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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Exclusive: Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse slams 'fantasy ideology,' ugly fallout of Sexual Revolution
This article was first published October 23, 2018, at wnd.com.
by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. But I doubt the mainstream media will even mention one easily-avoidable lifestyle choice that has been implicated as a risk factor in numerous studies around the world: abortion.
In my book, “The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along ,” I noted: “The link between abortion and breast cancer has been confirmed in numerous studies around the world, including Iran, China, Turkey, Armenia, India, and Bangladesh.” More recently, Drs. Angela Lanfranchi, Joel Brind and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of 20 studies of South Asian women, showing a correlation between breast cancer and abortion. Yet even the possibility of a connection between abortion and breast cancer will not be part of the month-long publicity campaign. Why?
The Sexual Revolution has created the Grand Sex Positive Narrative, to convince people that sexual activity is an entitlement for anyone capable of giving meaningful consent:
It’s as if they’re saying: “Oh, sure, casual sex used to present problems like risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. But we modern, enlightened, technologically advance people have overcome all that. We have antibiotics to treat any stray microbes that manage to make it through the condom barriers we all use 100% of the time. We have pills and IUDs and long-acting reversible hormonal contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. And of course, we have safe, legal abortions to clean up any stray fetuses that manage to get conceived.”
The possible link between abortion and breast cancer presents a problem to the Grand Sex Positive Narrative. If abortion presents significant downsides, risks or problems, viewing casual sex as an entitlement would no longer make sense. Therefore, Sexual Revolutionaries have tried hard to convince people that abortion is no more psychologically traumatic or medically risky than removing an appendix or pulling a tooth.
Notice how strong this claim is. It can be refuted with a single counter-example. I don’t need to show that every woman everywhere regrets her abortion or was seriously harmed by it. All I need to show is that some women are harmed in some way. Once the idea of harmless abortion is dislodged from the public mind, then every woman must consider whether she could be one of the women likely to be harmed. Responsible medicine would require all health care personnel to take these risks seriously and provide full information.
Being overweight or having a family history of breast cancer are risk factors for breast cancer. Women in these situations might want to avoid abortion.
Taking these questions seriously threatens the whole sexual revolutionary ideological structure. “Maybe I should not sleep with a guy who would be a lousy father. Maybe I should not sleep with anyone at all if I am not ready to be a mother. In fact, if abortion might be painful for me, and contraception might fail, I’d better be careful about my sexual choices.”
The Sexual Revolution is a fantasy ideology. We cannot build an entire society around the idea that sex and babies are completely disconnected. Yet many of our most intelligent, highly educated members of society are committed to precisely this goal. They can scarcely even consider evidence that some abortions are harmful to some women: it is just too upsetting, too disruptive to the Official Sex Positive Narrative.
That is why you have not heard anything about the connection between breast cancer and abortion, even during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I’m not only willing to talk about it. I insist on it. Women’s health is too important to be threatened by political correctness.
Posted on: Tuesday, October 09, 2018
By Tyler O'Neil
This article was first published October 4, 2018, at PJMedia.com.
In 21st century America, sex is all around us: on television, in movies, in classrooms, in politics, and even in churches. Sex permeates our desires, our expectations for relationships, even our identity. The Sexual Revolution goes far beyond the LGBT movement, and it has fundamentally reshaped American society. But few Americans actually grasp exactly where this revolution came from. An explosive new book reveals that government and wealthy donors, rather than impersonal historical forces or newly liberated women, propelled the Sexual Revolution.
"The State bears the greatest responsibility for the toxic sexual culture in which we live," Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute (RI), writes in "The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologues Are Destroying Lives And Why the Church Was Right All Along." She presented five other explanations for the Sexual Revolution, and found each one wanting.
Many have suggested that the Sexual Revolution came about through the inevitable and impersonal "march of history." This view does not work "because it robs us and our forbears of human agency." Even the over-hyped birth control pill "is just an inert piece of technology" that people could decide to use or not use, or use in different ways.
Morse also rebuts the feminist narrative, which suggests that "these changes have been one long string of victories for the benefit and advancement of women." Ironically, the very success of women's liberation "undermines the claim that women have been completely powerless and dominated by the patriarchy throughout all of recorded history." Furthermore, the author argues that "the pro-life movement is dominated by women," suggesting that not all women want more of the Sexual Revolution.
Perhaps the most common explanation for the Sexual Revolution is the "liberationist narrative," which posits that everyone is more free thanks to new sexual norms. This view also cannot explain how age-old oppression was immediately dissolved in one generation, Morse argues.
Furthermore, many people "have become less free, in fact actually oppressed, by the very forces that are supposedly liberating us. The breaking of family bonds has increased the size and scope of the State, including the intrusion of the State into the everyday lives of ordinary people." She mentions college sex tribunals, family courts — which even rule on which schools and churches children can attend — and higher taxes to pay for social workers who manage tough divorces and family breakdown.
Morse also rejects the "over-population narrative," which suggests that "too many people create ecological disaster and economic backwardness," so the State needs to control population through birth control and abortion. Interestingly, advocates of this narrative "haven't been able to adapt the narrative to the changing circumstances of population decline, which the Over-Population Narrative itself helped bring about."
Finally, the author turns to a "steal capitalist narrative," explaining the Sexual Revolution by pointing to the many people who benefit financially from family breakdown. Abortionists, pharmaceutical companies, the fertility industry, pornographers, divorce professionals, family court judges and lawyers, medical professionals who specialize in sexually transmitted diseases, and social workers all perversely benefit from family breakdown, contraception, and abortion.
Even higher education and employers benefit from women choosing to get married later, to go to school and to work, rather than raising a family. Morse claims that employers benefit from easy divorce as well, as women are less able to rely on their husbands to financially support them. She suggests that these factors cement the Sexual Revolution, but they do not explain it.
The author boils the Sexual Revolution down to three basic "ideologies:" the Contraceptive Ideology separates sex from childbearing; the Divorce Ideology separates sex and childbearing from marriage; and the Gender Ideology eliminates the distinctions between men and women that individuals do not explicitly embrace.
"The Sexual Revolution needs the State for one major reason: the premises of the Sexual Revolution are false," Morse declares. "Sex does make babies. Children do need their parents, and therefore marriage is the proper and just context for both sex and childbearing. Men and women are different." The Sexual Revolution requires "reconstructing society" around a rejection of these basic truths, so it involves a great deal of propaganda.
"If you can make people believe Bruce Jenner, the 1976 male Olympic decathlon winner, is a woman, you can make them believe 2 + 2 = 5. If you can make people afraid to say, 'Bruce Jenner is a man,' you can make them afraid to say anything," Morse quips. "The Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian ideology with a blind commitment to the implementation of its tenets, regardless of the human costs."
The book begins with a list of victims of the Sexual Revolution, a topic for a future article. Those victims include children of divorce, spouses who did not want to get divorced, women who waited too long to have children, young women who wanted to abstain from sex, and more. Suffice it to say, the Sexual Revolution has harmed many people.
Morse narrates how the state unleashed the Sexual Revolution, beginning with the Supreme Court contraception case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). The Contraceptive Ideology predated this decision and played a large role in pushing the Court to change the law on contraception.
The author cites liberal attorney Leo Pfeffer and conservative historian Allan Carlson, who agreed that governments will consider contraception necessary once they have established welfare states — in order to prevent the subsidized poor from having children. Tragically, the U.S. government pushed contraception before Griswold, pushing contraception in post-World War II Japan and other foreign countries considered to be U.S. interests.
In the 1960s and 1970s, USAID started pushing contraception and abortion, thinking these "family planning" efforts would help other countries defeat poverty. These policies were also wrapped up with the ugly eugenics movement in America.
In order to downplay the ugly history of eugenics, contraception activists turned to the work of Alfred Kinsey, an academic who claimed that "up to" 67 to 98 percent of American men ha had premarital sex and that 69 percent of American males had at least one experience with a prostitute. His claims were shot down by other researchers, who exposed his shoddy methods. But the Rockefeller Foundation funded his research and sent his crackpot theories mainstream.
Planned Parenthood and its allies enjoyed connections to elites, and helped push the Court in the direction of legalizing contraception for anyone across the country.
Similarly, elite institutions and big donors pushed no-fault divorce, Morse argues. After Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault divorce law in 1968, the American Law Institute (ALI), founded with support from the Carnegie Foundation, crafted model legislation to insert the state in between husbands and wives — and favor the spouse who wanted a divorce.
The ALI pushed for decriminalizing private sexual acts between consenting adults, a key plank that struck down states' ability to regulate obscene materials and contraception.
By 1974, all but five states had adopted a form of no-fault divorce.
Morse argues that no-fault divorce positions the power of the state on the side of whichever spouse least wants the marriage to continue. This damages spouses who are committed to the marriage, but it also damages children who do not grow up with both of their parents. It also empowers the government, which now mediates between divorced mothers and fathers.
The author argues that the claim "the kids will be all right" is propaganda. She cites the work of Judith Wallerstein, who found that divorce has a long-term impact on children — damaging their prospects for romantic relationships in adulthood. Similarly, the worries about husbands abusing wives are overblown, as studies have shown that women and children are more likely to be abused in cohabiting relationships than in marriage.
Finally, Morse argues that the government and elites pushed the "Gender Ideology" — long before transgender identity went mainstream — in order to encourage women to be "ideal workers:" "a person who never takes time off, is never sick, whose mental and psychological focus is entirely on the job."
"We've built a society around the premise that our educated women must be permitted to time their 1.6 pregnancies right down to the minute when it's most convenient. But convenient for whom? All too often, it means the convenience of the employers, or the interests of the career path, or of those who hold the student debt which the young woman or young couple must pay down," Morse claims.
The author does not lament the fact that women have entered the "managerial class," highly paid professions which do not involve manual labor. She herself is a member of this class. Rather, she suggests that the pressures of work and the benefits of this class enable people to overlook the obvious differences between men and women.
"People who do manual labor aren't deluded for a moment that men and women are interchangeable," Morse quips. For this reason, men are vastly over-represented in the dangerous professions.
Women's involvement in the workforce need not be connected to the Sexual Revolution's Gender Ideology, the author argues. "I claim the right to participate in the labor market as women, not as men in skirts." She suggests that "educated women would be better off if they accepted that their fertility peaks during their twenties and planned their lives around this fact."
Morse lays out a basic life plan: Women should go to college for a liberal education, not a vocational one. They should et married and have kids early, using their higher educations to be involved in educating their kids. "Let your husbands support you. Trust them. Be grateful for them," and when the children are older, go back for an advanced degree and work.
Tragically, activists are pushing on all these issues and more. Morse discusses same-sex marriage in a chapter on the Gender Ideology. She recalls the battle over California's Proposition 8.
"The 'Yes on 8' campaign was arguably the largest grassroots campaign in history," she writes, noting that California's secretary of state website crashed because there were over 5,000 pages of contributors to the campaign. Yet modern "progressives" "took Proposition 8 to court on flimsy pretexts and rich people's money."
After Proposition 8 passed and the people had amended their constitution, California's attorney general refused to defend it. The people's will failed thanks to an effective pocket veto. in the case Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that proponents of ballot initiatives like Proposition 8 could not defend such laws in court, enabling Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) to resume same-sex marriage in the state. Now-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) performed the first same-sex marriage after this ruling.
As with Proposition 8, wealthy liberals continue to push Sexual Revolution issues, particularly abortion and contraception. George Soros and Warren Buffett continue to fund abortion groups, and they use their money to "shape political institutions so they can use the government to recreate the world in their own image and likeness," Morse alleges.
Importantly, the book notes that contraception carries health risks for women, and some studies have shown that hormonal contraception is as likely to cause cancer as smoking. "Smoking has been all but banned, tobacco companies have been sued, and smokers have been socially shunned," Morse writes. "By contrast, the government actively promotes the use of hormonal contraception while the media plays down the risks."
Abortion, often considered an alternative should contraception fail, also carries tremendous health risks to the mother, which medical associations keep secret for political reasons, the author argues. She also notes that wealthy donors funded abortion activists who convinced the Supreme Court to strike down Texas regulations treating abortion clinics like any other medical facility.
"When the people of Texas, acting through their duly elected state legislators, enacted health and safety legislation for abortion clinics, the elites of society knocked it down," Morse declares.
"The Sexual State" makes a compelling case that state power and wealthy elites pushed the Sexual Revolution, and people should fight back. While Morse does address LGBT issues, her book mostly focuses on the negative impacts the Sexual Revolution has had on family life, harming faithful spouses, children of divorce, and many others.
Morse, a Roman Catholic, presents a very Catholic view of these issues and champions the Catholic Church's approach. Her book was ill-fated to release shortly after the sexual abuse scandal broke, but her points still stand.
The book may be too polemical, but it raises important questions about the hidden harms of the Sexual Revolution and who benefits from this humongous social change.
"The Sexual State" is an important book for libertarians to wrestle with, as it presents a compelling case that big government benefits from the Sexual Revolution, and that marriage and family would help weaken the power of the state.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 25, 2018
For more information, contact: Elizabeth Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the eve of tomorrow’s Judiciary Committee hearing, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., observed: “Those who say this increasingly contentious nomination isn’t about abortion are dead wrong. Of course, it’s about abortion.”
The head of the Ruth Institute and author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives, explained, “The abortion regime, which seeks a complete disconnect between sex and babies, can’t stand on its own. It needs to be constantly propped up by the Sexual State, in this case, the courts.”
Morse elaborated: “The abortion lobby claims it wants women to be able to ‘control their fertility.’ This claim is disingenuous. What the Abortion Lobby really wants is a world where sex and babies are completely disconnected, and sex without babies is an entitlement.”
“This is not the real world,” Morse continued. “That’s why the State, specifically, the judiciary, is needed. Ordinary people, acting through their legislatures, have enacted numerous common-sense pro-life measures. But the Abortion Lobby cannot abide these regulations, no matter how modest they may be.”
“Abortion supporters are terrified of Roe being ‘repealed piecemeal,’ as they say. That’s why they’re fighting the Kavanaugh nomination so fiercely. They need justices who will support their agenda.”
Morse concluded, “We hope the public will see through the media circus these hearings have become. Most normal people don’t want to live with a government committed to the fantasy that everyone is entitled to unlimited sex without a live baby ever resulting.”
The Sexual State, Morse’s latest book, was released in August by TAN Books. Dr. Morse, who has a passion for helping young people avoid the perils of the Sexual Revolution, is a popular campus speaker.
For more information about The Ruth Institute, visit http://www.ruthinstitute.org/.
For more information about The Sexual State, visit https://thesexualstate.com/.
Posted on: Monday, August 06, 2018
By Jenet Jacob Erickson
This article was first published on August 5, 2018, at Deseret News.
Once again, Roe v. Wade finds itself at the center of a Supreme Court nomination battle. And regardless of whether Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, there is no question that scientific advancements have “remade” the abortion debate. With ultrasound imagery and innovations in neonatology, a developing fetus is no longer referred to as “a mass of tissue,” even by abortion advocates. Public opinion reflects this change. Strong majorities of Americans, across demographic groups, oppose abortions in the second (65 percent) and third trimesters (81 percent). And even in the first trimester, a majority (53 percent) agrees abortion should be illegal when the woman’s only reason is not wanting to have a child.
Whether abortion means terminating a developing life is no longer debated. That is clear. The debate now centers on what abortion means for women. In the face of public support for some abortion restrictions, pro-choice advocates argue, “abandoning abortion rights means abandoning women.” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue claims that those who advocate for restrictions on abortion are “not really anti-abortion. … They are against a world where women can contribute equally and chart our own destiny in ways our grandmothers never thought possible.”
But Hogue’s claim belies a damaging assumption. One we must take seriously. She assumes that women cannot be equal to men unless they act destructively against their bodies and the developing life they carry. Essentially, women are told that by sacrificing life they can achieve an “equal” life.
As Harvard visiting scholar Erika Bacciochi explains, abortion advocacy assumes a “troubling natural inequality” for women because they get pregnant and men do not. Abortion eliminates that difference so women, like men, can enter into sexual relations without commitment, “free” to become, both socially and economically. But to do so, women must act “affirmatively and destructively” on their bodies to imitate men.
In the words of pro-life scholar Camille Williams, in essence, women are reduced to “defective men,” living “at the mercy of our bodies, too weak, irrational and incompetent to resist irresponsible men who impregnate us, and too politically weak to shape our educational institutions and workplaces” to accommodate the gift of our fertility.
Abortion does not remedy inequality for women. It entrenches it by refusing to acknowledge and respect the sexual difference between men and women. Instead of shaping our educational institutions and workplaces to respect, protect and support women’s childbearing, abortion encourages us to ignore it. Instead of seeking remedies for the challenges and injustices faced by pregnant women, abortion “submits” to them, masking and not responding to the realities women face.
The assumptions underlying abortion have also undermined the responsibility men and women feel for each other, and the life they create. Abortion on demand teaches that relationships are terminable at will — that love, sacrifice and commitment are contingent upon self-interest and fulfillment. It says not only to a developing person, but to the mother herself, “I will love and care for you when it works for me.” But in the rejection of her pregnancy, she is also being rejected. To denigrate the gift of life unavoidably denigrates the person who carries that life.
As sociologist Mark Regnerus’ research found, “Sex among singles used to occur in and during the search for someone to marry. … The average woman could and did count on seeing evidence of commitment before sex, because sex risked pregnancy. … Now having sex and thinking about or committing to marry are two very different things.”
The tragic result is fewer marriageable men, less commitment, and a sexually permissive climate where women are easily objectified. Permissive abortion allows men to be absolved of responsibility for the gift of life that may result from their sexual relationships, whether aborted or not. And so, ironically, since Roe v. Wade, the out-of-wedlock childbearing rate has grown from 5 percent to 41 percent with profound negative implications, especially for low-income women and children. Although abortion is often marketed as a means of planning for child-rearing, easy access to it has undermined our capacity to form the committed relationships children depend upon.
A culture of abortion is ultimately antithetical to the equality women deserve, and it undermines the desire many women have for committed relationships with men as husbands and fathers, and with the children of those fathers. Given the long-term implications of the assumptions underlying a culture of permissive abortion, we can and must do better for women.
Jenet Jacob Erickson is an affiliated scholar of the Wheatley Institution at BYU.
Posted on: Monday, July 09, 2018
by Curtis Schube
This article was first published June 29, 2018, at Life Site News.
NIFLA v. Becerra is better than anyone could have expected. The Supreme Court's ruling last Tuesday overturned California's onerous speech restriction on pregnancy care centers. Great news, to be sure. It gets better. NIFLA also overturned speech restrictions on therapists who assist people with unwanted same sex attraction.
Pregnancy centers encourage women to choose options other than abortion. The Court found that requiring such centers to post notices advertising abortion violates their First Amendment Free Speech rights. This is a very good result. However, few commentators have mentioned that the NIFLA ruling impacts attempts to ban so-called "conversion therapy."
Laws which ban sexual orientation change efforts ("SOCE" for short) have increasingly entered the national conversation, most recently in California. Before California's recent attempts to ban all forms of SOCE at any age, California already had such a law in place for minors. The law considered it "unprofessional conduct" to "seek to change sexual orientation" for a minor. Any counselor who violated the law faced professional discipline.
California's more recent SOCE laws take an even more extreme position. These laws ban all therapy that aims to change, or even reduce, sexual attraction to the same sex. Therefore, a patient who wants SOCE therapy cannot receive that service without risk to the professional counselor.
In Pickup v. Brown, same sex attracted minors and their parents, as well as counselors who wished to provide their services, claimed that this law violates their First Amendment rights to free speech and free expression. The Ninth Circuit, in 2013, determined that counseling is not speech, but rather professional "conduct." The "First Amendment does not prevent a state from regulating treatment," the Ninth Circuit concluded.
The Third Circuit upheld a similar law in New Jersey using the same logic in the 2014 case, King v. Governors of New Jersey. In relying partly upon Pickup, the Third Circuit concluded that counseling is speech (rather than conduct) but classifies that speech as professional speech. The Third Circuit states that a "professional's services stems largely from her ability to apply…specialized knowledge to a client's individual circumstances… Thus, we conclude that a licensed professional does not enjoy the full protection of the First Amendment."
In the NIFLA case, the Ninth Circuit had justified the requirement for pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion as "professional speech," just like the Ninth and Third Circuits had done for SOCE laws. The Supreme Court opinion overturning the Ninth Circuit's NIFLA opinion, specifically identified Pickup and King as examples of "professional speech" protected by the First Amendment. Writing for the majority, Justice Thomas (pictured above) stated: "Some Courts of Appeals have recognized 'professional speech' as a separate category of speech that is subject to different rules." However, "speech is not unprotected merely because it is uttered by 'professionals.'"
This is a paradigm shift in the existing precedents for SOCE bans.
Thomas seized the opportunity to provide protections to many other professions as well. "Professionals might have a host of good-faith disagreements, both with each other and with the government, on many topics in their respective fields." He identifies doctors and nurses who disagree on the prevailing opinions on assisted suicide or medical marijuana as examples of good faith disagreements. So too are lawyers and marriage counselors who disagree on prenuptial agreements and divorces, and bankers and accountants who disagree on how to commit money to savings or tax reform. One would have to conclude that Justice Thomas' intent is to protect all professionals from being regulated on matters of good faith disagreement.
This is a significant victory for free speech, and not only for pregnancy care centers. The "social justice" movement threatens many professionals in the exercise of their judgement and expertise. This Supreme Court ruling has created broad protections for a significant number of Americans who hold professional licenses. In doing so, the Court also reopened the seemingly settled question as to whether SOCE bans are constitutional. This is a welcome surprise from a case originally thought to be limited only to pregnancy centers.
Posted on: Thursday, June 28, 2018
Protecting Therapists, not just Pregnancy Care Centers
by Curtis Schube
June 27, 2018
Exclusive to the Ruth Institute
NIFLA v. Becerra is better than anyone could have expected. The Supreme Court’s ruling overturned California’s onerous speech restriction on pregnancy care centers. Great news, to be sure. It gets better. NIFLA also overturned speech restrictions on therapists who assist people with unwanted same sex attraction.
Pregnancy centers encourage women to choose options other than abortion.The Court found that requiring such centers to post notices advertising abortion violates their First Amendment Free Speech rights. This is a very good result. However, few commentators have mentioned that the NIFLA ruling impacts attempts to ban so-called “conversion therapy.”
Laws which ban sexual orientation change efforts (“SOCE” for short) have increasingly entered the national conversation, most recently in California. Before California’s recent attempts to ban all forms of SOCE at any age, California already had such a law in place for minors. The law considered it “unprofessional conduct” to “seek to change sexual orientation” for a minor. Any counselor who violated the law faced professional discipline.
California’s more recent SOCE laws take an even more extreme position. These laws ban all therapy that aims to change, or even reduce, sexual attraction to the same sex. Therefore, a patient who wants SOCE therapy cannot receive that service without risk to the professional counselor.
In Pickup v. Brown, same sex attracted minors and their parents, as well as counselors who wished to provide their services, claimed that this law violates their First Amendment rights to free speech and free expression. The Ninth Circuit, in 2013, determined that counseling is not speech, but rather professional “conduct.” The “First Amendment does not prevent a state from regulating treatment,” the Ninth Circuit concluded.
The Third Circuit upheld a similar law in New Jersey using the same logic in the 2014 case, King v. Governors of New Jersey. In relying partly upon Pickup, the Third Circuit concluded that counseling is speech (rather than conduct) but classifies that speech as professional speech. The Third Circuit states that a “professional’s services stems largely from her ability to apply…specialized knowledge to a client’s individual circumstances… Thus, we conclude that a licensed professional does not enjoy the full protection of the First Amendment.”
In the NIFLA case, the Ninth Circuit had justified the requirement for pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion as “professional speech,” just like the Ninth and Third Circuits had done for SOCE laws. The Supreme Court opinion overturning the Ninth Circuit’s NIFLA opinion, specifically identified Pickup and King as examples of “professional speech” protected by the First Amendment. Writing for the majority, Justice Thomas (pictured above) stated: “Some Courts of Appeals have recognized ‘professional speech’ as a separate category of speech that is subject to different rules.” However, “speech is not unprotected merely because it is uttered by ‘professionals.’”
This is a paradigm shift in the existing precedents for SOCE bans.
Thomas seized the opportunity to provide protections to many other professions as well. “Professionals might have a host of good-faith disagreements, both with each other and with the government, on many topics in their respective fields.” He identifies doctors and nurses who disagree on the prevailing opinions on assisted suicide or medical marijuana as examples of good faith disagreements. So too are lawyers and marriage counselors who disagree on prenuptial agreements and divorces, and bankers and accountants who disagree on how to commit money to savings or tax reform. One would have to conclude that Justice Thomas’ intent is to protect all professionals from being regulated on matters of good faith disagreement.
This is a significant victory for free speech, and not only for pregnancy care centers. The “social justice” movement threatens many professionals in the exercise of their judgement and expertise. This Supreme Court ruling has created broad protections for a significant number of Americans who hold professional licenses. In doing so, the Court also reopened the seemingly settled question as to whether SOCE bans are constitutional. This is a welcome surprise from a case originally thought to be limited only to pregnancy centers.
Curtis Schube is Legal Counsel for the Pennsylvania Family Policy Institute. He is a 2009 alumnus of the Ruth Institute’s “It Takes a Family to Raise A Village” program.
Posted on: Monday, April 30, 2018
by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
First published April 11, 2018, at The Stream.
Kevin Williamson has been summarily dismissed from The Atlantic. The editor says it was because Williamson advocated that the law should treat abortion as murder. But this is hardly a full explanation of the full social process around this disturbing incident. Williamson did not express that view in The Atlantic’s pages: His opponents resurrected it from a 4-year-old podcast. If the editors at The Atlantic really wanted a “big tent,” (their supposed reason for engaging Williamson in the first place) they could have found dozens of more moderate pro-life advocates.
No, something else is afoot. Let me explain it. This will take more than 144 characters. Bear with me.
Suppose you are a woman, and a recent college graduate. You aspire to a career in journalism. You are having sex with someone you would not want to marry. Maybe he is married to someone else. Maybe he is hopelessly immature, narcissistic, and/or self-absorbed. But since you are using contraception, you figure its ok.
Then, the unthinkable-statistically-unlikely-but-still-non-zero-probability-event takes place. You get pregnant. You now have four choices:
The choice you make now will shape your belief system for a long time. There are roughly two paths:
I think you’ll agree that the woman or couple that chooses life for their child is less likely to support abortion, either before or after that decision. Likewise, many, many women who abort their children become convinced or were already convinced, that abortion is a necessity. They come to believe that even if it is a killing, it is a justifiable killing, and not murder at all. Their experience either establishes this belief or confirms and reinforces it.
Here is why this is relevant to Kevin Williamson.
Which women, making which choice, are more likely to land a job at a prestigious publication like The Atlantic? Women who have their babies? Or women who abort?
In general, the woman with child-care responsibilities is at a competitive disadvantage compared with the woman who does not. This is especially true during the early career-building phase. (This period of life just happens to be near the peak of a woman’s natural fertility. Which produces another whole set of problems. But I digress.)
I don’t say that a woman who has a baby shortly after college could never have a successful career in journalism. I just say it is unlikely. In fact, I will say something even stronger: In the social universe as it is today, delayed child-bearing is the price of entry into the professions. Contraception, backed up by abortion, is necessary for women to compete. The United States Supreme Court said as much in its decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey , back in 1992. (I hasten to add: this is not the only possible social environment in which women can participate in higher education and the professions: it is just the one our culture has created using the abortion license as its touchstone. But I digress.)
That is why mainstream journalism is dominated by people who believe passionately in unlimited abortion. Their lives as they know them, depend upon it. Likewise, pro-choice women professors dominate the academy, including the legal academy.
One exception proves the general rule. Some women who have abortions later become pro-life. These women conclude that they have committed a murder and regret it, sometimes immediately, sometimes after the passage of time. The professional literature on post-abortion mental health confirms this. We have known since the 1990’s that at least 10% of post-abortive women, and possibly as many as 30%, experience regret serious enough to cause mental health issues.
But we seldom hear about these women outside of publications dedicated to the pro-life position. Men are reluctant to say much about women’s feelings about abortion. And the women sociologists and statisticians, who are could study such things are, more than likely, women who cannot relate to such regrets.
It takes a rare warrior like Dr. Priscilla Coleman to study mental health complications associated with abortion. Her fellow academics either don’t want to study the subject or dedicate themselves to tearing her down. Journalists who might cover her studies have no interest in publicizing such results.
Note: I am NOT saying that women professionals conspire to hide or distort evidence, or to drive dissenters from their midst. I AM saying that people who have similar incentives are likely to engage in similar behaviors and hold similar beliefs. They don’t need to plot and scheme and conspire. They study and write about topics that interest them, that they find compelling and believable. The public, in turn, concludes “women are pro-choice” if the women they see in public positions are pro-choice.
There are plenty of pro-life women, some with advanced degrees and great accomplishments to their credit. Anyone who has hung around the pro-life movement knows that women dominate it. But: Women who value their children more than their careers are at a disadvantage in the competition for high-status, high-visibility jobs.
This is all we need to know about why people with pro-abortion views dominate the professions.
And that is why The Atlantic fired Kevin Williamson.
Posted on: Tuesday, December 19, 2017
By Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published at Clash Daily on Dec. 13, 2017.
Former comedian Al Franken is resigning his seat as a Minnesota senator. Multiple women accused him of sexual harassment. The most notorious incident was the photo of him groping a female journalist, while she slept.
In his resignation speech, he made this
“I am proud that, during my time in the Senate, I have used my power to be a champion for women – and that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day.”
I see no surprise here at all. Voting for abortion on demand, paid for if necessary by taxpayers, is only “pro-woman” in a most peculiar sense. It is “pro-women-deserve-to-have-as-much-sex-as-men-do-and-on-the-same-terms.” This is “equality,” you see.
Just one problem. Men don’t have babies, trans-activists to the contrary notwithstanding. For women to have sex on the same terms as men, they must get rid of the baby.
In a sane world, a man of any amount of wealth, power, and influence would understand that children need their own parents. People should only have sex with someone with whom they are willing to co-parent. Which means, be committed to for a lifetime. Which means, or used to mean, getting married. Preferably before the child is even conceived. This connection between sex, babies, and marriage used to be understood by all social classes.
Any sane person should realize that sex has different consequences for men than for women. But in our world, recognizing and making provision for these differences between men and women is discrimination against women. The ideologues of the Sexual Revolution insist that men and women are identical.
This is the real significance of Franken’s 100% pro-abortion voting record. It is not about “liberation” or “equality” for women. It never was. It is now, and always has been, about providing rich and powerful men sexual access to women’s bodies without having to face the natural consequences.
Men like Franken, Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer have plenty of money, power, and influence. Their privilege should not permit them to do whatever the hell they feel like, and face no consequences. But in our Sexual Revolutionary world, they generally do get to do whatever they want.
As long as they can keep all these pesky women from complaining about being used.
Why do women among the Elite classes put up with it? Delayed childbearing is the price of entry into the professions and elite jobs. Women who are highly placed in politics, law, and media cannot imagine how they would have the jobs they have, without abortion as a back-up for contraceptive failure. That is why so many women among Elites are completely committed to the Sexual Revolution. The fact that some women want their babies, doesn’t dawn on them. Neither does the possibility that some women want their babies’ father to be committed to them. Nor does the possibility that they themselves might be better off in a different, more respectful, more reality-based, sexual regime.
When Franken’s senate colleagues, male and female alike, claimed they agonized over asking him to step aside, you may safely assume they were calculating the political costs and benefits. The real impact on real women: not so much. And calling into question the underlying premises of the Sexual Revolution: absolutely out of the question.
Elites, male and female, in both parties, in business, law, media and academia, like the Sexual Revolution, just the way it is. Their current concern for victims of sexual assault and harassment is strictly for show, and will quickly fade. The men like an ideological system that presents them will a steady flow of willing sex partners. Elite men and women alike like a legal system that permits them to wipe out pregnancies, and hence excuse them from the “inconveniences” of parenthood.
Don’t be fooled by Senator Franken’s faux apologies and his colleagues’ faux outrage. He, and they, are only sorry he got caught.
Image: CC by 2.0; https://www.flickr.com/photos/56881272@N02/6761048993
Posted on: Monday, October 09, 2017
By Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published September 2, 2017, at The Stream.
The dust has settled on the clash between the Alt-Right and the Left in Charlottesville. But the labeling (or libeling) of conservatives will be back. Powerful people and organizations on the Left want to link the Alt-Right with the entire Right, as a way of discrediting all conservatives.
I’m a Catholic, pro-life, pro-family Christian. No one would ever expect the Left to speak for me. But the Alt-Right does not speak for me either. In fact, I’ll say something stronger: The Alt-Right and the Life-Style Left have more in common with each other than either of them have with me and my friends.
Here’s why. My friends and I find eugenics self-evidently repulsive. But both the Life-Style Left and the Alt-Right take the correctness of eugenics for granted.
An article entitled, “The Pro-Life Temptation” published on a website entitled, Alt-Right.com, explicitly defends eugenics. “The alt Right appreciates what is superior in man, in the Nietzschean sense … The pro-life position is clearly dysgenic….”
Leftwing advocates for abortion do not tend to promote it as a eugenic measure. But they do promote the idea that a woman may have an abortion for any reason or no reason. And most abortion advocates would consider the desire to avoid a child with a disability a no-brainer of a reason for an abortion.
The Leftist may not have such an elaborate justification as the Alt-Rightist has for why killing a disabled child prior to birth is morally acceptable. But the mother’s desires trump all other moral considerations. If she thinks a disabled child would be too burdensome, expensive or painful to raise, that judgment is sufficient to justify killing the child before birth.
You could call it consumer-sovereignty eugenics. Give the customer whatever she wants. If the consumer of child-services wants a healthy baby, she is entitled to one. If she anticipates having an unhealthy baby, she is entitled to dispose of it.
The pro-life Christian takes a different view. Each child is an unrepeatable gift from God. We ask ourselves, “What is God trying to say to me, by giving me this particular child?” Christian families of Down Syndrome children, (are there any other kind any more?) and the Santorum family with their Trisomy 18 daughter Bella, have a profound answer to this question. God gave us this child to teach us how to love. This answer is unintelligible to both the Alt-Right and the Life-Style Left.
The author at Alt-Right.com continues with his diatribe against the “pro-life temptation”:
We on the alt Right have an appreciation of tribalism and identity. We realize that people are not just autonomous individuals. Life gains its meaning through connections to other members of our families, tribes, and nations. …
The unborn fetus has no connection to anyone else in the community. If it is not even wanted by its own mother, criminalizing abortion means that the state must step in and say that the individual has rights as an individual, despite its lack of connection to any larger social group. …
If there were to be a pro-life position that we could accept, it would be based on arguments about what is good for the community. The case would have to be made that abortion is what is decimating the White population and decreasing its quality. While it’s true that a blanket ban on abortion would probably increase the White population in their numbers, it would, no doubt, decrease the overall quality, as well and leave all races stupider, more criminally prone, and more diseased. …
It’s true that the Life-Style Left does not generally make this type of pro-abortion argument. But they also have no coherent answer to it. When pro-life legislators try to restrict sex-selective or race-specific abortions, the pro-abortion crowd has nothing to say except, “No! No restrictions on ‘choice!’” Under their breath, we can hear the embarrassed whisper, “No matter how heinous the reason for the choice!”
Sex-selection abortion is an odious fact. Some demographers talk about “117 million missing girls,” the excess of the abortions of female over male babies. The Life-Style Left surely must know this by now. They tacitly defend it, by refusing to oppose it.
Likewise, they are surely aware that black women have a disproportionate share of abortions. If they weren’t aware of it, Pastor Walter Hoye II, President of the Issues 4 Life Foundation, made them aware of it with his billboards showing cute black babies with the headline, “Endangered Species.” Or “too many aborted.” Reverend Hoye posted these billboards in predominantly black neighborhoods a few years ago, in Oakland and Los Angeles. The pro-abortion people went ballistic.
The Alt-Right supports killing black babies in utero. The Life-Style Left won’t come right out and agree with this view. But they refuse to condemn it.
The Christian pro-life position is completely different. We are not interested in tribal identities. We believe that every human being is made in the image of God. We really are all equal, in that context, and perhaps only in that context. For every one of us is “wonderfully made.” Yes, even the diseased and disabled, whom the Alt-Right considers “unfit.” Even the “unwanted,” whom the pro-abortion Left literally considers non-persons. The ability to give and receive love is every bit as important to human identity as IQ or health or self-awareness or any of the other arbitrary criteria the pro-abortion people left and right have come up with.
This is why I am increasingly unwilling to position myself anywhere on the Left-Right political spectrum. I am a Catholic Christian. I am not at home in either political party, or in any political movement.
Main Stream Media, go ahead and try to pin the “Alt-Right” label on me. Alt-Right volk, go ahead and attack me for being not part of your tribe. I couldn’t care less. I and my fellow Christians, are truly “not of this world.” “Follower of Jesus” is the only label I want. May I be worthy of it.
Posted on: Sunday, January 22, 2017
By Ryan MacPherson, a Ruth Institute Circle of Experts member
This article was first published at hausvater.org on January 22, 2009 (36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade).
Book Review: Won by Love, Norma McCorvey (with Gary Thomas), (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998)
In her own small world she was Norma McCorvey, a battered, then abandoned, wife and drug addict, pregnant but not desiring a child. The wider world would know her as “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. The story told there was tragic: a woman gang raped, forced into pregnancy, and denied the opportunity to terminate that pregnancy since abortion was outlawed in Texas. This story, however, was a lie—fabricated by attorney Sarah Weddington, who herself had obtained an illegal abortion and now was on a mission to make abortion available legally. When McCorvey became “Roe,” she provided the tool Weddington needed to push the issue in the courts. But after McCorvey signed “Roe’s” affidavit, affirming the fabricated story as her own, Weddington reneged on her promise to help McCorvey deal with her crisis pregnancy. Weddington did not even so much as telephone McCorvey until four months after the child was born.
The “Roe” of Roe v. Wade did not abort her baby, a child saved, ironically, by an attorney’s need for a pregnant plaintiff in order to sue for abortion access. McCorvey had never even been inside an abortion clinic, though later she would work for one. She was both the victim of deceit and the perpetrator of deception. Marijuana helped her to cope. So did alcohol. And coarse humor, too: “I tell women we aren’t killing little babies on Wednesday; they have to come in Thursday through Saturday to do it.” (150) But her verbal defense mechanisms, like her lesbian relationship with an abortion clinic coworker, only took her deeper into the pit of despair and anger, a bitter mixture of relentless grief and suppressed guilt.
Even “Jane Roe” knew that abortion killed babies. While working at A Choice for Women, she tried to refer a sixth-month pregnant woman to an ob-gyn, but her supervisor insisted that the woman have access to the abortion she was seeking. Unable to cope, McCorvey had to take the afternoon off; she binge-drank for the two weeks following. Back at the clinic, she refused to be assigned to the “Parts Room,” where the remains of aborted children were stored in jars for transfer to a disposal facility, after first being counted and collated to ensure that no body parts were left in their mothers’ wombs following the procedure. She did, however, accept an assignment to console women afterwards, who grieved in the recovery room with confessions of having just killed their babies. No, it was not knowledge that McCorvey or her coworkers lacked; abortion clearly killed babies and devastated their mothers.
Love, not knowledge, was the missing piece in the puzzle of their fractured lives. And “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) God had turned the heart of Flip Benham, an alcoholic pro-choice unbeliever, toward Himself, transforming him into a Christian pro-life pastor who joined Operation Rescue. McCorvey called him “Flip Venom” when Operation Rescue moved into the office space next to A Choice for Women. The name-calling didn’t stick, however, since no venom came from Flip’s mouth. He spoke in love, as did his fellow “rescuers,” including Ronda Mackie and, the most loving and lovable of all, her seven-year-old daughter Emily.
Emily played on the sidewalk in front of the two adjacent offices: her mother’s Operation Rescue and McCorvey’s A Choice for Women. It was a brilliant Operation Rescue strategy: cute children playing gleefully outside, testifying by their casual existence the severe reality behind the “services” provided by A Choice for Women. Emily did more than deter women from seeking abortions; she smiled and greeted, she hugged and conversed with Norma McCorvey, a woman who had given birth to three children, aborted none, and yet facilitated the abortions of many at her clinic and millions through her role as “Jane Roe.” Finally, McCorvey admitted that she loved children. “Then why,” asked Emily, so innocently and so gently, “are you letting the little ones die inside?” (91) Had Pastor Flip asked the question, or any other adult, McCorvey would have responded with her standard mouthful of foul obscenity. For a seven-year-old girl, however, she had no defense. “I never answered her,” she later recalled. “I couldn’t.” (91)
In the months that followed, McCorvey became attached to Emily, and to her mother Ronda. A budding friendship bridged the gap between an Operation Rescue worker and an abortion clinic employee. McCorvey found herself, inexplicably, referring late-term clients away from A Choice for Women and toward Operation Rescue, knowing full well that since late-term abortions had the best profit margin she was sabotaging her boss’s business. One day Ronda Mackie took Norma McCorvey out for lunch and mentioned that Emily had nearly been aborted. Ronda’s fiancé and parents-in-law-to-be had urged the termination of an inconvenient pregnancy, back when Ronda herself was still an unbeliever.
Now the abortion question was too personalized to remain a question; the answer was clear, even to McCorvey, and made clearer still by the love of the Operation Rescue picketers, who never returned McCorvey’s invectives. “I love you,” echoed the voice of little Emily, a survivor of the abortion culture. “I forgive you,” said Pastor Flip, himself a penitent sinner.
Americans mark January 22 as the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but for “Jane Roe” the real turning point came on August 8, 1995. On that day she “renounce[d] the devil and all his works, and the sinful desires of the flesh” (187). She repented of her drug abuse, her lesbian self-defilement, her hatred toward pro-lifers, and her role in the deaths of the 35 million children aborted in America during the preceding 22 years. When Pastor Flip immersed her in the waters of Holy Baptism, she arose a new person. She had been won by love.
Her story amazes the reader, in places seeming too good to be true. But on closer inspection, it’s too good to be false. Love, not hatred, changes hearts,
even the hardest of hearts. The conversion narratives of Ronda Mackie and Flip Benham are encouraging enough; the redemption of “Jane Roe” into “Norma
McCorvey, Christian” (177) reveals the Gospel at its brightest. But the message does not stop there; the Gospel keeps shining, as forgiveness in Christ
also transforms Connie Gonzales, her former coworker and some-time lesbian partner. Remarkably, “Mary Doe” of Doe v. Bolton—the companion
case to Roe v. Wade—also repented. “Doe” (Sarah Cano) joined McCorvey in March 1997 as the two women publicly identified themselves
as “new creatures in Christ and children of God” while dedicating the National Memorial for Unborn Children in Chattanooga, Tennessee (236).
Forgiveness does not come easily; Christ suffered greatly and died to make it possible. “It was so hard for me to conceive that the Lord had forgiven me,” acknowledges McCorvey, “especially after so many children had been killed. But He has forgiven me and restored me. And, gradually, I have learned to trust His Word more than my own feelings.” (228) Though painful emotions still return, bringing with them doubts concerning God’s love, McCorvey finds comfort especially in these passages: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17); “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Norma McCorvey’s story concludes with words of hope. “If God can forgive Norma McCorvey—Jane Roe—and her role in abortion, surely
he can forgive you as well.” (229) Her conversion reveals not only the limitless love of Christ, but also the effectiveness of Christ’s servants who
“speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)
For Ronda Mackie, loving Norma McCorvey meant trusting her to watch over her daughter Emily who began regularly visiting the reception room of A Choice for Women. Emily brought gifts of her own artwork, labeled “Jesus loves you, Miss Norma.” A child’s love communicated a message that anti-abortion ranting and raving, with slogans like “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart,” could not. “This is what happens when Christians are willing to face their enemies and adopt the most powerful strategy ever devised—the strategy displayed by Christ’s death on the cross, the strategy of laying down your life so that others, including the unborn, might live. This is what it is like to be won by love.” (240)
McCorvey’s autobiography calls to repentance both the abortion perpetrator and the abortion protester: the one for taking innocent life and the other for too often fighting a culture of death with a culture of hate. Either way, the world needs more people like Emily, a child spared from abortion and a spokesperson of truth in love. And to become like Emily, one first needs Christ, who did not spare Himself, but lived and died for the truth in love. Christ practiced “lifestyle witnessing” to the extreme. The gift of His Spirit empowers others to do the same.
If more people would read Won by Love, then they could understand more clearly the gracious will of God amidst one of our nation’s greatest tragedies. Let’s just hope they don’t keep it to themselves. Christ’s love, communicated in actions and not just in words, transformed America’s most infamous abortion advocate into a Christian defender of purity and life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if no one could ever hear the phrase “Roe v. Wade” without remembering “Jane Roe’s” repentance and Christ’s forgiveness?
Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson is the founding president of The Hausvater Project. He lives with his wife Marie and their children in Mankato, Minnesota, where he teaches American history, history of science, and bioethics at Bethany Lutheran College. For more information, visit www.ryancmacpherson.com.