Thursday, August 4, 2011

Answering Michelle: I don't think you want all babies aborted




After my last post, Michelle (a friendly young atheist) left a comment which deserves a whole post in response. Her words are in red, and my comments are in black.



To those saying that the Obama administration views pregnancy as a disease: 


Before you go on, let me just say that it's hard not to conclude this. If fertility/pregnancy is not a disease, disorder, illness or pathology, then why are health insurance companies now forced to provide free contraception and morning-after pills to all? What "disease" is being "cured" or "prevented" if not pregnancy? This should elicit a short medical answer, not a long philosophical one like the one you are about to give….


consider this rough analogy. Most of you have probably seen the show Extreme Home Makeover, where families in need are given a fancy new house (and I think sometimes a car as well), one that even the richest families would probably be lucky to have. 


Yes, I used to love that show! "Bus driver, move that bus!" (Screams, excitement, tears!!) Good times watching with the family. :)


It's a feel-good sort of show, and you're always left with the impression that despite all of their problems, their lives are finally looking up and everything is going to be fine.

Yes, that's the illusion that "feel good" TV shows leave us with. We Americans like to "feel good", and it sells. Definitely an hour of escapism (and envy!).

But think about the taxes and the maintenance the house will require that they probably can't afford, and how the money spent on the house could probably have better gone towards addressing whatever problem (medical, financial, whatever) was originally plaguing them.

Yes, exactly! Building folks a big house and and providing lots of material things cannot solve the underlying problems that families in crisis face. Thank goodness there are real people in real life who do provide real help, every single day: Catholic Charities, the Societies of St. Vincent de Paul, crisis pregnancy centers, Catholic hospitals and shelters, etc. Real help, real solutions.


Saying that Obama's insistence on contraception means he necessarily considers pregnancy to always be a disease (and babies to always be a punishment)

Did I say "always"? I don't think I did. There are plenty of babies that Obama does not see as "punishments". And then there are the others. For example: 


Obama thinks these baby girls were worthy of love and life. 
Obama thinks that this this baby girl was not.


He celebrates the "wanted" babies while ardently supporting the legal killing of 53 million other "unwanted" babies. Heck, he even notoriously voted more than once to let born babies die alone and without care should they survive a late-term abortion. (This was no mere academic exercise for him, as he knew from first-hand testimony what was occurring in his own state.)

In the pro-"choice" world, there are plenty of valuable children, worthy of love and life. But there are plenty of children with no value, who are worthy of neither love nor life. 

So, for Obama, I'm guessing that pregnancy is not a disease when it's wanted, and babies are not a punishment when they are wanted.

Wanted = Good
Wanted = Valuable

is the same as saying that I'm heartless for recognizing that getting a big new house is not always the best thing for a family.

Not the same thing at all. Look...

These are not heartless:


"It is not good for this family to get a big new house."
"It is not good for children to be conceived out of wedlock."
"It is not the best thing for this drug-addicted battered woman to raise a child."


But this *just might* be considered heartless:


"Because this is not a good time for this woman to have a child, the child must die."

See, the "not heartless" statements don't imply or necessitate that someone has to die as a solution to the unfortunate situation. But the "heartless" statement does. Big distinction.

Just as big new houses are, under the right circumstances, a wonderful thing, so are babies.

Michelle, are you really comparing houses to babies?
Catholics don't believe that houses have the same moral standing, rights and dignity as human beings. I hope you can see that distinction.


Say a teenage mother's conservative parents would disown her if she gave birth out of wedlock,

Whoa, wait. Why do you make "conservative" parents the heavy? I know plenty of conservative parents, and I have seen how they react when children come to them with news of an unplanned pregnancy: Many tears, but also love and support for child and grandchild. I also know several liberal mothers who coerced or forced abortion on their pregnant daughters. So, why not just say "parents"? Sorry, but that is a pet peeve, as if conservative parents are heartless meanies while liberal parents are kind and loving. 

ruining all her chances of a healthy, normal life thereafter

Seriously? Ruining all her chances of a healthy, normal life, thereafter? Utterly, totally hopeless? How on earth can one possibly know or predict such an outcome? We can't predict that outcome anymore than we can predict someone being hit by a car tomorrow and being paralyzed for life. And even that scenario wouldn't equate to a "ruined" life. But, okay, let's go with your impossible hypothetical:

- is the baby still a wonderful blessing?

Yes.

If the baby's born to a drug addicted mother who can't and won't even provide for the baby's most basic needs?

Yes. Please get the mother help, and if she truly can't care for the child (who already exists!), then it's time to help her with an adoption plan.


If the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother?


Yes. (Ask Becky how she feels about that one, since she's going through it right now.)


I know, it's not a black-and-white moral standpoint, and what constitutes good circumstances for a baby will change from person to person.


Right, but you're not talking about good circumstances for conception, you're talking about killing a baby. I think Nicole C. got right to the heart of it:
I get so tired of hearing the argument surrounding good and bad circumstances to "have a baby", when what we're really arguing is acceptable circumstances to have an abortion. Please remember, when a woman is pregnant, she already HAS A BABY. As Mark Crutcher would say, "The question is, will she have a live baby or a dead one?" 
So, you see, I think you are confusing two different things.


I get it, Catholics don't like that sort of moral ambiguity.

Actually, it's more that Catholics "don't like" the willful killing of innocent human beings. What you call "moral ambiguity", I would call "attempting to justifying an immoral act".

Sometimes, "moral ambiguity" = "moral relativism"

But saying that pregnancy is either always a blessing or always a curse, or a baby is always a gift or always a punishment, is silly at best.

I never once put it in those terms, that liberals think pregnancy is "always a curse" or babies "always a punishment". So, I am not sure where you are getting that? 


However, it's not "silly" to believe that all babies are a blessing. They are. They are all equally valuable, and they are all worthy of love and life. To hold any other position is dangerous -- to say the least.

Please, give us some credit and don't ascribe such simplistic ideas to liberals/pro-choicers/whoever.

I never did ascribe those ideas to you or other pro-"choicers". Like I said, I have no idea where you are getting that. Of course you love and cherish some babies.

If I were to get pregnant at this point in my life, it would undoubtedly be an enormous punishment.

Who would be punishing you? The baby? And what would the punishment be for? I truly don't even understand this statement.

At the same time, though, my cousin recently had a baby and I was excited about the baby the moment I heard my cousin was pregnant.

Because in your mind, the baby had that elusive quality that made him valuable and worthy of love: "Wantedness"

Or was it something else that made the baby worthy of your love? I'm interested.

It's not an "either you love babies or you want them all dead" sort of thing,

Right, and I never said that, so we are good.

and I'm offended every time someone suggests that liberals think babies are worthless drooling monsters that all should have been aborted.

I'm glad that's never been said to you here, then. Has someone elsewhere said these things to you? That you think all babies should be aborted? That's outrageous if so.


I'm on vacation and won't be commenting after this (blame icky Internet Explorer that won't let me post, plus the fact that abortion debates always, always, always turn ugly whenever I get involved).

It's not exclusive to your involvement, Michelle. Abortion debates necessarily include discussion of the actual act of abortion, which by its very nature is horrifically ugly. The stuff of nightmares, really. So yes, abortion debates are never pretty. We are discussing the willful killing of innocent children, some of whom are shredded in the womb, some of whom are dismembered, and some of whom are burned alive with saline, and some of whom are stabbed in the neck and have their brains sucked out while still living. Most of whom are thrown out as garbage, labeled "medical waste". Ugly, indeed. 


But did you think the reality of abortion could be sugarcoated? I realize that's what the "choice" and "women's rights" euphemisms are aiming for: Pleasantness. Our own atheist commenter MaiZeke has said with confidence, "Abortion involves only one person: the woman."  How it eases the mind to believe this, when it's the "non-person" being extracted and eviscerated. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and we can sleep well at night, because there is no "person" being killed in an abortion. Just a pregnancy being "terminated".

I hope my points made sense, even if you don't agree. 

Some of them didn't make sense, which is why I wanted to flesh them all out here and give you a chance to respond. Thanks for you willingness to dialogue honestly, and I hope to hear from you after your vacation!


Blessings to you, Michelle! I've always enjoyed our discussions.





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269 comments:

  1. Once again my friend...excellent post. Wantedness - you live, unwantedness - you die, both babies indeed.

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  2. I recalled something today.

    You will find in medical literature the reference to pregnancy being "like a disease".

    Because it is. This is not an opinion. It is a fact.

    The mother's body will have certain typical reactions that are similar to as when she contracts an illness. There is, after all, a type of foreign body residing in her. That being said, there really isn't any excuse for using that kind of argument for pro-choice in general.

    That's all I'll say, before I get called a coward for not digging into one of the trenches. yikes.

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  3. Zach, you are brave! And, there are some questions waiting for you on the other thread. :)

    How can this be a fact: "Pregnancy is like a disease." How can a simile be a fact? Is that like saying, "my daughter is like a gazelle"?

    A fact is either: Pregnancy is a disease or Pregnancy is not a disease.

    How can it be "like" a disease?

    Sorry, but that strikes me as funny!

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  4. A post of clarity and logic...beautiful to the reading eyes! I'm so glad that our birthmother selflessly and lovingly chose adoption!

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  5. Your daughter is like a gazelle! They have similarities in their anatomy and genetic code! These similarities are facts.

    I'd say a simile in general compares two things that have characteristics we view as subjectively similar, in general. But some of the responses of the female body to a fetus are similar to the responses she gets when she has an illness.

    So, no, pregnancy is not a disease. But it's still truth that it is like a disease, strictly in a biochemical definition. No social connotations or overtones.

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  6. Phew, okay, that's what I thought, Zach: Pregnancy is not a disease. And, I get your other points. :)

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  7. And, Zach, would you go so far as to say that the "disease-like" reactions she has are completely healthy? Meaning, that's how a healthy body acts when it's pregnant?

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  8. Sometimes?

    For example, if the mother and baby have different blood types, this can result in serious trauma during childbirth. That's certainly a typical thing that happens when two people with different blood types have a child, but it's not healthy so to say.

    This is why the concept of "healthy" can be difficult to define because often you are either deriving these ideas from social constructs or from a norm. Healthy isn't a black and white thing when you're considering a group of people.

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  9. And, actually, some secularists will compare health to morality, saying we can't have an objective standard of health, but we can still say objectively if an individual is healthy.

    But that's a serious aside I don't want to get into on this post.
    -zach

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  10. Fabulous post, Leila! And I agree, GIMH- praise God our beautiful birth mother chose life for sweet Abigail!

    Michelle wrote:
    "is the same as saying that I'm heartless for recognizing that getting a big new house is not always the best thing for a family."

    Could she possibly be a conservative, or at least a libertarian, without knowing it??? Wow. Apply this to welfare and the minimum wage! Michelle, if you're reading this, check out Walter Williams- a black man who writes about the harm that the well-intentioned war on poverty has had on minorities. Race and Economics is a great book to start!

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  11. And, Zach, would you go so far as to say that the "disease-like" reactions she has are completely healthy? Meaning, that's how a healthy body acts when it's pregnant?

    I'm talking normally, not Rh factors, etc. I have had eight normal pregnancies. None with any pathology or problems. So, is that healthy, or was I in a disease state? You have said (the truth) which is that pregnancy is not a disease. Clearly, fertility is not a disease, either. So, steroidal meds should not be forced by gov't mandate on the populace to bring "health" where it already exists in the body. (Of course the Pill does not bring "health" at all…. )

    Not to be obnoxious, but that "serious aside" sounds like some mumbo jumbo that only the "enlightened" could understand. Generally, if it's not accessible by common sense, then it's suspect. I loved reading that the classical philosophers understood that all they were doing was fleshing out what the common man already generally understood (natural law again). The assumed the common sense of the common man.

    Anyway, I'm starting to go way off topic, too, so I will stop…. :)

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  12. For example, if the mother and baby have different blood types, this can result in serious trauma during childbirth. That's certainly a typical thing that happens when two people with different blood types have a child, but it's not healthy so to say.

    Mmmm, not quite so much. What you're referring to is Rh Sensitization, and it has to do with the Rh factors of individual blood types (+ or -), not the types themselves (A, B, O, or AB).

    Case in point: me. My husband has blood type O+, and I have blood type O-. Thus far, all of our children (so far as we're aware) have blood type O+. I'm on pregnancy #6 so far and I've never had a single issue with Rh sensitization, because I've been given a shot of RhoGam during and after every full-term pregnancy as well as after every miscarriage.

    Dictionary.com defines disease as follows: "a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment."

    Sorry, not seeing pregnancy as any of the above. The condition of pregnancy and its effects on the body can sometimes cause health issues or exacerbate pre-existing issues, but that doesn't mean that pregnancy in and of itself is classified as a disease.

    If a pregnancy occurs, it means the sex worked and the female's reproductive system is biologically functioning as intended, even if an attempt was made by the woman (or man) to sterilize the act. That's a direct contradiction to the definition above.

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  13. have to comment on this...

    "ruining all her chances of a healthy, normal life thereafter"

    I had an unplanned pregnancy when I was 21. I had just graduated nursing school and was starting my career. My babys dad had severe PTSD from 2 tours of Iraq and when I found out I was pregnant I hadn't heard from him in weeks. I had extremely conservative parents, the first one in my family to have a baby out of wedlock as far back as anyone can remember. Lots of people thought I shouldn't keep my baby, some extended family pushed for abortion. Because, of course, a baby would ruin my career and his dad had disappeared. I could go on, wasn't a great situation.

    And now? That unplanned baby who would ruin my life is an amazing 3 year old loved by all. A baby on the way helped his dad to be able to function again, helped heal some of the war trauma, and he is an amazing dad. I married his dad when he was just over a year and now we also have a 1 year old, a baby in heaven and a baby in the womb.

    As for my career? I am a full time charge nurse on a surgical unit, the youngest in the hospital.. :)

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  14. GB, thanks for sharing all the blessings that an unplanned baby can bring into the lives of a family!

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  15. "The mother's body will have certain typical reactions that are similar to as when she contracts an illness. There is, after all, a type of foreign body residing in her."

    I took a class once beginning of life issues regarding medical ethics and this was a fascinating point my prof mentioned. He said that we do not know why a fertilized egg is not immediately expelled from the woman's body after it is fertilized and acquires its own genetic code. Everything we know about medicine tells us that her body should expel this "foreign body," but for some reason we don't understand, it doesn't.

    Even the most hard hearted, atheistic pro-choicer MUST recognize that at the very least, something very special is happening in this process. Clearly this is not an ordinary clump of cells.

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  16. Yes, Andrew! Have you seen this video? http://youtu.be/iItjtWd0SpE

    The whole thing is amazing to me. But the fact that every month of a woman's cycle her body releases an egg, and the unfertilized egg is extracted yet a fertilized egg attaches ITSELF to the uterine wall is just awesome to me. Our bodies know exactly what to do. They were made for this!

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  17. If pro-"choice"ers feel that only wanted babies have value (or, if they refuse to accept that fact, then we'll say only wanted pregnancies result in loved and valued children), I would like to ask them this:

    If one baby is born of a newlywed 33 year old couple with lots of money, who are ecstatic to have a child...

    is that child less valuable than a baby born to the 33 year old couple who have been struggling with infertility for 8 years?

    Why or why not?

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  18. Maybe children are like sugar.

    Sugar is sweet, and some amount of it is necessary for life. Sugar is healthy in moderation.

    Too much sugar is bad for the body. Too many children are bad for the family, the society, humanity.

    Maybe children are not being prevented, but an excess of children is being prevented? At least, could this be the goal the president has in mind?

    Does this work?

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  19. Luthian,

    Children are like houses, children are like sugar, etc. Nope, I don't think that works.

    Are people and things the same? Do you have the same value as a laundry basket, for example?

    And even if the "prevention of an excess of children" (!!!) is what the President has in mind, who is he to mandate such a thing? I don't believe he is a king, and he is not supposed to be a dictator.

    And again, this is all in the context of health insurance. What is the "diagnosis" that needs the prescription of the Pill and the morning-after pills? What is the disease or disorder?

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  20. This is so sad on so many levels. And the second blog that made me cry today. How can you look upon that child in the coffin and justify that somehow? Again, it all comes down to the apparent good. For example, someone who needs money sees an old woman walking down the street and decides to rob her. He takes her money, knocks her on the ground and runs away. This is an apparent good for him. After all, he needs money to eat, perhaps to feed his family, buy his son a nice toy. So his "good" supercedes the "good" of the old woman. And why? Because she can't defend herself. His might makes right. That's Nietzsche and that's Nazi Germany and that's abortion laws in my country and yours.

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  21. Too many children are bad for the family, the society, humanity.

    And of course, this cannot be true. To sustain any society and economic system, there must be more children than elderly. That is why France, Russia and so many other nations are now paying their citizens to have babies. (Too late, though, as people in those nations don't want kids anymore.)

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  22. Too many children are bad for the family, the society, humanity.

    "How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers." - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

    You know what's bad for the family, society, humanity?

    Selfishness. Materialism. Greed. Yet all three are worshiped as gods in Wall Street.

    THAT'S what we need to fix in our society, not the alleged (and false) problem of "too many children."

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  23. Be Not Afraid, you are so right. If there are no moral absolutes, all that is left is power. The ones with "the biggest guns" win, so to speak. Might makes right.

    Thank goodness earthly power is not the final Power. :) Justice will ultimately be served, and Love has triumphed on the Cross. "He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and He has lifted up the lowly."

    But how much sadness, bloodshed and death of innocents in meantime...

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  24. From Mother Teresa:

    "But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

    How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.

    Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love - that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

    By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world.

    That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.

    That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

    Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted, and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child, and be loved by the child.

    From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortions. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents, and have grown up so full of love and joy!"

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  25. "Abortion involves only one person: the woman."

    How sad and heart-wrenching that statement is!

    The Knights of Columbus, a fraternal order of Catholic gentlemen of which I am a member, have worked to raise money for ultrasound machines for various pregnancy care centers in the past years.

    From their website: "Reports indicate that up to 90 percent of women considering an abortion choose to have their baby after seeing an ultrasound image. They hear their baby’s heartbeat, they see their baby’s head and fingers. They know it is a child, not a 'choice'.”

    http://www.kofc.org/un/en/prolife/ultrasound/index.html

    In other words, when seeing the scientific proof of life, most women come to understand that it really isn't about "just one person" anymore.

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  26. Dear Luthien -

    Maybe Children are like sugar. What now?

    Love,

    Andrew

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  27. Bah, totally botched that last comment. What I meant to say was,

    Luthien

    Maybe children are NOT like Sugar.

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  28. Children are like sugar? And too much is bad for the world, is that what this means?

    Well, actually, children (of believers) are more like salt. Salt of the Earth, if they're brought up believing in the sanctity of the faith, which calls them to share the gospel.

    Salt of the earth: preservation and flavor. If it loses its flavor what good is it?

    Do you know "salt of the earth" kind of people? I do - I'm blessed to know lots of them. They're not 'sugary sweet', there's hardly enough of them. They're the ones that give what they have been graced with, whether that's time, treasure or talent.

    They truly are the ones who give, give, give in this otherwise dismal world.

    Just remarkable that in this day and age, we still have people 'debating' when life begins and the value of it.

    Veni, veni sancte spiritus!

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  29. I just love Jen's take on things:

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/with-god-no-one-is-an-accident/

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  30. I also get annoyed at the "have a baby only in the right circonstances" My son was born, while I was overseas, making 300$ a month with no family. Left Canada single and came back two years later with a family, my family is a prominent conservative catholic family. My family-in-law would have wanted me to have an abortion. My father-in-law didn't talk to my partner till I was 9 months pregnant. My two children are still the ONLY two grand-children they have.

    I have since return to my Catholic faith, accepting and realizing the beautiful truths it stands for.

    Regarding "terminating a pregnancy", a pregnancy can be terminated without the result being a dead baby. However, this doesn't seem to be the desired goal in an abortion. The goal of a successful abortion is a dead baby. So Gosnell had it right by killing babies after an abortion. It just puts all the prochoice lies on display. Yes Michelle, it is ugly.

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  31. Chantal, you're so right. ALL pregnancies terminate! It just depends on if it results in a live baby or a dead one!

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  32. The goal of a successful abortion is a dead baby.

    Bingo and sickening.
    How easy to kill what cannot defend itself.

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  33. Is it always true that more children are good for the economy? Are more children necessary for taking care of the elderly?

    Maybe technology will improve to supplement the workforce.

    Aristotle says that there is always a golden mean. Is there a population golden mean? Do you think 20 children per family is too much? Do you think there is ever a limit?

    Is the limit dependent on economic circumstances? Maybe the golden mean for a rich family is six children, and for a poor family it is two children. Maybe the limit depends on the individual families?

    Do you think it is possible to love something and want less of it at the same time?

    What do you think?

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  34. Yes, Luthian, every society needs more workers than elderly. If there are few workers, and many elderly, a society has big economic problems and the "maybes" of a future technology aren't in play. As we know well, medical technology (which the elderly need for many years after retirement) is very, very costly.

    We aren't talking a numbers game with children, but generally I think poor farmers need more children to help with the family's survival. The fact that the west wants to contracept away those families biggest assets (and biggest joys) is sort of elitist and racist, no? Read more about that, here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/06/no-food-or-medicine-but-plenty-of.html

    Do you think it is possible to love something and want less of it at the same time?

    Are you asking if it's moral to space or even limit the number of one's children, even when the children who are already here are very loved? Yes, it's moral, and the Church speaks of "responsible parenting". Provided (and this is important) that only moral means are used to space or limit pregnancies.

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  35. Luthian, just to make your position very clear: Are you placing human beings on the same moral level as sugar, houses, or other inanimate objects?

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  36. Am I placing human beings on the same moral level as sugar?

    No.

    Do you think a family can be too big? Do you think family size can become unhealthy for some families?

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  37. Luthian, if a family cannot care for a child that is conceived, there is a beautiful option called adoption.

    I think families can be psychologically, morally or emotionally unhealthy for any number of reason. In fact, for many thousands of reasons. Don't you agree?

    Does the existence of a child make a family "unhealthy"? I would never blame a child for an unhealthy family. Would you?

    Luthian, are you a new commenter? Or are you an old commenter with yet another new name? I'm sensing something here, and I need to ask you to go ahead and email me privately: littlecatholibubble@gmail.com

    Thanks!

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  38. Isn't it economically better to have each generation be a higher population than the previous one, considering our current welfare state (social security, medicare, medicaid, etc)?

    Are you not familiar with the economic/demographic troubles overseas because of the obliteration of children via forced abortion?

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  39. There are many reasons families have problems. Do you think size can be one of the reasons?

    Do we blame sugar for unhealthy diet? Maybe the parents should be blamed for having too many children.

    I would not blame the children. How can we blame someone for her existence?

    I am new here. I feel funny about e-mailing.

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  40. You are not new here, Paul. I know full well who you are. You are obsessed with this blog. You and your many aliases have been asked to leave numerous times, and now I consider that you are stalking me.

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  41. Because I am a glutton for punishment…

    Health and medicine are fluid concepts incorporating psychical mental and spiritual health. It is well understood today that we use medicine to make our bodies act, as we want them to act.

    Medicine does not have to cure what is wrong with us---painkillers don’t solve the problem they exist for a completely novel reason: to make us feel better. Painkillers dull a healthy and natural response, whether or not it is medicine in the literal sense it has been adapted as such in our society.

    The “medicine” covered by insurance has a large range. Cosmetic braces are often covered. My breasts are two difference sizes, my insurance would cover the entire cost of getting one ‘enlarged’

    The breast-feeding support the program offers is not preventative medicine. Are any of you offended that it is considered preventative? That the government has the audacity to want to prevent you from not breast-feeding. That not breast feeding is a defect or s disease that Obama and his minions are trying to control and insult us non breast-feeding women? Or do you think he is trying to make it more accessible?

    Fertility isn’t useful for everyone. Is that so hard to acknowledge? Is it so offensive to acknowledge that women have difference challenges than men because of their fertility. That single mothers are the most likely group to be in poverty, less likely to finish their education, have lower salaries. Obama is not attacking fertility or anything so silly, he is acknowledging the special health needs of women

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  42. It is well understood today that we use medicine to make our bodies act, as we want them to act.

    Incorrect, College Student. We use medicine to restore our bodies to health, or as close as we can get to it -- not to force our bodies to do things they aren't meant to do when functioning perfectly.

    You're absolutely wrong that breast pumps, which facilitate breastfeeding (especially for working mothers) is not preventative medicine. Breastfeeding has real, proven benefits for mother and baby to increase health and prevent illness or disease, and the government recognizes this. The alleged benefits of hormonal contraception pale in comparison.

    Moreover, breast pumps don't kill children. Hormonal contraception does. BIG difference morally for Catholics.

    Fertility isn’t useful for everyone.

    My left pinky toe may not be useful for me, but that doesn't mean the ObamaCare should pay for everyone to have their pinky toes lopped off, free of charge.

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  43. Fertility isn’t useful for everyone. Is that so hard to acknowledge? Is it so offensive to acknowledge that women have difference challenges than men because of their fertility.

    Fertility, by definition, involves the process of reproduction, which, by definition involves sex. If your fertility isn't useful to you then, more specifically, sex isn't useful to you either. They SHOULD NOT and more importantly, CANNOT be separated.

    I think what you're really trying to say is that pregnancy and babies are not useful to everyone. First of all I disagree, perhaps having your own children would be classified by you as useless, but babies and children are most indeed useful for the propagation of the human race. But to go with your line of thought, if pregnancy and babies are not useful for some, then they simply don't have sex. Problem solved.

    But even more specifically to address the last question from above:

    Is it so offensive to acknowledge that women have difference challenges than men because of their fertility.

    No, I don't find it offensive at all. Because there are differences between men and women, and there are SUPPOSED to be differences. It seems like the pro-choice crowd are the ones who find it offensive that there are differences and therefore different challenges faced by men and women, and the entire goal is to eradicate those different challenges by ignoring or even eradicating the differences themselves.

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  44. I second the two ladies above. And, college student, you never answered my very brief question from the previous discussion (well, maybe you did, I better go check....).

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  45. More thoughts on population:

    http://catholiclane.com/the-real-population-bomb/

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  46. Fertility isn’t useful for everyone. Is that so hard to acknowledge?

    What else that is functioning as "health" should be discarded (and paid for) besides fertility? What if my hearing or eyesight are not useful to me? Or, like JoAnna stated, her little toe? Should the discarding of those healthy, functioning systems or parts be covered by insurance and taxpayers?

    If this weren't about sex, I doubt it would be an issue, you know?

    By the way, it is not "health" to be in a state of physical pain. Pain relief has always been understood to be a major part of medicine's purpose. Or, do you want to argue that migraines, chronic pain, headaches, etc., constitute "health"?

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  47. I hate to say it, but I am always amused by the arguments the pro-choice crowd uses with regard to abortion. They point out that we don't know when the fetus/embryo/clump of cells becomes a person. So, until that is defined there are no problems with having an abortion.

    In CO we had a bill that was proposed trying to give person-hood to the 'clump of cells.' During the debates, the pro-life people were the ones using the logical arguments. For example, when does life begin? Basic biology tells us that the answer is at conception. Another example is that if a pregnant woman were involved in an accident and the only information available is blood/hair/DNA samples. Using those samples, crime scene investigators would KNOW that there were two people at the scene (mother and baby). The pro-choice people, on the other hand, were going off of feelings and talking how abortion is the law of the land.

    It was a sad debate. But after it was all said and done, it was amusing … in a very sick way.

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  48. Another comment regarding the discarding of 'useful' or 'non-useful' body parts. Years ago, if someone consistently got strep throat (sp?) it was not uncommon for them to get their tonsils removed. Yet now, it almost takes an act of congress to get this accomplished.

    Why is there a disparity here?

    I want to have sex, so its ok to get a free neutering ... but if I want to stay healthy, I can't get my tonsils removed.

    Am I missing something?

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  49. Love this post, Leila. I wish I had your ability to make what seems so muddled to some so clear to everyone. The pictures are sad though. I wonder what more it will take for people to see what is truly happening during an abortion.

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  50. Chris, welcome, and I love what Colorado did with the personhood movement! We need more of that. Great point about the tonsils. And cancer meds, etc. Takes an act of congress to get some things covered, but if it's something that facilitates the Planned Parenthood worldview, then it is a mandate, even throwing out religious liberty to get there. Very sad.

    Becky, the pictures are, at least, helping to humanize the unborn to the world. Technology (ultrasounds/science) is on our side (as well as just plain old truth).

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  51. Oh ... another thought ... contraception is preventative ... keeping one safe from the evils of being pregnant and saving their lives.

    Not sure I buy it ... but the recreational act of intercourse is the danger. Ok ... if that is the case ... my recreational activities include rock climbing.

    Can the government pay for my climbing equipment ... and make sure that I get good equipment ... thereby keeping me safe?

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  52. Chris, it's a good question. And more specifically, can the gov't force (on penalty of jails and fines) its citizens to pay for your rock climbing equipement?

    One thing that has not been addressed here: Can't people pay for their own contraception? Really, they have to have someone else pay for it? And the secular sources I have read admit that the reason that women get pregnant on the Pill is because they forget to take their Pill. So, how does giving them free Pills address that problem? Free Pills will make them remember to take them, magically?

    Not making sense to me.

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  53. It's just not nice to kill people we don't want around, and that includes very little, teeny, tiny, itty bitty people. We are not God who gets to decide who lives and who dies.

    It's rather arrogant to think it's okay for us adults to be alive, but it's not okay for all the babies to be alive.

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  54. Very interesting post and following comments. Thank you, Leila.

    As someone who is having a heck of a time becoming pregnant, I now more fully realize what an amazing gift fertility is. It makes me so sad that our government is using our hard earned tax dollars to make it easier for women to put themselves into the unnatural state that I am in: infertility. So, so sad. It is very clear to me that fertility is a sign of good health and does not need to be prevented.

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  55. Chris said, " They point out that we don't know when the fetus/embryo/clump of cells becomes a person. So, until that is defined there are no problems with having an abortion."

    This resonates with me, a person who has some doubts about whether a blastula is a person, but I err on the side of saying it is.

    That said, I have wondered about what I would do in the following scenario, described to me by a die-hard pro-choicer: If there was a fertility clinic that did IVF, and it was on fire, and you ran in to save people, would you chose to save a large cryogenic chamber with possibly thousands of frozen embryos or would you save the one week old baby sitting in the bouncy seat in the other room? If you had to choose, I think we would all choose the infant....and that has to do with our understanding of personhood...as cumbersome and non-exact as that might be.

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  56. Ah, the "fire in the IVF clinic" scenario... haven't heard that one in a while. Fr. Tad Pacholczyk (who has a doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard) addresses that scenario here. An excerpt:

    When it comes to a flash decision, then, as the fire rages in the clinic, this hypothetical case misses the essential question of what our moral obligations really are towards the human embryo. Instead, we are facing a hopelessly artificial and improbable triage situation, which can never be a legitimate basis for determining or deducing moral principles. In a frightening and difficult moment, it involves making split-second decisions, rather than engaging in calm, principled moral reasoning. As we proceed to make that awful decision, we may instinctively sense how the newborn baby is already moving along a path towards becoming an adult member of society. Saving the newborn thus contributes to a reasonably certain future outcome — whereas saving the embryos does not raise such practical certainty about their future or their ultimate fate. Some embryos from the tank might end up being implanted into their mother’s womb, but still die or undergo "selective reduction"; some might be destroyed because they are deemed "unfit" by clinic operators; others might be handed over to researchers for embryo-destructive experiments; many might still remain in the deep freeze indefinitely. If I were to grab the newborn out of the fire, that action says nothing meaningful about my thoughts on the moral value of human embryos trapped in the freezer, but speaks more to a snap judgment about foreseeable outcomes in a crisis or triage situation.

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  57. Wouldn't the freezer mechanism and structure itself save the embryos? Whenever a restaurant burns, the freezer usually remains intact....

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  58. JoAnna, thanks for posting to that! You read my mind. That scenario has been around for a while, and I think that Stacy did a post on that as well. Michelle commented on it a lot… I will see if I can find that post.

    Rachel, that could be!

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  59. Infertile Catholic,

    This is off topic but I really think you should change your name.
    Mk 11:23...whoever says to this mountain be removed and be cast into the sea and does not doubt in her heart but believes that these things that she says will be done, she will have whatever she says.

    That being said you should change your name to Fertile Catholic. This is about calling things the way you want them to be, not the way they are.
    Read 1John5:14-15. Now this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will,He hears us. And if we believe that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions we ask of Him.

    It is certainly His will that we be fruitful and multiply, so ASK AND BELIEVE and call yourself Fertile.

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  60. Vuyo, that sounds a bit like the "name it and claim it" idea that some Protestants promote. Catholics believe that sometimes God answers our prayers in a way that is not what we ourselves would have chosen. Certainly all our infertile sisters (I am only blogging today because of the infertile Catholic bloggers) pray for healing if it is God's will, and many healings have come. But we also believe that each person's cross is determined by God alone, and acceptance of that cross is how we are sanctified and conformed to Christ.

    The idea of redemptive suffering is as old as Christianity, but Protestants don't know about it. I wrote about it here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/10/suffering-catholic-style-part-two-of.html

    Blessings!

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  61. Mary, I have to post something here about embryos and blogger will not allow it!! I am going to send you something privately. Meantime, if you or anyone wants to go to Accepting Abundance and search for the "save embryo" post, you will get a whole discussion on it. The post and comments are all very good!

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  62. Thanks for your comment Leila.

    I do not subscribe to the name it and claim it doctrine. I think it is very dangerous.

    My main point was why would you call yourself the thing you are suffering with. It doesn't make sense to me. Even if you're resigned to the idea that the affliction is your lot in life, and God's grace is sufficient, I don't think calling yourself that suffering is good.

    Actually I'd be interested to know why she is calling herself Infertile catholic.

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  63. Vuyo, thanks for the clarification and I am glad that we are on the same page, there!

    I'm guessing (but I don't want to put words in her mouth) that she uses the name in order to identify her blog as that of a Catholic woman suffering from infertility. We all need support when we are suffering, and I think it's a way to let people know what her particular "lens" is, what her cross is, and what the theme of her blog is for those who might identify with her plight.

    Do you have any problems with the title of "Suffering Servant" for Jesus? (re: Isaiah).

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  64. Vuyo- I think you are over thinking this. I seriously doubt "infertile Catholic" goes around at parties saying, "Hi, I'm Jane, an infertile Catholic". But part of the beauty of the internet is being able to identify ourselves and find groups of common "interest" so to speak. If she were to call herself Fertile Catholic, you can imagine the confusion it would cause when asking fertility advice on another infertile Catholic's blog or website.

    If I were to call myself "Mother of 10" simply because I wanted ten children, it would be a bit misleading, no? But calling myself mother of 3 is an honest description, without limiting me to never having another child.

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  65. It's always good and well to pray with confidence for that which we really desire; afterall, faith is key. Take Heb 6:11 for example:

    6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

    And I totally agree, there are times to pray for a mountain to be moved, especially if it's an obstacle to spiritual growth for ourselves or someone else.

    But we Catholics also understand we ought to always end that prayer as Christ ended his, "Not my will, but Yours, Father, be done."

    There is confidence in that prayer, too.

    Our Eternal Father knows what we need, no matter if He says, "Yes", "No", or "I've got something better in mind".

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  66. If I understand you correctly, she's not calling herself Infertile Catholic, that's the name of her blog. If that's the case then I get it. All is well in Vuyoville. If not, the dark cloud still hangs over me.

    "Suffering Servant for Jesus"

    I don't know Leila. Why are you broadcasting that you're suffering? Jesus told us that where possible we are to do things in 'secret'.Don't show you are fasting by lookin sad, no make-up, unkempt for example. Titles like that just bother me I guess.

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  67. Hi Monica, I think you're right. I am over thinking this.

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  68. Vuyo,

    Sorry, I wasn't clear!! I meant the term used to describe Jesus, i.e., Jesus is "The Suffering Servant" (the one we see in the Book of Isaiah).

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  69. Thank you for addressing Vuyo's question, Leila and Nubby, I must agree wholeheartedly with your defense of "Infertile Catholic's" name.

    Vuyo, I also see that your original commentary was more out of concern for Infertile Catholic's suffering and wanting her to suffer well, so to speak, and that may not have been the way it was interpreted by all.

    Infertility, especially Catholic infertility, is such a dynamic cross that can merit its own entire post (or 5,000 posts) - to continue the discussion or learn more about it, I invite you over to our corner of blogosphere :) You are always welcome!

    This Cross I Embrace

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  70. i became pregnant out of wedlock and my father tried to convince me to have an abortion (w/out every uttering that word). he was afraid for how hard life would be on me and my child "you can't raise/feed a baby on love" he worried.

    i married the father, knowing it wasn't the best idea, but willing to try. we got divorced, his choice not mine; and now, YES, life is very hard and, YES, you can not house/feed a child on love alone.

    BUT, and i know that you can't start a sentence w/a preposition, my life has never been more loved & blessed!!! with the help of friends and sometimes the state, i have found that not only can i start a sentence incorrectly, but i can also raise a child under tough circumstances.

    my silly rambling simply means that there is always a way. when my son was 18 months old, i decided to find out what the deal was between me and God. i think i have finally gotten on the path and thank my parents for having me baptized, the rest is on Him. :)

    one more thing i feel is important to note: during my 8 year marriage, i was never able to conceive again. if my husband would have been open, i would have LOVED to adopt; another great option for "unwanted" pregnancy.

    -"Mick C."

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  71. Mick C., thank you for sharing that story with us! Praise God you found your way to God, and your little one is very blessed!

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  72. After Mike's Story, I feel that maybe my story might come in handy to someone here.

    I was a fallen away Catholic, who never really thought about God, much less trying to find out more about him. Anyway, I had ended up getting my girlfriend pregnant, so we got married. After a couple months, we found out that the baby’s heart wasn’t forming quite right. I could go into the drama of it … but … I would much rather forget those few days. Needless to say the doctors encouraged us to ‘end’ the pregnancy. We both said that as God gave us the baby, he would have to be the one to take the child back. We wouldn’t be the ones to force His hand. The baby ended up passing away at 7 months gestation. We were both devastated … but we stayed together for some reason (we didn’t really love each other, but I didn’t want to fail at marriage).

    One thing that did end up happening though is that I started trying to figure out who God is … and what my relationship is with Him. This was going on while George Burns was still alive, so I kept asking the question of why would God allow someone to live as long as him … and yet take my child away? It kept me up for many nights. I did come up with an answer … but I will save that for another thread.

    Time went by, we had another child, and ended up getting divorced. I started to court a lady who I knew from work. We fell in love and are now very happily married. We have full custody of my daughter (I will discuss that one in another thread). My wonderful wife and I have a Brady Bunch family … 3 of hers and one of mine. We even have 3 grandkids. Unfortunately, two of the grandkids were out of wedlock. We did end up taking the mother into our home and took care of her.

    Our lives have not been all full of sunshine and roses. I don’t believe anyone’s is. But the choices we make determine whether or not there are more storm clouds than there should be.

    Mike C, if you get a chance to throw me an email, I would love to hear more of your story.

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  73. CO Chris-

    i think i sent you an email. i'm using an alias so that i can feel comfortable posting about my out of wedlock conception; i'd rather not have my son accidentally hear it through the grapevine (do i sound paranoid?). anyhow, happy to share, when the time's right. who knows, maybe i'll be able to save my child some struggles.

    "Mick C."

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  74. Michelle could not get her response to post, so I am going to try to do it for her. Michelle, take it away….


    My very own Bubble post! I'm flattered. :) Unfortunately, this was one of my most hastily written comments, so I'm also a bit embarrassed, but that's alright. I'll do my best to address your responses, and will rescind what I agree was sloppy rhetoric.

    If fertility/pregnancy is not a disease, disorder, illness or pathology, then why are health insurance companies now forced to provide free contraception and morning-after pills to all?
    Because, although pregnancy is not a disease, having a baby isn't something to be taken lightly. Bringing a new person into the world is an incredibly important event, and having a child is a huge commitment not everyone is ready for. Fertility is a part of health, and if people want to be able to control it, they should be able to do so. Also, keep in mind that the Pill is also used to treat acne and disorders like dysmenorrhea, so some use is, I hope we can agree, definitely legitimately medical in nature.

    Thank goodness there are real people in real life who do provide real help, every single day...
    Also, lots of secular organizations! :)

    Obama thinks that this this baby girl was not [worthy of love and life].
    Here's an actual quote from Obama on the topic of late-term abortion: I have repeatedly said that I think it's entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don't think that "mental distress" qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions. I know you might not agree, considering that you don't condone any abortion, even if the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, but I don't think Obama's position is as pro-abortion as you suggest.

    Heck, he even notoriously voted more than once to let born babies die alone and without care should they survive a late-term abortion.
    From Obama:
    I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported – which was to say – that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born – even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade.

    to be continued….

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  75. Part II, from Michelle:

    In the pro-"choice" world, there are plenty of valuable children, worthy of love and life. But there are plenty of children with no value, who are worthy of neither love nor life.
    This isn't true at all. In fact, if you ask pro-choicers, I think you'll find that the exact opposite is true - we think all children are worthy of love and life, and deserve to have families who will value them as they should, and we can't stand the thought of children being born into families that don't want them. That's why we support contraception first (and abstinence! I will never say that that's not a perfectly good, if not better, option), abortion, and adoption.

    Catholics don't believe that houses have the same moral standing, rights and dignity as human beings.
    Of course I don't think people are equivalent to houses. That goes without saying, and I didn't think it required extra clarification that I was simply making an analogy. If anyone really thought I think people and houses are equal, I'm pretty offended.

    So, why not just say "parents"? Sorry, but that is a pet peeve, as if conservative parents are heartless meanies while liberal parents are kind and loving.
    Why not indeed! That wasn't written with any agenda in mind - I just tend to associate socially conservative parents with disapproval of out-of-wedlock children, but you're absolutely right that this has nothing to do with liberal or conservative. Sorry!

    Seriously? Ruining all her chances of a healthy, normal life, thereafter? Utterly, totally hopeless? How on earth can one possibly know or predict such an outcome?
    This was probably excessive hyperbole (is that redundant?) on my part. Of course you can't know. But throw a 14 year old out on the street with a baby and no support - I'm guessing a totally normal, happy life filled with joy for a new baby is not too likely. As with my other points, I was mostly considering worst-case scenarios. I absolutely agree that people who have babies under less-than-ideal circumstances should have full support, no matter what. Though I might not agree that someone should have had a baby in their situation, every person and every kid deserves the best shot at a happy, healthy, fulfilling life.

    Right, but you're not talking about good circumstances for conception, you're talking about killing a baby.
    Nope, I'm talking about both (although I don't really consider it "killing a baby"...). I'd much prefer that people be careful about when they conceive (hence my support for contraception, and abstinence, and NFP) than have people feel they need an abortion.

    Sometimes, "moral ambiguity" = "moral relativism"
    Yep! I agree. I've argued that a lot on here.

    to be continued...

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  76. Part III, from Michelle:

    However, it's not "silly" to believe that all babies are a blessing. They are. They are all equally valuable, and they are all worthy of love and life. To hold any other position is dangerous -- to say the least.
    When people come to your school and put up billboards with pictures of aborted fetuses and put up signs along the sidewalk saying "genocide pictures ahead," it's hard not to think that some people believe that pro-choicers want all babies aborted (do they know what genocide means? apparently not). Like I said, I absolutely agree with you. All babies are worthy of the best life has to offer.

    Who would be punishing you? The baby? And what would the punishment be for?
    Leila, can you really not imagine a situation in which someone's life could be incredibly negatively impacted by having a baby? I don't need to go into the specifics of why it would be bad for me, but I hope you can dream up at least one situation in which someone's life could be badly damaged by disregarding the social expectation that one wait until marriage to get pregnant.

    Or was it something else that made the baby worthy of your love? I'm interested.
    All babies are worthy of love. I addressed that above. Even if the baby wasn't wanted, but my cousin decided to have her anyway, I would still consider her worthy of love.

    Has someone elsewhere said these things to you? That you think all babies should be aborted? That's outrageous if so.
    Not directly. But see what I said above about "genocide" - sometimes these things are implied. But I know you don't subscribe to that idea, and would never say you did!

    I hope that helps clear some things up, and that what I wrote made sense. I probably won't have a chance to comment again until much later, but thank you for the discussion!

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  77. Thank you, Michelle, for the thoughtful reply (in three parts, above)! I will be heading off to bed tonight, but I definitely will respond to some of your points tomorrow, when I can.

    And of course anyone else is free to chime in with thoughts!

    Blessings!

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  78. Really quick --

    Michelle, regarding Obama's claims, he's lying. From FactCheck.org (read the whole article for a more thorough explanation, this is just a quote from the summary -- all emphasis mine):

    Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported. Both contained identical clauses saying that nothing in the bills could be construed to affect legal rights of an unborn fetus, according to an undisputed summary written immediately after the committee’s 2003 mark-up session.

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  79. JoAnna, thank you for that! I think I want to do a whole post one day on Obama and abortion. He is more extreme even than NARAL and Feinstein! Crazy extreme. It's the only place he really leads and has never caved: Abortion on demand, without apology and even after birth.

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  80. JoAnna, I actually pulled a quote from the same page. I'm not totally sure what Obama's real reasoning was behind voting against that bill, though I don't think it's entirely established that he was lying - it seems his rationale isn't quite consistent, but it appears he did have a reason other than not caring about born-alive infants. Of course, even if he truly believes they shouldn't receive care (which I really doubt is the case), that doesn't mean he's right.

    (I can post after all! Apparently, Blogger doesn't like huge posts. Oops.)

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  81. See, Michelle, when Obama says this:

    What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade.

    and the actual facts are these:

    Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported. Both contained identical clauses saying that nothing in the bills could be construed to affect legal rights of an unborn fetus, according to an undisputed summary written immediately after the committee’s 2003 mark-up session.

    I don't see how that can be construed as anything but lying. Either that or Obama was completely oblivious to the actual content of the bill he voted against, which is really not any better than outright lying about it.

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  82. Also, Michelle, I encourage you to take a look at this. It's a side-by-side comparison of the two versions of the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) that Obama voted against while a state senator.

    As NRLC rightly notes, "The amended 2003 version was virtually identical to the federal BAIPA, enacted in 2002, that Obama later claimed he would have supported if he had been in Congress at that time."

    Please look at the amended 2003 version of the Illinois bill and the federal BAIPA, and tell me what possible difference would warrant Obama voting against the former but for the latter. As far as I can see, the language is identical.

    I'm struggling to understand how one can look at the facts presented and not conclude that Obama was either completely oblivious or lying. Both are pretty bad for an elected official.

    My opinion is that he was lying as a CYA measure during his campaign. He does not care about infants born alive after abortion because admitting they are human beings would completely throw the pro-abortion lobby, his biggest supporters and cheerleaders, into a tizzy. But he didn't want to outright admit that he frankly doesn't give a damn about babies born alive who were supposed to be legally killed prior to birth. After all, in his admitted public opinion, they're just "punishments."

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  83. Oh, and by the way, Blogger is completely nuts. Both Leila and I were trying to post long comments over the weekend and couldn't. If they've imposed a character limit on comboxes now, they've certainly failed to inform blog owners...

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  84. JoAnna, what about this?

    And there are already laws in Illinois, which Obama has said he supports, that protect these children even when they are born as the result of an abortion. Illinois compiled statute 720 ILCS 510/6 states that physicians performing abortions when the fetus is viable must use the procedure most likely to preserve the fetus’ life; must be attended by another physician who can care for a born-alive infant; and must "exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as would be required of a physician providing immediate medical care to a child born alive in the course of a pregnancy termination which was not an abortion." Failure to do any of the above is considered a felony.

    I don't know the details of each bill and what might have caused Obama's inconsistent response. The article suggests that Obama also may have seen a difference in the potential effects of federal and state laws that affected his voting:

    Even with the same wording as the federal law, the Obama camp says, the state bill would have a different effect than the BAIPA would have at the federal level. It’s state law, not federal law, that actually regulates the practice of abortion. So a bill defining a pre-viable fetus born as the result of abortion as a human could directly affect the practice of abortion at the state level, but not at the federal level, the campaign argues.

    Anyway, we're both reading the same article, and we're getting different messages from it. I don't want to have a big argument over it, because we do at least agree that (it appears) he was inconsistent. I'm not sure why you think he truly doesn't care about infants born after abortion, though, when he's even said he thinks it's appropriate for states to prohibit late-term abortion. That said, I'm not sure it's too important for me to rationalize Obama's every move, as I don't necessarily agree with everything he does, and I'm hardly a single-issue voter.

    And, yes, you'd think Blogger would at the very least tell blog owners! I've posted lots of really long comments without a problem before. Hopefully it's just a temporary glitch!

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  85. Michelle - NRLC has addressed that claim already (emphasis mine):

    A13. Obama's defenders now (August 19, 2008) insist that the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act was not needed because, they claim, Illinois already had a 1975 law "that requires doctors to provide medical care in the very rare case that babies are born alive during abortions." They fail to mention that the law covered only situations where an abortionist decided before the abortion that there was "a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb." Humans are often born alive a month or more before they reach the point where such "sustained survival" -- that is, long-term survival -- is possible or likely (which is often called the point of "viability"). Moreover, this already-weak law was further weakened by a consent decree issued by a federal court in 1993, which among other things permanently prohibits state officials from enforcing the law's definitions of "born alive," "live born," and "live birth." To read or download the consent decree, click here.

    Re: the potential affects of state law vs. federal law, it makes no sense. The state law contained a clause, identical to the one in the federal law, stating that the law would not affect the legal status of the unborn. His alleged "concern" was baseless.

    I'm glad you can at least admit Obama was inconsistent. But really, prohibiting late-term abortion really has nothing to do with the issue under discussion. What Obama opposed was a law protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. That is, he was essentially voting in favor of hospitals saving one preemie born at 24 weeks who was wanted by his or her parents, but killing one (whether death by exposure, stabbing the brain with a scalpel a la Gosnell, smothering, etc.) who was unwanted.

    That essentially proves the point Leila was making in her original post -- that Obama truly believes it's acceptable to murder even a live baby just because he or she was not "wanted" by his or her birthmother.

    I am a single-issue voter when it comes to abortion for this reason: if an elected official cannot defend the very basic and essential right to life, from which all other rights derive, then I can't trust him/her to defend any other rights.

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  86. I remember when Obama actually accused National Right to Life of lying about this! I knew then how duplicitous he was. To lie about this himself and then accuse the truth-tellers of lying?? Here is that shameful story:

    http://www.nrlc.org/obamabaipa/Obamacoveruponbornalive.htm

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  87. Thing is, it's hard to lie when there is a voting record. But still he lied. Unreal.

    And, does anyone think it's a little horrifying that people are okay with saving the life of one baby in one room of the hospital while actively killing the same aged baby in the other room? It's surreal. But this is the pro-abortion age. Wantedness = worth.

    I still have lots to say about Michelle's comments, but will do so later. Sent one child off to college today!

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  88. I'm not going to debate this, since I know it's going to go nowhere. If, for whatever reason, Obama truly does not care about infants born alive after an abortion, then I disagree with him. End of story. No politician (no person, politician or not!) is perfectly honest or consistent, though, and I don't think Obama is deliberately being "duplicitous." I think we all, myself absolutely included, go a bit out of our way to vilify politicians we don't like, and tend to assume the worst intentions when it's quite possible that none are there.

    Anyway, Leila, congrats on your new college student!

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  89. Michelle, I am heartened that you do not agree with infanticide. As I said, Obama voted against a bill that even NARAL remained neutral on. I do hope you will answer: What is the salient difference between an infant who survives an abortion (and thus deserves care and love) and one who does not (and we consider her death a "successful abortion)? I don't see the salient difference in the value of the baby, aside from wantedness. What did you think of the baby in the casket? Do you think that baby would not have been adopted by a million couples? Help me understand why she was not worthy of life, but if she had survived the abortion, she would have been worthy of the best medical care?

    Thanks! I sent my junior in college off today, and our college freshman leaves in a week and a half!

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  90. In fact, if you ask pro-choicers, I think you'll find that the exact opposite is true - we think all children are worthy of love and life, and deserve to have families who will value them as they should, and we can't stand the thought of children being born into families that don't want them. That's why we support contraception first (and abstinence! I will never say that that's not a perfectly good, if not better, option), abortion, and adoption.

    You are aware of how many couples are desperately waiting to adopt babies who are aborted, right? There is no newborn in the nation who is not adoptable. So, what is the point of abortion? It can't be that there are no families where they will be loved and wanted.

    Also, you make abortion sound like it's a loving thing to do to a child. Do you really think that it is? I'm sincerely asking: Is it loving to kill a child because he is unwanted by his biological mother?

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  91. Michelle, double checking if you really mean this: we think all children are worthy of love and life

    You think all children are worthy of life?

    Then either:

    a)you believe that unborn children are not really human beings (i.e., a woman with child is not really with child!)

    or

    b) you are against abortion (abortion deprives a child of his life

    I know it can't be B, because you are okay with abortion being legal. So, it must be A.

    Or, is there another option?

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  92. Michelle, you did not answer the questions I posed about "punishment". The questions were very specific, and you avoided answering.

    As for your cousin's baby:

    Even if the baby wasn't wanted, but my cousin decided to have her anyway, I would still consider her worthy of love.

    Wait, even if she had been aborted? Was she worthy of love? Should she have been loved instead of aborted, if that were the choice made? Or is she only worthy of love if she were not aborted?

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  93. As to genocide. Okay, I think of it this way: An entire class of people are deemed to be "non-human" or "sub-human" and they do not have protection under the law. They can be killed at will, because they belong to a certain class of people (in this case, unborn people). They not only can be legally slaughtered, but they are slaughtered in massive numbers: 53 million in our land alone. I think it's 1 out of every 3 unborn in your generation is killed before birth. I would almost call that an extermination, wouldn't you? Why do you think "genocide" does not apply? I'm seriously asking.

    What is genocide?

    Thanks!

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  94. I want to be Joe when I grow up. He talks about "wantedness" and abortion here in much more sophisticated terms than I ever could! Check it out:

    http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/08/most-fallacious-pseudo-intellectual.html

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  95. Okay, I know there are a bunch more questions, but these are the easiest to answer first, and I'll get to the others when I next get a chance.

    Why do you think "genocide" does not apply? I'm seriously asking.
    Here's the definition from Wikipedia of genocide: "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group."

    No one, and I truly mean no one is seeking the deliberate and systematic destruction of all fetuses. No one is rounding up pregnant women, forcing them to have abortions. Abortion isn't inspired by hatred, or a desire to "exterminate" (from Wikipedia, again: "the act of killing with the intention of eradicating a demographic within a population"). That's why it's not genocide.

    As to the punishment questions, I felt that my answers would be excessively personal, and I'm not quite comfortable answering them as specifically as you'd like. The baby itself would not be a punishment, but the state of being pregnant outside of marriage and the social implications of that would be. I really do hope you can imagine a scenario in which becoming pregnant could result in a much worse life for the mother, because that's critical to understanding why I'm not anti-abortion (or anti-contraception).

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  96. I really do hope you can imagine a scenario in which becoming pregnant could result in a much worse life for the mother, because that's critical to understanding why I'm not anti-abortion

    If the presence of born children could result in a "much worse life for the mother" should she be allowed to kill them also?

    I'm just trying to get your philosophical underpinnings. If we can kill the unborn because the mom thinks she might undergo suffering in her life because of it, then why not the born? After all, Peter Singer does not limit it to pre-birth vs post-birth. He gives more leeway to the mother to kill the child who will cause suffering.

    And I appreciate your saying that the baby himself would not be a punishment. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that you are saying that though the child is a good, he/she must die for the problems of others.

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  97. Wonderful article Leila. I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that people view bringing a child into the world as a punishment. There are so many loving couples who desire to adopt a child.

    Blessings.

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  98. This is amazing. Thank you so much for your post, Leila. I've enjoyed reading the comments, as well.

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  99. Michelle, what do you think about this sitiuation? This "poor, poor woman" (yes, I am being sarcastic) had a baby in her womb that would have been a great punishment to her. Of course in her case, it was a baby that she paid a doctor tens of thousands of dollars to manufacture and then force the pregnancy. Bummer, she only wanted one of the twins that she bought and paid for.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/magazine/the-two-minus-one-pregnancy.html?pagewanted=all%3Fsrc%3Dtp&smid=fb-share

    I believe this type of thing to be evil to the core. The "banality of evil", as they say. What are your thoughts on this woman's right to choose not to accept this "punishment"?

    PS: Don't read the anger as directed at you, Michelle. I am assuming you would see this as abhorrent, just like most of the pro-"choice" readers did. But if you do, I want to know on what philosophical ground you stand on to come down on that side?

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  100. Okay, so I've been thinking about this a lot, lately. And I'm addressing the following:

    but the state of being pregnant outside of marriage and the social implications of that would be. I really do hope you can imagine a scenario in which becoming pregnant could result in a much worse life for the mother, because that's critical to understanding why I'm not anti-abortion (or anti-contraception).

    Yes. I can imagine, a hundred different scenarios (at least) where becoming pregnant could result in a much worse life for the mother. When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I felt thrown into a (albeit incredibly minor, but it wasn't minor in my head) similar situation.

    I can probably imagine scenarios that are so completely improbable that they make the idea of "pigs flying" seem promising.

    But my question is: If becoming pregnant could (to be distinguished from would) make the life of the mother so much worse, then why is that woman even having sex? Rape and incest aside (which according to Guttmacher only makes up less than 1.5% of all abortions performed), why would the woman even risk that chance by making the choice to have sex?

    Usually multiple times a day I have to tell my children the follwing:

    Before you do something, Stop and think. If the consequences of that choice, could
    1: Hurt you, physically, emotionally, or otherwise...
    2: Hurt someone else, physically, emotionally, or otherwise...
    3: Get you into trouble, with either me, your father or the police...

    Then DON'T DO IT!

    The same principle applies here. The choice or action is having sex, not getting pregnant. Getting pregnant is the possible outcome of the choice to have sex. If a woman finds her self in a situation where getting pregnant could or even would be so detrimental to her life, then she needs to choose accordingly.

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  101. Bethany, BINGO! Gosh, isn't this just common sense?

    I remember when I was a child and then into adolescence, and I learned about the idea of abortion. I was told that if you made a baby by having sex out of wedlock, then you had to be responsible for that action. You were then responsible for the child that you created by your choice to have sex. The child should never have to pay for my irresponsibility. That made perfect sense to me as a kid! Perfect sense! It was either raise the kid myself, or prepare to be married, or place that child for adoption. Why is that hard to see?

    I am wondering about children and teens who are told the opposite: "Don't worry, honey, if you 'make a mistake', you don't have to be punished with a baby, you can just go have an abortion."

    What kind of parent says that? How does that teach responsibility? And then we wonder why we have a generation of kids like the looters and rioters in London. They never once understood the idea of being responsible for their actions. And others are always hurt by that type of mindset, whether it's a dead baby or a business owner who has been robbed and lost his life's work. It starts with bad parenting and leads to a life of selfishness.

    Where did all the grown-ups go?

    Anyway, excellent point.

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  102. To put my ramblings in a concise phrase: What happened to the idea that actions have consequences, and we must live up to our responsibilities?

    Am I that old-fashioned?

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  103. What is the salient difference between an infant who survives an abortion (and thus deserves care and love) and one who does not (and we consider her death a "successful abortion)?...
    To be honest, I don't have a good answer for that. I'm not sold on the idea of abortions done after the point when a fetus becomes viable outside the womb (except when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother) - I wonder if, eventually, medical technology could allow pregnancies to be terminated early and completed outside the womb for cases where an abortion is needed to save the life of the mother.

    Do you think that baby would not have been adopted by a million couples?
    This is also a difficult question - I know that, especially for babies, there are lots of people who would love to adopt. But there are tons of kids who need homes and don't have them, and maybe never will (make it easier for gay couples to adopt! that would help). There are babies from other countries who need homes too - if adoption was really a certain alternative, there would be no newborns without parents.

    Also, you make abortion sound like it's a loving thing to do to a child. Do you really think that it is? I'm sincerely asking: Is it loving to kill a child because he is unwanted by his biological mother?
    I don't really see it as doing something to a child - the fetus isn't a child yet. Especially at earlier stages, when most abortions happen, the fetus is not viable outside the womb, and can't even feel pain.

    This "poor, poor woman" (yes, I am being sarcastic) had a baby in her womb that would have been a great punishment to her. Of course in her case, it was a baby that she paid a doctor tens of thousands of dollars to manufacture and then force the pregnancy....
    I don't see this as too different from any other abortion. The circumstances seem a bit strange considering she desperately wanted another kid, but I wouldn't say this was abhorrent while other abortions aren't.

    What happened to the idea that actions have consequences, and we must live up to our responsibilities?
    I agree. This is in part why I support contraception. But as to abortion being a punishment to a child - I don't see it like that, since (especially done very early on) I don't consider the fetus a child yet. But I do want to make it clear that I don't think abortion is a fabulous means of making sure you can do whatever you want without having to deal with consequences. Most of my support for abortion lies in the cases where it's medically necessary for the mother, or in cases of rape and incest.

    I feel like this was a relatively poorly written response, but hopefully it made sense. If not, I know it'll be torn apart!

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  104. Michelle, lol, I never want to "tear you apart", ha ha! But, if you give me a day or so I will try to get you to take your ideas a little further, because I definitely have some responses to your responses and I want to challenge what you've said. You are a smart woman, and even you can see some problems with your philosophy. I'm going to press you on them, that's all. :)

    Thanks for patience! And anyone else can feel free to chime in.

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  105. I'll try and take this one:

    Also, you make abortion sound like it's a loving thing to do to a child. Do you really think that it is? I'm sincerely asking: Is it loving to kill a child because he is unwanted by his biological mother?
    I don't really see it as doing something to a child - the fetus isn't a child yet. Especially at earlier stages, when most abortions happen, the fetus is not viable outside the womb, and can't even feel pain.


    Okay, I understand what you're saying, but to say that the fetus isn't a child yet, can easily be turned into, but the 4 year old isn't an adult, yet. So, at some hypothetical (God Forbid) point in the future, could it not be possible for someone to say children under the age of 13 can be killed because they're not adolescents yet, or anyone under the age of 18 or 21 can be killed because they're not adults yet. It's completely arbitrary to argue that since the fetus is not a child then it has the right to be killed. Both are human, simply in different stages of development, just as the infant, or the 4 year old, the 13 year old, the 21 year old, the 50 year old and my husband's 86 year old grandmother - all human, and all in different stages of development.

    A fetus may not be viable outside of the womb, but one isn't exactly going to leave a child of 2 mths stranded outside in the woods in the middle of winter either, even if they have a snowsuit on; the two month isn't viable when exposed to the elements of harsh winter weather.

    Every stage has different needs to be met, the fact that the fetus relies on the womb of it's mother is no different than my own children relying on our house for shelter, and our fridge for supplying them with the unending amount of food that boys will eat (Can you tell I just went grocery shopping?).

    As far as feeling pain goes. I've done, somehow, some nerve damage to the outside of my right thigh. I haven't had any feeling in a very large area there in 7 years. I also have a massive scar from knee surgery and the nerves there unfortunately could not be repaired, I haven't felt anything, let alone pain on my scar since 1994. Does that mean someone, who doesn't want me around, has the right to come up and try to stab me in those places because I can't feel it? That's ludicrous. Simply because the nerve system has not yet developed (when does the nerve system develop?) and it [the fetus] can't "feel" pain, doesn't mean we have the right to inflict pain it can't feel on it.

    It's not an insect or an animal, it's a human whether it can feel pain or not, whether it relies on a special place to grow and develop or not, and whether it is wanted or not.

    Does that make sense?

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  106. Bethany, makes perfect sense to me! Someone recently mentioned that quadriplegics don't feel anything from the neck down. Does that mean that only their head is human?

    Also, the arbitrariness always gets me. That brings me back to the post I wrote about the sliding scale of personhood.

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/06/sliding-scale-of-personhood-license-to.html

    How is it anything but arbitrary? No one will answer. Even Peter Singer admits it's utterly arbitrary.

    More soon.

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  107. But there are tons of kids who need homes and don't have them, and maybe never will

    Not true of infants. Most older kids are harder to adopt out because of abuse and other issues, including the fact that the state has a stated interest in "keeping families together", even hopelessly dysfunctional (dangerous) ones, and oftentimes kids languish in foster care for years. This is a big problem. But there is no infant (and we are talking about adoption of infants, right? When moms don't want their babies?) who cannot be adopted tomorrow.

    Internationally? That you'd have to take up with the governments of other countries. But the babies in the wombs that now exist? They can all find homes here in America. Trust me on that. Ask a pro-lifer. Ask any adoptive mom and dad waiting for years and years to adopt, while four thousand American babies are killed by abortion each day.

    Most of my support for abortion lies in the cases where it's medically necessary for the mother, or in cases of rape and incest.

    Do you vote that way?

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  108. Bethany, but you can take that the other direction too. It was done nicely here, by the atheist blogger Jen McCreight. It's a pretty sarcastic post, but I think it does a good job of showing why the slippery slope argument is not too convincing.

    Of course, lack of pain doesn't mean killing is okay. I'm having a hard time explaining this, because it makes sense to me, but here's a try: I see a fetus, especially a very early-stage one, as a potential person. It could become a person, or it could not become a person. I'll try another very rough analogy, with houses again (and, it should go without saying, I don't see people as equivalent to houses) - if you make an offer on a house, you at that point will potentially have a house in the future. If the offer isn't accepted, though you might be disappointed, you didn't actually lose anything, because the house wasn't ever actually yours. Does that make any sense? I'm sure, if the analogy did make sense, it comes across as harsh, and I don't mean any disrespect to anyone who's gone through a miscarriage and truly felt a loss (because I know this argument could also apply to miscarriage).

    As to adoption, I agree that it is a good option, and I recognize that babies are quite in demand. I just don't see abortion as a bad option, particularly in cases where the pregnancy is threatening to the life/mental wellbeing of the mother. When I see states tightening their abortion laws, most of my frustration is on the behalf of people in situations where an abortion is, I think, in their best interest. Those are the people I feel truly bad for, those who are deemed less important than the life of a potential person.

    Do you vote that way?
    I'm not at all a single-issue voter, and if I was, abortion would probably not be the single issue. But like I said, I don't see abortion as bad, so I wouldn't vote to restrict abortions only to dire circumstances.

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  109. With all due respect to that blog writer, Michelle, she is not logical at all. First, with regard to this statement:

    Maybe we do have to take it back to the zygote - the initial cell formed after fertilization. After all, that zygote has the potential to eventually become a human being!

    Actually, the zygote is a human being. Yesiree. In fact, as I've said before, my daughter's secular Harcourt science book started the chapter on human biology with this sentence: "You began life as a single cell." Was their science wrong? It was a science book, and a pretty popular one at that. How did you begin life, Michelle? I began my life when I was conceived in my mother's womb. Were you (or that blog writer) ever conceived? It's an honest question.

    As for sperm and eggs being people? Ummm, no. Not logical. A human sperm cell has 23. A human egg has 23. Not a human being.

    Or, let's try it this way: unique DNA? Nope for a human egg, no for a human sperm cell.

    Or, let's try it this way: Let's say we have an artificial womb called a "gestator". Put a sperm cell in there and see what happens. Hmmm. Nothing is happening. It stays a sperm cell! It doesn't turn magically into a human. Okay, let's put a human egg in the gestator. Watch it now… wait, it stays an egg all day long! No sudden change into a human! Weird.

    Well not really. Things that aren't human beings aren't human beings. Let's try putting a zygote in the gestator. Wait a minute! It's growing, just like a human being is wont to grow! It's going through every single stage of human development! There is something doggone different about that zygote than that egg or that sperm.

    Can your blogger tell me what that difference might be? I could loan her my daughter's old sixth grade science book if she can't. ;)

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  110. *23 chromosomes. Sorry! Left that part out! :)

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  111. Most of my support for abortion lies in the cases where it's medically necessary for the mother, or in cases of rape and incest.

    Okay, so you are not a single issue voter, but mostly you support abortion when it's medically necessary or in the very hard cases.

    So, there is a referendum on the ballot in a special election. You are voting only on the issue of abortion this time. Do you vote to outlaw all abortions other than life of the mother, rape and incest?

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  112. A zygote (blastocyst, embryo, fetus, newborn, infant, etc.) isn't a potential person - it's a person with potential!

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  113. I see a fetus, especially a very early-stage one, as a potential person. It could become a person, or it could not become a person.

    At what moment does it "become" a person, and how is that moment anything other than completely arbitrary?

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  114. For anyone interested, Thomas Peters says what I wanted to say about the "reduction" (abortion) of IVF twins:

    http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=19862

    Seriously, I feel like we are living "The Lottery".

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  115. I'm glad my mom didn't draw my #

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  116. Well, that blogger is working on a PhD in genome sciences...

    Actually, the zygote is a human being. Yesiree.
    But a zygote, just a single cell, does nothing that a human being does. It is human because it has human DNA, but it doesn't think and cannot think, it has no self-awareness and cannot have self-awareness, it doesn't sense the world around it in any of the ways complete humans do and can't do so. It isn't a being, much less a person.

    How did you begin life, Michelle? I began my life when I was conceived in my mother's womb. Were you (or that blog writer) ever conceived?
    Of course. But that zygote that I started out as wasn't me. It had my DNA, but it was not a person.

    So, there is a referendum on the ballot in a special election. You are voting only on the issue of abortion this time. Do you vote to outlaw all abortions other than life of the mother, rape and incest?
    Nope. I vote to allow abortions for any reason, because I don't see them as wrong. But when I hear about states restricting abortion, my main concern is for people who suddenly have no choice but to die rather than give up their pregnancy, and for people who suddenly have no choice but to give birth to a baby that will forever be a reminder of a traumatic experience. I feel bad for people who can't choose to have an abortion for any reason, but it's the people who, I think, would truly benefit from an abortion if they chose to have one, that I feel the worst for.

    At what moment does it "become" a person, and how is that moment anything other than completely arbitrary?
    The best explanation of this I have seen says that it becomes a person when it's fully conscious. Which, yes, is some time after birth. But the reason we don't condone killing babies who aren't fully conscious, and we support care for infants born after an abortion, is because they are independent beings. Not fully conscious, but independent in that they are viable outside the womb.

    Question for you, then, on your voting scenario. I assume you'd vote to outlaw all abortion, regardless of circumstance (if not, my question is irrelevant). If so, particularly in cases where the mother's life is on the line, why is the potential baby more important than the mother's life? If both the mother and the potential baby are at a high risk of dying unless an abortion is performed, is the abortion still inexcusable? Thanks!

    I'm glad my mom didn't draw my #
    This is another part of why I'm fine with abortion, actually. Am I glad I'm alive? Absolutely. If the fetus that was eventually going to become me was aborted, though, I would never know it. I would never say, "Wow, I really wish I'd lived," because I would have never existed. A non-existent person can't regret their non-existence. Does that make sense?

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  117. Just to clarify:

    I feel bad for people who can't choose to have an abortion for any reason, but it's the people who, I think, would truly benefit from an abortion if they chose to have one, that I feel the worst for.

    When I say that I think someone might benefit from an abortion, I don't mean to say that they should be forced to have one, or that one should be prescribed as though it were any other surgical procedure. I understand that people will always have objections, and that's okay. I think a mother whose pregnancy presents a serious threat to her life would benefit from an abortion, but I absolutely respect her choice not to have one, even if it's not what I would do.

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  118. Reread this please:

    But that zygote that I started out as wasn't me.

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  119. Complicated Life… I think that's called a checkmate?

    Michelle, you gotta admit, she is onto something….

    Okay, so the girl who writes the blog is working on her PhD. But she may want to check her textbooks on embryology textbooks for the basics:

    http://www.abort73.com/abortion/medical_testimony/

    Scroll down to see the multiple examples of what the medical textbooks say, including some pretty clear stuff like this:

    "[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being."

    Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2.

    That is one of many, but maybe she missed the embryology classes?

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  120. But a zygote, just a single cell, does nothing that a human being does.

    A human being doesn't need to do anything to be human. It is human because it is human. Do you really want to put a litmus test on who gets to be included in humanity?

    It is human because it has human DNA

    Wait. It's human, but it's not a human being?

    but it doesn't think and cannot think, it has no self-awareness and cannot have self-awareness, it doesn't sense the world around it

    Neither does a person under heavy anesthetic. Is an anesthetized person a human being? It's a serious question. If you say, "Well, that person will wake up and have consciousness eventually" then I will respond that an embryo will have consciousness eventually, also.

    in any of the ways complete humans do and can't do so.

    What does "complete human" mean? An embryo needs shelter and nutrition to grow and live, just like every other human person. Aside from that, nothing is added. So, what do you mean by "complete"?

    It isn't a being, much less a person.

    So, it's "human" but it's not a human "being", and even if it were a human "being" it wouldn't be a "person". Wow, that is a lot of litmus tests to pass before one gets human rights. Do you suppose that is why slaves were designated as 3/5ths of a person, so that they could be denied full human rights? It's a serious question.

    to be continued...

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  121. Complicated Life… I think that's called a checkmate?
    Michelle, you gotta admit, she is onto something….

    Is an acorn an oak tree? No. A zygote is not a person. I started out as a zygote, of course, and that zygote had my DNA and was alive, but I am a person. That zygote was a potential person that became me.

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  122. Complicated Life covered this nicely, but let me try to work it out in my mind: You've said that you were conceived, but you weren't conceived.

    Can you understand my confusion? If that wasn't you who was conceived (although you say it was) then who was it? Your Uncle Joe?

    I promise I am not trying to be rude, but do you see why that statement is absurd?

    But you mention an acorn. Let's say the "acorn" started growing. When does the acorn which is growing gain the ability to be killed? When it is alive, I'm guessing? So, killing a living plant is killing a plant (agreed?). Killing a living human being (even in the embryonic stage) is killing a human being.

    If you still disagree, can you cite your science which says that an embryo is not a human life? Not your opinion, but scientific evidence. Like the list of embryology texts I linked to, for example. To this day, no one has answered my question: My sixth grade daughter's secular Harcourt science book said at the beginning of the chapter on human life: "You began life as a single cell." Was that science book correct? Would your PhD candidate blogger say that the science book was correct?

    Please answer.

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  123. Now, this embryologist says that the zygote is a new human being. Michelle, you said it's human but not a human being. Who is right?

    "[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being."

    Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2.

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  124. But a zygote, just a single cell, does nothing that a human being does.

    But the embryologist just said that a zygote is a "human being". Who is right, you or him?

    "Being" implies a state of "being", not "doing", by the way.

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  125. Michelle, you said: "The best explanation of this I have seen says that it becomes a person when it's fully conscious. Which, yes, is some time after birth. But the reason we don't condone killing babies who aren't fully conscious, and we support care for infants born after an abortion, is because they are independent beings. Not fully conscious, but independent in that they are viable outside the womb."

    Okay, so it seems to me that you are saying that a fetus gets human rights at "viability" (from that last part), but that they are not a person till consciousness. So, human rights come before the thing becomes a person? Maybe I am misunderstanding you, so forgive me (and correct me).

    By the way, both "fully conscious" and "viable" are moving targets. They change all the time and/or cannot be pinpointed. Do you find that problematic when dealing with the right to kill someone?

    Isn't it arbitrary, just like Peter Singer says?

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  126. I vote to allow abortions for any reason, because I don't see them as wrong.

    Please tell me straight up that what was done to this little girl was not wrong. That she is trash or medical waste. I truly want to hear you say it, because it is only if you can say that she is worthless that I will believe the statement you made above:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/photo-late-term-aborted-baby-lies-in-open-casket-at-city-hall-funeral

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  127. If the fetus that was eventually going to become me was aborted, though, I would never know it.

    So not only the zygote was "not you", but the fetus was "not you", either? Who the heck was that in there? Whose hands were those, whose face? Whose legs and toes? My gosh, who was kicking me throughout all those pregnancies? Who was sucking their thumbs on the ultrasound? Weird…

    But I think I get that you are saying that "knowing" you are alive is the thing that makes you have human rights, that makes you a "person". So, are you also for killing the demented? Alzheimer's patients? The unconscious? The sleeping? I'm seriously asking. Is the subject "not knowing" the criterion for killing?

    I would never say, "Wow, I really wish I'd lived," because I would have never existed. A non-existent person can't regret their non-existence. Does that make sense?

    No, it makes no sense at all. If you didn't exist, then how did you get to the point that you exited your mother's womb? Are you seriously arguing that no one was in your mother's womb when she was pregnant with you?

    Or, are you saying, "Sure, there was a body there, but that was not my body, it was just a body." But that doesn't make sense, either. Are you saying, then, that a body cannot become a person until something happens to that body that cannot be quantified, and is something almost metaphysical? But that doesn't make sense, because you are an atheist.

    Sorry, I'm being totally honest, none of what you are saying makes a lick of sense. It sounds very nebulous, arbitrary, subjective and unscientific. Dare I say superstitious? And you guys get mad at us for talking metaphysics! ;)

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  128. But that zygote that I started out as wasn't me.

    Allright you master of disguise, then who was it?

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  129. This is another part of why I'm fine with abortion, actually. Am I glad I'm alive? Absolutely. If the fetus that was eventually going to become me was aborted, though, I would never know it.

    Nope, no sense. Is it still you when you sleep? I'm not aware when I'm sleeping, yet I exist.

    This feels eerily similar to the whole "the beginning of the universe" discussions.

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  130. Is an acorn an oak tree? No. A zygote is not a person. I started out as a zygote, of course, and that zygote had my DNA and was alive, but I am a person. That zygote was a potential person that became me.

    What does the statistical data show what the zygote turns into?

    My calculations show 100% of the time a zygote turns into a human. Does your calculation produce a # less than 100%?

    ie, sometimes people birth dogs, fish, goats?

    The zygote to turn into one of those is, um, zero percent.

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  131. Leila said: Wait. It's human, but it's not a human being?

    Yes. For example, it is possible to identify that scrap of hair there as human hair. That scrap of hair is human, but not a human being.

    Also, my fingernails. And my liver. My liver is a human liver, it is human, but it is not a human being.

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  132. I would like to point out that none of you seem to be understanding Michelle's point about the zygote being like an Acorn. Nubby's comment

    Nubby quotes Michelle about the acorn: Is an acorn an oak tree? No. A zygote is not a person. I started out as a zygote, of course, and that zygote had my DNA and was alive, but I am a person. That zygote was a potential person that became me.

    And then it appears as though she says that Michelle is saying, oh, I don't know - that an acorn will turn into a fish? What?

    Nubby, responding: What does the statistical data show what the zygote turns into?
    ...
    ie, sometimes people birth dogs, fish, goats?

    The zygote to turn into one of those is, um, zero percent.


    An acorn DOES turn into an oak tree, but it is not currently an oak tree.

    A zygote DOES turn into a human being, but it is not currently a human being. Why is this so hard for you all to understand?

    This line of argumentation, from all of you, just goes to show how you are ignoring basic biology in a single-minded quest to prove the other side 'wrong'.

    We all know that you think a zygote should be saved at all costs because it will turn into a person, and we think a zygote does not necessarily need to be preserved because it is not a person yet.

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  133. Let me ask you this, turning the topic a little.

    Many of you who have had miscarriages say that you will meet that miscarried child in heaven. What will that child look like? How will that child interact with you? Will that child actually hug you? Will it be a child, or will it be an adult? If it is an adult, will it have had children of its own in heaven? Because if you are thinking of that lost 'child' as a person, you will have wanted that person to have lived a rich full life. Would that rich full life have included children? What educational level will it have reached?

    Or, are you going to simply look at that 'child' as it was in the womb when it was lost? Will you simply cradle that 9-week-old fetus and pet it?

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on that. Thanks!

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  134. I am, of course, using the example of a 9-week-old fetus because I myself had a miscarriage at 9 weeks, between my two birthed boys.

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  135. Michelle, gotta jump in here because I CANNOT STAND the "consciousness" and "independent" arguments. I have a cousin, who at age 17, suffered severe head trauma in a football game. He was in a coma for weeks, actually coded at one point and was clinically dead for 30 minutes (he met God during that time, but that's another story), and at age 22 is conscious and interactive, yet is completely dependent on his parents to live. At what point was he not human? During his coma (weeks of unconsciousness), now (while completely dependent in order to live), or anytime in between?

    It's a serious question, because if you say, "well, he was at one point conscious" or "well he most likely would be conscious again" your argument falls apart. According to your logic, that consciousness and independence is the benchmark for being human, then for much of the last 5 years, my cousin hasn't been human and has not deserved the right to life.

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  136. An acorn DOES turn into an oak tree, but it is not currently an oak tree.
    A zygote DOES turn into a human being, but it is not currently a human being. Why is this so hard for you all to understand?

    This line of argumentation, from all of you, just goes to show how you are ignoring basic biology in a single-minded quest to prove the other side 'wrong'.


    Ha. Far be it from me to ignore science, MaiZeke.

    Your comments here show that we agree it's a human being, zygote or fetus, whatever. Potentially, realistically, it's a human. So, yeah, we win.

    Show me data that shows otherwise, hard science please.

    This garble about a potential person is irrelevant.

    It's a human being. So let's not trot out the "oh, well, gee, it's not a human yet."

    The whole pro choice side wants to dehumanize. Well, sorry, you cannot dehumanize what turns into a human being 100% of the time.

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  137. This line of argumentation, from all of you, just goes to show how you are ignoring basic biology in a single-minded quest to prove the other side 'wrong'.

    MaiZeke, hello! Before I go eat breakfast (yum!), I want to quote the embryologist again, and give you a link to the other embryology textbooks:

    "[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being."

    Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2.


    I'll throw this in, too:

    "Biologically speaking, human development begins at fertilization."

    The Biology of Prenatal Develpment, National Geographic, 2006.


    and this

    "It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive...It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception."

    Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth
    Harvard University Medical School


    (that was said before a congressional committee)

    and then this link to give you more "basic biology":

    http://www.abort73.com/abortion/medical_testimony/

    Am I "ignoring basic biology"? Are these scientists and embryologists "ignoring basic biology"?

    Please, a direct answer regarding these scientists and doctors and textbook writers. Thanks!

    (Will be back with your answer about the unborn who die and go to Heaven.)

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  138. Potentially a human = human from conception.

    "Potentially human" is not an argument.

    The human integrity is present. A human zygote is human. Never at any point is it not human in it's whole genetic makeup.

    Never at any point is it less than alive in a human reality. Never at any point is it going to morph into a penguin. Or a toad.


    This is why the argument of 'potential' doesn't work.

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  139. The oak/acorn analogy really doesn't work in the context of sexual reproduction, since trees don't reproduce sexually. If you try to analogize the two, then an acorn is like a human ovum, not a zygote. The ground is the womb. Once the acorn turns into a sapling, that is more analogous to a human zygote, blastocyst, or embryo.

    You wouldn't find a botanist worth his/her salt who would say an oak sapling that just sprouted from an acorn the hour before was only a "potential oak." He (or she) would say that it was still a tree of the genus quercus, albeit one in a very early stage of development.

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  140. MaiZeke, regarding your question regarding seeing our babies in heaven someday:

    The best answer I've found to this comes from one of my favorite fiction novels, Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery.

    Anne has recently lost a child who died shortly after birth, and is talking to her friend, Captain Jim:

    "I know how you feel jest now--but if you keep on living you'll get glad again, and the first thing you know you'll be dreaming again--thank the good Lord for it! If it wasn't for our dreams they might as well bury us. How'd we stand living if it wasn't for our dream of immortality? And that's a dream that's bound to come true, Mistress Blythe. You'll see your little Joyce again some day" [said Captain Jim.]

    "But she won't be my baby," said Anne, with trembling lips. "Oh, she may be, as Longfellow says, 'a fair maiden clothed with celestial grace'--but she'll be a stranger to me."

    "God will manage better'n *that*, I believe," said Captain Jim.


    Later, after the arrival of Anne's second child (born strong and healthy), she says, while speaking with her foster mother,

    "This baby will take Joy's place," said Marilla.

    "Oh, no, no, no, Marilla. He can't--nothing can ever do that. He has his own place, my dear, wee man-child. But little Joy has hers, and always will have it. If she had lived she would have been over a year old. She would have been toddling around on her tiny feet and lisping a few words. I can see her so plainly, Marilla. Oh, I know now that Captain Jim was right when he said God would manage better than that my baby would seem a stranger to me when I found her Beyond. I've learned that this past year. I've followed her development day by day and week by week--I always shall. I shall know just how she grows from year to year--and when I meet her again I'll know her--she won't be a stranger.

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  141. Many of you who have had miscarriages say that you will meet that miscarried child in heaven. What will that child look like? How will that child interact with you? Will that child actually hug you? Will it be a child, or will it be an adult? If it is an adult, will it have had children of its own in heaven? Because if you are thinking of that lost 'child' as a person, you will have wanted that person to have lived a rich full life. Would that rich full life have included children? What educational level will it have reached.

    No one knows this side of Heaven. But we trust that if God wills us to know our miscarried children in the afterlife, then He will give us the grace to recognize them in whatever capacity will give Him the greatest glory. And we trust in that.

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  142. Okay, MaiZeke, here is my best (if incomplete) answer to the question of our babies who went to God before us:

    First, the child will not be "an embryo" in Heaven. Before the resurrection of the body (when we will all be reunited with our physical bodies at the end of time), the soul will be in the presence of God and will have the mind of God: Meaning, the "educational level" of your little one far surpasses the level of anyone here on earth, by… infinity. So, if those souls are reading this exchange, they are chuckling. They possess all the secrets of the universe, both on a physical (science) level and a metaphysical one.

    Second, the embryo you lost is the same person he/she always was meant to be. He/she is either male or female, and is in essence the person God made him or her to be. But now the "potential" is fulfilled.

    When the resurrection of the body happens, and the reuniting of soul and body happens, your child will have a transfigured body. Some tradition holds that those in Heaven appear about 33 years old… But last night I have a very learned priest over for dinner, and he reminded us that our transfigured, Heavenly bodies (like Jesus') will be under the perfect control of our will. We will be able to do things such as walk through doors, move at the speed of thought, fly, etc. We will never feel pain, we will never suffer, we will never die.

    Will we know each other? Yes! Union in heaven is perfect. We will not only be united with God, but we will be perfectly united with each other. There will be no discord, disagreement, separation. You will know all your kin there better than you know them here. (Assuming, of course, that we all make it to Heaven.)

    You know the feeling of wanting to hug a baby until you become almost one person? Or wanting to "eat a baby up" because you want to get that close? That feeling is there for a reason. You will get that perfect closeness with all your loved ones (and the whole Body of Christ) when you are in Heaven.

    Heaven is perfect unity among souls, infinite knowledge and wisdom, and infinite unveiling and exploring of all Truth, Goodness and Beauty.

    Hope that helps!

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  143. Very interesting, Leila. And I love that we'll be existing outside of time. That is mind-boggling right there. No limits of time as we know it here and now.

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  144. Yes, Nubby, and our finite minds will suddenly be able to receive the infinite!

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  145. Nubby, amen, sista!!

    Here is something about the characteristics of the resurrected body, from New Advent:

    Characteristics of the risen body

    All shall rise from the dead in their own, in their entire, and in immortal bodies; but the good shall rise to the resurrection of life, the wicked to the resurrection of Judgment. It would destroy the very idea of resurrection, if the dead were to rise in bodies not their own. Again, the resurrection, like the creation, is to be numbered amongst the principal works of God; hence, as at the creation all things are perfect from the hand of God, so at the resurrection all things must be perfectly restored by the same omnipotent hand. But there is a difference between the earthly and the risen body; for the risen bodies of both saints and sinners shall be invested with immortality. This admirable restoration of nature is the result of the glorious triumph of Christ over death as described in several texts of Sacred Scripture: Isaiah 25:8; Osee, xiii, 14; 1 Corinthians 15:26; Apocalypse 2:4. But while the just shall enjoy an endless felicity in the entirety of their restored members, the wicked "shall seek death, and shall not find it, shall desire to die, and death shall fly from them" (Revelation 9:6).

    These three characteristics, identity, entirety, and immortality, will be common to the risen bodies of the just and the wicked. But the bodies of the saints shall be distinguished by four transcendent endowments, often called qualities.

    The first is "impassibility", which shall place them beyond the reach of pain and inconvenience. "It is sown", says the Apostle, "in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption" (1 Corinthians 15:42). The Schoolmen call this quality impassibility', not incorruption, so as to mark it as a peculiarity of the glorified body; the bodies of the damned will be incorruptible indeed, but not impassible; they shall be subject to heat and cold, and all manner of pain.

    The next quality is "brightness", or "glory", by which the bodies of the saints shall shine like the sun. "It is sown in dishonour," says the Apostle, "it shall rise in glory" (1 Corinthians 15:43; cf. Matthew 13:43; 17:2; Philippians 3:21). All the bodies of the saints shall be equally impassible, but they shall be endowed with different degrees of glory. According to St. Paul: "One is the glory of the sun, another the glory of the moon, another the glory of the stars. For star differeth from star in glory"'(1 Corinthians 15:41-42).

    The third quality is that of "agility", by which the body shall be freed from its slowness of motion, and endowed with the capability of moving with the utmost facility and quickness wherever the soul pleases. The Apostle says: "It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power" (1 Corinthians 15:43).
    The fourth quality is "subtility", by which the body becomes subject to the absolute dominion of the soul. This is inferred from the words of the Apostle: "It is sown a natural body, it shall rise a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:44). The body participates in the soul's more perfect and spiritual life to such an extent that it becomes itself like a spirit. We see this quality exemplified in the fact that Christ passed through material objects.


    Awesomeness!!!!!

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  146. Just think of all those aborted babies meeting their mamas one day… extending to them forgiveness and the hand of mercy (should the mothers repent).

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  147. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12792a.htm

    There's the link on the general resurrection.

    MaiZeke, could you address the question I gave to Michelle at 9:27? And, whether or not the embryologists and Harvard, UPenn doctors are ignorant of biology?

    Thanks! Whenever you get a chance.

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  148. Just a nitpicky thing... but technically, if MaiZeke's baby was nine weeks when she miscarried, then she lost a fetus, not an embryo.

    Of course, it's easier all around for miscarried moms to say we lost a baby or a child, since we believe there's no moral difference between a zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, etc. :)

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  149. JoAnna, I stand corrected and I totally agree!

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  150. Yes, she lost a person. Not a potential person.

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  151. Also, I just realized how stupid "miscarried moms" sounds... I meant "moms who have had miscarriages".

    I think I'll just play the pregnancy brain card on that one. ;)

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  152. Nubby, yep.

    Oh, and one more thing about whether or not her lost child will have kids in heaven. Nope. There is not more procreation in Heaven. There is no marriage in Heaven for that very reason (marriage is for the procreation of children). Having children is certainly a beautiful calling, and a participation in the plan of God to co-create souls for Heaven, but the reason for people being created in the first place is for ultimate union with God. So, for example, priests and nuns and consecrated people, who forego the good of marriage (and procreation) entirely, are simply going straight to that "union" to which we are all called. They go right to "marrying" God if you will.

    Having children is beautiful, but once in Heaven, the soul is at the end to which we are all made, and does not need the "fulfillment" of having children, as the ultimate fulfillment has been achieved by the beatific vision and dwelling in the perfection and infinite truth, goodness and beauty of Heaven.

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  153. That's right, there's no more need for marriage or procreation after we've already attained heaven. The calling to marriage and procreation is for our road to sanctity here on earth.

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  154. MaiZeke (and Michelle), here is an article from the National Catholic Bioethics Center that addresses your points. An excerpt (I added some paragraph breaks for clarity):

    there is an important sense in which the embryo and fetus do possess the abilities which the proponent thinks are so important. In fact, the very reason why human beings develop the abilities they do is because of the kinds of things we are. We are human beings, which means that we have a rational nature that directs our development and defines what we are. We don’t mean by ‘human being’ merely a biological category. Nominating a thing homo sapien, or bipedal mammal is not itself a sufficient reason for thinking that the thing bears a right not to be killed. But that is not what we mean when we say that embryo is a human being. We mean human being to refer to an individual with a rational nature.

    This understanding of what we are has significant consequences. First, what we are – our nature – explains why and accounts for the specific abilities that we have. The specific abilities we have is dependent upon us being instances of a rational nature. We do not develop the ability to bark or fly, because we are not dogs or birds. So, in a very real sense the embryo and fetus possess the ability to think, feel, form interests, be conscious etc. at that very time in his or her development in virtue of being an instance of human nature. He or she has a nature that determines what abilities the thing has and will develop as he or she grows (having an ability and exercising it are two different things).

    It makes perfect sense, then, to say that when each of us was an embryo, we possessed the ability to think and reason in virtue of being an instance of human/rational nature. These claims may be hard to see, for some. So consider some examples like a dog embryo. Does it make sense to say that the dog embryo has the capacity to think and reason (like humans)? Certainly not. Does it make sense to say that it has the capacity to bark and chase bikers? Certainly yes. That is what dogs (eventually) do because they are dogs! Likewise for human embryos. Human embryos do not have the capacity to bark or to instinctually chase innocent bikers, but they do have the capacity to think and reason because that is the kind of thing they are. Since it makes sense to say that the human embryo has the capacity to think and reason, it makes sense to say that it possesses such capacities though, because of his or her developmental stage, cannot exercise those capacities at that time in his or her development.

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  155. Leila provides quotes:

    "[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being."

    Note that this does not say "is a human being". Neither does it say "is a person." Nobody doubts that this zygote will develop into a human being, a person. Nobody is questioning that. Whether or not that zygote is a person is the question.

    "Biologically speaking, human development begins at fertilization."

    Again, the development is beginning here. It is not complete - at fertilization there is no person.

    Quoting JoAnna, You wouldn't find a botanist worth his/her salt who would say an oak sapling that just sprouted from an acorn the hour before was only a "potential oak." He (or she) would say that it was still a tree of the genus quercus, albeit one in a very early stage of development.

    We are talking about the difference between an acorn and a tree. I call the sapling a tree, more analagous to a born infant. You yourself say that the sapling sprouted from the acorn - the acorn and the sapling are different things here. An acorn is not an oak, but it is a potential oak. It has all the DNA it needs to be an oak, but it isn't.

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  156. You yourself say that the sapling sprouted from the acorn -- the acorn and the sapling are different things here. An acorn is not an oak, but it is a potential oak. It has all the DNA it needs to be an oak, but it isn't.

    Precisely! Like I said, an acorn is a more analogous to a human ovum, which contains half of the DNA necessary for the creation of a new person.

    Thus, a sapling is more analogous to a human zygote or blastocyst -- a sapling is an oak tree in a very early stage of development; a zygote or blastocyst is a human being in a very early stage of development.

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  157. Leila provides quotes:

    "[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being."

    Note that this does not say "is a human being".


    MaiZeke, are you kidding me? Are you asserting that a the "beginning of a new human being" does not mean "a new human being has begun"?

    Seriously?

    Really, you are saying that?

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  158. Neither does it say "is a person."

    Um, a scientist would not use the word "person". I thought we were talking science? Would you like to go to metaphysics? I thought atheists loved science?

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  159. MaiZeke, is an acorn growing? Because a zygote is living and growing. I am not sure how they can be analogous?

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  160. Nobody doubts that this zygote will develop into a human being, a person. Nobody is questioning that. Whether or not that zygote is a person is the question.

    Please, quit mocking science.

    This bastardization of what is or isn't a person is nothing but a smoke screen to ease the conscience of group-think that wishes to darken the reality that, yes, indeed, the zygote has human integrity and is a person (ie, possesses personhood) based purely on the scientific fact that it is a human zygote.

    We're not reaching into the absurd, but okay, let's run with it. What is a person?

    What does one have to be, to be a person?

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  161. * we're now reaching into the absurd

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  162. "Biologically speaking, human development begins at fertilization."

    Again, the development is beginning here. It is not complete


    A newborn baby is not "complete" in development either. Is a born baby a person? A toddler is not "complete" in development. Is that toddler a person?

    I agree with Nubby…this is such a stretch, MaiZeke. And why? Why do you make these gyrations and try to twist even the scientists words? I think it's because of this:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/06/sliding-scale-of-personhood-license-to.html

    The only reason is that you wish to have legal permission to harm and kill the unborn. What other reason could there be?

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  163. MaiZeke, so would you say, as Michelle does, that there are the following distinctions:

    1) things that are human
    2) things that are human beings
    3) things that are human persons

    If yes, then are those scientific distinctions? Or metaphysical ones?

    Thanks!

    And, could you address the question I gave to Michelle at 9:27?

    I know this is a lot to address, but there are a lot of lurkers reading and I really want to make sure we are clear.

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  164. Ok, let's sum up here.

    Nubby says I am mocking science. I have nothing to say to Nubby, if she thinks I am mocking science.

    Leila, among other things, has posted a tract from a Catholic apologist site. When I get the time, I will find some posts from secular sites that discuss the same argument. And then we will simply trade links, how's that?

    Leila also says, MaiZeke, are you kidding me? Are you asserting that a the "beginning of a new human being" does not mean "a new human being has begun"?

    Seriously?

    Really, you are saying that?


    Yes, Leila, ask my manager. I told him that I have the beginning of a document that I was supposed to have ready yesterday - so according to you, I'm done! According to me (and him), I'm not yet done, and what I have is not actually a document. Seriously, I am saying that.

    The born baby is a human being - it is no longer the beginning of a human being, it is one. When it is breathing and living on its own. Before that, it is developing into a human being.

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  165. Actually, MaiZeke, what you would need to tell your manager is that you don't have a document at all. It's just a potential document, even though you've started working on it. It really doesn't exist except in your mind. I'm sure s/he'll be thrilled to hear that.

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  166. Also, MaiZeke, the fact that you refuse to answer Nubby is actually quite amusing. You are indeed mocking science by insisting that the question "What is a person?" is a scientific one that can be answered purely by science.

    I'm guessing the reason you have "nothing to say" to that is because the cognitive dissonance of your pro-abortion position is getting too much for your mind to handle.

    By the way, the 22w5d fetus currently in my womb is most definitely a complete human being. S/he may even be viable outside the womb (preemies smaller than s/he have survived - not many, but a few). Please explain how s/he is not currently a human being right now, but will magically turn into one once s/he exits my womb.

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  167. According to me (and him), I'm not yet done, and what I have is not actually a document.

    JoAnna, unfortunately, she is saying she has no document, even though the document is in front of her. It's just not an "adult" or "birthed" document? It's an embryonic one.

    MaiZeke, every quote I gave was from a secular source, and so are the others I linked to. Way to dodge the question! Could you go back and tell me if all those scientists are wrong?

    I have the beginning of a headache. Thank goodness I don't have a headache.

    ;)

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  168. WHY will no one ever answer the questions???

    So, MaiZeke, you said this:

    The born baby is a human being - it is no longer the beginning of a human being, it is one.

    According to…you? Are you the authority? According to whom, MaiZeke? Is this your opinion? The embryologist and other scientists disagree with you, explicitly. To whom should I defer?

    Please answer. I beg you.

    When it is breathing and living on its own.

    Well, an embryo is living, so you mean that "breathing" is the criterion for human beings? Yes?

    Please answer, and I will go from there….

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  169. Sorry, "Breathing on its own" is the criterion, right?

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  170. The document isn't complete b/c it's still being worked on, okay.

    The same holds true for human maturity, and that whole process.

    In MaiZeke's example of a document being worked on, it's still a document! The process does not define the thing itself.

    At what point does the document become a document? When does the zygote become "human" to you? Breathing is the rule? Does breathing in the womb count?

    Chase this thought process up stream. What point are we human?

    Conversely, a rock being eroded is still a rock. The wind and the rain beating upon it in the process of erosion don't define the rock; they don't detract from the rock being a rock.

    There is no way you can win with this argument, MaiZeke. Sorry.

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  171. I've gotta run out, but MaiZeke, how about this: If I come back and give you my questions, numbered, which require either yes or no or short answers, will you endeavor to answer the directly? Thanks!

    And can I start with asking you and Michelle, separately, to define the following (or give me an example of each):

    1. A human
    2. A human being
    3. A human person

    Thanks!

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  172. By the way, the 22w5d fetus currently in my womb is most definitely a complete human being. S/he may even be viable outside the womb (preemies smaller than s/he have survived - not many, but a few). Please explain how s/he is not currently a human being right now, but will magically turn into one once s/he exits my womb.

    Bingo. MaiZeke needs to define specifically when human life starts without the use of an analogy. Total scientific definition would be great.

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  173. Here's a good analogy (for those of us that still remember what a Polaroid photo is, lol!):

    The difference between making and developing is not just an accident of language. Suppose we're back in the pre-digital days and you've just taken a fabulous photo, one you know you will prize, with your Polaroid camera. (Say it's a picture of a jaguar that has now darted back into the jungle, so that the photo is unrepeatable.) You are just starting to let the photo hang out to develop when I grab it and rip its cover off, thus destroying it. What would you think if I responded to your dismay with the assertion: "Hey man, it was still in the brown-smudge stage. Why should you care about brown smudges?" You would find my defense utterly absurd. Just so for pro-lifers, who find dignity in every human individual: To say that killing such a prized being doesn't count if he or she is still developing in the womb strikes them as outrageously absurd.

    By contrast, if I had simply destroyed a blank, unexposed piece of your film, you would have been much less upset. You really would have lost little more than a smudge. Passive potential does not count for much. Only developing potential already contains its own form (essence, identity), is already the what that it is in the process of manifesting.

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  174. That's exactly my point, too. Process doesn't define the thing itself.

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  175. Along mai zeke's logic, we might as well allow murder to be legal. Living is part of a process, being born is part of that process, etc. If no part of it matters, why not allow murder at any stage until the process is finished?

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  176. I want to hear more than metaphysics from the atheists here. We hear very little science (seems the Catholics are the ones providing the quotes from textbooks and doctors and embryologists) and a whole lot of philosophy, metaphysics and dare I say "superstition" from the other side.

    And I want to know, why? Why do they not want to include the littlest humans in the human family? I can only conclude, again, that it is because they want legal permission to harm and kill them. Any other options, I'm open to hearing. And, I'm really open to hearing the science which says that a zygote is not a human life.

    But if MaiZeke and Michelle could start with those questions at 2:31, that would be so great. Thanks!

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  177. Oh boy, a lot to answer. Might not get through all of it tonight, so I promise I'm not ignoring anything.

    Do you really want to put a litmus test on who gets to be included in humanity?
    Are you denying that there are certain characteristics that are associated with human beings? Of course, they don't all apply at all times to all people, but I really, honestly, can't see how a single cell is a human being. I see a big difference between simply having human DNA and being a human being. People who are under general anesthesia or in a coma don't display some of the characteristics I (and I think we all) associate with being human, like consciousness and reacting to the world around them, yes. But we can agree that, under normal circumstances (not anesthetized, not in a coma), they would display those characteristics. No zygote or blastocyst or early stage fetus displays those characteristics.

    So, what do you mean by "complete"?
    A zygote isn't a complete human being - human beings are collections of differentiated cells that are capable of living without depending on another person's body to develop. A zygote has the DNA and the cellular makeup to become a human being, but it isn't one yet.

    Wow, that is a lot of litmus tests to pass before one gets human rights. Do you suppose that is why slaves were designated as 3/5ths of a person, so that they could be denied full human rights?
    You know how people sometimes compare being against gay marriage to being antimiscegenation, and those who are against gay marriage always cry foul? This is, I think, sort of the same. It's not a matter of going out of my way to dehumanize zygotes (or blastocysts or embryos or fetuses). It just truly does not make sense to me to give something that I don't see as a full human being the same rights as full human beings.

    Going to split this up so Blogger won't get upset. More in a bit...

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  178. It just truly does not make sense to me to give something that I don't see as a full human being the same rights as full human beings.

    But it didn't make sense to some slaveholders that blacks should have the same rights as human beings, either. How would you answer them? Anyway, is "making sense to you" a scientific answer, or a metaphysical one? Can you back it up with science? Say, an embryologist or two or a dozen?

    human beings are collections of differentiated cells that are capable of living without depending on another person's body to develop.

    Again, is this a scientific definition of a human being? If so, can you show me the citation? Or, is this your opinion?

    I really, honestly, can't see how a single cell is a human being.

    So, because this has never yet been answered (forgive me if you are about to), when my daughter's secular Harcourt science book said, "You began life as a single cell" it was incorrect? Bad science?

    And those quotes from the embryologists and scientists, are they wrong?

    I want to know if you are basing this on science, or on your feelings?

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  179. If that wasn't you who was conceived (although you say it was) then who was it? Your Uncle Joe?
    Okay, it was the single cell that was going to become me that was conceived. I feel like this and a lot of the questions that follow become a matter of semantics, though. I say I was conceived because that's the conventional way to say it, but that single cell was not Michelle. Michelle goes around and does things and interacts with things and people and forms opinions and comments on blogs. The zygote that was to become me did not do those things.

    If you still disagree, can you cite your science which says that an embryo is not a human life? Not your opinion, but scientific evidence.
    No. It is human life, but it's not a human being. This is an opinion, based on what I've seen of human beings. Your opinion that a single cell, or a group of a few cells, is a human being is just an opinion as well. No one is denying that it's human life, but I see a distinction between human life and being a human being.

    To this day, no one has answered my question: My sixth grade daughter's secular Harcourt science book said at the beginning of the chapter on human life: "You began life as a single cell." Was that science book correct?
    No, it's true. But I like MaiZeke's analogy about the document. A paper begins as an introductory paragraph, or an outline, but is that paragraph or outline the paper? I don't think it is.

    More later!

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  180. "You began life as a single cell." Was that science book correct?
    No, it's true.


    You say it's true that *you* began life as a single cell, but then you say it wasn't *you*. Do you see why I want to beat my head against a wall? You are right that it is semantics. You want two contradictory things to be true at the same time. You also give me your opinion on whether it's a human being (and admit it's only your opinion), while I give you quotes from science and embryology textbooks, as well as medical testimony from a Harvard doctor, etc. Who is being scientific here, and who is being metaphysical? And opinions aren't good enough when you are deciding who gets to live or die. It was Hitler's opinion that my husband, a Jew, was not a human being, either.

    You don't need to answer this, just keep going on the other stuff. But I had to throw it out there.

    And, please be sure to define, scientifically, "human", "human being" and "human person". Thanks!

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  181. Michelle there's an awful lot on he line for this to be an opinion. This is an issue you should probably be 100% certain about. 50 million dead humans (lives or beings) is a lot to risk on semantics and pseudo science.

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  182. And, please be sure to define, scientifically, "human", "human being" and "human person". Thanks!

    You know, I think this really needs to be answered before the discussion can progress any further. If Michelle has a different definition of "human being," than we do, for example, we're just going to keep talking in circles.

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  183. No, it's true. But I like MaiZeke's analogy about the document. A paper begins as an introductory paragraph, or an outline, but is that paragraph or outline the paper? I don't think it is.

    But, Michelle... we've already pointed out the fatal flaw in this analogy.

    That paragraph or outline IS a document. It's just not a COMPLETED document. It's still a work in progress. But it would be false to say that it is not a document that is currently in development. If MaiZeke's manager were to ask her, "How is that document coming?" and MaiZeke replied, "I don't have a document at all. It doesn't exist," I think her manager would get upset. But MaiZeke would likely say, "I have started it [meaning, the document exists] and it is X% complete" which would be more accurate.

    Development of a human being is the same way. At the moment of conception, a complete human being exists (just as, as soon as you open a new Word document, type one letter, and save it with a unique identifier, a new document exists), but it is one in a very early stage of development.

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  184. JoAnna, you are right, until we get those terms defined, we are talking in circles. I think we should add "potential human" to the list of things that need to be defined by the atheists.

    Or at least "potential", because we could have "potential humans", "potential human beings" and "potential human persons".

    We must define to be able to go forward.

    Thanks!

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  185. And you're so right about documents. As soon as I begin a document on my computer, it's even labeled as a document. No "potential" documents in the system. Either there is a document or their isn't one.

    Maybe my computer is different from everyone else's? But I don't think so....

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  186. *there. Ugh!

    I even posted an old post again today! What is up with me??

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  187. Nubby says: There is no way you can win with this argument, MaiZeke. Sorry.

    I'm beginning to agree with Nubby, but for different reasons than she has.

    According to comments in this dialogue, Leila has an expanded view of a person.

    Leila says that the fetus that was miscarried at 9 weeks in the womb, after it goes to heaven, "is the same person he/she always was meant to be". So a person is still a person after he/she goes to heaven. Ok.

    Here are more quotes from Leila about the fetus in heaven:
    When the resurrection of the body happens, and the reuniting of soul and body happens, your child will have a transfigured body.
    and
    We will be able to do things such as walk through doors, move at the speed of thought, fly, etc.
    and, from the New Advent,
    All shall rise from the dead in their own, in their entire, and in immortal bodies [...] It would destroy the very idea of resurrection, if the dead were to rise in bodies not their own.

    Wait, what? the fetus' body is not able to walk yet. How can the fetus' own body begin to walk, and walk through doors at that? How about an embryo? How will an embryo be able to walk through doors?

    I agree with nubby, that this argument is not even an argument any more.

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  188. MaiZeke, the embryo or fetus who goes to Heaven will have its fullest maturity, just like the mind (which we talked about… your baby is a lot smarter than you now. ;) ).

    You won't see your child as an "embryo" in Heaven, because that embryo (i.e., human person!), like all of us, will be not only in fullest maturity, but also above and beyond that, will be transfigured. You need to think bigger than you are thinking, and realize that an embryo, a baby, a toddler, a teen, and an adult are all much "bigger" than you realize or want to admit. They are all eternal and all will attain the same end of being around forever (whether that forever will be in Heaven or in Hell).

    But way to dodge the questions. Why won't you define those terms? I think you are scared to. Yes, I am trying to bait you into responding. ;)

    I don't know how else to get you to answer the simple questions I've posed.

    What if I ask "please"?

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  189. Maizeke, if you start understanding the spiritual side and work toward the human side, you will gain a new perspective. You're dead-ending on the finite, human, limited angle. That doesn't explain the spiritual realm or aspects therein.

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  190. In other words, your "embryo" will have his legs, arms, full mind, and even more than he would have had on earth. Heaven is the fullest of every gift we have been given. But he is the same person, the exact same "entity" if you will, that he was in your womb. Same human person.

    Just like the ultrasound I have of my grown daughter is a picture of the same person I just took to college last week. And her baby pictures from Sears a few months later are of the same person. And her photos as a four-year-old are of the same person. And when she is an elderly lady (God willing) she will be the same person. And when she is transfigured in Heaven one day, she will still be the same person.

    Am I the only one who thinks this is not a difficult concept?

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  191. *baby pics a few months later, after she was born, not a few months after she went to college, ha ha!

    The human person I conceived was the same one who is at college now, and the same one who will be in Heaven one day.

    Very simple, very easy.

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  192. The human person I conceived was the same one who is at college now, and the same one who will be in Heaven one day.

    Very simple, very easy.


    Do you support adding the person in heaven to the various personhood amendments in state legislatures these days? For example in Colorado they have tried multiple times to redefine personhood to include the unborn. Do you also think that the person in heaven should be included in such personhood amendments?

    How would that person in heaven retain his or her rights on earth?

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  193. Leila just said this: In other words, your "embryo" will have his legs, arms, full mind, and even more than he would have had on earth.

    but earlier she quoted the New Advent as saying this:

    All shall rise from the dead in their own, in their entire, and in immortal bodies; but the good shall rise to the resurrection of life, the wicked to the resurrection of Judgment. It would destroy the very idea of resurrection, if the dead were to rise in bodies not their own.

    It says, and I repeat, it would destroy the very idea of resurrection if the dead were to rise in bodies not their own.

    If my embryo will have its full legs and arms, at what age are we selecting? 33? How about 25 and a half, provided he wouldn't have gotten in a car accident at 26 and lost a leg.

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  194. Do you support adding the person in heaven to the various personhood amendments in state legislatures these days? For example in Colorado they have tried multiple times to redefine personhood to include the unborn. Do you also think that the person in heaven should be included in such personhood amendments?

    How would that person in heaven retain his or her rights on earth?


    Is this a joke? MaiZeke, are you playing a fun game? You're kidding, right? Well, I'll humor you: People in Heaven don't need "rights" because people in Heaven are not in danger of being murdered. They don't need protection from abortionists and killers, let's say.

    Got it?

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  195. Um, MaiZeke, the bodies would be "their own". And if they lost a leg in '52, they will have that leg restored. Heaven is perfection. No defects will exist.

    I've had the same body since I was conceived. It has changed and developed, but it's my body and no one else's. Unless you are talking about pod people or body snatchers? But we Catholics don't believe in pod people.

    Mai, when did you switch out your body from the time you were "made"? When did the switcheroo come? And where is the old body (where did someone stash it?).

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