Author archives: Cathy Ruse

Meet the Co-Parents: Friends Not Lovers

by Cathy Ruse

August 29, 2011

A few years ago the New York Times ran a story about a new social phenomenon: Couples, who claim to love each other, who have an exclusive sexual relationship, and who share financial expenses, are choosing not to live together. The arrangement is called Living Apart Together, and apparently its on the rise. The couples interviewed spoke of their need for alone time and personal space and a desire not to wait on the other person they claim to love. Why bother joining households and lose a great city apartment? one suggested.

Reading that story brought to mind how Woody Allen once described the perfect arrangement he had with Mia Farrow: separate apartments on opposite sides of Central Park where they could see each others lights go off at night. But we know how that ended. (For those too young to remember: Woody ended up having an affair with, and then marrying, his own stepdaughter, and in his defense famously said, The heart wants what the heart wants.)

Last week the London Telegraph reviewed another new social relationship trend: people who are neither married nor in love (nor, in some cases, even acquainted) are apparently having children together through the use of in vitro fertilization. Why?

The story leads with examples of homosexuals who wanted to have a child of their own partnering up with people of the opposite sex to share biological material. But also interviewed was this single heterosexual woman, approaching the end of her fertile years, who explained: In a worst-case scenario I would seek an anonymous donor, but Ive always thought a child needs a father. At the very least I wanted a donor who would visit regularly.

What kid wouldnt want Daddy Sperm visiting regularly? But why does little Johnny hide under the bed when the door bell rings?

WSJ: Britains Chief Rabbi on the Riots—Causes and Solutions

by Cathy Ruse

August 22, 2011

Here is an interesting piece from Saturdays Wall Street Journal.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks posits that it is the breakdown of the family and, even more fundamentally, a turning away from its Judeo-Christian faith, that has created a moral crisis in the West of which the London riots are a symptom.

I do not agree with everything he says (when he calls the rioters victims and says its not their fault, that is a bridge too far for me), but his broader argument for the moral reinvigoration that a return to religion can bring to society, and its necessity in bringing about a common good, is persuasive.

An interesting quote from the end of the piece:

One of our great British exports to America, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, has a fascinating passage in his recent book Civilization, in which he asks whether the West can maintain its primacy on the world stage or if it is a civilization in decline.

He quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tasked with finding out what gave the West its dominance. He said: At first we thought it was your guns. Then we thought it was your political system, democracy. Then we said it was your economic system, capitalism. But for the last 20 years, we have known that it was your religion.

Another Abortion Apologia from the NYT Mag

by Cathy Ruse

August 15, 2011

This weekend the New York Times Magazine published another piece on a favorite topic: aborting one or more children in a multiple pregnancy, known antiseptically to those in the business as selective reduction.

A few years ago it featured Amy Richards first-person account of having two of her triplets killed so that she wouldnt have to shop at Costco and buy big jars of mayonnaise. This piece follows a married woman in her forties, with two young children in grade school, who became pregnant with twins following years of infertility treatments and aborted one at 14 weeks gestation. Apparently Jenny reasoned that:

[T]wins would soak up everything she had to give, leaving nothing for her older children. Even the twins would be robbed, because, at best, she could give each one only half of her attention and, she feared, only half of her love. Jenny desperately wanted another child, but not at the risk of becoming a second-rate parent.

Beyond the revolting illogical pro-choice platitudes (at least she didnt try to suggest there was no baby there; at 14 weeks that child was so well-developed she could move on her own), Jenny did touch upon something close to truth in her machinations; she had a glimpse of the post-modern problem of human commodification:

[W]e created this child in such an artificial manner in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.

Right. Its the logic of choice, and not even the logical end.

The right to abortion is limitless in this country. You can have a legal abortion at any time, for any reason. Thats a hard truth these Times Magazine pieces help to tell. Dr. Richard Berkowitz ofColumbiaUniversityMedicalCenter, who does this type of abortion, admits what the pro-choice movement would rather hide: that a woman can have an abortion for any reason financial, social, emotional.

You can even have a baby killed over worrying whether youll be able to love her enough.

If the child were given a say, no doubt shed happily give up any love for an ounce of respect and the chance just to keep living.

h/t Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Corner

Playboy Out of the Porn Business?

by Cathy Ruse

August 11, 2011

This week CBS online reported that Playboy is getting out of the pornography business. According to Jim Edwards of Bnet, the whole commercial porn industry is tanking. He cites Playboys losses of $15 million last year on revenue of just $55 million (down 9 percent from the previous year), as well as the declining revenues of other companies and cable pay-per-view porn.

Wouldnt you just like to gloat? I sure would. That reaction might be misplaced.

As for Playboy, while it will no longer actually make pornography, CEO Scott Flanders says the company is moving into brand management, licensing its name and logos. So it could survive and thrive yet.

And the assumption from every quarter is that the hits to this vile industry are due not to some beneficent cause but to the glut of free porn on the Internet and elsewhere. It could be even worse than that. My friend Donna Rice Hughes, who heads Enough is Enough, believes its not quantity but content: the big industry leaders cant compete with the type of deviant hard-core material that is now available on the Internet.

I hope shes wrong. Whether its big porn syndicates tied in with organized crime or mom and pop amateurs dumping more and more deviant material on the Internet, the heart of the issue is still the same. As Bruce Taylor, the nations most experienced porn prosecutor, told PBS: Its still the same industry. These are a bunch of pimps who make hardcore porn […] by hiring people, turning them into prostitutes, and then distributing illegal obscenity.

The problem is the same, and so is the solution. These people are violating long-standing federal obscenity laws. Prosecute them and convict them. Its deceptively simple. Enforce the law, and the Internet porn industry will decline.

Will Abortionist James Pendergraft Be Undone by the 10-year old Girl He Crippled?

by Cathy Ruse

July 28, 2011

Reading Internet stories about late-term Florida abortionist James Pendergraft is like walking through a funhouse mirror only the warped, grotesque image is the one thats true.

For over a decade, abortion defenders have propped up this man as a hero to their movement, lauding him in their blogs, inviting him to speak at their rallies. This man, who aborts babies as old as 27 weeks gestation and who sends women home to have abortions in their toilets or to emergency rooms for unwanted hysterectomies, has managed to continue profiting from his chain of abortion clinics for over a decade despite numerous run-ins with authorities, including repeated suspensions of his medical license. But a little disabled girl might finally be his undoing.

In 2001 he was convicted of federal extortion charges and put behind bars after threats he made against county officials were caught on tape. The abortion-rights crowd rallied behind him and invited him to speak at their rallies. (Source) His conviction was later overturned.

His license to practice was later suspended, Florida Department of Health stating that he showed a flagrant disregard for the laws of the state of Florida and a willingness to endanger the lives and health of pregnant patients. (Source: LifeNews)

After the suspension ran its course, he was suspended again. See Operation Rescue.

Now, a morbid lawsuit over a failed abortion brought on behalf of the little girl who barely survived it has resulted in a verdict of 36 million dollars. See Jill Staneks Article and LifeSiteNews.

The mainstream media has not reported on this verdict, but other sources say that attorneys on behalf of a young girl who survived one of Pendergrafts abortions filed a lawsuit seeking a lifetime of medical care for the child, and they have won a $36 million verdict. In 2001, the plaintiffs mother, Carol Howard, apparently paid one of Pendergrafts clinics $1,300 to abort her baby at 22 weeks gestation. She was given multiple doses of RU-486, according to a source, and after 12 hours of labor left the clinic upset and in pain, later to deliver the baby girl in a hospital. The child weighed 1 lb 6 oz at birth, and suffers from cerebral palsy, lack of function on one side of her body, strokes and brain damage, physical, emotional and cognitive delays, lung damage, chronic lung disease, and seizure disorders. According to pro-life witnesses inside the courtroom, the Florida jury verdict orders Pendergraft to pay Howard $18,255,000 in punitive damages, $18,000,000 in compensatory damages, and over $400,000 in court costs.

Will this finally stop him?

Ashton Kutchers Tweet Tirade Against the Village Voice on Child Prostitution

by Cathy Ruse

July 5, 2011

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are trying to raise awareness about child trafficking and prostitution in the United States and have created a technology task force to create solutions to end human trafficking online. Their blunt slogan is, Real Men Dont Buy Girls, and theyre recruiting celebrities to make this pledge and spread the word. Heres a video from their launch.

Good for them; they could be spending all of their free time (and money) redecorating their homes.

The sleezy yet still influential Village Voice mocked Kutcher saying he wildly inflated the number of girls who are sex trafficked in the United States. That number is notoriously hard to get, but Kutcher and his program are working with NCMEC, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a source to be trusted. Not only did the Voice play down the problem suggesting, ludicrously, that the number of actual arrests gives some scope of the problem — but Kutcher is right to point to the Voice as potentially part of the problem. Turn to their back pages and see dozens of ads for prostitutes. (They call people like us who support laws against prostitution prohibitionists.)

Good for Kutcher. He slammed the Voice with a tirade of late night Tweets. A sampling:

Hey @villagevoice hows the lawsuit from the 15 year old victim who alleges you helped enslave them going?

Hey @villagevoice speaking of data, maybe you can help me… How much $ did your “escorts” in you classifieds on backpage make last year?

Hey @villagevoice speaking of Data… How many of your girls selling themselves in your classifieds are you doing age verification on?

Hey @villagevoice Find another way to justify that YOUR property facilitates the sale of HUMAN BEINGS

Hey @villagevoice if you want to dispute the online data I’ve collected about the consumption of child porn or the hard facts from NCMEC lmk

Hey @villagevoice REAL MEN DON’T BUY GIRLS and REAL NEWS PUBLICATIONS DON’T SELL THEM

Read more on the Kutcher-Village Voice face-off here.

Jack Kevorkian R.I.P.?

by Cathy Ruse

June 6, 2011

For all his bravado, in the end Jack Kevorkian was a coward. Dr. Death promoted killing as virtue and convinced far too many people to rally around his evil creed. But, in the end, what he advocated for he ran away from personally. Notwithstanding all of his medical suffering, rather than pull out his suicide machine, the evil doctor instead reserved for himself a natural death. While his followers may still be lost, Kevorkian himself now knows the truth.

Portrait of an Abortion Zealot: Glimpse of Obama in the NYT

by Cathy Ruse

April 11, 2011

In the midst of the budget debate last week an important premise was planted: That President Obama is willing to risk a lot, and lose a lot, in order to keep the federal spigot open and tax dollars flowing to Planned Parenthood.

The New York Times report on the budget negotiations included this gem:

At one crucial moment in the game of chicken over a looming shutdown of the United States government, President Obama and the House speaker, John A. Boehner, faced off in the Oval Office. Mr. Boehner, a Republican heavily outnumbered in the room by Democrats, was demanding a provision to restrict financing to Planned Parenthood and other groups that provide abortions. Mr. Obama would not budge.

Nope. Zero, the president said to the speaker. Mr. Boehner tried again. Nope. Zero, Mr. Obama repeated. John, this is it. A long silence followed, said one participant in the meeting. It was just like an awkward, O.K., well, what do you do now?

That meeting broke without an agreement. But while Mr. Obama may have held tough on the abortion provision, he and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, had already made a broader concession agreeing to tens of billions of dollars in spending cuts that would have been unthinkable had Republicans not captured control of the House from Democrats in midterm elections last year.

Keep in mind, Mr. Obama wasnt protecting a right to abortion, but something even more radical: the right of Americas largest abortion provider to reach into our pockets!

Planned Parenthood has almost one billion dollars in net assets and $737 million in reported revenues, not counting the $363 million from taxpayers. Isnt that a special favor for Big Business?

And what a business. From its most recent report we learn that Planned Parenthood clinics aborted 332,278 American children, about the same number of people who populate the city of Cincinnati. (For more important facts on Planned Parenthood, see this wonderful piece by Susan Wills)

The budget negotiations revealed, again, President Obamas abortion zealotry. We have the Republicans congressional leaders to thank for that. As my colleague Tom McClusky asks: Who is the hard liner on abortion?

Elena What Memo? Kagan: Saletan Got One Big Thing Wrong

by Cathy Ruse

July 8, 2010

Theres a lot of buzz about Will Saletans incisive analysis of Elena Kagans role in shaping, from the White House, the medical conclusions of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on the partial-birth abortion method. (See full article, below.) The criticism of Kagan and ACOG is certainly welcome, especially coming from this pro-choice writer at this left-leaning magazine.

But Saletan is dead wrong on one central point: Kagan did substantively change the ACOG statement with the sentence she dictated to the organization. Before Kagans interference, the ACOG statement read:

a select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which this procedure, as defined above, would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.

Before Kagan, partial-birth abortion was equal to or lesser than other methods in ACOGs view. With the addition of Kagans wording that it may be the best method in a particular circumstance, partial-birth abortion now became potentially better than other methods in the official view of ACOG. Saletan apparently doesnt understand that making it potentially best in some unnamed hypothetical situation was equivalent to making it definitively best in the view of the reviewing courts. Even a cursory reading of the lower court rulings shows that the Kagan best language was absolutely key to the courts reasoning in overturning the bans.

Ultimately, of course, the Supreme Court got past this politicized medicine and got the ruling right. But this revelation should be a permanent black eye for ACOGs reputation on any abortion-related issue in the future, and is proof that Kagan is a zealous pro-abortion political animal trying to disguise herself in judges robes.

http://www.slate.com/id/2259495/pagenum/all/#p2

When Kagan Played Doctor

Elena Kagan’s partial-birth abortion scandal.

By William Saletan

Posted Saturday, July 3, 2010, at 2:12 PM ET

Fourteen years ago, to protect President Clinton’s position on partial-birth abortions, Elena Kagan doctored a statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Conservatives think this should disqualify her from the Supreme Court. They understate the scandal. It isn’t Kagan we should worry about. It’s the whole judiciary.

Kagan, who was then an associate White House counsel, was doing her job: advancing the president’s interests. The real culprit was ACOG, which adopted Kagan’s spin without acknowledgment. But the larger problem is the credence subsequently given to ACOG’s statement by courts, including the Supreme Court. Judges have put too much faith in statements from scientific organizations. This credulity must stop.

The Kagan story appeared Tuesday in National Review and CNSNews.com. You can read the underlying papers at the Media Research Center. There are three crucial documents. The first is a memo from Kagan on June 22, 1996, describing a meeting with ACOG’s chief lobbyist and its former president. The main takeaway from the meeting, Kagan wrote, was that “there are an exceedingly small number of partial birth abortions that could meet the standard the President has articulated,” i.e., abortions in which the partial-birth technique was necessary to protect a woman’s life or health. She explained:

In the vast majority of cases, selection of the partial birth procedure is not necessary to avert serious adverse consequences to a woman’s health; another optionwhether another abortion procedure or, in the post-viability context, birth through a caesarean section, induced labor, or carrying the pregnancy to termis equally safe.

The second document is a draft ACOG statement on “intact D&X” (aka partial-birth) abortions, faxed by ACOG to the White House on Dec. 5, 1996. The statement said that

a select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which this procedure, as defined above, would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman. Notwithstanding this conclusion, ACOG strongly believes that decisions about medical treatment must be made by the doctor, in consultation with the patient, based upon the woman’s particular circumstances. The potential exists that legislation prohibiting specific medical practices, such as intact D & X, may outlaw techniques that are critical to the lives and health of American women.

The third document is a set of undated notes in Kagan’s handwriting, offering “suggested options” for editing the ACOG statement. They included this sentence: “An intact D+X, however, may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman, and a doctor should be allowed to make this determination.” This sentence was added verbatim to the final ACOG statement released on Jan. 12, 1997, which read in part:

A select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which this procedure, as defined above, would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman. An intact D&X, however, may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman, and only the doctor, in consultation with the patient, based upon the woman’s particular circumstances can make this decision.

The basic story is pretty clear: Kagan, with ACOG’s consent, edited the statement to say that intact D&X “may be the best or most appropriate procedure” in some cases. Conservatives have pounced on this, claiming that Kagan “fudged the results of [ACOG’s] study,” “made up ‘scientific facts,’ ” and “participated in a gigantic scientific deception.” These charges are exaggerated. The sentence Kagan added was hypothetical. It didn’t assert, alter, or conceal any data. Nor did it “override a scientific finding,” as National Review alleges, or “trump” ACOG’s conclusions, as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, contends. Even Power Line, a respected conservative blog, acknowledges that ACOG’s draft and Kagan’s edit “are not technically inconsistent.” Kagan didn’t override ACOG’s scientific judgments. She reframed them.

But Kagan’s defense is bogus, too. On Wednesday, at her confirmation hearing, Hatch pressed Kagan about this episode. She replied that she had just been “clarifying the second aspect of what [ACOG] thought.” Progressive blogs picked up this spin, claiming that she merely “clarified” ACOG’s findings and made its position “more clear” so that its “intent was correctly understood.” Come on. Kagan didn’t just “clarify” ACOG’s position. She changed its emphasis. If a Bush aide had done something like this during the stem-cell debate, progressive blogs would have screamed bloody murder.

At the hearing, Kagan said ACOG had told her that intact D&X “was in some circumstances the medically best procedure.” But that doesn’t quite match her 1996 memo about her meeting with ACOG. In the memo, she wrote that

we went through every circumstance imaginablepost- and pre-viability, assuming malformed fetuses, assuming other medical conditions, etc., etc.and there just aren’t many where use of the partial-birth abortion is the least risky, let alone the “necessary,” approach. No one should worry about being able to drive a truck through the President’s proposed exception; the real issue is whether anything at all can get through it.

The language in this memo”imaginable,” “let alone,” the quotes around “necessary”depicts a conversation in which nobody could think of a real case where intact D&X was, as Kagan’s revision would later put it, “the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.” Indeed, the participants doubted whether “anything at all” could meet Clinton’s standardnamely, a case in which intact D&X would be “necessary to preserve the life of the woman or avert serious adverse consequences to her health.” So Kagan’s statement at her hearingthat ACOG had said intact D&X “was in some circumstances the medically best procedure”considerably stretches the truth as she recorded it. It implies, contrary to her contemporaneous notes, that ACOG had affirmed a specific need for the procedure.

Kagan’s critics see her political meddling as a violation of science. The revised ACOG statement “was a political document, intended to bolster the case for partial-birth abortion, under the false flag of scientific objectivity,” says Power Line. National Review agrees: “Language purporting to be the judgment of an independent body of medical experts” was “nothing more than the political scrawling of a White House appointee.” These complaints are overboard. Science and politics aren’t mutually exclusive. The ACOG statement was largely scientific, and even Kagan’s insertion was more than political scrawling: It reframed but obeyed the constraints of ACOG’s objective beliefs.

But if conservatives are being naive about the relationship between science and politics, Kagan is being cynical about it. “There was no way in which I would have or could have intervened with ACOG, which is a respected body of physicians, to get it to change its medical views,” she told senators on Wednesday. With this clever phrasing, she obscured the truth: By reframing ACOG’s judgments, she altered their political effect as surely as if she had changed them.

She also altered their legal effect. And this is the scandal’s real lesson: Judges should stop treating the statements of scientific organizations as apolitical. Such statements, like the statements of any other group, can be loaded with spin. This one is a telling example.

National Review, CNSNews, and Power Line make a damning case that courts mistook the ACOG statement for pure fact. In 2000, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortions, it cited ACOG: “The District Court also noted that a select panel of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists concluded that D&X ‘may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.’” That sentence, we now know, was written by Kagan.

Four years later, when U.S. district judge Richard Kopf ruled against the federal partial-birth ban, he wrote:

I have summarized only the statements of the two leading national medical associationsthat is, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)regarding substantive medical questions, but only to the extent the statements reflected the considered medical opinion of such groups after an apparent professional inquiry. I did not summarize the policy views of these or other associations.

Kopf explained why he trusted the ACOG statement:

In forming the task force’s proposed ACOG Statement on Intact Dilation and Extraction, the members relied on their own education and expertise, obstetrics and gynecology textbooks, CDC information, published information on the safety of D&E and the D&X subset of D&E, and information about the safety of available alternatives. The textbooks were referenced for information about specific abortion procedures. The task force did not rely on information received from the public, did not interview or receive testimony from doctors, and did not draft and circulate individual position papers or statements for review and comment by other task force members. … Before and during the task force meeting, neither ACOG nor the task force members conversed with other individuals or organizations, including congressmen and doctors who provided congressional testimony, concerning the topics addressed in the ACOG Statement on Intact Dilation and Extraction.

Kopf, like the rest of us, was apparently unaware that after the ACOG task force formulated its proposed statement, the statement was politically vetted and edited. Kagan’s memos and testimony confirm that ACOG consulted the White House and altered its statement accordingly. As a result, the statement reframed ACOG’s professional findings to support the policy views it shared with the White House.

All of us should be embarrassed that a sentence written by a White House aide now stands enshrined in the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, erroneously credited with scientific authorship and rigor. Kagan should be most chastened of all. She fooled the nation’s highest judges. As one of them, she had better make sure they aren’t fooled again.

Archives