Ben Stein Crusades Against Abortion
Actor, speechwriter, talk and game show host gets
Published: Monday, November 20, 2000
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Celebrated actor, speechwriter, talk and game show host Ben Stein spoke to 200 Boston College students last Monday about his pro-life stance in a lecture hosted by the BC Republicans. Stein managed to throw in some humor as well, poking fun at everyone from Bill Clinton to Jesuits to lawyers.
Stein opened his talk by describing the architecture of BC. “I’m haunted by these buildings because they remind me of Yale,” Stein, a Yale graduate, said. “In Hollywood, we don’t have gothic structures and paintings of martyred Jesuits. I’m sure if there were Jesuits in Hollywood, they’d martyr them.”
Stein touched on the election first and described it as a “confused mess. If only Massachusetts had voted Republican like they used to. No matter what happens now, this country will endure tremendous bitterness, but we will get through it. Hey, we got through the Civil War.”
Stein is an avid Bush supporter. “He’s a great guy and I’ve worked hard for him,” he said. “I think there’s something psychopathic going on inside Gore’s head for him not to concede after two counts against him. What’s happened is extremely unfortunate and unprecedented.”
He then shifted to a serious discussion on abortion. Stein said he believes this country has already seen two revolutions: the American Revolution and the Civil Rights movement. A third one has developed recently, the “Right to Life” revolution, and it started with the Roe v. Wade decision, Stein said.
Stein gave a brief history of abortion in America. Before Roe v. Wade, it was up to the states to decide whether abortions were legal. When data came out that babies could feel pain, pleasure and hear things inside the womb, the “Right to Life” movement began, with backing from the Roman Catholic church.
“It got rolling as a powerful force right away,” Stein said. He described the “Women’s Movement,” or the movement against “Right to Life,” as churning away even quicker.
Stein detailed his basic reasons for believing in the “Right to Life.”
“It has been medically demonstrated that babies show signs of life and personality in the womb,” he said. “Babies get extreme pain when they are murdered in the womb and to murder them strikes me as extremely outrageous.” Stein added the comment later that he’s “hugely in favor of people having as much sex as they want, but I don’t consider homicide to be a form of birth control.”
He showed the most anger towards partial birth abortions. “When you say you can murder a child halfway out of the womb, you’re not far from saying you can murder it a day or two out of the womb,” he said.
He told the story of a case in California where a man shot the pregnant owner of the house that he was robbing. The shot killed the baby inside her but not the woman herself and the man was charged with homicide. “Why is he charged with homicide and an abortionist is not?” Stein asked. “What’s the difference?”
Stein compared the anti-abortion movement to the anti-slavery movement. “The early abolitionists were considered crazy,” he said. “It took a moral revenge for people to realize something bad was happening there. The people up North loved the black man enough to start a movement. This now is a movement of love towards America’s unborn.”
He gave his own ideas to help remedy the situation, such as a national policy for giving subsidies towards adoption. Stein stressed more cash flow in general, including more aid to single women with babies and greater programs for day care.
Stein admitted that he doesn’t think this dispute will be resolved in his lifetime. He did, however, predict that Roe v. Wade will be overturned at some point. “It may take a hundred years, but I don’t think it can be a law forever,” he said. He noted that Roe has come out as an active pro-life crusader and he also made the point that the “great majority” of people in the pro-life movement are women.
He said he believes a way to start the process is for students to show love towards their parents and thank them for the gift of life. “It is so hard to raise a child,” he said. “Just think of your parents doing everything for you for twenty years! And think, ‘How often do I say thank you?’ You can make your parents’ day by just making a phone call and saying, ‘I’m thinking about all you’ve done for me.’ It will at least start the process rolling and can ultimately solve all our problems.”
Stein has a child that he adopted in the mid-1980s. He explained how he is thankful every day that his boy is alive. “This kid is an angel sent by God,” he said. “Every moment I look at him I think, this kid could have ceased to be. And I’m literally on my knees thanking the woman for her choice.”
After his lecture, Stein took questions from the audience. One student asked him, “Could you just say ‘Bueller?’” Stein graciously abided, and received laughter and applause for reprising his role as Ferris Bueller’s dry teacher.
After he finished with questions, the audience thanked Stein with a long, standing ovation. The speaker had to catch a flight out of Boston later in the night but took the time to sign autographs and meet everyone who stayed after the lecture.
Although Stein made the audience laugh on several occasions, he left the audience with a theme of love as a way to solve problems.
“No problem can be solved without the beginning of simple love and affection,” he said. “Here on Earth, the work we want God to do is the work we have to do.”