by Michael Leaser
January 26, 2010
In the latest Mapping America, always-intact married adults are less likely than married, previously divorced adults and unmarried adults to report that they sometimes drink too much alcohol.
In the latest Mapping America, always-intact married adults are less likely than married, previously divorced adults and unmarried adults to report that they sometimes drink too much alcohol.
That day22 January 1973—was a day very much like today, cold, gray, threatening. I was walking around the House Office Buildings, hunting for a job. The previous November, I had been defeated for the State Assembly in New York. I hadnt wanted to campaign on abortion one way or the other, but I couldnt avoid it. After anguishing over my decision for weeks, I came out strongly anti-abortion. Immediately, the $25,000 promised to my struggling campaigna huge sum in those dayswas withheld by the New York State Democratic Party. Although I never met him, I was told that Harold Ickes, Jr. had made the decision. Were not going to have anyone in the Democratic Party who is anti-abortion, he was quoted as saying. With that, I lost the race that was said to be a sure thing.
Job-hunting for an anti-abortion Democrat wasnt easy then. Its not easy now. Then, in the midst of my search came the thunderous newsthe U.S. Supreme Court had struck down the abortion laws of all fifty states.
Broke, unemployed, I could not have been more dejected. With the Courts radical ruling, I thought it would be this way forever. In my experience, no oneat least no one who was not a segregationisthad spoken out against a ruling of the Supreme Court. We had been schooled to believe that the Supreme Court had the final word.
The New York Daily News did not run a banner headline on Roe v. Wade to mark that day. Instead, all eyes were focused on the news that read:
Lyndon Johnson Dead at 64 Heart Attack Fells Him in Texas
Tuesday, January 23, 1973
Lyndon Baines Johnson served as our nation’s 36th president.
San Antonio, Tex., Jan. 22 (Special) - Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States who set the nation on a course of “Great Society” reforms but left office with his countrymen bitterly divided over the Vietnam War, died today after suffering an apparent heart attack at his central Texas ranch. He was 64.
Almost the only Latin I knew in those days was a quote from French President de Gaulle: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi. Thus passeth the glory of the world. That phrase expressed my feelings on learning that LBJ was dead.
You cannot exaggerate Lyndon Johnsons presence in those days. He was as adulated as Barack Obama in 1964 and 1965, but more despised than George W. Bush by 1968. He was almost a force of nature. In the early days of his administration, he had only to propose a measure and Congress obediently bowed before him. Some of those measureslike the Great Civil Rights Act of 1964, like the Voting Rights Act of 1965corrected great historic wrongs. But many of his other bills caused grievous problems, harmed millions of families, and haunt us to this day. Love him or hate him, Johnson in his prime bestrode the narrow world like a colossus. And here he had died.
Richard Nixon had just been inaugurated for a second term two days before, on 20 January 1973. Nixon ordered people to consult Lincolns Second Inaugural for guidance on his own oath-taking ceremonies. When all the Presidents men studied the profound, troubling words of Lincoln in 1865, and read the Emancipators sense of Gods holding our nation in His judgment, they decided to go another direction entirely.
Nixon carried 49 states the previous November. But in crushing Sen. George McGovern, Nixons singularly joyless victory was robbed of all sense of triumph. We now know that the mood of dejection came from the top. On Election Night, President Nixon had demanded the resignations of his Cabinet. How weird.
Today, we can give Nixon his due. He promised to end the war in Vietnam with honor. When he took office in 1969, there were 535,000 young Americans fighting in South Vietnam, with hundreds of dead and wounded every week. There was no prospect for peace. Four years later, Nixon had reduced the U.S. forces in country to 25,000. He had forced the North Vietnamese Communists to sign Peace Accords. He had provided arms, funding, and training for the South Vietnamese, who were at least maintaining a fragile independence. And Nixon had brought home several hundred POWs, including young Navy flier John McCain.
We did not know that Inauguration week in 1973 why everything seemed so somber here in Washington. Nixon knew why. The troubles that began with a third rate burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Hotel the previous June would blow up like a prairie twister to consume the Nixon Presidency.
Distractions of 1973. Johnson dead. Nixon brooding. The wounds of war still unhealed. And then there was this abortion question. I could hardly believe that my beloved country would actually embraceor at least be forced to submitto abortion forever.
What had become of the nation that believed the God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time? How could Americans ever reconcile themselves to this cruel and unjust ruling?
Well, we didnt. First in Catholic parishes, then in Lutheran churches, and soon in a mighty rush in thousands of Evangelical churches and para-church ministries, the heart of America rallied.
Within one year, the first March for Life was organized. Efforts soon got underway to resist. Churches and churchgoers sponsored pregnancy resource centers to help desperate young women choose life. Right to life groups organized, lobbied, wrote, and took to the airwaves.
When I joined the March for Life participants today, I rejoiced to stand with people young enough to be my grandchildren. I have gone from a young man to an old man at these marches.
One year ago, all our great expectations seemed eclipsed. It was as if we were thrown back to that dread day of 22 January 1973. How could anyone resist the irresistible tide? The victor brought millions to his historic Inaugural. He was hailed as sort of a God by Newsweek Magazine. Once again, Death rode on his pale horse.
What hope and what change we have seen in just one year. Has Health Care that kills been stopped? It seems so. Can anyone remember any words to cherish from that Inauguration of just one year ago? We may not be out of the woods, but we are out of the swamp.
This morning, I was late for the March. I got distracted. Not by Johnson, not by Nixon, not by Obama, but my 13-month old grandson on the Internet. Samuel was speaking words that thrilled my heart. His words were conveyed to me by technologies that did not even exist when the High Court did its low work in 1973. These new technologies also provide a window on the womb. They let us communicate the truth. His Truth. This is the Lords doing. It is marvelous in our eyes.
For those who enjoy going to the movies but want a film that digs deeper into the soul than the pocketbook, the inspiring Christian film To Save a Life opens in theatres today.
High schooler Jake Taylor has it allbasketball stardom, perfect girlfriend, college scholarship, but an old friends suicide forces him to discover what he truly values and believes. The film also deals with abortion in a dramatic and touching way, a fitting reminder of what we are fighting for on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Is the unborn child a human life? President Reagan used to say if you were in doubt whether a body you found on the sidewalk was dead or alive, you would never just assume it was dead.
President Obama, by contrast, famously answered Rev. Rick Warrens question about when the unborn child begins to have human and civil rights by saying that question is above my pay grade. But Mr. Obamas policies all assume the body on the sidewalk is dead.
Theres yet another thing you will never learn reading the papers about Roe. Just where were those abortion laws of the fifty states that were struck down by the Supreme Court that dread day? They were not in the family law codes. Nor in the child custody codes. Not in the medical licensing statutes.
The abortion laws of the fifty states were typically found in the Homicide sections.
No state made abortion a homicide in the first degree (pre-meditated murder, to most of
us lay people.) This may have been due to wise 19th century state lawmakers who did not want to prosecute women. And it may have taken account of the difficulty of obtaining convictions where the evidence of the unborn childs body was hard to find.
Still, that these laws were homicide laws tells you volumes. Some of our younger pro-life friends believe that the Court could not have known about the humanity of the unborn child in 1973. Not so. Yes, we know so very much more now. Yes, we have 4D ultra-sound that we did not have then.
But they knew in 1973. Everyone knew. I recall sitting in the Catholic hospital where my mother worked in the late 1960s. Across from me in the waiting room was an expectant Filipino woman. She could hardly speak English, but she wore a tee shirt with an arrow pointing down at her tummy. The tee shirt said: Baby. Everyone knew what that meant.
The state lawmakers knew as early as 1857, when science discovered that human life begins at conception. And every accurate scientific and medical textbook since has acknowledged this inescapable but, to politicians like Al Gore, inconvenient truth:
“The chromosomes of the oocyte and sperm are…respectively enclosed within female and male pronuclei. These pronuclei fuse with each other to produce the single, diploid, 2N nucleus of the fertilized zygote. This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.”
[Larsen, William J. Human Embryology. 2nd edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997, p. 17]
President Obama: I have the honor to present to you the human oocyte and sperm. And they didnt even have to crash your White House dinner. I was introduced to them in high school biology. Sir, I wanted you to meet them.
Since the public has been deliberately misled about Roe v. Wade, it will be necessary to educate people about it. Thats why, when confronted with insistent media questions on overturning Roe v. Wade, I hope the pro-life community will resolutely respond:
Roe overturned all fifty state laws that protected unborn children and their mothers. Roe needs to be corrected.
Overturn is what happens to SUVs in a ditch. Overturn is radical and dangerous. The American people are inherently conservative and reflexively reject that which is radical and dangerous. Liberal activists and journalists know this. Thats why they always frame every question about abortionor at least the ones they lob at pro-life candidatesin terms of overturning Roe.
They know what they are doing. Shouldnt we?
Spanish scientists report use of adult stem cells to treat corneal blindness. The University Institute of Applied Oftal-molecular Biology in Valladolid, and the Institute of Genetic and Molecular Biology, report a positive result in 90% of patients who have undergone the new treatment. Patients receive transplants of adult stem cells to regenerate the cornea. The doctors note that as many as 88,000 people in Spain could benefit from this adult stem cell treatment. They also say that applying this technique for various types of blindness could reduce health care costs.
This news from Spain follows a similar report of restoring sight to patients in the U.K. with adult stem cells.
Celulas madre adultas son un gran avance de la medicina!
[Adult stem cells are a great advance for medicine!]
Here’s the live feed (from 8:30-11:30 a.m.):
For more info, go here.
The Gallup Company created quite a stir last spring when they announced that, for the first time, a majority (51%) of Americans consider themselves pro-life. We would think, therefore, that a majority would also favor overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that gave us abortion-on-demand. Not necessarily.
First, we must remember that the American people have been misled by the major news media about Roe v. Wade since that dark and dreary day 36 years ago.
The media regularly call Roe a landmark decision. Landmark is a good thing. It connotes something historic and of great weight. You never hear the infamous 1857 Dred Scott ruling that upheld slavery in the territories called landmark.
Almost never will a story about Roe include the critique of Yale Law School Dean, John Hart Ely. Prof. Ely, although he favored liberalizing our abortion laws, was unimpressed by the legal reasoning behind Justice Harry Blackmuns Roe v. Wade ruling: It is not constitutional law and it gives no impression of an obligation to be constitutional law. According to Bob Woodruffs behind-the-scenes book on the Supreme Court, the Justices clerks were even more dismissive, calling the opinion Harrys abortion.
Harvard Law Professor Archibald Cox was a friend of the Kennedy family. He, too, was not impressed with the land that Roe was marking:
[Blackmuns opinion] fails even to consider what I would suppose to be the most important compelling interest of the State in prohibiting abortion: the interest in maintaining that respect for the paramount sanctity of human life which has always been at the centre of Western civilization, not merely by guarding life itself, however defined, but by safeguarding the penumbra, whether at the beginning, through some overwhelming disability of mind or body, or at death.
Continuing to blast Roe, Cox wrote:
The failure to confront the issue in principled terms leaves the opinion to read like a set of hospital rules and regulations, whose validity is good enough this week but will be destroyed with new statistics upon the medical risks of child-birth and abortion or new advances in providing for the separate existence of a fetus… . Neither historian, nor layman, nor lawyer will be persuaded that all the prescriptions of Justice Blackmun are part of the Constitution.
President Kennedys appointee to the Supreme Court, Justice Byron R. Whizzer White was one of two votes against Roe on January 22, 1973, and faithfully ever after. Justice White condemned the ruling as an example of raw judicial power.
But the media, in their worshipful treatment of Roe, rarely include such comments. Nor do they remind Americans that Roe was so radical it overturned the abortion laws of all fifty states. Even the most liberal state laws on abortionlike those of New York, Washington, California, and Coloradowere overturned by Roes yet more radical rule.
Further, the media regularly report that the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. Thats true, but misleading.
Yes, the Court made abortion legal in the first trimester (three months), but it also so strictly limited the protections a state might afford to unborn children after the first trimester as to effectively give us abortion-on-demand until birth. (And, in some horrific cases, even after birth.)
Describing Roe this way is like describing Hitlers blitzkrieg in Western Europe like this:
German forces today overran Belgium and Luxemburg. Surely they did. But they also simultaneously invaded France!
In practice, Roe legalized abortion in all three trimesters. This makes U.S. abortion law more radical than any other advanced democracy.
So the public has been consistently misinformed about the radical nature of Roe v. Wade.
But it is also misinformed about the reasons given for most abortions. Well over 90% of abortions are done today—and have been done since 1973 for reasons that the American people do not support—reasons of financial hardship or emotional distress.
Liberal Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman, who retired earlier this year, famously wrote that the three reasons for abortion are rape, incest, and me. She was candidly admitting that pro-abortion groups use the horrors of rape and incest to conceal their true agenda: abortion-on-demand.
The numbers of abortions are typically reported in decimal form1.2 million. Cynical Communist dictator Joe Stalin said it: A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic. He should know. By not reporting the annual deaths from abortion as 1,200,000, or the total since Roe was issued as 49,000,000, the press collaborates in minimizing the impact.
By way of comparison, Americas Civil War claimed the lives of 630,000 young men, World War II cost us 424,000. Is there any other way to assess the gravity of a war? The worst riots? The worst flood? The worst earthquake? Theyre judged by the numbers of human lives they take.
(continued in Part II)
Tomorrow from 8:30-11:30 a.m., Blogs for Life will be taking place at the Family Research Council. This year’s lineup provides some amazing speakers, who will be talking about advancing the pro-life message through new media, in addition to hearing about some emerging technologies.
Here’s the schedule and you can still register by going here.
8:30 - 8:35a Jill Stanek, emcee introduction
8:35 - 8:45a Kristen Day, Democrats for Life
9:20 - 9:33a Carol Clews, Executive Director, Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Baltimore, Md.
9:33 - 9:35a Kristin Hansen, VP of Communications, Care Net
9:35 - 9:45a Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List
9:45 - 10:05a Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo.
10:05 - 10:15a Break
10:15 - 10:25a Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D, President and CEO, Americans United for Life
10:25 - 10:45a Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio
10:45 - 11:05a PANEL: Emerging Online Technologies, Molotov Mitchell,Illuminati Pictures; Peter Shinn, President, Pro-Life Unity; Founder, Blogs for Life; Krystle Weeks, Web Editor, Family Research Council
11:05 - 11:15a David Prentice, Ph.D, Senior Fellow for Life Sciences, FRC, StemCellResearchFacts.org
11:15 - 11:30a Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
I follow national security news stories pretty closely, but I have to admit to being shocked by Human Events magazines publication of an excerpt from a new book. It is Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack, by Marc Thiessen. Thiessen was a top speechwriter for President George W. Bush. For that reason he had access to very highly classified national security documents and information.
One excerpt about information gathered from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) is astounding, mind-boggling:
[KSMs] resistance is described by one senior American official as superhuman. Eventually, however, the techniques work….
He begins telling his CIA de-briefers about active al Qaeda plots to launch attacks against the United States and other Western targets He holds classes for CIA officials, using a chalkboard to draw a picture of al Qaedas operating structure, financing, communications, and logistics. He identifies al Qaeda travel routes and safe havens, and helps intelligence officers make sense of documents and computer records seized in terrorist raids. He identifies voices in intercepted telephone calls, and helps officials understand the meaning of coded terrorist communications. He provides information that helps our intelligence community capture other high-ranking terrorists,
KSMs questioning, and that of other captured terrorists, produces more than 6,000 intelligence reports, which are shared across the intelligence community, as well as with our allies across the world.
Perhaps Ive been under a rock, but I never heard these details before. I assume they are correct.
Some of the KSM information appears to have foiled an August 2006 plot to destroy seven airliners flying across the Atlantic from London-Heathrow in a revised version of KSMs failed 1994-1995 Bojinka operation.
Top CIA officials are clear that the enhanced interrogation methods in the Bush counter-terrorism program were essential to obtaining extremely valuable, life-saving information. According to Thiessen, Obama shut the program down within 48 hours of assuming office when he signed Executive Order 13491. That order allowed only interrogation techniques permitted in the U.S. Army Field Manual 2 22.3. The manual does not permit water boarding, for example.
The Left and President Obama have completely misread the desires of the American people on this matter. I put it this way: Jack Bauer Yes; Nation Building No. That is, the American people want to fight the jihadists in any manner necessary to kill and defeat them anywhere in the world. They have never waivered on this principle, and that includes keeping Guantanamo prison open in Cuba. It also means keeping it filled. That said, the American people have never been keen on protracted wars of attrition, counter-insurgency, and/or nation-building see, Iraq and Afghanistan.
To be fair, President Obama may have been fooled by John McCains idiosyncratic positions on interrogations and Gitmo. I mean idiosyncratic for a Republican. Inside the GOP there are very few people who agree with McCain on either position.
That said, the Obama Administration clearly does not understand how Americans feel about Jack Bauers War. Consequently, its behavior after capturing the underwear bomber left bare a policy which Americans deem to be ill-advised and dangerous. Instead of treating Flight 253s Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant, Obama/Holder have decided to try him in federal courts. After singing for a mere six hours, Abdulmutallab was given a lawyer and has stopped talking. Now hes negotiating with prosecutors.
Look above at Thiessens quote and think about the information that would have been lost had KSM only talked to us for six hours. Seven planes lost over the Atlantic? Thats a pretty high price to pay for adherence to glib liberalism.
This is a public opinion cancer that will not go away for the administration. The KSM trial in New York City may decimate the Democrat Party in that State, and it will go on for months and years. Now there will be a trial in Detroit for Abdulmutallab. And, heaven forbid, that an actual attack on the United States or Americans overseas succeeds. Obama would be finished instantaneously. Every Gitmo prisoner brought to the United States will constitute a new crisis.
Therefore, it is completely unsurprising that Scott Brown, the senator-elect from Massachusetts, was able to pound Martha Coakley on this point. Brown is a USAF reserve JAG officer who was able to hammer away at the Dems soft position on terrorism. This he succeeded in doing even in ultra-liberal Massachusetts.
In sum, while we are correct in focusing on the health care legislation as the core political issue at present. I would argue that the Obama Administrations foreign policy and national security strategy are hurting it and doing so at an increasing rate of damage with the passage of time.