Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Abortion: Not a Reproductive Right

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Jeff Jacoby has long been the author of op-ed columns for the Boston Globe. His customary fare stands virtually alone in one of the most liberal and left-leaning newspapers in America. He is a conservative, an advocate of small government, even a mind-one’s-own-business noninterventionist in foreign affairs. Consequently, the Globe’s leaders will frequently — and in some instances immediately — have one of the leftists in their employ post a contrary view to combat what Jacoby has written.

Earlier this month, Jacoby wrote about the surprising popularity of the movie Unplanned. It’s the story of a former Planned Parenthood abortion provider who underwent a sharp reversal and is now an anti-abortion crusader. Years ago, Abby Johnson actually experienced two abortions herself. She took a job with Planned Parenthood and, for eight years, was complicit in 22,000 abortions at the PP clinic in Bryan, Texas. She was so highly regarded by Planned Parenthood that she became clinic director and was named “Employee of the Year.”

Her turnaround occurred after she witnessed, for the first time, an ultrasound depiction of a fetus being killed in the womb with a suction device. Never previously having seen a 13-week-old unborn child torn apart by the powerful force of a machine, the grim reality of what she had been participating in hit home. She was now opposed to abortion.

Unplanned isn’t about government policy. It’s about the reality of abortion. Not a political film, it focuses on the grim reality of  the many abortions (332,000 every year) carried out in U.S.-based PP clinics. The grisly business accounts for 35 percent of terminations of life in the womb in our nation. Jacoby cites the chilling attitude of PP’s national president Leana Wen, “Our core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care.”

The film even aims some darts at over-zealous pro-lifers, including some who have deliberately assassinated abortion providers. In other words, it doesn’t cover over the murderous deeds of a few anti-abortion extremists. Jacoby also noted that Unplanned received an “R” rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). While the film’s producer, the Christian-based company known as Pure Flix, regretted receiving that rating, the Boston Globe columnist noted that one of the five considerations employed by MPAA to establish a film’s rating is violence. And Unplanned certainly does present some violence.

On the very same page in the May 5 Boston Globe, staff writer Renee Graham was awarded space to defend the practice of abortion while lashing out at President Trump and, by implication, Jacoby and all others who oppose abortion. She provided the names of 11 U.S. abortion providers who have been murdered during the past 25 years. But she skipped over any mention of the annual total of 926,000 victims of abortion in the United States alone. Graham evidently believes that the deaths of 11 abortion providers is a greater crime than the annual total of close to a million deaths in the womb in the United States.

Graham described the hate mail received by a pro-abortion Harvard professor “who has written in favor of reproductive rights,” the same term employed by PP President Leana Wen. Reproductive rights? Killing a babe in the womb isn’t reproducing anything but dead babies.

But these champions of abortion regularly employ that term while claiming that abortion is a “legal right.” According to Graham, whatever is legal is OK. Wasn’t slavery legal for many years? If it can be barred, so should abortion.

Always favoring abortion, the Boston Globe once again showed its preference for terminating life in the womb even while publishing the contrary views of Jeff Jacoby. Slavery was indeed a blot on this country. But merely considering the numbers involved, abortion is a far worse stain. Abby Johnson reversed course. Some viewers of the film have likely also turned away from favoring abortion. Is there hope for Renee Graham? If she does what Abby Johnson did, we would delight in being able to report her changed attitude. But we’re not holding our breath waiting for such a turnaround. The Boston Globe tolerates Jeff Jacoby while it relies on its stable of writers who champion death in the womb.


John F. McManus is president emeritus of The John Birch Society.

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