55. Lake of Fire (2006) [Not Rated]
summary from imdb.com:
A graphic documentary on the abortion debate.
written/directed by: Tony Kaye
a documentary featuring interviews with/footage of Norma McCorvey, Peter Singer, Alan Dershowitz, Randall Terry, Noam Chomsky, Nat Hentoff, Paul Hill, Douglas Kmiec, Pat Buchanan
green = transcribed quotes from the documentary
red = snippet of a review from a right-leaning source
blue = snippet of a review from a left-leaning source
purple = text from the documentary that’s shown on the screen
Instead, we get a lopsided parade of talking heads in which well-mannered, intellectual liberals (Noam Chomsky, Alan Dershowitz, Peter Singer) represent the pro-choice viewpoint and firebrand country bumpkin fundamentalists represent the pro-life side. Defenders of the film might point out that the brunt of screen time goes to Christians and pro-lifers, which is true. But the majority of time devoted to the “pro-life” contingent centers upon the fringe extremists who picket and sometimes bomb abortion clinics, and occasionally assassinate abortion doctors. This is the face of the pro-life movement, as represented in Lake of Fire.
[shot of an “Enjoy Life” billboard in an open field with birdies chirping]
written on screen: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
speaks: Douglas Kmiec, Professor of Constitutional Law
The state of South Dakota… has decided that they’re going to pass a statute… that literally echoes the kind of statute that existed prior to the decision on Roe versus Wade. It says that abortion is prohibited in all circumstances except where necessary to protect the life of the mother.
speaks: Leslee Unruh: President, National Abstinence Clearinghouse
Governor Mike Rounds was under incredible pressure… from not just in the state of South Dakota, but all over the world. He had emails and letters and pressure put on him. But Governor Mike Rounds did what he knew in his heart to be truth. And he did the right thing. And he stepped up to the plate and his name will go down in history as a great governor. And I believe that we need to set our standards higher in this nation and not just settle for a physical relationship, but have it be something that’s a heart-to-heart. And have it be not just about lust but have it be about love.
speaks: Representative Roger Hunt, Prime Sponsor, South Dakota Anti-Abortion Bill
You have to draw the conclusion that there is a very, very strong possibility that within the next three years, between now and the time that this piece of legislation would find itself on the benches of the members of the United States Supreme Court, that there will be an opportunity for President Bush to appoint another member to the United States Supreme Court. And given his selection process and the fact that he certainly supports the pro-life side of this issue, I think we have every reason to expect that President Bush would appoint another pro-life justice… which at that time would be five pro-life versus four pro-abortion.
The film begins with the South Dakota legislature passing legislation in 2006 that would ban abortion within the state except in cases to save the life of a pregnant woman. It passed in February of that year, was signed by the governor in March, and was rejected by the voters of South Dakota in November.
some pro-abortion girl:
I mean, what it… what it really breaks down to here for me is that abortion is part of a huge issue on both sides. But the difference between the pro-choice and the pro-life movements right now… is that the pro-choice movement is the only movement truly trying, or attempting, to decrease the need for abortion. It would be sense-making to say that birth control to… being accessible and affordable to people that want to prevent unwanted pregnancies would be crucial. But yet the pro-life movement is not only targeting abortion, but they’re targeting birth control, they’re equating birth control to abortion, especially emergency contraception. And then next, they go after sex education. So in the pro-life movement’s ideal, people do not have sex until marriage, nor do they know anything about pregnancy prevention, use birth control, or ever encounter any sexual trans… sexually transmitted diseases. It’s kind of amazing. So… I wish I could live there.
written on screen:
House Bill 1215 bans all abortion, including in cases of rape and incest, including cases that threaten the health of the mother; the only exception is if the mother’s survival itself is at risk, and even in those instances the doctor MUST “make reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child.”
Part 1: March for Life
John Burt: Someone that believes in God and has a relationship with Jesus Christ is going to Heaven and is going to live forever. Someone that does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ is going to burn in Hell forever. So either way, you’re going to live forever. Make that choice, either Heaven or Hell. It’s up to you. Hell is like a lake of fire. Torment forever and ever in the lake of fire.
man’s voice: What is a lake of fire?
John Burt: Oh, I… I visualize it like it must be like lava coming out of a volcano, except there are people in it, and they’re burning and burning and burning and they want to die, but they can never die. Heaven is the most beautiful place you can imagine. There’s no sickness, there’s no tears, there’s no crime. And best of all, Jesus is there.
written on screen:
Washington D.C., January 1993
[“Cemetery of the Innocents”: lots of little crosses are hammered into the ground near the Washington Monument and then a prayer is said…]
[a man prays with a group of people around the “Cemetery”]:
I thank you for all the young people that have come out today, Father. I thank you for their zeal and for their commitment, Father God. And I pray that you bless them for that, Lord. And I pray mostly that they take this home with them, Father God, that this is not a once-a-year event, Father, that this is a daily event for them, God. God, I pray that you keep me humble and I pray that you help me to lead young people, Father God. I thank you, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen. Thank you, Jesus.
Early on, Kaye (who is never seen and hardly ever heard) visits a pro-life demonstration, for which the organizers have filled the Washington mall with a forest of little crosses meant to represent “the children of Hillary’s village.”
[a different man stands with a different group near the Cemetery and tells a story:]
This is my fourth March for Life. Three months ago, I got a call from my younger brother. He said, “Jeff, my girlfriend’s pregnant. I’m scared. What should I do?” He was helpless and he was scared. And he loved his baby. Our whole family tried to help. Umm… My parents offered to adopt the baby… my brother offered to marry his girlfriend. Christian families offered to give her a place to live. I was able to put her in touch with pregnancy help centers to provide her with food, clothing, a job, daycare while she went to school. My parents offered to pay for a babysitter if she wanted to keep the baby. And at first, it seemed like, you know, she wanted to have the baby, and she seemed a bit excited. Umm… And then she talked to two of her roommates who had had abortions before… and things got to be desperate. Uhh, maybe eight weeks into the pregnancy, my brother called and he’s like, “Jeff, call her. Just call her. Just call her on the phone. I’m scared. She says she doesn’t want to marry me, she doesn’t want the baby.” About this November… towards the end of November, near Thanksgiving… My brother’s girlfriend set up an appointment at a Pittsburgh abortion clinic. Have you ever seen the look on a father’s face when his child’s about to die and he’s completely helpless to stop it? Just think of how many fathers of those crosses out there who don’t know anybody, who don’t know what’s available for help, how desperate they must feel.
The film starts of the perspective of pro-lifers, who annually hold the March for Life on January 22 (the date of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973) to hold a rally/memorial in Washington, D.C. It’s a somber event—men and women hammer small crosses on the National Mall to represent abortions. They have speeches; one man talks about the look on his younger brother’s face when he learns that his girlfriend is going to have an abortion.
[yet another group around the Cemetery stands together as a 60’s-hippie-looking guy speaks:]
Praying for ending of abortion in America and the entire world is a prayer that would be worth your while. Because some day this thing is going to be turned around. It may not be in our lifetimes, but… but some day when the Messiah returns and at the Resurrection, the… the dead bodies will come out of the graves and… and everyone will have to answer what they’ve done where… wherever they are.
[close-up of January 23, 1993 edition of the Washington Post newspaper with the headline: “Clinton Cancels Abortion Restrictions of Reagan-Bush Era”]
chanting Pro-abortion people: Not the church! Not the state! Women must decide their fate!
pro-life guy: one minute after birth is capital punishment, murder one. one minute before is an abortion. it is 100% legal.
pro-choice guy: a first trimester abortion is a tiny puddle of flesh!
guy says: Pro-life number one! God loves us.
woman says: What if you don’t believe in God?
pro-life guy: This shall happen in the presence of His Majesty. Woe, woe, woe, to this evil generation. How could we say we believe in God and butcher one and a half million babes every year? How could we?
[a man makes a speech at the March For Life and then starts to sing “God Bless America”]:
A miracle of a new generation that will catch the vision and shoulder the burden. Only you can see beyond this crossroads. Only you can see the fruit of our labors and our sacrifice. But today, on this 20th anniversary, we stand determined, we stand united! Amen! Praise God.
Part 2: Randall Terry vs. protesters
speaks: Randall Terry, Co-Founder, Operation Rescue
Randall giving a speech at the March For Life:
We have the passion and the vision and the courage of knowing that we are right. We are right, they are wrong, as we cling to the Word of God. Where… where police are telling us that we can’t pray. Where they’re arresting us for saving babies. Where we have forced abortion, forced sterilization, gang violence in our cities. You women who have a maternal passion beating in your breast, don’t keep it in your kitchen only, take it down to the school board, take it down to the city legislature and run for office. I’d rather have a 100 Deborahs than one cowardly Ahab who cowers to Jezebel!
Randall speaks outside of a clinic:
We have a two-fold plan. Number one is to save as many children as we can from death. And number two, it’s to be a prophetic witness to the Clinton Administration that we will not back down on upholding the law of God. If this nation… if Bill Clinton is going to reject the law of God, then this nation is going to die.
[woman from that clinic talks about Operation Rescue:]
What happened here? What happened was we had, uh, Operation Rescue hold their prayer vigil, as they call it, in front of our clinic, and they attempted to block it. And, fortunately, we were able to succeed. And the police helped us and we got all our patients in.
crowd chanting: Two, four, six, eight! Randall Terry lost today!
man #1: A couple months ago, we went to our abortion mill in North Carolina, took 128 dead babies, arms, legs, heads, everything, out of dumpsters. We even got a write-up in the paper about it. “The Charlotte Observer” actually printed it. We’ve been taking it to abortion mills, giving it to people that are going in for abortions and they’ve been leaving, going to Planned Parenthood clinics, just because they don’t want their baby to wind up in that dumpster.
Randall Terry speaks to chanting crowd: Ladies? These men… You’re playing right into their hand because they are exploiting you sexually. They’re having sex with you when they want, when you want, they’re using you sexually and then they’re paying to have your baby killed. Is that loving women?
[Girl tells Randall that he’s racist.]
Randall responds: I’m not a racist.
Same girl responds with: Jesus loves you even though you’re a pig!
Man #1: do you know the procedure used to be to crush the heads? Now they’re worth $300, so they sell the heads?
chanters sing: Na na na na hey hey hey goodbye.
Randall says: This is called denial. They don’t want to hear the truth. This is called denial. You can’t even have a legitimate conversation.
Man #1 again: Every society that has promoted the killing of innocent blood, the shedding of innocent blood, not to mention homosexuality, would have been wiped out.
Transvestite protesters dressed as church ladies: If you’re pro-choice and you know it, fix your wigs. If you’re pro-choice and you know it and you really wanna show it, If you’re pro-choice and you know it fix your wigs.
Randall Terry: Would you want these kind of people to baby-sit your children? I mean, think about it.
Transvestite protesters dressed as church ladies: glory, glory, we are pro-gay, glory glory we are pro-sex, Church ladies marching on…
Randall: They might not be a good influence on my kids. I could be wrong. It could be that my homophobia and bigotry has made me blind, but I think… again, i could be wrong.. I think that this is perversion.
Protester: Randall, Jesus loves even you! Don’t worry. It’s all right.
Chanters: Randall Terry go away… racist sexist anti-gay…
Randall: Listen, Jeffrey Dahmer believed in freedom of choice!
Man #2: Sexist bigotry!
Randall: Jeffrey Dahmer believed in freedom of choice!
Man #2: Sexist bigotry!
Randall: And he was a homosexual!
Man#2: Sexist bigotry!
Randall: And he practiced necrophilia!
Man #2: Sexist bigotry!
Randall: Do you think Jeffrey Dahmer was a good man?
Man #2: Sexist bigotry! That’s you, Randall.
Randall: See, you can’t even carry on a conversation with these people. You can’t even carry on a conversation with these people.
Part 3: an abortion procedure…
For anyone who studied biology or physiology, who can go into the womb and look at the gestational facts of when life occurs… Just like you said, Tony, when you look at the pro-life and you look at an abortion procedure, in all its glory and for what it is, there are no arguments that can justify that.
[camera guy walks up to and enters the “Madison Abortion clinic”:]
women talking about why they’re getting an abortion:
woman a: It was a hard decision to make. I’m still in school. I can’t… I can’t have any children right now…
woman b: the age that I am and… the things I still need to do before I can actually raise a child, like finish college and have a good job and a marriage…
woman c: My fiance, at the time, lived out of town and came home for a weekend and I wasn’t expecting him. And we used a condom, but… wasn’t as fool-proof as we thought it would be.
woman d: I mean, our relationship wasn’t that, you know, strong. There wasn’t that much of… you know, trust or support there anyway. And then, like, to bring something like this into… into our relationship, it… it wouldn’t have worked… it… it won’t.
woman e: Uh, he doesn’t care. So I didn’t discuss it with him. He doesn’t care if I have the child or if I abort the child.
And the two most memorable portions of the film are powerful propaganda for pro-lifers. The scenes of shredded bloody fetuses at a clinic contain some of the most shocking, revolting footage I’ve ever seen.
Twenty minutes into Lake of Fire, after rather banal footage of pro- and antichoice forces clashing at a January 1993 rally in Washington, D.C., Kaye shows an abortion being performed. Not content to document fetal tissue being suctioned out of a woman’s vagina, he proceeds to film, in extreme close-up, the sifting of the material, revealing a tiny eye, a minuscule foot.
[graphic showing of abortion]:
abortionist: Everything’s going very well. [squirting sound] Okay, very good. We’ve got them in good position. And this is an antiseptic solution. And we’re all done.
nurse: Okay. This will feel much better now, get the speculum out.
abortionist: Yeah, this ought to help a lot. We’ll get that out. Is that any better?
nurse: All right. Just stay right there. Just let me just… doctor… wipe for a minute.
nurse: We are done. all right.
abortionist: good show. We’ll find out that her total blood loss was really quite minimal. It’s just a matter of us basically piecing the… the fetal tissue back together… to make sure that we have all of the fragments. Oh, the media attention is… is always directed for the fetus and the… the gory parts, if you will, of… of providing the… the procedure. When the… when the really important thing is that we’ve been able to help this young lady get on with her life, who’s planning to go on to school and she doesn’t have to take over the responsibilities of parenting. And here, in just a very few minutes, we’re able to facilitate her decision to not be a parent at this time. Most of our patients are in the first trimester and only one percent would be at this stage in the pregnancy. How are you doing? Are you feeling okay? You really did fine. We couldn’t have asked for you to… to be a better patient. You… everything was there… and you were 20 menstrual weeks, just like we had expected from the ultrasound. But the procedure really went fine and I’m sure you will be okay.
Part 4: Interviews
speaks: Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law, Harvard
When I hear arguments by intelligent, zealous, well-meaning people, both in favor of a woman’s right to choose and against a woman’s right to choose, I always think of the old story of the rabbi who was conducting court in Eastern Europe. And he heard the husband’s version of why the marriage was terrible and said to the husband, “You know, my son, you’re right.” Then he heard the wife’s version and he says to the wife, “You know, my daughter, you’re right.” And then the rabbinical student says, “But, Rabbi, they both can’t be right.” And the rabbi said, “You know, my son, you’re right.” Everybody is right when it comes to the issue of abortion. One of the most fascinating people in the entire abortion debate is my friend and colleague Nat Hentoff… who is a writer and a civil libertarian. Generally supports the right of women, always supports the right to choose, for example, the right to choose to read or write pornography. He’s an atheist. Doesn’t believe in God. Doesn’t believe in the soul of a fetus, and yet he does not support a woman’s right to choose abortion.
speaks: Nat Hentoff, Writer
Once the sperm and the egg meet and they find a sort of nesting place in the uterus, you now have a developing human being. It’s not a kangaroo, it’s not a giraffe. It’s a human being. And that development in the womb until the person comes out is a continuing process. Therefore, if you kill it at any stage, first three weeks, first three months, you’re killing a developing human being. It’s not, as they used to say on the other side, “just a cluster of cells.” They like to pretend that this is not human life. And it’s interesting… Uh, Alan Dershowitz mentioned to me some years ago, his wife was pregnant and he saw the fetus in a sonogram. And you could see the hands moving and the feet moving. And for a moment, he began to wonder if his pro-choice position was really the one to hold, but he kept to it.
Dershowitz speaks again…
I’ll never forget the time when I saw the first pictures of my little daughter and was told by the… the doctor that, you know, she was kind of reaching for the needle as the, uh… the injection had… had come in because she was being given an amniocentesis. For me, that was a live human being. I regarded my child as live and a person, certainly from the third month or so. But that’s because we had made a firm decision that this child was going to be brought into the world. I don’t know how I would feel about a three-month-old fetus who the mother said is going to be terminated. Would I think of it as a human being at that point? Uh, this… these are… these are the hardest questions. These are questions that are impossible of solution in the abstract.
speaks: Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics, MIT
There are conflicting values. And taken in isolation, each of the values is quite legitimate. So the value of preserving human life, or for that matter the life of any organism… uh, that… that is a value that we should accept. You shouldn’t just go arbitrarily kill some animal because it’s fun to kill it. That’s a reasonable value. On the other hand, most people will agree to swat a mosquito. Okay, well, that… the idea that life is… should be valued has come into conflict with another value… and we know what that one is. And that’s commonly the case. The values that we hold are not absolute, they are always contingent. Uhh, they conflict. And life is made up of decisions and complicated situations in cases of conflicting values. If you listen to just one in isolation, yeah, it may sound legitimate and… and maybe is. But you have to ask what it means under particular conditions. So choice is legitimate, preserving life is legitimate, and sometimes they run into conflict.
speaks: Bonnie Steinbock, Professor of Philosophy, University of Albany, SUNY
What’s really going on when people argue about abortion are very different world views, very different conceptions of the role of women, of how important motherhood is, of whether women should be out in the world of work, of the importance of sexuality… of the separation between sexual behavior and procreation, and that this is what really divides both women and men on the issue of abortion. And that’s not something that’s going to be resolved by any kind of philosophical argument.
older woman: [we need to get back to the Bible]
younger woman: [it’s wrong to have sex outside of marriage]
man: [abortion is 1st degree murder]
speaks: Frances Kissling, Catholics For Free Choice
When the Supreme Court declared abortion to be a Constitutional right in 1973, the bishops became extremely politically active. So much so that by 1974, they had developed something called The Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities, in which they attempted to organize Catholics, congressional district by congressional district, to work against abortion… to work to overturn Roe. v. Wade and make abortion illegal. You had pro-life committees cropping up in every parish across the country, and you had a continuing barrage of both political campaigning by the bishops as well as the prganization of ordinary Catholic people. It’s the Catholic bishops that started and initially financed the first pro-life, anti-abortion organizations in the United States.
preaching: Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles
Our goal must be to shine the light of Christ into the heart of our nation. We must therefore, first and foremost, develop a willingness to speak out in defense of all human life, even in the most ordinary of circumstances of daily life. Parishes must engage themselves in concerted action through networks which promote change in public social policy and legal rights to protect all created human life from the moment of conception through natural death. We are warned by Christ’s maxim in the Gospel that those who live by violence will perish by it.
back to Kissling:
If you are hearing every Sunday in church that abortion is murder, if you are hearing every Sun… if you are hearing regularly that the… the most dangerous environment in the world is women’s wombs, if you are hearing that women are having abortions for convenience, if you are hearing that women are selfish in their decisions to have abortions, if you… if doctors who perform abortions are constantly called abortionists, if the provision of abortion services is constantly referred to as the abortion industry, if you are constantly told that doctors do abortions simply to make money, all of these things dull one’s moral sensibility, and in an unstable person, I think, gives them the kind of justification that they need to… to even go so far as to murder doctors.
Part 5: violence against abortionists
woman: [talks about how the last 3 doctors she worked for have been murdered….]
[Dr. Gunn murdered by Michael Frederick Griffin.]
speaks: Dallas Blanchard, Professor of Sociology, University of West Florida
speaks: Jerry Reiter, Author
speaks: John Burt
written on screen: Judicial Center, Pensacola
part of Blanchard interview:
The anti-abortionists are strongly fundamentalists, almost universally, and whether you’re talking about Catholics, Mormons or Protestants, they’re… they’re kind… one kind of fundamentalist or the other. Those who favor choice tend to be non-religious. And a whole lot of them, the activists, the escorts at clinics and so forth, are pagans. Overtly pagan. And so, we… we have a religious war, in a sense, going on here.
written on screen: During Michael Griffin’s trial, the streets outside Pensacola’s Judicial Center became a focus for both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice demonstrations.
speaks: Andrew Cabot, Activist
[hopes that the jury will give Michael Griffin a medal, thinks they should execute blasphemers]
Paul Hill: [thinks the guilty verdict in the trial was a travesty… and Michael is a hero]
speaks: David Gunn Jnr
written on screen: March 1994
[Memorial service for Gunn with Gunn Jnr speaking and Paul Hill demonstrating]
[people talk about how some demonstrators buy property next to clinics]
speaks: David Trosch, President, Life Enterprises Unlimited
[women should be imprisoned for having abortions]
Another anti-choice loon who likes ot hang out at abortion clinics is David Trosch of Life Enterprises Unlimited. Surprisingly his speech in front of a Florida clinic, in which he states that women who have abortions should be charged with 2nd or 1st degree homicide, and according to him 80% of women fall into that category
Jerry Reiter again: [talks about Paul Hill and Burt sharing a platform near a clinic used to yell at the clinic-goers]
Other pro-lifers buy property next to abortion clinics and build platforms so they can climb onto them and shout over fences at young women entering the clinics.
speaks: Dr. Bayard Britton, Ladies Health Center, Pensacola 1994
[wears bullet proof vest]
Paul Hill: [says that abortionists are murderers… and murderers should be executed… therefore abortionists should be executed.]
[Paul Hill killed Dr. Britton]
[outburst in courtroom by woman defending Paul]
The other day I was passing… I had been somewhere and passed a family planning clinic where people were so vehemently protesting with those awful pictures of fetuses and so on. And I got to thinking, “What in the world…?” If I think of this as a projection, you know, if people are very moved, I… I think we think of, from the point of view of the psyche of what moves people, and that often what people get so up in arms about is something of their own internal life that’s projected out on the world. So I thought, well, what could this be that people who are so furious at women who are going to have an abortion? What… what is it? Are they projecting their own killing a new life, what new life might they be killing in themselves that they’re projecting onto these women? And that… then it occurred to me… I might think about that further, which I intend to do, because I think dogma… You know, if one subscribes to a dogma, there’s a kind of killing of any new life. When creativity, new thinking, new feeling, can’t… can’t get born, it gets killed by the dogma.
speaks: Richard Seron, Security Guard, Brookline Planned Parenthood Clinic
written on screen: The day after the killings at the clinic, police arrested John C. Salvi III. He was interviewed by psychiatrist Dr. Philip Resnick.
John Salvi: [says that whatever the Pope believes, he believes]
written on screen: John Salvi stood trial and was convicted of first degree murder. He committed suicide in prison on November 30th 1996.
written on screen: September 2003
back to Paul Hill…
[execution of Paul Hill]
Part 6: Norma McCorvey
leads worship song: Flip Benham, Director, Operation Rescue National
The cross before me
The world behind me
The cross before me
The world behind me
The cross before me
The world behind me
No turning back…
speaks: Burt Wilson, Author
The whole conflict on abortion in the United States has arisen because of the religious right jumping on this issue as something to use to convert people, to gain adherents to their particular… umm… uhh… fundamental Christianity beliefs, and also to raise money, not incidentally, to raise money. They use propaganda as well as anybody else. They know the techniques. They know that you take an issue and you push it into the marketplace and people respond to it and then it becomes bigger, and that’s the technique that they’re using.
back to Flip Benham:
Back in 1970, at a little pizza parlor down on Greenville Avenue, Norma McCorvey met Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, and there was the beginnings of Roe versus Wade.
speaks: Sarah Weddington, Attorney – roe versus wade
In Austin, what was happening was that the law was that abortion was illegal except to save the life of the women. No one really knew what that meant, and so doctors simply would not perform procedures, because they were afraid that they would be prosecuted and certainly lose their medical licenses. There was a major case… it is probably the most important case before Roe versus Wade in our American legal history of privacy… and it was a case that said there is a right of privacy, such that individuals have the right to decide whether to bear or begat a child. We began by filing a case in Dallas. I had asked one of the people in law school with me, a woman named Linda Coffee, to be co-counsel. We had found a married couple in Dallas who were willing to be plaintiffs and we had found an unmarried pregnant woman, whom we call Jane Roe.
speaks: Norma McCorvey, “jane roe”
I signed an affidavit on March the 7th of 1970, stating that I was an unmarried pregnant woman and that I had sought to get a legal abortion here in the State of Texas. And… but because of the Texas statute on abortion, I could not do so.
Flip Benham again:
The court case moved to Washington D.C., and on January 22nd, 1973, abortion, through all nine months, was made legal in this nation.
back to Sarah Weddington:
What we didn’t know then was that, as we were celebrating, those who were opposed to abortion were thinking about how they could eventually defeat that victory.
Someone come by and they blew out our front windows. They drove down the street, they turned around, they came back, they blew out the back windshield of my car, plus the storm door. I’ve been harassed on the telephone. I’ve been harassed in grocery stores, department stores, anywhere where you find the general public, for my stand on abortion. I spent the better part of 14 years in this house, locked up, afraid to go outside. One day I was working at this… this gay bar and I just felt like there wasn’t anything for me to live for. So I got off work early, I went to my apartment, and I would sit and I just atarted cutting, like, a quarter of an inch of my wrists at a time.
Miss Norma had come out with a brand new book. It was… it was in 1994. It was called “I Am Roe.” And we went down where Miss Norma was doing a bookselling and… and she was signing her books in a little cafe on McKinney Avenue, and we confronted her there with what we felt like that she had done. And I can remember saying, “Norma McCorvey, you ought to be ashamed that you have caused and been the cause of the death of over 35 million little baby boys and girls.” And I knew when I saw those words pour into her heart, I knew that I had hurt her and I knew that there was something that I had to do.
One Thursday morning, I was sitting here and Connie called me from work and… ’cause we worked at the same abortion clinic. And she says, “You’ll never guess who’s moving in next door.” And I said, “Who?” And she says, “Guess.” So I said, “Okay, Robert Redford and… I don’t know, Woody Allen.” She said, no, that it was Operation Rescue. Operation Rescue is a pro-life organization that wants to abolish Roe versus Wade and make abortion illegal.
God providentially worked it out that we moved right in next door to her.
I was a crystal carrier. I carried crystals, I had my pyramid, I had my little fertility goddesses. I had amulets that I wore around my ankles and my waist. And Flip told me that I didn’t need those things. If I… if I would just believe in Jesus that all things would be good for me. And we were still pretty much at swords with each other, except for one thing, and that thing was that I had started going over to their office and going inside. And it always seemed so peaceful inside. I mean, it always seemed like they were always so happy and they were just… friendly.
And Norma began to trust us. And she began to like coming over to this office and we really began to enjoy having her here. And she became fast friends with two of the young girls that are always here, Emily and… Chelsea.
If… if you could just meet Emily, you would… you would know what I’m saying. She has this… ummm… this gentle character about her. And she’s very smart. She reads about 100 books a year. She loves her parents. She… she loves Jesus Christ and she loves God. She has that purity of soul that… that makes it all worth living. She… I don’t know, she… she’s just a little evangelist. What can I say?
This is the business that our Lord Jesus Christ is in. He is a friend of sinners. And he saved an old drunken saloon keeper like myself and set him on a rock, gave me a brand new life, and now the life I live is no longer lived for me, but for Him. And the gifts that I have aren’t made for me to have a wonderful ministry and make a lot of money, but are given to me that I can pour them out that others might have a fire burning in their heart for the Lord Jesus Christ. And now He’s saved Miss Norma. And Miss Norma’s life is now… she was bought with a price, she’s not her own. It isn’t “my rights, my body, my choice.” It’s not my will, but “Thy will be done.”
Connie and I, we’re sitting here one night and we were discussing abortion. Connie, when she worked at the abortion clinic, worked in the back in procedure room.
I’d been there four or five months before I left… and I was telling Norma that… that I was assisting the doctor and that they were real babies. I said I could even tell the sex. I said, one of them fell in my hand and, I said, and it scared me. It scared me because I didn’t want to touch it because I didn’t want to feel that for the rest of my life.
I thought, well, you know, I’ve never gone and I’ve never looked in the freezer, you know. That’s where they kept all the babies that they aborted. Umm… So I went and got the key and I unlocked it… and… they were babies, man. They were little human babies… umm… that had been mutiliated. And it hurt me. It hurt my heart to think that… I was the one that was responsible for all the dead babies. They said that in order for me to find God or to accept Jesus Christ into my heart, that I would have to go through another process of changing my opinion on abortion. And I looked at both of them and I told them that that had already happened. There’s really never a day that goes by that we don’t think of how we can overturn Roe versus Wade.
I just believe that what began here in Dallas and became Roe vs. Wade ultimately in Washington, D.C., on January 22nd, is now being summarily dismantled as we’re watching person after person meeting the Lord. As we’re watching mother after mother choosing life rather than death for their little baby boys and girls. And all of this is due to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we believe that the best news of all is that finally America is turning back to almighty God. And we’re stopping hewing out the broken cisterns and the welfare systems that really aren’t going to bring any healing to this land.
woman introduces Norma at some event:
Ladies and gentlemen, Norma McCorvey.
Norma McCorvey speaking at the event:
I’m very honored to be here with Mr. Buchanan and his wife and Jane, and just everyone here. I mean, I’m… I’m very star struck. Umm… I’m down here in California, in San Diego, with Operation Rescue National, that’s where I’m a missionary. And I’m a servant of Christ now.
Kaye soberly covers Roe v. Wade from its conception in a law office to the way it birthed a great big twist: “Jane Roe,” Norma McCorvey, signed on with Jesus after a pro-life group bought the house next door and swarmed her with niceness.
She tells a haunting story of her Damascene conversion upon looking into a fridge full of ripped-up fetuses: “They were babies, man. And it hurt me. It hurt me to think I was responsible for all these dead babies.”
part 7: Dangers of Erosion of Reproductive Rights… or something…
speaks: Frederick Clarkson, Author
speaks: Kate Michelman, National Abortion Rights Action League
speaks: Bill Baird
I was also very moved by the interview with Bill Baird founder of the Pro-Choice League. […] In the film Baird explains the various methods that were used before sanitary, safe, and legal abortions were available. It’s really horrific, especially the photograph that Baird shows of a woman slumped on her hands and knees on a motel room floor, dead from a hemorrhage from a coat hanger which became stuck in her uterus when she attempted to give herself an abortion. Baird explains that most women were attempting to scratch the uterine wall in order to cause some bleeding because then they would be able to obtain an abortion from a doctor. Unfortunately most women didn’t realize that the uterus is very small and has thin walls and they would puncture the uterus and either bleed to death or die of an infection.
[punk band made up of 3 girls and 2 guys performs a song:]
Blessed with child
Just a girl
God has given me
Another chance at poverty
Can’t feed the one I’ve got
She’s feverish and coughs a lot
God, take it back
Please, God, take it back
Girl with a baby
Under a tree
Watch when the knife cuts me
Girl with a baby
Under a tree
Singer: How many babies are there now that are unloved? That are not taken care of? And… and we do have abortion right now, you know. And there are still… I mean, who’s going to take care of those children?
Bass Player: All these people who are so against abortion, if they want to take all those babies and bring them up and… and love them and… you know, that would be wonderful.
Bass Player: I mean, in a perfect world, that would be the most beautiful thing. But, as it is, it’s not going to happen. I mean, these fundamentalists are the same people a lot of times who are bigots, who would never have a black child in their home.
Bass Player: You know, it’s like, “Why aren’t they adopting all the kids out of the orphanages?” It’s just terrible.
Singer: These pregnant women… I mean, I see homeless pregnant women on the street, you know. Go pick one up, take her home, take care of her. Deliver the baby, kick her out. Fine. [much laughter ensues from them both]
[band plays again while the singer starts hitting herself with a coat hanger]
[then… well, i’ll let the next review snippet tell you what she also does with the coat hanger:]
Another memorable moment in the film occurs when we meet an all-woman punk band/performance troupe. The lead singer is wearing what looks like gaffer’s tape pasties and bikini briefs. She masturbates with a coat hanger, then licks it. Then she’s interviewed about the issue. It wasn’t clear if these women were there for their expertise, for shock value or as an equivalent counterpoint to the Christian Fundamentalists.
speaks: Father Weslin, The Lambs of Christ
Uh… what’s his name? Clinton? Bill Clinton? Uhh… he uhh… he says that she should have sex and that she should have a condom. Who are these responsible people in our government telling this little child that that’s the way she should go through life? They’re laying a horrible trip on this little girl. She’s already born. The unborn children don’t even stand a chance. They kill them. Where… where has the mentality… They’ve been seduced by Satan into this mentality of killing our children, first of all, then killing our old people, and then telling young Sparkling here of how she’s supposed to go through life choosing, having a viable lifestyle. In the 6th grade in California they… they… they have Lift Up Your Dress Week where… and a young child is supposed to choose between homosexuality and… and heterosexuality in the 6th grade. What chance does this little girl have?
speaks: Jocelyn Elders M.D., Surgeon General, 1993-1994
We now know that one in ten of our children will become pregnant every year. One out of ten. We know that more than four out of ten of our white women will have a pregnancy before the age of 20… 6.7 out of 10 of our black women will have a pregnancy before the age of 20. And yet, we in America have still not accepted the fact that our children are sexually active. [laughter/applause] We bury our heads in the sand.
Fr. Weslin: It’s not right. That’s what Clinton is doing to us in our living rooms. That’s what Hilary Clinton, with her… her dress up to her hips, is coming in there telling our little children what they must and must not do. And… and who is this new woman coming in here, Elders, who tell… we’ve already told our children what to do in the front seat of a car, how to drive a car in driver’s ed, and now we’ve got to tell them how to do it in the back seat. You wonder why we Christian fathers get angry? You wonder why we get upset? Because you’re talking to little girls like Sparkling, that’s why.
Jocelyn Elders: We’ve got to make sure that we keep abortions safe and legal for women. [applause] I was… I was in medical school and residency during the time when I saw many, many septic abortions. And it was one of the most common causes of death in black women. So we vowed to never, never go back to that state. [applause]
Fr. Weslin: That’s what’s happening right now. It’s a secular humanist society. We Christians are no longer the majority in this country. We’re the minority now. President Clinton has to be impeached. He has to be taken out of this governmental position and put back some place where he can’t harm people anymore. So he won’t kill any more of our babies. And the Catholic church is the one that he’s after also. He knows what his biggest problem is. It’s the Roman Catholic church. And we’re starting Catholic towns. We’ve already got one going in North Carolina, and there’s a man name of Mr. Fred Wiesner up here in Denver who’s going to help us start another Catholic town up here in Colorado, right in the middle of Governor… Governor Lamb’s sex jungle right up here in the mountains, is his sex… sex ranches. We’re coming right into the middle of Satan’s territory up here in Colorado and we’re going to… we’re going to form a Catholic town here that’s going to raise our children according to the Roman Catholic doctrine.
Jocelyn Elders: We know that these children that are born into these situations are born to be members of the 5-H club. The 5-H Club are children that are hungry every night in the richest country in the world. We have 3 to 5 million children that go to bed hungry. Too many of them are health-less. They receive no health care. When our country today more than 40%… in fact, only 44% of the under-two-year-olds are completely immunized. So we say, “If we can’t immunize our children, what can we do?” These are the children that we love so dearly, as long as they’re in somebody else’s uterus. [laughter/applause]
There ought to be… there isn’t always… there ought to be a consistency of people who are pro-life. There was a man named Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago. He’s now dead. He came up with a phrase that I always liked. It was called the “seamless garment.” If you’re pro-life, he said, you ought to be against capital punishment, you ought to be against war, you… obviously you ought to be against stocking up and manufacturing weapons of war, and you ought to be against the kind of politics and the kind of administration that creates and sustains and increases poverty. ‘Cause the people who are poor, their lives are severely diminished. I like that theory. Not all pro-lifers agree with that.
speaks: Peter Singer, Professor of Bio-Ethics, Princeton University
Well, I think the point is that if… if what we’re talking about is whether abortion is legal or not, is legally available, then it’s certainly the poor women who are harmed by the fact that abortion is not legally available. Because the wealthy women can generally get an abortion whether it’s legally available or not. There will be someone who is properly medically qualified who can do it. And if not, of course, they can travel. It’s a global world, they can go somewhere else. I’m saying I don’t think that the deaths of the fetuses should be regarded as comparable to the deaths of older human beings. Umm, but the great tragedy is the tens of thousands of women who die from botched abortions in countries where abortion is… is illegal.
For example, it is reasonably well, in fact, very well established, that as women have more opportunities, more education, as better medical care is available, as more family planning is available, fertility rates go down, abortion goes down… uhh.. umm… uh… Children are better cared for and women are healthier. Those things are known. And those are all things that are… that are easily under social control and are… should not be controversial. I don’t think there should be anything controversial about making sure that women can have access to decent say, obstetric care. That alone would save hundreds of thousands of lives ever year. If you want to do things that’ll help people, there are very easy ways to do it. And it’s not just true of women, it’s also true of children. UNICEF also reports that, if my memory is correct, that about 15 million children die every year from… mostly from easily treatable diseases. Meaning, sometimes things like, you know, lack of drinkable water and… or dehydration, you know, and diarrhea. Things that can very easily be treated. And could be treated for, literally, pennies a day from the rich countries. Well, okay, if we’re serious about saving lives, saving children’s lives, there are easy ways to do it. On the other hand, if you look at the same people who are most militant about saving the fetus, are they calling for increasing foreign aid? Are they… are they concerned with the fact that the United States has the most miserable and miserly foreign aid program of any developed country by quite a large margin? The country’s got plenty of wealth, you know, the means are easily there, they’re just being used… the social policy is being designed to enrich the wealthy even further and let the poor suffer. Let the children die, let them starve, let the mothers die and so on. That’s an overwhelming problem. Once people address… among people who are willing to address those problems… if people are willing to address those problems, we can at least take seriously when they talk about values. When you can take people seriously when they talk about values, you can listen to what they say about other things like abortion, which is a hard question. But, you know, I’m not… I don’t think we should be interested in discussing it with people whose values are such that they don’t care about the massive problem of killing and harming women and children that they could easily deal with and are doing nothing about. In fact, making it worse. Not doing nothing about it; making it worse.
speaks: Pat Buchanan, Republican Presidential Candidate
[republicans owe the pro-life people]
Part 8: Christian Zealot Terrorist Monsters, AKA: The American Taliban, AKA: Hitler’s right-hand men, AKA: the greatest scourge of EEEEEVIL on the planet today
Randall Terry Live:
Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen to the worst nightmare of the child-killing movement. Randall Terry Live, in the flesh. In the news, a group of “elitists” in the Evangelical Lutheran Church met to draft a statement in which they supported not only homosexuality, but they said, get this, that homosexual marriages could be supported Biblically! I’m not kidding. I’m not making this up. And they said that teenagers having condoms distributed to them was a, quote, “moral imperative”. I’m not making this up. In Jackson, Mississippi, a principal is fired for allowing a student to pray. [gasp] The horrifying crime. What the kids should have done is just handed out condoms, then the principal would be a hero. Well, firearms can come into the school, principal won’t get fired. Planned Parenthood could come into the school and tell kids how to use condoms, they’re not going to get fired. In fact, some pervert can come in and demonstrate condom usage on a banana or on a finger and make boys pull condoms over the fingers of girls and that principal’s not going to get the axe. But when a man stands up and says to the kids, “Go ahead. Do you want to open the day in prayer?” Boom! He’s fired. That, once again, friends, shows what happens to a nation when that nation turns its back on God’s law. We’ll keep you posted on that. You have been listening to Randall Terry Live. My views are my own, unless they come from the Bible, then they’re God’s and they’re flawless and perfect, and we won’t retract a single word of them. I want to encourage you, friends, to call 1-800-323-LIVE and get that incredible book, “The Untold Story: America’s Christian History”, an awesome Christmas gift. If you just joined me, this is Randall Terry Live, where we lovingly breed intolerance. Because intolerance is a beatiful thing. Always remember that. My good friends, the phone number for the U.S. Taxpayers Alliance, which is the close cousin of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, is 1-800-2-VETO-IRS. 1-800-2-VETO-IRS. The U.S. Taxpayers Alliance, men and women who are dedicated to ending the welfare, socialist, Messianic State of America.
Randall Terry, Matt Truello, and some other activists in the movement have related recently to the American Taxpayers Party, which is shot through with militia personnel and militia sentiment. And, in fact, he spoke at the last election time to the convention and told the convention that he had already started teaching his infant child where his trigger finger was. That children ought to be trained in the use of… of weapons and arms and such. And there are indications that back in the 1980s, that militias were doing some training of anti-abortion personnel with… in the use of heavy weapons and also the use of explosives, and the building of bombs and such.
speaks: Mary Lou Greenberg, Refuse and Resist!
When the anti-abortionists talk about life or talk about babies, you know, that’s not really it, they’re just using that to try to whip up emotion. Because this question of woman… they have said outright at some of their meetings, that control of women is what it’s about. Randall Terry once talked about… at a rally that they were having, about how men are under the submission… should submit to God and women should submit to men.
The Taxpayers Party platform, while being 100% pro-life, is not strictly limited to the pro-life arena. The Tax Party calls for the end of the IRS and the Federal Income Tax, the end of Health and Human Services, the end of the Welfare State, the end of land taxes. It calls for a return to constitutional money: gold and silver. It calls to a return for a constitutional mean… means of the Federal Government raising its revenue through tariffs, not through direct taxation upon the people. It calls for the… the complete freedom of individual citizens in this country to keep and bear arms. Let those who reject truth, let the God-haters, let the child-killers see and fear. Because our commitment is not just to keep fighting in this battle, but to raise up a new generation of men and women, especially men, courageous, God-fearing men, who will bring the nations back to moral sanity, to the laws of justice and mercy as they are outlined by God.
Randall leads a group of guys in song:
Our rock, our fortress, our defense
Your conquering arm
will be our strength
O God of power and righteousness
Every foe will tremble at Your name
Every foe will tremble at Your name
Every foe will tremble at Your name
And the religious fundamentalists are concerned, not just with abortion, but also with pornography, with any issue related to the family. With alcohol, a… a lot of personal sins, what they regard as personal sins, and abortion is just an easy handle to get at right now. It really arose as an issue after the Equal Rights Amendment was killed. And there were organizations dedicated to killing it, and after it died, they had to find another cause. And so they went to abortion, which is very easy because the clinics are very handy. They’re… they’re convenient to get at geographically.
lady standing outside of a clinic in the middle of a ruckus with lots of shouting:
We’re out here to make sure that women have access to the clinic. It is their legal right. And in this country, if something is legal, you ought to be able to take advantage of it. You shouldn’t have to fight your way through foaming-at-the-mouth zealots… cultists, if you will… to have access to safe and legal medical services.
some guy with a bullhorn:
Christian terrorism, it’s on the rise in America. It’s up to you to stop it. Help save America from Christian terrorists!
Author Frederick Clarkson:
Christian fundamentalism really goes back to the 20’s and the 30’s as a revolt against liberal trends in mainline Protestant denominations. Since then, it’s evolved and to mean rather different things than it meant then. Basically referring principally to an idea of biblical literalism. And that is that the idea that the Bible is literally true and most importantly that certain peoples’ interpretations is the true interpretation.
[also speaks about the dailykos’s favorite scaaaary subject: Christian Reconstructionism]
speaks: Jeff White, Operation Rescue, California
What they want is to be able to kill children by day and then come home to this beautiful estate and be just a respectable part of this neighborhood. But they’re just not going to be able to do that any longer. We’re going to let their neighbors know what they do for a living and we’re going to really show the neighborhood the blood on their hands. Because they… they really shouldn’t be a respectable part of society. They’re… they kill children for a living. And that should come with a stigma. We want to re-attach the stigma to the killing of children in this country.
[more from Frederick Clarkson about people wanting a Christian Theocracy]
In fact, comparison with Iran is not outlandish, by any means. The… there has always been, for whatever reason, a high level of religious extremism in the United States, and religious passion and fundamentalist belief and intolerance and so on, on religious issues. And now it is unusual.
[more about clinic bombings]
speaks: Emily Lyons
[wounded and in wheelchair because of bombing in Atlanta by Eric Rudolph]
speaks: Prof. Kevin Fitzpatrick and Prof. Michele Wilson, Department of Sociology, University of Alabama
[Just in case you haven’t heard enough from Frederick Clarkson and his scaaaary Christian tales, you’re in luck… here he is back yet again… this time it’s about Eric Rudolph and the “Christian Identity movement”]
speaks: Alan Keyes, Republican Presidential Candidate
Once you have opened your heart… once you have admitted Christ into your heart, then the principle of the law dwells within you. And you are no longer subject to that external shackle of the law because the law flowers and blooms within you. And it shapes your judgment and it moves your limbs. And you no longer have to be bound by external shackles because you are bound to the will of God by the love of God through the truth of Christ’s salvation. That’s the understanding of freedom that is at the root of our Christian faith. But don’t you see? That notion of freedom as an in-dwelling principle which then leads to the consequence that because… because your respect for the law dwells within, you can live in a society in which you are a law unto yourself.
Father Weslin again
part 9: Watching Stacey Saunder’s entire abortion process from walking into the clinic to coming out again
Scott, he’s the father of the baby, but we’re… we’re very good friends. We had been more than friends at one time, but not anymore. We broke up about, oh, close to two months ago. And the relation… the relationship was just not working out and we broke it off, and I moved away for a while and decided to move back and not run away from him and my feelings. And I came back and he came visiting once in a while and we ended up having unprotected sex. And here I am.
Frances Kissling again:
Many people, umm, are surprised when we bring forward the notion or bring forward the reality that the Roman Catholic Church has never had a position on when the fetus becomes a person. Ultimately, the reality is none of us know. The church doesn’t know. The courts don’t know. Doctors don’t know. No one knows. And the question in the 20th century, both in a religious context and I would say in a secular context, is what do we do in situations? What is the moral and ethical thing to do as a society in situations where there are facts that we do not know?
speaks: Ellen Moskowitz, Lawyer and Bioethicist
The abortion area is a flashpoint, I think, for… for ethics for the human condition. It’s… it involves the most natural thing in the world, pregnancy, and yet it also involves the most mind-bending set of facts… ordinarily, one human being living inside another.
Douglas Kmiec, again:
From the standpoint of pro-life individuals, human life begins at conception. One cannot be morally complicit in the taking of another life, especially the taking of an innocent life, and that that moral belief for people of faith i s backed up by geneticists. And I don’t think there’s a geneticist in the world who would deny the completeness of human life, in terms of all of its physical ingredients, again, in the first fertilized cell. And the other side, quite frankly, doesn’t really deny… can’t deny the existence, the physical reality of the separate human life. What they deny is… its cultural significance and its meaning with respect to the woman who’s carrying the pregnant… carrying the child. And, again, it becomes this clash of absolutes between, on the one hand, this claim of absolute autonomy and a claim that human life absolutely must be protected. The claim of absolute autonomy is very self-directed. The claim of human life being absolutely protected is one that has great historical lineage. It is, after all, a vindication of a self-evident truth… that right is… that life is an inalienable right. ummm… How to get these people to talk to each other?
Peter Singer again:
Ultimately, of course, the whole decision is based on questions about what you think makes killing wrong. And I think that’s one reason why the philosophical discussion with the… with the general public has not got very far, because people haven’t really confronted that issue. They’ve tried to say, “Well, the fetus is a human being,” or, “The fetus is not a human being,” just accepting the premise that… that, you know, killing innocent human beings is always wrong. I think if they’d gone a little bit further and said, “Well, you know, yes, I mean, in one sense the fetus obviously is a human being. It’s a member of the species homo sapiens and it’s alive.” But what are the characteristics that make it particularly wrong to kill a human being? Why do we think that killing a human being is normally wrong? And I think if you start asking those questions, you get to see that it’s not just being a member of the species homo sapiens that makes killing wrong. It’s rather, the fact that, you know, us, you and me, and anyone else listening here, is a being that is… has got certain capacities. Can think, can want to go on living, you know, can… is… is aware of the fact that he or she is living and wants to go on living. And all of those things contribute to why we think that for someone, say, just randomly to shoot people in the street is a terrible thing. But none of that applies to the fetus. The fetus is… well, when most abortions are performed the fetus is not even conscious and it’s certainly never a being who can think, “I want to go on living.”
If it doesn’t matter to a being what’s done to it, then it’s hard to see that it has exactly the same moral standing as you or I do. Gametes also are human in that sense, sperm and ova, and yet we don’t think that they have the same moral status as you and I do.
more from Dershowitz:
Every time a man and a woman refrain from having sex that means a potential sperm dies and a potential egg dies. We’re not going to, however, require couples to have sex at every possible moment. There are some religious traditions that do require that. The extremely Orthodox Jew says you must multiply and have as many children as you possibly can. And every missed opportunity to have sex during a period of time when the woman is fertile is, in effect, a violation of the order to multiply and be fruitful. I don’t think most people take that argument very seriously today in our society. And once one begins to draw lines, the line between refusing to have sex, having sex with a condom, taking the pill the morning after you’ve had sex, taking the pill three weeks later, having an abortion a month later, begins to be a very, very difficult point at which to draw absolute black and white lines.
I think one way to… at least that I find helpful to think about this, is to try to, again, move away from a very strict rights language, which often leads to a “right or wrong”, “yes or no” approach to these issues. And instead to try to make sense of the interests, the… the needs, the… the context of… of the pregnant woman and of the fetus.
Pro-lifers think that abortion is wrong because it’s intrinsically wrong to destroy a human life. And Dworkin thinks that people who are pro-choice also think that it’s intrinsically wrong to destroy human life. But they think that it’s important to allow women to make this choice for themselves because there… it’s important… her human life also has intrinsic value. And to be forced to carry a pregnancy to term when she doesn’t want to or isn’t yet ready to become a mother is also a… a way of… of not respecting the intrinsic value of human life.
[Stacey walks through the corridors of the clinic]
Receptionist: Can I help you? Do you have an appointment?
Stacey: Yes, I do. Hi.
Receptionist: Hi! And your name?
Stacey: Stacey Saunder.
Receptionist: Hi, Stacey. Just a few forms here for you. The first two are informational forms and then a couple of forms you’ll need to fill out for us, and then you can bring them right up to me as soon as you’re finished, okay?
Receptionist: Alrighty. Thanks.
Woman: There’s the cups behind the curtain here. Just a small amount. You can bring it back to the lab and then I need to get a small blood sample.
Everyone in the debate is opposed to outright infanticide. That is, taking a live child and deciding to kill them because it’s too much trouble to take care of them. Everyone agrees on that. Everyone agrees, I suppose, that women are allowed to wash their hands, although, I suppose… I guess you could make a case, if you went over to the biology department, that when a woman washes her hands, lots of cells flake off and some future technology might be able to use the information in those cells to construct a potential child. So somewhere between, say, washing your hands and killing your three-year-old, somewhere between that there are decision to be… there are decisions to be made about how we’re going to balance what we call life, which, in fact, is there in the cells on your hand, how we’re going to balance what we call life against lots of other problems. And those decisions are not simple. People who say, “Well, I know it’s at this number of days,” they can’t be taken seriously. We’re talking about ambiguous issues of a complicated kind where you have to balance conflicting interests and concerns, as is gnerally the case in human life. You’re not going to get the answers from holy texts. You’re not going to get the answers from biologists. These are matters of human concern that have to be discussed seriously, reasonably, with attention to the array of values, differing values, often, that people have and different decisions they may come to under similar circumstances.
preaches: Reverend Pat Mahoney, Christian Defense Coalition
You are prophetic people and I just want to affirm you tonight. And I want to affirm you to say you are the prophetic people of God. God’s Word is supreme. His Word is the standard. Psalm 119:89. God’s word is established forever. My focus is on His Word. Not polls, not opinion polls, not focus groups, but His word! His unchanging Word. My vision must be locked on His Word like Michael Johnson’s eyes were locked on the finish line. I am moved not by what culture says about me, not what the media says about me, not even what the Church says about me, but what the Word of God has to say about me. I am fixed on the Word!
For those who say “God told me that you can’t have an abortion,” I ignore that. I mean, that kind of fundamentalist approach to God telling you what the answer to every problem is, I don’t think in a secular society, deserves to be given much weight. Religion also gives you a set of values with which to analyze a problem intelligently. And I think that many of the values we have in our society, values favoring life, values favoring choice, originally come from religion. Much of all morality is religiously-based. But religion is so broad that it can provide any answer you want.
It’s frickin’ Chomsky again:
The Bible, like any complex historical text, presents a God who can be called upon to justify mass genocide and who can be called upon to justify mercy to widows and orphans. Same God. Depends what you want to… what parts of the text you want to interpret.
The conception of God is obviously relevant for those who believe in God. And for many of them, their views will flow from that. But it doesn’t determine their views because, of course, you can have fundamentalist Christians who will believe that… believe in God and think that, for that reason, abortion is wrong, embryo experimentation is wrong, euthanasia is wrong and so on. And you can have other more liberal Christians who will believe in God, but who will think that all of those things can be justified. So… the question of God doesn’t determine the answers to these issues.
In the end, human beings have to decide. In the end, each of us has to decide, using whatever resources we have available to us: religion, our mind, our sense of what is right and wrong in society, this is a choice that cannot be made by others.
back to Stacey: [pre-procedure preliminary questions]
Stephanie: Stacey, I’m Stephanie, and we’re going to do your medical history now, okay?
Stephanie: And this is just question and answer. Alrighty? So… when is your birth date?
Stephanie: 7/7/68. And how old does that make you?
Stephanie: 28? Okay. And what’s your occupation?
Stacey: I’m a nursing assistant.
Stephanie: Okay. And how many total times have you been pregnant, altogether?
Stacey: Umm… five.
Stephanie: Okay, five. And any living children?
Stephanie: One living child. And was that child born premature?
Stephanie: No. Born full term?
Stephanie: Okay. Good. Are you currently or have you been in treatment for either depression or psychiatric problems?
Stacey: I’ve been on medication in the past for it.
Stephanie: Okay. Are you on medication now?
Stephanie: Okay. What years were you on med… and, actually, what were you on medication for, psychiatric problems or depression?
Stephanie: Okay. When was that? How long ago?
Stacey: This year.
Stephanie:This year. Okay. Alrighty. Now going back to the… to the surgery that you had for physical abuse, that broke your jaw in 1992… ummm… how… how did that happen?
Stacey: Ummm… One quick punch.
Stephanie: And this was from… who punched you?
Stacey: An ex-boyfriend. The father of my… the baby that I delivered.
Stephanie: Okay. And when that happened, did you know… did it knock you out? Did you know you… your jaw was broken?
Stacey: No. I had no idea.
Stephanie: What happened?
Stacey: We were living in the cities here and I had no family around, and I didn’t know it was broke and he wouldn’t let me go to the doctor. And it was just kind of swollen and I just let it go. And then… then in ’88 he was killed in a motorcycle accident and I moved back to my family. And my mom wanted me to see a physician ’cause it was so crooked.
Stacey: So I did that. And he re-broke it and…
Stephanie: The surgeon?
Stephanie: Re-broke it?
Stacey: And put everything back together.
Stephanie: Okay. And how was it for you that… that the trauma of the abuse happened and then… were you in touch with this man when he was… you know, before he was killed?
Stacey: I was actually going to go back to him the… the day before he was… or the day… The morning he was killed, I was supposed to take a bus that evening to be back by Monday morning and… then he had been killed that morning.
Stephanie: That’s pretty traumatic.
Stacey: Yeah. It wasn’t a good thing.
Stephanie: How are you with… that’s… that’s so much to go through. How are you with it now? What is this, three, four years later?
Stacey: I’m dealing with it. I still go to counseling once in a while when I feel…
Stacey: Feel the need.
Stephanie: Mm-hmm. Good. Okay, well, if… if we can help you in any way with that, let us know.
Stephanie: Okay? ‘Cause we’re always here to talk to you about it. Alrighty? And you may or may not want to answer this question. Umm… was… was the abuse and the… and the death of this man, did that have anything to do with the decision to have the baby adopted?
Stacey: Very much so. He was not a… a fit father for no child, by any means.
Stephanie: Okay. I hear what you’re saying. Is there anything else that…
Stacey: Could I get a tissue?
Stephanie: Sure. Is there anything else that… that you feel like is really, really important that you would like… any words that you might want to… ‘Cause that’s an awful lot to have gone through.
Stacey: Don’t stick around after they hit you once.
Stephanie: Yeah, yeah. I would say “hear, hear” to that too. Okay. Sometimes stuff like that can be difficult when you’re here for this procedure. So let us know and… and we will certainly, you know, be supportive and help you in any way that we can.
Stacey: Thank you.
We had these wonderful testimonials here today that we held hearings on the second victim in an abortion, which is the woman. Often and again and again and again, almost always, abandoned, deserted, denigrated, called names, pressured, driven into these clinics, and as a consequence there’s not only physical damage, but there’s enormous emotional and psychological scarring. They come out with terrible depressions, suicidal tendencies. Let’s hold hearings. If we show what the oil industry does up there in Prince William Sound, let’s show what the abortion industry is doing to the women of America.
speaks: David Krantz, Political Editor, Sioux Falls Argus
Most people in the Democratic party don’t feel that Republicans want it to end. They feel it’s their… like social security is for Democrats, abortion is for Republicans. It’s the type of legislation that helps them elect candidates. Why would they want it to go away? You know, and that creates a situation. Democrats fight vigorously for social security ’cause it’s their hammer in the elections. Republicans… if you’re a Republican, it’s just accepted that you run for office based on the fact that you’re pro-life. And if it goes away, what have they got for their old reliable?
back to Stacey:
woman: So this is a picture of what your cervix looks like. And you’ve given birth before, right? So that means just that your cervix has a little slit instead of a round hole there. But this is just the bottom ring of muscle of your uterus, okay? And what we need to do then, there’s three steps to the abortion procedure and the whole thing will take about five minutes, okay? The first step is that you get a little Novocain on your cervix to numb it. It’s just like when you get Novocain in your gums at the dentist. You’ve done that before? Yeah, nobody likes that idea either. It usually takes about a minute and a half to go numb completely, and what you might feel is a pinch or a prick and some stinging from the Novocain. But people usually say it goes away pretty quick. Okay? And so we take this thing. This is called a cannula? And this is about an eight-week cannula. So the one we may be using for you might be a little bit smaller. And this is attached to a long flexible tube which is attached to the suction machine. And this just goes inside that cervix, inside your uterus and then it just… The machine turns on… it makes a humming noise, so you’ll hear it. And this just gets moved along the wall of your uterus and take all that menstrual tissue that is built up ’cause you haven’t had your period in like two months, right? And also, the pregnancy comes with that. Now, the size your pregnancy is, it’s real small, so it’ll just kind of come along with everything else, okay? Stacey, a couple of questions just about your decision today, if that’s okay? Are you feeling definite of your decision to have an abortion?
Stacey: Oh, definitely.
woman: Okay. And can you tell me just a little bit about kind of what into your decision-making, how you made your decision?
Stacey: Umm… just not a good time in my life…
Stacey: emotionally, financially, you know.
Stacey: I just moved into an apartment and I’ve never lived on my own in 28 years, you know, so…
Stacey: It’s… It’s quite a change for me. So…
woman: It’s exciting.
Stacey: Yeah, it’s exciting. and then scary and, you know, if I don’t… I don’t know if I can handle it yet. I surely don’t want to bring a baby into this world not knowing, you know.
Stacey: You’re always scared of the uncertain, I guess. […]
woman: one of the things that I sometimes say to people is that I feel like a miscarriage is what happens when your body’s not ready to be pregnant and an abortion is what happens when your… the rest of you isn’t ready.
woman: And sometimes that helps people with the decision-making….
more on violence: [In Amherst, NY: Dr. Barnett Slepian shot dead by sniper]
[Stacey’s procedure shown graphically]
Abortionist: Before we begin, I’m going to listen to your heart and lungs. And that’s just routine. Your chart is in order, but I just confirm that. I’m going to put this at approximately your second rib there. And just breathe quietly. Very good. And I’m going to listen to your lungs. Take a deep breath please, Stacey, and then exhale. Excellent. Yeah, you’re pretty healthy.
Nurse: And then blow, blow, blow, hard, hard.
Stacey: Oh, Oh, Oh.
Nurse: You’re going to feel those cramps, remember, that’s your uterus shrinking back down. Good. Okay, do the breathing. Blow, blow, blow. Okay? Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. And then blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow.
Nurse: One more. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Blow, blow, blow. Blow it out. Blow it out.
Nurse: Good. Okay, we’re almost there. You’re mostly done. Okay?
Abortionist: Stacey… No complications.
Abortionist: An average amount of bleeding.
Nurse: Did I squeeze your hand too hard?
Stacey: No, I was wondering about you.
Nurse: No, no, no. That’s what my hand is for. …It will protect you from disease.
Nurse: This is the speculum coming out. How’s that, better?
again with Frances Kissling, Catholics For Free Choice:
As part of running a clinic and being the director of a clinic, I participated in… went into the procedure room, into the operating room with many women. Held many, many hands. Felt the tension that each woman was experiencing pass from her body into my body. Saw the anguish that many women felt. I… I never… you know, I mean… people talk now about… people who have no experience of abortion, who have no experience of how women feel, of what they are going through… talk about this as something that women do in a way that… that is disembodied from their values. That women don’t think about their decision. I never met a woman… and I met thousands of women in the 70’s who were having abortions… I never met a woman who did not take abortion seriously. I certainly met a lot of women who put on brave faces, who were casual in the waiting room. But I can tell you that when you got into the procedure room where the abortion was going to be performed, that you could tell that each and every woman was taking that decision seriously. And each and every woman was doing the best that she could do with a difficult hand that she had been dealt. And it was… it was and is, for me, humbling to think about that because… ummm… it does… it does help you… it did help me to learn not to judge other people’s decisions based upon exteriors. That… that the inner life and the thinking of women is… is indeed very, very profound and very important.
Finish up with Stacey, post-abortion:
ummm… I’m all done and I’m exhausted and… and agitated and I need a cigarette very bad. I can’t smoke in here anyway. Umm… Just tired, drained emotionally and physically and… umm.. had a little cramping. I don’t know. Lots of thoughts. Maybe a little relieved… And now it’s time to just… [covers face with hands and begins sobbing] It’s just been a really long day. I just need to go home and get on with my life. I know I made the right decision, but it’s still not easy. No, it’s more in my heart than in my stomach now.
Kaye follows a pregnant woman through an abortion, from check-in to check-out. It’s her fifth procedure; she’s 28 but looks years older. A victim of abuse, she’s also a survivor. The camera unblinkingly documents the sights and sounds of the medical removal of the fetus — or its killing, if you prefer. Then it hovers near the woman in the recovery room, letting her talk both honestly and self-defensively before caving in to exhausted tears.
part of an interview with director Tony Kaye from LifeSiteNews.com:
LifeSiteNews: Why was there such a strong focus within your movie on the extremists? Was there a particular reason for that or was that the most fascinating part of the whole issue that you found?
Kaye: What do you mean by that?
LifeSiteNews: There were these various people who killed abortionists or abortion staff, there were people such as religious fundamentalists, very loud personalities. These people as far as I know are not really representative of the overall pro-life movement but they certainly get the most press and that’s fair to cover them, but I am just wondering why there was a predominant coverage of them only, as opposed to the more mainstream pro-life organizations.
Kaye: Well, I think they were, um, mainstream, you know, more, you know, part of everyday life kind of pro-life people. It’s just those other people they, they, they do stand out because by the pure nature, they are the ones that grab the headlines anyway. If you put half an hour, 40 minutes of them in a film, that 40 minutes is really going to stand out because what they do is so completely outrageous. It’s like it grabs a headline in a newspaper, it will grab someone’s attention if they are watching the film. I was very careful not to put the pro-life voices highly in there now.
LifeSiteNews: Would people seeing that film get a fair, in your opinion, overall view of both sides of the issue in that National Right to Life, American Life League, Focus on the Family, Michigan Right to Life and so many of these large organizations – none of them were represented at all within the movie?
Kaye: Is this a criticism you’re giving me or a question?
LifeSiteNews: It’s a question.
Kaye: Yea, well, you know, I set out to really present both sides as accurately as I could and um, you know, I, you know, its such a big issue and there are so many thousands of organizations on both sides I didn’t get a chance to go to. I had to settle for what I had. In the main, most of the pro-life people who have seen the movie think its a pro-life movie and most of the pro-choice people think its a pro-choice movie.
LifeSiteNews: Oh really. That’s interesting. I’m surprised. Many of the people in the pro-life movement who I know quite well, would view many of the pro-life people in your movie as anti-abortionists rather than pro-lifers. A pro-lifer is someone who would not condone violence, ever, whereas an anti-abortionist is someone who would see any tactic as acceptable in order to stop abortion. There is quite a different view there, so that is interesting.
part of a review from LifeSiteNews.com:
Glaringly missing are interviews, let alone mention, of any of the leaders of the large, mainstream US pro-life organizations such as National Right to Life, Pro-Life Action League, Michigan Right to Life, American Life League, Focus on the Family, Priests For Life or Silent no More Awareness. Nor are there interviews with reps of any of the numerous other state and local organizations effectively opposing abortion with sound, well presented, compassionate arguments and massive educational and political programs.
It is extremely unlikely that any representatives of such genuinely pro-life organizations want to condemn abortionists to hell. Rather they work very hard to draw abortionists and abortion activists to reconsider their position and to become pro-life such as did Dr. Bernard Nathanson and numerous other now former abortionists.
Those organizations and their millions of supporters, a large percentage being youth, make up the bulk of the pro-life movement in the United States. However, they barely exist in Kaye’s movie.
“Kmiec came to prominence during the United States presidential election, 2008 when, although a Roman Catholic and a Republican, he endorsed Democrat Barack Obama. In July 2009, he was nominated by President Obama to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Malta.”
Douglas Kmiec Defends Barack Obama’s Vote Against Abortion-Infanticide Bill
Kmiec’s root defense of Obama is that the bill would have required doctors to take heroic measures to save pre-viable infants who had been delivered.
“Medical ethics does not require so called ‘heroic’ care at either end of life, and neither does Catholic teaching,” Kmiec writes.
Since most of the babies protected under the law would be before viability in age, Kmiec agrees with Obama that the bill would be “very likely unconstitutional in most of its applications.”
Ramesh Ponnuru, a writer with National Review Online, says, “None of this is true.”
“First of all, it bears repeating that the Illinois bill was always very similar to the federal born-alive statute and, when Obama killed it in committee, nearly identical to it,” he explains. “That law has never been held unconstitutional. I am not aware of any pro-abortion groups that have even tried to advance the claim.”
He also says the bill does not work the way Kmiec describes.
“The House Judiciary Committee’s report on the federal bill took some pains to address this very point,” he says. “Medical care could be refused to a pre-viable infant, as it could be to a viable infant or, indeed, to anyone at all, if in the judgment of a doctor that care would not achieve anything. It could simply not be withheld from the pre-viable infant on the ground that this being is not a person recognized by the law.”
Kmiec argues, further, that it is somehow novel for the law to define live birth in a way that includes pre-viable infants.
“Not true,” Ponnuru writes. “Many states define born-alive infants in the same way and provides the same protections to them.”
“Kmiec, in the linked piece, repeatedly accuses Obama’s critics of dishonesty and bad faith,” Ponnuru concludes. “I will not respond in kind. I will say only that Kmiec gets nearly everything wrong, and in a way that makes Obama (and himself) look better.”
Peter Singer’s Bold Defense of Infanticide
by Scott Klusendorf
In 1993, ethicist Peter Singer shocked many Americans by suggesting that no newborn should be considered a person until 30 days after birth and that the attending physician should kill some disabled babies on the spot. Five years later, his appointment as Decamp Professor of Bio-Ethics at Princeton University ignited a firestorm of controversy, though his ideas about abortion and infanticide were hardly new. In 1979 he wrote, “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons”; therefore, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”
In a lifetime filled with despicable statements and support for history’s worst regimes, MIT professor Noam Chomsky has finally hit absolute bottom as he visits the leader of the Hizballah terror gang, calls the United States a “leading terrorist state,” and supports Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons—to deter “Israeli aggression.”
While in Lebanon visiting Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah, MIT professor Noam Chomsky gave interviews to several Arab media outlets, dispensing his especially virulent brand of moral equivalence to receptive audiences.
In this interview, from LBC TV on May 23, 2006, Chomsky says the policies of Hamas are “more conducive to a peaceful settlement than those of the United States or Israel.”
Oh, Hamas is bad, don’t get Chomsky wrong. He doesn’t approve of them. But they’re not as bad as the United States or Israel.