Catholic Weddings

NWR Discussion Topic: This is why I don't believe social issues are black and white

If you ladies don't mind my starting a discussion, was looking for thoughts on this.

I've seen a lot of discussion here about the evils of moral relativism.  However I have never been able to see certain issues as black and white.  On the abortion issue for example, isn't this is a situation where an abortion should be tolerated?


The woman's fetus is anencephalic, and will be born with half a brain and no consciousness, with a likely "life"span (with reflexive breathing and circulation) of 2 days.  Here's a wikipedia entry on the condition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anencephaly  (warning, graphic photos)

Why must the child be born at risk to the mother's life?  Is the only argument a "slippery slope" argument?  Couldn't any issue be subject to a "slippery slope" argument?


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Re: NWR Discussion Topic: This is why I don't believe social issues are black and white

  • It's not about a slippery slope argument. It's plain. One human being's life is not more or less valuable than another's. 
  • Well firstly, miracles happen.  You'd be shocked to hear how many doctors say X, Y or Z will happen to someone's baby, then that baby is born happy and healthy with no issues or with issues less than what was predicted. 

    Even if the baby's diagnosis is correct, it is not up to humans to decide when ANY other human's life ends.  One or two days outside the womb (along with the roughly 280 inside) is better than no days at all.
  • So this example is interesting. 
    IF the baby were "healthy," would she still want the abortion? I'm kind of going to assume not, because it seems the whole issue that the article is making is that she wants to abort the baby *because* of his anencephalic condition. Why is this important? Because ANY time a woman gets pregnant she is "putting herself at risk." Right? While of course our rates of women dying while giving birth are far less than they were 100 years ago, it still is a relatively dangerous thing to do.

    So...if she has this medical condition that can't be treated while she is pregnant (so she is claiming,) then why did she get pregnant in the first place? If her condition is so serious that she needs an abortion to get treated, then she should not have been having sex at all.

    But like I said, I *suspect* if it were a healthy baby she would not be making a stink about having the abortion. So it's not really about that, is it...
    This is the problem with people thinking that sex is a "right." They forget there are consequences, and the easy availability of abortion allows them to think that.

    I guess I don't understand what's wrong with letting nature take it's course, if that's SO inevitable that the baby will eventually die...

    It comes down to basically what Chelsea said - there is something really wrong with a society when it's members get to determine who is worthy of life.

    So I'm not really seeing how this is an issue of moral relativism? I'm not quite clear on what the OP is getting at... I think when you really understand the Church's teachings you will see how they all tie together - there simply isn't room for moral relativism. I'd be interested if you have any other examples of where there is a double standard or something? (If  that's what you mean by "moral relativsm"?)
  • (sorry, I realize my above response is not entirely coherent...)
  • abortion to me is black and white.  i believe that there is never a reason to abort.

    from a non-catholic standpoint i can see how this would be a gray area OR be black in white in that it would make sense to abort the baby.

    but as a catholic, abortion to me would still not be a choice in this situation.  for me personally, id want to give birth, allow my child to be baptized during its incredibly short life span, and then hope and pray that ive prepared myself for whatever god's plan is with regard to my personal medical situation.  i would hope that i would be rewarded in my own illness for not killing my child to save myself, but if god wants me to join my child then that's the plan.

    [Deleted User]lalaith50amaryann210
  • Catholic teaching says: No one except God should ever determine who is "worthy" of life

    Most of society says: If someone is useless or about to die, it is perfectly fine and even helpful to speed the process

    This is obviously an irreconcilable difference. I'm sure society-at-large is never going to accept the Catholic position, and the Catholic position is arrived at through Natural Law and simply cannot be changed.

    This is not going to be pretty in the years to come.

    I'm reading the "Fatherless" trilogy by Brian Gail right, and while on the one hand it is almost laughably "Catholic propaganda," it still makes for good reading and I firmly believe that what he is describing is TRUE. (In other words, yes, I recommend it.) Anyhow, I'm in the middle of the third book right now and basically it's a story about what could happen to our world in the not-so-distant future, and it's quite sobering. Financial collapse and total moral decay. And on the one hand, we could look at the moral decay and be like, "oh, that will NEVER happen...this is America!" But then, 20 years ago, I don't think that the majority of American citizens could have dreamed that gay marriage would be legal, or that 16-year olds could obtain contraception without their parents permission. And the book is about how the Catholics have to deal with life becoming really difficult, and their own personal moral choices becoming extremely difficult, and yet they can't compromise. (And you see other Catholic's that did, to their own detriment as well as how that negatively affects so many other people.)

    People hate the Catholic Church so much BECAUSE she stands against "relative truth." BECAUSE she takes a stand and says "there is such a thing as right and wrong, and no one can ever 'play God.'" 

    And going back to the first thing I said, as more and more people start to agree that a person's life has a quantifiable value (old person who has only 6 months left to live but requires expensive treatment: not valuable. young person in a coma who will probably not recover: not valuable. baby in the womb who will probably die: not valuable,) it's going to be harder and harder to even live as a Catholic.
  • (did this final paragraph not get published? It was supposed to... yay ctrl-c!)

    If someone wanted to kill their healthy spouse, of course we would say "that is and of course should be wrong and illegal!" But to Catholics, that example and my previous ones aren't all that different. In fact, there is actually NO difference in terms of the worthiness of life. So I know that to people when Catholics speak out and say, "You should not abort that baby!" It looks ridiculous and people think, "Mind your own business! It might be wrong for you, but it's not wrong for me." But at least try and understand, that according to the Catholic morality, killing your healthy spouse, and killing your unborn-probably-will-die baby are the SAME. I'm sure you would agree it would be ridiculous to not speak out if you knew someone was going to kill their spouse - in our mind, it's the same for the baby.
  • I deliberately kept trying to use phrases like "Catholic teaching" and "Catholic position," since I'm well-aware that not all Catholics agree with them. The use of "our" was meant to be referring to the Catholics that DO agree with Catholic teaching. I'm sorry you're not included in that group.
  • So, I'm curious: I'm pretty sure we've discussed before how removing an ectopic pregnancy (thus killing the child) would be permissible because the embryo has zero chance of surviving, plus it is a serious danger to the mother's health.  How is this poor woman's scenario different?  Her combination of diseases left untreated could kill her and her child has zero chance of surviving.  Is it because she could be receiving SOME treatment for lupus and kidney failure?

    And I SORT OF agree with you, Lala, that if her conditions are that frightening to her, she shouldn't have gotten pregnant in the first place, but we don't know anything about her situation except that she is young and she's already had a healthy child.  Anencephaly is rare that she really had no reason to suspect her child was at risk for it.

    But I do agree with Calypso -- this is a black and white issue for me as well.  My position on abortions in this kind of case has actually evolved, as I remember reading many years ago about a Catholic woman in the US who made the decision to have an abortion after learning her baby was also anencephalic.  At the time, I sympathized greatly with this woman, but over the years, I've become convinced that she made the wrong choice.  Yes, her baby was definitely going to die, but aside from the practical aspect of having the child baptized (at the time I read her story I was Protestant and so didn't see the value in this), the opportunity to hold that child even for a moment would just be too much to pass up.  I have no doubt that even in that kind of pain, the child would have been able to draw comfort from the overwhelming love s/he would have received from the parents.

    I'm certain the mother in the OP is not making her decision lightly, but I don't think it "grays" things as much as some people do...
  • I loathe abortion.

    However, I think that in certain cases it could be necessary.  I hate the idea of "playing God" (Euthaniasia is about to be legalized in my state and I'm SOOOO mad), but when the mother is at risk, that's when it gets into the gray area for me.

    Ponder this: My sister has special needs.  What happens if she is raped and gets pregnant?  She is not physically capable of surviving a pregnancy.  What then?  Does my family have a "wait and see if nature takes its course" attitude?  HECK NO.  We would do whatever we could to protect her. 

    I believe that there's gray area for every social issue once it becomes personal.  Life isn't black and white.

  • With ectopic pregnancy, the diseased tube is removed. The embryo is NOT killed directly, but its in indirect side effect.


    [Deleted User]
  • so what if the person in the article simply proceeded with her medical treatment?  if the fetus is so badly ill that it will die from its current disease/disabilty shortly after birth, then does it matter?  i have heard of stories where some women have proceeded with cancer treatments while pregnant with mixed results - but in those cases they were usually carrying a perfectly healthy child. 

    would she be considered to be having an abortion if she opts for treatment for herself that may kill her child, given that her intent isnt to kill the child but rather treat her lupus/kidney problem?

  • Cfas,  my best friend had a condition as a baby which meant she had less than 1% chance of survival.  She is now married and has two children.  I'm really glad her parents didn't have the attitude you do, but instead prayed for a miracle and got it. 

     

    lalaith50chelseamb11
  • My best friend is pretty dang awesome, and is definitely worth basing an opinion on.

     

    lalaith50

  • With ectopic pregnancy, the diseased tube is removed. The embryo is NOT killed directly, but its in indirect side effect.

    Wrong. 

    If the ectopic pregnancy results in a damage tube, then yes, this is correct.  But in most cases, if the ectopic pregnancy is discovered in time, the embryo is removed and the tube is left intact.

    Resa, I have no doubt that your friend is "pretty dang awesome."  But I think you missed the part where anencphaly is 100% fatal.  Not 99% fatal.  100%.  Whether this woman carries this baby to term or not makes no difference to the outcome.  The child is going to die.  There is no chance of a "miracle."  The baby is not going to magically grow the other half of her brain.  She is 100% terminal.

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    Meegles4
  • I wondered the same thing as Calypso.  And then wondered the same thing as cfas.

    I'm also curious when her kidney failure began.  If she's been in failure for long enough that it was a problem during her first pregnancy, I would question why this is now a problem.  If she'd been in failure with her first child, she would have had exactly the same health risks.  If it began after her first pregnancy or during her second, that's another story.
  • Resa77 said:
    Cfas,  my best friend had a condition as a baby which meant she had less than 1% chance of survival.  She is now married and has two children.  I'm really glad her parents didn't have the attitude you do, but instead prayed for a miracle and got it. 

    One of my best friends had an anencephalic baby. Obviously (as cfas stated, there is ZERO chance of survival) the baby passed within hours. Is that because they didn't pray hard enough? Because this whole statement is incredibly uneducated and offensive to the thousands of parents who didn't deserve the miracle they so prayed for.
    baystateapple
  • To cfaszews at 11:24 am -
    An that's what makes the Catholic view so different and so amazing. In either outcome, it's *acceptance* of God's Will. That He has a bigger plan and His Will was accomplished. Good things can come out of bad situations (like either the baby or mother dying, or both.) If you don't have that viewpoint, then life is just misery, pain, and suffering, with a little bit of happiness thrown in. But it completely changes when you believe that God is in control of EVERYTHING. Prayer doesn't necessarily change the outcome - the most important thing it does is to change our *hearts.* 
  • lalaith50 said:
    To cfaszews at 11:24 am -
    An that's what makes the Catholic view so different and so amazing. In either outcome, it's *acceptance* of God's Will. That He has a bigger plan and His Will was accomplished. Good things can come out of bad situations (like either the baby or mother dying, or both.) If you don't have that viewpoint, then life is just misery, pain, and suffering, with a little bit of happiness thrown in. But it completely changes when you believe that God is in control of EVERYTHING. Prayer doesn't necessarily change the outcome - the most important thing it does is to change our *hearts.* 
    So...you believe that a woman who is going to die if she carries her 100% terminal baby to term should do so because it's "God's will", even though she has the means to save herself and actually be able to parent her other child, in the hopes that "good things" can come out of it?

    I would love to hear you try to explain that to a child who lost his or her mother because she was denied the procedure that could have saved her life, and see how that child reacts to "Well, it's God's will, maybe some good will come out of it."
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    lbarr088Meegles4
  • It seems kind of miserable to think everyone with different views as you must be living life of misery and pain.
    Meegles4
  • People can take offense to my statement if they want to, but I never said people who don't get miracles didn't pray hard enough .  I'm just saying that nothing is 100%, and if there's even the tiniest chance of a miracle, then it's worth a shot to me. 

     

  • um, I have better things to do today than to try and explain myself to people who simply have a completely different worldview than I do. 
    Ciao.
  • Resa77 said:

    People can take offense to my statement if they want to, but I never said people who don't get miracles didn't pray hard enough .  I'm just saying that nothing is 100%, and if there's even the tiniest chance of a miracle, then it's worth a shot to me. 


    But see, thats the thing.  Some things absolutely are 100%.  I am 100% a woman.  A human 100% cant live without certain body parts or certain bodily functions.  The sky today is 100% blue.

    There's nothing wrong with prayer and hope for a miracle.  I pray frequently for guidance.  But sometimes miracles just arent going to happen, and you just have to be realistic about that.

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  • lalaith50 said:
    um, I have better things to do today than to try and explain myself to people who simply have a completely different worldview than I do. 
    Ciao.
    I am really not trying to pick on you, Lalaith, but this is really not the way to make your point or back it up.  It's akin to "Well, I disagree, so I'm taking my ball and going home."
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  • Response to several points:

    To the point that pregnancy has consequences, and she shouldn't have gotten pregnant--I believe she is married, and in certain cultures a woman can have real difficulty denying her husband sex.  Maybe they were practicing some sort of family planning and it failed.  So she should be punished now with possibly death because she had sex with her husband, which resulted in a pregnancy that's killing her?

    To the point that you can't decide which human lives and which dies: Considering that we have the medical means to save the woman's life by removing the fetus, aren't we effectively deciding that the fetus should live (for however short its life is) and the woman should die if we prohibit intervention?  I know that Catholics don't follow the Christian Scientist approach forbidding medical interventions.  How is this different?

    Also, the baby will die anyway.  Why does it matter if it dies outside the womb after a few hours, or inside the womb?  Is it a matter of what happens to the soul?  Is the soul condemned if it dies within the womb, rather than the baby being baptized as soon as it emerges, and then the baby dies?  Doesn't "original sin" attach at the time of birth?  So the unborn child/fetus would still be sinless if it dies in the womb?  (not sure of what the teaching is on this, genuinely inquiring).

    Finally, with respect to "God being in control."  How does this mesh with the concept of free will, and also the concept of certain medical interventions being permissible (i.e. NOT the Christian Scientist view)?  If God is in control, why do we allow medical interventions at all?


    baystateapple
  • Based on what I have read and the ectopic pregnancy analogy where a tube can be removed and the embryo dying is a secondary effect, I don't think cancer treatment would would considered abortion.  The primary goal is to treat the cancer, and if the fetus dies that is secondary.  But someone more schooled on the subject can correct me if I'm wrong.

    Anyway, I didn't mean to start any bad blood with this topic, I just thought it would be an interesting discussion. 
  • Dear cfas,
    In light of all your double posts I'm going to have to issue you a warning.  =)  Also, that was why I was speculating about the renal failure only, since she's LIKELY to have known she had Lupus (although it can take quite a long time to flare up).

    Girls who are making the, "Did so-and-so not pray hard enough?!" argument, please stop.  No one suggested that.

    I don't think anyone is saying that there is an easy answer to this problem.  It's also NOT God's will that someone should die.  Since I live in OKC, I'll use the example of the tornado on Monday and the children who died in their school.  That certainly wasn't God's will, but it didn't stop certain zealots from claiming that the tornado and subsequent loss of life was the result of poor faith and "not enough praying."

    However, in any tragic instance, to simply ignore God's word (namely, don't kill) doesn't help to alleviate the grief.  I would say it compounds it.  We all experience personal tragedies (some significantly worse than others), and it's in those times that we should turn TO God so that He can give us comfort and strength, and yes, perhaps miracles.
  • I CAN delete them!

    Also, I will bring this up to KP.  Is it just when you try to quote someone?
  • Resa77 said:

    People can take offense to my statement if they want to, but I never said people who don't get miracles didn't pray hard enough .  I'm just saying that nothing is 100%, and if there's even the tiniest chance of a miracle, then it's worth a shot to me. 

    I'm completely OK with your point of view here. If you were in this situation, and this were your belief and plan of action, then go for it. I would give you tremendous credit for following through and carrying a baby in this situation to term.

    But what bothers me is judging or condemning or otherwise "schooling" the woman that her decision is wrong. In her world, she doesn't believe a miracle is going to happen and is presumably weighing her personal beliefs and opinions with that of her medical providers and making a decision that's best for her. It's not yours, mine, or anyone's decision to make for her, and her decision is something that is between her, her family, her medical providers, and her version of God. The rest of the world needs to stay the heck out of it.
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  • No. It seems to happen randomly. I'm not doing anything different when I hit 'post,' so I don't know what's going on. It's been a while since I've posted on TK. I'm not the biggest fan of the new layout.
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