20 August, 2010

'Leave conscience out of it': Pharmacists dispense advice to a colleague who will not sell the morning after pill.

'Leave conscience out of it': Pharmacists dispense advice to a colleague who will not sell the morning after pill.

129 comments:

  1. "Yet no one makes judgments in a vacuum."

    LOL! Yet again, Alarcon persists in making sweeping statements, apropos of nothing, whereby she attempts to translate her own narrow view almost seamlessly into a "universal truth."

    "A pharmacist who will not sell the morning after pill, for example, chooses not to stock it because he believes that life is precious from the moment of conception."

    What she utterly fails to mention, possibly because she feels it is irrelevant, is that it is up to the patient to decide whether or not a medication is "moral" or "immoral!" It is most decided NOT up to the pharmacist!

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  2. Hi Tim,

    Ms. Alarcon writes:

    "It is a rather scary thought, is it not, that pharmacists should leave their morals at home. (Care to help yourself to that left over morphine in the back of the safe? How about chewing on low-dose Concerta?)"

    Actually, no. I would find it a much scarier thought that my pharmacist might impose their moral beliefs on my legal medical treatments. Why should I give a toss what the pharmacist personally thinks about the morality of an IVF treatment, contraception, or anything else?

    A pharmacist has a professional obligation to observe the law and properly control morphine and other drugs. A pharmacist's personal moral beliefs on illegal drug use are beside the point - they must observe the law and control drugs such as morphine.

    If we permit a pharmacist to pick and choose which drugs they will dispense based on personal moral/religious beliefs - then we open up a pandora's box for all professions - not just pharmacy.

    How would Ms. Alarcon deal with an Orthodox Jewish surgeon who will not treat women, or a Jehova's Whitness nurse that will not connduct a blood transfusion, or a lawyer who believes blacks are sub-human and not worthy of a legal defense?

    Cheers...Martin

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  3. Martin,
    Let me answer that for you. Jewish doctors do treat women. My mother sees a wonderful Jewish specialist at the Jewish General. As with muslims, it is most often the female patient who prefers a female doctor.
    Jehovah's Witness cases.... it is not against their belief system to give transfusions, but to receive them. So a more appropriate example would be that of a doctor who wants to give a transfusion but the patient refuses. That is a tough scenario, one that I have seen happen more than once. If the patient is of age, his request not to be infused must be respected.
    As to the lawyer who believes blacks are sub-human? He is behaving in a clearly depraved manner, and that is not what we are talking about here at all. We are talking about not forcing someone to do something they believe is wrong, not about helping a person do something that is clearly wrong, such as dehumanizing and or destroying another human being.
    When a healthcare provider refuses to do something he believes to be wrong, remember that he or she is not forcing the patient to not get what they want. Simply, and perhaps inconveniently, the patient will need to go elsewhere.

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  4. Dearest Lady Janus,
    I agree with you 100%. It is up to the patient to decide what is moral or not for her. This is why I respect her morality, and expect her to respect mine. Going down the street to the next drug store is the only way to satisfy us both.
    Cristina

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  5. Hi Christina,

    "Jewish doctors do treat women. My mother sees a wonderful Jewish specialist at the Jewish General."

    No - there are ultra orthodox jewish sects that forbid the touching of unrelated women by males. It was these men to which I was referring. While not common for them to be in medicine in Canada, nothing prevents them from practicing here if licensed.

    "Jehovah's Witness cases.... it is not against their belief system to give transfusions, but to receive them."

    Not quite. If they disapprove of receiving them, why must they participate in inflicting such immorality on others? Catholics (such as yourself) have extended the prohibitions that you are willing to accept on your own reproduction, on to the reproductive actions of others. The principle is exactly the same.

    "He (the lawyer) is behaving in a clearly depraved manner, and that is not what we are talking about here at all."

    Not so fast. Any prejudice can be dressed up as a religious or moral belief. Have you never heard the infamous Ernst Zundel justify his racial theories in religious terms? I have. It is sickening.

    There are numerous parallels between the examples I have cited and what you are advocating.

    But let's drop the pretense Christina that this is really all about pharmacists' conscience rights. Is this not simply another way for the religious right to drive the thin edge of the wedge into the body politic so that they can impose their theology on society?

    I would appreciate your response.


    Cheers...Martin

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  6. Hello Martin,
    You are probably right that an ultra-jewish man would not become a doctor in Canada. However, if he does, there is no reason for him not to specialize in Men's Health. I know of many female physicians who specialize in Women's Health.
    I think you are wrong about the Jehovah's. I remember investigating that issue, and found only cases of patients refusing transfusions, never of doctors refusing to give them. This may have something to do with the fact that it is the receiver who does not want to be contaminated. As I am not a Jehovah, maybe someone from that sect can best explain this paradox.
    Still, even in this case, you cannot force something the patient considers "evil" -no matter how irrational--upon him. Thus it would be wrong to infuse by force.
    On the other hand, a doctor cannot refuse to give a life-saving transfusion out of a whim or for reasons he may call "religious", as just about anything can be called "religious" nowadays, given the number of cults that abound.
    And you are right Martin, that prejudice can most certainly be dressed up as a religious belief, but then it is NOT a true religious belief then, is it?
    Finally Martin, you say this is not about pharmacist's rights of conscience. No, I prefer to call it freedom of conscience. The freedom not to be forced to do something I do not believe in.
    Rather than thinking of this as imposition of theology, I believe my battle is one for freedom from imposition of ideology.

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  7. "When a healthcare provider refuses to do something he believes to be wrong..."

    A pharmacist is a health care provider? Since when? More like middleman. Quartermaster. A health care provider makes a diagnosis and determines a treatment, hopefully with the assistance of the patient. The dispenser of the means of treatment is not a provider of care; simply the provider of the means. And most decidedly NOT in any position to change the physician's OR the patient's wishes!

    "This is why I respect her morality, and expect her to respect mine. Going down the street to the next drug store is the only way to satisfy us both."

    If you are the pharmacist, YOUR morality does not enter the picture. And if it does, you are in the wrong profession. Your job as a pharmacist would be to satisfy the law, the physician, and the patient. A patient has NO obligation to satisfy you with anything except currency to pay for the prescription.

    Apparently, you live in a city where there are countless pharmacies. How do you justify refusing legal prescriptions for someone who has no other options?

    "Jewish doctors do treat women."

    That was a deliberate and stupidly blatant example of wilfull ignorance. If you cannot reply correctly, try not replying at all.

    "I remember investigating that issue, and found only cases of patients refusing transfusions, never of doctors refusing to give them."

    Well, in that case, you've just defeated your own argument, haven't you? As a pharmacist, you should not be refusing treatment to someone who wants/needs it just because it's against YOUR "moral code."

    "He (the lawyer) is behaving in a clearly depraved manner..."

    The term, "clearly depraved" is subjective and merely a personal prejudice. Not applicable under law.

    I know one of the lawyers on the defense team for either Zundel or Keegstra, and I asked him one day how he could defend such an odious client. He said, in effect, "I am not defending him as a person or what he says or what he thinks; I am defending his legal right to say it. If the law is not clear, then we must make it clarify itself."

    "The freedom not to be forced to do something I do not believe in."

    Someone put a gun to you head and forced you to become a pharmacist? Do try to be a little sensible, dear. There's a good girl.

    "Rather than thinking of this as imposition of theology, I believe my battle is one for freedom from imposition of ideology."

    But you don't mind at all imposing your theology on someone else, do you?

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  8. Hi Christina,

    You are advocating that an individual pharmacist's religious and moral beliefs should have supremacy over their professional duty to dispense medications that are lawfully perscribed to them.

    Sauce that is good for the goose is good for the gander. If we allow this for the pharmacist, then we must allow it for all other professions - indeed - any individual offering services in the public realm is entitled to similarly discriminate based on their personal moral and religious beliefs. In effect - any prejudice goes!

    Unfortunately, it is very difficult to separate "legitimate" moral beliefs from vile prejudice masquerading as a moral or religious belief. It is practically impossible, unless of course you are also advocating that the state get into the business of separating "legitimate" moral and religious beliefs from "illegitimate" ones.

    The alternative of course, is to simply allow YOUR moral and religious beliefs to regin supreme over all of us. Either way, your position on this matter subjects all of us to a tyranny of a whole host of moral and religious beliefs.

    Either way, your treatment of this topic is dishonest. Your dismissal of my hypothetical examples is silly. Once you permit the principle that personal moral belief trumps everything else, then you only encourage this kind of social conflict.

    If you really mean what you say, then you must also allow the Haredi male doctor (who practices the Shomer Negiah) to refuse treatment of an unrelated woman.

    You must also allow the Jehova witness nurse the lattitude to refuse to participate in a blood transfusion. You demand no less for yourself when you refuse to dispense RU486.

    Similarly, you must allow anyone with any moral belief to override the secular rule of law and discriminate at their individual pleasure.

    This is what I mean by a Pandora's box of evil that your position unleashes on all of us.

    Christina - You are misleading to pretend otherwise. Be careful what you wish for, because anti-Catholic sentiment may someday rise again (if not already). When you have eroded the bulwark of secluarism, you expose all of us to a return of open and flagrant religious discrimination. Hello Orange Ontario - the Catholic dominionists have prepared the way for you.

    Cheers...Martin

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  9. On this topic no need to change my mind I agree with Lady Janus.

    This Samantha speaks my language:

    "The reality is that people like Cristina are injecting their religion into their job and if they don’t want to dispense legal medications they should get another job. When I go to pharmacy I expect to be served and not lectured in some mumbo jumbo. What if here conscience does not allow her to serve a gay person because she is anti-gay then would that be ok? In fact she is known to lecture gays as to the morality of their life style. How far should the Pope be allowed to push his anti-human rights agenda?"

    Lina

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  10. Dear Lina,
    I respect your decision not to be open to dialogue. I do wish to kindly clarify, however, that I have never lectured gays, though I have debated ideas on homosexuality. Do you equate debating with lecturing? Also, I am not anti-gay. I am anti labelling people with homosexual tendencies. I also do not like to call patients who are addicted to morphine "addicts". It just stigmatizes and labels them.
    Both in my work and personal life I have dealt with people who have homosexual tendencies. They can tell you I treat them with as much respect and genuine care as I try to treat all other persons.
    Cristina
    ps. Lady Janus and Martin, I thank you v much for your comments, as they represent what is on the minds of many other people. I will try to respond shortly!

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  11. I am sorry Cristina. I wasn't clear. It doesn't have anything to do with the gay issue. I should have pointed out the sentence's part that Samantha said that I liked:

    'I expect to be served and not lectured in some mumbo jumbo.' I just found that funny.

    I am sorry that I came across being insensitive.

    Lina

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  12. Dear Lady Janus,
    Welcome to the 21st Century! Pharmacists have been considered a valuable part of the healthcare team for quite some time, at least since I graduated from pharmacy school roughly 20 years ago. Pharmacists do medication reviews, we advice doctors on choice of therapy, we counsel patients on proper drug use. In B.C. under the new Health Act pharmacists have been granted practitioner status with the ability to adapt prescriptions (which we were doing before anyways) without first having to consult with the doctor. This is to ensure optimal therapy. We can also refuse to fill a prescription for ethical or moral reasons so long as we refer, which most pharmacists have no problem doing.

    Lady J, you believe that a pharmacist’s morality should not “enter the picture”, yet our morality does affect our work in a myriad ways. If a doctor orders the wrong medication for a given condition or an overdose, I have a right and duty to inform the patient and to refuse to fill the prescription as ordered.

    As to your qualms about lack of access to morning after pills in remote areas, there is now the technology to allow for dispensing machines with a pharmacist supplying prescriptions via telecommunication. This will soon be a non-issue.

    You say:
    “That was a deliberate and stupidly blatant example of wilfull ignorance. If you cannot reply correctly, try not replying at all.”
    I respectfully recommend that you follow your own advice on this Lady Janus.

    Not sure why you put in the example of your lawyer friend’s defence of a criminal. Was it because you think the lawyer should have the right to refuse to defend a notorious criminal? Actually, he does have this right. However, I do believe that even a depraved man deserves a fair trial and a chance to defend himself. You are not equating women seeking morning after pills to criminals now are you? I hope not!

    Lastly Lady Janus, you rightly say that no one put a gun to my head and forced me to become a pharmacist, just like no one forces me to continue to practice the profession I love.
    I can assure you that I did not become a pharmacist to become a sex-ed counsellor. I went through 7 years of training in physiology, biochem, chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacognosy, dermatology, veterinarian pharmaceuticals, biology, etc etc etc.
    I studied every disease state… endocrinology, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases, eye disorders, dermatology…. You name it; I studied it, plus all the therapeutic choices available for each condition. Of hundreds of hours devoted to these disease states, approx 2 hours were devoted to contraception (ever wonder why?)… Well, for one, neither pregnancy nor fertility are disease states.
    When you really think about it, is there really any reason I should be involved in the population control business?

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  13. Hi Martin,

    “You are advocating that an individual pharmacist's religious and moral beliefs should have supremacy over their professional duty to dispense medications that are lawfully prescribed to them.”

    Yes, that is exactly what I am advocating Martin. Moral beliefs cannot be left at the door of the workplace. When duties conflict with personal conscience, there are mechanisms in place for accommodation. This is part and parcel of employment law, and our code of ethics also allows for this sort of accommodation.

    “….any individual offering services in the public realm is entitled to similarly discriminate based on their personal moral and religious beliefs. In effect - any prejudice goes!”

    Not sure why you equate following one’s conscience with discrimination. In essence, you find it morally justifiable to discriminate against healthcare professionals who refuse to discriminate against the unborn. So who is being prejudiced?

    “…unless of course you are also advocating that the state get into the business of separating "legitimate" moral and religious beliefs from "illegitimate" ones.”

    The role of the state is to protect the common good, while remaining neutral on religious matters. However, when supposed “religious” beliefs threaten the common good, then the state does have a duty to step in. ie. imagine a group advocating jihad.

    “Once you permit the principle that personal moral belief trumps everything else, then you only encourage this kind of social conflict.”

    Martin, you are right of course. But note that I never said that personal beliefs should trump everything else. The example you put of the Haredi male doctor is a good one. Although you cannot force him to do what he believes to be sinful, one would hope that in the case of an emergency (ie. woman dying on isolated strip of highway) that his common sense would tell him that his duty to save life in this case overrides the possible stain he could incur from touching the woman. This is where conscience comes in. Conscience helps us discern the proper action to take at the proper moment. This goes for “religious” precepts as well.

    Do you not see the difference between giving up a precept for the sake of a charitable act that saves life, versus forcing someone to take life?

    Let’s go back to the Jehovah witness nurse and your comparison of her actions to my refusal to dispense RU486.
    As I said, I have never heard of such a Jehovah case in all my searches. But let’s look at it anyways. By refusing to give a life-saving treatment to someone who wants it (I presume she refuses to give it to another Jehovah, cause I can’t see how she would refuse it to a non-Jehovah), she essentially allows the patient to die. For our purposes…let us say she takes the life of someone who wanted to live.
    However, by refusing to give a patient RU-486 I save the life of an unborn child who most certainly had he 5 years added to his lifespan, would tell you he/she wanted to live.

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  14. "Pharmacists have been considered a valuable part of the healthcare team for quite some time..."

    I have never heard a pharmacist being referred to as a provider. An expediter, yes. But a pharmacist does not conduct patient exams and does not write prescriptions. And a pharmacist is severly limited in what prescriptions he may refill without a doctor's input. As for changing the doseage or the actual medication -- just let one try doing that on me without my input!

    And if a doctor orders the wrong medication (and you know that for a fact, rather than simply guessing), it's not your morality that drives you to correct him -- that's your job. But you also need to ask your client, the doctor's patient, because it might not be an error, in fact; it might be a dose adjustment. Or a change of treatment. Or something else entirely. A pharmacist is not privvy to what occurs between a doctor and the patient, and is not given a reason for the prescription -- that is privileged information, and not the business of the pharmacist.

    And, given that most drugs are multi-purpose, refusing to fill a prescription for mifepristone or methotrexate simply because you think someone might be using it as an abortifacient is way beyond your legal jurisdiction.

    "I can assure you that I did not become a pharmacist to become a sex-ed counsellor."

    No need to assure me. Just stop doing it.

    "Not sure why you put in the example of your lawyer friend’s defence of a criminal."

    That was in response to your reply to Martin. But forget it. Not pertinent to the subject at hand, which is why you insist on putting your morality between a doctor and a patient when it is none of your business.

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  15. I said this before I'm not a medical professional. I never had an abortion. I never witness or took a person to have an abortion.

    There are all kinds of religions/faiths & non-religious people agree with your opinion Cristina as well as the Roman Catholic Church about that RU-486 .

    'There is this male whom for whatever reason thinks that his sperms are very special. Now this male keeps thinking that this female he sees would be grateful to receive his gift of sperm. This female says no to his make love advances. But this almighty male thinks her no means yes. A criminal act has been done against this female. This woman goes for help and is thinking about taking the morning after pill. But her faith ( Roman Catholic) says NO because she needs to save a potential unborn child. The Catholic Church wants this rapist's sperm to be protected (they do not discriminate against rapists) because once this vile man's sperm starts to travel, there is no stopping this unique sperm of this pervert because this awesome sperm needs to reach its final destination the egg.

    No excuses are going to be accepted by this Holy Roman Catholic Church who happens to be an elite all male hierarchy.

    The woman decides...Oh yes, she wanted no part of this evil man's actions or being use as some kind of petri dish for his so call sacred sperm. She will put a stopped to it by taking this RU-486. '

    Only God knows what this poor female went through. God does care for this female. Furthermore, God will deal with this rapist in a merciful and compassionate way.


    By the way, Lady Janus, great posts!


    This is all have to say.

    Lina

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  16. Lady J,
    Again, thank you for your input. Of course that I would first consult both with the prescriber and the patient before adjusting or changing a dose. Perhaps you shop at Thrifty's pharmacy or Save On where RXs are churned out without a query, but most independents do take the time to have a complete patient profile, which includes diagnosis. However even if I did not have this info, I would know it just by looking at the meds a person is taking.
    And of course, you are absolutely right. Drugs can have multiple purposes, which is why I have less of a problem with bc pills than I do with Plan B. Methotrexate is mostly used for arthritis. RU-486 is not available in Canada, but if it were, I would not dispense it.
    Again, thanks for your input.
    Cristina

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  17. Christina,

    You write: "Not sure why you equate following one’s conscience with discrimination. In essence, you find it morally justifiable to discriminate against healthcare professionals who refuse to discriminate against the unborn. So who is being prejudiced?"

    Your duty is to the patient before you in the pharmacy. The blastoplast, or zygot is not your patient.

    All of us, Christina, are asked to follow the secular law when we enter into the public marketplace to sell our goods and services. I am as bound by these laws as you are. I only argue that this should continue to be the case. In other words, I am arguing for no special treatment of pharamcists.

    That you "hope" a Haredi male doctor will provide a life saving treatment to a woman is very touching. Perhaps he will. Perhaps he will not. But you are advocating that he has a legal and moral right to withhold it. I contend that this is wrong, and you would would too - except to do so would concede my rather obvious point that your proposal is wrong and a complete sham.

    You argue for this exemption only to impose your own religious beliefs on the public which you have pledged to serve. This is disgraceful, but it is your right to make such a silly proposal.

    It is also my right to point out that your argument is silly and even you would not support your own principle once it is applied to a situation outside your sphere of primary concern (i.e. abortion and fertility).

    Cheers...Martin

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  18. Dearest Lina,
    Thanks for your input! Pregnancy resulting from rape is rare but unfortunately happens. There is nothing wrong with using the morning after pill to stop ovulation once a test is done to ensure fertilization has not already take place. However, using RU-486 or any other pill once pregnancy is ascertained would be an assault on the innocent bystander (the child) that resulted from an aggression.
    I have heard the testimony from children (now adults) conceived in this way. It is horrible, but more horrible never to have been born. I think most people are grateful to be alive no matter how we got here. Wouldn't you think? A woman who carries a child to term under these circumstances is very generous. All I can say is that I have heard it from the lips of more than one woman how this child helped the healing process. The father's sin is not the child's fault.

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  19. Hi Martin,

    Thanks again for you input! You say: “Your duty is to the patient before you in the pharmacy. The blastoplast, or zygot is not your patient.”

    Here is a paradox for you. If the woman is pregnant and wants the child, I am then to ensure that any drug I give her will not destroy her embryo. If the woman decides she does not want to be pregnant, I am then to switch hats and give her something to help her destroy her embryo. The point is, I want to have no part in the latter scenario. I most certainly do have 2 patients before me when a woman is pregnant and it is within my rights as a healthcare provider (and also as a woman) to refuse to be forced to partake in the harm of either mother or preborn child, which leaves the woman perfectly free to go elsewhere.

    “All of us, Christina, are asked to follow the secular law when we enter into the public marketplace to sell our goods and services”

    You are right Martin. And there is currently no law (as happened in Washington State) that forces me to carry or dispense all products. It’s a free marketplace.


    “That you "hope" a Haredi male doctor will provide a life saving treatment to a woman is very touching. Perhaps he will. Perhaps he will not. But you are advocating that he has a legal and moral right to withhold it. I contend that this is wrong, and you would too - except to do so would concede my rather obvious point that your proposal is wrong and a complete sham.”

    Martin, I think you misread me. What I meant to say, if it was not clear, is that you cannot twist someone’s arm to do good. In an emergency situation (ie. isolated strip of highway), a doctor has a moral (though not legal) obligation to help. Many doctors might not do so, and all for various reasons. In their regular office practices, doctors do have a right to choose who they will take on as patients.

    So I do agree with you that it would be wrong for the Haredi to withhold life saving emergency treatment to a woman in order to fulfill some “religious” precept that forbids touching women.
    Although I don’t like using Bible quotes to prove my points, listen to these words of Christ:
    Matt 15:1-9 (NIV) 1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" 3 Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' 5 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' 6 he is not to 'honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"

    Even as a Catholic, if I am bound to not miss Mass on Sundays, an emergency situation or obligation of charity would override the Church’s precept that I not miss Mass.
    There are certain things that are just common sense, and that is why I am advocating freedom of conscience (which is not the same as anarchy).


    “You argue for this exemption only to impose your own religious beliefs on the public which you have pledged to serve. This is disgraceful, but it is your right to make such a silly proposal.”

    Martin, imposition of beliefs would require that I force someone to follow my own way of life. However, by allowing a woman the freedom of acquire what she is seeking elsewhere (ie. not blocking access), how am I imposing anything?

    Finally, if the worst you think is that my proposal is silly and disgraceful, then I am grateful.

    And as you like so much to say Martin,

    Cheers!
    Cristina

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  20. Dearest Lina,
    You said:
    “I am sorry Cristina. I wasn't clear. It doesn't have anything to do with the gay issue. I should have pointed out the sentence's part that Samantha said that I liked:
    'I expect to be served and not lectured in some mumbo jumbo.' I just found that funny.
    I am sorry that I came across being insensitive”

    Thanks for the clarification Lina! Apologies accepted! Actually, I am in agreement with you 100%. This is why I never lecture my patients with any mumbo jumbo, but allow them all the liberty in the world to either deal with me and with one of my colleagues, or to be helped elsewhere. I always try to follow my conscience on what exactly it is I am dealing with. To be precise, I would never refer for abortion or for euthanasia drugs (were that legal). I have a greater leeway with birthcontrol. I chose to specialize in care of menopausal women, so any bc counselling is done by another pharmacist. 
    Thanks Lina!
    Cristina

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  21. I also thank you Cristina for your input.

    Christina said:
    ""Pregnancy resulting from rape is rare but unfortunately happens. There is nothing wrong with using the morning after pill to stop ovulation once a test is done to ensure fertilization has not already take place. However, using RU-486 or any other pill once pregnancy is ascertained would be an assault on the innocent bystander (the child) that resulted from an aggression.""

    I say...if a woman, a young girl or a child (14 & under, even 8 & 9yr.old) should decide and choose to carry their pregnancy to term I say good for them.

    The fact still remains folks like you Cristina put up roadblocks in many ways to take away that other choice option for other females that do not want to carry their pregnancy to term or have a potential imaginary unborn baby.

    Cristina said:
    ""I have heard the testimony from children (now adults) conceived in this way. It is horrible, but more horrible never to have been born. I think most people are grateful to be alive no matter how we got here. Wouldn't you think? A woman who carries a child to term under these circumstances is very generous. All I can say is that I have heard it from the lips of more than one woman how this child helped the healing process. The father's sin is not the child's fault. ""

    I am sure what you told me about those females you spoke about is true.

    What is also true many females DO NOT regret terminating their pregnancy for whatever difficult reason they felt it was important to them at that specify traumatic time in their lives.


    Why do I feel I need to post a disclaimer every time I post on this thread. (smiling)

    Please note Cristina Alarcon did NOT say this to me.

    As for statements like, "Choose life, your mother did" and " Are you happy your own mother did not abort you?"

    These are silly slogans in my opinion.

    If my mother aborted me, and I was never born, I would not be here posting to you all and furthermore, it is a gimme I would NOT care.

    We can go back and forth and seriously I am starting to have a headache so it is time for me to put this topic to bed. Also, I realize I spent too many hours on a computer and that is not good for me. I need to cut back starting now.

    Here is a prayer to the unborn I say often:

    "Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you very much, I beg you to spare the life of the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of an abortion. Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, pray for us.

    Peace be with you all!

    Lina

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  22. Hi Christina,

    You write: "Here is a paradox for you. If the woman is pregnant and wants the child, I am then to ensure that any drug I give her will not destroy her embryo. If the woman decides she does not want to be pregnant, I am then to switch hats and give her something to help her destroy her embryo. The point is, I want to have no part in the latter scenario. I most certainly do have 2 patients before me when a woman is pregnant and it is within my rights as a healthcare provider (and also as a woman) to refuse to be forced to partake in the harm of either mother or preborn child, which leaves the woman perfectly free to go elsewhere."

    No paradox. In both cases it is the woman standing before you who is your patient. If you have any question about the woman's intention towards her fetus - simply ask her. This simple act will provide you with all of the professional guidance you require. Additionally, many women may not have access to another pharmacy in small communities. You seem very carefree in ignoring such inconvenient little realities.

    "You are right Martin. And there is currently no law (as happened in Washington State) that forces me to carry or dispense all products. It’s a free marketplace."

    So why do you advocate for something that has no bearing on you or your profession? Your real agenda is beginning to show here. You are only making this argument to enforce your personal moral beliefs on others. That much is already clear to me.

    "So I do agree with you that it would be wrong for the Haredi to withhold life saving emergency treatment to a woman in order to fulfill some “religious” precept that forbids touching women."

    Well...Amen sister! So why are his religious precepts ones that may be overridden, but yours may not? Your belief that the blastoplast and the zygot have a soul is without any foundation in science or in fact. Why should we prefer your religious beliefs over his?

    And before you twist my words - recall that you insist on the right to discriminate about ANY of your religious precepts - not just abortion. Presumably you are amply comfortable in extending this right to all and sundry across the country. Hypothetically, one can deny the homosexual an anti-retroviral treatment just becasue one does not want to condone his "lifestyle". Alternatively one may deny a young unmarried woman oral contraceptives because one believes no one should have sex outside of holy wedlock.

    Problem is - and you don't seem capable of admitting this - a pharamcist has ample opportunity to cause great harm to many people by refusing treatments.

    "Martin, imposition of beliefs would require that I force someone to follow my own way of life. However, by allowing a woman the freedom of acquire what she is seeking elsewhere (ie. not blocking access), how am I imposing anything?"

    Where you seem to go off the rails is that you refuse to acknowledge that you are arguing that EVERY pharmacist should be able to follow their personal moral beliefs - even if (and especially if) it should result in restricted access to many treatments that you personally consider immoral. Yes Christina - this is imposing your personal moral code on others and the problem becomes more accute if you are the only pharmacy in town.

    You argue in bad faith Christina. You argue for rights that no one else in society has, or ought to have, and you regrettably refuse to acknowledge it.

    That you don't mind being silly and disgraceful in the process is entirely your perogative.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  23. One last point Christina, you state that: "What I meant to say, if it was not clear, is that you cannot twist someone’s arm to do good."

    What a clever bit of misdirection. I missed it the first time around. Of course no law or regulation can force anyone to do good. Similarly, no law or regulation can prevent a wrong from being perpetrated.

    Nevertheless, we can discipline a doctor who fails in his duty to his patient. We can even sue him or her and we can take away their license to practice medicine.

    Your proposal would end that if a pharmacist, a doctor, a nurse, or anyone, were to discriminate based upon a religious or moral belief and subsequently cause another harm. As you conceded, your proposal places individual and personal moral beliefs above even your professional and ethical duties to your patients.

    What you argue for is the ability to discriminate (with absolute impunity) when such discrimination is based upon YOUR religious beliefs.


    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  24. "...most independents do take the time to have a complete patient profile, which includes diagnosis. However even if I did not have this info, I would know it just by looking at the meds a person is taking."

    No. You don't. You're guessing. Because unless and until your client -- the doctor's patient -- gives you those details in person and willingly, you have no accurate information at all. On the other hand, if you actually are privvy to information that is protected by doctor/patient confidentiality, and if you decide unilaterally to act upon that information to which you are not entitled, I for one would have your license yanked so fast, you'd forget you even spent those many years in school preparing yourself to intrude you morality onto those who have no interest in it.

    "RU-486 is not available in Canada, but if it were, I would not dispense it."

    I know that, which is why I mentioned methotrexate, which is one of the drugs commonly used as an emmenagogue and abortifacient...

    ReplyDelete
  25. "...would be an assault on the innocent bystander (the child) that resulted from an aggression."

    No. There is no "child" -- "innocent" or otherwise. If you think/feel/believe that a fertilized cell is a child, that's your prerogative. But you may not impose that thought/feeling/belief on someone who does not hold it to be a truth with which they wish to live.

    "Here is a paradox for you. If the woman is pregnant and wants the child, I am then to ensure that any drug I give her will not destroy her embryo."

    No. It is not your job to make that decision on her behalf. If you know she's pregnant, and that she wishes to give birth, then the only thing you are obligated to do is present her with all the information she needs to make that decision for herself! You don't know that she doesn't want to take that medication. She might have a completely different issue she needs to handle that takes precedence over her incubating her fetus! And you nmay not make that assumption, or arrange her priorities, on her behalf without her well-informed approval!

    As for the rest of your points, Martin is doing an admirable job of rebutting, and I agree with him entirely!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Dear Martin,

    You make good points... as always, and for lack of time, I cannot answer each one of them, but I will explain this: Why does this issue interest me in the least if I am free to work without harming my conscience at present?

    This issue interests me largely because there is a push to take away such a personal freedom (do you not agree?). In BC our code of ethics was altered in 1997 to include a conscience clause that allows me to opt out of dispensing products that go against my beliefs, but I must dispense if no one else is available to do so. A College Bulletin in March 2000 highlighted some of these possible future services to include drugs for execution and euthanasia. Currently Canada Safeway forces its pharmacists to call another drugstore to facilitate acquisition of Plan B when this goes against the pharmacists’ conscience. The pharmacist must then phone the patient at home to ensure she got the product from the other pharmacy. This is utter nonsense if not a tad totalitarian. It is allowing convenience to trump the basic human right of freedom of conscience, and it is also paternalistic care. Why not just allow the woman to kindly find another drugstore herself? In a big city this is easy. In remote areas, other arrangements can be made ahead of time.

    To understand where I am coming from, perhaps you need to read the article I published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy last year. You may access it here:
    http://www.consciencelaws.org/issues-ethical/ethical094.html


    I think it is also important I make something else very clear .. I am not and have never advocated for discrimination against groups of persons, nor would I be less likely to give out BC pills to unwed women than to married women. What someone does in their bedroom is not my business,and therefore, I choose not to make it my business. What is my business are my own actions and that I do not become an accomplice to the harming of human life. My role is that of healer not killer. This is why I have absolutely no problem providing homosexual patients suffering from AIDS with medication. This is part and parcel of a healer's job. I do not judge what the patient has done or continues to do in his bedroom, I judge only my own actions as healer. Make any sense?

    In other words, freedom of conscience is not freedom to discriminate or to act on a whim. It is the freedom to NOT do something that is morally wrong. Perhaps this is where I need to be clearer in my explanations. It would be morally wrong for me to treat a woman who comes to me for BC pills in an uncharitable manner or in a way that was demeaning. Again, this is not what I am advocating for, and I would be the first to stand up and reproach a pharmacist for behaving this way. At the same time, it is because I respect the woman and also have a high respect for life, that I could not possibly provide her with an abortifacient even if she begged me for it.

    I think this may be my last post on this topic for now…. As Lina says, I have spent way too much time on the computer today.

    p.s Lina….. there is no such thing as a potential imaginary baby. Either there is an embryo or there is not.

    One last thing Martin. I am not arguing about ensoulment. We do not know when that happens. But you know what, I always like to err on the side of caution.

    Bye for now! …. And thanks for the challenge!

    Cristina

    ReplyDelete
  27. p.s. Best be disgraced with Christ than proud without.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sorry Fr. Tim,
    I do need to add one more thing.
    Martin has suggested that I argue for rights that no one else in society has, or ought to have...
    He is wrong. Here is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to refresh his memory.

    Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

    Rights and freedoms in Canada

    1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    Fundamental freedoms

    2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

    (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

    (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

    (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

    (d) freedom of association.

    http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/1.html#anchorbo-ga:l_I-gb:s_2

    The right to freedom of conscience and religion applies to all Canadian citizens (pharmacists included)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Fr Tim, at the risk of regretting my own words, I must say this:

    Alright Lady J...last words. Your utter disdain for the pharmacist as healthcare professional is such that I would not want the likes of you as a patient. You would be out the door so fast, you would forget your broomstick.
    Martin, next time you look in the mirror, ask yourself whether there is something/anything you would not do even under the pain of death. Perhaps you are not man enough to answer yes to that.
    Hopefully we will be able to dialogue more amicably on other topics in future.
    Cheers!
    Cristina

    ReplyDelete
  30. A am glad to see the Charter of Rights freedoms posted. We tend to forget these fundamental freedoms exist. The thing I don't like about the charter is that since they are written down, some judges might be led to believe that Canadians only have freedoms because a charter or judge says so whereas in fact, many of these freedoms are God-given by our Creator. It is also true that many of these freedoms were virtually non-existent until after the Reformation when the western world started to become democratic and governing authorities began to recognize fundamental freedoms. Even in the 20th century, these basic freedoms were not fully recognized in some countries in Europe and central and south America. Some will be suprised to learn Quebec tried to outlaw the Jehovah's witnesses from proselitizing in Quebec in the mid 20th century until the government of Quebec was stopped by the Supreme Court of Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  31. "The right to freedom of conscience and religion applies to all Canadian citizens (pharmacists included)"

    You don't read your own posting, I take it? Or, if you do, you don't understand it. Follow: "...subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

    There are limits on your rights and freedoms. m'girl. Your rights and freedoms stop where they are about to be imposed on those of another person. Your clients, for example. You may not impose your conscience and religion over and above theirs!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Christina...

    Yes we do have a right to freedom of conscience and religion in Canada. This right is not absolute, especially when it conflicts with other rights. I could cite numerous court cases that amply demonstrate this point if you wish.

    What you have not (and apparently will not) address is what would happen to our civil, tolerant and open society if a special religious exemption were granted to everyone who wishes to discriminate based on a religious or moral belief. If we grant such a special exemption to your profession, I see no reason why it should not be granted to all other citizens.

    Rather than confront this rather large elephant sitting in the middle of your proposal, you have instead twsited and equivocated around each hypothetical example that I have presented. This does you and your argument no credit.

    Your motives in pushing your proposal are crystal clear to all of us. You simply want to impose your moral and religious beliefs on whatever little corner of the world you think you can control.

    The price we pay for an open, tolerant and free society is that we must sometimes cooperate (albeit only tacitly at times) with those with whom we disagree on moral, religious or other grounds.

    I myself don't much care for the RCC and I see it as a terribly regressive and harmful force in the world. Nevertheless, if you (or the Supreme Pontif himself) were to walk into my place of business tomorrow, I would treat each of you with courtesy and professionalism - even to the point of providing you with goods and services that would enable you to pursue what I consider to be an immoral mission.

    I might not like it - but that is the price I pay - and in fact, we all must pay to live in a tolerant, open and free society.

    If you cannot pay this price Christina, then perhaps you ought to consider practicing your profession in a closed setting (e.g. a pharmacy in a convent's home for the aged). That is your choice, and it is our right to insist that pharmacists offering their services to the public do so in a non-sectarian manner.

    Cheers...Martin

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  33. Lady J
    "Your rights and freedoms stop where they are about to be imposed on those of another person."
    You should apply this to the unborn. Or do you apply this only to those you refer to as "persons" at your own convenience?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Martin,
    If a jihadist walked into your hardware store and asked you for wiring to make explosives, I suppose you would comply wouldn't you? Good boy!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Martin,
    "I would treat each of you with courtesy and professionalism."

    I too always treat every person with kindness... although Lady J might get a broomstick on the head... As to helping someone do something I consider evil... I don't think so.

    Thanks for the great exchange!!
    C

    ReplyDelete
  36. "Your utter disdain for the pharmacist as healthcare professional is such that I would not want the likes of you as a patient. You would be out the door so fast, you would forget your broomstick."

    Well, first, it's not disdain. My doctor is a healthcare provider. My pharmacist is a facilitator. And my pharmacist does not get up on her hind legs and whinny about her "rights'" being abrogated. She does her job efficiently and with a wonderful good humor, but under no circumstances would she ever step over the line and presume to "know best" for me according to her particular "moral code."

    Second, as a pharmacist, you don't have "patients." You have clients.

    But third...that crack about my broomstick...that was funny! Probably not how you intended it to be received, but there ya go. When you lead with your ignorance, you follow it into confusion.

    "Perhaps you are not man enough to answer yes to that."

    ROTFLMAO!!! Oh, way to try and set up a directed response! Telegraph much?

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have to agree with Christina and disagree with Martin and Lady Janus on this. It is perfectly clear to me that a professional, be it a doctor, pharmacist, or nurse, has a right to not go against their own conscience by doing something which they consider immoral, in this case, assist someone to abort a baby. In the same way, a doctor would not prescribe a drug for a patient if he knew that drug was going to harm the patient. A pharmacist who believes abortion is wrong would similarly not be required to be a provider of a drug which would cause abortion. This is not rocket science.

    ReplyDelete
  38. "You should apply this to the unborn."

    Unborn are not persons. Do not should on anyone but yourself.

    "If a jihadist walked into your hardware store and asked you for wiring to make explosives..."

    ROTFLMAO!!! Aaaaaaahhh, where to start... Well, first off, if he walks in and identifies himself as a jihadist (which is the ONLY way anyone is ever going to know), he's not likely to get anything but grief, is he? Customers and staff would be falling all over one another gettting to the phone to call the cops. The ones who aren't already jumping all over his sorry ass, that is. And any fool who tells people he's buying wire to make bombs really must be depending on twice as much stoopid from them than he has, himself. And that's a LOT of stoopid.

    "...although Lady J might get a broomstick on the head..."

    Oh, bring it! Please...? LOL!

    Wayne, the bottom line is this: If you aren't willing to perform the entire scope required of your profession, then you need to seek another profession! If someone objects on personal moral grounds to facilitating an abortion, then that someone does not belong in the industry that provides the means for abortions. That includes pharmacists, doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and anyone else whose job would be directly or indirectly related. You know ahead of time what may be asked of you. No one enters any profession blind to the possibilities. You cannot claim benevolent ignorance. And wilfull ignorance is unacceptable.

    ReplyDelete
  39. You write: "If a jihadist walked into your hardware store and asked you for wiring to make explosives, I suppose you would comply wouldn't you? Good boy!!"

    Firstly, how would I know whether or not someone is a jihadist? All brown skinned people in Toronto are not Muslims, and all Muslims are not jihadists. But let's say I am in possession of this knowledge and I know for a fact that they are a jihadist (i.e. not a terrorist mind you - just someone who believes that holy war is permissible).

    If all they are asking for is wire, then yes, I suppose I would sell it to them. After all, even people who believe in holy war are entitled to fix the wiring in their homes. In fact, I would even sell personal lubricants to the Pope - after all - I have no way of knowing how he intends to use it.

    As you suggest though - let's assume that I sold remote control devices that could easily be converted to detonate explosives, and I knew that the customer was a fervent believer in holy war, and that the customer intended to make a bomb.

    I believe I would refuse the purchase since I had perfect knowledge that a civil law would be broken. I would report the incident to the authorities.

    If I did not have perfect knowledge - but only a well-founded suspicion, then I might make the sale and then report my suspicions to the authorities. After all, my competence (in your example) is selling hardware, and not detective work, intelligence or law enforcement.

    Before you go crowing on about any double standard, remember that I am in possession of perfect knowledge in this scenario. I know what is intended and I know that it is illegal. In your case Cristina, you have a "client" relationship and not a "customer" relationship, abortion is not illegal, and you are acting on a belief that has no basis in science or in fact. I respect that you sincerely hold your belief that a zygot has a soul - but there is no evidence of either souls in general, or in their propensity to exist in zygots.

    Additionally, you are potentially causing great harm to your client/patient - whereas no harm results from my hypothetical refusal to sell an explosive device to a bomb building jihadist.

    Your example demonstrates little. You as a pharmacist could be asked today to sell poison to someone intent on murdering another person with that poison. You don't need religious or "moral" convictions to understand that you have a duty as a citizen to deny the purchase and to report the matter to the police. You certainly do not need to be excused from your normal ehtical duties as a pharmacist to deny the sale of poison to the murderer. You will not be disciplined or curtailed in any for refusing the sale.

    Let's be clear - you are asking for special treatment as a pharmacist to impose your personal moral and religious beliefs (about things which are legal) on others. You are asking to suffer no professional misconduct for your acts of moral tyrrany. You wish caret blanche impunity any time you can point to a bible verse or dogma that supports any act of discrimination you fancy at any time. Supposedly, you are also happy to extend this "right" to every other citizen of this country.

    Sorry Cristina. No sale. I ain't buying what you are selling - even if you are selling it in the name of Jesus.

    Cheers...Martin

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  40. Hi Wayne,

    You write: "...(a prfessional)has a right to not go against their own conscience by doing something which they consider immoral."

    Well Wayne...what if I am a Catholic pharmacist and I sincerely believe that bible believing fundamentalists are immoral, and that the world would be a better place if such fundamentalists did not use anti-biotics to thwart the will of God? Just supposing?

    Would you be OK if I sent you packing without your anti-biotics and my heartfelt prayers that you either:

    a) Convert and recognize the one true holy and apostolic Roman Catholic Church?

    b) that you have a speedy reunion with your God?

    Just wondering.

    Cheers...Martin

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  41. Martin: Personal lubricants to the Pope!!! I've been chuckling for the last five minutes over that image! Thank you!!

    Tim

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  42. Christina

    I suppose if you were a doctor in Germany in the time of the Nazis, you'd be professionally obligated to euthanize the handicapped the sic and the elderly because thats what the state has determined is morally justified. If you were a soldier you'd be obligated to drop the gas canisters among the Jews, homosexuals and enemies of the state suspecting they're having a shower because the state demands it. You'd be a good Nazi and Martin and Janus would give you their thumbs up.

    Cheers
    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  43. Actually Paul,
    Martin and Janus might be first on the extermination list (just kidding!)
    C

    ReplyDelete
  44. Actually Paul,
    Martin and Janus might be first on that extermination list (just kidding!)
    C

    ReplyDelete
  45. Martin,

    Now that was SILLY! You say " Well Wayne...what if I am a Catholic pharmacist and I sincerely believe that bible believing fundamentalists are immoral...."
    Refusal to fill cannot be based on a moral judgment about the person who stands before me, it is based only on judgment about my own actions. Non-participation in taking human life, for example.
    How would refusal of life-saving antibiotics be justifiable on any grounds whatsoever? That is just plain silly Martin (sorry).
    BTW, I love my fellow christians (I also love atheists and agnotics), and would not refuse them treatment based on disagreements in ideology. Again, it is my own actions I judge. Like hitting Lady J over the head with that broomstick.. that kind of action. Sending someone away because I am not able to help them is not nice, it is inconvenient, it may result in unintended hurt feelings, but hey! Such is life! It does not result in any cracked heads!
    C

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi Paul,

    LOL!! As usual, you have eloquently mistated my position and set up another strawman.

    Not killing people - real fully formed human beings - is an ethical position which requires no belief in souls or religion.

    I will concede that civil laws are not always correct - nevertheless they are important. Where you and I part company is that you think laws ought to be based on religious precepts, whereas, I believe they can only be based on secular principles. The problem with basing laws on religion my dear Paul is - whose religion? Whose god(s)? Whose scriptures?

    I am simply saying that Christina does not need a special exemption from her ethical duties as a pharmacist to impose her personal moral views about zygots on others. She ought to keep them to herself or be prepared to reap the consequences of her convictions. That is how it works in the real world.

    Otherwise, if she thinks she can make a secular case for her personal morality then she can make it in the public square using secular precepts.

    In the meantime, the rule of law ought to apply. I will take my chances with secular law over the hopelessly conflicted religious laws of a million sects and cults any day of the week.

    I'll let you in on a little secret my sweet Paul - whenever one accuses their opponent of being a Nazi or "just like Hitler" - it is usually a pretty good sign that they have run out of rational arguments.

    For your information, many of the crimes committed by the Nazis were illegal even under German law.


    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Cristina,

    I confess. I was silly. I even apologize for being mean to Wayne.

    Nevertheless, the special treatment for which you argue is fraught with real consequences that go well beyond inconvenience. As I have said ad nauseum, extending this special treatment to everyone breaks down our civil society by privileging religous belief above all other duties. It legitimizes religiously based discrimination.

    I know many on the religious right lust after this "exemption" in order to control others - but how long do you think it will be before the religious zealots on all sides begin to attack each other?

    Be careful what you wish for...particularly when demographics are moving aginst you and religious fundamentalism of all varieties is waxing.

    Cheers...Martin

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  48. Sweet... Martin you're making me blush!

    So Martin your not a "real human" until your fully formed. When would that be? What constitutes fully formed since humans are constantly changing form?
    Jews were not "real humans" either according to those that killed them without a thought. Sorry for using the Nazi argument but it fits like a glove.

    Cheers
    Paul

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  49. Lady Janus,

    "Wayne, the bottom line is this: If you aren't willing to perform the entire scope required of your profession, then you need to seek another profession! If someone objects on personal moral grounds to facilitating an abortion, then that someone does not belong in the industry that provides the means for abortions. That includes pharmacists, doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and anyone else whose job would be directly or indirectly related."

    You forget the purpose of the medical professions is to save lives and treat people in need of medical care. Just because some pro abortion people wish to re-define the profession does not mean that must be accepted by people who oppose abortion on demand. The profession is not owned by the pro-choice or pro abortion people. It is still a free country and people who do not believe in taking the life of the unborn are free to go into those professions without agreeing to perform or assist in abortion in any way.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Martin,
    Do you equate legality with morality?

    ReplyDelete
  51. Martin,

    You say:

    “Be careful what you wish for...particularly when demographics are moving against you and religious fundamentalism of all varieties is waxing.”

    I could say the same to you… be careful what you wish for. Thankfully you outgrew the zygote stage long ago ( I presume), otherwise, you might have to worry about the likes of Lady J. But what about when you grow old? What if in future some fundamentalist (of any variety of stripes or colors) decides that old people are no longer persons and should not be treated as such. After all, Peter Singer argues that human babies are not persons and that other animal species are… not sure how he comes to that dogmatic fundamentalist certitude.

    The point is, fundamentalism comes under many shapes and forms, one of which is religious—and I would be the first to fight against a theocratic state.

    “…if she thinks she can make a secular case for her personal morality then she can make it in the public square using secular precepts.”

    In case you did not notice, I have never argued my position by using Scripture or by making use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. All I quoted was the Charter.

    I liked your analysis of the hypothetical hardware store owner with a jihadist coming in to buy material for explosives. I must admit it is totally far-fetched. Still I like the way you went about analysing the situation. It’s much like I analyse the situation as to whether or not I am going to dispense a product that could have multiple uses.

    Have a good night!

    Cristina

    ReplyDelete
  52. Cristina,

    Good point. Do you think Janus and Martin would be giving you a professional ethics lecture if abortifacients and birth control were illegal and you covertly distributed them to people that wanted it? Of course not.

    Cheers
    Paul

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  53. "You forget the purpose of the medical professions is to save lives and treat people in need of medical care."

    I forget no such thing. A woman wanting an abortion is in need of medical care. Now, that sorry state of affairs exists only because the medical profession insists on being in charge of pregnancies, despite their equal insistence that pregnancy is not a disease. [I'm still trying to figure that one out, but no matter at the moment.] Unless a woman needing an abortion knows someone like me who can help her another way, she will need to see a physician who performs abortions or writes her a prescription.

    And of course not all doctors perform abortions. Oncologists or otolaryngologists have nothing to do with them. But OB/GYN...that's a specialty that does do abortions. Doctors may choose which specialty to go into, and no one is going to insist that a cardiologist perfom a D and C.

    However, a pharmacist's job is to fill prescriptions ordered by a physician. All prescriptions. There are no specialties among pharmacists. One does not fill strictly heart meds, for example.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi Paul,
    "Do you think Janus and Martin would be giving you a professional ethics lecture if abortifacients and birth control were illegal and you covertly distributed them to people that wanted it?"
    The very same thought crossed my mind this morning. Imagine a scenario where these products were illegal (which they once were, and which I am not advocating we return to) and that Lady J wanted some slippery elm to procure an abortifacient effect. The pharmacist she dealt with thought it a good idea too, but her hands were tied. What do you think Lady J would do??

    ReplyDelete
  55. Lady J,
    Pharmacist are increasingly becoming specialized in a variety of fields. Ever hear of a specialty in hot-flushes? That's my baby!
    See here for example... this is NOT where I work though, so don't come looking for me here: http://www.thehealthychoice.net/
    Next time you feel hot under the collar,look me up and come see me, but please leave your broom stick at home! I will also fill all your heart medications ... but if your daughter comes in for you-know-what... she will be discreetly helped by someone other than yours truly.

    ReplyDelete
  56. "Imagine...that Lady J wanted some slippery elm to procure an abortifacient effect. The pharmacist she dealt with thought it a good idea too, but her hands were tied. What do you think Lady J would do??"

    First off, Lady J would never use slippery elm as an abortifacient! That's a distressed species, and I will not do anything to hasten its extinction. I never use it for anything; there are always alternatives. And second, I wouldn't need a pharmacist.

    So you specialize in gerontological meds, do you? Well, you can relax then -- we both can -- I will never have any need of your services. Neither will anyone of my acquaintance. But here's a question for you: if you're specializing in post-fertility, howcum you're such a pusher of non-antifertility? Not exactly your field, is it?

    And...even the most spectacular punchline gets stale after repeated use. You can drop the broomstick shtick, now. Your cheap laugh is over.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Ok Lady J... sorry, broom shtick dropped. I never pushed any "non-antifertility" on anyone. I am advocating for freedom of conscience.
    Also, I am exceedingly happy to know you do not need a pharmacist for the purposes of procuring an early abortion. That is exactly what I like to hear.
    Yes, I specialize in menopausal health, but I still service the real healthcare needs of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes.

    I even service the healthcare needs of pets!

    Thanks for taking the time to dialogue! Must get back to work!!

    Cristina

    ReplyDelete
  58. p.s. Not all OB/GYNs provide abortions.

    ReplyDelete
  59. "I am advocating for freedom of conscience."

    Oh, really? And what if your client's conscience is just fine with abortion? What about her freedom of conscience? Or is it more important to your conscience that you get to impose your own conscience into her life over her own?

    "...happy to know you do not need a pharmacist for the purposes of procuring an early abortion. That is exactly what I like to hear."

    You're hard of hearing, then. That's not what I said.

    Tim: Having an exceedingly frustrating time with Blogger at the moment...dunno what's wrong with it, but it's got my entire computer doing wierd and nasty things. So, you'll notice my signature is a bit off. I'll fix later, 'kay?

    ReplyDelete
  60. Lady Janus: Your welcome to comment no matter what your handle! I know that you provide a challenge to folks like Paul and Cristina and I have really enjoyed the exchanges.

    Fr. Tim

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  61. Cristina said:

    "I have a greater leeway with birthcontrol. I chose to specialize in care of menopausal women, so any bc counselling is done by another pharmacist."

    This reminds me about this couple (in their 60's now) who were visiting our family from Florida. Jim was a pilot with the U.S. army, traveling all over the world.
    He told me when he was younger he was away from the Catholic Church for 3 years.

    Jim spoke to a priest and went to confession to return to Roman Catholic Church. He said he loves his wife and his 3 children.

    He is away for long periods of time because of his job. He is concern for his wife's health, and the full responsibility of raising their 3 children, financial, educational, health issues etc..the only thing he is not sorry about is using artificial birth control.

    This Roman Catholic priest told him:

    'Do not bring this sin back to me. Many of my brother priests and myself included agree that the Vatican is way out of touch when it comes to using artificial birth control within a marriage.'

    He proceeded to give Jim *a permanent absolution for using artificial birth control within his marriage*.

    Beside the laity, how many Roman Catholic priests think the same way about artificial birth control within a marriage?

    I wouldn't be surprise many Catholic priests agree with Jim's priest but are too fearful to talk about it?

    After all, being summons to the Bishop's office about this artificial birth control stuff wouldn't be a pleasant trip to or from that Bishop's office!

    Lina

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  62. Dearest Lady J
    I second Fr Tim's comment. Thanks v much for your participation and for the great CHALLENGE!

    You say " Oh, really? And what if your client's conscience is just fine with abortion? What about her freedom of conscience?"

    What exactly is your understanding of what conscience is? For me, it is the judgment I make about the rightness or wrongness of my own actions. It is wrong for me to give out abortifacients, so I do not.

    How is someone who is forced to walk to the next provider for something she wants harming her conscience? She is not being forced to do something she believes is evil or sinful or wrong by walking there.

    So how am I not respecting the conscience of someone who wants an abortifacient by kindly telling her I cannot provide it and allowing her the option of going to the next provider?

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  63. Lina, I wouldn't be a bit surprised, either. And they cannot talk openly about it because the repercussions are dire.

    Priests are actually "on the ground" with their membership, caught between the official mandate from Vatican to hold the line, and the very real prospect of losing income to another religion because they will not listen to what the people are saying. Vatican denizens are far removed from the people they purport to serve; sometimes I think the oxygen content must be a bit rarified in those ivory towers. Shepherds who spend any time away from their flocks cannot help but lose sheep.

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  64. Hi folks,

    Cristina writes: "I could say the same to you… be careful what you wish for. Thankfully you outgrew the zygote stage long ago ( I presume), otherwise, you might have to worry about the likes of Lady J. But what about when you grow old?"

    I am touched by your concern for my well being, however, I assure you that if my mother had chosen to abort the zygot that became me - then I would have no opinions whatsoever (then or now) on the matter.

    As a zygot I had no brain, no nervous system, no awareness - thereby making it impossible for me to feel pain (emotional, physcial or otherwise).

    Of course, an aborted zygot many years after its abortion would still feel no pain (emotional, physical or otherwise) since it has ceased to exist.

    The non-existent do not have opinions, regrets, or grief, and they do not post message on the internet. This much I thought was obvious - but it has been some time since I have conversed with true believers.

    As time marches on I face the prospect of the grave - just like all of the rest of you. It is my sincere hope that when age or disease has fully withered the fruit of life for me, I will have the choice to exist (or not) on my own terms. I sincerely hope that I will not have to fight people with silly ideas like Cristina, Paul and Wayne who are not really sure about "ensoulment" but want to force me to live or die according to their own beliefs. Sounds like some kind of 'Pascal's Wager'.

    Ensoulment is very much the core question for you Cristina. That you do not explicitly refer to it in your arguments against abortion is hardly surprising to me...why would you? Making a lazy reference to "pre-born children" is much easier. Just ask Paul - he loves to blur the distinction between a zygot and a child. For him - everything in the uterus is only 3 inches from humanity.

    If ensoulment is not the core issue Cristina - then why do you favour the existence of the zygot over all else? Why must this proto-being - with no brain, no nervous system, no awareness, be accorded full human rights that trump even the mother's right of autonomy over her own body? Because it could become a person? Well of course it could in time - but it is not at the moment of conception and for many weeks thereafter. So why is conception the magical moment for you?

    Ensoulment cannot be demonstrated. Even your Church's teachings about "ensoulment" have been all over the map over the last 1,000 years. You are (of course) all entitled to have your personal and collective religious beliefs about the "soul" and its existence within the zygot.

    But please understand that this is merely your belief - and no matter how sincerely you hold it - you have absolutely zero evidence that:

    a) souls exist for anyone
    b) souls exist in a zygot

    Consequently, we as a society have no obligation to treat your belief as true or having any basis in reality. And this is what is wrong with your proposal Cristina - it privileges religous belief and grants it a status that may trump the rights of others and cause real harm to them. It is unfortunate that you equivocate so much on these points. As someone trained as a bioethicist I had hoped for more transparency from you.

    I regret having to tell you this, but religious beliefs do not deserve to be enshrined in public policy, unless and until, one can make a secular case that supports one's religous belief.

    You all seem entirely capable of seeing how the religious/moral beliefs of others may be unfounded (e.g. shomer negiah, blood transfusions, theories of racial superiority). You seem to have no problem overlaying your own moral code over what the Haredi, the Jehova Witness, or the bigot ought to do - but you seem incapable of seeing that your own religious/moral beliefs are often just as tenuous.

    I have enjoyed the debate. As there is no new ground being covered, I will resume my lurking.

    Cheers...Martin

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  65. "What exactly is your understanding of what conscience is?"

    Ah...an excellent question. I don't really understand the concept of "conscience" any more than I understand the concept of "sin" or "evil" as you use it here. Such terms are not part of my culture, so most of the time I have to guess at their correct usage. Perhaps I guessed incorrectly, this time?

    You do not "give out" anything in your profession, though. You are paid to provide the means for a physician's care of his patients. If you will not perform the entire scope of your job's duties, why are you in that profession?

    Scenario: a fireman answers a call to put out a fire in a brothel. He believes that brothels are evil and sinful. Should he tell the madame that he is sorry, but he cannot put out the fire because his conscience will not allow it? That she must call another fireman?

    Scenario: a cop is called to the scene of a robbery at a head shop. He believes that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to prostitution and addiction to the harder drugs. Should he be allowed to refuse to work the crime?

    These scenarios have one thing in common with yours -- all these professions serve the public! And all members of those professions must be trained at great expense not only of money, but of time and personal effort from all involved. They must be tested with rigor and then licensed by the state they serve. And they all know that they may come up against situations they may personally dislike, but they also all know that they must put their personal feelings aside and do their jobs. They may not cherry pick their individual tasks.

    What makes you different from them?

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  66. Martin,

    I thought you had caught onto the joke about your not still being a zygote. Maybe not.

    If you will notice however, it is YOU yourself and NOT I who brings this back to the religious sphere.

    Neither you nor I can prove when ensoulment occurs. I am not asking you to err on the side of caution as I do. Nor I am seeking to convince you that I am right in my beliefs that a zygote is simply what you as a person once were at a much earlier stage of development, as all the DNA that makes you unique was already there.

    No, I am not asking you to believe that. All I am asking is that you respect me as I respect you. If you are too much of a secular fundamentalist to do that, then it is your loss.

    I too have enjoyed the debate…. and frankly, am much too busy taking care of people to continue this much longer.

    Take care,
    Cristina

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  67. Lady J,

    Sad that you do not understand what a conscience is, but I know that you have one. Everyone does. It is the capacity to look inside yourself and decipher whether you ought to do this or that… However, most people need some sort of moral compass or standard to go by.
    Is your standard of “goodness” only whatever the state decides is legal? Do you rely on no higher moral order? That, I take it, is how you live. Must be hard to have to be guessing what might be best all the time, or else to choose to go by the rules like a robot.

    Let’s look at your excellent scenarios!

    The first is the fireman who will not put out the fire in a brothel……
    My answer to that is you cannot do evil (harm) so that good may result.
    You cannot let the house burn down (do harm) so that the neighbourhood will be cleaned up.

    The second scenario:
    I don’t know how cops work, but I do know that sometimes they do refuse to work a case for reasons of conscience. Hmmm a head shop?? I presume you are not talking about hair dressing.
    A head shop is a legal grey area in the US. Not sure about Canada. Still, anything that has multiple uses… ie head shops provide equipment for smoking herbal products other than cannabis…. So I don’t see why the cop would refuse. He is not being asked to kill anyone.

    Let me give you some other scenarios!

    An explosives expert is asked to set a brothel on fire.
    An engineer is asked by the corporation for which he works to use cheap materials to build a bridge.
    A nuclear physicist is asked to build an atomic weapon.
    A person in the healing profession is asked to kill.

    Yes Lady J. I serve the public, but I am not the slave of the public interest, nor an employee of Planned Parenthood (as you might be), and I have put myself through school with the sweat of my own brow.

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  68. "It is the capacity to look inside yourself and decipher whether you ought to do this or that… However, most people need some sort of moral compass or standard to go by."

    I don't have to look inside myself to decide whether or not I "ought" to do something. If it needs to be done, I either do it or find someone who will. What's to "decide?"

    And yes, I have a standard. It has nothing to do with what the state defines as legal or illegal. And it is not connected to anyone else's standards. It is mine. And thank you for asking.

    "...you cannot do evil (harm) so that good may result."

    Not clear. Literally "cannot" as in physically impossible? Or "cannot" as in not socially (morally, perhaps?) acceptable? And I did not bring a neighborhood into the discussion. Not pertinent to the topic. Focus, please.

    Head shops are legal in Canada. So, by the way, is prostitution. It was an illustration. Try not deflecting from the focus, okay? And no...a cop may not refuse to work a case if he doesn't like what it's about.

    Who asks? And why?
    That happens a lot.
    Already done.
    Ditto.

    Those are short answers. But you were leading to that last one, so let me say this: the "healing" profession cannot heal death nor most disease, and when it comes to human suffering, sometimes the kind thing to do is assist a gentle and comfortable death if that's what the patient wishes. Death is not your enemy; it is completely normal and natural. We have the capacity to stay suffering; why should we not use it? "Do no harm" doesn't necessarily mean "prolong his life as long as possible." What does the patient want?

    And serving the public does not make you a slave unless that's what you consider yourself to be. But serving the public does mean serving all the public in all ways your profession includes.

    Have no clue what that Planned Parenthood stuff was all about. Or your sweat, for that matter.

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  69. Hi Cristina,

    You write: "...all the DNA that makes you unique was already there."

    LOL!!

    Before you claim a special legal and ethical status for your "moral" beliefs about zygots, let's examine the content of that belief. I know religious folks love to jump straight to freedom speech or freedom of conscience issues and wizz past the actual content of their religous beleifs. After all, if the content of your beliefs are rationally indefensible, why spend any time talking about them?

    As I have already noted, you seem entirely capabable of critiquing the religious beliefs of others, let's see how you do with your own.

    You are essentially claiming a special legal status for a zygot because it contains all the DNA that might become a person.

    Well...my toe nail contains all of my DNA and I merrily clip it off and toss it into the toilet. Should my gall bladder or appendix cause me a problem, I merrily instruct my surgeon to remove them and toss them into the biomedical waste unit - yet both contain all of my DNA.

    A zygot is no more sentient than a toe nail, a gall bladder or an appendix. All threes contain DNA - but why should we favour the cell cluster called a zygot aboive all else? Why should you get to insist that the zygot has human rights that supersede a woman's right to autonomy over her own body?

    You are abridging an important human right here Cristina - so why should we indulge your "moral" belief about a zygot?

    Cheers...Martin

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  70. Lady J,

    ""Do no harm" doesn't necessarily mean "prolong his life as long as possible." What does the patient want?"

    I agree with you that doing no harm does not mean prolonging life if that would be futile. While I have no problem stopping futile treatment, I would have a problem pulling a trigger...or killing in any other fashion.

    We do need to relieve suffering, which means killing the pain not the patient. If in the process of relieving the pain the patient should die... that is permissible (for my standards), but I would not inject someone with potassium chloride as a form of execution.
    Glad to know you are not employeed by PP.

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  71. "While I have no problem stopping futile treatment, I would have a problem pulling a trigger...or killing in any other fashion."

    The inability to "pull a trigger" happens to be your personal limitation. But if one of your prescriptions is to be used to assist a suicide, how, exactly, would you be likely to know that? And why -- without direct knowledge -- do you think you should be allowed to guess at the purpose of those medications you dispense?

    "Glad to know you are not employeed by PP."

    Yet again, I have no clue as to the relevance of any reference to PP. But, also yet again, that is not what I said. Pay attention, please.

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  72. Martin,
    Next time, instead of tossing your toe nail into the toilet, why not try harvesting it in a petri dish and see whether or not it grows any hair and teeth... a brain might be nice too.

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  73. Sorry Martin...didn't mean to get nasty on you.

    As opposed a toe nail, the zygote is
    biologically alive. It fulfills the four criteria needed to establish biological life:
    metabolism,
    growth,
    reaction to stimuli, and
    reproduction via twinning

    Of course the woman has autonomy over her own body. The problem here is that the zygote, though dependent on her for nurturing, is NOT a part of her body... as her stomach might be.

    Ever seen a grown stomach walking around?

    Let me know next time you do!

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  74. Lady J,
    So you don't deny you work for Planned Parenthood? That would not surprise me. Anyone who ascribes to The Abortioneers blog must be linked to PP somehow.

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  75. Lady J

    " But if one of your prescriptions is to be used to assist a suicide, how, exactly, would you be likely to know that?"

    You are right... thankfully, I will not know. But not so fast... have a look here:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16285077

    "Euthanasia: a "kit" sold in Belgian pharmacies.

    Abstract
    (1) In France, legislation adopted in 2005 recognises the right of dying patients to refuse further treatment, and the right of physicians to ease their suffering with treatments that, due to adverse effects, may shorten their life. Measures deliberately aimed at hastening death are forbidden. (2) In Belgium, medical euthanasia was decriminalised in 2002, and can now be carried out either in hospital or at home. Nearly 20 cases of euthanasia are reported per month in Belgium. (3) A Belgian pharmacy chain now markets a "euthanasia kit".

    PMID: 16285077 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]"

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  76. "So you don't deny you work for Planned Parenthood?"

    What is this obsession you have with Planned Parenthood? I don't deny it and I don't confirm it. What the hell does it matter, one way or another?

    And if you've checked out my sidebar, you also know I ascribe to Daily Coyote (which apparently makes me a Wyoming rancher), and Jesus and Mo (which makes me a socio-political cartoonist?). And this blog, of course (which makes me a Catholic priest). I wonder what kind of conclusions you can make if you ever get a look at my off-screen favorites list? Two bartenders, a prostitue, a formerly homeless English writer, and Australian doula (and a Canadian one), a retired rabbi, and a New Orleans houngan, among others. My! How talented I am! And so diverse! LOL!

    And I don't know where you live, but I live in Canada. Not Belgium.

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  77. Cristina writes:

    "As opposed a toe nail, the zygote is
    biologically alive."

    True - but a gall bladder and appendix are also bilogically alive. The toe nail example was to demonstrate that the mere presence of human DNA was in itself insuffient to grant a special status to the zygot.

    "It fulfills the four criteria needed to establish biological life:
    metabolism,
    growth,
    reaction to stimuli, and
    reproduction via twinning"

    A zygot does not respond to pain stimulus. It cannot. It responds to hormones and chemicals - but not to pain.

    All of the criterion you list are shared by many other cells and organs in the human body. You still have not made your case for the exalted status you bestow upon the zygot.

    "Of course the woman has autonomy over her own body. The problem here is that the zygote, though dependent on her for nurturing, is NOT a part of her body... as her stomach might be."

    What laughable nonsense. Of course a zygot is part of a woman's body. I'll give you a hint Cristian - "epistemology". Calling something that is part of a living body a unique name is only a linguistic convenience to examine it. It would be like me saying that a hand is not part of a humn body because I give it a distinct name. Saying that the hand is dependent upon the rest of the body for sustenance is entirely the point.

    "Ever seen a grown stomach walking around?" Firstly, stomachs do not develop beyond stomachs. And no - and I have never seen a zygot walking around either. With no brain, no nervous system that would be an absurdity.

    Cristina - please...the fact that a zygot may develop into a human being is not a point of contention between us. I have already conceded this point to you. I am not an idiot.

    Kindly cease pretending that I do not understand that a zygot may develop into a human being. It is a cheap rhetorical point that is beneath you.

    I have challenged you to rationally and objectively defend your moral belief. In response, I get word games and rhetoric instead of a compelling reason why a zygot (as a zygot) cannot be treated like any other tissue in the human body.

    You are trained as a bioethicist. Is this all you got?

    Shortly I expect you will be saying that it is your mystical religious belief and I must respect your belief no matter how irrational it may sound to my secular ears. But that is not a moral argument (without an appeal to religion) - it is merely a cheap trick often employed by the religious right to ram their religious doctrine down the public's throat without proper scrutiny.

    Cheers...Martin

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  78. Lady J....
    You are a real blast!

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  79. Martin! By Golly!
    I think you may have answered your own question!

    "Firstly, stomachs do not develop beyond stomachs. And no - and I have never seen a zygot walking around either. With no brain, no nervous system that would be an absurdity."

    So we agree that stomachs or toe nails do not ever develop beyond stomachs and toe nails and that zygotes can and do develop beyond zygotes.

    Ever stop to wonder why? Is it not possible that whatever life force is in the zygote differs from that in any other body part?

    If you cut off your foot it ceases to function. Take the embryo outside the woman's body and place it in a petri dish and it will still multiply, grow, and develop.

    Are you not curious as to why this might be?

    The embryo you once were deserved respect Martin, because it was just YOU at an earlier stage of development.

    Having a bioethics degree does not mean having to use fancy arguments to explain that which is obvious.

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  80. "Take the embryo outside the woman's body and place it in a petri dish and it will still multiply, grow, and develop."

    Well, in that case, problem solved! Any woman who does not wish to remain pregnant can simply have the embryo removed into a petri dish, and everybody's happy!

    So...why is this not happening?

    "The embryo you once were deserved respect Martin..."

    No. Respect must be earned. It is not automatic. You may respect anything or anyone you wish, and others may do the same. But no one gets to dictate respect for anything simply because it exists.

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  81. Some day Lady J, we may have the technology to gestate babies in techno-wombs. For the sake of humanity, I hope not. That would bring on other ethical problems. Everyone should have the chance of be born of a woman. The point I made about the petri-dish was simply to illustrate the obvious; that there is a fundamental and important difference between a toe nail and an embryo.
    And I do believe that Martin in his embryonic stage deserved just as much respect as he does in his present stage. To argue otherwise would be to not see the intrinsic worth of Martin even if he were to lapse into a coma some day(God forbid!)

    Perhaps the word respect is not the right one Lady J? How about dignity. Do you have dignity or do you need to earn it? Is it given to you by others, by what they think of you, or do you merely possess it no matter what anyone thinks or says about you?

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  82. LOL!! Not so fast Cristina...

    Your bioethics degree must be from McGill.

    The fact that a zygot has the potential to develop further was never a point of contention between us. I acknowledged this scientific fact quite early in our discussion. That you now find it significant is very curious.

    In any case, I am still waiting to hear how this distinction (i.e. a zygot can develop further) warrants a different moral treatment from things that do not develop further. To simply latch on to the distinction and proclaim victory is a bit premature.

    Cheers...Martin

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  83. Martin: How about that old definition of Aristotle that 'life' is that force which compels development? I know that this will lead us back to the 'ensoulment' argument, but surely you cannot be saying that the zygot is not alive?

    Tim

    P.S. Thank you for this incredible discussion. You always were one of the brightest and most intelligent (not to mention kind) people I have ever met. Your comments here reinforce my conviction in your goodness. I appreciate that you may not believe any longer in eternal life, but I sincerely hope to have the chance to meet with you in heaven!

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  84. "That would bring on other ethical problems."

    For you, maybe. Not for anyone I know.

    "Everyone should have the chance of be born of a woman."

    Why? And just exactly how can you talk about something having "a chance" when it does not yet exist?

    "The point I made about the petri-dish was simply to illustrate the obvious; that there is a fundamental and important difference between a toe nail and an embryo."

    In that case, FAIL. An illustration that does not exist explains nothing except that you are scrambling to "prove" a "point" that matters only to you.

    "And I do believe that Martin in his embryonic stage deserved just as much respect as he does in his present stage."

    WILL you pay attention? I said YOU may respect anything or anyone you wish. But when it comes to respect, I do my own choosing! And so does everyone else.

    "To argue otherwise would be to not see the intrinsic worth of Martin even if he were to lapse into a coma some day..."

    I do not believe in the concept of "intrinsic worth" as you are attempting to apply it here.

    "Dignity and "respect" are totally different things! "Dignity" is self-assumed. "Respect" is offered or given. Dignity is internal. Respect is external. Dignity is subjective. Respect is objective.

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  85. OK....Martin, so we do agree that scientifically there is a big diff between a toe nail or a stomach and an embryo. So why should we respect human embryos but not toe nails?
    I think Fr Tim has it...one is alive, the other is not. But not just biologically alive...
    In the zygote is the plan of a lifetime, the laughter, the joy, the sadness, the beauty, the art...
    Watch this video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2oFESUMWhU

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  86. p.s. Didn't notice the reference to Hare Krishna at the end of the video til now.... that was not meant as a subliminal message.
    Cristina :)

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  87. "So why should we respect human embryos but not toe nails?"

    Why do you persist in saying, "we," when such things are completely subjective? YOU may "respect" whatever you wish. But you may not put that onus onto anyone who does not share it.

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  88. Lady J... You are some scary lady. Terribly dogmatic too. You don't believe in the intrinsic worth of another human being, but you do believe they should be respected when and if you choose. That's rather scary. If people have to earn your respect, do they also have to earn your charity? How about your love? Whatever happened to the unconditional love of a mother, that love which serves as a model for us all?

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  89. ..."Why do you persist in saying we"? Lady J, do you not believe there are certain things "we" should all be able to agree upon? Like that a sunny day lifts up the spirits, or that true love endures forever?
    Do you have respect for your toe nails?

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  90. Why scary? I have no dogma...don't believe in it.

    I don't believe in "intrinsic value" of anything. Value is subjective, not objective. If it has value for you, fine; but if it has no value for me, what's the problem?

    Respect is earned. I don't really know what you mean by "charity." I love whom I love, and I don't feel the need to explain or justify my feelings. And if there really is such a thing as the "unconditional love of a mother," then how do you explain mothers like Susan Smith?

    What I am saying, in essence, is that generalization suck, and I never accept them.

    "...do you not believe there are certain things "we" should all be able to agree upon?"

    To what point and purpose? A sunny day might be uplifting to you, but it might spell disaster to a famer that desperately needs rain or his crops will die and he will lose his liveliehood.

    From PP to toenails, now? LOL!

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  91. You are funny Lady J... great sense of humor!... that we can all agree upon! If you live in BC you know what I mean by a sunny day... so long as your crops aren't dried up and you are not a firefighter.
    Cristina

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  92. Lady J...
    "Unconditional love" is what normal mothers give. Susan Smith had "issues". She herself was the child of a man who committed suicide when his wife divorced him. While this may not in itself explain the strangeness of her behaviour as a mother who kills her 2 small sons, it may shed some light into her disturbed mind.
    I see that for you love is just a "feeling". That can come and go. True love requires sacrifice.
    If the value of things is only just subjective, what happens if you wake up one day feeling that the people around you are worthless?
    Do let me know if one day you decide your property is not worth its market price.

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  93. All mothers have "issues." Such things that affected her in negative ways would not necessarily affect someone else the same. Something that is completely trivial to most can send one into a fit of rage or the depths of depression. It may be that no one will ever really know for sure why that is. And, for that reason, I question the use of the term, "normal." People are, above all else, individuals.

    Yes, love is a feeling that can come and go. "Sacrifice" is an alien concept. And "self-sacrifice" is merely self-destructive, with no purpose that I can discern. But...what is "true" and what is not, when it comes to my feelings, is completely up to me, not some one-size-fits-all definition prescribed by those whose objective is to control the population with platitudes they have been taught are "true."

    Why would I wake up one day and decide that the people around me are worthless?

    And that which is my property has no "market" price -- another invented concept. But...I have a feeling you are confusing the terms, "worth," "value," and "price." They are not all precise synonyms, you know.

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  94. Lady J.... Self-sacrifice was perhaps too foreign a term for your delicate ears. How about self-denial. ie. taking care of a sick child or friend even when we are tired. Not eating more than is necessary in order to stay fit. That kind of stuff.
    If for you there is no objective truth, then of course you could just wake up one day and just decide that the people around you are worthless, especially if your feelings told you so.

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  95. Ok Lady J,
    One last thing. I realize that we really have gone off topic in this thread, so I am thinking it is about time for me to stop, as it is not my intent to "teach" you anything. More so, you are helping me to understand my own beliefs better.
    I appreciate your insights very much, and this also goes to Martin.
    Again, thank you!
    Cristina

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  96. *sigh* Cristina, you really do need to stop "translating" what I say into something else. The words I use have precise meanings. "Alien" does not mean "foreign-sounding." "Self-denial" is not the same as "self-sacrifice." And where did I ever say that there are no objective truths?

    If you truly did learn anything from me, I hope it's better communication. You don't have to understand your own beliefs more so much as you need to be able to make yourself better understood when someone wants you to explain something to them.

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  97. Thanks for the communication tips Lady J! I will try to apply them next time we chat! Til then, glad to know you do believe in objective truths. Those who seek truth with an open heart, find it...eventually.
    Cristina

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  98. "Believe in" objective truths? One does not "believe in" that which is true. It either exists or it doesn't. Belief is unimportant. And I would never stand in the way of someone who searches for what is true, so...happy seeking!

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  99. Hi Cristina and Tim,

    The central question we are all grappling with is: what makes something human?

    It is not a trivial question. If "human" is defined as anything other than the biological potential to develop into a "human" - then no - the zygot (as a zygot) is not human.

    I fully acknowledge that one may be able to make a case (much later in the development cycle of the fetus) that the essential characteristics of humanity are achieved. This, however, cannot be said to apply to a zygot. It simply has no essential human characteristics at this stage of its development. The zygot has no brain, no nervous system, no ability to perceive, no awareness, no ability to react independently to external stimulus etc...

    To give the zygot legal and moral status that is equvivalent to human rights requires us to read something into the situation that simply is not evident at this stage of its development.

    The only secular argument that is available to you in order to justify a special status for the zygot is a strong moral preference for things that can develop into human beings. The problem with this approach is that you must first answer the following questions:

    a) why do you favor the potential of the zygot in this manner - and not the sperm or the ovum for example?
    b) what moral principle does this preference for things that develop into human beings demonstrate? In other words, what good is served, furthered, or protected by your preference?
    c) why exactly is it morally wrong not to allow all things with the biological ability to develop into human beings to live or exist?

    I do not think you can make a coherent secular argument here folks. That is why I have stated that your moral preference for zygots must necessarily depend on a religious or mystical interpretation. Perhaps you can find a basis for your preference that is not related to the doctrine of ensoulment - but if so - then it will be some other non-demonstrable religious or mystical rationale.

    In my view, there is no rational or objective moral priniciple at stake with respect to the aborting of zygots - for pharmacists or for anyone else. Full stop.

    You are of course free (and entitled) to overlay any religious beliefs you want in this matter - but these are inherently irrational. Unfortunately, there is no necessary reason to prefer one set of religous beliefs over another in the matter. As I have said repeatedly on this site - religious dogma or belief can be used (and are often used) to justify just about any moral abomination we can imagine.

    Consequently Cristina - your "moral" beliefs regarding zygots are merely a personal and subjective matter. You have no basis to insist that we enshrine your set of personal and moral beliefs over anyone else's in your professional code of conduct or ethics - particularly in cases where allowing such discrimination may cause real harm to others and abridge other important human rights.

    I apologize for my long and dense response - but I wanted to close the loop on this discussion thread.

    Cheers...Martin

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  100. The debate about abortion is easily answered with the Bible. The biblical evidence that life begins in the womb is overwhelming. Without God's revelation, the argument becomes purely human opinions. So, if you are interested in knowing what God thinks about the beginning of life, go to the Bible. For those who don't accept the Bible as their rule of life, their argument is with God. If they think they can win that one, not much can be said.

    http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/prolife.html

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  101. Martin, you may find the words of world famous geneticist Professor Jerome Le Jeune enlightening… I once heard these words from his own lips… he describes the information coded in the DNA of the newly formed embryo as a symphony.

    Taken from Lejeune's Expert Court Testimony regarding the nature of human embryos

    http://www.sedin.org/propeng/embryos.htm

    “Now, the reproduction process is a very impressive phenomenon in the sense that what is reproduced is never the matter, but it is information. For example, when you want to reproduce a statue, you can make a mold and there will be an exact contiguity between the atoms of the original statue and the atoms of the mold. During the molding process there will be again between the plaster and the mold contact atom by atom so that you reproduce the statue. But what is reproduced is not the original because you can make it out of plaster, out of bronze, about anything. What is reproduced is the form that the genius of the sculptor had imprinted in the matter. The same thing is true for any reproduction whether it is by radio, by television, by photography, what is printed or reproduced is the information and not the matter. The matter is a support of the information. And that explain to us how life is at all possible, because it would be impossible to reproduce matter. Matter is not living, matter cannot live at all. Matter is matter. What is reproduced and transmitted, it's an information which will animate matter. Then there is nothing like living matter, what exist is animated matter. And what we learn in genetics is to know what does animate the matter, to force the matter to take the form of a human being.

    To give you an idea, I would take a very simple example, I would take the example of this little apparatus here, a recorder.

    Now, chromosomes are a long thread of DNA in which information is written. They are coiled very tightly on the chromosomes, and, in fact, a chromosome is very comparable to a mini-cassette, in which a symphony is written, the symphony of life. Now, exactly as if you go and buy a cartridge on which the Kleine Nachtmusik from Mozart has been registered, if you put it in a normal recorder, the musician would not be reproduced, the notes of music will not be reproduced, they are not there; what would be reproduced is the movement of air which transmits to you the genius of Mozart. It's exactly the same way that life is played. On the tiny minicassettes which are our chromosomes are written various parts of the opus which is for human symphony, and as soon as all the information necessary and sufficient to spell out the whole symphony, this symphony plays itself, that is, a new man is beginning his career.”

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  102. Martin,

    "This, however, cannot be said to apply to a zygot. It simply has no essential human characteristics at this stage of its development. The zygot has no brain, no nervous system, no ability to perceive, no awareness, no ability to react independently to external stimulus etc..."

    It doesn't matter whether we consider it as having the characteristics of a normal human. What matters is whether God considers it as a person. Everything else is irrelevant. Since the Bible shows God considers the unborn as human, then the case is closed.

    "For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)"

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  103. Hi Small Town Guy,

    While Scripture does support reason and biological evidence, ie. no zygote that we are aware of ever turned out to become a goat instead of a human, and no existing human can be a non-person,I don't think Scripture will convince a non-believer like Martin that personhood begins at conception.

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  104. Hi Cristina,

    I asked you for a moral argument, without an appeal to religion or mysticism, and instead you quote me an analogy from a geneticist. Yes, we all know that DNA is special - but the fact that it is special (or even unique) is hardly a rational basis upon which to declare that a zygot must be granted human rights that supersede the human rights of its host.

    STG is quite correct. You may disagree with him about which particular bit of scripture, or which particular scrap of Catholic dogma underpins your unshakable assertion that the zygot is human - but the view that a zygot is human is not a rational position that one may arrive at without the aid of religion or mysticism.

    Consequently, we have aboslutely no need to enshrine your subjective and personal musings about the morality of aborting zygots into the code of conduct or the ethics of pharmacists.

    In the interests of equity, if we extended this "right" to your profession then we must also be prepared to extend it to all others in our society. This is surely a recipe for a great flourishing of sectarianism and discrimination, as it will inevitably tear up any hope of achieving an open, tolerant and pluralistic secluar society.

    Cristina you have already worked out how to get along in the world as a practicing pharamcist without having your personal morality trounced. Good for you. Your reasons for pushing this "wedge issue" are certainly suspect and I think that the majority of pharamcists clearly understand that you are merely advancing the agenda of the religious right by so doing.

    You do not deserve my time, or my patience on this issue. You continue to fail to answer my questions and you continue to argue your point of view in bad faith.

    If I had a dollar for every cheap shot or rhetorical trick you have resorted to in this thread, I would have a tidy sum.

    Cheers...Martin

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  105. Martin,
    "You do not deserve my time, or my patience on this issue." Ditto.

    But I will say one more thing (gee I feel like a I've said this before)

    If it settles your suspicious mind, just know that I have no "agenda" other than the one I carry under my arm to keep appointments. I have been thoroughly transparent. Tolerance goes both ways.

    My aim is to ensure that no pharmacist ever feels coerced to go against his or her conscience in life matters and that women make informed choices.

    Not so long ago, contraception was illegal in Canada. Pharmacists who sold or promoted the sales of contraceptives could be fined. I don't believe that was right. They were doing what they thought was right.

    Likewise, those now who believe contraception is wrong should not be submitted to public scrutiny. If personal morality should not be legislated, then that should go both ways.

    Why do you seek from me a moral argument that does not appeal to religion or mysticism, and then discard every reasonable argument I throw at you as though it were dung?

    Could it not perhaps be that deep down you know there can be no true morality without God?

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  106. To anyone following this thread, here is an interesting article by Jerome Bracken

    It provides both biological and metaphysical arguments for the high probability that the embryo is a person.

    http://www.uffl.org/vol%208/bracken8.pdf

    Is the early Embryo a Person?


    CONCLUSION ABOUT THE PERSONHOOD OF THE EARLY EMBRYO

    Consequently, one is no longer reduced to saying, “Well, at least we
    have the benefit of the doubt that the zygote is a person, because it
    cannot be proved otherwise.” Such an argument McCormick, Mahoney,
    and others rightly challenged. Rather, one can say, “We have both
    biological and metaphysical reasons for saying that the zygote, but not
    the mole or the tumor, is a human person. Moreover, the biological facts
    about the zygote meet the conditions for determining when personhood
    occurs. Ironically, these are the very same conditions set and used by
    those who denied human personhood to the normal zygote.”
    So, in addition to a genetic constitution that is different from a person's
    parents there are other signs indicating that the zygote has an individuality
    proportionate to that of personhood: a stable wholeness or unity of
    being and operation that is self-directing and for the well-being of the
    whole. It is reasonable to say that the early embryo has the material
    conditions that are apt for personhood. These conditions correspond with
    the definition of a person as a substantial being of a rational nature.
    In addition to this biological data argument, this paper also presented
    metaphysical arguments in favor of personhood being present in the early
    embryo. First, the material conditions of which we speak do not have to
    be apt for rational functioning since these functions occur when the soul
    moves from first act to second act.lxii All that is needed for the soul to
    fulfill its first act function of giving life and organization is present in the
    early embryo. The embryo with its genetic and self-directing properties
    is all that is needed. With these the soul can function as the life principle
    and go on to develop those organs by which the soul can eventually
    perform its second act operations such as thinking and choosing.
    Second, the evolutionary phenomena that parallels the movement from
    zygote to adult is not the movement from one species to another, in
    which what is disparate and disorganized is incorporated into a greater
    unity. Rather, the differentiation and development within a species is
    what parallels the movement from zygote to adult.
    Third, the theory that has a single explanation to account for signs of
    both discontinuity and continuity is to be preferred to the theory that can
    only account for either the discontinuity or continuity. Mediate ensoulment
    can account only for the signs of discontinuity; immediate ensoulment
    can account for both.
    For these biological and metaphysical reasons we can say that the early
    embryo is not just possibly but probably a human person. If it is
    probably a person, then moral prudence requires that we protect and
    promote its welfare and forgo any action which exposes it to harm or
    death. Just as we should not expose an infant to a hostile environment or
    end its life for the benefit of a third party or do potentially dangerous and
    non-therapeutic experiments upon it, neither should we utilize in vitro
    fertilization, take the morning-after pill, or do research experiments on
    the early embryo. The infant is a person, and probably the embryo is too.

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  107. Also....
    In a letter to the New York Times submitted February 14, 1973, noted fetologist, Dr. Landrum B. Shettles, accuses the Supreme Court of deny when human life begins. In the letter Dr, Landrum states:

    "Concerning when life begins, a particular aggregate of hereditary tendencies (genes and chromosomes) is first assembled at the moment of fertilization when an ovum (egg) is invaded by a sperm cell. This restores the normal number of required chromosomes, 46, for survival, growth, and reproduction of a new composite individual.

    "By this definition a new composite individual is started at the moment of fertilization. However, to survive, this individual needs a very specialized environment for nine months, just as it requires sustained care for an indefinite period after birth. But from the moment of union of the germ cells, there is under normal development a living, definite, going concern. To interrupt a pregnancy at any stage is like cutting the link of a chain; the chain is broken no matter where the link is cut. Naturally, the earlier a pregnancy is interrupted, the easier it is technically, the less the physical, objective encounter. To deny a truth should not be made a basis for legalizing abortion."

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  108. Cristina,

    Are you serious? This is the secular argument you quote to buttress your point?

    "First, the material conditions of which we speak do not have to
    be apt for rational functioning since these functions occur when the soul
    moves from first act to second act.lxii All that is needed for the soul to
    fulfill its first act function of giving life and organization is present in the
    early embryo. "

    The reason I asked you for a secular argument is because YOU claimed that you did not need to rely on the Doctrine of Ensoulment to make your case. Now you give us a warmed over version of ensoulment.

    You have answered none of my questions. You have addressed none of my many and serious rebuttals to your arguments.

    You obfuscate. You evade. You play rhetorical games. You vaguely wave your hands about the specialness of DNA, and quote metaphysical musings about "souls".

    It is not that I am unaccustomed with such dishonest argumentation (it is found everywhere on the internet), but I am surprised that you do it under your real name. I am shocked that as a person trained in both science and bioethics that you argue so badly, and that you do so in apparent bad faith.

    Waste. Of. Time.

    Cheers...Martin

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  109. "It doesn't matter whether we consider it as having the characteristics of a normal human. What matters is whether God considers it as a person. Everything else is irrelevant. Since the Bible shows God considers the unborn as human, then the case is closed."

    Closed? Not hardly, Wayne. Especially to those for whom your idea of god is irrelevant.

    As for what your bible says about abortion, go read Numbers. Chapter five.

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  110. Actually Martin, you are right, it is a total, absolute waste of time to dialogue with you on the respect owed developing humans from the moment of conception, more time than I can honestly spare, as I work fultime. My only purpose in quoting the above sources was to show that this issue can be approached from different angles (metaphysical and biological). To approach it from only one angle is to impoverish our understanding of what makes us human. There are volumes of books written on the beginning of human life and its value that you could readily access if you were honestly searching for truth. As for my masters, my specialty is conscience. I have one... do you?

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  111. Cristina,

    I have simply asked you for one cogent moral argument to support your assertion that a zygote must be accorded full human rights. Simply stating your conviction that a zygote is "human" without telling me how this is so is not an answer.

    A zygote possesses no brain, no nervous system, has no perceptions, has no self awareness, experiences no pain, is unable to exist independently of its host, is unable to communicate, is unable to move of its own volition etc...

    In other words my dear, it possesses absolutely no quality that we would regard as "human". Why exactly is it wrong to terminate such a thing?

    For the record - you obfuscate again.

    Cheers...Martin

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  112. Martin,

    Above somewhere you stated “we have aboslutely no need to enshrine your subjective and personal musings about the morality of aborting zygots into the code of conduct or the ethics of pharmacists.”

    For the record, I have never requested that my “musings” be enshrined in any code of ethics, but ONLY that conscience rights be respected.

    After all, you and those who agree with you, are entitled to your musings and opinions as much as I am entitled to mine.

    Every human being was once a human zygote, a blastocyte that implanted successfully in the wall of its mother’s uterus.

    To deny that the zygote or the blastocyte or the embryo is human begs the question of the humanity of each and every person, especially of those who do not “look” human because of handicap or deformity.

    It begs the question of the humanity of all those who “possesses no “brain”, have no perceptions, no self-awareness, are unable to move, unable to communicate at all,etc etc due to any number of degenerative illnesses of the central nervous system.

    There is something in humankind that animates him. You don’t need religion, but simple observation to realize that. Even a 12 year old can understand that which you, in your great learning and obvious pride flatly deny.

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  113. Martin: Are you not defining humanity by simply the functionality of the individual? It would seem to me that using the logic you are proposing to Cristina that you open the door to euthanasia of anyone not able to fulfill their potential.

    I KNOW this is not what you are proposing. Would you please take a moment to let me know where I am in error in understanding your argument?

    Thanks.

    Tim

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  114. Martin,
    In all fairness, there are a few questions you asked me back in August that, through lack of time, I may not have responded well to. I restate them here along with my answers.

    "a)Why do you favor the potential of the zygot in this manner-and not the sperm or the ovum for example?"

    Answer:
    Neither the sperm nor the ovum by themselves constitute a new entity. It is only at their joining,(fertilization) that a biological ‘revolution’ takes place indicating the origin of something entirely new and entirely unique. The lifespan of sperm is a mere 5 days or so. Eggs have a lifespan of 24 hour. Embryos... if allowed to live, up to 80 years or so...

    "b)what moral principle does this preference for things that develop into human beings demonstrate? In other words, what good is served, furthered, or protected by your preference?"

    Answer:
    First, let me clarify that when we speak of the embryo, I do not believe we are merely dealing with something that will develop into a human, but with something that is already human. For this reason, and this reason alone, the embryo has a special status, whether we like it or not, recognize it or not.
    Let me explain. Once fertilization takes place, there is no “potential” human being. Rather, there is human being in its earliest stage of development; and that person looks as he or she should look at that stage. Just like a man at 50 does not look much as he did at 1 year of age, a zygote cannot be expected to resemble a child at 1 yr or a man at 50.
    Furthermore, the biological evidence is preponderantly on the side of the human person being a continuity that begins at the moment of fertilization, and ends after a 40, 60, or 80 year lifespan. From the moment of fertilization this human takes on its own life force. This is readily demonstrable in a Petri dish. The fact the embryo needs care and nourishment cannot in itself make it less human.

    What is protected or served by this “preference”? It is the protection of all those who are too weak, small, or insignificant to care for themselves or to even realize their own potential for greatness.

    "c)why exactly is it morally wrong not to allow all things with the biological ability to develop into human beings to live or exist?"

    Answer:
    Please name me anything animate or inanimate that has the biological ability to develop into human beings. If you are referring to sperm and eggs, as I said before, they have a self-limiting lifespan, unless they meet. The potentiality for them to meet and so produce a new entity is limited by their own lifespan, and therefore by biology itself.

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  115. "Every human being was once a human zygote, a blastocyte that implanted successfully in the wall of its mother’s uterus."

    Why stop there? Every human being was also once an egg and a sperm. Or, going back even further, another bunch of cells still in the development stage.

    Every human being also once had gills and a tail. And what this means is that each one of us needs to decide for ourselves where the line between not-yet-human-being and human-being is. I've made my decision. I don't expect you to agree with me. You've made your decision. Why do you expect me to agree with you?

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  116. Dearest Lady Janus,
    That is fine ... we can agree to disagree. But if you remember your own words back on August 30th…it doesn’t sound like you to deny the possibility that you might be wrong.

    “”"Believe in" objective truths? One does not "believe in" that which is true. It either exists or it doesn't. Belief is unimportant. And I would never stand in the way of someone who searches for what is true, so...happy seeking!””

    It is wrong, even biologically to say that you were once an egg (or a sperm). These have absolutely no future in and of themselves. They do not have whatever it is that it takes to animate us ( you can call it a soul, you can call it a life force, you can call it energy, or whatever you wish, but it is real).

    You can have a gill and a tail and still be human. You can look like the elephant man and still be human. You cannot just be an egg (or a sperm) and be human, because as an egg you would live 24 hours, and as a sperm only 5 days. Remember that nature has provided sperm and egg with limited lifespans.

    However, once they meet, there is a transformational qualitative jump whereby both egg and sperm cease to be, and a new entity begins. Call it what you will, it is a new entity, and unless its development is interrupted, be it by mother nature or by human hands, it will continue to exist.

    Cristina

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  117. p.s. Lady Janus, I don't expect you to agree with me at all :)

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  118. "...it doesn’t sound like you to deny the possibility that you might be wrong."

    WHAT are you talking about?

    "It is wrong, even biologically to say that you were once an egg (or a sperm)."

    So...whence came ye, then? Did zygote Christina simply appear magickally from nowhere?

    "Remember that nature has provided sperm and egg with limited lifespans."

    EVERYTHING has a limited lifespan.

    "However, once they meet, there is a transformational qualitative jump whereby both egg and sperm cease to be, and a new entity begins."

    So you believe. So others (including me) do not. Beliefs are not objective, they are subjective.

    "... I don't expect you to agree with me at all..."

    So far, so good, then. Happy?

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  119. "Everything has a limited lifespan"

    Yes, but the natural lifespan of humans is up to 80 years of age more or less. Ever see an 80 year old sperm walking around? How about an 80 year old egg? Ever see an 80 year old sperm with a developed brain?
    That sperm and egg cease to be and that a new biological entity begins at fertilization is not subjective. Perhaps in the Middle Ages we could say this, but today's technology tells us otherwise. This is not subjective, but objective science. That you do not want to believe that this is a human being at its beginning is another story.

    I think we can both be happy.

    Cristina

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  120. p.s. To me it is clear that sperms individually or eggs individually never develop beyond sperms or eggs. We are not developed eggs. We are not developed sperm. We are developed embryos.

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  121. "Yes, but the natural lifespan of humans is up to 80 years of age more or less."

    So what? Your objection was that egg and sperm have "limited lifespans." I simply pointed out that that was no basis for objecting, since everything has a limited life span. The length of that span is unimportant.

    And egg and sperm do not cease to be. They combine, transform, mutate, evolve. They are in a different package, but they are both still there. Just like hydrogen and oxygen, when they mate, do not "cease to be" -- they form a new thing: water. Both are still there, just in a different form.

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  122. Right... they are there in a different form... they delivered their package of information, combining to form something new. What might that new thing be?
    Had they not combined, their own lifespans would have been limited to hours and days. By combining, they formed something new whose lifespan is 80. How do we explain that?

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  123. No. They combined to form something whose life span is around 40 weeks. Then it transforms, through birth, to yet another entity whose life span is around 80 years and growing longer. That's how I "explain" it. You explain it however you want.

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  124. There is absolutely no biological transformation at birth. The only difference between an unborn child and a born child is spatial. It's like you being in one room, opening a door, and going into the next. Life is a continuity without any breaks until death.

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  125. Most proabortionists now fully admit that the fetus is fully human. The scientific and visual 3-D ultrasound evidence is hard to beat, but you can continue to believe what you want... really.

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  126. The transformation at birth is from a state of non-breathing, physical dependency (essentially parasitism) on the host body to one of independent respiration. Like an egg before it hatches is not yet a chicken.

    "Fully human" is an adjective. "Human being" is a noun. Get it right, willya? An adjective is not a noun, never will be, and will never be accepted as such by anyone who does not deliberately screw with someone else's words to make it seem that something other than intended was said. DO NOT "translate" what I say to make it appear that I said something else!

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  127. Yes, there is a change in the way the child takes in nourishment, but that does not add or take away from its humanity (noun). Is a person on IV fluids or being fed via a gastric tube not human?
    About chickens... as I understand it, they lay eggs daily. However, unless the hen mates with the rooster, the eggs the hen lays are not fertile, and therefore will not produce a chick. Here are some interesting sites explaining egg production, fertilization, and chick embryology.

    http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/birds/info/chicken/egg.shtml

    http://www.family-security-through-frugal-living.com/how-are-chicken-eggs-fertilized.html

    An unfertilized egg, like the ones we buy at the store to eat, is not the same as a chicken, and will never turn into one. A human egg is also not human and will never become human unless sperm and egg collude.

    The chick in the egg just before hatching only adds to my argument that there is essentially no difference between a chick inside the shell and a few minutes later, a chick outside the shell.
    Again, an infertile (nonfertilized egg) can never become a chick and grow into a chicken.

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  128. " The transformation at birth is from a state of non-breathing, physical dependency (essentially parasitism) on the host body to one of independent respiration"

    Does a scuba-diver then cease to be human when he temporarily depends on a tank for oxygen?

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  129. Does a scuba diver breathe?

    And remember: there is a difference between adjective and noun. You keep confusing them. I'm wondering if you do it on purpose, hoping somone will forget or not notice, and I'm leaning towards, "yes," on that question...

    And I was obviously not talking about unfertilized eggs. You're grasping. Take a break and think, willya?

    ReplyDelete

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