I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life yesterday afternoon,
I asked her about her about how she was received at Princeton University when she visited a couple of years ago.
She was well received, however, the questions from the audience “showed the lockdown on information women’s studies departments have had on college campuses – the lack of information on women’s options other than abortion.”
For instance, her audience “had not heard arguments on how abortion hurts women.”
To me, it is a non-religious issue. She agreed, and explained that “the data is clear there are so few women who would willingly choose abortion.” We both agreed that the push for abortion lets men off the hook too easily.
I mentioned to Charmaine that local newspapers serving the Princeton area frequently carry advertising offering female Princeton students $10,000 for donating an egg. Charmaine talked about the dangers involved in egg donations, and the risks of complications. Worst yet, it points to “the commoditizing of women.”
Professor George uses the ages-old process of human reason for his theological and moral arguments that retired Princeton professor John Fleming referred to in our conversation two years ago,
Fausta: And if I remember correctly, St. Augustine emphasized reason as a means of getting closer to God.
John Fleming: Absolutely. We’re used to the idea that there’s some great divide or conflict between faith and reason. This idea, in a sense, grew in the Late Middle Agesn when Thomas Aquinas and other great theologians of that period had to deal with the rediscovery in the Latin West of Aristotle and a system of moral theology that seemed to be totally independent of the Christian revelation.
But, say, for Augustine, and for most of the early fathers of the Church, there was no conflict between faith and reason because faith seemed, on the basis of their empirical experience, a reasonable proposition. So, although Augustine would never do what Thomas Aquinas did, which is to sit down and in academic fashion try to prove the existence of God, you find in the Confessions and elsewhere lines of argument that basically are doing the same thing: argument by design. Some of this is highly relevant to theological controversy even today.
The NYT article seems to miss that very important point. However, Ryan Anderson, writing at The Corner, points out
Without a doubt, George and the other so-called “new natural lawyers” are innovative, but their innovations are in the service of reviving and refining what Isaiah Berlin called the central tradition of Western philosophy, the tradition that runs through Aristotle and Aquinas. Rather than manufacturing novel philosophical theories, George and his colleagues see themselves as appropriating and building on the wisdom of the ages to tease out the purposes and meanings of various social practices. In other words, this is philosophically critical conservative thought at its best.
This is most apparent in George’s arguments over abortion and sexual morality. Few citizens could explain to a sophisticated skeptic’s satisfaction why all people deserve the equal protection of the laws, or why cold-blooded murder is wrong. When the question is put to them, their likely response is that “they just do; it just is.” The right to life for the adult is just one of those self-evident propositions. So, too, with equal protection. You either see it, or you don’t.
Philosophers like George help make explicit the implicit judgment of the ordinary citizen. We ought not to murder adults because they possess intrinsic worth by virtue of the kind of creature that they are — rational and free animals. They are beings possessed of a rational nature. We ought to provide equal protection of the laws to all people because while they may vary in their gifts and talents, at their core all people possess the same fundamental dignity; each life is thus equally worthy of protection and promotion. But what is true of human beings in mature stages of development, George observes, is no less true of them in earlier developmental stages. What is true of the adult is also true of the unborn child. Any basis for distinguishing the two would, his arguments show, be unjustly arbitrary and have abhorrent logical consequences. The conclusion is straightforward: No human being may legitimately be harmed or denied the equal protection of the laws on account of such morally arbitrary features as age, size, stage of development, or condition of dependency. Championing the embryological science that conclusively demonstrates that the developing embryo and fetus is a whole member of the species Homo sapiens, George simply applies the same moral reasoning implicit in our Western legal and political tradition to the contemporary question of the dignity and value of unborn human life.
The same is true for marriage. Yet the Times is particularly keen to push the view that George has developed and sold a new conception of marriage. But a social practice such as marriage has its own intrinsic rationality, based on the nature of the human person and the goods that fulfill people. This rationality is usually only implicitly grasped, frequently thought to be common sense and self-evidently true. As a result, it becomes embodied in legal, political, and religious institutions. As George and I argued a few years ago in NRO, none of these institutions created marriage. Rather, they all recognized this pre-political (and even pre-religious) natural institution and provided it with legal support and religious solemnization. George’s philosophy seeks to articulate the implicit rationality in these social and legal practices to explain and make explicit why marriage — the moral reality that our traditions track — has the structure that it does and is relevant to the political common good in the way that it is.
While he certainly would not have been installed in one of Princeton’s most celebrated professorial chairs without having produced more than a few important insights and powerful original arguments, his contributions build on the wisdom of those who have gone before — Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, Locke and Montesquieu, Coke and Blackstone. They are certainly contributions that justify the Times in calling him “the Conservative-Christian Big Thinker.”
Indeed, it is a philosophy for our time.
In a lighter mode, the NYT also missed that Prof. George also plays the banjo:
A House Democratic leader said Monday she’s “confident” controversial language on abortion will be stripped from a final healthcare bill.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the Democrats’ chief deputy whip in the House, said that she and other pro-abortion rights lawmakers would work to strip the amendment included in the House health bill that bars federal funding from going to subsidize abortions.
Sixty-four Democrats voted for Stupak’s amendment, without which the House healthcare bill would not have won final passage in a 220-215 vote.
Stupak’s language not only prohibits abortion coverage in the public insurance option included in the House bill. It would also prevent private plans from offering coverage for abortion services if they accept people who are receiving government subsidies.
JOHNSON: Well, I was called into the room to assist during a procedure. And it was actually an ultrasound-guided abortion procedure, which is not that common in Planned Parenthood health centers because it’s a longer type of abortion procedure, and Planned Parenthood centers are trying to do as many procedures a day as they can, and so they’re not going to take a lot of time for each procedure. But for whatever reason, this physician did decide to do an ultrasound-guided procedure on this particular woman. And so, I was called in to help. And my job was to hold the ultrasound probe on this woman’s abdomen so that the physician could actually see the uterus on the ultrasound screen. And when I looked at the screen, I saw a baby on the screen. And she was about 13 weeks pregnant at the time. And I saw a full side profile. So I saw face to feet on the ultrasound machine. And I saw the probe going into the woman’s uterus. And at that moment, I saw the baby moving and trying to get away from the probe.
HUCKABEE: Moving away from it, oh, my God.
JOHNSON: Yes. And I thought, “It’s fighting for its life.” And I thought, “It’s life, I mean, it’s alive.”
HUCKABEE: Until that moment, Abby, had it appeared to you that you were able to use words like “fetus” and “tissue,” it’s very different than when you saw the form of a child, recognizable.
JOHNSON: That it was alive. Mm-hmm.
HUCKABEE: What did you do? Did you say anything at that moment to the doctor?
JOHNSON: No, I mean, my mind was racing, my heart was beating so fast. And I just was thinking, “Oh, my gosh, make it stop.” And then, all of a sudden, I mean, it was just over, just, in the blink of an eye. And I just saw the, I just saw the baby just literally, just crumble, and it was over. And I just, I dropped the ultrasound probe. And then I realized, “Oh, my gosh, I’m not holding the ultrasound probe,” so I scrambled and I put the ultrasound probe back in place. And I, so many things were going through my mind, and I was thinking about my daughter who’s three, and I was thinking about the ultrasound I had of her, and I was thinking of just how perfect that ultrasound was when she was 12 weeks in the womb. And I was just thinking, “What am I doing? What am I doing here?” And I could just, I had one hand on this woman’s, on this woman’s belly, and I was thinking, “There was life in here, and now there’s not,” and-
HUCKABEE: You literally were holding your hand on top of her, on top of her belly at that point-
HUCKABEE: -and realized that what was underneath that hand once a moment ago was life and it’s gone?
HUCKABEE My gosh. When you were faced with that – by the way, did the woman see any of this? Did she have access to see the screen at all?
JOHNSON: No, she was sedated.
HUCKABEE: People never see really what’s happening to them.
HUCKABEE: I can’t help but believe if they saw that they might be running out of those clinics.
JOHNSON: Yeah, absolutely. If clinic workers saw what was happening on that screen, they would be running out of those clinics. This is what the abortion industry does not want their workers to see. They don’t want their workers to see what’s actually happening during an abortion. That’s why Planned Parenthood doesn’t do, that’s why so many of these large abortion industries don’t do ultrasound-guided abortion procedures. They don’t want people to see what’s really happening in the woman’s womb.Jill Stanek posted the video of the interview of Abby Johnson, former director for Planned Parenthood:
The baby Johnson was talking about was thirteen weeks. Here’s a baby at sixteen weeks:
If you still do not believe abortion ends a human life, I urge you to watch The Silent Scream. It shows the murder of an 11-week old baby. The movie is narrated by the former director of the largest abortion clinic in the Western world.
Children of God for Life announced today that Neocutis, a bio-pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology and skin care is using aborted fetal cell lines to produce several of their anti-aging skin creams.
Neocutis’ key ingredient known as “Processed Skin Proteins” was developed at the University of Luasanne from the skin tissue of a 14-week gestation electively-aborted male baby donated by the University Hospital in Switzerland. Subsequently, a working cell bank was established, containing several billion cultured skin cells to produce the human growth factor needed to restore aging skin. The list of products using the cell line include: Bio-Gel, Journee, Bio-Serum, Prevedem, Bio Restorative Skin Cream and Lumiere. But Vinnedge is calling for a full boycott of all Neocutis products, regardless of their source.
We’re talking layers of depravity here: the people at Neocutis, at the University of Luasanne, and at the University Hospital, all participated in this despicable act.
Ah, Switzerland, the hot spot for suicide tourism. The Swiss have a penchant for how highly they regard human life, don’t they?
I had an abortion last month. It was probably the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make. I love children and I want to be a mother SO badly. Call me unfeminist if you will, but my dream is to have that white picket fenced house in the suburbs with a pack of kids, a husband, and a bunch of pets. I’m 21 years old, I don’t have a steady job or a car or my own house, my boyfriend and I have only been together for 6 months, my health is crap, I’m a borderline alcoholic, yada yada yada. So really, bad time to have a baby. I am not a fan of adoption – I’ve heard far too many horror stories, and I couldn’t send my baby out in the world to be raised by someone else who might not be a good parent. If anyone’s going to fuck up my kids, it’s going to be me!, and given my health and drinking, it would have been likely that I and/or my child would have been seriously damaged by the pregnancy.
So the choice was clear: abortion was the way to go.
We’re talking about a second-trimester abortion. Here’s the 14-week old fetus:
The writer of the post (who I assume is telling the truth, rather than coming up with some story to garner attention and approval at the website where she posted it – never discount that possibility), is an unemployed alcoholic. She’s already in the third decade of her life and ruining her health. Rather than go into explanations on
a. what adoption is like
b. having a conscience
c. the meaning of the phrase “regret comes with time,”
d. and other “yadda, yadda,” as she puts it,
let’s cut to the chase and give her some valuable advice she can actually understand:
Get your tubes tied now.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The “morning-after pill” will be available without a prescription to women 17 and older, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. The minimum age has been 18.
On March 23, a federal court ordered that Plan B, an emergency contraception pill, be made available over the counter to those 17 and up, the agency said in a statement on its Web site. The agency will not appeal that order, the statement said.
In the order, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman also asked the agency to consider whether the pill should be available to women of all ages without a prescription, saying that such a determination is best left to the expertise of the FDA rather than a federal district judge.
And he rebuked the FDA for apparently departing from its own procedures with respect to making decisions on the pill’s over-the-counter status, noting the “unusual involvement of the White House in the Plan B decision-making process.”
The plaintiffs in the case presented “unrebutted evidence of the FDA’s lack of good faith” toward the application to switch Plan B from prescription to non-prescription use, the judge wrote.
“This lack of good faith is evidenced by, among other things, (1) repeated and unreasonable delays, pressure emanating from the White House, and the obvious connection between the confirmation process of two FDA commissioners and the timing of the FDA’s decisions; and (2) significant departures from the FDA’s normal procedures and policies … as compared to the review of other switch applications in the past 10 years,” Korman wrote.
This is very troubling: the birth control pill is a prescription drug but the high-dose version is available not only without prescription but also to teens?
Teenage girls, who for the most part are unready to handle the emotional aspects of sexual relationships but are having unprotected sex, now can just pop Plan B possibly every time after.
In his speech on the economy delivered at Georgetown University on Tuesday, he lectured the audience about the need to get serious about addressing entitlement reform. But even the Washington Post was skeptical.
“Many of the savings identified in the president’s budget are phony, and the real ones are used to offset the costs of his new spending increases or tax cuts,” the Post editorialized. The newspaper also noted that “the health-care savings he has identified are all directed to new health-care spending, and, even then, they cover only a fraction of the likely costs of a health-care bill — of what would become yet another entitlement program.”
In fact, the cost of implementing the type of health-care plan that Obama proposed during his campaign has been estimated at roughly $1.5 trillion over ten years. The only way Obama would be able to seriously reduce costs of medical care under a government-controlled system would be to ration care to the sick and slash reimbursement rates for doctors, which will trigger longer waiting times for patients. While Europeans may be used to this, it is harder to imagine Americans standing for it.
All told, Obama’s agenda is projected to more than double the public debt to $17.3 trillion by 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office, equal to a staggering 82.4 percent of the economy.
Obama will be hard-pressed to pay off that debt without either massive, broad-based tax increases, or printing enough money to pay of the debt, which would trigger massive inflation.
As it happens, Obama is not the first to try this slogan. President Jimmy Carter peppered his 1979 State of the Union address with five “New Foundations” (and eight more just naked “foundations”). Like most of Carter’s endeavors, this one failed, perhaps because (as I recall it being said at the time) it sounded like the introduction of a new kind of undergarment.
Undaunted, Obama offered his New Foundation speech as the complete, contextual, canonical text for the domestic revolution he aims to enact. It had everything we have come to expect from Obama
The governor’s 30-minute speech was folksy and full of digressions, but also surprisingly confessional, and she went into some detail about initially panicking after learning, 13 weeks into her pregnancy, that her son would be born with Down syndrome: “That blew me away, it rocked my world… It was a time I asked myself, was I going to walk the walk?”
She was on a trip out of state at the time, she said, and “just for a fleeting moment I thought, ‘No one knows me here; no one would ever know.’ … My amniocentesis came back and then I understood why some people would think they could change their circumstances, just take care of it. Todd didn’t even know” the results of the prenatal testing yet, so “no one would know.”
“Plus, I was old,” she continued. “And I thought, ‘Very funny, God. My name’s Sarah, but my husband’s not Abraham, he’s Todd.’” At 44, she said, she had a hard time imagining changing diapers again, not to mention “putting down the BlackBerry and picking up the breast pump.”
Though it was unclear from her remarks how seriously she considered terminating the pregnancy, she assured the audience that “we went through some things a year ago that’s helped me understand a woman and a girl’s temptation to make this go away.”
Another worry in what she called “my moments of doubt” was whether she could love the child enough. “Believe it or not, I didn’t even know what a baby with Down syndrome was going to look like or feel like.” She found the subject hard to research, she said, and “I had to ask that my heart be filled up” with feeling for her unborn son. That prayer was answered the minute he was born, she said.
“My heart overflowed. I felt a love I had never felt before. He’s brought amazing, surprising happiness; he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
I admire her courage in doing the right thing, and in being so candid about her decision.
After their meeting the Vatican issued a statement that read:
“His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”
The statement emphasizes that the church considers life to begin at conception and that legislators such as Pelosi are “enjoined” to work to create laws that “protect life at all stages of development.”
“Following the General Audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Mrs Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage.
His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”
Based on what I wrote earlier, I’m thinking that while the Church is hopeful to avoid a confrontation in the American Church over abortion, it is not expectant that they can avoid it. Ed Morrissey is right when he notes the use of the word “consistent” in the above: it’s in direct contradiction to the excuse Pelosi uses to justify her heresy on abortion. I keep using the term “heresy” here because that’s what it is, by the way: pro-choice Catholics are not having a debate with the Church on this doctrine, much as they’d like to pretend otherwise. That would imply that the Roman Catholic Church recognizes their right to have a variant opinion on this topic and still be a good Catholic, which it pointedly does not – which is why Benedict XVI made sure to have this statement sent out.
If there’s any doubt whatsoever as to the Catholic Church’s position on abortion, hopefully this clarifies it.
One of those Friday afternoon stories that mostly go ignored in the news cycle:
Forty million abortions in the USA since Roe v. Wade aren’t enough, now we’re going back to paying for abortions abroad – while we’re in the middle of a huge financial downturn, at that: Officials: Obama to reverse abortion policy
The policy bans U.S. taxpayer money, usually in the form of U.S. Agency for International Development funds, from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion. It is also known as the “global gag rule,” because it prohibits taxpayer funding for groups that lobby to legalize abortion or promote it as a family planning method.
Pro-abortion groups prefer to ignore the fact that in those countries most of the aborted babies will be girls.