Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An open letter to abortion rights advocates


Dear abortion rights advocate:

I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to three precious human beings. These little people were born prematurely to a mother, Michele, who mourns the loss of her children. They lived only a short time outside of her womb. 

First, there are the twins, Nicholas and Sophia:



Nicholas
Sophia

Nicholas was born at nearly 16 weeks, and he lived for 55 documented minutes. Sophia was born 15 days later, at 18 weeks. She lived for 5 minutes. They were both loved and baptized.

Next, I'd like you to meet their brother, Alexander. Today is his birthday. He would have been two years old. He was born at 17 weeks, and he lived for 5 minutes. He was strong, and kicked against his father's hands. He, also, was loved and baptized.

Alexander

Now, dear abortion rights advocate, I know that you work very hard to make sure that children just like these are dehumanized and denied the right to life. 

And yet I wonder: Does it strike you as you look at their pictures that these tiny people are not "blobs of tissue"? I challenge you to look at these babies and then publicly (in the comment box) deny their humanity. Tell me, or tell their mother (who is reading this), that they had no human dignity and no right to life. Tell their mother that they are not her children.

Oh, wait.... You know that their mother loved them, so you would never publicly deny that they are her babies? It's only if she had not wanted them that they would go from being beloved children to being "products of conception"? If she had chosen to abort these very same little ones (that's what fetus means, you know, "little one"), you would have supported her right to have them dismembered, scraped out, and tossed in the trash as medical waste, correct? So, if I'm understanding you, it's "wantedness" that gives a human being value? Help me understand. 

Or perhaps you want to claim that these children (or those of like age and size) are a "part of the woman's body" and therefore not people? But hang on a second.... What about those fingers you see laying across Alexander's little chest and under his chin? Whose fingers are those? Are those his mother's fingers, or do those fingers belong to Alexander? They are attached to hands. Which are attached to wrists. And look at those ears, attached to a beautiful head! Whose body is that? Is it hard to say?

Well, what about Sophia's perfect nose and eyes, right there on her pretty face? And the elegant lines of Nicholas' fingers, arms, biceps? To whom do these parts belong? I know for a fact that their mother has her own fingers, her own nose, her own chin and eyes and ears and face and arms and biceps. You believe a woman has a right to control her own body, but are you sure these parts don't belong to someone else's body?

May I ask, do you see yourself as "more human" than they? Can there possibly be degrees of humanity? It seems to me that one group of people getting to determine the humanity of another group of people leads to, well, inhuman things. Check your history on that. And tell us why you get to determine who belongs in the human family and who does not. Do you call those shots because you are bigger and stronger than Nicholas, Sophia and Alexander? But that would mean that "might makes right" which makes you an oppressor of the weak. If not, show me how.

Oh, but you say that babies that age are not viable, and that they cannot live independently outside of their mother's womb. Their complete dependence on their mother makes them undeserving of human status. An interesting argument, but can you name any born baby who can live independently? Aren't all babies totally dependent on others? I haven't met one yet that isn't.

One day medical technology (maybe an artificial womb?) will be able to save babies as small as Nicholas, Sophia and Alexander. It's only a matter of time, and you and I both know it. What to do then, when the threshold of "viability" gets lower and lower? Will a baby attain human rights earlier, simply because technology is better? How does that work, exactly? Please explain.

Perhaps you think it's wrong to bring emotion to this debate by posting the pictures of these little lost babies. These are real pictures of real babies at a stage of human development when lives have no legal protection. When they are totally vulnerable and at your mercy. Looking at their pictures may bring up strong feelings. You bet it's emotional. I feel a lot of emotions when I look at these little ones and think of abortion. Remember, I've never said that emotions do not accompany truth, only that emotions do not determine truth.

It's true, dear abortion rights advocate, that I have asked a lot of questions. I want to hear your answers. Please answer even one or two, because I cannot wrap my mind around how you think as you do, and I want to understand.

Sincerely,
Leila


A note of profound gratitude to the babies' mother, Michele. No human being created will ever be the same as Nicholas, or Sophia, or Alexander. They were irreplaceable and unrepeatable, just like every baby lost either by natural causes or the violence of abortion. Nicholas, Sophia and Alexander never had a voice, but they are speaking loudly now.





117 comments:

  1. I am speechless. Why is this so difficult for some to understand? God bless their family.

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  2. That was painful. Painful and beautiful at the same time. God bless this family and these children.

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  3. Amazing and painful post. Thank you, and thank you to the family.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Oh, Leila, I don't even know what to say, but I wanted to say something since the mother of those little ones is reading. Obviously, I am 100% pro-life, and I truly believe these babies will be among the first to greet their mother in Heaven someday. For now, they are in the arms of Our Lady. I have a lump in my throat from reading this and looking at the pictures. Thank you to your friend for sharing! +JMJ+

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  6. The power of the TRUTH is undeniable.
    Thank you.

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  7. Lisa said it for me. That was painful and beautiful. It took my breath away. Praying for those three beautiful children and their parents- and anyone who could look at this and deny their humanity.

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  8. I agree... AMAZING post!

    How can anyone look at these precious, little ones and NOT see that they are human beings?!?

    My heart goes out to the family. I thank them for sharing these precious photographs and pray that the world will soon have the eyes to truly SEE!

    Nicholas, Sophia and Alexandar... PRAY FOR US!

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  9. Amazing post, Leila.

    Michele, your children are precious. Utterly precious. I am so glad they were able to be baptized, and I know they are all praying for you and your family now.

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  10. So painful... but like all things, God brings so much good out of so much pain - knowing that these 3 beautiful babies are in Heaven, praying for their family... and hopefully all of us!

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Hopefully things like this along with the prayers of all those children and saints in Heaven will continue to convert hearts in our country.

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  11. This brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing this! My prayers are with you, Michele! Your precious babies are wrapped in the loving arms of our Blessed Mother.

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  12. Michelle: Praying for you and your little ones in heaven. This is truly powerful for you to share photos of your little babies, and I'm sure it will touch many lives, especially on this website. Our Mary Grace was lost at 21 weeks and looked very much like your little Sophia; her size. My heart and prayers are with you.

    Leila: Very emotional post to read, but in a good way. Sometimes we have to be moved like this to see the truth. I pray that others will see the truth as well.

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  13. I think I've already answered your question Leila regarding when exactly life begins (in my opinion). I've stated it before and I'll state it again: life begins at conception and the meeting of egg and sperm. In the above pictures, I see three premature humans and I believe it when you tell me their mom wanted them very much and loves them.

    I still stand by my position that should a woman/mom seek an abortion, I uphold her right to safe access to such a service. And yes, I understand the procedure to be the terminating of life. It may be that this baby is a separate human forming inside her. I still uphold her right to choose whether to carry a baby to term.
    I also support her in choosing to assign meaning in her life in whatever way she wants to-the meaning and value of life lost to abortion might be as profound or simple to her as life lost to premature birth.

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  14. I have tears in my eyes.

    As I read this it reminded me of my own baby that died at 9 weeks, an unborn life with all the dignity of a born one.

    My prayers and thoughts are with Michele and these beautiful babies .

    Leila: a very emotional post to read, but very necessary.

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  15. Miss G, you are a liberal who makes sense. You admit to the killing, and you admit that you have no problem with one group of humans determining the level of humanity of other humans.

    At least you are consistent, and I wish all abortion advocates stated their position so clearly.

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  16. Thank you Leila for sharing my children with those who read your blog. And thank you to all the warm thoughts and prayers. I am grateful for each and every second I was blessed with my children, both in the womb and outside of it. I am a different person- a better person- because of them. My heart aches every day because they aren't in this world to share it with me, but I am a whole human being because of their presence within me.

    God bless you all... And Nicholas, Sophia, Alexander and all the saints in heaven watch over you and keep you.

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  17. Here's where I see the division: you see it as an obligation to tell people not to have abortions, use contraception, have sex before marriage or live together before marriage. If they have done these things though, you do not see it as your right to judge them for it, that is up to God. But you also believe it your responsibility to advocate for legislation and laws that dictate how people deal with their personal lives and to ensure that birth is the only option, and contraception is near impossible to be had.

    In contrast, I do not see it as my right or obligation to tell people what to do with their personal lives or judge them for it (regardless of whether I agree or not). I do not see it as the right of the government (via anti-abortion law) to tell a woman what she can and can't do with her body. And I don't see outlawing abortion as an effective way to curb abortion practices either.

    I never said I have "no problem with one group of humans determining the level of humanity of other humans." I'm not denying that it has and does happen, but that doesn't mean I agree with that.

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  18. I wonder what a to-be-grandmother who is Pro Choice thinks of the child her daughter carrys in her womb? A blob? Does she mourn if it dies or just shrugs it off? My niece lost triplets and now has a beautiful new son just born 2 weeks ago. What a blessing and with God there is always hope! This post is pure reality...thank you Michele and Lelia. To Paul: William Wilberforce...Amazing Grace, right? A wonderful must-see movie. BTW: I posted an article about the Michigan Pro Life group who foung babies in a dumpster. Interesting story, if you care to read it. A Blessed Thanksgiving to all! N
    crookedhalocatholicblog.blogspot.com &
    cucinananette.blogspot.com

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  19. Miss G.

    Can you explain to me why we should have laws against murder? As you have said killing human beings should be up to their mother.

    How long should a mother retain that right and why? What about the state. Doesn't the state have at least as much right to regulate it's citizens as parents do their children?

    What about a child's father, perhaps we should repeal laws preventing the father ( as well as the doctor and nurses and mother) from killing their children and Dependants? Maybe even his wife?

    Can you explain to me why not? Why is it that it is OK. to make everyone in this country less safe by devaluing human life and allowing murder in this circumstance and not in others?

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  20. Gwen, the primary purpose of government is to protect the very lives of its citizens. Laws should protect all human beings from being deliberately killed, not just some.

    You admit in your first comment that abortion "terminates" a life, a life that "may be" a separate human being. Yet you think it's okay to let those human lives go unprotected by the law. Maybe in your case you just don't believe in equal protection under the law.

    Anyway, let me know what you think the primary role of government is, and then maybe I will do a whole post on that (separate) issue. But don't confuse two issues. Either we are all human or none of us is. We shouldn't have to "prove" our humanity to government before we get protection.

    Ultimately, you "don't agree" with one group of humans determining the humanity of another group of humans, but it's okay for one group of humans to kill another group of humans who have no legal protection. Um, okay....

    I don't know if one is better than the other, given those two options.

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  21. My cousins have lost two babies at 19 and 20 weeks. God bless these mothers.

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  22. Beautiful letter.

    I hate when the abortion debate (or any serious moral issues) is clouded by semantics. Mrs. G says that a governement shouldn't "tell a woman what she can and can't do with her body" but you've stated Mrs. G that the baby's body "may" be his own and seperate from the woman. Please remember that we are not telling the woman what to do with her own body, we are asking her not to take the life of someone else's.

    I can understand that you do not feel it is your obligation to protect these pre-born humans. Maybe it's not your "calling" and I'm sure you do feel called to do other very noble things with your life. (that's not sarcastic by the way-I mean it :) But how can you not understand that certain people feel it IS their "calling" to protect these innocent babies and try to save them from death. Even if you don't actively participate in helping us-I can't understand how you don't agree that what we're doing is intrinsically right and good. (I hope you don't think I put words in your mouth, I was deducting from your comments that you don't think we should be trying to stop abortion.)

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  23. Gwen, could you answer a question for me? Are the babies in the picture as human as you are?

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  24. "tell a woman what she can and can't do with her body"

    The government tells me every day what I can't do with my body. They tell me which drugs I can and can't use, what I may or may not eat, under what circumstance what I eat may be cooked or repaired. They attempt to regulate who I have sex with and how, they tell me I can't run around in public naked. They prevent me from having 'dangerous' operation or committing suicide.

    I'm not allowed to use my body to make my car go faster then a certain speed. I am required to use my body to provide taxes if I use it to work at all. Every day their are a million restrictions placed on what I may or may not do with my body. I'm not allowed to use my hand to chock the life from another person.

    What makes this one any different?

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  25. Ditto to what Plantit asked Miss G. - "Can you explain to me why we should have laws against murder? As you have said killing human beings should be up to their mother."

    If there are no laws to protect the smallest life, why should we have laws that protect any other person's life?

    I'm sad to say Miss G. that although you are consistent, my stomach turns at the thought of what your beliefs could lead to if everyone felt that way.

    Nicholas, Sophia, Alexander...Pray for us! Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do!

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  26. There are too many questions here for me to answer and too little time.

    And since the nature of this post and comments is a little too personal to me, I refrain from commenting more.

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  27. Miss G, I appreciate your frankness. I do wish you would just answer this one question:

    Are the babies in the picture as human as you are?

    It's a yes or no question. But if you decline to answer, maybe another abortion advocate could answer?

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  28. I need to make one quick point. Because this post is about the humanity of the babies, I did not address the predicaments and sufferings that may lead women to something as drastic as an abortion. It's a post for another day. In the meantime, this is a good place to go to understand some of the pain behind the "choice":

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/11/silent-no-more-friends-abortion-story.html

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  29. I just wanted to quickly stop by and offer my condolences to your friend Michele for her losses. As someone who has suffered a miscarriage myself, I know how terribly painful it is.

    I hope that you, Michele, are able to find comfort somewhere in the midst of such a trying time.

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  30. As a health care provider I've often wondered how many pro choice advocates would step into the room and kill the baby themselves. This same thought changed my view of the death penalty. I could never pull the trigger just like I could never suck out the baby.

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  31. Leila, I've offered up a response on my blog. It was easier to write there than in a comment here. I hope you'll check it out.

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  32. airing, I did check it out. Thank you for the response! I wonder if you missed the post I did a few days back:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/11/silent-no-more-friends-abortion-story.html

    Just because I did one post exposing the humanity of the unborn doesn't mean I don't have compassion for women. I was very clear in the Silent No More post that I have many friends who are post-abortive. Their stories are tragic, and it usually involves pressure from a boyfriend or mother. Most of the time, the woman is victimized by abortion as well as the baby. It actually makes me sick how many women I know are still suffering every day.

    I am part of a large group of pro-life Catholics in my city. There is a sidewalk counseling contingent that trains those who are out there at the clinics. There has been a real shift in understanding about how to reach and help these girls and women who are going into the clinics. The work we do now is no longer a "baby-centered" approach (for by the time a woman is going in those doors, she has usually already shut out the baby in her mind), but is now a woman-centered approach. It's about helping the woman, both before she goes in, and then just as compassionately when she comes out after the abortion. It's about trying to help her heal as much as it is about trying to save a child. So, I would never advocate taking graphic signs of aborted babies to a clinic. It's just not an effective, or loving, approach.

    However, this blog is not an abortion clinic. It's my blog and I give information, and witness to what is true. That is what I did here, with these beautiful babies.

    If you don't think that the abortion community is still lying to women about what is in her uterus, you have not seen the Lila Rose videos or any of the undercover videos at Planned Parenthood. (Check it out, here: http://liveaction.org/index.php). They do still lie to the girls in the clinic. The abortion industry is a racket. An industry which kills is not going to bat an eye about lying.

    As for the abortion industry wanting abortions to be rare, that is not true. In 2008, the Democratic Party removed the word "rare" from "abortion should be safe, legal, and rare" part of its platform because of pressure from abortion advocates. Feminists are not conceding anymore that abortion should be a regrettable choice, but are in fact encouraging women to call it a positive good, with T-shirts and all. So, I am not sure you have your pulse on the modern abortion industry, the gender feminists, and their ilk.

    Thanks for giving me an idea for another post! Oh, I wish I had 18 more hours in a day! :)

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  33. What gets me is that if a person harms an expectant mother in a way that results in the unborn child's death, that person can be convicted of murder, but not the mother who chooses to kill her baby. It is also hard to understand how our government could allow a mother to kill her child through abortion, but if a baby at the same gestational age is born prematurely and the mother puts it in a garbage can or harms it in any way, she could face murder charges. How do these situatios make sense?

    I think those who advocate for abortion see the unborn baby as the mother's property, but we have laws against owning another person.

    Michelle, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing the images of your children so that the blind may be healed.

    Leila, thank you for fighting the good fight. Great will be your reward in heaven.

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  34. I'll bite.

    First, Michelle, I am so sorry for the loss of your 3 children. Nothing I'm about to say here is meant to offend, or disrespect your experience.

    I am pro choice, but not because I love abortion or hate children. In fact, I'm a birthmother. However, there is nothing I hate MORE than when pro lifers use the "what about adoption!" arguement. Placing a baby for adoption is a difficult thing to do, as is parenting, as is having an abortion. I'm not pro choice because I don't think a fetus is a human. I'm pro choice because I just don't think it's my place to force a woman to endure pregnancy and childbirth and placement or parenting if she doesn't feel she's able to physically/emotionally/mentally. Some women get pregnant under terrible circumstances, during times in their lives when, for whatever reason, they JUST CANNOT carry a baby to term. Even with all the resources you suggest to them out on the sidewalk, they just can't.

    Abortion makes my heart heavy, and sad, too. And I know you'll find holes in my position; I know it's not a perfect position, but it's what I think.

    On a different topic, I'm curious: would you make contraception illegal? Just thought I'd ask while I'm over here :)

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  35. Oh Leila, I don't know how any anyone can argue with the question that abortion is taking a life after reading and seeing the photos of those babies!

    Fight the good fight, my friend!

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  36. Thank you for posting that. People need to see those pictures. Personally I don't understand the other side of the argument. I had a miscarriage and then a stillbirth, and neither one of those was less of a person just because of development. However, I still run in to people that don't consider even the stillbirth one of my 'children'. God is perfect and no life- at any stage of development- is meaningless to Him.

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  37. Anonymous@11:11 -

    If a woman feels that she "just can't" raise a baby, but only starts feeling this way after the baby has been born, would she be justified in killing the baby? If not, why not?

    I've been pregnant five times (3 kids on earth, two in heaven) and I know how difficult pregnancy can be, especially if you're working full time and caring for other children as well. However, hardship is not justification for murder. Abortion may be the "easier" choice but it is not the moral one. If women aren't getting the help they need, we have to provide it instead of telling them that they can and should just kill their child.

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  38. Gwen open your heart and let Jesus touch and heal you. I sense you are suffering and the only way to find peace is through Jesus and his healing love. Believe me it is there for you!Please just seek and believe.I will be asking the lord for a sense of peace and love to cover you and you in turn to look to him.

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  39. JoAnna beat me to the punch! Anonymous (11:11), I hope you will answer that. I have always tried to get an answer to this question about abortion and I never have.

    If a parent decides that, as you said, due to "terrible circumstances, during times in their lives when, for whatever reason, they JUST CANNOT" care for a child who is ALREADY born, why would it not be okay to just kill those children? I'm not trying to be flippant, I really want to know what pro-choice/pro-abortion people think about that. I have heard people defend abortion by saying things like, 'I worked with abused children who lived in deplorable conditions' and so on. Clearly it would be horrendously wrong if these children's parents killed them to 'save' them from their anguish, so how can people say it would be okay to kill them before they were born?

    How are they different from the babies pictured above? If you believe they are different, at what moment in time do you believe they BECOME different and how do you believe we can tell that they are different?

    Cathy BB

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  40. Cathy BB and JoAnna, thank you for asking what I wanted to.

    I hope she will respond.

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  41. little joann! where did your blog go? i miss you and i hope you are doing well. my prayers are with you and your little babies as well.

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  42. Little JoAnn is back to blogging!! Here she is:

    http://www.jerusalemmydestiny.blogspot.com/

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  43. This is anon 11:11.

    The "can a woman kill her infant whom she feels she can't care for" did make me think, since I obviously don't think it's cool for a mom to kill her 6 month old. My response is that anyone could take over the care of a 6 month old if mom realizes she just can't handle it. No one can take over the care of a 6 week embryo; she's the only one who can gestate. If there were some crazy weird technology where a 6 week embryo could be transplanted to someone who was willing to continue the pregnancy, I think I'd be more likely to oppose abortion. I only have a couple of minutes here, but those are my immediate thoughts. I think I'll have to mull it over and may have more later.

    Did anyone have any thoughts about making contraception illegal? I really am just curious :)

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  44. I see where you're coming from, Anon11:11, but I still respectfully disagree. As I said above, hardship is not justification for murder.

    I have another question for you, if I may -- do you think abortion is acceptable if it's done for a reason other than hardship? For example, if a woman is financially able to care for a child but doesn't want a baby to interfere with her career path. Is abortion justified in that instance?

    As for supporting contraception being illegal, my initial reaction is no, for the simple reason that I would not want the government to lawfully mandate taking contraception. as a form of population control. I think that the preferred method for lessening the use of contraceptives would be to change hearts instead of changing laws.

    Also, the Pill (for example) may be licit if taken as medication and not contraception. I know my doctor's office uses sterile condoms on the transvaginal ultrasound probes to protect against bacteria and such. That's morally licit as well. I think DepoProvera can be used as a treatment for certain disorders, much like Botox has both a medicinal as well as a cosmetic purpose.

    I'm not sure if that answers your question, and it's something I'd have to research and mull over a bit more.

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  45. I like how everyone is skirting 11:11's question: WHAT ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL? You can't have it both ways, i.e. no birth control, no abortions. Do you know how many children would be flooding orphanages if that's the way it was? Who is going to take care of all these babies? Sure, you can keep them alive, but can you give them a life?

    I don't like abortion, I don't do it, but I also thank the stars above that I have never been in a bad predicament.

    My sister-in-law was on a medication that causes severe birth defects and had no idea she was pregnant (actually, they thought she had a brain tumor at the time, so she underwent many radioactive scans, too). By the time they figured it all out, she was probably 12-13 weeks and had to have an abortion because the meds pretty much ruined the fetus.

    Of course she could have gestated it in trepidation for months on end, worried sick about what was going to come out of her. Then perhaps the brain-dead child could be kept alive on feeding tubes and round-the-clock million-dollar care. It would be alive afterall, is that what you'd prefer?

    I feel for this woman, losing all of those children. One would be enough to be gun-shy about ever getting pregnant again. But, I also think 16 & 18 weeks is pretty far into a pregnancy to be getting an abortion, usually they don't allow it without all kinds of bureaucracy after the 1st trimester.You should show pictures that represent this. Grey blobs and fish-like fetuses. I lost one at 11 weeks and it did not look like a baby.

    -AnnieP.

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  46. Oral Contraceptives are BAD Medicine....
    CATEGORY: IARC known, NTP known

    USED IN: Medications

    Numerous studies have shown an increased risk of breast cancer in women using oral contraceptives (Althuis, 2003; Dai, 2009; Delort, 2007; Kumle, 2002). The risk is greatest among current and recent users, particularly those who have used them for more than five years and especially those who started using birth control pills earlier in life and took them for longer periods of time (Pasanisi, 2009; Rosenberg, 2009). Several studies have shown that women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations (Haile, 2006; Narod, 2002; Pasanisi, 2009; cf. Figueiredo, 2010), as well as women with family histories of breast or ovarian cancer (Haile, 2006; Narod, 2002; cf. Gaffield, 2009), have an increased susceptibility to the risk-inducing effects of oral contraceptive exposures. The data with BRCA carriers support the hypothesis that increases in the penetrance (proportion of women carrying the mutation in which the deleterious effects are expressed) of the mutation are related to exposures to environmental toxicants (King, 2003), especially those that mimic or interfere with natural estrogens.

    As with HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), current use of oral contraceptives has been associated with an increase in breast tumors originating in the lobular tissue (Newcomer, 2003), as well as with the ER– (no or low estrogen-receptor) profile of the disease (Althuis, 2003). Use of oral contraceptives for 10 years or longer has also recently been associated with a diagnosis of comedo DCIS (Phillips, 2009), the most aggressive form of DCIS, which is sometimes confused with early forms of invasive breast cancer (Pervez, 2007).

    A recent study examined possible effects of oral contraceptive use on later risk for breast cancer in Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women. Statistically, Hispanic women have somewhat lower rates of breast cancer than do white women, and they are more likely to have breast cancer that is ER+. Despite these group differences, use of oral contraceptives in the past five years is associated with significant increases in breast cancer incidence in both groups. The effect was magnified for women of both groups when oral contraceptive use continued for more than 20 years. Mirroring other study evidence, and again for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women, significant increases in ER– tumors were observed following prolonged oral contraceptive use (Sweeney, 2007).

    Post-menopausal women who used oral contraceptives for eight or more years but have discontinued use for at least a decade show no significant increase in breast cancer rates (CGHFBC, 1996; Vessey, 2006).

    View references, from State of the Evidence (Sixth edition 2010).

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  47. JoAnna addressed birth control, Annie, in some depth. No one that I am aware of is trying to outlaw birth control. Does the Catholic Church teach that is it immoral? Yes!

    Your point about "who will take care of all the babies" is a big question that presupposes a lot of things. So, it would deserve its own post, which I can't do on a holiday weekend (family obligations and all).

    I am sorry for your sister-in-law's sad situation. That is heartbreaking.

    For the record, the Catholic Church does not teach that a brain dead child must be kept alive on machines at all costs.

    FYI, I do have friends who have carried babies to term who were going to die (and did) right after birth. It is not unthinkable. For anyone reading who may need support or encouragement in that area, this is a great site:

    http://www.benotafraid.net/

    Annie, can you not dodge this question: At what moment does the unborn "thing" become human?

    Also, as far as looks determining humanity, I know burn victims who do not look human anymore. Are they?

    By the way, although the majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester, there are about 136,500 abortions performed in America between 13 and 20 weeks. That is 374/day, or 2,625 a week. (According to 2001 stats from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute).

    Can you site your evidence that a second trimester abortion is hard to get? Up to 24 week, it's routine, and there are plenty of clinics here in my city which perform them every single day.

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  48. Michele, I feel for the loss you have suffered. Our prayers are with you!

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  49. In no way do I want to diminish Michele's loss or disrespect her. My mother suffered several miscarriages and it's a painful thing. However, I do feel the need to make a few points.

    The potential to become a living human being is not the same as being alive. In my ovaries, I carry eggs, any of which has the potential to become a person. Are they alive by your definition? Every month, during menstruation, one of those eggs is destroyed. Do I commit murder on a monthly basis? Even fertilized eggs are sometimes flushed out during the menstrual process.

    What is the difference between a fetus and a fertilized egg? Neither can live outside the womb. It is conceivable that an 'artificial womb' capable of bringing a fetus to term could do the same for an egg.

    Furthermore, most pro-lifers are also in favor of artificial insemination, as they wouldn't want to deny couples the chance at parenthood. Did you know that artificial insemination always results in discarded embryos? Why is that suddenly okay? Don't you think that if abortion is made illegal, artificial insemination should be as well?

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  50. 11:11 here again. First, I want to say that I am really impressed with how civil this discussion has remained. I haven't gotten into an abortion debate in years, because it rarely stays civil.

    JoAnna, re: your question about career being a justified reason to abort, this is a really tricky question. Personally, I think that's not a great reason, but logistically it's impossible to legistlate what is an OK reason to terminate and what is not. So if abortion is legal, it's legal. It's not possible or practical to have every woman who seeks an abortion to defend her position and then have someone else decide if that reason is good enough, and in the end she could possibley be forced to gestate, which is what I have a problem with in the first place.


    to anon 438, I don't think the ART argument will get you far, since the Catholic Church opposes it for a few reasons, not the least of which is the destruction of unused embryos. I think you'll find these ladies are very consistent when it comes to being pro life and opposed to ART.

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  51. Yes, Anon 438 (from two comments back) many pro-lifers do support ART and oppose abortion and we Catholics believe that this position is completely inconsistent! You cannot suport one and oppose the other-they both result in the same end-the killing of innocent life. There are other reasons that Catholics do not support ART and Leila's blog is full on info on that if you search through it.

    Thanks for the correct representation of our Church 11:11!

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  52. "Did you know that artificial insemination always results in discarded embryos? "


    Uhhhh, I think you've got your facts mixed up. If I have an egg ready to go and my husband's sperm is given help through AI in getting to the right place, and that egg is released and fertilized, and I carry that child to term and give birth, as I did last year, exactly where are these "discarded embryos" you speak of? You're getting this mixed up with IVF, which SOMETIMES results in discarded embryos - and most pro-lifers oppose this. But there are even ways to do IVF that do NOT result in discarded little ones - I know people who've done it.

    Baffling to me how people can admit the child is human, but the mother's rights and convenience come first. Sounds like an argument that pro-slavery people would've used a few centuries ago - sure, they might be human, but the landowners' need to have free labor supercedes the slaves' right to liberty. In fact, the word "choice" was often used by the pro-slavery faction.

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  53. Leila - I don't know the answer to your question. There are dividing cells and then there is a developing fetus. At what precise point which becomes which is unknown. Life is like death. At what point does someone die? There is the shut down, breath stops, heart stops, brain stops, electrical impulses still flow through the body then there is nothing. But it is a process and at this point the "moment" cannot be pinpointed.

    Again, I don't like abortion, I wouldn't do it. I have four children of my own. Personally, I think abortion should only be legal within the first month, and after that only if the baby is not going to live or the mother is not going to live. You can ask me to explain my "logic" all you want, but my thought is a mixture of emotion, reality of other women's plights and the fact that I do believe dividing cells is just that. But no I don't know the point where it becomes "human". I don't think a fertilized egg should have rights, I do think an unborn baby should.At what point is that? Don't know & not for me to decide.

    (And I brought up the looks because that was a big point of your post 'look at their chins, their eyes, their fingers, etc...' My lost baby didn't have any of those features.)

    I get your fight, I don't oppose what you believe (Except for your thoughts on contraception - I wholly disagree there & think the pill and IUD's are a wonderful thing). I just feel that it's not my place to tell other women what to do when I know the horror of what some women have been through. And I would NEVER expect a woman to carry an essentially "dead" baby to term. I think that is ghastly.

    AnnieP

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  54. Annie, thank you for admitting that you don't know when the unborn become human. Of course, we would say that one must always err on the side of life. Here is how I put it it to Christa:

    (http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/07/responding-to-christa.html)

    If you were hunting in the woods and you weren’t sure if that creature behind the tree were a deer or a child, would you shoot? I am guessing you would never, ever shoot until you were 100% positive that it was not a child. Am I wrong?

    And, which is more "ghastly":

    Carrying a baby who is very, very, very much alive and still (literally) kicking, delivering that baby into the arms of loving parents who spend every moment of the baby's short life holding her, caring for her, singing to her, kissing her, cherishing her... making sure her moments (or hours, or days) on this earth are full of love....

    OR

    Hiring an abortionist to go into the womb and burn the baby to death with saline injections over the course of days, and/or cut her up, crush her skull, pull her out in pieces (sometimes dead, sometimes still alive).

    The second scenario is the very definition of ghastly!

    How is that love? Which death is preferable?

    Anyway, I do appreciate your honesty and thoughts.

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  55. Anonymous, you said:

    Furthermore, most pro-lifers are also in favor of artificial insemination, as they wouldn't want to deny couples the chance at parenthood. Did you know that artificial insemination always results in discarded embryos? Why is that suddenly okay? Don't you think that if abortion is made illegal, artificial insemination should be as well?

    Kaitlin and another anonymous corrected you. I just want to say it again: The Catholic Church is very consistent: Artificial insemination is wrong. And, artificial insemination does not result in extra embryos. You are thinking of in vitro fertilization.

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  56. I think our school systems might be failing...basic knowledge of biology is lacking and it's having moral consequences...

    First, I'd just like to say that as a pro-life anti-contraception Catholic, I would not seek to make contraception illegal (but I would love to see everyone stop using it! :) ) Recently, an abortion clinic opened up in my area and someone I know who owns a pro-life Catholic health care clinic spoke to the abortion provider. They went back and forth a bit and the abortion provider said to my friend, "Well, if you are against abortion, then do you prescribe contraception?" implying that there would be a need to at least provide birth control if you won't support abortion. My friend replied, "No, I don't. How could I prescribe contraception when I am against abortion when failed contraception is the number 1 CAUSE of abortions?" And the abortion provider said, "Well, yeah, you're right about that." Her response shocked us all! I just figured I'd share that story... :)

    Back to biology... People here are talking about how at 11 weeks, a fetus doesn't look like a human being. People are talking about how a woman's egg has potential to be a person so does that mean that every cycle when eggs undergo cell death or are flushed from the body, we would consider it murder? What about a fertilized egg that does not implant; is that murder?

    Leila already mentioned that just because something doesn't look like a person, doesn't mean he/she is not a person. Looks have no impact on determining humanity (we get into trouble going down that path again-"they have darker skin than us, they are less human"...uh oh.). Guess what does determine humanity? Biology. That 11 week old fetus (and the same would be true for an 11 second old embryo) has human DNA that is unique from the egg and the sperm that joined to create it (i.e. different than it's parents...i.e. not part of either parent's body, but having it's own bodily integrity). This isn't "potential" this is actuality. Sure, maybe a couple of cells doesn't look like much of a body; it certainly doesn't look like a grown person. But to deny that an embryo is a human being, you'll have to deny science.


    Eggs or sperm on their own do have the "potential" to become a new human life. But an egg by itself it not a human being. It is a cell (yes, it is alive; it is a LIVING cell) but it's not an individual. Biology says so. So eggs that undergo cell death (which most do during a woman's cycle) are completely natural and do not constitute the death of a human being.

    Lastly, miscarriage was referred to when a fertilized egg does not get to implant. When this happens, yes, a growing human being with unique DNA dies. If this happens naturally it is not considered murder. Just like Michelle who shared the story of her miscarriages did not murder her children during the second trimester. Murder requires there to be intent; the purposeful killing of a person. Provided that there was no drug being taken for the purpose of causing the demise of the embryo, there is no wrongdoing. Miscarriage happens and it is tragic because it is the loss of a child.

    I'm sorry this is so long, but honestly, biological arguments don't stand on this issue (which is why most pro-choice advocates have moved away from them)! Argue from some other angle, because scientific ones don't make any sense!

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  57. As to the question of an unfertilized egg or an egg before fertilization:

    I want to say this clearly: An egg is just an egg. A fertilized egg (sperm and egg have fused) is a tiny, new, unique human being... a person.

    Now, here is a great way to understand it:

    If artificial gestation were to be available one day, you could put an unfertilized egg in the "gestator" and it would continue to be... an egg. Nothing more, nothing less. It would sit there, because it's an egg.

    But if you put a fertilized egg (i.e. an embryo) into the "gestator" it would grow and grow (like babies are wont to do) until the point where, several months later, it could come out of the gestator and then begin to be cared for (still totally dependent) in a different way.

    Here's a weird hypothetical: A couple is desperate for a child. They are in the lab of the future, and they have a choice to claim the egg in Gestator A or the fertilized egg (embryo) in Gestator B.

    Which should they choose, and why?

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  58. Complicated Life, thank you! Great comment. And, the story of the abortion provider and your friend is so illustrative! Wow!

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  59. I am not going to argue here, but my sister in law had an injection of hormone the day before, which stopped the process, then went in for a D & C. So they didn't cut and burn the fetus for weeks on end. I am not saying that does or does not happen - it just wasn't the case with her abortion.

    Also, regarding women's rights trumping the fetuses, what do you all think of this: My close friend since college was 5 1/2 months pregnant with her fourth child when she had an emergency medical issue that demanded immediate surgery. Her life was absolutely in danger, though there were significant risks to the unborn child. She struggled with it as I think any mother would, then her husband told her he needed her alive. Her three children needed her alive. It would be sad if they lost the baby, but both he and the children valued her life above the unborn baby's. Before I tell you how it ended, do you think she would be a murderer if the baby died after surgery? Is her husband a monster for caring about her above the unborn child?

    AnnieP

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  60. PS* Wouldn't a "gestator" be immoral according to you, anyway? Wouldn't the correct answer for a Catholic be "neither option"?

    AnnieP

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  61. AnnieP,

    Regarding the situation of your friend from college, it sounds like it would fall under the Catholic principle of "double-effect." Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I would explain it...

    Your friend needed immediate surgery, presumably to save her life. The goal of that medical procedure is to save her, not to cause harm or kill her unborn child. If, while trying to save her life, the repercussions caused her child's life to end, that would not be wrong. It was not an intentional killing of her child; it was not murder; it was not an abortion; it was not morally wrong. Another example of this would be a pregnant woman who needed to undergo chemotherapy; the intention of the chemo is to heal her, not to kill/harm the child.

    In those cases, as well as other cases that can involve two adults (check out Leila's post here for an example: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/search/label/Doctrinal%20quiz%20show) the woman's rights are not trumping the rights of the unborn child. Nor are the child's rights trumping the rights of the woman (she is not morally required to sacrifice her own life by foregoing the medical attention she needs in order to save the child's life, though choosing to do so could be considered heroically virtuous).

    Maybe someone can add onto this to make a clearer or more complete answer? Or to correct me? :)

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  62. This is not a comment on abortion, per se, more on the issue of terminology.
    Leila, you ask: at what moment does the unborn "thing" become human?
    I am wondering how you respond to this question in regards to governmental and legal classifications of viability, i.e the cut-off between miscarriage and stillbirth.
    In Australia, a stilbirth is classified from 24 weeks gestation, and before that it is a miscarriage. As you probably know, one who has suffered a stillbirth goes through the rituals of blessing, funeral, cremation/burial, receiving a birth and death certificate. I went through this 7 months ago, when my daughter was stillborn, unexpectedly, with no known cause.
    Miscarriage sufferers are not obliged to hold a funeral, nor do they get a birth certificate.
    I am wondering how Michele feels about this, having lost her children prior to 24 (or 20, in the USA?) weeks.
    I know ultimately it is a question of viability, survival outside the womb that dictates this classification. Sybella, stillborn at term, would have survived outside the womb if she had been born alive. But is that enough to say what a human is/isnt? Viability?
    I am just interested to know your thouughts on this. Thank you.

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  63. Annie, Complicated Life did a good job of explaining the principle of "double effect". A woman may treat a condition which is threatening her life, even if it endangers the unborn child. However, the death of the unborn child must never be a direct killing, and must always be an "unintended side effect" of treating the mother (in whatever morally licit way she would have been treated if not pregnant). What is always prohibited is the direct killing of the child (i.e., abortion).

    In other words, abortion may never be used as a "cure" for the mother. Hopefully, during whatever procedure is used, great care is taken to try to save both the mother and the child.

    I don't want to comment about your sister-in-law's situation, because I don't want to upset you or speak on things that I don't know about. But I am not sure what "process" was stopped with the injection, or what the injection was for. I never said "weeks on end"; in fact, it would be much shorter than that. For a more comprehensive look at the different types of abortions at different gestational ages, go here:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/abortiontypes/

    more to come....

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  64. Annie, the idea of a "gestator" is fictional for now, so I have no idea of the Church's stance on such a thing. However, I will speculate like this:

    The only moral means of conceiving a child would be through the marital act between two spouses. So, a child must be conceived through love-making in marriage. Not in a petri dish, or by artificial means. If the embryo could not then survive in the woman's womb, and if (in the future) there were a "gestator" that were available to preserve the baby's life (like an incubator for premies, but more advanced), then I believe such a machine would be moral. However, the creation of the child must always be through the marital embrace.

    Again, that is a speculation. My point in asking the question was, of course, to question the use of "viability" to determine when someone "becomes" human. "Viability" is an arbitrary line, and ever changing.

    And one last thought: I never said that anyone would be a "monster" for choosing abortion, or for making a choice to save the life of either mother or child. We are discussing morality here, not judging souls.

    I hope you could answer the question about erring on the side of life, and also about what might be more "ghastly."

    Thanks!

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  65. Dear Imogen,

    My sincere condolences on the loss of your daughter, Sybella (beautiful name).

    The Catholic position is that life begins at conception (the joining of a sperm and an egg) and that from that point, it is inviolable. He or she is fully human from the point of conception on. There are no "degrees" of humanity.

    Every country has its own rules for when to issue a birth or death certificate. That is not something that I have read a lot about. A lot of it is for practical reasons, I am sure. Sometimes law, rules and regulations about things like issuing documents, etc., are necessarily arbitrary. It is just a "line" that someone had to draw. But from a moral stance, it has no bearing on the value or "humanness" of the unborn child.

    I am not sure if I am answering your question adequately, so please let me know if I am not being clear or if I misunderstood your question.

    Thanks!

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  66. Annie,

    I like to think of the mother dying to save her child's life like this. A woman was on a cruise ship with four children and a child fell over. If the mother jumped into the shark infested water she would probably drown, but may survive who knows. It would probably be traumatic for the three children to see their mom just look at the child wading in the water with sharks approaching just as it would be traumatic to see their mother jump into the water and possibly get killed along with the sister. The mother jumping in the water would be a hero despite the outcome- a true expression of undying,unconditional, and fearless love. If the mother didn't jump in and the child was eaten by sharks or just drowned she would have to ask herself-why she didn't just jump in. I have seen this with post=abortive moms all the time. It is the abortion that ultimately leaves the permenant wound,while circumstances change. All my love, compassion, and prayer goes to all in those difficult circumstance. By the way, the hero could be the husband who says, I will hold the burden of raising 3 children, so that the wife could be the hero wound free.

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  67. Sorry for all the spelling and grammer errors, but I have a child sleeping on my lap and plucked off compuer keys.

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  68. Airing the Chapel posted about this post, urging compassion for women who feel trapped into make the decision to abort (and of course I agree).

    Here is part of Miss Gwen's comment to that post:

    I made the mistake of commenting on Leila's blog because it was an "open letter" to pro-choice people. Of course, it turned into a giant attack with tons of questions being fired away and, as always, the judgment that I am some sort of sick, twisted monster who runs around trying to kill unborn babies and supporting genocide.

A colleague of mine worked with PP and did research there and sadly, a number of the clients that came in for abortions over the several years she was there, were from conservative families and identified as 'pro-life.' As you put it, they felt backed up against a wall with no where to turn and no support.

Thanks again for this important perspective.

    I was grateful that JoAnna responded to Gwen with the truth of it:

    Miss G, it was not a "giant attack." NO ONE said you were "some sort of sick, twisted monster who runs around trying to kill unborn babies and supporting genocide" or even anything remotely similar.

It's silly to say something like that when it's essentially public record.

I would address the questions to you in my previous post. If women feel they have no choice, how is it "pro-choice" to essentially affirm that? It seems more "pro-abortion" to tell women that they have no choice other to abort, so sign here and fork over your $$ so we can kill your baby, even though you don't want to (as opposed to giving her the resources necessary to make a different choice).

    It's strange to me that when liberals are questioned, they often protest that they are being attacked and called monsters, when there is no evidence of it. (Can you show me where, Gwen?) I never even called Miss G a monster when she said she might support certain cases of infanticide.

    Anyway, it's all public record here.

    Also, Miss G protested that there were "tons of questions being fired away" after she commented.... But, in actuality, the whole entire post, before anyone commented, was chock full of "tons of questions".... so, color me confused. Help?

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  69. BTW, Miss Gwen's possible support of some instances of infanticide was mentioned by her on another post, in response to Peter Singer's writings.

    And, if Miss Gwen could answer JoAnna's question about helping women who feel they have no choice? That is what crisis pregnancy centers do, but pro-aborts are constantly trying to shut them down (check New York).

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  70. "The lady doth protest too much, methinks"

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  71. These are some of the saddest pictures I have ever seen. Bless their sweet sweet mother...Maybe if this was the billboard ad for anti abortion campaigns, things would go alot differently...

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  72. HI Imogen... Our experience was actually quite a different one, as it relates to the whole miscarriage/stillbirth/live birth issue based on gestational age. Because our children had "signs of life", our state recognizes them as being born alive. Nicholas even received an APGAR rating of 2 by the flight paramedic.

    I think the gestational classifications should be tossed and changed to a "signs of life" declaration, personally. I hope this answers your question.

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  73. Thank you for the post and my prayers go out to the children's mom. I am so sorry for your loss. This is the first blog I read to the end because so often the postings become disrespectful to say the least. Thank you for the forum. The truth always wins but we have to fight the good fight with love and compassion. Christ will guide us.

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  74. I'll post, as a pro-choice mom, step-mom and birthmom.

    Are those babies human? Yes. Is abortion ending their life? Yes. Do they have a right to life? No. When does that right begin? The moment that they are separate from their mother. Until that time, they are a part of her body and she has the right to decide what medical procedures that she will undergo with regards to her body. If she wants to amputate a body part, she can. If she has to amputate a body part, she can. It's that simple.

    In the original post, the idea that because something was attached to their body (ie arms, fingers, nose) it belonged to them. I agree. If something is attached to you, it belongs to you and you can choose to continue your life with it or without it.

    I think that I differ from many pro-choice folks in that I've had to choose, was given the choice, and chose to give my daughter an adoptive family. I know what it is like to bear that burden.

    I also admit that the fetus is a human. And that there are times when taking a life is justified. Because of this, I feel that abortion needs to be as painless as possible for both the mother and baby. There are changes that need to be made on that front, I know.

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  75. allkindsofmom,

    Thank you for your clarity and honesty. Can I just ask a couple more clarifying questions (although I think I know where you stand)?

    1) If a baby is "located within" a mom, then he is "part of" the mom? So, it's a location issue?

    2) If there were an artificial womb ("gestator") would a six-week-old embryo be a protected human in your opinion (if it were growing in the gestator)?

    3) In the case of partial birth abortion, do all the parts of the body need to be out of the mother's body before the baby is protected? For example, if all of the baby is delivered except for the big toe, is that baby still part of the woman's body, and can it still be killed? Because with PBA, there is a partial delivery before death.

    Thanks, and welcome!

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  76. 1)No, a baby is part of the mom because it is actually connected to her. Not just location.

    2)Yes, I believe that any child in an artificial womb should have a right to life. If it is not attached to another person, it is it's own.

    3)As far as pba is concerned, the principle still stands. As long as the child is a part of the mother--umbilical cord attached and partially inside the mother--it is her decision to make. Is that ugly and sometimes disturbing? Yes, but I would argue that it is a rarely performed procedure that is only done for very serious reasons. In fact it is a needed procedure that needs to be protected. If it can be more humane, it should be, but as I understand it, it is done in the safest way possible for the mother, which takes precedence.

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  77. So, the umbilical cord is the thing? What about after birth, when the umbilical cord is still attached and inside the mom? For those moments, can the baby be killed?

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  78. And, there could be a day when an embryo is protected from killing by law, but a full term baby still unborn is not? In your opinion, the embryo would have full human rights, but the full term baby has none? Just to be clear. Thanks!

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  79. About partial birth abortion, were you aware of these fact?

    The abortion lobby's misinformation campaign imploded in February, 1997, when Ron Fitzsimmons -- who was then and is now the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers (an association of hundreds of abortion providers) -- gave a series of well-publicized interviews. In those interviews, Fitzsimmons said the claim that the partial-birth abortion procedure was used rarely and mostly in acute medical situations was merely a "party line" (his term) developed by opponents of the bill, and was false. Fitzsimmons also expressed regret about his own previous (albeit minor) role in propagating this 'party line," explaining, "[I] lied through my teeth."

    The truth was that "in the vast majority of cases, the procedure is performed on a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is 20 weeks or more along, Fitzsimmons said." (The New York Times, Feb. 26, 1997)


    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/PBAmythsmemo01303.html

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  80. Here's the actual NYTimes article:

    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/PBA%20NYT%20lied.pdf

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  81. Not meaning to bombard you, but here are some more of the facts from the abortionists themselves:

    From the beginning, NRLC and other bill supporters often cited the explicit statements of Dr. James McMahon, who developed the partial-birth abortion method, and Dr. Martin Haskell, who drew the method to public attention by writing an instructional paper in 1992 that explained in detail how to perform the procedure.

    For example, in 1993, Haskell told American Medical News that 80% of his partial-birth abortions were "purely elective" (He performed hundreds annually.)

    McMahon submitted to the House Judiciary Committee a document that showed that in one series of about 2,000 such abortions that he performed, only 9% were performed for "maternal" health reasons, and of that group, the most common reason was "depression."

    McMahon also said that used the method even during the final three months of pregnancy on women who were physically healthy and whose babies were normal, if he thought there were "psychiatric" reasons, or if the mother was especially young.


    All the original sources can be found on the first link I provided.

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  82. As I said, as long as the child is attached and still partially inside the mother, it is a part of her.

    I don't understand your second point. Could you explain?

    As far as Ron Fitzsimmons goes, the fact that he says that late term abortions are performed more often that people thought in 1997, it is still a minuscule percentage of all abortions. That cannot be denied.

    I said "very serious reasons". I did not say that the reasons were because of a physically unhealthy fetus or mom. The fact that one man says that the majority of cases are performed on physically healthy moms and babies makes no difference in my opinion.

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  83. I've got to go, but I will be back to see your comments. I really appreciate the honesty and civility in this conversation.

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  84. Sorry, my second comment could have been clearer, you're right. Okay, so there is an embryo in a "gestator" in one room. There is a full term, viable baby in the womb in another room. Would you say that the embryo has full human rights and full protection under the law (someone who kills it would be guilty of murder) and the full term baby in utero has no human rights or protection under the law (can be killed at will).

    I am guessing your answer is yes, but I want to be sure. You have been refreshingly clear! Thanks!

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  85. Here's my last bit of questioning to get total clarity on your position (which is very consistent from what I can tell!):

    The baby has to be both attached to the mother with the umbilical cord and at least partially inside the mother's birth canal in order for your condition for his killing to apply, right? In other words, if either one of those two conditions is absent, the baby is not a part of the mother anymore, correct?

    Thanks!

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  86. You've got it on both points.

    And, I think that I know how callus that can sound to anti-choice ears. I was once one of you. However, I had to think long and hard about what being pro-choice meant. To me, it means trusting women.

    I trust that nearly no woman likes having an abortion. But that women look at all of the myriad and complicated variables in their lives and make the best decision that they can. I trust that individual women know their circumstances and hearts better than you or I do.

    Because of that, and because I believe that there are valid reasons for taking a life, I think that abortion must be a legal option.

    I really appreciate the time you've taken to hear my side of this debate. I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments, too. It's always good to know that two people can disagree, even vigorously, without thinking that the opposing side is evil or stupid.

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  87. Allkindsofmom,

    I appreciate the calm and reasoned debate as well. :) A few questions for you -

    What valid reasons are there for taking an innocent life? Do you think these reasons are the cause of most abortions?

    I'm confused about one of your points, if you could clarify. You say that an unborn baby is "part of" the mother's body. Does that mean that when I was pregnant with my son, I had a penis as part of my body?

    Also, I'm curious what you think about Laci and Connor's Law. Is it an unjust law, in your opinion?

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  88. Thanks allkindsofmom,

    I will get back to you as soon as I can with some more questions. Please keep checking back! :)

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  89. JoAnna,

    Valid reasons for taking an innocent life...well, I'm not sure that "valid" is the issue. Valid according to whom? Each individual woman has to judge that for herself. No one else can.

    As far as beyond abortion, I guess the classic thought experiment states my opinion well. You know the one: one person is standing on one train track. Five people are standing on another. You see a train coming at the 5. Do you throw the switch to kill the one instead? For me, of course. Is it a horrible decision to have to make? Yes. It is not something anyone would want to do, but sometimes you have to sacrifice one person for another. That is the way I see abortion many, many times. One person, the person that actually owns the body, takes precedence over the person using the body.

    There are those kinds of situations in the world, although rare, and I would say that they would be valid reasons for killing an innocent person.

    As far as any other reasons to take an innocent life? To end pain, suffering. To be kind.

    I don't think that "valid" is an issue with abortion. It's like asking what is a valid reason to get a nose job. Well...any reason. Because you want one, because you want to look like your favorite star, because you own your body and can do with it what you like. I know it may be hard to understand that a woman's child belongs to her while she is pregnant, but I believe that that is the only logical way to address this issue.

    And, yes. Of course a penis was a part of your body when you were pregnant. So was a placenta, and umbillical cord and, well, an entire other human being. When I was pregnant with my daughter I was in possession of another uterus, too. And all of the eggs that one day may become my grandchildren. Amazing.

    As far as Laci and Conner's Law is concerned, I have absolutely no problem with it, as far as I understand it. If you injure me or any part of me, there are consequences. That child is a part of me while I am pregnant. I see no problem with acknowledging that pregnancy is a different condition, with additional loss.

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  90. So, it's okay to sacrifice someone's life for someone's.... convenience/career/financial stability? I don't see that there is a balance there.

    A life for a life, sometimes. But never a direct killing.

    Anyone interested should go here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/09/answer-to-dqs-moral-reasoning-101-ends.html

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/11/answer-to-doctrinal-quiz-show-and.html

    Also, Laci and Conner's Law says that a second person was killed. Not a part of someone's body.

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  91. I just don't know why you don't "trust" women to kill their newborn children as well? They still belong to her. And some, like Peter Singer, say that women should be trusted with killing their children up to three months after birth. What do you think? Why not extend the trust just a few more weeks?

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  92. Now, in the case of conjoined twins, they share much more in common than a mother and child in the womb. For example, they actually DO share organs, brains, etc. And they are always attached. They even share the same DNA, which is not true of moms and babies. So, they are much more "a part of" the other's body than a pregnancy. Can one of them kill the other, morally?

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  93. "So, it's okay to sacrifice someone's life for someone's.... convenience/career/financial stability? I don't see that there is a balance there."

    If that person is living inside and off of someone else's body, their wishes come first. I don't know that I can state it any more simply.

    "A life for a life, sometimes. But never a direct killing."

    I'm not sure I see the difference. In the train scenario, you are directly killing one person by pulling the switch and I think that it would be hard to find anyone who would say that this would be wrong to do. How can one sacrifice one life for another without a direct killing?

    "I just don't know why you don't "trust" women to kill their newborn children as well? They still belong to her."

    No, I don't believe that our children belong to us once they are out of our womb. Once they are born they are their own people with rights--to life, bodily integrity, etc. We care for them, but we do not own them. As far as killing newborn children, again, at that point, they have the right to life as they are now no longer living inside someone else.

    "Now, in the case of conjoined twins, they share much more in common than a mother and child in the womb. For example, they actually DO share organs, brains, etc. And they are always attached. They even share the same DNA, which is not true of moms and babies. So, they are much more "a part of" the other's body than a pregnancy. Can one of them kill the other, morally?"

    Well, conjoined twins are a horse of another color. As these decisions are largely (I dare say always) made by the parents in infancy or early childhood. And the fact is that, yes, sometimes one child is allowed to die by being surgically separated from their sibling so that the other child will have a better chance at living. I find it hard to believe that anyone would fault the parents for not allowing both children to die and taking such a step.

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  94. Whoops, I forgot to address this point.

    "Also, Laci and Conner's Law says that a second person was killed. Not a part of someone's body."

    As far as I am concerned it's semantics. Another person was killed. That person was also a part of someone else's body. Still, I don't have a problem with it.

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  95. I'm sorry, allkindsofmom, but I'm still confused. You're saying that I used to have a penis, but now I don't? I have a feeling that if I said that to my OB-GYN, he'd refer me to a psychiatrist.

    Doesn't something that's part of my body have to have my DNA as well? My son has his own unique DNA structure that's different than mine, and has since the moment he was conceived, so I don't see how he could have ever been a part of my body in the same way my arm is a part of my body. When I went to the doctor for an ultrasound, he didn't say, "That's your head," he said, "That's your baby's head." And so on.

    I remember when I had my very first ultrasound when pregnant with my oldest daughter... my OB said, "There are the baby's arms, and legs, and heart... and her umbilical cord." Shouldn't she have said, in your view, "there's your other head, your arms and legs," etc.?

    To me, what you're saying is in direct opposition to medical science and basic biology.

    Valid reasons for taking an innocent life...well, I'm not sure that "valid" is the issue. Valid according to whom? Each individual woman has to judge that for herself. No one else can.

    How is it possible, then, to have a legal system at all? If it is wrong for the law to judge my reasons for killing my unborn child, how can it judge my reasons for killing my husband, or my born children, if I so choose?

    Regarding Laci and Connor's Law, if what you're saying is true, then someone who wounds me so severely that it results in the amputation of my arm should be charged with homicide.

    That law recognizes that a separate person was killed apart from his/her mother. It's not semantics; it's a biological fact.

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  96. "I'm sorry, allkindsofmom, but I'm still confused. You're saying that I used to have a penis, but now I don't? I have a feeling that if I said that to my OB-GYN, he'd refer me to a psychiatrist."

    Yes, I am saying that you once "had" a penis. You made it. You grew it. You "owned" it.

    "Doesn't something that's part of my body have to have my DNA as well?"

    No. Obviously not. Even if you disregard the fact that your child is a part of you, people donate body parts every day. A donated heart does not have the same dna as the recipient, but it is still theirs.

    "My son has his own unique DNA structure that's different than mine, and has since the moment he was conceived, so I don't see how he could have ever been a part of my body in the same way my arm is a part of my body."

    A donated arm, that has its own dna is still yours just the same way that your given arm was. You can keep it attached or have it amputated. You don't have to ask permission of the previous owner or their next of kin. It is yours.

    "When I went to the doctor for an ultrasound, he didn't say, "That's your head," he said, "That's your baby's head." And so on.

    I remember when I had my very first ultrasound when pregnant with my oldest daughter... my OB said, "There are the baby's arms, and legs, and heart... and her umbilical cord." Shouldn't she have said, in your view, "there's your other head, your arms and legs," etc.?"

    No, of course not. That would be crazy. We are talking here about who owns what body parts and who can decide what to do with them. This is a much different scenario that when you are talking to your doctor, in a very relaxed, every day sort of way. The same way your doctor doesn't call your baby a zygote or fetus when talking to you, even though that is the truth of the matter. He or she calls it your baby. Because it's a totally different kind of atmosphere. I think that that should go without saying.

    "To me, what you're saying is in direct opposition to medical science and basic biology."

    We're not just talking biology, though. We're talking morality. In that way, your baby is yours. You make decisions about it. No one else can and no one else should. It is a part of you. I don't know how anyone who has gestated a child can argue that.

    "How is it possible, then, to have a legal system at all? If it is wrong for the law to judge my reasons for killing my unborn child, how can it judge my reasons for killing my husband, or my born children, if I so choose?"

    I wasn't clear here. Sorry. I was talking specifically about abortion. One can judge your reasons for killing your husband or your born child because (And I feel like I'm becoming a broken record here) they are their own person with their own right to life and liberty and bodily integrity. They are not living inside of and off of you.

    "Regarding Laci and Connor's Law, if what you're saying is true, then someone who wounds me so severely that it results in the amputation of my arm should be charged with homicide."

    But your arm isn't another human being. That doesn't make sense. A fetus is. They are a human being that is living inside of and off of you.

    "That law recognizes that a separate person was killed apart from his/her mother. It's not semantics; it's a biological fact."

    I absolutely agree.

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  97. Part I:

    "I'm sorry, allkindsofmom, but I'm still confused. You're saying that I used to have a penis, but now I don't? I have a feeling that if I said that to my OB-GYN, he'd refer me to a psychiatrist."

    Oh, dear. Yes, I am saying that you once "had" a penis. You made it. You grew it. You "owned" it.

    "Doesn't something that's part of my body have to have my DNA as well?"

    No. Obviously not. Even if you disregard the fact that your child is a part of you, people donate body parts every day. A donated heart does not have the same dna as the recipient, but it is still theirs.

    "My son has his own unique DNA structure that's different than mine, and has since the moment he was conceived, so I don't see how he could have ever been a part of my body in the same way my arm is a part of my body."

    A donated arm, that has its own dna is still your just the same way that your given arm was. You can keep it attached or have it amputated. You don't have to ask permission of the previous owner or their next of kin. It is yours.

    "When I went to the doctor for an ultrasound, he didn't say, "That's your head," he said, "That's your baby's head." And so on.

    I remember when I had my very first ultrasound when pregnant with my oldest daughter... my OB said, "There are the baby's arms, and legs, and heart... and her umbilical cord." Shouldn't she have said, in your view, "there's your other head, your arms and legs," etc.?"

    No, of course not. That would be crazy. We are talking here about who owns what body parts and who can decide what to do with them. This is a much different senario that when you are talking to your doctor, in a very relaxed, every day sort of way. The same way your doctor doesn't call your baby a zygote or fetus when talking to you, even though that is the truth of the matter. He or she calls it your baby. Because it's a totally different kind of atmosphere. I think that that should go without saying.

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  98. Part II:

    "To me, what you're saying is in direct opposition to medical science and basic biology."

    We're not just talking biology, though. We're talking morality. In that way, your baby is yours. You make decisions about it. No one else can and no one else should. It is a part of you. I don't know how anyone who has gestated a child can argue that.

    Valid reasons for taking an innocent life...well, I'm not sure that "valid" is the issue. Valid according to whom? Each individual woman has to judge that for herself. No one else can.

    "How is it possible, then, to have a legal system at all? If it is wrong for the law to judge my reasons for killing my unborn child, how can it judge my reasons for killing my husband, or my born children, if I so choose?"

    I wasn't clear here. Sorry. I was talking specificly about abortion. One can judge your reasons for killing your husband or your born child because (And I feel like I'm becoming a broken record here) they are their own person with their own right to life and liberty and bodily integrity. They are not living inside of and off of you.

    "Regarding Laci and Connor's Law, if what you're saying is true, then someone who wounds me so severely that it results in the amputation of my arm should be charged with homicide."

    But your arm isn't another human being. That doesn't make sense. A fetus is. They are a human being that is living inside of and off of you.

    "That law recognizes that a separate person was killed apart from his/her mother. It's not semantics; it's a biological fact."

    I absolutely agree.

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  99. Shoot, sorry about the double post. The first time it told me the whole thing was too big. Hmmmm. I dunno.

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  100. What happens with Blogger is that sometimes the URL for the comment gets too long and the browser freaks out about it... but the comment still publishes. (And sometimes comments with urls get marked as spam and you have to wait for Leila to let them out of spam jail.) :)

    We're not just talking biology, though. We're talking morality. In that way, your baby is yours. You make decisions about it. No one else can and no one else should. It is a part of you. I don't know how anyone who has gestated a child can argue that.

    And I don't see why this right to decide when I can kill my child ends when s/he is born, if what you say above is true. S/he has bodily integrity before and after his/her birth. All that changes with birth is location.

    I have never had a penis (thank goodness, lol). I did not grow my son's penis, he grew it himself! All I did was provide the environment. I may provide houseroom to guests but that doesn't mean that, because they're staying in my house and on my property, I'm within my rights to kill them for whatever reason I deem appropriate.

    Regarding donated organs, a transplant recipient has to take medication every day to suppress his/her immune system so that his/her body DOESN'T reject the transplant. If those medications didn't exist, transplants would be impossible. Our bodies would reject the foreign DNA. So it's not really analogous to pregnancy, which is a natural biological process.

    But I'm a firm believer that one human being cannot own another. My children are mine, but I don't legally own them. I can't sell them on E-bay (as tempting as that is some days...) if I want to; if I choose to neglect them, they can be taken away from me.

    I believe a human being has a right to bodily integrity even if s/he is in his/her mother's womb. In 99% of cases, s/he was conceived due to a consensual act of his/her parents, even if his/her conception wasn't intended (i.e., contraception was used). I believe that if people engage in the act that is meant to create babies, they should take responsibility for the babies that are created and respect their bodily integrity and rights that are inherent to all human beings -- specifically, the right to life.

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  101. allkinds, this ownership thing bothers me. It's like Dred Scott. We can't morally own other humans. You agree an unborn child is a human. Humans cannot be owned and they cannot be killed by others who find their lives inconvenient.

    When you say the baby is living off the woman, you are pulling out the "baby as parasite" argument. But there is not a parasitic relationship between baby and mom. The analogy doesn't fit.

    Does your view sound "callous", like you said? No, it sounds worse, of course. You know it's killing, you admit it's killing, you know it's an innocent that is being killed, and so we call that "moral evil" not callousness. We must call things by name. Killing the innocent (when we know full well they are human) is evil. We must not sugarcoat.

    By the way, the trolley car example is not direct killing. The death of the innocent is an unintended, if foreseen, side effect of saving one's own life. It is not like an abortion, in which the intent is the death of the baby, and the killing is performed directly for the purpose of coming out of it with a dead baby.

    You might want to read those posts I cited so that you can understand the principle of double effect, versus direct murder. Big distinction.

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  102. Allkinds, I think I have reached the point of clarity with you:

    You admit that the unborn are human beings.
    You believe that those human beings are property of the mother to either love or dispose of as she sees fit (for any and all reasons, and even for no reason)
    You advocate for no legal protection for that set of human beings.

    This adds up to your (explicitly stated) view that you are fine with the deliberate murder of innocent human beings. That's a very evil viewpoint, morally speaking. I won't say you are evil (I am not the Judge), but your views are quite chilling, to say the least.

    I will leave it at that and thank you for being so clear for the readers.

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  103. I have a couple more questions for allkinds, just to try to make clear this ownership/part-of-my-body thing.

    From what I understand, in a partial birth abortion, you feel women have the right to kill the baby as long as it is still attached to the umbilical cord and partially inside the mother, because at this point, in your view, the mother still owns the baby and the baby is still part of the mother's body.

    Let's say I'm a rather sick individual. I do NOT want to abort the baby, but I do want to torture it. And so, as the breech baby is being born, I snip off a couple of it's toes with a pair of scissors, and burn it's feet and legs with a cigarette lighter. In your reasoning, at this point, I should face no legal repercussions for my actions, since the baby's upper body is still inside of me, and the baby is still receiving its oxygen from the cord.

    Is this correct? I should have the same legal right to disfigure the baby, in the same way taht I have a legal right to disfigure my own body as I see fit?

    I realize this is a pretty unlikely scenario, but could a man (with the mother's permission, of course) rape his daughter as she is being born, just so long as she is being born breech and her head is still in the birth canal and her umbilical cord is still functioning? As you said, it is the mother's vagina at this point, is it not?

    I apologize for being so terribly graphic in my examples, but if we "logically" can kill a baby in utero because it is essentially one of our own organs which we are free to do with as we please, then I see no "logical" reason why we could not also torture, disfigure, molest, or rape that child, so long as the mom is in agreement.

    Thoughts?

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  104. Monica, great questions.... I am interested in her answer.

    Allkinds, I also wonder if you know of any doctors who would actually amputate a woman's healthy leg or arm on request? Is this something that a medical doctor would do? And is it legal?

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  105. Allkindsofmom,

    For what it's worth, I completely understand what you're saying here and your point of view on this topic.

    I hope you continue to try to clarify it to Leila and the rest of the Bubble, as I am not nearly brave enough (nor are my ideas as well thought out) to take on the abortion debate.

    Thanks for helping me clear up my views on this issue.

    I'm very much appreciating your clarity.

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  106. Allkinds, also, I think you misunderstood my question about the conjoined twins. I meant why couldn't one twin kill the other one?

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  107. I thought I would tack this on at the end here, because this is what real choice looks like. Those desperate women get help every single day from pro-life women who care enough to offer them love and assistance, even for years afterwards. I know, because my friends do this very type of work, day in and day out. Anyway, great story...

    http://www.arkansas-catholic.org/article.php?id=2370

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  108. I think this post will open the eyes of those who were like me many years ago. I used to be "pro-choice" but didn't really think about the consequences of terminating a pregnancy and how it was really ending the life of another human being. When I was pregnant with my daughter at 7 wks and saw her heartbeat, it definitely opened my eyes. She wasn't just some clump of cells.
    For those who support abortion and understand exactly what's happening to the child and admit it is another human being and a woman is deciding to end that human being's life, well, I don't know how you'd change their mind.
    My thought is that once you decide there are some circumstances that justify killing an innocent human being then where does that end. I know it's probably a slippery slope argument but it is now o.k. to terminate a pregnancy if the expectant parent finds out their baby has down syndrome or some other birth defect. The mentality is that certain human beings are less valuable than other human beings. Considering that I had relatives die in Nazi concentration camps, that is very disturbing to me. People may say "Oh well, that can't happen again." History can and does repeat itself.

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  109. Also I'd like to add in regards to "trusting the woman" to make the right decision about whether or not she wants to continue her pregnancy or not. I don't see that as a valid argument. I know of a few people, (some very dear and close to me,) who ended their pregnancy out of convenience. I just don't see the moral justification for that. I also know it didn't change their behavior and they got pregnant again and got another abortion. We can't assume that most reasons for abortion are noble. These people weren't "bad" people either. They were very reasonable, smart and educated. One of them ended up having 5 abortions. All due to failed contraception btw.
    It just goes back to where we draw the line. If we admit the unborn child is human and is living and abortion is killing them then when is it o.k. to kill them and when is it not? Why should it ever be o.k. to kill them period?

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  110. Dear God, this made me weep.

    Bless you!

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  111. Leila,
    I've now read through a number of the threads on this blog, and I have to say that you and other pro-lifers make it tough for anyone to stick their head above the parapet and declare their reasons for disagreeing with you. The usual format is that you ask for clarification of something, then when you don't like the answer you ever so politely ask again, and again and again, and others join in, as if you just can't comprehend what you are reading. I, as you know, have patiently laid out my position on another thread, but I know that if I keep going then variations of the same questions will keep coming. It's as if you feel that if you keep querying long enough, we will simply say "enough, you win, I can't put up with this any more, I'll convert!"
    Being polite is great, and I do gratefully acknowledge that most on this Blog are very polite. But you also have to accept that the Catholic Pro-life position is not the only moral position in the eyes of a large proportion of the World's population. What you regard as a 'sin' is not regarded as such by many sane, rational, caring, empathic people who are not catholics and/or not Pro-lifers.
    I guess this is a plea to ask you not to keep rephrasing the same question over and over - which to my mind is akin to harassment, given that this is already a hostile environment for someone who does not share the opinions of the majority. We are trying to understand your case and put ours, but we don't have to be here, and this behaviour will drive us away, which you appear from your statement of purpose not to want to do.
    I hope this is helpful, if blunt. I am trying to ensure that I have not left room for doubt!

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  112. Hi Simian. I am not sure I understand why you consider it harassment? We are doing an admittedly modified version of the Socratic Method here. Are you against that form of dialogue?

    I have no problem with accepting that an atheist believes something different from what I do. But just as I had to make logical sense of my beliefs, I want to press you to make logical sense of yours. And you will fact that challenge here. At a certain point, I will concede that the atheist point makes sense. For example, when Miss Gwen said (after being challenged to go further, several times) that her support for gay marriage does necessarily lead to acceptance of sibling marriage, then I left it alone. It made sense.

    When she said that she does not categorically rule out infanticide, a la Peter Singer's philosophy, then I accepted that. It makes sense. But I had to press her on it. So what you see as harassment, I see as challenging you to take your philosophy to its logical conclusion. I hope you understand.

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  113. * Clarification: "At a certain point, I will concede that the atheist point makes sense, if we assume the (faulty) premise."

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  114. Fair point Leila. Maybe I over-reacted. I was in a bad mood anyway. I apologise.
    I guess by the same logic I should more rigorously try to probe your assumptions. But I suppose there comes a point where we just have to agree to differ on some things. Anyway I'll continue to try to explain my position if it's helpful.

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  115. Simian, thank you! I am very much open to being challenged on my positions. In fact, I don't think that the secularists on this blog do that enough. So, please feel free to question me.

    You are absolutely right that there comes a point when we cannot continue on any given topic. That's okay. We just move on to another topic. :)

    Thanks for hanging in there with us. You are very fair-minded.

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