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As a physician who provides abortion care I have engaged in on-again-off-again email correspondence with a number of high-profile anti-abortion figures over the years. One of these is Fr. Frank Pavone (National Director, Priests for Life; President, National Pro-life Religious Council; Pastoral Director, Rachel's Vineyard; and Founder and Moderator General, Missionaries of the Gospel of Life). The day after Bush's reelection in 2004, he sent me the following terse message: "This election is my gift to you and all other abortionists." Last Wednesday November 5, 2008) I returned the favor with: "This election is my gift to you and all the other lying, twisted freaks."

Following is my reply to the reply I received from him, his email segmented into blockquotes with interspersed replies from me:

Your reaction gives me great material whenever anyone thinks Obama is "pro-life" or thinks the election doesn't have anything to do with abortion.

Oh, how wonderful, Frank!  I would never want anyone to think Obama is "pro-life," and I appreciate your efforts in correcting that misconception wherever it exists. I also do all I can to spread that correction, and I am proud to have been of some assistance to you in that noble effort. He is far better, far too honest and thoughtful, far too grounded in reality, far too caring, far too well-informed, even far too sane I would say, to believe the distortions of truth and reason that you and your ilk so zealously trumpet. I was also very pleased that every anti-abortion initiative in the country was voted down yesterday, emphasizing again how out-of-touch with reality you are in stating, "Too bad the election or those elected can't convince the American people that you're right on the issue."

From my reading of the election results I can only conclude that what polls have shown for many years is still true – that the American people don’t need any convincing of that - despite the fierce, massive efforts of you and your ilk to brainwash them with all your inflammatory lies and distortions of reality and truth into line with your flawed ideology in order to dominate, control, and punish them. You’re really missing the boat, Frank. Big-time. Are you guys required to renounce truth and reason as well as sex and marriage? (That’s a rhetorical question; I already know you are.)

But, Frank, really! It is not about who is "right," what is "right," or even what "right" is. No one knows who is "right," and what is "right" is swirling in irreconcilable controversy. It is about human rights and the freedom of individuals to make serious decisions for themselves about themselves, their own bodies and lives, and their families. A zygote is not objectively a "baby," no matter how stridently you assert that it is, based upon your religious ideology, and the price in human suffering and death is far too great to allow your fierce prejudice to take on the force of law.

Sadly, I'm not surprised that you are so completely impervious to the dramatic and joyous affirmation of freedom, the prospect of positive and constructive change, freedom, justice, and life that we Americans and the whole world witnessed and exalted in last night. The extremes of your devout rejection of compassion, your callousness and merciless, punitive sadism, have long-since failed to surprise me, although I remain just as repulsed by it as always, and I am delighted to see that you place "pro-life" in quotes as do I. However (sigh), I do that to emphasize the hypocritical and misguided nature of that name, while I realize that you actually believe it (unless you are an even bigger liar than even I believe) and will not even consider that you might be wrong about it. (I don’t pretend, as you do, to absolute certainty – but then neither am I striving to force my beliefs upon everyone – not even upon anyone.)

Face it, Frank. You are roughly 500+ years behind times in your rejection of human enlightenment, as if channeling the murderous spirit of that exemplary, historic defender of the Catholic faith, Tomás de Torquemada, and mislabeling it "pro-life." Just as many Americans would be wishing they could move to  Canada , or somewhere else, had McCain/Palin won the election, you must dream of a time-machine that could transport you to 16th century Europe to head up "Priests for the Holy Inquisition."


Yes! Doesn't that just titillate you? Tell the truth now, Frank. You'd just love to stick a Bic to the kindling at my stake wouldn't you? Sure you would - but, of course, only after mercilessly torturing me - you know, like far worse than even in Mr. Bush's Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

Too bad the election or those elected can't convince the American people
that you're right on the issue.

Commented on above.

Thanks for the good example the last eight years of how to trash what you think is an idiot, dangerous president.

That should be "who," Frank, not "what," but grammar and syntax are off-topic.

You’re welcome. However, the hard evidence (the reality of which you live your sorry life in denial) is just overwhelming that the president to whom you refer is in fact a dangerous, murderous idiot – the same specie of fanatical ideologue (or power-mad pathological liar; I’m never quite sure) as you, so it’s only to be expected that you, in the exercise of your own exquisite narcissism, would be blinded to that reality to the extent of admiring him as much as you do your pompous, self-righteous self.

I've learned well from you, and the lessons will come in handy each day. You'll regret you copied me on your emails.

LOL. Oh, please! Is this a threat? Should I forward it to the FBI?

The election is actually not your gift to me. It's going to be mine to you and every other child-killer. Go on, now, don't let me keep you from
ripping the next set of arms and legs off a child -- or are you still deceiving yourself about what abortion is? Obama makes great company for
that, does he not?

Oh, Frank, at least try to make sense.

Please avail me of your priestly counsel, Frank. Which is the "gift from God," the "child" in your ideological rigidity, that originated from the same "miracle" of conception (recombination of DNA in a supportive environment) as the others – and which is morally expendable in the following examples?

(Here I included pictures of amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammalian embryos that look almost identical. I don't know how to post pictures here and don't have the time to learn how right now.)

A reminder, Frank:

What "pro-life" in your usage means follows (in addition to Bush’s illegal wars of aggression that have directly caused egregious displacement, suffering and death to millions worldwide (I’ve never seen hide nor hair of it, but, in fairness, do you have an argument of substance against this?):

The World Health Organization has estimated that in those parts of the world in which abortion is illegal, about 70,000 thinking, feeling, often desperate women and teenage girls die every year from illegal attempts to abort unwanted pregnancies. That is more than one every 10 minutes DEAD because they are prohibited by law from accessing a reputable legal clinic for safe, legal, professional abortion care. Many times that number are seriously injured and maimed for life.

In addition, every minute, night and day, no holidays or weekends off, around the world
• one woman dies of complications of pregnancy and childbirth (every minute),
• ten teenage girls undergo unsafe illegal abortions (every minute),
• thirteen infants under twelve months old die (every minute),
• fifty seven people contract an STD (every minute),
• eleven people are infected with HIV (every minute),
• and the already-burgeoned-beyond-the-planet's-capacity-to-sustain human population increases by one hundred fifty more people (every minute),  
all sanctioned, encouraged, and even enforced by our callous right-wing-dominated government through international interference with and withholding of funding from worldwide reproductive health and sex education programs, all with the vigorous support and reinforcement of the Roman Catholic Church.

Let's not forget the women brutalized and incarcerated by law enforcement in those countries in which the Roman Catholic Church has pushed for and won the criminalization of abortion and achieved that mercilessly cruel piece of "God's will on Earth be done." In countries such as Chile and El Salvador women having not only induced abortions, but spontaneous abortions (miscarriages), are routinely subjected to police investigations and interrogation, arrested, and incarcerated. Many women having natural miscarriages are so afraid of such persecution and prosecution that they avoid seeking medical care in such situations, and some (many I would think) die.  

That is what so-called "pro-life" voters and politicians stand for, and they won't stop until they succeed in creating conditions in this country mirroring those in the Third World and in Chile and El Salvador in my examples above. Or until we stop them at the polls.

Does anyone really not see an unbroken continuation of the Holy Inquisition in such barbaric atrocities?

As with that famous rose, an Inquisition by any other name - or a prettier name - or no name at all - is still an Inquisition.

BTW, have you ever turned the other cheek, Frank? I will never turn my other cheek to those, like you, responsible for the pitiless oppression, persecution, maiming, and DEATH of multitudes of women and teenage girls.

I can understand the psychology of your merciless cruelty, but I can never condone nor forgive it.

Originally posted to Beket on Sat Nov 08, 2008 at 09:51 AM PST.

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