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Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood

Wednesday Open Thread: Teens and Sex Makes Front-Page News

Posted by Roger on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Aurora Beacon -- March 12, 2008Today's Aurora Beacon featured an article, on the front page, titled "Diseases blossom with teen sexuality, with the sub-title of "1 in 4 teen GIRLS NOW has an STD".

The article points out that 1 in 4 teenage girls nationwide currently has an STD. Noreen Transier or the Kendall County Health Department is quoted in the article as saying "There are more kids having sex."

More kids having sex is probably not news, but the statistic that 1 in 4 girls currently have an STD should be alarming. Apparently, something is not working when STDs are spreading to 25% of our teenage females. (The article did not mention any statistics about teenage boys for some reason.)

Kai Tao of Planned Parenthood is featured in the article:

"This misconception and the study itself indicate that adolescents are not getting the right information, according to Kai Tao, associate medical director of Planned Parenthood of Illinois."

"Not getting the right information"? What does that mean? What is the "right information" and who is going to get it to them? The implication here is that Planned Parenthood has the "right information" and that Planned Parenthood is the right organization to provide it to them.

Does Planned Parenthood provide true and accurate information? Do they tell teens that most STDs are incurable, and that they will have it for LIFE? Do they tell them that the more sexual partners they have the higher the risk of getting and STD? Do they tell them that condoms DO NOT 100% prevent STDs?

Transier stressed that teens need to be honest when they become sexually active and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

Getting tested for STDs is all well and good, but what about prevention? Nowhere in the article is any mention of prevention, nor the best prevention and taboo word – abstinence!

Planned Parenthood does not believe in abstinence . If they were really interested in curbing the spread of STDs, they would embrace abstinence as the primary method of prevention. Instead, they say, "well, teens are going to be sexually active".

Well, I say that teens will rise to the level of expectations we have for them. Lower the expectations and lower that which they will rise up to meet. Teens deserve better than this.

And we, the Aurora Beacon readers deserve better. How about some articles about STDs and the how to prevent them? How about articles about the cures, or lack there of, for STDs?

How about not setting up Aurora for Planned Parenthood's "comprehensive sex education" agenda?

What do you think about this Aurora Beacon article? What would you say to the Aurora Beacon?

Browsing the web, I found some other articles about the same subject:

You may be interested in comparing these articles with the Beacon article.

God Bless,
Roger

P.S. Maybe you might want to let the Beacon know your thoughts through a letter to the editor or the call in line.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 at 10:08 am and is filed under News, Planned Parenthood, The Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

201 Responses to “Wednesday Open Thread: Teens and Sex Makes Front-Page News”

  1. Tom says:

    Abstinence only works in the minds of the parents.

    Is everybody on this blog so old that they cannot remember what it’s like being a teenager?

    The kids will tell you one thing and do another. There was no way that my girlfriends and I would tell our parents about our sex life. I think my parents would have been more understanding that my girlfriends, two of which preached abstinence.

    Sex education in school is worthless. The student body learned about sex from the older students before the school finally got around to it.

    March 12th, 2008 at 11:29 am
  2. Roger says:

    Tom,

    "Abstinence only works in the minds of the parents."

    Actually, most parents did not "abstain" to become parents.

    "There was no way that my girlfriends and I would tell our parents about our sex life."

    I don't know how old you are, but sex today is much more risky than it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago. As I understand it, there used to be only about 4 types of STDs. Today there are over 40 types.

    The more sexually active a person it, the more partners the person has, the greater the risk of becoming infected with an STD.

    Also, just because you "did it", does not mean that "everybody's doing it" or that we need do not teach our kids right.

    Both my wife and myself "didn't do it" with anyone until our wedding night. It was a great gift to share with her and her with me. We don't have to worry about who our spouse has slept with in the past. It is freeing.

    And yes, we both were teenagers once upon a time. And yes, we remember what it was like. It was tough, but not impossible.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 12th, 2008 at 1:13 pm
  3. John Jansen says:

    This news is terribly disturbing, of course, but not at all surprising, considering the Bullwinkle approach ("This time for sure!") our country takes to promoting so-called "safe sex" "safer sex".

    In 2001, a scientific panel co-sponsored by the CDC, NIH, FDA, and USAID looked at 138 peer-reviewed, published studies and found that — with the exception of AIDS and the female-to-male transmission of gonorrhea — "epidemiological evidence is insufficient to determine the effectiveness of condoms in actual use for preventing most other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)".

    At the time, noted chastity speaker Mary Beth Bonacci commented:

    Apparently, the results of the study were so disturbing that, according to the Washington Post, “some health officials considered keeping the report private.” Can you believe that? They were sitting on information that could affect the lives and deaths of literally millions of Americans, and they were just going to keep sitting. Some “health” officials.

    When the results did come out, it must’ve been a pretty big punch in the gut to the “safe sex” establishment. Their careers, their crusades, their entire lives are built around the assumption that condom use protects from sexually transmitted diseases. The shock is evident in the quotes we’re hearing from them. Jeff Spieler, an official at the U.S Agency for International Development, told the Washington Post ” As somebody who is completely devoted to improving public health, I know that any message that minimizes the role and importance of correct and consistent condom use can have an extremely negative effect on preventing HIV and other STDs." The same Washington Post article went on to say “Some family planning advocates said they feared that the new report would be used to put pressure on the FDA to change condom labels to reflect the conclusions.”

    It’s like hearing that Grandma died, and immediately asking if Grandma will be making brownies for the funeral. The reality of the loss just hasn’t sunk in yet. [emphasis added]

    March 12th, 2008 at 3:58 pm
  4. John Jansen says:

    The article from Mary Beth Bonacci from which I quoted above is here.

    March 12th, 2008 at 4:00 pm
  5. Mike says:

    VIDEO: Planned Parenthood Approves Taking Donations Specifically to Abort Black Babies

    Mike

    March 17th, 2008 at 4:07 pm
  6. Student says:

    Early sex may play a role in helping these teens develop better social relationships in early adulthood. You can find a study to say just about anything you want.

    March 17th, 2008 at 7:36 pm
  7. Paul2 says:

    *****
    Early sex may play a role in helping these teens develop better social relationships in early adulthood.
    *****

    Adolescent sex is unhealthy and full of unhealthy consequences. Unhealthy physical effects of girls polluting their bodies with concentrated hormone doses. Unhealthy spiritual and psychological effects of commiting abortion. Unhealthy emotional and fiscal consequences of "unexpected" pregnancy. I can't think of any healthy social behaviours adolescents "learn" by having sex. Maybe you could name a few me student.

    March 17th, 2008 at 11:33 pm
  8. John Jansen says:

    Early sex may play a role in helping these teens develop better social relationships in early adulthood.

    Or may not, of course—which is, um, a lot more likely.

    Indeed, one can find a study that says just about anything one wants. I'd be curious to read some critiques of the aforesaid UVA study.

    Apropos of same, I can't help but recall one of Mark Shea's memes: Show me a culture that despises virginity and I'll show you a culture that despises children.

    March 18th, 2008 at 9:22 am
  9. Eric Scheidler says:

    Student—I love the headline on that study you linked to: "Early Teen Sex May Not Be a Path to Delinquency, Study Shows".

    As a father of eight, I can tell you I'm always on the lookout for things that "may not" be a path to delinquency for my kids. As long as they're not delinquents—that's all I ask.

    Self-confidence, stable marriages, sexual health—sure it would be "nice" if I could secure these things for my kids. But the main thing—what keeps me up at night—is avoidance of delinquency.

    Great stuff!

    (For the record, I didn't read the article; I only caught the goofy headline when I was plopping your long URL into a nice text link—something which I would encourage you and everyone else to learn to do; see the instructions above the comment editing window.)

    March 18th, 2008 at 11:32 am
  10. Student says:

    John: "Indeed, one can find a study that says just about anything one wants."

    And THAT was my entire point. While I would not advocate "young teens having early sex," I would not advocate waiting until marriage for sex either.

    March 18th, 2008 at 12:35 pm
  11. John Jansen says:

    While I would not advocate "young teens having early sex," I would not advocate waiting until marriage for sex either.

    Student,

    Please clarify whether you mean you would not advocate waiting to have sex until marriage for yourself personally or whether you would not advocate waiting to have sex until marriage as a general principle for anyone and everyone.

    March 18th, 2008 at 3:02 pm
  12. Student says:

    John,
    I wouldn't advocate it for anyone.

    March 18th, 2008 at 5:21 pm
  13. Mike says:

    Please listen online to Jason Evert speak to a group of high school students about Chastity Education. I think this is the best talk I ever heard on Chastity Education…

    http://www.pureloveclub.com/seminars/index.php?id=3

    Mike

    March 18th, 2008 at 7:39 pm
  14. Paul2 says:

    Mike,
    That talk is good advice and teaches responsible sexual health education.

    March 18th, 2008 at 10:20 pm
  15. Paul2 says:

    People that promote promiscuity and aborting unwanted babies are a scourge on society.

    March 18th, 2008 at 10:32 pm
  16. Charles says:


    Student says:
    John,
    I wouldn't advocate it for anyone.

    Student, I would be interest in hearing from you what the downsides would be if a person waited?

    March 19th, 2008 at 12:44 am
  17. Citizen says:

    Why is the emphasis of this article limited to the prevalence of STD's among teenage women? Where is the concern for our young men?

    Also, in response to Roger's post, the majority of STD's are curable. The argument that they are not is clearly a scare tactic.

    Similarly, condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy and the spread of STD's. Any argument that posits otherwise is also a scare tactic.

    I would hardly describe the word "abstinence" as "taboo." Our public schools are quite accepting of it.

    The downsides to abstinence include:
    1. Lack of sexual fulfillment, which is important for anyone who is old enough to get turned on,
    2. Disappointment when one discovers that marriage is less effective in preventing the spread of STD's than condoms are,
    3. A society that is incapable of negotiating the polarizing messages launched at us from the media, such as the condemnation of women's sexuality alongside the perpetual objectification of their bodies,
    4. How about saying "no" to your spouse? Is that ok?
    5. No one is educating teenagers about the positive role sex can play in a healthy relationship,
    6. Not everyone is capable of or interested in marriage,
    etc., etc., etc…

    March 19th, 2008 at 4:42 am
  18. John Jansen says:

    Citizen said: "Similarly, condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy and the spread of STD's. Any argument that posits otherwise is also a scare tactic."

    Um, what?

    Apparently you didn't deign to read comment #3 above, in which noted:

    In 2001, a scientific panel co-sponsored by the CDC, NIH, FDA, and USAID looked at 138 peer-reviewed, published studies and found that — with the exception of AIDS and the female-to-male transmission of gonorrhea — "epidemiological evidence is insufficient to determine the effectiveness of condoms in actual use for preventing most other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)".

    March 19th, 2008 at 9:53 am
  19. John Jansen says:

    Student said: "I wouldn't advocate it [waiting until marriage for sex] for anyone."

    You mean, even for those who freely choose, for whatever reason, to wait to have sex until they're married? Or what about those who freely choose to never have sex or get married?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you style yourself "pro-choice"? Don't you see the disconnect here?

    Here's my main question, though: Since you clearly don't see a problem with non-marital sex, surely you likewise don't see a problem with any and all non-marital sex, including adultery, right?

    March 19th, 2008 at 10:03 am
  20. Paul2 says:

    Citizen says:
    Why is the emphasis of this article limited to the prevalence of STD's among teenage women? Where is the concern for our young men?
    ****

    Citizen, you are correct in noting that society should be focusing equally on men when teaching them about STD's and when teaching them about the responsibilities that come through sex and pregnancy. ———-

    Also, in response to Roger's post, the majority of STD's are curable. The argument that they are not is clearly a scare tactic.

    **********

    Having fear of disease is a "healthy" thing wether the disease is curable or not.——————

    Similarly, condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy and the spread of STD's. Any argument that posits otherwise is also a scare tactic.
    *********

    Citizen, the correct way to state that would be condoms are somewhat effective in reducing pregnancy and STD's on a per incident basis. If you put your faith in the effeciveness of condoms and so youhave more sex because you think they will "prevent" these problems then condom use can actually increase your risk. ————

    I would hardly describe the word "abstinence" as "taboo." Our public schools are quite accepting of it.
    ********

    Unfortunately our public schools are being infiltrated by people with pro-abort backgrounds who would bring their curriculum that teaches our children promiscuuos behaviours are "healthy". You know what I am talking about. Things like the six "downsides" to abstinence that you placed above:

    The downsides to abstinence include:
    1. Lack of sexual fulfillment, which is important for anyone who is old enough to get turned on.
    There are pedophiles out there who think the same thing
    when they are "turning on" the children they molest.
    2. Disappointment when one discovers that marriage is less effective in preventing the spread of STD's than condoms are.
    Just get tested prior to marriage and remain faithful and STD's are a non-issue.
    3. A society that is incapable of negotiating the polarizing messages launched at us from the media, such as the condemnation of women's sexuality alongside the perpetual objectification of their bodies.
    How is teaching boys sex prior to commitment is healthy
    going to solve that???
    4. How about saying "no" to your spouse? Is that ok?
    Of course it is.
    5. No one is educating teenagers about the positive role sex can play in a healthy relationship.
    Sexual relations is only "healthy" between responsible men and women (not boys and girls).
    6. Not everyone is capable of or interested in marriage,
    etc., etc., etc…
    But everyone who has sex should have sex responsibly wether they are married or not. Part of having responsible sex is avoiding the "negative" health consequences like
    Unhealthy physical effects of girls polluting their bodies with concentrated hormone doses. Unhealthy spiritual and psychological effects of commiting abortion. Unhealthy emotional and fiscal consequences of "unexpected" pregnancy etc..etc..etc

    March 19th, 2008 at 11:08 am
  21. Charles says:

    Citizen,
    I think you are mixing a few too many things together when you compiled that list. Yet, am confused about how these strengthen you argument against abstinence.

    1 – Perhaps you mean to say “less” and not “lack.”

    2 – This makes the assumption (and perhaps wrongly so) that their mate didn’t abstain as well.

    3 – Are you saying that people lack self-control? If so, how does is that relevant? Perhaps this is the crux of the matter relating to #1.

    4 – Again, how is this relevant to the question?

    5 – Tell me how abstinence prevents this; as the two are not mutual exclusive.

    6 – I not sure how this strengthens you position abstinence is somehow bad.

    March 19th, 2008 at 4:15 pm
  22. Student says:

    John: "You mean, even for those who freely choose, for whatever reason, to wait to have sex until they're married? Or what about those who freely choose to never have sex or get married?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you style yourself "pro-choice"? Don't you see the disconnect here?

    *********************

    No, I see no disconnect at all. I said I wouldn't "advocate" waiting until marriage — not that I wouldn't allow it. According to the New Heritage Dictionary, advocate means "to speak, plead, or argue in favor of." You really don't see a difference between advocating for something and telling a person they have no choice? Personally, I don't think it's any of my business what type of sexual behavior two consenting adults choose to engage in (or not engage in) in the privacy of their home.

    **************

    John: "Here's my main question, though: Since you clearly don't see a problem with non-marital sex, surely you likewise don't see a problem with any and all non-marital sex, including adultery, right?"

    How and why did you make this leap? Isn't that along the lines of "If you don't have a problem with driving, surely you likewise don't see a problem with driving drunk, right?" One does not logically follow the other.

    March 19th, 2008 at 4:53 pm
  23. Student says:

    Charles: "Student, I would be interest in hearing from you what the downsides would be if a person waited?"

    I can think of many reasons but I'll share a somewhat humerous one. My family is quite religious and my sister waited for marriage. She and her (now former) husband went to Hawaii for 2 weeks. They attempted intercourse only to find that her hyman would not break — no matter what they did. After the honeymoon was over (not that it really began), they came back home and she had to have her hyman surgically broken. It made for a pretty disastrous first time.

    March 19th, 2008 at 4:59 pm
  24. Charles says:

    Hi Student,

    I think we can all agree that wouldn’t be the “ideal” situation. However, if the two of them were honest, open, and in a truly loving relationship, I am sure this would have been a minor bump in their relationship. Hopefully, this was not the basis for the “now former” comment.

    Now while this could/would have been a little awkward, how would that have been any different if this “first time” was prior to their trip/marriage. I guess I am missing the connection here.

    March 19th, 2008 at 8:16 pm
  25. Paul2 says:

    I am actually feeling sorry for Student. Ughhh

    March 20th, 2008 at 1:47 am
  26. Student says:

    Charles: "Hopefully, this was not the basis for the “now former” comment. Now while this could/would have been a little awkward, how would that have been any different if this “first time” was prior to their trip/marriage. I guess I am missing the connection here."

    I don't think it was the "basis" for their breakup, but sexuality between the two of them was certainly one of the issues. How would it have been different if they hadn't waited? Well, they would have known about the problem, taken care of it, and then enjoyed intimacy during their honeymoon. I think sexuality plays a big part in a healthy relationship.

    It takes time to learn how your body works and what is pleasurable — that can be different for each of us. Having some experience allows one to learn a bit more and gives ideas on how to please your partner (as well as yourself). What happens if you marry and later find you are sexually incompatible? I'd rather know I work well with a partner prior to making a committment.

    March 20th, 2008 at 7:56 am
  27. Jerry N. says:

    The Beacon News editorial writers mused (March 18) that a great many of our teens are no more informed about sex than was the Beverly Hillbilly's character Jethro. I know the television sitcom character to whom they refer, so I guess that dates me as well as the editorial writers. The problem with their analogy though is that today's average pre-teenager could run circles around ol' Jethro on this subject. Information overload before kids really know what to do with it or handle it maturely and responsibly just may be part of the problem.

    Of course, that is not the way the editorial writers see it. They opine that a "wide swath of American teens need some frank talk about sex." Really? After more than 40 years of mandated sex-ed programs in our schools and the proliferation of Planned Parenthood facilities across the country and every manner of media pounding away on the subject, all of which is supposed to eliminate ignorance, we find ourselves in what some are calling an "epidemic" of unprecedented proportions. Even if the numbers are "only" half as bad as that reported, we are seeing our kids get diseased at alarming rates.

    Nevertheless, there are those who will say the only way to deal with this issue is through more of the same. They denigrate things like abstinence and chastity, and even suggest that it is irresponsible to counsel our children in those ways–so unrealistic and out of touch with modern realities.

    But who really is out of touch? For one, our friends on the Beacon's editorial board do not even hint at a sense of urgency. Rather, they seem to be happy to just try to tweak the status quo even as thousands and thousands more of our youth will contract an ever expanding list of new and more virulent strains of STD's. And there are those who pretend that these times are no different than any other age when a couple in love did not wait for their wedding. Wrong again. These ARE different times, and that is precisely why we have an unprecedented epidemic of STD's.

    The answer to these problems is to be found mainly in self-control and a greater awareness of the Creator's loving designs for our lives, meant to be lived in a balance of the spiritual and physical meanings of the human experience. John Paul II's teachings on the "Theology of the Body" is an excellent starting point. An excellent resource for more information on this can be found in writings by Fr.Thomas Loya and many other writers as well.

    March 20th, 2008 at 9:23 am
  28. John Jansen says:

    Student said: "No, I see no disconnect at all. I said I wouldn't "advocate" waiting until marriage — not that I wouldn't allow it."

    I never said nor implied that you wouldn't "allow" it. The point is that if you truly are "pro-choice", you wouldn't "advocate" one way or the other whether anyone other than yourself have sex before marriage. You simply wouldn't care—as, apparently, you don't, given that you said:

    Personally, I don't think it's any of my business what type of sexual behavior two consenting adults choose to engage in (or not engage in) in the privacy of their home.

    You're being inconsistent here.

    If you really were indifferent to whether other people choose to have sex before marriage, why the blazes do you advocate that they do?

    It's fruitless to advocate or a given behavior unless one really does care whether said behavior is practiced.

    If you don't care, don't advocate.

    March 20th, 2008 at 9:35 am
  29. John Jansen says:

    I had asked Student: "Here's my main question, though: Since you clearly don't see a problem with non-marital sex, surely you likewise don't see a problem with any and all non-marital sex, including adultery, right?"

    …to which Student replied:

    How and why did you make this leap? Isn't that along the lines of "If you don't have a problem with driving, surely you likewise don't see a problem with driving drunk, right?"

    In a word: no.

    You opened the door on this one by saying you see no problem with sex between two people who aren't married to each other. Adultery is one example of sex between two people who aren't married to each other.

    For the sake of consistency, it would seem that if you believe it's not necessary (morally speaking) for two people to be married to each other before they have sex, why would you see a problem with adultery—other than for reasons that are entirely arbitrary?

    March 20th, 2008 at 9:36 am
  30. John Jansen says:

    Citizen said: "The downsides to abstinence include:
    1. Lack of sexual fulfillment, which is important for anyone who is old enough to get turned on…"

    Are you unaware, Citizen, that there is a not insignificant number of genuinely real members of the human race who are very much "old enough to get turned on" who have freely chosen abstinence from sex—not just temporarily, but for their whole lives—and who are utterly happy?

    Your comment brought to mind an article in the January 2008 issue of First Things magazine titled "Not Your Father's Pornography".

    Not only is it an excellent primer on just how bad the let's-see-how-far-we-can-push-the-limits porn of today is compared to that of, say, a generation ago, but more to the point of the discussion here, it also has some sublime insights, to wit:

    When I’ve taken retreats to Catholic monasteries, I’ve been aware of how surprisingly, and even frighteningly, erotic they seem. The Trappists of Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, worship in an exquisitely beautiful place: high white walls, cold stone floors, a slit in the side of the main sanctuary like a split in the universe through which the reserved sacrament is always visible. The great stone altar is big enough to sacrifice Isaac on. Candles flicker on the bronze face of Our Lady during Compline, and dozens of men chant the Salve Regina before the abbot dismisses with a flick of his wrist and a sprinkling of holy water. Pure desire for God could be wrung from the place like a wet towel. And one can begin to see how sex with another person could be given up for desire for God or made better by mutual longing for God.

    There are treasures here with which we can become reacquainted to combat pornography, if we dare. And we may not: Moderns flinch when St. Bernard of Clairveaux seeks to progress up Jesus’ body, kissing his way up to his lips; when Bernini sculpts St. Theresa in the posture of orgasm; when ancient Christians stripped and spit and had their faces hissed at in exorcism before submerging, nude, to be born again.

    A friend of mine likes to say that the Christian answer to pornography is soup kitchens. All our ­senses are engaged there in community with others for the sake of serving Christ in the poor. What could be more erotic? That is—what more could draw us out of ourselves toward another? We have these parts, these desires, for a reason: to love and be loved by God.

    March 20th, 2008 at 9:36 am
  31. sasha says:

    I think it is cheaper to wait until you are married because protection and the pill costs alot and also medication for std's are probably expensive, add to that doctor visits and besides what if you get pregnant? Then you have to worry about the cost of prenatal care, and all the other things that come with being pregnant.

    March 20th, 2008 at 11:54 am
  32. Student says:

    John Jansen says: "I had asked Student: "Here's my main question, though: Since you clearly don't see a problem with non-marital sex, surely you likewise don't see a problem with any and all non-marital sex, including adultery, right?"

    …to which Student replied:

    How and why did you make this leap? Isn't that along the lines of "If you don't have a problem with driving, surely you likewise don't see a problem with driving drunk, right?"

    In a word: no.

    You opened the door on this one by saying you see no problem with sex between two people who aren't married to each other. Adultery is one example of sex between two people who aren't married to each other."

    *******

    And driving drunk is an example of driving — but I DO NOT find it acceptable.

    John Jansen says: "For the sake of consistency, it would seem that if you believe it's not necessary (morally speaking) for two people to be married to each other before they have sex, why would you see a problem with adultery—other than for reasons that are entirely arbitrary?"

    Following your logic I wouldn't have a problem with pedophilia or beatiality either. I think your "consistency argument" needs significant work.

    I have a problem with adultery because of the dishonesty. If you're comfortable enough to be intimate with someone, you should be honest with them. If you want to call that an arbitrary reason, so be it.

    March 20th, 2008 at 12:18 pm
  33. Student says:

    John Jansen says:
    Student said: "No, I see no disconnect at all. I said I wouldn't "advocate" waiting until marriage — not that I wouldn't allow it."

    I never said nor implied that you wouldn't "allow" it. The point is that if you truly are "pro-choice", you wouldn't "advocate" one way or the other whether anyone other than yourself have sex before marriage.

    *************

    John, please re-read and, instead of looking for a way to be judgmental, read what I actually said. The sentence reads, "I WOULDN'T advocate one way or the other……"

    Where did I say I would "advocate" anything???

    March 20th, 2008 at 12:22 pm
  34. Charles says:

    Hi Student,

    By your comments –


    I think sexuality plays a big part in a healthy relationship.

    It takes time to learn how your body works and what is pleasurable — that can be different for each of us. Having some experience allows one to learn a bit more and gives ideas on how to please your partner (as well as yourself). What happens if you marry and later find you are sexually incompatible? I'd rather know I work well with a partner prior to making a committment.

    Are you suggesting that sexual compatibility trumps all other aspects of a couple’s relationship?

    Are you also suggesting that a couple cannot learn how to please one another within the framework of marriage?

    I would certainly hope that “sexual performance” is not the sole, or even large, indication of one’s love or commitment to their mate. Let me state it this way, Student, would you divorce or leave your mate if they could not perform for you? Would you leave them if they were in an accident and became debilitated to the point where they could no longer satisfy you?

    March 20th, 2008 at 1:24 pm
  35. Erin says:

    Student-

    Coincidentally, my husband and I were discussing this just the other night, before I started reading this thread. We were both virgins until we got married, and we were just discussing how great it was that we were able to learn together. After seven years of marriage, the sex is awesome and we are still learning new things. We didn't expect everything to be awesome right at the beginning, but learning together has kept our sex life exciting for seven years so far and as far as I can see, it will continue to be so. What you seem to be saying in summary is, "If your partner can't please you, you should know before you get married because that's going to ruin your relationship." What I am living is the truth that learning together allows you to grow in together compatibility.

    Not only did we learn to be sexual together, while we were dating we learned how to control our sexual urges. I have absolutely no fear that either of us will ever succumb to the temptation of adultery, because we spent the four years we dated learning that you can't give in to every urge and that there is a time for sex, but there is also a time to control yourself.

    How about emotional consequences. "Is it too soon?" "Am I ready?" "Was it ok for you?" "Is she telling the truth or faking it?" "Does he love me, or is it about the sex?" "If the sex fades, do we have anything left?" "Should I stay all night?" "Will it be awkward in the morning?" We never had to deal with any of that crap. Our love and respect and commitment were already established.

    Then there are the other risks. I will never have cervical cancer (and I didn't even need a series of shots!). I will never have AIDS or another STD. I never have to worry that my partner has passed something to me, or that I passed something to him, or have a really awkward conversation about who might have passed what to whom. I never had to wonder if my infertility was caused by this, that, or the other that I might have caught from someone.

    So, in case you couldn't tell, I think I chose the right path by waiting until marriage. I have been 100% happy with every sexual relationship I have ever had (which would be a grand total of one). Do you think that people who don't wait can say that?

    March 20th, 2008 at 5:14 pm
  36. Mike says:

    I thought this study was interesting for the discusion. It states cohabitation ends in separation 90% of the time.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/jul/06072106.html

    It just shows sex should wait until marriage.

    Mike

    March 20th, 2008 at 9:12 pm
  37. Mike says:

    That talk is good advice and teaches responsible sexual health education.

    Paul2,

    I am glad you enjoyed listening to Jason Evert's talk. You can listen to more of Jason Evert at the following link (see post #2)…

    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=139949

    Mike

    March 20th, 2008 at 9:24 pm
  38. Student says:

    Mike,
    Would you suggest that those not interested in marriage avoid sex altogether or just those that plan to eventually marry? Would you like to see cohabitation remain against the law (as in the article)? After all, the divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%, but I doubt you'd suggest that people not marry because almost 1/2 will end in divorce anyway.

    While I don't doubt that many people who cohabitate separate, I think you'll find that # lowers with the increase in age of the couple.

    March 22nd, 2008 at 11:03 am
  39. Student says:

    Erin,
    I'm really happy things have worked out well for you so far. You said, "I have absolutely no fear that either of us will ever succumb to the temptation of adultery, because we spent the four years we dated learning that you can't give in to every urge and that there is a time for sex, but there is also a time to control yourself." My sister and her former husband did the same thing. Unfortunately, one of them did "succumb to the temptation of adultery" even though they spent 5 years together w/o sex.

    You also said, "I will never have cervical cancer (and I didn't even need a series of shots!)." While it does lower your odds, you can still get cervical cancer. It isn't just a result of STD's and I would strongly urge you to get a pap smear every year.

    You really never asked, "'Was it ok for you?' 'Is she telling the truth or faking it?'" I imagine EVERY couple goes through that. I'm sure that you are concerned that it was ok for your partner. That's natural. While I've had more than one partner and, yes, some of those experiences were less than stellar, it's brought me to the place I'm at and I couldn't be happier. Those experiences have made me the person I am and the same is true of my partner (who I don't want to marry, but to whom I am very committed).

    Regardless, I hope your situation continues to be a happy and healthy one for you both and that your experience turns out vastly different that that of my sister.

    March 22nd, 2008 at 11:11 am
  40. Student says:

    Charles says: "Are you suggesting that sexual compatibility trumps all other aspects of a couple’s relationship?"

    No, it doesn't trump all other aspects but, at least for me, it is an important part of my relationship with my partner.

    ***************

    Charles says: "Are you also suggesting that a couple cannot learn how to please one another within the framework of marriage?"

    I'm saying I wouldn't enter into marriage without checking that out in advance.

    ***************

    Charles says: "would you divorce or leave your mate if they could not perform for you? Would you leave them if they were in an accident and became debilitated to the point where they could no longer satisfy you?"

    I would make sure we were sexually compatible prior to entering a long term relationshp. If my partner were in an accident or had another health issue that affected his sexuality I'm sure we would work together to find a way to satisfy one another. In fact, my partner does have a health issue (asthma) that affects sexuality from time to time but we've managed a work around during those times.

    March 22nd, 2008 at 11:16 am
  41. Erin says:

    Student-

    I've never faked it and my husband knows it. Why would I? In a relationship of such respect and commitment, honesty is the most important thing, not fake flattery. Of course, we do talk about what we might be able to do better for the other person, but this is not a stressful "did I do it right?", but a fun exercise in trying new things. Are pre-marital sexual relationships taking place in such a state of commitment and respect?

    I've checked around on cervical cancer. What I see is that it is always caused by HPV, and the other risk factors listed help determine which women who have HPV are more likely to develop cervical cancer. If you do not have HPV, you will not get cervical cancer. But apart from HPV, there are literally hundreds of other variations of STD that you are playing roulette with when you have multiple partners. I'm assuming you have encouraged your sons to follow your own advice and experiment before marriage. How will you feel if some day one of them comes home HIV positive because they felt they needed to experiment in order to have healthy relationships later? It's a big risk to take when clearly healthy relationships are not dependent on pre-marital sex (as exampled by my own).

    I am sorry things did not work out for your sister. I can only say that I have confidence in my marriage based in part on the discipline shown by my husband and myself while we were dating.

    I read your earlier post about your sister's problems on her honeymoon. I'd first like to point out that even if you are a virgin, you can have your hymen broken by your GYN and eliminate that risk. Second, there are ways to please each other without full penetration if that is not possible on the honeymoon. It seems like her first time would have been a big problem no matter when it happened. Personally, I'd like to have that problem within the respect, love, and commitment of marriage instead of in the backseat of a car with "will he dump me because of this?" going like a mantra through my mind.

    March 22nd, 2008 at 12:46 pm
  42. Student says:

    Erin,
    Most cervical cancer is caused by HPV — but not all. Smoking also increases your risk (but I assume with 2 young kids at home you don't do that….at least I hope not). I would still have regular paps just to be certain.

    Again, I'm glad things worked out for you, however, my sister felt exactly the same way. They waited 5 years for marriage & sex and things turned out to be a disaster. In fact, it was one of the ugliest divorces I've ever seen — not to mention extremely difficult on their two children.

    I know for a fact that my kids have been sexually active and none are married. To date, they've been positive experiences. I don't expect them to come home one day with HIV because they know how to protect themselves and they know that they (and their partners) should get tested beforehand to avoid STDs. I am 45 and have NEVER had one, my partner has never had one and none of my boys have ever had one. The key is education, education, education.

    On the other hand, my sister did the abstinance only nonsense with her kids (and went so far as to pull them out of sex ed classes when they went to public high school). My niece (age 17) has had gonnorhea (sp?) and currently has HPV. She is also pregnant with her second child. It seems to me, it doesn't work out so well for everyone.

    I'm not judging you…..and am glad it worked out well for you and your husband. However, I believe you to be the exception rather than the rule (and I realize you would likely say the same to me).

    March 22nd, 2008 at 2:25 pm
  43. Paul2 says:

    Student says:
    On the other hand, my sister did the abstinance only nonsense with her kids (and went so far as to pull them out of sex ed classes when they went to public high school). My niece (age 17) has had gonnorhea (sp?) and currently has HPV. She is also pregnant with her second child. It seems to me, it doesn't work out so well for everyone.
    *******

    Student, of course there is more to sex-ed then abstinence. Kids need to be taught about their bodies and their sexuality in orderto understand what abstinence is. IMO there are many other components of a healty sex-ed class, abstinence should be a central part.

    Are your nieces children beautiful? God bless her for choosing life. Is she struggling financially to make ends meet? Is the father being supportive? Sounds like she must have a supportive family?

    March 22nd, 2008 at 8:15 pm
  44. Erin says:

    Student:

    I'm enjoying our discussion and want to continue it, but I'm going out of town for a few days and won't be posting. I'm not giving up!

    Also, though I know the "God thing" is not your cup of tea, on this Easter Sunday I want to tell you that God loves you. Really.

    Erin

    March 23rd, 2008 at 8:34 pm
  45. Student says:

    Erin,
    Enjoy your vacation. We're moving this week so my participation will be spotty as well. Have a wonderful time!

    March 24th, 2008 at 7:13 am
  46. John Jansen says:

    I had asked: "For the sake of consistency, it would seem that if you believe it's not necessary (morally speaking) for two people to be married to each other before they have sex, why would you see a problem with adultery—other than for reasons that are entirely arbitrary?"

    …to which Student responded:

    Following your logic I wouldn't have a problem with pedophilia or beatiality either.

    Bingo!

    Remove the sexual act from the context of marriage and openness to the possibility of procreation, and anything is possible.

    Slippery slope? Maybe. But I'd say it's more of a package deal.

    Two years ago, a Reuters article (which appears to no longer be available online) reported the following:

    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalization of child pornography and sex with animals, sparking widespread outrage.

    The Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party said on its Web site it would be officially registered Wednesday, proclaiming: "We are going to shake The Hague awake!"

    The party said it wanted to cut the legal age for sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrap the limit altogether.

    I can't say this comes as a surprise, as this party was (is?) merely attempting to take hopelessly liberal policies on sexuality to their logical conclusion.

    At the time, Catholic blogger Mark Shea predicted:

    Mark my words, the day will come when the Church will be damned, not for covering up pedophilia, but for condemning it. The internal logic of our whole post-Christian civilization is driving inexorably toward the permission of any act by any two consenting individuals of any age.

    Student said: "I have a problem with adultery because of the dishonesty. If you're comfortable enough to be intimate with someone, you should be honest with them. If you want to call that an arbitrary reason, so be it."

    Who said anything about dishonesty? What if a couple mutually agrees to have a so-called open marriage?

    Objectively speaking, is adultery within an "open marriage" wrong?

    I should say, though, that I couldn't agree more with you when you say, "If you're comfortable enough to be intimate with someone, you should be honest with them." The only problem is that you're missing the point that any and all non-marital sex is, by its very nature, a dishonest act.

    The sexual act speaks a language of permanent, committed love—a language that two persons who are not married to each other are not capable of honestly speaking, for they have not yet made said commitment, and either of them is free to end their relationship at any time.

    March 24th, 2008 at 11:19 am
  47. Student says:

    John: "What if a couple mutually agrees to have a so-called open marriage? Objectively speaking, is adultery within an "open marriage" wrong?

    If the couple both agrees then, no, I wouldn't consider it "wrong."

    *****************

    John: "The sexual act speaks a language of permanent, committed love—a language that two persons who are not married to each other are not capable of honestly speaking, for they have not yet made said commitment, and either of them is free to end their relationship at any time."

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, however, I wholeheartedly disgaree. The relationship I share with my partner has outlasted MOST of the marriages of our friends. We are very committed to one another and don't need a piece of paper from the state to prove same.

    ****************************

    John: "Remove the sexual act from the context of marriage and openness to the possibility of procreation, and anything is possible."

    Wow! You got my number and are clearly on to me. I'd write more, but I'm off to look for children and farm animals.

    March 24th, 2008 at 12:18 pm
  48. Student says:

    For clarification purposes, the last sentence of the prior post was sarcasm (I realize there are some who might not read it that way).

    March 24th, 2008 at 12:20 pm
  49. Paul2 says:

    Student,
    Are you uncomfortable answering post #43?

    March 24th, 2008 at 10:54 pm
  50. Roger says:

    It's been a while, but I'd like to respond with some information about STD's that I found from the CDC and from The Medical Institute. There's also a good video, available on YouTube in three parts, that talks about STD's today. (links at the bottom) I hope that you find this information helpful, sorry it is so long.

    Citizen mentioned two counter-points to my post:

    Also, in response to Roger's post, the majority of STD's are curable. The argument that they are not is clearly a scare tactic.

    Similarly, condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy and the spread of STD's. Any argument that posits otherwise is also a scare tactic.

    Well, I did a little research into this area. True enough, the CDC does say that some of the STDs are curable. Although it is interesting to note too that they also say for some of the STDs, that it is easier to re-infected once you've been infected once. But for other STD's there are NO cures.

    I would highly disagree with the "highly effective" statement. The effectiveness of condoms to prevent STD's is poor. The Medical Institute, quoted below, states that for most of the STD's the effectiveness is about 50%. This does not qualify as "highly effective".

    It is also interesting to note that for each of these STD's the best way to prevent it is to abstain from sexual relations or to only have one mutually exclusive partner. In addition, for Chlamydia the younger the female, the more susceptible she is to become infected.

    From The Medical Institute

    Can [Sexually Transmitted Infections] be prevented?
    Yes, STIs can be prevented. Avoid all sexual activity if you are single or be faithful to one uninfected partner for life. This is the only way to avoid the risk of an infection.

    There are also a number of ways to reduce the risk of infection. The fewer people you have sex with, the lower your your risk of getting STIs. Correct and consistent condom use can also reduce (but not eliminate) your risk of getting most STIs.

    Consistent condom use (100%) during vaginal sex reduces your risk for:

    • HIV by 85% [18-22]
    • Gonorrhea by about 50% [18,25-28]
    • Chlamydia by about 50% [18,25-28]
    • Herpes by about 50% [18,27-28]
    • Syphilis by about 50% [16,18,25-27]
    • HPV by 50% or less [18,22-24]

    Few studies have been done to see whether condoms reduce the risk of STIs, including HIV, during oral sex or anal sex.  Waiting to have sex until you are in a faithful, lifelong relationship (such as marriage) is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually.

    From Center for Disease Control – Genital HPV Infection – CDC Fact Sheet:

    "What is genital HPV infection?
    Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The virus infects the skin and mucous membranes. There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of men and women, including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), and anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, and rectum. You cannot see HPV. Most people who become infected with HPV do not even know they have it.

    How can people prevent HPV?
    A vaccine can now protect females from the four types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers and genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for 11 and 12 year-old girls. It is also recommended for girls and women age 13 through 26 who have not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series.

    For those who choose to be sexually active, condoms may lower the risk of HPV, if used all the time and the right way. Condoms may also lower the risk of developing HPV-related diseases, such as genital warts and cervical cancer. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom — so condoms may not fully protect against HPV. So the only sure way to prevent HPV is to avoid all sexual activity.

    Individuals can also lower their chances of getting HPV by being in a mutually faithful relationship with someone who has had no or few sex partners. However, even people with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV, if their partner was infected with HPV. For those who are not in long-term mutually monogamous relationships, limiting the number of sex partners and choosing a partner less likely to be infected may lower the risk of HPV. Partners less likely to be infected include those who have had no or few prior sex partners. But it may not be possible to determine if a partner who has been sexually active in the past is currently infected.

    Is there a treatment for HPV?

    There is no treatment for the virus itself, but a healthy immune system can usually fight off HPV naturally. There are treatments for the diseases that HPV can cause …

    From Center for Disease Control – Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet:

    How common is genital herpes?

    Results of a nationally representative study show that genital herpes infection is common in the United States. Nationwide, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five adolescents and adults, have had genital HSV infection. Over the past decade, the percent of Americans with genital herpes infection in the U.S. has decreased.

    Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of eight). This may be due to male-to-female transmission being more likely than female-to-male transmission.

    Is there a treatment for herpes?

    There is no treatment that can cure herpes, but antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy for symptomatic herpes can reduce transmission to partners.

    How can herpes be prevented?

    The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including genital herpes, is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.

    Genital ulcer diseases can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of genital herpes.

    Persons with herpes should abstain from sexual activity with uninfected partners when lesions or other symptoms of herpes are present. It is important to know that even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners. Sex partners of infected persons should be advised that they may become infected and they should use condoms to reduce the risk. Sex partners can seek testing to determine if they are infected with HSV. A positive HSV-2 blood test most likely indicates a genital herpes infection.

    From Center for Disease Control – Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet

    What is Chlamydia?

    Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman's reproductive organs. Even though symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that cause irreversible damage, including infertility, can occur "silently" before a woman ever recognizes a problem. Chlamydia also can cause discharge from the penis of an infected man.

    How do people get Chlamydia?

    Chlamydia can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Chlamydia can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal childbirth.

    Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. Because the cervix (opening to the uterus) of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured and is probably more susceptible to infection, they are at particularly high risk for infection if sexually active. Since chlamydia can be transmitted by oral or anal sex, men who have sex with men are also at risk for chlamydial infection.

    What is the treatment for Chlamydia?

    Chlamydia can be easily treated and cured with antibiotics. A single dose of azithromycin or a week of doxycycline (twice daily) are the most commonly used treatments. HIV-positive persons with chlamydia should receive the same treatment as those who are HIV negative.

    All sex partners should be evaluated, tested, and treated. Persons with chlamydia should abstain from sexual intercourse until they and their sex partners have completed treatment, otherwise re-infection is possible.

    Women whose sex partners have not been appropriately treated are at high risk for re-infection. Having multiple infections increases a woman's risk of serious reproductive health complications, including infertility. Retesting should be encouraged for women three to four months after treatment. This is especially true if a woman does not know if her sex partner received treatment.

    How can Chlamydia be prevented?

    The surest way to avoid transmission of STDs is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.

    Latex male condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of chlamydia.

    CDC recommends yearly chlamydia testing of all sexually active women age 25 or younger, older women with risk factors for chlamydial infections (those who have a new sex partner or multiple sex partners), and all pregnant women. An appropriate sexual risk assessment by a health care provider should always be conducted and may indicate more frequent screening for some women.

    Any genital symptoms such as an unusual sore, discharge with odor, burning during urination, or bleeding between menstrual cycles could mean an STD infection. If a woman has any of these symptoms, she should stop having sex and consult a health care provider immediately. Treating STDs early can prevent PID. Women who are told they have an STD and are treated for it should notify all of their recent sex partners (sex partners within the preceding 60 days) so they can see a health care provider and be evaluated for STDs. Sexual activity should not resume until all sex partners have been examined and, if necessary, treated.

    Here are links to some interesting video on the subject:
    Dr. Meg Meeker – The Rules Have Changed (part 1)
    Dr. Meg Meeker – The Rules Have Changed (part 2)
    Dr. Meg Meeker – The Rules Have Changed (part 3)

    For me, this information makes it clear that monogamous, lifelong relationships are the only 100% way to prevent the spread of these STDs. Everything else is just a "try" to prevent it. Perhaps those who promote "safe sex" or "safer sex" are not really, 100% serious in stopping the spread of STD's?

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 25th, 2008 at 1:18 pm
  51. Roger says:

    I wanted to throw out one more piece of information from the CDC for you to consider. The CDC states that for gonorrhea, new strains have formed for which there is no cure:

    From Center for Disease Control – Gonorrhea – CDC Fact Sheet:

    What is the treatment for gonorrhea?
    Several antibiotics can successfully cure gonorrhea in adolescents and adults. However, drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing in many areas of the world, including the United States, and successful treatment of gonorrhea is becoming more difficult. Because many people with gonorrhea also have chlamydia, another STD, antibiotics for both infections are usually given together. Persons with gonorrhea should be tested for other STDs.

    It is important to take all of the medication prescribed to cure gonorrhea. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. People who have had gonorrhea and have been treated can get the disease again if they have sexual contact with persons infected with gonorrhea. If a person’s symptoms continue even after receiving treatment, he or she should return to a doctor to be reevaluated.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 25th, 2008 at 1:39 pm
  52. jane ann says:

    Planned Parenthood provides testing and treatment for all the STDs and STIs Roger mentions, for both men and women, at affordable rates. They accept medical insurance and will bill on a sliding scale for those who do not have insurance coverage.

    While it's true that not all of these diseases are curable, Planned Parenthood also provides counseling for infected individuals to help them understand their options and the risks they may be sharing with their partners. It's very important for sexually active individuals to be tested for the diseases Roger has mentioned.

    March 25th, 2008 at 3:43 pm
  53. Roger says:

    Jane Ann,

    Testing and treatment is NOT prevention and cures. If we are serious about stopping the spread of STD's then we need to seriously consider – and implement – the preventative measures. There are two options: (1) abstinence or (2) a monogamous, lifelong partner.

    Planned Parenthood fights abstinence education. They promote an inferior, flawed way to stop the spread of STD's.

    The more sexual partners a person has, the more the STDs spread.

    Let's get serious. Not about treatment and testing, but about prevention and cure!

    Also, there are any number of medical clinics who will do STD testing. Among them are:

    (*) Sliding scale based on income
    (+) FREE to Kane County residents

    All of these provide STD testing and do not perform abortions, which Planned Parenthood thrive$ on.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 25th, 2008 at 4:08 pm
  54. Student says:

    Roger: "There are two options: (1) abstinence or (2) a monogamous, lifelong partner."

    Are you advocating legislating this?

    March 25th, 2008 at 7:11 pm
  55. Roger says:

    Student,

    No, I am not advocating legislating this. I am advocating promoting this as a superior option to "comprehensive sex ed" or the promotion of condoms as "safe sex" option.

    The type of "education" that Planned Parenthood promotes only leads to more sex with more partners. More sex with more partners leads to more STDs.

    And more sex leads to more abortions. More abortions means more money for Planned Parenthood.

    If Planned Parenthood is serious about stopping the spread of STDs, then they would promote this. Instead they promote condom use and more sex.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 25th, 2008 at 8:05 pm
  56. Student says:

    Thanks, Roger. I'm glad to hear that. I don't think the government has any place in the bedroom.

    I really don't care if PP provides sex ed or it comes from somewhere else — as long as it is COMPREHENSIVE. In my mind there's no problem with placing the emphasis on abstinance IF we give thorough education on sexuality.

    March 25th, 2008 at 8:19 pm
  57. Roger says:

    Student,

    So then, are you in agreement that the best way to stop the spread of STDs is to promote abstinence and monogamous, lifelong relationships?

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 25th, 2008 at 8:27 pm
  58. Student says:

    Roger,

    Absolutely I would agree that the "best way" to stop the spread of STDs is to promote abstinance. I would also agree that the "best way" to avoid being injured and/or killed in an automobile accident is to never get into a car. However, I don't think either is particularly practical.

    March 25th, 2008 at 8:58 pm
  59. Roger says:

    Student,

    So, we relegate to a lesser "solution", addressing only the symptoms of the problem, rather than the problem itself?

    I think we CAN do better. That we CAN live up to a better ideal. The only problem is that too many people don't think/believe this and settle for a "patch" rather than a cure.

    Wouldn't a cure for AIDS be worth it? With the approach I advocate, AIDS could be virtually wiped out in a generation or two.

    You say it's not "practical". Perhaps so, but I say that it CAN be done. It can be done through education and discipline/self-mastery.

    Let us put our efforts into the 100% prevention/cure, not into something that perpetuates the problem.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 25th, 2008 at 9:57 pm
  60. Student says:

    Roger,
    We can prevent ALL auto related injuries and deaths if we simply don't drive. Why not do that? After all, driving perpetuates the problem.

    We can avoid a lot of heart disease and weight issues if we ban McDonalds. Should we try that too? Eating this garbage perpetuates the problem.

    There are lots of people who do not share your views on sexuality and who do not think having only one partner over an entire lifetime a good thing. I wouldn't want to be the only person my partner has been with and, after asking him, he wouldn't want to be the only partner I'd ever experienced.

    Personally, I ALWAYS wear my seatbelt (significantly reduces my risk of injury/fatality if an accident occurs), I rarely eat fast food (significantly reduces my risk of heart disease and weight issues) and I ALWAYS make sure I'm safe when sexually active.

    March 26th, 2008 at 12:18 pm
  61. Erin says:

    Hey Student:

    I'm back, and following your very interesting thread with Roger. I find it interesting that in your last post you are back to "banning" McDonald's and "banning" driving when Roger clearly stated that he was not interested in legislating anything. He made it clear that he is interested in the best prevention for STDs, which is promotion of abstinence or a long-term monogamous lifestyle. And basically, you agreed, but said that was "impractical"?

    Why is abstinence or a long-term monogamous lifestyle not practical? In your opinion, is the ideal end-point of a relationship to become long-term and monogamous (either through marriage or "life partnership")?

    March 26th, 2008 at 5:14 pm
  62. Roger says:

    Student,

    Your counter arguments are weak. Esp. the "McDonalds" one. I assume you know this and were being facetious.

    As to sharing my views. Regardless of your views, and to that matter a lot of people also share my views, the information from the CDC is clear. More sexual partners means higher risk of STDs.

    Like it or not, this is true.

    Also, it is clear from the CDC information that the earlier a woman becomes sexually active, the more likely she is to contract at least one of the STDs – Chlamydia.

    You say that you ALWAYS make sure that you are safe when you have sex. So, you have had each of your sexual partners, and all of their partners, and all of their partners, etc. tested for STDs? From the CDC information, most people don't know that they are infected with an STD.

    And you ALWAYS make sure to use a condom? Even though with correct usage 100% of the time they are only 50% effective on many of the STDs?

    I think your "safe" sex concept is an illusion.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 26th, 2008 at 8:35 pm
  63. sasha says:

    I think safe sex depends on both parties involved, not just the woman. The man should also take the necessary precautions. And both parties involved should take the same measures. Common sense should say that sex is not a good idea when one person has an outbreak of, for example, herpes.

    March 27th, 2008 at 12:26 pm
  64. Roger says:

    Sasha,

    I think safe sex depends on both parties involved, not just the woman. The man should also take the necessary precautions. And both parties involved should take the same measures.

    I agree that both the man and woman are responsible. (As a man, I tend to feel that men are "more" responsible, as they should protect the woman they love, but I would not "advocate" this in general practice, nor is it a anti-feminist thing.)

    What "necessary precautions" are you advocating? I'm advocating abstinence and exclusive, lifelong partners. What are the precautions you feel are needed? What do you base this on?

    Common sense should say that sex is not a good idea when one person has an outbreak of, for example, herpes.

    Actually, a person can become infected by a person with herpes between outbreaks. So this "common sense" approach does no good. Here's some information from the Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet about this:

    Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection. … Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years.

    HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be found in and released from the sores that the viruses cause, but they also are released between outbreaks from skin that does not appear to have a sore. Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected.

    However, most individuals with HSV-2 infection never have sores, or they have very mild signs that they do not even notice or that they mistake for insect bites or another skin condition.

    Herpes may play a role in the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Herpes can make people more susceptible to HIV infection, and it can make HIV-infected individuals more infectious.

    There is no treatment that can cure herpes, but antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy for symptomatic herpes can reduce transmission to partners.

    The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including genital herpes, is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.

    Persons with herpes should abstain from sexual activity with uninfected partners when lesions or other symptoms of herpes are present. It is important to know that even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners. Sex partners of infected persons should be advised that they may become infected and they should use condoms to reduce the risk. Sex partners can seek testing to determine if they are infected with HSV. A positive HSV-2 blood test most likely indicates a genital herpes infection.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 27th, 2008 at 2:17 pm
  65. sasha says:

    Roger,
    First of all let me say that Iam not trying to be critical, I am just trying to say what I think matters to me and what I would want from my partner if I were sexually active. I would want my partner to at least have the common courtesy to let me know beforehand if he had an STD.

    I used herpes as an example of using common sense when you have sex and how both parties should think before they act, so to speak.

    I do agree in advocating abstinence, and a lifelong partner, but I also think that if abstinence and a lifelong partner are not what you choose, then there should be something you should do to protect yourself.
    Personally, I am opposed to birth control.
    I now have two questions for you:
    #1: What do you mean when you ask me what I base my stand for necessary precautions on ? ( Idid not understand your question and would like it clarified, please.)
    #2 Do you advocate condom use? Just curious.

    March 27th, 2008 at 4:40 pm
  66. Roger says:

    Sasha,

    Thanks for your response.

    (#1) What I meant, or was trying to ask was for the precautions that you thought necessary, what was your basis – the information you relied upon to make that decision. Is it from health classes, or internet research or what?

    I raised this question because of the idea of "common sense". In that common sense does not always help one out. In the case of herpes, which you used and I continued the use of, common sense might say, if I have no signs of herpes, aka no "outbreak", then I can have relations. But this does not prevent the spread of the infection to your partner.

    (#2) This might be a longer answer and better for another discussion thread but here goes…

    No, I do not advocate condom use. I am opposed to artificial birth control. I oppose them because they are ultimately not loving of the other person.

    To me, the giving of oneself to another needs to be a total gift, if it is to be "love", as opposed to "use". I have relations with a person because I love them, not because they make me feel good. (Although there is nothing wrong with feeling good.)

    When you use birth control, you withhold a part of yourself from the other. You withhold your fertility.

    I advocate for NOT using birth control because I think it is better, more loving. I understand that not everyone thinks this way, and I would not advocate "legislating" this in any way. (Nor would I advocate legislating pharmacists to dispense birth control or "morning after" pills as Illinois has done through Gov. Blagojevich.)

    My views on this have been formed by my faith and my church. Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body and his book Love and Responsibility summarized here have much more to say about this and more elegantly that I can.

    With that said, my arguments above on not advocating condom use are not based on my religious or moral beliefs, but upon scientific and health data. For every STD, the best way to prevent becoming infected, as identified by the CDC is abstinence and monogamous, lifelong partners.

    The fact that my moral values, religious beliefs and the scientific data all lead to the same conclusion is just an added bonus for me.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 27th, 2008 at 9:32 pm
  67. Roger says:

    One additional thing…

    I DO recognize that condom usage can reduce the spread of some STDs. If you are not abstinent or in a mutually exclusive, lifelong relationship, I suppose some level of reduction of risk is better. But it's also a little like playing Russian Roulette. It's better not to play, as the consequences are too serious.

    For persons whose sexual behaviors place them at risk for STDs, correct and consistent use of the male latex condom can reduce the risk of STD transmission. However, no protective method is 100 percent effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD.

    From a CDC publication: Male Latex Condoms
    and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

    God Bless,
    Roger

    March 27th, 2008 at 10:04 pm
  68. John Jansen says:

    Not impertinent to the ongoing discussion here is a devastating critique of primarily condom-based AIDS prevention programs in Africa in the current issue of First Things ("AIDS and the Churches: Getting the Story Right").

    (It's also worth noting that one of the authors of said article, Edward Green, is the director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies; the other author, Allison Herling Ruark, is a research fellow there.)

    Of particular note from the article:

    Consider this fact: In every African country in which HIV infections have declined, this decline has been associated with a decrease in the proportion of men and women reporting more than one sex partner over the course of a year—which is exactly what fidelity programs promote. The same association with HIV decline cannot be said for condom use, coverage of HIV testing, treatment for curable sexually transmitted infections, provision of antiretroviral drugs, or any other intervention or behavior. The other behavior that has often been associated with a decline in HIV prevalence is a decrease in premarital sex among young people.

    If AIDS prevention is to be based on evidence rather than ideology or bias, then fidelity and abstinence programs need to be at the center of programs for general populations. Outside Uganda, we have few good models of how to promote fidelity, since attempts to advocate deep changes in behavior have been almost entirely absent from programs supported by the major Western donors and by AIDS celebrities. Yet Christian churches—indeed, most faith communities—have a comparative advantage in promoting the needed types of behavior change, since these behaviors conform to their moral, ethical, and scriptural teachings. What the churches are inclined to do anyway turns out to be what works best in AIDS prevention.

    And:

    In fact, the mainstream HIV/AIDS community has continued to champion condom use as critical in all types of HIV epidemics, in spite of the evidence. While high rates of condom use have contributed to fewer infections in some high-risk populations (prostitutes in concentrated epidemics, for instance), the situation among Africa’s general populations remains much different. It has been clearly established that few people outside a handful of high-risk groups use condoms consistently, no matter how vigorously condoms are promoted. Inconsistent condom usage is ineffective—and actually associated with higher HIV infection rates due to “risk compensation,” the tendency to take more sexual risks out of a false sense of personal safety that comes with using condoms some of the time. A UNAIDS-commissioned 2004 review of evidence for condom use concluded, “There are no definite examples yet of generalized epidemics that have been turned back by prevention programs based primarily on ­condom promotion.” A 2000 article in The Lancet similarly stated, “Massive increases in condom use world-wide have not translated into demonstrably improved HIV control in the great majority of countries where they have occurred.”

    And:

    Thus far, research has produced no evidence that condom promotion—or indeed any of the range of risk-reduction interventions popular with donors—has had the desired impact on HIV-infection rates at a population level in high-prevalence generalized epidemics. This is true for treatment of sexually ­transmitted infections, voluntary counseling and ­testing, diaphragm use, use of experimental vaginal microbicides, safer-sex counseling, and even income-­generation projects. The interventions relying on these measures have failed to decrease HIV-infection rates, whether implemented singly or as a package. One recent randomized, controlled trial in Zimbabwe found that even possible synergies that might be achieved through “integrated implementation” of “control strategies” had no impact in slowing new infections at the population level. In fact, in this trial there was a somewhat higher rate of new infections in the intervention group compared to the control group.

    Meanwhile, the other interventions that have generally been called “best practices” simply do not seem to work in generalized epidemics, even though they are still applauded loudly at global AIDS conferences, while mention of fidelity and abstinence is received by booing, as Bill Gates discovered at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto in 2006. If we are to progress beyond science-by-popular-acclaim, we must accept that the evidence is much stronger for fidelity or partner reduction than for any of the standard-package HIV-prevention measures—in Africa at least—and so we need to rethink and reprogram AIDS-prevention interventions.

    Admittedly, changing direction is hard when there has been massive investment in these “best practices.” It is not in the interest of a multibillion-dollar global AIDS industry to endorse interventions that are low-cost and homegrown and that rely on simple behavior change rather than medical products or services provided by outside experts. And so the major donors of AIDS programs continue to do the same things, expecting different results.

    Ah, yes— the Bullwinkle approach.

    March 28th, 2008 at 10:22 am
  69. sasha says:

    Roger,
    Thanks for answering my questions.
    First of all, I base my precautions on several things;
    What I have learned in health class, from articles that I read, and from talking to others.

    I asked if you advocated condom use because I myself am still undecided about the issue and thought that maybe your opinion cuold help me shed a little light on the subject , so to speak.

    March 29th, 2008 at 2:02 pm
  70. sasha says:

    Roger,
    I have also learned quite a bit about this from listening to both sides of th topic.
    From the people going in and the people praying outside. Each side has their own unique opinion.

    March 29th, 2008 at 2:07 pm
  71. Professor says:

    The questions raised in this forum are very relevant ones for me. I have a 12 year old daughter who will certainly be going through puberty soon. What advice would I give to her?

    1) Know your biology. In other words, know about the diseases and risks of having sex. Know how to prevent pregnancy and avoid STDs. Know about both male and female biology.

    2) Know your body. This includes self-exploration through masturbation, and use of mirrors to see how the general biology applies in her case.

    3) Know how to relate to others as equals. This means learning how to communicate desires and fears as well as listening to their desires and fears.

    4) Know yourself. This includes knowing her own motivations, and ultimate goals as well as how specific actions can impact her future. It includes knowing whether she wants to have children, knowing whether she wants to marry, knowing whether she wants to be monogamous, knowing what career she wants, etc.

    5) Never have sex because she feels she 'has to'. If and when she has sex, I want her to *want* to have sex and not because she wants to 'keep' a partner.

    6) Don't marry the first person you have sex with. In fact, have several partners before you even consider getting married. This is part of learning who you are and what you want. It is also part of learning how to relate to others and leads to happier relationships in the long run (my belief).

    7) Always feel free to discuss fears, concerns, hopes, etc about *any* subject, including potential partners, etc with me.

    April 5th, 2008 at 9:15 am
  72. Professor says:

    o me, the giving of oneself to another needs to be a total gift, if it is to be "love", as opposed to "use". I have relations with a person because I love them, not because they make me feel good. (Although there is nothing wrong with feeling good.)
    ——–

    I strongly disagree with this. The choice to have children is an immense one and should not be taken lightly. The responsibility of bringing another person into the world, feeding them, educating them, etc. is HUGE. People should be able to express their love for each other sexually without the fear that this will lead to a pregnancy and the resulting responsibilities. It is not 'use' do so, it is real love.

    For example, *neither* I nor my partner want to have more children. Ever. But we will not give up the bonding that results from a healthy sexual relationship. Because of that, I have had a vasectomy, so that pregnancy is not a risk we have to face. That, again, is love, not 'use'. While you might consider this as 'withholding fertility', that is *exactly* what both of us want in our relationship. It is no more 'use' than refusing to give someone nuts who is allergic to them or respecting a partners wishes when it comes to any other endeavor.

    April 5th, 2008 at 9:29 am
  73. Erin says:

    "People should be able to express their love for each other sexually without the fear that this will lead to a pregnancy and the resulting responsibilities."

    Professor:

    Now, sometimes wouldn't that be nice–not to have to worry about pregnancy. There are times when I don't want to get pregnant, like right after my son was born or even right now when I am waiting for an adoption placement. Of course, my husband and I still express our physical love and take precautions as we see fit, but I still get a little nervous when it comes time to find out if I'm pregnant or not every month.

    But to say you "should be able" to not have any "fear" about pregnancy–like its a right or something–is really ridiculous.People should be able to express their love for each other sexually without the fear that this will lead to a pregnancy and the resulting responsibilities. Pregnancy is a natural result of having sex. That's like saying I "should be able" to eat cake for every meal without "having fear" that I'll gain a ton of weight. Actions have consequences. A consequence of eating a lot of cake (depending on your metabolism) would be weight gain. A consequence of having sex (depending on your fertility) would be pregnancy.

    Is the ability to have sex without getting pregnant a "right"? If it is, then conversely getting pregnant exactly when you want to is a "right" too, right? How exactly to you intend to preserve the "right" of everyone to get pregnant or not get pregnant exactly as they want to all the time?

    April 5th, 2008 at 11:04 am
  74. truthseeker says:

    Professor says:
    2) Know your body. This includes self-exploration through masturbation, and use of mirrors to see how the general biology applies in her case.
    ******

    Professor, my 12 year old mentioned hearing about masturbation at school the other day and I discussed it "briefly" with her and let her know some people arouse themselves by touching their own privates. She actually was somewhat disgusted about it.

    Are you really going to encourage your daughter to "explore" masturbation? Once upon a time I threw a perverted ex-father-in-law out of his house and came very close to leaving him bloodied on the sidewalk for "showing" my brother-in-law (fourteen at the time) about masturbation.

    April 5th, 2008 at 11:38 am
  75. truthseeker says:

    6) Don't marry the first person you have sex with. In fact, have several partners before you even consider getting married. This is part of learning who you are and what you want. It is also part of learning how to relate to others and leads to happier relationships in the long run (my belief).
    *******

    Professor, you seem to be confused. One post says you tell your daughter to be concerned about STD's and another says you encourage her to have multiple partners. That is irrational. IMO you are really setting your daughter up for misery and unhappiness. You stress to her how important it is to find partners who can bring her "pleasure", so she practices masturbation and sex with multiple partners. You now have her exposing herself to STD's and possible unwanted pregnacy. And you'll have taught her that she need not stay commited to a relationship if that partner should become unable to "get her off" the way she likes it. What exactly are the "benefits" of this strategy?

    April 5th, 2008 at 12:26 pm
  76. Student says:

    Erin,
    I don't think Professor said anything about a right "to" get pregnant. That's an issue of biology. As to "not" getting pregnant, he said he's had a vasectomy so my thoughts would be that yes, in fact, he should not have to worry about impregnating a partner. Again, a simple issue of biology….if sperm can't get through it certainly makes the fertilization of the egg pretty difficult.

    April 5th, 2008 at 2:40 pm
  77. Professor says:

    You say:
    Now, sometimes wouldn't that be nice–not to have to worry about pregnancy. There are times when I don't want to get pregnant, like right after my son was born or even right now when I am waiting for an adoption placement. Of course, my husband and I still express our physical love and take precautions as we see fit, but I still get a little nervous when it comes time to find out if I'm pregnant or not every month.
    ————————–
    I say:
    I'm sure you do. Precautions, as in birth control, can drastically decrease that nervousness. I encourage you to avail yourself of the technology.
    ————————–
    You say:
    But to say you "should be able" to not have any "fear" about pregnancy–like its a right or something–is really ridiculous.People should be able to express their love for each other sexually without the fear that this will lead to a pregnancy and the resulting responsibilities. Pregnancy is a natural result of having sex. That's like saying I "should be able" to eat cake for every meal without "having fear" that I'll gain a ton of weight. Actions have consequences. A consequence of eating a lot of cake (depending on your metabolism) would be weight gain. A consequence of having sex (depending on your fertility) would be pregnancy.
    ——————————————-

    I say:
    And we *have* birth control methods that will drastically decrease the chances that you will get pregnant. They are not free, although I like the idea of making them as cheap as possible. I also encourage those who don't want children to use this birth control (if they want children in the future) or get sterilized (if they don't).

    If we ever develop a method whereby we can eat cake and NOT get fat, I would support people's right to choose to use it. Would you? Or is it just some type of punishment for someone to get fat?
    —————————————-
    You say:
    Is the ability to have sex without getting pregnant a "right"? If it is, then conversely getting pregnant exactly when you want to is a "right" too, right? How exactly to you intend to preserve the "right" of everyone to get pregnant or not get pregnant exactly as they want to all the time?
    —————————————–
    I say:
    Since we don't, as yet, have the technology to make people fertile whenever they want, it's somewhat difficult for that to be a right. We *do* have the technology to make it *far* less likely that they will get pregnant. Yes, I would consider this a basic right: to not *have* to be pregnant simply because you are sexual when we have the technology to prevent it.

    April 5th, 2008 at 2:50 pm
  78. Professor says:

    You say:
    Professor, my 12 year old mentioned hearing about masturbation at school the other day and I discussed it "briefly" with her and let her know some people arouse themselves by touching their own privates. She actually was somewhat disgusted about it.
    ———————————–
    I say:
    A completely age-appropriate response, actually. Now, what will you do when she is 17 and asks the same question? Will you expect the same response?
    —————————————-
    You say:
    Are you really going to encourage your daughter to "explore" masturbation? Once upon a time I threw a perverted ex-father-in-law out of his house and came very close to leaving him bloodied on the sidewalk for "showing" my brother-in-law (fourteen at the time) about masturbation.
    —————————————
    I say:
    'Showing' is far, far, different than making sure that she has the resources to understand how her body works, to learn about techniques that others have found to work for them, and discussing it when she has questions. I am *certainly* not suggesting a 'show and tell', although having good literature for her to read is on the agenda.

    April 5th, 2008 at 2:53 pm
  79. Professor says:

    You say:
    Professor, you seem to be confused. One post says you tell your daughter to be concerned about STD's and another says you encourage her to have multiple partners. That is irrational. IMO you are really setting your daughter up for misery and unhappiness. You stress to her how important it is to find partners who can bring her "pleasure", so she practices masturbation and sex with multiple partners. You now have her exposing herself to STD's and possible unwanted pregnacy. And you'll have taught her that she need not stay commited to a relationship if that partner should become unable to "get her off" the way she likes it. What exactly are the "benefits" of this strategy?
    ——————————
    I say:
    First, I would make sure that she knows the types of STDs that exist, their symptoms, and how and whether they can be treated. I'd also teach her that *talking* with prospective partners about their sexual history and making an informed judgment for herself about the risks she wants to take is essential. However, one does not learn about one's own sexual responsiveness completely with only one partner. The 'benefits' of lifelong monogamy are *far* outweighed, in my mind, by the sexual and mental health obtained by not restricting to that first partner.

    Yes, of course, multiple partners carries risks. I would want her to judge those risks for herself and decide when and if she wants to take those risks. But risks are part of life: every time we get behind the wheel of a car, there is a (big) risk of dying. That is not sufficient reason to give up driving. Neither do I consider the risks of STDs and pregnancy to be prohibitive *when proper precautions are taken*. That means using birth control. It means being able to talk to prospective partners (always a good thing even if (especially if) marriage is in the future).

    As for staying committed to a relationship: by knowing what she likes and how to masturbate, I think this *drastically* increases the chances that a relationship will be satisfying in the long term, so that she isn't trapped in a bad relationship (which way too many people are). She would also know the relative importance of 'getting off' as opposed to having a caring partner, financial stability, a good career, etc. Then she can make the decisions for herself.

    April 5th, 2008 at 3:05 pm
  80. truthseeker says:

    Prof,
    *drastically* is a good way t puty it.
    "Appropraite" literature…a lot of perverts use porn as their "appropriate" literature. If your daughter "share" the "literature" you Child molesters and sexual predators have that same mindset. They convince themselves and their victims that they are actually "benefitting" the sexual of your daughter cause they care more experienced and can share that experience with your daughter. Most would not consider that to be responsible parenting. You sayb the benefits of multiple sexual experinces *far* outweighs the negative consequences. Wow, I hope other parents know what goes on at your house. You are entitled to your "opinion" but know your ideas are way outside the mainstream of siociety who understand that minors are not capable of comprehending the long term consequences of being sexually active. People like you are the reason I have to be afraid to let my daughter go over to her friends house after school unless I know the parent on a personal level.

    April 5th, 2008 at 10:02 pm
  81. Professor says:

    You say:
    *drastically* is a good way t puty it.
    "Appropraite" literature…a lot of perverts use porn as their "appropriate" literature. If your daughter "share" the "literature" you Child molesters and sexual predators have that same mindset. They convince themselves and their victims that they are actually "benefitting" the sexual of your daughter cause they care more experienced and can share that experience with your daughter. Most would not consider that to be responsible parenting. You sayb the benefits of multiple sexual experinces *far* outweighs the negative consequences. Wow, I hope other parents know what goes on at your house. You are entitled to your "opinion" but know your ideas are way outside the mainstream of siociety who understand that minors are not capable of comprehending the long term consequences of being sexually active. People like you are the reason I have to be afraid to let my daughter go over to her friends house after school unless I know the parent on a personal level.
    —————————————-
    And if any treatment of sexuality is seen as porn by you folk, then who has the real problem? I am NOT suggesting looking at pornography with my daughter. I AM suggesting that she understand that women more often achieve orgasm by some methods than by others. I actually expect her mom will discuss this with her (which I see as much more appropriate) or that we will buy some books for her to read (Our Bodies, Ourselves is still out there and still gives good information).

    What, exactly, do you think 'goes on in my house'? You seem to think that I'm just some leering pervert trying to get off on my daughters sexuality. This is the farthest thing from the truth. That you default to this only shows how sick and dirty minded YOU are. I just want her to have a healthy and happy sex life, where SHE gets to make her own decisions and live life to the fullest for HER. That includes giving her age appropriate information when she asks for it. It includes making sure she knows the risks of various behaviors (STDs, pregnancy) and how to lessen the risks. It includes teaching her responsibility and how to talk frankly with others.

    I would suggest that she not marry the first person she has sex with: it is just too much of an emotional gamble with too little information going in. Instead, she should learn who she is, how she responds, and find someone that she meshes with, not just sexually, but in many other ways. I would encourage her to have a positive attitude towards sexuality rather than one of hiding it and being ashamed of it.

    April 5th, 2008 at 10:59 pm
  82. truthseeker says:

    You ask me what I think goes on at your house. If I take you at your word then I can see "kids" using your place as an after school hangout where they engage in sexual exploration. Sounds like I should be concerned if you live in my area.

    April 5th, 2008 at 11:53 pm
  83. Student says:

    Truthseeker,
    I got my period at age 14 and thought I had cancer. My parents didn't have any discussions with me about how my body worked and I was petrified. My gym teacher gave me a copy of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" which my mother deemed "pornographic." I think it's much better to give kids age appropriate information than to keep them in the dark.

    Given your responses to Professor, I'd be far more concerned that kids would use your place for "sexual exploration." It sounds like his daughter won't need that as she has parents who will actually discuss these things with her so she won't be forced to get her information from friends. I pity your children…..my guess is they'll end up with an STD or an unwanted pregnancy long before Professor's daughter. No wonder you want to push for parental notification….I'm sure your kids wouldn't talk to you if they found themselves in trouble.

    Also, I had assumed that calling someone a pervert and a child molester were against the terms of blog. Guess that only applies to folks who don't tow the PL line.

    April 6th, 2008 at 7:03 am
  84. Professor says:

    You said:
    You ask me what I think goes on at your house. If I take you at your word then I can see "kids" using your place as an after school hangout where they engage in sexual exploration. Sounds like I should be concerned if you live in my area.
    —————————
    Then you completely misunderstand my position. Kids *will* find places to explore, whether it is under a bush, or at a parents house. What I want is for my daughter to be *informed* about her biology, the risks of sexual exploration (so she can take appropriate steps when she *does* explore), and know that she should only do it when *she* is ready, not when someone is pushing for it.

    Do I think 12 is *way* too early to be having sex? You betcha. You I think it's too early to be talking about the biology of it and the risks involved? No way! Do I think it's too early to start teaching negotiation and communication skills? No, in fact it is probably rather late. Will I think she is 'dirty' or that I have failed in some way if she becomes sexual at 16 or 17 and takes reasonable precautions? No.

    I would bet that my daughter is *far* less likely to become a teen mother than yours. I bet that mine is far less likely to get an STD than yours. I bet that mine is less likely to engage in heavy petting than yours. Why do I think this? Because my daughter, unlike yours, will know how the information to makes intelligent decisions, while yours will be stuck with a 'head in the sand' mentality that, once broken, will leave her clueless. This, by the way, is what happens when 'abstinence only' programs are adopted: the age of first sex is delayed by the programs, but the rates of pregnancy and STD is increased.

    My daughter, like yours, is not interested in masturbation or becoming sexual at this time. But I can assure you that both will go through puberty in the next few years. I'd much rather that my daughter be informed and mentally prepared rather than be told 'just say no'.

    April 6th, 2008 at 7:27 am
  85. truthseeker says:

    Student,
    I did not call Prof a child molester or a pervert. I said that child molesters and perverts convince themselves what they are doing is helping the kids they molest by teaching them about their sexuality and denying any harm they are actually causing to the child.
    You can pity my kids if you want, but I necer had to show my daughter graphic examples of masturbation and she came to us (her parents) as soon as she heard about it. I am sorry you thought you had cancer. It sounds like something was lacking in your relationship with your parents if you were afraid to go to your mother cause you had cancer. And teaching a girl about her period is a "far cry" from teaching her sexual exploration so she can learn the best techniques. All I can say is WOW.

    And I beg to differ about what could/would go in in my house. Other parents know that kids in my house are watched over by responsible adults who do not allow "sexual exploration" between minors. No teen sex of "any" kind in my house. If that worries you then
    we just have a realy,really,really dramatic difference of opinion in how to best keep our children healthy as adolescents.

    April 6th, 2008 at 10:34 am
  86. truthseeker says:

    Prof, I am glad to hear that you would not allow adolescent sexual exploration in your house. We are in agreement about wanting our children to avoid unwanted pregnancy. We also agree that supervision and "daily" interaction with our kids is of first and foremost importance to keeping them healthy. Like I said, my relationship with my child is close enough where they DO come to me with questions about life. No subject is taboo. I know parent/child relationships are unique and what is best for one environment is not going to be best for everybody. I had already taught my daughter about her "private parts" etc, but I did not have to teach my daughter about sexual exploration etc., and she came to me about when she heard about masturbation at school. She learns about the consequences of being sexually active when we all go together and march at pro-life rallys outside of abortion clinics. She sees the pregnant teens going into that House of Horrors. She knows that those buildings are as close to the gates of hell as you can get here on earth and her witness outside those clinics leaves her with a deep sorrow for those sexually active teens whose desire for sexual stimulation has put them in a situation where they are deciding to kill the the baby that is growing inside of them.

    Does your daughter really understand what abortion is?
    Do you teach her about pregnancy and the stages of human developement? Has she ever seen an ultrasound? Do you educate her that pumping her body full of hormones for any reason is not in and of itself healthy? Do you tell her that the jury is still out on the possible negative side effects of administering high doses of artificial hormones into her body on a regular basis.

    My children have these understandings. My children have seen "first hand" the repercussioins sexually active adolescents (wether on birth control or not) are facing on a daily basis. I submit to you that this part of education, though difficult for a child to grasp, is effective in deterring unwanted pregnancies.
    And best of all, there really are NO negative effects. I prefer to teach my children that "seeking" sexual arousement is what most often causes these uninteded/unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

    April 6th, 2008 at 11:20 am
  87. Student says:

    Truthseeker: "If your daughter "share" the "literature" you Child molesters and sexual predators have that same mindset."

    Your sentence, as written, implied that Professor was a child molester and/or sexual predator. Perhaps that was not your intent, however, it IS what you stated.

    April 6th, 2008 at 1:30 pm
  88. Erin says:

    Professor:

    "I'm sure you do. Precautions, as in birth control, can drastically decrease that nervousness. I encourage you to avail yourself of the technology."

    Well, that was patronizing. When did I ever say that I didn't use birth control? When did I ever say that I didn't believe in birth control? When did I ever say that I was uninformed about the latest in birth control? In fact, I do use birth control (though not anything that affects implantation, since I believe that life begins at conception). And I still get nervous every month because having sex can still get you pregnant unless you have had a surgery for sterilization. The fear from which you think your 12-year-old and I and every woman out there has a "right" to be free is there because sex can lead to pregnancy. Cause and effect. That's all I'm saying. Your world view is giving you the idea that biology should be under your complete control when that is not possible. There are causes and effects in this world. There are actions and consequences.

    I have learned, through an unusual past couple of years that included a period of infertility and then an unplanned pregnancy at an inopportune moment, that we as human beings cannot completely control our reproduction. We can't get pregnant whenever we want
    and we can't NOT get pregnant whenever we want. That is not the way people are made. There are no "rights" when it comes to this, there is nothing that we "deserve". That is why what you are saying is driving me crazy. We don't have control over it on either side. You can't take a pill and make it all better. This control that you think we all "ought" to have is an illusion that leads to extreme depression if it takes the form of infertility or denial, inability to cope, and (potentially) a feeling of entitlement to destroy inconvenient life if it takes the form of unplanned pregnancy.

    "If we ever develop a method whereby we can eat cake and NOT get fat, I would support people's right to choose to use it. Would you? Or is it just some type of punishment for someone to get fat?"

    I am not talking about punishment. I am talking about cause and effect. I chose eating because it seemed an easy illustration of cause and effect, but pregnancy/life issues cannot be adequately described by any illustration because they are unique unto themselves. Pregnancy is not a punishment, it is an effect based on a choice that you have made. Having sex can lead to pregnancy. It's just a truth. I understand the stats on birth control, I know that they "drastically lower your chances" etc. But, short of sterilization, you can still get pregnant on birth control. Cause would be sex, effect would be pregnancy. There is not "right" to be free from the effect of your actions.

    April 6th, 2008 at 2:33 pm
  89. Student says:

    Erin,
    My interpretation of Professor's issue with Roger's statement was he didn't believe that by "withholding fertility" (i.e., getting sterilized) one is "using" their partner. Do you believe that if two people do not want children and one gets sterilized that they are somehow then simply "using" each other as opposed to having a loving relationship?

    April 6th, 2008 at 3:24 pm
  90. Erin says:

    No. If conception does not take place, then this is not a life issue. Roger and I disagree on this point.

    I am saying that actions have consequences, that you can't avoid cause and effect when it comes to many issues in life including pregnancy, that when you make choices you have to understand that you have a responsibility to handle those consequences. A possible consequence of sex is pregnancy, and you have a responsibility to handle that consequence–the life that has been placed in your care–and not escape into panic and denial.

    April 6th, 2008 at 3:38 pm
  91. Erin says:

    If, for example, someone's surgical sterilization didn't "take" that does not give them a carte blanch to have an abortion. We all know that sex can lead to pregnancy, that pregnancy houses a new life, and that the parents are responsible for that new life even if its creation was not the "intended" consequence of their actions.

    April 6th, 2008 at 3:43 pm
  92. Student says:

    Erin,
    But you don't believe sterilization has anything to do with "use" or "love" during intercourse between a couple? Correct?

    I'm not sure what you mean by "carte blanch to have an abortion." It is almost statistically impossible for me to become pregnant due to a number of factors, however, doing so would seriously endanger my health. However, I am not willing to give up sex with my partner. There is no question in my mind that I would follow the advice of my gynecologist and have an abortion if I were to become pregnant.

    April 6th, 2008 at 5:06 pm
  93. Erin says:

    Student:

    What I mean with the "carte blanch" thing is just because you didn't intend to get pregnant, and you took every precaution not to get pregnant, doesn't mean that somehow you deserve not to be pregnant–that you really don't have to deal with it because its not your fault.

    We've already established that you and I have a fundamentally different world view on the subject of conception. I believe that life begins at conception. 40 weeks, or much less (as little as 21 for viability I think) and there is a little girl or guy in this world that anyone would agree deserves to be nutured, treated for medical needs, and generally speaking not killed. What's the difference before that? Merely time. All the pieces are in place. All they need is time. It's already that little baby.

    So, although I don't automatically find sterilization immoral, I do find what you are describing to be immoral. If, despite all your efforts not to get pregnant you find yourself pregnant, then you would automatically opt for abortion. No chance for this little one. You didn't intend to have a baby, so a baby WILL NOT be born. End of story. For me, that's way crossing the line regarding birth control.

    I realize that you have medical conditions, as you have mentioned. If I were in that situation, then I, too, would most likely opt for a tubal ligation. But once you are pregnant, if conception (unlikely as it is) occurs, then there is another human being that needs and deserves consideration, another human being that needs and deserves to be given a chance at life, another human being with a life as valuable as your own. You can't just ignore that.

    April 6th, 2008 at 7:42 pm
  94. Student says:

    Erin,
    I beg to differ. There are three other "little people" (although they're not so "little" any more) that I brought into the world that I do have a responsibility toward. If something were to happen to me (highly likely in the event of a pregnancy, their lives would be significantly disrupted. That is where my responsibility lies.

    I'm sorry, I just don't see a fertilized egg or an embryo in the same way as I see a fully formed child (or a fetus even somewhat close to viability). I read an article just today where even the Catholic leadership won't back the "life begins at conception" line of thought. If the RCC leadership won't go there (and, in my view, they tend to be a bit extreme anyway), I don't think the average American will either.

    April 6th, 2008 at 7:58 pm
  95. Erin says:

    Student,

    When does human life start to have value? At implantation? At the earliest known viability (21 weeks)? At birth?

    Why does human life have value? You state that your life is more valuable than that of a fetus or embryo because you have three kids that need you. Is that why you as a human being have value, because people need you? Did you have less value before you had kids, because fewer people needed you?

    April 6th, 2008 at 9:31 pm
  96. Brian says:

    Actually, student, that article doesn't say that Catholic leaders won't back the life begins at conception "line of thought." It says that for practical reasons, the Montana bishops won't back that line of politics. I think that they're wrong on that point politically, but Catholic leaders are fully behind the line of thought (that is, biology) that life begins at conception.

    April 6th, 2008 at 10:59 pm
  97. Student says:

    Erin,

    No, I don’t think my life has more value simply because there are people who are dependent on me, nor do I have more value because I have children. However, my life (and that of anyone else who has been born) certainly has more value than that of a zygote. Why would something that more closely resembles a tadpole than a human, has no higher brain function, no sensation of pain, no thoughts, no awareness, etc. have the same value as a fully formed human being who does? In my mind, there’s simply no comparison.

    If your daughter (I think I remember you saying you had a boy and girl – my apologies if I have this wrong) were to become pregnant at an early age and, due to other medical problems, was told if she continued her pregnancy it would kill her, are you telling me that you would insist that she do so? Most parents would not – they would see the value of the life of their child (already here – conscious, aware, etc.) as having significantly more value than that of a 4 week embryo.

    April 7th, 2008 at 8:07 am
  98. Erin says:

    Yes, I have a boy and a girl, you remember correctly.

    The "little guy" doesn't have a tadpole's DNA, its not growing every day into what everyone will recognize as a frog. Its human. Whether or not you agree that its a baby, let's at least agree that the "little guy" is a human being with human DNA and not a tadpole. You say human life has no value as a zygote or an embryo. When then? When does life start to have value?

    We've been over "life of the mother" before, and below is a copy of my post from March 19 on that subject. The first paragraph was about that mysterious jar full of embryos that was in a fiery room with a 2-year-old, and I was supposed to decide who to save. I start here with the second paragraph from that post.

    Now, a "life of the mother" abortion is not such an extreme situation. Such an abortion would be recommended by doctors and specialists after tests and diagnoses that could take several days or weeks. There is no immediacy to act now or lose everyone as there is in a fire. There is time to figure out a plan where everyone can escape with their lives. There is time to remember that all human beings, no matter their stage of development, are people who cannot be cast aside and forgotten just to make things easier. "Life of the mother" abortion is much more akin to separating conjoined twins than to the fire scenario. Do you pick the larger one and say "oh, well" about the other one that has been killed, or do you do everything possible to save both?

    I found the following 1967 quote from Dr. Alan Guttmacher, pro-abortionist and former head of Planned Parenthood, on the American Life League website: "Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save life." If this was true in 1967, how much more so is it now? Recent news hitting the pro-life blogs is that doctors are not longer recommending abortion as the exclusive option should a pregnant mother be diagnosed with cancer–there are so many other treatments that could save both mother and baby. We are making great strides in health care, yet continue to hide behind "life of the mother" when all we mean is "let's make this easier by taking one life out of the equation."

    April 7th, 2008 at 9:06 am
  99. Erin says:

    Oh, and I'd still like to know why your life has value. It's not just because you have people who love and need you…why then?

    April 7th, 2008 at 9:07 am
  100. Roger says:

    Student wrote in Post #94:

    I read an article just today where even the Catholic leadership won't back the "life begins at conception" line of thought.

    This is deceptive and untrue. Reading the text of the article will show you that the church was not equivocating on the "life at conception" line of teaching, to which she, the church, has always held, but on the merits of the legislation.

    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: #2270

    "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life."

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 7th, 2008 at 11:53 am
  101. Roger says:

    Student wrote:

    "I'm sorry, I just don't see a fertilized egg or an embryo in the same way as I see a fully formed child (or a fetus even somewhat close to viability)."

    "I just don't see" – This is precisely the problem with the "pro-choice" position.

    Let's pray for better, clearer vision.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 7th, 2008 at 11:58 am
  102. Roger says:

    Professor,

    You said:

    "I strongly disagree with this. … People should be able to express their love for each other sexually without the fear that this will lead to a pregnancy and the resulting responsibilities. It is not 'use' do so, it is real love."

    A couple comments:

    I agree, people SHOULD be able to express their love without fear, but I disagree that we can express this love without the "responsibility". Not just for children, but also responsibility towards the other person. Love AND responsibility! You cannot exclude one from the other.

    Perhaps the "fear" comes from trying to control the output too much. In my opinion, birth control is one way of man playing God's role. The "I want to have it my way" mentality, vs. the way it is designed to work.

    For couples with important reasons not to want to conceive a child, they can choose to use NFP. It is a natural way to delay conception, perhaps indefinitely. It has far superior results than that of condoms, and does not require one person or the other to surgically disconnect the body's natural functions.

    NFP can also be used, quite successfully, for couples who want to conceive a child and have had difficulty.

    Lastly, I do not find it surprising that you have a different opinion of "real love", based on your first post advocating masturbation and multiple sex partners for your daughter. I think we come from different perspectives and philosophies.

    I base mine on my Christian faith and traditional family values.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    P.S Professor, since you dubbed yourself with that username for this blog, can we assume you are indeed a "professor", and if do, what do you teach?

    April 7th, 2008 at 12:18 pm
  103. TomS says:

    In #94, Student writes:

    "I'm sorry, I just don't see a fertilized egg or an embryo in the same way as I see a fully formed child (or a fetus even somewhat close to viability)."

    Student, did you personally ever pass through the fertilized egg, embryo, and fetus stages of development?

    If "No", how did you get to the point where you can contribute to this blog?

    If "Yes", do you "see" the importance of being protected during your fertilized egg, embryo, and fetus stages of development?

    April 7th, 2008 at 12:56 pm
  104. Professor says:

    You say:
    Perhaps the "fear" comes from trying to control the output too much. In my opinion, birth control is one way of man playing God's role. The "I want to have it my way" mentality, vs. the way it is designed to work.

    I say:
    I don't see it as any more 'playing God' as any other medical situation. Some people pray when they get sick. I go to the doctor. Even if I am sick due to my own irresponsibility (like eating fatty foods), I can still go to the doctor to ameliorate the effects. I see birth control as being quite similar, but even more basic. I don't want to get someone pregnant, so we use birth control. That *is* being responsible. If the birth control fails, abortion is an option early in the pregnancy.

    You ask:
    P.S Professor, since you dubbed yourself with that username for this blog, can we assume you are indeed a "professor", and if do, what do you teach?

    Yes, I am an associate professor of mathematics. I am also going back for a second PhD, this time in physics.

    You ask:
    Student, did you personally ever pass through the fertilized egg, embryo, and fetus stages of development?

    If "No", how did you get to the point where you can contribute to this blog?

    If "Yes", do you "see" the importance of being protected during your fertilized egg, embryo, and fetus stages of development?

    I say:
    I know this was not directed at me, but I do have an answer. I see myself as not being my biology, but rather being my intelligence and emotive self. 'I' did not go through an embryonic stage because embryos do not have the capacity for either intellect or emotions. 'I' started developing around the 6th month of pregnancy when the brain connections started getting to the place where these capabilities started forming.

    April 7th, 2008 at 5:58 pm
  105. Roger says:

    Professor,

    Thanks for responding to my question.

    "I don't see it as any more 'playing God' as any other medical situation. Some people pray when they get sick. I go to the doctor."

    The difference here is that pregnancy is NOT an illness. It is NORMAL! It is not something that needs correction from a doctor.

    "If the birth control fails, abortion is an option early in the pregnancy"

    This statement is one argument against birth control in general. It has a tendency to lead to more abortions.

    "'I' did not go through an embryonic stage because embryos do not have the capacity for either intellect or emotions."

    This does not sound like the answer of a mathematician or even of a physicist, but more of a psychologist.

    Unfortunately, if "I" did not go through that stage, "I" could never argue against it.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 7th, 2008 at 6:56 pm
  106. Student says:

    "I just don't see" – This is precisely the problem with the "pro-choice" position.

    Oh, Roger, aren't you the clever one pulling a few of my words out of a sentence like that….impressive!

    April 7th, 2008 at 7:00 pm
  107. Student says:

    This statement is one argument against birth control in general. It has a tendency to lead to more abortions.

    And NO birth control leads to fewer abortions? It seems to me like it just leads to MORE unwanted pregnancies.

    April 7th, 2008 at 7:02 pm
  108. Professor says:

    You say:

    The difference here is that pregnancy is NOT an illness. It is NORMAL! It is not something that needs correction from a doctor.

    For those who are pregnant and don't want to be, it surely *does* require correction by a doctor!!!

    This statement is one argument against birth control in general. It has a tendency to lead to more abortions.

    And not having birth control will lead to *fewer* abortions? I see, all those who don't want to be pregnant and get so anyway will just go along with the pregnancy?? Yeah, THAT sounds reasonable.

    This does not sound like the answer of a mathematician or even of a physicist, but more of a psychologist.

    Well, you don't have to be insulting. ;)

    April 7th, 2008 at 7:13 pm
  109. Student says:

    Erin,
    You're bright enough to read what was written and comprehend same. Not once did I say that a human embryo has "tadpole DNA," that it would grow into a frog or that it had "no value."

    There is time to remember that all human beings, no matter their stage of development, are people who cannot be cast aside and forgotten just to make things easier.

    I'm sorry, a blastocyst is not yet a human being. I will grant you that it has the potential to become a human being. It is not one at that stage.

    "Life of the mother" abortion is much more akin to separating conjoined twins than to the fire scenario.

    Hardly. Separating conjoined twins involves the division of beings who have higher brain functioning, are fully formed, feel pain, have awareness, etc. An abortion (particulary of a blastocyst or an embryo) doesn't even come close.

    Oh, and I'd still like to know why your life has value. It's not just because you have people who love and need you…why then?

    The "value" one assigns to life (or anything else is nothing more than an opinion). For me personally, the "value" my life has would be in my actions, thoughts and contributions to those I care about and society as a whole.

    April 7th, 2008 at 8:31 pm
  110. Student says:

    Student, did you personally ever pass through the fertilized egg, embryo, and fetus stages of development?

    If "No", how did you get to the point where you can contribute to this blog?

    If "Yes", do you "see" the importance of being protected during your fertilized egg, embryo, and fetus stages of development?

    TomS,
    I will grant you that the potential that became "me" was forming at that time. However, if we go with this line of thinking we'd better hope the 1/2 of me that was my father's sperm doesn't become lost at the end of a condom, doesn't get lost along the way to the 1/2 that was my mother's egg or wasn't masturbated into a tissue. Are we going to protect "sperm" as well? A woman loses an egg every month she's not pregnant….are we going to want protection for those too? After all, any sperm other than the one that made it wouldn't have been "me," nor would any other egg.

    April 7th, 2008 at 8:37 pm
  111. truthseeker says:

    Professor said:
    I know this was not directed at me, but I do have an answer. I see myself as not being my biology, but rather being my intelligence and emotive self. 'I' did not go through an embryonic stage because embryos do not have the capacity for either intellect or emotions. 'I' started developing around the 6th month of pregnancy when the brain connections started getting to the place where these capabilities started forming.
    ******

    Professor, twelve week old babies have eyes, ears, heart, hands that clasp, and the ability to sense changes to their environment at closer to three months then six months. Wouldn't it be honest to admit that neither you or anybody else really knows the stage at which a human life becomes "sentient"?

    April 7th, 2008 at 10:15 pm
  112. truthseeker says:

    Student says:
    Truthseeker: "If your daughter "share" the "literature" you Child molesters and sexual predators have that same mindset."

    Your sentence, as written, implied that Professor was a child molester and/or sexual predator. Perhaps that was not your intent, however, it IS what you stated.
    ****

    Student, I reread that line and it is incomplete at best. It was just partial thoughts that I should have taken out but missed in editing. Reread without that line and the rest of the thought process is much more coherent.

    April 7th, 2008 at 11:54 pm
  113. truthseeker says:

    Student said:
    Are we going to protect "sperm" as well?
    *********

    Student, What was the reason for your botfriends vasectomy; to prevent the egg and the sperm from jooining. Why? To prevent the creation of new life. Does that make it any clearer for you?

    April 8th, 2008 at 1:15 am
  114. Roger says:

    Student,

    "Oh, Roger, aren't you the clever one pulling a few of my words out of a sentence like that….impressive!"

    It's not about being clever, and if you look at your statement, I did in no way take it out of context. (As opposed to what you did with the article you referred to.)

    You said:

    "I'm sorry, I just don't see a fertilized egg or an embryo in the same way as I see a fully formed child (or a fetus even somewhat close to viability)."

    This in essence is the problem with people who feel it is a womans right to kill her unborn baby. They, and you, do not see correctly. I feel sorry for you, that you do not value human life more, but base it's value on "nothing more than opinion".

    The "value" one assigns to life (or anything else is nothing more than an opinion). For me personally, the "value" my life has would be in my actions, thoughts and contributions to those I care about and society as a whole.

    This means that the "value" of someone's life can be, and will be, determined by those in authority – those with more strength.

    This is the same "logic" – the same way to determine "value" – that ever oppressor uses to justify killing of the "lesser" kind.

    Basing your "value" on the "actions, thoughts and contributions" you make is saying your not valuable in your own right, but only based on your performance. If you don't perform adequately, you have no value.

    Where does this leave the elderly or the handicapped/disabled? Maybe I don't think they contribute in any significant way?

    This is not an extreme view. Take a look at other countries with euthanasia had been legalized.

    A person's "value" is NOT based on WHAT they do, but in WHO they are as a person – a human being. Each life has intrinsic value. Each person has a right to "LIFE, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness". This used to be "self-evident", but it is too bad that it is no longer so.

    God Bless.
    Roger

    April 8th, 2008 at 7:48 am
  115. Professor says:

    Professor, twelve week old babies have eyes, ears, heart, hands that clasp, and the ability to sense changes to their environment at closer to three months then six months. Wouldn't it be honest to admit that neither you or anybody else really knows the stage at which a human life becomes "sentient"?

    Well, there is always the debate about what it means to be sentient, but the brain is simply not developed enough before the 22nd week to experience pain, for example. It isn't until later than that there there is anything like regular brain waves. Also, there is a HUGE difference, in my mind, between reflexive response (which is mediated by the spinal cord) and perceptive response (which is mediated by the brain). The spinal cord develops much earlier than the brain does.

    This does not sound like the answer of a mathematician or even of a physicist, but more of a psychologist.

    If you really want a discussion of algebraic topology, quantum mechanics, or Big Bang cosmology, I can go there, but it seems off-topic for this forum.

    April 8th, 2008 at 7:51 am
  116. Professor says:

    This in essence is the problem with people who feel it is a womans right to kill her unborn baby. They, and you, do not see correctly. I feel sorry for you, that you do not value human life more, but base it's value on "nothing more than opinion".

    Human life is valuable because of our capacity to reason and to have compassion. These are both brain functions that simply don't exist in the first few months after conception. By using the loaded word 'baby', you are skewing the debate, in my mind. Babies react to their environments, they smile, they have initiative. ALL of these are things that develop in the third (for most, later third) trimester. An embryo is simply not a baby. To use the word is a distortion.

    April 8th, 2008 at 7:57 am
  117. Roger says:

    Professor wrote:

    "And not having birth control will lead to *fewer* abortions? I see, all those who don't want to be pregnant and get so anyway will just go along with the pregnancy?? Yeah, THAT sounds reasonable."

    Student wrote:

    "And NO birth control leads to fewer abortions? It seems to me like it just leads to MORE unwanted pregnancies."

    Professor and Student,

    Yes, more birth control leads to more abortions. Some birth control methods can be abortafacients. (RU-486 for example.)

    Look at history. Yes, throughout history there have been abortions in many societies. But today, we have abortions and an all time high.

    At the same time, our "advance technology" has increased the use of birth control in our society.

    Both these trends have risen, side-by-side.

    The basic thing is that birth control can lead to an abortion mentality. When birth control fails – and frequently does given time – the fall back is abortion, as Professor directly said.

    If I have time, I'll try to find some more definitive information about how these two can go together.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 8th, 2008 at 7:57 am
  118. Erin says:

    Professor:

    "Human life is valuable because of our capacity to reason and to have compassion…Babies react to their environments, they smile, they have initiative. ALL of these are things that develop in the third (for most, later third) trimester."

    According to "What to Expect the First Year", babies are able to do the above things you listed as imperative to consideration for life and personhood on the following time schedule:

    Eye Focus: 2-3 days post birth

    Eye Focus on a Face: up to one month post birth

    Respond to Stimuli (example, crying at the sound of a bell): 1-2 months post birth

    Eye contact: 6-8 weeks post birth

    Social Smiling (not just facial twitch): 2-3 months post birth

    Based on the level of interaction newborns experience, which is very limited until they are able to develop post-utero for weeks or even months, these are not very good indications of personhood. I'm sure that we agree that a newborn is a person, even though s/he does not meet the criteria you listed above as your reasons for feeling that an in-utero developing human is not a person.

    Oh, and if you've ever tried to reason with a two-year-old, you would also know that the ability to reason is a long time coming! Yes, babies are actively developing all of the skills that you list as necessary for human value, but human beings in-utero are also actively developing the ability to do these things as they grow.

    April 8th, 2008 at 8:43 am
  119. Roger says:

    Professor,

    "Human life is valuable because of our capacity to reason and to have compassion. These are both brain functions that simply don't exist in the first few months after conception."

    So, no compassion or no capacity to reason means the person has no value? I would say this is incorrect.

    "By using the loaded word 'baby', you are skewing the debate, in my mind. Babies react to their environments, they smile, they have initiative. ALL of these are things that develop in the third (for most, later third) trimester. An embryo is simply not a baby. To use the word is a distortion."

    By using the word "baby", I am calling a spade a spade. People want to use the scientific words like "embryo", "zygote" and "fetus" to de-humanize the human person. But a pregnant mother, keeping the baby, never refers to what she is carrying as one of these. She refers to the life as her "baby".

    It is when we want to de-humanize the "baby" that we refer to "it" as one of these other terms, scientifically and medically accurate though they may be. (Although PP often refers to "it" more as "a blob of tissue", not even using these other terms.)

    So, no, it is not "skewing" the debate. It is using common terms. Calling a spade a spade.

    Definition of baby from Dictionary.com:

    1. an infant or very young child.
    2. a newborn or very young animal.
    3. the youngest member of a family, group, etc.
    4. an immature or childish person.
    5. a human fetus.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 8th, 2008 at 8:48 am
  120. Professor says:

    I would point out that the 'human fetus' definition does NOT include a human embryo.

    April 8th, 2008 at 9:26 am
  121. Professor says:

    Oh, and if you've ever tried to reason with a two-year-old, you would also know that the ability to reason is a long time coming! Yes, babies are actively developing all of the skills that you list as necessary for human value, but human beings in-utero are also actively developing the ability to do these things as they grow.

    Yes, but the process starts when the connections in the brain start forming around the 22-24 week of pregnancy.

    April 8th, 2008 at 9:29 am
  122. John Jansen says:

    Professor wrote:

    "And not having birth control will lead to *fewer* abortions? I see, all those who don't want to be pregnant and get so anyway will just go along with the pregnancy?? Yeah, THAT sounds reasonable."

    Student wrote:

    "And NO birth control leads to fewer abortions? It seems to me like it just leads to MORE unwanted pregnancies."

    The connection between contraception and abortion has been known for years. See here, for example.

    (I'll be posting a few other links on this topic, but will do so in subsequent comments to prevent them from being perceived as sp*m.)

    April 8th, 2008 at 9:37 am
  123. John Jansen says:

    See also here.

    April 8th, 2008 at 9:38 am
  124. John Jansen says:

    Statisticians who assess the effectiveness of contraceptives use the term "perfect use" to describe the ideal conditions under which the lowest possible pregnancy rates can be achieved.

    However, the term "perfect use" is, for all practical purposes, useless. It's merely a theoretical concept that offers a false sense of security. How often does "perfect use" occur? Rarely? Ever?

    On the other hand, "typical use" is a much more accurate gauge of how a given contraceptive's failure rate. Even the Alan Guttmacher Institute — the research arm of Planned Parenthood — acknowledges with "typical use", the pill has an 8% failure rate:

    This statistic also appears on this same page from the AGI's website:

    "Fifty-four percent of U.S. women who had an abortion in 2000 were using a method [of contraception] in the month they became pregnant."

    They then say that this doesn't mean that contraceptives fail 54% of the time, just that these women apparently didn't use their contraceptives "perfectly".

    Of course they didn't use them perfectly, because in all likelihood, no one uses them perfectly.

    Because no one is, you know, perfect.

    April 8th, 2008 at 9:38 am
  125. Erin says:

    Yes, and the connections in the brain start forming when the developing human starts forming. It is an inevitable growth pattern leading to what we both agree is full, definable, defensible personhood.

    You are choosing an arbitrary moment of development as the moment of personhood. You said we are humans because we have the ability to reason and interact with our environment. When I reminded you that newborns can do none of those things, you backed up…third trimester babies almost have all the pieces in place to be able to do that eventually, so that makes them persons, because they shortly will be able to reason, though they can't right now.

    Embryo, fetus, or newborn–none of those stages of human development represent a human being capable of reason or interaction with his/her environment. Ah, you say, but a third trimester baby has the POTENTIAL to reason, s/he just needs more time. So does an embryo or fetus. Given enough time, that developing human will also have the ability to reason. The POTENTIAL is there, that path to development is inevitable, the only difference is timing.

    You might as well say we aren't human beings until we have the ability to smile. That would make it a lot easier for parents who get overwhelmed in the first two months post birth to choose not be parents anymore.

    April 8th, 2008 at 9:42 am
  126. Erin says:

    The above post is directed to Professor, regarding the post in which he wrote, "Yes, but the process starts when the connections in the brain start forming around the 22-24 week of pregnancy." Sorry, I thought the posts would be consecutive, but someone else posted while I was writing!

    April 8th, 2008 at 10:15 am
  127. Erin says:

    Student-

    I'm sorry, I missed your earlier posts on our interaction of "life of the mother" abortions in the midst of other posts that came online. The tadpole comment was in response to this quote of yours, "Why would something that more closely resembles a tadpole than a human" have as much right to live as a grown person in a medical crisis. I meant to point out that a visual difference does not make the fetus or embryo any less human.

    I didn't mean "assign value" to life in a way that would rank who the best people are. I was using this phrase to understand why humans who are born deserve to live, while humans who are unborn are optional.

    I agree with Roger's response on this subject, that what we can do and who we can interact with is not the reason for preserving life. Life should be preserved because all human beings have intrinsic value.

    I'm sorry if this post is a little convoluted. By the time I realized you had responded to my earlier posts, your posts were way up there in the queue and I found it hard to find them for reference. Have a great day!

    April 8th, 2008 at 10:22 am
  128. Student says:

    John,
    Not using ANY birth control and continuing to have sex will lead to more unwanted pregnancies. I challenge you to show me a peer-reviewed study that states otherwise. People are going to continue to have sex (regardless of how you may personally feel about if/when it's 'moral' for you).

    I don't want the government forcing me to remain pregnant (should I accidentally become so) any more than you want the government telling you the maximum # of children you can have

    April 8th, 2008 at 12:20 pm
  129. Student says:

    Student, What was the reason for your botfriends vasectomy; to prevent the egg and the sperm from jooining. Why? To prevent the creation of new life. Does that make it any clearer for you?

    TomS asked,

    Student, did you personally ever pass through the fertilized egg, embryo, and fetus stages of development?

    If "No", how did you get to the point where you can contribute to this blog?

    If "Yes", do you "see" the importance of being protected during your fertilized egg, embryo, and fetus stages of development?

    Sorry, for ME to be here the only sperm that would work was the one that got through…..any other one would not have created ME.

    I do see this leading to even more craziness. We outlaw all abortions — regardless of reason. We don't allow rape victims the morning after pill. We get rid of many forms of birth control (as many here consider them abortifacients). Etc., etc., etc. This is a slippery slope that could lead to outlawing sex before marriage and, if pushed far enough by extremists, even masturbation so, yes, that one sperm might need to be saved. This is what happens when an extremist point of view takes hold.

    April 8th, 2008 at 12:25 pm
  130. Student says:

    This is not an extreme view. Take a look at other countries with euthanasia had been legalized.

    Roger, I'm just guessing we'll disagree here as well, but I have no problem with euthanasia in certain circumstances. The definition of euthanasia is:

    1. Also called mercy killing. the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition.

    2. painless death.

    If I have a terminal illness, this is a choice "I" should get to make for myself and/or, through a medical power of attorney, allow my partner (or other person designated by me) to make. Do you disagree?

    April 8th, 2008 at 12:31 pm
  131. Student says:

    Life should be preserved because all human beings have intrinsic value.

    Erin,
    Why do you feel this way…..particularly in regard to a blastocyst or an embryo? Why do you feel the puppy or kitten you may own has "intrinsic value" but the cockroach scurrying across the floor does not?

    April 8th, 2008 at 6:02 pm
  132. Erin says:

    Student:

    Actually, I believe that only human beings have intrinsic value. People should seek to give animals reasonable protection, for we are stewards of the animal kingdom. Animals should be free from torture and should be able to have their environments protected, but they are still animals. Puppies and kittens are cute and tend to bond with people (and vise versa), but they are still animals. I think your point is that puppies interact and respond more than cockroaches, so I would feel that they deserve more protection, or have more value. Actually, I disagree. If puppies were running amok in my house, reproducing at the same level as cockroaches and contaminating my food and living space, I would call a puppy exterminator. Animals have one level of life value, which should not be abused, but human beings, all human beings, deserve respect beyond that given to the animal kingdom.

    I think we agree that embryos are human, right? Suppose there were a man in a coma as a result of some rare disease. He was completely dependent on life support, he could not survive on his own and could not interact. Yet, a doctor familiar with this hypothetical disease told you that in a matter of months this man would be recovered, able to maintain life on his own without medical intervention, and would be able to reason and interact in his environment. Would you agree that it would be an insult to his humanity to pull the plug on this man?

    Consider the embryo or fetus, which is also human. In a matter of months, we would both agree that this embryo or fetus would be fully a person deserving of protection of his/her life. All of the pieces are in place, the process of development hurrying along at an astounding pace when you think about all that must happen. Yet you maintain that this developing human has no value. You do not think twice about pulling the plug.

    I realize that your concerns for the needs of the pregnant mother influence your PC view. Just for a moment, however, think not about the pregnant mother, but just about the developing human who needs only a few months to be able to survive on his or her own. Don't jump on me for being inconsiderate of pregnant right now–I'm not, and I'd love to discuss those issues later–but for right now, let's talk about the developing human and the protection that all human life deserves. Why is it ok to pull the plug?

    April 8th, 2008 at 7:29 pm
  133. Erin says:

    That should read "pregnant women" not just "pregnant" in the last paragraph. Mistype!

    April 8th, 2008 at 7:32 pm
  134. Student says:

    I believe that only human beings have intrinsic value.

    This still doesn't answer the question of "why" you think human beings have "intrinsic value." I won't even ask about the blastocyst stage. I can think of a few human beings who, in my opinion, had no "intrinsic value" whatsoever.

    I realize that your concerns for the needs of the pregnant mother influence your PC view. Just for a moment, however, think not about the pregnant mother, but just about the developing human who needs only a few months to be able to survive on his or her own. Don't jump on me for being inconsiderate of pregnant right now–I'm not, and I'd love to discuss those issues later–but for right now, let's talk about the developing human and the protection that all human life deserves.

    I don't think you can separate the two. Until a blastocyst can develop on it's own without a mother, the two are very much intertwined. Why does a "developing human" always deserve protection? And again, why not a sperm or an egg who, when intertwined, would create a "developing human?"

    April 8th, 2008 at 8:18 pm
  135. Student says:

    Roger, referring to a portion of your post #102, would you not agree that masturbation produces far fewer STDs and even unwanted pregnancies than NFP (and certainly no chance whatsoever of a predatory relationship)? Why would you have a problem with that….or have I misinterpreted what you said?

    April 8th, 2008 at 8:22 pm
  136. Erin says:

    Student:

    Because a sperm is a sperm and an egg is an egg, but when they join they become a separate human being who needs only time to become a fully-functioning person deserving, by all definitions, of protection of his or her life. Left to its own devices, a sperm will never become anything but a sperm, but joined with an egg, it is a new person.

    Do you disagree that all human life has value? Other than the developing human in-utero, what human life do you think is disposable?

    April 8th, 2008 at 8:26 pm
  137. Roger says:

    Student challenged:

    "Not using ANY birth control and continuing to have sex will lead to more unwanted pregnancies. I challenge you to show me a peer-reviewed study that states otherwise. People are going to continue to have sex (regardless of how you may personally feel about if/when it's 'moral' for you)."

    Using Natural Family Planning is not using any artificial means to prevent conception of a child, and has been shown to be at least as effective as contraceptive use.

    Here are some articles highlighting some of these studies:

    Natural Family Planning Method As Effective As Contraceptive Pill, New Research Finds

    The European Natural Family Planning Study Groups

    And from a study printed in the British Medical Journal (ref):

    After the early studies,[13-17] increased confidence in and experience with natural family planning methods tended to lead to progressively lower overall pregnancy rates. The rates, however, remain variable, depending on the standard of teaching and the motivation to avoid pregnancy.[24 28-39] A study in Chile confirmed the importance of good initial natural family planning teaching, experienced teachers achieving a pregnancy rate of 4.7, inexperienced teachers achieving a rate of 16.8.[28] Studies have underlined the importance of motivation, one international study finding a pregnancy rate of 4.13 in couples wishing to limit their families but a rate of 14.56 in couples wishing only to space their families.[29] Studies suggest that methods combining several indicators of ovulation yield lower pregnancy rates.[3] The cost issue has been addressed, studies from Liberia and Zambia showing pregnancy rates of 4.3 and 8.9 and user costs of $40 and $30 respectively.[35] A study of natural family planning in general practice in the United Kingdom also found it to be by far the cheapest method.[39]

    The largest natural family planning study combined effective teaching with high motivation and showed that natural family planning can be extremely effective in the Third World.[33] The study was of 19,843 predominantly poor women in Calcutta, 52% Hindu, 27% Muslim, and 21% Christian. Because of poverty motivation was high both among the users and among the well trained teachers of natural family planning. The failure rate was similar to that with the combined contraceptive pill–0.2 pregnancy/100 women users yearly.[33] The result suggests that poverty as the motivation can greatly improve the effectiveness of natural family planning. A similar result, however, was achieved in Germany in a study with a pregnancy rate of 0.8.[34]

    An Italian study found an overall pregnancy rate of 3.6, all the pregnancies occurring in couples wishing to space but not limit their families. The pregnancy rate was zero in couples who wanted no more children.[30] With other German studies finding pregnancy rates of 1.8[31] and 2.3,[36] a study in general practice in the United Kingdom finding a rate of 2.7,[39] and a study among 3003 illiterate and semiliterate women in India yielding a pregnancy rate of 2.04[37] the accumulating data confirm that natural family planning can be as effective as any method of family planning.

    Also, it's not about not getting "sex":

    Study confirms that couples using natural family planning have intercourse just as frequently as couples using other methods

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 8th, 2008 at 8:52 pm
  138. Roger says:

    euthanasia: the act of putting to death painlessly a person suffering from an incurable disease or condition.

    Ok, so I've shortened the definition, but I think it is still in context and accurate, though not fully everything.

    Wikipedia has a list of incurable diseases. Among these are: Diabetes, Leukemia, AIDS, Autism, Emphysema, Polio, Multiple sclerosis.

    By the definition of "euthanasia", people with any one of these can be killed, or "euthanasied".

    Who is to say for which ones of these incurable diseases is euthanasia allowed?

    Also, who has the power to do it? In the past, euthanasia has been forced upon people – especially those "lesser" people – people who don't have "value" in the eyes of those with greater power. (ref)

    So, the answer to "euthanasia" is the same answer as "abortion". Human beings have value not because of WHAT they can do for society or individuals, but because they are HUMAN.

    Oh, and by the way, I see on the list the Flu, Measles and the Common Cold too!

    God Bless,
    Roger

    P.S. A good article on euthanasia: Euthanasia: A Case of Individual Liberty?

    April 8th, 2008 at 9:17 pm
  139. sarah says:

    I am hoping that perhaps I can be enlightened- this seems to be a site where (generally) people have reasonable discussions and I have learned a lot. I am a physician and spend 3 months a year in Guatemala providing whatever ambulatory care we can in extremely rural settings (no cars, 'wealthy' families have outhouses, open fires in adobe homes for cooking and heat). We use huts owned by Catholic churches in several of these areas (nothing else even close to satisfactory) and when we are in those communities we cannot discuss or prescribe any contraceptives. I have watched women with 7, 9 or 10+ children – who are already hungry, uneducated, and chronically parasite infected – break down when I tell them they are pregnant again. I care for women still breastfeeding their 5 or 7 year old children, despite the risks to themselves, to try and prevent pregnancy. I have watched women die after attempting to induce abortion and four others exsanguinate having their 3rd, 5th, 6th and 8th unplanned & unwanted babies – a complication much more common in grand multips (women with many children) – which we can usually avoid in this wealthy country with our arsenal of drugs. I also have multiple families whose husbands have returned from the United States knowing they have become HIV+. These women are unable to control when or if they are sexually active with their husbands – the idea that this is decided by the 'couple' has not been widely spread in these areas to say the least- so once the condoms their husbands brought home with them are gone they are using no protection against HIV transmission. I am told condoms are not permitted even in the setting of HIV discordant couples but find this hard to believe.

    So here is where my heart is being ripped into two – I am increasingly uncomfortable trying to practice medicine in a way which I believe ignores the #1 cause of poverty, malnutrition and maternal death in these communities- uncontrolled childbearing – but when I go to these communities I am reprimanded and threatened with expulsion from the 'facility' if I even discuss contraception or condom use to prevent HIV transmission. Even if these methods aren't perfect, to better space pregnancies or delay HIV transmission for 5 or 10 years would be invaluable. I don't know much about Catholicism, but I am perplexed that if one partner professes to be Catholic, but is in a subservient role and is not in a relationship where the Christian ideals of loving and nurturing each other is practiced, why she must endanger herself, and risk orphaning or further decay of health to her existing children, because of her husband's lack of control?

    I want to continue what I believe is God's work in these communities, but don't like how my heart is being hardened against those who I perceive are contributing to the continued misery of these communities.

    April 8th, 2008 at 10:38 pm
  140. Tara says:

    Sarah,

    Before I can answer your question, I have one. Who is telling you that you cannot give out condoms and BC? Is it the government which is very common is Central America, the Catholic Church or the community that you are serving? I'm not clear by your post who you are upset with.

    April 8th, 2008 at 11:01 pm
  141. truthseeker says:

    Well, there is always the debate about what it means to be sentient, but the brain is simply not developed enough before the 22nd week to experience pain, for example. It isn't until later than that there there is anything like regular brain waves. Also, there is a HUGE difference, in my mind, between reflexive response (which is mediated by the spinal cord) and perceptive response (which is mediated by the brain). The spinal cord develops much earlier than the brain does.

    Professor,

    Did you see that article the other day where a guy talked about when he was in the hospital and he heard the doctors telling people that he has no brain activity and he was brain dead. According to doctors he had no perceivable brain activity for months but during that time he heard the doctors and wanted to get up and throw the doctor across the room. This would clearly seem to be a case of no brain activity and yet emotion and "pain" capability without brain activity. See link for whole story: http://tinyurl.com/5uv35m

    And we haven't even touched on the topic of a soul yet.
    Do you know at what stage of human life a person gets a soul? Can you say with any certainty that souls either exist or do not exist? You may not believe souls exist but if you were honest you would admit that there is a real chance that they do. And if they do, then any time abortion is committed, the fetus, and the collective soul of all humanity suffers great "pain".

    April 9th, 2008 at 12:21 am
  142. truthseeker says:

    sarah,
    You said "the #1 cause of poverty, malnutrition and maternal death in these communities- uncontrolled childbearing." It sounds like the women you are encountering in Guatemala being forced into sex and unwanted pregnancies. These women are living in a culture where abusive men are controlling all aspects of their lives. This sounds like very "controlled" pregnancy/childbearing to me. It is truly sad.

    Volunteering your time and efforts oversees to the poor and needy is commendable. Are you going as a part of Doctors Without Borders? Can you share a story of where you have been able to make a difference in the nutritional or medical needs of a family?

    April 9th, 2008 at 1:21 am
  143. Dan the Methodist says:

    Tara!!!
    You offered me material on forming a group at my church? I will have Matt contact you with my Email

    THANKS!

    April 9th, 2008 at 5:34 am
  144. Student says:

    So, the answer to "euthanasia" is the same answer as "abortion".

    Ok, Roger, but this isn't exactly an answer to the question I posited to you. My question was:

    If I have a terminal illness, this is a choice "I" should get to make for myself and/or, through a medical power of attorney, allow my partner (or other person designated by me) to make. Do you disagree?

    I'm not asking if someone else (other than my previously desiganted representative) can make that choice for me. I'm asking if you disagree that "I" should be able to make that choice for myself.

    April 9th, 2008 at 7:40 am
  145. Student says:

    Sarah,
    Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the community you serve. The world would be a much better place if there were more people like you!

    April 9th, 2008 at 7:44 am
  146. Student says:

    Roger,
    If you have the time, I'd love to hear your response to post #135. Thanks!

    April 9th, 2008 at 7:45 am
  147. Student says:

    Erin,
    You still really haven't answered my question as to "why" you think all human beings (including blastocysts and embryos) have "intrinsic value." I know it's a heavy question, but it's similar to the one you asked of me (and to which I responded). Thanks!

    April 9th, 2008 at 7:47 am
  148. Roger says:

    Student,

    Before I answer your "terminal illness" question, would you support this self-euthanasia if the person did not have a terminal illness?

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 9th, 2008 at 8:05 am
  149. Tara says:

    Good Morning Dan the Methodist.

    Sorry for being MIA – I've been ill with pneumonia and I just got the okay last week to resume normal life after being sick for about 4 weeks (2.5 of those weeks spent in bed – YUCK!)

    Hope all is well, and look forward to talking with you.

    Peace,

    Tara

    April 9th, 2008 at 8:43 am
  150. Erin says:

    Student:

    Is this the response you mean, "The "value" one assigns to life (or anything else is nothing more than an opinion). For me personally, the "value" my life has would be in my actions, thoughts and contributions to those I care about and society as a whole."

    I'll answer in the same way. The value of my life is found because I have been created by God, he knew me before I was born, he was with me as I grew in my mother's womb, and I am a unique creation designed by Him. But, you'll say that's nothing more than an opinion (for you feel your life only has value because of an opinion, though it doesn't, it has value because you too are a unique creation of God), so let's move on.

    I am actually floored that you do not agree with any absolute truth that says human beings have intrinsic value. What I mean when I say "value" is that human beings should not be killed, disposed of, bought or sold, or in other ways dehumanized. When you tell me that you have met people who you feel have no intrinsic value, I cannot believe that you mean they should be killed, disposed of, treated as property, etc.

    I have explained my position on embryos, etc, in a post to Professor. He, too, based his humanity on his ability to reason an interact, saying a baby could do those things, too. A baby cannot do those things–as I outlined with "What to Expect the First Year" as a resource. Ah, yes, but a baby has the POTENTIAL to do those things, its just a matter of more time, so that makes it ok. An embryo also has the POTENTIAL to do those things given time. All of the pieces are in place, the process is inevitable.

    If a newborn cannot reason or interact, why does he or she have value. If someone has no value, are they disposable to you (or is that reserved for the preborn)? Who else do you feel has no intrinsic value?

    April 9th, 2008 at 8:51 am
  151. Erin says:

    Student:

    Upon re-reading my above post, I'm not sure that it is clear that I am quoting you in the first sentence. That is a quote from an earlier post of yours.

    Erin

    April 9th, 2008 at 10:35 am
  152. Student says:

    The value of my life is found because I have been created by God, he knew me before I was born, he was with me as I grew in my mother's womb, and I am a unique creation designed by Him.

    Erin, so if you believed you weren't created by "God," you would have no intrinsic value? And if I go with the belief in God argument, wouldn't "God" have created those puppies and cockroaches too? If that were the case, they too would have "intrinsic value."

    I am actually floored that you do not agree with any absolute truth that says human beings have intrinsic value.

    Would you say that Hitler's life had "intrinsic value?" Would you say that John Couey's life had "intrinsic value?" I can think of others, but I think you'll get my point.

    April 9th, 2008 at 12:14 pm
  153. Student says:

    Before I answer your "terminal illness" question, would you support this self-euthanasia if the person did not have a terminal illness?

    Roger,
    I'm not sure why you need an answer to this first but, ok, no. I would limit it to a terminal illness (to be determined by the physician and the patient only). Now, would you support my having the "choice" for myself?

    April 9th, 2008 at 12:19 pm
  154. Erin says:

    Student:

    All creatures are created by God, but human beings were created in His image and likeness and invited to have a special relationship with Him, while animals were not. But honestly, as far as our discussion goes, this is neither here nor there because I know that you do not believe in God and thus will not accept this argument. I'd rather, at this point, direct our discussion based on our common beliefs because I feel that any argument I offer based on God you will dismiss as complete drivel, which is not only pointless in debate, but also insulting to my faith. So let's skip it.

    That said, I'll clarify for you before we move on: I have been created by God. In Jeremiah, God is described as knitting his unique creation (me, you) together in our mother's wombs and knowing everything about us before we are even born. I have a relationship with this God, who loves me beyond my comprehension and more than I can ever deserve. Who loves me not because of anything that I can do, but because of who I am. He loves you that way, too, because of the person that you are at the very core of your being, a person He has known since before your birth or even conception, a person that no one else may ever know.

    Now, let's move on. I'm so glad you brought up Hitler. Hitler was a human being, and he did have intrinsic value. If Hitler was standing right in front of you, would you have looked in his face and killed him? I'm not talking about military personnel in the course of war. I'm not talking about if you would have arrested him and had him tried before a jury and then approved the death penalty for him. Would you personally have, say over dinner or outside a movie theater, stabbed him and watched him bleed to death, then walked away and said, "Well, it didn't matter, he wasn't really a person anyway and he had no intrinsic value"? That's what I mean by intrinsic value. Even evil Hitler deserves better than that. Or how about selling Hitler into slavery, to be potentially starved or beaten or killed by someone else, perhaps having about the same amount of protection under the law as a farm animal if he was lucky. Or how about finding yourself with a shortage of meat and starving, looking over and thinking "That Hitler guy over there has a lot of meat on him", so you take him to the slaughter house and enjoy Hitler steaks. That's what I mean. You'd sell a horse into farm labor, or a dog as a pet, but not a human being. You'd squash a bug with your foot or hunt deer for food, but not a human being. You'd eat a slaughtered cow or pig, but not a human being. Human beings are different for some reason. I started calling that reason "intrinsic value" in this discussion, but I'm open to other phrases should you prefer different wording.

    Now, what did Hitler do that made him so evil. He took a whole group of people, looked them over, and said, "They're not human in the same way you and I are. They have no intrinsic value whatsoever. And, they take all our jobs and destroy our economy and make it harder for we true humans. The solution is extermination of the Jews." He also looked at people with handicaps and mental illness, people who (perhaps) were unable to think rationally or interact with their environment, and decided the world would be better off without them, too. They weren't quite human anyway. In short, he took that which was and is human, and dehumanized it.

    Now, what else is abortion, besides the dehumanization of that which is human? You can come up with all the reasons you want to about why it is easier to go for abortion, but what are are doing is choosing to ignore the humanity of the developing human being for the "greater good" because it is more convenient.

    April 9th, 2008 at 1:14 pm
  155. Roger says:

    Student's question:

    "If I have a terminal illness, this is a choice "I" should get to make for myself and/or, through a medical power of attorney, allow my partner (or other person designated by me) to make. Do you disagree?"

    I do not support euthanasia under any circumstances. Self-directed, doctor-directed, state-directed. None.

    Self-directed euthanasia is called "suicide". Suicide is illegal. So, your "choices" are limited. You can not legally commit suicide. The other forms I would see as some form of murder.

    "I would limit it to a terminal illness (to be determined by the physician and the patient only). Now, would you support my having the 'choice' for myself?"

    I asked because you seem to have no objective measure to determine who, when and why. Your viewpoints are all subjective. It's is all about "my rights" and "my body". The "me" and "I" perspective.

    You subjectively place "value". So, those without value under your terms are not worthy of protection.

    What happens when YOU are not deemed "valuable" by those in authority? What rights will you have then?

    All of our rights are based from the assumption that we have value. Objectively, because we are "human". Human being are different from animals in that we have reason, and do not have to follow our base instincts blindly.

    We CAN control ourselves. This is one thing that makes us human.

    Our Declaration of Independence recognized this basic "value" of human life (although they did not immediately implement if perfectly).

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Also, interesting to note, the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights even acknowledges that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.".

    Subjectively determining the "value" of any human life is dangerous and destructive.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 9th, 2008 at 2:25 pm
  156. Student says:

    Erin,
    I'm sorry if questioning the existence of God is insulting to your faith. However, if I made any other statement and then said you couldn't question it, it would hardly make for any debate — nor would it be particularly rational on my part. I can't say "x" is true because I say it is and if you question it you're insulting me.

    The direct question I asked, and still haven't really received a direct answer is: If you didn't believe in God, what is it that you believe would give every human "intrinsic value?" Is there, in your opinion, "intrinsic value" without a belief in a God?

    April 9th, 2008 at 9:19 pm
  157. Student says:

    I asked because you seem to have no objective measure to determine who, when and why. Your viewpoints are all subjective. It's is all about "my rights" and "my body". The "me" and "I" perspective.

    You subjectively place "value". So, those without value under your terms are not worthy of protection.

    No, Roger, we're talking about just "me" — not others. If it's "me" and "I" that I'm referring to — and no one else — exactly who's perspective should be controlling? Why should I not have the right to decide when I die if faced with a terminal illness. I'm not placing value on "others," just asking why I can't make that decision for "me."

    I'm talking about cases like Chantal Sebire. Why wouldn't you want this woman to decide for herself — not anyone else deciding for her — but deciding for herself if euthanasia was acceptable for her? To quote you, "We CAN control ourselves." Why would you take that control away from someone who is terminally ill?

    April 9th, 2008 at 9:26 pm
  158. Roger says:

    Student,

    Why take that control away from anyone, not just the terminally ill?

    Read this article on euthanasia: Euthanasia: A Case of Individual Liberty?

    The reason is that life has value! YOUR life has value, even if you don't perceive it as having value. Too much to throw away.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 9th, 2008 at 9:37 pm
  159. Professor says:

    I think we agree that embryos are human, right? Suppose there were a man in a coma as a result of some rare disease. He was completely dependent on life support, he could not survive on his own and could not interact. Yet, a doctor familiar with this hypothetical disease told you that in a matter of months this man would be recovered, able to maintain life on his own without medical intervention, and would be able to reason and interact in his environment. Would you agree that it would be an insult to his humanity to pull the plug on this man?

    Now suppose that this man could only survive if you gave daily blood transfusions. ONLY you can give these transfusions. Would you have the right to refuse? Suppose that you had already given blood a few times. Would you then have the right to discontinue giving that blood?

    I would say unequivocally that you would have that right, even if it leads to the death of the comatose person. Even IF we grant the fetus or embryo personhood (which I don't), there is STILL the question of whether the rights of the fetus outweigh those of the woman it inhabits. It is clear to me, that they do not.

    April 10th, 2008 at 6:38 am
  160. truthseeker says:

    Profesor,
    Were you going to try and tackle post #141, or would it rock your world?

    April 10th, 2008 at 10:35 am
  161. Professor says:

    From an article on the #141 case:

    BARBARA MILLER: Professor Bruce Brew is the Head of the Department of Neurology at St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.

    He says stories such as Zach Dunlap's do happen from time to time, but are extremely rare.

    BRUCE BREW: It can be difficult to diagnose brain death. There is no absolute diagnostic tests. There are certainly some grey areas in relation to pronouncing brain death.

    BARBARA MILLER: How rare is such an occurrence do you think?

    BRUCE BREW: Very rare.

    Looks to me like a misdiagnosis in a difficult case. Since I don't have access to medical records for this case, I can't really say more.

    As for the question of a 'soul', I don't know how such a thing would even be defined let alone how to test if one exists. My bet is that there is not such a thing.

    April 10th, 2008 at 11:09 am
  162. Tara says:

    Perfessor,

    Before I say anything else:

    Fetus is the greek for unborn child/and or infant depending on sentence structure. So using that word you are calling the unborn a baby.

    you stated:

    I know this was not directed at me, but I do have an answer. I see myself as not being my biology, but rather being my intelligence and emotive self. 'I' did not go through an embryonic stage because embryos do not have the capacity for either intellect or emotions. 'I' started developing around the 6th month of pregnancy when the brain connections started getting to the place where these capabilities started forming.

    Actually:

    I am currently studying the Prenatal Period in my Psych class.

    Definition of Development: It is the sequence of age related changes that occur as a person progresses from CONCEPTION to death.

    By 9 Weeks: Brain is formed – Neurons are being
    created and connecting with other Neurons
    (this process doesn't stop until you die,
    use drugs or stop learning new things)
    Heart is working
    All vital organs are formed and working
    Even at 1 inch long, all the appendages are
    there and functioning
    You can dertermine sex of child

    By 12 Weeks: Can Smile
    Circulartory System is Functioning
    The unborn baby is moving and active
    The organs are continuing to grow
    Enough connections in the brain has
    developed and the unborn baby can feel pain
    (if you would like to read her testimony on
    Capital Hill, I would be happy to email it
    to you.)
    By 24 Weeks: Mother can feel the unborn baby
    Vision and Hearing are fully functioning
    Eyes are open
    Hiccups
    Has Hair
    Has Sleep and Awake Cycles
    Plays

    Viability is 21 weeks (before 6 months)

    Question: Which comes first emotion or thought?

    Answer: Emotion – because the Amygdala is fully formed and fully functioning before birth.

    April 10th, 2008 at 12:11 pm
  163. Student says:

    Roger,
    I read the article you suggested and respectfully disagree. Try this artcile. I wish I could give you a link for the underlying document but without a subscription (via a university, etc.) it's difficult to get. I don't want to cut and paste here as it's lengthy.

    I get the impression that you believe your values should be the basis for other's decisions. Abortion is out under any and all circumstances. No sex unless you're married. No masturbation (while I disagree with your reasoning on a lot of other things I do understand it — this one completely eludes me). And no room to allow an indiviudual to make end of life decisions for themselves. I have no problem with the values you have for yourself, but I don't think you have the right to inflict them on others (any more than I have the right to inflict mine). While I agree that there's certainly room for debate on the abortion issue, the others are really, in my opinion, none of your business.

    April 10th, 2008 at 12:29 pm
  164. Student says:

    Sorry for my VERY poor spelling above…..trying to fit all of this in on a lunch break.

    April 10th, 2008 at 12:31 pm
  165. Matt Yonke says:

    Student,

    Here's a proposition that may help this discussion:

    The question isn't whether we're going to enforce morality, the question is whose morality we're going to enforce.

    When we make a law against stealing, we've decided (however we got there) that it is "wrong" to take someone else's property. We've made a moral judgment (stealing is wrong) and decided to enforce that on everyone in the country.

    All legislation is that very same thing, enforcing a chosen moral code on everyone.

    Would you agree with that analysis?

    April 10th, 2008 at 12:39 pm
  166. Erin says:

    Student:

    In response to your post #156: You asked me why human beings have value. I am not a post-modernist, I believe in absolute Truth, so I am not going to lie to you, I am going to answer with that Truth. And the Truth is that all humans have value because we are created by God. I can't answer "what would you believe if you didn't believe in God" because I don't accept relative morality or truths. It's not "my truth" and "your truth". There is God, and I there is no way to think what would I think if I didn't think there was a God. That's a nonsense question.

    But I realize that this is a point accepted on Faith, it's not something that I can convince you of in an argument. So, although it is the Truth, that we have value because of God, it is not a point that I wanted to enter into the debate. It is not a point that I would have chosen to make in defense of the value of life in the context of this discussion if you had not point blank asked that question. I think what you want from me are secular arguments (is that what "Is there, in your opinion, "intrinsic value" without a belief in a God?" means?) I would be happy to offer secular arguments, and that is exactly what I meant when I said I did not want to debate the existence of God right now. Questioning my faith is not insulting, if you actually want to know what and why I believe. Dissecting my faith in order to dismiss it as superstition in defence of a debate point can quickly become insulting, which is exactly why I wanted to offer the Truth in response to your point-blank question, and then move on to secular justification.

    I outlined my first point in my initial response. When asking what you would be willing to do as far as dehumanizing Hitler (who was identified by you as having no intrinsic value), I was seeking to make the point that there is a universal consensus among human beings that we treat members of the human race with a dignity apart from the animal kingdom. That, though you do not want to make that point in debate, your actions would demonstrate that he does in fact have intrinsic value as a human being.

    So, how would you treat Hitler? Would you squash him like a bug without a thought? Would you sell him like a horse into slave labor? Would you butcher him for meat?

    April 10th, 2008 at 1:01 pm
  167. Roger says:

    Student,

    "I get the impression that you believe your values should be the basis for other's decisions. … I have no problem with the values you have for yourself, but I don't think you have the right to inflict them on others (any more than I have the right to inflict mine). While I agree that there's certainly room for debate on the abortion issue, the others are really, in my opinion, none of your business.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion with me, but by telling me that it's "none of my business", aren't you forcing your values onto me? Telling me what is and what is not my business is enforcing your morality/world view on me.

    I have to agree with Matt's post that said "All legislation is that very same thing, enforcing a chosen moral code on everyone."

    Society "inflicts" (as you call it) it's values upon it's citizens all the time. The question is not about not inflicting another's values, but about enforcing ("inflicting") objectively good values.

    I do not force my value system on anyone. I believe that my value system needs to conform to what is right and true. So if I am wrong, then I need to change.

    I asked you before … what immoral activity is good for society? The answer is none.

    So, "inflicting" good values upon society is helping society to reach it's full potential.

    I would also agree that "TRUTH" is absolute, not relative. It is objective, not subjective. We don't always know the truth, but when we do, we must acknowledge it and conform our own views to that truth.

    The reason euthanasia and abortion are both wrong is that ALL human life has value – intrinsic value. Not based on performance or accomplishments, nor based on "potential" either.

    YOU have value regardless of your views on any subject. I would not allow you to kill yourself (if I could prevent it) because YOU have value.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 10th, 2008 at 1:53 pm
  168. Roger says:

    From Now They Want to Euthanize Children

    FIRST, Dutch euthanasia advocates said that patient killing will be limited to the competent, terminally ill who ask for it. Then, when doctors began euthanizing patients who clearly were not terminally ill, sweat not, they soothed: medicalized killing will be limited to competent people with incurable illnesses or disabilities. Then, when doctors began killing patients who were depressed but not physically ill, not to worry, they told us: only competent depressed people whose desire to commit suicide is "rational" will have their deaths facilitated. Then, when doctors began killing incompetent people, such as those with Alzheimer's, it's all under control, they crooned: non-voluntary killing will be limited to patients who would have asked for it if they were competent.

    And now they want to euthanize children.

    The whole article is interesting, so check it out.

    Also from Involuntary Euthanasia is Out of Control in Holland

    The Dutch survey, reviewed in the Journal of Medical Ethics, looked at the figures for 1995 and found that as well as 3,600 authorized cases there were 900 others in which doctors had acted without explicit consent. A follow-up survey found that the main reason for not consulting patients was that they had dementia or were otherwise not competent.

    Dr Peggy Norris, chairwoman of the anti-euthanasia group Alert, said: "We need to learn from the Dutch system that euthanasia cannot be controlled."

    Also, Student, I read your article, but do not find anything compelling.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 10th, 2008 at 2:09 pm
  169. Tara says:

    Roger,

    Did you know that New England Journal of Medicine agreed with the Netherlands on this issue? Sad, but not surprising.

    So this is what a tolerant, enlightened, progressive society leads to – NO THANKS!

    Tara

    April 10th, 2008 at 3:26 pm
  170. Student says:

    All legislation is that very same thing, enforcing a chosen moral code on everyone.

    Would you agree with that analysis?

    Matt, no, I don't totally agree with your analysis. It fits fine for stealing or murder, but it certainly isn't true of the "majority" of our laws. Is driving 55 mph any more moral than driving 65? Are tax laws based on morality or on a need to fund society? What about housing codes? Etc. Legislating "morality" is never a good idea.

    April 11th, 2008 at 12:17 pm
  171. Student says:

    Thanks for sharing your opinion with me, but by telling me that it's "none of my business", aren't you forcing your values onto me? Telling me what is and what is not my business is enforcing your morality/world view on me.

    No, not at all. If you have a painful, terminal illness and want to consult with your doctor regarding a way out, it is none of my business. Furthermore, if you choose not to do so because of your belief system — again, none of my business. Conversely, if the same is true for me, it's none of your business.

    I asked you before … what immoral activity is good for society? The answer is none.

    Given that there are significant differences of opinion among people as to what constitutes "immoral," i totally disagree with you. In fact, I bet there are things you find "immoral" that I would find as a benefit to society — I'm sure the same is also true in reverse.

    I would also agree that "TRUTH" is absolute, not relative. It is objective, not subjective.

    Ok, how do you define "truth." Perhaps this is where we can find some common ground.

    I would not allow you to kill yourself (if I could prevent it) because YOU have value.

    And I don't believe you have the right to "allow" that one way or the other. If I grant you that right, how many other things will you "allow" or "not allow" for me?

    April 11th, 2008 at 12:26 pm
  172. Student says:

    I believe in absolute Truth, so I am not going to lie to you, I am going to answer with that Truth.

    Erin,
    I'll ask you the same question I asked Roger. How do you go about defining "truth?"

    April 11th, 2008 at 12:28 pm
  173. Roger says:

    Student,

    You ask the same question as Pontius Pilate .. "What is truth"?

    Truth is that which IS. Some examples: 2 + 1 = 3; sun = hot than earth; human life begins at conception; abortion is legal in the US; abortion is the destruction of human life;

    These are "true". Also true, but somewhat less "provable": human life has inherent value.

    And I don't believe you have the right to "allow" that one way or the other. If I grant you that right, how many other things will you "allow" or "not allow" for me?

    It's not about "rights", but about "responsibility". We have a responsibility towards one another. I can't just say "it's none of my business" if my neighbor is planning to kill someone. I have a responsibility to report that person to the authorities.

    If you were planning on killing someone, I would report you too. Like it or not. If you "allowed" me to or not.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 11th, 2008 at 12:55 pm
  174. Roger says:

    Student,

    It fits fine for stealing or murder, but … Legislating "morality" is never a good idea.

    Are you sure you want to say "never"?

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 11th, 2008 at 12:59 pm
  175. Roger says:

    Student,

    I said:

    "Telling me what is and what is not my business is enforcing your morality/world view on me."

    You said:

    "No, not at all. If you have a painful, terminal illness and want to consult with your doctor regarding a way out, it is none of my business. Furthermore, if you choose not to do so because of your belief system — again, none of my business. Conversely, if the same is true for me, it's none of your business."

    Perhaps you don't see the point I was making here. You feeling that it is "none of my business" is your moral perspective. You imposing that on me is you imposing your morals upon me.

    Your moral perspective and value system are different than mine, but your system says "don't push your belief on me", yet your do that very thing on me.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 11th, 2008 at 1:05 pm
  176. Professor says:

    In response to your post #156: You asked me why human beings have value. I am not a post-modernist, I believe in absolute Truth, so I am not going to lie to you, I am going to answer with that Truth. And the Truth is that all humans have value because we are created by God. I can't answer "what would you believe if you didn't believe in God" because I don't accept relative morality or truths. It's not "my truth" and "your truth". There is God, and I there is no way to think what would I think if I didn't think there was a God. That's a nonsense question.

    So the *only* reason that you believe people have intrinsic value is because you believe they are created in God's image? There is no other reason that you could give that would make sense to, say, an atheist? Truthfully, that's sad.

    So, how would you treat Hitler? Would you squash him like a bug without a thought? Would you sell him like a horse into slave labor? Would you butcher him for meat?

    Hitler before he came to power would get the same respect as anyone else. Once in power and doing the things he did, yes, I would gladly kill him.

    I would also agree that "TRUTH" is absolute, not relative. It is objective, not subjective. We don't always know the truth, but when we do, we must acknowledge it and conform our own views to that truth.

    I agree. But that means that a great many things are neither True nor False. In particular, most moral values are neither. They are NOT objective. They are very subjective. I think this comes out as much as anyplace in the abortion discussion. Your OPINION is that abortion is immoral. My OPINION is that it is not. There simply is not a truth value here. I don't consider an embryo to be a baby. You do. Once again, there is NO objective truth here, only opinions and definitions. I don't see an embryo as having a moral quality. You do. Once again, there is not an objective view here, only subjective arguments.

    There ARE truths: the earth orbits the sun, the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, humans are mammals, etc. These are objective things that can be tested once properly defined and even those who disagree initially can be convinced. Morals are not in the same category. They ultimately come from our decisions about the type of society we want to live in. Since we don't want to live in fear of murder, we outlaw murder. Since we don't want our property stolen, we make theft illegal. Since we want to live in a society that promotes a lively intellectual climate, we make freedom of thought a right. These are subjective decisions. What is *objective* are the consequences of those decisions.

    April 11th, 2008 at 5:05 pm
  177. Professor says:

    Perhaps you don't see the point I was making here. You feeling that it is "none of my business" is your moral perspective. You imposing that on me is you imposing your morals upon me.

    So saying that you can't restrict someone else's actions is a restriction on your actions? OK. That I can handle.

    April 11th, 2008 at 5:08 pm
  178. Student says:

    I can't just say "it's none of my business" if my neighbor is planning to kill someone. I have a responsibility to report that person to the authorities.

    If you were planning on killing someone, I would report you too. Like it or not. If you "allowed" me to or not.

    Of course you would — as would I. However, killing another person has absolutely nothing to do with making a personal end of life issue. If you are willing to take that decision from me (which clearly affects only me), how many others would follow? What if you find the way I raise my children immoral? What if you think I should wear a headscarf? Where does it end?

    Perhaps you don't see the point I was making here. You feeling that it is "none of my business" is your moral perspective. You imposing that on me is you imposing your morals upon me.

    Your moral perspective and value system are different than mine, but your system says "don't push your belief on me", yet your do that very thing on me.

    No, Roger, it is you who doesn't understand the point. I am not pushing my moral perspective off on you. If you have an end of life issue it is not my place to "push my beliefs" on you. What YOU choose to do as regards YOUR end of life issue is none of my business. Let's not obfuscate the situation by bringing in other parties. We're not talking about any other person but you. I should have NO SAY in an end of life decision where you are concerned nor should you have ANY say in mine. That IS NOT pushing my beliefs onto you.

    April 12th, 2008 at 7:59 am
  179. Student says:

    So the *only* reason that you believe people have intrinsic value is because you believe they are created in God's image? There is no other reason that you could give that would make sense to, say, an atheist? Truthfully, that's sad.

    I've yet to hear any other reason given here.

    April 12th, 2008 at 8:01 am
  180. Professor says:

    So saying that you can't restrict someone else's actions is a restriction on your actions? OK. That I can handle.

    It was pointed out to me that I may not have been very clear here. Roger takes the position that 'restricting' him from intervening in my life is an intolerable intervention in his morality. Sorry, this is just laughable. No, worse. This is the problem with ALL moralists: they think they know what is good for everyone else. Yes, of course, there are things we have, as a society, decided we need to protect against. The moralists get to add their voices to that debate just like everyone else. But for those things where there is no social agreement about morality, let people alone!

    There really are things that are none of your business. This includes what two (or more) consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms. This includes whether I want to express my affection for another person in public. And, it includes my choices about how to end my life when *I* have a terminal illness that only has pain in the future. It also includes whether a woman (I'm male, so it won't happen to me) chooses to end a first trimester pregnancy.

    April 12th, 2008 at 10:30 am
  181. Sandy says:

    Professor

    Why the first trimester limit?

    April 12th, 2008 at 3:03 pm
  182. Professor says:

    Why the first trimester limit?

    Mostly because of brain development at the end of the second trimester. I'm not committed to the trimester division. I don't have particular problems through the fifth month. There really isn't the hardware needed for pain perception or anything except for reflex before at least the 22nd week. Some studies I have seen even push that to the 28th week. Certainly, there is nothing like regular brain waves until the late 20's or early 30's. And that, to me, is the relevant factor.

    Human life is NOT the relevant question to me. Sperm and eggs are 'human life'. So are each and every one of our organs. But we assign moral value to neither of them (although if someone assaults you and causes you to lose an organ, that has bearing on the severity of the assault). In a strictly biological sense, the sperm and egg are even 'separate organisms': they are the haploid stage of our life cycle (uni-cellular as they are). Also 'potential' is not relevant to me. The actual reality at the time is the factor that has bearing.

    The upshot is that I would give *some* moral value to late stage fetuses. But if it's a question of the life of the fetus and the life of the mother, I would put the value on the life of the mother.

    I noticed that nobody answered my common in #159.

    Tara: I would challenge you to find any scientific study that backs up your dates in post #162. They are *way* off from what my studies have found.

    I asked you before … what immoral activity is good for society? The answer is none.

    And given the wife differences of opinion about what constitutes 'good for society', we have a problem. I see religious faith as 'bad for society': in your scheme it would be immoral. You certainly see abortion as immoral, yet I see the right to it as promoting a better society. You probably see homosexuality as immoral, but I see negative attitudes towards homosexuals as being a strong detriment to society.

    April 12th, 2008 at 3:37 pm
  183. Professor says:

    aack….I meant WIDE difference, not 'wife' differences.

    April 12th, 2008 at 3:37 pm
  184. truthseeker says:

    Professor,
    You are correct that the truth is nobody knows when a fetus has it's own consciousness. That is why it is not prudent to try and draw a line like you do at 22 weeks or some ither arbitrary date. Are you willing to concede the "truth" that neither you or anybody else has much of an idea what part of the brain function makes a human capable of thought processes or what kinds of thoughts a twelve week old baby has?

    April 12th, 2008 at 5:43 pm
  185. Roger says:

    Student,

    Of course you would — as would I. However, killing another person has absolutely nothing to do with making a personal end of life issue. If you are willing to take that decision from me (which clearly affects only me), how many others would follow? What if you find the way I raise my children immoral? What if you think I should wear a headscarf? Where does it end?

    Euthanasia and abortion are wrong. I do not want to raise my children in a society with these "killings" as legal. It matters not who they apply to. Legal killing in the US affects me and my children.

    Euthanasia being legal has a bearing on me and my family. So it is not all about YOU and I.

    And please don't bring in such trivial examples. Your concept of "where does it end" is silly. Comparing killing with headcovering preferences?

    I am not pushing my moral perspective off on you. … What YOU choose to do as regards YOUR end of life issue is none of my business. Let's not obfuscate the situation by bringing in other parties. We're not talking about any other person but you. I should have NO SAY in an end of life decision where you are concerned nor should you have ANY say in mine. That IS NOT pushing my beliefs onto you.

    Student, you place this argument as me against you. As if I am personally in control of what you do to yourself.

    I am not talking about that with euthanasia or abortion. It is not about me having my will/morals over you.

    It is about applying the "death" morals to our society, where human life is not valued. Euthanasia and abortion are bad for society, and I live with my family in this society.

    You can't say that YOUR personal euthanasia does not effect me and my family.

    We do not each individually live in bubbles. Our laws reflect our society's morals. Those laws and morals effect each person in our society.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 12th, 2008 at 7:58 pm
  186. Student says:

    Roger stated:

    Legal killing in the US affects me and my children.

    Would it then be safe to assume that you against the death penalty as well?

    And please don't bring in such trivial examples. Your concept of "where does it end" is silly. Comparing killing with headcovering preferences?

    Trivial examples? Hardly. I assume you've picked up a newspaper in the past few years. Many women in the Middle East have been killed for less. The "moral perspective" of their society has certainly been pushed off on them. Their reproductive and sexual lives are certainly not their own. I would hardly think they would find my example trivial? You seem to want a similar theocracy….only with YOUR moral values.

    I am not pushing my moral perspective off on you.

    Student, you place this argument as me against you. As if I am personally in control of what you do to yourself.

    I am not talking about that with euthanasia or abortion. It is not about me having my will/morals over you.

    It is about applying the "death" morals to our society, where human life is not valued. Euthanasia and abortion are bad for society, and I live with my family in this society.

    You can't say that YOUR personal euthanasia does not effect me and my family.

    Yes, I can say that and I do. I'm not telling you what you MUST do, I'm saying it should be an option. The same should hold true for me.

    I think religion is incredibly bad for society. Do you want MY moral value enforced on you and your family? Do you want the state to remove your children if you insist on indoctrinating them? I'd bet money you don't. I don't want to live in world where people believe in such superstition. However, I don't have that ability because YOU do have rights — even if "I" find them immoral.

    April 12th, 2008 at 8:24 pm
  187. Roger says:

    Professor,

    Roger takes the position that 'restricting' him from intervening in my life is an intolerable intervention in his morality.

    You have misunderstood my position. But perhaps that doesn't matter to you, considering your conclusions.

    There really are things that are none of your business. This includes what two (or more) consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms. This includes whether I want to express my affection for another person in public. And, it includes my choices about how to end my life when *I* have a terminal illness that only has pain in the future. It also includes whether a woman (I'm male, so it won't happen to me) chooses to end a first trimester pregnancy.

    There are current laws to limit some of these things you mention. Bestiality. Public indecency. Suicide.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 12th, 2008 at 8:57 pm
  188. Roger says:

    Student,

    Trivial examples? Hardly. I assume you've picked up a newspaper in the past few years. Many women in the Middle East have been killed for less.

    I did not pick up on your "headscarf" reference being women wearing burqas or the like.

    You seem to want a similar theocracy….only with YOUR moral values.

    Perhaps you don't recall that I did not advocate legislating my "morality" – that I oppose the use of birth control and pre-marital sex. Never have I proposed or suggested a theocracy.

    Yes, I can say that and I do. I'm not telling you what you MUST do, I'm saying it should be an option. The same should hold true for me.

    I openly say that abortion and euthanasia are bad for society and need to be outlawed. You say that I MUST allow these as options. We disagree.

    Do you want MY moral value enforced on you and your family? Do you want the state to remove your children if you insist on indoctrinating them? I'd bet money you don't. However, I don't have that ability because YOU do have rights — even if "I" find them immoral.

    No, I don't want your moral values forced upon me and my family, but they ARE being forced upon us. They are forcing us to accept the killing of human life.

    For example, Gov. Blagovich has forced pharmacists to dispense birth control against their consciences. Sex education programs, like the ones that PP does, are in our schools, teaching our children.

    I think religion is incredibly bad for society. … I don't want to live in world where people believe in such superstition.

    I think you do not know my "religion" very well. With all the evidence that exists for my "religion", I could not have the faith that you have in your religion.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    P.S. I will pray all the more for you. As a "student", I believe that you do have a desire to seek the truth. This is a step towards my "religion" (as you call it).

    April 12th, 2008 at 9:16 pm
  189. Tara says:

    Professor,

    Why do you think faith is bad for society? And how does abortion better society?

    April 12th, 2008 at 11:01 pm
  190. Professor says:

    Why do you think faith is bad for society? And how does abortion better society?

    Faith: look at all the fanaticism that faith causes: those men who ran airplanes into the WTC did so because of their faith. Look at how much tax money is lost because of the tax-exempt status of churches. Look at how using "faith" automatically stops discussion: well, I *certainly* can't question your FAITH. Even more destructive is the whole notion of taking some concepts on faith: it ultimately short circuits critical thinking, which this society, in particular, direly needs.

    Abortion has the HUGE benefit that when birth control fails (or when its not used) and a woman doesn't want to be pregnant and have a child, she can avoid that. This, in turn, allows women to plan better for their own futures in ways that were simply impossible before. This is as true for women who are married and don't want children as for those that are. Ultimately, it allows more options for living, breathing people. In a free society, that is a good thing.

    April 13th, 2008 at 7:49 am
  191. Student says:

    Roger stated:

    I did not pick up on your "headscarf" reference being women wearing burqas or the like.

    Headscarves and burqas are two different things. I recently read an article in Newsweek that goes into the problems women are facing because they are engaging in "immoral" behavior (not wearing a headscarf, wearing black longer than 3 days, etc.) Again, these women can't control their reproductive/sex lives or even what company they can keep. Can you not see the slippery slope?

    No, I don't want your moral values forced upon me and my family, but they ARE being forced upon us. They are forcing us to accept the killing of human life.

    No, they're really not. Has anyone knocked on your door to force your wife or daughter to have an abortion? If so, I know many, many good lawyers who would be willing to accept your case pro bono.

    For example, Gov. Blagovich has forced pharmacists to dispense birth control against their consciences.

    Yes, that is their job. However, there are outs for pharmacists who don't want to do so. They are capable of having another pharmacist fill a prescription. What if you took your sick child to the only doctor in town. The Only physician around says, "Well, Roger, it looks like your beautiful child is extremely dehydrated. However, I don't believe in using a needle to give fluids because I find it "immoral" so let's join hands and pray." Your child will be dead but, hey, the doctor's morals are still intact.

    Sex education programs, like the ones that PP does, are in our schools, teaching our children.

    A lack of sexual education only leads to more abortions — the one thing upon which I think we can both agree we'd like to see end. The countries with the most sex education also have the lowest STD and abortion rates.

    I think you do not know my "religion" very well. With all the evidence that exists for my "religion", I could not have the faith that you have in your religion.

    To be clear, I never said I oppose "your" religion. I oppose ALL religion (and do not espouse one of my own — you may have missed that).

    I will pray all the more for you. As a "student", I believe that you do have a desire to seek the truth. This is a step towards my "religion" (as you call it).

    Could you just sacrifice a goat for me instead? (humor) Seriously, Roger, you're an athiest too. I just take it one god further than you do.

    April 13th, 2008 at 8:28 am
  192. Roger says:

    Professor,

    Why so pessimistic? Can you not even admit that it is was the "faith" of so many individuals throughout history that allow us to day to reap such wonderful benefits? How can you so totally ignore this based on some "fanaticism"?

    "Faith: look at all the fanaticism that faith causes:"

    • the discovery of America
    • the founding of our country
    • the creation of universities
    • the widespread establishment of hospitals
    • the widespread establishment of schools and education for the everyone
    • the contributions to art and literature
    • etc, etc, etc

    You are optimistically rosy ("Abortion has the HUGE benefit") in regard to abortion, yet ignore the serious flaws inherent in this killing of human life:

    • the death of "potential" (those who may cure AIDS, the common cold, etc.
    • the risk of death of the mother
    • the increase likelihood of breast cancer
    • possible infertility
    • possible perforation of the uterus or cervix
    • post-abortion depression
    • difficulty bonding with present or future children
    • increased likelihood of ectopic pregnancy
    • etc, etc, etc

    For more see Possible Physical Side Affects or Complications You can have With your abortion.

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 13th, 2008 at 8:46 am
  193. Roger says:

    Student,

    Happy Sunday morning!

    Could you just sacrifice a goat for me instead? (humor) Seriously, Roger, you're an athiest too. I just take it one god further than you do.

    Hmmm. Now that is interesting. Could I sacrifice an unblemished lamb instead? :-) (my humor bad to you).

    Have a great Sunday!

    God Bless,
    Roger

    April 13th, 2008 at 9:01 am
  194. Student says:

    Roger,
    An unblemished lamb would be A-OK by me too! You have a great weekend as well.

    April 13th, 2008 at 9:30 am
  195. Professor says:

    Why so pessimistic? Can you not even admit that it is was the "faith" of so many individuals throughout history that allow us to day to reap such wonderful benefits? How can you so totally ignore this based on some "fanaticism"?

    "Faith: look at all the fanaticism that faith causes:"

    * the discovery of America
    * the founding of our country
    * the creation of universities
    * the widespread establishment of hospitals
    * the widespread establishment of schools and education for the everyone
    * the contributions to art and literature
    * etc, etc, etc

    Discovery of America was not a religious 'faith' thing. In fact, Columbus was wrong about the size of the earth, which made him think it more likely that he would get to China.

    Whether the founding of America was a faith thing or not depends somewhat on when you consider the founding to have happened. I certainly have no respect for the Puritans and Pilgrims. They really were a bunch of religious fanatics that simply wanted to enforce their particular brand of religion on everyone. When England didn't allow this, they left and came here. In my mind, the *true* founding of America was an Enlightenment era phenomenon: when people like Franklin and Jefferson (who were deists at best) formulated the ideas of freedom and separation of religion and government.

    The creation of universities (a middle ages phenomenon) I'll grant you was done primarily for religious reasons. Fortunately, they have gotten away from that to more secular education, which is what we need.

    Hospitals: here again, religion has done some good, but it was the innovations of the non-religious that really made the differences in medical care: the discovery of bacteria and their impact of disease, etc.

    You are optimistically rosy ("Abortion has the HUGE benefit") in regard to abortion, yet ignore the serious flaws inherent in this killing of human life:

    * the death of "potential" (those who may cure AIDS, the common cold, etc.
    * the risk of death of the mother
    * the increase likelihood of breast cancer
    * possible infertility
    * possible perforation of the uterus or cervix
    * post-abortion depression
    * difficulty bonding with present or future children
    * increased likelihood of ectopic pregnancy
    * etc, etc, etc

    But you forget about the 'death potential' of going through a pregnancy. You forget that there is an increased risk of breast cancer simply from never being pregnant (estrogen is a potent breast cancer activator over time). Some people consider the 'risk' of infertility a benefit. There is also a general fact of 'post-partum depression'. It seems that the fluctuation of hormone levels associated with the termination of a pregnancy (whether artificial or natural) causes depression. Pregnancy, in any case, is a dangerous condition. Even today, women die from it. The risk of dying from continuing a pregnancy is *far* more than from terminating it in the first trimester. etc, etc, etc

    April 13th, 2008 at 10:35 am
  196. truthseeker says:

    Abortion has the HUGE benefit that when birth control fails (or when its not used) and a woman doesn't want to be pregnant and have a child, she can avoid that.
    This, in turn, allows women to plan better for their own futures in ways that were simply impossible before. This is as true for women who are married and don't want children as for those that are. Ultimately, it allows more options for living, breathing people. In a free society, that is a good thing.
    Posted by Professor April 13th, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Professor,
    Killing babies so they don't use the resources or breathe the air of the ones who are already alive. That is a despicable thing for a free society to do. It devalues human life and your "freedom" is actually just a right to act irresponsibly.

    April 13th, 2008 at 8:01 pm
  197. Catherine says:

    Catherine…

    I always enjoy coming to this site because you offer great tips and advice for people like me who can always use a few good pointers. I will be getting my friends to pop around fairly soon….

    April 20th, 2008 at 2:45 pm
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  199. Jerry Vilt says:

    Choices:

    1. The easy way.

    2. The hard way.

    3. No way!

    [The problem with 3. above, is (because of the "force" of evil in the world), "no way" will end up the WORST WAY!]

    December 11th, 2009 at 5:59 am
  200. Jerry Vilt says:

    "3. No way!":

    NO WAY is better than a BAD "easy way" or a BAD "hard way"!

    February 16th, 2010 at 9:18 am
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