Smashing The Lie
By Debi Vandenboom
This week, I was glued to my television watching CSPAN as the Senate Judiciary Committee held 4 days of hearings related to the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. As most of you know, Judge Barrett, from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, has been nominated by President Trump to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her nomination and the subsequent hearings have been a huge news story, mostly for the wrong reasons. There are some who would like to cloud her nomination by claiming that it is illegitimate for a whole host of reasons. None of them hold any merit. Senator Ted Cruz has a great historical breakdown explaining why for anyone wanting more information. The real reasons for the drama surrounding her nomination are entirely political and ideological. Justice Ginsburg was a far-left leaning pro-abortion Justice. Judge Barrett is a pro-life conservative, who is an originalist and a textualist.
CSPAN is exactly as captivating as it sounds, but I jokingly told someone this week that I needed to find an ACB foam finger, like the ones you see at sports events. There have been many Supreme Court Justice confirmations in my lifetime, and while I’ve followed the process, I’ve never done so to this level. I don’t know if I can adequately express the impact that this nomination has had on me, but it’s not for the reason you might think. It’s no secret that I am staunchly pro-life and have a couple of decades worth of pro-life research, legislative and political advocacy, and real-life volunteer work helping women. I absolutely believe that abortion is the greatest human rights abuse of our generation, that abortion harms women and that I will see the end of Roe v Wade in my lifetime. But that is not why the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is so momentous, at least not entirely.
I was born in 1969, right at the height of the sexual revolution and only a couple of years before Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton, decided on the same day, legalized abortion on demand for any reason at any stage of pregnancy across the US. My generation of women, and every generation that has followed was subtly, and often not so subtly, told by society that we should want commitment free, anything goes sex, that children are a stumbling block to our dreams and goals, that stay-at-home moms are less valuable than women who choose full-time careers, that large families are an oddity, that living by Biblical beliefs is backward, that femininity is a weakness, and that in order to be equal, women must be like men. All of this is a lie. And in one fell swoop, Amy Coney Barrett has exposed this lie and tossed it on its head. It’s a beautiful thing. Obviously, I don’t know her personally, and I’m certainly not idolizing her. She is as human as the rest of us. But in her, I see a woman with whom I can identify. The hardened women in vagina costumes bashing all men and screaming vulgarities certainly don’t speak for me, or for any of the women I know. The elitist, condescending female politicians and talking heads demanding “reproductive justice” and mocking Christianity certainly don’t speak for me either.
On day three of the hearings, Senator Lindsey Graham observed that conservatives of color and conservative women are marginalized in America. I agree. Our voices are actively silenced by big tech and our very existence is ignored by the media. Senator Graham said that instead of a glass ceiling, there's been a "reinforced concrete barrier" around conservative women. The day before, Senator Marsha Blackburn declared that her colleagues on the left do not believe that all women "deserve a seat at the table", borrowing from a famous Justice Ginsburg quote. They believe that only certain women, those who espouse the liberal narrative, deserve that voice. As a pro-life, female conservative, I, and others like me, have been accused of hating women, of betraying our gender, and of not caring about children. In speaking up for the cause of life, I have been cursed at, threatened, and called vile names. Yet, I know that I am not a rarity. We are in every town, raising our families, volunteering at our churches and our children's schools, and we run and staff most of the pregnancy care centers, food banks, domestic violence shelters, and foster care groups across America.
As I said, I don't know Judge Barrett personally. I’m not Catholic. I’m not a judge or a lawyer. I certainly don’t equate her obviously staggering intellect with my own. But when I watch Amy Coney Barrett, it feels familiar. She is so much more like me and like the women in my life than those who claim to speak for all of womankind. She has had a brilliant career and is well respected by her peers. Her amazing, articulate responses to questioning during the hearings, all without any notes, was unbelievably impressive. However, two things about her are also abundantly clear. First, it is apparent that her remarkable career has not swallowed up her entire life. As I watch her rattling off details of constitutional jurisprudence, it is not hard to also picture her sitting in church with her family or baking cookies with her kids. Her identity is clearly not found solely in her career. She very obviously and very naturally also carries the identities of wife, mother and follower of Christ. Second, she exudes confidence, joy, and a variety of other fruits of the Spirit and Proverbs 31 qualities. She seems genuinely content with her faith, her marriage, her seven children, including two adopted and one special needs child, and happy with her life in general. She represents what the feminist movement should have been striving for all along. The original feminist movement, before it was hijacked by the lie of the abortion movement and the sexual revolution, knew that virtue, femininity, and motherhood are strengths, not weaknesses.
Being equal doesn’t mean that we need to be like men. Being equal doesn’t mean that we must choose between our hopes and dreams and the very lives of our children. We can embrace who God created us to be, whether that is a childless woman with enormous career ambitions, a homeschooling stay-at-home mom with a brood of children, or anything in between. I, for one, will be cheering on Amy Coney Barrett as she goes through the confirmation process and cheering on all the other amazing women out there. Let us continue to encourage, to pray for, and to reach out to those who have bought the well-packaged lies. Let us strive, like Amy Coney Barrett, to leave a beautiful, healthy and godly legacy for our daughters and the next generations of young women to follow.
Defending the Indefensible
I have spent the last fifteen plus years fighting for the cause of life. I have read books and articles from every side of the debate. I've watched interviews, documentaries, exposes and undercover investigations. I have spoken with, counseled, and come alongside girls who were pregnant and scared, young mothers trying to find their way, as well as women who deeply regretted their decision to abort. I have spent many hours sitting in legislative proceedings supporting pro-life legislation. And I have diligently prayed for hearts and minds to change.
In all of those years of experience, one of the things which never ceases to amaze me is the depths to which abortion advocates will go to defend the indefensible. They have developed a science out of using carefully crafted talking points, data manipulation and outright lies to defend "women's health", aka abortion. I have heard it so often that I can spot the spin within seconds of hearing or reading someone's words. Abortion advocates fight for the "right" of a woman (or young girl at literally ANY child bearing age) to have access to abortion without notifying her parents if she's a minor, without informed consent of the procedure or its risks, without meeting the doctor ahead of time, for any reason, at any stage of gestation, using the grisliest procedures, and preferably paid for with taxpayer dollars. If you dare to try to place even the tiniest, most reasonable restriction on abortion, then you clearly must be anti-woman and hate the poor. No exaggeration. I've heard it. I've seen it. It's ugly.
But, it doesn't end there. In order to defend the indefensible, abortion advocates must also take horrific stands on issues that don't directly relate to women's access to abortion. One of these is the issue of fetal homicide. This really came to light back in 2003 when Laci Peterson and her unborn son were murdered in California. There was much discussion about whether baby Conner had or had not been born prior to his demise. My question is, why should it matter? Laci Peterson was 8 months pregnant. Whether the baby died in utero, or post birth, he still died. And, his death was clearly, directly connected to his mother's murder. However, pro-abortion groups like NARAL and NOW advocated to keep Scott Peterson from being charged with two murders. Despite the fact that pro-abortion organizations claim to support the choice of women who carry "wanted" babies, that support only goes so far. They could not risk having such a high profile case bring to light that an unborn baby is in fact alive and can in fact be murdered.
This happens in case after case. Tragically, murder is one of the top causes, sometimes listed as the number one cause, of death for pregnant women. According to WebMd, murder accounts for 20% of the deaths of pregnant women, as compared to 6% of the deaths of nonpregnant women. You might think that pro-abortion groups full of self-proclaimed feminists who supposedly champion women's rights, would speak out against such atrocities. You would be wrong. If a baby in utero can legally be recognized as a fully alive human being capable of being murdered, it casts a giant shadow on the entire issue of abortion. Therefore, abortion groups are more interested in protecting abortion, and their own profit margin, than they are in actually protecting and advocating for women.
Another area where abortion advocates justify especially reprehensible acts concerns babies who "accidentally" survive an abortion attempt. It happens more often than you might think. When a child survives an abortion procedure at a clinic, he or she may simply be discarded in a bin or left to die on a metal table with no medical attention whatsoever. In Arizona, it has been the law since 1975 for babies who were born alive to receive care, and it has been federal law since the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act" of 2002. Yet we continue to hear about babies being left to die with no care at all. For example, recently in Arizona, a baby girl was born alive after an unsuccessful abortion at 22 weeks, and was left to die alone on a steel table with no medical care or assistance. She suffered alone for nearly an hour and a half before finally passing. This is heartbreaking. It only takes a simple Google search to see that this is not an isolated incident. You can find stories across the country of babies surviving abortion.
One would think that signs of life such as a heartbeat, gasps of breath, or umbilical cord pulsation would be enough to cause someone with medical training to jump into action without being forced to do so. Unfortunately it is not. So, at the federal level, legislation was introduced this session which would strengthen protection for abortion survivors. In Arizona, Governor Ducey just signed SB1367 into law which further clarifies the state’s existing born alive law. During and after this bill’s passage, the pro-abortion nonsense abounded in the newspaper, on social media, and in legislative hearings. Among the most incredulous things I personally heard was that it was "inhumane" to provide “intrusive” medical care to a baby who would not survive anyway. Inhumane? As opposed to treating a living baby like discarded medical waste? A baby may be considered too young to survive at a certain gestational age, until one defeats the odds and does survive. I've personally met 2 young women who were so tiny and premature at birth that their parents were given no hope of survival. They are now 20 and 21 years old. Life has a tendency to defy all odds. And even if that baby truly cannot survive, she still deserves to be treated as a human being and at least given basic care, rather than being left untreated in a steel medical bin. But, here lies the problem for Planned Parenthood and other radical abortion advocates. Once an abortion has failed and you are dealing with a living breathing infant, then abortion should no longer be relevant. Born alive laws have absolutely nothing to do with abortion access. However, if a baby at 20 weeks, or 22 weeks, is a human being in need of medical care, then what is an in utero fetus at 20 weeks or 22 weeks? In almost every state, including Arizona, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks, and in some states even further. A living breathing abortion survivor throws a giant monkey wrench in to the "clump of cells" sales pitch. So again, in order to protect abortion and to protect their bottom line, abortion advocates will defend the truly indefensible. Abortion, at it’s most fundamental level is inexcusable and horrific. We have literally made an industry out of destroying life at its most vulnerable stages. So, abortion advocates must attempt to justify abortion at its most extreme levels, such as fighting fetal homicide rulings or born alive protections, in order to be able to justify it at all. If they don’t, the whole house of cards will come tumbling down around them. That is why it is important to shine a light on some of the most horrific aspects of the abortion argument. We can’t be squeamish. We must continue to shine light into this darkness, until the last card falls.
by Debi Vandenboom
I believe in kindness. I believe that my fellow human beings should be treated with compassion regardless of who they are, or what particular lifestyle choices they have made. I don’t just say that. I make every effort to live it, to teach it to my four daughters, and to share it with all the others under my influence. I have also spent most of my adult life providing help to, and advocating for, women and children in a multitude of ways. Recently, it occurred to me that while I speak privately about the issue of transgender politics and how it affects women, I almost never speak publicly.
Anyone who reads or follows social media threads on such topics knows the kind of angry, hateful rhetoric that inevitably follows those conversations. I am not afraid of it, but I will be honest and say that I have not exactly been drooling over the chance to jump into the mix. However, as I read article after article, story after story, and wonder if the world has collectively lost its mind. I began to think that if voices like mine are silenced, we have a much larger problem than which label goes on a particular public bathroom.
To be clear, those bathroom policies do in fact matter. They matter a lot. As a woman, if I encounter an individual in a restroom whose biological sex is unclear, but who is dressed and behaving as a woman, simply using the facilities and not behaving suspiciously, I leave that person alone. It has happened in real life more than once. That is not the issue. Exact statistics vary, but transgender individuals make up less than one percent of the population as opposed to about 1 in 3 women who have been sexually assaulted or abused. Do those assaults all take place in bathrooms? Of course not. Are the assaults mostly perpetrated by strangers? Definitely not. Do trans individuals pose a greater risk in bathrooms than other people? Doubtful. Prior to changes in laws, they have already been in and out of bathrooms on a regular basis, mostly without incidence and likely without anyone noticing or caring.
That is not the point. The point is that open bathroom policies create a number of serious safety issues for women and girls. To begin with, we have a major uptick in incidents of voyeurism in restrooms, changing rooms and other private areas. Men are directly peeping or planting small cameras and smart phones in order to film naked women and girls. Unisex bathrooms and private areas with open transgender policies absolutely create a higher risk for voyeurism or assault. They make access to half naked girls infinitely easier. But, that is only part of the problem.
Another major problem is more psychological in nature. For decades, groups and agencies which help abuse victims have been educating and advocating for ways to help women be aware of their surroundings, to stand up for themselves, and to speak up if something is off. Yet here we are in 2017, and women are being told that we do not have the right to keep men out of our own private spaces or those of our underage daughters. We are brushed off as silly if we feel uneasy or have safety concerns. And, heaven forbid any of us actually speak up against what is going on. If we do, we are told that we must be ignorant, “transphobic”, or otherwise hate-filled. Women's right to privacy is denied in favor of the rights of men self-identifying as women to enter the bathroom of their choice. Meanwhile, naked pictures are being shared online without the knowledge or consent of the photographed individual. Meanwhile, the fears of women bearing the hidden scars of sexual abuse are summarily dismissed. Meanwhile, women and girls are put at unnecessary risk by granting sexual predators easy access to bathrooms, locker rooms and changing areas. And meanwhile, millions of young girls are being sent the not-so-subtle message that they should not expect to have their privacy guarded and that they are not allowed to speak up if they are in an uncomfortable situation. Is that not the very definition of sexual harassment?
Unfortunately, bathrooms are not the only area in which the transgender political agenda and the rights of women are in direct conflict. This also occurs in the area of sports. I am 47. I have seen the rise of women’s sports in my own lifetime. Title IX opened the door to women's sports programs in 1972 and required gender equality by the 1978-79 school year. I was in 4th grade that year. I have never been an athlete, but I understand and appreciate the hard fought ground that was gained by female athletes in the 70s and 80s. Fast forward to just a few short years ago. The London Olympics in 2012 were the very first Olympic games in which every participating country had female athletes and the first Olympics in which female athletes competed in every available Olympic sport. Let that sink in for a moment. 2012. Women have had to fight hard to have some semblance of respect and equality in athletics. Yet now in 2017, that ground is being chipped away.
This is where the difference in sex and gender must be recognized as a reality that cannot be denied or assuaged. Gender is a social construct, not a scientific or biological one. The construct of gender is the prescribed behavior within any given culture, be it dress, mannerisms, or other actions that are gender specific. Sex is the biological genetic material that defines and separates the physiology of male and female beyond genitalia. It is scientific and ultimately unchangeable.
Yet, biologically male athletes are now competing against biologically female athletes in women’s sports. Whether it is Fallon Fox shattering eye sockets in the MMA, or the more recent news of Laurel Hubbard shattering national women’s weightlifting records in New Zealand, the stories abound. With everything in me, I do not understand why this is allowed. When a person is born male, he is male at a genetic level. No amount of surgery or artificial hormone usage can change that. Men and women have different bone and muscle masses, different lung capacities, different heart sizes and different amounts of blood circulating through their bodies. During organ transplant surgery of hearts and livers, there is a greater risk of rejection with "cross gender" transplantation. Our bodies naturally recognize the fundamental differences between male and female. Those things are not altered during sex reassignment. So, how are girls supposed to fairly compete for titles and scholarships in high school against genetically male students? How are women’s sports records supposed to be taken seriously if they are set by athletes who are genetically and biologically male? How are female athletes supposed to compete against biologically male athletes without risking serious injury?
To complicate matters even further, we also have biologically female athletes, who are in transition and taking male hormones, competing against other female students. Steroid usage is not allowed in competitive sports because of health risks and because it creates an unfair advantage. Can’t the same argument be made against high artificial levels of testosterone?
I don’t claim to have all the answers and the further we go down this road, the more complicated and convoluted the circumstances become. But as a woman, as a mother, and as a girl who grew up during the sexual revolution, my voice and my concerns matter on this issue. An entire new generation of young girls are waiting and watching. Are we going to stand up for them, or will we shrink back and allow our collective voices to be silenced?
by Debi Vandenboom