Wednesday, September 17, 2014
by Eddie Griffin
I admit that I am confused as to what is child abuse, and at what point does disciplining a child becomes abusive. This is the public debate now surrounding the case of Minnesota NFL running back Adrian Peterson.
When did corporal punishment become a crime? Is this an ex-post facto law applied to Peterson? It used to be that a parent could “warm them buns”, “tan that hide”, or even “take the hide off” a disobedient child, without fear of going to jail. So, who changed the rules of engagement about chastening a child for misbehaving?
If we are going to rewrite the laws, according to contemporary ideals, I guess an old school mother could be charged with “making a terroristic threat” for simply saying “I brought you into the world and I will take you out.” As horrible as it may sound, there was usually no love lost between mother and child.
It is only be a matter of what the state choses to make of it. In the case of Adrian Peterson, they have chosen to move the goal post. What was once lawful and scriptural seems to have now become a crime. Sorry, I didn’t get the memo.
I grew up in the bible belt of Texas, where black parents tried to raise their children according to the scriptures (Proverbs 22:6). It was not uncommon for a parent to discipline a child with a switch for acting up in church. Proverbs 23:13 says: Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beat him with the rod, he shall not die. Another translation says: Don't withhold discipline from a child -if you beat him with a stick, he won't die!
Clearly, this relates to the use of the switch when chastising a child. As someone said, “To not do so is a disservice to the child.” The bible talks about letting a child go undisciplined and uncorrected in Hebrews 12:8.
It seems that child abuse is arbitrarily based upon a perception or misperception of a parent injuring or killing a child. From a child’s vantage point, of course a whipping seems like mama or daddy is going to kill us. Yet the scriptures insist that “he won’t die”? The abuse comes in whenever a parent whips a child out of angry emotions and without compassion. But as my mother used to say before a whipping, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” I never understood how that could be so until I become a parent myself.
Our parents believed that a whipping would instill the fear of God in us. But more dreaded than the fear of the Almighty was fear of papa and to hear mother say, “just wait till your daddy gets home”. That was sure terror, because it meant the punishment would be certain. And we children had the awful chore of finding a suitable switch to furnish papa.
But fathers have limits also, according to the scriptures. He is commanded by God not to provoke their children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4). This means that though he can use corporal punishment for discipline, he is not to go overboard such as to instill within the child hate, anger, and rage. Sadly, many parents do not know where to draw that line.
Self-discipline begins with discipline at home. However, though our desire as parents may be the same in bringing up our children the right way, our methods of discipline are not the same. There is no textbook solution to child rearing. As my mother pointed out to her Child Psychology professor, she was more an expert on the subject than the author of the book, having given birth to six children herself. Each child was different, she insisted. Therefore, each child was treated differently.
One of the things she learned was to “never try to discipline a child while you are angry.” And one more, I might note from my own observation: “A drunken father should never handle the switch.” These things lead to child abuse.
The needs of a child in one family may differ from the needs of a child from another background. One parent may not have to worry about disciplining a 3-year old for picking up beer cans and draining the content, because empty beer cans may not be so prevalent in their neighborhood. But for inner city children, there are a multitude of additional risks, such as teen drinking, drug experimentation, early teen pregnancy, and juvenile crimes. Teaching our children in the inner city neighborhoods to avoid these risks require a much sterner and steady hand, and should not be weakened by shifting mores.
Knowing the greater risks our children must face, we opt not to pamper our children as some do. The bible says that children who go without discipline are not true children of God (Hebrews 12:8). Like 14-year old Ethan Couch who got drunk, got behind the wheel of his parents’ car, and went out and killed 4 innocent people in a car wreck, he could plead not guilty because he suffered from “Affluenza”.
While children with undiagnosed ADHD and autism may be arbitrarily judged competent and punished in school, this little rich kid was pampered all his life. Having never been punished, he did not understand and appreciate the serious consequences for his actions. So, psychology creates this figment disorder called “affluenza” and the courts gave him a slap on the risk.
On the other hand, I was equally appalled and dismayed at a video of a 7-year old black kid who stole his grandmother’s car and went joyriding with another 7-year old. Barely being able to see over the steering wheel, he wound up crashing several cars and destroying property. Afterwards, the child boasted that doing “bad things” was “fun”. His grandmother agonized over what she could do. She would whip his butt, she declared, but “she was afraid of going to jail.” Isn’t this what is happening to all our black parents and grandparents? Because they use whipping as a means of correction, they are portrayed as violent and unloving.
Sadly, one of the commentators recommended the solution to the 7-year old boy’s problem was to put him in juvenile detention. Instead of allowing the parents their traditional means of correcting bad behavior, they would take the power out of the hands of the parents, and use the power of the state to criminalize him, and mar him for the rest of the his life. So the grandmother is left helpless for fear of the law. If and when a black child goes wild, these will be the very same people who ask, “Where are the parents?” Don’t they realize that they have rendered the parents useless and ineffective by their pious judgments and condemnations?
Like Adrian Peterson, I use a switch on my grandchildren, as I used on my son and daughter some 25 years ago. In fact, I carried one in the car at all time and also at church. A gentle tap on the legs reminds them to turn around in church and behave themselves. It is not going to kill them, though they may cry like their little worlds are coming to an end.
Of course, no child likes to be chastened (Hebrews 12:11). Who does? But a child must know that a whipping stings like a bee. The gentle tap on the leg is only a reminder that it could be worse. The end of the teaching is to instill good behavior and right decision making.
Some parents of privileged means seem to think such teachings comes by osmosis. Some might think that taking a little flesh taken off the hide of a four-year old is too harsh. Instead, they would second guess the judgment of the parent (as if they were wiser), and advocate non-corporal means of punishment, such as losing their privileges for a week. This is what happened to the 7-year old who stole his grandmother’s car: No video games for a week.
I have seen this difference in punitive treatment growing up in the 1950s, when a black child could get hide tanned at home, by a neighbor, or at school for wrongdoing. The coach at school used a paddle, and the principal used a strap. Therewith, we learned respect for adults and authority. It was instilled in us like a nail hammered in wood, because we knew the consequence would be painful corporal punishment.
It worked in segregated black schools. But corporal punishment was taken away, and eventually the coach’s paddled was outlawed. In its place came in-house suspensions, expulsions, and criminalization for behavioral offenses. But secretly, we still use the old school method of punishment in the African-American community, because pampering a child only spoils them.
I learned something from my aunt, when she was a housekeeper for a very wealthy family and nanny for their children. She cleaned house, cooked, cared for the kids, and took them to the segregated movie houses or downtown. She was permitted to carry a gun for their protection, but she was never allowed to spank either child.
I saw the same pattern when integration of the schools came along in the 1970s. As long as the teachers, principals, and coaches routinely whipped black children as a means of punishment, it was okay. But after integration there was a clamoring among privileged families to not hit their children. Not only did this take away school officials’ and teachers’ authority and their most effective means of control, it undermined their better judgment.
Therefore, people now ask why there is so much chaos in the classrooms. Why is there so much bullying? Why don’t parents do more to control their children?
The truth is the system has taken the controls out of the parents’ hand. And, those controls are being even more eroded by taking the power of discipline out of the hands of fathers like Adrian Peterson. From the whelps I have seen on the legs of his four-year old son, there are only whelps and broken skin, but no broken bones, black eyes, or fractured skull.
As a loving grandfather, I have left worse marks on the back of a two-year old granddaughter, who decided to run away from home with her three-year old brother, each wearing their backpacks. The two of them made it a mile down a busy highway before a kind motorist spotted them and brought them home.
Grandpa was called in to do the unpleasant task of disciplining them. At first, I went lighter on the 2-year old than the 3-year old. But my granddaughter defiantly went back into street, not once, but twice, showing her intention to disobey. She had no sense of danger, which most kids don’t. Cars were swerving around her to keep from hitting her.
Scolding, timeout, taking her dolls for punishment, and all that was out of the question. I had to insure that this incident was not repeated. So, I whipped her with a switch on her naked back and it made her mama cry. Nevertheless, there is a line a child must not cross, at all cost.
As a grandparent, I can better understand why, during slavery time, black fathers would sometimes intervene on behalf of a disobedient slave son who were about to be lashed by the slave master. The father would plead to whip some sense into the boy himself, rather than let the slave master whip him. Though black people derided this practice which was carried on for centuries, we now realize the father was looking out for the life and wellbeing of the child. His whipping would not kill the child. There was no such empathy on the part of the slave master.
And so it is today. A black father would rather chastise his child, his way, himself, rather than allow a wayward child to fall into the hands of the police, so that the state can punish him for the rest of his life.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
From Eddie Griffin-
Ferguson, Missouri Protest Sparks National Movement
I got an SOS text message from Ferguson from a Facebook friend, who was one of the principals in organizing the protests surrounding the killing of teenager Michael Brown Jr.
At the time of contact, teargas was raining down on the community. His wife had almost been arrested. They barely made it home safely out of the chaos, home to their four children.
Describing what he saw, it sounded like SyFy:
“We have seen that. They were prepared with riot gear assault rifles and wooden bullets and teargas from the very beginning tanks on rail cars moved into St Louis days ago also there have been several military vehicles as well as helicopters and drones there are parts of the city that we can't go to at night… They almost have arrested my wife on Sunday for helping a teenager who was being descended upon by circle of pigs.
We decided not to go to Ferguson tonight. But we live 15 min away. Yes sir, curfew. Martial law… My wife told the sisters to leave the children at home. Ferguson is entirely locked down now… they start shooting massive amounts of teargas at night… We need to work on getting international exposure and support so that we will not be isolated… Something strange is going on they are trying to provoke us… this feels like some sort of weird government project.”
As I was texting, they went into the fourth straight night of rebellion.
The first thing the paramilitary police did, when they went into Ferguson, MO, was exercise martial law. They started grabbing any and everybody, grabbing their phones and laptops. The local cable TV went on 2-day blackout. It was hard to get their story out, and they were getting no feedback from the outside world. News journalists were attacked by tear gas, threatened, and arrested, in violation of Freedom of the Press.
[The journalists can Petition for Suppression of First Amendment Right, Freedom of Speech]
They asked my personal advice and these were my recommendations:
1) Continue the fight
2) Engage and Draw out the forces against you
3) Stay out of firing range
4) Keep the children off the streets of the war zone.
While the protest raged, the residents of Ferguson were blacked out from the outside world, like Jena, LA. The continuation of the fight would ensure the story of Mike Brown’s shooting would come to light. Through non-violent peaceful protest, hands up, don’t shoot demonstrations, they were fired upon by tear gas, which is a chemical weapon banned by the United Nation. Therefore, the City of Ferguson is guilty of using unlawful chemical warfare like the apartheid regime in South Africa (circa 1960s), against the African-American citizens, for the purpose of suppressing descent.
The shooting of the teenager Mike Brown call to mind all the other young black men who have been killed across the United States since Barack Obama became President. Thank God, the Justice Department is now looking into the pattern of police shootings and arrests, and the disparities in the use of force. We, as an African-American community, have historical standing with the United Nations. [Read WE CHARGE GENOCIDE] This is the charge against the City of Ferguson in the eyes of the world.
GENOCIDE involves more than the shooting of Mike Brown, but the shooting down of young black men, at discretion, or tasing them to death. The systematic elimination of black men weakens the family structure and the entire African-American community.
Friday, April 4, 2014
To: FWISD Walter Dansby & School Board Members
From: Eddie Griffin, Child Rights Advocate
RE: Education as a Political Football
Dear Mr. Dansby,
As a former PTA President, school system volunteer, and often critic of our schools, I have spent the past 20 years working to improve our children’s education. But, as I observed from the beginning, there have always been too many cooks in the kitchen giving advice on the subject. As a consequence, we were slow to embrace technology in the classroom; and once technological advances helped us bridge the digital divide, we were slow to embrace online education and using internet tools to help close the achievement gap. Also, we have been hindered by low graduation rates due, in part, to a lack of classroom management which led to the ill-fated creation of Zero Tolerance policies that has since evolved into the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
Now one of the principal architects behind the failed zero tolerance policies, a former covert CIA agent who uses early nineteenth century eugenic pseudoscience, is being cited for his ideas on how to improve the education system in Texas. The most dangerous part about his ideas is scapegoating the parents of students for their lack of involvement in the school system and scapegoating the students for the breakdown in classroom discipline. Blaming the parents and the students is a popular idea among the more conservative members of our society, and even among some of us. This is why author and consultant Charles A. Murray is being cited in gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s Pre-K Education plan.
If Abbott’s plan looks and sounds good, it is only because it borrows from a smorgasbord of ideas we have already thoroughly explored, particularly in our Malcolm Baldridge Continuous Improvement model. And, I have always been a believer in starting where we are, and not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, lock, stock, and barrel, and starting over to reinvent the wheel by siphoning off valuable resources for public education and putting them into experimental charter school programs which, to date, have had dubious mixed results. This new Pre-K Education plan proposes to use Best Practices in the classroom, which we have already been investigating, and it undermines the structure of the public education system in favor of privatizing the system.
The premise of these ideas, and the starting point of Charles Murray’s ideologies, begins with this quote: “Family background has the most decisive effect on student achievement, contributing to a large performance gap between children from economically disadvantaged families and those from middle class homes,” which is cited by Abbott from Murray's book Real Education.
Such a statement seems so simple and self-evident enough that Mr. Abbott needed no Murray citation. But taking a closer look, we see more of Mr. Murray’s eugenics idea than Mr. Abbott’s education plan.
Notice, it dichotomizes the “economically disadvantaged families” from “middle class homes” and it alludes to the popular stigma about the “family background” of the lesser being the cause of the academic performance gap. Many people believe this. Therefore, in order to address the ineffectiveness of the public school system, they suggest that we should look at the dynamics within the dysfunctional poor families and their background.
It is also interesting that Murray contrast the term “economically disadvantaged families” with “middle class homes”, with the latter being the ideal “home”, and the other not really constituting what might be called a home. We, on the other hand, never automatized family as an isolated unit in society, but always promoted the concept “It takes a village to raise a child”. However, it is apparent that not all people concur with the village concept. Murray’s ideas, from his previously published works, promote the notion that genetics is the cause of low academic achievement. And that is what separates us.
Therefore, this makes us very suspicious of what Murray means by “family background”, and what aspects of family background does he infers leads to low achievement in academics, and why he states in Real Education argues that “students with lower IQ's are not as educable as smarter children and should be siphoned off to vocational programs instead of sent to college”, and that “only 10 to 20 percent of young adults are capable of doing college-level work.” Is he ignoring the empirical fact that a good education can turn low-performing students into high achievers?
For Murray, low-IQ is immutable because it is based on genetic factors, such as brain size. However, these ideas of eugenic factors being attributable to the cause of poverty and low-IQ and immoral parental lifestyles are not new. Thomas Malthus, in his book Principle of Population (1798), uses the same pseudoscience in his argument against the Poor Laws of England, predicated upon the Social Darwinian concept of “survival of the fittest”. He argued that the poor people of England were genetically inferior to the rich. In later revisions, he expanded this argument to include the darker races being inferior to the lighter races, based upon a genetic hierarchy. Moreover, Malthus argued that helping the poor through welfare would move valuable resources out the economy, which would reduce money available to pay wages, and given to the unworthy and unfit, which in turn, would provide incentives for laziness, immorality, increase in the birth of illegitimate children, and discourage people from saving for old age or illness.
Needless to say, these are popular notions in our society today, especially in the stigmatization of poor minority families.
Notice the similarities between the Social Darwinians and the Malthusian theories of the early nineteenth century, and the central thesis of Charles Murray’s 1984 book Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950–1980. In it, he proposes all government welfare programs should be abolished, supposedly because welfare hurts the very people it was intended to help by “rewarding bad behavior” such as “illegitimate babies.” He also called for ending food stamp programs.
Murray's most famous and controversial book, “The Bell Curve” (1994), co-authored with Richard Herrnstein, promoted racial eugenics theories claiming that whites and Asians are genetically superior in intelligence to blacks and Latinos.
The Southern Poverty Law center writes: “In Murray’s world, wealth and social power naturally accrue towards a ‘cognitive elite’ made up of high-IQ individuals (who are overwhelmingly white, male, and from well-to-do families), while those on the lower end of the eponymous bell curve form an ‘underclass’ whose misfortunes stem from their low intelligence.
Recently Murray wrote “No woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world's great philosophical traditions… Women have produced a smaller number of important visual artists, and none that is clearly in the first rank. No female composer is even close to the first rank. Social restrictions undoubtedly damped down women’s contributions in all of the arts, but the pattern of accomplishment that did break through is strikingly consistent with what we know about the respective strengths of male and female cognitive repertoires.”
The term Cognitive repertoires signify another way of saying the genetic God-given brain size and capacity to learn.
According to some research of Charles Murray’s own background, his career peaked in the Vietnam War years (1965-71) in Thailand, first as a Peace Corps worker, and then, from 1968 onward, in a Pentagon-contracted counterinsurgency program run by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), which operated under the cover of academic anthropology research. In 1970, the New York Review of Books exposed the AIR program in Thailand where Murray worked in covert military counter-insurgency program ran by the Department of Defense's research and development agency ARPA, in cooperation with the CIA.
A 1970 Ramparts magazine investigation into counter-insurgency operations described it as a “behavior control” program through crop destruction against a rebellious minority hill tribe, the Meo, during the period that Murray participated in the counter-insurgency program in rural Thailand.
And now, this man, Charles Murray, with these ideas and pattern of practices, is being touted as an expert is education. We should be offended and kicking ourselves for not doing better and allowing these misguided notions to take parlance in our discussion on Education.
It seems as though we have lost sight on what is first and foremost: Education should teach our children HOW TO THINK, to become problem-solvers, as oppose to those who believe education is about teaching children WHAT TO THINK. With the ability to think, children of today are empowered with the capabilities of solving tomorrow’s real world problems. Knowing only what to think leads them down blind channels over which they have no control or input, to a destination unknown.
The Charles Murray model of Education is not about educating, but rather about controlling the system of Education. Some people buy into the idea that regaining control of the classroom is our most important objective. We think otherwise.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
To: Rush Limbaugh
From: Eddie Griffin
Why do you call my state senator Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie”? Is it the color of her hair, or because she filibustered an amendment to the Texas Abortion Law? Or, is it both?
I consider your usage of term “Abortion Barbie” a slur, not against Wendy Davis but the Barbie doll, and against the little girls that grew up adoring her. It is reminiscent of the days of Goldie Hawn on Laugh In when she was typecast as the “dumb blond”. Beauty without a brain was a typical locker room joke among boys about blonds back in the day. Not only was this blond stereotype perceived being not very smart, but she was also portrayed on the movie screen as the poor helpless maiden who always fainted at the first hint of danger, or the girl tied to the railroad track screaming for help from some chauvinist hero. Do you remember?
So what are you saying? Are you insinuating that Wendy Davis is a dumb blond, fearful and weak and a helpless maiden in a man’s world, just because she does not wave around her Texas six-shooter as a macho posture in the gun rights debate?
Really, I beg your pardon, sir. Wendy Davis did not get into her position as a leader of our community for any of the above reasons. She is proven. She has defied the odds and been victorious in battle.
As a constituent of Texas Senate District 10 and a friend of Wendy Davis, let me not lose sight of the fact that a slur against her is a slight against all her constituents, who voted for her, and love and adore her for her courage.
SECONDLY: As for the Abortion Issue, it seems to me that FOX News and other you other outside media come into our state in the 9th inning and want to coach the rest of the ball game. It only goes to show your ignorance of the fight in Texas over abortion, which has been going on for a long time before you Johnny-come-lately got here. Start with the fact that Texas already has an abortion law. Are you surprise? It is authorized under the state’s Health and Safety Code, which was enacted in 2003, and amended in 2011 and 2013.
Sec. 171.003 reads: An abortion may be performed only by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state.
Like it or not, the first five words say it all: An abortion may be performed. The law dictates the terms and conditions under which a doctor can administer an abortion in Texas. For example, in a situation where the life and health of a pregnant mother hangs in the balance and a decision has to made whether to save the unborn child or the mother, who should make the call as to which one lives and which one dies? I do not believe politicians are equipped to make that decision. It is a decision to be made only by a woman, her husband, and her doctor. Spiritual counseling helps.
If there is a starting point in this abortion debate, it would begin with the Texas 78th Legislature and a bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry. All of this Pro-Life versus Pro-Abortion juxtaposing is nothing but a false dichotomy created by the media for political entertainment. The real problem arises, not between pro and con factions, but the wording of the law as it is written.
For example: In the 2013 amendment SB 5, Sec. 171.061(9), the law defines an “Unborn child” to mean “an offspring of human beings from conception until birth.” Under the 2003 law, Sec. 171.061(4) defines the “Gestational age” to mean “the amount of time that has elapsed since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period.” Sec. 171.016(a) speaks of “gestational increments” measured “from the time when a woman can be known to be pregnant to full term.” Moreover, Sec. 171.041, which is cited as “Preborn Pain Act”, in subsection (1), Post-fertilization age means “the age of the unborn child as calculated from the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum.” In other words, for the purpose of the law, pregnancy begins when the sperm fertilizes the ovary egg.
Most women do not know that they are pregnant after missing one menstrual cycle. Some delay until after the second missed cycle. But by then she is legally pregnant, which means that provisions and restrictions of the law kick in. The so-called morning-after pill RU-486 then falls under the strict regulations of state law, though it is approved for distribution by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Those who believe that the life of an unborn child begins at the fertilization of an egg are counting their chickens before they hatch. And, for those who believe in the bible, they should know that life begins before biological conception. As God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5). In other words, God knows each of us before we are born. However, we do not become a “living soul” until God breaths into us the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). If life is meant to be, God will make it happen. Otherwise, man is in error if he thinks that he can will life into existence.
There was just such case in Wendy Davis’ district which proved the fallacy of man’s thinking that God’s will is for every conception to come to life. The case centered on Erick Muñoz and his late wife Marlise, who died during the earliest stage of her pregnancy. The man fought for the right to lay his wife to rest and have some closure for his grief. But the Texas abortion law prevented it. Therefore, the woman’s corpse was kept on life support for two agonizing months, while political opportunists championed a misguided cause for a right-to-life for an embryo that was still at the developmental stage of a tadpole. Why? Because the law defined an unborn child at the point of conception, doctors were forbidden from terminating the pregnancy.
As Marlise Muñoz’s corpse decayed, the more deformed the fetus. Eventually, God prevailed. But it would seem that under Sec. 171.002(3) and Sec. 171.0124(c) of the law that the doctors could have terminated the pregnancy on the basis of “medical emergency” provisions. But the punitive sanctions in the law would put the doctors at risk of being charged with a misdemeanor under Sec. 171.018 and fined $10,000 and possibly losing their license to practice medicine, insofar as the Texas Medical Board was given the police power to enforce this law (Sec. 171.062).
Nevertheless, we have found that once a law is on the books, it is rarely abolished. Rather, it is eroded over time by new amendments. Likewise, the Abortion of Law of Texas has been changed quite a bit since its 2003 origin.
Another example: The law alludes to the victims of rape and incest, but makes no exceptions to its strictures except under Sec. 171.046 (a) where the life and health of the mother is jeopardized, and Sec. 171.046 (c) where an abortion can be performed “on an unborn child who has a severe fetal abnormality”.
The law does not forbid any woman from getting an abortion, as long as it complies with the aforementioned constrictions upon doctors. But the only specific provision for victims of rape or incest is Sec. 171.012(2) (C), which says:
… (2) the physician who performs the abortion or the physician’s agent informs the pregnant woman that: (C) public and private agencies provide pregnancy prevention counseling and medical referrals for obtaining pregnancy prevention medications or devices, including emergency contraception for victims of rape and incest.
What need does a victim of rape and incest have for “emergency contraception”? To insure that she does not get pregnant the next time she is violated?
The big deal with the outside media has been focused on Wendy Davis’ filibuster against the 20-weeks Post-Fertilization prohibition in Subchapter C. If people had ears to hear, instead of their preconceived ideas, they would have heard Wendy herself say that the 20-week restriction was the least of the problems with the law. In fact, in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “She has said she would have backed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy if parts of the law had been different.”
This list above is only a few of the flaws. Again: The severability clause in Sec. 171.048 provides that if any part of the law is found to be unconstitutional by the federal court, all other portions of the law remains in effect. And if the court “declines to impose the saving construction described by this subsection, the Supreme Court of Texas shall provide an authoritative construction of the objectionable statutory provisions that avoids the constitutional problems while enforcing the statute's restrictions to the maximum possible extent.” In other words, if any part of the law is deemed unconstitutional by some lawsuit, the state of Texas will fix the discrepancy itself, no thanks to any outside interference from the courts and the federal government. Nothing changes in the intent of the law.
The 2003 law originally provided for the publication and distribution of information “designed to inform the pregnant woman of public and private agencies and services that “are available to assist a woman through pregnancy, childbirth, and the child’s dependency”, according to Sec. 171.015(1) (A). This indexed list would have included agencies like Planned Parenthood which provided a full range of healthcare services for poor women, including cancer screening, mammograms, and counseling, besides making medical referrals for abortions. But the 2010 amendment narrowed the list to only adoption agencies and excluded all agencies that made referrals for abortion, no matter how medically necessary- See Sec. 171.015(1) (B-C). Moreover, in anticipation of future mass closings of Planned Parenthood facilities, the law provided certain waivers for expectant mothers who had to travel more than 100 miles to receive the same medical services that they previously had been receiving at their neighborhood clinics.
No, Texas does not prohibit abortions as many outsiders think. Instead, it concentrates abortion-related services into the hands of fewer medical practices, in certain geographical areas of the state, and only for those who can afford to travel back and forth over a great distances to receive it.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Our prayers go out Erick Muñoz for the healing of his family, now that he can finally lay his wife to rest. Of course, it may be of little consequence the court ruling gave him no comfort, only relief.
It is tragedy enough to lose a wife and an unborn child. But this tragedy is compounded by people like the Texas Alliance for Life in Austin who issued a statement saying it was saddened by the judge’s order to take Marlise Muñoz off life support:
“The decision fails to recognize the interests of the unborn child, who is a separate patient,” the statement said. “We believe the intent of the legislature, as expressed numerous places in Texas law, is to protect the lives of unborn children to the greatest extent possible.”
There is something missing here between the ears called common sense. What did they expect? Did they imagine that a female corpse, after 2 months into rigor mortis, to carry a 22-week old fetus to term, while it is already in the process of mutating? Mr. Muñoz only mentioned his heart sickness having to endure the stench of his wife’s rotting flesh, while on hospital visits. As she mortifies, the fetus deteriorates. But had the Texas Alliance for Life had its way, this could have gone on for seven more months.
We forget that God made us, and not we ourselves (Psalms 100:3). Who would overrule God to create life where there is no life? No matter our fortunate journey from sperm to worm, until God breathes into us the breath of life, we cannot become a living soul (Genesis 2:7). The body is not the spirit, and without the spirit the body is dead. And the dead cannot raise the living. And a dead womb cannot bring forth life.
Marlise Muñoz is decaying. In a short while, her remains will turn to dust and skeleton, and only her memory remains. Who, then, can raise the dust to life? Or bring life up out of the dust? Can a dead Egyptian mommy give birth simply because their embalmed bodies are preserved?
What is disturbing is those who would preserve life do very little to support it. Otherwise, we would pave the way for the next generation of healthy babies, and reduce the infant mortality rate. Would these same people fight for life, with the same zeal as they fight for the right to life? Would they fight for adequate health care and food, as hard as they fight for a dead woman to give birth?
When Job cried out, “Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light? (Job 3:16)”, he makes us realize that if it is the will of God, then a child is born. If not, the unborn remains as an infant “who never saw the light”.