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BY The Editors
Personhood amendment articles show there is much
interest in getting amendments on state ballots regarding the personhood of the
unborn child. However, there is also confusion on wording, with some being long
and difficult to understand.
Too many “fingers” in the pie, and the devil is
in the details. In this case, that is really true, with the devil being
involved and thus confusion. This should be kept very simple and
straightforward, such as: “In this state, the unborn baby shall have the same
legal rights as those given to the newborn baby.”
Anyone can understand this, and the great
majority of Americans will agree with this.
The Dred Scott decision (Supreme Court, 1857) ruled that slaves
and their descendants had no constitutional rights. They did not say they were
not humans or persons, but that they had no legal rights. After the Civil War,
the 14th Amendment (1868) to the Constitution gave broad definition for
citizenship, equal protection, civil and constitutional rights. In 1973,
Supreme Court ruled (Roe v.
Wade) that the unborn baby or
fetus did not have civil or constitutional rights, as they were not mentioned
in the 14th Amendment. The court did not say the fetus was not a person or a
human, but that it did not have legal rights, was not a “legal person.” If only
one state would pass an amendment to its constitution and enforce it, that
might lead to a challenge that would advance to the U.S. Supreme Court for a
re-evaluation of the Roe v.
Wade decision. Most likely, this
would result in extending equal legal rights to the unborn baby throughout the
This idea of an amendment to a state constitution
would appear to be a good way to have Roe revisited. It is not a reasonable decision, but
has been left alone since 1973.
Johnson, M.D., ret.
Regarding coverage of Scott Brown’s election in
Massachusetts: With the recent surprise election of Scott Brown to the U.S.
Senate seat previously occupied by Edward Kennedy in Massachusetts, I find
myself feeling something close to pride for my state, a sensation not felt
for a long, long time. As a “recovering liberal” and observant Catholic, I
have often felt ashamed of the disgraceful anti-life and anti-family
politicians representing this state, particularly since so many identify
themselves as Catholics.
Last year, I was part of a group praying that the
ill Sen. Kennedy would recant his pro-abortion position before his anticipated
death. What an incredible statement it would have been to hear the “Liberal
Lion” of the Senate proclaim the pro-life message of hope, and at his death in
August of 2009, it looked like our prayers were not answered. But God
Almighty, how great thou art! Our prayers were answered in some fashion,
in God’s time and in his way. Although Sen.-elect Brown is not a perfect
pro-life politician, he backs sensible limits on abortion and has defended
traditional marriage in the state where “gay marriage” was foisted upon the
populace by a narrow (4-3) state Supreme Court vote several years
ago. Brown has resisted the herd mentality in the Massachusetts
Legislature on many important issues, and I trust that he possesses the
personal integrity to lead our state and nation as a U.S. senator, as a
counterbalance to the abortion-loving ultra-liberals currently in control.
I hope that God will judge the deceased Edward
Kennedy with the mercy we all, as sinners, anticipate.
Small Victory in Mass.
reflected in Joan Frawley Desmond’s Jan. 20 article (Register Exclusives,
“Mass. Catholics Bank on Scott Brown”), it is an occasion to be thankful that
Martha Coakley lost her bid for the Massachusetts senatorial position to Scott
though Scott Brown is not for the protection of all unborn children, I am
grateful that at least there will not be another Catholic serving under this
administration who consistently fails to live his or her Catholic faith by
speech or action in such a scandalous manner.
this Massachusetts victory and in a number of other significant ways, I was
reminded to never give up hope in God. I recall the Mass readings for the
second week in Ordinary Time (1 Samuel 16:1-13) as especially noteworthy, when
God says to Samuel: “Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the
appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.”
the ultimate reflection for me (1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51): the story of
young David overcoming the Philistine in battle, and Goliath being soundly
defeated unto death. In Massachusetts, I
believe “David” defeated the political agenda of a “Goliath” pro-death
heart will continue to hope and pray that someday in the future we will be able
to truly rejoice when a Catholic believer is elected who lives his or her faith
for the benefit of all Americans, be they unborn or just trying to live and
work in the health-care field according to their own properly informed
conscience. May God continue to bless America.
You folks are doing a great job. When I get the
Register, I read it over to cover and then ponder. Thanks! God bless you and
Regarding “A Tale of 2 Stories” (Jan. 17): I’ll
share the column with my daughter who volunteers at Pregnancy Center West in
Catonsville. Regarding the March for Life, I thought it was another great
display for the support of life!
Professor Maureen Condic has provided a very
valuable service by her authorship of the white paper “When Does Human Life
Begin? A Scientific Perspective.”
Nonetheless, Sue Ellin Browder’s interview with
her (Dec. 20) does require at least two clarifications. Firstly, Browder states
that “cutting-edge biology can answer this question objectively, accurately and
The elementary scientific fact that conception
marks the beginning of human life was clearly defined in Stedman’s Medical
Dictionary (21st ed.), when I began medical school in 1971. Likewise, physician
Dr. John Wilke began medical school in 1944 and was taught this elemental
embryology, as was his father in 1920 and his grandfather in 1890.
Secondly, Condic states, “I think that defining
‘pregnancy’ as implantation makes perfect sense both medically and
biologically. … A woman does not become pregnant until she’s gestating an
embryo or a fetus.”
This proposed redefinition of pregnancy is not
grounded in science. Moreover, the complex and wondrous maternal-embryo
interactions between conception and implantation include crosstalk between the
now enhanced uterine endometrium and the embryo, so that proper attachment is
made with the embryonic pole of the blastocyst.
Rather than making “perfect” medical sense, Condic’s
proposal leads to incoherence. Why is the substance secreted in the first 24-48
hours after conception called early pregnancy factor? Also, how can it happen
that a woman who has never been pregnant, as now redefined by Condic (i.e., her
early embryo has never implanted into the uterine wall), can develop an ectopic
Pope Benedict XVI said, in 2006, that at the
Visitation Jesus had been conceived in Mary’s womb “only a few days earlier.”
Thus, if this papal teaching is accepted, not only was the preimplantation
personhood of Jesus apparent to the leaping John the Baptist, but so too was
Mary’s very early pregnancy apparent to Elizabeth: “And, how does this happen
to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Schneider II, M.D., MPH
regard to the column by Benjamin Wiker “The Truth Is Out There.
Extraterrestrials, Probably Not,” Dec. 13: Yes, God is all-powerful and
all-free; he could make some other alien race and choose to love them, but I
don’t think he did so.
than start over when the Earth was filled with moral corruption, God preferred
a destructive flood to salvage what was left from that corruption: Noah’s small
family. In the history of Israel, too, God cast off only to call closer the
remnant that remained. Nor did God cast off the promises to the “chosen people”
and the privileged of place of Israel when expanding it to include the
fact, in the sending of Jesus himself, it was to redeem mankind — God could
have instead started over with some other creation to serve him in a union of
body and spirit. The conclusion is obvious to me: God, showing the nature of
true love to our level of creation, has chosen to love only us, the human
family; there is no one else to love somewhere out in space that is not part of
our human family.
either extraterrestrials are human, descended from Adam and Eve, temporarily
separated from us by some means like the “New World” peoples who first
populated the Americas and were separated from the “Old World” peoples for a
time, or else extraterrestrial intelligent life as a union of body and soul on
our level of creation does not exist. And then also the limits of known physics
would place a radius on the reasonable possibilities where extraterrestrial
humans might be living: this solar system. As Wiker has pointed out, modern
space exploration of this solar system seems to be eliminating the
possibilities ... and is going through them rather quickly.
In “A Bright Spot in a Dark Anniversary:
Pregnancy-Care Centers,” a “Register Exclusives” commentary, a quote was attributed
to Justice Harry Blackmun, but it was Justice Byron White who called the
Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Roe v.
Wade a “raw act of judicial
power.” The Register regrets the error. The website for Apostles of Divine
Mercy was incorrect in the Jan. 10 issue: It is DivineMercySunday.com not