When Mother Comes Home

[First Things, July 29, 2008] Though I’m not very informed about the Intelligent Design debate, the idea sounded inoffensive enough: scientists have not discovered a Designer, and neither can they prove there’s no Designer, so why not leave the question open? But the concept of Intelligent Design was greeted with outrage; clearly, it struck a nerve. When I tried to picture why, I thought of a page in Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat,” one that comes near the end. “Sally and I” have been standing by helplessly while the hatted Cat, with his Thing One and Thing Two, made havoc of the house. The toy boat is in the cake and the cake is on the floor, the rake is bent and mother’s new dress has gone sailing through the room on a kite string. The fish has been trying to warn us, but we have stood by bewildered.

Abortion: Ignoring the Facts

[Ancient Faith Radio; January 23, 2008] I’m recording this on January 22nd, 2008, the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion all through America—through all 50 states, through all nine months of pregnancy.People question that sometimes, because the Roe decision says that abortion should be available to a woman under any circumstances, until the point of viability.It said that, after that, states can begin to have some laws protecting the unborn child, after viability.But there’s a companion decision to Roe v. Wade, called Doe v. Bolton.It came down the same day, and it governs how that proposed post-viability period can be legislated in the states.It says that states may do nothing to restrict a woman’s access to abortion if she wants the abortion for some aspect of her health.Well, the result is that you can have a legal abortion at almost any point in pregnancy if you are willing to travel for it.There are specialists who go into these post-viability late-term abortions, that’s what they specialize in offering.

Something No Woman Wants

 [Human Life Review, Summer 2007] Shortly before Christmas, I got an email from the journalist and Slate.com editor Emily Bazelon. She said that she was writing an article for the New York Times magazine about “women’s experiences post-abortion.” She said she hoped to talk to me that day or the next, and apologized for the short notice. Since I was in and out of the office a lot those pre-holiday days, and thought we might not connect by phone in time, I drafted a quick email it hopes she could mine it for some quotes. Here’s what I wrote her:

DaVinci Code

[National Review Online, May 18, 2006] An ordinary man – a professor, say – gets caught in a deadly game of mystery and murder. He’s thrown together with a cool, attractive young woman who may be more than she seems. After many chases and escapes, the two wind up safe in each other’s arms. Alfred Hitchcock gave us goosebumps with that theme and variations. Ron Howard’s “The DaVinci Code” turns similar material into a big yawn. What happened?

Redefining the Camps

[Sojourners, April 2006] On a November evening a couple of weeks after the 2004 election, the regular monthly meeting of Orthodox Young Adults was held at my house. These 20 or 30 college students and young professionals are Eastern Orthodox Christians living in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area.


[Dallas Morning News, May 22, 2005] For most of the 90's I was involved in an organization with a highly improbable name: The Common Ground Network for Life and Choice. Yes, in the days when ”pro-life“ (pardon, I mean hateful anti-choice fanatics) and ”pro-choice (that is, hateful baby-killing fanatics) were about as opposite as they could be, in some dozen cities across the country they were sitting down, knee to knee, and trying to understand each other. It was terrific. Now I have to admit that this was a self-selected group, and anyone who participated was the kind of pro-lifer or pro-choicer who would *want* to talk to someone on the other side.

Democrats and Pro-lifers

[NPR, “Morning Edition,” January 22, 2005] The other night a couple of dozen young professionals and college students, mostly Eastern Orthodox Christians, crowded into my house for dinner. We played a current events party game. We divided the group in two and assigned one side to favor, and the other to oppose, five controversial issues. At the end of the discussion we went around the room and voted. One after another, these twenty- and thirty-somethings said that one issue was more important to them than any other. They were strongly opposed to abortion.

Dutch Child Euthanasia

[Christianity Today Online, December 28, 2004] If you close your eyes and picture a housewife with a bucket of hot water and a bristle brush, scrubbing away at her front doorstep, the small line of type at the lower corner of your imagination reads “The Netherlands.” That's the Dutch: tidy, polite, reasonable and compassionate. “Tidy” and “compassionate” can intersect in a strange way, however, when it comes to handling the tragedies of life. Three years ago, the Dutch Parliament shocked the world by passing a law allowing “mercy killing” under certain circumstances.

Doing Everything We Can

[Touchstone, January 2004; a consortium discussion of the pro-life movement's  “New Rhetorical Strategy”] The “New Rhetorical Strategy” that Francis Beckwith critiques is getting up in years. My first book, “Real Choices: Listening to Women, Looking for Alternatives to Abortion” was written in 1993. The Caring Foundation's first ads appeared in the mid-nineties, as did Paul Swopes' essay in First Things describing the results of their research. David Reardon's book “Aborted Women: Silent No More,” appeared in 1987. Beckwith might have mentioned as well Dr. Jack Willke's early-nineties project to develop a concise response to the other side's “Who decides?” rhetoric (you may have seen “Love them both” placards), and the trend of pregnancy care centers to shift focus, changing from storefronts that discourage abortion to full-fledged medical clinics or professional counseling centers.

Post-Abortion Men, Natural Consequences

[Today's Christian, January-February, 2004] Q. If a woman commits the sin of abortion, people say that she can be forgiven. But if the father of the child wanted that child, and had absolutely no say in the child's fate, and afterwards wanted to commit suicide, would he be forgiven? I understand that a person can be forgiven for murdering an innocent life, but can a person be forgiven for murdering his own life? --a grieving father