July 27, 2005


In Europe, abortion foes gain support, and funds (Elisabeth Rosenthal, JULY 27, 2005, International Herald Tribune)

For most of July, pedestrians in the Polish city of Lodz found themselves face-to-face with 14 grisly billboards pairing images of aborted fetuses with photographs of blood-spattered corpses - victims of genocide in Srebrenica or Rwanda, toddlers killed in the Oklahoma City bombing attack.

Placed by a Polish anti-abortion group, the traveling exhibition, which has moved on to Lublin, personifies an aggressive, well-financed and growing conservative movement across Europe that opposes not only abortion but also contraception, sex education, artificial insemination and gay rights.

Encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, enabled by the election of conservative governments in many countries and financed in part by anti-abortion groups in the United States, the movement has made powerful inroads in countries where a full array of women's health services were once taken for granted.

These include Poland, Italy, Slovakia, Lithuania and even the Netherlands, where the new Christian Democratic secretary of health has suggested a review of that country's liberal abortion law.

"It's gotten worse in many places over the last two to three years, as more Christian Democrat and conservative governments have come to power," said Rebecca Gomperts, founder of the Dutch abortion rights group Women on Waves.

It's not going to get "better" as secular rationalists become a less significant portion of the population.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 27, 2005 12:00 AM

why not have all the femminists move to an island somewhere and set up their own kind of utopia. they will probably all fling themselves off cliffs, as the leftist project continues to disinegrate.

Posted by: cjm at July 27, 2005 2:23 AM

The Poles have overwhelmingly rejected the notion of an OJ-style theocratic state. However, this does not mean that they are jettisoning the legacy of over 1000 years of Catholicism. It is all about finding a balance.

This debate is long overdue in Europe. The necessities of the Cold War stifled the discussion of anything that would have fractured the anti-Communist consensus in the West. Nobody wanted a repeat of 'Better Hitler than Blum.' The Christian Democratic parties collapsed in Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall and are only now starting to get their footing once again.

Posted by: bart at July 27, 2005 7:06 AM

I hope nobody on the right is advocating banning abortions because that would be a very bad move.

What we should be advocating is that the government get out of the abortion business totally and stop funding abortion clinics and abortion advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood. Women who want an abortion, should seek medical attention on their own and get their private business out of the taxpayers pocket while at the same time removing one of the left's loudest talking points from the political scene.

If there wasn't an abortion clinic on every street corner and it wasn't so quick, easy and cheap, women might take responsibility for their own bodies and prevent unwanted pregnancies rather use abortion as an alternate to birth control.

Posted by: erp at July 27, 2005 8:00 AM


Now there's a platform I can support. I think we'd do well not to concentrate on trying to push people in the right direction but rather just not enabling bad behavior quite so much. It's also a platform that can draw in the coots (socially liberal, fiscally conservative).

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at July 27, 2005 12:52 PM

A coot? New one on me.

From Dictionary.com

3 entries found for coot.
- Any of several dark-gray aquatic birds;
- Scoter, large black diving duck;
- Informal. An eccentric or crotchety person, especially an eccentric old man.

I'll go with the third def. I plead guilty to eccentric, crotchety and old, but alas I'm not a man.

Still three out of four is plenty good enough for government work.

Posted by: erp at July 27, 2005 2:02 PM

I have never had much to say about abortion here (or anywhere), not because I don't have an opinion, but because I don't think Roe v. Wade made much difference.

My physics adviser told me a story a couple weeks ago that was on point.

We were comparing notes about growing up in overwhelmingly Christian communities.

He grew up in the Texas panhandle, where, as he put it, 'you HAD to take some position in the church.'

Which he did, in social self defense, though his parents were quietly irreligious.

When they moved to the panhandle, housing was scarce and for a longish time they were guests/boarders at the swankest house in town, which was the home of the local doctor.

My adviser was then just a young boy and he tells me that he did not realize at first just where the doctor's money came from.

'Only later,' he told me, 'did I find out that he was the abortionist for that district.'

This was in the early 1940s.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 28, 2005 5:17 PM


Yes, that's how abortion should be--shameful and secret. You'll never get rid of it entirely, any more than any evil.

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2005 7:08 PM

Open secret.

Shame was involved all right, but you've misidentified whose it was.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 28, 2005 7:19 PM

Well, today his house would be firebombed.

Posted by: oj at July 28, 2005 7:25 PM