Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ultrasound Bill casts glimpse inside abortion debate

It isn’t often that a piece of legislation comes along and exposes rhetoric so hollow that it results in the systemic collapse of an argument. Such is the case with The Ultrasound Bill recently introduced in the 2011 Kentucky General Assembly.

For years, abortion supporters have circled the wagons around the idea of “choice,” aiming to convince the uninitiated that abortion is “a difficult decision that should be between a woman and her doctor and ultimately a choice only the woman should make.” That’s the line anyway. But what do you do with an abortionist who doesn’t want women to have all the information before they make that “difficult decision”?

This is why SB 9—The Ultrasound Bill, has passed the Senate by landslide margins in each of the past four sessions. The latest effort, which passed the Senate on Jan. 6 by a vote of 32-5, simply mandates that abortionists give a woman an opportunity to see an ultrasound picture of her unborn child. It doesn’t force the woman to look. Nor is she coerced or penalized if she doesn’t. The bill also bans late-term abortions and exacts heavy fines on abortionists who skirt the law and keep valuable information from their patients.

Ultrasound technology gives us a glimpse inside the womb, but ultrasound legislation casts a glimpse inside the abortion debate. And it is becoming clear that some choices are simply unacceptable to self-designated “pro-choicers,” especially if that choice might result in life.

This is reminiscent of the controversy over Madonna’s 80’s hit Papa Don’t Preach. The song so perturbed the abortion crowd because she vowed to “keep her baby,” which left them concerned that pregnant teens might actually follow her lead. Mandating ultrasound availability could do the same thing, but how choosing life for an unborn child would be bad has yet to be explained.

Last year, 1.2 million babies were aborted in this country. Many women come to regret their decision, wishing that they had more information and better counsel. Of course, an abortionist’s best allies are disinformation and obfuscation.

Shouldn’t we be just as angry at those who prefer to keep women in the dark as the abortionist in Philadelphia who kept his illegal practice out of the public spotlight for 18 years? Kermit Gosnell was arrested in January for practicing late-term abortions on six-, seven- and eight-month-old pre-born babies and committing infanticide on those born alive. It’s people like the $15,000-profit-per-day Gosnell who’d prefer to keep the public attention off his grisly practices, but what about the practices going on inside Kentucky’s two remaining abortion clinics?

Who could be opposed to forcing an abortionist to at least make an ultrasound available to a woman in his office?

Answer: Kentucky House Leadership which has been beholden to their Party’s pro-abortion wing for the last six years – killing all pro-life legislation passed by the Senate.

The Ultrasound Bill has deadlocked twice in Tom “if-you-send-it-to-my-committee-I-will kill-it” Burch’s Health and Welfare Committee. He publicly announced he’d kill the bill in 2009; killed it again in 2010; and he will kill it this year if the Leadership sends it there.

Twenty-one states have some kind of law requiring abortionists to offer women an ultrasound before allowing an abortion. Isn’t it time for Kentucky to ensure that women have this choice?

As for the “pro- choicers” who want to avoid an identity crisis, can they do anything but support the bill if they want to live up to their name?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

“Potential evangelicals” need not apply at UK

Kentuckians love to cheer on their Big Blue at this time of year so when Federal District Judge Karl Forester recently called foul (not on Coach Cal, thank God) but on the UK astronomy department for religious discrimination it gave spectators a glimpse into the intellectual climate of academia. And it ain’t like being at Rupp.

Martin Gaskell, a well-published astronomer with impeccable credentials, was likely to get the job as the new director of UK’s student astronomical observatory until one search committee member suspected that he was “potentially evangelical.”


Gaskell, who advised the UK astronomy department in the development of the student observatory that he sought to direct, was blackballed for a lecture he delivered called "Modern Astronomy, the Bible and Creation.” In it, criticizes materialistic evolution and shares some of the beliefs of Newton, Galileo, Kepler and Copernicus. All by the way were Christians, and each would be summarily rejected by UK’s astronomy department for the same reason Gaskell was if the same search committee was in place.

On Nov. 23, Judge Forester found a smoking-gun-of-an-email that implicates several members of the search committee of violating Gaskell’s civil rights. One search committee member worried that Gaskell was "something close to a creationist." Another said that hiring him would be a "huge public relations mistake." A biology professor wrote to a colleague "we might as well have the Creation Museum set up an outreach office in biology.” Memo to future search committees: carefully consider the idea of Creation Museum Outreach next time.

The star witness in the case, otherwise known as the chair of the search committee, said “If Martin were not so superbly qualified, so breathtakingly above the other applicants in background and experience, then our decision would be much simpler. We could easily choose another applicant, and we could content ourselves with the idea that Martin’s religious beliefs played little role in our decision. However, this is not the case. As it is, no objective observer could possibly believe that we excluded Martin on any basis other than religious.”

When intelligent people downgrade a candidate from “superbly qualified” to an embarrassment because they might be “potentially evangelical” they are by definition practicing bigotry, regardless of how well cloaked in sophisticated language it may be. In his 2008 documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” Ben Stein revealed just how close-minded the university can be when it comes to protecting the institutionalized theory of evolution.

When the arbiters of truth discard an applicant like yesterday’s lunch all because of a competing theory of origins—differences that the search committee members admitted had nothing to do with the job, then something is lost in our halls of higher learning. Places that once welcomed free and open inquiry now shut it down, and positions that were once opened to the best qualified candidates are only open to ideological clones.

What would UK have done if Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health applied for a job there? Collins directed the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium and wrote a book called The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006). Collins has one of the brightest scientific minds of our day. He’s also an evangelical.

Interestingly, both Collins and Gaskell are not creationists, but apparently any talk of the possibility of God so threatens the exclusive platform of their peers that excommunication from the Church of Darwinian Fundamentalism is in order.

It seems the UK debacle is really a chess match of ideology and Gaskell merely a pawn. It was his non-conforming ideas that threatened the status quo; Ideas that UK gatekeepers will be keen to censure in the future. But when a university breaks the law as UK is charged with, they are in danger of becoming an institution plagued by what one its own faculty members called a “McCarthyism of the Left.”