Kristi Burton Brown

‘How late is too late for an abortion?’

Kristi Burton Brown
By Kristi Burton Brown

October 5, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - “How late is too late for an abortion?” xoJane’s writer, Lesley, wonders. In her September 19 article, Lesley shares her own personal experience at a Catholic high school. She claims that “Bloody Baby Week” is, at least in part, responsible for her extreme pro-abortion stance today. Lesley explains “Bloody Baby Week”:

One year, it culminated in a film on the realities of abortion that was so gruesome and gore-riddled that it might have rivaled Faces of Death for most talked-about maybe-snuff-film ever. It showed recorded footage of actual abortions, the narration making sure we noted the way the blurry and ghost-faced fetus grimaced and recoiled in horror (the power of suggestion is a hell of a drug) as the vacuum aspiration apparatus drew near. Did the terrified unborn emit terrified screams as it was torn limb from limb, the film wondered? Who can say, certainly they would be drowned out by the roar of the death machine.

Lesley claims that she felt “such helpless rage that I sat on my hands to prevent myself from lunging at and punching our invited pro-life guests.” Anyone is left to wonder why she felt rage at the pro-life guests instead of the abortionists committing the atrocities she was witnessing. Certainly, some within the pro-life movement would agree with Lesley that high school students should not be shown videos of real abortions or photos of bloody, cut-up babies. Others would say that these true images are vital to any civil rights movement. Regardless, Lesley nowhere claims that she disbelieved the video and images she was shown.

How a person can look straight at photos of torn-apart babies and still believe that abortion is a “right,” I will never understand. In the same way, I will never understand how the Iranian president can see photos of the Holocaust and yet claim it never happened. I will never understand how neo-Nazi racists can see photos of the scars on a black slave’s back and still believe in white supremacy. To deny the truth you hear is bad enough. But to deny the truth you see is absolutely unacceptable.

Lesley of xoJane went on to discuss the case of Sarah Catt, a British woman who self-aborted her baby just a week before his due date. The baby boy was 39 weeks old, and because of the drug Catt ingested, he was stillborn. Her entire purpose was to kill him. Catt refuses to reveal to authorities where she put her dead baby. She has been sentenced to eight years in prison because, according to British law, elective abortions may not be performed after 24 weeks. At that point, the birth of the child is imminent, and a woman cannot have an abortion simply because she does not want to keep her baby.

Lesley opines, however, that Catt should have had the right to end her pregnancy at any time. According to Lesley, it should probably never be too late for an abortion. She’s a stickler for consistency, apparently. If a woman has the right to have an abortion, by golly, she has that right ’til the very end of time – no matter that her baby could easily live outside the womb on his own. No matter that he technically no longer needs his mother for sustained life. Catt’s baby could have been delivered at 39 weeks and very likely been the picture of health and given to someone else to raise. But instead, because Catt believed, just like Lesley, that it’s never too late to kill a child as long as his body hasn’t touched outside air yet, another little boy is dead, murdered at the hands of his own mother.

In her article, Lesley attempts to appeal to fellow abortion supporters:

f Catt’s actions were unacceptable even from a pro-choice standpoint, then where is the line drawn? This is why government regulation of individual morality — which is what abortion laws ultimately are — is so problematic. Viability is not always an exact science, and “personhood” is barely a spiritual notion of the moment at which the special reproductive magic happens and a clump of cells transforms into an independent (if not fully sentient) being.

In the end I am left to wonder if — in spite of all the discomfort of cases like Sarah Catt’s — we can afford not to be hard-line about a woman’s right to choose up right until the moment that she and her offspring are permanently separated. We are losing so much ground to pro-life concessions and compromises already. Maybe it’s time to stop backing down and making apologies; maybe it’s time to enforce the “personhood” of pregnant women first.

She’s wrong on quite a few points. Government regulation of individual morality is not limited to abortion, and it never has been. Our laws against murder and rape and robbery and kidnapping and child molestation are all “regulations of individual morality.” And yet they couldn’t be more necessary to a civilized society. Until Lesley comes out against our murder and rape laws, she has no ground to stand on with this argument.

She’s absolutely correct, however, that viability is not always an exact science. But what ever happened to taking a stand on the side of life, if we have to err one way or the other? Why are so many abortion supporters consumed by giving women an extra week here or an extra month there to kill their children? While viability is certainly a better standard than birth for the right to life, it’s not the standard we should have. A baby is either a living human being or he’s not. And the ever-earlier moment of viability does not suddenly transform a growing human being into a baby. That little growing human has always been a baby – from the moment of his earliest beginnings. And that’s what science has told us for years.

Here’s the problem with Lesley’s assertions about personhood. Personhood is not a “spiritual notion.” There is no transformational moment where a “clump of cells” becomes a human being. Instead, that supposed “clump of cells” has always been, in reality, a human being who is simply less developed than an adult – in the same way that a newborn is less developed than an adolescent. Since when have we believed that our level of development ought to define our personhood status?

Lesley is also incorrect in her assumption that personhood is defined as a sort of “independent” status. Personhood is more accurately defined as the distinct individuality that all human beings possess from the moment of their earliest beginnings – when their own unique DNA comes together at the moment of fertilization:

The state or condition of being a person, especially having those qualities that confer distinct individuality

Being a person, where person is defined as a human being

Personhood truly isn’t that complicated. Every human being – no matter his or her level of development – should automatically be granted the inherent status of “person.” Human and person should be interchangeable in a civilized society that recognizes basic human dignity.

There is definitely a time when it’s too late for an abortion –  a time that’s specific, unchangeable, and measured in science. It’s the moment when a new, unique person has been created.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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