Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

All that needs to be said regarding President Obama speaking at Notre Dame

Go here and read this:

I would love to hear a direct answer to that question.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pro-life Awesomeness

Since starting this blog I have found many resources regarding the abortion debate, and they have been so incredibly helpful that I figure I ought to share them with you (yes, all three of you).  I've kind of laid out the links based on a rough idea of how to construct a well reasoned argument against abortion.  

But before I do that, let me start by saying this; I think that it is always important when discussing any contentious topic to first acknowledge the goodwill of the other person.  After all, there are many women out there facing a tough and scary situation, and I honestly believe that many pro-choice advocates are just trying to help them out.  We should try and show them that the means does not justify the end with charity and respect.  

Ok, on to the links.

The first set has to do with how the different abortion procedures work, and what the end result looks like.  I think it is really helpful to start here because it provides context to the debate that is based in reality.  In depth discussions about abortion center often center around specific scientific details or abstract philosophical ideas, and it becomes very easy to forget what we are actually talking about.  

Quotes from abortion providers on how abortion works
http://www.priestsforlife.org/isthiswhatyoumean/isthiswhatyoumean.pdf  (scroll down to read the quotes in red)

Video series demonstrating how the different type of abortions work

Pictures of aborted babies organized by gestational age

The second set of links has to do with the central question of the abortion debate, what is the unborn?  This is THE crux of the issue.  If it is wrong to kill innocent human beings, and the unborn is not a living human being, then we should be free to perform abortions.  If the unborn is a living human being, then abortion is wrong.

There is not much debate in the scientific community about when a new human life begins from what I have seen.  The most informed and intellectually honest pro-choice advocates agree, life begins at fertilization (conception).

More quotes here, including one from Alan Guttmacher, the former President of Planned Parenthood.

Here is a paper that gets into the specifics of the the beginning of life, heavy reading, but well worth it.

The third set of links really gets into the philosophical debates that mostly revolve around the 'personhood' of the unborn.  Pro-choice advocates who understand that abortion kills a living human being will often defend their view by saying that this living human isn't yet a 'person' because of a lack of mental or physical development, or its size or number of cells, or its location, or its dependancy of the mother.  The first link is an informational website, the second two links point to podcasts that should be regular listening if you wish argue for the pro-life cause effectively.

http://lti-blog.blogspot.com/2009/02/lti-podcast-episode-3-serge.html (A great episode from the above podcast that addresses the bodily autonomy argument for abortion)

Live Action Films has exposed several different Planned Parenthood employees in several different clinics in several different states covering up statutory rape and showing young girls how to circumvent parental notification laws.  

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign gives a voice to those women who have had abortions and regretted it, and in some cases seen it ruin their lives.  These videos are incredible.

So thats a long list.  But I think when you look at everything, it seems impossible to me to justify the means that pro-choice advocates take to reach their end.  Women facing unplanned pregnancies do need our help, compassion, and not arrogant judgement.  But we cannot kill innocent human beings in order to reach this end.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Viability - how can life BEGIN only when we are pretty sure it won't end???

4D Ultrasound of a 24 week viable fetus
what abortion did to another 5 month old

One pro-abortion argument in my Crux of the Issue post that I didn't address goes something like this:  "The point where the fetus becomes viable is the most crucial point that can be used to determine when we should and shouldn't perform some/all abortions."

What does viability mean,  and what determines the point of viability?

Viability refers to the ability of the fetus to survive outside of the mother's womb.  The more interesting question though, is when is a fetus designated as viable?  Well that depends on a number of things.  First, at what point in history are you asking this question?  In the 1970's, babies born before 28 weeks were basically doomed.  Now, that threshold has been pushed back to 24 weeks, and some have survived when born around 21 weeks.

Technology and a greater understanding of neonatology have pushed the barrier back a few weeks closer to conception in the last 40 years, and this is an important point.  Fetal development has not changed in the last 40 years, only our understanding and ability to support a fetus outside of the womb has changed.  A fetus at 24 weeks that now has a chance at a long, full life is no different than a fetus at 24 weeks in the 70's that was almost certainly going to die.  Fetal viability is largely a function of our abilities, not the fetus's.  So why should we use this as a benchmark as to when we can abort or kill the fetus?

Are you saying that life begins at viability?

In light of the fact that the point of viability of the fetus is dependent on our knowledge and not the development of the fetus, this would seem to be a very poor spot to mark the beginning of life.  It would mean that a baby in the 18oo's and a baby in this century and possibly (if they ever figure out how to simulate a uterus) a baby born in the next century all had lives that began in different places.  This is of course the pinnacle of inconsistency, and therefore viability cannot determine when life begins.

There is another logical problem with stating that life begins at viability.  If viability is determined by the point at which it can survive outside the womb, that means that it is the point where the fetus has a good chance of not dying.  Of course, if something is going to die, it has to be alive first; this is kind of hard to get around.

Most abortion advocates are astute enough to recognize these points, which is why many resort to the whole "it may be alive, but it hasn't reached it's potential yet" which I addressed in the Crux post.  In short, if someone is alive, we have no business judging the value of their lives, especially if it is based on some threshold of potential that no one agrees upon.  By extension of this logic we might as well kill all the poor people in the world.  After all, you could say they haven't reached their potential, and they are just another mouth to feed, just like any unwanted baby.  Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?  Of course it does, but this is where the logic of the abortion rights movement leads us, and it is also where it started:
"The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it." Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922.

If we can do some abortions, we can do any and all abortions.

If viability is not indicative of the beginning of human life, then why should it have any impact on whether or not an abortion can be performed?  Often, the more serious abortion advocates also dismiss the threshold of viability as a useful point to determine if and when we should be able to perform an abortion.  They support abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy. 

It's perfectly viable if you leave it where it is supposed to be in the first place.

I can see being concerned about viability when dealing with a mother who is trying to carry her child to term and may deliver prematurely; surely you would want to do whatever you can to stave off the delivery until after viability has been reached.  This gives you increased odds of the continued survival of the fetus (note the word continued).

However, if you are trying to decide whether you can morally kill a fetus (or "terminate a pregnancy") that has every chance of living a full life if left to its own devices whether it is at 8 months or 8 weeks of gestation, it seems you have already ignored viability as a reason not to abort.


Really, there are two possibilities here when we look at the big picture in the abortion debate.  Either abortion takes an innocent human life, and represents the most fundamental human rights violation, or abortion does not take an innocent human life, and banning it would be a violation of the rights of the mother to do what she wishes with her own body.  

If fetal viability cannot speak to when life begins, than it can have no bearing on whether an abortion should or should not be done.  After all, many premature babies are not viable outside of their incubators, many are not viable without a respirator, and absolutely zero babies are viable without someone to feed and care for them every hour of the day.  Our viability has never made us more or less human, or at least it shouldn't.  

This leads us back (yet again) to the Crux of the Issue.  If an embryo or a fetus is an innocent living human being, we cannot kill it, whether it is "viable" or not.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What is the definition of newsworthy?

If over 300,000 people marched on the capital, would that be newsworthy?

If the march happened every year for thirty six years, would that be newsworthy?

If the march inspired countless marches all across the world, would that be newsworthy?

If members of congress from states all across the country publicly spoke at this march, would that be newsworthy?

If these 300,000 marchers contained Catholics, Jews, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians (and maybe more?) all marching together with a united purpose, would that be newsworthy?

If the first African American President in U.S. history took office just days before, and leaders of the black community including Dr. Alveda King, neice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived at this march to challenge this president on civil rights issues, would that be newsworthy?

I've been searching for press coverage on the March for Life 2009, and even with the almighty Google scouring the internet, the pickings are slim.  Try Googling the The New York Times and March for Life 2009, you won't find anything.  An LA Times article found 2 of the approximately 10 abortion advocates at the march and decided that a picture of the two of them would be the most accurate representation of the other 300,000+ prolifers that were there.  Most other mainstream media mentioned the "thousands" or "tens of thousands".  It seems that they don't want to talk about it, or show how big it was.

Why is this?  Why would 300,000 people in the Mall be completely ignored by the media?
A liberal bias?  I'm sure there is some of that, but Fox News didn't seem to have much coverage either.
Old news?  Some of that too, I suppose.


Maybe this is just a really unpleasant subject that doesn't make our readers/listeners feel good so they might change the channel or read something else.  

Where do you get your news from?

There were several speakers on the coverage that I watched on EWTN, here is one, Pastor Luke Robinson.  He shows how abortion is just the latest chapter in the same civil rights battle that Martin Luther King fought.  And this man can give a speech!

The speech that really stuck with me though, was a woman who told an intensly personal story about her own abortion.  I couldn't find her speech on YouTube, but I am sure the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will have it up soon.  Here are three videos from previous demonstrations, they are, well... just watch.

In fact, go to the Silent No More Awareness Campaign's YouTube website and watch their videos.  No amount of reasoning or logic can say what we are trying to say as well as these women can.

How is this not newsworthy?