If you’re like me, you’ve enjoyed more than a few TED talks either in person or online. The subjects are widespread, the speakers smart, the content effective.
Last week, the organization came under fire when pro-choice writer Jessica Valenti criticized them for not featuring a TED talk on the subject of abortion. TED has created a feminist-leaning TEDWomen conference and Valenti noticed the controversial issue wasn’t mentioned.
According to an email she received from their headquarters, ED content director and TEDWomen co-host Kelly Stoetzel emailed, “We tend to focus on wider issues of justice, inequality and human rights.”
TED has since backtracked on the comment – but in fact, have not had any talks on the issue of abortion (pro or con) — so the point is still relevant.
And I’m with Valenti on this one — astonished they wouldn’t consider abortion an issue of justice, inequality or human rights.
Yet, our reasons for outrage are not the same. (From Valenti:”In the last three years, the United States has seen more abortion restrictions enacted than in the entire previous decade; the United Nations has classified the lack of access to abortion as torture.”)
Here’s where I stand:
The United Nations estimates that up to 200 million girls are “missing” in the world today due to forced abortion of baby girls in predominantly Asian countries. You can learn more about this devastating genocide in the documentary, “It’s A Girl.”
People are risking their own lives to stop the murder of baby girls in these countries and yet TED would rather discuss psychic fraud, invisible turntables and mathemagic?
According to a grand jury report about abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell, “This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women…What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors.”
Recently, a new video was released of a Planned Parenthood doctor informing a young woman about what to expect with her late-term abortion at 23 weeks. She’s told the baby she’s carrying is 8-inches from head to buttocks, a beating heart, fingers toes and can make spontaneous movements. The doctor tells the young woman that the fetus “doesn’t even look like a baby.” Immediately, the screen flashes to a preemie born at 24 weeks:
After this conversation, she’s told by a counselor that “sometimes” the baby comes out alive but “they usually stop on their own. They will not be resuscitated, she’s told. The counselor continues, reassuring the girl:
“The chances of it coming out with a heartbeat are kind of slim because, like I said, it’s procedure where they use suction and instruments and most of the time they don’t come out whole.”
This is legal in the United States of America and TED doesn’t think abortion is a “human rights” issue? Jessica Valenti doesn’t actually think it’s a “human rights” issue either. What about “equality” for the future women of this country? For the women not fully developed but full of potential?
Justice: “Just behavior or treatment: a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people.”
Human Rights: “Rights (as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons.”
Equality: “The quality or state of being equal : the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.”
All of the examples above (and countless more) fit the subject matter of justice, human rights and equality.
In response to Valenti, TED’s blog insists they believe that “abortion and reproductive care are core issues of social justice and human rights.”
Did TED cave to the pr0-abortion rhetoric in one day — with only one piece published at The Nation? Did they even consider that over half the country oppose all or most abortions? The country is becoming more pro-life every day.
TED’s statement doesn’t clarify what part of the abortion debate they consider “social justice and human rights” but it would seem they were only trying to appease a ticked off writer with a large audience.
Either way, TED should recognize that reproductive care and abortion are two distinctly separate things. Abortion — as quoted by the Planned Parenthood doctor above — is “demise,” also know as “death.” Reproductive care, including birth control and pregnancy care, are important issues world wide but in a completely different way than abortion.
Let’s hope when TED begins to have these discussions on their stage, they include those who are passionate about saving the lives of babies too.