Wednesday, September 07, 2005

'March of the Penguins' vs. March for Women's Lives

By Jill Stanek

© 2005

Last week, my 5-year-old grandson and I went to see the movie, "March of the Penguins."

MOTP is a documentary that tells of the incredible sacrifices emperor penguins make to reproduce, protect their eggs, and safeguard their babies' lives in the harshest conditions on earth.

In light of the pro-life issue, I watch animal documentaries and dramas with mixed emotions. On one hand, there are usually a couple of scenes about pregnancy or giving birth corroborating that, yes, on a gut level, people do recognize the sanctity of life.

For instance, an early scene of "Finding Nemo" shows Nemo's desperate father, whose wife and incubating eggs have just been devoured by a predator, spotting Nemo, his lone surviving embryonic progeny, in a see-through egg. Instantly his despair turns to joy. He certainly does not consider his preborn son a blob of tissue.

On the other hand, scenes like this magnify the depravity of people who condone abortion, and I am refilled with angst.

MOTP hit me harder than most. Almost every scene and narrative verified the beauty of life and the rightness of protecting it.

Every March, as the Antarctic summer ends, scattered tribes of emperor penguins travel up to 70 miles to an ancient inland breeding ground, chosen instinctively because this is where ice is the thickest and will remain solid until the following summer, so the young won't fall through it. Upon arrival, penguins find mates with whom they are monogamous for a yearlong breeding cycle.

In early June, females lay one egg, and, as pro-abort actor Morgan Freeman narrated, "From now on the couple has but a single goal – keeping the egg alive ... The tiny beating heart within the shell cannot survive more than a moment in the freezing air."

(Mr. Freeman, do you ever contemplate what you read?)

By now, parents have gone without food for two months, and mom has lost 1/3 of her body weight. In a chivalrous role reversal, dads assume responsibility for their eggs for an incredible two additional months, so moms can trek 70 miles back to the sea for food and to regain strength to care for their hatchlings.

Sometimes when mom transfers the egg to dad, it cracks. In that case, narrated Freeman, "The couple can only watch as the ice claims their egg and the life within it."

Throughout the harshest winter in the world, when there is no sunlight, temperatures drop to -80 degrees, and winds blow 100 miles per hour, fathers huddle together to protect their eggs, nestled atop gentle, clawed feet and underneath a fold of warm, feathered skin.

Mothers instinctively return when hatchlings are a couple of days old. Most of them return, anyway. Seals have killed a few. "With a snap of its jaw," said Freeman, "the seal actually takes two lives – one of the mother and one of her unborn chick, who will never be fed."

Mothers assume care of the chicks so fathers can trod 70 miles to the sea to eat. For the next several months the two will take turns caring for their baby and shuttling back and forth to the ocean, until their baby is old enough to fend for itself.

As I watched MOTP, I wondered how people could ooh and aww when baby penguins pecked out of their shells, or cover their eyes when a giant petrel attacked a baby penguin, yet not give a thought to the dismemberment and killing of human babies.

I wondered, what would it take for people to connect? I juxtaposed the willingness of penguins to freeze and starve to death for their babies to the unwillingness of humans to forfeit any indulgence whatsoever for their babies.

I remembered last year's March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C., when pro-aborts gathered to bolster their right to kill babies.

I thought, maybe a penguin movie analogy would help people understand.

The movie would open with militant feminist penguins marching to their ancient political breeding ground, where lusting, self-centered males waited. There they would all serial-mate, despising the prospect of producing babies. Should the unthinkable happen, close-ups would show frenzied penguins pecking open eggs and ripping babies apart, or inserting little hoses into the eggs to suction babies out. Fathers would abandon mothers who changed their minds and wanted to keep their eggs to fend for themselves.

But a movie like that won't ever be made, because it would expose anti-lifers as demented.

Still, I sometimes wish humans would behave more like animals.

Jill Stanek fought to stop "live-birth abortion" after witnessing one as a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. In 2002, President Bush asked Jill to attend his signing of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. In January 2003, World Magazine named Jill one of the 30 most prominent pro-life leaders of the past 30 years. To learn more, visit Jill's blog, Pro-life Pulse.
Dear Pro-lifers,

Louisiana and Mississippi pregnancy resource centers are in desperate need of our help. Four New Orleans area pregnancy resource centers were destroyed by Katrina, and it t is unclear how incapacitated the Mississippi PRCs are, because no one has been able to get through to any of their directors.

That's the bad news. The good news is that five of eight Louisiana abortion clinics were also destroyed.

The PRCs in Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and other outer Louisiana areas have been inundated by families needing diapers and formula. Area hospitals are also asking the centers to recover post-partum patients.

The formula companies say they have sent huge shipments to the area, but they're not getting to the PRCs.

I spoke with three PRC directors in Louisiana yesterday, and they gave me a list of their greatest needs. We are going to collect donations in the Chicago area over the weekend at Parkview Christian Church (11100 Orland Parkway, Orland Park, Illinois 60467), and a semi is going to deliver them to Louisiana on Monday (September 12).

Here are the needs, in order of urgency:

1. Formula: Advanced Similac with iron; Enfamil with iron; any other formulas - dry, condensed, or ready to serve

2. Diapers, especially newborn

3. Infant car seats

4. Pedialyte

5. Bassinets

6. Baby wipes

More than that, the PRCs desperately need money. They need to finance mobile medical units to go into the devastated areas as they are accessible. A director told me that there is lots of giving going on to churches and relief agencies, but the PRCs are being overlooked.

We also need money to pay for the semi truck gas. (The truck and driver's time are being donated.) Donations for gas can be made to Concerned Women for America of IL, P. O. Box 188, Palos Heights, IL 60463.

There is also a need for volunteers to go to Louisiana and stay for a week or two or longer, particularly men for protection. A nurse at the Shreveport PRC says she will help find housing.

Donate directly online to: These funds will go to finance mobile medical units and restoring pregnancy care centers.

Please distribute this alert widely.

Thank you very much,

Jill Stanek


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