Fetal Tissue Research and Defunding Planned Parenthood

With the new Trump administration there is a push to defund Planned Parenthood (PP).  This is now a hot issue.  An article in Forbes Magazine by Matthew Herper, dated August 12, 2015, titled The New England Journal of Medicine Fact-Checks the Republican Debate, the journal’s editors attack the pro-life Republican platform and especially the defunding of PP.   The article points out that the NEJM is a noted leftist organization: “its not news that the New England Journal tends to be left-leaning.”  This article and the piece below by Alta Charo are worth reading because they discuss important issues which are easily misunderstood by the general population and need a vigorous debate.

The opinion piece by Alta Charo, titled Fetal Tissue Fallout, makes some important points that need to be discussed and debated.  Charo argues that it is morally wrong to oppose fetal tissue research because, she claims, it does not increase abortions, and it provides massive dividends that save lives. Charo is a lawyer and a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin, according to the Herper article.  I wonder why a lawyer is writing an editorial in a medical journal. Could it be that the best doctors are embarrassed to do it, or perhaps they could not find one to do it? Just asking!

I agree, there is a strong argument to be made for fetal tissue research, however, the killing of an innocent human being is never moral under any circumstances.  This is a first order issue.  What is legal is not always moral; abortion is one such example. My argument is not against fetal tissue research, it’s against the killing of an innocent human being.  Fetal tissue research is not a hot button issue with the pro-life cause; I don’t know anyone who opposes it.  Has any Republican made any statement against fetal tissue research?  I’ve never heard one yet.  What we oppose is the killing of an innocent human life, not fetal tissue research.  Let’s look at it this way.  Let’s say I’m a scientist and you have a condition that may lead me to discover a cure for a certain disease, but in order for me to get what I must have for my research, I need to kill you first and then rummage through your cadaver for my research.  Would this be acceptable? Let’s further say that I find a cure for a certain condition, would this, then, lead us to conclude we can kill living human beings in order to find cures?  When we treat human life as disposable, we lose any sense of human dignity; we’re no different from animals.

Another question is whether fetal tissue can only be obtained from aborted babies. How many fetuses die in birth, or soon thereafter or from accidents.  How about still-born babies?  In the United States there are 25,000 babies  still-born per year; nearly 68 per day.  Are aborted babies the only way to get fetal tissue? Charo’s argument fails completely. As for using aborted babies for fetal tissue research, I agree there is an argument to be made, but I will leave this specific issue for another time.  Let ‘s continue with some of her other claims:

Charo argues that fetal research is not only a right but a duty.  The article blasts those who oppose fetal tissue research.  “Morality and conscience have been cited to justify not only health care professionals’ refusal to provide certain legal medical services to their patients but even obstruction of others’ fulfillment of that duty.  She does not say it, but I assume from her tone here that she puts all abortion opponents in the same basket as opponents of fetal tissue research.  Charo makes the claim that fetal research “will in no way actually affect the number of fetuses that are aborted or brought to term.”  She provides no proof or back-up for this claim.  How does she know this?  A claim such as this violates the Universal Principle of Reason. According to this principle, anything arbitrarily asserted without evidence can be arbitrarily denied without evidence.* In addition, what difference does it make whether it affects the number of abortions or not? So what? This does not support her argument.

Charo’s article blasts the researcher who exposed the sale of fetal body parts from aborted babies by PP.  She makes this statement: “The current uproar was invited when an antiabortion activist, posing as a biomedical research company representative, captured on video – which he then edited in the most misleading way possible – discussions by Planned Parenthood physicians.”  Here we go again.  How does Charo justify making this statement?  Another arbitrary  asserted claim. How does editing the video affect the content or make it misleading?  She provides no examples.  Were the people on the video fed what they said as in a movie script? There was probably dozens of hours of video, of course it had to be edited.  How does the editing change what we see PP executives saying?  Here is one of these videos, how does editing change what you see and hear in it?  A claim arbitrarily made and arbitrarily deniable.

I could not get past page one without encountering so many subjective allegations without any evidence. The bottom paragraph of page one says this: “Planned Parenthood services – more than 95% of which involve such things as contraception and screening for sexually transmitted diseases, rather than abortion.”  This is a very misleading statistic.  How did they calculate it?  When I took statistics in college the instructor had a saying, “statistics don’t lie but liars can figure.”  Here are some facts: Planned Parenthood does 30% of the nation’s abortions – over 320,000 per year.  They receive over $500 million in tax payer funds from the government each year.  Planned Parenthood claims that only 3% of their services are for abortions. Click here for an article debunking this.  In addition, the Washington Post, no conservative newspaper, added another piece debunking this 3% myth.  Click here for the article.

*Ten Universal Principles; A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues, Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D, Ignatius Press, 2011, pp 7&16:

They Did What Was Right in Their Own Eyes

Abortion was  a more prominent topic in our recent Presidential election.  In the third debate the question of “partial birth abortion” was discussed between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Trump decried how a baby could be aborted just before birth, while Clinton praised a “woman’s choice.”  She did not defend her position favoring this procedure. Click here for more details on this.

In the election of 2008 my friend told me the story of how his neighbor, a fellow Catholic from his church, could support John Kerry  who was fiercely pro abortion.  His neighbor’s response was “there are many other issues.”  This response is very typical of liberal Catholics and Christians of all faiths who favor abortion.  Indeed, to my estimation, at least 50% of my fellow Catholics at my church favor abortion at any stage, contrary to what the Catholic Church emphatically teaches.

When it comes to elections, pro-life citizens of which I am one, believe that anyone who favors abortion is automatically disqualified for any elective position in our country.  Let me give an example:  Let’s say that there is a candidate who has all the positions that you hold, as well as your world view, and he/she would be ideal for the position, but this person favors the killing of babies even after they’re born, as Peter Singer does, the famous Professor of Bio-Ethics at Princeton University.  Singer says that a baby is unaware of its own existence and therefore can be killed upon the decision of the parents within the first couple of months after birth.  Would you still vote for this person? How about a person who has all of your world view but favors the enslavement of a certain ethnic group, such as was the case prior to the Civil War?  Would this person not be disqualified for elective office?

Catholics will often tell you that they rely on their conscience to make moral decisions and they will further argue that this is supported by the Catholic Church.  Well, they’re partly right.  The Catholic Church does allow for conscience in some instances, but it must be an informed conscience, not just whatever your conscience tells you at any moment.  The Church, in no uncertain terms, condemns abortion. The Church further states that cooperation with abortion is a grave sin, meaning that if you vote for a pro-abortion politician, you are cooperating with abortion.  So if the Church emphatically states that abortion is evil and the killing of a human being, your conscience cannot overrule this. This is not an informed conscience.  If your conscience could overrule this, then why do you need a church to guide your morality, or the Bible for that matter.  All you would need is your conscience.

In the book of Judges in the Bible, the Israelites had fallen completely away from God and had given in to immorality.  By the time of the last judge of Israel, Samson, they had fallen so far from God that verse 6 of Judges 17 states: In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.  To support abortion or to cooperate in abortion by voting for a person who does is doing what is right in your own eye.

The Vestibule of Hell

In my Bible study class today, our teacher, Dr. Bill Creasy, was teaching on the Gospel of John and on Jesus’ trial by Pontius Pilate.   Pilate tried very hard to save Jesus but he got no cooperation from him.  In the end Pilate gave in to the mob, refused to do the right thing and gave him up to be crucified.   The question often is asked:  what happened to Pilate later?  Dante’s Devine Comedy, Canto 3:49-60 has a helpful hint; as summarized by Creasy:

In the Divine Comedy, Dante places Pontius Pilate not in Hell proper, but in the vestibule of Hell. Rejected by God and not accepted by Satan, he is among those who are “nowhere,” those cowardly souls who refused to make a choice in life or to stand up for what is right.

I could not help but think of those of us who are too cowardly to make the right decision when it comes to the killing of the unborn babies.  Specifically, Vice President Biden, comes to mind when he made the statement that he believes what the Catholic Church believes that life begins at conception but he is not going to “impose his faith on others,” or words to this effect. Click here for verification of this.  This position strikes me as the same as what Pilate did:  In the face of truth, cowardice takes over.

I cannot help but think what will Joe Biden do when he’s face to face with our eternal judge and is asked the same question.  Will he give the same answer?  Joe is not alone in this he has many others who believe as he does.

Assisted Suicide and the Culture of Death

California has become the fourth state in the nation to legalize assisted suicide, joining Vermont, Oregon and Washington.  The culture of death has slowly gained acceptance in our culture, in large part, to how it is being presented.  The advocates of assisted suicide call it “death with dignity,” “compassionate choices” and the like.  This is another frontal attack on the dignity of life, whether in the womb or in old age.  Since this is a huge subject.  I will not address why this so wrong.  I want to point out one more ominous development that has happened in California:  The fact that 23 left wing Democrats decided for 30 + million people on matters of life and death instead of putting this huge decision to the voters.  California voters have rejected this type of law no less than six times in the past 20 years. This is pure tyranny, no matter where you stand on this issue.  This should scare you whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican.

A Referendum, supported by the Catholic Church and other organizations, is currently being circulated to take this issue to the voters, as it should, in November 2016.  Our church is circulating this this coming weekend.

Assisted Suicide is Neither Compassionate nor “Death With Dignity:” Oppose California’s SB 128

It is often said that whoever controls the language controls the debate.  This is true when it comes to the “compassionate left.”  They clothe their words in such flowery language as “compassion,”  “death with dignity, “personal choices,” and other words that would lead you to believe that only a Nazi would oppose such things.  When we speak of assisted suicide, such as practiced in three U.S. states, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, such flowery words are far from the truth.  What they’re selling is death, killing and possible rampant elder abuse.  Recently, the Los Angeles Times, to its credit, published an opinion piece by a doctor, called “We should Think Twice About Death With Dignity.”  Click here  to read it.

This is a hot-button issue.  Unfortunately, many people are hugely uninformed about it.  I would not want to have my life prolonged by any extreme means.  I’ve put this in writing in my Living Trust.  However, assisted suicide is another story and needs to be carefully investigated before we decide where we stand on it.  No matter where you stand on this issue, the most damaging and scariest part about such a law is the slippery slope that it creates. Once the door is open you can never close it again.  Can we afford this?  Here are some facts to consider:

In the Netherlands and in Belgium where they have such laws, the slippery slope is no longer slippery, it’s an avalanche.   In Belgium twin brothers who were going blind decided to kill themselves because they could not stand not being able to see each other once blind. Click here to read their story.  Dutch doctors report that assisted suicide is out of control and impossible to regulate. Additionally, the law in the Netherlands has morphed into doctors administering euthanasia without a person’s consent.  The Ohio Patient’s Rights Council reports these findings:  “In addition, 8,100 patients died as a result of doctors deliberately giving them overdoses of pain medication, not for the primary purpose of controlling pain, but to hasten the patient’s death. (13) In 61% of these cases (4,941 patients), the intentional overdose was given without the patient’s consent.”

Oregon’s law is equally impossible to regulate or supervise.  See additional details related to Oregon in particular later in this article.  The possibility of abuse is huge and uncontrollable.

In California there is a pending bill, SB 128, which will bring assisted suicide to California.  Once this is legal in California it will spread like wildfire to all other states.  The experience in Oregon, Vermont and Washington has shown that there is little or no oversight at all.  Lethal medicine can be picked up and administered by a family member.  In many cases, the sick and feeble are under immense pressure to take their own life, not wanting to burden their family.

Margaret Dore, a Washington attorney who specializes in these cases, has written extensively on the dangerous practices that occur in each state that has this law.  Click here to read her compelling and shocking analysis.

Another huge issue is who supervises the execution of these laws and how effective can they be controlled?  We’re not just losing money, we’re losing lives, human lives.  Here is an example of the non-supervision of the Oregon law as published by the Ohio Patients Rights Council:

Under Oregon’s law permitting physician-assisted suicide, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) – previously called the Oregon Health Division (OHD) – is required to collect information, review a sample of cases and publish a yearly statistical report. (1)Since the law, called the “Death with Dignity Act,” went into effect in 1997, ten  official reports have been published. However, due to major flaws in the law and the state’s reporting system, there is no way to know for sure how many or under what circumstances patients have died from physician-assisted suicide.

Statements made by individuals who have been involved in assisted suicide in Oregon — those who implement it, compile official reports about it, or prescribe the lethal drugs — clearly show that the law’s “safeguards” are not protective and that effective monitoring is close to non-existent. (2)

They Have Eyes to See, but They Don’t See; They Have Ears to Hear, but They Don’t Hear

Yesterday I attended “One Life LA,”  the first Los Angeles, California, Walk for Life.  The event started at Olvera Street, the IMG_0067 famous Downtown Pueblo de Los Angeles historic monument dating back to Spanish California.  About 15,000 people attended.  The purpose of the walk was to show Los Angeles that life is precious and should be protected from conception to natural death as Archbishop Jose Gomez, and many other speakers mentioned in their talks.  As I predicted, the main stream media completely ignored it.  EWTN, a Catholic Television Network, televised the talks live, but no other media showed up.

Later that evening, as I was heading to church, I was listening to KNX News Radio in my car.  Among the things of the day that they reported was that about two dozen marched in honor of Martin Luther King Holiday in Long Beach,  No mention of the 15,000 people in Downtown Los Angeles marching for life.  This morning, the Los Angeles Times failed to even mention the event.  Now, compare this to when a couple of dozen anarchists, bent on violence and destruction, showed up in Downtown Los Angeles, not long ago, demonstrating against the Police killings of two black men in New York and Ferguson, Missouri.  For a month the nightly news was filled with marauding hoodlums and news reporters interviewing people on the street about why they were there.  But, when an event that the leftist media (all media except Fox News Channel), disapproves of or does not comport with their world view, then they just ignore it. Whenever  a few hundred people gather for an immigration rally, something the leftist media loves, they’re all over it, but when 15,000 pro-life people have and event, they just look the other way.  They have eyes to see, but they don’t see; they have ears to hear, but they don’t hear.

Do What I Say, not What I Do

After the death of Governor Mario Cuomo of New York this past week, the press was reporting on his controversial stand on abortion, even though he claimed to be a faithful Catholic.  His response was that, although he personally opposed abortion, he would not make a law banning it.  This is the position of liberal Catholics and Christians.   This position is also the most senseless, illogical and mind-bending position that shreds any sense of logic.  Cuomo defends his position by claiming that his pro-choice supporters are the same people who do the “social justice” that the Catholic Church promotes.  What?  As long as you do some good, you can do some bad and it’s ok?  By that measure Hitler did some good too.  He revived Germany from a defeated, starving nation to a booming economy; do we forgive him for the evil that he did then?

The magazine, First Things, has a fine piece on Cuomo’s position on abortion. Cuomo is apologetic about his position, stating  “that as a legislator he was not responsible for passing laws to protect those lives. In an address at the University of Notre Dame, he said: “What is ideally desirable isn’t always feasible, that there can be different political approaches to abortion besides unyielding adherence to an absolute prohibition.”  This is pure gobbledygook.  It makes no sense.  By this logic you could say that although murder is wrong, I would not want to legislate against it, because there are people out there who don’t think that murder is wrong, that it’s just “women’s health.”   Legislation is all about making value and moral judgements.  Why do we have a law against drunk driving?  After all, many people enjoy drinking. The piece on First Things debunks this reasoning in detail and is well worth reading.  Click here to read it.