Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Make Abortions Invisible?

I believe that as long as we marginalize abortion care and it is provided solely in clinics where everybody knows your business there, then targets are made .... if we incorporate abortion care into general gynecology... we wouldn't have this problem at all, services would be invisible.

Like Canada, right? Like the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax where abortions are performed in a ward that is unmarked, where no one is allowed access without escort, where what is done is kept in the dark.

I quote Terry who works in that hospital and knows exactly where the clinic is:

It amazes me, however, how secretive the access is to these legal abortions. Here in Halifax abortions are performed on the fifth floor of the Victoria building of the QEII Health Sciences Centre. This is a locked unit, with absolutely no unescorted access. There are no signs to say what goes on behind these secured doors. Why is that? Perhaps they realize that what they are doing is wrong.

Why should a patient going in for an abortion be afforded any more privacy than one who is going in for bowel surgery? Both are very personal issues, but no one is barred from the ninth floor … only the fifth.

h/t ProWomanProLife

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On Being Light in the Culture

I posted a week ago about the article in the Chronicle Herald (Chronically Horrid is a far better name) written by Linda Yates, a United Church minister in Halifax. She had written her objections to the 40 Days for Life vigil here, and I wrote a response which the Herald actually printed.

Unequal Rights

I was then contacted by a student at King's school of journalism, requesting an interview which she hoped to air on the university radio CKDU. A most pleasant young woman who arrived at the vigil site on Saturday morning to ask some questions and record my answers. What she didn't tell me was that the radio piece was about Yates' article and my questions would be edited to give the opposite position to Yates. If I had known that, I might have answered a little differently. Be that as it may, the interview was edited down to one minute, and really what can you convey in one minute?

Yates was recorded to say that the prayer vigil gave the wrong impression of religion to the culture; that many denominations are not anti-choice, and that we were misrepresenting religion when we hold our vigil. I was not told of Yates' statement, I was simply asked how I had reacted to her article. I said that I was angered by it, that a minister would come out so strongly pro-choice was disturbing to me. Then Yates was recorded as saying that in her opinion, our vigil was such that it could, in religious terms, be called "evil". My closing remark was "you cannot be Christian and pro-choice".

Actually I was glad that she made that my last remark because I do hold that is true. I wonder if the United Church that Yates leads actually studies the words of Christ in the gospels, and if they consider that simple but direct question "what would Jesus do?"

As Christians, we are meant to be leaven in the culture. The position that Yates takes, and I assume also the United Church and the other denominations whom she says are not anti-choice, is one of condoning what the culture has already accepted. Their position of saying that women face difficult decisions about terminating their pregnancies and that we should respect that and support them is, in fact, simply tolerating an evil that God does not tolerate. They are pronouncing a blessing on what is going on in our culture, when we are actually exhorted by Christ to be a light in the darkness. We are not supposed to bless the darkness!

As I heard the interview, I was drawn to remember the Scripture where Jesus warns us that those who oppose us will actually think they are doing good. One could perhaps say that they might even call our actions "evil".

All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.

Kind of calls to mind the arrest of the Carleton students, doesn't it? and Linda Gibbons in jail; the pro-choice group trying to revoke the permit of 40 Days for Life in Ottawa; all are efforts to shut down the voice of truth about abortion. So I ask "what would Jesus do?"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Starving Babies to Death

Wesley Smith has written an article entitled "It Takes a Long Time to Starve a Severely Disabled Infant to Death by Withdrawing Medically-Supplied Nutrition."

Read more here
Secondhand Smoke

Despite this, there is one factor that medication cannot alleviate, and that is the visual signs of emaciation, said Ms. Keats. “The longer a child lives, the more emaciated he or she becomes. This is something that we as clinicians need to anticipate. You can alleviate some of the physical symptoms, but this is one symptom, or result of our action, that we can’t relieve. A critical factor for counseling is to anticipate the kind of suffering that comes with witnessing the emaciation. It isn’t something people can prepare themselves for.”Autopsies are often encouraged in such neonatal palliative care cases to help both parents and medical staff gain a better understanding of the reasons for the death, said Dr. Siden. Parents should be warned that the report will document the technical cause of death as “starvation” — a loaded word for all concerned. It is important that parents separate this word from any notion of suffering, he said.

I know that this goes on here in Halifax at the Isaac Walton Killam Hospital. I was told this by a staff person who works on that floor. Notice the disconnect on the part of the doctor when he says:

There’s an ethical component to doing research. If you don’t do research yourself, you need to support those who do, because we desperately need to know more,” Dr. Siden asserted. “There’s a technical aspect to what we do, and we need to become really good at that because we need to be able to say to people, without a doubt, that we are going to do this and there is not going to be any kind of suffering. You’ve got to be very on top of your game.

on top of your game? ooops

I think the first comment by Brady says it all:
"Sick. They are trying to sneekily push this crap on us in med school too."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I am at once a physician, a citizen and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow this concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged and the planned have the right to live. - Dr. Mildred Jefferson

Dr. Mildred Jefferson, a prominent, outspoken opponent of abortion and the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School, died Friday at her home in Cambridge, Mass. She was 84.

Read more on Jefferson here
NY Times article

Jennifer Derwey on ProWomanProLife

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Being Leaven in the Culture

Picture from EWTN News

Archbishop Chaput addressed a youth conference in Victoria, BC on October 16. He related the story of a teacher who noticed a desensitization in her students over four decades, while using the same story with each class. From initial shock and indignation over human sacrifice to boredom to acceptance of this as a cultural element, the teacher was dismayed to see how students had lost their moral sensitivity in two generations. Chaput calls this losing our "moral vocabulary" but I think something stronger might be used.

At risk of relating everything back to abortion, I can't help but think that a nation that gets used to the increasing numbers of legal abortions is bound to be a nation that can accept anything in the end. If we accept violence to the child in the womb as a solution to our problems, then we will accept violence outside of the womb as well.

Read the article here

h/t Deborah Gyapong

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Prayer Vigil November 27

In today's archdiocesan bulletin:

Prayer Vigil at the Cathedral
Saturday November 27, 7pm - 9 pm Save the Date!

Come to saint Mary's Cxathedral basilica to join Archbishop Mancini in the worldwide Prayer Vigil for all human life.
Pope Benedict XVI has asked all the bishops of the world to gather their people on that evening to pray for this intention, in solidarity with him as he leads the celebration at St. Peter's basilica in Rome.

Google this event and every site you find will list this as what the Pope called for - a "vigil for nascent life".

Is Halifax the only place that has changed the words and made this the all-inclusive "seamless garment"-type vigil that is indicated in the description above?

Perhaps the word "nascent" is not in their vocabulary.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Carleton Arrest and Father Simon Lobo

The arrested student above, Ruth Lobo, has an interesting story. Listen to her brother's homily to hear how significant this incident is. How wonderful it is to hear a priest get fired up about this issue.

Father Lobo's homily on October 10

Response to Linda Yates, United Church Minister

This was written in response to the article posted yesterday in the Chronicle Herald. It seems that the paper will not post anything that comes from a pro-life perspective. It is interesting that since we began this vigil 23 days ago, not one journalist from either the printed press or radio or television has contacted us for any information about the vigil or the 40 Days campaign. If any other group of people assembled publicly for 40 days, I am sure that we would hear about it. But not Christians on the issue of abortion. I have been called by 4 students however, all of whom were writing papers for their classes or articles for school newspapers on the vigil. At least, they show some interest. What shall I say of The Chronicle Herald? cowardly to say the least.

Response to Religious, Not Anti-Choice

Ms Yates makes the assertion that pro-life supporters are now using the demographic decline of the west to support being anti-choice. Recently the Nova Scotia government published that the population had increased by 1100 last year, with 900 of those being immigrants; what they don’t tell Nova Scotians is that, in the same year, over 2000 babies were aborted in Nova Scotian hospitals. While demographics should be discussed, the pro-life position always has been and always will be about the right to life for the child in the womb.

Talk of “safe, legal abortion” always centers around the woman. Rarely do pro-choice defenders mention what their “choice” entails – the termination of a human being during development in the womb. A woman’s right to her reproductive life is asserted but it is not shown that her right is juxtaposed to the right to life of another individual. Those rights are not equal. It is not the norm that a woman dies from pregnancy; however her baby always dies from abortion. While a pregnancy may pose a greater or lesser inconvenience for the mother, abortion always presents death for her child.

As pro-lifers, we ask why can the woman not be encouraged to forego or alter some of her activities for a short nine months in order for someone else to have a life? The current wait to adopt an infant is so long that she need only “not want” her baby for nine months.

Yates’ words “permanent brunt of pregnancy” indicate that pregnancy and childbearing is now considered a burden whereas it used to be considered a privilege and a blessing. One would hope that religious leaders would be life-affirming, not denigrating.

What is puzzling to me is that women, who claim to be feminists, do not realize that abortion makes them more available as sexual objects to men than ever before. Without the possibility of a pregnancy, men do not assume responsibility for their sexual behaviour and women are left to carry the entire burden of decision. “It’s your problem, take care of it” could be the motto of men who support abortion.

As for the cost of birth difficulties and the costs of raising children, perhaps Yates should consider the cost of caring for premature babies born after a previous induced abortion. The rate of premature delivery is 34% for women with one previous induced abortion; that rate climbs to 82% for women with more than one previous induced abortion.

Vigil participants in 40 Days for Life gather with over 300,000 other Christians in 239 cities around the world, praying for an end to abortion. We consider ourselves to be “a voice for the voiceless”, since the child in the womb has no other advocate in our present society. Would it not be better for all if we were to provide support for women in crisis pregnancies, both material and psychological support, instead of offering abortion as the first and easiest choice? Perhaps we offer it because it is the easiest choice for us; we won’t have a child to help care for, whereas with abortion, it is only the woman who has to bear the burden of her decision.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

United Church Minister Speaks on Abortion ......

Religious, not anti-choice
Wed, Oct 13 - 5:32 PM

I did not realize that human capital had become another tool added to the anti-choice minority’s arsenal until I was being yelled at by a private nursing home operator.

I had come to visit a parishioner who was being fed by the owner/operator at 10:30 a.m. I was a little surprised that my parishioner was just out of bed but sat down quietly to wait. The owner turned to me and in a rage declared that as a United Church minister I was part of this "problem" of the late breakfast.

She ranted that if all the babies that had been aborted were alive she would have no problem getting workers. It did not occur to me to question how she could know whether theoretical fetuses would grow up to be continuing-care attendants. I might also have suggested to her that the reason she could not keep attendants might have something to do with low wages or even, perhaps, her temper.

Again, in the Oct. 4 edition of this paper, I see this argument being resurrected by the anti-choice coalition. Essentially, pregnancy should be enforced in order to repopulate the labour pool.

It seems a strange religious response. This "enforced pregnancy" movement exists at a time when we are greatly relaxing protocols around end-of-life care. Not enough labourers and too many seniors coming through the pipes. Is someone doing the math and concluding that women better be forced to have children? It may be one explanation for the increased anti-choice rhetoric these days.

Many mainline denominations support access to safe, early abortion for women who are experiencing an unwanted pregnancy. Women’s minds and bodies bear the permanent brunt of pregnancy. Birth injuries cost societies around the world an incredible amount of money and long-term pain and anguish for families.

There are some very good reasons why obstetricians have such high insurance rates and why we cannot train enough of them. Pregnancy is fraught with unexpected medical difficulties. After birth, women still bear the primary financial, emotional and physical responsibilities for the raising of children. A woman has the right to determine whether she will bear these burdens.

Some of us, clergy and lay, gathered together to craft a response to the anti-choice coalition. Our ad hoc, quickly formed ecumenical group settled on these words: "The anti-choice movement claims to represent the only religious response. In fact, many women and men of faith support a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body. We are profoundly saddened that some people are still trying to shame and harass women who are making the best choice they can in their circumstances.

"We believe that people of faith should be offering the hand of friendship to support women in need and should be advocating for the availability of safe, inexpensive contraceptives; legal, medically-insured compassionate abortion services; and licensed, affordable, quality child care. God expects that we will use the tremendous powers of intelligence and compassion given to us to make good decisions for ourselves and for our world. We are asking people of faith to celebrate Forty Days of Prayer to Keep Abortion Safe and Legal."

Let me conclude with this quotation comes from prayers written by Faith Aloud ( "We pray for women, for whom pregnancy is not good news, that they know they have choices. We pray for compassionate religious voices to speak out for the dignity and autonomy of women. We pray for our daughters and granddaughters, that they will always know the power of making their own good decisions."

Linda Yates is minister at St. John’s United Church in Halifax.

And one notable comment by B Sacamano:

One wonders just how many people Rev. Yates' ecumenical group represents. As I recall, St. John's United would be the same church that's being turned into condos and seniors housing because most of their congregation is either deceased or nearly so. Moreover, considering the United Church's precipitous decline since it embraced it's post-Christian "social justice" spiritualism (more than any other mainline church in Canada), one has to wonder if Rev. Yates and her friends speak for that many people of faith at all.

For my part, while I certainly don't condone the limitation of abortion to simply increase the labour pool, the decline of Canada's birthrate to below replacement levels is a serious issue, and one that deserves serious debate. I can also say that I have had the opportunity to walk by the 40 Days protesters on a regular basis--and while I don't agree with their position, they conduct themselves in a very dignified manner--sometimes in the face of ugly responses from the pro-abortion side.

In the final analysis, while I disagree with those that would make abortion illegal, I must confess that I am also troubled by Christians who cheer abortion, the "relaxing" of end of life protocols, and demean those with whom they disagree.

I have written a response to The Chronicle Herald, and am waiting to see if they publish it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oh Canada, the true north strong and free

A few hours arrest for students at Carleton University for putting up the GAP display

EIGHT years since 1994 in jail for peaceful counseling women outside the Scott abortuary

TAKE BACK CANADA from those who will not allow free speech!

Will the 40 Days for Life campaigns be next?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Rebecca


Mom and Dad ( I know, a day late)

re Comments

I will repeat here that no anonymous comments will be posted. If you wish to comment on any post here, you MUST put your name; otherwise I assume you are a coward and your comment will be dismissed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The New Protestors

Sunday's Life Chain brought out two (just two) protestors with a sign about women die every 8 minutes from lack of access to safe abortion. There were 183 people who turned out to stand to defend life.

As I found out last night from a priest who spoke with these two women, they are lesbian feminist pro-choicers. My first reaction is what do they have to do with abortion since they aren't planning on having any babies themselves. But then I thought back to other vigils, other pro-life events and recalled that the women who protest do all seem similar. Perhaps this is the new protestor to protecting the unborn - gay women for choice.

If that is the case, I would like to point out that the homosexual section of the population is less than 5%; so, why do they take up so much of the attention? and why are they allowed to push their views as if they comprise the majority of the opposition here?

Let's be aware here of exactly who is coming out to chant slogans at us and let's make it perfectly clear to everyone that these protestors do not represent a majority of any group, and they certainly do not represent women when they speak.

They speak for themselves alone; remember that. They are no threat to anyone; because they are indeed a fringe element of society.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Focus of Pro-Choice Protest has Changed

It used to be that pro-choice protestors would call out "my body, my choice" or similar slogans while pro-life events were being held. That slogan is not heard as much now. What we are hearing are statements such as "70,000 women die worldwide from unsafe abortions" or "every 8 minutes, another woman dies because of lack of access to a safe abortion".

Hard data on abortion in the developing world understandably doesn’t exist. In fact, World Health Organization reports make it clear that the data is very difficult to find. They caution as a result that their numbers are estimates:

“Abortion statistics are notoriously incomplete… As there are no feasible data collection methods that can reliably reflect the overall burden of unsafe abortion, one is left to work with incomplete information on incidence and mortality from community studies or hospitals…This is then adjusted to correct for misreporting and under-reporting…” - Andrea Mrozek, LifeSiteNews, June 25, 2010

As Andrea goes on to say:
Where policy makers are predisposed to viewing legal abortion as safe and illegal abortion as unsafe, this treads closely to an attempt to change national laws—something a maternal aid mandate should not do because it would be an obvious infringement on national sovereignty. On this note, many of those advocating for abortion to be included in this maternal health mandate have a vision to liberalize other sovereign countries’ abortion laws.
Where numbers are not currently known, guestimates should not be taken or reported as hard fact.
Finally, in the maternal health debate, ideology runs rampant and is not limited to the pro-life side.
The 70,000 is more ideology than math and should be treated as such. In this contentious debate, when economic resources are limited, a solution lies in a general improvement in medical care in the developing world, not with abortion provision. Any government would be wise to stay away from the “A word,” working instead to provide basic medical necessities as a main thrust of charitable action in the developing world.

When protestors proclaim this number of deaths and thereby impute that abortion must be kept legal (and they conclude "safe") in our country, they are really stretching some facts here. Without legal abortion, Canada is not going to suddenly revert to Third World health conditions, but that is the conclusion they want the public to make.

But their statement could actually be used to favour the pro-life side: if there are that many deaths due to abortions, surely it would be better for those women to be steered away from abortion altogether. Are the protestors really concerned about those women or are they just trying anything to keep the status quo of abortion here in our country? I am inclined to think the latter is their real agenda.

The second slogan that a woman dies every 8 minutes from an unsafe abortion is also questionable. But even if it were true, then we on the other side of this issue could just as easily turn that around and state that a child dies every 24 seconds from abortion, a fact that is known definitely. Which means that a girl child dies every 48 seconds from abortion; a woman every 8 minutes versus a girl baby every 48 seconds.

No abortion? gosh, a woman who doesn't die and a child who also doesn't die.

Abortion is a great big NO to everything positive. And a huge YES to the self.
As Father Frank Pavone says:

The shed Blood of Christ teaching the meaning of love, which is to sacrificie oneself for the good of the other person. It reverses the dynamic of the culture of death, which sacrifices the other person for the good of oneself. - Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It