Published on September 9, 2008 By lulapilgrim In Current Events

Politics and When Does Life Begin?

 

 

On July 16, 2000, on Meet the Press, the late Tim Russert asked Al Gore “When do you think life begins?”

Gore: I favor the Roe v. Wade approach but let me just say, Tim--

Russert: Which is what? When does life begin?

Gore: Let me just say, I did change my position on the issue of federal funding and I changed it because I came to understand more from women--women think about this differently than men.

Russert: But you were calling fetuses innocent human life and now you don’t believe that life begins at conception. I’m just trying to find out, when do you believe life begins?

Gore: Well, look the Roe v. Wade decision proposes an answer to that question--

Russert: Which is?

 

The news stories that followed contended that Russert’s approach reflected his “Catholic bias”. Interestingly, Brian Williams, also Catholic, explained of Russert that Catholicism was his base, never his bias.

 

During the recent Saddleback forum, Pastor Rick Warren asked basically the same question to both Obama and McCain. Obama answered that “whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity,  you know, is above my pay grade.” McCain said life begins at conception.

 

One question..two different answers. At this moment on the question of life, stark differences emerged from these two men both of whom would like to be the next president of America, the land of the free and home of the brave.  Their respective voting records bears this out. Obama’s 100% pro-abortion voting record shows he doesn’t give a flip about life in the womb. Obama claims to be Christian, yet his pro-abortion votes mocks  Almighty God’s Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”.  He said if one of his daughters became pregnant he wouldn’t want her “punished” for her mistake.  For over 20 years, McCain has racked up a consistent pro-life voting record, excepting the one on stem cells.

 

This past Sunday, Obama’s VP nominee, Sen.Joe Biden, a Catholic, was interviewed by Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press the same venue where Nancy Pelosi made the remarks that earned her the rebuke of dozens of  bishops. Brokaw asked Biden,  "As a Roman Catholic, when does life begin?"

 

Biden said that he believes as a Catholic that life begins at conception, but for him it was a personal and private issue. Brokaw challenged Biden further: "But if you, you believe that life begins at conception, and you've also voted for abortion rights..." Biden responded that his strong pro-abortion record can nevertheless be squared with the Catholic faith. At that point Biden contradicted his supposed adherence to the Church’s teaching that life begins at conception invoking St. Thomas Aquinas to argue that there is a “debate” within the Church about the question when life begins.   

Biden, to justify his support for abortion, Biden  pulled a Pelosi who on the same show, invoked St. Augustine to support her abortion stance.

As a response to Pelosi’s erroneous statements, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops published fact sheet directly challenging  "those who say this (Catholic) teaching (on abortion) has changed or is of recent origin."

The document quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law" (No. 2271).

The fact sheet explains the Church's consistent teaching on abortion as an intrinsically evil act that can never be morally right, and provides scientific evidence that "conception produces a new living being" and that "this individual is, at the outset, distinctively human, with the inherent and active (life) potential to mature into a human fetus, infant, child and adult."

"Given the scientific fact that a human life begins at conception, the only moral norm needed to understand the Church's opposition to abortion is the principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with the respect due to a human person," the document concludes.

 

For those who prefer scientific fact rather than a theoretical answer to the question of when life begins, one was given back in 2000 when Russert first asked it of Al Gore.....

 

“Virtually every human embryologist and every major textbook of Human Embryology state that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being.” C.Ward Kischer, Emeritus Professor of Anatomy and Specialist in Human Embryology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

 

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Sep 09, 2008

Obama knows the truth of when human life begins. He knows that when his wife was pregnant, that a live, human person was growing in her womb.  He, like the rest of the pro-abortion crowd, won't publically admit it though...keeping the aborturaries running through Roe v. Wade is more important to them than admitting this truth.

By their consistent votes for the evil of abortion, Obama and Biden place themselves and poliical expediency first. The millions of aborted unborn children prove that. If in the hands of these two, the innocent unborn life in the womb isn't safe, then how can society ever be safe in their hands?   

 

 

on Sep 09, 2008

Are you just as passionately opposed to hormonal birth control?  Do you think hormonal BC should be illegal?

on Sep 09, 2008

“Virtually every human embryologist and every major textbook of Human Embryology state that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being.”

Technically, yes.  It starts to become an organism at that point rather than an extention of another.

 

Now how come you trust scientists in this case but when it comes to evolution and the idea of an old earth it's "OH NO!  That's wrong!"?

*sigh*  Christianity: supporting science only if it supports their beliefs.

So disappointing...

~Zoo

on Sep 09, 2008

Birth control, in my opinion, is neither amoral nor illegal unless you use it incorrectly. Granted, people will differ in their definitions, but I believe that if you're gonna do anything outside of marriage, it's wrong.

on Sep 09, 2008

TW POSTS:

Are you just as passionately opposed to hormonal birth control? Do you think hormonal BC should be illegal?

If, by hormonal birth control,  you mean the use of mechanical or chemical procedures to prevent conception from taking place my answer is yes.

Your second question falls within the objective criteria of morality. I view the use of artificial BC as out of conformity with the moral law. Therefore the use of artificial birth control is morally unacceptable, but illegal?, hmmmm, ....let's think about this........it's use is against God's law so I guess since man's law must be in conformity with God's law, then it's use should be against man's law too.  

The Church, which is on the side of life, teaches that "it is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life." This particular doctrine is based on the inseparable connection established by God which man on his own initiative cannot break, between the unitive and the procreative significance which are both inherent in the marriage act.

Periodic continence, also called natural family planning, that is, the methods of birth regulation based upon self-observation and the use of infertile periods is in conformity with GOd's moral law. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil.   

 

on Sep 09, 2008

Erathoniel:  That doesn't make any sense.  What does marriage/non-marriage have to do with it.

And do you understand what hormonal BC does? 

Lula:  I mean specifically hormonal BC methods that prevent a fertilized egg from implanting (BC pills, the patch, hormonal IUDs, etc.) as opposed to barrier methods that prevent conception (FWIW, many hormonal forms of BC are dual purpose and make conception less likely as well as making implantation impossible).  I always wonder about people who are against abortion based on a definition of life beginning at conception, but who have no issue with the legality of hormonal forms of BC. 

Heh, I do think Catholics tend to be at least consistent in this regard.

on Sep 09, 2008

Lula posts:

“Virtually every human embryologist and every major textbook of Human Embryology state that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being.”

ZOO POSTS:

Technically, yes. It starts to become an organism at that point rather than an extention of another.

Hey, Zoo, I missed you over the summer.....I'm glad that you are back.

Correct....at the moment of fertilization, the little person has his or her own DNA and they are good to go...through all their stages of life.

Now how come you trust scientists in this case but when it comes to evolution and the idea of an old earth it's "OH NO! That's wrong!"?

The difference is in the scientists, Zoo. These scientists have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that life begins at fertilization. Embryology is true science, whereas, evolution and "old earth" are theory.  Until they have empirical proof, then I quite confidently call their contention that mankind somehow grew from apekind bunk!  

sigh* Christianity: supporting science only if it supports their beliefs.

Christianity has been here for over 2000 years....and the Holy Bible especially Genesis,  alot longer than that. It's gonna take some time for true science to get caught up and prove it, and they may never.

Last January Pope Benedict said that science cannot fully understand the mystery of man. The story from Catholic news agency is quite interesting.

A joyful Pope Benedict spoke this morning with academics gathered at the Vatican to study the human person. While applauding their efforts, he also told them that science is not capable of fully understanding the mystery of human beings.

The inter-academic conference entitled "The changeable identity of the individual", is the collaborative effort of the "Academie des Sciences de Paris" and by the Pontifical Academy of Science.

In our time, the Pope told the scholars, "the exact sciences, both natural and human, have made prodigious advances in their understanding of man and his universe". However at the same time "there is a strong temptation to circumscribe human identity and enclose it with the limits of what is known."

"In order to avoid going down this path," the Pontiff said, "it is important not to ignore anthropological, philosophical and theological research, which highlight and maintain the mystery of human beings, because no science can say who they are, where they come from and where they go. The knowledge of human beings is then, the most important of all forms of knowledge".

"Human beings always stand beyond what can be scientifically seen or perceived", the Pope affirmed. This failure manifests itself today in "an incapacity to recognize the foundation upon which human dignity rests, from the embryo until natural death," said the Pope.

"Starting from the question of the new being, who is produced by a fusion of cells and who bears a new and specific genetic heritage", the Holy Father told his audience, "you have highlighted certain essential elements in the mystery of man". Man, said the Pope is "characterized by his otherness. He is a being created by God, a being in the image of God, a being who is loved and is made to love. As a human he is never closed within himself. He is always a bearer of otherness and, from his origins, is in interaction with other human beings".

Contrary to the Darwinian concept of man, Pope Benedict said that "man is not the result of mere chance, of converging circumstances, of determinism, of chemical inter-reactions."

 Man is a being who enjoys a freedom which ... transcends his nature and is a sign of the mystery of otherness that dwells within him. ... This freedom, which is characteristic of human beings, means they can guide their lives to a goal" and "highlights how man's existence has a meaning. In the exercise of his authentic freedom, the individual realizes his vocation, he is fulfilled and gives form to his deepest identity".

Closing his talk, the Pope told the academics, "Human beings have the specific ability of discerning what is good". "In our own time, when the progress of the sciences attracts and seduces for the possibilities it offers, it is more necessary than ever to educate the consciences of our contemporaries to ensure that science does not become the criterion of good, that man is still respected as the centre of creation, and that he does not become the object of ideological manipulation, arbitrary decisions, or abuses".

on Sep 09, 2008

Granted, people will differ in their definitions, but I believe that if you're gonna do anything outside of marriage, it's wrong.

Erathoniel,

 

on Sep 09, 2008

Technically, yes. It starts to become an organism at that point rather than an extention of another. Now how come you trust scientists in this case but when it comes to evolution and the idea of an old earth it's "OH NO! That's wrong!"? *sigh* Christianity: supporting science only if it supports their beliefs. So disappointing...

Amen, Zoo.

on Sep 09, 2008

The difference is in the scientists, Zoo. These scientists have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that life begins at fertilization. Embryology is true science, whereas, evolution and "old earth" are theory. Until they have empirical proof, then I quite confidently call their contention that mankind somehow grew from apekind bunk!

Oh, for the love of God...

And again I sigh...loudly and depressingly.

By the way, geology and evolutionary biology are real sciences.  Embryology actually contributes quite a bit to the evolutionary model.

Oh, and science doesn't "prove" - it finds evidence for or against something.  Bible stories have nil in the evidence for pile.  Evolution, however...well...I'm sure you can guess.  I think I'll be taking an evolutionary biology class pretty soon...perhaps I can find more evidence with which to convince you.

Although all my efforts will most likely be in vain.

~Zoo

on Sep 10, 2008

"Given the scientific fact that a human life begins at conception, the only moral norm needed to understand the Church's opposition to abortion is the principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with the respect due to a human person," the document concludes.

This is not true at all. What scientific evidence shows is that two forms of "life" (notice the difference here ... just "life" not "human life") combine to form another form of "life". if the resultant form is a human life then the two basic forms are also human life since there was no other ingredient entered into the picture "yet".

when does that resultant form becomes "human life" is the main and only meaningful question which no one adresses.

if you go by what sience shows, then it is after the first 3 months that a descernible difference starts to show that that third form of life is a "human life". many theologians believe that is when the "soul" is entered, by God, into that third form of life.and THAT what makes a difference between a "life" and a "human life".

a little clot, a little wiggly bite, or a little leach are certainly a form of a "life" .... when that leach matures and is injected with a "soul" it then becomes " human life" .....

accordingly abortion before the 3rd month is a termination of a "life" not of a "human life". that makes all the difference ... since termination of many forms of life are not amoral or against God's command of killing a "human life". God did not forbid killing of "any" life, He forbade killing only of "human life".

In any case ... this whole issue is a private one and should be left for each individual to decide ... we all will be asked about our choices by God .... it is exactly similar to, and in MHO less sinful, than premarital sex.

It is a narrow-minded view to base your political views on this issue alone, and if you do then you have to consider the other private acts that fall into the same category as well. just picking one and ignore the others is mere hypocrisy.

That is how Obama, Biden and Gore look at this issue. They all personally oppose abortion, but that is a private act just like premarital sex, like not obeying any of God's orders. It is presumptuous of anyone to force his/her own views regarding that on others.

This issue should be debated in Churches, Temples and Mosques not in a political arena. and people should act according to their believes not accroding to what a politician say they should do.

it is very very hypocritical to oppose government intevention in peoples private life and at the same time make the most "private" issue a litmus test for politician and get the whole country embroiled in a debate about it ....

then again principled consistency has never been a principle worth adhering to for the anti-abortion single-issue crowd.

on Sep 10, 2008

It starts to become an organism at that point rather than an extention of another.

Careful!  You just blew Roe V. Wade out of the water with that statement.

 

on Sep 10, 2008

THINKALOUD POSTS:

when does that resultant form becomes "human life" is the main and only meaningful question which no one adresses. 

Science has definitively spoken on when human life begins...at the moment when a male sperm fertilizes the female egg. 

Christian theology definitively explains the human soul. The Holy Bible addresses this in Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:7and so does the Catholic Church's teaching on the human soul.

"Let us make man in our image and likeness.....to the image of God he created him: male and female He created them. And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul."   

The teaching is that the image of God in man is not in the body but in the soul which is a spiritual substance undued with understanding and free will. While God spoke the rest of the visible world into existence, He created mankind with a soul which distinguishes mankind above all the rest. The soul is not made from the earth, but is a 'breath' of God. God gives existence to the soul at the very moment when it is to be united to the body produced by generation (fertilization) becasue it is designed by God to form with that body one human nature. The soul is the cause of the body's life; without it the body cannot live. When a soul is separated from the body, the body dies.

According to Catholic theology, the human soul is the ultimate principle of our individual conscious life, the principle which we feel, think and will. The human soul is a spiritual substance directly created by God and its existence is independent of matter.


if you go by what sience shows, then it is after the first 3 months that a descernible difference starts to show that that third form of life is a "human life". many theologians believe that is when the "soul" is entered, by God, into that third form of life.and THAT what makes a difference between a "life" and a "human life".


accordingly abortion before the 3rd month is a termination of a "life" not of a "human life". that makes all the difference ... since termination of many forms of life are not amoral or against God's command of killing a "human life". God did not forbid killing of "any" life, He forbade killing only of "human life".

House Speaker Pelosi in her attempt to hold up abortion has added to the confusion over what the Church Fathers said. Thankfully, the Catholic bishops and theologians set the record straight saying that the Speaker had “misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion.”

They pointed out that since the first century the Church has “affirmed the moral evil of every abortion.”

It's true that in the late Middle Ages that without having the studies about human embryology that we have today, they speculated  about the age at which the unborn child receives a soul. However, it should be undestood from the getgo that their debates about what is called “ensoulment” were independent of the question of the evil of abortion.

Bottom line: we know now through science that “a new human life begins with the union of sperm and egg” and Catholic teaching reflects this scientific fact.

Archbishop Chaput of Denver pointed out that politicians like Pelosi “tend to take a hard line in talking about the ‘separation of Church and state.’” However, “their idea of separation [only] seems to work one way.”

 

on Sep 10, 2008

Careful! You just blew Roe V. Wade out of the water with that statement.

Well, it doesn't become a fully independent being until the umbilical cord is cut.  'Til then it's more like a parasite(not to be offensive or anything) because it needs a host (this is ticking someone off isn't it?) to live.

I'm still not a fan of abortion, though.

~Zoo

on Sep 10, 2008

'Til then it's more like a parasite(not to be offensive or anything)

Sure it's not a "punishment"?