Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just Kill More Boy Babies, India! [Serge]

The Prime Minister of India recently gave a speech regarding the pandemic of sex-selection abortions in that country.

“No nation, no society, no community can hold its head high and claim to be part of the civilized world if it condones the practice of discriminating against one half of humanity represented by women,” Mr. Singh said, giving an inaugural speech at a national conference dedicating to “saving the girl child,” which brought together politicians, doctors and advocates.
If discrimination is the main problem here, as the Prime Minister suggests, a simple solution would be to advocate for more male abortions. The tactic that they have chosen has been to make it illegal for medical personnel to tell a parent (a term the article uses) the sex of their child.

In other words, having an abortion without knowing the sex of the child you are electively killing is a legal, sanctioned right. Telling a couple the sex of their child is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Aborting a female child for economic reasons is described as "this terrible onslaught on our civilization."

By fully embracing population control policies that resulted in abortion being seen as an acceptable and even encouraged means to control population, India set the stage for this situation. Now, since it can not backtrack from this failed policy, and see abortion as the wrong that it is, it is stuck with this situation.

Friday, April 25, 2008

More Sex Education Insanity [Serge]

Nice post Jay, although this next one will probably do little for your blood pressure. There is truly no limit to this craziness.

I have located the actual testimony to Congress that Max Siegal stated about abstinence only education ruining his life. There are a few more points that I need to make. I will be picking and choosing quotes form his 10 page testimony:

Did the abstinence-only message make me HIV positive? It did not force me to forgo the condom.
Ah, some actual personal responsibility.

But, it did nothing to prevent me from contracting the virus.
Except for instructing you on a course of action that would have made it impossible to for you to contract the virus sexually. However, you are right - it did not overrule your desires or your personal decisions. I'm not sure any educational program can do that.

By the way, what about the 23 year old that you choose to have unprotected sex with? Did he also forgo using the condom because of the inadequate sex education he had while he was in Junior High 10 years ago?

My coach could have told me that gay people had value and that delaying sex could benefit me too.
What did your coach say that implied that gay people had no value? Do you really think it is healthy for us to get our self-esteem and value through a Junior High coach?

He could have told me that I could still take actions toward healthy sexual relations even though I could not get married. He could have talked to me about how essential condoms were to stopping the spread of infection among sexually active people, and he could have taught me how to navigate weighty topics such as emotions, love, and condom use within a relationship. These topics also are absent from abstinence-only programs operating today, which puts thousands of young people across the country at risk for disease and teen pregnancy.
Are you stating that in his discussion about sex between married couples you got the impression that it only applied to married individuals, and since gay couples can't marry it simply did not apply to you? So if a 16 year old girl has sex outside of marraige and she gets pregnant, she could also say that the lessons did not apply to her because she could also not legally be married. Does that make any sense?

Also I believe sexual activity, not inadequate sex ed, is what puts thousands of young persons at risk for disease and teen pregnancy. Unless there is much more going on in those classes that I thought.

It seemed as though I had done something particularly disgraceful, but it never occurred to any of us that I in fact had engaged in fewer behaviors that could put me at risk for HIV infection than the majority of my peers.
Whoa. Wait one minute. Are you saying that the majority of your peers engaged in behaviors that are more risky than unprotected homosexual sex? Really? What gehavior are you talking about?

...and it just goes on and on like this. As I read through this I kept reminding myself that this is the best example of a "victim" of abstinence only sex ed that they could come up with. This is the strongest argument that they can make, and it simply falls apart. The tragedy of young persons who contract STDs from their peers is real, but they must be nuts if they believe this is the correct solution.

Not Even Trying to Be Nice this Time [Jay]

I started this as a comment on Serge's post and just lost control of myself. This blog post at RH Reality Check is such utter and complete nonsense that it surpasses all reason.

I must admit that I continue to be amazed at what these people are capable of blaming on abstinence only sex education. So you did everything that you were told not to do the first time you engaged in sexual intercourse and the bad things you were warned could happen in fact did happen. The blame for this unfortunate series of events falls squarely on the teaching that if you would have applied to your life you would not have HIV right now? Ok.

Let’s make this very simple and completely leave out ideas of holiness and faith. If you have sex, here are some very real possibilities that are associated with this particular physical act:

1 – The sexual organs are a part of the reproductive mechanism through which mankind procreates. As a result, sex can logically and reasonably be anticipated to lead to pregnancy.

2 – Our naturally present bodily fluids pass from person to person in sex, so anything present in those body fluids (i.e. Bacteria or viruses) will be passed from person to person with the fluids. As a result, sex can logically and reasonably be anticipated to lead to sexually transmitted infections and diseases.

3 – Sexually transmitted diseases are second only to the common cold as the most common form of infection in the United States.

4 – After a close and thorough reading of the Center for Disease Controls report on sexually transmitted diseases, the majority of people who are infected with some of the most easily transmitted STD’s are not aware they are infected.

5 – The same report seems to indicate that the current rise in infection rates in younger people is due to a rise in sexual activity among that demographic.

6 – Condoms when used correctly 100% of the time can reduce the risk of pregnancy dramatically, reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS by 85%, and then reduces the transmission rate of other STD’s dramatically less (HPV for example)

It is common sense time. Sex is the leading cause of pregnancy. Sex is the leading transmission method for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Condoms cannot prevent the transmission of any STD with 100% effectiveness. The majority of people infected by STD’s are not aware they are infected and so cannot modify their behavior appropriately or receive treatment. In fact, if the transmission methods given by the CDC were correct then the only way to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease is to abstain from sex outside of a committed monogamous relationship with a person that is also not infected. This appears uncontroversial and obvious.

And if you get infected with any STD, you can blame me now for being so idiotic and silly as to tell you the truth. After all, you really think I am stupid for thinking you can control yourself. Combine your low opinion of me with the fact that you really really really want to have sex and of course it is my fault. After all who needs facts and logic when MTV and Planned Parenthood will feed your fantasy of consequences free sex?

Here I will help you out the way you want. You are an animal and you cannot control your sexual urges. But don’t worry because everyone you know is already infected with STD’s as well and if you get pregnant you can just abort the child. And there are these magical things called condoms that have a failure rate that is acceptable if you use them 100% of the time. You can buy them anywhere and they actually have commercials on the radio, but I understand why you may not be aware of them. They do not always work and they are less effective with certain STD’s, but knowledge is power and having sex with only a 40% chance of contracting the infection of your “partner” is better than no sex at all.

Ah yes! That is a much better lesson. I can sense the pregnancy rates and STD infection rates plummeting as we speak.

Someone call Merck and ask them to get a vaccine ready for stupidity. I am pretty sure that will work much better at decreasing the impact of STD's than Gardasil at this point.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Unlikely Case for Purity Education [Serge]

Just to make sure the earth is still spinning correctly on its axis, I had to check back with the RH reality blog. It seems things are back to normal, for posts like this one is what I am used to.

There are few things more tragic than a young person who has to deal with an HIV infection. Blogger Max Siegal has chosen to use his story to show how horrible "abstinence-only" sex education is. In fact, he states that the "abstinence"sex ed transformed his life. He has chosen to share this story with Congress in order to change the public policy. Let's take a close look at his story. I believe, if anything, his story is strong evidence that we need more education regarding sexual purity, not less.

I experienced abstinence-only education taught by my junior high school gym teacher. He told me and my male classmates that sex is dangerous and that we should think more seriously about it when we "grow up and marry." He made clear that only heterosexuality ending in marriage should be discussed. Already aware of my sexual orientation, his speech might as well not have happened.
I would agree that this message is not adequate. Regardless it seems the general message is that teen sexuality contains some very negative consequences and should be taken extremely seriously, and is best expressed in a life-committed relationship. I am completely unsure why his sexual orientation made the teacher's speech one to be ignored.

Max doesn't speak at all about any sex ed he had after this Junior High class.

When I was 17, I began seeing someone six years older than me. The first time we had sex, I took out a condom but he ignored it. I did not know how to assert myself further. I knew enough to suggest a condom, but I didn't adequately understand the importance of using one, and even if had I understood that, I had no idea how to discuss condoms with my partner.
Let me get this correct. When you thought you may have sex with your partner, you prepared yourself with a condom. When things were beginning to heat up, you decided to take it out in an attempt to use it. Your partner - six years older - ignored you, and you choose to have sex with him anyway. You then claim that you did not understand the importance of using one, and had no idea how to discuss condoms with your partner.

Umm, if you did not understand the importance of using a condom, why on earth did you carry one and try to use it? Since pregnancy is not an issue, I assume that you were trying to prevent STD transmission. As for discussing condoms with your partner, taking it out and showing it to them seems to be a pretty effective way to have a conversation about the process. Do you believe a more involved junior high sex ed class would have made that much of a difference.

It seems that the problem here is that you found yourself in a position in which your 17 year old hormones and emotions overcame your rational thoughts about the dangers of unprotected sex. This is precisely the reason why it would probably be wiser to not get yourself in that position, which, of course, is the message of abstinence education.

The abstinence-only message did not prepare me for life, and I contracted HIV from the first person with whom I consented to have unprotected sex.

I was still in high school.
Actually, the abstinence-only message would have protected you and prepared you for the rest of your life if you followed it. The "comprehensive sex-ed" which teaches that you must arm yourself with condoms (which you did!) in order to prevent negative consequences failed miserably in your case.

I'm not necessarily for all "abstinence-only" education programs. I'm sure there are excellent ones and also many which could use significant improvement. However, it seems that a clear message that early sexual activity involves consequences that may not be able to be covered with thin layers of latex and artificial hormones is one that is helpful for our children. This story, although tragic, is pretty strong evidence of that fact.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let's Discuss [Serge]

Now that I have returned from my little blog-break, I am not surprised that some things have changed. However, at the risk of destroying the space-time continuum, I am frankly shocked at what I am about to write. I can hardly believe my fingers can hit these words on the keyboard, but here it goes.

I agree with a post on the RH Reality blog.

Seriously, the author has some great points on the lack of abortion discussion on TV:

No doubt there is something to be said about the June and Ward Cleaver days of television. Families today are often greeted with images of sexual violence, general violence, infidelity, alcoholism and drug abuse when watching nightly television programming. But throughout all of the changes, despite all of the "awakenings" that have been carried forward by civil-rights movements, abortion continues to be the only truly boycotted discussion on television and in film. When part of a storyline, it is rarely mentioned by name and even more rarely carried out as a solution. More offensively, the other possible pregnancy outcomes -- false positives, miscarriage, birth and adoption -- are placed before viewers in neat, pretty packages. Rarely do viewers witness the guilt and grief that follow miscarriage. I don't know of any television programs that have placed a woman in grief counseling after giving a child up for adoption (or had an abortion).

On television we can watch as our neighbors devour bugs and worms for money. We can see what happens when a person is asked to answer personal questions in front of friends and family while connected to a lie detector. We can peek in the windows of biracial or homosexual couples. We can be an operating room observer as various surgeries are performed. Through our television sets, it seems, we get nearly every possible opinion and viewpoint on nearly every possible topic. Just not abortion.

Agreed. I believe that more discussion on this topic would be wonderful. I believe most Americans wish to keep their head int he sand regarding this issue. By shedding some light and encouraging further discussion, much progress could be made.

I even think that a documentary on an actual abortion clinic would be great. You would see the truth: many women coming back for multiple abortions and the anguish that is involved for everyone involved. On the other side, you would probably see young women who have no qualms about their decision and would state that the abortion was a good thing for them. I'm not afraid of the truth if presented in a real situation.

In any event, the earth hasn't stopped spinning since I began to write this post, so I guess Steve Wagner is correct - there can always be opportunities for common ground.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Surgery as Art [Serge]

Steve Wagner at Stand to Reason makes an excellent point regarding the recent hoax at Yale. I can take it a step further.

This is a curious demand. If abortion doesn't kill a human being, what could possibly be wrong with Shvart's project? It's a bit crude, I suppose, but with all of the other things that pass as art these days, it seems odd to exclude abortion from the mix. If someone were displaying the tissue that was removed during their liposuction surgery, people would recoil, but I doubt the university would censor it.
In fact, there are many pictures throughout the internet of individuals who display the bloody, graphic results of their minor outpatient surgery. In fact, some of them may even be my patients (although I have yet to see any). Look here, here, or here.

Question for further discussion: is there any difference between a woman who chooses to display the results of an abortion and those who choose to display their extracted wisdom teeth? Both procedures are legal, are frequently performed, and are somewhat bloody. What is the difference?

Ethical Dawkinism [Serge]

Scott says:

Clearly Dawkins thinks Bush ought to do better both morally and rationally. However, in a naturalistic universe there are no moral or rational oughts; there is only what is. Real oughts exist only in a place that has been designed for a purpose, something Dawkin’s own materialistic worldview flatly rejects.
However, in Dawkins' world, he seems quite unable to understand this. His writings are full of rights, wrongs, oughts, and ought nots. In fact, it is very interesting to see his moral point of view. Even more so to see him attempt to "rationally" defend it.

Here we see:

It is morally acceptable to:
1. Have sex outside of your marriage
2. Lie about #1 if you are a public official (actually, "acceptable" is not strong enough. Dawkins believes you may have a positive duty to lie about it)
3. Break the promises that you make when you marry someone.

and it is morally unacceptable to:

1. keep your religious views private (because of its potential to reveal that you are an idiot).
2. hire someone to see whether or not your spouse is keeping the promises they made during marriage (he states he "despises" such behavior).
3. (according to this) be deceptive in arranging an interview regarding a controversial subject.

And the reasons behind this? Well, it isn't Darwinism, which Dawkins wishes to "rise above". Dawkins has deluded himself that there is a rational basis behind his moral code, which turns out to be the mere wishings of a thrice divorced atheistic scientist. This would be interesting if he merely offered it as a man's opinion, but is completely useless as a general moral code. It seems to me that his moral ideal in human sexuality would be a pornography performer who chooses to lie about their profession in public.

When Dawkins makes the claim that teaching a child about religion is a form of child abuse, remember the worldview where that idea comes from.

ACOG Insanity [Serge]

Medical organizations in general are advocacy and political bodies that often use substandard thinking in creating opinions, especially on ethics. Nothing could evidence this more than the ACOG opinion 385 that Jay blogged about here. Its hard to know where to start, so I'll offer a scenario.

A young woman of 18 decides she is tired of having her period every month. Her mother previously had a hysterectomy for uterine ca so she knows that a hysterectomy would be a permanent solution to her monthly "problem". She presents to a local OB-GYN in order to have this surgery. After being told the objective facts regarding the surgery and the risks involved, and the fact that her uterus shows no signs of pathology and is functioning well, she still insists that she wants her uterus removed.

What should the physician do? I believe any ethical surgeon would likely refuse to perform her surgery, on the basis that there is inadequate medical "need" and the risks far outweigh the so-called benefits of having a hysterectomy at that age. I'm also sure that there would be concern that this young patient would come to regret her decision in the future. Although performing a hysterectomy is completely legal, and the physician performs this surgery frequently, they would not elect to perform it on this patient in this case. I also don't believe this decision would be questioned as the best course of action. In fact, most OB-GYNs would consider performing the procedure as unethical.

Lets take a closer look at the reasoning behind the decision not to perform surgery in this case. Predominately, the physician would be conscientiously objecting to the procedure for reasons that are not completely "neutral" or "scientific". He (or she) would be making a value judgment on what was best for the patient in that circumstance, and by using their experience, knowledge, and yes, conscience, he would refuse to perform unnecessary surgery.

However, according to the ACOG opinion, this physician would be acting unethically if they refused to do the procedure unless they referred the patient to someone who would. Maybe there's another practice in their town that has questionable ethics and that the physician knows would do any procedure if the price was right (or the patient had good insurance). The physician would be acting unethically unless he specifically referred the patient to this other doc. In fact, the opinion actually states that the physician should seek to locate his practice close to someone with differing ethics in order to facilitate these types or referrals.

Of course this is completely ridiculous. It is unethical for doctors to give false information or to mislead patients in any way. However, we have an ethical obligation to give those who seek out our care our absolute best and to act in their best interest, even if occasionally this means not treating them for something that they would otherwise want that is not medically necessary. Our cognitive dissonance on the topic of ELECTIVE abortion should not change this.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Why We Combine Pictures and Logic [SK]

Here's an email (edited slightly to protect the identiy of the student involved) regarding a Christian high school where I showed this video and gave a defense for the pro-life view:

The administrator from the school you spoke at came in yesterday. He told me of a Grade 11 student who confided in himself and his wife (also a teacher there) that she is pregnant (the father is a graduate of the same school). She admitted that she was absolutely going to have an abortion. After she heard you speak at the high school, she changed her mind and will have the baby. What wonderful news! I'm sure it is difficult sometimes to know if your message is making a difference -- so here is a boost for you to keep faithfully proclaiming the pro-life message!

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Opinion #385 [Jay]

In order to attribute everyone on this chain properly, JivinJehoshaphat led me to this article by Christopher Kaczor at First Things referencing the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published Committee Opinion #385 first released in November of 2007. Whew! That was a mouthful. What this opinion addresses is the concept and practice of conscientious objection by medical professionals to providing certain services in violation to their personally held moral beliefs. In fact the title of the opinion is The Limits of Conscientious Refusal in Reproductive Medicine.

I will try to stay away from some of the aspects on which I am less than clear. Perhaps we can rouse Serge from his other duties long enough to address certain areas of interests like how often these types of opinions are crafted by organizations such as this and how ultimately binding these statements can become if ratified in some formal manner. Mostly I want to touch the things I am qualified to address. The ridiculous attempt by ACOG to sound impartial and scientific while spewing the party line for the pro-abort side to the letter. For example the opinion states:

Finally, the committee proposes a series of recommendations that maximize accommodation of individual’s religious or moral beliefs, while avoiding imposition of those beliefs on others interfering with the safe, timely, and financially feasible to access to reproductive health care that all women deserve.

The ACOG solution is multi-faceted. At best it allows pro-life doctors to refer patients wanting abortions to other doctors that will provide that “reproductive healthcare service” and at it worst it demands that doctors act against their consciences and give women the services they have a “right” to receive from the doctors. Ultimately, ACOG embraces the concept that since we all disagree on whether or not abortion is wrong (among other things like contraception that I will not focus on here) then we must honor the autonomy of women and do what they want. That is a tired and quite frankly intellectually lazy position. No one really knows if it is right or wrong so let the abortions commence and mandate that all doctor participate whether they like it or not!!

So here are the options as briefly as possible. A woman wants or in the broad medical definition of ACOG “needs” “reproductive health services. You as a pro-life doctor can:

Refer her to a doctor that will perform that abortion or give her what she wants unless:

(1) Your refusal impositions her and threatens her autonomy at which time “Conscientious refusal cannot be justified.”
(2) If your refusal causes a potential for harm defined as significant bodily harm, such as pain, disability, or death or a patient’s conception of well being.
(3) Your refusal is based on unscientific reasoning.
(4) Your refusal violates a broad definition of justice and would perpetuate
prejudices such as refusing to provide services or referrals to a woman who is not wealthy enough to have the time to make an appointment to see another doctor. Also included under the social justice provision is the inability to refuse to aid a homosexual couple become pregnant because it reinforces a false perception about the unsoundness of homosexuals as parents.

In addition, you must tell all of your patients your personal convictions not to be involved in the areas you consider immoral, but you are not allowed to discuss why you hold those views because that would be coercive. Finally, you are not allowed to refuse to give referrals to doctors without your moral objections and they even advise you make certain that you locate your practice geographically close to one of those other doctors. All of you pro-life doctors out there need to find the local abortion mill and set up your practice next door so as not to inconvenience your patients or infringe on their constitutional right to terminate the lives of their children in a speedy manner. Absurd!

The moral grounding for this opinion is based in the medical code of ethics that all doctors "agreed" upon when accepting the mantle of OB/GYN. In the words of Super Chicken, “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.” ACOG advises you to not work anywhere that you may encounter something that you will have to object to based on your conscience. That is helpful.

The truth about this opinion is that there is nothing new in it by way of argument. It only regurgitates the dumbest pro-choice justifications for why women must be able to get abortions. Their autonomy supercedes all other concerns. Doctors are required to protect the health of the woman from harm including the vague personal “conception of well-being.” (Mental health exception anyone?) You don’t like abortions, don’t take a job where we might make you perform one. Poor people need abortions because they are poor and really do not need to have more children and you cannot deny them that right. Ultimately, you are allowed to feel however you want on these issues, but you have no right to apply your feeling to another’s life. They even pull the “We are scientific!” card out. Give me a break!

I could go on and on about this opinion. How the first justification they offer for the opinion involves the conscientious objection of a pharmacists which they later admit has nothing to do with this opinion. How they address the “do no harm” objection of doctors by arguing that we do not all agree that abortion is harmful. (I sense a presupposition about the humanity of the unborn there) The terrible truth is that ACOG is making it clear to all pro-life and Catholic doctors. Leave your conscience at home people! By deciding to be OB/GYN’s you agreed to cast off your concept of morality for ACOG’s whether you realized that or not.

HT: Jivin Jehoshaphat

Dawkins Doesn't Have the Goods [SK]

Greg Koukl has an excellent talk out on CD about the so-called new atheists. (Order from Stand to Reason.) Tim Keller also deals with the subject in his book Reason for God.

As secular critics more and more challenge the ultimate foundations for the pro-life view, we'll need to respond effectively.

Briefly, the “new atheism” treats all religious truth claims as harmful and intolerable, even in the home. It’s atheism with attitude and its principal goal is to drive anything that smells like the metaphysics of religion—including belief in human exceptionalism—from the public square. Authors like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens (to name a few) insist there is no truth outside the realm of nature. The human animal is merely the product of blind physical processes that did not have him in mind. Naturalistic claims about humankind aren’t new, but the angry, condescending tone in which new atheists deliver them certainly is.

The field of bio-ethics is not immune from this new atheistic attitude. The pro-lifer’s case against ESCR, we are told, is nothing more than an attempt to force irrational and intolerant religious absolutism on an unsuspecting public. For example, when President Bush vetoed federal funding for ESCR, Richard Dawkins spoke of a presidential mind “massively infected with the disease of religion.” It was unforgivable for a “pro-life” president to value non-sentient embryos “that are no bigger than a pinhead” while ignoring innocent civilians killed in Iraq. Clearly Dawkins thinks Bush ought to do better both morally and rationally. However, in a naturalistic universe there are no moral or rational oughts; there is only what is. Real oughts exist only in a place that has been designed for a purpose, something Dawkin’s own materialistic worldview flatly rejects.

Moreover, Dawkins's own metaphysical claim--sentient humans have a right to life while those who are not don't--makes no sense at all. Indeed, can a thoroughly materialistic (secular) worldview tell us why anyone--sentient or not--has value or a right to life? According to the materialism, everything in the universe—including human beings and their capacity for rational inquiry—came about by blind physical processes and random chance. The universe came from nothing and was caused by nothing. At best, human beings are cosmic accidents. In the face of this devastating news, secularists simply presuppose the dignity of human beings, human rights, and moral obligations. But on what naturalistic basis can human rights and human dignity be affirmed?

At the same time, how can we trust our minds to think rationally about anything, including materialism, if they are the products of blind, non-rational forces? The mechanism of evolution does not promote rational thought. It promotes survival.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Undisputed Fact: Robert Latimer is a Murderer [Jay]

On October 23rd of 1993 Canadian farmer Robert Latimer picked up his twelve-year-old daughter Tracy, who suffered from cerebral palsy, and put her into the cab of his truck. He had already cut a hose, fit it into the tail pipe, and ran it through the back window. He started the truck and then sat on a tractor tire for 33 minutes or so until he was certain his daughter was dead. Robert Latimer then picked Tracy up, carried her to her room where he lay her lifeless body in her bed, and left her for someone else to find. When his wife, Laura, and other children returned home from church Laura discovered Tracy and called out to Robert that something was wrong. He then called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and reported that his daughter Tracy had died in her sleep. When the RCMP suspected that Robert was being dishonest and ordered an autopsy Robert requested Tracy's immediate cremation. After the autopsy and ten days after the murder, Robert Latimer finally confessed to the murder of Tracy. To echo Kevin Bacon in A Few Good Men, these are the facts of the case and they are not disputed.

Why did he murder his daughter? He and his wife both claim that her life was miserable and filled only with pain and depression. Because of these claims by Robert and Laura Latimer, some Canadians view him as a hero. The murder of his daughter was a mercy killing and an act of courage. In fact they are so convinced of his greatness that they send threatening communications to Mark Pickup for having the impertinence to post factual information about the case on his blog and question if Canadians might do a better job at picking their heroes. (See here for Mark's detailed post)

You see Mark published the trial evidence that Tracy was not miserable all of the time and actually enjoyed life as reported by her own mother in a communication book. This is the same mother that characterized her daughter’s life as torturous meaningless suffering at the trial of her husband. Mark reports that Robert Latimer considered poisoning Tracy or shooting her in the head before deciding to gas her to death during his two weeks of planning the murder. Finally, Mark expresses the “uncharitable” opinion that Tracy’s disabilities did not define her value as a human being and that her father was wrong to murder her.

Mark Pickup responded to the threats and thuggery by re-posting his criticism with even more information. You see Mark is in the advanced stages of multiple sclerosis and is a triplegic. He wrote in his profile of the hard won understanding that all human life has dignity and value and that, “A truly civilized society includes in its tender embraces every human life.” He is not going to back down to threatening thugs who poorly choose their heroes and then hate to hear the truth about their hero murdering his daughter. Especially not now that Robert Latimer wants a special (and I ought to add illegal) trial that exonerates him of murder not based on his innocence, but based on the “fact” that murdering his daughter was the “right” thing to do.

Lydia McGrew at Whats Wrong With the World? pointed out these tactics and asked bloggers everywhere to send thugs like this a message. Hey Latimer-heads, Robert Latimer decided that Tracy’s life was not worth the trouble and pain her living caused him and he killed her. He murdered his daughter and that is not heroic. Murder is not mercy. If you are too morally confused to see that, then I pray that you never find yourself an expendable inconvenience in another’s eyes. You may suddenly see the inherent danger in the precedent Latimer is now trying to set.

There is no doubt that disabilities can introduce profound and often painful challenges into the lives of the people that have them as well as those who love a disabled person. Those challenges, no matter how great, do not diminish the value of the lives of the disabled no matter how many Canadians believe otherwise.