Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Number of abortions per year: 1.37 Million (1996)Number of abortions per day: Approximately 3,700
Who's having abortions (age)?52% of women obtaining abortions in the U.S. are younger than 25: Women aged 20-24 obtain 32% of all abortions; Teenagers obtain 20% and girls under 15 account for 1.2%.
Who's having abortions (race)?While white women obtain 60% of all abortions, their abortion rate is well below that of minority women. Black women are more than 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are roughly 2 times as likely.
Who's having abortions (marital status)?64.4% of all abortions are performed on never-married women; Married women account for 18.4% of all abortions and divorced women obtain 9.4%.
Who's having abortions (religion)?Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as "Born-again/Evangelical".
Who's having abortions (income)?Women with family incomes less than $15,000 obtain 28.7% of all abortions; Women with family incomes between $15,000 and $29,999 obtain 19.5%; Women with family incomes between $30,000 and $59,999 obtain 38.0%; Women with family incomes over $60,000 obtain 13.8%.
Why women have abortions: 1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).
At what gestational ages are abortions performed:52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Likelihood of abortion:An estimated 43% of all women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old. 47% of all abortions are performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion.
Abortion coverage:48% of all abortion facilities provide services after the 12th week of pregnancy. 9 in 10 managed care plans routinely cover abortion or provide limited coverage. About 14% of all abortions in the United States are paid for with public funds, virtually all of which are state funds. 16 states (CA, CT, HI, ED, IL, MA , MD, MD, MN, MT, NJ, NM, NY, OR, VT, WA and WV) pay for abortions for some poor women.
Slavery was a moral abomination that was tolerated by millions around the world for centuries. In England, it took the courageous and sustained efforts of abolitionists like William Wilberforce over decades to enact legislation to end human trafficking. In America, we fought a Civil War over it. From the arrival of the first African slaves to the shores of Virginia (Jamestown) in roughly 1620, to the Emancipation Proclamation more than 200 hundred years later, the existence of slavery was accepted and expected by too many Americans.
The “choice” to use slaves was justified in many ways, but the thrust of the argument for continuing its practice boiled down to two factors: convenience (including economic factors) and a supposed “right” to slaves as property (reducing of slaves to chattel), which allowed practitioners of slavery to argue property rights rather than civil ones.
The Civil War began because the South told the Union that it was their right to live and conduct business as they saw fit. While that concept is undoubtedly an essential principle of our free market democracy, if abused and manipulated to include the enslavement of any man, woman, or child, it must (and did) give way to morality, ethics, and human decency.
It goes unquestioned in contemporary culture that slavery was wrong, and that the “choice” whether or not to own slaves, or even the “right” to that choice, should never have superceded the obvious right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that is the bedrock of our society and government.
I suppose you can in some sense understand the South’s anger and resentment. Their entire livelihood was based on the cheap manual labor of other humans they considered at best 3/5’s of a person. Ending slavery would mean the overhaul of the economic system that had been in place for 200 years. Higher production costs and shortages in the labor force would be inevitable results of Emancipation. Nothing riles the human spirit more than the impeding of Man’s ability to earn a living…except the impeding of that man’s ability to make as much, for as little cost, as he had been making before.
But no one with a conscience today feels the least bit sorry for the loss of plantation owner’s “rights” or ability to “choose” regarding slavery. It was wrong, and we appeal to society’s moral consciousness when we collectively say that the institution of slavery, and subsequent decades of institutional racism, was (and is) categorically evil and immoral.
Since 1973 some 50 million babies have lost their lives before ever taking their first womb-free breath. Sanctioned by the government, and systematic in its practice, abortion sees to it that 4,000 “fetuses” end up in garbage bins every single day in the United States. Pro-choice advocates insist that because a Supreme Court (the same institution that at one time reaffirmed slavery and segregation) in 1973 found a non-existent Constitutional right for a mother to be able to kill the child inside her, it is no business of the society or government at-large to condemn her “choice”.
Let’s call a spade, a spade here. Liberalism is the ideology that champions abortion, and every single Democratic candidate for President not only agrees that a woman’s “choice” outweighs the sanctity of human life, but that the Federal government should subsidize that choice. Liberal Democrats have made their own choice regarding abortion, and it is one that must not be brushed aside or ignored in the same pluralistic, relativistic way differing views of religious faiths are in the country.
Many in the media and academia seek to set the terms of debate surrounding abortion as one that pits open-minded people versus close-minded ones. If you are some wacky religious nut on the Right, you have no sympathy for rape victims and reckless college coeds who were unlucky enough to get pregnant.
Pro-choice is the term given to the supposedly more enlightened among us. They are the ones who are more compassionate and understanding of the difficulties life and children can throw our way. They are the ones with tolerant, open minds who recognize not all Americans’ have the same moral compass as Bible-thumpers from Red-State USA.
Reagan’s question, I believe, is one we’ve never yet seriously dealt with. Is abortion murder?
Our courts send mixed messages when they uphold Roe v. Wade, yet then convict Scott Petersen for the double murder of his wife Laci and the unborn baby inside her at the time she was thrown into a California bay. Our media sends mixed messages when it presents innocents’ deaths in Iraq as being an unspeakable horror, yet rationalizes away abortion as a necessary “right” for any progressive society.
Our government sends mixed messages when it allows a 12 year old girl to abort a fetus without parental consent, yet requires a 16 year old boy who has grown up driving tractors on his parents farm in southern Illinois to acquire a parent’s signature confirming that he completed 50 hours of monitored driving before he can get his license and drive to Dairy Queen.
Abortion is the extermination of something. Whether or not it is a life has apparently been left up to science, and determined by when a baby can live outside its mother’s womb. This however may be an even weaker argument for Pro-choicers than the made-up “right” 7 judges found in the Constitution 34 years ago. Science changes on a daily basis. A family friend recently had premature twins nearly four months early. A few decades ago, this would be unthinkable, but as technology increases, so does the time frame within which abortion remains morally acceptable decrease.
Just like slavery in 17th and 18th century America, abortion must be decided on upon a moral basis. There are core, fundamental questions involved here: Are we more interested in some rights (like, to choose) than we are in others (like, to life)? We’ve let science and the decision of 7 un-elected judges decide a moral issue like abortion, but is it possible they’re as wrong about it as they were slavery? If, for the sake of argument, the Supreme Court or Congress one day declares abortion “murder”, will we be looked back upon by future generations with the same disdain we do plantation owners in the 19th century?
In 1856, a new political party began in a small Wisconsin town as a response to slavery. Challenging the Democrats and Whigs on their inaction regarding what the founders of the Republican Party believed to be the moral dilemma of their generation, the GOP was considered inconsequential for the entire four years it took them to gain control of the White House. Abraham Lincoln emerged from a movement of people who were no longer interested in the rationalization of slavery, and the empty promises by politicians to change the system. Is it time for another such change in American politics?
Most believe that the War in Iraq is the moral crisis of our generation. Some believed Vietnam was. Yet the loudest critics of military action against self-described enemies, whether you think it justified or not, are the same who remain silent as 4,000 (more than the total number of troops who’ve died in Iraq so far) completely innocent lives are snuffed out every single day of the week.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
This week, the President’s veto of the SCHIP program (which gives families making $40,000 a year or less eligibility for free health insurance for their children) was described by everyone from Chris Matthews on MSNBC to folk-rocker Paul Simon on the steps of the Capitol Building as a heartless refusal to help the children. Refusing themselves to bother with facts, context, or honest reporting, the media and her cohorts in Congress failed to explain to the public that what the Democrats were proposing was a massive expansion of the Federal government’s control over healthcare. Families making up to $80,000 in some states would be eligible for free healthcare from Uncle Sam; even those who already have coverage and are doing fine.
It was a blatant and transparent attempt by the Democrats to bring nationalized healthcare to the United States for every citizen (something most coherent people know is failing in Canada and Europe as we speak). Instead of engaging in an open and honest debate concerning what role our Federal government should play in the daily lives of Americans, and to what extent that government “owes” its people with free stuff, Democrats launched ad campaigns and flew in outspoken entertainers in an attempt to browbeat Republicans and Moderates into effectively handing the reigns of healthcare over to a governing body and its endless bureaucracies that currently have an 11% approval rating (more than 20 points lower than even President Bush).
The Republicans, led by President Bush, were seeking to expand SCHIP, but so that it included all of the recipients it was created in the first place to help: poor children. That was never brought up, nor was why it is exactly Democrats are so intent on increasing the centralized power Washington already possess. I’m thinking their original commercial idea of having Nancy Pelosi sitting on top of a pile of tax payers’ money while explaining the perks of Socialism didn’t test too well with the 18-75 crowd.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
221,000kWh? What's he doing in there? As his spokesperson explained it, his high energy usage derives from his brave calls for low energy usage. He's burning up all that electricity by sending out faxes every couple of minutes urging you wastrels to use less electricity. Insofar as he's made any contribution to global peace, it's in persuading large swaths of a narcissistic Western world to busy itself with non-solutions to pseudo-crises to such a distracting degree that al-Qa'ida may wind up imposing the global caliphate without having to fire a shot."
There is actually a department of the government in that country that seeks out cases like this in order to render judgment against single men and women being alone. And the Religious Right in America is too extreme, Rosie O'Donnell?
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I am a Conservative Christian, and with the presidential election of 2008 on the horizon, the same question continues to perplex me: Where does one draw the line between heart and head in deciding who to vote for? I consider myself a thoughtful, pragmatic young man, but it would be insincere for me to pretend that my faith is not the epicenter of my decision-making.
So what’s a God-fearing Conservative to do in ’08?
If, say, Rudy Giuliani, who happens to be slightly more liberal on social issues, gets the nod at the Republican National Convention next summer, do we (those terrifying members of the “Religious Right”) really sit this one out in the hopes that a strong message is sent to the Republican National Committee? Do we effectively support Hillary by refusing to support Rudy because he’s a moderate or Mitt because he’s Mormon?
My head tells me that the very notion of this is revolting. Hillary Clinton, for all intensive purposes, is the candidate-de-jour on the Left. She also is, for all intensive purposes, a Secular-Progressive Communist. (But more on that later.) She’s got the money, the name, and the support of most key players in election politics.
What is more, the media already speaks of “Hillary as president” in the past tense. If you thought the thousands of documented cases of Post Election Traumatic Stress Syndrome were bad in 2000 and 2004, wait till you see the billable hours that liberals’ psychiatrists from Malibu to Maryland will be adding to Accounts Receivable come a Hillary loss in 2008. Dr. Phil and Hillary will have to start a new cable network called “L” (think about it).
In Hillary, we will be up against the formidable shock-and-awe, slash-and-burn political tactics of the Clintonistas. Add to that the clout of the mainstream media, the overwhelming majority of American newspaper editorial pages, and the annoyingly consistent drumbeat of support from professors and teachers in American public schools and universities. Factor in also an electorate already showing signs of Republican-fatigue (e.g. the 2006 mid-term elections), and you’ve got a volatile environment within which a GOP candidate is suppose to emerge victorious come next November.
To be fair, my head also tells me that there is plenty to be pleased with in this election cycle as far as my Party is concerned. For starters, the homogeneity found among the Liberal Democratic candidates is not the case on the Right. Primaries are for discussion and debate to find out which direction that Party as a whole will be heading. The Libertarian voice of a Ron Paul (R-TX) is countered by that of the Moral Values-driven Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who in turn is countered by the Pro-Nationalist Tom Tancredo (R-CO). Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has very different views on coerced interrogation than Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), and they are very real, long-standing distinctions in opinion.
On the flip side of the political continuum, Senators Hillary Clinton and John Edwards wait till that week’s latest polls are out to tell you if they are for or against bringing American troops home from Iraq. The only thing Obama has going for him is that he wasn’t around when the infamous 2003 vote to authorize military force in Iraq took place. I’ve watched every Democratic and GOP debate thus far, and it is striking just how similar the responses from the Left sound compared to those on the Right. Notice I said “striking” and not “surprising”.
As far as Madame Hillary is concerned, I defy anyone to pinpoint a plan in Hillary’s platform that she’s held for more than two years without drastically changing her public stance on it. (Other than wanting to: become President at any cost, raise your taxes, and create an entitlement-crazy society that becomes addicted to the narcotic-like affect of “free” stuff that only a liberal can, or will, provide.)
My head also tells me that falling on your sword to show just how self-righteous you are is self-defeating and usually unnecessary. The world is anything but perfect, and such is the case with any and every candidate for President. I hate the term “lesser of two evils” but in the admittedly melodramatic examples of WWII and the Cold War, America, in order to win the broader struggle at hand, was forced to work with people and countries that we either despised at the time, or ended up fighting later.
Can’t the same case for defeating the socially and economically destructive forces of liberalism (and eventually socialism) be made as a rallying cry for voters to band together to keep Hillary out of the White House?
This, however, is usually the point where my heart begins to tell my head that he’s come as far as he can go. My heart asks, “But if we compromise the values that define us (i.e. pro-life, pro-gun, pro-traditional marriage), what are we left with?” Is it more important to have a president that I know completely agrees with my views than say one who I know completely disagrees with them? Do my personal principles trump those of the “greater good”?
These are interesting questions to theorize about and reflect on, but where does that leave the average “values voter” on the Right come November of next year? What do we do when potential candidates appear as anything but our “first choice” for president?
The first thing we all must do is individually decide what truly matters to us. More than that, we should rank and classify those principles we decide upon into categories of Core and Peripheral beliefs. For example: one of my Core beliefs is in the sanctity and preciousness of life. A peripheral belief for me is the tariff policy we may adopt in relations with Finland. One is negotiable, and the other is not.
I believe, as the Founding Fathers did, that God, not Mankind, bestows value and worth onto and into each life. No amount of discussing the “right” of one human to selfishly end that of an another innocent one will ever change my mind. Pro-life is the only, and I mean only, stance a religiously-serious person can have in my view of things. It is not the only issue that matters, but it matters.
Personally, Mayor Giuliani says he hates abortion and has counseled young couples and mothers to protect the life of their unborn baby by keeping it or giving it up for adoption. Conversely, as a matter of public policy, he says that Roe v. Wade, although a horrendously un-Constitutional decision by the Supreme Court, is currently the Federal government’s stance on the issue and he therefore supports that. It’s not as complicated a stance as the media tries to make it out (in an attempt to drive the Conservative base further apart en route to a Hillary rout), but it is not what the base of the Republican Party wants to here. Not in the least.
Sadly, Rudy also is for Liberal-strict gun control (something not even activist judges or law professors can justify thanks to the 2nd Amendment). He has a proclivity for dressing in drag, and is much more open to the idea of same-sex marriage being universally legalized. Without judging the personal life of a man I know about as well as Hillary knows the truth, it is worth noting that he has been married three times and has been involved in not-so-private affairs with married women.
I’m not trying here to tear Mayor Giuliani down or say that I could never vote for him. But, the constant battle between heart and head that rages inside me demands I more honestly and closely examine him, as well as the other candidates, in the upcoming months of primary and election season. I use him as an example for the simple fact that his views most noticeably differ from my own on issues that are morally important to me.
A candidate who shows charisma, leadership, courage under fire, and the ability to potentially defeat Conservatives’ biggest fear (i.e. four more years of Slick Willy in the White House) must be taken seriously and given solemn consideration. But what do I do if that same candidate supports a social institution that has murdered upwards of 50 million babies since 1972? To make it even more complicated and nuanced, what if he personally abhors the practice but publicly signs off on it? What does that say, if anything, about him that he’s unable or unwilling to make a clear distinction in both arenas?
My point here is this: you should take the time to learn what these candidates really have said, have voted for, and are promising to do if elected. It’s not enough to read bumper stickers and watch an occasional Daily Show to think you’ve got a handle on things. Not even poignant, thoughtful, engaging blogs written by ruggedly-handsome Grad students alone will afford you the comprehensive take on individual candidates that you may be interested in.
Read. Listen. Watch. Read some more. Think through what it is you really stand for and believe in. Find out what makes you tick before you set out to find out what makes them tick. Your head can, and should, influence what is in your heart; but that presumes there is actually something in your head. Don’t sit back and wait for Halloween 2008 to start surfing through Colbert’s MySpace page to decide whom you will vote for.
For another thoughtful take on this "heart v. head" decision: http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20071010/EDITORIAL01/110100005/1013/EDITORIAL