Dear Christine,

This is the explanation I promised you when I commented on Facebook how “extremely disappointed” I was with your Delaware County Times column on Sunday, November 12 (republished Monday in Broad + Liberty).

I told you that while I agreed with some of what you said, I thought your column was “weak where it could have been strong, and wrong where it could have been right.” You commented that you were “actually exceptionally proud” of it. One commenter said that she “completely disagreed” with me. She said that it was “a strong and powerful article from beginning to end.” To her I replied that “the true test of the utility of the column is whether it accomplishes what she wants to accomplish. I don’t think it does. It is like preaching to the choir. To succeed in the ultimate objective she needs to resonate with more than the choir, and in my opinion this column doesn’t.”

You are a gifted writer. I envy your command of the language and facility with words. In that regard I will never achieve equality with you. But in this column I feel that you failed to use your gift.  

You began with remorse over the defeat of Carolyn Carluccio to Daniel McCaffery to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. I, too, was displeased with that outcome. You then moved to the dreadful Ohio constitutional amendment essentially legalizing abortion at every stage of pregnancy. You stated that the “Ohio amendment will give Ohio women the right to abort their babies at any time up to and including the moment of birth . . . .” You are probably right in that assessment, and I find that a horrendous possibility.

In discussing that probability you related that “I once hosted a radio debate with a rabbi who argued that he would support abortion for a woman in the ninth month, moments before birth, if the woman said she was suicidal and would kill herself if the baby was born. He was dead serious, and said that all he would need for confirmation about her state of mind was a notarized affidavit, signed off by a therapist. When I asked him if a medical professional was required, he said that he’d be fine with anyone trained in counseling battered women.” And there you essentially left it. 

This was the point at which you could have absolutely destroyed the totally absurd notion that abortion should be permitted up to the moment of birth. 

No rational person could honestly defend that position.  Here was your missed opportunity. You should have said, or at least written in your column: “Rabbi, are you serious? Do you really mean to tell me that a woman, after nine months of pregnancy, and after her fourth contraction, could demand an abortion on the grounds that if she gives birth to a healthy baby she is going to kill herself? And in an effort to prove her point, she tells you to look in her purse for the note from her therapist that will attest to that fact. Then, while he searches for some defensive comment, you ask if he won’t yield just a little bit on his point of defending the right of abortion up to the moment of birth. Would you be willing, Rabbi, to end her right to an abortion when her water breaks?”

Wouldn’t you agree that the pictures that would go through the minds of your readers if they read that paragraph prove the point of the absurdity of asserting a right to abortion “up to the moment of birth?”  

The pro-abortion forces assert a right of abortion up to the moment of birth because they don’t want to allow any time limitation on the right. That is their Achilles heel. Destroy the “moment of birth” argument, and they are on the defensive.  

I also criticized your column for being wrong when it could have been right. This assertion of mine was triggered by your comment that Nikki Haley lost your vote by saying in the debate that she would not judge a “pro-choice” woman. Nikki Haley is a realist. She recognizes that an extreme anti-abortion position isn’t popular. Your comments about why Carolyn Carluccio lost and the Ohio abortion amendment won prove Haley’s point. She recognizes that only a compromise or middle position can prevail. She knows she needs the votes of some who are “pro-choice”. She can’t get them if she takes your position. Even you appear to realize that.

That appears to be why you said “I might have to simply give up on politics altogether, and focus my efforts on getting my own soul ready for judgment day.” You followed that up with “what profit a man to win Ohio, but lose his soul?” Apparently, you have forgotten that elections do matter. Electing Donald Trump enabled us to seat enough US Supreme Court justices to overthrow Roe v. Wade. Now that we have succeeded in getting the abortion issue back to the states, you are lamenting that things aren’t going your way so you want to “simply give up on politics altogether.” How about writing stronger, more persuasive columns? You can’t win if you give up.

Let me conclude with a comment on getting your “own soul ready for judgment day.” I very much fear that your conversation with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates might go something like this: 

Saint Peter: So, Christine, how many babies’ lives did your abortion position save?

Christine: Probably, none.

Saint Peter: Is it possible that a more moderate abortion position could have saved some lives, even if not all?

Christine: Yes, but then I would have had to abandon my morally superior position.  Do I get in?”

Saint Peter: Hmmm.

Christine, a true friend is one who will tell you when you are wrong. I am your friend.

Howard Lurie is Emeritus Professor of Law, Charles Widger School of Law, Villanova University

8 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: A reply to Christine Flowers”

  1. The entire pro-abortion argument hinges on refusing to acknowledge “the fetus” is a baby human being and thus has corresponding human rights. Additionally, the people who argue against abortion are generally too polite about it. Almost everything pro-abortion people say about the topic is extreme. You can’t reason with them because their core position is unreasonable. They use propaganda and maximum effort in layering lies around the topic. For example, the Guttmacher Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report abortion statistics in the United States but they use different methodologies – fact. The CDC data comes from 47 states, excluding California, Maryland, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia – fact. That’s right, all those abortions that occur in California, Baltimore, and D.C. are not tracked by CDC. Most of the people who get tricked into having an abortion are young minority women, and most of the baby humans being killed are female – fact. Replace “abortion” with “slavery” and almost every pro-abortion argument is nakedly repulsive. The vast, vast majority of abortions are minorities.

  2. I can’t believe conservatives are so distanced from reality that they actually believe abortions occur at nine months. This. Is. Not. Real.

  3. I am an Orthodox Jew. I didn’t see or read the column mentioned. I do read and appreciate most of her work.

    There are all sorts of Rabbis giving all sorts of opinions. If Christine didn’t include the Rabbi’s qualifications then he may have offered an opinion contrary to traditional Jewish law which is based on Biblical law. Abortion is generally considered a violation of Jewish ethics but may be considered to save the life of the mother. The mother being a known viable life while the baby’s viability is still unknown. In the example given an abortion at time of birth shouldn’t happen.

    Be Well.

  4. She offered a rabbi’s hypothetical reaction to a situation that hadn’t occurred. So basically a made up non-example

  5. If you are one who believes abortions don’t occur at 9 months, be aware that abortions occur when the baby is in the birth canal, depending on the medical staff and the facility. Abortion up to the moment of birth so cheapens the concept of the sanctity of life that there is serious discussion among medical ethicists as to the acceptability of leaving a live birth baby without care until it dies. I cannot grasp the idea of killing children as some form of medical well-being. If the baby is not wanted, there are adoption alternatives. Planned Parenthood’s clinics are mostly located in low income, minority neighbourhoods, so you can guess who is being targeted for their service. Margaret Sanger was an eager proponent of eugenics, going so far as creating the “Negro Project.” I personally am tired of seeing the arguments for killing children devolve into arguments of law, geography, theology, politics rather than what it is, killing a human being. I urge those interested read: “Dr. Kermit Gosnell, America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.” After all, he was one of Philadelphia’s own.

  6. FedUp, Mr. Knoll, Mr. Stern, and Kevin,
    We may not agree on many things. We can agree that murdering growing baby human beings is repulsive idiocy. The hundred plus billion that these crooked politicians took from us to send to Ukraine could’ve helped some poor young American pregnant mothers. Let’s vote all these Republican and Democrat multi-term politicians out of office. School board elections are important. Find a neighbor, a relative, or perhaps even yourself to get more involved.

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