Skip to content
Home » News » Communique – Nov. 11, 2005

Communique – Nov. 11, 2005

in this issue:

fetal rights: RIGHT TO PRIVACY
sex education: FRUITS
stem cell research: BONE MARROW / GENE DEFECTS
reflection: PATH TO CHRIST


INTERRUPTING PREGNANCY: Researchers using a government grant examined which factors come into play before an expectant mother “interrupts” her baby’s life. They conclude, “Early diagnosis, the identification of multiple abnormalities, and an assessment of likely lethality of fetal anomalies are important factors for the optimization of parental autonomy in deciding pregnancy management.”

COMMENT: In other words, if tests can show the potential for imperfection in a preborn baby, his parents can act definitively in order to protect him from possible suffering.

(Reading: “Pregnancy interruption after second trimester diagnosis of fetal structural anomalies,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, (2005) 193, pp. 1492-1497)

POLITICS: Media pundits are querying pro-life leaders about the possibility of what could happen if Judge Sam Alito was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, making it sound a bit like one man could alter the course of history. With one pro-life professional opining that only a few states would ban most abortions if Roe v. Wade were overturned on the basis of states’ rights, others question the validity of giving credence to a court action that would literally do nothing to restore personhood to the preborn child.

It was judge Alito himself who said, “I think that the court’s suggestion that there could be ‘human beings’ who are not ‘constitutional persons’ is unfortunate. I agree with the essential point that the court is making: that the Supreme Court has held that a fetus is not a ‘person’ within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. However, the reference to constitutional non-persons, taken out of context, is capable of misuse.”

QUESTION: Don’t all pro-lifers want the Roe and Doe decisions overturned on the question of personhood? Or is states’ rights better fundraising ammunition?

(Reading: “Activists on both sides weigh future of Roe,” Associated Press, 11/5/05; “Judging law: Alito and abortion,” National Review, 11/1/05)


FORCED BRUTALITY: News reports indicate that more than 7,000 people in China’s Shandong province were forced to undergo sterilization during the first six months of this year. This same province’s officials are accused of using brutal tactics to force expectant mothers into abortions. One report states that the man who exposed these tragic events has been under house arrest for a month.

(Reading: “Chinese officials accused of forcing abortions in Shandong,” The Lancet, 10/8/05)

fetal rights

RIGHT TO PRIVACY: The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has published an analysis of recent legal actions and policies focused on protecting the preborn from potential harm by their mothers’ behavior. It states, “Efforts to use the legal system to protect the fetus by constraining pregnant women’s decision making or punishing them erode a woman’s basic rights to privacy and bodily integrity and are not justified.” The publication cites cases involving alcohol and drug abuse.

(Reading: “Maternal decision making, ethics and the law,” ACOG Committee Opinion, 11/05, pp. 1127-1137)

sex education

FRUITS: A recent article points out that the most shocking aspect of high school students having sex in school is that their peers do not find it shocking at all.

(Reading: “Sex at school increasing, some educators say,” Washington Post, 11/6/05)

stem cell research

BONE MARROW: German researchers have discovered that a patient’s bone marrow stem cells taken from the hip can successfully be used in the treatment of a heart after a heart attack has occurred. The study used 18 patients and had no control group, thus the study cannot be viewed as conclusive, but it is encouraging.

(Reading: “Bone marrow stem cells may heal hearts even years after heart attacks,” Science Daily, 10/27/05)

GENE DEFECTS: A news report addressing the problematic nature of aging stem cell lines questions the use of such cells unless “they can be kept fresh and checked for mutations.”

(Reading: “Gene defects plague stem-cell lines; Cancerous mutations threaten therapeutic future for cells,” Nature News, 9/5/05)


POPE BENEDICT XVI: A bishop’s first duty is to preach the faith, the pope reminded the Austrian hierarchy. While preaching should be prudent and sensitive, “this must not prevent us from presenting the divine message clearly, even on those subjects that do not enjoy widespread approval, or that give rise to protest or even derision.”

(Reading: “Confront secularization boldly, pope asks Austrian bishops,” Catholic World News, 11/7/05)

reflection for prayer

PATH TO CHRIST: “We are Christ’s incense to God” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Amid the decay of ideologies, our faith needs once more to be the fragrance which returns us to the path of life.

(Reading: “Way of the Cross at the Colosseum,” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 3/25/05)