A post with no name

A post for the nameless babies killed by abortion

Today is the Feast of the Ascension. It is supposed to be a day of hope, a day to celebrate Jesus’ victory over death. Death has been conquered, and is a door through which we pass to eternal life… an eternity of unimaginable joy, where mourning turns to dancing, or of damnation and everlasting suffering.

With Jesus’ ascension into heaven, we begin the waiting period; we wait, as instructed by Jesus, for the Holy Spirit to descend upon us (so start your Pentecost novena tomorrow). And if our lives are not already oriented toward heaven, this would be a great day to re-orient. If the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not at work in you (all the baptized received these gifts), then it is time to see how you might exercise and grow them.

But before I had the chance to harness and indulge in the fullness and the joy of possessing this faith-filled hope, I happened to see the preview clip of some video footage taken by the Center for Medical Progress during their undercover investigation of the abortion industry. A judge had banned the footage from public dissemination, so I’m not sure how this clip was able to be released. No matter, because YouTube pulled the video.

Horrific Video of the Day
Center for Medical Progress’ undercover video of presentations and conversations at the National Abortion Federation conference/trade show 2014/2015

One article said the video was posted yesterday, but when I went to the youtube page, the upload date was early May. My point is that enough people saw the preview clip before YouTube removed the video for violating its terms of service. Abortion is that gruesome. The video is disgusting and difficult to watch, but it shows the real world of the abortion industry.

For now you can’t see the clip, but please head over to National Review, which has a good transcript of the admissions of abortion workers. (I do wonder why the video was not posted directly on the Center for Medical Progress website.) [UPDATE: Lila Rose / Live Action News has the video available for viewing. You’ll see why Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation have worked so hard to prevent the American public from seeing the undercover footage and the massive campaign to try to debunk CMP’s videos and discredit the work of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt.]

When Cecile Richards makes public statements and in her videos to promote Planned Parenthood, she is full of doublespeak that echoes Satan tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden. But when these women speak to each other at their conference, they are more honest with themselves and each other.

Quote of the Day
from the video, which provides the public with an honest look at what the abortion industry talks about behind closed doors

Given that we actually see the fetus the same way, and given that we might actually both agree that there’s violence in here. …Let’s just give them all the violence, it’s a person, it’s killing, let’s just give them all that.
— Dr Lisa Harris, director of Planned Parenthood Michigan, at the National Abortion Federation Conference

Some Media Coverage of Center for Medical Progress’ Undercover Footage

Take Action

Sign the petition for Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of baby parts.

A prayer for conversion and intercession

May God have mercy on us and our country. May the Holy Spirit lead us into all truth. May we be freed from the snares of the devil. May we admit our ignorance, our selfishness, our hardness of hearts. May we repent of our killing of innocent children and lack of respect for the dignity of human life. May we have the courage to embrace the fullness of life. May we have the generosity to help others carry their burdens. May the innocents intercede for us.

Faith & science: Human-animal chimera research

Blurring the Lines Between Humans and Animals

What will happen when scientists take human stem cells and insert them into animal embryos? We’re about to find out.

Opportunity for Public Comment

“The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking public comments on the proposed scope of certain human-animal chimera research that will be considered internally by an NIH steering committee and on a proposal to amend Section IV and Section V of the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research.”

The 30-day public comment period ends September 6, 2016.

Questions of the Day

  • What does it mean to be a human being?
  • What is the value of human life? What happens when people are treated as products and are assigned a dollar value either in whole or for parts?
  • In what stages of development is human life worth protecting?
  • Is human life ever disposable? Who decides?
  • Who should make babies besides mom and dad? Should human beings be developed in a laboratory? Should scientists make human beings for the sole purpose of research and should your tax dollars fund that kind of research?
  • How do we demarcate ethical and unethical scientific research using human-animal chimeras?
  • Is now the time to end the moratorium on human-animal research? What ethical issues, if any, have been resolved in the past year during the moratorium?
  • Are the “safeguards” that the NIH has put in place sufficient?
  • If there is nothing inherently wrong about creating human-animal chimeras, then why is it forbidden to bring such creations to term? If there is something inherently wrong about human-animal combinations and they violate a fundamental ethical principle, why are they allowed at the embryonic stage?
  • “What if the embryo that develops is mostly human? It’s something that we don’t expect, but no one has done this experiment, so we can’t rule it out.”

Start Learning About the Human-Animal Chimera Research
including Catholic and NonCatholic Perspectives

Quotes of the Day

Dickey-Wicker Amendment

(a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for—

(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or

(2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.204(b) and section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 289g(b)).

(b) For purposes of this section, the term ‘‘human embryo or embryos’’ includes any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 as of the date of the enactment of this Act, that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes or human diploid cells.

Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin
and on the Dignity of Procreation Replies to Certain Questions of the Day

The gift of life which God the Creator and Father has entrusted to man calls him to appreciate the inestimable value of what he has been given and to take responsibility for it: this fundamental principle must be placed at the centre of one’s reflection in order to clarify and solve the moral problems raised by artificial interventions on life as it originates and on the processes of procreation. Thanks to the progress of the biological and medical sciences, man has at his disposal ever more effective therapeutic resources; but he can also acquire new powers, with unforeseeable consequences, over human life at its very beginning and in its first stages. Various procedures now make it possible to intervene not only in order to assist but also to dominate the processes of procreation. These techniques can enable man to “take in hand his own destiny”, but they also expose him “to the temptation to go beyond the limits of a reasonable dominion over nature”.(1) They might constitute progress in the service of man, but they also involve serious risks. Many people are therefore expressing an urgent appeal that in interventions on procreation the values and rights of the human person be safeguarded. Requests for clarification and guidance are coming not only from the faithful but also from those who recognize the Church as “an expert in humanity ” (2) with a mission to serve the “civilization of love” (3) and of life.

It would on the one hand be illusory to claim that scientific research and its applications are morally neutral; on the other hand one cannot derive criteria for guidance from mere technical efficiency, from research’s possible usefulness to some at the expense of others, or, worse still, from prevailing ideologies. Thus science and technology require, for their own intrinsic meaning, an unconditional respect for the fundamental criteria of the moral law: that is to say, they must be at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God.(7) The rapid development of technological discoveries gives greater urgency to this need to respect the criteria just mentioned: science without conscience can only lead to man’s ruin. “Our era needs such wisdom more than bygone ages if the discoveries made by man are to be further humanized. For the future of the world stands in peril unless wiser people are forthcoming”.(8)

Science & faith: the conflict myth

Interview of the Day (courtesy of Socrates in the City)
Eric Metaxas talks with physicist Ard Louis

Asking good questions, appreciating the beauty of frozen waterfalls, and knowing what we don’t know

  • what is the value of human life?
  • what is the source of the laws of nature?
  • what mystery of life stops atheists in their tracks?
  • does science point us to God?
  • in looking at the world, do you start with the assumption that there is no God or that there is a God, and how that changes the course of discovery?
  • how should we live?
  •  what is a “theistic evolutionist”?
  • when I am in the laboratory, what am I doing as a Christian?
  • what is the scientific answer [to the great mysteries of life]? > we don’t know

 

“I found broken people”

Video of the Day
What We Don’t Know About Europe’s Muslim Kids and Why We Should Care
Deeyah Khan TEDx Exeter talk (May 2016)

Ms Khan concludes by saying that we need, together, to build a society that includes and supports rather than rejects our kids. Reminds me much of a man who said “Let the children come to me.”

Quote of the Day

If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth. — African proverb

Questions of the Day

“Can you acknowledge that your rage is fueled by pain?”

“Can we find a way to reject hatred?”

The children, and Deeyah Khan, too, are hungry for Christ. Muslims living between two cultures are falling into a gap. Many are being drawn toward secularism to resolve the reality of jihad (and I don’t refer to the spiritual struggle here). Will we feed them and bring them Jesus Christ?

Honest Conversation

Does God exist?

Debate of the Day

Catholic Answers, Parousia Media, Sydney University Catholic Society, and xt3 present
Trent Horn – God Exists vs. Raphael Lataster – God Does Not Exist

in which Raphael Lataster has less of a problem with God’s existence than he does with the methods used to prove God’s existence and in which he says/claims

  • he is an atheist — a non-theist [19:11 mark], then an agnostic [19:21]
  • if you don’t accept the premises, the argument doesn’t work [24:]
  • he is a “nonresistant nonbeliever,” and would choose to follow God if he (God) would show himself to him (Rafael) [44:+ min mark]
  • he needs God to convince him of his existence [44:+ min mark]
  • he is disturbed that God has not revealed himself to him
  • he does not have to prove God does not exist [51:+ mark]; rejects that it is his responsibility to prove God does not exist (in his mind his job is to prove “not theism,” which is why he focuses on the many alternatives rather than making a case that God does not exist)
  • he wants God to come down from heaven, in the form of a man, and say to him “Here I am,” and that would be sufficient, as would if he could see an amputated arm regrown in the name of Jesus
  • “If I saw a prophetic figure like Jesus come back to life, that would probably convince me.” [56:+ mark]

and in which Trent says that

  • God may have good reasons to allow nonbelief, free will being one of them [47:+ mark and 1:33:+ mark]
  • If people don’t believe in God through no fault of their own, they are not automatically damned, God can still save those who don’t believe out of invincible ignorance (my emphasis) [47:+ mark]

Quotes of the Day

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one with no faith, no explanation is possible. — Saint Thomas Aquinas

If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead. — Father Abraham to the rich man in hell (Luke 16:31)

Question of the Day

Was this debate a waste of Trent Horn’s time? (He did get a trip to Australia out of it.)

Speak up for privacy and safety rights

Bathroom Privacy and Safety for Everyone

The United We Stand… for safety, security, and privacy campaign was created by one mom as a way to rally the many voices opposed to the Obama administration’s bathroom policy, which creates a new “right” for a select group of people to choose which bathroom to use based on a personal, self-constructed gender identity. People who do not agree with President Obama’s bathroom policy were asked to call the White House Comment line and respectfully disagree.

The campaign was held July 12, but it’s not too late to participate.

I disagree with Obama’s bathroom policy, which is driven not by justice but rather by gender-identity ideology/theory. The Obama administration has created confusion around an issue that has always been clear: biological males use the men’s room, and biological females use the women’s room. Sexual orientation is irrelevant. The clothes you choose to wear and how you want to externally present yourself are irrelevant. The result of this confusion is decreased safety for women and children and a lot of (expensive and unnecessary) litigation.

Title IX’s implementing regulations permit a school to provide sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, housing, and athletic teams, as well as single-sex classes under certain circumstances. When a school provides sex-segregated activities and facilities, transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity. — DOJ/DOE Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students

Following the lead of the Obama administration, local governments have started to change laws around the use of public restrooms and locker rooms. If the Charlotte City Council had not passed an ordinance to eliminate separate bathrooms for men and women in public spaces, the state of North Carolina would not have needed to pass House Bill 2, which simply put in writing what we have taken for granted and understood all these years (biological males use the men’s room and biological females use the women’s room). And now nearly half of the United States are suing the Obama administration over the bathroom free-for-all, which is what happens when we abandon common sense and reality.

That someone’s self-perception or conscious identity is at odds with their biological reality does not give them the right to choose which bathroom to use. Yes, we all need to be sensitive to the difficulties and challenges that transgender people face. Allowing people to choose whichever bathroom they want based on “gender identity” or “gender expression,” however, will not make using the bathroom safer for anyone. It will make using restrooms and locker rooms less safe for women and girls. Not because transgendered people are perverts or to be feared, but rather, through ambiguity around who may use which restroom or locker room — ambiguity that predators will exploit.

Our culture has this notion that all discrimination is inherently unjust, which is not true. Discrimination can be just or unjust. To discriminate is a function of our intelligence, and we do it all day long. We have to differentiate between what is good and bad for us. (Do you have a vegan in your family who loves to meat-shame you? Have we banned smokers from restaurants and offices? These are behaviors, and we have to determine, which behavior promotes my health and well-being and the common good of my family, community, and society.)

Question of the Day: When is discrimination just? When is discrimination unjust?

Men and women are fundamentally different (by design and on purpose). Bathrooms and locker rooms are and have always been segregated by gender precisely because of our differences in biology (not the clothes we choose to wear or our self-perceptions and expressions of masculinity and femininity). To designate separate bathrooms for men and women is just discrimination; it promotes the common good, as well as privacy and safety of individuals. This type of sex segregation has been protected by law, which is why the Charlotte City Council had to rewrite its city code.

charlotte_NDord

What is unjust is to interfere with and risk the privacy of persons of the opposite sex who deserve a safe space to take care of bodily needs, such as going to the bathroom, taking a shower, or changing clothes. While efforts need to be made to create a safe place for transgender people, we must be mindful of unintended consequences that result in making all women and children less safe.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime (compared to 1 in 71 men) and that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. We also know that rape and sexual assault are underreported crimes. The last thing women and girls need are vague, broad, and ambiguous policies and laws that allow biological men to use their restrooms and locker rooms.

There was already too much of this:

All citizens should oppose unjust discrimination, but sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) laws are not the way to achieve that goal. SOGI laws are neither necessary nor cost-free. They threaten fundamental First Amendment rights. They create new, subjective protected classes that will expose citizens to unwarranted liability. Furthermore, SOGI laws would increase government interference in labor, housing, and commercial markets in ways that could harm the economy. Yet SOGI’s damage is not only economic: It would further weaken the marriage culture and the freedom of citizens and their associations to affirm their religious or moral convictions, such as that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human. SOGI laws would treat expressing these widely held beliefs in certain contexts as unlawful discrimination.

— Ryan Anderson, SOGI Laws Threaten Freedom

Consider/Discuss the Issue (skip the ad hominem attack)

From Policy to Real Life

Speak up for conscience rights

You won’t see it on the list of Bills to be Considered for the week of July 11, but the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 4828, Conscience Protection Act of 2016 next Wednesday, July 13. The purpose of H.R. 4828, which has 85 cosponsors, is to prevent governmental discrimination against providers of health services who decline involvement in abortion.

This (semi) unplanned vote is, in part, a response to the failure last month of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect the conscience rights of California churches that object to covering abortion in their health plans. (See articles published in the San Francisco Chronicle or at catholicphilly.com.)

“It is shocking that HHS has allowed the State of California to force all employers – even churches – to fund and facilitate elective abortions in their health insurance plans. Even those who disagree on the issue of life should be able to respect the conscience rights of those who wish not to be involved in supporting abortion.”
— Joint statement of Cardinal Dolan (New York) and Archbishop Lori (Baltimore) 

Contact your elected representatives today and urge them to pass this much-needed legislation.

With states and state agencies mandating or trying to mandate abortion coverage, greater conscience protections are needed not only for churches and other groups with a conscientious objection but also individual Americans. Nurses like Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo should be able to provide health care services without being coerced by an employer, or state government, to participate in the killing of unborn children. Cathy was threatened with losing her job and her nursing license unless she participated in an abortion procedure.

Cathy’s Story

Need More Info?

SCOTUS and Religious Liberty 2016

Fortnight for Freedom Case of the Day
Stormans Inc v. Wiesman, 15-862

Ralph Stormans opened his first Food Center in 1944; it was the fist large supermarket in Olympia, Washington. In the past seventy years the business has grown to include a cooking school, a catering business, and a florist. The fourth generation of Stormans now stand at the helm. Alongside their success, the owners have been engaged in an 11-year legal battle for refusing to stock and dispense abortifacient drugs at their pharmacy.

In 2007 Washington State became the first and remains the only state to ban referrals to other pharmacies for conscience reasons. In 2012, a federal district court ruled in favor of the Stormans and the religious liberty of all Americans. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, overturned the ruling in 2015. Today the Supreme Court declined (five to three) to consider the Stormans’ case.

Questions of the Day

Why does Washington State government target individuals whose actions are motivated by religious beliefs while exempting numerous other businesses who object to stocking the same product for reasons related to profit?

How and when did fertility and pregnancy become diseases that require not only medication but also surgery? Is there a more anti-woman position than that?

Meet The Stormans 

Justice Alito’s Dissent

Following are the opening paragraphs of Justice Alito’s dissent.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

JUSTICE ALITO, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE and JUSTICE THOMAS join, dissenting from the denial of certiorari.

This case is an ominous sign.

At issue are Washington State regulations that are likely to make a pharmacist unemployable if he or she objects on religious grounds to dispensing certain prescription medications. There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for—or that they actually serve—any legitimate purpose. And there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State. Yet the Ninth Circuit held that the regulations do not violate the First Amendment, and this Court does not deem the case worthy of our time. If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.

The Stormans family owns Ralph’s Thriftway, a local grocery store and pharmacy in Olympia, Washington. Devout Christians, the Stormans seek to run their business in accordance with their religious beliefs. Among those beliefs is a conviction that life begins at conception and that preventing the uterine implantation of a fertilized egg is tantamount to abortion. Consequently, in order to avoid complicity in what they believe to be the taking of a life, Ralph’s pharmacy does not stock emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B, that can “inhibit implantation” of a fertilized egg, 1 Supp. Excerpts of Record in Nos. 12–35221, 12–35223 (CA9), p. 1245 (SER). When customers come into the pharmacy with prescriptions for such drugs, Ralph’s employees inform them that the pharmacy does not carry those products, and they refer the customers to another nearby pharmacy that does. The drugs are stocked by more than 30 other pharmacies within five miles of Ralph’s. Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 854 F. Supp. 2d 925, 934 (WD Wash. 2012); see SER 1293. These pharmacies include an Albertson’s located 1.9 miles from Ralph’s and a Rite-Aid located 2.3 miles away.

— The beginning of Justice Alito’s dissent (order list for June 28, 2016)

While the Stormans face the loss of their pharmacy license, and the pharmacists face the loss of their jobs, the threat to all Americans is a loss of religious liberty. Please join me in prayer for the Storman family, the two pharmacists who joined the case, the communities they serve, as well as state lawmakers and our Supreme Court justices.