John Jalsevac

UPDATE: It appears TWO different surrogate mothers are being pressured to abort

John Jalsevac

Yesterday I wrote about a surrogate mother who is being pressured into aborting the child she is carrying by the child’s biological parents, because the child suffers from some abnormalities. I explained that I first learned of her case when I was directed to a blog authored by a woman named Ashley in which she lamented her plight, and that I also found a recent post on BabyCenter by the friend of a woman whose circumstance sounded nearly identical to Ashley’s.

I assumed that a surrogate mother being pressured to abort a baby against her will because of abnormalities was probably a rare enough circumstance that there wasn’t likely to be more than one in that situation right now, and that Ashley and the woman spoken of on BabyCenter were probably the same person. Well, it appears I was wrong.

New information indicates that in fact there are TWO women who are currently being pressured to abort because the child they are carrying suffers from abnormalities. In one case case the baby reportedly suffers from cleft lip and palate, potential heart problems, and perhaps Down syndrome. What the abnormalities are in the case of the other woman - ‘Ashley’ - isn’t clear, although the person who drew my attention to the link said it was cleft lip and palate.

I have already spoken to a lawyer with a large law firm who has offered to represent Ashley at no cost, and who has said that he is confident that any contract that would involve punishment for breach of contract under these circumstances could be invalidated in court. Undoubtedly the firm would willingly offer the same for the second woman. And I know that other pro-life organizations would offer whatever help necessary.

At the moment I can’t say more because I don’t know more, but it appears that some progress may be happening. Keep praying for these two women, and pray that they accept the offers of help that many people are willing to give to them.

Certainly by this point they can’t help but know that there are thousands of people who are willing to help them. I can’t count the number of people who have commented here and on Facebook saying that they would be more than happy to adopt the children if necessary.

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A screenshot from the UK's version of "Sex Box."

TV continues its campaign to ruin sex

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

Go home, TV, you’re drunk.  That’s my only reaction to the announcement that WE tv has picked up a British reality show called Sex Box.

Sex Box is, rather incredibly, not a euphemism for anything.  Rather, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  The talk-show-style setting features a panel of sex experts sitting on a stage in front of a live studio audience.  There is a large, windowless, soundproof gray box behind them.

The box has a door and confessional-style indicator lights: red means a couple's in there, orange means they’re done, and green means … well, I hope it means someone’s in there cleaning the box, because multiple couples use this thing over the course of an hour-long show.

The idea behind the show is that couples – both straight and homosexual, if the UK debut is indicative of the upcoming U.S. version – with relationship issues will enter the box, have sex, then come out and talk about their problems with the “experts.”

Love, devotion, commitment, rules and limitations – these are all good things.  Intriguing things.  Sexy things.  They’re the stuff every good romance is made of. But sex in a box?

If that doesn’t sound awkward and slightly creepy, then I’m not explaining it right.

Here is my main problem with this show, and it’s probably not what you think: I don’t hate Sex Box because I’m a prude.  I hate Sex Box because it is the most boring show I’ve ever seen.

Sex Box manages to take sex – SEX! The amazing connection between a husband and a wife that feels incredible and allows mere human beings to create new life! – and make it seem like the most banal, utilitarian, uncomfortable and depressing thing ever.

Seriously, enough is enough.  Porn has already ruined the sex lives of a generation of men and women by warping their expectations of the marital act. No, Sex Box isn’t porn, but in a way, it might be worse, because when people watch porn, at least they know it’s fake.  Maybe they decide it’s something to aspire to, but there’s still an air of artifice about the whole thing.  It’s fantasy. 

On the contrary, Sex Box is all about being “real.”  But by focusing on the mechanics of various physical acts and sharing depressing statistics about the state of most sexual relationships today, it reduces what should be a sacred, mysterious union of the flesh between a husband and his wife to something much less divine, and certainly less human. The makers of Sex Box seem to think of sex less as a physical expression of love and more as an itch in need of scratching – or a system in need of a tune-up. Gone is the mystery, the sacredness, the spiritual component – to say nothing of the private nature of the act.

The same goes for Dating Naked, the new VH-1 reality show where strangers are dropped off in the nude at a tropical resort and go on dates with a series of other naked strangers, before choosing which one they might like to pursue a relationship with once they put their clothes back on. 

What?  Why would anyone want to do that?

Look, if you’re married (and statistically, for some of you, even if you’re not), you remember the excitement and vulnerability of the first time your body was exposed to the one you love.  For decades, teenagers have even had nicknames for the progressive levels of exposure – First base, second base, third base, and so on.  Whatever your moral code may be when it comes to sex, you have to admit, the thrill of the chase is part of the excitement.

So if you’re dumped naked onto a beach with a half-dozen strangers and assigned to go on dates with them, where is the excitement in that? Yes, it might feel shocking at first, but once the shock wears off, what’s next?  The mystery is gone.

Contestant Joe probably summed it up best during the series’ first episode: “What the hell is going on? It's like you're naked and I'm naked, and I didn't even get to buy you a drink first.”

TV, stop it.  We get it, sex sells.  But there’s more to sex than naked bodies and physical mechanics.  There’s a reason Romeo and Juliet is a beloved classic and Kim Kardashian’s sex tape is not.  It’s the same reason people rooted for Mulder and Scully on The X-Files to get together for the better part of a decade even though they weren’t having sex at all (at least that we knew of). 

Love, devotion, commitment, rules and limitations – these are all good things.  Intriguing things.  Sexy things.  They’re the stuff every good romance is made of. 

But sex in a box?  Random naked bodies on a beach?  That just explains why I don’t have cable.

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Michael Lorsch, the real-life gay stripper hired by Canadian children's charity, Free the Children.


So, a gay stripper walks into a top children’s charity and asks for a job…

Anthony Esolen Anthony Esolen Follow Anthony
By Anthony Esolen

This week I'm taking a break from my essays on how to form in your children a wholesome moral imagination.  Instead I'd like to engage my readers in a fantasy of decadence.

Let's suppose that a prominent child-oriented charity in a once Christian nation hires somebody to meet with teenagers to encourage them to be “shameless idealists.”  Imagine that the pedagogue is a male stripper for a gay ho-down called Boylesque. 

At the Boylesque webpage, suppose you find a Mountie in a passionate kiss with a lumberjack, who is holding a bottle of beer foaming over. “Imagine your dearest Canadian icons,” say the Boylesque promoters, “stripped down and slathered in maple syrup for your viewing pleasure!”

Free the children? Teach them to blush. It's a good start.

The page features “Ray Gunn,” the Canadian “Mount-Me Police,” a rousing rendition of “O Canada” to make you “stand at attention,” an ad for a Valentine celebration of “debauch” at “our den of iniquity,” somebody named “Bruin Pounder,” somebody else named “Sigourney Beaver,” some stars of a “bisexual-athon,” and so forth. 

Imagine third-rate puns, puerile fascination with the parts down under, dopey titillation, debauchery, and “putting male nudity at center stage where it belongs.”

Now, let's see, what else can we add to this eye-rolling story? Suppose the boy-man who strips at Boylesque at night, after he works with girls and boys during the day, calls himself Mickey D Liscious. Let's give him an absurdly bogus education - a major in Sexuality Studies. Suppose the people who run the charity do more than look demurely aside from Mickey's mooning and lighting. They name him Rookie of the Year.

Now, to complicate the plot, suppose that people catch on to Mr. Liscious' nightly swinging, and complain to the charity. The directors say what cannot possibly be true.  They say they do not “discriminate” on the basis of what their employees do after hours. We presume that although whores and nudie wigglers may be welcome, people who write for conservative magazines would not be welcome, or embezzlers, pickpockets, bookies, loan sharks, dogfight promoters, or peddlers of contraband sealskin. The line has to be drawn somewhere. Prudence is a virtue. After all, we're dealing with boys and girls here. A priest who says, “Men and women are meant for one another, in marriage,” is to be shunned, but not somebody who simulates sex in front of hooting and howling strangers.

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Let's add the icing to the fantasy. We'll call the charity Free the Children, and we'll suppose that Free the Children encourages Mr. Mickey D Liscious to tell teenagers to be “shameless idealists.” 

Of course, everything in this tawdry and silly fantasy is fact. You can't make it up. No one would believe it.

You might suppose that I'd criticize Free the Children for its choice of Cool Child Companion, saying that he is the wrong boy to tell boys and girls to be “shameless idealists.” Mr. Liscious, for his part, believes that what he does at night and what he does during the day are of a piece, greasing the grooves and pistons of change. I take him at his word. He's right, and the directors of Free the Children agree. It's our turn to try to figure out what they mean.

By “idealist,” Mr. Liscious and his promoters do not mean “someone who believes that the immaterial is more real than the material.” Mickey is not giving lectures on Plato's Republic. They also do not mean, colloquially, “someone who believes in a high standard of personal virtue,” since such standards would deprive Boylesque of all those boys who like “a dirty flashmob” and “a Tim Horton's double-double served straight up.” They cannot mean that, because shame is what people with a strong sense of virtue often feel when they behave in a base or cowardly way.

The best they can mean is “unembarrassed promoters of some idea,” some fantasy of perfection upon earth, the Big Rock Candy Mountain, the dictatorship of the proletariat, a “better world,” and other gauzy dreams that earn you points at a beauty contest, while you tilt your head like a poodle and modulate your voice for caring and sharing. 

And all I can say is that the last hundred years have been stuffed to the eyeballs with shameless idealists: shameless ideologues. They had an idea, or an idea had them, and shame on them for it. The more wicked among them had names like Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Khomeini. The more foolish had names like Harold Laski, who carried water for Lenin; Beatrice Webb, who carried water for Stalin; and Neville Chamberlain, who made a nice little pact with Hitler and proclaimed “Peace in our Time.”

Wilson was an idealist whose ideas got the better of his prudence and shame. We paid for that idealism in a crushed and belligerent Germany. The flower people of the sixties were idealists who scoffed at “hangups.” They could gaze upon the stars and sing about the Age of Aquarius, while their children looked to the empty place at table where Daddy or Mommy used to sit. Margaret Sanger was a shameless idealist. Hospital dumpsters are full of the result. 

We have had enough of shamelessness and foolish wars against reality.  

You cannot make “the world” a better place. The world is the world, old and stupid. Man is a sinner, and worst when he forgets that he is. That's not to say that you should sit and do nothing. Do the dishes. Read a good book. Be kind to your bothersome neighbor. Darken the church door and bend your knee in prayer.

Accept reality, and do the hard and unheralded work of cultivating virtue. Children are imprudent because they lack experience. Let them learn prudence from their elders. It takes no courage to follow the dreamy fad of the day, and children are suggestible. Let them learn the courage to resist the foolish and ephemeral. Children are often intemperate, because they're full of energy and so are given to hasty action and violent passions. Let them master and marshal their passions by subordinating them to right reason. Children see the world in stark oppositions of just and unjust. Let them keep their strong sense of justice, but let them temper it with the mercy that comes from acknowledgment of sin. Let shame instruct them in clemency.

Deny reality, dive deep into vice, and you will be a slave. Free the children? Teach them to blush. It's a good start.

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The Daily Mail reports that it is becoming routine for nurses to ask elderly patients whether they “would agree” to a Do Not Resuscitate order.

‘Do you want us to let you die?’: The bleak new reality in care homes for the elderly

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

“Do you want us to let you die?” It’s not exactly the sort of question one expects to hear when talking to a health professional when you’re living in a care home. But that’s exactly what happens all the time, according to an article published by the Daily Mail this week, which says that it is becoming routine for nurses to ask elderly patients whether they “would agree” to a Do Not Resuscitate order.

The first thing I thought when I read it was, “Oh yes, they’ve been doing this sort of thing for ages. Why is it only becoming news now?”

I still remember the day my dear friend John Muggeridge brought home a form they’d given him in the care facility where his wife, Anne Roche Muggeridge lived.

John and I had sat down to have our tea one day, and visibly upset, he showed me this form. It gave a long list of possible health care crises that Anne might suffer and asked John to mark down in each case what he wanted the facility’s response to be, on a scale of one to five. One of these asked whether he wanted her to receive antibiotic treatment in case of pneumonia, that killer of the elderly and fragile.

The kicker was when John told me that they had done this repeatedly, asking him to come into meeting after meeting to tell them whether he was “ready” to downgrade her care instructions. John, though sick with cancer himself, visited Anne every day, gently feeding her meals and praying the Rosary with her. He shook the form a bit as he said in his cultured Cambridge accent, “I want them to save her life! Every time it’s in danger!”

“It has become a common experience for people requiring medical care to be harassed if they decide they actually want medical care, and to be supported and encouraged if they decide they do not want further medical care.”

John and Anne were important and influential figures in the Catholic pro-life scene in Canada through the 1980s, and it might strike a person as ironic that towards the end of her life, Anne, the author of two important books, was briefly threatened by that same Culture of Death she and John had fought so long. It was quite clear that the administration at this care home was trying to wear him down with these repeated requests for confirmation. I was so angry, and couldn’t help thinking, “Don’t these people know who this is?”

We called Alex Schadenberg, the head of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and he arranged to attend the next meeting, and together they “explained” that there would be no downgrading, and that Anne’s life was valuable, precious, even if she could no longer recognize anyone or speak, because it was Anne.

John said it was a kindly looking hospital administrator, a social worker and a nurse at the meetings. They would talk in the warmest possible tones, but the message was cold and hard. Let them die because they’re a burden.

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The Mail reports now that in the UK mobile district nurses are being sent out from GP offices under instructions from the National Health Service, asking older people to fill out forms indicating whether a DNR is what they want. The NHS is claiming, with wide-eyed innocence, that these questionnaires are merely a means to “improve care of the elderly and keep them out of hospital,” but the Mail noted, “It is not clear why DNR is on the forms.”

They quoted Roy Lilley, a health policy analyst and former NHS trust chairman, whose mother was visited by a nurse with the form,” who “described the policy as callous.” 

Lilly said, “Elderly, frail but otherwise healthy people are being asked, by complete strangers, to sign a form agreeing they shouldn’t be resuscitated. It is outrageous. People will be frightened to death thinking the district nurses know something they don’t and will feel obliged to sign the form so as not to be thought a nuisance.”

The Mail says Mr. Lilley is warning patients and their families not to sign the forms, saying that by doing so they are “signing their lives away.” He related the story of a meeting with a nurse at his mother’s care home who asked her “within a few minutes” “Where would you like to die,” and, “If you ever need cardiopulmonary resuscitation do you agree to do not resuscitate.”  

The cultural power in Britain of “mustn’t grumble,” particularly among that generation of English people who were raised in the old manner and depended upon it to survive the War, cannot be underestimated. My mother, a war baby, was raised in that way, and raised me with the same attitude. Older people in Britain have it written into their base programming from infancy that “making a fuss” or calling attention to oneself is simply unthinkable. There is certainly a kind of English person who would, literally, rather die that make a fuss.

But this story from the UK is only the tiniest scratch of the great iceberg that passive euthanasia has become in elder care and long-term care facilities. Alex Schadenberg told me that this kind of unsubtle pressure is becoming common around the western world.

It is particularly common in places that have come to depend exclusively upon government-funded public medical care where the goal is to spend as little money as possible. There has been a lot written about the threat of “triaging” of older people whom the strict utilitarian principles of bioethics regard as economically worthless burdens.

“Sadly, the societal attitude towards the elderly and people needing care is worsening while the government is attempting to control medical costs by examining new ways to encourage people to refuse basic care,” Schadenberg told me.

“It has become a common experience for people requiring medical care to be harassed if they decide they actually want medical care, and to be supported and encouraged if they decide they do not want further medical care.”

I have often wondered how many men and women had been sat down in those offices where John Muggridge and Alex Schadenberg sat, and ever so gently pressured to change the instructions and “let them go”. How many were confused and persuaded by this friendly talk of “end of life care” and did not have the years of experience in the pro-life movement, or the rock solid moral principles the Muggeridges had held and defended like a bastion for so long. How many would not know who to call for advice and help?

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