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In a recent exchange of comments on a dKos diary concerning abortion rights, a participant claimed that he was "pro-life" while at the same time seeming to deny it. (Note: I never use the generally shallow, dishonest, and deliberately deceptive term "pro-life" outside of quotation marks.)

I asked him, "Why are you 'pro-life' when it results in such massive human suffering?" He replied, "Does it really? I wish we really could know. In the end, however, suffering is an inevitable part of everyone's life.  Killing need not be.  While it's right to reduce suffering, it's also right to avoid killing in order to reduce it. Where do we draw the line? That's harder to answer." I easily enough answered, "Yes, it obviously really does result in massive human suffering. It is not hard at all for me to answer that the line should be drawn by each individual woman, not by the tyranny of your traditionally misogynistic religious mythology striving to revive the Holy Inquisition." Not appreciative of that, he shot back with, "Holy inquisition??? Where's that coming from?  Stay on topic, please."

Yes, indeed, in my opinion, the "Holy Inquisition" lives. This is why it is very much on topic whenever abortion rights are considered. . .

Let's dip beneath the surface, hopefully not so far that anyone will need to pop up for air, although we could dive much deeper for an even much more hideous and wider-ranging, closer, asphyxiating view of it. The psychology of the Holy Inquisition is not only on topic, it is the topic engaged at its very core. Although the Holy Inquisition is no longer openly operating under that name in the Roman Catholic Church, its tradition of striving to dominate and subjugate the whole world to its authoritarian, superstition-based definition of "morality" by as much fear and punishment as it can get away with is alive and kicking.

We no longer see the ghastly torture and countless brutal public executions for "heresy" and "witchcraft" that once prevailed. The advancing enlightenment and liberalization of western civilization have forced the dynamics of the Holy Inquisition mentality into hiding. Recall that women were always especially oppressed by the Holy Inquisition when it was still openly called that, which was entirely in keeping with the tradition of oppression of women by the misogynistic Roman Catholic Church since its origins two millennia ago.

The more things don’t change, the more they stay the same

It is practiced stealthily, less directly, and thus less obviously now, but it is not hard to recognize if one looks with eyes wide open. For example, consider the vigorously active contributions of the Roman Catholic Church to the following statistics:

The World Health Organization has estimated that in those parts of the world in which abortion is illegal, about 70,000 thinking, feeling, often desperate women and teenage girls die every year from illegal attempts to abort unwanted pregnancies. That is more than one every 10 minutes dead because they are prohibited by law from accessing safe, legal, professional abortion care. Many times that number are seriously injured and maimed for life.

In addition, every minute, night and day, no holidays or weekends off, around the world
one woman dies of complications of pregnancy and childbirth (every minute),
ten teenage girls undergo unsafe illegal abortions (every minute),
thirteen infants under twelve months old die (every minute),
fifty seven people contract an STD (every minute),
eleven people are infected with HIV (every minute),
and the already-burgeoned-beyond-the-planet's-capacity-to-sustain human population increases by one hundred fifty more people (every minute),
all sanctioned, encouraged, and even enforced by our callous right-wing-dominated government through international interference with and withholding of funding from worldwide reproductive health and sex education programs, all with the vigorous support and reinforcement of the Roman Catholic Church.

Let's not forget the women brutalized and incarcerated by law enforcement in those countries in which the Roman Catholic Church has pushed for and won the criminalization of abortion and achieved that cruel piece of "God's will on Earth be done." In countries such as Chile and El Salvador women having not only induced abortions, but spontaneous abortions (miscarriages), are routinely subjected to police investigations and interrogation, arrested, and incarcerated. Many women having natural miscarriages are so afraid of such persecution and prosecution that they avoid seeking medical care in such situations, and some (many I would think) die. Yet the Roman Catholic "pro-life" protagonist I quoted above indulges in the make-believe that he is free of any complicity in "killing."

That is what so-called "pro-life" voters and politicians stand for, and they won't stop until they succeed in creating conditions in this country mirroring those in the Third World and in Chile and El Salvador in my examples above. Or until we stop them at the polls.

Does anyone really not see an unbroken continuation of the "Holy Inquisition" in such barbaric atrocities?

As with that famous rose, an Inquisition by any other name - or a prettier name - or no name at all - is still an Inquisition.

I strongly believe that defending abortion rights and other issues targeted so irrationally and callously by religious extremists are [1] issues of far too heavy import to ignore or whisper about and [2] winning issues politically if addressed rationally and assertively.

For a quick course in the basics of the political and religious issues underlying opposition to abortion rights, see Abortion Rights 101

Originally posted to Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 06:17 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  abortion (18+ / 0-)

    it has always struck me as incalculably evil that celibate men in the guise of
    priests should be able to formulate the policy of control over
    women's sexuality and pregnancies; when will this misogyny end?
    as long as sexuality is viewed as evil and the fruits of sexuality as
    human 'life'  when these results are simply masses of cells , women will be forced to seek abortions in unsafe conditions;
    this is simply and absolutely wrong.
    what kind of religion posits the human sexual urges as 'evil': this kind of thinking was behind the Inquisition.

    •  Condemning women to an earthly hell (10+ / 0-)

      with the justification that God likes it that way is sheer inhumanity, no matter what religious brand it flies under.

      The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

      by moiv on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 06:54:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed, and (8+ / 0-)

        its difference from the honor killings under fundamentalist Muslim religious law is paper thin.

        No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

        by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 07:13:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The difference is largely (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annrose, Beket, julifolo

          one of degree. As ever, what we see largely depends on where we stand.

          From the safe harbor of (most of) the US, where women still live in relative security, the short-sighted see room for finding "common ground" with those who adamantly oppose abortion and even contraception. That translates to "lets compromise on women's health issues so they'll cross over and vote for us."

          But the other side never compromises their own religiously-founded principles, nor cedes so much as a millimeter of ground. The word for what is happening on the political front is not "compromise" but "capitulation."

          And almost all of those who advocate that politicial course are men. It will be a shame if they ultimately see the error of their political strategy only after their female nearest and dearest end up adding to your chilling statistics.

          The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

          by moiv on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 07:36:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You are incorrect.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk

      if you believe that the Catholic Church forwards the notion that sexuality is evil.  It's just not correct.  You repeat this false claim twice, so you obviously think it's true.

      •  It depends on how you define 'sexuality'. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annrose, Beket

        The Catholic church defines it as a relationship between a man and a woman who have performed a ceremony blessed by a priest within their institution.  Any relationship, physical or otherwise, outside of these confines, is a mortal sin in their view.  Along these lines, when I had sex with my wife last night, who was married to me by a Jewish judge, in an open ceremony, condemns me to hell.  I've not had sex with anyone other than her since the first time we had intercourse- more than seven years ago.  A devout Catholic would condemn our relationship.  Is that right?

  •  The Catholic Pro-Life Committee (8+ / 0-)

    of North Texas enthusiastically supports and promotes the radical Fr. Frank Pavone, who campaigned and fundraised for Randall Terry in 2006.

    This morning, Fr. Frank Pavone was on the radio ... and was asked about the Pope's recent statement agreeing with the Mexican Bishops that Mexican politicians risk excommunication in their support of abortion and Fr. Frank said:

    "We don't need in office people who can't see the difference between serving the public and killing the public."

    Yes, certainly so. When people who claim to represent the public actually allow the death of that same public, it is reasonable to assume that they do not understand the role of a public servant and have in fact manipulated that role for their own gain.

    Many politicians who claim to be Catholic and yet support abortion and receive communion publicly are upset that the Church would speak out against them, claiming that the Church is using the Eucharistic as a weapon to become involved in a political campaign.

    But, the Church is rightly defending itself when she speaks against these things and in effect is saying, "Wait a minute, why is it that you are using the Eucharist to promote your own political agenda? That's not what it is for."

    This will be important to understand as we head into the 2008 elections. The principles involved do not change from one election to another or from one candidate to another.

    The committee's adulation of a radical who supports domestic terrorists isn't surprising when one knows that its Director of Communications (and blogger-in-chief) was once the personal roadie of Pavone himself.

    The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

    by moiv on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 06:40:53 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the statistics (11+ / 0-)

    When we discuss the issue of abortion we also must discuss pregnancy and its risks.  Your statistic on the maternal death rate worldwide (one woman dies every minute) is staggering. I wonder as our state houses try to out do each other with "informed consent" on abortion if the risk of pregnancy and childbirth is stated clearly beside the risk of abortion? Is our government in the USA removed enough from the CHURCH at this point in history that we are willing to give women legitimate information? From this vantage, abortion is safer than childbirth so doesn't the state have a vested interest in informing women planning to carry a pregnancy to term that it is dangerous to one's health?  After all, isn't this all about protecting women's health?  Yea, right!

    •  Abortion is safer than childbirth? (9+ / 0-)

      You must be more specific in your statement. LEGAL abortion in the U.S. is about 13 TIMES safer than childbirth in the U.S. ILLEGAL ABORTION is totally another matter. Illegal abortion is the number one killer of women worldwide, as it WAS in the U.S. before Roe v. Wade (1973). One of my wife's best friends in high school (Redding, CA) disappeared suddenly in 1960 and was later found dead from an illegal abortion. The disparity in complications and death rates between legal and illegal abortion is mind boggling. What today is a simple, safe, and comfortable 3-5 minute surgery used to be a life threatening, agonizing and VERY expensive ordeal. An illegal abortion in 1969 cost about $600, done by an unlicensed and often untrained, unknown person in a dingy back room.  Corrected for inflation, that would be about $2500 in today's money. But now it costs about $400-500 for a first trimester abortion.  Yet another mind boggling difference.  Politicians MUST realize that they can not stop abortions. They can only make them illegal. When abortions are illegal, women WILL have illegal abortions. We've been there, done that.  I've SEEN it with my own eyes. Let's not go back.

  •  BTW (8+ / 0-)

    I suggest anyone is dreaming who believes we can protect and advance human rights, social justice, and rational governmental policies without vigorously and openly exposing and combating those influences of religious beliefs and practices that rigidly block the way.

    No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

    by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 07:06:23 PM PDT

  •  The Office of the iNquisition (11+ / 0-)

    has been given a kinder, gentler name--Copngregation for the Doctine of the Faith. Until JP II's death it was headed by Ratzinger, now the pope.  Made me feel all warm and fuzzy. He is the one pushing for excommunication or at least withholding communion from Catholic politicians who vote pro-choice

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 07:08:35 PM PDT

    •  Just like I didn't vote Clinton Pope, (6+ / 0-)

      I didn't vote the Pope President. He needs to be told to keep his nose out of politics in this country or risk losing their non-profit status.

      •  Won't get any argument form me on that. (4+ / 0-)

        In fact polls show that American Catholics believe the bishops need to keep their nose out of politics. I also think Benny 16 lost a lot of favor when it came out that hehad ordered the bishops to keep the pedophile mess secret (the Guardina posted a story on the letter). THAT scandal hur thte church so badly that many Cahtolcis I know are voting with their wallets--they give to parish colelctions and for their parish school--but not a dime to the Archidoceses or Disocese and nothign to Rome.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 11:02:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is really two Catholic Churchs (0+ / 0-)

          Here and THERE.

          •  Yes, there are. (0+ / 0-)

            Western Europe and North America (except Mexico and the peninsula) and everywhere else. ALso the isntitutional church in America v. the parish level, where very few priests ask about birth control in the confessional.  I thinK Chrisianity and Cahtolciism both work best at that level--it's why megachurches are so terrible.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Mon Jun 04, 2007 at 07:52:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  pro-lifers are not pro-life (18+ / 0-)

    They are pro control.  The issue of abortion is about power, not life.  It's about the social & legal status of women.  Ultimately, it's a question of whether women are or are not human beings, a question that's been raised for hundreds of years, often by the Catholic Church.  The body and life support systems of a human being cannot be used without that human being's concent.  (In English common law, a battery is the unauthorized touching of another's body.)  If a woman can be invaded by a sperm and forced to go through pregnancy & childbirth on pain of criminal prosecution, she is not a human being.

  •  I'd rather see pro-CHILD legislation, so poor (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose, moiv, Beket, julifolo, ghengismom, Readrock

    moms who can't afford another pregnancy, yet can't afford health-care with birth control options, then Republican or "right-wingers" would pay all expenses for the children moms are "forced to bear" until the children in 18 years old.  That would truely be pro-life.  

    •  Never fly in Texas (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annrose, Beket, julifolo, marykk

      My God, they'd have to cut back on "tax relief."

      Cutting women's family planning and children's health programs here contributed to a multi-billion dollar surplus in the state treasury this year. Carving out a set-aside for future tax relief was a big issue in the just-concluded session of the Lege.

      At least the GOP jihadists were publicly shamed not into adding children to the state-funded insurance plan, but into restoring coverage to many who were kicked off by "reforms" the last time around.

      These are truly loathsome people.

      The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

      by moiv on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 07:45:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Planned Parenthood provides free BC no (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annrose, Beket

      questions asked.

      •  There is no Planned Parenthood in Mississippi (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moiv, Beket

        and only two in the very southern part of Louisiana.  Geographically there are hundreds of miles where poor women are trapped and transportation becomes a serious part of the birth control equation.

        •  They show one in Gulf Port (0+ / 0-)

          altho after Katrina it might not be there, there are 4 in Alabama, 5 in GA. There are a dozen or more free clinics in Louisiana and another in Mississippi plus the Mississippi Department of Health offers free family planning and birth control. There is more than the Pill, there are other less effective methods like the sponge and foam but combined with a condom becomes very effective. I don't buy poor women are unable to at least try to protect themselves against an unwanted pregnancy or STD for that matter.

          •  barriers (6+ / 0-)

            When I was in medical school, I used the think that all we needed to do was to give women contraception and that would cure everything. But sadly, I learned that there are a lot of barriers for women to get the contraception they need.

            First of all, they need to know they are at risk for pregnancy, that there are safe and effective methods, where to get them, how to get a babysitter for their kids and transportation to the clinic, how to pay for the contraceptives and how to use them. FOr some of us this seems obvious but it turns out it is not so for many women.

            Even worse, many women are being exposed to myths and lies that tell them that BC is not effective and it is dangerous. This kind of misinformation can be found in most abstinence-only programs (which now make up about 30% of school programs) and multiple websites and "crisis pregnancy centers' that are run by anti-choice groups. So, there is a lot of work to do to tackle the problem of unintended pregnancies. Many countries have done a good job of this--by such simple measure of enacting policy that is supported by evidence. Our current administration chooses the opposite approach.

          •  Dozens of free clinics in Louisiana? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moiv

            Where are these?  In the north part of the state the only resource available is the public health unit where there is up to a three month wait for birth control.  And when you set up an appt you are asked to show up at 8:00 in the morning and if you are not seen that day you are asked to return.  

            I am not sure the Gulf Port clinic is still there, but even if it is it still leaves a large part of the state (which is the poorest in the nation) without reasonable access to contraception. I wonder if there is a connection?

            Most women try hard to contracept.  Some women get pregnant no matter what they do...there are plenty of unintended pregnancies on Depo (the shot that lasts for three months) so you can't blame women choosing this method of misuse or of being irresponsible.  

            •  Also some PP addresses (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Beket, Readrock

              belong to small administrative offices that are not actually clinics. These outposts remain to keep PP from losing its presence in a state altogether.

              I was saddened to learn this last summer while networking with women's health orgs during Flip Benham's assault on Jackson.

              The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

              by moiv on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:45:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Given the State of Mississippi Public Health Dept (0+ / 0-)

              provides free family planning etc., it is also not OUR fault when these services are either not used or misused. I can't blame them for being irresponsible, of course I can and I will. Reproductive freedom starts with reproductive responsibility for God's sake. As for the 3 month wait, while unfortunate I had a 3 month wait to get my last mammogram and when I got there found out there was a computer glitch and I wasn't on the list, so I had to take another morning off a week later when they squeezed me in. I live in a city over over a 1/2 million, have good insurance, so stuff happens. If I were motivated not to have another baby I would do whatever I had to to get birth control. The other thing that really bothers is me is women in general have no idea how lucky they are. When I came to the age I might have become sexually active single women couldn't get ANY form of birth control and married women couldn't without their husbands permission, abortion wasn't legal and the one Dr who did perform them died.

          •  Ability and reality. (3+ / 0-)

            I don't buy poor women are unable to at least try to protect themselves against an unwanted pregnancy or STD for that matter.

            Well, it's not usually a question of ability, but one of knowledge and understanding, as well as of disempowerment up to and including rape.

            Will you buy the following? It is simple fact. Of 1 million sexually active women properly taking a contraceptive that is 99% successful in preventing pregnancy, the flip side of that is that 1%, or 10 thousand, of them will become pregnant over a year despite their desire and attempt to prevent that.

            And the inquisitors of the RCC forbid even the use of any kind of effective contraception.

            No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

            by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:41:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know there is a failure rate as well as untende (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Beket

              pregnancies because of rape. I thought we were talking about women who simply do not make the effort.

              •  Since you brought it up, (0+ / 0-)

                I thought we were talking about women who simply do not make the effort.

                I guess you know what you were talking about. My point is only that it is not just a simple matter of not making the effort - and I don't mean to accuse you of not knowing that.

                No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

                by Beket on Mon Jun 04, 2007 at 07:02:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have never had an issues with failed birth (0+ / 0-)

                  control or women and girls who have been raped. I don't even have a problem with women seeking an abortion because they were careless, not my body, not my call. But today one form of BC or another IS available, no one male or female should be having unprotected sex if for no other reason STDs, condoms are cheap and a lot more effective than no protection. There is also the method used when I was a girl, it is cheaper still - cross your legs. Women today have opportunities to protect themselves their mothers and grandmothers never had.  

                  •  Inability to control fertility makes a good mom? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Beket, julifolo, choice joyce

                    I do understand that you want women to be responsible and yes, you would think that with the number of contraceptives readily available it would be a breeze.  But sadly, this is not the case.  Access to contraception continues to be a HUGE problem in the United States, particularly in rural parts of the country.  Then transportation does become part of the "method" necessary to contracept.  There are many other barriers to contraception as well as contraception failure, which would make a wonderful diary.  Any takers?

                    And yes, condoms are available without a prescription and are relatively cheap (price them the next time you are in the grocery store...and find out where they keep them.  Behind the counter perhaps?)  But condoms do have a relatively high failure rate and this method obviously involves STRONG partner compliance and I am sure this is a subject that also could fill many a diary!

                    Your major concern seems to be these "careless" women who are out there having sex with no protection.  These are the abortions you appear to object to, if I understand your reasoning.  But really, if they are having trouble controlling their fertility do we really think they are responsible enough to be a mother?  Is forcing them to carry a pregnancy and have a baby a way to make them pay for not using contraception?  The old "you made your bed, missy, now lie in it" mentality?  Surely that's not what you want?

                    And really how do we know what a particular woman is going through?  And who are we to determine which abortion is OK and which is not?  

                    I sometimes think that the world is divided into two classes of women, those who get pregnant easily and those who do not.  The women who do not get pregnant easily judge the women who appear to be bombarded by fertile eggs dropping out of the sky.  These women who seem to be "fertile Myrtles" try many methods of birth control and sometimes reference their kids by their contraceptive failures such as the "the foam and condoms" baby.  Part of the reason this may occur is that some women have very thick mucus surrounding their eggs so sperm cannot get in...so wouldn't it be something if the difference between those "moral" and careful women who control their fertility and those "hussies" who do not is the THICKNESS OF THE MUCUS ONE PRODUCES?  

                    Just some thoughts on deciding who is "worthy" of quality abortion care...and who is not.  When we do not aid in the provision of quality abortion care for all we set off some very tragic societal consequences.  But I guess that is what "careless" women deserve?

                    •  Good grief I am not anti-choice (0+ / 0-)

                      but your argument doesn't hold water. If they can't afford BC or get to a MD to get some, then how are they going to get to and afford an abortion. Please don't tell me the government will pay for it because in most states I've lived in they don't and won't. I am just tired of all the excuses because I was sexually active at a time and a place when BC wasn't readily available and not only did I never have an unplanned pregnancy but I never got an STD, and trust me I was poor by anyone's standards and did not have fertility issues.  I really don't care why some women get pregnant with no problem and others don't it isn't about that and it isn't about denying anyone access to an abortion for ANY reason. My whole point is reproductive free starts with reproductive responsibility. If abortion clinics aren't sending these women home with some knowledge of how their bodies work and how to NOT make babies when they don't want one, then they are failing in their jobs.

          •  Planned Parenthood facilities/ health depts. (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moiv, Beket, julifolo, fiddlingnero, Readrock
            The PP clinic in Gulfport was gone long before Katrina; there are clinics in Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville (thats 3 in AL).  As far as the publicly funded health departments, many only offer birth control on a limited basis (days of month, types available, qualified person to administer).  In the poorest part of MS, the delta region, there's not even a health dept. in each town or community.  Many have NO provision for health care at all.
            •  Thanks for clarifying that (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Beket, julifolo, fiddlingnero

              There's a widespread misperception, perpetrated by the 'abstinence-only' lobby, that PP is handing out birth control pills on every street corner in America -- leading to their contention that if contraception really worked to reduce the abortion rate, the overall number of abortions performed would be dropping like a rock.

              But the truth is that countless women can't get contraception, and just as many others with nominal access cannot afford it. In states where public funding of family planning has been slashed to near-nothing, Planned Parenthood most definitely doesn't provide free birth control anymore. And in many areas, they can no longer even provide care on a sliding scale.

              The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

              by moiv on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 10:48:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, there are questions and strings (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beket, julifolo, Readrock

        I have worked for 3 different PP affiliates around the country. At the first one, in a small town in Indiana, they limited the number of college students who were allowed to make an appointment for birth control each month, as they saw the townies as their primary population. They also automatically put each college student at a high income level and therefore high fee, just because they were attending a private liberal arts college.

        At the second affiliate, I helped manage the Title X program. This was an excellent lesson in rationing health care. If you wanted a newer method of BC, you might or might not get it, depending on how many other women had already requested it that year. Plus, they didn't offer all methods of BC, only a select few.

        The third affiliate also didn't offer at all certain methods, because of cost and rationing of health care.

        I understand the realities - that you may have to make difficult choices in order to provide care to as many as possible, but I also see the limitations of that strategy. As a contraceptive researcher, I know that the trick is to find the best contraceptive method for each woman for her current set of circumstances. Not everyone does well on the pill, some folks need the Ring or Mirena etc but only the lucky/wealthy with good health insurance may get a chance to try them.

  •  No, I do not see "Holy Inquisition" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Readrock

    The Catholics Church's position is simple.  Their philosophical angle is that the potential a fetus has to become a human being is of the same value as an existing human being.  If this is one's position, it is difficult if not impossible to accept abortion.  You can argue whether or not this is a sound decision; but ignoring that it's the absolute bedrock of their position and instead chalking it up to women-hating control issues is frankly ignorant.  

    Additionally, it's not a position based in "superstition."  You can take many a secular bio-ethics class where you'll discuss abortion, and there's plenty of non-God related arguments that would the Church's stance.

    However, this outlook can only be reached philosophically and religiously.  There's never going to be a time one can scientifically make a value determination on this. Which is exactly why abortion must remain legal in this country. People shouldn't be forced to adopt a philosophical position that is not their own.  Unfortunately, I've yet to hear any high profile Catholic politician in the US attempt to raise the issue in this way with the Vatican when the occasional bishop gets a case of the meddling.

    •  In a word, (6+ / 0-)

      if it looks like an inquisition, waddles like an inquisition, quacks like an inquisition, and paddles around in the water like an inquisition, chances are it is not a partridge in a pear tree.

      The Catholics Church's position is simple.  Their philosophical angle is that the potential a fetus has to become a human being is of the same value as an existing human being.

      Exactly. That is their "philosophical angle" - that a fertilized egg or a frozen blastula is as valuable and as entitled to protection as you, or your lover, or your spouse, or your child(ren), or your parents, or any of your friends, family and loved ones, even though we know from ages-old tragic experience that such a "philosophical angle" leads to situations that produce massive human suffering and death. Exactly as it was once their openly admitted "philosophical angle" to declare some human beings heretics, or witches, or "godless" Jews as "justification" for subjecting such "philosophical angles" to ghastly torture and brutal execution.

      Tell me how you would answer this question: Imagine that you are picketing a fertility clinic when fire breaks out. You are in a position to see a young child through the pane of a glass window in a room fast filling with smoke, and, wishing to save her, you rush into the building only to realize that you must make a choice between saving that one threatened little girl or over a thousand frozen embryos. Which do you choose to save?

      There's never going to be a time one can scientifically make a value determination on this. Which is exactly why abortion must remain legal in this country.

      I completely agree.

      No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

      by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 08:18:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well put (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you.  For a more detailed look at the Catholic view, one might study the Humanae Vitae by Paul VI, or the writings of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin , particularly those which addressed his vision of the Consistent Ethic of Life.

      You may disagree with either of these, but no good faith argument can be made that they are not principled.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 08:18:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Principled??? (3+ / 0-)

        You may disagree with either of these, but no good faith argument can be made that they are not principled.

        Principled or hiding behind cloaks of intricately intellectualized false justification? I'll vote for the latter.

        How is it "principled" to advocate values that result in so much real world suffering and death?

        No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

        by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 08:45:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Have you read them? (0+ / 0-)

          n/t

          If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

          by marykk on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 08:46:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

            Their only philsophical foundation rests upon an ancient tradition of mythical supernaturalism. Period.

            No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

            by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:11:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I respectfully disagree (0+ / 0-)

              and, keeping in mind that the purpose of the DKos is to elect Dems, I suggest that painting (or should I say "tarring") the Church, or all Catholics, with a single, broad brush is both disrespectful and counterproductive.

              If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

              by marykk on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:17:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You disagree. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Themistoclea, arlene

                I respectfully disagree and, keeping in mind that the purpose of the DKos is to elect Dems, I suggest that painting (or should I say "tarring") the Church, or all Catholics, with a single, broad brush is both disrespectful and counterproductive.

                I understand that you disagree, but all I get from you is that you slavishly agree with the authority figures in the RCC. How about a reasoned defense of why you think there is any true justification whatsoever for the dogma of the RCC to govern US law?

                I personally do not respect extreme religion one bit, and I believe it to be a fatal mistake for the Democratic Party to capitulate to it.

                No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

                by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:58:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Given the disrespectful tone (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  moiv

                  of your challenge, and the lateness of the hour, I don't care to engage anymore.  Actually I have been far more respectful of you than you have of me.  I don't "slavishly' anything, but I did wish to correct what I perceived as gross misstatements of the Church's position.  

                  Neither have I taken the position that Church dogma should rule US law. Anywhere.  At any time.  And there is no fair reading of anything I have written on DK or anywhere else that supports that proposition.  I personally endorse the position taken by JFK in his address to the Southern Baptist Leaders.

                  I do not, however, see alienating a potentially large voting bloc as a very sharp political strategy.  And as we say in the South, you catch more flies with honey, than vinegar, darlin'.

                  If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                  by marykk on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 10:07:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  A southern luv letter ;-) (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    moiv, arlene

                    Darlin', in case you hain't noticed, we-uns ain't bin catchin' no flies down'n thees heer pahrts fo a long, long time naow.

                    I think it's a better, more honest and productive, and more likely winning strategy to give up on religious extremists and try to connect with the voters who are willing to think rationally if only prodded and informed - and I think that includes a hefty voting block just begging to be tapped.

                    If I have misconstrued and misstated you, please accept my apology. After all I have been put through by religious extremists (mainly RC's)  sweet, civil discourse on this topic does not ooze effortlessly from my lips, and it is late for me, too.

                    No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

                    by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 10:23:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  The only time Gays get any respect is as fetuses (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beket, Readrock
        •  Not exactly (0+ / 0-)

          While the church certainly doesn't take the position that most folks here do on questions of same-sex relationships, the USCCB takes a position which is infinitely more compassionate than that taken by the Dobson/Falwell/Robertson etc. crowd.  

          If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

          by marykk on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:00:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A snake or wild dogs - you choose. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ghengismom

            While the church certainly doesn't take the position that most folks here do on questions of same-sex relationships, the USCCB takes a position which is infinitely more compassionate than that taken by the Dobson/Falwell/Robertson etc. crowd.

            They hide it well if so, and the difference seems analogous to being slowly crushed by a large snake or being torn apart by wild dogs.

            No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

            by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:06:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Compassion, like charity (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Beket

            begins at home.

            La «differenza sessuale» di uomo e donna «non è un semplice dato biologico» ma esprime la «forma di amore» volta alla «comunione di persone aperta alla trasmissione della vita» ha detto Benedetto XVI, invitando poi a evitare la «confusione» tra il matrimonio e altri tipi di unione basate su un amore debole».

            Father Georg Gaenswein, ever-present at the Pope's side in public and in private, is understood to be in complete agreement.

            The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

            by moiv on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:11:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A brief clip (0+ / 0-)

              from the document I cited above, moiv,

              All in all, it is essential to recall one basic truth. God loves every person as a unique individual. Sexual identity helps to define the unique persons we are, and one component of our sexual identity is sexual orientation. Thus, our total personhood is more encompassing than sexual orientation. Human beings see the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart (cf. 1 Sm 16:7).

              God does not love someone any less simply because he or she is homosexual.

              If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

              by marykk on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:13:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, but you dare not ever ever ever EVER (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                moiv, Beket, julifolo, Themistoclea

                act on those feelings or urges and that is fair or just or humane HOW? And now because of the current witch hunt going on a homosexual is not even welcomed into the priesthood. There is much to admire in the Catholic Church, there is much to love but the Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality aren't among them. Comparing them to Dobson doesn't make their stance OK or right or even remotely in accordance with the teachings of Jesus, evil is evil and wrong is wrong.

                •  no different (0+ / 0-)

                  than not acting on your desire for your neighbor's spouse.  Is that unfair?  Or is the message of redemption and forgiveness one that applies to us all?

                  I'm not saying I'm in agreement with the position of Rome, and sadly, the scandals of the last decade, which I attribute to a number of other complex factors (including the since-discarded practice of taking kids in the seminary out of the eighth grade, thus stunting their ordinary social development) have been attributed to homosexuality, resulting in some reactionary backlash.  

                  But remember, as one of my dear friends who is also a priest regularly reminds me, the real action is at the parish level, not in Rome.  

                  If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                  by marykk on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:40:38 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Being Catholic I am familiar with their position (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Beket, Themistoclea

            and I stand on my original statement. The Church believes they know better than God when it comes to homosexuality.

            •  Fine (0+ / 0-)

              we can agree to disagree. Respectfully.

              If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

              by marykk on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:24:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  from Joseph Card. Ratzinger in 2003, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Beket

                from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 3, 2003:

                The present Considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience.(2) Since this question relates to the natural moral law, the arguments that follow are addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.

                (2) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life (November 24, 2002),

                There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts "close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved"(4).

                (4) Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2357.

                Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, which is contradicted both by approval of homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons.Therefore, discreet and prudent actions can be effective; these might involve: unmasking the way in which such tolerance might be exploited or used in the service of ideology; stating clearly the immoral nature of these unions; reminding the government of the need to contain the phenomenon within certain limits so as to safeguard public morality and, above all, to avoid exposing young people to erroneous ideas about sexuality and marriage that would deprive them of their necessary defences and contribute to the spread of the phenomenon. Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil.

                Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person.(13)

                (13) Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 95, a. 2.

                link

                (emphasis added)

                The Vatican PoV, as I understand these official documents, is that this (homosexuality) isn't a just church matter -- ie, if you disagree, you can vote with your feet and leave. They want to change/prevent secular law.

                If your local service workers don't get a living wage (including healthcare) then your local social contract is broken

                by julifolo on Mon Jun 04, 2007 at 04:40:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  from Letter to Women of John Paul II (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beket

        link

        The creation of woman is thus marked from the outset by the principle of help: a help which is not one-sided but mutual. Woman complements man, just as man complements woman: men and women are complementary. Womanhood expresses the "human" as much as manhood does, but in a different and complementary way.

        Putting herself at God's service, she also put herself at the service of others: a service of love. Precisely through this service Mary was able to experience in her life a mysterious, but authentic "reign". It is not by chance that she is invoked as "Queen of heaven and earth". The entire community of believers thus invokes her; many nations and peoples call upon her as their "Queen".  For her, "to reign" is to serve! Her service is "to reign"!

        In this perspective of "service"-which, when it is carried out with freedom, reciprocity and love, expresses the truly "royal" nature of mankind-one can also appreciate that the presence of a certain diversity of roles is in no way prejudicial to women, provided that this diversity is not the result of an arbitrary imposition, but is rather an expression of what is specific to being male and female. This issue also has a particular application within the Church. If Christ-by his free and sovereign choice, clearly attested to by the Gospel and by the Church's constant Tradition-entrusted only to men the task of being an "icon" of his countenance as "shepherd" and "bridegroom" of the Church through the exercise of the ministerial priesthood, this in no way detracts from the role of women, or for that matter from the role of the other members of the Church who are not ordained to the sacred ministry, since all share equally in the dignity proper to the "common priesthood" based on Baptism. These role distinctions should not be viewed in accordance with the criteria of functionality typical in human societies. Rather they must be understood according to the particular criteria of the sacramental economy, i.e. the economy of "signs" which God freely chooses in order to become present in the midst of humanity.

        emphasis added.

        I think another principle behind this stress of "sex roles" is that things happen for a reason. If one believes that being born man or woman is a sign of what god want you to be, it's OK to expect certain things of women.

        If your local service workers don't get a living wage (including healthcare) then your local social contract is broken

        by julifolo on Mon Jun 04, 2007 at 05:09:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  not about fetal life (6+ / 0-)

      It most certainly is not about saving fetal life.

      If it were, they would be promoting maximizing contraceptive use --which we know would drastically reduce the number of abortions in this country. By opposing all of the measures that prevent the need for abortion (and subsequently the number of abortions) they are revealing that their opposition to contraception is more of a priority that reducing abortions.

      Pro-choice policies result in fewer unintended pregnancies, fewer abortions, fewer women dying. "Pro-life" policies do the opposite.

      Anybody or organization that cares about fetal life, women's lives, the lives of families--should be unanimously and unapologetically supporting the pro-choice policies.

  •  Beket is right about inquisition (12+ / 0-)

    Militant religious fundamentalism has been the fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse as long as it has been in existance.  And it matters not if it is being practiced by the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) directed by what Gary Wills called Papal Sins, or by radical Muslim suicide bombers setting off truck bombs in Baghdad market places, by a mad Jewish radical machine gunning and killing scores of Muslim worshipors in a Muslim mosque in Jerusulum, or by the RCC creating the conditions that destroy literally thousands of lives every day by its refusal to accept the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV AIDs and the epidemic of suffering and death that occur in every RCC controlled country in the world as a result of the pope's sinful  objection to the use of effective birth control and safe, legal abortion care.  Years ago, at a time when I had become locally famous, or infamous if you will, for openly providing abortion care in my community of Fayetteville AR, I was introduced to two RCC nuns by an elderly female friend.  After exchanging pleasentries with all three ladies, as I was leaving, one of the nuns, in a stage whisper, said, "We're for you, doctor!"  The vast majority of RCC members, like most RC Democratic politicians, and the vast majority of RC women, have expressed their opposition to the church's teachings on sexuality, birth control and safe legal abortion care for over 30 years now.  The idea that celebate, single old men in the 21st century should be making decisions about the sexual and marital practices of millions of the earth's women and families, is truly ludicrous.  When will the RCC make the same moral and rational decision to stop their modern inquistion against women that, like the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, has created war and spread the famine, pestilence  and death that befalls hundreds of thounsands of the earth's women and their families each year?  Perhaps the only good pope, and certainly the last good pope that ever served the RCC was John XXIII.  We are not likely to see his match again in my lifetime.      

    william f harrison, md

    A private gyn office offering full gyn services including abortion care to 18 weeks.

    by william f harrison on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 08:06:50 PM PDT

  •  If there were justice in this world... (7+ / 0-)

    …forcing an unwilling woman to give birth would be a serious battery offense punishable by many years in prison. The barbarity of what a "pro-lifer" is willing to inflict on another human being is staggering. I can't see how staunch "pro lifers" are morally all that different from anyone who would condone legalizing rape. The rapist uses the woman's body for his pleasure; the pro-lifer, to work out his religious delusions. They are alike in their utter contempt for the humanity of the woman.

    Thank you for your diaries, Beket. Particularly that really comprehensive one you posted on May 14, which I printed up and saved – just brilliant.  

  •  As always getting right to the heart (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annrose, moiv, Beket

    of the matter, Beket.  Unfortunately, I don't think you're going to win too many friends that way.  Politicians play games by trying to make everyone happy at the same time.  Folks like you and me try to make them happy one at a time.  A very different approach to life indeed.

        While I do not personally believe in a spirituality akin to the Judeo-Christian-Muslim sense, they are a force to be reckoned with.  How can we draw them in and make us understand our stance, rather than alienating them?

    •  Frankly, Docswede, (4+ / 0-)

      How can we draw them in and make us understand our stance, rather than alienating them?

      I don't believe we can. Therefore, I think we should just stop trying to, with all the pandering and placating that just strengthens them. Things are becoming rapidly more desperate, and we should energetically do all we can to penetrate their traditional near-impenetrable shield of "Respect My Religion," exposing the fallacies of their authoritarian supernaturalism to those open-minded and rational enough to comprehend the threat they pose and join us.

      No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

      by Beket on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 08:58:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Brilliant analysis. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moiv, Beket, Readrock

    Keep up the good work.

    HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

    by annrose on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 08:53:16 PM PDT

  •  In Italy abortion is paid for by the gov't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, moiv, Themistoclea

    so I have always wondered why the Pope complains about abortion in the USA?  It would seem this attempt to condemn abortion would begin at home.  What is up with that?  

    •  Like any other politician (5+ / 0-)

      (and he is chief of state of Vatican City, recognized by the UN as a city-state) he sows his seed in the most fertile ground.

      Italy, like most of Western Europe, categorically rejects the concept of sacrificing the well being of female citizens to religious rigidity. Even Portugal has at last rebelled and legalized abortion.

      Until recently, Latin America was more compliant with the societal demands of the church hierarchy. Mexico City, at last taking a defiant stand against its completely needless toll of suffering and death, now has also legalized first trimester abortion, and the full brunt of the church's disapproval is being brought to bear in an attempt to force that country back into line.

      Here the church's gains have been incremental, but they proceed apace.

      The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

      by moiv on Sun Jun 03, 2007 at 09:38:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Holy Inquisition (6+ / 0-)
    To see some of this awful stuff in action, visit your local 'crisis pregnancy center' or watch clinic protestors in action 'working' the women who come to clinics for abortion care.  The CPC's conceal their true agenda in their ads and lure women in by offering free pregnancy tests and sometimes free ultrasounds.  They are staffed by volunteers (not medical professionals or qualified), mislead, defraud and sometimes delay women from leaving so they miss their real clinic appointments (as the CPC's locate close to real clinics).

      They also 'diagnose' pregnancies at less than their real number of weeks (to make the woman feel she has more time than she actually does) or tell her she's more weeks than actual (to make her believe its too late to have an abortion)- or they're just too incompetent to know?  They lie about abortion causing breast cancer and claim 'post abortion trauma' in a number of ways- all false.

     The CPC's collect identifying information on these women and violate their privacy by calling and writing their homes, sometimes even visiting their homes, schools or places of employment- something a real clinic would never do.  Then on the 'due date', they frequently send a card of congratulations on the 'birth', when the woman has advised them she's had an abortion- this is truly cruel.

    Protestors at real clinics frequently write down auto tag numbers and take pictures of women; attempt to block driveways (causing auto accidents), shout derogatory names at women (including racial slurs), attempt to incite others to violence against the women or clinic, follow women from clinics and even post their photos on the internet.

    The CPC's are decorated with crucifixes, virgin icons and rosaries.  The protestors carry crucifixes, rosaries and chant the rosary while displaying huge posters of late term still-born fetuses.  And this 'helps' a woman in what way?

    Holy Inquisition is absolutely accurate.

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