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While Conservatives Are Attacking Each Other, the Left Is Marching On

Katha Pollitt and the Shrinking Voice of Abortion Advocates

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

In the August 5th issue of the New York Times, abortion-rights apologist Katha Pollitt laments the defensive posture of the "pro-choice movement." She speaks derisively of the rhetorical stance of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.


You might recall that Richards lamented the "tone" of the language used by Planned Parenthood staffers in the Center for Medical Progress videos as they discussed ways to "crush" the bodies of preborn human beings to insure that abortionists can extract valuable body parts such as livers, lungs, and brain tissue. Pollitt writes that Planned Parenthood hasn't violated federal law by selling these body parts for profit. Her refusal is curious, as Melissa Farrell, Director of Research at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is recorded bragging to investigative journalists, posing as reps from a human tissue procurement company, about how her department helps abortion centers to diversify their revenue streams.

Instead, Pollitt argues that abortion rights advocates should stop apologizing. She advises two courses of action: proclaim that abortion is a right and a cultural good, and to proclaim it loudly.

In Pollitt's world, the only problem with abortion is the stigma attached to it by pro-lifers. What's missing from her analysis of rights, percentages of women who have had abortions, and the number of men "grateful not to be forced into fatherhood" is any mention of what abortion is, what it does, and who it does it to.

Most people are clueless about abortion. My research among college students demonstrates that the vast majority of them know nothing about the frequency of abortion, when abortion is legal, how a human being develops, and a host of other related issues. In a survey I conducted in California, with over 700 respondents, students believed that between 10,000 and 100,000 abortions occurred in the U.S. last year, and that it was illegal in California to have an abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy.


The real answers are that over a million surgical abortions occur each year, and an untold number of chemical abortions. And there are no gestational age limits on abortion in California. Find an abortionist to do the procedure, and you can have it any time during your pregnancy.

Pollitt claims women who've had abortions don't want to be defined by it. They want to "move on." Absent from her discussion of abortion is what is aborted. She avoids it, I suspect, because the answer is uncomfortable, even though it is scientific and held uniformly in every embryology textbook. Human life has a bright-line beginning: at conception. Even honest abortion rights advocates, such as Camille Paglia, admit this. Paglia, in her article in Salon in 2008, reveals:

Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue.

Advances in ultrasound technology make the humanity of the unborn increasingly apparent to even the casual observer. They see the face, the arms and legs, and the heart of the developing child. This same technology, the videos from the Center for Medical Progress reveal, aids abortionists in locating the same body parts. But not to coo over. Instead, ultrasound guides their instruments so they only "crush" the little body in a way that will induce death, while keeping the valuable organs they want to sell to research companies.

Finally, Pollitt makes this startling admission: "On the issue of fetal-tissue research, we need to hear loud and clear from the scientific community. Anti-abortion activists are calling for a ban on this research, which ironically is used primarily to find treatment for sick babies." That Pollitt can use the word "ironically" in this sentence is ironic. It would be funny if it weren't so fatal. In Pollitt's view, we should intentionally crush and eviscerate healthy developing human beings so that we can generously treat sick babies. Abortion: "it's for the children!"


Pollitt cannot understand that the reason the outcry is so great is that many people, for the first time, are seeing the horror of abortion. What network television would never have shown in the 1970s and 80s is being plastered all over social media. The script is flipped. Instead of the media telling people what they should see, hear, and talk about, the people have created a firestorm so hot that the media dare not ignore it.

It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Anyone who wants to live among others has to subscribe to that presupposition.

Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being. The science of embryology and the words of abortion rights advocates both affirm this claim.

Therefore, abortion is wrong.

Pollitt cannot argue against the logic of this syllogism. She cannot undermine the veracity of its premises. All she can do is bluster -- demanding that people take pride in their abortions -- asking that the old-guard supporters of abortion stand up for a procedure most of them knew little or nothing about when they had it.

They know now.

And the actions germinating from that knowledge are beginning to grow. Protests are scheduled outside of Planned Parenthood offices on August 22. People will deluge their congressional representatives' offices with calls to defund Planned Parenthood. The one thing they will not do is be silent.

Pollitt doesn't like the shrinking influence of abortion choice rhetoric. She better get used to it. Once people see the truth, they will refuse to listen to the lie.


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