Tuesday, September 02, 2014

25 Years Ago, a US Judge Ruled That Life Begins at Conception

A fascinating story.

In 1989, Mary Sue and Junior Davis went to divorce court, and they disagreed over the fate of their frozen embryos. Mary Sue wanted to keep them to implant; Junior Davis wanted them destroyed.

No less an expert than Dr. Jerome Lejeune was invoked as an expert witness to testify that life begins at conception.

The judge presiding the case, Judge W. Dale Young, granted custody of the embryos to Mary Sue Davis. Based on the expert testimony of Dr. Jerome Lejeune, he became the first judge in US history to affirm  that "life begins at conception." (According to the news article).

The Appeals Court, and the High Court of the State of Tennessee subsequently reversed the judgements, disregarding Jerome Lejeune's testimony.

This kind of thing should be widely known to pro-lifers.

Apparently Women Who've Benefited From Feminism Can't Reject It

Inspired by this article.

If women who've benefited from feminism can't reject feminism, then leftists who benefited from capitalism can't reject capitalism.

See that computer you're reading? You have to turn it off. It was made by a capitalist company and sold in a capitalist country.

Those clothes you're wearing? Same.

You'll have to make your own.

Now of course, this is ridiculous. Just because you reject a system doesn't mean you disagree with everything about a system.

You can't disagree with everything in an ideological system.

Women who reject feminism don't reject the idea of equality.

What they reject are the ideas that underpin how it is understood, and the way it is applied.

Socially conservative women generally  believe that men and women are different, and that social policy and cultural practices should reflect those ideas.

Feminists don't. There may have been essentialist feminists, but their voices are marginalized. Feminists today predominantly treat gender as almost entirely a social construct, and it can be changed.

Socially conservative women
 believe that while women should be given fair consideration in job applications, women will tend to choose careers that make good use of their feminine characteristics, and that's fine.

Some feminists like to pretend that feminism is so broad that includes anyone who believes in equality.

The reality is that while there is diversity among feminists, there are predominant ideas, and the bulk of feminists will practically exclude anyone who opposes these predominant ideas.

So essentialists, pro-lifers, people who believe in traditional marriage, etc, these people are beyond the pale.

They believe in equality. But they're not feminists.

Being a non-feminist doesn't mean you don't believe in equality.

Just not the feminist version.

It doesn't mean you can't criticize feminism.

It doesn't mean you can't reject feminism.

And another point: though society accepts equality, and some of the principles of feminism, it doesn't mean it accepts feminism, tout court.

The standard that only those who don't benefit from the system can't reject it, is setting up an impossible standard for everyone.

So just remember that, feminists.

Monday, September 01, 2014

What's Wrong With Name-Calling?

From Abby Johnson:

"I admit that I’ve only been a prolifer for four and a half years. But I have been a student of this debate for 12 and half years. I’m no expert on all things prolife. But I know what worked for me…a person who was ENTRENCHED in the abortion lifestyle. And I also know what has worked for the 122 former abortion facility workers who have come through our ministry, And Then There Were None. None of them left because someone called them names. Not one of them left because people yelled at them and told them that they were going to hell. I remember that someone was attempting to criticizing me one time and they said, “Good grief, Abby, it’s like you think that if we love these baby killers enough, they will convert.” Um, yeah…that’s kind of exactly what I believe.

Why does name-calling work for leftists, but not for pro-lifers?

Why does it stick when leftists call us "bigots", but not when we call them names? (At least not in Canada.)

It all has to do with social and cultural clout.

When gays didn't have cultural clout, it was okay to make jokes about homosexuality.

When gays developed clout, and created allies, it became unacceptable.

If pro-lifers don't have clout, they have nothing.

If you do not have clout, name-calling does not work.

If you do not have clout in the media, in academia, in business or in any major sphere of influence,your name-calling will sound hateful.

If you do have clout in those spheres, your name-calling is justified.

Abby says that abortion workers laugh at some of the things pro-lifers say.

That's because they can.

If you will not abandon name-calling for the sake of charity, at least understand that the name-calling and nasty names culturally backfires and does nothing for the pro-life movement. In fact, it sets us back, by making us look mean and, as she says, unrelatable.

The Brave New World of Surrogacy in India

In India, where surrogates have no parental rights, decisions pertaining to termination are usually in favour of intended parents. So if they want a termination and the surrogate doesn't, the latter has no choice but to relent. 

That is insane. If she doesn't abort, she's stuck with a child that nobody wants. Way to go, reproductive freedom!

Intended parents are also forbidden from seeking the services of multiple surrogates at a time. Even then, the CSR report highlights instances of couples hiring more than one surrogate and 'cherry-picking' the healthiest child. "There are cases where two-three surrogates were tried for one commissioning parent, who then chose to keep the healthiest foetus and abort the rest. The surrogates were handed abortion pills and didn't even know about it. They were simply told that they'd miscarried," shares Mishra. What makes such cases worse is that surrogates often have to forfeit a significant portion of their fee if they miscarry. Some are not even paid if they fail to conceive.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Japanese Millionaire Fathers 15 Babies Through Surrogacy in Thailand

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Right?

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Twenty-four year old Mitsutoki Shigeta is a multimillionaire. The Japanese national says his motives are pure; a large family is all he wants.

Using his own sperm and 11 surrogate mothers in Thailand he's fathered 15 children.

So why in the world did he want all those kids?

Mr Kokiat said Mr Shigeta hired 11 Thai surrogate mothers to carry his children, including four sets of twins. Police have not determined the biological mothers. 
'As soon as they got pregnant, he requested more,' said Mariam Kukunashvili of the New Life clinic, which operates in Thailand and six other countries. 
'He said he wanted 10 to 15 babies a year, and that he wanted to continue the baby-making process until he's dead,' she said, adding that he had also inquired about equipment to freeze his sperm. 
As for Mr Shigeta's motives, she said he told the clinic's manager that 'he wanted to win elections and could use his big family for voting,' and that 'the best thing I can do for the world is to leave many children'.

For voting? Come on. You don't sway elections even with the biggest of families.

So he wanted a big family of 15 (some stories say up to 20) babies, of all the same age. Without marrying the mother of his children.

And he operates in an area of the world notorious for child prostitution. Uh-huh.

But there's no danger of IVF. Reproductive freedom and all that. Women aren't treated as incubators or anything. There's no danger that the children will be anything but loved and cared for.

In my years as a social conservative activist, one rule of thumb I've developed in regards to reproduction: if you can imagine the scenario, it will probably happen.

Tubal Ligation Correlates with Loss of Libido: Study

From an abstract:

Tubal ligation is one of the most commonly used contraceptive methods worldwide. Since the controversy over the potential effects of tubal sterilization still continues, this study aimed to evaluate the clinical and psychological repercussions of videolaparoscopic tubal ligation. 
Observational, single cohort, retrospective study, conducted in a tertiary public hospital. 
A questionnaire was applied to 130 women aged 21-46 years who underwent videolaparoscopic tubal ligation by means of tubal ring insertion or bipolar electrocoagulation and sectioning, between January 1999 and December 2007. Menstrual cycle interval, intensity and duration of bleeding, premenstrual symptoms, dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, noncyclic pelvic pain and degree of sexual satisfaction were assessed in this questionnaire. Each woman served as her own control, and comparisons were made between before and after the surgical procedure and between the two techniques used. 
The clinical and psychological repercussions were significant, with increases in bleeding (P = 0.001), premenstrual symptoms (P < 0.001), dysmenorrhea (P = 0.019) and noncyclic pelvic pain (P = 0.001); and reductions in the number of sexual intercourse occurrences per week (P = 0.001) and in libido (P = 0.001). Women aged ≤ 35 years at the time of sterilization were more likely to develop menstrual abnormalities. The bipolar electrocoagulation method showed greater clinical and psychological repercussions. 
Regardless of the technique used, videolaparoscopic tubal ligation had repercussions consisting of increased menstrual flow and premenstrual symptoms, especially in women aged ≤ 35 years, and also had a negative influence on sexual activity.
I am very intrigued because this is not what I would have expected.

I was genuinely curious about this phenomenon.

I did a quick search on tubal ligation and libido on PubMed. There did not appear to be any other studies that produced similar results.

The medical community seems to be of the opinion that tubal ligation in general does not cause loss of libido, however a small minority of women do report loss of sex drive.

However, I discovered this website about "post-tubal women" who claim that tubal ligation has caused them quite  a few problems.

Post-Tubal Ligation Syndrome is apparently a problem, though like post-abortion syndrome, doctors deny it exists.

And I also discovered this forum as well.

I had no idea about this.

Sao Paulo Med J. 2014 Aug 22;0:0. [Epub ahead of print]
Clinical and psychological repercussions of videolaparoscopic tubal ligation: observational, single cohort, retrospective study.
Dias DS1, Dias R1, Nahás-Neto J1, Nahás EA1, Leite NJ1, Bueloni-Dias FN1, Modotti WP2.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rex Murphy is Exactly Right When It Comes to Rob Ford

Dear Rob Ford Opponents:

This race is not about skin colour or sex. It is very much about the divide between those who think they are always right, and a fair number of almost everyone else. 
The pure snobbery of the anti-Ford fighters is Rob Ford’s fundamental political energy, the oilsands fuelling his campaign machine. He thrives when they despise. And since virtually everything he does causes them to despise all the more, he has more than enough fuel to power him through the next two months of campaigning.

Full disclosure: I like Rob Ford.

I really wish he were sober.

Teacher Fired for Handing Out Zeroes Wins His Case

It should be standard procedure.

If you don't hand in your assignment, you get zero.

Perhaps we could apply only a penalty for assignments that are late.

But there comes a point when a late assignment don't merit a grade.

Of course, given that nobody is held back any more, there's not a big incentive to do assignments on time, at least in elementary school.

We really need to teach kids they need to earn what they get in life.

Study Examines the Association Between Religion and Contraceptive Use in Nigeria

I thought the results were a little surprising.

The role of religion in contraceptive use is an issue of significant debate. This study employed the 1990 and 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey data to examine differences and similarities in the influence of religious affiliation on non-use of modern contraceptives in Nigeria over the last two decades. The results suggest that a significant increase has occurred in the level of awareness of modern contraceptives in Nigeria over the last two decades, but that non-use remains very high. Religion could not independently predict non-use of modern contraceptives in 1990. Women of Islam and Traditional religions were more likely to have never used or not to be using modern contraceptives compared with Catholics and Protestants in 2008 (p<0.05). This can be explained by their poorer socioeconomic status relative to Catholics and Protestants. Therefore, improving women's socioeconomic status is an imperative in the promotion of modern contraception in Nigeria. Education and employment are critical in this regard and adherents of Islam and Traditional religions require special attention.

Did anyone ask these women whether they WANT to use contraception?

Note how they're trying to "market" contraception.

It appears that contraception is available there.

Are they rejecting contraception?

Shouldn't we respect the rejection of contraception?

I would have thought Catholics would reject contraception more than Muslims. But of course a religious label doesn't always indicate level of belief.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Autistic Adults Must Be Responsible for Their Behaviour

The mother of a Burger King employee caught on video shoving and hitting members of a pro-life activist group and kicking down their signs during an obscenity-laden tirade against “male privilege” says she will file a civil lawsuit against the pro-life group due to the “emotional distress” her family has experienced after the embarrassing clip went viral online. 
Duran’s mother, Anairis Carter, who lives in Florida, fought the charges, claiming her daughter is autistic and therefore can’t be blamed for her actions.  The county prosecutor dropped the criminal charges, but ordered Duran to pay $80 to Created Equal to cover the cost of the posters she destroyed. 
Now, Carter is suing Created Equal for emotional distress.  She says that ever since the group posted video of her daughter’s violent outburst, her family has received threats and harassment, driving her to purchase a security system for their house.
What a load. 

I find that there's a culture of deresponsibilisation among parents of autistic children.

The attitude is: autistic people can't be "blamed" for their actions because of their condition.

Nuh-uh. If you want to be part of the normal adult world, you have to be responsible for your behaviour.

I sympathize with the mother in regards to her receiving threats.

Dear people: we can't win the war by being jerk. We SHOULDN'T win the war that way.

That being said, Victoria Duran's outburst was public and completely unacceptable. There are consequences to assault and destruction of property. And her autism cannot be an excuse to exonerate her.

UPDATE: Toronto Jesus Parade Back On: Why Didn't I Know About This?

UPDATE: Of course, I should have googled it BEFORE I wrote this rant.

Jesus Parade is Back ON.

Rob Ford stepped in on behalf of Christians.

But nevertheless, my comments remain.

Here's the website.

And yes, they do have a facebook page. Only two of my friends like this page.

I suppose this brouhaha will help solve the issues I raised in my original post!

I reserve judgement regarding the cancellation of the Jesus Parade permit.

My question is:

How come, in all my years as active social conseravtive in Ontario, I'd never heard of this Toronto Jesus Parade?

I am connected to many leading social conservative voices, many prominent Catholic voices through facebook (and a few Protestants, too).

Nobody has ever sent me a facebook invite. (And the fact that I live in Ottawa is no excuse-- plenty of people send me invites to events thousands of miles away.)

Nobody ever talked about it.

Dear Social Conservatives of Canada: we suck at networking and mobilization.

Get with the program.

How do you expect to have cultural clout if you can't even let your side know about these events on social media?

If you're a social conservative activist, and you're not on facebook, twitter or another relevant social media site: you don't exist. If nobody talks about you, you don't exist.

I find this lack of basic know-how to be very frustrating.

Danish Study Examines 2nd Trimester Abortion and Birth Defects

Time for another abstract.  Formatted for easy reading:


Prenatal termination of pregnancy may underestimate risks or cause bias in epidemiological studies of birth defects if such studies measure only defects diagnosed postnatally. We aimed to estimate the proportion of all fetuses with birth defects terminated in the second trimester of pregnancy-overall and for specific defects.


The study comprised all pregnancies ending in a singleton birth, miscarriage, or termination of pregnancy for which health care services were sought, as recorded in Danish medical registries between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2011.


Of the 420,090 pregnancies, 307,637 fetuses survived until gestational week 12 or beyond; of these, 296,373 (96%) ended in a live birth or stillbirth and 11,264 (4%) ended in a second-trimester termination. The prevalence of birth defects among live births and stillbirths was 3% (9,790/296,373); the corresponding prevalence among second-trimester-terminated pregnancies was 14% (1,563/11,264). Although only 4% of all pregnancies ended in a second-trimester termination, 14% (1,563/11,353) of pregnancies with birth defects were ended by a second-trimester termination. The groups of birth defects with the highest proportion of second-trimester terminations were defects of the nervous system (347/740; 48%) and abdominal wall (58/149; 39%). For many types of birth defects, however, that proportion was less than 10%.


The proportion of terminated pregnancies carrying birth defects is considerably greater than the corresponding proportion for pregnancies that end as live births or stillbirths. The proportion of birth defects unobserved at birth due to second-trimester terminations depends on type of defect and lethality.

Wow. One in 25 babies who make it to the 2nd trimester dies as a result of abortion.

One in 7 pregnancies with a "birth defect" ended in termination.

It would be interesting to know the Canadian numbers for this.

But of course, since this information is only available to health researchers, and the numbers are not very good to begin with, it would only be a vague estimate.

What I thought was interesting was that there was no mention of Down Syndrome.

I'm not sure it qualifies as "defects of the nervous system."

I checked a definition of "birth defect".

It includes congenital anomalies.

So I'm a little puzzled as to whether Trisomies and similar genetic conditions are included in the calculation.

Epidemiology. 2014 Aug 27. [Epub ahead of print]
Estimating the Proportion of all Observed Birth Defects Occurring in Pregnancies Terminated by a Second-trimester Abortion.
Svensson E1, Ehrenstein V, Nørgaard M, Bakketeig LS, Rothman KJ, Toft Sørensen H, Pedersen L.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Calvin and Hobbes on Morality

I don't think this is the best explanation for why the ends do not justify the means.

But it certainly shows the consequences.

H/T: Catholic Thinker.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

QUOTATION: Pope Francis on Blaming the Government

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Pope Francis)
When Jesus comes to judge us, He will say to some, "Because I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me." And they will ask the Lord "When did I do that? I don't remember." And He will respond. "Everytime you helped the poor, you helped me." But He will also say to others, "Go away, because I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat." And He will also condemn us for the sin of blaming the government for poverty, when it is a responsibility we must all assume to the extent we can.

--Pope Francis, Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ALS Canada Does Not Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Reports Campaign Life Coalition.

It says so on its page.

Have fun getting iced.

Vatican Issues Text on The Sign of Peace

Approve by Pope Francis.

Basically, it stays the same, but here's the gist of the abuses that are meant to be eliminated.

c) In any case, it will be necessary, at the time of the exchange of peace, to definitively avoid abuses such as:
-the introduction of a "song for peace", which is non-existent in the Roman Rite.
-the movement of the faithful from their places to exchange the sign of peace amongst themselves.
-the departure of the priest from the altar in order to give the sign of peace to some of the faithful.
-that in certain circumstances, such as at the Solemnity of Easter or of Christmas, or during ritual celebrations such as Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, Sacred Ordinations, Religious Professions, and Funerals, the exchange of peace being the occasion for expressing congratulations, best wishes or condolences among those present.

I predict none of these abuses will be eliminated. They will continue to be widespread for at least the next ten years.

When it comes to Vatican documents, the attitude is "stop or I'll say stop again." Nothing changes because nobody puts their foot down.

Monday, August 25, 2014

B.C. Grandmother Kills Self to Avoid Consequences of Dementia

During lucid moments in the last two years, Bennett wrote about her decision. Vegetating for years in a hospital — in diapers, incompetent, a financial and physical burden — was a prospect she perceived as “ludicrous and wasteful.”

“Her position wasn’t just that she didn’t want to be a burden to others,” said Jonathan. “She was also considering the kind of life she would have. It would have been hard on the rest of us and not good enough for her.”

This says a lot about her view of the elderly and the disabled, in general.

If she thought she would be a burden, then, at least unconciously, she perceived the elderly and the disabled as burdens.

We really need to build more euthanasia-free hospitals and nursing homes.

And here's a new narrative pro-lifers can develop:

“If someone could have helped her, she wouldn’t have had to die yesterday. She could have waited. If the law was different so that she could have had help, she would not have had to choose to end her life as soon as she did. That is the hardest thing.”

Sara struggles to hold back her tears. “Even though my mom died painlessly in exactly the way she chose, at the time she chose, knowing that she left the legacy she chose, it’s still unbelievably painful.”


John Paul II Medical Research Institute: Prolife Medical Research

With the perpetuation of embryonic stem cell research and other anti-life research, a prolifer can feel overwhelmed about the issue of where to donate to medical research.

Although embryonic stem cell research is on the wane, there is nothing to say that other anti-life measures are not being used.

The John Paul II Medical Research Institute bypasses all those problems.

They only conduct medical research consistent with pro-life values.

They focus on neurodegenerative and other hard-to-treat diseases. They conduct research that will be of use for the treatment of a number of diseases. Right now they recruit patients to collect tissue for their research.

I'm very happy to have discovered this page because I want to support medical research, but I've never had a genuinely pro-life alternative.

You can like their facebook page here.

QUOTATION: Mothers as Co-Redeemers

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
The pains which a woman bears in labor help to expiate the sins of mankind, and draw their meaning from the Agony of Christ on the Cross. Mothers are, therefore, not only co-creators with God; they are co-redeemers with Christ in the flesh.

--Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Three to Get Married

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Why One Catholic Blogger Took the Ice Bucket Challenge

From Gerard Nadal, MD:

ALSA has said that they have one embryonic stem cell line that has been funded by a private donor, and that work on this line of cells is nearing the end of its lifespan. That’s not hard to believe . Almost nobody pursues embryonic stem cell research anymore. The reason is simple.

They. Just. Don’t. Work.

They are too young, immature, and undifferentiated to control. They grow into tumors. There are too many unknown variables. They are a nightmare that have produced zero return on investment, and for both parties in grant applications, that’s a big, big deal. Labs have been abandoning them like rats jumping from a sinking ship.

Personally, I would have waited until the embryo cell line was no longer being used at all in order to donate.

Until that cell line is gone, the potential for future research is always possible.

The donation is based on a prediction. That prediction may not come true.