Sunset for the Culture of Life

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The battle to end legal abortion in America is over. The election and reelection of Barack Obama has made Roe v. Wade a permanent part of American life, with tens to hundreds of millions of unborn babies the coming casualties. Barack Obama got two Supreme Court picks in his first term and will get more in his second.

But it’s worse than that. All of us will now be handmaidens in this destruction. In the not-so-distant past, abortion advocates didn’t demand that all of us forcibly pay for their abortions—and for Planned Parenthood, contraception, and embryo destruction. They weren’t demanding that taxpayer-funded contraception become a new “entitlement.” That, too, has changed under Barack Obama, and we will not be able to conscientiously object as faithful Catholics.

This is a devastating defeat. The heights of abortion absurdity will be thrust to once unimaginable depths.

On November 6, 2012, we witnessed the sunset for the Culture of Life in America.

And who’s to blame? The answer is Roman Catholics, or, I should say, self-identified Catholics. They make up a quarter of the electorate, and they went for Barack Obama big-time in 2008 and by 50-48 percent in 2012, mirroring and molding the popular vote.

To be sure, the numbers for 2012 are deceiving. The self-identified Catholics who voted for Obama include millions who rarely go to Mass. To the contrary, Catholics who attend Mass weekly voted for the pro-life Mitt Romney by a strong margin, 57-42 percent. White Catholics supported Romney by 59-40 percent. Sadly, they weren’t enough.

There were two groups of Catholics who elected Obama: apathetic Catholics and Hispanic Catholics. Hispanics went for Obama by an amazing 71-27 percent margin, and they were 10 percent of the electorate.

But that doesn’t let Catholics en masse off the hook. There were literally millions of Catholics who attend Mass weekly and voted for Barack Obama. In so doing, they also voted—whether they realize it or not—for the sunset of the Culture of Life in America.

For Catholic Exchange dot com and Ave Maria Radio, I’m Paul Kengor.

Dr. Paul Kengor

By

Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Voice

    Actually the MOST shocking stat above is that 42% of Catholics regularly attending Mass voted for Obama. Wow. I certainly agree w/ your article. WE are responsible. Catholics. And even 42% of Mass attending Catholics. Wow. I would have expected the stat to be much lower for attending Catholics. We reap what we sow.

  • DYoung

    You may be right that “The battle to end legal abortion in America is over.” That battle may have been lost, but the WAR will still continue. Make sure that after you read the above article you also read http://catholicexchange.com/onward-christian-soldier-onward/

  • CDville

    A lot depends on the pastors of the churches. At our parish, we must educate ourselves. The pastor never attends nor acknowledges the annual Bishop’s Pro-Life Dinner, never mentions life issues. On the Sunday before the election the bulletin insert on conscience was about solidarity with the poor. One woman was wearing a bright red Obama t-shirt and sat near the front, on the aisle, so all could see. Of course, she received communion. My heart breaks. My daughter says I should tell the bishop.

  • Charlie500

    and Jesus said that not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven. They will ask to come in declaring that they know Him but He will declare to them, “Depart from me you who are wicked, I do not know you.” Matt 7:21-23

  • Bob F

    Dr. Kengor; from a human perspective, I am 100% in agreement with your assessment of the situation. However, our hope now must be in our prayer. It’s time for the truly faithful to put their faith into high gear. No more laying back and putting our hope and trust in political processes and human efforts pulling us through. We must, and should have been all along, putting our hope and trust in Jesus. And trust that God allowed this election to happen as it did to pull us closer to him in greater numbers than ever before. In the realm of what is important, what is happening in this life is meaningless in the realm of eternal life with God.

    My godfather passed away the day before the election. He lived half way across the country. But I trust that he lived a holy and peaceful life by the description from relatives on how peaceful his death was. Assuming his life is now with God, his only concern for life on earth is praying for those whom he loved when he was alive. Nothing material matters to him.

    So if by our constant prayer and devotion to Christ, he may answer our prayers in a way we can’t imagine would ever happen. Just ask St. Monica.

  • SJM

    In terms of the two groups of Catholics who voted for Obama, “the apathetic and HIspanics” – actually, many of the Catholics who voted for Obama were not apathetic at all. They include pastors and priests and deacons and laypeople who were strongly in favor of Obama and his anti-life agenda and very much for his social issues such as “marriage” equality and free contraception and sterilization.

    Many of these were activists rather than apathetic people. And, they included a number of people who are daily communicants, which is astounding to me. They obviously do not see the disconnect in their thinking. We should be reaching out to them first. Maybe they don’t know about the horrible pain people inflict on these innocent babies.

  • choiceone
  • Guest

    The mistake is not because of catholic voters. The mistake is relying on politics to make the difference. Romney and the GOP are NOT pro-life. To act as if they are is to act upon a lie. They toss it to us like a nickel tip, and we get less than that in return and always have. It is time to rely on conversion and to finally GROK IT that politics and politicians are using us and playing us for fools. They will use this to further mock the Church when in fact they decided the outcome of this election years ago by their own admission. We have been told there would be a ‘great deception’ that would hook in even the elect, and politics is a BIG PART OF IT.

  • Juergensen

    Don’t lay it all on the Catholics in the pews.

    After the 2008 election, EWTN News Chief Raymond Arroyo reportedly said, “The bishops I spoke to say that maybe half of their brother bishops, if not more, voted for Obama.”

    Indeed, having read the USCCB’s misleading “Faithful Citizenship”, it is no surprise to me that so many Catholics voted for Obama.

    Sheep following their shepherds?

  • http://www.facebook.com/grace.lo.7543 Grace Lo

    My heart is very troubled and filled with sorrow after election. I experienced a great deal of mental anguish before deciding to become a Catholic. Because of God’s personal calling, I left a Christian church after attendance of 30 years. Now my anguish and sorrow increase when I ponder if I should continue financially contributing to convents and friaries, even Catholic Church for them to lead many souls to condemnation. Catholic Church fails her mission to preach the truth and save souls.

    The term Social Justice is very confusing and misused. For me social justice is equivalent to Socialism. By misrepresenting this term Social Justice, Democratic Party/Obama encourage people to commit two of the seven deadly mortal sins, Sloth and Envy. Social justice claims to help the poor, but even those liberal nuns and priests clothe the poor and give them a drink, but fail to save their souls, they fail their religious calling/vocation and are accountable before God.

    Our precious Jesus, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering, died for our sins, and he came down from heaven to convert sinners and save souls. Jesus said in Book of Mark (9:42), “And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eyes cause you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and their fire Is not quenched.”

    Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will NOT pass away.” (Matthew 24:35.) Be holy, because I am holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrew 12:14). Our lord and our God is loving, kind, merciful, and compassionate, but He is also holy, Just, righteous, and sovereign. ” For we must all appear before the judgement seat, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 4:10). Our Lord and our God was, is and will be a Righteous Judge.

    “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not SIN against you.” Psalm 119:9

  • Rich

    NO!, NO!, NO! The war for life is NOT over, not unless you and others like you depend on the government for your right to speak out and fight. Since when do real Catholics need the approval of or bonding with government to teach about the horrors of abortion? The only reason some think that is because so many of our spineless bishops have adopted that plan from the beginning. Instead of them doing their job of teaching from the pulpits as the “A” team they have abdicated their responsibility to government and the laity. YES, something is over but it isn’t the battle for life issues, it’s the end of allowing complacent and complicit bishops to remain silent. Jesus didn’t depend on the approval of government to teach the truth and neither can we, including spineless bishops. They have been on the wrong track with their cozying up to government to get life issues supported from the beginning.

    If you belong to a diocese or parish that is silent on abortion and other life issues it’s time to let them know that you are moving on to one that will teach real Catholic beliefs and stand tall without government. That’s what I’m going to do and all other real pro-lifers need to do the same.

    We ARE NOT DEFEATED, we have just begun to fight!!

  • Ben

    Dear Grace,

    What a wonderful name you have! Please do not be discouraged. Remember, the Catholic Church may be made up of sinful men and women, but she (the Church) is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23–32), and Christ is her bridegroom!

    While some convents and monasteries contain people who might have strayed from the Truth, that does not mean that all have. I myself am discerning the call to monastic life (and I admit I am a sinner), and in my search I have found MANY faithful communities of men. These truly solid communities need the financial support of the Catholic faithful to remain a blessing to the world.

    I am saddened by the way the world is headed. However, we must be hopeful and trust that, even in the most dire of times, the grace of God is even more abundant to those who would receive it.

    God bless you, and please pray for me as I discern my vocation and seek a pure heart so I might see God.

    -Ben

  • http://www.facebook.com/grace.lo.7543 Grace Lo

    Thank you, Ben. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  • Helen

    It is NEVER TOO LATE WITH GOD! One must never believe this or you think you are in control and not God. He is in control and He will hear the cries of His faithful and His dearly beloved babies that face murder. I will never believe it is over. I will never stop praying. All things are possible with God! We have just begun to fight! A friend told me that a million people voted for Jesus! This we know was a wasted vote for Pro-Life. Yes, there was hope with Romney, but the true real hope is with God. Of course He can change world events in a heart beat!

  • mk.c

    Karl Rahner wrote: “Have we ever tried to trust God when we seemed to be calling out into emptiness and our cry seemed to fall on deaf ears, when it looked as if we were taking a terrifying jump into the bottomless abyss, when everything seemed to become incomprehensible and apparently senseless?”

    Well, it seems that’s where many pro-life people are right now – standing over the abyss, thinking all is lost and we don’t understand – it seems so senseless.

    “…the spirit is more than merely a part of this temporal world …human meaning is not exhausted by the meaning and fortune of this world…” [KR] We live to fight another day and trust that God will help us find another path.

  • Florin S.

    Nov.12th: Sorry Paul, but you are definitely wrong! Unless, of course, God is dead and the Holy Spirit has stopped working. I know those who would have been so relieved if Romney had won that they would have stopped working as vigorously as they had been for the unborn baby and the mothers…now, they have geared up and finding new strategies for defeating the enemies of life. One is to respectfully challenge Bishops and Pastors to start teaching from the Pulpit about the sacredness of each and every human life; to speak about Christ and His teachings; politics does not save souls and it does not save human babies destined for extermination by Obama and his anti-life agenda, helped by Pelosi, Biden and other prominent politicians permitted to call themselves Catholic.

  • Dan

    A couple things here:
    1. We are talking a political reality-not a cultural reality. Over 50% of Americans are pro-life, What they need is more education. And we are called to do just that. Political realities always trail cultural realities. That is why it took a generation to elect someone like Obama after the changes in the 60′s.

    2. Being authentically Catholic means we must take the L-O-N-G view. There were generations of faithful Catholics who lived under severe persecution, etc. and their blood and perseverance are our legacy. It’s just our turn.

    3. We, as laity, need to begin publicly calling out priests and bishops who thwart the Gospel and Magisterium. And I do mean, PUBLICLY and constantly. It is our responsibility to name them and pray for their conversion to authentic Catholicism.
    For instance, if a website was available with names of priests and bishops who do not support Church teaching-a listing of their names, addresses and email might be circulated and engaged.

    4. In this year of Faith, we are called to evangelize. I would suggest we NEVER allow anyone to speak a falsehood about what our Faith teaches and that, as a Work of Mercy-we admonish the person. If this makes you feel strange, you might want to pray about your spirit of boldness and remember that luke warm believers are unacceptable to Our Lord.

    In other words, talk is cheap. Its time to step up our game and DO things and pray like crazy for our decaying culture, all the while remembering the HOPE we have in Christ of our eternal citizenship in Heaven.

  • DYoung

    I am sorry you have been so misguided.

  • Poppiexno

    Where are the bishops? Where are the shepherds? Where are the leaders? Who is the 21st century St. Francis? Who is the contemporary Bishop Sheen? For decades the NCCB has been left-leaning. Pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians are, with some exceptions, left unchalenged. Is it any wonder that the sheep are confused and misguided? Yes, the NCCB finally woke up on the issue of providing abortion and contraceptives but it has a long way to go to make up lost ground.

  • choiceone

    I haven’t been misguided by the post to which I offered you a link. I have been pro-choice since the day I learned to my horror that there were any state anti-abortion laws long ago in high school in the 1960s. It had never occurred to me in my life up to that point that anyone would dream that he or she had a right to use human law, and the police violence that underpins its enforcement, to control anyone’s sex organs against that person’s will, conscience, and freedom of religion. After all, that is what rapists and sex abusers do, and rape and sex abuse are serious crimes. I have never changed or wavered in my entire life in this view.

    The woman who wrote the post to which I offered the link is, in my opinion, a little naive, for she has clearly done less research on this issue than I have and fails to mention various parts of the issue. But my point in posting this link is to let you know that, when women get educated and do serious research on this issue, they usually become pro-choice, and to give you a sample of the large literature indicating what exactly it is that makes that happen.

    Unlike many pro-choice people, I am not at all afraid of the pro-life movement because I am serenely sure of the pro-choice cause. Hence, I have read many pro-life sites and learned much from them for that cause, and some have been very insightful and useful. I take a dispassionate perspective on our disagreement on this issue and would really like to see pro-life people make the most informed, educated, and serious cases they can for their cause, even if I believe it is a lost cause. For that reason, I offered the link.

  • Helen

    First of all the newspaper you sent us to is the most liberal ever. And like the all the liberal media during the months that led up to the election, they told nothing but lies and did not report the true facts about obama and his pro-death agenda or anything else for that matter (ie Benghazi) The only reason that people are pro-choice is so that they can sleep with whoever they want, whenever they want and totally deny God’s laws regarding fornication (Biblical!). Period! They need an out for their own guilt and that is the pro-choice movement. I was car-jacked and kidnapped and nearly raped and murdered 12 years ago this month, and if God had not saved me through the power of prayer (Our Father prayed out loud) and delivered me from evil, I would have had my baby and put it up for adoption! I promise you that. Abortion is murder no matter how you look at it!
    Years ago when Our Lady was appearing to Nancy Fowler in Conyers, Ga. I went several times. After one of Her Apparitions to Nancy, she answered questions from the people there. A man asked what the gravest sin in God’s eyes was and that would send a man to Hell. Without any thought she said: Fornication outside of marriage as it causes abortion-murder. I will never forget her words. EVER!

  • CatholicVoter

    You post a non-Catholic website. If you think you will convince readers of this website to lose their souls for your take on the human body, you are wrong. Your argument coincides with “the end justifies the means”. Read the theology of the body and understand where we exist in the ETERNAL realm. From a scientific standpoint, did you know that contraception increases your risk for pulmonary embolism, liver disease, other blood clots, and cancer – which can lead to death?

    I pray that you go deeper into the argument than just swimming in the shallow waters. Just because the PROLIFE movement is not 100% successful does not mean it is not on the right side of the argument. Remember, our Lord died on the cross for us. For the wordly, that was his end. For the rest of us, it is our WAY to ETERNAL SALVATION. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord…

  • chaco

    YOU GO GIRL ! It’s better to “Go Down Swinging” than to compromise & become “Luke Warm” like so many who rationalize their way to 1/2 truth convictions for mere “Human Respect”. God + 1 = A majority [God's respect is far better than mere human respect.]

  • Dan

    Let me ask everyone a question. I live in the Midwest and although we certainly have Obama supporters, most of the bishops around here and most laity are relatively conservative and voted against Obama. On the other hand, those states where O won big were primarily on the coasts and upper central states-Ohio, Michigan, etc. Would you agree that coastal Catholics bear most of the burden for the “Catholic vote” for Obama being over 50%?

  • choiceone

    I don’t pay any attention to whether posts are on sites considered conservative or liberal, because one can find distortions of facts by both conservatives and liberals. I pay attention, instead, to the qualities of the post itself, and its potential usefulness in various contexts.

    I am hardly pro-choice for the purpose of sleeping with whomever I want, as I have been celibate by choice for well over thirty years. If one is honest, one is aware that Jesus Christ taught that it is wrong even to think of committing adultery with one’s neighbor’s spouse. Thinking about others’ sex organs is what one does if one wants them – I have better things to do with my time than that.

    Unlike you, I was not nearly raped. I was raped, forcibly, at the age of 21. God did not save me from that, but He did save me from rape pregnancy, and I was more grateful for that than for my life.

    I am not interested in taking what anyone else says as the truth except for Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the only one whose word proved true in the Resurrection. He did not spend most of his time telling people about sin and hell, but about teaching us to love the Lord our God completely and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

  • choiceone

    The Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution sponsored a large poll across the US in 2011 on the issue of abortion, and 54% of Catholics included in the poll believed that abortion should be legal. See: http://publicreligion.org/research/2011/06/committed-to-availability-conflicted-about-morality-what-the-millennial-generation-tells-us-about-the-future-of-the-abortion-debate-and-the-culture-wars/, or, if you prefer to access the poll through a Catholic website: http://www.faithinpubliclife.org/poll/what-the-millennial-generation-tells-us-about-the-future-of-the-abortion-debate-and-the-culture-wars/

  • choiceone

    I am not interested in persuading people away from their views on this issue. All I wanted to do was provide you with a link which, if you read, might help you understand why your own arguments are not in fact convincing women to be pro-life.

    If you think that zygotes and embryos are persons, exactly as born infants are, you presumably want to save them and this is presumably more important to you than criticizing people who disagree with you. Well, you can’t save them if you can’t persuade women not to have abortions.

    If you make anti-abortion laws, how do you plan to enforce them? You really will not be able to put all pregnant women in strait jackets in padded cells with barriers between their teeth to prevent them from biting off their tongues to commit suicide. Make abortion illegal, and women who want to terminate pregnancies will have illegal abortions or go to Canada, where the national law defines only the born as human beings explicitly and there are no legal restrictions on abortion.

    So I just suggested the link so that you might be able to understand aspects of the thought of the unpersuaded. It’s not like the Catholic church never tries to understand. One of the most interesting reads I have had on the issue is one I originally found on a Catholic site, though the link I can provide is that of the original sponsor of the study it discussed: http://www.heartbeatinternational.org/pdf/abortion-least_of_three.pdf

    The contraception of which you speak is oral hormonal contraception. And from a scientific standpoint, it slightly increases risks of some forms of cancer and slightly lowers risks of others, e.g., http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/oral-contraceptives. Late pregnancy and childbirth also increase the risks of heart attacks and strokes. You do not have to approve of oral contraceptives to tell the truth about them.

    I have gone very deeply into the argument, I assure you. Each side of this argument over abortion rights is convinced of being right. But let there be no enmity between us. We both want to lower the abortion rate, each in our own way.

  • dyoung

    I am sorry to hear about what you have been through. From what you said, you would have rather died than become pregnant? Could the reason for that gratitude be because you would have rather died than be forced, by social teachings, to have an abortion?
    You gave us all a blog to read. Will you read something?
    http://www.womenofgrace.com/en-us/library/details.aspx?id=336

  • Tarses

    ” It had never occurred to me in my life up to that point that anyone would dream that he or she had a right to use human law, and the police violence that underpins its enforcement, to control anyone’s sex organs against that person’s will, conscience, and freedom of religion.” So you’re okay with an innocent baby’s sex organs being ripped apart and their limbs torn from their bodies one by one by forced suction all against its will as long at the mother’s will is being followed? There are TWO bodies in abortion. Why is one of more value than the other?

  • choiceone

    I would simply rather die than continue a rape pregnancy, because that is a matter of conscience. In pregnancy, a woman uses her own life, her own blood, to grow an embryo: that is why a woman can be judged by the children she bears as her fruit. But in a rape pregnancy, or really any unwanted pregnancy, a woman is using her life, her blood, to grow a particular DNA combination. A rape combination is one which, if carried to term and born, will state in itself that the woman is one flesh with her rapist and that this is a living idea, one with the breath of spirit.

    I myself deny that I am one flesh with the man who raped me and would consider the claim that I am to be bearing false witness against myself and false witness against the God I love with all my heart, soul, and mind. Yes. Dying would be better than going against my conscience with my own body.

    And I can imagine other circumstances in which a woman might refuse to use her life to grow a particular embryo as a matter of conscience. On the other hand, I can also imagine a woman feeling that she has to continue a pregnancy she believes to have been created by God, and that it would violate her conscience to be forced to have an abortion.

    Frankly, the claim that we are all equal before God would be completely belied if women could be forced against their consciences to be pregnant or to have abortions, given that neither of these things can be done to men. The death of the body can come to anyone, so why should one be afraid? But for one’s body to be forced to act against one’s conscience is, effectively, the death of one’s soul.

    I did read the link you provided. I’m sorry to say that I found its references out of date and not in accord with the most recent scientific research. The controversies in the scientific journals over the last two decades have not favored the results in that particular body of older research.

    And in any case, the issue of an individual’s conscience and its control over that individual’s body is far more important than health.

    But even had it done so, the issue is

  • choiceone

    I do not believe that a zygote, morula, blastocyst, embryo, or fetus is an innocent baby. I think it is an unfinished product under the process of construction. From the time that a blastocyst implants, there are not two bodies. There is one body, that of the woman, and one life, that of the woman. The embryo does not have a separate body and life, and there is objective proof of that in the fact that it is biologically connected to and contained by the woman’s body and dies if the woman dies, just as her arms and legs do. Viability is that point at which a fetus has the capacity to have chance of separate life if removed from the woman’s body, even if the chance is poor. It is still not a separate body, but this capacity gives it some value – not as much as the woman’s value, but some. The notion that a zygote, blastocyst, embryo, or previable fetus is a separate body is easily dispensed with. If it is, then remove it and see whether or not it can live. It will die exactly as a person’s leg dies if amputated – it does not have life in itself but only had it because the woman’s body had been giving life to it. That’s why the woman is of more value.

  • Peter Nyikos

    There are two bodies involved, and to say otherwise is pseudoscience of the worst sort. And your argument for this is just ridiculous. It is as if you were to say a person in a coma, dependent on tube or intravenous feeding or a respirator, but sure to recover in nine months or less, is really not a separate entity from the machines that keep her alive.

  • Peter Nyikos

    Have you ever seen the enormously popular TV series “Roots”? One of the ancestors of the author was raped by her master, and yet the child born of that rape, “Chicken George,” became an inspiration to all around him, and the leader of an extended family that became an inspiration to millions.

    So don’t think of the children of rapists as vermin; they have the genes of their mothers too, and if the mother does a good job of raising the child, it can overcome any number of bad genes of the father — who may have acted not on account of his genes in the first place, but on account of environmental circumstances.

  • Peter Nyikos

    You say you want to lower the abortion rate, yet what you write about rather dying than giving birth to a child conceived in rape is in some ways the most pro-abortion (not just pro-choice) statement I have ever read in a decade of intensive argument with militant pro-choice, pro-abortion, and pro-abortionist [I give each of these words a separate definition] zealots.

    By the way, the truest friend I ever found in these intense debates is thoroughly pro-choice, yet genuinely opposed to abortion morally. He is hated and slandered day in and day out, year in and year out, by the abortion rights fanatics that dominate the newsgroups we participate in, because he opposes their lies and hypocrisy.

  • Tarses

    Wow — where to start? I guess I’ll start here and work on to other issues as needed. You’ve got a very big logic issue that you need to rectify to continue to hold that position. If a fetus and the mother are one and the same, you’ll need to reconcile how it is that the fetus has its own unique DNA completely separate than its mother’s. Human DNA. And the fetus has it own blood supply separate from its mother’s. We know its alive since from inception, its cells have been dividing which we all learned in the first day of biology class is an indication of life. So what you have is two distinct bodies, one of which apparently has more value to you than the other which means the mother would be killing another human being. Why is it okay to kill another innocent human being?

    By the way, thanks for using the term “fetus”. I’m glad to see you acknowledge the baby is an offspring which is, of course, what “fetus” means in the original Latin. So even in the language you chose, you acknowledge that it’s a separate human being.

  • DYoung

    But that is not the system that the government (Obama) has planned for us. He wants everyone to forget their conscience and give up their control over their own body, the government will take care of you. Employers will be forced to do provide healthcare coverage for services that conflict with their conscience. Employees will be forced to purchase and pay for services that are against their conscience. (Anyone who believes that these services are free needs to wake up!)

    As an example, why is it that the government program forces contraceptive pills? This is because they want everyone to used this form of birth control and take away your choice. If the mandate said “free birth control”, those employers who object to birth control pills could have a plan to offer free NFP classes. Now I know that people will say that this takes away the employees choice of contraception. But isn’t that what the government plan does by mandating birth control pills? How much longer before they say what exact type of pill and who makes it?

    With regards to an abortion, I do not have an alternative plan. Again, the government forcing employers and employees to pay for it, when it is against there conscience, is what we should all be afraid of. As you said, “But for one’s body to be forced to act against one’s conscience is, effectively, the death of one’s soul, and that is certainly something one may fear with good reason.” but that is what the government is forcing us into.

  • choiceone

    The Affordable Care Act does not require anyone to give up control over his/her own body. The government will not take care of you. Employees will not be forced to purchase and pay for services that are against their conscience. Instead, what will happen is the following.

    Everyone will be forced either to purchase private health insurance or to pay a fine to the government. The reason for this is that, when you don’t have health insurance, it is possible for you to fall down unconscious in public and thus become a social problem. In a society where people are nice but incapable of objectively demonstrating the spiritual healing of objective empirical health problems, others will necessarily take you to the hospital emergency room instead and doctors will feel obligated to treat you. When you become conscious again, if you do not have insurance or the ability to pay for the treatment, either Medicaid will have to pay (i.e., tax money) or the hospital will have to absorb the cost (i.e., charge other patients or their insurance more to make up for cost). The result is that Medicaid and hospital costs will continue to rise even though we can’t afford it.

    Even though everyone will therefore have to get health insurance, we can get cheaper insurance if companies agree to offer it. The government has induced them to do that by giving companies that agree to do it a favorable situation by belonging to groups of insurance companies listed on exchanges from which people or employers can choose insurance companies. No employer or individual has to choose a particular insurance policy to offer employees or to have himself/herself, but some things have to be covered by the policy – e.g., hospitalization and pre-existing conditions. Contraception does not have to be covered by any policy offered by a religious employer or even a semi-religious one such as a Catholic university. Rather, an insurance company that provides policies for employees at not genuinely religious organizations has to offer contraceptive coverage to the private individual who holds the policy (not to the employer). That amounts to an insurance company contacting the individual after the individual has the policy and saying, “If you want contraceptive coverage, please tell us and we’ll give it to you.” The individual can say either “yes” or “no.” The reason that this will not cost anyone who buys insurance more in premiums is the following. Right now, the average childbirth in the US costs about $10,000, an amount that does not include prenatal and postpartum costs. The average prescription for hormonal contraception is about $60 to $160 a year. Hence, one childbirth (no prenatal, no postpartum) equals in cost 100 years of hormonal contraception. Of course insurance companies want to offer free contraception coverage: the individuals who choose to use it will have fewer childbirths and cost the insurance company and every individual who has insurance with that company much, much less than the woman who doesn’t choose to use it and has more children instead. At the same time, the savings provided by the individuals who choose it and use it will provide more money for all the individuals who do not use it and have lots of children instead and cost everyone much more money. The government is not forcing employers and employees to pay for abortion. See: http://dpc.senate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill18.pdf. Moreover, the average abortion in the US costs $450, which is less than 1/10th the cost of a single childbirth without prenatal or postpartum care, so all the individuals who choose that coverage will cost everyone much less than those who give birth.

    Furthermore, states themselves can opt out of the private insurance exchanges at the federal level by offering state-level low cost insurance, and companies that have few employees do not have to provide insurance to employees – those employees just have to get private insurance themselves (which they can afford because of the exchanges).

    I do not know where anyone got the idea that the Affordable Care Act is mandating that anyone has to purchase and pay for services against their conscience. In fact, it is the people who do not give birth and the people who do not have children who will be paying the extra money for all the irresponsible people who produce too many children, as usual. The government isn’t forcing anyone to have insurance, either. If you don’t want medical insurance, e.g., if you are a Christian Scientist who does not believe in medical health care, you can just pay a fine. The fine is needed to cover the chance of your becoming a social problem and making the government or hospital cover your treatment cost in the event that you end up having a health problem that you cannot financially handle yourself, as I noted earlier.

    It is anti-abortion people, not pro-choice and pro-health care people, who want to force people to act against their own consciences. I can’t believe you do not know all the above and more. Did you ever seriously read up on the Affordable Care Act? Lazy.

  • choiceone

    FYI, cancerous cells have different DNA and manage to survive in some people. Human DNA. The blood of the fetus and woman is only partly separated within the placenta. Fetal cells and loose chromosomes from the fetus leak across the placenta into the woman’s blood and vice versa (this is called “microchimerism”). This increases across pregnancy and is voluminous in childbirth. As a result, a woman who gives birth to a male can be found to have male chromosomes in her bloodstream as much as 27 years later. The fetus receives leaked cells and loose chromosomes from the woman’s blood, too, as well as nutrients, oxygen, and anti-bodies, without which the fetus would die.

    Yes, the zygote is alive. The zygote/morula/blastocyst can live without implantation, by feeding on the loose blood, etc., in the woman, for 8-10 days. You can grow them in petri dishes, too. But their natural lifespan is 8-10 days. Since it is illegal to grow human blastocysts in petri dishes longer than 14 days, we can find out about them only by research on non-human ones. With the latter, we can double their natural life span by feeding them a supernutrient. With a human blastocyst, then, we could double its lifespan to 16 to 20 days. In a woman’s body, if the blastocyst does not implant, it dies after 8-10 days. That’s its own life. It is not a human being, but a live biological entity that carries a new DNA combination can divide into as many as four such entities during its short natural life span, and then die. For it to continue to live, it has to implant into a woman’s bodily tissue, produce a placenta, for which it has to use some of her tissue, and chemically direct the placenta to kill off some of the woman’s immune cells and shut others down in latency, and rechannel the woman’s blood and take nutrients, oxygen, and antibodies out of that blood. After implantation, it is living as a part of the woman’s body. If it had no access to her blood nutrients and oxygen, it would die. If the woman herself dies, it will always die unless it has attained to viability. The earliest known case of viability was 21 1/2 weeks, and some researchers suspect this was actually 22 or more weeks, but miscalculation occurred. What you have as long as the embryo/fetus is biologically attached to and inside the woman is one body, the woman’s, with a biological growth having distinct DNA but not a distinct life of its own. It is subordinate to the woman’s body and life because it is incapable of continued life if not biologically in and attached to her and not capable of continued life if she dies.

    So, for me, the implanted embryo/fetus is not “another human being” and it won’t be until it’s biologically detached and removed from her body.
    You are also assuming it is “innocent.” If you really consider it a person, then why do you think it has the right to do all the things it does to a woman’s body when you and I and other born persons do not have the right to do those things to any woman’s body?

    I use the term “fetus” in English, which does not carry the Latin meaning but has a restricted meaning within science. Any scientist knows that, while a “fetus” might be a man’s offspring, it can’t be a woman’s offspring, because it has not yet sprung off of her body.

  • choiceone

    I do not think of any born child as vermin regardless of the source of its DNA. All born children are equal and equal to all of us, and they deserve to be treated as such. But no embryo or fetus is equal to anyone born, in my opinion, and I do not believe that anyone born or unborn has a right to biological attachment to any born person’s body or a right to have body parts inside a born person’s body or a right to adversely affect a born person’s immune system or a right to take nutrients and oxygen out of a person’s blood, etc., etc. Since you do not have the right to a transfusion of my blood without my permission even if mine is the only blood on earth that could save your life, why should a blastocyst have the right to implant in a woman’s tissue without her permission, or the right to use her tissue to make a placenta, or the right to cause the placenta to shut down part of her immune system to the detriment of her immune protection, or the right to rechannel her blood, etc.?

    If the pregnancy is voluntary, everyone who is born comes from the Spirit of the Lord that gives liberty. Period.

  • choiceone

    A person in a coma may be dependent on a tube or a respirator, but it is not biologically attached to some other born person. Biological attachment is an indication of biological unity. That is not pseudo-science.

  • Catholic by choice and grace

    To all readers, here is a post from the Catholic Medical association

    http://www.cathmed.org/issues_resources/blog/cma_women_physicians_respond_to_women_senators_column/

  • Peter Nyikos

    You are backpedaling from your reasoning to which my reply was addressed. You claimed you would die rather than give birth to the child of a rapist, because of that child’s DNA.

    And this in turn makes me wonder how sincere you are about a lot of other things you write. Take this dogmatic pronunciation: “If the pregnancy is voluntary, everyone who is born comes from the Spirit of the Lord that gives liberty. Period.”

    Are you making God in your own image? Only atheists talk about [wo]man making God in [wo]man’s own image, in my experience.

    Or did you make that declaration because it looks good on paper, and you don’t care whether you were posting sense or nonsense?

  • Peter Nyikos

    It IS pseudo-science, just like saying that a pair of Siamese twins, both of whom are able to converse with you, are really just one person.

    On top of that, you are indulging in a tactic called reverse-engineering. You decided, for reasons known only to yourself, that what makes an unborn baby (who may be more well developed than a prematurely born baby) part of another body is that it is dependent on the other body. Now that “machine” replaces “body” you arbitrarily decide that dependence isn’t the real key after all.

    Will you now arbitrarily decide that if one member of the Siamese twin pair has a full set of bodily organs while the other doesn’t, that the one that doesn’t is really a part of the one that does, even if it is able to converse with you?

  • Tarses

    “FYI, cancerous cells have different DNA and manage to survive in some people. Human DNA.” Actually, cancer has mutated DNA. Have you ever seen cancer grow up, become independent and walk around on its own? Of course not. It’s not a valid analogy. Given the opportunity, a baby will grow up and become independent. Cancer never will. And frankly, comparing babies to cancer is a sad statement on our culture of death.

    The fact is, the baby is alive and it has human DNA. It’s a very, very young human but it’s human nonetheless. You seem very focused on viability. Let me ask you, a day before a baby is born while it’s still in its mother’s womb, is it okay to kill that baby? How about a day after it is born. Is it okay to kill that baby? If you have two different answers to those questions, what’s the difference between the two?

  • choiceone

    Your good friend is male and therefore, by definition, incapable of never getting pregnant, so he can easily oppose abortion morally without ever facing what pregnancy morally means. The trouble with those men who have any moral position on abortion other than the view that it is a woman’s choice is that they feel free to judge women without ever being in a position to be judged on the same issue. You should be judged as you have judged, and in a fair and equal world, every man or woman who has ever judged the morality of abortion should be forced to experience an unwanted pregnancy and be forced to carry it to term. I have a strong feeling that, in such a fair and equal world, people would simply shut up about this issue.

  • Annie

    Choiceone, I too am sorry for what you once went through. I also agree, although, I am for for abortion, in times of rape I would never judge how a woman handles her situation, and no man should judge her either. I rarely get into this debate with men because the actually think they understand the issue at hand and everything that goes with it, but they simply do not. Its sound like you have handled the aftermath of you situation better than many would and I know God is with you and loves you very much. I too was brought up hearing more about a loving, forgiving, positive God rather than the damn
    ing one they talk about here so often.

  • choiceone

    FYI, an embryo is not a baby and sex organs do not develop in embryos until the seventh week of pregnancy – before that, the only evidence of the sex of an embryo is DNA, but, depending upon conditions in the uterus, an embryo with female DNA can develop male sex organs and an embryo with male DNA can develop female ones, so one cannot know the final outcome until about two or more months into pregnancy.

  • choiceone

    Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.korin Sarah Korin

    “When [the devil] tells a lie he speaks from his very nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

  • David Yost

    How does any Catholic justify voting for Obama?
    I don’t see how any of them can legitimately justify such a decision.
    Can one true Catholic respond?

  • Tarses

    Are you trying to say that an embryo is not human? What is it, a giraffe? A cheetah? An “it”? If that’s your position, it’s ludicrous on its face. Life begins at conception. That was true for you. It was true for me. It’s true for everyone including the pre-born today. They are human. They have a human mother and father and they have human DNA. They are the offspring of a human. They are human. Aborting a fetus means you are killing a human being.

    Choice, your big issue seems to be that (and I’m paraphrasing here) “you don’t believe a baby has the right to use its mother’s body in the womb without the mother’s permission. Therefore, if the mother so chooses, she can abort the baby.” Am I getting that correct? If so, let me ask you this question to see if I understand your line of thinking.

    Let’s say there are conjoined twins, Sarah and Leslie. Due to how they are conjoined, Sarah is reliant on some of the bodily functions that Sarah provides but not the other way around. Without those bodily functions, Leslie would die. One day, Sarah decides that she doesn’t like the fact that Leslie is using her body without her permission and decides that she is going to terminate her. Of course, she’ll do this in a medical facility with trained professionals so they can cut out Leslie and dispose of her body humanely afterwards and it will definitely be safer for Sarah instead of trying to do perform the procedure in an unsafe setting. So here is the question, since Leslie is using Sarah’s body without her permission, does Sarah have the right to kill her?

    By the way, I hope you had a merry Christmas, Choiceone. I’ve been praying for you.

  • choiceone

    Tarses,

    I do not consider life to begin from conception, and I don’t need to, because I am not a Catholic. For me, life already exists and the lives of new human beings derive from that life. Although a zygote has its own life, because it can survive outside the woman, e.g., in a petri dish, that life is very short. Once a blastocyst implants in a woman, that blastocyst and the embryo it becomes derive life from the woman and would die without doing so. For me, they are not yet human beings because they are stages in the construction of a human being. Until they are constructed so as to survive outside of the woman, they are part of the woman and not individuals.

    I am not interested in being challenged by a “unique DNA” argument because DNA is not all there is to being a human being. A considerable portion of our human being-ness from our construction while inside of, biologically attached to, and part of the women.

    I certainly respect your individual right to think otherwise, even if to me your view is false, and to control you own individual body in accord with what you think. But I do not think you have any right to impose what you think on other people or to control their individual bodies in accord with what you think.

    That is the main difference between us. I do not seek to control other individual human beings’ bodies in accord with what I think, but rather seek to defend the right of all individual human beings to control their own individual bodies in accord with what they individually think. And I will go right on doing this because I believe it is completely and utterly immoral to try to control the bodies of other individual human beings against their will, conscience, and freedom of religion.

  • Tarses

    Happy new year, Choice. I’ve continue to pray for you. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

    First off, I don’t “believe” that life starts at conception because of the Catholic Church. I know it because science teaches it. You can take any high school biology course and they will tell you, when cells divide, it’s a sign of life. Pick any text book you want and they’ll all tell you the same thing: life begins at conception. Now, you are certainly free to have your own belief system but why on earth should we be enshrining your belief system into law? Shouldn’t we be relying on the facts that science teaches? You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts.

    I noticed you didn’t answer the question about conjoined twins. Let’s move on to another. Should a pregnant woman be able to do whatever she wants while pregnant? In other words, should she be allowed to smoke as many cigarettes as she wants? Drink as much alcohol as she wants? It’s her body, right? And since, according to you, a fetus is not human, there should be no ill effects to worry about for another person, right? If the answer is “no”, why not?

  • sharon mccoy

    I do not know what a Catholic would think, since I am not one. But as a confirmed Protestant Christian, I justify voting for Obama because he is concerned about helping the poor and those who were forced to come to the US as illegal immigrants, among other things.

    Jesus Christ was unequivocal in telling people to feed the hungry and heal the sick. As a Jew, he supported the Torah (“not one jot or tittle of the law will fail”), and the idea of being kind to those who are strangers was basic to Judaism because Jews were to remember that they, too, had been strangers.

    Meanwhile, Jesus’s two key commands regarding children were, “if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into sea,” and, “anyone who receives one of these children.” The first cannot refer to the unborn because they have no capacity for belief or disbelief, and the latter cannot do so because, when it was said, Jesus took as an example a born child rather than pointing to a woman’s belly.

    In contrast, there is not a single straight statement attributed to Jesus that condemns abortion, even though the knowledge of how to induce abortion existed throughout the Middle East, including in Jewish culture, in his day.

    So if I am going to choose between the two imperfect political parties we have, I am going to vote for those who definitely do some of the things Jesus Christ told his followers to do when the other even goes so far as to refuse to do those things on principle.

    For Protestants, the issue is not what priests say. The issue is what Jesus Christ actually said.

  • sharon mccoy

    Happy New Year, Tarses.

    High school biology is a pretty simplistic version of biology. Most high school textbooks teach simplified versions of all scientific and other academic disciplines, versions that do not deal with any of the philosophical and theoretical problems the disciplines recognize at higher levels. Go to grad school in any scientific discipline and discover all the weaknesses in a theory, all the problems in a philosophical perspective in that discipline – and go to all sorts of cutting edge research to see all the ways in which scientists in that discipline are pushing the envelope.

    Science is not designed to provide statements of absolute truth outside of theoretical frameworks which limit the meaning and truth of the statements. It is a vehicle by means of which we can move closer to truth, and as such it expects its theories and knowledge to change over time. A serious scientist expects that, say, 200 years from now, many things claimed as “true” in science today will be looked upon as highly primitive, misleading, or downright wrongheaded conceptions corrected by the work of the intervening 200 years.

    Any scientist will tell you that, when one cell undergoes division, it is indeed a sign of life, and that, until that division is complete, there are not two cells. I apply to the pregnant woman the same standard as the one applied to the cell undergoing division – until the woman and embryo/fetus are completely separated biologically, we cannot speak of two completely biologically separate entities. Yes, the zygote/morula/blastocyst can be shown separate biologically because it can be grown in a petri dish in complete separation from the woman. But scientific means do not allow us to keep it alive beyond a doubling of its natural life span, no more than 20 days. In contrast, embryo/fetus is a function of the blastocyst having implanted in the woman’s body and thus having become part of it. It grows only as part of her body, and it has to be completely separated from that body, to be fully divided from that body, to be a separate, second body of a human being.

    Sorry not to have answered about the conjoined twins. With conjoined twins, there is usually no basis on which to decide that the single body belongs to one of the twins and not to the other equally. And in any case, born conjoined twins all can separately breathe and eat, because we do not consider there to be two of them if there are not two faces, with separate noses and mouths. The only cases I know of that are even remotely comparable to the situation of pregnancy are those in which a parasitic twin lives completely inside of and biologically attached to the other twin. The one inside cannot breathe or eat, but receives oxygen and nutrients via biological attachment to the other twin. On discovery, usually not long after birth, such a parasitic twin is routinely surgically removed and cannot survive. No one calls it abortion, however.

    Next question. Should a pregnant woman be able to do whatever she wants while pregnant? For me, this depends. If she wants to continue the pregnancy to term, no, she should not, because, if she continues that pregnancy, her behavior will affect the quality of life of the future human being that will be born. That responsibility is, in fact, one of the reasons I think a woman should have a right to choose not to continue the pregnancy. If a woman decides to continue a pregnancy to term, she should make even extreme efforts to insure that the child she will give birth to will have as good a quality of life as possible. If, in the process of gestation, she thinks that that quality of life will fall short of her own standards, she should have the right to stop the process in order to start all over and hopefully achieve a quality of life for it that will be better.

    A morally responsible person will not impose a terrible quality of life on a future person or, for that matter, terrible burdens on existing people. I do not think that the fetus has a right to become a person and that terminating a pregnancy destroys the possibility of the future person because I do not think that the future person depends on having a particular DNA combination. If the DNA combination of a particular zygote would not give the future person a good quality of life, that would be one good reason not to continue a pregnancy unless medicine had figured out how to change the combination so as to fix the problem.

    The Bible tells us that, in relation to women, children are “fruit” and that a woman is judged by her fruit. Hence, she should have the right to produce only fruit that meets her own standards. Just as we all have the right to stop performing any act that we believe is wrong, I think we should all have the right stop performing the development of fruit that we believe is wrong. That would be the case, in my view, if a fetus clearly lacks a brain and carrying it to term would result in the birth of an anencephalic child.

    We have no idea whether such a birth may trap a soul in a mindless body, which would be a very cruel thing to do to a soul. If the woman has other children, the fact that she would have to ignore them in order to give 24/7 care to the anencephalic one would harm the quality of their life. If she has no economic capacity to care for such a child, such a birth would force the whole society to take on the responsibility. I cannot even imagine doing such an irresponsible, selfish thing as to give birth to an anencephalic child.

    But it would be far worse to force a woman to do that against her will and conscience, because she alone will be judged by God for continuing that pregnancy to term, and the people forcing her are actually the culprits. That would be just one more injustice being foisted upon the universe by thoughtless human beings who speak and act as if they know what God knows – whereas anyone who knows even a tiny bit of what God knows stops judging others and starts trying to correct the injustices.

MENU