Posts Tagged ‘ abortion ’

Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s “Abortions” of Live Babies

Friday, April 19th, 2013

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Before you read this at some point in the future, ask me first to make sure you’re old enough; because the content is dark, disturbing, and designed for a more adult audience:

The story of a man named Kermit Gosnell is finally going viral, even though it is being ignored by the major news networks. That’s why I want to encourage people to talk about it.

I first learned about this over the weekend in an article called, “Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should Be A Front-Page Story.”

Basically, a man was caught performing illegal abortions, “aborting” 7 babies after they were already born; plus he was responsible for the death of an adult female who died due to complications of his procedures, as well.

For me, this story raises some interesting points regarding the extremely polarizing topic of abortion; for both sides:

A) If abortion were illegal, there would probably be more similar cases of “botched abortions” like this going on. (Pro-choice point.)

B) Why is this story more disturbing because those 7 babies had already exited the birth canal? Why does exiting the birth canal, regardless of the age of the fetus, determine whether the word “aborted” or “killed” is used? Is a photo of an aborted baby more disturbing than of a child “aborted” after it was born? (Pro-life point.)

According to last year’s Gallup poll, 41% of Americans identify as pro-choice, which is a record low.

As a pro-life Libertarian, I passionately support laws against abortion, though I do recognize that a law simply makes it more difficult for people to commit an action which the majority of the population perceives as morally wrong. The law doesn’t necessarily change the demand for the outlawed action, it just helps prevent the action from being as commonly practiced.

However, something did cause the percentage of people who are pro-choice to drop from 47% to 41% in just a year’s time. So… something caused America’s views on abortion to change within a year’s time… and I doubt it’s people yelling at each other on Facebook in all caps and leaving condescending comments on blogs.

With that being said, I wonder how the story of Dr. Kermit Gosnell will influence the percentage of Americans who are pro-choice in the next Gallup poll.






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Those “Hey, You Just Grew Up!” Moments

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Watching you grow up is like watching the minute hand move on a clock.

It’s not until I look away for a little while, then look back again, that I can see a change.

There were a few pictures that Mommy must have recently taken while getting you ready for school that I found on our camera.

When I saw them, I thought, “Hey, that’s Jack… I don’t remember him looking… like that… so grown up!”

I mean, it wasn’t that long ago were my “baked potato,” and before you were even a year-old yet, you were my cool necktie-wearing gummy bear.

Weeks of everyday life go by with all their routine and their seeming lack of uniqueness, but it’s in those doldrums that you’re growing up; even if I can’t see it as it’s happening.

A couple months ago one of the ongoing themes I focused on was how you didn’t really look that much like me or Mommy.

Well, now, I can clearly see you’ve graduated from  that phase where babies all sort of like the same to where now you are truly starting to look like a mix of your parents.

If this were a 1990 laugh track-infused sitcom, I would find it much more believable that you could be the son of Mommy and me.

But, I admit, it would sort of be like the 2nd season after the baby is born, where they suddenly replace the baby with a talking-toddler.

Like Nicky and Alex on Full House. Or Andy Keaton on Family Ties. Or Chrissy Seaver on Growing Pains. Or Lilly Lambert on Step By Step.

You and I have both become less generic and more mature people, since April 13, 2010, when I first started this blog.

Back then, you were a 3 month-old fetus who I best understood through a black-and-white sonogram. You’ve come a long way, kid.

But so have I. I learned how to become a dad.

Like Elvis Costello in 1983, everyday I write the book. We figure this out together, in real time.

Along the way, there have been things I’ve said on The Dadabase, that looking back now, I wouldn’t say; nor are they still accurate depictions of how I see things.

There were times I was so zealous about representing myself as a confident dad with a consistent parenting plan, that it probably came across as bravado, not confidence.

And I do regret my former tone in regards to controversial topics like abortion, circumcision, the cry-it-out method, and even politics in general. I see now how I was only adding to the noise of two extremely polarized camps preaching to their own choirs.

That’s not me anymore. Everyday, I’m becoming more like Jack Johnson. And everyday, you’re becoming more like Jack the boy… not the baby.






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Post-Birth Abortion and Infanticide: The Difference Is…

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

17 months.

Last August, I wrote about The Partial-Birth Abortion, in which a person chooses to give birth to one twin but abort the other. Yes, it was pretty shocking to learn that’s a real thing and that this occurs has often as it does.

But that’s so 2011. With a new year comes a proposal from Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, who in the Journal of Medical Ethics, promote the idea that if an infant is born alive under circumstances which would have justified an abortion, then a “post-abortion” should be permissible.

The obvious question is this: How is aborting a child after they are born any different than outright murdering a newborn?

It used to be that a “mother’s rights” (pro-choice term) overruled a fetus’s “right to life” (pro-life term).

But now, the technically of passing through the birth canal may no longer be enough to justify survival of an infant in danger of being aborted. At least, if Giubilini and Minerva have their way, that could be the case.

It just seems too hard to believe this is an actual discussion taking place right now. I doubted the legitimacy of the conversations I was reading on Facebook about it; but then I read this well-crafted article in Slate magazine, asking why if abortion is permissible, infanticide isn’t.

I would like to assume this will never become a reality. I would like to assume that we as a civilized nation wouldn’t have to ever lobby our government leaders to ban a post-birth abortion. Do we really need a law to tell us this is wrong?

Every person has a moral code. We all decide in our own minds what is considered right and wrong; moral and immoral.

So I’m pretty curious, are there actually people reading this right now who support the concept of a post-birth abortion?

Don’t let me hog the stage. Don’t let me be a bully here. Please, step up and defend your case.

I’m very curious to hear an opinion other than my own very obviously biased one.

Okay, go:

Post-birth abortion and infanticide: The difference Is…


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Dadvice #7: A Skeptic’s Letter To Intactivists

Friday, March 30th, 2012

16 months.

Dear Intactivists,

I have enjoyed this past week or so as we’ve debated “pro-circumcision vs. Intactivism.” You all have enlightened me. I respect your cause. In fact, I would like to officially crown you the winner.

You win, in the sense that I now see “staying intact” as a legitimate and respectable alternative to circumcision.

You win, in the sense that you seized the opportunity to use the comments sections of both Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son? and Dadvice #6: Is Circumcision Unnecessary And/Or Immoral to inform not just me, but anyone curious enough to watch our debate, with a plethora of knowledge that we normally would not have exposure to.

You win, in the sense that you have proven that Intactivists can make a powerful presence and be very persuasive.

(In regards to me being curious to hear from those who oppose circumcision but are pro-choice regarding abortion, I realize now that was completely fruitless. I forget that those who are pro-choice don’t regard a fetus as a human life because of the technicality that he or she hasn’t either passed through the birth canal or been surgically removed via C-section. So you’re right; there’s really no comparison.)

In the end, however, I am still sticking to my beliefs on why I personally support circumcision, for the very reasons I have already explained. So while you did win the debate for the world to see, you didn’t win me over.

That’s not a lack on your part; you can’t help my resoluteness.

Throughout our debate, I have asked professionals (doctors, medical students, and an owner of a day care) for their personal takes on the necessity of circumcision; not hinting at my own stance before inquiring them. All their experience-based answers reflected my own beliefs.

If not, I would have been willing to change my mind on this.

Therefore, I believe it’s fair to say that I have been pretty open-minded to what is a new concept for me: Intactivism.

And I guess that’s what bothers me about Intavistism. I don’t see how as its subscribers you are open-minded to any other viewpoint on this: Either all or nothing.

It’s been made pretty clear to me now that unless I vow to circumcise my next (yet to be conceived or born) son, then I am ultimately making a selfish, prideful, self-serving, immoral choice.

Go back and read all the comments on those two posts. Notice how few Intactivists had any words or even tones of encouragement. (Some did.)

But for the most part, I was shouted at (indicated by ALL CAPS, re-occuring italics and exclamation points!) and spoken to in a sharply condescending tone.

It has been demonstrated to me that in the blogosphere, Intactivists have power in their large presence, but overcompensate their passion and zeal in a way that comes across as bullying. Yes, bullying.

Not that I am offended. I instead find the whole thing to be such a curious event.

I am convinced that the comments left on a blog post can easily send a stronger message than the one the actual author writes. The way the majority of Intactivists have chosen to represent themselves, as a whole, is clear for anyone (including those readers who pondering Intactivism) to go back and read.

I think with a better bedside manner, Intactivists could really get their point across in a way that is not so loud that we “cutters” can not hear it. I question your approach, not your morality or your competence; like I feel you have done towards me.

That’s my constructive criticism; though again, ultimately, the way Intactivists have represented themselves in my comments sections is not the reason for my refusal to convert.

This is not an emotional experience for me. It is for you. I think that’s where the disconnect is between us.

Sincerely, I thank you for what I have learned about circumcision from you. These deep discussions have indirectly caused me to think of other hot button issues (or at least strangely moral ones) like “how young is too young to medicate a child for ADHD and/or depression?” (Obviously, I’ll be publishing that one soon, along with one about how questioning if surgical birth control, getting snipped, is like playing God.)

No matter what, we’re still cool. I enjoy being your frenemy. Let me know the next time you’re in Nashville; I’ll let you buy me a Starbucks.


Your Open-minded, Yet Barbarically Cut Fellow Parent,

Nick Shell

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Dadvice #6: Is Circumcision Unnecessary And/Or Immoral?

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

16 months.

In this anticipated sequel to “Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son?” my goal is to answer whether or not it’s necessary to circumcise your son, and more importantly, whether it is morally wrong to do so.

Interestingly, I never would have been asking myself these questions today if it weren’t for the overwhelming number of comments I received in such a short amount of time regarding my personal view on circumcision.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing I learned through this process is that there exists a passionate, underground movement known as “Intactivists” who strongly oppose circumcision and references to Wikipedia.

I didn’t realize I was participating in a debate with them nor was I aware of their existence until I wrote about the hot topic last week.

The way I see it, I’m nothing more than the blog version of a talk show host whose job it it is to initiative engaging conversations. I simply pitch the issue to the crowd, accented in my personal angle, then I step back and see if anyone joins in the from there.

So while Wikpedia is obviously not the most professional, legitimate source for the medical aspect of circumcision, I do find it to be the best source to catch a glimpse of what main social perception of it is.

Because after all, this isn’t simply a medical issue. That’s not why people are fired up about it. Instead, it’s incredibly personal and social.

Normally, I always credit the winner of a debate to the side that refrains from getting overly emotional, shouting (ALL CAPS is the blog equivalent), speaking in a condescending tone, and attempting to prove that the opponent’s moral character is flawed.

And while many of the Intactivists did those exact things, I still think they won the debate. Yes, that’s right, Intactivists. I think you won.

By “won,” I mean that you made my reasoning of pro-circumcision seem to be about as legitimate as the illegalization of marijuana.

The way you to got to me was by showing me that circumcision is not necessary, despite it being “normal” here in the United States. I now agree that there is a lack of overwhelming evidence that circumcision prevents a plethora of health concerns.

Something my previous Dadvise post exemplified was that A) my suspicion of possible health concerns along with B) a peculiar fascination for the commandment for circumcision from God to Abraham (regarding Jews, not Christians) both seem to represent a lot of Americans and why they un-passionately (and maybe even carelessly) say yes to circumcising their sons.

But wait, there’s more…

As I’ve talked to friends and coworkers about why they chose to circumcise their sons, I got the same answer every time: ”I was circumcised and I’m fine, so I didn’t really think about it. I just had my son circumcised too.”

I asked one of my doctor friends in Houston for his take on if circumcision is necessary and I think he summed up it up perfectly: “There are medical benefits but I think it’s still more personal preference and psychosocial than medical.”

Because honestly, why else is circumcision the norm here in America?

He’s right: the psychosocial factor possibly has everything to do with it. I suspect I will be mauled in the comments section for being this honest, but here it is:

I don’t want my son to be the only one who is uncircumcised in the locker room.

And while stones are being thrown at me, here’s another thing:

Even if I ever decided that circumcision is totally pointless (not just unnecessary), if I ever had another son I would have him circumcised too because I wouldn’t either son to have to feel so confused about himself compared to his brother.

My stance: I don’t believe circumcision is necessary, nor do I believe it is morally wrong. (I can’t believe it is morally wrong because God Himself commanded it; even though only for the Hebrew people.)

That’s right; I stand by my decision to circumcise my son (16 months ago, as if I could change that now) yet I recognize that circumcision is not necessary. And I don’t feel guilty about it.

Here’s what I’m really curious about, though. I wonder if there are any readers out there who oppose circumcision but are pro-choice regarding abortion?

I would love to hear that reasoning. Welcome to the Debate Club.

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