Friday, August 2, 2013

Quick Takes: A lot shorter than last time!





1) People have chastised me on this blog for daring to say that IVF, ART, and donor-conception amounts to manufacturing children and treats them like commodities, like chattel. I've been told that by mentioning such things, I will make those children feel terrible (I guess the idea being that they don't already know that they were conceived in artificial ways). That's why I just consider this a bombshell of an article. It should hit us like a ton of bricks right on our consciences:


"Third party reproduction corrupts the parent-child relationship 
and disrespects the humanity of donor-conceived people."


Alana Newman/facebook

Alana Newman (one of my new heroes) is a donor-conceived person who provides support for others like herself. Is she allowed to say the following (emphases mine)?
We’ve created a class of people who are manufactured, and treat them as less-than-fully human, demanding that they be grateful for whatever circumstances we give them. While fathers of traditionally conceived human beings are chased down and forced to make child support payments as a minimal standard of care, people conceived commercially are reprimanded when they question the anonymous voids that their biological fathers so “lovingly” left.
Who will chastise her? Anyone? Maybe, instead, we should listen and support her as she courageously tells a truth that no one wants to hear (people like Alana are to sit down and shut up, remember?). I pray that many of you are moved to link her article to your facebook pages and blogs. Yes, it takes some courage to do so, but the time for silence is over. The era of comfortable Christianity is really over.



2) All of the pain described by Alana in that article comes from a philosophy of adults that says "I want it, so I deserve it, so it's a right and you have to give it to me."

Exhibit A:


Wealthy gay dad, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, says he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host gay weddings…. 
“The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church. 
“It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognise us.” 
He added: “It upsets me because I want it so much – a big lavish ceremony, the whole works, I just don’t think it is going to happen straight away. 
“As much as people are saying this is a good thing I am still not getting what I want.”


(Emphases mine.)

Can you believe that sh….  Oops, sorry. I really try not to cuss on this blog.




3) Moving along to the "we have to laugh or we will cry" category, I'm just laughing:


Yeah, um, so I won't even excerpt anything from that, I'll just let you go ahead and read it yourself.


4) This is so cool! I am not sure that the New York Times really understands what it actually did here, but it's so great! Take the quiz:


"Choose the pope who said each quote on seven critical issues."


[Hint: The answer to the title is, "They don't differ, and that's what we've been telling you all along."]


5)  Your daily chuckle!









6) As an introvert, I love, love, love, love, love this list of...


Introversion does not equate to being shy or socially awkward (though some introverts might be). Extroverts, when you see us introverts being perfectly friendly, gregarious, and socially adept, please don't laugh and say "Oh, you are sooo not an introvert!" as if we are lying when we say that we are. It just doesn't mean the things that you think it means, thank you very much. :)


7) Now to the most important Quick Take. This sweet little boy, Penn, is about to turn three years old… a precious baby, but blossoming into a big boy! He has been diagnosed with spina bifida, lower paraplegia, pelvic organs dysfunction, and hydrocephalus. Can you imagine the leaps and bounds he would make if he were to get medical treatment here in America? 


Click my photo for more information!


Surely there is a special family out there who could open hearts and home to this beautiful child of God and help him reach his fullest potential on this earth. Please, say a quick prayer for him now that that family will come quickly!


Have a blessed weekend, and thanks to Jen for hosting!




210 comments:

  1. Leila
    I will be the first to say that the men attempting to sue the church to allow them a wedding are wrong.

    If they want a church wedding they can find a church to do it for them.

    This gay does not think churches should be forced to allow gay weddings.

    I realize that may open a can of worms in regards to Christian florists, photographers and such, but as I am going on vacation I don't have time to debate.

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  2. alan, I appreciate your stance. I really do. Have a wonderful vacation!

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  3. In the article about introverts - it now makes sense that I have no desire to do anything that I perceive to be dangerous - while my extroverted family and friends thrive on them (like skydiving, bungee-jumping, even skiing - totally not an adrenaline junkie). Much happier at home with family and books!

    Great composite of all that I've been reading this week. My heart goes out to children like Alana - many of us enjoy delving in our genealogies - but even in today's society, many fathers are absent for various reasons. I heartily recommend that people watch the movie, Courageous. You might gain some perspective on how important fathers are in a child's life - here's a link to a movie review: http://himwhommysoulloves.blogspot.com/2013/06/movie-review-courageous.html written by my daughter.

    And, everyone, share photos of these precious orphans. After all, we found a family for Ally! And she ages out this month! Social media is awesome in this respect!

    Love to you, Leila <3

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  4. 1.) I'm taking a facebook break but will happily repost Alana's link. I don't really think of myself as a brave person but the whole idea of being ridiculed is long past me. Who cares? If someone doesn't call you an idiot for what you believe in, then they will call you an idiot for the way you drive. Either way, you can't escape ridicule.

    2.)Maybe it's just me having a trying day with my 5 children, but those two men's demands of "I want" sounds like the demands my children have been giving me all day: "I WANT juice!" "It's not fair!" "I WANT candy!"

    I escape to your blog to get away from the madness only to find grown men/women and parents continuing to demand their "I wants."

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  5. And just saw Alan's comment--thanks for speaking up Alan! Have a great vacation!

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  6. I don’t think the emotions or shortcomings that any person has should be slighted or made to feel unimportant but that doesn’t mean we should enact legal sanctions to make them feel better.

    Adopted children have questions and anxiety. Children of divorce have anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. Children bought in to blended families feel left out and anxious. Children whose parent has died and the remaining parent start dating again feel betrayed and left out. Children with deployed parents feel abandoned. Children whose mother slept around and don’t know who their father is feel confused about their identify.

    Those feelings are very real, but it doesn’t justify illegalizing adoption, or divorce or one night stands or tours in Iraq. While I would encourage a parent to consider their child’s feelings, those feelings shouldn’t dictate that parent’s marriage or relationships.

    Should children in this situation ‘just get over it?’ If we’re being frank, both yes and no. If are you adopted, or one of your parents dies or you don’t like your step mom there is a point where, yes you need to cope with it. While I would hope therapy and other tools would be used to accomplish this we all have to ‘get over’ something.

    CS

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  7. "I don’t think the emotions or shortcomings that any person has should be slighted or made to feel unimportant but that doesn’t mean we should enact legal sanctions to make them feel better."

    I think you misunderstand. It's not about making people "feel better", it's about denying people's rights. Natural, inherent rights. Not "wants", but rights.

    Is it moral to buy and sell human beings at any stage, CS? Is it moral to plan in advance for a child to be fatherless or motherless? Is it moral to manufacture a child for the wants of the adults?

    A child has a right not to be bought and sold. A child has a right to be born to his mother and father. A child has a right not to be treated as chattel and manufactured.

    The only ones in the IVF/ART/gay parenting world who are basing things on "feelings" are the folks who "want" a child and will have one at all costs, even at the cost of the rights of the child.

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  8. And I really don't know how many times I can say this, but yes, CS, people overcome all sorts of horrible situations that have put them behind the eight ball. Things even too horrific to mention, even. Yes, the human spirit is amazing, human resiliency is amazing. But that's not the point. The point is, we don't put children in bad situations on purpose. We don't design and plan a fatherless or motherless child, or trample on a child's rights from the get-go.

    Traditional adoption is about restoring what is lost to a child, not planning and putting them in that situation in the first place and calling it "good". Adoption is born out of a loss. We don't set the child up for the loss on purpose and celebrate it as a good.

    Surely you can make the distinction?

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  9. "(P)leasure cannot be the only factor affecting my decision to act or not to act, still less the criterion by which I pronounce judgement on what is good and what is bad in my own or another person's actions. Quite obviously. that which is truly good, that which morality and conscience bid me to do, often involves some measure of pain and requires the renunciation of some pleasure. The pain involved, or the pleasure which I forego, is not the decisive consideration if I am to act rationally."

    Ahh, if only the world could have the ears to hear that pain (of not being able to have children, not getting what you want) is not the worst evil and pleasure (what you want) is not the greatest good. Putting the good of others ahead of what we would like is not at all easy, but it is so worth it. In the end, it's not like we even know whether this thing that we pursue so ardently will even give us the pleasure we are looking for.

    "What is more, it is not fully identifiable beforehand. Pleasure and pain are always connected with a concrete action, so that it is not possible to anticipate them precisely. let alone to plan for them or, as the utilitarians would have us do, even compute them in advance. Pleasure is, after all, a somewhat elusive thing." (Both quotes from Love and Responsibility by JPII)

    Many things that have brought me pain in life have also been the greatest opportunities for growth. We have got to get past this idea that we "deserve" to have everything we want.

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  10. "I don’t think the emotions or shortcomings that any person has should be slighted or made to feel unimportant but that doesn’t mean we should enact legal sanctions to make them feel better."

    This comment was very interesting to me. Change "enact legal sanctions" to "enact legislation" and this comment applies to a whole array of issues including gay marriage and abortion.

    But it is interesting to me how many people would make the exact argument CS made- the children of ART should just learn to accept the world they are in and move on. And that's that.

    But telling an adult woman to accept her pregnancy or an adult to accept the long-standing marriage laws of this country is somehow out-of-line. I can't wrap my mind around the idea that a child with not control over a situation should just accept it while adults who have a LOT of control over their situations are somehow unable to deal. Is this justice?

    I realize this is a bit of a simplification of the issues and I don't think I am expressing myself well. But does anyone else see the tension in those viewpoints?

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  11. Leila,

    Are the majority of IVF babies actually without a mother and a father? The gay population is pretty small, the majority of IVF couples are straight people with infertility problems or wealthy single women are they not?

    Now to your other claims. "A child has a right not to be manufactured" LOL you mean made? Children are made from adult material, it seems bizarre to prohibit them from putting their own sperm and eggs wherever , including pee tree dishes. I don't see how 'children have the right to dictate that men only ejaculate inside of women and no where else, seems like a bizarre right to have.

    You keep talking about moral rights. Do you wish for things like IVF and artificial insemination and so to be illegal or more widely accepted as immoral. I ask because I have no opinion on what people think is immoral or moral only what they want to enforce on others.

    CS

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  12. Hi Kat.

    Are you asking why adults should have more control over their personal lives then children? Why children can’t pick their home situations and adults can. I would think it’s obvious that we don’t intervene in children’s familial lives unless there is abuse and that adults have free movement.

    Another reason is that a pregnancy is beared solely on a pregnant woman. A marriage is beared solely by a married couple. Having ‘gay parents is something that effects you but it doesn’t compel you to DO anything like being married or pregnant does.

    CS

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  13. What a surprise that gay marriage being legalized is only the first step. Of course the next step is obviously to force the "evil" church to marry them. Surprise surprise.

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  14. "Are you asking why adults should have more control over their personal lives then children? Why children can’t pick their home situations and adults can. I would think it’s obvious that we don’t intervene in children’s familial lives unless there is abuse and that adults have free movement."

    We aren't protecting the children from the harm (perceived or real) done to them through ART.

    We ARE protecting adult women from the harm (again, perceived or real) of an unwanted pregnancy. We ARE turning society on its head to protect gay couples from having to deal with the harm in living in a society which defines marriage differently than they wish.

    We have long, in-dept discussions about the ramifications of abortion and SSM and why American adults shouldn't have to deal with these injustices. But the supporters of abortion and SSM don't seem to have any interest in exploring whether or not Alana has a point and whether or not there IS harm being done to these children. It just seems there is a disconnect there. Why are we so quick to tell Alana- that's just the way it is?

    As for the statement "A marriage is bared solely by a married couple." I'm pretty sure decades of psychology and child development research disagrees with you. It is commonly accept a child learns how to interact with the world and with men and women based on their relationship with their parents AND the relationship between the parents.

    Surely, when you were growing up you knew kids whose parents had bad marriages- didn't it impact the kids? The ones I knew, it sure did. I knew a lot of divorce kids and while their issues all manifested in different ways- they seem to have the same core problems. The same was true of kids whose parents stayed together but didn't have a loving marriage.

    I'm not going to say a child has a legal right to a happy home. But parents certainly have a duty to provide a safe, loving and happy home to a child. The dynamics of the home is set by the marriage between the husband and the wife. It is the dynamic for a young child's entire world. The child doesn't have to DO a thing except for live through it.

    I'm sorry, but an adult woman cannot be "forced" to be inconvenienced for 9 months to bring life into this world but there is nothing wrong with willfully creating a situation where a child will spend their whole lives without his/her mother or a father? Don't you see how crazy that seems?

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  15. Kat, I was going to comment on the disconnect as well and you beat me to it.

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  16. Alana's points are huge and I really have a tough time seeing the opposing argument through the glaring selfishness. All the hyper safety and sensitivity that our culture exercises in regards to children's well being on micro things like self esteem , participation and acceptance, meanwhile we totally botch and ignore the big life changing macro things like family structure etc. It seams everything g we do now somehow come back to the same root. It makes Us the adults feel better and doesn't do jack for the long term good of the kids who have to live a long Adult life with whatever baggage they have been given.
    And Alan, I appreciate your sincere dislike for the idea of forcing marriage ceramonies , but dear God man, isn't that exactly what we have been saying all along? When you change the definition of something as complicated and foundational as marriage, you are going to spend the next twenty years in court defining the new meaning! This is an "equal protection" nightmare that has potentially no end. And I don't care how much pro ssm people want to ignore it but , Leila's often repeated point about all the other types of coupling , is obviously coming. Lawyers have had those suits already written for years just waiting to write in the name of plaintiff on the form. This is all a very brave new world and we will watch over the years exactly how correct the Churches teachings in all these matters are.
    And Leila sometimes the use of a properly placed cuss word truly is the best way to communicate a given point. Your example above is just text book. :)

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  17. Are the majority of IVF babies actually without a mother and a father? The gay population is pretty small, the majority of IVF couples are straight people with infertility problems or wealthy single women are they not?

    Actually, the majority of IVF babies are frozen on ice like commodities after third parties make them, and the majority of those are either killed or used for research material and killed. That's a big problem (and injustice) right there. And even the straight couples using it for infertility may be using donor sperm or donor eggs (in addition to discarding most of the embryos a third party has made for them), and of course single wealthy moms' children are (by your description) without fathers.

    Of course, biologically, every child has a mother and a father.

    "A child has a right not to be manufactured" LOL you mean made?

    So, now you are laughing and mocking Alana's description? She feels she was manufactured. She was not created by two human beings coming together in loving union (or any union at all), but she was a manipulated creation, purposely manufactured to be without a father. You never did tell me if you see the distinction between lamenting that a child is in a difficult situation (even denied natural rights) vs. planning to put a child in a difficult situation and denying natural rights (in this case, depriving a child of a father or mother).

    I don't see how 'children have the right to dictate that men only ejaculate inside of women and no where else, seems like a bizarre right to have.

    Actually, that is not the "right" at all. Children are completely at the mercy of adults. They cannot "dictate" a thing. These are the natural, inherent rights of children:

    A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception." CCC #2378

    I believe IVF should absolutely be illegal. And surrogacy, etc. I don't believe in buying and selling humans, no matter their age. Do you think it's okay to buy and sell children like a commodity? You wouldn't say that about adult human beings, would you? I'm guessing you think that trafficking in humans should definitely be illegal, correct? We just believe it should be illegal across the board.

    Having ‘gay parents is something that effects you but it doesn’t compel you to DO anything like being married or pregnant does.

    A quick reminder that gestation is a passive state. You don't "do" anything to gestate a baby. The "doing" was in making the child, and there are immoral ways to make a child, I hope we can all agree.

    Kat, you are making perfect sense to me. Thank you!

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  18. Csawww, lol, thanks! I went a little edgy this time, ha ha.

    But you are absolutely right. And I'm so with you that the selfishness in all this is what gets me. I am not that old, but I remember when being selfish was a bad thing, to be avoided. We used to be taught to do what was right and just, not what we "wanted" no matter what the cost or whom it hurt. Especially children. It's so sad. I keep coming back to my (left of center) friend who is very sympathetic to gay "marriage", but told me a sad story in the midst of her live-and-let-live defense:

    I was a "teacher" in a preschool yrs back (b/c it was a co-op and all parents had to work there) and one little boy told me that he did not have a dad. He said it out of the blue to me..(he has two moms)..as if to confide in me. It was a hard moment and I was surprised and I know what the kid meant.

    Keep in mind, she lives in a very blue state, where gay "marriage" is smiled on (very "tolerant" area). Similar to the area where Alana was raised (in San Fran). So, it's not because the boy was being taunted, not at all….

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  19. I've seen it too. I know it's anecdotal, but I live now and grew up in a very blue state and very gay neighborhood, there was one kid in my class that had two dads . He had a tremendous time especially in the later teen years. He died several years ago may he rest in peace. It's very hard for me to ignore that real experience with all it's unique complications.

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  20. "I ask because I have no opinion on what people think is immoral or moral only what they want to enforce on others. "

    CS, so what you're saying is, you have no opinion on what is moral or immoral.... except that "enforcing" something on others is wrong - in other words, it is immoral.

    Is that right?

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  21. Leila- I am mostly a lurker here on the Bubble. I love to read all your posts, links, and brilliant responses in the comments. Hope to be able to expound our faith like you do. Your insight on this blog has impacted my life :)

    That meme of Pope Francis saying to love all men cracked me up!

    -Crystal Pinto

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  22. Sharon,


    "I ask because I have no opinion on what people think is immoral or moral only what they want to enforce on others. "

CS, so what you're saying is, you have no opinion on what is moral or immoral.... except that "enforcing" something on others is wrong - in other words, it is immoral.

Is that right"

    I have no opinion on the morality of a lot of things in so far as we are having a philosophical discussion. I don’t really care if people on this board think pre-marital sex and a variety of things are ‘immoral.’ But I do care when people try to codify that people can’t have pre-marital sex and other things into law.

    CS

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  23. We are having two conversations here, a moral conversation and a legal conversation.

    Let me be very clear. I am not saying anything about the moral status of IVF or surrogacy or anything else, in fact I don’t care about it’s moral status one bit.A lot of stuff is immoral and I have no desire to legislate against it. I care to see if it makes sense to make IVF and other things ILLEGAL.

    In order for us to get anywhere we need to address this.

    “A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents,"

    This is Catholic Teaching, this is not compatible with the law, in fact it is CONTRARY to our law.

    Our laws (even excluding IVF and artificial means) state that every single person WHO WANTS a baby has the LEGAL RIGHT to make AS MANY as they want with WHOEVER they want in marriage, out of marriage or in an extra marital affair.

    Do you agree with these laws? If not how should these laws be changed?

    CS

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  24. Leila,

    " believe IVF should absolutely be illegal. And surrogacy, etc. I don't believe in buying and selling humans, no matter their age. Do you think it's okay to buy and sell children like a commodity? You wouldn't say that about adult human beings, would you?"

    So I actually don't know much about IVF and Surrogacy, I'm not aware that they sell embryos, only that they sell sperm and eggs is this incorrect? As pro-lifers point out there is a world of difference between sperm and eggs and embryos, as they say one is a human being and the other is not.Selling one's own sperm that belongs solely to him can never be seen as trafficking.

    As for surrogacy, you arent paying for the child you are paying for the woman's efforts in gestating the child. Again as pro-lifers point out gestating pregnant woman don't make the child, they help the child grow, it's like paying a babysitter or a teacher.

    CS

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  25. CS, do you live in a state that actually has such a law, stating that people can have as many children as they want in as many situations as they want? I would think that the law tends to be silent on that matter, other than stating that parents are expected to be responsible for the children they create. Unfortunately, by its silence in regard to IVF, the law actually allows people to have their own children created with the parent having zero responsibility. You said that you don't know much about how IVF and surrogacy work. I encourage you to look more deeply into the area. The United States has actually been called the "wild west" in regard to IVF because we have so few laws controlling its use compared to other countries.

    I find your statement regarding the law interesting, too. You "don't care" about anyone's opinion of morality or immorality, you only care about legality. I guess I am the opposite. On a philosophical level I don't care one bit about legality. I care about right and wrong. I would imagine that you do, too, in that you do not think everything that is legal is also moral or "right". It's pretty easy to find examples of such situations in, say, sharia law.

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  26. Crystal, that made my day! Thank you!

    But I do care when people try to codify that people can’t have pre-marital sex and other things into law.

    First, I can't remember anyone here saying that pre-marital sex should be illegal? Some immoral stuff is illegal, some not. But all law is someone's morality codified, no?

    This is Catholic Teaching, this is not compatible with the law, in fact it is CONTRARY to our law.

    Saying that people could not be bought and sold was also once "not compatible with the law" and was "CONTRARY to our law". So, what is your point? That all civil law is good? Of course you're not saying that, so what is the point of this statement? Either a law is just or unjust, correct?

    Do you agree with these laws? If not how should these laws be changed?

    First, what law says that? Where? We allow people to have children, yes, and please look carefully and see that children born out-of-wedlock without ART/IVF fall in this right: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents" But more recently, we have promulgated an industry of buying and selling babies, manufacturing them to be born without their parents, and made by a third party. The law never caught up. Right now in some nations, the law is catching up, at least a bit. For example, ending the anonymity of sperm donors (for the RIGHT of the child to know his origin, who his father is). This has come about due to the pressure from these children and the harm done to them. Of course I do not agree with IVF and ART, as it violates the natural rights of a child (as does abortion). I believe unjust laws should be changed. Just laws are good, unjust laws are bad. It's that simple. I believe I will defer to MLK here, again, to help you understand my (and the Church's) position on that concept:


    [T]here are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

    Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.


    I strongly urge you and everyone to read the whole thing:

    http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

    As to how the laws should be changed: Well, like any law, it's changed through the legislatures.

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  27. Replies
    1. Sorry, Leila! I still can't get that little button that asks if I want to follow comments by e-mail so the only way for me to follow is to continually check back to the website and search and search for the last comment I've read.... if I can remember what that was. I tried allowing popups for your website and sent the test to see if it worked. It didn't. :(

      Delete
    2. Sharon, I'm so sorry! That makes me so upset! I will see what I can find out. What a pain!!!

      Delete
  28. CS, selling one's gametes for often large sums of money, with the intent to artificially manufacture a child and hand that child to someone who is not the father or mother (but is the purchaser), is trafficking in humans, sorry. I absolutely understand that people are doing this (often, not always) with the best of intentions, and from a burning desire to have a child, but again, a child is not a "right" to be had. No one has the right to a child at all costs. No one has the "right" to a child at all. A child is a gift from God.

    And if a child has no rights, and specifically no right to his own parents, then why don't we hand out babies randomly at the hospital when it's time for mom to discharge? Who cares what baby goes to whom? What does connection to one's origins really matter? Does it matter, CS? I know you were born as the fruit of your parents' loving union. That is a beautiful thing, no? It's the ideal, isn't it? Shouldn't every child have what you had? We should, as a society, uphold that as the obvious standard and norm.

    As for surrogacy, you may want to look up how poor women in India are now being exploited by couples (and gay men) in India… it's an absolute crime. And as for donor eggs, even the feminist organizations that I have largely stood firmly against have lauded the exposure of how the egg buying/selling industry has exploited women:

    http://www.eggsploitation.com/

    If you care for women's rights, you will want to check that out.

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  29. Wow I actually feel that everyone ignored my very salient points to distort what I was saying without actually refuting anything.

    I am actually blown away by how irrelevant the comments are.

    No of course I did not say that just because something was legal it was right or that law is infallible. But if you want to talk about changing the laws about IVF its pretty obvious that we need to consider solely what is legal and what ought to be legal. You can’t say in one breadth that you want to change the LAW concerning IVF and then say laws are flawed are irrelevant. I am asking you how you want to change the laws to make them better, understanding hopefully that we can’t change this law in a nutshell we have to consider it holistically.

    When Sharon says things like this, it’s hard to take you seriously.

    “CS, do you live in a state that actually has such a law, stating that people can have as many children as they want in as many situations as they want?”

    Sharon, everything that isn’t illegal is legal. In America it is perfectly legal for me to have endless strings of one night stand and pop out baby after baby without having any regards to who the father is or even knowing whom the father is.

    Do you agree is this legal?

    Do you agree should this remain legal? Should I need a permit to have babies? Should the state have to approve my partner or give me a license? Or do you acknowledge that I have and should retain the legal right to procreate at will regardless of it ensures my child has a two parent home?

    CS

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  30. Oh my! That introvert thing explains a lot! It's me. Enjoying visiting your blog. :)

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  31. But CS, I'm not avoiding your topic. I am addressing the essence of your topic. The essence is right and wrong. We can totally drop the "legality" conversation if you want, because i think we both do agree that legality does not equal right or wrong. It is supposed to be BASED on right and wrong, but it very often is not. Right and wrong are more important than legal or illegal, because a just society has to base its law on right and wrong. And just to be clear, you are the one who said this:

    "Our laws (even excluding IVF and artificial means) state that every single person WHO WANTS a baby has the LEGAL RIGHT to make AS MANY as they want with WHOEVER they want in marriage, out of marriage or in an extra marital affair."

    I'm not sure how you turn that around into not being able to take me seriously.


    ReplyDelete

  32. “And if a child has no rights, and specifically no right to his own parents, then why don't we hand out babies randomly at the hospital when it's time for mom to discharge? Who cares what baby goes to whom? What does connection to one's origins really matter? Does it matter, CS? I know you were born as the fruit of your parents' loving union. That is a beautiful thing, no? It's the ideal, isn't it? Shouldn't every child have what you had? We should, as a society, uphold that as the obvious standard and norm.”

    Leila,

    You know how fond I am of you but this drives me crazy. Its actually maddening when you mingle legal rights with moral rights.

    Conservatives always talk about limited government, well laws aren’t about ideals. They are about legal bare minimums. Should every child have what I have, it would be great. Should everyone be legally entitled to what I had, hell no.

    For a few reasons, not the least of which is that its bloody impossible to ensure such a thing, and I for one cannot pretend that people don’t have the rights to copulate and procreative that they clearly do have and should continue to have.

    Oh and we don’t give out babies randomly for the sake of the parents who tend to want their babies. When the parent don’t want their baby, they do allow another non relative to take them home in the form of adoption. So that example lends more to the idea that parents are entitled to their children than vice versa.

    CS

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  33. Of course, with those rights come responsibilities, right, CS? You are very correct, that we can't go around legislating everything, which Leila also commented on. There are things that are wrong - having children outside of marriage would be one example - that we don't make illegal. But you bring up adoption. Adoption is highly regulated and there is normally quite a bit of outside involvement. We don't normally allow people to just take on a child as their own, with the legal rights and responsibilities of parents, without those people having to show that they are worthy, in a sense, of being given that kind of care of another person's child. What do you think of the fact that anyone can obtain sperm and use it to impregnate someone else? What do you think about men leaving their sperm at a sperm bank with not the least concern for the children that will be created from his sperm? How about a woman who donates her eggs, neither knowing nor caring if a child of theirs is experimented on and destroyed, not knowing under what conditions a child of hers might be raised. I agree that we should have very limited involvement in normal procreation (although we can have policies, I suppose, that encourage people to behave more or less responsibly), but when the biological parents are not going to raise a child, then it is appropriate to have more involvement in that situation. Also,we should certainly consider whether we are going to allow outside entities to be involved in a child's life when the outside entity is freezing those children for future use.

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  34. So, CS, parents have a right to their children, but children don't have a right to their parents? How do you figure?

    Anyway, let's go straight to the heart of your talk about the legal framework. First, IVF came on the scene before there were even thought to the laws. Technology (moral or immoral) came first in this case. There was no case law, nothing to anticipate such a thing. Science leaps ahead and law tries to catch up.

    As to the particulars of HOW to change laws…. You mean you want the inner workings of the statehouses? Well, I guess you can look to how slavery was made illegal, or how abortion is slowly being made illegal, etc. Step by step, generally. That is why countries are now making anonymous donors illegal. It's a step. Hopefully, consciences will catch up and society will keep enacting laws to protect the natural rights of children.

    Let me ask you, since you want to keep this "all law": What makes a law just or unjust?

    ReplyDelete
  35. RE: Laws covering only legal bare minimums.

    What a novel idea! :)

    So... let's retain the legislation for kids to be in the custody of their biological moms and dads as far as possible (that being the commonly agreed ideal, and the basis of our current marriage laws) and forget any zany idea of codifying a thousand other types of "marriages" - especially those that will produce kids who by deliberate design and process will be forced to experience the very opposite of the agreed ideal. This way we won't have cumbersome tomes of laws to regulate an unending number of marital situations (including fabricated, unprecedented and un-natural coupling arrangements) and their consequences, from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    And while we're about it, let's also can other unnecessary legislation, such as the one that requires a citizen to pay for the murder of the children of others in the obvious misnomer of "healthcare" - given that a pregnancy is PATENTLY not a disease calling for medical intervention or cure by way of an abortion.

    Small, unobtrusive government, with max power to the people! I hereby second the motion!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Breaks.my.heart:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/opinion/sunday/the-misnomer-of-motherless-parenting.html?_r=0

    Even the gay dad acknowledges a major, primordial loss. That he caused. On purpose. Then, he asks that she have pride in it. Sigh…. Oh, how the adults have failed the children, and we allow it, because adults "want" it.

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  37. SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A MOTHERLESS CHILD
    - Van Morrison

    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
    Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
    Long way from my HOME

    Sometimes I wish I could FLY
    Like a bird up in the sky
    Oh, sometimes I wish I could FLY
    Fly like a bird up in the sky
    Sometimes I wish I could FLY
    Like a bird up in the sky
    CLOSER TO MY HOME

    Motherless children have a hard time
    Motherless children have-a such a hard time
    Motherless children have such a really hard time
    A long way from HOME

    Sometimes I feel like freedom is near
    Sometimes I feel like freedom is here
    Sometimes I feel like freedom is so near
    But WE'RE so far from HOME

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    Replies
    1. Francis, so true. We know that instinctively that the condition of a motherless child equals a tragedy in its essence, a gash in the soul.

      Children are often motherless due to sin, neglect, or death, but never should a child be motherless by design.

      Delete
  38. CS- I don't know you but I do remember from some of the previous comments you seem to have some interest in law.

    As a practicing attorney in two states I can tell you there is a huge connection between morality and law. That's what we are talking about when we talk about justice. Law without justice is tyranny.

    Refusing to discuss morality and only wanting to talk about "the law" means you are only having half the conversation. If you walked into my Criminal Law class and told the prof you refuse to discuss what is or isn't moral- you'd fail the course. You go before a judge and refuse to discuss the justice or injustice of a situation- you'll lose your case.

    It is true that not everything "immoral" is illegal and it is worth it to discuss why that is. What type of behavior are we trying to discourage or encourage? What might happen if we make this illegal? Would the courts be able to handle these cases? Is it worth the use of our resources?

    I hope you take a little more time to think about this issue and read up on it. I've spent years studying and practicing law so I can tell you from experience this is a relationship between morality and law. That relationship has existed for thousands of years. What you are proposing- a law disconnected to morality is something new.

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  39. Kat, this is fascinating to me! I want to hear more, so I hope that CS will respond. CS, thoughts?

    I read the phrase "a law disconnected from morality" and I actually got a shiver up my spine. To think about something like that is just horrific. I think we have seen regimes like that in human history. In fact, those types of regimes exist to this day.

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  40. Thanks Leila. I'd like to apologize to everyone for the horrible writing. Ha ha! I should have reviewed my post before I posted it.

    It has been a long day. A nearby creek flooded last night and parts of the town are underwater. Looks like everyone is safe but there is a lot of property damage.

    I should remember not to comment while exhausted. I'm going to go find a good book and a nap. Have a good day everyone!

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  41. Kat, if that was poorly written, I didn't even notice! I will pray for your town. Get some rest!

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  42. Hi Sharon,

    Your last comment at 11:52 makes a heck of a lot more sense to me.

    “What do you think of the fact that anyone can obtain sperm and use it to impregnate someone else? What do you think about men leaving their sperm at a sperm bank with not the least concern for the children that will be created from his sperm? How about a woman who donates her eggs, neither knowing nor caring if a child of theirs is experimented on and destroyed, not knowing under what conditions a child of hers might be raised. I agree that we should have very limited involvement in normal procreation (although we can have policies, I suppose, that encourage people to behave more or less responsibly), but when the biological parents are not going to raise a child, then it is appropriate to have more involvement in that situation.”

    I can completely follow this argument as opposed to the one rejecting IVF because children have a right to mother bio mom and dad which confused me because it’s just not true.

    I don’t know that I disagree with much of what you said here. But I am also not sure that giving someone a vile full of your sperm is all that different from giving someone your sperm through a casual sexual encounter, but certainly food for thought.


    CS

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  43. “So, CS, parents have a right to their children, but children don't have a right to their parents? How do you figure?”

    Leila I’m not all that familiar with this type of law but am under the assumption that if a man impregnates a woman he is on the hook to to pay child support. If he decides to move away and never wants to see his child, the child doesn’t have a right to see him. The father on the other hand, so long as he is paying his child support has the right to see his child at his request ( with some restrictions)

    Is this incorrect?

    CS

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  44. I can completely follow this argument as opposed to the one rejecting IVF because children have a right to mother bio mom and dad which confused me because it’s just not true.

    It's not true, how? What are children's rights? Actually, all children do have a biological mother and father. It's a natural right, a human right, just like the right to life. Those rights don't come from government, they come from God and nature itself. No one "gives" me a right to be alive, it's inherent. No one "gives" me the right to be the product of the union of my mother and father, that's a right from nature itself, from biology. And since we are Christian, we know that those natural rights are from God and God alone. The state can protect those rights, but not give them. When a state tries to usurp those rights, the state has become unjust.

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  45. On that last question, CS, I will defer to Kat. Legalities aside (again, we are talking about much more than what the state thinks), a child has a natural, God-given right to know his biological parents and lineage. When the state takes that away, that is a usurpation of natural rights of a child.

    Where do you think the right to life comes from, or the right to be free (and not enslaved)?

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  46. Hi Kat,

    Let me try again, I am not saying that there is no connection between law and morals.

    I am saying the contra-positive that just because something may be immoral it doesn’t mean that is enough reason in and of itself to give it legal status.

    I don’t think of things in this moral/immoral binary frankly, so it’s less that I'm unwilling to have discussion about morals and more so that I'm unwilling to have a moral discussion about things I see as neither moral or not moral.

    CS

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  47. I don’t think of things in this moral/immoral binary frankly

    As a mother, I've got to ask: How do you suppose you will teach your children right from wrong?

    And, Christian to Christian, I've go to ask (what you have not yet answered from previous threads), how do you respond to clear biblical teaching that, for example, "fornicators will not enter heaven"? Whose laws do you follow, God's or man's?

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  48. Leila,

    I have answered a bunch of your questions can you answer one for me.

    Should adults have the legal right to procreate sexually at will?

    CS

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  49. and by sexually at will, I don't mean IVF, I mean through good old fashioned hetero sex. Should adults have the LEGAL right to shag and make a baby with whomever they choose

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  50. CS wrote: "When the parents don’t want their baby, they do allow another non-relative to take them home in the form of adoption. So that example lends more to the idea that parents are entitled to their children than vice versa."

    Following is an extract from an article "Acting Reasonable: Democracy, Authority, and Natural Rights in the Thought of Jacques Maritain" by Brian Jones, M.A.:
    ____________

    Advocates of the modern philosophic, legal, and social conception of "rights" have taken as their primary guides Rousseau, Nietzsche, and Hobbes. The "rights" philosophy of Rousseau and Kant treated the individual as a god and gave him absolute rights whose limits were boundless.

    Rights were to be deduced from the so-called autonomy of the Will. The rights of the human person were to be based on the claim that man is subject to no law other than that of his own will and freedom. 'A person,' Kant wrote, 'is subject to no other laws than those which he (either alone or jointly with others) gives to himself.' In other words, man must obey only himself because every measure or regulation springing from the world of nature would destroy at one and the same time his autonomy and his supreme dignity.

    This so-called philosophy of "rights" is often invoked to protect or legitimize particular actions, which are contrary to that very reasonableness of the natural law. This notion of "rights" has to lead to much confusion because:

    It leads men to conceive them as rights in themselves divine, hence infinite, escaping every objective measure, denying every limitation imposed on the claims of the ego, and ultimately expressing the absolute independence of the human subject and a so-called absolute right - which supposedly pertains to everything in the human subject by the mere fact that it is in him - to unfold one's cherished possibilities at the expense of all other beings.

    […]

    In his political philosophy, Maritain seeks to establish rights as a valid expression of the natural law, (ST, I-II, 94,5) and in doing so rejects two fundamental errors that characterize much of modern "rights" theory:

    1) "rights" are rooted not in a human nature, but in the human will;

    2) centering "rights" on what is owed to the individual human subject.

    In regards to the former, much jurisprudential theory relies heavily on the self-sufficient human will. If a law is considered right merely because it has become a part of the legal order of society, then the majority will of any society takes precedence. At this point, it would become superfluous to speak of an unjust law, or inquire about the rightness of a given law because there is no standard by which to judge except the force and power of the human will. Fr. James Schall, S.J., puts it this way:

    The will then has no limit ... if whatever is willed is right because it is willed, and only because it is willed then there arises a certain parallel between law and right. In a sense, there can be no conflict between law and right, for whatever is willed is right because it is willed. The strongest will, the public will, trumps.

    The natural law tradition however allows, or rather, requires, for a disagreement between the law and right. That which is right, just, and good takes primacy over merely what is willed.
    ____________

    The current issues in regards to the rights of children arise from the fact that a child does not have a formed Will as such, and furthermore, cannot express it, thereby leaving adults who neither acknowledge nor respect natural law free to trample all over the child's best and "rightful" interests in pursuit of their own desires. The reality is that it is only the natural (divinely instituted) law - which mandates alignment of man's laws to accomplishing of the common good - that can protect the child or, for that matter, shield any of the weaker sections of society from the tyranny of the selfish and the powerful.

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  51. Legally, yes. I don't want to ever see the government say that women must abort a child they conceive, and to make procreation illegal is to mandate abortions.

    I believe it used to be illegal to commit adultery, and those in the military may still be prosecuted for it, if I am not mistaken? I can't say I'm against adultery being illegal (haven't thought about that very much), but at the very least, society should make that stigmatized and taboo again.

    Now, answer my questions, if you will (the last ones and also the ones about "what makes a law just or unjust?"). Thanks!

    PS: The slang you used for sexual intercourse (a sacred act) is unfortunate, and it goes to what I always say about the culture (and PP) treating sex (a Renoir) as the lining of a bird cage. And we wonder why we have so many sexual wounds, so much casual sex, so many sexualized children, and a pile of dead babies that number 55 million. We have so twisted the sacred nature of sex and marriage and the children that come from them, it's no wonder we have slunk to our most base natures, and worship two things: The almighty orgasm and "me".

    Lord, have mercy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My first sentence was in response to this, from CS: "Should adults have the legal right to procreate sexually at will?"

      Delete
  52. CS asks" "Should adults have the legal right to procreate sexually at will?" ... "Should adults have the LEGAL right to shag and make a baby with whomever they choose?"

    If "at will" means without taking full responsibility for each of the children thus produced, then first and foremost, morally, they shouldn't have such a right - not least because such promiscuous and irresponsible behavior hurts the children in a thousand known ways. Following from that, legally too, no adult should have the scope for such unfettered wrongdoing posing as a "right". The logic of such a philosophy is so obvious that it already undergirds laws requiring fathers to contribute towards the upkeep of their children. However, as Leila has already explained, enforcing a law which proscribes or punishes such behavior would be so next to impossible, there'd be little to no usefulness in enacting it.

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  53. Number 5 is my favorite! So funny! I could not stop laughing. It's just about what the media does these days. Thanks!

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  54. Here is another article with the thoughts of donor-conceived persons, and more info on the background of Alana Newman. Wow! She was an egg donor twice, at age 20, and it's fascinating (and sad) to read why:

    http://www.lifenews.com/2013/08/04/woman-deals-with-shock-pain-after-learning-her-father-was-a-sperm-donor/

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    Replies
    1. Whoops! What I neglected to say is that the article has a lot of insight into the legal side (legal mess) of ART and IVF.

      Delete
  55. To your #2-
    So ...
    Want = Deserve = Must take action = Government must intrude

    Does anyone else see anything wrong with this?

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  56. "Does anyone else see anything wrong with this?"

    I do! :)

    You forgot to add, "= everyone must approve". Kind of like the DOJ standard for dealing with gay co-workers - silence will be construed as disapproval, and disapproval will not be tolerated.

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  57. Makes me gag. We have changed as a nation. People fight and scream for tyranny and big Gov. They can't seam to find a way without new law. Just can't do anything without power from above. Oh wait. I guess we all need power from above. If its not God it's government. Gag, Gag.

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  58. You guys are exactly right. Selfishness writ large. And Csawww, it's that whole "God-shaped hole" that needs to be filled, and if we don't turn to God and submit to His plan and authority, we will turn to the government to tell us what to do and "take care of us" as well. Government replaces God. Blech!!

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  59. It's akin to us taking political action until the government mandates by law that all people attend a weekly Christian service.

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  60. "I am saying the contra-positive that just because something may be immoral it doesn’t mean that is enough reason in and of itself to give it legal status. "

    What about the opposite? Would you give legal status to something you believe is immoral?

    That is the position most Catholics find themselves in lately. The idea we can't make divorce illegal or swearing illegal is well established among Catholics. We don't necessarily want to make immoral actions illegal.....we just don't want to elevate them with a legal status.

    We are well aware there are going to be gay relationships, pre-martial sex, abortions, etc. But there is a difference knowing immoral actions will happen and holding them out as a good (which is what we do when we codify such actions in our laws.)

    We have no interest in legislating morality which I firmly believe doesn't work. The law is not a substitution for a conscience and it does not make moral citizens. The law is a tool- nothing more.

    But there is a difference between making immoral actions illegal and adopting laws which support a public policy of encouraging immoral actions.

    I realize you don't think these actions are either moral or immoral but you are conversing with those who believe this is not only immoral but IMMORAL. Honestly, I can't imagine a serious discussion in congress or in the courts not touching on the morality issues because such a large part of the population believes these actions to be immoral.

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  61. Leila- Thank you for the prayers!

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  62. Your title for #3 reminded me of this "article" I read a couple weeks ago.
    http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/13734/brochoice-how-hb2-hurts-texas-men-who-like-women
    Not the same argument, but another laughable one....

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  63. Bri, that is almost unbelievably. Almost.
    "Your sex life is at stake. Can you think of anything that kills the vibe faster than a woman fearing a back-alley abortion? Making abortion essentially inaccessible in Texas will add an anxiety to sex that will drastically undercut its joys. And don't be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by."
    Ok, as a man let me just apologize for my gender being pigs and mental midgets. So much more to say but no time

    ReplyDelete
  64. I found a parallel text to the paragraph above.
    "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,"
    ..... Oh. Wait. ?

    ReplyDelete
  65. “… public discourse about moral matters in the United States is much impoverished by our eagerness to transform questions of the right and the good into questions about individual rights. These individual rights are marked with a non-negotiable and absolutized character, which serves as a most durable battering ram against the status quo. Never mind that it fuels resentments and breeds hatreds, that it ignores the consequences to society, or that it short circuits a political process that is more amenable to working out a balanced view of the common good. The battering ram wielding citizen simply goes to court and demands [his] rights.

    - Leon Kass (American physician, scientist, educator, and public intellectual)

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  66. I am surprised that a man hasn’t tried to sue for his rights over the unborn. Whether to secure an abortion or to save his baby. Does the court simply view the baby as part of the mother, making the issue mute? Imagine these poor fellas in Texas, having already endured the mental anguish and torment of having sex with someone who is stressed about not being able to procure a 21 week abortion, and then being faced with the proposition that the crazy selfish mom doesn’t actually want to dismember their child. Is there no relief in this world?
    or has coercion, isolation, abandonment, pride, guilt, embarrassment etc etc been effective enough making men not even have to raise the question? yet.

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  67. Csawww,
    I am still waiting for the backlash from the "pro-choice" folks in response to this. Haven't they been saying for years that 1) if you don't have a uterus, you have no business talking about abortions and 2) the availability of abortions has no impact on casual sex?!
    I have long thought that a society that allows mothers to kill their own children out of convenience has no business collecting child support from absentee fathers. And, at the same time, fathers should have the ability to refuse the abortion of their offspring. Unfortunately, it can (and does) happen without them even knowing.

    ReplyDelete
  68. “… public discourse about moral matters in the United States is much impoverished by our eagerness to transform questions of the right and the good into questions about individual rights. These individual rights are marked with a non-negotiable and absolutized character, which serves as a most durable battering ram against the status quo. Never mind that it fuels resentments and breeds hatreds, that it ignores the consequences to society, or that it short circuits a political process that is more amenable to working out a balanced view of the common good. The battering ram wielding citizen simply goes to court and demands [his] rights.

    Exactly. And, ironically, many people have no interest in understanding the common good. They don't even understand what upholds the common good and what that means to the basic functioning of society. Rights are in place to serve the common good , not merely just individuals. Individuals function as part of the larger body politic, not as a self-ruling individuals in isolation.

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  69. Leila,

    “Legally, yes. I don't want to ever see the government say that women must abort a child they conceive, and to make procreation illegal is to mandate abortions.”

    This is why I will never say a child has the right to be raised by/know his bio parents. Because to do would destroy the rights of adults in an unenforceable and chaotic way.

    Thank you for admitting this

    To say it would be nice of ideal for kids to have this is one thing, but I could never justify making a law about IVF because it took away something the law doesn’t and couldn’t guarantee for them to have.

    CS

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  70. Leila,

    As for what makes a law just or unjust..

    Oh I don’t know. I don’t say that because I couldn’t figure it out. Only that sucha a topic is deserving of at least a ten page paper if not an anthology and the amount of time I’d have to put in to a comprehensive answer is frankly more effort than I want to exert.

    I’m sure I could know one when I see one but cant come up with a complete definition off hand.
    CS

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  71. “we will turn to the government to tell us what to do and "take care of us" as well. Government replaces God. Blech!!”

    I am sort of in awe that the people on this blog can talk about big government. Although you aren’t actively pushing for it, very few of it you would protests If adultery, or sodomy or birth control was made illegal even though a small government sure as hell doesn’t have any business caring if you cheat on your wife.

    CS

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  72. Hi Bri,

    "the availability of abortions has no impact on casual sex?!"

    I'm pro-choice. I would argue that people will have sex regardless but people will undoubtably have more sex if there is contraception/abortion. So I think more people see the correlation but also mean to point out even if abortion is zero casual sex will not be zero (duh)

    "I have long thought that a society that allows mothers to kill their own children out of convenience has no business collecting child support from absentee fathers. And, at the same time, fathers should have the ability to refuse the abortion of their offspring."

    Not really neither parent has prenatal responsibility both parents have responsibility to their born children. So there is no inconsistency. Especially because child support isnt gendered, mothers can pay it too.

    Arguing that abortion should be illegal is a hell of a lot less patronizing than saying abortion is illegal unless your boy toy approves it. Talk about patriarchy.

    CS

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  73. I am sort of in awe that the people on this blog can talk about big government. Although you aren’t actively pushing for it, very few of it you would protests If adultery, or sodomy or birth control was made illegal even though a small government sure as hell doesn’t have any business caring if you cheat on your wife.

    Who said we want it made illegal? It's immoral. That's the point. We don't need the government to tell us that.

    According to you, CS, you don't speak in "binary" terms pertaining to morality, so unless you can explain in "non-binary" terms how we filter, implement, and associate anything into law, then, yes, you would logically be 'sort of in awe' of people talking about these things.

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  74. "Arguing that abortion should be illegal is a hell of a lot less patronizing than saying abortion is illegal unless your boy toy approves it. Talk about patriarchy."

    I dunno......if the child is born the father will have to pay child support. If he fails to pay child support his wages will be garnished. Say the mother is unable or unwilling to work. Or the mother is only able to provide unskilled labor and will not be enough to support the child. Obviously, the burden of supporting that child will fall to the father.

    How is that any different than the burden of prenatal care falling to the mother?

    Why should a father be forced to support his child when a mother is not?

    Why get the state in the middle of the messy and costly business of tracking down deadbeat parents to support their offspring? Why not just make everyone agree to their obligations at the start or terminate the pregnancy?

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  75. I have to ask, what self-respecting woman would have a relationship, however brief, with a man she refers to as a "boy toy"?

    I love the delicious irony of you referring to a man as a "boy toy" and then complain about patriarchy.

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  76. Perhaps if we could pass a anti sodomy law it might just set a precedent for tax reform and the repeal of Obamacare. That would be good, no?

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  77. This is why I will never say a child has the right to be raised by/know his bio parents.

    CS, I never said this. If you read the quote from the Catechism, the right is to be the product of the union of one's own mother and father. It is a natural right (sprung from nature itself). Kids who are abused, for example, sometimes have to be removed from the bio parents for their own safety and protection of their life (another natural right). But no child "has to be" made via IVF! Laws can prevent that from occurring, and should.

    You were talking about natural conceptions (you were very clear on that) and not whether nor not every child has a "right" to be raised by bio parents.

    Please make sure you are very clear in ascribing thoughts to me, and not ascribing things I never said or meant.

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  78. As for what makes a law just or unjust..

    Oh I don’t know. I don’t say that because I couldn’t figure it out. Only that sucha a topic is deserving of at least a ten page paper if not an anthology and the amount of time I’d have to put in to a comprehensive answer is frankly more effort than I want to exert.

    I’m sure I could know one when I see one but cant come up with a complete definition off hand.


    I'll give you one offhand, and it's not long, and it's from Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter From a Birmingham Jail:

    The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

    Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.


    Boom!

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    1. Actually, I could have cut it down to just that last paragraph.

      Why would your definition take an anthology? Principles are very simple. If you live by principles that are so long and convoluted that they can only be understood by the writing of an anthology, you might want to rethink your principles.

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  79. Hi! I'm new here. I'm enjoying the thread and there are lots of well-written comments! I mostly agree with CS and think she's doing a great job explaining her (and therefore my!) positions so I have very little to add. I'll just comment on your quick takes:

    1. Difficulties of being an ART child - Sure, I can understand it's hard for a child not to know who their biological parent is or parents are. But It happens in many situations: a mother pregnant from a one-night stand, a child given up for adoption, a parent who has passed away, and also a child born using a donor egg or sperm. It's also hard for a child to grow up without a loving (biological or non-biological) mom and a dad, or grandparents. And it's hard for a child to be poor, or have a parent who works all the time or who is not supportive of them, or parents who don't love each other or who divorce. We all have our crosses to bear. Although children SHOULD have a loving mother and father, I don't think that they have a legal RIGHT to it.

    However, I do see your point about typical adoption being necessary due to a LOSS, and other situations being a result of a loss, as opposed to the absence of a biological parent (or parent) being a CHOICE that the adoptive parents make. (A side note: what about a mother who chooses to leave her husband and raise her child on her own, for whatever reason? Should that be illegal? Is that immoral?) And absolutely, it IS selfish the parents to insist on having a child just because that is what they want, even if that baby won't have all the perfect circumstances that every child should have. But generally the choice to have a child is a selfish one, isn't it? No one I know had a child even though they didn't want it, only because they thought their home was uniquely adapted to raise a child perfectly. It was either unplanned and they decided to continue with the pregnancy, or they wanted a child and chose to have sex in order to create that child. Just as giving your child up for adoption should not be illegal (even though it deprives that child of knowing its biological mother and father), just as a father abandoning his child should not be illegal (although of course it's wrong and he should still financially support it), just as a mother leaving her abusive husband and raising her child on her own should not be illegal, neither should ART. All of these situations leave a child without a biological parent. It's not an ideal situation, but should not be illegal.

    2. I firmly believe gays should be allowed to get married and also adopt. I'm very passionate about it, but we'll save that for another thread I think? And I firmly believe NO church should be forced to marry them.

    3. Wow. I'll bet that one transgendered person seeking an abortion is REALLY happy to be validated in such a way.

    4 and 5. Yeah I was shouting at the tv screen about that one. "But that's what the church has ALWAYS been saying!" Bah! Stupid media.

    6. loved it!

    7. You're doing good and important work. Thank you. He's a cutie so I hope you're successful!

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  80. Hi Linda!

    (A side note: what about a mother who chooses to leave her husband and raise her child on her own, for whatever reason? Should that be illegal? Is that immoral?)

    It depends. I am definitely against no-fault divorce laws. Those have been a total disaster for children and society. So, if she is leaving for selfish, frivolous reasons, then yes, immoral for sure, and legally there should be consequences for someone abandoning a family or marriage (as in the past). Now, if you are talking about abuse or a real need to get a child away from his/her father for safety reasons, then you are not talking about "choosing" to make someone fatherless, but only choosing to get the child out of danger (if the father was not dangerous, the choice to leave would never have been made). That is a far cry from two adults deciding to manufacture or buy a child (or gametes) who is designed from the get-go to be a motherless child, or a fatherless child.

    Although children SHOULD have a loving mother and father, I don't think that they have a legal RIGHT to it.

    Right, and I am talking about natural rights of a child, not strictly legal rights. The state never has and could never "force" a situation where a child has a "loving" (that in itself is subjective and impossible to measure) mother and father. I fear that is where you and CS are misunderstanding (because I never said that).

    These are the rights of a child (that spring from nature and God himself):

    A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception." CCC #2378

    I am glad that you do see the distinction between kids being resilient in a bad situation vs. designing a bad situation for a child even before he is born or ever before he is conceived.

    I always go back to that quote from Elton John, about his newborn son:

    “It’s going to be heartbreaking for him to grow up and realise he hasn’t got a mummy.”

    Even though he sticks by his decision, part of him (the recesses of his conscience) sees the primordial loss that he has caused his own child, by design. Same with this honest gay father (this one was a heartbreaking read):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/opinion/sunday/the-misnomer-of-motherless-parenting.html?_r=1&

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  81. CS, you wrote: "a small government sure as hell doesn’t have any business caring if you cheat on your wife."

    Does this indicate you believe in hell? You know, the place Catholics say we end up in if we cheat on our wives, kill our children, cause lifelong trauma to them by denying them the affection and knowledge of their real parents, and the like?

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  82. CS, you wrote to Leila: " As for what makes a law just or unjust... Oh I don’t know... I’m sure I could know one when I see one but can't come up with a complete definition off hand."

    Okay, let's see... How about a law that results in the denial to a certain section of the populace knowledge of and bonding with their own blood relatives - mom/dad/nana/pops/cousins/brothers/sisters...?

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  83. Leila, I read that NY times article and I didn't find it heartbreaking at all. Certainly it's sad, as I said, for a child not to have a mother (for whatever reason). But I think in this case (and in many cases involving gay adoption), the alternative for this child would be to have no parents at all. Certainly better to have two loving parents than no parents at all, even though these particular children are still missing a mother.

    I disagree with you about this: "only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception." I guess I misunderstood that statement to also imply you think the child has a right to loving parents after his birth (I won't speak for CS). Anyway, I don't think either of those rights belong to a child.

    I guess I see where you're coming from more in the idea of choosing ART vs adoption. An infertile couple (or single parent, or gay couple) could always choose to adopt a child who would otherwise be without parents (little Penn, for example), rather than "manufacturing" a child, as you put it. The choice to attempt to have a child of your genes or your partner's genes instead of adopting is selfish, certainly, but understandable in my opinion.

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  84. CS, you wrote: "neither parent has prenatal responsibility both parents have responsibility to their born children."

    If parents don't have responsibility for their unborn children, why does a murderer who kills a pregnant woman - resulting in her death as well as the death of her "fetus" - get charged with double murder? Is the law wrong in this regard? How come parents have no prenatal responsibility while someone causing the death of an unborn can actually end up in an electric chair? Are your laws all screwed up? Whaddya reckon?

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  85. Linda, you wrote to Leila:

    "I disagree with you about this: "only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception." [...] I don't think either of those rights belong to a child."

    Are you saying that a child is not a person &/or does not have the right to life?

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  86. "Are you saying that a child is not a person &/or does not have the right to life?"

    Certainly not. A child is a person and has the right to life. I disagree, however, that a child has the right to be conceived in the act of conjugal love of his parents, and to be respected as a person from the moment of conception. In that last part, it's the phrase "from the moment of conception" that I disagree with, not the right of a child (who is not understood to be a fetus) to life. You write "child" and I picture a 5-yr-old kid, not an embryo. And children are conceived in all sorts of ways that don't involve love, or a conjugal relationship, and that's ok (in that a child does not have any rights otherwise). But yes, a child is a person.

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  87. PS - not to freak you all out even more, but there's a new technology out there that's even more ethically murky than traditional forms of ART: the three-parent embryo. Looks like it's happening.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/28/health/uk-health-dna-ivf

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  88. A child is a person and has the right to life. I disagree, however, that a child has the right to be conceived in the act of conjugal love of his parents, and to be respected as a person from the moment of conception. In that last part, it's the phrase "from the moment of conception" that I disagree with, not the right of a child (who is not understood to be a fetus) to life. You write "child" and I picture a 5-yr-old kid, not an embryo. And children are conceived in all sorts of ways that don't involve love, or a conjugal relationship, and that's ok (in that a child does not have any rights otherwise). But yes, a child is a person.

    An embryo is not a child? When do you being living? When you have a full genetic code, or when you are a 5 yr old kid?

    When do you have a full genetic code? When you are a single cell.

    Is a human cell with a full human genetic code going to result in any other species other than a human being? If it's a single metabolizing cell, what does that mean to you?

    Lastly, is biology not objective for you in this measure?

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  89. Linda, science is with us on this one: A new human being is begun at the moment of conception. I can link you to the secular science texts and embryology texts (I've done so before on this blog -- there is a post called "Answering Christa" from a while back, but I have other links).

    Fetus literally means "little one", so that indicates a child. We speak of a pregnant woman as being "with child". We have "baby showers" and such, and so while it's necessary to speak euphemistically to deny a child's unrepeatable, unique life, we know in our hearts and consciences that when a woman is pregnant, there is not a child to consider. The only question is if we have the right to kill that child (or "little one" if you insist on fetus). I say we have no right to kill innocent human beings, ever.

    What natural rights does a child have, in your opinion?

    But I think in this case (and in many cases involving gay adoption), the alternative for this child would be to have no parents at all.

    I do some ministry in the domestic infant adoption (as well as being interested in the international special needs adoptions), and as we speak I have at least thirty married mom/dad couples ready to adopt any infant or small child that needs a family, including special needs. There is not a single infant in this nation who could not be adopted by a mother-father family. Some couples that I know personally wait years and years. There is no reason for any unwanted pregnancy not to end in the adoption to a married mom and dad, including the baby girl in the NYTimes article. It is so sad to deny a child a mother when so many mothers (with their husbands, a daddy!) waiting with open arms, hearts, and homes.

    I don't quite understand why you imply (correct me if I am wrong) that it would be selfish for a married couple to have children together and form a family? I thought that was the very purpose of marriage. I keep referring back to Hillary Clinton's quote about the meaning of marriage (back before she "evolved" quickly for political expediency):

    "[Marriage is] the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history, as one of the founding foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principle role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society in which they are to become adults.”

    Mankind has always smiled upon and encouraged children to be brought forth as the fruit of their parents' marriage. But are you saying that this (natural order) is now to be thought of as selfish?

    It's foreign to my thought process, honestly.

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    1. That should say: "...there is now a child to consider"

      Yes, I have heard of the three-parent embryo. We are definitely in the realm where science has run ahead of ethics, for sure. We are at a point where scientists (many of them) want to override and crush nature instead of work with it and stand in awe of it. To our peril.

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  90. Sorry for myriad typos! Trying to get out the door. Be back later! Thanks!

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  91. Suffice it to say this, children are a GIFT from God. No one is entitled to having children. Infertility is a cross to bear with love and support, but we are NEVER to force children through artificial means.

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  92. Linda, I think there is some confusion over the use of the word "right" in regard to the child as it's used in the Catechism. Say I am a party to a valid contract. I have "right" to expect the other party to fulfill their side of the contract. If they don't, I have the right to sue, to force the person to fulfill the contract or to pay me any damages that I have suffered. The same is true of many other rights. But if a child has the "right" to be conceived in the act of conjugal love of his parents, and yet he is not conceived in such a manner, there is no way to force anyone to go back and correct that situation, and he can't sue his parents for damages. It is a different kind of a right. It's a concept that is being addressed to the parents - we as adults should recognize that a child can be conceived in many ways, but that if we conceive them outside of this conjugal act of love, we are in fact violating the child's rights. We are behaving in a way that will cause difficulties for the child, difficulties that he doesn't deserve to bear. Of course, I realize that children who are conceived in other ways may be very much wanted and loved. Certainly I can see that when a couple struggles and suffers while trying to conceive a child, and then gives birth to a child who was conceived through IVF, the parents must be very joyful and grateful to have that child. Yet I can't help thinking of their other children conceived in that same IVF cycle, the frozen and/or discarded ones. Who is grateful and joyful for them? There must be a strange, and I would think painful, psychological disconnect that the parents have to have toward those "extra" children. And there are unwed moms - certainly I know many who love and are grateful for their children, yet those mothers are aware that their children have suffered a loss. As Leila has shown, even Elton John is aware that his sons will suffer as a result of his decision to make them motherless.

    As far as your denial of a child's right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception, I would like to ask: When, in your great benevolence, would you decide that this child DOES have a right to be respected as a person?

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    1. I did not mean to be snarky in using the words "great benevolence". I really mean them. Because once conception occurs, a new human being exists. And if you refuse to recognize his right to be respected as a person, then his life is in grave danger - all because of you. You are not generous enough to respect him as a person when he is conceived, or apparently for some time afterward. So - in your world, when does he finally become safe?

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  93. Nubby said,

    “Who said we want it made illegal? It's immoral. That's the point. We don't need the government to tell us that. “

    Speak for yourself, Leila said before she wouldn’t mind if adultery was illegal. She did not speak for such a law ( I don’t know if she would favor it), but she would not speak against it. Apparently the government offering healthcare is an overreach but the government ensuring you stay faithful to your spouse is not.

    
”According to you, CS, you don't speak in "binary" terms pertaining to morality, so unless you can explain in "non-binary" terms how we filter, implement, and associate anything into law, then, yes, you would logically be 'sort of in awe' of people talking about these things.”

    Is this supposed to be a coherent sentence? It falsely presupposes that because I don’t speak in morality in binary terms that I would be unable to discuss other topics, like the law, in binary terms. I also don’t know what associate ‘anything anything’ into law even means, seems sort of redundant after’ implement,’ but I digress. But you’re right I would be in awe of people making no sense.

    Side note: I didn’t say I am unable to speak about matters in a moral binary only that I don’t see the desperate need to classify things as ‘moral or immoral.’


    CS

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  94. Hi Kat,

    You said

    “I dunno......if the child is born the father will have to pay child support. If he fails to pay child support his wages will be garnished. Say the mother is unable or unwilling to work. Or the mother is only able to provide unskilled labor and will not be enough to support the child. Obviously, the burden of supporting that child will fall to the father. 

How is that any different than the burden of prenatal care falling to the mother? “

    I’m not super familiar with child support laws, but it my belief that this is untrue. Child support is usually paid by the non custodial parent (which could be of either gender) and is based the parents wages not what the child needs. This is why basketball players have exorbitant 6 figure child support payments and that 1 guy with 30 children pays $1.49 per month per child. (http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/18/nation/la-na-nn-tennessee-man-has-30-kids-20120518) So if the mother is unable to work or can’t make enough money, I am pretty sure (though not positive) that the child is just out of luck not that the child support payment is adjusted.


    he law seems pretty fair now. Both genders are responsible for their born children. Neither are responsible for their unborn children. If we make women responsible for their children prenatally we would have to do the same with men, which is problematic for a host of reasons.

    But regardless the difference between making someone pay money (a fine) and making them go though excruciating psychical pain is words apart.

    “Why not just make everyone agree to their obligations at the start or terminate the pregnancy?”

    Host of issues not the least of which is paternity tests are available until you’re 16 weeks. There would be no way to legally tell who the father is until late in the game.

    CS

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  95. Kat

    “I have to ask, what self-respecting woman would have a relationship, however brief, with a man she refers to as a "boy toy"?

    Sort of taken aback here. First off, the term boy toy, was pretty much a joke. I call my boyfriend my boy toy sometimes. Don’t see why having a boyfriend who you jokingly call your boy toy, or a man you have casual sex with (the other connotation) assumes you have no respect for yourself.

    

I love the delicious irony of you referring to a man as a "boy toy" and then complain about patriarchy.

    “Meh it was a stylistic choice and I stand by it. But I would think the idea of having a boy toy could fly in the face of the patriarchy, why do you think otherwise”


    CS

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  96. Leila,

    You’ll have to forgive me I was recently a student

    It seems incomplete to answer the question you posed with: a ‘just law is one in accordance with justice, nature, and god.” Which I agree with by the way. My assumption of the answer you wanted was then to define what makes a law natural? and where do we get natural la?w and how do we know what natural laws are? What does natural law say. And I frankly don’t have bulleted answers to any of those things.


    CS

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  97. Hi Francis

    “Okay, let's see... How about a law that results in the denial to a certain section of the populace knowledge of and bonding with their own blood relatives - mom/dad/nana/pops/cousins/brothers/sisters.”

    A certain selection of the population is already being denied bonding with their blood relatives. 40% of children live in one parent households. And it’s already perfectly legal.

    CS

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  98. Is this supposed to be a coherent sentence? It falsely presupposes that because I don’t speak in morality in binary terms that I would be unable to discuss other topics, like the law, in binary terms. I also don’t know what associate ‘anything anything’ into law even means, seems sort of redundant after’ implement,’ but I digress. But you’re right I would be in awe of people making no sense.

    Side note: I didn’t say I am unable to speak about matters in a moral binary only that I don’t see the desperate need to classify things as ‘moral or immoral.’

    Speaking of making no sense...
    If it's not moral v immoral then what is your classification, dear, CS? What is your category or phrasing of choice and why don't you expand on that? Provide what it is because coherence is key,indeed.

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  99. Hi Linda,

    Thanks for your response. You appear to be saying that a foetus/embryo is not a child (having the same essence of being as a 5 year old). Then please answer these questions.

    1. Foetal heart beats can be heard (and seen on ultrasound scans these days) within, at the latest, 5-6 weeks of conception. (I've read other claims that the heartbeats can be detected as early as 18-21 days, but let's just go with this number for now). Please read this:

    http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/earlyfetaldevelopment.htm

    - Do you find the above account of a child growing and developing in a mother's womb fascinating, beautiful and, indeed, sacred?

    - Why do medical professionals repeatedly refer to a foetus/embryo as a baby (child)? They frequently use the terms as interchangeable when talking to pregnant women - indeed, they more often use the latter term, "baby" - no? Are doctors and obstetricians, by and large, a confused and scientifically imprecise bunch of people?

    - What mere clump of tissue known in the entire universe, that is not a unique living entity, has (a heart and) a heartbeat? Can you name one?

    - If a person is technically declared dead when he/she no longer has a heartbeat, then, is it illogical as the corollary of that, to declare a person alive when he/she has a heartbeat?

    - Why do some mothers buy heartbeat monitors to keep tabs on the progress of their yet-to-be-born-but-growing babies (children)? Would you say such women are mad or misguided?

    http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health-fitness/pregnant-women-buy-foetal-heart-rate-monitors-to-keep-tabs-on-babies/story-fneuz9ev-1226614216681

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  100. CS, you wrote:

    "I don’t see the desperate need to classify things as 'moral or immoral'."

    Wow! Did you really mean that? You can retract or reword that, you know. Otherwise you just shrugged nonchalantly at every hideous atrocity that was ever committed in history!

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  101. CS,

    You wrote: "A certain selection of the population is already being denied bonding with their blood relatives. 40% of children live in one parent households. And it’s already perfectly legal."

    Yes it is, BUT to facilitate the bonding there are things called visitation rights. Why do you imagine they exist? Very different from a situation where a child is denied all knowledge of, let alone opportunity to relate to, any of his/her blood relatives. Indeed the visitation rights sorta prove my point, don't they?

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  102. Oh dear! Somehow this has turned into a topic about abortion! I was hoping to avoid this until I had gotten used to this whole blogging thing! Ok, well here goes.

    Nubby:
    The argument that you are a human being if you have a full human genetic code is a specious one. Almost all the cells in our body contain our full genetic code. Hair follicles, blood cells, etc.

    About the word "child:" I wasn't trying to say you can't call a fetus a child, although it's not often used. "Baby" is more often used when a mother is talking about her fetus kicking, heartbeat, names, etc. My only point is that child is not generally the term used for a fetus, and certainly not for an embryo. Of course people can use it and we'll know what they mean (just as we say "stomach" when we really mean "intestines" when complaining of digestive pains). But that's just semantics.

    Leila, I read your earlier post about the biology textbooks. I found your question that you addressed to your friend very thought-provoking, about the quote in the book "your life began from a single cell" or something in that vein. I was up at night thinking about it. I have a degree in cell biology and genetics so I'm not uninformed on this topic. Sure we began as a single cell, and before that we were half a sperm and half an egg. And the egg was created in the uterus of our grandmothers! How amazing!

    You asked me "What natural rights does a child have, in your opinion?" and in the interest of answering straight-forwardly, I will say "none." Now the disclaimers: none at the moment of conception (since I'll accede your right to use the term "child" for an embryo).

    You said, "There is not a single infant in this nation who could not be adopted by a mother-father family." Is that really true? I find that shocking. If so, ok, what about gays adopting older children in the foster care system, or being foster parents? Still not ok for you?

    You said, "Mankind has always smiled upon and encouraged children to be brought forth as the fruit of their parents' marriage. But are you saying that this (natural order) is now to be thought of as selfish?" Yes, that is the point I am making. Not that it's a bad thing to want a child for selfish reasons. Human beings naturally have a desire to procreate, and parents of grown children naturally have a desire for grandchildren. It's a natural (selfish) desire that has been hardwired into the human race by evolution, the desire to pass on our genes. That brings us back to the discussion of why so many couples choose ART instead of adoption (especially since as you say they may have to wait years to adopt anyway).

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  103. Sharon, I liked your first paragraph very much. And you make a good point about the extra embryos conceived during an IVF cycle. I have a friend who had a child using IVF, and she expressed to me that same sort of agony you described. She has to pay a lot of money just for the storage of those embryos for when she wants to have another child. They can't afford another IVF cycle, but she described thinking about "the little ____'s" in the freezer waiting to be born. She and her husband are still paying the storage fee.

    Your second paragraph was, as you put it, a bit snarky. "And if you refuse to recognize his right to be respected as a person, then his life is in grave danger - all because of you." That's stretching it a bit, don't you think? As for when I consider him a human, I don't really know. Most definitely not AT conception, and most definitely before birth. Which brings me to Francis.

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  104. Francis, I loved your points! Let me answer your questions:
    1. I find developmental embryology fascinating and beautiful. I find the inner workings of the human body overwhelmingly complex, intricate, and mind-boggling. But not sacred, as it has a religious context for me and I am not religious.
    2. Don't get me started about doctors being confused! :) Yes, child/baby is just semantics. Health professionals use those terms, certainly, but they are not the scientific terms. Whether or not they are the correct terms is obviously debatable.
    3. An artificial heart? Although it's not a tissue. :) Sorry to be flippant. No, I can't name a non-living thing that has tissue and a heart and heartbeat.
    4. Interesting question. I don't know really. Depends what you mean by "alive." A person can be brain-dead, hooked up to a breathing machine and still have a heartbeat. That person is technically "alive" but to all intents and purposes is dead.
    5. It's reassuring to hear your baby's heartbeat (see, i used the word "baby") to know it's still healthy and alive.

    There's that word again! Alive!

    Ok people, I get that you're asking me to clearly define where I draw the line between zygote and infant (newly born) in terms of when it has a right to life. I'm struggling here because I have trouble myself drawing a line. And I can't speak for the pro-choice movement, only for myself. Ok, let's call and embryo "alive" when it has a heartbeat (although that still implies abortion should be legal up to 5 weeks?). For me, just saying it's alive and that it will be a human infant (i use infant here to mean a baby outside the womb) does not guarantee its right to life. At that stage it's essentially a brain-dead living being, hooked up to a machine (its mommy) for breathing. Does she not have the right to "pull the plug"?

    Personally, I would like for there to be no abortion, ever. It's an awful thing. I want all babies born into loving families and to women and men who want them. But I recognize that even if abortion were illegal, that wouldn't happen. It's not practical. As a practical goal, it would be great if abortion were illegal after something like 12-16 weeks. I could be pushed to 20 weeks, but not beyond. When the baby can survive outside the womb (even just for a few hours), it's pretty clear to me it has a right to life. In NY, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks, but in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital right down the street from the Planned Parenthood clinic where they perform late-term abortions, doctors are saving babies born at 22 weeks and up. That is insanely wrong to me.

    It's a grey area for me between zygote and infant. The line has to be drawn somewhere in the "right to life" issue. It simply cannot be drawn at the zygote stage. For one thing, it's estimated that about 1/3 of pregnancies unknowingly end in miscarriage. The woman simply doesn't know she's pregnant and has a heavy period that month, maybe a few days late. It's hard to feel that these things are being murdered by women having abortions at that stage when they're dropping off like flies naturally! (Again, sorry to be flippant. Please don't take offense!) For another, it's just not practical. It will never happen. Women will continue have abortions if they need them (or want them); they'll just do it in less safe ways.

    I recognize that this is a very contentious issue. If I felt that innocent beings were being murdered by the millions, I would be incredibly passionate about it, too! But let's be frank: I'm not going to change your mind about this issue with logic or with science, because the root of your opinion is faith (Jeremiah 1:5, I know), which can't be "logicked" or explained away with science. Find me an athiest who is pro-life (I mean "at the moment of conception" pro-life) and I'll argue with that guy. But good luck finding him!

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  105. Linda - a human being is an organism of the species Homo sapiens.

    Embryo = human being

    Hair follicle = not a human being

    It's really quite simple.

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  106. Find me an athiest who is pro-life (I mean "at the moment of conception" pro-life) and I'll argue with that guy. But good luck finding him!

    Seriously? You have been grossly misinformed.

    Check out http://www.secularprolife.org for an entire website of people who are not religious but oppose abortion from conception onward.

    Also check out Life Report, a pro-life podcast dedicated to arguing against abortion based on science, logic, reason, and philosophy alone. http://prolifepodcast.net/

    Also check out Nate Hentoff, atheist pro-lifer: http://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/users/rauch/nvp/hentoff.html

    Also check out Libertarians for Life, who argue against abortion without using any religious arguments: http://www.l4l.org/

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  107. PART 1 of 2

    CS,

    You asked: "[...] what makes a law natural? and where do we get natural law? and how do we know what natural laws are? What does natural law say?"

    Natural laws are divinely instituted laws (bear with me) that govern all of nature (of which we are part) and spawn all good (sub) laws which we ourselves enact to regulate our personal and communal affairs.

    The Christian narrative is that the key natural laws have been revealed by God Himself to mankind, while the rest can be garnered by our faculty of reason (also instilled in us by God) and our expansion/application of the Ten Commandments. This is why we say that the natural law is "written in the heart of every man" - just as key laws are also written into the functioning of the entire universe. If there was no natural law - or if we were to make it up as we went - then all that would reign in humankind and in the universe would be confusion and chaos, leading to decay and death/annihilation. ("The wages of sin - which is a transgression of the natural law - is death." - Rom 6:23)

    Is there an exhaustive list of these laws that can one can read someplace? Not quite. But there are ample written and widely known sources from which these can be ascertained/deduced.

    1. The first of these sources is the Ten Commandments (in the Old Testament of Christian Scripture). Note that until recently, the Ten Commandments were actually carved in stone in many courtrooms across America.

    2. The (guiding principles of) natural law are also contained/reflected/synopsized in various Declarations of Freedom and Rights and Constitutions of countries across the world. Here are some examples:

    "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." (UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

    "Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life." (UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)

    "[...] all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that "among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". (US Declaration of Independence)

    "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.' (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms)

    "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" (French national motto)

    There are of course, many, many more like these... but all have been derived from man's universal understanding of the natural law.

    Note that most of these declarations clearly state (or unmistakably imply) that the right to life is the most basic human right. The recently coined euphemism "right to choose", which nullifies this most important human right, is a rhetorical device used in the abortion debate by abortion-rights proponents. They argue that prenatal humans are not human persons and do not have the same fundamental "right to life" as humans after birth. The distinction is that a human becomes a person and is given rights after birth. Generally speaking, those identifying themselves as "pro-choice" are advocates for legal elective abortion. At the same time, some advocates for legalized abortion state that they simply do not know for sure where in pregnancy life begins. (For sheer political expediency, and with all the insights of science and technology at his disposal, Barack Obama adopted this view in 2008). Biologists however, have unanimously determined that the properties of life emerge at the cellular level.[Solomon, Eldra P.; Berg, Linda R.; Martin, Diana W. (2002), Biology (6th ed.)]

    3. The natural law is also knowable by observation and, as stated earlier, by reason.

    (continued in Part 2)

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  108. PART 2 of 2

    I would posit that if one were to go through all laws that exist everywhere (except despotic laws enacted by barbarians and regimes which deny basic rights to people) one could trace back - until recently - most, if not all of them to understanding of the natural law, as enumerated/reflected in the few above referred documents. And their common denominator, as Nubby rightly pointed out earlier, is that they were all deigned to serve the common good - not the interests of a privileged or favored few.

    Of course the interpretation/understanding of natural law (as reflected in Declarations and Constitutions) can be the subject of dispute (which is why there're Constitutional Courts to interpret them and Parliaments to clarify them) but there is no denying that such a thing - natural law - both exists and is knowable.

    Consider that even atheists generally agree that in all things one should treat others as one would like to be treated. But where does even this noble sentiment/concept arise from if not from the divinely instituted natural law? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Luke 6:31)

    America grew to become the greatest nation on earth precisely by enacting/amending and adhering to laws which invariably incorporated/reflected the natural law. The most bizarre thing (to my mind at least) is that now it is America herself, overwhelmed by godless lust for the appetites alone instead of the common good, leading the charge to deny natural law and/or enact the very (anti)laws that are guaranteed to lead to her decay and demise - as they have done every decadent empire in history!!! How bizarre, how bizarre, how bizarre!

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  109. Hi JoAnna!
    Look out peeps! Mizz Relentless is in da House!
    :)

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  110. Linda,

    Thank you for your responses. I reckon it's good you're not into "this blogging thing" (yet) because the things you have to say currently have a refreshing candor about them and don't seem elusive, or obfuscating, or driven by some fixed ideology (as perhaps some of our - Catholic - propositions might appear to you to be :)). If you stick around, methinks you're going to be a great contributor to the Bubble. On behalf of all the regulars here, welcome!

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  111. CS, regarding MLK's description of what makes a law just or unjust, it was pretty clear and cut-and-dry. In those two paragraphs, Dr. King uses the word "moral" four times (when discussing just laws vs. unjust laws). Here is the money line: "How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God."

    So, that part that I italicized is MLK equating the moral law and the law of God. They are the same. He also says this: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.

    The eternal law and natural law are the same as God's law and the moral law. It's all the same. MLK looked at law in terms of morality. Law that is not in harmony with the moral law is unjust law, according to MLK. But you have separated civil law and moral law, from what I can tell. You don't like to talk about the moral law. But how did we get to that point? The Civil Rights movement was based on the things that MKL wrote about explicitly. You reject talk of morality and civil law.

    Do you agree with the entire quote that I posted from MLK (if not, which parts do you disagree with)? Also, what do you think of the entire letter (assuming you've read Letter From a Birmingham Jail; if not it's a must read)?

    Also, I hate to pester, but there are those questions that you said you would answer after I answered yours.

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  112. "I'm not going to change your mind about this issue with logic or with science, because the root of your opinion is faith (Jeremiah 1:5, I know), which can't be "logicked" or explained away with science."

    Linda, I am glad that JoAnna piped in with her links. I am confused… The issue of when a human being begins is settled science, not "faith" (and by the way, faith is not opposed to reason! We are Catholics and we don't use that term like fundamentalist Christians do, some of whom think that "faith" is the opposite of reason. No, no, no! Faith is simply what we believe that has been revealed by God. Much of our Faith transcends reason, but never contradicts reason. Scientific Truth comes from the same Author as all other Truth, and Truth cannot contradict itself).

    So, since when a human being begins is settled science, the proponents of abortion have had to become metaphysical and speak in terms of "personhood" (which is not biological science). I wrote about that here:

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

    Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC recently went on TV saying that not science but "feelings" should determine the worth and status of the unborn child. This is incredibly anti-intellectual. Seems like she is the one who has left logical thinking behind.

    It's not that I think all abortion advocates are illogical. I have written that if you accept Peter Singer's faulty, evil premise (that it is okay to kill some innocent, helpless human beings), then his logic is airtight about killing way past the point of viability and even birth:

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

    Yes, embryos do often die of natural causes in the womb, but so do folks on the other end of the spectrum (the elderly also "drop like flies", don't they?). But we don't go around putting bullets in the heads of old folks, nor stabbing them in the heart if they cramp our style. We'd rightly be charged with murder if we did. We have no right to take the life of another innocent person. There is a huge moral difference between someone dying of natural causes and someone dying by willful, direct killing, no?

    As for "pulling the plug" on an unborn child: It strikes me as so profoundly wrong to pit a mother against her very own child like the two are mortal enemies (with the one party having no defenses at all). In general, what is the moral obligation of a mother to her child? And, in what other case would we "pull the plug" on a human being who is not dying and is developing quite nicely thank you, just as she should, in exactly the place that she is supposed to be at this stage in her life?

    What you say seems very much like, "The strong may kill the weak." Catholicism would say, "No! The strong may never kill the weak! The strong must protect and defend the weak."

    I do appreciate your thoughtful replies! I agree with Francis, you are going to be a great addition to the Bubble! (And coming from Francis, that is high praise!)

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  113. Linda, neither you nor I was ever a sperm cell. Never. If you put a sperm cell in a womb (or a petri dish) and give it all the nutrition it needs, and all the time it needs to become "you" or "me" -- it never, ever would. Because it's not you or me (or anyone) and never could be. Same is true of an ovum.

    If I am wrong, show me a sperm or ovum which, without combining together to form one human organism, could become you or me or anyone? I'll bet the farm that you can't.

    However, if you put zygote or embryo "me" or "you" in a womb or in a petri dish and gave me or you the nutrition and time needed, I (or you) would indeed keep growing (as people are wont to do!). We would grow from that one cell and live our lives as a human being until we died at some point, either naturally or violently.

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  114. As for foster care, that is a huge topic unto itself. I have heard so many horrors and heartbreak over the years, from the adoptive parents' side (or those who are TRYING to become adoptive parents but can't navigate the system, or those who have fostered and tried to adopt but had devastating experiences that they cannot bear to repeat). Tragically, the system is a joke, it's broken, it's slow, it's expensive, it's largely unworkable, and it's heartbreaking (whether international or domestic).

    As only one recent example, just a year and a half ago, my friends stepped up in love to foster-adopt a ten-year-old boy, and even with everyone on board (therapists, social workers, etc.), the system moved at a glacier's pace, with delay after delay (bureaucracy is a nightmare). After a full year, they finally got to bring him home, only to have him act out against their young daughter in very inappropriate ways (I don't want to say more), and ultimately discovered that this little boy had been in over 100 different foster homes and institutions in his young life. The problem is definitely not that there are not enough gay people yet in the queue, the problem is with the broken and often corrupt foster care system (which is not only a nightmare to navigate, but which scares good folks away, folks who do not want to have their hearts ripped out of their chests after the state returns children to families of origins or dangerous parents even after years of the couple raising the child and being assured that the child was free to be adopted). It's a big topic, the stories of which often make me physically ill.

    The reasons children end up staying in foster care till they are grown, or till they are practically unadoptable is certainly not because we haven't had gay couples available for parents until now! Fix the corrupt and inefficient foster care system... that is how to keep children from languishing there for years and years and years, and how to make couples trust that the system is not going to destroy them or the children they attempt to adopt.

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  115. You said, "There is not a single infant in this nation who could not be adopted by a mother-father family." Is that really true? I find that shocking.

    Here is only one recent example of what happens when a "defective" child is needing an adoptive family:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/9/hundreds-call-to-adopt-down-syndrome-baby-save-it-/

    Believe me, any "unwanted" infant is wanted by someone. Imagine if we loved children instead of killed them?

    Can you name an infant whom no one would adopt? Tell me what kind of infant that would be.

    I know you claim that using the word "child" is not the technical term for the small human being in the womb. And yet, the only reason that the term "fetus" (the technically correct term) is insisted upon by abortion advocates is because they hope to dehumanize the child in the minds of the populace. They can't dare call it a child (even though we all know it is -- I've been pregnant nine times, with children. One didn't live long enough to make it out of the womb, but was nonetheless my child.).

    But again, the funny thing is that most of those folks don't know that the term "fetus" means "little one" (i.e, child, baby!). Did you know it before I told you earlier on this thread? And if "little one" does not mean child or baby, what does it mean? "little…"what? We call children our "little ones", no? I call my kids that. My littles, my little ones.

    So, all that technical use of "fetus" is certainly an irony! One that the abortion industry does not recognize. ;)

    Also, I am from a medical family. I know that there are medical terms for everything, and scientific terms. But there are also everyday terms for the same things. For example, my big toe likely has a technical, medical term. But I can say "big toe" and it means the same thing. I am sure there is a medical term for my eyeball. But I use the term "eye" and we still communicate the meaning perfectly when we speak casually. Because there is a medical term for "eye" doesn't mean that the term "eye" is therefore a misnomer. Do you agree?


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  116. Nubby: The argument that you are a human being if you have a full human genetic code is a specious one. Almost all the cells in our body contain our full genetic code. Hair follicles, blood cells, etc.

    Vehemently disagree. It is not a "specious" argument at all. You're actually saying that science is deceptive, by calling "specious", the fact that we exist at the moment of conception (a single cell). To call it specious is specious.

    The fact is, that the moment you (or any human) came into existence, you (we) had the unalienable right to life, simply because you (we) existed as a single cell. The Court had this as their criterion at the time the decision in RvW came down, they did not need to question it. Until RvW, the Court acknowledged the scientific truthful evidence, that you call specious, as their objective marker.

    Considerations were as simple as:
    When does the unalienable right to life begin? Answer: The moment you exist as a human.
    When do you exist as a human? Answer: Science says we exist at the moment of conception, a single cell with a full genetic code.

    When the Court egregiously scrapped the scientific data that life begins at the moment of conception and, therefore, so also begins the unalienable right to life, they then trampled your (and everyone's) very fundamental protection to life.

    If the Court can decide "who is a person" based on shifting criteria designed by those in power, instead of on an objective standard given by science, then surely you can extrapolate out what that would/will mean, pointed at any group, at any time, in the present and future. To boot, the Court let a lesser ordered right (right to mom's liberty) trump the higher right (baby's right to life). Is this justice, in your opinion?

    The decision in RvW was made with subjective input, subjective standards, and beliefs of "person-hood", etc. There was no need for the Court to get into that poll-taking when it had all it needed objectively to uphold the protection of that unalienable Right to Life. Why didn't the Court just rely on science?

    No governing body voted on our Right to Life - it is recognized as unalienable. It literally cannot be alienated (unalienable) from a person by a majority vote. No court gave us that right, and no court should have the power to trample it. That Right to Life doesn't begin during any other time of gestation or afterbirth. It begins the moment sperm greets egg.

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  117. typos
    * after birth - not afterbirth
    * it in reference to the Court, not they

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  118. Linda, I am still wrestling with your words that a married couple raising a family of their own making (through the fruit of their marital union) is "selfish". I guess it's because the world has always known and understood that children are the fruit of marriage, and that it's a very good thing for a man and woman to come together and sacrifice for each other and for their children to build a family. The family (see Hillary Clinton's quote above) is the stabilizing force of any society, its foundation. So, the state of the family in any society (healthy or dysfunctional and broken) will be the harbinger of the fate of that nation and its functioning. Even if evolution makes us desire children, it's not "selfish", it's a great good.

    Perhaps because in Catholic parlance, selfishness is sinful. Catholics believe that the desire for children is a rightly ordered desire, not a selfish one. It's for the great good of the spouses and the children they create. It's the right order of things, and one of the foundational purposes of marriage (we would not have anything called marriage in the history of mankind if humans reproduced asexually and were self-sufficient from birth). So, we are talking past each other.

    In my mind, the most selfless thing anyone can do these days is to marry and raise a family. The amount of love and sacrifice required is truly astounding, don't you think? Especially in this age of materialism, pleasure-seeking-above-all, and the worship of the individual. I only wish we had more folks willing to sacrifice themselves in the begetting and raising of their children in stable, married homes.

    Gotta go, several boys from the fruit of my marriage are screaming and causing chaos!! Ha ha, how selfish I am to have eight kids! It's so much more relaxing than the day at the spa I could have had if I had chosen not to be so selfish. ;)

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  119. Leila, Thank you for addressing the 'selfish' claim. I was getting ready to rail against that idea. You saved me a lot of keystrokes.
    I am so sad for people who refuse to experience the joy that comes from self-sacrifice.
    My brother- and sister-in-law just learned that their first baby (due in Jan) is a little girl!! My sister-in-law made the comment the other day that she is excited to see her become a Godly woman. It had such an impact on me to be reminded to think of our children that way.
    By the way - my new niece is only 18 weeks post-conception...hardly 'viable'(without her mother), yet a fully human child with organs, a skeleton, a heart-beat, and even neurological function!! Then again, my 7 month-old is hardly viable without her mother, either...

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  120. I haven't had a chance to read all the comments yet. Y'all been busy.

    CS- I don't think I explained my point very well. My point was not that the child support laws are unfair. A mother has a right to look at her situation and decide "I don't have the means to support this child and I am going to abort". A father has no such choice. Even if the mother clearly has no means to support the child and the "burden" of the child will fall on the father- he doesn't get to make a choice. We REQUIRE him to be the father- whether he likes it or not.

    So why is it okay to require a man to be a father for 18 years but not okay to require a mother to be a mother for 9 months?

    From my point-of-view they both have the same amount of responsibility (they had sex) so why don't they both get to walk away from the result? Why does the mother get to make the decision by herself?

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  121. Leila, wrestled with the selfish comment a little too. Not that I haven't heard it before, but Linda's context is different. I've heard the "having that many kids is just selfish". Which of course, after you uncross your eyes, you can just say "please get away from me you nutty squirrel". Linda's is a more generic " deep down, wanting children is selfish". Not like wanting food but maybe like wanting legacy or meaning which is achieved by passing on genes.
    That actually challenged me a bit even though its probably more a word definition thing than anything else. Well, I could often be quoted as saying " I am the richest man on the face of the earth because I have many kids" . And i really believe thats true. i could prove it if I could post a picture. i feel like i have been passed this secret of the most important thing in life and that I'm taking full advantage of it even though Im not so sure I deserve such a massive treasure. So i guess in that way I am being selfish. But I was given the give of life so who am I to deny the generation that follows me. I was given it free so how could I not be thrilled to give it away. Which is really just agreeing to Gods plan ( or natures design if you can't stand the idea of Gods design)
    Now, what that all means in terms of the definition of the word"selfish" ? Well, it results in the word almost becoming nonexistence. All of my wife and I grand designs when we were married are completely gone. We simply cannot participate in the lifestyle that the culture defines as "fulfilling, happy, meaningful, living life to fullest". We are always broke, exhausted, going a thousand miles an hour, never really vacation, watch almost no TV, haven't seen a movie in the theatre in I don't know how long, have almost no time to even write this! And I have it easy compared to my heroic wife. We just eventually pass out at the end of the night. So the word selfish doesn't really apply to most people's understanding of the word. But for me, it very appropriate to say that, because I am the richest man in the world and I do want it.

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    1. Sorry for the pig Latin. I persist in thinking I can belt out a quickie on the I-phone from the side of the road while letting calls go to voicemail.

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  122. But I would think the idea of having a boy toy could fly in the face of the patriarchy, why do you think otherwise”

    It is funny how we approach the same topic for opposite directions. You see a boy toy as flying in the face of patriarchy. I see it as a massive lack of respect for men. And if you lack respect for men, how do you expect them to respect women. If they don't respect women they aren't going to give a moment's concern to being a patriarchy.

    You used "boy toy" deliberately. You were reducing the would-be father to nothing more than a sex toy. that's why I responded to it.

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  123. Linda-

    I don't want to add to everything you have to respond too. Sometimes we get excited and start asking lots and lots of questions. But I am curious about a couple of things.

    First, you seem to acknowledge there is a lot we don't know/can't prove about when "life" becomes "life." So I have to ask.....why not err on the side of life? Since we don't know yet what is or what is not "life" what value do we have in destroying it?

    You seem very sweet and very thoughtful about the manner. But it also seems like you are hiding a bit behind the fact that unborn children die sometimes (miscarriages) and some women will do anything to abort their child even if it was illegal. We don't allow those justifications to work for murderers so why should we do so here?

    I guess I am trying to find the "good" here. What's the value we are getting by allowing the abortions? How does that weigh against the probable destruction of life? (I say probable because practically everyone agrees that but for the abortion the baby will be born.)

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  124. Kat, great questions. Erring on the side of life seems obvious in any other situation. Think about the question: You're hunting in the woods: Would you shoot what you think might be a child, but you are just not quite sure? Of course, we all would say, never, never, never. So if someone is unsure of when a new human life has begun to exist (and which cannot ever be duplicated or replaced!), shouldn't that person always err on the side of life?

    Csawww, I don't care a whit about grammar when your exposition is as lovely and truthful and profound as that. And having met you and your lovely wife this summer with three of your treasures (I love getting to meet Bubble readers during my travels!!), I can announce that Csawww's kids are, hands down, the most precious, edible, cherubic kids I've ever seen! Seriously, that little one, Csawww? Lord have mercy!! Ha!

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  125. Leila, that is very kind and sweet. Thank You, but the pleasure was truly ours. I'm sure many readers are jealous . Ahh more later. You're the best .

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  126. Csawww, I hope you are familiar with the comedian Jim Gaffigan! I bought the book for Dean this Father's Day. So funny. And he speaks to the "selfish" aspect of fatherhood, and narcissism:

    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/2489/jim_gaffigan_on_fatherhood_for_the_recovering_narcissist.aspx#.UgPc0eBgPOH

    Reminds me of you!! So fun!

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  127. Ahh , I was told about him a couple weeks ago by some guy named Patrick ...Hack'n or Gagg'n or something like that, but never looked him up. No time, but the first line on the cover page " my wife is a Shiite catholic" already made me snort. Thx

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  128. Hi everyone! You haven't scared me off and I haven't forgotten about you. I'm trying not to become this guy (plus I have my own two pieces of evidence of my selfishness to take care of): http://xkcd.com/386/

    I'm doing lots of thinking and research and I'll get back to you soon. So much to talk about! Take care!

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  129. Joanna - your point is exactly what I was saying. A hair follicle is most definitely not a human being. So all I'm saying is that we cannot use the presence of a full genetic code in a single cell as the basis for determining humanity.

    About the web sites, thank you! I've looked at a bunch of them and found their arguments thought-provoking. Forgive me for not knowing about the secular pro-life movement before: all of the pro-life people I've ever heard of are deeply religious, and the movement is not discussed on the news either. That is partly why I am here: to learn! In my defense, it is a fringe group of the pro-life movement. I strangely couldn't find any statistics on it (percentage of people who are pro-life athiests) but 22% of Americans are extreme pro-lifers (believe abortion should not be legal under any circumstances) and 14% of Americans are of no religion. So I'd estimate 1%?

    Francis - thank you!

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  130. Leila - faith transcending reason vs contradicting reason is not a discussion I'm familiar with. i think it's best left to another thread but it brings up some questions for me.

    I get the point you're trying to make, that science says "human life begins at conception" and therefore the pro-choice movement says things like "oh, right, maybe, but it's not a PERSON. It's maybe a human life, but not a PERSON, just because I feel that way. It just feels right to me not to call it a person at that stage." I get it because that's just what my gut was telling me, too! I should point out that I used to be extremely pro-life as well. And I'd also like to say that I am using the term "extremely pro-life" to mean the people who believe that from the moment of conception, there is an inherent right to life and abortion should be illegal under any circumstances. So since I was reading arguments I found to be logical but still feeling in my gut there was something wrong, I did a lot of thinking and more research. I kept telling myself, there must be a logical argument that I can find to support what I feel in my gut and that draws a definite line during fetal development for when a fetus can be determined to have rights. Here's what I decided: a fetus has a right to life when it can survive outside the womb. Before that, since it is entirely 100% dependent on its mother for survival, her rights trump his. I got to thinking about viruses ("Did she just compare a human fetus to a virus? Really? Is she crazy?"). Yes, i get that it's shocking. My only point is that viruses are not considered alive, even though they have DNA and replicate just like other living things (why you can't use antibiotics if it's a virus causing your cold). The reason is because they can only replicate ("live") inside another living being. Fetuses are just like viruses! Until they reach the point when they can live outside a human being, they're not quite "alive." They have begun to live, they have the potential to live, but they are not at the fully "alive" point yet until they are breathing outside the womb, separate from another living thing. That's why I think abortion should be legal up to a few weeks before that point, just to be safe.

    I'll be the first to point out the flaw in my reasoning: as science improves, the point at which a fetus can live outside the womb decreases. Even now it's still dependent on other circumstances that are not clear-cut (many hospitals have a policy not to attempt to save babies born before 22 weeks, but others have a cut-off of later depending on their resources). Does that mean that as science progresses, you will consider the point at which a human being has a right to life as moveable? Um, yes. Although I think science has reached at least a plateau if not a dead end with regards to how early babies can survive outside the womb. If and when science pushes forward, I would have to re-evaluate.

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  131. Another site i came across was this one: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html
    I thought she made some extremely good points and I also liked the statistics about how birth control actually saves unborn babies. She ignored an argument I suspect you will make: just because it's happening anyway doesn't mean we should condone it or help it along. Saving one life does not justify actively claiming another, and we should not have to participate in those decisions. Those other zygotes die naturally, not because of something we condoned or made legal, etc. And I have never agreed with the argument the pro-life movement is anti-woman's rights. I think she's being a bit unfair attributing that to them.

    Your link to Peter Singer's article didn't work, but I found it here: http://www.utilitarianism.net/singer/by/1993----.htm
    It's actually a book chapter but I made my way through it. I also found this one, that recently made headlines. http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full

    I had read the second one but not the first, but they have similar premises. They take one argument for abortion and bring it to its logical and abhorrent conclusion, which makes you think the whole basis for the argument is wrong. Anyway, those are long and I don't want to analyze the arguments. Let's just say we all think infanticide for any reason is wrong.

    Yes, you are right, my "pulling the plug" argument doesn't sit well with me either.

    About every zygote being human life because it has the potential to develop into a human being, that's not true! You said "However, if you put zygote or embryo "me" or "you" in a womb or in a petri dish and gave me or you the nutrition and time needed, I (or you) would indeed keep growing (as people are wont to do!). We would grow from that one cell and live our lives as a human being until we died at some point, either naturally or violently."
    We wouldn't grow to be a human being if placed in a petri dish. Back when I was pro-life, my argument was that the natural course of a fetus was to develop into a human infant and human person, etc. If you do nothing, that is what will happen. Therefore it is wrong to do something to prevent that. In the case of zygotes created for the purposes of IVF, doing nothing actually means that nothing happens. They just stay there, they have no potential to develop into a human being (as in an infant living and breathing on its own) unless you actively DO something. So even as a pro-lifer, I was never bothered by zygotes hanging around in freezers or being used for stem cell research.

    Foster care - you still didn't answer my question. Yes, as far as I understand it, it's a horrible system. But in a hypothetical situation where a child needs a home and can't find one, would you be ok with a gay couple taking it in? Let's say kids that live in orphanages (another country if you want) and have no chances of adoption by a male-female couple. Would you rather let the child stay in an orphanage than be taken care of by two males or two females?

    Adoption of disabled infants. Beautiful story in the washingtontimes! Thanks for sharing.

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  132. Nubby - as I said, the point I was making is that you can't use JUST the presence of a full human genetic code as the basis for determining human life.

    You put it well when you said "If the Court can decide "who is a person" based on shifting criteria designed by those in power, instead of on an objective standard given by science, then surely you can extrapolate out what that would/will mean, pointed at any group, at any time, in the present and future. To boot, the Court let a lesser ordered right (right to mom's liberty) trump the higher right (baby's right to life)."

    Except for the words "lesser" and "higher," that is how I think it should be. Until the baby can survive outside the womb, his rights to life are trumped by the mother's rights to make decisions about her own body. Yes it is just in my opinion.

    Science cannot determine "rights" of anything. You all make a convincing scientific argument that life begins at conception, but you cannot use science to argue that the "right" to that life or to that existence begins at conception. And "unalienable" cannot be proven with science, either. We've got capital punishment which "alienates" a person's right to life in order that the state may take it away. That is done by the courts, by the votes of the people (people voting to legalize capital punishment, etc). Nothing scientific about it.

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  133. Leila, I was so surprised there was such an outcry about my "selfish" statement. I'm sorry if I offended anyone. Let me be clear: to be a good parent requires an endless amount of self-sacrifice and selflessness. Giving birth to another human being does very unpleasant things to your body and hurts a lot! Raising another child even just to the extent of making sure it's well-fed is exhausting, especially at the beginning. And as I said, to be a good parent requires an infinite amount of patience, a loss of personal time, sleep, etc. Being a parent is NOT selfish. I'm simply saying that the desire to have kids is a biological need and one that has as its root a personal desire. Most people do not have kids in spite of their own desires, just because God wants them to, or because they think it is the right thing to do. They want them because they want to pass on their genes, to leave a legacy, and to have somebody to love. My first was a surprise (birth control baby! They do exist!) but I know that before my second, I gradually felt a strong desire to have another. There were several reasons: first that we wanted our first to have a sibling, but also because we really liked our first! If we made that one without even trying, imagine how great #2 could be when we actually tried! Ok I'm sort of joking. But I do remember admiring pregnant women, thinking how beautiful they looked, seeing babies in strollers and then suddenly one day feeling a very strong desire to have my own. Babies are so cute! I WANT ONE! NOW! I thought. Yeah, for my own reasons. Because that's what I wanted. DH was like, "Um, ok, but shouldn't we wait for you to finish grad school?" Doesn't mean I'm not a good mom. My kids like me, at least. Of course they're not teenagers yet so we'll have to see what they say in a few years. :)

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  134. I want to come back to the ART thing. Leila says that choosing to have a child who is missing a parent is selfish, that it's selfish to deprive a child of something so important as a mom or a dad just because of your own desire to have children. I tried to make the point that people have children (that are planned) in all sorts of less-than-ideal situations. Poverty I would say is number one, but also in homes where both parents work ridiculous hours and they know their baby would spend most of his time in day care. Is that not selfish? Having another child when you already have 11 at home to care for means you would not be able to devote much time to kid #12. Is that selfish? I don't think so (so don't yell at me!), or no more selfish than anyone else's desire to have children. People with large families (I assume) think that the benefits of having other siblings around and a house literally filled to the brim with love make up for the fact that each kid spends less alone time with his/her parents. Parents who choose to have a child even though they work long hours decide that the benefits of having happy parents with plenty of money outweighs the fact that they spend less time with their child. And parents who have kids in spite of being poor probably think that the most important thing they can provide their kids is love, that money doesn't matter next to that. I think gay couples (and single parents deciding to go through ART or to adopt) make the same points: sure, the kid has no mother, but how many kids get to have two dads? They think that two dads makes up for the absence of a mother, that their unique circumstances (at least one dad can stay home with the kid, etc, they have plenty of money, lots of female role models, lots of love to offer, etc) make up for any disadvantages that can occur if a kid doesn't have a mother.

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  135. Kat, you said this: "But it also seems like you are hiding a bit behind the fact that unborn children die sometimes (miscarriages) and some women will do anything to abort their child even if it was illegal. We don't allow those justifications to work for murderers so why should we do so here?" yes, exactly, I suspected that would be your point in response to the first link I posted.

    I'd also like to share an article a pro-life friend wrote: http://www.salon.com/2012/02/02/im_pro_life_and_i_support_planned_parenthood/

    If the whole purpose of the pro-life movement is to prevent the loss of human life, making abortion illegal won't do it. I recognize, however, that the purpose is not ONLY to prevent the loss of human life, but to prevent the loss of human life through unnatural and preventable means like abortion. Even if you are convinced that less human lives are lost when abortion is legal (see the first link I sent), you are not satisfied because you cannot condone the purposeful loss of any life to protect another. Am I correct? Don't worry, it's not a trap. I hope i've explained your position fairly and clearly, and mine as well.

    Just one more link to share:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/08/20/are-pro-life-atheist-groups-promoting-sound-science/

    Ok I'm done!

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  136. Leila,

    “How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God." Do you agree with the entire quote that I posted from MLK (if not, which parts do you disagree with)?.. You have separated civil law and moral law, from what I can tell. You don't like to talk about the moral law.”

    Let me start over. I believe there are evil things in this world and things we as human beings should never do. The thing is, I think that list is smaller than your list, and reserved for pretty harmful things.

    Morality as you define it isn’t something I would wholeheartedly defend so it should make sense that I don’t necessarily want it influencing or codifying law. Perhaps is a generational thing but because you classify so many things as immoral, masturbating for instance, it means calling something immoral doesn’t carry much weight. It means that just because something is ‘immoral’ it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.


    CS

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  137. Kat,

    A mother has a right to look at her situation and decide "I don't have the means to support this child and I am going to abort". A father has no such choice. We REQUIRE him to be the father- whether he likes it or not.

    So why is it okay to require a man to be a father for 18 years but not okay to require a mother to be a mother for 9 months?

    We absolutely do not require a man to be a father. We require a man to send a check to his born children to assist in their care. A man never has to see his child. If his child doesnt have enough, he is under no obligation to work harder to provide.

    We fine men for having sex. We fine people for a lot of things, parking tickets, not paying taxes. Its a far cry from turning them into a human incubator, from using their own organs and bodies for an action they do not consent to. We do not turn people into human incubators often.

    CS

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  138. Except for the words "lesser" and "higher," that is how I think it should be. Until the baby can survive outside the womb, his rights to life are trumped by the mother's rights to make decisions about her own body. Yes it is just in my opinion.

    Linda,
    The Declaration of Independence declares the right to Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness for all people, based on what was called necessity criterion which properly ordered these unalienable rights. In other words, you need the Right to Life, firstly, in order to exercise your Right to Liberty. Necessary for exercising your right to the Pursuit of Happiness is the Right to Liberty.

    In the decision of RvW, the Court took it upon itself to do away with the necessity criterion (that was already in place) and introduced a subjective criterion in which "personhood" became the big, moving, questionable yardstick with which a Court would determine human value. From a civil perspective (not even religious), this is egregious.

    The Court had no right to subjectively determine when personhood began, because it already had that information at its disposal. I suggest reading the criticisms of the decision, by judges themselves.

    Science cannot determine "rights" of anything. You all make a convincing scientific argument that life begins at conception, but you cannot use science to argue that the "right" to that life or to that existence begins at conception. And "unalienable" cannot be proven with science, either. We've got capital punishment which "alienates" a person's right to life in order that the state may take it away. That is done by the courts, by the votes of the people (people voting to legalize capital punishment, etc). Nothing scientific about it.

    Of course, science does not determine unalienable rights. Science is (and was) merely, yet importantly, the objective criterion that was rightly used to set the standard as to how the Court determines it would acknowledge the unalienable Right to Life. This was all objective before RvW, is the point.

    The Court egregiously adjudicated a constitutional right (extrinsic right) in deciding RvW when it had no business dismantling the protections of an unalienable right already in place via the Declaration of Independence.

    The Constitution and Declaration are two entirely different documents because the founders realized both contained different kinds of rights. Unalienable rights are not given by any judiciary, they are not voted upon and cannot be removed by a vote. So why did the Court take it upon itself to suddenly make your unalienable Right to Life (and mine, and everyone's) a constitutional one?

    The audacity is startling, wouldn't you agree?
    The Court had no true authority to judge in this manner. That's why RvW should be overturned. Not even for religious reasons, but civil ones.

    As to your capital punishment scenario: If a person finds himself on death row, it's because he violated constitutional rights. His Right to Life existed before he ever came on the scene (he was born, lived, and made murderous choices and actions on society). His Right to Life was not violated. It's not a correct comparison to abortion.

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  139. CS, forgive me, but I have no idea what you said in the comment at 11:37 or what it has to do with the question I asked: "What makes a law just or unjust?"

    For example, I never proposed making masturbation illegal, even though it is immoral. So, can we go back to the questions I actually asked? Also, you have not yet answered my question about "fornicators will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven"… As a Christian, how do you reconcile that very clear statement (fornication is gravely immoral) with your own belief system?

    If I could pop in on the comment you made to Kat: But the law doesn't require a woman to be a "mother", either, not in the way you seek to dispute what Kat was saying. Requiring a woman not to actively kill her child (while passively gestating that child for a very finite time) is not "requiring someone to be a mother", except in the very strictest sense. So, the very minimum the state can really "require" of a parent is not to kill their own child, not to abuse their own child, not to neglect their own child (which could mean making sure the child has funds to be housed and eat!), etc. That is the least we can do for children in a society, no? Society has an obligation to protect children and see to it that they are not neglected (or killed!) by adults.

    Let me ask you, CS, since you use these horrible terms to describe the mother/child relationship (like "human incubator"): Can you tell me what you think of motherhood? Or the mother/child relationship? Meaning, what adjectives or words, or innate feelings spring to your mind when you hear "motherhood" or mother and child"? I'm trying hard to wrap my mind around where you are coming from and I think that would help me.

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  140. Linda, I want to take some real time to respond, and it's a crazy weekend for me (including my daughter's bridal shower, whoot!). So, I promise to get to all your points just as soon as possible. I will just throw this out there quickly, since it stuck out:

    Here's what I decided: a fetus has a right to life when it can survive outside the womb. Before that, since it is entirely 100% dependent on its mother for survival, her rights trump his.

    So, the more dependent a human being is on another human being, the more right the stronger human being has to kill (or override the rights) of the weaker human being? Your statement implies that an eight-month old child stuck on an island with his mother has no right to life, either. He is 100% dependent on his mother for survival (and it's more work for her to care for, comfort, and feed an eight-month-old than to passively gestate a fetus). So, may she kill him at will? Does her "right" to be child-free override his right to life?

    I can't get past this in my head: The strong may kill the weak.

    I think that is the basic principle you are using, no? If not, can you explain where I am misunderstanding your principle? Thanks!

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    1. "...since it is entirely 100% dependent on its mother for survival, her rights trump his."

      This is a perfect "might makes right" argument. Help me understand how this is not an inherently evil proposition.

      Christianity, of course, holds the opposite: The strong are responsible for the weak. The strong protect and defend the weak. The true measure of any human society is how it treats its weakest, most vulnerable, most defenseless members.

      I shudder to think we are moving more and more towards a "survival of the fittest, might makes right, he with the biggest gun wins" society, and away from the virtues of Christ.

      Delete
  141. Sure Leila,

    I am completely aware that you don’t want to make masturbation illegal. What I was saying was: if we conclude that things like masturbating are immoral, the term immoral becomes meaningless, and deciding if a law is moral or isn’t fundamentally important, because the term moral—doesn’t tell us anything about whether or not we should do it.

    “As a Christian, how do you reconcile that very clear statement (fornication is gravely immoral) with your own belief system?”

    I’m certainly not a biblical scholar but have had conversations with my priest Who doesn’t share your opinion on the matter. So it doesn’t take much reconciling, I think God has better things to do.

    It’s really interesting to me how conservatives really do see pregnancy as merely not killing your child. They don’t see the difference between simply not killing something and keeping it alive at your personal expense and pain.
    Pregnancy is a very physically arduous, excruciatingly painful, and permanently changes your body and changes your sex life in a way that just not shooting someone doesn’t.

    I use horrible terms to describe things being done to people against their will. If a woman is pregnant and does not want to assist in the development of her fetus and we force her to, not for her own good, but for the good of the baby, we are using her as a human incubator.

    My mother is my best friend. I think highly of the mother child relationship when women want to be mothers. When I think of motherhood I think both of the beautiful relationship I have with my mother, and the nauseating idea of me being a mother before I’m ready, so in short--- I think very highly of it when it’s wanted and very terrified of it if its not.


    CS

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  142. Thanks for your reply, CS. I still, honestly, have no idea what that first part means. And, I won't comment on the part about motherhood and pregnancy, because reading your word (sorry, being honest) makes me want to weep at the selfish nature of our age (remind me, did you take Women's Studies classes?). Lord, have mercy on us.

    But I do want to press you on this:

    "I’m certainly not a biblical scholar but have had conversations with my priest Who doesn’t share your opinion on the matter. So it doesn’t take much reconciling, I think God has better things to do."

    You used the words "opinion" and "I think" to dismiss the very words of Scripture (you are Protestant, correct? So the Bible is your sole rule of faith?). Scripture says that those who commit sexual immorality and fornication will basically risk an eternity in hell. So, I can only conclude that you 1) don't believe that Scripture is true or 2) believe that your pastor and yourself have the authority to override Scripture.

    If #1, why are you a Christian? (Serious question. Would you die for Christ? For His teachings?)
    If #2, where'd you get that authority?

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  143. Pregnancy is a very physically arduous, excruciatingly painful, and permanently changes your body and changes your sex life

    I can't help myself. I have to ask. Who taught you this? Who taught you to have such a fear of your own body, your own biology, your own life-giving potential? You know already that I have lived in both the secular mentality (just as PP wanted me to!) and also in the Catholic mentality (since I was about 27). Never, at any time, did I come across that kind of fear and loathing about motherhood and pregnancy. It's so bizarre to me, but I hear that this is the stuff of Women's Studies now, to make women fear their own biology, be stark terrified of pregnancy (man, I felt physically better during my pregnancies than at any other time of my life, and my labors were quick and easy) and loathe the idea of motherhood if it is not "wanted". Am I right that it's feminist literature and academics that has put these ideas in your head?

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  144. CS - some of those changes are for the better! 'Excruciatingly painful'? Says who?
    Can we back up and remember that, in the vast majority of cases, women willfully choose and actively participate in the act that makes them a mother? It doesn't just happen. So this 'forced incubation' view of pregnancy is so far from reason, it is embarrassing.

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  145. Leila,

    Why do you assume women’s studies courses are to blame for my views on pregnancy and motherhood? When we give women the ability to control their family size, they unequivocally take it. No developed nation with access to birth control has birthrates over 2. Women of the world do want motherhood, but they want it later and life and they want less of it. Have they all taken women’s studies classes.

    I don’t doubt that as a married woman who had an agreement with her husband about being a stay at home mom who likes children that pregnancy wasn’t bad for you, but are you so wrapped up in your own reality that you cant even understand why someone else would feel differently?

    Are you honest to God asking me why single 24 year olds such as myself, with taught 24 year old bodies, who spend their productive time working away at jobs to get promotions and their leisure time at concerts and beerfests, and having sex with their partner. Whose disposable income goes straight to eating out, trips and getting new jeans---you’re really asking me why this group of people fears something that ruins their romantic prospects, ruins their sexual appeal, ruins their social life, ruins their job prospects, and decimates their disposable income?
    You think we needed to learn this in school or do you think this realization came from common sense.

    One needn’t be brainwashed by feminists to understand that rearing children is fulfilling, not fun. It doesn’t mean we cant abhor the idea right now and appreciate it as a rewarding goal in the future.

    CS

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    1. This is really bizarre that your post went under the name of "Leila"! I promise this is not me!! CS, do you know why that happened? Weird!!!

      Anyway, that last part about your "taut" (sorry, needed correcting) bodies and all -- you realize that this superficial, selfish cultural view of life and motherhood is very much a product and fallout of the sexual revolution and not what generations of humanity have thought of sex and children and family in the past? I know you are young, but you need to realize that you are living in a very specific point in time which makes you a bit myopic. (That is why I champion a classical education, by the way.)

      As for women clamoring for birth control, how I wish you would read again (with an open heart and mind) Uju's letter to Melinda Gates and really start to understand that women don't all think selfishly and superficially (and hyper-sexually) like today's Cosmo girl (and hook-up college gals who dig the promiscuous life [except for the "constant sobbing" as you reported from your friends]):

      http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/08/an-african-womans-open-letter-to.html

      Could you answer the questions I posed at 6:08PM? Thanks! (And, I still have no idea what your answer was to the question about what makes a law just or unjust?)

      Delete
  146. CS, You post nonsense, I'm sure somewhat offensive nonsense to the intelligent, selfless mothers like Leila, and others reading this blog. It doesn't bug me personally, but the nonsense involved deserves a place kick:

    When we give women the ability to control their family size, they unequivocally take it.

    We can do this without birth control and/or abortion. It's called using your head and self-control, CS. Not rocket science.

    Are you honest to God asking me why single 24 year olds such as myself, with taught 24 year old bodies, who spend their productive time working away at jobs to get promotions and their leisure time at concerts and beerfests, and having sex with their partner. Whose disposable income goes straight to eating out, trips and getting new jeans---you’re really asking me why this group of people fears something that ruins their romantic prospects, ruins their sexual appeal, ruins their social life, ruins their job prospects, and decimates their disposable income?

    If people set the bar low enough, CS, they can merely step over it. Why don't you set the bar higher?

    And, really, with the inaccurate "ruins sexual appeal, ruins social life, job prospects and decimates disposable income." Real life grown up experience shows this mentality is for those girls who want to stay perpetually in the "college mind frame". I know a few.

    Motherhood has ruined none of those things for me, unless you think you can generally imply that I've ruined my body which is hilarious, but I detest bragging (yet how sad that you're into that comparison game), enhanced my social life (read:kids make friends in school and extra curricular activities which = meeting more parents which = more social opportunities), I can return to my job anytime, in some capacity, even in this dismal economy, and my income isn't "decimated", and that's not because I'm rich, it's because we budget.

    CS, before you sound-off on realities that you've never lived, you might consider your audience, who is mostly made up of people who've actually walked the mile you so theoretically (or realistically) detest. Your generalizations are off the mark entirely.

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  147. Nubby,

    If you find my comments offensive no need to respond to them, especially considering I’m not talking to you.

    I might suggest reading things first. Where did I say that women can’t control their family size using NVP or abstinence. I said that when we give women access to birth control they use said birth control and their families are smaller.’ On a Macro level the data supports this as global birthrates are down. I read all the time from PRO-LIFE sources that countries are undergoing demographic winters BECAUSE OF CONTRACEPTION. What about this is nonsense.

    “CS, before you sound-off on realities that you've never lived, you might consider your audience, who is mostly made up of people who've actually walked the mile you so theoretically (or realistically) detest. Your generalizations are off the mark entirely.”

    Again woman READ. Nowhere did I give you a list of reasons why motherhood or pregnancy were not worthwhile to the people who want to undergo it. No where did I say all mothers are fat homely creatures with no friends. Leila asked me why motherhood and pregnancy were feared by some women.

    I’m glad having children makes you so happy but are you so narcissistic to think that my social life, my sex life, and my body are yours. I said that I would be afraid MY body would change during pregnancy. MY social life , my job prospects would change. It’s good to know that at 6 months pregnant my life and body would be exactly the same as before.

    Since you know my life so much better than I do, what about this is nonsense.

    I don’t think your life is horrible nubby I Just don’t want it. Many women don’t want it. Just like you don’t want my life and neither do many other women. Only difference is that I understand people have different priorities in their lives, and are made happy by different things.


    CS

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  148. Nubby, thank you for being the voice of reason and maturity.

    As much as I love you, CS, I always think ahead to how much you are going to cringe when you re-read your words at age 30, 40, and 50. Trust me.

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  149. Nubby, If you find my comments offensive no need to respond to them, especially considering I’m not talking to you.

    As I wrote, specifically, your comments don't bug me, but the nonsense needed to be addressed. Drivel does not offend my emotions, it offends my intellect.

    For your reference:

    Are you honest to God asking me why single 24 year olds such as myself, with taught 24 year old bodies, who spend their productive time working away at jobs to get promotions and their leisure time at concerts and beerfests, and having sex with their partner. Whose disposable income goes straight to eating out, trips and getting new jeans---you’re really asking me why this group of people fears something that ruins their romantic prospects, ruins their sexual appeal, ruins their social life, ruins their job prospects, and decimates their disposable income?

    You, CS, made the sweeping generalizations that women (age 24) were basing their choices on truth. I showed you from walking the walk that those fears are UNfounded. That is why I used my own experience in contrast. To illustrate. To show the error of that thinking.

    And more nonsense - this idea you commented about "God having more better things to do" in regards to His command for purity and teaching/commandment on fornication- Extrapolated that would mean this:
    "God has no time for caring about this fornication thing (even though he's outside of time), therefore, He must also not have time for x, y, z ... Oh, afterall, He's busy doing too much, He must not care. So, apply that to answering prayer, to any kind of revelation... Oh, I guess we can go ahead and do whatever... God's got better things to do. "

    This is not Christian thought. This is stunted, human excuse making and logic at its finest in regards to understanding a revealed God in Christianity.

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  150. * stunted, human excuse making and illogic thought

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  151. PERSONHOOD
    (Part 1 of 3)

    Linda, I provide these inputs particularly for your reflection.
    “Personhood” (or alleged lack thereof) is the last straw that the Pro Abortion lobby is clutching at in its ghastly attempts to justify the killing of innocents. (Albeit the truly bloodthirsty have crossed this rubicon too, and are now openly demanding the killing even of acknowledged “persons” as their “right”.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ic3rUlohlq8

    Pro abortionists know that, legally speaking, if an unborn child (read: a human being in development) was to be defined as a person, then he/she would have the same unalienable right to life as all Americans do. And the diabolic decision in Roe v Wade would come crashing down like a deck of cards:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81NrWq3p5Ag

    Note: “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment” - Justice Harry Blackmun, Majority Opinion, Roe v. Wade.

    Every human being has an unalienable right to life, from their earliest biological creation to natural death. Hence denial of the “personhood” of a human being is the preferred legal recourse to justify the denial of his/her rights. Indeed, this was precisely the methodology used for the justification of slavery (by no less than a “Supreme” Court in the US!) at one time: "In the eyes of the law... the slave is not a person" - Virginia Supreme Court, 1858.

    Of course, this subterfuge leads to the question: Who is a person (and who is not) and how should personhood be understood or defined?

    If you look up the word "person" in your average dictionary, you'll find something like this: "Person: n. A human being." Simply put, every human being is a person, at least morally, if not legally or constitutionally (more on this later).

    Firstly though, when does human life commence? In 1973 (at the time of Roe v Wade), the science of fetology was not able to prove, as it can now, that a living, fully human, and unique individual exists at the moment of fertilization and continues to grow through various stages of development in a continuum until death. This intrinsic humanity of unborn children, by definition, should, logically, make them persons, and should, therefore, guarantee their protection under the law.

    Pick up any book on embryology, and you’ll discover that scientifically, every human life begins at fertilization: For example, "[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being" - Keith L. Moore in The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.

    Read what medical experts across the board say about an embryo – and say so unanimously. They all confirm that an embryo is not just a mere clump of cells which at some point in time suddenly “becomes” a human being. It is human from conception; some of the definitions even surprised me!

    http://www.princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html

    There remains one, and only one, group of human beings in the United States today for whom being human is not enough to guarantee their lives! For them, and them alone, the (greatly vexed) question of “personhood” is raised (legally). Allowing them in the meantime to be killed, frozen or experimented upon!

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  152. PERSONHOOD
    (Part 2 of 3)

    The current concept of person was developed (by - surprise, surprise - Christianity!) during the Trinitarian and Christological debates of the 4th and 5th centuries in contrast to the word "nature". During the theological debates, some philosophical tools (concepts) were needed so that the debates could be held on common basis to all theological schools. The purpose of the debate was to establish the relation, similarities and differences between the Λóγος/"Verbum" (the Incarnate Word) and God. The philosophical concept of “person” arose, taking the word "prosopon" (πρόσωπον) from the Greek theatre. Therefore, Christus (the Λóγος/"Verbum") and God were defined as different "persons". This concept was applied later to the Holy Spirit, the angels and to all human beings.

    Since then, a number of important changes to the word's meaning and use have taken place, and attempts have been made to redefine the word with varying degrees of adoption and influence. In most societies today, living adult humans are usually considered persons, but depending on the context, theory or definition, the category of "person" may be taken to include such non-human entities as animals, artificial intelligences, or extraterrestrial life, as well as legal entities such as corporations, sovereign states and other polities, or estates in probate.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/10/24/141663195/what-is-the-basis-for-corporate-personhood

    Now, according to some extremely disturbing arguments (like in those against slaves), the category of “person” may exclude babies in prenatal development, and other people (both children and adults) with extreme mental impairment. How macabre is it that we can argue for entities like corporations or states or estates to be legally classed as “persons” (and fight for their rights!), while denying the same status (of personhood) to a living human embryo/fetus who is unquestionably defined by science, (no less), as a developing and changing human being, growing in a continuum from fertilization to death?!!!

    By the way, in addition to the question of personhood (i.e., what makes a being or a thing count as a “person” to begin with), there are further questions about personal identity: both about what makes any particular person that particular person instead of another, and about what makes a person at one time the same person as he or she was or will be at another time despite any intervening changes.

    Given that the question of personhood is such a minefield of confusion and debate, how much weight should we place on such (almost surreal) criteria when it comes to legislating for or against something as basic and crucial as a (medically defined) human being’s right to life?

    For the first time in history, a US state, North Dakota, recently enacted a law to expand the inalienable right to life to “every human being at any stage of development.”

    http://www.personhoodusa.com/press-release/north-dakota-passes-first-state-personhood-amendment-us-history

    http://www.liveaction.org/press/statement-by-lila-rose-on-north-dakota-personhood-amendment-scr-4009/

    How long before this legislation is challenged in the courts and/or overturned is anybody’s guess. Although this legislation does not restrict abortions:

    http://www.aul.org/2010/04/what-exactly-is-%E2%80%9Cconstitutional-personhood%E2%80%9D-the-definition-of-personhood-and-its-role-in-the-life-debate/

    there is no doubting that it poses a significant threat to other proponents of the rapidly growing culture of death.

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  153. PERSONHOOD
    (Part 3 of 3)

    Finally, when it comes to any (wo)man’s most basic right – the right to life itself – the “person” (or persona non grata – which literally means “an unwelcome person”) rationale should scare the living daylights out of all of us. Here’s why:

    http://constitution.org/powright.htm

    Note: “Although not a well-developed area, there is also a basis for excluding entities (from legal personhood) which, although they are born to human beings, lack attributes which would enable them to be functionally human, such as some minimal level of cognitive capacity, but such beings must be considered natural persons as the default unless proven otherwise through due process.”

    Proven by “due process”... undertaken by... people like “end-of-life consultants”...? Shudder.

    As Leila has so wisely pointed out (prophesied, in fact), “we are moving more and more towards a "survival of the fittest, might makes right, he with the biggest gun wins".

    As one dapper little mustachioed man(iac), very fluent and charismatic in his pontifications (do men with exceptional slimy-smooth oratorial skills remind you of anyone in particular?) once said early in the twentieth century:

    “The earth continues to go round, whether it’s the man who kills the tiger or the tiger who eats the man. The stronger asserts his will, it’s the law of nature. The world doesn’t change; its laws are eternal.” – Adolf Hitler, Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens, trans., (Oxford, 1953).

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  154. Leila,


    “You realize that this superficial, selfish cultural view of life and motherhood is very much a product and fallout of the sexual revolution and not what generations of humanity have thought of sex and children and family in the past?”

    Sure I realize we are in a post materialistic society. Until about fifty years ago people had to spend the majority of their efforts merely surviving and now that we can do that with little effort we spend out energies amusing ourselves, making ourselves happy, our attitude towards sex and children have more to do that and consumerism than evil feminists.

    CS

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  155. “As for women clamoring for birth control, how I wish you would read again (with an open heart and mind) Uju's letter to Melinda Gates and really start to understand that women don't all think selfishly and superficially”

    I don’t think all women want BC or need it. I see based on demographic data that first world women don’t want big families. And that the only women who do (on a macro level) are third world women with no other options. I don’t see anything selfless about the women in Uju’s letter. They are women who live in an agricultural society where children are instrumental. They use children as status symbols where we use money. Nothing nobler about that.

    Why are women who don’t want children any more selfish than women who do? ? I would understand if you think women are selfish for aborting, but now it is selfish to not conceive people you don’t want? I don’t want the responsibility of a mortgage or a garden am I selfish for renting or buying my veggies from a grocery store?

    As for the scripture, it says a lot of things. I think sex during menstruation is off limits as well. I don’t attempt to follow everything in the bible if that answers your question.

    A law is unjust if it allows for people to egregiously harm each other I suppose.

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  156. CS, not a lot of time here, but just quickly, regarding the Christian aspect. You said:

    I think sex during menstruation is off limits as well.

    Those were Old Testament Jewish laws that are not in effect since Christ came to fulfill the law. I am truly interested in your reasons for being Christian. What makes a Christian different from say, a Roman pagan at the time of Christ? Would you die for Christ? For Christian truth? Can a Christian disregard the moral law (to the point of losing Heaven) and just shrug?

    I don't understand. Who is Christ to you? How much do you love Him?

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  157. Sure I realize we are in a post materialistic society. Until about fifty years ago people had to spend the majority of their efforts merely surviving and now that we can do that with little effort we spend out energies amusing ourselves, making ourselves happy

    But you are a Christian. So, what do you think about the way society is? Materialism, selfishness, "me" generation, pleasure seekers, amoral… How does that square with Christian witness or Christian virtue?

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  158. Nubby,


    You’re actually debating me, saying that pregnancy doesn’t negatively impact one’s romantic prospects. Sexual appeal, social life, job prospects and disposable income? I could waste time finding stats to back up that women with children make less money, that women who have had children have more saggy breasts, that children take up disposable income, that men of caliber are less likely to be interested in pregnant women/single mothers, but its all just common sense.

    And no Nubby your anecdote proved nothing about my fears. I’m 24 Nubby; hopefully you can understand that hanging out with PTA moms doesn’t constitute a social life in my opinion. Having ‘any job’ is also not my aspiration. Can I have any job I want as a pregnant woman or mother? Do I have the flexibility to change careers at a moment’s notice. Does getting pregnant or taking time off negatively affect my career? And no Nubby, I didn’t ask about your income I asked about disposable income. I don’t budget and I don’t want to. Having enough to pay one’s bills isn’t typically seen as a victory.

    You’re pro-life. You want to convince women to keep their babies. If a woman fears she is going to get fat or have less money to travel, don’t lie to her and tell her points aren’t valid. Tell her they are temporary Tell her they are less important. But don’t pretend they aren’t real.


    CS

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  159. Tell her they are temporary Tell her they are less important.

    Do you believe this, CS?

    And, just to be clear, we speak to people according to the circumstances of the conversation. I believe Nubby was responding to you and the attitudes and beliefs that you have consistently championed over the years here, not a scared pregnant girl who is considering abortion.

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    Replies
    1. I guess I just need to say that pro-life advocates (and just regular folks) and crisis pregnancy centers respond and care about every need, fear and concern an abortion-minded woman or girl has, including the ones you mention.

      Delete
  160. Leila,

    I believe Jesus is the Son of God. Pretty much the extent to my religious conviction.

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  161. "I believe Jesus is the Son of God. Pretty much the extent to my religious conviction."

    Does that knowledge require anything of you in response?

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    1. PS: Do you mean that in the Christian sense of also knowing that Jesus is the Eternal God? (Second Person of the Holy Trinity?) Thanks, I'm just trying to figure out where you are coming from.

      Delete
    2. Or, let me try the question this way: In what practical way does being a Christian affect your life and choices? In other words, how would you live differently if you were not a Christian?

      Delete
  162. You’re actually debating me, saying that pregnancy doesn’t negatively impact one’s romantic prospects. Sexual appeal, social life, job prospects and disposable income? I could waste time finding stats to back up that women with children make less money, that women who have had children have more saggy breasts, that children take up disposable income, that men of caliber are less likely to be interested in pregnant women/single mothers, but its all just common sense.

    How would pregnancy impact "romantic prospects"? Is a pregnant woman actually planning on, and worried about, sleeping around while pregnant?

    Women with children don't always make less money. The decision is the woman's as pertains to her choices of education before she seeks employment. Math, science, technical fields of some sort, CS. That's your jackpot as far as income and flexibility. Women are always in demand in those fields.

    And no Nubby your anecdote proved nothing about my fears. I’m 24 Nubby; hopefully you can understand that hanging out with PTA moms doesn’t constitute a social life in my opinion.

    Um. I don't hang out with PTA moms for my good time, again, you're incorrect in your generalization. I hang out with people who are a good time whether Catholic or not. It's called "sharing joy of life".

    Having ‘any job’ is also not my aspiration. Can I have any job I want as a pregnant woman or mother?

    Teacher, freelance writer, interior designer, engineer, dentist, doctor, nutritionist personal trainer, lawyer, any career with job sharing. Why do you insist that you are limited in your choice, in this day and age, as far as career/work?

    Do I have the flexibility to change careers at a moment’s notice.

    If you have the right kind of education that predisposes you to have more choices.

    Does getting pregnant or taking time off negatively affect my career?

    No. Employers allow maternity leave and job sharing. Where are you getting this negative impact issue? Most women work for other women (supervisor role) who understand the roles of motherhood and career.

    And no Nubby, I didn’t ask about your income I asked about disposable income. I don’t budget and I don’t want to.

    Well, growing up is hard to do. And if you're worried about paying bills, then the time to prepare for a good career is NOW.

    If a woman fears she is going to get fat or have less money to travel, don’t lie to her and tell her points aren’t valid.

    When you speak these fears as if they are truth they are not valid. Some gain weight, some lose weight, some don't. Christians are not, as a whole, hung up about about "fat". It's about loving the person. It's not about my travel, my weight. It's about relationship to Christ and freedom. What are you choosing, CS?

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  163. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_major

    CS - Not sure of your major in college, if declared. But, scroll this page above. Take a look at the most valuable majors and least valuable majors. Looks where the jobs are on this list. Women would do very well financially in those careers, and I guarantee there are corporations and companies that offer those capacities with job-sharing. If you are not science or math phobic, you'll be set with flexibility for life. Just something to consider.

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  164. Leila, i see that I walked into your argument with my use of the word "survive."

    >>
    "Here's what I decided: a fetus has a right to life when it can survive outside the womb. Before that, since it is entirely 100% dependent on its mother for survival, her rights trump his."
    So, the more dependent a human being is on another human being, the more right the stronger human being has to kill (or override the rights) of the weaker human being? Your statement implies that an eight-month old child stuck on an island with his mother has no right to life, either. He is 100% dependent on his mother for survival (and it's more work for her to care for, comfort, and feed an eight-month-old than to passively gestate a fetus). So, may she kill him at will? Does her "right" to be child-free override his right to life? I can't get past this in my head: The strong may kill the weak.
    >>
    You're right, I really should have used the word "exist." For survival is ambiguous, is it not? Survive for how long? For years? I personally couldn't survive years without help of another, for example. Your island argument had me stumped for a moment. But the fact is that the infant IS "surviving" or at least "living" without its mother and can do so for several days. A fetus before 16 weeks cannot survive (exist, live) for even a moment outside another human being. It cannot breathe air, which is another criterion for determining existence life (in addition to presence of a heartbeat). So it's not a question of "strong vs weak," it's a question of "alive vs not alive." The mother of the fetus is fully alive and the fetus is not yet. That is why the mother's rights trump the fetus's.

    Let me make something clear: I don't like abortion. I think it's awful. I would never do it. I hate thinking about it. It makes me very sad. And I've unfortunately had a lot of experience with it working in the field of women's health, and it's something that still nags at me. I will always remember the shock of seeing the 15-yr-old girl coming in for an abortion at 18 weeks, unapologetic. The feeling of horror as I flipped through the chart of a 20-yr-old, finding image after image of fetuses in her pre-abortion sonograms (she was there for a check-up after her 5th abortion). The look my boss shot me when I let slip "oh, it's cute" when looking at a sonogram of a woman who just discovered she was pregnant (she decided to abort). The description by a girl in my class of how a late-term abortion is performed (I felt physically ill). The abortion counselor at Planned Parenthood telling me that EVERY DAY at least one woman (or girl) comes in past the legal limit (24 weeks) to ask for an abortion. I hate all of these memories. Hate them. I wrote my master's thesis on how to prevent repeat abortion (IUDs for everyone!). I want to decrease the amount of abortion that occurs. I just don't think the best way to do that is by making it illegal and villainizing the women and doctors who do it. Statistics support me in this.

    Leila, still waiting on your answer about how you would feel if gays adopt a child from an orphanage with no prospects of a heterosexual couple adoption.

    Francis, you're next. Give me a bit more time. You gave me a lot of work! Lots of reading to get through!

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  165. Linda:

    1. The mother of the fetus is fully alive and the fetus is not yet.

    Oh, but it is! It's fully alive! That's just the point! Your original statement about the fetus not being able to "survive" without the mother was more accurate. Now you've confused yourself with this new "alive" stance, no?

    2. "I personally couldn't survive years without help of another, for example."

    Actually... (I hate to have to tell you! :)) you couldn't survive for another instant - even draw your next breath - without the support of an Other. When that realization hits you (if ever), and humbles you, your mind will be set free from the shallow, selfish and surreal rationalizations of this world, such as the ones you're currently expounding. Humility, and respect for the handiwork of God, are key to making us men and women of goodwill - and true facilitators of life. All disordered philosophy and behaviors arise from a disoriented understanding of one's own intrinsic identity; this is also the commonest source of self aggrandizement and invention of fictitious "rights" for oneself.

    3. Although you've asked the question to Leila (about homosexuals adopting), assuming firstly, that there's a real shortage of adopters, my question to you is this: Why should society refuse adoption to able, willing and respectable single people (of whom there are millions more than homosexuals) yet allow adoptions to two single people engaged in a ghastly pretence of "marriage" - two singles who can never be one flesh or procreate, and yet are steeped in all manner of disordered sexual practices under cover of a fake "marriage"? Of the two scenarios which do you think would be the safer/healthier/normative environment for a child, and why?

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  166. Hi Francis, I haven't even gotten a chance to reply to your earlier comments and you're giving me new ones! At least these are fast (without any articles referenced!). So here goes.
    1. I agree that I'm having some trouble making myself clear, defining "alive" vs "exist" vs "human being" vs "survive." I'm still working on the syntax. I'm leaning towards something like "life begins to form at conception but has not fully formed until the fetus takes its first breath out of the womb" instead of the hard-line "life begins at conception." but I haven't worked out all of the kinks yet.
    2. I begin to suspect that, sadly, that the realization of an "Other" watching over me will never hit me. I've come to terms with it. But I object to your classification of the rationalizations I'm expounding as "shallow, selfish, and surreal." What's shallow or selfish about it? I'm not even talking about myself here! I decided long ago that one can be an atheist and still be a good person. Heck, as Joanna pointed out, some atheists are even pro-life! So there!
    3. Aha, a bite! I think society should NOT refuse adoption to "able, willing and respectable single people." I'm fine with that, of course. Anyone who wants to take a child without a home and give it a loving home is welcome to, in my opinion, with few exceptions. As for which is better, a single parent vs two gay parents, I don't feel strongly either way. Each family will have its own benefits and disadvantages that come with it, as do biological families. The gay couple has something extra going for it in the presence of two loving parents instead of one, but a single parent I think can still adequately care for a child.

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  167. Linda,

    1. Why is "life begins at conception" "hard-line" for you? If life doesn't begin at conception when does it begin? Are embryologists wrong when they unanimously say it does (at conception)? Or are you attempting to redefine what life is, as always understood by mankind, by adding new provisos to its definition/validity which have never existed before? Why, do you imagine, even hardcore pro-abortionists are rapidly moving away now from employing the old hogwash that am embryo/fetus is "just a clump of cells"?

    life: noun, the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.

    2. What's shallow and selfish about your rationalizations is that they do not allow for the continuance of the life of a fellow human being from his/her earliest stage of development. A human being has to reach certain acceptable characteristics and/or "performance standards" before acquiring his/her unalienable right to life. That's what you're really arguing. Your (ir)rationalizations are, in fact, cold bloodedly murderous - in the fullest sense of that descriptor. Sorry.

    Why are some atheists pro-life and you not? Is it because they can discern the evil in terminating the life of a developing human being (at any stage ) and you can't?

    3. The only "extra" that gay "couples" have going for them is their unnatural and unproductive sexual activity. If such people truly loved children, they'd leave them to be reared by normal families - (complementary) heterosexuals who are capable of being real moms and real dads in every sense of those terms, so that the child would be able to thrive in the natural order of things instead of being exposed/forcefully acclimatized to unnatural/perverted behaviors from a tender, unknowing age. The idea of abandoned children/orphans being "rescued" from their plight only to be delivered into an unnatural, "gender neutral", artificial domestic arrangement is as bizarre as, say, euthanasia parading as an extending of "mercy" and "dignity" to its victim.

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  168. It cannot breathe air, which is another criterion for determining existence life (in addition to presence of a heartbeat). So it's not a question of "strong vs weak," it's a question of "alive vs not alive." The mother of the fetus is fully alive and the fetus is not yet. That is why the mother's rights trump the fetus's.

    Actually neither breathing air nor heartbeat have anything to do with defining life. Plants are alive but have no heartbeat, fish don't breathe air, they absorb oxygen from water. Both are very much alive. And in full disclosure, there are some scientists have done testing on mammal lungs with increased oxygenated water, and the lungs will indeed absorb oxygen out of the water (think the scene in The Abyss with the rat in the pink water - I believe that was an actual experiment)

    There are, as generally accepted by most scientists worth their weight in intelligence and research, 7 criterion for Life, at least according to noted researchers in biology and zoology, Cleveland Hickman, Larry Roberts, and Allan Larson.

    Chemical uniqueness. Complexity and hierarchical organization. Reproduction. Possession of a genetic program. Metabolism. Development. Environmental reaction.

    Every living organism will possess each of these 7 properties. A fertilized egg does possess each one of these (I'm pretty sure that was covered in my freshman in high school biology class. (Of which I would like to point out again how much I loathed biology class. (And I've decided I'm going to start channeling Marc Barnes when I post, hence the parentheticals.))) But I would like to point out in particular the 2nd to last one listed. Development, meaning every living organism experiences a life cycle. At no point during this life cycle is an organism considered "not alive", until it's death. A fertilized egg, a blastocyst, a zygote, an embryo, a fetus (of whatever corresponding week), a newborn baby, my almost 3 month old, my almost 2 year old, my 3.5 year old, my 6 year old, my 8.5 year old, my 12 year old, my almost 16 year old cousin, my 28 year old sister, my 35 year old husband, my 40-year old friend, my 57 year old aunt, my 64 year old father, the 74 year old woman who lives down the street, my husband's 88 year old grandmother (I could keep going, but I have serious amounts of laundry to fold) are all human organisms somewhere on the developmental spectrum of the human life cycle. Without the help of God or Dr. Frankenstein, something that is "not alive" (see dead) does not suddenly start being alive. When it comes to organisms (and the human race is included under that heading), one is either alive or dead. If something is "not alive" and was "never alive" to begin with, it is an inanimate object.

    Hope that helps!

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  169. Linda, if I may, it seems the trouble you are having is not in making yourself clear, or a syntactical error, but in trying to draw a distinction where there isn't one. Human life is human life is human life. Any arbitrary 'line' between conception and birth is just that - arbitrary (and highly variable). Why don't we just use the actual threshold of change as our marker? Conception: before it, nothing; after it, life.

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  170. "1. I agree that I'm having some trouble making myself clear, defining "alive" vs "exist" vs "human being" vs "survive." I'm still working on the syntax. I'm leaning towards something like "life begins to form at conception but has not fully formed until the fetus takes its first breath out of the womb" instead of the hard-line "life begins at conception." but I haven't worked out all of the kinks yet."

    "Inigo Montoya: He's dead. He can't talk.
    Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do."

    Your comment just reminded me of the Princess Bride. It was the only example I could think of where life was suggested to be a sliding scale but even Miracle Max allows our hero is still alive.

    So, lets say you are right and that life only "starts to form" at conception. Why isn't that worthy of protection? Because it interferes with the mom's life? Why is that interference such a harm that we should justify stomping out the "slightly alive" fetus to an "all dead" fetus?

    Isn't there value to the potential or "less than fully formed life"? There certainly seems to be. Pregnant women are generally protected by society. We offer them seats on the bus and make sure they don't stand out in the hot sun too long. Even our pet dogs can become protective of their pregnant owners. That is empirical evidence that the fetus has some value (even our pets see it!) How do you make the determination the fetus' value isn't enough to override mom's.....freedom?

    I don't see how your "life begins when the child breaths outside the womb" works. Some children are born early and breath on their own. If a fetus which is the same age but wasn't born earlier.....is that child alive? Is life something that is just granted to us at that magical first breath? What if the babe is born but needs a ventilator?

    I realize you just used that as an example but I would venture to guess there would be similar objections/questions to any random "milestone" between conception and birth. We don't all develop the same way, even the womb.

    I would agree with the others above. It seems like the clearest line we can draw is conception.

    I hope this makes sense. It has been a long day. :-)

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  171. Linda- not making much sense. Humans dont fully develop until age 30 and then begin to decay. Humans are also social creatures and fail to thrive without each other. In other words we are all dependent on each other. I'm dependent on farmers to eat just like my children age 1 and 3 depend on me to fix meals.

    There are also people who depend on breathing machines and pace makers. Yet they otherwise function in society.

    Its completely illogical to use human development or complete autonomy as criterion for the human right to live. Its inate when we are conceived. Our mother took the risk of conception in most cases. Its irresponsible to kill a child simply because it cramps our style. As a woman my decision to be responsible for the life of a child began with sex. It doesnt begin when we want the child or at birth.

    Now you can bring up health and rape cases of which i will also be happy to address. But it sounds like we're just talking about life style choices.

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  172. "Now you can bring up health and rape cases of which i will also be happy to address. But it sounds like we're just talking about life style choices."

    Exactly! 15 years ago when I had this discussion with other women the line was always : "Oh yes, if you had means to support the child and aborted it just because that would be very very wrong. But think of the poor women who are pregnant because of rape, or whose lives are in jeopardy."

    But that's not the discussion anymore. It isn't about these rare, extreme, tragic cases anymore. It really is about "abortion on demand."

    When you start tearing down social convictions in a society with a crumbling moral compass this is what happens- widespread slaughter in the name of "freedom."

    Which then turns into a weird justification that because it is widespread it must somehow be okay.

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  173. Reposting since I forgot to put Linda's words in italics...

    Linda, sorry for the delay in my reply.

    So all I'm saying is that we cannot use the presence of a full genetic code in a single cell as the basis for determining humanity.

    I agree! I think we should use objective scientific criteria as a basis for determining what is and is not a human being/organism.

    The following comment was left at SecularProLife.org, and I've found it to be a useful summary of this criteria:

    "The union of two gametes constitutes the first stage in a *unique organism's development*. The resultant organism is called a zygote. This unique organism (life) is human. The zygote contains DNA derived from both the parents, and this provides all the genetic information necessary to constitute it as an individual. Specifically, it inherits 23 chromosomes from each parent (at fertilization), giving it a total of the required 46 chromosomes present in a human being. The entire process of development of new *individuals* is called reproduction.

    Also, there are definitely things science does not do -- like tell people how to use scientific knowledge. But it does answer the question, "what is life". Better than anyone else ever has. What sets a fetus apart? What makes it a life? From my biology book, all life:

    1. is made of a common set of chemical components

    2. has genetic information with a universal code to specify proteins (DNA, RNA, etc)

    3. converts environmental molecules into new biological molecules

    4. extracts environmental energy and uses it to do biological work

    5. regulates its internal environment (homeostasis)

    6. replicates genetic information when reproduced

    7. evolves through gradual changes in genetic information
    [I'm sure there are more concise lists]

    You're free to disagree with it, but it would be as logical as disagreeing with science's definition of hydrolysis or covalent bonding -- it's logical, it fits in with the framework of everything we know scientifically, it is consistently true. None of this is religious."

    Regarding how many atheists are pro-life, do the numbers really matter? The fact is that there are plenty of people, regardless of their religion, who are pro-life based on the scientific evidence alone. And there are even more people who oppose abortion on demand without apology. I can, and have, argued against abortion without bringing a single religious argument into it.

    I personally don't think it's an "extreme" position that it's wrong to kill an innocent human being. But then, it used to be "extreme" to believe that black people were human beings with full civil rights, too. I'm glad our nation has at least realized the folly of that position.

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  174. Hi Francis,

    First I'll respond to your first three-part series on personhood. (How do I put stuff in italics here?)

    I agree that a zygote is a unique thing that will develop into a human. But you will not be able to convince me that it is fully alive and deserves the rights that human beings outside the womb have.

    "There remains one, and only one, group of human beings in the United States today for whom being human is not enough to guarantee their lives! For them, and them alone, the (greatly vexed) question of “personhood” is raised (legally). Allowing them in the meantime to be killed, frozen or experimented upon!"

    I disagree with your first sentence. I know you mean "according to the law" at the end of the sentence. But as I pointed out before, we've got capital punishment, in which the law takes away this "unalienable right." But we can leave capital punishment for another thread.

    "How macabre is it that we can argue for entities like corporations or states or estates to be legally classed as “persons” (and fight for their rights!), while denying the same status (of personhood) to a living human embryo/fetus who is unquestionably defined by science, (no less), as a developing and changing human being, growing in a continuum from fertilization to death?!!!"

    Very, very wrong, and macabre indeed. Corporations are NOT people, my friends.
    “Although not a well-developed area, there is also a basis for excluding entities (from legal personhood) which, although they are born to human beings, lack attributes which would enable them to be functionally human, such as some minimal level of cognitive capacity, but such beings must be considered natural persons as the default unless proven otherwise through due process.”

    Yes, very scary. Anyone born to a human is a human and should not be proven otherwise through any semblance of due process.

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  175. And now, Francis, Bethany, to address your implied question to me of when life begins :
    Life, existence, "aliveness" begins at birth ("personhood" as it's legally used currently). The fetus begins forming from conception but does is not fully "alive" until birth. You must acknowledge the huge changes that occur during birth? That is a hard line, not a gray area, if you want to draw one. The birth of a human being is fascinating and overwhelmingly awesome. The fetus goes from breathing amniotic fluid through its belly button to breathing air through its mouth and nose. Its heart changes in one beat to process blood from the lungs instead of from the umbilical cord. Its digestive system learns (with some hiccups, literally, he he) to process nutrients from the stomach (entering through the mouth) instead of the umbilical cord. This all happens at birth. And before you pick this apart, I'm not saying that a human being (outside the womb) who is unable to do all these things does not have the right to life. Just that birth is a pretty momentous, changing occasion (for the fetus and others around it!).

    Bethany, you said "Actually neither breathing air nor heartbeat have anything to do with defining life." You're misunderstanding me. I meant human life. Obviously I am aware that plants and fish do not breathe air as humans do. But as Francis pointed out, a human being is declared dead when there is no heartbeat (for a certain length of time). Obviously a human can live with a pacemaker, or attached to a breathing machine , or brain-dead. Although my feelings on those situations are also best left for another thread I think.

    Re: the textbook definition of life, the seven criteria, and how they relate to a zygote, embryo, and fetus. Joanna, your biology textbook is absolutely right. I do not disagree. Those are biologists' definition of what constitutes life as a species. Humans are alive as a species because humans as a species are able to do those seven things. On a personal, individual level, a zygote (fertilized egg) cannot. #6 and #7 are criteria for a species, not an individual.

    None of you addressed the point that making abortion illegal does not decrease the abortion rate. That making birth control accessible is the one factor shown to decrease both the abortion rate and the number of zygotes "dying." How do you all feel about that? Why, if you want to save zygotes and every human being from conception to death, do you want to make abortion illegal?

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  176. Kat, I liked your points very much. I love the Princess Bride and I hate laundry. You said, "So, lets say you are right and that life only "starts to form" at conception. Why isn't that worthy of protection? Because it interferes with the mom's life? Why is that interference such a harm that we should justify stomping out the "slightly alive" fetus to an "all dead" fetus? Isn't there value to the potential or "less than fully formed life"? There certainly seems to be."

    Yes! I agree! There is value to the potential of the "less than fully formed life." That is why I am against abortion! That is why i would never have one, even when I found out I was pregnant, without health insurance (do you know how much a birth costs without health insurance? it's insane), and about to start full-time grad school. That pregnancy was certainly inconvenient to me! But the "less than fully formed life" is the argument I am making for abortion not being "murder" and also the reason I don't think it should be illegal, even though I don't think it's the right thing to do. In a perfect world, every woman would have the choice when to have sex, and would only choose to do so if she were willing to accept the possible consequence of pregnancy.

    Kat, you also make the excellent point "Some children are born early and breathe on their own. If a fetus which is the same age but wasn't born earlier.....is that child alive? Is life something that is just granted to us at that magical first breath? What if the babe is born but needs a ventilator?"

    That is why i think abortion should be illegal when the child has the potential to survive outside the womb (let's say 16, maybe 18 or 20 weeks just to be safe, although really it's currently at 22 weeks, and actually I get to make no such decisions which is why I had such a hard time deciding on a particular week). The fetus is not fully alive at 26 weeks gestation, but has the instant potential for full life outside the womb at that stage (yes, with its first breath), so abortion should not be legal at that stage. And breathing on a ventilator is still breathing, is still alive.

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  177. Deltaflute, I agree with you when you said this: "As a woman my decision to be responsible for the life of a child began with sex. It doesn't begin when we want the child or at birth." As I said, in a perfect world, every woman would have a choice when to have sex and would also accept the responsibility that it entails. But we shouldn't legally hold a woman to that responsibility because of the points I made earlier about 1) the disputed idea that a fetus is not fully alive and 2) the point no one has addressed yet that making abortion illegal and decreasing access to birth control does not actually decrease the abortion rate.

    Also, I think you all are glossing over the fact that even in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the mother, extreme pro-lifers (again, I don't mean to imply anything by my use of the word phrase "extreme pro-lifers" when I'm talking about those of you who believe life begins at conception and must not be terminated for any reason. I will use whatever term you want, it's just that pro-life is not specific enough) still want abortion to be illegal. In these (thankfully rare) cases, you still want to force a rape victim to carry her child to term, you would still sacrifice the life of the mother to prevent an abortion, even of a child with no chance at life.

    THIS can happen when abortion is illegal. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/world/europe/jury-cites-poor-medical-care-in-death-of-indian-woman-in-ireland.html?_r=0

    Are you all ok with this? In case you don't want to read the whole article and haven't heard the story, it's this: "Ms. Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen, said the hospital staff refused to give his wife an abortion even though her fetus had no chance of survival, citing the country’s Roman Catholic social policies against abortions." She died because they waited to the fetus' heartbeat to stop (although they knew it would) before performing the abortion.

    (As a side note, I don't see why the doctor's could not induce labor without actually performing a relatively late-term abortion. I would think this would reduce their moral culpability about the life of the fetus while still preserving the life of the mother.)

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  178. OK! Now for the fun discussion! Gay adoption!

    Francis, Leila, can you not consider ANY situation in which you would rather have a child brought up by a loving, same-sex couple? No situation at all is worse in your opinion?

    Francis, you said "3. The only "extra" that gay "couples" have going for them is their unnatural and unproductive sexual activity. If such people truly loved children, they'd leave them to be reared by normal families - (complementary) heterosexuals who are capable of being real moms and real dads in every sense of those terms, so that the child would be able to thrive in the natural order of things instead of being exposed/forcefully acclimatized to unnatural/perverted behaviors from a tender, unknowing age. The idea of abandoned children/orphans being "rescued" from their plight only to be delivered into an unnatural, "gender neutral", artificial domestic arrangement is as bizarre as, say, euthanasia parading as an extending of "mercy" and "dignity" to its victim."

    Oh, my! First I'll address your "un-natural" comment. Absolutely, reproduction by same-sex couples is "un-natural," as in it does not occur in nature, (although some species have been known to change sex in extreme conditions). But homosexual activity occurs commonly in nature, among humans certainly, and among other species (it's been observed in 1,500 other species, if you believe wikipedia, and I'm not necessarily counseling that you do - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals). It is certainly "unproductive" from a strictly reproductive standpoint, I'll give you that. What do you mean by "perverted"? Are you talking about the actual act of homosexual sex? Heterosexual couples engage in sex, not just for the purpose of producing children, and often engage in those exact acts that homosexuals engage in (I'm trying to keep this PG-13 here). Those specific acts are also not un-natural, as like I said even heterosexual couples perform them. If you want to make the point that Leila did that they are not biologically productive, I'm with you there. But I'm not of the opinion that sex is reserved just for the purpose of creating children. Are all Catholics? I remember a priest at my church giving a homily about the importance of marital chastity (no sex unless you're aiming for a kid). But from some comments earlier, I got the impression that you all don't feel that way, right? When you speak of natural family planning, that allows for sex without the express purpose of having a child, right?

    Leaving children to be reared by complementary heterosexual couples is often not an option. So again I ask, can you really think of no situation that would be worse than two women or two men who love each other raising a child? What if they're abstinent? What if they're sisters? What if they're three men: one a widower, one his brother-in-law, and one his friend? (Points to anyone getting the reference!) Is a child absolutely doomed if it is raised in any environment other than one man and one woman, regardless of any other circumstances present? How about one alcoholic man, one woman? How about one man, one work-a-holic woman who never sees her children at all? How about one man who beats his wife in front of his kids? You'd still prefer that to a loving same-sex couple? I can't wrap my head around this, to use Leila's phrasing. :)

    One more question: is it only in the Old Testament that it is written that homosexual sex is forbidden? I know Jesus spoke against promiscuity and adultery, but does he ever specifically speak about homosexual sex?

    Sorry for being so wordy and repeating myself. I wanted to address everyone's comments, then realized they overlap so I should just speak to everyone, but then I wanted to go back to addressing some individual ones again. Thanks for the lively discussion!

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  179. Just woke up, and I'm also out the door, but I wanted to just quickly throw out some thought (with more later in the week, I promise).

    First:

    I agree that a zygote is a unique thing that will develop into a human.

    Science says that a zygote is a human being, not a "thing". Why won't you agree with science?

    But you will not be able to convince me that it is fully alive and deserves the rights that human beings outside the womb have.

    Right, and this is why we don't leave a human being's dignity to the judgement of another human being and her feelings/opinions. There are many groups of humans that other human beings don't feel deserve the dignity of full human status, and we "we will not be able to convince" them otherwise. Praise God, no human being's dignity is determined by others. Human dignity and worth is an objective fact, inherent.

    As to what is "natural" in the animal kingdom… we are different from animals as we have an intellect and a will (knowing and choosing). We can morally reason, and we can control our acts. So, animals also eat their young in the wild, and kill each other, but I don't see that used as a reason why humans should "naturally" do the same.

    I'm honestly wondering if you misunderstood your priest? Couples must always practice marital chastity (which simply means an integrated sexuality, but more on that in the Catechism), which includes NFP as an option for spacing children. He likely meant that each act of intercourse must be open to the creation of life, in the sense that the couple may not perform "any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means." Abstaining does not change or distort the nature of the marital act, as it foregoes the martial act altogether. And yes, acts of sodomy where the man purposely ejaculates in any other place other than his wife's vagina is immoral. For Catholics who are faithful to God's plan, everylovemaking session ends in a "one flesh union" between husband and wife. What could be more beautiful! :)

    And yes, the New Testament has statements about homosexuality and sexual immorality (and the orthodox of every major world religion also hold homosexual acts to be immoral). Here is specifically what Christ has said about marriage:

    http://catholiclane.com/was-jesus-really-silent-on-same-sex-marriage/

    What if they're sisters? What if they're three men: one a widower, one his brother-in-law, and one his friend? (Points to anyone getting the reference!)

    Yes, but here you are talking about "extended family" raising a child, not two men or two women pretending to be a married couple and all that entails. So, that is a different animal altogether.

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  180. Linda, contraception does not actually make abortion more rare:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/contraception-leads-to-abortion-come.html

    And, with regard to "breathing" meaning "alive": Babies do breath in the womb. They receive their oxygen from their mothers. And when a born human being is lying on an operating table, with his heart having been stopped for open heart surgery, and his lungs not working on their own for a period of time, he is also breathing. He receives his oxygen from a machine thanks to other people who are around him. If they cut off his oxygen, so that he could no longer breath, they would be guilty of murdering him, wouldn't they? Or can they do anything they want to him because he cannot breathe on his own yet?

    Back to my original question: How is your stance not equivalent to "the strong may kill the weak"? Shouldn't the weakest and most dependent among us be the most protected and cared for?

    Okay, out the door for the day. Have a good weekend!

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    1. Could you make that "breathe"? Ha ha, sorry!! I still have not had breakfast!!!!

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  181. Linda, I'm afraid you've been lied to once again. It has been conclusively proven that Savita's death was due to "medical misadventure" - i.e., medical malpractice. She was suffering from sepsis, and it was not diagnosed or treated in time to save her. An abortion, direct or indirect, would not stopped the infection or saved her life. See here for factual evidence: http://savitatruth.com/facts/

    Funny, isn't it, how these facts were NOT reported in the media once they came to light.

    Incidentally, indirect abortion (in which the baby's death is a tragic, unintended side effect of a treatment intended to save the mother) is permitted in Ireland and by Catholic moral law. Direct abortion is NEVER necessary to save the mother's life, and anyone who claims otherwise is simply ignorant. See here: http://www.dublindeclaration.com/

    I have to admit that I'm baffled by your position. Several commenters have posted scientific evidence to prove that a new, unique, living human organism exists at the moment of conception. Yet you continue to insist that unborn children aren't really "alive" until some arbitrary developmental benchmark, and this is apparently only based upon your own feelings as opposed to solid scientific, biological evidence.

    Isn't it something of a logical contradiction to claim that those of us who oppose abortion do so on the basis of religious faith alone, when your support of abortion seems to be solely based on your own subjective feelings (which stand in contradiction to objective scientific criteria and evidence)?

    I encourage you to look at the following resources for more objective, scientific evidence proving that a new, living, unique human being exists from conception onwards:

    http://www.ehd.org/dev_article_unit1.php and http://www.springerlink.com/content/n4426w75387267k5/ and

    "When Does Human Life Begin?" by Dr. Maureen Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine: http://bdfund.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/wi_whitepaper_life_print.pdf

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  182. Linda,

    Super busy day today, so like Leila, I don't have much time to respond, except for...

    What if they're sisters? What if they're three men: one a widower, one his brother-in-law, and one his friend? (Points to anyone getting the reference!)

    Sisters = Sabrina the Teenage Witch (she lived with her aunts, who were sisters, from ages 16-19)
    3 men = Full House

    Here's the thing, in neither show was there a sexual relationship between those raising the children. Full House actually did a somewhat decent job of illustrating the loss DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle felt of their deceased mother. They even wrote in the character of Becky (eventually Aunt Becky when she married their Uncle Jesse) to be a motherly figure for the girls.

    More later...

    Oh and to make things in italic, you just do put an lowercase i in between brackets <> and then to close them, you do /i in brackets. See this for more quick tips: http://pd.clcillinois.edu/docs/basic_html.pdf

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  183. Hi everyone! So, this is apparently comment number 200, which means Blogger goes nuts and we have to either make sure to "subscribe by email" below (to not miss a comment) or click the "load more" at the bottom of the comments. What a pain. Sorry!

    Linda, very quickly, if an unborn child is not alive, then abortion is not killing. But if it's not killing, then why do abortionists themselves admit that what they are doing is killing?

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abortionists-agree-abortion-is-killing

    Also, to be very direct, yes, the Church would say that adopting a child into a house that has active homosexuals would not ever be allowed. It would be a form of emotional and psychological child abuse (in a similar way to allowing adoptions to cohabiting couples, or to alcoholics, etc.). We believe it's harmful to the healthy development of the child, not to mention a violation of his rights. In fact, the Church has been forced to close wonderful adoption and fostering agencies because of the imposition of gay "marriage" in some states (and even civil unions). The Church will sooner close the doors to her charities (with heartbreak!) than be forced to adopt children to homosexual couples:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/08/catholics-your-misguided-compassion.html

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