Cleansing Fire

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Legislative Alert

June 21st, 2010, Promulgated by Nerina

When former Governor, Eliot Spitzer, was ousted from office I found it ironically just that he was brought down by a sex scandal while preparing to pass the obnoxious RHAPP bill which would have made abortion a “fundamental right” in New York. At the time I thought of Fr. Corapi saying, “You can’t box with God” meaning, of course, that God will have His way.  I also thought that incident would be the end of such legislation given the sad shape of our state’s economy and budget.  How naive I was.  The “culture of death” persists and recently a new bill with the same intent as RHAPP was introduced into the legislature.  It is suppported strongly by our current governor and deserves our strong opposition.  Go here, take action (it’s very easy) and pray.  Do we really need to liberalize abortion in a state with one of the highest abortion rates already?  I thank you for your attention.

In His Peace, Nerina

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21 Responses to “Legislative Alert”

  1. avatar Mike says:

    Thanks, Nerina.

    Emails sent.

  2. avatar Louis E. says:

    While sympathetic to this blog’s opposition to hypocrisy in the administration of your diocese…officials of any religion should believe what it believes,and any religion’s credibility rests on ita refusal to “change with the times”…I regard abortion rights as an issue on which your Magisterium is totally and harmfully mistaken,and strongly support this legislation.

  3. avatar Nerina says:

    Louise E.,

    Governor Patterson is free to believe what he wants to believe just as a Catholic is free to do the same. A Catholic also has the right to voice his or her opposition to proposed legislation that makes the killing of babies in the womb more common place. You may think that our “Magisterium is totally and harmfully mistaken” on this issue, but teaching for thousands of years thinks otherwise. A society can be measured by how it treats the most vulnerable among us. With over 1.3 million babies killed each year through abortion, I’d say our society is in serious trouble. Abortion not only kills babies, but harms women and families and ultimately hurts each and every one of us as our culture continues to degrade human life. If we can’t respect and protect the most vulnerable among us, how will we ever respect and protect each other? We keep walking down the slipper slope at our own risk.

    Finally, I ask you this: would you feel the same way if this bill was liberalizing slavery in our state or the use of torture?

    No one has the “right” to kill another. No one. And please don’t argue exceptional situations like self-defense or in times of war – clearly these are unusual. As a principle, we have a duty to respect, support and nourish life – not extinguish it.

  4. avatar Louis E. says:

    The premise that abortion is “killing a baby” is the core of Catholicism’s mistake,I am not saying you can’t voice that opinion,but do not want women harmed by its treatment as if true by legislation.Eating a nut is not killing a tree.What could be does not have to be.The life of an ambryo is not “another” compared to that of a woman without whom it can not exist and whose sole discretion to decide whether or not it exists must be recognized.Full separation,and rights,are attained through birth.

    No one is more hostile to euthanasia or to capital punishment (a greater evil than slavery or torture) than I am.

    The Church had a more nuanced position until 1869,for all that there is nothing to like about abortion.The simplistic desire for there to be,when there is clearly not,a moment when an individual springs into existence ex nihilo,led it to extremism…may it repent.

  5. avatar Dr. K says:

    “Eating a nut is not killing a tree.”

    For one we’re not dealing with nuts and trees, but human life. Second, you’re not comparing apples to apples. If you want to make this nut argument, you would need to compare the nut to the unfertilized egg in the woman’s body. A fertilized egg develops into a living, human being. The baby’s heart beats while in the womb; the baby also moves inside the womb. It’s living. How you can deny that, I do not know.

  6. avatar Louis E. says:

    A nut,fallen from the tree,can grow into a tree.An unfertilized egg mirrors the blossom before it is fertilized and the nut forms.The foetal heartbeat exists contingent on the woman’s life,its life is not separable from hers.It needs her to eat,it needs her to breathe,for its sustenance.The process of developing into a separate individual life is not instantaneous…how you can deny that,I do not know.

  7. avatar Dr. K says:

    I offer you this example: There have been instances where a mother was killed (say in a car accident) and the child inside her womb survived. If the child in the womb is dependent on the mother, and that, in your view, does not qualify the child as a human being with human rights, then how do you explain such situations?

    See here: http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=94652&page=1

    Let’s look at another example. What about infants, and young toddlers? Both of these depend on their mother to feed them. Are they not human because they can’t feed themselves? Their lives are dependent on their mothers after all.

  8. avatar Nerina says:

    Well, Louise, your comments give me much to think about. I disagree with you completely since to make an analogy between an acorn/tree and embryo/human is disingenuous and illogical. An embryo is already fully human. The only thing it needs is time to mature. If we applied your argument to other situations then we would quickly have no trouble justifying infanticide – after all, babies are not completely independent at birth. They are totally dependent on another for survival. Leave a baby alone and he or she will die. In abortion it’s worse because we are instrumental in a baby’s death. Our direct action kills. A woman is not the person who determines whether or not a baby exists. This is nonsense. Science tells us precisely that a new life, complete with its own DNA exists. What a woman who procures an abortion IS able to do is to determine whether or not the baby lives.

    For the life of me I can’t imagine how one can be “hostile” to euthanasia and capital punishment (something the Church has not forbidden, btw) but be tolerant of abortion – again, the ending of a completely unique and innocent life.

    As for the Church’s more nuanced stance, let’s not argue ensoulment. Ensoulment is a theory put forth by brilliant minds that did not have the scientific knowledge we have today. Regardless, Aquinas always held that abortion was gravely wrong not matter what.

  9. avatar Nerina says:

    Louise, it sounds like for you a separate human life begins after birth and therefore physical separation (when the cord is severed, so to speak). I am arguing that a separate human life already exists – at the moment of conception. That’s science. What you are talking about is the concept of *personhood* as a legal concept. For the Church, it’s easy. Life exists – protect it. We know it exists uniquely at conception. Therefore, abortion is the taking of a human life.

  10. avatar Louis E. says:

    Nerina…my name is Louis,not Louise.

    Dr. K…you are denying the enormous,overwhelming significance of birth,with no more credibility than the same-sex “marriage” advocates deny the importance of marriage partners being of opposite sexes.Once born a child can be supported by ANYONE.Befire birth the foetus is inseparably linked to one woman,whose full humanity is denied if its legal equality to her is asserted over her objections.We need a world in which we can all live confident we were born because our mothers wanted us to be,not because the state forced it upon her…not one where a mother’s love is legally of no importance as to whether a child is born.

    Nerina again…a conceived zygote is no more human,no more alive,and no more capable of independent existence than the live human sperm and live human ovum that merged to form it.The capacity to live independently is grown iver time.THAT is science.Until the life is not part of another’s life it must not be treated as having distinct rights.That is justice.The government killing of an unarmed prisoner is NOT justice,it violates the rfights birth irrevocably grants (whjich do not include the right to deliberately end one’s own life).

  11. avatar Nerina says:

    Louis,

    My apologies about misspelling your name. The capital E at the end plays tricks with my head.

    As for your arguments, I don’t know how to convince you of the reality that a NEW human exists at the moment of conception. Dependent? You bet. But still separate and wholly unique.

    As to women being “forced” to have children, there are steps that woman can take to avoid this situation BEFORE an innocent person has to suffer. And frankly, there are many, many of us living who were born to mothers who weren’t overly thrilled with our existence, but I doubt many of us would have it any other way (I speak as one). Further, a mother’s love is legally of no importance when it comes to giving birth. Again, it sure would be nice if every child was a wanted child and a loved child, but allowing one person to determine if another one lives is morally unacceptable.

    If you don’t think this plays out in other areas then you are ignoring the outrageous justifications for infanticide in the Netherlands and euthanasia throughout the world. We have both practices precisely because people like you refuse to recognize the humanity of the nascent human in the womb. You clearly have the moment of birth as a defining moment of existence or personhood, I wonder if there is a defining moment on the other end of the life spectrum that would negate personhood for you? What about the person afflicted with Alzheimer’s who would surely die without depending on another (it doesn’t matter that this person isn’t physically attached)? Would you see them as “no more capable of independent existence” and therefore a candidate for euthanasia? Should society have to bear the burden of caring for this person? If so, why? What makes this person different from the unborn child?

  12. avatar Louis E. says:

    I don’t know how to convince you of the reality that the moment of conception doesn’t consitute the fulfillment of the potential it creates.If what will be already is,one would assume you’d all happily take communion consecrated by men ordained as transitional deacons by bishops-elect,

    I draw an ENORMOUS distinction between abortion and the Dutch infanticides,and you blind yourself to that distinction,.I believe that the problem comes precisely from pretending being born does not raise you far far above the level of an embryo.I do not accept any alternative before natural death at the end of life.Physical attachment is of the HIGHEST importance even if you think it doesn’t matter.What makes this person different?,,,HAVING BEEN BORN!

    The born should see their common interest,.

  13. avatar Mike says:

    Louis E.,

    Peter Kreeft, a philosophy professor at Boston College has an article on abortion available online here. A short excerpt follows but the whole thing is worth a read if you really want to understand where the Catholic Church is coming from.

    The most likely response to this will be the charge of dogmatism. How dare I pontificate with infallible certainty, and call all who disagree either mentally or morally challenged! All right, here is an argument even for the metaphysical skeptic, who would not even agree with my very first and simplest premise, that we really do know what some things really are, such as what an apple is. (It’s only after you are pinned against the wall and have to justify something like abortion that you become a skeptic and deny such a self-evident principle.)

    Roe used such skepticism to justify a pro-choice position. Since we don’t know when human life begins, the argument went, we cannot impose restrictions. (Why it is more restrictive to give life than to take it, I cannot figure out.) So here is my refutation of Roe on its own premises, its skeptical premises: Suppose that not a single principle of this essay is true, beginning with the first one. Suppose that we do not even know what an apple is. Even then abortion is unjustifiable.

    Let’s assume not a dogmatic skepticism (which is self-contradictory) but a skeptical skepticism. Let us also assume that we do not know whether a fetus is a person or not. In objective fact, of course, either it is or it isn’t (unless the Court has revoked the Law of Noncontradiction while we were on vacation), but in our subjective minds, we may not know what the fetus is in objective fact. We do know, however, that either it is or isn’t by formal logic alone.

    A second thing we know by formal logic alone is that either we do or do not know what a fetus is. Either there is “out there,” in objective fact, independent of our minds, a human life, or there is not; and either there is knowledge in our minds of this objective fact, or there is not.

    So, there are four possibilities [I made some corrections here as the numbering was somehow screwed up.]:

    1. The fetus is a person, and we know that;
    2. The fetus is a person, but we don’t know that;
    3. The fetus isn’t a person, but we don’t know that;
    4. The fetus isn’t a person, and we know that.

    What is abortion in each of these four cases?

    In Case 1, where the fetus is a person and you know that, abortion is murder. First-degree murder, in fact. You deliberately kill an innocent human being.

    In Case 2, where the fetus is a person and you don’t know that, abortion is manslaughter. It’s like driving over a man-shaped overcoat in the street at night or shooting toxic chemicals into a building that you’re not sure is fully evacuated. You’re not sure there is a person there, but you’re not sure there isn’t either, and it just so happens that there is a person there, and you kill him. You cannot plead ignorance. True, you didn’t know there was a person there, but you didn’t know there wasn’t either, so your act was literally the height of irresponsibility. This is the act Roe allowed.

    In Case 3, the fetus isn’t a person, but you don’t know that. So abortion is just as irresponsible as it is in the previous case. You ran over the overcoat or fumigated the building without knowing that there were no persons there. You were lucky; there weren’t. But you didn’t care; you didn’t take care; you were just as irresponsible. You cannot legally be charged with manslaughter, since no man was slaughtered, but you can and should be charged with criminal negligence.

    Only in Case 4 is abortion a reasonable, permissible, and responsible choice. But note: What makes Case 4 permissible is not merely the fact that the fetus is not a person but also your knowledge that it is not, your overcoming of skepticism. So skepticism counts not for abortion but against it. Only if you are not a skeptic, only if you are a dogmatist, only if you are certain that there is no person in the fetus, no man in the coat, or no person in the building, may you abort, drive, or fumigate.

    This undercuts even our weakest, least honest escape: to pretend that we don’t even know what an apple is, just so we have an excuse for pleading that we don’t know what an abortion is.

  14. avatar Nerina says:

    Thanks for the Peter Kreeft reference, Mike.

    Louis, you are clearly convinced of your position and I’m not going to change that. You’re right that I don’t lower the status of the unborn child. I equate the person in the womb with a person born because if we don’t, then we are stumbling into a moral abyss. If we lower the status of babies in the womb (and try to do this first with language like “fertilized ovum,” or “zygote” or “embryo” – all so scientific sounding) we quickly start to lower the status of the born (e.g. disabled humans, people in vegetative states, other groups society deems “undesirable”). I find your utilitarian take on the matter very troubling.

    I’m thankful that the Church teaches what she does on this matter. I will continue to pray that others will come to realize the horror and disgrace of abortion.

  15. avatar Nerina says:

    One more thing, Louis, because I want to be sure I understand your arguments (which seem to shift from the “blob of tissue” to “parasite” to “not of equal moral weight”). You have made it clear that, for you, birth is the defining moment for personhood. There are babies now born at 21 and 22 weeks gestation who survive outside of the mother (obviously). So according to your standard, they deserve personhood status. So, what do we do with the babies dismembered at 21 or 22 or 28 or 32 weeks gestation through abortion? If born at those gestations, they would likely survive too. Why is it okay to allow them killed through abortion even though they could exist independently at this stage? Do you support limits on abortion based on gestational age? Or is it simply a matter of the mother says the baby isn’t a baby, so therefore it isn’t?

  16. avatar Louis E. says:

    I see the low status of the zygotes,morulae,blastulae,gastrulae that the Catholic Church claims are of as much worth as the live-born as self-evident,and the moral abyss risk as from denying our clearly superior status.I consider the disabled,vegetative,etc. TOTALLY different because of the irrevocable and enormous change that is birth.

    The Church is free to teach women to believe they have a moral duty to carry a foetus to term.But for the police power of the state to be used to compel women who disagree to act in such a fashion is to turn the taxpayer into a conscripted rapist!

  17. avatar Nerina says:

    Louis, you are seriously, gravely wrong. The fact that you see the prevention of killing babies as turning the taxpayer into a “conscripted rapist” is incomprehensible to me. And let’s be honest, Louis, abortion isn’t going anywhere. A woman in our state can get one up to the moment before natural birth. All we are saying is that we shouldn’t enshrine this terrible, terrible procedure as a “fundamental right” and therefore eliminate common sense restrictions (like parental notification, waiting periods, etc…). Your view is in the extreme.

    And let’s also remember that most women have a choice in NOT getting pregnant (except for very, very rare circumstances).

    We’ll see how you feel when the pro-euthanasia crowd starts using your language of “value” in deciding who should live or die or how you’ll feel when scientists propose using the mentally handicapped for organ donation since, again, their lives are not as “valuable.” That’s where your view leads. I’m done here.

  18. avatar Louis E. says:

    Where you see a “saved baby”,I see a raped woman,and am just as convinced that you are “seriously,gravely wrong” as you are that I am.(I am equally opposed to forced abortion,of course;the issue is that the woman is entitled to discretion over whether to remain pregnant).

    My view of the significance of birth that you ignore (and through denying,imperil) precludes any of the pro-euthanasia arguments you warn of.I see your views as leading into things like jailing women for action that has a statistical correlation with reduced chance of embryonic implantation.

    Abortion is not fun,abortion is not pretty,it is nothing to like.But denying the right to it is wrong.

  19. avatar Nerina says:

    Louis,

    I do appreciate your willingness to engage in this discussion. Obviously we have different understanding of the sanctity of life, but I appreciate the thought you have given to the issue. I will say that I don’t advocate for the jailing of women who procure an abortion. I never have. And before Roe v. Wade I believe the focus was on prosecuting the physician who performed the abortion, not on the women (though you may evidence to the contrary).

    I so despise abortion because it has been sold as a big lie. The abortion movement’s beginning is rooted deeply in misperception and outright lies. Dr. Bernard Nathanson has been very honest in the way abortion advocates simply “made up” statistics out of whole cloth. I think abortion is not only deadly for an innocent human being, but straddles women with untold regret, emotional disturbances, substance abuse, and self-loathing, among other things. In a society that constantly stresses concern for women, I think we have been very shortsighted in addressing post-abortion issues. Abortion is not good for women. Period. I truly wish there was more of an emphasis on adoption as an alternative to abortion. I do understand that some women can’t face raising a child alone and that some are faced with enormous pressure to “get rid of it.” But killing a baby is not the answer.

    Again, from all your posts, I understand that you see the moment of birth as THE defining moment of personhood. I see conception as the defining moment. We obviously part ways here. Thanks again, Louis, for taking time to articulate your viewpoint.

  20. avatar Mary says:

    Louis said, “Until the life is not part of another’s life it must not be treated as having distinct rights.That is justice.”

    So it’s OK to kill a baby 5 minutes before it is born, but not 5 minutes after it is born?

  21. avatar LarryD says:

    Abortion is not good for women. Period.

    Don’t forget the fathers – it’s not good for them either.


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