One advance requirement I set for myself was that I didnít want to just
ďrant and raveĒ on the topic. To the best of my ability I would try to give
both sides of the controversy . Also, I would take a reasoned, logical
approach, and support my contentions with facts and evidence as much as
But it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I approached the task,
because of the atmosphere I perceived surrounding the Clinton presidency.
My assessment of the administration was that they didnít hesitate to use
the power of the office Ė that is, intimidation and force Ė to play hard-
ball with people who didnít share their outlook. But this feeling dissipa-
ted considerably when I actually started exploring the topic on the inter-
net and found sites like ďAbortion is MurderĒ that made mine look very
mild and temperate in comparison.
Since it was written over a considerable length of time, you can also see
my writing skills develop, from rather awkward at first, to eventually be-
coming more fluid. It starts out with what may seem obvious to some, then
becomes more sophisticated as it goes along. For others, it may represent
a first look, and understanding, of what lurks just below the surface of
As I mentioned, as time went by, I seemed drawn back to it by additional
insights Ė even though I was focusing on other tasks at the time. But as
spring of the first year approached Ė approximately 6 months into existence
Ė I hit a peak of 44 visitors in one day and then tapered off to only
having a daily audience in the single digits. The high day resulted mostly
from my contacts with related organizations, and the lower days would have
been even lower if it hadnít been for a few referrals from a like minded
organization that didnít have a web site.
At first I suspected I might be being blocked. So I stocked up on blocking
programs to check it out. But by following my trackers, and listening to
my wife, who is a school teacher, I began to understand that my site was
seasonal. That is, that not only were a lot of people on vacation in the
summertime, but school was out, and a large portion of my visitors were
students who found my site to be a valuable resource for writing reports.
But with such a small audience, I began to wonder whether it was worth the
effort, and what role it might play. So I began to think in terms of what
niche it could fill. But as I mulled it over I continued to add to the
site, and came to some conclusions. First of all, I thought it was a worth-
while thing to be doing. And if students found it to be useful, I should
try to cater to them somewhat.
Since I could see from my trackers that my student audience began at the
grade school level, I would assume that they knew very little about the
topic, just by virtue of not having been around very long. And my college
audience would probably be largely scornful of religion Ė or so I thought
Ė so I would be careful to keep my site secular. I didnít want to do the
same thing other people were doing, and it seemed like the other web sites
and organizations were mostly faith based. I hoped those faith-based org-
anizations would appreciate that I could reach people they couldnít.
So I would try to spell everything out and keep the site non-religious.
But what else? I had noticed that there didnít seem to be a whole lot of
cooperation between the different organizations. In fact, there was actual-
ly some animosity that I could detect, in some cases. Plus there was no one
place you could go to get a complete picture of what was going on. So I de-
cided my site would be an aggregator of information. And what I didnít want
to put directly on my site, I would link to and give a description of. Then
people could find just about anything they needed in one place or at least
where to find it quickly and easily.
I felt strongly that the day to day news was very important, but a lot of
other places were already at least trying to do that; and I felt that I
wouldnít be able to keep up with all of it. But it kept ending up on my
web site anyway, because I placed such a high degree of importance in cur-
rent events, and eventually it evolved into something different.
Hereís the problem. The major media report as little as possible on abort-
ion. To a certain extent this is a form of censorship, by excluding these
events from their reporting. But itís probably also due to it being such a
controversial subject; and that a lot of people donít want to either hear
or see anything about it. I know how and where to go to get the news, but
the vast majority of people wouldnít know that even if they wanted to. I
know at least one source that specializes in that type of reporting, but
they include a lot of things that I donít consider to really be abortion
related (e.g., cloning, stem cell research, etc., etc.) Plus, a lot of
people, especially younger people, donít follow the daily news. For them,
itís as if the event never occurred.
So I decided I would only report what I considered to be important abortion
related news, and I would use it to educate and make a point. Some times I
just let the news articles make the point by themselves, and I donít feel
any commentary is necessary from me. Other times I interpret and add to the
reports to be sure the point isnít missed. I especially liked this approach
because itís more authoritative than just me, alone, saying it. As you get
deeper into the book you will find a lot of this going on in certain chap-
ters. Rest assured, itís all there for a reason, itís not just filler. If
it seems to drag a little, or be repetitive, you can be sure itís a lead
in for something interesting and important. I also try to use a variety of
sources to reenforce the veracity of the information.
Moreover, I see the book as being both contemporary, and a historical
record of a pivotal time in our nationís history. As such, in addition to
being organized by topic, there is a chronological sub-organization. Our
daily news is here today, gone tomorrow, just one snapshot of a continuing
occurrence. In my book you can get the complete picture of whatís been
going on over time, by bringing together related material from diverse
sources, organizations, and events Ė in case you originally missed parts
of it. Plus, in addition to being comprehensive, I provide analysis of
whatís been happening, and insights into why itís related and why itís im-
portant. I weave together this information from different sources to give
you a clearer and more complete picture; so that at some point you will
see not just the trees, but the entire forest. And youíll learn all the
sources I use, so you can keep up on developments on your own, if thatís
what you choose to do.
So, ultimately, I created a niche that nobody else was serving. As the fall
semester (or quarter) got underway, my traffic started to improve somewhat.
Then, I got a break. Somebody at a much busier university web site found
mine, liked it, and linked to me. I linked back, but decided not to contact
them. I was afraid of doing or saying something that might upset my good
fortune. It was a dependable source of visitors when school was in session.
Marketing on the internet is a moving target, and as things continued to
change, I decided to change, too. I would judiciously pay for inclusion in
some search engines if I liked their plan. My choices made an immediately
noticeable difference. I constantly followed where my visitors came from
and how they found my site.
A tracker (remote software for statistics on your visitors) that I had used
when I started out and that I especially liked but had essentially self-
destructed with a software change resuscitated itself providing me with
better information on my traffic. At some point, with this additional
information, I seemed to start to think like the search engines. I made
changes to my web site that had what I thought were a major impact. Late
to the party, nevertheless, suddenly, my web site was no longer insignifi-
cant. I had as much influence as a whole slew of college professors. I saw
the importance of the 2002 elections early, and jumped in, following the
key candidates early in the year, and high up in my web page, where it was
more likely to be noticed. Election week, and election day, I had more
visitors than ever before. I had visitors not just from public and higher
education, but from house.gov and senate.gov and state governments and
think tanks and corporations and every foreign country imaginable.
I consider this book the best place to go for a thorough course on the a-
bortion dilemma, and I think you will agree after you go through it. People
new to the controversy will find it an invaluable resource, and everybody
can, and will, learn from it. It includes a large amount of text that never
made it onto the web site, simply because it seemed like too much work to
do gratis. You can read this book and become an expert on the topic.
Practically everything you need to know is either here or the book tells
you where to go to get it. You will see most of the arguments here Ė and
the counter-arguments. Then the book will tell you how to use the website
to get the scoop on the latest developments (The website evolved into an
entity where it is very difficult to find specific information. The book
mostly solves that problem). Even if you think you know quite a lot about
the issue, everybody will find things they didnít know here. For example,
probably very few people know that Joe Lieberman was excommunicated because
of his views on abortion. President George W. Bush attends the Methodist
church. But did you know that while the Methodist Church officially con-
dones abortion, the President is a Christian Conservative? You probably
couldnít get the President to tell you that, but after reading this book
that will be about the only conclusion a rational person could come to.
In short, this book is packed with information on the abortion issue. Itís
a treasure chest of facts and views, and certainly not just my opinions. I
had one visitor tell me that she liked the parts I wrote best. That really
puzzled me, because I think a lot of the sources I quoted say it better
than I do. So I guess youíll just have to decide that for yourself. It
also presents the evidence that backs up the conclusions, so that you can
come to your own decisions. In fact, I present you with the information
you need, and encourage people to do their own thinking on the subject.
Itís also a reference source. For example, if you or somebody you know are
thinking about whether to get an abortion right away, itís hard to beat
the Pregnancy Resources chapter. Or if you already have had an abortion,
and it was a bad scene that you just canít seem to get out of your mind,
thereís the chapter called Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, with both pro-
life and pro-choice resources Ė whichever you feel most comfortable with.
The quotations are carefully selected to make and reenforce a point, im-
part information, bring together pieces of information to give a more
complete picture, and to provide proof for assertions made. Everything is
there for a purpose. There are times when just the weight of the evidence
makes the conclusion clear. And to keep a serious subject from getting too
dull there are always more interesting lines not too far away. I also have
a sense of humor; but if I didnít tell you that ahead of time you might
miss it, so be on the lookout for it. And itís also a how to manual in
case you should want to get more personally involved.
In addition, for the politically minded, it contains a very good series of
chapters on the 2002 elections Ė at least on the candidates who were invol-
ved in the abortion controversy. Itís information that you would probably
have trouble finding elsewhere. I know I had some difficulty Ė especially
the information after the election. Several weeks after the election was
over I was still trying to fill in the blanks, but I finally found time to
do it to my satisfaction. I said it was too much work to do again, but Iím
starting to get 2004 campaign literature in the mail already, and maybe
Iíll just do it differently so itís not quite so much work, for the 2004
The chapters about my debate on about.com are kind of like a bonus exercise
for the most serious students. Itís very informative, and would be very
worthwhile to read for someone who is planning to debate the subject. But
itís also very drawn out, because of the way I approached it, and the way
I approached it is part of what you learn from it. My opponents conceded
very little, and you canít really have a good give and take exchange of
ideas in that mode. I was more than willing to make some concessions, to
give up some ground, for the purpose of reaching some agreements in some
areas where I could see we did agree; but when I saw how my opponents ap-
proached it, I gave up on being Mr. Congeniality. Iíd never really debated
much until I got my web site up and running on the internet, and I went to
the forums mainly in an attempt to attract more visitors to my site. But I
eventually got pulled in to the action. Actually, I became the action. Far
too late in life I learned I should have become a lawyer. As I perceived
the general approach used, one person would give their arguments on a
topic, the other would give theirs, and anybody else who wanted to could
chime in. Then that would be the end of it.
However, that didnít seem to be good enough for me. I was not content until
I had destroyed my opponents' comeback arguments too. Since they wouldnít
concede anything, that meant we could be locked in a deadly embrace for
some time. When one person eventually wimped out because they were start-
ing to look too compromised, their handlers just sent in a replacement.
But each time around, I developed new tactics, and thatís why I believe
that it was worthwhile to include so much of it, even though often times
I was staring down the same arguments they had presented before. Itís an
interesting story in itself.
So now we come to the question of why you should buy a book that was built
around a web site that you can visit on the internet for free. Well, one
of the reasons, is that, for me at least, personal sacrifice doesnít seem
to be the ultimate motivator. I had a lot of information just sitting on
my hard drive that I thought was just too much trouble, just too time con-
suming, to put on my web site for free. Then when I started to think about
publishing the book, I saw how much value that information could add to
the book. So, as nearly as I can calculate, thereís roughly 32% more mat-
erial in the book than on the web site (not counting the graphic in a sub-
directory there). But thereís also another important reason. I approached
the two undertakings from very different perspectives. In the case of the
web site my goal was to get people to read the entire document, so I made
very little effort to make it easy to find things there. Itís basically
one continuous tract, or I guess two tracts, of reading materials.
On the other hand, when I first thought about doing the book, I realized
right away that very few people would want to buy a book like that Ė and
rightfully so. So, in addition to the new material, the book is all about
organization and making it as easy as possible to find things. And with a
book you donít feel like you have to read it all at one time because you
might not be able to find your place again, like you would feel on my web-
site. So, a book you can read at your convenience. You can take it to
lunch, you can read it on the train if you commute to work, you can read
it in bed before you go to sleep (although I donít recommend this because
it might be hard to put down). You can share it with friends, and refer
back to it whenever you like; and if youíre like me, put it on a shelf as
an addition to your collection. Finally, I formatted parts of the book my-
self, and as I went along I added additional insights that I didnít bother
to include in the web site version. Then I added an extensive index.
But why did I bother to write the book? To explain that, I have to go back
to my personal odyssey. After about two years of study, in March of 2002,
I felt I was ready to enter the brave new world of web site construction
(for pay). So I started casting about for openings. What I soon discovered,
of course, was the ďtech wreckĒ. There was a better chance of finding an
opening with my old skills, by that time, than my new ones, and neither
approach really worked.
Even worse, I couldnít even get an interview. So I had read in my contract-
or magazine about a person who suggested finding another source of income,
like the utility programs he had written and was selling. I didnít have
any programs to sell, but it did start me thinking about what I might have
that was saleable, and could generate some income. There was only one thing
I could come up with. Iíd thought briefly about asking for donations on my
web site like charitable organizations do. Charitable organization or not,
I was convinced that would never generate much of anything. So I decided
to try to make the conversion from selfless moral crusader to petty capit-
alist and have a best selling book published. ďPublish or perishĒ was be-
ginning to have real life meaning for me.
Interestingly enough, I could never, never, never, have sat down and writ-
ten this book without having first created the website. And I never would
have even thought about writing the book if I had been able to find work
in the fields I had trained for. So I canít help wonder if thereís some
divine providence at work, that I was supposed to do this. I feel like the
night I worked until past 5 a.m. on my web site, and it was almost done,
and the sun was coming up, and I cried. I cried because I no longer be-
lieved that I was doing it alone.
Over four years in the making. I invite you to take this journey with me.
And hereís my sales pitch Ė please buy this book. Not just for me, but if
youíve read this far, you owe it to yourself. I will try to price it so
itís easily affordable. And itís grown from that initial 90,000 bytes, to
over 2,500,000 bytes (alphanumeric characters).