Do Catholic Bishops Run the United States Government?


A correction was made to this article at 1:23 pm on Monday, November 9th.  An earlier version contained an error in the name of Congressman Brad Ellsworth, (D-IN).

Tonight, with the aid of some 60 Democrats, women’s rights were effectively negated by the US Congress as the House passed the Stupak amendment to HR 3962, the Affordable Health Care Act of 2009.

More in-depth analysis of how we got here is forthcoming.  But one thing is clear: The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) apparently is running the US government, aided by a cadre of "faith-based advocacy groups," the House Democratic leadership, the White House and members of the Senate.

If you didn’t know that before, be clear about it.  Know it now.

And this is particularly true when it comes to women’s rights.  Any time there is an "important" vote that implicates women’s rights and onto which a politician has hitched their political star–in this case President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi among them–you can bet that the Bishops will be wielding huge influence to make sure no "gains" can be made unless women are screwed.  You will hear a lot tomorrow and in the days ahead as to how "this important bill" could not be "held hostage" to any one issue, "it’s not perfect," and how "compromises needed to be made," in order to "get things done." 

Wait for it.

Yet the Stupak Amendment was not considered to be viable until this week
when suddenly the Bishops ratcheted up the heat in Congress and through a "mass"-ive campaign in conservative parishes. 

For some reason, when the Bishops pay a call, the entire House leadership shudders, and for some reason, the fact that the Bishops endorsed the bill suddenly became an important "stamp" on a bill that is about public health.

On Friday night, for
example, according to several news reports, representatives of the USCCB met with House
Democratic Leadership to demand that language be included or an
amendment to the House health care reform bill be passed effectively
banning private insurance companies from covering abortion care. And apparently as a result of these meetings, the House leadership
effectively caved to these demands, jettisoned an alternative amendment
offered by Congressman Brad Ellsworth, a pro-life Democrat from Indiana,
and agreed to allow an "up or down" vote on the Stupak amendment.

The
agenda of the USCCB has been carried out for some time by Michigan Democrat Bart
Stupak for whom the amendment is named, joined by Pennsylvania Republican Joseph Pitts. Stupak had been threatening the health reform effort for a couple of months.  His amendment bars coverage of abortion care in private plans that are
part of an insurance exchange created by the federal government even
where private premiums paid for abortion coverage and funds are kept
separate. 

In sum, this amendment robs women of the right to private insurance coverage of abortion care even with their own money paying the premiums.  

Thank you Catholic Bishops.

That
the USSCB has been wielding great influence in the debate was evident
in at least one comment by a leading Democrat, Congressman Henry Waxman
(D-CA).

“I
would like the [U.S. Conference of Catholic] Bishops, who as I
understand it want a bill, to help us work out a plan where we don’t
have winners and losers,” Waxman said. “Because the losers will make us
lose the bill and the winners won’t have won anything.”

I am sorry, but as someone who otherwise respects Henry Waxman, why is it important for the USCCB to be "working out a plan" that affects the lives and health and basic human rights of millions of women in this country?  Has anyone noticed that the Bishops are not exactly down with women’s rights?  Does anyone remember that this same group supported denying an abortion to a 10-year-old girl in Brazil pregnant with twins by her own father?  And there is that small issue of pedophilia.

Again, I have to ask: Why when millions of women need basic sexual and reproductive health care is it important for the USCCB to be "working out" any plan?  What does Henry Waxman, Nancy Pelosi or any other member of Congress owe the Catholic Bishops that they do not owe the majority of women in this country?  What does Obama owe the Bishops that he does not owe you and me, for example, most of those of us who gave money and time and our lives to his campaign?

Do we live in a theocracy?

Honestly: I would like an answer. From the White House.  From the House Leadership.  And you should want one too.

And be assured this is not the first time women have been sold in the cause of the "greater good," whatever that is when the rights of half the population are trampled.

Last year, after literally 18 months of efforts by tens of advocacy groups to craft a reauthorization of the US Global AIDS Act that corrected failed programs by removing abstinence-only until marriage programs and ensuring that HIV positive women could get access to a full range of reproductive health care, the Bishops stepped in in the 11th hour and insisted on changes. 

What were they?  Banning US global funding from supporting contraceptive services for HIV-positive women in Africa who wanted to avoid another pregnancy in no small part because they likely would not be alive to support another child; reinserting language on abstinence until marriage and requiring reports to Congress wherever at least 50 percent of funds were not spent on abstinence; and ensuring conscience langauge so sweeping that groups who did not "like" gays or sex workers would not be "forced" to serve them either with prevention or treatment.

And despite the opposition of public health groups and advocacy groups and despite the fact that these changes to the bill put women at even greater risk of HIV especially in Africa, Congressman Howard Berman caved to the Bishops.  Why?

Not a single aspect of the demands by the Bishops were based on evidence.  In fact, totally to the contrary: the evidence proved that everything they demanded would only increase new infections and suffering from HIV and AIDS.  But once again, the ideology of the Catholic Church was written into law.

With your tax dollars.

The Bishops don’t act alone.  They are aided sometimes by HIV and AIDS groups that want their part of the agenda passed no matter what.  They are aided by groups such as Catholics United which is run by men passes itself off as "moderate" and which today issued a statement that said:

Catholics United today urged House lawmakers to vote yes for H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.  Passage of the bill will ensure that 96% of Americans have access to affordable health insurance and will constitute a major victory for Catholic values of life and human dignity.  The vote comes at a time of historic support for health care reform among mainstream Catholics, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This particular set of "Catholic" values neither jibes with the real lives of the majority of Catholics, nor does it respect women in the least.

And I am left to wonder…why?

Who do they represent?  Less than a quarter of the entire US population identifies as Catholic.  Of those women who identify as Catholic, well over 80 percent use contraception, and Catholic women use abortion services at the same rate as the rest of the population.  The majority of Catholics believe that the issue of birth control and abortion is a personal one, best left up to the woman, her partner, her doctor and, if she has one, her own faith.

I want to know…why are the Bishops running the country?

And have you had enough yet of Democrats that you elect selling you down the river?  Are you angry enough?

What are we going to do about it?

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  • progo35

    "According to several news reports, representatives of the USCCB met with House Democratic Leadership to demand that language be included or an amendment to the House health care reform bill be passed effectively banning private insurance companies from covering abortion care. And apparently as a result of these meetings, the House leadership effectively caved to these demands, jettisoned an alternative amendment offered by Congressman Brad Ellison, a pro-life Democrat from Illinois, and agreed to allow an "up or down" vote on the Stupak amendment."

     

    According to the AP story (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ig2n-N48bvgGAWA-wHlMPQpOdinQD9BR3QT00)
    on this amendment, "Stupak’s measure also would bar anyone from getting federal subsidies to help cover their premiums for private insurance polices that would include abortion coverage." That doesn’t mean that women can’t buy insurance that covers abortion, it just means that they can’t get federal subsidies for it. That is in keeping with the Hyde Amendment. If government subsidies were provided for the purchase of insurance policies that cover abortion, that would be indirect federal funding of abortion. Saying private insurance companies have been barred from covering abortion is a flat out lie.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • douglasjohnson

    The Stupak-Pitts Amendment received the votes of 176 House Republicans (no Republican voted against it) and 64 out of 258 Democrats, which was fully one-fourth of the Democrats.  We at National Right to Life applaud this emergence of "common ground" on abortion policy in the House of Representatives.

     

    We had more to say about the abortion-related provisions in the original bill here, and regarding the outcome of the House vote on the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, and events to come, here.

     

    Douglas Johnson

    Legislative Director

    National Right to Life Committee

    Washington, D.C.

    Legfederal // at // aol-dot-com

  • waterjoe

    Pelosi, Waxman, and others are not stupid. Whether they like it or not, the position of USCCB is held my most Americans. The USCCB saved health care reform.

  • julie-watkins

    Being born female instead of male is a pretty large sign of what Nature (or God) wants for you and it’s understandable why such people might have sexist expectations of how pregnant women should act. That doesn’t make the expectations less sexist and classist.
    This is just one more piece of legislation that treats women and poor people as second class … and you are showing your true colors by applauding.
  • julie-watkins

    as well as being classist. So I put the Stupak measure as another proof that the law treats women and poor as 2nd class.

  • ema

    Less than a quarter of the entire US population identifies as Catholic. Of those women who identify as Catholic, well over 80 percent use contraception, and Catholic women use abortion services at the same rate as the rest of the population.
    Based on the available evidence, it turns out the USCCB is acting as an agent of a foreign theocracy.
    I, for one, look forward to the decisive input of the US Committee to Impose Sharia Law in the next piece of public health legislation considered by our Congress.

  • colleen

    Do we live in a theocracy?

    We’re certainly well on our way and, as this vote has made clear, it’s not going to matter who we vote for. The Democrats couldn’t fight their sorry, pathetic way out of a wet paper bag,
    This blog needs to seriously examine what is meant by ‘common ground’ when it comes to the basic rights of women because by the time the Democrats and Obama get through with us we’ll be fighting a losing fight for effective contraception and Law and Order will be screening episodes about the glories of gestating the children of rapists.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • miki

    "The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles"

     

    Really??? The only terrorists I see are the ones, such as yourself, who take innocent lives for money….

     

    Wow. POT. KETTLE. DEEP, DEEP BLACK!

  • miki

    "This particular set of ‘Catholic’ values neither jibes with the real
    lives of the majority of Catholics, nor does it respect women in the
    least."

     

    I am a woman (and not even close to "second class"), a veteran healthcare worker, and faithfully practising Catholic. Of all the hundreds of people amongst my family and friends, Catholic or *not*, I can only name five who are pro-abortion.

     

    I am so incredibly proud of the Bishops for finally taking the moral high ground, speaking out *against* the crime against women and children that you call "choice," and putting their collective foot down with those who erroneously believe that one can still remain Catholic when they are decidedly pro-abortion.

     

    I have also made the decision that if any healthcare bill passes into law which uses my tax dollars to fund abortion, I will no longer be paying ANY taxes, period. I will sooner go to prison (and stay there) rather than let my hard-earned money be coercively used to kill innocent human beings.

     

    Y’all want to spend my money, you can spend it on me, a cot, and three squares a day until the cows come home, but you will not use it to kill innocent children….

  • margot

    Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram edificabo ecclesiam meam: et portae inferi non prevalebunt adversum eam.

    The Church will not be silenced.

  • sexstudent

    Where the hell is separation of church and state? Why are religious groups allowed to lobby on behalf of their MORALS as opposed to other peoples needs and RIGHTS? I think my quote says it all.

    "In America, each person is entitled to their own opinion, but each person is NOT entitled to their own facts" Marty Klein

     

  • teb-abhour

    It is a commonly known and never hidden fact that membership in the Catholic Church requires full acceptance of Her teachings on matters of Faith and Morals at all times, and places, and circumstances. If someone is known as a Catholic, then they are automatically known as being bound to uphold all the Catholic Church teaches about faith and morals in all moments of their lives.

    Electing a professing Catholic is a choice that the voters willingly make. If the Catholic Politician is indeed a Catholic, and not just pretending to be one, then they are Catholic at all times. It is obvious how they will always vote on certain issues. Catholic Teaching is done in the light. Everyone knows Her Truth about Abortion.

    There is no concealment nor sneakiness about it. If you disagree with Catholic truth about certain issues, then you have a right to NOT vote for the Catholic. But many Americans did vote for Catholic representatives, fully knowing they are Catholics, so they should expect nothing but Catholic behavior from them in ALL respects, at ALL times, in ALL situations. Catholicism is an all or nothing religion. The Bishops effectively called out the <b>FAKE</b> Catholics on this one.

    As is evidenced by their voting, a percentage of Congress persons are LIARS about belonging to the Catholic Faith. If they were truly Catholic they already know this, but they excommunicated themselves by voting to kill helpless, innocent Americans. They are de facto, NOT Catholics. Their membership claims are FALSE and it is a church issue to make public their lack of belonging to Her. Public excommunication is the order of the day.

    By their fruit you will know them.

  • theo

    You can hardly blame the bishops, considering that the majority of Americans are now prolife – including the majority of women. I’m a former pro-choice feminist, now prolife feminist, changed my mind for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the enormously grown science of unborn life, which pro-choicers frankly are in denial about. Also the growing and documented harm that abortion does to women (oop’s, that’s politically incorrect to talk about, even though it does mean things like damaged uteruses, infertility, premature birth, etc.). To point the finger at Catholics also is rather bigoted, considering that Catholics, including bishops, are US citizens protected by the Constitution just like everyone else. And really hair-brained, considering Catholic hospitals provide 1/6th of the health care in this country. One of every 6 people are cared for in Catholic hospitals. So they do have a huge, justifiable concern about abortion, and every right to speak up about it.So get over the fact that they’re Catholic, and start engaging the substance of their arguments, which are hardly merely "superstitious religion." Science is on their side, and one of these days we as a nation will have to come to grips with that, which a majority of us now have.

  • anat-shenkerosorio

    One of the things that links us across the abortion divide — for good or for ill — is that those of us concerned about this issue care deeply about it and have visceral reactions to it. Not surprising, then, that several commenters have elected to use this as a platform to air their opposition to abortion.

    However, this article is actually about the disproportionate power a particular interest group has been demonstrated to hold over our legislature. The nature of our representative democracy requires a delicate balance — between the desires of the majority and the well-being of various minorities; between legitimate attempts to sway legislative opinion and with it policy and the egregious hijacking of national law by a loud and determined group.

    What we saw here, what the author alterts us to, is blackmail — pure and simple. In any other arena this would be considered a crime (or at the very least unconscionable.) And here, it’s law-making.

    The conflation of church and state hurts us all — not least those of us with strong religious beliefs. When church and state become one, it is not long until the state chooses a church (yes, singular) and imposes a very specific belief system. Guess what Catholics, it won’t be yours.

    Abortion is a legal medical procedure in this country. Right now, Congress is supposed to crafting legislation to contain the costs of and increase coverage for the legal procedures medical science has made available to us — that’s it, nothing more. 

    We have had (though I’m sure we’ll continue to have) the debate about legalized abortion. This was not supposed to be that. 

    Anat Shenker

  • emma

    Certain Persons in this comment thread also support covering up paedophilia and forcing 9-year-old girls to continue pregnancies their doctors say will kill them. I don’t know why you lot insist on calling yourselves ‘pro-life’, since none of you give a flying fuck about the life of anyone who’s not a foetus.

     

    Isn’t the worship of foetuses a form of idolatry? ‘Foetolatry’?

  • liberaldem

    Your post is precisely why we need absolute separation of church and state in this country.

    I do not want any of MY tax dollars going to any institution connected with a church-any church. 

    I’m sure you go to sleep every night hugging yourself about your precious little blastocysts and fetuses. You could care less about women’s lives.

  • amylpav22

    What a bunch of pathetic whining.

    Not a one of you bothers to ask Catholic women – and those thousands of women who’ve had abortions and regret them – why we believe what we do. That might make you uncomfortable in your assertions that Catholicism = sexism, won’t it?

    The Catholic Church does not oppress us. It is selfish liberals, who believe a woman’s femininity hinges on her ability to sleep around and abort her children, that are the oppressors.

    Abortion is a legal medical procedure in this country.

    200 years ago, slavery was legal in this nation too. Guess all those people – lots of devout Christians – who fought against slavery were getting in the way of the goodness of the state imposing what it knew to be the best for us, and those blacks enslaved on plantations. The abortion is legal argument is, therefore, stupid.

    When church and state become one, it is not long until the state chooses a church (yes, singular) and imposes a very specific belief system. Guess what Catholics, it won’t be yours.

    Guess what? It won’t be any. Because what you cite here is the reason the First Amendment actually exists. Not to stifle religious freedom, but to prevent the establishment of a singular religious doctrine. The Stupak Amendment did no such thing. It merely confirmed the biological fact that an embryo is a human being and, therefore, should be afforded all the rights of a human – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    You are of the “Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one” crowd. Guess what? I’m of the “Don’t want a baby to cramp your lifestyle? Don’t make one!” crowd.

    If you can’t deal with the consequences of promiscuity, don’t have sex. Just don’t pretend killing babies is somehow liberating to women and society.

  • gordon

    "It merely confirmed the biological fact that an embryo is a human being…."   amylpav22, this is a lie.  It is not an opinion, it is not an interpretation, it is a lie.  The statement is as wrong as saying the earth is flat, and if you don’t understand why it is wrong, you have no business discussing biology in public.

     

    Tell me the name of an embryology textbook used in any accredited medical school that states as a biological fact that life begins at conception.  I have made this challenge in many blog posts and never received a reply to it.  I would confidently bet my last dollar that I never will, because I am as certain as I can be of anything that no such book exists, although that may change if the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops succeeds in its neverending and transparent attempt to take over our government.

     

    Perhaps Rep. Stupak should introduce an amendment to the effect that no medical school can receive federal funds unless it teaches USCCB’s religious opinions as fact.  I hope this is as unlikely as it sounds, but I am beginning to wonder.

     

     

  • gordon

    Just in case my response to amylpav22 didn’t make the point, I completely agree with Dr. Hern. The U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has no more regard for our Constitution and the rights and liberties it guarantees our citizens than any member of al-Qaeda or the Taliban has.

     

    Furthermore, in this context, I think the excerpt below from the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (q.v.) is eminently relevant.

     

    c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the term “agent of a foreign principal” means–

     (1) any person who acts as an agent, representative, employee, or servant, or any person who acts in any other capacity at the order, request, or under the direction or control, of a foreign principal or of a person any of whose activities are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized in whole or in major part by a foreign principal, and who directly or through any other person–

    (i) engages within the United States in political activities for or in the interests of such foreign principal;

    (ii) acts within the United States as a public relations counsel, publicity agent, information-service employee or political consultant for or in the interests of such foreign principal;

    (iii) within the United States solicits, collects, disburses, or dispenses contributions, loans, money, or other things of value for or in the interest of such foreign principal; or (iv) within the United States represents the interests of such foreign principal before any agency or official of the Government of the United States; and

    (2) any person who agrees, consents, assumes or purports to act as, or who is or holds himself out to be, whether or not pursuant to contractual relationship, an agent of a foreign principal as defined in clause (1) of this subsection.

  • endviolentchoices

    Your article completely ignores the rights of prenatal females. Yes, these are living human beings, truly members of the human family, who are threatened by death by those who do not pause to consider their own discrimination against the smallest and youngest humans. Will you reconsider your own discrimination? End violent choices!

  • amy-higer

    I wonder if anyone would be interested in starting a lobbying group which seeks to prevent men from having their appendixes removed? I firmly believe that an appendix is an integral part of all human bodies, and my religious beliefs teach that male bodies are superiour to female bodies, thus rendering male bodily integrity much more important than female’s. How dare this bill not abide by my personal religious beliefs! I am appalled that the health care legislation that has just passed the U.S. House of Representatives will allow for my taxpayer dollars to be used for something that I find both morally repugnant and contrary to my deeply-held religious beliefs. No man has the right to use public funding (or private funding that is mixed with public subsidies) for this medical procedure, no matter how dire their appendix condition is. We still have time to insert this pro-(male)life provision into the Senate version of the bill. Anyone care to join me in this lobbying effort?

    Amy J. Higer
    Citizens for Male Bodily Integrity Unite

  • theo

    What an easy assertion to say someone who values unborn life therefore doesn’t care about women’s lives.  What rot.  I am a woman, you a–h—, so don’t dictate to me about women – I changed to prolife BECAUSE I care about what is happening to women.  Let me ask you: just how much money have you contributed to caring for women in crisis pregnancy, so they can carry their babies to term?  How many babies have you offered to adopt, so they don’t have to die from abortion or live in poverty?  If you only contribute to pro-abortion groups, then the only thing you care about is ending inconvenient lives so you can continue your selfish lifestyle, not actually helping both mother and child to live, and live well.

     

    By the way, do you realize that 70% of prolifers are religious – but that means 30% are not?  Yeah.  There are atheists who are prolife, because they have the intellectual honesty to recognize abortion for what it is.

     

    The vast majority of abortions are not true "crisis" preganancies at all, such as rape or incest or threat to the actual health of the mother.  They’re becuase people want to have sex, but don’t want to have babies.  Why don’t you come right out and admit it?  You’d rather kill babies than give up sex. Sex has become the new idol of our culture: orgasms take precedence over human life itself, because oh dear, we’d be so repressed and unhealthy if we actually had to control ourselves sexually.  So women, girls, children are more sexualized than ever before in history, expected to have sex, and expected to get health-damaging abortions when they get pregnant, and don’t realize the real costs until it’s far too late.

     

    Frankly, abortion has dehumanized and objectified women and girls, and turned unborn babies into blobs we can step on like bugs on the sidewalk.  And you defend it with your filthy attitude toward "blastocysts and fetuses" – the new niggers, kykes, cunts.  What’s the difference?  You disgust me.

  • outraged

    Okay, so if Catholics make up less than 25% of the U.S. population, half of them are women, and more than 80% of those women use contraceptives, making them “not really Catholic,”… Assuming they are sexually active with Catholic men (who then, by association, are “not really Catholic”), we are talking about less than five percent of the population making policy for everyone.

    And why the hatred toward the Democrats? Seventy-five percent of them voted against it, while *all* Republicans voted for it. Sure, it was written by a Democrat, but it was co-sponsored by a Republican.

  • theo

    Actually it’s the consensus of the scientific community that life begins at fertilization.  Here’s one, the Basics of Biology: http://tinyurl.com/ylgxy76

     

    Explains the five basic characteristics of living things; these five criteria are found in all modern elementary scientific textbooks:

    1. Living things are highly organized.
    2. All living things have an ability to acquire materials and energy.
    3. All living things have an ability to respond to their environment.
    4. All living things have an ability to reproduce.
    5. All living things have an ability to adapt.

     

    According to this elementary definition of life, life begins at fertilization, when a sperm unites with
    an oocyte, produces its own unique DNA code, and begins rapidly growing and organizing according to that code.

     

    In plain english, it’s alive.  It doesn’t come to life at some point later; it’s alive from the moment of fertilization, a unique living entity distinct from the mother.  So to kill it is, well, to kill it.  And if it’s got human DNA, then you’re killing a human being.  The science is actually quite simple.  It’s the human being confronted with pregnancy that wants to rationalize and justify the scientific facts out of existence, so we can go on believing "it’s only a blob of tissue, it’s only a blog of tissue . . . "  Yeah, go on repeating that to yourself, telling yourself lies about what’s really going on, and then exercising bigorty toward religious folks with the balls to point the inconvienient truth out to you.

     

    What the abortion argument really boils down to is this: it’s okay to kill some human beings, so others can have a "better" life. Gee, that’s what communisitic atheists believed in the 20th century, too.  Killed more millions of innocent human beings in a single century than in all the religious wars in history combined.  But religion is the bad guy, because it tells the truth and expects people to be responsible.  Right.

     

     

  • theo

    I love the empty rhetoric and how you change the subject when you can’t answer the argument.  By your reasoning, we’ll also have to ban public schools from the public square, because the issue of child abuse is much worse there – but  nobody is clamoring for huge lawsuits, removing (ridiculously low for schools) caps on damages and statutes of limitation.  And the Catholic Church does not teach that anybody has to die in order to continue a pregnancy.  You can remove the pregnancy and allow the baby to die naturally, if both mother and and baby would die otherwise.

     

    And by the way, regarding your allegation that religious people don’t give a "flying fuck" about anyone other than foetuses, are you really unware that it’s religious people who contribute the most to charity and caring for the poor and the sick?  It boggles my mind that every time a religious person speaks up for life, they’re instantly accused of not caring about anyone else.  That’s bulls–t.  Do you give 10 percent of your pre-tax income to charity, like a lot of religious folks do? Do you adopt unwanted children, like a lot of religious folks do?  Do you volunteer at shelters, caring preganancy centers, soup kitchens, like a lot of religious folks do?  Did you know that the Catholic Church is one of the biggest providers of care for people with AIDS?  You need to get your facts straight.

  • catholicman

    Gordon,

    You asked and here you go, a list of embryology textbooks that state the biological fact that human life begins at conception:

    Essentials of Human Embryology, 1998, pgs 1 & 14
    Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition, 2001, pg 8
    The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition, 2003, pgs 2 & 16
    Langman’s Medical Embryology, 10th edition, 2006, pg 11
    Before We are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition, 2008, pg 2

    If you want older texts, here are some more:

    Patten’s Human Embryology, 1976, pg 30
    Biological Principles and the Modern Practice of Obstetrics, 1974, pgs 17 & 23
    Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 1975, pg vii

    A statement of the American Medical Association from 1857 (cited by Wade in Roe v. Wade): “The independent and actual existence of the child before birth, as a living being, is a matter of objective science. It is a popular ignorance that the fetus is not alive until after the period of quickening.”

    Also, in 1981, a US Senate judiciary subcommittee heard testimony from multiple sources and reached this final conclusion: “”Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.” (Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981)

    I’ll gladly accept your last dollar at your earliest convenience. Thanks!

  • liberaldem

    Do you believe that artificial forms of birth control are acceptable? I ask because birth control, either the natural planning advocated by the Catholic church or artificial forms of contraception such as condoms, the pill or IUD are effective in preventing pregnancy for sexually active individuals.

    If we want to see fewer abortions, and I presume that people posting here agree on that aim, then I honestly think that having all forms of birth control readily available is essential.

  • ahunt

    They’re becuase people want to have sex, but don’t want to have babies.  Why don’t you come right out and admit it?

     

    No problem. As an example…it took only three specific acts out of a thousand or so to give us our three sons. The other 900+ limblockings were completely about recreation, intimacy, communication and connection.

     

    I trust you have no issues here, Theo?

  • jayn

    The Catholic Church does not oppress us. It is selfish liberals, who
    believe a woman’s femininity hinges on her ability to sleep around and
    abort her children, that are the oppressors.

     

    I’ve read this part several times and I still can’t make heads or tails of it. How is it that liberals preaching freedom of conscience is more oppressing than clergymen telling us what we should and shouldn’t do?  Ican understand the rationalisation of the other points, even if I don’t agree with them, but this makes no sense to me whatsoever.

  • adamhopps

    I really appreciate this analysis on the final few days that led up to the passing of the Stupak Amendment. You thoroughly highlighted the massive influence that an organization can have over the American legislative process and thus the American people and when an organization like this believes in restricting and limiting the rights of American citizens it is truly a horrifying day.

    Exposing such organizations and influence is necessary, but I can’t help feel that they are not the only nor ultimate problem. 219 Democratic House Members voted for and 1 Democratic President openly endorsed a bill that negates everything their party platform stands for. In the end, they care more about doing something than doing the right thing. There is a scary opposition in the country to a woman’s right to choose, but the opposition will always exist – for me, though, the horror of Saturday night was watching our leaders smile and take credit for a Health Care bill that is anything but comprehensive and inclusive.

  • ahunt

    The Catholic Church does not oppress us. It is selfish liberals, who
    believe a woman’s femininity hinges on her ability to sleep around and abort her children, that are the oppressors.

     

    Indeed…perhaps there are specific quotes from selfish liberals that could be cited here?

  • gordon

    theo,

    A blob of undifferentiated cells has the ability to adapt, respond to its environment, and reproduce??  I knew you anti-choicers were out of touch with reality, but this one really takes the cake.  All right, the cells can produce replicates of themselves, if you count that as reproduction, but so can the cells of a tumor, which also meet your other four criteria.  Do you consider it murder to treat cancer, too?  Of course you don’t.  I don’t think you’re a moron, but it is obvious you don’t know the first thing about biology.

  • fonebone2001

    You say that we have no business discussing biology in public, but it is your lies that cost innocent human lives.

     

    Do you know what an embryo is? Do you or do you not mean to deny that an embryo growing inside a pregnant woman is a human being?

     

    If so, let me help you understand something: an embryo has to be an embryonic something; it’s a stage of development, not a species. If it’s not an embryonic human, then what is it? An embryonic giraffe? An embryonic cat? An embryonic pig? I think they dissect those in schools.

     

    It is an embryonic (or fetal, etc.) human being that is the victim of elective abortion. To deny this is to embrace delusion.

     

    Secondly – and this is an entirely different issue, despite your sweeping rhetoric – you seem to deny that life begins at conception. But what does conception produce? A single-celled zygote with his or her own unique set of DNA. That cell is alive, you liar. Hell, even a tumor is alive. How the hell could a human zygote grow into an embryo and then a fetus if it weren’t alive?

     

    Incidentally, I just looked up "pregnancy" in Encarta Dictionary Tools, and found this: 

    condition of being pregnant: the physical condition of a woman or female
    animal carrying unborn offspring inside her body, from fertilization to birth

    Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

     

    See? Life begins at fertilization, and – apparently, according to Encarta – so does pregnancy.

     

    And lest you claim that conception and fertilization are not the same (which is pure semantics for this debate’s purposes, anyway), that same dictionary defines "conception" (in the biological sense) in this manner:

     

    biology conceiving of young: the fertilization
    of an egg by a sperm at the beginning of pregnancy

    Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

     

    Fertilization produces a living, single-celled zygote with his or her own unique set of human DNA. Stop lying, Gordon. The smartest pro-choice advocates don’t ever try to argue from the standpoint that abortion does not actually terminate a human life, because they would torpedo their own argument in so doing. If you want to be pro-choice, do your own side a favor and stop lying. Stop lying or just shut the hell up.

     

  • fonebone2001

    Gordon: "the cells can produce replicates of themselves, if you count that as reproduction, but so can the cells of a tumor, which also meet your other four criteria."

     

    Exactly right. You know why? Because a tumor is alive. These are the characteristics of that which is biologically living, and yes, a tumor fits those characteristics. A tumor is alive.

     

    But it’s not a human being. A human zygote, or human embryo, or human fetus, is.

     

    Abortion is the destruction of a human life. As I said below, even the smartest pro-choice advocates acknowledge that. Join their ranks, or destroy your own argument.

  • ahunt

    Shampoo, rinse, repeat.

     

    Fonebone…are you claiming that a human being exists at the moment of conception? Just checking.

  • fonebone2001

    The pro-abortion side would compare the worth of an innocent human being to that of an appendix. Why am I not surprised?

  • fonebone2001

    Yes.

  • ahunt

    So …to be consistant…you would advocate legal restrictions on any activity, employment or hobby that has the potential to harm the blastocyst/zygote/embryo? Yes, no, maybe?

  • gordon

    Our government, under administrations both Republican and Democratic, has been using your tax dollars to kill innocent children in Iraq every day for years, Miki.  See you in tax court.

     

    If abortion is as morally repugnant to you as the ongoing slaughter of actual human beings in Iraq is to me, I can see why you’re upset.  For my part, on the assumption that we are supposed to be a nation here, I put aside my personal feelings each year and pay my taxes anyway.

  • gordon

    O.K., Catholicman.  I don’t accept your word at face value, but I will certainly check out the references you list.

  • crowepps

    I really don’t know of anyone who wants the Church to be silenced. I do know a lot of people who wish our legislators weren’t listening. In a country with freedom of conscience enshrined in its Constitution, passing laws to please the Catholic Church or any other church is just plain wrong because it deprives people of their right to moral agency.

  • fonebone2001

    I’ll answer your question – I promise! – if you answer one of mine.

    (By the way, it’s spelled "consistent")

    Suppose I give a philosophically unsatisfactory answer to your question. Does that then justify being comfortable with the fact that it is legal in our country to tear some people apart, burn them alive, or otherwise kill them directly? Does one lose one’s human rights if his or her defender makes a logical error? If not, what is at stake in your question?

  • scotsjohnse

    Surely that church is not The Catholic Church but rather The Roman Catholic Church!
    Of course it is more pleasing to believe to be the One!
    The Bishops are Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, which sort of limits their jurisdiction!
    Paul Blanshard’s excellent book “American Freedom and Catholic Power” from 1949 is an excellent expose on the Roman Church, however I still feel his title was wrong in not saying “Roman Catholic Church”!
    I have no problem with them being able to cause adherents of their church to obey their Rules; however I do not feel that I and others should be forced to live by their rules! This would be so were it rules handed down by Orthodox Rabbis, Muslim Clerics etc.

  • fonebone2001

    That’s not true, outraged, because not all pro-lifers are Catholic, nor is there anything in the pro-life position which is particularly dogmatic or related to one specific religion, nor does the Catholic Church have some kind of monopoly on the notion that the lives of the unborn deserve legal protection.

  • katwa

    They’re becuase people want to have sex, but don’t want to have babies.

    Oh no! Not women who want sex with no babies!! Anything but that! Yes, I want sex (like most human beings). No, I don’t want babies.

     

    Sex has become the new idol of our culture: orgasms take precedence
    over human life itself, because oh dear, we’d be so repressed and
    unhealthy if we actually had to control ourselves sexually.

    I control myself sexually just fine thank you. Why do you think everyone who has sex without wanting to procreate is expressing a loss of control? I WANT sex and actively seek it out! Why, just last night I kissed my boyfriend and told him I loved him and then we had sex! Scary shit!

     

    For the record, I’ve never had any of these supposed "real costs" even though I’ve been having sex since I was a teenager. Likewise neither has my mother, and she has been having sex since she was a teenager, for 40 years. The two children she had were wanted and chosen. As well as my grandmother, who also has been having sex since she was a teenager and also had two wanted and chosen kids. (In fact, my mother had an older brother who died of SIDS, and the only reason my mom exists is because of his death, because my grandmother wanted two children. Oh no! I wouldn’t exist without SIDS! If "I wouldn’t exist if my mom aborted me" is an argument against abortion, is this an argument for SIDS?)

    Three generations of consequence free sex and no forced births? oh no!! the world is ending!

  • crowepps

    What does "remove the pregnancy" mean?  Are you talking about doing a hysterectomy or doing a ceasarian?

  • crowepps

    “There are 16 U.S. Cardinals and 424 active and retired bishops in the United States”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholicism_in_the_United_States

  • ahunt

    I tend not to view the human rights of women as negotiable, fonebone. The fact that YOU might not want to carry the codification of your beliefs through to the logical conclusions does NOT mean that others will not seek to do so.

  • chelley

    Michelle Cory If my fathers sperm had swam differently, I wouldn’t be here . so what??? Being here is a big responsibility, not a catholic gift. Catholic Bishops can go F______ck themselves. and thet would if they could.

  • princess-rot

    They’re becuase [sic] people want to have sex, but don’t want to have babies.  Why don’t you come right out and admit it?

    Humans are not solely instinctual creatures, and we know there is more meaning to sex than the simplistic and frankly moronic OMG BAYBEEZ!!11ELEVEN

    Really, you should know better. "Sex equals babies" is a little child’s definition, because they are not yet old enough to grasp the full spectrum of human behavior and the complexities involved in childrearing and existence in general.

    And you defend it with your filthy attitude toward "blastocysts and
    fetuses" – the new niggers, kykes, cunts.  What’s the difference? 

    Are you deliberately being dense? "Fetus" and "blastocyst" are the correct terms for fetuses and blastocysts. It accurately describes the form at those stages. They aren’t called unborn babies, preborns or whatever creepy antichoice epithet you pull out of your ass because they’re too damn broad and vague, and thus rendered meaningless. The other three are slang and slurs against entire classes of people, though work has been done to reclaim them by the oppressed group, they are largely understood be insults.

  • lordoftheexacto

    Translation: Why was this group of American citizens not prevented from speaking with their elected officials?

  • lordoftheexacto

    I tend not to view the human rights of women as negotiable, fonebone.

     

    But everyone else’s are?

  • ahunt

    Non sequitur.

  • fonebone2001

    "I tend not to view the human rights of women as negotiable, fonebone."

     

    Oh, but you do. You do, ahunt, and until you acknowledge this, I’m afraid we’ll have very little to go on. You consider the rights of unborn women (and men) not only negotiable but contingent upon how convenient their lives are for others. Yours is a sad, horrifyingly insufficient principle of human rights. Let me direct you to what EndViolentChoices said below:

     

    "Your article completely ignores the rights of prenatal females. Yes,
    these are living human beings, truly members of the human family, who
    are threatened by death by those who do not pause to consider their own
    discrimination against the smallest and youngest humans. Will you
    reconsider your own discrimination? End violent choices!"

     

    You have not answered my question, and so neither will I answer yours. Grapple with the ethical brutality of your position, and then maybe you will have earned the privilege of having your objections addressed by those of us who actually believe in human rights and basic human decency.

  • ahunt

    Now, now…I had imagined that you already understood that I was pro-choice, and that I believe it is the basic human right of women to determine their own reproduction.

     

    It is not up to me to determine your comfort levels with various abortion procedures. And as I do not extend the full range of personhood rights to B/Z/E/F, your question is irrelevant.

     

     

     

  • lordoftheexacto

    And as I do not extend the full range of personhood rights to B/Z/E/F, your question is irrelevant.

    What is irrelevant is your “extension of personhood” to unborn humans. They will continue to be persons with or without your consent.

    Which is exactly the issue. The principle that a person’s humanity can be erased at another person’s will is the foundation on which abortion rests. You consider the rights of “women” (an undefined term) to be non-negotiable, but also believe that you have some sort of say in whether another person may or may not have human rights. It’s not subject to your or anyone else’s say-so; the only variable is whether you will acknowledge or deny that personhood.

    If your principle is a valid one, then there is no reason to extend human rights to women, either, except as an individual sees fit. They might as well not be human persons, unless I wish them to be.

  • ahunt

    They will continue to be persons with or without your consent.

     

    I just had to see this again.

     

    So give us any other scenario where one "person" is permitted to appropriate the body of another without explicit consent.

     

     

     

     

  • fonebone2001

    "It is not up to me to determine your comfort levels with various abortion procedures."

     

    I’m most likely done here. I just wanted to expose your equivocation by noting that I asked about your comfort level with elective abortion, not mine.

     

    And I know you don’t extend even the most basic human right to all humans. That’s just something I’ll have to accept. Won’t be the first time in history…

     

    Enjoy your rhetoric.

  • ahunt

    Bye Pookie…

     

    It was almost amusing.

  • emma

    I didn’t say a damned thing about what religious people do or don’t do; I referenced some of the commenters here, on this thread (and took a swipe at the Catholic church, I’ll grant you). Who donates how much money/time to charity is beyond irrelevant to the topic, and you can’t really think I’m going to discuss my financial commitments with you, right?

     

    Glad to hear the Catholic church is providing care to people with AIDS, given that the current Pope is helping to facilitate the spread of that disease by telling people living in the midst of an HIV/AIDS epidemic not to use condoms. Caring for the victims is the least the church can do.

     

    (I know a really decent Catholic guy who owns a hospital and who raises a lot of money for charities that – among other things – distribute condoms in parts of South Africa, but he’s not a fan of Benedict XVI, is in touch with reality, and isn’t a professional virgin living in a palace.)

  • emma

    And you defend it with your filthy attitude toward “blastocysts and fetuses” – the new niggers, kykes, cunts.

    You’ve got to be kidding.

    I’m surprised you can even breathe on your own. That’s how bad the stupid is.

  • emma

    On behalf of my appendix, fonebone, I’m offended. My appendix is human, and it has inalienable human rights that shouldn’t be trivialised.

     

    Amy, my appendix and I would be very interested in helping to found a group devoted to liberating appendixes (appendices?).

     

    Appendectomy = REDRUM.

  • fonebone2001

    A human zygote or embryo or fetus is, well, human. It has human DNA and a complete genetic code distinct from that of his or her mother. It is a distinct human organism.

     

    That you even think the satirical statement "My appendix is human" has a point to make here, is beyond frightening. It is appalling, atrocious.

     

    I didn’t give ahunt enough credit above. At least (s)he had the brains to base his/her argument on something open to considerable interpretation. You’re just spouting bullshit that openly defies and contradicts all biological, logical, and ethical sense.

     

    I will say before what I said again: it is telling that your side would compare the worth of a distinct human being with that of an appendix.

     

    My appendix is part of me. Your appendix is part of you. An unborn child is not part of the human organism of his or her mother; he or she is a distinct person.

  • ack

    If you can’t deal with the consequences of promiscuity, don’t have sex.>>>

     

    THIS is the crux of the matter. Amy ignores the fact that women in committed relationships have abortions. She’s concerned about women being big dirty whores. That’s apparently where her transformation from feminist to whatever she is now took place; she got worried that women are (GASP!) sleeping around.

    What you seem to be missing, Amy, is that feminism is not about sleeping around. Check out any feminist blog, post your argument that the ability to have sex with multiple partners is the only thing we’ve fought/are fighting for, and see what response you get.

  • ack

    I agree; this article was about the power of a particular lobbying group. It’s dangerous at best to have bills presented, changed, or killed because of any one group whose only argument is, "Hey! You, there! I disagree!" When simply stating that a small group will not support a bill is enough to have it drastically changed, the power dynamic is beyond unbalanced.

  • ack

    Forcing a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy inherently grants that fetus more rights than any born person. 

  • emma

    There’s no need for self righteous indignation, fonebone. Seems pretty clear that I was mocking anti-choicers.

     

    I’m sure you’ll get over my comparing a precious, innocent, beautiful, Christ-like unborn bayyyybeee, with its sparkly brand new and different DNA, with my appendix. Of course, you won’t extend any respect to my appendix, which gets a little upset when people imply it’s some kind of sub-human vestigial organ.

     

    The trauma and shock will fade quickly. The self-righteous indignation will last for a while, because I know you guys enjoy it so much.

     

    This thread is insane and is making the baby jesus cry.

  • kate-ranieri

    According the Gallup poll that found that 51% of Americans claim to be prolife doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, if you read further, the poll found that an overwhelming majority of those claiming prolife status still believed abortion should be legal.

     

    Theo wrote: I’m a former pro-choice feminist, now prolife feminist, changed my mind for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the enormously grown science of unborn life, which pro-choicers frankly are in denial about. "You cannot claim omniscience when you make an assumption that prochoicers are in denial. Denial about what?****

     

    Also the growing and documented harm that abortion does to women (oop’s, that’s politically incorrect to talk about, even though it does mean things like damaged uteruses, infertility, premature birth, etc.). ***I consistently verify methodologically sound studies from reputable institutions about prolife claims of harm. They remain unfounded claims. Of course, if you want to refute science and medicine in favor of your religion, it’s your choice.***

     

    To point the finger at Catholics also is rather bigoted, considering that Catholics, including bishops, are US citizens protected by the Constitution just like everyone else. And really hair-brained, considering Catholic hospitals provide 1/6th of the health care in this country. ***Catholic hospitals receive federal funding for the work so they’re not so gushingly philanthropic.****One of every 6 people are cared for in Catholic hospitals. So they do have a huge, justifiable concern about abortion, ***your statement is a logical fallacy***and every right to speak up about it.So get over the fact that they’re Catholic, and start engaging the substance of their arguments, which are hardly merely "superstitious religion." Science is on their side, and one of these days we as a nation will have to come to grips with that, which a majority of us now have. **Science on the other side? Next time you or someone you love is in an auto accident or has a child with seizures or a mother with a broken hip, drive to the nearest cathedral.****

  • kate-ranieri

    YOU need to get your facts straight and, along the way, a healthy dose of reality. In each Catholic church, there’s usually 2% of the parishioners who contribute 10%. The rest slide by even though many could easily afford to tithe more. 

    And while I would agree with you that your people volunteer, they’re not THE majority. In many homeless shelters, churches from the area support the facility including Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, UCC, and Lutherans. As for soup kitchens, depending on the area, Catholics could be a minor player. So, sister, take a chill pill. Rather than advertising the Catholic brand, why not just get out there and help. Action speaks louder than words. 

  • kate-ranieri

    The moralizing stance you take in your comments reflects a dutiful, obedient Catholic. Good for you. 

     

    But let me offer something that seems deeply contradictory. Catholics are all about what God says or Jesus says or the bible says. Guess what? God made woman and man with all their bodily and cognitive and emotional functions to live fully. To deny that fullness of life is to deny God. To deny your sexuality, is to deny the gift that God gave you. Of course, that’s your prerogative. Further, to really understand the social human in a cultural milieu you should consider that all those notions of instinct, femininity, maternal instinct, what’s right and wrong, are all socially constructed–meaning that humans made the rules. You have your rule book and others have their rulebooks.  That’s what makes the USA a great place—diversity. We even allow pathetic whining….so, welcome.

  • emma

    They will continue to be persons with or without your consent.

    Actually, no. Saying that a zygote is a person does not make it so. They won’t be persons no matter how much or how loudly you say they are.

    The principle that a person’s humanity can be erased at another person’s will is the foundation on which abortion rests.

    No, the belief that abortion should be safe, legal and accessible is based on the fact that a blastocyst/zygote/embryo/foetus is not a separate person – it is attached to a woman’s body, lives on her nutrient supply, has its waste excreted by her, and cannot exist without appropriating her body. Abortion should be safe, legal and accessible, because a woman’s right not to have her body appropriated outweighs a blastocyst/zygote/embryo/foetus’s right to exist. Your mother didn’t owe it to you to gestate you, and neither did mine. Those who advocate using the legal system to coerce women into giving birth are saying, essentially, that women’s bodies are the possessions of the state.

    "women" (an undefined term)

    The generally accepted definition of the term ‘woman’ is ‘adult female’, is it not? ‘Women’ is the plural of ‘woman’. Safe and legal abortion should also be available to girls – to anyone who is able to become pregnant.

    but also believe that you have some sort of say in whether another person may or may not have human rights. It’s not subject to your or anyone else’s say-so; the only variable is whether you will acknowledge or deny that personhood.

    Wrong. If something is appropriating my body, borrowing my nutrient supply, and requiring me to excrete its waste, I have every right to decide whether or not it may exist.

    If your principle is a valid one, then there is no reason to extend human rights to women, either, except as an individual sees fit. They might as well not be human persons, unless I wish them to be.

    That’s about where it’s at for you, isn’t it? If it were up to you, women would be the property of the state, with no right to bodily autonomy.

  • crazy8

    One way to look at this is that the Catholic church looks at this as a moral issue, think of little children being terminated just for being born, now try before they even get to see the light of day. Thats How They see it, a baby is a baby in the belly or out it is still a life. Thats how they see it..Peace