Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The Drop Box" - Documentary Trailer from Arbella Studios on Vimeo.



Worth every second of the three minutes of your time it takes to watch--touching, heart-rending, and encouraging--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaSouth Korea* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before he graduates from Bowdoin College this year, Alex Doering wants to leave the greater Brunswick area better educated about a topic that is sometimes considered taboo for American families: end-of-life care.

That's why Doering, with the help of others, is organizing a two-day symposium on the topic at Bowdoin this Friday and Saturday. The free, public event will include sessions with professors, doctors and local health workers that will explore death and dying through different lenses.

The symposium will also include a performance by actress Megan Cole, best known for her work in the popular TV series "ER," in a piece called the "Wisdom of Wit," a "dramatized lecture" of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play called "Wit," that explores life "through the eyes of a 50-year-old professor of English Literature who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer," according to Cole's website.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLife EthicsYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 27, 2014 at 8:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A divided Supreme Court seemed inclined to agree Tuesday that the religious beliefs of business owners may trump a requirement in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act that they provide their employees with insurance coverage for all types of contraceptives.

With both snow and demonstrators gathering on the sidewalk outside, it was difficult to predict a precise outcome from the spirited 90-minute argument.

But a majority of the justices seemed to agree that the family-owned businesses that objected to the requirement were covered by a federal statute that gives great protection to the exercise of religion. That would mean the government must show the requirement is not a substantial burden on their religious expression, and that there was no less intrusive way to provide contraceptive coverage to female workers.

Read it all.

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Posted March 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A challenge to part of President Obama's healthcare law that hits the Supreme Court on Tuesday could lead to one of the most significant religious freedom rulings in the high court's history.

Four years ago, in their controversial Citizens United decision, the justices ruled that corporations had full free-speech rights in election campaigns. Now, they're being asked to decide whether for-profit companies are entitled to religious liberties.

At issue in Tuesday's oral argument before the court is a regulation under the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide workers a health plan that covers the full range of contraceptives, including morning-after pills and intrauterine devices, or IUDs.

Read it all.

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Posted March 25, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A proposed law to allow Connecticut physicians to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives has opened a debate about the nature of sin, what constitutes an invasion of privacy, even the definition of suicide.

The bill has struck a chord with people such as Sara Myers, 59 years old, of Kent, Conn., who said she supported the concept even before she was diagnosed three years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. She said she was unsure whether she would ever opt to end her life but would like the right to seek a doctor's help if she decided to do so.

"The emotional comfort of knowing that if I got to the point where I didn't want to go on—that I could do it in a loving and peaceful way and not put anybody in legal jeopardy—would just let me rest a whole lot easier," Ms. Myers told lawmakers on Monday at a legislative hearing on the bill.

Read it all.

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Netherlands people with early dementia are already being visited by mobile euthanasia units. In Belgium the law allows euthanasia only when, technically, “the patient is in a medically futile condition of constant unbearable suffering”. Wesley J. Smith, of the US-based Centre for Bioethics and Culture, has listed examples of ways in which the law has been interpreted much more expansively.
It has, for example, permitted the euthanasia of a transsexual left distraught by the results of a botched sex change operation and elderly couples who prefer joint and early death to living alone. Belgian doctors encourage each other to look out for suicidal patients whose organs can be harvested. In one PowerPoint presentation it was noted that patients with neuro-muscular diseases were good potential donors because, unlike cancer sufferers, they have “high-quality organs”.
And don’t think that Britain will be any different. We can’t regulate the banks or the police properly and assisted dying laws would soon become lethal tools in the hands of activist judges, greedy relatives and financially stretched health services. Look at our abortion laws. Introduced to end the horror of back-street terminations, they’re now used to end late-term pregnancies because of a cleft lip or a club foot.

Read it all (subscription required).

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Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the November 2012 elections, voters of Washington state had to decide on Initiative 522. I-522 would require food sold in the state to be labeled if any of its components were produced by genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Proponents made a necessary distinction between selectively bred plants and animals and those that are GMOs. Selective breeding has been standard practice in agriculture since man began herding animals and growing crops. GMO plants and animals are those that have a genetic makeup that would not occur naturally through normal breeding. For example, a plant that has had a gene inserted that gives it resistance to weed killer and a cow that has been cloned so it is immune to mad-cow disease are GMOs.

It was a contentious battle, with supporters of I-522 telling consumers that genetic engineering has unintended consequences and that ingesting GMO products may make us sick. Proponents insisted that we have a right to know what is in our food.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionHealth & MedicineLife EthicsScience & Technology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 10, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The legislation of assisted suicide has moved a significant step closer after the Government made clear that it would not stand in the way of a change in the law.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs and peers – including Coalition ministers – will be given a free vote on a Bill that would enable doctors to help terminally ill patients to die, The Telegraph can disclose.

The proposed legislation will come before Parliament in the next few months.

Read it all.

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Posted March 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scientists have already experimented with combining genetic material from cells of three people. In 2001, researchers in New Jersey did so using material from the cytoplasm, the material that surrounds the nucleus of the egg and directs its development after fertilization, from fertile women into the eggs of infertile women. More than 17 babies have been born this way in the United States.

The practice raised questions and eventually led the F.D.A. to tell researchers that they could not perform such procedures in humans without getting special permission from the agency. Since then, studies have been confined to animals.

But a researcher in Oregon, Shoukhrat Mitalipov, has performed the mitochondrial procedure in monkeys and has said that it is ready to be tried in people.

Read it all.

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Posted February 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr [John] Haas says that because of the current demographic trend the world population is aging and it is not being quickly replaced: “I think it is a very apt topic – these are grave social problems in most Western countries with an aging population, all kinds of ethical questions arise with regard to their treatment – end of life decisions have to be made”. “It can be “a very difficult time of life but it can also be a very beautiful time of life depending on how we go in to it” he said.

Commenting on the emphasis Pope Francis puts on the importance and value of the elderly, Dr. Haas says Francis has a profound impact on the way people think by virtue of his personality which leads them to “sit up and pay more attention”. He also says that Francis’ emerging “theology of compassion and of accompaniment” is fundamental in the way society treats its elderly. “I think that this call will really resonate with the faithful” he said.

Read it all.

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Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Belgian nurse Sonja Develter, who has cared for 200 children in the final stages of their lives since 1992, said she opposed the law.

"In my experience as a nurse, I never had a child asking to end their life," Ms Develter said before the vote.

But requests for euthanasia did often come from parents who were emotionally exhausted after seeing their children fight for their lives for so long, she added.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgium

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Posted February 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all. Also an AP story is now there it begins this way:
Belgian lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly to extend the country's euthanasia law to children under 18.

The 86-44 vote Thursday in the House of Representatives, with 12 abstentions, followed approval by the Senate last December.

The law empowers children with terminal ailments who are in great pain to request to be put to death if their parents agree and a psychiatrist or psychologist find they are conscious of what their choice signifies. The law was opposed by some Belgian pediatricians and the country's leading Roman Catholic cleric.


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Posted February 13, 2014 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

President Obama gave a lovely speech at the recent National Prayer Breakfast - and one is reluctant to criticize....

[but]...many in the audience were reaching for their own jaws when Obama got to the liberty section of his speech, according to several people who attended the breakfast. Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, summed up the general reaction of many with whom he spoke: "Stunned."

"Several people said afterward how encouraged they would have been by President Obama's remarks if only his acts reflected what he said," Cromartie told me.

One table was applauding only out of politeness, according to Jerry Pattengale, who was sitting with Steve Green - president of the Hobby Lobby stores that have challenged Obamacare's contraceptive mandate. Pattengale described the experience as "surrealistic."

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 11, 2014 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Genetic testing of embryos has been around for more than a decade, but its use has soared in recent years as methods have improved and more disease-causing genes have been discovered. The in vitro fertilization and testing are expensive — typically about $20,000 — but they make it possible for couples to ensure that their children will not inherit a faulty gene and to avoid the difficult choice of whether to abort a pregnancy if testing of a fetus detects a genetic problem.

But the procedure also raises unsettling ethical questions that trouble advocates for the disabled and have left some doctors struggling with what they should tell their patients. When are prospective parents justified in discarding embryos? Is it acceptable, for example, for diseases like GSS, that develop in adulthood? What if a gene only increases the risk of a disease? And should people be able to use it to pick whether they have a boy or girl? A recent international survey found that 2 percent of more than 27,000 uses of preimplantation diagnosis were made to choose a child’s sex.

In the United States, there are no regulations that limit the method’s use. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, whose members provide preimplantation diagnosis, says it is “ethically justified” to prevent serious adult diseases for which “no safe, effective interventions are available.” The method is “ethically allowed” for conditions “of lesser severity” or for which the gene increases risk but does not guarantee a disease.

Read it all.

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Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Many people ask me, several times a week... if I ever contemplate (assisted suicide). It makes one feel like I should be contemplating it for the sake of the health service, for my family watching what I'm going through. I'm afraid that it will extend into the social conscience that people will almost expect assisted dying.... a (new) law will pressurise people."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgiumThe Netherlands* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Among those marching for the first time were Geoffrey and Alayne Boland of St. Nicholas Anglican Church in Kissimmee, Florida, who (at the encouragement of their bishop) took vacation time to participate.

The Bolands said they were happy to join the march, adding that as native New Yorkers they were prepared for winter weather.

“The babies who are being aborted need a voice,” said Madeleine Ruch, a high school junior from the Chicago area and a member of Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. Ruch was joined by her father, the Rt. Rev. Stewart Ruch, Bishop of the Upper Midwest.

Read it all.

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Posted January 25, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Embrace the Journey was developed because Anglicans for Life recognized this growing segment of our population and their unique need for ministry and advocacy. Parishioners also need to hear what Scripture teaches about aging, dying, and death. This Adult-Ed Curriculum educates the people in the pews about the role of heaven in their faith walk and provides assurance of heaven as their home for eternity.

Anglicans for Life also produced Embrace the Journey because the term “end-of-life” for the elderly and terminally ill means something very different in today’s culture than it did 20 years ago. Treating vulnerable people as second class citizens is not something we fear may happen, it is happening. And with it comes a growing disregard for the value of life, especially in the ‘golden years.’ Hastening of death via assisted suicide, the growing number of cases of emotional, physical, and financial abuse and the increasing fear of being a burden puts the elderly at risk. The Curriculum seeks to make people aware of these issues to help them be pro-active in preventing them from happening to loved ones or themselves.

The Embrace the Journey Curriculum includes video presentations by Anglicans for Life President Georgette Forney and interviews with Anglican bishops, parish priests, and experts in “end-of-life” issues...

Check it out.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Obviously no one against abortion likes Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion on demand the law of the land, and has led to fifty-five million legal abortions in the forty-one years since.

But listen to a few lines from those who call themselves “pro-choice.” Harry Blackmun, the Supreme Court justice who actually wrote it, called the court’s decision to even hear Roe a “serious mistake.” And before joining the court, current Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Roe was not “measured” because it “invited no dialogue with legislators.”

In his new book, “Abuse of Discretion,” Clark Forsythe digs into the nuts and bolts of the decision like no book I’ve ever encountered. Forsythe, the former president and current senior counsel of Americans United for Life, is well versed in the ugly causes and even uglier consequences of Roe v. Wade, and he joined me to talk about it on the current edition of “BreakPoint This Week.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyScience & TechnologyViolenceWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 22, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evangelicals are the most likely religious group to say that abortion should be illegal in all cases. So why would organizers of the March for Life, the annual demonstration on the Washington Mall, hire someone to reach out to that group?

The 41st march, scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 22), has traditionally had a strong Catholic presence, with priests and nuns marching on or around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Its founder, Nellie Gray, who died in 2012, was Roman Catholic, as well as is her successor, Jeanne Monahan.

“The march has a very Catholic feel to it with lots of rosaries, Virgin Marys and crucifixes,” said Jon Shields, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College. “It hasn’t been particularly savvy about reaching broader audiences.”]

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted January 21, 2014 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We can...make a direct comparison to the experience of other countries. For instance, Belgium legalised the practice in 2002. In 2003, the official figures show that 235 Belgians were euthanised, but since then the numbers have grown every year and now stand at around 1,400. Next door in the Netherlands, the number of cases has doubled over the past decade — and now accounts for about 1 in 30 deaths. Crucially, these don’t just include people with terminal illnesses. Definitions of unbearable suffering now extend to mental and emotional distress. Psychiatric patients are among those helped to die by Dutch physicians.
The lesson from the Low Countries is that if we legalise euthanasia then step by step it becomes normalised. Definitions will be stretched, restrictions will be reinterpreted and safeguards will be lowered.
Unfortunately there really are greedy people who‘ll hint to vulnerable relatives that they’re becoming a burden but the greater danger is this: What was once unthinkable will become just one of many medical options — and probably the cheapest.

Read it all (subscription required).

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Posted January 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

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Posted January 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr. Blair shared the experience that had sharpened his appreciation for the simple fact of being here. In August, 1950 he was a young US soldier fighting the war in Korea. It was tough pretty much from the minute he got there. “I spent a long afternoon being shot at and grenaded by a North Korean about thirty feet from where I was lying on the ground and he was in a foxhole. Obviously I lived through that day by the grace of God, and I have considered every day since than as a gift from God.” He went on to serve in Vietnam and spent fourteen years on the faculty at West Point.

Not every day since Korea, he said, has been good – “I have been exhausted, hungry, sleep-deprived, afraid, bored, unhappy. Been through cancer, pneumonia, lonely, whatever. I have also been happy, contented, enjoying my family and work, and so forth. No matter what, I have been alive.” He is now 86 years old “and buried too many friends; but I’m still here.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy SpiritTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 19, 2014 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,"77 "by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80

"The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."81

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."82

2275 "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."83

"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."84

"Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity"85 which are unique and unrepeatable.

Euthanasia

2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.

2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.

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5 Comments
Posted January 19, 2014 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the euthanasia front, legalization of assisting suicide is under consideration in New Jersey, while the Minnesota Supreme Court is set to hear an important related case.

In New Jersey, the so-called “Death With Dignity Act,” A3328, has been voted out of committee and awaits floor consideration. Along with its companion Senate Bill, S2259, it could be considered by the legislature at any time until the end of the year.

Minnesota is facing a different problem. In Minnesota, the “Final Exit Network” has been in legal trouble because of its roll in several suicides. The Final Exit Network is a network of volunteer activists that assist in people’s suicides using counseling, guidance, and information on suicide techniques.

Read it all.

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Posted January 19, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The culture of death is an idea before it is a deed. I expect many of us here, perhaps most of us here, can remember when we were first encountered by the idea. For me, it was in the 1960s when I was pastor of a very poor, very black, inner city parish in Brooklyn, New York. I had read that week an article by Ashley Montagu of Princeton University on what he called “A Life Worth Living.” He listed the qualifications for a life worth living: good health, a stable family, economic security, educational opportunity, the prospect of a satisfying career to realize the fullness of one’s potential. These were among the measures of what was called “a life worth living.”

And I remember vividly, as though it were yesterday, looking out the next Sunday morning at the congregation of St. John the Evangelist and seeing all those older faces creased by hardship endured and injustice afflicted, and yet radiating hope undimmed and love unconquered. And I saw that day the younger faces of children deprived of most, if not all, of those qualifications on Prof. Montagu’s list. And it struck me then, like a bolt of lightning, a bolt of lightning that illuminated our moral and cultural moment, that Prof. Montagu and those of like mind believed that the people of St. John the Evangelist—people whom I knew and had come to love as people of faith and kindness and endurance and, by the grace of God, hope unvanquished—it struck me then that, by the criteria of the privileged and enlightened, none of these my people had a life worth living. In that moment, I knew that a great evil was afoot. The culture of death is an idea before it is a deed.

In that moment, I knew that I had been recruited to the cause of the culture of life. To be recruited to the cause of the culture of life is to be recruited for the duration; and there is no end in sight, except to the eyes of faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture

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Posted January 19, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Again we pray that You will grant to the people of this nation the will to do good, to flee from evil, and to practice all righteousness, making us respectful of life and sharers of Your blessings, caring for one another in mercy and truth.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLife Ethics* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted January 19, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are some resources here and there--forgetteth it not; KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLife Ethics

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Posted January 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade decision, a leading pro-life legal expert believes the decision has never been more vulnerable to being overturned.
In his new book, Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade, Clark Forsythe, senior legal counsel at Americans United for Life, details what he uncovered in examining the private papers of the justices, their case files, and oral arguments. After 20 years of research, Forsythe found that
--The justices decided to hear Roe under a misunderstanding that it concerned state criminal prosecutions, not a constitutional right to abortion.
--They arbitrarily expanded fetal viability from 12 weeks to 28 weeks with little discussion or medical knowledge.
--The Court's majority relied heavily on popular, but unproved, '70s-era evidence that there was an urgent need for population control in the United States.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & TechnologySexuality* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 15, 2014 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amid conflicting news reports over changes to the one-child family planning policy in China, disturbing reports continue to arrive about serious abuses of human rights.

On Dec. 31 the BBC reported that a Chinese obstetrician is on trial, accused of stealing newborn babies and selling them to child traffickers.

Zhang Shuxia was accused of selling seven babies, according to the BBC. Apparently she told the parents their infants were sick, and persuaded them to give the children to her.

Just the day before, Radio Free Asia reported that four Uyghur women in China's north-western region of Xinjiang have been forced by authorities to undergo abortions—one of them nine months into her pregnancy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 14, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This Jan. 22, when marchers on the Mall again protest the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision legalizing abortion, Pope Francis might very well follow Pope Benedict's lead by tweeting his support. If he does, those words will be among the relatively few Pope Francis has devoted to the subject.

Pope Francis' decision to talk less than his predecessors about abortion has puzzled and distressed some supporters of the pro-life movement. Yet the pope has made clear his commitment to the defense of unborn life and, thanks to his colossal popularity and gift for communicating across cultural divides, his pontificate could prove a boon to the pro-life cause in enormous and unprecedented ways.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On 20 April 2012, Tom Mortier, a chemistry lecturer, got a message to call a Brussels hospital. His mother was dead. Godelieva De Troyer was 64 and had been suffering from depression. She had sent her son an email three months before she died telling him she had asked for euthanasia, but he did not think doctors would allow it.

He is enraged. He does not accept the argument that his mother had a "right to die".

"From my perspective this is not a law for patients, it's a law for doctors so they won't be prosecuted," Mortier says. "Performing euthanasia is unethical. It's killing your patients, and now they're promoting it as the ultimate form of love. What have we become here in Belgium? I don't understand it…"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgium* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 9, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A 13-year-old California girl is at the center of the latest national debate about end-of-life care. Jahi McMath was pronounced brain-dead in December following complications related to a tonsillectomy to treat sleep apnea. A legal battle between McMath’s family and Children’s Hospital Oakland ensued, forcing the hospital to keep the girl on a ventilator. On Sunday, citing a court order, the hospital released McMath to her family (via the Alameda County coroner).

In another case, in Texas, Marlise Machado Muñoz collapsed in November and now has no brain activity. Her husband wants her taken off life support, citing her wishes, but Muñoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed and Texas law requires expectant mothers to be kept alive.

The two situations highlight the complicated nature of end-of-life questions. A recent Pew Research Center survey explores Americans’ views on the topic, ranging from the morality of suicide to personal preferences for end-of-life care. Here are some of the key findings...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted January 9, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sad story of Jahi McMath, a 13-year-old girl in Oakland, Calif., who went into cardiac arrest after complications from a tonsillectomy last month and was declared brain dead on Dec. 12, has brought public attention to the difficult moral, legal and spiritual questions that all families face when a loved one is dying. A judge has ordered that after Jan. 7, Children's Hospital can take Jahi off life support.

To Nailah Winkfield, Jahi's mother, the insistence by doctors that her child has already died clashes with her belief that, in God's eyes, as long as her child's heart is beating, Jahi is still alive. As family members search for another facility to care for her, they have also pursued a legal battle to stop doctors from removing the ventilator that keeps her breathing. The family argues that the hospital's decision to declare Jahi dead is a violation of Ms. Winkfield's religious freedom.

Determining when a patient has died is just one of the controversies surrounding end-of-life medical care....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 3, 2014 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the tinsel is packed away and the echoes of Christmas carols fade, Christians around the world observe the Feast of Holy Innocents or “Childermas.” On this day, the faithful will read the Biblical story of King Herod’s massacre of children in an attempt to murder the infant Jesus. These infant innocents are considered the first Christian martyrs.

In medieval England, Christians commemorated the day by whipping their children in bed in the morning. The custom survived into the 17th century, but thankfully has fallen away. Today, the December 28 is marked as an occasion of childhood merrymaking.

Very few American Christians actively observe this holiday in the 21st Century. But we have plenty of reasons to grieve this Innocent’s Day as people who believe in the sanctity of life from the womb to the tomb...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLife Ethics* Theology

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Posted December 28, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Belgium’s Catholic bishops have criticised a parliamentary vote paving the way for sick children and dementia patients to choose euthanasia.

“The voices of religious leaders have plainly not been listened to,” said Jesuit Father Tommy Scholtes, bishops’ conference spokesman.

“While everyone wants a gentle death, public opinion appears unaware that euthanasia is a technical act that ends life abruptly. This is why we reject it and believe palliative care offers a better solution,” he told the Catholic News Service.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgium* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Not only did the British Columbia Court of Appeal rule recently to uphold the Criminal Code section banning assisted suicide and euthanasia, key parts of the majority decision echoed the actual words of pro-life intervenors in the case.

“To see the court reflect very closely the language we introduced in our oral arguments concerning the Charter values of the sanctity and dignity of human life is incredibly satisfying,” says Evangelical Fellowship of Canada legal counsel Faye Sonier.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 17, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are seeing a predictable upsurge in the activities of the “assisted dying” lobby in the run-up to the Supreme Court’s hearing of three appeals next week. What is being called “assisted dying” is a complex subject and it is very easy, amid all the argument and counter-argument, to lose sight of what the central question is. It is not whether “assisted dying” is compassionate. Compassion is common currency to both sides of the debate. It is whether we should license it by law.

In plain language, “assisted dying” means licensing doctors to supply lethal drugs to terminally ill patients to enable them to commit suicide. Assisting suicide is against the criminal law, and with good reason: the prohibition is there to protect vulnerable people. As a society, we go to considerable lengths to prevent suicide, and doctors have an important role to play in this. Yet some are suggesting that this process should be put into reverse for terminally ill people and that doctors should be licensed to facilitate their suicide.

Campaigners throw up their hands at the word “suicide”. Giving lethal drugs to someone who is terminally ill isn’t assisting suicide, they say, but assisting dying. Similarly, Lord Falconer’s Private Member’s Bill, now before the House of Lords, describes the lethal drugs that it wants doctors to be able to supply to terminally ill patients as “medicines”. Such euphemisms may make the idea of changing the law more palatable, but they obstruct reasoned debate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Belgian Senate voted today 50-17 to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities, in a move pro-life advocates worldwide had been fearing would come and expand an already much-abused euthanasia law even further.

The vote today in the full Senate comes after a Senate committee voted 13-4 to allow minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions and the measure also would extend the right to request euthanasia to adults with dementia. There is still a chance to stop the bill in the House of Representatives, though pro-life campaigners fear it will become law.

“Currently the Belgian euthanasia law limits euthanasia to people who are at least 18 years old. This unprecedented bill would extend euthanasia to children with disabilities,” says Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there is significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.”

Read it all from Lifesite Newsand compare it (including the headline) to the New York Times story there.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 13, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Asked by The Earl of Glasgow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to legislate to provide terminally ill patients with the legal right to decide when, where and how they should die, if necessary with the assistance of others....

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, two quotations. John Donne:

“No man is an island”.

and the Book of Job:

“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away”.

Life is a gift. None of us decided to be born; we came from a relationship between two people, from a culture, from a context, from a spiritual hinterland, and any life is part of that flow. As it flows on, it seeks for more and more. Modern economics, and the market, encourage us to see ourselves as autonomous individuals. The noble Earl just talked about making an individual choice. None of us is an individual in that sense: we are part of a web of relationships, and that web holds us in suffering as well as in the imminence of death. T. S. Eliot said, “In our endings are our beginnings”....

Read it all (the question begins at "2 p.m." on the lefthand margin in boldface.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 13, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain’s most senior judges are preparing to make a landmark ruling over attempts to introduce a ”right to die” under human rights legislation.

A full panel of nine Supreme Court Justices, headed by Lord Neuberger, the court’s President, is to be convened next week to hear the culmination of three separate legal challenges to the current ban on assisted suicide.

The three cases have been put into one “super-case” to allow a sweeping judgment on the current state of the law in England and Wales.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 10, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I hadn’t heard about the controversy over the three-parent embryo until my wife brought it to my attention: The U.K. may soon approve a regulatory proposal that would allow scientists to create a human embryo using the DNA of three individuals. The idea is to remove damaged maternal DNA and replace it with genetic material from another woman, in order to reduce the risk of transmitting a mitochondrial disorder.

This all sounds on the surface very clean and high-tech and altruistic. Yet it turns out that lots of people oppose it, including members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and members of the European Parliament involved in its Bioethics Intergroup. What’s striking is how the opponents span the political spectrum. The open letter from the Bioethics Intergroup, for example, was signed by representatives of both the Conservative and Green parties....

The fear, in other words, is that the DNA modifications will take root not only in the child born of the adjusted embryo, but in all of that child’s descendants....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of course, this is a case where the religious practices of the business are conflicting with the government’s directives about the sort of health care its employees are obligated to expect. We’ve been through the arguments surrounding it before, so I’m not keen on repeating all of that. I’ll simply point to this excellent paper that lays out the legal case for Hobby Lobby’s defense and open the floor, er, comments for anyone who reads it and disagrees to make the case.

But this case will be a real conflict for young evangelicals, for whom the distribution of birth control sometimes seems like a shibboleth that borders on a right. For many of them, I suspect the wariness toward Hobby Lobby and the conservative case on this question has more to do with commitments to contraception personally and as a social good than any understanding of religious liberty or corporate religious beliefs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted November 30, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Feminist author and blogger Jessica Valenti, known for (among other things) advocating free abortions on demand and without apology, recently wrote an apology for her own abortion. Yet, she couldn't even use the word. Instead, Valenti's essay poignantly describes the dire medical circumstances surrounding her unplanned pregnancy, her adoring love for the toddler she already has, the loss of her hope to provide her daughter with a sister, and the traditions she has cultivated around the family table to pass on to her child, such as Sunday sauce.

So it is here, it seems—at the family table—that abortion has finally arrived in its collective meaning for all of us. The semiotics of abortion in American culture has evolved, and with it the images that give its meaning power: from the dark, dirty alley; to the clean, well-lighted clinic; and now, to the warm glow of the family dining room.

Nearly every table set for the family gathering at Thanksgiving this year will have a missing place, if not two or more, since one in three women in America now has an abortion by age 45; the majority of these self-identify as Christian.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & TechnologySexualityWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 25, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At a time of national debate over health care costs and insurance, a Pew Research Center survey on end-of-life decisions finds most Americans say there are some circumstances in which doctors and nurses should allow a patient to die. At the same time, however, a growing minority says that medical professionals should do everything possible to save a patient’s life in all circumstances.

When asked about end-of-life decisions for other people, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say there are at least some situations in which a patient should be allowed to die, while nearly a third (31%) say that medical professionals always should do everything possible to save a patient’s life. Over the last quarter-century, the balance of opinion has moved modestly away from the majority position on this issue. While still a minority, the share of the public that says doctors and nurses should do everything possible to save a patient’s life has gone up 9 percentage points since 2005 and 16 points since 1990.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyAlcohol/DrinkingHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A signal event in America’s long trial over the tragedy of abortion occurred this week with the publication of a cover story in New York magazine that was simply titled, “My Abortion.” As the cover advertises, the article features “twenty-six personal dispatches from a culture war without end.”

The issue is riveting, offering testimonies from women who have aborted their children—some of them repeatedly. Meaghan Winter begins the article by setting the context in 2013, forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision, believing that it has settled the issue....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexualitySociologyWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...abortion is something we tend to be more comfortable discussing as an abstraction; the feelings it provokes are too complicated to face in all their particularities. Which is perhaps why, even in doggedly liberal parts of the country, very few people talk openly about the experience, leaving the reality of abortion, and the emotions that accompany it, a silent witness in our political discourse. Even now, four decades after Roe, some of the women we spoke with would talk only if we didn’t print their real names.

As their stories show, the experience of abortion in the United States in 2013 is vastly uneven. It varies not just by state but also by culture, race, income, age, family; by whether a boyfriend offered a ride to the clinic or begged her not to go; by the compassion or callousness of the medical staff; by whether she took the pill alone at home or navigated protesters outside a clinic. Some feel so shamed that they will never tell their friends or family; others feel stronger for having gotten through the experience. The same woman can wake up one morning with regret, the next with relief—most have feelings too knotty for a picket sign. “There’s no room,” one woman told us, “to talk about being unsure.”

Read it all. I offer readers a caution here--do not delve into this unless you are in the proper mode, so to speak--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted November 15, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Catholic family in Madison that owns a vehicle lighting manufacturing company won an important religious liberty victory in a Nov. 8 ruling handed down by a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Judge Diane Sykes, writing the majority opinion in the 2-1 decision, said that members of the Grote family and Grote Industries, which they own, cannot be compelled to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives to their employees in their company health plan as required under the Affordable Care Act.

The suit challenged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate in the health care law that requires most employers to provide such coverage even if they have moral objections to it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court — ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control.

Requiring companies to cover their employees’ contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds, even if they are not purchasing the contraception directly.

“The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote on behalf of the court.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted November 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A 22-year-old woman whose life was spared with the help of a Christian adoption agency after her biological mother was raped has been voted Auburn University's 100th homecoming queen and she is now using her inspiring story to encourage people to adopt.

The young woman, Molly Anne Dutton, was elected homecoming queen by the nation's most conservative student body over the weekend after running on a platform advocating adoption, according to a Yellowhammer News report.

Dutton shared the inspiring story of her biological mother who became pregnant after she was raped while living with her husband in California. Her mother's husband threatened to divorce her if she didn't abort Molly but the brave woman chose a different path.

She chose to get help from Birmingham-based Christian adoption agency Lifeline Children's Services and gave birth to Molly and put her up for adoption.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureWomenYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted October 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican bishops in Quebec have urged the provincial government to withdraw its controversial “medical aid in dying” bill saying it could present risks for the vulnerable, including the elderly, people suffering from clinical depression and those with disabilities.

Bishops Dennis Drainville (Diocese of Quebec) and Barry Clarke (Diocese of Montreal) acknowledged, “the emotional and challenging circumstances that have led the government to consider the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.”

However, they said, “we share, with other members of society, concern for the protection of human persons from chronic pain and respect for human dignity.”


Read it all and follow the link to the Bishop's full open letter.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted October 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Whenever I criticize the Wild West ethics of the in vitro fertilization industry, I hear from heartbroken people who tell me they would do “anything” to have a baby. I sympathize with the heartache of childlessness. But the willingness of many to do—and of the IVF industrial complex to sell—anything leads to a “me first” sense of reproductive entitlement.

We already know that IVF is no longer limited to infertile married couples—with women in their sixties even using the technique to get pregnant. Now, the universal condition of having two biological parents is about to be shattered.

The United Kindom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has approved the use of “three-parent IVF” by which eggs from two women are combined and fertilized, creating an embryo with two biological mothers and one father. The point (for now) is to allow parents with mitochondrial disease to have a biologically related child without passing on their condition.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As some of you may remember, that ad brought to light President Obama’s voting record on infants born alive and the reality of my life as a survivor. As some of you may also remember, that fact check was more like a bias un-check, and although the writer questioned the credibility of my use of the word “discarded” in the ad when describing what it was like for me to survive an abortion and be left to die and was blatantly out to attack that ad and me, scores of people and political commentators from across the nation responded to the Post’s article pointing out the bias of the article and the negative treatment of such a painful experience that my family and I have lived through.

What a difference a year makes.

If Josh Hicks, the fact check writer from the Washington Post, was doing that article now, not only would I have all of the damning evidence about the abortion that I survived that was provided to him last year, including copies of my medical records that reflect the abortion that I survived and the statements by my adoptive parents about what they were told about everything that occurred, but I now also have additional information from a medical professional about the circumstances that surrounded my survival and information from my biological family, whom I’ve been blessed to have enter into my life this year, that further solidifies all that happened thirty-six years ago.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyMediaScience & Technology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 27, 2013 at 7:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We have now entered a brave new world, where a pregnancy can be terminated simply because the foetus does not meet an arbitrary set of criteria drawn up by the mother - or the wider family.

This moral revolution has been driven by two forces. One is the invention of ever-more sophisticated scanning techniques and other tests, which allow a comprehensive profile of the baby to be provided before the birth.

The second is the aggressively libertarian interpretation of the 1967 Abortion Act, which means that in this country we now effectively have abortion on demand.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 20, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian Legal Centre, which provides legal advice to its supporters, said it was preparing for a private prosecution against two doctors who were exposed in an undercover investigation by this newspaper. Christian Concern, a campaign group, is supporting the action.

Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said she was waiting for Keir Starmer, the outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions, to make a further statement before deciding how to proceed.

“We are preparing for a private prosecution or judicial review, but we may do both,” said Mrs Williams. “We will not let the matter go.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & TechnologySexuality* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted September 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amid increasing calls for legalization of abortion in Africa, botched cases among young women are on the rise, according to recent reports.

Governments are responding by distributing contraceptives, but the Roman Catholic Church, some Muslim groups and anti-abortion groups are waging their own campaigns against contraception, warning it will further escalate the problem.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryAfrica* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Doctors who agreed to arrange illegal abortions based on the sex of an unborn baby have been told they will not face criminal charges, despite prosecutors admitting that there is enough evidence to take them to court, it emerged on Wednesday night.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was accused of failing to uphold the law after it ruled that it would not be in the “public interest” to prosecute the two doctors exposed in an undercover Daily Telegraph investigation.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, on Wednesday night raised the case with the Attorney General. The two doctors were filmed agreeing to arrange terminations for women who requested them purely because they said they did not want to have a baby girl.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted September 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglicans for Life is pleased to announce the publication of their new 8-week Adult Education Curriculum Embrace the Journey. This one-of-a-kind educational series is designed to help churches educate and equip parishioners to care for elderly family and church members.

According to Georgette Forney, author of Embrace the Journey and President of Anglicans for Life, “The church and our culture are aging. There are more than 40 million people in the United States age 65 and over, and 5.5 million of them are 85 or older. We as the church need to be prepared to minister to these people and help family members care for them.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 22, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At 45, Laura Sweet has thrown plenty of dinner parties. The routine has become familiar: Pick a date, email invites, fire up a few favorite dishes, pour some wine and let the conversations flow.

But for the former hospice volunteer who lives in Walnut Creek, Calif., the dinner she'll host in her apartment on Saturday is bound to stand out....

The meal's theme: death.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 20, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In rejecting the bill Aug. 13, Brown, a Democrat, expressed concerns about the potential risks to women who undergo invasive techniques for their eggs to be harvested.

"Not everything in life is for sale nor should it be," Brown said in his veto message.

"In medical procedures of this kind, genuinely informed consent is difficult because the long-term risks are not adequately known," he wrote. "Putting thousands of dollars on the table only compounds the problem."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyWomen* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 17, 2013 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An aging population and the associated end-of-life challenges have combined to keep assisted suicide at the center of the nation’s moral concerns. But few other debates so sharply divide the public as the question of whether or when to end the life of someone who is dying or suffering.

In May 2013, Vermont became the fourth state to allow assisted suicide, and right-to-die laws have been under consideration recently in several other states.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted August 10, 2013 at 10:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While the balance of opinion toward abortion nationwide has remained largely steady over the past 20 years, there are widening disparities in public attitudes on the issue across different regions of the country.

Opposition to legal abortion is highest in parts of the South – including Texas, which recently passed sweeping new abortion restrictions. The South Central region is the only one in which opposition to legal abortion has significantly increased since the mid-1990s. By contrast, support for legal abortion remains highest in New England – and the gap between New England and South Central states has widened considerably over the past two decades.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 1, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hospitals will today be told to review the treatment of every patient who has been on the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway after an independent review found examples of abuse across the NHS.
The Department of Health will tell hospitals to refer doctors to the General Medical Council if they find the procedures have been abused.

The pathway is used to "manage" the death of terminally ill NHS patients. However, the Neuberger inquiry, which will be published today, has heard allegations that patients have been unnecessarily sedated and denied food and water.

The inquiry is expected to say that there were "numerous examples of poor implementation and worrying standards in care" and that in some cases patients have been put on the pathway without their families being informed.

Read it all and there is a CNS story here also.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife Ethics* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since it is not the suffering and deaths of infants nor the lack of safeguards for the health and safety of women that Representative [Nancy] Pelosi finds reprehensible, it seems the only distinguishing factor of Dr. Gosnell's practice to which she can object is the filthy, unsanitary environment. She is comfortable with women and children dying in a posh Maryland suburban clinic, but finds it reprehensible only when stripped of its sterile medical façade, and occurring in a vermin infested inner city office.

The Netherlands and Belgium apply similar mental gymnastics to cloak the horror of infanticide in medical terminology and procedures to allow the steady advance of infant and child euthanasia. Belgium is poised to become the first Western nation to legally allow minor children to undergo voluntary euthanasia. These children – who are not considered mature enough to drink alcohol, vote, drive, or marry – will be allowed to request their lives be ended by medical personnel. The fact that death will be brought to these young people by white-coated professionals bearing a sterile syringe of poison makes the procedure palatable to the Belgian legislature. The move is strongly opposed by the Belgian Catholic hierarchy and clergy, but this does not seem to be enough to sway politicians from their deadly path.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of Representatives* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What is the image we have of God? Perhaps he appears to us as a severe judge, as someone who curtails our freedom and the way we live our lives. But the Scriptures everywhere tell us that God is the Living One, the one who bestows life and points the way to fullness of life. I think of the beginning of the Book of Genesis: God fashions man out of the dust of the earth; he breathes in his nostrils the breath of life, and man becomes a living being (cf. 2:7). God is the source of life; thanks to his breath, man has life. God’s breath sustains the entire journey of our life on earth. I also think of the calling of Moses, where the Lord says that he is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of the living. When he sends Moses to Pharaoh to set his people free, he reveals his name: "I am who I am", the God who enters into our history, sets us free from slavery and death, and brings life to his people because he is the Living One. I also think of the gift of the Ten Commandments: a path God points out to us towards a life which is truly free and fulfilling. The commandments are not a litany of prohibitions – you must not do this, you must not do that, you must not do the other; on the contrary, they are a great "Yes!": a yes to God, to Love, to life. Dear friends, our lives are fulfilled in God alone, because only he is the Living One!....

Today’s Gospel brings us another step forward. Jesus allows a woman who was a sinner to approach him during a meal in the house of a Pharisee, scandalizing those present. Not only does he let the woman approach but he even forgives her sins, saying: "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little" (Lk 7:47). Jesus is the incarnation of the Living God, the one who brings life amid so many deeds of death, amid sin, selfishness and self-absorption.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchLife Ethics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The city of Philadelphia has rejected overtures made by Archbishop Charles Chaput and others to give the babies killed by notorious “House of Horrors” abortionist Kermit Gosnell a fitting burial.

For now, the unclaimed fetal remains of Gosnell’s victims, once stored in the abortionist’s freezer, will have their final resting place at the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office.

At the close of the trial that resulted in Gosnell’s conviction on three charges of first-degree murder, Archbishop Chaput renewed the archdiocese’s request made back in 2011 to gain custody of the bodies of Gosnell’s fetal victims and bury them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 14, 2013 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even before rogue abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted in Philadelphia May 13 of delivering and then killing late-term infants, abortion opponents were convinced they had a case that could reshape an abortion debate that has remained static over the years.

After the verdict, they were even more confident.

“Dr. Gosnell is only the front man; and the real trial has only just begun. The defendant is the abortion license in America,” Robert P. George, a Princeton law professor and leading conservative activist, wrote after a jury convicted Gosnell of three counts of first-degree murder for snipping the spines of babies after botched abortions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

1 Comments
Posted May 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At Boston College's commencement ceremony on Monday, Cardinal Sean O'Malley won't be in attendance. The leader of the Boston archdiocese announced on May 10 that he would not deliver his traditional graduation benediction at the Catholic school because the college had invited Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny—a supporter of abortion rights in Ireland—to deliver the graduation address and receive an honorary degree.

The cardinal said the invitation has caused "confusion, disappointment and harm" by ignoring the U.S. bishops "who have asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies."

In April, Mr. Kenny's coalition government introduced legislation with the curious title "The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013." It will allow access to direct abortion for pregnant women if they claim to be so distraught about the pregnancy that they are in danger of committing suicide. Mr. Kenny has said that he "would like to see the legislation enacted before the Dail [parliament] rises for the summer."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 17, 2013 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of killing three babies who were born alive in his grimy clinic agreed Tuesday to give up his right to an appeal and faces life in prison but will be spared a death sentence.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder in the deaths of the babies who were delivered alive and killed with scissors.

In a case that became a flashpoint in the nation's abortion debate, former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania's 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by "snipping" their spines, as he referred to it.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted May 15, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Philadelphia doctor has been convicted of the first-degree murders of three babies delivered and killed with scissors in late-term abortions.

Dr Kermit Gosnell, 72, was acquitted on another charge of killing a fourth baby, who let out a whimper before he cut its neck, prosecutors said.

He was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter of an adult patient who died of an overdose.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 13, 2013 at 7:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, will present a bill to the House of Lords next week which would introduce a system similar to that in place in the US state of Oregon.

It would allow doctors to provide a fatal dose of drugs to patients judged to have less than six months to live....The bill, which will be tabled on May 15, is based on the conclusions of Lord Falconer’s Commission on Assisted Dying, a group of peers and academics which held hearings in the style of a royal commission.

The Commission was dismissed by critics, including the Church of England, as a “self appointed” group of euthanasia supporters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologySuicideReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are becoming a society in which “choice” and self-defined identities trump once-common values and traditional beliefs. But contrary to the rhetoric of its defenders, this shift is not a simple advance for freedom. The privileging of “choice” above all else in fact requires re-engineering the human person and society as a whole, and this will inevitably involve a great deal of coercion.

Wesley J. SmithThis shift, if it didn’t begin with Roe v. Wade, could be said to have been dramatically accelerated by it. Despite continuing opposition by over 50 percent of the American people, abortion is now universally available, in some places through the ninth month. Two states have legalized assisted suicide for the terminally ill—once strictly prohibited by the Hippocratic Oath. Now, some doctors actively collaborate in lethally overdosing their patients.

Advocacy for legalizing “after birth” abortion—e.g., infanticide—as a natural extension of the abortion right is growing more prominent, and not just among acolytes of Princeton’s Peter Singer. A Florida Planned Parenthood representative, opposing a bill that would require medical treatment for an infant who survives abortion, said the choice to care for the child should be a private one made between a mother and her doctor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While the fight to preserve life is often centered on abortion and capital punishment, the future Pope Francis also warned against a more subtle form of disregard for human dignity: what he called "covert euthanasia."

"In this consumerist, hedonist and narcissistic society, we are accustomed to the idea that there are people that are disposable," among them, the elderly, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio said in a recently published book.

Citing examples of intentional neglect, the future pope said: "I believe that today there is covert euthanasia: Our social security pays up until a certain amount of treatment and then says 'May God help you.'"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyBooksHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 7, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Between the ages of 36 and 38, I spent nearly $50,000 to freeze 70 eggs in the hope that they would help me have a family in my mid-40s, when my natural fertility is gone. For this baby insurance, I obliterated my savings and used up the money my parents had set aside for a wedding. It was the best investment I ever made.

Egg freezing stopped the sadness that I was feeling at losing my chance to have the child I had dreamed about my entire life. It soothed my pangs of regret for frittering away my 20s with a man I didn't want to have children with, and for wasting more years in my 30s with a man who wasn't sure he even wanted children. It took away the punishing pressure to seek a new mate and helped me find love again at age 42.

I decided to freeze on the afternoon of my 36th birthday, when I did a fresh round of baby math on the back of a business card at Starbucks. Even if the man I was dating at the time agreed to start a family in the near future, I was cutting it close to have one baby, let alone a second. Several months later, after injecting myself for nearly two weeks with hormone shots, I was in surgery at a Manhattan fertility clinic as my doctor pierced my ovaries, suctioned out nine eggs and handed them to the embryologist to freeze until I was ready to use them. As soon as I woke up in the recovery room, I no longer felt as though I were watching my window to have a baby close by the month. My future seemed full of possibility again.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & TechnologySexualityYoung Adults* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted May 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new poll finds overwhelming support for assisted suicide for the terminally ill among Anglicans, Catholics, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews in Britain, with Baptists and Muslims the only groups that oppose changes to British law, which currently prohibits assisted suicide.

But Britons are debating the topic intensely.

More than seven in 10 (72 percent) members of the established Church of England and 56 percent of Roman Catholics support assisted suicide for the terminally ill, the survey shows.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife EthicsPsychologySuicide* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the context of a widespread prevailing medical and social praxis that endanger that value of life perennially defended by the Catholic Church, it can be useful to offer some reflections on end-of-life issues, specifically on the difference between refusing extraordinary measures and suicide (both doctor-assisted and ‘autonomous’).

A convention held recently at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome on bioethics and end-of-life issues highlighted a number of fields where the Catholic perspective is in sharp conflict with either current medical practice, and trends threatening to go beyond de facto practice silently occurring between doctor, patient, and relatives in hospitals across the world, to become legislated practices, endorsed by law. One such field merits perhaps special attention, due to the likelihood that a given individual is to come across such a situation in the course of his or her life: the moral question regarding the refusal of possibly life-extending treatment, and the ensuing questions of whether this constitutes suicide, or differs moreover from the refusal of food and water.

In the issue of end-of-life practices, Fr. Maurizio Faggioni, O.F.M., professor of moral theology and bioethics at the Pontifical University “Antonianum” in Rome, affirmed that currently there is a distinction that needs to be made between assisted suicide and a refusing life-extending therapeutic measures.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife Ethics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yale University is organizing a conference on “Personhood Beyond the Human” for December 6-8, 2013. It will feature, among other proponents of personhood rights for animals, notorious infanticide and bestiality-promoting ethicist Peter Singer.

The conference is co-sponsored by the animal rights group Nonhuman Rights Project and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, in collaboration with the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and the Yale Animal Ethics Group.

"The event will focus on personhood for nonhuman animals, including great apes, cetaceans, and elephants, and will explore the evolving notions of personhood by analyzing them through the frameworks of neuroscience, behavioral science, philosophy, ethics, and law,” reads a description of the conference on its website.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLife EthicsYoung Adults* General InterestAnimals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted April 24, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

These and other appalling details of the Gosnell trial elicit reactions that might be called revulsion or disgust or horror. The word that eminent bioethicist and physician Leon Kass prefers is “repugnance.” This intense human reaction reflects a sort of deep moral intuition, he says, and it is one that deserves much more serious consideration than our too-sophisticated culture allows.

“As pain is to the body so repugnance is to the soul,” Dr. Kass says as we sit down for an interview in his book-lined office at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is the Madden-Jewett Scholar. “So too with anger and compassion. Repugnance is some kind of wake-up call that there is something untoward going on and attention must be paid. These passions are not simply irrational. They contain within them the germ of insight. You cannot give proper verbal account of the horror of evil, yet a culture that couldn’t be absolutely horrified by such things is dead.”

The observation may not sound controversial, yet Dr. Kass, who was the chairman of President George W. Bush's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005, has often found himself in a minority among bioethicists when it comes to abortion, euthanasia, embryonic research, cloning and other right-to-life questions. Dr. Kass's emphasis on what he calls "the wisdom of repugnance," for example, has been assailed by liberal thinkers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & Family* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the beginning, there was widespread concern that [Robert] Edwards's in vitro technique would result in more children born with birth defects. When Louise Brown, the first "test tube" baby, was born healthy in 1978, these concerns evaporated, though questions of the long-term health of IVF children continue to be raised. As the original cohort ages, we should get clear answers one way or another.

The eminent bioethicist Leon Kass of the University of Chicago raised other concerns. IVF would, he feared, "lead to cloning, genetic manipulation of embryos, surrogate pregnancies, and the exploitation of nascent human life as a research tool." For those like me who share Dr. Kass's view of these practices as incompatible with respect for the dignity of human beings, these fears have proven to be well-grounded....

...the real question of "who is in charge" cannot be resolved by proving that something is technically possible. Rather it is whether it is right to or wrong—consistent with or contrary to the dignity of the human being—to do what it may well be technically possible to do. Edwards's technical achievement has brought joy to millions of parents. And each life created, no matter how it was created, is inestimably precious and intrinsically good.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 19, 2013 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all from the Independent. There are two pieces, one for and one against.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 19, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Please be advised that the specifics of the subject matter in this trail may not be appropriate for some blog readers--KSH).

The dead babies. The exploited women. The racism. The numerous governmental failures. It is thoroughly newsworthy....

[Yet]...this isn't solely a story about babies having their heads severed, though it is that. It is also a story about a place where, according to the grand jury, women were sent to give birth into toilets; where a doctor casually spread gonorrhea and chlamydiae to unsuspecting women through the reuse of cheap, disposable instruments; an office where a 15-year-old administered anesthesia; an office where former workers admit to playing games when giving patients powerful narcotics; an office where white women were attended to by a doctor and black women were pawned off on clueless untrained staffers. Any single one of those things would itself make for a blockbuster news story. Is it even conceivable that an optometrist who attended to his white patients in a clean office while an intern took care of the black patients in a filthy room wouldn't make national headlines?

But it isn't even solely a story of a rogue clinic that's awful in all sorts of sensational ways either. Multiple local and state agencies are implicated in an oversight failure that is epic in proportions! If I were a city editor for any Philadelphia newspaper the grand jury report would suggest a dozen major investigative projects I could undertake if I had the staff to support them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted April 13, 2013 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On April 1, the Health Care Committee of the Washington State Senate held a two-hour hearing on what its proponents euphemistically call the “Reproductive Parity Act,” and its opponents describe as the “abortion insurance mandate.” If passed, EHB 1044 would require that if any health insurance plan provided coverage for maternity care, it “must also provide a covered person with substantially equivalent coverage to permit the voluntary termination of a pregnancy.”

The bill has already passed the Washington House of Representatives, 53-43, but in the Senate it may be a different matter. At the hearing one of the bill’s proponents claimed to have a written commitment from twenty-five senators (a bare majority) to vote for the bill, but from the comments of at least one committee member it appeared that the bill might have trouble making it out of committee. (There is a procedure for a bill to be brought to the floor even if it has died in committee, but such cases are rare.)

In his inaugural address (“The World Will Not Wait”), Jay Inslee, the state’s newly elected Democratic governor, surprised many by featuring the bill as one of his priorities.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the Duchess of Cambridge emerges from the ordeal of pregnancy sickness and displays her discreet bump to the world’s press, it is sobering to remember that more than one in five women becoming pregnant in the UK choose not to give birth, but to have an abortion. The latest available figures show that only 1 per cent of these are carried out because the baby would be born handicapped. Another 98 per cent are on the grounds that the continuation of the pregnancy would carry a risk to the woman’s mental health.

All told, more than 190,000 abortions are carried out each year on this basis – yet Professor Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, has admitted that the risk is not objectively tested. “What we have is what the woman tells us,” she says. “It isn’t for me to judge her or be moralistic. It’s for me to explore potential other options but to take her at face value.” In other words, if a woman asks for an abortion, she will almost certainly get one.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 5, 2013 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thus far, courts have avoided the issue of a corporation's religious rights, Friedman says. In some cases, judges have ruled that plaintiffs have not demonstrated "substantial burden," simply because it's easier than weighing in on the First Amendment and RFRA rights of companies, he said.

If one or more of the cases against the employer contraceptive mandate is successfully appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, justices will face a tricky set of intertwined issues: whether or not a corporation can practice religion; whether or not a corporation has the same religious freedom as its owners; and whether or not being required to cover contraceptives violates a corporation's—or its owners'—religious freedom.

"It's one of the most difficult legal questions I've seen, in terms of all the issues that are intertwined," said Friedman, who runs the Religion Clause blog and wrote about the issue last month. "There really haven't been any [courts] that have said corporations themselves have religious rights. They've either avoided the issue [by finding no substantial burden] or said the corporation can assert the owners' rights."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life

1 Comments
Posted February 4, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Holy Orthodox Christian Faith is unabashedly pro-life. The Lord Jesus Christ was recognized and worshipped in His mother’s womb while yet unborn by the Holy Forerunner who was also still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44); St. Basil the Great (4th Century), one of the universal teachers of the faith, dared to call murderers those who terminate the life of the fetus. The Church has consistently held that children developing in the womb should be afforded every protection given to those outside the womb. There is no moral, religious or scientific rationale which can justify making a distinction between the humanity of the newly-conceived and that of the newly-born.

Abortion on demand not only ends the life of a child, but also injures the mother of that child, often resulting in spiritual, psychological and physical harm. Christians should bring the comfort of the Gospel to women who have had abortions, that our loving God may heal them. The Orthodox Church calls on her children, and indeed all of society, to provide help to pregnant mothers who need assistance brining their children safely into the world and providing these children loving homes.

On the occasion of this sorrowful anniversary, and as we mourn the violence we all too often visit upon one another, as exemplified by the recent mass killings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, we pray for an end to the violence of abortion. Surely the many ways in which we as a people diminish the reverence and respect for human life underlie much of this violence. The disrespect for human life in the womb is no small part of this. Let us offer to Almighty God our repentance for the evil of abortion on demand and extend our hearts and hands to embrace life.

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Posted January 30, 2013 at 6:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“We the People” have not and will not ratify the lethal logic of Roe v. Wade. That notorious decision of 1973 is the most consequential moral and political event of the last half century of our nation’s history. It has produced a dramatic realignment of moral and political forces, led by evangelicals and Catholics together, and joined by citizens beyond numbering who know that how we respond to this horror defines who we are as individuals and as a people. Our opponents, once so confident, are now on the defensive. Having lost the argument with the American people, they desperately cling to the dictates of the courts. No longer able to present themselves as the wave of the future, they watch in dismay as a younger generation recoils in horror from the bloodletting of an abortion industry so arrogantly imposed by judges beyond the rule of law.

We do not know, we do not need to know, how the battle for the dignity of the human person will be resolved. God knows, and that is enough. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta and saints beyond numbering have taught us, our task is not to be successful but to be faithful. Yet in that faithfulness is the lively hope of success. We are the stronger because we are unburdened by delusions. We know that in a sinful world, far short of the promised Kingdom of God, there will always be great evils. The principalities and powers will continue to rage, but they will not prevail.

In the midst of the encroaching darkness of the culture of death, we have heard the voice of him who said, “In the world you will have trouble. But fear not, I have overcome the world.” Because he has overcome, we shall overcome. We do not know when; we do not know how. God knows, and that is enough.

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Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The only time my fondness for [New York Times columnist Gail] Collins takes a hit is when she writes about abortion, and not only because we disagree. On that subject I find she writes, like so many other progressives, as though there are no difficult questions left, and support for unrestricted access to abortion is the only decent position a right-thinking, non-woman-hating person can hold. Obviously I’m a bit insulted by that approach. But I’m also disappointed whenever I encounter it. It doesn’t sound like an earnest attempt to grapple with a tough issue; it sounds to me like an attempt to convince oneself that there is no more thinking to be done. Coming from either side, self-satisfied absolutism is a dead end.

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Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Those who thought that the decision of the Supreme Court would settle the issue had reason for that hope. On other controversial questions, the court’s rulings had produced initial furor and outrage, but the nation rather quickly accommodated itself to those decisions. Take integration in public schools.

Not so with abortion.

Why? Professor Lawrence H. Tribe of the Harvard Law School, an ardent defender of abortion rights, recognized that the abortion question presents nothing less than a “clash of absolutes.”

Tribe attempted to propose a means of avoiding “pitting these absolutes against one another.” All such efforts have failed, precisely because the competing claims are indeed absolutes.

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Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Abortion Statistics for England and Wales in 2010 were published in May 2011...tell us (Table 9) that in 2010 there were only 482 abortions for Down's syndrome, 164 for Edwards syndrome and 51 for Patau’s syndrome. Together these made up 30% of the 2,290 abortions carried out for congenital abnormalities (ground E) in that year. But the total with one of these three conditions is only 697.

The disparities are astounding. 740 babies aborted with one of the three trisomy conditions, or 51.5% of the NDSCR’s total of 1,437, were apparently not reported by the Department of Health. For Down's syndrome 460 out of 942, or 49%, were not reported.

If the NDSCR statistics are accurate, and there is no reason to doubt them, then this means that the Department of Health is being notified about less than half of the abortions carried out for trisomy 13, 18 or 21.

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Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Darrel W. Ray, a psychologist in the Kansas City area who runs the Web site The Secular Therapist Project, made a similar point in a recent interview. As someone who was raised as a believing Christian and who holds a master’s degree in theology, he was uniquely able to identify what humanism needs to provide in a time of crisis.

“When people are in a terrible kind of pain — a death that is unexpected, the natural order is taken out of order — you would do anything to take away the pain,” Dr. Ray, 62, said. “And I’m not going to deny that religion does help deal with that first week or two of pain.

“The best we can do as humanists,” he continued, “is to talk about that pain in rational terms with the people who are suffering. We have humanist celebrants, as we call them, but they’re focused on doing weddings. It takes a lot more training to learn how to deal with grief and loss. I don’t see celebrants working in hospice or in hospitals, for example. There are secular people who need pastoral care, but we abdicate it to clergy.”

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenLife EthicsReligion & CultureViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism

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Posted December 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Those who have followed the Korean soap opera need to remember what this is really all about. As the tale has unfolded of Dr. Hwang and the lies, frauds, and evasions that have plunged the scientific community into a tailspin, the baseline question is the question of Christmas. What are the bioethics of Bethlehem? In fact, the question breaks into two. Did God truly take human nature to himself in Jesus Christ? And, did he really take it at its beginning? Because for all the focus of our Christmas story on the stable and the baby in a manger, the truly startling event had taken place nine months before.

Behind Christmas lies what Christians in churches that still dare use long words know as the annunciation—the announcement of Gabriel to Mary that she would be with child of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-31).

While Christmas reveals the Incarnation to the rest of us, it had already happened back then. Mary was the first to know; and her cousin Elizabeth’s unborn baby John (the Baptist) was the first to bear witness. His leaping in the womb was the first act of Christian testimony, a fetal response to a gospel first preached by an embryonic Jesus (perhaps two or three weeks old). As we read this narrative of theology from the womb, our minds turn to a near contemporary who would in due time electrify the ancient pagan world and lay the foundations of its collapse: Saul of Tarsus, also set apart from his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15). Three unborn children in whose hands lay the destiny of humankind. And one of them was not merely the tiniest of humans, he was the cosmic creator, the Word by whom the Godhead has spoken into existence the vastness of time and space. And the One who will one day be our Judge.

I often wonder how many people who hear the famous Bible text that begins “In the sixth month” are aware of what is going on (Luke 1:26). It does not refer to the month of June, or for that matter to Elul, the Hebrew sixth month of the year. The reference is gynecological: the dating is by Elizabeth’s pregnancy. And it focuses us on the design of God to use the weak things of the world to confound the strong. The divine conspiracy is hatched within the walls of the womb.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 29, 2012 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the first time ever in Denmark, a survey has shown how many foetuses show signs of life following a late term termination, according to Kristeligt Dagblad.

Previously, conventional wisdom has suggested that 10 per cent of foetuses gasped or showed other signs of life following a late term abortion between the 12th and 22nd week of pregnancy.

But statistics from Denmark’s second largest maternity clinic at the Aarhus University Hospital Skejby show that out of 70 late terminations between August 2011 and November 2012, 11 – or 16 per cent - showed signs of life.

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Posted December 20, 2012 at 6:38 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Government's announcement that a combination of legislation and regulations will be introduced to comply with the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the A, B and C case should be "of the utmost concern to all", the four Catholic Archbishops of Ireland have said.

Minister for Health James Reilly presented a memorandum to this morning’s Cabinet meeting. The decision was taken to follow this route – the fourth option from the expert group on abortion - rather than proposing guidelines, an option favoured by anti-abortion campaign groups.

Responding tonight to the announcement, the Archbishops said the proposal would "pave the way for the direct and intentional killing of unborn children. This can never be morally justified in any circumstances".

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Posted December 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Human life is sacred and precious. Every human being must be treated with the greatest respect. This is true at every moment of life, from its first beginnings to its natural death. In the womb we grow and develop as full human beings, not as potential human beings. We read in the Old Testament: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I sanctified you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

The child in the womb must enjoy the same rights as all other people, among which is the unassailable right of an innocent person to life. This includes our responsibility as a society to defend and promote the equal right to life of a pregnant mother and the innocent and defenceless child in her womb when the life of either of these persons is at risk. They have an equal right to life. The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of the mother. In situations where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are morally permissible, provided that every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.

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Posted December 12, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr. [Mark] Warawa said his concern about sex-selective abortion was prompted by a CBC investigation into the ultrasound clinics that aired last June. “The practice of aborting females in favour of males is happening here is Canada,” he said, though the MP acknowledged he did not know how widespread the practice is or how many girls are aborted in Canada because of their sex.

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Posted December 6, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Growing into a fully formed human being is a long process, and scientists have found that unborn babies not only hiccup, swallow and stretch in the womb, they yawn too.

Researchers who studied 4D scans of 15 healthy fetuses also said they think yawning is a developmental process which could potentially give doctors a new way to check on a baby's health.

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Posted November 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr. Ernest Zeringue was looking for a niche in the cutthroat industry of fertility treatments.

He seized on price, a huge obstacle for many patients, and in late 2010 began advertising a deal at his Davis, Calif., clinic unheard of anywhere else: Pregnancy for $9,800 or your money back....

People buying this option from Zeringue must accept concessions: They have no genetic connection to their children, and those children will probably have full biological siblings born to other parents....

"I am horrified by the thought of this," said Andrew Vorzimer, a Los Angeles fertility lawyer alarmed that a company — not would-be parents — controls embryos. "It is nothing short of the commodification of children."

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Posted November 21, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amid the furor of the United States elections last week, one surprising story stood out. Against all odds and prognostications, the citizens of Massachusetts voted to reject physician assisted suicide. It seemed impossible – Massachusetts, the first state in the Union to allow homosexual marriage, with a media machine that was favorable to the referendum – appeared sure to win.

The “Dignity 2012” campaign proposed to allow physician-assisted suicide for those diagnosed with a terminal illness with six months or less to live. The American Medical Women's Association and the American medical Student’s Association both endorsed the act, the latter claiming that " that quality of life is an important part of health care” the statement then explained that they “adopted the position of supporting the choice of terminally-ill patients who wish to end their suffering. Death with Dignity encompasses this principle and we thoroughly support it."

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Posted November 17, 2012 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...religiously speaking, there are only three possible responses: you can continue to believe in a God who knows in advance the number of our days; you can sharply limit your conception of God’s power, by positing a deity who does not know in advance what we will do, or who cannot control what we will do; or you can scrap the whole idea of divinity. The problem with the first position is that most believers, as Richard Mourdock did not do, run away from the dread implications of their own beliefs; and the problem with the second position is that it is not clear why such a limited deity would be worth worshipping. So cut Richard Mourdock some slack. He’s more honest than most of his evangelical peers; and his naïve honesty at least helpfully illuminates a horrid abyss.

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Posted October 28, 2012 at 5:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The law on assisted dying is out of step with society's standards of compassion, a public debate on the issue heard.

The debate, organised by the Christian Evidence Society, heard from Lord Falconer, who chaired the Commission on Assisted Dying, which reported earlier this year, and the Revd Professor Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology in the University of Oxford.

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Posted October 26, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a rule, the family doctor who has known the patient for years is the best judge of her condition and of the earnestness and independence of her request. But he must also consult another doctor, an outsider, for an independent assessment; that doctor must also put his views in writing. Afterward, both reports are submitted to a monitoring committee, which may ask for further explanation and can refer problematic cases to the Inspector of Health and the Public Prosecutor. But their annual reports show that the monitoring committees do this only very rarely — in 2010, at the rate of one in every 300 reported cases.

We called for the consulting doctor, who spent the better part of an hour with Mathilde. Afterward, he called our family doctor and said he was not sure she was suffering enough.

What is unbearable suffering? It is an impossible question. The monitoring committees have given up trying to define it and adopted the view that the patient’s own judgment is decisive, provided the acting doctor is convinced of its earnestness and sincerity....

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Posted October 24, 2012 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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