Wednesday, December 15, 2010

From my favorite blogger comes this.

"Welcome to modern life. Introducing kids as commodities:

The man bringing together this disparate group is Rudy Rupak, chief executive of LLC, a California company that searches the globe to find the components for its business line. The business, in this case, is creating babies"

"PlanetHospital’s most affordable package, the “India bundle,” buys an egg donor, four embryo transfers into four separate surrogate mothers, room and board for the surrogate, and a car and driver for the parents-to-be when they travel to India to pick up the baby.

Pricier packages add services like splitting eggs from the same donor to fertilize with different sperm, so children of gay couples can share a genetic mother. In Panama, twins cost an extra $5,000; for another $6,500 you can choose a child’s gender.

The couple made payments as the pregnancy progressed, with the final amount due at birth. Of the $35,000, PlanetHospital keeps around $3,600. Another $5,000 goes to the egg donor, plus another $3,000 or so for travel expenses. The surrogate gets $8,000. The rest, around $15,000, is paid to the clinic.

Packages. For human beings. If you’re not sick yet, this should just about close the deal for you.

“Our ethics are agnostic,” Mr. Rupak says. “How do you prevent a pedophile from having a baby? If they’re a pedophile then I will leave that to the U.S. government to decide, not me.”"

"Mike Aki and his husband, a Massachusetts couple, confronted this question. The couple planned on having two children. But their two surrogate mothers in India each became pregnant with twins.

At 12 weeks into the pregnancies, Mr. Aki and his husband decided to abort two of the fetuses, one from each woman. It was a very painful call to make, Mr. Aki says. “You start thinking to yourself, ‘Oh, my god, am I killing this child?’”

He didn’t think of his decision as an abortion, but as a “reduction,” he says.

Read more.

Does anyone remember those hellish sci-fi works about people factories? Yeah, well it isn't science fiction anymore, it's our evil reality.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pike Memorial was blessedly Christian

As I live in Greymouth and I know men who work at Pike my family attended the memorial service for the men lost at Pike. I was praying that rain wouldn't come and I think that would go for everyone here on the Coast, thankfully the weather was perfect. The thing that impressed me most was how obviously and publicly Christian the service was. Jesus Christ was talked about with no apologetic embarrassment. The service was led by Anglican minister Rev. Tim Mora, who did my husband's grandmother's funeral in his little church in Cobden a few years ago. Our parish priest Fr. John Morrison said a prayer and our church choir sang.

I'm not a Coaster by birth (my husband is), but I know many of the people personally including Peter Whittal. He is a man I trust and I know how hard he is working and the toll it is taking on him and his family. Seeing thousands coming together to pray and mourn was a special experience and I truly believe that the West Coast is a slice of Eden.

But it isn't Eden from before the Fall. There is danger  and pain here. My husband's family worked at Strongman Mine during the disaster in 1967 and Pike has brought back memories and grief for his family. In the end suffering can bring about good if we let it turn us back to hope and faith in God. Rev. Tim spoke about the deaths at Pike being a tragic accident and not willed by God. It wasn't those men's time, it was just a terrible, horrible accident. He also said that Jesus understands our loss, he too wept for his dead friend.

Greymouth will keep on keeping on and we won't forget the men who lost their lives deep in Pike River Mine and we will hold them in our prayers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ban on contaceptives proposed

Senator Hokkons Baules of Palau has introduced a bill calling for contraceptives to be banned in the island nation. The bill, the "Population Growth Act of 2011", is hoped to turn the tide against the shrinking population. Palau has a population of around 20 000 people with a growth rate of 0.3%.

Read more.

Idiot Savant of No Right Turn has harsh words for the bill:

"Palau is trying to ban all forms of contraception. The reason? To boost the country's population. Too many Palauans have been choosing to have smaller families, and those who measure the success of their country by the size of its population (the ideology of a cancer cell) want to put a stop to it.

Quite apart from the obvious liberal grounds for objecting to this decision - what people do in their bedrooms and how many kids they have are simply none of the government's business - there's also a large degree of simple revulsion at such barbarism. Contraception is a fundamental, transformative technology which frees us from nature. Banning it is taking people back to the dark ages and making them slaves to circumstance again. Its like banning sewage systems. Or literacy. If people want to live like that, or live in impoverished parts of the world where such technologies are out of reach, that's one thing (and the latter, we can work to fix). But forcing them to is simply abhorrent.

[my emphasis]

Yes, nature can be barbaric, red in tooth and claw, but if Palau doesn't start promoting the next generation of citizens it is going to cease to exist. What people do in their bedrooms is absolutely the government's business. If it wasn't why have marriages recorded by the state with specific rules about who can and can not be married to each other? We are not mere individuals, we are families and communities. Our actions have an effect on our wider society and Palau is trying to stop itself from a population implosion.

No matter how the Western world tries to run from the laws of nature we can never escape. Societies must have babies if they are to continue. Contraception and abortion have changed the landscape of human experience, they have made marriage an optional extra and our families are less stable for that.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Internet poll re: killing child apparently real

A Minnesota pro-life husband and pro-abortion wife have admitted they are the couple behind the site, which featured a poll asking visitors to decide whether they should keep their unborn baby or choose abortion. Many have expressed shock, and some have even alleged that the site is a pro-life publicity stunt, but the truth is stranger than that.

Pete and Alisha Arnold, thirty-something Minnesota suburbanites are expecting a baby, which is in its 18th week of gestation. They set up the shocking Internet poll to ask readers, “Should we give birth or have an abortion?” The site went viral last week and prompted a great deal of outcry from both those in the pro-life and pro-abortion camps.

Read more.

This is an action so strange, so unreal that Kiwi blogger Boganette was convinced it was a hoax. Frankly I agreed with her, no one would actually poll strangers on the Internet about continuing with the life of their baby. But no, it seems (and I say seems because I still can't really fathom it to be true) that it's not a hoax and a genuine web page.

I'm just flabbergasted.

This is what we have come to thanks to the creeping menace of reality television, both homemade and commercial. People are seeking their 15 minutes of fame and the concept of the private and personal has just flown out the window with it. Why would any sane couple ask strangers on the Internet about the most important decision of their lives? What would possess someone to think that was a good idea? Asking family or best friends I can understand, but an open poll?

One of the things I try to hammer into my kids is that once something is on the Internet it can't be taken back. It is there forever. So that embarrassing photo, those ill considered words - forever inscribed on a hard drive somewhere, never to be deleted. Always think carefully about sharing something you might not want to be public. But I just can't understand why someone would place such intimate, personal issues into the public space. For what purpose?

Just... ugh.


This case just gets weirder. Pete Arnold told CNN that the poll was hoax.


This whole thing is just negative and wrong IMO. If they did it to convince women to keep their babies alive then they have missed the mark. Yes, it's highlighted abortion, but then we all knew about abortion anyway. I can't believe that this stunt made women who were previously prepared to terminate their children suddenly change their minds. Really what is going to do that is to help people understand the humanity of the unborn and for people to be prepared to put their child's life first.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Families and the Pike River Mine tragedy

Yesterday we heard the news of the second explosion at Pike River. Another explosion was always on the cards, we knew that it was the risk that held men back from entering the mine. And yesterday what we all dreaded, what we all prayed and hoped would not happen, did. Greymouth today is just so quiet, everyone is grieving. People shopping in the supermarket are hushed. The media pack aren't outside our boys' school this morning. You can feel the sadness everywhere.

One thing has struck my though all of this - the vital place of the family within the community. The people I know involved in the tragedy have all reached out to their families. Individuals don't make up community, families do and right now families are hurting. It's not just the twenty-nine families who have lost one of their own, it's also the families of the people who work at the mine and the families of men who go underground at the other mines in the area who are suffering. I know a wife who worries herself to pieces when her husband comes home late from his shift at a different mine.

I don't think family is acknowledged enough in our culture. The emphasis is on the freedom of the individual, yet what is best for the family is what comes to the aid of the individual. Strong, functional, loving families are the best place for children to be nurtured, for elderly to be cared for, and it creates a safe place for emotions, like grief, to be worked through.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The "Letters from Wetville" blog

I know I said I wasn't going to post, but I read this and it was so good it needed to be passed around.

Hat tip to The Hand Mirror.

Another perspective from Sandra at the blog "Letters from Wetville".

No posts

Hi everyone. I know it's quiet here but being in Greymouth and having friends who work at Pike (all accounted for and safe) I'm just not up for anything else but praying and hoping for the 29 miners to be safely brought home.

So I'm sorry but I'm not going to be making any posts right now.

The pain of the Pike River Coal mine explosion is palpable all through our town. Everyone knows someone down there, or they know someone who does. It's been hard reading some of the coverage, particularly about the pressure to enter the mine. If those rescue guys could get in there without making it worse, then they would be and nothing and no one could stop them.

This is a mining town. My family has mining connections with the Martha Mine in Waihi and the Victoria Battery at Waikino. My grandfather worked for two years at the Martha Mine, my great-grandfather was the last Superintendent at the Victoria Battery before it closed in 1952.

However on my husband comes from Coaster Irish mining stock. His father worked at Strongman and left just before the disaster there in 1967. His grandfather mined at the Liverpool Mine at Rewanui and his life was saved by the heroic action of  Jim Whelan who sustained mortal injury saving him. His great-grandfather mined at Brunner for 7 years but was let go when the mine reduced its labour force and thus missed being in the Brunner Mine when that disaster occured. His testimony at the court case is recorded in the Grey River Argus.

Right now we just want to focus on the rescue and get the men safely out.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pike River Coal mine explosion

Pike River Coal explosion.

I'm here in Greymouth and I was at the home of a Pike River Coal employee when he got a call and he was told about the explosion at Pike. He couldn't stay on the line because they needed to keep it clear and there is no cell reception up at Pike. Everyone here knows someone who is a miner. We all feel sick about this accident.

Please pray for the men trapped in the mine and their families.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

British 14 year old girl drinks and parties with her mother's approval

We've been discussing promiscuity lately here, particularly in relation to teenagers, so when I read this in The Daily Mail it just dove-tailed in nicely.

"From her rock-chick black hair, with its green and blonde streaks, to her Doc Marten boots, nine body-piercings, a faceful of ­permanent make-up and two tattoos, there is little about Sophie Watson’s appearance to suggest her true age.

But, aside from her disturbingly adult appearance, it is the conversation that really makes the jaw drop.

Ask Sophie about her social life and she’ll tell you that she drinks and parties with Mum’s blessing. Ask about her sex life and there are no mortified blushes. Instead, she’ll tell you ­— again, in the presence of her mother — that she’s slept with four boys in just six months."

Read more.

This article is the exact example of what I don't agree with - girls, children actually, living a life with adult trappings, like sex and alcohol, without the emotional or physical maturity that we need to deal with things when they go bad. By supporting teenagers to make adult choices (and the body piercings and tattoos don't bother me provided they are done in a sterile way) then you are allowing them to end their childhoods.

The thing I learned as a sexually active teenager was that - you can never go back to your childhood. Once it's over it's gone forever. When you are in your childhood what you want to do is grow up out of it as fast as possible, it's only when you leave it behind do you see what it was worth. Childhood was a time where one could grow in a cushioned environment. Your choices were smaller and less life changing than adult choices are.

As an adult the choices I make have deep repercussions, not only for myself, but for my family. I'm often called to put other people's needs ahead of mine, to accept that I can't have what I want, when I want it. Is a teenager ready to do that? Should a teenager have to do that?

Children have the freedom to be selfish, to take the time to learn to know themselves and to make mistakes in a way that they can handle. As they grow parents offer children greater responsibility so that they can learn to eventually bear adult burdens. If we allow children to jump straight to adult behavior then we deprive them of time growing up.

Abortion news from around the world

In Canada a pro-life student group has been refused by the Carleton University Student Association student group status unless it amends its constitution to say it's pro-abortion.

Read more.

In Thailand a temple has been found to be storing the remains of hundreds of dead babies who were killed by illegal abortion. The stench was overpowering and this led the temple to be investigated.

Read more.

In Kenya Michael Kimindu, a minister at the Metropolitan Community Churches and the coordinator of the Christian gay activist group "Other Sheep - Multicultural Ministries with Sexual Minorities" for East Africa, has criticised clergy who are pro-life.

Read more.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stargazer from The Hand Mirror is right, it IS the drinking

A few days ago I wrote a post about binge drinking and how it made me uncomfortable. Stargazer from The Hand Mirror also wrote a post about drinking and how she felt about holding meetings at pubs. Go and read it.

Stargazer brings up a massively important point, the object of a pub is to sell alcohol. Sure many sell food and offer other entertainment, bands, gambling, pool etc. But they exist as public houses for the purpose of drinking. I don't think orgnaisations should be holding meetings and non-social get togethers there. Maybe they shouldn't even hold social gatherings there.

It takes someone from another culture sometimes to point out what we are too close to see for ourselves - drinking is a huge part of our social fabric. I don't think it should be. Alcohol is a drug. A single serve of alcohol is fine, a glass of good wine, a shot of premium bourbon, a tall glass of a finger of gin, tonic and a slice of lemon - all lovely.  But we aren't stopping there, our culture drinks until it gets drunk.

Once again I'd like to promote the Pioneer Total Abstainence Association. Maybe Catholics reading this feel called to give up alcohol in reparation for its abuse and the pain that it causes. I beg you to at least consider it. Perhaps abstanence isn't for you, then please pray for the Pioneers at least.

The New Zealand contact details are:

Mrs Mary McGee (National Secretary)
16 Duke St, Mt Roskill, Auckland 1041
Ph: 09 620 4605

You can read about the experiences of a Pioneer in the Marist Messenger: The times and trials of a misunderstood Pioneer!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Maybe we should be shaming sluts

After writing about a school girl told to pull her skirt down others have spoken.

Brian Edwards weighed into the "you look like a slut" debate here. He says "So if Amethyst did indeed ‘look like a slut’ when her skirt was riding up around her thighs, the proper thing, the responsible thing, the thing that was in her best interests, was to tell her so."

Emma Hart from "Up Front" has responded to the issue with this stinging rejoinder. She said "There are no circumstances in which it is even close to appropriate for a teacher to tell a student that she looks like a slut. None. Not even if she’s wearing an “I am a massive slut” badge." Emma describes it as "slut-shaming".

The thing is... is shaming promiscuous behavior bad? Or is it actually positive? Promiscuity doesn't help people form stable, loving, committed relationships. Promiscuity leads to STIs and abortions. We shame sluts (male and female) because the behavior is bad, bad for individuals, bad for families and bad for society.

I don't think what the teacher said was appropriate, but her words pointed to an issue that we can't afford to ignore.

The ethics of fetal pain

Hat tip to Mark Shea.

"The science of fetal pain remains uncertain, but we still have a duty to avoid the possibility of inflicting undue suffering."

Read more.

Seriously, why would anyone be prepared to take the risk that the baby feels the pain? Surely human decency says that we should err on the side of caution?

Abortion and mental health

Hat tip to Semper Vita.

There's an interesting debate between two academics about abortion and its mental health ramifications on the net at the moment. One is Brenda Major a professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The other is Priscilla Coleman a professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University.

Interestingly Major mentions David Readon who I met at the wonderful All for Life 2010 conference. Dr Reardon struck me as someone who genuinely cared about women. He sincerely wanted women to do what was best for them.

Binge drinking makes me squirm

I had a friend come to stay a while back; she stayed with us for two nights while her husband and his friend stayed in town in a motel (they had a social sport tournament they were playing in). These guys basically took the weekend as an opportunity to drink. And drink they did. Between them they had 24 bottles of beer in the car and three jugs at a pub they stopped at (for my overseas readers a NZ jug holds 2 pints) on the trip to our town while my friend drove the car. They played their game the next day and afterwards went right back to drinking. They were still drunk for the trip home on the final day.

My friend was fine with this. It was her husband and his mate and nothing to do with me. Yet it made me feel deeply uncomfortable. These guys had a great weekend, broke no laws, their spouses were okay with them blowing off steam and no one got hurt. So why does it bother me? Heck, in my early twenties I would binge drink at parties.

I guess I should own up. I am a member in my first year of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. Provided I abstain from alcohol for a year I will become a lifelong member forever giving up my beloved gin and tonics. (dear scientists, PLEASE make a non-alcoholic gin for me, much appreciated - Muerk)  My husband drinks - a beer after a mowing the lawn, or a red wine with dinner. Although he will drink low alcohol beers as freely as the normal strength stuff. He doesn't get drunk on the basis that we have kids and hangovers and small children being perky at 6am don't mix but the man is a West Coaster born and bred and he likes his drink.

The reason I joined the Pioneers was because of my father who was an alcoholic to the point it killed him. He didn't grow up around me though so I never had to experience his liquored up behavior but it has left me with the desire to pray for alcoholics. Also crime in Greymouth is often related to alcohol - drunk guys getting into fights etc., so that was another reason to become a Pioneer.

I think what this shows me is that my attitudes to alcohol have changed since I was in my twenties. Drinking because you enjoy the taste, a good wine or a smooth whiskey, seems fine to me, but now drinking to get drunk, drinking booze like using a recreational drug, is something I don't agree with anymore. Partly because of the personal health effects, but also because it just isn't good for our society and our families. People can do things they regret when drunk. What's the difference between getting out of it on alcohol or cannabis other that one is legal?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The dignity of dying at home

From The New York Times comes this wonderful positive article about dying at home surrounded by the people, places and things that give us comfort.

"The crucial thing, said Dr. Cheryl Phillips, a past president of the American Geriatrics Society and the chief medical officer for On Lok Lifeways, a nonprofit organization that provides services for the frail elderly in greater San Francisco, is finding out what makes the person who is dying feel most at ease. “If there was one thing that would make a difference, what would it be?” she said. “It’s amazing how creative people can be to make these special wishes come true.”"

Please read:

We need these positive stories to help us if we have to face our own death and to remind ourselves that death with dignity can be natural.

Health advice? Or just pornography?

From The Daily Mail: 

"The NHS has been slammed after a video designed to encourage youngsters to use contraception was branded pornographic by outraged parents.

But the graphic clips show a young woman having unprotected casual sex with a male in various positions while he films the trysts with a hand held camera."

Read more.

This seems to be the typical way these ad campaigns run. The sexual education crowd uses communication techniques that are increasingly pornographic, yet still STIs and unplanned pregnancy rates increase. These adverts encourage risky sexual behavior by utterly ignoring the fact that our sexual acts are also acts that have moral values attached to them. Safe sex isn't just putting on a condom and getting tested regularly for infection, it's about intimacy and a connection with someone. By making sex into just another recreational activity that needs to be done safely by wearing the appropriate gear (like wearing a helmet and pads when mountain biking or a life-jacket when boating) these campaigns lie about what sex is.

A condom won't save you from a broken heart or a feeling of being used.

Ad promoting euthanasia to be aired on tv

"Right to Life is disappointed that the Commercial Approvals Bureau [CAB] has given approval for the screening of the video of Dr Philip Nitschke [Dr Death] promoting suicide on television in New Zealand."

Read more from Right to Life NZ

Greeeaaat. Now we're going to have emotive advertising extolling the virtue of suicide as a dignified death. This will put fear and pressure on people who are elderly, sick or otherwise vulnerable about end of life care. The emphasis is that natural death is a horrible painful time to be avoided, yet with quality care and love from family and friends people can have a good death.

By focusing on suicide as the way we lose sight of the real death with dignity - the kind of care that Hospice New Zealand offers. All this is leading to a 'duty to die' mentality.

USA military keep DADT for now

From Politics Daily:

The military's ban on openly gay service members will stay in place while it is challenged in a lower court, the Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Ruling without comment, the justices shot down a request by the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group challenging the constitutionality of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, The Washington Post reported. The decision did not address the merits of the case.

The Justice Department argued the policy should continue as legal challenges go forward.

Read more.

Personally I think the "Don't Ask. Don't Tell." policy is wrong. It clearly excludes good soldiers from serving their country. I believe that all sexual activity should be between a man and a woman who are married, but realistically this doesn't always happen. I know morale is important but what about other disordered sexual activities? Adultery for example. Other military forces allow open homosexuals to serve.

What one woman really feels about her abortion

This is from The Guardian:

"There isn't a choice: I am an unemployed recent graduate barely able to afford the pregnancy test, with a boyfriend on bar wages. But after the scan, I want the nurse to find some unfathomable medical reason why termination isn't an option, so I'd be justified in keeping a child I don't want to lose but can't really provide for."

The rest...

This is why we MUST provide for parents who have a child they are struggling to afford. This woman did what she thought she had to do because she couldn't take care of her baby, but she didn't want the abortion at all. That is forced abortion and not any kind of choice.

Digital gay wedding avoids state legislation

Lesbian activist Sheila Alexander-Reid officiated a wedding ceremony from a hotel room in Washington D.C., but the grooms were in Dallas, Texas. By having their celebrant officiate the wedding over Skype Thomas Mark Reed and Dante Karl Walkup avoided Texas law where same-sex marriage isn't legal. The couple expect the validity of the ceremony will be challenged in court.

Read more.

You have to give gay activists their due, they are organised and persistent. We need to be just as organised and persistent to show the truth of marriage as between one man and one woman for the purpose of conceiving the next generation. The definition of marriage has been changed through hard work, and clearly there are different meanings now when we talk about spousal relationships. However the nature of marriage is unchangeable no matter what humans decide.  2 + 2 = 4 even if we decide it doesn't.

Documentary on Victoria's abortion law

From Semper Vita

I'm just so disgusted that doctors and nurses could allow born babies to die after late term abortions. To me that is practically infanticide.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Suicide workshops in Wellington and Auckland this weekend

Dr Philip Nitschke will be in New Zealand this weekend to host Exit workshops that will teach people how to commit suicide with Exit 'Betty Bag' Kits. He will also be talking about his time in Mexico and how obtaining Nembutal there has become more difficult.

The Wellington meeting is going to be held at the Presbyterian church, St Andrew's on The Terrace. I'm disgusted that a Christian house of worship could be supporting a group that is teaching people to kill themselves. This is utterly against the Gospel where we are told to trust in God. The Auckland meeting is at Ferndale House which is managed by the Auckland City Council.

I ask you to say a prayer for the people who attend this workshop, that they will be encouraged to live and love and to die a natural death when their time comes.

When men lose a baby through abortion they grieve too

Several days ago Bob Siegel's column in The Washington Times was about a subject many people acknowledge to even exists - men and abortion. I quote:

"People love to embrace "a woman's right to choose." Does this sacred right of choice extend to men as well? Can men decide whether or not to be parents? If a guy marries in good faith, agreeing with his wife that they are going to have children together; if his wife then becomes pregnant, only to later change her mind, does he have any say whatsoever?

Is a man's right to raise offspring forever under the jurisdiction of his mate simply because he isn't carrying their baby in his own body? Think about this! They decide together to have a baby. She changes her mind. She now wants an abortion. Dad may honestly believe his own child is about to be literally killed! Doesn't matter! Regardless of any personal, moral considerations, this presupposed right to be a parent simply does not exist."
See more

Last night I finished a very haunting book "Redeeming A Father's Heart: Men share powerful stories of abortion loss and recovery" . The book has 10 chapters each written by different people (mostly men) about their experiences around abortion, their suffering and grief and then their healing.

I think fathers' needs are ignored by society in respect to their feelings about their lost children. We are told repeatedly that it is a woman's right to choose, but what about the father? Every child has two parents, a mother and a father. I think men deserve to have their feelings acknowledged.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Old and unloved

In the Daily Mail there was a very sad article about the thousands of elderly people in care homes with no "kith or kin".

"At least 40,000 elderly people in care homes in England are living in 'social isolation', a new survey has revealed. And as many as 13,000 are completely 'without kith or kin' and receive no letters, calls or visits at all, says the Relatives and Residents Association."

Read article.

My prediction is that these are the people who will be first in line for euthanasia. For a start they are unloved, with no advocate to support them. They are expensive to care for and their quality of life will be low given their loneliness. Their likely depression and vulnerablity makes euthanasia a logical choice - why continue with a life that offers no hope and no joy?

We must work as a society to give hope to these people. Church groups could begin a visiting ministry to provide friendship and emotional support for people with no friends and family. This is a terrible end for people and I think it is inhuman that elderly are left so alone.

Indian film focuses on euthanasia

The famous Sanjay Leela Bhansali has writen, produced and directed a new film "Guzaarish" which is about a man paralysed for fourteen years who wishes to take his own life. The film is scheduled for release on November 19th. In an interview Bhanali says:

"Euthanasia is a subject that has never been handled in Indian cinema before but it is a very important subject. Human suffering cannot be comprehended just like that, so if you can make an entertaining film with big stars and a big platform but still talk about it as a sensitive issue, then that is what we are doing. We are not propagating it, we are not taking sides."
See full interview

Lawyer Aditya Dewan filed public interest litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court alleging that 'Guzaarish' promotes euthanasia which is illegal in India, but the case was dismissed in Court. See more.

The lead actress in the new film is superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan whom Bhansali calls his muse.

I haven't seen the film obviously, so I don't know if it promotes euthanasia or not. I really hope it doesn't.

Short skirts

A 14 year old pupil of Newlands College has been told by a teacher to pull down her skirt because she "looked like a slut". Her parents are angry that the teacher said this. The skirt was about 10cm (4 inches) above the regulation height - school guidelines require girls' skirts to touch the ground when they kneel. Newlands College is co-educational so I ask you, when this girl bends over to pick up her pen what view is going to be given the boys around her? Click here to see the Stuff article with the photo of the uniform in question.

The thing is, should we be surprised at the 14 year old girl prepared to modify her uniform when the sexualised images of teenagers is always around us? Isn't this girl merely following the trend set by Miley Cyrus? Well no. I went to a girls' school many moons ago and the trend for the summer dress was to make it as short as possible, well as short as one could get away with. By today's standard we were pretty well covered, certainly we could bend over without displaying our smalls. But the simple reality was we shortened our skirts for one simple, primal reason - male attention.

Walking past the local boys' school was frankly more fun when we could feel them tracking us with hungry eyes.

At 14 we wanted to be "hot", our hormones were in overdrive. Which is why parents needed to be vigilant, they needed to be the adults and to stamp down on behavior that was leading us into early sexual relationships. Why are this girl's parents supporting her to wear her skirt so short, to allow her to look sexually available? Rather than back up the authority of the teacher they are backing up a young teenage girl who is defying school rules. It's not a good message.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Afghan women who set themselves alight

Chris Johnson of the Midwest Conservative Journal posted this from the New York Times. I think it is so important to repost it. I call on everyone to pray for these women and all the women in Afghanistan.

WARNING this video has graphic, disturbing content.

This is what happens when you have a society that doesn't value women and it is a testament to how little we have helped Afghan women despite invading and getting rid of the Taliban. The lack of economic security in Afghanistan has led to desparate measures and decades of war and the lack of national law is ruining women's lives.

Killing people is a human right apparently

In Ghana IPAS is hard at work pushing abortion availability at the Keeping Our Promise: Addressing Unsafe Abortion in Africa conference. The aim of the conference is to eliminate unsafe abortions (a goal I completely agree with) through making abortion legal and accessible (something I don't agree with). The groups involved are the Ghana Ministry of Health, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (better known as FEMNET), the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Regional Office and Marie Stopes International.

One of the most disturbing things said at the conference was by Dr Richard Turkson, Ghana's High Commissioner to Canada. I quote from Ghana News Agency:

"Dr Richard Turkson, Ghana's High Commissioner to Canada, noted that the stigma surrounding abortion was still very strong but no longer absolute and there was the need now to say the word "abortion" in many settings where it previously was unthinkable.

Women's right to sexual and reproductive health, including the right to safe legally-permitted abortion, he said was a basic human right that should be enjoyed by all women and like every human right, this should translate into the necessary social, economic and cultural conditions and facilities under which their legitimate aspirations and dignity might be fully realised."

Abortion at the very least is a medical procedure. Would we demand heart surgery as a human right? No, because it's a medical procedure that has risks associated with it and it needs to be recommeneded to us by our doctor. Some people aren't good candidates for heart surgery, as a medical procedure it isn't right for them. Yet abortion is somehow magically different - the medical procedure that apparently women can just have performed irrelevant of their medial history and risk factors.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Abuse of Ken Orr in new blog

Mine is not the only new blog, ProchoiceNZ started in October by calling Andy Moore a despicable human being, a real low life scumbag who resorts to terror tactics, seriously misguided, and probably brain-washed - and that was merely in the first paragraph. Starting as it meant to go on the latest post  shows pro-life hero Ken Orr with a photo-shopped erect penis and then goes on to hatefully abuse him. An example:

"...if I had a son that turned out like Ken I think I'd shoot myself in the head because I wouldn't be able to cope with shame and embarrassment. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Ken grew up and turned into an ****hole just like he always wanted. This decrepit old fart is like New Zealand's very own version of the Taliban..."

Mmmm... nothing like a cogent, intelligent pro-abortion argument to make the world a better place. Yup. Yup.Yup.

Leaders and role models

Tainui is considering Clint Rickards for the role of CEO for Tainui Group Holdings, he and Parekawhia McLean are the final contenders for the job that had over 20 applicants.

Hat tip Stuff.

What message does this send to young Maori about their sexuality and their dignity? Rickards was acquitted of raping Louise Nichols but it was clear that he treated her appallingly and Ms Nichols still feels he raped her. Given the number of sexual assaults shouldn't leaders and role models be people who have a history of integrity and treating women with dignity and respect?

What message does this send if Clint Rickards becomes the CEO for Tainui?


Rickards did not get the job.

Monday, November 8, 2010

No Right Turn: More than unwise

No Right Turn: More than unwise

This isn't a pro-life post, but given that the Defense Forces lay down their life for our freedom I think I'll blog about it anyway. Idiot Savant of No Right Turn states in his post that the SAS had been hosting "training days" for wealthy business executives who wanted to play with guns.

The money raised by having businessmen fire off a few rounds and sipping a drink with Corporal Willie Apiata during a training day goes to the NZSAS Trust which Idiot Savant calls a "regimental slush fund". If you look for a definition of "slush fund" you can find this:

Definition of SLUSH FUND

: a fund raised from the sale of refuse to obtain small luxuries or pleasures for a warship's crew
: a fund for bribing public officials or carrying on corruptive propaganda
: an unregulated fund often used for illicit purposes

Examples of SLUSH FUND

  1. a secret slush fund for paying bribes

If you do a simple search on the Charities Commission Register you can see that the NZSAS Trust is not a fund used for illicit purposes or to bribe officials but is in fact a registered charity. The main objects of the trust are fourfold -

1. to provide welfare assistance
2. to provide support and financial assistance to maintain a reasonable quality of life
3. to provide support and financial assistance in times of crisis
4. to provide support and financial assistance for further education and vocational training

This comes from the Rules which is a supporting document on the Register website.

I think Idiot Savant has overstepped the mark here. The SAS put their lives on the line for our nation and he quibbles about an activity that puts funds into a legitimate charity that provides welfare for members of the New Zealand Special Forces community.

I decry the misuse of the word decry

On Stuff there is an article which states Pope decries gay marriage  in bold blue letters. It's actually a Reuters video with Deborah Lutterbeck reporting but Stuff states underneath the video that "Pope Benedict criticizes gay marriage during Barcelona Mass." So here I go to watch the video waiting to hear the Holy Father criticise and decry gay marriage. I watch the video and maybe I'm missing something because what the Pope actually says is this "the generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end."

Still lets be fair to Reuters and Stuff maybe there is some decrying elsewhere in his homily at the Mass. Thankfully we can read what he said here.

Have you read it? Did you find the blistering criticism of gay marriage? Neither did I.

Still perhaps I have the meaning of "decry" wrong. One definition I read said that decry meant  to express strong disapproval of and I ask you, did Benedict XVI express strong disapproval of gay marriage in his homily in Barcelona?

This is media manipulation whereby asserting the simple truth that marriage is the 'effective context' for having kids is read as a criticism of same-sex relationships. Why isn't the Pope decrying single mothers? Or divorced parents? Still putting words into the Holy Father's mouth is much more lucrative as such a sensational lede gets hits. Shame that it was untrue and smeared the Pope, but you know eggs... omelettes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Everyone is a gift

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." It's found first of all in Psalm 118, then again in Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts and 1 Peter. This morning the Catholic Church read Psalm 118 at Morning Prayer in the Divine Office and it reminded me of all the people we reject and yet they become cornerstones in our families and our communities given a chance to live and grow.

Recently I spent time with a family that had a child with Down syndrome. She was the most wonderful person, a true light of this world and the cornerstone of her family. Yet many people with Down syndrome won't be born at all because in New Zealand we actively screen for such conditions. There is nothing wrong with prenatal testing in and of itself, indeed the Catholic Church said in  Donum Vitae – the Gift of Life (1978):

"Such diagnosis is permissible, with the consent of the parents after they have been adequately informed, if the methods employed safeguard the life and integrity of the embryo and the mother, without subjecting them to disproportionate risks)"

What is wrong is what prenatal testing can lead to - eugenic abortion.

The Nathaniel Centre (the NZ Catholic bioethics centre) has a document on prenatal testing in which it says:

"We live in a society in which disability is largely perceived from a 'deficit' perspective. There is abundant evidence to suggest that when prenatal testing reveals the existence of significant fetal abnormality, many parents experience pressure from the health system to terminate the pregnancy."
The girl I spent time with didn't have 'deficits', she had special needs of course, but her life, her state, wasn't one of deficit with all that the word implies. She was a positive and beautiful person whom I came to love in a very short time. How many wonderful people aren't allowed to be born because they are rejected? And how much of that rejection comes from people other than the parents?
The New Zealand Government has a pamphlet about screening called "Increased Chance" and it clearly talks about terminating a pregnancy when the baby shows an increased chance of having Down syndrome or another condition. However I am pleased to see that the pamphlet talks about the baby as just that, a baby. I'm glad that it acknowledges the humanity of the baby and though it talks about termination it also talks about continuation of the pregnancy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's just a clump of cells.

Right now thousands of people are waiting to live. They are frozen in embryo banks or being used in experiments. They are our daughters and sons but we treat them as things until we decide we want them to grow. Then and only then are they allowed to enter society and become human persons, as though personhood is something we can bestow rather than something inherent.

Now there is a movie that touches on these ideas 'Never Let Me Go'. Go and have a look -

Never Let Me Go

Hat tip with much thanks to joyfulpapist.


Welcome to this new blog.

This blog is going to be about life issues and how we can support and promote a culture of life and love in New Zealand. Every single person is a beloved child of God and inherently worthy of dignity and respect from the moment of conception to natural death. So often in our society there are people who are vulnerable, perhaps for example they are ill, disabled, or in poverty and society and government has a responsibility to help and support these people because everyone is important. No one should be left by the wayside and social justice applies to all people.

This blog is written from a Catholic perspective since I am Catholic, but we should be able to demonstrate social justice without recourse to specific Catholic theology. We can apply our reason to understand the concepts of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude - these are the cardinal virtues and a positive society hinges on them. So I welcome people from other religious traditions or non-belief and I ask you to join me in promoting life.

I decided to start this blog because I was so enthused by the All For Life 2010 conference that was held in Nelson on the 29-30th of October. I met wonderful people and I have learned so much that I want to share. The message and the spirit of the conference was just so positive for women and I think we need to get the message out that the pro-life community cares about women.

We live in a society that talks about human rights a lot, yet we allow abortion effectively on demand, embryos are killed in medical procedures and in research, and we're moving towards legal euthanasia. We have a battle on our hands to protect the vulnerable and the inconvenient and if we don't then people will die. We also have a massive responsibility to help women who feel wounded by their abortion. The statistics for women who suffer a coerced abortion are appalling and I will devote posts on that later. Women are hurt terribly by abortion and they really need our love and compassion to heal.

There are links here for women who are in the position of a crisis pregnancy - there is help for you and there are practical resources for you both before birth and after. Likewise there are links for post-abortion support. If you have been wounded by abortion, please... don't suffer alone. 

And now, a shout out to all the people I met in Nelson. You are all amazing people and I felt so blessed to meet you all and listen to your wisdom. Thank you.