Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The 8th undercover video with transcript, plus some hope

The judge's restraining order was recently dissolved, and Center for Medical Progress was allowed to release the StemExpress undercover video. There are no gruesome shots of tiny victims in this latest video, but the horror is still all there:

Partial transcript of the video:

1) StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer admits that StemExpress gets intact fetuses from the abortion clinics they work with shipped to their laboratory. “Case” is the clinical term for an individual abortion (cross reference with Planned Parenthood Senior Director of Medical Services Dr.  Deborah Nucatola’s discussion of “this case, that case” in lunch video), so an “intact case” means an “intact abortion.”:

SE: Realistically, if we were to do an agreement with you, what do we think you could get?
Buyer: Volume-wise?
SE: On specifically liver tissue, because that’s such an area of demand for us.
Buyer: So liver, and what about intact specimens, just—?
SE: Oh, yeah, I mean if you had intact cases, which we’ve done a lot, we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety.
Buyer: Okay.
SE: So that would also be great if you guys have those.
Buyer: The entire case.
SE: Yeah, yeah. Because it’s just, and the procurement for us, I mean it can go really sideways, depending on the facility, and then our samples are destroyed, and we’re like, “Really?” This was all so much work, and then just to have them be destroyed is awful. I mean we have researchers wait forever, and they want certain things, you know, perfectly done, so we started bringing them back even to manage it from a procurement expert standpoint.

2) Cate Dyer says that some of the abortion clinics StemExpress works with have unsanitary conditions:

SE: We’ll do testing on our side, so we’ll be able to see, you know. And sometimes we’ll find that it can be clinic-specific. I’ve seen really rampant, rampant problems with bacteria in certain clinics. [laughter] Some where you’re kind of in question of should they really, you know, [laughing]
Buyer: Right.
SE: I’ve seen staph come out of clinics.
Buyer: Wow.
SE: So, I mean, I’ve seen all sorts of things come out of clinics, so.

3) Cate Dyer estimates StemExpress is working with nearly 100 abortion clinics nationwide, and still can’t get enough fetal liver:

Buyer: What would make your lab happy? What would make your lab happy?
SE: Another fifty livers a week.
Buyer: Ok, so you can handle that?
SE: Yea. Just so you guys know, on the collection side for us, we’re also- as you see Megan out there in the clinic, we’re working with almost triple digit number clinics. So, it’s a lot on volume a little more than what we do. It’s a lot. So, I don’t think you’ll hit a capacity with us anytime in the next ten years. I think you’ll feel solid with that standpoint. So, I think, with that you’ll feel like doing an agreement with us. It will be consistent growth and our growth has been consistent, and it’s going to continue to grow from that standpoint.

4) Cate Dyer laughs and jokes about researchers being squeamish about receiving baby parts in the mail:

SE: As you probably know, one of the issues with neural tissue, it’s so fragile. It’s insanely fragile. And I don’t even know—I was gonna say, I know we get requests for neural, it’s the hardest thing in the world to ship.
Buyer: You do it as the whole calvarium.
SE: Yeah, that’s the easiest way. And we’ve actually had good success with that.
Buyer: Make sure the eyes are closed!
SE: Yeah! [laughter] Tell the lab it’s coming!
Buyer: Yeah.
SE: They’ll open the box, go, ”Oh God!” [laughter] So yeah, so many of the academic labs cannot fly like that, they’re not capable.
Buyer: Why is that? I don’t understand that.
SE: It’s almost like they don’t want to know where it comes from. I can see that. Where they’re like, “We need limbs, but no hands and feet need to be attached.” And you’re like, ? Or they want long bones, and they want you to take it all off, like, make it so that we don’t know what it is.
Buyer: Bone the chicken for me and then we’ll—
SE: That’s it.
Buyer: And then I’ll eat it, but.
SE: But we know what it is. I mean, [laughter], but their lab.
Buyer: But then it goes to that whole stigma.
SE: Oh yeah. And their lab techs freak out, and have meltdowns, and so it’s just like, yeah. I think, quite frankly, that’s why a lot of researchers ultimately, some of them  want to get into other things. They want to look at bone marrow, they want to look at adipose- sort of adult human, kind of adult based sampling. They want to avoid publishing a paper that says it was derived from fetal tissue.

5) Cate Dyer says StemExpress has a good relationship with Planned Parenthood leadership:

Buyer: Do you feel that support from Cecile [Richards] and from Deborah [Nucatola]?
SE: Yea, oh yea. You know, everyone at PPFA. I just think that you’re in the cause or you’re not. If you’re not in the cause, they don’t need you around. They need champions and if you’re not a champion, then you should go.  That’s just- I don’t know, the clinics are very guarded, as they should be. Who do they let in their house, they let champions in their house. Right? I think it’s that same concept and ABR has just never understood that.

6) Cate Dyer believes the breakdown of how many independent vs. Planned Parenthood clinics that StemExpress is working with could be split about 50-50:

Buyer: Are you seeing any trends between the independents versus Planned Parenthoods? Your breakdown right now, are things split pretty fifty-fifty?
SE: I think it probably is. I don’t know- it is different. I don’t think that one has more pro’s or con’s than the other. I mean, Planned Parenthood has volume, because they are a volume institution.


Please, pray for Cate Dyer. I can't imagine her feelings at watching herself saying such terrible, horrible things. It must be an out-of-body experience. It must produce a sort of self-loathing (or else a rage and denial) that we cannot even begin to understand. She is a child of God. She deserves His mercy. She can turn from this evil. Please pray.

And if you need some hope in all this ugliness, here you go, from a former Planned Parenthood counselor:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My front-line report: At the Planned Parenthood protest!

*On Saturday, August 22, 2015, the Respect Life Committee of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church (my own parish!) hosted one of hundreds of nationwide protests against Planned Parenthood, calling for an end to its federal funding. 

When my friends and I arrived at Planned Parenthood's Arizona headquarters in Phoenix, there were already plenty of people gathered on both sides. Planned Parenthood had closed all its clinics in town today, in anticipation of the protests, and directed its supporters to this location. So right off the bat, we can thank God that there were no abortions performed at Arizona PP clinics today. And we can also be proud that thousands turned out to all the locations in the state, positively dwarfing the number of PP supporters who showed up -- though I will concede that they had the better, louder sound system. 

There was the weird symbolism of the Planned Parenthood counter-rally being staged within the parking garage, which gave the appearance from the outside that they were in a cage, in the dark. Their loudspeaker was booming and there was plenty of cheering as the speakers (employees, volunteers, at least one doctor) spoke to the group. Never once did I hear mention of the undercover videos or the baby organ harvesting or the national scandal, and never once did it appear that anyone there had any clue why we were protesting on this particular day. There was only talk of the "good work" that Planned Parenthood accomplishes in the lives of women, and a defense of people's "freedom" to control their own bodies and the size of their families.

This was the scene when we first walked up. The PP gathering was nearing an end, and ours was soon to begin. 
The pro-life crowd you see here was not the main group; that gathering was down the sidewalk and around the corner, where we eventually planted ourselves.  

As their speakers finished, we realized that the main pro-life gathering was around the corner on the adjacent street, so we made our way over. While most of the pro-life crowd looked on toward the guest speakers which left their backs to the building, I was fascinated by the (ever-dwindling) group of Planned Parenthood supporters and kept facing their way. They stood under the garage roof holding signs while their loudspeakers blared some tunes. Because their system was so loud, I pretty much missed all of the wonderful pro-life speakers, but was able to observe the pro-"choicers" as they observed us. One elderly man quietly held a sign that said: "Another Father Supporting PP". Clearly it was personal, and it made me sad, wondering what abortions he had supported in the past. There was the smiling, pretty blonde who held up a vulgar poster festooned with a colorful representation of her vagina, labeled "mine". What could bring a women to be so proud of such a display? Wounds, I kept thinking. These people are so wounded. Another woman held a sign with a vulgarity that I won't repeat, but thankfully, there were only two lewd signs in the bunch. 

One PP supporter held her sweet baby girl, about a year old, and the friends around me got that little one to wave at us. She was adorable, and I prayed for her, that she might grow up to be a strong pro-life warrior some day, as so many of the friends around me had -- even those raised to be staunchly pro-abortion, even those with abortions in their own pasts. 

Then there was the uncomfortable-looking young man (dragged there by his girlfriend, perhaps?) who awkwardly held a "REAL MEN STAND WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD" sign. He was putting on a good face, but to my friends and I, he was unconvincing. A pro-life man started challenging him in a loud voice across the concrete, "Real men don't kill babies, they protect their women and their children! That's what real men do!" Over and over, he called the young man out, while the young man looked away or down. On the one hand, the pro-life man was right to challenge this other man to authentic masculinity, and to the protection of women and children which exists in a man's DNA. But his emotions pushed him too far, and it eventually denigrated into a berating of the younger man. People, this is not necessary! We must not scream or berate or spew ugliness, no matter how much evil exists in front of our eyes. There is enough ugliness, darkness, and violence within the walls of a Planned Parenthood, and we do not do our cause any good by adding to it from the outside.  

As I looked, not with hatred or fear, at the faces across the concrete, I wondered about each one, praying as I wondered: How did they get to a place in their lives that would put them here, defending an organization that is responsible for so much death, so many innocent lives lost, and now exposed to all as butchers, selling the prime cuts of human organs to a willing research market? How did they get to a place of defending the indefensible? Again, I thought of the wounds that must have brought them here.

I held my sign aloft ("Planned Parenthood LIES to you") and looked pleasantly at the PP supporters, even swaying along to the cool tunes blasting out of their speakers. I swung my sign back and forth to the beat, and occasionally pointed to the words. I received some befuddled smirks. I kept wondering: Have any of you even watched the videos? Sitting over to the right, on the stairwell were some grim looking abortion advocates, watching us with flat affect. Meanwhile, the road in front of them was filling up with what was ultimately estimated to be 1,200 to 1,600 pro-lifers (with several thousand more at other Phoenix-area PP locations). 

I couldn't see above the crowd to observe how far it reached, so I just turned my attention back to the Planned Parenthood supporters. There was a city official, a news crew, and police officers standing and patrolling between the two sides, and the music was so loud in the clinic garage that it was not really feasible to initiate a conversation. I never felt unsafe, not for a moment, which was nice, because I hadn't known what to expect.

My 360° view of the gathering. I couldn't see most of our own people, so I concentrated on the pro-"choice" group, who looked visually "caged" to me, even the folks on the stairwell. Two of their signs were overtly vulgar, but thankfully the rest were not obscene, unless you count the "Pro-choice CATHOLIC! I'll pray for YOU" sign. That was the saddest of all.

I was blessed to be in a rare patch of shade, so I lifted my sunglasses and started to look directly into the eyes of my "opponents". I felt concern, sadness, incredulity, maternal care, and utter confidence as I searched their eyes for any signs of ... what? I don't know, but I kept searching. I looked into the eyes of successive PP supporters and smiled at them. Each one of them met my gaze for about one second, then quickly looked away. Every time. It almost became a game to me. Will the next one look away as soon as I catch his or her eye? Yup. It was uncanny! 

Finally I came to an older man standing quietly to the side:

There he is! My new friend, to the right.

His face was kind, and I could see his friendly blue eyes clearly, even from so far away. I looked at him with a smile, and he was the first to hold my gaze. He smiled back at me politely and didn't look away. I decided to ask him the burning question. I yelled out above the music and the pro-life speakers (whom I could barely hear): "Did you watch the videos?!" He mouthed something back, but I did not understand. My friends and I started to yell together, in hopes he could hear: "Did you watch the videos?!" Still he could not hear us, and we both chuckled our frustration and tried again. Nope. My friend Alishia turned to me and said, "Give me your sign! Do you have a pen?" Brilliant! I dug a pen out of my purse and she began to write, big and bold enough for him to see it. I smiled back at him while I waited, and then looked at the woman with the "Medical Students for Choice" sign. I smiled at her and shouted: "My son is a medical student!" She smiled back, and I said, "He's pro-life!" I wish I could have talked more to her. I just envision her ending up as an abortionist, and my heart breaks. Abortion is not healthcare, my dear, because killing is not healing. Don't waste or pervert your degree! Do good! Be a healer! Do no harm!

Alishia completed the sign, I held it up for the man I had engaged, and I pointed to the words: "Did you watch the videos?" He shook his head no. He had not. I wonder now if he even knew, or if any of them knew, what the videos are? I turned to the others across the way who were looking on with amusement at this unexpected and friendly interaction between sides, and I pointed to the sign and asked the same question: "Did you watch the videos?" One woman nodded yes, and I nodded back, smiled and gave her a big thumbs up. At least she had bothered to watch. At least she knew what heinousness she was defending. 

Alishia's awesome, hastily made sign.

I felt we had really made a connection with that nice man, so Alishia whipped up a second sign that said, "Come talk!" and he agreed! We made our way to the side of the building where he met us just outside the garage. We shook hands and introduced ourselves, he on his side of the caution tape, I on mine, police nearby. We joked that neither of us was dangerous, and then I asked him why he was here. And for the first few minutes, I simply listened attentively, without interrupting. Most of his initial explanation was that he truly believes that "a woman has the right to choose to do what she wants with her own body", and he wants to support that "right".

He had a very kind and gentle demeanor, very open and sincere. We talked for 45 minutes, and for most of the conversation he even moved out of the taped off area and into the middle of the "pro-life sidewalk". I was vaguely aware that there were some curious pro-lifers listening as best they could, and some people were taking pictures, but for my part, I was truly engrossed in our conversation. I will not divulge anything he said to me of a personal nature, of course. Aside from the personal, we spoke of science and religion, of fetal development, of integrity and principles.

I was able to ask the questions I have asked on this blog, and I was hopeful to get answers. For example, when we were talking about the humanity of the unborn, he was not convinced that a pre-viable baby was a baby at all. I asked him if he had ever been conceived. I looked at him and he looked at me. No answer. I asked again. He didn't know what to say. To spare the awkward silence, I told him that, well, I had been conceived, and reemphasized: "I was conceived in my mother's womb, and I even know where I was conceived! TMI, I know!" So I asked him again, and he joked by saying, "I wasn't conceived..." and pointed to the sky, and Alishia said, "The stork brought you!" He laughed and agreed.

I still hope someone will answer that question for me one day.

He brought up Richard Dawkins (whom he admires) and I brought up Peter Singer (whom he hadn't heard of), and I challenged him on both a personal level and a scientific one. When he gently suggested that my views on abortion were merely religion-based, I reminded him that I was using only secular arguments and science, and I informed him of When I told him that the "ends don't justify the means" (we don't do bad things in order to bring about a good) is a principle for both religious and non-religious, he disagreed. So I asked him: "When your children wanted to get into a good college, did you tell them it was okay for them to lie and cheat to get there?" Of course not, he concurred. So, I repeated, we don't do bad things in order to achieve a good end. He agreed that this was a "general, broad principle" with which he agreed, but somehow it didn't apply to killing innocent children in the womb.

When he spoke of drone strikes and we discussed war and bombs, I assured him that I don't believe in targeting and killing anyone, especially the innocent. And even the guilty must not be killed unless we are acting in proportionate self-defense, or battling an armed combatant in a just war. I hope he apprehended the consistency of my views, which of course are the Catholic Church's views, reflecting natural law -- i.e., the moral law, accessible by the use of human reason alone.

When I or one of my friends gave him a fact about Planned Parenthood's profits or their practices or their callous mindset, he admitted that he was "cynical" about our claims. That's okay, we said, look it all up for yourself. It's all there, nothing hidden. You don't have to take our word for it.

We talked about much, much more in that 45 minutes, and others came in and out of the conversation (including my friends Mary and Bridget, and a pro-life man holding a sign listing the price of baby parts, a sign which my new friend took great offense to), and I gave him my email and blog info, which he took. We left without coming to an agreement, but we are not enemies.

It was a good day.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Another Planned Parenthood video for abortion supporters to ignore.

WARNING: Graphic!! If you are vocally, publicly pro-life, you don't have a moral obligation to read or watch further, but if you support Planned Parenthood and legal abortion, you had better understand what you are supporting. Don't look away.

In the latest Planned Parenthood exposé we learn that live babies, with hearts still beating, have their faces cut open with scissors so that their brains can be harvested for research. This, in what we consider a civilized society. 

Some abortion supporters have lately begun to rethink their position, usually because they are humble and honest enough to watch the videos and testimony. Their consciences are sputtering back into life, awakening, and that is reason enough to keep shining the light on these evil deeds.

Of course, not all abortion supporters are moved by the horrors of seeing small bodies, dismembered, piled upon their own entrails and laughed at. We had Alyssa say the following after finally agreeing to watch video #5, where a little boy lay desecrated in full view:

"As I watched the video, I was actually pretty underwhelmed by it--not because I don't understand how some might be alarmed or disgusted by the subject matter (I do), but because the videos have been hyped as SO DISTURBING AND GRAPHIC AND OUT OF LINE that I was a little surprised to find that, when it comes down to it, this was a medical professional discussing candidly (and not at all cruelly) a procedure and medical research.... I admit that shots of the aborted parts weren't the most pleasant to view, but that doesn't change my opinion about how the laws should serve their people."

I don't expect someone like Alyssa to be moved by the latest video, either. After all, cutting open a child's face while his heart is still beating is just "a procedure". It's just "medical research". It's not so disturbing and out of line as we pro-lifers insist, it's simply "not the most pleasant".


But at least Alyssa actually conceded to watch one of the videos, unlike many abortion advocates who have doubled down on their support for Planned Parenthood after refusing to watch the ever-more ghoulish and heartbreaking recordings of what goes on in those dark pits of hell.

Let us watch the latest video released by the Center for Medical Progress, below. It's not long; surely you have a few minutes. Then, I have a request.

Okay, my request is that I want to hear from my pro-life readers about how their pro-abortion friends and relatives have reacted to this scandal. Have they watched the videos? Have they refused outright? Have they gone even further than Planned Parenthood has and claimed that these babies' broken bodies are "doll parts" or "photoshopped"? Remember, all Planned Parenthood can say is that the videos are "deceptive" (but in what way?) or "heavily edited" (well, like any news story or clip, whittled down from hours of footage; the full videos are available to all). Planned Parenthood cannot and does not deny that the film, words, people, and images are authentic -- because they are authentic. So, why are some of PP's supporters saying things that even PP is not saying? Let me know what you are hearing.

I also want to hear from my pro-"choice" readers. So far I have only heard from two. One ("CS"/"Emily Rogers") was indeed disturbed by video #5 but still wants abortion to be legal; the other was Alyssa, and you've read her comment above.

I get that we are seeing the avenging conscience at work, and that there is no new sin (and no "moral evolution" as secularists tend to believe), but part of me still cannot believe that humans are so bored and complacent about this level of evil, even when it's right in their own neighborhoods and right in front of their eyes. They just yawn and keep going. 

As for our "leaders", those US Senators who receive LARGE campaign donations from Planned Parenthood have voted to keep funding Planned Parenthood baby chop shops to the tune of half a billion of our tax dollars a year. However, some courageous governors and state legislators have moved to defund PP on a state level, which is heartening!

But the best thing I've seen so far is from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:

Isn't that incredible?? 

And isn't it sad that we consider this man courageous (and he is!) simply for making Planned Parenthood fawners look and see what they reflexively, sycophantly support, instead of allowing them to close their eyes while spouting PP talking points?

Knowing the truth, seeing the truth, not running from the truth but facing it head on: This is honesty, this is integrity, this is maturity. This is what will set us free. 

UPDATE: A judge has dissolved the temporary restraining order against CMP's release of the StemExpress undercover videos. A victory for free speech and truth!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Some of you will skip this post because it's about prayer

I've devoted a lot of time this summer to the topics of gay "marriage" and abortion, as those issues touch profoundly on our cultural (mis)understanding of love and life itself. We are obligated to speak and fight for Truth, of course, and I have no intention of stopping, but there is something that must undergird all of our attempts to herald the Truth to the world, something essential and not incidental or optional for the disciple of Christ. Something I have not spent nearly enough time discussing. You all know what it is: prayer

Some of you will read that word, "prayer", and click away now. Many no doubt skipped this post after noting the title. I see the stats, and I understand. The most popular posts deal with controversy and sex and blood and death. Back when I thought prayer was boring, I would have skipped the posts on prayer, too. 

But now, it's the topic I most want to write about. It's what I'm most excited about, and the thing that orders my life these days. Long ago, I told you about the "bomb" that dropped in my spiritual life when I discovered the three traditional stages of holiness, and I'd like to say that my excitement was more than mere intellectual glee, but I'm not sure that would be accurate. To be fair to myself, I suppose there was spiritual advancement in some ways, but until prayer becomes the anchor of daily life, the joy sort of dances around in the intellect but cannot permeate to the depths of one's soul where it belongs. 

Fast forward: In the past year, I have learned more spiritually (thanks to the gift of true suffering) than I had in the previous 20 combined. I have so much to say, and I keep alluding to what happened to me last summer, but I haven't yet written about it. My apologies for that; it'll come soon, God willing. What I can tell you is that a fruit of the past year has been a steady desire to pray and pray well. I consider myself a beginner at prayer, and I am excited to give a recommendation to those of you who are beginners like me. 

The spiritual journey is breathtaking and full of surprises, but it is not unpredictable. We have true masters of prayer in our Catholic tradition, saints so well-known for their knowledge and experience of prayer that even non-Catholics and non-Christians turn to their wisdom. St. Teresa of Avila (16th century) is one of those masters. Teresa, both before and after she became a Carmelite nun, was by all accounts beautiful, brilliant, and charming. She was energetic and magnetic. She had it all -- except that she did not undertake serious prayer until she was already in her 40s, after many years in the convent! 

However, once she committed to persevere in prayer, which was extremely difficult for her to do, she rose to the highest heights of union with God. 

And my friends, once you and I commit to persevere in prayer, our hope of success is assured. Teresa and the saints tell us as much.

To that end, we have to know where to begin and what this prayer, this conversation, looks like. We need an expert guide like St. Teresa to help us as we take those first steps. The book I'm reading is a standard primer for those who need it laid out simply, clearly, systematically:

Conversation With Christ: The Teaching of St. Teresa of Avila about Personal Prayer, by Peter Thomas Rohrbach*, is accessible and basic. You will leave the book knowing what to do, and you will realize that it's not complicated.

Let me repeat: This is not a long, difficult theological book for those already advanced in the spiritual life. It is a starting point for beginners in prayer. And you will be relieved to discover that having a fruitful conversation with the God of the Universe, the Bridegroom of your soul, does not require fancy methods, nor any "method" at all. You will not have to empty your mind of all thought or use centering mantras (things which are, in fact, not advised!) in order to advance to infused contemplation and union with the Lord.

Yes, union with the Holy Trinity, infused contemplation, spiritual marriage -- these are accessible to all who persevere in prayer, seeking holiness and true friendship with God. This means that if you desire the Lord with all your heart, if you will to give your whole self to Him, He will honor that desire and give Himself to you.

Yes, you. God will give Himself to you.

You only need persevere. As St. Teresa said: "It is essential, I maintain, to begin the practice of prayer with a firm resolution to persevere in it." If you enter an intimate relationship with Christ and don't turn back, Heaven will be yours and you will taste it here on earth.

The world is swirling with sin and evil and darkness and confusion and chaos and brokenness and wounds, and we can become overwhelmed by it all. The battle we fight is not against flesh and blood, but powers and principalities. The battle is a supernatural one, and the greatest weapon -- and the path to inexplicable interior peace -- is prayer. As St. John Paul II said, prayer is as essential to a Christian as breathing.

Start breathing, then, and receive the fullness of life promised by Christ!

I challenge you to commit now to serious prayer, and see where God brings you, spiritually, six months or a year from now.

My friends, the Lord is about to do wonderful things in your life. Let us pray!


*Not to be confused with Fr. Richard Rohr, whose works I would never recommend. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Abortion dialogue: Where Alyssa went wrong

I promise, I am not trying to pick on Alyssa. But she is representative, so I am going to use her as an example of what frustrates me and others as we attempt to have a pseudo-socratic dialogue about abortion. 

If you missed the discussion (or if you want the unedited, unfiltered conversation to compare to my summary here), read the comments on the last post.

[Alyssa's words here are in red.]

Essentially, Alyssa knew that we would challenge her ideas, and then she asked, quite reasonably:

Any chance you'd be willing to have your ideas similarly challenged?

Yes. Absolutely. Challenge us with some questions. Make your case that the unborn are not human beings and/or not deserving of the right to live.

But none of that happened as far as I can tell. 

What I believe happened is that we got a lot of pro-"choice" talking points, sort of removed from anything we were actually saying. For example, Alyssa started by asserting that, although science and morality were considerations in law,

...the overarching point of a law is to maintain and protect peace and cooperation within a group.

JoAnna pointed out the massive (and obvious!) flaw in that view by pointing out that, by that logic,

...both the Holocaust and slavery were just. The Holocaust "maintained and protected peace and cooperation within" German society. Slavery "maintained and protected peace and cooperation within" the South. 

This legitimate point (which shows the logical consequences of Alyssa's premise) was answered by Alyssa with sarcasm. 

No real discussion of the implications of Alyssa's premise was ever undertaken. 

In fact, when JoAnna and jrfjosh both posited Natural Law as the basis for just law, Alyssa dismissed it:

You bring up a very tired, fallacious argument. By that incredibly useless token, I bet you agreed with how England was run in the Dark Ages because they were all about "natural and moral law".

When jrfjosh discussed Martin Luther King, Jr.'s position on just and unjust laws based on Natural Law, Alyssa said:

I also agree with MLK that we should be enforcing and following just laws.

... but she did not address the fact that MLK's entire basis for determining just vs. unjust law is based on the natural and moral law!* So how could she agree with MLK, when she had already rejected the very premise of his argument? She did not follow up on that when asked to clarify.

Alyssa had a standard narrative about Catholic pro-lifers when discussing our (supposed) approach to the law:

You're working from a flawed premise (that your Catholic faith and values should dictate not only the behavior of others, but the laws of a diverse and secular nation), so the logic that proceeds from it doesn't wash.

She tried to claim, more than once, that we were using a "because my God said so" foundation for our position.

And she was corrected more than once. She was told that we Catholics, in fact, do not work from that premise and we never have. Nubby put it to her clearly:

Alyssa: No one—Not a person—here has ever “proceeded from a religious foundation” as pertains to law...

...We never say, “Because God said so.” We go about 10 steps previous to that.

...We back track and start at the same “zero” as any secularist. So bring it. All day. Bring it. Let's reason forward. Catholics actually propelled that kind of thinking.

And yet Alyssa says again later:

The issue I take--particularly on a blog so focused on doctrine--is that there is no other reference point. Everything can be explained or justified by the doctrine. And that is a closely-held Catholic belief, and I respect and appreciate it. But that can't be a factor in deciding laws.

(Cue every Catholic on the board pulling out his/her hair.)

Alyssa expressed a desire for our enlightenment on the issue of abortion (emphasis mine):

I'm introducing an alternative premise--one that aligns more closely with how the majority thinks in order to inspire a little understanding.

There is a bizarre, inexplicable implication that we pro-life Catholics do not know about any "alternate premise" -- that we somehow need to be inspired to understand the popular opinion about abortion in America.

And just what are we supposed to be "inspired" to "understand"? What "alternative premise" is Alyssa "introducing"?

Nothing other than the same, tired pro-"choice" talking points that we have heard for over 40 years. They are hardly inspired, and often they are ideas that many of the pro-life commenters on this blog once held themselves, in their pro-"choice" pasts. 

In her words:

The fundamental difference in our arguments is that you believe that a sperm and egg have human dignity and rights from the moment they meet. I disagree with that, so we can't meet from the same premise. All we can do is reason from our own. If it helps, your logic is sound if we're in agreement that a fertilized egg has equivalent dignity to the woman carrying it. However, we're not. My logic can't justify your premise and vice-versa. It's a circular argument.

But it's not circular. It's linear. First, we must know the facts before we can embrace our values and positions. First, we must establish if the unborn is a human being. Thankfully, that doesn't take long. Science says "yes" (read here for quote after quote from science textbooks). Objective truth: A new human being is begun at conception/fertilization. 

"Reasoning from our own premise" is not "all we can do" if we have not backed up and examined our premise in the first place. If the premise is flawed or subjective, then we must not base life or death decisions upon it. Back up and examine the premise. Alyssa, we ask you to meet us there! 

But she wouldn't.

In fact, she skipped the science and went to the metaphysical:

That [when a "cluster of cells" becomes a "person"] is not something science can measure, and therefore can't comment on.

and can't even agree when "human life"--a nonscientific concept that implies an emotional/spiritual element---begins

And yet science can and does comment on when a new human comes into existence. Unfortunately, Alyssa breezily bypasses the objective, scientific facts, and uses only subjective premises to justify the killing of the unborn:

I would prefer to live in a world where women have the choice.

^ Subjective.

[I disagree] that a sperm and egg have human dignity and rights from the moment they meet.

^ Subjective. (And note carefully the wording she uses.)

Regarding the difference between a "premature baby chopped into pieces" versus an abortion: you're overlooking an essential piece of the equation, and that is the woman's consent. That is what makes these situations unequal and a poor comparison.

^ Subjective.

[It's about the] JUSTICE of a woman being able to make her own decisions about her own body.

^ Subjective. the end of the day it's up to the lawmakers to make the decision that will best ensure peace and cooperation in this nation. 

^ Subjective.

And then there was this:

No one here is willing to allow that there is a REASON that people are supportive of legal abortion.

I had to re-read the sentence the first time I encountered it, because it's so obviously silly. In fact, the opposite is true. Everyone here is willing to allow that there is a REASON that people support legal abortion. Who would ever think otherwise? Isn't that a given? Even my grade schoolers know that people have REASONS for doing bad things. That is as true as it is irrelevant to the discussion.

Trying to get to the meat of things, we left copious questions, all linear, for Alyssa to engage.

From Nubby:

Your idea of law “maintaining and protecting peace” without a moral or scientific basis actually falls completely on its face when you look at Roe v. Wade and the very first two unalienable rights [life and liberty] listed in the Declaration while simultaneously looking at the Court's reasoning in the decision and how it came down. 

Do you see the ordering of those rights? 
Do you know those are ordered that way on purpose? 
Do you see how RvW never should’ve tampered with that ordering?
Do you realize those rights were never voted upon by any judiciary, but merely acknowledged and respected by the founders? 

Do you know what the judicial opinions were? Have you read the critiques?
Where do you think those unalienable rights came from? A vote? 

From JoAnna:

So basically, you're saying that the unborn are human beings (scientifically), but not all human beings are persons based on some random, arbitrary criteria. How is this any different than slaveowners deciding that human beings with black skin weren't persons? Or Hitler deciding that Jewish human beings weren't persons? 

What is your arbitrary criteria for why only some human beings are persons, and others are not?

And later, when JoAnna tried patiently, methodically, to go with Alyssa's own terms and get to a conclusion...

Can you agree with me that a "person" is "a human being who is entitled to basic human rights"? Is that a fair definition?

...she got this in response from Alyssa:

JoAnna, I'm not going to argue semantics with you. I think you know exactly what I mean, and I choose to end this nitpicky sidebar here.

Effectively shutting the dialogue down.

From me:

So, you say you agree with MLK that we should not follow unjust laws, but you leave off the part where he explains what that means. How do we determine which laws are just or unjust?

Do you think it's okay for some human beings to determine the humanity of others? I mean, it's common, yes. Not just in abortion, but in all history, in many cultures. But do you think that is how we determine a person's humanity? By others' judgement?

Can you name for me any law that is not based on someone's moral judgement? Isn't all law legislated morality? If not, how so? I don't see it. 

What is the source of morality? Not "how do we determine it", but what is its source? Or, another way to put it, what is the source of moral truth? If you say "self" or "societal norms", then you are saying it's subjective. And if so, does that mean you do not believe in objective moral truth?

My question to you (and it's just a logical question, looking for a logical response): Were you ever conceived? I can't get abortion-rights folks to answer. 

And so.many.other questions left unanswered. 

None of these questions was circular. All were socratic, designed to get us from Point A in the discussion to Point B, so that we could come to logical conclusions. Alyssa would not answer, would not follow the discussion forward.

So again, here is Point A on abortion:

Are the unborn human beings?

Because if they are not human beings, then I am in agreement with Alyssa that we may kill them at will. 

But if they are human beings (or if there is even the slightest chance that they are human beings), we must put on the brakes, because we all know and understand that it is wrong deliberately to take innocent human life.

The problem is that Alyssa wants to skip or dismiss the premise question altogether and go straight to explaining "why we may kill it", before determining what "it" is!

And yet she said:

I'm already exhausted by the way these goalposts keep moving and from all the words being shoveled into my mouth. 

The idea that she thought we were moving the goalposts when we were just begging her to focus on them was perplexing enough, but just when we should have been getting to the heart of the discussion, she abruptly ended:

I've said all I can say here, because diametrically-opposed premises (and about eight different logical fallacies--look up "strawman" and "appeal to emotion" specifically) are driving us around in circles. All I can say is that abortion has been part of women's reproductive lives for thousands of years, and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Give me a clean, safe doctor's office over a wire hanger any day.

I doubt I'll be back, but thanks for the exercise.

(And she included a link to logical fallacies.)

It's so predictable, and it frustrates me. 

Again, this is not unique to Alyssa (who I would welcome back here in a heartbeat). It's almost universal among those who defend abortion. I wish abortion advocates would just come out and say that their criteria for killing the unborn are subjective and arbitrary. Why are they ashamed of just saying it? Why not just admit, "Yes, science tells us it's a human being, but I'm okay with some human beings killing other human beings, even human beings who are innocent and weaker than we are, and who cannot fight back." Just say it. I wish abortion advocates would take their cues from the likes of Peter Singer, because although I despise his beliefs, he speaks with clarity and consistency and cold logic, and we can all see exactly where we stand. 

And while I've got you, here's a great little science primer on the beginning of human life, with a quote from Peter Singer included:

** [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.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Catholic Cuomo vs. Catholic Rubio -- Now THIS is how you answer the abortion question!!

This deserves its own blog post!

Way to go, Mr. Rubio! This is called a Truth smackdown!

And Mr. Cuomo (a staunch abortion supporter), please pick up both a science book and a catechism.

Thank you, Marco Rubio, for not backing down. Wow! This is courage!

Watch and cheer (shorter version):

Longer version, encompassing more about his Catholic Faith and science:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

WAKE UP!! Don't hide. Watch the 5th Planned Parenthood video and share it. Live up to your calling.


I have a strong constitution. I don't easily get physically sick. This will test the strongest among us.

A Planned Parenthood executive, admitting that they willingly alter the abortion process of late-term abortions to procure "intact fetal cadavers", then an exposition of the latest "specimen". 

There is no getting around the evil of this. It's just not possible. 

We are taken to the "Products of Conception" (POC) Lab -- or as Abby Johnson has testified, what they jokingly called the "Parts of Children" Lab  -- and you will want to turn away from what you see. The tiny, murdered victim, with the staff happily, lightly, almost giddily, discussing his dismembered parts. Oh, the potential for money and "humanitarian research"!

This is the banality of evil, my dear readers. This is a display of deadened consciences. 

I don't do a lot of Nazi analogies, but tell me, could we ever now ask, "How did the German people not know?"  How can we ask that question anymore, after we have seen this video?

We have no more excuses. We are culpable if we do not speak and share and tell the truth.

We will be accountable before God who is the Father and Creator of all these innocent children.

When that baby's small hand is raised up in the glass dish above the rest of his remains, it reminded me of Genesis 4:10:

“What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground."

Yesterday, the United States Senate, essentially along party lines, defeated a bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. The bill would have ended taxpayers' subsidizing of the butchery and harvesting of children in those facilities, cutting out the half a billion dollars we pay out to this baby chop shop every single year.

Here is what Princeton Professor Robert P. George said about the vote yesterday:

This evening's Senate vote pertaining to de-funding Planned Parenthood reveals that there are 55 senators in favor of de-funding (53 of whom are Republicans) and 45 against (44 of whom are Democrats). Speaking for myself, it's hard to fathom how anyone could support continued funding of this organization, knowing what we know about what goes on in its "clinics" and the attitudes of its people, but it is beyond clear now that Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry owns the Democratic Party. I mean, they own it---lock, stock, and barrel. 
Even after pro-abortion forces gained the upper hand in the Party in the 1970s (causing me and countless others to bolt) there remained a substantial and, for a while, far from powerless "Democrats for Life" caucus. Even as an Independent (I hadn't yet joined the Republicans), I was proud to work for the Real Bob Casey when, as governor of Pennsylvania, he was the leader of the pro-life Democrats. We worked with Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy, former New York Governor Hugh Carey (who had returned to the fold), liberal theologian Ron Sider, Village Voice writer Nat Hentoff, and many others. But those days are gone. The Democrats today are the Party of Abortion, and nothing the abortion industry does, however heinous, and nothing its leaders say, however callous, can shake their allegiance. No Wall Street fat cat or Hollywood mogul ever had a more willing or devoted mistress. 
As if to ratify my point and symbolically close the book on the idea of the pro-life Democrat, this evening, Senator Robert Casey, the son and namesake of the Real Bob Casey, cast his vote and his lot with Planned Parenthood. Senator Casey continues to claim to be pro-life, but his claim is now risible. He's supporting an organization that looks for "less crunchy techniques to secure whole specimens" and "crushes a little above, and a little below," to spare desirable organs, because, "you know, people want liver"---an organization that tries to "do a little better than break even" on the hearts, lungs, and kidneys their abortionists extract from "products of conception." 
As I said in an earlier post, somewhere the Real Bob Casey is weeping---for his son and for his party.

Lest you think that I am picking on Planned Parenthood, or that they are the only offender, please note that Dr. Stacy Trasancos is gathering copious information on the other half of the equation: Those who are the "demand" side, needing the supply of fetal parts for their research. They are our universities and research labs, and they are legion. This happens every day, in laboratories and teaching hospitals all over the nation. Here is just one company proudly demonstrating the use of human fetal kidneys and hearts implanted into rats:

Good Lord, listen to the inspiring music! Hey, this is humanitarianism, folks! Nothing to see here except life-saving research! Move along....

This is cannibalism. How is it otherwise?

One important warning! Don't be depressed or despairing! Be confident in Christ. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. This horror and evil is no surprise, no secret to Him. He's always known. God sees all. There are no new sins, just new and improved ways to commit them. 

God is still fully in control. 

But our part is still obligatory. Silence is consent. Stop being silent. Speak up, even if that means posting a video on your Facebook wall, or simply by saying to friends and relatives that abortion is immoral and that children are being killed and sold for parts. 

Speak. Educate. Expose the Truth.

That is your job here, along with prayer, prayer, prayer. Don't do any of it without prayer.

And do not hate those you see in the video, those who are laughing over the evil that they do. Remember that sin leads to spiritual blindness. We must not concede even one soul to the devil, so pray for the conversion of these souls. Look to Norma McCorvey, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, and Abby Johnson as examples of what happens when love and God's grace overpower the evil in lives and hearts. 

Rejoice in the Lord always! It is for the love and joy of Heaven that we fight evil on earth.

God is so good.

And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  -- John 1:5