Following the Actual Science

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

While the celestial heavens and the deepest pockets of the ocean remain mysterious to us on many levels, modern technology has made them less so, providing new and fascinating insights that we once lacked. 

The same is true of another once baffling frontier: the womb.

Although it is the origination point of every human being who has ever walked this earth, for the greater part of history we’ve known little about our first home and how we came to be.

It was only in the late 1800’s, for example, that scientists understood that the union of male and female sex cells creates another human being. But beyond that, much remained a mystery.

Without any means to glimpse into the gestational cosmos, scientists could only speculate as to what occurs during pregnancy.  Even well into the 20th Century, we possessed surprisingly little information about prenatal development.

As late as the 1969 edition of the Cumulative Index Medicus, a massive book listing every article published in every medical journal in the world, had just five articles under the heading of “fetus, physiology and anatomy of.”

The void of facts made the product of abortion-on-demand easier to market. After all, it (not he or she) was just a clump of cells.  

The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson addressed this lack of empirical data on human development in his autobiography The Hand of God.  And he discussed the technological lightning bolt that struck him in the late 1970’s which led him to abandon his lucrative abortion practice and leadership role in the pro-abortion movement to become a staunch pro-life advocate.

That transformative tool was ultrasound which provided a window that revealed the miraculous process of human development. These scientific advancements, along with those arising from the study of genetics, sparked an abundance of research into life in utero.

Nathanson credits ultrasound with helping us “to learn more about the fetus since its advent than in almost all the history of medicine before that time.”

By 1979, he accounted for twenty-eight hundred articles on fetology in the Index Medicus, and by 1994 close to five thousand. Now, almost 30 years later, how much more research has been done and articles written on human life in its earliest stages?

How little we knew then; how much more we know now.

It might be easier to understand someone’s support of abortion back in the “Dark Ages” when so little of fetology was known. 

But how can anyone today, especially those who seemingly espouse science as their barometer of all things true, justify abortion? 

They would have to be blind to facts. Deaf to a heartbeat. Indifferent to an innocent life moving right before their eyes.  Numb to dismemberment. Desensitized to a violent death.

Callous to the crude disposal of human life.

They would be and, in fact, are the ultimate science-deniers.

So let us be relentless messengers of the beautiful biological truths we have learned in the last half century. 

Let us incessantly proclaim the fact that every human life begins at the moment of fertilization.

Let us truly follow the science to build a culture of life.

A Film Too Important to Not See

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Where were you in 1973?

Perhaps you remember it well. Perhaps you weren’t even born.

I was five years old, blissfully unaware of the volatile changes occurring in our culture.

It would be many years before I would know what Roe v. Wade was. By that time, an abortion narrative had been carefully crafted and a misleading lexicon taken hold, phrases like “pro-choice”, “reproductive rights”, and even “access to health care.”

Which is why the movie Roe v Wade is so fascinating and so very relevant. It offers a fast-paced, fact-checked depiction of events leading to the most controversial court case of our time, a historical moment that preceded many Americans alive today.

For those familiar with the history of abortion in this country, this movie smoothly ties together main players and events, helping the viewer to see the big picture. For others, the film will expose how the true story of Roe has been omitted from decades of abortion propaganda.

Told through the lens of Dr. Bernard Nathanson (played by co-producer Nick Loeb), the movie captures his evolving relationship with abortion: from paying for a girlfriend’s abortion to co-founding the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) to becoming New York’s busiest abortionist. With over 70,000 deaths attributed to his practice, he became known as “The  King of Abortion” and “The Scraper.” But as the film depicts, Nathanson experiences a heart-wrenching epiphany that leads him to abandon his lucrative work and become an outspoken pro-life activist.

As Nathanson narrates his journey, we meet his sidekick Lader, who has authored a book called Abortion. He recruits friend and feminist Betty Friedan to the abortion cause. Reluctant to make abortion the focus of the women’s rights movement, Friedan does ultimately bring the National Organization for Women (NOW) into the fight, but observes, “You boys are only in favor of abortion because it’s cheaper than child support.”

For Larry Lader allies are not enough. He believes every cause has to identify an enemy, and for the abortion movement, he shrewdly chooses the biggest defender of the unborn, the Catholic Church. A master media manipulator, Lader is able to vilify the Church while promoting his newly-coined term “pro-choice” and his “abortion-on-demand” agenda in major publications.

Today’s viewers may be shocked to see the dominant role that men, not women, actually played in legalizing abortion.  In addition, to Nathanson and Lader, the Supreme Court at that time was all male, none of whom could have ever felt the flutter of life in their belly or witnessed an ultrasound image of that life.  The movie reveals that two justices, Potter Stewart and Harry Blackmun, actually had family members who volunteered at Planned Parenthood while Roe was in the courts, yet they didn’t recuse themselves.

A little-known fact explained in the movie is that arguments for Roe were heard twice, once in 1971 and then again in 1973. Justice Warren Burger (played by John Voight) insisted on the second hearing since two seats on the Court had been vacant the first time around. With a case as controversial as Roe, he felt a decision should be made by a full court. Tragically, in the time between oral arguments, Burger and Blackmun would switch their votes to be in favor of Roe, likely a result of media and family pressure.

An outstanding woman in the film is the poised and brilliant Dr. Mildred Jefferson, the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Recognizing that abortion violates the Hippocratic Oath she took, she decides she cannot sit on the sidelines.  “Life begins at conception. As a physician, I know this.” She goes on to become President of the newly formed National Right to Life Committee, now the oldest and largest pro-life organization in our country.

Although dense with people, events, and information, the movie flows easily, thanks to Nathanson’s retrospective voice framing the story. The extensive, detailed research that underscores the film is impressive, making this an excellent educational tool not only for today but for generations to come.

Many scenes will give the viewer pause: the arrest of clergy involved in a secret abortion-referral network, Planned Parenthood fundraising at the Playboy Mansion, Nathanson’s overseas training in “assembly-line” abortion methods, the emotional recitation of the diary of the unborn, and the stirring closing argument offered by Robert Flowers.

Many of the lines are thought-provoking. Throughout the film, Constitutional law professor Robert M. Byrn offers bits of wisdom, quotations from historical figures like Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall.

But perhaps it is his own words to his students that should resonate with us long after viewing the movie, impelling us to never stop advocating for the innocent, vulnerable child in the womb.

“Don’t you think someone’s hopelessness should motivate us to protect them, not destroy them?”

(For $12.99 plus tax, you can stream Roe v Wade to any device by clicking here.)


The Difference a Law Can Make

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

A happily married woman who delights in her two children may not seem like someone who would get an abortion.

Yet, Sue Ellen Browder did.  In her book Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement, she reveals the mindset that led her to a decision she would later regret.

It’s a mindset that, decades later, still lures women to abort. At its core is the universal emotion of fear.

Browder feared that she and her husband, struggling writers working temp jobs to keep the lights on, could not afford another child. The 1970’s Cosmo culture in which she was steeped validated that fear and gave her “permission” to act on it. “In my mind, abortion was an integral part of the women’s movement, a right as fundamental as equal pay for equal work,” she writes. As “watered-down Christians,” she says her husband even tried to find justification for abortion in the Bible.  

But Browder admits that she would never have considered abortion were it not legal in 1974. “Looking up some sleazy criminal abortionist in a back alley would be too hideous a prospect for words.” An important admission that we need to bear in mind today as we seek to change laws to protect life.

Getting a legal abortion in the “bright, clean hospital” where she had already given birth, however, gave it an air of legitimacy, as though it were just like any other medical procedure. “I didn’t think of myself as killing a child. I thought of myself as solving a problem.”

The abortion was excruciatingly painful, both physically and emotionally. In an act of self-preservation, Browder blocked much of the details from her mind, rendering the memory a blur.  

Afterward, she numbly returned to work. “I have just snuffed out a tiny life over my lunch hour.  I have betrayed the bond of love that holds the universe together. And no one I work with seems any the wiser.”

To prevent any possible feelings from surfacing, Browder buried herself in distractions. She blamed the persistent angst and depression she felt on the couple’s continually volatile finances.  Her husband struggled emotionally as well, and they chose to stifle their pain by never speaking of the abortion.

One day, however, Browder found herself offering a gesture of atonement. She spontaneously purchased a brand new wooden crib and mattress and donated it to a pro-life center for “some struggling mother who, despite her poverty, had chosen to keep her baby and to reach out humbly to others for help.” Something she wished she had done.

Browder’s thinking shifted and she questioned the faux feminism that portrayed abortion as the great liberator. She recognized that she herself was deceived by the very propaganda she helped disseminate as a writer for Cosmopolitan.

Her entry into the Episcopal Church, coinciding with her work on a book about human interactions, resulted in a new understanding of personhood. She realized an interconnectedness between all humans, especially mother and child.

It gradually became clear to Browder that the women’s movement embodied by Betty Friedan and the National Organization for Women was rooted in flawed thinking that “falsely isolates a woman from God, from a true relationship of love with a man, and even from the dance of life in her own body.”

Browder had succumbed to fear in getting her abortion, but she would no longer succumb to the lies that pitted women against their children.

Her journey was taking a new turn, one that would lead her to a surprising place.

(Please join us in reading Chapter 13-18 and the Epilogue for next week.)

Quotable quotes:

“It’s not only a tiny little life who dies on this gurney. Part of my heart dies along with him.” (p. 105)

“Men, stripped of the maturity than comes with responsible fatherhood, were becoming self-absorbed Peter Pans who couldn’t grow up.” (p. 122)

So Much More than a Statistic

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Somewhere in Pennsylvania in 2019, an abortion was performed on a 12-year-old girl.

We don’t know her name.  Or her story.

We do know she was not the only one. The 2020 PA Department of Health annual report on abortion reveals that three other 12-year-old girls also had abortions. And twelve 13-year-olds. Fifty-five 14-year-olds.  One hundred sixteen 15-year-olds. All in our Commonwealth, all in one year.

We know nothing of the circumstances surrounding their pregnancies, but we do know that each of these precious young women, many still in middle school, have endured something they shouldn’t have.

They- and their unborn children-are more than a statistic.

Compounding the tragedy of ending an innocent life in the sanctuary of the womb is the additional horror that abortion fails to protect vulnerable young girls from trauma.  They too are victims and deserving of our help and protection.  

What steps did the abortion business take to make sure these young women were not being returned to a situation marked by unhealthy relationships, abuse, molestation, or sex trafficking?  What help did they offer to assure they are not repeat customers?

Or was the abortion simply a financial transaction, where problematic “evidence” is “erased” for a dollar amount while the root problem itself remains unaddressed?  Is not abortion then the abuser’s tool, allowing for continued exploitation of young women?

Abortion ends the life of a human already created, but it does not end the situation that may have given rise to that life. And so the cycle continues.

While many who support abortion claim it liberates women, the fact is abortion can enslave women to toxic relationships and perpetuate abuse. Coercion, whether strong or subtle, characterizes almost 2/3 of abortions as reported by the women who get them.

And yet, the abortion business seems to have no desire to protect vulnerable women or reduce abortion, even among teens. In fact, former abortion workers report that the industry actually aspires to have women come back for multiple abortions. Some centers actually set abortion quotas for a given year knowing it is their most profitable “service.”

It’s a most sinister business model, but, sadly, one that seems to work for the abortion industry. In 2019, 47.3% of abortions performed in Pennsylvania were repeat abortions. Of those, 4.6% (1,437) were to women having had four or more previous abortions and 5.5% (1726) to women having had three previous abortions.

These women-and girls- are so much more than a statistic or business transaction.

They deserve better from a society that claims to be “woke” and to fight for marginalized populations. We afford more legal protection to animals than to these precious human beings.

These women deserve to be helped out of difficult situations and protected from harm. They deserve to be supported, encouraged, and empowered. And their innocent children, no matter the circumstances of their conception, deserve a chance at life, not the death penalty.

Behind each statistic is a true-life story with real people in need. The pro-life movement is working hard to rewrite a better, brighter, and life-affirming next chapter for all of them.   

The Propaganda that drove Roe

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

The fourth installment in our weekly blog on Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution to Highjack the Women’s Movement by Sue Ellen Browder.

The longing for truth is etched on the human heart, leading us to search in all kinds of places for it. Yet, often, we are left dissatisfied.

Such was the case with two very different people, a man and a woman, in the early 1970’s: a struggling freelance writer and an accomplished Supreme Court Justice.

Unknown to one another, they were both exploring the same questions regarding women and equality.  

Sue Ellen Browder admits in her memoir Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution to Highjack the Women’s Movement that she sought answers in Abraham Maslow’s humanistic psychology of “self-as-God” and in Germaine Greer’s “fearlessness” as the path to true freedom. Consequently, with disregard to her own moral compass, she threw herself into her career, certain it was there she would find true self-fulfillment.

Around the same time, Justice Harry Blackmun, a Republican, Methodist, and family man, struggled for months to write the majority opinion for Roe vs. Wade. His first draft was roundly rejected by liberal colleagues who considered it too weak an argument for abortion. Blackmun vowed to come up with a stronger legal opinion.

His 28 year-old law clerk, known for his excellent writing skills, would come to his rescue. He possessed a book that could be used to bolster the case. Abortion: The first authoritative and documented report on the laws and practices governing abortion in the U.S. and around the world, and how-for the sake of women everywhere-they can and must be reformed was written by National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws co-founder Larry Lader.  

This particular book had convinced National Organization for Women president Betty Friedan to insert an abortion platform into the women’s movement. It would be footnoted in Blackmun’s majority opinion no less than seven times. The problem, however, was that it was far more propaganda than fact.

Browder writes, “For when Blackmun accepted Larry Lader, a mere magazine writer, as a reliable authority on history, philosophy, and theology, he became a blind man following a blind guide.”

A newly crafted opinion was finalized on August 10, 1972 and in a highly unusual move, Blackmun’s law clerk circulated it to the other justices before final oral arguments without being first fact-checked. He believed that among other things, this step “might well influence voting.”

The strategy worked in that six other justices joined Blackmun in the final vote on Roe. However, the opinion itself was widely criticized in the legal world.  One law professor and well-known abortion supporter, John Hart Ely, called the opinion “bad,” saying “it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”

Blackmun was accused by pro-abortion historian David Garrow of ceding “far too much of his judicial authority to his clerks,” to a degree that was “indefensible.”

Even Blackmun himself remained uneasy with the decision, stating that the ruling might go down as one of the worst mistakes in the court’s history.

He, like Browder, had searched for answers in places where truth could not be found. 

And the consequences for both Browder and for our country would be devastating.

 We’re doubling up for next week. Join us in reading Chapters 9-12.

Quotable Quotes

“Perhaps they realized that legal abortion could be extremely helpful to men- enabling them to escape paternity suits, years of child support, social embarrassment, and the wrath of betrayed wives.” (p. 93)

“Despite his best efforts, Harry failed to see he had embraced a well-crafted verbal mirage, mistaking it for truth.” (p. 95)

Subverted: A Mere 57 Women Launch the Culture of Abortion

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

It might seem implausible that a small number of people would wield such power, but truth, after all, is stranger than fiction.

And the truth about what happened at New York City’s Mayflower Hotel on November 18, 1967 is not well known.  So the story must be told.

In her expose Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement, Sue Ellen Browder uses transcribed minutes of the National Organization for Women’s Second Convention to reveal the tug of war between factions, the rising hostilities over abortion, and the final vote that would drive one-third of the attendees to part ways with NOW.

Browder allows us to be “A Fly on the Wall of the Chinese Room,” witnessing the sabotage of a once-noble movement as the group carves out their own Bill of Rights.  Eighty-nine people registered for the convention, including a handful of men, but 105 attend, the result of students and radicals showing up.

Two leaders sit side-by-side at the head table. One is 46 year-old author Betty Friedan, a flamboyant, combative atheist and mother to three children whose volatile marriage is headed for divorce. Only recently had she accepted abortion as an issue essential to women’s rights, thanks to the influence of friend Larry Lader.

Seated beside her as the parliamentarian charged with keeping peace is much older Marguerite Rawalt, a dignified, retired attorney. Known as a bridge builder and D.C. insider, her nationwide connections with professional women include long-time friend Alice Paul, leader of the suffragette movement.  Widowed after 26 years of a happy marriage, Marguerite’s deep Presbyterian faith guides her world view. 

While their style and life experience differ greatly, much unites Betty and Marguerite in their work for women’s rights: equal pay for equal work, increasing roles in the political arena, and expanding educational opportunities.

But the abortion issue, saved for the final resolution of the convention, divides them. To the shock of many, Betty presses for full repeal of all abortion laws, sparking fiery debate among NOW members. Further, she fails to show equal treatment to opposing sides, frequently shutting people down. Dr. Shepherd Aaronson, the only doctor in the room, was “shut up in no uncertain terms” while women who knew nothing of abortion were allowed to speak. 

Many press for a delay in making a statement on abortion until further study, but a small group of radicals grows increasingly vocal. When a revised statement about abortion is offered, Friedan scoffs.  “We should not compromise,” she declares. “We must pioneer.”

A furious Marguerite Rawalt fears that abortion will take over NOW’s agenda and replace the “genuine legal battles for equality.” She is far from alone.

When a vote is taken, a “Mere 57” members call for the total repeal of all abortion laws as part of NOW’s platform. In that moment “the women’s movement and the sexual revolution became united as one in the eyes of the media and the world. The unholy marriage was consummated.”

While Friedan was able to secure a majority, Browder reports a discrepancy between the number of people voting and the number of people in attendance, a mystery that to this day remains.

Many members felt that Betty “rammed through the vote for abortion in a totally undemocratic process.” Television broadcaster and NOW official Paige Palmer accused Friedan of “overbearing behavior during the abortion debate” and “railroading.” Attorney Elizabeth Boyer quit NOW’s board of directors, later founding the Women’s Equality Action League (WEAL), an organization focused on ending sex discrimination and staying out of the abortion debate.

Overtime, Friedan expressed regrets at this division in the women’s movement. In the 1980’s she observed that “women of childbearing years were dividing into bitter antagonistic camps as they were forced into no-win, either-or choices, motherhood vs. career.”

In her book The Second Stage, she called for the women’s movement to stop overemphasizing abortion rights and reaffirm the importance of the family, noting that “The women’s movement…has come to a dead end…Our failure was our blind spot about the family.”

But as Browder states, “The dirty deed was done and there was no turning back…Working mothers and single women of child-bearing age had been betrayed.”

All because of a Mere 57.

(Please join us in reading Chapters 7 and 8 for next week.)

Quotable quotes

“Whenever human rights are divided, hate and violence erupt, as one person’s rights are pitted against another’s.”  (p. 65)

“NOW’s abortion plank gave the U.S. government, universities, and all of corporate America (including major media monopolies) a convenient, expedient way to escape from having to provide day care, parental leave, and other benefits for mothers and families.” (p. 73)

Subverted: How Lies and Lader changed the Law

Bernard Nathanson and Larry Lader

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

The investigative research, the historical perspective, the eloquent writing…there is a lot to admire in Sue Ellen Browder’s book Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.  But perhaps most powerful is her own journey as mom and young professional that parallels and echoes the women’s movement. She wasn’t just an observer of a cultural phenomenon, she was immersed in it.

In Chapter 3, Making Up a Revolution, Browder recalls looking for journalism work and being forced to conceal having a child in order to get a job. Motherhood was frowned upon as it limited a woman’s freedom to devote herself completely to other endeavors.  The irony of this “woke feminism” is that women were only trading one prejudice for another. As Browder says, “Freedom for women was in the air. But mothers were still in chains.”

Promoting this untethered working woman identity was Browder’s boss, Cosmopolitan’s editor-in-chief, Helen Gurley Brown. She believed what held women back from career success was the “built-in mechanism in their bodies that allows them to have babies.” In other words, she viewed a woman’s natural gift of fertility as her single biggest detriment.

Through her magazine and specifically the fictional Cosmo Girl, Helen Gurley Brown advanced the propaganda of the sexual revolution, endorsing unmarried sex free from motherhood. Hence contraception, and hence, abortion as “backup.”

To make her articles palatable to Brown, Browder invented story lines to suit that agenda, describing herself as “a mercenary, a literary soldier for hire.” Little by little, journalistic ethics were abandoned.  Eventually, Browder felt the disconnect between her professional persona and her life as a loving wife and mother. And it made her sick, physically sick. 

Yet, like many others, Browder was drawn to a movement that fought for greater opportunities. She looked to feminist leaders like Betty Friedan and the newly formed National Organization of Women (NOW) as signposts of hope and “scrambled to climb aboard NOW’s freedom train.” It would be many years before learning the backstory of NOW and realizing that Browder herself was not only a purveyor of propaganda but a victim of it.

 In Chapter 4 The Deceiver Becomes the Deceived Browder introduces us to Lawrence Lader, “a Harvard grad, heir to old money, and close friend to Betty Friedan.” Lader wrote the biography of Margaret Sanger, whom he considered the greatest influence of his life. A secondary influence was Hugh Moore, author of “The Population Bomb” who believed “too many babies were the root cause of poverty, crime, and wars.”  Lader also penned Moore’s biography, warning that “We are on the way to breeding ourselves to death.”

Despite his obsession with abortion “as the royal road to sexual freedom,” Lader’s friend and fellow writer, Betty Friedan, remained unconvinced for many years.  Ultimately, however, she was won over. And we know how from the first-hand testimony of Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

Nathanson directed one of the largest abortion clinics in the world and partnered with Lader to found the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL).  On a car trip in 1967, Lader declared his intention of recruiting feminists for his abortion crusade.

He also revealed his plan to identify the common enemy of the “revolution”—the Catholic Church hierarchy. And he shared the slogan that would further abortion propaganda: No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body. Lader would credit Sanger with that slogan, but if it were hers, it’s unlikely she meant to promote abortion. Sanger called abortion “barbaric” with the issue dividing her and Lader until her death.

Lader’s carefully crafted 1966 book Abortion finally swayed Friedan to embrace the issue as part of the women’s movement.  However, she would meet with opposition within NOW, a story told in later chapters.

Lader’s book also greatly influenced Justice Harry Blackmum. Abortion, along with bogus history supplied by NARAL attorney Cyril Chestnut Means, Jr., was cited fourteen times in the majority opinions he wrote for Roe and Doe.

Statistics in Lader’s book and in later NARAL press releases were fabricated, an admission later made known by Nathanson, a pro-life convert. “Knowing that if a true poll were taken we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls,” he confessed.

In addition, Lader and Nathanson also fabricated the number of illegal abortions and the number of women who died from illegal abortions. These lies “took root in the consciousness of Americans” convincing many that “we needed to crack the abortion law.”

But many feminists were not on board with the abortion agenda, as Betty Friedan would soon learn.

Join us in reading Chapters 5 and 6 for next week’s installment.

Quotable quotes:

 “Laced with partial truth, propaganda’s bitter poison become more difficult to detect and sweeter to swallow.” (p. 39)

“The fantasy of a woman as a radical individualist who belongs only to herself and is disconnected from others-betrays the truth of women’s lives.” (p. 44)

A Book Worthy of a Second Look: Subverted, Chapters 1 & 2

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

With so many books, so little time, few books tempt me into a second reading. However, our Winter Lit for Life book recommendation is one of them. The first time I read it, I eagerly gulped down page after page, trying to digest all the revelations.  But Sue Ellen Browder’s Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement merits a slow, deliberate re-read, one that allows us to ponder the true story of the feminist movement and the forces within and around it. One that challenges the prevailing cultural narrative.

For that reason, we are reading two chapters a week and posting a blog that will include intriguing quotations. We invite you to read along with us and to share your reactions on social media.

In the opening chapter to the book entitled The Inside Witness, Browder introduces herself as the small-town girl looking for big city action after graduating with a journalism degree. She “succeeds” when she lands a job at Cosmopolitan in 1970 as a freelance writer, securing a front row seat to New York City’s cultural revolution for 24 years.

That transformation included two movements that Browder says were not originally united. “In the beginning, the women’s movement and the sexual revolution were distinctly separate cultural phenomena.”

Browder confesses that much of what she and others at Cosmopolitan wrote was fabricated, calling herself “one of the propagandists who helped sell single women on the notion that sex outside of marriage would set them free.”

And she reveals that the 1960’s women’s movement was hijacked largely due to the efforts of one man devoted to making abortion legal.  Larry Lader, considered a “hidden persuader,” will figure prominently in future chapters.

The title of the second chapter The Problem that Had No Name comes from the “mother of the women’s movement,” Betty Friedan. In her revolutionary 1963 publication The Feminine Mystique, Friedan speculated on the deep dissatisfaction of the American housewife who had been limited by “the deeply engrained cultural belief that the only path to feminine fulfillment was to be a wife and mother.”

While Friedan is considered a trailblazer for women’s rights, Browder points out what has been lost in the feminist narrative—that Friedan was not anti-marriage or anti-family. She disliked the phrase “women’s liberation,” preferring to characterize the women’s movement as a fight for equality.  

Browder and Betty Friedan had a shared experience–both were fired for being pregnant, a not uncommon practice back then, unfortunately. Even so, Browder points out that the first edition of The Feminine Mystique never mentioned abortion or the Pill.

Rather than change women and their child-bearing ability, Friedan aimed to change society, “to take the actions needed to bring women into the mainstream of American society, now, fully equality for women, in fully equal partnership with men.”  That, says Browder, was the “original rallying cry” of the modern women’s movement.

So how did the women’s movement, an admittedly noble cause for social justice aimed at equal education and employment opportunities, become so enmeshed with abortion?

Stay tuned as we read Chapters 3 and 4 for this Friday.

Quotable quotes:

Chapter 1: “Propaganda-withheld truths-cuts off democratic discourse, blocks genuine dialogue, and keeps the public from participating in reality.”

Chapter 2: “Women are the people who give birth to children, and that is a necessary value in society…Feminism was not opposed to marriage and motherhood…You want a feminism that includes women who have children and want children because that’s the majority of women.” -Betty Friedan

The Abortion Vaccine

By Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

At an intersection of both history and numbers, that is where we are.  

Historically, we mark one year since coronavirus surfaced in the United States, while also observing the 48th anniversary of legalized abortion.

Numerically, we mourn the 400,000 lives claimed by the pandemic of 2020, while also grieving more than 800,000 lives that perished last year in a much more enduring plague.

While applauding extraordinary efforts to save lives touched by a hostile virus, we lament everyday efforts to take smaller, completely helpless lives.

While eagerly welcoming a COVID vaccine produced in record time, we yearn for a long-awaited vaccine that will end prenatal dismemberment.

What we need is a cure for the sickness that has caused the premature demise of 62.5 million unique individuals.

For decades, the pro-life movement has been working toward a vaccination of sorts. One that fights not a petri dish viral culture but instead a culture of death that has gone viral.

Our antidote to abortion is comprised of scientific facts, fundamental civil rights, respect for natural law, abundant compassion, and practical resources. We inoculate the public with our witness and testimony, dialogue and debate, passion and prayers.

And the more we inject the culture with truth, the more we build an immunity to the lies that feed the abortion virus. The more we combat the insidious belief that any one life is disposable, the healthier we become as a human family.

Our efforts strengthen women and men who feel weakened by distortions and deceptions, empowering them to choose life.

Our pro-life “vaccine” creates a society welcoming to life no matter the circumstances because even the most difficult circumstances do not erase our humanity.

Once we achieve herd immunity we will realize that there is no crisis that calls for killing and no crisis that can’t be overcome with love and understanding, help and hope.

We will have made abortion unthinkable.

That is the medicine we need to administer in ending the deadliest pandemic our country has ever known.  That is the vaccine for abortion.

Life is Truly a Miracle

by Bonnie Finnerty, Education Director

Miracles never get old. And we are on the verge of one.  A nine-month mystery will soon be revealed when we meet the grandchild we first learned about last spring.

We know not the gender nor the size nor the eye color, all determined from the very moment of conception. We know not the abilities, personality, or future of this life hidden from our view but just as alive as you and I.

We do know our amazing daughter has been busy doing what only women can do, something I described in another blog:

It is no small thing that we women are the life-bearers of the entire species. We alone can grow human beings in our bodies, craft a cerebral cortex, knit a network of veins, erect a skeletal system.  We alone can nourish this life with a perfect food forged by our miraculous bodies.  We literally make the men and women of tomorrow with our very own cells. Now that’s power. A power given no man.

But even as I marvel at this feminine super power, and celebrate its manifestation in our own daughter, I am cognizant of a sobering fact, one that is uncomfortable for me to even think about. Distressing for me to actually type. But it should be known.

In our country, even at this late stage of pregnancy, a woman can still legally abort her child. And her husband or boyfriend or family members would be powerless to do anything about it.

Under the facade of “reproductive health care,” fully-formed, pain-capable babies, just weeks, days, or even hours from birth can be put to death. 

Some believe this only happens if the health of the mother is threatened.  But health can be widely interpreted.

Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade, declared that the health of the mother may be “exercised in the light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient,” making abortion legal during all nine months of pregnancy and for reasons well beyond the life of the mother.  

Some may think that late-term abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life.

But it is possible to save both lives. If the mother’s life is in jeopardy, a baby can be delivered pre-term and provided with life-saving care. There is no need to kill the child in utero to preserve the mother’s life. Dr. Kendra Kolb, a neonatologist, explains this thoroughly in a Live Action video.

Some may believe such late term abortions are extremely rare and thus negligible.

But that too is not true. Accounting for about 1% of all abortions, late term abortions claim several thousands lives each year, viable babies that deserve protection from invasive and violent tools of destruction.

As I wait in joyful anticipation of a precious newborn grandchild, I also wait with a hopeful heart that all eyes will be opened to the sanctity of preborn human life, so that it is protected in every circumstance. Every single life is a miracle to be celebrated, and miracles never get old.