Under the aspect of the good

The Rational Catholic blog has recently been cited in reference to the role of Theresa Deisher’s participation in the discussions regarding the videos newly released showing profoundly disturbing conversations between high level staff at Planned Parenthood and a potential buyer of fetal tissue.


These videos left many of us simply without words.  To see such nonchalance in describing the deliberate killing of a child in such a manner as to leave his or her organs in the best state for purchase is beyond what I could have imagined.  I am horrified for the children who were treated as convenient vehicles for the procurement of human organs.  I am horrified for the mothers who may have chosen abortion, who now have to wonder what exactly happened to the children they chose abortion for.  I am moved with pity for the doctors, the nurses and support staff who have performed or supported these procedures.  I am angry that this is the world in which I live, and raise my children: where a human child can be seen as having less intrinsic value than his dismembered body can fetch on the open market.


These videos depict evil, and evil almost always comes through good people who are acting with varying degrees of good intentions.  People don’t do things thinking that they are evil.  All things are done under the aspect of the good, in pursuit of the good, although what we perceive as good and what is actually good are not always the same.  This is what has happened when good doctors who have seen great suffering decide to provide as a service the deliberate destruction of human life at the request of the parents of the child to be disposed of.  It also happens when good people who oppose abortion are willing to find any possible, plausible sounding reasoning to use to make other people more pro-life, never mind the collateral damage caused.  We stand firmly in favor of good science and good ethics, and believe that both science and ethics lead to a pro-life and pro-vaccine position.


A pro-life position is pro-science position.  There can be absolutely no question that a human zygote, embryo or fetus is an individual member of the human species.  Toddler, teenager, senior… these are all positions on the continuum of personal development.  That spectrum doesn’t begin until conception, but it doesn’t begin after that point either, at an arbitrary number of weeks or faculty gained.  Any qualification concerning who counts as a human person beyond simple belonging to the human species is ultimately not a scientific one, and is often an utilitarian tool used to decide who has earned existence and who can be treated as less than human.  Artificial lines such as race, sex, infirmity, disability, sexual orientation and age have all been used as justifications to abuse and disenfranchise human persons throughout history.  And they have all been evil.  The doctors performing these abortions, by their own descriptions of how they perform these procedures, are well aware of what… of who they are crushing and turning into breech positions.


To be pro-life and to be pro-science is to be pro-vaccine.  Science tells us that vaccines work.  A pro-life conviction tells us that we have an obligation to ourselves to treat our bodies well (including preventing preventable diseases) and that the weakest among us have a particular claim to our defense.  This is particularly true in the case of vaccines, when so many of them protect the weak, including those babies who have not yet reached birth.


To the pro-vaccine community, I urge you to take seriously the concerns of those who are so deeply outraged by the treatment of fetal remains.  Immunization is an universal good, but it is something that requires that we all be able to walk together towards control or eradication of these diseases.  It is legitimate to be concerned about whether a child before birth can be so worthless as to be killed but their organs to have sufficient value for a doctor to crush their small bodies in the manner best for the purchaser of their tissue.  To belittle these concerns undercuts everything you work for, and it makes it difficult for people with pro-life convictions to trust in the ethics of the medical community at large.


To the pro-life community, I ask you to not allow your righteous anger, sadness and frustration to be placed on anything other than where it rightly belongs: the deliberate destruction of human life and the sale of bodies of children who have been killed.  Focusing on other issues will only make these legitimate evils seem like one in a laundry list of complaints by members of a minority position, and we lose all claim to respect when in our zeal to fight against abortion we are willing to endanger the lives of the innocent by taking as important a tool as immunization (acknowledging the moral issues with some vaccines) and lumping it in with the absolutely horrifying evils we have seen discussed in these videos.  


The actions described in these videos have no place in a just society.  They have no place in a compassionate society.  We can and must do better than this.



Still singing “Hakuna Matata”? Measles death on American soil.


In “Hakuna Matata: Being anti-vaccine in an outbreak“, I pointed out the illogic of those downplaying the seriousness of measles in pointing to a lack of recent fatal cases:

Sears, and Heimer state:

[Death from measles] hasn’t happened here in at least ten years…–RS

Everything can be potentially deadly but is measles inherently deadly? Absolutely not.
Did you notice that the case mentioned above was from 1990? That was 25 years ago people. It makes perfect sense though. One couldn’t use a case from 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, etc. because not a single child died from measles. –M

Therefore, hakuna matata, measles isn’t a real danger here.

I explained

[This] is exactly what we expect when there is extensive uptake of an effective vaccine for a disease. Thank God, death from measles is rare (1-5 deaths per 5000 cases) and the 2-dose MMR vaccine schedule has kept measles epidemics at bay, with only a handful of imported cases and outbreaks in unvaccinated clusters….

As we’ve had larger and less isolated pockets of unvaccinated, the cases rise. The roulette wheel is spun more and more times, increasing the likelihood of landing on death.

And, now, I am making far more somber movie allusions:

It is with sadness that I report that our luck has run out in this delusional game of roulette we’ve been playing. Washington State Department of Health has reported that this spring, a woman died due to a measles infection acquired on American soil.

The Clallam County woman, spokesman Donn Moyer reports, was most likely exposed at a local medical facility during the recent outbreak, being there at the same time as a contagious person.

Let’s be clear: this outbreak is directly attributable to the unvaccinated.

The first case was an unvaccinated man who infected an unvaccinated child. The first man infected another unvaccinated man, the third case. The child infected her unvaccinated sibling, the fourth case. The only case in a vaccinated person was a relative, vaccinated decades ago, who was infected by one of the unvaccinated children.

And it was one of these people who infected the Clallam County woman who died, unable to fight off the pneumonia, caused by the measles, which ultimately killed her.

This is a pro-life issue.

I can’t help but feel swells of anger when I think of how anti-abortion-not-necessarily-pro-life people will likely ignore this woman’s preventable death as one might ignore carrion on the side of the road. It doesn’t fit the hakuna matata narrative that they need to tell themselves to keep the cognitive dissonance of being “pro-life” and anti-vaccine from splitting their heads in two.

This woman is going to be forgotten like the thousands of nameless victims of the Culture of Death. But there won’t be marches in protest of her preventable death. There won’t be masses said for her memory from the people who say it is not the victims of preventable disease, but the vaccine refusers who “deserve our support.” No, this thus-far nameless victim will be forgotten in their ranks.
Because all lives are created equal… but apparently some lives are more equal than others.


Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

A reflection on the passage of Senate Bill 277

I know the reaction for many religious conservatives, of which I consider myself one, is to recoil at the passage of Senate Bill 277. (SB277, if you recall, is a California state bill that removes non-medical exemptions for vaccine requirements for school settings.) But I’m not recoiling. Here’s why—

I think that we can agree that the role of the state is protection of the common good— enforcement of laws, protection from aggression between individuals or transnational aggression, etc.— that would not occur in anarchy. It’s not a black and white line, surely. But there are a few reasons why SB277 can arguably be a proper exercise of that role:Read More »