Pregnancy: A Game About Abortion

What follows is a column I wrote for a technology magazine. I’ve written the same column since about 1996, and it was the first ever rejected. It was also the second to last column I wrote. They didn’t say they were dropping me because of it, and I didn’t press the issue because, honestly, the new editor was a jerk about it (he didn’t even bother telling me I was fired: I had to find out by accident) and I wasn’t interested in continuing any longer. But, as they say in politics, the timing was suspect. 

I’ve left this column as I wrote it so you can see how very mild and balanced it was, with a tone chosen to get a message across to a secular (potentially hostile) audience. I’ve certainly covered political and controversial issues in the same place before, and my previous editors at the magazine liked me to stir things up because it got people engaged. It was not out line considering what I’ve done in the past. I even cued the controversy in the column assuming my editors would back me, just to acknowledge that the subject was more challenging than others I’d tackled, but we’re grownup and can talk about grownup things.

Apparently not.

The game itself was gibberish: moral relativism encapsulated in interactive form. But that wasn’t the issue I was tackling here, because frankly that issue would have been inappropriate for that audience. Although I may be an opinionated so-and-so, I’m also professional with 25 years experience. I don’t pitch pieces about video cards to a Catholic newspaper and I don’t do moral theology for a computer magazine.

What I wanted to get across was that interactive media can tackle serious issues in a personal, potentially powerful way. Pregnancy is not a good example of it. It’s overwrought, morally confused, and poorly constructed. Really, it’s pretty much junk. However, the creator took a chance and made something personal in an unexpected medium, and that deserved some recognition. 

Games as Moral and Political Dialog

Let’s get political for the next five minutes.preg3

I am pro-life, and comprehensively so. I believe that America’s drone war is monstrous, capital punishment is immoral, “enhanced interrogation” is a disgusting euphemism for barbaric acts of torture, and killing another human being is murder, whether or not that human being is inside a mother’s womb or out.

Most people who would agree with the first three things I just wrote would not agree with the last, and many who believe passionately in the last would not accept the first three.

The issues are so fraught and polarizing that I had doubts that Maximum PC would even run this column. We can’t really talk to each other any more: we just kind of talk past each other, conditioned by a poisonous media/political environment that can only grasp binaries and not subtleties, and makes ideology, rather than our shared humanity, the polestar for all controversy.

That’s why I found reactions to a little game called “Pregnancy” kind of fascinating. It’s on Steam for $2, and is a lightly interactive short-story with minimal graphics and a playing time of about 15 minutes.

This is just the kind of game I wrote about in the March issue: small titles that are as personal as a blog post, and take about as long to experience. They use the medium of “games” (very broadly defined) for purposes of personal expression and to explore ideas in a new way.

As a game, “Pregnancy” isn’t particularly good, with bland visuals, some wobbly dialog, and a description of a rape that’s too graphic for the context. You play as the conscience of a 14-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated, experiencing her thoughts and experiences as she wrestles with what to do. You can encourage her in one way or another, but for some really bizarre reason she always chooses the opposite of your council. Tell her about her strength and the preciousness of life, and she has an abortion. Tell her everything is going to be awful and she keeps the baby. The final screen provides an equal number of resources for exploring both the pro-life and the pro-abortion side. The idea is to show that whatever we believe or argue, individuals will make their own choices for their own reasons, but it was a bit of a muddle in the end.

The reactions of some gamers are more interesting than the game itself. I read comments from people offended that the choice was even being offered since OBVIOUSLY you would [insert what commenter thinks you should do here], thus missing the point of making this experience interactive. I also found people angry that a trivial medium like a “game” would be used for such an important issue.

But, of course, that’s exactly what small games should be doing: using new media to discuss fraught issues. I doubt it will change people’s minds in the long run, but using the game format to speak to controversy in a fresh way is exactly what indie developers should be doing.


White Liberal Talking Head Says Something Incredibly Dumb

Must be a day that ends in a Y.


Sally Kohn is some kind of CNN host, I guess. (I don’t have cable, so I’m going by the first couple inches of a Google search, which is as much as I care about Sally Kohn.) I assume she’s just another Sean Hannity: people paid to say provocatively stupid things in order to attract viewers so their corporate masters can sell more deodorant and cars.

I tend to think people who get their own shows are not stupid, which means she must be aware that Planned Parenthood was founded by an actual, no-kidding, honest-to-God white supremacist who jumped at the chance to speak with the ladies of the KKK.

I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak … In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.

Planned Parenthood found Margaret Sanger

I scanned down her Twitter feed a little and saw #BlackLivesMatter posts. Sure, Sally: #BlackLivesMatter #UnlessTheyreIntheWomb.

We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger

Where’s the most dangerous place to be a black person? Not Texas or Mississippi, but inside the womb and anywhere near a Planned Parenthood clinic, which are built overwhelmingly in minority neighborhoods and abort a disproportionate amount of minority children.

Planned Parenthood is a lumbering monster that continues doing just what its founder created it to do: exterminate brown people and other people who were dragging down the Master Race.

Organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease…Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks [of people] that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant.

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger

By the way, she also proposed eugenicist policies to eliminate the mentally ill or developmentally challenged from the pool of “breeders.” She called people such as my son and myself (along with Jews, blacks, immigrants, and the poor) “human weeds.”

“[Charity] conceals a stupid cruelty, because it is not courageous enough to face unpleasant facts. Aside from the question of the unfitness of many women to become mothers, aside from the very definite deterioration in the human stock that such programs would inevitably hasten, we may question its value even to the normal though unfortunate mother. For it is never the intention of such philanthropy to give the poor over-burdened and often undernourished mother of the slum the opportunity to make the choice herself, to decide whether she wishes time after time to bring children into the world. It merely says ‘Increase and multiply: We are prepared to help you do this.’ Whereas the great majority of mothers realize the grave responsibility they face in keeping alive and rearing the children they have already brought into the world, the maternity center would teach them how to have more. The poor woman is taught how to have her seventh child, when what she wants to know is how to avoid bringing into the world her eighth. … Such philanthropy, as Dean Inge has so unanswerably pointed out, is kind only to be cruel, and unwittingly promotes precisely the results most deprecated. It encourages the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant.”

Planned Parenthood found Margaret Sanger


Margaret Sanger was a monster. By her own eugenicist logic, her “offspring” (Planned Parenthood) must be imprinted with the evil and defective traits of the parent. The most merciful thing society could do is shut it down.

By the way, the group behind the Planned Parenthood videos released uncut footage at the same time as the edited version, so Miss Kohn is also a liar.

Our Ongoing Holocaust

By most estimates, the death toll since Roe v. Wade is closing in on 60 million human beings. I was never indifferent to the slaughter of the unborn, but I was at one time “pro-choice” because I didn’t believe it was “right” or “practical” to ban abortion. In time, I realized what a facile dodge that was. If people are being murdered, you don’t just shrug and say “Well, I can’t impose my views against murder on their executioners”: you stop the killing.

Leonardo da Vinci: "Views of a Foetus in the Womb." Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Leonardo da Vinci: “Views of a Foetus in the Womb.”

In our history, the depths of our crimes have always been evident to some while they were being committed, whether it was herding Indians onto reservations to die or enslaving a captive people. Each was made possible by denying the humanity of a group of people.

The humanity of an unborn child is self-evident. It’s not in a state of becoming human. It is fully human because all that he or she shall be already exists in pure potentiality, and is already becoming actual. The pages of the book of life are bound, and the text begun, at the moment of conception. Life–this wholly improbable miracle, this staggering power–has been unleashed.

You can’t unmake a person. You can only deny that a person is a person, and then kill him or her.

Please don’t ever deceive yourself about that lie, or reduce this to some gibberish about “women’s health.” (“Health of the mother” accounts for fewer than 3% of abortions.) Pregnancy is not an illness. It’s a wholly predictable and widely understood result of sex. It’s what sex does. The pro-life movement is not denying a woman a “right” because there is no such right in natural, common, or constitutional law: just a sleight of hand by a Supreme Court acting way beyond its mandate.

Today, people will March for Life, as they have for the past 42 years. And, as always, the media will ignore them. If 400,000 people can show up in Washington to protest something and the popular press collectively yawns, then it’s up to the alternative media to make sure those voices are heard.

Although I can’t be there today, I’m one of those voices. My name’s Thomas L. McDonald: I’m a husband, father, writer, editor, teacher, student, and American. And I am pro-life.

United by Cruelty: Carthage and America

Ancient tales tell of how Carthaginians sacrificed their own children to obtain favors from the gods. Historians dismissed these accounts as mere propaganda, but recent interpretations of the archaeological record suggest the stories were true.

As the archaeologists and historians relate their theories in this story from the Guardian, it’s clear that none of them makes the connection between children killed to bring parents good fortune, and the ongoing industrial scale slaughter of children in the modern world.

“…when you pull together all the evidence – archaeological, epigraphic and literary – it is overwhelming and, we believe, conclusive: they did kill their children, and on the evidence of the inscriptions, not just as an offering for future favours but fulfilling a promise that had already been made.

“The inscriptions are unequivocal: time and again we find the explanation that the gods ‘heard my voice and blessed me’. It cannot be that so many children conveniently happened to die at just the right time to become an offering – and in any case a poorly or dead child would make a pretty feeble offering if you’re already worried about the gods rejecting it.”

Thus far the hard evidence suggests these sacrifices were limited to perhaps a couple dozen a year, and were offered for good fortune. Period accounts, however, suggests a larger scale of sacrifice.

As people gather in DC today for the March for Life (the largest annual protest, and the least covered), our body count puts the Carthaginians to shame.

Here in America, the slaughter of our children enters its fourth decade with over 50 million dead, sacrificed not on an altar to the gods for good fortune, but on the altar of convenience to maintain our disposable culture of death.

Thus, when one of the researchers says this…

“The feeling that some ultimate taboo is being broken is very strong. It was striking how often colleagues, when they asked what I was working on, reacted in horror and said, ‘Oh no, that’s simply not possible, you must have got it wrong.'”

“We like to think that we’re quite close to the ancient world, that they were really just like us – the truth is, I’m afraid, that they really weren’t.”

… you have to marvel at the blindness. What the hell are we doing every day if not sacrificing our children? I can drive five miles to a place where women are offering their unborn children up for murder at the hands of strangers. That’s what abortion is: the murder of a helpless innocent to “improve” the life of the parent. It’s not that we’re that different from the Carthaginians, it’s that we are far, far worse.

Carthago delenda est was the way Cato the Elder ended his speeches: “Carthage must be destroyed.” Now we have a hundred Carthages spread across the world, each proclaiming the right to mutilate women and kill unborn children. What else is it if not a sacrifice to our own modern gods: convenience, money, abundant consequence-free sex, and selfishness?

Carthage? When it comes to evil, they were amateurs.

Originally published 1 year ago today.

Amazon Is Selling Abortifacients

Amazon is now selling the abortion drug Plan B. Take a look:

The reviews are a glimpse into the depths of a morally ruined nation.

I would say that “It’s not a baby if I don’t think it’s a baby” is merely an example of the magical thinking you find in children, except children, when you explain exactly what abortion is, are uniformly horrified by it. When I first told my kids, in the most euphemistic way possible, what abortion was, both of them were dumbstruck. “Who would do that?” they asked. My son called it “monstrous.” My daughter refused to believe at first that a mother could destroy a growing, unborn life. It runs counter the very essence of humanity, and it requires a radical amount of self-delusion to maintain the view that abortion is okay.

Plan B is now only a click away to anyone in the country, although whether or not it will arrive in time to be “useful” (defined as the drug defines “useful,” that is: snuffing out a unique human life) is up for debate.

Moving this dangerous drug to over-the-counter sales was one of the most crassly political decisions in recent times, showing a complete elevation of political calculus and zealotry over the health risks to women. Amazon’s participation in this is deeply disturbing. I rarely support boycotts, so I’m not sure what a proper response to this will be, but simply speaking up is a start.

Welcome to the Culture of Death, now conveniently delivered to your front door. They’ve monetized murder.

When Spider-Man Worked for Planned Parenthood

Yes, this really happened. Retronaut has found a special issue of Spiderman done in a collaboration between Marvel and Planned Parenthood. The art is by Marvel vets Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, but the writing is by Ann Robinson, who had a brief tenure as a Marvel executive, and no other known writing credits, for reasons that will be obvious.

The plot–and oh how I wish I was making this up–is about an alien called The Prodigy from the planet Intellectia. His voice can persuade people to do anything, and he’s using it to convince teenagers that sex doesn’t lead to pregnancy, and even if it does babies are great. He wants them to have lots and lots of human babies so he can take them back to his planet to serve as child labor.

You probably think I’m kidding, so…

Oddly enough, The Prodigy and Planned Parenthood both want kids to have plenty of consequence-free sex.

Spidey ain’t buying this jive:

Also: Spidey hates children. This is kind of … dark:

He makes quick work of the villain:

He spurts webbing into his mouth to shut him up:

… let’s just move along  …

Finally, he gets on with business of telling kids about sex…

…and, of course, where to go for “help.”

Because it’s not disturbing at all to have a beloved childhood hero pimping birth control.

And make sure you pick up their other fine publications:

Compared to the “Fisting is teh Awesomes!” stuff they churn out now, this is fairly benign, but it shows how PP has been snaking its way into popular culture and children’s lives for decades.

Exit question: Platform shoes–time for a comeback?


Just How Wicked Are Pro-Abort Propagandists?

This wicked:

The headline of the piece dials back on the click-bait propaganda of the document title:

The story itself is important, with profound ethical implications, albeit implications that have been discussed and analyzed for years. When valuable research is produced as the result of grave evil, how are subsequent generations to make use of that research? In this case, the subject is anatomical research derived from the torture, murder, and dissection of Holocaust victims.

The article is interesting and generally well-written. Midway through, however, the writer veers into grotesque territory by trying to hang this albatross around the necks of modern conservatives and pro-life advocates:

[Dr. Hermann] Stieve drew two conclusions that continue to be cited (for the most part, uncritically). He figured out that the rhythm method doesn’t effectively prevent pregnancy. (He got the physiological details wrong but the conclusion right.) And he discovered that chronic stress—awaiting execution—affects the female reproductive system.

In August 2012, then–Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri said that women can prevent themselves from getting pregnant after a “legitimate rape.”

That’s right: the year-and-a-half-old story of idiot Todd Akin saying something stupid (whereupon he was promptly tossed under the bus by the GOP) becomes the “worst anti-abortion arguments” of “conservatives.”

Odd: before Akin, I’d never once heard this “argument,” despite being pro-life and covering pro-life issues for national newspapers for 6 years.

The gossamer thread connecting the statements of one former Republican pol to Nazi crimes against humanity becomes–magically!–the conservative position on abortion.

[As a minor aside, the writer also gets the so-called “rhythm method” and its efficacy wrong because, well … everybody knows it doesn’t work!]

When people support something so obviously, gravely evil as snuffing out an innocent human life, it warps their ability to reason clearly. The writer researched and wrote an important story, and then compromised it by wrapping the entire thing around a lie. The dead, treated as less then human, abused, experimented upon, killed by the Nazis, are resurrected only to be used again, this time to score cheap political points. Disgusting.

Please Ignore the Attention Whores

I’m feeling cranky. First, Geraldo unleashed an appalling nude selfie on the Twitterverse, and then we got this:

Yeah, I know. You’ve seen it already, and I’m a big fat hypocrite for reproducing it and then complaining about people who reproduce it, but I’m trying to make The Larger Point.

It’s Melissa Harris-Perry, a name I had never heard before she appeared in a video some months back extolling the virtues of confiscating children from their parents and turning them over to a collective for education and upbringing:

The simmering arrogance of that statement takes the breath away. If you pay very close attention to the clip, you can almost hear the sound of jackboots and smell the stench of the gulag, but with pretty microbraids!

In the picture above she is shown wearing tampon earrings as a protest against the confiscation of feminine hygiene products from women going into Texas State Legislature. Those products were not confiscated because the men were afraid of women or thought they could somehow thwart menstruation or something. Trust me, men think about menstruation as little as humanly possible.

They were confiscated because the protesters were smuggling in large quantities of them–along with jars full of urine and excrement–to throw at legislators in order to disrupt the democratic process. This was all in an effort to prevent abortion clinics from having to meet the same health and regulatory requirements as your run-of-the-mill ambulatory clinic. So, next time some pro-abort troll gives you their standard line about “safe, legal, and rare,” remind them that they fought for the right to make sure every Texas abortuary was safe … to be another Kermit Gosnell house of horrors.

And let’s pause for a moment to ponder the mentality of women who would crap in jars, stick it in their purses, and attempt to smuggle them into a historic building and seat of democracy in order to throw it upon another human being in order to thwart the vote of duly elected officials. There’s the abortion movement in a nutshell for you.

You know: the mentality that gives kids signs like this:

Okay, so the troll Harris-Petty dons tampon earrings in some sort of “protest” against this and in support of unlimited, unsanitary abortion-on-demand. Normally, when a little girl sticks tampons in her ears in a public place, she gets sent to the principal’s office and kept after school. MSNBC gives her a TV show.

High school kids often do weird and pointless stunts like this to gain attention. I once slipped into the upstairs hallway in my high-school and put condoms over all the doorknobs. My excuse is that I was 14 and an idiot looking to shock. Harris-Perry taught at Princeton for several years. She has no excuse.

Except, it worked: everyone wound up doing exactly as she wanted. This was the action of someone saying, “PAY ATTENTION TO ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I’M A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE! I’M MAKING A SOME POINT ABOUT SOMETHING [details to be filled in later.]”

It’s simply attention whoring. In the internet age, it’s link-bait. It’s a ready-made thought virus, sure to be shared by supporters (“Yay Melissa! You did … something!”) and foes (“Just LOOK at this ignorant tool!”) There is no downside to this kind of low-class behavior for either side: supporters get the thrill of shock, and foes get the thrill of outrage. And now I’ve heard about Melissa Harris-Perry twice instead of once.

Everyone wins … except the culture, which dies the death of a thousand little cuts that makes us more vulgar, less human.

We have rewarded her. I don’t know why we do this. We don’t need to react, but we do react, just like dogs drooling for the dinner bell. In contrast to what leftists like to think, conservatives are not, in fact, “reactionary.”

No one needs to know what goes on at MSNBC or on Rush Limbaugh or react to the outrage-du-jour. It’s all irrelevant. It vanishes into the ether, leaving only the smell of sizzling ozone as it goes, while we move to the next outrage, becoming complicit in a self-sustaining media-outrage cycle.

These aren’t skirmish in a culture-war with a victory in sight. This is World War I trench combat: a fixed line that wavers and consumes casualties and never moves.

We can rob the attention whores and the media industrial complex of some of their power by simply ignoring it. MSNBC gets more attention from enemies than supporters. We have more readers at Patheos Catholic than Harris-Perry has viewers.

I remember when Shoutin’ Bill Donohue mailed around hundreds of copies of an offensive image of the Blessed Mother in order to gin up outrage at the creator. Hardly anyone had seen the original image. Once Shoutin’ Bill was done, thousands had seen it. If our goal is to protect and defend the image of Mary, how is this a win?

The world is full of wonder, and Melissa Harris-Perry and her juvenile shock tactics or Geraldo and his exhibitionism aren’t worth your time. In a world in which you have not, for example, read this:

…or seen this…

“Golden Light” by John Atkinson Grimshaw

…or watched this …

…how can you justify spending even 5 seconds of your finite time on this glorious earth paying attention to talking heads hungry for attention to feed their own malignant narcissism?

Just say no.

PS: “Attention whore” is a gender neutral term, but I considered using something else because people will say, “You called her a whore!”

No, I didn’t.  Do note: Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olberman, and Bill O’Reilly are also attention whores. They are all people who desire attention at all costs, and will do anything to gain that attention. Our entire celebrity culture is wall-to-wall with attention whores, male and female.

“This Is Abortion”

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia reacts to the Gosnell verdict with some pointed reminders:

The trial of Kermit Gosnell is over. His convictions will surprise very few. But nothing can bring back the innocent children he killed, or make up for the vulnerable women he exploited. We should keep the repugnance of his clinic conditions sharp in our memories, and we should remember the media’s inadequacy in covering his case, because Kermit Gosnell is not an exception. Others just like him run abortion mills throughout our country.

We need to stop cloaking the ugliness of abortion with misnomers like “proper medical coverage” or “choice.” It’s violence of the most intimate sort, and it needs to end.

To quote Jack McMahon, Gosnell’s lawyer, “This is abortion.”

Indeed it is.

The demonic forces of Planned Parenthood and the rest of the pro-death lobby tried to spin the verdict as a win for “safe and legal” medical care for women, ignoring the plain fact that the difference between first degree murder and “a constitutional right” is a matter of inches and seconds.

The Right Hand of Satan put on their frowny faces so you knew they disapproved of Gosnell doing … something:

Karnamaya Mongar was indeed victimized by Gosnell and the merchants of death. But so were thousands of unborn and newborn children.

Oddly enough, they don’t rate a mention by Murder Inc. Funny, that.

These are the sorts of people who think the lesson of the Gosnell case was that doctors should have clean offices and equipment while committing vile acts of murder and mutilation on defenseless humans.

Meanwhile, serial killer LeRoy Carhart goes merrily on his way, continuing to kill not only children, but their mothers as well. (I guess I should, at this point, disclose that Carhart is a distant relative of mine.)

And, finally, we all owe a debt of gratitude to reporter JD Mullane, who stuck with this dehumanizing trial day in and day out to bring the truth to his readers. He was the first to report the verdict, and the person who exposed the media disinterest in the case. Kathryn Lopez did a good interview with him, including this observation:

LOPEZ: How did Pennsylvania ever let this happen?

MULLANE: Pa.’s ex-governor, Tom Ridge is, to me, Gosnell’s chief enabler. Ridge is a pro-choice Republican and it was his administration that decided to halt annual inspections of Pennsylvania’s abortion clinics. This happened because the Ridge administration felt shoddier clinics like Gosnell’s would be forced to close if inspectors from the state department of health came through and did their jobs. Closing clinics would create a “barrier” for women seeking abortions, and Ridge didn’t want that. Though Tom Ridge is a chatty guy, he has maintained radio silence on Gosnell. Now you know why.

Thanks, JD.

More: Gosnell is Not an Outlier, from Susan B. Anthony List.