Choosing death vs. choosing life

Sunday was the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973.  Today is the March for Life in Washington, D. C.

Those who believe in abortion call themselves “pro-choice.”  Women indeed do have the “choice” of whether to get an abortion or let the child live.  Rev. James Lamb, director of Lutherans for Life, has some provocative reflections on “choice”:

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Just saying, “Choose life!” can stir things up because it is associated with abortion. But this verse is not about abortion. It is about what we as God’s people base our choices upon. We base our choices upon who has chosen us. . . .

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). We are special because we have been chosen. God in Christ rescued us from the slavery of sin and set us on the path to the Promised Land of heaven. . . .

Death is the god of choice in our culture today. We choose death through abortion to rescue us from a crisis pregnancy. We choose death through the destruction of human embryos to rescue us from disease. We choose death through assisted suicide to rescue us from pain and suffering. Luther says in the Large Catechism that whatever we turn to for more “good and help than God” becomes our god (Tappert, 368, 28). But the god of death only seems to offer “good and help.” In reality, “evil and curses” follow in its wake. . . .

The choice of death as our rescuer-god always leads to “evil and curses.” There has never been a choice of death that rescues us from our problems and leads to life. Well, there was that one time! “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14-15). Jesus chose death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10b). Jesus chose death to rescue us. We never have to!

That is our assurance that we can trust Him. That is our assurance we can choose life. We can trust God because He loves us and has proven that love in the death and resurrection of Jesus. We can trust God because He “sets His love upon us” every time we come to His holy meal to receive the very price paid for our rescue.

Talking about life issues in our churches is more than just speaking against something going on in our culture. It is speaking for those who face these issues and are being tempted to choose death. What a message we have to share with one another. We belong to God. We can choose life. We can choose life and defend the life of the vulnerable. We can choose life and care for those who are weary and burdened. We can choose life and share the forgiveness of Christ when mistakes are made.

via Lutherans For Life | Chosen People Choose Life.

Demagoguing contraception

Pro-abortion advocates are claiming that what pro-lifers and Republicans in general really want is to outlaw birth control.  As evidence they are citing Rick Santorum’s stated belief as a Roman Catholic that he does not believe in contraception (even though he underscored that he is not trying to make it illegal), efforts to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood (for its abortion clinics), and proposals to allow Catholic organizations to have a “conscience clause” so they won’t have to provide health insurance that includes contraception coverage.

Roman Catholics, as well as other Christians and members of other religions, do not believe in practicing artificial birth control.  But I am not aware of any Catholics, social conservatives, pro-lifers, or Republicans  who are trying to outlaw contraception.

The pro-abortionists, continuing to lose the arguments about the humanity of the unborn child, are resorting to demagoguery, trying to rally women by alarming them with an out-and-out falsehood.

For an example of what I’m talking about, see this column:  Conversation over abortion continues 39 years later – The Washington Post.

Morning after pill update

The Food & Drug administration had decided to make the abortifacient “morning after” pill available over the counter without a prescription.  But now the Health & Human Services Department has over-ruled that decision, keeping the drug by-prescription only:

The federal government Wednesday rejected a request to let young teenage girls buy the controversial morning-after pill Plan B directly off drugstore and supermarket shelves without a prescription.

In a rare public split among federal health officials, the Health and Human Services Department overruled a decision by the Food and Drug Administration to make the drug available to anyone of any age without a restriction.

In a statement, FDA Administrator Margaret A. Hamburg said she had decided the medication could be used safely by girls and women of all ages. But she added that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had rejected the move.

“I agree … there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported, and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential,” Hamburg said.

“However, this morning I received a memorandum from the Secretary of Health and Human Services invoking her authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to execute its provisions and stating that she does not agree with the Agency’s decision to allow the marketing of Plan B One-Step nonprescription for all females of child-bearing potential,” she said.

In a separate statement and letter to Hamburg, Sebelius said she overruled the FDA because she had concluded that data submitted by the company that makes the drug did not “conclusively establish” that it could be used safely by girls of all ages.

“About 10 percent of girls are physically capable of bearing children by 11.1 years of age. It is common knowledge that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age,” Sebelius said. “If the application were approved, the product would be available, without prescription, for all girls of reproductive age.”

The surprising decision is a stunning blow to some doctors, health advocates, family-planning activists, members of Congress and others who backed relaxing the restrictions to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies.

via Obama administration refuses to relax Plan B restrictions – The Washington Post.

How safe it is. . . but it isn’t safe for unborn children.

iPhones are pro-life

Indignant complaints about Siri, the virtual personal assistant on the new iPhones, which will give you information about just about everything, but not where you can get an abortion:

If you ask Siri for an abortion clinic in New York City, it will tell you “Sorry, I couldn’t find any abortion clinics.” A simple Google web search—which Siri itself uses to find results—gives you seven to start with, some within walking distance of where I’m located.

• If you ask the same question in the city of Washington DC, Siri won’t direct you to a nearby clinic, but to one 26 miles away.

• A reader reported that when he asked “find a pregnancy termination clinic” Siri responded: “I found a number of medical centers fairly close to you.” Then “it showed me seven results and four of them were chiropractors, two were acupuncture specialists, and one was an emergency room.” Update: Indeed, after we tested this, it’s true.

Apparently, women across the country are having similar experiences.. To make matters worse, the iPhone 4S’ smart assistant will not direct you to a place where you can obtain emergency contraception if you ask for it. Instead, it gives you a definition.

via Is Siri Pro Life? Apparently Yes (Updated).

A pro-life movement in Russia

In Russia, the most commonly-used method of birth control is abortion.  It has the world’s highest abortion rate:  73 for every 100 births.  But now a pro-life movement has started up in Russia, led by the Orthodox Church, and the Russian parliament, faced not only with the church’s lobbying but with a population collapse,  is expected to pass a law imposing sharp restrictions (though not prohibition) of the practice:

Backed by the Russian Orthodox Church, an influential anti-abortion lobby is driving a moral crusade to tighten legislation and shift public attitudes that are largely a legacy of the Soviet era.

Adding to the debate is the Russian government’s effort to reverse a population decline caused by low birth rates combined with very high death rates. With Russians dying nearly twice as fast as they are born, the United Nations predicts that by 2050 its population will shrink by almost one fifth to 116 million.

Women’s rights groups voice outrage that the Church would play a role in shaping Russia’s secular laws and say abortion must remain a choice. They acknowledge the statistics point to a public health travesty but suggest the problem would be better resolved by sex education.

At the heart of the debate is an amendment to Russia’s law on health that is all but guaranteed to pass in the lower house after it was approved in a critical second of three readings on Oct. 21.

The law would cap abortions at 12 weeks, impose a waiting period of up to one week from initial consultations and require women over six weeks pregnant to see the embryo on ultrasound, hear its heartbeat and have counseling to determine how to proceed.

“Our two main motives are the fact that Russia is dying out and our religious tradition. We cannot forget our faith,” Yelena Mizulina, chair of the family issues committee that fielded the law, told Reuters. “Despite the long Communist period, it is seen as murder, as a violation of the Ten Commandments.”

via Orthodox Church-backed abortion bill sparks protest in Russia | FaithWorld.

Consciousness in “a vegetative state”

Don’t call people in a coma “vegetables.”  That’s a dehumanizing figure of speech.  And, as researchers have recently discovered, it isn’t necessarily an accurate description:

All the patients had the same terrible diagnosis: brain damage that marooned them in a “vegetative state” — alive but without any sense of awareness of themselves or the world around them.

But then an international team of scientists tried an ambitious experiment: By measuring electrical activity in the patients’ brains with a relatively simple technique, the researchers attempted to discern whether, in fact, they were conscious and able to communicate.

In most of the cases, there was nothing — no signs that any sentience lingered. But then one man, and another, and, surprisingly, a third repeatedly generated brain activity identical to that of healthy volunteers when they were asked to imagine two simple things: clenching a fist and wiggling their toes.

The findings, reported online Wednesday by the journal the Lancet, provide startling — and in some ways disturbing — new evidence confirming previous indications that a significant proportion of patients diagnosed as being vegetative may in fact be aware.

But, most important, the widely available, portable technology used in the research offers what could be the first practical way for doctors to identify and finally communicate with perhaps thousands of patients who may be languishing unnecessarily in isolation. Doctors could, for example, find out whether patients are in pain.

“You spend a week with one of these patients and at no point does it seem at all they know what you are saying when you are talking to them. Then you do this experiment and find it’s the exact opposite — they do know what’s going on,” said Damian Cruse, a postdoctoral neuroscientist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada who helped conduct the research. “That’s quite a profound feeling.”

The results and similar findings could also provide crucial insights into human consciousness — one of the most perplexing scientific puzzles — and lead to ways to better provide diagnoses and possibly rehabilitate brain-injury patients, the researchers said.

“Can you imagine spending years without being able to interact with anyone around you?” Cruse said. “We can ask them what it’s like to be in this condition. Do they know where they are? Do they know who is around them? What do they need?’ This will lead to very profound implications.”

Other experts, while praising the research, cautioned that much more work is needed to confirm the findings and refine the technology.

via New technique spots patients misdiagnosed as being in ‘vegetative state’ – The Washington Post.


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