They Said it Would Never Happen: Human Cloning on Our Doorstep

Human cloning.

I remember well when we were promised that human cloning was never going to happen. People who raised this issue were, as usual, mocked and heckled as paranoid fantasists. Now, of course, people who oppose human cloning are mocked and heckled as “backward” and “anti-science.”

Another moral issue that is not mentioned in this video  about recent advances in human cloning is the misogynist practice of farming women’s bodies for eggs with little or no concern for the consequences to the women.

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  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I really wish I could get in a time machine and get the hell out of this era. And it’s not forward in time that I want to go. It’s back to a simpler day. Lord have mercy on us.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Same old ugly, ugly, ugly story.

  • Bill S

    Another case of the Catholic Church complaining about science and progress. The obstructionists haven’t got a clue as to what the researchers are trying to accomplish. These are intelligent people who pour their lives into this work and they have to deal with people like Sean O’Malley who worries about the souls of embryos and tries to point out better ways for these professionals to do their jobs.

    • CathyLouise

      Oh, Bill S., at least be honest when you are describing the Catholic Church. To say the church “hasn’t got a clue as to what the researchers are trying to accomplish” is readily proven as false. We Catholics are well aware of the physical and mental ills these scientists are trying to resolve. Catholic scientists throughout the world are hunting for solutions to these problems, and we have millions of caretakers dealing with the people suffering from every malady known to mankind. We believe, however, that the ends do not justify the means. You do not believe an embryo is fully human. We do. Fully human. Experimenting on people simply because they are at an early stage of development is not acceptable behavior. At least to a Catholic. If you are willing, go listen to “Conscience, Justice and Human Life – Professor Robert George” published October 8, 2009 on Fr. John Riccardo’s iTunes Podcast. There’s about 6 minutes of introduction before Prof. George starts talking. You’d probably find the introduction annoying, but if you make it past that you’ll find a good introduction to this subject.

      • Bill S

        “To say the church “hasn’t got a clue as to what the researchers are trying to accomplish” is readily proven as false.”

        OK. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and accept that someone like Cardinal O’Malley understands the goals of the researchers. But he shouldn’t try to tell them that they can accomplish the same end result without using human embryos. An embryo is nothing. It’s not a person, it doesn’t have a “soul” (the whole idea of any of us having a soul is a foolish superstition that we shouldn’t try to push on scientists doing serious research) and nothing bad is happening to anyone. Give these professionals a little more credit than that.

        • CathyLouise

          There you go. The crux of the matter – you do not believe a human life starts at
          conception, one with human dignity. We do. That is why we oppose abortion, why
          we oppose euthanasia, why we oppose assisted suicide, why we oppose embroyonic stem
          cell research. And, Bill, remember; when any society enacts laws that say “that
          class of people are NOT people and do not have the rights to the same rights I
          have” then anyone can have the right taken away. For arbitrary reasons: color of
          skin, political affiliation, ethnicity, religion, age, usefulness. Whatever. The 19th and especially the 20th century proved that. I recommend again the podcast I referenced above.

          • Bill S

            Well. On one hand, we have scientists making all kinds of progress and making our lives better, longer, etc. On the other hand, we have these Catholics and their strange religious beliefs. We can’t accommodate both of them. One is productive and the other is intent on obstructing progress. We have to say yes to one and no to the other.

            • vox borealis

              If by “progress” you mean harvesting human life, then correct, we must say “no” to that.

              • Bill S

                Then you want the Catholic Church to play the role of the obstructionist. You want to hamper the efforts of people devoting their lives to research and development of treatments and cures of injuries and diseases.

                • CathyLouise

                  Bill, are you aware that you speak of scientists with the same devotion you mock religious people for having? Scientists are all working to make our lives better and longer. They are productive, they want to do research to develop treatments and cure injuires and disease. I find this kind of fascinating, When we point this out to you, you say “no one worships science” (see your comment to ted above.)

                  • Bill S

                    I think I would compare my admiration for science and the people who practice it to your attitude toward Catholicism and the people who practice it. You don’t worship the Church, I don’t worship the scientific community. You don’t worship saints. I don’t worship scientists.

                    • CathyLouise

                      Fair enough.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      No, not fair enough in the least. The class of saints is a class of people who have proved by the lives they led and the things they did their own peculiar moral excellence. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REQUIREMENT FOR SCIENTISTS TO HAVE ANY MORAL EXCELLENCE, NOR INDEED ANY INTELLECTUAL ONE. An average scientist is distinguished by his job and with no more claim to moral excellence than an average bank clerk or schoolteacher (probably less than a schoolteacher). And even those whom Bill illegitimately identifies with scientists as a category, that is the geniuses – which is like imagining that all basketball players are Michael Jordan – include a considerable amount of crooks and loathsome people. Isaac Newton, possibly the greatest scientist who ever lived, was a man so loathsome that the full list of his transgressions would take several lines.

                    • CathyLouise

                      Well, Fabio, I was simply accepting Bill S.’ statement that he doesn’t worship scientists. He said he doesn’t worship scientists just as I don’t worship saints. Which I don’t. I admire the saints, I respect them, generally I don’t understand them, and I talk to them. I find comfort in their stories – sometimes. But I don’t worship them. I also took him to mean that he admires many of the things science has accomplished, which really are great and add to the knowledge of our natural world. That’s all I meant by saying “fair enough.” The moral development and character of the scientists wasn’t being addressed, at least by me at that time in the discussion. Bill S. does say earlier that he doesn’t want the Catholic Church to be obstructionist, but at this point in the conversation we weren’t discussing that. I had said he sounded like he worship science and he said no, he didn’t.
                      Bill S. and I probably disagree on the need for a moral assessment of the means, ends and use of scientific knowledge and development of that knowledge. I believe this is should be self-evident if one has even a cursory knowledge of the 20th century.

                    • hamiltonr

                      Nobody “worships the saints” Cathy Louise. So I guess you’re reasoning from unanimity about that.

                    • CathyLouise

                      I’m sorry, Rebecca, I don’t understand what you mean by “reasoning from unanimity.”

                    • hamiltonr

                      Just that everyone agrees with you before you even start. :-)

            • CathyLouise

              “We have these Catholics and their strange religious beliefs.”. Umm…ya know, quite a few scientists have had strange religious beliefs. Many even in the 20th/21st century. Google it, it’s not hard. We are NOT opposed to scientific progress, we are opposed to treating people as objects to be cultivated as spare parts for other humans. This is not an objection to organ donation, it’s an objection to creating/using/cultivating embryos for others.

              • Bill S

                Yes. Actually cloning fully developed human beings in order to provide spare parts for the original would be terribly unethical.

                However, to impede progress on stem cell research, IVF, etc. out of concern for embryos is just being unreasonable. How many embryos actually make it to fully grown babies naturally. No one worries about spontaneous abortions. What is the difference? That God wills spontaneous abortions?

                • hamiltonr

                  Bill, you are simply trying to put the cork back in the bottle after the genie is out. Once you say that all human life is conditional and that there is no inherent right to life that all human beings possess, these limits you try to place on killing are as movable as the poles umpires use to determine a first down in a football game.

                  You give away the farm with your first contention. I’ve heard these phony baloney limits for decades now. They always get moved further down the field in time. This discussion abut human cloning is one very big example. What you are advocating today proponents of abortion called nonsense a few years ago.

                  • Bill S

                    No one really has an inherent right to anything but society does provide us with certain privileges including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Jefferson said that they were given to us by our creator and most people see them as such. In this country, we are granted these rights/privileges at birth as opposed to conception.

                    It could have been otherwise but it would have been more complicated than it has to be. I think most people accept this arrangement and it seems to work as well as any.

                    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                      No one really has an inherent right to anything
                      You have just revoked the Declaration of Independence. When can I expect you to apply for British citizenship?

        • vox borealis

          An embryo is nothing.

          That statement is barbaric and dangerous.

          • Bill S

            To project a human personality on an embryo and say that it has a “soul” that needs to be saved is ignorant and superstitious.

            • hamiltonr

              Bill this is not about whether or not a human embryo has a soul. It is about whether or not it is a human being. By every scientific criteria, the answer to that is “yes.” The question then becomes when — or if — there are human beings whose lives are worthless under the law and who may be killed with impunity.

              To try to label one group of human beings as sub-human enough that their lives do not deserve any legal protections and they may be killed for their body parts which will be used in experimentation is not just a slippery slope, it is the trip down the slope.

              Back when I was pro choice, (which was a long time ago) I made fun of pro life people who talked about abortion leading to euthanasia and human cloning. We all did.

              Who’s laughing now? Now, people are using the same lies to justify killing embryos and the elderly, mentally ill and unwell that they once used to justify killing unborn babies. At the same time, they are continuing to make fun of those who talk about where this carnage is leading.

              There’s zero that’s original in your arguments, Bill. I heard them many years ago and have heard them over and again almost every day since.

              • Bill S

                I’m not looking to make an original argument. That might be an argument that no one else agrees with. I believe that science can operate better without the moral arguments advanced by the Catholic Church.

    • tedseeber

      Healing an ill when creating a new ill does nobody any good.

      It is a sure bet that any cell line developed from these embryos *will* be rejected when implanted in a human body, due to mitochondrial rejection.

      NO form of therapeutic cloning so far can defeat that.

    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

      Also, you seem to be implying that the Catholic church is against progress and science in general, which is not the case. it’s specific to instances in which a moral teaching is violated that the church is against it. That being said, most scientific advances are actually applauded by the church, including adult stem cell research, and various other things. This is an ethical dispute, first and foremost. The science is the cause, but it’s not the issue. The issue is the field, being embryonic stem cell research, which the church is thoroughly against period, due to the belief that a human embryo counts as being human, and the issue of cloning itself, which among other things raises the many and varied questions stemming from the rights of any human clone.
      Professionals should be able to take honest criticism and advice gracefully, if not seriously. People are entitled to their own opinions, and any concerns voiced, whether ethically-minded or not, should be taken into consideration and answered to the best of the professional’s ability, or else by a spokesperson who is well-informed of the issue and views held by both parties.

  • tedseeber

    This has me convinced, as if reading history didn’t, that the only morality in Scientism (the worship of Science as if it were a god) is “If it can be done it should be done”.

    • Bill S

      No one worships science as if it is a god. Why would anyone worship anything or anyone?

  • http://mywordwall.wordpress.com/ Imelda

    It is truly scary (on so many levels) and maybe, ironic. Here is one group of people claiming that the world is overly populated and therefore, births should be limited (sometimes, at all costs) and then there is this group that desires to make more people (maybe, for no other reason but to prove that they can).

    And yes, those who are against either extremes are heckled and branded bigots, intolerant, etc. Sometimes, holding on to one’s beliefs truly get challenging that just living in these times is already a type of martyrdom. :-)

    • Bill S

      “and then there is this group that desires to make more people (maybe, for no other reason but to prove that they can).”

      Imelda,

      You are missing the point of the research. It is not to increase the population. It is to be able to treat injuries and illnesses. There is nothing scary about it unless you are hung up on the idea that every embryo has an eternal soul. To think that is scary.

      • vox borealis

        There is nothing scary about it unless you are hung up on the idea that every embryo has an eternal soul.

        I call BS. It is entirely scary if one recognizes that human beings—because yes, scientifically embryos are human life–are being created to be farmed and harvested for use by others. That is a very scary proposition regardless of whether one believes the embryos are ensouled (or even if one does not believe in the concept of the soul). It is a legitimate ethical concern, and one that you can’t make go away with red herring theological arguments.

        • Bill S

          It may be a legitimate ethical concern, but not one that can be worked out by applying Catholic principles such as the “ensoulment” of the embryo or the concept that a human life begins at conception and is therefore sacred. These notions have no place in true scientific inquiry and discussions about ethics.

          • hamiltonr

            Bill, you’re the one who keeps talking about ensoulment and such. The rest of us are talking about the scientific fact, that the embryo is a unique human being from the moment of conception. That is not religion. It’s fact. This talk of souls is, I believe, a red herring.

            • Bill S

              If there is no concern for the soul, then the argument that each embryo is a unique human being begs the question: so what? Who is impacted by the loss of an embryo?

              • hamiltonr

                Bill, your attitude is a justification for denying the humanity of a whole class of human beings. That is what is wrong with it. Once you start doing that, as with abortion, there is no going back. Then the life of every human being on this planet becomes forfeit if someone can advance an argument for killing them that seems compelling or even just acceptable to those in power. That is the world abortion created, a world in which human life is conditional. You are merely advancing that argument here.

                Doesn’t it bother you in the least that the same logic could be applied to you in certain circumstances, that it has been applied to other people and that they were murdered because of it?

                • Bill S

                  I guess I am somewhat of a nihilist. I never planned on being one but I seem to be one now. When I no longer matter to anyone on this earth, or even if I do matter but have become a burden, I am 100% in favor of euthanasia. From the moment I was born, and in fact in my case conceived, my life has been protected by society. Had I never been born I would have never known it. I would have gone back to the nothingness from which I emerged. I have no problem going back there as soon as my life is of no or negative value.

                  • hamiltonr

                    I think you’re just blowing smoke Bill. I would imagine that you would fight for your life as hard as you could, if it was threatened.

                    it’s other people’s lives you so easily brush off.

                    As for human beings having no inherent rights except those that come to them through governmental protections, that is the pit of hell you are describing — a world where people are things that can be disposed of with no compunction. It IS the ethos of a certain part of our society, but I think they are basically wanting to kill and exploit others, not be killed and exploited themselves.

                    Fortunately, you are wrong. Human beings — including those whose lives you take so lightly — do have inherent rights, including an inherent right to life. Those who try to abrogate those rights are attacking the author of life, Himself.

                    • Bill S

                      I go by the assumption that there is no God and therefore no God-given rights. In this country, embryos are not protected as people. Catholics see embryos as little people who should be protected as such. That just isn’t the case and never will be.

                    • hamiltonr

                      Bill, when does killing a person become wrong? If you don’t accept the scientific definition of human life, what definition do you accept? You are very arrogant in your claims as to which human beings matter and deserve to live. On what, other than just blindly following the latest trendiness, do you base your decisions to kill?

                      I reiterate: If someone was trying to kill you to, say, harvest your organs for others with higher IQs and thus more “right” to live, you’d think your life plenty valuable. How, based on your assumptions do you justify this?

                    • Bill S

                      I just can’t get worked up about microscopic embryos. We’re not talking about harvesting body parts from fully formed human beings. I’m not even against abortion let alone stem cell research. I

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      So at what point is a human being fully formed and worthy of the protection of society? A person isn’t fully matured and functioning at xer highest point till xe’s in xer early to mid twenties.

                      Also, as far as embryonic stem-cell research goes, it’s not going anywhere. They’ve had far more progressive with adult stem-cells and scientists have recently found another place to get adult stem-cells, making it much easier to get them, and also less expensive by far. Namely, in breast milk. There’s no logical reason to continue using embryonic stem-cells when there are less expensive ways to get stem-cells, and when adult stem-cells have been proven their usefulness already, without ethical questions cropping up over their use.

                      As for harvesting body parts from fully-formed humans, why not? If we as a society are willing to allow ourselves and others to draw a line in the sand as to where human life is worthy of protection, then there’s no reason to not continue moving that line, as it suits those in power. It happened with the Irish and Blacks, it happened with POW, women used to be treated as property, as were children. When people began standing up and defending those people, and when they began defending themselves as best they could, they were recognized as people. embryos and fetuses have been given over to science and abortion because they can’t defend themselves. Neither can newborns, nor can any other infant. Does that mean we should kill them for scientific purposes too?

                    • Bill S

                      “So at what point is a human being fully formed and worthy of the protection of society?”
                      I can agree that we are probably worthy of protection from conception. I forget the movie, but “worthiness has nothing to do with it”. There are compelling reasons for allowing the termination of a pregnancy. Therefore, the best and most practical time to begin protecting people is at birth. It provides a clear dividing line between those who will be provided full protection under the law and those who won’t. To try to pick an arbitrary time from conception would be an atrocity to one side or the other. Pro-life would want it earlier and pro-choice later.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      Except that in cases of abortion after 23 weeks, the fetus is viable. Furthermore, studies are currently being done (and several already have been done) showing that before this point, a fetus responds to pain, light, heat, touch, and various other stimuli, in addition to this, a study of the cry of various new born children has shown that their cries are particular in sound to the language that their mother speaks, which shows that the brain is developed enough at some point, as of yet undetermined, in a fetus to begin learning and remembering various things.
                      The argument comes down to when a human being is a person worthy of all the protections of any other human. After there is no chance of a pregnancy turning ectopic, or the embryo has no chance of being viable, then it should logically be afforded all the protection afforded to any other person.
                      I say logically on account of the fact that infants wouldn’t survive without caregivers as well, and if we don’t offer the protection of the law to an unborn, but viable fetus, then the same reasoning could be applied to any unwanted/special needs child who cannot fend for themselves.

                    • Bill S

                      From what I have read about our evolution and development, embryos of humans develop in much the same way as those of other mammals. What separates humans from other mammals is the different relative size of our brain which requires us to be born less developed than other mammals so that our head can fit through the birth canal. This is why we are so much more dependent at birth than other mammals. I can’t personally say at what point of development a human fetus differs much from that of another mammal. But that would be the difference between killing a human as opposed to killing, say, a pig. I’m not talking about the difference in potential, which of course is very great indeed. I am just referring to what the human fetus experiences that would be in any way different from any other animal.

                      I personally very much oppose late term abortions but very much support the morning after pill and not procrastinating.

                    • hamiltonr

                      Bill, human beings are uniquely human beings from the point of conception. This argument you’re trying to make is so old and out of date that it wheezes.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      Except that the matter of which species does matter, obviously, otherwise we’d either kill no animals ever, or else we wouldn’t discriminate between killing any other human any more than we do other animals, because as far as actual experience goes, it depends on the manner in which a person is killed. It shouldn’t matter whether a person realizes that they’re about to be killed or not, or whether or not they experience pain, or whether or not they even register that they’re being killed. Just because the experience of death in a human fetus is comparable to another animal experiencing death doesn’t mean that it’s okay to do it.
                      The stage of development of a person should not effect whether or not they are afforded protection.

                    • Bill S

                      “The stage of development of a person should not effect whether or not they are afforded protection.”

                      Can a woman take a morning after pill? Or must the egg be protected as well?

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      It should be protected, because it has been fertilized, and if all goes normally, will either develop into a fully functional human, or will pass through the uterus and die naturally. Do I think it’s likely that the morning after pill will not be used anymore in the near future? No. I don’t think that this is a problem that will be solved over night, and I don’t think that it’s right to leave any woman in the lurch because of politics.

                      I do, however, think that if the money being spent on the abortion industry, including various forms of chemical birth control and such was instead spent on helping remake the adoption procedures so that it’s simpler, less expensive, and over all more streamlined, providing free services to women who are pregnant unexpectedly so that they can continue their careers, college, high-school, etc., and also provide postnatal support, would be a much better way of dealing with such issues as unexpected pregnancy than the current way.

                      Also teaching some useful sex-ed in schools that doesn’t automatically assume that teens are going to have sex before they’re ready to be parents. Or at least, if it’s taught with that assumption, teaching effective means of natural birth control, such as NFP, in addition to the regular talk about chemical birth control. Because, seriously, if us teens keep getting told that it’s completely normal to not have any self-control, then fewer and fewer of us are going to try using our self-control. Mind you, this bit is more speaking from experience than anything else, but I know very few teens who are sexually active, and they’re about as sick of getting told that they’re going to have sex while they’re in high-school or college as I am.

                    • Bill S

                      ” they can continue their careers, college, high-school, etc., and also provide postnatal support, would be a much better way of dealing with such issues as unexpected pregnancy than the current way.”

                      Than taking a morning after pill? Really? Why so?

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      Because the current method of dealing with teen/young adult single pregnant women is with stigma. Instead of offering support and trying to help her through it, the automatic assumption is that she’s going to have an abortion. Even if abortion continued to be legal, as well as the morning after pill and contraceptives, if society at large were to begin to dispel the stigma around young pregnant women, and offer them actual support instead of harsh judgment, then at least a woman may expect to receive as much support for one choice as for the other, which isn’t the current trend.

                      Also, many young women have stated reasons for abortion being because they can’t afford to give up college, their careers, etc. If that’s the only reason for it, then logically we should help to deal with that situation so that in the future such things are mother-friendly, should the need arise.

                    • Bill S

                      Kathryn. Seeing that you are very young and I am relatively old, I should point out that your attitude toward self control is commendable. It is the one thing that I have lacked my entire life. You stand to do much better with it than I have done without it. Nonetheless, my attitude toward the morning after pill, contraception and abortion remains as it is.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      Thanks, Bill. My family has a strand of hot-heads so self-control was something I had to learn young.

                      As for your attitude towards birth control, abortion, etc. we’re on the internet. I don’t expect to change a person’s mind necessarily, though if I do, fantastic. I expect to be able to get some open dialogue sometimes though, because too many people I run into have some very warped/naive views on various subjects, and not being particularly fantastic debating through spoken word, I prefer the written. Internet being handy and such, (and also having a fantastic abundance of people,) I choose to debate online. *shrugs*

                    • Bill S

                      Kathryn,

                      My debating is all on the Internet as well. I have been drawn to a materialistic naturalistic worldview which I guess I would have to call atheism, although, oddly, I am also drawn to the arguments for Intelligent Design. So, I’m all screwed up.

                      There is no way I could express my views to my wife, my brothers in the Knights of Columbus (I know. Right?). My fellow parishioners or anyone else except my best man and long time friend.

                      I understand your views and they are commendable. I guess I am talking about your other comment about the stigma of an unwanted pregnancy and ways to make it easier on the pregnant woman to reduce the need for an abortion. Some 40 years ago, I got my girlfriend pregnant and I refused to deal with it. Instead, I went on spring break and was out of touch with her. Her took her to New York, where abortion was legal before Roe v. Wade. I didn’t find out about it till I got back and it was over. I’ve always felt bad that she had to go through that. I should have been there for her. I strongly advocate contraception including emergency contraception but I am softening my pro-choice stand a little bit. I still think it should be up to the woman, but I can see putting a limit on how late she can have it. Mine was around ten weeks and I don’t feel so bad about that. I am more concerned about how it affected her. She sent me an article about her wedding to rub it in my face. That’s all I know about how she ended up.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      Situations like the one you described with your ex are ones that could be handled so much better, if society stopped treating abortion and contraceptives as if it’s completely normal and an obvious choice. If there were more readily available options for women, it would help decrease the number of abortions. Providing support to the women in the world who become pregnant unexpectedly should mean also giving support to the man involved.

                      Taking an example from Finland, the government sends baby care-packages to expecting mothers. That way low-income families, and single women would have a good start. Adding to this, take into consideration that currently America is the only industrialized country (One of five nations, total) to not mandate paid leave for new/expecting mothers.

                      I have my stand on this in part simply because of my religious beliefs, but mostly because I’ve researched the severe effects of abortion on women, and the development of fetuses during the earlier stages of pregnancy, in which they’re most likely to be aborted. The impact of abortion on women is over all very negative. Numerous studies have shown that women who have one or more abortions are far more likely to develop depression, and are more likely to miscarry in later pregnancies. About 10% of women suffer immediate complications due to abortions. Women who do have post-abortal infections are about 5-8 times more likely to have ectopic pregnancies later in life, while about 5% of women who choose abortion inadvertently become sterile.

                      Added to that, studies have shown that even first trimester abortions can cause severe damage to the cervix, especially to girls 17 and under. This weakening of the cervix can lead to a greater likelihood of miscarriages later, due to the cervix being unable to carry the weight and opening early. A study has also shown that about 48% of women experienced abortion-related complications in later wanted pregnancies.

                      The overwhelmingly (and one of the few) reported positive side-effects of an abortion is relief, which is understandable, but it’s often followed by shock and depression over time.

                      (Source article, with references: http://www.abortionfacts.com/reardon/the-after-effects-of-abortion)

                    • Bill S

                      If there were more readily available options for women, it would help decrease the number of abortions. Providing support to the women in the world who become pregnant unexpectedly should mean also giving support to the man involved

                      That is a great idea, but where does the money come from? I have to be honest. I was not ready to become a father in my case. I personally disagree with the Church’s outright opposition to abortion but your research is convincing. I have to admit. Your diligence is impressive.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      Thanks. Your questions are excellent, and if it weren’t relatively late at night I’d probably still be looking up answers, because there’s so much to find that I feel I can hardly do justice to the question, much less the answer.

                      The money could start coming from a defunding of Planned Parenthood by the government. It wouldn’t necessarily shut PP down; they make a profit from their current services in addition to the funding that they receive. Also, there are many other places that women can go to receive birth control, mammograms (which PP can’t provide anyhow), and other services that PP provides. Several services provided by PP can be provided by family doctors, and those that can’t be are ones that gynecologists can provide. Also, since gynecologists specialize in women’s overall reproductive health, they’ll usually be able to give more useful advice to young women about the effects of different birth controls. Just speaking from experience even, I’ve talked to several PP employees and then my gynecologist about the same basic things, including the effects of different birth control, and fertility issues, and the gynecologist’s information, on average, was much more detailed and easily understood.

                      Plus, even outside of government, there are numerous non-profit organizations which provide such services already, through donations and fundraising throughout their respective communities. There are even several that work especially with pregnant teens who haven’t told their parents/guardians. They can often provide ultrasounds, or at least help the woman get transportation and help pay for one to be done, help her learn what to expect, and most give teens who aren’t ready to tell their parents things like small stuffed animals or other inconspicuous items in a care-package. After teens tell their parents, such organizations will usually follow with a full care-package including cloth or disposable diapers, bottles, formula, clothes, etc.

                      I personally don’t like some things about what the church teaches, but I see the reasoning behind it, or else look for it till I have the answers, and even though I don’t always like it, I agree with it, because in the end the reasoning is sound (or else whoever told me that the church taught something in the first place was wrong).

                    • Bill S

                      Kathryn. Don’t you think that you could be putting all your time and effort into pursuing, say, a law degree or a career in science? You are obviously brilliant. Wouldn’t your time be better spent pursuing a more worldly endeavor. Maybe you are doing that as well. You are much brighter than I ever was, am or will be. If you can find a site called little Catholic bubble, you will find a brilliant woman name Leila whom you will find very interesting. Not that Rebecca isn’t.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      *shrugs* I’m a high-school senior and haven’t figured out what profession I want to go into yet. I live in a small town that has a school that offers very few options for academic classes, all things considered, and unlike some other states, high-school students in mine can’t take college classes without paying out of their own pocket or applying for federal aid, so I’m currently just taking four classes through my school, none of which I need to graduate, and two classes online through MIT. Hopefully I’ll do well in those two (one has just started), but that still leaves me with more than enough time to do a bunch of other stuff.

                      Anyhow, besides academics, I also help out with the Boy Scout programs in my area, do community service, and independent studies on various topics. Online debates keep my researching skills ship-shape, as well as various other skills, and they also help me make sure that I don’t focus on one area too much (besides which, they’re usually fun).

                      Finally, this is a worldly endeavor, to some extent. Abortion and birth control have a rather large impact on economics, as well. It’s an ethical question concerning science and law, and a moral issue in religion. So on the whole, it works quite well for me to debate on the topic.

                    • Bill S

                      Very impressive. Keep up the good work.

                      Abortion and birth control have a rather large impact on economics, as well.

                      Are you going to say that the impact is negative. Because, intuitively, they would seem to at least have a positive impact economically, such as allowing women to work outside the home to help support their family. Are you concerned about there not being enough workers to support the baby boomers in their old age because we didn’t have enough children and now we have to rely on immigrants for a healthy workforce?

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      No, actually, although as for a more in-depth explanation I’ll have to consult with one of my siblings (he’s been studying micro and macro-economics, and has become rather handy for finding more information on the specifics of such thing). It has had an affect on family life, actually, and from an objective standpoint has had some positive and some negative results. The thing is, the positive results of it could be replicated through means that wouldn’t have such negative impacts.

                      As for whether or not there are enough workers. There are. It’s just that some of them are young adults/teens who tend towards being lazy and seem to think that they’re entitled to something, when they’re not. We don’t need to rely on immigrants for a healthy workforce, kids need to be taught that they’re not too good for any honest job, which currently, most of them either aren’t being taught, or they’re not remembering/comprehending it.

                      The problem with it being used so that women can continue to work outside the home is that it’s not even giving women equal rights. It’s making them more like men, so to speak. When pregnancy or motherhood forces a woman to choose between supporting herself/her other children or her pregnancy, that is a sign that something should be changed, so that she doesn’t have to choose between such harsh options.

                      The basic point I’m trying to make though is that women should be treated as men’s equal in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean that they should be treated the same. If a woman winds up stopping a normal body function in order to continue working, when there’s no outstanding medical issue that would otherwise make doing such a thing advisable, then she is not being treated in a manner that holds her equal to a man in the same work environment.

                    • Bill S

                      When pregnancy or motherhood forces a woman to choose between supporting herself/her other children or her pregnancy, that is a sign that something should be changed, so that she doesn’t have to choose between such harsh options.

                      Kathryn,

                      I understand what you are saying, but that isn’t how this world operates. You are very smart but somewhat naive at the same time. I firmly believe that women need access to free contraception as is being provided under the controversial HHS mandate. My wife has had two children and a successful career because she was on the pill. I can’t knock her success.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      Merely because the world doesn’t operate like that, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to make it operate like that. Merely because it may be hard to get to that point doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t do everything in their power to get it there. Also, as demonstrated by other countries, it’s possible to get closer to that goal, at least, than where America is currently at.

                      As for contraceptives and their usefulness, I contest that while they are useful under certain circumstances, they certainly shouldn’t be the first solution to the problem women face in the workplace.

                      As for what circumstances, I refer to in above, I’m actually on a form of birth control, so that I can stay in school and continue my summer job, but am using it specifically for a recurring medical issue, and am not sexually active anyhow. In such a case, it’s being used for a purpose other than birth control, but still being used so that a woman can continue working.

                    • Bill S

                      Kathryn,

                      Again, I understand what you are saying. My wife was on the pill for reasons other than contraception but it also served that purpose as a side benefit.

                      Having been around a lot longer than you, there is all kinds of advice I could give you. But you seem to have a plan of action and a faith to live by. You can’t ask for more than that. I’m not a devil trying to tempt you to give up your faith. A part of me wants to do that for your sake, but that’s not for me to do. Plus, Ted would probably start blocking my comments since we are corresponding is his site.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      I’ll be responding to your actual point later, right now I’m just getting on quick before school, but I don’t find that you’re arguments are ones of someone trying to tempt anyone away from faith, but rather to have a person examine their religion. If anything, such disputes help people like me become more familiar with their religion and more faithful.

                    • Bill S

                      Good. I’m glad you feel that way. I’m sure your faith is challenged often.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      Not around me, it’s not, unless someone’s looking for a debate. Most people I know have said that they don’t want to debate me in anything, because since I’m generally right, they think it’s safer to assume that I am when I say something with surety.

                      Besides which, arguing from the viewpoints of different religions is a ridiculous hassle, because of the different traditions, and sets of beliefs about preachers/scripture/etc.

                    • Bill S

                      I’m surprised that you don’t encounter anti-religous students. I can see where it would be difficult to debate with you. You seem very sure of yourself and secure in your faith.

                    • Kathryn A. O’Keefe

                      Being from a small town, and previously home-schooled, most of the people in my town either belong to the Catholic church, or other religions, and generally don’t actually care at all about religion, excepting when it comes to a moral standpoint which they have already form opinions on independent of their purported religious affiliations.

                      It doesn’t seem to be so much that it’s difficult to debate with me specifically, but that there are such points in different religions that are difficult to debate over, period. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t tend towards bible-thumping, because since different religions use different bibles, and others none at all, it’s important to use other sources to back claims. It’s also one of the reasons why I don’t try to get into debates about most of the supernatural aspects, since those are always highly contested, and having only a basic knowledge of Church teaching, I don’t want to bungle it up accidentally, because, I am, after all, still learning myself.

                    • Bill S

                      Please ignore the last sentence:

                      Plus, Ted would probably start blocking my comments since we are corresponding on his site.

                      I was responding on Disqus and thought that we were on the other site.


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