Thursday, January 20, 2011

Abortion advocates, please comment on what you will see here...

I am only posting the link.

I almost can't stomach doing even that. But it will have to do.

I don't suggest that any pro-lifer look at the photos in the link, because you know what abortion is, and you are already working to end such atrocities. But I do ask that abortion advocates go and look. Please go and see, and please tell me what you think of these photos?

Oh, yes, it is true that the "doctor" who committed these crimes is now (finally!) facing prosecution. However, late term abortions go on every day here in America. Babies -- human babies -- the same age, killed just as brutally.

I must know.... How do you look at these children and not become moved to fight the evil and injustice of abortion? How did liberalism -- which used to stand for the weakest, the most defenseless, the marginalized -- come to this? Is the right to have sex with no consequences more important than these children's lives? We now kill for sex routinely, and look the other way?

Abortion advocates, go look.

You know it's evil.

May God rest their precious souls.

203 comments:

  1. well of course I clicked the link...(I clicked the one labeled "these children" thinking perhaps it was something different but knowing it might be the same)... so, so, so sad. I would love to be holding those babies in my arms and nurturing them and know SO many women who would love to do the same :( never had a chance.. Oh poor little babies. What a cruel, cruel thing to do to them...I can barely come up with words.. praying for our society and the damage we do...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm crying. I knew the link wouldn't be good, but I didn't know how disturbed, horrified and sad I would be. How can your soul not cry out when you look at those sweet babies? I'm praying for all the lives lost, all those that felt they had no other choice and all those that facilitated atrocities like that. My mind just can't wrap itself how someone could do that in the name of medicine...

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is horrifying.

    There is no need for this slaughter. I and others would have adopted every one of those children.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Why do "abortion advocates"-- whatever that means-- have to answer for crimes committed by a murderer? I've been following here for a few weeks and I get the shtick: relentlessly try to lump abortion-rights supporters with pedophiles, rapists and murderers. It's been fun...

    ... but not really.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, the only difference between what he's charged with and what happens in what Carhart and other abortionists do is that the babies must have come out of the vagina too quickly to have the scissors jabbed into his/her skull while the head was still inside, thus not yet legally alive. Maybe people will finally admit to the barbarism that all abortion is...I'm not holding my breath but am continuing to pray.
    Oh, and by doing it this way he didn't have to waste his precious money-making time to suck out the brains to collapse the head inside of Mom. May God heal those who have been injured by the lie of abortion and convert the hearts of those who work to keep this evil going.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tony, did you look at the pictures?

    He was a murderer because he killed the babies after they slipped all the way out of the birth canal. If he had made sure that part of the baby was still in the birth canal, but did the exact same things to them he would have been a hero for women.

    What's the salient difference, Tony? Please, please, help me understand the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Abortion is killing another human being. What else would you call it other than murder? Oh right, "choice!"

    ReplyDelete
  8. I looked about 10 minutes ago and haven't stopped crying since. Both of my children were born at 36 weeks, and the 32 week child in one picture looks entirely too similar to what they looked like. Have mercy on all our souls. Like Mary, all I could think of was all of the women who would gladly have cut off their own limbs or given every last dollar they had to raise those children.

    Choice ends in the bedroom-- I'm so tired of people pulling out the rape/incest/mother's life card and using that as an excuse. I'd love to see some statistics as to how many abortions actually fit into those categories. I have a feeling that around 98% of all abortions are for convenience. It's time that we start taking responsibility for our actions, which includes actions in the bedroom.

    Watch this: don't want to get pregnant? Don't have sex, or at least not during the most fertile times, or with someone with whom you don't want to raise a child. You know what I'm doing this very instant? Not getting pregnant. And look... 4 seconds later. Still not getting pregnant. My restraint is truly admirable. Sex can make babies, people. It won't make pies or clothes or monkeys.

    Ok, stepping down from my soapbox. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Tony, abortion advocates are those who advocate for abortion. It's not a puzzing concept. Did you look at the link?

    Pictures like those are what turned my husband pro-life. They confronted him with the evil of abortion.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tony - I'd like to hear your answer to Leila's questions. Can you explain the difference between what happens to these babies and a late-term abortion?

    This isn't some pro-life "tactic" to demonize the "other side." We genuinely do not understand how or why it's considered just a "choice" when it comes to dismantling a full-term baby in an abortion but it's a murder in other circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Gosnell delivered live babies and then killed them. He was not performing abortions, and especially not legal abortions, when this happened. I am so glad that he will be prosecuted for the crimes he has committed.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Prochoicer, I am glad we are all horrified by what that man did. But the babies were "live babies" even in those moments before they were killed (while still in the birth canal). Can you answer the question I posed to Tony? What is the difference between killing these children as heinously as they were killed, and killing them a moment earlier (which we call an abortion)? Thanks you. I'm trying to understand the moral difference, or the difference in the value of the child.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Tell me what law would prevent criminals from doing this in private basements, garages and storefronts? How would it be worded? Enforced? This guy went on for 30 years unnoticed and unregulated.

    Or, as abortion-rights advocates claim, would criminalizing 1st trimester abortion lead to what happened in Thailand?

    I realize a rational discussion is impossible here, but these are the questions that pro-choicers ask.

    If you want to claim that abortion-rights advocates are naive or misguided, that's one thing... but if you want to continue to imply that abortion-rights advocates are "abortion advocates" and support what happened in Philadelphia or Thailand, well, then, you'll do with without me.

    The fact is that there are a lot of people who address these issues every day, in substantive ways.

    Join the conversation-- bring your data on the merits of abstinence-- but when you conflate crimes with legal and safe abortion, you lose a large number of the participants.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tony, you utterly avoided my question. Please, just answer the question:

    Why is two inches of a birth canal the difference between this man being a heinous murderer and a champion of women?

    What's the salient difference, Tony? Please, please, help me understand the difference.

    Please?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Gosnell delivered live babies and then killed them. He was not performing abortions...

    Tony and Christian Prochoicer - Just out of curiosity, do you oppose what happened in those pictures because of the late stage of the pregnancy, or because of the method used?

    If it's the former, I'd be interested to know at exactly what day of gestation you believe that a "fetus" becomes a "baby" who has a right to live. And would you be willing to advocate against abortions after that date?

    If it's the latter, it seems like the method is inconsequential.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I will listen to you, Leila, and not look! My daughter was born at 30 weeks so I don't think I could handle seeing the babies who were even older than her. So horrific and tragic.

    I read a quote this morning from the DA talking about how he knows abortion is a hot-button issue but his job is to carry out the law. Of course it is.. why does he even need to say that? It really rubbed me the wrong way and makes me wonder how many other doctors are suspected of similar crimes, but aren't prosecuted because abortion is a "hot-button issue."

    ReplyDelete
  17. Seeing how the procedure that antichoicers have labeled "partial birth abortion" is illegal in the United States, I'm sure not why anyone would ask about that. When that type of procedure was legal, it was extremely rare (abortions after 21 weeks only account for 1% of abortions).

    Jennifer, I disagree with what happened because newborn babies were murdered.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Prochoicer, actually it's still legal to perform late-term abortions in the US. Just not one particular kind of late-term abortion.

    Because it's rare -- does that make it less of a tragedy for that particular baby? If the "doctor" had stabbed the baby's neck and severed her spinal cord a few minutes earlier, while the baby was still in the womb, would he be a noble doctor in your eyes? But because he murdered the child after it was born, now you think it's horrible? I'm truly, really, trying to understand why murdering a "newborn baby" is evil, but doing the same thing to the same baby just moments earlier would be good.

    Help me understand the salient difference. As I asked Tony... please?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Tony, how many pedofiles are there around the world that have sex with 5yos yet no one proposes to make sex with 5yos legal to reduce the crime rates and because the kind of law prohibiting sex with children is hard to inforce. How's abortion any different?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Prochoicer,

    I am not "anti-choice." In fact, I am 100% for LEGITIMATE choice. However, I don't believe that one human being can choose to determine the humanity of other human beings. I don't believe that a human being can choose to kill his or her child because that child is conceived under difficult circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The only time late term abortions are done is to protect the life and health of the pregnant women. It is illegal to do them otherwise.

    So as much as a tragedy those abortions may be, they are a necessary tragedy. The women who abort wanted pregnancies and their families are grateful to have that choice. I think this may be the difference you are looking for. In an abortion, there is a woman involved. When a person murders an infant, there is no pregnant woman involved.

    I do not agree with illegally performed late term abortions, so no, even if this doctor had performed abortions instead of killing infants, I would not think very highly of him. He was obviously not there to help women.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Olya, great point. Tony?

    Prochoicer, do you know that "health of the mother" includes depression? Or being really stressed over having a child? Or, being a teen? Etc.? "Health of the mother" means "anyone who gets a doc to sign off that it is emotionally unhealthy to have a baby gets an abortion."

    I had asked: I'm truly, really, trying to understand why murdering a "newborn baby" is evil, but doing the same thing to the same baby just moments earlier would be good.

    Help me understand the salient difference.


    Your answer is "location"? Same baby, same room, same time, same doctor, same knife to slit the baby's neck open and sever his spinal cord, just different location by a couple of inches and seconds?

    That's the difference between "choice" and heinous murder? Do you really believe that?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Lelia, I am not a doctor. However, I do personally know people who have attempted suicide over depression. As a person who values life, I can see the connection between depression and the life of a woman. You make it appear that doctors will perform late term abortions for any reason. This is simply not true. The law is the law. Doctors who do not follow it are persecuted.


    My answer to your question was *not* "location." My answer was, there is a pregnant woman involved. You need to consider the fact that a living, breathing, thinking woman is involved in a pregnancy and an abortion. There is no woman involved in the murder Gosnell committed on infants.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Prochoicer, forgive me but it sounds like you are saying that a child's value and worth are determined by where he or she is located. The mother's life is infinitely valuable, no matter where she is located. The child's life is infinitely valuable, no matter where he or she is located. As a Christian, wouldn't you agree?

    And I'm curious what you make of the statement made by Ron Fitzsimmons, who was executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, when he told the New York Times in 1997 that he "lied through his teeth" earlier on Nightline about partial-birth abortion facts?

    He had told Nightline (falsely) that "the procedure was used rarely and only on women whose lives were in danger or whose fetuses were damaged". Later, in the NYTimes article, he admitted he had "lied through his teeth" and that these gruesome procedures were actually performed mostly on healthy mothers and babies.

    What do you think of that?

    More on the reasons for late-term abortions, if anyone cares to learn:

    http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/dave/dave_01latetermabortion.html

    ReplyDelete
  25. Tony and prochoicer, do you think it's the abortion mindset which allowed this man to get away with his atrocities for so long? The district attorney in the case had something to say:

    "The State Legislature has charged the Department of Health (DOH) with responsibility for writing and enforcing regulations to protect health and safety in abortion clinics as well as in hospitals and other health care facilities. Yet a significant difference exists between how DOH monitors abortion clinics and how it monitors facilities where other medical procedures are performed.

    Indeed, the department has shown an utter disregard both for the safety of women who seek treatment at abortion clinics and for the health of fetuses after they have become viable. State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health’s neglect of abortion patients’ safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design. …

    State health officials knew that Gosnell and his clinic were offering unacceptable medical care to women and girls, yet DOH failed to take any action to stop the atrocities documented by this Grand Jury."


    (emphasis mine)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Prochoicer, I personally know a woman who had an abortion b/s her doc. told her her life might be in danger if she had children. She later got pregnant again and gave birth succesfully. She is still in a LOT of emotional pain over following doc.'s odrers and having an abortion. She is depressed and have had many counselling sessions. I bet she is not the only one. So if, according to you, a woman's mental state is so important, ALL abortions should be illigal.
    I can also tell you that my own mother would have never had an abortion (and I would be a happy and proud sister to at least 2 (once she admitted to 6! but later said there were only two) more siblings.) if they were illigal. NEVER! Many, many women are like my mother. They will use abortion as birth control if it's legal but will never cross that the line should abortions be mabe against the law. And to me, those babies (and mothers) are worth saving.

    ReplyDelete
  27. My husband sent me the same story. Horrific.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I was on a radio show this morning with a pro-"choice" host (though he admits that every time we go on with him, he becomes a bit more pro-life...*small victory!*). His only argument for Gosnell was, "You can't paint all abortionists in this light."

    However, this man has been killing babies for decades, during most of which he has also had complaints filed against him. DECADES. Not to mention that just 6 months ago, a similar clinic was raided just about an hour from Philadelphia operated by another barbaric abortionist (who also hurt several women).

    Prochoicer - If this can happen twice in 6 months after having gone unreported for decades, you would be quite naive to think it's not happening EVERYWHERE. They're NOT following the law.

    How can this happen?? Because abortion-rights activists refuse to support legislation that requires abortion clinics to follow the same health standards as medical facilities. Why are abortion clinics exempt from health codes??? "Safe", legal & rare, huh?

    Leila, glad you brought up partial-birth abortion. We also brought that up with the host. He, like Tony, was unable to give us an answer on how that would have been different than the killing of fully-born babies.

    Oh, one more thing for Prochoicer - the "women's health" argument is a joke. Legally, a woman can say, "If I don't have an abortion I will be stressed out." And they can get an abortion. That simple. In fact, young women are often coaxed into saying such things, just so the abortionist can legally perform the procedure. THAT is the law.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Well, nobody answered my questions, so why should I feel obliged to answer anybody else's questions?

    The presence of pedophilia is cause for legalizing pedophilia? Umm, do the irrational analogies never end here?

    I know of no pro-choice person who "wants" more abortions, so quit saying it. It's beyond insulting to hear this over and over; call us stupid or misguided, but stop saying such drivel. I told a colleague about this site (neither of us do elective abortions, btw), he logged on and read a few posts/comments... and told me: "They're wackos."

    I don't necessarily agree; but I still want to know how criminalizing 1st trimester abortions would work. Would we require all girls and women past puberty to submit monthly pregnancy tests in order to protect the unborn?

    Do we criminalize risky behaviors for pregnant women since they could endanger their fetus? Is this the purpose of our legal system?

    Try to convince girls to keep their pregnancies, support them, advocate for abstinence, contraception, whatever.... I just draw the line at criminalization.

    Finkel, Gosnell, who's next? Why not put up a story about Goebbels? That would surely stimulate some prodigious discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Prochoicer or anyone... can you please explain to me how a late-term abortion could be more beneficial than simply inducing labor or delivering by C-Section? Because I really, really don't understand.

    Because late-term abortions from what I understand are just deliveries where the baby is killed seconds before fully exiting the birth canal. Why not just deliver the baby?

    What does killing the very viable baby have to do with preserving a woman's health?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Tony - you be interested in knowing that women in the US still do "back alley" abortions.

    Slate - The DIY Abortions: http://www.slate.com/id/2281280/

    PP in particular encourages the RU-486 (medication abortions). Even when Abby Johnson was fully pro-choice and loving her job at PP, she was horrified at what she observed to be particular dangers to the "DIY" RU-486 (and PP's national commitment to promoting it) and would often try to steer women away to no avail (it just looks so safe and easy!).

    ReplyDelete
  32. Tony - everyone who makes money off of abortions "wants" more abortions.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Sarah, I'm not sure what your point is. DIY abortions would become commonplace if abortion were illegal. PPhood is not in favor of "DIY abortions", they use these drugs under strict medical supervision.

    Nicole, I don't know much about you, but I do one thing: you have no idea what motivates abortion providers.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Tony - do you? i'd love to hear what you think it is.

    Because I've talked to, read about, heard testimonies from people who used to work in the industry and the answer is simple. M.O.N.E.Y.

    ReplyDelete
  35. To answer Sarah's question about late term abortions:

    http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/vanessaaishacoleman/2009/6/1/Late-Term-Abortions

    What happened in Philadelphia has nothing to do with medical care. Just like diddling 10 year-olds has nothing to do with Catholicism. I would think that folks at this site would understand that analogy, yet they don't.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Tony, to answer your questions, it's quite simple. Look at the laws that existed prior to Roe v. Wade. Did any of your dire hypothetical circumstances occur then? Why, no, they didn't.

    I encourage you to read this report about the ramifications of making abortion illegal in the USA. Note, especially, the last section:

    "I’d still worry that if you forbid abortion, it will just go back to back-alley butchery and lots of mothers dying.

    We’ve had an example of an entire nation in recent years. It was Poland. Under Communist rule in the ’80s, there were consistently over 100,000 abortions registered each year as compared to about 600,000 births. With the establishment of some self-government in 1990, with both the Church and doctors discouraging abortion, the numbers fell to 59,400.

    Let’s list the 1990 figures and then look ahead to 1994, the second year after abortion was forbidden except for danger to the life or health of the mother, rape and fetal handicap.

    [...]

    During this time the number of registered abortions declined to 176th of what it had been, and there was not a single death due to illegal abortion. All of these figures are exactly opposite of what International Planned Parenthood people in Poland predicted when the restrictive law was passed."

    As to your colleague, please, ask him to come back and write a comment elaborating on how exactly our positions are "wacko." I'd be interested to hear his take, and rebut his points.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I don't care how you slice it and dice it, a "pro-choicers" argument just doesn't hold water. Period. Pro choice for what? Murder? Oh yeah. They conveniently don't consider it a baby unless it's born and wanted therefore no murder. Let's face facts. Pro-choicers can't see the evil they are supporting and committing because they don't want to. Plain and simple. If they ever fully looked and thought about exactly what it is they do and/or support, I don't think they could live with themselves.
    Personally, I don't need to understand them. It's evil plain and simple. Call a spade a spade. They are doing so much damage to their souls and the souls of so many other women who get sucked into this horrible act called abortion. It needs to stop. For the sake of eternal souls.

    ReplyDelete
  38. [What happened in Philadelphia has nothing to do with medical care. Just like diddling 10 year-olds has nothing to do with Catholicism. I would think that folks at this site would understand that analogy, yet they don't.]

    Probably because late-term abortion has nothing to do with medical care.

    Life of the mother in danger? Princple of double effect.

    Fetal deformity? Perinatal hospice.

    Mother just doesn't feel like being pregnant anymore? Deliver baby live via C-section or induced labor; adopt baby to loving couple.

    Rape/incest? Deliver baby live via C-section or induced labor; adopt baby to loving couple. Get mother into a good counseling program and help her to see that she did a beautiful thing and brought some good out of a terrible and very trying situation.

    See? No reason for late-term abortion.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Tony - what happened in Philadelphia has EVERYTHING to do with abortion. And abortion is an invasive, dangerous surgery that uses medical instruments, and abortionists call themselves "doctors." So why shouldn't abortion clinics be subjected to the same regulations as medical clinics? Are you saying you don't believe so?

    That's just what I'm taking away from your last comment. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  40. JoAnna - precisely what I was referring to!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I think abortion should be regulated WAY more than it is. That's not the argument of this blog post, or this website. The argument here is that it is murder, even in the 1st trimester, even in cases of rape and incest. This is where you lose people. One point made on this website is even that tubal ligation and vasectomy are somehow immoral.

    As soon as I concede that abortion should be regulated (which I've never denied anywhere), then someone here will say, "yeah, well it's still murder." My eyes glaze over.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Tony - this link does not explain why a viable baby must be aborted.

    The link says:

    "The most common process is called dilation and extraction. A doctor inserts laminaria sticks into the woman’s cervix. These sticks, often made from a species of kelp, absorb liquid and expand. This dilates the cervix and promotes labor. The doctor injects a chemical into the amniotic cavity to kill the fetus and extracts the remains with surgical instruments."

    Promotes labor. Okay, now why MUST we inject the chemical into the amniotic cavity at this point? Why can't we just have labor in cases where the baby is "viable"?

    Most factors listed here are not medical crisis but issues like poverty... really? Is a person's life not worth living because they're born poor? And why not "fight" poverty by encouraging adoption so both mother and child can go on with life? (Why MUST we abort the baby. That is what I am looking for here).

    The part about amniocentsis makes me ill. So often, children with disabilities such as Down syndrome (not a terminal illness) are targeted for abortion. What a slap in the face to Americans with disabilities.

    Rape and incest... tragic. And yet children born of these situations and adopted are so thankful for their mothers chose life. What do you say to them?

    Women will always seek abortions? Sure. People will always drink too much, do drugs, cheat on their spouses, commit suicide, make choices they regret, etc. Since when does the mere fact that people will do something justify what they're doing?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Tony, I'm not even talking about abortion, the act, being regulated! I'm talking about the clinics being held to the same health standards as other facilities. I would hope this is something we can all agree on. Yet unfortunately, any time legislation like this comes up (I can't even believe we need legislation for it), the abortion advocates throw a hissy fit. It's unbelievable.

    ReplyDelete
  44. "I think abortion should be regulated WAY more than it is."

    Tony, this is something we agree on.

    ReplyDelete
  45. "And why not "fight" poverty by encouraging adoption so both mother and child can go on with life? (Why MUST we abort the baby. That is what I am looking for here). "

    Who says anyone MUST abort the baby? The article and video gave examples of medical indication for abortion. You are free to try to convince women otherwise. Go for it.

    My advice: stop calling it murder, stop trying to criminalize it, stop comparing legitimate abortion to what Finkel and Gosnell did, and use your better arguments. You might make better progress that way.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Agggghhhh (Lisa writhes on the floor in pain)...

    Once again the Church scandal pops up as an excuse to ignore anything Catholics say about, well, anything.

    Tony-- there is NO ONE who comments on this site or whose blog Leila lists on the right side that supports-- in any way-- pedaphilia. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG. Sick, disgusting, sinful... do I need to go on? What a very small number of SICK (I mean sick both as disgusting and spiritually deranged) priests did is against everything the Catholic Church teaches about the dignity of human life from conception until natural death. You will find no arguments about that from us.

    I am so tired of this scandal being used to excuse every other sin under the sun. Come on, Tony. At least be original so that we "wackos" who value life will have something to which we can respond.

    As far as tubal ligation and vasectomies and even condoms go-- yes, there are immoral in the eyes of the Catholic Church. They're part of a mentality that leads to justifying abortion. However, those things don't kill babies, which is what we're talking about here. Ignore that issue if it helps you focus on this post.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Oops-- *they are... not there are

    ReplyDelete
  48. Lisa, says:

    Agggghhhh (Lisa writhes on the floor in pain)...

    Once again the Church scandal pops up as an excuse to ignore anything Catholics say about, well, anything.

    Tony-- there is NO ONE who comments on this site or whose blog Leila lists on the right side that supports-- in any way-- pedaphilia. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG. Sick, disgusting, sinful... do I need to go on? What a very small number of SICK (I mean sick both as disgusting and spiritually deranged) priests did is against everything the Catholic Church teaches about the dignity of human life from conception until natural death. You will find no arguments about that from us.


    I say:

    Agggghhhh (Tony writhes on the floor in pain)...

    Once again the Finkel/Gosnell scandal pops up as an excuse to ignore anything pro-choicers say about, well, anything.

    Lisa-- there is NO ONE who supports legitimate abortion rights who supports-- in any way-- murder as happened in Philadelphia. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG. Sick, disgusting, sinful... do I need to go on? What a very small number of SICK (I mean sick both as disgusting and spiritually deranged) criminals did is against everything the pro-choice movement teaches about the dignity of a woman's right over her own body. You will find no arguments about that from us.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Ha! Points to Tony! Seriously, Tony, I am honestly saying thank you for that response. And you know what-- I totally believe you and DON'T believe that you or any rational person doesn't see that what happened in Philadelphia is sick.

    Ok, here's more of my thoughts, in the same tangent:

    When pro-life people look at the reality of abortion, we are just as horrified as you are with the Philadelphia murders. We do not understand how anyone can condone killing an innocent child, or how anyone can argue that the being that was killed ISN'T a child.

    Imagine a world in which pedaphilia was legal (now it's my turn to bring up pedaphilia) . I would assume this would horrify you. Now, imagine if Leila wrote a post that said that it would be nice if pedaphilia was rare, but since it's necessary (because we all know that people are incapable of controlling their sexual urges), she was glad that it is legal. Then, all of us Catholic bloggers agreed with her. "How nice that it's legal! We're so happy that it's a choice for us women, too-- what a pro-woman thing that we, too, can sexually abuse minors!"

    Would you not be horrified by us and work hard to get this law overturned? Would you not think that we were out of our minds, and not understand how we didn't see the evil of this?

    This is where I'm coming from-- I just don't understand how anyone can accept the idea that abortion HAS to be an option. It is murder, Tony, and it's the worst kind of murder because the humans being killed are more innocent and defenseless than any other human on earth. They are the ones who need our voices the most.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I pray Tony grows a heart that is a little bit bigger than the one he's got now.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Wow, a lot has gone on since I've been out!

    I think the "wackos" on this site have done a good job, so I'm only going to add a couple of thoughts:

    1) Tony, what makes an abortion successful is a dead baby. A dead baby is the outcome. All that the "good doctor" did was produce the dead baby a couple minutes later than the law allows. Why are we "wackos" to think that distinction is absurd? You see that the distinction is absurd, right Tony?

    2) Tony, I have read enough of what you have written to know that you are very conflicted. I encourage you to come over to the pro-life side. I promise you, you will be more comfortable here. It's a good place to be. And there are atheists who are pro-life, believe me. You can remain an atheist while believing that the youngest, most defenseless among us deserve equal protection under the law.

    3) Did you see the pictures, Tony?

    ReplyDelete
  52. "They're wackos."

    Tony, this makes me smile. My husband, when he was an agnostic, went to a Right to Life seminar for a semester in Washington that we were attending. He had to do public policy stuff, and they went to the Planned Parenthood people and then the Right to Life people. He came back and told me about the Right to Life one: "Those people are NUTS" he said.

    Fast forward a few years. He prays rosaries in front of abortion clinics, and is at every pro-life dinner in town. :) :)

    Life is funny sometimes. :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. Leila, again I will say my comments had nothing to do with location. I am not even talking about "a child's value" as you stated. In terms of the statement you mentioned, I think statements are irrelevant when statistics and facts show us the truth.

    As for why this was allowed to go on unchecked, I do not know. But to have reports come in of violations and ignore them is awful. The system should be changed. I personally think that abortion clinics and other groups should be allowed to help police themselves, so that reports can be seen in a timely manner.



    Olya, I'm sorry about your friend. We need to make sure that every patient is given full informed consent. There are risks associated with everything, including both birth and abortion.

    I never suggested that one individual woman's condition should affect all pregnant women. Each case is unique and individual.


    Sarah- like I've said above, each individual woman's case is unique. For some women, having a late term abortion is the least risky procedure, even when compared to induction or a cesarean. For other women, a cesarean is safer. For some women, an abortion is safer but they choose to have a cesarean because that is the choice they make and the risks they choose to take.

    In terms of everyone talking about how easy it is for women to abort past viability, it's odd to me that so many antichoicers seem to have first hand knowledge of "how easy it is." Perhaps there's something odd going on here...?

    ReplyDelete
  54. Sarah, you might be interested in reading this. I'll quote a bit for you, but I suggest reading the whole thing.



    http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/141121/how_a_late-term_abortion_saved_my_life/

    "I was going to die unless the pregnancy was terminated. Immediately.

    There was no hope for my surviving son. He was too tiny and too frail to be viable. With my dangerously high blood pressure, a c-section would have likely caused me to bleed to death, and inducing labor would have stressed my system too much. My safest option was the procedure known as an intact dilation and extraction. It would save my life, and preserve my future fertility."

    ReplyDelete
  55. Prochoicer, you are a Christian. Can you answer this question?

    How many people were in the scene in Luke 1:41-44?


    Leila, again I will say my comments had nothing to do with location. I am not even talking about "a child's value" as you stated. In terms of the statement you mentioned, I think statements are irrelevant when statistics and facts show us the truth.

    Actually, statistics and facts show that late-term abortions are performed on healthy babies with healthy moms. I don't think you actually read that link I provided. It has the stats, the statements from the pro-"choice" community and footnotes for verification. Here's another statement about how most late-term abortions are elective:

    Most of Tiller's abortions conformed to the generally elective character of these late-term procedures. Peggy Jarman of the Pro-Choice Action League stated that about three-fourths of Tiller's late-term patients were teenagers who denied to themselves or their families that they were pregnant until that fact could no longer be obscured.The Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline initiated a review of Tiller's records of late-term abortions. One of the nation's most distinguished psychiatrists, Dr. Paul R. McHugh, Johns Hopkins professor of psychiatry, was asked to determine if Tiller's patients satisfied Kansas requirement that they were likely to suffer a substantial and irreversible impairment if not allowed to abort. Dr. McHugh reviewed Tiller patient records and determined that they were not.

    Does that surprise you?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Tony, about the money:

    I used to work in a very small ad agency, all female. All pro-choice feminists (except for me). One lady used to work in an abortion clinic and held the hands of the women and girls getting abortions. She often talked (almost giddily) about how much money this OB/gyn made from doing abortions every Saturday. She told me how he built a huge, million dollar home with the money from abortions (and this was 20 years ago, in Atlanta).

    I'll never forget when I was pregnant with my first child, we talked about labor and delivery. This woman happily recounted the story of her son's birth: "I called Dr. X and told him I was in labor. I felt so bad because it was a Saturday and he would not be able to perform his abortions that morning! He was so kind and came in anyway to deliver Junior! I still feel bad because he lost A LOT of money by doing that."

    I was young and stupid and while I was horrified internally, I just sort of smiled and nodded.

    Abortion is an extremely lucrative business.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Prochoicer, if it's not about location, then why does a child's value go from zero to infinity in the time it takes to exit the birth canal?

    In your opinion, what is the objective value of an unborn child?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  58. http://catholicphoenix.com/2011/01/20/the-myth-that-is-“anti-choice”/

    Our very own JoAnna has a great post on Catholic Phoenix today, about the myth of "anti-choice". Prochoicer you may want to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Tony: "Lisa-- there is NO ONE who supports legitimate abortion rights who supports-- in any way-- murder as happened in Philadelphia. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG."

    Tell me - why, to abortion activisits, is George Tiller considered a hero and Kermit Gosnell considered a horrific monster? Because Tiller hadn't yet delivered the head? Because he killed the babies 2 minutes earlier? Everything BUT the head is delivered, scissors pierce the skull = hero. Head is delivered, scissors pierce the spine = monster. If you were truly - and I mean TRULY - trying to be a logical person, you would see the irony.

    This situation is a catch-22 for me. I'm glad that attention is being brought to this situation because hopefully logical, thinking people will see the squalid conditions, lies and deceit that abortionists practice under.

    On the other hand, it frustrates me that people are JUST NOW outraged!! Partial-birth abortion is legal in some states, yet we're just now mad because this guy has been caught!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Tony -

    "My advice: stop calling it murder, stop trying to criminalize it, stop comparing legitimate abortion to what Finkel and Gosnell did, and use your better arguments. You might make better progress that way."

    Who said I do any of these things in my attempt to help women in crisis? (Who is doing the lumping?)

    It seems to me like you also are saying here that late-term abortions are not necessary, simply a choice, an option. That's disturbing to me. Aren't doctors supposed to help both patients and try to preserve life?

    I think the main difference in our thinking is not that you love abortion (which I have never said, and I don't think others are saying that about you). I think the main difference in our perspective is that we want to help women and families, but would like to offer a different kind of help.

    I see those who are pro-choice embrace a false sense of hopelessness. Pro-lifers say there is hope when faced with a crisis that doesn't require such drastic measures as abortion.

    You've made comments that we here are wackos (so polite). As if we're somehow removed from reality just because we believe life begins at conception (plenty of brilliant people would agree with this).

    Tony, I am the daughter of a single mother who was a perfect candidate for late-term abortion according to that lovely link. My mother was pregnant with my younger sister when my dad left.

    Thankfully, she did not mistake my sister for the problem. What kept her going? One good friend (who accompanied her to the hospital for my sister's birth). And later, a network of single parents who leaned heavily on one another.

    There are people standing in line to help women in crisis... I don't think you even realize how many people would die to just help some of these women who walk into a PP thinking all is hopeless. I'd rather put my energy and money towards creating what I KNOW works...creating community support and giving hope to people in crisis. No thanks on the hopelessness of abortion.

    ReplyDelete
  61. *Plenty of brilliant people would agree with life beginning at conception, I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  62. "Tony, I have read enough of what you have written to know that you are very conflicted. I encourage you to come over to the pro-life side. I promise you, you will be more comfortable here. It's a good place to be. And there are atheists who are pro-life, believe me. You can remain an atheist while believing that the youngest, most defenseless among us deserve equal protection under the law."

    I appreciate the point of view, I just don't know how criminalizing abortion would solve any issue. The Poland issue is complex and not nearly analogous to the US. If a woman wants to abort her fetus, she will do it, as the Slate article points out, the DIY medications make it all but impossible to stop in any practical way.

    For centuries the Catholic Church entertained the idea of "ensoulment" but abandoned it for some reason. My concept is that a fetus becomes ensouled when its mother says it's ensouled. It's her decision; her choice--- at least up to the 1st trimester.

    SCOTUS follows a cultural tradition that dates back thousands of years whereby we choose our wisest members of society to make judgments in difficult cases. I think Roe is a wise decision. Only 1st trimester abortions are fully protected, but this doesn't stop you or anyone from appealing to the sentiments of the pregnant girl or woman. The vast majority of states restrict abortion outside the 1st trimester.

    Tiller's cases are unknown, but by many accounts they represent the tiny fraction of late term pregnancies that are horrific cases-- anencephalics, trisomy 13's, limb-body-wall defects, mothers with cardiac conditions, etc. Perhaps in a more sane era we could require that those cases be submitted for public scrutiny, but that's just not possible in today's climate, so we are stuck trusting that the process works. And there is a fairly involved process in that state for late term abortions; read the statute. Not just anyone can perform an abortion for any reason. These are medically indicated cases, involving at least two physicians, etc.

    Discussion boards like this convince me that while we should work toward reducing abortions, leaving scrutiny to the screaming pro-lifers is obviously not the answer. Anyone who could equate Gosnell with Tiller just plain doesn't get it.

    And as far as abortion being lucrative. I can only speak from my experience in one community. The abortion provider who used to live here probably made more than I do, but the hassle he went through was unbelievable. This hassle factor-- the protests, the death threats, the picketing outside his home, his kids hassled at school-- are the reason they are paid a premium. He finally left and the new guy lives 3 hours away and drives in for 1 or 2 days per week. For someone to do that, he/she gets paid a premium; that's basic supply and demand. Board certified ob/gyn's don't need that hassle and make a great living regardless. Trust me, it's not about the money from my standpoint.

    If you want to reduce abortion providers' salaries, it's simple (not easy tho), reduce the demand. Reduce the demand for abortion.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Tony, my bold prediction (write it down and put it in a time capsule): You will one day be on our side.

    In the meantime, you can keep believing that late term abortions are performed only in cases of gross fetal abnormalities. (Not true, but if you want to be in denial about it, I can't stop you.) And keep believing that pro-lifers are "screaming" (I dare you to watch wall-to-wall EWTN coverage of the peaceful, youthful pro-life march in Washington this weekend, Jan 22. Then, compare that to the screamers at "March for Women's Lives" or other pro-choice marches).

    I still cannot for the life of me understand why you think it's okay to brutally kill the weakest and most defenseless amongst us. You've never addressed the fact that just because someone will do it doesn't mean they should do it, or that it should be legal. People have brought that up time and again. Just because some men will beat their wives doesn't mean it should be legal. You know abortion is wrong, Tony. You know it's evil. Can you please just admit that you know it?

    ReplyDelete
  64. Abortion is not universally evil in all cases. Abortion is. I have no idea why some women have abortions, or why some doctors perform them.

    War is not universally evil. War is. I have no idea why some men wage war for pointless reasons. But war is done in my name, with my country's name on the planes and soldiers, paid for with my tax dollars, abortion is not.

    I can envision cases where abortion is the compassionate and merciful path to take. Who makes that call? The government? You? The Pope? God, if there is such a thing, gave the womb to the woman. It's her decision.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Tony, abortion is only the "compassionate and merciful" thing if you believe that killing is loving.

    I reject that. Killing is never loving.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Then don't have or provide an abortion. Done and done. If it's not the compassionate thing to do, I don't do it.

    ReplyDelete
  67. "Anyone who could equate Gosnell with Tiller just plain doesn't get it."

    Please, Tony. They both killed perfectly healthy, viable children who were, at least partly, born. Regardless of the surrounding circumstances, those are the facts. You're still making a case for Tiller while maintaining that Gosnell is a murderer. That's such a disconnect.

    "Not just anyone can perform an abortion for any reason."

    Except - apparently they can. Gosnell was not a board-certified OB or GYN. There are even efforts (not uncommon) to allow non-physicians to perform surgical abortions!

    If you want more information from MANY former abortion industry employees and clinic owners (regarding the money issue), I highly encourage you to watch Blood Money. It's hard to argue. In fact, at least watch the trailer: http://bloodmoneyfilm.com/. You might call it propaganda, but know that the women featured here were MAJOR players in the abortion industry. In fact, the one who mentions only taking cash is Norma McCorvey - the "Roe" in Roe v. Wade. These people weren't interested in "helping women." It's all about the almighty dollar.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Tony, you are asking me to turn a blind eye to human beings who are being killed, with no protection, no legal rights, no due process -- and who are utterly defenseless, voiceless, vulnerable.

    How can I look away? How can you?

    Tony, you never answered: Did you look at those pictures?

    ReplyDelete
  69. You might call it propaganda..."

    Now why would I think that?!

    ReplyDelete
  70. ARGH!! Tony!! With your logic: "Think slavery is wrong? Don't own a slave!" Or using Leila's argument: "Think beating your wife is wrong? Don't beat her!" It's all moral evil and in all cases it's wrong!!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Because you choose to. Did you even watch it?

    ReplyDelete
  72. Thank you, Nicole.

    Sigh, this is so sad to me.

    Tony, take the dare. Watch the trailer, look at the pictures, read the links. Read Unplanned. Find the facts. Come over to the right side. We need you to help fight the good fight.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Did you look at those pictures?

    I did. If I show you pictures of the thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, will you call George W. Bush a murderer? I still have no idea what those pictures have to do with legal abortion. You do know that Gosnell was arrested, indicted and will stand trial for murder, right? What part of "illegal" don't you understand. Have you read the Kansas statutes for late term abortion? Especially these: 1 and 2.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Tony, if GWB or any human being ordered or performed the direct killing of an innocent, then yes, I would call him a murderer.

    Tony, you are so close. Just come on over. We wackos are really cool. We are a lot like you. So are the unborn.

    ReplyDelete
  75. I understand the sentiment of the pro-lifers. I saw the trailer for bloodmoney, do I need to watch more? There is a lot of passion on both sides and if the video were from a fair arbiter it might be worth viewing. You know as well as I do that we can all find vocal supporters for our cause from former foes, so what's the point? Are they exaggerating? The most vocal proponents for a cause are often the converts.

    PPhood is scrutinized by citizens, the media and law enforcement. From what I've seen, they are beyond reproach for that very reason. Even Leila has admitted to staging some "sting" operation when she was younger-- do you think she was the first or last one to try this? Community physicians, med students and residents are in PPhood all the time to donate time or expertise for gyne care of the indigent, or for training. if this were such a mill, do you think the entire medical community-- many of whom are pro-life-- would let it go unnoticed? I certainly wouldn't. Granted my experience is only from 2 facilities in two towns, but the process is transparent as far as I can tell.

    If there is a case against abortion, fine. But I'm not buying the theme that abortion facilities are all underhanded.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Tony, would those pictures be less gruesome if they were of babies killed during legal late-term abortions? (They have some of those on the website of Priests for Life.)

    Prochoicer - I read your link. I'm skeptical. If the OB could dilate the mother's uterus enough to do a D&E, surely they could have delivered that poor baby live instead of stabbing his skull with a scalpel and dismembering him. 24-weekers are tiny. Perinatal hospice could have made him comfortable until he passed away naturally, and then the parents would've had whole body to bury instead of grotesquely dismembered corpse.

    Perhaps an induction or C-section would have been a bit more risky, but I have to imagine that the D&E carried nearly as much risk if not equal risk with the other procedures.

    I wonder, would the same thing have happened if the baby had been viable? He was almost there. Two, maybe three weeks more and he would have been viable. If the mother would have been at 30 weeks, would they still have done a D&E? What about 36 weeks?

    Also, the mother's D&E was done in a hospital by an OB. If these types of late-term abortions are so incredibly rare and almost never happen, how on earth did Tiller stay in business? How did Gosnell?

    ReplyDelete
  77. "...if the video were from a fair arbiter it might be worth viewing."

    Why not judge the merits of the facts presented instead of who is presenting them? Do you think a video extolling abortion from PP would be less biased?

    ReplyDelete
  78. Christian Prochoicer's link from alternet is a very possible account of a horrifically tragic case. I can say that in our town we see cases similar to this this, or very similar on a regular basis. 8400/yr abortions are after 21 weeks; that's 168/state; 6 major medical centers in a state, so it's about 2/month. In Tiller's region, nobody else is doing them, and he could go farther into the 3rd trimester, so he got 'em all for a tristate region... not how I would want to spend my career, but we all have a place in this world.

    Joanna says, "Perhaps an induction or C-section would have been a bit more risky, but I have to imagine that the D&E carried nearly as much risk if not equal risk with the other procedures."

    How did Lisa put it? Aaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh? Or something like that?

    There are few things on this planet that I know better than the risks of c-section versus labor induction versus D&E. And in a severe pre-eclamptic with disseminated intravascular coagulopathy and a nonviable fetus, it's not even close which choice is the safest, and even then these patients can die... quickly.

    I especially like the conjecture, "Perhaps an induction or c-section would have been a bit more risky..." Laugh out loud funny.

    Perhaps. When the mother arrests and dies on the c-section table for a nonviable fetus, the doctor can tell the jury that he was concerned about having an intact fetus for the funeral home, so he killed the mother to get one for the undertaker. Or, he can tell the neurologist that the mother was doing fine until the 4th hour of labor induction when she seized, started decerebrate posturing and the CT showed massive hemorrhage into both ventricles, but good news! Dad can have a great funeral for the intact fetus on his way to visit his comatose wife in the long-term ventilator dependency unit.

    I don't mean to make fun, but come on now... and you want me to watch what video now?

    ReplyDelete
  79. I'm not a doctor or a medical professional, Tony, so I can't really stipulate. I'm sure it was a difficult situation. But I ask again, why couldn't they deliver the baby live? Was it necessary to crush his skull and dismember him when the cervix was already dilated enough to deliver his body?

    And if the fetus had been viable, Tony? What then?

    The film is called Blood Money. Have you watched it yet?

    ReplyDelete
  80. And if the fetus had been viable, Tony? What then?

    If the fetus is viable and they have enough time to safely deliver, they are born, go to the NICU, get discharged, go home, grow up, go to college, get a job, have kids....

    The calculation is sometimes difficult. There are algorithms, consultations, long nights, more consultations... these are tough cases. I realize that it seems that when we read news stories, these decisions all appear easy. They're not. I know of no physician who is cavalier about these near-viable cases. A D&E is a brutal procedure to perform, but it is less risky for the pregnant woman. When one is required, usually a colleague will compassionately offer to take few patients off the schedule the next day, so one can find a quiet place to reflect, sob, regroup.

    I did not know George Tiller, but I know other physicians who knew him, and to a person there was no controversy about what he did. I don't believe in saints and I eschew lionizing guys who are just doing their job, but I can say that he was highly regarded within the community... and this is a man who was internship trained, not board-certified, yet he enjoyed the respect of specialists. Rare.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Christian prochoicer - the article you sent me is very tragic. I was actually mainly asking about children who are already viable (this article details a situation where the child could not survive). It's my understanding that Catholic teaching does allow for treating life-threatening conditions that could have the unintended effect of the unborn baby dying. God forbid anyone ever have to face that.

    I have to say, this line still horrifies me:

    "I also met women who chose to spare their children from agonizing health conditions and birth defects by having an abortion."

    Again, whatever happened to diversity and respect for those with disabilities? It horrifies me how those who are "less than perfect" are targeted like this.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Tony, big correction: I did not stage a "sting" operation. I went to PP because I was a teenager having sex with my pot-smoking, high school dropout boyfriend. I went to be put on the Pill (and so did my friend). We were young idiots, and we knew NOTHING about the Pill, or any of the risks. And the adults were more than happy to put me on synthetic hormones to start messing up my system so that I could have sex with a loser. Nice. All with the assurance that my parents would be kept in the dark. No sting, just a regrettable true story.

    Tiller was respected in his community? Hello? Oh, my.... Oh, my.

    How much do you know about Tiller, Tony? And I must agree with JoAnna... why wouldn't you watch the video, and just go with the FACTS presented. After all, facts are facts. I can use the pro-abort Guttmacher numbers, after all. As long as the facts are accurate, what do I care where they came from?

    And tell me, why couldn't a baby be delivered alive if the cervix was open enough for a delivery of a dead baby? I don't understand.

    Also, if you think that late term abortions are done on moms who are coding and babies who are dying, you don't know the facts. That is sad to me.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Btw, Christian prochoicer and Tony... I don't think anyone here is saying late-term abortions are "easy"... however, I KNOW of cases where parents who already knew the gender aborted because they wanted another gender or for convenience. So please don't patronize us by telling us these horrible decision NEVER happen. Because they do.

    ReplyDelete
  84. "If the fetus is viable and they have enough time to safely deliver, they are born..."

    But how, Tony? If the mother is too sick for a C-section or induction when the fetus is not viable, then surely she is too sick for a C-section or induction when the fetus is viable -- especially if the baby is nearing full term (and much larger than a 24-weeker). Can you clarify?

    When you allow late-term abortion, you more often than not get situations like this one, in which a couple aborted healthy twin boys simply because they wanted a girl instead. Absolutely horrific.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Tony and Pro-choice Christian, it is clear you have drunk the "purple koolaid" of moral relativism and it has killed your conscience (which by the way, IS the voice of God our creator).

    Pro-choice Christian, how can you call yourself that? You, a Christian, a person that understands the innate value of every human life:

    Jeremiah 1:5
    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..."

    Could you imagine scripture reading: Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you would be destroyed in it - for money, by a murderer, and with the full consent of your mother and the society she lives in?

    Wake up and recognize THE MODERN HOLOCAUST for what it is.

    ReplyDelete
  86. I can see this discussion is well in-progress but I do think there's too much judgement here.

    As a Roman Catholic, I find abortion morally abhorrent. What happened in Philadelphia was not abortion. I can find both things condemnable without saying they're the same situation.

    I think one can convince someone of that without implying that abortion is the exact same situation as what happened in Philadelphia.

    I believe that God gave us the power to reason; to listen and respond without accusing. I don't think ending abortion will be a fight won with scare tactics.

    I've only been directed to this blog recently and I intend to stick around as I'm sure it has merit but I do hope the posts are often more reasoned than this one.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Tony writes: "If the fetus is viable and they have enough time to safely deliver, they are born, go to the NICU, get discharged, go home, grow up, go to college, get a job, have kids...."

    Got any proof of this, Tony? Any heartwarming stories of this happening? They go into an abortion clinic to get themselves a dead baby, and that's what they get. You have no idea what you are talking about. A "viable fetus" in "NICU"? They don't want to put them in NICU anymore, Tony. If they can't live on their own, they want them to be "allowed to die". Evil people don't want NICU for little babies, Tony. Read this.

    Show me one of your heartwarming stories showing that your claim has anything to do with reality.

    ReplyDelete
  88. autodidactress, the only difference between killing a baby outside the womb rather than inside it is that in a decent society, the womb should be the safest place of all. No other difference.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Wow, Leila. I've missed reading your posts, and comments, so much! Wish I had more time to do it more frequently.

    I think most of my points have been voiced already, though I'm sure I could say a million and one things right now. IF I a) had the time, and b) wasn't talking to a brick wall (i.e. a debater who equates women with God: "My concept is that a fetus becomes ensouled when its mother says it's ensouled. It's her decision; her choice--- at least up to the 1st trimester.") Yikes.

    ReplyDelete
  90. autodidactress, welcome! I actually do believe that we use reason here (which is why so many atheists engage in these discussions), so if you could clarify what you think is "unreasonable" here, or what the scare tactics were? Did I or anyone speak untruthfully?

    Thanks for clarifying.

    ReplyDelete
  91. I'm totally new to this blog, but I love the dialogue.

    I would just like someone who's pro-choice to answer this for me:

    WHY is abortion a "hard" decision for a woman to make if a LEGAL abortion is nothing more than removing unwanted cells in her body? And if it's NOT just cell in her body, then what is it?

    WHY should abortion be "rare"?? -- no one is advocating fewer tooth extractions or fewer gallbladder surgeries. If it's truly a medical necessity, then there's no argument that it should ever be rare...

    I just don't understand how if it's NOT a living human being from the beginning (forget viability for a minute), then why is the decision SO hard or fraught with emotional complications??

    Because it IS a living, breathing human person and everyone deep down knows that. It only becomes a hard choice that should be rare in society when our minds recognize that a LIFE is held in the balance of the decision. And I'm pretty sure that when a person decides to end another person's life, that's called murder.

    ReplyDelete
  92. No respectable atheist would stay here and actually engage this nonsense.

    I can think of only two or three atheists here, and most of them are just trying to talk sense into the typical reader here. A damn waste of time.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Sam, my experience has been that atheists leave once they're posed with questions they can't/won't answer.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Sam, then why do you stay?

    Pally Pal, welcome! Great questions raised!

    ReplyDelete
  95. [JoAnna: Sam, my experience has been that atheists leave once they're posed with questions they can't/won't answer.]

    Exactly. Once we get enough nonsense, we're done.

    I'm done answering nonsense questions. But I might comment now and then.

    ReplyDelete
  96. But how should I respond to the post?

    In the words of PZ Myers:

    [You want to make me back down by trying to inspire revulsion with dead baby pictures? I look at them unflinchingly and see meat. And meat does not frighten me.]

    My sentiments exactly.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Sam, would you say the same about the dead bodies of newborn babies? What about the bodies of those killed in the Tuscon shootings? Are they nothing but meat, too?

    ReplyDelete
  98. [Exactly. Once we get enough nonsense, we're done.]

    Actually, it's more along the lines of, "Once you encounter a question that you can't/won't answer, because the answer would either display the logical inconsistencies of your argument or force you to face some very uncomfortable truths that would seriously upset your materialistic worldview."

    ReplyDelete
  99. Once you are dead, there's nothing left but meat.

    "You are dust."

    I don't see why pictures of dead humans should scare people. Maybe it's because it causes us to think of our own mortality, and that bothers some people.

    Maybe because we think about the process of dying. Dying is a painful process, and it does a person good to spend time at hospices, to see how people deal with this process, and to get used to the idea. You can also offer some comfort and human contact for those who are dying.

    Maybe it's because we think about the terrible injustice of whatever caused the death. But that's only true if you believe there's an injustice.

    I don't.

    And, by the way, your attempt to elicit anger at real tragedies for this invented political issue is pathetic. But it's what I've come to expect from people on this site.

    Complete stupidity expressed in terms of maximum shock value.

    Perfect example:

    [What about the bodies of those killed in the Tuscon shootings?]

    ReplyDelete
  100. Sam, this is so interesting, and I am glad you are being very clear about this for all to see.

    Seeing a murdered baby with his neck sliced open in the back does not scare me. It sickens me. There is a difference.

    I see evil there, in the butchered body of an innocent victim. You see meat.

    That's what scares me.

    ReplyDelete
  101. You should get over your fear.

    I'm a pretty friendly guy when you get to know me.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Sam, I think I have gotten to know you and what you value ("power", right?).

    ReplyDelete
  103. You can't know me until we've had a drink together.

    If you're ever in the New York area, let me know, and I'll buy you a beer.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Don't be afraid, Leila. We know the ending of the story. Keep up the fight and you have nothing to fear.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Sam, Dictionary.com has two definitions of "politicize": "1. to bring a political character or flavor to; make political 2. to engage in or discuss politics."

    As it happens, my interest in this conversation is not political, but rather philosophical. You brought up politics, not me. By definition, you are the one "politicizing" the issue. I'm simply talking about morality.

    When I see the bodies of innocent people who were unnecessarily killed, it sickens and saddens me. It makes me want to right the wrongs done to them.

    I find it simultaneously interesting and horrifying that when you look at the dead bodies of innocent murder victims, you see nothing but "meat."

    Thank God many other people don't feel that way, otherwise Jared Loughner would have gotten away scot-free. If you would have been there, would you have merely looked at the dead bodies of the slain, shrugged your shoulders, and said, "They're just meat"?

    ReplyDelete
  106. [If you would have been there, would you have merely looked at the dead bodies of the slain, shrugged your shoulders, and said, "They're just meat"?]

    There it is. Complete stupidity expressed in terms of maximum shock value.

    ReplyDelete
  107. "There it is. Complete stupidity expressed in terms of maximum shock value."

    You've given me no reason to believe otherwise, Sam. I noticed you haven't answered the question, but rather are using an insult to avoid it. Very telling.

    ReplyDelete
  108. The question isn't worth answering.

    ReplyDelete
  109. "The question isn't worth answering."

    Ah, yet another example of what I said above...

    "...once you encounter a question that you can't/won't answer, because the answer would either display the logical inconsistencies of your argument or force you to face some very uncomfortable truths that would seriously upset your materialistic worldview."

    Thanks so much for proving my point.

    Why is it not worth answering, Sam? If the dead bodies of innocent murder victims are nothing but "meat," then why shouldn't you feel the way I described above?

    If you don't feel that way, then it follows that dead bodies of innocent murder victims must be something more than "meat," disproving your previous comments.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Sam, seriously, why are you here? Just to insult people and their questions? I think there's better ways to spend your time.

    ReplyDelete
  111. JoAnna, there are good answers to your questions in the [January 21, 2011 8:27 PM] post.

    People shot in Tuscon or wherever else are meat. They're dead, and so they're meat.

    Seeing their bodies angers me. Seeing the dead bodies of fetuses does not anger me because I am not a fetus. It doesn't do much to me.

    Really, is there anything about what I believe that you are unsure of? Is some clarity lacking?

    ReplyDelete
  112. You are not a fetus anymore, Sam. You are also not a baby anymore, Sam, or a toddler. So, do pictures of murdered babies or toddlers anger you? Or does it not "do much to you"?

    Sam, I am going to be honest with you and tell you that I have gotten emails about you from several of my readers, and you make them uneasy. They are uncomfortable with you, and what you say and how you say it. I think you have made your case here. We know that you like and seek "power" and that killing the unborn (or half-born) does not bother you in the least, because they are not like you.

    Thank you for contributing what you have. You are free to go and dialogue on other blogs now. It would be a courtesy if you would not continue to make people uncomfortable here. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  113. You have asked kindly, and I will comply.

    Good bye.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Thank you, Sam, I appreciate it. I truly hope that someday you will come back and join us, on our side of things. :)

    ReplyDelete
  115. http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=44777

    There's this idea that this butcher abortionist and the molester Finkel are anomalies. Well, read above for another horror.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Sam,
    Are you simultaneously the same ages of all post-born victims of violence?
    I'm just curious how you get angered because of age.
    Or were you a different species of fetus when you were still in utero?
    Human life. That's what is lost in an abortion.
    Human life. That's what was lost in Tucson.

    ReplyDelete
  117. I've come over from Stacy's "Accepting Abundance" blog becasue she said that after 118 reponses you still had not received a satisfactory answer. I find myself asking what a 'satisfactory' answer would look like?
    I think you would call me pro-abortion because whilst it saddens me that people feel compelled to have abortions, I do believe there are times when such a procedure is morally justified. It's all very well being an absolutist and declaring that abortion is always wrong. But life is not tidy and ordered. It's very messy and very imperfect, and I'm sure we can all think of circumstances when doing a wrong is specifically condoned in order to prevent a far greater wrong. Doesn't that make most of us relativist pragmatists?
    It is one thing to declare that abortion is always wrong because one's religion informs one that it is. That I can understand, even though I don't agree. What I don't understand is why these same people feel they have to justify their position by appealing to people's empathy for images of aborted unborn children. There is a conflation of religion, emotion, law and science - each of which may produce a different answer to each specific case of abortion. These are different arguments. Well, that's my two cents worth. Hope it's helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Hi Simian! Thanks for commenting, and we welcome your thought here.

    First, just to clarify, I have never posted pictures of aborted babies on my site. And the pictures I linked to on this post are literally crime scene photos, which will be used for evidence in a trial. Do you have an objection to crime scene photos? I am assuming you agree with the introduction of crime scene photos in any trial.

    I also need to clarify that the Catholic position is that one may never do an evil, even to bring about a greater good. In other words, the ends do not justify the means. That is an ironclad moral principle in Catholicism, and it is precisely because "life is not tidy and ordered" that we must hold fast to that principle.

    The basic question that has not yet been answered to my satisfaction is: What is the salient difference between what the butcher doctor did to those babies in Philadelphia, and what a late-term abortionist does?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  119. Aha! Understood Leila.
    In the UK at least, late term aborton is illegal so I guess there is no difference. It's illegal, and that's for a very good reason. In late term the baby is fully formed and is to almost all intents and purposes physically comparable to a baby after birth.

    If a gruesome picture is necessary to prove something has happened, and it passes the test of acceptable evidence then it's appropriate as evidence.

    The term I could not recall was the Catholic 'principle of double effect' which surely does apply to my example. There's a definition at:
    http://www.catholicreference.net/index.cfm?id=33215
    Isn't that an example of something not being absolute?

    ReplyDelete
  120. A timely post from Jill Stanek on why photos of aborted babies are necessary: http://www.jillstanek.com/2011/01/use-of-graphic-pictures-not-optional/

    ReplyDelete
  121. Hi Simian! The principle of double effect does not apply to direct abortion. Direct abortion, no matter the reason, is never permitted. It is an intrinsic evil. If the death of an unborn child is the indirect and unintended (though foreseen) side effect of a legitimate medical treatment, then the principle of double effect applies. But there is no evil in the act of treatment by legitimate means, even if the baby should die.

    Go here for more on double effect (and the intrinsic evil of directly killing an innocent):

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

    Simian, do you believe there is a salient difference between the value of a fetus at 20 weeks gestation vs. 23 weeks gestation?

    ReplyDelete
  122. Thanks Leila. Actually I think I have answered your question.

    But more importantly I am disturbed by the absolutist view that abortion is never permitted [because] it is an intrinsic evil.

    You use extreme alternative scenarios to make your point in the comments you reference, so allow me do likewise. The pregnant woman is your sister, with whom you are very close. The unborn chold has zero chance of surviving if left alone, but if left alone it will certainly kill your sister. It is in your power to determine the outcome. Are you in all seriousness telling me that you will vehemently oppose an abortion in this case? Is not doing something intrinsically more defensible than intervening? Really?

    To me this does come across as subject to the principle of double effect. I would add that however forcefully put, your view in this case, as stated in the comment you reference, does not prove that you are doctrinally correct. I'm going to ask the same question to an eminent Catholic theologian friend of mine and compare the answers. This is too important to ignore.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Meant to add this quote from wikipedia to illustrate my position. I know wikipedia is not the fount of all correct knowledge but it provides something to consider:
    The principle of double effect is frequently cited in cases of pregnancy and abortion. A doctor who believes abortion is always morally wrong may nevertheless remove the uterus or fallopian tubes of a pregnant woman, knowing the procedure will cause the death of the embryo or fetus, in cases in which the woman is certain to die without the procedure (examples cited include aggressive uterine cancer and ectopic pregnancy). In these cases, the intended effect is to save the woman's life, not to terminate the pregnancy, and the effect of not performing the procedure would result in the greater evil of the death of both the mother and the fetus.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Simian,

    You and Leila are both referring to the same scenario: in which the action is intended to save the life of the mother, and the unintended yet foreseeable effect is the loss of the life of the child. This is a tragedy but is not an abortion. In fact, this procedure is not usually performed in abortion clinics but in hospitals and was not illegal before Roe v. Wade, nor would it be illegal post-Roe v. Wade.

    I believe your implication was that a pre-born child at 20 weeks is not recognizable enough to be protected from abortion whereas a "late-term" baby (is 23 weeks our cutoff in the UK?) is more comparable to a born child.

    This is unfortunately a losing argument. A 2-year-old is hardly comparable to an 18-year-old in brain development, coordination, language, or appearance. Should a 2-year-old, then, be treated in a sub-human manner? Perhaps beating a 2-year-old should be acceptable?

    (my apologies for the deleted comment. My reading skills were not sharpened before engaging in this debate tonight).

    ReplyDelete
  125. Thank you M Hastings, but I would respectfully disagree. The legality or terminology used, or even where the operation s performed, is surely not at the crux of this issue. What is absolutely at the crux is that the unborn child is being killed by the action of the doctor, whether intended or not. (Although surely the unborn chid is still being aborted in the process of saving the life of the mother). My argument is more about the dangers of absolutism. I think absolutism is an untenable idea, from both a pragmatic and compassionate point of view.
    I also believe that the difference between an early term unborn child and a 2 year old is absolutely not the same difference as between a 2 year old and a 18 year old, or any person post birth for that matter. This is based on my understanding of biology and philosophy, but I fully accept that ultimately it is only an informed opinion, just as yours is only an informed opinion.
    What I find unacceptable is the automatic assumption that an opinion is also a fact, purely on the basis of an interpretation of a Holy book or an as yet imperfect scientific understanding.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Look guys, I hope I'm not here just to pick a fight, and if it seems that way just tell me to go away and I will do so.
    As a philosopher, one of my goals is to understand why people adopt the views that they do, and to work out for myself what I believe to be 'true'. There are some things that I have come across that I struggle to understand, and this attitude to abortion is one of them. It is through hopefully polite, though robust, argument that I think I might be able to get closer to the 'truth'. Hope that explanation is helpful. Simian.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Simian,

    Allow me to preface by extending my goodwill. I'm a convicted individual, especially in this particular subject. I hope my debating technique does not offend you. If it does, please inform me so that more well-spoken advocates of life might step up to encourage better dialogue.

    "What is absolutely at the crux is that the unborn child is being killed by the action of the doctor, whether intended or not."
    Do you not see a difference between a doctor tearing an unborn human apart in the womb and a doctor removing a fallopian tube to which a human life has implanted because the life is not only unsustainable but also threatening the mother's life?

    Surely, any good Catholic doctor would save the baby's life as well, were our medical science to make it possible to do so.

    The procedure used to remove an ectopic pregnancy simply isn't an abortion. However, let's take your argument and expand upon it for theory's sake. Would you support making abortion illegal with the sole exception of life-threatening pregnancies?

    You said, "My argument is more about the dangers of absolutism. I think absolutism is an untenable idea, from both a pragmatic and compassionate point of view."
    Simian, do not be surprised when most of the other posters do no share your opinion on absolutism. We believe in moral absolutes. While there may be some situations in which we find ourselves justifying an immoral action, it is no less sinful for our justification.

    Of course the difference between a 2yr old and a preborn human is different from the difference between a 2yr old and an 18yr old. And the difference between an 18yr old and a 40yr old is different than the difference between a 2yr old and an 18yr old. I will remind you that you're the one who used comparisons to born humans as a basis for a death sentence on pre-born humans. I am pointing out that the differences and similarities between one human and another do not make either individual any less than they are. The fact that a baby at 12 weeks of development does not strongly resemble my 2yr old does not make that preborn baby any less human.

    "This is based on my understanding of biology and philosophy, but I fully accept that ultimately it is only an informed opinion"

    Might I ask at what point in development a human fetus becomes a human person by your standards, and what exact traits make that human person? What have your understanding of biology and philosophy lead you to discern about the human person that makes it possible for you to deny personhood rights to an entire group of humans? I realize that the question sounds snippy, for which I am sorry, but I would truthfully like insight into your reasoning.

    Although I don't hide from my Faith, I would like to point out that the posters here are not using exclusively Bible passages as a sole definition for the obligation we have to the unborn. There is substantial scientific backing to the pro-life argument. Embryologists agree that human life begins at conception, yet you accuse us of basing our debate on a Biblical understanding of abortion.

    Though the Bible confirms my understanding, the truth of abortion is self-evident. It is in nature the elective killing of a human. It is not defensive or sustaining, but rather aggressive & violent. It is bred from fear, and it breeds fear and anger and pain.

    From the moment of conception, a living human is in the womb. He/she has a unique DNA signature and such traits as gender, hair color, eye color are instantly determined. That, a living human with unique defining traits, is a person. And to deny the right to life to a person is a grave matter.

    Over 52 million babies in the USA in the last 38 years lead me to believe that this matter has not been treated as a grave one.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Simian, I am sorry that I gave you the wrong link before. That first scenario would be analogous to an abortion.

    This scenario is illustrative of the principle of double effect:

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

    I am out the door, but will be back soon with more thoughts. And you are always welcome here... we debate vigorously, but not in ill will. :)

    ReplyDelete
  129. Simian, regarding the extreme hypothetical case involving my sister: My emotions might tell me that the baby should be directly killed so as to save my sister, but I hope my understanding of moral truth would prevail. It's analogous to this situation (which I would like you to address):

    Your sister and her child will both die unless she takes a gun and shoots her child in the head, in which case she will get to live.

    What should she do? Should she shoot her child in the head to survive?

    In Catholic morality, the direct and intentional killing of an innocent is never permitted. It's just as simple as that.

    One may never commit an evil in order to bring about even a greater good.

    Can you imagine a world where we are encouraged to commit evil in order to bring about good? What would that look like? (I can point to certain nations and philosophies, and it ain't pretty.)

    Now, if you say that abortion in the early stages is not "killing an innocent person" then I would ask you to look at this post, and tell me where my logic is off:

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

    Thanks, Simian, and I really appreciate your respectful engagement of the issues here. :)

    ReplyDelete
  130. Simian, do you believe there is a salient difference between the value of a fetus at 20 weeks gestation vs. 23 weeks gestation?

    Simian, I know you said you answered this, but my brain is not what it used to be (what with eight kids, and getting up early this morning to drive a child to the airport), and I can't find where you gave your answer. So could you please just answer the above question for me again? Thanks.

    (I think you did say that if a fetus "looks like" a baby, then it is wrong to kill it. Was that the answer?)

    ReplyDelete
  131. Simian, to further clarify: Removal of a diseased fallopian tube or a cancerous uterus is legitimate medical treatment for a pathology, whether a baby exists there or not.

    By contrast, direct abortion (direct killing) is not medical treatment.

    Big distinction. It is a difference in kind.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Thank you so much for your thought provoking replies, to which I will respond to the best of my ability. Sorry, but Iv'e got quite a workload today so will give your posts proper consideration when I get home this evening (UK time so will be arly morning for you). Until then...

    ReplyDelete
  133. Sorry guys. I was working until late last night so had to get some sleep! Now 7am so will post this off before I start work

    again. The joys of being a wage slave! :-(

    (Will have to post this in two halves as it won't fit into your 4000 character comment restriction).

    Yes M Hastings, I do see a difference between performing an abortion purely for the purpose of ending the unborn child's life

    and ending it because an operation essential to the survival of the mother results in the death of the unborn child. Not just any

    good Catholic doctor but I'd hope any doctor would try to save the life of the unborn in this instance if it were possible.

    Would I make abortions illegal with the sole exception of life-threatening pregnancies? No I would not. The reason I quoted

    that example was to illustrate my thinking on absolutism. I think we're probably going to have to disagree on whether an

    operation that results in the ejection and death of the unborn child is an abortion or not.

    You say "While there may be some situations in which we find ourselves justifying an immoral action, it is no less sinful for

    our justification."

    But if one does not regard abortion as by definition sinful, then one does not think it to be necessarily an immoral action.

    Concerning the argument about the simlarities and differences between the pre-born and post-born: It's not about whether a 12week old fetus resembles a 2 year old child. It is about the basic differences in cognition. I do not believe that we have a separate soul. I do not believe that God creates a soul for each unique human being at conception. I believe that our personhood is created during the latter stages of pregnancy, before which the fetus is a proto-human, that will not be aware of its own existence. This to me is fundameatlly different. Whether this proto-human shuld have the same rights to life as a fully formed human is not a 'fact'. it is a matter of opinion, which each of us decide according to our beliefs, inclination and understanding of science.

    There is always a rsk in these kinds of discussions of using the same words but meaning different things. I agree that there is an event at conception that starts the process of creating a new human. I do not agree that that human is a 'person' until they are sufficiently formed to be able to function independently.

    From my experience, I do not agree that abortion "breeds fear and anger..." More extreme Pro-life advocates will try to make it do so, by trying to make those who elect for abortions feel guilty and regretful. I have witnessed picketing of abortion clinics.

    I do not agree that the fact tat a fetus has unique DNA etc from conception is a valid argument for not considering abortion.

    52 million or 1. Numbers in themselves are meaningless when considering an ethical issue. I d not believe that abrtion is always unethical or morally wrong. You do. We differ on this. I'm really sorry I don't have time at the moment to go into great depth to explain my position, but I will try to find time as soon as I can. I just thught it wuld be useful to start with laying out my basic position on this.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Leila,
    Should my sister shoot her her child in the head in order to live? To my mind there is no possible correct answer to this. Is one life worth more than another? Does it matter which life? In reality perhaps this is too easy a specific question - I think most mothers would not shoot ther child, whatever the consequences.

    In answer to your question: "...do you believe there is a salient difference between the value of a fetus at 20 weeks gestation vs. 23 weeks gestation?
    The simple answer is not much. And that I will freely admit is subjective. If howver you ask me whether there is a difference between a 12 week old fetus and a 23 week old I will say - absolutely!
    So anticipating another question: Yes, I do believe that aborting an early term fetus is very different to aborting a late term one, for the reasons I have already set out in this and other comments.

    Regarding the difference between treating fr a pathology which results in an abortion, and performing an elective abortion without that cause - The outcome is the same. The unborn child dies. The difference is in the intent. Both result in abortion. This is one of the reasons I find the absolutist view unsustainable.

    Whether it is right to kill an uborn child at any stage in development is ultimately a moral question rather than one of proof. I believe that elective abortion is morally defensible. You do not. I don't think either of us is easily going to change our minds. I would suggest that your position is the simpler one to argue. But that does not in itself mean it is the more valid argument.

    I've really got to go or I'll be late for work. Sorry this was such a race through the points, and for any glaring typos, but I thought I should do the best I can to answer your questions now.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Simian, you said:

    Regarding the difference between treating fr a pathology which results in an abortion, and performing an elective abortion without that cause - The outcome is the same. The unborn child dies. The difference is in the intent. Both result in abortion.

    But Simian, you can see the (moral) difference between direct killing and unintentional death, correct?

    If you go to the two links I posted earlier, one about the terrorist/hostage scenario, the other about the motorist driving on a steep mountain, you do see a moral difference in how the deaths come about, don't you?

    If someone robs a bank to feed his family vs. someone who works three jobs to feed his family, "the outcome is the same" -- the family is fed. However, one is a moral means, one is an immoral means. The ends don't justify the means.

    As far as the value of one life over the other, Catholics hold that one cannot quantify human life. Each individual life is infinitely valuable and inviolable. So, we can not weigh one life (or many lives) against one other.

    If I were an atheist (and I mean this sincerely), I would agree that the designation of when life has value or not (12 weeks, 24 weeks, full term), can be subjectively or arbitrarily determined. Because life itself (if there is no God) is arbitrary, and human life has no intrinsic meaning. So I must ask you, why do you think (or do you think) that any human life has intrinsic value? How do we decide who has the "right" to be alive, even outside the womb? Why does a toddler, teen, adult or elderly person have a "right" not to be killed by another. If there is no God, and all is arbitrary (including the meaning of human life, which is subjective), then I don't get it.

    Do you think anyone has intrinsic value or rights, and if so, why?

    Thanks, Simian, and believe me I understand about having to post a comment quickly! No worries!

    ReplyDelete
  136. Simian,

    In the first month of life, the human child has grown to roughly 10,000 times his or her size since conception. The spinal cord, heart, digestive system, and backbone have begun to develop. The basic components of the brain and nervous system form. About week three, the heart is beginning to beat.

    In the second month, the heart is functioning. The facial features are forming and the baby is beginning to move. At this time, the brain begins to develop into its separate components. About day 40, the brain begins to grow at an extremely fast rate.

    In the third month, there is the recognizable form of a baby. He or she has developed most organs and tissue. Eyes, arms, hands, feet, legs, fingers, toes are all fully formed. fingernails are forming. The forebrain goes through some extreme changes, creating the hippocampus, telecephalon, talamus and hypothalamus, and the cerebral cortex.

    (the end of the third month: week 12 of baby's development)

    In the fourth month, the baby sucks and swallows. Fingers & toes are well defined and gender is distinguishable. This baby would not survive outside the mother's uterus, yet is very distinguishable as a human. Cells in the brain migrate and form pathways for communication.

    About month five, the mother usually begins to feel the baby moving. The baby is growing hair. Inner organs are maturing to handle the outside world. Eyebrows, eyelashes, and eyelids also appear. The brain cortex ("gray matter") grows at an accelerated rate, faster than the other brain structures. By the time its development is finished (month 6-7), 70% of the brain's neurons will be located here.

    In the sixth month, the baby's eyelids separate and open for for periods of time. The baby also hiccups.

    Month 7, a baby's organs continue to mature and he or she continues to put on fat. Taste buds develop. By this time, EEG can detect brain waves. At this point, the baby's brain begins to prune unnecessary connections so that necessary ones will be nourished sufficiently.

    Month 8, most of the organs are developed. The brain grows rapidly and kicking is strong enough to be visible outside the body. At this point, the brain grows a protective membrane called Myelin, which works like rubber tubing around electrical cords, protecting and speeding up the pathways between cells.

    Month 9, The lungs finish maturing and the baby gets ready for life on the outside.

    So, Simian, where do you think personality is imbued into a human?

    ReplyDelete
  137. Oh, and I don't want to steal, so credit where it's due. This information is all paraphrased from http://www.babies.sutterhealth.org/babygrowth/fetaldev and http://www.dana.org/news/brainhealth/detail.aspx?id=10050

    A great quote from the dana.org article: "Many people do not realize just how early a child’s brain begins to develop—and how long it continues to mature after birth. The process starts between the second and third week of fetal development, and it continues well into early adulthood."

    As far as your comments on morality and the soul, I don't recall bringing up the subject of the soul. Yes, I believe in the soul; however, I again don't base my pro-life arguments on the soul. It is enough for me to argue that all humans have the right to life, and that a human life at any point in development should be nurtured and protected.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Simian,

    First, I am a very inexperienced combox participant so please, if anything in my formatting, tone, etc. is lacking or offensive it is not intentional.

    You said: "I agree that there is an event at conception that starts the process of creating a new human."

    The event that happens at conception is that the mother's and father's sex cells(haploids) combine their 23 chromosomes each to form a separate entity containing 46 chromosomes. Those chromosomes make that entity a human being. Conception does not start the process of creating a human being. Conception IS the creation of the human being. Sex is the "process that starts" it. Conception IS it. 46 chromosomes=human. That is in every Embryology textbook.

    You also said: "I do not agree that that human is a 'person' until they are sufficiently formed to be able to function independently."

    Are the severely disabled or ill not "persons"?


    You said:"I do not agree that the fact tat a fetus has unique DNA etc from conception is a valid argument for not considering abortion."

    I guess I would refer to my first 2 points and ask that if there is a scientifically proven human being who possesses that unique DNA, do you really feel comfortable letting other people decide who is and is not a person?

    ReplyDelete
  139. Wow, if anyone really likes to see the structure of a logical argument, read this by Peter Kreeft. He is amazing, and he talks about the premises, logic and conclusions of the pro-life argument. It's like science...

    http://peterkreeft.com/audio/19_prolife-philosophy/prolife-philosophy_transcription.htm#2

    ReplyDelete
  140. Leila,
    LOVE Peter Kreeft! LOVE LOVE LOVE! Talk about taking the debate into logic! And without denying Faith one bit! Love him!

    ReplyDelete
  141. Finally found some peace and quiet for a moment. OK. Quite a few questions to answer in the comments since my last one. I'll try to respond to them in the order they were asked but there will be some overlap. Again this will have to be in sections due to word count limitations. Here goes:
    Do I see a moral difference between direct killing and unintentional death? Yes I do. But I don't see morality as a binary absolute in this case. It's not a question of you're either right or you're wrong. Some things are more right or wrong than others. I don’t celebrate when I hear that a fetus has been aborted, but neither do I cry murder and seek to have the people involved put in jail. As I have written earlier, I believe that the early stage fetus is different enough from the child at birth to warrant different treatment.
    Do I believe that life is arbitrary and has no intrinsic meaning? Yes, if there is no God, there is no higher authority, no higher purpose, human life is arbitrary. I do not think human life has any intrinsic value in terms of being part of a higher purpose. We are what we are because of our environment and evolution. Nothing more. We do not choose to be here and the World will not change perceptibly when we die. We mourn when someone we love dies, but generally we move on, and continue to live our own lives. But humans create their own sense of meaning in their lives. Each creates his or her own 'existence bubble' if you like. Each of us has a subjective view of the World and we create meaning in order to survive and prosper. Without this might just as well end our own lives as stay alive; which is why we do it. This is one the reasons why religion is so attractive to many people. It provides un-falsifiable reassurance that there is meaning.
    How do we decide who has the right to be alive, even outside the womb? We, ‘Society’, do. We make laws to describe and enforce shared values, which we collectively think are to the benefit of our society, and the furtherance of our genes. I very strongly object to the death penalty for criminals, but society in some countries or states has decided that it is ok to kill criminals if it considers the crime serious enough. Ultimately we abide by the laws of our country, or we try to defeat them, or we move to somewhere where we feel the law more closely accords with our views.
    Do I think anyone has intrinsic values or rights? Yes I do. These values and rights are what we humans decide them to be. Let me stick my neck out and say that personally I regard freedom of speech, freedom to live without undue fear of assault, freedom to practice any religion or none, and freedom from discrimination on grounds of race, colour or sexuality to be fundamental. But we do not all agree even on these things. They are ultimately arbitrary. Many years ago it would not have been thought immoral to own slaves. Now most people think that it is. So some of these things are not immutable. It may be that in 100 years time we all think that abortion is always immoral and it becomes universally unlawful, but it isn't now, because the majority are either not bothered about it, or hold the view that it is not always immoral. Society decides.

    ReplyDelete
  142. M Hastings. Thank you for that run through of development from conception to birth. I know that development is a gradual process. Sometimes one makes a decision based on a reasonable view rather than an absolute. Let's take an example. For the sake of argument let’s assume that a fetus has gained all the attributes necessary to call it a person at, say, 12 weeks. Before that the fetus is fundamentally different, and is treated in a different way with a different moral view. If you say that the exact time that a fetus reaches a certain stage in development is inexact, and so it is not possible to be so specific, then the obvious answer is to err on the side of caution, and say for instance that we know that these characteristics do not occur before the 11th week, so let's use that measure.
    You ask when I think 'personality' is imbued into a human. To me that is a different thing to what it is to become a 'person'. My answer to the first question is mainly during the first few years of life post birth. The answer to the second, in my view is during the latter stages of pregnancy. But that is one area where I now we are going to continue to disagree.
    Regarding your point on the soul - The crux of our difference is that you believe "that a human life at any point in development should be nurtured and protected." I do not agree when it comes to early gestation, and I think this is going to be another point on which we will probably never agree. I do think that the concept of 'soul' is important in this respect though. If I thought that each embryo was imbued with a soul by God at conception, then, yes, my views on abortion would be radically different, but I do not.

    ReplyDelete
  143. Nellakat. I think we're in danger of using the same words to mean different things. I agree your scientific description. I do not agree on the moral status of the subject.
    Am I comfortable letting other people decide what is and is not a person? Well, I am ‘other people’, and you are ‘other people’. We, as a society decide. We appoint legislators to carry out our wishes (at least in the democracies in which I think you and I probably live), so we are they, and they are we. Yes, we decide.

    Leila,
    I have to say that I'm not impressed by Peter Kreeft's lecture. He builds his whole argument on premises which he does not explain or justify, so that if one of the premises is wrong then the whole argument collapses. Take for example his premise that a human is always a person. Many would argue that personhood comes at a point some time after conception, not at conception, so the rest of his argument falls flat. I'm not going to dissect the whole discussion right now but maybe it would be helpful to do so when I have time, to better explain my objections to his premises. I can see why this lecture might be music to the ears of the already converted, but I would suggest that it will not convert those who have already thought this thing through in depth and do not agree his premises.

    ReplyDelete
  144. Hi Simian! I have three simultaneous family crises going on at the moment, but please know that I will be back as soon as I can to continue the discussion. Thanks for patience!

    ReplyDelete
  145. Some "pro-choicers" here said that what the Philadelphia butcher did to the babies was wrong, because it was illegal and "not an abortion". So, I would invite you to take a look at the short video that I have linked here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/lord-have-mercy.html

    Please tell me if what you see (which is legal) is wrong. Regardless of legality, is it morally wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  146. Simian, help me understand what you mean about Kreeft. He gives three possibilities to what "person" might mean:

    What's a person? I'm a person, you're a person. Are all persons human persons? Are all humans persons? What's the relationship between persons and human beings?

    Well, there's three possibilities.

    One is that all humans are persons and all persons are humans. There aren't any non-human persons, and there aren't any impersonal humans. That's a fairly common-sensical position.

    A second option is that there are human persons and there are also non-human persons. Martians, E.T., elves, angels, persons of the Trinity, the Greek gods. You can at least imagine non-human persons—most fantasy is about them—so it's a meaningful concept, whether you believe they exist or not.

    A third option is that the term person is not larger than the term human, but smaller. Some of us members of the human race, some human beings, are persons and some aren't. The Nazis believed that Jews were not persons. The Communists believed that Capitalists were not persons. The Supreme Court, according to the Dred Scott decision, believed that black slaves were three-fifths persons, not full persons. That's an option; if you want to argue for that, then you've got an out, because you don't quite agree with the first premise, or you think that the term "person" is ambiguous in the first premise, but in order to justify that you're going to have to make common cause with company that's a little compromised. But we might come back to that option.


    Which option do you pick, Simian, or is there another option?

    ReplyDelete
  147. Do I think anyone has intrinsic values or rights? Yes I do. These values and rights are what we humans decide them to be.

    Simian, how does something "intrinsic" depend on a democratic vote, or whatever people "decide"? I am so confused. Help me out.

    Look, I totally get why an atheist would be okay with abortion. It doesn't ultimately matter whether that baby lives or dies, or whether someone kills him, or even the definition of a person. But what I don't understand is why you are okay with killing the unborn, but not the born. I guess you've admitted that it's all arbitrary, but I don't see how you can say that slavery is wrong, or the Nazis legally killing Jews was wrong (positive law, right?). I just don't get it.

    Doesn't your "society decides what's right" mentality equate to "might makes right"?

    It's been said that if there is no absolute truth, then there is only power. Do you agree? I think with your philosophy you'd have to, but I will await your answer. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  148. Simian,

    You still haven't answered the question which I'm fairly certain you understood. At which point do you believe that a human deserves legal protection? Give me a week. If you cannot pin this down, you are erring on the side of recklessness which I believe we can agree is unwise at best.

    As an atheist, has it occurred to you that in killing a growing human, you are, by your own dogma or lack thereof, completely and utterly wiping out his or her one and only shot at existence? Why do you consider this an ethically sound option?

    You do not believe in souls, I gather, so I ask you: what makes it unethical for me to shoot a born and living human? It seems to me that despite your cries to the contrary, you believe that human life has intrinsic value. I would like to understand why you do not believe that human fetuses at early stages of development have similar intrinsic value. My point regarding development was primarily to encourage you to consider what it is that makes, to your mind, a human person versus simply a human life.

    ReplyDelete
  149. Leila and M. Hastings -
    You certainly throw some weighty questions at me. Actually I appreciate it. It does make me examine my position again in the light of each new piece of evidence. I have to tell you that I'm not about to change my views on this, based on my current world view, but I hope I'm still open to persuasion. (Again I will answer this in sections so as not to exceed comment character limit.)

    So, to respond to your latest batch of questions:

    The 'Philadelphia Butcher' did indeed act outside the law. Laws are created by humans to bring order to what might otherwise be short, brutal lives for us all. Our sense of justice and of morality is informed by our collective experience of what it requires to live a safe and fulfilled life, where we don't have to fight for every loaf of bread; because we all agree to abide by certain rules, to our mutual advantage. I may be the strongest kid on the block now, and able to fight my way to the front of the queue today to get my unfair share of the bread, but I am aware that one day I will not be able to do that. So I can see an advantage in promoting a society in which I will in future benefit, as will my children, who, after all, are carrying forward my genes, or, if you like, my only possibility for immortality. So, Yes, I would say that the PB did act both unlawfully and by generally accepted standards immorally.

    Part 2 follows...

    ReplyDelete
  150. Part 2...
    Leila, I would have to pick the third of your options for what constitutes a person, but I would qualify it with a number of detailed observations.

    Regarding the term 'intrinsic' - I do think there is a connection between this and a democratic vote. Humans almost all share intrinsic traits and values, simply because they are all humans. This has a direct influence on the kind of society in which we wish to live, and this informs our democratic vote. We each form our own view on what it is to behave morally, and this is informed by evolution, environment and the influence by our peers. For example, in most societies (but not all) premeditated murder of another human being between birth and natural death is considered immoral, but in some societies honour killing is considered moral, and in others 'suti' was considered moral until relatively recently. In former times in much of Western society, it was thought that the soul entered the body with the first cry by the child, so we would not have considered the rights and wrongs of abortion worthy of discussion in the same way as we do now.

    Why am I '...OK with killing the unborn but not the born'. I'm not sure if I've said it already on this blog or another but the answer is quite simple: A man who has committed murder, and is therefore deemed in some societies to merit being killed by the state in retribution, can still feel fear, pain, anxiety and he lives with that from the moment of sentencing to the moment he is executed. His death may also hugely adversely affect many other humans, who are blameless - wife, children, parents, friends, broader family. And it sends out a message that killing an adult is sometimes ok.
    It is my opinion that the harm done by this act is in a wholly different category than terminating an early stage pregnancy. The fetus may be unique, and have the potential to be a person, but it is not, in the same sense as an adult man, and does not have the same connections.
    I would stress that this is only an opinion. I cannot 'prove' that I am right, and I respect that you may not agree, but each of us makes up our own mind. That is what living in a relatively democratic society allows us to do.

    Slavery, Nazi killings etc all fall into a different but similar category, from the point of view of the morality of the perpetrator, of inflicting the same effects on the individual as for the murderer - even though they are being killed or denied their liberty for totally different reasons.

    Jeremy Bentham ( a utilitarian) had the following to say, which more or less accords with my view: "...a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month old. But suppose it were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor can they talk? but, can they suffer?"

    ReplyDelete
  151. Part 3..
    Leila,
    You said: Doesn't your "society decides what's right" mentality equate to "might makes right"?
    To a certain extent, yes it does, whether or not you want it to be. But we have to trust that those that we put in a position to exercise their might, do so with within a moral framework with which we agree. If they fail our standards they are brought to account and stripped of their power. It’s a crude and clumsy mechanism but it’s the best we’ve been able to come up with.

    You said ...It’s been said that if there is no absolute truth, then there is only power. Do you agree? I think with your philosophy you'd have to, but I will await your answer.
    No, I don't agree. The alternative to absolute truth is not necessarily 'no truth'. As I've said before, I do not believe in absolute values; I believe in relative values, and I think our views on this change as we grow older. At 16 I had very different views to the ones I now hold at 56. I still respect ‘truth’ but perhaps it means something different to me than it does to you. It’s not always as simple as ‘right or wrong’.


    M Hastings:
    I thought I had answered your previous questions but apologies if not. I think I'm going to disappoint you by stating that there is not a single binary point at which I think we should afford the same rights to the fetus as to a born person. At the zygote stage I would say the entity has few or no rights. After the fetus is viable as a separate entity to its mother it should be accorded similar rights to a born person, with, in my opinion, the rights of the mother outweighing the rights of the unborn. And there is a gradation of rights in between.

    This idea of 'wiping his or her only shot at existence' leaves me unmoved. How can you miss or regret the lack of something you were not capable of being aware you had?

    I think I've largely answered your question on why we should not feel free to kill adults in the same way that we do fetuses. Jeremy Bentham reflects my views, and those of society as a whole, who, after all, are all indirectly responsible for the laws which permit abortion.

    My view is that rights are not 'natural' or God given, but human constructs, which we have arrived at over thousands of years, to our overall mutual benefit. Some of us find comfort in devolving our responsibility for deciding what is ‘moral’ to a supernatural entity that we have created in our minds. It is that divide that I think mostly divides the views of Christians, and Catholics in particular, from mine. Maybe the gulf is unbridgeable?

    ReplyDelete
  152. Simian:

    This idea of 'wiping his or her only shot at existence' leaves me unmoved. How can you miss or regret the lack of something you were not capable of being aware you had?

    Why can't I kill my 11-month-old son? Maybe those are my relative values. He would never know what he was missing.

    It sounds like you have the same philosophy as Peter Singer, and I wrote about that here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/08/logical-case-for-infanticide.html

    He believes things that I think are abhorrent, but he is logically consistent in his philosophy.

    I still don't understand this:

    As I've said before, I do not believe in absolute values; I believe in relative values, and I think our views on this change as we grow older.

    How is "relative truth" different from moral chaos? If truth originates within the individual, subjectively, then how is it truth? Isn't it opinion? What is the difference, in your mind, between truth and opinion?

    Also, within your philosophy, how can you say that the Holocaust was wrong? Or slavery? You could say it's wrong now (since "society" declares it so), but how can you say that those folks (Nazis, slave owners) were wrong then? Weren't they right in the world of relative values?

    I truly don't get how might doesn't make right, or power being the only thing that dictates morality. Help me out. I'm not being tricky, I really do not understand. Go further, clarify, give me examples.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  153. My view is that rights are not 'natural' or God given, but human constructs, which we have arrived at over thousands of years, to our overall mutual benefit.

    Really? Mutual benefit? I look at world history and disagree. The 20th Century was the bloodiest ever. How have we "evolved" morally? I just don't see it. Especially since the very weakest of the human family (unborn, elderly, disabled) are the ones targeted by the strongest members, all with the sanction of the "humanists". How does that happen, and how is that "mutual benefit"?

    I'm seriously asking.

    ReplyDelete
  154. Simian, have you seen an ultrasound guided abortion?
    I ask because you seem to base your argument against killing born persons on the harm you are causing the persons, which I suppose assumes that the unborn baby at an early stage is not hurting in the same way.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkD0PcIsM3U&playnext=1&list=PL496AB0FBA5F0EA9A

    It is long and the cheesy graphics irritate me, but the moment of ultrasound guided abortion makes it undeniably clear that the fetus is suffering during the time of an abortion. In other words, a human being is being hurt, being killed painfully, so that his or her mother does not have to experience labor and delivery.

    As for the question that you seem unclear about, let me make it as clear as I am able: at what stage in development should abortion be illegal? Can you at the very least give me a month? If you cannot do this, you are not being intellectually honest with yourself. If you cannot nail down a stage of development at which a human life deserves protection, then you are obligated to protect that life in all its stages.

    The problem with basing your ethics off of "human constructs" is that these constructs shift and evolve. And devolve. If in 2 years, abortion is outlawed, will you then support that law and believe that it is wrong to abort? Relative morality is dangerous. If I get a majority of people to believe that you should be shot, you would still want to not be shot. Subjective morality does not translate well to a large group.

    ReplyDelete
  155. Simian, because your aim seems to be the elimination of suffering, you might be interested in what I wrote about that, here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/10/is-suffering-worse-than-death-part-one.html

    ReplyDelete
  156. Leila, Stacy,
    I give up. You have seen off yet another dissenter. Your questions make me realise that you really do want to stay in your Little Catholic Bubble, and you are only playing at being open to alternative views, which you then take great pleasure in seeing off by bombarding with the sorts of question that betray either a total lack of understanding of any moral framework outside Catholicism, or a willful desire to pretend not to understand.

    Yes, I do agree with much of what Peter Singer says. That is such anathaema to you that as I wrote previously I think the chasm betwee our views is just too great to have a reasonable discussion.

    Let me do you the courtesy of responding to the specific questions above before I go:

    Your 11 month old son is capable of feeling pain and distress, and has established bonds with many people. The law reflects this difference.

    Equally I do not understand how you can possibly confuse subjective morality with moral chaos. I think I should let you work that out for yourself.

    To a person who does not believe in God, it is natural to realise that rights are created by man. Where else might they be created? I think you'll find that 'Humanists are generally some of the most peace loving and considerate people you could hope to meet. Of course there are exceptions, but do not conflate with all Atheists.

    M Hastings. Before 26 weeks the foetus does not experience pain. There is no 'hurt' involved.
    My view on to what stage in pregnancy abortion should be legal is I agree subjective, and I would state that normally it should be before the foetus is able to experience suffering and pain. I will defer to the generally accepted medical view on this.
    See: http://www.abortionreview.org/index.php/site/article/773/
    for more detail.

    Yes. Human constructs shift over time, as we can see by studying actual history. Numerous things that were totally acceptable not so long ago would be unlawful now, and things that were unlawful are now accepted. That is the reality.

    Leila again,
    I had indeed seen your post on suffering. Yes, in my view some suffering can be worse than death. What is so awful about death? If one believes in an afterlife in bliss isn't it something to look forward to? If, as I do, one believes that at death we cease to exist at all, then yes, death is still preferable to suffering. I would not suggest something for another human that I would not be prepared to do or have done to myself. If I were terminally ill and in great and constant pain I would consider it an act of great kindness if someone were to assist me in ending my life at a time of my choosing and with dignity. I know that is against Catholic teaching, but from a purely humanitarian point of view I guess most people can understand the logic.

    ReplyDelete
  157. Simian,

    ?

    I was asking honest questions, and I have never received an answer from anyone. Can you just humor me and answer? Will no atheist answer them? It makes me think that no one can answer them. But I beg you to try.

    Here they are again:

    Simian said: As I've said before, I do not believe in absolute values; I believe in relative values, and I think our views on this change as we grow older.

    Leila said: How is "relative truth" different from moral chaos? If truth originates within the individual, subjectively, then how is it truth? Isn't it opinion? What is the difference, in your mind, between truth and opinion?

    Also, within your philosophy, how can you say that the Holocaust was wrong? Or slavery? You could say it's wrong now (since "society" declares it so), but how can you say that those folks (Nazis, slave owners) were wrong then? Weren't they right in the world of relative values?

    I truly don't get how might doesn't make right, or power being the only thing that dictates morality. Help me out. I'm not being tricky, I really do not understand. Go further, clarify, give me examples.


    Next group of questions....

    Simian said: My view is that rights are not 'natural' or God given, but human constructs, which we have arrived at over thousands of years, to our overall mutual benefit.

    Leila said: Really? Mutual benefit? I look at world history and disagree. The 20th Century was the bloodiest ever. How have we "evolved" morally? I just don't see it. Especially since the very weakest of the human family (unborn, elderly, disabled) are the ones targeted by the strongest members, all with the sanction of the "humanists". How does that happen, and how is that "mutual benefit"?

    I'm seriously asking.


    Why won't you answer those questions? I very sincerely do not understand why.

    ReplyDelete
  158. By the way, Simian, I did have one atheist tell me that in her mind, truth and opinion are the same thing. I can respect that answer. I accept that answer.

    I accept a lot of answers that I get from atheists (as I mentioned before). But that's because I actually got answers on those questions.

    As for your question about suffering.... I would say that sometimes death comes as a blessing to those who are dying. And when it is my time to die, I will be pleased to meet my God. For death to come to those who are not dying? No, that is not a good. And, for people to do evil things in order to avoid suffering? That is also not a good. We don't need to go looking for suffering, since life provides enough, but when suffering is inevitable, we may not use evil means to eliminate suffering.

    I totally understand why you would reject that view as an atheist. If I were an atheist, I would do anything I could, good or bad, to feel comfortable and avoid pain or suffering, even if the means were seen as "evil" by the world. Because pleasure and comfort would be my aim. I don't see how it could be otherwise, if I truly believed my life had no ultimate meaning and I am here by chance, and soon I will go "poof."

    I would want as much pleasure as possible. That's just me, though. But I think it's a reasonable place to be as an atheist, and I don't mean that snidely.

    I'm sorry that you thought my questions weren't serious. They were.

    Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete
  159. *PS, surely you understand that while sometimes death is a blessing to those who are dying, I don't mean that anyone should be the instrument of death. I am anti-euthanasia and anti-suicide.

    Also, would you ever condone the killing of someone without their explicit consent (aside from the unborn)?

    ReplyDelete
  160. Sorry, I just can't stop:

    Simian said: To a person who does not believe in God, it is natural to realise that rights are created by man. Where else might they be created?

    How can one human being be the "creator" of rights for another? Are their no universal human rights? I don't think there can be under your philosophy.

    For example, a Christian would say that a right to life comes from our Creator. That the right of women not to be raped comes from our Creator. That the right to our own conscience and will comes from our Creator. God gives us these rights. They are inherent in our human dignity, and no mere human can legitimately take them away.

    Your philosophy must hold that there are no universal rights, since rights are given by each government, and those in power. So, in some Muslim countries, women do not have any such "right" to not be raped. And in communist countries, people do not have the "right" to be free. If rights come from people, and are not inherent in our dignity as humans and children of God, then you cannot claim that any nation is a violator of human rights. Correct?

    If not, help me understand.

    I don't know if I said that clearly, as I am getting tired. Sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  161. Leila. I thought I had answered your questions. It seems that you either don't accept or don't understand my answers, or don't regard them as answers! I will try again, because you do say you to want to understand. But it is hard to argue with someone who bases their morality on a holy book, because no matter what evidence I put before you, it is always trumped in your mind by what the holy book tells you is correct. If I am really to challenge your views I have to first persuade you that your holy book is wrong, or that you have misinterpreted it - something which I don't think I can do on this blog, or that I desire to do.
    We could have a long philosophical discussion about the nature of 'truth'. But to answer your question again in a different way: Let's assume (purely for the sake of argument) that there is no God. How does that change the nature of what we regard as truth? "I am a man" is a simple truth and one which those who know me would have no difficulty confirming. However, "Homosexuality is a sin" is a subjective truth. It is true for you but not for me. But that does not stop the World turning, and we can still both lead full and meaningful lives. So the "truth" is relative to your beliefs. Another example: "There is a God". That is for you a truth, and at the core of your person. For me this cannot be a truth for we cannot possibly prove it to be true or untrue.

    Part 2 follows...

    ReplyDelete
  162. Part 2...
    It is not a problem for me to say that the holocaust was wrong, because I have read the accounts and measured them against my personal value system, and my conclusion is that it was wrong. And this is validated by the fact that very many other non religious people have independently come to the same conclusion. If I was Nazi and subjected to the kind of information to which they were subject, my 'truth' might be different. Nazism was defeated because the Nazis could not persuade enough people to share their core beliefs. I wish the same could be said of Islamism!
    Actually power does to an extent determine morality. Teachers of all types are a group that wield that power against children from an early age. Do you think that if you were born into a Muslim family in a Muslim country you would now be a Catholic? Another example: There are probably laws about which you disagree, and which are based on moral precepts. To take a very apposite example, I think you believe that abortion should be illegal, and yet the laws of your country preach an alternate morality, that whilst it is not generally something to be happy about, under certain circumstances it is moral. That is relativism in action.
    I have already given you a full explanation of my views on evolved morality. If there is no God, from where else could morality possibly come, but from ourselves? There s no alternative answer. It’s surely as simple as that.
    I would agree that 'truth' and 'opinion' are close bedfellows. However, for something to be accepted as a truth, it generally requires that this is a view shared by others. I can hold whatever opinions I like in private.
    My problem with your views on evil related to alleviating suffering is that I don't believe in the concept of evil in the same way that you do. As I have already stated, suffering or lack thereof is a much more relevant factor than life itself. You may not agree but that is my answer.
    Yes, I want to derive as much pleasure from this life as I can, but as a human, with evolutionarily necessary drivers to influence my behaviour, I do experience empathy, I do experience compassion, and I do regard fairness as important. These and other similar factors regulate just how far I can go in satisfying my desires as against the needs of other people. It is this balance that all psychologically 'normal' people experience which is what allows us to live in a society which is overall to our mutual benefit. Yes, there are aberrations all the time, but you'll notice that the pendulum always swings back to a neutral position.
    Does this help?

    ReplyDelete
  163. Simian, it helps a lot! Thank you! I think you explained it clearly, and that is what I want for this blog. I want each side to present its side clearly, and then let the readers see the difference and decide which is more reasonable.

    I do agree that whether or not you are a man is a case of objective truth (as opposed to whether or not green is a pretty color for a sofa, which is subjective, i.e., opinion). Can we also agree that whether or not the earth is flat is a matter of objective truth (it either is flat or it isn't, and what most people believe doesn't matter). The same for whether God exists: It is either true that God does exist, or it's true that God does not exist. Both cannot be true at the same time. God either exists or he doesn't. Do you agree? So, it is not a matter of "your truth" or "my truth" but rather "your opinion" or "my opinion". One of us has to be wrong, objectively. Do you agree? (You think it's me, I think it's you, but one of us is wrong.) Do you at least agree with that part?

    I laid out our two worldviews on truth here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/10/pilate-said-to-him-what-is-truth.html

    Tell me what you think.

    More in a bit....

    ReplyDelete
  164. *(it either is flat or it isn't, and what most people believe doesn't matter)

    To clarify: The earth was round even when most people thought it was flat. Finally finding the truth (that the earth is round) did not make the earth round. It was all along. Humans simply have now discovered the truth, which is objective, and not dependent on a democratic vote.

    Hope that makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  165. As to the source of objective truth for an atheist, it would be Natural Law. Natural Law can be apprehended by the atheist mind as well as the Christian mind. So, Natural Law says that the murder of innocents (such as in the Holocaust) is always objectively wrong (not only a matter of educated opinion).

    So, even if the laws of a country say that rape of women is moral, or abortion is moral, or killing Jews is moral, or slavery is moral, those actions are nevertheless always objectively immoral. As I said, the truth of morality can be known by Natural Law.

    Anyway, if you read my link on truth, it might be more clear.

    It is true we have irreconcilable worldviews, if you believe that truth does essentially come down to opinion. I appreciate your honesty. It does change all we have known in western civilization when we begin to believe (erroneously) that "truth" and "opinion" are synonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Simian,

    I want to begin by saying that I am honestly trying to maintain open communication here. I am not arguing that you are unbalanced and biased and irrational by any means. I believe that you have come to a fairly understandable conclusion for one who does not believe in the sanctity of human life. I get that.

    "Before 26 weeks the foetus does not experience pain. There is no 'hurt' involved."

    Your quoted article argues that the fetus is not aware of sensory stimuli prior to 26 weeks, yet we know from the marvel that is modern medical science that the fetus responds to sensory stimuli at much earlier stages. How confident are you in the accuracy of the 26 week mark? From the research I have done, 26 weeks tends to err on the pro-abortion side (which I would expect. I am not calling you deceitful at all), but there is also evidence to indicate that the fetus may feel pain as early as 8 weeks of gestation. Furthermore, babies have been born premature at as little as just under 22 weeks gestation. Would you have authorized their termination post-birth? Why or why not?
    See this website for some information on fetal pain:
    http://www.gargaro.com/fetalpain.html

    You said, "Yes. Human constructs shift over time, as we can see by studying actual history. Numerous things that were totally acceptable not so long ago would be unlawful now, and things that were unlawful are now accepted. That is the reality."
    I was not arguing whether or not laws shift. I was arguing whether or not it is a wise thing to base your moral standards on social constructs. I am wondering whether you would support a law banning abortion were it to be backed by a majority?

    ReplyDelete
  167. Simian,
    Another philosophical question for you, in regards to your statement to Leila, "Your 11 month old son is capable of feeling pain and distress, and has established bonds with many people. The law reflects this difference."

    If she were to kill her son in a painless manner, would it be morally permissible to you? What if she had spent most of his first year in the house and he had not developed strong bonds with anyone who wasn't in agreement on 'humane' termination? Why would or wouldn't this be acceptable?

    ReplyDelete
  168. M. Hastings:
    I don't think the article says that the fetus does not respond to stimuli What i think it says is that it deos not experience pain. Very different things. Your evidence that the fetus feels pain at 8 weeks does not accord with the opinion of the RCOG, (the leading UK representative body) who are quoted in my reference.

    Would I support a law banning abortion were it to be backed by a majority? I would not support it but I would abide by it, while campaigning to get it changed.

    Regarding your quetion on the treament of an 11month old baby: I've been through all this already. Firstly, there is a difference between killing where it can be made painless, even though the person is fully capable of feeling pain, and killing where the proto-person does not yet have the capacity to feel pain. To me they are totally different. Secondly, the idea of keeping a child in such hypothetical conditions is unrealistic. If you anstract from this you might say "would it be alright if she kept her child sedated for a year and then killed it"? In reality this is not what happens. Bonds are made and the baby's perception of life, pain and all the other things that make us human have started to happen. It is nt the same.

    ReplyDelete
  169. Simian,
    Looks like you didn't check out my article.
    In 2005, there was a bill introduced (well, reintroduced) after advancements in the medical community indicated that the fetus feels pain much earlier than the abortion community's claimed 25-30 week cutoff. The website I linked sites a couple of studies that show not response but release of cortisol and a change in vitals when a fetus is exposed to pain. These studies cite these changes as early as 16 weeks.

    I will ask again, how confident are you that 26 weeks is when the fetus begins to feel pain? How confident are you that we will not learn otherwise as technology advances? How confident are you that those in the medical community who believe that the fetus begins to feel pain at 8 weeks are wrong?

    You said, "To a person who does not believe in God, it is natural to realize [sic] that rights are created by man. Where else might they be created?"
    You also said, "Do I think anyone has intrinsic values or rights? Yes I do. These values and rights are what we humans decide them to be."
    You said, "It may be that in 100 years time we all think that abortion is always immoral and it becomes universally unlawful, but it isn't now, because the majority are either not bothered about it, or hold the view that it is not always immoral. Society decides."

    Then, you said, "Would I support a law banning abortion were it to be backed by a majority? I would not support it but I would abide by it, while campaigning to get it changed."

    Forgive me, but is abortion moral or not? Earlier, you expressed that society dictates morality, yet when I introduce a circumstance wherein society is anti-abortion, your moral compass steers you away from the generally accepted practice. In that case, you do indeed have a personal moral code.

    "In reality this is not what happens."
    Do you have children? I find it incredibly possible for a new parent to become isolated with their baby for the first year. Not the most likely scenario, but certainly possible.

    However, the likelihood of the theoretical was irrelevant. My point was to ask, in the purely hypothetical circumstance wherein a child is isolated for the first year of his or her life, would it then be permissible to kill him or her in a non-painful fashion? If not, what exactly is it about the fetus that makes this acceptable, besides location?

    I also asked, "Furthermore, babies have been born premature at as little as just under 22 weeks gestation. Would you have authorized their termination post-birth? Why or why not?"
    I'd honestly like an answer to that.

    Thanks ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  170. M Hastings & Simian - You are debating minutia at this point with the pain argument. Since when does the ability to feel pain afford one human dignity? Do we have to have all 5 senses in order to be a human?

    You may or may not be aware, but there is a rare genetic disorder found in some people that leaves them unable to feel pain. Are they unhuman too? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16185231/ns/health-health_care/

    It doesn't MATTER whether or when unborn children can feel pain. They're human even before that!

    ReplyDelete
  171. Nicole, great point. I remember reading about a little girl who could not feel pain.

    Simian?

    ReplyDelete
  172. Guys. Please read very carefully what I have written, not what you assume I have meant to have written. And I'm not writing a treatise on the topic, so yes, there are always going to be additional things I could have added, and excpetions i could have covered.
    Regarding pain: See my last comment. I quote: Firstly, there is a difference between killing where it can be made painless, even though the person is fully capable of feeling pain, and killing where the proto-person does not yet have the capacity to feel pain. To me they are totally different. So call me up for the exception of a rare case of a child not being able to feel pain if you must. I'm sure we can all find others. But do you understand the fundamental point I am making? I believe there is a difference between a fetus in the womb before it has the apparatus and connections to understand what it is to feel pain, (rather than just a reflex) and a child who can and does feel pain or can't and doesn't feel pain but nonetheless has other senses that differentiate it from a fetus. You may not agree with me. But that's not the point. I do not ask you to justify your belief in God, and yet that is an idea that is by comparison pretty easy to tear apart if one wsihes to do so. But I don't. That's not what I'm here for. I do want to understand your point of view. If we're going to have a sensible exchange we need to accept that we are not arguing minutiae. We are arguing principles.
    We can also argue forever about exactly when a fetus feels pain. I take my evidence from recent research by the respected and authoritative body that represents the majority of obstetricians and Gynecologists in the UK.
    M Hastings. Your tactic appears to make a point that if we cannot agree at what point a fetus can feel pain we should err on the side of caution and oppose all abortion. It's not for me to say whether it is moral to allow abortion at 21 weeks or 21 and a quarter/half/eight weeks or whatever. I rely on expert advice to guide me.
    I'm sorry if I sound frustrated, but I'm sure you are too. Sometimes it feels like an unstoppable force hitting and indestructible wall!
    I do have a full time job and a hectic schedule, so I can't give this the time it really needs to do full justice to your myriad questions. I will try, but forgive me if I don't answer them all at once. I don't wnat to leave this hanging and will do my best but maybe if you only ask one or two questions at a time it would help.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  173. Simian,

    Yes, my point is EXACTLY that you seem to be basing your argument on the ability to feel pain, when you do not know with great certainty when that ability begins.

    You said, "I do not ask you to justify your belief in God, and yet that is an idea that is by comparison pretty easy to tear apart if one wishes [sic] to do so." First of all, I disagree, but that is currently irrelevant. The relevant question is this: who is being harmed by my belief and how? Your belief that abortion is a woman's right is harming every baby (human fetus, if you will) who is subjected to abortion. Furthermore, there is substantial evidence to back up a claim that abortion increases suicide rates, infertility, and breast cancer.

    What I would like to know most of all, though, Simian, is why?

    Why is it that you believe that killing is permissible on a human who you believe incapable of feeling pain? No more of this proto-human nonsense. You either ARE human, or you AREN'T. We know, from a scientific viewpoint, that a human life begins at conception. So what I am honestly wondering is, what makes it acceptable to end a human life prior to birth? Why do you believe that the ability to feel pain, or appearance, or what have you, is an acceptable reason for death?


    And Nicole, although I completely agree with you on the subject of abortion and what it is at its nature, I am trying very hard to work under the premises that all humans are not people. It is, to my way of thinking, a completely illogical argument, but I do believe that it is likely Simian would say the same about the argument that all humans ARE persons.

    ReplyDelete
  174. Simian, I am not trying to be combative at all. I truly want your opinion on whether or not the following is accurate:

    Your criteria for who is a person (with the right to be protected from violence and death) are subjective and/or arbitrary.

    Am I wrong? I think you did admit that your decision on when exactly an unborn child has the right to stay alive is arbitrary.

    I actually understand why an atheist would say that some humans are less human than others, because life itself is arbitrary and random (and ultimately meaningless), but can you see on a practical level (or from history) why it is dangerous to say that some of us are more human than others? Shouldn't all humans have the same human rights?

    Sorry if that sounds harsh, or rude. I'm just so pressed for time, like you are, that I like to cut right to the chase and not waste words.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  175. M Hastings. I referred you to an article which was clear that pain before a specific point in pregnancy pain could not be experienced by the fetus. It was very specific. You don't agree. That is not the same as being unsure.
    Why is abortion acceptable? Well development of the ability to feel pain is also a proxy for other cognitive functions. As I've said before, I do not accord the same value to a human before that point. I take a pragmatic view. I do not regard human life as sacred or God given. I do not regard an early term fetus as a person - human yes, but not yet a person.
    Why do I not consider it just as valid to kill a 2 year old? Simple. If the pregnant woman is content not to carry the fetus to term, and the fetus is not yet self aware or able to feel anything, then that is a very different situation to that of a two year old.

    Guys, I have a dilemma - This is taking too much time and I am concerned that in my desire to answer your questions without too much delay I am taking too many short cuts and making too many assumptions about my audience - and I can't keep up with yur questions! But I do want to continue this.
    I'm going to take a break and come back to this blog once I can devote more time to it.
    I've already leanrned a lot, so thanks for that.

    ReplyDelete
  176. Simian, I completely understand about the time crunch, and about the desire to answer thoroughly, not hastily. I fight that same battle all the time. So please feel free to take as much time as you need. I totally understand and I look forward to your next comment, whenever it comes.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  177. You write "I do ask that abortion advocates go and look. Please go and see, and please tell me what you think of these photos?"

    I see crime scene photos. I don't know what the law is in Philadelphia, but in the UK (where I live) abortion is illegal after 24 weeks except in cases where it's necessary to save the life of the woman, there is evidence of extreme fetal abnormality, or there is a grave risk of physical or mental injury to the woman.

    I fail to see how you connect this terrible crime with pro-choice advocacy. The pro-choice position puts the woman's well-being first. Dr Gosnell has been charged with maiming his patients, even killing one woman. Pro-choice campaigners believe that the earlier abortion can be carried out the better. In the UK 87% of abortions are performed at 12 weeks or less, with only 1.6% after 20 weeks.

    I note the patient profile - destitute, powerless, immigrant - and it seems to me that this horror story is a reflection of the US's appalling healthcare and welfare system. Something like this couldn't happen in the UK, because there would be no need.

    ReplyDelete
  178. It just seems clear to me that most people are narrow-minded on these issues....including Sophie. We're either for dignity or against it. We can either advocate what is consistent with respecting human dignity....or work against it. That is our 'choice' as a society. We can't build a decent society on top of a pile of broken, brutalized women and murdered children.....no matter how much some may think otherwise. Anyone who would be okay with abortion has a lot of nerve pointing fingers about affronts against dignity anywhere else. Having said that, a healthcare system is only as good as the people who work in it. A culture that rejects human dignity will not advance human dignity no matter what laws we pass or system is otherwise put in place.

    ReplyDelete
  179. Sophie, a few points:

    The only reason those are crime scene photos instead of photos of a successful, legal abortion is that the good doctor killed the babies a few inches out of the birth canal, instead of inside it. (As well as killing and maiming women along the way.) But if those cuts to the baby’s necks were performed a few seconds earlier, there would be no crime scene. Would the pictures horrify you if they were the result of a legal abortion? I pray they still would.

    Maybe you didn’t read the comment from the District Attorney? He made clear that the fact that abortion clinics are not regulated and that this man got away with it for over a decade (when people did complain again and again) was “BY DESIGN”. What did he mean “by design”? Well, the abortion advocates work tirelessly to ensure that abortion clinics do not have to meet the same health standards and reporting as other medical facilities, and abortionists are given a pass over and over and over again. And the media turns a blind eye. Usually these butchers continue maiming and killing until there are multiple atrocities. Really think about what the D.A. means by “by design” and then tell me this had nothing to do with abortion advocacy.

    More coming....

    ReplyDelete
  180. Oops, I meant to label those paragraphs 1) and 2)

    ReplyDelete
  181. 3) Sophie said: in the UK (where I live) abortion is illegal after 24 weeks except in cases where it's necessary to save the life of the woman, there is evidence of extreme fetal abnormality, or there is a grave risk of physical or mental injury to the woman.

    That's pretty much how it is here, too... But of course while it looks like a restriction on paper, in practice it is no restriction at all. All an abortionist must do to perform a late-term abortion on anyone is agree that she is mentally stressed out or depressed. Then, voila, abortion of a healthy baby and healthy mother. And thousands of dollars for the late-term abortionist.

    Those "health" exception clauses are, in practice, meaningless.

    4) As for the slam at our healthcare system, I'd love to debate you on that one. However, I'll say this: I live in a border state where we have half a million illegal immigrants. I have never heard of a poor immigrant having to endure childbirth like this (UK):

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1209034/The-babies-born-hospital-corridors-Bed-shortage-forces-4-000-mothers-birth-lifts-offices-hospital-toilets.html

    Enough said?

    5) The person taking advantage of the poor immigrant isn't the US health system, it was the abortionist. And, considering how the birth control/abortion movement started (getting rid of "human weeds", targeting the poor), this does not surprise me.

    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  182. One last thing, Sophie. Could you go and look at this video (of a legal, "safe" abortion)? Maybe you will be the first to look at it in its entirety and then defend what you see? No one has defended this legal abortion so far.

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/lord-have-mercy.html

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  183. I want to add an anecdote to Leila's point about clinic standards. I have personally witnessed attorneys from the ACLU and NOW arguing AGAINST brutalized women who testified before Kentucky's Senate Judiciary Committee. The women were asking for passage of a bill that would require abortion clinics to operate under the exact same cleanliness standards of other surgical facilities in our state. Even something that simple for women's health is anathema to the ACLU and NOW. Any claim that these organizations are interested in women's health is absolutely false.

    ReplyDelete
  184. Simian,
    I understood the crux of your link, but my point was that medical professionals don't all agree about what is necessary to feel pain.

    I also understand your dilemma (during the week, unlike most, I am relatively free. It is the weekends that 'do me in'). Take your time. :)

    ReplyDelete
  185. Leila: Your reply fails to acknowledge my answer to the question you pose at the top of the page. Dr Gosnell's crime is exactly the sort of case pro-choice advocates use to support the need for safe legal abortion. The pro-choice position is woman-centred, with her well-being paramount. Far from us supporting such crimes, the opposite is true: if abortion became illegal there’d be far more Dr Gosnells, as witness the mortality/morbidity rate in places where abortion is illegal.

    Regarding your link to the Daily Mail story, I'm well aware that our NHS is far from perfect, but the story you quote was so shocking - and so rare - that it made national headlines. In America, on the other hand, nearly *45,000* people die each year from lack of affordable medical care. It's amazing to watch populist groups and politicians fight tooth and nail to maintain this shameful state of affairs. Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/09/17/us-usa-healthcare-deaths-idUSTRE58G6W520090917

    Parts of the US have Third World infant mortality. "The US is the only wealthy country with no universal health insurance system. High levels of spending on personal health care reflect America's cutting-edge medical technology and treatment. But the paradox at the heart of the US health system is that, because of inequalities in health financing, countries that spend substantially less than the US have, on average, a healthier population. The infant mortality rate in the US is the same as Malaysia, which has a quarter of America's income."

    (UN Report) Link: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0908-06.htm

    As for your video, why would you think it would change my mind? I notice that anti-abortionists never show pictures of early abortion, or of microscopic fertilized eggs, most of which never implant. Only the emotive ones are chosen. The assumption that people who support legal abortion only do so from ignorance is insulting and patronizing. We don’t think a miscarriage or an induced abortion produces a hen’s egg or a nothing. We know what it entails, but we maintain that the woman has the right to decide in the first 24 or so weeks. Terminating a pregnancy is never a fun event, but it’s often the better alternative.

    The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (equivalent to your ACOG) published recent research showing that the fetus has no awareness and cannot feel pain before 24 weeks because the connections in the fetal brain are not fully formed and the fetus is sedated. (http://www.rcog.org.uk/news/rcog-release-rcog-updates-its-guidance) The fact that the fetus responds to stimuli is irrelevant. So do a number of plants.

    Reading through previous posts, it's obvious that your requests for debate are purely rhetorical. Little Catholic Bubble is a perfect description of the site. The wider world's ethical and medical views are simply ignored. I can't see the no point in requesting comments when you have no interest in anyone's views but your own.

    ReplyDelete
  186. Sophie, where do I begin? Well, I will start slow, because I am in between events with the kids, so let me take one of your claims, first.

    I believe that our infant mortality rate is so "high" here in America because we are able to keep smaller and smaller babies alive for a time after birth. So, where other countries count those situations as "miscarriages" or stillbirth (since they do not survive birth), we have so much success in our health care system that these tiny, premature babies are surviving younger and younger. Many, tragically, still die despite our best efforts.

    So, that is why our infant mortality rates are high. It's sort of a deceptive statistic. I'm sure you can see that now.

    More coming....

    ReplyDelete
  187. By the way, it took about a second to confirm that the Harvard study was suspect:

    HARVARD STUDY USES QUESTIONABLE METHODOLOGY, SAY CRITICS

    A Harvard University study published in the American Journal of Public Health claimed that nearly 45,000 Americans die each year due to lack of health care coverage. It's an alarming figure, except that this study is seriously flawed, says U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, who represents Florida's 6th Congressional District.

    The study reflects the bias of the authors and contains inaccurate characterizations. The authors of the study, Dr. David Himmelstein and Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, co-founded the Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates a single-payer health system, or socialized medicine. According to Stearns, the authors developed their conclusion before conducting the study.

    Consider the questionable methodology behind the report. According to an analysis by John C. Goodman, President, CEO and the Kellye Wright Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis:

    The authors of the Harvard study interviewed the uninsured only once -- and never saw them again; this alone undermines the integrity of the findings.

    A decade later, the researchers assumed the participants were still uninsured and, if they died in the interim, lack of insurance was blamed as one of the causes.

    Yet:

    Like unemployment, uninsurance happens to many people for short periods of time.

    Most people who are uninsured regain insurance within one year.
    The authors of the study did not track what happened to the insurance status of the subjects over the decade examined, what medical care they received or even the causes of their deaths.


    http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=18718

    That's a quick search, but I will find more if you require it.

    More coming...

    ReplyDelete
  188. http://www.slate.com/id/2161899/

    More info and stats on infant mortality in the US.

    Interestingly, much of the prematurity is due to IVF and other artificial reproductive techniques, which have very high rates of problems.

    ReplyDelete
  189. Sophie supports child-killing because if we don't support child-killing, some women might get hurt by butchers like Gosnell.

    That's the argument as I understand it because I know abortion kills children.

    During the slavery era, there were people who argued that we shouldn't forcefully free the slaves because they were well taken care of by their masters, and if they were freed, they wouldn't be able to care for themselves. In reality, when the slaves were freed, many of them did not want to be freed. They had nowhere to go. A former slave once said it was as like "setting out cattle". There was nothing for them to be able to care for themselves. There was great suffering.

    But.....it was still the right thing to do because slavery is a horrible affront to human dignity.

    If abortion is outlawed, there will be some cases where women are injured. We cannot bring about a perfect world.....but as Mother Teresa said, abortion takes one life and scars another. Abortion brutalizes women. As much as we may like to think otherwise, we cannot build a decent culture on top of a pile of dead babies and brutalized women.

    ReplyDelete
  190. Sophie - is it your belief that abortion on demand should be legal at any time, for any reason, even if a woman is at 40 weeks gestation? I'm sorry if you've answered this before; if you have, I can't remember your response.

    Also, I disagree with your assertion that making abortion illegal would mean more illicit abortions. For example, look at what happened in Poland:

    "Under Communist rule in the ’80s, there were consistently over 100,000 abortions registered each year as compared to about 600,000 births. With the establishment of some self-government in 1990, with both the Church and doctors discouraging abortion, the numbers fell to 59,400.

    Let’s list the 1990 figures and then look ahead to 1994, the second year after abortion was forbidden except for danger to the life or health of the mother, rape and fetal handicap.

    [Table data]

    During this time the number of registered abortions declined to 176th of what it had been, and there was not a single death due to illegal abortion. All of these figures are exactly opposite of what International Planned Parenthood people in Poland predicted when the restrictive law was passed."

    source

    ReplyDelete
  191. Sophie said: As for your video [which is on the "Lord, Have Mercy" post], why would you think it would change my mind? I notice that anti-abortionists never show pictures of early abortion, or of microscopic fertilized eggs, most of which never implant. Only the emotive ones are chosen. The assumption that people who support legal abortion only do so from ignorance is insulting and patronizing.

    Sophie, I use the video of a (very routine) second-trimester abortion because many, many, many people who call themselves "pro-choice" do not have the first idea what an abortion is. By using very clear and unambiguous video, many of them may rethink their position. New facts often change minds. If I used a video of a first trimester abortion, the baby's delicate body would not be as clear, since it is easily decimated by the abortionist's suction machine. It would be a bloody mess. So, in those cases, to show an earlier baby, I would use a picture of an intact embryo/fetus. But unfortunately, the earlier the baby is aborted, the more easily it is demolished, and becomes unrecognizable.

    Surely you can understand.

    ReplyDelete
  192. Sophie said: We don’t think a miscarriage or an induced abortion produces a hen’s egg or a nothing. We know what it entails, but we maintain that the woman has the right to decide in the first 24 or so weeks. Terminating a pregnancy is never a fun event, but it’s often the better alternative.

    If you know what it entails, can you tell me, very specifically? Do you admit that abortion kills a baby (as these abortionists admit:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVJ6Fy4NoqY). Did you actually watch the entire video on the other post? You may be the first who has watched it and defended it, but I'd like to hear it from you directly. Did you honestly watch it? The whole thing?

    You maintain that although you understand what abortion is (what is it?), a woman has a right to abort her child up to 24 weeks. My question to you is: Why?

    I maintain that no one ever has the right to kill an innocent human being. Why don't you adhere to that principle?

    You say that abortion is "never a fun event" (it's someone dying a brutal death, so you are right...that's not "fun"), but it's sometimes the "better alternative". To what? Is it better to kill the child rather than have one's career or schooling interrupted? Or to put the baby up for adoption to a loving home? Or to sacrifice whatever I had planned and welcome and love a child? I just can't figure out when it is a better alternative to kill than to love?

    Help me understand why a child must die so that we may live as we wish?

    ReplyDelete
  193. Sophie said: The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (equivalent to your ACOG) published recent research showing that the fetus has no awareness and cannot feel pain before 24 weeks because the connections in the fetal brain are not fully formed and the fetus is sedated.

    Is that your criteria for when a baby can be aborted? If it feels pain? It begs the question then: If I render my 11-month old unconscious with heavy sedation, is it okay, morally, for me to kill him?

    I am sure you will scoff at my question, but I am very serious. Why is the value of a child based on whether or not he can feel pain? Or, does it just make you feel better somehow that even if a life is being taken, at least it's done painlessly?

    I don't get the moral principle there.

    As for whether or not I want to hear other opinions on the blog, I have said this before: I never censor what the other side says. You can put your best case out there, and I will put my best case out there. We let the readers decide. I don't know why that translates to "The wider world's ethical and medical views are simply ignored. I can't see the no point in requesting comments when you have no interest in anyone's views but your own." I am allowing you free rein to give your side of things. So, I am very confused about why you say it's being ignored here in the Bubble? Help?

    ReplyDelete
  194. Sophie, right at the top of my blog, there is a link to "A Welcome to Liberals". Here is part of what it says, just so that we are clear:

    Dear liberals/leftists/secularists/atheists:

    You are welcome in the Bubble! In fact, I encourage your comments and perspective. I will give you a fair hearing, I will not misrepresent you, and I will remain respectful in my questioning and responses. I often use Dennis Prager's saying, "I prefer clarity to agreement," and I really mean it.

    You should know up front that I do not dialogue in order to reach "consensus." Some issues can't be reconciled. I dialogue so that we can have clarity about what each of us believes, which facilitates understanding but not necessarily agreement. It also allows readers to see both sides presented, and from there they can form their own opinions.

    If you do not enjoy being challenged in your philosophy, if you do not like being pressed to go further, if you do not like questions (and more questions), then this is not the forum for you. But if you like a Socratic-type dialogue, then make yourself right at home here in the Bubble!

    ReplyDelete
  195. Leila: As I observed previously, Little Catholic Bubble is exactly that. It's Catholic propaganda on fertility issues. As a non-Catholic I find some of the content rather creepy and bizarre.

    There's no place here for anyone who doesn't accept your core values, so I'm not surprised few dissenters take up your "challenge". What would be the point? My own participation was clearly a waste of of my time.

    Thankfully, outside the bubble, you're not getting much of an audience even among Catholics. Most Catholics here use contraception, and many have abortions. I'd be surprised if the same wasn't true in the US.

    ReplyDelete
  196. Sophie, so basically you avoided the questions.

    Blessings to you, and you are always welcome here.

    ReplyDelete
  197. Sophie said, "I notice that anti-abortionists never show pictures of early abortion, or of microscopic fertilized eggs, most of which never implant."

    This simply is NOT true.
    http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=1126&bih=636&q=abortion&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=

    A simple google images search for "abortion" brought up a plethora of early-stage abortions. Page one has 3 first trimester aborted babies, 3 diagrams of abortion procedures (at 3 different stages), 1 pro-abortion photo, 1 photo of a developing baby (very tasteful), 1 anti-abortion/pro-life cartoon, and 4 later aborted babies (looks like late-ish in the second trimester). This is pretty typical, though the first page runs particularly heavy on highly developed babies.

    In January, Jillstanek.com ran an article about the use of graphic photos on which many pro-lifers commented about the pros & cons of using late-term photos. I am linking it. The article itself is not something in which I expect you to be interested, Sophie, but the comments on the post are incredibly insightful, I feel. http://www.jillstanek.com/2011/01/use-of-graphic-pictures-not-optional/

    Yes, some pro-lifers advocate the use of late-term photos. Not all of us. I think there are a few things you need to take into consideration. One is that the human fetus develops rather rapidly into the image in that video. Another is, where are you getting your information about what photos we like to use? As an active member of the pro-life community, I am glad to inform you that it is FAR more common to run across photos of early stage abortions than late-stage abortions.

    ReplyDelete
  198. I was very confused when I first read this post, because I didn't know there was another Sophie.
    However, I thought I might be able to clarify one of the things Sophie said about abortion "never [being] a fun event" but being the "better alternative".
    You responded "...a 'better alternative'. To what? Is it better to kill the child rather than have one's career or schooling interrupted? Or to put the baby up for adoption to a loving home? Or to sacrifice whatever I had planned and welcome and love a child? I just can't figure out when it is a better alternative to kill than to love?"
    I think perhaps Sophie was referring to the few cases where both the child and mother/family would suffer if the child was born. For instance, I knew a couple for quite a long time who were trying to have a baby. When they finally did get pregnant, they were rejoiced. Near the woman's seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, they made a startling discovery: their child was suffering from a disorder of the bone structure. The fetus' skeleton was so fragile, it would have shattered during birth, endangering the mother. Even if it had not, the child would not have lived more than a few days. In this case, I certainly hope we can agree that abortion was the right choice. (On a lighter note, the couple were able to have another child two years later, who is now a perfectly healthy three-year-old)

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest. We often have meaty and long discussions -- trust me, they're worth following!