February 20th 2010

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Lord Monckton interviewed on global warming and the ETS

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Kevin Rudd grows cooler on global warming

EDITORIAL: Obama: from euphoria to nightmare in 12 months …

CHINA: Three economic events that will change the world

FOREIGN DEBT: The unacknowledged elephant in the room

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Rudd and Henry politicise Intergenerational Report

OPINION: Can Abbott rescue Liberals from 'Ruddbullism'?

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS: In the global power shift, whither Australia?

MEDICAL ETHICS: Euthanasia laws - coming to a state near you

MEDICAL SCIENCE: Abortion laws: seeing what we kill

UNITED KINGDOM: Britain's lords vote for liberty

CIVIC VALUES: Consumerism's destructive impact on faith and family

TECHNOLOGY: Computers, TV and a shrinking attention span

Global conning (letter)

Fundamental cause of population shortfall (letter)

Julia Gillard vs. Tony Abbott (letter)

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Christian teacher forced out over Muslim pupil misbehaviour; Adult-child cultural reversal; Decline of the stiff upper lip

BOOK REVIEW: DIVERSITY: The Invention of a Concept, by Peter Wood

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Abortion laws: seeing what we kill

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, February 20, 2010
The mainstream media (MSM) is quite good at using its powers of influence to push agendas. Emotions can be manipulated by creative use of imagery, and our mental faculties can be bypassed altogether. The MSM can skip the facts of the story while manipulating out heart-strings by the images it uses.

For example, if the MSM thinks we should stop whaling or hunting baby seals, then it show pictures of bloodied whales being dragged up onto cold, hard steel ships, or is shows wide-eyed baby seals which have been clubbed to death in a sea of red blood.

Who wouldn't respond to such visceral imagery and such powerful shots?

Of course, if the MSM can promote social agendas by its use of imagery, it can do the same by not using certain images. I refer here to the most obvious example of this: abortion.

Have you ever seen pictures of aborted babies in full colour in the MSM? Have you ever seen the burnt-out remains of a baby after a saline poisoning abortion? Have you ever seen the dismembered bodies of unborn babies after being cut up in a dilation and curettage abortion?

I suspect that you haven't. And there is a very good reason for this. Most people in the MSM are pro-abortion, so they don't want the dirty little secrets of the abortion industry to get out. They want to help perpetuate the myth that abortion simply removes a clump of cells or a bit of tissue, not a real live baby.

While the MSM is managing this grand con job, by censoring out images it does not want you and me to see, things are not as easy in the abortion mills themselves.

Because of new abortion techniques, as well as ultrasound technology, the reality of what is being killed in the abortion mills is taking a toll on workers there, and more and more workers are leaving this blood-stained work. An intriguing article on all this, entitled "Mugged by ultrasound", appeared recently in th US Weekly Standard (January 25, 2010).

The authors David Daleiden and Jon A. Shields inform us about how these changes are causing so many abortion workers to become pro-life. They write: "Abortion rights activists have long preferred to hold themselves at some remove from the practice they promote; rather than naming it, they speak of 'choice' and 'reproductive freedom'.

"But those who perform abortions have no such luxury. Instead, advances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced providers ever closer to the nub of their work. Especially in abortions performed far enough along in gestation that the foetus is recognisably a tiny baby, this intimacy exacts an emotional toll, stirring sentiments for which doctors, nurses and aides are sometimes unprepared."

Pieces reassembled

The authors show how studies are revealing that abortion workers are having real problems performing their "duties". Consider for example the Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) method of abortion. D&E abortions are used later in pregnancy, in which, under general anaesthesia, the baby is torn to pieces with a forceps, and removed from the womb. Larger babies must have their heads crushed. The pieces are then reassembled.

Daleiden and Shields write: "One early study, by abortionists Warren Hern and Billie Corrigan, found that although all of their staff members 'approved of second trimester abortion in principle', there 'were few positive comments about D&E itself'. Reactions included 'shock, dismay, amazement, disgust, fear and sadness'. A more ambitious study, published the following year in the September 1979 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, confirmed Hern and Corrigan's findings. It found 'strong emotional reactions during or following the procedures and occasional disquieting dreams'."

The authors include personal stories as well. For example: "In 1990 Judith Fetrow, an aide at a Planned Parenthood clinic, found that disposing of foetal bodies as medical waste was more than she could bear. Soon after she left her position, Fetrow described her experiences: '... I had to look at the tiny hands and feet. There were times when I wanted to cry.' Finally persuaded to quit by a pro-life protester outside her clinic, Fetrow is now involved in the American Life League. ...

"Other converts were driven into the pro-life movement by advances in ultrasound technology. The most recent example is Abby Johnson, the former director of Dallas-area Planned Parenthood. After watching, via ultrasound, an embryo 'crumple' as it was suctioned out of its mother's womb, Johnson reported a 'conversion in my heart'.

"Likewise, Joan Appleton was the head nurse at a large abortion facility in Falls Church, Virginia, and a NOW (National Organization for Women) activist. Appleton performed thousands of abortions with aplomb until a single ultrasound-assisted abortion rattled her. As Appleton remembers, 'I was watching the screen. I saw the baby pull away. I saw the baby open his mouth. ... After the procedure I was shaking, literally'."

The authors conclude, "Pro-choice advocates like to point out that abortion has existed in all times and places. Yet that observation tends to obscure the radicalism of the present abortion regime in the United States. Until very recently, no one in the history of the world has had the routine job of killing well-developed foetuses quite so up close and personal. ... Ultrasound and D&E bring workers closer to the beings they destroy.

"Hern and Corrigan concluded their study by noting that D&E leaves 'no possibility of denying an act of destruction'. As they wrote, 'It is before one's eyes. The sensations of dismemberment run through the forceps like an electric current'."

Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com


David Daleiden and Jon A. Shields, "Mugged by ultrasound: Why so many abortion workers have turned pro-life", Weekly Standard (Washington DC), Vol. 15, No. 18, January 25, 2010.
URL: www.weeklystandard.com/articles/mugged-ultrasound

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