Baby Fuel


I suppose, like Wesley Smith, I should not be surprised that over 15,000 aborted babies were incinerated as medical waste in the UK, with some of the remains used as fuel. The systematic dehumanization of the unborn child began with the rebellion against traditional norms in the 1960s. The UK was the first of the two to legalize abortion with the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act. The United States Supreme Court, in an act of judicial fiat, legalized abortion in the January 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. As Smith notes, incinerating aborted babies is the end-result of denying personhood to the fetus. The body of an adult who dies is considered to be a body of a former person and worthy of some respect. Aborted babies, having never been considered persons, are treated like any other piece of medical waste. If they have never been persons, they are things and can be treated as mere utilitarian objects. “We need to recycle fuel instead of just throwing it away, so why not use aborted fetuses.” While logical given the premisses of the pro-abortion crowd, this use of aborted babies marks a new low in the decline of morality in the West. A society that kills its most vulnerable cannot escape the social consequences, including a cheapening of human life in general. How much lower can the UK (and Canada and the US) go? I doubt there is a bottom limit.


(Im)moral Monday in North Carolina


Location map of North Carolina, USA

Location map of North Carolina, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a strange phenomena in America when people hell-bent on supporting murdering the unborn protest on what they call “Moral Monday.” Initially these protests involved the usual suspects from the Left protesting budget cuts and districts set up by the Republican state legislature. The latter will not change due to the recent (and finally sensible) U.S. Supreme Court ruling lifting some of the unfair restrictions of the Voting Rights Act from the states (especially the Southern states). The latter–well, to the left, any cut in government is intrinsically evil. It is the protests against the restrictions on abortion passed by the North Carolina senate that I find particularly ironic.

Any law regulating abortion clinics has been opposed by the pro-abortion lobby despite abuses that occur that have physically harmed or caused death to some women having abortions. This gives the lie to the pro-abortionists’ claim that they are concerned about women’s health. Their actual concern is their own selfishness, a selfishness and pride so perverse that it leads them to think that babies are “parasites” (as two of my students once put in) and that murdering them is just another form of birth control. The shrillness of the voices at Monday’s protests were ear-splitting, far worse than the shouts of any Fundamentalist preacher. The pro-abortion crowd at the protests were Fundamentalists, with their religion being abortion, and the worship services of their religion the sacrifice of innocent life on the altar of selfishness. In the past I have tried to be careful to separate the position from the person–no one is wholly evil, since even the most evil person in the world is still a creature made in God’s image. However, when I saw the shrill protestors on the news yesterday supporting the destruction of unborn life in the name of the “health of the mother,” I was hearing the voices of evil.

What makes the situation worse is North Carolina’s RINO governor, Pat McCrory, refuses to sign a bill putting any further restrictions on abortion. That is so typical of the Charlotte country-club Republican crowd–and it is nauseating to see. In addition, where was there any coverage in the news on the pro-life position? I thought the WRAL reports were so one-sided as to constitute advocacy of the pro-abortion side–but this is typical of the mainstream media.

Pray for the unborn, for the millions murdered in the name of convenience, for the people who commit the terrible crime of abortion that they might repent, for a country so twisted and selfish that it has allowed the atrocity of the murder of the most helpless and innocent of its citizens. Pray for those who “call evil good and good evil,” who call the immoral moral and the moral immoral. May God strengthen the forces who fight the darkness of the Culture of Death.

Legalizing Abortion was Never About the Good of the Woman


fetus 10weeks

fetus 10weeks (Photo credit: drsuparna)

The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell has raised issues concerning the safety and “proper operation” of abortion clinics. Yet the press, with a few exceptions, is strangely silent. The press is often eager to do undercover investigations in health care facilities suspected of mistreating patients, but the same press is quick to condemn similar undercover operations by pro-life advocates in abortion clinics. These two instances of hypocrisy reveal the abortion lobby for the evil that it is. Many of them never cared about the health of the woman as they claimed.

During the 1960s debate that paved the way for the tragic Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, abortion advocates constantly harped about “back alley abortions” and claimed to be concerned about the health of women getting unsafe abortions. They claimed that legal clinics would allow “safe abortions” to take place. After abortion was legalized and became so rampant, the abortion lobby behaved as a set of religious believers, with abortion advocacy becoming canon law in the Democratic Party and abortion itself becoming a liberal sacrament, “the body and the blood.” When there are well-documented claims of safety violations or excessive patient deaths (other than the children murdered) at abortion clinics, the left either ignores or downplays them and tends not to openly advocate aggressive prosecution of offending “doctors.” Even though women die in unsafe clinics, abortion advocates would rather stifle anything that could be used to criticize their evil sacrament than to protect the health of the women about whom they claim to care.

Abortion rights were always about selfishness. The rabid individualism of American society, once it became unfettered from religion, was bound to allow the evil of abortion to be legalized. Couples could then have sex freely, and if birth control failed, abortion was seen as an alternative to allow promiscuity to continue. It is no surprise that a high percentage of abortion supporters are young men aged 18-35. They want to have sex with women without any consequences, and if the woman goes through an abortion, they don’t care. If feminists really cared about male exploitation of women, they would care about the way abortion supports men sexually using women. But most feminists (outside “Feminists for Life“) rabidly support abortion.

Abortion is also about power–power over the most vulnerable members of society. If these individuals “get in our way,” we can get rid of them. That is the real agenda behind many, and I would say most, abortion supporters–power over people who interfere with one’s selfish, extreme individualistic, aims. Even Europe, with its collapsing tomb of Christian belief, has fewer abortions per capita than the United States, and even many secular Europeans (outside the UK) are shocked at the high abortion rate in the United States.

Let’s label abortion for what it is–the murder of innocent human life for our “convenience.” Abortion advocates should stop pretending to care about the health and well-being of the woman who gets an abortion. They are hiding their real agenda in a cloak of lies.


The Fetus, Parasites, and Narcissism


This is am image of a fetus about to be vacuum...

When I stop thinking that I can be shocked by what another person says in this narcissistic society, someone proves me wrong. I was part of a group discussing the issue of whether the man should play any role in decision making concerning abortion. Both males and females took one side or the other in about an equal ratio. One woman, however, burst into the discussion and said in an angry tone, “No man is going to make me carry a parasite in my womb for nine months!” Taken aback, I wondered how people would respond to her—and a woman with children said that children already born were parasites. If she had used a joking tone of voice that would have been fine. She was serious. This illustrates how far the “cultural of narcissism,” a term coined by the Christopher Lasch, has penetrated into the psyche of some Americans.

It was after artificial contraception became common that children ceased to be considered a gift. I am not opposing artificial contraception—there are cases in which it is the best option—but the mentality that children are burdens rather than gifts has been a toxic byproduct of the ready availability of the pill. The notion that carrying a child in the womb for nine months is “carrying a parasite” ignores the fact that half the parasite’s chromosomes came through the mother. We are not talking about an alien life form sucking away the essence of the mother. The opposition to the natural bond between mother and child represents an attitude that is wholly oriented toward the self and not toward a dependent being. What would this person think about old people in nursing homes, the homeless, or people on welfare. Anyone wise would shudder at such attitudes among some Americans today. What is more disturbing is the willingness to share such a selfish view. Do people lack the ability to discern when they come across as self-centered spoiled children rather than as adults? Do others listening to comments calling a fetus up to the ninth month—or even a born child—a “parasite” realize that there is something seriously flawed about such an attitude. Too many people do not hide their narcissism. Abortion is the ultimate instance of narcissism, especially considering that the vast majority of abortions are done for the purpose of birth control. People desire the pleasure of sex, and when that results in conception, then they have the “parasite” killed as if they are killing a paramecium rather than a person. The devotion to the autonomous self and the rejection of natural bonds are characteristics of modernity, and with the decline of Christianity in late modernity there are no restraints on narcissism. 1.2 million abortions a year are only one symptom—the increasing acceptance of physician assisted suicide among young people is another. One hopes that T. S. Eliot’s version of the end of the world will not come to pass, but extreme narcissism always results in violence. May God help us.


The Right to Life is not an Achievement


English: Personhood NOW banner flies in front ...

English: Personhood NOW banner flies in front of the United States Supreme Court during the 2009 March for Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I saw another cartoon defending women’s so-called “reproductive rights,” asserting that they concern a woman’s own body and no one else. Besides being based on a radically individualistic premise, the claim begs the question regarding the status of the fetus (“fetus” is used here as shorthand to refer to any stage between conception and birth). Slogans–on both sides of the abortion camp–hide the real issue of the personhood status of the fetus. Moral rights apply to persons. Thus, removing a human being from the category of human personhood serves to deny it the moral right to life. With no moral right to life, there need be little or no protection for the human being who lacks personhood.

The problem with such views of personhood derived from Locke’s view that human personhood supervenes over the human being is that these positions are based on the notion that a human being accrues personhood as the result of an achievement of some kind. Some deny personhood to the fetus until the possibility of twinning and other divisions of the fertilized egg into multiple organisms. Bonnie Steinbock believes that personhood supervenes on the human being when the nervous system reaches the level of sophistication to allow sentient experience in the fetus. Justice Harry Blackmun in Roe v. Wade placed the point of personhood at viability, when the fetus can survive outside its mother’s womb. Judge John Noonan considers the fertilized egg to be only a potential person, but with such a high degree of probability of becoming a person that it deserves legal protection. Mary Anne Warren believes that some ability to reason is essential before a human being can be labeled a “person.” Peter Singer and Michael Tooley hold that personhood only begins after the child is born and has lived a few years.

It is interesting that those who propose an achievement view of human personhood disagree so radically with one another on the nature of the person-granting achievement. Despite over forty years of debate, this issue remains unresolved. The answer given depends on what the philosopher him/herself values as being important in human life. For Singer and Tooley, the ability to reason and consider alternative courses of actions is what makes a person a person. Steinbock, following Bentham, holds that sentience, the ability to feel pleasure or pain, is what is essential to personhood. How can those positions be reconciled? How much achievement is necessary before a human being becomes a human person? Given such radical disagreement, would it not be safer to follow the most conservative position possible in order to avoid the chance of killing a human person?

It is also important to point out that the achievement view can be applied at any point in life, since a person can be injured and lose the ability to reason or the ability to have sentient experience (though it is difficult to know when these properties have been lost given our ignorance of the subjective conscious experience of the injured individual–some would argue it is practically impossible to determine level of consciousness, sentience, or reasoning ability, especially since some individuals have normal cognition with only a small amount of brain tissue [see the link at Thus if a person loses the ability to reason, then on a Singer/Tooley/Warren account, the individual loses personhood as well. But then we are thrown back to the intractable debate over which achievement is the person-granting one–and taking the most conservative position possible is best to avoid killing someone who may well be a human person.

Now if the person is constituted by a formed, functioning organic body, as Aristotle and Aquinas believed (note that both matter and form–form being the “soul” of a living thing, are essential, and the organism is a soul-body unity), then human personhood begins from the first moment of a formed organic body. That takes place at conception in which a new genetic code is formed and a new organism comes to be. Growth and development are filling in the patterns already found in the form through protein coding by genes. If someone argues that there is not a true organic body until a short time after conception, it is still best to take the most conservative position possible and affirm that human personhood begins at conception and that killing a zygote is as much murder as killing an innocent adult. If that is the case, then a fetus is not merely a part of a woman’s body, and the rhetorical argument based on the woman’s rights to her own body fails.



Traditional Moral Positions and the Public Square

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Freedom of Speech (painting)

Freedom of Speech (painting) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Canada, it is a crime to publicly assert that practicing homosexuality is a sin. In my ethics class, students regularly write on their essays that being a virgin until marriage is “prudish,” and they do not take seriously the traditional view that couples should refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage. In many academic settings, those who believe abortion to be morally wrong are silenced, to the point that the University Faculty for Life presents an option to its members to hide their membership in the organization so that their colleagues do not find out. The notion that there is objective right and wrong is excluded from most public schools, and moral relativism is taught as the gospel truth (and teaching it as such is, of course a contradiction).

It is true that freedom of speech does not, as the old saw goes, give anyone the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Surely being morally opposed to abortion or to practicing homosexuality or to premarital sex is not the equivalent to shouting “Fire!” Yet such opinions are being increasingly excluded from the public square, in academic institutions first, and then in the wider society.

I believe in academic freedom. If a student or faculty member wishes to defend the moral rightness of premarital sex, of practicing homosexuality, or of abortion, that student or faculty member should be allowed to have a say in the university square. But academic freedom also implies that those with the opposite views on these issues should be allowed to make their case. I am a conservative, but if a liberal student makes a strong case for his position, he will get a good grade on his test and will not be punished for his views. The situation should be the same for a conservative student who makes a good defense of his position in a class with a liberal professor. To give them credit, some liberal professors do give their students such academic freedom and believe in such for their colleagues. There is a subset of professors, however, who want to silence conservative voices, especially on controversial moral issues. Such violation of freedom of speech has taken place in some institutions of higher education, to the point that a professor in one school who presented a natural law argument against homosexual practice (and did not even claim to agree with the argument) was fired–until a court awarded him his job back. The problem is that he should not have lost his job in the first place. What is going on is that hostile rhetoric against moral conservatives is repeated so much that people begin to believe it (“they are haters,” “these people are filled with anger,” etc.). I have never understood why holding moral action A to be wrong implies hating the person who performs moral action A. I wish I could say that such an ignorant position prevails only in academia, but it is present in broader society. More and more the elites in academia, the media, and in Hollywood, are attempting to exclude traditional moral discourse from legitimate discussion and to push their views onto society as a whole. It may be just a matter of time before the United States goes the direction that Canada has gone (depending on election results, court appointees, etc.) and makes illegal conservative moral discourse on abortion and on sexual ethics. I wonder who the real narrow minded people are, the real bigots, the real haters. I would venture a guess that most of them are not moral conservatives.


The Health and Human Services Department’s Attack on Faith-Based Organizations


Logo of the United States Department of Health...

Image via Wikipedia

The United States Department of Health and Human Services mandated that employers offer health care insurance to employees that includes payments not only for standard birth control, but also for abortificants. Faith-based organizations are not exempt from this mandate. The Roman Catholic Church is resisting this mandate, as well they should, and since abortificants are also paid for, all faith-based groups who oppose abortion are being forced to violate their beliefs. I have no doubt that the social democrats and socialists who read this post will disagree, which is their right. What about the right of a faith-based organization to establish employment benefits in line with its beliefs? H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., a bioethicist and physician at the Baylor College of Medicine, has argued for ideological pluralism in health care choices. That is, if someone accepts abortion, she can buy insurance through a company that accepts abortion. Roman Catholic groups could have what Engelhardt calls “Vaticare” or something like that. Now Engelhardt is a Classical Liberal who is consistent that pluralism be respected. What the government is doing is the equivalent of telling “Vaticare” or similar organizations that their beliefs be damned. The government will now tell you what to do, and if you don’t like it, suck it up. The result, if this rule is not overturned, will be a mass closing of faith-based organizations that help a significant number of people.

Although Mr. Obama has tended to be a friend of Wall Street and warmongers, his ideological roots are strongly Marxist, and, I would claim, totalitarian. The fact that he is no more totalitarian than Dubya does not change the fact that Obama desires as much power as did Mr. Bush. Regulatory agencies have been one way that government can gain power without legislative approval. Congress should establish a conscience clause in the health care bill in order to allow for faith-based organizations to offer insurance to their employees consistent with their own beliefs. To do otherwise would be another step toward a “social democratic benevolent” dictatorship that the most radical on the left wing desire. Although this is by now a tired cliche, it remains true that freedom of religion was never construed by the founding fathers to mean freedom from religion. I am pleased that Eastern Orthodox Bishops (The Council of Canonical Orthodox Bishops) as well as conservative Protestants have joined the effort to reverse this rule change. I hope they succeed.


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