This is the fourth 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." If you find the materials you will be receiving worthwhile you are encouraged to forward them 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.
Although the attachment to this email (War on the Unborn) is lengthy, if you're interested in the issues discussed you may find the ideas therein of some value in making points with people who are concerned about the ethics of killing in the context of warfare but less so in the context of abortion. I inserted some explanatory notes in the text in 1996, ten years after the original presentation. I don't recall seeing a presentation of the kind of material in this email elsewhere, which is why I'm providing it to you as part of this series of emails.
I wish you a happy and blessed Christmas. The next email should be sent shortly thereafter.
December 14, 2003
The text of the fourth email in the first round follows. It was sent in October of 2002.
At the risk of coming off as some kind of religious fanatic, I am going to say some things in this email that may get some people very upset. Others may simply laugh them off. But I care enough about my country and its people to take the risk either way. This may be of particular interest at this time with the nation poised to go to war with Iraq.
I will start with a letter to the editor that I sent locally at the conclusion of Desert Storm in 1991. The mass fax technique did not come to my attention until 1995.
March 22, 1991
Detroit Free Press
321 W. Lafayette
Detroit, Michigan 48226
Events leading up to the recent war acquainted or reacquainted many people with the so-called "just war" principles. Through it all, America's other war, the war on the unborn, raged on unabated. It has been a war that routinely trashes every "just war" principle, especially proportionality, immunity of noncombatants and last resort. It has consisted exclusively of pre-emptive and literally surgical first strikes against the totally innocent and helpless. It has employed poison weapons and live dismemberment of the unarmed target population in contravention of the laws of war and every international standard of behavior for the treatment of prisoners.
Where is the outcry from those who claim to be concerned with the morality of killing?
I composed the following as a draft guest editorial based on an overly lengthy letter to the editor that I mass faxed in the summer of 1995. It goes into more detail on many of the same points and more:
ETHICAL STANDARDS NUKED IN THE WAR ON PRENATAL CHILDREN
by Al Lemmo
The recent fiftieth anniversaries of the atomic bombings prompted debates about the ethics and laws of warfare. Meanwhile, America's war on prenatal children raged on unabated, routinely trashing nearly every one of these same laws and ethical principles.
The war on the unborn has consisted exclusively of literally surgical first strikes against the totally innocent and helpless, intended to preempt the recognition and protections normally accorded at birth. Rather than honor the immunity of non-combatants, it has deliberately targeted them. It has employed poisonous weapons, refusal of quarter and live dismemberment of the unarmed target population, even subjecting them to experimentation, in contravention of the laws of war and all international standards for the treatment of prisoners.
It has violated "Just War" principles, including the requirements for just cause, last resort, proportionality and competent authority by placing the decision for a death-dealing act, grotesquely disproportionate to the ends usually sought, in the hands of the frequently ill-informed, distraught and underage. It's rationalization on the basis of so-called hard cases has reduced the vast majority of those slaughtered to collateral damage at rates that would be morally horrendous if practiced by the military.
What is it about unborn babies that suspends every ethical consideration? Does the lack of any non-violent alternative for retaining control provide a license for all manner of barbarism? Or is it that once the mental process of devaluing the lives of others -- born or unborn, of any race, creed or color -- has gone far enough, they cease to exist in our minds as human beings such that virtually anything can be done to them?
What have we become that we avert our eyes as nearly one in every three of our children is destroyed? Are we adults fearful of an imbalance of power if unborn babies are accorded the recognition and protection of the law? Do we secretly wish to retain the potential power to destroy any unwelcome prenatal intruders in our own lives, regardless of ethical principles?
Where is the moral imperative to intercede on behalf of the helpless innocent? Why has the propaganda campaign been so effective that many now think and speak in the euphemisms ("pro-choice", "pregnancy termination", "reproductive freedom", etc.) and oxymorons ("safe abortion", "abortion rights") of the language of denial? How much more violence to life, truth, language, values, law, government, medicine, ethics and the principles of human rights can our society withstand?
But conscience and nature are not easily overcome. Like the flyers who delivered the bombs, the women who have delivered their unborn babies to the killing centers have suffered unforeseen fallout, experiencing a range of emotional and physical problems from guilt and depression to sterility and breast cancer. Yet the war planners continue to resist providing even the most basic safeguards -- such as information about human development, life-affirming alternatives and potential hazards. They are rightly fearful that piercing their veil of ignorance will render their proxies unwilling to continue the carnage.
Are there legitimate reasons why so many people in other nations are upset with us? This letter was sent nationwide during the last federal administration to suggest what one of them might be. We will see more of this type of provocation if we don't choose our leaders more carefully in the future.
May 22, 1998
To the Editor:
In history's most egregious campaign of cultural imperialism, the current administration has been jamming abortion down the throats of Third World nations in your name and mine. Arrogantly insisting this horrible wrong is a right, in spite of deep division within our own country, these culture assassins have undermined the life-affirming values of other peoples. If another power had attempted a similar assault on American values it would have been denounced as intolerable interference in domestic matters, if not as an act of war.
This administration feigns respect for United Nations authority while it violates U.N. covenants. The U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child states "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth." The U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group" to include "Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group." The U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) makes no mention of any right to abortion but prohibits discrimination on grounds of pregnancy or maternity. And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the
law," contrary to Roe v. Wade.
Congress has finally had enough of the administration's obscene policies and has attached measures to cut off funding for abortion promotion to bills the White House strongly favors. But this administration, while giving lip service to concern for children, has no higher priority than destroying prenatal children both at home and abroad.
Invisible people are the easiest to kill, especially when those who could stop the carnage choose not to see it. Human rights abuses in other nations are mere specks in our brothers' eyes so long as we cannot see clearly with the beam of abortion in our own. What passes for leadership has forfeited our nation's moral authority.
Let me move on to the main idea I want to explore in this email . It will take some explaining. Let me emphasize that it's all speculative, as you'll see, yet very sobering. To begin with, I need to refer to President Lincoln's second inaugural address. It is one of the great speeches in our nation's history and is carved on the wall inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Since it's relatively short I've pasted it in below in its entirety. I think you'll appreciate it.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS:
March 4, 1865
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then, a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new would be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this, four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war, seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invoked His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh". If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether".
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Prepared by Nancy Troutman (The Cleveland Free-Net - aa345)
Distributed by the Cybercasting Services Division of the
National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN).
Permission is hereby granted to download, reprint, and/or otherwise
redistribute this file, provided appropriate point of origin
credit is given to the preparer(s) and the National Public
[End of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address File]
History does not record that Lincoln's listeners jeered, pelted him or otherwise expressed outrage at his suggestion that the Civil War was perhaps due to the judgment of God as punishment for having tolerated the sin of slavery, even though many of them had probably lost family members in the conflict. Certainly, the soldiers who fought the war, whose blood was still being "drawn with the sword" as he spoke, were not personally responsible. Even the vast majority of those who fought for the South had never owned a slave and many if not most of those who fought for the North had probably never even seen a slave in their lives. Yet Lincoln's generation understood his meaning because they knew that the Old Testament includes accounts of God punishing the Israelites as a people for their sinfulness, even by turning them over to their enemies.
Contrast the reaction of Lincoln's listeners to the outraged reaction of our national media when a national religious figure (I believe it was Jerry Falwell) suggested that the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington signified that God had withdrawn his protection from the United States because of our sinfulness. I'm not sure if he meant abortion alone but I'm sure it was part of what he considered our offenses. Falwell was only following in Lincoln's footsteps (although he may have expressed more certainty about his theory). The victims of September 11th were most likely no more guilty of abortion or other sins than any other Americans. But the concept of societal guilt and punishment was outrageous to the media, especially as far as its attribution to the sin of abortion. The media and other "liberals" (I use the term with some hesitation because real liberalism is a good thing) are much more inclined to accept the concept of societal guilt for other things such as poverty or racism. Abortion, however, is a pet cause of theirs and it is offensive to them to even suggest there might be anything evil about it, much less deserving of such severe retribution.
Consider now that the "blood drawn with the lash" was not drawn in an act intended to kill, but that the blood drawn by the abortionists' instruments has killed over forty million prenatal children in this country alone. Doesn't it seem reasonable then that we are in a much more precarious position in terms of being subject to the judgment of God than the Civil War generation?
Now ask yourself: If the same God still works in the same ways (assuming He willed or even just allowed the Civil War or the 2001 terrorist attacks), what would be an appropriate punishment for a nation -- or a world for that matter -- that slays its young by the millions and then has the audacity to call it freedom?
Still there? Consider now that potential means of our chastisement are already frighteningly apparent on the not too distant horizon -- if not already here. For example, the following is from an article in the Los Angeles Times on October 10th:
Los Angeles Times
October 10, 2002
A Virus-Fed Doomsday
'Bio-Armageddon' is a possibility if U.S. hits Hussein.
By Scott P. Layne and Michael H. Sommer, Scott P. Layne is an associate professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health. Michael H. Sommer is a visiting scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley.
The debate among the nation's politicians and the advice they're receiving from intelligence experts should not focus exclusively on diplomacy versus preemptive military action against Saddam Hussein. Instead, there is one nightmarish outcome--the so-called bio-Armageddon scenario--that is of immediate concern.
It goes like this: We go in to take out Hussein, and his obedient henchmen pull a "doomsday" switch, releasing contagious biological agents for which there is no vaccine and no cure. Not only are hundreds of thousands of American troops wiped out but, if Hussein wishes to die a martyr's death, the virulent agents are released to spread around the world and wipe out half of mankind.
Even mentioning this subject may seem like scaremongering, but it's not. In today's dicey world, this horrific possibility is a biological, military and political fact of life--or death--that cannot be dismissed out of hand.
[End of Los Angeles Time clip]
I probably don't have to connect the dots at this point. If abortion is anything close to what many of us believe it to be -- the deliberate destruction of a human life at its most helpless and innocent stage -- we may be in dire jeopardy of receiving a punishment that we as a society, and even as a world, richly deserve. And it appears to be taking shape, if not in a war with Iraq then in the next war or the one after that.
Are we individually responsible for abortion? Most of us probably haven't had an abortion or fathered a child that was aborted. Nor have we counseled or coerced anyone to have an abortion. But what have we done to stop or discourage abortion or the behaviors that lead to it? How many of us knowingly and deliberately choose for our lawmakers and public policymakers people who are unwilling to protect prenatal human lives? How many of us don't even think it's important enough to ask about prior to voting?
Yes, all of the above is speculative. But are we willing to gamble our very survival on being wrong about this?
I am attaching to this email a file containing the transcript of an informal talk I delivered in 1986 to a small group of activists who were interested in peace issues. It can also be accessed at the website of Catholics United for Life (www.detmich.com/alwar.html) where the links from the outline at the top of the file are active. Because the listeners were mainly Christian clergy and very knowledgeable lay people, the talk is heavy on religious references, especially toward the end. It goes into significant detail about the laws of war, Just War criteria and many of the issues surrounding the arms race in the Cold War, with parallels and analogies drawn to the war on the unborn. Since I had been a member of the group and we knew each other well, I didn't hold back. I spoke for over an hour before stopping short of my prepared conclusion because one person was becoming severely distressed at what I was saying and I was about to lean on them even harder. The material that I did not deliver in that talk is included in the attached file. I basically concluded with the same kind of speculation about abortion being the potential cause of a nuclear war as outlined above.
Obviously, we did not have a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Does this mean that the kind of scenarios that Lincoln, Falwell or myself have wondered about are wrong? Or, to paraphrase Lincoln, has the Almighty's "appointed time" simply not yet come? This too is speculative, but it sure looks to me like we're getting there fast.
Do we have time to change our ways in order to avoid an unimaginable calamity? Again, the answer is speculative. But it's something to think about before voting next week.