In the wake of the recent mass school shooting in America, there has been quite a lot of media attention revolving around the survivors of the incident and their activism to stop school shootings. These incidents of mass violence have sparked discussions about how to best protect the lives of innocent people. There are many different ideas on how to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. Suggestions have come from politicians, religious leaders, talk show hosts, movie stars, musicians, the list goes on. Some ideas sound good, some sound bad, but all are in agreement that violence against innocents, especially children, should not be taken lightly, and must be stopped.
There are a few, however, who like to take acts of violence and use them for political, comedic, or personal gain.
Alex Jones, the extremist host of the talk show Info Wars, is an example of someone who is using the Parkland incident for his personal and political gains. He weighed in on the incident suggesting that the survivors who were speaking out in efforts to end school shootings were paid crisis actors. He also viciously attacked the leader of the student survivor activists, David Hogg and his family.
Back in 2012, Jones suggested that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which left 20 young children and six adults dead, was actually fake. He attacked the parents of the 20 young kids, claiming that the parents faked their children’s death for political motives. This conspiracy theory was heard and believed by many people and resulted in the victims’ parents being harassed. It is bad enough to lose a child to a terrible act of violence, but it is even worse to be harassed, called a liar, and accused of faking your child’s death.
We seem to be seeing a rise in acts of mass violence in America. Whether those violent acts are done with guns, knives, bombs, or other means, we should all stop and think of what we could do to help prevent such incidents from occurring again.
Earlier this month on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver attacked a group of people who are trying to stop innocent children from being killed.
In a 20 minute profanity-filled rant, Oliver took to attacking Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). For those who do not know what CPCs are, they are centers that offer free counseling and prenatal care to women who find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancies. Unlike Planned Parenthood, they do not offer abortions.
Oliver talks about how it is unfair that CPCs outnumber Planned Parenthood abortion facilities. While it is true that CPCs drastically outnumber Planned Parenthood abortion facilities approximately 6 to 1, he fails to mention how CPCs are solely funded by donations, operate mainly on a volunteer staff, and offer FREE services. According to their own reports, Planned Parenthood receives over one MILLION dollars a day from US Tax money. They also charge very high prices for low-quality birth control methods, with hopes of creating repeat customers. Oliver also says that CPCs receive government funding, which is also false. They operate solely on voluntary donations.
The comedian also quotes a former Planned-Parenthood director, Abby Johnson out of context and attacks her. He neglects to mention that she is a former Planned Parenthood center director and has had two abortions herself. Instead, he simply refers to her as an “anti-abortion activist.” Johnson worked at Planned Parenthood for eight years and left the industry after watching an ultrasound-guided abortion and being tired of being forced to lie to women to get more money. On her Facebook page, Johnson wrote a lengthy response to Oliver’s attack on her. In that response, she talks about her time at Planned Parenthood. “As a person who worked in the abortion industry for eight years, I can say unequivocally that the most manipulation I have ever witnessed was inside the abortion center walls,” She goes on to say, “Pregnancy centers will never be able to effectively compete with the abortion industry, nor should we want to. Almost half of their services and revenue is tied up in abortion…a service that we will never provide. So, we want to provide services that they would NEVER consider providing: material assistance for mom and baby, professional counseling, true options counseling, grief counseling from past abortions, lactation support, parenting and childbirth classes, fertility care instruction, and so much more. You see, we are actually here to help mother and child. The abortion industry provides pregnant women no help past killing their child.”
In an excellent refutation of Oliver’s segment, Timothy Brahm, director of training at Equal Rights Institute wrote the following about Oliver quoting Johnson out of context:
“The purpose of Abby’s statement is to emphasize how important it is for these centers to show abortion-minded women that they aren’t just religious organizations, that they have resources and are there to help. Oliver takes this out of context to make Abby sound like she is instructing them to actively mislead clients.”
(If you are interested in learning about Pro-Life arguments or apologetics, I highly suggest you check out Timothy and Josh Brahm’s website.)
Oliver also mentioned two of the biggest CPC organizations in the US, Heartbeat International and Care Net. He discusses the deception that their clinics use to mislead women. Oliver claims that the people working there and even the ultrasound technicians do not require any certification or training. Which is also false. My town has a Pregnancy Care Center that operates under both of those organizations. I have been working with my local center since before they opened their doors over five years ago. I have been through many hours of training with them and know how they operate. I personally know the people that work at the center. Having been through the counseling and legal training required for all volunteers, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything that John Oliver said about those CPC organizations is demonstrably false. The centers operate under a very strict code of ethics and follow all medical standards. Because our center, like many others, offers some medical services, they are required to operate under the practice of a local doctor. Our ultrasound technicians are nurses who have been through nursing school. Not just anybody can be a volunteer at CPCs. Volunteers have to be interviewed, approved, and thoroughly trained. I absolutely love our center and the women who work there. They are some of the kindest, non-judgmental and loving people that I have ever met. There are over 60 children that would not be here today if it weren’t for our local CPC. That is over 60 lives that have been saved!
I have also had the opportunity to meet several young women who were facing unplanned pregnancies and went to our center and centers like ours. One friend of mine, who went to her local CPC when she was facing an unplanned pregnancy right out of high school, said that going to the center was probably one of the most positive experiences of her pregnancy. “Throughout the whole experience they were super positive about everything – every outcome,” my friend said. “They did not encourage abortion by any means, but they didn’t make you feel terrible if you were thinking about it.”
In his book, The Wall, Kirk Walden speaks about his experience with CPCs which spans over multiple decades:
“20 years ago, funding wasn’t available to provide much more than a few offerings and programs. But today? The pregnancy help Center that could offer only free pregnancy tests years ago might now provide:
•Ultrasound, with experience medical personnel
•Fatherhood initiative to mentor new dads
•Couples counseling, meant touring and support
•Relationship and abstinence education initiatives for public and private schools, churches groups and college students
•Testing for sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs and STDs) along with expert counsel on the benefits of waiting until marriage before entering into a physical relationship.
• Parenting education
•Adoption information and referral
•Job skills training
•Post-abortive recovery initiatives focusing on the power of God‘s forgiveness for past decisions
•Professional counseling for various needs ranging from marriage issues to sexual abuse”
Despite Oliver’s claims that these are poorly run centers that don’t care about women, Walden shares:
“Of the hundreds of centers I’ve had an opportunity to see, the overwhelming majority are hardly mom and pop operations. These are first-class, professional organizations always looking to the cutting-edge. For instance, in the Midwest I visited a center where they not only provide prenatal care, but well-baby care up to a year, at no charge to clients. A center in the Southwest has a high school for new moms and dads. The year I visited they graduated 12 students and all went on to college. More examples? How about the center on the East Coast that created an abstinence-based education initiative for schools that was so effective, that the teen pregnancy rate in its county dropped more than 40% in two years? We might also look at the center in the west that opened a medical clinic with ultrasound and within a year, the abortion rate in its county dropped by 43%. Or the center where one room resembled a New York City boutique, full of executive clothing for women. Why? Because the center offers classes on job seeking and makes certain that each graduate is dressed for success when meeting with a prospective employer.”
Care Net CEO, Roland Warren, released a video addressing the attack by Oliver. Roland points out that the comedian’s segment used video clips from news reports and documentaries that were many years old to make generalizations about all pregnancy centers today. “According to Oliver’s own data, there are 2,752 pregnancy centers in the United States today. How is using an example of what one of those centers did many years ago representative of how all centers operate today?” Warren goes on to question why Oliver did not cite any sources to back up his claims. Instead of providing anything to back up his claim, he simply resorts to using vulgar language. In one instance, he shows a statement from a pregnancy center that says that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. Instead of trying to counter that statement, he simply calls it “bullsh*t.” Warren says that the reason why Oliver does not want to back up his claims is that the majority of scientific studies are against them. “There are over 108 worldwide studies published on abortion and breast cancer. None of which are in pro-life publications, but are un-biased medical studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Of those 108 studies, 79 of them found an increased risk between induced abortion and the later development of breast cancer.” Ten out of ten studies in India, thirty of thirty-seven in China, five of six in France, and four out of four in Japan found a link between abortion and breast cancer. For more numbers and studies, please click here.
Warren claims that Oliver “cherry-picks data to prove a point he wants to make, provides no evidence to support it, and then fails to mention evidence that contradicts his viewpoint.” It is not at all surprising that John Oliver does this. Although he is not a journalist, he is following the methods and ethics that I was taught in my journalism classes in college. I remember my journalism professor teaching my Intro to Journalism class that, before writing a story, you should first figure out what you want the angle of it to be. You are then supposed to find sources and interviews that fit to your angle of the story. I was baffled by that, and I specifically remember asking him what happens if the sources and interviews don’t agree with the angle you are trying to write. He laughed and told the class that you simply ignore those contradicting or differing views, and push forward with your story, or find a new story that fits your angle. I experienced this very same journalism tactic when the BBC approached me for an interview.
Care Net said that a producer from Oliver’s show contacted them to get information about the organization and CPCs, which they gladly supplied him with. The material they provided him included video testimonies from women who went to their centers, information on common myths about CPCs, statistics from their centers, and much more. They even sent the producer data showing that from 2014 to 2016, 97% of clients at Care Net affiliated pregnancy centers reported a positive experience at the center. Warren says that the segment failed to use any of the information that they gave the producer when he requested it. “If [CPC] centers were such terrible places, wouldn’t it be reflected in negative reviews in places like Yelp and Google?” Warren asked. “Proof that those negative reviews don’t exist is that the pro-choice organization, Lady Parts Justice League, recently created an entire campaign encouraging people to go online and post fake negative reviews of pregnancy centers. Why would they have to do this if real negative reviews already existed?”
Planned Parenthood has a vested interest in making sure women choose abortion. Abby Johnson frequently talks about the deception and trickery the National Planned Parenthood leaders encourage their centers to use in order to increase their abortion numbers. She even talks about Planned Parenthood’s abortion quotas that centers have to meet in order to make extra money. Their own reports show that abortions make up over 90% of their services offered to pregnant women. For every referral to an adoption agency, they do 83 abortions. Mary Gatter, president of the medical directors’ council at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, stated that she hoped to buy a Lamborghini with the profits she made from selling the body parts of children her clinics aborted and dismembered. It is all about abortion and money for them, period. All of that in contrast to pregnancy centers, who offer all of their services free of charge, make no profit, and are run solely by voluntary donations. Pregnancy centers have no financial interest in any one choice over another. Whether a mother chooses to carry the baby to term, place the child for adoption, or even have an abortion makes no financial difference to CPCs because they make no profits and charge nothing.
Abortion centers and those who advocate for abortion-on-demand detest pregnancy centers because it draws business away from abortion centers and causes the centers to lose money that they would get from abortions. Kirk Walden says:
“Moms and dads don’t go to abortion centers because they see it as a good choice. In fact, most realize going into the abortion clinic that they will regret their decision but they go because they see no other option. Pregnancy help centers are that option. And as the centers become the first choice for more and more, the attractiveness of the second choice — abortion — diminishes. And we know that every time parents choose life, an abortion center somewhere loses income. When enough of that income disappears…the abortion center closes its doors.”
At one point Oliver attacks CPCs for having names that include the word “choice” in them. He claims that they should not deceive people by putting that word in their names if they don’t offer abortions. First off, having that word in their name is not nearly as deceptive as Planned Parenthood having the word “parenthood” in their name when their biggest money maker and over 90% of their services to pregnant women are abortion.
Secondly, the word “choice” is not synonymous with abortion. In fact, pro-life people and pregnancy centers actually suggest and offer more choices than that of “pro-choice” advocates and Planned Parenthood. People who are pro-life and most pregnancy centers support choices like parenting, abstinence, adoption, and non-abortive birth control. Whereas the only “choice” that “pro-choice” people advocate for is abortion. I’m no mathematician, but I can see that having four choices is more than one choice. Supporting four peaceful choices over one violent choice seems more “pro-choice” than those that claim that label.
It is quite sad that one is considered “anti-choice” and against women for supporting more choices and options for women, but is considered a hero and pro-woman if the only choice they advocate for is abortion. It is time that people admit what they really are. They are not “pro-choice,” they’re pro-abortion. It is clear from this segment that John Oliver is not in favor of multiple “choices” for women, he is in favor of only one: abortion.
Suggesting that abortion is the only “choice” for women, is degrading to them. That is not just my opinion, the early feminists who fought for equal rights for women thought the same thing. Feminists like Susan B. Anthony, Charlotte Lozier, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Caroline Norton, and many more were very pro-life. They viewed abortion as “the ultimate exploitation of women,” as Alice Paul put it.
In a nutshell, John Oliver’s claims have no roots in truth. He was not uninformed or ignorant to the actual facts. As Roland Warren and Abby Johnson both said, they gave his show a lot of information on pregnancy centers, but, since it did not fit the angle that Oliver wanted to use for his comedy, he ignored it all. He focused instead on lies put out by those who promote abortion. His mind was obviously already made up about the issue. The fact that he would make fun of pregnancy centers and those who work at them is just plain sad and disgusting. The people who work at CPCs are loving and compassionate people who care about women and their futures. Many women who work at these centers are post-abortive themselves and want to help others from making the same choices they made.
It is a scientific fact that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being. It is not a matter of politics or religion. As the famed geneticist, Dr. Jerome LeJeune says, “to accept the fact that, after fertilization has taken place, a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical conception. It is plain experimental evidence.”
According to Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute, and other pro-abortion-choice organizations, there have been over six million abortions done in the US since 1973. That, along with the fact that abortion takes the life of a living human being, proves that over six million innocent human beings have been killed through abortion in the US alone. That is over 10 times the number of victims as the Holocaust claimed. Most of the women who work at CPCs see abortion as genocide for that very reason. They want to help prevent further deaths and bring hope to people. John Oliver’s attack on CPCs and the women who work there is no different than attacking people who were against the Holocaust and seek to prevent another from happening.
The bottom line is: John Oliver knew that the statements and claims that he made were not true, he had the facts and source material at his disposal, but he willingly chose to withhold them because they didn’t fit his story or his opinions. He ignores credible medical research and science. He isn’t advocating for choices for women. He is advocating for lies and deception towards vulnerable women, as well as violence against innocent human beings. He isn’t “pro-choice”, he is pro-abortion. He attacks women who try to present choices other than abortion to women in times of trouble. This is much more than someone being uninformed or ignorant, this is deliberate deception and lies.
According to Planned Parenthood’s own data, a child dies in one of their centers every 97 seconds. That is violence on a massive scale. That is something that needs to be discussed and prevented. Violent acts are not to be made fun of or taken lightly, nor should people who want to help prevent the violence be condemned. Whether those violent acts are done with guns, knives, bombs, or other means, we should all stop and think of what we could do to help prevent such incidents from occurring again.