17 April 2013

On Kermit Gosnell - An Open Letter to the President

An open letter to the President of the United States of America

17 April 2013

Allow me to introduce myself, Mr. President.  My name is Edward Keith Sinkhorn, PhD.  I am an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Peru State College in Peru, NE, and until last week, I was a proud Democrat.

I was born in Louisville, KY in 1974, the child of two and the grandchild of four proud Southern Democrats.  Over the course of my life, I have seen the Democratic Party change from the party of both the intelligent, free thinker and the poor, disenfranchised worker into the party of abortion and a few other things that don't matter all that much.

The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell has shown me, more than anything else, that the Democratic Party in general, and you in particular, are more concerned with protecting the sacred cow of abortion than you are with protecting the health, well-being, and fundamental rights of women and children.  Gosnell is accused of the deaths of seven newborn children as well as a 41 year-old woman.  The grand jury report in this case as well as the testimony of witnesses indicate that these eight deaths are merely the tip of a large and politically inconvenient iceberg.

When asked for comment on this matter, your own spokesman, Jay Carney, refused to comment on the grounds that the trial was ongoing.  No offense intended to you or Mr. Carney, but do you take the American people for fools?  You commented on the killing of Trayvon Martin more than a month before the murder charge against George Zimmerman had been filed.  Earlier this week, you publicly denounced the Boston Marathon bombings-- clearly criminal acts that will involve legal repercussions-- within hours of their occurrence.  You held a tear-filled press conference soon after the shootings in Newtown, CN, and I believe your tears were genuine.  Where are your tears now?

At the very least, Mr. President, you owe the American people an explanation for your lack of comment.  You opposed abortion regulations in the Illinois Senate-- regulations that, if properly implemented in Pennsylvania, could have prevented Gosnell's house of horrors or at least brought it to light earlier.  This certainly presents a thorny political situation for you, but Gosnell was arrested in 2011.  You have had years to wrestle with this matter and clarify your present position.  Yet the only thing you, and the rest of the Democratic Party, have to say is that you support "choice."

Among the Clintonian triad of safe, legal, and rare, it is now clear that abortion in America is legal and nothing more.  Kermit Gosnell has forced you and your administration either to admit that you support this "choice" to murder unborn children or that you might have been wrong.  We, the people of the United States of America, are waiting to hear your response.  If you are at a loss as to how to broach the subject with us, I suggest you consult former President Carter.  His handling of the botched rescue of hostages in Iran was both honest and forthright.

In conclusion, Mr. President, I will speak as clearly as I am able.  You, sir, have insulted the American people by your silence.  I am willing to forgive you, but that will require your explanation.


E. Keith Sinkhorn

22 February 2013

Abortion, Logic, and the Heart of Freedom

I confess that it was not necessarily a goal of mine to write about abortion here.  Much has already been written on the subject, but a recent experience has resulted in some new reflection on my part.  Partly to collect my thoughts as well as to let my faithful readers know that I'm still breathing, I will share my thoughts with the world-- or at least with the four people who read my blog.  Additionally, I think the argument is more or less entirely based on reason with little directly religious influence.


On Tuesday of this week, a friend posted a bumper sticker style slogan on her Facebook wall from a pro-choice Facebook group.  This particular group is called Pro-Choice DOES NOT Mean Pro-Abortion!  In my curiosity, I visited the page to investigate their reasoning for this semantic claim.  Here's what I found.

In response, I proposed the following analogy in a public post on the group's wall.
So, let's follow this logic to a reasonable conclusion.  If I respect a man's right to choose whom he impregnates, that doesn't make me pro-rape.  It only means that I respect his right to choose.
I freely admit that this was certainly not the best example I could have come up with given the emotional scarring that often accompanies the heinous crime of sexual assault, but the analogy seemed reasonable enough to me.  Not surprisingly, more than a few people objected to this rhetoric.  Suffice it to say, the TV Guide summary of the subsequent discussion would probably not be "hilarity ensued."

Amid the perhaps understandable vitriol given my specific example, a handful of patterns bubbled up in the discussion.  As of this writing on Friday of the same week, there have been 534 comments on that post.  I'm sure this doesn't count as a meme, but it may be as close to famous as I ever get.

Here's a link to the post if you wish to read some of the comments for yourself.  Be warned, gentle reader.  It's voluminous and NSFW in a few places due to language.

Things kinda went downhill after this.

While I was called ignorant, a dunce, and illogical in my responses to subsequent comments, which I more or less expected, I was also cursed at, threatened, and labeled sexist, racist, anti-woman, and a rapist.  Still more, my fortitude and manhood were both called into question when I objected to such uncharitable words.  A few people went so far as to send the entire conversation-- then a mere 160 comments or so-- in an email to the dean, vice-presidents, and president of the college where I teach.  Though perhaps the most ironic response was the person who referred to me as a "rape apologist."  I say ironic, because the clearly stated premise of the group is "Just because you support a woman's right to choose DOES NOT make you a baby killer, or mean that you advocate for abortions."

I certainly don't expect that the average Facebook user is necessarily familiar with the generally accepted logical/rhetorical technique of reductio ad absurdum (Latin for reduction to the absurd); however, it seemed fair to expect that persons objecting to my argument would at least respect the premise I was arguing against.  One could perhaps conclude that tacit and strategic dismissal of this essentially semantic premise in order to discredit a challenge to same said premise constitutes an admission of falsity.

In any condition, it would be fallacious of me to use that possibility to discredit all objections (called the tu quoque fallacy), so I will summarize the handful of more or less reasonable objections that emerged amid the ad hominem attacks and straw man arguments.  There are three such points, and I will speak to each in turn.

  1. Child as parasite
  2. Continuous right
  3. Sex and consent

Child as parasite

This is a position based on a kind of pure utilitarianism.  Here's the crux of the argument as I see it.  An unborn child is completely dependent on the mother.  Since the child provides no tangible benefit towards the mother's survival, the embryo or fetus is therefore in a parasitic relationship with the mother.  Given the health risks of pregnancy, a mother is well within her rights to end this relationship whenever she wishes.

Despite the realities of no-fault divorce, pornography, and prostitution, human decency dictates that any person-- even one that is not yet born-- is never an object to be used and discarded at will.  The communist, fascist, and totalitarian regimes of Hitler, Mao, and Stalin provide plenty of negative historical evidence concerning societies with exceptional disrespect for the inherent dignity of person-hood.


If an unborn child is not a person possessing the inalienable right to life, then this argument is perhaps valid.  However, if an unborn child is truly a person, then we have other objections to discuss.  My assertion is that an embryo constitutes a human life, and I understand that this assertion is supported by most biology textbooks.  However, I will entertain the notion that certain rights of an unborn child might not always override those of the mother.  For example, a non-viable tubal pregnancy is a reasonable cause for induced abortion.

Continuous right to my body

Related to but not exactly the same as the 'child as parasite' argument is the 'continuous right' argument.  Essentially, one could argue that the unborn child is dependent on the nutrients of the mother's blood, occupies space in her womb, and is otherwise dependent on the mother for survival.  Since the mother has the prerogative to do what she wishes with her bodily resources, the mother similarly reserves the right to cease donation of those resources at any time.  The ensuing death of a child as a result of such a cessation might be unfortunate but is well within the mother's rights.

A friend with some experience in counseling suggested that this sort of argument might originate from sexual assault or a similar violation of a person's bodily autonomy.  In fact, at least one of the persons who objected to my comments admitted to having been assaulted.  While I certainly pray for anyone who has suffered such a violation of her humanity, I will attempt to reject this argument with due charity towards such persons.

At the time, I was rather at a loss to construct an example illustrating my objection to this argument.  Another friend suggested the following analogy.

To my thinking, the situation is an apt comparison.  Another would be that of organ donation.  Say I donate a kidney for a relative's transplant operation.  If I change my mind later, is it my prerogative to forcibly remove my kidney from the person to whom it has been freely given?

The most common premise supporting this line of thinking is that the mother did not consent to the pregnancy.  I will say that this applies to the heinous crime of rape, but it does not apply to abortions carried out on children who were conceived via consensual sexual encounters.

Sadly, sexual assault is a reality in America, but most of the 55 million legal abortions carried out in the US since 1973 ended pregnancies that resulted from consensual partners. There's a tragic precedent for organizations such as Planned Parenthood covering up pregnancies resulting from statutory rape, but while the numbers are non-trivial, I doubt even these are a massive percentage.  With over 40% of pregnancies in New York City ending in abortion, one would expect significant news coverage if as many as a third of those had resulted from rape.

Regardless, one of many arguments put forth was "Consent to sex does not imply consent to pregnancy."  My off-the-cuff counter-argument is "Does consent to a shower imply consent to getting wet?"

Sex, consent, and personal responsibility

This brings me to what I see as the crux of the matter.  As an outgrowth of what I call the Promiscuity Gospel [TM], modern Americans have a tendency to view sexual activity as an inalienable right.  And if medical science provides a means of avoiding the generally common and foreseeable consequences, among them pregnancy, disease, and physical trauma, so much the better.

First, this is not exactly a new phenomenon in human history.  I attended a presentation-- called Green Sex if memory serves-- just last month where the speaker reported that ancient Egyptian physicians had recipes for contraceptive agents.  However, widespread social acceptance of such denial of personal responsibility is still a new experiment in American culture.  Feminist fore-bearers almost unilaterally opposed abortion, as did the founders of the civil rights movement.  Consider the words of Susan B. Anthony on the subject.


Second, I would propose that pregnancy is perhaps the simplest of all human conditions to avoid.  We know what causes pregnancy, and yet mothers and doctors are often shocked by the occurrence of conception.  Imagine your house guest asking to take a shower and acting surprised when you tell him where to find a towel.  "Whoa!  I only want to get clean. I never said I wanted to get wet."

I claim that consent to sexual intercourse carries with it a de facto consent, from both participants, to carry a resulting pregnancy to term and then provide for the child's needs either directly or indirectly via adoption.  Modern hedonism objects to this claim.  Since this claim is a premise rather than an accepted proof technique, I will analyze some implications of denying this claim.

Before doing so, I will state in no uncertain terms that I do not absolve men of guilt in this matter.  Practical experience demonstrates that men are all too often willing to impregnate and deny paternity, pressure the mother into abortion, or simply flee.  Easy access to abortion greatly enables this sort of irresponsible behavior.

The Heart of Freedom

Let's suppose that our president's fondest dreams come true and abortion becomes as legal as a haircut.  Of course, most people who go to the barber are expected to pay for their own haircuts, but I digress.  Like it or not, the legal precedent is there.  The landmark case is the 40 year old Roe v. Wade decision, but Casey v. Planned Parenthood is typically cited as the more legally significant decision.  Here are some pertinent comments from Fr. Robert Barron.

Before I discuss Casey v. Planned Parenthood, I will briefly touch on Roe v. Wade.  Only two justices, White and Rehnquist, dissented from the majority opinion.  Oddly enough, the case was essentially decided based on the right to privacy.  Here are some of Justice White's remarks from the dissenting opinion.


The first line really says it all.  "The Court apparently values the convenience of the pregnant mother more than the continued existence and development of the life or potential life that she carries."  That value is not only apparent in this 40 year-old decision but also in the post-modern society in which we exist.

Even more than convenience, I would say that divorcing sex from personal responsibility is the ultimate aim of abortion on demand.  The promiscuity gospel-- accepted throughout our culture-- preaches that men and women have not just a right, but a duty to self, to explore without consequence every shade of irresponsible and potentially destructive sexual behavior.  The pseudo-scientists of the Kinsey Institute imply that the only truly unnatural sexual practice is self-imposed abstinence.  But compare the health and stability of children to the sexual indulgence of adults and see which one contributes more to society.  Simply put, after an empire crumbles, historians tend not to wax poetic on the frequency and intensity of orgasm.

You might think that the fallout from the sexual revolution would have shocked our culture into noticing that the promiscuity gospel isn't doing anyone any favors.  You would be wrong.  Less than 20 years later, the supreme court issued a still more ridiculous ruling in Casey v. Planned Parenthood.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so is the following higher in non-sense than the Supreme Court's majority opinion in Roe v. Wade. I quote directly from the Facebook discussion.

Literally, the Supreme Court of these United States has declared that the fourteenth amendment to our Constitution provides each citizen the right to define the entire universe as he or she sees fit-- and then make personal decisions based on that definition.  There are political progressives, and there are nitwits.  The last time I said something this nutty I was thrown off a bar stool and carried home to sleep off a hangover.

The last word?

I must confess that when a person debating with me claimed to have read and endorsed the Kinsey reports, I felt an altogether unbecoming surge of relief.  Of all arguments one can refute, the pseudo-science of Alfred Kinsey surely must be the simplest.  Here's a snippet of our brief interaction.


This exchange would actually be quite laughable if not for the laundry list of persons and institutions whom are numbered among Kinsey's proud and loyal followers.  Here's a sample.
  • The American Law Institute Model Penal Code (ALI-MPC) of 1962
  • Planned Parenthood and SIECUS
  • The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations
  • The American Psychological Association (APA)
  • The North American Man/boy Love Association (NAMbLA)
  • Hugh Hefner
Yes, Virginia.  Henry Ford went on record opposing jazz music as an art form but apparently didn't complain when his wealth was used to fund mass child abuse and sexual torture.  Here's what Judith Reisman had to say in her book, Sexual Sabotage.

In conclusion

It is no wonder that many persons in our culture value orgasm over personal responsibility.   Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was published in 1948.  That means that both secular sex education and the law have been based on pseudo-science for over half a century.  Like it or not, we can extrapolate and see clearly that convenience abortion is a logical result of widespread acceptance of the Kinsey reports.

On the upside, there are entities opposing this culture of death.  Many of them are religious in nature, and our current administration seems bent on removing religion from the public square.  However, I believe in both the humanity of Americans as well as the good nature of humans in general.  We will either watch as other nations simply out-breed us, or we will learn to respect life.  If I were a betting man, I would guess the latter, but it's still too early to tell.

17 January 2013

Andrew Cuomo's Patriarchal Bargain

Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put forth a legislative package, the Women's Equality Act, which includes bills designed to ensure equal pay for equal work, prevent gender-based discrimination in housing and lending, and eliminate human trafficking.  Good news so far, but the package also includes the Reproductive Health Act, which essentially aims to make abortion as legal as a haircut in New York.  Actually, that's not quite fair.  People are still expected to pay for their own haircuts.

When does human life begin?

Recently, we saw our President and Vice-President moved to tears a short time after the senseless massacre of 27 people, 20 of them children, in Newtown, CT.  It is certainly a relief to see that this manner of tragedy is abhorrent to America despite how often they seem to occur.  Without the intention to pass judgement on anyone, I will point out that Planned Parenthood alone destroyed 333,964 unborn children in 2011.  That's an average of more than 900 per day.  This illogical contrast is not lost on the organizers of the March or Life either.

Some say that human life does not begin at conception.  To which I say, "When does human life begin?"  A fertilized egg is alive by any biological criteria, and if a fertilized egg is not human, it has to be something else. What is a human egg that has been fertilized by a human sperm?  Certainly not a lizard.

Abortion is unhealthy

Congressman Diane Black (R-TN) recently reintroduced Mike Pence's bill, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.R. 217).  Black, a former nurse, stated, "Planned Parenthood's blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars to fund its big abortion business is an attack on life and women's health.  It must be stopped."

Here's an abbreviated list of known health risks to the mother from afterabortion.org.  Note that this does not include known psychological risks.

  • Cancer of the cervix, ovaries, and liver
  • Uterine perforation
  • Cervical lacerations
  • Handicapped newborns in later pregnancies
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Death

This is what we offer to women who are concerned that they can't support a child, continue their careers, or finish school.  Congratulations, women of America!  We have got your back.

Patriarchal bargains

The term patriarchal bargain was coined in 1988 by Deniz Kandiyoti.  According to Lisa Wade of http://thesocietypages.org, "A patriarchal bargain is a decision to accept gender rules that disadvantage women in exchange for whatever power one can wrest from the system.  It is an individual strategy designed to manipulate the system to one's best advantage, but one that leaves the system itself intact."  Wade concludes that a successful patriarchal bargain is what made Kim Kardashian famous.

We live in a world where abortion-on-demand is considered a necessity for women to participate fully in American society.  Think about this.  A woman who wishes to realize her dreams in America can't do so as long as there is a possibility that she might become pregnant.  And the solution is not to change American culture-- think maternity leave, anti-discrimination laws, etc.-- but to ensure a legal right to contraception and abortion.

Here's the difference.  Our society tells men that women are objects to be used and disposed of as they see fit.  It's rather obvious to me that young men are getting this message loud and clear.  Consider the response to Anita Sarkeesian's Kickstarter campaign to create a video series documenting sexist portrayals of women in video games.  *Warning: There is strong and vile printed language briefly shown in this video.

As a man and presumably a member of the patriarchy, I am embarrassed that men in government are willing to run for public office not only on the backs of unborn children, but also with their feet on the head of every woman of child-bearing age.  Simply put, if women cannot fully participate in society without access to abortion on demand, the solution is not to pass out abortions like candy.  The solution is to rewrite the rules of participation in society.

Back to politics

According to WGRZ TV, Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein is of the opinion that 'abortion is a defining issue for Democrats-- if you're not pro-choice, you're not a Democrat.'  Good to know.  I'll be sure to pass that along to Democrats for Life of America.

However, Klein has one thing right.  Abortion is most definitely one of the defining issues of our time in that it trumps a host of other issues.  In the Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics, abortion is at the top of a list of five non-negotiable items.  There is a hierarchy of political issues, and some things take priority over all others as far as Christian social values are concerned.  I've had this discussion with people quite close to me.  Think about it this way.  If a candidate or party planned to legislate an American system of apartheid, would you care about their foreign policy plan?

A few questions

Finally, I will pose a few questions.  If an unborn child is the property of his or her mother, then that unborn child can be disposed of at will.  Is there not a logical connection between this and a husband owning his wife?

Are the legislators of New York going to impose Gov. Cuomo's patriarchal bargain on citizens?  More importantly, will same said citizens demand true equality for women in education, the workplace, and government?

08 January 2013

1Flesh Meme Parade

I wanted to share my addition to the Memeical Graphical Competition Parade going on at 1flesh.  Here's the Koala.

Find me on memgenerator.net

The 96.8% real world effectiveness refers to the Creighton Model of natural family planning.

07 January 2013

Violence and Artificial Contraception - The Logical Connection

Recently, I posted to Facebook an item by Michael New over at the National Review Online entitled Tracking the Times on Contraception.  In it, New takes exception to Juleanna Glover's recent New York Times op-ed piece wherein she argues that pro-life Republicans should advocate public financing for artificial contraception.  Without summarizing these works, I will share the results of a fruitful discussion I had with Thomas of Faith and Reason concerning the matter at hand.

The contraceptive mentality

Much has been written about the place that contraception sits at in our society. Unfortunately, much of it is little more than knee-jerk opinion, which I prefer not to engage in-- at least in public.  It is certainly clear that our society has become more promiscuous if one measures promiscuity by instances of sexually transmitted infection, unintended pregnancy, abortion, and contraceptive use.  Though they are hardly an unbiased source, the Guttmacher Institute certainly bears out this conclusion in their own data.

From Next Steps for America's Family Planning Program

As the above chart indicates, the typical woman has first intercourse at age 17.4 and first pregnancy at age 22.5.  Think about that.  This typical woman will have sex for the first time more than 7 years before first marriage at age 25.1.  Clearly, ours is a culture with a nonchalant attitude with respect to non-marital sex.

Both Glover and the Guttmacher Institute blithely ignore the fact that pregnancy is perhaps the simplest human condition to avoid.  However, in the post-Kinseyan world in which we live, sexual activity is considered a birthright-- an opinion from which only the most stodgy and unrealistic persons deviate.  Hence, the Catholic Church is considered uptight at best, hostile to women at worst.

How does contraception equate with violence?

With the number of yearly abortions in the US typically over one million, one can certainly conclude that the logical extrapolation of the contraceptive mentality results in violence against the unborn.

In the Rutgers Law Review, Dr. Alan Guttmacher himself stated, "When an abortion is easily obtainable, contraception is neither actively nor diligently used.  If we had abortion on demand, there would be no reward for the woman who practiced effective contraception.  Abortion on demand relieves the husband of all possible responsibility; he simply becomes a coital animal."  This was in 1968.  Just three years later, Drs. Eugene Sandburg and Ralph Jacobs wrote in a 1971 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "As legal abortion has become increasingly available, it has become evident that some women are now intentionally using abortion as a substitute for contraception."

So, what about those who don't slide down the slippery slope?  Does contraceptive use that doesn't lead to abortion also have an element of violence associated with it?  I would say yes.  If not explicitly, there is a logical connection.  I will elaborate.

Christ's teaching on violence

In the gospel of Matthew, Our Lord states, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'  But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well." (Matt 5:38-39)

Until recently, I read this passage as Christ advocating a form of radical pacifism. However, some biblical exegesis reveals that this is not the case.  The key point here is the right cheek.  In first century Judaism, no one would use his left hand in public for anything.  The left hand was considered unclean.  So, to strike a person on the right cheek, you would be hitting him with the back of your hand.  This is a strike intended more to humiliate an inferior person rather than to injure someone.  Fr. Robert Barron provides an excellent summation of this teaching in episode 2 of the Catholicism DVD series-- which I think I just parroted.

The point Jesus was making is that a Christian is not to respond to violence either with more violence or by rolling over and accepting it.  Rather, the Christian must always seek for a third option that neither accepts evil nor responds in kind.

Consider NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre's solution to the Newtown school shooting disaster. He suggests armed guards in every school in the country.  Clearly, the NRA intends to solve gun violence with more guns and more people prepared to use them.  This sounds like the response of a violent culture.  Never mind the gun violence successfully perpetrated in places that actually have armed guards.

The connection to contraception

I would argue that proponents of contraception as a means of regulating births and avoiding abortion are thinking about the problem in the same manner Wayne LaPierre is thinking about school shootings.  Rather than avoid sexual relations when pregnancy is likely yet not desired, the contraceptive mentality prefers, rather violently, to interrupt otherwise healthy reproductive function.  One need look no farther than the warning label on any hormonal contraceptive to see the associated health risks.  The folks at 1flesh.org have a large list of harmful side effects of all manner of contraception.  And it doesn't strike me as mere coincidence that one of the greatest advocates of non-violent social change, Mahatma Gandhi, was also no fan of artificial contraception.

It's not just Catholics who oppose contraception.

Do not think that I am advocating complete abstinence for happily married couples with legitimate reason to delay pregnancy.  Fortunately, in this modern age, there are multiple means of charting a female's natural reproductive cycle.  They typically require abstaining from marital relations for a mere 7-10 consecutive days per month. If you and your spouse can't manage that, your method of regulating births is not your biggest concern.

Why don't advocates of family planning support natural methods?

Here's where we get to the insidious nature of the contraceptive mentality.  If natural methods are so healthy and effective (real-world effectiveness is cited at 96.8%), why are they virtually unknown outside of the Catholic Church and a few other places?  Simple. Follow the money.  Natural methods are so inexpensive that Planned Parenthood will never bring home $64 million in yearly profits if we refuse to swallow their promiscuity doctrine.