Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Slippery Slope: NRLC (And See Update)

It's well-known that the Wisconsin branch of the National Right to Life Committee (Wisconsin Right to Life) is favored by the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan, over the Catholic-dominated American Life League, whose local affiliate is Pro-Life Wisconsin. Certainly, the Wisconsin RTL leader, Barbara Lyons, is a charismatic, effective, and very bright woman; and WRTL has fought, at some expense, the Feingold 1st Amendment-Destruction Law to a standstill. Kudos are deserved.

(It can also be inferred that Kevin Fischer has a distaste for Pro-Life Wisconsin types; on yesterday's show he referred to people who objected to abortion-for-rape-and-incest-victims as "zealots," a term which has ALWAYS been a slur. See below for the possible rationale.)

Anyhoo, NRLC has a problem, and it's called "the slippery slope." From What's Wrong With the World:

Some of you may be old enough to remember that a ban on federal funding for research using tissue taken from aborted fetuses was a big deal in the Reagan and Bush, Sr., administrations. Then came William Jefferson Clinton and, with the cooperation of Congress, that ban on federal funding was lifted in 1993. The NIH could fund research using tissue from aborted children...

...The National Right to Life Committee reported faithfully on this subject and consistently opposed such funding, contending that it normalized abortion and made women think that perhaps they could "do some good" by having their child killed.

...In the same year, [2000] we find an article called, unambiguously, "Fetal Tissue Harvesting: An Ethical Free-fall," in which ethical arguments for and against fetal tissue use are expressly discussed and the pro-life position made clear

And then, something changed. My careful search of the NRLC archives indices from 2001 on has been unable to turn up a single further article in which such statements were made

What happened, of course, was a Presidential primary and election.

...from 2001 on, while the ethical disapproval is implicit in NRLC's very desire to point out that such research is failing to provide treatments, never again--that I can find--after 2000 do we find an express discussion of the ethical issue or an express statement of the usual pro-life arguments against it, nor do we find any discussion of federal funding

...NRLC whipped its members soundly into line to vote for George W. Bush. ...hesitations to do so arose from a number of sources, including Bush's support for legal abortion in cases of rape and incest and also his curious hesitation to talk about the issue at all.

Hmmmmm. "Rape and incest." How interesting!!

One of their reasons in several articles for their urgency was the possibility that if Bush were not supported in the Republican primary, the nomination might be won by John McCain.

Then, in 2002, word appeared briefly on the Internet: Bush's NIH had funded research using stem cells derived from aborted fetuses. Rather to everyone's surprise, it turned out that Bush's famous Aug. 9, 2001 "line in the sand" applied only to stem cells derived from unimplanted embryos, not to stem cells derived from aborted fetuses. There was no limit on federal funding for those stem cells to children killed prior to Aug. 9, 2001.

Oooopsie!!

NRLC came out in full defense mode. Their defense was two-pronged. First, they argued that the Bush NIH's "hands were tied" by the 1993 legislation permitting federal funding for aborted fetal tissue research. More importantly, and to head off the obvious question ("Then why doesn't Bush, and why don't you, try to get that legislation changed?"), they implied that Bush was right not simply to fund the research as (they said) required by law but to do nothing to urge that the state of the law be changed. The new worry was...wait for it...embryonic stem-cell research. That was the new focus, and that was where the energy should go, what with the possibility of "embryo farms" and what-not. Evidently, vocal and active opposition to federal funding for fetal tissue research was just soooo nineties

There will never again be a presidential candidate who will be asked by the major U.S. pro-life organization to make it clear in his campaign that he opposes the use of federal funds for fetal tissue research. The organization changed its priorities.


And where is NRLC today on the issue?

So, what about embryonic stem-cell research? That, after all, was Douglas Johnson's urgent reason for ditching the issue of fetal tissue research. That was the new thing, the dangerous thing, the thing we had to concentrate on. And now, NRLC eagerly supports a candidate who has always openly and vocally supported federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research

NRLC should be ashamed of itself, but then, with the Rockefeller Republican "rape and incest" endorsement of the 1970's, this is hardly a surprise.

Either you are pro-life, or not. Ain't no middle ground--for the simple reason that there is no "middle" between life and death.

And if being pro-life means that Kevin calls me a "zealot", or the Archbishop of Milwaukee likes the other guys, so be it.

UPDATE:

K. Fischer insists, strenuously, that he did NOT use the term "zealot" during his program, and he listened to the podcast to make certain of that. Further, he contends that this blog-entry mis-characterizes his position on the question of rape/incest. It's likely that Kevin will be writing his own entry on the program and the questions he raised.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is why I enjoy reading your column DaddyZero -- it's like watching a train wreck. It's a guilty pleasure, but I can't turn away.

Think about the poor young woman who is raped by her father and becomes pregnant. She can't get an abortion and has to deliver the baby. These are the "family values" that only a miniscule percentage of the American people subscribe to!

Amy said...

Think about the poor young woman who is raped by her father and becomes pregnant. She can't get an abortion and has to deliver the baby. These are the "family values" that only a miniscule percentage of the American people subscribe to!

Yah. Except that less than 3% of pregnancies are done to either save the life of the mother or in the cases of rape/incest.

Please, anon, tell me how sending a woman to an abortionist will help her recover from a traumatic incident at all...especially when many of these supposedly "safe" abortion clinics often end up killing women via infection, inappropriate anesthesia, or poorly equipped facilities.

Abortion is not the answer. Ever.

Just because you think it's "popular" doesn't make it right.

Dad29 said...

Anony condones the Death Penalty for the CHILD of the criminal.

Surely, it is a new level of justice!!

Neo-Con Tastic said...

I also listened to Fischer on Friday. His argument was repulsive as he continued to imply that all of the listeners were pro-life zealots. As a "strident" pro-lifer (by definition is there anything else), I tried to get on the program but obviously the lines were packed. I have one statement to say to Fischer:

YOU ARE NOT PRO-LIFE.

I cannot stand people who say that they're "90% pro-life" or "not quite as strident as others".

No Fischer, your acceptance to baby-killing makes you pro-choice. That isn't complicated.

After his bloviating pro-choice rant, I have lost virtually all respect for him; especially how he treated all of his callers who tried to defend their position. He would have none of it. He just got short with them and then hung up. He was clearly the minority because he was the only pro-choice listener that day.

When he fills in for Belling, I won't be listening.

Kevin Fischer said...

Dad29, I listened to the podcast of my discussion on this topic on WISN and I never used the word, "zealot" in my program. NOT ONCE.

My entire focus was to discuss the issue from the perspective of the rape/incest victims, a move that has never been done by any local talk radio host.

My phone lines were jammed and I got to every caller I could, even going past the top of th 4:00 hour to get in the last call. I didn't hang up on anyone, let everyone speak their mind, and said unequivoclaly that I respect 100% pro-lifers. I was honest in that I respect these assault victims for having their babies but I will not condemn those that make the gut-wrenching deciison to abort.

Over and over and over again, I expressed my respect for these women and for pro-lifers. Anyone who thinks I am not pro-life doesn't know me or hasn't been paying attention.

Your blog has totally mischaracterized my program and its intent of rovinding the views and concerns of these women and my utmost respect for them and the pro-life movement.

The "zealot" word never came out of my mouth. You owe me an apology and/or a retraction.

Dad29 said...

Sorry, Kevin. I heard you use the term "zealot." It was just after a male caller, near a station-break. It was, in your defense, half-mumbled--you were extremely frustrated by the callers you got on the topic.

By the way, did it occur to you that your position was unclear, based on the caller reaction? In fact, your position was muddled, or you would NOT have gotten calls from the "strident zealots."

Yes, you did express respect and admiration for those who chose to carry the babies to term.

I love the work you do, both "on the clock" and on WISN. I think you presented the topic without clearly thinking through exactly what you would say--and it showed.

No different than your endorsement of self-mutilation. Courage, Kevin, is accepting what is given, not self-mutilation (first cousin of suicide) to avoid the cross.

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how I plan a show, and if you heard the tapes, you would know that I wasn't frustrated with anyone. I calmly took each call and only moved on because of the volume of calls and the need to take breaks.

But that's all I'm saying here. I 'll have more on my own blog.

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how I plan a show, and if you heard the tapes, you would know that I wasn't frustrated with anyone. I calmly took each call and only moved on because of the volume of calls and the need to take breaks.

But that's all I'm saying here. I 'll have more on my own blog.

(My apology.....I'm obviously not anonymous)