Family Research Council Attacks Obama on Life Starting at Conception


Is this the year of the squirming baby political TV commercial? Following on the heels of the MoveOn.org squirming baby ad, comes the Family Research Council equivalent.

TPM Election Central and the NYT Caucus Blog are reporting that the Family Research Council is airing a new TV ad attacking Sen. Barack Obama on the issue of life beginning at conception. The ad is running in Cincinnati, then Atlanta, Dallas and other markets. FRC is not disclosing how much air time they bought or how long the ad will run. Its low production values suggest they are putting more into airing it than making it, but low production values don’t work on TV, suggesting this is more of an online effort to provoke news coverage.

In the ad, Tony Perkins, President of FRC takes issue with Obama talking about fathers being responsible beyond conception, then twists the point Obama made into a question about when life begins. In a statement, Perkins said,

“Barack Obama has made some very important points in his speeches,
particularly his speech about fatherhood, but there is a disconnect
between when he is saying and the political positions he has taken, and
if he is going to be pro family he has got to be pro family.”

 

Here is what Tony Perkins is not saying.

  1. If you believe life begins at conception, when egg and sperm meet, then you must also believe, as Perkins and other social conservatives want you to, that contraception and birth control cause abortions and thus should be outlawed. Birth control and contraception are not abortifacients.
  2. If you believe life begins at conception, you will also support the Colorado Ballot Initiative to define a fertilized egg as a person, with all the rights and responsibilities of a fully born, living, breathing human being. The problem is, it is impossible to tell exactly when an egg has been fertilized, thus when the "date of birth" (now nine months or so prior to what we currently think of as birth) actually is, and thus when these rights are conferred. There are many other problems with defining eggs as people with rights, as one of our commenters said, "I could now harvest and fertilize dozens of my eggs, and declare them as dependents." The list goes on.
  3. If you believe life begins at conception, that the egg is a person and that contraception should be banned, then outlawing abortion for any reason, including rape, incest or the life and health of the mother, will be easy. Most Americans support safe, legal and rare abortion — especially in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life and health of the mother.
  4. By only discussing conception/abortion, an issue many people find difficult to discuss, Tony Perkins and social conservatives have not been honest about their desire to outlaw contraception, and redefine birth as an unknowable moment of fertilization. They have been more upfront about their efforts to teach failed abstinence-only programs in place of comprehensive sexuality education, and come to think of it why not — if their goal is to outlaw contraception, why would they want to teach people how to be responsible in planning their families.
  5. It is possible to be pro-family, pro-sex-ed, pro-contraception, pro-family planning and pro-choice. Tony Perkins does not define what it means to be pro-family.

No, Tony Perkins doesn’t go into the detail behind his over-simplified notion of why he wants you to define life as starting at conception. He doesn’t tell you that he wants to take away your condoms, birth control pills and other contraceptive devices. He doesn’t tell you he wants you to have 5 or more kids just like he does, regardless of your ability to love, provide and care for them, or the circumstances under which you became pregnant.

Tony Perkins won’t tell you that the very best way to reduce unintended pregnancies is by empowering women, teaching young people the facts with comprehensive sexuality education, and making sure that contraception is accessible and affordable.

Most importantly, he won’t tell you that instead of engaging Sen. Obama on the point he was making, the importance of responsible parenting, Tony Perkins does what social conservatives always do — distract the debate about serious issues in this country to focus on the one issue they need to have front and center in order to turn out their base supporters — abortion. For them, it’s not about life, parenting, fatherhood or responsibility — it is about overturning Roe v. Wade and prohibiting one medical procedure, which will do nothing to reduce abortion, it will only harm women and make them criminals. Like the baby in the ad, anyone who has ever used contraception or wanted to determine when and how many children to have, should be squirming when they see this ad.

 

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  • amanda-marcotte

    I can’t wait until the figure out what the argument will be.  That the latex causes undue friction that could wiggle a zygote out?

  • http://www.noroomforcontraception.com invalid-0

    First of all, it is suspected that the pill and IUDs may have an abortifacient mechanism. So until absolutely proven otherwise, isn’t it best to err on the side of life?

    Second, it’s not universally recognized that pregnancy begins at implantation – in fact, that politically motivated definition is not universally accepted, nor does it survive critical analysis. At best, it provides a form of cover for possible abortifacients as well as IVF practices. Find out more about how this issue at:

    http://www.noroomforcontraception.com/pregnancy/Pregnancy-Conception-FAQ.htm

    As far as outlawing contraception goes, not too many people are pursuing that idea. Rather, what those of us who oppose us seek to do is to *change the culture* by highlighting the problems associated with contraception.

    And being pro-choice on abortion is implicitly anti-family – they are mutually exclusive – you cannot be for the destruction of certain family members and be pro-family at the same time, as the term is all inclusive of all members of the family.

    And contrary to your statements, in our culture, the best way to reduce unintended pregnancies among the unmarried is to avoid sex all together. And research has demonstrated that abortion restrictions were largely responsible for the declines in abortions in the 1990s…

    I could go on, but due to a lack of time I’ll end here..

  • mellankelly1

    And being pro-choice on abortion is implicitly anti-family – they are mutually exclusive – you cannot be for the destruction of certain family members and be pro-family at the same time, as the term is all inclusive of all members of the family.

    Contrary to your idea’s of who or what constitutes a "family member" one could most certainly and without even a hint of doubt be pro-choice, pro-family and pro-child.  I am.  I am not for the destruction of any person (family member or not).  I see all people, including pregnant women (regardless of whether or not the pregnancy is wanted) as deserving of equal rights and fully support a woman’s right to choose when/if to have children and to decide for herself the course of her pregnancy.

    And contrary to your statements, in our culture, the best way to reduce unintended pregnancies among the unmarried is to avoid sex all together.

    Poppycock.  First, unmarried people will have sex… that is an actual fact.  Educating them on the best options available to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is our best option in reducing unwanted pregnancies.  Further, it is not only unmarried people who will engage in sex but do not wish to become pregnant… married couples currently do and will continue to have sex without being open to the possibility of becoming pregnant.  Married people will continue to be in need of the best options available to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion but you simply cannot ignore the realities of sex, regardless of whether or not you agree with those facts.  I will continue to have sex with my husband without even the faintest desire to become pregnant again or to carry a pregnancy to term… your opinion on the matter is completely irrelevant.

  • invalid-0

    Yes! MY life as a born woman.

    Sorry Ruben, but my family, our plans, priorities, desires, and financial situation are what childbearing and child rearing decisions will be based on, not an artifically concocted fear that a zygote could be – oh the horror – prevented from implanting in my uterus. That’s why I use birth control – I don’t want any zygotes implanting in my uterus right now! So, yeah, I’m erring on the “side of life.” Duh.

    You’re right, implantation is not “universally” recognized as the beginning of pregnancy, but it is recognized as such by modern medical science. Why should religious opinion factor into the equation? Could it have something to do with the fact that most Christian and Catholic traditions coincidentally believe that women should occupy an inferior social position? I know that I would have had a tough time earning my college degree and beginning my career if I were raising (unwanted) children and living with a constant fear of unintended pregnancy.

    Look, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to see all of us uppity bitches making money and making decisions about whether, when, and how we’d like to bring children into the world. It’s a bummer when a feared and despised group of people (hint, women – you do adhere to the Catholic faith, right?) who wield the power to create other humans gain control over that power. I know, I know, first we got college degrees, then we came for your jobs, and now we’re not down with bearing your children if we don’t want to. Semen rejection – it’s rough. You’ll get used to it. Start being honest and stop pretending this “life” crap has anything to do with cells floating around in American women’s uteri.

    Oh yeah, BTW, what do you think about the issue of responsible fatherhood, now that we’ve covered what you think women should be doing and not doing?

    As to avoiding sex among the unmarried. Sorry, that’s just silly. Sigh.

  • kirsten-sherk

    I can’t even get past the fact that they used a couch with a rip in it, and they couldn’t get Tony to stop rubbing his thigh. What’s that all about? And if that was the good side of the couch, what did the other side look like?? Honestly, the whole thing is as decrepit as their policies.

  • invalid-0

    >>You’re right, implantation is not “universally” recognized as the beginning of pregnancy, but it is recognized as such by modern medical science. Why should religious opinion factor into the equation?

    It’s not universally recognized by medical science either.

    And I never brough up religion, so why did you?

  • invalid-0

    t’s not universally recognized by medical science either.

    Says who? The only outlets which oppose ACOG’s (American College of Ob/Gyn) definition (what makes you so sure it’s “politically motivated”,btw?) are anti-abortion groups. I don’t feel they are at all credible in the medical science field.
    In short, I am asking you to back up the above quote with at least one credible medical or scientific source.

  • invalid-0

    What is really at stake is the mother’s lifestyle, as opposed to the baby’s life. No one has an absolute unconditional right to a lifestyle. It is always governed by its effects on others. There are 1,000’s of restrictions on us including no-smoking provisions, noise and zoning ordinances, etc. Finally, is it reasonable for society to expect an to live with a temporary inconvenience if the only alternative is a child?

    Choice is a great thing. I passionately defend a woman’s right to choose a career or schooling or housing or any number of life avenues. I defend her choice to decide whether to have , and with whom, and how often, and whether or not to use birth control.

    But absolute, unhindered choice is not a guaranteed human right. Think about it: civil society already tells us that we cannot “choose” to abuse a child or “choose” to steal a car. There are legal consequences to those actions, because “choosing” to burglarize a home infringes on the basic liberties of the person who lives there.

    When our right to choose bumps up against the right of another to exist peacefully, our choice is blocked by civilized law.
    A woman’s right to decide what to do with her body bumps up against the right of that baby’s right to exist.
    A woman’s right to choose an abortion cannot logically co-exist with a embryo/fetus’ right to be born.

    Simply put, life trumps choice.

  • invalid-0

    What is really at stake is the mother’s lifestyle, as opposed to the baby’s life.

    Horse pucky. The mother’s life is always more important than the life of the fetus.

    No one has an absolute unconditional right to a lifestyle. It is always governed by its effects on others. There are 1,000’s of restrictions on us including no-smoking provisions, noise and zoning ordinances, etc. Finally, is it reasonable for society to expect an to live with a temporary inconvenience if the only alternative is a child?

    Utter stuff and nonsense. “Lifestyle” is just a right wing buzzword, useful only as propaganda in this context.

    Choice is a great thing. I passionately defend a woman’s right to choose a career or schooling or housing or any number of life avenues. I defend her choice to decide whether to have , and with whom, and how often, and whether or not to use birth control.

    Of course it is. This is the only sensible thing you’ve said.

    But absolute, unhindered choice is not a guaranteed human right. Think about it: civil society already tells us that we cannot “choose” to abuse a child or “choose” to steal a car. There are legal consequences to those actions, because “choosing” to burglarize a home infringes on the basic liberties of the person who lives there.

    I love the smell of red herrings in the early evening. Must I remind you child abuse, car theft and burglary are CRIMES? Abortion is not a crime,so there is no comparison.Except with anti-abortion laws which DO infringe on the basic liberties of women to decide when to become moms.

    When our right to choose bumps up against the right of another to exist peacefully, our choice is blocked by civilized law.

    Anti-abortion laws are hardly civilized because they infringe on a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. And sometimes way humiliating to women.

    A woman’s right to decide what to do with her body bumps up against the right of that baby’s right to exist.
    A woman’s right to choose an abortion cannot logically co-exist with a embryo/fetus’ right to be born.

    No it doesn’t, this woman vs fetus “conflict” was manufactured by the anti-abortion movement. The fetus has no right to exist, or even be born.

    Simply put, life trumps choice.

    Simply put, that statement is excrement of a male bovine.

  • invalid-0

    I’m sorry to say, but those are really weak arguments. Once it is recognized that the fetus is human, that should cancel out the ‘it has no right to be born’ argument.

  • mellankelly1

    I’m sorry to say, but those are really weak arguments. Once it is recognized that the fetus is human, that should cancel out the ‘it has no right to be born’ argument.

    I think that it is insanely weak that a person could pretend that the argument was that a fetus was ever anything other than human.  If a pregnancy is the result of two humans how could it be anything other than human… and yet still, no "right" to be born.  A woman doesn’t suddenly give up her legal rights or full citizenship upon becoming pregnant, does she?

  • mellankelly1

    What is really at stake is the mother’s lifestyle, as opposed to the baby’s life.

    Maybe inside your mind that is what is at stake but out in the real world the rights of pregnant women (regardless of whether or not their pregnancy is wanted) are what’s at stake.  Being a mother of two girls and a woman who has been pregnant four times I can assure you that my "lifestyle" has nothing to do with my commitment to ensuring that women get to decide a) when/if to have children and b) what course their own pregnancy should take.

    Finally, is it reasonable for society to expect an to live with a temporary inconvenience if the only alternative is a child?

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here… is it that you believe that a child is a "temporary inconvenience"?  Do you have children?  They’re kind of permanent.

    When our right to choose bumps up against the right of another to exist peacefully, our choice is blocked by civilized law.

    A woman’s right to choose the course of her own pregnancy does not "bump up against" any other persons rights.  Your opinions about what a pregnancy should mean are completely irrelevant to a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy.

    A woman’s right to decide what to do with her body bumps up against the right of that baby’s right to exist

    No, it doesn’t.  Terminating a pregnancy has nothing to do with a baby… preventing a baby is kind of the point. 

    A woman’s right to choose an abortion cannot logically co-exist with a embryo/fetus’ right to be born.

    Oh yes, it most certainly can and does… the pregnant woman/embryo(fetus) relationship is unitary, NOT adversarial.  It only becomes adversarial when the anti-abortion folk attempt to take rights away from pregnant women and give them to her embryo/fetus.

    Simply put, life trumps choice.

    And the life of the pregnant woman will always trump the opinion of some third party with absolutely no stake whatsoever in the outcome of her pregnancy.

  • invalid-0

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here… is it that you believe that a child is a “temporary inconvenience”? Do you have children? They’re kind of permanent.
    *****
    No, I mean pregnancy is temporary.
    *****
    And the life of the pregnant woman will always trump the opinion of some third party with absolutely no stake whatsoever in the outcome of her pregnancy.
    *****
    What gives me the right to tell a pregnant woman not to have an abortion? the answer is absolutely nothing. In a society of laws, no one is allowed to decide what activities others may or may not engage in. As individuals, we have no more right to tell a woman she can’t hire someone to kill her unborn child than we have to tell her she can’t rob convenience stores. However, it is right for there to be laws which say she can’t do so. Just as government has the responsibility and the right to prevent armed robbery, it is the responsibility and the right to prevent the killing of innocent human beings, including those waiting to be born.

  • invalid-0

    A woman doesn’t suddenly give up her legal rights or full citizenship upon becoming pregnant, does she?
    *****
    No, she doesn’t. She just doesn’t have any right to kill her child.

  • mellankelly1

    No, she doesn’t. She just doesn’t have any right to kill her child.

    Nobody has the right to kill children.  A woman facing an unwanted pregnancy has every right to terminate her pregnancy if she chooses to.  Your personal opinion of what a pregnancy should mean is absolutely irrelevant to a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy.

  • mellankelly1

    No, I mean pregnancy is temporary.

    The effects of a pregnancy can last forever and not every pregnancy ends in the birth of a healthy child (even if you take elective abortion out of the equation).  Some interesting (and frightening) statistics regarding pregnancy in the United States:

    • 875,000 woman experience one or more pregnancy complications
    • 458,952 babies are born to mothers without adequate prenatal care
    • 467,201 babies are born prematurely
    • 154,051 children are born with Birth Defects
    • 27,864 infants die before their first birthday
    • 600,000 women experience pregnancy loss through miscarriage
    • 64,000 women experience pregnancy loss through ectopic pregnancy
    • 6,000 women experience pregnancy loss through molar pregnancies
    • 26,000 women experience pregnancy loss through stillbirth
    • 240,000 pregnant women are subject to domestic violence

      (40% of assaults begin during the first pregnancy)

    You may consider these things to be "temporary" but I’m betting that the women who experience them find them anything but.

    What gives me the right to tell a pregnant woman not to have an abortion? the answer is absolutely nothing.

    Fantastic.  I concur.

    In a society of laws, no one is allowed to decide what activities others may or may not engage in

    Really?  Because I was under the impression that in our society, laws dictate what activities we may or may not engage in (i.e. terminating a pregnancy is legal – robbing a convenience store is illegal)

    Just as government has the responsibility and the right to prevent armed robbery, it is the responsibility and the right to prevent the killing of innocent human beings, including those waiting to be born.

    Government has the responsibility to ensure that it’s citizens rights are protected… including the rights of pregnant women regardless of whether or not their pregnancy is wanted.

  • invalid-0

    The effects of a pregnancy can last forever and not every pregnancy ends in the birth of a healthy child (even if you take elective abortion out of the equation). Some interesting (and frightening) statistics regarding pregnancy in the United States:

    875,000 woman experience one or more pregnancy complications
    458,952 babies are born to mothers without adequate prenatal care
    467,201 babies are born prematurely
    154,051 children are born with Birth Defects
    27,864 infants die before their first birthday
    600,000 women experience pregnancy loss through miscarriage
    64,000 women experience pregnancy loss through ectopic pregnancy
    6,000 women experience pregnancy loss through molar pregnancies
    26,000 women experience pregnancy loss through stillbirth
    240,000 pregnant women are subject to domestic violence
    (40% of assaults begin during the first pregnancy)

    You may consider these things to be “temporary” but I’m betting that the women who experience them find them anything but.
    **********
    I am not trying to minimize the sufferings of women who go through such traumatic pregnancies. Their sufferings must be great. That’s why we have to find better help for them- abortion shouldn’t be an option.
    **********
    Really? Because I was under the impression that in our society, laws dictate what activities we may or may not engage in (i.e. terminating a pregnancy is legal – robbing a convenience store is illegal)
    **********
    Yes, abortion’s legal- that’s why pro-lifers are trying to make it illegal. You must know that what is legal isn’t always right.
    **********
    Government has the responsibility to ensure that it’s citizens rights are protected… including the rights of pregnant women regardless of whether or not their pregnancy is wanted.
    **********
    Everyone has the right to live as they wish, but they can’t kill in order to do so. the abortion issue is a conflict between the baby’s right to life and the mother’s desire to not be pregnant. While that desire may be reasonable, we can’t allow her to kill someone in order to fulfill it.
    Abortion isn’t and shouldn’t be a right.

  • janine

    Everyone has the right to live as they wish, but they can’t kill in
    order to do so. the abortion issue is a conflict between the baby’s
    right to life and the mother’s desire to not be pregnant. While that
    desire may be reasonable, we can’t allow her to kill someone in order
    to fulfill it.
    Abortion isn’t and shouldn’t be a right.

    Everyone does not have the right to live as they wish – they do not have the right to violate anothers body to maintain their life. The right to life is limited by this. Its not just the abortion issue that is a conflict between the right to life and anothers right to their own body integrity – it happens more frequently that someone needs anothers body to maintain their life. A woman (or man) is allowed to stop this use of their body for the benefit of another, even if the denial of resources in their body results in the needing persons death.

  • mellankelly1

    I am not trying to minimize the sufferings of women who go through such traumatic pregnancies. Their sufferings must be great. That’s why we have to find better help for them- abortion shouldn’t be an option.

    Oh yes… abortion most certainly should be an option.  You cannot take these risks or suffer for these women and you most certainly have no right to force them to take these risks or to suffer.  It is utterly unbelievable how easily you would put some other persons life on the line like it ain’t no thang at all.  Who do you think you are?

    Yes, abortion’s legal- that’s why pro-lifers are trying to make it illegal. You must know that what is legal isn’t always right

    You were comparing armed robbery to a woman terminating her pregnancy and you are trying to tell me whats right?  The constitution guarantee’s us that our bodies (and our pregnancies) are a private matter that affect us alone.  Those people who are vehemently anti-abortion wish to enact a law that would give the responsibility over our bodies to some form of government – since you appear to fancy yourself an expert on what is "right" please feel free explain to me how it would be "right" to allow some third party with absolutely no stake in the outcome to decide the course of our pregnancies (even at the expense of our lives and/or health).  The fact that you feel that abortion is icky is certainly not a compelling enough reason to deny pregnant women the same rights that every other citizen has.

    Everyone has the right to live as they wish, but they can’t kill in order to do so.

    Yes we can and we most certainly do… we kill criminals, we kill animals, we kill insects, we kill forests, we even kill innocent people (sometimes referred to as "collateral damage") – we kill for many different reasons. 

     the abortion issue is a conflict between the baby’s right to life and the mother’s desire to not be pregnant.

    Oh no, it most certainly is not.  The "abortion issue" is about controlling women.  It exists only because there are people who wish to impose their personal beliefs (be they religious or philosophical) onto those who do not share their personal opinions about "personhood".

    Abortion isn’t and shouldn’t be a right.

    Abortion is a right for exactly the same reason that it will always be a right: women alone get to decide what will or will not happen to their own bodies.  Your opinions about what is "right" are completely irrelevant to me.

  • mellankelly1

    Everyone does not have the right to live as they wish – they do not have the right to violate anothers body to maintain their life. The right to life is limited by this. Its not just the abortion issue that is a conflict between the right to life and anothers right to their own body integrity – it happens more frequently that someone needs anothers body to maintain their life. A woman (or man) is allowed to stop this use of their body for the benefit of another, even if the denial of resources in their body results in the needing persons death

    A child does not even have the right to force it’s parents to undergo any form of bodily invasion (including a blood test) without the parents consent. The law fully supports the right of a person to refuse to allow others to invade his or her bodily integrity.  These people loathe abortion so much so that they would be willing to give rights to a zygote/embryo/fetus that a born child does not even have.  That is just insane.