This is for those of you who have the blessing of caring for your elderly fathers. They are not a burden. They are a blessing.
This is for those of you who have the blessing of caring for your elderly fathers. They are not a burden. They are a blessing.
Rumors have it that the United States House of Representatives will vote on a bill that will extend the District of Columbia ban on abortions after 20 weeks to the rest of the country.
The bill passed out of House committee this week, and, according to some sources, is being marked up for a vote that may take place next week. I doubt that this bill will pass in the Senate, and it certainly will be vetoed by the President if it does. There is no chance the bill’s authors can convince both houses to override a Presidential veto.
On top of that, Roe v Wade specifically set the limit for abortion on demand (with some regulations) at 26 weeks of pregnancy. Unless the Court changes that ruling, the bill is unconstitutional.
So, what is happening here?
I do not see any reason for late-term abortions. I’ve written about that here. However, I always wonder about the real reason for a vote like this, since it is definitely not to make a law and everyone involved knows it.
Do the bill’s authors view the vote as a statement designed to build consensus over time? Are they throwing down the political gauntlet and forcing people to declare where they stand on this issue by how they cast their votes? Do they want to use it as a way of defining an issue for upcoming political campaigns? Or is this some combination of all these things?
I would guess that almost any member of the United States Congress could take a roll sheet of either the Senate or the House and pinpoint with amazing accuracy how each member will vote on this. I imagine they could have pinpointed it at any time during this session. I’ll go a step further and say that they could probably predict what everyone who speaks on the issue will say.
So they’re not trying to convince one another. This is about something else.
If they had a chance of passing this into law, it would be a powerful thing, indeed. It would force the Supreme Court to either rule against it or let it stand. That could be great, or, if they uphold it, it could make the situation worse; potentially much worse. Everything you do in when you’re in public office can go great or turn sour. In issues with generational punch and Court oversight like this one, strategy is everything.
The reason I’m raising these questions is that I want you to peel back the layers of propaganda and think about what is really happening with your government. I want you to look at the legislative process with understanding. If Christians are to affect change in the world, we need to do more than watch the game and cheer for our side. We need to be able to see through the game.
So, give a thought or two about this bill to limit abortions and tell me what you think they’re doing. Do you think it has any chance to succeed legislatively? Do you think that one of the many similar laws that have passed in the various states will wend its way through the appeals process and on up to the Supreme Court? Do you think there’s any chance the Supreme Court will uphold that law if it does?
These are big questions, and I can tell you, I don’t know the answers to all of them.
What do you think?
Last week in The War on Girls: NYC Schools Pushing Plan B on Young Girls I wrote about NYC’s outrageous policy of pushing the morning after pill on teen-aged girls through the schools.
This week’s story is from a September 26 CNS article detailing an even more outrageous update to the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to make dangerous IUDs and hormonal implants the “first-line contraceptive options” for teen-aged girls, which should be “discussed at each doctor’s visit.” The updated guidelines recommend that doctors suggest these “longer term alternatives” that “can be left inserted inside a woman’s body and left in place for several years.”
I am seriously beginning to question if the health and well-being of girls is of any concern to the population control people. Also, just who is in charge of our various medical associations? It appears that social agendas take precedent over patient care with these groups, at least when the patient in question is a girl.
According to Dr Bill Toffler, professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, the devices this new update recommends in the Ob-Gyn guidelines are
“… typically expensive, costing hundreds of dollars, although under the Affordable Care Act, minors will have access to IUDs and other contraceptives at no cost, and in some states will be able to receive them without parental consent.
“The devices also release powerful hormones within the body and can lead to a significant risk of infection, especially during the early stages,” he said.
“Essentially, you’re putting a foreign body into a normally sterile cavity,” he explained.
“In addition, one in every 1000 women who use an IUD will have their uterus perforated, potentially putting their future fertility at risk,” he said.
Toffler warned that the promoters of the new guidelines “have thrown these concerns under the bus” in their zeal to reduce teenage pregnancy rates.
However, their attempts to do so may actually contribute to teenagers having “less inhibition” about sex and engaging in increasing levels of risky behavior, he said.
“People may be falsely reassured,” he explained, noting that with the average teenage relationship lasting only three months, many young people are already involved in numerous “fleeting” sexual relationships.
In addition, Toffler said, the promotions of IUDs are misleading, and women are not properly informed about how they function.
He explained that it is an undisputed fact that “one of the ways they work is to interfere with implantation,” thus ending the life of an already-created human embryo.
Some women who think they are simply using a preventive form of contraception may not realize that the device is also an abortion-inducing agent, he observed.
Toffler also said that he has had personal experience with women who became pregnant while using IUDs, posing a risk in removing the device. Such situations are also associated with higher proportions of ectopic pregnancies, which occur outside the womb and can be life-threatening for the mother. (Read more here.)
Suppose you were an IRS agent.
What would you think you were supposed to do in this situation?
Ashley McGuire, photo from CNA
That is the question raised by Ashley McGuire. Ms McGuire is a senior fellow at the Catholic Association and editor of AltCatholicah, a Catholic women’s web magazine.
“The HHs mandate hinges on what constitutes a religious entity,” she told CNA in a May 10 interview.
The IRS has “authority in determining what a religious entity is” for purposes of deciding while employers fall under the mandate’s requirements.
The IRS has now publicly admitted that non-profit organizations have been audited and otherwise harassed by the agency based on whether or not their names indicated they might be opposed to gay marriage, be pro life, or otherwise traditionally Christian. Some of the groups that were subjected to this unfair governmental discrimination and harassment were: Christian Voices for Life, Family Talk Action, National Organization for Marriage and Samaritan’s Purse.
The IRS forced some of these groups to discloses lists of their donors, the contents of their publications and what prayers they said at events.
Read more at CNA:
“So the very enforcers at the IRS, whose own inspector general admits they systematically targeted conservative and religious groups, will now get to decide who is entitled to ladle soup into a bowl for a homeless person without violating his or her conscience,” McGuire wrote in the Weekly Standard.
In the midst of the scandal in which “religious values were indeed scrutinized by bureaucrats,” the IRS will “gain new authority to determine what constitutes religious activity and which religious employers are entitled to conscience rights,” she continued.
“If the case for repealing this unjust intrusion on the free exercise of religion was always strong, in recent weeks it’s gotten stronger still,” she added.
McGuire told CNA that the only way to ensure that the sort of political targeting that has occurred already by the IRS does not result in an infringement on religious freedoms via the contraception mandate is to either “completely repeal the mandate” or give a religious exemption to “anyone who asks for an exemption.”
Do women need Planned Parenthood?
Every time anyone raises the question of cutting government funding for Planned Parenthood, the organization’s supporters — who range from the President of the United States, through many people in Congress to much of the media and a large number of the wealthiest and most powerful people sitting on boards, and heading up corporations and organizations throughout this nation — raise a clamor about “women’s health.”
You would think that Planned Parenthood was the only organization in this country that offered pap smears and birth control. You would also think that pap smears and birth control were all there was to women’s health care.
It has amazed me for a long time that no one calls them on this propagandistic approach to the question. Many times, the people ringing this alarm bell about Planned Parenthood and “women’s health” are the same ones who want to legalize prostitution and not only support but avail themselves of the services of women who they can pay to undergo surrogate pregnancies and submit to egg harvesting. In the entertainment world, they are also the people who put out the various forms of entertainment that depict women as sex things and promote rape and violence against women as entertainment.
They are, in short, misogynists. I include the “feminists” who support pornography, prostitution, egg harvesting and renting women for surrogate pregnancies among them.
It’s mind boggling, when you think of it like that, that these are the people we have accepted as the guardians of “women’s health.” Is it any wonder that they will go to the wall to defend Planned Parenthood. I can’t speak for the whole country, but here in Oklahoma, the interlocking boards between Planned Parenthood and organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, ACLU, the State Medical Association and most other high-powered boards is striking.
All of this raises the question: Do women really need Planned Parenthood? Can they get the same pap smears elsewhere? Will it cost them more to go elsewhere? After all, Planned Parenthood is not free. It gets money from the government to provide these services, rakes in money from private donations and also charges the women when the come in for care.
This Live Action video answers that question. Have a look and see.
I’m going to be writing about the “new” prostitution a lot in the months ahead. One of these new ways to objectify and exploit women is commercial surrogate pregnancy.
Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, is a stalwart battler for women’s human rights in the face of the new forms of dehumanization and exploitation that medical technology has placed in the hands of doctors. She has fought a hard and often futile battle against a money-hungry medical establishment which supports doctors in exploiting and harming their patients for monetary gain.
Simple Google Search Returned Pages of Hits Offering to Sell Women’s Bodies for Surrogacy
This technology is marketed as a solution for desperate families who can’t have children. In truth, what we have is the buying and selling of women and babies over the internet in what can only be described as a mass market for a new and virulent form of prostitution. The purchasers are wealthy people, including many powerful celebrities, who don’t want to be bothered with having children themselves, and homosexuals, especially gay men.
In my opinion, one reason this misogynist abuse of women has been allowed to flourish is that the churches are, even now, tone deaf about women’s human rights. They focus on the lives of the embryos that are mass produced by harvested eggs without considering that the women whose bodies are being farmed, and whose health and dignity as human being is being comprised, are also human beings whose human rights as well as their health and well-being are compromised by this practice.
In truth, egg harvesting and surrogacy is a one-two punch of human rights violations. It reduces both the babies and the women to the level of commodities to be bought and sold with no regard for their well-being.
It comes as no surprise to me that a lawmaker in Washington DC wants to swing the doors wide open on the abuse of women and children with this egregious practice. The lawmaker is Councilman David Catania and he says he does not expect any serious opposition since all he’s doing is “remedying … an imperfection in the law.”
Oklahoma City Ads for Buying Women’s Bodies to Use as Surrogates.
I just love the casual way people who are tone deaf to human rights, especially as they apply to women, decide that buying and selling women, using their bodies like appliances, and farming them like they were animals is not only an A-OK thing to do, it’s all for the greater good. Misogyny is truly a wonderment, isn’t it?
Surrogate Pregnancy Bill in D.C. Draws Criticism
Women and children are exploited through this popular ‘rent-a-womb’ practice, Jennifer Lahl charges.
Prayer, study and peaceful action.
What are you going to do for the Fortnight for Freedom 2013?
Bishop Francis Malooly of Maryland gives one of the most clear and easily understood outlines of the issues the Church and all Christians are facing in America today.
Judge Twyla Gray
Judge Twyla Gray sat opposite me twirling her fork in the salad on her plate.
She had just told me that she was going to have a prophylactic double mastectomy. Twyla, who was a cancer survivor, had learned that she carried the brca gene. This gene predisposed her to breast cancer.
It had been decades since Twyla went through a lumpectomy, chemo and then radiation to treat a small cancer doctors found in one of her breasts. At the time she was diagnosed, Twyla put her considerable wits to researching her cancer and interviewing treatment specialists all around the country. She had a small child and she wanted to live.
I remember quite clearly her husband reading the summary of a pathologist’s report concerning that cancer to me. It was an aggressive form of the disease, and the pathologist’s advice was that she needed aggressive treatment. Afterwards, I talked to a doctor friend of mine who told me that based on her experience with patients, a cancer of that type would eventually come back, no matter what Twyla did.
More than 20 years later, Twyla seemed to have proven the experts wrong. Test after test, check-up after check-up, she was cancer free. Her child grew up to be a fine person. Her marriage thrived. Her career took off and she ended up a district judge.
Everything was looking good for Twyla.
Then she had genetic testing and learned she had the brca gene. She would always be vulnerable to this type of cancer, which is what led her to make the appointment for what she had dreaded for a long, long time: Mutilating surgery.
I asked her how she was a few weeks later and learned that she had backed out of the surgery. Then, a few months after that, the cancer recurred. She beat it back.
Another year passed, and it recurred.
There was no beating it back this time. She would die of this disease. The docs gave her three months, but she fought and won a small, though costly, reprieve. Twyla lived another year after she got the three month prognosis. Some of that time was good time. But she earned those good days by enduring horrible treatments.
I have wondered if it would have made any difference if she had gone ahead with that surgery. In truth, I do not know. But part of me doubts it. I think that the time bomb had been ticking away in the form of an occult cancer cell hiding in a corner of her body for all those years she was “cancer free.”
That’s the purgatory of cancer. No matter how many times a cancer survivor gets a clean scan, they know, and everyone who loves them knows, that it may not be entirely true. The cancer may be playing its little waiting game before it comes charging back.
Angelina Jolie’s Appearance is Critical to Her Career
I read week before last about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a prophylactic double mastectomy. From what I read, it sounds as if Ms Jolie has the same gene my friend had. She has not had cancer, so maybe, just maybe, the surgery will save her.
All I know is that I am grateful to her for coming forward with the revelation that she has gone through this surgery. That can’t have been easy for a woman whose appearance and body are critiqued mercilessly every time she puts her foot outside her door.
Ms Jolie makes her living at least partly on the fantasies her audience has about her and her appearance. Prophylactic double mastectomies don’t quite fit with the sexy macho woman she plays in film. That kind of reality is part of our vulnerable human condition, not the cartoon character perfection of the characters she often plays.
It was a risk for her to share this. But it may encourage some other person (men can die of breast cancer, too, especially if they carry the brca gene) who gets the frightening news that they carry this gene the push they need to go under the knife for what can only be described as terrible surgery.
I want to add that the genetic testing to uncover this gene is expensive. Because of that, most people will not take the test. But if you have a history of cancer in your family, as Twyla did, especially if you have a history of breast cancer, it might be worth looking into.
When does life begin? Back when I was pro choice, I used to field that question in debates all the time.
I knew that the people asking the question meant human life. When does human life begin?
The answer is no use to us in the besetting questions of our age. Life, human life, doesn’t begin. We pass it from one to another like a baton in a relay race.
The reason for this largely useless answer is that the question itself is poorly worded. We don’t really mean When does life begin? What the questioners were trying to ask was, When does human life that we owe legal protection begin?
Unfortunately, even that question begs the underlying issue. Individual human life, with all its complexities, begins at conception. This is not theology. It is simple and obvious science. A human conceptus is a unique, perfect human being. So is a human embryo.
I was a human embryo. I do not mean that I was the makings of something that would become me. I, myself, was a human embryo. I was just as much me then as I was me when I was a six month unborn baby and when I was a 5-year-old kindergartner and now that I am a rambling, writing, mom, state legislator and all-around trouble maker.
I was always me at each one of these stages of my life. Life is something we pass from one another like a baton in a relay race. But our lives, our individual existences as persons, begins at conception.
You were an embryo, too, you know. In fact, you still are that embryo, only in another stage of life. Your life began at conception. Your earthly life will end at your death. But you will go on after that, and then, as now, you will always be you.
A reader who seems intransigent in his advocacy for killing little humans ranging from unborn late-term abortion victims back to the earliest conceptus, commented “I just can’t get worked up about microscopic embryos.”
Is that the reason so many people are willing to denude human beings of their humanity early on in their lives? Is it a matter of size?
It is important to remember that calling someone an “embryo” is an entirely arbitrary designation that people created for convenience. As it is used in practice the designation of this stage of a person’s life lasts from shortly after conception up to about 8 weeks. The person is, admittedly, tiny during this whole time, but they aren’t always microscopic. The question still remains: Would their lives matter more if they were the size of dinner plates?
I’m being a bit facetious here to make a point. Size shouldn’t be a death sentence. But when we begin to deny the obvious fact that these are human lives we are taking, we find ourselves in the conundrum of defining what makes the rest of us safe from the long knives of science.
The same science that gives you central heat and air can snuff you out like the flame on a match. The only thing holding it back is law.
The legal barriers we erect around human life are our only protection from the rapacious disregard for human beings that sits at the base of every godless philosophy. Science itself is neutral on the issues of God and morality. It is not inherently moral or immoral. It is, rather, amoral.
Our safety and security rests, not in the self-defined great minds of scientists, but in the little minds of politicians. It is politicians who have kept us from destroying every bit of life on this planet with the scientist’s great gift of nuclear weapons. It is politicians who erect the walls of legal safety behind which we hide against the darker impulses of those who have no regard for us at all. Politicians and the laws they write are the method we have for keeping the monsters beside us at bay.
Make no mistake about it, science has acquired the power to be a death-dealing monster that can destroy us all.
Are human embryos human beings? Of course they are. There isn’t any question about that. The question is, do we think we are capable of creating, exploiting and killing whole classes of human beings and not letting this death-dealing disregard for human life spread to the rest of us? The answer for any thinking person who has the least knowledge of human history is, no.
Once the law allows one group of people to kill other groups of people for any reason they chose, the gun is loaded, cocked and pointing at the rest of us, as well.
We already kill human beings throughout their pre-born life. We kill them because they are disabled. We kill them because they are “unwanted.” We kill them because they — unlike us, we seem to say — are going to die soon anyway.
Is that the new value on human life? To have a right to life, do you have to be “wanted,” or physically perfect, or not be going to die?
By that logic, there is no person on this planet who has a right to life.
Do you realize that? By the logic we apply to embryos, who are killed because they are too small to have a right to life, and for all unborn babies, who are killed because they are unwanted-disabled-going-to-die-anyway there is no person on this planet who has a right to life.
Is that exaggeration? I think not. The agitation for euthanasia is growing. Already several nations and a few of our states have taken down the wall to killing people who are a burden to others, in pain, mentally ill, depressed, etc. They pass these laws under the guise of — you guessed it — they will be dead soon, anyway. We’ll just kill the terminally ill, they claim. Nobody will die except those who volunteer for death, they tell us.
Why? Because if any group of people may be legally killed for reasons of their murderer’s devising, then all our lives are forfeit.
The selling of death by those who want to kill has become slightly more subtle than it times past, but the underlying message is the same.
Euthanasia Propaganda, Then
It’s only a small over-simplification to say that all these people at the vulnerable stages of life are dying because of money. Those who kill human embryos to harvest their body parts promise us miracles in a test tube that will give us cures for every dread disease. But what they are really about is massive amounts of government funding. Unborn children die because abortion is marketed by those who make money off it. They die because we would rather become murderers of our own children than write laws that protect women’s ability to have children and hold jobs, get educations and walk the streets without fear of rape. We kill the infirm, the depressed and the elderly, so they won’t be a “burden” on our health care industry.
We kill for money. We lie and twist the facts to claim that we are killing them for kindness’ sake. But in truth we have done away with the legal protections of the basic right to life of whole classes of people largely for money.
Does size matter? In the case of human embryos, size is a death sentence. But for other people we kill, it is just a matter of getting rid of what bothers us.
I haven’t mentioned theology or even morality as a reason for not killing whole classes of people with impunity. I don’t need to. There is an entirely secular reason for granting a universal right to life to all human beings at every stage of our earthly existence. That reason is self-preservation.
Unless you are one of the gods of our little earthly universe — one of the powerful, the wealthy, the “decision makers” who live in shadowy enclaves inside super zip codes and pull the strings on the rest of us — unless you are one of them, you need this wall of law to protect you.
Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.