Monday, April 30, 2007
Approximately 2 in 15 American women are expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and nearly 40,000 women die of the disease annually. During the past 4 decades [Incindentally, that's since thie 1960's when the Pill began to pick up greater popularity], breast cancer rates have risen steadily worldwide and have risen even faster in more developed countries, especially among younger women...
The Women’s Health Initiative Clinical Trial reported that prolonged exposure to exogenous estrogens and progestins in hormone therapy increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, the World Health Organization recently classified both postmenopausal hormone replacement and oral contraceptives (OCs) as group 1 carcinogens.
The ultimate conclusion of the study?
Use of OCs is associated with an increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer, especially with use before FFTP [First Full-Term Pregnancy] in parous women.
Read the entire 13 page document here.
"Parous" women are women who have had at least one full therm pregnancy. The translation? If you used birth control pills before your first full term pregnancy, your risk is particularly elevated. This is because "Differentiation of the mammary gland associated with pregnancy inhibits carcinogenic initiation and may explain the natural protection that pregnancy has been shown to confer."
Now, I know for a fact that there are women my age who were using the pill during their adolescence for everything from cycle regulation, to acne control to birth control--even as young as thirteen. And now they face increased breast-cancer risk because people have been throwing these pills around without hesitation? Not cool.
Of course, this is also bad news for women who are on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to combat hot flashes and osteoporosis. The good news for them is HRT contains lower doses of estrogens and progestins than what are found in birth control pills. The other good news is, in the years since this has been known (yes, it's been years), the increased cancer risks from HRT have caused doctors to minimize its use, and drug companies have been coming out with new treatments for osteoporosis.
For those of us who have a little while before we will need to worry about menopause, this certainly gives us one more reason (in addition to increased cardiovascular risks such as stroke and heart attack) to avoid ingesting synthetic hormones during our reproductive years, especially if we have not yet had a full-term pregnancy. Once again, another reason to consider NFP, and one more reason to ask your doctor for other ideas if s/he wants to use oral contraceptives to treat your (or your daughter's) acne or menstrual cramps. Hmm. PMS or increased breast cancer risk...gee tough decision.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Not that increased risk of stroke and blood clots isn't bad enough or anything...
One more reason to think about natural methods.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
His evasions have not stopped people from questioning his potential ability to govern, based on his faith. Hugh Hewitt and Dean Barnett both took Garry South to task today for such questioning, which Mr. Hewitt labels "rank religious bigotry". It is at the very least, rank religious stupidity. While it is true that ignorance is the root of bigotry, the level of ignorance in South's article is such that anyone who knows anything about his content has to laugh at the criteria he claims should give us second thoughts about Mitt's eligibility to be president.
South tries to ground his argument in history by alluding to JFK's election and the issue of Catholics in office, remembering his own Pentecostal roots and some of the anti-Catholic sentiments he saw there.
But in a political sense, the key rub back then was fundamentally governance: Would the pope, the monarchical and —- to the faithful —- infallible head of the foreign-based Roman Catholic Church (who some in my church actually saw as the Antichrist himself), give marching orders to a President Kennedy, thereby violating the sacred American principle of separation of church and state?
Fine. But then South goes on to cite an element of Romney's faith that, taken by itself, is unlikely to disqualify him on these grounds. Specifically, that Mormons believe theirs is the one true faith, to the exclusion of all others. Unless he is planning to seriously violate the constitution and try to establish LDS as the official state religion, this is unlikely to affect his presidency, should he be elected. But South isn't interested in a logical argument. Rather, his point is that this kind of "intolerance" should shock the American people enough to make them think, Ohh, I'm scared! We can't have such an intolerant person in the white house!".
Here's the thing: as a Catholic, I'm mostly interested in the Truth (note the capital T). I'm interested in justice. As long as these things are upheld by my government, I'm pretty happy with it, regardless of the affiliation of the people in office. I want to know the candidate's positions on the role of government. On abortion, on the environment, on crime, on immigration, taxes, gay marriage, the death penalty, and so on. What he calls himself is not as important is what he does, which is why I could never vote for the likes of John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi, whose political positions directly oppose the moral values of the Catholic faith, however much they may call themselves members of it. JFK was no picnic either, when you think of the womanizer he was. I prefer a president who has the courage of his convictions. If part of that means that he is dedicated to his own faith, I'm willing to respect that, even if his faith isn't mine. That way, when he does become Catholic, he's more likely to be a good one! :)
That brings me to another topic Garry brings up, though he does not know it. Catholics who call themselves Catholic but do not actually live as such. Garry attributes this to "tolerance". Here is an excerpt from his article, with my comments inserted in various places:
Even the Roman Catholic Church [which as every journalist knows is just soooooo intolerant in most areas...]acknowledges the validity of baptisms carried out by other faiths if they are performed using water and the Trinitarian formula ("in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"). The overwhelming majority of Christian traditions also believe that emergency baptisms are valid even when administered by a layperson, say at a moment of great peril or impending death, when no ordained clergy are available. This is quite true, but not because we are "tolerant", but because we are all in agreement about the same thing--because we have to good sense to see that this is a place of theological common ground that already exists, not one that we created just so we could get along.
But Mormons believe that no baptism performed between the extinction of the original 12 apostles and the founding of Mormonism in the 19th century was valid, and that even today, only holders of the Mormon priesthood can perform an efficacious baptism. This may surprise Mr. South, but we don't recognize their baptisms, either. They don't believe in the Trinity the same way we do. In fact, their theology differs so much from mainstream Christianity, that most Christians, including Catholics, do not officially recognize Mormonism as a Christian Denominiation. This isn't intolerance. It is each church sticking to its own beliefs.
This "our way or no way" approach is pretty much unique to Mormons in this day and age. Really? I thought the Catechism says something about the Catholic Church being the only one that has the fullness of Truth... We believe other faiths may have bits of it, but the bottom line is, we believe Catholicism is the best way to go. No doubt there remain some hard-liners in the Vatican who still believe Roman Catholicism to be the only "one true church." I hate to bust anyone's bubble here, but the Vatican does not have the monopoly on enthusiasm for the Catholic Faith. But that attitude is most certainly not shared by rank-and-file Catholics in this country, millions of whom have abandoned the church of their upbringing and many of whom have defected to evangelical brands of Christianity. This is not from tolerance, this if from ignorance of their own faith, and the belief that the grass is greener somewhere else. Why be Catholic (or anything else?) if you don't believe it is the best thing to be? While there are still no doubt some anti-Semitic Christians who believe God doesn't hear the prayers of Jews, most American Christians today believe that Jews are God's chosen people and that they will be in heaven. That's because of the Truth of our scriptures, and the fact that the Jewish faith provides the very foundations of our own. Anti-semitism is simply un-Christian.
The bottom line here is that South takes a mixture of misinterpretations of Catholic teaching, and the ignorance of many "rank and file Catholics" who don't know enough about their faith to distinguish it from any others anyway, to say "even" we are more tolerant. While this exposes a rather dismal, albeit predictable, lack of understanding on South's part, it is also a conviction of the "rank and file" within the Church itself. If we, as a body, had more of a backbone, he wouldn't be able to speak so well of us.
And the issue of spinal fortitude brings me back to Raymond Burke, whose vertebrae appear to be quite solid, and he needed it to be the only one to stand up for defending the entirety of Catholic morality, instead of the parts that are convenient at the time. The thing that bothers me most about the Burke situation is that he was the only one in a roomful of "Catholics" who seemed to grasp this. Hopefully his example will be instructive to them, and to the rest of us. While it is good for us to stand up for religious freedom, we must remember that it was Christ himself who warned us that we cannot expect to be praised by the secular world for standing for what is right, because what is right is not as appealing as what is easy--and that scares people.
Related posts at:
Rush Babies 'R Us
Curt Jester... Twice.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Update: A review of The Children of Hurin. Keep your bib handy. Via Curt Jester.
Under Patrick's bill, women would not be required to see the ultrasound but they must be allowed the chance to do so and can sign a form stating they were given the opportunity.Read more.
The pro-abortion people are going to be all over this one.
I have never been able to understand why people who call themselves "pro-choice" have a problem with those choices being informed. They are often people who call themselves feminists. They advocate education for women. They advocate that women be informed on just about anything and everything they want to know. They advocate quality health care for women.
Part of quality health care is good communication with your physician. This is not merely a courtesy. It is a right of the patient.
Before undergoing any kind of medical treatment a patient has a right to know what her situation is, and exactly how the treatment will affect it. Information helps the patient understand what is going on, and to make decisions, and the final decision ultimately rests with the patient.
And the patient has the right to refuse treatment, even if the doctor or some group of political activists thinks it is not the best decision for her quality of life. This is the case for everything from menstrual cramps to Alzheimer's.
Now, the pro-choicers call information about fetal development and ultra sound images forms of intimidation. Though to be honest, ultrasound images are so murky anyway, I can't see how they would be intimidating at all early on. See the six-week ultrasound at the left, and then compare it to an actual photograph of a fetus around the same age. I can see how a 12 week ultra sound (also at left, below) would scare the pro-choicers though. Even a blurry picture looks like a baby at that point. To see why, see the photographs here. This could be worth knowing, if the woman would prefer not to abort past a certain stage of development. If she doesn't care, the ultra sound is not going to change her mind.
But, apparently those who claim to defend women think that information about what is already happening to their bodies is a danger to them. It's already a difficult situation, they say, and showing a woman images of her fetus will just make the decision harder.
Wait, I thought women were strong and capable of making difficult decisions?
Here are a few things for all of you to chew on:
Women are not hysterical flighty creatures. We can handle information. We have brains. We have consciences. Both of those deserve to be informed, even if it makes us temporarily uncomfortable, and especially when a life-altering decision is involved. That is our right as human beings. (Remember that thing about having control over our bodies?)
There are women who know about fetal development, and some who even recognize the humanity of an unborn child, and who still have abortions anyway. There are also women who know fully the risks of pregnancy to their health, and the changes that will happen in their lives when they find themselves raising a child--and they choose to have the baby anyway, even after they have been warned that they could be uncomfortable, traumatized, stigmatized, impoverished, etc.
But there are also lots of women who were not given proper information, even when they asked for it. Who wanted to see their ultra sounds and were refused. Who were told by husbands, boyfriends and parents that abortion was the only solution. Who were told that their fetus was only a lump of cells, when it was actually old enough to have limbs! Women who have been told that they needed an abortion for their health, who then found out they could have avoided it through other medical treatments.
And when they found out the truth they were angry.
So I must ask, which would the pro-choicers prefer? Fully informed decisions without regrets?
Or angry women saying "I wouldn't have done this if I had known..." and then joining the pro-life movement to fight the people who lied to them?
Related: Something else that really infuriates the pro-abortion folks.
Update: Similar legislation in Florida.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The underlying socio-economic and racial implications of harvesting eggs for cloning are fairly dark as well.
H/T: Barbara Nicolosi and Jeff Miller, The Curt Jester.
Monday, April 23, 2007
I don't litter
I eat a lot of veggies, though I'm far from being a vegetarian.
I already prefer local produce, when I can get it. It is generally fresher.
I'll buy organic if it is cheaper and/or tastes better.
I avoid processed foods.
I own a high efficiency washer and dryer.
I minimize my energy consumption, if only to keep expenses down.
I recycle when I can.
I re-use plastic bags and containers whenever possible.
I have been known to use biodegradable laundry detergent and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
I'm even willing to consider using fabric napkins now and then.
But you'll never see me rationing toilet paper to one square at a time.
(Which is, incidentally, why I don't own a low-flow toilet. One square is about all those monstrosities can handle.)
Sorry, Sheryl. Keep your bus out of my bathroom and off of my backside.
If you don't like it, you can buy some carbon offsets for me and plant a few extra trees.
And Sheryl, just in case you didn't already know, even Dave Barry thinks you've gone overboard here.
And the favorite headline award goes to:
"Sheryl Crow wipes away global warming."
Update: Michelle, for the benefit of all humankind, has put her top-notch engineering degree to use and crunched the numbers to see if the one square idea will work. Even if you only have the physics knowledge of a hamster and the sense of humor of an IRS tax agent, you HAVE to read this.
Update Again: Sheryl says she was just kidding! Of course. Other than rehab, this is the most widely used butt-protection method for celebs and others that put their feet in their mouths in a public way. It's what Amanda Marcotte said after her anti-catholic blogging got her in trouble with the public. It's also what John Kerry said when he insulted the intelligence of our troops (though allegedly he just meant to target their commander in chief--oopsie! Botched joke!). As with the other two cases, I have a hard time believing the "just kidding" excuse. Her other suggestion (listed second in her post) of using fabric napkins sounded perfectly serious to me (being a bit more practical than the one square of toilet paper). Maybe it's just me, but if a ridiculous suggestion is followed by something serious, I tend to assume the absurd bit is serious too.
So, Sheryl, as a trained English teacher, who knows a little something of composition and rhetoric, I'll provide you with a free tip: Save your most profound point for LATER in your writing. Start with the serious and work your way up to the satirical. The punchline comes at the END of the joke, not at the beginning. Please take this into consideration. Or stick to singing.
The official website has information on the day, T-shirts, and information. This includes resources for teens who want to wear the shirts to school to protect themselves from unconstitutional administrative harassment. This includes a letter outlining students' free speech rights from the Thomas More Law Center.
Here is one from CatholicPosters for those of us born after Roe:
So, if you have a pro-life t-shirt, wear it proudly!
Two of many places to get them:
American Life League
National Pro-Life T-shirt Day
I don't really understand why anyone would think it worthwhile to pay $300 for a handbag at Saks Fifth Avenue, but ultimately I don't care if other people are dumb with their own money, as long as they don't ask me to bail them out later, or to trust them with mine.
But that's the trouble with government. We entrust our tax money to our elected officials to spend on our behalf, and I do wish they would exercise a little wisdom and restraint when it comes to that. It has been several years since the national debt reached the point where we will probably never be able to pay it off. How many private citizens are able to survive in that state for long?
But then, how can we expect restraint from a person who will spend privately donated campaign funds on a $200 hair cut that most of us would probably be able to get for under $50? And how much honesty can we expect when said person only reimburses his campaign after the public finds out and gets annoyed? Now, he says he is embarrassed. By what? That we found out he is that stuck on himself? Embarrassed that he is a sucker who would pay too much for a haircut? Embarrassed that we're finding out he is wealthy after all of his talk? Or is his natural appearance such that it really takes hundreds of dollars to maintain the pretty face we all know (but don't necessarily love)?
Edwards isn't the first politician to spend idiotic sums of money on his cosmetic maintenance. I seem to remember hearing some annoyance about Bill Clinton doing something similar. But, after all of his talk about "Two Americas", and the evils of the wealthier one, I have to wonder why he is so happy spend the extra money to live in it with all of those evil, money grubbing, polluting rich conservatives. Why doesn't he just go to Supercuts and show his solidarity with those of us in the other America?
Maybe it's because Mrs. Edwards doesn't want her children around any "rabid republican" "gun-toting" middle class conservatives.
H/T: Dean Barnett
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Antique roses are a bit different from the ones we typically see in the average home improvement store or everyday nursery. The roses that I had been used to seeing, until recently, were bred specifically to have large, fantastically showy blooms. They also tend to require fairly regular maintenance, particularly in harsher climates. I did not know until I began doing some light internet research that these varieties were relatively recent creations in the history of roses, particularly some of the more spectacular hybrid tea roses with multi-colored petals, such as "Double Delight, pictured at the left.
Antique roses are varieties that have been around long enough to be...well...antique. Some of them go as far back as the early 1700's! Others were bred or discovered during the early 20th century. What they all seem to have in common is solid color petals, smaller blooms, and thicker foliage than their modern cousins. Though their blooms are smaller, these plants hold their own, and have a dignified beauty which, in my opinion, makes them just as worthy for a garden as any modern hybrid plant.
While perhaps not as showy as other roses, antique varieties appear to have the advantage in terms of maintenance. They are bred for hardiness. Established plants been known to survive---untended, and through hurricanes even--for upwards of 100 years. Now that is my kind of rose!
What is lost in many situations is the moral obligation of both parents to provide what is needed for the child to grow into a healthy adult. This is not a problem just for Hollywood couples. This is a problem for many people in the "real world" as well. This is why so many kidnapping cases involve custody battles. Adults have their arguments and their temper tantrums, and force the children to carry the burden of their emotions. It is completely inappropriate to hurl invectives about your spouse to your child, whether you are getting divorced or not. The child can't do anything about it, and is only going to feel torn between her parents, and parents are supposed to be authority figures, not buddies who gossip with their children about their problems.
I think this would be a good time to revisit a controversial statement made by Garrison Keillor who, it seems, may have learned a practical lesson from his own failed marriages:
Monogamy put the parents in the background where they belong and we children were able to hold center stage. We didn't have to contend with troubled, angry parents demanding that life be richer and more rewarding for them. ...
Nature is about continuation of the species -- in other words, children. Nature does not care about the emotional well-being of older people.
The increasing burdens people are willing to place on their children for the sake of their own egos never cease to amaze me.
In my opinion, it is one of the results of the utilitiarian view of human life our culture has adopted. Our spouses, and our children all exist to serve ourselves, and are considered disposable. Spouses can be divorced, and children can be aborted when they are unwanted, or harshly punished when they embarrass us hurt our feelings. It's not about our feelings. It is about whether they are growing up to be respectable adults.
We expect them to be understanding when we tell them we're not in love any more and mommy or daddy will see them only on weekends. We may even expect them to be happy for us. We excuse it with "oh, kids bounce back," or "they'll understand if they love me".
Even to the point where we expect them to be understanding if we choose not to allow them to be born at all.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Divorce is a nasty business. I think most people are agreed on that. It's even worse when there are custody issues involved.
But it is no excuse for taking out your rage on your 11-year old daughter, Mr. Baldwin. If you want to call someone a pig and other names not fit to be aired on evening cable news, do it to someone your own size, ideally someone who shares the responsibility for the painful situation in which your daughter finds herself. Save the vitriol for your wife and her attorney. You obviously have plenty to discuss. Like why your wife is under court order not to discredit you to your offspring, but you can call your wife a pain in the a** on your daughter's voice mail.
Call your wife what you like. She's a big girl and can probably handle herself. Do not attack your child.
What you have done amounts to verbal abuse. The context is immaterial. There is nothing even the most selfish 11-year-old can do that justifies that kind of language from a parent. The fact that it was leaked discredits you in the eyes of the public, sir, and not your daughter. You have discredited yourself in her eyes with no help from the media. I believe you will be lucky if she ever answers your calls again.
Parents like you have done enough damage to their children as it is. Divorce is already difficult for children, even without parents who use them as a tools to get back at each other. How many young people my age and even younger have horrible emotional scars from being pulled back and forth by egotistical, selfish, parents? Parents who are more childish than the children they are fighting over? How many in my generation are terrified of marriage and parenthood because of the shoddy examples they have been given?
She will be lucky if she isn't damaged for life by your narcissistic ranting. I hope that in ten years she won't be dating men who speak to her the way you just did, and excusing it the way so many women do whose fathers abuse them in this manner.
If I were in your wife's place, sir, I would certainly be sending that message to my attorney, and doing everything I could to protect my daughter from you. When you fly over to see your daughter, I hope you will find her mother's attorney there to meet you instead. This is for your own safety, sir, because if your wife has a shred of maternal instinct, she is restraining the urge to harm you bodily for your treatment of this child. If your daughter is there, you had better crawl to her on your knees and beg her forgiveness.
In the process of satisfying the needs of your own ego, sir, you have very likely created a lifetime of pain for your child. I hope you are happy.
For those of us who profess to be Christians, the medical professions hold significant spiritual meaning as well, as healing is one of the most distinctive parts of the ministry of Christ himself.
For both of these reasons, it is essential that medicine be guided by clear ethics, at the heart of which should be a fundamental respect for human dignity. This is where the Hippocratic Oath comes in.
Every doctor has to take this ancient oath. It has changed somewhat over time, but the essential point remains the same. Often summarized as "do no harm," the entire thing is much longer. This is where such things as doctor-patient confidentiality and professional courtesy come from.
Here are two versions of the original, which dates all the way back to ancient Greece. I have placed certain lines in bold, as they relate very directly to an ethical issue recently placed before the US Supreme Court.
The Hippocratic Oath
Original, translated from Greek.I swear by Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath.
To consider dear to me as my parents him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and if necessary to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art if they so desire without fee or written promise; to impart to my sons and the sons of the master who taught me and the disciples who have enrolled themselves and have agreed to the rules of the profession, but to these alone the precepts and the instruction.
I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death.
Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion.
But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts.
I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art.
In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.
All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal.
If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot. ”
I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:
To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art - if they desire to learn it - without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.
I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.
I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.
I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.
Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.
What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.
If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Not all OB's are in favor of this procedure, and the testimony of the ACOG should not be taken as representative of the entire medical community. There are doctors, nurses, and pharmacists whose professional opinions oppose abortion (links to their websites are in a list of pro-life links to the right here--you may have to scroll.)
Here, for instance, is a public statement from the American Association of Pro-Life OB/GYN's on partial birth abortion. And here is another statement, again a response to the ACOG. Both are a few years old, but still relevant, and make the point I made in my last post: Breech birth, forcible dilation of the cervix, and sharp implements are not "safer"
As with Global warming, certain people will try to tell you that there is consensus among experts. Not true.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
It should really be called partial birth infanticide, though. It is performed late in pregnancy (after 20 weeks), often after the baby is able to survive outside of the womb (24 weeks is the generally accepted beginning of "viability", though occasionally a baby can defy that). The only part of the baby that is not delivered right away is the head, which is punctured, emptied, and then removed from the birth canal. As long as the head is in the birth canal, the infant doesn't breathe. They can't have it breathing, or else it would be a legal person.
The life and health of the mother is often cited as a reason for keeping this "Intact Dilation and Extraction" or "ID&X" procedure legal. Proponents say that it is safer than childbirth and carrying a risky pregnancy to term.
So.... a breech birth, which for otherwise healthy, wanted pregnancies is usually considered dangerous in and of itself, is better for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy than a complete delivery? Even though it is artificially induced, and involves sharp implements thrust into the baby's head while it is till inside the woman's body?
Call me ignorant and narrow minded, but just I don't get that.
So how many lives will this really save? Not as many as we like, but still many. The Guttmacher Institute (A research arm of Planned Parenthood) states:
That's an average of 1,448,275.862 in each of the years since the Roe decision. (For those who like rounded numbers, roughly 1.448 million per year.)
The Guttmacher institute also says Intact D&X procedures account for only 0.17% of all abortions. Doesn't sound like much.
But, if you do the math using the numbers cited above, that comes to 24,621 partial-birth abortions per year.
That's more than 700 times the lives violently taken at Virginia Tech this week.
It's over 24 thousand unborn human beings per year whose right to live was just upheld by the highest court in our nation. That's a lot of people.
What other bloggers are saying, often with useful links included:
Built on a Rock
Catholic Pro-Life Committee
Church of the Masses
Desperate Irish Housewife. (On a hysterical NYT editorial.)
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
The Curt Jester
Update: Planed Parenthood, which proudly names itself the largest abortion provider in the nation, is naturally upset about the impending loss of revenue it faces. Its press releases use language that imply that this ban applies to all second trimester abortions. While we in the pro-life movement wish this were true, it is not. The ban applies only to the procedure detailed above. Read about misconceptions such as this here.
Read the text of the law, as signed by President Bush here. It is searchable!
The text of the Supreme Court Opinions. (Massive PDF file. Have coffee ready.)
This woman goes to Georgia Tech, but this could have happened anywhere. Every secular college campus, and even some of the religious ones are like this.
Read the story here.
One note, responding to her opposition of the Vagina Monologues said,
This Valentine’ Day, you cannot protest the Vagina Monologues. It is about love and you are about hate.
No, this Valentine’s Day, you will be Raped. Sex is about love and through it you will experience hate. I cannot wait.
The irony here is that she gets threatened with sexual violence by people who promote things like the Vagina Monologues to (they say) prevent rape by raising awareness. The same people who talk all the time about women being intimidated into silence by violent threats. The same people who protest the war in Iraq threaten this young woman with death. I guess they don't think conservative women deserve protection.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Here are a few posts from some of the blogs I follow to give you a picture of what is being said already.
Built on a Rock:
Tears and Sadness.
The Tragedy Hits Close to Home,
Only Prayer Seems to Make Sense
Catholic Pillow Fight:
Virginia Tech Shooting.
Comforting the Survivors,
Tragedy at Virginia Tech,
Words Fail Me.
What shall separate us from the love of God?
Go to Church.
The Heart of Things:
For the Souls Lost Today.
Hero. (A must read, this one)
For the moms... What is there to say?
Culture of Life Bubble during the Virginia Massacre.
Naturally, this latest bit of braindead advertising comes from the San Francisco chapter of Planned Parenthood. No surprise that this tripe would come out of the city that gives us the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Pictured at the left), who make their statements by mocking women who have chosen to dedicate their lives to service, prayer, and celibacy.
Frankly, compared to much of the nonsense that comes from that city, this ad could be called fairly mild.
The Planned Parenthood press release says of the ad, "The ad can create a perfect starting place for a parent/teen conversation on responsible sexual decision-making."
Like maybe a conversation about how some people are so invested in their agendas they don't mind slamming someone's religion.
And maybe another conversation about the idiocy of cheapening things that are supposed to be sacred. Like angels. Or sex. (Yes, sex is sacred. I'd say that's a step above mindless "fun," wouldn't you?)
This would probably be followed by a discussion of the slippery slope of artificial birth control, of the proper place of sex and natural family planning within a marriage, and the merits of chastity, including avoidance of those maladies against which condoms do not protect, such as HPV and Herpes. A discussion of how abstinence and marital fidelity are the only "responsible" sexual decisions.
So yes, it is a starting place.
Read more and see the ad itself at Dawn Patrol.
Additional commentary from Curt Jester.
And more from Catholic Mom.
Monday, April 16, 2007
No, not that kind. :) That would be pretty cool, though.
Not the baseball team either.
I mean the ones with feathers. A pair of them seems to have developed a thing for a tall tree in our backyard. If we're lucky, maybe they'll start nesting.
I never actually saw cardinals until I moved to Texas. I have always thought them beautiful, but never had a chance to really get a good look. But lately, I have been seeing them and hearing their songs almost daily. The male cardinal stands out the most, being brightly colored. Occasionally he'll streak through the air from one end of our property to the other.
(Photos from the Avian Gallery at RonDayPhotograpy.com)
Read more about Northern Cardinals here.
Read about Catholic Cardinals here.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Not surprisingly, this was not a one-time thing. Only in this case four kids had sex in class instead of just two. Once again we have other kids acting as lookouts.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- Five fifth-grade students face criminal charges after authorities said four of them had sex in front of other students in an unsupervised classroom and kept a classmate posted as a lookout for teachers.
The students were arrested Tuesday at the Spearsville school in rural north Louisiana, authorities said. Two 11-year-old girls, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year old boy were charged with obscenity, a felony. An 11-year-old boy, the alleged lookout, was charged with being an accessory.
Read the rest at CNN.com
Or the same article from CBS.
The cry of a society of automatons whenever a function becomes outdated. No more books? Time to eliminate the librarian:
A cowardly government administrator? Liquidate him too.
(This clip repeats a little bit from the first.)
Now, back to real life and experiments in the ultimate in radical feminist technology: women who can make sperm! One more step toward making fatherhood obsolete. Men have already been told women don't need them to help raise children. Now science is working on making men unnecessary to produce them.
Playing games with life is not something that should be done lightly or selfishly, to manipulate biology so that it will be politically correct. You mess with nature, and she comes back to bite you where it hurts. Think Frankenstein--the novel, not the movie. Or Jurassic Park, in which the biting is quite literal, and we hear a warning about science without ethics, especially when commercial gain comes into the picture.
I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here: it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you're selling it, you want to sell it!
Of course, the offspring of such reproduction would have to be female, as women don't have a y chromosome to pass a long. Wow! Not only will women be able to breed without men, they won't have to worry about inflicting more men upon the world! We'll finally have more hugs and fewer wars! Either that or cat fights like we've never seen in the history of man- I mean womonkind.
Why am I starting to feel like I live in an anti-utopian novel?
Watch the Twilight Zone, people. Or watch Gattaca. Or read Brave New World. Or 1984. Or The Giver, if your reading skills are still developing. Take your pick. The warnings are the same. A society that takes science too far and makes human life a tool for politics, or a fashion accessory loses its soul. Children are not supposed to be political statements or science projects. They do not exist to fulfill the needs of their parents. People are not to be valued and defined solely by their function. They are human beings inherently deserving of respect, even of reverence. When we fail to recognize that for some, we set ourselves up to devalue all.
Just because our ovaries make us cutting edge right now doesn't mean that in the future our test-tube babies won't find a way to make mothers (whether they come in singles or pairs) obsolete as well.
Via Catholic Mom and Bill.
Friday, April 13, 2007
defenestration: an act of throwing someone or something out of a window.
(for more on this delightful word, click here)
obsequious: servilely attentive; fawning.
badinage: light, playful talk.
Use three of the four in a single sentence. Extra credit for humor, alliteration, or use of all four words.
During the defenestration of his person, the deposed monarch marveled at the flagitious badinage among his formerly obsequious subjects.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
So when I saw a little green lizard in my garden, I left it alone, and looked it up. Turns out this little one is harmless and eats bugs, including roaches. I absolutely loathe roaches. Hot dog! He can eat as many of those as he likes, and since this little green lizard is rather pretty, I'm glad to see him sunning himself on my shrubberies.
Yes, it was coined by womyn, and is sometimes used plafully. There are unfortunately, however people who sincerely believe (despite their advanced education) that the word history is a compound of "his" (the posessive masculine pronoun) and "story".
This is not so.
The American Heritage Dictionary describes the origins of the word as follows:
[Middle English histoire, from Old French, from Latin historia, from Greek historiā, from historein, to inquire, from histōr, learned man; see weid- in Indo-European roots.]
That's right. The word "history" is derived from Latin and Greek. Now there are many people who know more about both languages than I. However, I am certain the Latin and Greek scholars will confirm that the singular masculine possessive pronoun in both languages is not "his". Modern day Romance languages retain words derived from the same roots, such as historia in Spanish.
Etymology does not have to hamper linguistic agendas, though. If the womyn still want to get picky without uninformed back-formation of their words, they could always re-derive the word from the Greek for "learned woman".
Oops. Sorry "learned womon"
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
However, before I say it, I will offer a disclaimer. If you are the type of person who inspired this post, such a disclaimer will probably mean nothing to you, but I ask you to prove me wrong on that assumption, and give it a thoughtful read anyway..
This post is in no way meant to characterize every member of a certain movement. It is merely a commentary on an unfortunate few who prefer to confirm stereotypes, rather than confound them. Nor should my comments be taken as the universal opinions of those active in a certain other movement. It is possible for people to share an idea in common, and be very different when it comes to everything else.
There, now to my topic.
Last month, I attempted (I admit, imprudently) to reach out in a spirit of Christian love to a fellow human being (really, a pair of them) in whose life abortion was soon to play a part. I also encouraged those who share my faith to offer prayers for the person in question.
The response to this astonished me, though in retrospect, it probably shouldn't have. I have learned a few useful lessons from this, which I would like to pass along.
In the first place, any naiveté I had about certain elements within the pro-choice movement has been completely erased. I know better than to approach possible abortion patients when persons of a certain sort are around. It's like adding water to a grease fire in the kitchen. They are so prejudiced, so angry, that they can't possibly believe that I, or any other pro-lifer could be remotely helpful, charitable, or understanding. They assume that because a woman is contemplating abortion that it must be the best option for her, and if she is unsure, carefully offer her no information that might tend to make her choose to carry a pregnancy to term. Never mind that she could feel pressured into it by friends, family, a husband or a boyfriend. Never mind that she may not feel that she has other viable options, and would prefer those, were they more available to her. Never mind that some---many women have changed their minds about having abortions, and not only are they "not sorry", they feel great about it, and are relieved that they didn't have one. Never mind that there are other women who have not changed their minds, and continue to be sorry. (Again I will note that I am quite aware that there are some pro-choice people who take those possibilities into account, but on this occasion, they are not my primary subject.)
There's a reason why women seeking abortion feel frightened, and scared. It's not because they face the kind of stigma that might have followed them in the 50's (in which time period some think they still live, apparently). It's because, as early American feminist Mattie Brinkerhoff said, " when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged." This is where the fear comes from when a woman faces the possibility of abortion. Deep down, our consciences know that destroying life in the womb is not right. The fear comes from a woman's inmost being warning her that she is about to do something ugly, to avoid circumstances that appear to be even uglier. There are many pro-lifers working tirelessly, and quietly to mitigate this unnecessary ugliness, because women do truly deserve better.
There are those who can't believe, who would prefer not to believe that we might actually be sincere when we say that women deserve better than abortion, and so they convince themselves we are liars and we are just saying that to control other people. The reality is, we think it is O.K. for women to listen to their consciences, and to act on them, and we are here to make that a little less frightening for them, if they are willing to accept our help, even if they want our help after a "choice" has already been made.
And then, within the pro-life movement are many of us born after the Roe decision. We aren't happy with the peril in which that court decision placed our lives. We know we would not be here had our mothers made different choices, and we breathe a deep sigh of relief, especially those of us whose mothers would have had every legitimate reason in the eyes of most of the pro-choicers to have us aborted. There are women in our mothers' generation who did make the choice to have an abortion, and who stand up in front of us and testify to the horror and sadness they have experienced. They feel the absence of a person who would have been their child; who, had s/he lived would have had birthdays and graduations, who may have been my friend, or my classmate. There are some who scoff at the grief of these women. There are some who laugh derisively (or just get enraged) at we who escaped legal abortion and live to say what we think about it. They cheapen our lives, our mothers' sacrifices, and the pain of those who would have been mothers with their scorn.
Some of these people are especially unwilling to hear us because of their own past abortions, and try to drown us out with their cries of "not sorry". Are they really not sorry? Denial is very powerful when one wants to avoid anything difficult, whether it be personal guilt or just the everyday tragedies of life. If a woman who has had an abortion has to face the truth, she will have to deal with it. If she thinks about how many people she has encouraged to do as she has, and realizes what that means, she will have even more do deal with. That means feeling bad. And we all know that modern culture is all about feeling good, and feeling loved and accepted, especially loving and accepting yourself. That's the premise upon which everything is sold to us today. Everything from fitness equipment, to junk food, to lipstick, to medical quackery such as abortion. Throw in the fact that "love" and "acceptance" have been twisted to mean being O.K. with everything about a person, and we have quite a problem. If love means "never having to say you're sorry" to yourself or anyone else, and a person suddenly finds herself unable to be O.K with a part of her past, that is equivalent, in modern thinking, to ceasing to love herself.
The result is that no matter what I say, however gently or how bluntly to a person contemplating abortion, certain people will fly into a rage, and twist it to make me look like I'm a bible-thumping, fire breathing, ignorant, religious zealot (Oh, I almost forgot to add judgmental prude to the list). They will do this deliberately in the presence of the very person whom I am trying to help. All I have to do is offer information about fetal development, or ask, have you considered other alternatives? Apparently, this is harassment.
And instead of a polite "We'd prefer that no pro-life perspectives here, thanks, have a nice day" in response to my polite suggestion, I get a string of profanity thrown at me, and a door shut in my face. Slammed by people who prefer the comfort of their own prejudices to the reality of my intentions. Despite the fact that I am but one person, they clearly think I'm enough of a threat to run me out of town before I can get a word in edgewise to defend myself. One or two have even taken it upon themselves to keep an eye on my writing (Greetings to you, if you are still here.)
This brings me to the next thing I have learned. Some pro-choicers have a strange enjoyment of being offended. Thanks to one or two in particular, on the two days following the aforementioned outreach attempt, I had an extra 200 hits on my blog from pro-choicers eager to see just what kind of a freak show they could find here. A few were even repeat visitors. I had close to 50 extra hits on the third day. Apparently the interest waned fairly quickly. I suppose I'm boring.
Even so, while they were here these visitors derived great personal enjoyment from reading my blog and congratulating themselves on their own superiority. One who clearly buys into the stereotypes of what pro-lifers are like assumed I'm a zealot who thinks she's a harlot (Hey, a rhyme! There's got to be a poem in there somewhere). She even took the time to label herself as such (I assume not accurately), because she concluded this would save me the trouble. She needn't have bothered, though, as such is not my opinion of her, and in the process of calling me and herself several choice names, she made it necessary for me to start moderating comments. I'd rather not bore my readers with such feeble exercises in verbal creativity, therefore I can only tolerate so much profanity at once on my obscure little blog.
Well, not quite as obscure as it used to be. :)
I have already apologized on my blog for the mistakes I have made in this process, which are partially responsible for my being so offensive and unwelcome to certain people. One of these was having the openness to deliberately use a screen name that would allow anyone who can use Google to find out I'm pro-life, and that I have a blog where I talk about it. (And yes, I did indeed contemplate that possibility before I placed myself in the situation. Those who think I am a liar will not believe that. They have a right to think about me what they will.) The only reason they had any material with which to mock me and my views was that I allowed them to find that information. The other error was not taking the time to assess the nature of the people with whom I was about to be in contact. Had I known what kind of reaction my actions would produce, that I would be perceived as a threat no matter how non-threatening I am, I would have acted differently.
However, my intentions were of the kindest nature with respect to the persons to whom my actions were directed, and I carry no guilt whatsoever with respect to those.
But, before I close, there is still one debt I must pay. I have yet to offer thanks to those who taught me the valuable lessons here named. And so I offer them with the same humility of my previous apology.
Naturally, I found this on Dave Barry's blog, which is probably the most complete collection of bizarre toilet stories (among other things) on the web.
Monday, April 9, 2007
Sunday, April 8, 2007
...The peculiar quality of the 'joy' in successful Fantasy can thus be explained as a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth. It is not only a 'consolation' for the sorrow of this world, but a satisfaction, and an answer to that question, 'Is it true?' ...
I would venture to say that approaching the Christian Story from this direction, it has long been my feeling (a joyous feeling) that God redeemed the corrupt making-creatures, men, in a way fitting to this aspect, as to others, of their strange nature. The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels – particularly artistic, beautiful, and moving: 'mythical' in their perfect, self-contained significance; and at the same time powerfully symbolic and allegorical; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man's history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the 'inner consistency of reality'. There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many skeptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to madness or to wrath.
It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be 'primarily' true, its narrative to be history, without thereby necessarily losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed. It is not difficult, for one is not called upon to try and conceive anything of a quality unknown. The joy would have exactly the same quality, if not the same degree, as the joy which the 'turn' in a fairy-story gives: such joy has the very taste of primary truth. (Otherwise its name would not be joy.) It looks forward (or backward: the direction in this regard is unimportant) to the Great Eucatastrophe). The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is pre-eminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. Because this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men – and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused.
But in God's kingdom the presence of the greatest does not depress the small. Redeemed Man is still man. Story, fantasy, still go on, and should go on. The Evangelium has not abrogated legends; it has hallowed them, especially the 'happy' ending'. The Christian has still to work, with mind as well as body, to suffer, hope, and die; but he may now perceive that his bents and faculties have a purpose, which can be redeemed. So great is the bounty with which he has been treated that he may now, perhaps, fairly dare to guess that in Fantasy he may actually assist in the effoliation and multiple enrichment of creation. All tales may come true; and yet, at the last, redeemed, they may be as like and as unlike the forms that we give them as Man, finally redeemed, will be like and unlike the fallen that we know.
--J.R.R. Tolkien, On Fairy Stories
Friday, April 6, 2007
Apparently, most 18-25 year olds identify themselves as liberal.Woohoo! All they have to do is wait for those crusty old conservatives to die! But wait a minute, many 18-25 year olds were raised by baby-boomers and ex-hippies who waited till their 30's and 40's to have children. Of course they will take on their parents' world views. Plus, people are naturally a bit liberal from age 18-25. It is part of being young. There is no gaurantee they will still be that way once they are 40-something with a job and a mortgage--and maybe a child or two--or ten if they become religious conservatives. That brings me to the other little problem liberals are having.
For years now, I've been hearing conservative talk show hosts remind us that we will eventually outnumber liberals. After all, we have more children. And it turns out that 4 out of 5 of them will remain conservative as adults, at least according to unnamed research cited by a nervous liberal columnist at the San Francisco Gate.
This freaks them out. They just can't keep up with us! It's not fair! How can they pay the excessive rent on their tiny apartments, pay for their expensive green energy and carbon offsets, and still send their kids to the finest liberal college-prep preschools? How can they keep up with us without overpopulating the planet? Speaking of overpopulation, where will they even put children in those tiny over-priced apartments? Time for another social welfare program, I guess. Maybe a birth-offset program. Or, they could always move out of state, as I did, but most self-respecting California liberals would rather do just about anything than than move to the savage wilderness of Middle America. And don't even talk to them about Southern states, where the residents' necks are supposedly as red as the thermometers.
This is what the Left thinks of us, ladies and gentlemen.
Let them. It'll give me a laugh now and then when I tell them I'm a Conservative Latina, and a born and raised Coastal Californian to boot. The priceless stunned silence is quite amusing. Plus, I'm astonished that they haven't noticed how many of us--even some who have been home schooled-- make it through the institutions of higher education, which they themselves usually run, and and that some of us are getting cool jobs and advanced degrees out of the deal (no, we're not all becoming greedy big-business executives).
That suits me fine. If they persist in telling themselves that we are ignorant and incapable of independent thought, our conservative spawn will have a much easier time taking over "like a spiritual STD" as one columnist puts it. I'd prefer to think of my offspring in a more positive way, though. After all, each new human life is, from the moment of conception, a remarkable individual being made in the image of God. We have yet to cure anything with stem cells obtained by destroying them. But living human embryos, stem cells and all, may actually grow up to become the long-awaited cure for one thing at least: Left-coast liberalism.
Want to see the articles for yourself? Here you go, brace yourself for the finest examples of Bay Area journalism:
When Liberals Rule the World
Republicans are Red-Hot Breeding Machines (Podcast)
Republicans' Fertile Future.
Attention Liberals: Please Breed.
Hat tip: Catholic Pillow Fight
Addendum: Speaking of the South, Belle-ah over at Southern Somedays has posted some gorgeous pictures of Southern Springtimes. Libs, don't look at this. It might make you consider a relocation, and nobody wants that. :)
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Today is Holy Thursday. The last day on which Mass is celebrated between now and Easter. The Blessed Sacrament is removed from the main tabernacle in the church, and placed in a temporary location, reminding us of the three days in the tomb.
Tomorrow is Good Friday, on which we remember the Crucifixion. Don't forget to fast and pray! After you to your Good Friday services at your parish, this is a good time to pull out those "Passion of the Christ" DVD's.
Beginning late Saturday night we await the resurrection, and the beginning of Easter Sunday at Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil is the biggest party we Catholics have all year. (Easter is a big deal among other Christians, too, but Catholics and Orthodox Christians take it to a whole other level, liturgically speaking) If you think Midnight Mass at Christmas is amazing, you should see Easter Vigil at least once. If you can't make it, there's always a daytime mass on Easter Sunday.
And it doesn't stop there. We keep the Easter celebration going for an entire season, and of course we continue to celebrate it all year at every mass. After all, ladies and gentlemen, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life". It doesn't get any more worth celebrating than that.