Reading, Writing, and Reflecting

By Steve Willis

Limits for Some Kinds of Abortions

There has been a legislative effort going on in the States to limit certain types of abortions, even though the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973. Notice the efforts by the House and the Senate to limit “partial-birth” abortions:

“The U.S. House of Representatives last week [week of Nov. 6spw] passed a bill banning the practice of ‘partial-birth’ abortions. The technique, used in late-term pregnancy abortions to collect brains for scientific experiments, involves pulling the baby partly out of the uterus so that its skull is exposed. The abortionist then punctures the skull, inserts a catheter and sucks out the baby’s brain tissue. The bill passed by a margin of 288 to 139. Pro-life groups in the United States hailed the vote as the first step to rolling back the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which legalized abortions in America.” (Alberta Report, Nov. 13, 1995, “One less stomach-turning option,” p. 44).

Further, on December 7, 1995, Sue Kirchhoff reported for Reuter’s new service: “The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved landmark legislation to outlaw a rarely-used, late-term abortion technique after narrowly defeating an amendment allowing its continued use to protect a woman’s health.” The same article went on to say, “The abortion technique in question, medically known as intact dilation and extraction, is used in second and third trimester abortions. Under the procedure, a fetus is partially delivered feet first until just the head remains in the womb. Scissors are then inserted and the brains suctioned out…. The National Abortion Federation estimates about 450 abortions are performed each year using the contested technique. About 90 percent of the 1.5 million abortions performed annually occur in the first trimester of pregnancy and fewer than 600 in the third trimester ….The legislation would impose up to two years in jail and a possible fine for doctors who perform the contested abortions. The grandparents or father of the child, if married to the mother, could sue the doctor if the abortion were per-formed.”

The question now is whether President Clinton will sign the bill into law. On December 14, according to PR Newswire, Focus on the Family president, James Dobson, has issued a press release indicating that the White House is not interested in hearing from the public. It said, in part, “Today Dr. James Dobson charged the White House with `flagrantly abandoning its responsibility to serve the American people’ in its mistreatment of concerned Americans who have made phone calls to the White House this week.” Dobson had requested people call the White House encouraging them to sign the bill in to law, but “Focus on the Family has received numerous complaints from people who have tried to call the White House on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, but were either rudely treated by White House phone operators or could not even get past White House phone recordings.”

“Gary Bauer, president of Family Research Council, gave numerous examples of telephone mistreatment of White House callers on the December 13 Focus on the Family broadcast.” Mr. Bauer then said, “This kind of White House mistreatment is unprecedented,” said Bauer. “On all the occasions when controversial issues occurred in the past  whether during the Carter, Reagan, or Bush Ad-ministrations  this is the first time the White House has taken steps to distance itself from the American people.” “Unbelievably, the White House has cut itself off from the people it was elected to serve,” said Dr. Dobson.

We should remember to pray for all in authority as they consider such laws that “we may lead a quiet and peace-able life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:2).

Are Abortions Medically Necessary?

Canadian Province Alberta, which is trying to limit its health care expenses, has stopped funding a few procedures. So far abortion is still funded by the health care system, but the argument has been made that if they can’t cover adult eye-examinations, why can Health Care still fund abortions? This has brought the debate down to whether abortions are “medically necessary.” Premier Klein would like to drop abortion-funding decisions into the doctor’s lap by having them determine which are medically necessary. They don’t want to define it. In fact, some wish to keep it federally and provincially funded; see this quote by the Canadian doctor who has led the fight to make abortions legal, Dr. Henry Morgentaler: homosexual, “speculated that biological factors . . . cause the brains of homosexuals to become `feminized.’

“All abortions are medically necessary in the sense that they have to be done by a doctor.”

I guess I wonder if cosmetic surgery is “medically necessary” using the same logic?

Listen to the Public When They Are Right

Daniel Yankelovich, of the “think-tank” Yankelovich, Skelly and White, has written a “four-step strategy to re-gain liberalism’s moral authority.” I’ll not go into all four steps, but there is one that addressed moral positions: “Internalizing the Public’s Point of View” listening to the concerns of the voting public.

Yankelovich said, “From the point of view of moral leadership, the worst thing liberal leaders can do is promote government policies that the public sees as encouraging immoral behavior, giving the opposition the opportunity to attack liberal doctrine.” As applied to dealing with the present welfare system, he said, “In making reforms, voters have two concerns: cost and moral rightness. Of the two, research shows the public is turning away from the moral relativism that took hold in the 1960s toward more strict, absolute forms of social morality. The public increasingly supports a moral principle of reciprocity rather than entitlement  that is, when people receive a public benefit they should give something back unless they are too aged or infirm to do so.”

Yankelovich also said that if liberals wanted “the nation to bear the costs of a strong safety net for those in need, they can persuade the public to support it financially only if they are willing to change its moral underpinnings. This includes obliging fathers to be more responsible, discouraging teenage out-of-wedlock births,” among other things.

What are some of the indirect costs of current welfare legislation? “A culture of drugs, crime, violence, and dependency.” As it stands now, he said that the system “frustrates the majority of Americans: People feel they are being obliged, through their taxes, to pay for the very violence that threatens their security (Mother Jones, December 1995, “Restoring Public Trust”).

“Facts” on Homosexuality Called Into Question

The November 1995 Scientific American reported that recent claims of a biological basis for homosexuality are flawed and perhaps even fraudulent. John Horgan writes that Simon Le Vay of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego “asserted that a minute region of the hypothalamus called the interstitial nucleus was smaller in male homosexuals than in straight men and similar in size to the nucleus of females.” Dr. Le Vay, who is himself John Hogan, writing in “Gay Genes, Revisited” said, recent attempts to replicate Dr. Le Vay’s research have failed, perhaps because the brains he studied may have been damaged by storage.

In 1993, “a group led by Dean H. Hamer of the National Cancer Institute linked male homosexuality to a gene on the X chromosome, which is inherited exclusively from the mother.” But, Mr. Horgan revealed, “one study has contradicted his results [and] more disturbingly, he has been charged with research improprieties and is now under investigation by the Federal Office of Research Integrity.”

Guardian of Truth XL: 2 p. 14-15
January 18, 1996