Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

Medical Ethics?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Let me share with you this interesting article written by Andrew Ferguson, senior editor at The Weekly Standard. Ferguson writes about after-birth abortion.

On the list of the world’s most unnecessary occupations—aromatherapist, golf pro, journalism professor, vice president of the United States​—​that of medical ethicist ranks very high. They are happily employed by pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and other outposts of the vast medical-industrial combine, where their job is to advise the boss to go ahead and do what he was going to do anyway (“Put it on the market!” “Pull the plug on the geezer!”). They also attend conferences where they take turns sitting on panels talking with one another and then sitting in the audience watching panels of other medical ethicists talking with one another. Their professional specialty is the “thought experiment,” which is the best kind of experiment because you don’t have to buy test tubes or leave the office. And sometimes they get jobs at universities, teaching other people to become ethicists. It is a cozy, happy world they live in.

But it was painfully roiled last month, when a pair of medical ethicists took to their profession’s bible, the Journal of Medical Ethics, and published an essay with a misleadingly inconclusive title: “After-birth Abortion: Why should the baby live?” It was a misleading title because the authors believe the answer to the question is: “Beats me.”

You can read his whole article here.

Protecting Religious Freedom

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

A few days ago, I came across an interesting column in The Long Island Catholic written by Bishop William Murphy of Rockville CentreHe writes about President Obama’s healthcare mandate.

Here is an excerpt:

This mandate is a radical incursion on the part of our government into freedom of conscience founded on our religious beliefs! It contravenes the First Amendment and several federal laws. More importantly, it violates the law of God who gave us life and calls us to respect all human life. The Bill of Rights assures us that we have a right in this country to obey God’s law and follow our conscience, free to live out our religious beliefs as individual persons and as institutions. Forcing all of us to buy or provide coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that induce abortion, is a radical incursion into our freedom of conscience and religious exercise.

There is in this mandate a very narrow exception clause that is practically meaningless to the exercise of freedom of conscience and religious belief. It would, in an alarming number of circumstances, not except or exempt even Jesus, or anyone else who offers the healing care of Jesus to others, from being forced to act like persons who do not share their beliefs. It is, therefore, a direct assault on our own right to freedom of exercise of our beliefs. Further, with so few exceptions protecting religious freedom, this mandate forces virtually all insurance plans to cover such services and, in so doing, endangers the ability of our Catholic hospitals to continue to provide health care according to the tenets of Jesus and the Church, rather than the government.

You can read his whole column here.

Bernard Nathanson, Rest In Peace

Monday, February 28th, 2011

This morning I had the immense privilege of celebrating a Requiem Mass for Dr. Bernard Nathanson.  It was inspiring to see so many people present to celebrate the life of this champion of life.  Dr. Nathanson’s pastor, Father Gerald Murray, preached a magnificent homily.  I’m privileged to share it with you.

Here is an excerpt:

“Dr. Bernard Nathanson was a fearless advocate of the self-evident truth that it is a grave injustice to kill people before they are born. The unjust decisions of the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton mandating legalized abortion in our country cry out for the counter-witness of those who will not abide this injustice. Heroism is called for. True heroism is never easy and is only possible through God’s grace. We acknowledge today our gratitude to a true hero who would not abide such grave injustice in our land. In doing so, we too recognize the Hand of God in the life of Dr. Nathanson.”

You can read the whole thing here.

Unpleasant Truths

Friday, February 25th, 2011

I’ve known for a long time that I should lose some weight.  So, last week, I visited my doctor, and he showed me a gross, disgusting, dripping ball of yellow wax.  “This,” he said to me, “is what ten pounds of fat looks like.  This is what you’re carrying around in your body.”  Was it upsetting?  Unnerving?  Sobering?  You bet it was.   It was also true, and it was effective, as it strengthened my resolve to get my weight under control.

Being confronted by the truth can often be unpleasant.  That’s why those who fight so hard to eradicate world hunger will show us what hunger does, with a picture of a starving child, covered with flies and sores. Does it disturb us to face that truth, an image we’d rather not see or think about?  It should, even as it spurs us to action.

It’s the same with smoking.  I’m sure you’ve seen those television commercials that graphically portray the effects of smoking.  It’s unpleasant to look at open heart surgery, or a pair of diseased lungs, or to see a person who has lost fingers, toes, or the esophagus, all due to smoking.   The ads are nauseating, even hideous, to see.  But the New York State Department of Health, among many others, sponsors these kinds of ads because they know that they can help to save lives.

Another ad has been generating some fierce reactions.  Here in New York, a billboard was recently displayed, that simply stated “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” This message was accompanied by a photograph of a young, African-American girl.

Is that message unpleasant?  Is it upsetting?  Does it get our attention?

Yes!

Because the message is somberly true. The City of New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently released its vital statistics from a year ago which showed that 59.8% of African-American pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion. That’s even higher than the chilling city-wide average of 41% of pregnancies ending in abortion. (I joined other community leaders from a diversity of religious and ethnic backgrounds at a press conference sponsored by the Chiaroscuro Foundation about this a few weeks ago.)

So why has the billboard suddenly been taken down? What was it that moved many of our elected officials to condemn this ad and call for the gag order. Are they claiming that free speech is a right enjoyed only by those who favor abortion or their pet causes? Do they believe that unpleasant and disturbing truths should not be spoken? Or are they afraid that when people are finally confronted with the reality of the horror of abortion, and with the toll that it is taking in our city, particularly in our African-American community, that they will be moved to defend innocent, unborn, human life?

Perhaps I’m more saddened by this intolerance right now because on Monday I will be celebrating the funeral mass for Doctor Bernard Nathanson, that giant of the pro-life movement, who died earlier this week. If you don’t know Dr. Nathanson’s story, you should. At one time, he fought hard to promote and expand abortion on demand in this state and in our country. He was one of the founders of the National Abortion Rights Action League.  He ran what he called the “largest abortion clinic in the Western world,” and bragged about personally performing thousands of abortions. But, when Dr. Nathanson was confronted with the undeniable truth, when he could see the unborn baby in the womb through the use of ultrasound technology, he abandoned his support for abortion and became a crusader for the protection of the life of the baby in the womb.

His courage and bravery should be an inspiration to us, especially when we have to face unpleasant and sobering truths.

Catching Up

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I just came back from my apostolic visitation of the Irish seminaries, and I’m catching up on some reading. You may have seen these  articles recently, but just in case you haven’t, let me share them with you.

Rocco Palmo’s wrote about Cardinal Wuerl’s recent column on civil discourse last week in Whispers in the Loggia. Here is an excerpt:

In his most prominent intervention to date on an issue he’s tackled repeatedly over recent months, Washington’s freshly-elevated Cardinal Donald Wuerl has taken his campaign for civility in the public discourse to the pages of the capital’s Post.

Especially given his position in the thick of a heated hyper-political conversation nationwide, the lack thereof is something the finessed DC prelate’s become unusually used to over recent years, and from both sides of the aisle: while the secular left rained down fury on Wuerl after the Washington church warned that it would move to decline public funding for its Catholic Charities in response to the city’s legalization of same-sex marriage (with its requisite granting of benefits to the spouses of gay employees), elements of the Catholic right have likewise made clear their protests of, among other things, the cardinal’s longtime stance against canonical sanctions on politicians whose public stances fail to reflect church teaching.

You can read the whole post here.

I also came across an interesting article in The Weekly Standard by Joseph Bottum about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor who has made headlines recently.

Dr. Gosnell was a little befuddled at his arraignment on January 20. Indicted for eight murders, the Philadelphia abortionist told the court that he understood the first count, a charge of third-degree murder for the death of a woman on whom he had operated. He didn’t understand, however, the seven other counts—the first-degree charges for the deaths of seven babies delivered alive and then killed in his clinic.

No, “clinic” is too antiseptic a word for what the 69-year-old doctor ran for over three decades in a small brick building on the corner of 38th and Lancaster in Philadelphia. A grand jury, led by district attorney R. Seth Williams, began investigating Kermit Gosnell’s abortion practice when a drug raid last February (the man ran a profitable side business in dodgy painkiller prescriptions) revealed conditions almost beyond belief.

You can read the whole article here.

Insights from Michael Benjamin

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Even though I am in Rome, somebody sent me the attached article from former NYS Assemblymember Michael Benjamin, who joined us at the press conference on January 6 sponsored by the Chiaroscuro Foundation.  I am grateful to Mr. Benjamin for his thoughtful and honest insights.

Here is an excerpt:

You have to wonder some times about what provokes citywide outrage — and what doesn’t.

Last week, Schools Chancellor Cathie Black’s offhand joke about how birth control would resolve school overcrowding elicited a cascade of angry responses flooding news outlets, blogs and Twitter. Before the sun was high in the sky, the usual suspects stood in front of the microphones and sat in front of their keyboards denouncing Black (who has now apologized).

Earlier in the month, news of some truly horrifying health statistics vanished almost without a peep.

First, Archbishop Timothy Dolan and several clergy leaders held a news conference to decry the high abortion rate in New York City. The most recent data are for 2009 — when 41 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion. The Bronx had the highest rate, followed by Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island.

You can read the full article here.

Respect Life Week

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

On Sunday I was privileged to be in Yonkers for the proclamation of the 4th Annual Respect Life Week.

Here are my remarks:

Your Honor, Mayor Amicone
County Executive Astorino
Bishop Walsh, Rabbi Vinas, my brother priests and Pastor Hassell

Mother Genevieve, Dr. Copolla, Mr. Felicissimo and Advocates for Life.

friends in this noble cause one and all . . .

I am felicissimo — very happy — and honored and inspired to be with you for this proclamation of Respect Life Week in Yonkers.

I am here with esteem for Yonkers, “the City that knows Every Life is Worth Living,” the only municipality in the state that officially commemorates this “Respect Life Week” led by a bold pro-life Mayor, Philip Amicone.

I am here with gratitude to all of you for your loyalty to the most noble cause of all, the protection of the innocent baby in the womb.

I am here as one especially grateful to you because our state and local communities, which I love and now am proud to call home, are less than receptive to our pro-life message, making our efforts all the more urgent and your work all the more heroic.

I come to this Polish center hoping to find some pierogi and kielbasa;

I come this afternoon because the Jets played last night!

Your presence is downright inspirational, everybody.

A couple of weeks ago I went for my physical, and was in the X-ray room.  There, as clear as day, was the dramatic warning:  “X-rays can be dangerous to your unborn baby.  Let the technician know if you are pregnant.”

We all know it, don’t we?  We’re not talking about a “fetus,” “a mass of cells,” but a baby.  The X-ray technicians know it; the obstetricians who show the sonogram to a mom know it; even the teenage mom on a recent MTV program sympathetic to abortion knew it when she pointed to a little baby and whispered, “Don’t tell me that little baby is just an ‘it.’”

We all know it, yet, right down the hall from the X-ray room with that sign an abortion taking the life of that innocent baby might have been occurring.

Logic, biology, medicine, common sense, reason, American values, and ethics are dramatically on our side; money, marketing, the media, most political leaders, and the chic molders of today’s style are not.

While I hold my head high to be in the company of such distinguished religious leaders, and am grateful for the prophetic role our own Catholic people have held in the pro-life endeavor, the cause to defend the life of the baby in the womb is not primarily a religious issue, is it, even though our shrewd opponents want to reduce it to a narrow minded movement of religious reactionaries to impose their will on a tolerant, enlightened society.

This is not a church issue; this is a civil rights issue, the premier civil rights issue of our day!

All we are asking is that the equal protection of the law promised by our beloved constitution be applied to the pre-born baby.

All we’re promoting is the noble right to life assured in our nation’s foundational documents, which list the right to life first among those inalienable rights no one has the power to take away.

You bet our high moral and biblical convictions inspire us, as they did the brave civil rights leader whose birthday is this week, a minister, Reverend Martin Luther King.  He saw the tragic consequences of a wrongheaded Supreme Court Decision — the Dred Scott Decision — which had sadly reduced the black slave to a piece of property whose life was at the mercy of a master’s choice.

And we see the chilling consequences of an equally somber judicial decision — Roe v. Wade — that has reduced the life of the baby in the womb to a piece of chattel whose God-given and constitutionally protected right to life is now contingent upon the baby’s “owner.”

This cannot stand!
we unite as Americans this afternoon eager to restore this premier civil right;

we come together as friends and neighbors sincere in our love and respect for struggling moms and their unborn babies, so eager to assist them;

we gather as no one’s enemy, with no threats, simply believing the truth will set us free, that this great nation will recover its birthright as a guardian, not a taker, of innocent life;

we assemble in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, that towering woman promising a welcome, a new life, to those threatened, conscious that those who are most threatened today are babies in the womb;

and we unite recalling the words of Mother Teresa, at the White House, before a president and guests who blushed at her remark that, “the greatest poverty of all is for a nation to take the life of an innocent unborn baby so we could live as we want.”

Thanks, everybody.  Coraggio!  Do not be afraid!

Welcoming Life to New York City

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Today I participated in a conference hosted by the Chiaroscuro Foundation. Here are my remarks from the press conference:

I sure appreciate the courtesy of being invited, and am honored to be in such distinguished company for a noble cause about which we are all very passionate.

Thanks, journalists, for your interest.

For the first time in my happy twenty-one months as a New Yorker, I am embarrassed to be a member of a cherished community I now — – usually with a lot of pride — – call home.

That 41% of New York babies are aborted — – a percentage even higher in the Bronx, and among our African-American babies in the womb — – is downright chilling.

This New York community is rightly celebrated for its warm welcome to immigrants, for its hospitality, sense of embrace and inclusion, and gritty sensitivity for those in need.

But we are tragically letting down the tiniest, most fragile and vulnerable: the little baby in the womb.

We have to do more than shiver over these chilling statistics!

I invite all to come together to make abortion rare, a goal even those who work to expand the abortion license tell us they share.

A quarter century ago, Cardinal John O’Connor publicly stated: “Any woman who is pregnant and in need can come to the Church and we will help you,” a pledge Cardinal Egan, and now I, reaffirm.  Through our Catholic charities, our adoption services, our lobbying on behalf of pregnant women and mothers of infants, our support for life-giving alternatives to the decision all call tragic — – abortion, — – in our education of youth for healthy, responsible, virtuous sexual behavior, our health care, — – we have done our best to keep that promise, … and these haunting statistics only prod us to keep at it.

Mother Teresa remarked that the worst poverty was to take the life of a baby so we could live, as we want.  New York does not deserve the gravestone, “Abortion capital of the world.”  Our boast is the Statue of Liberty, not the “Grim Reaper.”

Thanks for listening.