The Re-education of America

Speech given for the Annual Adams County, Illinois
Right-to-Life Memorial Walk

January 23, 1999

By Deborah Danielski

We’re here tonight on the 26th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision to commemorate the lives of the 38 million babies, children, teenagers, and young adults sacrificed to that decision. We tend to think of the victims of abortion as babies, but today, about 8 million of those babies would be young adults, beginning careers and having babies of their own. 38 million persons, their love, their talents, their intelligence, their ingenuity and their children, are lost forever to our families, our communities, our churches and our nation – lost and in far too many cases, forgotten.

To put that number in perspective – there are about 11.5 million persons currently living in Illinois and 5 million in Missouri. That’s 16.5 million. Add to that the total number of inhabitants in Iowa, Wisconsin, Arkansas Indiana and Kentucky, you have about 36 million persons – that’s still 2 million short of the number of persons whose lives we’re commemorating here tonight. The entire populations of Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Indiana and Kentucky.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t use the word "persons." My journalism training taught me that the acceptable plural form of person is people. But I’m using the word "persons" tonight for a reason. I want to focus tonight on that word, on what it means to be a "person," on who is and who is not a "person." The issue really isn’t and never was abortion. The issue is and always will be the right to be considered a "person." As those 38 million individuals attest, in America today, the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness depends on whether or not you are considered a "person."

A lot of people in America today – and the world for that matter – would say we’re better off without the 38 million persons we’re remembering tonight. Nearly everyone it seems believes that the earth is overpopulated that its resources are insufficient to support a growing population. Even those who oppose abortion often believe this population control propaganda. Many of you, however, have probably seen the many studies that prove otherwise. One of my favorites shows that the entire population of the earth could still fit into an area the size of Texas in two-story homes on reasonably sized lots. If you haven’t seen that study, it is an eye-opener. I don’t mean to imply that we shouldn’t make every effort to conserve all of the earth’s resources, but the so-called population control experts have blown the situation entirely out of proportion . How is it then, that so many of us have come to believe them? Even if what they say were true, you have to wonder. We’re so proud of our progress, intelligents and ingenuity– wouldn’t you think we could come up with a better solution than death?

26 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that an unborn child – or a "fetus" as he or she is more properly called these days -- is not a "person." Since then, however, science has completely disproved that notion. Modern embryology tells us that at the very moment of conception a new single-cell human is immediately produced. This one-cell human being immediately produces proteins and enzymes that are specifically human – they’re not carrot enzymes or frog enzymes – they’re specifically human enzymes. Modern embryology also tells us that from the very moment of conception – from the moment the sperm and egg unite – this new one-cell human being begins to direct his or her own growth and development. The growth and development of an unborn child has been scientifically proven to be self-directed. It is not directed by the mother or anything in the mother. If a human being isn’t a human being – and therefore a person - from the time of conception there is no time at which they could be said to become a human being or a person.

One of the more encouraging events I had an opportunity to write about this year occurred at the annual convention of the Political Science Association in September when Duke University Professor Stanley Fish announced that he’d been wrong about the nature of the abortion debate. Fish is a professor of literature and like the vast majority of college professors in America today – especially those who teach in the areas of the humanities – Fish is considered a liberal. Back in 1996, in an article in First Things magazine, Fish had written.

"A pro-life advocate sees abortion as a sin against God who infuses life at the moment of conception. A pro-choice advocate sees abortion as a decision to be made in accordance with the best scientific opinion as to when the beginning of life, as we know it, occurs."

At the PSA Convention, Fish publicly admitted he’d been wrong: "Nowadays, it is pro-lifers who make the scientific question of when the beginning of life occurs the key one in the abortion controversy, while pro-choicers want to transform the question into a ‘metaphysical’ or ‘religious’ one by distinguishing between mere biological life and ‘moral life’…

That may prove to be a major development in the abortion debate, but you know, we really didn’t need science to tell us that though. All we really had to do was talk to any woman at any stage of pregnancy with a child she wants. Even the most ardent defender of abortion, who would never dream of referring to the unwanted products of conception in another woman’s womb as a baby, when pregnant herself, will talk about her baby. In reality, it seems an unborn child who is unwanted is a fetus. A wanted child is always a baby at nine months, nine weeks or nine days. It makes no difference – if it was wanted and planned, it’s a baby. So how is it that so many of us have come to accept the rhetoric that says an unborn child is not a "person?"

Did all of this just happen by chance? Did the Roe vs. Wade decision set our feet on a slippery slope that has haphazardly led us to accept these ideas? I don’t think so and I suspect many of you here tonight would agree. This social and moral change is being systematically orchestrated through the re-education of America. That re-education goes by many names – relativism, values clarification, post-modernism, deconstructionism – whatever the name, it has permeated our society to an extent few of us recognize.

A significant milestone in this re-education occured in 1952 John D. Rockefeller III gave birth to and established an all new advisory council in America. He called it the Population Council. This Counicl remains an active force in world social policy today. Rockefeller was aided in this endeavor by a man named Frederick Osborn, who served as the Population Council’s first president . Osborne also served 30 years as an officer of the American Eugenics Society. The American Eugenics Society is also still around today, but because of the negative connotation of the word eugenics, it is no longer the American Eugenics Society. In 1972, it changed its name to the Society for the Study of Social Biology.

Frederick Osborn was convinced that reducing the birthrate of the poor and the uneducated would help improve the human race, so he used the Population Council to spread birth control to the poor and the uneducated people. The Council also supported abortifacient research as early as 1954, more than 20 years before abortion was legalized. Osborn was succeeded as President of the Population Council by his good friend and eugenics colleague, Frank Notestein of Princeton University. In 1971, Notestein wrote out his plan for social change. Among other things, he wrote that social change does not come about through "an explicit and overt attack on the central value structure."

Now we all know that’s true. 26 years ago, when abortion was legalized, most Americans believed it would be rare and that it would be limited to the first trimester, when they could pretty much believe the child was really not a baby yet, but just some blob of tissue. Imagine what their reaction would have been 26 years ago if partial-birth abortion had been immediately introduced and brought to their attention. They would have been horrified. That would have been an overt attack on their central value structure – and it would have failed.

Knowing that such an overt attack could never succeed, Notestein suggested that the change he desired could only happen through a progressively effective subversion of the way people think until a minority position – preferably his – would come to be the central core position. How did it happen that while still opposing partial-birth abortion, the majority of Americans have become desensitized and accepting of the procedure just 26 years after Roe vs. Wade? It happened little by little, the systematic expansion a minority belief – the re-educating of America. Less than two years after Notestein laid out this agenda for social change, the Supreme Court issued the Roe vs. Wade decision.

Just how far the eugenics advocates have succeeded in re-educating America was brought home to me in a powerful way in September when I was assigned to write a story for Our Sunday Visitor on the appointment of a new professor at Princeton University. The new professor was Peter Singer, a man my editor knew little about and I had never heard of. About the only thing the editor did tell me about Singer was that he was an advocate of infanticide for severely retarded or handicapped newborns and that he had been employed as a bioethics professor in the Center for Human Values. Cynic that I am, I found the fact that someone like Singer would be assigned to teach some of our brightest young people at one of our most prestigious universities only mildly surprising. The fact that he would be teaching in the Center for Human Values, however, was another matter. As I began to research the story and read Singer’s books I saw a far blacker picture than even my editor had painted and when I interviewed him, what I discovered shocked even me.

Singer does openly advocate a parent’s right to choose to let a severely handicapped newborn die but he goes much further than that. Singer redefines "person" as any being capable of reason and of feeling pain – that second criteria, the ability to feel pain is a crucial part of Singer’s entire philosophy which I’ll talk more about later. The first part, the ability to reason not only excludes unborn children, it excludes perfectly healthy babies, anyone in a coma, the mentally ill, an autistic child and many other persons. And it includes another group of beings, previously never even considered -- animals One of the first things I did to learn more about Singer was search the internet. The first few pages I found were rather innocuous. He was a professor of bioethics at a University in Australia and an animal rights activist. How did that fit into this picture I wondered? Then I came upon and began to read a page titled "The Great Ape Project." This page outlined a plan to obtain legal rights – the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for great apes. At first, I thought it was a joke. Those of you who spend time surfing the net know those kind of satirical pages are out there. But I kept reading and I never did get to the punch line. These people were serious. In fact, they had already petitioned the United Nations to recognize the inalienable rights of apes, chimpanzees and orangutans. And their leader was Peter Singer.

Ridiculous as that may sound to some of you, it probably doesn’t seem particularly dangerous – at first thought anway. The hidden danger, however, is that it clearly and unequivocally puts man on the same spiritual, moral and social plan as animals. When that happens, anything we have previously felt acceptable to do to animals becomes acceptable to do to human beings. And that is exactly the position Singer advocates. In one of his earliest books, "In Defense of Animals," Singer wrote: "What could be the basis of our having more inherent value than animals? Their lack of reason, or autonomy, or intellect? Only if we are willing to make the same judgement in the case of humans who are similarly deficient."

If you leave God out of the picture, as Singer does, that makes perfect sense doesn’t it? What makes Singer’s philosophy even more compelling and even altruistic is the second part of his definition of person – the ability to feel pain. The motivation behind everything he advocates, Singer says, is the very noble desire to eliminate suffering. Now we all know that if an animal is suffering, the solution everyone readily accepts is to "put it out of its misery." And with Singer’s social agenda, we must accept the same attitude toward humans.

Singer’s primary moral axiom is that we should never inflict unneccessary suffering on any being – man or beast. Once again that sounds okay – even St. Francis of Assisi would seemingly agree. But to Singer’s way of thinking that means – and I’ll read you this quote from his book "Rethinking Life and Death."

"Since a woman’s reasons for having an abortion are invariably far more serious than the reasons most people in developed countries have for eating fish rather than tofu – and there is no reason to think that a fish suffers less when dying in a net than a fetus suffers during an abortion, the argument for not eating fish is much stronger than the argument against abortion." and further he writes "Since neither a newborn infant, nor a fish is a person – because neither has the ability to reason – the wrongnes of killing such beings – such beings being a fish and a newborn – is not as great as the wrongness of killing a person." (Break down and elaborate.)

To Singer’s way of thinking, even those who qualify as "persons" don’t necessarily have a right-to-life. They have a right-to-life only if the amount of suffering they are likely to experience will not outweigh the amount of pleasure and only if what they will contribute to society outweighs what they will demand from it. With that in mind, I thought back to my own personal experience when my son Matt was born. I was very young and totally inexperienced and unprepared for motherhood when Matt was born. It seems to me, he cried incessantly for the entire first three months of his life. The doctors couldn’t find anything particularly wrong with him – they suggested it was colic and he would outgrow it. So for three months I spent what seemed like 20 hours a day, seven days a week, walking the floor with a baby who was almost inconsolable. Believe me, we both suffered a lot. So with that in mind, I posed the following question to Singer – of course I didn’t tell him I was describing my own child:

"Suppose a woman has a baby she believes she wants. After the baby is born, however, he cries incessantly, night and day. Doctors can find nothing physically wrong with the baby, but the woman just can’t take it any more. She can’t work because she can’t sleep and she can’t find anyone willing to baby-sit for a baby who cries all the time. Besides her own suffering, she concludes that the baby must also be suffering or he wouldn’t be crying. Should she just kill him?"

Singer’s answer? " Suppose the woman is right: the baby is suffering, and will continue to suffer for another year, and then die (perhaps it has a mysterious disease that has this effect). Then I think it would be justifiable to kill the baby.

"But suppose the woman has no basis for believing this, and it is quite likely that, if not killed, next week the baby will start smiling and behaving like any other normal baby. Then, obviously, -- note the word obviously -- it would have been a terrible mistake for the woman to kill her baby."

But I don’t try to make these decisions," he said. I say the parents should be able to make them, in consultation with their doctors. And only if the parents and the doctors cannot reach agreement, should the issue be referred to some other body, such as an ethics committee."

This is serious stuff. This is a man who will be teaching some of America’s brightest young people at Princeton University next fall -- in their Center for Human Values and his books are already being used to teach ethics in a number of other American universities. I contacted the director of Princeton’s Center for Human Values to ask how they could justify Singer’s appointment. I began by sending an email and got an email in response. The answer was "intellectual freedom." That is the nature of a university – to present students with the best scholarship available from a wide variety of perspectives so they can make up their own minds. Since I agree with that, I wrote back saying I’d like to interview a professor from the Center who teaches that man was created in the image of God with an inherent dignity no other animal has. I got no response to that email. So I sent another one, stating more strongly that since that was their justification for hiring Singer, I thought it was important both to my story and to Princeton University that I be able to show that viewpoint is also represented. That second request brougth a phone call from director Amy Gutmann. "Just leave me out of this," she said. "Don’t even quote me." Obviously, there was no such professor at the Center for Human values, a fact I had already determined by contacting another professor there. Gutmann knew Singer’s appointment had nothing to do with intellectual freedom. It had nothing to do with freedom at all, it was another giant step in the re-educating of America.

Singer has been banned from speaking in many European countries. His speaking engagements in Germany brought about such public protest that he is no longer even allowed in the country. But America has been slow to wake up to the true nature of Singer’s philosophies. Many Americans have openly accused him of being a Nazi, Singer adamently denies it on the basis that he doesn’t advocate enforced killing as Hitler did, but rather the individual’s – or parent’s in some cases – right to choose. What he doesn’t mention is that he is determined to re-educate the American public so the choices they make will be the ones that further his agenda. That he is determined to subvert the way people think – by expanding his minority position -- that death is the way out of human problems – one step at a time little by little. What used to be considered outlandish – such as using death as a way to solve human problems -- first become just one of many points of view and then it will become the accepted point of view.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to catch just a few minutes of a TV program called "The Practice." I’d never seen the show before and I only caught a few minutes near the end of that segment so I don’t know what lead up to the scenes I saw, but apparent a TV producer or editor was being tried for murder. The reason was that a Kevorkian style doctor had come to him requesting he air a story about how he helped people by assisting them to commit suicide. The producer apparently told him it would be an exciting story only if he had a video tape so the man returned a little over a week later with a video tape. It was a pretty interesting plot. But it was one particular statement made by the prosecuting attorney in a scene where she was speaking privately to another individual that struck both me and my husband. The son of the woman who had been helped to die had testified that his mother wanted to die – it was her own choice. The proscecuting attorney was talking about that aspect of the case and said what scared her the most is that our elderly have come to believe they are obligated to die. The idea of being dependent upon others and no longer a "contributing member of society" has become so abhorrent to our society that far too many of the elderly have come to believe they owe it to their children and to society to die. I believe that prosecuting attorney was absolutely right and unfortunately far too many of their children would agree. That is the way the choices we make are being influenced by relativism, secularism and teachers such as Peter Singer.

Are there parrallels between Nazism and what’s happening in America today. During the Nuremberg Doctor’s trial in 1947, American psychiatrist Leo Alexander made the following observation: "Whatever proportions Nazi crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived.

In a dictatorship such as the Nazi regime, the sort of moral shift that led to WWII can occur in a matter of a few years. In a democracy, however, it takes much longer. I believe what we’ve seen in America since the 1960s is a slow march toward using death to rid ourselves of difficulties and imperfections. Singer’s appointment to Princeton is surely a giant step toward completing that moral shift.

The bottom line is that we cannot uphold the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness unless we also uphold the absolute truth that all men are created equal. When you deny the right to life to one – ultimately you deny it to all. When you deny the right to liberty to one …

In 1945, Rev. Martin Neimoller, a Nazi war prisoner, wrote a poem about his experiences that I’d like to share with you.

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one left to speak up.

In closing, I want you to note tonight that our founding fathers didn’t write "all men are born equal." They wrote "all men are created equal." Even if we have no religious faith, the simple basic facts of science tell us that we are created at conception – there is no other time at which it is reasonable or logical to say that a person is created. There is also no time or age at which a person can possibly be said to become uncreated. And there is no way a person can be said to have no rights because they were imperfectly created. If we accept such a philosophy there will always have to be someone – or some group of someones -- entrusted with the task of defining "perfect" and drawing the line between those who are and those who aren’t perfect. All men are created equal – it’s all or nothing.



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