AL#10 Recommendations; Conclusion; Feedback Request
This is the tenth and last in a series of emails on abortion and related subjects. To be removed from this mailing list please send an empty email from the account in which it was received with the subject line "REMOVE." (Further emails after this are unlikely.) If you find this material worthwhile you are encouraged to forward it to your own email lists. If you missed any of the other emails (AL#1..., AL#2..., etc.) and would like to receive them, please let me know.
[ 5/4/2004 - Sorry for the delays in completing this. Before forwarding the final email I would like to provide just two book references that you may find of interest:
Suing for the Right to Live: Futile Care Theory Comes to America
by Wesley J. Smith
A little noticed litigation in the United Kingdom could be a harbinger of medical woes to come here in the United States. Leslie Burke, age 44, is suing for the right to stay alive. Yes, you read right: Burke, who has a terminal neurological disease, is deathly afraid that doctors will refuse to provide him wanted food and water when his condition deteriorates to the point that has to receive nourishment through a feeding tube.
If you haven't heard of futile care yet you probably soon will. Your own health care providers may have already adopted protocols to deny care based on their own criteria, even care that is wanted and that you can pay for.
CHAMPION OF WOMEN AND THE UNBORN, the acclaimed biography of pro-life physician, Horatio Robinson Storer (1830-1922), who started the physicians' crusade against abortion that produced the pro-life laws overturned by Roe v. Wade. Available from Amazon.com.
This one can help expose the myths about the origins of the nation's pro-life laws.
So here's the final email. Thanks for reading.
Al Lemmo ]
There have been many reasons for the delays in completing this project, not the least of which has been difficulty in deciding on some recommendations that would be both helpful and not usually seen elsewhere. Some actions go almost without saying: prayer, voting, speaking out, writing letters, postcards, emails, etc. Others involve more work over the long term and have also been suggested elsewhere. These include establishing relationships with journalists and elected officials. This can have very good results. At one point a former state representative asked me to submit a question on abortion for his district questionnaire and the results were very revealing because the question was phrased very differently from the usual approach.
The two major areas for action I would like to recommend can be described as "access" and "attitude." The first involves disinvestment and discouraging the entry of new providers into the field through both negative image-making and litigation. I also believe that restricting access to abortion can have the most impact in the short term. The second involves not just the ongoing effort to change hearts and minds but ways to do that more effectively.
So here are my recommendations as far as "access" is concerned.
I have recently become convinced that one of the most effective actions pro-life people can take is to withdraw support for abortion providers (and access to them and other anti-life businesses) through their financial investments. This has long been a favorite tactic of more "liberal" causes such as environmentalism, animal rights, anti-smoking, anti-apartheid, homosexuality and abortion advocacy and became known as "socially responsible investing." It's important to distinguish this from the "morally responsible investing" that concerns itself mainly with abortion, pornography, anti-family entertainment and non-married lifestyles. It's also very important to let any organization whose activities you wish to change know what it is you find objectionable and what steps you intend to take (or did take) because of their policies. (Policies can include advertising, financial contributions, personnel benefits, holdings, products, services, research, distribution, etc.) This approach is not limited to just individual companies or other institutions but can be applied to mutual funds that manage portfolios containing investment instruments of a wide variety of organizations and whose shares are owned by individuals, pension funds (including those of unions and your local and state public employees), endowments and many other entities, all of which can be asked to support the morally responsible investing approach. The fund managers, whose addresses can be found in prospectuses and annual reports, will be very sensitive to the concerns of their shareholders. (You can also just call customer assistance.) If you are a member of any group which has investment holdings for its members your voice carries additional weight. This kind of action can have significant adverse impact on the ability of objectionable organizations to fund their activities.
Morally responsible investing can seem like a daunting task but need not be. Help can be found by searching on the Internet ("moral investing" located a number of good websites) and/or simply asking those in the business. This approach to investing has been around in various forms for a long time. One of my broker/advisors was able to quickly find an investment option that allowed the client to create an open-ended list of his own criteria for investment screening. Another major investment firm had a research organization they employed interview me in depth (by phone) regarding the concerns I had expressed. If enough customers expressed similar concerns and had the potential for significant financial impact you can bet they would seek to address those customers' concerns. Don't forget that there are a great many of us and we have lots of money to invest. And don't think it won't make a big difference. How we invest our own money is also entirely within our control. And distancing ourselves from objectionable activities will enhance our spiritual well-being.
Although pro-life organizations are being overwhelmed at this time by the ongoing assaults of the culture of death, I want to suggest here that they provide advocacy and assistance to their members and the general public (such as through website links or even advertising) in accomplishing disinvestment from objectionable organizations. I am not aware of much activity in this area, having only seen a few ads in pro-life/pro-family publications for some specific investment alternatives.
[ Two major pro-life alternatives for investments are the Ave Maria Mutual Funds which have a Catholic orientation (Shareholder Services 888-726-9331, Corporate Offices 800-449-9240) and The Timothy Plan which has a more general pro-life orientation. The major differences appear to be screening for contraception promotion in the Ave Maria Funds without regard to alcohol or tobacco products whereas The Timothy Plan does not screen for contraception but does consider alcohol and tobacco. A Michigan broker/dealer for the Ave Maria Mutual Funds is John Vleko, 248-350-3270, and for The Timothy Plan, Dennis Rotary, 586-943-1323 (cell). Another broker/dealer for The Timothy Plan is Neal Clement, 888-841-0254, firstname.lastname@example.org. He has been advertising in the Journal of the American Family Association.]
The other major approach to restricting access to abortion is discouraging medical practitioners from entering the field, both by intensifying their already negative image (except with the media) and by turning up the heat through litigation. In earlier emails I have described Life Dynamics, Inc., one of the most active organizations in this effort. They also publish a booklet called "ACCESS: The Key to Pro-Life Victory" which you can obtain free by calling 1-800-800-LIFE or 1-800-401-6494. It explains their strategy in detail and provides information on how you can become involved in the various aspects of making it work. If you're serious about ending abortion this is about the most direct and effective thing you can do, especially if you don't have a large investment account you can threaten to move.
The best thing about these approaches to restricting access is that they are not susceptible to the kind of dishonest and corrupt countering tactics that have thwarted our progress on the political and legislative fronts where we have expended so much time, money and effort. They are virtually unstoppable.
Most of the recommendations under "attitude" were provided in earlier emails in this series. This includes my own work on changing the terms of the debate with the Abortionism model and the woman-centered approaches described in email AL#8. It also includes the approaches of appealing to such widely popular concepts as non-discrimination and environmentalism with the concept of holistic environmentalism.
Dr. David Reardon of the Elliot Institute (see email AL#8) has suggested substitution of the phrase "poor-choice" for "pro-choice" at every opportunity to emphasize that abortion is a terrible choice for women (see www.PoorChoice.org) and to destroy the power of the "pro-choice" euphemism. I would also suggest the term "repro-abortive" in many contexts where "reproductive" is used to emphasize that the act of replicating life has not only been accomplished but is not "drawn out" as the root "duc" implies. It is terminated. Hence, abortion, embryonic stem cell harvesting and similar acts are repro-abortive.
When an individual human life begins has never been in doubt. Perhaps we should be asking when do truth, justice, knowledge, obligation, ethics, compassion, etc. begin? Or, better yet, when do ignorance, evasion, lies, etc. end?
A list of alternative dates to commemorate key historical events that offer educational opportunities is provided as an attachment and at the end of this email. (This is now accessible at http://cul.detmich.com/key_dates_for_pro-life_and_constitutional_educational_events.html.)
A pro-life rallying song is also provided as an attachment. Like the Battle Hymn of the Republic on which it is based, the lyrics are unabashedly Christian. Not everyone will like all of the verses so use the ones that appeal to you. There are plenty to choose from.
This file is now accessible at http://cul.detmich.com/lemmotemails/Battle_Hymn.html
Education is still a key, especially with the young. We need not rely on pro-life organizations or schools to get ahold of the necessary educational materials. Excellent materials were available to me in libraries and museums back around 1960, long before Roe v. Wade, such that the facts about life before birth were never in doubt. A few years ago I happened to observe a group of school children at a human development exhibit in a Chicago museum. The exhibit consisted of actual specimens, week by week through an entire human pregnancy. The children were unusually quiet, as though they were in church, instinctively aware that they were in the presence of something sacred. I realized that I was watching the next generation of pro-life Americans in formation. They were being immunized to the lies before my eyes. No one would ever be able to put over the lies about globs of tissue on these kids.
Supporting pro-life/pro-family organizations at all levels (international, national, state, local) is important to enable them to fight the day-to-day battles and continue their educational efforts. Some provide automatic email alerts and updates that you can subscribe to through their websites. These include the National Right to Life Committee, Family Research Council, American Family Association and Human Life International. One of the best daily sources of information is LifeNews.com (formerly known as the Pro-Life Infonet) and LifeSiteNews.com. Try some of these for a while and see if they are useful to you.
It is also helpful to know your opponents. For example, there is a website called PeterSingerLinks.com after the controversial "bio-ethicist." I haven't explored this one yet myself but there have to be reasons for his appeal and this looks like a good place to find out about them.
An organization dedicated to the restoration of the moral and religious foundation on which America was built is WallBuilders.com. It has links to many others with similar goals.
Some of my pro-life friends have all but given up on fighting abortion, saying that we must first convert hearts to Christ to make any real progress. They're undoubtedly correct that that is the most important task, certainly for Christians, but I believe it would be a mistake to neglect the matter of abortion. While it's important to choose one's battles carefully, it would be a serious error to abandon any front in a war - the so-called "culture war" - in which the heart and soul of the human race are at stake. And we have seen that many of the necessary conversions - some quite spectacular - have come about precisely because we have fought the battle on the abortion front. But I also believe that action on other fronts in the culture war can work to the benefit of the pro-life cause. They are very much inter-related.
In preparation for this final email I ordered, read and attempted to digest the contents of several books, including "Back to the Drawing Board: The Future of the Pro-Life Movement," edited by Teresa R. Wagner. It would be well beyond the scope of a single, relatively short email to do justice to these books so I am simply going to recommend some of them. "Back to the Drawing Board" is the first. It is a collection of essays by leaders in the movement from a variety of perspectives such as law, politics, science, medicine, religion and culture. It provides an excellent review of
how we got to where we are today (including the battles on other fronts in the culture war that led up to Roe v. Wade but didn't show on most radar screens) and some ideas about the challenges that lie ahead. Just as the war with "terrorism" had been going on for years (I would even say centuries) before September 11th, 2001, the culture war for which the wake-up call came in 1973 had been going on for a long time, possibly since the beginning of the human race. It should make anyone who loves this country very angry to see how the forces of the culture of death have played fast and loose with the truth and assaulted the foundations of our civilization in many ways. Similar assaults have occurred and are ongoing in many other countries, especially in the West. Is there something uniting these efforts?
One thing that most of those assaulting Western civilization share in common is a very different, false and dangerous idea about the meaning of freedom. This concept of freedom is spelled out well in the speech entitled "Freedom and It's Counterfeit" which can be accessed at http://www.hillsdale.edu/newimprimis/2003/august/default.htm and is provided as an attachment to this email. (You might want to read some of the other Imprimis articles on the website as well.) It is in the form of a commencement speech by Robert P. George at Hillsdale College and takes a few paragraphs to congratulate the graduates and their school before getting into the meat of the subject. But I highly recommend that you read this because it discusses something that is at the heart of many of our cultural conflicts. It discusses the difference between true freedom and license, which the nation's founders were very concerned about. It makes a big difference if freedom is understood as ordered to some larger purpose(s) or if it is just a matter of indulging any and every desire.
Another thing characteristic of those attacking Western civilization is a hostility toward religion, especially our Judeo-Christian heritage. This negative view of religion may be motivated by many things, such as blaming religion for wars, lack of belief or simply suspicion of the religions of others. However, I am more inclined to believe that it has mostly to do with something else. As one essay in "Back to the Drawing Board" put it (p.241): "Modern liberalism simply means becoming 'liberated' from the external authority of God. God either does not exist or He is irrelevant, so He and His ways are out-of-date, out-of-touch, and unneccessarily repressive compared to the enlightened wisdom of humankind."
To put it in terms of the Abortionism model presented back in email AL#2, this removal of God from the picture is the first step of a three step process that is necessary to conduct the abortion of any human population's lives or liberties. The first step - aborting the authority of God - is often disguised by making some claim to having been empowered by God. The second step is the "mental abortion" of relegating the target population into some subhuman category such that anything can be done to it. The final step is the actual physical abortion of lives or liberties. I only hinted at the first abortion in the essay in email AL#2, saying that the world's first two Abortionites had attempted to abort the rights of their Creator. My objective there was to show that the thinking that gives us unlimited abortion was effectively a cult and so I downplayed the first abortion and emphasized the second. It could be said that this approach was based on natural law.
Several other significant divides exist in our culture, in some cases still on the fringes. These include very different ideas about the nature, origins, functions and purposes of law, government, family, sexuality and even life itself [we can now add marriage to this list]. Then there's the whole matter of moral relativism. Space, time and my own limitations prevent me from trying to address these here in any kind of comprehensive fashion but there are many skilled and insightful writers who address these matters both in books and on a regular basis through editorial comment on day-to-day events. Two websites where many such commentators can be found are JewishWorldReview.com and WorldNetDaily.com (see the left column of each). Both include archives of their writers so you can go back and get a flavor for their perspectives on a variety of subjects. Some of my favorites that I would recommend (not necessarily on abortion) include Cal Thomas, George Will, Mona Charen, Mychal Massie, Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Sowell, David Horowitz, Walter Williams, Michelle Malkin, David Limbaugh, Betsy Hart, Pat Buchanan, Rebecca Hagelin, Neil Boortz, Dennis Prager, Jeff Jacoby and Larry Elder. Some of the others are quite good as well but I haven't read as much of them.
Most such observers of the culture war seem largely concerned with its effects on our freedoms and the survival of our republic, and I believe that these are very much at stake. However, there is at least one author I have read who sees things in much more sweeping terms, namely "spiritual warfare." That may be too far out for some people but it really makes a lot of sense. Rather than quote extensively from the book and trying to tie it all together, let me simply wholeheartedly recommend "How to Win the Culture War" by Peter Kreeft, who is perhaps my favorite author. He describes the book itself as an act of war. It lays out a battle plan and skillfully ties together in a fast-moving and very short read (little more than 100 pages) many important principles and phenomena.
In another book by Kreeft, "Three Approaches to Abortion," he spends some 20 pages describing 15 motivating factors that fuel pro-life work. The list includes meaning, obligation, honesty, patriotism, civilization, families, sex, violence, women, children, survival, religion, love of life, ethics and the image of God. He spends 3 pages on sex (this includes such subjects as contraception and homosexuality) and identifies it as the battlefield of the culture war in his other book noted above. It can also be accurately described as a passion or appetite of those who hold the counterfeit view of freedom. Nothing can be permitted to restrict its free exercise. Indeed, it has become an idolatrous religion for many.
Kreeft did not include justice on his list of motivators although it is wrapped into some of the other items. In a democratic system, which I believe we still have, we are responsible for the laws we live under. We have had the history lessons from the Nazi era driven into our heads and refuse to be guilty of the same offenses as many of the people of Europe who looked the other way. Furthermore, the administration of justice is a fundamentally, inherently and uniquely governmental function. This can not be said of many of the issues that people use as excuses to elect Abortionites to public offices in preference to pro-life candidates. They continue to make the bogus claim that prenatal child-slaying is just another issue to be "weighed" with many others.
In another section of "Three Approaches to Abortion," Kreeft, a skilled logician, demolishes the Abortionite case. However, I doubt it will make much difference since the only logic Abortionites are interested in is the logic of childhood which says, "If I want it I should have it," whether it's sex without babies or a right to destroy those babies that are accidentally conceived. Remember, we are dealing with the passions and appetites of the counterfeit view of freedom.
Kreeft's ultimate solution is surprising - at least it was to me. Basically, we need to become saints! Sanctity is the ultimate weapon in his view and he makes the case for it. Meanwhile, the out-of-control judiciary continues to lead us in a charge toward the abyss. In a nation with a limited attention span and many distorted but popular ideas, I don't have an alternative solution, at least not any easy or short term one. Hopefully, if we persevere in fighting for truth on all fronts of the culture war we may yet be able to reverse the current swing of the pendulum. But first we need to wake up to the fact that we are even in a war for our very souls. This is the first of nine points in Kreeft's battle plan and it could be a hard sell in today's America where religion is being actively marginalized. There is even reason to believe that certain religious tenets may become regarded as bigotry or hate speech and actively suppressed, along with the religions that espouse them. In other words, if we don't wake up soon, many people of faith will become victims of Abortionism themselves as they are marginalized and persecuted for their beliefs.
This concludes this project. At this time I would like to request feedback from those who have stayed with it to the end, some 87% of the valid email addresses at the outset [this statistic is from the first round only but is probably similar for this second round]. (Please put "Feedback" in the subject line.) That may be a bit unfair given the long gap since the last mailing but I am particularly interested in hearing from the national, state and local pro-life organizations or individual activists. Has this been useful to you? Do you intend to or have you used any of the suggested ideas and terminology? Have you passed some or all of these emails on to others? What kind of reactions, if any, have you received? Although I am not inclined at this time to make many changes in a next round I would still like to know if you think significant changes should be made. If the response is not overwhelming I will try to reply to any feedback but please know that I appreciate any input you can give me. It may make a lot of difference in future rounds of sending out these emails to other mailing lists.
Thanks again for reading and for your support. I hope this has been beneficial to you.
September 21, 2003
The following is from the key dates file which will be attached but also copied below due to concerns that the format may not be readable in the attachment.
(Most of this is accessible at http://cul.detmich.com/key_dates_for_pro-life_and_constitutional_educational_events.html.)
I am not advocating abandoning January 22nd as our main focus. What is being offered here are alternative dates that can provide significant educational opportunities throughout the year.
Some Key Dates for Possible Pro-Life Educational Events
(most with potentially good weather and reduced school/vacation conflicts)
January 15 King Day - emphasis on non-discrimination (actual birthday January 15)
January 16-22 National Hypocrisy (or Schizophrenia) Week - 7 days from King Day to RvW anniversary enshrining discrimination on the basis of human characteristics before birth
March 4 Congress declares the Constitution the law of the land (1789)
March 6 Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) - ruled Constitution did not apply to Negroes - never repudiated by the Court (rendered moot by amendments to the Constitution)
March 25 Annunciation - Teach when each individual life begins - recognized in many Latin American countries as the Day of the Unborn
April 19 Battles of Lexington and Concord (1775) - Oklahoma City Bombing anniversary - example of "mental abortion" by Timothy McVeigh preceding the physical aborting of the victims' lives
April 22 Earth Day - Teach ethic of holistic environmentalism to include inner environments of body, mind, spirit - other environments include social, political, cultural, ethical and moral
May 8 VE Day (1945) - Liberation of Nazi death camps (some prior to this) - emphasis on use of images to prove historical truth of Holocaust with suppression of images of aborted babies
June 21 New Hampshire ratifies the Constitution in 1788 - 9th state - results in Constitution becoming effective for ratifying states
June 28 Stenberg v. Carhart (other Supreme Court decisions also possible) Court upholds partial-birth infanticide
July 28 Proclamation of 14th Amendment (1868) - basis of civil rights legislation and abortion "rites" - demonstrates hypocrisy of Supreme Court
August 6 Hiroshima Day - Anniversary of first atomic bombing (1945) - used to illustrate principles of just war, first strike, first use, etc. in the war on the unborn
September 11 Example of "mental abortion" on the basis of religious beliefs - it becomes possible to do anything to people who have been mentally relegated to subhuman status - use photo of aircraft striking World Trade Center captioned "Creedist Abortionites celebrating choice"
September 17 Anniversary of the 1787 signing of the Constitution and 1862 Battle of Antietam on 75th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution which led directly to the Emancipation Proclamation - a "new birth of freedom" (September 17th is 75 days after the Fourth of July)
September 20 Autumnal Equinox - Earth Day alternative
November 5 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act signed into law in 2003 - if blocked by judicial action, provides an opportunity to illustrate usurpations of unelected judicial branch, especially due to proximity to election day
December 10 Presentation of Nobel Prizes, including the Peace Prize (anniversary of death of Alfred Nobel) - also known as Human Rights Day due to anniversary of passage of Universal Declaration of Human Rights - opportunities to illustrate violation of ethical principles in the war on the unborn
December 22 Minute for Peace Day