Two Freelances: Wonder Woman and Pro-Life Feminism at CUA

Pop Culture and Theology: Wonder Woman: Facing the Darkness and Embracing her Gifts

“Nevertheless, our calling is precisely to join that inner fight. The Catechism continues, even taking up the analogy of battle: “Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity” (409). To see the evil outside in the world and the urges to it inside our own hearts, and to seek to counter that, as Diana’s friends do when they elect to continue their mission despite lack of payment and high likelihood of death, is the central focus on our life on this planet. They master their own selfishness, their inner temptations, and in so doing challenge evil in the great war itself.”

Wonder Woman: Facing the Darkness, Embracing Her Gifts

Truth and Charity Forum – How Abortion Divides the Feminist Movement

“Best, was both sides recognizing the structural factors lead to the demand for abortion and agree that those are problems. The demands of caring for young children can prevent hard-up women from from supporting themselves. As pro-life Catholics, glossing over these realities makes us lose our credibility.

Meanwhile, hearing the abortion supporters articulate the philosophical worthlessness of the person: whether born, developing, dying or suffering was the most tragic part. This mentality that easily permits physician-assisted suicide, abortion in general and abortion of the disabled, poses a rapidly-eroding threat to the value of life which must undergird a healthy society, one that values all its members.”

More here –


Freelance: 6 Pro-Life Priorities for Healthcare Reform

One of the fruits of my readings on health insurance.

“The practice of medicine involves the whole human body, so policies about it inevitably express a specific anthropology or philosophical understanding of the human person. National legislation that includes every citizen will have the consequence of enacting one anthropology as opposed to others. Accordingly, health care law has become a test of America’s ability to balance an authentic pluralism, one that is capable of respecting both individual freedom and the moral commitments of other individuals who become funders of it.”

  1. A clear distinction between insurance and medical care – A glaring, but oft-unacknowledged error of the Affordable Care Act is the difference between having health insurance and receiving needed medical care. The former is no guarantee of the latter. The working poor with incomes that set them above the Medicaid threshold have been saddled with low-premium plans that have exorbitant deductibles of up to $13,000, that leave them de facto uninsured and priced-out of healthcare. This problem reveals a gap in concern for certain social groups; it’s part of an anthropology that gives lip service to covering all people, but actually disregards some. Pro-life means pro-life for everyone, so a pro-life policy should seek to increase access for all.
  2. Adequate funding for the severely ill and dying – Euthanasia is a development that pro-life people need to fight. As physician-assisted suicide gains legal traction, insurance companies have incentives to deny expensive care for cancer patients, such as Stephanie Packer, a mother of four diagnosed with late stage cancer.Legalized suicide inverts the practice of medicine, turning patients into dollar amounts instead of lives worth saving, regardless of long is left. The cultural message about the value and purposes of life that is sent by legal suicide is tragic and irreversible. If lives are only valuable when they are pain-free and productive, most of us will soon be in the crosshairs. As the government sets policy, we must demand that it take care of its citizens rather than killing them, and that it tells Americans that life is worth living. This should be an anthropological no-brainer.
  3. A continuation of Hyde restriction on abortion – Presently, the Hyde Amendment, a rider attached annually to the Congressional budget, prohibits federal funding for abortion. It affects Medicaid primarily, but is also present in the ACA. Insurers are not required to cover abortions. States, by contrast, may add abortion coverage or limit it.The principles of the Hyde Amendment permit a level of personal removal for taxpayers who would be funding the procedure that, for many, amounts to murder. Hyde is one of the key compromises that followed the 1973 legalization of abortion. However, it came under fire this campaign season from the Democratic party platform and nominee, Hillary Clinton. In the first week of his presidency, Mr. Trump passed the Hyde rider into a permanent law. For valuing life, it’s a small but important victory. Abortion is a clear-cut case of difference on what it means to be human and who counts as one. Hyde represents one stab at pluralism, a starting point. A committed pro-life healthcare policy will further demonstrate support for women, babies and families through—
  4. Support for prenatal and neonatal care – Pro-life groups are often criticized for caring more about the baby than the mother. If conservatives have a chance to help shape public health policy, we need to make abortion obsolete. Support for pregnant mothers, new moms, and infants, as well as adoption placement need to be readily available so that women in difficult situations aren’t left alone and without options. Raising a child is difficult and demanding work. If we claim to welcome unplanned children, we need to welcome unplanned children, viewing them and their mothers as essential to the social fabric of our country. That’s an anthropology of life that values people and responsibility rather than seeking to abolish the natural consequences of behavior.

Full article  (and the other 2 ideas here):

Question: Why do you think healthcare exploded onto the political scene during Obama’s presidency? What is at stake in the debate?

Yellow Day: Fighting the Dark Side in Real Life

Characters with dark backgrounds, who have experienced loss, abuse, alcoholism, or who simply live with a disability are around us more often than polite conversation would lead us to believe. And such characters populate Yellow Day, a new film opening Christmas for teens and their parents that plunges unafraid into the darkness of our fallen world with the fresh hope of the light, Jesus.

The stories of a young man and woman who meet through chance in a locked church unfold interspersed with “the good man’s” search for his love at Camp Grace on the Yellow Day, a retreat camp founded by a wealthy philanthropist to support and uplift children who suffer in different ways; young people with disabilities and who suffer from abuse are featured prominently. Yellow Day, like the real-life Camp Grace, focuses on celebrating life, forgiving those who have hurt us, and finding courage to carry on despite deep pain. In so doing, it offers chance to approach dark realities with compassion for one another.

The film’s creator, Jeff Galle, explained that after working in entertainment and performance for 16 years, he grew a good deal in his own faith and “wanted to be a part of something that expressed different values than what I saw in the marketplace. I wanted to make a quality film that provided kids and parents something they could discuss together. It’s a film with weight to show that entertainment can be more than just a distraction and that within the family space, we can confront issues that are difficult.”

Yellow Day showcases tough situations through flawed but good characters who receive help and love at Camp Grace and grow from it. John, the “good man,” seeking his true love, at one point explains that “You asked me who the good and the bad man is. Honestly, I think we’re all both. But we should always try to move ahead, towards the Yellow Day.”

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Why I Changed My View on Abortion

Once, I was unapologetically “pro-choice.” I was also a typical college agnostic and political liberal.

Hi, Mom!

Now, I am unapologetically pro-life. And yes, most of my other deep philosophical and theological views have changed too—or matured rather.

Even though some years have passed since then, some of my friends may not understand the change from positions I once seemed so passionate about. So let me explain.

Abortion is unique in that it is a life or death question and therefore not something anyone should be indifferent to.

Abortion is certainly and clearly murder. It kills an innocent human life on grounds no greater than the arbitrary will of the mother (regarding the question of health, see obj. 1).

The typical response of the “pro-choice” position is that the fetus is not a person. Well, personhood is a deep philosophical concept, and when the life or death of a potential person hangs in the balance, it is unacceptable to simply dismiss or ignore the question of personhood. Serious thinkers have answered this question differently. Obviously, I know the Catholic answer and I think it’s right.

But let me provide an answer to the personhood question from my own experience.

The “clump of cells” in the mother’s belly is certainly a person from day one. I am convinced of this because I now have a child. My beautiful one year old baby boy, named William, is the same entity (or being) that he was when he was born, though of course, he has grown a lot.

My one year old William, the same William that was born, is also the same William that we looked at on the screen during my ultrasound. Ultrasound William is the same William that set the pregnancy test to positive before I even knew he was there.

In short, there was no magical moment when he went from not being a person into being a person. He is the same entity that he has been since that particular egg and that particular sperm fused, though of course he grew and continues to grow. He didn’t suddenly gain personhood when he passed through the birth canal. He was the same baby the day before he was born.

We as adults are like this too. We forget that we have continuous identity with ourselves as babies. I am Stephanie, the same person I was when I was 10, when I was 4, when I was born, and when I was conceived. Yes, I have grown, but I am the same being.

That means that if my mother had aborted me in the womb, I wouldn’t be here. Abortion would have killed Stephanie. Likewise, if I had aborted William in the womb, I would have killed the person William. Killing 1 month old (in utero) William would kill the same person as killing 1 month old William (after birth). Killing William in utero is the same as killing William on the outside, or even a William who has been outside for 5 years.

As humans, we are the same beings that our parents conceived. Those little babies inside their mother are persons, just as we are. The fact that they rely on the mother for life support doesn’t change that.

Now that I have William, I know that the personhood of a baby is continuous from conception onward. So I am totally and unflinchingly convinced that abortion is just a different word for murder.

Ironically, when I joined the Church, I was not fully convinced on the question of abortion. But, the teachings of the Church about Christ, salvation, and especially moral theory in general were so strong and compelling to me, that I just gave up my defense of abortion. I prayed that one day I would come to fully understand and appreciate the teaching against abortion.

Slowly, as I studied theology, the role of personhood became apparent to me and also the meaning of sexuality (yes, it really is the-act-that-makes-babies, as I have discussed in another post). Still, even when I was pregnant, I was nervous and scared about what being a mother would mean. I wasn’t even sure I would like the baby.

But once my son was born, I didn’t need philosophy, valuable and necessary though it is. Then I understood in the core of my being that the baby is the same baby that was conceived. I understood that the children belong to God and are given to us for a little while to raise and care for.

I am now horrified that I ever supported abortion, and I puzzle how I used to defend such violence. The answer was that I had very little experience with babies and young children. And I know that I cannot judge the consciences of those who do defend abortion because I really, truly thought that I was defending women’s rights. I thought I was on the right side of a tough moral question. I’m sure that most abortion supporters feel this way. No one chooses to promote or do evil as evil. We do evil while seeking an illusion of the good.

My hope is just to implore those who support abortion to truly search their souls and pray to receive truth. Because the truth would save the lives of thousands of tiny people.

Question for the reader: Have you ever seriously changed your views about an important subject? If so, how did that go?

Obj. 1 – What about the health of the mother?

Ans. 1 – The number of pregnancies that actually threaten the life of the mother is tiny. Pregnancy may be uncomfortable, but it is almost never life-threatening. Appeals for abortion on this ground are therefore very weak. If a non-life threatening health issue were to occur (as it often does), it would be in no way acceptable to kill a person in order to fix such an issue. If a case truly exists where a mother and child’s life hang in opposing sides of the balance, the rule of double effect applies.

Obj. 2 – What about rape?

Ans. 2 – Rape as a reason for abortion is also very rare, though more frequent than truly life-threatening health situations. Nevertheless, if abortion is murder, it is always murder. The tragically unfortunate circumstances through which the baby was conceived do not negate his or her personhood. The right to life does not turn on the intentions of the progenitors. I recognize that such a pregnancy would likely be an extremely psychologically challenging event for the mother. But that doesn’t mean we can kill the baby to make the trauma go away. The suffering is real, but the killing of persons is not a justifiable means to fix it. It means that the mother should receive the utmost in sensitive and loving support from her family, friends and medical practitioners.

Obj. 3 – Isn’t the “baby” just a clump of cells?

Ans. 3 – Yes. The baby is a clump of cells just as adults are clumps of cells, albeit larger clumps. From conception, the baby has a unique sequence of human DNA that will direct her cells to grow in accordance with human nature into a fully formed being. No “clump of cells” in cheek tissue or lungs can do that.

Obj. 4 – It’s my body. Because the baby depends on the mother’s body, the mother has a right to kill it.

Ans. 4 – Yes, the baby depends on the mother. But the baby has a body and right to life of her own. The success of this argument requires that the baby’s personhood be negated by her dependence on the mother. I see no reason that the child’s dependence on the mother should make the child less a person and less the subject of rights.