What We Stand For: A Brief Reflection on The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood Shooting

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I’m sure by now you have heard of the Planned Parenthod shooting that took place in Colorado Springs yesterday.  However, just for emphasis, I will summarize it:
At 11:38 local time, 57-year old Robert Lewis Dear burst into the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and opened fire. The staff and patients took cover in closets and bathrooms.
Police were engaged in a standoff with Robert Lewis Dear that some sources say lasted five hours while other sources state lasted for six hours. Officers continued to encounter gunfire as they evacuated the people who had taken cover.
The standoff ended when Robert Lewis Dear surrendered.

Since yesterday I have been taking to Facebook and joining the flood of pro-life groups and advocates who have been condemning Robert Lewis Dear’s act of violence against Planned Parenthood.  However, that hasn’t stop detractors from using this tragedy to blame pro-life activists and smear our cause.  For me, the biggest blow came when Buzzfeed posted an article entitled, “Some Abortion Foes Cheered the Planned Parenthood Shooting.”  http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/some-pro-life-supporters-cheered-planned-parenthood-shooting?utm_term=.uoAz1YPPe#.ggM0eMww9

After that, I just logged off and took some time to take a breath.  My heart was already heavy from what happened in Colorado Springs, and to see a cause I care for being slandered was even worse.
I went to our living room and sat in front of the Christmas tree, staring at the ornaments and lights.  “Why should I even bother?” I asked myself. Why should I even bother to keep posting about how pro-life groups have condemned what happened in Colorado Springs if people will continue to paint us as violent extremists anyway?
I looked at our pictures of Jesus and Mary that hang side by side on our wall. I bore my eyes into Jesus’ image, concentrating at his upward gaze, his purposeful expression.

Then, somehow, I came to a distressing thought: ‘Why did Jesus even bother to die on the Cross?’

I had to sit down.  Jesus died for our sins, but we still sin anyway, so why would He bother?
The answer: Because Jesus’ mission was to save us.

This conclusion lifted me from my drained state.  Why should I bother to be vocal about defending the pro-life cause?
Because defending every life is our mission.

What others say about us doesn’t matter.  How society paints us is irrelevant.  Pro-life does not exist to please others.  Pro-life exists to protect the dignity of every single life.

Pro-life means defending the humanity of the unborn baby.
Pro-life means reaching out to the single mother.
Pro-life means offering hope to the pregnant teenager.
Pro-life means supporting the rape victim.
Pro-life means showing mercy to abortion clinic workers.
Pro-life means feeding and clothing the homeless.
Pro-life means welcoming the refugee.
Pro-life means standing up for the death row inmate.
Pro-life means giving shelter to abandoned animals.
Pro-life means every beating heart matters.
I will say this as many times as I need to: Pro-life does not stand for violence or extremism.  We do not stand for shaming women or abortion workers.  You cannot call yourself pro-life if you do not condemn violence against clinics or the people who work there.  Oppose abortion, but do no harm to those who support it.

Pro-life is pro-peace.
Period.

 

A Pro-Choice Argument That I Cannot Stand

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I have been pro-life ever since I was ten-years old and my stance on abortion has only gotten stronger with time.  Even as a child, I could never wrap my head around the fact that there is a medical procedure that violently ends the life of an unborn human being.  Children are by no means perfect, but there is nothing they could do to deserve being dismembered or injected with saline to induce cardiac arrest.
However, I live in the magical land of California, which is more blue than a Dodgers baseball uniform.  This means that I have a plethora of pro-choice friends.  I have gotten into civil discussions about abortion with these friends, but it never gets nasty.  If people end a friendship over opposing views, then they were never friends to begin with.
To their credit, my pro-choice friends usually give me intelligent arguments as to why they feel the way they do about abortion.  They give me valid points that I keep in mind when formulating my own arguments.
I do understand that some women are in dire financial straits and cannot afford to care for a child.  I do understand that a pregnant rape victim is already dealing with enough trauma as it is.  I do understand that health complications in pregnancy are possible.  I understand all of these realities without accepting abortion as the lord and savior of women.

All that being said, there is one pro-choice argument that I do not understand. Every time I hear someone spout this argument, it is like nails on a chalkboard to my brain.
That argument is this:

“When does life begin?  I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents.  A powerful feeling – but not science.”
–Melissa Harris-Perry

So in other words, if mom and dad say it’s a baby, then it becomes a baby.  If mom and dad don’t think that it’s a baby, it’s magically not a baby anymore?  Forget prenatal science and embryology; it’s the mighty power of wishful thinking that tells us when life begins.
In what universe does this make any sense?!  Okay, maybe it would make some lick of sense in freaking Asgard (Thor and Loki’s world), but not on planet earth.
If a pregnant woman went in for an ultrasound and then tried to wish away the baby by chanting the words, “I don’t think it’s a baby, I don’t think it’s a baby, I don’t think it’s a baby…” there would still be a baby on the screen/in her womb when she opens her eyes.
What baffles me about this argument is that it’s inapplicable in any other area of life.  In an intellectual debate about a pressing real-life issue, it makes no sense to use insane, out-of-this-world talking points that could not be put into practice in real life.
If I told my boss, “I know you want me to come in a 7 am, but I think my shift doesn’t start until I decide it starts,” my name would be wiped clean off the payroll.
If someone kills an animal and then says, “Well, it’s not an animal until I say it’s an animal,” would the judge say, “You know, he/she didn’t think it was a living, breathing creature, so it’s all cool”?  No!  That person’s keister would still end up in the slammer.  Oh, and PETA would be protesting outside the courthouse.
If someone is pulled over for drinking and driving, do you think the officer is going to let them go if the person says, “Gee, officer, I don’t think I’m inebriated…” even if their blood alcohol content is above the legal limit?  No, they would still be handcuffed and charged.
I’m sure Ms. Melissa Harris-Perry is a nice woman who is loved by the people in her life.  However, why would a grown adult with years of life experience resort to such a childlish argument?
Honestly, I think that this argument is pretty insulting to women.  This argument treats women with kid gloves, painting us as immature people who resort to make-believe as a defense mechanism.  Women deserve better than to be talked down to. Adult issues need to be handled with adult discussion, not talking points that one would expect from a teenager.

So when does life begin?  When the sperm and the egg come together in the Fallopian tube.  When the sperm enters the egg, the zygote is conceived.  The zygote already contains the entire genetic DNA of both mother and father; exactly 46 chromosomes (23 from mom and 23 from dad).
New research has shown that the heartbeat is present just 16 days after conception.
It only takes three weeks after conception/five weeks of pregnancy for the heart, brain and spinal cord to form.
On the seventh week of pregnancy/fifth week after conception, the face and nostrils are already present.
By the twelfth week of pregnancy/tenth week after conception, the unborn baby has fingernails and a fully-formed face.

It takes one man and one woman to create a new human being.  Feelings have no say.

 

“I do, as a humanist, believe that the concept “unborn child” is a real one and I think the concept is underlined by all the recent findings of embryology about the early viability of a well conceived human baby, one that isn’t going to be critically deformed (or even some that are) will be able to survive outside the womb earlier and earlier, and earlier and I see that date only being pushed back. I feel the responsibility to consider the occupant of the womb as a candidate member of society in the future, and thus to say that it cannot be only the responsibility of the woman to decide upon it, that it’s a social question and an ethical and a moral one.  And I say this as someone who has no supernatural belief.”
Christopher Hitchens

Sources:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3833015/A-baby-s-heart-beats-just-16-days-conception-Heartbeat-breakthrough-lead-new-cures-congenital-disease.html?ito=social-twitter_mailonline#ixzz4Mo5NDpB3
http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/fetal-development
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-care/art-20045302
http://www.newhealthguide.org/When-Does-A-Baby-Have-A-Heartbeat.html