Sunday, January 10, 2016

Petulant or Vigilant? The Battle For No Exceptions – By Jim Sable

Petulant or Vigilant? The Battle For No Exceptions – By Jim Sable
A new year of battling abortion begins, which means another year of fearless pro-life people fervently working to stop abortion has ended.  You could call any year that passes without stopping abortion an unsuccessful year, but there were many successes in 2015, particularly: The Center for Medical Progress investigative videos and related rallies exposing the profiting from the sale of aborted fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry; pro-life efforts by our friend Abby Johnson and her ministry team at And Then There Were None assisting abortion workers in leaving the industry continued, with many abortionists and workers quitting; certain pro-life laws and related efforts were successful in causing either the outright closure or cessation of abortion services at 53 clinics throughout the USA; and, the continuing work of Pregnancy Resource Centers combined with sidewalk counselors, bolstered by the compassionate and visible international efforts of 40 Days For Life, tirelessly working at abortion’s “ground zero”, quietly saved countless lives.
At Save The 1, we experienced other successes, as our network of individuals representing one of the so-called “hard cases” expanded into the hundreds.  We helped start our affiliate group Save The 1 - Carry To Birth.  We launched our international outreach with the Save The 1 Spanish and Portuguese divisions: Salvar El 1 and Salva O 1.  We witnessed our message spreading and the topic of the rape exception discussed more frequently.  We also observed, and in some cases directly influenced, the introduction and passage of many State abortion regulating laws that did not contain the usual “exceptions”.  We assisted worldwide to keep the rape exception out of important pro-life laws.
But, along with those positive 2015 results, as we at Save The 1 represent and defend the lives of the so-called “hard cases” of the abortion debate, we continue to witness and experience many verbal and written challenges to the right to life of the “exceptions”, from individuals and groups on both sides of the debate.  Each challenge is a slap in the face, and we turn the other cheek while we continue to defend our lives and the lives of those similarly situated.  We have turned the other cheek so often that our heads are spinning.  It is not difficult to understand the disrespect from the abortion supporters, but when we battle with the pro-life community, it is particularly perplexing and exasperating.
A recent example of this occurred as 2015 was winding down and the 2016 Presidential campaign was gaining momentum.  The pro-life community reacted in unison to denounce a statement made by self-proclaimed pro-life Presidential candidate Jeb Bush.  Mr. Bush answered a question about whether he would have ended the life of the infant Hitler.  Jeb Bush answered, “Hell yeah I would!”.  One well known and influential pro-life blogger railed against Bush in a Facebook post in November, chiding Bush by unequivocally stating that the pro-life community cannot abandon “Principles” and make “Pragmatic Compromises”.  Bush’s pragmatic compromise about Hitler is not pro-life.  “Once we compromise the principle, we can’t with a straight face appeal to it anymore,” the blogger wrote.  (This is a blogger who had previously advocated for laws containing exceptions, defending compromise.)
Save The 1 was encouraged by the post that cited “principles” written by someone who has shown a willingness to compromise on pro-life laws.  We reached out to see if the blogger’s idea of principles still included an acceptance of the exceptions.  Surely, one who would not condone killing the infant/preborn Hitler would also now be standing by principle and rejecting exceptions, or so we hoped, and communicated that hope in our response to the post.  Unfortunately, our hopes were unfounded.  Instead of a reassuring affirmation of our right to life, we were told that this blogger was “. . . weary of the fallacy of the 1% argument”, (whatever that means).  We were also called “petulant” (3 times) for our no exceptions position and for expressing a challenge to the compromising ideology.  So, Save The 1 is apparently petulant for defending all life, but a blogger who responds to a challenge, not by engaging in respectful debate and Q & A on the points, but instead by name calling and misstating another’s views, is somehow virtuous.  We, evidently, are not allowed to defend our position, are not allowed to show any passion about our cause lest we be labeled as petulant.  Are we to understand this to mean: “Spare the baby Hitler – sacrifice the baby from rape”?
The blogger’s single defense is to claim that the blog has never stated that the rape exception is an acceptable compromise.  But, how do you separate an approval of exceptions in law from an approval of exceptions in general?  Is it logical to state that you are against the rape exception or that you don’t consider the rape exception an acceptable compromise and then promote and condone the exceptions in law?  Can you hold yourself out as “principled” when you accept any compromise?
The promotion of exceptions is troubling enough.  But there is also a concurrent promotion of and symbiotic relationship with compromising politicians.  The pro-life community has allowed politicians to define what it means to be pro-life.  Don’t the elected officials work for us?  This has been much more of a problem at the Federal level than the State level.  Save The 1 has observed much more success among the states in passing principled laws without exceptions.
This blogger gave us the erroneous example of rejecting hostage releases one at a time until hostage holders agree to release 100% as being analogous to a “no exceptions” requirement for a pro-life law.  This hostage scenario is not analogous to a no exceptions legal philosophy because a no exceptions philosophy would accept ALL hostages, one at a time or all at once, depending on the requirements of the hostage takers (abortion regulations).  A law with exceptions actually refuses some hostages (babies’ lives).  Here’s how: The hostage negotiating team (pro-life community) takes (protects) every life the hostage holders (abortion regulations) are willing to spare, (every life a law is designed to protect), and then, the negotiating team sends those now saved hostages who are rape conceived BACK to the hostage holders, (removes the legal protection for some by adding a rape exception to the law).  To put it simply, (and, seemingly, obviously), a law with exceptions excludes some lives, a no exceptions law does not.
We were accused of being responsible, at least partly, for the continued slaughter of 99% of babies because we defend the last  1%.  We were told, (and we have heard this many times), we are standing in the way of laws that would save 99% of babies tomorrow because we will not agree to the exceptions.  What we do object to is any group or individual who touts a hypothetical law, with imaginary results, who then claims a superior moral authority over others.  Our proposal could be considered hypothetical, but we have the historical record of Roe v. Wade to show that the rape exception is unworkable in practice.  It is impossible to know how many lives would be saved by an abortion ban with a rape exception, but it is certainly not the outrageous 99% claimed by this blogger.  A rape exception creates a huge, unenforceable loophole, and also exposes the real possibility of additional exceptions, which will be advanced and defended as just as valid, merely a court decision away from implementation, as the rape exception is given the force of law by OUR side.  The perpetually-promoted rape exception keeps abortion legal forever.
This leads to a broader issue and other questions.  We at Save The 1 are told that laws with exceptions need to be passed because they contribute to the “greater good” of ending abortion.  Who is the caretaker of the “greater good”?  Who gets to decide how we get there, when we will know we are there, and how long it should take to get there?  As compromising organizations and individuals advance an exceptions strategy that has almost no chance of ever ending legalized abortion, how is that promoting the greater good?  If the rape exception keeps abortion legal forever, allowing for a renewed expansion of abortion rights after a ban with exceptions somehow is passed, how is the long term greater good achieved?
There have been promises for decades that the exceptions strategy will change and the laws passed with exceptions will be fixed.  Neither has happened.  Case in point: the current Planned Parenthood defunding bill passed by the House and Senate has a rape exception.  So, we are handing the enforcement procedure of the rape exception to an organization that has already demonstrated that they do not comply with rape reporting requirements.  Is this an effective strategy?  Let’s make a commitment to change this strategy.  Now.  If not now, when?
From our standpoint, the blogger broke at least 2 tenets of debate, (1) - attacking us personally and, (2) - begging the question by assuming something as fact without any defending evidence.  These are rules that this blogger claims to uphold (but doesn’t) and demands that others do as well.  Here is another example of inconsistency we see often from some compromising pro-life individuals, from those in leadership positions on down.  They use a recommended line of reasoning when discussing abortion with those who are “personally pro-life” but supportive of laws allowing the “choice” of abortion by pointing out that the other person, despite his or her personal disapproval of abortion, is actually supporting abortion, the horrible act of killing babies that they claim to abhor, by supporting the legality of killing babies.  The “personal pro-lifers” are being inconsistent.  In other words, if you support the law, you support the act, despite what you claim are your own personal views.  How is accepting the exceptions in law any different?  It is puzzling that someone who is pro-life and compromises on the exceptions cannot seem to grasp that they are also displaying the same inconsistency.  Again, if you accept the law, you accept the act.

So what is it, actually, that is so distressing about our message to the people who accept exceptions in law?  Are they sincere and accurate when they say we are an impediment to pro-life success?  In their eyes we are a problem to deal with, a nuisance, a thorn in their side.  Or are they concealing something they do not want to admit?  Are we actually a challenge to their conscience?  Has the business of being pro-life clouded the purity of the message and distracted some away from fighting for the principle of “Every Life Matters”?  What percentage would we have to be for the lives of the “hard cases” to matter enough to be defended by everyone at every opportunity and to make legal exceptions to pro-life laws a thing of the past?  Apparently 1% is not enough. 

BIO: Jim Sable is a husband, father of three, and a national pro-life speaker, conceived in rape, and blogger for Save The 1, from the Chicago area. He serves on the Board of Save The 1, as well as Hope After Rape Conception.