Tuesday, 28 July 2009

US Nurse Forced to Assist at Abortion

The New York Post reports that a nurse from Brooklyn was coerced into assisting at an abortion against her religious convictions:

"It felt like a horror film unfolding," said Catherina Cenzon-DeCarlo, 35, who claims she has had gruesome nightmares and hasn't been able to sleep since the May 24 incident.

The married mother of a year-old baby was 30 minutes into her early-morning shift when she realized she had been assigned to an abortion. She begged her supervisor to find a replacement nurse for the procedure. The hospital had a six-hour window to find a fill-in, the suit says.

Bosses told the weeping Cenzon-DeCarlo the patient was 22 weeks into her pregnancy and had preeclampsia, a condition marked by high blood pressure that can lead to seizures or death if left untreated.

The supervisor "claimed that the mother could die if [Cenzon-DeCarlo] did not assist in the abortion."

But the nurse, the niece of a Filipino bishop, contends that the patient's life was not in danger. She argued that the patient was not even on magnesium therapy, a common treatment for preeclampsia, and did not have problems indicating an emergency.

Her pleas were rejected, and instead she was threatened with career-ending charges of insubordination and patient abandonment, according to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court.

Feeling threatened, Cenzon-DeCarlo assisted in the procedure.

She said she later learned that the hospital's own records deemed the procedure "Category II," which is not considered immediately life threatening.

"I felt violated and betrayed," she recalled. "I couldn't believe that this could happen."
A native of the Philippines, Cenzon-DeCarlo moved to New York in 2001 and started at Mount Sinai on the East Side as an operating-room nurse in 2004. During her job interview, an administrator asked Cenzon-DeCarlo whether she'd be willing to participate in abortions. She flatly said no.

The nurse said she put her beliefs in writing.

The day after the procedure, Cenzon-DeCarlo filed a grievance with her union. Later that week, she was cornered by two supervisors who told her if she wanted any more overtime shifts, she would have to sign a statement agreeing to participate in abortions, the suit says.

The next month, Cenzon-DeCarlo was assigned to one overtime shift, rather than the eight or nine she usually received, the suit claims.

Although the Brooklyn resident is still working at Mount Sinai, she's asking a court to order the hospital to pay unspecified damages, restore her shifts and respect her objections to abortion.

"I emigrated to this country in the belief that here religious freedom is sacred," Cenzon-DeCarlo said. "Doctors and nurses shouldn't be forced to abandon their beliefs and participate in abortion in order to keep their jobs."

This story is deeply troubling. Even if we were willing for a moment to pretend that abortion does not objectively constitute murder, it is undeniable that subjectively she was coerced to assist at a murder; for that is what she sincerely believes to be the case. No wonder she's been having nightmares since the incident. No person should be put in such a situation.

One of the very last things George W. Bush did before leaving office was to sign a sweeping conscience protection clause which guaranteed the right of any healthcare provider to refuse to participate in treatment which they found morally objectionable. And one of the very first things Barack Obama did upon taking up office was to annul this clause by executive order, that is literally with a stroke of a pen, ostensibly because it had not been "properly reviewed." The Obama administration is instead working on a new clause which will certainly be more modest and will most probably involve some kind of exception for medical emergencies - otherwise the prompt scrapping of the Bush clause would make little sense.

Most Liberals view the right to abstain from compulsory military service as something sacrosanct. The US does not at present employ the draft, but back in the days of the Vietnam war deserters and draft dodgers were viewed as heroes among the Left. In their view, no-one should be forced to kill or even be taught to kill another person if it conflicts with his beliefs - as long as this happens in the context of a war. But on the hospital ward this fierce demand for respect for conscience is largely absent. Why? It seems to me that for Liberals, there is one right that trumps all other rights, even that of the right to respect for conscience, and that is the right to have your life look as you want it to, with a minimum of suffering, even if it requires killing other people to achieve that end.

(Via CMR)

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Divine Beauty: Ssa. Trinitá dei Pellegrini, Rome

This church is run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), which is dedicated to the traditional Latin liturgy. It is a personal parish serving those Latin Catholics in the Eternal City who (with good reason) favour the older rite of Mass.

The dome:

And a picture of the sanctuary in use.


Monday, 13 July 2009

Obama's Science Czar was (is?) a Eugenics Nut

... because this is absolutely too mind-boggingly awful to prevent commenting on. A "Czar", btw, in American political terminology denotes an executive official in charge of a specific area of public policy. The position is ad hoc and appointed by the government, meaning that unlike other officials such as the Surgeon General a Czar does not have to undergo confirmation by Congress or any other democratically elected organ (save for the President).

The 'Science Czar' is the unofficial title of the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is also Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Thus, he has an important role in determining policy on all matters involving science and technology, including, presumably, research.

Barack Obama's pick for this position is a certain John Holdren, PhD, a physicist who has among other things taught Environmental Policy at Harvard (go figure). This has not prevented him from making a bit of an overstatement regarding global warming, stating that sea levels might rise to as much as 13 feet (the IPCC 4th assessment report on climate change, which is largely viewed as authoritative, predicts 23 inches in its absolute worst-case scenario - it can be accessed here).

But this is not the first instance, nor by far the worst, in which he has seriously overestimated the state of the planet's decline. In 1977, he co-authored a book with Paul R. Ehrlich (author of the influential book The Population Bomb) and his wife, Anne H. Ehrlich, named Ecoscience - Population, Resources, Environment. The book adresses the issue of overpopulation, which it sees as an alarming and imminent danger to all of humanity, including the United States itself (on another occasion, he stated that the US would not be able to support a population of 280 million by 2040; as of 2009 the population is well over 300 million and the problem faced by most people in the area of nutrition is not exactly that they have too little food). To counter this danger, the authors argue for the following propositions:
  • Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
  • The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;
  • Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
  • People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" - in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
  • A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of the lives of all human persons - using an armed international police force.

Surely this is exaggerated? Nope. The guy who uncovered it all has provided scans of pages in the book at his website. It is absolutely clear that the authors are endorsing these propositions. But it must be out of context then? Well, reading the quotes in context arguably only makes them scarier. Do read the whole thing; it provides quite the insight into the mind of a certain strand of radical Environmentalist Malthusianism which wants to sacrifice human life and liberty to save the environment and ensure decent living standards for all (remaining) people. Did I say radical? No, it really isn't radical at all since the people who espoused it are apparently much respected in the scientific establishment and teach at Harvard.

The program outlined above is eugenics, plain and simple. There is very little difference between this and the eugenics program launched by the Nazis. The Nazis only resorted to direct killing of adult 'undesirables' at a late stage, but in the beginning the program was comprised of much the same elements: involuntary sterilization of 'undesirables' (mentally handicapped and people with hereditary defects) and forced removal of the children they already had. They, too, employed a police force which interfered in intimate details of the lives of all citizens. If anything, Holdren & al.'s program is even more radical than that of the Nazis. Now, the Nazis' motive was racial hygeine, while the motive of Holdren & al. was ensuring decent living standards for all humans on the planet and preventing environmental degradation caused by overpopulation. The latter are worthy aims, to be sure. But does the end justify the means? Those human persons who will have their rights curtailed, forced to being sterilized, abort their children or see them taken away by the authorities are not going to bloody well care about the motives behind these heinous and utterly despicable acts. They are evil no matter what purpose they are intended to serve (i.e., intrinsically evil).

The blogger whom the story originates with has not been able to identify any statement where Holdren distances himself from these views. Granted, the book was written in 1977, so a lot can have happened since then. Yet it still gives me the creeps that a person who has once displayed such profoundly twisted reasoning is now in charge of the scientific and technological policy of the world's only remaining superpower.

And even more, that this fellow was made a Professor of Energy and Resources at UC Berkeley - in 1978!

(Brought to my attention by the redoubtable Cube)

Back On

There has been a long hiatus of blogging due to exams (all passed, btw) and a spate of general laziness and uninspiredness following. But I'm ready again...