On Oct. 3, Respect Life Sunday of
all Sundays, the Lincoln Journal Star featured a prominent front page
story about Dr. Jill Meadows, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of
the Midlands, which operates in Nebraska and Iowa.
Planned Parenthood is the largest advocate and
perpetrator of abortions in the nation. Planned Parenthood has operated an
abortion facility in Lincoln for about 15 years, during which time it has
killed roughly 10,000 unborn babies. And now it is in the process of opening
another abortion facility in Omaha.
In the aforementioned story, the Journal Star
reporter provides a glimpse inside the mind of Dr. Meadows as an abortion
advocate. As I read Dr. Meadows’ rationale in defense of abortion, I was
stunned by her incoherent and impoverished arguments.
For example, Dr. Meadows said that "she has come
to believe that life begins, not at conception, but when it becomes
meaningful, when ensoulment is possible, when viability and taking breath is
possible. The miracle of life occurs at birth, she says."
The incoherence and
irresponsibility of this statement is breathtaking.
First, how can any thoughtful or rational person argue
that human life (and its concomitant rights) begins when
that life "becomes meaningful"? The danger of this
arbitrary and judgmental criteria for recognizing human
rights should be obvious.
Second, Dr. Meadows lists a
few other criteria for her definition of when life
begins (i.e. ensoulment, viability, taking breath,
birth). Given that each of these criteria occurs at
different points in a human being’s development, her
view that these criteria define the beginning of life is
Another example is Dr. Meadows
saying that women have abortions for "very good and
moral reasons." She said that studies show "the No. 1
reason women give for terminating a pregnancy is their
sense of responsibility toward others. That includes
lack of adequate financial support, existing
responsibilities, lack of a supporting partner or
estrangement from family."
Elsewhere in the article, a sociology professor
from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says that "doctors like Jill
Meadows know how important it is to take a stand for people who are
vulnerable, who are facing horrible choices in a culture that frequently
does not offer a living wage, that does not rise to the obligation to care
for children no matter how they come into this world."
Let’s unpack these statements. They are correct
about these injustices and that they often play a major role in a woman’s
decision to have an abortion. However, their view is impoverished in that
they believe it is "good and moral" to respond to these injustices with
another injustice—killing the mother’s innocent and helpless unborn child.
Dr. Meadows says that she views the world as a
"Christian feminist," but the pioneers of the feminist movement recognized
that far from overcoming the injustices that women face, abortion
perpetuates and exacerbates the injustices.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton said in 1873 that "When we
consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that
we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit."
(Letter to Julia Ward Howe)
Mattie Brinkerhoff said in 1869 that "When a man
steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something
wrong in society—so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it
is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been
greatly wronged." (The Revolution, 4(9): 138-9, Sept. 2, 1869)
Feminists for Life, a modern group that embodies the pro-life ethic
expressed by these feminist pioneers, says that "pro-life feminists
recognize abortion as a symptom of, not a solution to, the continuing
struggles we face in the workplace, educational institutions, at home and in
society. Like Susan B. Anthony and other early American suffragists, today’s
pro-life feminists envision a better world, where no woman would be driven
by desperation into the personal tragedy of abortion."