Every human life has value.

It doesn’t get much more beautiful than this. From St. Augustine, whose feast is today:
St. Augustine

Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong — I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

When at last I cling to you with my whole being there will be no more anguish or labour for me, and my life will be alive indeed, alive because filled with you. But now it is very different. Anyone whom you fill you also uplift; but I am not full of you, and so I am a burden to myself. Joys over which I ought to weep do battle with sorrows that should be matter for joy, and I do not know which will be victorious. But I also see griefs that are evil at war in me with joys that are good, and I do not know which will win the day. This is agony, Lord, have pity on me! It is agony! See, I do not hide my wounds; you are the physician and I am sick; you are merciful, I in need of mercy.

Is not human life on earth a time of testing? Who would choose troubles and hardships? You command us to endure them, but not to love them. No-one loves what he has to endure, even if he loves the endurance, for although he may rejoice in his power to endure, he would prefer to have nothing that demands endurance. In adverse circumstances I long for prosperity, and in times of prosperity I dread adversity. What middle ground is there, between these two, where human life might be free from trial? Woe betide worldly prosperity, and woe again, from fear of disaster and evanescent joy! But woe, woe, and woe again upon worldly adversity, from envy of better fortune, the hardship of adversity itself, and the fear that endurance may falter. Is not human life on earth a time of testing without respite?

On your exceedingly great mercy, and on that alone, rests all my hope.

Is not human life on earth a time of testing? Yes, it is, which is why refusing to suffer is refusing to live: “In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:6-7

August 28th, 2015 at 9:30 am | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

In this episode of BioTalk, I spoke with chemistry and physics instructor, Dr. Stacy Trasancos. Always a pleasure connecting with someone I’ve only known virtually through email and Facebook.

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Stacy reminds us that it really doesn’t take any undercover investigating to find proof that abortion providers have been supplying scientists with aborted fetal body parts — sometimes even whole, intact, live fetuses — for research, much of which, like Planned Parenthood, receives funding from the Federal Government.

One doesn’t have to just take the Center for Medical Progress’ word for it. This information is and has been widely available in scientific literature dating back decades. Trasancos gives a few specific examples:

Also available on Soundcloud, if you’re into that sort of thing:

“These (Planned Parenthood videos) are but strokes on a broader canvas,” Stacy notes. For decades the use of fetal material has been a research tactic that is 1) considered ethical and legal, 2) coordinated across continents if necessary, 3) funded by governments and private foundations, 4) demanded by industry, and 5) applauded by the scientific community.

“Planned Parenthood,” Trasancos has written, “could shut down completely tomorrow, but the use of aborted fetuses and fetal body parts will not stop.”

Public outcry is key. So far the CMP videos have done a good job of rousing some outrage over the suppliers of fetal body parts. That’s why I’m glad the latest video shows the buyer’s perspective and just how widespread this problem is.

“We’re working with almost like triple digit number clinics (not all PP) and we still need more,” said Cate Dyer, CEO of StemExpress. Which brings up a concern Rebecca and I will discuss in the next episode: as the scientific community continues to drive the demand for aborted fetal body parts — what happens when the demand outweighs the supply?

God help us.

#DefundPP, YES! But also #defundabortedfetaltissueresearch! Or better yet #outlawabortedfetaltissueresearch!

For more information see Stacy’s articles:
The Trail of Fetal Body Parts in Scientific Papers
Experiments on Intact Whole Live Fetuses and the Connection to Infant Formula
Ganogen’s Aborted Human Fetal Kidneys and Hearts Living in Rats and Some Ethical Questions

August 26th, 2015 at 8:44 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

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More than 2,000 people gathered in Sydney’s Town Hall last Thursday to witness a debate about legalizing euthanasia between the eerily influential “bioethicist” (using the term very lightly) Peter Singer and the Most Reverend Anthony Fisher, Archbishop of Sydney.

The debate was organized by University of Sydney’s Catholic Society.

August 21st, 2015 at 11:11 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

I know things have been mighty quiet here the past couple of weeks. But I’m finally breaking my silence with audio from my early morning interview on the Mike Allen Show yesterday.

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I chatted with Mike about why, what many have been calling a “Planned Parenthood controversy”, is actually much more than that.

What’s worse: the fact that Planned Parenthood may be violating the law to further profit from its destruction of innocent human lives, or that there is a market for tiny baby parts in the first place — which has been going on for decades?

One thing at a time, I guess, but let’s be careful not to overlook or lose sight of the big picture here. This goes far beyond Planned Parenthood. On a larger scale, it is actually a “controversy” of scientific/medical ethics. Tissue from elective abortions should not be being used in scientific research in the first place.

See also:
Experiments on Intact Whole Live Fetuses and the Connection to Infant Formula

August 13th, 2015 at 6:53 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

This week the Center for Bioethics and Culture, producers of and the award-winning Eggsploitation (2010, 2013) Anonymous Father’s Day (2011), and Breeders: A Subclass of Women?, announced the release of their new documentary short, Eggsploitation: Maggie’s Story. Maggie’s Story explores one woman’s journey through egg donation — and its consequences.

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Maggie was told how special she was, but was never informed of the risks egg donation posed to her own health and wellbeing. She was used repeatedly for others’ gain, but when things turned bad, she was left on her own to navigate tests, treatments, surgeries, and an unknown prognosis. Maggie’s harrowing story shows how the medical professionals she trusted ignored abnormal health signals along the way, all for their own financial profit. Sadly, Maggie joins the ranks of other young women harmed and hurt by egg “donation,” and left forgotten.

Stories like Maggie’s are what make pro-lifers and pro-choice feminists strange bedfellows against the exploitative and grossly unregulated fertility industry.

Maggie’s Story is available world-wide on demand on Vimeo.

See also: Raising Daughters in the Brave New World

July 24th, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

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This morning I was on the Mike Allen Show to talk about: Bristol Palin and the tricky pro-life tightrope, the bio-ethical implications of Justice Kennedy’s marriage opinion (in other words: “marriage equality” leads to “family equality” and more and more third party reproduction — #adultswin #childrenlose), and, finally, why “transability” isn’t as crazy as it used to be. Click the play buttons below to listen!

(Can’t see players? Direct link to audio files: here and here.)

If you like Catholic radio, please consider downloading the Real Life Radio app (Apple, Android) for programming from some of your favorite online Catholic personalities.

July 7th, 2015 at 11:34 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

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No, this is not a joke or an onion parody. There is actually a man in Russia who has volunteered to receive the world’s first human head transplant (or body transplant, depending on how you look at it).

head-transplant.pngValery Spiridonov, who suffers from a rare form of spinal muscular dystrophy called Werdnig-Hoffman disease, recently met with Italian Dr. Sergio Canavero who has agreed to perform the 36-hour operation. The procedure will also require Spiridonov to be put in a medically induced coma for 3-4 weeks.

Spiridonov and Canavero were recently in the United States — where Canavero has said he wants to do the surgery — presenting their case to the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons (AANOS).

In the latest episode of BioTalk, Rebecca Taylor and I talk about the ethical considerations of this and and other extremely invasive medical procedures, our tendency to treat mental diseases as physical diseases, recent comments from the Vatican on plastic surgery and how it relates to transhumanism and the importance of “bodily integrity.”

Or audio only:

Movie suggestion: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die (with MST3K commentary, natch).

June 25th, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Stem cells from umbilical cord blood helped Paul Wagle beat chemo-resistant leukemia.

Now, after surviving a brutal recovery period, which included another near-death experience, he’s discerning a call to the priesthood as a seminarian for the diocese of Wichita.

Click here to read his story or watch below.

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June 17th, 2015 at 10:19 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Commenting on gender reassignment as “treatment” for people with gender identity issues a few years ago, Wesley Smith said:

People want to be fulfilled and lead happy lives as “themselves.” Very well. But I also worry that once we accept the premise that we have a fundamental right to be physically remade to comport with how we feel about ourselves—and to have society act in accordance—we will have crossed a cultural Rubicon, leading to extreme outcomes.

Chloe-Jennings-White2.jpgIt’s a “slippery slope” concern that’s not totally without merit. Consider: the mental illness once known as body integrity identity disorder, that now goes by the catchy new moniker “transability“.

Such word engineering suggests that this may very well be the next stage in radical self-recreationism?

Typically, people with BIID do not accept one or more of their own limbs and seek to amputate them. But, “transabled” seems to encompass any otherwise able-bodied person who wants transform his or her body to obtain a physical impairment.

“No doctor would ever cut off a healthy limb!”, you say. They already have in a few isolated cases. And its being proposed on a wider scale. Along with snipping spinal cords and other such nonsense.

“Okay, but, society would never allow such a thing to become mainstream,” you protest. No? Just look how easily the media has already slipped into the term “transabled.” It may only be a matter of time.

These are “transient times“, indeed.

I wrote about this a few years ago:
Transhumanism: Amputating Healthy Limbs
UK Woman Wants Spinal Cord Cut
Wanting to be Disabled?

*IMG: Chloe Jennings-White wears leg braces and uses a wheelchair…even though her legs are fine.

June 12th, 2015 at 6:05 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

This is a great story:

After helping Sami Simmons learn to adjust to life with a wheelchair, the staff at Rusk Rehabilitation Center was not going to let the Brunswick teen miss her junior prom.

Sami was paralyzed from the waist down after she was ejected from her airborne 1997 GMC Jimmy during an October 2013 wreck. She was a patient at Rusk, 315 Business Loop 70 W., for about a month after the crash.

Barely 18 months later, she was back at Rusk for treatment of a pressure ulcer — a bed sore — that made it difficult for her to sit in her wheelchair. The wound led to a bone infection and another stay at Rusk.

While physical and occupational therapists helped get Sami on the mend, the prom at Brunswick High School was rapidly approaching. Sami, 17, had an elaborate prom dress, the perfect shoes — and a date.

“I said, ‘We’re going to get you to prom,’ ” Jenny DeShon, an occupational therapist at Rusk, said…

DeShon navigated administrative hoops to get approval for the April 25 prom date, and she assembled a team to get Sami dolled-up for the dance 75 miles northwest of Columbia. Mary Simmons smiled at the memory.

“They decorated her chair,” she said.

DeShon returned the smile. “It took a village,” she said. Rusk staff members styled Sami’s hair and handled her makeup.

DeShon and physical therapist Bonnie Fruits chauffeured Sami to the prom, leaving Columbia at 4:30 p.m. They returned seven hours later.

“We were the Sami pit crew,” DeShon said. “I was really amazed to see the support of her school.”

“They were really excited to see me,” Sami said. Friends jockeyed to take Sami in and out of a busy photo booth.

“All of the effort that it took — I wouldn’t think twice about it,” DeShon said. “We thought of everything you need being an hour and a half away from here.”

During what should have been the most traumatic and depressing time of my life, the dedicated staff at Rusk (all of them: docs, nurses, PTs, OTs, techs, etc…) helped me see what was still possible and accept and adjust to life with a spinal cord injury with joy and good humor.

prom.jpgIn many ways, it is thanks to them that I was able to attend my own prom just a few short months after my accident.

I have nothing but wonderful memories of the time I spent there. So glad to see the staff is just as awesome today as it was 16 years ago. And it’s about to get even more awesome, because…

I’m extremely proud to say that, starting this week, my little sister will be a PT at this fantastic facility! It was while I was a patient at Rusk that Carly decided she wanted to be a PT. So happy she was able to land her dream job — just FIVE months after graduating, no less!

June 2nd, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink