Jesurgislac’s Journal

January 13, 2009

Two days separation makes it safe

I don’t know whether it disturbed me worse: whether Rick Warren’s invitation was a classic mistake on the lines of “we’re BFF, I don’t need to vet him” or if Obama had Warren vetted and either didn’t care or approved of Warren’s beliefs about effective AIDS work, torture, and same-sex marriage.

For example: this interview in which Warren compares same-sex marriage to child molestation, incest, and polygamy; or Warren’s championing of Martin Ssempa, whose notion of fighting AIDS in Uganda is to burn condoms and preach abstinence – either of which should have been enough to eliminate Warren as a choice for this honour.

As Michelle Goldberg notes, same-sex marriage isn’t the only thing that one hopes Warren and Obama don’t agree on:

Meanwhile, while Warren says he opposes torture, he doesn’t treat the subject with anything like the zeal he accords gay marriage and abortion. As he recently told Beliefnet.com, he never even brought up the subject with the Bush administration, where he had considerable access. Just before the 2004 election, he sent out an e-mail to his congregation outlining the five issues that he considered “non-negotiable”. “In order to live a purpose-driven life – to affirm what God has clearly stated about his purpose for every person he creates – we must take a stand by finding out what the candidates believe about these five issues, and then vote accordingly,” he wrote. The issues were abortion, stem-cell research, gay marriage, cloning and euthanasia. Torture, apparently, is something that decent Christians can disagree on.

Was Obama genuinely ignorant of this? Was Warren’s selection just the first failure of the Obama administration to vet candidates?

Or did Obama know that Warren opposes effective AIDS campaigning in Africa, thinks torture is an issue that Christians can agree-to-disagree on, and that Warren is the kind of Christian homophobe decent people should want sidelined as a radical, not given this kind of central honour – and just not care?
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July 30, 2008

The basics: why pro-choice is the only moral option

Pro-choice is often referred to as if it were synonymous with pro-abortion. It isn’t. Being pro-choice says nothing whatsoever about your own personal views on your own abortion, your best friend’s abortion, or a complete stranger’s abortion; being pro-choice means you believe that the pregnant woman ought to be the one to decide whether, and when, to terminate her pregnancy.

That’s because it’s thoroughly immoral to force a woman to use her body – at potential risk to her life, and likely risk to her health – to make a baby out of a fertilised egg, when she has decided she does not want to make use of her body in this way, and/or she does not want the baby.

If you want the complicated details, read on.

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June 4, 2008

This is what “pro-lifers” want

From Repairing the damage before Roe, by Waldo L. Fielding, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Boston for 38 years:

Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion β€” darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.

Another method that I did not encounter, but heard about from colleagues in other hospitals, was a soap solution forced through the cervical canal with a syringe. This could cause almost immediate death if a bubble in the solution entered a blood vessel and was transported to the heart.

The worst case I saw, and one I hope no one else will ever have to face, was that of a nurse who was admitted with what looked like a partly delivered umbilical cord. Yet as soon as we examined her, we realized that what we thought was the cord was in fact part of her intestine, which had been hooked and torn by whatever implement had been used in the abortion. It took six hours of surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries and repair the part of the bowel that was still functional.

When pro-lifers plunge into eager discussion of how awful abortion is (for obvious reasons, pro-lifers tend to focus on the small proportion of abortions performed late in pregnancy, and for obvious reasons, pro-lifers tend to claim that late-term abortions are performed for the same reason as early abortions) it’s worth noting: what they want is to criminalize abortion. They don’t care about preventing abortions: they don’t support free provision of contraception to all, informative sex education for all, nor do they support free universal support for pregnant women and mothers: health care, employment protection, paid maternity leave.

They just want to return to the good old days when women who had abortions sometimes died of it, because the government had claimed the authority to force any woman who got pregnant to go through with the pregnancy and give birth against her will.

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Update: Sharon (the same Sharon of the God of Bloggers shall strike thee down) came up with some statistical data:

The fact is, the number of teen pregnancies has dropped 15 to 53% in all reporting areas. This is during a time when abstinence-only programs have been in effect.

Unfortunately, Sharon has a long history of losing arguments when she ventures away from her own blog (on her own blog, she can delete comments…) so she naturally didn’t want to come here. While the research tells a consistent tale: abstinence-education doesn’t work in preventing teenage pregnancies, what Sharon misses is that the number of teenage girls getting pregnant dropped in all reporting areas – but dropped faster in areas where schools were still allowed to teach comprehensive sex education. The data is available from the CDC, though last time Sharon and I argued about the merits of preventing teenage pregnancies she didn’t like those big figure-filled tables and didn’t look at them.

That thread, incidentally, is further evidenc that pro-lifers do not care about human life in any respect: a horde of pro-lifers who love the Iraq war and don’t want to think about the million Iraqis dead.

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