Another Perspective

Abortion and Newtown: The Culture of Violence

Mass shootings on rise since Roe v. Wade: Planned Parenthood as the NRA of Abortion? By Jeffrey Lord

By 12.18.12

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"The horrifying truth is this: we live now in a culture that not only does not respect life, but discards it like trash -- not only at the beginning of life, but also at the end, and every place in between.

"What has happened to us?"
-- Catholic Deacon Greg Kandra
October 2, 2011

Discards life like trash.

One does not have to be a Catholic, which I am not, to appreciate the irony today in the words above from over a year ago by a Catholic Deacon named Greg Kandra. (You can find the full text of Deacon Kandra’s remarks here.)

Since the demands for a national discussion about what caused Newtown are already flowing from President Obama, the New York Times, Washington Post and every liberal with tweetability, they should be respectfully yet candidly obliged.

And the very first issue to mention is what has become the great unmentionable in the world of liberalism, and alas too many other precincts as well -- and to say it plainly and hopefully politely.

What went on in Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday -- what has been going on at intervals for almost four decades in places like Portland, Oregon, Aurora, Colorado, Virginia Tech, and Columbine, Colorado and, sadly, elsewhere in America for some 39 years since January of 1973 is the wholesale discarding of human life like trash.

The perpetuation of a culture of violence in a society that has turned the protection of the most vulnerable -- babies -- into the unmentionable.

Now, with 20 innocents murdered in Newtown, it is time for someone to say what for millions is the obvious: the abortion movement’s chickens have come home to roost -- again.

Will anything be done? Or will the politicians run and hide?

President Obama traveled to Newtown on Sunday and delivered this nationally televised speech in which he said this: 

Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.

And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose -- much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

Read that last line again:

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

Is this President really undergoing a Nixon-goes-to-China style change on abortion? Is this President really ready to take on the powerful abortion lobby that has so fiercely fought for his own election? Is he really, seriously, ready to challenge the values of a culture of violence that so many millions, including another president and a Pope, have repeatedly said features the most ferociously violent attacks on the most innocent in any society -- the unborn child?

Call me skeptical, but I doubt what we heard in Newtown from the President is a declaration that he will now seriously discuss abortion, an issue which he famously declared in his 2008 appearance with Pastor Rick Warren to be “above my pay grade.”

But whether the President -- post-Newtown -- has finally mustered the courage at the dawn of his second term to address this or not, let’s take a look at some interesting and rarely if ever spoken issues about the American culture of violence. Unspoken because for liberals in America these thoughts are deeply politically incorrect.

Let’s start with this shocking fact.

When one looks at available statistics, in all of American history since these kind of events began to be recorded, (roughly 1863) there is one very interesting find.

From 1863 until 1972 -- the last year before Roe v. Wade -- in all those 109 years there were 36 mass murder rampages, and that’s before one adds in school shootings of the kind that went on in Newton this last week.

Since 1973, and Roe v. Wade was decided in January of that year, there have been a shocking 54 rampages. Which is to say there have been 54 of these things in the mere 39 years since Roe v. Wade.

And as mentioned that doesn’t count the school massacres in the U.S. Counting Newtown there have been 5. Before 1973 there was one in 1927 Michigan (where the killer used not bullets but dynamite) and another at the University of Texas in 1966. Since 1973 there have been three -- Newtown, Columbine, and Virginia Tech.

Which is to say in all of the recorded American history of school massacres from the time records were first kept, until 1973 -- there were but two instances of this. Since 1973, in a mere 39 years there have been three.

The Post decries “political cowardice” in dealing with gun laws. The Times, without the slightest sense of irony -- really -- actually says:

There is no crime greater than violence against children….

Times columnist Charles Blow -- again without the slightest sense of irony -- talks about “A Tragedy of Silence” while quoting the leftist Mother Jones magazine about all the mass shootings that magazine has counted (their number is 61) “over the last 30 years.” Meaning columnist Blow makes the point without even realizing he has made it: those mass shooting have occurred in the world created by Roe v. Wade 39 years ago. 

Perhaps more ironic still is a Times column from the paper’s Gail Collins. Collins begins by focusing on Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, the Long Island nurse-turned-congresswoman. McCarthy ran for Congress after her husband died and her son was badly injured in one of those post-Roe v. Wade mass shootings, this particular one on the Long Island Railroad.

McCarthy is nothing if not fervent when it comes to gun control, saying earlier this year on Meet the Press of her House colleagues' lack of willingness to stand up to the NRA:

A lot of politicians know it’s the right thing to try to fight for something to save lives. They don’t have a spine anymore. They pander to who’s giving them money…

Catch that line about it being the “right thing to try to fight for something to save lives”?

Does McCarthy, a Catholic, stand up to the “pro-choice” -- read: abortion -- lobby? Of course not. Not a prayer. She not only gets a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and whatever contributions come along with that, she has voted against banning partial-birth abortions. So much for Representative McCarthy’s spine about saving the lives of children.

Does Collins mention any of this? You’re kidding, right?

In fairness to Representative McCarthy and all these folks at the Times and the Post, they are far from alone in having this Grand Canyon-sized hypocrisy about violence against defenseless children.

Let’s name some more names, shall we?

Let’s focus on a politician not so familiar to Americans. What is his stance on abortion and what the good Deacon refers to as “a culture that not only does not respect life, but discards it like trash -- not only at the beginning of life, but also at the end, and every place in between.”

This politician’s view is this:

With the unwavering belief that our nation’s Constitution protects the right to privacy and a woman’s autonomy over her own body, I have a voting record and moral compass that is unequivocally pro-choice.

Catch that reference to his “moral compass”?

Which is to say, this man is an enthusiastic supporter of what the Deacon calls “a culture …that does not respect life…. but discards it like trash.” Or, in the words of Newtown’s Monsignor Robert Weiss, who spoke at the televised Newtown memorial service that featured President Obama, this man is a staunch supporter of “a culture of death.”

Who is this politician? That would be the new U.S. Senator-elect from Connecticut, Congressman Chris Murphy. Mr. Murphy has been representing the Fifth District of Connecticut the last few years -- and yes, you guessed it. Mr. Murphy represents the Fifth District town of Newtown. Where, this past Friday, someone who was bred to the bone in “a culture that does not respect life” walked into a school in Murphy’s own district and proceeded to “discard it like trash.”

Will Senator-elect Murphy suddenly see the light on the moral issue involved with abortion and the corrosive, not to mention horrific, affect Roe v. Wade has now abruptly had on his own constituents with the slaughter of 20 innocents and 6 adults? Doubtful.

Then there’s President Obama’s contribution to all this.

Much quoted is this statement from the President on Friday:

We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. 

And then the Obama line mentioned above, which he made in his Sunday night speech at Newtown. This one:

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. 

Change? Really?

Let’s recall that it was Illinois State Senator Obama, when dealing with a state version of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, who voted that it was OK by him if babies who emerged alive from their mother after a failed attempt at abortion should be left to die. Or, as, State Senator Obama described them at the time, “that fetus, or child -- however you want to describe it.”

Andy McCarthy over at National Review (a different McCarthy altogether than the congresswoman with the same last name) recounts this episode involving a nurse named Jill Stanek, who testified to the Illinois State Senate and State Senator Obama, as follows:

Infanticide is a bracing word. But in this context, it’s the only word that fits. Obama heard the testimony of a nurse, Jill Stanek. She recounted how she’d spent 45 minutes holding a living baby left to die.

The child had lacked the good grace to expire as planned in an induced-labor abortion -- one in which an abortionist artificially induces labor with the expectation that the underdeveloped “fetus, or child -- however you want to describe it” will not survive the delivery.

Stanek encountered another nurse carrying the child to a “soiled utility room” where it would be left to die. It wasn’t that unusual. The induced-labor method was used for late-term abortions. Many of the babies were strong enough to survive the delivery. At least for a time.

So something had to be done with them. They couldn’t be left out in the open, struggling in the presence of fellow human beings. After all, those fellow human beings -- health-care providers -- would then be forced to confront the inconvenient question of why they were standing idly by. That would hold a mirror up to the whole grisly business.

Better the utility room. Alone, out of sight and out of mind. Next case. 

Quite literally, then- State Senator Obama was face to face with a true story of a living baby being “discarded as trash.” The man who shed tears for the children of Newtown could find none for those babies born alive after failed abortions -- and signed on to let them be, quite literally, discarded as trash. These children were disposable.

The Newtown mass murders -- and the Obama “we must change” speech have, ironically, forced an unwanted spotlight on a key Obama political ally.

Planned Parenthood.

Out of the blue, barely weeks into celebrating the Obama political triumph that featured Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, as a speaker at the Democrats’ convention in Charlotte, the mass murder of children in Newtown abruptly confronts liberals with a very serious problem.

Taking aim at the NRA and the culture of guns is winding up only in bringing a fierce, quite unintended yet inevitable spotlight to Planned Parenthood and the culture of abortion that so many Americans associate with the large culture of a valueless culture of violence.

Effectively, a startling shift blows in the political winds: Planned Parenthood is becoming the NRA of abortion.

Here we have a president whose managers just finished running an entire presidential campaign -- successfully -- prominently defending the “right” to take an unborn child’s life at will. Those who objected were accused of waging “a war on women.”

Now, in the wake of Newtown, the hard reality of why so many millions of Americans defend the right to life against the valueless culture of violence or the culture of death (as Monsignor Weiss called it) has come home to hit hard in the very heart of a very blue state.

As Christmas -- the holiday famous for celebrating the birth of a child -- approaches, a suddenly horrified nation that has officially sanctioned the taking of innocent human life is coming face to face -- yet again -- with the consequences of Roe v. Wade. Consequences so many -- President Obama, Senator-elect Murphy, Representative McCarthy, the editorial boards and columnists of the Times and the Post and on and on to liberal ad infinitum simply refuse to acknowledge at all when they aren’t angrily saying it just isn’t so. And in many cases this is done for blatantly political reasons.

It wasn’t always so.

History famously records President Reagan’s March 8, 1983 speech to an audience of pastors as his “Evil Empire” speech. In which Reagan so-labeled the Soviet Union in remarks on American foreign policy speech. What is forgotten is that the “Evil Empire” speech was in fact a speech about the role of government towards individual human life -- including abortion and its larger societal consequences.

In that speech, Ronald Reagan met the challenge of abortion head on, making a direct connection between Roe v. Wade and respect for human life outside the womb, saying this:

More than a decade ago, a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of 50 States statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will some day pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does. Unless and until it can be proven that the unborn child is not a living entity, then its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be protected.

You may remember that when abortion on demand began, many, and, indeed, I'm sure many of you, warned that the practice would lead to a decline in respect for human life, that the philosophical premises used to justify abortion on demand would ultimately be used to justify other attacks on the sacredness of human life -- infanticide or mercy killing. Tragically enough, those warnings proved all too true. 

On another occasion in 1983, Reagan authored an article in which he compared Roe and its “freedom of choice” followers to those who supported the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision. Reagan’s point: When human beings “deny the value of certain human lives” -- of in fact denying what Reagan called the “full humanity” of African-Americans and the unborn, the values of the larger society are deeply affected for the worse.

Also saying a version of this, unsurprisingly, was Reagan’s ally in ending the Cold War -- Pope John Paul II. Said the Pontiff in his 1995 Encyclical Letter about the effects of a culture of abortion on the larger society around it:

The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

Say again: Being unable to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

And so it was with Adam Lanza on Friday.

Shooting his mother in the face, then systematically killing 20 innocent children, not to mention the other adults, Adam Lanza had no ability to distinguish between good and evil and the basic value of human life.

Ronald Reagan was right back then. As was Pope John Paul II.

And as events from State Senator Obama’s long-ago statements on the Illinois Born Alive Act to the shootings at Newtown and all these horrific events that have repeatedly occurred since the advent of Roe v. Wade show… Reagan and the Pope would be even more right today.

What is unfolding in Newtown at this very moment is as heartrending as it is chilling. 

One cannot possibly fathom the grief.

Nor can one possibly imagine what must run through the minds of those who, as the events of Newtown recede into the rear-view mirror of time, silently realize that the so-called “pro-choice” movement has in fact resulted -- yet again…and again and again and again -- in a culture of violence that engulfed yet another troubled young mind and heart and leading him to his own “pro-choice” action.

There was another irony in that Newtown ceremony with the president. It was opened by the pastor of the Newtown Congregational Church, a member of the larger United Church of Christ denomination. Which happens to be my own denomination. The UCC says this on its website: 

The United Church of Christ is one of the founding faith groups of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, formed in 1973 as the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights.

One has to ask when my church will begin to question itself on the connection between its stance on abortion -- and the culture of violence that has taken so many lives in Newtown.

The other night Fox’s Geraldo Rivera said “imagine the children screaming.”

In 1984 a documentary called The Silent Scream was produced. Hosted by an obstetrician named Bernard Nathanson, a chastened founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, the film was a graphic video of a baby being aborted and silently “screaming” as it the abortion “provider” went about the task needed to "dismember, crush, and destroy” the baby.

A screaming child indeed.

When Ronald Reagan was talking about values in 1983, he did not hesitate to mention the disturbing disrespect for human life he believed was flowing from Roe v. Wade.

Decades later, Barack Obama is talking about values. Will he discuss abortion?

Make no mistake.

The values each man has championed in this area are two very, very different sets of values.

One of those sets of values took the lives of all those innocent children in Newtown -- and it wasn’t the values championed by Reagan, who decidedly did not shrug and pass off the issue as “above my pay grade.”

The question Americans have a right to ask in the wake of this horrific tragedy is Obama’s Newtown question precisely.

Will America change? Will President Obama change?

In truth?

In very sad truth I don’t think President Obama -- or those, the many those -- like Senator-elect Murphy, Representative McCarthy and so many liberal others in the media and out of it -- have the courage to change.

To borrow from Representative McCarthy?

I don’t think they have “the spine.”

The real question after the murder of those Newtown innocents is:

Do the rest of us?

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.