have spoken: any society whose citizens choose to protect unborn children are suffering from:
two incompatible structures have conspired to keep the abortion debate on a medieval level.
Those two structures would be religion and politics, of course. so says Diren valayden, Outlook's Dublin Correspondent
He recites the usual tripe:
However, despite a blanket ban in many countries, every year there are 45 million induced abortions worldwide according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Of these 19 million are performed in unhygienic conditions, resulting in 70 000 deaths
Let's look at this closely. There are 19 million abortions "performed in unhygienic conditions." What are these conditions like, praytell. Dark alleys? Rusty wire hangers? Mr. Valayden does not say. How convenient. He then finishes his dire fact: ", resulting in 70,000 deaths." So, that's 70,000 deaths out of 19 million abortions performed. That means 18,930,000 women survived. 70,000 deaths from abortion (which is really more--double to who knows what) is 70,000 too many. However, when compared to how many women worldwide that make this tragic decision in "unhygienic conditions", it's a statistical insignificance. .37% of women who have abortions in these circumstances die. That's less than one percent.
But even one of these deaths is a catastrophe. Of course, it's the Catholic Church's fault:
However, the Catholic Church cannot be absolved from blame in this dismal situation. The late Pope John Paul II even likened abortion to the Holocaust. Such inflated remarks, comparing the tragedy of real, living people to that of anonymous unborn ones reflect the Church’s monolithic position on the subject.
And so must come the mandatory false dichotomy:
According to London’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, foetuses feel pain only after 26 weeks gestation when the nerve and brain structures have fully developed. (Some scientists believe it takes place at 20 weeks). Clearly, religious teaching is at odds with science.
Yep. The presence of a soul is certainly indicated by the brain's biological capability to perceive pain. That's why the Terry Schiavo's of the world can be starved on judicial command, donchaknow. Besides, everyone can see when a soul is present. It shows up in the ultrasound, after all.
Then He goes one better. He spins the doctrinal history of the Church to indicate that abortion was once not condemned as a sin:
However, the Catholic Church did not always espouse a hard-line stance. Early Christian practice did not consider abortion a homicide. In the 5th Century, St. Augustine condemned abortion as a sexual sin. In the 13th Century, St. Thomas Aquinas, said that abortion was not a homicide, and believed the soul entered the body 40 days after conception for a male and 80 days for a female. That abortion was a sin, equal to murder and thus liable to excommunication, only took root in 1869, under Pope Pius IX.
Why do they always pick on St. Thomas anyway. What? Did he have an ultrasound hidden in his abbey somewhere? Oh, that's right, he is supposed to understand modern genetics five hundred years before its discovery! Of course!
Then must follow the mandatory disgust at those contradictory structures again, this time as intersected by Catholics:
Nothing has changed since, except for a hardening of attitudes. Last year, during the campaign for the presidency in America, Catholic groups called on priests to deny Holy Communion to politicians who dared to support abortion.
Yes, how dare the Catholic Church tell Catholics when they can and can't receive communion? Don't those old medieval celebates know that reception of bread from a mysoginistic, outdated oppressor is a constitutional right? Where would these outstanding citizens and "faithful catholics" be without their photo-ops?
And now for the opus of his Catholic-Church-as-power-player meme:
With its structure and influence, the Catholic Church represents a formidable opposition for pro-choice campaigners. Even the UN backs away in the face of such an edifice of moral values. Though the UNFPA is an advocator of post-abortion counselling, access to treatment for abortion-related trauma etc, it will not take a position, insisting that it is not pro-choice.
Cue the scary Latin chanting. Maybe he should have included some photos of Opus Dei flagellation. Might have made a stronger case.
So his argument appears to be:
1)Religion and Politics don't mix
2)Catholics can't get science, and
3)they change their teaching anyways, and
4)they exert far too much political power for anyone's good, since
5)their opposition to abortion means women die.
How reasonable. Sad, really. Just once, I'd like to blow apart a serious critique that didn't rely on tired stereotypes and forced hysteria. Ah, well: I digress.
If religion and politics do not mix, then perhaps Ghandi should have avoided leading Indians to the sea. Perhaps Martin Luther King Jr.'s efforts to lead boycotts threatened the state. Perhaps Oscar Romero was executed by lawful authority for subversion. It's funny how no one from the Progressive end of the pool protests the Church's clear teaching on solidarity with the poor. No one calls for Catholic Charities to close its doors. Few condemn the Church for calling humanity to be good stewards of the Earth. Somehow, it's only when The Church tells the world that it can't play God with other people's lives that Progressives like this columnist cry out. Hypocrisy is a poor substitute for principle.
The Catholic Church relies on the findings of science to more clearly understand how doctrine applies to everyday life. It is the work of modern embryology that provides the Church with confidence in saying that human life begins at conception. Besides, the abortion question rests more on philosophy and theology then on science. The beginning of human life is ultimately a metaphysical one. Since doctrine and philosophy develop, it's not at all inconsistent that the Church today defines the moment of human life differently then it once did. St. Thomas wasn't privy to the developments of doctrine that guided Pope Pius IX.
Pope Benedict XVI has praised the United States as a society that best balances Religion and Politics. His approbation rests on the fact that the US has never subscribed to the "Alter and Throne" States more common in Europe. Maybe I just don't get it, but this hardly seems like a clarion cry for an international theocracy headed by the Holy See. The Church counsels. She persuades. Societies are free to listen or not. If some do, that is their perogative. Progressives don't fear a marriage of religion and politics, they fear an inconvenient marriage of conscience and state, one that leaves no room for their utopian fantasies.
But the Reasonable
have spoken: "Opposing abortion is medieval nonsense that kills women!"
Too bad for them that the Fools laugh too loudly to listen.
BTW, for more on the Church's historical view on abortion, click here