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Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Pro-abortion activists demonstrate after lawmakers voted against a bill that would have legalized elective abortion. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

Whirled Views

Tumult and tears

From an abortion revolt in Argentina to grieving at Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, here’s a weekend Whirled news roundup

Southern exposure

Abortion activists in Argentina reacted violently to news that the country’s Senate voted to continue protections for unborn children in the Latin American nation.

In a dramatic scene on Thursday night, throngs of Argentines watched the debate unfold on large televisions stationed outside the Congress in Buenos Aires. When lawmakers voted 38-31 to reject a bill that would have legalized abortion up to 14 weeks into pregnancy, pro-lifers rejoiced, but abortion proponents revolted.

The Evening Standard reported that protesters clashed with police, set up flaming barricades, and threw firebombs and glass bottles.

Abortion is legal in the predominantly Catholic nation only in cases of rape or risk to a mother’s health. Perhaps it seems unsurprising that Argentine lawmakers rejected abortion in the birthplace of Pope Francis, but the country isn’t a socially conservative stronghold on other issues: The Senate legalized gay marriage eight years ago.

Meanwhile, Latin American tensions over abortion are set to continue: In Brazil, the Supreme Court has begun considering whether to allow abortion of unborn children up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

Weeping Willow

Members of Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago, Ill., are grieving this week, as the congregation’s lead pastors and entire board of elders announced their resignations on Wednesday night.

The leaders told church members they had failed in their handling of multiple accusations of inappropriate conduct by longtime former pastor Bill Hybels, and they apologized to the women who had come forward to report sexual harassment.

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CNN reporter Jim Acosta does a standup before the White House daily press briefing on Thursday. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Whirled Views

Principles for reporters

Looking for higher ground in the battle between the press and the president

CNN’s Jim Acosta gave a dramatic performance this week when he demanded that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders disavow President Donald Trump’s declaration that certain media outlets are the “enemy of the people.”

Acosta nearly ordered Sanders: You should say otherwise, right here, right now.

Sanders demurred on the demand, and Acosta walked out. Apparently, even some of his colleagues considered Acosta’s behavior over the top, with one liberal commentator saying the move seemed “silly and self-righteous.”

Still, as a journalist, I can testify it’s unsettling when the president points to the press section you’ve been corralled into by security guards, and tells a crowd of thousands of fired-up supporters to look at the group of terrible people who are the “fake, fake disgusting news.”

The news that civility is at a low point isn’t fake or recent, but all the talk of the press-as-enemy has led me to ponder: How might a good reporter be a friend of the people?

Perhaps friend isn’t the best word, so I’ll rephrase: How could a journalist promote the good of her readers, no matter who or what she’s covering?

A few thoughts come to mind, and I think they might extend to good citizenship as well—particularly for Christians trying to navigate a coarsening and cynical climate, while maintaining a Biblical worldview:

Be truthful. Whatever your broader worldview or opinion about a story or trend, do your best to get the facts right. Lots of people may disagree about what the facts mean when considered as a whole, but the truth of the details matter. It weakens your argument when you mishandle facts, no matter how big or small.

Be cleareyed about both sides. Neither side is completely right all the time. Recognizing only the errors or faults of those with whom you disagree is disingenuous and unwise.

Be civil. We should speak the truth with boldness, but the book of Proverbs reminds us to use persuasive words—not perverse or demeaning ones. The Scriptures don’t commend matching insult for insult, even when making an important point.

Be humble. No one gets everything right, and when you’re wrong, you should say so. That doesn’t mean you have to back down from a worldview or opinion that others might disagree with, but if you get facts wrong, acknowledge it. On questions that don’t have clear Biblical commands, don’t presume you know all the right answers.

Be proactive. If you’re convinced you’re right, show why your argument is better through words and deeds. “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

Be hopeful: This especially applies to the Christian journalist or citizen. Be bold when needed, but don’t stake your hope on winning every political argument or every cultural battle. Politics are important, but they’re not ultimate, and they don’t produce the spiritual change that matters most in any man or woman.

Remember: “God’s truth abideth still—His kingdom is forever.”

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Hillary Namba takes part in a July 10 protest in Seattle against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Whirled Views

Coat-hanger politics

Pro-abortion activists predict the return of back-alley abortions, but a poison pill already harms women and kills the unborn

As Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh made the rounds on Capitol Hill earlier this month, a Florida congresswoman tapped a coat hanger on the table as she warned against President Donald Trump’s pick for the high court.

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., argued a potential pro-life majority on the court could mean a return to back-alley abortions. New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon made a similar argument at a July campaign stop, waving a coat hanger overhead. 

The scare tactics evoke horrible scenarios, but they ignore a modern reality: A large percentage of women already self-induce abortions through the use of a couple of pills prescribed by local abortionists. 

Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest abortion provider—has reported that nearly 45 percent of women coming through their doors seek abortions through the drug known as mifepristone. 

Abortion proponents tout the pills as safe and easy, though the process isn’t as painless or tidy as they lead many women to believe. In 2013, Leslie Wolbert testified in an affidavit to the Supreme Court that a chemical abortion she induced at home produced “the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.” She called the subsequent emotional pain “almost unbearable.”

Those kinds of stories are inconvenient for abortion advocates who warn of women taking abortion procedures into their own hands, but then ignore the trauma the already-legal versions of at-home abortion can produce for women and their unborn children.

In his book Prodigal Press, WORLD Editor in Chief Marvin Olasky wrote about illegal abortions happening in New York City in the late 1800s. He noted that the horror in the press was over the harm abortions caused to women and children—not the fact that abortions were illegal.

A New York Times investigation at the time reported on a young, beautiful woman found dead inside a trunk in a railway baggage room. An autopsy showed the cause of death was an abortion. The reporter noted: “It was apparent that here was a new victim of man’s lust, and the life-destroying arts of those abortionists.”

The abortionist was sentenced to seven years in prison, and many New Yorkers remained appalled by abortion until the 1960s. The Times’ sentiment has radically changed since its early reporting, but the truth its journalist wrote about in 1871 remains relevant to abortion discussions today, whatever the method, and however safe the procedures are considered: Abortion still kills legions of unborn babies, and they still deeply harm many of the mothers they purport to help.

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