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Monday, March 31, 2014

National Right to Life Committee's Compromise by Pam Stenzel, Conceived in Rape Pro-Life Speaker and Author


“The mission of National Right to Life is to protect and defend the most fundamental right of humankind, the right to life of every innocent human being from the beginning of life to natural death.”

This statement on National Right to Life Committee’s (NRLC)   home page seems to articulate a very clear stand that life begins at conception and ends at natural death, and that every life has value, regardless of the circumstances of conception, or “wantedness”, or abilities. 

But are they being true to their mission statement?  Has NRLC called politicians to these high standards, or have they, in the name of political expediency, compromised these standards in order to “pass a law”?  Constantly claiming that saving “some lives” is better than nothing, they have compromised their core values and principles by deciding which lives are more worthy of protection than others.  When you attempt to pass a law that states that abortion should be outlawed after 20 weeks because the “fetus” can feel pain, and is therefore a person,  your argument for a ban on these abortions is based on the scientific fact that this “fetus” is a living human being.  But then, when in this same law you allow for the “killing of this human being” because this human being was conceived through rape or incest, you have effectively negated your original argument.  Is the rape conceived child less human? Does the rape/incest conceived child not feel pain? Or have you decided that you have the right to decide which life has value and which does not?  You effectively articulated the pro-abortion argument, that the  right of the mother to not be inconvenienced or suffer perceived mental harm usurps the right of the child to live. 

Those who espouse this continuous compromise, as the NRLC has,  are asserting that “saving a few babies is  better than none at all”.  The problem is that they are waving the white flag of compromise before the battle begins.  The concept of “saving a  few” works when you are a pregnancy center or a sidewalk counselor.  In the midst of  the evil of legalized abortion, these tireless pro-life heroes are saving one child at a time.  They do not ask the woman who comes in for a pregnancy test or an ultrasound if she was raped and then refer her to the abortion clinic.  They do not ask the young woman walking up to the abortion clinic if she was raped or a victim of incest and then let her pass by...they work tirelessly to help EVERY WOMAN and EVERY BABY irrespective of the circumstance without discrimination.  Those who propose legislation that humanizes the baby and asserts that every life is uniquely designed by God and has the right to life, and then in this same legislation take a specific class of babies and with an exception clause,  DENY these babies the same right afforded to others, are not sacrificing a small number for the good of all, they are denying the dignity and right to life of ALL babies.

When as an organization you continually state that legislation that saves some until we can save all (again I make a distinction between passing laws and reaching out  to women and their babies individually) is better than nothing, you are assuming that saving all is impossible.  You do not even allow for the idea that we could actually outlaw abortion, thus saving all. You admit defeat before taking the battlefield.  You  believe that you can merely limit it and that is the best possible outcome.  When making the argument for such laws, some throw out wildly hypothetic numbers like “this law will save 99.4% of abortions”,  with absolutely no proof  that such a law would come close to that accomplishment.  41 years of this strategy has done very little to limit abortions and stating that abortion numbers are lower because of these toothless laws fails to take into account the increased use of birth control or chemical abortions, that more young people (who account for more than 50% of abortions) are not having sex, and that STI rates have created increases in infertility rates for young women between the ages of 16 and 30.

When supporters of these toothless, flawed pieces of legislation are not wildly overestimating their effectiveness and actually are more realistic about the impact, I hear this argument:

“So it's not good that 15% of babies were not aborted? So we do nothing and let them die until we can save them all?” (direct quote from another pro-life leader) Why are we settling for 15% out of hand? When are you actually going to  try to save them all?  I feel like a wife that has found out her husband has been cheating with multiple woman over a period of years.  He is repentant, but tells her that he cannot possibly stop immediately so he plans to restrict his cheating to only a few women and only when he is 500 miles away from home.  This will greatly reduce the number of women and incidents of his adultery and “surely that is better than nothing at all”? How can I possibly expect him to simply be faithful immediately?! He claims he will make these changes WHILE he  works hard at becoming a 100 percent faithful husband.  Really?!!  Is that what we have to settle for? 

Wake up my  brothers and sisters.  The battle is at hand, and yes there are lives at stake! Many lives, and playing games politically with how many lives are worth saving and making decisions about who wins and loses before the game even begins,  leaves us with thousands upon thousands of unborn children dead.  How long must we wait? How many more compromises must we endure? I am praying that God will raise up an army of believers who will once again stand upon the legal, constitutional, moral and divine truth we claim we believe.  May we abort all agreements with our enemies that end with the words, “and then you can still kill these children”,  and may we see a generation rise up that is not content with merely limiting child-killing,  but abolishing it all together!

 

Our No Exceptions, No Compromise Heroes Were Attacked!

There are many ways to save some babies  -- praying outside of abortion clinics, sidewalk counseling, volunteering at a pregnancy resource center, sharing your story and your faith, but there is only one path to protecting all preborn babies -- by not endorsing candidates with exceptions. No other strategy will get you there. Some will suggest they've tried, and the failure of that strategy is evident. Just look at the Hyde Amendment exceptions. Then look at states with a successful strategy where there are no rape exceptions in any law -- Michigan and Georgia. Get rid of rape-exception candidates and legislators, and you not only get rid of rape exceptions, but you now have passionately pro-life legislators to really move the ball forward. Though the majority and/or loudest voice of the leaders (not the grassroots) within the pro-life movement for the past four decades has been to advocate for the endorsement of candidates with rape and incest exceptions, the greatest progress/transformation has been seen in a state where its pre-eminent pro-life organization decided to take a principled stand 14 years ago against the exceptions. They have an outstanding 89% success rate in getting their PAC-endorsed candidates elected. They went from being one of the worst states in the country -- a blue, pro-abortion state, to a red, pro-life state with a gold-star rating from Americans United For Life (AUL) because of their decision to take a principled stand in giving out PAC endorsements. And now, because of that principled stand, Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) was attacked.
A newly-formed organization of political operatives, including Erick Erickson of Red State, challenged GRTL's credentials with National Right to Life Committee (NRLC,) and succeeded in replacing GRTL as NRLC's Georgia affiliate.  GRTL had been a member of NRLC for 43 years and its mission is in alignment with NRLC's.  When interviewed by Lifesitenews  -- http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/controversy-new-group-challenges-georgia-right-to-life-for-national-right-t , two of the co-founders of the challenging organization - Georgia Life Alliance (GLA,)  attorneys Emily Matson and Lance Cooper, could not even state what GLA's pro-life positions would be. Cooper stated, "The group is very much still in the formation stage." Matson said, "We’re formulating . . . .  We don’t have, or have not produced or published, our position on all of those issues. There are a lot of people involved in this, and so we are still finding our position on a lot of those things.” Is she for real?! Who do they think they are challenging a well-respected, successful pro-life organization -- and then toppling GRTL from a 43-year relationship they've enjoyed with NRLC, when they don't even know what their own positions are yet?! Which makes me wonder whether this is an inside job. How did they have all of the delegates names and information they needed to even put forth this challenge? How could they be such neophytes that they don't even have a mission statement with their positions formulated? No organization does that!
The truth is that GLA co-founder and board member Erick Erickson is behind this and has the backing of others in the pro-life movement who advocate for endorsing rape-exception candidates. You won't find this position in their mission statements or anywhere on their websites, but watch their comments on Facebook and in their blogs, and you'll get to know not only where they stand, but the demeaning and callous way in which they communicate on the question of endorsing rape exception candidates and supporting rape-exception legislation.  I write all of this, because much of the grass-roots pro-life movement is wholly uninformed. I was uninformed -- even after having been active in the pro-life movement for more than 20 years! But social media has been wonderful in allowing people to expose their true positions. Oftentimes, they'll just delete friends or block others when they realize that the grassroots has a dissenting opinion and that the curtain has been pulled back a little too far. But if you pay attention, you'll see things for how they really are, and why it is that rape and incest exceptions have become the standard in federal legislation -- it all goes back to the policies on endorsements.
Erickson has had a long-standing and public animosity toward GRTL. He doesn't like the fact that they've refused to endorse Karen Handel, who not only makes the rape exception, but also told GRTL that she believes a child is not a child until implantation. She's now running for Senate, he wants her to be elected, so what better way to achieve this than to try to oust GRTL? I understand that politics can get dirty, but it doesn't get any dirtier than this: "As far as I'm concerned, Georgia Right to Life has become the Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement. . . .  We need a new pro-life group in Georgia." Erickson said this in his Red State column last June 19th.
He was upset that GRTL opposed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act with the rape exception added.  The bill had the unanimous support of the Republicans in committee without a rape exception, but then Eric Cantor added the exception. The pro-life movement at large could have opposed it and national pro-life organizations could have used the wise strategy of bringing in those who were conceived in rape, along with mothers who became pregnant by rape in order to "put a face to the issue" to prevent the rape exception from being added. This strategy has been successfully employed by Right to Life of Michigan, GRTL, Personhood USA and others because it works. But this was not done in Congress. The majority of pro-life leaders immediately acquiesced, which is why we have rape exceptions. It's pretty simple. If all would have unified and opposed the exceptions, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor may not have looked so good that his exceptions amendment was defeated, but the exceptions would have been removed, and GRTL would have then gladly supported the legislation. This successful strategy has worked in Georgia and all across the country. In the states, very few bills were passed in the last few years with any rape exceptions. So why rush it through Congress? Why not wait, work on them, and get a clean bill -- especially when it's only a "message bill" which has no chance of actually getting passed by the Senate or signed by President?! To whom are we beholden and what's the rush?
Erickson went on to call GRTL "morally vacant" and "pharisiacal." He called GRTL (and by implication, Right to Life of Michigan's - RLM's) no-compromise stance a "fringe position." He said, "They would rather death continue than some deaths be abated." Wow! Who is he kidding?! NO deaths were going to be abated by this bill because it stood no chance of becoming law! And in Georgia, they never discriminate against any whenever a pro-life bill is passed. GRTL is one of the most successful pro-life organizations in the country, and he makes them sound like they do nothing -- just so he can provide political cover and prop up his cronies. It's dispicable! Erickson recently posted on Red State that GRTL is "too mired in political machinations to actually be effective any more." Again, who is he kidding?! GRTL has one of the best track records in the country, and the very best track record in completely transforming a state which had NO pro-life legislation passed before GRTL changed it's strategy to a principled approach. What audacity! You can only get away with such slanderous rhetoric when your audience is uninformed.
He erroneously claims GRTL has no campaign to change hearts and minds on the rape issue -- that they've done nothing on this question of rape to put a face to the issue. Well, I'm GRTL's poster-child, in a giant-sized travelling display addressing the rape question. And here's an example on GRTL's website where they address the question of exceptions: http://www.grtl.org/?q=principled-incrementalism .
Friday, March 28, 2014 -- the day of the initial NRLC vote -- Erickson chose to post a blog entitled "Who is Lying to @Rebecca Kiesslin" (my Twitter handle.) One of the content creators on Save The 1's Facebook page had posted something about Erick Erickson and how he is a part of this new organization who is trying to oust GRTL from NRLC. Those posts on Save The 1 go right to my personal Twitter account because I've yet been unable to bifurcate it without losing the connection to my personal Facebook page. So understandably, he assumed it was my post. In this blog, Erickson says that he "became really disturbed that someone is lying to her. . . . She thinks I am helping to create a new pro-life group in Georgia that would not hold the line on the pro-life cause for rape." Earlier in the day, I hadn't had the opportunity to research this fully. Well, now I have -- read the Lifesitenews article and see the words of the spokespersons for Erickson's brand-new GLA organization. They can't even ensure that they are against abortions in cases of rape! And just how does he think he's going to "hold the line" when he thinks exceptions politicians like Karen Handel deserve to receive endorsements from pro-life groups? Is that what he considers holding the line? He's ready to snip the line!  As Save The 1 conceived in rape speaker Pam Stenzel pointed out -- how could NRLC pull a Nancy Pelosi move -- "Pass it and then we'll see what's in it?"
Erickson goes on to say that he believes that every life is sacred and that every life should be protected.   Well, there's only one way that every life will be protected -- by not endorsing exceptions candidates. Believe all you want -- are you willing to act on that belief?  He says he believes that children who can feel pain should not be ripped apart in their mothers' wombs. Erick, so do children conceived in rape not feel pain like everyone else? I can tell you how much the community of millions of us in this country (at least 25,000 born each year) who were conceived in rape feel pain every time we are singled out and discriminated against in legislation. We feel pain alright -- whether it's being ripped out of the womb by abortionists or being ripped out of protective legislation by legislators and those who are willing to allow it. Ouch!
I've heard the burning building analogy touted by far too many in the pro-life movement. "Save the 99 for the 1!" Of course, Jesus was all about saving the 1, and he was specifically talking about not despising any of these little ones as he began the Parable of the Lost Sheep. He had a lot to say about "the least of these." But let's take a deeper look at the burning building analogy. What you really have are a series of fires in which every single time, you have firefighters (legislators) who are telling their fire chief (pro-life leaders) that there are children in the building who they are unwilling to save. They are discriminating against these children. They may be arguing that these children are already going to be severely burned, and that they will be so tainted that they will be unlovable and will end up being a "horrible reminder" of the fire and of the arsonist who set the fire. They are consistently telling the fire chief at every single fire that they are refusing to go in to save any unless they are allowed to discriminate and let the "undesirable" children burn. The fire chief quickly acquiesces, rewards them with commendations for their heroism, does nothing to try to convince them that they shouldn't discriminate, does no sensitivity training in between fires, hires new firefighters who are telling him that they will discriminate, and then at town hall meetings when the citizens ask about this, the fire chief says, "Our fire department does not favor discrimination." In the meantime, there becomes a growing disdain for those who've survived fires and are scarred. People whisper. They're called names like "evil" and "demon." They ask their parents how hard it must be to love them. Children who have survived these fires because they were lucky enough to make it out because of citizens who helped, and are in fact now disfigured by not fault of their own, are left feeling hated and devalued. But the fire chief says he has no part in it. . . . 
In another municipality, the fire chief immediately fires any firefighter who won't go in and save all, and he refuses to hire anyone who says they'll discriminate. He has no problem finding good firefighters who love saving children who value all life. There is a respect for the children in the community who have survived these fires, though severely burnt. There is love and compassion for them, and their families are welcomed and invited to events. But the fire chief gets attacked and called "pharisiacal." Those who think the discriminatory firefighters should have never been terminated from the department try to oust the good fire chief and try to strip him of his badge, despite the fact that his municipality has the highest survival rate and success rate for ousting fires.
And this is exactly what's happened in Georgia! Let us support the good fire chief and let's put an end to the discrimination in all jurisdictions. I'm not alive because my birthmother had the courage to carry me to term -- she didn't. In fact, she tried to abort me at two back-alley abortions. I'm still alive because of the courage of legislators and leaders in Michigan who refused to compromise and refused to allow discrimination. They are my heroes, and some of us are in need of heroes. Please show your support for my heroes who were attacked, and send a word of thanks to Georgia Right to Life. Their strategy is both moral and pragmatic and they need our support! If this can be allowed to happen to GRTL, it can happen to Right to Life of Michigan, Alaska Right to Life, South Dakota Right to Life, Tennessee Right to Life, and everywhere else where they've taken a no exceptions, no compromise position. Please spread the message -- find out the endorsement policies of the pro-life organizations you support.  It's time for a revival within the pro-life movement!