Archive for June, 2010


The Church”s Attitude Toward Creation

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Where do we stand as Catholics when it comes to going “green”? And when it comes to animals, PETA surely seems to be over the top, but we rightly condemn cruelty to animals (ask Michael Vick). What principles should form our approach to the environment? To the animal kingdom? [more]

Well, we know from Scripture that “in the beginning” God created the entire world out of nothing, and we are repeatedly told in the opening verses of Genesis that is creation is “good” (Gen. 1:1, 4, 12, 18, 21, 25). God’s creation of the world reached its climax on the sixth day, when He created man and woman in His own image and likeness. At that point, we hear that God’s creation was “very good” (Gen. 1:26-28, 31).

God entrusted His creation to Adam and Eve–and consequently to all of us. The Lord of all creation gave us the awesome responsibility to care for the created world, both for ourselves and for generations to come. And so the world is not a hostile environment from which we seek refuge. Rather, God’s people have always considered creation as an object of praise, as it reflects the goodness and might of our heavenly Father.

While the world has been touched by sin, it’s also true that all creation participates in the redemption won by Christ. As St. Paul says, the created world still awaits its full liberation from corruption (see Rom. 8:19-22), which will be achieved in the establishment of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1).

This brief biblical overview helps us to understand the Church’s positive, balanced approach to the environment. We understand our privileged place in creation and the right to use the created world for our benefit. Yet, we also understand that the seventh commandment puts appropriate limits on our use of the world’s resources and summons us to approach the environment with profound respect (see Catechism, no. 2415). Our stewardship and “dominion” cannot be separated from our moral responsibilities toward the created world and our neighbors, including future generations (see Catechism, no. 2456).

When it comes specifically to the animal world, the Church’s approach is beautifully summarized in Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 507:

“People must treat animals with kindness as creatures of God and avoid both excessive love for them and an indiscriminate use of them especially by scientific experiments that go beyond reasonable limits and entail needless suffering for the animals.”

Here again we see the Church’s balanced approach, which rejects an extreme approach that would always consider it improper to use animals for food, clothing, and medical research. Part of the problem is the failure to recognize man’s special dignity, which can result in treating animals as having the same dignity and rights (and sometimes more!) as humans (see Catechism, nos. 2417-18).

At the same time, we are called to treat animals with kindness, taking our lead from saints such as St. Francis of Assisi, realizing that God delights in all His creatures.
For a fuller treatment of the Church’s teaching on the environment, see Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, chapter ten (nos. 451-87). 

The Pill, 50 Years Later

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the birth control Pill, it”s eminently reasonable to assess its effect on our culture. In the following article, Fr. Matthew Habiger, O.S.B. of NFP Outreach calls into question the qualifications and neutrality of the Pill”s proponents. Even more, Fr. Habiger points out some of the ways the Pill has harmed today”s men and women.

For those wishing to learn more about the Church”s teaching on birth control and natural family planning (NFP), My Catholic Faith Delivered has an outstanding four-lesson online course entitled “Celebrating Humanae Vitae.” The course was produced by Catholic Scripture Study, with dynamic video segments by Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.

Here”s Fr. Habiger”s fine article: [more]

Some praise it to the heavens

Much of the literature extolling the merits of the Pill comes from the pharmaceutical companies and Planned Parenthood. That is very strange. They are the ones who stand most to benefit from this multi-billion dollar industry. They have a conflict of interest and cannot speak without a prejudicial bias. Why would anyone look to them for an unbiased assessment of the merits, or demerits, of the Pill? 

Would anyone give their unquestioned acceptance to the tobacco industry when they extol the merits of smoking? Should we not be suspicious of any study or paper that the tobacco industry produces to convince us that the latest brand of cigarette is a great gift to humanity? No matter how much money the tobacco industry has to funnel into publicity, and no matter how many times we hear or see their advertisements, the hard reality of all the medical damage that smoking causes to smokers does not change.

Why would anyone in their right mind not have reservations–and suspicions–about groups whose livelihood depends upon the sales of the Pill and other contraceptives? Should we not look to independent, disinterested, and non-profiting groups to provide us with a reliable assessment of the Pill? [more]

The pharmaceutical companies and Planned Parenthood sing the praises of the Pill to the heavens. Why? Because it is a great cash cow for them. Contraceptives are a multi-billion dollar industry.

But is every technological advancement a true sign of progress? Was the discovery and use of the machine gun and mustard gas during World War I a true sign of progress? If we have new forms of technology, does that mean we must use them? We have the hydrogen bomb. Should we ever use it? We can clone animals.  Should we ever clone human persons?

Now we can suppress, or destroy, our fertility. Is this a good thing or a bad thing, a blessing or a curse?

So-called advantages of the Pill

  • The Pill separates fertility from sex so that one can pursue sexual pleasure without the responsibility of a pregnancy.
  • The Pill makes it possible for a man or woman to have sex anytime, with anyone, and not get pregnant.
  • It allows a woman to pursue a career, have sex, and not to be bothered with a baby or a family. She is just like a man. But is that an advantage?
  • It makes life easy for men. Now they can have all the sex they want, and have no responsibility for a baby that they would otherwise be begetting. So why get married? Many men now postpone marriage, or never marry. When they reach old age, who will take care of them, or be interested in them?

The Pill has been prescribed for many things. It is like a panacea. Some doctors prescribe it for acne, irregular cycles (which does not address the real underlying problems), and, of course, as a contraceptive for young girls who are already having sex. Some doctors want young girls to start taking the Pill as soon as they begin to have their cycles, “just in case.”

A balanced assessment

Sterilized sex is not the unqualified good suggested by Planned Parenthood and its cohorts.  There are many, many harms and damages that result when we turn against our fertility.

Our fertility is a blessing, not a curse.  When God designed us as bodied persons, male or female, He made us to be both fertile and sexual. He wants us to “be fertile and multiply,” to marry and have a family, to share life with the next generation.

Sex was designed by God to be both love-giving and life-giving. Pleasure sought only for its own sake is called hedonism. This is a weakness, not a virtue; a lack of character, not a builder of character. God designed sex to be expressed between a man and a woman, who are totally committed to each other. Sex belongs in marriage. Only there does it express and accomplish what it was meant to express and accomplish. Contraception interferes with all this.  How?

The spousal act means that a spouse makes the total personal gift of self, of the man or woman, to the other. This total personal gift of self includes the heart, body, mind, soul, and will: the total person. And this includes their fertility. There are no conditions, no reservations, and nothing held back.

The Pill (contraception in general) and sterilized sex go together. It is repugnant to God and degrading to those who engage in it. Spousal love was meant to be the great symbol of total self-surrender between a husband and wife. But with the Pill, all this is reduced to recreational sex. Sterilized sex is unnatural.  It has brought great harm to our bodies, to our marriages, to our families, to our national life, and even to our natural environment. It is a major reason for the shortage today of priests and religious.

Dr. Rebecca Becks, M.D., is a married woman, with 5 children. Recently she wrote: “Why was the Pill first introduced by Dr. John Rock back in 1960? Wasn’t it to help women make their lives a little easier? Wasn’t it to strengthen marriage? Wasn’t it to make abortion a rare occurrence? And wasn’t it to improve society in general? And now, 50 years later, have those objectives been achieved? NO, on all counts.

“Birth control pills can cause serious medical problems. This category of pills has been shown to cause: death, pulmonary embolus, blood clots, stroke, migraines, increased rates of cervical cancer, increased sexual transmitted diseases (including HPV, Herpes and HIV), and prolonged infertility, including a whole host of minor symptoms which can become severe, such as depression.

“I stopped prescribing the Pill three years ago in part, because I couldn’t stand to see one more stroke victim, one more STD, one more cervical or breast cancer case, or one more “backup abortion” for failed contraceptives.  The main reason, though, that I stopped prescribing and using birth control, was because I understood through my Catholic faith, Humanae Vitae and the Theology of the Body, that birth control is bad for women because it is against God’s plan for human sexuality and marriage.”

The Pill destroys real love. Real love is creative and fertile. It is also demanding: it demands patience, kindness, and “endures all things.” Only this kind of love can become the firm foundation of a strong marriage and a happy family. It is a foundation to “endure all things.”

Radical feminism and believers in women’s liberation praise the Pill for a new found freedom. But this is a false freedom, a freedom without responsibility. You can have sex and you don’t have to have a baby. Then you can climb the corporate ladder without encumbrance. If you get pregnant, you can have a backup abortion.  But this is utilitarianism, the very opposite of love. It is using people as things for happiness. This concept of freedom when embraced by an entire society becomes a permanent threat to the family.

After 50 years of birth control we find these results. (1)  Marriages are crumbling instead of being strengthened, as the Pill proponents promised. (2) The race for women’s liberation, for freedom and control over their bodies, has made casualties of the unborn, and of children who get a single mother exhausted by work and overwhelmed by the burdens of raising a child alone.

Here is the paradox of the Pill. It was thought that the Pill would make abortions rare. The reality is that they have increased exponentially. The Pill was introduced to strengthen marriage. But the reality is that half of all contracepting couples get divorced. People thought that the Pill would strengthen the American family. The reality is that the family is slowly being demolished.

What we need to do

We need to wake up and call the Pill what it really is: the destroyer of love, of marriages, and of families.

Pope John Paul II said in Evangelium Vitae #58: “Today we need to look the truth in the eye and call things by their proper name, without resorting to compromises or yielding to the temptation of self-deception.”

Our marriages and family life are falling apart. Consider these undeniable facts:

 50% divorce rate
 40% of children today are born to unmarried mothers
 There were 90 million unmarried and single Americans in 2005.  This group comprises 41% of all U.S. residents age 18 and older.
 10.5 million single moms
 5 million unmarried-households in 2005 
 One out of four pregnancies are surgically aborted and there are many, many more early-on, chemical abortions.

Think of all the harm and pain that these factors bring to marriages, to any sense of permanent commitments, to spouses, to their children and their families. A nation is only as strong as its family life. Take a good look at our marriages and family life today. On the 50th anniversary of the Pill, we need to look at contraception again, and objectively assess what it has done to our lives, to our marriages, and to our families. 

We need to go on the offensive, as well as go on the defensive. On the defense, we point to the irrefutable harms that the Pill and contraception have brought us. On the offense, we point to the beautiful plan that God has for marriage, spousal love and the family. This plan is completely doable if both spouses avail themselves of all the aids and helps that God provides for them. Natural Family Planning encapsulates this plan, and makes is possible for a married couple to space their pregnancies responsibly, while always treasuring the gift of the child.

I recommend that people visit our website,, and discover the wealth of materials there that explain the harms of contraception and the benefits of NFP and God’s plan for marriage, spousal love and family.  Click on “NFP Q&A,” and you will find 120 of my columns which explain the many aspects of contraception and NFP. They are free and copy ready. Use them as you wish. They make good newspaper columns, parish bulletin inserts, and radio commentary.  At NFP Outreach we help you find the materials you need to be an active player on the field in the game of advancing the culture of life while exposing and resisting the culture of death. Consider also having an NFP Parish Mission at your parish. Call us at 405-942-4084.

Lyre, Lyre, Sanctifier!

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Today the universal Church celebrates the feast of St. Ephrem the Syrian, a fourth-century doctor of the Church. Of all the doctors of the Church, I believe he is the only one who became what we would today call a “permanent deacon.”


I have to admit that the feast of St. Ephrem is especially significant to me, as it happens to be the 50th birthday of my beloved wife Maureen. I would be eternally grateful if the readers of this post would offer a prayer for Maureen today on her special day.

This fascinating saint early in life attended the ecumenical Council of Nicaea and ran a catechetical school in Nisibis, which was in Syria. After the Persians annexed the area Ephrem was a refugee, and he ended up as a monk and deacon in Edessa, in present-day Turkey.

St. Ephrem is known as the “Lyre of the Holy Spirit” because of the beautiful hymns he composed. He is the most famous of the Syriac Fathers of the Church, and in addition to his hymns he wrote many works of a biblical and apologetic character.

Despite the range and volume of his writings, St. Ephrem is best known as the “Marian Doctor” because of the doctrinal character of his Marian hymns, which aided the Church in her development of Marian doctrines, such as the Immaculate Conception.

I thought I would offer our readers a few brief snippets of St. Ephrem’s work. [more]First, here is a passage from one of his Nisibine Hymns that speaks of Mary’s sinlessness:

You alone and your Mother
 are more beautiful than any others;
For there is no blemish in you,
 nor any stains upon your Mother.
Who of my children
 can compare in beauty to these?

In this passage, St. Ephrem compares the virgin birth with the Resurrection:

The womb and Sheol shouted with joy and cried out
about Your resurrection. The womb that was sealed,
conceived You. Sheol that was secured,
brought You forth. Against nature
the womb conceived and Sheol yielded.
Sealed was the grave which they entrusted
with keeping the dead man. Virginal was the womb
that no man knew. The virginal womb
and the sealed grave like trumpets
for a deaf people, shouted in its ear.

Lastly, St. Ephrem’s biblical insight led him to see Mary as the New Eve and a symbol of the Church. For example, he saw both Mary and the Church as bearers of the living bread from heaven, the Holy Eucharist: 

The Church gave us the living Bread,
in place of the unleavened bread that Egypt had given.
Mary gave us the refreshing bread,
in place of the fatiguing bread that Eve had procured for us.

For more historical background on St. Ephrem as well as more information on his various mariological works, see Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church, which is available through Ignatius Press.

The “Book” on Gambling

Monday, June 7th, 2010

So what’s the big deal about gambling? After all, the Church says it’s not a sin. Why get worked up about church bingo?

The two key virtues when examining gambling are temperance and justice. The Catechism defines temperance as “the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods” (no. 1809). Temperance, also called “moderation” or “sobriety,” is frequently praised in Scripture, although not always by name. For example, St. Paul instructs Titus that we should “live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world” (Tit. 2:12).
Thus, when it comes to gambling, one must act moderately and not fall prey to the passion and excitement of the moment, which might lead him to wager an amount that is excessive for someone in his circumstances.
The virtue of justice applies to both the game itself and to the participants. The game must be fair and free from all fraud or deception. The participants should only risk “disposable” income. In other words, the money gambled should be viewed as a recreational expense that is not needed to meet one’s obligations to God, himself, his family, or his creditors.
Temperance and justice call for an examination of how one uses his time and resources. Even a wealthy, debt-free person needs to use moderation. Gambling ought not be an occasion to excessively separate a parent from his or her family, even if the amount gambled is modest. And everyone should recognize that money used on frivolous or excessive gambling can be put to better use, such as to help out those who are less fortunate. After all, as St. John Chrysostom said, “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life” (Catechism, no. 2446). [more]
You Shall Not Steal

The Catechism treats the subject of gambling in the section dealing with the Seventh Commandment (“You Shall Not Steal”):
“Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant” (no. 2413).
While the Church does not consider gambling to be necessarily sinful, she does, however, recognize the serious dangers in habitual or excessive gambling. For many people, especially those with a particular weakness in this area, games of chance are an occasion of sin. Perhaps that’s why St. Augustine once said, “The Devil invented gambling.”

Parish Bingo

Gathering for a night of low-stakes bingo in the parish hall to socialize, enjoy a little excitement, and provide support for the parish is morally legitimate, both from the standpoint of the participant and from the standpoint of the parish that hosts the event.
However, since gambling can easily become a vicious habit, a parish or other church organization would be well advised to consider the following precautions when it comes to sponsoring bingo:
(a) Promote virtue. There are many ways this can be done. For example, limit the amount that one can wager. Don’t serve alcoholic beverages. Create a friendly, Christian atmosphere. In short, do whatever can be done to promote the positive aspects of bingo (e.g., recreation, fellowship, etc.) while preventing, to the extent possible, its negative side effects.
(b) Avoid scandal. Many people are scandalized by the fact that many Catholic churches use bingo as a means of generating revenue. This sense of scandal not only affects many Catholics but also other Christians who tend to see gambling as evil. This problem could be considerably lessened if bingo is clearly presented to parishioners and to the public as being used to raise revenue for effective Christian ministries. The scandal is greater when bingo is perceived as a “Catholic institution” in itself, and where the parish does not seem to do much to spread the Gospel.
(c) Evangelize.
All Catholics need to hear convincing, biblically sound teaching on tithing and generosity. Bingo may supplement this imperative, but not replace it. As for the non-Catholics or lapsed Catholics who are drawn to parish bingo looking for some “action,” reasonable efforts should be made not only to welcome the individual’s bingo money, but also the individual himself or herself.
(d) Avoid enslavement. Parishes, and not just gambling addicts, can become enslaved by bingo, such that the parish may consider itself forced to keep bingo in order to keep its school or religious education program in operation. I encourage pastors and parishes to prayerfully consider the possibility of liberation from the slavery of bingo. This freedom could be a scary thing. It would present a new set of challenges and call for creative ideas to compensate for the loss of bingo revenue while providing new opportunities for Christian fellowship. In this regard, some lay Catholics have successfully gone to their pastor and have offered to increase their weekly offering if the parish would eliminate its dependence on bingo. Such a gesture shows the pastor that despite our personal opposition to church bingo, we are fully committed to our support for the parish.
(e) Welcome other means of support. Even though parish bingo is not necessarily a sinful activity, some people are turned off by bingo and will not participate. Others simply may not have the time or interest. Still others may feel it is an occasion of sin for them and feel obliged to stay away. The parish should listen to the needs and concerns of these individuals and provide them alternative means of supporting the parish.

Conversely, all Catholics are bound to assist with the needs of the Church (Code of Canon Law, canon 222), and should not use their distaste for parish bingo as a basis for not supporting the Church in other ways. Indeed, generosity is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and a wellspring of renewal for the Church.
Giving with All Our Mite
Generosity is the virtue directly opposed to selfishness, which is the refusal to give of ourselves. The choice to be generous–to give of ourselves to God and neighbor–is nothing less than charity lived out in concrete circumstances. Christ Himself, in word and deed, taught that such self-giving is at the heart of the abundant, Trinitarian life He has come to give us.
In this life, generosity involves sacrifice and even death. This is the test of faith–to give in the midst of suffering. Our society doesn’t understand “sacrifice,” and consequently we are prone to selfishness in all phases of our lives, including our relationship with the Church. We’re a far cry from the Church of previous generations that was willing to build parishes, schools, and facilities with its own blood, sweat, and tears. If generosity literally means “full of giving life,” then it’s not a stretch to see that selfishness plays a significant role in what has been called a “culture of death.”
Let’s look at ways that we can grow in generosity.
First, are we generous with God Himself? Is prayer a regular, vital part of our daily lives, or is it merely a weekly obligation or something we do only in times of need?
This sometimes apparent “waste” of time does not “change” God, but it does change us and is a source of profound blessing.
Second, are we generous in our support of the apostolate, putting our time, talents, and checkbook at the service of the Gospel? Do we tithe? Do we give our “first fruits” or our spare change? Do we give only out of our excess, or do we give whatever we can, like the widow in the Gospel (cf. Lk. 21:1-4)?
Third, are we generous to others? Are we generous with our family, especially with our spouse and children? Are we generous as married couples, opening our home to another child or perhaps a family member or even a stranger in need? Are we sensitive to the needs we see all around us, looking for the “hidden Jesus” in the poor or forgotten in our midst?
This generosity will go a long way toward reinvigorating our own lives of faith and will help build up the Church in our midst. Our Blessed Lord will not be outdone in generosity:
“Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house; and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you and overflowing blessing” (Mal. 3:10).
Let’s put Him to the test.

Protected: You Bet Your Life

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

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Protected: Papal Bull?

Friday, June 4th, 2010

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Faith and Life Is Now Online!

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I thought I would direct readers to yesterday”s post at Ignatius Insight, the blog of Ignatius Press, regarding the availability of the critically acclaimed Faith and Life series in a new, interactive format, courtesy of My Catholic Faith Delivered. Check out the main My Catholic Faith Delivered site for more information on Faith and Life and other exciting online resources. [more]

After many months of working with the My Catholic Faith Delivered team to set up what we believe to be the definitive Catholic online learning center, it”s most gratifying to see it starting to take off. IP”s promotional piece on its blog drove home the fact that, in keeping with the encouragement of Pope Benedict XVI, we are now bearing witness to the faith “through the digital world.” It”s truly an exciting time.

The availability of Faith and Life through My Catholic Faith Delivered is especially significant to me. My family has used the Faith and Life series for the last 17 years, so we really believe in the excellence of this catechetical tool. My youngest son Raymond, who is in kindergarten now, will grow up using the online version!

Also, for well over a decade I worked in a leadership capacity for Catholics United for the Faith, the author of Faith and Life. I was there when we submitted the first edition of the series to the U.S. bishops” committee charged with ensuring that catechism series were in “conformity” with the (then) newly published Catechism of the Catholic Church. I was told that Faith and Life was the only series written before the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that wasn”t required to make revisions.

From day one, Faith and Life has effectively taught the fullness of the Catholic faith!

Many prominent Catholics have endorsed the Faith and Life series, including several U.S. bishops. When I was with CUF, I used to point to five endorsements of Faith and Life that I thought were especially significant. These were my “big five”:

(1) Scott Hahn (internationally renowned author and speaker, whose kids have all been raised on the Faith and Life series)

(2) Mother Angelica (foundress of EWTN, who flat out said, “This is the one to get!”)

(3) Cardinal Christoph Schonborn (Archbishop of Vienna and general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; he was so impressed that he had the series translated into German, so that it can be used throughout Austria)

(4) Mother Teresa (now of course she’2012-04-24 18:36:28′s Blessed Teresa of Calcutta; her sisters around the world still use Faith and Life in their catechetical work)

(5) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now of course he”s Pope Benedict XVI!)

As the Ignatius Insight blog points out, the online version of Faith and Life has all the features that we”ve come to love about the series, but also includes additional features, such as voice, videos, interactive items, online assessments, and other items not available in book format. This version can be adapted to a wide array of settings, from large Catholic schools and parish religious education programs to smaller independent schools and homeschooling families.

Check it out today for the 2010-11 school year!

Sue or Be Sued

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

This morning I came across an interesting article by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver entitled “Suing the Church.” View it here. In his reliably lucid style, Archbishop Chaput explains why it would be inappropriate to sue the “Vatican” for incidents of clerical sex abuse here in the United States.

The Pope is not the CEO of an international corporation with bishops” being mere district managers. Rather, individual bishops are successors of the apostles and exercise their own independent judgment in pastoring the diocese entrusting to them. The relation of Pope to Bishop is unique. It”s spiritual, and even familial. It doesn”t fit the nice legal boxes used in American jurisprudence to assign liability to what are perceived to be “deep pockets.”

Anyway, it”s an excellent read.

It”s also “timely,” as I just noticed yesterday in the airport that the cover of TIME magazine is devoted (again) to the Pope”s “relationship” to the clerical sex abuse scandals. Of course, it’2012-04-24 18:36:31′s totally understandable. Many people have a deep-seated hatred of the Catholic Church and see in the scandals an opportunity to grind their axes. [more]

But there”s also the legal maxim that essentially says that for every injury there should be a legal remedy. People have been hurt terribly by the wayward priests and the Church leaders who let it happen or continue to happen. So it”s also understandable that creative plaintiffs” attorneys would be exploring different legal theories on behalf of their clients.

As Archbishop Chaput ably sets forth, though, there is no tenable basis in law or fact to assign liability to the Holy See in these cases.

With the Church increasingly becoming such a target in the public square, it will be interesting to see what legal protections, such as “hate crimes” legislation, can be used in defense of the Church.

On a related note, with all the victims of abortion, it seems to me that the “deep pocket” that should be paying through the nose is Planned Parenthood. (I”m sorry, that”s the lawyer in me talking.) Let me explain.

Back in the day I was a litigation attorney, specializing in medical malpractice defense. Usually people sued when they the treatment or surgery didn”t work out well. Sometimes, there would even be extreme cases such as operating on the wrong body part or dropping the patient off the operating table. (That actually happens–here is an appellate decision on a case I handled for a few years before leaving the practice of law.)

But a fair amount of the cases involved what is called a “lack of informed consent.” Basically the allegation would be that if the patient knew that such and such were a risk of the surgery or treatment, he or she wouldn”t have consented to it. That”s why we have all these consent forms that we have to sign when we go to the hospital.

Abortion doctors are paid for performing abortions, so they do not have sufficient incentive to give a full explanation of the risks of the procedure, as it would potentially cut into their business. I”ve been out of law for nearly 20 years, so I”m not up on all the things that have been tried to date. However, I think it would be appropriate for the many victims of the physical and psychological trauma of abortion to bring suit again the doctors and the Planned Parenthood clinics. Aside from the compensation aspect, this could result in more jurisdictions requiring more detailed disclosure in advance of the procedure, such as availability of ultrasound, information on risks of infertility, infection, severe psychological problems, etc. than what is required.

And it would continue to tilt public opinion toward the pro-life position.

Look at all the “safe environment” hoops Catholic parishes and dioceses go through now as a result of the sex abuse scandals. Why shouldn”t those who have been grievously harmed by abortion make their voices heard anew? Why not go through the courts so as to make medical clinics “safer environments” for women and children?  Just a thought . . .