Friday, April 12, 2013

The largely unasked question about the Gosnell mass murder case

****WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE BELOW****



The question is not: "Why isn't the media covering this huge, newsworthy, made-for-TV, gruesome true crime story?"

Don't get me wrong, that is a great question to present for discussion, and I've been following that angle closely, this being one of the latest responses:


Ultimately, I think all sides pretty much understand why the fiercely pro-abortion media cannot bring themselves to report on this particular case of mass child murder: It might make abortion and abortionists look bad if they did. So even though the media's obsessive protection of the abortion industry in America is ridiculously obvious, pro-lifers (and really all people of good will) are right to press and challenge them on this glaring, disturbing, unprofessional silence.

But the question not asked as often, and not answered the last time I tried, in October 2011, is the following:

...can anyone tell me what the salient, essential difference is between Gosnell's abortion mill and any other? 
I'm serious. What's the difference? 
Sanitary conditions? 
If sanitation's the issue, then this part shouldn't be so horrible to read: 
"According to testimony by former employees, Gosnell and his assistants killed 'hundreds' of newborn babies by severing their spinal cords rather than killing them in the womb…."
Because, severing a baby's spinal cord outside the womb (rather than dismembering a baby or crushing his skull in the womb), can be done sanitarily, I'm certain of it.
So, I'm truly interested in what the big deal is? If they had cleaned the place up (assuming anyone cared about standards for abortion clinics), there would be no moral objections, right?

Fast forward to today, and I am still honestly asking. What is the moral difference between Gosnell and others who make a living killing unborn humans more neatly? What makes the Gosnell case more macabre than this or this or this or this? Why is one late-term abortionist considered a monster for all the blood, ripped flesh, broken bones, and death he caused with his own hands, but these four late-term abortionists are feted and embraced as heroes -- even though the results are the same and mass death was the goal all along? And why are we outraged that the Gosnell clinic babies were victims of infanticide, but don't mind a bit that our own President voted multiple times to let infants born alive from botched abortions die without requiring medical care? Isn't infanticide infanticide, no matter the methods used to ensure the child's death?

A difference of inches or of moments cannot be the difference between a moral, acceptable killing of a child and an immoral, unspeakable one. A man-made law cannot make this little boy's murder moral, even if the killing had been committed a few moments and and a few inches earlier:




So I ask again, what is the salient, essential, moral difference between Gosnell's House of Horrors and the abortion clinic right at the end of your tree-lined suburban street?

Anyone?




.

200 comments:

  1. Unbelievable ... Why is this not getting coverage. When they killed those kids last year in america it was all over the news, there is no coverage of this.

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    1. I think it is because of the question that this article presents... those in the media realize that, essentially, there is no difference between this and all of the other "clinics". It presents a dilemma for them. They are confronted with the evil of it all, and don't know how to deal with it.

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  2. Yes! I think that's exactly why it's being largely ignored : deep down, we know there is no difference.

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    1. Agreed! In fact, I don't even know that it is "deep down". This case makes it thoroughly evident to anyone who can see or hear. Hence the inability to reconcile it with politically correct reporting.

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  3. People better realize that their gov't calls people who oppose what Gosnell does, "EXTREMISTS".

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  4. A question I think about daily. I mean seriously? If he had ripped these babies' limbs off 5 minutes before he'd be a Tilleresque hero. Champion of women's rights! But because the sanitary conditions were awful, he's now a monster?

    Or maybe he's not, based on the abortion lobby's deafening silence on the issue. Pro-lifers are expected to denounce any form of criminal action committed by another pro-lifer, or our silence is interpreted as consent. But pro-aborts don't have to denounce THIS??

    I mean, honestly, at least Gosnell is consistent in a Singer-type way. I'm sure he well knows that the difference is only a matter of geography.

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  5. Gosnell was performing abortions deliberately past the viability and legal date, which is why this is such an outrage to me. Pennsylvania has a ban on abortions past the 24th week of pregnancy unless there is a risk to the life of the mother. That's chosen because that's the medically accepted "window of viability", i.e. most babies born after that point are viable, and therefore can usually be saved.

    Gosnell knew this and was attempting to hide this fact by fudging medical charts, and data etc. to make the fetuses appear younger than they really were. Most other abortion clinics wouldn't have performed these, because the life of the mother wasn't at risk.

    Most abortion clinics perform abortions on women who are much earlier in pregnancy. This has everything to do with the timepoint and his deception.

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  6. There isnt a difference. Killing is killing. Murder is murder. I have more respect for a prochoicer who admits abortion is killing a baby than I do for people who try to argue that it's a "procedure" on a woman's body. Murder, people. It's murder. Plain and simple. And, while this guy is a monster, he's no different than the monster down the street, doing the exact same thing.

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  7. and ^ is why they are silent. Because they know it's true.

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  8. forthewar, my understanding is that abortionists often underestimate the dates of gestation, in order to get around that "line". Dating is not an exact science, either. But my question is not about the legalities (after all, it was legal to kill the Jews in Nazi Germany). My question is about the morality. Let's say Gosnell did the exact same thing to babies in states that allow late-term abortions. What would the moral problem be (not the legal one, the moral one)?

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  9. "Most other abortion clinics wouldn't have performed these, because the life of the mother wasn't at risk."

    Actually, late-term abortionists will abort any baby on the request of the mother. For "health" of the mother -- meaning, the mom is feeling stressed, depressed, is a teen, etc. Research it a bit and you will see. I can provide links later if you'd like (click the last "this" in the OP for a start).

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  10. You're right about gestation dates, I was just attempting to explain why people are upset that are normally abortion advocates.

    I must admit even as a someone who is pro-choice, I would consider it morally repugnant to have a late trimester abortion for "no good reason" i.e., not because of the usual reason, which is you'll die otherwise. And I'd consider abortion doctors who perform them morally incorrect.

    But that's my personal opinion, and I don't think personal morality and legality mix. Women have the right to bodily integrity, and that includes terminating a pregnancy while they are still pregnant.

    I don't think you'll find many people who disagree that aborting a 7 month old fetus that is viable is wrong/a bad idea/not cool -- just that it shouldn't be illegal.

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  11. Oh my gosh I know you warned us about the graphic image. But Lord it hit me. Perhaps it's because I am carrying a baby boy and 25 weeks along. Hearing and reading need things makes me want to throw up

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  12. There is no difference. But what I fear most is people realizing this, and instead of realizing that abortion is as horrible as this, they will "realize" that killing the newborn is just as acceptable as abortion.

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  13. forthewar, why is "the right to bodily integrity" of a woman more important than killing that baby? What makes it more important? I am genuinely trying to understand your thought process and feelings in this.

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  14. forthewar, why do you consider it morally repugnant to have a late term abortion? I'm trying to get at your reasoning.

    And why do you believe that the late-term killing of a child is not objectively immoral (as opposed to "personally immoral")?

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  15. Can someone (on the pro-choice side) please explain to me their interpretation of "terminating a pregnancy"? Is that not just an alternative way of saying "terminating the unborn child's life"? If not, then what is the reasoning behind double murder charges when a pregnant woman is killed? Why is that a double murder charge if the pregnancy doesn't count as a human life with abortion?

    How is this reconciled/explained? I just want to understand the other perspective.

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  16. Thanks for sharing! Every time I read something about this it simply breaks my heart...

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  17. Hmmmm, I see Cassi Duncan's comment in my inbox, but it's not showing up here for me? Sorry Cassi! Not sure what is happening….

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  18. I was appalled when reading this, but then got actually sick to my stomach when I saw the picture. I know you placed a warning. I guess I didn't fully understand how gruesome it would be to see. I might vomit for days.
    Sorry...I can't answer your question....I am too sick to think about it anymore.

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  19. Hafsa, doesn't it go against every part of our conscience and our being? As humans, we can morally reason. We are not animals who act on instinct; we can ascertain right and wrong with our minds and we can direct our will to the good. As Catholics, we know we are made to love and be loved. This baby boy deserved love, and he got death instead. How must God see our society, which would kill his little ones, instead of loving them?

    There is no love, no dignity, no humanity in abortion. It is utter darkness.

    Lord, have mercy.

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    1. A gruesome death that no pro choicer would have their stupid dog suffer. But a baby, inside a woman's body, kill it. But don't you h my filthy beggar little mutt.

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    2. I am 100% prolife, 100% against abortion of any type, for any reason. That being said, Sew, your comment comes across as very hateful. Their "stupid dog", "filthy beggar little mutt"? Being angry about this is healthy, misplaced aggression is not. A person killing an animal needs serious help too.

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    3. Cari, LOL I'm not necessarily known around here for my sweet tone. WIth that being said, I'm sorry if I offended you. Misplaced aggression? hilarious I"m sorry you are assuming you understand my tone.



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    4. This is as good a time as any to be angry.

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  20. Julie, I hear you. And yet as horrifying as it is, I'm sure you feel grateful, as I do, for the grace to be sickened by the evil before our eyes. Imagine if it were routine to us, or a non-issue, or if we were okay with this in our society? For every one of us who wants to vomit, or is beside himself with the grief and truth of it, there are others who don't care one whit, and even fight with all their might to keep it legal.

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  21. "forthewar, why do you consider it morally repugnant to have a late term abortion? I'm trying to get at your reasoning."

    Mainly I consider it selfish. If you have waited so long to have an abortion that you don't "need" that the fetus is viable, I believe you should simply induce (if you really, really hate being pregnant) and put the child up for adoption.

    "And why do you believe that the late-term killing of a child is not objectively immoral (as opposed to "personally immoral")?"

    Well, I don't believe in objective morality (different convo, lol) but I can answer why I don't think it should be illegal, which is sort of related:

    I'm a firm believer in bodily integrity and that not inducing and aborting late term is a woman's right, but just like I don't approve what some people say and what their words accomplish, but I'm not against freedom of speech.

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  22. So you don't consider the problem to be the actual killing of the child, correct? Meaning, the killing is not the immoral thing to you, the selfish motive is?

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  23. No, the killing act is part of the selfishness. It's selfish because you have a fetus that could simply be removed from your body and then become a full person with legal rights etc., but you chose to legally kill that fetus instead. It's not very nice.

    I should probably note here I'm disturbed by abortion and don't like it very much, but at the same time am very much in favor of its legality

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  24. "I'm disturbed by abortion and don't like it very much, but at the same time am very much in favor of its legality". How is that different from someone,back in the day and place, replacing the word "abortion" with "lynching black Americans pre-civil war" and "killing Jewish men, women and children in Auschwitz in 1944"?

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  25. That doesn't make sense to me. Is the killing okay, though, if it's divorced from selfishness? What if killers have really good, unselfish reasons for killing. I am grateful that you think it's "not very nice" to kill innocent human beings. I would argue that every human being knows in his conscience (natural law) that "We don't kill innocent human beings". There is a growing acknowledgement in the pro-"choice" camp that we are indeed killing humans in abortion (before, there was denial of that scientific fact), but that those humans have no right to life, as other humans do. Is that sort of where you stand?

    By the way, I have been pregnant nine times, and I never lost my bodily integrity when I was pregnant. How do you figure that pregnant women do not have bodily integrity?

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  26. As terrible as Yahoo News is (I mean, it is a complete joke!), they have a headline about this topic
    http://news.yahoo.com/why-dr-kermit-gosnells-trial-major-news-story-104719415--politics.html

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  27. "I don't believe in objective morality"

    Logically, then you don't believe that the killing of any child is objectively wrong, right? And even rape could not be objectively wrong, correct? Having no objective morality at all would imply that, wouldn't it?

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  28. Sebastion, the difference is neither of those cases had people relying on another human's body for life. Jews in 1940 were not attached to Nazis. That is a major difference to me.

    I'm probably being unclear on why I think killing in this case is selfish. It is usually wrong to kill a human, whether you have selfish motives or not, but the reason I consider this more morally wrong is because of how selfish it is. Killing a 7 month old fetus because you can is disturbingly callous.

    I guess a simple way of putting it is yes, I believe a fetus is a human without rights.

    Being pregnant isn't a violation of bodily integrity. Anyone that wants to be pregnant, should be. To me, the violation comes about when you are forced to remain pregnant against your will. That's when you lose the right to use your body as you see fit. I see it as no different as a one day a government official deciding to take your kidney or hook you up to a machine to save another life. You shouldn't have to sacrifice your body for another.

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    1. fetus means baby. It seems that using that word makes it seem less human. Is that the case with your usage?

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  29. No, I don't consider any ofbthose things "objectively" wrong, but only because I din't believe objective morality exists. That's doesn't mean I find all of those things oersonally horrifying and beleieve that everyone else should too. They should also be illegal.

    Sorry, I didn't see that post until after I already wrote the first one.

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  30. Bodily integrity...., attached to another person for life..., legality.... forthewar, if you look at the picture of the dead baby Leila posted, do you still believe it should be legal to do such a thing? In the name of "bodily integrity" of the baby's mother?

    Assume for a moment that baby is your little brother. Would you defend your mother's right to do what she did, in the name of her "bodily integrity"? I am really trying to understand, not laying traps, I am too simple for that.

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  31. Actually, love and justice would demand that a mother would sacrifice discomfort or inconvenience for the life of her own child, and that she not directly kill her child or hire someone to do it. Pregnant or not, we "sacrifice" our lives for others every single day. But that can be fleshed out another time, perhaps.

    In your logic then, a baby who is exactly where the mother and father put him (assuming no rape), exactly where he is supposed to be at that age, is actually a violator of the mother's body, and because of location (and "connection" to her body) has no human rights. I am glad you are honest about it.

    By the way, every newborn depends on others' bodies for life. No newborn can live on her own, but is 100% dependent on others to live.

    The "force" question is always interesting to me, as gestation is passive. So, no one "forces" someone to remain pregnant. The only force would be in ending the pregnancy violently in abortion, in prying open the cervix with metal instruments and bringing vacuums and blades in to force the child's death and extraction from the womb.

    We may have different ideas of what force is, but at least we don't disagree that it is a human being that is killed in abortion.

    I appreciate your honesty.

    No objective morality means that "might makes right", and "he with the biggest guns wins". There would be no universal right and wrong. Not quite the world I want to live in, but you would agree then, that the Nazis had the right to make the laws they did, correct? There is no objective morality that would say, "Killing Jews is wrong." So the Nazis were well within their rights to kill, weren't they? If not, how do you figure?

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  32. Sebastion, I can honestly say yes, because I have been in a similar situation. Not a sibling, but I have had someone very close to me abort when I was against it. I disapproved, but understood.

    Wow, that's a lot of things to think about and answer, haha. Time is running short on me so if you want me to elaborate it will have to be later, but I can say something shortly:

    The difference between a newborn and a fetus is the fetus is still attached to its mother. It is literally relying on her for life. A newborn may rely on her in a type of secondary thing, but to me it's not the same thing.

    "but you would agree then, that the Nazis had the right to make the laws they did, correct?"

    No, I would not. I don't think no objective morality means no correct or best morality. Humans just have to decide by majority what that is. So yeah, might makes right. Hopefully the person with the might has a better morality than the Nazis.

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  33. "It is literally relying on her for life. A newborn may rely on her in a type of secondary thing, but to me it's not the same thing."

    I have a question. How can completely relying on another human being for food/water/shelter/protection be a "type of secondary thing?"

    I have more I want to say, but I want to make sure I understand before I move forward. I'm a stickler for definitions. :) I find it keeps the conversations MUCH more charitable if we're all using the same ones.

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  34. forthewar, your answer has been very clear and honest. I have nothing more to say to you in this matter. I do not mean to accuse you, and you may be a very selfless, pleasant person. But to me it is like arguing with a fervent Nazi death-camp supervisor. They see that the people being led to the gas chamber - Jews, homosexuals, Roma and Sinti, people with disabilities - may be suffering in a moment, but alas, a higher reasoning makes this necessary and justified. I have nothing to say to this. We live in different worlds.

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  35. Of course, there is no substantial moral difference between infanticide and abortion. None, nada, zip. What really disturbs me is HOW LITTLE it disturbs us. We really need to abandon the mainstream media, that slants and ignores news stories, and seek other avenues to attain our information and to spread it to others. We cannot rely upon NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, etc. anymore. In the meantime, the erosion of our freedom and the hardness of our hearts grows relentlessly.

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  36. Uniquely, the babies killed in- and outside the womb have no hope of armies coming to free and deliver them. They are innocents killed just like the crucified Lord. And no one coming to their rescue. How can we battle this evil? Only prayer I assume, it is the only effective weapon we have. To be very clear - I do not counsel violence. It just makes me even sadder how helpless our little brothers and sisters in God are. The only consolation is the knowledge that "today they will be in heaven with Him".

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  37. Leila- the image showed up on my bloglovin page without opening your website. So, the image is visible before the warning.

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    1. Thanks, Holly! I saw that happening on facebook, so my warning is only good for those who come directly to the page, unfortunately.

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  38. This is a big and unfounded hope:

    "Hopefully the person with the might has a better morality than the Nazis."

    In the case of Nazi Germany, apparently not. And in the case of the Soviet Union, apparently not. And in the case of North Korea, apparently not. And on and on and on and on. Murderous regimes are a dime a dozen. I'm with Sebastian, I don't have much else to say. In your world, the strongest get to crush the weakest, and there is absolutely not moral reason why they shouldn't, and no justice, because there is no moral law. In my world, justice, love and mercy prevail, no matter what evil is committed in this world.

    In an atheist world, murder itself cannot be "wrong". It just "is", with no objective measure to gauge it.

    But thanks for your input and honesty. It's good that people see the two worldviews clearly. I find yours to be chilling and void, as you can imagine (and as the victims of genocide know).

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  39. But wait, I guess I am not done. You said that the Nazis had no right to make the laws they did, but then you say "Humans just have to decide by majority what that is. So yeah, might makes right."

    Also, I very much want you to answer Heidi's question, because I don't understand, either.

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    1. Sorry, on that first paragraph I didn't complete my thought. I meant to end with "Which is it?" because you have made two contradictory statements.

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  40. "Of course, there is no substantial moral difference between infanticide and abortion. None, nada, zip."

    Robert, you are right, and even an atheist like Peter Singer (a proponent of infanticide) agrees with you. More and more folks are getting comfortable with infanticide, because they understand that there is no moral difference.

    The banality of evil.

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  41. As I pointed out today everything "wrong" about this case Planned Parenthood supports---late term abortion, no health regulations on clinics, no emergency gurney access, no licensed personnel. These are all listed as unnecessary obstructions to "reproductive freedom" on the PP action website.

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  42. forthewar, you actually do believe in objective reality. You just believe that morality is defined by the government or majority-rule rather than your own personal feelings.

    You better hope that majority-rule morality doesn't come after you and yours someday. Maybe if you're lucky some of us will be willing to defy government/majority morality to protect you and the people you care about.

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  43. Oh my. I did not get a warning, and I can never unsee that.

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  44. How about the testimony by the one abortuins worker who said, "it had no face but was screeching, like an alien!"

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  45. I get so tired of the "it's a woman's body, therefore abortion should be her choice." In the VAST majority of cases, women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant were willing participants in the act that created the unexpected new life. She willingly gave up her bodily integrity by willingly allowing a man to impregnate her. Artificial birth control is NOT foolproof. The only "contraception" that is foolproof is abstinence. This is not some "moral opinion" speaking here either, it's simply biological fact that we are taught is OK to ignore. Women have the choice to avoid pregnancy before engaging in the act that creates babies, i.e., sex/copulation. After they've consented to that act, they've consented to the possibility of motherhood and the responsibility that goes along with that. Even with perfect use, the birth control pill can fail, condoms break, IUD's fail to prevent implantation, hormonal injections don't work as well as they're supposed to (remember, we are all unique beings with unique biochemistries, no medication/hormone/treatment will have identical results between different people). Even "permanent" birth control can fail. Vasectomies and tubal ligations fail. (I suppose hysterectomies won't fail but I don't know that doctors will perform one simply to prevent pregnancy... but who knows.)

    I am SO tired of having supposedly intelligent women tell me that they don't believe in this concept, that having sex means agreeing to the possibility of motherhood. It's not a belief people, it's biology. It's scientific fact. Your body's biological actions do not take your intentions into consideration here. When presented with conditions ripe for pregnancy, (sperm meets egg and mom's in the right stage of her cycle and has a healthy uterus, etc.), the body will proceed with one, regardless of a person's intention.

    This is the uncomfortable truth that makes the media shy away from this story. Acknowledging the fact that we, as a society, allow people to kill the most innocent lives among us, just because they don't want to live up to the responsibility of looking after the new lives their actions helped create. Sex is more important that children. That's what we, as a society, are saying by allowing abortion to be sanctioned and protected.

    Rant over. Thanks for letting me vent.

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  46. @Robert
    I'm curious what you have against FOX news?

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  47. Barbara, this is an astute observation:

    As I pointed out today everything "wrong" about this case Planned Parenthood supports---late term abortion, no health regulations on clinics, no emergency gurney access, no licensed personnel. These are all listed as unnecessary obstructions to "reproductive freedom" on the PP action website.

    And to think we fund PP. Gives me the shivers.

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  48. My heart weeps for these babies, their mothers, and our society that refuses to believe that killing innocents is about women's rights.

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  49. Roxy, it reminds me of the early feminist heroes, who knew that women's rights do not hinge on pitting a mother against her own children. That is the opposite of feminist.

    So many statements that we ignore, from those noble, wise and courageous women:

    http://www.feministsforlife.org/history/foremoth.htm

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  50. Every time I hear pro-"choice" folks using the "fetus is wholly dependent on its mother" argument, I think immediately of the principle there. What is the principle? It's this: The more weak and dependent the human being, the fewer protections we give him or her. Fully dependent, 100% at the mercy of another? Then we can legally kill that person.

    It's an upside down moral universe. In a just world, we owe the vulnerable more protection, not less.

    How can "The strong may kill the weak" be a moral principle that we'd want any part of? What kind of society sanctions such a principle? Who are we? It's time to take a long, hard look at what we have become.

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  51. The local abortion clinic where I live allows abortions up to 20 weeks, with a graduated fee schedule for later pregnancies. 20 weeks is only a month earlier than the abortions Gosnell was performing. Sickening.

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  52. Replies
    1. I'm wondering the same thing......

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  53. Hi Leila,

    The difference between what gosnell did and most abortions is the development of the baby.

    the majority of abortions happen 1st trimester and I believe pretty much 0 are done at 40 weeks.

    So if your question is what is the difference between what gosnell did and super late term abortions, you would have a valid question.

    But if your question is what is the difference between what gosnell did and normal abortions, quite a bit.

    Development is important. If it wasnt, you wouldnt show pictures like fully formed baby, you would show 'aborted babies' from emergency contraception or 'discarded embryos' from IVF clinics.

    There is a reason pro-lifers who pictures

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    1. Is a fetus a not human at an earlier stage of development? Why? Newborns are as helpless as an embryo. They cannot survive without a lot of help just as an embryo cannot. How about the comatose patient? How about someone on life support?

      The only reason development is brought up as an important consideration is because it is easier to stomach the slaughter of a person who is not recognizable as one. An embryo appears different than what we see as "human". Yet, genetically and by every scientific variable possible, the embryo growing within a human woman is a unique human being.

      This is how atrocities are committed. The Hutus of Rwanda declared the Tutsis as "non-equivalent human" to justify the genocide. Hitler spent a lot of time propagating the myth that Jews are "less human" than Aryans. Hitler also called the mentally disabled and homosexual as less human too. The Serbs declared Bosnian Muslims as "less worthy humans" to justify their actions. Saddam Hussein decided that the Kurds in northern Iraq were "less human" to justify his chemical attack on them. And the list could go on but you see my point.

      The argument of development being important is an ideological argument, not scientific. It's very simple. If murder of humans is wrong, then abortion is wrong because abortion involves the deliberate act of ending the life of a unique human being. And this uniqueness begins at conception with the union of the genetically different and unique DNA of egg and sperm.

      The "ick factor" might be higher and harder for people to stomach with late-term abortions compared to those done in early pregnancy. Just as the "ick factor" of a mother drowning her 3 year old child is higher. But the net result is the same. The life of a unique human individual is ended through the deliberate actions of another human being. This is the true question. Is it right for someone to intentionally take the life of another, unique, human being?

      Death is rarely pretty, at any stage of life. The fact that there is more of an "ick" factor with Gosnell doesn't make him any different from any other person who performs abortions.

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    2. So crushing the head inside the womb is different then outside the womb? Ripping the feet off inside the womb rather then outside is different?

      Tell me how that is different from 10wks gestation to 24?

      We might want to go back to the basics biology.

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    3. And to reiterate what Susan said-murder is not pretty either way you try to justify it.

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  54. I am gone most of the day, but I will try to fit in one quick response. CS (I am assuming that is you), but there are at least four late term abortionists in this nation, as I mentioned in the OP. They (presumably) follow the letter of the law. Are what is the salient difference between what they do and what Gosnell did? If nothing, should they be on trial for murder, as he is? Should they be feted at the Sundance Film Festival, or vilified as mass child murderers?

    Also, do we become more human as we "develop"? For example, if an "embryo" is less human than a "fetus" (or has less of a right to life), then what about a "fetus" vs. a "born child" or a "born child" vs. a "teenager"? I guess I am wondering why stages of development of a human being make them killable vs. untouchable. What is the principle there, and is it a bit inconsistent if we say that we can kill the ones who don't "look" like humans (your reference to IVF)? And, if you have seen a ten-week fetus, it does look human, not like an embryo… Do looks have something to do with worth, when it comes to humanity? What is the moral difference? Thanks!

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    1. In other words, what part of development is "important" when making a moral judgment on whether to kill? The visual? What the human child looks like? Is that the moral difference? Appearance?

      Hope my question is clear. Thanks!

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  55. "So if your question is what is the difference between what gosnell did and super late term abortions, you would have a valid question."

    So, are you willing to go so far as to say that there is no moral, essential difference? Should the other late-term (not just "super late-term"… I've never heard that) abortionists be considered as mass child murderers, too, just like Gosnell, who is on trial for his life? Are they killers, or just good doctors? How should we as a society view them, if they are doing essentially what Gosnell did? Should they be on trial, as he is?

    Also, what do you think of Barbara C's comment at 5:34pm? You have been a big Planned Parenthood supporter, and that's why I am asking.

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  56. I hope it's not too late for me to return, I was out most of the day. There were some serious responses to me:

    Some quick responses:

    "I have a question. How can completely relying on another human being for food/water/shelter/protection be a 'type of secondary thing?'"

    Consider the difference like the difference between you caring for your sick uncle who needs a transplant and waking up one day and being hooked to him, unable to remove the link without killing your uncle. In one, your uncle depends on you for life, but you can easily switch off responsibility without killing the uncle, because he only relies on your body in a secondary aspect -- he primarily relies on your food, or medical care, etc. That can be filled by anyone. In the case of a pregnant woman, the care cannot be removed without the death of the fetus (excepting circumstances where late term abortions are provided and the fetus is viable).

    "You said that the Nazis had no right to make the laws they did, but then you say 'Humans just have to decide by majority what that is. So yeah, might makes right.'"

    Yes, just because human morality is subjective, but that doesn't mean it is not properly applied. I consider science subjective, but that doesn't mean I don't think that germs cause disease or gravity is real or whatever. Morality and science are things that are developed by humans and are therefore can be studied and updated. Once upon a time slavery was considered moral, but humans eventually realized that it wasn't so, and so it became immoral. Might makes right because since there is no one distinctly ordering us to behave in moral way, the one who's most powerful's morals will prevail.

    Sorry if this is too late to comment.

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  57. Thanks for writing this, Leila. I wish I had some new insights and or thoughts that could make people see the baby as a BABY no matter what the gestation...

    I remember accidentally throwing away a packet of carrot seeds once when my Mom wanted to use them for her garden. Those were only carrot seeds--yet they were as valuable to her as seeds as they also would be when they later grew to be carrots. Those are only carrots. We see the value in vegetable seeds and yet have a hard time understanding the value of human life that begins at conception. I just don't get it.


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  58. @Susan
    I get so tired of the "it's a woman's body, therefore abortion should be her choice." In the VAST majority of cases, women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant were willing participants in the act that created the unexpected new life. She willingly gave up her bodily integrity by willingly allowing a man to impregnate her.

    I assume by "vast" majority you are referring to all women who were not raped. But there is a huge grey area between being raped and being willing. What about the millions of women with children who have no means to support themselves without a husband who also demands she has sex when she doesn't want to? Or young women in cultures where the only way to avoid sexual assault is to "belong" to one man who has access to her whenever he wants? Or girls who have been raised to believe they have no worth beyond their sexual value to men? Or women for whom having an infant would make them even more financially dependent on a man who is abusing her or her children? Or married women in cultures where woman are considered sexual property of their husbands? And I'm not just talking about foreign cultures. It was only TWENTY years ago that a man's right to rape his wife was written law in sections of this country.

    Women have sex all the time because their only option may be homelessness, direct threat of violence, being ostracized from culture and family, and a host of other reasons more complicated and difficult than simply being "a willing participant."

    I assume your argument is still that women should not have an abortion for any reason, which is fair enough, but making a blanket argument that women-consent-to-the-baby-making-act-so-what-on-earth-are-they-complaining-about is a gross over-simplification and is demeaning/belittling of women's actual experience---as is the common practice of pro-lifers to refer to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term as only "uncomfortable or inconvenient." Pregnancy can carry devastating consequences, even death.

    Leila often talks about how important it is for pro-choicers to be honest about what they are actually arguing—that abortion kills something that is alive, that a fetus is not a "blob of tissue," etc etc etc. I agree with her. An issue as significant as abortion needs to be argued honestly. So, as Leila requests that pro-choicers be honest in their arguments about abortion I respectfully request that you do the same.

    You are really aruguing that the many, many women who were forced by circumstance to have sex and become pregnant when they don't want to be, should be not allowed to end the pregnancy, even when the pregnancy may have devastating effects on their lives and the lives of their children.

    I understand the reasons why you think this position is justifiable but you are no better than people who refer to fetuses as "blobs of tissue" when you make the "willing participant" argument (though, of course, many women are willing participants who become pregnant).

    Of course, in a Catholic-perfect world these women would also have no access to birth control, which is where your claim to a moral high ground eludes me completely. (I'm not talking about the HHS mandate; I assume that "real" Catholics would prefer that hormonal and barrier methods of birth control not exist--and in the cases I'm talking about none of these men would be willing to practice NFP)

    My main point is that pro-lifers are just as guilty as pro-choicers of sanitizing and simplifying reality in the interest of furthering their cause.


    @Cari fetus means baby.
    Actually, according to my dictionary, baby means "a very young child" "from birth to one year." I believe that "fetus" is the medically accurate term for a fetus.

    I have a very busy weekend ahead of me so think I'm doing a "hit and run" if I don't respond anytime soon to comments.

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  59. If you participate in a act that may lead to someone being dependent on you than you must assume responsability for your actions. men who don't want to assume responsability for their children are called "dead beat dads". Abortion aids in hiding many different kinds of problems and creates many more in our society

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  60. If you participate in a act that may lead to someone being dependent on you than you must assume responsability for your actions. men who don't want to assume responsability for their children are called "dead beat dads". Abortion aids in hiding many different kinds of problems and creates many more in our society

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  61. It must be slaughter season!

    Terrorists beheading people.

    And, if the photo above is to be believed, women their young.

    "[...] A curse shall light upon the limbs of men.
    Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
    Shall cumber all the parts of Italy.
    Blood and destruction shall be so in use,
    And dreadful objects so familiar,
    That mothers shall but smile (gladdened by their newly discovered "rights" to "choose") when they behold
    Their infants quartered with the hands of war,
    All pity choked with custom of fell deeds,
    And Caesar’s (Satan's) spirit, ranging for revenge,
    With Ate (Hussein) by his side come hot from hell,
    Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
    Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war,
    That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
    With carrion men, groaning for burial."

    - Antony, "Julius Caesar", by William Shakespeare

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  62. The Latin word "fetus" means "little one." It also means "human and mammal development" and "bringing forth". What you will not find in the definition of "fetus" is "mass of cells."

    A child is someone who once was a baby, and a baby is someone who will be a child. A child is someone who will one day become an adult. It all is the same--they are just different stages of the development of a person.

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  63. Aw, come on, Becky!

    I have it on good authority that the thing inside a pregnant woman's stomach is actually a duck. Put your ear to her stomach and for sure you'll hear it quacking! At the moment of its birth though, the gynecologist says "Abracadabra" and out pops a human baby instead! Ta da! :)

    Specious arguments such as this one (a "fetus" is not a "baby") remind me of a friend's quip: "Beware of over-education... you can actually educate yourself into imbecility!" Exactly what some deviant sections of modern society are currently doing - in their frenzied efforts to justify their cherished immorality. It's called sophism.

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  64. Hi Leila and

    After re reading your prompt, I realize I answered the question, ‘why are people more upset about Gosnell than the abortion clinic down the street’ when in fact you were asking for the moral difference between the two.

    Women don’t have the right to arbitrarily kill people. They (like everyone else) do have the right not to be incubators, to have their organs donated or to to otherwise be human life support. That is the moral and tangible difference.

    Also, I support Planned Parenthood because I see the need for that type of organization. I certainly don’t support everything they do, but until we get another federally funded sexual health non-profit , I support PP.

    Ps. I think late term abortions aren’t ideal and are frankly should be unnecessary, but in the event that a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant , I support her legal right not to be.

    --CS

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  65. Hi Suan,

    I have never understood the comparison between abortion and the holocaust.

    Surely you can view two things as tragic while understanding they are tragic in very different ways.

    Did the Jews demand to live inside and be birthed by Nazi females? In your mind, is that analogous to what they did? Is requiring to be inside another person’s body the same as requiring they not round you up and kill you.

    I see I difference do you not?

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    Replies
    1. My dad would ask me, when he was angry, "Why on earth did I have kids anyway?" To which my reply was alway, "Hey, I had nothing to do with that decision!" Consenting adults who have had sex put that baby there in the first place. And the baby isn't demanding permanent residence, just a lease for nine months, maybe less. There are eviction laws after all.

      The Jews demanded a place to live among Nazi females. And to some that was too much of a intrusion. The Nazis did not view Jews as people with an equal right to life, just as abortion advocates do not view the fetus as a human with an equal right to life. That's the similarity. Abortion advocates always argue that the unborn child is not an equal person to their mother. Even though they are, scientifically speaking, just as human as their parents are.

      Delete
  66. CS - unborn children "demand" to live inside their mother? When, exactly, does that happen? I'm pregnant for the 7th time, and I don't recall any of my children "demanding" to live inside of me.

    Johanne - if a husband demands sex, the wife says no, and the husband proceeds anyway, that is also rape.

    In any case, the solution to a crisis pregnancy is to remove the crisis, not kill an innocent child.

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  67. Johanne,

    I see your argument but I don't agree with it. For one thing, two wrongs don't make a right. Is it acceptable for women to have to live in the circumstances that you describe? I say "no" and so do many others. But there are choices in life and, no, often these choices are not fair. In our society, here in North America anyway, women do have the choice to leave the situations you describe. The fact that they don't know it or are afraid to is inconsequential. This may sound harsh and I'm sad for that. But by allowing abortion we are allowing women to be coerced into having one.

    I am in Canada where there has been a statistical rise in the number of abortions being performed in cases where the fetus is a girl. There is no other reason for the abortion except for girls being less desirable than boys by the family. I highly doubt that these mothers are not being pushed to abort by their families. There are the teen girls who find themselves pregnant because of misjudgement or poor choices who are forced to choose between abortion or homelessness. Because we allow and sanction abortion as an acceptable option, these girls are being forced into aborting wanted babies.

    Yes there are women in abusive relationships who get pregnant without wanting to. Women have options to get out of abusive situations. And when they don't, we should be fighting to help them free themselves from their abusive situations.

    By allowing abortion to be legal, we are allowing the problems you describe to keep perpetuating. We are allowing men, families, employers, etc to push women into having unwanted abortions. There are consequences to mothers from having abortions, particularly if they are pushed into it.

    I am not unsympathetic to women who find themselves facing an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. I was one myself. I was fortunate enough to find the support that I needed and I couldn't imagine how hard it is for those women who have it tougher than I did. But that does not make abortion something that we as a society should sanction or allow.

    I'm fighting a migraine and several distractions so I hope this makes sense. I'm not much of a debater, Leila is much better at discussing these things than I am. But I have run into many, many, many people who argue that they should have the right to sex whenever and with whoever they want, consequences be damned. And I am tired of it.

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  68. Hi Susan,

    “The Nazis did not view Jews as people with an equal right to life, just as abortion advocates do not view the fetus as a human with an equal right to life. That's the similarity. Abortion advocates always argue that the unborn child is not an equal person to their mother.”

    Even if a fetus has a right to life, it does not have a right to live inside someone else against her consent. You, and all the posters on this board have the right to life, yet none of you have the right to exercise that right by living in someone’s body. Even if that third person acted negligently and put you in a situation where you needed their physical body to survive, it doesn’t matter. You would not be entitled to it. Hell we couldn’t force her to do something as benign as donating blood, even if it would save your life. It does not matter, we do not violate people’s medical autonomy even if it means that other people will die in the process.

    --CS

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  69. CS, at what point exactly do you think the child is entitled to the right to life? According to the rules of partial-birth abortion, as long as the baby is not out past its naval it is OK to kill it by cutting its spinal cord like Gosnell did to babies that were fully delivered. Now once the baby is halfway out it can no longer live in the mother's body again. Do you think that partial-birth abortion should be illegal under your criteria?

    Do you think that if a woman decides at 24 weeks she no longer wants this "parasite" inside her that it would be fair that the murder of the baby is not necessary for it to be removed from her? I mean the woman has to go through some sort of labor to remove it either way, so how can we justify the murder of the fetus if the only goal is getting it out of the woman?

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  70. CS

    "We do not violate people's medical autonomy even if it means people will die in the process."

    Does an unborn child have "medical autonomy", that is, the right not to be forcefully burned or ripped apart or stabbed or shot? If not, why does the murder of a pregnant woman attract a charge of double homicide? Does the body of a pregnant woman support one life or two? Is murder worse than rape?

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  71. "It does not matter, we do not violate people’s medical autonomy even if it means that other people will die in the process."

    You realize that with abortion, we are talking about a mother/child relationship, correct?

    You believe in God, right? So, what is the moral obligation of a mother to her child?

    You said: "I think late term abortions aren’t ideal and are frankly should be unnecessary, but in the event that a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant , I support her legal right not to be."

    So, what is the moral difference between the killing of the baby boy above, and the killing had it been done a moment earlier, in the womb?

    Who will answer for the death of these babies, CS? God loves all his children, and justice will come either now or later, but who will answer for the blood of these babies? It can't be only the abortionists, can it?

    Also, pregnancy gestation is passive and natural, biologically. Donating a kidney is not. It's active. No one is required to donate a kidney, but everyone is required to refrain from directly killing innocent humans. Just like, no one is required to step in front of a train to save another person, but everyone is required to refrain from pushing an innocent person in front of a train in order to feel less inconvenience or discomfort for a few months.

    Distinctions in moral reasoning are so important. Refraining from doing an act is not the same as actively killing.

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  72. "Even if a fetus has a right to life, it does not have a right to live inside someone else against her consent."

    Where else is the child supposed to live?

    And who says that the child has no moral or biological right to be there?

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  73. CS

    "We do not violate people's medical autonomy even if it means people will die in the process."

    If a deadly and highly infectious plague were to break out and the authorities came around to take your affected neighbor away for quarantining and even forcible treatment (against his/her wish, so that YOUR life and that of others would not be at risk) would you object on his/her behalf? Did you know that emergency laws in many countries already provide for such "violations of medical autonomy"?

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  74. CS, so a person's right to life is dependent on where he or she lives? If a fetus could survive outside the woman's body, would you then say it has the right to life? Do you believe viable fetuses have the right to life? From your previous comments, it would appear that you don't. So, is it really the fact that the child is living inside its mother's body that makes him unworthy of protection, or something else? Is it simply that the mother (or somebody else--many times women are forced or pressured into abortion against their will) doesn't want the child there? Can we kill a child who is naturally being born, because someone doesn't want him to be fully born? If the umbilical cord is still attached? If the child is still inside the amniotic sac, though fully outside the mother, like in the c-section birth I saw pictures of last week?

    We were all in our mothers' wombs once, so I fail to see how anyone can have the right to life, if he does not have it in the womb. I understand gestation is a unique situation. I just don't understand how it justifies brutal killing of an innocent person. All a woman has to do is wait 9 months (or less) and she will no longer have the child inside her. And, as Susan pointed out, in the vast majority of cases (at least according to abortion statistics), the woman has consented to sex, knowing full well that a baby could result.

    It seems to me like you are equating pregnancy with rape.

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  75. There is a lot that the state cannot and should not do. For example, the state cannot mandate or legislate that folks treat each other kindly, invite people to dinner, forgive others when wronged, patch up family feuds, etc. But the state has some very basic responsibilities, such as protecting the most fundamental rights, including the right to life (which is inalienable). So, while the state cannot force a person to love another person (even a mother and her child), the state can insist that no one kill another person.

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  76. “how can we justify the murder of the fetus if the only goal is getting it out of the woman?”

    We can’t. Unless the process involved in inducing a life birth is more complicated or hazardous for a woman, I don’t know much about it either way. But I’d have no qualm with inducing women at 24 or even 10 or 6 weeks. Is that what you would like to see more of?

    --CS

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  77. Connie, about a year or so ago, I learned that a huge "theme" in feminism and "women's studies" on university campuses is that pregnancy is deadly. Young women are actually taught to actively fear pregnancy as some sort of horrible, fatal disease that we can sometimes survive, but which generally imperils women. The pro-abortion propaganda is full of such lies, and young women who get this tripe are truly fearful that pregnancy causes death. They are taught to prefer an abortion to the "danger" of pregnancy. And they are taught to believe that their own child is like an alien who has overtaken their bodies in a hostile invasion. It is honestly bizarre, but it does serve the agenda.

    No one teaches these young women that the baby-making act ("protected" or not) pretty faithfully produces babies.

    It's all very sad, twisted, and distorted, and we can thank Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry/progressive sex ed industry for that.

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  78. "..none of you have the right to exercise that right by living in someone’s body"

    Actually, yes, I had that right when I was in the womb. That was my home. It was exactly where I was supposed to be nurtured. And you, too. CS, what is a uterus? What is its biological purpose?

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  79. This is slightly off topic, but since we are discussing how abortion and organ donation are different, I thought people would be interested in this article about justifying killing people by removing their organs. Yes, this is being done now in the U.S., and I think it's a result of legal abortion and the cheapening of human life it causes.
    http://www.lifenews.com/2013/04/13/beware-killing-for-organs-taking-organs-from-living-people/

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  80. Hi Leila,

    "It does not matter, we do not violate people’s medical autonomy even if it means that other people will die in the process."

You realize that with abortion, we are talking about a mother/child relationship, correct? 

You believe in God, right? So, what is the moral obligation of a mother to her child?

    What ought to be the LEGAL obligation of a mother/child relationship. It may be moral or nice to give your children blood or a kidney to save their life. But you absolutely positively shouldn’t be compelled to do so by force of law.


    Distinctions in moral reasoning are so important. Refraining from doing an act is not the same as actively killing.

    Finally we agree! Pregnant women seeking abortions are refusing to gestate, they are refusing to do an act that they have every right to do (they do not have to stand in front of a train to protect someone), it is not their fault that as a consequence something is killed.


    --CS

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  81. "... it is not their fault that as a consequence something is killed."

    Say what??

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  82. "Pregnant women seeking abortions are refusing to gestate"

    No. They will stop gestating eventually, in fact, it doesn't take long at all.

    They are not "refusing to gestate" (as if gestating was an action), they are going into a clinic (either on their own will, or by coercion, which is even more likely and where is the outcry?), and paying another person to lay them down on a table, force open their cervix with metal instruments, and crush, suck and scrape their child out of the safety of the womb.

    That is active. It requires a hell of a lot of action. Gestating is passive, and as a really cool bonus, no one is killed.

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  83. "I really wanted that promotion so I had to shoot my competition in the head, but it's just the promotion that I wanted, and it's not my fault that as a consequence, something is killed."

    Whoops.

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  84. Hi Connie,

    “so a person's right to life is dependent on where he or she lives?

    This is getting a little repetitive… but a person can never have a right to live inside another person, what a bizarre right to have. Furthermore, location is important. Where someone is and what they are doing to you can and should dictate how you react to them. Like I said before, a naked man in ohio has a right to live, this same naked man still has the same right to live if he finds himself in my bedroom late at night. But because of his location, I can act to repel him, including using deadly force.


    --CS

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  85. I said this, CS:

    "You realize that with abortion, we are talking about a mother/child relationship, correct? 

You believe in God, right? So, what is the moral obligation of a mother to her child?"

    I was talking about abortion (which has nothing to do with kidney donation, and is, factually, the direct killing of the child). So, could you answer, with regards to the active, direct killing of a child in an abortion?

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  86. "a person can never have a right to live inside another person, what a bizarre right to have"

    Not bizarre in the case of an unborn child, but actually biological. What is a uterus, CS? What is its purpose? Why do women have uteri?

    Where is an embryo or fetus supposed to live, CS? What is its natural habitat so to speak?

    And, actually, you have no right to murder a naked man in your room, unless he is attacking you. If there is a man lying naked in your room and you kill him, you will be arrested for murder.

    An unborn child is never an aggressor, by the way, but always weak and defenseless. Who will answer for their murders?

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  87. I'm still waiting to hear when, exactly, unborn children "demand" to live inside their mother. As I said, I'm pregnant for the 7th time, and I don't recall any of my children - including this one - "demanding" to live inside of me.

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  88. forthewar, you said:

    "Once upon a time slavery was considered moral, but humans eventually realized that it wasn't so, and so it became immoral."

    Actually, slavery is still widely, WIDELY practiced in the world today. So, is is moral or immoral?

    Also, the analogy of the hooked-up uncle doesn't work, because if your hooked-up uncle was supposed to be there hooked-up to you, then it is unjust to kick him off. But let's take it to a place that is no longer analogous to pregnancy (since that is normal and natural), and say that an uncle (or that "violin player" the pro-aborts use as an example) is attached to you. And he will die if you unattach him. But he only will be attached to you for another few months and then he will be detached from you forever, living for many more years. Do you have a right to kill him for the convenience of your life for those months? Or do you do the right thing and let him live, seeing how both your lives will go on just fine after this very short amount of time that you are together?

    Again, it's not an analogy to pregnancy (doesn't work at all), but it would be the stony, hard heart that would murder Uncle Joe for the gain of a few months of "bodily autonomy".

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  89. Hi Connie,

    “And, as Susan pointed out, in the vast majority of cases (at least according to abortion statistics), the woman has consented to sex, knowing full well that a baby could result.”

    Interesting question for you. What do you think rape is? And when do you think women have the right to stop sex, because I think it is informing your opinion on abortion.

    I believe that women have to openly consent to every aspect of the sexual process, or it turns to rape. For instance sex typically ends with male orgasm. But if a woman wants to end sex before that point she has every right to. If the man doesn’t stop, sex turns into rape. Even though most women have the expectation entering sex that the may will want to finish. Pregnancy is a continuation of that, like sex it is not enough to consent to it initially, the consent must be constant, and hse if decide to stop at anytime, you have a right to stop at anytime.


    --CS

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  90. CS, 99% if pregnancies happen due to consensual sex, so let's put rape aside for a moment.

    Are you seriously asserting that a woman has the ability to consent to an automatic biological process? All she has to do is say, "Sperm, stop!" and the semen will magically cease and desist their search for an egg?

    Can I tell my stomach to stop digesting my food, too?

    In what biology course did you learn this?

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  91. Joanna I'm starting to think CS never TOOK a biology course. This is bizarre and most definitely the biggest stretch of the pro-abortion argument I have ever, ever heard.

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  92. You "have a right to stop at any time"--even by tearing another person--an innocent person, who is not an aggressor, and gave no consent to any part of this--tearing this person apart limb by limb? And this is okay for any reason, and at any time. So, if a woman would rather be done with her pregnancy one minute before the child would naturally be born, because she has a hair appointment she doesn't want to miss, she is justified in having someone rip the child apart, right? And if the child is already born, but still attached with the cord, then Gosnell can come along and "snip" the child, and that's perfectly okay, because the child's still attached to the mother and may be inconvenient for another few seconds. Too bad Gosnell cut the cords first.

    What do I think rape is? Being forced to have sex against your will. Consenting to sex, then getting pregnant, is not rape. Not wanting the baby doesn't change that. I think women who have experienced rape would agree these are 2 completely different things. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a dictionary that said otherwise either.

    Women are not so stupid and weak that they should not be held accountable for the natural consequences of their own actions. I'm not a philosopher, but I believe that a person who gives consent to an action (or acts him/herself), also consents to the natural, foreseeable consequences of that action. If not, an awful lot of laws need to be changed (like being held responsible for murder, just because you pulled a trigger. Saying you didn't consent to the bullet killing the person you aimed it at would probably not be a viable defense.)

    I have to go before looking this all over. Hope it makes sense.

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  93. "You realize that with abortion, we are talking about a mother/child relationship, correct? 

You believe in God, right? So, what is the moral obligation of a mother to her child?"


    Honestly, I’m much less concerned with what her moral obligations are and what were legal obligations should be.

    Mothers are women first, Leila, they have rights as such. Even if it’s nice or women ought to be mothers first, we have no right to force them to be.

    Not bizarre in the case of an unborn child, but actually biological. What is a uterus, CS? What is its purpose? Why do women have uteri? Where is an embryo or fetus supposed to live, CS? What is its natural habitat so to speak?

    I know why women have uteri (didn’t know that was the plural.) But again what does that have to do anything? Because a body part is made for something, it must fulfill that use without the owners consent? I think not. A vagina was made for a penis, it belongs in there, and it’s a vagina’s biological purpose. But so what? If you don’t want to use your vagina or uterus for it’s biological purpose, so what?

    --CS

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  94. Joanna,

    Insist, require, whatever

    Women have the ability to consent to being pregnant because when they cease to consent, they abort.

    Simple. See.

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  95. Connie,

    last time.

    legal theory: capacity to contract

    when people do not have the capacity to contract their agreement is voidable ( abortion)

    your argument: women had sex they ought to assume responsibility by remaining pregnant.

    my argument: women don't have the ability to enter into such contracts because in this country we do not allow people to make binding unrevokable decisions about their medical decisions. Ie. even if you sign a contract to donate your kidney you can always change your mind. Same with pregnancy, even if you consented to sex, you can always change your mind

    goodnight

    cs


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  96. When do babies demand use of their mothers' bodies?

    And if I suddenly decide to withdraw consent to parenthood, I can take a scissors and snip the spinal cords of my kids? If I decide to withdraw consent to marriage, I can off my husband? You see those as moral, reasonable options?

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  97. I find it interesting that the pro-choice arguments here center around the woman's bodily autonomy and right to make choices about her body, regardless of consequences, at any given second. I also think it is interesting that the pro-choice argument is comparing pregnancy to organ donation. I ran across this article recently:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-186802/Should-eggs-aborted-babies.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HeroicNews+%28Heroic+News%29

    Scientists are now ready to take the ovaries from aborted babies for use in IVF as egg donors. Do these aborted baby girls have any rights to their "bodily autonomy"? Do they get a say as to whether or not they will bear children? Scientists are now ready to make aborted baby girls into biological mothers as egg donors whose children are taken from them without consent. It seems that we don't really care so much about women and women's rights as we do about getting what we want, regardless of consequences. If girls become organ donors and biological mothers against their own will, so far as it serves a bigger, stronger woman, than we are ready to be fine with that.

    The pro-choice side seems horrified with the idea of "forced motherhood" and, yet, we are ready to force motherhood on aborted babies -- But maybe killing them beforehand takes away the pain of forced motherhood. I think there would be outrage if we said it was okay to kill a pregnant woman and take her child for a needy couple. But we aren't outraged over killing the child or making new babies with that child's eggs. It's all justifiable so long as the stronger parties are satisfied. If that baby doesn't have a right to life, what right does she really have? Certainly no rights to her own eggs.

    And for anyone who still won't acknowledge that those babies are human, I find it tough to reconcile the idea that an aborted egg donor and biological mother would still *only* be a subhuman blob of tissue.

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  98. "a person can never have a right to live inside another person, what a bizarre right to have"

    And I ask again, how is it "bizarre", when a uterus was made to house and nurture a child? How is it bizarre to think that a child has a right to be exactly where she is place, and where she is supposed to be? When did this normal, natural thing become "bizarre"?

    And, you keep dodging my question:

    "You realize that with abortion, we are talking about a mother/child relationship, correct? 

You believe in God, right? So, what is the moral obligation of a mother to her child?"

    I'm asking, woman to woman, believer to believer, forget man's law, think of God's law: What is the moral obligation of a mother to her child?

    The rest of what you have said above is actually nonsensical to me, meaning, I can't make sense of it at all. What other legal contract is voided by executing an innocent? Or, what other legal contract which cannot be consented to ends in the killing of one of the parties?

    Here are some other questions I have asked, looking for your answers:

    So, what is the moral difference between the killing of the baby boy above, and the killing had it been done a moment earlier, in the womb?

    Who will answer for the death of these babies, CS? God loves all his children, and justice will come either now or later, but who will answer for the blood of these babies? It can't be only the abortionists, can it?


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  99. BECKY!
    I was just pulling your leg about the baby being a duck. Just being facetious to provoke those who claim that a baby while developing from an embryo is not actually a baby. It must be a duck then, right? I totally agree with everything you've written!

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  100. "legal theory: capacity to contract

    when people do not have the capacity to contract their agreement is voidable (abortion)"

    "Capacity to contract". In the language of Planned Barrenhood, read: inconvenience of a pregnancy or motherhood.

    What a classic, text book example of the contraception mentality - the decoupling of sex from procreation, leading ultimately to cold blooded, premeditated murders of convenience - that the Catholic Church has been warning against for decades, ever since Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae. Sexual pleasure 24 x 7, sans responsibility or consequence. Bring in the condoms! Let the orgies begin! There's an abortionist on standby at a "clinic" near you!

    As Dr Phil says: "we do a lot of (wrong) things simply because we can".

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  101. Johanne said, "Women have sex all the time because their only option may be homelessness, direct threat of violence, being ostracized from culture and family, and a host of other reasons more complicated and difficult than simply being "a willing participant."

    So, a woman is in this situation, and her problem is solved by aborting her child? So that she can go back to the same situation and... abort again... and again? How is that being helpful or compassionate toward women? Can you tell me, how many organizations that provide abortion also provide post-abortion therapy? Or do we pretend that the need for such help doesn't exist, because we already "helped" the woman by ending her pregnancy and sending her right back into an abusive situation? Who benefits the most from that abortion? The mother? The child? Or the abusive man? For whom are you trying to be a hero?

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  102. First, a self-correction/apology: It was silly of me to suggest, in the rush of the argument yesterday, that lynchings of slaves were legal pre-civil war. While slaves certainly had fewer rights than whites, I do not believe that lynchings were actually legal. They certainly were not prosecuted with the full force of the law, and thereby tolerated, but still not quite legal (am I wrong?). So, this analogy failed. But not the one with the Holocaust.

    As for CS's arguments: I am trying to understand who established what she calls the lack of "a fetus's ...right to live inside someone else against her consent". Why, CS, is that a given for you, and what is the compelling argument that we fail to see? Whom are you trying to protect? What kind of society do you want to live in? We all agree that we don't and never will live in a perfect (earthly) society where evil does not exist. But no matter how terrible a situation we may find ourselves in - can it justify killing a child, like the one in the picture Leila posted? There are solutions for crisis pregnancies other than abortions. Do we really need to keep the killing of these children legal then? How does that make us different, on the most basic level, from the Nazis - who by the way grew out of one of the most cultured societies the world had ever seen.

    CS, what would you need, on the level of a society, and the individual woman, to agree that the child has a right to live? What would you demand? Less "oppression of women"? Less patriarchy? Women's rule (which women's)? Many of the political left's goals are noble ones, and the social democrats and communists were among the most vigorous opponents of Hitler (and suffered for it, sometimes paying the ultimate price). Why on earth does the Left now justify the killing of humans on a reasoning so similar to the Nazis - that the ones being killed are less than human, or actually human but with fewer (if any) rights? Do you see the scandal?

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  103. P.S.: A word about "hate speech". I, and probably most others on this blog, do not hate you. On the contrary, we hope to make you see the humanity of what we are arguing for. As Stacy Trasancos argued on her new blog, regarding Dr. Gosnell, we do not wish him death. We wish him to see the evil he did and repent. For us, Christ died on the Cross for the sins of each one of us: mine, your's, Leila's, Dr. Gosnell's. We cannot possibly repair what bad we have done in our life - certainly not in my case. So Christ dies for us, "stands the racket" in C.S. Lewis' analogy (if I remember correctly). We want you to be at peace, and us. How can anyone be at peace as long as such killing goes on, and is justified? CS, how can we live like that?

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  104. Okay, sorry for the delay - yesterday was my birthday and my middle son's First Reconciliation, so we were on the go and celebrating all day! I'm going to have to do this in pieces, it seems.

    Forthewar: Thanks for answering my question. You kind of skirted around it though. What is the inherent reason for a newborn (or my uncle, in your analogy) being reliant on me for survival being "secondary" as opposed to "primary?" I think you implied it when you started to talk about it being a pregnancy - but correct me if I'm wrong. I'm understanding you to mean that it is the actual, natural, biological process itself that makes a fetus' reliance on his/her mother for survival primary, and not secondary. The geographic location, for lack of a better phrase. Now, I ask you - is the uterus not the natural, biological, proper place for that fetus to be? The natural, biological place for my sick uncle to be residing is in his bed, correct? The natural, biological place for my newborn to be residing is in my home, correct? Biologically - naturally - the fetus is exactly where he/she should be. There is no difference, principally, between the newborn and the fetus. They are both exactly where they are biologically intended to be. So.....how is one secondary and one primary?

    CS - I will preface this by saying that your comments are making me feel very sad. They seem so cold and heartless, and I know that you yourself are not cold and heartless. Previous interactions with you here on this blog and knowing how upset your father's illness has made you prove to me that you are a compassionate, intelligent young woman. Please understand that this is not hate speech OR a judgement on you. I do want to ask you some questions though.

    You seem to be very fixated on legality and viability. The legal "right" of a mother to end a pregnancy at any time - even if she consented to beginning the process - and the viability of a child to live outside of the womb. Please humour me while I think about these two themes a little bit more.

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  105. First of all - the legality of the right of the mother to end a pregnancy. Now, you seem to acknowledge that there are actually TWO people involved in the pregnancy: the mom and the baby. Let's take this a step further and change the location of those two people, using an example from my own life. Right after my middle son was born, he developed severe jaundice and MRSA. He was five days old, and we were back in the hospital, with him on some major antibiotics and treatments to combat the jaundice. I consented to that medical procedure to happen, seeing as I was his mother. In light of your argument of legality to end a pregnancy any time you want to remove consent, would you have considered it fully within my legal right to start the treatment for my son and then remove it because I no longer wanted to do it. It had health risks for him. I could have argued that his life was at stake because of the treatments. It was severely inconvenient - my husband was in medical school at the time and couldn't stay home with our other son (who was 2 at the time), and one of us needed to be there in the hospital with our newborn. Taking him home (and ending the treatment) would have been much more convenient, even though it would have killed him. Would you have argued for me to have the legal right to remove him from that hospital care, even though it definitely would have killed him? In your viewpoint - one which a mother has a right to end a pregnancy at any time (i.e. - kill her child), for whatever reason - my reasons of being worried of the health risks and/or the inconvenience should have been enough to justify my ending his treatment. Do you think the state would have agreed with you?

    Why would, if I had made that choice to discontinue his treatment (i.e. food and nourishment and protection via pregnancy) less than a week earlier, while I was still pregnant, it would have been okay with you?

    You mentioned earlier that you didn't think that late-term abortions were "ideal." Why is that?

    Earlier, viability was mentioned. The threshold of viability is an ever-moving one. In the US, it's 24 weeks gestation. In parts of Europe, it's 28 weeks gestation. In other parts of Europe, medical organizations are pressuring to move it to 22 weeks. "Viability" isn't exactly a defined gestational age. If I was 25 weeks pregnant and took a trip to another country, my baby could be considered viable here in the US, but not viable in the country that I was visiting. Did anything, biologically, change in my fetus? Are we really willing to stake the right to life of another human being on a shifting definition that varies from country to country, and culture to culture?

    On the legality vs morality of an issue (multiple people have mentioned this): Murder is illegal here in the US. In some countries, it is not only NOT illegal, but it is culturally expected in certain situations. The same could be said for rape. Legality of an issue, just like viability of a fetus, is a shifting definition. Does that change the morality of it?

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  106. Oh, and I didn't realize that it was Mike signed into Gmail, not me. It's actually Heidi. :)

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  107. I agree with, you, Mike. CS has taken a stand that is cold and heartless. It is so unlike what is expected of a mother. It is also interesting because I bet most women who have abortions really don't take that line of thinking into account. Many might be embarrassed to be pregnant, afraid to tell their parents, afraid of being rejected by the father, afraid and thinking, as a country-western song goes, "There goes my future, there goes my happiness, there goes my life." I think that especially in a first pregnancy there is a psychological disconnect where the reality takes a while to sink in, and the child may be most at risk at that point. But do many of these women think, "Well I'll be darned if this little parasite is going to use my body for five more mintues!" Sure, there are some who think like that. I suspect more of them develop that line of thinking after an abortion, as their minds attempt to reconcile the experience with what their heart and conscience keep trying to whisper to them. My point is, I don't think your "selling point" really flies in reality. You are standing up for a point of view that, in my mind, most pregnant women don't have. (I am making these points especially keeping in mind that young women are the largest group seeking abortions. I am thinking of young American women, especially, who are not usually pregnant because they are married to an abusive husband. Most are unmarried.)

    I also have to say that in Johanna's example, I doubt the women involved are saying, "You can't use my body!" I bet that a lot of the men involved are saying, 'You will not affect my life with this pregnancy" though.

    I also have to ask, CS are you in favor of protecting infants who are born alive? I have been thinking that the woman who's been talked of so much lately, the PP employee who argued against caring for infants born alive, is coming from this perspective: "We have been paid by this woman, and we have an obligation to fulfill our contract with her, a contract which is, after all, legal." But what is the contract for? When a woman pays for an abortion, is she paying to end the pregnancy, or is she paying for a guaranteed lack of motherhood, or is she paying for a dead child? Because if it's the first, then by (accidentally) delivering a life infant, PP still has fulfilled its obligation and has no need to also kill the child - the mother is no longer pregnant. If it's the second, then there is a quandary. Their client does not want to be a mother. Well, can a woman sign away parenthood prior to the procedure, so that if the child is born alive, she will not be considered the mother? It's a sad concept, but it also would protect PP, and there would have to be a plan in place to make someone the guardian of the child. But if the contract is to produce a dead child, and we could argue that that is the true goal, then PP would have a leg to stand on. The mother wants her child dead, she paid a fee creating a contract between the parties, so PP has to end the child's life, one way or another. I wonder which goal you think a woman has when she seeks an abortion?

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  108. CS,

    "even if you sign a contract to donate your kidney you can always change your mind."

    Not after the kidney is already in the other person's body. Then you are dealing with another person's bodily integrity, besides your own. You can't kill the person to take your kidney back.

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  109. Joanna,

    I already said ‘require’ fits instead of ‘demands’, stop beating a dead horse.

    I find the hyperbole you use you purposefully distort my arguments, tiring.

    I never said you had to consent to parenting, I said you have to consent to letting someone live inside, you also have to consent to let men have sex with you or for doctors to perform surgery on you.

    We have something called bodily integrity in this country. And while the state can do a lot of things with your body, like put you in jail, it cannot, cannot, cannot, violate your bodily integrity. It cannot make you donate blood, or organs or undergo medical experiments, or undergo surgery or hospitalization, ESPECAILLY NOT FOR SOMEONE ELSE.

    The state never has the right to allow you to violate your bodily integrity for another person. It is my premise that this includes pregnancy. It is your premise that it excludes pregnancy. Our premises don’t align, I get it. But stop obscuring my premise.

    This doesn’t mean we don’t have to do things for others, of course we do, but If you do not understand the difference between beings forced to donate a kidney and being forced to make a pb&j in terms of legal theory, I cannot help you.

    --CS

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  110. “I'm asking, woman to woman, believer to believer, forget man's law, think of God's law: What is the moral obligation of a mother to her child?”

    I don’t personally believe that women must make the sacrifices of pregnancy to be moral.

    Neither does my church or pastor for that matter

    But God often asks people to make sacrifices so it certainly would be possible that he would ask that.

    --CS

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  111. Hi Sebastian,

    “CS, what would you need, on the level of a society, and the individual woman, to agree that the child has a right to live? What would you demand? Less "oppression of women"? Less patriarchy”


    I think I explained it to Joanna. babies cannot live inside of non consenting women. In the not so distant future I am sure fetuses will be able to grow inside of other environments, perhaps that will be a start.

    --CS

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  112. Hi Mike,

    I certainly do not find your questions hate speech, haha

    Now about your son,

    “would you have considered it fully within my legal right to start the treatment for my son and then remove it because I no longer wanted to do it. It had health risks for him. I could have argued that his life was at stake because of the treatments. It was severely inconvenient”

    Forgive me, as I am not supremely versed in medical law, but don’t you have the right to stop treating your son if you didn’t feel comfortable with the treatment or can’t afford it or whatever, isn’t it within your legal rights to do so. I don’t think the hospital can just continue to treat him at they see fit against your wishes, but maybe I’m wrong?

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  113. You said that "insist" and "require" were synonyms for "demand," not that demand "didn't fit."

    But you still haven't answered my question. When does an unborn child "require" -- that is, specifically ask for consent -- use of the mother's uterus? You seem to think there is some point where an unborn child asks for consent, the mother denies consent, and the unborn child goes ahead and forcibly takes over her uterus anyway.

    As I said, I'm pregnant for the 7th time, and I've never had such consent asked of me by any of my children. So when does it happen?

    It seems to me the consent is given when the woman voluntarily chooses to engage in the act that has the specific purpose of creating children, whether or not the intent is to do so -- just like when I eat a chocolate cake, I am giving consent for my body to digest the cake and use the calories to add more fat to my body. I may not like the natural, biological consequences of that act, but I consent to them nonetheless the minute I swallow that cake.

    I find the hyperbole you use you purposefully distort my arguments, tiring.

    It's not hyperbole, CS. It's the logical conclusion of your arguments.

    My born children require the use of my body every day. I have to use my body to prepare them food, wash their clothes, and so on. If I decide to withdraw my consent to parenthood because I am tired of them "using" my body, is it moral for me to kill them? Why or why not?


    I don’t personally believe that women must make the sacrifices of pregnancy to be moral.

    Neither does my church or pastor for that matter.


    I've never heard of a Christian church that denies the Ten Commandments (specifically, "You shall not murder"). That seems pretty clear to me - God tells us that we cannot murder other human beings. What other types of murder does your church condone?

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  114. Hi Sharon,

    Considering you find abortion cold and heartless I don’t know what defense of it you would find to be anything but…but I digress.

    “My point is, I don't think your "selling point" really flies in reality. You are standing up for a point of view that, in my mind, most pregnant women don't have”

    I was supplying a reason why I think abortion ought to be legal, not why women are having abortions. It’s a legal justification, not a social theory.

    I would almost agree with this assertion except, it doesn’t explain the abortion rate. If young women were just concerned about their future, happiness, and life—they would just adopt. Yet droves of pregnant women are choosing abortion proving they don’t just want to not be parents (something adoption could accomplish) rather they want to not be pregnant/ give birth.

    Do you disagree?

    --CS

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  115. CS, we've had a respectful and even affectionate relationship both on and off the blog. But I do feel the horror that others feel when reading your words. It's very chilling to hear a young woman talk this way about killing innocent human beings and justifying it the way you do.

    I am hopeful that you will direct your pastor to this post, and ask him to read it and the comments that follow (including letting him know that you are "3654b394-37fe-11e1-b9ca-000bcdcb8a73". I would like to get his input, and if he agrees with your arguments. Also, I would like to ask him some questions about abortion and the Bible and Christianity. If you don't want to invite him, I would be happy to (you could email me his website). Or, if you really feel uncomfortable with that, could you give me the general denomination, and then I will ask a different pastor what his thoughts are on this conversation? I cannot believe that any pastor of the Christian faith would talk or think like this.

    Off to mass, but I will be back at some point today, and follow-up with other comments.

    Blessings for a beautiful Lord's Day! Our Lord is the Lord of Life, not death. "Suffer the little children, let them come unto me and do not hinder them."

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  116. "Actually, slavery is still widely, WIDELY practiced in the world today. So, is is moral or immoral?"

    You exposed the Western-centrism of my comment; yes, slavery is still widely practiced throughout the world, but generally most Westerners and Western governments, along with the UN and other international organizations have recognized it's immorality. I shouldn't have acted as if slavery is over simply because the west doesn't sanction it anymore. So, yes, immoral. Some people haven't caught up yet though, sadly.


    "Also, the analogy of the hooked-up uncle doesn't work, because if your hooked-up uncle was supposed to be there hooked-up to you, then it is unjust to kick him off."

    I don't disagree with you. If you promised your uncle you would let him be hooked up to you to survive and you reneged on your end of the deal, you're a terrible person. But that shouldn't be illegal, and that's where I think we have diverged. I'm all in favor of reducing abortions, but not through the abridgment of bodily autonomy.

    "But let's take it to a place that is no longer analogous to pregnancy (since that is normal and natural)"

    You're not going to find a 'natural' shared body scenario similar to pregnancy in humans, but I don't think that matters. Natural doesn't always equal good, so morally the two situations are equivalent, when it comes to discussing these issues.

    "And he will die if you unattach him. But he only will be attached to you for another few months and then he will be detached from you forever, living for many more years. Do you have a right to kill him for the convenience of your life for those months? Or do you do the right thing and let him live, seeing how both your lives will go on just fine after this very short amount of time that you are together?"

    I don't see how what you should do and your rights are, are the same thing. I agree that you *shouldn't* disconnect him, I'm right there with you, only a cold, hard, heart would do so. But that's entirely different from what you should be *compelled* to do. In a democracy, sometimes rights include the right to be morally horrifying.

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  117. Hi CS, thank you for answering one of my questions. You said "babies cannot live inside of non consenting women. In the not so distant future I am sure fetuses will be able to grow inside of other environments, perhaps that will be a start." If I understood correctly, you are Christian. To my knowledge, all Christians pray the Lord's Prayer. What does it mean then, to you, to pray "Thy will be done..." in this specific context? Do you believe God had any part in that baby (as you beautifully call it) being inside the woman's womb? If so, would it also be His will that the baby remain in there until it comes to (natural) delivery? Or are we unable to determine His will? Or could He possibly have no particular view on where the baby develops? And as long as the baby cannot survive outside the woman's womb, do you think He is totally okay with the woman "terminating her pregnancy" at any stage, because her rights trump the baby's? If so, what makes you think that? I am very curious to hear your answer!

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  118. Okay - I'm back. Just had our chicken coop delivered and had to introduce the girls to their new home. :)

    CS - yes, there is legal precedence in multiple states that would make it legal for the hospital to overrule my parental rights in the case of my son. The only exception in most states is for "faith healing" or religious exemptions (say, I was a Jehovah's Witness and the treatment was a blood transfusion, for example). My reasons stated above - the slight health risks OF the treatment itself or the inconvenience - could be overrided by the hospital, and they would have legal precedence to fall back on to compel treatment of my child. So, they would disagree with you - it would be legally within their right to force me to get my son treatment in those situations. I would not be able to remove my consent......even though, merely 6 days earlier, it would have been alright to allow him to die in-utero.

    There is even legal precedent in our country to force a mom to undergo an induction or c-section if HER BABY is in danger of death in-utero (it's very rare, but it has been argued and court orders have been awarded to do just that). How exactly does this relate to abortion-on-demand? Just when, legally, does the fetus receive the right to life if both forced deliveries (because of the risk of death to the fetus) and abortion-on-demand are both considered legal?

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  119. Well, no one has explained bodily integrity. Where did that phrase come from?

    You know what, CS, it's just plan mean and nasty for a mother to kill her child including her child in her womb.

    Yes, mean and nasty. It's mean and nasty for any man to kill a child, born or unborn. So forget about rights, why is it okay to be mean and nasty towards small innocent people??? Really, who raised you pro-aborts? Do you not know how to be nice? Was your mother mean and nasty towards you? Where is this mean and nasty attitude coming from? School?

    Just because one person is mean and nasty towards you does NOT make it okay for you to be mean and nasty towards others. I cry because there's nothing like the love of a parent. It's natural to love your own child. It's even natural to love other people's children.

    Really, what makes you so important, you pro-abortion people, that you get to decide who lives and dies????

    Hey, pro-choice women, are you SO STUPID that you don't know sex makes babies??? No? I didn't think you were stupid, but I just had to check.

    I can't believe in that in this land where free education is available to all boys and girls that people graduate high school and don't know how babies are made.

    ABORTION IS MEAN AND NASTY!

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  120. "In a democracy, sometimes rights include the right to be morally horrifying."

    Not when it comes to killing others, no. The state has very few actual responsibilities, and one of them is to protect the lives the human beings who inhabit the state. Direct killing of innocents is never allowed.

    As to slavery: Who are you to say it's immoral? You said there is no objective morality. You said that the strongest in each nation or society get to decide what is moral or not. So, in those societies, slavery is moral, no?

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  121. "Not when it comes to killing others, no. The state has very few actual responsibilities, and one of them is to protect the lives the human beings who inhabit the state. Direct killing of innocents is never allowed."

    The state has an obligation to protect persons, not innocents. Innocents isn't a legal term. The unborn are (biological) human beings, not legal persons -- so they are not subject to the protections of the state.

    And even if I did agree with you that unborn are to be protected by the state as a person, I'd still be in favor of abortion, because personhood doesn't convey the rights to use another's body even as they see fit. Going back to the Uncle Joe analogy, Uncle Joe can be a person all he wants, he still isn't allowed to force me to remain hooked to him to keep him alive; even if I agreed initially that it was okay (to try to keep the analogy as accurate as possible, women usually consent to sex that results in pregnancy.)

    "As to slavery: Who are you to say it's immoral?"

    I'm just one person with opinons on the right way to behave, just like anyone else.

    "You said there is no objective morality. You said that the strongest in each nation or society get to decide what is moral or not. So, in those societies, slavery is moral, no?"

    This is a really complicated question, because I believe morality is fluid and really is subject to circumstances. I hope I explain my viewpoint well enough. Let me repeat that no, I do not think slavery is or ever will be moral ever again. But to someone in 1st Century Judea, they may not have had the moral background or advancement to realize exactly why owning slaves is bad, and therefore are the product of their times. Moral progress is slow. We consider the founding fathers to be generally 'good' people: but they held what anyone would consider today to be horribly regressive views on race, gender, ownership, etc. I don't believe you can separate culture and time from morality, being someone that doesn't believe in objective morality, and believes in the 'advancement' of morality as a discipline, so to speak.

    I should explain what I mean by the 'strongest' gets to decide morality. I just mean that people throughout history have had conflicting ideas about what is the right thing to do, and the people who have the power to exert their ideas are the people who see their morality acted upon. Like if people disagree about whether gay marriage is right or wrong, the people with more influence will decide what happens, and what becomes a 'moral' way in that society in which to act. That probably wasn't clear before, sorry.

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  122. I think history refutes the idea that morality is progressive or on an "advancement" trajectory -- that we become more moral over time. Yes, there was slavery in the 1st century, but we saw horrific immorality just last century with oppressive governments, eugenics, and world wars. The very fact that abortion is legal and acceptable in our society, the fact that people argue for this "right", shows me that pro-choicers are also a product of their time, as you say. They may be well meaning and living within a certain cultural context, but they are wrong.

    Without objective morality, we can never hope to progress to anything better than the past. We have human nature -- We are broken. And we will continue to sin and justify our actions in different contexts. The current context encompasses the legalization and advancement of abortion.

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  123. And on a side note, we live in a republic, not a democracy. A republic depends on objective morality or "public virtue" for survival. A republic also offers a certain protection that democracy does not offer -- protection of minorities. The founders went for a republic over a pure democracy for logistical reasons and because of this belief in the inherent dignity of all individuals. A majority-rules society (pure democracy) can quickly turn oppressive to the minority. So on a legal level, we do not decide such things by "majority". We interpret the law, particularly Constitutional law, based on the fundamental principals expressed in the Constitution. This is not always an easy task -- Republics aren't designed to be "easy", but just (as just as human capabilities will allow). In the past, we were able to right certain injustices, like slavery, because of these fundamentals, not because the majority rules. So I'm not sure, CS, why you think our laws and morals are based on a "majority rules" system.

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    1. Republics are generally classified under democracy (constitutional republic is a type of democracy.) We live in a representative democracy.

      I don't disagree with anything else you said.

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  124. Sorry -- I meant *forthewar*, not CS :). Reading and typing too fast here! Forgive me.

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  125. There have been studies done that humanity, overall, is at its most peaceful than it has ever been in history. Yes, there were atrocities during the 20th Century, but there have been atrocities in every century before that one: the Mongels only weren't Stalin because they didn't have Stalin's technology. The worldwide overall trend for murder, rape, war, slavery, etc. etc have consistently dropped since the mid 19th century when this began to be tracked. To me, this history of the world is nothing but advancing morality. It's slow and meandering and far from perfect, but I do believe it has a general direction of "better."

    Better being my view of better of course.

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  126. Actually, a democracy is classified under a form of republic, not vice versa. So a democracy is technically a republic (a public matter), but a republic is not necessarily a democracy. The important defining character of a constitutional republic is that it tempers majority rule with the protection of minority rights (as opposed to a pure democracy, which is majority rule without the requirement for minority rights).

    When you say this: "I should explain what I mean by the 'strongest' gets to decide morality. I just mean that people throughout history have had conflicting ideas about what is the right thing to do, and the people who have the power to exert their ideas are the people who see their morality acted upon. Like if people disagree about whether gay marriage is right or wrong, the people with more influence will decide what happens, and what becomes a 'moral' way in that society in which to act. That probably wasn't clear before, sorry."

    It makes me question if you truly understand that distinction. If gay marriage were to become legal, it would, theoretically, become legal because the courts see it as a minority right, not as a majority opinion per se. In some societies, yes, those with power (which is not always the majority) do inflict their will. But that is not the method of our government. We don't get to decide that it's okay to kill a certain population just because we have a majority vote and, when Roe v. Wade happened, it wasn't about a majority opinion. It happened over an extremely poor interpretation by our court system, which has been challenged and argued ever since. In fact, statistics today show that most people are pro-life. Would you be fine if the majority decided to eventually abolish abortion merely because it is majority opinion? Would it suddenly be the new, valid morality because a reversal in law?

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  127. "Actually, a democracy is classified under a form of republic, not vice versa. So a democracy is technically a republic (a public matter), but a republic is not necessarily a democracy."

    You're right. I said that wrong. But still, America is a democracy, because it is a republic that uses representative democracy as a means to govern.

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  128. I don't know how you can look at the 20th century or the Middle East or North Korea or parts of Africa or even abortion and euthanasia and say the world is more peaceful than ever given thousands of years of history. After WWI, people thought that the horrors of that war would prevent a world war from ever happening again. It didn't take long for WWII to materialize. I think it is naive to assume that we are done with that level violence and injustice in the world given the ups and downs (peacetime, wartime, and everything in between) of history.

    Murder, violence, rape, etc., may be down in some areas, but hardly in others. Just the fact that we have killed more babies in the womb than most of these wars combined tells me that we are not in a peaceful time.

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  129. CS, you wrote: “And while the state can do a lot of things with your body, like put you in jail, it cannot, cannot, cannot, violate your bodily integrity.”

    Sorry to disappoint you, madam, but the state can, can, can do exactly that.

    “Bodily integrity” ALREADY does not apply (and can DEFINITELY be “violated” by the state) IN LAW, (precisely) when there is a life-threatening risk to others from a body’s (health) status or its owner’s selfish and irresponsible actions.

    “Following SARS, the federal government updated and expanded the Quarantine Act to adapt it to the modern reality of rapid and widespread international travel. While retaining the government's legislative authority to screen, examine and detain arriving and departing travelers, conveyances (e.g., airplanes, cruise ships) and their goods and cargo, contemporary public health measures were added, such as ORDERING TREATMENTS. New powers also included the ability to divert aircraft to an alternate landing site when necessary, to establish quarantine facilities at any location in Canada, and to prohibit entry of travelers or importation of goods from certain countries or regions of the world to prevent the introduction or spread of a disease.”

    Canadian Laws Governing State Response to Infectious Disease Outbreak:

    http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ep-mu/rido-iemi/index-eng.php

    Similar laws – “violating” a person’s “bodily integrity/autonomy” in the greater interest of protecting the lives of others – have already been enacted (albeit without too much press) in many, many countries around the world.

    If forcing medical treatment on someone (thankfully, in this instance, in the interest of a greater good) is not tantamount to “violating” his/her “bodily integrity/autonomy”, then what is?

    It is only because the unborn are yet to be universally defined as legal “persons” with an inalienable right to life that they are currently largely denied similar protection by the state when their lives are threatened (although in many situations their lives are already protected – such as when the mother is taking dangerous drugs which may harm the foetus). Thus, (wo)men retain - for the moment - their so-called “right” to choose whether their children live or die. But this too must change, and WILL MOST CERTAINLY change - in the foreseeable future. Indeed, the changes have already begun, and the days of legalized murders of children are already drawing to a close. Pro abortionists just can’t see it coming, living in the fog of their own pet delusions as they do.

    Alabama Supreme Court: ‘Unborn Children Are Persons With Rights’:

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/alabama-supreme-court-unborn-children-are-persons-rights

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  130. Let me step back and explain how I see morality via analogy, and then maybe I can get my point across more effectively, since I think I'm being clumsy with words. What I believe about morality has nothing to do with legality. Morals are separate from law.

    I see morality as a discipline and something we must gain knowledge about (the study of ethics). I see ethics as the same as any other knowledge gaining human discipline, like science or math. At in particular time in history, there was a most correct 'science', or 'math'. I believe the same is true for ethics and therefore morality. What I meant by the 'strongest' people will decide morality is that people who's ideas survive or are implemented will become moral. As an analogy to science, there can be two competing scientific theories to explain a phenomena, but one particular fraction of scientists may win out -- not because they are more correct, but just because they have the influence to drive the narrative in their direction.

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  131. Here's something I wrote in response to the Salon article titled, "So what if abortion ends a life?" http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/02/14/denise-mccomish-abortions-new-argument-shrugs-at-the-loss-of-life/
    I think the points apply in this case too!
    (Another Canadian story that you might find interesting: http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=192006)

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  132. Getting through the comments but wanted to say something about this:

    "This is a really complicated question, because I believe morality is fluid and really is subject to circumstances."

    So we are establishing that you believe in a concept of moral right and wrong, but what is wrong today may be right tomorrow, and that the majority decide what is "right" on any given day. So, in some states, gay marriage morally "right" and in some it is morally "wrong." Sounds pretty chaotic to me.

    But I have to bring up a point from one of Leila's earlier blog posts. Forthewar, you are in favor of allowing women to kill their unborn children. But you are not an unborn child. How do you feel about the idea of allowing anyone to kill a person who uses the name "forthewar" in the internet? I mean, we could all take a vote and decide that you're out of here. Are you morally ok with that, as long as, say, more than half of us vote to take away any protection for you life?

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  133. "and that the majority decide what is "right" on any given day."

    I don't think that the majority decide what is right. What is right is right regardless of how many people believe it. I think that people can make what they believe to be right appear to be right by silencing opposition.

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  134. Hi CS, thanks for responding. I have read your comment many times and I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. You said,

    "If young women were just concerned about their future, happiness, and life—they would just adopt. Yet droves of pregnant women are choosing abortion proving they don’t just want to not be parents (something adoption could accomplish) rather they want to not be pregnant/ give birth.

    Do you disagree?"

    They would just adopt? You mean, they would make an adoption plan for their child? I think most women believe that such a plan would make them very, very unhappy, and that is why they won't consider doing such a thing. For one thing, they would still have to go through the challenges of pregnancy, which certainly can be difficult especially for a young unmarried woman and, ironically, they probably doubt that they would be able to part with the child after its birth. So you are saying that they should neither have to give birth nor remain pregnant. That is a tough thing with late abortions, though, CS. Exactly how do you make a woman un-pregnant really any time after, say, 10 to 12 weeks? The woman HAS to go through a delivery - that is, she has to give birth. She will "birth" either an entire child (which is where so-called "botched abortions" come from - intentionally inducing labor when the child is expected to be born dead but wouldn't you know it the darn kid comes out breathing) or she will "birth" a human being piece by piece. I know, I know. You are ok with that. Except she IS giving birth, and you just said she shouldn't have to. I'm afraid that is quite impossible absent a magic wand method of ending a pregnancy. Even in a very early abortion, she will have to give "birth" to a very, very small child. It cannot remain dead within her, or the child will eventually not be the only one to die.

    But if I am following you, given my scenarios as far as PP's contractual obligations, you would say that ultimately, they are contracting with the mother to produce a dead child. Well, the President agrees with you on that, and he fought for the right for abortion providers to be sure that the baby was dead, one way or another. I suppose he would prefer leaving it on a shelf over stabbing it, really I don't see him as being THAT heartless, but hey, dead is dead, right? And if the majority of us don't mind the scissors or dismemberment method, well, it is a "morally correct" choice. Except in countries where it isn't, according to forthewar.

    I wonder how you feel about this: a friend of mine was a floating nurse in our local children's hospital. The hospital used to perform abortions, and it was not unheard of for the early-induction abortion to produce a breathing - um - fetus in your mind? Well, at that point it is pretty universally called a baby, so I don't think you'll mind if I call it that, especially since you sometimes do, too, as Mike pointed out. It was a common enough occurrence that my friend witnessed the situation more than once. The first time, she held the chid so it didn't have to die alone. She was not allowed to give any other care. It was ok for her to hold it though because someone had to watch over the child, because as soon as they thought it was dead, a doctor would come and the child would be given over for its body to be used for transplants for other children.

    Do you find this situation to be against the child's right to bodily integrity?

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  135. "I don't think that the majority decide what is right. What is right is right regardless of how many people believe it. I think that people can make what they believe to be right appear to be right by silencing opposition."

    Yes, forthewar, you are so right!

    And for the record, I would vote against your demise, every time!

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  136. "The unborn are (biological) human beings, not legal persons"

    Personhood is a metaphysical idea, and actually the concept of "person" comes from Catholic theology and an exploration of the Trinity (Dr. Stacy needs to chime in on that). How can the state arbitrarily say that some human beings are "persons" and others are not? The state's job is to protect all human beings. If some human beings can arbitrarily have their "personhood" denied by other human beings, then we have genocide.

    This is the problem with the "personhood" debate: It's a license to kill, nothing more:

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

    "It is so clear that someone only questions the personhood of a human she wishes to harm."

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  137. Hi Sharon, let me clarify

    (I thought) you were saying that women’s decision to have an abortion has nothing to do with not wanting to be pregnant/bodily autonomy, rather that women have abortions because they don’t want to make the sacrifices inherent in parenthood.

    I was semi agreeing with you, but maintaining that the desire to not be pregnant is a driving force in abortions. If it was not, pregnant women who didn’t want to parent would just give their babies up for adoption. But overwhelmingly they don’t. This, it can be inferred that women want two things not to be parents and also not to gestate and give birth.

    “Except she IS giving birth, and you just said she shouldn't have to. I'm afraid that is quite impossible absent a magic wand method of ending a pregnancy.”

    Hamah Sharon, when I said women shouldn’t have to give birth I meant they shouldn’t have to wait months until their due date and go through the difficult and painful process of labor (if they don’t want to) not that their insides should just magically absorb the baby parts and move on.

    I have no problem with inducing women at 6 8 12 weeks instead of having flat out abortions if that would appease pro-lifers, but I don’t think it would. Would it?


    --CS

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  138. CS, I think a corollary to Leila's "It is so clear that someone only questions the personhood of a human she wishes to harm," is "It is so clear that CS has no problem with someone causing the death of a human being who is not CS." So easy of you to pass a death sentence on others, isn't it, CS? Doesn't hurt (you) a bit. Of course, we all realize that "6 8 12" weeks means abortion, too. But still, it's not YOU we're talking about. And it doesn't matter if you want to claim that you would have completely understood if your mom had had YOU ripped limb from limb, because it didn't happen. Too easy to say you see no injustice in an injustice you did not suffer.

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    1. Bingo. All people who are okay with legal abortion have already been born. What convenience. And, there is grave injustice when the strong kill the weak, but in this case, liberal folks who love to put all things in terms of oppressed vs. oppressor suddenly find themselves siding with the oppressor over the oppressed. Ironic and sad.

      Again, CS, who will answer for the blood of God's children who are slaughtered, defenseless, in the womb? You believe in God, and I assume you believe that God is a God of justice. Who answers for their blood in the end?

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  139. forthewar, forgive me if this has already been addressed by others, as I haven't had a chance to read through all the comments. You said: "What is right is right regardless of how many people believe it."

    How can this be if there is no objective "right"?

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  140. CS, you said something stunning:

    "But God often asks people to make sacrifices so it certainly would be possible that he would ask that."

    God might "possibly" ask a pregnant mother not to violently and directly kill her unborn child? Actually, God would never condone a mother killing her own child. Never. Ever. These are HIS children, lovingly created, and entrusted to the care of a mother and father. Not handed over for slaughter.

    From the Psalmist: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made"

    From God: "Can a woman forget her nursing child, or have no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these mothers may forget; But as for me, I'll never forget you!"

    And you really never answered me: What is the moral obligation of a mother to her child? You seem to want to imply that she has no moral obligation to nurture and care for her child. But can you tell me, then, what is her moral obligation to her child?

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  141. forthewar, you said: "Natural doesn't always equal good, so morally the two situations are equivalent, when it comes to discussing these issues."

    Actually, when we are talking biological function, yes, the natural occasion of pregnancy is good. Meaning, the reproductive system has worked just as its supposed to. A pregnancy means the system is working correctly, thus a natural good.

    I'm stuck on this thing that you and CS keep talking about, this "bodily integrity" or "bodily autonomy". I've been pregnant nine times, and never once have I lost my bodily integrity or autonomy. So, I am wondering if you are making up this idea that a pregnant woman has no bodily integrity or autonomy? I don't get that at all.

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  142. forthewar, you said: "I believe morality is fluid and really is subject to circumstances"

    So, murder and rape are subject to circumstances? Sometimes those might be moral acts?

    I have had more than one young atheist tell me that under the right circumstances (in this case, to save the life of some hostages), it would be the MORAL and RIGHT thing to do to torture, rape and murder a six-year-old girl (though they admit they would probably be too squeamish to "do the right thing").

    In other words, these atheists do not see one single situation on earth (because what could be more evil than to torture, rape and murder a small child?) that is intrinsically immoral, and that cannot be justified.

    You say that we are morally evolving as human beings. I categorically reject that notion. Human nature is always the same, and does not change. We may have better, bigger, cleaner, and more sanitized ways of killing, raping, using, manipulating, cheating, and hating others, but we kill, rape, use, manipulate, cheat and hate others just the same as we always have. There are no new sins.

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  143. "Just the fact that we have killed more babies in the womb than most of these wars combined tells me that we are not in a peaceful time."

    Elizabeth, exactly. Just as the purveyors of any genocide or violence would consider that they are not part of the problem, but are advancing peace and good, so do the purveyors of abortion. They cannot see the violence of billions worldwide killed by abortion (they see it as morally acceptable, even a way of making life more peaceful and ordered). So, if they are blind to that massive, massive, massive amount of bloodshed and dead humans, then I guess things look more morally "advanced" than they do to you or me.

    By the way, forthewar, you are new here and I really commend you for your courtesy and respect in this dialogue. I appreciate it and you are welcome here; I hope you stay. Just like Johanne and CS, you will make a great Catholic one day. ;)

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  144. CS, you wrote: “And while the state can do a lot of things with your body, like put you in jail, it cannot, cannot, cannot, violate your bodily integrity.”

    I think a full cavity search (ewwww…) would be a violation of bodily integrity, don't you? I believe the state has the legal right to do so if deemed necessary. I'm pretty sure you'd feel violated if the state did it to you (I know I would!), but there it is. Legal.

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  145. At in particular time in history, there was a most correct 'science', or 'math'

    But let's say the world was turning without any humans in it. The truths of science and the truths of math would still exist. Truth exists outside of ourselves. Truth exists in the natural world (and in the mathematical plane) whether we are here or not, whether anyone knows them or not. They are objective truths. Same with the moral law. The universal moral law is not determined by us. It simply exists as true, and it is up to us to find it and then receive it. But we do not determine it. Do you agree with this? And if so, what is the source of the moral law, since it is not us?

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  146. Aw, c'mon, Leila!

    You wrote: "You believe in God, and I assume you believe that God is a God of justice. Who answers for their blood in the end?"

    Of course pro-abortionists believe in God! Indeed, many gods, the chief among them being Moloch, who demands the sacrifice of children by their parents on his altar of convenience... whoops... on his altar of propitiation for today's constant and rampant crimes of rape. Rape, rape, rape. Here a rape, there a rape, never nuthin' but a rape, rape...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moloch

    There's got to be a just and equitable solution to this horny, whoops, thorny, problem, right? Those pesky little fetuses responsible for all this trauma and disruption to the daily lives of good citizens must be eliminated for the restoration of good order in the world, right?

    Incidentally, this Moloch's the one who imparts to his disciples profound wisdoms and noble concepts like a woman's (note: NOT a child's) "bodily autonomy/ integrity"...

    Then, of course, there's that other ancient fellow among the gods somewhere in the sky. That simple one, Who speaks to His disciples as to little children, with simple dictates like "Thou shalt not kill." Little wonder that with the advancement of higher education and the dawning of the new enlightenment upon the world, His simplistic formulations are now out of vogue with a most sophisticated and highly discerning people!

    Yawn.

    Off to see Adam Scott celebrate his historic win at the US Masters! His game and bodily posture both have such admirable integrity!

    :)

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  147. As we get closer to 200 comments, please remember to "subscribe by email" below to get comments to your email inbox, or else you will have to remember to "load more" to find new comments after the 200 mark. Thanks!

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  148. forthewar said "I don't think that the majority decide what is right. What is right is right regardless of how many people believe it. I think that people can make what they believe to be right appear to be right by silencing opposition." You completely nailed it. I join Sharon in agreeing 100% with you. Your comment literally makes my day. Have a good day!

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  149. Apparently Blogger ate my comment, Leila. :) Let's see if, after a busy weekend I can remember. I think it was: There is no difference. And what scares me is the thought that people will realize this, and instead of realizing that abortion is as horrific as the killing of a newborn child, they will "realize" that killing a newborn is just as acceptable as abortion.

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  150. Cassi,

    You wrote: [what scares me is the thought that people will... instead of realizing that abortion is as horrific as the killing of a newborn child... "realize" that killing a newborn is just as acceptable as abortion.]

    I hate to have to inform you, dear Cassie, that that inevitable "realization" has already dawned on our modern day luminaries:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9113394/Killing-babies-no-different-from-abortion-experts-say.html

    How appropriate that this argument should appear in a publication calling itself the "Journal of MEDICAL ETHICS", penned by "experts" (expert, we have to assume, in the indispensable art of dismembering children). The type whose "ethics" comprise of the re-categorization of evil as (newly) good and good as (newly) evil. You know... those who operate on the same wavelength as some of the disingenuous contributors to this conversation. Perhaps they also understand, even if only subconsciously in their sympathetic minds illuminated by the brilliant darkness, that their Master Moloch, poor fellow, has a raging thirst for more than just the blood of the un-born.

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  151. Busy day, but you all keep asking me so many questions that I feel bad not responding, so some quick answers:

    "Actually, when we are talking biological function, yes, the natural occasion of pregnancy is good. Meaning, the reproductive system has worked just as its supposed to. A pregnancy means the system is working correctly, thus a natural good."

    Natural does not equal good. This is generally known in philosophy as an 'appeal to nature.' I suppose you could argue that this becomes irrelevant with the idea that a God controls all that happens and therefore everything is his will, but outside of that, things simply existed in nature does not make them a moral good. Cancer is a result of simply 'how our bodies work.' So is aging, and so are mental disorders, etc. The only way to consider what a 'good' natural is, is to impose it with our own minds, which isn't an appeal to nature, because that's a moral worth discussion. Pregnancy is 'good' (if the person in question wants to be pregnant), but not simply because that is how life is created.

    "But let's say the world was turning without any humans in it. The truths of science and the truths of math would still exist. Truth exists outside of ourselves. Truth exists in the natural world (and in the mathematical plane) whether we are here or not, whether anyone knows them or not. They are objective truths. Same with the moral law. The universal moral law is not determined by us. It simply exists as true, and it is up to us to find it and then receive it. But we do not determine it. Do you agree with this? And if so, what is the source of the moral law, since it is not us?"

    But I don't agree with this :( haha....science doesn't uncover universial truths, at best we approximate a relatively close description of reality, but it is always colored by biased human assumptions and human limits. True reality is not possible for humans to observe. This goes for any human discipline. All fields have baseline axioms they state, and then the field follows from there. Ethics is no different.

    "What is right is right regardless of how many people believe it."

    Just like science isn't 'objective' but there's probably a 'most correct' theory of gravity out there somewhere, ethics isn't objective but there is a most correct moral way to act.

    "By the way, forthewar, you are new here and I really commend you for your courtesy and respect in this dialogue. I appreciate it and you are welcome here; I hope you stay. Just like Johanne and CS, you will make a great Catholic one day. ;)"

    Thanks, I always have preferred that people discuss these disagreements calmly. I'm hanging around because of the great questions! I actually found this blog during the research I was doing about Catholicism (and Eastern Orthodox, and all the other denominations that claim apostolic succession). It's a pretty well written one, but I'm going to have to respectfully say thanks, but no thanks to your offer :P

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    1. *To the being Catholic part, not to hanging around! You're all nice people! Haha sorry if that wasn't clear. I'll always hang around somewhere where they are intersting discussions to be had

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  152. I got it, about the Catholic part, no worries, ha ha! And, I didn't expect you to convert today. ;) Just keep reading (I recommend a lot of Chesterton, oh and Dr. Kevin Vost's Atheism to Catholicism: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/08/my-interview-with-dr-kevin-vost-from.html . Two great atheist intellectuals turned Catholic. Of course, Lewis, too!

    Clarify: You don't believe that there are objective truths of the material world, even if we don't fully understand them and may never fully understand them? Our limited minds make those truths themselves non-objective? That makes no sense to me. I can see that we may never fully grasp things, or eventually understand things better than what we understand today, but how does that fact affect the things themselves? It shouldn't.

    You said: "Cancer is a result of simply 'how our bodies work.' So is aging, and so are mental disorders, etc. The only way to consider what a 'good' natural is, is to impose it with our own minds, which isn't an appeal to nature, because that's a moral worth discussion. Pregnancy is 'good' (if the person in question wants to be pregnant), but not simply because that is how life is created."

    Sorry, I forgot that you don't believe in the Fall, which led to what we call "physical evil", or disorder of the physical, natural world. To Catholics, of course, cancer or age would not actually be a natural good, but a physical evil (that is now something we must live with, work with -- but these are not goods). Physical evil is a distortion of health, of right order. Do you not believe that rightly ordered health is a good? So, when a child is born with sight, isn't it a natural good? As opposed to if a child were born with a cataract or blindness, which would be a natural evil (we also might call it a disorder or a disease or a birth defect). Do you not believe that organs and systems working as they are supposed to are a natural good, and organs and systems not working as they are supposed to are a disorder?

    How does a doctor know what is health vs. what is a disorder of the body or bodily systems?

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  153. forthewar,

    "...science doesn't uncover universial truths, at best we approximate a relatively close description of reality, but it is always colored by biased human assumptions and human limits."

    While it is true that science has not uncovered all universal truths of the physical world, it would be a travesty to say that science does not seek to do uncover truth.

    "True reality is not possible for humans to observe. This goes for any human discipline. All fields have baseline axioms they state, and then the field follows from there."

    If no field of knowledge could deal with reality, then it would not be knowledge. It would be make-believe.

    This is a notion popular with modern philosophy, and it has led to some strange conclusions. Instead of people understanding that we seek to learn because we trust we can search for and recognize truth, it has led people, such as you describe, to conclude that it's all in vain. I hope you reconsider what you said, and ask yourself which position seems to be the weak-minded one.

    Sorry to interrupt your dialogue with Leila. I just felt compelled to challenge you on that statement.

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  154. CS, Leila said to you, "Again, CS, who will answer for the blood of God's children who are slaughtered, defenseless, in the womb? You believe in God, and I assume you believe that God is a God of justice. Who answers for their blood in the end?"

    I'd like to follow up on that. You said you know that a magic wand can't just make the baby disappear or be absorbed into its mother's womb. Well - what does happen to an aborted baby? I mean, you acknowledge that it is a human being, so what happens to the baby when it dies, which is what happens when it is aborted at any age? You believe in life after death, right? So what happens to the baby? If it goes before God, as I think you expect to do, do you think any consideration is given in heaven as to how the child got there at such a young age?

    I am thinking, too, when you do meet God, what if a large group of those children happen to be there to greet you? What will you say to them? When your words here are played back for you to listen to, what will you say? "Well... I was thinking of... um.. you know, bodily integrity.. " How do you think that will go over? It's something to think about, not to make anyone afraid of God but to just to consider the logical consequences of your philosophy toward these human beings. I do hope you get to answer my question earlier about the "bodily integrity" of the child in the example I gave. I know it gets hard to keep up with the comments as they keep flying. Thanks, CS.

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  155. Thought I'd add a link to that song I referred to before. I had the words a little bit wrong, but please read it. It's about a young man who finds out, apparently, that his girlfriend is pregnant, and he says, "There goes my life, there goes my future, my everything." Until.... that little girl gets to be born, and wouldn't you know it, he finds out what his real "everything" is.

    http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/chesney-kenny/there-goes-my-life-11456.html

    I am so sad for all the mothers and father who never got to meet their own little "everything."

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  156. Stacy and Leila,

    Consider my view of knowledge like this. Say that the best description of something we can describe is a circle. The circle is the best we can possibly do at describing that thing. I think science (and other things, like ethics) are methods of attempting to refine our knowledge to get towards that circle. Maybe in the past people described that circle as as a square. Then as time passed we described it as a pentagon, then octagon, hexadecagon (16 sides), etc. All of those are more or less close approximations of a circle, but they aren't quite a circle. There's still flaws in our knowledge, no matter how close we get. Even a 256-gon or whatever isn't a circle.

    And even if we are able to describe the circle perfectly, it doesn't matter because the actual description of the circle itself is us making certain assumptions about reality and whether what we see is really true. The actual true description isn't a circle, it's something indescribable. That's how I see knowledge. Humans have a limit, and what we know doesn't describe how things are perfectly, and we can't.

    I hope that was clear!

    That doesn't mean I don't believe that science can't uncover useful things though.

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  157. Forthewar,

    You are describing human perception and our limited capabilities regarding knowledge, not reality. Objective reality is the reality that exists outside humans, whether or not we fully understand it or are capable of articulating it. We must live in that objective reality even if we do not fully understand it. We agree with you that humans are not always capable of fully understanding or grasping reality. But that doesn't mean that reality is subjective or that reality is non-existent. It's out there even if we can't understand it.

    As someone who has a science degree, I know that science depends on natural order and objective reality. We may not fully understand it all, but science is completely worthless without natural order -- an order that exists outside of our brains. Science is more than just describing things for human usefulness. First, it wouldn't be useful at all if it wasn't grounded in natural order. We wouldn't be able to replicate or study anything if natural order failed to exist. Second, science isn't about unlocking metaphysical ideas or philosophies, but about seeking to understand the objective natural world. That certainly fits into other planes of reality, but it isn't the focus of science.

    Yes, scientists can be biased in their approach and get it wrong. In fact, I think people put way too much stock in science when they believe it is our *only* reality and reduce everything to materialism. Yes, sometimes our understanding of nature is off because we do not have the knowledge to understand the true nature of something. That doesn't mean that it's true nature is nonexistent, just that we do not yet have the capacity to understand it (and may never have the capacity).

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  158. "Do you not believe that rightly ordered health is a good?"

    Yes, but I think we believe so for different reasons! Being healthy is good because we enjoy being healthy, not because it is natural for us to be healthy. No one enjoys being sick, lol!

    "I got it, about the Catholic part, no worries, ha ha! And, I didn't expect you to convert today. ;) Just keep reading (I recommend a lot of Chesterton, oh and Dr. Kevin Vost's Atheism to Catholicism: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/08/my-interview-with-dr-kevin-vost-from.html . Two great atheist intellectuals turned Catholic. Of course, Lewis, too!"

    I'll do you one better, I'm actually supposed to be attending Mass soon with a friend. I was raised without religion (not atheist really, it just wasn't a topic in my house), but I've always been interested in religion. I recently got two new roommates, one Jewish, one Catholic, so religion talks come up often and whatever. So I've been reading about both, and Catholic roommate keeps asking if I want to go, and book /=/ actual experience so I'm game whenever I'm not busy on a Sunday.

    To be clear though, I'm going mainly out of curiosity, since churches in general are so out of my life experience. I've been to like, 3 my entire life, none Catholic. The response to the offer is still thanks but no thanks lol

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  159. "As someone who has a science degree"

    What field? I'm a biochemist :)

    I think science depends on believing what we see is consistent with reality.

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  160. Geology :). My husband has also been a geologist for ten years. The field of geology, of course, is really a combined science and math field -- Physics, chemistry, biology, and math applied to the earth and solar system, as I'm sure you know!

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    1. When I was getting my M.S. I lived with a geology graduate student. They had this like....clay model or something that they used to simulate fault line earthquakes or something. So cool.

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  161. Forthewar

    "Humans have a limit, and what we know doesn't describe how things are perfectly, and we can't."

    So if I happen to spot a baby with its spinal cord severed (as in the photo above), that baby, although appearing, for all intents and purposes, to be dead, can't be perfectly described as dead - because in reality it might actually be "not quite" dead?

    Every morning I see my nose in the bathroom mirror. I touch it, feel it, even wash it. But it mightn't, in reality, be my nose or I mightn't actually be breathing or smelling through it - those are just my imperfect descriptions of the protuberance in the middle of my face and its key functions?

    Why is the universe intelligible? Why are there well defined laws which govern it? If there weren't any (reliably discoverable) universal laws/truths about the universe/nature why would we even bother doing science, investigating anything? Every "fact" would be subject to change without notice, part of a constantly changing/chaotic soup, wouldn't it? The sun might rise in the West one morning and the rain begin to fall upwards. I'd touch a hot stove every now and then because my sure knowledge that my hand would burn wouldn't really be sure knowledge, but just an imperfect description of the likely consequence, right?

    The fallacy with your line of thinking (that no truth that man possesses is absolute or objective) is that it leads inevitably to the point that each person's truth is (temporarily) true - at least for him/her. Two contradictory views would therefore both become true, depending on who's doing the observing and defining. One man would look at a dead baby and say, "That baby is dead". Another would say, "Well, it certainly looks like it, but at best that's just an imperfect way to describe its real condition."

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  162. Elizabeth, you described it so well! I'm glad I have the scientist Catholics, like Elizabeth, on the blog! I am not a scientist, that is for dang sure. :) And, for the record, Stacy has her Ph.D in chemistry.

    "Being healthy is good because we enjoy being healthy, not because it is natural for us to be healthy."

    forthewar, are you saying that biology and biological processes are "good" based on our feelings of them? So, if I am feeling unhappy with having sight, for example, does that make my sight disordered (not a natural good)? If I dislike gravity, does it make gravity a disorder? I guess I need some clarity on that, as your comment startled me.

    "I think science depends on believing what we see is consistent with reality."

    But what does reality depend on? What is real (true) in the material world must surely be independent of us, correct?

    Thanks for your background info! I am glad to know it, and it's very interesting. We have another reader, Miss Gwen, who was raised an atheist and has been a contributor on this blog. A while back, she attended a mass, and she was kind enough to write a guest post about her experiences:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/09/atheists-view-miss-gwen-goes-to-mass.html

    Sharon, that is one of my favorite songs. :)

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  163. forthewar, your comment about how we "enjoy" our health reminds me of a long ago conversation I had with another atheist, who called herself "choice". Look about halfway through the post linked below and you will see what I mean. I highlighted all the "feelings" words in her worldview. That really startles me, as atheists are supposed to be all about science, hard fact, materialism, and it's the religious folks who are supposed to be all about subjective feelings, superstition, emotions, etc.:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/04/meaning-and-purpose-answering-choice.html

    As with the "personhood" debate, when atheists suddenly get all metaphysical, instead of going with hard biology.

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  164. Francis, perhaps I should clarify. There are always the "fringe" thinkers that even those on their general side think are completely crazy. At the moment, these people fall into that camp. I worry, particularly given the general slippery slope that is historically apparent in this area, that they will eventually bring a significant portion of society over to their way of thinking. That it will become, not fringe, but common thinking among the "progressives" of our day. After all, what if prenatal testing misses a diagnosis that would have caused the parents to abort their child? Shouldn't they then have the "right" to "correct" that mistake once the child is born and found to be "defective?" It really makes me ill, knowing this is the direction our society is heading.

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  165. Cassi,

    It's not just the loonies on the fringe who're working to sway the majority to their way of thinking. The majority is already, independently, part way there, even if they don't properly realize (or admit) it.

    This shift towards immorality began many decades ago, with the widespread acceptance and approval of a contraception mentality - seeking to decouple procreation from sex. (Both abortion and infanticide are but inexorable extensions of contraception - whenever the latex fails.) And governments around the world are falling over themselves to assist.

    Indeed, it is only a matter of time before states start to coerce entire populations to support murder - under various cynical guises like "healthcare", "freedom", "choice", "population control", "mercy killing", and what have you. Consider the malevolent provisions of the HHS Mandate.

    To my mind, Humanae Vitae, written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html) is one of the most startlingly prophetic encyclicals that was ever written by a Pontiff, even though it was widely rejected (even scorned) at the time - including by large numbers of Catholics, led by their own gutless/corrupt bishops. Brilliantly anticipating the inevitable slide from contraception to despotic oppression by those foresworn to a culture of death, the Pontiff wrote:

    "The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.

    [...] Let [responsible men] first consider how easily [artificial birth control] could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings ... need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law.

    Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

    Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law.

    Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife" (HV 17).

    True to the prophecy, more and more drastic methods of "conception control" are beginning to be viewed as acceptable not only from patently self centered motives of "convenience" and delusionary "freedom", but from the conviction that men and women have a "right" to enjoy unrestrained sex without being "burdened" by any natural consequences such as an unwanted pregnancy. Being "punished by a baby", so to speak, for their (simulated reproductive) actions. Fertility has now become a hindrance to pleasure, rather than a blessing that engenders family, fulfillment and joy.

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  166. Let's just say I had a very...eventful last couple of days.

    If it's still ok, I will respond shortly now:

    "You are describing human perception and our limited capabilities regarding knowledge, not reality. Objective reality is the reality that exists outside humans, whether or not we fully understand it or are capable of articulating it."

    I don't think humans can comment on or even confirm the existence of an objective reality outside of human perception. Maybe that's where we're missing each other.

    "Why is the universe intelligible?"

    I believe the Universe is intelligible because we evolved in this Universe.

    "Why are there well defined laws which govern it?"

    Have you heard of the Anthropic principle? Basically, it's a philosophical idea that states that the Universe appears so finely tuned because if it didn't, life couldn't evolve the way it did, and therefore we wouldn't be around to ask questions like "Why is the Universe so finely tuned?"

    "If there weren't any (reliably discoverable) universal laws/truths about the universe/nature why would we even bother doing science, investigating anything?"

    Because if we make some basic assumptions, it is the best way to uncover data useful to us, whether it is objectively true or not. We may not be able to describe how the Universe truly is objectively, if that is possible, but cancer still exists and through science we can do something about that.

    "forthewar, are you saying that biology and biological processes are "good" based on our feelings of them?"

    And our logical considerations of the good they can do. Yes. Biological processes are only good in the way that they benefit humans emotionally and logically.

    "So, if I am feeling unhappy with having sight, for example, does that make my sight disordered (not a natural good)?"

    I'd be inclined to first believe you had a mental disorder, but if you of sound mind and wished to be blind, yes, I believe that sight would be a negative for you personally (that does not expand to other humans). I believe in bodily integrity completely.

    "If I dislike gravity, does it make gravity a disorder?"

    Gravity isn't a process we can control, it's entirely different from human biological processes we have some basic understanding of and can therefore affect. Since we can influence natural human biology, that's a discussion worth having about whether the natural state is 'good.' If one day we figure out how to bend relativity or something and can change gravity, than that's a discussion worth having, haha.

    I guess the short answer is yes, lol. Natural processes are only 'good' if humans value them.

    "But what does reality depend on? What is real (true) in the material world must surely be independent of us, correct?"

    I don't believe I have a way to confirm or deny this, haha. I have no knowledge of anything outside the human experience.

    "That really startles me, as atheists are supposed to be all about science, hard fact, materialism, and it's the religious folks who are supposed to be all about subjective feelings, superstition, emotions, etc.:"

    I don't like stereotypes. :(

    Anyone who says feelings don't play a role in what they believe is a liar. I think whether we consider something 'good' will always be a combination of feelings and logic. They aren't easily separable.

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  167. forthewar, thanks for explaining all that! I am glad your laid it out so that readers can see that worldview and decide for themselves what makes logical sense to them. I use the Dennis Prager motto here as we debate: I prefer clarity to agreement.

    "...if you of sound mind and wished to be blind, yes, I believe that sight would be a negative for you personally (that does not expand to other humans). I believe in bodily integrity completely."

    It is wrong for me to say that I am glad you did not go to medical school and become an opthamologist, lol? When I go to a physician who treats 'disorders of the eye' or 'heart disease', I really want them to understand what health is, what disorders are, what disease is, what bodily integrity means. And those answers should be based in biology and science, not any individual's subjective feelings.

    Which brings me to the fact that you didn't want to "stereotype" when I said "atheists are supposed to be all about science, hard fact, materialism". If atheists are not about that stuff, generally, then what are they all about? You don't need to analyze every atheist on the planet, of course, but if you could tell me generally how atheists view the world (as opposed to religious folks), I would be interested. I'm surprised you objected to my comment, so I'm truly curious.

    Thanks!



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  168. And, I still don't think anyone has really answered the question about what the moral or essential difference is between Gosnell's hellhole and other abortion clinics (aside from sanitation).

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  169. There is no difference- unless you want to quibble and say that many abortions take place before a heartbeat is detected at 6-8 weeks (but that is usually chemical and not surgical)

    It is just sad...

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  170. I think it was Francis who gave a link to an article regarding after-birth abortion. Here is the link to the journal article itself:

    http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full

    A few quotes:

    "If the death of a newborn is not wrongful to her on the grounds that she cannot have formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing, then it should also be permissible to practise an after-birth abortion on a healthy newborn too, given that she has not formed any aim yet."

    (Actually, I think they meant to say, "If the death of a fetus..." But maybe I'm reading them incorrectly.''

    "In spite of the oxymoron in the expression, we propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide’, to emphasise that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk. Accordingly, a second terminological specification is that we call such a practice ‘after-birth abortion’ rather than ‘euthanasia’ because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia."

    I wonder if CS would disagree with these comments?

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  171. "When I go to a physician who treats 'disorders of the eye' or 'heart disease', I really want them to understand what health is, what disorders are, what disease is, what bodily integrity means. And those answers should be based in biology and science, not any individual's subjective feelings."

    I don't think I said anything that wasn't based in biology or science, though? Our bodies are 'naturally' set to operate in a certain way, and usually we enjoy this, and that is why 'health' is considered a good thing. Most humans enjoy being alive, so therefore health is considered an attractive goal as a side effect. The idea of health isn't a 'good' outside human desire. If someone has a different idea of what health is, there's can be just as valid, whether the body originally was "designed" to work that way or not.

    As a side tangent, I think everyone realizes that "natural" bodies leave a lot to be desired and are "good", but could be "better." Humans have gone to nearly every ecosystem on this planet, in places where our "healthy" bodies would die without technological assistance. We modify our "normal" bodies through technology and medicine all the time.

    "If atheists are not about that stuff, generally, then what are they all about? "

    While there certainly aren't 1.2 billion atheists in the world, there are a lot of atheists, enough that it'd be impossible to generalize all of them outside of 'they don't believe in God.' The loudest group, and the one people generally associate with atheists are the Dawkins et al type, but that's only one type. There are plenty of atheists who don't believe in God simply because they've never had a reason to, don't think about it, feel hurt by religion, or just simply don't understand religions.

    Take me for instance. I mentioned earlier that I was raised without religion -- that's true. My parents never mentioned God and I was reasonably isolated from the idea for long enough that I didn't really 'experience' religion until I was a teenager. By then it was (please don't take this offensively) bizarre, not because believing in God is bizarre, but because it didn't seem normal to me. I had never had the experience so seeing it was strange.

    I don't hold fast to materialism, need physical evidence for a resurrection to believe, or think Catholics are a force for evil in the world, or whatever the stereotype Dawkins type character would believe. I'm just a person who grew up not doing this thing that turns out is very important to a bunch of people.

    I haven't felt the presence of a God, maybe because he doesn't exist or maybe I just haven't been touched emotionally yet. Either is a possibility.

    That was long winded. But did it make sense?

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  172. forthewar,

    Have you ever been asked about your "epistemology"?

    Epistemology is one of those words in philosophy that confuses a lot of people, but it means 'how do you get your knowledge.'

    Among the ancient Greeks there were different views and some of them still persist today.

    For instance, there were the materialists even then, the Stoics and Epicureans. According to the materialist all of our knowledge comes from our senses, from what we can see, touch, taste, feel. We process it in our brain and all truth is in terms of matter and energy. The materialist eventually says, “Truth is a process in the brain.” This is the atheist epistemology.

    Then there were the spiritualists, like Plato. Plato believed that world around us, the world of the senses, is only a shadow of reality, not reality itself, but an imitation, a shadow, a sort of reflection in the mirror of the real world. The real world cannot be known by the senses, but can only be known by a spiritual intelligence, and in that spiritual intelligence there are innate ideas of truth. Truth is within us, and we have to become conscious of it again. The Eastern religions share this epistemology more or less.

    The third is that of Aristotle, a middle ground. Aristotle pointed out that the data about reality comes through the senses just as the materialist says. But, he said, that cannot be the whole explanation of human thought. Why? The senses give us things as they are but that includes lots of accidental, irrelevant material. It’s intelligence that analyzes what the senses tell us and draws out from it the relevant material. Our knowledge comes from both the senses and the intellect, which is able to transcend the level of the material in order to get at what is essential in the material world and make a scientific critical kind of knowledge possible. This is the epistemology the Church has.

    So, which is your? Or do you have none at all? Do you not even believe in knowledge or truth? And if so, then how do you trust your own reasoning?

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