The Raving Theist

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A Botched Argument

March 6, 2009 | 95 Comments

Writing about the recent Florida botched abortion case, Gary Stein of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tearfully pleads for common ground:

Don’t turn this incident into a referendum on abortion

Those of us who are strongly pro-choice are every bit as upset as the anti-abortion crowd after what happened at the Hialeah clinic.

I agree with Antonio Fins, that the pro-choice leaders should be out vocally decrying all of this — that Belkis Gonzalez, who is already serving probation for unlawfully operating a Miramar abortion clinic, faces new charges over a botched abortion at her Hialeah Clinic.

But don’t paint the pro-choice people with the same broad brush. And don’t turn this incident into a referendum on abortion itself.

Most pro-choice people would want this clinic closed, would want any clinic where Gonzalez was involved to be closed, and for Gonzalez to face the full measure of the law. Just because we believe in a woman’s right to choose doesn’t mean we believe that botched abortions and unlawful clinics and babies being thrown out in plastic bags are OK. Please.

What people need to realize is that this case is the exception, not the rule. Because abortion is legal, women can get the procedure done in a safe way. You start taking away abortion rights, and that’s when you’ll see a lot more cases like this, with women going wherever they can to get an abortion. This case was indeed hideous, but it’s an aberration, not the norm.

Gary, I would love to find common ground with you if you weren’t both extremely stupid and sick in the head. The key to your degeneracy is found in your assertion that “[j]ust because we believe in a woman’s right to choose doesn’t mean we believe that botched abortions and unlawful clinics and babies being thrown out in plastic bags are OK.” Let me break it down for you.

I agree that your pro-choicetude doesn’t mean you believe in botched abortions. Of course you want them to be unbotched and successful. In this particular case, that would mean that the unborn child would be chopped up in utero rather than suffocated in a bag. To me it’s the difference between a beheading and the gas chamber. Your belief in the right to choose simply means you prefer the former over the latter.

I agree that your pro-choicetude doesn’t mean you believe in unlawful clinics. You want what goes on in abortion clinics to be lawful. That’s what being pro-choice generally means.

I agree that your pro-choicetude doesn’t mean that babies being thrown away in plastic bags are OK. You’ve expressed your preference for the chop-job. But the most likely reason for your preference is merely that the suffocation route is illegal, because the Supreme Court’s last abortion decision rejected pro-choice arguments that out-of-womb killings should be allowed. If the court had ruled otherwise, you’d favor both techniques. And you wouldn’t be calling what happened in Florida “botched” or “illegal” because you’d no longer be calling what was stuffed in the bag a “baby.”

Comments

95 Responses to “A Botched Argument”

  1. frustrated (mk)
    March 6th, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

    RT,

    I think I love you.

  2. frustrated (mk)
    March 6th, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

    Most pro-choice people would want this clinic closed, would want any clinic where Gonzalez was involved to be closed, and for Gonzalez to face the full measure of the law.

    Why? The woman paid Gonzalez good money for a dead baby. She got one. What’s the problem? It’s not like she paid for chicken McNuggets and didn’t get her nuggets…that would be wrong. No, she paid to have her child killed. Her child is dead. I’m just not seeing a problem here…

  3. JoAnna
    March 6th, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

    Here’s what I don’t get.

    You start taking away abortion rights, and that’s when you’ll see a lot more cases like this, with women going wherever they can to get an abortion.

    What prevented the mother, in this instance, from going anywhere else? Not abortion laws. It seems like she had the misfortune of picking a particularly bad abortion clinic — how are prolifers to blame for that, when abortion clinics are perfectly legal to own and operate in the state of FL?

  4. frustrated (mk)
    March 6th, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

    You start taking away abortion rights, and that’s when you’ll see a lot more cases like this, with women going wherever they can to get an abortion.

    Now you see, as we learned from Michael Drake, terms like “a lot more” and “rare” are just so dang hard to pin down…You say “a lot more” and I’ll say “rare”…and who can prove otherwise. And as we know, as long as an injustice is rare, it doesn’t actually matter.

  5. Beelzebub
    March 6th, 2009 @ 7:21 pm

    I’d be interested to hear your complete thoughts on the Brazilian 9 yr old rape case. Maybe you can post on it.

  6. Christina
    March 6th, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

    I admit to being very puzzled as to what, other than the outcry, offends abortion supporters. Sycloria paid for a dead baby, she got a dead baby. The only thing that fell outside the standard of abortion care was the timing and location of the fatal injury. The baby was suffocated in a plastic bag instead of stabbed in the heart with a syringe of poison. Is the outcry because Gonzalez cut the umbilical cord first? Come one, explain it, prochoicers!

  7. Erin
    March 7th, 2009 @ 11:28 am

    Pro-choicers, I would venture to guess, are upset because the mom had to see exactly who it was that she paid to have murdered. Pro-choicers don’t want women to have to know who is being killed, which is why they don’t want women to have an ultrasound before the procedure. Keep them ignorant.

  8. Columbo
    March 8th, 2009 @ 7:18 pm

    Beelzebub, everyone… Beelzebub.

    “I’d be interested to hear your complete thoughts on the Brazilian 9 yr old rape case. Maybe you can post on it.”

    Beelz, you wouldn’t even have to have posted your handle and I would have known it was you.
    Beelzebub seems quite fond of changing the point of topics where he knows he has nothing to go on. He does it at Vox Day’s blog and he does it here.

  9. JoAnna
    March 8th, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

    Beelzebub, I’m not TRT, but if you’d like to read my thoughts on the situation, they’re here.

  10. Christina
    March 8th, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

    I’m appalled that anybody could look at the horrors endured by that little Brazilian girl and congratulate themselves that hey, at least her children are dead. It’s difficult enough being a mother at such a young age, but to be the mother of two children who were put to death — ostensibly for your benefit — is a burden that child didn’t need.

  11. Louise
    March 8th, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

    Those of us who are strongly pro-choice are every bit as upset as the anti-abortion crowd after what happened at the Hialeah clinic.

    Well, cry me a river.

    I’m appalled that anybody could look at the horrors endured by that little Brazilian girl and congratulate themselves that hey, at least her children are dead. It’s difficult enough being a mother at such a young age, but to be the mother of two children who were put to death — ostensibly for your benefit — is a burden that child didn’t need.

    Exactly, Christina. Prove to us, you dunces, that this poor child is better off knowing that *her* innocent babies were killed.

  12. Louise
    March 8th, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

    Gary Stein of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tearfully pleads for common ground

    What’s the common ground between “shredding babies” and “not shredding babies”?

    Anyone? Anyone?

  13. Louise
    March 8th, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

    Somebody with more time and creativity than me needs to make a list of The Pro-choicetudes (a la The Beatitudes).

  14. Joanne
    March 8th, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

    “that the pro-choice leaders should be out vocally decrying all of this”

    I wish they would – the irony of their anguish, real or feigned, would not be lost on any honest, thinking person.

  15. Beelzebub
    March 9th, 2009 @ 6:15 am

    @Columbo

    lol. Busted again.

  16. Beelzebub
    March 9th, 2009 @ 6:31 am

    JoAnna,
    Thanks for giving it the college try. Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, I disagree with your proposed solution completely. That poor child should never have been called upon to carry that pregnancy one day later, then have her belly cut open to extract it. Thank all goodness that she wasn’t required to. I’m sorry, but, no. This is a case that begins to expose the inherent evil of placing absolute import on an embryo over a living person, in this case a child.

    Oh, and you left out the best part: those involved in the abortion were excommunicated, but the rapist wasn’t. If that doesn’t say it all for the RCC, nothing ever will.

  17. Beelzebub
    March 9th, 2009 @ 6:41 am

    One more point I’d like to make.

    I don’t expect, or want, even, for this story to turn pro-lifers instantly into pro-choicers. It’s never going to do that, and I don’t think anything ever will. But if it just serves to stop you in your track for JUST A MOMENT, and try to consider this issue in a shade other than black or white, it will have served a purpose. So many times people take up the offense to reflexively, in such desperation to fashion an excuse for their side, the result is an extraordinarily feeble and lame argument in support of their position. This is one of the reasons slinging mud at the mea culpa’s given for the topic of this very post is such a brainless proposition. You’re so addled you can’t even meet your adversary midway on the field of battle. I doubt you would recognize the olive branch if it was offered you.

  18. Lily
    March 9th, 2009 @ 6:57 am

    We are in a life and death struggle. Your olive branch is covered in blood. We will likely have to compromise politically. But we do not have to compromise morally.

  19. JoAnna
    March 9th, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

    Beezelbub — I understand your position, I really do. But I still maintain that the innocent babies shouldn’t have been punished because of a crime they didn’t commit. It’s not that their rights trump the mother’s; it’s just that they have just as much right to live as their mother does. They are not to blame for the circumstances of their conception.

    Do you really think excommunication would at all help the rapist? I’m curious as to how excommunication would benefit him at all. I’m pretty sure he knows that what he did was wrong, and unless he sincerely repents he’s more than likely going to hell. The mother and the abortionists, however, apparently do not realize what they did was wrong, and that is why the MEDICINAL penalty of excommunication was applied to them.

  20. Repunklican
    March 9th, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

    “Just because we believe in a woman’s right to choose doesn’t mean we believe that botched abortions and unlawful clinics and babies being thrown out in plastic bags are OK. Please.”

    Really? Do you want to give them a proper burial?

    This whole notion that we’re “protecting” women who have a “right” to a safe abortion is flawed. You are “protecting” one person, while violently murdering an innocent one. What’s the justification?

  21. Lily
    March 9th, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

    JoAnna– I thought your post was very well done. I do have some issues with the way excommunication is inevitably perceived by the press. They don’t realize, so the atheists and outsiders don’t realize, that excommunication does not throw anyone out of the Church. (I actually read a comment from someone who thought it meant “kicked out of the country”!!) I wish I had a dollar for every atheist who has triumphantly crowed that the Church never excommunicated Hitler. So when doctors performing abortions are excommunicated, outsiders really don’t understand what is going on and it ought not take us by surprise that they don’t.

    It is also absurd for the bishop involved not to have spent some time explaining why the rapist wasn’t formally excommunicated but the doctors were. This story is a PR disaster and it need not have been. There is no shame in trying to communicate with outsiders better– particularly since there are so many who don’t want to understand. They just want a nice. shiny, new club with which to bash Catholics. Honestly, sometimes I think that the bishops need a crash course in how to speak to … everyone!

  22. Christina
    March 9th, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

    Beelzebub, what should they have told her after the abortion. “We killed those bad babies for you. Aren’t you happy?”

    THEY KILLED HER CHILDREN. Are you too heartless to grasp that, or too clueless?

    I have yet to have a prochoicer satisfactorily explain to me how killing babies is a good thing that we should embrace. You all talk about “choice” and “difficult circumstances” and about everything except the fact that a BABY GETS KILLED.

    Those babies were TWENTY FREAKING WEEKS OLD. She’d been feeling them move for weeks already, wondering what was going on. Sooner or later it’s going to sink in her what that was she was feeling in her belly, and what her family did to make it all go away. She’s gonna come to face the fact that two children — HER CHILDREN — were put to death, ostensibly for her benefit.

    If she has a conscience, that will sear her to the core.

    She’ll only be grateful and happy if she’s as big a psychopath as the rat bastard who raped her.

  23. Louise
    March 9th, 2009 @ 7:40 pm

    You’re so addled you can’t even meet your adversary midway on the field of battle. I doubt you would recognize the olive branch if it was offered you.

    I’m still wondering what the midway point is between “shredding babies” and “not shredding babies.”

  24. Christina
    March 9th, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

    Louise, the midway point between shredding babies and not shredding babies is killing them while leaving them intact. Hence the lethal injection in the heart, or the brain-sucking abortion. See? No dismembered baby, nothing to complain about, right? And with the brain sucking abortion, just stuff his head full of cotton batting and he’s good as new, ready to wrap in a baby blanket and photograph for a keepsake album. You can pretend he died of natural causes. (I’m serious about that — they really do it. It’s considered wholesome and therapeutic.)

  25. Lily
    March 9th, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

    That is beyond sick, Christina. Truly, those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. That is unspeakably awful.

    I thought I had heard it all. Sometimes it is easy to doubt that we are made in the image and likeness of God.

  26. Beelzebub
    March 10th, 2009 @ 2:35 am


    Do you really think excommunication would at all help the rapist? I’m curious as to how excommunication would benefit him at all. I’m pretty sure he knows that what he did was wrong, and unless he sincerely repents he’s more than likely going to hell. The mother and the abortionists, however, apparently do not realize what they did was wrong, and that is why the MEDICINAL penalty of excommunication was applied to them.

    That’s an interesting theory, but I think you’ll find that the reason the rapist wasn’t excommunicated was because the quality of his sin was not deemed great enough for it — while those who ended a pregnancy in a 9 yr old committed a sin too grave to forestall it. That’s the story you should focus your spin on.

  27. Beelzebub
    March 10th, 2009 @ 2:49 am

    “(Archbishop) Gomes Sobrinho said: ‘He committed an extremely serious crime. But that crime, according to canon law, is not punished with automatic excommunication.'”

    Did somebody say ‘bingo’?

  28. Louise
    March 10th, 2009 @ 3:02 am

    I like how you keep avoiding the actual topic of this post Beez. Anyway, does it make you feel better that the rapist step-father is in Mortal Sin and will go to Hell unless he confesses it? Why focus only on excommunication? It’s not as though he can receive holy communion without committing another sin in doing so.

    The basic point being that they all need to go to confession and cannot validly receive holy communion until they do.

    btw, the civil law normally punishes criminals worse for murder than rape, evil though both offences are.

  29. Beelzebub
    March 10th, 2009 @ 3:12 am

    Okay, so now I’ve read that the girl in question was 15 weeks pregnant and in imminent danger. Whether or not this is actually true, where is the line for you, or is there one? What kind of nightmare scenario would I have to paint for you to say ending a pregnancy is warranted, or is there ever going to be one and I’m wasting my breath? Because if you’re that whacked out, I’ve got better things to do.

  30. frustrated (mk)
    March 10th, 2009 @ 5:32 am

    Plus, just to throw this out there…NO ONE thinks what the step father did is okay. But lots of people think what the mother did was okay. So the church taking a stand on the abortion, is newsworthy. I mean really, who’d care if the church came out an publicly denounced the father. Like, no duh, the guy is a jerk. That’s not being contested. The abortion is…see?

  31. frustrated (mk)
    March 10th, 2009 @ 5:42 am

    BBub,

    Before we get into which nightmare scenario is gruesome enough, it might help to know that the Catholic Church is not totally off it’s rocker.

    If a woman’s life is in IMMINENT danger due to a pregnancy (say an ectopic one), then the unborn child may be removed to prevent the mothers death. This is not the same as an abortion (morally) as the intent is NOT to kill the child, but to save the mother. Everything that CAN be done MUST be done to save the child also, but if nothing can be done and the child dies anyway, this is a CONSEQUENCE of saving the mother and not the INTENT.

    This little girl, was NOT in imminent danger of dying. A difficult situation to be sure, but it might have been possible to allow the twins to live long enough to reach viability. This might indeed have meant great inconvenience (to say the least) for the mother, but it might have been possible. 10 more weeks and the twins would have reached viability. Or nature might have taken it’s course and one or the other might have passed.

    It could have been taken week to week, giving the twins the best chance at survival.

    They might still have been lost, but at least, morally speaking, no one would have been culpable for their deaths.

    If at any point during that 10 weeks it became clear that the twins would HAVE to be delivered to immediately save the mothers life, then there would have been no guilt and no need for excommunication.

    Sometimes, a mother will decide to sacrifice her own life for the sake of her unborn child (Gianna Molla) but this is considered heroic and not required. Gianna is now a saint, because of her extraordinary sacrifice.

    So there are circumstances that are considered grave enough to warrant taking the unborn child from the womb before viability, but it doesn’t seem to be the case here. At least not at that point in the pregnancy…

  32. Beelzebub
    March 10th, 2009 @ 5:57 am

    And what if it turns our that the girl was at 15 wks and in immediate danger?

    The bishop has more or less spelled out his position: abortion is worse than murder. Think he’s going to stop at sacrificing the girl if it means his precious embryos have a chance at life? Let me see now…innocent embryos / potentially sinful little girl. If this turns out to be the case are you willing to admit that what we have here is a medieval institution with the moral precepts of the eleventh century trapped in the body of a 21st century religion?

  33. Beelzebub
    March 10th, 2009 @ 6:03 am


    So there are circumstances that are considered grave enough to warrant taking the unborn child from the womb before viability, but it doesn’t seem to be the case here. At least not at that point in the pregnancy…

    Your comment wasn’t there before I last commented. Well, the story is still out on wether the CC is off its rocker in this case or not. If anyone has a link to a comprehensive article, please post it, because from what I’ve read so far, things look rather alarming.

  34. Lily
    March 10th, 2009 @ 6:49 am

    BBub– why does it look alarming? mk has explained it thoroughly. JoAnna did on her on blog. If I sum up what has been said here, it comes down to this. If both mother and child can live, they must be allowed to. If a medical condition exists that requires that the baby die,so that the mother may live, that is licit.

    What more is there? You cannot count on the press to get any story involving abortion right. Heck, I wouldn’t convict a dog of fleas based on what I read in the paper. Still, what difference does it make if the child was 15 weeks pregnant or 20?

    I also don’t get your question about a nightmare scenario in which an abortion would be “warranted”. What sort of scenario can you come up with that would justify deliberately killing another human being?

  35. JoAnna
    March 10th, 2009 @ 10:19 am

    BBub, I’m starting to wonder if you did read my blog post about the subject, because I’ve already addressed all of your questions here, including what if the mother was in imminent danger and so forth. I also included links that explain the concepts I talked about in detail.

    If the mother’s life is indeed in imminent danger due to her pregnancy, then the principle of double effect would come into play.

    I’d also reiterate what a previous poster said — in civil law, murder is given a more serious penalty than rape or even child rape. Do you think civil law is unjust in this regard? Frankly, as horrible and heinous as both crimes are, the murder of an innocent, defenseless, unborn child is considered a more serious crime — ESPECIALLY since abortion is considered acceptable in our society, that’s all the more reason the Church has to stress its seriousness and grave sinfulness. It’s not a matter of debate in 99% of society (NAMBLA notwithstanding) that child rape is evil, disgusting, and vile. The same, unfortunately, can’t be said for abortion and that’s why the medicinal penalty of excommunication is more appropriate.

  36. JoAnna
    March 10th, 2009 @ 10:21 am

    Also, BBub, what is your source that the girl was only 15 weeks along and her life was in imminent danger? All other sources I’ve read, including secular sources, say otherwise — she was twenty weeks along and not in IMMINENT danger.

  37. JoAnna
    March 10th, 2009 @ 10:25 am

    Again, Bbub, the sources from my blog post:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09030601.html

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/world/europe/08vatican.html?_r=1&ref=world

    As to this comment:

    The bishop has more or less spelled out his position: abortion is worse than murder.

    Um, no. That would be impossible, because abortion is murder. They are one and the same.

    “Is abortion worse than rape?” is an apples to oranges question. Civil law punishes murder more severely than rape, as does the Catholic Church. But the two crimes, morally, are equally heinous and repugnant.

  38. Matthew in Fairfax
    March 10th, 2009 @ 11:08 am

    JoAnna,

    Not disputing your sources, but a Spanish language paper, El Pais, reported the pregnancy was in the 15th week. (El Pais is cited by your LifeSite news article.) They do not cite the source, but mention it parenthetically before a quote from the Archbishop.

    http://www.elpais.com...

  39. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)
    March 10th, 2009 @ 11:11 am

    The Fundie Atheist Bbub seems to think (like most non-Catholic Know nothings) that an excommunication is equivalent to some sort of “Decree of Damnation” issued by the Church. It’s not of course.

    That is his implicit argument & I for one am not fooled.

  40. Matthew in Fairfax
    March 10th, 2009 @ 11:14 am

    Sorry to interrupt, BY. I redid the link to the El Pais article:

    http://tinyurl.com/cu55bj

  41. JoAnna
    March 10th, 2009 @ 11:33 am

    Matthew, thank you for the source. It’s interesting because the New York Times reports, “The girl, who was not identified because she is a minor, was found last week to be four months pregnant after being taken to the hospital for stomach pains.”

    I wonder if El Pais translated “four months” as “15 weeks.” Four months is actually closer to twenty weeks, if you’re going by weeks since conception (for example, the baby I’m currently pregnant with was conceived around Valentine’s Day — honest! — and four months from Valentine’s Day is June 14. By that time I will be nearly twenty weeks pregnant).

    It would be nice to find a more definitive answer, although my positon would stay the same as long as the little girl was not in imminent danger of dying.

  42. Matthew in Fairfax
    March 10th, 2009 @ 11:40 am

    Joanna,

    Agreed that definitive sources are best, but for the time being, perhaps just go with 15 weeks as the best estimate as a concession to Beelzebub. It will allow us to move on with the discussion. Lily suggests (@34) it will not affect the overall arguements anyway.

  43. Lily
    March 10th, 2009 @ 11:44 am

    At the risk of bringing this conversation into comedy territory– 4 months (16 weeks) is closer to 15 weeks than it is to 20 weeks! Not that it matters in the slightest. Or maybe I don’t understand pregnancy math.

    BenYachov has nailed it exactly about excommunication. This is why atheists continue to crow that Hitler wasn’t excommunicated. Their reasoning? Excommunication = sending to hell. Hitler wasn’t excommunicated = Catholic Church approved of Hitler (or, at least, wasn’t very bothered about him.)

    Amazingly, our “new” atheists tend to be as ingnorant of history (both modern and ancient) as they are of Christianity.

  44. James
    March 10th, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

    One thing I think gets overlooked frequently in conversations like this is the idea of culpability.

    Consider:

    Case A. A girl is raped. She conceives a child. In her traumatized state she readily agrees to an abortion. The innocent unborn child dies, murdered.

    Case B. A woman makes love with her husband and conceives a child. She decides that a child is absolutely what she does not need right now, and, without telling her husband that she is pregnant, gets an abortion. The innocent unborn child dies, murdered.

    In both cases the same evil act has occurred. An innocent person has been deliberately killed. Yet no sane person would argue that the girl in Case A and the woman in Case B are equally culpable. There are degrees of culpability. And here is the really shocking part. It is not up to us, not up to the clergy, not up to pope himself, to assign culpability. We lack the perfect knowledge which is necessary, to know the secrets of the heart and all the nuances of motivation.

    This is why we must always focus on the act itself and not on the character or circumstances.

    To those like Beelzebub, this seems monstrously cold, even wicked, because it seems to ignore the genuine suffering of the girl in Case A, for example, which the abortion is intended to relieve or at least ameliorate.

    Beelzebub, for what it’s worth, I am not insensitive to the unfeigned suffering of pregnant girls and women who honestly feel they MUST abort. Yet the dead child, left at the end of the completed act, is an evil. I am not in the business of assigning blame. I merely try to teach.

  45. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)
    March 10th, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

    I think I should also point out SAINT Joan of Arc died excommunicated from the church.

    Also every time a Catholic sins mortally he excommunicates himself from the Church. It doesn’t require a decree from the Bishop.

    Besides this is all to deflect the horror of abortion with a distraction.

  46. JoAnna
    March 10th, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

    Lily — it is kind of complicated, isn’t it?? But pregnancy dating starts with the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period. So, technically, on the day a woman ovulates she is already two weeks pregnant! Thus, on June 14 I will be 19 weeks pregnant even though it will have been only four calendar months since conception.

    James — agreed, since whether the girl was 15 or 20 weeks doesn’t change my position or that of the Church. What WOULD matter (or, at least, what may bring the principle of double effect into play) is if the girl was in immediate and imminent danger of dying because of either the pregnancy or complications due to the pregnancy.

  47. frustrated (mk)
    March 10th, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

    There is also no way of knowing whether or not the step father was a) involved in the decision to have the abortion or b) catholic.

    I mean, if he wasn’t Catholic, then he couldn’t be excommunicated.

    Also, it may not seem like it, but we ARE thinking of that little girl. Aborting the twins might bring immediate relief, but could also bring on a lifetime of mental health issues. Not to mention her soul. Now you may not believe in a soul, but obviously, being Catholic, she and her mother do. It’s a matter of looking out for our own.

    At this point we have 2 dead babies, and 2 souls that are in serious jeopardy of never living out their faith and spending eternity with the Our Lord. To us, this is more of a tragedy then carrying to babies to term, even under the horrific circumstances that these children were conceived.

  48. Lily
    March 10th, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

    Aha! So, in addition to “new math” (which is now old — it was new when I was young. I guess old math is ancient math by now.) there really is pregnancy math! Well, well, well.

    James– one small quibble over terminology. In the case of a child who has been raped or a woman who has conceived a child with her husband, I would use the word “responsibility”. Neither one of them is “culpable” and only one of them has the (shared) responsibility!

  49. James
    March 10th, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

    Lily,

    All right, let’s quibble. :^) In both cases an objectively evil act has occurred, through human agency, by an act of human will. The baby is dead in both cases. I am not speaking of what caused the pregnancies; only of what has ended them. In both cases the mother assented to the abortion. In Case A she may merely have nodded mutely; in Case B she sought it out and procured it. Both are “culpable” in a strict sense; note that this is somewhat different from what we mean when we assign blame.

  50. James
    March 10th, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

    And, of course, my main point is that they are surely not culpable to the same degree. But the impossibility of ever knowing exactly to what degree is what makes it important to avoid questons like “Well, do you think a raped nine year old should be forced to have a baby?!” Of course no reasonable and sane person thinks that. But more importantly, neither do I think any innocent person should be deliberately murdered, irrespective of the suffering it might relieve.

  51. Lily
    March 10th, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

    Hmmm. I did think originally that you meant they were both culpable for being pregnant– the married woman and her husband would be responsible but not blameworthy. Now that I understand that you are referring to the abortions, I certainly agree that the woman is culpable. Bu I would also say that no 9 year old can possibly be blamed for an abortion under any circumstance.

    I don’t think a child that age is old enough to understand the gravity of that choice, assuming that she even knows what an abortion is and consents to one. I would also like to meet the nine year old who would be capable of standing up to all the adults, judges and doctors around her and saying no to an abortion that the adults are determined that she shall have.

    It is an ugly story all the way ’round and I stand by my original assertion that the Archbishop blew the public relations issues completely. He should have loudly and repeatedly explained the thinking of the Church. This story was ripe for use as a weapon by the enemies of the Church and it is being so used.

  52. James
    March 10th, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

    And now you and I agree completely, Lily.

  53. Beelzebub
    March 10th, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

    Here’s where I got the 15 wk figure.

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/258800,lula-blasts-archbishop-for-excommunications-over-childs-abortion.html

    I also specifically recall the Archbishop stating that abortion was even more serious than murder, but can’t find the reference at the moment.

    The reason circumstance is important is that if the girl’s life was in danger and there was no chance for a viable birth, it would amount to the church stating its preference that the girl be sacrificed to save the embryos. Come on, stay with me.

  54. Beelzebub
    March 10th, 2009 @ 6:51 pm

    I mean, if he wasn’t Catholic, then he couldn’t be excommunicated.

    There’s a slim chance that that’s true.

  55. frustrated (mk)
    March 10th, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

    BBub,

    The reason circumstance is important is that if the girl’s life was in danger and there was no chance for a viable birth, it would amount to the church stating its preference that the girl be sacrificed to save the embryos. Come on, stay with me.

    but we’ve already said that if this was the scenario then the Catholic Church would NOT ask the girl to be sacrificed.

    Now you need to keep up.

    You’re complaint was that the church would ask the girl to carry the twins no matter what the danger to herself was, and regardless of whether the babies had a chance at life.

    And we have (3 or 4 of us now) told you that that simply is NOT true…

  56. JoAnna
    March 10th, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

    As MK already stated, BBub, the girl is not required to sacrifice her life to save the babies. Once again, I urge you to read about the principle of double effect for more clarity about how Catholic moral teaching would apply if the girl was in immediate danger of dying.

  57. Beelzebub
    March 10th, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

    From what I’ve been able to find, there’s a significant chance that 1) the girl was, in fact, 15 weeks preg, and 2) the MEDICAL personnel in this case believed she was at significant risk. Now, unless you think the church should always be able to weigh in on matters of health, I think that would decide the matter, even given your “double effect.” You may disagree, if you think this should have been handled like a poker game, or Russian roulette.

  58. Lily
    March 10th, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

    Oh honestly, BBub. Give it up. You are out of excuses. You now know that the Church does not require the mother to be sacrificed, if the cost of preserving her life is the death of her child. Beyond that, you don’t know the circumstances of the child’s condition; we don’t know the circumstances. We don’t know how concerned the doctor was to do the right thing or if he is a willing abortionist. We don’t know whether a second medical opinion was sought. We don’t know what psychological or spiritual counselling was sought, if any.

    If the mother and the doctors cared about being excommunicated, they would have shared the necessary medical information with the archbishop. If, somehow, that communication did not take place but they have reasonable documentation that the child was in real danger, they can produce it now and put the whole thing behind them.

    I am not holding my breath.

  59. JoAnna
    March 10th, 2009 @ 11:22 pm

    Neither risk nor significant risk equal immediate danger of death. And as has been stated, it doesn’t really matter if she was 15 weeks vs. 20 weeks.

    Bbub, do you normally believe that children should be punished for the crimes of their father? I’m curious. If your father were to rape someone, would it be fair to put you to death in his stead? Because that’s the message you’re conveying.

  60. Beelzebub
    March 11th, 2009 @ 2:49 am


    You are out of excuses. You now know that the Church does not require the mother to be sacrificed, if the cost of preserving her life is the death of her child. Beyond that, you don’t know the circumstances of the child’s condition; we don’t know the circumstances. We don’t know how concerned the doctor was to do the right thing or if he is a willing abortionist.

    I’m not out of anything. I’ve only just begun to mine this thing for Catholic hypocrisy.


    Neither risk nor significant risk equal immediate danger of death. And as has been stated, it doesn’t really matter if she was 15 weeks vs. 20 weeks.

    In other words, you’re willing to play roulette with the girl’s life. Then again…of course you are, because that’s the only way you’re ever going to get this scenario to fit Aquinas’s “double-effect” conditions. If the girl isn’t brought to the very brink of death, you can’t spin the wheel, now can you? And that’s no fun. Whether 15 or 16 or 20 weeks is better or worse for your game, depends on exactly which game we’re playing.

    Poker, Roulette or Black jack anyone? Step right up, step right up, double your bets, double effect…

  61. frustrated (mk)
    March 11th, 2009 @ 6:12 am

    Bbub,

    Why don’t you show us where it said that the girl was in danger of dying if she continued to carry the twins.

    My understanding is that there were concerns that her pelvis was not big enough to deliver full term babies. Or perhaps even carry them, but nowhere did it say that she would die if she carried them to viability.

    I know you want to make the church out to be a monster, but it just isn’t so.

    Basically, you could claim that EVERY pregnant woman “might” die if she carries her baby to term. This girl is no exception.

    Pregnancy carries risks, and the risks were most definitely upped in this girls case. But surely, you can understand that waiting as long as you could, giving the babies a chance at life, would have been the prudent thing to do. At the first sign of “TRUE” danger, imminent danger, to the girls life, the babies could have been delivered and nature could have taken her course.

    NO ONE wants the girl to die, or even be put in serious danger of dying.

    But you’ve yet to show that she was on the brink of death, or anywhere near it. She manage to carry the twins for 16 weeks without ANY medical care. I find it hard to believe that at 16 weeks and 1 day, she was suddenly at deaths door.

    You’ve got to show us some proof.

  62. frustrated (mk)
    March 11th, 2009 @ 6:14 am

    Also, you talk about Russian Roulette, from the mothers standpoint, but how about from the babies view? Should we just fold our hand and drop out of the game? Should those babies die, because you aren’t willing to “take a chance”?

    You can’t win, if you don’t play.

  63. Lily
    March 11th, 2009 @ 7:24 am

    Frankly, Bbub has shown his hand plainly. BBub doesn’t care about the truth.

    I’ve only just begun to mine this thing for Catholic hypocrisy.

    What more need be said? Bbub is not driven by concern for the child. He has an agenda. The child is just an excuse.

  64. Lily
    March 11th, 2009 @ 7:37 am

    Actually, Bbub demonstrates the moral myopia that afflicts so many abortion lovers. He isn’t the least bit shocked by filthy abortion clinics, the lack of regulation, the deaths of women in these “clinics”, or the placing of living babies in medical waste bags. Just so long as a baby dies, they are happy.

  65. frustrated (mk)
    March 11th, 2009 @ 8:15 am

    Lily,

    While I agree that many pro choicers have myopic vision when it comes to the abortion issue, I don’t think it’s intentional.

    Remember, there is a demonic influence here. Sometimes I picture people waking up in a few years, confused as to where the last 20 years of their lives have gone. Rubbing their eyes, coming out of a coma.

    Some day, the truth will be revealed, and the world will shake it’s head in wonder that they could possibly have believed some of the stuff that they spouted. But there is a “veil” over the truth, a supernatural veil, that does not allow people to see rightly. Consciences have been seared, souls walk around like the living dead.

    I honestly think that folks like BBub are coming from a place of compassion, albeit false compassion. They really do feel for the girl, and their sense of right and wrong is actually being affronted, but due to spiritual blindness, their compassion is ill placed.

    The same way Germans blindly followed Hitler. Reason has left the building.

    But I don’t think these people are actively seeking the deaths of the unborn. Abortionists? Yes. Nancy, Obama etc? Yes. But the average Joe? No, he’s just a guinea pig.

  66. Lily
    March 11th, 2009 @ 8:25 am

    I partly agree, mk, but only partly. One has to try really hard to deaden one’s conscience and an amazing number of people have. Did you read the litany of horrors over at Christine’s blog (she links to her blog in the post on “national abortion provider appreciation day”). It is no longer possible to claim ignorance of what is going on. In an age when the smallest measures to slow the butchery down fail, it is hard to claim innocence. In an age of 4D ultrasound, claims of innocence ring hollow. That wasn’t the case a few decades back. I remember when I was in my late teens and early 20s I really didn’t have a clue about fetal development, nor did I understand what an abortion entailed beyond that the pregnancy would be terminated.

    I don’t know how anyone understanding that the child is dismembered and reassembled on a pan to make sure all the parts are there can shrug abortion off, much less defend it (of course, we have more gruesome methods today). It was learning this piece that turned me against abortion. I still remember the revulsion I felt, when I faced the truth…

  67. frustrated (mk)
    March 11th, 2009 @ 8:48 am

    Lily,

    I hear what you’re saying…but who could believe that the average German Joe could know and understand what was happening in their country, and just ignore it? Only if demons were influencing them, could they possibly convince themselves that what they were doing was not only not wrong, but, right!

    These are normal, average, good people. And yet on this issue (and the issue of sex in general) they are completely unable to see the naked emperor. It’s too unreal not to be of a supernatural cause.

    These are people that would not steal, not lie, not cheat on their taxes…and yet when it comes to the dismembering of our most vulnerable members of society, they simply don’t “See” it.

    I don’t know WHAT they actually see when they look at the “evidence”, but it’s not possible that they see what we see, or they would never attempt to defend their views.

    It must be something “other” that is influencing them. I have to believe this, because the alternative is to believe that 1/2 the world is truly evil. And that thought is too overwhelming for me to even contemplate. Maybe that’s my own blindness, but it’s necessary to my mental survival.

    I mean, imagine if it is true, and millions upon millions of people are really and truly “evil”…I can’t even go there.

    I hold that abortion is evil, but pro choicers are just under a spell.

  68. Lily
    March 11th, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

    Hmm. I hear you, mk, but I don’t agree. I think your “good German” analogy is both better and worse than you realize. It was Hannah Arendt who came to the appalling conclusion that the Nazis were just ordinary people– which insight led her to coin the phrase “the banality of evil”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banality_of_evil)

    If we look at the Nazis and if we consider Milgram’s experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment)I think the picture that emerges is one that tells us that too many people are too morally and intellectually lazy to do the hard work of thinking. It took our GIs marching (by force) the “ordinary” citizens of the near by town through the death camp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dachau_concentration_camp#Liberation scroll down to “Satellite Camps”) to shock them into some understanding of what had been under their own noses. A sad irony is that our soldiers were so incredibly shocked by the horrors of the camps that some of them shot guards, who had already surrendered, on the spot.

    Evil is never excusable. Not in the bad guys and not in the “good guys”. Either we were made in the image and likeness of God or we weren’t. We either have free will or we don’t. Either the moral law exists and can be recognized by us, or it doesn’t.

    If I gouge my eyes out, do I have a right to complain about my blindness?

  69. Louise
    March 11th, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    In other words, you’re willing to play roulette with the girl’s life.

    In my experience doctor’s are pretty happy to offer abortions for anything they vaguely think of as a risk, so I’m not generally inclined to pay them much heed in obstetric matters. I ought to be able to, but they have this idea that it’s okay to kill people to solve your problems.

    Now, as it happens this nine year old girl weighs more than my 12yo daughter and may well be a similar height or taller. I therefore am not inclined to think the girl’s life was at risk at all.

    Then again…of course you are, because that’s the only way you’re ever going to get this scenario to fit Aquinas’s “double-effect” conditions. If the girl isn’t brought to the very brink of death, you can’t spin the wheel, now can you?

    Well, you tell me, Beezy, why do you take the deliberate killing of people so lightly? If babies are to be removed from their only means of survival, surely there has to be a very serious reason i.e. the immanent death of their mother, to be able to justify it.

    And you’re still avoiding the main issue, which was the actual topic of the post, namely why are pro-choicers so stupid that they think a botched abortion is bad, particularly when the baby died anyway? The woman got a dead baby, which is what she asked for.

  70. Beelzebub
    March 11th, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

    To quote from “Cool Hand Luke,” ‘I think what we have here is a failure to communicate.’ This conversation simply can’t progress unless everyone puts their cards on the table, so to speak. There is no way to make heads or tails of it unless we first examine the axioms of discussion. Because each side is arguing from its own platform, both sides pass like casino ships in the night. What TRT and basically all Catholics here can’t fathom is that those favoring abortion do not place moral status on fetuses equal to a living human being. Some take a more nuanced position, like they favor abortion in the first trimester but not thereafter. I take the further step of implicating each side in impeding a scientific enquiry into the origin of that moral status, but since each side has an entrenched interest in taking absolute stances, I seem to be the only person in the blogosphere interested in forwarding the idea. The religious cling to their ridiculous claim that conception = person, and secular pro-choice will not countenance any imposition for fear that if they give an inch they’ll be forced to give a mile. And so a rational solution is precluded by BOTH SIDES. Doesn’t my explanation make a hell of a lot more sense than mk’s demonic influence?

    It’s true that the Catholic position is consistent, but only if the Catholic axioms are accepted.

    I’m a pragmatist. There has never been a period in human history where abortion wasn’t practiced, overtly or covertly, and in societies necessitating covert abortion, women die from it. That is a proven fact. In Brazil itself, where abortion is illegal except in cases of rape or health risk, 200,000 women show up in emergency rooms due to botched abortion, and who knows how many die from it. What this shows is that it’s extraordinarily important to reach the correct solution to this. It is simply not true that criminalizing abortion automatically equals “playing it morally safe,” erring on the side of life. The problem is far more complicated than that. The only reason you believe that is due to your religious beliefs, not shared universally, yet you blindly insist on it.

    I absolutely believe that the solution that will lead to the least harm will be one of compromise. Unfortunately this seems to be the one least likely to transpire. The CC can’t even bring itself to endorse contraception, which ironically, would lead to far less abortion it so abhors.

  71. Lily
    March 11th, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

    LOL!! You can’t be serious Bbub. Of course we can “fathom” your position. (What TRT and basically all Catholics here can’t fathom is that those favoring abortion do not place moral status on fetuses equal to a living human being.) We just don’t agree with it.

    We are going to do our best to make the strongest arguments we can to win the majority to our way of thinking. *But*, while we may have to compromise politically, we will never compromise morally. There is nothing “blind” about our position. It is logically (fetuses are living human beings, by the way. They can’t be anything else.)and morally coherent which is more than can be said about most “pro abort” arguments.

    Honestly, I could argue your side better than you have!

  72. Beelzebub
    March 11th, 2009 @ 10:36 pm


    Honestly, I could argue your side better than you have!

    I’d love to hear it, especially since you don’t seem to have comprehended a damn thing I said.

  73. Lily
    March 12th, 2009 @ 12:15 am

    Really? I understood you just fine. It is the same “argument” we have heard from the morally clueless for 30 years. What on earth do you think you have said that is new? When you figure that out, let me know, please. Then I will make your argument for you and you can tell me, if you don’t think I nailed it.

  74. Beelzebub
    March 12th, 2009 @ 2:45 am

    I assure you, the feeling is mutual.

  75. frustrated (mk)
    March 12th, 2009 @ 5:42 am

    BBub,

    If I offended you with the demon talk, I’m sorry. The fact that you can even suggest that a human being is not a human being until a certain invisible point in the pregnancy is a perfect example of what I mean by “blindness”.

    It is irrational to try and pawn the embryo off as ANYTHING other than a living human being. Now whether or not you want to give moral status to a human being that is dependent, and unable to live on it’s own, is a different story, but it IS a living human being. I don’t know how we can compromise on an objective fact.

    This is what I mean by demonically influenced. There is no other explanation for totally rational people to completely lose their rational perspective on this issue.

    As to whether or not this tiny, dependent human being deserves our protection, I ask you, at what point do we begin to protect the unborn? Do we give them a math test? As them to read Shakespeare? Follow a few simple commands? Take them out of the womb and if they survive, declare them viable and worthy of protection, but if not put them back in until they’re “done”?

    If the unborn are not protected because they are dependent, then what do we do with our elderly folks? Our newborns? Our 4 year olds?

    If the unborn are not protected because they are using another persons body to stay alive, then what do we do with conjoined twins?

    If the unborn are not protected because they are not sentient, then what do we do with sleeping folks? Comatose folks? People in catatonic states?

    What is YOUR criteria for a person to be considered worthy of the same protection that ALL OTHER human beings enjoy?

    If you can kill ONE member of society for these reasons then what stops us from killing ANY member of society for these reasons?

    And it isn’t only religious folks that feel this way. When RT was RA, he was STILL pro life. SO are MANY atheists. Isn’t that what we’re told? That atheists can have morals even if they don’t have God?

    Lastly, contraception IS legal, and it has done NOTHING to cut down on abortions. NOTHING! If anything, there are more abortions than ever.

    If the church changed her position of contraception, and anything else that seems irrelevant to you, what would be the point of the church? If she became like everyone else, who’d need her.

    It is PRECISELY because she does NOT compromise, that she is so valuable.

    We already have thousands upon thousands of organizations that promote contraception, abortion, gay marriage…why do we need another one?

    The fact that abortion has been around forever does not make it right. So has adultery, murder, rape and incest.

    If we made these legal, would we remove the stigma? Would less people be hurt because we changed our moral stance????

  76. Beelzebub
    March 12th, 2009 @ 7:13 am


    This is what I mean by demonically influenced. There is no other explanation for totally rational people to completely lose their rational perspective on this issue.

    But this is simply not true, and bringing in some notion of demonic supernaturalisms is just…absurd, sorry but it is. People come to positions that differ from yours for very real, and very mundane reasons. You’re basically saying “from my perspective this is so evil that Satan must be behind it.” Ridiculous. There are exceedingly good counters to the pro-life position. Perhaps I’m too inarticulate to voice them, but I encourage you to read around.


    If the unborn are not protected because they are not sentient, then what do we do with sleeping folks? Comatose folks? People in catatonic states?

    Sleeping folks? Please, mk. Catatonic states — depends. People in persistent vegetative state should be allowed to transition bodily into what they are mentally, that is, dead.


    And it isn’t only religious folks that feel this way. When RT was RA, he was STILL pro life. SO are MANY atheists. Isn’t that what we’re told? That atheists can have morals even if they don’t have God?

    RT has become religious OVER the abortion issue, that seems quite plain, which leads me to believe, for whatever reason, that the matter has actually driven him/over over some kind of edge.

    The abortion debate is not a rational reason to commit to or reject religion.

  77. frustrated (mk)
    March 12th, 2009 @ 8:15 am

    Bbub,

    I’m relatively new to this site, so I can’t say for sure, but I’ve looked at past posts and it appears that while RT HATED the Catholic Church, he was always pro life. If not, then I am wrong.

    If not, then does that mean that you can ONLY be prolife if you are religious???? Are you saying that there are NO pro life atheists?

    I think these guys would disagree…

    http://www.godlessprolifers.org/

  78. frustrated (mk)
    March 12th, 2009 @ 8:16 am

    B,
    . You’re basically saying “from my perspective this is so evil that Satan must be behind it.”

    That is exactly what I am saying. Not basically. Exactly.

  79. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

    “Do you really think excommunication would at all help the rapist? I’m curious as to how excommunication would benefit him at all.”

    Do you really think we should care about how to best help the rapist? I’m curious as to why I should care about what benefits him at all.

    “This might indeed have meant great inconvenience (to say the least) for the mother, but it might have been possible.”

    If by “great inconvenience,” you mean more severe physical and emotional trauma than she had already faced by being raped.

    “They might still have been lost, but at least, morally speaking, no one would have been culpable for their deaths.””

    So the actual deaths are unimportant compared to the moral superiority gained by not getting your hands dirty? Sickening.

  80. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

    “I’m pretty sure he knows that what he did was wrong, and unless he sincerely repents he’s more than likely going to hell. The mother and the abortionists, however, apparently do not realize what they did was wrong, and that is why the MEDICINAL penalty of excommunication was applied to them.”

    But what they did wasn’t wrong. The saved the little girl’s life. Forcing a nine-year old to carry twins against her will would have been wrong.

  81. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

    “There is also no way of knowing whether or not the step father was a) involved in the decision to have the abortion or b) catholic.

    I mean, if he wasn’t Catholic, then he couldn’t be excommunicated.”

    The church already explained why he wasn’t excommunicated. They said that rape was not as serious as abortion. So he must have been Catholic.

    “Also, it may not seem like it, but we ARE thinking of that little girl. Aborting the twins might bring immediate relief, but could also bring on a lifetime of mental health issues.”

    And I’m sure delivering your rapist’s twins at 9 years old has no jeopardy of that?

    “Not to mention her soul. Now you may not believe in a soul, but obviously, being Catholic, she and her mother do. It’s a matter of looking out for our own.”

    If you honestly believe that this little girl, her mother, or her doctor are going to hell for this, then your moral code is much more fragile and warped than you believe.

    Also, can anyone show me an actual piece of scripture that specifically says abortion is a sin? I’m talking about an actual Bible verse.

  82. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

    “Neither risk nor significant risk equal immediate danger of death. And as has been stated, it doesn’t really matter if she was 15 weeks vs. 20 weeks.

    Bbub, do you normally believe that children should be punished for the crimes of their father? I’m curious. If your father were to rape someone, would it be fair to put you to death in his stead? Because that’s the message you’re conveying.”

    Ludicrous. No one is advocating for abortion because they believe the fetuses should be “punished.”

  83. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

    Frustrated (mk) says:

    “Bbub,

    Why don’t you show us where it said that the girl was in danger of dying if she continued to carry the twins.”

    It’s called common sense. Do you honestly think the doctor should have taken a “wait-and-see” approach? The girl could have died or been seriously injured before any real danger was even identified. I’ll say it again: this girl and her babies could have all died if the doctor and mother had decided to wait it out. That’s three lives lost needlessly instead of two lost for the good of the girl. How is that pro-life?

    “My understanding is that there were concerns that her pelvis was not big enough to deliver full term babies. Or perhaps even carry them, but nowhere did it say that she would die if she carried them to viability.”

    So it’s not enough that it’s going to cause her unbearable pain for nine months and possibly cause all sorts of injuries, she has to be knocking on death’s door?

    “I know you want to make the church out to be a monster, but it just isn’t so.

    Basically, you could claim that EVERY pregnant woman “might” die if she carries her baby to term. This girl is no exception.”

    True, which is why no woman should be forced against her will to take this risk.

    “Pregnancy carries risks, and the risks were most definitely upped in this girls case. But surely, you can understand that waiting as long as you could, giving the babies a chance at life, would have been the prudent thing to do. At the first sign of “TRUE” danger, imminent danger, to the girls life, the babies could have been delivered and nature could have taken her course.”

    Again, no. It is not “prudent” to wait for danger to announce itself when you’re talking about a pregnant nine-year old. That doesn’t make any sense.

    “NO ONE wants the girl to die, or even be put in serious danger of dying.”

    But you’re willing to do it anyway.

    “But you’ve yet to show that she was on the brink of death, or anywhere near it. She manage to carry the twins for 16 weeks without ANY medical care. I find it hard to believe that at 16 weeks and 1 day, she was suddenly at deaths door.

    You’ve got to show us some proof.”

    No, he doesn’t. Because it’s nobody’s business whether or not the girl was in mortal danger or not. A nine-year old should not be forced to carry twins, period.

  84. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

    “Lastly, contraception IS legal, and it has done NOTHING to cut down on abortions. NOTHING! If anything, there are more abortions than ever.

    If the church changed her position of contraception, and anything else that seems irrelevant to you, what would be the point of the church? If she became like everyone else, who’d need her.”

    Countries with more comprehensive sex ed and contraception availability have less abortions then the United States.

    It is common sense that when people have safe sex, there are less unplanned pregnancies, and therefore less abortions.

    If the Church really wants to stop abortion, it will support measures that help reduce the number of abortions. These measures include the elimination of “abstinence-only,” which is a proven failure (even Sarah Palin’s daughter said so), and wider access to contraception. Otherwise they are showing that they don’t actually care about stopping abortion, but about keeping their own hands clean from “sin.”

  85. JoAnna
    March 12th, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

    Chris,

    Do you really think we should care about how to best help the rapist? I’m curious as to why I should care about what benefits him at all.

    But you see, that’s the entire PURPOSE of excommunication. It’s meant to help, not punish. That’s why it’s called a medicinal penalty. It’s meant to bring sinners to repentence, not punish anyone or kick anyone out. So if excommunication won’t HELP the sinner in question, there’s no point in excommunicating them.

    Ludicrous. No one is advocating for abortion because they believe the fetuses should be “punished.”

    But that’s EXACTLY why those babies were killed. You yourself referred to it when you said, “But what they did wasn’t wrong. The saved the little girl’s life. Forcing a nine-year old to carry twins against her will would have been wrong.”

    Since the babies were there against the mother’s will, they were killed. It didn’t matter that they weren’t there through any fault of their own. They were still murdered because their presence was allegedly unwelcome by the mother, and they were killed only weeks from possible viability.

    No one who has commented thus far has ANYTHING but the utmost sympathy for that poor little girl. She has already gone through hell, and yes, it would have been extremely difficult for her to continue her pregnancy. But those babies didn’t deserve to die. They weren’t responsible for the circumstances of their conception, and they shouldn’t have been given the death penalty for it.

  86. JoAnna
    March 12th, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

    Also, Chris, regarding your arguments about abstinence education not being effective, I agree with you to a point. SOME ABSTINENCE PROGRAMS don’t work, just as some sex ed programs that promote contraception don’t work. But MANY abstinence programs DO work, and work much better than sex ed programs. See here, for example.

    Also, you might want to get your facts straight. Bristol Palin did not, in fact, have abstinence-only sex education. Sarah Palin actually believes that kids should learn about condom use.

    Just a note — when you try to make an argument and half your facts are wrong, it doesn’t speak well to your credibility.

  87. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

    Joanna says:

    “But you see, that’s the entire PURPOSE of excommunication. It’s meant to help, not punish. That’s why it’s called a medicinal penalty. It’s meant to bring sinners to repentence, not punish anyone or kick anyone out. So if excommunication won’t HELP the sinner in question, there’s no point in excommunicating them. ”

    OK, then is there any kind of Catholic “punishment” for these kinds of people? Like a permanent ban?

    “But that’s EXACTLY why those babies were killed. You yourself referred to it when you said, “But what they did wasn’t wrong. The saved the little girl’s life. Forcing a nine-year old to carry twins against her will would have been wrong.”

    Since the babies were there against the mother’s will, they were killed. It didn’t matter that they weren’t there through any fault of their own. They were still murdered because their presence was allegedly unwelcome by the mother, and they were killed only weeks from possible viability.”

    How is this punishment, though? You still didn’t explain that.

    “No one who has commented thus far has ANYTHING but the utmost sympathy for that poor little girl. She has already gone through hell, and yes, it would have been extremely difficult for her to continue her pregnancy. But those babies didn’t deserve to die. They weren’t responsible for the circumstances of their conception, and they shouldn’t have been given the death penalty for it.”

    Ideally, I agree, abortion should be avoided if possible. The fetuses shouldn’t have been killed but the girl shouldn’t have been raped. But this was not an ideal situation. With the circumstance being as they are, what do you think should have been done? If this were your daughter, what would you do? That’s something I don’t hear much. I hear moral condemnation, but no actual solutions or empathizing. Would you allow your little girl to have to carry your grandchildren, even if it would cause her pain, injury, and most likely death?

  88. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

    JoAnna, I have seen other studies that said exactly the opposite of that, so I honestly don’t know which is true.

    However, I never said Bristol had abstinence-only education. I said that her opinion was that it didn’t work.

  89. Lily
    March 12th, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

    Abstinence works every single time it is used. It has a 100% no-fail rate. Bristol didn’t practice abstinence and became pregnant. Funny how that works.

    You asked:

    OK, then is there any kind of Catholic “punishment” for these kinds of people? Like a permanent ban?

    No. The Church is a hospital for sinners. We don’t kick the very people most in need of repentence and forgiveness out, though sometimes it is the neediest who leave. We let God sort it out. That is the point of the wheat and tares metaphor that you find in the Gospels.

    You also said:

    If this were your daughter, what would you do? That’s something I don’t hear much. I hear moral condemnation, but no actual solutions or empathizing. Would you allow your little girl to have to carry your grandchildren, even if it would cause her pain, injury, and most likely death?

    As hard as it would be to see my little girl pregnant far too early in her life, I would watch her health like a hawk and try to preserve the life of my grandchild. If it became clear that my child’s life was in danger, I would let the doctors’ save her life. This is the Catholic position. It is always permissible to save a mother’s life, even if doing so, means the child will die. It is never permissible to do anything with the intent of killing the child.

    There simply is no evidence that this child was in any danger. She was already 15 or 16 weeks pregnant. It would not have required many more weeks for the children to become viable outside the womb. The question we ask is this: was it really medically necessary for the babies to die?

    There are no great solutions to this situation. It is horrible no matter which way you look at it. There is absolutely nothing that can make it right but her mother has taken an awful chance that she has made it more traumatic for the child. One can only hope that the child will not feel that her children were murdered later. An awful lot of women regret abortions and never cease mourning for the lost children. There are a couple here who carry that terrible burden. I know several others.

    There is a lengthy discussion of this whole awful situation in the comments on the Horrified, Horrified, Horrified post (a couple of posts below this one). Given the interest you have in this story and the questions you have asked, I think you would find it interesting.

  90. JoAnna
    March 12th, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

    Chris, I have a daughter. She is four years old. If you go to post #9, you’ll find a link to my blog where I discuss this situation in detail and opine as to how I would feel if this had happened to my daughter. Long story short, I agree with Lily. I could not, in good conscience, kill my grandchildren or allow them to be killed. I would rather that the doctors tried to save all three of them.

    There is no “permanent ban” for sinners in the Catholic Church, since that would defeat the purpose of the Catholic Church. We are all sinners. This man, if he doesn’t sincerely repent of his crimes, will go to Hell. That will be the ultimate punishment, and more horrible than anything we could do to him in the earthly world.

    Also, civil law places a heavier penalty on murder than rape. The Catholic Church does likewise. The difference is that the Church considers abortion to be the worst sort of murder, because it’s an assault on the most defenseless and vulnerable members of society.

    You also said, “How is this punishment, though? You still didn’t explain that.”

    If you don’t consider being put to death for a crime you didn’t commit a punishment, then I’m kind of at a loss as to how to explain it to you. These babies were denied the right to life. Just because they’re the product of rape doesn’t make them un-human or less worthy as persons.

    I’m sure the mother of this girl and her doctors sincerely thought they were doing the right thing. I know they thought they were acting in her best interests. But the thing they didn’t realize is that this horrible, awful crime had THREE innocent victims, not just one, and two of them were given the death penalty unjustly.

    There’s no proof that the girl was in immediate or imminent danger of death. If she had been, it’d be a totally different sitatation (see post #35, for example).

  91. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

    Lily: “Abstinence works every single time it is used. It has a 100% no-fail rate. Bristol didn’t practice abstinence and became pregnant. Funny how that works.”

    I didn’t say abstinence didn’t work. I said abstinence-only education doesn’t work. No matter what, many teenagers are going to have sex. Always have, always will. Rather than shame them for doing something that is completely natural, we need to give them the tools to know when they are ready, how to say yes and no, and of course, how to take precautions. Abstinence-only doesn’t do any of these things, and leads to uninformed kids who think that they can’t get pregnant if they do it in a lake and that women who dress loosely are asking to be raped.

    “As hard as it would be to see my little girl pregnant far too early in her life, I would watch her health like a hawk and try to preserve the life of my grandchild. If it became clear that my child’s life was in danger, I would let the doctors’ save her life. This is the Catholic position. It is always permissible to save a mother’s life, even if doing so, means the child will die. It is never permissible to do anything with the intent of killing the child.”

    That seems like semantics to me. If the only way to save the mother is to kill the child, then by performing a life-saving abortion, the intent is to both save the life of the mother and kill the child.

    “There simply is no evidence that this child was in any danger.”

    You don’t need evidence to explain that a nine-year old is in danger of injury, emotional trauma, and death when she is pregnant with twins. You just need common sense.

    “She was already 15 or 16 weeks pregnant. It would not have required many more weeks for the children to become viable outside the womb. The question we ask is this: was it really medically necessary for the babies to die?”

    Like I said earlier, which no one has responded to yet: Waiting could have cost the nine-year old her life or her health. Would that have been medically necessary, when the option of abortion was available? Absolutely not.

    “There is absolutely nothing that can make it right but her mother has taken an awful chance that she has made it more traumatic for the child.”

    That chance would have been taken without the abortion as well, in addition to the chance of death or severe injury, infertility, etc. Giving birth at nine-years old has got to be traumatic.

    “One can only hope that the child will not feel that her children were murdered later.”

    I doubt that you really hope this. From what I’ve read from you so far, I would bet that you hope that she does feel guilty about it later.

    “An awful lot of women regret abortions and never cease mourning for the lost children. There are a couple here who carry that terrible burden. I know several others.”

    Some do, some don’t. That doesn’t justify taking the choice away from them, especially in a case such as this one. There are many good, decent women who have abortions under far less dire circumstances and don’t regret it. I hope that this girl will not succumb to the shaming this decision has received from the Catholic Church, and will realize that this choice was necessary and right. She will always be traumatized by this experience, no matter what. But if people tell her what you’re telling me here, that she made the wrong choice and she should have waited for serious health consequences to arise before “killing her babies,” then yeah, she will probably get even worse.

  92. Chris
    March 12th, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

    “Also, civil law places a heavier penalty on murder than rape. The Catholic Church does likewise. The difference is that the Church considers abortion to be the worst sort of murder, because it’s an assault on the most defenseless and vulnerable members of society.”

    So do you honestly believe that women who have abortions are worse than rapists?

    “If you don’t consider being put to death for a crime you didn’t commit a punishment, then I’m kind of at a loss as to how to explain it to you. These babies were denied the right to life. Just because they’re the product of rape doesn’t make them un-human or less worthy as persons.”

    I guess my definition of punishment includes the intent to punish. That’s not the intent here. I get your meaning, but that is not how I see it. Either way, the metaphor about killing a son who has already been born is obviously flawed, because there’s no point to that. The motivations are nowhere near the same.

    “I’m sure the mother of this girl and her doctors sincerely thought they were doing the right thing. I know they thought they were acting in her best interests. But the thing they didn’t realize is that this horrible, awful crime had THREE innocent victims, not just one, and two of them were given the death penalty unjustly.”

    Let the girl decide whether or not the abortion made her more of a victim than she already was.

    By the way, thank you both for answering my question about excommunication.

  93. Lily
    March 12th, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

    Hmmm. I have not insulted you nor has anyone else. Yet you do not hesitate to ascribe an evil motivation to me (which cannot actually be derived from anything I have written) You also haven’t understood much of anything we have said. Let me try again:

    I didn’t say abstinence didn’t work. I said abstinence-only education doesn’t work. No matter what, many teenagers are going to have sex. Always have, always will. ..Abstinence-only leads to uninformed kids who think that they can’t get pregnant if they do it in a lake and that women who dress loosely are asking to be raped.

    Nonsense. I know of no such program. Name one (and the school in which it is used– anecdotal evidence doesn’t count) that doesn’t tell them how to say yes (which they don’t need according to you) and no. That doesn’t mention contraceptives, reponsibility etc. I’m going out on a limb here and saying you can’t do it.

    Beyond that, teenagers are not animals. They are perfectly capable of controlling themselves. If they aren’t, maybe it is time to go back to strict separation of the sexes in schools, possibly single sex schools, chaperones, et al. Picking one’s nose, farting, and burping are natural too, yet, somehow, we manage to think that shaming people who don’t control such behavior, when it can be is the right thing to do. We even call them anti-social!

    If the only way to save the mother is to kill the child, then by performing a life-saving abortion, the intent is to both save the life of the mother and kill the child.

    No, the intent is to save the mother’s life. The death of the child is an unavoidable by-product of doing what needs to be done to save the mother. This is not semantics at all. I am sure if you think about it, you will understand. Moreover, there are documented cases of women deciding against abortion because they want the child to live.

    I hope that this girl will not succumb to the shaming this decision has received from the Catholic Church, and will realize that this choice was necessary and right. She will always be traumatized by this experience, no matter what. But if people tell her what you’re telling me here, that she made the wrong choice and she should have waited for serious health consequences to arise before “killing her babies,” then yeah, she will probably get even worse.

    What shameful nonsense. Who here has even remotely hinted that the child had any choice in the matter? We have *said* in black and white the exact opposite! Even if she “consented” she is not old enough to understand what happened and is not culpable in any way, shape or form. Honestly. Where do you get this stuff? She is not the one who killed her babies!

  94. JoAnna
    March 12th, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

    So do you honestly believe that women who have abortions are worse than rapists?

    No. I believe murder is a worse crime, objectively, than rape. As for the people who commit the crimes, that’d be on a case-by-case basis. I don’t think the abortionists or the mother of the girl in this case were evil people, but I do think the stepfather might be. I think most women who procure abortions are just as much victims as their children are. I think the fact that many feel that they have no choice but abortion, and the fact that society tries to brainwash women into believing that fetuses aren’t human beings (or human beings worthy of rights) greatly mitigates the culpability of abortive women.

    I guess my definition of punishment includes the intent to punish. That’s not the intent here. I get your meaning, but that is not how I see it. Either way, the metaphor about killing a son who has already been born is obviously flawed, because there’s no point to that. The motivations are nowhere near the same.

    The point of killing the children wasn’t to save the life of the mother, though. She wasn’t in imminent danger. It was to POSSIBLY save her life IN THE EVENT that the pregnancy posed a risk.

    I acknowledge that the intent of the abortionists was not to necessarily punish the children, but that’s exactly what happened regardless. They were killed due to something they had no control over nor blame in — the circumstances of their conception.

    Let the girl decide whether or not the abortion made her more of a victim than she already was.

    And if she does, the knowledge that her children were murdered will torture her daily. At least if her children are alive, she can live with the fact of knowing that something potentially good came out of a heartbreaking and painful situation. With abortion, that won’t happen.

    By the way, thank you both for answering my question about excommunication.

    You’re welcome. Thank you for being respectful in your comments!

  95. Louise
    March 12th, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

    The CC can’t even bring itself to endorse contraception, which ironically, would lead to far less abortion it so abhors.

    No. Not true.

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