Archive for gregg cunningham

Pro-life e-book analyzes recent debate with AHA

Posted in AHA, Incrementalist with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2015 by saynsumthn

It began with a debate between the strategy of immediatism vs. incrementalism in ending abortion.

AHA Debate prolife Gregg Cunningham 953565359761892780_n1

It was held this past April in Tulsa between pro-lifer Gregg Cunningham of the Center for Bioethical Reform and T. Russell Hunter a founder of the abolitionist group Abolish Human Abortion (AHA).

After a series of articles about the debate a group of pro-life leaders have decided to publish an e-book detailing their thoughts addressing issues brought up during the debate.

Abolition of reason prolife AHA 2015-06-01_1719-e1433197400874

Abolition of Reason: Pro-life apologists deconstruct ‘Immediatist’ ideology” was written by pro-life blogger Jill Stanek, Steve Hays of Triablogue, Scott Klusendorf of Life Training Institute, Dr. Michael New of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, Jonathon Van Maren of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, and Clinton Wilcox also of LTI.

Pro-lifers are in their rights to analyze the debate and they are not alone.

Russell Hunter has vowed that Abolitionists will produce their own response, calling the various posts “misinformation and distractions“:

AHA when Jill finishes digging

Jill Stanek opens the e-book by writing the prologue, where she analyzes Hunter’s readiness for the debate, “Hunter came ill-prepared to support his actual premise, that pro-life incrementalism hasn’t and doesn’t work, and Cunningham quickly disproved Hunter’s claim that immediatism is buttressed by historical figures like William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. None of the aforementioned were immediatists in practice. They were incrementalists.

Klusendorf addresses the tone of the aftermath and the way that AHA supporters launched personal attacks following the debate, writing:

    an AHA supporter named Toby immediately attributed to her [Jill Stanek] the worst possible motives and all-but damned her to Hell. “Instead of dealing with incrementalism or immediatism on Biblical terms, she chooses to make an idol out of the abortion fight. Her career is more important to her than her soul…

Toby Idol

Adding, “That’s not the language of someone eager to engage his critics with thoughtful responses.
It’s the rhetoric of a spiritual weirdo with a severe prophet complex. What he can’t secure with a syllogism, he’ll pick up with a spiritual power play. Indeed, one high-up AHA rep requested that I publicly repent for not posting his link announcing the pending debate. That my Facebook page is mine to post or not post as I please apparently never crossed his mind. The arrogance of such a request is mind-blowing.”

Van Maren summarized Hunter’s actions after the debate this way, “Hunter took to Facebook immediately to first half-apologize for his performance, but then quickly become snarky and sarcastic again as his supporters assured him that he was, of course, the visionary they all knew him to be.”

ICAS then apology 32402386_491352267_n

Adding, “The most mind-boggling post surely goes to the “International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies,” who actually posted a fake apology for Gregg Cunningham being “a jerk” and for his so-called “ad hominem attacks.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a stunning display of immaturity and sour grapes, with the exception of the out-and-out character assassination that the “abolitionists” across social media, in a series of adolescent temper tantrums, have launched against Cunningham, all the while accusing any and all respondents of “slander.”

(Note, as pictured above, the ICAS was eventually edited and an apology was issued after pro-lifers criticized the poor sportsmanship of the post.)

But, I also noticed the poor way that AHA responded – addressing it privately with many of their members. After all, it was AHA who repeatedly requested the debate to begin with.

Capture

Jill Stanek T RUssell AHA wants debate

After repeated criticism of the pro-life movement, I noticed how quickly Russell retreated to a martyr complex when the criticism was directed at him:

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Capture

T RUssell debate good

Back to the e-book.

Hayes addresses the difference between what he describes as the “right message” vs. the “cost of innocent lives.”

With respect to AHA,” Hayes states.

“nothing is easier than to take an “uncompromising” stand when it has no chance of happening. In that respect, AHA is like Republicans who are rhetorically pro-life, rhetorically uncompromising. There’s no price to pay. No real-world consequences. It’s just self-congratulatory talk.”

Adding this observation, “On the one hand they set the bar very high. On the other hand, they slide under the bar. The measure of progress isn’t consciousness-raising, but the abolition of abortion. By their own oft-repeated sloganeering, that’s the only “fruit” that counts. The total abolition of abortion. AHA confuses leaves with fruit. Thus far, AHA is a leafy, but fruitless tree. Lots of leaves, no fruit.”

T Russell Hunter Univ Memphis AHA 2014

Stanek fires back at Hunter for his relentless accusations that that all pro-lifers wish to do is to “regulate” not end abortion, writing, “It is slander of the worst kind for Hunter to claim the end game for pro-lifers is that abortion be “safe, early, and painless.” He knows perfectly well why we pursue incremental efforts.”

Wilcox agrees, “Pro-life people want the immediate end to abortion. Incremental legislation is our strategic method for getting there. Planned Parenthood knows this. Pro-choice writers like Katha Pollitt know this (it plays a major theme in her recent book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights ). The only people who don’t seem to get that are the self-proclaimed “abolitionists.”

Klusendorf piles on, “Hunter never once said how his policy of immediatism plays out in the real world. How, exactly, does it work to insist on the immediate abolition of abortion? Got the votes for that? Here is where Hunter’s argument is truly self-sealing. He states that if only all incrementalists would become immediatists, we could take the ax to the root and win.

“So there you have it. When you can’t explain how your strategy actually works in the real world, you just fault your opponents for your failure to execute. This reminds me of faith healers who blame the victim for “not having enough faith” when he doesn’t immediately recover from a systemic illness….”

Stanek fires back again, “Hunter knew when he launched AHA in 2011 immediatism would take “a long time,” and there would be “a long period in which it was impracticable.” But he had no safety net prepared for the children from whom he would go on to rashly attempt to remove protections. He had no immediate and workable plan in place to save the children he was pulling the rug out from under.

“To this day, four years later, AHA has no cohesive, wide-ranging plan to save these kids.”

Aha uses Life Issues Image

Wilcox points out the hypocrisy of AHA’s criticism of the pro-life movement writing, “Hunter, while decrying the fact that pro-life organizations fundraise, hypocritically uses the fruits of those organizations’ labor.

Case in point….Wilcox states that, “AHA uses images of abortion victims that Cunningham’s group has spent millions of dollars to acquire over the years. CBR was the first pro-life organization to compile an archive of broadcast quality video and still photographs.”

TR July 5 2014 Plan B PLM

And then Wilcox addresses accusations by AHA that somehow the pro-life movement fundraising is bad by pointing out that AHA leader, “Don Cooper who holds himself out as AHA’s Executive Director, also fundraises. Cooper’s organization, named Abolitionists Northwest, made $101,159 in 2013 – $96,645 of which came from “[c]ontributions, gifts, grants, and similar.” A point I detail here.

Van Maren questions Hunter’s recollection of history, “Although I was well aware of Abolish Human Abortion’s selective historical cherry picking and theologically immature underpinnings, I thought Hunter would put up a better fight,” he states.

“An honest analysis of history shows us that there are no social reform movements that have ever managed to do away with an injustice in one fell swoop. Hunter’s so-called “strategy,” to play it fast and loose with the word, has no basis in historical fact and is, for the most part, based on his misunderstanding and in many places misrepresentation of the historical record.

Perhaps the most compelling point in the e-book is the chapter written by Dr. Michael New who details how incrementalism does, in fact, save lives, documentation Hunter was completely ignorant of during the debate.

New’s summary reads, “one of the most important reasons why pro-lifers should continue to support incremental pro-life laws is that these laws are effective. Academic research has been published in an impressive range of political science journals, economics journals, and public health journals. These studies have analyzed different types of incremental pro-life laws. They have analyzed data from different states and different time periods. There is a very strong consensus among scholars that incremental pro-life laws have stopped abortions and saved literally thousands of innocent human lives.”

You can read and download the e-book here.

After the Pro-life vs. Abolish Human Abortion debate

Posted in AHA, Jill Stanek with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2015 by saynsumthn

In March of 2014, Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) spokesperson, T Russell Hunter sent out a plea for a pro-life leader to engage AHA in a debate.

Jill Stanek T RUssell AHA wants debate

At the time, T. Russell Hunter stated in part:

I am looking for someone in the Pro-Life Movement to engage me in a public forum and friendly debate regarding the morality and effectuality of fighting abortion by pragmatically focusing on the passage of 20 week (fetal pain) abortion bans. I would argue for the abolitionist position–that all people who are opposed to abortion ought to unify around abolishing all forms of intentional prenatal destruction regardless of the age of the human being in question–and my opponent could argue for the pro life establishment’s position that we should focus our time and energy on regulating abortion while it remains legal and seek incremental gains against it.

    After repeated requests, Gregg Cunningham took the AHA challenge and the official debate took place the end of April 2015.

    After the debate, the analyzing began.

    On the International Coalition of Abolitionists Societies which sponsored the event, the chest pounding was loud as they tried to say that Gregg conceded the debate:

    GC COnceded the debate

    Then this post appeared on the event page:

    ICAS after debate b4 apology

    Shortly after several pro-lifers called them out, to their credit ICAS issued this apology:

    ICAS will edit

    And ICAS edited the post to read this:

    ICAS After apology

    Kudos for both an apology and an edit in the post above.

    The debater himself, T Russell Hunter believed that he won- defending himself on Jill Stanek’s blog saying that Gregg “mauled himself.”

    Capture

    T RUssell debate good

    T Russell did better

    And so did others with AHA:

    Thomas Hunter Debate

    Toby debate

    After the debate, pro-life bloggers and leaders weighed in. I have not reviewed all the AHA support pages but I would imagine there are a number of reviews posted by their supporters as well.

    Scott Klusendorf with Life Training Institute published his analyses here claiming that Gregg Cunningham won hands down:

    Scott Klus AHA Debate

    Scott ends with this statement, “At the end of the day, Hunter picked a fight with a pit bull and got chewed up in his own yard. This was a public-relations disaster for AHA and served to solidify its brand as being more about attacking pro-lifers than stopping abortion. If Hunter wants to fix that, he better stop grinding his ax against pro-lifers—immediately.”

    Jonathon Van Maren with the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform published his response here, where he wrote, “The exchange was fiery and extraordinarily lopsided. Since Hunter had months to prepare, I was genuinely surprised at the out-and-out mauling that he received. I knew Gregg Cunningham was a talented debater. Although I was well aware of Abolish Human Abortion’s selective historical cherry picking and theologically immature underpinnings, I thought Hunter would put up a better fight.”

    Saynsumthn even weighed in to a part of the debate here.

    Russell AHA Scott Jill

    On April 28, 2015, Blogger Jill Stanek published her debate prologue here.

    Stanek was pretty blunt:

    Jill Stanek prologue aha

    Stanek has written a series of posts she entitled, ““Immediatist vs Incrementalist” debate analysis”

    Part 1
    Part 11
    Part 111

    Stanek may not be done yet.

    In response to Stanek’s “series” Abolish Human Abortion and their leaders have let loose posting several times about Stanek since the debate:

    AHA Jil RH Reality

    AHA Jill Stanek TX PP

    CHange Org hates AHA Jill April 2015

    Toby on Jill after April Debate 2015

    TR Jill Answers pl questions

    TR on Jill April 2015 keyboard clinics

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    AHA Jill Stanek Gregg destroyed

    Troy Buccini Jill Stanek AHA

    To be continued….

Responding to AHA’s claim pro-lifers focus on “abortion hurts women”

Posted in AHA, Pro-life History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2015 by saynsumthn

This past weekend a debate between pro-life advocate Gregg Cunningham vs. Abolish Human Abortion advocate T. Russell Hunter took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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The purpose was for each one to defend their view on abortion strategy: Incrementalism vs. Immediatism.

I am not going to address the entire debate in this blog post.

For those interested, pro-life blogger, Jill Stanek has analyzed the debate in a series of blog posts here which I recommend.

The purpose of this blog post is to address two statements made by Hunter.

Gregg Russell prolife vs AHA abortion Debate

During the debate, Hunter makes claims that pro-life strategy of working towards complete abolition of abortion and accepting gradual or incremental methods to save every baby possible along the way is sin.

Then Hunter implies that pro-life people do not call the sinner to repent for abortion. This is one of the statement’s I wish to address here.

Hunter says, “You notice the difference between an immediatist and an incrementalist, in that an immediatists says abortion is sin turn to God and goes out daily and to that work.” (Note: The last three words of Hunter’s statement are hard to make out from the audio, but I think I caught them correctly, please notify me if I am incorrect.)

TR Debate AHA

Hunter ran through his points so quickly that I believe that they are worth reviewing. Let’s pause there for a moment and analyze what Hunter is implying.

The comments begin at 58:29 of the debate video – here if you want to hear them.

First the statement, “an immediatists says abortion is sin turn to God” is intentionally designed to imply that anyone who claims the name “pro-life” and supports “incremental” strategies does not believe that abortion is sin or proclaim that society needs to turn to God.

This is an utterly ignorant and rather insulting statement.

The pro-life movement is made up of a large number of Bible believing Christian people. I would be in that group.

I understand the ignorance of a person who only recently joined the fight to end abortion while claiming to be a Christian for many years. But, just because Hunter and many of his followers have decided to responded to the Biblical mandate to “rescue those being led to the slaughter” does not mean history on this movement began with them.

As much as Hunter would like to re-write the history of the pro-life movement he did not live it as many many pro-lifers did and can now testify as first hand witnesses.

But to the point at hand, there is ample evidence past and present that the call to repentance was and is given within the pro-life community.

This 2001 letter to the editor is just one example:

US Repent 2001 abortion

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The 1980’s rescues were also public calls for not only the church to repent from abortion apathy, but also for society to do the same. No AHA meme, statement, or fancy design can erase that history.

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Moving on…

The second part of Hunter’s statement which I’d like to address is as follows:

    Incrementalists say things like abortion hurts women. It does. But the focus is on, it hurts women not abortion kills babies, even though they recognize that abortion kills babies.”

Again- that is a preposterous statement.

Abortion Hurts Women Debate

The very images collected by the pro-life community, which Hunter now uses in all his effective social media memes, is proof that the focus is on the fact that abortion kills babies.

In addition, I have also documented that pure legislation to defend the preborn and outlaw all abortions was put forth via Human Life Amendments during the early days. That documentation can be found here.

Having said that, there is nothing wrong with saying that abortion hurts women. Hunter, for all his protesting, admits it in fact does. Is not truth- truth?

I will give Hunter the benefit of the doubt on this topic because again, the AHA leader chose to get into this fierce fight after abortion had been legal for a number of years, so he is rather ignorant of historical battles, ideas, and lies that the pro-life community has had to dismantle for the past 42 years.

Those who are new to the abortion battle may not realize that the abortion lobby made major inroads by painting illegal abortion as “unsafe” causing women to die.

It is simple logic to counter the lie that helped legalize abortion with the truth, which is that women still die from abortion and legalization does not necessarily make abortions safe.

Keep abortion safe and legal

The lies:

NARAL Pin

    Millions of women died from illegal abortions.

    If you make abortions illegal, women will die.

Case in point, during the debate to liberalize abortion in New York, the issue of unsafe abortions swayed one representative to change his vote on the floor, opening the door to abortion on demand in that state.

NY Constance Cook

Assemblywoman Constance E. Cook stood to the floor during that 1970 debate to push the lie of unsafe abortion, stating, “I submit that we have abortion on demand in the state of New York right now. Any woman that wants an abortion can get one–if she has $25, she has it done here, under the most abominable circumstances,” and that prohibition only drives abortion underground.”

This clip from the film “Choice at Risk” gives a historical glimpse :

Repealing Abortion Laws (4:18) from Dorothy Fadiman on Vimeo.

The deciding vote was cast by Democrat Assemblyman, George Michaels, who told the LA Times that for years he had been told by local party leaders not to vote for the repeal of the abortion ban, and he pledged not to. For two years he had followed the party line.

ASSY George Michaels cast vote to legalize abortion

    I would vote no, hoping the bill would pass,” he said. “I was not doing the right thing.”

    In April, 1970, the night before he left for Albany, Michaels spent an evening with his daughter-in-law, Sarah.

    Sarah asked him what would happen when the abortion bill came up for a vote again. There was a chance it would pass, he told her.

    What if it doesn’t?” she asked.

    Maybe next year,” he said.

    Michaels says he has never been able to forget what his son’s young wife told him next:

    In the meantime, thousands of women will be mutilated and die because of that stupid Legislature.

    Boy, that rocked me,” Michaels says. “That rocked me.”

The National Abortion Rights Action League, NARAL, also lied about women dying from illegal abortions. One of their early founders, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who later repented of his pro-abortion actions and views, described what they did early on:

Bernard Nathanson

    “We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one,” recalls the movement’s co-founder. “Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60 percent of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000.”

McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Robert P. George breaks it down further when he writes this about the NARAL founder:

    Nathanson and his friends lied—relentlessly and spectacularly—about the number of women who died each year from illegal abortions. Their pitch to voters, lawmakers, and judges was that women are going to seek abortion in roughly equal numbers whether it is lawful or not. The only effect of outlawing it, they claimed, is to limit pregnant women to unqualified and often uncaring practitioners, “back alley butchers.” So, Nathanson and others insisted, laws against abortion are worse than futile: they do not save fetal lives; they only cost women’s lives.

abortion-rally-1970s

For clarification, stats show that, in the year prior to Roe, the CDC disputed the lie that thousands of women died from illegal abortion as shown in this table from their surveillance report on abortion.

cdc-illegal-abortion-deaths

So, to summarize, just because Hunter says that the pro-life movement does not focus on “abortion kills babies” does not make it so.

When the pro-life community documents that abortion is not safe for women it does not automatically mean they do not focus on the fact that abortion kills babies. For many of us, we are able to articulate multiple facts.

In addition, because AHA leaders claim that pro-lifers do not call abortion sin, does not make the claim true either as I stated above.

However, in my personal study of scripture, I do not see every effort to dialogue or convey truth being preceded by the command “repent.”

King Solomon, himself was conflicted when he was forced to determine who the mother of a baby brought before him was. He did not tell the two women squabbling to repent of their actions. Instead the wise King appealed to the heart of the true mother:

The NIV version of the events in I Kings is detailed below:

    The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”

    Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

    The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

    But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

    Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

In the story above, the true mother, the one who cared for and loved the baby, was willing to compromise to save her child’s life.

Think about that for a while, as you ponder the debate !