Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The story about abortion you haven't heard

You may have noticed the full page ads (sponsored by Fischer Furniture) last week promoting a pro-life concert and rally to be held at the Open Bible Christian Center on Friday night. The speaker / musician / presenter at this event will be Gianna Jessen, well-known anti-choice activist.

A group of activists from Democracy in Action are going to hold a protest at this event:
As you may have read in advertisements paid for by Fischer Furniture in today's Rapid City Journal, Al Carlson and the Citizens for Life are sponsoring "Gianna Jessen: Abortion Survivor" this Friday, September 22nd at 6:30 pm at the Open Bible Christian Center 2225 E. St. Patrick.

We want to make sure people are given correct information about Referred Measure #6 and are educated about the current abortion laws in South Dakota which do not allow late term abortions.

Democracy in Action volunteers will be meeting at 4:00 pm at the Healthy Families campaign office (1305 West Main on the corner of West Street in the gap) to make signs and will be leaving to go to the church at 5:30pm. For more information, email Melanie.
Gianna Jessen's story is that her mother attempted an abortion, but she survived, and was adopted. She was born with disabilities related to her difficult birth, including cerebral palsy. This BBC news report (cited in the wikipedia article) is one of the few articles on the web that I have seen that gives a balanced view of the story.

In this example, the abortion Ms. Jessen's mother had elected was a VERY late-term abortion, especially for the procedure ("saline injection"). Honestly, I doubt anyone who has seriously considered this issue could ethically approve an abortion this late, at week 34. That late, the danger to the life of the mother and the viability of the fetus [actually a baby by anyones definition, especially today] makes making such a choice illegal seem reasonable to me. As a matter of fact such laws are allowed and even encouraged under the settled law of Roe V Wade. The abortion that Ms. Jensen's mother attempted (in 1977) would be illegal today in most states, (including SD) and these laws are constitutional under Roe.

I sure am impressed and inspired by Gianna Jessen's bravery in overcoming her disabilities and the tragic circumstances of her birth. However, I find it hard to see how her case is really relevant to Referred Law 6 (HB1215), an extreme law that aims to ask all South Dakotans to pay for a futile attempt to overturn Roe, settled law that many people just happen to agree with. RL6 is so extreme and Roe has been so solidly upheld, that the end result will be that Roe is likely to be upheld, even if we do get another "pro-life" Justice or two between now and then.

This rally is not likely to change any minds, just crank up the volume.

We know abortion is a bad thing, okay? Please stop saying that if we are against RL6 or support Planned Parenthood we are "participating in genocide." It just ain't true.

Again, I define myself as pro-life, but anti-RL6 AND supportive of Roe. I know that may be difficult for some people to understand, but that's where I is. And many other folks, apparently.


  1. Anonymous09:53

    Why must the Right to Life movement in America much more resemble a destructive religious cult than an actual movement?

    A real movement uses the gravity of the issue to invite people to join and assemble on what they agree upon.

    This cult, as with other cults in America like The End Timers, uses a narrow religious view as the litmus test of adequacy and then shoves people in or out by the edict "you're either for us or against us." End of discussion.

    As with other cults, it is manipulative as stated above and because it has control of political power as its primary purpose. Rather than broadening debate, it seeks narrower and narrower standards of acceptance by introducing religious myth as science to be forced into the public classroom. And it is control with a black-and-white standard of who is faithful and who is wicked. Worst, they subvert and pervert language and the common understanding of "values" as another tool to circumvent legitimate process and law to sieze more power and control.

    And how will we explain The Patriot Act to future generations?

    It really was not that long ago that blacks were segregated in the classroom (well into the 1970s) in parts of our nation, that homosexuality was a criminal offense, that expression of political dissent was punishable by jail, that contraceptives were illegal and adultery was a crime, that people who were of Asian heritage were forced into concentration camps and their belongings scattered and allowed to be stolen.

    They say you can't legislate morality, but that really is not the "end game" of the right wing. They pretend to be extreme to appeal to the lowest instincts of many people and they use fear (threatening eternal damnation) as tools to achieve power.

    My point is when are "good" people in society going to rise up from their lethargy and set our state and national governments on a straight and honest path again? We've seen power taken away in this fashion again and again throughout the world, and even in what we think of as the modern western sphere.

    If a lie is repeated often enough ...

  2. I was able to get a preview of sorts of what the platform of this woman was during the vote-yes conference call last week. I have to say that the previous post to this one has it right.

    After listening to that conference call it leaves no doubt that the supposed right to life movement is very much a cult like atmosphere and very much like the end times religious movements. The psychological manipulation these people attempt to use is scary. You can see by listening to it how easy they could sway someone who does not question what they are told or is inclined to believe because of other already held religious concepts common in the more fundamentalist religions.

    The speaker in question Gerri made very sure she never eluded to the real details of her birth. She purposely avoided any mention of how late term this occured, leaving those who never investigated the story to assume it was an early term abortion she survived. There is also no mention of why her mother chose this when the pregnancy was at the point of viability. At the point of this procedure is also the point where the medical community considers early birth possible.

    But her message is crafted to purposely deceive the listener that she is the result of an early term termination.

    This whole thing is meant to rally the faithful who may already be inclined to vote for the ban but also to manipulate the easily swayed into action minus real facts and investigation on the issue.

  3. nyetdermo!11:41

    Coat Hangers at Dawn....I've listened to the call, and I don't think that she's intentionally misleading people. First off, you aren't the most accurate in your reporting of things

    1 - its Gianna, not Gerri (if you can't even get her name right....)

    2 - you claim on your blog that Vote Yes for Life sponsored the call....from what I've seen, it was put together by American Life League. And the day after you post a blog about "oh wow, they're scared now that people will see their agenda so they're not going to post it online even though they said they would," they posted it online.

    3 - you erroneously claim on your blogthat the anti-contraception conference was an American Life League rally; it was the Pro-Life Action League that sponsored it, and American Life League wasn't even mentioned in the article you linked to.

    While yes, much of the tone of the conference call was overtly religious and not very welcome to those of us who are non-religious, many of your criticisms of it fall short - not to mention the fact that the reason the conference call was put forth was because MILLIONS of dollars from out of state pro-choice groups are being thrown into this fight, and the VY4L people have only a fraction of that. Go ahead and call out the people on the conference call for urging out of state people to get involved...but also call out the numerous out of state pro-choice groups (Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Feminist Majority Foundation, NOW) who are raising millions from out of state as well (and coming in state to lend their own support).