Dedicated to loving parents everywhere.
Rumors aside, it appears that Pope Francis is not going to overturn the 2,000-year-old Church teaching on the sanctity of Holy Matrimony.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller published an article in the Vatican newspaper, putting that story to rest.
Archbishop Muller writes that marriage is indissoluble as is testified in both Scripture and Tradition.
As an American, I find British law confusing, which, I expect is equally true of the British when they try to consider American law.
My understanding of the current legal situation concerning sex selected abortion in Britain is, to put it in American terms, that the agency charged with enforcing the statute has determined that it is, if a single loophole is followed, unenforceable.
The decision was based on a request for prosecution of two doctors who agreed to perform a sex selected abortion that was part of an undercover operation by a British newspaper. The exception on which the decision not to prosecute these two doctors was based is a provision in British law that allows abortions for reason of the baby’s gender whenever two physicians certify that “continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the woman or any existing children of her family.”
That sounds very much like the health of the mother exceptions that have allowed terminations of pregnancies right up until the baby is born here in the US. In fact, it sounds as if sex-selected abortion was already legal in Britain, even before the Crown Prosecution Service decision not to prosecute under this law. If that is true, and the law I’ve seen reads like it is, then the CPS decision was a formality.
The report from the CPS talks about the difficulty the prosecution would face proving that the doctors in question were acting in bad faith. It describes this situation as “a narrow basis for any prosecution.”
Because of these things, the CPS declined to prosecute the two doctors in question. It also, so far as I understand these things, gave an explanation as to why any prosecutions for sex-selected abortion would be extremely unlikely.
In America, we would say that the CPS had made a de facto decision legalizing same-sex abortion in Britain. I’ve read comments, including a circular and mush-mouthed statement from the Prime Minster, saying that there is no such thing as a de facto decision in British law. That leaves me wondering what they call it.
If the agency charged with enforcing a law says that they won’t enforce it because it is unenforceable, then it sounds to me like this agency has, de facto, repealed the law. In addition, if the quotations supplied by the CPS in their discussions of this decision are both accurate and inclusive of the British law on sex selected abortion, I think they are probably right. This law is unenforceable except in the rare case where a doctor is stupid enough to do a sex-selected abortion without getting another doctor to sign off on it for him or her.
So far as I know, there has not been any legislation passed in Britain formally legalizing sex-selected abortion. However, when the agency charged with enforcing a law says that they will not enforce it because the law is unenforceable, then it sounds like it’s been repealed to me.
Britian’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, affirmed this even as he denied it when he answered a question that included the statement “a female fetus in the womb today is more vulnerable than she was last week” by saying
… But in our country we do have independent prosecuting authorities. It’s very importance that they look at the evidence and they make a decision on the basis of likelihood of getting a conviction and the public interest in making a case and taking it to court. That’s how things have to work in our country, but I share her concern about what we’ve read and what has happened and it’s absolutely right that professional action should be considered as well.
For those who aren’t fluent in the language, that’s political-speak for “Yes.”
The facts as I know them — and I will be happy to write about any difference in facts as they pop up — is that sex selected abortion is now free of the threat of prosecution in Britain so long as two doctors sign off on the sex selected abortion in accordance with the parameters established under the law.
I would guess that it is possible that this law will be re-written to make it enforceable in the future. However, that may not happen. I can not predict.
Quotes from CPS communications about the decision, as well as links to the original documents, are below:
According to a letter from Keir Starmer, who is the Director of Public prosecutions to Dominic Grieve, MP, the loophole in the law is that:
The law does not, in terms, expressly prohibit gender-specific abortions; rather it prohibits any abortion carried out without two medical practitioners having formed a view, in good faith, that the health risks of continuing with a pregnancy outweigh those of termination.
… the discretion afforded to doctors under the current law in assessing the risk to the mental or physical health of a patient is wide and, having consulted an experienced consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, it appears that there is no generally accepted approach among the medical profession.
There is also the difficulty that, on its face, the HSA/1 form which doctors are required to use to certify their assessment of a patient, does not require them to see or examine the patient before forming a view. Against that background, it would be very difficult for a jury to assess what may or may not be an “adequate” assessment by the doctor and there is a real risk that different juries would reach different decisions on essentially the same facts.
Abortion on the grounds of fetal sex
Deacon Greg has the story.
Mikey Weinstein, former legal counsel to the administration of President Reagan, has scored what I would imagine is to him another big victory. Thanks to a phone call from Mr Weinstein, the Air Force Academy has made the phrase in its oath “so help me God” optional.
Just in case someone might be tempted to mistake Mr Weinstein for a civil libertarian, let’s consider an article I discussed earlier that he wrote for the Huffington Post:
That, my friends, is hate speech directed at Christians. It is the same kind of hate speech that has preceded overt discrimination and violent persecution of groups of people all over the world. It says all anyone needs to know about Mr Weinstein, his organization and their goals.
Predictably, Mr Weinstein is not satisfied with making “so help me God” optional. He wants the phrase removed from the oath altogether. Also predictably, he claims that his motivations are based on his desire for “freedom.”
From the Associated Press:
DENVER (AP) — Air Force Academy cadets are no longer required to say “so help me God” at the end of the Honor Oath, school officials said Friday.
The words were made optional after a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group, that they violated the constitutional concept of religious freedom.
Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said the change was made to respect cadets’ freedom of religion.
The oath states, “We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.”
Cadets are required to take the oath once a year, academy spokesman Maj. Brus Vidal said.
Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, welcomed the change but questioned how it will be applied.
If the person leading the oath includes the words, cadets who choose not to say them might feel vulnerable to criticism, he said.
“What does it mean, `optional’?” Weinstein said. “The best thing is to eliminate it.”
Vidal said the oath is led by the Cadet Wing honor chair, a student, and that person will also have the option to use or not use the words.
Academy officials did not immediately return a follow-up call seeking comment on Weinstein’s question.
It began — at least for me — when Public Catholic reader Manny shared this link.
That led me to a google search where I found links from
all of which say that Manny’s link is correct. The UK has done one of those this-is-how-we-interpret-the-law laws that now allows doctors to perform sex-selected abortions.
I’m not going to comment about this right now. I feel like somebody hit me and I need to get my breath back.
However, just for your reading pleasure, I’ll include one last link. It’s from a “feminist” group explaining how killing baby girls is … well … too “complex” to be illegal. They think that it’s basically ok so long as it’s the woman’s choice to kill her baby because the baby is a little girl.
To paraphrase Lily Tomlin, I try to be cynical folks. But I just can’t keep up.
Brazil and Mexico have joined Germany and France in protesting American spying on their leaders and citizens.
When on when will someone in Congress take a brief timeout from attacking members of the other political party and speak up for the American people?
Why are we the only ones our government can violate without anybody speaking up for us? Why is the government listening in on our phone calls and reading our emails without any resistance from the people we’ve elected to speak for us in government?
That is their job, you know. They are supposed to speak for us – not their political parties and not special interests, but for us – in government. That’s why it’s called a representative democracy. The men and women we send to the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives are supposed to be our representatives in government. They are our voice at the table.
So why aren’t they doing their job?
Why are they so dead, flat silent about this?
Here’s a suggestion for these folks: Try representing the people who elected you, Mr or Ms Congressperson.
You’ll get roughed up by your colleagues and the lobbyists who buy your lunch and laugh at your tasteless jokes. You may even find out that your jokes weren’t ever all that funny. But you’ll never have to be afraid to go home and face your district again.
Would you like to call President Obama and demand that he stop tapping your phone?
Some people have done just that.
According to a New York Times article, German Chancellor Angela Merkel dialed up the president and angrily demanded assurance that he was not tapping her cell phone. French President Francois Hollande summoned the American Ambassador and expressed “extreme approbation” over NSA spying on French citizens.
It’s too bad we the people don’t have someone to make a similar call to the president for us.
We do have someone.
We have our elected representatives in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. The only trouble is that they’re in the bag on the plans to spy on us, right along with the Orwellian press.
So … does that mean we don’t have anyone to speak out for us?
Yes. It does.
From the New York Times:
BERLIN — The diplomatic fallout from the documents harvested by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden intensified on Wednesday, with one of the United States’ closest allies, Germany, announcing that its leader had angrily called President Obama seeking reassurance that her cellphone was not the target of an American intelligence tap.Washington hastily pledged that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, leader of Europe’s most powerful economy, was not the target of current surveillance and would not be in the future, while conspicuously saying nothing about the past. After a similar furor with France, the call was the second time in 48 hours that the president found himself on the phone with a close European ally to argue that the unceasing revelations of invasive American intelligence gathering should not undermine decades of hard-won trans-Atlantic trust.Both episodes illustrated the diplomatic challenge to the United States posed by the cache of documents that Mr. Snowden handed to the journalist Glenn Greenwald. Last week, Mr. Greenwald concluded a deal with the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to build a new media platform that aims in part to publicize other revelations from the data Mr. Greenwald now possesses.The damage to core American relationships continues to mount.Last month, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil postponed a state visit to the United States after Brazilian news media reports — fed by material from Mr. Greenwald — that the N.S.A. had intercepted messages from Ms. Rousseff, her aides and the state oil company, Petrobras. Recently, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which has said it has a stack of Snowden documents, suggested that United States intelligence had gained access to communications to and from President Felipe Calderón of Mexico when he was still in office.
According to a first-person account from LifeNews.com, Yale University recently held it’s first pro life conference. The conference was called Vita et Veritas.
The event was hosted by Choose Life at Yale, the campus pro life group. Speakers included representatives from the American Life League, Feminists for Life, and Secular Pro life.
This past weekend, CLAY hosted the first pro-life conference at Yale, called “Vita et Veritas” which means “life and truth” in Latin. Vita et Veritas is a conference that seeks to make the pro-life vision intelligible on college campuses. The event took place at the St. Thomas Moore Chapel with speakers who represented different pro-life perspectives on abortion.
Some of the speakers included Clark Forsythe from Americans United for Life; Hardley Arkes, a faculty member of Amherst College, who was the main architect of the bill that became know as the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act and author of the book Natural Rights and the Right to Choose“; William L. Saunders, Senior VP for Legal Affairs at Americans United for Life; and Matt Bennett, founder and president of the Christian Union. The full list of speakers and their bios can be foundhere.
The conference had an interfaith panel that discussed the importance of cooperation in the pro-life community between religious and secular groups. This panel included Suzy Ismail from the Center for Muslim Life and Secular Pro-Life President Kelsey Hazzard. Ismail said that many Muslims don’t speak out against abortion, despite having pro-life views. She has been told herself to not talk about abortion when she’s spoken at Muslim conferences. Yet she believes that Muslims have a responsibility to speak out on the issue of abortion. Secular Pro-Life President Hazzard says there are 6 million Americans who are non-religious and pro-life. She represents their voice as she seeks to raise awareness.
Sally Winn, Vice President of Feminists for Life, was also a guest speaker. She gave a talk entitled “Refuse to Choose: Reclaiming Feminism,” in which she discussed how she became pregnant while in college and kept her child. Winn acknowledged how hard it was raising a child in college, with little support, no day care for undergraduates, and no changing tables at the university.
She discussed Yale’s basic health plan, which fully covers abortions yet doesn’t cover the costs of most deliveries. She stated that a student could have to pay $400 out of pocket for a delivery even with “Hospitalization/Specialty Coverage.” Those conditions make it much easier for students to abort than give birth to their children.
Winn is advocating the need for universities to improve their resources so mothers on campus will feel the freedom to have children on campus. She told the Yale Daily News, “I think the future is really bright if we focus on what women need[.] … In my daughter’s lifetime it will be more commonplace for pregnant women to be on college campuses.”
The Supreme Court says that Obamacare is a new tax on Americans.
President Obama agrees.
That is the basis for the Court’s decision to allow the mandates forcing the American people to buy insurance stand. They are not, in the Court’s view, a mandate to purchase a product. They are, rather, a tax on the American people.
Ok then, let’s look at Obamacare as a tax.
Based entirely on what I saw when I went to the website yesterday, this new tax is a hefty one.
Let’s look at the lower end of the income spectrum first. Based on what I saw when I visited the healthcare.gov website, if you have a family of four with two children under the age of 18, and your family income totals less than $35,000 per year, your premium for Obamacare will be somewhere around $1200/year. That comes to a hike in your monthly taxes of about $100/month.
I am using Oklahoma figures for this estimate, and Oklahoma did not set up a health care exchange. It may be better for those in other states. I hope so.
My husband and I had a monthly income even lower than this when our kids were little. We qualified for free and reduced lunches at school. A car with 100,000 miles on it was new to us. My husband did all our auto repairs himself, in the driveway in front of our house. I carefully balanced meals to keep us well fed and the grocery bills do-able. Both my husband and I went without clothes, new glasses (even when we were having trouble seeing) and dental work so the kids could have those things.
I can tell you that an extra $100/month tax hike would have been a big bite for us back then. It would have had to come out of necessity money.
Now, let’s go to the other end. Consider those “wealthy” families of four with two kids under 18 who have a combined family income of $90,000 per year. Housing/automobiles/education/clothing/food/gasoline/etc are all massively more expensive now than they were even a few years ago. If the house hunter shows I watch on HGTV are accurate, home ownership (at least on the coasts) is totally out of sight for the family that makes $35,000/year and barely in sight for the $90,000 earners.
If a simple three bedroom one bath house costs between $200,000 – $300,00 and even a modest new car costs over $20,000 and a community college with the kid living at home costs $4,000-$5,000/year and gasoline hovers around $4/gallon, as does a gallon of milk, then $90,000 only seems rich to those who are barely scraping by.
Add another $6,000 or $7,000 in annual taxes for healthcare that was previously paid for by your employer (this is a bit of conjecture that employers are going to be less inclined to provide health insurance after Obamacare sinks in) and things start looking almost as dicey for these $90,000 earners as it did for my husband and me back in the day.
The point here, at least for me, is that the primary winners in the Obamacare sweepstakes are the insurance companies and a few favored recipients such as Planned Parenthood. In exchange for guaranteed minimum coverage and paying for abortions they get government enforced enrollment in their wares and their premiums become a tax.
I’m not talking here about the serious considerations of cost to the tax payer in terms of government expenditures to underwrite this plan. That is going to come around and bite us in a more indirect, but perhaps more damaging way as time goes by.
I personally think that there were any number of better ways to provide health care for those who didn’t have it. I also do not believe that Obamacare is going to “contain” rising health care costs. I think that, by underwriting them, it will probably turn health care costs into something akin to the defense budget and largesse to corporations — an ever-enlarging pork barrel that devours the treasure of this nation.
Will Obamacare “work?”
Probably. At least somewhat.
I think that it will provide health care insurance for most Americans.
But it is also going to eat into their personal finances. What our elected officials don’t seem to get is that the American people are stretched financially like a piano wire already. They’re having to work more than one job each, just to make ends meet. Every passing year, inflation (which government formulas no longer accurately represent) eats deeper into their already stretched budgets, and every passing year, their incomes stagnate or fall.
Good jobs keep going away. For decades now, the news has been about this or that American corporation leaving this country to go use cheap labor elsewhere to manufacture its wares, which it then sells to the American people.
We are being robbed.
Will Obamacare fix this?
Does it even address it?
No and no.
What it does do is underwrite a medical care system that is deeply flawed and overpriced. It puts insurance companies on the government dole and uses a new direct tax on the American people to pay for that.
I have always believed that this country had to address the need for affordable health care. I am not a neocon. Far from it. I personally know people who forego necessary medical care because of costs. In fact, I have been one of them.
However, this plan is more an accommodation to special interests than a solution for those problems. There is a limit on what the budget of the ordinary American can absorb. I think this plans pushes a lot people painfully close to that limit.
The question, of course, is what Obamacare will look like in years going forward. The tinkering with this plan has not even begun. There is also the question of whether or not it will be repealed by future Congresses.
Personally, I doubt it. Once the plan locks in and the special interests start getting their take, the political will to either repeal or reform Obamacare will vanish like smoke in your morning coffee.
I didn’t sign up because I already have health care coverage.
However, I did go to the Obamacare website at healthcare.gov and put myself through the steps. I got to the point where I select a plan and click “buy.”
It worked ok for me.
I dunno. Maybe I didn’t go far enough with it.
Or maybe I have a magic touch.
What I did learn is that the premiums for health care are no bargain. If health insurance wasn’t affordable before Obamacare, it will become a major burden, at least for the middle class, after Obamacare. The premiums I was offered were actually higher than what my employer pays for my insurance.
I played with the numbers a bit, and if I had an income under $35,000 and a family of four with two children under 20, the premiums would become affordable. This is because the government pays a tax credit directly to the insurance company, which subsidizes the health insurance costs of the family. That’s part of where the huge increases in government spending come in.
Obamacare appears to be set up a lot like Medicare, except that Medicare actually is a big cost reducer for the citizen taxpayer. The best plan that I was offered also included the messiness of paying at least 10% of my health care costs out of pocket. Ten percent of the cost of treatment for cancer or something equally serious puts most people into bankruptcy territory.
Beginning in 2015, employers who offer health insurance are going to have to meet the coverage requirements of Obamacare. I imagine that will lead to considerable sticker shock for these employers and that many of them will stop offering health care to their employees.
That will push people who had previously had their health care subsidized by their employer into paying for their own costs through Obamacare. Many of these people will earn enough money that they don’t qualify for the tax credit. They will face a sudden increase in expenditure for health care, and, based on what I saw on the web site, it won’t be a small one.
I am not talking about wealthy people. I mean households with a combined income of say, 90,000 dollars or more. These are people who have to make car and mortgage payments, deal with ever increasing costs in everything from gasoline to tuition, and who fall through all the cracks when it comes to getting help. Obamacare is going to squeeze them.
To summarize: I think Obamacare will be an expensive problem for both the middle class and the government. The people it will help the most are lower-income working couples with young children who make too much money to get other forms of aid and don’t get employer-sponsored health insurance.
I need to add a serious disclaimer to these conclusions in that this is a cursory take on a complicated program. Also, I went through the web site as an Oklahoman and Oklahoma has not set up health care exchanges. Maybe I got higher premiums because of that.
But my takeaway from visiting the web site is that, yes, I at least can use the web site, and, yes, I think Obamacare itself has serious flaws regarding costs to the taxpayer, both in terms of coverage and the costs to our government.