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Question of the day

Thursday, Jun 5, 2008 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Jill Stanek’s latest column is about birth control pills and an upcoming protest…

Neanderthals like me think women should know the pill can kill their 5- to 9-day-old children. Informed consent and all that.

So the American Life League is launching Protest the Pill Day ‘08: The Pill Kills Babies this Saturday, June 7, on the 43rd anniversary of the Griswold vs. Connecticut Supreme Court decision.

ALL is calling on pro-lifers nationwide to peacefully protest in front of Planned Parenthoods and other facilities that distribute birth control pills.

The National Organization for Women is planning counter protests. I wonder how much they’re paying picketers, since they only seem to arouse paid personnel to demonstrate against us, particularly on a Saturday. I’m always embarrassed for them.

* Question: Will a protest like this alienate pro-life activists from the “center,” or will it serve a useful purpose for their cause? Explain.


  1. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 10:39 am:

    This is the same woman that claims “Chinese people eat babies“.

    The question is whether or not these stunts lead people to think they are even more extreme or is it just par for their course.

    Nurse Stanek ought to keep her hands off other people’s #$@!(&’s

  2. - RMW Stanford - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    It will serve alienate people from the Pro-Life cause, the pill general accepted by the public as a legitimate and good form of birth control, and right fully so. Doing this will just make the Pro-Life movement look more like extremist that want to limit people control of their reproductive rights, regardless of whether or not that is truly there intentions.

  3. - HoBoSkillet - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 10:44 am:

    It seems to me that NOW and ALL would alienate everyone other than their own members and most people will quietly go on with their business.

  4. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 10:47 am:

    I think the debate has morphed into such a war that no protest, rallying cry or other tactic is going to change too many minds. From snipers to firebombs, I don’t see too much middle ground.

  5. - Learning the Ropes - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    Not taking a side on the actual issue: I am skeptical that the type of people showing up will be peacefully appealing to the center. There will undoubtedly be pictures of fetuses there.

    Heck, there were large dead fetus pictures chanting during Obama’s announcement that he was going to run back at the Old State Capitol…

    I rarely see an occasion that they don’t alienate the center.

  6. - Pro-Lifer - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    I am pro-life because I understand that a baby’s heart stops beating right after an abortion. However, I am OK with the pill. It is not an abortifacient. It stops pregnancy before it happens. This is not an issue they should continue to battle. Hopefully, it won’t get much press.

  7. - Mushy Middle - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 10:58 am:

    There was a Brazilian film out several years ago that showed, in a series of deft and heartbreaking moves, how one poor family’s ability to buy a sewing machine caused a child to die in another.

    Kids die because we spend too much money on TVs (do we really need more than one?), and not on vaccinations, food relief and humane labor conditions.

    We’re so numb to and blocked from the consequences of our daily choices, including, apparently, birth control, that no one beyond single-issue extremists will respond.

  8. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 11:03 am:

    For what it is worth –

    Stanek raises an interesting issue. Is a fertilized egg that has not been implanted a “child” as she calls it, or is something else?

    If you buy her reasoning, IVF almost always results in “abortion” since there almost always are fertiilzed eggs that are not implanted (only the best fertilized eggs are implanted, and if quality is there, never more than two). If you start calling that an “abortion”, then the word “abortion” may start to lose its meaning.

    Should there be debate as to whether the unimplanted fertilized egg is actually a “child”? That’s not necessarily a bad thing. People should understand how the process [whether IVF or The Pill] works so that they can make educated decisions. Providing the information is reasonable even if the person providing the information rarely is.

    On the other hand, and to the point of the question: Will the protests matter? Of course not. No ideas are communicated by that sort of protest. They become nothing more than a chance for people to blow off steam. For everybody else, the protests serve no purpose other than to screw up traffic.

  9. - K to the 3 - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 11:19 am:

    This will further alienate “pro-lifers” from the center, especially in an election year where polling data puts the abortion issue smack dab at the very bottom of issues people actually care about. Let’s face it: social issues are not on the top of people’s agenda this year. Not with $4 a gallon gas.

    Plus, what does she plan to accomplish from this protest? Personally, I am against abortion (I’m also against the death penalty-call me crazy), but this is not the way to rally the “pro-life” troops against it. When has Stanek used her resources to actually help women who make poor choices and get pregnant before they are ready? Maybe if she committed her resources and her following to that, she could make a real difference in someone’s life. Instead, she chooses to spew vile hate that does her issue more harm than good.

    Stay out of Kankakee, Jill

  10. - Captain America - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 11:39 am:

    One demonstration deserves another. You csn’t reason with extremists like Stanek. Pro-lifers need to mind their own business and let physicans and patients worry about informed consent rahter than trying to insert themselves into the middle of a private doctor patient relationship. It’s ridiculous to try to turn
    the clock back to prevent women from using the pill. It’s defientely counterproductive, but you can’t reason with extremists.

  11. - the Other Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 11:39 am:

    The answer is: yes.

    Yes, this will alienate most voters. As RMW Stanford points out, a vast majority considers the pill effective and appropriate (moral, even).

    Yes, this rally will accomplish Stanek and ALL’s purpose, which is to engage the hard-core anti-abortion activists. The extreme anti-abortion folks — like Stanek — are really opposed to a culture in which sexuality is not considered shameful. They know they won’t be the majority; in fact, part of the their self-image is that of an oppressed minority that is doing the “right” thing despite huge opposition from the rest of the world.

    Ultimately, the end result of this will be to gain a small number of new activists to the Stanek side, and to attract a small number of new donors to organizations like Planned Parenthood.

  12. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 11:44 am:

    “The National Organization for Women is planning counter protests. I wonder how much they’re paying picketers”

    Given the record of anti-abortion violence, think they are getting combat pay?

  13. - bored now - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 11:48 am:

    anti-abortion (we can’t honestly call them “pro-life, can we?) protests aren’t about education, they are about intimidation. this has been true for a long time, and is an intentional strategy on their part. many women (perhaps even most) who go to pp clinics don’t exactly want that fact known to the public. the whole point of these protests is to interfere with a woman’s privacy at one of the most crucial points in their lives. i have much greater sympathy for those who stand silently outside clinics with the “i regret my abortion, ask me why” signs (even though i’ve run into women holding them who never had an abortion (that they’d admit to)…

  14. - Amber K - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 11:57 am:

    I am strongly pro-choice but I still agree with Pro-Lifer’s comments. Ms Stanek is out of her tree. The pill prevents pregnancy it does not abort it. She is trying to guilt women into joining her cause by scaring them into believing that by protecting themselves from an unwanted pregnancy they are killing their potential children.

  15. - Lefty Lefty - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 12:00 pm:

    Just to, you know, find some facts about this issue, I googled “birth control pill fetus.” Guess what? There is no scientific basis for Stanek’s position. One website described the anti-choice position well: now trying to prevent abortion is abortion too.

    The anti-choice people have lost their way. This won’t help them in the center at all.

  16. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 12:04 pm:

    This information isn’t news, is it?

    Pre-natal care recognizes the importance of removing as many unnecessary prescription drugs and chemicals from a mother’s body, while enhancing the environment that nurtures the human life within her.

    Pre-natal care admonishes couples to expect a couple of menstrual cycles to pass after the use of a birth control medication. It is understood by couples that have used a birth control pill to expect side effects such as these as the medication leaves her body.

    When a lady miscarries due to a pre-natal biological interference, it is not intended. Sexually active couples, even those who are not using a birth control pill, often experience fertilized eggs not completing an attachment to the uterus and passing through the normal menstrual cycle. Applying the abortion label to these normal biological occurances is a misapplication, as well as deliberate offensive.

    Stanek wishes to tie the use of birth control pills to abortion. By her logic we could also tie cigarette smoking, stress, and other normal health issues to abortion since these situation can also cause a fertilized egg to pass through a uterus without attaching itself to the wall of the womb.

    Her’s is an extreme position that most right-minded citizens will not accept, whether they are opposed to abortions or not.

  17. - JonShibleyFan - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 12:18 pm:

    “Will a protest like this alienate pro-life activists from the “center,””

    Do you mean will it alienate them even more?

    I have family members who are perfect, PERFECT targets for the anti-abortion activist crowd. Women. 50s/60s. Catholics who go weekly and on every holy day of obligation.

    And every time the anti-abortion crowd gets together for one of their bloody fetus parties, and any of my aunts, mom, their friends, etc. see it, they are morbidly REPULSED. And I know that’s the point, but they are mostly repulsed by the messenger, NOT the message.

  18. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 12:36 pm:

    I don’t think this will alienate pro-life activist from the center. The activists are on the right.

    What it will do is alienate the pro-life sympathizers in the center by exposing the anti-choice movement’s long-term agenda, i.e. severely restricting women’s reproductive choices.

    – SCAM
    so-called “Austin Mayor”

  19. - John Bambenek - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 12:39 pm:

    To add some facts to the debate, the pill has three modes of operation:

    1) Prevents ovulation
    2) Prevents conception
    3) Prevents implantation

    If the first two fail and the timing is right, the pill can prevent implantation of a post-conception embryo. If you believe life begins at conception, this would make it an abortifacient.

  20. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 12:49 pm:

    Most medical professionals put the start of pregnancy at implantation. Even under ideal conditions, a great many fertilized ova simply fail to implant.

    I think with the vast, vast majority of American women using birth control (and most common is sterilization followed by the pill) at some point in their lives, this kind of event is not going to attract these women to the pro-life cause. And if they want to inform people about this, why picket Planned Parenthood, why not picket Walgreens or CVS? I’m guessing more women get their BC pills from those establishments than do Planned Parenthood.

  21. - John Bambenek - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 1:03 pm:

    “Most medical professionals” changed that defition in recent years. But again, it’s a fight over a definition and it depends on where you start. If you believe that life begins at conception, then it’s an abortifacient… if you believe it starts at pregnancy, than it’s not, and if you believe life begins at birth, it’s irrelevant. And if you are Barack Obama, you apparently believe life begins sometime AFTER birth considering his support for “theraputic abortion”.

  22. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 1:13 pm:

    I’m sorry, I must be in the wrong century — could you tell me where I can find 2008?

  23. - jerry 101 - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 1:27 pm:

    At least the right is finally starting to be honest about it.

    It’s never been about protecting the unborn.

    It’s always been about punishing women and putting them back in their place. Not sure how a baby is punishment, but I don’t understand the mentality of someone who is against the pill.

  24. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 1:45 pm:

    Why do you feel it is necessary to lie about Sen. Obama’s position regarding abortion?

  25. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 1:48 pm:

    Depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is…. hoping word leaves a trail of bread crumbs so we can all climb into the 21st century.

  26. - John Bambenek - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 2:15 pm:


    Tell me where Obama stands on the Born Alive Infants Protection Act when he was a state senator… get back to me.


    I would think mischaracterizing your opponent’s positions with senseless, false, and inflammatory rhetoric might alienate you from the center also.

  27. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 2:19 pm:

    What did those bills have to say about the defining a fetus?
    Of course you know the answer to that, and you know exactly why Sen. Obama voted as he did.
    Since you claim to be more Christian than the rest of us, you should work on being honest.

  28. - John Bambenek - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 2:29 pm:

    I didn’t claim to be Christian… at all.

    But once again, thanks for showing us who is alienating whom.

  29. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 2:30 pm:

    Can we get back to the question, please?

  30. - Skeeter - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 3:54 pm:

    Jill Stanek and an abortion protest against The Pill gets 30 comments?
    That seems to answer the question.
    Nobody really cares about her protest.

  31. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 3:58 pm:


  32. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 4:27 pm:

    –What did those bills have to say about the defining a fetus?–

    Since when has a human embryo lost it’s definition as human?

  33. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 6:32 pm:

    I think it alienates. And while many probably truly believe the statement that the original intent behind such protests is a peaceful demonstration by most, history proves you never know what can be expected AT the event…and when they go bad, they go really bad.

    It also ties the hands of those who are generally against abortion, but believe that the final decision is an individual one in which government should not interfere. Obviously, much of the education that said group supports is grounded in prevention of unwanted pregnancies. Birth control pills–for those who see them as options for themselves–is obviously a part of that education, along with other methods.

    The result of positions and protests such as these puts women into a vicious loop. Don’t have an abortion even in extreme cases and don’t use birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies. (We could speculate for hours on the various motivations behind that thought process and probably come up with many, many different ones but would never really know, depending on who you talk to and how honest they are.)

    In the interest of time and not meaning to sound nasty, there seems to be three MAJOR positions that no one discusses (with of course variations): breed no matter what, breed responsibly, and use abortion as a birth control method.

    What I said will probably irritate many, but it does explain some of the problems the first two groups have in being able to work together to at least try to DECREASE abortions through education.

    The first group often come across as not wanting to compromise on anything, including a staged approach to a partial solution upon which you’d think both groups could somehow agree, regardless of their long-term goals. The first group seem to want it all THEIR WAY today.

  34. - Bookworm - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 9:47 pm:

    ALL is and always has been a very hard-line (for lack of a better word) pro-life group. Its founder, Judie Brown, believes that nothing short of a Human Life Amendment legally defining the embryo/fetus as a person is acceptable. She and other members often compare abortion to slavery or the Holocaust — a moral evil so overwhelming that no compromise or common ground with the other side is possible. Without delving into the merit or wisdom of that particular comparision, I will simply say that like
    hard-line groups on either end of ANY controversial issue (immigration, gun control, etc.) they tend to get more attention than their actual numbers warrant.
    What John Bambenek said above is accurate as far as “how” the PIll operates and its capability to prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum. However, a number of factors would all have to coincide for that to happen, and there is no way of ever knowing, proving or disproving whether or not this has occurred or will occur. It seems to me it would be pretty difficult to get most pro-life supporters or sympathizers worked up about this issue when there are far more obvious forms of abortion going on elsewhere at bona fide abortion clinics.

  35. - Heartless Libertarian - Thursday, Jun 5, 08 @ 11:30 pm:

    Now this is the problem… They are protesting birth control pills!!! They aren’t protesting abortion. I may be in favor of legal abortion, but I can 100% identify with the anti-abortion movement. But, when you go out and protest the single greatest thing that has prevented so many abortions, it is appauling. Honestly, I think the pro-life movement is doing such a disservice to itself, it may never regain the momentum it once had. Quite frankly, it looks like a complete joke. No wonder they have no power in public education.

  36. - Patriot - Saturday, Jun 7, 08 @ 9:04 am:

    Pro-choice people say that they are not pro-abortion. However, they are pro-choosing abortion which makes them pro-abortion. They should stop playing word games and accept what they are.

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