Abortion

Abortion

Abortion Doctors.

Few weeks ago, I pledged to remind people of the anti-abortion violence that has occurred over the years by giving personal insights into the crime and the people involved.  I talked about Doctor David Gunn, the first victim who was killed on March 10, 1993.

Just a few months later, on August 19, an anti-abortion activist named Shelley Shannon leaped onto the car of Doctor George Tiller as he was leaving his clinic and started firing her semiautomatic pistol. She hit both of his arms but Tiller still was “so pissed off,” as he later told me, that he jumped out of the car and chased Shannon down the block until his damaged body caught up with him.  Shannon was captured immediately and remains in jail today.  The day after the incident, I called George and he jokingly said “I hope this incident gives the pro-choice movement a shot in the arm.”

After these two incidents, the office of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers was flooded with calls from doctors looking to protect themselves.  I really thought that some of them figured the first murder was just an isolated incident.  After George became a target, they knew it was serious.  Indeed, we actually had meetings with security companies where we investigated the possibility of a group purchasing deal on bullet-proof vests.

Abortion

Abortion

One doctor who bought a vest was Doctor Bayard Britton.  He travelled from clinic to clinic in the South and actually filled in for David Gunn until they found a replacement.  I had heard of Doctor Britton but had never met or talked to him.  At the same time, an anti-abortion protestor named Paul Hill was making a national name for himself because he publicly declared that it was “justifiable homicide” to kill an abortion doctor.   These two were on a collision course.

In February, 1994, we were shocked to see an article in GQ entitled “The Abortionist” which painted a not very pretty portrait of Doctor Britton.  It also talked about Paul Hill, who had been a constant figure outside The Ladies Center where Britton worked, just a short distance from the clinic where David Gunn had been killed.  The article was horrifying in that it practically predicted what would happen just a few months later.

On the morning of July 29, I was in my dentist’s chair when a dental assistant came in and said I had an emergency call from the office.  That morning, Hill was at his perch in front of the clinic as usual when Doctor Britton drove into the parking lot in a pick-up truck.  He was accompanied in the passenger seat by his volunteer bodyguard, James Barrett and Barrett’s wife, June, was in the back jumper seat.   Before they could get out of the car, Hill walked up wielding a 12 gauge shotgun and started shooting.  Hill later admitted that he aimed for the doctor’s head because he knew he wore a vest.  Doctor Britton and James Barrett died immediately in the hail of gunfire.  Mrs. Barrett was injured but survived.

Hill, probably relieved that he had finally put his own words into action, calmly laid the shotgun down and started walking away but he was immediately apprehended.  Years later, he was put to death by lethal injection in Florida.

Abortion

Abortion

I am so sick and tired of feigned outrage.

We see it every day.  Some movie producer does a movie depicting some Italians in a bad light and the Italian Defamation League gets “outraged” at the (probably accurate) portrayal of the Italians in the Mafia or Cosa Nostra.  They issue a press release condemning the movie, which only increases ticket sales, and they might even hold a protest or two which, again, brings attention to the film that they don’t want people to see.

And now even the pro-life movement has joined the crowd.

As we all know, since 1993 a number of doctors, clinic staff and security guards associated with abortion clinics have been killed by acknowledged pro-life activists.  And, for very good reasons, the pro-choice movement expressed its outrage at these horrific crimes because these were bona fide acts of violence conducted by protectors of the fetus against those who stood ready to abort that same fetus.  And, yes, the cynics (myself included) will note that the pro-choice groups raised money on the murders.

Now, just a few days ago, it seems that a security guard at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the pro-life Family Research Council was shot and the assailant was apprehended immediately.    According to some reports, the assailant posed as an intern and shot the guard in the arm.  The first response by FRC President Tony Perkins was that “The police are investigating this incident. Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today. Our concern is for him and his family.”

Abortion

Abortion

So far, so good.  A terrible, uncalled for incident and a well-intended statement of concern.

But, then, of course, it was time to make some political hay.  I mean, after all, those “pro aborts” got so much attention years ago, didn’t they?  Why shouldn’t we?  So, shortly after the incident my buddies at LifeNews.com announced that “the White House is coming under criticism from pro-life advocates for not issuing a condemnation of the shooting of a security guard at the offices of the Family Research Council, a pro-life group.”  They went on to say, however, that “it took them (the White House) almost five hours to issue a statement,” which of course contradicts the previous statement.  Indeed, the headline of the release saying pro-life groups were condemning the White House for their silence was entitled “White House Takes Five Hours to Comment on FRC Shooting.”   Get your act together folks.

Then, later, Mr. Perkins tried to link the shooter to the pro-choice movement (of course).  He stated that the assailant “…was given a license to do that by a group such as the Southern Poverty Law Center who labeled us a hate group because we defend the family and stand for traditional orthodox Christianity.”  How’s that for some hard evidence of a conspiracy?

Then, a pro-life blogger suggested that the media outlets were either ignoring or downplaying the shooting because, of course, the entire media (I guess including Fox News) is pro-choice.  I guess they felt the media was over blowing things when an actual abortion doctor was murdered in front of an abortion clinic.

The funniest thing I read was how the pro-life groups were pooh poohing Obama’s statement condemning this act of violence.  On the other side of the coin, pro-life Presidential candidate Mitt Romney had this to say:  “I am appalled by the shooting today at the offices of the Family Research Council in our nation’s capital. There is no place for such violence in our society. My prayers go out to the wounded security guard and his family, as well as all the people at the Family Research Council whose sense of security has been shattered by today’s horrific events.”

So Romney used three sentences to say what Obama said in one.  Big deal.  And yes, he did issue it a little before Obama.  What a guy.  He must really care more.

This shooting is terrible.  The hope the security officer has a speedy recovery.  But gimme a break, folks.   This is absolutely nothing like the actions of Paul Hill, Michael Griffin and John Salvi.

But nice try.

Abortion

Abortion

I gotta be honest with you – I enjoy reading pro-life newsletters more than pro-choice newsletters.  The main reason is that the pro-lifers love to focus on what’s (supposedly) going on right there at the abortion clinics, so I get a chance to read about what some of my old friends are up to these days.  In fact, I recently subscribed to LifeNews.com and so far it’s been very interesting reading!

For example, I just learned that President Obama is so intent on increasing the number of abortions in this country that, at a recent pro-choice conference, he told the attendees that he “will never back down in promoting abortion.”  I wonder if that means we will soon see him wearing t-shirts promoting www.abortion.com, the website that is a directory of abortion clinics?  Then, in the very same newsletter I learned that Obama recently met with – dare I say it – officials from Planned Parenthood!  It seems that they were two of many people on a receiving line as the President exited from Air Force One to embark on a campaign tour in Florida.  Just think about all the juicy stuff they talked about in those ten seconds that they (maybe) had his attention.  What a great opportunity for these two officials to discuss how the President of the United States could get more women into those abortion clinics!

Finally, another item from this hard news service reported that the President “makes special arrangements to meet the heads of the local abortion business so they can continue pumping profits from abortions into funding his re-election campaign.”  Yes, the President has no doubt met with PPFA officials but if anyone can cite me an example of the President meeting privately with an independent abortion provider, I’ll buy you a beer.  Meanwhile, of course, the pro-life movement is pouring millions into the Mitt Romney campaign.

So, I was getting real excited about my new source of hard-hitting objective abortion news when, on my third day, I was brought back to reality.  You see, one of the main reasons I subscribed to LifeNews.com was because it was FREE.   And I guess it still is free but, bingo, on the third day I received the inevitable fundraising letter.

The hook was that Obama had just celebrated his birthday but, as LifeNews noted, he was not concerned about those poor little unborn babies who would not be celebrating their own birthdays.  “A child’s birthday party is a joyous occasion with friends and family, but too many will never see their first because President Obama is committed to keeping abortion legal for another 40 years by stacking the Supreme Court with more pro-abortion activists in a second term. We can’t let that happen!”  So, they asked me to send a gazillion dollars which (they don’t tell us) will first pay for staff salaries, then the rent, then their travel expenses, then the high priced consultants whose job is to raise more money and, THEN with the few pennies we have left we will fight to force women to see their child on the ultrasound machine before they go ahead with the abortion.  Yeah, that’s how we will save the unborn!

No doubt people will dutifully send their money.  They will take everything they just read as gospel, they will not question any of it and they will write their check to pay for the overhead of their national organizations.

I can’t wait for my next edition of LifeNews!

And now it seems that you can get an abortion over the Internet.

Abortion Pill

Abortion Pill

Years ago, I was in the middle of the effort to get “the abortion pill,” otherwise known as RU-486, approved for usage in the United States.  On several occasions, I was at the table with the investors who had put up a lot of money to get the product approved by the FDA, the pro-choice groups that desperately lobbied for it and the company that would ultimately distribute it.  The company was especially conscious about security, to the point where they had an office in Manhattan but no signs anywhere announcing its presence.  Ultimately, after years of struggle, we prevailed.

From the beginning, advocates of the pill championed it as another option for women who did not necessarily want to have surgery. They also, however, got a bit hyperbolic about its impact when they predicted that the pill would “revolutionize” women’s reproductive health.  Their thought was that additional physicians would come out of the woodwork and start prescribing this pill and that it would allow women to have abortions in the privacy of their own home.  The abortion providers, on the other hand, voiced concern that the product was being built up too much and warned that a doctor who had never been involved in the delivery of abortion services before would not suddenly start prescribing the abortion pill.  Today, the pill is being used by about 20% of women having abortions and we have not seen those doctors coming out of the woodwork, although some current abortion providers – particularly Planned Parenthood – have set up small offices where they only disperse the pill.

Abortion Pill

Abortion Pill

The bottom line is that the pill is a good option, but it is not for everyone.

And now, the pill is available on the Internet.  Yep, the other day I ran across a website named http://www.abortionpillonline.com  and, honestly, my first reaction was rather negative.  First of all, the website itself looks very cheesy, very amateurish.  Unlike the website of your average abortion provider, there was no hard information, like where they were located, what doctors were involved, etc.  I didn’t

Abortion Pill

Abortion Pill

see any phone numbers.   Heck, I didn’t even know what country this business was in until I emailed them and they told me that the product was made in India and distributed from India.

Now, I don’t know all the legalities here and I certainly am not accusing this group of being less than reputable.  But this just sounds too easy for me.  When it comes to any kind of medical care, everyone needs to be careful.  Let’s face it, no matter what the medical specialty, there’s always someone out there who is eager to cut corners and make the quick buck.  In the case of the abortion pill (which is actually two pills), there’s a lot more to it that just swallowing a pill.  For example, this website just distributes the pill, it does not offer any counseling which, for some women, is very important.  And it’s hard to predict how a woman will react once she starts the regimen, physically or emotionally.  What if there’s an issue in the middle of the night?  Who will she call?  There are so many potential issues that might require the advice of a real, accessible doctor or at least a nurse.

I’m glad that women have more access to abortion services via the pill.  Going to the Internet and just ordering a bunch of pills and swallowing them belies the seriousness of the abortion process.  It makes me nervous.

Anti Abortion People Abuse Children

Anti Abortion People Abuse Children

By the time a woman walks into an abortion clinic, she’s got a lot of stuff on her mind.  In the first place, she really doesn’t want to be there.  Furthermore, she’s probably been thinking about the issue for weeks, she’s been conflicted and her partner might not even be supportive of her decision.

But, at some point she picks up the telephone and calls the clinic to make the appointment.  When she gets to the abortion facility, she may be subjected to all of those “sidewalk counselors” who are oozing love and compassion (for the fetus) and who know oh-so-much more about abortion than she or the folks in the clinic do.  And, to top it off, they are even willing to help actually raise the child!  By the time she finally sits down to fill out her paperwork, her blood pressure is no doubt higher than normal and she has one thought:  let’s get this over with so I can move on with my life.  Well, maybe that’s a little too casual but the bottom line is they want to have the abortion and go home.

At some point, she will have to read a bunch of paperwork and then be counseled about the procedure.  It’s generally the same drill we’ve all been through where you just sit there, initial papers that you don’t read and kinda listen to the doctor as he tells you what could go wrong with the surgery, including the fact that you could DIE.  Sure, doc, thanks a lot.  Now where do I sign?

And now abortion patients in South Dakota will have to wait just a tad bit longer because a court has upheld a law passed in that state that requires abortion doctors to inform women that if they have an abortion they will have an increased risk of suicide.  The interesting thing about the decision is that the court said the state didn’t have to prove that this warning was true.  Instead, they said that those opposing the law had to prove it was untrue!  So, someone is gonna have to find those millions of women who have had abortions over the years and ask them if they ever contemplated suicide.  Then, in the unlikely event that the pro-choicers could prove the allegations were untrue, they would have to go back and convince the state legislature that they got it all wrong in the first place.  Sure, like that’s going to happen.

My reaction to all of this hogwash is – whatever.

Abortion

Abortion

Anyone who is about to have surgery, including abortion, knows there are risks, physical or otherwise.  And, the opinions of the anti-abortion folks notwithstanding, the women having abortions have brains and can sort all of these things out on their own.  Meanwhile, I cannot imagine when a woman hears that she might be more inclined to commit suicide if she has an abortion is gonna jump up from her chair and scream “Hey, wait a minute, I don’t want to kill myself years from now!  I would much rather give birth to this child and, even though I cannot take care of it for the next 20 years, I’ve got all of those people outside the clinic who have offered to help me!”

The stuff that the anti-abortion movement focuses on really is amusing.

Keep spinning your wheels folks.

Abortion

Abortion

On the previous blog by my friend, “Blogginfem,” an interesting discussion ensued about the use of graphic images by pro-life and pro-choice advocates.  We are all very familiar with the images of “aborted fetuses” that appear at pro-life rallies and protests.  In response, the pro-choice folks tend to discount the photos, suggesting that they are really “only” miscarriages, that the fetus is too far formed, that’s it’s a fetus that was found in Canada, as if that makes a difference.  At the same time, there are the images of women lying in a pool of their own blood after attempting to self abort.  The pro-lifers then dutifully pooh pooh the images as well.

The discussion made me wonder if these images have any kind of effect on the abortion debate?

Abortion

Abortion

Let’s take the fetus pictures first.  I’ll be honest.  In the years that I represented abortion providers, I never looked very closely at those pictures.  First of all, I get grossed out pretty easily.  I can’t watch horror movies, don’t like the sight of blood, don’t look at pictures of the kids starving in the Sudan.  So, I’ve never really examined those photos for “accuracy.”  But the bottom line is that I have seen in person the results of a late second trimester abortion and some of those pictures displayed by pro-lifers look pretty darn close to what I’ve seen in person.  Let’s face it – abortion is not pretty and pro-choicers would be better off just admitting that at some point in the pregnancy the fetus is rather well-developed and, despite that, the abortion doctor is still going to do what the woman has asked him to do.  Yes, the vast, vast majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester but the pro-lifers are doing what any other interest group in the country does – they focus on the extreme.

Abortion

Abortion

Today, when you go to a pro-life event, there’s always someone holding these graphic pictures (and they are usually the octogenarians in the movement) and it’s possible that someone who is passing by might be disturbed enough to “convert” right on the spot.  But the battle over abortion rights will be fought in the middle and without having conducted some kind of poll, my gut tells me that when someone who hasn’t given the issue much thought sees these pictures, their first reaction is probably to avoid looking at it and their second reaction is total disgust that a group of perhaps well-meaning advocated forced them (and perhaps the children in the car) to be dragged into this very difficult issue.  And that’s where I think the pro-lifers are making a strategic mistake.  Indeed, at the last few protests I’ve attended, I’ve seen fewer signs like these.  Perhaps their movement is getting smarter.

I’ll write about the use of “pro-choice” signs in the future but, for now, I think advocates of abortion rights should just stop wasting time on this particular issue.  First of all, it’s free speech.  The signs may be ugly, they may not represent the “normal” abortion, they may even be inaccurate.  But they are protected by the First Amendment.  Second, their use might be actually working against the pro-life movement.  And, third, we are always quick to argue that abortion is a woman’s choice.  Well, it’s a woman’s choice to look at the picture or not.  I trust women to be able to sort out the truth and to make the right decision.

Abortion Congress

Abortion Congress

No matter what your position on the abortion issue, I think we can all agree that our government is virtually paralyzed.  No one can get anything done and the simple explanation is those “special interests” that focus just on their particular issue.  Indeed, just about every group that does some lobbying rates Members of Congress and come election time everyone runs to see if he or she has that vaunted 100 percent voting record on their issue.  If they don’t, watch out.  Lemme give you a good example.

One of my best friends is a Congressman from Virginia.  He’s been around for many years, I’ve worked on his campaign, donated money, etc.  When he ran for Congress the first time he did something unusual – he actually ran commercials highlighting how he was pro-choice.  He won that race and in the years after that, he earned a 100 percent voting record with the National Abortion Rights Action League.   And every time a new campaign cycle came around, he received the maximum $5,000 contribution from NARAL.

Then one day, while I was at the office of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, he gave me a call.  “Pat, what the hell is this partial birth abortion thing?”   As readers of this blog know, the “partial birth abortion” procedure as dubbed by pro-lifers, entailed pulling the live fetus down the birth canal, removing the contents of the cranium to deflate the skull, then removing the fetus from the canal.  The doctor who developed this technique explained it was designed for women with small birth canals.  Well, the shit hit the fan when the anti-abortion movement discovered this procedure.  And folks like my friend in Congress, who is Catholic, were horrified.

I explained to him as much as I could about this procedure but he was clearly uncomfortable. Then, to his credit, he told me bluntly that he felt he had to vote to ban the procedure and, as much as I was disappointed, I actually admired how he had examined this issue based on the individual merits.

Ultimately, the votes were cast and he voted to ban the procedure.  At that point, it did not become law because President Clinton vetoed the bill.  The ban later became law under President Bush.

And in the next election cycle, the NARAL-PAC gave him NO money.

One vote and his 100% record was gone – and his “friends” felt they had to punish him for daring to vote against them.  As we know, several pro-choice Members of Congress did the same, including Senator Daniel Moynihan and Representative Patrick Kennedy.

This is how Washington, D.C. works folks.  Either you toe the line or watch your back.  And this is why nothing ever gets done.