Category Archives: vaccines

What’s your price?

We’ve all heard the story, attributed to various writers, of the British humorist sitting next to the beautiful woman at the banquet and asking, “Would you sleep with me for 1 million pounds?” “Of course!” “Would you sleep with me for 10 pounds?” “What kind of woman do you think I am?” “We’ve established that; now we’re just haggling over price.”
Chesterton said that men do not differ so much over what they consider evil as what evils they consider acceptable.
It is the easy compromise that keeps the culture of death going. Every one of us who refuses to compromise gets labelled an “extremist” precisely because of the easy way people sell out.
Every time the Republicans gain ground in national office, pro-life and pro-family issues are a major reason for the voters, but the Republicans never follow through because they claim they won’t be reelected. “Next time,” they tell us.
In the 1970s, the National Right to Life Committee developed a “long term strategy” for overturning _Roe v. Wade_. The first law passed was the Hyde Amendment, banning federal funding of abortion. 40 years later, “progress” is the Republican House passing a new ban on such funding.
Meanwhile, does anybody even talk about embryonic stem cell research anymore? George W. Bush’s “if the babies are already dead, might as well put the remains to good use” reasoning has crept not only into the NRLC’s positions but into the Catholic commentariat. And that’s the same position we hear on vaccines derived from fetal tissue.
In 2005, the Pontifical Academy for Life (pro Vita, or PAV) issued a statement supporting conscientious objection to vaccines derived from from fetal tissue research. There were already position papers from several organizations, most notably the so-called “National Catholic Bioethics Center,” saying such vaccines were acceptable. For most people, this isn’t even an issue. The sheer fact that the Vatican bothered to issue a statement should lean any ambiguities in favor of conscientious objection. Many have tried to twist the document to say it opposes conscientious objection. If so-called “anti-vaxxers” are a minority of extremists, why would the Vatican, which so often fails to address prevalent problems of theological discipline, bother to tell “anti-vaxxers” to comply?
Yes, the document explains the parameters of remote material cooperation (more on that later). Yes, the document explains there are conditions which mitigate culpability for such cooperation. Yes, if somebody feels compelled to vaccinate, the document says they should voice their objections, but that is supposed to be the exception, not the rule.
In 2008, a lot of people said, “I’m pro-life, and I voted for Obama because I figure that, if he knows pro-life people voted for him, maybe he’ll change his views.” Yep, that’s how politics works.
If nobody stands up and says, “I won’t support this,” what is to motivate those in power to change?
There are very few vaccines for which the only form is derived from fetal tissue research, and all of those are diseases that have other means of treatment or prevention and/or are rarely life threatening. The most life threatening diseases (e.g., polio) have alternatives that exist, but they’re increasingly unavailable. When our eldest was a baby, there were separated forms of measles and mumps vaccine available, but they were hard to get, and you had to find a doctor willing to order them. The ethical rubella vaccine is not available in the US because of “FDA” regulation, even though it’s proven effective in other countries.
If there were more people standing up and saying, “We want ethical alternatives and will not vaccinate until you provide them,” things would change pretty quickly, but as it is, a) most people just vaccinate, with or without “stating their objections”; and b) the rest just become out right “anti-vaxxers,” objecting to all vaccinations and tying in other issues to fetal tissue. So thus of us who merely object to specific vaccinations on specific ethical grounds are left without support. It is so disheartening to have to file for a “religious exemption” at Catholic institutions when we’re Catholic, and explain to Catholic school and parish officials why we object. It is disheartening to find that most state regulations and doctors’ offices take an all-or-nothing approach, so we can’t get the ethical vaccines, either.

The original NCBC position paper from the 1990s had two related points that really irk me.
1) They, and most subsequent “the good of the vaccines outweighs the evil” ends-justify-the-means arguments, hold that parents have a “moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children.” To a certain extent, this is true. However, this moral obligation gets transmuted into saying it’s mortally sinful to get someone sick. This is also applied in the question of whether you should go to Mass when you’re sick, and other situations. Now, if such moral obligations and sinful circumstances exist, and I have a 50% chance of passing on Marfan syndrome, which will be far more likely to be fatal than any virus, to my children, I think one can see why I take some offense to this, especially when so many people who *do* have Marfan syndrome insist on contraception, IVF and/or abortion for that reason.
2) The original NCBC document grants that conscientious objection constitutes heroic virtue (and I think most of us on that side would agree), but argues that parents do not have the right to make decisions of heroic virtue for their kids. The problem with this (and the previous premise) is, what about Catholic parents in Muslim and Communist countries? Should they not baptize their children for fear of putting their children’s lives at risk and making decisions of heroic virtue?

If you’ve decided that vaccination was the right choice for you and your family, and you feel no pang of conscience about it, then why be so hard on “anti-vaxxers”? Aren’t you and your kids safe?

If we, as Catholics, mistrust the medical establishment on contraception and other issues, why is the rhetoric on vaccines to do as you’re told by Big Pharma?

If measles is making a comeback, why won’t Merck provide the ethical, separate measles vaccine it discontinued in favor of MMR? Why is Merck so adamant about forcing people to violate our consciences?

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“He who seeks to keep his life will lose it; he who loses his life will save it.”: Vaccines versus viruses; prepping versus providence

If there’s one thing the Bible is clear about, it’s not putting our trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help, not trusting in our own devices, etc., for God chooses the weak things of the world that no flesh may glory in His sight. The foolish man cannot know this, and the fool cannot understand.
From the time when Satan refused to trust God, then tempted Adam and Eve to “be like Gods who know,” to the Tower of Babel to Israel being punished over and over for not doing things Gods way, while those who were justified were justified by their absolute trust in God, even when His instructions were foolishness to human wisdom, the Bible tells us over and over that we should, as Jesus says, “Consider the lilies of the field,” for we know no the day nor the hour. Just when we are saying “peace and security,” the Lord will come like a thief in the night and say, “You fool! Don’t you know this very night your life will be demanded of you?”
I am always dismayed by Christians who insist that they should put their trust in worldly goods, rather than building up treasure in Heaven, be they investors, “preppers,” etc. Obviously, there is a common sense level of protecting ones health and family, and keeping an emergency reserve if possible, but some people seem way too concerned about storing up treasure on earth.
Then there’s the vaccine issue. Again, nothing wrong with protecting health, but doing so at the expense of other people’s lives should be avoided, and it is difficult to suppress the instinct to say, “I told you so,” when the efforts people cling to prove futile in the face of worse and worse viruses and bacteria strains. We hear about “herd immunity” (a term that’s offensive in itself), and see arguments about what that does or does not mean. We see arguments about old viruses returning supposedly because of unvaccinated families, though others arguing they’re spreading among the vaccinated and that they’ve gotten worse because of resistance. Now, there is apparently a virus spreading that mimics a cold or flu but is far worse and they barely even know what it is. . . .

Why believers make better doctors

In our pluralistic society, the notion of choosing a business or professional based upon faith is considered discriminatory. We hear a lot about businesses refusing to provide particular services based upon moral principles, but not about customers, unless it suits the Left’s agenda. “I will “I will gladly be your doctor but I will not prescribe contraceptives” becomes “He refused to give me health care!” On the other hand, a doctor pressuring a woman to *use* birth control is perfectly fine, and if she refuses to go to that doctor, she’s the one who’s considered extremist.

As I’ve written many times, and is one of the founding principles of this blog, it is very difficult to find doctors who support patients’ moral choices: not to profit from or participate in fetal tissue or embryonic stem cell research, not to use artificial birth control, etc. People who don’t include morality in their medical decisions–and those who do but take a very broad interpretation of “remote material cooperation”–seem to not understand why this is important to some of us patients. I’m sure many people would rightly object to eating at a restaurant with a sign saying “whites only.” They would understand why supporting a business owned by a KKK owner is objectionable. However, they don’t understand why we wouldn’t want to support a medical business that engages in practices we find morally repugnant: this is both because they think it’s wrong to *consider* those actions wrong and because they refuse to acknowledge that medicine is a “business.”

So that brings me to why, even if we’re not talking about moral issues, I find it’s important to generally choose, when possible, doctors who are people of faith. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re Catholics, or even Christians, but they have to believe in some sort of “higher power.” I believe it’s a saying, but I’ve often found that doctors who don’t believe in God think they are God.

If a doctor thinks that religion is stupid and irrational, what does he think about patients who are believers? If he doesn’t trust your discernment about spiritual and moral matters, will he trust your discernment about your own health and healthcare decisions?

If she doesn’t believe in God, when difficult moral issues do arise (e.g. end of life issues), will she be more willing to take the easy way out?

I’ve encountered many doctors over the years who have mocked me for praying, flat-out side, “There are no such things as miracles,” etc. A year after my 1996 aortic root replacement, some of the tissue around the stitches of my artificial valve started to leak. During my echo, the tech got really quiet. He got up and got the cardiologist, who redid the echo himself, very slowly. You know something was seriously wrong. He came in afterwards and gave us the report. He ordered me to bed rest for a year. A year later, they were worse. A year after that, I expected them to be even worse. This time, he came in with his jaw metaphorically on the floor, saying, “They healed!!” Ever since then, every doctor I’ve told that story to has had one of two reactions: 1. “Wow, a miracle!” or 2. “That doesn’t happen. He’s probably an idiot and misread the echoes.” Yeah, that’s why he did it personally, slowly, right away, to double-check the technician’s initial finding.

For a few years in Northern Virginia, I went to one of the highest-rated cardiologists in that region, and he said that prayer and “faith,” generically, is a huge part of his practice, that he finds patients who pray and meditate perform far better than those who don’t.

ACLU Suing Catholic Hospital

Doctor tries to “force his opinion” regarding abortion on patient. Patient complains. ACLU sues Catholic hospital. Sounds predictable, right?

Not this time.

This time, they’re suing on behalf of the *doctor*.

You see, if a patient goes to a doctor or pharmacy, even one that’s openly Catholic, and demands contraception or abortion, then it’s “The doctor/hospital doesn’t have the right to force their moral views on the patient.”

However, if a patient goes to a Catholic facility expecting it will follow Catholic moral teachings, then it’s “the patient doesn’t have the right to force her moral views on the doctor”

If you want to put your own blood pressure at risk, you can see the typical hate-filled account and commentary at “Reproductive Health Reality Check” (aka, “Reproductive Poisoning Delusion Check”).

What makes this case hit close to home, and the exact kind of situation this blog was created for, is that the patient in question was suspected of having Marfan syndrome. And much like the cases of so many people who’ve been advised to abort their babies for eugenicist purposes only to find out later the babies didn’t have the genetic disorder in question, the woman doesn’t even have Marfan.

So much for “pro-choice.” If a person with same sex attraction disorder wants therapy for that problem, New Jersey’s “Catholic” “Republican” governor has made it a crime to provide that person with such therapy. Now, the ACLU is trying to say that it’s illegal for those of us who put our moral views first in making medical decisions to seek out providers who agree with us.

The unnamed woman had an unspecified “family history” and was sent to the cardiologist by her Ob/Gyn because she got pregnant. If she had been going for an evaluation for school sports, we know darn well she’d be told, “there’s very little risk, go for it,” even though if you go by the pre-1990s statistics, sports are far more dangerous than childbirth (given the mortality rate for untreated women is much higher). If a person *were* diagnosed with Marfan, and chose to play sports anyway, that would be considered “courageous,” but a woman who chooses life is considered “foolish” and “throwing her life away for a blob of tissue” (better than throwing her life away for a blob of rubber).

At least one of the articles thankfully specifies “severe cases may be fatal,” but a “severe case of Marfan syndrome” would have been obvious before she was pregnant, especially if she had a family history and knew to look out for it. Media are about as accurate in reporting on Marfan syndrome as they are about reporting on Catholicism, and the reports on this case illustrate both areas of gaping ignorance. Typically, “Marfan syndrome” is referred to as synonymous with “aortic root aneurysm,” and while that, in conjunction with ectopia lentis, has become the distinguishing characteristic from other connective tissue disorders, if she truly had a “severe case,” with a family history, other signs would have manifested themselves. If she did not have any existing aortic enlargement, there would have been no more risk from childbirth than any other strenuous activity she’d likely engage in.

As for the Catholic hospital side, commentbox feminazis (noting that the definition of “feminazi” is “a person who uses feminism as an excuse to ensure there are as many abortions as possible”) are making all sorts of false claims about “women’s health care,” saying that Catholic hospitals don’t treat ectopic pregnancy, give “emergency contraception,” etc. Treating an ectopic pregnancy is not the same thing as an abortion; the death of the child is a matter of double effect, and in many cases the child is already dead. The Church allows for necessary medical care which may endanger the baby, so long as there is not a direct abortion. It’s why St. Gianna Molla demonstrated heroic virtue; she went above and beyond the call of duty, opting not to have life saving medical care the Church would have permitted. Similarly, while the question of contraception in the case of rape is a matter of debate in Catholic circles, most Catholic ethical guidelines state that “emergency contraception” is permissible within 24 hours of a rape, so long as conception has not yet occurred.

I have never understood, “Don’t get pregnant, or have an abortion, because your child might me killed by your medical treatment,” any more than I’ve ever understood, “Kill your child now so you don’t have to watch him or her die later.”

Also, she went to a cardiologist because she was pregnant and had a family history. This could be taken either way, but anybody with a modicum of experience knows that’s one of the first things the “experts” say about Marfan syndrome: that it can be fatal for pregnant women (I’m not sure what the statistics are, but again, best I can tell it’s no more dangerous than any other strenuous activity one engages in while trying to actually have a “life”).

I’m sure that this woman heard this “advice” already and specifically went to a Catholic hospital to avoid being pressured into an abortion.

Want to go to a doctor for advice on Natural Family Planning? That’s illegal now, because according to the reasoning of the the ACLU, the likes of Chris Christie and the Obama Administration, since contraception is legal, that makes NFP illegal. If it’s illegal to provide “gay conversion therapy” or to provide a 100% pro-life medical practice to people who want it, then should Weight Watchers be illegal? How about vaccinations, regardless of your reason for objecting? “Don’t force your religious views on your doctor.” Don’t want to benefit from embryonic stem cell research, fetal tissue research, etc.? “You can’t put your religious views ahead of your health care.” What about “alternative medicine”? How many of those people who insist on polluting their bodies with birth control pills yet won’t eat at McDonald’s or take antibiotics would like it if people suddenly started suing them and saying, “McDonald’s is legal, so you *must* eat there”?

The hypocrisy of the ACLU and the “pro-choice” euphemism is that liberty is a two-way street. Even if we take a bare modicum standard of “liberty,” setting aside Natural Law, medical ethics, etc., a free market needs to operate both ways.

A little blurb out of Atlanta, where Demonocrats are desperately trying to fight having statewide (and thus, virtual) charter schools. Now, charter schools have their problems–as do public schools, private schools, parochial schools and homeschools–there is no such thing as a perfect educational system as all educational systems are human institutions.

The article in question concerns how a pro-Charter School activist allegedly “shoved” a Democratic state senator and a representative of the state PTA, Sally Fitzgerald. They have a video showing the charter school lobbyist bumping into the PTA lobbyist, and the old woman teetering a bit, but they’re trying to file misdemeanor assault charges against him for it, and the state senator says he wants to see the guy “in prison.” Boy, I wish I could file misdemeanor assault charges against everyone who ever bumped into me! All of us have been bumped in the manner shown in the video, and I don’t know how many times I’ve been intentionally shoved, pushed over, etc., whether standing or in my wheelchair.

In any case, what strikes me is the last part of the article. Apparently, at the rally in question, someone (article implies it was Fitzgerald but doesn’t specify) challenged a young “charter school student” for being at the rally and “not in school”. Of course, that’s part of the point of homeschooling and virtual schooling: to give students the freedom to actually learn from life experience. Here’s my response that I wrote to the Georgia PTA:

Dear Ms. Fitzgerald,

I was alerted to the recent news story about your anti-charter school activism. While I believe charter schools are problematic, as are all models of education, I believe very strongly in school choice. The Natural Law, which is binding on all people but arbitrated by the Catholic Church as the only institution on earth that can speak for Jesus Christ, dictates that parents are the primary educators of children, and that educational institutions, whether secular or religious, exist only to assist parents in our rightful duty of educating our children according to our own values. The Popes also teach the principle of subsidiarity: since the primary social unit in God’s eyes is the family, all other social institutions exist to protect the family, and therefore management of various aspects of social life, particularly education, should be kept as local and as close to the family level as possible.

To wit, I was struck by the following comment in this article:
“She said every adult has the right to be concerned about truancy laws, even if the child isn’t their own.”
I found this comment interesting coming from someone who is apparently of the liberal persuasion, and was tied in the article with a Democrat legislator.
Do you also believe that every adult should be concerned about abortion, even if the child isn’t their own?

My mother in law was the second woman ever to get a PhD from Auburn and one of the first women in the country to get a PhD in microbiology. She grew up on a farm, and her mother kept her home once a week to do farm chores.

I have an MA in English from Valdosta State University with a 3.85 GPA, a BA from the SC Honors College with a 3.98 GPA (graduated at 19 and had open heart surgery between my junior and senior years). I’m Phi Beta Kappa, Golden, Key, National Honors Society, etc. I scored a 1350 on the SAT at 15 and graduated high school at 16. I had a combined 2180 on the GRE at 18. I have had numerous articles and conference presentations in the past 15 years.

I did all of this while suffering from a life threatening genetic disorder, of which I am in the final stages. I suffered an aortic dissection last year. I was frequently absent from school. I was “modified homebound” in 8th grade, and spent an entire quarter home from school in 10th grade. Even in college, I had to spend the semester before my open heart surgery at home. Thankfully, Disability Services at USC arranged for me to do my work from home, and my professors were very accommodating given my academic success.

Yet my whole life I was made to feel like a second class student because of “attendance.” Even though I was never penalized for it, I was always “penalized” by the many awards programs, scholarships, etc., that take attendance into consideration. I was penalized by attending awards ceremonies every year and seeing students commended for “perfect attendance” that I would never be able to achieve.

“Perfect attendance” is just another way that eugenicist Democrats put down the disabled. It means absolutely nothing to a student’s actual learning, since most real learning occurs at home. To emphasize attendance is to say that those who are blessed with healthy immune systems are better than everyone else, just because of their genes. It is saying, in essence, that a healthy immune system makes someone “more equal” than others. Of course, advocates of “perfect attendance” also promote vaccinations, which forces parents to be complicit in the evil of abortion by utilizing vaccinations derived from fetal tissue. And lastly, it encourages students to come to school when they are sick, which promotes contagion of other students and promotes poor education by having students attempt to learn when they are physically incapacitated.

Certainly, a student who is actively engaging in the political process by attending an event at the State House is learning far more than he or she would learn in the classroom, as advocates of so-called “unschooling” would point out. My 10 year old daughter knows more about biology and medicine than most high school or college graduates because she lives it in dealing with the genetic disorder we share.

I have utilized public and private schools, charter schools and homeschooling in educating my children. I believe that parents should be given as many options as possible to choose the best fits for their families and their individual children. However, I also believe that attendance rules are arbitrary and inherently discriminatory, and I look forward to the day when disabled people rise up to declare attendance rules unconstitutional.

Sincerely,

John of the Little Way, OCDS
North Augusta, SC

Shepherds and Car salesmen

Originally Published 12/24/2006

I recall reading a Christmas meditation somewhere that speculated about who *else* might have heard the message that First Christmas–and ignored it.

Were the shepherds the only ones who saw the angels in the sky and heard the first Gloria in excelsis deo? How many people figured it was just a dream or hallucination? How many people just heard the commotion and hid in fear? How many simply slept through it?

How many astrologers saw the star and ignored its meaning or misinterpreted it?

Did God call the shepherds and Persian Magi only, or were the just the only ones who bothered to respond?

Throughout the Gospels, from Bethlehem to Calvary to Emmaus, it’s the shepherds, the fisherman, the prostitutes and the tax collectors who “get it”. With a few exceptions, like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, the theologians are out of the loop.

Today, I had my car in for a service, and, as I was waiting, I wandered around the dealership. I had brought my Christian Prayer with me to say Lauds. But first, I thought I’d wander around and look at the cars. A salesman came up to me and struck up a conversation. First, he noticed my “Good Book.” It’s often a moment of gentle evangelization when a Protestant asks about my “Bible” and then I say, “Actually, it’s a breviary,” which leads into an explanation of the Divine Office (Apologetics note: one of the many advantages of saying the Office vis the Rosary, besides that it’s actually liturgy, is that it’s a lot easier to explain the Office to a Protestant than it is to explain the Rosary).

As it turned out, he said, “Oh, I used to say the Office a bit in college, but fell away. . . .” As he proceeded, I was pegging him for some kind of Episcopalian. Of course, we were both “beating around the bush” a bit and speaking in non-denominatoinalese.

Then he started talking about his theological debates with some of the other car salesmen in town, and that got to my mentioning pursuing my MA in theology.
He said, “Catholic theology, I assume?” I replied in the affirmative, and that got us off the “beating around the bush”and into some pretty serious sharing.

He explained that he’s an orthodox Catholic, FUS graduate, but works with many Protestant ministries, as well, including the 700 Club. I talked about Flannery O’Connor’s theory of the convergence of Evangelicalism & Catholicism.

He warned me against the dangers of arrogance when one becomes a “theologian,” and I wholeheartedly agreed. Earlier on, he had mentioned how his theological debates (he specifically mentioned Calvinism & Purgatory) usually focus on the concept of relationship: God created us to relate to Him, and everything else stems from that. I agreed, and talked about my own work, how I’m working on a book on that topic, and my work with bioethics and the pro-life movement. I noted how I’ve been seeing the same problems popping up with “conservative” and “Loyal to the Magisterium” theologians that we see in “liberal” theologians now that “our side” is more mainstream, and he agreed: the fundamentalist treatment of the Catechism, for example, such that the absence of statement on some moral question (e.g., vaccines) makes it licit, especially if a stated principle (protection of health) can be exaggerated.

He said, “Yeah, like it’s OK to eat the baby if you’re starving.”

And I said, “We shouldn’t be thinking about what we can get away with or how much we can justify. My question is: if Jesus were standing next to me, what would He think of me partaking in this?”

That was about the time when the service guy came up and said my car was ready.

Obama is anti woman and anti-child; vote PRO-LIFE on Nov. 2