STAND with Kelly and Niki Tshibaka

#18: Marjorie Dannenfelser

March 13, 2024 Kelly Tshibaka and Niki Tshibaka Episode 18
STAND with Kelly and Niki Tshibaka
#18: Marjorie Dannenfelser
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

When Marjorie Dannenfelser recounts the pivotal moment her perspective shifted from pro-choice to pro-life, it's clear this isn't just any conversion story. Our latest conversation with the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America takes us deep into the philosophical awakenings and personal encounters that drove Marjorie to become a champion for the unborn. Her story embodies the transformative power of self-reflection and the courage needed to follow one's convictions, even against the tide of popular opinion.


This thought-provoking discussion extends beyond Marjorie's journey, touching the heart of the pro-life movement with a compassionate approach to advocacy. It's about understanding the narratives that shape beliefs, engaging in respectful discourse, and standing firmly yet gracefully in one's truth. We share strategies for meaningful dialogue and explore the comprehensive nature of pro-life work that supports not just the unborn, but mothers in need as well, painting a picture of the movement as one rooted in deep care and responsibility.


The episode wraps with an eye-opening look at the historical parallels of dehumanization, from the Holocaust to slavery, and the critical lessons we must carry forward in our fight for human dignity. It's a powerful reminder that the battle for life is not just a political struggle but a timeless moral imperative. Join us for this compelling episode that is as enlightening as it is moving, challenging us to reflect on our own beliefs and the legacy we hope to leave.


You can support Marjorie and the pro-life movement at www.sbaprolife.org.


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Kelly Tshibaka:

Hello America and hello Alaska. Welcome to Stand a truth and dare show, where we boldly share the truth and then dare you to take a stand for it. I'm Kelly Tshibaka and I'm joined today, as always, by my husband and co-host, Niki Tshibaka. We would love for you to become a member of our community by joining our standouts and subscribing to our show on your favorite platform of choice or at the stand show on YouTube. Leave us a review this week and you could be entered to win a hydro flask sticker from Stand. Follow us on social media at Kelly for Alaska and remember you can always access more great episodes on our website, standshow. org. Share this episode to help equip and empower a friend to boldly stand up to life's challenges. One episode at a time. Let's welcome Marjorie Dannenfelser.

Kelly Tshibaka:

Credited as the woman who brought down Roe vs Wade, Marjorie is the president of Susan B Anthony Pro-Life America. It's the country's largest grassroots pro-life political organization. In the 2022 election cycle, SBA Pro-Life America reached millions of pro-life voters through its get out the vote communications. In 2020, their efforts helped elect the largest incoming class of pro-life congresswomen in history. Congratulations, Marjorie. Marjorie is the author of Life is Winning Inside the Fight for Unborn Children and their Mothers, which has ranked Amazon's number one new release in NGO policy. She served as the national co-chair of the Pro-Life Voices for Trump Coalition in his 2016 and 2020 campaigns, and she's been named to Politico's power list of 40 influential leaders for 2022 and Fox's rising political stars for 2023. I think, most remarkably, she's a mother of five children.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Kelly Tshibaka:

That should have gone at the top; what most qualifies you for taking a stand is parenting five kids, so we're happy to have you here.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Thank you, I'm so happy to join you. I've been a fan for a very long time. I'm very happy to be in your not your living room, but I'm assuming that these conversations are like your living room conversations, that's right.

Kelly Tshibaka:

We want to have just a great conversation with you today. We have some questions. If we take all of the time on one question, that's totally fine with us. So, Niki, why don't you hit it off? We've been talking about talking to Marjorie for a while. So, I know that you and I have had some questions. We've been kicking around.

Niki Tshibaka:

Yeah, welcome to Stand. It's great to meet you. I've been wondering about your past, because you used to be a pro-choice advocate and now you're leading the largest pro-life movement in the country. What happened? What caused you to change your views on abortion? I'm sure there's a story behind that.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Well, I went from being the smartest person on the planet in my self-estimation to having a modicum of humility. I'm still working on that move. But no, I think that move from as a young woman thinking that self-mastery and being the master of everything in my universe was the most important thing to becoming pro-life is a journey that I think a lot of women and men have been on in the last several decades. And those are some of the untold stories. We hear the difficulties, we hear the generational change that gives us pause very often. I'm 57. So I'm seeing the generational change a little bit more poignantly from being born in 1965 and seeing the changes through that time. But I'll just say this one thing so, yes, when I was young and I was very involved in politics, it was exciting and I was a free market libertarian, thought that the social issues were a burden on any Republican ever running and that the smart thing to do would be to embrace libertarianism, and only without the moral underpinning that many libertarians also embrace. And I went to Duke and I was a chairman of College Republicans. That was what I was very interested in doing and I totally set myself up for changing by freely expressing my views and I met people who were very smart, very informed, not judgmental, but gave me their best arguments. I went from being pre-med to being a philosophy major in that period of time, before I graduated, because I just kept getting in that urgency that that age feels is necessary to get all the questions answered. Now about for my whole life. I've got to answer these questions now.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

I moved from knowing everything to thinking. The questions that I have left set aside are the most important ones, and I could not get past the question what is that thing that is being taken out of a woman's body at that moment? If it's the moral equivalent of an appendix or an appendectomy, like in an appendectomy, then it's not a big deal and we are the stupidest movement that ever existed that we would get involved in somebody's health in such a way that we would say no, no appendectomies, no hysterectomies, nothing like that. But if this is an actual person with perhaps moral standing, just as we all have, then you better at least pause. And the pause was exactly what happened to me. I paused for long enough. I would have had an abortion and I even planned to have one when I thought I was pregnant. And a minute.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

The pause is what happened to me, and I believe the pause to really self-reflect and be allowed into a conversation and, ultimately, for me, a spiritual conversation as well that tested the theory, my body, my choice, and when my mind changed, it was because of the something that I just could not argue against anymore. It was a matter of self-respect, like I can't even make this argument anymore. All these sophisticated things out there. I put them to the test and put other, smarter people to the test, and it just didn't make any sense anymore. So I changed and I really, as you might guess, I fell strong, I fell big, and when I knew that I had been so wrong, I used my skills that were medium in acuity to really start building the political arm of the pro-life movement, which I thought was the most important thing missing if we were going to overturn Roe versus Wade.

Niki Tshibaka:

I really appreciate that story and I think it's so interesting that back in the 70s, a lot of the argument was over the science, and now the science has proven that you have human life right from the moment of conception. It's nothing but a human being and it's alive. What's concerning to me now, as the argument has shifted from well, it's not really a conglomeration of cells, we can acknowledge that it's a human life. However, the choice of the mother still prevails and in some ways, I find that argument even more concerning than the justification was given before.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Yeah, I think it's the most dangerous argument that you can make. But the truth doesn't matter. Who speaks is what matters that you have to have some sort of standing given to you by who knows who to speak to anything, and that that somehow, when the argument of the day is, who gave you the authority to speak? It could be your gender. It could be, but it's not really even gender anymore.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Like Kelly, you and I and I think all of us here Like we get put in places where, involuntarily by others, that where we are told, because you're in this category of person, whether it's your faith, it's your gender, it's your political, who you voted for, your arguments do not matter.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

When you think about how we resolve issues in this country and we have on human rights battles since the beginning, given the tools that the founders gave us, without a king but with just ideas in the public square the most dangerous thing to that gift is that only certain people are able to speak because of the result of their opinion, because of the syllogism that ends Like you don't even look for the reasons, you just look for where they ended up, and that's why our universities are in such a total disaster.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

But one thing I'm just so emboldened by and so encouraged by is that the real people, the real families, the children of our country, before they get indoctrinated like they know the real people in real America, most of it really understands the basics of living the good life, understands first things, what comes first, and then politics does not come first and the politics of abortion only comes out of something that has nothing to do with politics, all to do with science. If you have faith, there are many reasons to be pro-life. But if you have faith, you know that there's only one way that God sent, that anyone is sent into the world to do the things that only each one of these children can do, and that is through the gift of the Holy Spirit. And for us to stand in the way of those children that were sent for specific purposes that no one else could fulfill, no one else will fulfill those purposes, means that we'll be stuck for a while Because they were sent to solve things that we can't solve.

Kelly Tshibaka:

We'll be right back in a few moments with Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B Anthony Pro-Life America. You can learn more and help them out at sbaprolife. org. During our break, feel free to make a donation and while we're on break, hit that subscribe button and leave a review to enter to win a sticker from Stand. Stand by. You're back on Stand with Niki and Kelly Tshibakaa. We've got Marjorie Dannenfelser with us. She's the president of Susan B Anthony Pro-Life America. You can find them at sbaprolife. org. For more episodes, look at our YouTube at the Stand Show.

Kelly Tshibaka:

All right, Marjorie, we're in the middle of a fantastic discussion and since the Dobbs decision, we're not the only ones having this discussion. It's like a lot of families, friends and colleagues are talking about abortion. So I wanted to ask you our show is kind of focused on equipping people to take a stand for what they believe. What are three arguments that you would suggest people could make if they're in a conversation about this, to be persuading their friends, family and colleagues to be pro-life? What would you suggest or like three persuasive things that they could say that could turn the conversation?

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Well, I don't know how many numbers I'll get to, but I'll tell you one thing. One is when people persuaded me to pause and think about what the position, the pro-choice position that I had was. They, number one, were very good listeners, and if you believe in the transcendence of truth generally, you're going to find that the more somebody who is speaking in falsehood or, basically, is saying or saying things that don't logically or emotionally or spiritually jive, the more they talk, the kind of more it starts to, it starts to unwind their own arguments. So I would say, number one, listen well, and when you're listening you do not have to contradict or counter every single thing that a person has said, but you can definitely listen to some seeds and sometimes it's just a heart predisposition. Maybe there's something that happened in their life, or a friend that they have, or something that who knows, if they themselves had an abortion, perhaps their mother, someone that is very close to them, it's very likely that they do know somebody, and so you're listening there, to the heart. So you know that it's not just a logical, philosophical argument about right and wrong, about is this a human being or not. It's also about the healing that needs to happen, sometimes generationally which includes friends, which includes friends who we consider family members in so many cases. And then I would say, since we went to three, that to provide a pathway to continue that this difficult conversation was difficult, you were given mercy, some points of justice that you perhaps read in there and then a way that that relationship continues.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

This is never just about an issue and winning a debate. It is almost always about a life lived and somebody who wants a life lived well and so to. And if you see it like that, that means you're probably going to have to put yourself in their shoes for a little while and then be as strong and that makes you the strongest advocate that you could possibly be, because you understand and then you can also persuade and then walk with that person in the future. Now, some of the people who argued against my position and did a beautiful job it was just like a point of light. They argued with me.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

I remember I was at the Heritage Foundation. There were people there at that time that were pro-life. There were people there that were pro-choice, libertarian, kind of like me. But I remember having these arguments and then moving on and they'll never know that they planted a seed in my mind and in my heart that didn't die, and so I would just say be happy with the seeds you plant, even if you never see the fruits, because they may be found in heaven if you didn't see them here on earth and maybe you asked me a question beyond that that I'm not really sure.

Kelly Tshibaka:

I know that answers it. A couple of things I just want to pull out that I think are important to note.

Kelly Tshibaka:

One of the things I hear you saying is people who are courageous enough to say something made a difference, even if they didn't know it, and sometimes it's a little bit scary to even say the truth because we don't know if we're going to offend, if we're going to mess it up, if we're going to get in trouble, if we're going to say it wrong, but what you're saying is a lot of these people along the way who you encountered, said things that made a difference. Another thing I hear you say, which I really respect about you, is once you see, you can't unsee. Once you saw the truth, you did something about it. My daughter saw something this weekend. She's nine, and so she told me I had to do something about it and I said no, you saw it.

Kelly Tshibaka:

You have to do something about it.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Well, what?

Kelly Tshibaka:

can I do? I said well, you're nine, do something Well.

Kelly Tshibaka:

I'm just a child and I said don't ever put just in front of you. I don't ever want to hear I'm just a, I'm just a woman, I'm just a child, I'm just a. If you saw it, you are now responsible and I love that. You were in college, you saw it and you started to do something about it. You didn't make excuses for how disempowered you are and in so doing, you have empowered so many people.

Kelly Tshibaka:

The third thing that I want to draw out about your approach, which you haven't mentioned, but I know this about you you don't just advocate for the lives of the pre-born, you also strongly advocate that we support mothers, because pro life is a 360 conversation.

Kelly Tshibaka:

If we're going to support life, we have to support the lives of the mothers too, and when you're in these conversations with mothers who are feeling vulnerable and afraid and considering abortion, they're not considering it for some of the reasons that we see splashed across headlines. They're considering it because they don't have support, they don't have the resources, they don't have what they need to raise a child. They're in a desperate situation and we have to support mothers if we want to support the lives that they're carrying. And one of the things I like about what you do in your organization is you support the lives of mothers, and I heard that in your answer just now. We have to be very compassionate and sympathetic to the people who are in the situation of having to make this decision and not to shame and bury in our conversations or in our times shown people who have made this decision whose minds could be changed if we just approach the conversation differently. I really appreciate that.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

So your daughter and you have just given me chills in the way you described her approach to a problem yours inspiring her as a mentor and mother, father as well, always there. I think you're going to say something. I didn't want to interrupt. You Don't go ahead. But yes, 100 percent yes.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Every single potential aborted child, someone sent into this world to do a job, solve a problem that only they could solve, who is in danger of it being aborted, has a mother with root cause issues that must be addressed. There's a reason that she is attracted to that abortion center door and they are not simple. They are not because she is just a bad human being, because she's. Every single woman is different and there are a range of reasons and we've studied them well that are practical reasons that we, I believe, are obligated to address, and one of the things that we've done over the past three and a half, four years, anticipating the overturn of Roe and a very different world that we hope we'll be living in that embraces life, is making sure that in every state that is ambitious for life, we have mapped out well every service to woman and child across the range of reasons that women generally identify or why they were attracted to that abortion center and that those places are known, that they're well networked, that there's an access point to her, that we're working closely with governors and with state legislators on the legislative side, but on the peer community side, where are those places?

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

You live in Georgia, up near the mountains, and there's a place that can help you with food a cycle of poverty when it comes to food. But what about? You want to get your GED and you're going to have to leave. So all of those things being connected and they all know about each other within a culture of life, and not giving her the abortion as the quote easy out is. Just to wrap up my thoughts, here is exactly how Susan B Anthony, the woman who gave women the entryway to being involved in politics in the first place, is how she thought about this that every woman and her child is inextricably linked. Their rights are completely impossible to separate and to give her an abortion as a quote solution to her problem is to invite repercussions throughout the culture that you will never identify and perhaps can't solve. So that's what we're about, right? You and me together, all of us. That's really good.

Niki Tshibaka:

I mean, I hear in that too. If you want to help people embrace the dignity and the sanctity of the life of a child and the womb, you have to begin by Honoring and embracing the dignity and the sanctity of the life of the person with whom you're Dialoguing to begin with yes so no, that's, that's great.

Niki Tshibaka:

I'd like to pivot, if we can, and we may have to continue this, this issue, on the other side of the break, but I want to at least tee up the question Since the dobs decision and for our audience. What the dobs decision did, was it overturned Roe v Wade? Not by Outline abortion, but by saying it was an. It wasn't a federal issue, was an issue that needed to be Decided state by state. So it kicked the issue back to the states and said use each state, decide for yourselves With the people in your legislatures how you want to regulate abortion, whether you prohibit it outright or If there's a certain point where you say Abortion is wrong. You know it's not gonna happen. So I'm gonna ask you a question about that, Marjorie, on the other side of this break.

Niki Tshibaka:

For now we're gonna pause, but we'll be right back with Marjorie Dannen felser. Support her work and the work of her organization at sba pro life. o Org. Take a moment to to look at that website, make a donation, subscribe to our podcast, stand with Kelly and Niki Tshibaka on YouTube. We're at at the stand show. Stand by, we'll see you. On the other side of the break. We are back with Marjorie Dannen felser. We're boldly sharing the truth and daring you to stand for it. Marjorie, just before the break I had asked you a question, or I was about to ask you a question about the, the the ramifications of the Dobbs decision, so I'd set it up for the audience. Dobbs decision overturned. Roe v Wade kicked it back to the States. My question is, now that that has happened, how has that changed the landscape and the strategy for Advancing the cause of life and protecting the lives of the unborn? How has that changed the strategy? What is that Effort look like now in the wake of Dobbs?

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

So it's the right question, because what you just described that was on June 24th at 10 10 in the morning For us it's never been the same. It's a revolution in a way, and I think that the lot, the Conversations coming out of that day, have proved that it is. It is forcing our Nations leaders and and our citizens to dig deep and think what, in a way that they never had to before. Well, let's just say the reason they never had to actually really think it through that much and vote according to their Position on this. They didn't have to, but they did. I'm just saying that it was theoretical before. If you and I, if you voted for a candidate that said I'm gonna make sure that that we Outlaw abortion or that we're gonna stop abortion after the first trimester, or at a heartbeat, the court would never have allowed it. The court, in their words, gave this back to the people to decide on our own in the court of public opinion. Make your best arguments and may the best argument win. It's what we're made of in America. It's what makes us great. It's not a king that decides this question. It's not a court that decides this question. It's the will of the people and that is why that is where pro-life strength is Now the abortion industry, nay Rao, planned Parenthood, who have owned this issue for so long because they they in 1973, when Rovers's way was established, they got every abortion without limit up and to the end there was almost nothing that you could do about about the abortion problem, about that death, until now. And so when the court Delivered their opinion, there was the main opinion and there was also a concurring opinion by Kavanaugh, and those opinions themselves said this thing that now it is up to you, in this deeply moral Issue of our day, just like other deeply moral issues of other days, that you will speak. You, the country, will speak through your elected Representatives, and decide what you think about this issue. They prescribed nothing, they just said you decide, and they made it very clear, along with Kavanaugh's opinion, that it would be the states and it would be the Congress, any and any legislature that is expressing the will of the people Through their own election. It is the appropriate place. So we're talking about states and we're talking about the Congress.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

The states immediately were moved to pass 25 ambitious pro-life protections, 25 states, half the nation. So on the state level, that was a beautiful thing they move fast. Governors did beautifully, legislatures were emboldened and and then immediately the left moved to try to challenge those and are challenging those laws. And then they are now with their Acumen and their money and their ability to win ballot initiatives, which they are uniquely prepared well to do, given the dynamics of of the pro-life movement versus the Pro-abortion movement, are Are very much threatening in nine states. The bills that were passed to protect human life in each of those states, starting with Ohio, going to Arizona, nebraska, florida, missouri and more, and so that is a very real threat. We could very well lose those states if we don't have our eye together. For the first time, susan B Anthony, pro-life America is making Ohio a Huge fight.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

We have not been involved in ballot initiatives is not a strength, you may have noticed, of the pro-life movement, because we're better at at Elections than we are at ballots. Given the strength of the media and the money on the other side, we need our own candidates communicating, like you, Kelly, so beautifully have, and it Overcomes some of the power on the other side. So we're deeply embroiled in that. All these ballot initiatives are, are are important in themselves because they were. It will either allow the will of the people to stand in those in those states or they will basically obliterate the will of the people to establish any law in their states on abortion, up and to the end.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

And now we look at the at the presidential race and we see that we have a Democratic Party that wants no limits. They have a federal bill that has been voted on over and over. Every Democrat has voted for this bill house and Senate. They're very willing and they have expressed their desire in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, to enact a law Oddly named Women's Health Protection Act. It is truly just an abortion, a full-term abortion bill that would wipe out every single law in the nation on Abortion.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

And they are not. They are not kidding, they are serious, and that's how they've responded to what they see as a right being taken away. If you think about it, it's like how, why the NRA is so powerful, why they have so many members, people trying to take their rights away, and so they have. They have a. They have had over the years a really great backlash. This is not a right, obviously, but it's perceived as a right on the abortion side, and so that right being perceived as taken away has galvanized the left, so that National level conversation and what presidential candidates say about what they think is a gift to us, right? If you contrast a 15 week or a 12 week limit with unlimited abortion on demand, you win that in the court of public opinion and among voters in battleground states every single time.

Kelly Tshibaka:

Well, as long as you're willing to communicate, yeah so in In 2022, when I was running for Senate as the pro-life candidate, I was saying that at a national level, after Dobbs, I would support a national ban at 15 weeks because that's when we've Scientifically proven that a fetus can feel pain and we have to balance the humanity of the child that's unborn with the health needs of a woman who's pregnant. And, like you said, you win the national conversation every time because Mothers out there, people understanding health issues and that there is something more than an appendix in there, go. That sounds reasonable and my opponent Literally introduced the bill post Dobbs to reinstate Roe versus Wade and, as you said, roe versus Wade allows abortions up to a child being born and she had supported and the Democrats have since reported even after a child is born. So because the intent was an abortion, even if the child is laying there is a separate patient on the delivery table, separate from its mother, all of the Democrats in the House representative voted that they should kill that child. That's what.

Kelly Tshibaka:

Roe versus Wade allows and that's what my opponent, the Republican Senator quote unquote Republican had voted for and introduced in Congress post-dobs. Some people would say that that's not a pro-life position, even though I am adamantly pro-life but you also at SBA Pro-life America had introduced that bill post Dobbs. Can you explain in just a couple minutes that we have left, why that is a pro-life position and why you are advocating for that post Dobbs?

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Yes. So in every congressional entity or in any legislative entity, our obligation is to be as ambitious as we can possibly be for life and still win. So we don't want to undercut, we don't want to overestimate, but we have to be for something that is not just a posture to wear a label that says you're pro-life, but something that you, that we think is a consensus that can't be ignored and that's happening in every state right now and it is happening in the Congress. The 15-week limit is, let's just say it, it is a complete concession, but it is a concession and a moment that includes a country that has legislators coming from California, illinois, new York, oklahoma, arkansas, all these places.

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

And so you want to be as strong as you can with a pathway to winning, so that you get some of those children that are standing on that railway line and there's a train coming. You get as many off as you can possibly get and you never leave one on because of the purity of having, of saying, nope, it's all of them, are none of them. No one would do that if they actually saw the deaths of children coming, and so that is why we would. That is why every human rights battle in our nation's history that has been successful has started with. Let's start with this much. Be as ambitious as we can, like Lincoln did and said we're going to get this much. And then that is a starting point. It is not, and we will not stop until the human rights of every child are affirmed, they are saved and every mother has been served.

Kelly Tshibaka:

That's a great way of explaining that. Thank you. I think that's also answers a question people have of. Well, how do Republicans win with a pro-life message? Pro-life and the pro-choice arguments don't have to be polarized, and I think often people run to these far extremes, and actually I think that it's more of a spectrum and I think you're right that building consensus around can we all just agree that if we have a 15-week ban that balances the needs of where everybody's at right now? And, like you said before, Niki, the science has caught up to the argument.

Kelly Tshibaka:

So, Marjorie, we really thank you for being on the show today. For people who don't know, SBA-- Susan B Anthony-- actually supports the pro-life candidates across the country who can really make a difference in what our policy is, and so please go check out what they're doing. sbaprolife. org, and as you heard, they're jumping into whole new territory now that this Dobbs decision has made the pro-life argument a state's argument. So they need help with ballot initiatives and they need help with funding and I'm sure they need help with volunteers. Now that you have seen, you can't unsee and you're responsible. So let's stand with Marjorie and sbaprolife. org, you can make a difference. Thanks for standing with us today. Make sure to hit that subscribe button on your favorite platform and you can enter to win a sticker by leaving a review this week. And stand firm, stand tall. We'll see you on the other side of this break for more. Thanks so much.

Niki Tshibaka:

Welcome back to Stand with Kelly and Niki Tshibaka. We just got done interviewing Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, and what an interview that was, Kelly.

Kelly Tshibaka:

Awesome interview.

Niki Tshibaka:

She was amazing. You know, one of the things that has really stuck with me in this whole conversation, debate, dialogue over abortion, is how I think we have failed to learn from history. Every time that a group of people has engaged in defining who is human, who isn't, or according greater status of human dignity for one human being over another, for whatever reason, it's ultimately resulted in discrimination, atrocities, even genocide. So we have it with what the Nazis did with the Jews they dehumanized them and that paved the way for what we saw with the concentration camps and all the evil transpired there and all the abuses and discrimination that occurred prior to all of that.

Niki Tshibaka:

We see that in our own nation's history with slavery, where blacks were considered not human, they were likened unto to beasts, as Frederick Douglass said to Lincoln in the Lincoln-Douglass debates. He said if it were between the crocodile and the white man, I'm for the black man. So the idea being that somehow the slaves are somewhere between an animal and a human being, but not quite a human being, and that justified their enslavement, the brutality, the abuse. And then, of course, we had the three-fifths compromise where, for purposes of law, we would consider each slave a three-fifths of a person not quite afforded the dignity of being fully human so as to justify the continued enslavement and oppression of them. And of course we have apartheid in South Africa, where blacks were treated essentially like no better than animals.

Kelly Tshibaka:

No, non-human.

Niki Tshibaka:

Yeah, exactly. And so anytime you engage in an argument that a person is less than human and therefore it justifies whatever I'm going to do to them that might be injurious or harmful, you are treading on very thin ice. And that's essentially what we've done with this issue of abortion is we've said the fetus isn't human or isn't as human or doesn't shouldn't have the same rights as the mother, because the mother's human rights prevail over the fetus's human rights. That's where we get into, I think, the issue that we see where it results in, frankly, the murder of human beings. So I think we have to have a lot more humility as it relates to that issue and how we talk about it.

Kelly Tshibaka:

Well she also mentioned she went through kind of a personal discovery of intellectual integrity, which isn't something that can be imposed on someone, but I really liked that she started asking the follow-up questions, which is a process of academic discovery or we go through that in business too almost like a SWAT analysis. What are the strengths of my argument? What are the weaknesses? One of the things that I hear you saying is it's kind of like the discussion that started, a national discussion which was asked in a Senate hearing what is a woman? And all of a sudden it's almost like everybody's minds went blank. Well, we don't know.

Kelly Tshibaka:

The question that you're asking is what is a human? And all these people seem to be pretending that they don't know. We don't know what is a human. What is a human All through history? What you're saying is, when we have misanswered that question, we have committed human rights atrocities and then we have deemed after the fact that was a human rights atrocity. We'd better to err on the side of thinking that things that are human are human, things that look human. So we have all kinds of academic discourse on this, about the other, something that is other than us. Rather than thinking of it different and dehumanizing it. We should humanize it. If we don't dignify the civil rights of people other than us, then nobody's civil rights are respected. That's just a basic civil rights principle. One question to start with is what is a human? The other question to start with that I thought was really interesting that Marjorie said is what is it If it is not an organ or an appendix or something that's already part of my body...

Marjorie Dannenfelser:

Kelly Tshibaka:

What is it? I think we actually agree on more than we disagree. So when I get into conversations with intellectually curious people on the spectrum from pro-life to pro-choice, not just angry people of political disposition one of the questions to ask is they'll say do you believe life begins at conception? And so, rather than answering it, I will ask do dead things grow? Simple question we all know this, we learned this in elementary school, and the answer is no, dead things don't grow. Okay, then we both agree that it is life because at conception it starts to grow. So it's not dead, whatever it is. As we begin that intellectually curious discussion, it is alive.

Kelly Tshibaka:

Something else that I thought was curious, that I discovered in my mom journey three of the it's were male. I am not male, so the thing living and growing in me that is alive is completely different than me. It's not just me, it's not my pancreas, my appendix, my stomach. It is something alive and different from me that has a life of its own that I cannot possibly create on my own. And so I really appreciate what you're saying, that we have to understand the dignity and respect. And there's something separate, the other thing that I think you picked up on that I'd like you to talk about further, because I know we had these discussions when we were in law school. I think it's really dangerous under the equal protection clause when you elevate one person's rights to have choice over everybody else's, when all of a sudden, the mother that's what she said. The most dangerous part of this debate right now is the mother has supreme choice.

Niki Tshibaka:

Well, that's when you're dealing with the equal protection clause and, not to get too technical, but I mean, at some point you're gonna have a hierarchy of rights on some level. However, in this particular case, it's essentially a might makes right argument, right, and Mars? We kind of alluded to that in the sense that she was saying, like, it's the people who have a voice who are being heard, but what about the silent, nascent child in the womb who has no voice? Well, because they have no voice or ability to defend or speak for themselves, they're not heard. Right, right, and so the people with a voice are the people who have the power, and we see that outside the context of the pro-life and abortion debate. We see that in any political issue, it's the people who have the strongest voices, the most influential voices, who usually ultimately win the day.

Kelly Tshibaka:

Well, one of the things that concerns me and feel free to answer this as a dad is the dad has no say in the parental rights of this child. But if the mom chooses to have the child, the dad has no say in having to pay for this child. And so there's this really interesting tension in the law of the pre-nine months responsibility and authority and decision-making power that the dad has, and then the 18 years that follows those nine months of the responsibility and authority and decision-making power that dad is responsible for but he has, at this point in time under our law, no say in what happens before, which I think is a really interesting paradox in what we would call family law and the equality of the parents in that choice.

Niki Tshibaka:

Yeah, I mean, I think that isn't an issue and a problem, but I also think, just as a man, I have to come from the perspective of why do women feel like they have to make that choice?

Kelly Tshibaka:

and be that position, because that's also fair.

Niki Tshibaka:

It's because, as men, we've failed or refused to live up to our responsibilities for that child yes, in the mother's womb and so I'm not saying that it's all men, but I'm saying that, culturally, that has become increasingly the case. I mean, a lot of the time it's the man who's advocating for the abortion, and not the woman, because he doesn't wanna take responsibility for the child.

Kelly Tshibaka:

Absolutely right.

Niki Tshibaka:

So there has to be some ownership of that responsibility. I think we had it right when we didn't allow for abortion and we said the man and the woman both have responsibility for the child in that womb, from womb to tomb, and so I would love to see us get back to that place where life is honored and cherished above all else, because every right that we have flows from that right to life, and to the extent that we undermine or degrade the dignity and the sanctity of any life, we degrade the dignity and the sanctity of every life when we make every life more vulnerable. So, anyway, it was a great conversation and really appreciate the work she's done and is doing and appreciate all those mothers out there and God bless the mothers who went through the difficult decision and did have abortions. May they find comfort and peace and healing, because I'm sure many of them are dealing with a lot of pain as a result.

Kelly Tshibaka:

That's right, amen. Well, this is Kelly and Niki Tshibaka on Stand. Thanks for joining us this week. Be sure to hit subscribe for more amazing episodes to help you be empowered and equipped to take on life's challenges, one episode at a time. You'll find us on YouTube at the Stand Show. Be sure to leave a quick review and you can be entered to win one of our awesome stickers and we will see you next week. Stand firm and stand strong.

Standing for Life
Persuading for Pro-Life
Post-Dobbs Strategy for Pro-Life Movement
Human Rights and Abortion Debate
Parental Rights and Responsibility Discussion