Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Because We All Know

Today is the day that, as faithful Catholics, we fast and pray in remembrance and honor of the unborn.  The fact that it is January 22nd is no accident; today marks the annivesary of the legislation that, in the U.S., made abortion on demand completely legal.  For many, Catholic and not, this is a day where we contemplate and remember, mourn and pray, and hope for a future where even the smallest among us are treated with dignity.  It goes without saying that it is a day that is tough for me to swallow as the mother of babies who have died and miscarried babies that I would have given anything to bring home with me.  It goes without saying that as a child whose birth mother tried to abort, this day is a tough one because it makes me wonder how different the world I know would be if I wasn't in it. 

A Facebook friend shared this article and, honestly, I can't say it better, so, with permission, I'm sharing it instead.  Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, we all know what we are doing.  Regardless of the reasons why we stand on the side we do, we all know.

(Just as a note, I dont know John Piper and I dont know his beliefs, so in sharing this, I'm just discussing this single article and the positions he presents therein.)

We Know They Are Killing Children-All Of Us Know
by John Piper

One biblical principle of justice is that the more knowledge we have that our action is wrong, the more guilty we are, and the more deserving of punishment (Luke 12:47–48). The point of this blog post is that we know what we are doing — all America knows. We are killing children. Pro-choice and Pro-life people both know this.
But before I show that, let’s clarify what the Supreme Court did forty years ago today. In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court in effect made abortion on demand untouchable by law. The way this was done was with two steps.
One step was to say, laws may not prevent abortion, even during the full nine months, if the abortion is “to preserve the life or health of the mother.” The other step was to define “health” as “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman's age — relevant to the well-being of the patient.”
For forty years this has meant that any perceived stress is a legal ground for eliminating the child. We have killed fifty million babies. And what increases our guilt as a nation is that we know what we are doing. Here’s the evidence that we know we are killing children.

1. Anecdotally, abortionists will admit they are killing children.

Many simply say it is the lesser of two evils. I took an abortionist out to lunch once, prepared to give him ten reasons why the unborn are human beings. He stopped me, and said, “I know that. We are killing children.” I was stunned. He said, “It’s simply a matter of justice for women. It would be a greater evil to deny women the equal right of reproductive freedom.” Which means women should be no more encumbered by the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy than men. That equal freedom from the burden of bearing unwanted children is the basis for abortion that President Obama refers to again and again when he talks about equal rights for women. We know we are killing children.

2. States treat the killing of the unborn as a homicide.

We know what we are doing because 38 States (including Minnesota) treat the killing of an unborn child as a form of homicide. They have what are called “fetal homicide laws.”
It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother wants the baby, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if she doesn’t. In the first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights.
Humanness is defined by the desire of the strong. Might makes right. We reject this right to define personhood in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism, Confederate race-based slavery, and Soviet Gulags. When we define the humanness of the unborn by the will of the powerful we know what we are doing.

3. Fetal surgery treats the unborn as children and patients.

High risk pregnancy specialist, Dr. Steve Calvin, in a letter some years ago to the Arizona Daily Star, wrote, “There is inescapable schizophrenia in aborting a perfectly normal 22 week fetus while at the same hospital, performing intra-uterine surgery on its cousin.” When the unborn are wanted, they are treated as children and patients. When they are not wanted, they are not children. We know what we are doing.

4. Being small does not disqualify personhood.

The five-foot-eight frame of a teenage son guarantees him no more right to life than the 23-inch frame of his little sister in her mother's arms. Size is morally irrelevant. One inch, 23 inches, 68 inches — does not matter. It is morally irrelevant in deciding who should be protected. We know what we are doing in killing the smallest.

5. Not having developed reasoning does not disqualify personhood.

A one-month-old infant, nursing at his mother's breast, does not have reasoning powers. But only a few dare argue that infanticide is therefore acceptable. Most know better. Outside and inside the womb the infant cannot yet reason, but is a human person. We know what we are doing.

6. Being in the womb does not disqualify human personhood.

Location or environment does not determine a right to life. Scott Klusendorf asks, “How does a simple journey of seven inches down the birth canal suddenly transform the essential nature of the fetus from non-person to person?” We know what we are doing.

7. Being dependent on mommy does not disqualify personhood.

We consider persons on respirators or dialysis to be human beings. The unborn cannot be disqualified from human personhood because they are dependent on their mother for food and oxygen. In fact, we operate on the exact opposite principle: The more dependent a little one is on us, the more responsibility we feel to protect him, not the less. We know what we are doing.
(Those last four observations, #4-7, were summed up by Scott Klusendorf under the acronym SLED: Size, Level of development, Environment, Degree of dependence — none is morally relevant for the definition of human life.)

8. The genetic make up of humans is unique.

The genetic make up of a human is different from all other creatures from the moment of conception. The human code is complete and unique from the start. Once that was not known. Now we know.

9. All the organs are present at eight weeks of gestation.

At eight weeks of gestation all the organs are present. The brain is functioning, the heart pumping, the liver making blood cells, the kidney cleaning the fluids, the finger has a print. Yet almost all abortions happen later than this date. We know what we are doing.

10. We have seen the photographs.

The marvel of ultrasound has given a stunning window into the womb that shows the unborn, for example, at 8 weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. Watch this four-minute video of the developing unborn child. We know that they are children.

11. When two rights conflict, the higher value should be protected.

We know the principle of justice that when two legitimate rights conflict, the right that protects the higher value should prevail. We deny the right to drive at 100 miles per hour because the value of life is greater than the value of being on time or getting thrills. The right of the unborn not to be killed and the right of a woman not to be pregnant may be at odds. But they are not equal rights. Staying alive is more precious and more basic than not being pregnant. We know what we are doing when we kill a child.

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Anonymous said...

Catholics get abortions too.

Michele said...

I'm sure that some who call themselves Catholic do. However, Catholics faithful to Church teachings know that abortions are not consistent with being a faithful Catholic. I can call myself English, but it doesn't make it so.

Tara said...

I am a practicing Catholic that had to have what the doctors called an abortion, even though I didn't want to. I wanted my baby desparately, but the baby had attached in the wall of the uterus, where the fallopian tube goes through. It's called a cornual ectopic pregnancy. It's almost always fatal to the mother, but not until later in the pregnancy, when the wall of the uterus blows out and the mother hemmorages to death. The baby cannot survive either. IT was excruciating for me to sign to have an abortion, knowing I didn't want to, but knowing there was no way to save this child or myself. Still brings tears to my eyes, and it's been 4 1/2 years. In this case, I'm glad there was an option to preserve my life, but I didn't REALLY have a choice, as the baby wouldn't have survived either way.

Ultimately, the fact that I had two living children that I had adopted is what made me sign. I didn't want them to be motherless (again). But, I hate that I was in that position.

Michele said...

Thank you, Tara, for sharing. Have you spoken with a priest? In an instance such as this, I've been part of a counseling team, and this (from no priest I know) would be considered an "abortion", rather it would be seen as a medical treatment to save you that, sadly, resulted in the death of your baby.

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved child. I'll light a candle for your baby tonight. One day, you will be reunited with your little one. ((hugs))

claire said...

I'm sorry but I am very pro women's choice, I find this article disheartening. there are many reasons women get abortions, and that's their decision, their body. what if they were raped? What if they truly cannot care for a child? Do you have any idea how taxed the foster care system is?

I respect your opinion because you feel all life is sacred, but quoting the bible...written by men with no uterus hundreds of years ago is...out dated?

Michele said...

If it's a person's holy book, I suppose it's never outdated to them.

And I've been part of the system, both as a child in it and an adult looking into foster care. I'm also the child conceived through rape. So... My views are still the same.

~JLL~ said...

Thank you for sharing this. I'm in agreement with you. It is disheartening when people call the bible just a book. Yet a book, that can never be discredited.

Michelle, thank you for standing up for what is right.


Anonymous said...

I come from a country where my ancestors died for Catholicism,
they fought for the right to be a Catholic.
The modern day Catholic church is reeling here from all the child sexual abuse cases. Their power is certainly diminished, people feel very let dowm by their spiritual leaders. I read catholic blogs from America and must admit that they bear no resemblance to the religion that is practiced in Ireland. We embrace a Christian outlook where everyone is valued, supported, regardless of religion. Religion in our schools teaches children about all the major religions of the world. I will not read your blog again because for me as a Catholic I choose to be non judgmental with people, I am pro choice, I do not feel that is any of my business what other people do with their own bodies. The Catholic church in America seems to be stuck in a time warp- it reminds me of living in the late sixties here and thank God that is well behind us.

Anonymous said...

I too come from Ireland and I must admit that I also do not recognise the church michele describes. Two very different religious experiences exist between the two countries The church in Ireland has become fractured and disconnected from its congregation. The support michele received and continues to receive from her church is inspiring. I lost my faith in the church a long time ago but I do not believe that a pro-life stance is intrinsically linked with church, religion or god. It is a moral and ethical issue. I suffered an ectopic pregnancy and the sound of my baby's heart beating before he/she was cut from my body still haunts me to this day. I wanted to nurture and cherish that life so much and the decision to end that pregnancy was lifechanging for me. I no longer identify myself as catholic but I believe life, all life, is precious and we should protect those who cannot defend themselves, regardless of religion and personal beliefs.
I applaud michele for speaking out.

Michele said...

Anon #1, If you feel the need not to read, I respect that and thank you for being on my journey thus far with me. If our paths cross again, you are always welcome.

I cant deny my Catholic Church is different; for many right and wrong reasons, I am sure. And, in some ways, my family is old school. We have traditional gender roles in our home, my daughter and I cover our heads for Mass and Adoration, and we attend Mass on Holy Days and Sundays,and daily when we can. In other days, not so much. I know the old Church didnt love the idea of reading the Bible; my husbadn and I are well versed in it, and I even studied comparative religions (and write on the subject). I teach yoga and move in multi-religious circles, and find no issue with sitting at a drumming circle or meditating with pagans and nonChristians. Such is my life and my God.

Anon #2, thank you for sharing your story with me. Like you, I'm haunted by my son, Alexander's, heartbeat as he was beingborn to a life I knew would kill him. I still hear it at times. An ectopic pregnancy is somethign that I've never really experienced first hand, but I know from friends and clients that it is something you never forget, moreso even than some other types of miscarriage. Saving your life and losing your beloved baby is something that I know can be hard to carry, but I firmly believe your little one will hold you in his or her arms one day, and will be able to express beyond words all the love he/she felt, and the love they have for you. ((hugs))

Leah said...

I won't weigh in on how I feel about the issue (cause I'm actually still figuring it out) but I do want to comment on the posters from Ireland saying that Catholicism in America is outdated. There was just a HUGE story in the news about the Indian woman living in Ireland whose unborn baby had no chance at life outside the womb and it was killing the mother's life, but because she was beyond a certain point in the pregnancy, the doctors wouldn't do anything about it, and the mother and her child both ended up dying because of it. I guess my point is. . . don't throw stones at Catholicism in American. There are flaws everywhere with every people.

Anonymous said...

Michele, I have been following your blog since my son was born and you had just found out you were pregnant with Bobby and Maya. You have a beautiful family and I will continue to follow your blog and send positive thoughts to you in this pregnancy. You and I have some things in common. My name is Michelle and I have Hoshimotos and PCOS as well :) We are both very proud mamas and our children are our pride and joys. But we have our differences too.
I worked for a womens health clinic that provided surgical and pill abortions for 4 years. I respect everyones choice. I had my oldest daughter at 17 and abortion was never even a thought in my mind. I would never have an abortion unless my life was in danger or if it was the product of a rape. I have assisted in 100s of surgical abortions and given instructions for even more pill abortions. It is not a pleasant experience for anyone. I have heard every reason possible for having an abortion from my patients. from life threatening medical conditions to women who are just selfish and make poor life decisions that have put them in my office. I have talked with a 12 year old mentally handicapped girl that was 15 weeks pregnant from being raped by her uncle and she did not understand what pregnancy meant. I had a girl that got pregnant when having sex for the first time, she didn't know what a condom was and she was going to loose her soccer scholarship for college if she continued the pregnancy. I could go on for hours and I am always happy to tell my experiences (while following HIPPA guide lines). I think we need to make elective abortions unnecessary instead of illegal. It has been proven in other countries that abortion rates do not drop when abortion is made illegal. They are just performed under unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Women die because of it. We need to stop with the abstinence only sex education, we need to make birth control affordable and easily accessible to everyone and we need to stop pretending that teenagers or even adults are going to be abstinent until marriage or as a form or birth control. I dealt with many protesters at my job (40 days to life was a big one, my great uncle is a big organizer for them in my state) but the ones that made me the most angry were those there protesting birth control pills.
I am also very aware of how much false information is given by organizations like Crisis Pregnancy Centers. That is very concerning. They are not giving accurate information to women and they are instilling a lot of unnecessary fear in these women and young girls. I always had protesters in my clinic trying to hand out prolife literature to myself and my patients. I always look at it and find lots of incorrect information.
I think there is also a big misconception about how these women feel when making this choice. The vast majority of women that come in for abortion are very sad about it. Sometimes I found out they were being forced into and and I made sure they could not have the procedure done (documenting in the computer system and alerting the medical director). I had several women come in crying because they were harassed by protesters but there was no fetal heartbeat so they had to have the procedure done. My sister had several abortions while she was a heroin addicted prostitute before she was shot to death in 2010. Every women has a reason for walking in those doors and who are we to judge them or tell them they have to continue an unwanted pregnancy. I respect your opinions but I would also like you to know a different side of the abortion story. If you would like to talk about this more I am happy too. I have always wanted to talk to some one that feels this strongly about it and that has participated in the 40 days to life campaign. I am not here to trash talk or start a big argument but I am fascinated by the topic and peoples opinions about it. I personally knew nothing about abortion until I started working for the clinic. I want to help end abortion by making it unnecessary .

Michele said...

Hey Michelle; I'm more than happy to talk to you. Email me.

You might also want to email Leila at Little Catholic Bubble. She is older than I am, and has done waaayyy more 40 Days campaigns that I have too, and I know she often has very civil conversations on both sides of whatever fence she happens to be discussing. Her email is on her blog: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/

Katia said...

It is so ironic that this date is the anniversary because it is also my birthday.