An Open Letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren

by Brian Watson

Dear Senator Warren,

Hello, my name is Brian Watson. I’m one of your constituents. I’m writing in response to a video [1] I saw of you speaking on the Senate floor with regard to S. 1881, the proposed piece of legislation that would end federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

Perhaps I should say I watched a “highly-edited video” or your speech. I assume it has to be heavily edited, because there must have been some bits of your speech that were omitted, parts where you expressed shock at what has been revealed in videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. Surely, you said something about how you don’t think unborn children should have certain body parts crushed by forceps in a careful manner so as to leave their valuable organs intact for sale. At least, my hope is that you would have said something other than what you did say.

You begin your speech with a clever bit of rhetoric, asking whether your Republican colleagues had hit their heads, fallen unconscious, and then woke up and thought they were in the 1890s or 1950s. Oh, yes, those were unenlightened times. Perhaps in the 1890s, there were people alive who could remember the institution of slavery in the United States. They probably had a keen sense of moral outrage over how African Americans were dehumanized and treated as property. Perhaps your Republican colleagues did wish it were the 1890s, when such moral outrage still lingered in the nation’s collective memory. In the 1950s, it was easy for people to remember the Holocaust, when Jews were treated as less than human by the Nazis. Perhaps your Republican colleagues wish we were living in that era, when moral outrage over the slaughter of millions was fresh in our national consciousness.

You seem to suggest that in 2015, one shouldn’t be outraged that since 1973, untold millions of unborn children have been terminated in their mothers’ wombs. (The number of abortions in 2011 was 1.06 million, according to the Guttmacher Institute.[2] As you probably know, exact abortion figures are hard to come by, but the approximate number of abortions since Roe v. Wade is 55 million.) Look, no one really wants to go back to 1895 or 1955. Instead, we want to have the best 2015 and beyond that is possible.

You say that Republicans are “trying to defund women’s health care centers.” First of all, this isn’t really a partisan issue. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be. A number of people in America are concerned by what they have seen in the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. These videos are not the products of the Republican Party; rather, they are the fruits of citizen journalists. Let’s put aside our “let’s make sure our team wins at all costs” political mentality. This issue is too important to be rooting for “our side.”

Second, Republicans were trying to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest purveyor of abortions. (They performed 327, 653 abortions in 2013, according to their own most recent Annual Report.[3]) So, the Republicans were not trying to defund a women’s health care center. They were trying to defund abortion mills. The issue is abortion, not women’s health care.

You say, “The Republicans have had a plan for years to strip away women’s rights to make choices over their own bodies.” The issue isn’t a woman’s body. It’s the body within the woman’s body. That’s the issue. Abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being. We know this from science. When a sperm cell fertilizes an egg, it is a new human life. This new human being has his or her own unique DNA. The zygote has all the information it needs to grow. It doesn’t magically become human later. We all started at this point. We’re all “products of conception.” We were not egg cells or sperm cells, because that wasn’t us. That wasn’t our DNA. It was only at conception that we came into existence. That which is in the womb is not a “blob of cells” or some piece of “tissue.” Rather, what is in the womb is a whole, not fully developed human life.

The only difference between the zygote, blastocyst, embryo, and fetus, on the one hand, and the infant, on the other, is size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency. Obviously, an unborn child is smaller than one outside the womb. But does a larger size confer personhood upon that living being? If so, is a larger person more of a human than a smaller one? Is a teenager worth more than an infant?

The fetus is at an earlier level of development than an infant. That much is true. But an infant is not as developed as a toddler, and a toddler is not as developed as a teenager. Since an infant is not as developed as an older child, should we not protect the infant’s life?

The unborn child is obviously in a unique environment. That much is true. But what do a few inches matter? Why should a few inches down the birth canal confer personhood, and all attendant rights, upon a human life?[4] Is an infant less of a person if he or she is cradled in his or her mother’s arms?

And the unborn child has a high degree of dependence. Yes, that’s true. But so do my own young children. The infant is completely dependent upon his or her parents. That is particularly true for the nursing child, but it’s still true for bottle-fed infants.

So, the issue is the killing of an unborn human person. You seem to think it’s fine. You stress that abortion is legal, as if that makes it right. Yet the fact that a law exists does not make it right. We should revisit laws if they are wrong. Otherwise, there is no way to make progress as a society. The videos released by the Center for Medical Progress show that the unborn—even when hacked to bits—are human. It is wrong to kill intentionally an innocent human life. That which is in the womb is an innocent human life. Therefore, abortion—whether legal or not—is wrong.

You say, “Republicans threatened to shut down the government unless they could change the law to let employers deny women access to birth control.” No, Republicans don’t want to deny women access to birth control. Let’s be honest. If that were the case, Republicans would try to legislate a ban on birth control. The issue was whether an employer should be forced to pay for an employee’s birth control. Many people do not think an employer should be forced to do so, particularly if that is against his or her beliefs.

You say, “Over the past five years, Republican state legislators have passed nearly 300 new restrictions on abortion access. This year alone, Republican state legislators have passed more than 50 new restrictions on women’s access to legal health care.” Republicans have passed restrictions on the termination of innocent human life. You can call abortion “legal health care.” I call it “murder,” which better fits what the intentional killing of an innocent human life actually is.

You say, “The Republican vote to defund Planned Parenthood is just one more piece of a deliberate, methodical, orchestrated, right-wing attack on women’s rights.” Once again, the issue is not women’s rights. Frankly, most people don’t care too much about what women do with their bodies. No one is trying to legislate what one does in the bedroom. The issue is abortion. No woman should have a right to snuff out the most vulnerable human beings in existence. The Supreme Court magically found such a right in the Constitution in 1973, even though the Constitution says no such thing. Abortion is not supported by the Constitution, nor is it supported by the natural law, or the revealed will of God. I am still stunned that anyone could think someone has a “right” to kill an innocent person.

You say, “Women everywhere are sick and tired of it. The American people are sick and tired of it.” I know many women who are against abortion. They are sick and tired of the euphemisms (“women’s health care,” “women’s rights,” “war on women,” etc.) and the deceptive rhetoric. Roughly half of Americans are pro-life. Only 27 percent of Americans favor legal abortion in the second trimester,[5] the exact type of abortion showcased in the latest of the Center for Medical Progress’s videos. Even if the majority of Americans favored your views, that wouldn’t make your views right. Again, the issue is abortion, and I believe that science, philosophy, and religion show that abortion is wrong.

You mention the Republicans’ effort “to take away a woman’s right to control her own body and access to medical care she may need.” Again, the issue is the body in the woman’s body. As for legitimate medical care, no one wants to take that away. There are many community health care centers that provide health care for women. Let’s fund real health care. If you were committed to that, why not reform Planned Parenthood so they provide no abortions?

You also claim that “3 percent of patients visit Planned Parenthood for a safe and legal abortion.” This figure is wrong.  You may say that only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s total services are abortion services, but services are not patients. The claim that 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion services is true depending on how one calculates these figures. But let’s put that figure in perspective. If a woman goes to a Planned Parenthood and receives a pregnancy test, a test for STDs, an abortion, and some contraceptives, she has received four services. This way of counting services inflates the total services rendered, which would make the number of abortions seem relatively small. Planned Parenthood says that it had 2.7 million patients in the latest year for which they have statistics. Since 327,653 of those patients had abortions, that means that 12.1 percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients had abortions.[6] (I’m assuming that a woman wouldn’t have two abortions in a year, though I suppose that’s possible.)  If those abortions cost about $500 each, that would mean that more than 12 percent of Planned Parenthood’s total revenues come from abortions. So 12 percent may be a more accurate figure.

But, for the sake of the argument, let’s stick with that 3 percent figure. What would we say about a father who provides for his daughter, helps her with her homework, teaches her valuable life skills, and also rapes her once a month? “He only rapes her 3 percent of the time!” What would you say about a person in the nineteenth century who had 10,000 possessions, including 300 slaves? “Only 3 percent of his possessions are slaves!” Frankly, it doesn’t matter how much good Planned Parenthood does. Any amount of abortions is wrong. Planned Parenthood shouldn’t receive any federal funding.

According to you, “Even though the abortion performed at Planned Parenthood are safe and legal, the federal government is not paying for any of them. Not one dime.” According to Planned Parenthood’s most recent Annual Report, they received $528.4 million. All of this money went to their affiliates, which had a total of $1.1458 billion in revenues. That means that 46.1 percent of the total revenues of Planned Parenthood affiliates comes from the federal government. Strictly speaking, this money does not fund abortions. Yet what would happen to those Planned Parenthood affiliates if 46.1 percent of their funds were taken away? They wouldn’t exist. Really, this is a bit of an accounting game. Imagine if the United States had secretly been giving money to ISIS. Now imagine this news was made public. Understandably, the public would be livid. What if we heard this response from the White House: “The US doesn’t fund terrorist activities. This money was relief aid. It paid for medical care, for clothing, and for food. It did not pay for any terrorist activities”? Well, that may be true, but in this hypothetical situation, ISIS wouldn’t survive if those basic needs were not met. They would never be in a position to perform any terrorist activities if they didn’t first have food, clothing, and medical care. In a similar way, Planned Parenthood would never be in a position to kill over 300,000 unborn children a year were it not for federal funding.

Finally, you say, “The Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood is a Republican plan to defund women’s health care.” No, the plan is to defund an agency that performs over 25 percent of abortions in America each year. This is not an attack on women’s health care. It’s an attack on the destruction of human life.

Consider this: of the 300,000-plus unborn children who are snuffed out each year, how many of them do you think are female? If you saw all of the Center for Medical Progress’s videos, you may remember that a fetus at 11 weeks and 6 days was identified as a boy by the medical assistant (after a Planned Parenthood doctor first said, “It’s a baby”). But that baby could easily have been a girl. I suppose something like 165,000 of those babies that Planned Parenthood kills each year are female. Let’s talk about their health care. Let’s talk about the real war on women.

And what of the mental health of women who have had abortions? What about them? Let us consider the results of a meta-analysis conducted by Dr. Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University on 877,181 women, including 163,831 who had abortions.[7] Women who had abortions had a 81% higher risk of subsequent mental health problems than women who did not have abortions. Women who have had abortions had a 138% higher risk of mental health problems than women who had given birth. Women who had abortions had a 55% higher risk of mental health problems than women who had an unplanned pregnancy and who gave birth. Women who have had an abortion had higher rates of anxiety (34% higher), depression (37%), alcohol abuse (110%), marijuana use (23%), and suicidal behavior (155%) than women who did not have abortions. If you cared about women’s health, why would you ever encourage a woman to have an abortion?

Let me close on this note, Senator Warren. I am impressed by your rhetorical abilities. As a preacher, I recognize preaching when I see it. I don’t know what your religion is. I don’t know who your god is. (We all have some god, someone or something we hold to be the ultimate reality.) From what I see, you grant human autonomy a god-like status. But we are not our own authorities. We are but a mist that comes and goes.

Now please bear with me if I preach a bit. I assure you that if you continue on this path, you will be on the wrong side of history. When human history comes to a close, the ones who championed the deaths of the innocent will not be on the right side. The ones who sit back and do nothing as unborn children are vacuumed out of their mother, or killed through chemicals and then dismembered bit by bit—those people will not be vindicated.

As I said earlier, no one wants to go back to 1895 or 1955. Those times were not perfect. 2015 isn’t perfect, either. But we should all want to live in a better society, one that makes progress. Yet how do we know if we are making progress or not? What is our standard by which we make progress? We could easily be regressing. Is a society that destroys life a progressive one?

This matter of abortion is a life and death matter. And whether we die at an old age of natural causes, or whether we are torn from the womb, we will die. I don’t know what you expect will happen upon death. But I know that after we die, we will meet our Maker. And God will not look kindly upon those who do not speak for the innocent, for the poor, and for the defenseless. Your “progressive” ideas will be exposed for what they are: an ideology that leads to death.

But things don’t have to end this way. You can be courageous and reexamine your position. Watch these videos. Study the science of embryology. Reevaluate your philosophy. Reconsider what are truly “rights” and what is truly “health care.” To change your position with respect to abortion would require courage, but you are a strong woman. I’m sure you have ability to change your position if it is the wrong one.

Furthermore, you have the opportunity to stop pretending to be your own authority and put your trust in the true Lord of lords and King of kings, Jesus Christ. Your fate is in his hands. You may think that you are making a name for yourself in the Senate. Perhaps you’ll run for President. Perhaps you’ll even win. Yet any fame and power you achieve in this life will come to an end. The only status that matters is the one that Christ offers. If you would forsake your current ways and find forgiveness in Jesus, you would have the greatest status possible. You would be a child of God.

I’ll end my preaching now.

If you would like to discuss these issues with me, you can find my contact information below. I would certainly welcome the opportunity. I wish you well, Senator Warren. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Brian Watson

Notes

[1]  “Senator Elizabeth Warren: I Stand with Planned Parentood,” <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeilHs9kZ2g&gt;, accessed August 5, 2015.

[2] Guttmacher Institute, Fact Sheet: Induced Abortion in the United States, July 2014,  <https://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html&gt;, accessed August 5, 2015.

[3] Planned Parenthood 2013-2014 Annual Report,  <http://issuu.com/actionfund/docs/annual_report_final_proof_12.16.14_/0&gt;, accessed August 5, 2015.

[4] One pro-choice advocate states rather bluntly, “It seems absurd to suggest that the only thing that makes us fully human is the short ride out of some lady’s vagina.” Mary Elizabeth Williams, “So What if Abortion Ends Life?” Salon, January 23, 2013, < http://www.salon.com/2013/01/23/so_what_if_abortion_ends_life/&gt;, accessed August 5, 2015.

[5] USA Today/Gallup Poll, < http://www.gallup.com/file/poll/160067/Roe_v_Wade_Anniv_130122.pdf&gt;, accessed August 6, 2015.

[6] Planned Parenthood 2013-2014 Annual Report.

[7] Hope After Abortion, Adverse Psychological Reactions: A Fact Sheet, <http://hopeafterabortion.com/?page_id=213&gt;, accessed August 5, 2015.

 

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