Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Goes Beyond Roe v. Wade

We are coming up on the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized the killing of our unborn children in the United States.  I will always remember reading the headline in the paper in January 1973 in total unbelief.  I was just a silly 17 year girl, but even I knew something was seriously wrong with this decision.  I just couldn't believe that we were now going to kill our children.

It is 40 years later, and despite the concerted efforts of many thousands of people to change this barbaric law, our children continue to die by the thousands everyday in the killing fields known as abortion clinics.  Tom Hoopes of recently wrote a post entitled, "Do We Seriously Not Realize That We Are Winning?"  
The Jan. 14 cover of Time Magazine states, “40 Years Ago, Abortion-rights Activists won an Epic Victory With Roe v. Wade. They’ve Been Losing Ever Since. “
Of course Time magazine is right. It is axiomatic, it is the story of our times, it is the thing every pro-lifer knows: We’re winning this battle.
I can’t understand why colleagues of mine are doubting this.
Mr. Hoopes shows as his proof the fact that 51% of Americans call themselves "pro life",  that "3 in 5 respondents [in a Gallup poll] want abortion to be illiegal in 'all' or most circumstances'", and
Seven in 10 support 24-hour waiting periods. More than 7 in 10 want parental consent. Three in 5 support partial-birth aboriton bans. Nearly 9 out of 10 want patients told the risks of abortion — and nearly 9 out of 10 want patients informed about abortion alternatives.
These are all very good things, but the fact remains that the children are continuing to die.  We have statistics for surgical abortions, which were approximately 1.2 million in the United States in 2012.  We have no statistics on the number of chemical abortions, which are no doubt in the millions.  Most women who use birth control have no idea that their birth control is not preventing pregnancy but is actually aborting fertilized eggs.

And maybe Mr.  Hoopes should take a look at this:

As long as birth control is accepted by society, abortions will continue.  And it will only get worse, as we are now seeing here in New York State.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, catholic Governor of New York, is proposing a law called the "Reproductive Health Care Act."  As Chris Slattery, a prominent pro life leader here in New York says, this law is actually worse than Roe v. Wade.  This act by Governor Cuomo seems to fly in the face of everything Tom Hoopes wrote in his post. From the National Catholic Register:

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is flexing his political muscle to give abortion advocates their biggest state victory in 40 years since Roe v. Wade: a sweeping expansion of abortion law that, if enforced, would put Catholic hospitals and many state-funded ministries out of business.
Cuomo’s approval ratings have topped 70% for six straight months, and, with just two years in office, he has already pushed through controversial same-sex “marriage” legislation and the most restrictive gun-control law in the nation.
Cuomo, who is Catholic, now is setting his sights on succeeding where governors for the past six years have failed: passing the proposed Reproductive Health Care Act.
But Cuomo has included the act as part of his 10-point “women’s equality” agenda, which includes a raise in the minimum wage, tougher anti-housing discrimination laws and measures against domestic violence and sex-trafficking.
Catholic bishops in New York’s Catholic Conference and pro-life groups are raising the alarm that Cuomo’s proposals are both “radical” and “dangerous” to unborn children, women and religious freedom.
“Gov. Cuomo’s bill elevates abortion to a fundamental right and says New York state can’t discriminate on abortion in benefits or services or anything else it provides,” said Kathleen Gallagher, the conference’s director of pro-life activities.
Cuomo’s legislation, she said, would make illegal abortion restrictions, such as parental-notification laws, informed-consent laws, restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion bans of any kind.
The law will allow licensed medical professionals other than a physician to perform first-trimester abortions.  
The Democratic governor announced in his Jan. 9 State of the State address that he would expand legal abortion as part of a comprehensive women’s-equality bill, declaring three times, “It’s her body, her choice” to thunderous applause.
“Governor Cuomo vociferously declared that women’s equality, safety and reproductive rights will be a priority for New York state in 2013,” Andrea Miller, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, confirmed in a press release. Miller said the last election results showed New Yorkers recognized that without a right to abortion a woman “cannot participate fully in society.
Cuomo’s bill removes criminal penalties for third-trimester abortions after 24 weeks by adding a broad health exception. Current state law allows such late-term abortions if there is a danger to the mother’s life.
Chris Slattery, director of the Expectant Mother Care (EMC) pregnancy centers in New York City, said the new law will make New York City the late-term abortion capital of the world.
“It’s going to open up the third-trimester market,” Slattery said. “It’s going to be huge, and people all over the world, not just out of state, are going to be coming to New York to have and perform these abortions.”
Late-term abortions generally cost more than $2,000.
“It’s the fight of the pro-life movement’s life in New York,” Slattery said. “This is worse than Roe v. Wade itself, and everyone needs to focus on defeating this bill.”
The Guttmacher Institute’s New York state abortion data showed that 33% of New York pregnancies end in abortion — nearly twice the national rate of 19%. Only 53% of New York pregnancies resulted in live births, with the remaining 14% ending with miscarriage.
New York City itself has an average abortion rate of 41%, with some areas as high as 67%, according to New York Health Department data gathered by the Chiaroscuro Foundation.
A 2011 poll, conducted for the Chiaroscuro Foundation by McLaughlin and Associates, found 64% of New Yorkers — including 57% of women identifying as “pro-choice” — believe New York City’s abortion rate is too high. 74% believe the overall 60% abortion rate among minorities is too high.
The poll also found 69% of New Yorkers support informed-consent laws, 59% support mandating parental consent for minors seeking abortion, and 51% support having a 24-hour waiting period for abortion.  [Despite what Mr. Hoopes wrote in his article, the wishes of the people have no effect on the actual laws in our country.]
Cuomo’s legislation is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Assembly, but pro-life advocates are focusing on the Senate, which Republicans control in a coalition with six independent Democrats.
Pro-life state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., D-Bronx, predicts the abortion battle will happen in the next few weeks and not toward the end of the legislative session in June. He said pro-life prospects look grim if the Reproductive Health Care Act comes up for a vote.
“I’m the only solid pro-life vote among the Democrats,” he said. “But if the Republicans allow this to come to the floor, then it is a done deal.
Diaz expressed doubts that Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, would keep the 30-member GOP caucus in line and predicted that one or two Republicans would join 32 Democrat senators to vote for the bill — a replay of voting patterns that resulted in the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in 2011.
Under a power-sharing agreement, Skelos and state Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, alternate leadership of the Senate every week.
“The week in which Sen. Jeff Klein becomes leader of the chamber — that week he will bring the bill to the floor,” Diaz said.
Diaz said he had no hope the bill could be stopped in the Senate without personal lobbying from Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
In a Jan. 9 letter to Cuomo, Cardinal Dolan forcefully denounced the governor’s push for increased access to abortion.
Cardinal Dolan and Governor Cuomo
Dolan has a very powerful voice in the state,” said Diaz. “I’m hoping he comes to Albany now and lobbies — and lobbies hard. I think he’s the only hope we have to convince people to not bring this bill to the floor.
Gallagher warned that the state bill has no conscience protections for religious institutions and that the New York Catholic Conference’s legal analysts fear the state could use the law to shut down any Catholic institution (including Catholic hospitals, Catholic charities and schools) that gets state licensing or funding.
“State regulators, such as the state health department or state insurance department, could say, ‘We cannot give you that license to operate’ or ‘We cannot give you that funding’ because our pro-life mission means we’re discriminating against a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion,” Gallagher said.
Bishop William Murphy confirmed that the Diocese of Rockville Centre is home to six hospitals on Long Island that could be crippled if the state simply withheld Medicaid dollars. The clash would be inevitable, because Catholic hospitals will neither perform nor refer people for abortions under any circumstances.
“It is another blow against a pro-life position, making that position officially ‘unacceptable’ or ‘bigoted’ or ‘intolerant,’” Bishop Murphy said, adding that the situation was “a very strange fruit in our society, where the majority of Americans, however they define it, call themselves pro-life.”
If the bill expanding access to abortion is passed, pro-life medical professionals could also find their practices at risk.
“All the legal mechanisms are in place so that doctors are forced to abandon their practices,” said Dr. Katherine Lammers, a Catholic obstetrician-gynecologist in Rochester, who has delivered 4,000 babies in her 25-year career. Lammers’ practice does not perform or refer for abortions.
She noted that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published an ethical memo in 2008 that directed doctors to provide abortion referrals if they are unable to perform the procedure.
“So it could happen this way: ACOG could say that this doctor is violating Ethical Bulletin 899. They could take your board certification away for ethical violations. The state board could then say, ‘This doctor is not medically licensed.’ So, theoretically, a doctor could be forced out of her business,” Lammers said.
The New York State Catholic Conference has scheduled a March 20 “Catholics at the Capitol” rally to highlight the Catholic Church’s top legislative priorities.
The Legislature has until June, the end of its session, to pass Cuomo’s legislation, but it could be brought to the floor of the legislative body before then.
Gallagher said the state’s pro-life coalition is making a push to gather support through social media. On Jan.15 pro-life advocates launched a “New Yorkers for Life” Facebook page and a Twitter account.
“We Catholic bishops will do our best to inform our people and rally Catholic and non-Catholic alike to express a preference for laws that safeguard women and children,” Bishop Murphy said. “A society can flourish only when it keeps before its eyes that God who creates and sustains it.”
Peter Jesserer Smith writes from Rochester, New York.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Gotcha" Catholicism

Last summer I did a post about a same sex wedding announcement I saw in the New York Times, not at all unusual for that paper.  What was unusual was that it stated that "a Roman Catholic Priest assisted at the wedding, " Through Google, I figured out that there was a priest in Connecticut  by the same name as that in the announcement.  I immediately emailed both the priest and his bishop, and I also immediately posted about it on my blog without confirmation that I had the correct priest.  It turned out that I did have the correct priest, and a week or so later the bishop in that area formally reprimanded the priest who promised never to do this again.  Neither the priest nor the bishop ever answered my emails.

Even though I turned out to be correct, I should have waited until everything was confirmed and given the bishop time to act as he saw fit before I started making any kind of public accusations.  The reason I'm writing about this is because it is a prime example of how the laity should not act towards the clergy in the Catholic Church.  I have been pretty harsh at times on the clergy, and I would like to do a mea culpa right here and now in that regard.

Certainly when we see priests and bishops, or any member of the Church acting in a way that is contrary to Church teaching, we need to do something about it.  We should never stand idly by when we know someone is acting in a scandalous way and involved in serious sin.   But is the proper response to immediately take it to the Internet and announce it to the world?

The advice given to us directly by our Lord in regard to dealing with scandal can be found in Matthew 18:15-17:
If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Our first concern should always be for the soul of the one involved in the sin, to try to bring him (or her) to repentance, and secondly to avoid scandal so as not to put other souls in danger.  As Jesus Himself told us, the matter should be kept as quiet as possible unless and until the one involved refuses to repent.  Then, and only then, should it be made public, and it should only be made public if it is necessary to mitigate public scandal, such as the priest assisting in a same sex wedding.  Even then, everything we do should be aimed at leading the person to repentance.  We should never do anything that unnecessarily humiliates or demeans in an any way.  We should never play "Gotcha!" games with people's souls as I did with the priest in Connecticut when I immediately jumped on him without knowing anything other than what I read in the Times, and not even sure that I had the correct priest.
I Corinthians 16:14 says, "Let all that you do be done in love."  Since love means wanting what is best for the other, the ideal is that everything we say and do in our interactions with others should all be with the thought of how my actions will  help them find the way to Christ and eternal life.  I fall far short of this ideal as I believe most people do.  Far too often I react to people out of a sense of injustice or hurt feelings, or thinking about "what's in it for me", and scariest of all, I react out of pride, feeling superior to others.

GK, Chesterton, one of the wisest men of the 20th Century, said this:
What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism.
Think about it.


Monday, January 14, 2013

A Silver Lining In Every Cloud

New York City, where I live, has really been devastated by the flu outbreak.  Lots of people out sick at work, lots of coughing and sneezing on the subway, emergency rooms flooded by flu victims.  Not a pretty sight.

But in Boston, there is one very good consequence of the flu:
Because of the flu outbreak and the declaration of a health emergency in Boston, the Archdiocese of Boston Wednesday afternoon instructed priests that they can suspend the distribution of wine [uh, Precious Blood] during Communion from a common chalice out of “pastoral caution and prudence.”
Auxiliary Bishop Robert P. Deeley also notified priests that may encourage worshipers to exchange the “Sign of Peace” by bowing to nearby parishioners instead of shaking hands.  [No running around the church to shake everyone's hand]
Archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon said in an e-mail that Communion hosts will continue to be given because “it is central to the celebration’ of Mass. But priests will “use extra caution if people receive (the host) on the tongue and are to use extra caution in washing their hands before and after Mass.”  [If people kneel, it is much less likely that the priest will touch the communicant's mouth]

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Long Lost Twin

Has anyone ever noticed how much Mayor Michael  Bloomberg of my very own city, New York, looks like the Grinch:

We are told in the story that the problem with the Grinch, who tried to steal Christmas from Who-ville, was that his heart was just too small:
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
Our Honorable Mayor Bloomberg has done a few things in his illegal three terms that makes me wonder about the size of his heart (we had a 2-term limit, but at the end of his second term, the City Council miraculously voted to allow our multi-billionaire mayor to run a third time).

In 2010, we were hit with a major storm with about 20 inches of snow. The City completely shut down. There were no subways, no buses, streets were completely impassable, some people couldn't even get out of their homes. Mayor Bloomberg was vacationing in his private Bermuda getaway and didn't get back on his private plane until a day after the storm. When he got back, he told all of us that we should just stop our whining about a little snow, and go ahead and take in a Broadway show.

By the time Bloomberg flew back to the city on his private plane the next day, a disaster was unfolding on the streets. He then added insult to injury by urging New Yorkers—millions of whom could not get off their own blocks in the outer boroughs—to shrug it off and take in a Broadway show. When reporters asked Bloomberg to account for his whereabouts as the storm began, he replied that this was his “private time” and thus no one’s business.
The mayor's approval rating went down to 34% after this.

The major is always looking out for us. He has supplied needles to drug addicts and free condoms to kids. He has outlawed smoking in every public building in NYC, including bars. As Wikipedia tells us:
On the major issue of abortion, Bloomberg is considered pro-choice. He supports abortion rights, stating: "Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right and we can never take it for granted, on this issue, you're either with us or against us." He has criticized pro-choice politicians who support pro-life candidates. His comments may have been directed at New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a supporter of abortion rights who supported Bob Casey, who is pro-life, in the 2006 Senate election.
Bloomberg tends to be liberal about his policies towards many social issues; for instance, Bloomberg supports governmental funding for stem cell research, calling the Republican position on the issue "insanity," while also supporting same-sex marriage with the rationale that “I think anybody should be allowed to marry anybody" 
He not only supports same sex marriage, he actually paid New York State representatives to vote for same sex marriage to ensure that the law would pass.  From the
Supporters of Referendum 74 to allow same-sex marriage sent out a fundraising e-mail today saying the New York City mayor will give $250,000 to their campaign if they can raise the same amount this week.

Bloomberg is famous for doing everything he can to take guns out of the hands of citizens. There is also his infamous law making 32 oz. sugar drinks illegal in the City of New York. I don't know how he is going to stop people from just buying two 16 oz. drinks, but that's just me.

Now he is passing a law that will limit the amount of pain medication that people will receive in City hospitals. From
Bloomberg believes his move will reduce crime because fewer people will become hooked on drugs, which leads to “a lot more hold-ups of pharmacies, people getting held up as they walk out of pharmacies….What are they all about? They’re not trying to steal your shaving cream or toothpaste at the point of a gun. They want these drugs.”
Critics are lambasting the move, noting it will hurt the poor who frequent the city’s emergency rooms for primary medical care. In response, Bloomberg claims that while people may “have to suffer a little bit,” it is necessary to combat the problem, “so…we’re going to do it and we’re urging all of the other hospitals to do,
Learn to suffer, buddy
So for all those poor people who get banged up on the streets of New York and can only afford City hospitals, get ready to "suffer a little bit" thanks to the Grinch of New York City.

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