When Does Life Begin? The Politics, The Demographics of Pro-Life


Watch Kristi Burton, founder Colorado for Equal Rights

She is The Roe Effect. She is the future. She is the Change.


Thank you (foot)notes:

The Roe Effect on Wikipedia,

The Roe effect is a hypothesis about the long-term effect of abortion on the political balance of the United States, which suggests that since supporters of abortion rights cause the erosion of their own political base, the practice of abortion will eventually lead to the restriction or illegalization of abortion.

Is America Trending Pro-Life? Why Should a Marketer Care?

James Taranto, from The Wall Street Journal, says,

[o]ur theory is that abortion is making America more conservative than it otherwise would be.

We base this on two assumptions. First, that liberal and Democratic women are more likely to have abortions. Second, that children’s political views tend to reflect those of their parents–not exactly, of course, and not in every case, but on average. Thus abortion depletes the next generation of liberals and eventually makes the population more conservative. We call this the Roe effect, after Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.

An Alert Reader sends an old Paul Greenberg column; at the jump.

Don’t know if you’ve seen this piece or the one at Easter. To my mind this is one of his finest, if not his best. Rereading it just now made me weep all over again.

Note well that this piece is going to be out there on the web until all the lights go out. People will be reading it long after Greenberg is dead . . . and the images he conjures here will make these future readers weep and at least dimly intuit a small part of a great truth that is too large for any of us to fully grasp.

Paul Greenberg

Night scene, night thoughts

At 10:24 on a cold Saturday night, there are 10 scattered souls in the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Saint Andrew here in Little Rock. They come, they go, like souls anywhere. Sometimes there are a few more under the high gothic arches, sometimes a few less. The great, graven doors swing silently open to let us in, then close as silently behind us. Sanctuary.

It is an all-night vigil on the 26th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the decision that has made the abortion of millions legal, constitutional, unquestionable and always questionable. For Roe v. Wade is one of those decisions, like Dred Scott v. Sandford, that stands like a great divide in American life.

Some celebrate this anniversary, others mourn. Some see it as a victory for an enlightened cause, a milestone in the march of national progress. Others feel its presence as dark as night, as dark as death itself. It’s what happens every time a divided court takes it upon itself to solve a deeply troubling moral issue once and for all – – with a single stroke. The wound never heals.

The rallies were already over in Washington by now. For the 26th straight year, protesters gathered in the Ellipse south of the White House for their March for Life. “Public opinion is changing,” said one of the crowd, a dentist from Toms River, N.J. “The reality of the cruelty and violence is becoming more apparent.”

Across town, Hillary Clinton had addressed an enthusiastic rally of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. ” We should all take heart,” she said, “that despite many attempts to chip away at its guarantees, Roe is still the law of the land!”

[Clinton and Obama both support the killing of babies.]

The applause and cheers of those celebrating Roe, together with the hymns and prayers of the protesters in Washington, have echoed out by now. Here in Little Rock, the old cathedral on Louisiana Street is filled only with silence. By now tomorrow’s paper is about to be put to bed. It will be full of news, news, news. The day before, a series of tornadoes had torn through the state. On the same day Bishop McDonald of the Arkansas diocese, who was to have led the March for Life here in Arkansas, had needed a quintuple bypass. The impeachment trial continued. Winds and whirlwinds.

In this sanctuary, there is respite. People drift in and out, saying silently whatever people say in prayer. And there are exactly 10 of them at the moment. Just enough to make what Jews call a minyan, the number needed to hold a service, rather than pray individually. You need 10 to say the kaddish together, the prayer for the dead that doesn’t mention death, but only praises the G-d of life. “Here I stand before You,” as it says in the first prayer on arising in the morning, “O G-d of life, who delightest in life.”

I remember waiting for the 10th man in the back of my father’s store when one of the neighboring merchants had a yahrzeit, the anniversary of a death in the family, and needed nine other Jews for evening prayers. That way, the kaddish could be said together. The men would show up one by one, some earlier, some later, and wait around for the others. There would always be a straggler or two. Not being bar mitzvah yet, I wasn’t old enough to count toward a minyan; sometimes I’d be sent up the street to find the 10th man. (“My father says you’re needed, you’ll make 10.”) No one ever refused.

There was some kind of magic in the words, their sound and rhythm familiar to me long before I had any idea of what they meant or why they were being said. Weary at the end of the day, the swaying men would be energized by the ancient prayer. Grieving, the mourner would be recalled to life.

Tonight I’d made 10. But whom were we saying kaddish for? In the more formal memorial services, the names of the dead are read. But these dead have no names. Formed in the womb, fearfully and wonderfully made, as it says in the Book. [Bible] But without a name. They never saw the light of day. But still people come drifting into the cathedral, each one the 10th in a way, part of this silent minyan, drawn to say a kaddish of their own. For the nameless. No one refuses.

Here there is no rhetoric, no arm-waving oratory, none of the certainty, the too-sureness that seems to characterize all sides in any only political debate. In all the cathedral’s spaces, there is no room for man’s righteousness, or man’s judgment, not here. For guilt, yes.

[We all fall short of the the glory of God.]

One woman across the way stands with her arms lifted at her sides, palms upward, perfectly still, in the instinctive posture of supplication. And expiation. The two are not so far apart. There are things we cannot control, but that we feel responsible for. We don’t ask that the burden be lifted – – that would not be just – – but shared. Isn’t that what grace is? How else shall we bear it, even dare think about it?

I see others come in, walk silently down the aisle, kneel before they enter a pew. All is done, all is spoken in silence. The blessed sacrament is exposed, like a beating heart. I am a visitor here, and glad of the welcome, but I’m not homeless. Claimed since Egypt, I’d have a home even if I had no roof over my head except the starry sky. Talk about a cathedral.

I resist the urge to kneel. That’s their custom, so I was taught, not ours. It is not permitted us. We may bend the knee during the triumphal prayer at the end of every service, the prayer for the unity of all when His kingdom comes, His will be done. But we may not kneel. For man is made in His image, and whatever He has done, whatever He has permitted to be done, we must respect His image, not prostrate it. Whatever suffering He permits, even nameless suffering, He is deserving of that much respect. He had such faith in us.

No wonder, as it is written, it repented the Lord that he had made man, and grieved him at his heart. Have we repented that we create Him daily in our own image, or grieve that we no longer much care? Who has more faith, the militant unbeliever or the respectable citizen who has no strong feelings either way? At least the atheist still has enough faith to fight Him….

Then the night thoughts cease, and give way to a blessed stillness, without the hurt of thought, without the pretension, the vanity, of thought. The light in the cathedral sifts upward. It is a night watch, but we wait in the assurance of dawn. We wait with intention. We wait, as the prophet said, in expectation. Actively.

Then it is time to go, out past the book everybody signs, as at a funeral. Others come in, drawn by whatever impels them late on a dark night. I think I know. There is something familiar about their faces. They’re here to say kaddish.

Editor’s note. This first appeared January 31, 1999, in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Reprinted with [out] the author’s permission. [I hope he doesn’t mind…]


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