leaders pretends that this notion isn’t completely insane. If a Bush-Cheney administration (and Republican-majority congress/conservative-majority Supreme Court) didn’t ban abortion, what are the chances a Romney-Ryan administration would?

Jane Romney is right, it’s not going to happen.

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Obama Ad Misses the Point on “Small Government”

“If you’re a conservative woman and believe in small government, then Barack Obama is your candidate because he’s keeping the government out of the decisions that should remain between you and God and you and your own conscience.” Those words are from a new ad from the Obama campaign–really–centered on women’s “rights.” In the ad, several self-described Republican women explain why, for the first time, they’re crossing the aisle to vote for Barack Obama: social issues.

Many of the women in the ad seem to misunderstand what the term “small government” means. Several mention the issue of birth control, now mandated by ObamaCare to be provided to women through their health insurance plans. This is the exact opposite of “small government” in action. The opposition to this provision to ObamaCare isn’t that Republicans or conservatives don’t believe in women taking birth control and wish to prevent them from doing so. Opponents of the provision are believers in the First Amendment, who do not wish to see their Catholic brethren forced to pay for something in direct opposition to their theology. Big government is forcing Catholic individuals, hospitals and businesses to violate their religious obligations.

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“If you’re a conservative woman and believe in small government, then Barack Obama is your candidate because he’s keeping the government out of the decisions that should remain between you and God and you and your own conscience.” Those words are from a new ad from the Obama campaign–really–centered on women’s “rights.” In the ad, several self-described Republican women explain why, for the first time, they’re crossing the aisle to vote for Barack Obama: social issues.

Many of the women in the ad seem to misunderstand what the term “small government” means. Several mention the issue of birth control, now mandated by ObamaCare to be provided to women through their health insurance plans. This is the exact opposite of “small government” in action. The opposition to this provision to ObamaCare isn’t that Republicans or conservatives don’t believe in women taking birth control and wish to prevent them from doing so. Opponents of the provision are believers in the First Amendment, who do not wish to see their Catholic brethren forced to pay for something in direct opposition to their theology. Big government is forcing Catholic individuals, hospitals and businesses to violate their religious obligations.

Another provision hotly opposed by conservatives in the ObamaCare bill is the issue of publicly funded abortions. The CT Mirror reports, “Starting in 2014, all health plans nationwide must cover certain essential health benefits, and each state will determine how far those minimum levels of coverage will go.” Already, some states have determined that abortion is an “essential health benefit” and have included them in the services that Americans will be forced to pay for through their insurance company premiums. Despite the fact that it is almost always an elective procedure (barring the rare times that they are performed to save the life of the mother), it is an incredible overreach of government power to mandate that Americans pay for a procedure that half consider against their beliefs. Nevertheless, these self-described small-government Republican women seem to believe that it is the role of the government to force their fellow Americans pay for their elective procedures, despite any moral or religious objections they might have.

This ad is yet another in a series of attempts from the Obama campaign to attempt to divert attention from the economy and the failed record of this administration on everything it has touched. It’ll be interesting to see if this tactic will succeed in distracting Americans from mounting debt, stalled unemployment, and an Iranian regime bent on nuclear weapons. Somehow, I doubt it.

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Platforms Are Meaningless Echo of the Past

One of the unfortunate consequences of the Todd Akin fiasco for Republicans has been the way the jaw-dropping stupidity of his comment about rape and pregnancy has been used to shine a spotlight on the party platform that will be adopted next week at their national convention in Tampa. Not surprisingly, the document contains a plank opposing abortion and does so in absolute terms without discussing any possible exceptions including for the life of the mother or rape. That is a position that many social conservatives hold but is probably not shared by most Republicans, even those who consider themselves pro-life. This plank will help liberals who will use it to bolster their fallacious claim that the GOP is fighting a “war on women” so as to distract voters from the failed record of President Obama. But the real misnomer here is not so much the disingenuous talking points of the Democrats as the assumption that a party platform has any real meaning in this day and age.

Like the national conventions themselves, platforms are a vestige of a bygone era when the candidates were actually chosen at these gatherings. In the past, platforms were a big deal with the committees tasked with writing the document holding public hearings and the debate and votes on the various planks were big news stories. They aren’t anymore–for a good reason. Though some people take a lot of trouble writing them, they are utterly meaningless. They are a convenient way to mollify party activists by giving them something to do that will be ignored even if their side wins in November. If the platform actually meant anything there might have been a fight about its language. The only people who pay attention to the platforms are researchers looking for ammunition to use against their opponents.

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One of the unfortunate consequences of the Todd Akin fiasco for Republicans has been the way the jaw-dropping stupidity of his comment about rape and pregnancy has been used to shine a spotlight on the party platform that will be adopted next week at their national convention in Tampa. Not surprisingly, the document contains a plank opposing abortion and does so in absolute terms without discussing any possible exceptions including for the life of the mother or rape. That is a position that many social conservatives hold but is probably not shared by most Republicans, even those who consider themselves pro-life. This plank will help liberals who will use it to bolster their fallacious claim that the GOP is fighting a “war on women” so as to distract voters from the failed record of President Obama. But the real misnomer here is not so much the disingenuous talking points of the Democrats as the assumption that a party platform has any real meaning in this day and age.

Like the national conventions themselves, platforms are a vestige of a bygone era when the candidates were actually chosen at these gatherings. In the past, platforms were a big deal with the committees tasked with writing the document holding public hearings and the debate and votes on the various planks were big news stories. They aren’t anymore–for a good reason. Though some people take a lot of trouble writing them, they are utterly meaningless. They are a convenient way to mollify party activists by giving them something to do that will be ignored even if their side wins in November. If the platform actually meant anything there might have been a fight about its language. The only people who pay attention to the platforms are researchers looking for ammunition to use against their opponents.

Liberals, like those who write the New York Times editorial page, who want to skewer the Republicans on abortion can harp about the language in the GOP platform because it has some symbolic importance. The Republican platform is very conservative just as the Democratic one is extremely liberal. But the idea that a party is somehow obligated or even likely to put the ideas in the document into practice is a fantasy. Presidents and congressional majorities have been ignoring party platforms for over a century. If they hadn’t, the U.S. Embassy in Israel would have been moved to Jerusalem decades ago. The 2012 Republican platform and its Democratic counterpart will be filed and forgotten as soon as the election is over, as has every one that went before it.

There have been memorable platform fights in the past. The 1968 Democratic Convention practically came to blows over the Vietnam War. But such disputes have always been a function of the bigger argument between rival presidential candidates whose backers would squabble over credentials and platform planks before getting down to deciding on a nominee. Since it has been 36 years since the last time when the identity of the nominee was still in doubt when a convention began (1976, when Gerald Ford edged out Ronald Reagan for the GOP nod), it has been almost as long since anybody bothered arguing much about a platform.

Today the conventions are merely scripted television shows rather than actual deliberative assemblies, a remnant of a once vibrant political tradition that is kept in place to provide a setting for a lengthy partisan infomercial. The platforms are denied even that dignity. While they may provide a talking point or two for partisans, anyone who spends much time arguing about them is wasting their time.

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Party of Distractions Gets Talking Point

For some reason, liberals want to make this an election about social issues. In their minds, it showcases a broad array of imagined Republican bigotry. What they don’t realize, as residents of the coasts, is that the American people aren’t with them. Most Americans know that being pro-life isn’t tantamount to waging a war on women — the majority of Americans are pro-life themselves. Every single time the issue of gay marriage has been put to public referendum, even in the deep blue state of California, it’s been voted down.

Liberals are happy to blame the failures of these ballot initiatives on almost anyone: Mormons, the owners and customers of Chick-fil-A, etc. What they won’t admit is the fact that Prop 8 was upheld in California because traditional, Church-going black voters, who already came out to the polls in droves to vote for Barack Obama, voted for it. The added benefit of making this an election about social issues for liberals is that the president has nothing else to run on. No record, no plans to save Medicare, Social Security, or the economy in general. It was determined at Obama HQ a long time ago that this would be an election of distractions, not ideas, not hope, and certainly not change.

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For some reason, liberals want to make this an election about social issues. In their minds, it showcases a broad array of imagined Republican bigotry. What they don’t realize, as residents of the coasts, is that the American people aren’t with them. Most Americans know that being pro-life isn’t tantamount to waging a war on women — the majority of Americans are pro-life themselves. Every single time the issue of gay marriage has been put to public referendum, even in the deep blue state of California, it’s been voted down.

Liberals are happy to blame the failures of these ballot initiatives on almost anyone: Mormons, the owners and customers of Chick-fil-A, etc. What they won’t admit is the fact that Prop 8 was upheld in California because traditional, Church-going black voters, who already came out to the polls in droves to vote for Barack Obama, voted for it. The added benefit of making this an election about social issues for liberals is that the president has nothing else to run on. No record, no plans to save Medicare, Social Security, or the economy in general. It was determined at Obama HQ a long time ago that this would be an election of distractions, not ideas, not hope, and certainly not change.

Yesterday’s comments by Rep. Todd Akin played right into Obama’s (and Claire McCaskill’s) hands. They gave the Obama camp talking points that they can focus on for days, if not weeks. They also ensured that Democrats would hold onto a Senate seat that was in very serious jeopardy just two days ago.

In no uncertain terms, it’s clear that Akin’s comments were insulting on several levels. They insinuate that women who become pregnant as a result of rape weren’t “legitimately” raped (i.e.: they’re lying about the rape). They also show just how ignorant of basic biology Akin is. According to his logic, if women’s bodies had the ability to “shut down” and prevent pregnancy, there would have never been an unplanned pregnancy in the history of humanity. He’s now claimed to have “misspoken” and as John wrote earlier, it’s time for him to step down so that Missouri Republicans have a prayer for winning the seat.

The liberal media orchestra will, no doubt, play whatever sheet music the left hands them, keeping the story alive for several news cycles. Vice President Biden’s comments about Republicans wanting to put a largely African American crowd “back in chains” will disappear, written off as a gaffe. A good deal more attention will be paid to the statements from Akin, a member of Congress running for a Senate seat in Missouri. His statements, unlike Biden’s, will not be deemed a gaffe, but will instead be described as a feeling shared by all Republicans in their ongoing War on Women. The media’s hypocrisy is on full display, as they are on one hand outraged over idiotic statements about rape, while they were silent about actual rapes and coverups that took place in Occupy Wall Street camps across the country during the movement’s heyday.

Many are worried that the comments will sink the stock of the whole Republican Party. If Republicans repudiate not just Akin’s comments and the misogyny behind them, Americans will realize that one House member does not speak for the entire GOP. As Alana reported this morning, the Romney camp has already and unequivocally rejected Akin’s comments flat out. If the liberal mainstream media continues to obsess about Akin’s remarks, ignoring the imminent bankruptcy of Europe, American persistent unemployment and mounting debt and a looming conflict with Iran, the American people will take notice of the distraction. They will realize that the media furor surrounding his remarks is crowding out an honest discussion on the real issues facing our country at a turning point in our history. While this may give Democrats a bump (outside of Missouri) in the short term, it will once again show them to be the party of distractions, not of ideas.

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Romney Camp Rejects Akin’s Abortion Comment

PJ Media’s Rick Moran had it right when he said this is one of the “most ignorant and damaging” comments he’s ever heard from a politician. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s statement that women can’t get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape” is beyond offensive, and it’s hard to see how Akin possibly survives this. The Romney campaign, to its credit, denounced it immediately:

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.

Earlier Sunday, Akin said he “misspoke” when he claimed “legitimate rape” rarely resulted in pregnancy.

Answering a question about whether or not he thought abortion should be legal in the case of rape, Akin explained his opposition by citing unnamed bodily responses he said prevented pregnancy. …

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin continued. He did not provide an explanation for what constituted “legitimate rape.”

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PJ Media’s Rick Moran had it right when he said this is one of the “most ignorant and damaging” comments he’s ever heard from a politician. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s statement that women can’t get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape” is beyond offensive, and it’s hard to see how Akin possibly survives this. The Romney campaign, to its credit, denounced it immediately:

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.

Earlier Sunday, Akin said he “misspoke” when he claimed “legitimate rape” rarely resulted in pregnancy.

Answering a question about whether or not he thought abortion should be legal in the case of rape, Akin explained his opposition by citing unnamed bodily responses he said prevented pregnancy. …

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin continued. He did not provide an explanation for what constituted “legitimate rape.”

There’s an ongoing dialogue within the pro-life community over whether or not abortion is acceptable in certain instances, but Akin’s argument is so medically ignorant and absurd that it doesn’t even warrant debate. Not only did Akin poison his own political campaign, he also gave Democrats ammunition to portray the entire Republican Party as anti-women. The Romney campaign denounced Akin immediately, but don’t be surprised if his remarks show up in a Planned Parenthood or super PAC general election ad anyway.

The entire dustup did, however, produce some substantive news. It forced the Romney campaign to clarify that it doesn’t support an abortion ban in cases of rape, contrary to what the Obama campaign has alleged.

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Campaign to Demonize Ryan Won’t Work

The Democratic effort to change Paul Ryan’s image from one of a choirboy intellectual to a monster threatening the rights of women is in full swing. As Politico reports, liberals are concentrating their fire not so much on the Republican vice presidential candidate’s plan to reform entitlements as on his part in the faux Republican “war on women” that they launched earlier this year. Instead of Ryan pushing granny off the cliff as part of the Mediscare smear, we’re likely to hear a lot more in the coming weeks about Ryan’s stand on abortion and efforts to depict his budget proposal as hurting women. But the question liberals need to be asking themselves today is not just if these sort of attacks will work but whether they might backfire with a crucial constituency the Democrats need desperately if President Obama is to be re-elected.

The primary obstacle to the Ryan demonization campaign is that it is difficult to whip up hatred for someone who is basically likeable. Ryan’s thought-provoking proposals are controversial because he isn’t afraid to take on hard issues and prescribe bold solutions to seemingly intractable problems. But politics is about personalities and the idea that a person like Ryan, whom has always been described even by his political foes as reasonable, cordial and respectful, can be transformed into a sinister figure is a stretch. It’s certainly not going to be accomplished by hysterical appeals from the left-wing groups or snarky columns by the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd who today wrote of the GOP veep candidate as a Catholic version of arch villain Dick Cheney. The utility of this sort of cheap bile may be to rile up the liberal base. Yet the more Democrats go down this road, the danger is that they will not so much rally women to their cause as they will alienate working class Catholics, a demographic group that Democrats need to win elections.

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The Democratic effort to change Paul Ryan’s image from one of a choirboy intellectual to a monster threatening the rights of women is in full swing. As Politico reports, liberals are concentrating their fire not so much on the Republican vice presidential candidate’s plan to reform entitlements as on his part in the faux Republican “war on women” that they launched earlier this year. Instead of Ryan pushing granny off the cliff as part of the Mediscare smear, we’re likely to hear a lot more in the coming weeks about Ryan’s stand on abortion and efforts to depict his budget proposal as hurting women. But the question liberals need to be asking themselves today is not just if these sort of attacks will work but whether they might backfire with a crucial constituency the Democrats need desperately if President Obama is to be re-elected.

The primary obstacle to the Ryan demonization campaign is that it is difficult to whip up hatred for someone who is basically likeable. Ryan’s thought-provoking proposals are controversial because he isn’t afraid to take on hard issues and prescribe bold solutions to seemingly intractable problems. But politics is about personalities and the idea that a person like Ryan, whom has always been described even by his political foes as reasonable, cordial and respectful, can be transformed into a sinister figure is a stretch. It’s certainly not going to be accomplished by hysterical appeals from the left-wing groups or snarky columns by the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd who today wrote of the GOP veep candidate as a Catholic version of arch villain Dick Cheney. The utility of this sort of cheap bile may be to rile up the liberal base. Yet the more Democrats go down this road, the danger is that they will not so much rally women to their cause as they will alienate working class Catholics, a demographic group that Democrats need to win elections.

Liberals always think waving the bloody shirt of the culture war works to their advantage. That’s because everyone in the circles in which they move view Americans who share Ryan’s views in the same way that candidate Barack Obama did in 2008 when he candidly dismissed them as proles “clinging to guns and their religion.” But just as President Obama is smart enough to understand that advocating restrictions on gun ownership is a political death wish in which in which the vast majority oppose such proposals, his media cheerleaders should not deceive themselves into thinking that the electorate will turn on a politician merely because he is a social conservative.

The attacks on Ryan are politically tone deaf because it is not enough to merely target a man’s views to get voters to put them down as an extremist. Those attacks must be linked to something in the candidate’s personality, demeanor or record that strikes the public as disqualifying. But in Ryan, Democrats are confronted by a person with a positive vision, intellectual depth and integrity and a nice personal touch that has been able to transcend partisan differences both in Congress and in his Wisconsin Congressional district where he has consistently won the support of Democrats and independents. Negative ads can be useful but in Ryan, Democrats may be confronting a target that is just too smart and too appealing to besmirch with impunity. Nor can they be sure that by doing so they are not hurting their party with Catholics who might otherwise be enticed to back Obama in November.

The Paul Ryan who toured Florida this week with his 78-year-old Medicare recipient mother is not one that will be so easily trashed as a threat to old people. Expecting female voters to fall in lockstep with Obama merely by screaming about abortion may be equally futile.

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What the Media Got Wrong Yesterday

Mary Katharine Ham catches several media distortions about Paul Ryan yesterday, including the misleading claim that Ryan voted to ban abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. In fact, Ryan was one of more than 60 co-sponsors of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which doesn’t technically ban anything. As Ramesh Ponnuru explains, the act simply affirms the right of state legislatures to protect unborn life. The question of how to act on that right is up to the individual legislatures:

The first item: “He supports the Sanctity of Human Life Act (emphasis in original). Odell wrote that the bill “seeks to ban all abortions, including in instances of rape and incest.” Ryan may, for all I know, believe that abortion should be illegal with exceptions only to save a mother’s life. But has he really co-sponsored a bill to effect this policy? No. The bill declares that fertilization marks the beginning of a human life and then “affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.” In other words, it doesn’t ban anything: It merely affirms that legislatures have the authority to protect unborn life. If Odell wishes to argue that a legislature moved by the convictions of the bill must, to be consistent, ban abortion with no exceptions for rape and incest, she can do so. It’s not in the bill.

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Mary Katharine Ham catches several media distortions about Paul Ryan yesterday, including the misleading claim that Ryan voted to ban abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. In fact, Ryan was one of more than 60 co-sponsors of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which doesn’t technically ban anything. As Ramesh Ponnuru explains, the act simply affirms the right of state legislatures to protect unborn life. The question of how to act on that right is up to the individual legislatures:

The first item: “He supports the Sanctity of Human Life Act (emphasis in original). Odell wrote that the bill “seeks to ban all abortions, including in instances of rape and incest.” Ryan may, for all I know, believe that abortion should be illegal with exceptions only to save a mother’s life. But has he really co-sponsored a bill to effect this policy? No. The bill declares that fertilization marks the beginning of a human life and then “affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.” In other words, it doesn’t ban anything: It merely affirms that legislatures have the authority to protect unborn life. If Odell wishes to argue that a legislature moved by the convictions of the bill must, to be consistent, ban abortion with no exceptions for rape and incest, she can do so. It’s not in the bill.

Here is the text of the actual bill:

  1. In the exercise of the powers of the Congress, including Congress’ power under article I, section 8 of the Constitution, to make necessary and proper laws, and Congress’ power under section 5 of the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States–
  • (1) the Congress declares that–
    1. (A) the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; and
      (B) the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and
  • (2) the Congress affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.

The act is an affirmation of when life begins, but it leaves the enforcement and specifics up to the state legislatures (or, up to subsequent acts by Congress).

But the media coverage wasn’t all bad yesterday. As Guy Benson notes, Wolf Blitzer shredded Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s claim that Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform plan wouldn’t exempt people over the age of 55:

DWS has no defense on this, short of outright lying, which she valiantly attempts to do before getting swatted down by Blitzer. Democrats know that Ryan’s proposed Medicare reform wouldn’t go into effect for anyone over the age of 55 — but if they acknowledge that, then the Mediscaring in Florida becomes far less effective. That’s why DWS dug in so hard on this. In the end, she finally had to admit the truth; but let’s see how many in the media call her on it if she continues to distort Ryan’s plan.

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Ryan’s Social Views No Burden to GOP

The assumption among liberals is that the more the public learns about Paul Ryan, the easier it will be to brand him (in the words of Obama campaign honcho David Axelrod) as a “certifiable right-wing ideologue.” The core of that strategy is the belief liberals can demonize Ryan’s budget and his effort to reform entitlements. But another aspect of it is the notion that the Republican vice presidential candidate’s social conservatism is also an easy target. As a New York Times article details, Ryan is pro-life, an opponent of gay marriage and opposes the federal mandate that all employers must be compelled to pay for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs even if it contradicts their religious scruples. The assumption is that the mere listing of these positions that so offend liberal orthodoxy will ensure the defeat of the Republicans.

But as Politico notes today, as much as Ryan helps energize the conservative base behind a Romney candidacy about which they were lukewarm, placing the articulate congressman from Wisconsin on the ticket also helps put the votes of Catholics who are independents or conservative Democrats into play. While those who look to the editorial page of the New York Times for guidance may be outraged about Ryan’s positions on social issues, the number of those voters — including those whose support might be up for grabs in November — who share his view of ObamaCare as well as on abortion, gay marriage and guns is far greater. Ryan’s impact on the working-class Catholic vote that helped make the difference for Barack Obama in some states four years ago is a factor that many analysts are underestimating.

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The assumption among liberals is that the more the public learns about Paul Ryan, the easier it will be to brand him (in the words of Obama campaign honcho David Axelrod) as a “certifiable right-wing ideologue.” The core of that strategy is the belief liberals can demonize Ryan’s budget and his effort to reform entitlements. But another aspect of it is the notion that the Republican vice presidential candidate’s social conservatism is also an easy target. As a New York Times article details, Ryan is pro-life, an opponent of gay marriage and opposes the federal mandate that all employers must be compelled to pay for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs even if it contradicts their religious scruples. The assumption is that the mere listing of these positions that so offend liberal orthodoxy will ensure the defeat of the Republicans.

But as Politico notes today, as much as Ryan helps energize the conservative base behind a Romney candidacy about which they were lukewarm, placing the articulate congressman from Wisconsin on the ticket also helps put the votes of Catholics who are independents or conservative Democrats into play. While those who look to the editorial page of the New York Times for guidance may be outraged about Ryan’s positions on social issues, the number of those voters — including those whose support might be up for grabs in November — who share his view of ObamaCare as well as on abortion, gay marriage and guns is far greater. Ryan’s impact on the working-class Catholic vote that helped make the difference for Barack Obama in some states four years ago is a factor that many analysts are underestimating.

While it is possible that Mediscare tactics will stampede some voters who would otherwise vote against the president’s re-election, the idea that independents will be scared away from a conservative because of his views on abortion is something of a liberal myth. Those who have no sympathy for Ryan’s pro-life views or disagree with his opposition to more restrictions on gun ownership were never going to vote for Romney anyway.

But, as much as this may surprise the editorial board of the New York Times, there are voters out there who will see the elevation of a faithful Catholic to the GOP ticket as motivation to vote for Romney. The proof of this is in the composition of the Democratic ticket. While Biden is a supporter of abortion, his role in mobilizing working-class Catholics behind Obama was widely acknowledged in 2008. Democrats may believe their push behind a “social justice” agenda will help them hold onto Catholic voters, but the ObamaCare mandate against religious freedom is the flaw in that theory.

As much as many Catholics may disagree with their church’s teaching on contraception, the spectacle of the government compelling religious institutions as well as individuals to choose between their consciences and obeying the federal mandate is one that hurts Obama. Far from Ryan’s social conservatism being a problem for the GOP, the ability of the veep nominee to make a strong case for both economic freedom and the principles of his upbringing is an undervalued asset in the election.

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The Liberal Mind and Parental Consent: New York State Edition

The State of New York wants to you be a better parent, and they’re legislating to make sure you know it. The state legislature is well-meaning, and also apparently has a bit too much time on its hands judging by several laws passed this early summer to make parenting teens a little bit easier.

The first law out of the legislature requires tattoo and body piercing parlors to obtain the written consent of parents before inking or piercing their children. The authors of the legislation explained:

Millions of teenagers get pierced each year and many experience adverse health effects from these piercings without their parents’ knowledge. The needles used can sometimes result in a severe viral infection and immense discomfort. It is important that parents understand these potential risks and that teens are proactive in retaining their parents’ or guardian’s consent to have such piercing done.

While many parlors already required written consent before working with a minor, this law, effective immediately, has now mandated it. Parental consent is not only suggested, but also now required before teenagers permanently mutilate themselves in New York State.

A second bill recently passed by the New York State legislature is also designed to protect your teenager from him or herself. It is now illegal for a youth 16 years of age or younger to enter a tanning booth, even with parental consent. The legislators who sponsored this bill wrote:

Advocates and professionals agree that excessive tanning, popularized by indoor tanning salons, has led to an increase in skin cancer and our youth are at the greatest risk. According to the American Cancer Society, the popularity of tanning salons has led to a 72 percent jump in incidences of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, from 1998 to 2008.

It appears that the New York State legislature believes that before a teen makes a life-altering and potentially dangerous decision regarding their bodies, they must first consult their parents or the state. Well, except in one area. New York teens are not required to request permission, or even inform, their parents of an abortion before or after obtaining it; at age 12 or 17, there is no distinction.

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The State of New York wants to you be a better parent, and they’re legislating to make sure you know it. The state legislature is well-meaning, and also apparently has a bit too much time on its hands judging by several laws passed this early summer to make parenting teens a little bit easier.

The first law out of the legislature requires tattoo and body piercing parlors to obtain the written consent of parents before inking or piercing their children. The authors of the legislation explained:

Millions of teenagers get pierced each year and many experience adverse health effects from these piercings without their parents’ knowledge. The needles used can sometimes result in a severe viral infection and immense discomfort. It is important that parents understand these potential risks and that teens are proactive in retaining their parents’ or guardian’s consent to have such piercing done.

While many parlors already required written consent before working with a minor, this law, effective immediately, has now mandated it. Parental consent is not only suggested, but also now required before teenagers permanently mutilate themselves in New York State.

A second bill recently passed by the New York State legislature is also designed to protect your teenager from him or herself. It is now illegal for a youth 16 years of age or younger to enter a tanning booth, even with parental consent. The legislators who sponsored this bill wrote:

Advocates and professionals agree that excessive tanning, popularized by indoor tanning salons, has led to an increase in skin cancer and our youth are at the greatest risk. According to the American Cancer Society, the popularity of tanning salons has led to a 72 percent jump in incidences of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, from 1998 to 2008.

It appears that the New York State legislature believes that before a teen makes a life-altering and potentially dangerous decision regarding their bodies, they must first consult their parents or the state. Well, except in one area. New York teens are not required to request permission, or even inform, their parents of an abortion before or after obtaining it; at age 12 or 17, there is no distinction.

Due to its permissive abortion laws, New York is the abortion capital of America (one out of ten abortions nationwide occur in the state), and New York Magazine reported in 2005: 

In absolute terms, there are more abortions performed on minors, more repeat abortions, and more late abortions (over 21 weeks) in New York City than anywhere else in the country. In parts of the city, the ratio of abortions to births is one to one.

Abortion is a medical procedure, and is certainly more invasive and carries more immediate risks than tattooing, piercing or artificial tanning. One would think the New York State legislature would see the mixed messages it sends parents, on the one hand mandating their approval in decisions regarding their children’s physical well-being, and on the other advocating for a child’s right to “privacy” above all else. This liberal double standard regarding abortion, however, will continue to go unnoticed by an equally liberal press and electorate.

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Planned Parenthood’s War on Girls

In a new James O’Keefe-style sting operation on Planned Parenthood, the pro-life organization Live Action set out to prove, and succeeded in doing so, that Planned Parenthood will help any woman abort their fetus for any reason, even the most reprehensible. In previous stings, Live Action caught Planned Parenthood employees accepting donations in order to reduce the number of African Americans born in the United States. This time around, they appear to show that not only will they help a woman abort at the last possible week in order to achieve the desired sex of the baby, but they’ll also give tips on how to manipulate Medicaid in order to do so.

Planned Parenthood, which counts on taxpayer dollars to fill one third of its operating budget, is no stranger to controversy about its questionable ethics and has again refused to apologize for them. The Huffington Post reports: 

This spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America also told The Huffington Post that the organization condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender, but its policy is to provide “high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into” its health centers. That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).
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In a new James O’Keefe-style sting operation on Planned Parenthood, the pro-life organization Live Action set out to prove, and succeeded in doing so, that Planned Parenthood will help any woman abort their fetus for any reason, even the most reprehensible. In previous stings, Live Action caught Planned Parenthood employees accepting donations in order to reduce the number of African Americans born in the United States. This time around, they appear to show that not only will they help a woman abort at the last possible week in order to achieve the desired sex of the baby, but they’ll also give tips on how to manipulate Medicaid in order to do so.

Planned Parenthood, which counts on taxpayer dollars to fill one third of its operating budget, is no stranger to controversy about its questionable ethics and has again refused to apologize for them. The Huffington Post reports: 

This spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America also told The Huffington Post that the organization condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender, but its policy is to provide “high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into” its health centers. That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).

In the same statement Planned Parenthood admits, “Within three days of this patient interaction, the staff member’s employment was ended and all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters.” They also claim that Live Action’s videos were edited and that a hoax was perpetrated on the Austin, Texas office. While the patient visit was indeed a “hoax” – the woman does not appear to be pregnant nor was she seeking a sex-selective abortion, Live Action has posted the entire transcript (albeit no full video) in an effort to quell claims the video was in any way altered. If the video was edited and the visit was a hoax as Planned Parenthood attests, why was the staff member immediately fired? While the organization’s supporters are trying to treat this incident as a provocation, the group still has a lot of explaining to do about its practices.

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