Communications Department

40 Years of Roe and the Littlest Americans

Jan 15, 2013 | 01-Winter 2013 NRL News

NRLNewsLogowebNRL News | Page 2
Winter 2013
Volume 40 | Issue 1


40 Years of Roe and the Littlest Americans

By Dave Andrusko

Killing really had to be part of [abortionist Kermit] Gosnell’s plan. His method for performing late-term abortions was to induce labor and delivery of intact fetuses, and he specialized in patients who were well beyond 24 weeks. Thus, the birth of live, viable babies was a natural and predictable consequence. The subsequent slitting of spinal cords, without any consideration for the babies’ viability, was an integral part of what Gosnell’s employees called his ‘standard procedure.’”

From the grand jury report that investigated what Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams called Gosnell’s “House of Horrors.” Gosnell will stand trial for eight counts of murder–first-degree murder in the deaths of seven babies aborted alive and then killed when their spines were severed; and with third-degree murder in the case of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died from a drug overdose reportedly prescribed by Gosnell.

As we were approaching the homestretch for printing the NRL News that commemorates the 40th anniversary of the dreaded Roe v. Wade decision, two events took place on December 19 freighted with enormous symbolism. We learned, sadly, that Judge Robert Bork, the target of the ugliest pro-abortion assault of all time, had passed away. This was also the day that pro-lifer researchers published the latest in a series of analyses debunking research favorable to the pro-abortion cause.

Bork, a premier intellectual and already an appeals court judge, was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1987 by President Reagan. In defeating a highly gifted and exceptionally qualified nominee, pro-abortionists signaled that there were no depths to which they would not sink to keep a skeptic off the High Court, even more so if they believed his vote could be pivotal to the preservation of Roe.

The aforementioned research calmly took apart the bogus assertion that “web-cam” abortions lowered complications. In fact, the researchers’ own data suggested a possible increase in complications of up to 11%. This followed on the heels of a series of brilliant critiques of studies authored by the Guttmacher Institute (GI), the in-house think-tank of the Abortion Movement.

GI’s analyses are slavishly accepted as gospel by the “mainstream media,” which will, of course, studiously avoid the revelation that GI is vastly overestimating both the number of illegal abortions in developing countries and the number of deaths associated with them. Big news, but it doesn’t fit the narrative: more abortions = safer for women.

This edition of the “pro-life newspaper of record” is stocked with facts and figures, encouragement and enlightenment, love and longing for a better day for unborn children and their mothers. None of these many articles can be shoehorned into the mainstream’s narrative either of the abortion issue or why we’ve labored in season and out for 40 years to find a better way.

I don’t need to belabor the obvious: November 6 was a defeat. It was not the first time the drive to bring justice to the unborn was sidetracked and we have always come back stronger than ever. But as Dr. David N. O’Steen, NRLC’s executive director, explains on page one, this was not because the nation had suddenly taken a turn for the worst on the abortion issue.

President Obama was carried to re-election by different forces, not that you would know that by many post-election analyses. What was interesting, indeed fascinating, is that most of those same accounts avoided the cliché we’ve heard trotted out every time pro-abortionists won the presidency: nobody said the Movement was going to “go away,” as fervently as they hoped we would. In fact, there’s been a spate of stories, sulking that pro-lifers had not “learned their lesson”—meaning we were still fearlessly promoting pro-life legislation in the states.

Why did I begin this editorial with the quote from the grand jury report? Roe, of course, was not the “beginning”—for a decade prior toRoe pro-abortion and pro-life forces resembled tectonic plates grinding up against one another–and obviously not the end–to the chagrin of the New York Times and all the pro-abortionists for whom it spoke.

I began with the Gosnell report because it reminds us vividly that all the horrors we predicted would be Roe’s collateral damage are upon us. To name just a few: sex-selective abortions, coerced abortions, infanticide gussied under the preposterous moniker of “after-birth abortion,” abortions of “imperfect” children made possible by increasingly precise targeting of real and imaginary “imperfections.” And that does not even touch on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

Sex-selective abortions show the real face of pro-abortion “feminism.” As Margaret Somerville has observed, “Ironically, however, sex-selection abortion is overwhelmingly the expression of a lack of respect for women in cultures in which sons are highly valued and daughters are massively devalued.” Nothing–not even abortions performed because the child is a girl–can dilute the absolute right to unfettered abortion.

But that disconnect is beginning to be reflected in legislative initiatives in the United States and in Canada. Why is this such a point of vulnerability for pro-abortionists?

“Sex-selection abortion shifts the analytic, ethical and legal spotlight from the pregnant woman (who is the basis of the pro-choice case), to the unwanted fetus (which is normally ignored in the pro-choice analysis),” Somerville writes. “This is because in sex selection, unlike probably most other abortions, the woman wants a baby–just not a girl. As a result of this focus on the fetus, we see abortion in a different ethical and legal light.”

However, the advantage of being around and active for much of those four decades is to recognize that pro-lifers are both incapable of quitting and positively ingenious in coming up with creative ways to thwart the designs of the anti-life forces. To take a recent example, the Massachusetts physician-assisted suicide initiative was a “done deal” as recently as two months before voters went to the ballot box.

A respected poll showed 68% of Massachusetts voters in favor and just a paltry 19% opposed. However “Question One” lost 51% to 49%. In the process new alliances were formed which will make them better equipped to face Question One’s inevitable second act.

Paul Stark, who is communications associate for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, has offered a three-fold categorization for what pro-lifers are and should be doing to combat abortion: compassionate assistance for the pregnant woman; education and persuasion; and political and legislative action.

The first is the province of the saintly women-helping centers/crisis pregnancy centers. It is no accident that NARAL has waged an all-out war against them. Alternatives to abortion mean fewer abortions.

The latter two categories are where National Right to Life and its 50 state affiliates shine. If you read carefully, you will notice that overwhelmingly, the substance of this edition of NRL News–and most of NRLC’s webpage (–concentrates on education. We believe passionately in the power of persuasion which combines the head and the heart.

And no one matches the expertise, the experience, and the shrewdness of NRLC’s Federal Legislation Department and Department of State Legislation. Our benighted opposition has virtually unlimited resources. We are on the side of what is right and blessed with the very best thinkers and strategists. NRLC has stopped bad legislation that was supposedly impossible to stop, and enacted measures overcoming impossible odds.

NRLC’s Political Action Committee, even more outgunned in dollars, has performed magnificently, including this last election cycle when all the stars were in alignment for Obama and his fellow pro-abortion Democrats. We will bounce back as we have in the past, of that there is no doubt.

(On page 19, NRL’s Jacki Ragan reminds us of five simple things pro-lifers can do going forward. Please read them carefully and act.)

In this the edition commemorating the 40th anniversary of Roe, there is more than enough to write about to fill a book. But let me conclude with two final thoughts.

First, it is an honor for all of us at National Right to Life to work, shoulder to shoulder, with grassroots activists from all over the nation–and increasingly overseas. There are many ways you could encapsulate what we do but moral suasion I believe captures it best.

We are appealing to what Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature.” Abortion survives because we avert our gaze from the common humanity the little ones share with us fortunate enough to be alive. In a real sense, we are asking our fellow citizens, come, let us reason together.

Second, nothing separates pro-lifers from those who are enslaved to the anti-life ethos than our unyielding belief that every single life matters. That is why pro-lifers are immune to the eugenics temptation which rears its ugly head in many guises. You matter, I matter, we all matter just … because … we … are.

This foundational principle was driven home to me in mid-December. In the U.K., they are very chary about providing “active care” for very young preemies. If we think of Lady Justice holding the scales, death is one side while a minimum weight at birth is on the other. For life to win over death the baby must weigh at least one pound.

When they put little Maddalena Douse on the [physical] scales, she weighed exactly one pound. She was whisked off, safe from a sure death by neglect.

Only Maddalena didn’t weigh one pound! A pair of scissors had accidentally been left on the scale! The doctors at Royal Sussex Hospital did not discover their “error,” the Sun newspaper reported, until she was safely on the ventilator. The baby is doing fine.

When I read the story, the pair of scissors instantly reminded me of the surgical scissors Kermit Gosnell used to slit the spines of babies aborted alive. Only instead of an instrument for death, the scissors had miraculously become instrumental in saving a life.

At the risk of mixing metaphors, it is your involvement, your commitment, your unswerving resolve that is the thumb on the scale, the little extra that has made the difference. Next time you wonder if all your efforts have born fruit, remember that you have been part of the greatest movement for social justice in our lives.

You have helped to save millions of unborn babies since that dark, dark day in 1973. Your perseverance in the face of adversity will save millions more until the day comes when the Lady Justice takes off her blindfold to lift up and embrace the littlest Americans.