Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Alabama outcry

Abortion | Protections for unborn babies spurs pro-abortion rage
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 5/20/19, 05:56 pm

The passage of an Alabama law protecting the unborn from abortion at any stage in pregnancy last week sparked aggressive pro-abortion outrage on social media.

“I had an abortion when I was young, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Both for me, and for the baby I didn’t want, and wasn’t ready for, emotionally, psychologically, and financially,” actress Jameela Jamil tweeted. She and others told stories of their abortions on Twitter using the hashtag #youknowme, started by actress Busy Philipps, to argue that abortion is a good thing.

“I wish my mom HAD aborted me, just to wait for when she was ready so my future sibling who would have been planned, have a happy life,” wrote Twitter user Kaoru Meamaru, who said she was conceived by rape.

Patrina Mosley, director of life, culture, and women’s advocacy at the Family Research Council, told me the Alabama bill’s passage was an encouraging next step for the pro-life movement.

“This bill protects the unborn, and it is the most logical abortion bill that I think we have ever seen if we believe that a person is a person from the moment of conception, and as a human being, entitled to rights,” she said. “But at the same time, seeing the backlash on the Alabama bill was devastating, to see that people can fight so aggressively for killing an innocent child in the womb.”

The Alabama Human Life Protection Act, or House Bill 314, prohibits abortion in all cases except when two physicians determine that it would prevent a “serious health risk” or when the baby has a lethal anomaly and could not survive outside the womb. Abortionists would face felony charges for violating the law, but mothers would not. The sponsors of the Alabama law have said they wrote it specifically to generate a court case that would challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that led to the legalization of abortion nationwide. The law has six months before it would take effect, and the American Civil Liberties Union has said it plans to file suit.

Many pro-life laws prior to Alabama’s measure focused on incremental protections for mothers and babies through informed consent, fetal burial, gestational age limits on abortion, or bills that protect babies from certain abortion methods. A law passed last week in Missouri, for instance, would protect babies from abortion as early as eight weeks into a pregnancy, but it also includes a ladder of optional cutoffs at 14, 18, or 20 weeks of gestation that would take effect if a court ruled against the law.

Missouri state Rep. Nick Schroer, a Republican who authored the bill, said his legislation is “made to withstand judicial challenges and not cause them.”

While pro-life advocates sometimes disagree on how best to roll back Roe, Americans United for Life senior counsel Clarke Forsythe told me that the battle for life doesn’t have two versions.

“The dichotomy is false that there’s incrementalism versus Alabama,” he said. “What we should be thinking about is not incrementalism but prudence, and achieving the greatest good possible given the opportunities and the obstacles.”

Amid the internet frenzy that followed the passage of the Alabama law, blogger Sarah Tuttle-Singer tweeted a challenge: “Dear Pro-Life friends: what have you *personally* done to support lower income single mothers? I’ll wait.”

More than 13,000 people replied to her question, mostly saying how they had helped women or donated their time and resources to groups that do.

“I had a single mother friend who I took into my home, we helped get her daughter into a decent school, introduced her into a caring, Christian community, then all of us helped her establish a home, furnish it, stock the kitchen, and find dignified work. Any other questions?” Twitter user Jenny S wrote.

Tuttle-Singer replied later that she was “moved by answers from pro-lifers” but had not changed her personal stance on abortion.

Whether or not the Alabama law ushers in a new pro-life era in the country, Forsythe said it’s a boon that pro-lifers keep promoting similar legislation: “It’s important for the [Supreme] Court to see the pro-life sentiment in these states and the rejection of Roe v. Wade and its legality, its lawfulness.”

Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon President Donald Trump

Trump clarifies abortion stance

Amid a national debate brought on by the new abortion law in Alabama, President Donald Trump opened up about his views on life issues on Sunday, tweeting that he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and endangerment of the mother’s life. The president touted his appointments of pro-life judges, both to lower courts and the Supreme Court, as steps toward protecting the right to life. “We must stick together and Win for Life in 2020,” Trump tweeted. “If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!”

While he has said he was pro-life in the past, this is the first time the president has laid out his beliefs in detail, comparing his position to that of former President Ronald Reagan. Trump’s previous rhetoric on abortion mainly focused on generalities, especially on criticizing Planned Parenthood and Democratic politicians for their positions.

Pro-life activist Lila Rose took issue with the first two of Trump’s exceptions, tweeting, “Thank you for the great work your administration has done on behalf of life. If we are pro-life, we must be 100% pro-life. A child of rape or incest is not a 2nd-class citizen. No woman or girl is served by abortion or immune to its trauma, including survivors of rape and incest.” —Kyle Ziemnick

iStock.com/Enzo Nguyen@Tercer Ojo Photography iStock.com/Enzo Nguyen@Tercer Ojo Photography

Where have all the babies gone?

Demographers have long predicted an all-time low birthrate for women in the United States, something the National Center for Health Statistics confirmed in a report released Wednesday.

The overview of provisional data for 2018 showed that last year the United States saw 3,788,235 births, a 2 percent drop in fertility from 2017. The fertility rate was about 1,728 births per 1,000 women in 2018—a record low for the United States.

Birthrates saw a slight uptick in 2014, but have been falling steadily for decades. The U.S. birthrate has largely been below replacement levels (or 2,100 births per 1000 women) since 1971, the report states.

Though some worry abortion is to blame for the declining birthrate, the rate of abortions in the United States has been steadily declining, too, and recently reached an all-time low. Demographer Kenneth Johnson at the University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy said in the past 10 years, financial concerns may have prevented 5.7 million babies from being born.

“I keep expecting to see the birthrates go up and then they don’t,” Johnson said. “That’s a lot of empty kindergarten rooms.” —S.G.

Across the nation

California: The state’s high court denied a petition for review by undercover pro-life activist David Daleiden, whose videos disclosed Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue trade. Daleiden had asked the court to halt the prosecution due to the bias of his prosecutors. The case now goes back to criminal court.

Michigan: The state legislature is considering twin bills in the House and Senate that would protect babies from abortion by dismemberment, but Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, will likely veto them.

Missouri: On Friday, legislators sent to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk a bill that protects the unborn from abortion after they have a detectable heartbeat. Parson, a Republican, will likely sign the bill. —S.G.

Expecting

Pro-life activist Lila Rose and her husband are expecting a baby in December. “It’s the greatest privilege of my life to carry this little life inside me,” Rose tweeted. She founded the pro-life group Live Action. —S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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Comments

  • phillipW's picture
    phillipW
    Posted: Mon, 05/20/2019 08:41 pm

    Yet once again the focus of the abortion debate is not focused in the right place.  Those who are "pro-choice" should be asked why aren't they refraining from sexual intercourse if they don't want children?  But no one, not even the Christian community, wants to debate abortion on the sex outside of marriage angle.

    It's called accountability.

    It's called personal responsibility.

    Unfortunately, we've completely lost the argument because we don't even know how to ask the right questions.

  • CJ
    Posted: Tue, 05/21/2019 04:22 pm

    Oh, my goodness, yes! The elephant in the room.

  • Paul Bryant
    Posted: Mon, 05/20/2019 08:46 pm

    I am sure that I am about to demonstrate my ignorance. I don't think I am understanding the statistics in the article on birth rate. If "The fertility rate was about 1,728 births per 1,000 women in 2018" wouldn't that mean that each woman had an average of 1.7 births in 2018? That would certainly not be a low rate and cannot be true because I don't know any women who gave birth more than once in 2018. That rate would also only require about 2.2 million women to achieve the nearly 3.8 million births. I am obviously missing something. Would someone please enlighten me?

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Tue, 05/21/2019 09:01 am

    Thank you for writing. For clarification, that's 1.7 births TOTAL for each woman. Not for 2018. 

  • CLARKE MCINTOSH
    Posted: Tue, 05/21/2019 06:52 am

    Pro-lifers face an quandry.  Though I agree that the child born of rape or incest is a child and deserves protection, I would willingly embrace new laws that outlawed abortion with the exception of those two causes (if the woman reported the rape or incest at the time) and for the life of the mother (a practical exception we should all embrace because the death of the mother almost always causes the death of the child as well).  

  • Bob C
    Posted: Tue, 05/21/2019 10:31 am

    When you make exceptions based on emotions, then you open Pandora’s Box, to making any exception acceptable.  Which pre-born baby is not a human life?  Google this quote, “My crime was being conceived through rape. So the next time you hear people talking about exceptions to abortion for rape and incest, think of me. My name is Rebecca. I am that exception.”  When you think about It, there is no quandary.

  • CJ
    Posted: Tue, 05/21/2019 04:20 pm

    One perpetrator and two victims. A man commits a rape and the child produced gets the death penalty. The woman suffers twice, first by rape and then lifelong guilt over killing her baby ina procedure that has the potential to cause her physical injury or leave her barren. How is that reasonable or just?

  • K Scott
    Posted: Wed, 05/22/2019 05:59 am

    CLARK MCINTOSH, did I misunderstand you? Please explain how you can validate the life of a child conceived in rape/incest, but you would still allow these exceptions? So, you are thinking, yes, your life is worthy of protection, but it is okay to kill you anyway? Because your mother is in a crisis? Emotional trauma following a rape is temporary. Rape victims do recover. Abortion is permanent. Abortion does not make a woman unpregnant. It makes her the mother of a dead baby. For the rest of her life. This is not a compassionate answer. I am a recovered rape victim, aka a survivor. And, although I am now retired, I supported recovering rape victims for 40 years. These are "the hard cases." But, there is no quandry if you are truly pro-life. 

     

     

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Laneygirl
    Posted: Tue, 05/21/2019 09:22 am

    European countries are way ahead of us in low birth rate. We've all seen the results of their solution: import more Muslim immigrants to do the work (and have the babies.)

  • K Scott
    Posted: Wed, 05/22/2019 04:53 am

    Mr. President, with all due respect for your pro-life accomplishments, if you are not 100% pro-life, you are pro-choice. We appreciate what you have done so far, but our country needs you to surpass President Reagan's "pro-life" position and become our 100% pro-life leader. This won't be hard after you meet people like Rebecca Kiessling, the woman this song was inspired by. Please take a few minutes to view this video. The people shown in the photos are mothers who became pregnant by rape and those who were conceived in rape. After you have seen the video, please visit the "Save the 1" Facebook page to hear their stories. There, you will meet other amazing people who are among the 800 members of this phenomenal organization. These are real people living their lives like the rest of us. Here is the link to this powerful video/song, released yesterday: https://www.facebook.com/Jwill151/videos/2214601371960562/ 

     

     

  • K Scott
    Posted: Wed, 05/22/2019 03:47 pm

    Excellent information regarding the "abortion to save the life of the mother" discussion:   https://youtu.be/ysl1tRnk-ig?fbclid=IwAR0VDjIfb4PSZW86yfaV5MPbSWF1cssvcE...

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