Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Freedom of "Choice" Act

This is a video of a talk I gave this morning at the Youth and the Future of the Pro-Life Movement Conference at Nassau Community College. It's followed by a transcript of my speech because the video is kind of hard to hear.

Being that “surgical abortion is an invasive procedure in which sharp instruments are placed inside the uterus, a small organ in the woman’s body” and which in some cases requires an anesthetic, it would seem that all people, both pro-life and pro-choice, could agree that certain safeguards need to be in place to protect the woman undergoing this procedure. Certainly we should at least be able to agree that abortion merits the same safeguards as other surgeries. However, abortion supporters in the government have, in the past five months, focused much of their attention on trying to force through a bill, questionably titled the Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, which repeals all safety measures currently in place, and bans any future such safeguards.

The Freedom of Choice Act would make invalid any state laws regarding parental notification and consent. Such laws typically require that the abortionist notify at least one parent of “an unemancipated minor daughter prior to abortion.” Most states with such laws only require notification of the parents, however, some require their consent. Mr. Stephen Wagner, in his book Common Ground Without Compromise, offers that if we were all to “adopt the pro-choice position for a moment and say that abortion is the removal of a mass of tissue,” it would then resemble liposuction. “Can’t we all agree that no minor girl should be allowed to get liposuction without parental notification? Abortion and liposuction are similarly invasive. We would never trust a minor child to select her own physician for liposuction or make sure on her own that she receives the correct post-operative care in order to heal properly.” It seems to make sense that parents of minors should at the very least know about any sort of surgery, particularly such an invasive and dangerous surgery as abortion, that their daughter will be undergoing, especially, being that, if the girl suffers any complications from the operation her parents are responsible for her. Proper medical care can not be given to anyone if the cause of the medical problem is unknown. Therefore, if a girl’s own parents do not know that the injuries she is suffering from could be due to her recent abortion, how is a doctor supposed to administer proper treatment? Especially, considering that the girl herself has most likely not been informed of the possible complications of abortion.

This highlights a further issue with FOCA. In all other surgeries, “the doctor is required to explain in detail what the procedure is, its possible complications, etc. Only then does the patient give ‘informed’ consent.” Once again FOCA would overturn all current laws requiring informed consent and ban all future such laws. Surely, this can not be in the best interests of women. Essentially, while elected officials trumpet the Freedom of Choice Act they are removing the ability for any sort of informed choice. Under the Freedom of Choice Act abortionists are not only allowed to withhold information from their patients but even to avoid direct questions by the patient. This attitude was deplored by pro-choice feminist Naomi Wolf in her 1995 article “Our Bodies, Our Souls” when she stated that “To insist that truth is in poor taste is the very height of hypocrisy. Besides if these images are often the facts of the matter, and if we then claim that it is offensive for pro-choice women to be confronted with them, then we are making the judgment that women are too inherently weak to face a truth about which they have to make a grave decision. This view is unworthy of feminism.” Though I certainly have no expectation of abortionists showing photos of aborted children to women wishing to have an abortion, as Naomi Wolf speaks of pro-lifers doing, I believe it is at the very least to be expected that these so-called respectable doctors would inform a woman going in for an abortion of “the full factual information on the surgery, its possible complications [both] immediate and long-term, and, also, full details about ‘what she carries,’” as is done in other surgeries, such as liposuction, to use our previous example. Certainly, it is insulting to women to forego presenting them with “the best arguments and facts on both sides,” thereby effectively refusing them “choice.”

Of course, in all my references thus far to those who perform abortions I have used the word doctors. However, FOCA proposes to make it acceptable for any medical professional, such as nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and even dentists, to perform abortions. Abortionist Dr. William Rashbaum stated that “A high level of operator skill is at least as important in abortion as it is in any surgical endeavor. Abortion is a blind procedure that proceeds by touch, awareness of the nuances of sensations provided by instruments, honesty, and caution. While competent orientation in the performance of an abortion is essential, abortion, almost more than any other operation, demands experience to develop skill . . . Well trained, highly experienced and reputable gynecologists found, to their dismay, that when abortions became legal and they began performing them, the complication rates were frequently quite high.” If the complication rates are so high even among such “highly experienced and reputable gynecologists” what can we expect from medical professionals who have no experience in the gynecological field? I am reminded of a case in 1980, right here on Long Island, at an abortion mill run by Mr. William Baird, in which an ear, nose, and throat doctor attempted to perform an abortion. Nineteen year-old Robin, on whom he operated, was 20 weeks pregnant, not the 11-12 weeks that the physician had supposed. Robin went into shock during the procedure, was walked downstairs by staff members, and sent in a taxi to the hospital. Robin underwent a hysterectomy, needed 16 units of blood, and 6 hours of surgery. A month of Robin’s life was spent in the hospital, 4 days of which were in the Intensive Care Unit. After her discharge from the hospital Robin continued to suffer physical problems with her legs and bladder. This is only one example of what can happen when unqualified persons perform complex and potentially life-threatening surgeries. In fact, let us reverse the situation, would you want an abortionist to remove your tonsils? Then why would you allow an ear, nose, and throat doctor to perform the far more complex abortion procedure? Another honest abortionist, Dr. William Rashbaum, stated that “After I had done a thousand [abortions], I thought I was an expert, but, by the time I had done 5,000, I realized I was learning a lot. At this point, having done somewhere around 12,000 procedures, I’m beginning to think I’m reasonably competent.” After performing 12,000 abortions this doctor is only reasonably competent and yet the pro-choice politicians wish to allow dentists and ear nose and throat doctors, who have no training and no experience in the realm of abortion to perform this complex and dangerous procedure. These politicians could in no way be more flippant towards the health and safety of women.

These are only a very small sampling of the horrors which the Freedom of Choice Act wishes to inflict on women. With the strong public outcry against FOCA following President Obama’s election, politicians have resorted to underhanded tactics in order to deceive the American people. While the president continues to insist that the Freedom of Choice Act is no longer a priority, he and the Congress continue to pass it piece-by-piece. Do not allow them to get away with this! I encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with this heinous act in order to oppose it in all its forms.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Notre Shame

I am furious that Notre Dame University has invited President Obama to give their commencement address on Sunday. This is 100% inappropriate behavior for a Catholic University, particularly the University which has formerly been regarded as THE Catholic University in America. As a sidenote, Notre Dame has long been distancing itself from this title and with this move has finally forfeited all right to such.

Now, there are appropriate ways to respond to this abomination and there are inappropriate ways. Students at Notre Dame have been the paramount example of the appropriate way to respond. On their website,, students have laid out their plans for protest. These plans are appropriate, above all, because they are rooted in PRAYER. In fact, what better way to fight a battle than by calling on aid from those more powerful than oneself? The action of the University is a direct offense to "Notre Dame" (French for "Our Lady"), what better way to deal with it then, than by appealing to her Son?

The protest which the student group has GAINED PERMISSION FOR (note how they appropriately continue show respect for their university and it's faculty), on Saturday and Sunday, begins at 9:30 p.m. Saturday night with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in an on-campus chapel. Bishop D'Arcy, the bishop of South Bend, Indiana where the University of Notre Dame resides, will be attending Adoration (for the first time in years he will not be attending Notre Dame's commencement). Adoration will conclude at 10:45 a.m. Sunday with Benediction. At 11:15 a.m. Sunday Mass will be celebrated followed at 12:30 p.m. by "a rally affirming the uniquely Catholic and pro-life foundation of Notre Dame" ( The rally will include six speakers linked with Notre Dame: Rev. John Raphael, SSJ; ND '89, Elizabeth Naquin Borger; ND '78, former Chairman of the Board of the Women's Care Center, Dr. David Solomon; Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame; W.P. and H.B. White Director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture; Chair of the steering committee for the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life, Rev. Wilson Miscamble, CSC; ND '77 (M.A.), '80 (Ph.D.), '87 (M. Div.); Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, Lacy Dodd; ND '99; Room at the Inn Board of Directors, Charlotte, North Carolina; and Chris Godfrey; ND Law '93; Life Athletes (Founder and President); starting offensive guard for Super Bowl XXI Champion New York Giants.

At 2:00 seniors who have made the admirable decision to forego their graduation, invite supporters to join them for a Vigil for Life at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. "Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, will be leading a Scriptural Rosary during this prayer vigil." ( At 3:45 there will be a final blessing before the departure of travelers. At 6:00 will be hosting a post-commencement party for the courageous students who chose to forego their own graduation in order to stand up for life.

Every moment of this protest shines forth the love of Christ which all Catholics are called to radiate. The kindness of thinking to include a post-commencement party for those courageous students who have glorified Christ through their foregoing an event so long and happily anticipated, in order to stand up for the little ones, is truly moving. I am truly impressed with the students of Notre Dame for organizing this protest, which so beautifully represents what the Catholic Church stands for.

In addition the students of ND Response have been organizing protests ever since the university's announcement of President Obama as the commencement speaker. Following Palm Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on April 5, 2009, students participated in the first official demonstration, a prayerful rally held in front of the University's main building. On Friday, April 17, the first Notre Dame March for Life began at 6:00 p.m. in the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes followed by speakers and a march. Two ongoing events have been a nightly Rosary at the Grotto and a Red Envelope campaign to Fr. John Jenkins, the President of the University, who is responsible for bringing President Obama to Notre Dame. All supporters, both students and non-students, have been asked to address a red envelope to Fr. Jenkins and include this message on the outside of the envelope: "Fr. Jenkins, This envelope represents one child who died because of an abortion. It is empty because the life that was taken is now unable to be a part of our world. This envelope was going to be sent to President Obama on March 31st. However, as he is scheduled to receive an Honarary Doctorate of Laws Degree from Notre Dame on May 17th, we ask that you deliver it to him on our behalf at that time." Non-student supporters are also asked to pray a nightly Rosary in communion with those at the Grotto, and, from April 8 to May 17, the forty days leading up to the commencement, supporters have been asked to assist in praying 1 million Rosaries for a conversion of heart for President Obama. In addition, the students also encouraged student supporters to attend the University's Fifth Annual Eucharistic Procession on April 26, not for the purpose of causing any disruption, but to take the opportunity to "pray for Our Lady's University" (

In stark contrast with the students of Notre Dame, we have also had some shining examples of inappropriate ways to deal with the University of Notre Dame's abhorrent actions. I am happy for students of Notre Dame that none of their own have been involved in such inappropriate protests. However, there have been those who have seen fit to take matters into their own hands, and even go so far as to criticize Bishops(!) for not engaging in their antiquated tactics which have had no effect whatsoever. Randall Terry is a good man who has, sadly, never lost the Operation Rescue mentality. Getting arrested saved lives and made a difference at the time. It has not been feasible for many years. It is certainly not appropriate in this situation. And it is certainly not appropriate for the recently converted Terry to think himself equal to reprimanding Bishops (St. Padre Pio once belted a guy for daring to criticize a bishop). Where the Notre Dame students have admirably shown respect to all, even to those who have forfeited any right they had to respect, others have acted with contempt. Clearly, all involved have good intentions, however, when it becomes obvious that one's actions are causing more harm than good, it is appropriate for one to cease such actions immediately. I would call on all those acting in contempt of Notre Dame's policy that on-campus demonstrations be organized by students and approved by the university, to cease their divisive actions and place themselves at the
service of the Notre Dame Response students.

That being said, the University has also acted heinously towards protesters. There are certain actions, such as parading around baby dolls covered in fake blood, which I would absolutely support the University's dealing appropriately with. However, for a Catholic university to arrest men and women for praying the Rosary is despicable. The video below shows the aggressive arrest of the 80 year old Father Norman Weslin. I can not think of words horrendous enough to describe the day when Our Lady's University authorised the arrest of a priest in the service of the Son of Our Lady.

The following is the official video of ND Response:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Book Review

by Stephen Wagner

By far the best book I have read on the abortion issue! Should be read by those on both sides of the issue and those who take no side. The more people who follow the advice laid out in this book, both in terms of the abortion issue and in all aspects of life, the better off we will be.