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Archive for the ‘Eugenics’ Category

desk

Wesley J. Smith has a disturbing article dealing with Oxford bioethicist Julian Savulescu’s proposal to screen human embryos for intelligence. Smith quotes Savulescu:

A common objection is that being smarter does not make your life better. In this study, researchers were concerned with those with an IQ between 70-85. Below 70 is classified as intellectual disability but an IQ of 70 to 75 is similar to mild intellectual disability.

Even for individuals with an IQ between 75 and 90 there are still significant disadvantages. Job opportunities tend to be the least desirable and least financially rewarding, requiring significant oversight…Individuals with this lower level of intelligence are at significant risk of living in poverty (16%), being a chronic welfare dependent (17%) and are much more likely to drop out of school (35%) compared to individuals with average intelligence.

Studies show that there is also an increased risk of incarceration and being murdered.

Read it all.

When it comes to eugenics, there is simply no end to the killing until a just people rises up and either kills or incarcerates the practitioners, as was the case with Nazi Germany. When forced sterilizations weren’t enough, there were detention camps, which gave way to concentration camps where people were shot and buried. When that proved too slow and cumbersome to effect the eugenic goal, gas chambers were built, with exhaust fumes from tanks pumped in. When that proved still too slow, larger chambers using cyanide gas were built, and ovens to cremate the remains.

Eugenics has a malignant mania that increases with demonic furor the further in one goes. When we go from preventing birth to active killing, a point of no return is reached and the killing can only be brought to an end by brute force. Consider Savulescu’s argument.

He begins with screening embryos for genetic signposts pointing to potential cognitive capacity. He justifies the killing by pointing to undesirable outcomes such as poverty, welfare dependence and dropping out of school, ignoring that the risks are all very low. Poverty, welfare dependence, and being a school dropout are reason enough in Savulescu’s cramped worldview to kill those who might end up there. By that logic, why should we tolerate those who do end up there? Ought we not have camps for such “human weeds,” as Margaret Sanger called them? And what happens when we tire of supporting the camps?

There are certain cardinal virtues that go with being a Ph.D. My life’s mentor, Father Luke McCann, Ph.D., once told me that those cardinal virtues are contained in the three little letters of the title:

Prudence.

Humility.

Decorum.

I would submit that Savulescu and his fellow travelers are bereft of all three. They are also bereft of the very intelligence they stake such a claim to possessing, as intelligence goes beyond capacity for factual recall, but involves the capacity for problem solving. Advanced intelligence goes beyond mere problem solving and involves the capacity for vision guided by empathy and moral principle. Ph.D.’s are not awarded our degrees for merely taking classes and passing tests. We are awarded the degree for making novel discoveries, for advancing the knowledge within our field of endeavor. In other words, one must demonstrate vision and match the vision with corresponding accomplishment. So where does Savulescu and his cohort get it wrong?

PRUDENCE

Their vision becomes constricted and they lose perspective on life. Intellect for its own sake becomes the pursuit, and they can’t tolerate the aboriginals spoiling their view of an idealized landscape. It becomes easier to kill the marginalized than to create systems that incorporate them more fully into society. How academia has fallen.

There have been several movements in psychology and medicine to give more humane treatment to the “insane.” Forward thinking physicians tried “Moral Therapy” as it was known, where patients were no longer locked in asylums that resembled dungeons. Instead, they were housed in the country and visited regularly by the physician who would bring a small cake, or other gift. In the 1970’s, the warehousing of the mentally retarded ended, and the Group Home movement began, a modern reincarnation of moral therapy. To society’s surprise we learned that “retards” could actually be taught and gainfully employed. So successful has this been that the terms “mentally retarded” and “retard” are uttered today only by boors. People enhanced with an extra chromosome are now graduating from college!

The community of parents with children who have autism are similarly on the march. Marginalization only happens when ignorance and fear trump reason and compassion.

HUMILITY

The jobs that exist on the margins are only marginal to pompous, effete academics. A closer look reveals the central importance of the work that the lowest-paid workers perform. Taking deliveries and stocking shelves in stores is vital work for those who do not produce their own food. So too for cashiers and maintenance workers, cleaning crews, and kitchen staff. They are the unsung and thankless jobs that make civilization civilized. When Martin Luther King Jr. called for blacks to stay at home and not go to work, whites got a good taste of how indispensable those they disdained truly are.

The rarefied air of universities often induces a case of intellectual and spiritual anoxia in those who never darken the chapel door. Savulescus are the result.

DECORUM

Savulescu above all should know that doctors are not free, but constrained. There are simply some groups that one never, ever goes after. If the privileges of the faculty club are the perks for years spent in advanced study and intellectual pursuits, then the unspoken rule is that one NEVER goes after others of unequal academic accomplishment because of their unequal accomplishment. This is especially true for those of unequal capability. There was a time when Savulescu would have been shunned by the academic community for doing so.

One of my professors in graduate school once told me that the Ph.D. is no big deal. “It’s a union card, Gerry. Nothing more. If you want to do this work, you need the union card. The big deal is your publication list at your retirement party.” How very true. It isn’t the degree, but what one does with it that counts.

Oxford now has some soul-searching to do. Do they tolerate a Savulescu in their midst under the soiled banner of “Academic Freedom?” Do they show him the door? If we are to salvage a crumbling western civilization, then the formation of our young in universities and colleges will need to be done by Ph.D.’s who understand and live the three cardinal virtues of academics:

Prudence, Humility, Decorum.

Absent brute military force, that’s the only non-violent response to eugenics.

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Forestfirehires

There is good news in North Dakota this week as the legislature there has passed two bills: one outlawing gender-selective and eugenic abortions rooted in genetic anomalies, and the other outlawing abortion once a heartbeat is detectable. Get the N.Y. Times story here.

This news comes hot on the heels of Arizona’s banning abortions at 12 weeks, and adds to the victories in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma, which have banned sex-selective abortions. While this is all good news, we must stop and consider what is happening here, what is being accomplished, and how far we have fallen.

There was a time when the American Civil Liberties Union actually championed the rights of the weakest and least among us to the fullest protection of the law. Times have changed, as we’ve seen last week in North Dakota. From the Times article:

“We urge the governor to veto all of these bills to ensure that this personal and private decision can be made by a woman and her family, not politicians sitting in the Capitol,” said Jennifer Dalven, the director of the A.C.L.U.’s Reproductive Freedom Project.

But again, and again, the central issue remains the great unanswered question, one which Ms. Dalven and her organization would have answered with ease in a bygone era:

Do politicians sitting in the capital, or judges in courtrooms have the right to determine who among us is human and what the criteria for being considered human ought to be?

This isn’t a religious question, but a civil one, and hinging on it is nothing less than the fate of American jurisprudence, as well as scientific and biomedical ethics. Before one can pass a law, make a legal judgement, or perform a scientific or clinical manipulation, one must first determine the identity and status of the object under consideration.

People of reason and good will recoil at the consideration of our slave-holding past in America. They similarly recoil at our segregationist past, as well as our past with eugenic sterilization. All of these issues are repellent to the ACLU as well, and as Ms. Dalven would have to agree, these issues scorched the American landscape precisely because the legislators sitting in capitals failed to rein in justices and judges who were out of control.

Ms. Dalven would also have to agree that these issues scorched the American landscape precisely because a political elite arrogated to themselves the power to define personhood criteria. This was done as the sole means of usurping the ability to control those rights defined by the Founders as unalienable and granted solely by the Creator.

Having abandoned the protection of the weakest among us and championing the “rights” of those who prey upon the weak, the ACLU has gutted itself. In championing the right to murder little girls for being little girls, and for championing the murder of the genetically imperfect, the ACLU has become indistinguishible from the slaveholding and segregationist class it once despised and against whom it found its organizational identity.

Such is the malevolent power of abortion to corrupt.

In Roe v. Wade the justices argued that the absence of scientific evidence supporting a definitive beginning of life was their rationale for permitting abortion. Using arguments from the Middle Ages, such as ‘quickening’, they ignored the embryology texts of their day that fixed the beginning of human life at fertilization. With the advances in embryoscopy and ultrasonography today one would think that the last vestige of doubt would have been destroyed by science, warranting a revisiting of Roe by the Court; but that would require intellectual honesty and human decency.

Instead, today, forty years later we are now arguing the right to target what science shows as fully formed human beings because of their genetalia, or because of some atypical genetic constellation.

Instead,, today, forty years later Planned Parenthood has dropped the euphemisms such as “pro-choice,” no longer seeing them as necessary or servicable.

Similarly, the attempts to defeat the fetal heartbeat bills bespeak a duplicity from the outset. What can be more human or romantic than the sound of a beating heart?

Taken together, those are profoundly troubling developments. We have defined deviancy down. We are arguing over a degree of malevolance that makes the original argument pale in comparison.

The Democrat Party defeated attempts in Congress last year to outlaw sex-selective abortions. In those and other similar measures, both they and the ACLU have abandoned the moral high ground. Let’s hope that the Republican governor of North Dakota has the courage to pick up the fallen battle standard of the left and soldier on.

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Recently, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dropped her guard and gave the American people a good insight into how it is that Obamacare will ultimately stay solvent: The nonexistence of patients who, not being alive, cannot make claims upon the system.

From CNSNews.com

During the subcommittee hearing, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said that contraception provided by insurance companies to people employed by religious organizations under the future form of the rule Sebelius described would not be was not free.

“Who pays for it? There’s no such thing as a free service,” Murphy asked.

Sebelius responded that that is not the case with insurance.

“The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for cost of contraception,” Sebelius answered.

Murphy expressed surprise by the answer.

“So you are saying, by not having babies born, we are going to save money on health care?” Murphy asked.

Sebelius replied, “Providing contraception is a critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children.”

Murphy again sought clarification.

“Not having babies born is a critical benefit. This is absolutely amazing to me. I yield back,” he said.

Sebelius responded, “Family planning is a critical health benefit in this country, according to the Institute of Medicine.”

See and hear Sebelius in her own words:

Now this week comes word that the Congessional Budget Office estimates Obamacare will cost twice its originally promised cost. News also comes of the return of what Sarah Palin dubbed, “Death Panels” for healthcare rationing. Far from right wing flights of fancy, these realities already exist in chilling bureaucratic routine across the nation in hospital committees who decide when patients have used too many resources, and in Oregon’s health care system where the government decides when a patient’s remaining quality of life justifies the expense of keeping them alive.

Here is the ABC News article about one such patient, Barbara Wagner. It is a portal into the national future.

Adding fuel to the fire is the issue of states increasingly strained by the growing number of civil service pensioners who do their 20 years and retire on full pensions.

Add to that the Social Security insolvency.

It becomes clear that Sebelius has not so much committed a gaffe as she has revealed the solution her fellow travelers see to our insolvency issues: decreasing the number of claimants on the system decreases the system’s expenditures. Nonexistence of humans on the front end of the life spectrum will fund the cost of the HHS contraception mandate through the offsetting of the non-conceived human’s non-claims on the system. Applying the same thinking on the other end of the life spectrum will realize a bumper crop of savings for local, state, and the federal government when civil service pensioners are denied life-saving services, or have them delayed long enough in rationing lines in the hopes that the patient will be overtaken by the disease while waiting.

Being a Pacific Northwestern Governor, Sarah Palin looked to one of her closest neighbors, Oregon, and saw clearly the future of the pro-abortion, anti-life, rabidly eugenic left wing. It is far easier to cull the herd than grow the economy, especially in a political party that is opposed to all known and practical sources of energy; to a political party that has made a central plank of their platform the reduction of the world’s population.

We are a nation in serious, serious trouble.

To only blame the Obama administration or the Democrat Party is to miss the fact that sufficient numbers of Americans agree with these people. Far too many uphold the right for someone else to slaughter their child, even though they are personally opposed to doing so.

So many uphold he right of others to force doctors to perform manslaughter through physician-assisted suicide, even if it violates the doctor’s conscience.

So many uphold the forcing of all medical students to perform abortions against their consciences.

So many uphold the forcing of religious institutions and private businesses to purchase contraceptives against their consciences.

90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, with costs to the parents and the ‘system’ cited by physicians and genetic counselors in a coercive campaign to rid the world of these “defectives”.

Far too many in this nation support the coercion of physicians and private citizens to do the government’s bidding when doing so violates consciences formed by thousands of years of civilized precepts. Now we have established that private and institutional conscience is the property of the state, the state is taking full advantage of the opportunity to advance its agenda.

Hitler never could have accomplished his malignant agenda without the support of the German people in sufficient numbers. It takes more than a village, it takes a nation to be good or evil. Today, our nation balances on a razor’s edge.

It will take more than the November elections to turn things around. It’s going to take the realization of what is at stake. It’s no longer someone else’s ox getting gored.

We’re all in peril.

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Hot on the heels of our medical conference last Saturday, Therapeutic Advances in Poor Prenatal Diagnoses, comes this letter from Archbishop Chaput to the people of his archdiocese. Opposition to this new eugenics is swelling all over the nation. Here is a bishop who makes me proud of my Church.

Earlier this week local media covered the story of Amelia Rivera, a young girl with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome reportedly denied a kidney transplant by a local hospital. Amelia’s syndrome results in serious developmental delays, and according to her parents, the hospital declined a transplant due to her diminished mental ability and shortened lifespan.

It’s unwise to assume that news media get all the details of a story like this right, or that the motives of an entire hospital’s leadership and staff are as unfeeling as an individual doctor might seem. Nonetheless, a couple of things are worth noting. First, Amelia’s parents are persons who love their daughter zealously for who she is, and who know the beauty and dignity of her life despite her disability. Second, the habit of treating genetically disabled children as somehow less worthy of life is growing across the country.

A number of my friends have children with disabilities. Their problems range from cerebral palsy to Turner’s syndrome to Trisomy 18, which is extremely serious. Prenatal testing can now detect a high percentage of pregnancies with a risk of genetic problems.

The tests often aren’t conclusive. But they’re pretty good. And the results of those tests are brutally practical. Studies show that more than 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome, for example, now get terminated in the womb. They’re killed because of a flaw in one of their chromosomes – a flaw that’s neither fatal nor contagious, but merely undesirable.

The older a woman gets, the higher her risk of bearing a child with special needs. And so, in medical offices around the country, pregnant women now hear from doctors or genetic counselors that their baby has “an increased likelihood” of a genetic flaw based on one or more prenatal tests. Some doctors deliver this information with sensitivity and great support for the woman. But, as my friends know from experience, too many others seem more concerned about avoiding lawsuits, or managing costs, or even, in a few ugly cases, cleaning up the gene pool.

In practice, medical professionals can now steer an expectant mother toward abortion simply by hinting at a list of the child’s possible defects. And the most debased thing about that kind of pressure is that doctors know better than anyone else how vulnerable a woman can be in hearing potentially tragic news about her unborn baby.

I’m not suggesting that doctors should hold back vital knowledge from parents. Nor should they paint an implausibly upbeat picture of life with a child who has a disability. Facts and resources are crucial in helping adult persons prepare themselves for difficult challenges. But doctors, genetic counselors and medical school professors should have on staff – or at least on speed dial – experts of a different sort.

Parents of children with special needs, special education teachers and therapists, and pediatricians who have treated children with disabilities often have a hugely life-affirming perspective.

Unlike prenatal caregivers, these professionals have direct knowledge of persons with special needs. They know their potential. They’ve seen their accomplishments. They can testify to the benefits – often miraculous – of parental love and faith.

Expectant parents deserve to know that a child with special needs can love, laugh, learn, work, feel hope and excitement, make friends and create joy for others. These things are beautiful precisely because they transcend what we expect. They witness to the truth that every child with special needs has a value that matters eternally.

Raising a child with special needs can be demanding. It always involves some degree of suffering. Parents grow up very fast. None of my friends who has a daughter or son with a serious disability is melodramatic, or self-conscious, or even especially pious about it. They speak about their special child with an unsentimental realism.

It’s a realism flowing out of love – real love, the kind that forces its way through fear and suffering to a decision, finally, to surround the child with their heart and trust in the goodness of God. And that decision to trust, of course, demands not just real love, but also real courage.

The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is never between some imaginary perfection or imperfection. None of us is perfect. No child is perfect. The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is between love and unlove; between courage and cowardice; between trust and fear.

That’s the choice we face when it happens in our personal experience. And that’s the choice we face as a society in deciding which human lives we will treat as valuable, and which we will not.

This Sunday, January 22, marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legitimized permissive abortion around the country. More than 45 million abortions later, the damage of that decision continues to grow — undermining our reverence for the life not just of unborn children but of the mentally and physically disabled as well.

We need to understand that if some lives are regarded as unworthy, respect for all life is at risk. We should pray that Amelia Rivera gets the help she needs, and that God surrounds her parents with the support they need.

And especially this week, more than ever, we should recommit ourselves to defending the dignity of all human life, no matter how “flawed” it may seem in the eyes of the world.

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Late last Spring I became increasingly convinced that a major area not tackled by the pro-life movement in any coordinated fashion is the new eugenics movement in fetal medicine. Specifically, increasing numbers of physicians are advising, demanding, and even coercing women to abort babies diagnosed with what have become known collectively as “Poor Prenatal Diagnoses.” Such conditions as Down Syndrome, Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13, Anencephaly, Spina Bifida, etc… constitute this constellation.

Over the past two years, I have heard dozens of women tell me their personal horror stories, many of whom refusing to abort and then going on to have a perfectly normal child. We hear of countries in Europe who are boasting that they will have eradicated Down Syndrome in a few short years, not by eliminating the ongoing occurrence of trisomy 21, but by a 100% abortion rate as the diagnoses come in.

Why not tell women of all that can be done to help these babies?

I contacted Chris Gacek of the Family Research Council, who put me in touch with Jeanne Monahan, the Director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity. Together with Jeanne, and with the advice of Peg Kolm of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, and my good friend Leticia Velasquez who co-founded KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome), a working group formed around the idea of having a full day medical conference for medical professionals and the public alike. What emerged from this group is the Council on Poor Prenatal Diagnoses and Therapeutic Interventions.

And here we are. A wonderful collaborative project with others including the Lejeunne Foundation on therapeutics from the womb and throughout the individual’s life.

The conference on Saturday will be live webcast from FRC Headquarters in Washington, and is free to sign up and watch. Just follow this link to register. (We’re pretty near our limit for in-person attendance)

Conference main speakers will address the tidal wave of therapeutic interventions available for these children. They include:

John Bruchalski, M.D.
Byron Calhoun, M.D.
Alberto Costa, M.D., Ph.D.
Jeanne Monahan, M.A.
Gerard Nadal, Ph.D.
David Prentice, Ph.D.
Laura Toso, M.D.

In addition, we’ll be hearing the witness of Samuel Armas, the little baby who had fetal surgery for Spina Bifida, and whose hand was photographed reaching out from the womb and holding the finger of his surgeon. He’ll be there with his mother, Julie.

We’re also going to have a panel discussion and presentations by people who have founded organizations to support these children and their parents:

Melinda Delahoyde, Care Net
Leticia Velasquez, Kids
Christopher Bell, Good Counsel Homes
Nancy Mayer Whittington, Isaiah’s Promise
Mary Kellett, Prenatal Partners for Life

Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life

Paper Presentations by medical students.

Documentary preview and discussion by In Altum Productions Filmmakers
Jordan Allott and Daniel Allott.

The conference begins at 8:30 A.M. and ends at 5:00 P.M.

The good news is that there is a group of physicians here in New York who have been thinking along the same lines, as well as pro-life medical professionals around the country who have all come up with the same concern and the same resolve to effect a change. It’s the leading of the Holy Spirit, and just in time. Many medical school professors encourage eugenic abortion and don’t teach the therapeutics. This conference will pierce the encroaching shroud of silence and shine the light on all that medicine has to offer its tiniest patients.

So, starting this coming Saturday, The Council on Poor Prenatal Diagnoses and Therapeutic Interventions is kicking off A Year of Hope and Healing, which will see more conferences and coordinated activity in bringing to the fore the many support and advocacy groups, more physicians, scientists, and ethicists.

Please join us this coming Saturday for the live webcast, and spread the good word!

Again, it’s free to attend on-line. Just register at this link.

http://www.frc.org/player.swf

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When Regina was pregnant with our three children, people would ask if it was a boy or a girl. When I responded with, “We don’t know,” I was met with the ubiquitous, iniquitous, mindless, and moronic refrain:

“As long as it’s healthy.”

I would challenge this well-intentioned, ill-thought well-wish with:

“If it isn’t, we’ll love the child all the same, and even more.”

That shook people out of their torpor and made them realize exactly what they were saying. It usually left most pretty angry with me.

“Can’t you just accept a good wish and leave it at that?” was the reply of one associate.

It’s a valid point, but one that fails to own up to what was being said. “As long as it’s healthy,” is a world apart from, “I wish your child health and happiness.” Even in the absence of health, one can have happiness, fulfillment and contentment. In an age of increasing reliance on pre-natal technology to murder the pre-born for the crimes of being female, male, having cleft palate, clubbed foot, spina bifida, Down syndrome, trisomy 18, etc…, “As long as it’s healthy,” rings deadly ominous. It needs to be confronted.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the antidote to our eugenic mentality in a letter to his daughter, Patsy. It stands for all time as the most eloquent reproach to the intolerance of imperfection:

Every human being must be viewed according to what it is good for; for none of us, no, not one, is perfect; and were we to love none who had imperfections, this world would be a desert for our love.

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My article in today’s HeadlineBistro.

Yahoo News recently carried a story that reports from the proceedings of the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Stockholm, where a recent study was discussed linking in vitro fertilization (IVF) with an increased incidence in Down Syndrome.

The language in the story is a mess, and care must be taken to vet the verbal engineering contained therein so that the true moral and bioethical implications may be brought into sharp relief. The story may be read here.

First, a summation of the science involved. Investigators analyzed the DNA strands (chromosomes) produced by the divisions of human eggs and counted the chromosome numbers using a new technique (Array Comparative Genomic Hybridisation.) that is highly sensitive to not only differences in chromosome numbers, but also changes in the size and composition of the chromosomes.

Now, just a tiny bit of biology before the analysis.

Recall that all of the instructions for making a human body are contained within the DNA, and a normal human has 46 DNA chromosomes. There are 23 pairs of these chromosomes. One member of each pair comes from the sperm cell and one member of each pair from the egg cell. In persons with Down syndrome, there is an extra copy of the twenty-first chromosome. For this reason, we describe the three copies of chromosome #21 as “Trisomy 21.”

During the development of the egg, or ovum, the chromosomes are replicated, so that there is twice the normal number. It isn’t important to get into all of the why’s here. Suffice it to say that before a sperm cell can successfully fertilize the egg, the egg must jettison its extra copies of the chromosomes, leaving one member of each pair to pair with their partner from the sperm. The jettisoned chromosomes are contained in little pods called “polar bodies.”

The study in question analyzed the number of chromosomes in the polar bodies to determine how successfully the DNA divided in the eggs. This was done after the fertilization of the eggs by the sperm. If all went according to plan, there should have been the same number of chromosomes in the polar bodies as in the eggs. If not, then unequal division is responsible.

To make a long story short, in a study of 34 women’s (average age of 40) polar bodies it was found that there was a significant incidence of chromosomal abnormality. It is being hypothesized that the powerful hormones given to women in order to stimulate release of several eggs may very well loosen the molecular glue that holds chromosome pairs together prior to cell division, and that is the factor responsible for the unequal distribution of chromosomes.

Now for the verbal engineering.

“After IVF hormone stimulation, fertilised eggs bore patterns of chromosome abnormalities that were quite distinct from abnormalities in eggs that had been harvested naturally,” said Alan Handyside, the research team’s leader.

The article continues:

The new test helps pinpoint healthy eggs and damaged eggs, enabling doctors to advise a woman whether it is worth the emotional and financial investment to try for a pregnancy, said Handyside.

… “But for another group we will be able to say, ‘actually it’s good news, only about half of your eggs were abnormal, so you have a good likelihood of getting pregnant.’ And at the same time we can screen and reduce the possibility of having a Down’s child.”

First, it should be noted that the popular literature is saturated with the term, “fertilized eggs.” This is another dehumanizing and developmentally misleading term. The truth is that there is no such thing as a fertilized egg, unless one is willing to claim that there are over 6 billion fertilized human eggs walking the planet today. The truth is that the act of fertilization brings about an immediate end to the sperm and egg cells as such, and causes a human embryo to come into existence. The human embryo in its single-celled stage is called a zygote, not a “fertilized egg.”

Next, note how the clinician will approach the woman in the third quote. Note how the woman will be told that half of her eggs were abnormal. This can only be ascertained by analyzing the polar bodies, which are jettisoned AFTER fertilization. Thus, what is being said is that half of the woman’s offspring are headed for the trash can in the lab. These aren’t defective eggs. These are handicapped humans in their earliest stages of development.

Welcome to Twenty-first Century eugenics, the intolerance of imperfection in other human beings. In fairness to the parents undergoing IVF, nobody aspires to conceiving children who will be handicapped. It certainly wasn’t the aspiration my wife and I shared nineteen years ago when we married. However, God saw fit to permit us the privilege of having a son with autism, and our lives were forever changed for the better in the process.

We’ve learned an invaluable lesson raising Joseph. He has no imperfections, only additional needs. His additional needs have placed demands on us that have uncovered every selfish and self-centered appetite in us and challenged us to grow. In a narcissistic and hedonistic culture such as ours, such demands are intolerable to most, and those making them are being dispatched with increasing ruthlessness and efficiency.

The eugenics of the early Twentieth Century did not begin with Hitler’s Third Reich. It began decades before in the medical community. At the culmination in 1945 of those terrible events the world vowed, “Never again!”

It is a distant echo that is ringing increasingly hollow.

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My column in today’s Headline Bistro

Princeton University philosopher Peter Singer, who famously advocates the ethical right of parents to kill their newborn children for any reason, recently has written an article in The New York Times proposing a mass self-extinction of humanity through collective sterilization. (Read it here).

Citing the increasingly discredited global warming/climate change movement, Singer postulates an environmental future filled with senseless suffering for future generations. He then postulates that it is unethical to inflict such suffering on persons not yet born, with the only ethically acceptable solution being nonexistence.

That has been the end-point of the Culture of Death all along. This cultic competitor of Christianity distorts human freedom by enlarging it to the point where the order of creation, both physical and spiritual, is eclipsed. In other words, arrogating to the self the power and authority in determining life and death, while simultaneously rejecting faith in God and a created order beyond that which we can immediately see. Such radicalized autonomy clouds the very human reason necessary to discover that order of creation, creating the implosion that is narcissistic nihilism.

Pan-Gnosticism and animism are the grotesque spiritual distortions remaining, as evidenced by the comments after Singer’s article, affirming a healthy, healing benefit to the earth that would result from humanity’s extinction. It is the return to offering human sacrifice to the gods of nature.

Singer’s latest screed is the final surrender of an intellect bereft of hope or love. It is the logical end toward which the Culture of Death has been lurching ever since the early twentieth century’s eugenics movement and World War II. Singer’s full-throated nihilist roar that it is better to have never existed than to exist and suffer is reflective of a life that has never learned suffering’s role in teaching love.

The greatest of all paradoxes has been the ascendance of this loveless Culture of Death at precisely the moment in humanity when science and technology have been putting to flight humanity’s greatest scourges: famine and disease.

Beginning with the Germ Theory of Disease in the 1870s and the antiseptic/hygienic practices that have followed, the discovery of antibiotics beginning in the 1920s, the explosion of vaccine development since the 1950s, surgery and cancer therapies, we have far exceeded all of the prior hopes and dreams of humanity.

Smallpox, responsible for almost 500 million deaths in the twentieth century alone, has been eradicated from the earth. Not a single case for over thirty years. The same antibiotics in a matter of months cure tuberculosis and leprosy. Polio has been brought closer and closer to eradication by aggressive vaccination.

Advances in genetic engineering of crops and agricultural technology have boosted food production to unprecedented levels. So great has the technology been that our greatest problems are the health issues resulting from the consumption of an overabundance of inexpensive food.

If life is not worth living in this time for fear of suffering, when humans have never had it better, then logically Singer must admit that we never should have existed at all. This assiduous avoidance of suffering is the very heart of neurotic disorder.

Having turned the order of creation on its head through radicalized autonomy, hope also suffers mightily, along with love. There is blindness in Singer from staring into this eclipse, which cannot let him see the progress of the last one hundred years. Nor can he see how utterly impoverished he looks in the eyes of most in the scientific community. Indeed, we are very different people.

The process of becoming a scientist is one that selects for a high degree of optimism. In order to become a Ph.D. one must make a discovery that adds a substantial body of information to one’s chosen field. It is an arduous journey that is neither undertaken nor completed by the faint of heart. From the outset, and through the periodic data droughts, one is sustained by both the example of the mentor and the certain belief that for all our knowledge, we know very little of the world. An abundance of discovery awaits the patient, persistent, prepared mind.

There is simply no room in science for the defeatist, the nihilist. Such a one has no vision, no hope, no soul; the three indispensible qualities of the scientist.

The world has never been advanced so much as a millimeter by nihilists such as Singer. Civilization has been advanced by the theologians, the vitalist philosophers, the scientists, the industrialists, the artists, the poets, and the great mass of humanity who have simply, unremarkably embraced life and shaped it, each in their own small way.

In his monumental play Our Town, Thornton Wilder took a look at life and concluded differently than Singer. The main character Emily Webb dies in childbirth, and being a restless spirit newly arrived in the town cemetery is permitted to see her life objectively by returning to an ordinary day. The stage manager takes her back to her twelfth birthday. The fullness, the bustle and beauty of daily life, a beauty we fail to capture along the way, proves more than Emily can bear.

Emily: Oh, Mama, look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Mama! Fourteen years have gone by! I’m dead! You’re a grandmother, Mama… Wally’s dead, too, Mama! His appendix burst on a camping trip to Crawford Notch. We felt just terrible about it – don’t you remember? But, just for a moment now we’re all together- Mama, just for a moment let’s be happy- Let’s look at one another!

I can’t! I can’t go on! It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed! Take me back – up the hill – to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look! Goodbye! Goodbye world! Goodbye, Grover’s Corners-Mama and Papa. Goodbye to clocks ticking-and my butternut tree!-and Mama’s sunflowers- and food and coffee- and new ironed dresses and hot baths-and sleeping and waking up! Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you! Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it – every, every minute?

Stage Manager: (Quietly) No – Saints and poets maybe –they do some.

Emily: I’m ready to go back.

Moving beyond Singer, even beyond Wilder, we know that this good earth, this good life with all of its joys, sorrows and suffering, have been given to us by God to teach us love and its demands. It has been given to us in order to ready us for “what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,”

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In light of our ongoing treatment of Sanger and the Eugenics Movement, it’s fair to ask if the eugenists have any merit to their argument.

No, they don’t.

From a Christian anthropological perspective, the least among us is made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that He will judge us by our treatment of them, as He identifies with, “the least of these my brothers”.

As for the genetic basis of their argument: genetics or environment?, the safe answer is probably both. We can train a chimp to play golf and even fly a spacecraft, but that doesn’t make it human. Aping (pardon the pun) human behavior does not change genetic and simian reality for the chimp. For humans whose genetic defects render their function as less than optimal, sub-par performance does not make them less human, or less worthy of human dignity. An individual need not exhibit or realize all of their potential functions at all times in order to be a member of the human family.

We know that certain traits are hereditary, having identified what genes on what chromosomes are responsible. Down Syndrome is the most famous and easily recognizable based on physical (phenotypic) characteristics. Certain psychiatric conditions such as the Schizophrenias appear to have a genetic etiology. Autism may well prove to be genetic as well. I’m currently involved in a research project that points in that direction.

To make matters murkier, to what extent do environmental (physical or psychosocial) factors influence, or exacerbate underlying genetic predispositions? Then there is the issue of the extent to which environmental factors influence and ameliorate the physiological and psychological effects of a genetic disorder.

Take autism as an example. Children with horrific deficits in communication, with a broad spectrum of associated developmental delays, would easily fit in to the eugenist’s list of targeted individuals. It’s my considered opinion that there is indeed a genetic, developmental defect at the root. With a prevalence in the population that is increasing, a moral and ethical decision needs to be made. What do we do with these children?

Having one myself, the answer is simple. Treat them.

The last decade has witnessed a revolution in the treatment in children with autism. Better speech therapeutic regimens, as well as social skills, special education, physical and occupational therapy, play groups, have all shown dramatic effects in children whose function was less than half their chronological age.

Unlike our chimpanzee friends here, these children are humans, being taught human skills. The environmental stimuli effect neural development to bring the child’s behavior and cognitions more in line with optimal human function. That’s environment being used to overcome genetic defect.

We’ve had great success after six years of daily work, several hours per day. We’ve also learned more about love in the process than we ever dreamed imaginable.

That doesn’t happen with sterilization and abortion. Eugenics proclaims that life has a monolithic standard of acceptability, that individuals not meeting its arbitrary and capricious standard ought never to have existed. Unable to murder the adult, eugenists will prevent the child. Such a standard says nothing about the targeted individual and everything about the sickness and evil of the ones who crafted it.

Genetics doesn’t describe our difficulties so much as it invites us to engage in growth as individuals, as civilizations.

That requires courage, imagination, and an appetite for innovation.

Most of all, it requires love.

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For newcomers, this blog has dealt extensively with Margaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood, and her eugenic war on Blacks and other minorities.

The newest of Planned Parenthood’s abortion mega centers, in Houston, Texas, is a 78,000 square foot beast pictured below. The map to the right shows the strategic placement of this monster where four minority districts intersect. Blacks and Hispanics comprise only 25% of the American population but procure an appalling 56% of the abortions.

Operating close to 80% of its abortion mills in inner city neighborhoods, how much longer can PP get away with the lie that they are not engaged in a eugenic war?

UPDATE: I’ve posted this trailer before, but this movie Maafa 21 is a stunning piece of work that really gets to the heart of Sanger’s eugenics. (Maafa is Swahili for ‘holocaust’) A commenter below periodically reminds us of the movie. Watch the trailer and do get a copy of this movie and share it with your family, friends and parishioners.

THIS IS THE EPILOGUE TO THE MOVIE, DELIVERED BY REVEREND JOHNNY M. HUNTER, NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF L.E.A.R.N.

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Their shapes are familiar to us. Four-sided stepped pyramids rising up out of the jungles and plains of the ancient Aztec Empire, the sites of blood sacrifice meant to appease the angry gods who were nothing more than an externalized expression of humanity’s worst fears and most primal impulses. These are the sites where the blood of innocents flowed freely in a ruinous cycle of anxiety, appeasement, and despair; where the insatiable maw of human weakness and the demonic was fed the lives of innocents, especially the virgins.

It was a society ripe for Christian evangelization. These people grasped the essence of blood sacrifice as atonement for sin. They no doubt rejoiced in the truth, that the one true God of the universe offered Himself as a final blood sacrifice for all of humanity’s sins. For the Aztecs, liberation from their blood-soaked past was indeed Good News. So it has been for their descendants for centuries.

Today, just north of the ancient Aztec Empire, a new stepped temple, six stories tall and offering 75,000 square feet of space is being completed in Houston Texas. It is a Planned Parenthood mega-abortion center, the largest in the world outside of China, strategically located at the point where four minority neighborhoods intersect. Three of these neighborhoods are 85% Hispanic and one is 80% Black American. Coincidence? Hardly. Close to 80% of Planned Parenthood facilities are located in inner-city neighborhoods among the very people Margaret Sanger and her fellow travelers in the Eugenics movement targeted almost a century ago.

Indeed, African-Americans comprise almost 12% of the population, but have 37% of the abortions. This is not an accident. It is the result of a fracturing of Christian Civilization, and the resulting descent into a pre-Christian demonic madness.

The ancients could be forgiven a certain ignorance that came with scientific illiteracy regarding meteorology. Looking at their arid land, they knew well their fate if the skies withheld their life-giving waters. Ignorant of God, they fashioned gods who resembled the traits they found most socially desirable amongst themselves that they would inculcate into their children. They then ascribed those traits to animals and carved them into totem poles. When the ancients worshipped the totem poles, they were doing nothing more than worshipping and externalized version of their own collective socially desirable traits.

In essence, they were worshipping themselves.

Today totem worship is rampant in Western civilization. Materialism and radicalized autonomy are the greatest goods and the prime reasons cited by abortion proponents for sacrificing our young. Our materialism and radicalized autonomy have created an arid spiritual landscape in too many lives and communities, as such autonomy is the antithesis of faithful submission to the loving will of God.

Once again the demonic preys upon our fears and whispers to us its requirement to be worshipped with blood sacrifice, with a newly instituted priestly class doing the demonic’s bidding.

Our attempts to stanch the bloodshed through legislative efforts is a good, but ultimately lagging indicator of lived faith in society. Education in how abortion harms women physically, psychologically and spiritually; evangelization that restores people to their lost dignity, and the refocussing of priorities that follow are what is needed most. Just laws will necessarily ensue.

It was the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ that ended human sacrifice all over the world. Here in the best garden of the world we have seen that faith badly corroded and its appalling consequences.

It isn’t enough to be anti-abortion. We must quench the arid American soil with the healing, life-giving waters of Baptism in a new evangelization. Then, those fears which drive so many to consume their offspring as the price of peace will be swallowed up in faith that a loving Father will take care of all our needs.

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Gotta Love the American Life League for producing this video.

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Jill Stanek graciously and unselfishly introduced me to most of the Pro-Life Leadership in Washington DC this past week. One of those leaders is Dr. Johnny Hunter, D.D., National Director of LEARN (Life Education And Resource Network). Dr. Hunter’s organization has put together a breathtaking 2 hour documentary on the Eugenics movement entitled Maafa 21, Black Genocide in 21st Century America. This documentary is riveting in its highly historically accurate and well-documented telling of the ongoing genocide against Black Americans. It is relentless and unsparing .

Far from a radical racial polemic, this movie celebrates allies across the spectrum, and damns the conspirators, including large swaths of the African-American Leadership. The intellectual honesty here is exemplary. I’ve watched this three times already. Having purchased eight copies, I’m down to my last.

What follows is a trailer for the movie, and then a short video of Dr. Hunter.

This movie is a must-see by all pro-lifers and people of good will. It especially needs to make its way into the hands of Black Pastors everywhere. It may be purchased here.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Niece, Dr. Alveda King

If there is one African American woman in the United States who has drunk from the bitter cups of abortion and racism, whose life has been forever changed by both, it is Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King knows what it is like to be lied to by a Planned Parenthood physician. “It’s just a blob of tissue,” she was told before her second abortion.

In 1966, Martin Luther King accepted the Margaret Sanger award from Planned Parenthod. Hear Alveda King Describe why he did so in this brief interview.

At the time, Sanger’s private communications with Clarence Gamble about the Negro Project had not yet come to light. The issue is detailed here.

The legacy of the project is gruesome for African-Americans. Today, close to eighty percent of Planned Parenthood clinics operate in inner-city neighborhoods. The rationale is that the need is greatest there. Which need? The need to stop these people from proliferating “like weeds,” as Sanger opined, or the need for low-cost, government-funded services for those who occupy the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder?

In the case of the latter, these citizens have broad access to welfare, medicaid, and a great many to social security disability money; financing streams not available to those with more means. So the financial imperative rationale is a lie.

While blacks constitute roughly eleven percent of the population, they have thirty-seven percent of the abortions, some eighteen million since 1973. Accidental? Consider the sting operation from two years ago where PP centers were accepting donations to underwrite the abortions of Black babies. At 1:30 into the following video, Autmn Kersey, PP Director of Fundraising for the State of Idaho says it all with enthusiasm.

The eighteen million were the babies who were killed. How many scores of millions did PP prevent from being conceived? Worse still has been the lesson taught to young men, that young girls’ bodies are mere playthings, that human sex can be had without consequences, that when contraception fails, PP stands ready and willing to murder the child. This has devastated the community. Close to seventy percent of African American births are to unwed mothers, the consequence of teaching teens that human relations are merely “sex play”, as PP does on its web page directed at teens entitled ‘The Truth About Virginity Pledges.”

In this pernicious document, youth are cut off from their elders’ influence by appealing to their natural desire for autonomy: “Choosing to have sex is a very personal decision, and so is choosing to take a virginity pledge.”

As always, the lie is one of omission. True, choosing to have sex is a personal decision, but it is also one with profound consequences for family and community stability, which is why marriage is a legal contract and not a private arrangement.

Then there is the matter of African-American girls having twice the sexually transmitted disease rate of other girls their age. Full forty-eight percent of African-American girls will be diagnosed with at least one STD by age nineteen. Many of these will cause pelvic inflammatory disease and leave these young women sterile, which comports well with Sanger’s vision.

When Sanger began her “Negro Project”, Blacks might have been poor, but they had much more solid families and church communities. Seventy years later, the deplorable state of the Black inner-city is in no mall measure the result of Planned Parenthood’s machinations. The last word goes to these Black Pastors who want PP defunded. Nobody knows more than these good people what PP has done to their community.

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Pregnancy was a rude awakening for me. No matter how many guys told me that life changes forever with a positive EPT, there’s just no teacher like life herself. The cravings were the best. I’ll never forget going out into a snowstorm because Regina was dying for Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream. (I think it was really one of those, “just how far would you go for me” moments.) Either way, how exactly does a guy say “no”, especially when she says it’s the baby’s favorite? Having tried unsuccessfully for four years and resigning ourselves to not having a child who would be the product of our love, we were surprised a month later. No snow drift too deep! That was fun stuff. So were the sonograms, talking to the baby every day when I came home from the lab, poking at Regina’s side and having the baby kick back. It was all magical and glorious.

The rude awakening came in people’s line of questioning, well-intentioned as it was. It started when we declined to have the alpha-fetoprotein test. Our OB, a solid Catholic physician was somewhat surprised. “Don’t you want to know if there are any abnormalities?” He wasn’t the only one. Others, when asking how the AFP results were, seemed incredulous that we would decline the test. Our answer to all was a simple “No”. AFP’s have notorious false positive results. Then what? Eat our hearts out for the remainder of the pregnancy? Fill our souls with grief and dread? Do an amniocentesis which causes spontaneous abortion in 1/200 babies?

It didn’t matter. “Handicapped babies need more love, not less,” Regina and I would tell people. “If God has a set number of handicapped children who need to enter the world, then He can send one our way.”

He did.

Right away. More on that in a moment.

At least our doctor understood. This was our baby, not something we felt we needed to accessorize our lives with, but the product of our shared love for one another. It didn’t need to be perfect. We’re not. That’s a good place to get parenting off on the right foot. Don’t burden the children with two parents vicariously reliving their lives through the child. The baby just needed to be. Not, needs to be (fill in the blank…) The baby just needed to be.

I still cannot get over the number of people who were really put off by the fact that we would welcome a handicapped child, regardless of the severity of the handicap. Paranthetically, these are the same people who accuse pro-lifers of only loving the fetus and not giving a damn about the conditions of the child (poverty, handicap, education…) once the child is born. We were called selfish. One person even said such a sentiment was ghoulish. Evidently it isn’t ghoulish for a couple married six years aborting a less-than-perfect product of their love.

The conversation would end with people saying, “As long as it’s healthy…”

Then came Joseph. We almost lost him on his due date. After emergency c-section, he was fine. Then came the moderately severe regressive autism, and a host of other neurological diagnoses, not diagnosed as such for three critical years. It wasn’t until he was turning five that we got the correct diagnosis at University of Michigan’s Autism Center and Columbia Presbyterian’s Pediatric Neurology. We changed course in both of our careers in order to have maximum time with Joseph and his two younger sisters. At age five, his speech equivalent was 2.1 years, his IQ tests, low-average to borderline. We arranged for massive amounts of speech therapy each week with one of the most gifted therapists in New York, a saint by the name of Robert Marinello. In six years, Bob has Joseph functioning very close to where he needs to be. Likewise his occupational therapist, private special ed teacher at our home, his teachers in school from pre-K to second grade, all worked wonders.

Regina and I have been diligent in doing the carry-over work ’round the clock at home. It’s been a six-year intensive team effort, and we have been graced with some exceptional therapists and a community of parent-activists for their autistic children. At age 11, Joseph still has a way to go, but I believe that he has a decent shot at a normal life. With his sisters who adore him, he’s all set.

There was a time, not too long ago, when children who were as bad off as Joseph were simply institutionalized. For some, with Down Syndrome, we’ve learned to use diagnostic medicine to identify and abort 93% of them. God help us if we find genetic markers for autism. For the time being, the autistic children are safe. So why the success in treating them over the past decade?

Not everyone is given to cynical abandonment, which is what abortion is all about. We live in an age of unprecedented enlightenment and innovation. Collectively the various therapeutic communities, in partnership with autism activist parents, have worked up an approach to autistic children that works. It’s getting better by the year. What has happened with Joseph is nothing short of miraculous, and is happening with tens of thousands of autistic children daily. The miracles are being performed by ordinary people who are putting in one more average day at the office. There’s a great lesson in that.

We don’t perfect ourselves as humans by dealing with perfect people. There are none. We perfect ourselves by the manner in which we encounter those with imperfections. As Thomas Jefferson said it best in a letter to his daughter,

“Every human being must be viewed according to what it is good for; for none of us, no, not one, is perfect; and were we to love none who had imperfections, this world would be a desert for our love.”

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