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Posts Tagged ‘moral relativism’

Many babies died to get this picture.

 

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And each one said to his neighbour: Come let us make brick, and bake them with fire. And they had brick instead of stones, and slime instead of mortar:  And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands.   Genesis 11: 3-4

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“Life once conceived, must be protected with the utmost care; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.”  Gaudium et Spes, Second Vatican Council

 

IVF.  In vitro fertilization, also called artificial insemination.  The joining of an egg and sperm in a laboratory, creation of life in a test tube.  For some, it is a miracle.  They wonder at the majesty and brilliance of the medical profession, the advances man has made and exclaim what good man can do.  They forget, ignore, or willfully deny that man can do no good without God for God is the source of all good.  Our civilization is baking the bricks of our own technological Tower of Babel, and when we reach the top, when the medical community solves the riddle of life, we won’t need God anymore.  We’ll be like gods ourselves.

What a comforting thought. 

“After all,” we tell ourselves, “isn’t it God’s fault that there is poverty, want, ignorance, war, injustice, death and decay?  Isn’t it God who ignores our prayers and denies us what we desire, fails us in our wants, frustrates our right to have what we want when we want it?”  Well then, let’s not rely upon God.  His plan wasn’t very good and we can make a much better one.  Let us then make our own path.  Take the painful situation of infertility, of an absence of our own flesh and blood children.  Who is God to deny us our right to bear children?  I am entitled to have children, when and how I like, and it is not God placeto deny me, nor yours to judge me.  Like Lot’s daughters, we conspire, “Let us go into our doctors’ houses and lie with them so that we may have children.”

From UK‘s Daily Mail comes this priceless story of a 58 year old single woman who through IVF now has twins.  That’s her in the picture above, holding one of the children.  This story exemplifies all that is wrong with the western society’s brave new world of medical and technological advances.  Without moral grounding, you get this sort of thing.  To sum up the story, 58 year old Carole Hobson, a lawyer, decided that now that she was in her 50s, she wanted a child.  She admits never wanting one before.  Her boyfriend of eleven years felt differently.  So she ditched him and started her quest to get her some kids.  This involved an egg from India, sperm from Scandinavia, 5 rounds of IVF treatments, one abortion, £20,000, a team of National Health Service medical staff (paid for by British taxpayers), the birth of twins and the hiring of a fulltime nanny.   So single senior citizen gets her brand new kiddies with national healthcare, goes back to work and drops off the longed-for children with the college student who is going to raise them.  Sounds like a very happy ending, right?

Actually, interestingly, tellingly….no.

In one of those twists that reminds us who is God and who is not, mother Carole Hobson is overwhelmed and full of regret.  As the newsreporter writes–

Carole, sleep-deprived, pole-axed by the reality of caring for baby twins and anxious for their still fragile health, appears to illustrate perfectly the proverb: ‘Be careful what you wish for . . . you might just get it.’

But it’s early days yet and, to be fair to Carole, she looks far less frazzled than I’d expected, given the demands of twins. She seems to be  incredibly well and has a calm, loving commitment to her babies — but it’s hard to detect any sign of euphoria.

….

She was admitted to Medway Maritime Hospital as an emergency on December 17, suffering from pre-eclampsia and a winter respiratory virus. The decision to deliver the twins was made on Christmas Eve after Carole’s liver and kidneys started to fail.

‘Half an hour before the Caesarean, I was shown around the neo-natal unit where the twins would be taken after their birth and that’s when I sobbed my heart out, thinking: “What on earth have I done?” ’ says Carole.

‘I was crying for my babies and what they might have to go through to survive. That’s when the enormity of the situation hit me and I doubted whether I’d done the right thing.’

No, she didn’t do the right thing.  She did a very selfish thing and has brought those children into a life in which there is no father or mother, their legal mother may die before they even come of age and her plan is for nannies to raise them.  Those poor kids.  And I note that it is a funny time for her to wonder what her babies have to do to survive, given all that they had done to survive up to this point.  She had been pregnant with triplets but chose one to murder in the womb.  That’s called “a selective abortion” and is so frequent in IVF pregnancies that not having one or more abortions is rare.  So both of these twins had already survived one of her choices.   And these babies were born on her 5th round of IVF, meaning that literally 20-30 babies had already died prior to their arrival.  So dozens of dead babies preceded these tiny twins in life. 

What drives a person to such lengths?  Well, selfishness mostly.  It sounds to me as if Carole is greatly in need of love, a relationship with God and forgiveness, as her life decisions seem to be on a path of increasing destructiveness.

She described to me the extraordinary lengths she went to in order to achieve her goal, batting away any criticism of her quest for late, single motherhood with clear-headed logic and well-rehearsed argument.

She explained how it wasn’t until her late 40s and early 50s that — having lacked all maternal instinct in her 20s or 30s, while she forged her career — she came to bitterly regret her childlessness.

Her then partner of 11 years, a geologist, was not keen on the idea, so Carole decided to go ahead alone, effectively sacrificing their relationship on the altar of motherhood.

In pursuit of doctors who would help her, Carole travelled from Kent to the Ukraine, back to London, to Cyprus and finally to a fertility clinic in India — which treats women up to the age of 63 — where her fifth attempt at IVF proved successful.

‘I felt incomplete without a child,’ she said, explaining that she went to India because of shortage of egg donors elsewhere.

‘I want to seize every opportunity that medical science can offer me, as a woman. Some people might accuse me of being selfish or going against nature, but isn’t it going against nature to perform transplants or heart surgery? I’m no more selfish than any other woman who wants a family.’

Sin is like this.  We get embroiled in a few sins and before you know it, we have lost our relationship with God.  We may search to replace Him even.  I think that’s what happened here, with the helpful assistance of the Tower-building medical community.  Why didn’t someone say no?  Cause medical professionals are builders not moralists or ethicists.

So let’s review Catholic moral teaching:

Heterologous artificial fertilization violates the rights of the child; it deprives him of his filial relationship with his parental origins and can hinder the maturing of his personal identity. Furthermore, it offends the common vocation of the spouses who are called to fatherhood and motherhood: it objectively deprives conjugal fruitfulness of its unity and integrity; it brings about and manifests a rupture between genetic parenthood, gestational parenthood and responsibility for upbringing. Such damage to the personal relationships within the family has repercussions on civil society: what threatens the unity and stability of the family is a source of dissension, disorder and injustice in the whole of social life. These reasons lead to a negative moral judgment concerning heterologous artificial fertilization: consequently fertilization of a married woman with the sperm of a donor different from her husband and fertilization with the husband’s sperm of an ovum not coming from his wife are morally illicit. Furthermore, the artificial fertilization of a woman who is unmarried or a widow, whoever the donor may be, cannot be morally justified. (italics in original)

Why does the Church teach this?  Is it because she is out of touch?  Is it because she is run by a bunch of old guys who have no idea what desire feels like?  Is it because God hates us and wants us to be disappointed, frustrated and miserable?  No.  No. No.  It is because of love.  God will show us the path to life.

The Church’s Magisterium does not intervene on the basis of a particular competence in the area of the experimental sciences; but having taken account of the data of research and technology, it intends to put forward, by virtue of its evangelical mission and apostolic duty, the moral teaching corresponding to the dignity of the person and to his or her integral vocation. It intends to do so by expounding the criteria of moral judgment as regards the applications of scientific research and technology, especially in relation to human life and its beginnings. These criteria are the respect, defence and promotion of man, his “primary and fundamental right” to life, his dignity as a person who is endowed with a spiritual soul and with moral responsibility and who is called to beatific communion with God. The Church’s intervention in this field is inspired also by the Love which she owes to man, helping him to recognize and respect his rights and duties. This love draws from the fount of Christ’s love: as she contemplates the mystery of the Incarnate Word, the Church also comes to understand the “mystery of man”;  by proclaiming the Gospel of salvation, she reveals to man his dignity and invites him to discover fully the truth of his own being. Thus the Church once more puts forward the divine law in order to accomplish the work of truth and liberation. For it is out of goodness – in order to indicate the path of life – that God gives human beings his commandments and the grace to observe them: and it is likewise out of goodness – in order to help them persevere along the same path – that God always offers to everyone his forgiveness. Christ has compassion on our weaknesses: he is our Creator and Redeemer. May his spirit open men’s hearts to the gift of God’s peace and to an understanding of his precepts.  (footnotes removed) (emphasis mine)Introduction to INSTRUCTION ON RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE IN ITS ORIGIN AND ON THE DIGNITY OF PROCREATION REPLIES TO CERTAIN QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Christ our Creator and Redeemer has compassion for us and God forgives.  I am praying that this mother who is realizing the repercussions of her monumental decision, will find in her disappointment, fear and difficulty that God loves her and her children and wants her to choose Him from now on.  This is a moment that could change this woman’s life.  We all have these moments and we know as believers that God takes the fruits of our selfish decisions and works His plan through it.

Read the full Daily Mail article here.

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Editorial Opinion column in UK’s The Daily Mail:

These judges want to destroy our core moral values. We simply can’t let them succeed

It’s good reading.

(updated March 7, 2011)

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The increasingly reliable Daily Mail‘s headline tells the tale:

Babies who are born at 23 weeks should be left to die, says NHS chief

The British daily has found the official with Britain’s National Health Service, Dr Daphne Austin being quoted in a BBC documentary saying:

‘We are doing more harm than good by resuscitating 23-weekers. I can’t think of very many interventions that have such poor outcomes.

‘For me the big issue is that we’re spending an awful lot of money on treatments that have very marginal benefit.

‘I would prefer to free up that money to spend on providing support to people who have much more lifelong chronic conditions.’

This official, we are told, advises what treatments and care should be funded in the West Midlands region.  In other words, lives depend on her authorization.  And she would “prefer to free up that money” than treating the babies.

She claimed keeping them alive is only ‘prolonging their agony’, and it would be better to invest the money in care for cancer sufferers or the disabled.

And what might be the ‘prolonged agony’ that would warrant killing these children? Why, “blindness, deafness and cerebral palsy”, of course!  What a horrible drain on society are the blind, deaf and disabled.  Do you think that Annie Sullivan thought much the same of her student, Helen Keller?  That Helen was a drain on the financial resources of her family and her country?  I doubt it.  

Why is this little throwaway article important to us Christians? Because we know intuitively that what this official is suggesting with respect to 23-week preemies is just the latest salvo in the war to drag Western society into a full-blown embrace of euthanasia for the disable, sick and marginalized. 

The Daily Mail helpfully introduces us to the horrible effects of allowing 23-weekers to remain alive. Meet Molly Griffith.

Apparently, The Daily Mail is not fooled by this doctor’s neo-rational argument.  Again surprising and delighting this Catholic blogger, the paper introduces us to Molly Griffith, who would ostensibly be the kind of child that Dr. Austin is looking to kill off.  When she was born prematurely at 23 weeks, she could fit into the palm of a hand.  She is missing a kidney, has epilepsy, and one side is weaker than the other.  But the NHS did not have the sort of cost-cutting twelve years ago, and she endured, growing into a happy, energetic and normal child.  And if the picture of Molly tells us anything, it is that “lifelong chronic conditions” do not deprive human beings of love, joy, intellect, meaning, and above all, life.  Euthanasia does.

 
Notably, the Church of England, bastion of moral relativism that it is, (again) declines to take a stand for life, morality and Christ.  Blessedly, The Daily Mail apparently will.
 
God bless The Daily Mail.

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Okay, sure the UK Daily Mail is one of those British tabloid types that have all the gossip about starlets and pictures of scantily-clad footballers’ wives.  It must be some sort of British thing that I don’t really get.  However, it might be my new favorite paper cause in addition to the article dissecting the “abortion is safer than pregnancy” guideline nonsense, it also published this little gem which flies in the face of the today’s moral relativistic, “if it feels right, it must be right” sensibility:

Having parents split up is worse for a child’s happiness than not having money, a major multi-million pound study has suggested.

In findings which may prove a comfort to every parent confronted with ‘pester power’ at the till, the Understanding Society project found that not living with both natural parents adversely affected a child’s ‘life satisfaction’ more than the household’s material situation.

In fact, neither poverty or wealth influences happiness, according to the research – although the more siblings they have, the unhappier they are.

So there you go.  Wealth is not the key to having happy children.  Having an intact family is.  Thank you, Daily Mail!

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Pregnant women should be told that having an abortion is safer than having a baby, highly contentious new advice from doctors states.” Now I have heard it all. Women are designed to have babies and have been doing so for thousands of years. But if the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says so, we shouldn’t take any chances with our health. The upside is that if all women take this advice the human race will have finished destroying the planet within the next 120 years. Job done.– Soap Bar, Land of Flakes , 27/2/2011 17:17 (from a comment to UK Daily Mail online article, italics mine)

It breaks my heart to see how deeply moral relativism has progressed in Great Britain.  On the same day that we learn that NHS cancer patients in the UK are being denied life-extending drugs on cost grounds, The Daily Mail reports on upcoming guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists declaring that a procedure that kills life in the womb of a mother is really much better than actually gestating that life, nevermind that the whole purpose of a womb is to gestate life.

Pregnant women should be told that having an abortion is safer than having a baby, highly contentious new advice from doctors states.

The guidelines, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, also say that most women who terminate a pregnancy will not suffer any psychological problems as a result.

The guidance, which is still in draft form, has horrified medical ethicists and Christian groups, who say it forces an ‘absurdly liberal agenda’ on women in a vulnerable situation.

As the paper notes, these recommendations are no only controversial but are more tellingly, not medically sound.  In what appears to be a well-written and researched article, the reporter presents the views of leading ethicists, psychiatrists and medical doctors refuting the science underlying the proposed guidelines:

 And, with abortion clinics among those contributing to the guidance, [critics] likened the procedure to allowing a tobacco company to review the consequence of smoking or putting McDonald’s in charge of a study on how fast food affects health.

The RCOG guidance on the care of women asking for an abortion states is aimed at all doctors, nurses and counsellors involved in terminations.

One of the first sections, on ‘what women need to know’ about abortion, states that major complications are rare and that women ‘should be advised that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term’.

But critics called on the RCOG to produce the evidence to back its claim, and added that many complications caused by abortions will be recorded in A&E and other stats and so are missing from the official tally.

The chapter finishes with the statement that ‘the great majority’ of women who have abortions do not experience adverse psychological effects.

It continues: ‘Although abortion can be associated with a range of feelings, long-term feelings of guilt, sadness and regret appear only to linger in a minority of women.’

This leaves much less room for doubt that than current RCOG advice, while simply states that while rates of psychiatric illness and self-harm are higher in women who’ve had an abortion, there’s no evidence that the termination itself was the trigger.

Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, accused the RCOG of ‘perpetuating a myth’ about the safety of abortion.

Questioning why the report’s 18 authors include representatives from two of the country’s largest abortion clinics but not one psychiatrist, he said: ‘The RCOG has been heavily criticised in the past for underplaying the physical and psychological consequences of abortion for women and this new document appears to continue in that vein.

‘Asking this group to comment objectively and honestly about the physical and psychological consequences of abortion for women is like asking Philip Morris or British American Tobacco to review the health consequences of smoking or Macdonald’s to outline the adverse effects of fast food consumption.

There are simply too many financial and ideological vested interests at stake that threaten a fair assessment.’

Trevor Stammers, a former GP and a lecturer in medical ethics at St Mary’s University College in Surrey, said the RCOG had ignored one the most authoritative studies into the psychiatric effects of abortion.

He also accused it of rushing out the updated guidance ahead of a Royal College of Psychiatry report into the psychological effects of abortion.

He said: ‘When they can’t refute the evidence, they have just ignored it. This is an absolutely disgraceful stitch up that they have forced through quickly.(more…)

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.It’s not even “mostly dead.” 

From Seattle (via Houston) comes another story of a patient misdiagnosed as brain dead.  Unlike previous stories I’ve posted, this one has the organ harvesters as the heroes.

Karen Arbogast was a wife, mother and grandmother who volunteered as an EMT in the Tri-Cities area.On Tuesday, she was dead.

On Wednesday, she was alive.

Arbogast, 51, was involved in a three-vehicle crash early Tuesday evening at Highway 395 and Hildebrand Road in the Tri-Cities area.

The Washington State Patrol said a FedEx delivery truck struck a Toyota Camry after running a red light on Highway 395. The truck then slammed into the driver’s side of the Mercury Monterey van.

Arbogast was unconscious but breathing and taken to Kennewick General Hospital, said investigators.

“We couldn’t believe that this just happened,” said her daughter Candice Duncan, who rushed with other family to be by her mother’s side. “She’s always, always, thought of other people first.”

But relatives said doctors in Kennewick told them the crash had left her brain-dead, or at least, with no brain activity.

“[It was] sad to see Mom being in that kind of state,” said her son, Scott Magnuson.

Because Karen is registered as an organ donor, her husband, Carl, signed release forms. Doctors left her on life support so they could fly her to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for the organ harvesting procedure.

“My dad took off her wedding rings and all that stuff, and we all said goodbye,” said Duncan.

“And it was hard,” said Magnuson. “I didn’t really say goodbye because I still had hope, you know. I just kind of got down next to her and kissed her forehead and said, ‘I hope you recover.'”

Little did he know his words would be prophetic. The first word from Harborview came early Wednesday morning, said Carl’s brother Perry Arbogast.

“He’s there sitting at his chair at 2:30 in the morning,” said Perry, “and the doctor calls and says … ‘we have signs of life.'”

Ten hours after the crash, Harborview had found brain activity. They were calling, asking if they could perform surgery, said Perry.

“From being to the depths of losing your wife after 31 years, and then to find hope that she’s still alive?” he said.

As shocked family members drove to Seattle from Hermiston and Umatilla, Oregon, doctors removed a blood clot from Karen’s brain and cut into her skull to relieve pressure, said relatives.

And it appears to be working. As of Thursday night, Karen Arbogast’s condition has been upgraded to serious, said a hospital spokesperson. Though unconscious, she’s even moving.

“Today, she moved her upper shoulder and she wiggled her toes on her right side and her irises are responding to light,” said Duncan. He said Karen was even able to breathe on her own for 45 minutes.

Perry said a neurologist told them it is actually not unusual for victims to have no detectable brain activity for several hours after major trauma, but he’s calling it something akin to a miracle, though she’s not out of the woods yet.

“Had they not sent her here to harvest the organs they would not have found out she was alive,” said Perry Arbogast. “I think that’s remarkable.”

Family members said doctors are still giving Karen just a 25 percent chance of regaining consciousness. But for now, Duncan said she’s not worried about her mother dying anymore.

“My mom has just always been there for me and been a pillar of strength for me,” said Candice, who said people around the country have been praying for Karen’s recovery. “Mom taught me to hold on to that and never let go.”

http://www.khou.com/news/Woman-makes-miraculous-comeback-from-brain-death-diagnosis-105533163.html

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A couple news articles prompted my short posting today.

First up. 

The news this week that the actor, Neil Patrick Harris and his gay partner have become the parents of twins.  According to People Magazine, a boy and girl twin were “welcomed home” on Oct. 12th, apparently the result of some sort of surrogate situation.  I myself stumbled upon the news via Twitter, where Harris announced the arrival:  

Babies!! On 10/12, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace entered the Burtka-Harris fold. All of us are happy, healthy, tired, and a little pukey. 5:00 PM Oct 15th via Twitterrific

 My first thought was confusion, because I vaguely remember that Neil Patrick Harris had declared himself a homosexual.  Then I realized that yes, it was Harris and his gay partner.  The next twitter from NPH was:

Youngsters. They cry a lot. I thought it was just a long bit that they were doing. I keep saying, “Annnnd, scene!”… but nothing happens. 10:40 PM Oct 16th via web

At this point, I got rather sad, thinking of these two little children, infants, being raised by these two hapless men, without the necessary mothering touch of a woman.  No matter how sensitive and caring these two men are, neither can replace the soft embrace of a woman.  And I dunno.  It made me profoundly sad for these two babies.

But I should not worry as an anonymous source (the ubiquitous “close to the actor” friend) assures us that “Neil and David are going to make sure their kids have a normal childhood”. 

So there you go.  I feel much better now.

Second.

The immoral practice of invitro fertilization continues to confound states, courts and ethicists.  Funny how when we encourage selfish societal behavior we get such a mess to clean up. 

Seems that IVF has resulted in a large number of posthumous births, and consequently legal issues of inheritance.   If a baby is born after the parent’s death, sometimes without the prior or specific authorization of the parent, what legal relationship exists between the dead “parent” and the child?  Well, you’ll be assured to know that this is a rising legal field and we already have attorneys specializing in this.  This is really a great step forward for the neglected segment of our society: let’s call them “embryonic gold-diggers” who can be recognized in the wills of well-to-do dead folks by using the foolishly left behind eggs and embryos to give birth to children claimants. 

I wanted to add sarcastically to this post something along the lines of “well, at least the courts have gotten the mechanisms in place to deal with the evolution of these moral quagmires” what with the rise of invitro fertilizations, test tube babies, gay parenting, surrogacy, abortion on demand, no fault divorces, and contraception.  Then I realized that I just summed up history of the slippery slope we’ve been sliding down for 50+ years.  It’s a long grey line, and its getting longer and greyer.

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