National Catholic Register



BY Jim Cosgrove

April 30-May 6, 2000 Issue | Posted 4/30/00 at 2:00 AM


The Means of Vaccines

Your editorial comment “Vaccines and Abortions” (April 2-8) is astounding! I cannot see how you have come to the conclusion that the cold-blooded murder of a baby by abortion, coupled with the obvious, advanced knowledge of a pharmaceutical firm in need of cells from such a victim, somehow can be equated with “adoption of the child of an unmarried mother.” What?

You refer to something called “ends and means.” Well, according to Father John Hardon, SJ, in The Catholic Catechism, “good intentions alone are not enough, as though we could do moral good by using evil means. This is the error that the end justifies the means. We may never do evil to attain an otherwise good end.”

No one is arguing that a parent is complicit in the act of murder because he wishes to have his child vaccinated. However, as Catholic physician Christopher Kahlenborn points out regarding patients who request such vaccines, they should “be informed of the source of the cell line that is used to make the vaccines so that they can make an informed choice based on knowledge and faith.”

Author Steve Kellmeyer has written: “Drug companies use these cell lines because the cell lines make money. The cell lines will only be discarded when market pressures demonstrate they do not make money.”

It is up to us, the consumers, to make that happen by standing up in defense of life, refusing to accommodate the drug firms’ lack of desire to develop alternatives that do not rely on cell lines taken from murder victims and trusting that God will protect us, our children and the souls of those whose eternal health is in jeopardy if we remain silent. The end, in this case, cannot justify the means, sir!

Judie Brown American Life League Inc. Stafford, Virginia

Editor's note: Please see “Vaccines and Abortion: Cooperation or Cop-out?” on page 10.

Flynn Spin?

Your interview with Raymond Flynn (“Ambassador to the Catholic Vote,” April 2-8), rightly extols Mr. Flynn's dedication to his faith over many years. We thank him for his efforts and pray he'll be effective in making both political parties better. What bothers me is the seed of confusion he planted in one of his answers. When he was asked if he thought abortion was the most compelling issue of the day, and whether Catholics should base their votes on this issue, he said, “Yeah, I think it's the most compelling issue of the day. I feel very strongly about the issues of social and economic justice, poor and working families, as well. I don't think either party addressed those issues. The Republican Party is certainly pro-life. The Democratic Party is more committed to the poor.” Then he advises Catholics to “boycott both parties” until both become “sensitive to our political philosophy.”

If Democrats are more committed to the poor, why are they fighting to keep abortion-on-demand in place? By virtually equating these two issues, Mr. Flynn provides an escape hatch for pro-abortion politicians, “pro-choice” Catholics and others who claim to be helping the poor. We all know there are different opinions on the best way to help the poor. If the Republicans are wrong in their approach, how does Mr. Flynn's advice to boycott both parties assist Democrats or Republicans in helping the poor and, more importantly, to stop abortion? I'm sure Mr. Flynn did not intend to be contradictory, but it's clear that he is guilty of ignoratio elenchi— the fallacy in logic of offering proof irrelevant to the proposition in question.

Mr. Flynn's last comment — “Let them (Republicans and Democrats) change their positions if they want our vote” — is the opposite of the kind of advice we need. As Catholic voters we need to get more involved in the political process by first setting our priorities logically, and then by rolling up our sleeves to fight the horror of abortion — the issue around which all other issues revolve. We must write letters, make calls and vote if we are to put pressure on both parties to debate the facts of abortion.

We know that when the truth becomes known people convert to the pro-life position. A conversion to the pro-abortion position today is rare because the growing evidence is overwhelming. We know we must do more to help the poor, but that fact is no reason to diminish and/or complicate our most important priority: to stop abortion. The consequences of abortion prove our barbarism. What do we see around us? Social suicide, dump-bin babies and partial birth infanticide to name a few acts of inhumanity. If all Catholics were actively involved, the overturn of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton would be inevitable.

Charles N. Marrelli La Puente, California

Women in Control

Thank you so much the interview with Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life in your April 16-22 issue (“Abortion: A Tool of Male Oppression?”). I have heard that the early feminists were pro-life but was unaware of the history. The truest statement sums up the whole abortion problem when Foster says, “women have abortions out of desperation — not because women are in control, but because they are not in control.”

This extends to all areas of women's lives. Our worth is measured by our paycheck. Homemakers get “bored” or “go crazy” because their contributions are not recognized. Breastfeeding is devalued and we are further disempowered. Women are virtual laboratories for birth-control drugs so that men can have unlimited sex, then we pay the physical and psychological consequences. The world would be a much better place for women, men and children if more women recognized what really gives us control — embracing the gifts only women have been given instead of trying to be just like men.

Sylvia L. White Phoenix

The President's Example

President Clinton has said he will again veto the ban on killing a baby during delivery, known as “partial-birth” abortion. This will be the third time he has vetoed the ban on this barbaric procedure, despite overwhelming public and congressional support for the ban (“Support for Ban on Partial-Birth Abortion Grows,” April 16-23).

The president, along with less than 20% of the people in the U.S., supports this violent procedure which even many pro-abortion legislators agree is infanticide. The president falsely claims that the procedure is necessary to preserve life and health, but even medical groups which support abortion say that the procedure is never necessary. The president, by his support of killing in the womb (abortion) and killing during delivery (infanticide), has built a foundation of violence for our society.

In May the president will host a conference on teen violence with the objective of finding ways to reduce violence. The conference is doomed to failure because, through legally sanctioned attacks on human life (abortion, infanticide and assisted suicide), our society teaches teens that violence is the way to solve problems. The president can reduce violence by signing the ban on infanticide and giving a good example to all that life is precious.

Carolyn Naughton Silver Spring, Maryland

Praise for a Candid Commentator

Thank you for the piquant interview of Ray Guarendi of Catholic Family Radio (“Solid Ground, on the Air,” April 16-22). Although my wife and I are strong supporters of the Catholic media, we had never encountered the sharp and candid wit of this columnist/radio commentator before. Bravo!

Mr. Guarendi's responses regarding home-schooling (home formation) were particularly well-chosen. It is fruitless to throw our children into an academic situation in which the playing field is not only uneven, but grotesquely distorted. Your paper succinctly reports on the front-page article, same issue, a situation in which the American Civil Liberties Union bullied a school board into compromising the truth to be offered our children for the sake of avoiding a lawsuit (“ACLU Puts Fear of God Into Kanawha County School Board”). Where is our courage as Christians? Where is our faith?

Salutations to all of you who home-school your children for the love of God, who adopt and love the unwanted, who stand prayerful and dauntless in front of abortuaries, and you in the media who cry out like John the Baptist the truth that is written in your hearts. For it is here that the threshold of hope lies. You are the sower of seeds of future priests and religious, the guardians of the family, the ambassadors of the kingdom. God bless you!

Robert J. Brett Roslyn, Pennsylvania