Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ten Facts about Me and My Better Half

I was going to do this yesterday, but I forgot. Better late than never, right? Thanks to Betty Beguiles for the suggestion.

1. Collin and I met online in 2000 via a Yahoo! web club called "Harry Potter for Grown-Ups." (A web club was part message board, part e-mail list, essentially).

2. There was an ongoing discussion about why adults loved Harry Potter, and someone suggested it was because we all hated our childhoods and wanted to live vicariously through Harry (like his childhood was any better?!). Somehow that segued into a discussion about teenage body image. I said that I'd been teased for being chubby as a teen, although looking back I wasn't really as fat as I'd thought I was. Collin replied to that post, saying that he thought the models of today were ugly and disgusting, and way too thin; he said he preferred a woman who had nice curves and natural beauty. My response to him -- and I am not making this up -- was, "Will you marry me?" I had no idea he'd take me up on it!

3. We started e-mailing off-list and discovered that although at the time we were living 850 miles apart (I was finishing my freshman year of college in Laramie, WY; he was working in Minneapolis, MN), we were both North Dakota natives and had grown up within 40 miles of one another.

4. I went back to ND for the summer, and our first date was on July 7, 2000 at the Fargo Barnes & Noble. We went to the release party for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." We'd gone to a movie beforehand ("Chicken Run"), and after the party we stayed in the store parking lot 'til 2am talking. I think I knew even then that I wanted to marry him.

5. I met his ENTIRE family all at once, as he asked me to be his date at his grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary party (about a month after our first date). It was very intimidating, to say the least. However, I must've made a good impression; by the end of the weekend, his aunts were giving me things to use at our wedding and his grandma had said both "she's a keeper!" and had asked me to call her "Grandma" instead of Bernice.

6. We got officially engaged on December 17, 2000. I had flown to MN (from WY) to visit him for Christmas break, and he took me to see the illustrated "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" display on the eighth floor of the downtown Minneapolis Dayton's. (Then it became Marshall Fields, and now it's something else... Macy's, maybe?). At the end of the display, I commented that it was really nice, and he said, handing me a program, "It's not over yet. Check the last page." I looked, and he'd pasted in a little paragraph that said that the last scene of the display was where Collin asked JoAnna to be his wife. I looked up and he was down on one knee with the ring box in his hand. Obviously, I said yes. :)

7. We were married 9/1/2001 (September 1 is the day Harry Potter traditionally left for Hogwarts School). As we were married in the Lutheran Church, we were able to have the "Star Wars" theme as our recessional. Our dance was Harry Potter-themed, but not be design; Collin's aunt and cousins showed up with Harry Potter glasses and temp tattoos for all the guests, so many of our dance pictures feature guests in Harry Potter glasses. We also got a ton of Harry Potter-themed wedding gifts, many that we still have.

8. Our song is "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" by Elvis Presley. It seemed to fit our relationship very well.

9. Collin's birthday is December 24, and his youngest brother's birthday is also December 24. They are something like 5 years and 1 hour apart. Crazy, isn't it? I think Collin was actually due on New Year's Eve but came early.

10. For our seventh anniversary, we went to Las Vegas and were able to be present at the closing weekend of "Star Trek: The Experience" at the Las Vegas Hilton. It was phenomenal and I'm so sad they closed it (especially since now we live within driving distance of Las Vegas!). If it were still open, we'd probably go there for our tenth anniversary as well.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - March 25, 2011



Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. Please pray for my friend Angela, who died suddenly of a heart attack last week. She was in her early fifties, and Collin and I know her and her husband through our parish's marriage prep program (she and her husband were also volunteers). Her funeral is tomorrow at 10:30am.

2. Please also pray for the repose of the soul of my uncle William Berube (pronounced Bur-bee), who died one year ago tomorrow. I still miss him very much.

3. Other than the funeral in #1, we're planning to spend the weekend at home getting some much-needed projects done. A friend of my MIL's who is moving to Tucson gave us two matching twin beds (free!), so we're going to move those into Elanor's room, move Elanor's current bed into William's room, and move the daybed in William's room into Collin's office. Plus we need to clean the kitchen and catch up on the laundry. Busy busy busy!

4. Collin's also going to set up our new DVD holder and a bookcase we bought for Elanor's room. Hopefully we can get all of our DVDs organized and put away so they're not scattered around in various boxes.

5. Violet is getting into everything. I swear, she's worse than Elanor and William were at this age combined. She's figured out how to turn my computer on and off, and how to open the CD/DVD drive! I also think we're going to have to put a baby gate around the TV stand in the living room, because she likes to play with the buttons on the DVD player (which causes issues when the older two are trying to watch a movie). Whenever I try to load the dishwasher, she crawls over and starts taking silverware out of the rack and throwing it on the floor. I may resort to setting up a baby jail this weekend just so I can get things done without worrying about what she's gotten into now.

6. Oh, another to-do project for this weekend is to go through their toys and donate at least half to St. Vincent de Paul. I just did this six months ago but I swear their toys breed when we're not at home.

7. I had no idea that my Open Letter to Congresswoman Speier would garner so many follow up posts, but thanks to the linky love by atheist P.Z. Myers, I had some commenters take issue with some of my points. You can see the initial comments I responded to at this post, and a further response here. I appreciated the dialogue but I wish both commenters could have responded to more of my points.

Bonus #8. I was doing some research for a work-related project, and I found this: 350 Free Online Courses from Top Universities. Wow! There are a lot of great courses listed. I think I may start with "Introduction to Practical Reasoning and Critical Analysis of Argument."

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm not ready for this

Violet just crawled over to my computer, opened the CD/DVD drive, took out the CD that was in there and started to play with it.

We have entered the Era of the Toddler. God help us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another reply to Mary

This comment, in response to Mary's comments on this post, is too long for the combox, so I'm making it into a new post.

Remember that "abortion" means the premature termination of a pregnancy [or other process] without reference to how or why this happens. Miscarriages are included.

Yes, Mary, that's exactly what I said. My argument is that given the drastic differences between spontaneous and procured abortion, this terminology is outdated.

Like it or not, the secular, legal definition of a human being in the USA begins at birth.

Again, I know that. I believe it is unjust, and that's why I, and many others, are working to change that.

That means your statement "abortion is always murder" is simply not true, since murder only applies after birth in the USA. It's an emotive slogan, but quite ridiculous.

Actually, Mary, you are mistaken. Case in point is the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, in which someone who kills a pregnant woman can be charged with two homicides.

Also, it's true that all abortion is not legally murder in this country. I have never disputed that. Morally, however, it is murder. Legality is not the same as morality. Black people were persons even when the law said they weren't. Jewish people were persons even when the law said they weren't. Unborn children are persons even though the law says that they aren't.

Please don't use such sloppy language, it makes the argument look either ignorant or deceitful, and I know that you would not want to give that impression.

Absolutely not, but I hope you've written to Representative Speier and said the same. It is very sloppy indeed to claim that you had a procured abortion when the baby actually died of natural causes and had to be removed from your body via a procedure that is also used for the purpose of procured abortion.

I understand that you believe that a zygote has a right to life, as does a fetus. So say that, clearly, without the "abortion is always murder" trope.

If a zygote, fetus, etc. has a right to life, then procured abortion is always murder. It's not "trope," it's truth.

My personal experience with abortion is second-hand and is limited to wanted pregnancies that were killing the mother, or where the zygote or fetus was already dead or dying (six months along, in two cases).

If the baby is already dead, then it's not a procured abortion. Spontaenous abortion is not murder. Procured abortion always is. Do you understand the difference between natural death and murder? Killing your grandmother is not the same as if she dies in her sleep, for example. Same concept.

As for a case where the pregnancy (not the fetus, the pregnancy) is causing a life-threatening medical condition, all treatments thereto would fall under the principle of double effect (for an explanation of how this applies to abortion, see here: Abortion and Double Effect). Simply put, if the fetus' death is an unintended side effect (not the result) of a treatment to save the mother (such as the removal of a diseased fallopian tube in an ectopic pregnancy) then it is not a procured abortion as the fetus was not directly killed.

These were terribly traumatic events, and I would hate to imagine the additional trauma these mothers (yes, these were all second and third pregnancies to married women) would have gone through in the USA.

Why, given the above? Check out www.benotafraid.net for stories of women who did not procure abortion in such cases and yet had wonderful, healing experiences.

I think abortion is to be avoided if possible,

Why?

but not by using a blunt instrument like an anti-abortion legislation. Would you support improved access to contraception to avoid abortions?

No, because it doesn't work. All contraception does is give people a false sense of security that they can have unlimited, irresponsible sex, and then when their birth control fails and conception occurs they resort to abortion. Actually read Leila's post that she linked in the comments, instead of ignoring it, for an explanation of why the stats you posted in the combox aren't an accurate representation of the problem.

Remember, this law would apply to non-Catholics, so the Catholic prohibition on contraception is not relevant to this argument.

Agreed. Again, read Leila's link. There are many non-Catholics who are beginning to realize the link between contraception and abortion.

One thing I am resolute on is that another woman's reproductive life is none of my business.

Unless she's committing murder (i.e., procured abortion), in which case it is everyone's business.

I do believe that if you want to take the proposition that "abortion is tantamount to murder" as true, then the appropriate action is to boost access to contraceptive options.

Unfortunately, reliance on contraception only leads to more abortion because it provides a false sense of security.

If you think differently, then why? Is it really the unborn that is your main concern? Or is it other women's sexual activity?

I want everyone (men and women) to be responsible adults. That includes not having sex if you're not prepared for a pregnancy. See my reply to SallyStrange in the previous post. Otherwise, the norm becomes procured abortion, which is murder, and I oppose murder.

Also, Mary, you never responded to my points about the dehumanization of unborn children.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Replies to "Mary" and "SallyStrange" regarding their dehumanization of unborn children

Edit: Well, that explains it. P.Z. Myers linked to my Abortion vs. Miscarriage post, which is why I've had some pro-abortion commenters taking issue with my terminology. (For those of you unaware, P.Z. Myers is the atheist who seems to believe that the behavior of a fair, open-minded, tolerant individual can involve deliberate desecration of the Eucharist.)

To clarify for all visitors from that site: I realize what the "official" medical terminology is for abortion and miscarriage. My argument is that the terminology isn't accurate and should be changed in light of the drastic differences between spontaneous and procured abortion in the post-Roe v. Wade era. Medical terminology in this regard is still stuck in the pre-1970's, but I'm sure the AMA is too busy defending the dehumanization of unborn children to care what I think.

That being said, I welcome civil debate and discussion. Bear in mind that any comments that are insulting, lewd, obscene, etc. or contain any of the latter, on this or any other post, will be deleted. If necessary I will turn on comment moderation.

I received some replies to my follow-up post regarding my Open Letter to Congresswoman Jackie Speier that deserve a post of their own for rebuttal.

Without further ado, the first comment comes from Mary (by the way, Mary, this reply will also serve to respond to the comment you left on the original open letter post; it was in the spam folder and I just released it):

JoAnna, you said: "Why doesn't the hospital perform the procedure on women with living, healthy babies? Obviously, there is some difference, otherwise there would be no need for abortion facilities."

First, you meant "fetuses" not babies. Please use the correct terminology.

"Fetus" is a Latin word that literally translates to "little one." MedlinePlus' definition is as follows: "an unborn or unhatched vertebrate especially after attaining the basic structural plan of its kind ; specifically : a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth."

Now let's compare it to the definition for "baby": "an extremely young child."

Is a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth also an extremely young child or "little one"? Yes.

Additionally, Mayo Clinic's website on first trimester fetal development begins, in part, "Fetal development typically follows a predictable course. Find out what happens during your baby's first three months in the womb by checking out this weekly calendar of events" (emphasis mine).

Have you also written to the Mayo Clinic, that bastion of unscientific terminology, and quibbled with their use of baby versus fetus?

(Edit: Stacy pointed out that the Oxford English Dictionary defines a fetus as "an unborn offspring of a mammal, in particular an unborn human baby more than eight weeks after conception.")

By drawing an arbitrary line between a "fetus" and a "baby," you are attempting to dehumanize the unborn so as to assuage your conscience when you advocate for their deaths; or, more specifically, for the alleged "right" to cause their deaths. Unfortunately, this is not a new strategy. In the pre-Civil War era, pro-slavery advocates worked hard to dehumanize black people so that their rights could also be denied. The Nazi party worked hard to dehumanize Jewish people so that the German government could pass the Nuremberg laws. Same story, different chapter.

"Secondly, the difference is political, not medical."

Says the person who wants me to use correct "medical" terminology when discussing a "political" situation. If they are two separate issues, then there should be two separate terminologies. However, the two issues intertwine.

Finally, you know that Crowepps is right, you said it yourself when you said "Technically, this is true." Yes. The law is technical, and details are important. Definitions of words are especially important.

Absolutely, especially when such language is being used politically in order to dehumanize an entire population, such as when pro-abortion advocates attempt to use the word "fetus" to mean "an organism that is not human and thus is devoid of human rights."

I understand that you believe that terminating a pregnancy is wrong under certain circumstances.

Correction: I believe that deliberately killing (i.e., murdering) a blastocyst, zygote, embryo, fetus, infant, toddler, child, or any other human being is wrong under all circumstances.

Most certainly is would be wrong for you.

Not true, as neither truth nor morality is subjective. But please do go on, I'm interested as to how you defend subjective morality.

But you are not able to speak for all people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

I leave that up to our elected officials, whose job it is to pass laws that represent the desires of the majority of their constituents.

What you are saying will be just the right advice for some people, but not all people.

Not true. Murder is never justifiable. (Killing may be justified in some circumstances, but murder, never -- and abortion is always murder.)

Legislation needs to work for all people, just like a bridge needs to work for all traffic loads, not just the average. (Yes, my profession is technical design and analysis). Legislation is just too unwieldy to cover difficult and personal medical decisions.

Legislation does not, by its nature, work for "all people." If that were the case, we'd need to legalize pedophilia to satisfy the .001% of people who want to abolish the age of consent. (I made up that statistic, but you get the point.)

Also, I guess I can go ahead and murder my one-year-old child when she wakes me up at night because she's teething and has a fever. That's my personal medical decision to make on her behalf, after all, and there should be no legislation prohibiting it. It's easier for me to kill her then to cure her fever, and you have no right to interfere with my personal medical decisions, or the ones I make on behalf of my minor children.

I realize that's an extreme example, but come on. There are PLENTY of medical decisions that are legislated. I can't force a doctor to amputate a healthy limb because I've decided I really want that handicapped parking sticker. A doctor couldn't legally or ethically damage the hearing of a healthy child because his or her deaf parents would prefer a deaf child. I can't take drugs that aren't legally prescribed to me, or that are illegal in this country. Et cetera.

Whatever your thoughts are the rights of a fetus, the scope of decisions on this matter that you have a moral right to make is limited to yourself.

It should not be so limited, however. Human rights are not subjective and arbitrary. As I referenced above, the pre-Civil War era of American history is an example of a time when human rights were arbitrarily decided by the majority. Do you think it was morally acceptable for slave owners to decide that black people weren't human beings? That's exactly what you're proposing in terms of unborn children.

The government does not grant human rights, it merely recognizes that such rights exist. Sometimes it doesn't recognize those rights (e.g., black people, Jewish people, unborn children) and thus the populace has to work to change that circumstance.

Even if Government did have right to make this call for all women, it would be a very difficult, technical piece of legislation that would fail because it could not cater for all situations. Such legislation would cost women's lives, make no mistake.

It worked quite well up until 1973, actually, and I debunked the myth of "Omg making abortion illegal will KILL WOMEN!" in my previous reply to Crowepps. You can also look at this information from SecularProLife.org.

The argument between pro-choice and pro-life is uninteresting to me because it is ultimately futile in practical terms. If women are to have safe, appropriate care then the government needs to let people get on with it, and not interfere with heavy-handed legislation.

Granting rights to human beings -- especially the right to LIFE -- is not "heavy-handed legislation." It is necessary for a civilized society.

The long and short of it is that you believe that personhood is an arbitrary, subjective distinction that women should be able to bestow upon or withdraw from their unborn children (or fetuses) at their leisure. I believe that those unborn children, or fetuses, are human beings with the right to life from the moment they come into existence. Of our two opinions, which one more closely mirrors the arguments of slave owners and Nazi government officials?

You might want to think about that.

The second comment is from SallyStrange:

That's great that you saw a baby when you looked at your ultrasound. My sister, who's pregnant right now, sees a baby when she looks at her ultrasounds. Me, I didn't want to be pregnant, so when I looked at my 9-week ultrasound, I saw a blurry thing that looked like a lumpy kidney bean.

Thankfully, we don't have to rely on subjective feelings and emotions when determining what is and is not a human being. We can determine this based on science.

Here's the ultrasound picture of my now-six-year-old daughter at 9 weeks, 6 days (7 weeks, 6 days after conception):


Here's a rendering of a 9-week-old fetus (7 weeks after conception) from Mayo Clinic's website:


Here's an image of an actual 9-week-fetus (again, 7 weeks after conception):


Neither of these can be accurately described as "blurry thing[s] that look like a lumpy kidney bean." They can accurately, and scientifically, be described as genetically unique and distinct human beings. You are allowing your own personal feelings about your pregnancy to affect your view of your (former) unborn baby. This is ironic in light of your following statements.

I felt regret that my birth control had failed, and that my boyfriend and I were both broke and heading off to different grad schools, but I didn't feel regret about getting the abortion itself. Rather I felt grateful and relieved that I didn't have to be pregnant and give birth when I really didn't want to, and wasn't ready to.

First of all, I'm sorry that you felt you had no other choice. No woman should feel that way about a pregnancy, and we as a society need to work to improve that.

I have to ask, though -- given your situtation, why were you having sex at all? Wouldn't the more responsible decision have been to not have sex if you weren't prepared to be pregnant, especially given that all birth control has a failure rate?

Your son or daughter was not to blame for the circumstances of his or her conception. S/he was a human being with a right to life from the moment of his or her conception, but you chose to take his or her life away because you were unable to face the consequences of your poor choice. This is not a judgement on you but a statement of the facts. I too have made mistakes and have suffered the consequences, and I am by no means a perfect human being.

I'm also sorry you didn't explore all of your options. You could have given birth to that child, and given him or her a home with someone like my stepsister, who is a happily married, responsible adult. She is also infertile and currently waiting to adopt a child.

It is your attachment to the baby-to-be that causes you to regard your potential human being as a "baby" rather than a "fetus." And that's understandable.

Not at all. All fetuses are human beings with a right to life regardless of any personal feelings attached to them. Feelings do not determine our humanity nor our personhood.

But your personal feelings about your own fetus have no relevance to any other pregnant women.

No, but the objective criteria of humanity and personhood, as well as human rights, do.

Only the eager anticipation of a woman who's ready to become a mother can transform a fetus into an unborn baby.

Can you scientifically prove that, or is that based on your own subjective and personal feelings?

See my above reply to Mary to read more about the dangers inherent in dehumanizing a group of people for your own convenience.

Friday, March 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - March 18, 2011



Thanks to Jen for hosting.

I've been busy the last few weeks!

1. I was going to put this up an individual post, but I forgot - here's my latest post at the Catholic Phoenix blog.

2. We're going to the Arizona Renaissance Festival on Sunday with some friends from our church. On the way, we're going to stop at the Mater Misericordiae Mission and attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I haven't been to one in years so I'm looking forward to it!

3. I recently discovered that the local public transit system has an online system called "Share the Ride" where you can look for people with whom to carpool. I signed up and found someone who also lives in Surprise and works in Scottsdale. I got in touch with her via e-mail last week and phone this week; we're going out for coffee on Saturday morning to work out our schedules and see if we can carpool 2-3 days a week. Good news for our gas budget!

4. Tonight, we're going to an Arizona Right to Life event to hear Fr. Frank Pavone speak. I'm excited to hear his talk, especially if he has any updates on the status of Baby Joseph.

5. Last weekend we went to Wickenburg, AZ, with Collin's dad and our neice Candyce. We toured the Vulture Mine, browsed some shops, had wonderful ice cream, and went to see a wonderful touring production of The Music Man. It was a lovely day!

6. Keith (Collin's dad) and I also went to a spring training baseball game in Scottsdale yesterday, courtesy of my workplace (it's an annual spring event the company sponsors for us). It was the AZ Diamondbacks vs. the LA Angels. The D-backs lost, of course, but it was still a fun game, and we had terrific seats. I like baseball but I like being outside in the sunshine instead of stuck in my office even more. :)

7. We were going to have Guinness Corned Beef for supper last night, but Collin and I each assumed that the other was going to make it, and so it didn't get made. Oops. I guess we'll make it Saturday instead. I don't think St. Joseph will mind. :)

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This is simply delightful.

Thanks to Mark Shea for sharing this video:

Cover Tune Grab Bag - "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"



It's things like this that give me hope when current events get me down.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH!

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Act I, Scene ii

Flourish. Enter CAESAR; ANTONY, for the course; CALPURNIA, PORTIA, DECIUS BRUTUS, CICERO, BRUTUS, CASSIUS, and CASCA; a great crowd following, among them a Soothsayer

CAESAR
Calpurnia!

CASCA
Peace, ho! Caesar speaks.

CAESAR
Calpurnia!

CALPURNIA
Here, my lord.

CAESAR
Stand you directly in Antonius' way,
When he doth run his course. Antonius!

ANTONY
Caesar, my lord?

CAESAR
Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.

ANTONY
I shall remember:
When Caesar says 'do this,' it is perform'd.

CAESAR
Set on; and leave no ceremony out.

Flourish

Soothsayer
Caesar!

CAESAR
Ha! who calls?

CASCA
Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

CAESAR
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Soothsayer
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
What man is that?

BRUTUS
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
Set him before me; let me see his face.

CASSIUS
Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAESAR
What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

Soothsayer
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

Friday, March 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - March 11, 2011



Thanks to Jen for hosting.

1. Violet's birthday party was a lot of fun. She thoroughly enjoyed her birthday cupcake. I can't believe my baby girl is one year old! She is pulling herself up on everything and she'll be walking before I know it.


2. My grandmother left on Monday instead of Sunday. Why? Because I didn't get her to the airport on time and she missed her flight. *facepalm* There was a road closure I didn't know about so it took us longer to get there, and we were running late in the first place because it was hard for me to get my butt moving at 4:30am.

I felt terrible and offered to pay for her new ticket, but she said she'd take it out of my inheritance. Luckily she was able to stay with her sister-in-law (who lives 15 miles from the airport) overnight so she didn't have to get a hotel room.

3. I ended up going to mass at a church in Mesa, and the homilist was a guest priest from the Phoenix Cathedral. His homily was fantastic, and exactly what I needed to hear that morning. I wouldn't have attended that particular church (just down the street from my grandmother's sister-in-law's place) at that particular time if my grandma had made it to the airport when she should have, so perhaps there was a higher purpose in that situation.

4. My co-worker's wedding shower was a lot of fun. I'm going to miss her so much when she moves away at the end of March (her fiance lives in the Detroit metro area, which is where they are getting married). It was nice to have some "girl time" without the kids around, and the food was amazing. I need to take Collin there sometime! Actually, the restaurant is quite close to the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Gardens, both of which we keep meaning to visit and never have, so we may make a Sunday outing of it one of these days. We may attend Mass at the Cathedral as well (again, something we've always wanted to do but haven't yet done).

5. For Lent, I'm giving up Facebook and Twitter. At first I was planning on giving up something else, but then I realized that my reluctance to give up my social networking was a sign that I was probably too invested in it and should step back for a time. Plus, God kept giving me little "hints" (such as the homily in item #3) about what I should be giving up. My husband was very impressed when I told him what I was giving up, because he knows what a Facebook junkie I am.

6. Collin is planning on giving up desserts of any kind for Lent. That is HUGE for him as we both have a significant sweet tooth. I'm very proud of him for making that sacrifice and have promised not to make any yummy desserts until Easter. I better hurry up and eat all the cookie dough in the freezer so as not to tempt him... aren't I a supportive wife??

7. In addition to giving up FB and Twitter, I'm making a committment to do more religious reading and less "fluff" reading. I'm also jumping back on the weight loss bandwagon -- I've gotten away from counting calories in the last few months and as a result I've gained back all the weight I lost last fall. :( I figured Lent is a good time to recommitting to a more healthier me -- hopefully I can keep it up past Easter as well! (That being said, I suppose eating the cookie dough in the freezer is probably not a good idea, either. Darn.)

Bonus #8 - My dad is going to visit for Easter! Yay!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lenten Humor

...over at The American Catholic.

A preview of his "Top Ten Rejected Shows At EWTN":

Lex et Ordo – Roma [Drama] “In the Catholic criminal justice system, the laity is represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the Liturgy Police who investigate liturgical abuses and the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith who ex-communicates the offenders. These are their stories.”(chung CHUNG!)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Abortion vs. Miscarriage - A Response to "crowepps"

A commenter named "crowepps" left a comment on my Open Letter to Congresswoman Speier, and as both her comment and my response are lengthy, I figured it was better served by its own post than a long comment.

"crowepps" begins:

The difference between 'abortion' and 'miscarriage' is that the first is a medical term and the second is a layman's term.

Technically, this is true. However, "miscarriage" is more often used in medical parlance to refer to a spontaneous abortion, as can be evidenced by the quote in my original post from the National Center for Biotechnology Information: "A miscarriage may also be called a 'spontaneous abortion.' This refers to naturally occurring events, not medical abortions or surgical abortions."

Here is the medical definition as doctors use the term from emedicinehealth.com "Abortion: In medicine, an abortion is the premature exit of the products of conception (the fetus, fetal membranes, and placenta) from the uterus. It is the loss of a pregnancy and does not refer to why that pregnancy was lost. A spontaneous abortion is the same as a miscarriage. The miscarriage of 3 or more consecutive pregnancies is termed habitual abortion."

emedicinehealth.com also has a definition for miscarriage: "A miscarriage (also termed spontaneous abortion) is any pregnancy that spontaneously ends before the fetus can survive."

So it seems, based on the above, that "miscarriage" and "spontaneous abortion" can be used interchangeably.

I too had the experience of having my fetus stop developing without a spontaneous abortion starting; the correct medical term for this condition is EITHER "missed pregnancy" OR "missed abortion".

I'm very sorry for the loss of your child.

My midwife referred to my experience as a "missed miscarriage," as did the OB who performed my D&C. Regardless as to what it was called on the official paperwork, that was not the terminology my care providers used.

I'm of the opinion that the medical terminology does need an update given the current negative connotations of "abortion." The last thing a mother who is losing a very much loved and wanted baby needs to hear is that she's having an "abortion," because that lumps her in with all the women who are voluntarily and deliberately throwing away the precious gift of a healthy baby.

"D&C abortion" is the name of the medical procedure which removes the remains of the placenta and dead fetus to prevent infection and allow another attempt at pregnancy. It is done with the exact same equipment and in the exact same manner as a 'birth control' abortion because there are not two separate, different names for the procedure depending on whether the fetus is dead or alive, or depending on the motives of the women having the procedure.

Yes, that is exactly what I said in my open letter to Congresswomen Speier. Did you read the entire post?

As I said in my original post, D&Cs and D&Es are morally neutral as procedures. They have very legitimate uses, such as treating missed abortions (which I am assuming that both you, me, and Rep. Speier suffered). You will not, to my knowledge, find a single pro-lifer claiming otherwise.

Moreover, I had my D&C in a hospital, not an abortion facility. If they were the exact same procedure, why didn't the hospital just send me down the street to the "women's clinic" that did the exact same procedure on women with living, healthy babies? Why doesn't the hospital perform the procedure on women with living, healthy babies? Obviously, there is some difference, otherwise there would be no need for abortion facilities.
Medicine uses only one term for this procedure in all of the circumstances in which it may be used, and so laws that forbid doctors to do "abortions" are going to ban precisely the procedure I had and the women here had and Rep. Speier had and leave all of those women at risk of infection and infertility. Those laws will also ban the 60,000 abortions every year which remove ectopic pregnancies and condemn those women to die.

You have been grotesquely misinformed.

If what you say is true, then prior to 1973 and the Roe v. Wade decision, having a D&C for a missed abortion or treatment for an ectopic pregnancy would have been illegal. However, this was not the case when elective abortion was illegal. In fact, every anti-abortion law in the United States prior to Roe v. Wade had a "life of the mother" exemption.

Let's use ectopic pregnancy as an example.

The Catholic Church acknowledges that ectopic pregnancies must be treated. Such treatment (i.e., removal of the section of the fallopian tube containing the baby) falls under the principle of double effect and is morally legitimate. Any treatment for a mother's life-threatening condition is legitimate as long as it does not directly target the baby (i.e., directly kill the baby); rather, the baby's death must be an unwanted and unintended (even if foreseen) side effect of the treatment.

Given that it was not illegal to treat ectopic pregnancies prior to Roe v. Wade, I don't see how you can make the argument that this would become illegal should Roe ever be overturned. If it's that much of a concern for you, then write your elected officials and ask them to make sure that any anti-abortion laws contain language specific to elective, induced abortion and specifically exclude spontaneous or missed abortion. Problem solved.


When Rep. Speier tries to imply that I deliberately and consciously murdered my child, it is offensive. I did not have an elective, induced abortion. I did not walk into an abortion facility and pay a medical practitioner to kill my child. Neither did she, by all accounts, and she has no right whatsoever to lump together abortion and miscarriage because she is essentially equating murder with natural death. I wouldn't walk up to someone whose grandmother passed away in her sleep and accuse him of murder any more than I would tell a person who smothered his elderly grandmother with a pillow that it was a good thing his grandma passed away naturally, and why don't we go ahead and ask the government to subsidize him?

crowepps, let me introduce you to someone.

This is my second child, Noel. This is the only picture I have of him or her, as this was the ultrasound that diagnosed my missed abortion:


When I look at this picture, I don't see "products of conception" or "medical waste" or a "missed abortion." I see my beloved child, who died after only six short weeks of life (approximately). [I might add that he or she was conceived at a time when my husband and I were trying to avoid pregnancy, as we were going through a period of unemployment and financial strain. However, his or her death devastated us. Although he or she was unplanned, he or she was very much loved, was very much wanted, and is very much missed. He or she also had a right to life from the moment he or she was conceived.]

He or she is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Fargo, North Dakota. We had a graveside service and a memorial Mass said for him or her.


My child was a person, a human being, and the length of his or her natural lifespan does not change that, as much as Planned Parenthood would like to pretend otherwise.

Friday, March 4, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - March 4, 2011



Thanks to Hallie for hosting.

1. Sad news; we lost our kitty. :( Last Thursday night I had to open the front door because the downstairs was a little smoky (I was broiling hamburgers and some fat dripped down into the oven), and we think she got out without us knowing it. On Sunday morning, I realized that I hadn't seen her around in a couple days. That's not very unusual, as she's very shy and quiet and likes to spend her days under our bed, but I went and hunted in all of her usual hiding places and couldn't find her. Collin went walking around the neighborhood calling for her, but no luck. She was wearing a collar and tag with our address and phone number, but we haven't heard anything. We called the city roadkill people and they didn't have any reports of dead animals in our neighborhood. We called the police, just to ask if they'd gotten any reports, and they said that chances were she was taken by a coyote or bobcat. (There have been sightings of both in our neck of the woods, especially coyotes.) *sob* I'm going to keep an eye on the local shelter websites and Craigslist just in case, and we're putting up flyers tonight, but I think our dear Belanna is gone for good.

This is my favorite picture of her (she would come and keep me company while I was nursing Elanor):


2. In happier news, some good friends celebrated the birth of their first child this morning! Her name, Erin Sophia, is as gorgeous as she is. I'm so happy for them. New life is always such a joyous reason to celebrate. I'm also pleased that our daughters almost share a birthday. :)

3. My grandma did a lovely thing for me this past week, and hired a maid service to come in and wash all my floors, and do some deep cleaning of our furniture and countertops. My downstairs is fairly sparkling! I love it! It's especially wonderful because...

4. We're throwing a birthday party for William and Violet this weekend and have invited lots of family and friends. It should be a fun time!

5. I can't believe my little Violet is turning ONE tomorrow! The day she was born is etched so clearly in my mind, it seems like it just happened yesterday. The time goes so fast.


6. My grandma leaves on Sunday. :( Her flight goes out at 7:15am in the airport 60 miles away, so we have to get up horrendously early to get to the airport on time. Ugh. If not for the fact that I have plans in that area of town that day, I'd just hire a shuttle service to take her.

7. I'm going to a good friend's wedding shower in Tempe on Sunday and am very much looking forward to it. It's at a Lebanese restaurant (her cultural background) and I've never been to one, so it should be a lot of fun!

Have a great weekend.