The San Jose Articles

Think the UN made abortion a human right? Think again.

 It is now commonplace that people around the world are told there is a new international right to abortion.

Those who receive this message are people who have the power to change abortion laws; parliamentarians, lawyers, judges and others.
Those delivering this message are influential and believable people; UN personnel, human rights lawyers, judges and others.

The assertion they make is false. No UN treaty makes abortion an international human right.

So the San Jose Articles were born, as a tool to help countries and their citizens stand up to these false claims. Read them, print them, reference them, and pass them along.

A little more, a little less

Recently, there has been a lot of debate around the national population growth in Canada, many people fearing that there simply aren’t enough Canadians (and nowhere near enough Nova Scotians), once populated industrial towns now only operate senior centres. For me, these are negatve arguments to make, as they make me feel like part of the GDP and less like a human being. I’ve heard the statistic of 2.1 children needed for every fertile female, and this insinuates that I have a social, dare I say patriotic, obligation to have at least that many. Conversely, I don’t want to be told that the fewer children I have, the better it is for the world. This too turns my reproductivity into a social and patriotic act, a duty and a commodity. But of course, we aren’t saying both of these things to Canadian women, we’re saying a little more here, and a little less there.

Yes, of course, the developed world should decrease its consumption – and the co-benefit of providing women with services to avoid unwanted pregnancies is particularly large in the UK because of its high per capita emissions. But does she realise that a reduction of 8-15% in carbon emissions can be obtained by providing family planning to all women who want it. This reduction would be equivalent to stopping all deforestation, or increasing the world’s use of wind power 40-fold.

Here, the writer is speaking about those poorer regions of our world. Those who she claims “want” family planning but don’t have it. I would like to point out, that most of the women I have heard interviewed from those poorer countries don’t want to keep getting pregnant but are never asked if they want to have as much sex as they’re having. Many want something they can hide, keep secret from partners etc. This, to me, illustrates that it’s not a family planning issue so much as a women’s rights issue. Shouldn’t they have the freedom to say no to sex? Should we really be giving them contraception and telling them to stop having children, in the name of having a little less there and a little more here?

Adoption, it’s in us to give

Studies have consistently shown that time is of the essence when it comes to getting children to their adoptive homes. The older a child gets, the harder it is to place them in permanent homes, but when we focus our resources on adoption the percentages for adopted children, even the most difficult to place, rise.

A new study suggests that so-called “unadoptables” — older foster children with disabilities, behavior problems or siblings — can find permanent homes, even in states such as Minnesota, which has lagged behind others in placing children.

Foster children were 1.7 times more likely to be adopted when “child-focused” recruiters helped them find new parents [...]

“It’s one more person in there that can help support the kids,” she said. [...]

She said the state is seeking to improve foster care adoptions in other ways. The University of Minnesota is unveiling a new certification program to train counselors and therapists to work with adopted children and to keep adoptive families intact.

A picnic is also scheduled in Oakdale next week to highlight the 588 foster care adoptions in Minnesota last year and to call attention to the children still awaiting permanent homes.

You can find out more about how to support adoption efforts in your area here, or check out Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.

The happiness study

If you asked the average Canadian if they were satisfied (not happy, just satisfied) with their life, 78 percent would say yes. But if you asked the average person with Down Syndrome if they were happy, that percentage would shoot up to nearly 99%.

This study asks people with Down syndrome (DS), ages 12 and
older, about their self-perception so that their information could
be shared with new and expectant parents of children with DS.
We analyzed valid and reliable survey instruments from 284
people with DS on the mailing lists of 6 non-profit DS organizations around the country. Among those surveyed, nearly 99%
of people with DS indicated that they were happy with their lives,
97%liked who they are, and 96%liked howthey look. Nearly 99%
people with DS expressed love for their families, and 97% liked
their brothers and sisters. While 86% of people with DS felt they
could make friends easily, those with difficulties mostly had
isolating living situations. A small percentage expressed sadness
about their life. In our qualitative analysis, people with DS
encouraged parents to love their babies with DS, mentioning
that their own lives were good. They further encouraged healthcare professionals to value them, emphasizing that they share
similar hopes and dreams as people without DS. Overall, the
overwhelming majority of people with DS surveyed indicate they
live happy and fulfilling lives.

The new test

From The New York Times,

A new test was introduced Monday that can determine if a fetus has Down syndrome using a sample of the mother’s blood. [...]

…most women who find they are carrying a fetus with Down syndrome, which causes mild to moderate mental retardation, terminate the pregnancy. [...]

“Will we slowly start to see babies born with Down syndrome disappear?’’ asked Dr. Skotko, who has a sister with the condition.

He and some colleagues recently published the results of a survey in which nearly 99 percent of people with Down syndrome said they were happy with their lives.

Parents of such children also said they were happy. About 79 percent of parents said their outlook on life was more positive because of their child.

There is also an upsurge in efforts to develop drugs to improve the learning ability of those with Down syndrome. One of the drug researchers, Alberto Costa, who has a daughter with the condition, told The New York Times Magazine:

“It’s like we’re in a race against the people who are promoting those early screening methods. These tests are going to be quite accessible. At that point, one would expect a precipitous drop in the rate of birth of children with Down syndrome. If we’re not quick enough to offer alternatives, this field might collapse.’’

Politics down south

I have not been tracking with the Republican presidential nomination super closely, but what I see of Herman Cain, I like. When asked on Meet the Press, a popular current affairs show, whether he was a “neo-conservative” he said simply, “I’m a conservative.” (Does the general public care for such terms as “neo-conservative”? I don’t think so.) When the interviewer tried to capture him in a Sarah Palin moment (What? Feign horror. You don’t even know what a neo-conservative is?) Cain simply repeated what he had said before: I’m a conservative, I believe in limited government and lower taxes, etc. Struck me as being a down-to-earth man, one who would connect with normal folks, ie. non-politicos.

Ditto on his positioning on abortion. There have been lots of comments in both the pro-life and pro-abortion (sorry but the folks I’ve been reading are not pro-choice, they are too extreme for that) camps saying Cain is confused, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Pro-abortion folks have tried to frame him as being both pro-choice and pro-life; ergo, an idiot.

But let’s leave the pro-choice camp alone. For here, it is the pro-lifers who annoy me. They have tried to claim that he is going back on his former pro-life convictions, asking whether he is truly pro-life.

This drives me crazy. The man is saying what we all know to be true: That he as President of the United States of America cannot personally visit every woman about to enter a clinic and tell her not to. He has a role as President and he’ll use it to advance his pro-life principles within the context of what he can constitutionally do. This is a simple acknowledgement of what the office can achieve. He has said he is pro-life. He has said he won’t vote to fund abortions, or Planned Parenthood. But, he also rightfully acknowledges what is possible and what is not.

Yes, I’m feeling crabby today, so if you are catching that undertone, I’m sorry. But nothing makes me more crabby than pro-lifers who cannot see beyond the realm of the political, as if culture were non-existent and as if our politicians were demi-gods sitting in their temples. I only know a couple of pro-lifers like this, thankfully, but man oh man are they ever vocal. Worse still, they are very, very difficult to please. You can say you are pro-life, you can dedicate your life to changing the face of our soulless nation (on the issue of abortion we are lacking a soul, tis true) but unless you vote a particular way (typically for a candidate who has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected) they’ll renege on you and call you a turncoat.

The shorter purpose of this post was to say a simple thing. I like what I’ve seen of Herman Cain.

Finding forgiveness

A reader sent in a link to her blog today. She is troubled because she can’t forgive her parents–her mom gave her money for an abortion when she was a teenager.

It’s a tough one, this idea of forgiveness. She meanders through her anger and thoughts. But concludes with this:

If I refuse to forgive, if I refuse forgiveness, the pain remains.  I’m still in love with the pain.  My journey has brought many wonderful and grace-filled things into my life. I’m afraid that if the pain goes, I have no more right to them. 

I thought that was an interesting concept: first that she is in love with the pain and second, that releasing herself from the pain by finding forgiveness might mean she no longer can access the good things in her life.

It seems to me that she may have problems with forgiving herself, not just her mother. Oftentimes people cannot forgive others because they cannot forgive themselves. They are exacting and demanding of others, because they are exacting and demanding of themselves.

I used to be like this. Maybe to a certain extent I still am, but as they say recognizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery… I used to be judgemental of others–but only as judgemental as I was of myself. I would wallow in guilt and self-loathing when I made a mistake, because my expectations of myself were perfection.

I was only slowly, slowly released from this attitude over a great deal of time. It took years. But today I can better embrace the imperfections in others because I can accept my own. (How this journey transpired is a faith story and is too long to tell here.)

Anyway, I wish this blogger and post-abortive woman every success on her journey. I think by writing this blog, she is likely already on the road to freedom.