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Abortion drugs wake-up call

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Kevin McGovern |  02 May 2013

RU486 pill boxIn obstetrics, a fetus is an unborn child who is recognisably human and in whom all the major structures and organ systems are already present. An embryo is an unborn child from an earlier stage of development. An embryo becomes a fetus about eight weeks after fertilisation.

The 'abortion drug' RU486 kills embryos. RU486 or mifepristone destroys the lining of the womb so that the developing embryo is detached, deprived of nutrients, and dies of starvation. A day or two later, another drug called misoprostol is used to induce contractions and to expel the now-dead embryo.

I find it distressing to contemplate that embryos are being killed in this way. I also find it sad that so many Australian girls and women find themselves in a situation in which abortion seems to them to be their best alternative. I would argue that no one ever truly wants an abortion. But when women face an unplanned pregnancy, they can feel trapped, and that abortion is the only escape.

In September last year, an article was published in the Medical Journal of Australia about the use of RU486 in this country. It reported on 13,345 chemical abortions using RU486 between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2011 at 15 Marie Stopes sites around Australia.

Most women reported medium to heavy bleeding, and moderate to severe cramps. The study also detailed 519 cases in which things did not go as planned. There were 382 cases in which the abortion was not complete, and surgical aspiration of the womb was required. In 83 cases the pregnancy continued.

There were 16 cases of haemorrhage, 11 of which required a blood transfusion. There were four cases of known infection, and 21 cases of suspected infection. One woman died as a result of complications. There have also been at least 15 other RU486-related deaths around the world.

The risk of physical complications after chemical abortion is relatively low, but real. The likelihood of psychological problems — even profound problems like post-traumatic stress disorder — is much greater.

In 2005, Selena Ewing from Women's Forum Australia examined all the articles about abortion that had then been published in peer-reviewed journals over the previous 15 years. From this review of 168 articles she concluded that there is 'substantial evidence of psychological harm associated with abortion ... Ten to 20 per cent of women suffer from severe psychological complications after abortion'.

There is currently a proposal to include RU486 and misoprostol as subsidised drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. There is also opposition to this, as there should be. The girls and women of Australia who face an unplanned pregnancy deserve something better from our society than cheap abortion drugs.

If we are concerned about abortion in Australia and the dilemmas which Australian women face, what should we do in the months and years ahead? I can think of at least four things.

We should help everyone to develop their metaphysical imagination. Our imagination helps us see realities that are not immediately obvious. Metaphysics is reflection on the nature of things. Our metaphysical imagination therefore helps us to see that embryos, even though they look quite different from us, are truly human beings.

Bernadette faced an unplanned pregnancy when she was 16. Her son Damien is now 20. If you met Damien, you would be pleased that Bernadette allowed Damien to be born. And if you contemplated the connection between Damien today and Damien as he was in the womb, you would be exercising your metaphysical imagination.

Secondly, we must provide honest sex education. No method of contraception except sterilisation is completely reliable, so in heterosexual sex there is always a chance of pregnancy. If someone and their proposed sexual partner are not able to make a life-giving decision about a possible pregnancy, they are not ready for sex.

Their life-giving decision might be that they will be able to keep and raise their child or, if that is not possible, to continue the pregnancy to term, and offer their child up for adoption. With the open adoption we practise nowadays, they will be able to maintain contact with their child, and visit him or her several times a year.

Thirdly, we must support girls and women who face unplanned pregnancy and are considering abortion. John Paul II said in these cases 'the only honest stance is ... radical solidarity with the woman'. Around Australia there are many groups and individuals who offer practical support to women who face unplanned pregnancies or need support to bring up the children they have chosen to keep.

Fourthly, we must offer support and the hope of healing to women and men who have been hurt by abortion. After abortion, many women suffer for many years with grief, guilt and remorse. Often, they suffer in silence, their abortions remaining a shameful secret. We must find ways to help these women. Rachel's Vineyard retreats in capital cities round Australia provide one such option.

The proposal to provide cheap abortion drugs is a wake-up call to those of us who are concerned about abortion in Australia, and about the dilemmas which Australian women face. 


Kevin McGovern headshotFr Kevin McGovern is the Director of the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Health Ethics, which is sponsored by Victoria's Catholic hospitals. 


 


Kevin McGovern

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Excellent piece Fr McGovern. The issue of PBS funding for RU486 should indeed be looked at in the broader context of the kind of support and wisdom we as a society offer men and women who find themselves struggling with an unplanned pregnancy.

Zac 02 May 2013

Abortion. I believe, will be studied in future decades and centuries as one of the great human rights violations of this era. A procedure that was originally intended as an 'answer' in extreme situations, eg. rape; is now the most common medical intervention women utilize each year. 100,000 per year? If that number was 50,000 it would still be an unspeakable number of human lives being lost. RU 486 makes the abortion process a lonely event. Home alone, going through the symptoms of a miscarriage. Perhaps not telling anyone what you are doing. Cleaning up the mess yourself. How can this be seen as 'good for women' as the feminists chant?

Catherine 02 May 2013

"The risk of physical complications after chemical abortion is relatively low, but real." Considerably lower than carrying a baby to full term. And while I agree that the psychosocial effects of abortion are understated in our society I can't help thinking that if the Catholic church was interested in alleviating that suffering it wouldn't spend so much effort trying to make women feel guilty about abortion. Yes, Australian women deserve something better than a cheap abortion pill. They deserve as many options for either aborting or carrying their embryo as our society can offer along with the sort of education and counselling needed to make an informed choice. Not to have the ethical and biological theories of a morally bankrupt medieval institution jammed down their throats as if they were the only correct answers. And yes I think abortion is wrong. Nowhere near as wrong as telling a woman what to do with her own body though. http://neurodrooling.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/im-against-abortion/

cabrogal 02 May 2013

Well said Cabrogal

Jim Jones 03 May 2013

Thank you Fr Kevin for the courage shown in raising these serious matters. Of course the issue of the Government raising the possibility of cheap RU486 at this time is part of Julia Gillard's copying of US President Obama using abortion law and Government financial support (I refuse to ever call it reproductive health) to get the vote of women in last years US elections. Fancy the ALP wanting to make political progress over the dead bodies - really, mangled body parts, of babies.

Fr Mick Mac Andrew 03 May 2013

Arranging information in support of an ideology, no matter how flawed, while ignoring contrary argument is common enough. Unfortunately it does little to encourage thoughtful discussion on an issue as serious as unplanned pregnancy for which the reasons and consequences are varied and often complex.

David Ransom 03 May 2013

Excellent piece, Fr McGovern. Thank you.

HH 03 May 2013

Dear Cabrogal, The truth is that the unborn human body in a mother's womb, regardless of its age and size, is completely different in its genetic makeup and biological identifiers from the mother. It is not, as you contend, "her own body" (at least half of the intra-uterine being comes from the father for starters, and "belongs" equally to him). There is no support in truth or in science for such a contention which is nothing more than a false assertion that favours a personal unfounded view-point. It is sad that well-intentioned people have been duped by such falsehoods. There are no "informed choices" extant in civilised human society that sanction the destruction of human life in any of its dimensions.

john frawley 03 May 2013

I am in favour of this abortion drug being available on the PBS list. I also believe that it should be provided under strict medical supervision. I also believe that all women should have the right to have a safe abortion under strict medical supervision. However, the real issue is that women and men should be able to have sex and control conception of children. I believe that all practising and non-practising Catholics should encourage the Catholic Church hierarchy to reform the policy of being opposed to artificial contraception. I believe that all Catholics should support the Melinda Gates Foundation (I think Melinda Gates was raised and educated as a Catholic) which has an aim of providing all women in all counties with the right to have access to safe artificial contraception. Most women in affluent countries such as Australia, Germany, France, Japan, Canada and America have access to artificial contraception, but very few women in poor countries in places such as South Asia, Africa and the South Pacific do not have access to artificial contraception.

Mark Doyle 03 May 2013

Ah, the perils of the sex drive! Ah, the perils of the drive for power! The first frequently gives rise to unwanted pregnancies. The second gives rise to industries (Advertising,cosmetics, sexual medicine) aimed at exploiting the joys of that drive and others aimed at avoiding some of the consequences (unwanted pregnancies and disease). I suppose it is a step forward that celibate clergy have less and less authority when they speak on matters relating to sexual practice and morality. I wouldn't take singing lessons from a tone deaf teacher. Because sexual practice and morality influence peace, order and society at large we have reached a stage where governments (made up of broken, but ueually sexually active, human beings) have to legislate on matters sexual - among a myriad of other issues. So it comes back to the drive for power. To obtain power, practising catholic politicians, both progressive and conservative, will approve PBS funding of RU486, not because they disagree with Fr McGovern's views, but because they want to hang on to power or gain power. The best we (Mr & Mrs Suburbia) can hope for (and work for)is to keep the damage as low as possible.

Uncle Pat 03 May 2013

This is one issue where I will never agree with the Catholic Church. Cheap abortion drugs are a useful option for women, avoiding the need for surgery.

Penelope 03 May 2013

Dear Mr Frawley, Your claim that genetics somehow determines ownership is entirely arbitrary. In law you do not even own your own genes - especially if a biotech company has got in first with a patent. Would you suggest that people with genetic chimerism or transplanted organs don't 'own' part of their bodies? 'Ownership' is an abstract social convention based on the extension of the individual or communal 'self'. This can be seen pretty clearly when a short lived blob of protoplasm points to a 100 million year old mountain and says "I own that". I don't claim to be able to read embryonic minds but I would be very surprised if a cluster of a dozen or so cells has any concept of self or ownership. *You* might claim the embryo owns its own cells but I doubt the embryo would agree. On the other hand the pregnant woman is as intimately linked to the embryo via chemical exchange as you are to your own organs. I think that establishes at least a prima facie case for ownership. Besides, RU-486 attacks the womb lining not the embryo. And the womb lining is genetically identical to the pregnant woman. If the embryo is such an 'individual' that it can assert ownership, surely its inability to survive without the resources of others is its own problem.

cabrogal 03 May 2013

Vasectomy is a good form of contraception. It puts the onus on the man to take the required care not to impregnate accidentally. Sperm can be frozen and used when a couple are sure they want a child. Feminists are wrong to put all this responsibility on the woman. She goes through the physically and emotionally painful process of abortion, often time after time. Real feminists would put the responsibility on the men. Don't want children. Have a vasectomy.

Bernadette 03 May 2013

Cabrogal, 1. Genetic chimerism is inherited from one's parents. So it's what one owns oneself. But as you're no doubt aware, one doesn't inherit the zygote: One generates it (with another). Totally different story, and relationship. 2. Transplanted organs are not "part" of one's body, genetically speaking, but one still can "own" them - at the very least as one owns, say, a pacemaker. No difficulty there. 3. What has the ability to have a concept of self ownership got to do with whether one has the right to life? Very small children, and people who are in a deep coma, don't indicate they have a concept of self ownership. Is infanticide, and bumping off the comatose OK? 4. If there is "chemical exchange" between X and Y, and that triggers ownership, what justifies saying X owns Y over Y owns X? In any case, ownership doesn't prove identity. IE, because X "owns" Y in some sense doesn't prove Y is a part of X, if Y is a subsistent reality. I do hope we don't have to these days rebut the most pathetic pleas for slavery.

HH 03 May 2013

Dear Cabrogal, I have re-read what I wrote above and cannot identify the quantum leap in logic that leads you to believe that I was talking about "ownership" of the embryo or foetus. I was talking about the nature of human life, the truth that abortionists do not have the courage to face. I did use the word "belongs' which in context means that the pregnant woman assumes ownership of the contents of her womb and thus has dominion over those contents. My point was that if there is indeed any ownership notion to be entertained in this debate, then the biological father has equal rights or, if you prefer, ownership, another truth that rankles the ranks of the self-designated champions of the right to choice regardless of the rights or wrongs of those choices.

john frawley 04 May 2013

As all human life is sacred and should be protected by law, the Society of Jesus believes in a consistent ethic of life from conception to natural death, an ethic which includes our opposition to the death penalty and assisted suicide and our support for improved palliative care. All human life deserves dignity and respect, and all of God’s children, particularly the most vulnerable, must be protected and supported by the laws and policies of our nation. http://www.jesuit.org/2013/01/22/society-of-jesus-statement-on-the-40th-anniversary-of-roe-v-wade/

Game Theory 04 May 2013

Penelope, cheap abortion drugs are NOT a safe option for women. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtLe2PR5j54 http://www.youtube.com/user/abortionpillrisks?feature=watch

Dr Sara Jones 04 May 2013

An excellent article, Kevin. Sadly, in the intellectual marketplace, because you are a priest and have the job you have, many who consider themselves "progressive" or feminists would dismiss what you say out of hand. Very similar to the way some Catholics write off anyone "pro-choice" (even the word is anathema it appears, the anathema being transferred to the holder of such views, who becomes demonised and vilified). I think the Church needs to "engage" with them a little like Jesus with the woman condemned to death for adultery. Were we even within cooee of Him!

Edward F 05 May 2013

Dear Mr Frawley, Please forgive me if I remain a bit confused over what it is you are trying to say. You're saying that a sperm provider has some sort of a claim over a small blob of cells inside a woman's body such that he should have a say as to whether or not that woman undergoes all of the physical and emotional stress of pregnancy and delivery. So if human cloning becomes possible presumably you wouldn't object to the abortion of sperm free embryos. It seems that you're not suggesting that the effort in providing the sperm is what gives the donor this right, but rather the genetic material contained in the sperm. And I am still unenlightened as to what implicit social or moral contract exists whereby you could swap a bit of DNA for such extensive rights over another person. Do you think DNA is the holy scripture of biological science or something?

cabrogal 05 May 2013

Dear Cabrogal,I am not saying that a "sperm provider" has any particular claim over a "small blob of cells in a woman's body". What I am saying is, that if indeed any human being has an ownership claim over a blob of cells in the womb of a pregnant woaman (something which is in itself a contentious proposition) then, that claim is equally divided between the man and woman who have conjoined to produce that blob of cells. This bears no relationship by any stretch of logical deduction to the process which the woman might undergo ("physical and emotional stress") in giving eventual birth to that "blob of cells". Perhaps, Cabrogal, your views of a woman's "ownership of her own body" are very self-centered when it comes to pregnancy. Perhaps ownership in the matter of human procreation involves three unique human lives and not just the one, as your logic seems to suggest. Indeed, does not abortion serve the belief (especially in those who promote it) that the inevitability of that "blob of cells" is human life and, therefore, needs to be destroyed before that life imposes on the life of the one whose actions brought it into being. If the"blob of cells" did not represent independent human life, abortion would not exist. Anti- abortion philosophies were born in the pagan world long before the advent of the Catholic church which you claim generates guilt in those who seek abortion. The ancient Greeks who fathered civilised society in those times condemned abortion for its inhumanity and as you know dictated the medical profession's abhorrence of the practice up to the present day (excluding of course those medical abortionists who believe in it as a constant generator of income). Happy days, Cabrogal.

john frawley 06 May 2013

At the risk of butting into the 'conversation' between Cabrogal and Mr Frawley I offer my two cents worth. Indeed, there are three lives involved when speaking of a pregnancy. It is the woman, though, so closely entwined to the life within her, who must listen to others pontificating about her responsibilities. In ideal circumstances, there is a loving bond between herself and the father of the child - one where financial and emotional constraints can be faced together. Unfortunately, this is not always the case - in some instances, the situation is dire for the woman and perhaps society should think much more deeply about unconditional support for women who so desperately need help rather than judgmental posturings about 'morality'.

Pam 06 May 2013

I certainly agree with Pam that if a biological father - or someone who is not one for that matter - has a close personal commitment to the pregnant woman and any future offspring they should probably have a role in any decisions regarding termination - though I would still insist on the final say resting with the woman. But these are personal issues among that woman and her social group. None of our business. The provision of RU-486 is a public policy issue. All we need to know about a woman seeking access to RU-486 is that she is pregnant, she wishes to use it and there are no medical contraindications. Not whether she has found her life partner. And the notion that someone whose only known (to us) connection to that woman is that he provided half the DNA that led to the embryo should automatically be able to influence a decision whether to terminate is patently ridiculous. Yes, an embryo is a life. Just like the bacterial lives your body has automatically destroyed while you were reading this comment. Yes, its a potential human being, given all of the nutrients and nurturing nine months in a woman's womb can provide. Just like every sperm is a potential human being, given an ova plus that same nurturing. Just like almost every cell in your body is probably a potential human being, given a well equipped modern biotech lab. What it is not is a sentient organism. What it is not is a social presence. What it is not is a human being.

cabrogal 06 May 2013

Dear Cabrogal, Might I simply add that truth and science can't be tailored to conform with individual preference - they are constants unlike the individual preferences. As an illustration, the unicellular bacterium bears no similarities to the fertilised human ovum which when embedded in the uterus is an embryo. The bacterium independently re-produces itself, never progresses beyond a single cell and possesses no potential to become fully developed human life. Oranges do not acquaint with apples but only with oranges. Human embryos acquaint only with human life.

john frawley 06 May 2013

"Might I simply add that truth and science can't be tailored to conform with individual preference" Precisely. And there is no 'objective truth' or 'scientific fact' that could give a sperm provider any moral say whatsoever over whether a woman seeks a termination. And none which would make an invisible speck of tissue without a nervous system to call its own a 'human being'.

cabrogal 07 May 2013

Yes and far far worse than psychophysical fallout of abortion to women is material or worse formal grave mortal sin and excommunication for all, formally and freely involved in abortion. Canon 1398 provides that, "a person who procures a successful abortion incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication." And of course level of freedom is pivotal. Such moral realities aren't to be brushed under the psychophysical carpet of abortion with other traumatic collateral. A letter Pope Francis sent to the bishops of Argentina in late March says pro-abortion politicians should not be eligible for communion in the Catholic Church. Psychophysical pain is no license however traumatising to downplay the morality eg in media presentation.Though in situ great prudence,compassion and delicacy is essential

fr john george 08 May 2013

In this context may I recall an old axiom "The priest ought be a lion in the pulpit and a lamb in the confessional"

fr john george 08 May 2013

As a foot note to Fr McGovern's sad list of all the major adverse outcomes of using RU486 to achieve chemical abortions,... may I mention a possible drug interaction which may be inadvertently overlooked, before the RU486 procedure is undertaken? Women with asthma who are routinely treated with inhaled corticosteroids,are likely to have the activity of this asthma medication reduced for 3 to 4 days after the RU486 procedure.

Claude Rigney 12 May 2013

The side effects of any pill should not be the argument point for or against ending human life in the womb. The argument should be about contraception before human life has begun and why our Holy Church cannot accept this as a moral/ethical option for parents.

AURELIUS 13 May 2013

The argument should be about contraception before human life has begun and why our Holy Church cannot accept this as a moral/ethical option for parents = an oxymoron.

Game Theory 13 May 2013

Come on fellas - take a cold shower. RU486 is a legal drug. It's importation is legal. Those aspects are now settled, properly and appropriately, through the parliament. Neither side of politics is about to change that situation. It can only be obtained if prescribed by an appropriately qualified and authorised practitioner. So, far from being a 'proposal to provide cheap abortion drugs', this proposal is about whether or not a legal drug should be made available at an affordable price to those for whom it has been prescribed. As such, the merits or otherwise of the proposal should be assessed against the criteria used for determining whether other drugs should be similarly treated. Such criteria would, I imagine, include such questions as its cost/effectiveness relative to other available alternatives. Religious objections to the purpose or function of the drug should be irrelevant to such an assessment.

Ginger Meggs 14 May 2013

Well, GAME THEORY - it may be an oxymoron to talk about contraception BEFORE and AFTER conception, but that is the reality of how the morning after pill and other abortefactant meds are considered - especially in the conservative, fundamentalist Christian rightwing parts of America where people proclaim to be anti-abortion but have no problem taking the morning after pill.

AURELIUS 15 May 2013

AURELIUS, surely you've heard of SDM?

Game Theory 15 May 2013

No GAME THEORY, I had never heard of SDM, and I'm presuming you would like the opportunity to display the depth of your wisdom and maybe make your point. But I did google it - it's either Shopper's Drug Market (where you can purchases medications online from Canada) or some form of family planning which occurs in a perfect world where husbands don't arrive home drunk late at night and hump their wives.

AURELIUS 15 May 2013

AURELIUS, knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way, wisdom is looking both directions anyway.

Game Theory 15 May 2013

Thanks GAME THEORY - I'm not aspiring to be wise or knowledgeable - just compassionate. A wise person once said "Don't trust everything people say on the internet."

AURELIUS 16 May 2013

AURELIUS, what compassion/love ? A man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the REVERENCE due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Game Theory 16 May 2013

The compassion I am talking about, GAME THEORY, is in the sense of not imposing moral judgment/burdens on women who choose to use contraception (presuming there is such a thing as primacy of conscience). Celibacy is not an option for everyone, and abstience before marriage is not for everyone and Natural family planning only works in a committed relationship that is open to children if it fails.) The simplest and most commonly used solution is the condom.

AURELIUS 16 May 2013

'To follow one's conscience' and to remain a Catholic, faithful to the Holy Church - the Holy Church you mentioned in your first comment - or what you refer to as primacy of conscience, AURELIUS, in your last - one must take into account first and foremost the official teaching of the Church: the Magisterium. When doubt arises due to a conflict of 'my' views regarding celibacy, abstinence before marriage, natural family planning the use of condoms and those of the Magisterium, the presumption of truth lies on the part of the Magisterium.

Game Theory 16 May 2013

Ah come on GAME THEORY - get real! 'The presumption of truth lies on the part of the Magisterium'? Try telling that to the vast majority of Catholics (men and women) who happily use contraceptives in spite of the church's teaching. As AURELIUS asks, why do you conflate contraception with abortion? Why are you so obsessed with the details of sexual activity all the time? The Magisterium's rules are nothing more than the arbitrary concoctions of a bunch of men in drag who have little or no experience of a long term committed relationship with anyone, let alone women. I suspect most of them are scared of sex. And as for 'a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may...reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires...' - do you really think that only happens, or is more likely to happen, as a result of the use of contraceptives?

Ginger Meggs 16 May 2013

Superficial similarities exist between Christianity and some ancient pagan religions. But careful study reveals that there are far more dissimilarities.

Game Theory 17 May 2013

"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo

Game Theory 17 May 2013

Ginger Meggs - "You are your choices." - Seneca

Game Theory 17 May 2013

GAME THEORY - the Magisterium does not represent infallible truth and neither does our Holy Catholic Church claim this. Presuming that we are now engaged in a theological/moral discussion, we are legitimately following the long tradition of Quaestiones Disputata. According to Thomas Aquinas non-dogmatic church teachings are neither authoritative nor infallible. There is room for Legitimate Disagreements and Dialectic. The Magisterium on matters of sexuality has never claimed to be infallible.

AURELIUS 17 May 2013

AURELIUS, ever read Humanae Vitae? With the exception of a very small number of hierarchies, every national body of bishops that has commented on Humanae Vitae has supported it. Even where positive support was not offered, there was no real divergence from the doctrine of the encyclical.Pope John Paul II had repeatedly reaffirmed the teaching against contraception, sterilization and abortion. The World Synod of Bishops in 1980 reaffirmed this Tradition, and both the Pope and the Synod have referred to this teaching as a DIVINE PRECEPT.

Game Theory 17 May 2013

Ginger Meggs the abortion and contraception are two sides of the same coin. But don't take my word for it, visit Victoria's Better Health website, it states that 2/3 of women presenting for abortions cite failed contraception as they reason they are seeing an abortion. Contraception - and building one's life and career and mortgage on the belief that it will work - leads women into situations where pregnancy is a disaster on so many levels that abortion seems the only rational solution. Abortion is the back-stop for contraception. Its the fixer. The other issue is that a lot of contraceptives - the pill included - have an abortifacient property, ie. it prevents a fertilized egg from implanting. For those of us who believe that life begins at conception, any contraception that works like this is destroying a human life, and is a grave sin.

Miriam. 17 May 2013

Thanks Miriam for your response and for the reference you gave me to one of the points you made. I'd like to look at that reference before I respond to you but try as I may I could not find it on the Better Health website. Would you help me find it by giving me a link please? Thank you

Ginger Meggs 18 May 2013

To Game Theory - bringing out the big guns now eh? I suppose I could respond with 'John 3:16' or something like that and engage you in the equivalent of an artillery duel. But to what end? Instead, let us go back to a closer engagement. Firstly, you comment on the risks that follow 'a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods' and use that to justify your condemnation of contraception. Does that also apply to the Billings method, a form of contraception which is, I understand, sanctioned by the Church? Does it also apply to withdrawal before coitus? Does it all also apply where one or other of the parties is sterile, either by choice or age or otherwise? Secondly, your comment about the 'REVERENCE' (your capitalisation) due to the female partner in a sexual relationship seemed a little quaint to me in that it seemed to harken back to the good old days when men were men and women were women and the pecking order was securely in place. Rather than holding you partner in reverence, have you never made love with your best friend? Someone with whom you share a 'bilateral mutual respect rather than a hierarchical relationship?

Ginger Meggs 18 May 2013

Great question(s), Ginger Meggs, 'But to what end'? No answer(s) can be understood from the same level of consciousness that created the question(s)Your sense-based consciousness, as your derogatory remarks patently denote ( 16 May ) - does not seem capable of comprehending a higher order or level of truth - spiritual truth . To put the matter in order of terms: the physical *man cannot comprehend the spiritual man. Sensual thought cannot touch a level above itself. Another kind of thinking is required...'But to what end? you ask' : ' This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand '. Matt 13 ;13. *man = any or all of the human race regardless of sex.

Game Theory 20 May 2013

Ah Game Theory, leave the condescension aside please, and just answer the questions. If you do that for me, I'll try my best to understand your answers.

Ginger Meggs 20 May 2013

GAME THEORY, you cannot separate the senses, sexuality, the physical, from spirituality - they are all fully and rightfully integrated parts of our God-given humanity. When we die, we are resurrected in body and soul. And yes I have read humanae vitae - and I too support it and disagree with some parts of it. The fact that bishops support it does not make it infallible and the pope has not declared his support of it to be infallible. Let the discussion continue without fear of hell and damnation.

AURELIUS 20 May 2013

Ginger Meggs, There are many meanings to the of the word REVERENCE, one is LOVE. But then again there are many meanings to the word LOVE. Resolved Question? Show me another » In tennis, is there a reason why "love" is used to stand for zero?There's a common misconception that the equally puzzling "love," or zero, derives from the French l'oeuf, "egg," or, by extension, goose-egg or zero. Actually, it comes from the idea of playing for love, rather than money--the implication being that one who scores zero consistently can only be motivated by a true love for the game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekQ_Ja02gTY

Game Theory 20 May 2013

AURELIUS, papal infallibility, as a doctrine, came about in 1870 - from wiki: "We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema." Not bad eh? Have a read of Humane Vitae and Infallibility ( Humanae Vitae e Infallibilità: il Concilio, Paolo VI e Giovanni Paolo II) , by Ermenegildo Lio, O.F.M. Published in Vatican City, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, l986 - You can find it on line. Fr. Lio has amassed argument after argument, and document after document, to maintain that Humanae Vitae, art. 14, contains an EX CATHEDRA definition of the intrinsic immorality of contraception: that is, an exercise of papal infallibility as solemnly defined by Vatican Council I, in the Constitution Pastor Aeternus. Let the discussion continue? Heaven might shine bright, but so do flames.? Neal Shusterman

Game Theory 20 May 2013

Furthermore, AURELIUS, Brian Harrison, who reviewed the book wrote: In a very uncommon gesture of warm personal commendation given to an individual theologian for a particular work, the Holy Father John Paul II had a message drafted in fine calligraphy and sent to Fr. Lio with his own handwritten signature. Fr. Lio kindly gave me a photocopy of this document, which reads ( in translation from the Italian original ): To the Rev. Fr. Ermenegildo Lio, O.F.M., with deep thanks for the presentation of your volume Humanae Vitae e Infallibilità, and with warm appreciation for the sentiments of sincere adherence to the Magisterium of the Church which have always guided your activity of research and teaching: I impart to you from my heart a special Apostolic Blessing, a pledge of continuing heavenly assistance towards a fervent perseverance in the love of Truth and the service of souls. From the Vatican, 31 July 1986. (Signed) John Paul PP. II.

Game Theory 21 May 2013

Well, GAME THEORY, I'm relieved that this judgment on contraception only refers to males... "should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let HIM be anathema." It's hardly a matter for us men to be concerned about really, is it?

AURELIUS 21 May 2013

Ah Game Theory, you're pretty good at playing games and quoting self-referential sources but I see that you can't, or won't, expose yourself to discussion or debate. And since you didn't even address my last question, I'll assume the answer is 'no'. It was Rousseau, I think, who said something like 'man is born free yet everywhere is in chains'. It's worth thinking about. Cheers.

Ginger Meggs 21 May 2013

Ginger Meggs and AURELIUS, if you are comfortable with Catholics using divers forms of birth control, why are you so adamant in wanting Vatican approval, anyway? When," A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him."? - Ezra Pound

Game Theory 21 May 2013

GAME THEORY, I have not said I am seeking Vatican approval. I am also a member of the Catholic Church and I have a conscience.

AURELIUS 22 May 2013

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