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Jewish World Review March 28, 2001 / 4 Nissan, 5761

Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart
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Some pro-thoughts about pro-life -- THE right-to-life movement seems to be the most vilified movement in our popular culture today. But over and over again I'm struck by the same thing: the cause of the pro-life activists is profoundly unique among the political positions groups adopt. The difference is that there no possible personal gain for those involved. The concern is for others, including those who cannot speak or care for themselves.

Nowhere, of course, is this contrast in motivation greater than between the pro-life movement and its "pro-choice" counterpart. In fact the differences in their motivation may say just as much about the two as the differences in the policy debate involved.

The pro-life community consistently demonstrates its love for both the unborn and their moms, which is why there are some 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the United States, not one of which takes a dime from the women they help with their unexpected pregnancies.

These centers provide whatever help they can, including emotional support like helping tell families, boyfriends or husbands about the pregnancy (even, as is sadly often the case, with counseling after an abortion). Their help can include medical expenses, clothing, adoption services if that's a choice, often even jobs and housing. Anything the expectant mother needs to truly have a choice about her own and her baby's future. This costs a lot of money, and it's privately raised from loving supporters who want to help women and their unborn children.

In contrast, almost 1.4 million abortions are performed in the United States each year for which an average fee of around $300 is routinely charged the "customer." Often, that customer is really the government. In California and New York, Medicaid pays for up to half of all abortions performed, while they don't pay for the services of crisis pregnancy centers. This surely gives poor women a one-sided incentive toward the "choice" of abortion. In any case, the high volume and quick-turnover involved insures a profitable business, the name of the game for the abortion industry. I can't help but wonder - if abortion activists really care about the women involved, why don't they volunteer services and facilities to all of them, as the pro-life folks do? Why not at least "help" the poorest women, instead of demanding that taxpayers fund their abortions?

The answer speaks volumes about their motives.

So does the abortion activists' campaign of disinformation. Nowhere was this revealed more than in the debate over partial-birth abortion, the gruesome procedure in which a very likely viable infant is delivered feet first, but its skull crushed and brain removed before it technically enters the world. Leaders in the abortion-rights movement, rightly afraid that Americans would recoil from all abortion when they found out about the horrific act, variously told us that a) the procedure is rarely performed; b) the baby feels nothing, because it is killed by the anesthesia delivered to the mother; and c) it is only done when medically necessary.

But the executive director of the National Abortion Federation finally debunked the first myth, and the American College of Anesthesiologists quickly corrected the second. When it came to the third, the generally pro-choice American Medical Association said simply that the procedure "is never medically necessary."

To me the most hideous contrast between the movements is when it comes to the issue of "rights." Fighting for the legitimate rights of oneself or others is a noble act. But where the pro-life activists fight for the lives and rights of both mother and child, the abortion activists fight for a perversion of "rights" in claiming that one innocent life must die for another.

Sure there may well be pro-life activists pursuing some selfish end. There are clearly a handful who call themselves part of the movement but who aren't at all, in that they would wickedly even take the life of another to pursue their purposes. (They are routinely and roundly condemned by the legitimate pro-life movement.) Conversely, there may be good hearted pro-choice activists who really, but wrongly, believe they are helping women.

Still, I see the heart of each movement consistently revealed in its work in the world. And it's clear to me that the pro-life movement as a whole is selfless, caring only about life and others, while the abortion-rights movement cares only about self. So I guess it's little wonder, really, that today elite culture denigrates the former while it champions the latter.

JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.


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01/30/01: Moral bankruptcy of the civil rights establishment
01/16/01: Who are the truly 'ugly' ones?
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11/20/00: The Dems' pathetic craving for power
11/14/00: A potentially fateful indication of Gore's mindset
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10/24/00: Spare the rod ...
10/19/00: Gore is a liar --- period
10/12/00: Making the case for marriage
09/28/00: "Mommy, what's abortion?"
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07/11/00: Limiting a child's choices
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06/21/00: It's a bad time to be a boy in America
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03/14/00: Not child advocates, but self-advocates
03/06/00: McCain not what he seemed at first
02/29/00: An effective answer to social problems
02/22/00: The feminists' newest target: Toys
02/06/00: Harassing the harassers
01/31/00: It doesn't take a village to raise a child --- it takes a scheduler
01/25/00: Psuedo science and global warming
01/18/00: Socially responsible nonsense
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12/17/99: Teens have no inherent 'right to privacy'
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10/15/99: On a first-name basis with a three-year-old

© 2001, Scripps Howard News Service