Killing for Life…

Well, evidently, failed Presidential contender Ted Cruz had a “pro life” adviser who wants to execute abortion providers. (“Pro life” folks like these always remind me of that Cold War-era Second City skit: “Kill a Commie for Christ.”)

Abortion is a very thorny issue. Unlike so much of the culture war agenda, there is a genuine argument to be made by those who see abortion as equivalent to murder. They tend to start from very different premises than those of us who defend a woman’s right to control her own autonomy–they see a human being from the moment of conception, and believe that the interests of that potential human should be given priority over the rights of the woman who is carrying it.

Pro-choice defenders have many responses to that viewpoint, both moral and practical, but we can–and mostly do– respect the legitimacy of that perspective, and the sincerity of many people who hold it.

Unfortunately for the conduct of the “abortion wars,” however, the loudest voices claiming the “pro-life” label are anything but legitimately pro-life. Their ranks are filled with fundamentalist culture warriors fanatically opposed both to women’s autonomy and to our equality. Their concern for “life” rather pointedly excludes the life of the woman, and it extends to the fetus only until it is born. These are the dishonest “filmmakers” who doctor surreptitious videos, the “pro life” legislators unwilling to spend money to feed or house or properly educate poor children once they are born, the opponents of birth control…Well, you all know the drill.

But the worst of the worst are the men (and they’re almost always men) who advocate killing in the service of “life.” The men who murder abortion doctors, the political opportunists who argue that women should carry their rapist’s baby to term, the un-self-aware pontificators who advocate prison or even execution for those who help desperate women avoid back-alley abortions.

Let’s get real.

As my friends in Planned Parenthood point out, women didn’t start getting abortions after Roe v. Wade. They just stopped dying from them. But theirs are clearly not the lives that matter to the sanctimonious “pro life” culture warriors like Cruz and his “advisor.”

There’s a reason that so many observers considered Ted Cruz even more dangerous than Donald Trump. Although–as Lindsay Graham memorably put it–choosing between the two of them would be like choosing between death by gun or by poison….


  1. In the next 30 to 45 days, we will be going from not only the idea of executing abortion providers but also, to the execution of plans which will destroy what’s left of American democracy and ultimately, I’m afraid, Planet Earth.

    Who would like to challenge me on my prediction?

  2. No challenges, but I’d like you to clarify what you mean in the last half and explain next 30-45 days. I’m from Texas. Right now Texas has large areas turning into immense lakes. A year or two ago our lakes were bone dry. I’ll be watching.


    “Historian Sara Evans and social theorist Harry Boyle argue that “free spaces”—public spaces deeply rooted in the life of community where individuals gain new self-confidence and a larger sense of the common good—are the key to democratic experiment and social change.

    Free spaces are settings between private lives and large-scale institutions where ordinary citizens can act with dignity, independence, and vision. Visible in movements varied in time and place, free spaces furnish a wide-ranging “schooling in citizenship” through which individuals and groups learn basic democratic skills and gain values and aspirations.

    “Free Spaces” is rich in vivid historical examples of men an women who have imagined and struggled for a different world: American colonists battling for independence; family farmers fighting for their lands; black preachers plotting slave rebellions in secret “hush harbors” of plantations; labor organizers; crusaders for moral reform and women’s suffrage; civil rights activists and feminists. The authors discuss in detail the successes and failed aspirations of these historical movements. And they offer many contemporary parallels as they provide a compelling interpretation of what distinguishes DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENTS from PAROCHIAL and BACKWARD-LOOKING PROTESTS, and the way DEMOCRATIC SPIRIT is sustained.”

    “Free Spaces: The Sources of Democratic Change in America,” by Sara M. Evans and Harry C. Boyle, Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1986 [front flap}

  4. My daughter is alive because she could get a medical abortion 36 years ago; the fetus died at 2 months but wasn’t diagnosed till 5 months. By then it was a glob of severely infected tissue and my daughter was seriously infected, including her circulatory system. It was touch-and-go for days.

    Seven years ago my 24 year old granddaughter died having seizures because she chose to try to carry her baby to term knowing it endangered her life. She was 5 months pregnant when she died along with her daughter. BUT…it was her choice…NOT Gov. Daniels.

    Over forty years ago my friend was forced to go out of state for an abortion; something went wrong and she was seriously infected. I was working at General Hospital when she was admitted through their ER; they saved her life but were unsure if she would ever be able to have children.

    More than 60 years ago my pregnant neighbor was told her baby had died; she was 7 months pregnant and forced to carry it to term. This affected her physically, emotionally and mentally; she didn’t come out of her house and kept her two children inside with her till they moved away. No idea of the outcome of that heartbreaking situation.

    My 31 year old friend’s life was saved 4 years ago by the quick action of Planned Parenthood staff who acted immediately when they diagnosed her breast cancer. They counseled her, found the best care possible with almost a year of chemo and radiation which saved her life and her breast.

    This is true Pro-Life in action; taking place before, during and after Roe vs. Wade and long before Cruz and his old fart GOP cronies jumped into the act with their bogus religious Bible-thumping…aided and abetted by Pence and other Republican governors plus SCOTUS providing the legal action to prevent access to birth control by businesses who are interfering in something which is NOT their business. Yes; that was an over-long sentence but, like that old Minnie Pearl hit, “This Song Ain’t Got No Swallerin’ Places”…I couldn’t find a breaking point.

  5. Marge,

    “No challenges, but I’d like you to clarify what you mean in the last half and explain next 30-45 days. I’m from Texas. Right now Texas has large areas turning into immense lakes. A year or two ago our lakes were bone dry. I’ll be watching.”

    I was originally from Jacksonville but I lived in Dallas from 1964 to 1991. The flooding in Texas is unprecedented, so is the POLITICAL TSUNAMI that was created in Dallas after JFK’s assassination.

    Stay tuned to for the full explanation of the POLITICAL TSUNAMI WARNING. It will be released as soon as humanly possible.

  6. The pro-lifers who are yelling the loudest are actually pro-birthers. They don’t care about the baby or woman after birth. Very short sighted and selfish people.

  7. JoAnn Green makes a powerful statement. I can’t write anything better than she and Sheila have written.

  8. “and believe that the interests of that potential human should be given priority over the rights of the woman who is carrying it.”
    -No, equal rights.

    Despite this error, overall this is one of Sheila’s better pieces and while a few points are oversimplified I think this was a pretty fair analysis.

  9. When Cardinal Cushing was asked about abortion, he said that he was personally opposed to abortion, but didn’t feel he had the right to force his religious beliefs on everyone else. I think that says something about the change in American culture over the last 50 years.

    Today, right wing Christians believe their truth is the only truth and should be law. Meanwhile their minions in state legislatures all over the country pass bills getting us closer to their beliefs. They also pass bills outlawing the practice of Sharia Law. The only real difference between the two would be the covering of the female form.

  10. Well,I’ve never cared for outright hypocrisy. I can’t stand it from my own side of the aisle (D) either–which has made me persona non grata for some on this forum. If one is going to use religion to bolster their *cough* pro-life choice,would it not behoove them to be against the death penalty as well? The very same folks are always using the phrase”Think of The Children”…..Yeah,when they’re unborn they *cough* think of them. Once “the children” are born, the very same folks want to underfund the schools,lunch programs et al.

    As a man,I know how the world works. If men were the gender to become pregnant,abortion facilities would be as ubiquitous as convenience stores and be open 24/7.

    I’m among those that believe Cruz was/is more dangerous than Trump.

  11. “As a man,I know how the world works.”

    William; as a woman, I find this comment insulting. I will use my favorite quote by Scottish poet Dilys Lainge; “Women receive the insults of men with tolerance, having been bitten in the nipple by their toothless gums.”

    An feel the need to add, “We are woman, hear us roar in numbers too big to ignore.” Helen Reddy

    I do agree with the end of your paragraph.

  12. Ted Cruz and others know this: sanctimony is the ultimate hypocrisy.
    Anyway, they laugh on their way to the bank.
    Louie Gomert (R-Tx) is another one.

  13. And forget our own sanctimonious Todd ‘girls have cooties’ Rokita. While being pro life would take away meals from hungry children by creating so many paperwork hurdles proving you qualify that processing paperwork eats up the free lunch funds.

  14. I think that at its very core the real pro-life/choice issue boils down to this: what evidence is there of a god who cares about babies preferentially to adult women? Or maybe the lives (in the biologic sense) of babies vs the lives (in the social sense) of women?

    I maintain that we all have faith (assumptions for stuff that cannot be known) and live it. Many profess a faith that they don’t have because it makes them friends but you can tell what their real faith is.

    Where we are is where we need to be now on the question. Over time what we know is real will overtake what we assume because we can’t know.

    The problem is really faced by less than 1 out of 5 of us (women of child bearing age). They will make it because they have to, it’s their genetic burdon. We’ve given them reasonable options.

    The kerfuffle will continue as long as there are people who see themselves as empowered by their god to run the lives of others and I think that will be a long, long time.

  15. The Roe v Wade decision made abortions legal in the US. If you get one, you have done nothing illegal. Women who make the decision to abort a fetus have to deal with all the consequences in their own personal, private way. My opinion about abortion, is just my opinion; SCOTUS has decided that abortion is legal. We should move ahead.

  16. daleb; have you ever wondered about the mind set and thought processes of SCOTUS who did make abortion legal then blocked the way for many women to obtain birth control? They do know these issues are connected – don’t they?

  17. I suppose the Bible Thumpers base their opposition to abortion on Thou shalt not Kill. I could understand this if the Thumpers were pacifists. Maybe, I missed it but I do not see the Thumpers demonstrating against state sanctioned executions – the death penalty, or the Military-Industrial Complex that has been raining down death and destruction since the Vietnam era.

    As others here have observed the high moral values of the sanctity of life disappears once the child is born. I have to wonder how many of the Thumpers adopt children or take in foster children???

  18. JoAnn: I guess it’s the difference in the SCOTUS lineup, but your point is well made.

  19. ALG: Yep
    daleb: Yep
    JoAnn: SCOTUS? Likely not.
    Eric Metzler: Yep

    I am personally glad that my birth mother chose life for me, or I wouldn’t be typing this. She was 17 and frightened, I imagine. Nonetheless, it was entirely her business. Entirely.

  20. This is my first comment to this blog, though I enjoy it and its comments almost daily.

    I’ve taken as a strategic truth that the boldness of the proLifers and the legal submissiveness of the proChoice camp derives from decades of a conservative SCOTUS. Fear that if the Court were ever presented with a case directly challenging Roe, it would happily undermine or overturn the decision altogether has kept proChoicers from attacking the arguments of proLifers with all the legal muscle R v W provides them.

    I’m in no sense a legal scholar, but it seems to me that in restricting the reasons that a woman might decide to abort, Pence et al have directly intruded on the right to privacy in pre-viability abortion decisions that Roe was intended to preserve.

    Given the current Scalia-less state of the Court, wouldn’t it make sense to submit a case that boldly tests the breadth of R v W that, if accepted, would affirm the original decision with all the gusto it deserves? Pence’s latest idiocies may not provide a case to do this, but recent history is full of statutes whose ultimate purpose is to deprive women of the rights Roe protects. Now is a perfect time to bring these into the full light of a less conservative court.

  21. One day I passed out and the medical bookies say there was a 50/50 chance of me ever waking up, so every day since has been a gift. Come to think about it life is a gift that we all share given by countless people only some of which we actually know.

  22. These politician-lobbyists are not qualified to even join support groups for those mourning infant deaths from all causes, each as unique for two parent families ultimately. The folk sayings about killing to save lives started in popular talks a century ago, so that some children never grew up with actual participation in birth and recovery observations before writing essays and looking at patients in private or in classes without even science vocabularies to observe when they upset children, family members with common talk that is really not their business in legal and just cases of conflicts that judges hear.

    Many oppose infanticide as a method of birth control as they oppose killing to save money on actual service to youths who do not even have human rights politically for 18 years until they are old enough to run for office, to serve on law juries. Anyone can hand out tracts and sell their works for free, soapbox and pulpit styles, bulletin and ballot style 2016.

  23. Thanks for another example of pitch perfect persuasive writing. Wish I had your talent!

  24. JoAnn, thanks for your thoughtful and personal post @7:27 am today. When women share their personal or family stories about abortion, the aura of its being taboo or verboten gradually will disappear. Desensitize and desensitize.

  25. As a Californian, who reads her email later in the day, I realize that I am talking to myself, however to William and JoAnn: There is nothing offensive in Williams’s comment; he has access to all male conversations where the subjugation of women is more than the wink wink nudge nudge that happen when we are present.

    Thank you, Sheila, for another enjoyable and edifying post, and thank you, lucky stars, for removing the truly evil Cruz from the race.

  26. My discussions with pro-life people now begins with the statement that if abortions were outlawed tomorrow, abortions would not stop. People found a way before Roe v Wade and people would find a way again. If we want to reduce abortions, we should improve sex education and make birth control easily available Abortions would be rare, safe and legal. Young girls would not die during attempted abortions. Isn’t that really what we all want? Rare, safe, legal.

  27. I do not think this is a complicated issue. If a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy that is her business, period, end of story.

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