The Catholic Church: An Immoral Organization

The Roman Catholic church is the oldest and largest Christian denomination on the planet. Although its influence in the Western world is declining, it still exercises great power over the lives of millions of people every day. All too often, that power is used in the service of superstition, of perpetuating irrational and dogmatic beliefs about how human liberty should be restricted in order to please God. Whatever charitable and humanitarian work the Catholic church performs must be balanced against the vast harm it has done and continues to do because of its obsession with controlling the sex lives and reproductive systems of all human beings. This post will detail some of the more notable harms.

Denying equal rights to gays and lesbians. The Catholic church’s support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is well-known, and shows by itself how this church has placed itself on the wrong side of history by supporting irrational and superstitious prejudice against people who don’t conform to its narrow and restrictive model of human sexual relations.

But a slightly lesser-known fact is that the Catholic church’s adoption agencies flatly refuse to place children with gay parents – even if this means they will have no parents and will grow up in an orphanage. Evidently, the Catholic church considers this option preferable to a child growing up in a stable home with loving, caring parents who happen to be of the same gender. For example, in 2006, Catholic Charities announced its adoption services were shutting down in Massachusetts, rather than place children with gay families. This is but another example of how the church considers adherence to its own dogma more important than the lives and welfare of human beings.

Opposing vaccination for sexually transmitted diseases. Since the development of Gardasil, a highly effective vaccine against the common sexually transmitted disease HPV – which can cause lethal cervical cancer – numerous branches of the Catholic church have announced their opposition to giving this vaccine to children before they reach sexual maturity. The Catholic school board in Halton, Ontario has announced plans to ban school health units from giving the vaccine to students or even discussing it with them. The church in Scotland has also announced opposition to the vaccine, as did the California Catholic Conference (which said the vaccine “takes away the parental perogative for children to be chaste“).

Regardless of a person’s religious beliefs, there is no rational reason for them not to receive this vaccine. The only purpose a person could have for opposing it for their children would be to make them afraid of getting cervical cancer if they have unprotected sex – which has the logical inference that cervical cancer would be an appropriate punishment for such sex.

Opposing emergency contraceptive use, even for rape victims. If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, emergency contraception (the “morning-after pill”) is highly effective at preventing fertilization. This is a tremendous boon to rape victims, who’ve already suffered enough without being forced to go through the further trauma of bearing their rapist’s child. Yet many church ethicists, as well as the Pontifical Academy for Life, argue that Catholic physicians and Catholic hospitals should not administer EC to rape victims under any circumstance. This is a cruel and evil position that would inflict severe emotional and physical trauma on women and deny them the right to control their own bodies in the name of obedience to unprovable religious dogma. Dr. Marty Klein has more information in the appropriately titled Catholic Hospitals Should Stop Playing God.

Opposing abortion even when it is necessary to prevent death or grave harm to the woman. The most prominent example of this deadly dogma is in El Salvador, an officially Catholic country that bans abortion under all circumstances and jails women who obtain them illegally. The church intensely lobbied the government into passing this law, bussing in Catholic schoolchildren to stage demonstrations and using churches as political organizing centers. Pope John Paul II also issued statements in support of the law.

The result is a theocratic nation where the state exerts dictatorial control over women’s bodies. Women who suffer miscarriages are forced to submit to invasive vaginal exams to ensure they did not obtain illegal abortions. Even in ectopic pregnancies, which have no possibility of producing a living child, abortion is forbidden until the mother’s Fallopian tube has ruptured and the fetus is dead – a critical, life-threatening medical emergency for the woman.

Opposing condom use, even for married couples where one member has HIV. This particularly horrible example of the church’s irrational opposition to condom use is most often seen in Africa, where the culture often does not permit women to turn down their husband’s demands for sex. Yet even if they remain monogamous, that does not protect them if the husband cheats and acquires a deadly disease such as HIV. Since the Catholic church teaches that condom use is forbidden under all circumstances, this rules out the last remaining option and results in devastating tragedies like this one:

The typical patient is a young woman between eighteen and thirty years of age. She is wheeled into the examining room in a hospital chair or dragged in, supported by her sister, aunt, or brother. She is frequently delirious; her face is gaunt; her limbs look like desiccated twigs. Surprisingly, the young woman is already a mother many times over, yet she will not live to see her children grow up. More shocking still, she is married; her husband infected her with the deadly virus.

…To preach fidelity and abstinence assumes that a woman can determine with whom she sleeps and when — a grave misunderstanding of the relations between the sexes in places where women are sometimes betrothed at birth or sold for cattle. How can the Vatican continue to prohibit the use of a life-saving intervention amid a pandemic of unprecedented proportions?

Attempting to stifle stem cell research. The most notable example of this came in June 2006, when an influential Catholic cardinal, Alfonso López Trujillo, said that stem-cell researchers should be excommunicated. Although this threat is meaningless to non-Catholics, the important point is that it is a threat – as well as a symptom of the church’s obvious desire to block this life-saving research by coercion and spiritual blackmail.

This story, like the others discussed here, shows why we should be glad that this irrational and medieval institution has lost the power it once had to force all people to obey its will. Now we need to diminish its influence still further, so that it can no longer stand in the way of wise and rational policies that improve people’s well-being and happiness.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • velkyn

    nothing like desperation to keep what control you have to make an organization even more irrational. The Vatican has also recently decided to stop supporting the Vatican observatory http://www.independent.co.uk/news/europe/science-bows-to-theology-as-the-pope-dismantles-vatican-observatory-768080.html . Can’t have facts get in the way of willful ignorance, can we?

  • Kevin Morgan

    The Catholic church is also able to maintain control over its adherents due to the church’s discouraging of its members from reading the bible. A good read through of all that crap will turn any reasonable person into a non-believer in no time (depending on how fast you read, that is).

  • http://thechapel.wordpress.com the chaplain

    There have been reports that the Catholic Church may ease up on its restrictions and allow condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS. I think the exception applies only to married couples (no surprise there) to prevent an infected partner passing on the disease to the partner.

  • MisterDomino

    I’m not sure how many people are aware of this:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/01/29/america/NA-GEN-US-Cadaver-Exhibit-Archbishop.php

    I volunteer at the Museum Center in Cincinnati, Ohio (where I live) on weekends, so I’ve gotten to see these protesters in person. Note, however, that it is only the Archdiocese of Cincinnati that is officially opposing this exhibition, but this demonstrates the herd mentality by which many Catholics still live. The Bishop says “no” and they obey.

    I like to believe that the Church is slowly starting to open up after centuries of rigid thinking (due mostly to international pressure), but then I look at the score and realize they’re still a far cry from a progressive organization.

  • http://deleted MisterDomino

    Oh, I forgot something. For the record, there’s still a line there every weekend coiled around the atrium to get into the exhibit. We’re talking a two-hour wait for tickets. So it’s nice to see that the non-Catholics are not taking the protest seriously.

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  • Entomologista

    I don’t think the city-wide contraceptive ban in Manila and the fact that the Philippines is a Catholic country is a mere coincidence. After all, the Catholic Church loves to force poor women to have babies they can’t possibly care for.

    The other thing about the Catholic Church is that it is incredibly creepy, what with all the reliquaries full of bits of dead people. I went to a church in Prague where they had a box that contained the desiccated hand of a long-dead saint. You could put a coin in and it would light up. Seriously, WTF?

  • Robert Madewell

    All of your issues execpt condom use are also issues that most fundamentalists support. The catholic church may be losing some power, but the fundamentalists are gaining power. I don’t see how it’s going to do much good, when one tyrant leaves office to be replaced with another tyrant that does all the same things the former one did. We need to focus on more than just the Catholic Church.

  • Whodunnit

    Also from IHT:
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/08/europe/britain.php

    The archbishop of Canterbury wants Britain to adopt aspects of sharia law.
    Apparently to make it easier for british muslims to take part in the particular ideosyncrasies of ‘their culture’.

    How ecumenical of him.
    …and patronizing.

  • Lump of matter

    If gay rights are so self-evident, why did even atheist psychologists identify homosexuality as a psychopathology for most of the twentieth century? It seems to me that your morals are not self-evident rational truths, but culturally contingent. You’re just a creature of your time. I read your statement on ethics, and its just the arbitrary axioms of liberal political philosophy culturally inherited from Anglo-Saxon Protestantism. Interesting that many of the Anglo-Saxon Protestant myths (“Catholics don’t read the Bible”) persist among supposed atheists.

    If there is no teleology in nature and nothing exists but nature, how can you speak of people having “rights”, an essentially teleological concept, or say what people ought to do? From what Platonic realm of ideals do you draw these principles? Maybe I wish to promote my own happiness (or misery!) without regard for others. Who are you, a fellow lump of matter, to tell anyone what is “wrong” or “immoral” (whatever that means!). There is only what people do or don’t do; “ought to do” is arbitrary teleology.

  • Mhari

    Lovely to see all your self congratulation there guys. Talk about only seeing one side of the story.

    Taking your points very briefly one at a time… I can’t answer the gay marriage one. Not because I don’t think it makes sense, but because a reasonable explanation of why the Church teaches something that most people understandably think is unjust discrimination can’t be done in a brief post, also I don’t think you would listen if I tried.

    Some of your other issues are more straight-forward.

    Regarding promotion of Gardasil, the Catholic Church hasn’t universally spoken against it, one (small) Bishops Conference and a couple of states have questioned if it may have an unintended side effect of making young people now think sex is safe. Although I can see their rationale I don’t think this is actually sensible, as evidence suggests that young people don’t give a great deal of thought to unintended consequences of sex, beyond HIV and pregnancy, and very little thought even to those The Catholic Medical Association in the USA (far more influential than the Bishops Conference in Scotland) recommends vaccination and I see no reason why the other states shouldn’t see the sense in following their example. To say that the reason the vaccine has been disputed is that Catholics want to punish people for having underage sex is so far from the truth as to be almost laughable.

    Catholics believe that life begins at conception. It seems likely that the morning after pill can work to prevent the implantation of the newly conceived child. If you were a person who believed that life began at conception, and therefore that the morning after pill involved destruction of that life, wouldn’t you oppose it too?

    I really think that the idea that the Church should at least allow abortion or the use of the morning after pill for rape victims is unbelievable. Abortion isn’t wrong because the Church is making any moral judgments on people who find themselves pregnant. It’s not any more wrong if someone sleeps with every person they come across, or if they are raped by their uncle; it’s not about being pregnant because it’s a punishment, it’s about protecting the most vulnerable people in our society. Surely it would be far worse if the Church, or anyone, started making value judgments as to if someone “deserved” an abortion. Either abortion kills a child or it doesn’t, if the unborn child is a person it doesn’t matter if his father was a rapist, he has a right to live.

    The issue of condom use for HIV prevention is something that, as a Catholic nurse, I’ve felt compelled to investigate further, and actually wrote my dissertation on it during my degree. Researchers at the Cochrane Institute (an academically highly respected secular institution) conducted a literature review of all studies into condom effectiveness in preventing the spread of HIV that reached an acceptable academic standard (Condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission). The study recommended the use of condoms in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS based on the findings, those findings were that condoms are around 80% effective (when compared to no condoms) in preventing the spread of HIV. 80%.

    Now, I think a big problem with pro-life Catholics is that they twist stats to suit them, which destroys our credibility, so I’m not going to suggest that this stat means that 1 in 5 acts of intercourse using a condom will result in Seroconversion (partner contracting HIV); every act of “unprotected” intercourse doesn’t lead to this. I am also well aware that a proportion of the problems were due to people using condoms ineffectively, however, even when used correctly condoms can split, come off, etc.

    Education doesn’t eliminate risk. Perhaps if we were able to reach every single person in the world with education as to how to use a condom perfectly, and somehow provide the “cool dry conditions” necessary for the storing of condoms, plus a supply of good quality condoms, we’d be able to reduce that risk, but we can’t eliminate it, and so a young HIV positive man with an active sex life with his wife is eventually likely to pass the virus on to her. And so kill her.

    We don’t live in an ideal world, and so if the Catholic Church says, “yes, condoms are fine if you’re married to an HIV positive person” then actually she will be condemning far more people to death than if she promotes the very difficult truth, that if you are HIV positive you are called to be celibate, unless you marry another person who is also HIV positive (and I understand that there are different strains, so even then it’s iffy.)

    If she says, “yes, be safe, use a condom” to married people then she’s also perpetuating this myth that condoms make sex safe. They don’t, they make it less dangerous but not safe.

    I think marriage is about love (not a particularly revolutionary statement) and if I were married and loved my husband, there’s no way I’d want to put his life at such risk so I could have sex, no way. I would expect him to love me in the same way.

    And as regards a situation where women are “sometimes betrothed at birth or sold for cattle”, a sister I met in Ireland raised a similar question for me when she told me that the day Humanae Vitae (the Encyclical in which the Holy Father re-iterated the Church’s teaching on birth control) came out was the worst day of her life. She told me that she was working in Brazil, and the women were coming and begging them for sterilizations because their husbands were raping them and they couldn’t afford more children.

    A question for you. Is the problem here:

    a) the children, or
    b) THAT THEIR HUSBANDS WERE RAPING THEM?!

    If we said, “ok, let’s sterilize them”, it’s the same as saying, “it’s ok that you’re being raped by your husband”. Condoms aren’t the solution to any problem, they’re like trying to put a sticking plaster on big gaping wound. The more I learn about this the more crazy it seems to me, and not because I’m trying to pass judgments on peoples moral ideals, but because it seems so obvious that people are completely missing the point! Because I love people, and I want them to be well, and so even forgetting completely about why the Church has Her teaching on contraception I really find the idea of condoms as the solution to HIV a huge and horrible disaster.

    I’ve really spent too much time on this already, but as someone who used to think just the same as you about incompassionate, judgmental, out of touch Catholics I felt that someone should at least point out that there is another side to your argument, things aren’t quite as black and white as you seem to believe.

    I’ll pray for you, if God doesn’t exist it’s only my time I’m wasting, and if it makes me feel better I guess it shouldn’t bother you should it?

  • Alex Weaver

    I should try to find the article I saw a while ago about the Church excommunicating the family of, and the doctors who provided an abortion for, an 11-year-old who had been raped (there was, as I recall, another case involving a 9-year-old). This particular breed of atrocity hits particularly close to home for me…

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Given the fact that we will in the next few decades be approaching our Malthusian crunch-time, Rome’s resistance to birth control is not just evil on the personal level regarding the women in question — it will be a big factor in infliciting an evil on the entire human race.

  • DKrap

    Very good post.

    What about all of the sexual abuse that the catholic clergy has done on children? The church has not come out against such abuse and molestation, but has taken great effort to protect the abusing priests. The newspaper articles that appear when one of the churches lose a lawsuit are almost sympathetic. Instead, society should be glad that these churches become bankrupt for their crimes and misdeeds.

    It is a shame that this church imposes these conditions on their own members, but it is an unforgiveable travesty that they attempt, and somtimes succeed, to impose their rules on society as a whole.

  • lpetrich

    There’s a bit of good news, however: Catholic Nuns Becoming “None” and Priests Joining them.

    US and European nuns and priests are declining dramatically in numbers, to the point that some European parishes are hiring Polish priests. US nuns have declined 50% since the 1960′s, and their average age is now 70.

    The Church used to have no trouble finding enough nuns to teach in its schools; nowadays, it hires not only laypeople but also non-Catholics.

    Not surprisingly, Church officials are worried; they have even recommended that Catholics pray for more men to become priests.

  • javaman

    I wonder if when god impregnated Mary with the baby who would be Jesus, did he explain to her what he was about to do to her and ask for her consent? Would she be able to say no? Or did he just do her and tell her afterwards? Isn’t this rape? She was married to Joseph, why would it be ok for god to knock up a married woman, isn’t this a form of infidelity forced on Mary by god? Isn’t marriage a sacred bond? Did he break one of his own commandments (Thou shalt not commit adultery) by coveting another man’s wife?

  • OMGF

    javaman,
    I suggest you look up Luke 1, where the angel of the lord comes to Mary and tells her that god is going to impregnate her. Now, I doubt that she could have said, “No.” Further, it’s weird that she would be a virgin considering she was already espoused, unless by that they mean she was promised to him but they had not yet tied the knot. Of course, god is really committing adultery here, isn’t he? Also, this would break more than one commandment.

  • http://wilybadger.wordpress.com Chris Swanson

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Catholic Church is one of the most fundamentally evil organizations on the planet. Individual Catholics are just fine. But the organization itself is entirely without merrit. I long for the day the Pope’s palatial art museum becomes a real art museum, and the Church is relagated to, as some might say, the ash-heap of history.

  • Nurse Ingrid

    Excellent post.

    Does anyone remember a news story, I’m guessing about 10 years ago, about Pope John Paul II “beatifying” a number of people? (apparently it’s one step below sainthood.) The list included one woman who had died of a high risk pregnancy rather than have an abortion, and another woman who stayed with an abusive husband until he beat her to death, because she didn’t believe in divorce. So clearly they are laying this out as some ideal of womanhood that Catholics are supposed to aspire to. Hey, way to die for our dogma, ladies! Sick bastards.

    Anyway, I’m trying to find the citation, so if Ebon or anyone remembers this story and where it originated, please let me know.

  • Stacey JW

    I wonder if they are against using condoms when they are molesting their parishioners?
    Or are those “religious rules” meant for other people only???

    Maybe they should quit trying to tell the world what to do and start trying to learn what morality really is about. What a disgraceful bunch of sociopaths.

  • Nurse Ingrid

    “I think a celibate Italian weirdo knows a little more about matters of sex than you do!”

    –Ned Flanders, as Sir Thomas More, to Homer, as King Henry VIII

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Nurse Ingrid, I think the second case you mentioned was that of Elizabeth Canori Mora. The accomplishment that led to her beatification, as you said, was basically that she lived her entire life with an abusive, violent husband and didn’t resist or seek divorce.

  • Stacey JW

    Mhari-
    Women should not be forced to bear all of the burdens that come with Catholic “morality”! Women are the ones that suffer with these “rules”. They don’t seem to have any rights, and all forms of life (even the first cells of conception) have more value and protection than the women carrying them! How is this morally acceptable?

    Women are the often the most vulnerable LIVING members of society, where is their protection? This is exacerbated by ANY rules that are not based on reality, whether they are church doctrine or governmental regulation. Church rules are more hurtful though, since they claim to be based on the “truth and loving word of God”.

    When these “moral rules” make a horrible situation worse- when rape victims are forced to bear their attackers children, and when women are being forced to bear many children because their men are out of control- who is harmed, WOMEN. And for what greater good? The abstract morality of idealism? To protect a notion of life while rendering another’s life worthless? You are right- its NOT black and white…

    Of course the men that rape- whether husbands or strangers- and perpetuate other crimes against women (and humanity)should be stopped by all means. But we cannot wait for this to happen- there needs to be solutions to stop suffering right now- they need to be practical and based on the best of given options, not what would be ideal.

    I think that is the main issue with Catholic moral rules- they reside in the realm of ideal, not real. I understand that a church has to have moral absolutes, and have to take these positions, but they should realize that when their doctrine is causing added suffering it needs to be changed, or at least not pushed onto people.

    This is the real world, and often times our choices have to be made between several bad options, all we can do is pick the one that causes the least negative consequences. i.e.-Birth control will not stop the rapes, but it will help lessen the burden faced by the women who are victimized. Banning birth control helps neither.

    When we deny reality, and think that our choices actually include options that are NOT available, we create situations where everyone loses. Of course all life should be respected and protected, but not at the expense of others. Protecting life includes those already living on this earth!!!

    StaceyJW

  • The Crotch

    Ooh! Ooh! What about the time the Catholic-run hospital (the only hospital in a very large area – we’re a very spread out province) refused to perform tubal ligations in the city of Humboldt, Saskatchewan?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Soon after writing this post, I came across a related (and shocking) story: the Catholic bishops of Spain are actively attempting to derail the candidacy of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who’s running for re-election, because of his history of advocating gay marriage and campaign pledges to expand access to abortion and contraception. The explicit political language of the bishops is astonishing, and would probably trigger an IRS investigation if it happened in the US:

    In December, the first church-organized protest in 30 years drew 1 million supporters in Madrid; Pope Benedict XVI spoke via video link. The capital’s archbishop accused the premier of taking a “step backward for human rights.”

    …The church-owned radio station Cadena Cope has branded the prime minister a “traitor.” Zapatero’s government is “shaking the foundations of the family with its wicked and unjust laws,” Cardinal Antonio Canizares, the archbishop of Toledo, said at the December rally.

    It warmed my heart to see that Zapatero is in no way intimidated by this outrageous bullying, and is actually fighting back against it and the church. I long for the day when an American politician says things like this on the campaign trail:

    “I can’t accept that they say laws made in this legislature are undermining democracy or are a reversal for human rights,” Zapatero, who will have lunch with the Vatican’s emissary in Madrid next week, said today in a radio interview. The church’s attitude “has to change.”

    Even better, he’s spoken publicly about ending the state subsidies given to the church if they’re going to meddle in politics.

    …under a January 2007 agreement, the Socialists actually raised the amount that taxpayers can opt to contribute to religious institutions, giving the church a total subsidy of about 152.4 million euros ($223 million) this year.

    That deal may be reassessed after the elections, Socialist party secretary Jose Blanco said in a Feb. 4 interview. “Nothing can be the same after March 9 now that the church hierarchy has shown such a belligerent attitude,” he said.

    Good for him, I say, and the sooner the better. It’s about time we starve this medieval beast and show it that it can no longer stand in the way of advances in human rights without paying a cost for it.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    For Mhari:

    Regarding promotion of Gardasil, the Catholic Church hasn’t universally spoken against it, one (small) Bishops Conference and a couple of states have questioned if it may have an unintended side effect of making young people now think sex is safe.

    And that is what I said, so I don’t see what your point is. If this situation were the other way around and it was an atheist organization that was opposing some life-saving medical intervention, would you still say that no blame attaches to atheists just because they weren’t unanimous in their opposition?

    To say that the reason the vaccine has been disputed is that Catholics want to punish people for having underage sex is so far from the truth as to be almost laughable.

    Then please, explain why you think these Catholic groups are opposed to the HPV vaccine. The only reason I can see is that they fear it will encourage young people to have sex by taking away one potential reason to be afraid of sex. They’ve said as much themselves. That being the case, isn’t it a logical conclusion that they want HPV to persist and cause cervical cancer among people who disregard their warnings? How else can you interpret their position?

    Catholics believe that life begins at conception. It seems likely that the morning after pill can work to prevent the implantation of the newly conceived child.

    No, it doesn’t. No evidence has ever been offered showing that this is the morning-after pill’s mechanism of action. It prevents conception by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary. (Contrast this with mifepristone, also known as RU-486, which does cause the abortion of a fertilized and implanted embryo. This is not the same drug that’s used in the morning-after pill.)

    If you were a person who believed that life began at conception, and therefore that the morning after pill involved destruction of that life, wouldn’t you oppose it too?

    This is a bizarre question. You’re basically asking, “If you were irrational just like the Catholic church, wouldn’t you support the same irrational positions as them?” I don’t know what an answer to that would prove, so I’ll address a different point: it makes no sense to say that “life begins at conception”. Sperm and eggs are just as alive as an embryo is; nothing that was previously not alive has come to life when a conception occurs.

    If you believe that a human being begins to exist at conception, this makes your position more comprehensible. But, again, this is completely irrational. A single-celled embryo is not a human being. Human beings are defined by their possession of a conscious, self-aware mind – their ability to think and feel. A microscopic embryo has nothing like this. It can no more be conscious of its own destruction than a skin cell that flakes off your hand. At worst, aborting an embryo means destroying a potential human life. While I don’t believe that should be done lightly, it’s absurd to speak of it as if it were in the same moral league with killing a conscious adult human.

    The study recommended the use of condoms in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS based on the findings, those findings were that condoms are around 80% effective (when compared to no condoms) in preventing the spread of HIV.

    Fine – and why do you think that’s a reason against using them? Condoms are still vastly more effective than doing nothing. Granted, we might prefer a method of contraception that has higher success rates. But even 80% protection against infection still equates to saving millions of lives when extrapolated to the scale of a continent. Besides, even if a 100% protective method of contraception were invented, wouldn’t the church still oppose it?

    I think marriage is about love (not a particularly revolutionary statement) and if I were married and loved my husband, there’s no way I’d want to put his life at such risk so I could have sex, no way. I would expect him to love me in the same way.

    You might “expect” that to be the case, but in reality, it often isn’t. We each have a choice: to either sit around and wish for ideal conditions, or take what action we can in the imperfect world we actually live in.

    A question for you. Is the problem here:

    a) the children, or
    b) THAT THEIR HUSBANDS WERE RAPING THEM?!

    Both. Rape is awful enough by itself. The fact that female rape victims are sometimes forced to bear their rapists’ children (with all the attendant dangers of pregnancy), or sometimes end up with deadly diseases, only adds even more trauma – especially for women who can’t afford to care for additional children. By its cruel and superstitious opposition to the use of contraception, the Catholic church is taking a serious problem and making it even worse.

    I’ll pray for you, if God doesn’t exist it’s only my time I’m wasting, and if it makes me feel better I guess it shouldn’t bother you should it?

    It doesn’t bother me at all. I forgive you.

  • http://wildphilosophy.blogspot.com Mathew Wilder

    Did you know that the Catholic Church had agreeable relations with not one but two evil dictators?

    Read the text of the official Catholic concordats (the equivalent of a treaty) between the Church and the Third Reich, and the Church and Franco’s Spain.

    Third Reich: http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_ss33co.htm

    Franco’s Spain: http://www.concordatwatch.eu/showkb.php?org_id=845&kb_header_id=828&order=kb_rank%20ASC&kb_id=1700

    I had posted this in the Wolves in the Fold thread, but thought I would mention it again for anyone who hasn’t read that thread.

    Of course, Catholics will say that the Pope is only infallible on issues of “theology and morality.” To which I would reply, I find it strange that someone who is supposedly infallible in morals abstractly, could be so inept in morals concretely. Furthermore, the distinction between “morals” and what I suppose they might say are “politics” is specious. Should not politics be moral?

    And, per an earlier post, apparently the Catholic Church is still receiving subsidies in Spain. That is disgusting. Surely those subsidies started under Franco, when Catholicism became the official religion. If it could, the Catholic Church would set up the same arrangement in every country.

    We are lucky they cannot.

  • OMGF

    Mhari,

    Education doesn’t eliminate risk. Perhaps if we were able to reach every single person in the world with education as to how to use a condom perfectly, and somehow provide the “cool dry conditions” necessary for the storing of condoms, plus a supply of good quality condoms, we’d be able to reduce that risk, but we can’t eliminate it, and so a young HIV positive man with an active sex life with his wife is eventually likely to pass the virus on to her. And so kill her.

    Your whole argument seems to boil down to one thing…if we can’t completely eliminate risk, then we shouldn’t take steps to at least lessen that risk. This is immoral and wrong.

    A question for you. Is the problem here:

    a) the children, or
    b) THAT THEIR HUSBANDS WERE RAPING THEM?!

    If we said, “ok, let’s sterilize them”, it’s the same as saying, “it’s ok that you’re being raped by your husband”.

    As Ebon said, both. But, to expand a bit, the church – from the Bible – doesn’t do anything to solve the problem of husbands raping their wives. Wives are basically the property of their husbands. So, your question is absurd on a couple counts. Not only is the church not doing anything to help these women avoid rape, but it’s not doing anything to help them avoid the consequences of that rape. This is doubly disgusting.

  • Alex Weaver

    Lovely to see all your self congratulation there guys. Talk about only seeing one side of the story.

    Why do so many combative theists feel the need to start out with this kind of comment? Adam, maybe you could add a checkbox to the web form that would automatically prepend one of a random list of sneers like this to the post so they wouldn’t have to waste energy typing it out long-form?

    Taking your points very briefly one at a time… I can’t answer the gay marriage one. Not because I don’t think it makes sense, but because a reasonable explanation of why the Church teaches something that most people understandably think is unjust discrimination can’t be done in a brief post, also I don’t think you would listen if I tried.

    “Because if the church admitted to being wrong on something – especially its fundamental idea that its authority trumps human rights and human needs – it would lose power over even the followers it still has cowed?” Seemed pretty brief.

    Regarding promotion of Gardasil, the Catholic Church hasn’t universally spoken against it, one (small) Bishops Conference and a couple of states have questioned if it may have an unintended side effect of making young people now think sex is safe.

    If this isn’t the official position of the Catholic Church, then why hasn’t the rest of the hierarchy come out and unambiguously said so?

    Catholics believe that life begins at conception. It seems likely that the morning after pill can work to prevent the implantation of the newly conceived child. If you were a person who believed that life began at conception, and therefore that the morning after pill involved destruction of that life, wouldn’t you oppose it too?

    Yes, and if I were a person who believed the government was controlling my mind with satellites I would be opposed to being told to remove my tinfoil hat. What’s your point? The fact of the matter is that it does not matter how sincerely a person believes; if that belief can be demonstrated to be factually unsupported or outright contrary to facts, it is untrue, and if acting on it causes needless suffering, it is immoral. The issue begins and ends with this.

    I really think that the idea that the Church should at least allow abortion or the use of the morning after pill for rape victims is unbelievable. Abortion isn’t wrong because the Church is making any moral judgments on people who find themselves pregnant. It’s not any more wrong if someone sleeps with every person they come across, or if they are raped by their uncle; it’s not about being pregnant because it’s a punishment, it’s about protecting the most vulnerable people in our society. Surely it would be far worse if the Church, or anyone, started making value judgments as to if someone “deserved” an abortion. Either abortion kills a child or it doesn’t, if the unborn child is a person it doesn’t matter if his father was a rapist, he has a right to live.

    It doesn’t. And the fact that you and your church leaders are willing to destroy the lives of innocent women by forcing them to bear children they do not want, may not be able to care for, will be further traumatized by, and may well die giving birth to – and the lives of innocent children by condemning them to be born unwanted and to live their lives with the knowledge that they are the products of rape – because of your personal petty hangups on this issue is an abomination that, were the Bible truly the work of a moral god, would have been resoundingly condemned somewhere in the books of the law.

    The issue of condom use for HIV prevention is something that, as a Catholic nurse, I’ve felt compelled to investigate further, and actually wrote my dissertation on it during my degree. Researchers at the Cochrane Institute (an academically highly respected secular institution) conducted a literature review of all studies into condom effectiveness in preventing the spread of HIV that reached an acceptable academic standard (Condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission). The study recommended the use of condoms in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS based on the findings, those findings were that condoms are around 80% effective (when compared to no condoms) in preventing the spread of HIV. 80%.

    Now, I think a big problem with pro-life Catholics is that they twist stats to suit them, which destroys our credibility, so I’m not going to suggest that this stat means that 1 in 5 acts of intercourse using a condom will result in Seroconversion (partner contracting HIV); every act of “unprotected” intercourse doesn’t lead to this. I am also well aware that a proportion of the problems were due to people using condoms ineffectively, however, even when used correctly condoms can split, come off, etc.

    Education doesn’t eliminate risk. Perhaps if we were able to reach every single person in the world with education as to how to use a condom perfectly, and somehow provide the “cool dry conditions” necessary for the storing of condoms, plus a supply of good quality condoms, we’d be able to reduce that risk, but we can’t eliminate it, and so a young HIV positive man with an active sex life with his wife is eventually likely to pass the virus on to her. And so kill her.

    We don’t live in an ideal world, and so if the Catholic Church says, “yes, condoms are fine if you’re married to an HIV positive person” then actually she will be condemning far more people to death than if she promotes the very difficult truth, that if you are HIV positive you are called to be celibate, unless you marry another person who is also HIV positive (and I understand that there are different strains, so even then it’s iffy.)

    If she says, “yes, be safe, use a condom” to married people then she’s also perpetuating this myth that condoms make sex safe. They don’t, they make it less dangerous but not safe.

    Tell me, do you oppose the manufacture and distribution of seat belts because people wearing them still die in accidents sometimes? Shouldn’t car manufacturers instead be promoting the difficult truth that people are called not to drive?

    I think marriage is about love (not a particularly revolutionary statement) and if I were married and loved my husband, there’s no way I’d want to put his life at such risk so I could have sex, no way. I would expect him to love me in the same way.

    Then don’t, though I openly question how your resolve would hold up if you were really in that situation. Why should everyone else be required to abide by this unrealistic ideal, though?

    And as regards a situation where women are “sometimes betrothed at birth or sold for cattle”, a sister I met in Ireland raised a similar question for me when she told me that the day Humanae Vitae (the Encyclical in which the Holy Father re-iterated the Church’s teaching on birth control) came out was the worst day of her life. She told me that she was working in Brazil, and the women were coming and begging them for sterilizations because their husbands were raping them and they couldn’t afford more children.

    A question for you. Is the problem here:

    a) the children, or
    b) THAT THEIR HUSBANDS WERE RAPING THEM?!

    If we said, “ok, let’s sterilize them”, it’s the same as saying, “it’s ok that you’re being raped by your husband”. Condoms aren’t the solution to any problem, they’re like trying to put a sticking plaster on big gaping wound. The more I learn about this the more crazy it seems to me, and not because I’m trying to pass judgments on peoples moral ideals, but because it seems so obvious that people are completely missing the point! Because I love people, and I want them to be well, and so even forgetting completely about why the Church has Her teaching on contraception I really find the idea of condoms as the solution to HIV a huge and horrible disaster.

    If they are denied sterilization will their husbands stop raping them?

    If not, then what the hell are you trying to say here? Do you also support denying bandages to people who have been shot because preventing them from bleeding to death is “the same as saying ‘it’s ok that you’ve been shot?’”

    I’ve really spent too much time on this already, but as someone who used to think just the same as you about incompassionate, judgmental, out of touch Catholics I felt that someone should at least point out that there is another side to your argument, things aren’t quite as black and white as you seem to believe.

    There is another side to this argument. That side is wrong, as we have argued. Their sincerity has absolutely no bearing on the conclusion.

    I’ll pray for you, if God doesn’t exist it’s only my time I’m wasting, and if it makes me feel better I guess it shouldn’t bother you should it?

    Given all the evil in the world, even if a god did exist and prayer worked, calling on it to try and convince us to ignore the proddings of our reason and consciences with regard to the church’s ongoing contribution to said evil would indeed be a waste of time.

  • Nurse Ingrid

    Many thanks, Ebon. I do think that is the case I was thinking of. I will see if I can track down other beatifications from 1994 to find the other one.

    And to Alex Weaver, nice work on your point by point evisceration of Mhari’s comments. I think someone missed the class in nursing school where they teach the importance of being nonjudgmental…

  • MisterDomino

    …even forgetting completely about why the Church has Her teaching on contraception…

    I find it amusing that you chose to personify the Church using a female pronoun.

    There’s nothing “female” about it. The Roman Catholic Church is just like any other monotheistic religion: patriarchal and misogynistic.

  • http://deconbible.blogspot.com bbk

    I’ve got two points to contribute to this thread.

    First, some atheists are worried that the decline in Catholicism is merely matched by an increase in Protestantism. I encourage everyone to read this article Why the Gods Aren’t Winning

    Second, I do wish that atheists would question their own assumptions more. The point that was made that even atheistic psychologists chose to view homosexuality as a mental disease should attest to that. This was in the APA for something like 30 years at least. Psychologists as a whole love to defend their lack of objectivity by saying what is considered a disease is merely based on cultural norms, which in reality we know is just a euphomism for unscientific bullshit. So should the point that was made about Catholics being discouraged from reading their Bibles. Apparently this is commonly held among atheists who were formerly Protestants. As a former Catholic myself, I am bewildered by Protestants who ask me what I used to believe before I became athesit and when I say Catholic, they say, “Oh, no wonder! You must have never read the Bible.” As they say – same shit, different day. The worry for me is that even when atheism becomes the norm, it may take centuries more to drop the misconceptions that have truly made religion destructive.

  • Johnny B

    So should the point that was made about Catholics being discouraged from reading their Bibles. Apparently this is commonly held among atheists who were formerly Protestants. As a former Catholic myself, I am bewildered by Protestants who ask me what I used to believe before I became athesit and when I say Catholic, they say, “Oh, no wonder! You must have never read the Bible.”

    This belief actually has its roots in historical truth, bbk. Most seventeeth- and eighteenth-century Protestant sects believed that literacy was integral to providence, as they emphasized literal translation of biblical texts and personal study thereof. Catholic faith, however, was based primarily on tradition and ceremony, as Masses were conducted in Latin and Bibles were printed in Latin. At that time, only the highly educated or the clergy were scholars of the language.

    This is evident in the evangelization of the New World by Christian missionaries. Protestant missionaries (mostly English) insisted upon Indians learning reading and writing in tandem with Christianity, while Jesuit missionaries were content with teaching Native American tribes, such as the Montagnais and the Huron, basic things like making the sign of the cross and the cult of the Saints. For more on this, I recommend any of James Axtell’s work on missionaries in colonial North America.

    I could go on about indulgences and “sola scriptura,” but I’ll stop there, as I’m sure you already know what I’m talking about.

    However, this fact has been reversed only recently. Now, it is the Roman Catholics who are encouraged to read their Bibles (as after Vatican II, Masses are conducted in modern languages), while Protestant sects are encouraged only to read specific passages selectively (if they are encouraged to read it at all). I’d imagine that strict Protestants are still perpetuating this myth about the “Papists.” I myself am a former Catholic, and many Protestants are shocked that I know my Bible better than they do.

    The point is simply this: these assumptions are obviously moot, as every individual case is unique, but it takes time to reverse the flow of opinion.

    Patience is a virtue. ;)

  • OMGF

    Second, I do wish that atheists would question their own assumptions more. The point that was made that even atheistic psychologists chose to view homosexuality as a mental disease should attest to that. This was in the APA for something like 30 years at least.

    And you think that by not questioning their assumptions that the view on homosexuality was changed? Either way, which assumptions would you ascribe to me that you feel I need to question?

  • Mrnaglfar

    bbk,

    Second, I do wish that atheists would question their own assumptions more.

    As far as I see it, the only thing unifying “atheists” as a field of people is their non-belief in god, so rightly that’s the only assumption you could ask “atheists” to question. That is, unless you know of any other assumptions help by atheists as a group that would require singling them out.

    I think everyone should question their assumptions to reasonable levels.

  • http://deconbible.blogspot.com bbk

    This belief actually has its roots in historical truth, bbk. Most seventeeth- and eighteenth-century Protestant sects believed that literacy was integral to providence, as they emphasized literal translation of biblical texts and personal study thereof.

    You’re right – at some point 300-400 years ago, Catholics were less likely to take it upon themselves to interpret the Bible any way they please, and this is still true today. But this doesn’t have any real correlation with reading the Bible versus being rife with ceremonious rites and traditions. Protestants were just as bad, always interpreting things in whichever way it suited them. The last few witch burnings were carried out by Protestants, I believe.

    Go into the religious section of any bookstore and you’ll see what I mean. There are *stacks* of books written by Protestants for the sake of interpreting Christianity. Everything from Strobel’s Case For books to the Purpose Driven Life to dream interpretation books. It’s all 100% bullshit, and Protestants just eat this stuff up. They pick and choose what they want and shove it down everyone else’s throats as they see fit. My favorite are the Jack Chick tracts.

    It’s ironic, isn’t it, that people who think the Bible is inerrant and complete find it necessary to fill their shelves up with supplementary reading materials? I’m pretty damn sure that Catholics focus on the Bible itself just as little as Protestants do.

  • http://deconbible.blogspot.com bbk

    Everyone, I came off a little too vague maybe. Didn’t know so many people would react to my post, which was really just minutiae.

    That atheism only implies disbelief in god is a very good point that I agree with wholeheartedly. But it behooves the atheist, for his own happiness, to question even non-theistic ideas which nevertheless originated in the realms of theism. We have no problem questioning many ideas and attributing them to Christianity itself – from anti-abortion, anti – civil rights, marriage, abstinence, martyrdom, etc. We recognize that many of these stances were developed in an attempt to gain some level of consistency in theistic beliefs, so we question them as a general rule of thumb. All I’m saying is that there are probably a lot more of those where they come from and that atheists take some for granted, not realizing that they might be able to lead much happier lives if they drop concepts that are really only beneficial to theism.

  • terrence

    Strong anecdotal evidence, true story: Many years ago I was sitting on a train when a gorgeous woman took the empty seat ahead of me. Shy creature that I am, I was just about ready to spring my best line when alas, another woman took the seat with her. Woman # 2 turned out to be a missionary type and struck up a conversation with woman # 1, inviting her to a meeting, which was politely declined, offering some tracts, also politely declined, and finally asking “Do you ever read the bible?”

    To which woman # 1 replied, “Oh no, I’m Catholic!”

  • http://www.dangerousintersection.org Erich Vieth

    Here’s another way in which the Church is immoral: allowing known child rapists (priests) to have continued access to children.

    I know huge numbers of practicing Catholics who disagree with each of these policies of the Catholic Church yet who continue to attend Catholic Mass every week and who financially support the Catholic Church.

    What if the many Catholics who oppose this insanity were to organize and stay away from their churches for one month? They’d then see that they constitute half the congretation in many communities. Maybe, seeing the local power they wield, they would have more courage to mutiny. Maybe they could, as a group, leave their Mother Church and say, in a loud voice, “We oppose the massive damage being done by this Church. This damage is not outweighed by the many good things done in the name fo the Church. Thus, we can no longer support this Church in good conscience.”

    This would never actually happen, of course. The power of fear is just too great. My scenario thus remains only compelling thought experiment.

  • Anonymous for now

    In case MisterDomino is still listening: I used to work at the museum until early last year – I wonder if I already know you. What area are you in?

  • shifty

    There is an interesting legal challenge going on in the Philapines.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7234291.stm

    Just another example of the effects of Church policy.

  • Valhar2000

    Ebonmuse wrote:

    [...]It doesn’t bother me at all. I forgive you.

    You do? Well, I don’t. I am sick and tired of sanctimonous fools who lecture us all the while diplsaying their complete unadequacy as moral beings. In fact, if people like Mhari were all I had to go by, I would be entirely justified in thinking of all beleivers a bunch of amoral bungling idiots. Fortunately, that is not the case.

  • Adam

    All,

    Here is some factual information about abortion:

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/images/index.htm#galleries

    Look at these pictures.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    For your next shock picture, why don’t you post some images of women who’ve died of ectopic pregnancy because their Fallopian tubes ruptured and burst inside them? I suggest you start with El Salvador, where the loathsome and misogynist clergy of the Catholic church finally got their wish to pass a law making women’s bodies the property of the state. You should be able to find plenty of examples.

  • Alex Weaver

    Wow…thanks, “Adam” (talk about adding insult to injury) for bringing to my mind a rhetorical tactic lame enough to share an exhibit with “offering no rebuttal to your opponent’s argument other than said opponent using Wikipedia as a source” in my “museum of unusually pathetic fallacies.”

    It looked lonely by itself. ;’(

  • Adam

    Alex Weaver and Ebon,

    I am sorry, but I do not have much else to say. Abortion is murdering children. These pictures prove it.

    Regarding ectopic pregnancies, I know the Church allows a patient too clean out the fallopian tube if conception happen there. This results is the killing of the child. I believe the child dies anyway, so if a women needs to clean out her fallopian tubes to save her life, resulting in the death of the child, the Church would say that morally ok.

  • OMGF

    Adam,

    I am sorry, but I do not have much else to say. Abortion is murdering children. These pictures prove it.

    They do nothing of the sort. You’ve asserted that at conception a child is formed, and then all you did was post bloody pictures and you call that proof? Unfortunately for you, all you’ve done is make a fallacious emotional appeal. If someone dies in an accident, no matter how bloody it is, it does not constitute murder. If one kills an animal, no matter how bloody it is it does not constitute murder (although it should still probably be illegal in some cases). What you’ve failed to do is make an argument for the clump of cells that is an embryo being a human child. Considering that the embryo can not feel pain and has no sentience…well, you might wish to address those points. And, no, your religious teachings do not count as proof either unless you can back them up with real evidence (even then, the real evidence would count, not your religious teachings).

  • Joffan

    Adam, no doubt you have heard of Gerri Santoro and looked for her image. One among many who have suffered injury and death from restrictions to abortion.

  • Adam

    OMGF,

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/images/index.htm

    Here is factual information about Abortion. I am not talking about embryo’s. I have never heard a reasonable argument for abortion after looking at this website. These children are not embryo’s.

    Joffan,

    I’m sorry tat Gerri died because abortion was restricted, but she was going to kill her child. It’s not the child’s fault she was born…I know you’ve heard that before but looking at this website is more the reasonable and factual evidence that abortion is murder.

  • OMGF

    Adam,

    Here is factual information about Abortion. I am not talking about embryo’s. I have never heard a reasonable argument for abortion after looking at this website. These children are not embryo’s.

    All I’m seeing at your site is a lot of “click here for propaganda on such and such,” or “click here for horrific photos.” Please point out the “devastating” “reasonable and factual” evidence that your website has. I even gave you a couple points to address as a clue to get you started.

    And, if you aren’t talking about embryos, then are you only against so-called partial birth abortions? If you intend to say that they are children and never embryos, then you don’t understand what the word “embryo” means.

  • Adam

    OMGF,

    I know what embryo’s are.

    I can tell that you have not looked at the sight. The devasting reality is the dead child shown in the photo’s. Please explain to me how that is not murder.

    Do you know what a partial birth abortion is? It is when the baby is partially out of the womb and then they suck the childs brain out. You can listen to audio that discribes it.

    The other type of abortion is the killing of the child inside the womb, the you can down load video of it if you do not believe me.

    This murder is far from propaganda. Infact these pictures prove that what your idea of abortion is, is not reality.

    On the website you can also see what a child looks like in the womb at different times, 7 week ….5 months…etc.

    Facts:
    How many? During the 1980s and 1990s total abortions stayed about 1,550,000 annually, slowly decreasing in the 1990s. Note that the Guttmacher Institute reported that 10% of known abortion providers did not report. Adding 10% to its 1,550,000 equals 1,700,000. The total reported slowly decreased in the 1990s. When the unreported abortions are added (income tax evasion, cover-up for privacy, etc.), a figure of 1,800,000 may be more realistic. Live births have hovered just under 4,000,000. Therefore: Almost every third baby conceived in America is killed by abortion. 112 Abortion Surveillance U.S. 1988 Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, July 1991. S.K. Henshaw et al., “Abortion Services in the U.S., 1987-1988,” Family Planning Perspectives, Vol. 22, No. 3 (May-June 1990), p. 103.

    How far along in pregnancy were they?

    Using a 1,500,000 figure, in 1992:

    - 1.2% or 18,000 were 22 weeks or older

    - 10.0% or 150,000 were 13-20 weeks

    - 88.8% or 1,332,000 were 12 and under

    Center for Disease Control, MWWR, Dec. ’94

    In 1994 the CDC reported that in 1993, 1.3% were done after 22 weeks or about 20,000.

    How many are repeaters?

    Repeat abortions were 20% in 1973 but rose to 44% in 1987. In the U.S., by 1995, 45% of all abortions were repeats. S. Henshaw et al., Ab. Characteristics, 1994-95, Fam. Plan. Persp., Vol. 28, No. 4, July ’96, p. 143

    info can be found at:http://abortionfacts.com/online_books/love_them_both/why_cant_we_love_them_both_17.asp#how%20many

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    I believe the child dies anyway, so if a women needs to clean out her fallopian tubes to save her life, resulting in the death of the child, the Church would say that morally ok.

    As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. And when the Catholic church got its way, the law they passed outlawed abortion, even for ectopic pregnancies, unless the fetus was already dead of natural causes. This means that no operation can be done under this law unless the woman’s Fallopain tubes have already burst. The evidence is plain that the Catholic church’s embryo fetish causes it to value microscopic, non-sentient cell clusters, which are not human beings and never will be human beings, more highly than the adult human women who bear them.

  • Adam

    Ebon,

    This means that no operation can be done under this law unless the woman’s Fallopain tubes have already burst.

    I’m sorry, where is this law again? please show me the sight so I can read it?

    Your comments still do not disprove the fact that Abortion is murder.
    Abortion is murder yes or no?
    If no, please prove it, and explain to me the pictures and the statistics I have given.

  • Alex Weaver

    I’m sorry, where is this law again? please show me the sight so I can read it?

    If my autistic toddler can do her own spoon-feeding, you damn well can too. Try googling “El Salvador abortion law” and see what comes up, for starters.

    Your comments still do not disprove the fact that Abortion is murder.

    It is scarcely necessary to disprove what has never been proved.

    Also, please take the following under advisement:

    fact [fakt]
    –noun 1. something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears have no basis in fact.
    2. something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact.
    3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth.
    4. something said to be true or supposed to have happened: The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.
    5. Law. Often, facts. an actual or alleged event or circumstance, as distinguished from its legal effect or consequence. Compare question of fact, question of law.

    Compared with

    as·ser·tion [uh-sur-shuhn]
    –noun 1. a positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason: a mere assertion; an unwarranted assertion.
    2. an act of asserting.

    (Sources here and here)

    Understand the difference now?

    Abortion is murder yes or no?

    No.

    If no, please prove it,

    You are the one who is making a positive claim. The burden of proof is on you, and you have utterly failed to meet it.

    and explain to me the pictures and the statistics I have given.

    The statistics show that abortions happen. What possible relevance do they have to the moral status of abortions?

    As for the pictures, what is it you think they’re supposed to prove? That the results of medical procedures often aren’t pretty to look at? That genetically human embryos sort of vaguely resemble humans in their shapes? What is it about them that you think justifies robbing women of the right to control their own bodies and their own lives in order to force them to bear children that they don’t want and, if you’re like most anti-choicers, you won’t lift a damn finger to help care for?

    We understand that these images are disturbing. Do you understand anything else?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    I’m sorry, where is this law again? please show me the sight so I can read it?

    This is the second time you’ve clearly commented in a thread to push your religious views without reading the original post. This does not bode well for your continued participation on this site if it continues.

    Abortion is murder yes or no?

    No. Until a developing fetus has a functional brain, it is not a conscious human being, and only the termination of a conscious human being’s existence can be considered murder.

  • OMGF

    Adam,

    I can tell that you have not looked at the sight. The devasting reality is the dead child shown in the photo’s. Please explain to me how that is not murder.

    Admittedly, I didn’t scour the sight, but I didn’t expect you to deal with the rejection of your photos by simply plugging your photos again. Once again, they do not prove anything, except that abortion can be a messy procedure.

    Do you know what a partial birth abortion is? It is when the baby is partially out of the womb and then they suck the childs brain out. You can listen to audio that discribes it.

    Yes, I do know what it is. I also know that it comprises about .17% of the abortions done in the US, and it’s generally done for health reasons. Listening to a description of it does not evidence make BTW.

    This murder is far from propaganda.

    Considering that anti-choicers are as scrupulous as creationists, I do consider it to be propaganda. Nevertheless, your whole argument is based on one thing, and that is your belief. Your beliefs do not constitute evidence, however.

    You wish to assert that abortion is murder because you believe that at the time of conception a soul enters the zygote and a human is thereby formed. This has many problems, however. Others have pointed out some problems already, so I’ll add that you need to prove that souls exist and that they enter the zygote during conception. This will be a tall order since there is no evidence for souls even in human adults, and the evidence we do have points away from the idea of us having souls.

    I do have some questions for you, if you wouldn’t mind answering.

    If abortion were outlawed, would you make an exception for rape and incest victims? How about when the health of the mother is at stake?

    Let’s say that some 18 year old woman, fresh out of high school is in love with her boyfriend who is shipping out to Iraq, and they decide to have sex. Because of the abstinence only education they received (which you probably support) they don’t know how to use a condom and it breaks and she gets pregnant. He ships off and gets killed, and now she’s faced with being a single mother with no way to provide for her child, especially since her parents tossed her out of the house for getting preggers. She decides to get an abortion. Luckily she finds a doctor willing to do it because he doesn’t want her to get a back-alley abortion (which did and would continue to happen if abortion were outlawed) and he does the deed. They get busted. How much jail time should the doctor face? How about the young woman? If abortion is murder as you so claim, shouldn’t they be facing some hefty jail time, if not the potential for capital punishment in some states?

  • Mrnaglfar

    Adam,

    I’m sorry tat Gerri died because abortion was restricted, but she was going to kill her child. It’s not the child’s fault she was born…I know you’ve heard that before but looking at this website is more the reasonable and factual evidence that abortion is murder.

    You love that line; Abortion is murder. I’d bet it would make a snappy bumpersticker. However, you might want to consider that abortion simply means the loss of a pregnancy, and why, according to that logic of yours, god is the biggest abortionist of them all.

    Consider this:
    http://www.allaboutlifechallenges.org/miscarriage-statistics.htm

    Miscarriage statistics can be dramatic. Miscarriage reportedly occurs in 20 percent of all pregnancies. However, according to some sources, this may be an inaccurate number. Many women, before realizing a life has begun forming within them, may miscarry without knowing it-assuming their miscarriage is merely a heavier period. Therefore, the miscarriage rate may be closer to 40 or 50 percent. Of the number of women who miscarry, 20 percent will suffer recurring miscarriages.

    Miscarriage refers to the loss of a developing pregnancy up until the twentieth week of gestation. Medical terminology labels this event as a spontaneous abortion. Many women who miscarry find this term offensive. However, it is important to note that the term “abortion” merely denotes the loss of a pregnancy. It does not, in the medical field, assume the pregnancy ended because of the woman’s choice. The proper term for a chosen procedure is elective abortion. When a woman loses her pregnancy after the twentieth week of pregnancy, the loss is referred to as a stillbirth…

    So, assuming those statistics have stayed relatively consistent across cultures for the pass little stretch of human existence, we can assume god has designed a system that aborts in between 1 in 5 to 1 in 2 pregnancies. Over thousands of years and billions of people, it seems like something else might be at play, huh? Of course, different factors are at work; for instance, the woman’s familiarity with the male’s semen reduces the risk of a miscarriage. I could certainly explain that one to you in evolutionary terms, but I’d love to hear god’s side of it first.

    Another little logical deduction of your “abortion is murder” standpoint is that any woman who has had a miscarriage is a murderer too, even if only an unwitting accomplice to the crime. Any woman who has had more than one miscarriage is a serial killer!

    Which reminds me; if abortion is outlawed and is murder, according to you, what punishments would you recommend the law dish out to a woman who had an abortion? Life in jail? Maybe just 25 years with a chance of parole? If abortion is truly murder, than all women and doctors who have had any hand in it should suffer the punishment of someone who kills another person. Unfortunately, that would mean jailing more people than is possible, but I’ll leave that answer to you.

    Something else you fail to mention is that most women probably aren’t thrilled to get an abortion; it’s not as if they’re weekend plans include getting knocked up and getting an abortion. It’s an uncomfortable medical procedure, and I don’t know anyone lined up to get one of those; does that make me weird?

    Nice use of trying to shock me with those pictures though. I looked that them and I still approve of abortion. Got any more?

  • DavieJones

    In all this discussion of abortion, no one has addressed: What happens to the people who were truly unwanted pregnancies; what happens to the life expectancy of women who have numerous children; the horrific world population explosion that will one day be untenable; and, the number of starving children world wide due to lack of contraception. This isn’t just a moral issue. It is a huge social issue and the religeous right needs to get on board.

  • OMGF

    Another question for Adam,
    Do aborted “babies” get to go to heaven? If so, why would abortion be a bad thing?

  • Adam

    Ebon and Alex Weaver,

    This is the second time you’ve clearly commented in a thread to push your religious views without reading the original post. This does not bode well for your continued participation on this site if it continues.

    I did read your whole post. I’m sorry though, it was late when I made my post and was really asking the question, I forgot where you said it, sorry. I did look at the El Salvador article. And you’re right it is a shame that:

    Even in ectopic pregnancies, which have no possibility of producing a living child, abortion is forbidden until the mother’s Fallopian tube has ruptured and the fetus is dead

    I am no expert on this subject but that law needs to be revised, we’re on the same page.

    I also agree with what you said here:

    Catholic church’s embryo fetish

    We definately do.

    All,

    I understand that we’re not on the same page. If you would let me I would like to try and begin again, I am sorry if I hurt any feelings.

    The main question is, when does life begin? I am not talking about the soul, that is a different issue. I am talking about the human person.

    Ebon says that life begins when the brain begins to function:

    Until a developing fetus has a functional brain, it is not a conscious human being

    That is just fine.

    I am wondering when the rest of you think that life begins?

  • Adam

    Do aborted “babies” get to go to heaven? If so, why would abortion be a bad thing?

    I am not God, but yes I would think they do get to heaven. Abortion is wrong on account of the mother or the father who wants the abortion, and the doctor who does the abortion

  • OMGF

    Adam,

    I am sorry if I hurt any feelings.

    Not to speak for anyone else, but I doubt that you’ve hurt anyone’s feelings here.

    The main question is, when does life begin? I am not talking about the soul, that is a different issue. I am talking about the human person.

    Take care to differentiate life from human life. Life begins before conception really. Sperm cells and ovum are certainly “alive”.

    As for human life, I agree with Ebon. A zygote is not yet a human. It may have the requisite number of chromosomes (although, not in every case I suppose) but there’s something that is fundamentally different about a cell or clump of cells that has no brain function versus a human.

    I am not God, but yes I would think they do get to heaven. Abortion is wrong on account of the mother or the father who wants the abortion, and the doctor who does the abortion

    So, if aborted “babies” go to heaven, why is abortion wrong? It seems to me like an abortion gives the “baby” an express pass to the pearly gates, versus being born and most likely going to hell.

    I’d also like to hear your response to the questions and Mrnaglfar and I posed about what sentence you would impose on a woman who has had an abortion.

  • Adam

    what sentence you would impose on a woman who has had an abortion.

    I have no idea. What do you think should happen if abortion was illegal?

  • OMGF

    Adam,
    Really? You have no idea? It’s murder isn’t it? I would say that it’s a premeditated murder, so I would think that you’d have to push for first-degree murder. So, why aren’t you? Shouldn’t the doctor and the girl both be prosecuted for this? Most states probably have 20 to life as the punishment, although some have capital punishment as well. So, I guess the girl and the doctor should get 20 to life or the chair, right? Why are you being coy about this?

  • Adam

    If I had to make the law I would put all the wrong in the doctor, and punish him. the woman I would give help to through an organization like rachel’s vinyard.

  • OMGF

    Adam,
    How condescending of you.

    Why would you only go after the doctor? Don’t you care about the babies? How will only punishing the doctor stop other women from seeking abortions? Do you really think that women are incapable of making the decision to have an abortion?

    What you are really saying is that the woman is not at fault here for murder, and for what reason? Did she not decide to go get the abortion in the first place, or are women unable to make reasoned choices? Where are your convictions now? It’s murder you claim, yet you don’t want to treat it as such, do you?

  • Adam

    The doctor’s are the ones doing the killing.

    It would be illegal to have an abortion and to seek an abortion.

    Women can capable to making a decision, but the doctor kills the baby.

    I think the women are misguided and regret there abortions more often than not.

    I want to treat this as murder by the doctor. If it is illegal and they still do it, that would be murder then.

  • OMGF

    I’m sorry, but your logic is flawed. By your logic, if someone orders a murder, they should not be tried for it since they didn’t pull the trigger themselves. The woman ordered the murder of her child, so she is guilty of murder, or at least conspiracy to murder, which carries the same sentence as the level of murder involved. And, it’s the woman that puts the “baby” in the position to be murdered, or do you think that doctors run around aborting babies without women knowing about it? Why are you not willing to follow through on your convictions?

    What would be the penalty for seeking an abortion? Shouldn’t that be attempted murder?

    Are all women that seek abortions “misguided”? Again, how condescending of you. Oh, those poor, hysterical women that can’t make their own decisions.

  • Adam

    My grandmother who is 90 was the same person as a zygote, fetus, at 30 weeks, new born, toddler, and grandmother. That is logical. You can see the pictures of a developing fetus, it is a person.

    you say that she is not a human until her brain developes?

    Who’s job is it to define when the brain is developed. What does developed mean? What if the child has a disorder, this that brain developed?

    There are hundreds of thousands of women who regret their abortions. I would say that they were misguided. Why not put the child up for adoption?

  • Alex Weaver

    I think the women are misguided

    You really don’t see how patronizing that perspective is, do you?

    and regret there abortions more often than not.

    Do you have a single fact to back that up?

    My grandmother who is 90 was the same person as a zygote, fetus, at 30 weeks, new born, toddler, and grandmother. That is logical. You can see the pictures of a developing fetus, it is a person.

    By that “logic,” identical twins who began life as a single zygote are still “one person” and therefore killing one of the two of them should only be counted as “assault and battery” (or whatever other crime covers maiming someone).

    Additionally, you keep flogging those pictures, but all they show is that 1) medical procedures aren’t pretty, 2) fetuses are sorta human-shaped, and 3) you, personally, seem to be living one long “moment of weakness where emotion overrides reason.” Being shaped like a human does not mean that it’s a “person,” with the intellectual and moral qualities that term conveys. Do you get emotional over department-store mannequins that are thrown away? They look sorta human too, you know…

    Who’s job is it to define when the brain is developed. What does developed mean? What if the child has a disorder, this that brain developed?

    I know all these words and I still can’t parse this mess. WTF are you trying to say here?

    By the most likely of 8-odd possible interpretations: The qualities, other than being human-shaped, that distinguish humans from, say, cuttlefish, are entirely dependent on the presence and proper functioning of certain structures in the brain, structures that do not develop and begin functioning until a certain point in the pregnancy. Your ignorance of these facts does not constitute evidence of their falsity.

    Why not put the child up for adoption?

    Because of the physical, emotional, and in many cases economic drain of pregnancy and childbirth, social stigma, risk of death and/or serious medical complications, and the fact that there are already hundreds of thousands of born, conscious children languishing in foster care as well as a serious overpopulation problem worldwide?

  • Alex Weaver

    BTW:

    My grandmother who is 90 was the same person as a zygote, fetus, at 30 weeks, new born, toddler, and grandmother. That is logical.

    For the record, this line of argument has been tried at length by people considerably more erudite and articulated. It doesn’t work.

    (Hope the link will, though; the preview function doesn’t seem to like it).

  • Alex Weaver

    Err, I mean, “articulate.”

    (Great, now I’m doing it. x.x)

  • Adam

    Alex and OMGF,

    You guys are right. If abortion was illegal, both the doctor and woman should be charged with murder. Upon further review I have to agree. It’s murder, charge them with murder.

  • Adam

    Alex,

    When do you say that human life begins?

  • Alex Weaver

    Define “human life.”

  • OMGF

    Adam,

    My grandmother who is 90 was the same person as a zygote, fetus, at 30 weeks, new born, toddler, and grandmother. That is logical. You can see the pictures of a developing fetus, it is a person.

    Same set of chromosomes? Yes. You can’t deny that there are significant developmental issues that happen at different times during pregnancy. One of those is the ability to be conscious or feel pain, etc. Before these things happen, the zygote/fetus/embryo is not what we would consider to be human, in that it is a clump of unfeeling, unthinking cells. You claim that you are not talking about the soul, so what are you basing this on? On superficial resemblances based on pictures?

    Who’s job is it to define when the brain is developed. What does developed mean?

    Scientific studies have shown when certain brain functions become viable. We should base our moral decisions on these real world data and not on our feelings or the emotions we might feel from looking at bloody pics.

    There are hundreds of thousands of women who regret their abortions. I would say that they were misguided. Why not put the child up for adoption?

    This I hear quite often. Anti-choicers are always touting adoption as if there were a dearth of babies to be adopted. Truth is, as Alex already pointed out, there is an over abundance of children already waiting for adoption. This just shows how much anti-choicers are really not about life, but about making sure that women who have sex pay the price for doing so. Once the kid is out, well then the kid is on its own.

  • Alex Weaver

    (I ask because you seem to be working from a nebulous, emotional concept of what “human life” means, and that, depending on how the term is interpreted, there is more than one answer. I note that your argument, to any rational observer, seems to rest on an inappropriate conflation of “human life” meaning “human being” with “human life” meaning “genetically human entity satisfying the biological criteria for ‘life’” and therefore attempting to confer the moral and emotional status of the former on the latter, though these two definitions by no means exhaust the possible interpretations of the phrase “human life.”)

    (Also, perhaps you might try responding to my point about identical twins, rather than constantly trying to pass the buck. In fact, why don’t you cut to the chase and give me a factually sound, coherent definition of “human life” that includes born humans, fetuses, embryos, and zygotes, but excludes tumors in general, teratomas more specifically, and my daughter’s “twin” (essentially a teratoma with an umbilical cord), corpses, scraped-off skin cells that have not yet experienced cell death, individual gametes, stillborn fetuses, the hypothetical science-fiction case of an organ being removed and kept alive separate from the body by machinery…)

  • Alex Weaver

    Oh, right. Add to my stipulations above your own assertion that

    I am not talking about the soul

  • Alex Weaver

    One more thing:

    I think the women [...] regret there [sic] abortions more often than not.

    I suppose this is technically true; in fact, I’m willing to bet that virtually all women “regret their abortions” in the sense that they’d rather have never gotten pregnant than had one. No one sane would expect it to be a pleasant or enjoyable experinece, FFS. However, when it comes to having the abortion vs. giving birth to what will at that point be a child, individual reactions vary enormously. Your assumption smacks of projection; your personal preconceptions about what women “must” or “should” feel in such an event do not constitute evidence. And you still haven’t explained how the number of abortions performed constitute evidence that abortion is murder.

  • Alex Weaver

    (While I’m at it, are you in favor of capital punishment? I ask because if a fetus is equivalent to a born person, executing a convicted criminal would be equivalent to performing an abortion in the [(A/4)+3] trimester, where A is the convict’s age in months.)

  • OMGF

    Follow up question:
    Do you favor abstinence only sex education? Hopefully you realize that part of the problem is that anti-choicers are so hot on getting people not to have sex that they think even discussing ways to do so safely will encourage it. So, they push abstinence only, even though the scientific studies done have shown that abstinence only programs do not work. And, the added benefit is that more unwanted pregnancies will occur due to ignorance of how to use contraceptive methods, leading to more abortions. Again, those that push for abstinence only and are anti-choice I find are only interested in one thing, and that is controlling the sex lives of others and punishing women who do have sex with having to carry a child to term, because ‘that’ll show ‘em.’

  • Mrnaglfar

    Adam,

    I am not God, but yes I would think they do get to heaven. Abortion is wrong on account of the mother or the father who wants the abortion, and the doctor who does the abortion

    So abortion is wrong not because the baby gets to go to heaven and totally avoid hell (even if born to parents of different faith?), but simply because the mother and father want one? The act of wanting an abortion (as opposed to wanting a child) is wrong enough to warrant the strictest punishment our society has to offer? I don’t think there is enough room in the jails as it is, let alone with you putting away doctors and mothers who want abortions (who probably have families of their own to care for – what do you plan on doing about those people?).

    My grandmother who is 90 was the same person as a zygote, fetus, at 30 weeks, new born, toddler, and grandmother. That is logical. You can see the pictures of a developing fetus, it is a person.

    Your grandmother had the same genes, but was in no way the same person. You’ll find throughout people’s lives they are remarkably different people at different times. The change is gradual to the point were one can’t notice it until looking back in retrospect, but no, she was not the same person.
    I can see (and indeed saw) the pictures of a developing fetus and I still don’t think it’s a person. I suppose a fetus is a person in almost the same sense that a coma patient is a person. Only difference there is that a coma patient was already a person, a fetus has yet to be one.

    When do you say that human life begins?

    In my view, person-hood begins at birth; that’s about the time any survey counts them as existing; for instance, when a family is pregnant they don’t say “we have 3 kids”, they say “we have 2 kids and one on the way”, or perhaps the population surveys that don’t count fetuses as people. Birth is also the time the infant starts to interact with it’s world. Not as if this view of human life will suddenly make abortion rates jump for late term pregnancies; most any woman willing to carry the fetus that far along is more than likely to give birth to it; it’s not like women and doctors and waiting, with a smile on their face, to abort another late term pregnancy.

    There are hundreds of thousands of women who regret their abortions. I would say that they were misguided. Why not put the child up for adoption?

    How many children have you adopted if you care so greatly about human life (and not just life, but actually making sure that life is a good one)? How many more do you plan on adopting? There are still millions of children out there who don’t have a home; how can you say “I’ve done enough” when the toll is that great? If those opposed to abortion really think human life is that precious, why are there any unwanted children in this world?

    I would also say there are millions of people who regret getting married, and stats will back me up on that. I would also say there are people who regret having children, or regret buying one pair of jeans over another. People who regret having the car they do, or perhaps regret not taking a big chance in their life. People regret all kinds of things, from the very big to the very small, yet I wouldn’t say they’re all misguided. What gives you the right to think that women getting abortions are the misguided ones rather than, I don’t know, let’s say you?

  • Adam

    How many children have you adopted if you care so greatly about human life (and not just life, but actually making sure that life is a good one)? How many more do you plan on adopting? There are still millions of children out there who don’t have a home; how can you say “I’ve done enough” when the toll is that great? If those opposed to abortion really think human life is that precious, why are there any unwanted children in this world?

    I am an adoptive parent and I speak from experience when I say there are not alot of babies to adopt in the U.S., unfortunately we kill them all. Anyone who disagrees with this does not know the facts about U.S adoption.

    We plan to adoptive many more. And every person I have met who has adopted is prolife, so we are doing our part.

    PS, there are roughtly 1,600,000 abortions each year in the US, and about 2,000,000 families are waiting to adopt.

    How many children have you adopted?

    Miscarriage statistics can be dramatic: http://www.allaboutlifechallenges.org/miscarriage-statistics.htm

    As far as these statistics, they are not even relevant to the conversation because we are talking about surgical abortions.

    Here are somemore fact about surgical abortions:
    Surgical abortions in the United States (1965-1996)

    Since the first states decriminalized abortion in 1967, there have been over 38,000,000 reported surgical abortions* in the U. S. 1,878,990 were committed before Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that lifted all restrictions. An average of 1,600,000 babies are killed annually.

    * The surgical numbers are from the Alan Guttmacher Institute. The problem with these numbers is that there is no law requiring abortion clinics to report their numbers–all clinics may not be reporting all abortions. The abortion industry is not regulated!

    Alan Guttmacher Institute is a research arm of Planned Parenthood.

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD

    This is the largest, most powerful, most effective pro-abortion,anti-life, anti-family, anti-Christian force in the U.S. and internationally.

    The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is one of over 90 national affiliates of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (London). It gets about two-thirds of its U.S. financing through tax money, local, state, and national. It has five regional offices, about 160 statewide affiliates, over 900 local clinics in the U.S. Over 70 of its clinics do abortions. Its total annual cash flow is almost one-half billion dollars ($472 million in 1995). It concentrates its efforts on abortion, contraception, and sex education.

    How many abortions does Planned Parenthood do?

    The number increases each year as it converts more of its clinics to killing centers. In 1985 it had 51 chambers which killed 110,000. By 1994 it had 70 which killed 134,000. Every year, it refers to other facilities almost as many abortions as it does itself.

    Was Planned Parenthood always pro-abortion?

    In its early years of existence, Planned Parenthood limited itself to contraception and specifically opposed abortion. The following is a quote from an official Planned Parenthood pamphlet :

    “Is birth control an abortion?” “Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it. Birth control merely post-pones the beginning of life.” Planned Parenthood, Aug. 1963 1 Available from Cincinnati Right to Life, P.O. Box 24073, Cinn., OH 45224, $3. pp.

    One can see that abortion is real.

    Until a developing fetus has a functional brain, it is not a conscious human being…………..Scientific studies have shown when certain brain functions become viable. We should base our moral decisions on these real world data and not on our feelings or the emotions we might feel from looking at bloody pics.

    When does the heart begin to beat?

    At 18 days [when the mother is only four days late for her first menstrual period], and by 21 days it is pumping, through a closed circulatory system, blood whose type is different from that of the mother. J.M. Tanner, G. R. Taylor, and the Editors of Time-Life Books, Growth, New York: Life Science Library, 1965, p.

    When is the brain functioning?

    Brain waves have been recorded at 40 days on the Electroencephalogram (EEG). H. Hamlin, “Life or Death by EEG,” JAMA, Oct. 12, 1964, p. 120

    Brain function, as measured on the Electroencephalogram, “appears to be reliably present in the fetus at about eight weeks gestation,” or six weeks after conception. J. Goldenring, “Development of the Fetal Brain,” New England Jour. of Med., Aug. 26, 1982, p. 564

    Only several generations ago, doctors used the ending of respiration to measure the end of human life.

    This is no longer true, for the use of artificial ventilators is common. Only one generation ago, doctors were using the ending of the heartbeat to measure the end of human life. This is no longer true, for now the heart can be stopped and restarted for different operations. It also may stop during a heart attack and sometimes can be restarted.

    Today, the definitive and final measure of the end of human life is brain death. This happens when there is irreversible cessation of total brain function. The final scientific measurement of this is the permanent ending of brain waves. Since all authorities accept that the end of an individual’s life is measured by the ending of his brain function (as measured by brain waves on the EEG).

    Therefore according to your statement after 40 days every child killed in the womb is a person.

    One of those is the ability to be conscious or feel pain, etc. Before these things happen, the zygote/fetus/embryo is not what we would consider to be human, in that it is a clump of unfeeling, unthinking cells. You claim that you are not talking about the soul, so what are you basing this on? On superficial resemblances based on pictures?

    How early do some organs form?

    The eye, ear and respiratory systems begin to form four weeks after fertilization. K. Moore, Before We Were Born, 3rd ed., 1989, p. 278

    And function?

    Very early, e.g., glucagon, a blood sugar hormone, has been demonstrated in the fetal pancreas 6 weeks after fertilization, and insulin by 7 to 8. F. Cunningham, “Pancreas,” William’s Obstet., 19th ed., 1993, p. 183-4

    Thumbsucking has been photographed at 7 weeks after fertilization. W. Liley, The Fetus As Personality, Fetal Therapy, 1986, p. 8-17

    When does the developing baby first move?

    “In the sixth to seventh weeks. . . . If the area of the lips is gently stroked, the child responds by bending the upper body to one side and making a quick backward motion with his arms. This is called a ‘total pattern response’ because it involves most of the body, rather than a local part.” L. B. Arey, Developmental Anatomy (6th ed.), Philadelphia: W. B. Sanders Co., 1954

    At eight weeks, “if we tickle the baby’s nose, he will flex his head backwards away from the stimulus.” A. Hellgers, M.D., “Fetal Development, 31,” Theological Studies, vol. 3, no. 7, 1970, p. 26

    Another example is from a surgical technician whose letter said, “When we opened her abdomen (for a tubal pregnancy), the tube had expelled an inch-long fetus, about 4-6 weeks old. It was still alive in the sack. “That tiny baby was waving its little arms and kicking its little legs and even turned its whole body over.” J. Dobson, Focus on the Family Mag., Aug. ’91, pg. 16

    How is a “partial birth abortion” performed?

    Misinformation has abounded. This, despite the fact that the truth about this procedure, often out of the mouths of partial-birth abortionists themselves, was available all along. Recently, however — due to investigative reporting by newspapers not sympathetic to the pro-life movement, and to the confessions of Ron Fitzsimmons, a leader of a pro-abortion trade association, the National Coalition of Abortion Providers — the facts as consistently stated by pro-life groups have been publicly confirmed.

    What: As described by one of its inventors, a partial-birth abortion is performed by: forcibly turning the baby into the breech position; using forceps on the baby’s leg to pull the entire baby, except the head, outside the mother; stabbing the child in the base of the skull; sucking out the brain; crushing the head; and then fully delivering the dead baby.

    Who and Why: Partial-birth abortions are performed by a few doctors. In the vast majority of cases, they are performed upon women and children with no health problems whatever. Occasionally, they are performed on children with severe health problems.

    When: Most are performed between 20 and 24 weeks’ gestation. Some may be performed later, but the doctor best known for performing partial-birth abortions after the 24th week died in 1995.

    How Many: Partial birth abortions occur at least several thousand times a year in the United States. Just one New Jersey clinic reported performing about 1,500 each year, most for purely “elective” reasons. Ron Fitzsimmons, lobbyist for a trade association of abortionists, the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, recently publicly acknowledged that there are as many as 5,000 per year in the United States.

    Why a “health” exception is unacceptable?

    The proposed bill would ban all third-trimester abortions except when continuation of the pregnancy may endanger a mother’s life or “health.” The bill would leave untouched the vast majority of partial-birth abortions, which occur in the second trimester. And it would not even restrict third trimester abortions significantly because of the expansive definition of “health” mandated by the Supreme Court in Roe’s companion case Doe v. Bolton. Any abortion related to the mother’s social or emotional concerns, or even her age, is a “health” abortion according to Doe. In any event, at this late stage of pregnancy any threat posed by continuation of the pregnancy can be resolved by simply delivering a live child; the Daschle bill would allow the child to be killed in all such situations instead.

    Why a “life of the mother” exception is unnecessary?

    Opponents of a ban on partial-birth abortions rely most heavily upon the widely publicized accounts of a few women whose doctor (the late James McMahon) told them that their children were gravely ill and that a partial-birth abortion was necessary to preserve the mother’s life or future fertility.

    The Physicians’ Ad-Hoc Coalition for Truth (over 600 doctors, most ob-gyns and fetal/maternal experts), along with former Surgeon General Koop have publicly verified that there are no medical conditions, either maternal or fetal, that necessitate the use of partial-birth abortion to remove the baby, or to preserve the mother’s health, life or future fertility. The American Medical Association decided to support a ban on partial-birth abortion, after a careful study failed to find “any identified circumstance” in which it is needed. Even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a pro-abortion organization, has issued this statement: “A select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which this procedure would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.” Citing no specifics, ACOG continues to claim that it may be one way to serve a woman’s health; this statement is disputed by hundreds of doctors in its own ranks, who point out that certain aspects of the partial-birth procedure actually pose a special threat to woman’s health and fertility.

    In fact, why don’t you cut to the chase and give me a factually sound, coherent definition of “human life”

    What is human life?

    The controversy swirling about the first question can be explained by the fact that different people use different standards of measurement by which to define “human life.” Some would define it through a theologic or religious faith belief. Some would define “human life” using certain philosophic theories and beliefs. Others define “human life” by using biologic, scientific facts. Let us briefly explore the three methods of measurement.

    THEOLOGIC OR RELIGIOUS FAITH BELIEF

    This is best explained by considering three people who might state their respective beliefs as follows: a) I believe in God. I believe He creates a soul. I believe the soul is created at conception. Therefore, I believe that human Life begins at conception.

    b) I also believe in God and a soul but I don’t believe the soul is created until birth (or some other time). Therefore, I believe that human life begins at birth (or some other time).

    c) I don’t believe in God or a soul.

    Comment

    - The above are statements of religious faith or its absence.

    - None of the above religious faith beliefs can be factually proven.

    - Each individual has a right to his or her own religious beliefs.

    PHILOSOPHIC THEORIES

    Human life can be defined by using a wide variety of philosophic beliefs and theories. These use social or psychological rationale which can involve biologic mileposts. Examples of philosophic definitions of when human life begins include the following: When there is consciousness; when there is movement; when there is brain function, or a heartbeat; when viable; at birth; when wanted; when there has been an exchange of love; when “humanized”; when this is a person (how-ever “person” is defined); if mentally or physically normal, etc.

    Comment

    While admittedly arrived at through a certain reasoning process, all of the above remain theories. None can be proven factually by science.

    Each individual has a right to hold his own philosophic beliefs.

    People of good will can and do differ completely on the correctness of any or all of the philosophic beliefs and theories mentioned.

    BIOLOGIC FACTS

    Biologic human life is defined by examining the scientific facts of human development. This is a field where there is no controversy, no disagreement. There is only one set of facts, only one embryology book is studied in medical school. The more scientific knowledge of fetal development that has been learned, the more science has confirmed that the beginning of any one human individual’s life, biologically speaking, begins at the completion of the union of his father’s sperm and his mother’s ovum, a process called “conception,” “fertilization” or “fecundation.” This is so be-cause this being, from fertilization, is alive, human, sexed, complete and growing.

    Comment

    - The above is not a religious faith belief.

    - The above is not a philosophic theory.

    - The above is not debatable, not questioned. It is a universally accepted scientific fact.

    Note: Detailed biologic facts are in Chapters 11 and 12.

    Must the question “when does human life begin” be answered?

    If there is one absolutely essential function of a nation or state, it is to protect the lives of those who live within its boundaries. In order to carry out this solemn duty it must first ask and answer when the life of its people begins.

    What intellectual discipline, what method of measurement can we (should we) use in making this fateful definition?

    The question of when human life begins is a scientific question. Therefore, we should look to scientific facts rather than philosophic theories or religious beliefs for the answer. We must conclude then that each individual human life begins at the beginning, at fertilization, and that human life is a continuum from that time until death.

    What simple measure would you use to define Human Life?

    We would ask:

    Is this being alive? Yes. He has the characteristics of life. That is, he can reproduce his own cells and develop them into a specific pattern of maturity and function. Or more simply, he is not dead.

    Is this being human? Yes. This is a unique being, distinguishable totally from any other living organism, completely human in all of his or her characteristics, including the 46 human chromosomes, and can develop only into a fully mature human.

    Is this being complete? Yes. Nothing new will be added from the time of union of sperm and egg until the death of the old man or woman except growth and development of what is already there at the beginning. All he needs is time to develop and mature.

    While I’m at it, are you in favor of capital punishment?

    No, never.

    Do you favor abstinence only sex education?

    Absolutely not. It is what the majority of us got in highschool. it does not work. Chastity education, where the human person is dignified is what works.

    So abortion is wrong not because the baby gets to go to heaven and totally avoid hell (even if born to parents of different faith?), but simply because the mother and father want one? The act of wanting an abortion (as opposed to wanting a child) is wrong enough to warrant the strictest punishment our society has to offer? I don’t think there is enough room in the jails as it is, let alone with you putting away doctors and mothers who want abortions (who probably have families of their own to care for – what do you plan on doing about those people?).

    No, that is not what I meant. Abortion is wrong not because the mother and father want one, it is wrong when they get one…when the doctor kills the child.

    I would also say there are millions of people who regret getting married, and stats will back me up on that. I would also say there are people who regret having children, or regret buying one pair of jeans over another. People who regret having the car they do, or perhaps regret not taking a big chance in their life. People regret all kinds of things, from the very big to the very small, yet I wouldn’t say they’re all misguided. What gives you the right to think that women getting abortions are the misguided ones rather than, I don’t know, let’s say you?

    I only say they the woman were miss guided because they themselves say that they were miss guided. See: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/index.htm

    History of Rachel’s Vineyard
    Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph. D., started one of the first therapeutic support groups for post-aborted women in 1986 after founding The Center for Post Abortion Healing.

    In 1994, Rachel’s Vineyard: A Psychological and Spiritual Journey for Post Abortion Healing was first published. It was a unique support group model for counselors, offering a very concrete, emotional experience for women who were grieving the loss of their aborted children. In 1995, Theresa adapted and expanded the curriculum into a format for weekend retreats. Soon individuals seeking healing began to travel from other states to experience this very effective healing process.

    Without a budget, office or advertising, Rachel’s Vineyard became a grassroots national outreach. By word of mouth only, the retreats began to spread across the country because of the retreat’s dramatic effectiveness, from 18 retreats in 1999 and growing to 35 retreats in 2000. In 2003, Rachel’s Vineyard became a ministry of Priests for Life and its board was structured accordingly.

    Currently, Rachel’s Vineyard has grown to 600 retreats annually, held in 47 states and 17 countries, with many new sites in development.

    Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D., has lectured and trained professionals nationally on the subject of Post Abortion Healing. Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries offers an annual Leadership Training Conference specifically designed for those who currently use the Rachel’s Vineyard program. She also trains retreat teams in the method and process.

    The Rachel’s Vineyard healing models are used by mental health professionals, post abortion ministries, crisis pregnancy centers, pastoral care and faith based outreach programs.

    And you still haven’t explained how the number of abortions performed constitute evidence that abortion is murder.

    With these new facts coupled with the picures I offered points to the reality that abortion is murder.

    These facts found at:http://www.abortionfacts.com/online_books/love_them_both/why_cant_we_love_them_both_2.asp#NOW%20THE%20THREE%20QUESTIONS

  • Alex Weaver

    Above and beyond the tiresome boilerplate, that comment is impossible to read with the present formatting, since it is necessary to reread certain sections repeatedly to determine where your words leave off and someone else’s begin. You seem to be confused on a great many points, including the difference between “brain waves” broadly defined and “characteristically human brain activity,” the scientific method, the actual meaning of the term “pro-choice,” and the fact that many Christians are pro-choice, therefore pro-choice organizations are not “anti-Christian.”

    Also, in the vain hope that you will actually offer a substantive response to the specific question asked rather than, as you appear to be, pasting verbatim some anti-choice site’s that might come up in a similar “key word” search but does not substantively address the point, let me restate my request for a definition:

    Is being biologically “alive” and genetically “human” sufficient, by your standards, to make something a “person” in the moral and legal sense of the word? YES OR NO.

    Also, I believe it has been made perfectly clear by now that the pictures you describe, while unpleasant to look at, do not constitute evidence for the moral status of abortion as far as everyone here is concerned. Please either give us a substantive reason to consider them as such or shut the fuck up about them.

  • Alex Weaver

    Oh, right. You still haven’t explained how there are “two million families waiting to adopt” in spite of there being “hundreds of thousands of children in foster care.”

  • Alex Weaver

    Oh, missed this on the first pass:

    Is this being complete? Yes. Nothing new will be added from the time of union of sperm and egg until the death of the old man or woman except growth and development of what is already there at the beginning. All he needs is time to develop and mature.

    Speaking as a parent myself…

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://elliptica.blogspot.com Lynet

    Perhaps you could provide a link to the place(s) you cut-and-pasted that from, Adam?

  • Mrnaglfar

    Adam,

    I am an adoptive parent and I speak from experience when I say there are not alot of babies to adopt in the U.S., unfortunately we kill them all. Anyone who disagrees with this does not know the facts about U.S adoption.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if no children were born unwanted? However, since you seem to have adopted kids (and kudos to you on that), that right there is, as far as I can tell, evidence your claim is false. Alex already addressed that point. But hey, if the US doesn’t have any unwanted children that need adopting (which we do), perhaps interests could turn outside of the US. How about all those non-american children? They need parents too.
    They’re certainly alive, so go do the Christian thing and sell your possessions, and go take care of these kids. For all that you might have done, there’s incredible amounts more you could do. I don’t recall the bible ever saying “do only what won’t be too much of a bother to help your fellow man”.

    How many children have you adopted?

    Well I’m 20 and in school, so none. I’m also not against abortion, and in fact, strongly opposed to the idea of a family having a child they don’t want/aren’t ready to care for. I think the fact that we have children that need adopting in the first place is a sad thing. I also think over-population is a serious issue.

    One can see that abortion is real.

    Really? It actually happens? No way! I thought abortion was just a joke.

    This is so be-cause this being, from fertilization, is alive, human, sexed, complete and growing.

    Well, you got me here. A sperm and egg are indeed alive, and also still alive after fertilization. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them complete AND growing, since one contradicts the other, but hey, I’ll roll with it. However, I’m still not going to call it a person; not every ejaculation deserves a name.

    We must conclude then that each individual human life begins at the beginning, at fertilization, and that human life is a continuum from that time until death.

    We must conclude it begins at fertilization? I don’t conclude that. In the strictest biological sense, life began about a billion odd years ago on earth and is a continuous process that just keeps rolling along (thank you George Carlin). What about all the sperm you murder with each ejaculation? At best, 1 may be able to continue to live, and they’re alive too! Surely, even if a sperm is only half a person, that still means you’ve killed several million people per ejaculation.
    But now, let’s stop confusing terms; you’re talking about when life begins, which is before conception. I’m talking about when person-hood begins, and those two are not the same thing.

    No, that is not what I meant. Abortion is wrong not because the mother and father want one, it is wrong when they get one…when the doctor kills the child.

    But you said above that you thing all aborted fetuses go to heaven, so yes, in essence you are saying these are terrible people for sending fetuses to heaven. I think it’s cute how you keep using the word “child” instead of fetus. But since we’ve already established that you want to send all the mothers and fathers and doctors to jail involved in abortions for 20+ years, maybe less with good behavior, you never did get around to answering the question what you want to do with their families and children that have been born and are now people. You know, the ones fully capable of suffering, feeling, thinking, remembering, interacting with the outside world, and other such things.

    I only say they the woman were miss guided because they themselves say that they were miss guided.

    And what about the ones who didn’t say they were misguided? Sounds likes you’re getting your information from a completely biased point of view.

    I don’t doubt there are women that regret getting an abortion, and I also don’t doubt that there are some, who if they had the kid, wouldn’t have regretted that too. Or maybe that they regret not using a condom, or being on the pill. I also said I don’t think women are lined up happily to get abortions and going out and getting pregnant so they can have another one.

    All the stats you can dig up on abortion are fine; I understand abortions happen and I’m ok with that, yes, even with the numbers of how often and those pictures. I think it’s more important that every child be born into a supportive, loving home than that every child possible be born. I also don’t feel like person-hood begins at conception or that it ends at death. The truth is science isn’t going to tell you when person-hood begins or when it ends because it’s not something that science can measure; that’s an opinion question.

  • Alex Weaver

    The truth is science isn’t going to tell you when person-hood begins or when it ends because it’s not something that science can measure; that’s an opinion question.

    Actually, if you produce a definition of “person” that is dependent on any observable traits, science can tell us when those are present or absent.

  • Adam

    Lynet,

    Perhaps you could provide a link to the place(s) you cut-and-pasted that from, Adam?

    http://www.abortionfacts.com/online_books/love_them_both/why_cant_we_love_them_both_contents.asp

    Scroll down to find out the facts you are looking for.

    Also, http://www.prolifewisconsin.com

  • Adam

    The truth is science isn’t going to tell you when person-hood begins or when it ends because it’s not something that science can measure; that’s an opinion question.

    Actually, if you produce a definition of “person” that is dependent on any observable traits, science can tell us when those are present or absent.

    Here is how the person develops in the Womb.

    Milestones of Early Life

    Day 1: Conception: Of the 200,000,000 sperm that try to penetrate the mother’s egg cell, only one succeeds.2 At that very moment, a new and unique individual is formed. All of the inherited features of this new person are already set – whether it’s a boy or girl, the color of the eyes, the color of the hair, the dimples of the cheeks and the cleft of the chin. He or she is smaller than a grain of sugar, but the instructions are present for all that this person will ever become.

    The first cell soon divides in two. Each of these new cells divides again and again as they travel toward the womb in search of a protected place to grow.3

    Day 6-14:The new individual at first attaches loosely to the wall of the womb, then burrows deeply and attaches securely to it over the next week. Sensitive pregnancy tests can now show positive, but this depends on the level of hormone produced by the new life. By the end of the second week, the mother’s menstrual period is suppressed by this hormone (hCG) which is produced by her child.4

    Day 17:Blood vessels begin to form.4 Remarkably, the future sex cells that will give rise to sperm or eggs for a new generation begin to group together – only 17 days after this new life is alive itself.5

    Day 18-20:The foundations of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system are laid.6

    Day 21:The heart begins to beat,7 unsurely at first, gaining strength day by day. The heart beats 70 times per minute at first, reaching a maximum of 170-190 at seven weeks, and slowing a bit to 160-180 at 9 weeks.8 A day later the eyes begin to develop. The earliest stages of the ears are now present.9

    Day 26-27:The lungs now begin to form.10

    Day 28-32:Two tiny arms make their appearance and budding legs follow two days later.11 The beginnings of the mouth take shape.12 The nose starts to develop.13 The thyroid gland begins to grow. Blood flows in the baby’s veins but stays separate from the mother’s blood. The tongue now begins to form. The face now makes its first appearance.14

    Day 36:The baby’s eyes develop their first color in the retina (see photo above, right).15

    Day 40:The baby makes her first reflex movements. Touching around the mouth with a fine bristle causes her to flex her neck.16

    Day 41:The fingers begin to form, followed by the toes a few days later.17

    Day 42:The baby develops nerve connections that will lead to a sense of smell. The brain is now divided into 3 parts – one to experience emotion and understand language, one for hearing and one for seeing. 18 Joints begin to form.19 Mother now misses second period.

    Day 44:Buds of milk teeth appear. Facial muscles develop.20 Eyelids begin to form, protecting the developing eyes.21 Elbows take shape. Internal organs are present, but immature. 99% of muscles are present; each with its own nerve supply.22 Electrical activity is detectable in brain.23

    Day 52:Spontaneous movement begins. The baby then develops a whole collection of moves over the next 4 weeks including hiccupping, frowning, squinting, furrowing the brow, pursing the lips, moving individual arms and legs, head turning, touching the face, breathing (without air), stretching, opening the mouth, yawning, and sucking.24

    8 Weeks:The baby is now well-proportioned, and about the size of a thumb. Every organ is present. The liver is making blood, the kidneys function, and the heart beats steadily. The skull, elbows, and knees are forming. Of the 4500 structures in the adult body, 4000 are already present.25 The skeleton of the arms and legs and the spine begins to stiffen as bone cells are added.26

    9 Weeks: If prodded, the baby’s eyelids and hands close. Genitalia that were forming in the 7th week now become visible, indicating whether it’s a boy or girl. However, the doctor won’t be able to tell by ultrasound until the 12th to 20th week. Early muscular movements begin. The thyroid gland turns on.27

    10 Weeks Fingerprints begin their 7 week long formation. The fingernails begin to develop. The eyelids now fuse together until month 7, protecting the delicate eyes.28 The number of connections between nerves and muscles has tripled since last week.29

    11 Weeks The baby now “practices” breathing, since she will have to breathe air immediately after birth. The baby urinates. Her stomach muscles can now contract.30 Vocal chords and taste buds form.31 She can make complex facial expressions and even smile.32

    12 Weeks Fine hair begins to grow on the upper lip and chin and eyebrows.33 The baby swallows and responds to skin stimulation.32

    13 Weeks The face is prettier, and facial expressions may resemble the parents’. The baby is active, but mom doesn’t feel anything yet.34

    15 Weeks A wild production of nerve cells begins and continues for a month. A second surge will occur at 25 weeks.35

    4 Months Nostrils and toenails become visible. The baby may suck her thumb, turn somersaults and has a firm grip. The ovaries of girls contain beginnings of eggs. She begins to develop sleeping habits.32 At about 4 ½ months she is able to experience pain.36, 37

    5 MonthsThe testes descend in boys. Mom may feel the baby kick, turn or hiccup and may be able to identify a bulge as an elbow or head.38 Each side of the brain has a billion nerve cells now.36

    6 MonthsThe baby will be able to hear by next week.39 The child sleeps and wakes, nestling in her favorite positions to sleep, and stretches upon waking up.40

    7 MonthsThe eyelids begin to reopen, preparing to see the outside world.41 Eyelashes have now become well developed.42

    8 MonthsSkin becomes pink and smooth. The pupils of eye respond to light. Fingernails reach to the tip of the finger.42 The baby is really getting cramped now.

    9.5 MonthsThe child triggers labor and birth occurs, an average of 264-270 days after conception.43

  • And not until the baby has gone through all these events on the inside can we see the new child on the outside.
  • Carnegie Developmental Stages, developed by Streeter and O’Rahilly, are used universally to categorize the growth of the embryo into 23 stages during the first 8 weeks of life. Carnegie Stages are based on morphology – the form and structures within of the embryo. From embryo to embryo, the days required to get to each stage can vary slightly. Also, O’Rahilly has suggested some changes in the days relating to each stage due to in vivo ultrasound studies.43 Selected differences as reported by O’Rahilly are detailed below.

    Primary References:

    Carlson, B., Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, Toronto: Mosby Publication; 3rd edition, 2004.

    Moore, K. and Persaud, T., The Developing Human, Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th Edition, Philadelphia: W.B. Sanders, 1998.

    O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd Edition, New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2001.

    Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., From Conception to Birth, a Life Unfolds, New York: Doubleday, 2002.

    1. Age in this brochure is given two ways: 1) days after fertilization or days from conception given by the top red number, and 2) days from last menstrual period, or LMP for short, given by the lower red number. Doctors use “LMP” because it is hard to know just when conception occured. Here, we emphasize the age of the new life as it unfolds. Add 14 days to post-fertilization days to convert to the LMP days.

    2. “Life Before Birth,” Life Magazine, Apr. 30, 1965, p. 13. 3. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 37-45.

    4. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 42-48, 76. 5. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 23.

    6. Mitchell, B and Sharma, R., Embryology , New York: Churchill Livingstone, Dec. 2004, p. 4. Note: Carlson and Moore concur that the neural plate, fold and groove are forming around 18-20 days. O’Rahilly puts this at 24-25 days from in vivo ultrasound results.

    7. Estimates vary for when the heart begins to beat: 21-22 days, Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 77; at least by 23 days from transvaginal ultrasound results, O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 183; 21-22 days, Carlson, B., p. 117; 18 days, Tanner, J. and Taylor, G. and the editors of Time-Life Books, Growth, New York: Life Science Library, 1965, p. 64 (a 40 year old source).

    8. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 183.

    9. Carlson, B., p. 292, 308. O’Rahilly, p. 456, 471 puts the appearance of the eye at about 28 days.

    10. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p 259.

    11. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p 435-437. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 382 place this at 30 days, Carlson,

    B., p. 211 at 4 weeks.

    12. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 235,236, Carlson, B., p. 321-323.

    13. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 236-242. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 88.

    14. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 346-348, 183, 236, 107. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 102.

    15. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 459.

    16. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 429. Carlson, B., p. 267-271.

    17. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 437. 18. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 102, 114, 119.

    19. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 408-411.

    20. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 238. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 102.

    21. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 502. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 238.

    22. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 140.

    23. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 428. citing Barkowski and Bernstine, 1955.

    24. Carlson, B., p. 483, 484.Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 199, 200.

    25. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 178, 183, 185. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 87.

    26. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 409-414.

    27. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 333, Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 203, 206. Carlson, B., p. XIV.

    28. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 514, 519. 29. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 206. 30. Carlson, B., p. 482, XIV.

    31. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 210, Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 234.

    32. Valman, H. and Pearson, J., “What the foetus feels,” British Medical Journal, January 26, 1980.

    33. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., p. 517. 34. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 219.

    35. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 156.

    36. Anand, K and Hickey P, “Pain and Its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus.” The New England Journal of Medicine, (1987) 317:1321-1329. Pain at 20 weeks, perhaps as early as 16 weeks.

    37. Anand, K., Report to U. S. Federal Court as expert witness January 15, 2004.

    38. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 229, Carlson, B., p. XV.

    39. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 413. 40. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., p. 235.

    41. Carlson, B., p. 305. 42. Carlson, B., p. XV.

    43. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, p. 88-92. Birth occurs at about 38 weeks post-fertilization or 40 weeks LMP. The average from ovulation to parturition is about 264-270 days and the range about 250-285.

    44. Measurements and weights from: O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, p. 491. Lengths of the baby are given in GL or Greatest Length, which excludes the limbs. GL closely follows CR or crown to rump measurements, but can also be used for very young embryos. GL is also the measurement used in ultrasonography.

    Alex,

    Is being biologically “alive” and genetically “human” sufficient, by your standards, to make something a “person” in the moral and legal sense of the word? YES OR NO.

    Yes, for reasons stated above. What are your reasons?

    Oh, right. You still haven’t explained how there are “two million families waiting to adopt” in spite of there being “hundreds of thousands of children in foster care.”

    There are about two million couples waiting. Furthermore, each of these couples would want two or three, if available. Many will take hard-to-place children with special needs. Bachrach et al., “On the Path to Adoption”

    Please provide me with the hundreds and thousands statistic for foster care.

    Either way, you are right, there are children in foster care, maybe you should look into adoption.

    Oh, missed this on the first pass:

    Is this being complete? Yes. Nothing new will be added from the time of union of sperm and egg until the death of the old man or woman except growth and development of what is already there at the beginning. All he needs is time to develop and mature.

    Speaking as a parent myself…

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What? I am not sure what you are getting at? What is biologically added?

  • Adam

    Alex,

    Also, I believe it has been made perfectly clear by now that the pictures you describe, while unpleasant to look at, do not constitute evidence for the moral status of abortion as far as everyone here is concerned. Please either give us a substantive reason to consider them as such or shut the #@$% up about them

    I do not think I can not lay it out for you anymore then I did.

  • Adam

    OMGF and Ebon,

    As for human life, I agree with Ebon. A zygote is not yet a human. It may have the requisite number of chromosomes (although, not in every case I suppose) but there’s something that is fundamentally different about a cell or clump of cells that has no brain function versus a human.

    There is brain function at 40 days.

    The truth is science isn’t going to tell you when person-hood begins or when it ends because it’s not something that science can measure; that’s an opinion question.

    Actually, if you produce a definition of “person” that is dependent on any observable traits, science can tell us when those are present or absent.

    See here if you want to see if you want to get a medical definition of a person: Fetal developement

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call them complete AND growing, since one contradicts the other, but hey, I’ll roll with it.

    The point is: nothing new is added to the zygot after conception. It has what it needs to become a grown person.

    Is this being complete? Yes. Nothing new will be added from the time of union of sperm and egg until the death of the old man or woman except growth and development of what is already there at the beginning. All he needs is time to develop and mature.

    Speaking as a parent myself…

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Alex, what do you mean? If you have not seen the link you can look here:Fetal developement

    I only say they the woman were miss guided because they themselves say that they were miss guided.

    And what about the ones who didn’t say they were misguided? Sounds likes you’re getting your information from a completely biased point of view.

    I agree! I am getting my information from a biaded point of view, from the women who regret there abortions. Are there women who do not regret theirs? Aolutely, those woman are not misguided at all, they know what they are doing.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    As far as I see it, the only thing unifying “atheists” as a field of people is their non-belief in god, so rightly that’s the only assumption you could ask “atheists” to question. That is, unless you know of any other assumptions help by atheists as a group that would require singling them out.

    I would single out a position on abortion as one of these assumptions to question. Namely the idea that the reason to take issue with abortion is because of a belief in a deity who objects to the practice – hence the atheist can dismiss the objection due to non-belief in the deity. The atheist refutes a false supernatural argument (rightly so), but then makes the mistake of thinking that she/he has refuted all arguments. Not all atheists are guilty of this – but some are.

    This caution doesn’t only apply to abortion. Consider the situation mentioned earlier in this thread, regarding the display of plasticized human bodies. It was mentioned that a group of Catholics took issue with the display. So naturally we atheists should dismiss the objection and support the display? Not so fast. There are some reasonable questions being asked about these displays that have nothing to do with the supernatural. Where did these bodies come from? Did these people want their bodies displayed as such? Is it possible that some of these bodies came from prisoners or political dissidents? What kind of money changed hands and how did that impact motivations and practices? There are more people asking questions about this than just the religious.

    The atheist should not arrive at a position because of an adverse reaction to a religious position. Rather, the atheist position should be well thought out – based on the use of reason and evidence.

  • Adam

    Mrnaglfar,

    The truth is science isn’t going to tell you when person-hood begins or when it ends because it’s not something that science can measure; that’s an opinion question.

    Actually, if you produce a definition of “person” that is dependent on any observable traits, science can tell us when those are present or absent.

    Here is a medical defintion of person-hood link

  • Adam

    Mrnaglfar,

    I only say they the woman were miss guided because they themselves say that they were miss guided.

    what about the ones who didn’t say they were misguided? Sounds likes you’re getting your information from a completely biased point of view.

    I agree with you totally, my information was from a biased point of view, women who regret their abortion. But you are right, there are women who know exactly what they are doing.

  • Adam

    OMGF and Ebon,

    Until a developing fetus has a functional brain, it is not a conscious human being…………..Scientific studies have shown when certain brain functions become viable. We should base our moral decisions on these real world data and not on our feelings or the emotions we might feel from looking at bloody pics.

    When is the brain functioning?

    Brain waves have been recorded at 40 days on the Electroencephalogram (EEG). H. Hamlin, “Life or Death by EEG,” JAMA, Oct. 12, 1964, p. 120

    Brain function, as measured on the Electroencephalogram, “appears to be reliably present in the fetus at about eight weeks gestation,” or six weeks after conception. J. Goldenring, “Development of the Fetal Brain,” New England Jour. of Med., Aug. 26, 1982, p. 564

    Only several generations ago, doctors used the ending of respiration to measure the end of human life.

    This is no longer true, for the use of artificial ventilators is common. Only one generation ago, doctors were using the ending of the heartbeat to measure the end of human life. This is no longer true, for now the heart can be stopped and restarted for different operations. It also may stop during a heart attack and sometimes can be restarted.

    Today, the definitive and final measure of the end of human life is brain death. This happens when there is irreversible cessation of total brain function. The final scientific measurement of this is the permanent ending of brain waves. Since all authorities accept that the end of an individual’s life is measured by the ending of his brain function (as measured by brain waves on the EEG).

      Are we in agreement then that human life begins at-least by day 40?
  • Adam

    Alex,

    Oh, right. You still haven’t explained how there are “two million families waiting to adopt” in spite of there being “hundreds of thousands of children in foster care.”

    How many couples are waiting?

    There are about two million couples waiting. Furthermore, each of these couples would want two or three, if available. Many will take hard-to-place children with special needs. Bachrach et al., “On the Path to Adoption”

    See link for more info : link

    Where did you get your hundreds of thousands of children in foster care, info? Either way, you are right, there are children in foster care, maybe you should consider adopting if you already haven’t

    Is this being complete? Yes. Nothing new will be added from the time of union of sperm and egg until the death of the old man or woman except growth and development of what is already there at the beginning. All he needs is time to develop and mature.

    Speaking as a parent myself…

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. Nothing new is added to a zygote; everything it needs to become a developed human is already there at conception. see link: Link

  • Alex Weaver

    Here is a medical defintion of person-hood link

    This is a timeline of physical development of the fetus. It does not establish personhood.

    And while we’re at it, what is it about the idea that simply “looking like a human” doesn’t make something a “person” that is so difficult for you to grasp?

    BTW, your “Rachel’s Vinyard” organization serves 600 women who feel they need counseling and support after abortion. I’m not aware of other organizations, so I would guess if they exist they are of a similar size or smaller. There are 1,500,000 abortions annually according to your own status. This indicates that about 0.04% of women who’ve had abortions feel they need these services. Even with generous allowances for other organizations’ attendance, that almost certainly amounts to less than 1% of all women who have abortions annually. And from this you’ve concluded that

    I think the women [...] regret there [sic] abortions more often than not.

    …not very good at the math, are you?

    When is the brain functioning?

    Brain waves have been recorded at 40 days on the Electroencephalogram (EEG). H. Hamlin, “Life or Death by EEG,” JAMA, Oct. 12, 1964, p. 120

    Brain function, as measured on the Electroencephalogram, “appears to be reliably present in the fetus at about eight weeks gestation,” or six weeks after conception. J. Goldenring, “Development of the Fetal Brain,” New England Jour. of Med., Aug. 26, 1982, p. 564

    Only several generations ago, doctors used the ending of respiration to measure the end of human life.

    This is no longer true, for the use of artificial ventilators is common. Only one generation ago, doctors were using the ending of the heartbeat to measure the end of human life. This is no longer true, for now the heart can be stopped and restarted for different operations. It also may stop during a heart attack and sometimes can be restarted.

    Today, the definitive and final measure of the end of human life is brain death. This happens when there is irreversible cessation of total brain function. The final scientific measurement of this is the permanent ending of brain waves. Since all authorities accept that the end of an individual’s life is measured by the ending of his brain function (as measured by brain waves on the EEG).

    The fact that “a brain” exists and displays some level of electrical activity does NOT indicate that the fetus is a conscious person at that point – unless you’re prepared to extend “personhood” to the entire range of animals down to and including gastropods. Characteristically human brain activity, and the development of the brain structures known to be involved in conscious thought, does not occur until much later. This linguistic sleight-of-hand is deeply dishonest and reprehensible.

    Are we in agreement then that human life begins at-least by day 40?

    Not until you stop conflating “living organism that’s genetically human” with “person.” The two are NOT equivalent and simply belonging to the former category does NOT grant an organism the moral status of the latter.

    (PS: anyone want to look up his studies and see if, read in context, they actually say what he’s trying to make the quotes mean?)

  • Adam

    Alex,

    First off thank you for at least looking at the Rachel’s vinard website.

    Look again at the number of retreats held almost daily for women. You can assume that they are almost all filled by the number of them. link

    By the way the 600 women you spoke of

    BTW, your “Rachel’s Vinyard” organization serves 600 women who feel they need counseling and support after abortion. I’m not aware of other organizations, so I would guess if they exist they are of a similar size or smaller. There are 1,500,000 abortions annually according to your own status. This indicates that about 0.04% of women who’ve had abortions feel they need these services. Even with generous allowances for other organizations’ attendance, that almost certainly amounts to less than 1% of all women who have abortions annually.

    is actually 600 retreats annually across the U.S. Look again please. A very sad fact.

  • spaceman spif

    I know focusing the debate on abortion itself is slightly wavering from the original intent of Ebon’s column, but I just wanted to toss in my 1.2 cents worth. (Used to be 2 cents worth, but with inflation and stocks falling…y’know)

    I struggle with the issue of abortion. I must admit I’m more of a pro-lifer, but I base that simply on the fact that I feel the unborn fetus deserves the right to the opportunity of life. What he or she does with that life is up to that person, but I still feel they deserve the right to have the opportunity to begin with. I understand the argument that a woman should have a right to what they want with their body, but I also feel the fetus deserves to have some rights as well. (I do agree with abortion when the mother’s life is at stake)

    And I must also admit, I do not base any of my views on any science or data, it’s simply how I feel.

    Alex Weaver asked how a pro-lifer can support capital punishment (which I do). And allow me to explain it like this – I feel people deserve a right to the opportunity of life. And when they have been given that opportunity, and have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they are an irreparable threat to the lives of others, then they have forfeited that right.

  • http://nesoo.wordpress.com/ Nes

    Wow.

    Is it possible to squeeze in any more emotionally-loaded language in that description of Planned Parenthood?

  • Alex Weaver

    I struggle with the issue of abortion. I must admit I’m more of a pro-lifer, but I base that simply on the fact that I feel the unborn fetus deserves the right to the opportunity of life.

    That begs the question, though: why THIS fetus and not one of the literally millions of others that could have been conceived if a different sperm found the egg? If simply being a potential person means one deserves the opportunity for life… O.o

    (In other words, you implicitly draw the line at the actual conception, but based on your reasoning I can’t see a non-arbitrary reason for doing that).

    Additionally, you seem to be confusing support of abortions with support for the legality of abortion. “Pro-life” as commonly used is an Orwellian label for those arguing that abortion should be outlawed (the most accurate way to render this position is “anti-choice”). Being personally uncomfortable with abortion but supporting its legality does NOT mean that one leans “anti-choice” and in fact one’s personal feelings about abortion are at best tangentially relevant to the issue of choice.

    And what I said was that an anti-choicer who believes that abortion is always murder and that a fetus is equivalent to a born person cannot logically endorse capital punishment, since by that logic an execution is an abortion, and therefore murder, and therefore should be outlawed. This would not necessarily apply to someone who did not insist on one or the other of those irrational premises.

    Although, it’s not clear to me what relationship those who

    have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they are an irreparable threat to the lives of others

    have to capital punishment as it is actually practiced in the United States, so I wonder if you’re misstating your position again in claiming to support it.

  • Alex Weaver

    Adam: It’s still, clearly, a tiny percentage (and also falsely assumes that women who are unhappy after an abortion would have been happier if they’d given birth. None of the women I’ve known who’ve had abortions were happy about the experience, but almost none of them believe giving birth would have been preferable).

    In the future, you might want to make clear how many people make up a nebulously labeled “retreat.”

  • spaceman spif

    That’s why I struggle with it, Alex. I feel that the fetus has a right to have the opportunity to live. At what point do I feel does the fetus have that right? Conception? 8 weeks? 28 weeks? I still weigh it all out.

    And often I do think when the mother’s life is not at stake it should be illegal. And again it goes back to my thinking that the fetus should have some rights just as the mother does. It sounds cruel to force the mother to endure 9 months of an unwanted pregnancy, but after that 9 months it’s all over. But for the fetus, it’s not temporary, it’s permanent. After 9 months, it’s still dead.

    I find it odd that in America, if a woman chooses to abort her baby, even though the father wants that baby to live, it’s perfectly fine. But if the mother wants the baby to live, and father does not and he sneaks a drug into the mother’s drink that kills the baby, the father has committed murder. The end result is a dead fetus, either way. The only difference is which parent actually killed it.

    As for my statements on capital punishment…you said

    …an anti-choicer who believes that abortion is always murder and that a fetus is equivalent to a born person cannot logically endorse capital punishment, since by that logic an execution is an abortion…

    No, they’re not equivalent. An execution is punishment for a crime. What crime did the fetus commit?

    And, yes, I should have clarified that my conditions on executing those who

    have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they are an irreparable threat to the lives of others

    are the conditions I feel should apply to capital punishment, as opposed to the system currently in place.

    I guess my point in all this is my views are not based in dogma handed down to me from some group that does not allow me to question. These are thoughts I have drawn based on my own knowledge and thoughts and evidence and feelings. And as such, I am open to other views and thoughts, and will allow myself to let a well seasoned argument persuade me to change my mind.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Another abortion thread. Oh dear.

    I find it odd that in America, if a woman chooses to abort her baby, even though the father wants that baby to live, it’s perfectly fine. But if the mother wants the baby to live, and father does not and he sneaks a drug into the mother’s drink that kills the baby, the father has committed murder.

    I don’t think that act is or should be termed “murder”, but other than that fact, that scenario is perfectly consistent. The issue is one of bodily autonomy: does a woman have the right to control what happens inside her own body? If a woman is prevented from getting an abortion under all circumstances, then her right to bodily autonomy has been violated. If she’s forced to have an abortion against her will, then her right to bodily autonomy has also been violated.

    Granted, it would be absurd to value this right so absolutely that we permit a woman to abort an unborn child just moments before birth, even though killing that child after it’s born would be a criminal act. (I take pains to point out that this scenario is a thought experiment only; anti-choicers often speak of such things as if they were common, but I seriously doubt it’s ever happened in real life.) There must be some point at which the developing fetus becomes a child worthy of legal protection. As Alex and others have pointed out, and as I agree, that moment should be the one when characteristically human brainwaves appear for the first time in utero. That occurs around the beginning of the third trimester, and can be empirically detected using an EEG.

    The possession of a functioning brain is what most clearly marks the transition to personhood. When the brain no longer functions, I think we can agree, the person no longer exists. By the same argument, until that state first arises, no person exists. Until then, a fetus is, at best, a potential person, and whatever rights it has cannot supersede the wishes of the existent and actual person within whose body it resides.

  • Alex Weaver

    The possession of a functioning brain

    Since it’s apparently necessary to make this explicit, you should probably rephrase this as “The possession of a functionally human brain”

  • http://elliptica.blogspot.com Lynet

    Another abortion thread. Oh dear.

    My thoughts exactly. Somewhere on the blogosphere there needs to be the abortion thread, to which derailments into an abortion debate on sites all over the internet are immediately transported. Preferably it would have tick boxes in each post to denote the standard arguments.

    But hey, did we need this thread for anything else?

  • Alex Weaver

    Another abortion thread. Oh dear.

    Hey, you took the bait to start with… ;/

  • Ingersoll’s Revenge

    All this abortion debate is an ugly epitaph for Ebon’s fine post on the Catholic Church.

    Don’t you just LOOOVE the Internet?!

  • Alex Weaver

    I don’t know; Adam’s antics make for a pretty relevant underline…

  • Mrnaglfar

    Adam,

    How many couples are waiting?

    There are about two million couples waiting. Furthermore, each of these couples would want two or three, if available. Many will take hard-to-place children with special needs. Bachrach et al., “On the Path to Adoption”

    Nevermind the fact the website you gave us a link to says that, and I quote, “Few in the general public realize it but Planned Parenthood “counselors” and the rest of the pro-abortion, anti-child activists have for 3 decades been waging a quiet but successful war against adoption. This is evident in the pregnant girl who would rather have her baby killed than the alternative of “a fate worse than death” (adoption).

    and

    “When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God — and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there’ll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world — and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, ‘Spare him, because he loved us,’ — and God will look at you and say not, ‘Did you succeed?’ but ‘Did you try?’”

    That all sounds to me like total propaganda (extremely biased at the very least), but nevermind that part. Nevermind even that, if true, it’s a good thing in my mind there aren’t lots of children put up for adoption, which would mean hopefully there aren’t many unwanted children born in the first place, and lots of concerned people that want to look out for the welfare of living ones (which they could still get involved, many ways, without adopting them, no?). They’re still overlooking a giant gap in their numbers, which is one I mentioned before; there are plenty of children from other countries that need adoption to. The website doesn’t seem to mention those ones.

    Either way, you are right, there are children in foster care, maybe you should consider adopting if you already haven’t

    I guess that “war on adoption” isn’t going well if there are still kids waiting to be adopted that agencies just can’t seem to place with any of the 2,000,000 waiting families that want more than just one. How on earth can you not see a contradiction there? If two million are already waiting, why would you advocate that alex adopt a child; wouldn’t he just get put on the end of the list?

    Here’s another big question: How about homosexual couples adopting a child. I’d like to hear you views on that.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    (In other words, you implicitly draw the line at the actual conception, but based on your reasoning I can’t see a non-arbitrary reason for doing that).

    Since when is conception arbitrary? It’s a very significant point in the life of an organism – it’s when the new organism comes into existence. For each of us, it’s the starting point of our unique human development. To try and equate the potential of random sperm and eggs with the actuality of conception is simply disingenuous.

    “Pro-life” as commonly used is an Orwellian label for those arguing that abortion should be outlawed (the most accurate way to render this position is “anti-choice”).

    Considering you are the one attempting to influence through name change, it’s ironic that you bring up Orwell. The reasonable person understands that both the pro-life and pro-choice naming conventions have good and bad aspects when it comes to describing the positions. Obviously the pro-choice naming convention is inadequate, given that most here who consider themselves pro-choice, would at some point during pregnancy not support a woman’s reproductive choice. But I’m not interested in trying to change the name. And I don’t think it does your position credit having to resort to this renaming silliness.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    Another abortion thread. Oh dear.

    Just don’t bring up libertarianism or we are doomed:)

  • Alex Weaver

    Either way, you are right, there are children in foster care, maybe you should consider adopting if you already haven’t

    To add to what Mrnaglfar was saying, the reason I haven’t adopted a child is that my wife and I have our hands full caring for the one we already have and because I, personally, have severe doubts about my ability to be a good parent to a large number of children. Quality of life matters.

    To try and equate the potential of random sperm and eggs with the actuality of conception is simply disingenuous.

    …are you claiming it’s less disingenuous than conflating a blastula or embryo with a born person?

    The reasonable person understands that both the pro-life and pro-choice naming conventions have good and bad aspects when it comes to describing the positions.

    The focus of the debate is not whether abortion is good or bad (despite the obfuscation of some and confusion of others), but whether the option of abortion should be legally available – whether women should legally have that choice. The defining element of the group that calls themselves “pro-life” – the viewpoint they actually all have in common – is not a general respect for human life in all its forms (as evidenced by the fact that most of them are rabidly opposed to social welfare programs, many of them support wars of aggression such as the one now being waged in Iraq, many support capital punishment, etc.) but rather a desire to legally prevent women from choosing to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Some may genuinely be motivated by a respect for life and repudiate the taking of human life in all its forms, but they are a minority clearly outnumbered and outgunned by the contingent whose primary goal is to punish sinful women for having sex, and the actions and voting habits of many say, much louder than words, that they do NOT, in general, respect or value human life. Using “pro-life” for this group would be a misnomer; “anti-choice” is an accurate description of their views.

    Meanwhile, the factor that unites the “pro-choice” group – the thing they have in common – is that a woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy should, as a general rule, be legally able to choose to terminate it, and complaining that “pro-choice” is a misnomer because those involve believe that in certain limited and well-defined circumstances other factors may override the general right to choose (such as Ebon’s example of a fetus minutes before delivery) is literalistic nonsense as egregious as charging that a person who doesn’t believe that everyone should be altered by plastic surgery to have the exact same height, weight, muscular profile, etc. doesn’t really support “equality.”

    And I say it’s “Orwellian” because it’s a cynical attempt to hijack the emotional connotations of a term in order to inspire a more positive emotional response to their position, whether the term is an accurate description or not. It’s only slightly less blatant than labeling their side “The Good Guys” (I’m almost inclined to wonder if you’d defend that labeling decision, too).

  • spaceman spif

    Ebonmuse noted

    I don’t think that act is or should be termed “murder”, but other than that fact, that scenario is perfectly consistent. The issue is one of bodily autonomy: does a woman have the right to control what happens inside her own body? If a woman is prevented from getting an abortion under all circumstances, then her right to bodily autonomy has been violated. If she’s forced to have an abortion against her will, then her right to bodily autonomy has also been violated.

    If anyone other than the mother kills the unborn child, that person is guilty of murder. ( http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/fethom.htm ) You can see from my link that many states consider a fetus at any stage of development a “person”, so that if you accidentally hit the car driven by the mother, and the unborn child dies as a result, you are guilty of “murder”. Yet that same mother can abuse drugs to the point that her fetus dies, and that is not considreed “murder”.

    And that goes back to my point of asking, at what point, if ever, does the unborn child deserve autonomous rights of their own? How do you weigh the rights of that unborn child verses the rights of the pregnant mother?

    But my bigger point is that this is proof that non-believers can hold differing POV on issues such as abortion. And we can present our arguments in an open and free discussion that is not hindered by dogma that is deemed unquestionable.

  • Adam

    SS,

    And that goes back to my point of asking, at what point, if ever, does the unborn child deserve autonomous rights of their own? How do you weigh the rights of that unborn child verses the rights of the pregnant mother?

    But my bigger point is that this is proof that non-believers can hold differing POV on issues such as abortion. And we can present our arguments in an open and free discussion that is not hindered by dogma that is deemed unquestionable.

    Absolutely. I am on the same page with you on abortion. We should be able to discuss this reasonably.

  • spaceman spif

    So Adam let me ask you this – what do you do when the Catholic Church takes a stance on a moral issue when you actually have the opposite view? Do you assume the Church is never wrong and accept their teachings without question? Or do you talk to the priests to argue your view?

  • OMGF

    Adam,
    I find your use of citations to be highly dubious and dishonest. You’ve never read those papers that you are citing, but in many cases your don’t reference the web location that those papers actually came from (and truth be told, they’ve never read them either). This is very dishonest, because it creates the illusion that you are well versed in the scientific literature and are speaking from having read the appropriate source material when you have not. Shame on you for that. Ebon seems to have let it slide, but someone should have said it. It was probably an honest mistake, so I too will let is slide, but I thought it should be brought to your attention.

    Also, your argument seems to be like this: The timeline for development is such and such, therefore human life begins at conception. This is a non sequitor. Ebon is right that human cognitive thought doesn’t occur until around the beginning of the third trimester. This is about the time that pain can be felt as well. This seems a good time for one to denote that the fetus is indeed a “person” and can be treated as such.

  • OMGF

    BTW Adam,
    What in the world is “chastity education” and how does it differ substantively from abstinence only education?

  • Alex Weaver

    You can see from my link that many states consider a fetus at any stage of development a “person”, so that if you accidentally hit the car driven by the mother, and the unborn child dies as a result, you are guilty of “murder”.

    As I understand it, the purpose of these laws is to create a “back door” for future restriction of abortion, not to reflect any reasonable consideration about the moral status of a fetus (injuring a fetus or causing a miscarriage should be considered an “aggravating factor” in sentencing various acts of violence, not a separate crime in itself).

  • Adam

    SS,

    So Adam let me ask you this – what do you do when the Catholic Church takes a stance on a moral issue when you actually have the opposite view? Do you assume the Church is never wrong and accept their teachings without question? Or do you talk to the priests to argue your view?

    Well when I was getting married I had marriage prep with our priest at home. He asked me if I had any moral objections with anything the Catholic Church taught, I said absolutely. I love the Church and agree with almost everything it teaches except contraception. My wife and I can not afford to have a Child, we’re too young, we are going to use it, sorry Father. At this point Father told me he understood my point of view, but also said that there have been other couples worse off then us to get married and have a kid right away, and they’re doing fine. I said that is great, but we’re still doing it. He said just look into it some more, look into what contraception is and what is does, and look into the Catholic teaching again and the next time we meet lets talk about it further.

    My wife and I looked into it again and realized we were wrong. here is one link
    among many I could give you regarding contraception

    At this point in my life I have no other moral qualms with the Church. They are sound in every moral teaching.

  • Adam

    Ebon & OMGF,

    Ebon is right that human cognitive thought doesn’t occur until around the beginning of the third trimester. This is about the time that pain can be felt as well. This seems a good time for one to denote that the fetus is indeed a “person” and can be treated as such.

    First of all there are EEG’s that have it at 44 days.

    Day 44:Buds of milk teeth appear. Facial muscles develop.20 Eyelids begin to form, protecting the developing eyes.21 Elbows take shape. Internal organs are present, but immature. 99% of muscles are present; each with its own nerve supply.22 Electrical activity is detectable in brain.23

    23. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 428. citing Barkowski and Bernstine, 1955.

    But you’re right I am not well versed, my friends are. Does not mean it is not true.

    Secondly, even if the brain does start to function in the 3rd trimester, then by yours and Ebons definition they are “people” and any surgical abortion performed would be murder.

    There are about 1,300,000 abortions a year according to the CDC, in 1993 link

    In 1994 the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reported that in 1993, 1.3% were done after 22 weeks or about 20,000.

    Does it have to be a higher number of deaths for it to matter?

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    “Electrical activity” is not the same as coherent brainwaves, which I mentioned in my previous comment. As Carl Sagan wrote:

    Different kinds of mental activity show different kinds of brain waves. But brain waves with regular patterns typical of adult human brains do not appear in the fetus until about the 30th week of pregnancy—near the beginning of the third trimester. Fetuses younger than this—however alive and active they may be—lack the necessary brain architecture. They cannot yet think.

    This is actually a conservative definition, since many fetuses don’t show regular brainwaves until even later.

    Secondly, even if the brain does start to function in the 3rd trimester, then by yours and Ebons definition they are “people” and any surgical abortion performed would be murder.

    Yes, starting at around the third trimester, but not before that. That’s what’s currently legal in America and that is also my position.

    Interestingly, abortion did not become automatic grounds for excommunication in the Catholic church until 1869. It’s also worthy of note that the Bible says absolutely nothing about it.

  • OMGF

    Adam,
    You have a problem with contraception too? What moral qualms could you have about that?

    First of all there are EEG’s that have it at 44 days.

    There are distinct differences between having a brain that is simply plugging away with signals (the neurons are firing, nothing more) and actual cognitive thought.

    23. O’Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., p. 428. citing Barkowski and Bernstine, 1955.

    But you’re right I am not well versed, my friends are. Does not mean it is not true.

    I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is that it is deceptive for you to not cite your friends and instead cite papers as if you have read them. Here is a case in point. My patience for this dishonest tactic (since you’ve used it again after I mentioned it to you) has grown thin. You have never read O’Rahilly, et. al. or Barkowski, et. al., have you? How do you know that it supports your position? You don’t, especially since your position is inane and ridiculous. But you post it as if people will think that you read those papers and think your position is stronger. Shame on you. Is this considered immoral in your church, or is it all right to lie for Jesus?

    Secondly, even if the brain does start to function in the 3rd trimester, then by yours and Ebons definition they are “people” and any surgical abortion performed would be murder.

    Again, we see your wonderful logic at work. Personhood starts at the third trimester, so any abortion, even before then, is murder. Are you really unable to understand the concept of time? That abortions before the third trimester would not be killing a “person”? That even if I agree with you that third trimester abortions are generally wrong (except in rare cases) that it doesn’t mean I find all abortions to be wrong? You are either incredibly blind or using cheap rhetoric that any grade schooler could see through.

    In 1994 the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reported that in 1993, 1.3% were done after 22 weeks or about 20,000.

    Do you even know how long a trimester is? Didn’t you just have a baby? Shouldn’t you know this information? If 98.7% of abortions are done before the fetus can feel pain or experiences human brain activity, then good for us. Those other 1.3% might still be done before the fetus can feel pain or have human brain activity anyway (yes, I can do math, can you?) Do you even know the reason for the vast majority of later abortions? They are generally done because the health of the woman is at stake or for some other dire reason.

  • heliobates

    First of all there are EEG’s that have it at 44 days.

    What is “it”? Brain activity, or”cognitive thought”?

    It’s disingenuous to conflate the two, but you continue to do it. OMFG, Ebon and Alex are trying to pin you down by defining a starting point for “cognitive thought” which is different than bioelectrical nerve activity. As has been pointed out to you, if the basis for personhood is electrical activity, then you need to extend personhood to every single organism that demonstrates detectable electrical brain activity. Or give up this dishonest line of rhetoric.

    But you’re right I am not well versed, my friends are. Does not mean it is not true.

    If you’re not well-versed, then you’re incapable of determining whether or not your friends really are. What your friends are doing is the equivalent of lying with statistics.

    Not going to fly.

    At this point in my life I have no other moral qualms with the Church. They are sound in every moral teaching.

    Based on your comments here, that’s hardly a ringing endorsement.

  • Alex Weaver

    My wife and I looked into it again and realized we were wrong. here is one link
    among many I could give you regarding contraception

    Which doesn’t work.

    Why don’t you just explain in your own words what you think a reasonable objection to contraception is?

  • Alex Weaver

    Oh, here’s a good metaphor for you: saying that “detectable electrical activity in the brain” is equivalent to “conscious thinking person” is like insisting that your electric space heater is a computer.

  • Adam

    Ebon,

    Secondly, even if the brain does start to function in the 3rd trimester, then by yours and Ebons definition they are “people” and any surgical abortion performed would be murder.

    Yes, starting at around the third trimester, but not before that. That’s what’s currently legal in America and that is also my position.

    You say yes, but I am confused. Is it yes that the child is a person at that time, or yes that if you had an abortion at that time it would be murder, or both, or neither? sorry please clarify

  • Adam

    Alex,

    Here is the link again on contraceptives if you are interested, sorry it did not work the first time

    http://www.abortionfacts.com/contraceptives/contraceptives.asp

  • Adam

    OMGF,

    Here is the link where I get my information: http://www.abortionfacts.com and http://www.prolifewisconsin.com

    I am not trying to hide anything, there is nothing to hide. I already gave the sight info to Lynet February 18, 2008, 11:27 am

  • Alex Weaver

    Here is the link again on contraceptives if you are interested, sorry it did not work the first time

    Again, what about it is it that you personally find compelling? I’m already quite familiar with contraceptives from the reality-based perspective.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Adam,

    I’m with alex on this one. On what grounds do you oppose contraception, especially if you admitted that abstinence only education doesn’t work?

    Well when I was getting married I had marriage prep with our priest at home. He asked me if I had any moral objections with anything the Catholic Church taught, I said absolutely. I love the Church and agree with almost everything it teaches except contraception. My wife and I can not afford to have a Child, we’re too young, we are going to use it, sorry Father. At this point Father told me he understood my point of view, but also said that there have been other couples worse off then us to get married and have a kid right away, and they’re doing fine. I said that is great, but we’re still doing it. He said just look into it some more, look into what contraception is and what is does, and look into the Catholic teaching again and the next time we meet lets talk about it further.

    So you said:
    We’re too young to have a child right now; we want to do the responsible thing and wait until we’re prepared to have one. However, we still want to have sex.
    The response was:
    People younger and less mature than you have children, and it can turn out fine (he forgets that part where it doesn’t always turn out fine), so don’t use birth control and have kids you don’t feel you’re prepared for, the way the bible says you should.

    And the lesson you take out of that was birth control is bad, and the church is now right about everything?

    That is remarkable. I want to hear these objections you have to it as well.

  • OMGF

    Adam,

    Here is the link where I get my information: http://www.abortionfacts.com and http://www.prolifewisconsin.com

    I am not trying to hide anything, there is nothing to hide. I already gave the sight info to Lynet February 18, 2008, 11:27 am

    Are you really this clueless? Every time you use someone else’s fact, you should attribute and cite that person. You can’t just make a blanket cite at the beginning and expect that I will know that all future cites come from that cite. Further, the way you do it makes it look like the information comes directly from the scientific source. Do you really not see how dishonest that is?

    Finally, care to answer the fact that your argument seems to consist of you claiming that the child gains human thought around the third trimester, therefore all abortions (even those performed before this) are murder? Have you not even figured out why this is faulty logic, or do you not even care? You seem to be more interested in proclaiming than actually discussing.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    …are you claiming it’s less disingenuous than conflating a blastula or embryo with a born person?

    I don’t know what you mean. I wrote nothing about blastulas etc.

    The defining element of the group that calls themselves “pro-life” – the viewpoint they actually all have in common – is not a general respect for human life in all its forms (as evidenced by the fact that most of them are rabidly opposed to social welfare programs, many of them support wars of aggression such as the one now being waged in Iraq, many support capital punishment, etc.) but rather a desire to legally prevent women from choosing to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

    Iraq war? I thought we were talking about the abortion issue!? You throw out loaded generalizations about wars of aggression, social programs and capital punishment as the rationale behind your attempt to influence through name change. Ridiculous.

    As I pointed out, the reasonable person understands that the pro-choice and pro-life names were selected partly for descriptive value related to the issue (hint – not the Iraq war), and partly to influence through word association. Attempting to change only one name while ignoring the other shows a lack of objectivity. Why not just argue on the merits and forget about this name change silliness.

  • Alex Weaver

    Iraq war? I thought we were talking about the abortion issue!? You throw out loaded generalizations about wars of aggression,

    Is support for wars of aggression (and other policies that result in large numbers of avoidable deaths) inconsistent with a claim to hold the value of human life supreme, or isn’t it?

  • spaceman spif

    saying that “detectable electrical activity in the brain” is equivalent to “conscious thinking person” is like insisting that your electric space heater is a computer

    Y’know, if you install Windows Vista on your computer, than you really have reduced it to little more than an electric space heater…so you may wanna rework your comparison.

    I’m just sayin! ;)

  • OMGF

    ROS

    I don’t know what you mean. I wrote nothing about blastulas etc.

    Alex was pointing out that saying the human life begins at conception is the same as saying blastulas, embryos, and born children are all the same in a sense. HTH.

  • Alex Weaver

    Y’know, if you install Windows Vista on your computer, than you really have reduced it to little more than an electric space heater…so you may wanna rework your comparison.

    Mea culpa.

    A lightswitch, then. :)

  • lpetrich

    Some opponents of abortion do try to have consistent views: the “Seamless Garment” people.

    But all too many others seem to think that it is a matter of the command of the authorities, whether their god or their favorite human authorities. And to them, abortion is illegitimate because it is uncommanded; I think that they would make an exception for abortions commanded by their favorite authorities.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    Is support for wars of aggression (and other policies that result in large numbers of avoidable deaths) inconsistent with a claim to hold the value of human life supreme, or isn’t it?

    What does a war of aggression have to do with a term that is intended to describe a position regarding the issue of abortion? It’s obvious you can’t provide enough rationale for why the term “pro-life” should not be used as it pertains to the issue at hand, and so you instead attempt to drag in other issues. And while doing so, you make unsubstantiated generalizations about how groups of people stand on these other issues. You haven’t shown that people who are pro-life regarding the abortion issue are going out in mass to support wars of aggression. Even for the religious who take a pro-life position you haven’t made that case, considering the Catholic Church is hardly a supporter of the Iraq war. So that’s the idea – make unsubstantiated claims that people are running around supporting wars of aggression, and then claim that a term meant to apply to the abortion issue should be changed to one that conveniently makes the pro-choice side look better. Not much of a case for changing the name.

  • OMGF

    ROS,

    What does a war of aggression have to do with a term that is intended to describe a position regarding the issue of abortion?

    Easy, it shows that the person really isn’t “pro-life” because the person is showing that they don’t really value life. What they are is “pro-unborn-life” or “anti-choice.” It most certainly is a misnomer to call them “pro-life” and it most certainly was chosen because the alternative would be thought of as “pro-death” or “anti-life” which is pr at it’s best, but ultimately not correctly descriptive, in either sense. Being “pro-choice,” however, is rather descriptive, because it describes what the person stands for.

    It’s obvious you can’t provide enough rationale for why the term “pro-life” should not be used as it pertains to the issue at hand, and so you instead attempt to drag in other issues.

    Another problem is that pro-choicers are pretty much all pro-life as well, so that’s a misnomer as well. Using the term, “pro-life” is a misnomer because it fits people on the other side equally well.

    And while doing so, you make unsubstantiated generalizations about how groups of people stand on these other issues. You haven’t shown that people who are pro-life regarding the abortion issue are going out in mass to support wars of aggression.

    The political right in this country usually aligns more closely with the anti-choice position and also aligned more closely with going to war in Iraq. Do you deny this?

    Further, it’s well known that certain groups of anti-choicers in the religious right are pining for the end days and see these wars of aggression as a stepping stone to the return of Jesus, which they want to happen.

    Even for the religious who take a pro-life position you haven’t made that case, considering the Catholic Church is hardly a supporter of the Iraq war.

    Yet they continually support the politicians that support the war.

  • Alex Weaver

    Is support for wars of aggression (and other policies that result in large numbers of avoidable deaths) inconsistent with a claim to hold the value of human life supreme, or isn’t it?

  • Mary Uhlman

    Immoral by what authority? Atheism is now dictating the standards for Morality and/or Moral Law? Without “God” the word “Moral” is devoid of meaning.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Hi Mary,

    Without “God” the word “Moral” is devoid of meaning.

    That’s just not correct. We need no belief in God to use our own minds to figure out for ourselves what is moral, employing the tool of reason alloyed with conscience. On the other hand, even if God did exist, he could not by fiat change what it means to be moral; at best, he could communicate that information to us.

    I’ve written extensively on this topic, so I recommend checking out:

    The Ineffable Carrot and the Infinite Stick
    The Roots of Morality
    The Virtues
    On the Morality Of…

  • Alex Weaver

    Immoral by what authority?

    Your problem is the implicit assumption buried in this question, namely that morality is dependent on the pronouncements of an authority.

    I would contend that “morality” is a quality of the universe dependent on the properties of interacting entities, much like the laws of physics (although it is admittedly less precise): there are certain ways for sentient beings with a psychological makeup like that of humans to treat each other that reliably produce greater happiness and reduce suffering, just as there are certain shapes that reliably move through water more efficiently. (A law, in this case, means something like “a pattern that always holds true in a given situation,” not “something imposed by external intent.”

    Additionally, are you actually inclined to dispute the immorality of any of the behaviors Ebon cited?

  • Eric

    Mary,

    To say that without “god” morality has no meaning is just plain false. If you could though, so I can make a more intelligent argument, would you explain why we could not have defined morality without “god”?

    Thanks Mary.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    Easy, it shows that the person really isn’t “pro-life” because the person is showing that they don’t really value life. What they are is “pro-unborn-life” or “anti-choice.” It most certainly is a misnomer to call them “pro-life” and it most certainly was chosen because the alternative would be thought of as “pro-death” or “anti-life” which is pr at it’s best, but ultimately not correctly descriptive, in either sense. Being “pro-choice,” however, is rather descriptive, because it describes what the person stands for.

    Pro-life is a term to describe a position regarding the issue of abortion – valuing the life of the unborn. You haven’t shown that the pro-life position is not indeed pro-life in this regard. So contrary to the claim, it is not a “misnomer” to use the term pro-life.

    In addition, leveling a charge that pro-life was arrived at for PR value without also acknowledging that pro-choice was arrived at for PR value is selective reasoning. (Note: I have already acknowledged that both names were partly chosen and continue to be used for PR value – anyone looking at this name issue objectively understands this.)

    Another problem is that pro-choicers are pretty much all pro-life as well, so that’s a misnomer as well. Using the term, “pro-life” is a misnomer because it fits people on the other side equally well.

    No, it doesn’t fit both sides equally well. One side places a particular value on the life of the unborn which they want to protect from destruction, the other side does not. If both sides felt the same regarding this life, then there wouldn’t be these different sides on the abortion issue.

    The political right in this country usually aligns more closely with the anti-choice position and also aligned more closely with going to war in Iraq. Do you deny this?

    Further, it’s well known that certain groups of anti-choicers in the religious right are pining for the end days and see these wars of aggression as a stepping stone to the return of Jesus, which they want to happen.

    People have positions on all kinds of issues. I wouldn’t mind someday having a discussion on wars of aggression, what defines a war of aggression, what war may or may not fit the definition, and who may or may not be supporting a war of aggression. But the issue at hand is whether or not the term pro-life is a reasonable description of a position on the abortion issue. You have yet to show that it is not.

    Yet they continually support the politicians that support the war.

    So now it’s not that pro-life doesn’t describe a position regarding the issue of abortion, and it’s no longer even that people who have this position on abortion are necessarily running around supporting wars of aggression, but that “they” are “continually” supporting politicians who may be supporting a supposed war of aggression. Can this get any further afield? This is the rationale for the ill conceived attempt at name change? Interestingly, I’ve heard that a lot of those pro-life folks drive big bad SUVs, that are killing people due to the added smog production. Actually, I don’t know if this is true, but I’ll just make the general unsubstantiated claim. So because SUVs are anti-life and are “continually” driven by pro-life folks, it’s critical that we change the name of pro-life as it applies to the abortion issue;)

    In summary, one thing some pro-choice and pro-life supporters have in common, is this influence through name change monkey business. My position is that this temptation should be resisted and called out as the silliness that it is, and instead the abortion issue should be debated on the merits of the positions.

  • RiddleOfSteel

    Is support for wars of aggression (and other policies that result in large numbers of avoidable deaths) inconsistent with a claim to hold the value of human life supreme, or isn’t it?

    It’s obvious you can’t provide enough rationale for why the term “pro-life” should not be used as it pertains to the issue at hand, and so you instead attempt to drag in other issues. Perhaps Ebonmuse has a war of aggression thread that would accommodate.

  • Alex Weaver

    ROS:

    I have already made it perfectly clear why I think it is not a label that should be used as it pertains to the group to which it is claimed to apply, your arbitrary attempt to define my reasons out of relevance notwithstanding. My recollection is that we have had this conversation before, on at least one or two other threads, and that you have behaved similarly on those previous occasions, sidetracking the discussion and glossing over the arguments I advanced on those occasions as you’re attempting to do here (I don’t specifically recall if attempting to Gerrymander what is and is not “the issue at hand” was a core part of your strategy then, as it seems to be now, though I wouldn’t be surprised). I have no intention of taking your bait until you provide a substantive answer to the simple question I have asked rather than the non-response of demanding a reason to answer it, and I am prepared to wait for my answer until the conceptual void where hell is said to be freezes over.

    So,

    Is support for wars of aggression (and other policies that result in large numbers of avoidable deaths) inconsistent with a claim to hold the value of human life supreme, or isn’t it?

  • OMGF

    ROS,
    If you don’t think any of those reasons are compelling, then I don’t know what else to say. The “pro-life” people have shown that they are not pro-life in most instance, and the pro-choice people are pro-life in many ways. Using the moniker, “pro-life” is nothing more than an attempt at labeling the pro-choice group as anti-life or pro-death, which simply isn’t true. If that isn’t a good enough reason for you, then you can continue to keep your head in the sand on this issue and continue to think that “pro-life” is a narrowly defined word only meant for the abortion issue and pefectly describes the people that don’t care about life after it is born. This, however, is an injustice.

    And, you can similarly claim that pro-choice is some pr stunt, but the fact remains that it describes the position of that faction very well. Many pro-choice people are pro-life, anti-abortion, etc. but they feel that they don’t have the right to tell other people what they can and can’t do with their bodies, so they support the choice for women to have autonomy over their bodies. That you think there is some underlying nefariousness to the choice of wording for something so straight-forward really only leads me to believe that you will accept nothing of what I say, no matter what arguments I use.

  • Adam

    Alex,

    Here is what I found compelling about contraceptives, and why my wife and I do natural family planning :NFP

    info found at: http://www.abortionfacts.com/online_books/love_them_both/why_cant_we_love_them_both_35.asp

    How does “the pill” work?

    The combination pill has three functions. One is to thicken the mucus plug at the opening of the cervix. This can act as a barrier mechanism to prevent sperm entrance. The main function of the pill is to prevent ovulation.

    If there is no egg, there can be no fertilization. A third function is to harden the lining of the womb. If fertilization does occur, this can and, at times, does prevent implantation at one week of life resulting in a micro-abortion at that time.

    There are over 30 “contraceptive” pills on the market, each differing a little from the others. They “prevent” pregnancy through three separate functions.

    1. They thicken the mucous plug at the cervix. If this is the primary effect, then it truly is contraceptive because it prevents sperm from entering.

    2. They prevent release of the ovum. If this is the primary effect, then the function is “temporary” sterilization.

    3. They render the lining of the womb hostile to the implantation of the tiny new human at one week of life. This effect is abortifacient.

    The earlier high-estrogen pills largely prevented ovulation. The newer low-estrogen pills allow “break-through” ovulation in up to 20% or more of the months used. Such a released ovum is fertilized 10% or more of the time. Most of these tiny new lives which result, do not survive. The reason is that at one week of life this tiny new boy or girl cannot implant in the womb lining (see number 3 above) and dies. These are micro-abortions.

    The pill, then, can have a contraceptive or temporary sterilization effect (by far the most common), or it can be an abortifacient. illke, “The Physiologic Function of Certain Birth Control Measures,” National RTL News, Mar. 9, 1981

    You mean the effect is to abort?

    Yes! “The morphological changes observed in the endometrium of oral contraceptive users have functional significance and provide evidence that reduced endometrial receptivity does indeed contribute to the contraceptive efficacy of OCs.” In other words, because the endometrial lining is not receptive to the human being, who must implant in order to continue living, the human being will die. Somkuti, et al., “The Effect of Oral Contraceptive Pills on Markers of Endometrial Receptivity,” Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 65, #3, 3/96, p. 488

    How about Norplant?

    This is an implant under the skin of her forearm that lasts five years. In the first half of that time it’s effect is to almost always suppress ovulation. In the last half of that time, break-through ovulation is the rule. However, very few pregnancies survive. Clearly, this second half is commonly effective through micro-abortions and prevention of implantation.

    What about Depo Provera?

    As with Norplant, there is some variance from woman to woman, but in a far higher percent of cases Depo Provera suppresses ovulation. Break-through ovulation, however, does occur as attested to by full-term pregnancies recorded with women who were receiving this shot every three months.

    What of Progesterone-Only pills?

    These fall into the same category as the Progesterone- Only implant, Norplant, and the Progesterone-Only injection, Depo Provera.

    When I learned about all of this crap that was going to go into my wifes body I was like NO way!!! Not my Wife!!

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Adam, I don’t understand your objection. Are you scared of contraception because the description of how it works has big words? Because you think all of that sciencey talk sounds icky? Help me out here. Do you not realize that hormonal contraception is just a higher dose of the same hormones that a woman’s body produces naturally anyway?

  • Adam

    Ebon,

    Here is my objection:

    The pill, then, can have a contraceptive or temporary sterilization effect (by far the most common), or it can be an abortifacient.

    “The Physiologic Function of Certain Birth Control Measures,” National RTL News, Mar. 9, 1981

    You mean the effect is to abort?

    Yes! “The morphological changes observed in the endometrium of oral contraceptive users have functional significance and provide evidence that reduced endometrial receptivity does indeed contribute to the contraceptive efficacy of OCs.” In other words, because the endometrial lining is not receptive to the human being, who must implant in order to continue living, the human being will die. Somkuti, et al.,

    “The Effect of Oral Contraceptive Pills on Markers of Endometrial Receptivity,” Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 65, #3, 3/96, p. 488

    I do not want more hormones, injected or in pill form, put into my wife’s body. Especially when the drug hardens the lining in the womb so that a Zygote can not implant.

  • lpetrich

    So what? Does a teeny tiny embryo qualify as a human being? At the time of implantation, the fertilized egg cell has divided and turned into a hollow ball called a blastocyst. Also at that time, the embryo proper is a bump on the inside of the blastocyst wall; all the rest of the blastocyst becomes extraembryonic membranes that are later discarded. And this bump has started to produce the three embryonic cell layers: ectoderm (skin, nervous system, etc.), mesoderm (muscles, bones, heart, kidneys, gonads, etc.), and endoderm (digestive system except for its ends, lung lining, etc.). A good guide: The Visible Embryo.

  • Adam

    lpetrich,

    My point is I am against contraception.

    I’ll give two reasons:
    1. it is an abortifacient (see above coments and link)
    2. the bible clearly speaks out against contraception, and so does the Church:

    Gn 1:27-28 Bear fruit and multiply
    Ps 127:3-5 Children are a blessing
    1 Chr 25:5 God gives 14 children as a sign of exulation
    Hos 9:10-17 Israel is punished with childlessness
    Lv 20:13 if a man has sex with another man, it is wasted seed
    Lv 20:15 put to death if man has sex with an animal
    Rom 1:25-27 natural function of woman is to have children
    Mt 21:19 Jesus curses fruitless fit tree
    Gal 5:20 & Rev 9:21, 21:8 specifically speak of abortifacients
    1 Cor 6:19-20 body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, glorify God in body

    Does a teeny tiny embryo qualify as a human being?

    The Church does not define when a recieves their soul, but we do know exactly when the human person starts to develope. (thank you for you link by the way: http://www.visembryo.com/baby/index.html)

    As shown in the link given enough time the zygote does not turn into an elephant or a monkey or a fish, but a person. So yes, I would consider the protection of the zygote very important.

  • Alex Weaver

    I do not want more hormones, injected or in pill form, put into my wife’s body. Especially when the drug hardens the lining in the womb so that a Zygote can not implant.

    If that’s your attitude, then isn’t it a bit inappropriate to refer to it as “her” body? That’s obviously not the way you think of it.

    Ps 127:3-5 Children are a blessing

    Anyone on earth who considers it a “blessing” to have to watch children one cannot support suffer and possibly die should be institutionalized. Giving birth to a child you cannot support is not a “blessing,” it is a cruel and selfish betrayal.

    Gal 5:20 & Rev 9:21, 21:8 specifically speak of abortifacients

    No they don’t.

    The Church does not define when a recieves their soul, but we do know exactly when the human person starts to develope. (thank you for you link by the way: http://www.visembryo.com/baby/index.html)

    As shown in the link given enough time the zygote does not turn into an elephant or a monkey or a fish, but a person. So yes, I would consider the protection of the zygote very important.

    …you still don’t understand that we don’t accept your implicit premise that everything sorta-human-shaped is a “person,” do you? (Any chance you’ll respond to my point about department store mannequins?)

  • Alex Weaver

    When I learned about all of this crap that was going to go into my wifes body I was like NO way!!! Not my Wife!!

    Just read up and saw this. I find it sickening that you feel entitled to control what your wife does with her body.

  • lpetrich

    Adam, none of what you quote is “Thou shat not use birth control” or “Thou shalt not get an abortion”.

    And one can easily find counterarguments in the Bible. In Luke 23:29, Jesus Christ seems to praise childless women. And in 1 Cor 7:7-9, Paul seems to think that it’s best to be single and celibate, and that if you can’t keep yourself from being that, you ought to marry.

    Also, the Catholic Church continues to maintain that celibacy is the most blessed state of all; the position that being married is equally blessed is officially a heresy, the heresy of Jovinian.

    Furthermore, in the Middle Ages, the Church made an ideal out of celibate marriage, which it called “Josephite marriage”, after the kind of marriage that Joseph and Mary had supposedly had. The Church maintains that Mary had been a virgin all her life, which means that Joseph had never had sex with her.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Nothing in the Bible indicates that an unborn fetus has the moral value of an adult human being, and in fact, there are multiple verses that suggest otherwise.

    For example, in Genesis 38:24, Judah orders the execution of his daughter-in-law, Tamar, for adultery. Tamar is pregnant at the time. This does not seem to concern him.

    The famous Exodus 21:22 says that injuring a pregnant woman and causing her to miscarry is only punishable by a fine. If the woman dies, however, the man who harmed her is to be put to death.

    Numbers 27 discusses a census in Israel ordered by God. Infants are counted; pregnant women’s fetuses are not.

    In Hosea 13:16, God commands that the pregnant women of Samaria shall be “ripped up” for that city’s sins. The lives of their fetuses do not seem to concern him.

    Also, the three verses which Adam says “specifically speak of abortifacients” (Galatians 5:20, Revelations 9:21, 21:8), in fact, all say absolutely nothing on that topic. Look them up for yourself if you don’t believe me. Clearly, Adam is just inventing scripture out of thin air at this point based on what he wishes the Bible’s authors had said, and hoping we won’t check.

  • Adam

    Also, the three verses which Adam says “specifically speak of abortifacients” (Galatians 5:20, Revelations 9:21, 21:8), in fact, all say absolutely nothing on that topic. Look them up for yourself if you don’t believe me. Clearly, Adam is just inventing scripture out of thin air at this point based on what he wishes the Bible’s authors had said, and hoping we won’t check.

    Why would I give bible verses, and hope you wouldn’t check. Some version talk about witch craft, others sorcery, the greek can be interpreted as “pharmakeia”=abortifacient potions (among other things).

    My point is not to convince you its in the bible. Scripture and Tradition is what passes on the Catholic Faith.

    My point is to show you why I do not use contraception: 1. Bible 2. Church

    If you do not think its in the bible, that is fine with me.

    Alex,

    I find it sickening that you feel entitled to control what your wife does with her body.

    My wife is on board 100%. In fact, she is the one that originally showed me the information.

    Anyone on earth who considers it a “blessing” to have to watch children one cannot support suffer and possibly die should be institutionalized. Giving birth to a child you cannot support is not a “blessing,” it is a cruel and selfish betrayal.

    Children are not a curse. “Saying there is too many children is like saying there are to many roses” Mother Teresa…I’m sure she has seen more suffering then anyone, yet she still thought of children as a bless. Children are not the problem.

    Also, the Catholic Church continues to maintain that celibacy is the most blessed state of all; the position that being married is equally blessed is officially a heresy, the heresy of Jovinian.

    You are misinformed. The Church loves married people, how else would they get more Catholics :) Marriage, like Religious life, is a vocation. Vocations come from God. Each one of us has a vocation. But you are right, priesthood is very blessed indeed. To lay ones life down for another is very special.

  • Mrnaglfar

    Adam,

    Some version talk about witch craft, others sorcery, the greek can be interpreted as “pharmakeia”=abortifacient potions (among other things).

    So when we put on our imagination helmets, then yes, I understand what you’re saying.

    Tell me, do you reject all mediciations and vaccinations then? After all, you can’t trust those scientist witches and their godless potions.

    Children are not a curse. “Saying there is too many children is like saying there are to many roses” Mother Teresa…I’m sure she has seen more suffering then anyone, yet she still thought of children as a bless. Children are not the problem.

    And indeed, if roses are overgrown they’ll form a prickly lawn that for all intents and purposes, is unusable. Imagine instead you have to live in the lawn, instead of just looking at it; then I feel there can be too many roses.
    It’s a cute saying, but I find nothing beautiful about starving children or over-population.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Some version talk about witch craft, others sorcery, the greek can be interpreted as “pharmakeia”=abortifacient potions (among other things).

    In the space of two comments, you went from the claim that these verses “specifically speak” of abortifacients to the claim that these verses “can be interpreted” that way. That is a dramatic concession in your position which you haven’t acknowledged. I note for completeness that your church’s own Bible translation, the RSV, translates this word as “sorcery” or some variant in all three verses, and says nothing about abortion.

    For further reference, here’s the Strong’s Concordance translation of “pharmakeia”. Again, Adam is simply taking the dogmas which the Catholic church has since come up with and projecting them back onto the Bible.

  • Alex Weaver

    My wife is on board 100%. In fact, she is the one that originally showed me the information.

    The fact that she is willing to submit to your delusions of ownership does not affect my evaluation.

    Children are not a curse. “Saying there is too many children is like saying there are to many roses” Mother Teresa…I’m sure she has seen more suffering then anyone, yet she still thought of children as a bless. Children are not the problem.

    Explain to me how having to spread a finite amount of resources among a greater number of dependents is not a problem, by providing evidence and coherent reasoning, not the secondhand platitudes of a sadist who thought that the suffering of the poor was a “blessing.”

  • Adam

    Because I want to focus on the “blessed legion thred” this is my last post for this thred, though I will read responses if anyone wants to respond.

    I will try to make this as clear as possible: I am not trying to convince anyone to stop using contraception. We all have the right to put any drugs we want into our wifes bodies, and our wifes have all the right to allow it, or not allow it, this is not my point.

    I am just telling you why I do not use it (in no particular order, rather all three combined): 1. Bible 2.Church 3.Let me add medical reasons as well.

    I wanted to show you where in the bible it talks about contraceptioin, but this turned into a bible study again, much like we already had about abortion (see posts around Feb 10-19th.) Which is not the point. Both the Churches Tradition and Scriputre hold the deposite of faith, to which Ebon replied:

    Again, Adam is simply taking the dogmas which the Catholic church has since come up with and projecting them back onto the Bible.

    Why are you allowed to project your own Ideas back into the bible, the same thing you say the Catholic Church does, while the Church can not? Why should I believe you and not the Church? You are doing exactly the same thing you accuse the Church of doing: Stating your own dogma’s then finding a place in the Bible where it holds true.

    Here is the problem, The Church DOES NOT come up with dogma’s then put them in the bible. Both Scripture and Tradition are the Authority in the Church (passed on through Apostolic Sucession), there is no other way to state this fact.

    The Church has always taught against Abortion and Contraception, we know this through apostolic sucession, the Church, and the Bible combined. All three work in the favor of the Church.

    A note on infallibility I put together, I’ll block quote it for easier reading.

    What is infallibility? Infallibility is a gift from the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13, Jn 14:26, Acts 15:28 that allows the pastors of the Church, the Pope and bishops in union with him, to proclaim doctrine of faith and morals for the belief of the faithful; these teachings are free from error. (cf. CCC glossary). This means that every teaching of the Church is free from error as handed down by Jesus Christ. The Church is not infallible on matters of mathematics and sciences, but rather the faith and morals Jesus taught. Jesus did not come to write and biology book, rather he came to teach man about God (cf. Mt 16:18-19

    Why is infallibility necessary? First of all, infallibility must not be seen as a repressive dictation. It is not used to suppress thought or “crack the whip” but to build on thought and define it so that all may come to understand God the Father, Christ, and His Church. Infallibility is the guide wall which prevents people from jumping over and becoming misguided regarding faith and morals; directing all to knowing God. It functions as protection for the deposit of faith (Apostolic succession and Scripture), so that all Christians might believe what Christ authentically taught.

    When does the Church use its power of infallibility? It is used only to defend Divine Revelation (teachings of faith and morals given by God) against heresy. Take for example the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Since the time of Christ, Christians had always believed that Jesus was God; he told them so and died and rose again to prove it. The Apostles and their successor had always taught the faithful about the divinity of Christ, but when the Arian heresy arose in 250 A.D. the Church needed a formal definition. The Church had always taught Christ is God, now they needed it in writing. Thus at the council of Nicaea the successor of Peter, Pope St. Sylvester I (314-335 A.D.), and many of the bishops came to define for the faithful exactly who Christ is; thus the Nicene Creed.

    Why is the power of infallibility reasonable? If God did indeed reveal himself to man for the purpose of teaching man who God is, and how to obtain everlasting life, it would make sense that He would want every man to have access to this Divine Revelation. To do this, God would need a Church, but not just a Church that teaches, but an infallible Church that teaches faith and morals and is free from error. He would want a Church free from error so that His true teachings, the fullness of who God is, would stay protected for all time, removing any doubt as to what He taught. We know this is what Christ wanted to happen because of the primacy of Peter (Mt 16:18-19, Lk 22:32, Jn 21:17, Acts 15:7, etc.) Christ’s delegation of power to his Apostles (cf. Mt 18:17-18, Mt 28:18-20, Lk 10:16, 1 Cor 11:23-24, etc.), and Apostolic Succession (cf. 1 Cor 12:28-29, Act 1:25-26, 1 Tim 3:1, 8; 5:17, etc.). Each Pope is bound by the Teachings of the previous Pope. St. Peter (32-67 A.D.) was bound by Jesus’ teachings (God’s teaching about faith and morals), St. Linus (67-76 A.D) was bound by St. Peter, St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88 A.D) was bound by St. Linus, St. Clement I (88-97 A.D) was bound by St. Anacletus, etc. This is true for every Pope; St. Peter (1st Pope) to Benedict 16th (266th Pope). It is reasonable to assume that the Church has access to a Higher Authority because Jesus established it.

    This being said, it is impossible for the Church to teaching something infallibly if it has not always been a church teaching, so no matter what conspiricy theories that are thrown at the Church, this fact remains true.

    the conspiricy theories fact’s are wrong.

    Finally, I still like clarification about a question I had last month:

    I said

    Secondly, even if the brain does start to function in the 3rd trimester, then by yours and Ebons definition they are “people” and any surgical abortion performed would be murder.

    Ebon’s reply:

    Yes, starting at around the third trimester, but not before that. That’s what’s currently legal in America and that is also my position.

    I respond:

    You say yes, but I am confused. Is it yes that the child is a person at that time, or yes that if you had an abortion at that time it would be murder, or both, or neither? sorry please clarify

    Comment by: Adam | February 19, 2008, 11:10 pm

    If indeed abortion is murder after the 3rd trimester I think you would do well to look more closely into the reasons why Catholics oppose abortion all together (It deals with philosophy, Church history, and the history of Ethics).

    After all if it is murder after the 3rd trimester, then you should work towards ending abortion after the third trimester.

    See you on on the Blessed Legion thred

  • Alex Weaver

    We all have the right to put any drugs we want into our wifes bodies, and our wifes have all the right to allow it, or not allow it, this is not my point.

    No, “we” don’t. The decision is not ours to make, and it is not an issue of a woman submitting to or resisting it. What is so difficult about this concept?

    I am just telling you why I do not use it (in no particular order, rather all three combined): 1. Bible 2.Church 3.Let me add medical reasons as well.

    I’m almost afraid to ask, but…

    I wanted to show you where in the bible it talks about contraceptioin

    So go on and show us somewhere in the bible that actually talks about contraception.

    Why are you allowed to project your own Ideas back into the bible, the same thing you say the Catholic Church does, while the Church can not? Why should I believe you and not the Church? You are doing exactly the same thing you accuse the Church of doing: Stating your own dogma’s then finding a place in the Bible where it holds true.

    What the hell are you talking about?

    The Church has always taught against Abortion and Contraception, we know this through apostolic sucession, the Church, and the Bible combined. All three work in the favor of the Church.

    As I understand it the church only became really interested in abortion and contraception in the last several centuries, though I might misremember my reading.

    This being said, it is impossible for the Church to teaching something infallibly if it has not always been a church teaching, so no matter what conspiricy theories that are thrown at the Church, this fact remains true.

    Wrong; infallibility was added to the Church’s dogma in 1870, at the First Vatican Council. Although those in attendance asserted that this was an explicit expression of what had always been the church’s position there are multiple instances of popes admitting to having been in error on points of doctrine (generally when threatened, which really doesn’t help your case).

    By the way, you still haven’t answered me on how watching children you can’t support suffer and possibly die is a blessing, nor how having to distribute the same amount of resources among more and more dependents will not eventually result in individual children receiving less than they need to survive.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Why are you allowed to project your own Ideas back into the bible, the same thing you say the Catholic Church does, while the Church can not? Why should I believe you and not the Church? You are doing exactly the same thing you accuse the Church of doing: Stating your own dogma’s then finding a place in the Bible where it holds true.

    It seems obvious to me that since you’re losing this debate and can’t support your position, you’re reduced to making wild accusations at random. I don’t believe anyone could be so ignorant as to not understand this: Atheists do not need to project anything onto the Bible because we do not believe in it. The Bible has no special authority for an atheist. If it says something we disagree with, or fails to mention something we believe, we don’t need to contort its text to find support for that position; we defend our position using evidence and reason, and if the Bible fails to accord with that, so much the worse for the Bible. You, as a believer, are the only one who’s obliged to find support for all your positions in the Bible’s text – even the ones it doesn’t support or doesn’t mention, which has led to the word-mangling, arbitrary redefinition, and steadfast denial to deal with contradictory verses which we’ve seen from you throughout this thread.