Thursday, October 23, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Respect Life Edition

October is named Respect Life Month by the bishops.  Of course the first thought that comes to mind is abortion, but the whole respect life thing goes so much further--and can be a real challenge to even those of us who consider ourselves pro-life.

I saw a headline today that Pope Francis is calling us to oppose the death penalty (no news there) AND life imprisonment without parole.  Does respecting life mean locking the bad guys up forever, or does it mean respecting them as people who may change, and risking letting them out?  I saw an article recently on a ten year old who killed an old woman. They were going to charge him as adult because children can't be charged with manslaughter.  Is it respectful of the life of that old woman to make the one who killed her pay; or is charging that child as an adult disrespectful of his life?  There is a reason we have separate juvenile and adult justice systems, namely that, in general, we don't consider children to be legally responsible for their actions.  We don't let them vote or sign contracts.  Was that boy's behavior acceptable?  Of course not.  Should he be held responsible and kept out of society if he is not able to conform to societal norms?  Yes. Does that necessarily mean saddling him with a criminal record for life?  I'd hope not.
Politically, I'm conservative.  I think that as a general rule, the less government, the better.  However, when someone who loudly spouts the anti-abortion viewpoint equally loudly talks about eliminating aid to the poor or requiring birth control as a condition for aid, I think they are encouraging women to "take care of the problem" before it becomes public knowledge.
Unfortunately one set of people whose lives are respected the least are the handicapped.  It is routine for pregnant women to be offered a battery of tests to see if the fetus is defective so that it can be terminated early.  Of course in some cultures the main defect some of these fetuses show is XX chromosomes.
While killing a fetus is clearly against Catholic moral teaching, what is  your opinion about the morality and/or advisability of a pill that would cause the death of defective gametes (eggs and sperm) pre-conception?  In other words the pills would be able to detect one or more genetic problems in the eggs or sperm and cause them to die before fertilization/conception.  Such a pill is at the center of the story The Things Lily Knew, which is a Catholic novel about how the life of a woman with Down's Syndrome effected her family, through several generations.

In honor of Respect Life Month, Catholic Word is allowing me to give away a set of the Lily books.  
I really enjoyed them and they challenge readers to consider a lot of life issues and for the most part manage to do so without getting preachy.  Please stop by and enter the giveaway--a simple leave a comment, not a 20 things to do Rafflecopter deal.  

Our Catholic schools are on the front lines of the pro-life movement.  Besides teaching kids that they don't have to jump in bed with the first person who makes sweet eyes at them, our Catholic schools teach that abortion is wrong and pray for those involved in it.  Unfortunately the Catholic school my son attended, one that was willing to take him despite his autism, is closing.  Too few kids, too many costs.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. We had a lockdown at our Catholic school this week because there was a shooting in the apartment complex a block away. A parent I know was very, very upset, and frustrated that there seemed to be nothing to be done about it. I just think conservatives have focused so long and so hard on abortion that a whole lot of problems that both lead to abortions (i.e. cycles of poverty/lack of education) and show huge lack of respect for life in their own right (i.e. cycles of violence) have been shunted aside. We have to go back to the basic dignity of the human person in those we encounter on a daily basis if we expect to make any headway against the culture of death--because the culture of death is way, way bigger than abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and challenges conservative ideals at least as much as liberal ones.

  2. This hippie treehugger for Jesus agrees with you 100%!


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