Culture: January 2008 Archives

Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that overturned restrictions and prohibitions on abortion in all 50 states.

To mark the day, there's a special Blogs for Life event happening at Family Research Council HQ in Washington, overlooking the annual March for Life. Kevin McCullough, who can be heard on BlogTalkRadio and read online at is broadcasting live from Blogs for Life today at 1 p.m. Central Time. The live call-in number is (347) 205-9765.

There are two fronts (at least) in the fight to protect innocent human life in the womb -- the political front and the hearts-and-minds front. We are closer than ever to having a Federal judiciary that recognizes Roe v. Wade and its companion decision Doe v. Bolton as, in Fred Thompson's phrase, "bad law and bad medicine." Sadly, the prospects of progress on the political front in the Federal realm are not looking good right now. (There's still hope of progress on the margins in states like Oklahoma, where pro-life bills have enjoyed broad bipartisan support and newly installed Republican committee chairmen have allowed those bills to progress.)

But if you follow the BatesLine linkblog, you've already seen that there is encouraging news on the hearts-and-minds front. Stephen Chapman's latest column, "The Growing Aversion to Abortion," shows changes in attitudes reflected in public polls and a declining abortion rate:

In 2003, Gallup found, one of every three kids from age 13 to 17 said abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. More revealing yet is that 72 percent said abortion is 'morally wrong.'... The report on abortion rates from the Guttmacher Institute suggests that the evolution of attitudes has transformed behavior. Since 1990, the number of abortions has dropped from 1.61 million to 1.21 million. The abortion rate among women of childbearing age has declined by 29 percent.... In 1990, 30.4 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion. Last year, the figure was 22.4 percent.

Chapman presents one explanation for the shift in opinion:

This growing aversion to abortion may be traced to better information. When the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, most people had little understanding of fetal development. But the proliferation of ultrasound images from the womb, combined with the dissemination of facts by pro-life groups, has lifted the veil. In the new comedy "Juno," a pregnant 16-year-old heads for an abortion clinic, only to change her mind after a teenage protester tells her, "Your baby probably has a beating heart, you know. It can feel pain. And it has fingernails."

"Juno" has been faulted as a "fairy tale" that sugarcoats the realities of teen pregnancy. But if it's a fairy tale, that tells something about how abortion violates our most heartfelt ideals -- and those of our adolescent children. Try to imagine a fairy tale in which the heroine has an abortion and lives happily ever after.

On a partly personal note: One of the speakers at this morning's Blogs for Life session was author Dawn Eden. It was three years ago today that she and I were in Oklahoma City at a blogger bash, a chance for her to meet a number of blogpals she had made here in the state. It was a tough time in her life: Just four days before, she had been fired from her job as a copy editor at the New York Post, mainly because of the ardent pro-life views she expressed on her blog.

As that door closed, many others opened. Since that time, Dawn has published a highly regarded and successful book on chastity for single young adult women and has had the opportunity to speak to groups across the U.S. and overseas. It's exciting to see how God has given her ever-broadening scope to use her gifts to influence and educate on important issues, such as the sanctity of human life, which are dear to her heart. On the acknowledgments page of her book, she mentions the editor who fired her and the reporter who pushed for her firing and cites Genesis 50:20: "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

You'll want to check out her recent entry, Supreme Irony.

MORE: In a lovely "coincidence," the Academy Awards nominations came out today and Juno, notable for its pro-life elements, was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (for Jason Reitman), Best Actress (Ellen Page), and Original Screenplay (Diablo Cody).

Brian Ervin has the story in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly about the attempt to ban Southwestern Oklahoma State University employees from using the word "Christmas":

While there wasn't an outright "ban" on the holiday or its mention, [SWOSU spokesman Brian] Adler said university employees were told to refrain from including "Merry Christmas" in e-mail tag lines, which are only to include an employee's name, title and contact information.

Adler insisted that whatever "ban" SWOSU imposed on Christmas was confined to e-mail signatures, but not from e-mails themselves, nor from any other means of expression.

He said the policy was implemented for the purpose of ensuring that the "Merry Christmas" greeting wasn't mistaken by recipients as a sentiment officially expressed by the university, rather than from the individual sender, to the exclusion of other holidays or of well-wishing for students and university affiliates of other faiths.

That story doesn't match what Matt Staver of Liberty Counsel was told:

As Staver explained, it all started on the Wednesday before Christmas when Liberty Counsel received a call from Weatherford City Councilor Warren Goldman, who told them of SWOSU banning Christmas on Edmondson's advice.

The Liberty Counsel front man told UTW that he's never had any direct information about the AG office's responsibility for the policy, but said he spoke with the SWOSU Provost, Dr. Blake Sonove, who confirmed to him that the policy was in place and that it was implemented upon advice from Edmondson.

He also said Admissions Coordinator Connie Phillips, Human Resources Director David Misak and Vice President of Finance Tom Fagen each confirmed the same.

Edmondson's involvement may have been a misunderstanding on Councilor Goldman's part, although, if Staver's accounts of his conversations with SWOSU staffers is correct, it was a widespread misunderstanding.

"In my conversation with Dr. Sonove, I told him, 'Your attorney isn't the one who's going to foot the bill for these lawsuits,'" Goldman explained.

"I don't remember exactly how the conversation went," he continued, explaining that when Sonove mentioned something about the state Attorney General ultimately being responsible to defend against potential litigation against the state university, Goldman left with the impression that Edmondson had been the source of the bum legal advice.

"That was a misperception on my part," said Goldman.

Taking the new information from Ervin's story with the earlier statements by university officials, I'm still persuaded that some official at SWOSU tried to pull a fast one and got caught.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Culture category from January 2008.

Culture: December 2007 is the previous archive.

Culture: March 2008 is the next archive.

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