This Week

Issue: "Exodus from Disney," Nov. 7, 1998

"Pro-life" violence: Here we go again

When abortionist Barnett Slepian was murdered by a vigilante who shot a bullet through his kitchen window, pro-choicers mourned his death. So did thoughtful pro-lifers, for both biblical and historical reasons; in recent history, some of the most effective pro-life spokesmen have been former abortionists-and no one knows when God will change the heart of either a thief on a cross or an abortionist in his killing fields. Furthermore, it doesn't help the pro-life cause to create martyrs for the pro-abortion lobby, which enjoys this era's version of "waving the bloody shirt": blaming Christians and pro-lifers for an abortionist's death. Dr. Slepian's mourners painted him as a loving ob-gyn. The New York Times' account of his funeral played up quotes that played down his role as an abortionist. "This man was about children," said one mourner whose two children were delivered by Dr. Slepian. "This man was not about abortions." Pro-aborts, it seems, may still have a sense of shame. Even President Clinton's letter to the family said nothing about abortion: "This cowardly and brutal act has robbed your family of a beloved husband and devoted father and it has robbed your community of a skilled doctor and cherished friend." Others were more pointed in pointing the finger. "The hate-filled words and deeds of religious terrorists culminated in the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian," said the Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, chair of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. In language similar to that heard after the death of gay collegiate Matthew Shepard, she called pro-lifers accomplices to murder. "This person was aided and abetted by many others who are sustained by a climate of hatred, intolerance, and fear," Ms. Hancock said. NOW president Patricia Ireland blamed pro-life politicians. "These terrorists have friends in high places," she exclaimed. "Their right-wing sympathizers in state legislatures and Congress give credence to their tactics by creating legislation to restrict or outright ban abortion. These measures will ultimately be as deadly for women as bombs or bullets." Pro-lifer Judie Brown of the American Life League took a more thoughtful approach, noting that the assassin operated not from a pro-life, but a pro-choice worldview. "Such violence against a fellow human being can never be justified," she said. "This tragedy is but another example of the disrespect for human life that has permeated our society." Four other abortionists in upstate New York and Canada have been hit by snipers since 1997, though this was the first fatal attack. Authorities would not say whether Dr. Slepian's death was related to the other shootings, which also involved shots fired through windows.

Rocking the cradle, changing the world

This month's Vanity Fair has named "America's Most Influential Women: 200 Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers." With few exceptions (and the exceptions are the rich wives of wealthy men), these are the familiar feminist icons-women who have jobs outside the home. No full-time (or even part-time) stay-at-home moms are featured. Husbands, if any, are out of sight, and children, if any, are ignored. Feminists want us to believe these "other women" are an extinct species, or that when we encounter them, their lives are being wasted. The issue is a slur on women choosing to stay at home because they find such work more valuable than "working" women who trust their children to day-care providers, nannies, or "preschool" teachers. What is influence? One of its definitions is "power exerted over the minds or behavior of others." Are female Cabinet members, corporate CEOs, and political activists the only women considered to have such power? Gail Evans, a vice president at CNN, tells me she stayed home for a decade to help rear her children before accepting a job outside the home. "I learned more about managing a business carpooling kids in a nine-passenger vehicle than I would have learned at Harvard Business School," she says. Each year, conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly gives a "Full-time Homemaker of the Year" award to a woman who "is raising her family on a single income earned by her husband in the traditional family pattern." This year's recipient is Carolyn Graglia of Austin, Texas, a graduate of Cornell University and Cornell Law School. Mrs. Graglia gave up a career as an attorney in a prominent Washington, D.C., law firm to work full time as a wife and mother to her three children. In the Vanity Fair article, women who represent "the strongest voices for some of the nation's most pressing issues" are all socially liberal: the American Civil Liberties Union's Nadine Strossen, National Organization for Women's Patricia Ireland, National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League's Kate Michelman, Planned Parenthood's Gloria Feldt, and so on. There isn't a conservative, "traditional" woman in the bunch. The stay-at-home moms probably won't notice. They're too busy being influential. They don't have time to read about their sisters who only think they are.
-Cal Thomas © 1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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