Michigan “Rape Insurance” Bill Passes Into Law

The Huffington Post published this article in December.  Today, a friend posted the article, questioning why anyone would have voted for this, and stating that it would cause rape victims to have back-alley abortions or to leave babies in dumpsters.

“Rape Insurance” is just inflammatory language. Basically, it says that abortions are not a covered benefit unless the mother’s life is in danger from the pregnancy. It gives an option for people to buy an abortion rider, if they want the option of having health insurance that *does* cover abortion. This makes sense to me, since I don’t personally see abortion as morally licit. This way, I don’t have to pay into a group policy for something that is against my moral code, but the people who do want this option can pay into that pool for the added coverage. Just like paying extra money to have additional things covered for my car or house insurance.

I think the issue about what would happen to rape victims if they didn’t have abortions covered in their health insurance is a separate issue.  Is it covered now?  I think in a lot of cases it is not, which is why people who desire abortions, even if they have health insurance, seek them out from out-of-hospital locations like Planned Parenthood, where you pay a set fee for the procedure.  So, if it is not covered now, having it not covered in the future isn’t going to change anything.

As far as back-alley abortions go, I think there needs to be more support programs out there and better awareness of the ones that *are* in place to give guidance, counseling and options to women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies.  No one should feel so desperate as to seek out unqualified individuals to perform any kind of medical/surgical procedure on them.  Think about it this way, if you *really need* to have a suspicious mole biopsied and you don’t have insurance, there’s other ways of getting this paid for besides going to someone in a “back-alley” to get it done.  You can cause great physical harm to yourself by not having proper medical care and/or proper follow-up.

In regards to the “leaving babies in dumpsters” issue, there’s a policy in place that anyone can anonymously leave babies at any police station, firehouse, or hospital.  No reason to be inhumane.  Again, perhaps greater awareness of this policy is necessary.

With everything regarding these “touchy” subjects, I think great compassion is in order.  On both sides of the issue, we should seek out understanding and solutions.  There’s too much blame and hatred in the world already.  People who disagree with me are not “evil”; I am not “evil”.

That is all.  For now.  🙂

—–

Okay.  One more thing.  If you are talking about rape…  I get that making people pay more money for coverage for certain categories can be a slippery slope.  For example, as my friend kindly pointed out to me, a cancer rider or a diabetes rider.  This would mean that I, as a diabetic, would have to pay more for my health care because I had this condition, and that this would be unfair, and that having insurance in any case means that to an extent you are paying into a pool and are paying for treatments and medicine and care for people for conditions that you personally may not have.  So the best thing is to just pay it, because you *might* need cancer coverage or diabetes coverage or what not, and plus, it’s the humane thing to do — to not put an extra burden on people arbitrarily because they have a particular disease or other.  And I totally agree with that.

If abortion didn’t involve killing an innocent life (the baby), I would absolutely be for letting abortion coverage be a part of our healthcare insurance policies.  However, there is currently not a way to make a woman “un-pregnant” without killing the baby, and morally, you can’t justify that death, even in the case of rape.

Self-Awareness



“Conceptual” Art
Originally uploaded by kenneth_rougeau

When does life begin?

That has got to be one of the most important questions of the day. I posit that this occurs quite early.

The female egg and the male sperm are haploid cells belonging to each person.  They have a function and belong to the organism, yet they are not of themselves a unique organism.  Their DNA, although haploid, is identical with that of the person.  Their function is to unite:  the egg works to chemically attract the sperm, and the sperm works to get to the egg.  “If fertilization is not accomplished, the oocyte typically ceases to be within twenty-four hours after ovulation; and sperm degenerate within two to five days.”[1]



fertilisation
Originally uploaded by abhilasha1190

Once the first sperm enters the egg, the entire scenario changes. Now, you have a new entity with its unique genetic code. How do we know this? Because it is in some way self-aware of the fact that it is now different, and reacts chemically for the protection of the new organism. This is known as the egg cortical reaction.

When the sperm fuses with the egg plasma membrane, it causes a local increase in cytosolic Ca2+, which spreads through the cell in a wave…  There is evidence that the Ca2+ wave or oscillations are induced by a protein that is introduced into the egg by the sperm, but the nature of the protein is unknown.  The Ca2+ wave or oscillations activate the egg to begin development [Development of what?  Of the new organism], and they initiate the cortical reaction, in which the cortical granules release their contents by exocytosis…  The contents of the cortical granules include various enzymes that are released by the cortical reaction and change the structure of the zona pellucida. The altered zona becomes “hardened,” so that sperm no longer bind to it, and it therefore provides a block to polyspermy.[2]

“…there now appears to be a distinct organism directing its own processes of growth and development…  The [egg cortical reaction] especially seems characteristic of a new organism, whose existence depends upon a structural barrier to outside forces, rather than of a gamete cell, whose existence is fundamentally oriented toward uniting with another gamete…”[3]


[1] Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen, Embryo:  A Defense of Human Life (New York:  Doubleday, 2008), 36.

[2] Bruce Alberts et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th ed., (New York: Garland Science, 2002), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26843/ (accessed November 28, 2010).

[3] George and Tollefsen, Embryo, 38-39.

Trouble Across the Pond

From Zenit:

Many parents in Britain believe it’s a case of “suffer little children” at the moment as new sex education legislation continues to make its way through Parliament.

I hadn’t planned on returning to this issue so soon, but pro-life, family and human rights groups warn there is a real danger that the Children, Schools and Families Bill, which the government says would mandate Catholic schools to teach pupils how to procure abortions, could be passed unless a concerted campaign is now mounted against it.

Campaigners of all three monotheistic faiths and others are deeply concerned the legislation, which would also include the teaching of divorce and same-sex relationships to primary school children aged seven to 11, could be rushed through Parliament in a “clearing up” procedure before Britain’s general election, expected in early May. The bill had its second reading in the House of Lords on March 8, and could go to the Lords committee stage before the end of the month.

During this week’s debate in the Lords, the distinguished Catholic peer, Lord Alton of Liverpool, spoke passionately about the bill being “a wholly unacceptable assault on the rights of conscience, beliefs, the integrity of religious foundations, and the integrity of families.” He added that the way the government has ignored parents’ concerns on such a sensitive matter “smacks of arrogance and the worst kind of nanny state,” and quoted the results of the government’s own consultation in which 68% of respondents voiced opposition to such sex education in the national curriculum.

“I cannot begin to tell the Minister how much anxiety this has engendered, and not just among Catholics, Jews, Muslims and Anglicans, who as a matter of conscience believe abortion to be the taking of an innocent life,” Lord Alton said.

Yet so far the bishops of England and Wales have been silent on the bill or actively supported it. The chairman of the Catholic Education Service, Bishop Malcolm McMahon, wrote a long article in the London Times last week without indicating any objection to the legislation. (Some Catholics are reportedly already discouraged after he said recently that people in same-sex civil partnerships should be able to be head teachers of Catholic schools.)

The CES’s director, Oona Stannard, insists the bill is a “positive step forward” and that Catholic schools would not be compelled “to promote abortion” under the legislation (despite Ed Balls, Britain’s education minister, saying recently that Catholic schools “must explain how to access abortion”). But even if Catholic school children are exempt, campaigners say other children will still be vulnerable to the promotion of lifestyles that are against the natural law.

The absence of opposition from the bishops, which some charitably think may be tactical, has led to prominent Catholics such as Lord Alton and respected priest bloggers to formally protest on behalf of the Church. It’s also been noted how laudably a Protestant campaign group, Christian Concern for Our Nation, has responded to the dangers of the legislation and its problems with regards to Home Schooling.

Some Catholics have taken the matter into their own hands and set up an online petition asking the bishops to speak out. So far it has attracted nearly 2,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, Catholics and other Christians in Britain will join together in a National Day of Prayer and Fasting (organized by the pro-life movement) on Monday March 14 to pray that the bill will be defeated. Campaigners are also urging those opposed to the bill to make their concerns known to peers and the Conservative Party, without whom the legislation cannot be rushed through parliament.

It just boggles the mind that people would think it necessary to teach 7-11 year old children how to procure an abortion.  (Emphasis mine throughout.)

Dignity of Life Speaker Series: Fr. Tad Pacholczyk – “Care and Treatment Decisions for Compromised Patients at the End of Life”

Wednesday, February 25, 2008
Following 7:00 pm Ash Wednesday Mass

Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.
Director of Education, The National Catholic Bioethics Center

Fr. Tad is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. As an undergraduate he earned degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology, and chemistry, and did laboratory research on hormonal regulation of the immune response. He later earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Yale University, where he focused on cloning genes for neurotransmitter transporters which are expressed in the brain. He also worked for several years as a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church
47650 North Territorial Road
Plymouth, MI 48170
(On the corner of Beck & North Territorial)

DSCN7922
This series is sponsored by Gospel of Life Committee at OLGC. For more information, please contact Mark Renfer @ mark.renfer@gmail.com

Fr. Tad studied for 5 years in Rome where he did advanced work in dogmatic theology and in bioethics, examining the question of delayed ensoulment of the human embryo. He has testified before members of the Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia and North Carolina State Legislatures during deliberations over stem cell research and cloning. He has given presentations and participated in roundtables on contemporary bioethics throughout the U.S., Canada, and in Europe. He has done numerous media commentaries, including appearances on CNN International, ABC World News Tonight, and National Public Radio. He is Director of Education for The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and directs the Center’s National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics.

The Dignity of Life speaker series is a response to the crisis of modernity as described by Pope John Paul II. He wrote that the crisis of our age is the pulverization and degradation of the dignity and uniqueness of the human person. The speaker series address this crisis and hopes to offer concrete avenues to transform the culture into a genuine civilization of love.

Oh, No Way

OH boy!  I snatched up this book from the library, and even in the prologue I found something so utterly horrifying, that I just had to stop reading to let you know:

From “The Clone Age,” by Lori B. Andrews, page 7:  “Is it the wrong time for a pregnancy, but you want to freeze the fetus in case you later want to bring to life that very baby?  Cryogenic Solutions of Houston offers such freezing, even though the technology to ‘reanimate’ such a fetus is not yet available.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Although, I probably shouldn’t be surprised, it’s not like people don’t already freeze their children — that we don’t have thousands of little kids on ice right now.  But something about how very callous that statement is just struck me in a unique way.  This is not about a couple wanting desperately to have kids and the only way is to conceive in a petri dish.  This is about your personal convenience!  That poor child has already been conceived normally and is growing and thriving in his or her natural environment, and you want to rip him out of your body and freeze him — oh, but hang on there kid, because some day I might decide that I want you?!!?!?!

There is nothing in that decision that has anything to do with love — except for the extreme, selfish love of self of the individual making that horrible decision.

And, supposing you do this, what do you tell your kid???!?  “Hi, honey.  Yeah, well I want you now, but I didn’t want you earlier,”?????  What is that going to do to the poor kid’s self esteem?

This is a sick, sick world in which we live.

A Word About Words…

Opening a can of worms, now….

Okay, so the elections are not too far away. Here’s my little rant about terminology regarding, for me, the biggest issue in this election: the pro-life versus pro-choice issue.

Now, seriously. Is it fair that the two sides are answering different questions for self-identification? No! That just confuses the issue and tries to sway people one way or the other based on sentiment — appealing to their emotions, rather than their reason.

Let me try to explain:

Pro-life: well, who wants to be pro-death?

Pro-choice: who wants to be anti-choice?

This makes for a conflict for people when they are trying to vote for candidates, and are really looking at this issue to try and see what is the most moral, correct thing to be voting for. And the “other side” takes horrible advantage of this naming inconsistency with one side saying that the other side is “pro-death” and the other side saying that their opposite is “trying to take away the rights of women” — Wow! I don’t want to be pro-death OR take away women’s rights, so how do I vote? Is there a position that I can take that I can live with?

Let’s take a look at the naming inconsistency for a moment. Pro-life. Okay, whose life? The fetus. So, they are “pro” the life of the fetus — under all circumstances. Let’s apply that to the other appellation. Pro-choice. So, they are “pro” the choice of the fetus. I don’t think so. The fetus never gets to choose if it will be carried to term or not. So, if we are being consistent in the question we are asking, the “other side” cannot be labeled “pro-choice” because this does not fit. And to say pro-death is a little harsh and tries to persuade to emotional shock. But is it accurate? Well, certainly in some instances, that’s exactly what’s going on. In an abortion, the woman is “pro” the death of the fetus. But — to confuse the issue — not all women who are “pro-choice” are “pro” the death of the fetus — some actually have children of their own whom they love very much and are very much in favor of other people also having children. I suppose a more accurate name would be “pro-situational-death,” since this group wants to retain the “right” to kill the fetus in certain situations, often citing the situation of a very young girl who finds herself pregnant after a rape (talk about emotional assault with that one!).

Let’s go the other way. Pro-choice. Choice of whom? The woman. Okay. So, the other side is “pro” the life of the woman? Boy, will they be happy to hear that! You can either have choice, or have life! You pick! And to a degree, this may not be an inaccurate thing. There are many women out there who do not realize the emotional impact an abortion will have on them and it does tear them apart from the inside, to know that they have killed their child. And, I know, some people may be getting upset the way I am saying “killing,” but when you are stopping a heart from beating — that’s killing. Seriously. It’s not “removing a clump of cells,” as if they were just skin cells in need of exfoliation. Skin cells will never become their own living, breathing, thinking person — no matter how well you nurture them.

There is the additional argument, “what if the mother’s life is in danger?” often made by proponents of the pro-choice cause. This is a real consideration. This really gets down to the crux of the matter. Are all lives equally important? Or are some lives more important than others? Even in the pro-life camp, if there is a situation where continuing the pregnancy would result in death of the mother, and/or death of both the mother and the child — they concede that there may be just cause for killing the child so as to preserve the life of the mother.

While I could probably go on at length for a while longer, I will end this post with an appeal: please look at all issues out there, including this most important issue of life, and vote — not according to your emotions — but according to your reason.

“Pro-Child, Pro-Choice”

This was a bumper sticker that I saw in the parking lot of work this morning.  It made me stop and think.  Okay, you are “pro-child”, and that is a good thing, because all life is precious, and all people are made in the image and likeness of God.

But, which children?  Obviously, it can’t be all children, because if you are “pro-choice,” then you are in favor of the destruction of certain children, at least conditionally.  So, certainly you are not “pro-” that child. 

Then, which children are you in support of?  Those whom you have deemed acceptable due to an arbitrary standard?  Those whom are convenient and fit into your plans for your life?  What of the others?  Are they unnecessary, inconvenient and defective and thus able to be discarded carelessly?

Apparently, this is a true statement, at least according to the culture of death in which we find ourselves.  It doesn’t only apply to the unborn — it is also true for those who are not “productive members of society” or those who are too old or too sick or too whatever-it-may-be.  For those who do not fit society’s arbitrary measuring stick of personal value.

And what if God took this view?  Could I be seen as unnecessary, inconvenient and defective in His eyes?  Certainly, God doesn’t, strictly speaking, need anything.  So, I suppose that it could be said that I am unnecessary.  Inconvenient and defective?  Well, I think those go hand and hand to a degree.  I am certainly a stubborn, sinful little sheep.  I would imagine that it would be more convenient to only accept into heaven those people who were not sinful.  Probably a little inconvenient to have to purify people in Purgatory.  And defective?  Well, if my heart and will are not conformed to Christ’s, then, yeah, I’m still defective.  And we all have concupiscence, so I would imagine that that applies to each of us.

Praise God that He is not “pro-choice” in this manner.  Thanks be to God that He is “pro-life,” and not just in a general sense, but pro- my life and pro- your life, specifically.  In a radical and passionate way, is He pro- our lives.  He gave His only son — for us!  We hear that and we say that a lot — but do we really get it?  I don’t think so.  I think at most, on our good days, we might get a sliver of what this means, but we probably do not really get it on a day-to-day basis.  For if we did, how could we possibly make the bad decisions that we do?

“Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”  I think a lot of us are here.  We are like blind little sheep with hardened hearts.  Some of us are content to stay this way, or think that we know better and are rooted in place, spiritually, by our own pride.  Some of us are struggling to overcome our sheepness, and grow in virtue, and we will continually fall, but I think the point here is that we forgive each other our transgressions and work with one another to pick each other back up, point our brother in the correct direction towards God, and continue in the journey until — please, God — we have all made it safely home.

I pray today, Lord, that You will give me the grace to master my will against my tendency to sin.

Go Ahead, Push My Buttons

Okay, I read in OLGC bulletin that there was going to be a talk on U-M campus entitled “Why Liberals and Feminists Should Be Pro-Life” and decided to stay a little late at work and head over.  There was so much in that talk that I could blog about, but for now I’ll just comment on one thing at the end during the question and answer period.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to give a longer post on the talk over the weekend.

Towards the end of the question and answer period, which kept trying to become a heated debate between students/attendees, a girl (I call everyone girl, regardless of age, just a quirk of mine — she called herself an X-year old woman) was upset at the speaker, saying (essentially) that the speaker was talking of ideals and of a perfect world that does not exist, and that since we are currently in a world where women are still being put down for their sex and still in relationships where the men have control over when the couple will be conjugally active and where rape still exists — that abortion should still be legal, so that these women would not be forced to continue with a pregnancy that they might not have freely chosen.  One of her main points was that abortion was necessary as long as society devalued women [her] because “I have a vagina.”

Okay.  So my interpretation of what she is saying goes something like this:  You are upset because someone [males in power in society, presumably] is not giving you full human rights and dignity due to the anatomical fact that you have a vagina.  However, you do not see any irony in the fact that you are willing to deny someone [the unborn] every human right, beginning with the right to life, due to the anatomical fact that they have an umbilical cord?

And, further, if you are concerned about equal status and equal value amongst the sexes, promoting an attitude where certain people [the unborn] are not valued is not going to promote a societal ethos where that equality will be felt in the heart of the people.  Only if every single person, regardless of age, sex, birth status, mental capacity, etc., is seen as a unique, unrepeatable, special individual made in the image and likeness of God, in whom God is deeply and radically in love, can we begin to live in a society where each person is treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve.

 Yeah, so basically, I tried really hard to fight the urge to want to whap everyone there upside the head with a copy of “Theology of the Body.”

I may have to create a whole separate page on my blog just to talk about this issue, until I have properly vented.  What do you think?  Shall we have a pro-life forum here?  🙂