Gender Bias

Late last month a bill that sought to make it a crime to perform or obtain a sex-selective abortion failed to pass a House vote. This is no surprise. The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, sponsored by Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, required a two-thirds majority to pass, and was seen by some as primarily an attempt during an election season to force Democrats to take a public stand on a divisive issue. In short, it was meant to make politicians uncomfortable and make voters take notice. But even though the bill may have been motivated by politics as well as ethics, it highlights one of the moral complications surrounding abortion that many pro-choice advocates would prefer to ignore: gender selection.

In 2008 The Los Angeles Times reported on a growing market for at-home genetic testing. In the article, women described their dissatisfaction over the inaccuracy of tests that claimed to determine the gender of a fetus as early as five weeks into a pregnancy. Some women who took the test were simply curious. Others were concerned about potential for diseases in one gender. Others acknowledged that some women might abort a child after learning the results.


Unfortunately, that article focused less on ethics than on customer satisfaction. A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2011, however, found that some at-home gender tests were 99 percent accurate if conducted after seven weeks of gestation. Other tests were found by two studies to be 90 percent accurate after 10 weeks gestation. The lack of medical oversight and advice in the use of these tests is troubling, but the moral implications are even more so.

Opponents of the Franks bill pointed out that the vast majority of abortions in the United States are performed before doctors can accurately determine the gender of a fetus. Most ultrasounds cannot accurately predict the gender of a fetus until 12 or 13 weeks. Most sex-selective abortions in the United States are obtained by a small number of women who have emigrated from countries where the practice, well-documented, is more common, like China, India and South Korea. An article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2008 found that among parents who had emigrated from these countries to the United States and who had already given birth to two girls, the boy-girl ratio increased from 1.05 boys to 1 girl to 1.5 to 1 for the third pregnancy. This, the study stated, was evidence of sex-selection. The size of the group in question may be too small to influence legislation, but size does not determine the morality of the practice.

Moral decisions are not made in a vacuum. In the countries in which sex-selective abortions are most prevalent, females face many gender inequalities. For this reason some makers of at-home gender testing refuse to sell the product in China or India. The best remedy is respect for the dignity of women, which affords them equal educational, familial and economic opportunity. Addressing the problem of gender equality requires systemic change and a recognition of the fact that investing in women’s lives promotes sustainable development, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But, as Pope Paul VI stated in “Populorum Progressio,” authentic development “cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic, it must be well rounded; it must foster the development of each [person] and of the whole [person].” It is difficult to convince some societies of the value of an unborn girl, if the society does not see the inherent worth of a woman.

American society, while far from perfect in this respect, has made great strides in gender equality, from women’s education to employment. But our society may be at a crossroads. The increased accuracy of at-home tests for gender selection could have grave consequences. For the implication seems to be that foreknowledge would result in more sex-selective abortions in the United States. Some makers of the at-home tests say they have denied testing for customers who have expressed a desire to abort a child because of gender. But what about those couples who never mention it? One company requires users to sign a waiver saying they will not use the test for sex-selection, but enforcement is difficult. Nor are the tests regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Without regulation, tacit acceptance of abortion for any and all motivations becomes the societal norm. Preventing abortion solely for gender selection is an area on which a wide consensus could be built in the United States. The overemphasis on “choice” in this case undermines decades of society’s efforts to promote gender equality, including the efforts of many feminists. One need not profess the Catholic faith to see the backward direction of abortion for gender-selection.

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Jeanne Linconnue
6 years 7 months ago
"It is difficult to convince some societies of the value of an unborn girl, if the society does not see the inherent worth of a woman."

However it is not just a few Asian cultures that devalue women. While the Roman Catholic church is a leader in opposing abortion, the institutional church also teaches by doctrine and by example. The Roman Catholic Church teaches officially that women are second-class in the church, that women may be denied a sacrament due to their gender, and that they are to be subservient to men in both the church in their marriages. These men compound the sinfulness of this teachings by calling it "complementarity" and misrepresenting it as "divinely" mandated rather than being the product of patriarchy and misogny.

The church must clean up its own act if it is to truly lead the world in understanding that females are made in the image of God.
Tim O'Leary
6 years 7 months ago
Glad to see the Editors could show a little independence (from the Democratic Party) and finally get to PRENDA, even if so hesitatingly (don’t want to get Planned Parenthood upset, do we?). In the House of Representatives, 61 Democrats and 7 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against a bill that would have penalized abortionists who knowingly performed abortion for the sole reason that the fetus was a girl (Shame on all of them). The liberal journalist (for Science), Mara Hvistendahl, estimated in her book “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men" that at least 160 million girls have been eliminated in this way in her book. What tragic irony that the radical feminists at Planned Parenthood are more responsible for killing more females than all the tyrants of the twentieth century put together? The womb is now the most dangerous place for girls in the whole world.

The Democrats (including Obama) of course support partial-birth abortion, and even opposed legislation that would have required giving medical assistance to children born alive despite an attempted abortion (The Republicans got it through - The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 or BAIPA). I thought that Democrats were supposed to look out for the little guy? They want cradle to grave welfare but aren’t too concerned for those who don’t get to the cradle.
Carlos Orozco
6 years 7 months ago
I cannot get accustomed to reading such weak arguments against the modern culture of death. The Editors get lost in their arguments and fail to see the big picture. Political intriguing disgusts even further. Only at the very end of the opinion piece do they timidly and indirectly address the root of the problem.

It is the abortion culture that completes its circle of evil, specifically targeting and destroying women before they are even born. The feminist ideology, as all ideologies, ends harming society through its inherent lies and also through unintended consequences. Abortion due to the sex of the unborn (I have always found the term "gender" entirely unscientific) is just another disturbing aspect of a horrible practice.

As Catholics celebrate 50 years of the opening of Vatican II, let's remember the Council's position on this evil found in the Pastoral Constitution Gadium et Spes:

"Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes"

6 years 7 months ago
Mr. O'Leary
Keep your Republican invective to yourself. 

Those of us in the Democratic party are wide and vaired, and do not require, "purity panels" in order to have membership.  Most people, including the majority of DEMOCRATS, DON'T LIKE OR WANT ABORTION of any kind.  SOME DEMOCRATS differ from you in trying to find the BEST WAY TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF ABORTIONS.  Unlike REBULICANS, this is the one issue about life that Dems tend to differ from the Church's modern positions, though not in entirety as we don't WANT abortions to happen.  The REPUBLICANS generally support MANY positions that are contrary to the "culture of life", as listed above.

Some of us wonder if spending the resources of the Church in regard to trying to make abortion illegal might be better spent augmenting programs that make it easier for women to make the choice to continue their pregnancies.  I would like to see REPUBLICANS spend more time thinking about helping the babies AFTER they are born with putting more money into social welfare policies, rather than gleefully and self righteously cutting them, as your party likes to do.  The policies YOUR PARTY supports does not make poor women more likely to choose to have babies.  Instead, Republicans predominantly want to make abortion illegal, while cutting the programs that will take care of the poor women and babies that are born as a result.

The fact is, if abortion were illegal, middle class and upper class women who really wanted an abortion would use their resources simply drive or fly to where it is legal and get one, which is exactly what they did when it WAS illegal.  Poor women will consult the back alley or have the baby and live in the grinding poverty YOUR PARTY wants to impose on them.  And you think that women will hand their babies over to infertile middle class white couples after carrying it for nine months?  Very few will.  Most poor women would KEEP thier babies, in poverty, violence, disease, and drug addiction.  And most of these babies available for adoption wouldn't be blue eyed and blond haired, without drug, physical, or mental problems.  People are not LINING UP to adopt these babies, and they wiill be institutionalized.  Which YOU will pay for.

Why do I know this?  Because I am a lawyer who has carried HUNDREDS of cases over ten years where CPS removed children because of poverty, drug addiction, violence and homelessness.  I represented the parents and sometimes the children.  There is not enough of a social net now for these people, and YOUR PARTY wants to DECIMATE what exists.  So don't tell me about HOW EVIL DEMOCRATS ARE FOR PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTIONS, when your party has blood all over its hands.

I DON'T WANT abortions to happen.  Unlike you, I made a decision, when I was in college, to have my baby, alone, without support or help from anyone after being abandoned by his father, to whom I was engaged.  It was not an easy decision, and was further complecated by the prospect that I was told my child at 7 months he might have Downs, which, in the end, was not the case.  Nevertheless, I was determined in spite of all this to continue my pregnancy.  However, the lack of real support during that time made things very hard for me.  The Church gave me some  help but was limited in resources so the impact on my situation was small.  The point is, unlike you, I have walked the walk.

With my experiences and perspective, I have my doubts as to the time, money, and energy spent by my Church is trying to make abortion illegal, is the best course, especially when that money, time and energy could be used to augment the programs the Church already has in place to help support women trying to make a difficult decision and feeling panicked about the future prospects.  I am a very determined and strong person.  Many women feel overwhelmed by the difficulties they face in carrying a child with so little assistance from the government and society.  And that meager assistance YOUR party would love to cut. 

Your insistence on viewing my party, and this issue as one dimensional is only going to result in responses like mine. You, as a man, could NEVER know what it is like to birth a baby by yourself in porverty as I did.  Maybe you should try walking in my shoes spending thousands of hours working with parents and children who have been born into generational poverty and hopelessness, racked with drug addiction, violence, and the resulting PTSD. Maybe that will get you off your high REPUBLICAN horse.

Tim O'Leary
6 years 7 months ago

Deb #4

That's an awful lot of shouting for a lawyer (capitalizations and bold text). I could imagine it in a street demonstration, but shouldn't a lawyer be able to argue with rational points without shouting? Shame on you for not once responding to the gendericide that was the central point of my post.

Anyway, here are some facts.

You are wrong about how many wars were started in Republican and Democrat administrations. You can look it up here but Republicans ruled when the wars against slavery and Al Queda and Saddam Hussein were started. The Democrats were in power when World War I, II, Korean, Vietnam, Bosnia wars were started, and several others. Even the current administration is using drones with abandon, so they don't have to deal with captured terrorrists (no civil rights issue if they're already dead).

The parties do differ on how to take care of the poor, with one side favoring hand-outs and the other wanting to give hand-ups (Republicans give more to charity, Democrats favor giving through taxes). The differences in capital punishment are minor, but the numbers executed are relatively small (43 executed in 2011, 5 African American, no women), compared to the over 1 million abortions (90% Down syndrome babies, disproportionate minorities and girls). The key difference between the parties today is on abortion, and on that score the killing difference is massive.

I would like to thank the Editors at America for publishing my #2 post. That comment was rejected by the thought-police at the New York Times in response to Ross Douthat's on the new gender and disability Eugenics (so, doubt their polls):
6 years 7 months ago
Mr. O'Leary

If you are surprised that a lawyer was responding in caps, you haven't spent much time in a courtroom, and I would remind you that part of an attorney's oath is to be ZEALOUS in the representation of their client's position. 

Are you suggesting that your party's candidate will not use drones if in office?  And while I may have misspoke when I used the word, "started", your party continued, and in many cases accelerated (Vietnam), threatened nukes (Korea), and put forth bogus information to sway both the public and politicians to support beginning a war by claiming we were under threat of nuclear attack from Iraq.  The Iraq war was nation building and oil, pure and simple. Saddam was secondary in every sense of the word. There are a lot of awful despots all over the world who engage in behavior as bad or worse than Saddam did.  Bush didn't start wars with them, did he?  At the time Bush started that war, there was an actual nuclear threat from North Korea, which could have eventually impacted our Pacific coast, which was ignored.  Instead, our military resources were unevenly divided between Iraq and the place where the real 911 problem eminated from, which was Afghanistan.  And Lincoln?  Don't get me started.  You need to read up on the realignment of the Parties.

I didn't respond to every point in your post, because I didn't take issue with the fact that abortions (whether from gender or any other reason) is something we don't want.  YOU accused DEMOCRATS ("of course") of SUPPORTING late term abortions.  Hmmm.  Democrats...yeah, that would be ME.  And a whole lot of other people you decided to speak for.  Where do you get off doing that?  I would remind you, you didn't say Democrats in Congress or anything of the like.  You said Democrats.  That would mean everyone is this whole big nation who identifies themselves as a Dem.  That's a whole lotta people you seemed to know the intimate hearts and minds of, and what they support and don't support.  Did it ever occur to you that you can belong to a party and not support every last one of the planks in the platform?  Guess not. 

The whole, "give a hand up" philosophy?  I want to know how that works.  I want to know how, when a woman, with five children aged 2 months to seven years old, with a 10th grade education, is supposed to survive after her husband takes off and your party has eliminated subsidized daycare, and kept the minimum wage so low she can't possibly pay rent and bills, eliminated food stamps and low cost housing and medical care if she or her children get sick.  What, "hand up" are you giving her?  There is no, "hand up".  She, and thousands of other mothers like her, are going to have to stay home and take care of those kids until they are older because paying someone else to do it while she works her low paying minimum wage job costs more than having her stay home.  That's just the numbers, and that's just the way it is.  Cutting the welfare programs, that already only provide enough money for she and her kids to live in slums and get food stamps that won't provide enough now to take them through the month, will only create a situation that creates more poverty and misery. A situation that makes our poor look like that of a third world country.  The whole, "hand up" mentality is, in my view, your party's justification so it can feel good about kicking the poor to the curb.

I believe I am my brother's keeper.  I believe that my tax dollars should go to help the poor, hungry, and disenfranchised, and that the tax structure should not be legislated to line the already bulging pockets of rich people who resemble camels trying to get through the eye of a needle.  I don't believe in "nation building", bogus "pre-emptive strikes", or trying to control another nation's assets for our benefit through killing and war because we are the biggest kid on the block.  War is one of the most horrible things that exists in humankind and we should avoid it like the plague.  We don't.  Now your present candidate for President is blathering about Iran, and making comments that indicate he may well get us into yet another horrible and costly war. 
I believe that the numbers of people we have executed in the name of the State are not "small",  Even ONE life taken is too many.  If it were your husband, brother, sister, son or daughter executed, the number of how many others executed as well would be completely irrelevant.  It certainly is to the Church, which I assume, we both belong to. If you say you support, "life" this position CAN'T be inconsistent, even if you believe the abortion issue is more important. 

So, no, I don't believe that the only issue and difference between our parties is the abortion issue. The way we view the world and other souls in it is completely different. As a lawyer, I don't see myself as any better or more deserving than the janitor who cleans the courthouse or the woman in front of me using foodstamps in the grocery store check out line.  I see myself as incredibly fortunate and only where I am by the Grace of God.  I do not believe in meritocracy, as your party generally does, because we have entrenched class structure in this country, with generational inherited wealth at the top, and generational poverty at the bottom, so there is no equal footing to earn "merit".  The government must provide help to even the playing field, and not try to shrug off the responsibility to the "charity" of strangers in the private sector. Our elderly, poor, and needy can't be taken care of that way because people simply don't give enough to carry the burden and most will keep those dollars in their pocket, if given a choice. (As well as the idea being absurd, no other industrialized nation lacks a social welfare system to assist their poor and needy). Quite frankly, I don't believe the powers that be in your party want an even playing field. If the playing field were even, and we had a more educated and savvy lower/lower middle class, they would be more difficult to exploit and make money off of.  So, corporate, big business, and the top 1% triumphs when such policies are in place.

Look at the Beatitudes and Woes in Luke.  Look at the platforms of both parties.  This is why I am a Democrat.
6 years 7 months ago
And the corporeal works of Mercy.  I forgot to add that.
6 years 7 months ago
Every morning, I get up, shave, put on my helmet, take up my shield and spear, draw a mug of coffee,and trudge to my accustomed spot at the intersection of Liberal and Conservative Avenues. I'm programmed for the day, indeed for life. Today, however, America goosed me, so to speak, with the idea of sex-selective abortion. It had never occurred to me. Why does that idea so repel me? Is it because of the tawdry crassness of the woman who yields to it? Or is it because suddenly the fetus to be aborted by its crass mother appears as a human being? Why is my impulse to stop the abortion triggered with such force? Can motive determine whether an abortion is good or bad? Is it a human fetus that is put to death to await the garbage truck's morning pick up? Why did I click on America, why didn't I delete it and go on to my spot at the barricade, where a cool, peaceful, sunny morning awaited me?
Tim O'Leary
6 years 7 months ago

Deb #6

I made an error in my post in #2. It wasn't 61 democrats, but 161 Democrats and 7 Republicans who voted against protecting girls in the womb. But, you are right. There are some good Democrats. 20 voted against sex-selection abortions. I would never vote for the 7 Republicans. So, who is voting for the 161 Democrats? Pro-lifers? They would have to be very naive. Perhaps, they tell themselves that increasing taxes on the rich will outbalance all that killing going on.

I'm not sure what your beef is with Abraham Lincoln (your "don't get me started"). There was a major party realignment for Catholics in the 1970-80s, where 50% Catholics shifted to the Republican side, mostly on the pro-life issues. Like many Irish-Americans, I grew up in a Democratic family. It is only later that I was able to see that the economic policies of the Democratic side were mostly working against the poor. I believe in a preferential option for the poor, but not a preferential option for the state.

I long ago decided never in my life to vote for anyone who would actively promote abortion. I do not want to go to Judgment Day with that on my conscience. And I won't have a lawyer to plead my case, with the defense that "yea, well, but I practiced the corporal works of mercy, so give me a break on using my vote to keep abortion mills in business."
6 years 7 months ago
Mr. O'Leary
If you believe that even if abortion were made "illegal" in the federal scheme that abortions will stop than you are deluded.  As I indicated in earlier points. those women of means who were determined to have abortions before abortion was legal travelled to Canada or other areas where abortions were legal.  Those without means sought illegal abortionists, many who took the lives of these women, and in the process left the women's children motherless.  Don't bury your head in the sand.  Abortion "mills" are not going away because you make it illegal.  A huge illegal industry will grow as it has with drugs, that will feed off poor people who are already miserable.
As I indicated earlier.  I think abortion is tragic, and we should do everything sensible we can to diminish the numbers. Women considering this should be given other realistic, viable options.  Having financial support during and AFTER pregnancy will help them make the choice that I did.  Speaking as someone who has been pregnant and feeling desperate, having the prospect of real, substantial help not only with pregnancy but in the future when you are going it alone can make a big difference. 
Since you never have been in this position, and never will be, you can't seem to grasp this.  I guess it's analogous to undertanding racism but never actually understanding it on an intimate level unless you are a minority and a victim of it.  I know what it is like to go it alone, poor and without help, but you have never been pregnant and been in such a position. Never birthed a baby under these circumstances.  I'm sorry, but I just know what it's like on a different level than you do. 
I think I am in a better position than you to understand what will best convince a desperate woman to think again on whether or not to keep a baby.  I can say with absolute certainty as an attorney that people will commit crimes without a second thought if they decide that is what they really want or need to do.  Making abortion illegal will not stop women who have decided this is the route they must take, but offering them viable ways of keeping their baby with some degree of economic security may make them think twice.  A solid social welfare system, not dependent on the vagaries of whether or not someone chooses to, "give" that week will address this.

I cannot understand, and probably never will understand, Republican ecomonic policy.  I was living in the District of Colimbia in my early twenties when Reagan had all the mentally unstable people that were not a danger to others kicked out of St. Elizabeth's.  I passed them on my way to class and work, insane, huddling on the sidewalk, hungry, freezing, confused, and completely unable to care for themselves.  Many of them froze to death in the streets that winter.  That was my first brush with Republican social welfare policy.  It hasn't gotten better since then.  If you feel comfortable going to the Almighty to explain why you are okay with supporting these sorts of policies, be my guest.  I would not want to be in your shoes that day. 
I am not worried about explaining why I believed that there was a another way of helping women make good choices in regard to pregnancy, and I know God knows I mean it, because he knows the choices I made in my own life.  I will be able to say I also did what I could politically to clothe the naked, give shelter to the homeless, give drink to the thirsty and food to the hungry, to seek God and peace.

It is clear we are never going to see eye to eye.  Our view of the world and the way we view others that walk beside us in our journey are diametrically different.  Above all, we are called to discernment to determine these difficult issues, and after this process, to follow our conscience.  I do this, and I suppose you do too.  On the last day, both of us will know who was right, if either of us are.

I doubt either of us are perfect.  In which case...

I'll save you a seat in purgatory. 
Tim O'Leary
6 years 7 months ago
Deb #11

Direct experience helps empathize, but one doesn’t need to experience a thing to know the right and wrong of it. Otherwise, no non-racist should ever even try to criticize a racist, no woman should ever criticize a man because she isn’t one, no one who hasn’t been to war should ever criticize the actions of a soldier. This is a false argument to keep people from fighting against injustice.


The appearance of mentally ill people on the streets in the 1970-80s is another case of a liberation ideology gone wrong, not an economic one. The ACLU and other lawyers with a suspicion of the psychiatric system pushed for laws that shifted from a patient’s right to receive treatment to a patient’s right to refuse treatment. This resulted in the premature release (under threat of lawsuits) of thousands from psychiatric hospitals. See Madness in the Streets : How Psychiatry and the Law Abandoned the Mentally Ill (esp. page 110+) by RJ Isaac & VC Armat.
Tim O'Leary
6 years 7 months ago

Deb #10 (This was supposed to be para 3 from #11 above)

I’m sure I have my own seat in purgatory (if I’m fortunate). But, we are not talking about the “hard” cases in abortion, but the deliberate aborting of girls for the sole reason of gender (or race or disability). We are talking about politicians who are enthusiastically preventing any protective laws for the victims of these crimes, the media that promotes them, and those who are voting to keep them in office. The injustice of abortion is THE injustice issue of our time (as slavery was when the Republican party was founded to stop it), and girls, minorities and the disabled are the majority of its victims.

6 years 7 months ago
Mr. O' Leary
Everyone lives with the threat of lawsuits, including lawyers.  That does not justify turning mentally incapable people into the streets, and the economic incentive, that money was no longer spent to feed, care for, and house them cannot be ignored, and it was certainly important to the Reagan administration.  By refusing to acknowledge the financial side of the coin, you hobble your own argument.  Also, the ACLU does things liberals despise as well.  They will represent anyone who they believe has civil liberty issues, regardless where they are on the political spectrum or how disgusting they might be. 

It is not a false argument to say I have a better and deeper perspective than yours of women, unintended pregnancies, and experiencing that in the backdrop of poverty.  There is nothing that can replace a true life experience, and there are different levels of understanding.  If you are saying you understand what being a woman is like as well as I do, carrying and having children, etc., I say you are deluded.  I would not begin to know what it is like to walk this world as a man, I can understand intellectually if you tell me, but that is different.  Are you really trying to say that actual experience and intellectual understanding is the same?

In regard to what we are talking about, you framed the conversations when you said, "The Democrats (including Obama) of course support partial-birth abortion". That is a blanket statement that included me, and of course, I took offense that you would decide what I do and don't support.  If you are going to start throwing accusatory statements like that around, you need exercise some care in being specific. 

Besides accusing me of making a false argument, you have not even begun to address the fact that abortion, even when it is illegal, continues.  Even if Roe is overturned, which I believe is unlikely, then abortion would just go state by state as it did before.  And women would be hopping in cars and driving to where it was legal, or flying, or seeing an illegal abortionist in their own town, an industry that would grow by leaps and bounds in the places where it was illegal.  People who can afford gender testing and testing for disabilities generally have means.  Abortion is always going to be legal somewhere and sadly, they are in a position to travel and get that abortion where it is offered.  Refusing to recognize that reality will not make it go away.  I deal with the reality of the law every day, and people who work their way around it. 

That is why, when there are limited resources for the Church to address this issue, I think She should be use those resources trying to address the issue of the person seeking the abortion and why, and give viable assistance rather than seeking to stop the practice itself, which is going to continue and be accessible either because the law, which has stood for many years, will remain, or if it by some stretch is defeated, by travel to where it is legal or illegal practitioners.

That is just my view, and what I have come to spiritually and practically. I have to vote my conscience and I am not going to turn everything black and white because it makes it easier and I don't have to struggle.  God means us to struggle through these hard questions, and not follow anyone blindly, including Priests, Bishops, or even the Pope. Each one of us has a personal responsiblity to pray on and discern the truth of important matters such as this. 

You want, if I understand correctly, legislators to create new laws which inhibits a right that the Supreme Court indicates people have under the Constitution of this country, and you want everyone to vote only for those politicians willing to do this, no matter how dispicable that politician might be in regard to all the other "life" issues. Issues including those that affect the very lives in regard to health, safety and welfare of innocent newborns, toddlers, and children, who are just as precious in God's eyes as the unborn.  Those babies and children whose safety is affected by living in dangerous slums, being malnourished, not receiving proper medical care, dying in wars and violence.  These "born" babies are not better than the unborn, and I have to consider them and their needs, as well as the needs of the elderly, the disabled, and helpless when I look at politicians and how I vote.  I believe my party is more concerned with these issues.  Not likely to do things like tout that "corporations" are people, and like it, regardless of what the S.C. might say.  For goodness sake, what would Jesus say about a statement like that?!

I think it is safe to say that neither of us want people to run around getting abortions.  We certainly differ in what we think is the best way to allocate limited resources to that stop happening, or at least reduce the number of abortions that will inevitably happen.  I don't think God is going to hold this against me personally, maybe the Pope will speak Ex Cathedra on this issue and then there will be no room for discernment.  Until that time, I am going to exercise discernment as I must, vote where I can do the most practical good, and tackle this thorny problem in the way I truly believe is best, as you will.

I also think it is better for each side not to generalize or demonize people who thinks differently.  Even if I believed abortion was a great idea, which I clearly don't, would angry name calling help someone who differs understand your point?  Attacking me and others because we don't think the legislation avenue is the answer, and want to exercise a different method in addressing a problem is very narrow.  I am not saying you are bad for wanting to deal with it the way you are, only that it is not as effective because you are simply not going to stop the practice, even if you could overturn it in the federal court.

As far as Republicans and Democrats, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree.  We each have different priorities in life and think different things are important.  For me, with my priorities, being a Dem is a better fit for me.  I couldn't imagine being anything else.  You probably feel the same way about your own party.
Tim O'Leary
6 years 7 months ago

Deb #13

Just on the mentally ill. I think you defame Reagan by this. What law did he pass that you think pushed people out of psychiatric homes? My sources tell me it was the doctors and their lawyers, and had nothing to do with Reagan, that I know of.

6 years 7 months ago
Just google it.  You will find plenty on it from his time as Gov. of Cali right on up through his presidency.  Here a portion of an article from the S.F. Chronicle which includes a quote from Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis.

"At the same time, funding was slashed for a variety of social services, including public health, drug rehab and food stamps - programs that were relied upon by the thousands of mentally ill people who'd been released from state facilities as a cost-cutting move.

Reagan was asked in a 1988 interview, shortly before Christmas, what he thought of the homeless people sleeping just across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park.

"There are always going to be people," he replied. "They make it their own choice for staying out there."

A couple of years later, Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis, commented on her fear that she might be recognized by a homeless person while out jogging.

"What would I say if I were asked why I didn't talk to my father, or argue with him, about this national tragedy?" she wrote in Parade magazine. "How do you argue with someone who states that the people who are sleeping on the streets of America 'are homeless by choice?' "

Tim O'Leary
6 years 7 months ago

Deb #15

I did look at your reference, and some others. I think I am right that Reagan did not enact any law or regulation that pushed mentally ill people out of psychiatric hospitals. It would seem to me that the best place to manage the homeless is by local government, and not by the distant federal government. The article you referenced even says they were already out and complains of HUD reductions in housing, which is an important but different issue. You may not know that Federal spending did not drop under Reagan (to the chagrin of many conservatives). It just didn't rise as fast as some people wanted it to. The US Federal Government spend in 1980, 1984 & 1988: $517B - $666B - $909B. So, 75% Increase over the 8 years. I note your article comes from San Francisco, a very liberal city that is curiously also referred to as the homeless capital of the USA (see Wiki). I wonder if there is a connection.

Bill Collier
6 years 7 months ago
One of the reasons that the issue of sex-selective abortion is bothersome to some is that it forces people to focus on the humanity of the unborn being, not a good state of mind if one has set out to destroy the clinically-denoted "embryo" or "fetus" within. While many do not relate viscerally to such medical terms, add the descriptive "male" or "female" before embryo or fetus, and what was an "it" immediately becomes one of us. Of course, the it had in reality been one of us all along. Though the injection of gender-based decisionmaking into the abortion debate makes some pro-choice advocates uncomfortable, IMO that is all for the good. Anything that triggers reflection about the shared humanity of unborn human life will hopefully contribute to the elimination, or at least the drastic reduction, of abortions. Unfortunately, I don't see Planned Parenthood or NARAL, for example, signing on to a bill limiting sex-selective abortions. Such a concession would be a huge crack in their advocacy over the years that abortions must be available for essentially any reason.      
Robert O'Connell
6 years 7 months ago
The quote from Gaudiam et Spes, i.e., "Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes" prompts my comment.  

Let me add "Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person...all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator" (Gaudium et Spes, 27)" as emphasized by a 1968 letter from the USCCB.  

I believe both statements are wholly true.  Nonetheless, I do not know that society should criminalize all abortion.  As abominable as sex-selection is, why not just focus on how we see it as profoundly immoral and a supreme dishonor to the Creator?   
Ana Blasucci
6 years 7 months ago
Sadly, there are places in the world where females are undervalued.  But let's not forget that the evil of sex-selection abortion might just as well be used simply because one prefers one sex over the other.  "We already had two  boys, and, well, we really wanted a girl, but don't want more than three kids."  That would seem a more likely home-grown, organic type of desire for this abomination when speaking of "native" Westerners.
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 7 months ago
I agree with Bob O'Connell (#18).

As much as I believe that all and every human life is sacred, I have a hard time getting my mind around criminalizing abortion.  In our country crime is harshly punished.  What, then, do we do with the scared young women who resort to back ally abortions?  Put them in jail?  Execute them? 

At some point those of us who proclaim that life is sacred must begin to believe and live this truth.  Welcome into our homes and hearts the suffering human beings around us.  Dorothy Day showed us how this was done with a love that was inseparable from her love for God.  A woman who had had an abortion herself, and preached against abortion, would welcome into her house anyone, probably especially a pregnant and scared young woman.

Abortion will not end when it becomes criminal, but when Catholics begin to live and share with other the insight of the sacredness of human life.
Tim O'Leary
6 years 7 months ago

Beth #20 and Bob#18

You both agree that the killing of an innocent child in the womb is aggressive evil. But isn't it the ultimate form of child abuse? I agree there can be extenuating circumstances for these and even most criminal acts. However, if this form of killing were criminalized (like pedophilia, for example), it would first stop people like Planned Parenthood from making millions on their killing machines, and it would teach a selfish society and individual men and women that we value human life to the full degree. It would also be the end to a particularly nasty "war on women."


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