I agree with much of what you've said. We really do need to lose the adversary mentality, and there are many tactics which are counter productive for pro-lifers to use. We need to approach the debate prayerfully.
However, there are some conditions in which presenting the images of truth are indeed helpful. After all, the most proximal event leading to Abby's leaving the clinic was that she was witness to the images of an actual abortion underway.
Images of abortions and screaming rants do not necessarily go hand in hand. I've never been part of a group which has used adversarial tactics, but most groups while being peaceable and gentle, still have been known to carry literature showing the results of abortion, along with literature pointing women to centers which can help them with the problems presented by their pregnancies.
Before my conversion, I remember being affronted by those images, for the reason you alluded to - I was defensive in my heart about my gradual regression from pro-life to "it's OK for some, but not for me." But the Lord was working in my heart, and seeing those images prompted a discussion with my husband which brought me ever so much closer to realizing the error of my ways. Without having seen those images, I may yet have been lying to myself, far from God and far from repentance. Instead, I became active in the pro-life movement, specifically sometimes in peaceful assembly, but more often in direct counseling intervention at a pro-life crisis center. I wanted to help other women learn the truth so their choices would be informed.
One has to listen to the Holy Spirit in order to judge whether or not in a certain instance these images will be helpful or not, but the Lord works in many ways to reveal truth, and these horrible images are indeed the awful truth. How would those of us who didn't live through it even begin to comprehend the horror of the Holocaust without the images which become indelibly ingrained into our souls once we have witnessed them?
I was amazed that people on both sides of the "fence" could consider themselves true friends! I was amazed that Doug, Abby's husband, could not support abortion and still love his wife in spite of where her salary came from. This confuses me, I admit. Did he live with the hope in his heart that she would see the truth? Would not his burden be heavy every day when they said good-bye as she went off to work?
I often wonder the same thing. I imagine he was praying all along for her heart to be changed. My husband and I thought different things until the Lord accomplished a change in my heart - and I never even knew it until the day those abortion pictures arrived in our home - we'd been married about six or seven years by then. It was the beginning of my awakening - I realized how close I had probably come to losing him, and his words, "I think abortion is murder" just rang around in my head while I shuddered in shock. I was glad I wasn't facing him so that he couldn't see my face.
"Too often by some in the pro-life movement, there is a tendency to vilify [sic] Planned Parenthood and the people who work in their abortion clinics."
Given the commenter's previously writing elsewhere that Planned Parenthood was "paranoid" (Considering that arson and assassination are considered legitimate tactics by many 'pro-lifers', it seems more like prudence.) and disparaging it as part of "the abortion industry" (Is the Catholic Church part of `the religion industry'?) this more irenic approach--if genuine--comes as something of a relief.
The Texas Legislature just concluded its regular session, enacting grotesquely draconian cuts to health, human services and education. Other states' perhaps have done the same, but only Texas sits alongside Mississippi at the very bottom of the list of the fifty states' per capita spending on these things already. Funding for the governor's own private money pot, `business development' (i.e., kickbacks to business cronies and wealthy contributors) actually increased, however. At a time when the country is emerging from the worst economic downturn in eighty years, the governor also presented (and got passed) an "emergency" bill to subject any woman who freely and with informed consent wishes to obtain an abortion (for any reason) to an intrusive and medically unnecessary ultrasound scan. (The ultrasound probe must be inserted into the vagina.) This is combined with a last-minute, scripted harangue from their doctor. (Men can be trusted with decisions about whether or not to have a vasectomy, for example; women evidently are too feeble-minded/impulsive/easily-swayed to be given comparable latitude to make equally serious decisions on their own.) This gratuitous law has no legitimate legal or moral aim. It is merely an attempt at punishing a woman who chooses to undergo what is, after all, a legal medical procedure. Whatever its purported justification(s), it is stark cruelty and nothing more.
Because the newly-enacted biennial budget cuts funding to Planned Parenthood (and what funding remains will be apportioned according to a formula deliberately devised to reduce it even more), Texas Right to Life is booming this travesty as a victory for `life'. This buzzword evidently has nothing whatever to do with the real lives of real woman and real children (most living in dire poverty), who will suffer to a grossly disproportionate degree.
In many areas, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of health care to poor women, including Pap smears, breast x-rays, screening for sexually-transmitted diseases (for both men and women), and referrals for health care, including pre-natal care. (Surprise, surprise!) This is not simply eliminating funding for things that could be done elsewhere; it is eliminating these things altogether. The number of women who will die as a result from undiagnosed and untreated conditions (or those found and treated too late) is imponderable, but it will surely not be zero. But I suppose this can be chalked up to God's will. Any `pro-lifers' who may feel an uneasy twinge from their consciences can perhaps still this by taking refuge in the unlovely language of military strategy, and consider such casualties as "collateral damage" (i.e., 'We destroyed the village in order to save it', as a soldier once commented ironically). 'Pro-lifers' are best off avoiding such niggling thoughts altogether though, and should rejoice in their triumph. 'Ad majorem Dei gloriam!'
I read her book; in the end I feel she a capitalist with an agenda and it's worked. Choices were wonderful when she participated in planned parenthood in the position of Director, alas not anymore. Now she her choice is to prey upon Doctors that provide us with choices by posting their names on her site asking people to pray for them.
This country runs on the belief that we all believe in God, well we don't. That fetus belong to everyone, well they don't. Not anymore then the Cattle Christians will happily slaughter for their food, or the Deer they hunt, or the wars they will fight in the name of God, or because God instructed them to.
Unfortunately, all that good information is wasted. They will never look beyond, "it's a baby and we're killing it." Anything said to the contrary is ignored, and all other information, whether good or bad, is background noise.
I admire the opening post in this thread for its gentle sentiment.
However, I have to ask the Pro-Life advocates something, and this question is NEVER addressed whenever I ask it. Perhaps it might, here.
With nearly a million unwanted children already flooding an under-funded foster care system in this country, why are you constantly suggesting that adoption is an option? Do you realize how many children will be added to this already overwhelming number of unwanted kids? If you are so concerned with babies, why aren't YOU adopting more of these kids? I've adopted two already myself, heathen agnostic that I am. Why this vast concern for the unborn with only minimal concern for the postborn? Do you realize how often state funding is slashed for foster kids by politicians and taxpayers that don't want their tax dollars to support someone ELSE's child, or the cry to do away with welfare because of all the "welfare mothers" on the system?
I never get a response to these points, just a return to the "it's a baby don't kill it" refrain, or some pseudo philosophical rambling about a god looking after these children, and what will be will be. I'd like to know, seriously, if we ban abortions and force all women who happen to get pregnant to go to term and place the child in foster care, how the bloody hell are we supposed to somehow financially, emotionally, and physically support all those thousands upon thousands of children that will inundate the foster care system here in America?
I personally dislike abortion, and wish we lived in a perfect world that didn't need it. But I'm pro-choice for three reasons: first, birth control isn't 100% effective; second, rape, incest, and life-threatening medical issues are perfectly valid reasons for abortions; and three, there is no way I can support the government having control over a woman's body the instant fertilization takes place (that's a particularly frightening prospect).
If birth control was 100% effective and 100% free and available to every woman in America, then a woman would have very few valid reasons for an abortion. But that's not the case, is it? I also find it interesting that many of the same people that oppose abortion also oppose birth control. Don't they realize that birth control PREVENTS abortions?
I work with children every day. I'm a licensed foster care parent, I've adopted children from foster care, I work with special needs children (autism, Down's, etc) as a volunteer, and I work in Pediatric Oncology (kids with cancer). I am commited to children, and I hate the idea of abortion, but I cannot ignore the many good and valid reasons to have one. I wish it were otherwise, but it's true. If Pro-Life advocates truly wish to reach us, then help us prevent abortions by pushing contraceptives and educating our youth about sex and pregnancy. Stop viewing this as a license for youth to engage in wild sexual romps and understand that it is a concerted effort to prevent STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and abortions.
The common ground is simple: neither side wants abortions to happen. The difference is just as simple: one side recognizes that it is sometimes necessary, the other side refuses to compromise on baby-killing. It should be very easy to bridge this gulf, but with religion and emotion clouding the issue at every step, it isn't very easy at all.
As a person who has adopted a special needs child from the foster care system, and who personally knows many other pro-lifers who have, or who have tried, I do not understand the constant harping that we are unwilling to care for children after birth. That is simply not true. I volunteered many years for crisis pregnancy centers. Most of our volunteers would willingly have adopted children right from our clients' arms, but that would have been a conflict of interest. We received calls daily from people desperate to adopt who were hoping we could help them connect. Most were very open to disadvantaged, minority and disabled children and had actively pursued other routes. Most were actively supporting crisis pregnancy centers with their time and resources, which give out clothing, formula, diapers and other items to help moms care for their children, as well as offering child care classes and many other forms of support.
When we adopted, it was basically a fluke. The mom wasn't in the "system" and we were blessed to get our child even as a foster child. At the time, from the foster care system, the wait to adopt was 10 YEARS in NY. If you were able to keep a child in your care for over a year, you would be considered as an adoptive parent if the child was released for adoption. Otherwise, you were out of luck and the child went to whoever was on the top of the list. It was only because of a bizarre and unusual set of circumstances that we were actually able to adopt our child.
I knew many foster parents who were trying to adopt their foster children who were thwarted at many turns. Often this is because the children are in foster care but their parents do not want to release them for adoption.
As far as I am concerned, this "unwilling to care for children after they are born" nonsense is a red herring, and in my experience, children available for adoption are few and far between, thanks to the abortion mindset.
I sincerely applaud your actions in adopting a special needs child, renatae33. We need more people to do so. My wife and I have an autistic child, so I can certainly relate.
I agree with you that the foster care system forces people to jump through hoops before they can foster-to-adopt a child. For some, it takes forever. For my wife and I, it only took us six months to adopt two children. The process is slowed for a variety of factors, but primarily the delays are caused either by the biological family (if they exist and are holding on, despite their drug use, abuse, etc) or by the adoptive/foster family (home setting, job, health, etc might not be the best for the child).
But a slow and difficult process for some doesn't translate into "few and far between."
I appreciate the point you are trying to make, but you are mistaken. It is not a red herring. Simple facts: using Maricopa County in Arizona as an example, there are currently 6,474 children in foster care. The population of Maricopa County in 2010 was 3,817,117. Now, granting that roughly 27% of that population was under 18, that's still quite a lot of people that could potentially step to the plate and offer some of these kids a home. Again, that's 6,474 children in just one county in one state. How can you translate that into "few and far between?" And how is the vast number of homeless and foster children in the U.S. (nearly 2 million) the fault of the "abortion mindset?" If abortions were rampant, that number would be much, much less.
There are certainly some Pro-Life advocates that adopt from foster care, just like there are athiests, Christians, and Pro-Choice advocates who do the same. My "harping," as you so eloquently put it, is about the amount of effort and money that the Pro-Life movement spends on the abortion issue. If all that money and effort was expended on behalf of the children ALREADY HERE, we could provide homes and families for most of the kids in the system.
In your own state, there are over 25,000 children in foster care. According to the state, the process of adopting a child legally freed and residing in foster care could take from 6 to 18 months, depending on circumstances, while unusual situations could prolong the process. Again I have to ask, how is that "few and far between?" And how can you blame those 25,000 children on the "abortion mindset?"
I'm sorry your experience with the process was slow and painful, but don't let that experience convince you that the kids just aren't really there. Look up the stats. As to your anecdote about volunteers at your crisis center willing to adopt, well, it's my personal experience that many people say noble things, but when the chips are down, they don't back it up. Not because they are bad people, but because the reality of caring for, say, a drug addict's baby, born with its own addiction and health care problems, is very overwhelming. Many people considering adoption imagine a cute little baby arriving home, but adopting from foster care is a little different. These are usually children of any age with problems resulting from past abuse, neglect, and abandonment. It might be too much of a challenge for many people, despite good intentions.
I'd suggest you continue urging your friends and co-workers to try it out. Warn them it might be a slow process, and the kids might need more work than usual, but the rewards are endless.
And I return to my original question: if we ban abortion, and our foster care system, already underfunded and swamped with nearly a million children, can't handle the thousands upon thousands of babies that will rain down upon it as a result of the abortion ban, how do we financially, emotionally, and physically care for all these children? Considering the poor job we're currently doing, it doesn't bode well.
I need to correct something in my post. I incorrectly referenced a million kids in foster care and another million estimated to be homeless. I misread the government numbers. Currently there are just under 500,000 in foster care in the U.S. There are an estimated 1.5 million children considered homeless, 35% of these considered runaways.
My apologies. The corrected numbers don't invalidate my point, but I dislike making factual mistakes.
Also with the whole adoption is an option meme, sometimes its not. You have to receive the permission of the father if he's known before giving up a child for adoption-in some cases even if he's convicted of raping and impregnating her.
" I'd like to know, seriously, if we ban abortions and force all women who happen to get pregnant to go to term and place the child in foster care, how the bloody hell are we supposed to somehow financially, emotionally, and physically support all those thousands upon thousands of children that will inundate the foster care system here in America?"
Exactly and what about all those single mothers and welfare for them. With these "pro-lifers," they'd make abortion illegal and then trash on all the single mothers.
"I volunteered many years for crisis pregnancy centers"
Those things should be flat-out illegal. No privacy or professional medical personnel and with an agenda to shove down your throat via medical misinformation and exploitation. Who are the ones who oppose helping single mothers? Its not the Dems or the pro-choice advocates.