Friday, 6 March 2009

The Catholic church hates girl children

This is just appalling on so many grounds: a child was raped and impregnated, in such a way that her own life is seriously at risk, and even then, some celibate man in a dress thinks that she shouldn't have an abortion.

Church hits out at 9 year old's abortion

I was born and bred and educated in the Catholic church, and I had always understood that from the church's point of view, while abortion was a great evil, that if the mother's life was in danger, then abortion was permissible, even if regrettable. I guess even that's too much for women-hating bishops. And they've moved on from hating women. Now they hate girl children too.

78 comments:

anna c said...

I absolutely agree, and I know this is a little beside the point, but what point were you making by saying "man in a dress"? Or was it just a colloquial term for the clergy?

Deborah said...

Just a colloquial term for the clergy.

Anonymous said...

This one's a sidetrack too, but how did you ever come to that understanding of their position? I've never found them to be ambiguous about it publicly.

A Nonny Moose said...

Head was asplodey over this one. Jezebel's all over it.

When people make decisions like this, are the only thinking in the moment? Do they not think what this girl has to deal with for the rest of her life, or the psychological (let alone the genetic) impact this could have had if those children came into this world.

It's 2009. We shouldn't have to have conversations like "Son, your daddy is also your grandaddy".

Julie said...

Thanks for writing about this Deborah, I was too incoherent when I first saw it at No Right Turn.

On the position of the Catholic Church thing, when I was at a Catholic secondary I remember getting the very distinct impression that the two exceptions to the anti-abortion stance were in cases of rape and when the mother's life was very much in danger. I don't imagine there's any official stance anywhere, but that was what I'd picked up.

muerk said...

The official position of the Catholic Church is that abortion is never permissible.

However, if an action that saves the mother's life happens to kill the fetus, then this is tragic but acceptable. However the death of the fetus can never be willed, it must be a side effect of treatment (eg. ectopic pregnancy, the mother's life must be saved and the side effect is that the baby is lost).

Deborah said...

Hmmm... not quite the doctrine of double effect, but something close to it. Thanks for explaining that, Muerk. It explains where I got the idea that abortion could be permissible in order to save the mother's life.

muerk said...

Yeah, abortion is never allowable within Catholicism, but a lot of people misunderstand how that plays out in regard to life-saving procedures to save a mother's life.

As well as that, Catholicism believes that you can never do evil to achieve a good.

Obviously the girl's doctors and parents wanted to do good - to protect the health of the girl. But directly killing her twins was evil.

A morally licit way of dealing with it would have been to monitor the pregnancy, and if the mother's life became endangered to then medicaly intervene to save her.

If then the twins had been lost, that would have been tragic, but not evil.

hungrymama said...

Muerk - what is the church's position in a case where the mother's life isn't currently at stake but is likely to become so later and ending the pregnancy sooner has less repercussions for her future health and fertility than ending it later would?

Lucy said...

Every time I think I can't be shocked...that's just sick. I don't understand how someone can think it's okay to do that to a nine-year-old, to let her go through a pregnancy which will probably kill her. I just don't. They say they're all about the children, and they can't even be bothered with the living ones.

muerk said...

Hungrymama -

You would have to wait until it was actually a life and death situation.

Lucy -

The Church (and myself) would say that there are three equally valid lives at stake in this situation.

ZenTiger said...

Nothing in life is certain, so the mother might live b(it's a risk she could die, not a certainty), but with abortion the children definitely die. That's a certainty.

Here's a story where a 9 year old and a 10 year old recently gave birth to healthy children, and mothers lived: Child Mothers.

What exactly is your statement that "the Catholic church hates girl children" supposed to mean?

Why do you get the idea this is a "girl hating thing" rather than a "protect the life of the unborn"?

You think that because a Priest considers the fetuses to have equal value in life as the mother, and that with the best possible medical care, all can live is something to denigrate? Disagree with I understand, but denigrate?

Why would it not be comparable for me to accuse you of hating babies, since you want them killed with no further discussion?

The Catholic Church goes to bat for girls in China and India, where it is common for parents to abort because they prefer a boy. That's girl hating.

@a nonny mouse: you said It's 2009. We shouldn't have to have conversations like "Son, your daddy is also your grandaddy".

On the other hand, if you abort then you get to say, "son, you were an inconvenience, something that shouldn't have happened, so we killed you. It was for your own good."

The first conversation may be hard, but if its at the expense of the second, then I'm not so sure we have the right to end a life that has, for whatever reason, been started.

As for the step/father, I hope there is a hell.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised people still get surprised about this stuff. It's certainly not new. Anti-choice people of course only care about the foetus. Who cares if the mother dies? To them it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

And ZenTiger - that "Hell" you're talking about for the stepfather? This girl would have to live that if she hadn't been allowed an abortion. If she even survived giving birth - which doctor's say wouldn't have been likely - she would have to deal with the psychological impact of having twins born from rape/incest.

But of course it's totally worth it to you because it's not your daughter. Her life SHOULD be made Hell and she SHOULD risk death because you have religious beliefs than hers.

Nice one.

Anna said...

Usually, I can follow the Church's moral reasoning even when I disagree - but this is a bridge too far for me.

It's probably the best example I've ever seen of the absence/presence of life being considered more important than quality of life.

This nine year old child is exactly that - a child. She has already been through more suffering than any human being should have to bear, and now the Church thinks it's OK to ask her to go through more in the name of two incognisant little gobs of embryo. This little girl's trauma may mean she can never enjoy an adult sexual relationship, never have children, never be a mother, never enjoy the happiness in life that most people take for granted. Most people would be moved to alleviate her suffering, not intensify it for the sake of an abstract view of 'life' that prioritises the real, live, pain of actual females a sorry second.

When Deborah writes that the Catholic church hates girl children, I suspect the Church's willingness to physically and emotionally destroy a human being, for the sake of two microscopic assemblages of cells, is what she's getting at.

muerk said...

Well the Church doesn't see the fetus as a microscopic assemblages of cells, they see them as a person.

Lucy said...

The first conversation may be hard, but if its at the expense of the second, then I'm not so sure we have the right to end a life that has, for whatever reason, been started.

Well, the second conversation *doesn't happen*, because there's no-one to have that conversation with. Which is kind of the point.

And I can't speak for Deborah, but from my point of view, telling women that they have to risk death and injury and infertility, have to bear children they have no capacity to care for, have to live with that burden for the rest of their lives - no matter that they're a victim of a horrific crime - that speaks to some pretty serious issues with women. Or, in this case, girls. It says that their lives, health, and well-being are less valuable than their potential offspring. That's horrific.

Deborah said...

Lucy, that captures exactly why horrifies me about this case. I'm sickened by the celibate men in the catholic church, men who never have to face the consequences of pregnancy themselves, dictating what women should or should not do.

I wrote a long series on abortion last year, posted here and at my own place: inastrangeland.wordpress.com. You can head back to that series to see what I think - click 'abortion' in our tag cloud to find the posts. I think it's morally permissible, and in this case, it's morally desirable.

I am appalled that celibate men continue to impose their outdated morality on vulnerable people, in this case, a nine year old who had been raped, and whose little body simply could not carry a twin pregnancy. This is why I say that they clearly hate girls, because only someone who hates girls could regard this abortion as morally impermissible.

ZenTiger said...

@anon: If she even survived giving birth - which doctor's say wouldn't have been likely

I would be interested in understanding the risk factors. Perhaps they are overstated because of an inherent bias?

I provided two examples fairly easily of successful births from child mothers. In those situations the Doctors didn't have time to get involved and abort, but I have no doubt they would have recommended it and you would have been saying the same thing - that I was guaranteeing their deaths).

Tell me, now that those babies are born, do you think they should be killed to alleviate the mothers suffering (which is only an assumption on your part)? Does it really help?

- she would have to deal with the psychological impact of having twins born from rape/incest.

Yes, this is indeed a tough one, and I would hope she would get the right kind of assistance to make this possible.

The mental distress over this however, is likely to be far less than the effects of continued abuse by the scum that abused her.

I would think that if she can be shown that the children are their own unique beings, that she could eventually appreciate the gift of life that they represent. Call me an optimist. Indeed, if they became a joy in her life, it would help diminish the pain of such an evil act.

Her getting pregnant actually saved her from a continuation of a life of hell.

Do you think you would hate and despise such children if the situation applied to you? Not everyone reacts the same, you know.

But of course it's totally worth it to you because it's not your daughter. Her life SHOULD be made Hell and she SHOULD risk death because you have religious beliefs than hers.

If it were my daughter I would devote my entire life to helping her get through this. If it were my daughter, I would likely be crying myself to sleep every night. That bastard would be dead.

Would I risk her life for the sake of her children? Probably not, but I would be discussing the options with many doctors and experts.

Would this procedure prevent children evermore? What are the statistics about emotional damage suffered by mothers from aborting (this is increasingly being recognised as being a significant cause of ongoing mental issues)?

I would be trying to gauge the impact of every little decision, because ultimately, I would not simply write off the lives of the twins (grand daughters or grandsons) until such consideration has been carefully explored, because I realise that a Doctor would have to actually terminate their lives, and that is a step we should always respect and understand with gravity.

Your opinion is apparently 'terminate and think no more of it'.

I understand your reasoning, and again my point here is to try to explain that my position is not one where I would risk this person's life without thought, it's one where I would look at every possible way of saving ALL lives.

I don't think such a position deserves the label "girl hater".

The priest is reminding us abortion is not the first option, but THE LAST, even in difficult situations such as this.

I congratulate him for speaking out.

Ultimately though, once everyone has had their say, this was always a decision for the girl (thrust into adulthood far too soon, but now inescapable) and her legal guardian (I'm not sure where the mother fits in this because I would need to know if she knew of the abuse, which has doubtless been over a sustained period), who will need good advice and counseling and I wish her all the best in her life.

She's had a terrible life experience that few will ever see, but such people have come back stronger and better than ever.

I don't think you can assume she is consigned to hell in this life, whether she had the baby or not. As I pointed out, at least this event has helped her break out of the cycle, and now she has a real chance of recovery.

muerk said...

Deborah:

As a sexually active woman I agree with the celibate men. Also, no is forced to agree with the Church, indeed they didn't and the abortion was performed.

The Church has the right to abhor abortion, and people have the right to disagree and form their own secular laws. The Church is not dictating because people aren't forced into agreeing.

Pascal's bookie said...

I read that the church is going to excommunicate everyone involved in the abortion. Their club, their rules, fair enough.

Weird that it's seen worse than child rape though.

Anna said...

Muerk, the fact that the Church regards cells as a person in the way it regards a child as a person is exactly the problem. Particularly in situations like this, it's callous and even perverse to give the same 'rights' to cells as to a cognisant, suffering human being. I don't see that the Church can claim any reverence for life when it's so comfortable destroying the life of a child. A sense of right and wrong which doesn't take into account human suffering is not worth the having.

And I think that saying those who don't agree with the Church are welcome to leave is unhelpful. It allows the Church to sidestep culpability for the suffering it has actively caused in this case. I doubt it was a huge comfort to the girl or her family to learn of the mother's excommunication, or to have the world's media focused on them consequently. When a person has been raised in the church, turning them away from their community of faith for exercising their moral capacity is very cruel. It says the laypeople should follow counter-intuitive, abstract moral rules in conflict with their own consciences, or be ostracised.

Pascal's bookie said...

"And I think that saying those who don't agree with the Church are welcome to leave is unhelpful."

Especially when they've been told since birth that leaving the church means you will burn for all eternity. Kind of makes Christmas with the family suck.

Anonymous said...

You can argue all you want about it. But when it comes down to it the Catholic church thinks abortion is worse than child rape. And they think the life of this little girl is worth less than the pregnancy.

If men could get pregnant the Catholic Church would not have this stance on abortion.

Pauline said...

Am I correct in thinking the life of the baby/fetus is always valued over the mother in catholic doctrine. Eg if it came to a birth where it was save the baby or the mother the baby would win. Isn't this to do with babies being born innocent where a mother obviously is not by the fact they are pregnant.

Not saying its right

Anna said...

Pauline, I'm not entirely sure (and definitely no expert) - but as I understand it, the fact that a mother has responsibilities in life (perhaps other children) is a reason to intervene with an abortion to save her life.

ZenTiger said...

Firstly, two incognisant little gobs of embryo.

and the Church regards cells as a person in the way it regards a child as a person is exactly the problem.

Check out how developed a fetus is, at 16 weeks. Ask anyone who knows about baby stuff if they are just a few cells. Go look at some pictures.

The fetus makes general movements and startles from about nine weeks. They have had heartbeats for several weeks.

Movements include complex motor patterns, and localized movement of the arms and legs, together with hiccups, stretches and yawns.

At nine weeks the fetus is able to bend fingers around an object; it responds to a touch.

During weeks 9-12, the face is “well-formed”, the appearance of the genitals in males and females becomes more apparent.

At 12 weeks, tooth buds appear, the limbs are long and thin, and red blood cells are produced in the liver. A fine hair called lanugo develops on the head. Fetal skin is almost transparent. More muscle tissue and bones have developed, and the bones become harder.

The first measurable signs of EEG movement occur in the 12th week.

Do you really want me to take you through to 16 weeks? I suspect not.

ZenTiger said...

@anon:

You can argue all you want about it. But when it comes down to it the Catholic church thinks abortion is worse than child rape.

No, they think that doing evil is no excuse for other evil.

And they think the life of this little girl is worth less than the pregnancy.

No, they think ALL life has value. It is you who are clearly stating that the life of the twins is worth less than risking the life of a child.

The Priest is suggesting there may be a way to save all of them.

It is you who are suggesting that you should not save the children of a rape, because they are simply an inconvenience not worth discussing because they *might* cause stress to the mother by their mere existence.

I would be interested in anyone replying to my suggestion that they could prove to be the "one good thing" to come from such evil, that helped the mother recover from her ordeal. Do you simply not believe that is possible?

If men could get pregnant the Catholic Church would not have this stance on abortion.

Are you saying that women don't have principles when their self interest is threatened? I'd have to check to see if men are better at living according to their principles than women, but I thought we are all equally capable and it's not a sex-based thing.

Deborah said...

They are not children, they are fetuses. Describing them as "children" imports all sorts of emotional context.

The child in this case is the nine year old who was raped. Why is it that the Catholic church cares about fetuses, but cares nothing for the nine year old child who is already a living walking, talking, breathing human being. I have yet to see the bishop in this case offer any support to the child who was raped. All they have done is curse the people who support her. They haven't even had the decency to condemn the behaviour of the man who raped the child. In their haste to love the sinner, they have forgotten that there is a nine year old girl who needs to be loved and supported.

libertyscott said...

The only core argument around abortion is when do the conceived cells from fertilisation gain rights. They gain full rights on birth, many Catholics think they gain full rights from conception.

I'd argue full rights must come from birth, but that once there is a sentient being (functioning brain) there are rights that can only be overriden if the life of the mother is at stake.

Before there is a functioning brain, it is a collection of growing cells and can be disposed of at will. It isn't life as it doesn't possess either the means to survive independent of its host or consciousness. However, I'd argue there is a case to say that the age the brain starts making neural connections is the age the foetus now has identity and consciousness, and to treat it as if it is just a collection of cells IS emotional.

The issue is when to draw the line, and at that point abortion before that should be the potential mother's choice, beyond that it should only be when the mother's life is in danger.

Of course the Catholic Church in far too many cases fails miserably in handling these issues, it shows no compassion for a traumatised child.

Zen makes some useful points, there needs to be dialogue as to when a foetus has rights and what are they. The Catholic argument simply cannot hold water than a fertilised egg has the status of a human being. However, similarly allowing abortions beyond the threshold when a foetus could be sustained outside the womb is ignoring the nature of what is being aborted.

Sadly the debate too often has become sectarianised.

Anonymous said...

Bet you 50 million dollars ZenTiger is male.

ZenTiger said...

Reasonable points Liberty Scott.

Bet you 50 million dollars you are male :-).

They are not children, they are fetuses. Describing them as "children" imports all sorts of emotional context.

True. Just for fun though, why don't you go check out how much like a little person a collection of cells are at 16 weeks? Then check at how they dispose them.

Has anyone of you fighters for female rights even considered asking the girl what she might want?

She would have felt the babies moving inside her.

It could have been that these two lives would be seen by her to be unique and special and worthy of life, in spite of the terrible circumstances in their creation. In years to come these lives could have given her comfort that out of such evil, came such beauty, and she may have been somewhat healed.

Instead, she now has to cope with the thought that the monster that raped her helped to end two more innocent lives, and that the people around her were never interested in saving her babies, such is their conviction such life never deserved to exist.

Who knows?

You are so busy wondering Why is it that the Catholic church cares about fetuses, but cares nothing for the nine year old child

you yourselves have not considered my point about what she may have wanted.

You are also only assuming the Priest does not care about the child. You are only assuming they do not condemn the rapist for their evil. I didn't see a press statement from the mother or the Doctors condemning the rapist? Does that mean they don't care, or just that the bleeding obvious wasn't reported?

You say the Church shows no compassion for the child. You first have to adequately address my points on how the child might feel in the fullness of time had she had the babies and they proved to be her treasure in life.

I've come across many stories from women happy that they didn't have abortions, and that their children were adopted to good homes, or included in the family.


In their haste to love the sinner, they have forgotten that there is a nine year old girl who needs to be loved and supported.

You want to quote the bit where they are busy loving the sinner, or is this just conjecture on your part?

Of course there is a nine year old girl to be loved and supported, again stating the bleeding obvious doesn't make the case that the Bishop would not want (and expect) this.

You are simply annoyed that he's looking to save three lives, not just one. All three have beating hearts. Not just one.

Should the fetuses be killed because they cannot survive outside the womb? That logic means we should kill people trying to survive in the Antarctic without life support gear, rather than try to save them.

Anonymous said...

Why bother talking about the reasons Zen? If this little girl came up to you screaming, begging you to not force her to carry and birth twins you'd still ignore her and make her do it.

ZenTiger said...

And where did I say that?

Is that past the bit where you told her you would kill the twins even if she begged you to save them?

Anonymous said...

The decision is her mother's not yours. It might do you well to remember that.

ZenTiger said...

And where did I say it wasn't?

And does anyone here have the right to offer an opinion on this situation if I don't?

Still with the cheap shots, and evading the points I have raised.

But lets talk about the Mother.

Reckon she knew what the stepfather was doing? Cases like this tend to go on for some time. I would like to think she knew absolutely nothing about this, but if she did, she might not be making ongoing decisions that are in her daughter's best interests.

Or have I just poked another sacred cow? The mother never, ever, ever knows.

Anonymous said...

Zentiger You seem to believe a foetus is a child. Therefore abortion is murder. Full stop.

How could it ever be OK then - in your opinion - to allow her the chance to terminate?

You seem to be suggesting this should only happen after she's carried the babies and it becomes some kind of life or death duel. In which case the babies would be past the legal time-frame for abortion so that 'murder' term really does have legs.

So which is it?

Nobody on here who is pro-choice wants her to have an abortion. Pro-choice people want her to have the option of abortion. It would be her mother's choice or if she's old enough to comprehend what is happening her choice.

Not the choice of a Catholic male living in NZ.

Anonymous said...

I'll probably leave the choice upto doctors. As in the ones who actually have a medical qualification?

ZenTiger said...

How could it ever be OK then - in your opinion - to allow her the chance to terminate?

This is one of these genuinely complex cases where the value of human life to me means giving a right to the unborn not to be deliberately terminated, has to be weighed up to the actual danger to the girl's life.

It's a case of "how many can be saved", not "which one should we save" as if one life is the only option. I don't believe we haven't determined that that was the only option (although with the media attention, I hope more information will come to light)

I personally believe that 20 years from now, she could be very glad to have her children and she might be thankful that we (society) were not too quick to abort without considering this further.

I also believe that we have personal choice, and if that choice consigns some-one to hell, so be it, providing it was freely made, and all options were fairly given. Because at that point, I have to respect people's decision knowing I'm not God and I don't have all the answers.

People reach for the abortion button without much thought of the deeper consequences. I will continue to disagree with this attitude, even on the hard cases.

Nobody on here who is pro-choice wants her to have an abortion.

Not the impression I get from reading this thread. The impression I get is outrage anyone would suggest any other option than abortion is even mentionable.

That's certainly been the reaction.

I'll probably leave the choice up to doctors. As in the ones who actually have a medical qualification?

Doctors get stuff wrong all the time. They see 'miracles' all the time. They fight to beat the odds all the time, and sometimes they do just that.

They can only provide a risk assessment and leave it up to the people concerned.

I've already heard some other Doctors saying that the girl was in little danger. I can't find a source though, so I'll give the media more time to bring this information up for scrutiny.

From the two cases I started with (mothers at 9 and 10) at the outset of this thread, to other stories of young girls being abused and then becoming pregnant and carrying babies to term, we know that with good medical care, death is by no means a certainty.

Julie said...

readers may be interested in Zen Tiger's original post about this over at (the largely Catholoic) NZ Conservative.

Julie said...

People reach for the abortion button without much thought of the deeper consequences.
ZenTiger, I think that's what some people would like to think. Posts here in the past, such as this one, show otherwise.

ZenTiger said...

Thanks for the link. You're right, I should say "some people".

So, are Catholics like myself and the Catholic Church still girl haters?

Natalia said...

***She would have felt the babies moving inside her.***

Oh come on, this is pretty maudlin, Zen.

Look, not everyone thinks of pregnancy as you do. Even some adult women who are perfectly capable of bearing a child with minimal risk - women like me - usually tend to stop and think when the question of pregnancy, theoretical or otherwise, comes up.

Pregnancy is tough. Anything from hemorrhoids to pooping yourself on the delivery table to developing post-partum depression or post-partum incontinence can happen. I'm talking about adult women here - I'm not even bringing up children.

Any anti-abortion law is actually absurd when you think about the delicacy of an early pregnancy. Miscarriage is common then. If we truly view the potential babies as actual "babies" - then we must decree that it should be illegal for a woman in her first trimester to do anything *at all* that might endanger her pregnancy - be it crossing the street or getting very stressed-out and forgetting to take her folic acid.

Anything else, and the "babies" might die!

Give me a break. Nature is complicated. So are life circumstances. We realize this when it comes to most things - but not when it comes to pregnancy, for some reason. Actually, I know the reason. It's because nothing can possibly undermine the primary function of women as fleshy "vessels." Pure sexism, that.

ZenTiger said...

Oh come on, this is pretty maudlin, Zen.

It also happens to be a fact that it is not uncommon for the unborn to be active at this stage.

That means that there is a possibility the girl may have different ideas, different feelings about the pregnancy, because we are all different, and we all react differently. It is not impossible she could be the type of person that might have an opinion on what to do that DIFFERS from yours.

Look, not everyone thinks of pregnancy as you do.

And not everyone, NOT EVEN ALL WOMEN, automatically think "abortion is the only option.

No, I have never been pregnant, so lets exclude all women who haven't either from this conversation, or put their thoughts down as "without basis". What's the term you use? Sexist?

My wife has been pregnant though, and we have gone through two home births together. I know how tough the reality is.

You don't need to make out I expect women can't be allowed to move, or whatever.

Equating that with abortion - the deliberate termination of the fetus is so, so, so different a conversation...do I really have to explain this further?

Actually, I know the reason. It's because nothing can possibly undermine the primary function of women as fleshy "vessels." Pure sexism, that.

Have you read anything I've written? Is that the best theory you can come up with? Sexism?

If the twins were female (and at 16 weeks we could tell) then I've been discussing if it were possible to save all three girls.

The one possibility you can never allow in this conversation is that a mere male might actually give a damn about lives, male or female, born or near born.

If "sexism" is the best you can come up with to indicate any understanding of my position, it seems rather pointless to continue this conversation.

Perhaps if I rephrase some of my points as questions:

1. Do you think the mother knew?

2. Do you think a 9 year old can successfully give birth to twins?

3. Do you acknowledge that other mothers have been as young, or younger?

4. Do you know how advanced a fetus is at 16 weeks (even if the point is irrelevant to you)?

5. Do you acknowledge a possibility that the child mother might actually find her children (assuming she had them) to be the one good thing that comes from this evil, after a passage of time?
6. Do you acknowledge the church goes to bat on behalf of all the girl abortions in countries like China and India?

6. Do you think it would be worth knowing what the opinion of the girl is on this matter, or is she too young to be included in this decision?

Natalia said...

ZenTiger, actually, I was referring to the overall tradition wherein women are viewed foremost as vessels. But you appear to be suffering from a case of Doth Protesting Too Much.

"Equating that with abortion - the deliberate termination of the fetus is so, so, so different a conversation...do I really have to explain this further?"

Actually, you do. We all know that when abortion is illegal, women try all sorts of "home remedies." So according to the anti-abortionist *logic* - any woman who miscarries under any sort of "suspicious circumstances" ought to be hauled in front of a court. I mean - did she trip, or did she deliberately jump off those stairs?

If you really care about the "babies," if these are indeed "babies" to you - you should care. No?

"It is not impossible she could be the type of person that might have an opinion on what to do that DIFFERS from yours."

Nine-year-olds have gone before courts and asked for divorces before. I'm sure she had her views on the matter. And I'm sure that once the health-risks were explained, she knew that those around her wanted what's best.

My grandmother first brought up childbirth with me when I was about 5 (she's a physician, now retired). I was pretty wowed.

"And not everyone, NOT EVEN ALL WOMEN, automatically think "abortion is the only option."

It's not the only option - but it's usually the best, in this scenario.

And being a woman doesn't give you a get-out-of-sexism-free card. That's just Feminism 101.

I'm sorry but I think your questions are largely irrelevant here. I would like to point out that I don't really care if the church goes to bat for people in this situation - because churches always have their own agendas when it comes to reproductive rights.

I've seen a lot of priests and nuns do much good in this world (their anti-trafficking efforts, both in Catholicism and the Orthodoxy, need to be celebrated) - doesn't mean I have to agree with sexist doctrine.

And it is sexist. I say that as someone who believes in God and calls herself a Christian (albeit a very non-traditional and disconnected Christian - who thinks that churches were created in this world to both succeed and fail horribly).

A Nonny Moose said...

You can shout as long and as loud as you like Zen Tiger, but it comes down to one very simple thing - the choice belongs to the woman.

Since THIS particular case is difficult because of the age of the child, the choice was made by those who know best - the mother and doctors. Did you not read that she was 80 pounds (approx 40kgs). Do you honestly think a child that tiny could carry nearly half her weight in babies to term? That's ludicrous.

Do what you want to do, if the situation is yours. But when it's mine, stay out of my uterus thank you.

Azlemed said...

I have been tossing up whether to respond on this thread or not.... I recently had an ectopic pregnancy, it was touch and go as to whether I would survive.... does that mean under the doctrine of products of conception having rights that I had an abortion?

In the case of a nine year old having twins... twin pregnancies are different to single pregnancies, they are harder on your body, harder for labour, have more risks associated etc. If it was either of my daughters in that unfortunate situation I would get the fetuses terminiated..... it is not a good outcome for that child if her body is forced to carry two children when she herself is still growing and is not physically mature....

This actually makes me feel sick that people can judge this mothers actions... she did what she and her doctors thought was right in this situation... it is not the catholic church's right to judge her on this.

Julie said...

In case it disappears off the links to this post list (which seems to happen for unknown reasons), here is Madeleine's response at MandM.

ZenTiger said...

Since THIS particular case is difficult because of the age of the child, the choice was made by those who know best - the mother

The one who possibly ignored the abuse?

and doctors.

but not the ones she reportedly asked first?

Did you not read that she was 80 pounds (approx 40kgs). Do you honestly think a child that tiny could carry nearly half her weight in babies to term? That's ludicrous.

It's very ludicrous to think two babies would weigh 20 kg. They are likely to be small babies anyway due to the mother's size, and I'd guess between 2 and 3 kilos each.

Do what you want to do, if the situation is yours. But when it's mine, stay out of my uterus thank you.

I'm not in your uterus thank you very much. I wanted to know what the child/mother thinks. I already know what you think.

I realise that you see an unborn baby as property you can dispose of, and I respect that position but that does not require my silence.

@Natalia: You said:

If we truly view the potential babies as actual "babies" - then we must decree that it should be illegal for a woman in her first trimester to do anything *at all* that might endanger her pregnancy - be it crossing the street or getting very stressed-out and forgetting to take her folic acid.

An expectant mother can still continue to engage in a range of activities without having to be strapped into a chair when she is pregnant. We can value the life she is nurturing and hope that nothing bad happens that kills that life during this period.

A mother who continues to smoke and drink to excess and play on the girls rugby team though may be considered to be irresponsible if an unfortunate event happened arising from such activities.

That is different than equating it to abortion, as you tried to imply that if I really cared about one I should force my opinion about the other.

That argument makes no sense to me. Abortion is a deliberate decision to terminate a life. The other situation is an accident.

I see you have introduced a new argument - essentially, if abortion is murder, then why not put women on trial for it.

Quite simply, this is a moral issue, and on moral issues I will give my opinion in attempt to change behaviour. I will respect the legal position, so if it isn't illegal to procure an abortion, and people make an informed choice to do so, then I will respect that.

Where anything is illegal, then the law should be enforced until it is changed under due process.

In a sense, abortion is contrary to Catholic Law, so if Catholics chose to ignore Catholic Law, I will accept their censuring by the Catholic Church. In this regard, the Church has every right to pass judgment.

And many people (including non-Catholics) here have every right to pass their own judgment on the Church for it. And they are doing so.

Criticism and discussion and the exchange of ideas is a very healthy thing.

As you argue a mothers body is an issue for the mother (even though the baby is affected) it is equally reasonable to argue that the criteria for staying in communion with the Catholic Church is an issue for the Church (even if the member is affected).

Azlemed said...

each baby may only weigh 2-3kg, but the placenta also weighs over a kg as does the amniotic fluid etc. Drs have stated that the girl in questions uterus was too small to carry one baby to term let alone two. there is also the risk of premature labour, c-section, possible infertility etc to be considered as well. Small women under 5ft which this girl probably was do have problems carrying pregnancies.... the pregnancy books I have read all suggest that women with feet smaller than a size two may have pelvis's that are too small to birth a child naturally.... this girl was 36kg... thats not very big.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it Zen. You say the mother can't decide for this girl. The girl can't decide. Doctors can't decide.

So are you the only one that can decide? Or is the criteria only that you have to be male, anti-choice and Catholic.

If she died in child birth it would be worth it because two lives would be saved. That's your position. No use trying to be fancy talking about loopholes. You said very early on that there's three lives here all as valid as each other.

Therefore it would be worth her dying to save the twins.

ZenTiger said...

I don't get it Zen. You say the mother can't decide for this girl.

People are arguing this is the girls mother's decision, on the basis the mother would take the girl's interests into account.

I largely agree.

However, I first wanted to verify the mother was capable of making a well considered decision which included weighing up the risks. This would only be suspect if she knew of the ongoing abuse this girl had suffered.

The girl can't decide.

I have said that I think the girls opinion should be taken into consideration. Her opinion, to my knowledge was not reported. If it were contrary to what the mother wanted, I would expect the information to be hidden. Everyone here can only assume an abortion is what the girl wanted.

Doctors can't decide.

Agree. Their role is to advise the risks and consequences, and to what degree they have the skills and facilities to effect the options presented. Obviously, one should treat any recommendation from a Doctor seriously, but it is not unusual to seek the opinion of a different specialist.

So are you the only one that can decide? Or is the criteria only that you have to be male, anti-choice and Catholic.

Uncalled for.

If she died in child birth it would be worth it because two lives would be saved. That's your position. No use trying to be fancy talking about loopholes.

Is any death "worth it"? If the babies survived and the mother died, then that would be some consolation. If it were her choice to attempt to have the babies, and they lived, then her sacrifice should be respected.

Are you scornful of any women who would put their children first, born or unborn?

You said very early on that there's three lives here all as valid as each other.

Yes I did. I also said:

If it were my daughter I would devote my entire life to helping her get through this. If it were my daughter, I would likely be crying myself to sleep every night. That bastard would be dead.

Would I risk her life for the sake of her children? Probably not, but I would be discussing the options with many doctors and experts.


You can twist that how you like.

Therefore it would be worth her dying to save the twins.

Refer above.

ZenTiger said...

@Azlemed

Can we at least agree it is absolutely and categorically impossible for a 5 year old girl to become pregnant and to give birth?

Miracle Birth

Anonymous said...

Oh well if a five-year-old can have a baby then surely an eight-year-old can have twins! *rolls eyes*

ZenTiger said...

What, there is an eight year old with twins too? What are the chances that an 8 and a 9 year old would be pregnant with twins? Incredible.

Natalia said...

Zen, I'm not trying to put you on the spot - I just think that your position is inconsistent. Either these are "babies" that must be protected, or they're not.

As for the good ol' Catholic Church - my concern is the repeated message that abortion is TERRIBUL while rape and abuse are, you know, not nice, or whatever - but nothing to lose sleep over regardless. This isn't the first time, nor the last time. The people in that community are most likely poor, and stand the risk of getting shunned by their peers and relatives and neighbours.

These things are calculated blows by Church officials - to keep the faithful in line. Innocent life isn't really the issue. That much is obvious.

Also this: "The one who possibly ignored the abuse?"

Is plain wrong. I'm an abuse survivor, I can tell you all about how abusers are opportunists and manipulators. The fact that the mother even sought an abortion for the child means that she cares first and foremost about the child (and is even willing for the ever-vigilant vanguard of all those who fight for the Sanctity of Sexism... *cough* Sanctity of Life* to attack her).

A mother who denied the abuse would have sided with the rapist on this one. It would have been - "that little slut seduced him, she tried to take away my man!"

It happens, but this is hardly that case. You just want to throw up a lot of dust and obscure the real issue here - which is the danger to the girl's health and well-being, and how life and nature and God don't usually offer us these neat little situations in which it can all easily be resolved by some nice, smiling, celibate man in a frock who thinks he knows better because he's read some big books.

Dell said...

"What, there is an eight year old with twins too?"

Does it matter? According to you any child over five can have a baby because a five year old can.

ZenTiger said...

Yes it matters, because according to you they can't.

ZenTiger said...

Natalia, your position is inconsistent. Rape is using force. Terminating 16 week old fetuses is using force.

I'm against using force, not against the outcome of the natural order (a miscarriage perhaps).

my concern is the repeated message that abortion is TERRIBUL while rape and abuse are, you know, not nice, or whatever

Their concern is that abortion is terrible, it is the forcible destruction of life. Their position is that people treat it as contraception, not with the seriousness it deserves.

Rape and abuse are terrible. You don't need the Catholic Church to remind you of that. That does not make it logical to despise them for pointing out the other.

These things are calculated blows by Church officials - to keep the faithful in line. Innocent life isn't really the issue. That much is obvious.

That's as open minded as me saying the only reason abortion exists is because women who abort are selfish, uncaring murderers. (Which I'm not saying) Come on! You can be more open minded to other points of view. There are nice people in the world, even if they don't mirror your world view.

The one who possibly ignored the abuse?" Is plain wrong.

I sincerely hope so. I had read this abuse had been going on since a young age and her handicapped sister was also abused. That's scary. However, let's assume that this monster managed to hide his actions. I'm happy to put this worry aside.

which is the danger to the girl's health and well-being,

I've never argued that. Please read my comments again if you think I have. I've argued for full disclosure of the medical options. I've demonstrated that there are already cases of successful births of young mothers etc.

some nice, smiling, celibate man in a frock who thinks he knows better because he's read some big books.

As condescending as the sexism this blog rails against. It's somewhat ironic you think "man in frock" is a slur.

As it happens, Priests have a very good idea of life and death, attending countless terminally ill patients, getting in close with grieving families, offering support through all kinds of immense tragedies.

As for taking a vow of celibacy, the self discipline to take sex out of the equation and remain independent from such desire is a sign of character, and one that feminists could possibly appreciate.

Catholic Priests also do not marry, realizing that a family would have to come before the congregation as duty and love requires. Thus their flock is their family.

They are not your enemy.

Anonymous said...

I would say the Catholic Church's avoidance of dealing with the issue of their priests raping children proves that they care less about rape than they do about abortion.

And I'd love to hear you tell the 'rape is as bad as abortion' line to a rape victim.

ZenTiger said...

They are not your enemy.

Natalia said...

Um, Zen, you don't know me very well. If you did, you'd know that coming from me, "man in a frock" is not an insult in the slightest. I like pretty boys in frocks. And out of them.

I think that celibacy, when required for all priests, is stupid and prideful of the church authority - oh, we are so above the real world, et cetera, et cetera. I think priests should be able to choose. I think the RCC would have way less problems if they did. Having said that - I'm not going to have someone who's celibate advise me on reproduction, which is the REAL point I was trying to make when I pointed out issues surrounding celibacy.

If you want to be celibate - cool. Just don't pretend you are an authority on people's reproductive needs and choice then, please.

One of my greatest mentors in life so far was an Orthodox priest. I know that a lot of these people do good and change lives - but you can't deny the fact that Church authority essentially looks out for itself. That's just the way it operates. That's reality.

And no, my position is not inconsistent. As I mentioned, women have been practicing abortion forever - and many so called "miscarriages" were actually abortions.

Once again - if these are "babies" you are talking about, uppity women need to be under lock and key. And constant supervision. Or, you know, they're not. It's potential life. Like snapping a bud off a branch. That's' how I've always viewed it, anyway. The arguments about the "innocent baby" just never made sense to me. Maybe because I've never believed myself to be an incubator.

I don't "need" the Church to point out that rape and abuse are terrible?... Funny. The Church actually has a rather dodgy history when it comes to all of this rape and abuse stuff. And what happened in Brazil is quite consistent with this history.

Look, we all know where the priorities of the Church authority lie - if they believe that women are nothing more than vessels, then a pregnant child, even a forcibly pregnant child, is not that big of deal in the great scheme of things. It's only natural, after all. She's fulfilling her role.

A woman not allowing a man and his dick to shape her destiny, though? That's just an abomination.

Hey, before you accuse me of singling out the men - plenty of women are just as brainwashed on this subject matter as well. The oppressed become the oppressors. Both genders are guilty - it's just that men happen to wield most of the power.

It's all very familiar. It doesn't make it any less depressing.

A Nonny Moose said...

Beg pardon about getting my pounds vs kgs mixed up. I meant to say that if each child ended up being 7-8 pounds, then two children would be approx 1/4 of the child's weight.

Azlemed said...

I agree with nonny moose.. carrying 2 babies to term is asking a lot for a small 9 year old child....

What really pisses me off about all this is the political mileage that anit abortionists are getting out of a poor 9 year olds situation, there is no compassion from the church at all towards what she has been through and the fact that its her mums choice as to what happened to her....

@zen tiger I never stated that children can not get pregnant, just that it is not physically adviseable for them to continue with the pregnancy.

I also get annoyed with the tarring all churches with the same brush.... the roman catholic church is not "the church" and it really irks me that it is treated with such reverance by the media, It is still a group of people who worship the trinity, same as Anglicans and other christian groupings. Its just some of its teachings are much harsher on the very people it professes to protect.

ZenTiger said...

Once again - if these are "babies" you are talking about, uppity women need to be under lock and key.

Once again, I answered that in a previous comment.

I said:

I see you have introduced a new argument - essentially, if abortion is murder, then why not put women on trial for it.

Quite simply, this is a moral issue, and on moral issues I will give my opinion in attempt to change behaviour. I will respect the legal position, so if it isn't illegal to procure an abortion, and people make an informed choice to do so, then I will respect that.

Where anything is illegal, then the law should be enforced...

I don't "need" the Church to point out that rape and abuse are terrible?... Funny. The Church actually has a rather dodgy history when it comes to all of this rape and abuse stuff.

Any profession with easy access to children attracts pedophiles, who by their nature are willing to lie about anything.

The Catholic Church has around the same percentages of offenders as other child focused vocations - the scout movement, teachers and government institutions such as orphanages.

The major issue beyond this was the Church Hierarchy did not throw these abusers to the police. some believed protestations of innocence or promises to stop this behaviour, and others hid the scandal. That was terrible, and it's all been litigated, sued, addressed and improved.

I note cases coming to light in New Zealand of abuse in Government institutions that followed the same model as the Church - denial, failure to address the issues when they happened and moving perpetrators to other jobs where they recommenced their offending.

Seems to be a flaw in character that evil is not dealt with severely and resoundingly in large institutions.

Either accuse this particular priest of being a pedophile or a rapist, or leave this line of attack out of it.

You are generalising over past history to imply this priest might not have the moral sincerity that he believes abortion is tantamount to murder.

Care for the unborn is not a male conspiracy. There are just a few of us that are weird in this way. I still help women with prams get safely off buses too, the sexist I am.

woman not allowing a man and his dick to shape her destiny, though? That's just an abomination.

That's how you see it. I can understand that. However, because another life is involved, it's not that clear cut.

Two questions:

1. Does a man have a right to terminate a baby if he doesn't want to look after it?

I think not, but your line of argument might require this to be consistent. Hell, in the latest post on this blog, an abortion was quoted as some kind of health benefit. So he kills the kid and makes the women healthier. Win-win.

2. If a person kills an unborn baby, at 30 weeks say, (such as in a car accident, or an old case of someone performing a C-section on a mother to steal the baby) then should they be guilty of manslaughter or murder if those babies die in the process?

My opinion is yes, but I'm not so sure anyone here would see it as murder. Maybe theft?

I'd be interested in your response.

Mór Rígan said...

@ZenTiger

I was born a catholic and was until I recognised the full misogyny of the RCC.

Retraumatising a 9 year old rape survivor by forced pregnancy is abhorrent. And since you are no doubt a devoted catholic please quote the passage in the New Testament that forbids abortion in the case of underage rape survivors.

Natalia said...

No, no, I did not introduce a new argument - I'm still on the old one. Either women are purely incubators for the "babies" or they are not. I honestly don't think you can have it both ways. And I think I've explained to you why I believe the latter is the case and not the former.

You help women with prams? That's really nice of you, but... what? Do you want a medal? I honestly don't understand this male attitude of throwing women bones in these discussions. "Forcible impregnation is cool! But I'll make up for it by helping with the pram this one time..."

Do you not notice how you sound right now? Once again, Doth Protesting Too Much. In a major way.

The Catholic Church has a dodgy history on lots of issues. It's only natural, it's composed of human beings. Fallible human beings. All of them. Which is why I think that, all due respect to this Church's many good efforts - but absolute moral authority? Nah. I'm not that naive.

Reproductive rights are an affront to any male-dominated institution, but particularly one that enjoys power in poor communities - and would like to keep said power. Poor, desperate women who are not in control of their own bodies make for the perfect followers. They don't question. They can't.

So the Church triumphs anti-abortion measures and rails against forms of safe contraception - encouraging poverty and over-population and helping edge this world closer and closer to an environmental disaster. It's sad, foolish, misguided, and more than a little sinister.

But I digress...

I'm not sure why you're bringing men's decisions into this. Men don't bear children.

When my mother was being advised to abort what was later to become yours truly - my father asked her if that was what she really wanted, because she seemed upset. She said that she wanted a kid. And they were both really happy for a while.

But it wasn't my father's decision. He just correctly sensed that they were both ready, and were being advised by parties whose aim was to split them up, which is why he broached the subject.

The final choice was still with my mother, not him.

And yes, abortion IS a health benefit. I'm not even sure why that's an issue here.

The car accident/forced C-section scenario is governed by laws separate from abortion, I believe. The history of these laws goes back to the Old Testament, no?

ZenTiger said...

@Natalia

We are going around in circles here. I replied to your new/old argument. Then I repeated my reply.

I honestly don't understand this male attitude of throwing women bones in these discussions.

A bit of light hearted humour. No different than the many "bones" that have been thrown my way in this discussion. For example:

"Forcible impregnation is cool!"

And where did I say that?

WHERE DID I SAY THAT?

I'm not sure why you're bringing men's decisions into this. Men don't bear children.

Something for you to ponder then.

If you want to make out that a women's role in child birth is incubator/not incubator either/or questions, I wonder if you think fathers are merely impregnators and have no further use?

Is the baby property to be disposed of, or is it a life?

An innocent life, at that.

That is the essence of my question.

Of course mothers are so much more than incubators, just as fetuses (especially at 16 weeks and beyond) are so much more than a collection of cells.

That is why the issue of abortion is not as clear cut to me as it seems to be to you.

Deborah said...

Y'know, I'm not sure it's worth arguing with zentiger. Shehe has a set worldview, that women are worth less than fetuses, and that's all there is to it.

May I suggest leaving herhim alone?

Anonymous said...

Deborah - DEFINITELY a He. Obviously a He.

A Nonny Moose said...

I'm with Deborah. Debaters like ZenTiger win by shouting the longest and loudest, and think they're "won" when everyone else gets tired and goes home.

We hold to our passion and beliefs, but we've learned from looking at fanatics and fundamentalists that screaming, ranting and running others into the ground is not the way to get anything done.

Julie said...

Just in case it disapperas from the links to this post list as sometimes inexplicably happens, here's Natalia's broader post in response to the discussion here.

Natalia said...

ZenTiger, once again - the "what about the men" business is a derail. I'd like to discuss how it is and isn't relevant sometime, just not on this thread.

By throwing a bone I meant the inevitable suggestion that you couldn't possibly be sexist because of X. That's like me making some misguided comment about, say, the French, you calling me on it, and me replying "but some of my best friends are French!" See what I mean?

If you believe that a forced pregnancy should continue to "save the baby" - then you are OK with forced impregnation. Sure, you might think it is unfortunate. But if you don't want people to *do* anything about it, that's what your position still amounts to.

I've outlined why I don't think of it as killing a baby - you don't have to agree with my premise, but I hope you realize I've argued in good faith.

Either way, Deborah's probably right. This is probably useless, for both you and I.

ZenTiger said...

Yes, I'm male, middle aged, two fantastic children and a wife who is my soul mate. Not looking for comment, just ending the speculation.

I'm happy to call the discussion over, we do have our own world views, and they differ.

I would like to think though that silent readers get something useful out of the debate, even if we remain intractable.

I would say though that our positions are not so different as you might believe.

For example, I do not condone rape under any circumstance even though some said of me:

"Forcible impregnation is cool!"

I do have the interests of the child mother at heart, even though some people say things like this:

But of course it's totally worth it to you because it's not your daughter. Her life SHOULD be made Hell and she SHOULD risk death because you have religious beliefs than hers.

Because I replied with:

If it were my daughter I would devote my entire life to helping her get through this. If it were my daughter, I would likely be crying myself to sleep every night. That bastard would be dead.

Would I risk her life for the sake of her children? Probably not, but I would be discussing the options with many doctors and experts.


There are more examples, but you get the idea. So for Deborah to end up saying this:

..he has a set worldview, that women are worth less than fetuses, and that's all there is to it.

disappoints me. Surely you realise I don't think that for a moment? At best, you could attribute the thought that they are "equal" in value to any person, but even then that would not be quite right.

I think you have being tried to paint me as evil, by attributing things I have never said to me, and then ignoring my response and repeating such statements.

I have attempted to argue on the basis that such a life is not worthless, and that if it is worth less, we must at least wonder if the mother herself thinks they are worth anything.

I have not attempted to argue that the twins 'deserve' to live at the expense of the mother.

You assume of me more than I have said.

I have argued this position because consideration for the fetus simply appears not to even be entertained.

This is possibly because you are going off the report that the mother's life is danger (risk unquantified) even though (reportedly) the first set of Doctors she went to said it would not be.

One slightly related comment, and Muerk alluded to it earlier - there are situations in Catholic doctrine that allows for an abortion as an unintended side effect of an action that is aimed at preserving the mothers life.

Matt explains this on M and M: The doctrine of double effect.

Anyway, all done and dusted, all points are moot right now.

This girl has had the abortion, let's hope she gets the support required to get through this tragedy, as much as anyone might be able to get through such horror.

Farewell.

ZenTiger said...

Sorry, one last comment: "you" is meant to be generic, not specifically attacking Natalia, but the range of comments on the blog.

And, unless it isn't obvious, when I refer to the "tragedy" it is the abuse I am referring to, not the abortion. I have no idea how the girl will view the the abortion in years to come, but I am clear on the horror of how she got to that situation.

Azlemed said...

http://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/columnists/rosemary-mcleod/2254293/Cardinal-needs-a-reality-check

Anonymous said...

'It's 2009. We shouldn't have to have conversations like "Son, your daddy is also your grandaddy".'

So its permissible to kill in order to avoid difficult conversation/ family situations?

"I'll probably leave the choice upto doctors. As in the ones who actually have a medical qualification?"

What about bio-ethicists? Does one need an M.D. to discuss moral issues rationally?

miss abc said...

A woman should have the choice to decide what is best for her body -and yes the girl is nine but her mother is her legal guardian and made what must have been an horrific decision with the guidance of medical practioners.
Some in this thread have stated it would be better to wait for the pregnancy to be terminated when it only became life threatening to the mother. Isn't that putting her through more trauma and actually punishing her for being raped in the first place. Which is my main point. The Catholic Church should not be debasing the rights of this child who was carrying the result of rape.
The Catholic Church should be making an example of this ADULT male who abused a child. Raped a child and Inpregnated a CHILD in that act of "sin". In no way is that child to blame and yet she is being made the international whipping post for something inflicted upon her by a rapist.