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Roe v. Wade and the “Inevitability” of Abortion Rights

Posted on January 25th, 2013 Prolife | 2 Comments »

It was inevitable that Americans would accept legalized abortion imposed by the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. That’s what I constantly heard during my three years at the University of Minnesota Law School in the late 1970′s.  The few pro-life law students and I felt great apprehension to raise our hands in class and express even a hint of doubt about the constitutional reasoning of Roe v. Wade, or question whether the decision was morally good.  Abortion supporters stood vigilant and pounced on any ”anti-women” dissent challenging the supposedly great and enlightened advance wrought by Roe v. Wade.   We were told that pro-lifers were on the wrong side of history.  Public acceptance of abortion was inevitable, inexorable, we heard at law school in the 1970′s,  as they say today about redefining marriage.  Give up.  Resistance is futile. Opposition to abortion, they confidently predicted back then, would soon die out because, it is obvious that young people, and everyone else, would grow increasingly pro-abortion.

Except, that’s not what has happened.  They have been woefully (Roefully?) wrong.  The pro-abortion culture today is crumbling and teetering, not solidifying.  Tens of  thousands march for life each January in Washington D.C.  Polls show young people, raised from day one under the reign of Roe v. Wade, are increasingly pro-life on abortion. Students for Life of America has over 2000 college students coming to its annual conventions, and they turn away young people each year because they need a bigger place to meet.  Prolife initiatives at state legislatures have the momentum as they introduce new laws restricting abortion.  Business owners are willing to go to court to protect their rights not to fund abortions under Obamacare.   Those who support abortion now defend it, no longer as a moral triumph advancing women and human progress generally as they did in the 1970′s, but as a necessary evil.

So how did that change happen?  From the beginning, persistent pro-life Catholics spoke against the moral evil of abortion, even in the face of opposition and politicians defecting to the abortion side.   These early pro-life leaders convinced evangelical leaders like Francis Schaeffer, Dr. C. Everett Koop, James Dobson and others to teach Protestants about the truth about abortion.  In the 1980′s and 90′s, the ultra sound machines allowed us to see the unborn children in the wombs, and no one could honestly deny their humanity.  And other leaders with a broad vision, like Pope John Paul II, worked to build a culture of life, changing peoples’ attitudes about abortion.  And that change is happening.

I see it when I visit law school campuses to speak. I am free to say, “Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and its shoddy reasoning is embarrassing,’ with hardly anyone speaking against me.  Law students today can now openly question the morality of abortion without being shouted down as a bigot.  I could not have done that in a law school 30 years ago.  The courageous advocacy by the early pro-lifers has paid off, and people are changing their minds on abortion.  And when culture changes, altering the law is not too far behind. So, do not lose heart.   Like running water flowing over stones in a stream bed, perseverance for moral truth triumphs over “inevitable” destructive moral wrongs.

Watch the 2013 SFLA National Pro-life Conference LIVE online on Saturday, 1/26/2013 at

The 2013 Students for Life of America National Conference is a one-day event that provides education, training, and opportunities to network with fellow students and national pro-life leaders who know how vital campuses are to the pro-life movement.


ADF Senior Vice President; Senior Counsel - University Project

Speak Up University – Friday News Roundup

Posted on January 25th, 2013 Prolife | No Comments »

The annual March for Life marked the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. This week’s roundup items all have a life element.

Finally, while this video was made shortly after President Obama’s first inauguration, it is still relevant today.

YouTube Preview Image

Psychologists: “We’re Tolerant, Unless You’re Conservative”

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reminded the nation that “[t]olerance is a two-way street.”  But a new study suggests that academics—particularly psychologists—have yet to get the message.  Not only do they overwhelmingly tilt towards the left end of the political spectrum, but they also admittedly discriminate against conservatives. 

In this study, two researchers from Tilburg University asked psychology faculty and graduate students to describe their own political beliefs.  In fact, they did so twice, and they asked participants to describe their views on economic, foreign policy, and social issues.  The results from both surveys resoundingly confirmed that psychology faculty tilt way left. 

The tilt is so pronounced that the researchers concluded conservatives are a “substantial minority” among psychologists because 30–40% are not liberal on economic or foreign policy issues.  Only in a world where over 90% describe themselves as leftists on social issues and 85% rate themselves as leftists overall could 70% leftist domination be considered “diverse.”

Of course, some might respond to this by saying, “So what.  This has no real impact on the day-to-day life of professors.”  But the research tells a different story.  In reality, conservative faculty members face a hostile environment on campus.  To quote the researchers:

The more conservative respondents were, the more they had personally experienced a hostile climate. . . .  The more liberal respondents were, the less they believed that conservatives faced a hostile climate. 

What accounts for this difference? 

This was driven entirely by more conservative respondents’ greater personal experience of a hostile climate. . . .  This suggests that the hostile climate reported by conservatives is invisible to those who do not experience it themselves. 

But what created this leftist imbalance and the hostility towards conservatives?  Could it be, as Dr. Haidt suspected in 2011, that the profession engages in rampant discrimination?  Or could it be, as some have suggested, that “liberals may be more interested in new ideas, more willing to work for peanuts, or just more intelligent, all of which may push them to pursue the academic life while deterring their conservative peers”?  Or could it be that “the field of social psychology self-selects for liberals and might even create them?”  The research points to discrimination.

The researchers asked participants “how likely they would be to discriminate against conservatives” when evaluating papers, grants, symposium invitations, and job applicants.  They also asked participants how likely their colleagues would be to discriminate against conservatives in the same areas.  The results were disturbing.  Almost 20% admitted they would at least be somewhat inclined to discriminate against conservatives when reviewing papers.  Almost 25% would discriminate in reviewing grants and almost 40% would when making hiring decisions.  And they consistently thought their colleagues were even more likely to discriminate.

As the researchers concluded:

Thus, willingness to discriminate is not limited to small decisions.  In fact, it is strongest when it comes to the most important decisions, such as grant proposals and hiring.  And the more liberal respondents were, the more willing they were to discriminate. 

Of course, the results of this study will not come as news to students who have experienced professors that inject their political views into class or to students who feel pressured agree with those views to get a good grade.  Nor will they surprise conservative professors like Dr. Mike Adams (who was denied a promotion because his colleagues vociferously disliked his conservative beliefs), Kenneth Howell (who was fired for teaching Catholic theology in a class about Catholic theology), June Sheldon (who was terminated for answering questions about homosexuality in a genetics class), and Theresa Wagner (who was not hired because of her pro-life views).  But they should come as a disappointment to those who think that we should—in the words of Thomas Jefferson—“follow the truth wherever it may lead.”  For as the researchers noted, “as offensive as it may seem to many social psychologists, believing that abortion is murder does not mean that one cannot do excellent research.”  And these results should also disturb the millions of Americans who think that universities should serve as a “marketplace of ideas,” where all perspectives are welcome and addressed on their merits. 



ADF Litigation Staff Counsel ADF Center for Academic Freedom

“And Her Unborn Child”: A Tribute to All the Lives Lost on September 11th

Posted on June 12th, 2012 Culture,Prolife | 2 Comments »

Like December 7, 1941 for the “Greatest Generation,” no one alive at the time will ever forget where they were when they heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  For me, it was a college geography class, one of the few classes in the country that did not immediately dismiss.  Thus, visiting the September 11th memorial recently combined anticipation with solemnity.

The focal points of the memorial are the fountains located in the footprints of the two fallen towers.  These fountains are ringed with a bronze rail into which all the names of the victims are carved.  This includes those who perished on September 11th at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and aboard Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, as well as those killed in the 1996 World Trade Center bombing.

Of course, some names stand out from the rest.  Few are more famous than Todd Beamer, as his words—“Let’s roll”—succinctly captured America’s resilience, resolve, and defiance in the face of the terrorists’ villainy.

Others—such as the name directly above Todd Beamer’s—stand out for a different reason.  Also aboard the heroic Flight 93 was Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas.  She was one of eleven expectant mothers killed that day, and her name—like the others—is followed by the simple phrase:  “and her unborn child.”  In this way, the memorial acknowledges that when each of these ladies died, not one but two lives were lost.

Sadly, many today insist that these unborn children are not human, are not persons, and are not entitled to legal protection.  When abortionists rob them of life, many in our culture pretend as if nothing happened.  But when they instead fall victim to terrorists, we not only recognize the loss, we properly commemorate it publicly in our monuments.  At those moments, none of the legal gymnastics embodied in Roe v. Wade prevents us from seeing the self-evident truth that all life is sacred, from the moment of conception forward.


ADF Litigation Staff Counsel ADF Center for Academic Freedom

Free Speech Versus Vandalism at Western Kentucky University

Posted on April 26th, 2012 Freedom of Speech,Prolife | 5 Comments »

Pro-Life Cross DisplayThough universities frequently wax eloquent about the critical importance of free speech, they often fail to protect vigorously the basic freedoms of pro-life students.  And Western Kentucky University is the latest example of this gap between rhetoric and reality on campus.

Last week, WKU’s pro-life student group—Hilltopper’s for Life—set up a Cemetery of the Innocents display.  It consisted of about 3,700 small crosses, commemorating the number of lives lost to abortion in the United States everyday.  But in the wee hours of the morning on April 20th, Elaina Smith—an art student at WKU—began placing condoms on each of the crosses.  When members of Hilltoppers for Life confronted her and asked her to stop, she refused.  When campus security officers arrived, they did nothing, claiming that “the condoms aren’t actually vandalism.”  For her part, Ms. Smith claimed she was completing an approved art assignment by desecrating this pro-life display.

Quickly, the University shifted into damage control mode.  President Ransdell issued a statement on April 24th, saying that Ms. Smith’s art professor, Kristina Arnold, never intended to target the pro-life event.  However, Dr. Arnold told local media that she did not disapprove of Ms. Smith’s proposed vandalism via condoms, and she even defended it as an example of “[c]ritical engagement with ideas.”

President Ransdell also tried to assure the public that the “offending student has apologized.”  Apparently this was news to Ms. Smith, according to the e-mail she sent local reporters and even WKU officials yesterday:

From:  “Smith, Elaina, C”
. . .
Sent:  Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3:11 PM
Subject:  Elaina Smith

During the week of April 16th, the Hilltoppers for Life’s pro-life display remained un-interrupted.  The student body tolerated this intrusion without major incident.  The voice of the pro-life community was heard.  On the last day of this event, I attempted to add to the visual dialogue with my own voice and was met with strong resistance.  I take this subject very seriously, and had hoped to remind people of the effectiveness of condoms and other forms of contraception in preventing unwanted pregnancies.  I do not ask that everyone agree with my point of view or the way in which I tried to express it.  However, I stand by my actions.  I do not believe that I impeded anyone else’s freedom of expression.  I did not break any laws.  I did not damage any property.  I voluntarily removed the condoms even though I was not required to do so.  At the time, I thought that the matter had ended there.  I do not feel that I should apologize for attempting to exercise the freedoms that we all are entitled to.

Elaina Smith

Perhaps, it is time that Ms. Smith and her professor enrolled in Free Speech 101.  This pro-life display was not “an intrusion” to be “tolerated”; it is the very sort of expression that the First Amendment exists to protect.  She did not “add to the visual dialogue”; she engaged in vandalism.  If she wanted to communicate her message or showcase “critical engagement with ideas,” she could hold her own event.  She is perfectly free to desecrate crosses and call it “art.”  (After all, “art” covers just about anything, and she might even get government funding.)  But the First Amendment does not allow her to hijack someone else’s expression and to desecrate someone else’s display.

If pro-life students had disrupted a pro-abortion event, it is likely that professors and the administration would be falling all over themselves to issue proclamations, punish the students, hold candlelight vigils, and sponsor endless seminars on civility and tolerance.  But they have done nothing—other than hold secret meetings and issue broad platitudes—to ensure that pro-life speech is protected.  To the administration, the matter is closed.  Move along, nothing to see here.

But WKU spoke a bit prematurely.  Today, President Ransdell received a letter from ADF, insisting that WKU take concrete action to punish those who conducted and facilitated this vandalism and to protect pro-life expression.  We sincerely hope that he and the rest of the WKU administration will recognize that they have a duty to protect the First Amendment freedoms of all their students, including pro-lifers who endeavor to provide a voice for the voiceless.


ADF Litigation Staff Counsel ADF Center for Academic Freedom

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