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Pope tells pharmacists to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing abortion pills

Posted on October 29th, 2007 at 18:47 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

[Quote:]

Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholic pharmacists on Monday to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing abortion pills or euthanasia drugs.

In a speech to participants at the 25th International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists, Benedict said that conscientious objection was a right that must be recognized by the pharmaceutical profession.

Such objector status, he said, would “enable them not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia.”

In his speech, the pope also said that pharmacists have an educational role toward patients so that drugs are used in a morally and ethically correct way.

Bullshit. Pharmacists have an educational role toward patients so that drugs are used in a medically correct way, and the only reason they could possibly have to not dispense the drugs a doctor ordered is when they know the drug may have an adverse effect on the patient – for example when another medication, one the prescribing doctor wasn’t aware of, has a contra-indication.

If they can’t do that job properly because their shaman tells them something else, they should get a job they can do, like goat herding.


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Comments:

  1. Vulgarity, shamans and goat herding. It’s pretty clear that you don’t have the first clue about catholic medical moral teaching. Killing kids and prematurely ending the lives of adults are two “medically” unjust pharmaceutical practices. Anyone can shoot their mouth off, try being the person who actually tries to understand a position before pontificating yourself. Best.

  2. The question is not whether John has a clue about Catholic teaching, but instead whether Catholic teaching has any role in the application of legal medical intervention.

    When you order a steak and the vegan waiter refuses to serve it to you on moral grounds, do you tip the waiter for upstanding morals?

  3. Catholic moral teaching that abortifacient and euthanistic drugs constitute grave moral injustices cannot be compared to a vegan who refuses to serve meat. While a vegan might believe the killing of animals to be always unethical, he is wrong. A Catholic’s belief that it is always wrong to kill human beings, however, is correct. While both the vegan waiter and Catholic pharmacist are expressing a conscientious objection, only one of them is doing so validly. What John should address is whether the Pope is wrong about abortifacients/euthanasia. Those two questions are the a priori for discussing the role of the pharmacist.

    I think if John spent the slightest time trying to understand the Church’s position, he would see that it is far beyond shamanism and goat herding. It’s actually much closer to objective science. Indeed, I think John is more suited to goat herding than blogging if this is any measure of his normal standards of commentary.

  4. All careers have ethical dilemmas that require one to have an informed conscience in order to navigate successfully. The Pope, as chief pastor of the Catholic faithful, is perfectly entitled and expected to give this sort of advice. His statement was basically a clarification of the moral proximity exercised by a pharmacist, as opposed to doctors, patients, cashiers, etc… Moral proximity is always a tricky area and a legitimate one for a spiritual advisor to comment on.

    The analogy in another comment between this and a vegan waiter in a carnivorous restaurant is a valid one, but the commentary on it misses the point. The vegan would indeed face a moral dilemma, if it was their opinion that eating meat was objectively wrong. However, the client/patient’s satisfaction with their service is not the issue here, but rather, the culpability of the waiter/pharmacist.

  5. To me this seems like its removing a persons ability to run their business the best way they see fit. If selling certain drugs is immoral in someones eyse, they should be given the right not to sell it. It should be considered a business risk not to sell it.

    If every restaurant owner was forced to sell pork, then faithful Jews could not own restaurants. Their rights would be violated by this, so we don’t make such laws. The laws created to force pharmacists to carry drugs that they feel are immoral are doing the same thing and should be viewed as equally stupid.

    I disagree with you completely.

  6. Catholic moral teaching that abortifacient and euthanistic drugs constitute grave moral injustices cannot be compared to a vegan who refuses to serve meat.

    Why not?

    While a vegan might believe the killing of animals to be always unethical, he is wrong.

    Why?

    A Catholic’s belief that it is always wrong to kill human beings, however, is correct.

    Why?

  7. Owning a restaurant is not a regulated business. Dispensing medicine is. Which means if you do not agree with the regulations, you can either try to change them, or change jobs.

  8. I think if John spent the slightest time trying to understand the Church’s position

    The position of the church isn’t relevant, but let me address it anyway.

    Okay, from the top. The church disagrees with the current regulations on certain drugs – I’ll come to the validity of that later, but it appears that the church has several choices here: 1) tell people to follow the regulations while they try to change them, 2) tell people to break the regulations, 3) tell people to not engage in this profession at all (until the law is changed). If you’ve followed my weblog a bit, you know I have pretty strong opinions on copyright laws, and the choices are similar: I can tell people to 1) continue to buy music and try to change the law, 2) pirate content, 3) not buy any music (until the law is changed). I consider it to be immoral to tell people to break the law (although there are hypothetical cases where it is required to do so), so I advise people to choose option 3. Please note that the actual morality of the law in question isn’t very relevant for this choice: if you think the law is wrong, you will try to change it no matter which of the three choices you make.

    Next, and lets take abortion pills for this example, since it is the more difficult choice. What, exactly, is the purpose of the pope’s statement in this? What does he want to accomplish? Let’s guess “as few abortions as possible, preferably zero”. That is a moral goal that I completely agree with. Now to methods. There’s basically two ways to accomplish the goal: 1) decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies, 2) force pregnant women to deliver the baby. It is clear from other papal policies (take a look at condoms for example) that number 1 is not an option for the church, which leaves number 2. The real world effect of this policy is an increase in suffering: not just for the women, but also for the unwanted children, and as a long term effect, for the rest of the world as well (since the message appears to be “breed no matter what the consequences”). I consider any policy which increases suffering like this to be an immoral one, and I have to speak out against it.

    The same could basically be said about euthanasia drugs – the position of the church is one that increases suffering in the world – the church’s policy against suicide is in general a sensible one, but doesn’t work in all cases and their total rejection of all possible cases, again, increases suffering in the world and is therefore in my opinion an immoral one.

    Lastly – if you really want to know all the details of my position on this, which is very subtle in certain area’s, you’re not going to get that on a weblog, not even my own.

  9. Regulated? How so? (Seriously… I do not understand what the difference would be. Please explain).

    Restaurants ARE regulated, it seems to me. For example, you need a liquor license to sell alcohol. You also have to keep your restaurant clean, or else the health department shuts you down. How is it different?

    We tell restaurants what they can NOT sell… (alcohol in certain cases… unsanitary food).
    Likewise, we tell pharmacies what type of drugs they can NOT sell (cocaine. Unhealthy drugs).

    Are there any drugs that pharmacies HAVE to sell aside from those we are discussing? Or are laws like this a first?

    I’m just trying to get educated here. If anyone can answer these, I’d appreciate it.

  10. Restaurants ARE regulated, it seems to me. For example, you need a liquor license to sell alcohol.

    This regulation is the other way around – I can only speak for the specific regulations here in the Netherlands, but when it comes to prescription drugs, that is, drugs that cannot be sold “over the counter”, the rules are this (simplified, of course): a doctor can prescribe them. A pharmacy MUST fulfill the prescription. If the pharmacist believes it is not right to do so for medical reasons, he can contact the doctor and consult. If the patient tells (then or later, for example with a repeat-prescription) about side effects, the pharmacy can consult with the doctor and replace with an alternative after consultation. But the salient part of all this: the pharmacy is NOT allowed to say “no, that medication is not good for you” in just about all other cases.

    To get back to your restaurant example: there are no regulations that force restaurants to serve food prescribed by a third party to a potential guest. For example – there are no regulations that say something like “certain foods like X can only be prescribed by a licensed diet expert, and if prescribed, all restaurants MUST give anybody who walks in with a prescription for food X the food in question”. If such regulation existed, then indeed the Jew would have problems with non-kosher food in his restaurant.

    Are there any drugs that pharmacies HAVE to sell aside from those we are discussing?

    Yes. All of them.

  11. This might get long… I apologize (its a good discussion though, so I can’t resist).

    The position of the church isn’t relevant, but let me address it anyway. When you are dealing with the freedom to practice one’s religion (which is how I’m personally approaching this issue) it is completely relevent, as is the position of any pharmacists religion.

    What, exactly, is the purpose of the pope’s statement in this? What does he want to accomplish? Let’s guess “as few abortions as possible, preferably zero”. That is no doubt part of it, but I would say that there are other issues including the right to practice one’s religion. Overall, I think the Pope wants what all people want… a better world in general. Catholics should have the right to participate in this in all aspects of their life, including their job.

    Now to methods. There’s basically two ways to accomplish the goal: 1) decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies… It is clear from other papal policies (take a look at condoms for example) that number 1 is not an option for the church.
    Not quite. That is terrible logic. It assumes that there is only one way to decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies, when in fact there are many. Many methods are beleived by western society to be immoral, including forced female sterilization. Artificial Birth Control is a way that is seen as moral by many, but not the Catholic Church, which advocates another way to end unwanted pregnancy… abstinence. Think of it what you will, but don’t make sweeping judgments that a group of people want to increase suffering in the world (as your next comment suggests) because they don’t allow one means to achieve a given end.

    2. The real world effect of this policy is an increase in suffering: not just for the women, but also for the unwanted children, and as a long term effect, for the rest of the world as well (since the message appears to be “breed no matter what the consequences”).

    Whoa… I’m gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you on this one. It is true that pregnancy can be a cause for suffering. I’ve never given birth (because I’m a man) but from what I hear, its no easy task. So yes… pregnancy whether wanted or not can increase suffering. But there is also joy that is associated with both ‘wanted’ and ‘unwanted’ pregnancy. Like the adoptive parents that can raise a child… or the child that gets adopted into a good family and lives a good life. Yes, some ‘unwanted’ children suffer, but so do many ‘wanted children.’ Thus, to say that the church is conspiring to increase suffering seems to trivialize those who are actually suffering because it puts the onus on people to treat ‘societal suffering’ rather than ‘individual suffering.’

    I consider any policy which increases suffering like this to be an immoral one, and I have to speak out against it.
    Really? Because there are a lot of Catholic pharmacists out there who are going to suffer when they realize they can’t morally do their job any more and have to quit like you recommend. At least the pope sees this as immoral, so he speaks out against it. You two have something in common!

    The same could basically be said about euthanasia drugs – the position of the church is one that increases suffering in the world – the church’s policy against suicide is in general a sensible one, but doesn’t work in all cases and their total rejection of all possible cases, again, increases suffering in the world and is therefore in my opinion an immoral one. Again, you pretend as though there is only one way to reach a goal… kill people who are going to suffer. There are MANY other ways to ease a person’s suffering when they are ill that don’t result in euthanasia, including physical pain medicine and psychiatric care. These should be administered… not death.

    Sorry for the length. I’m seriously interested in stuff like this though, so as I said, I can’t resist.

    Cheers!

  12. Yes. All of them.
    HAHAHA. Shows what I know!

  13. Oh… you’re from the netherlands… perhaps things are different in the US. Recently in my state (washington, in the USA) this whole topic became a big deal when, for the first time, the state’s government said that pharmacists must sell ‘abortion pills.’ If its been the case in the netherlands, then we are clearly might dealing with two very different sets of laws and very different solutions.

  14. A Catholic’s belief that it is always wrong to kill human beings, however, is correct.

    Why?

    Oh, no. You did not just say that. You think it’s okay to kill innocent human? Fine. Be brave and get in the sacrificial line.

  15. I’ll just pick a few points – it’s late and I need the sleep, I’ll pick up the rest later.

    I knew you would bring up adoption – it is (unfortunately) only a very limited answer to the problem, and if you look at how many adopted children go looking for their roots it is at best a sub-optimal solution, and at worst a very bad one.

    Also, there are indeed many other ways to decrease unwanted pregnancies, and I didn’t enumerate, and I’ll probably agree with you on the morality (or lack thereof) of many of them.

    Next, I refuse to believe you think the suffering is limited to the pregnancy itself – and I don’t think I need to elaborate on the exact suffering I am talking about; you’re smart enough.

    I never said the church is conspiring to increase suffering, I said I believe their policy causes an increase in suffering. There’s a difference, although the practical upshot is still that I consider the policy immoral. It may not have been their intention, but it is the result.

    Because there are a lot of Catholic pharmacists out there who are going to suffer when they realize they can’t morally do their job Then those pharmacists should realize they’re interpreting their job wrong. The fact that a patient walks into their store for an prescription drug that normally ends pregnancy does not mean the patient wants to end pregnancy – the pharmacist has no way to know that, since he wasn’t present when the doctor prescribed it. The same is true for birth control pills which are sometimes prescribed for the hormone-balance effect and not the birth-control effect. If a pharmacist feels he’s suffering because he helped somebody balance hormones he is in the wrong job. The core issue is: the pharmacist does not and cannot know, and should stay out of that part of the transaction.

    Again, you pretend as though there is only one way to reach a goal… I said no such thing, on the contrary: I said that one should not reject all possible cases. I want as little euthanasia as possible, and the methods you mention are amongst those that can be used to stop them. But I’m human enough to recognize that it is impossible to solve everything, and I regrettably admit that sometimes the euthanasia drugs are the best (or should I say least bad) answer. And again we come to the core of the issue: the PHARMACY cannot know when this is the case, the medical practitioner’s job, and the pharmacist should not interfere.

    Don’t apologize for the length, stuff like this needs extensive discussion. I think you and I don’t disagree much on the goals, but we sure do disagree on the means and methods.

  16. Why did you insert the word “innocent” in there suddenly? That changes the statement in a significant way, and would not have triggered a “why” from me. Your original statement was:

    A Catholic’s belief that it is always wrong to kill human beings, however, is correct.

    So, again: why?

  17. If the pharmacist believes it is not right to do so for medical reasons, he can contact the doctor and consult.

    If I believe that a pill will cause a person’s death and that filling it will violate the hypocratic oath, do I not thereby have a legitimate medical reason? A person who wishes to care for others by being a doctor must have the right to make a moral objection against drugs which cause death. It is the same case as when a man who wants to defend his country objects to an unjust war. He has that right, and he shouldn’t have to leave the military because of that.

  18. FWIW, nature “forces” a women to birth her child. One forces an abortion, not a child’s birth. No one has the right to prevent that child from living. Thank you.

    P.S. It must be remembered that laws are not absolute, and that when they promote evil, one has a natural, moral obligation to resist that law.

  19. Here in the netherlands, as you know, euthanasia is allowed, under very, very strict conditions. As a result, no pharmacy will ever have a patient walk in with a prescription for that drug, the process just doesn’t work that way – and that’s a good thing since the process is geared towards only allowing it in the extremely rare occasion where all other methods are worse.

    Besides, if you think about it, it is a very regular occurrence for a pharmacy to have people walk in with prescriptions for drug that can easily kill – a few times a year there’s a big media alert when somebody loses something (or gets robbed) and potential dangerous drugs may end up in the wrong hands. Basically the news reports are something like “if you don’t have disease X, and you take this pill, you will probably die. If you’re a kid, you will certainly die”. So it is safe to assume that “people walk in with a prescription for a lethal drug” is a fairly common occurrence for a pharmacy.

  20. when they promote evil, one has a natural, moral obligation to resist that law.

    Which is exactly why I’m ranting against the pope here. I feel his policies promote evil and must be stopped.

  21. First off, the controversy in Washington State was over Plan B. Plan B is not an abortion pill, it is an emergency contraceptive, i.e. it _prevents_ pregnancies.

    Second, if you’d spent 5 minutes with Google, you could have verified that the State of Washington in fact also requires pharmacists to fill legal prescriptions. In fact, you can readily find articles about pharmacists who are now suing the State over this.

    When you’re debating a topic like this and speaking so ill informed, your other opinions lose a lot of persuasive force.

  22. You don’t even know who you’re talking to. Hint: AmericanPapist vs. Moth.

  23. A suffering person can be kept alive for years, while all he can do is lay in a bed, endure incredible pain tied to infusion and a machine that makes his lung work, while all he prays for is an ending. Is it immoral to turn off the machines?
    If it were your 21 years old daughter, what would you do? Keep her suffering but “alive”?

  24. No, it is not immoral to turn off the machines. Its also not immoral to refuse a dangerous or costly operation/treatment. I believe it is immoral, however, to prescribe something with the intention of killing.

    I also think that we have enough pain medicine and knowledge of psychiatric care to administer to severely suffering patients treatment that ends pain and prolongs life.

  25. I’ll try to keep it brief. But first, thanks for the good, honest, charitable discussion.

    No, I don’t believe suffering is limited to the pregnancy itself. What I was attempting to do was demonstrate that even in ‘wanted’ and ‘unwanted’ pregnancies, there is a certain degree of suffering just as there is a certain degree of happiness. Do we have the ability to predict which individual pregnancies will bring about happiness and other ones suffering? No. But I’m willing to bet that the vast majority bring about more happiness then suffering. I know many post-abortive women who regret their abortion and suffer because of it, but I don’t know a single woman that has regretted carrying their child to term. What I’m trying to say is that if we decide to provide abortion medicine because we predict imminent suffering, we might very well be wrong and who knows… we might be causing more suffering by allowing this. (Sorry, I’m having a rough time making myself clear… Do you get what I’m saying?) Basically, since we can’t predict suffering for sure, using it to base moral judgements is wrong. (and it sounds very utilitarian to me, which is an ethical system I find to be deeply flawed).

    I never said the church is conspiring to increase suffering, I said I believe their policy causes an increase in suffering. There’s a difference, although the practical upshot is still that I consider the policy immoral. It may not have been their intention, but it is the result.
    Ok, I apologize for misinterpreting your comments. But the question is, How do you know that the church’s policy causes suffering. Is it possible that you are wrong? Is it possible that the Church’s policy could actually cause happiness? If so (to bring this back to the topic at hand) shouldn’t the members of the Church have the right to try to contribute to this happiness, even if they might be wrong? I think they should have this right.

    Then those pharmacists should realize they’re interpreting their job wrong. The fact that a patient walks into their store for an prescription drug that normally ends pregnancy does not mean the patient wants to end pregnancy – the pharmacist has no way to know that, since he wasn’t present when the doctor prescribed it. The same is true for birth control pills which are sometimes prescribed for the hormone-balance effect and not the birth-control effect. If a pharmacist feels he’s suffering because he helped somebody balance hormones he is in the wrong job. The core issue is: the pharmacist does not and cannot know, and should stay out of that part of the transaction.
    First of all, the laws in the Netherlands might be different from the laws in the US. Admittedly, I do not know the pharmaceutical laws in the US very well. This might wind up being our impasse.

    But you do make a very good point. I realize that it is quite true that some forms of birth control can have other therapeutic benefits. Depending on the pharmaceutical system I can see how this could be a difficult thing to overcome, as far as the Church’s position is concerned. I might have to get back to you on this one.

    I said that one should not reject all possible cases. I want as little euthanasia as possible, and the methods you mention are amongst those that can be used to stop them. But I’m human enough to recognize that it is impossible to solve everything, and I regrettably admit that sometimes the euthanasia drugs are the best (or should I say least bad) answer. And again we come to the core of the issue: the PHARMACY cannot know when this is the case, the medical practitioner’s job, and the pharmacist should not interfere.

    Can you think of a case? I can’t, but if you can I might be able to respond to this better. Do you know which drugs the Pope may have been talking about specifically?

    I think you and I don’t disagree much on the goals, but we sure do disagree on the means and methods.

    Agreed. Now I’m off to bed.

  26. Plan B is an abortifacient contraceptive, which in my book makes it an abortion pill.

    I’m well aware of the pharmacists suing the state.

    So you admit my opinions were persuasive? Although I would admit that I don’t have much knowledge on pharmaceutical policy I would argue against you that I am so “ill informed” that it damages our ability to have this conversation. You are correct though, I should have looked for info in the most obvious place… the internet.

  27. Ah, okay.. but the question remains.

  28. Since plan B works BEFORE the egg is hatched, are you now claiming life begins at ejaculation?

  29. We can only “predict suffering” by previous experience, by what we’ve seen, and what we’ve been told by others, and my experience leads me to believe that abortion should be available as an option. One to be avoided if at all possible, but available. Abortion is never good, but sometimes it is the lesser evil. My experience is that you simply cannot make sweeping statements and claim morality, you must always leave room to judge individual cases on their own merit. Anybody claiming “I am moral because I reject ALL occurrences of X” is by definition wrong. Human experience covers too wide a range. So, should Church member have the right to try to contribute to happiness even if they’re wrong? Of course, but they need to realize that dogma is just about guaranteed to be wrong in some individual cases, so Church members following dogma and nothing but dogma are not doing it right – even by other Church dogma, by the way. I believe the Church also calls for some form of opening your heart for your fellow men, and relying on dogma prevents that.

    Can you think of a [euthanasia] case Yes. Remember that this discussion has been a big one over here in the Netherlands. I’m not going to summarize for you, you’d have to read a fairly large volume of Dutch newspapers to begin to get the subtleties and difficulties involved in these cases – again, this is not something you want to deal with by uttering a sound bite. And just rejecting all possibilities out of hand, like the pope does, is no more than a sound bite.

  30. No, I speak with the management and ask for another waiter who will serve me what I want to buy. If there is no other waiter in the restaurant who will, I find another restaurant.

    Simple.

  31. Pharmacists run a business. And let’s for a moment talk about a pharmacist who owns his own business. As someone who owns his own business, he has the responsibility to stock medicines which not only will alleviate suffering, but help his bottom line.

    What if a pharmacist decides that stocking a certain drug will not help his bottom line. And as a matter of fact, will cause him to lose money. Would you force this pharmacist to stock this particular drug even if doctors were prescribing it?

    This really isn’t so much a moral issue as it is a property rights issue. Does a pharmacist have a free hand in organizing his business to maximize his profits?

  32. Over here a pharmacy isn’t expected to STOCK everything. There are eleborate deals with the pharmaceutical companies to ship same day or overnight to pharmacies. In combination with the health care insurance system being what it is over here, the bottom line is not driven by what a pharmacy STOCKS.

  33. This really isn’t so much a moral issue as it is a property rights issue. Does a pharmacist have a free hand in organizing his business to maximize his profits?

    Since it’s life or death you’re talking about, the answer we’ve come up with over here is a qualified “no” to that question. Or, if you want to pick nits, “up to a point”.

  34. I see that anti-Catholic bigotry is alive and well and living here.

  35. I don’t think hatched is an appropriate word here… but it does kind of paint a funny picture of a baby coming out of a hard shell egg. So that’s cool. But there is a chance that the sperm and egg will join together before plan B takes effect. When it does take effect, it is possible that an embryo could be destroyed. I do not believe that human life begins at ejaculation.

  36. I don’t think it is specifically anti-Catholic, nor bigotry. The point being made here is that certain groups, including the catholic church, seem to feel that they have the right to both judge others and impose their beliefs on others at will. Neither of those actions are acceptable behaviour. The pharmacist can choose not to use a drug personally, but has no right to judge another person who wishes to as long as it is in compliance with the laws of the country.

    No matter hiw much it would like to, the catholic church does not make the laws. When churches do make laws you end up with tyrannical extremist nations (and, yes, this has happened in the name of catholicism in the past – in fact, some of the worst current day islamic states would seem innocent in comparison to what happened when the catholic church ran states).

  37. The only problem here is that this is *your* definition of evil, and what right do you have to judge others, and decide what they consider to be evil?

  38. “I also think that we have enough pain medicine and knowledge of psychiatric care to administer to severely suffering patients treatment that ends pain and prolongs life.”

    There, unfortunately, you are wrong.

    “I believe it is immoral, however, to prescribe something with the intention of killing.”
    That’s between the patient and the doctor. Not something the pharmacist should decide.

  39. The same right that the pope has. Or you. Or anyone else.
    Now, either John can define evil in his eyes – beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say – and has the right to do it, or he can’t, but then the Pope should stay quiet on the same issue. Not to mention Moth.

  40. Sounds like you believe life begins when the sperm enters the egg. So that one cell has a soul and everything that goes along with it? In that case, you’re going to be very, very surprised when you enter Heaven and find yourself vastly outnumbered by one-celled souls.

  41. Well, you’re right. I was wrong that pain can be “ended” in all cases. However, it seems as though pain can be reduced in all. This article here was pretty good: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4004/is_200707/ai_n19433624/pg_1
    (The article also has some interesting facts concerning euthanasia in the netherlands, in that many involuntary cases are happening… off topic, but worth reading.)

    The strength of your position, it seems, is in your final statement combined with another statement from John. Drugs have multiple uses, and a pharmacist might not know why drugs are being prescribed. This is where I must concede the debate at this time, since I don’t have adequate knowledge of this subject.

  42. Yes, Life begins when the sperm enters the egg. That however, does not mean that the one cell has a soul. Even the Catholic Church admits that the question of when a soul is enfused into a human life is open… http://www.rc.net/rcchurch/vatstmts/cdfabort.txt *See footnote #19. Note that (according to the Catholic Document) it could have a soul and that this has no bearing on the fact that it is human life, even if the single celled human life will not arrive in heaven. (also, the Church does not know what we will look like in heaven. Its possible that the elderly will look younger and that the young will look older… in other words, you might not necesserily look the same way you did when you die).

  43. on the involuntary cases: we know it happens, because the subject of euthanasia is out in the open and can be discussed freely. Do you think it doesn’t happen in other countries?

  44. No, it happens everywhere, and has happened throughout human history.

  45. Then we have vastly different ideas about when human life begins, and that’s at the core of the debate as well. Given the position you describe (which I was aware of, but I felt it needed to mentioned on this page, and it could not come from me), you position on abortion is a logical one. And here’s another deep thinker for you: I know I may be wrong about this, but so may you, and that means you have only little say in what other people consider a valid limit on abortion. And unless you want to live in a world where you force catholic doctrine on everybody, you will have to allow that other people will have abortions. And note that getting a law passed (it is a democracy, after all) is not going to be enough to stop abortions.

  46. yes. true – so which is the better sitiation: a country like the Netherlands, where you can openly discuss that is does happen and talk about how to stop it, or a country that lives in denial about this. Our euthanasia laws have interesting side effects this way…

  47. The Catholic Church maintained that women has no soul at all for a long time.
    And it maintained that the soul enters the body with the first breath taken and leaves it with the last breath.

    “in other words, you might not necesserily look the same way you did when you die”
    You absolutely won’t look the same way. When the last day comes and everyone will be resurrected – sorry, don’t know the english terminology :) – there will not be a lot of headless, armless, legless, quartered, etc. people.

    The Church maintains that it could have a soul. I am just waiting the moment when they will baptize the eggs before birth, so with a spontaneous abortion the pagan soul won’t go to Hell. If they don’t try to prevent this unfortunate case, they are:
    1) Knowingly not doing their job
    2) They know there is no soul in danger.

    You choose.

  48. And here’s another deep thinker for you: I know I may be wrong about this, but so may you, and that means you have only little say in what other people consider a valid limit on abortion. And unless you want to live in a world where you force catholic doctrine on everybody, you will have to allow that other people will have abortions. And note that getting a law passed (it is a democracy, after all) is not going to be enough to stop abortions.
    Here is a question. If we think like this can we ever make moral progress. Using an analogy, should we say, “I think black people are equal to white people, but I may be wrong, so I shouldn’t put a limit on slavery/racial discrimination.” No, we shouldn’t say that.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you find my reasoning to be logical, then don’t disregard it because it isn’t certain. If you believe you have a more logical position then, by all means, act in accord with it. But don’t refuse to act because there is a degree of doubt. I’ll be honest, I have a little bit of doubt with my position. Its not much, but it is present. At the same time, I act in regard to my position all the while using reason to either lessen my doubt or to change my position. I don’t believe that having doubt justifies my not acting, and I don’t believe it should for you either.

    I realize passing a law will not be enough to stop abortions. But that, to me, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a law. Murder happens even though we have a law, so does that mean we should repeal laws against murder? Nope. But it does bring up a reality that my ‘battle’ to end abortion is not in the legislature of states, but in the hearts and minds of individuals. Its a good thing I’m young, idealistic and overly optimistic and actually think this might be possible.

  49. Roland, that was a ridiculous comment. As for your first point, find one document in the Church’s history that says women don’t have souls.

    Point 2 was funny.

    Point 3 was completely irrelevent.

  50. Again, because people don’t act like you (the netherlands) they must be not open to discussion and in denial, huh? You’ve made statements like this 3 times now and it seems a bit condescending to me. This one implies that I am in denial and not open to discussion, which is not true. If you are more specific perhaps I could comment further.

  51. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you find my reasoning to be logical, then don’t disregard it because it isn’t certain.

    I won’t – don’t worry about that.

    I realize passing a law will not be enough to stop abortions. But that, to me, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a law.

    Okay, here’s a reason: look at the effects of such a law in El Salvador. The poor die because of coat-hanger abortions, the rich have them anyway in a foreign country. There’s similar stories for other places that had or have such a law. The negative effects of the law cause too much damage.

  52. Again, because people don’t act like you (the netherlands) they must be not open to discussion and in denial, huh?

    It was definately not my intention to insinuate that – if you interpreted it that way I apologize. All I intended to do is show you a different way of looking at the problem. What I’m trying to show is that, usually, more transparancy and discussion is good, I wasn’t trying to imply that there isn’t any transparency or discussion – the fact that we’re discussion that proves that there is!

  53. But this is exactly it for the Catholic pharmacist… it is life and death to them! They believe that they are cooperating in killing people by filling these prescriptions. I think that if anyone feels this strongly, they should have the right not to cooperate in this.

    You will then say, “They don’t! They can quit the pharmacy business.”

    I will then say: But that seems unjust because there are many already established Catholic pharmacists who are being pushed out of work due to these laws. Not only that, but it disregards all the positive work that they do aside from this. Its like the whole homosexual adoption thing that has happened in Boston. Catholic agencies were not placing children in homosexual homes. So, the government told them they could no longer place children at all, disregarding all of the good work that the adoption agencies were doing. Thus, the government really wound up punishing orphans and prospective parents because with one less ‘supplier,’ the time it takes to adopt gets longer. This seems similar: Pharmacists provide a valuable service to a community, which we no doubt both agree upon. But if you force a pharmacist to leave his profession based on one or 2 drugs, you are really removing many drugs from the market and causing longer lines at other pharmacies, and it is sick people that are being punished.

    Even from your perspective on this issue, it seems as though pharmacists that refuse to sell these drugs can still be of service to the sick.

  54. here is another chilling article about the effects of an abortion ban.

  55. You will then say, “They don’t! They can quit the pharmacy business.”

    No, as established elsewhere in this thread I will say that he may be mistaken about the nature of the prescription he has to fulfill, and that it is not his job to judge on that.

    You saw reason when I explained that, he should as well – if he can’t do that, he isn’t qualified to be a pharmacist, and he should indeed quit the pharmacy business. Not because he won’t prescribe certain drugs, but because he doesn’t know what the job actually is.

  56. Although I think I know where this discussion will take us, I’ll try to get back to you after I read the articles.

  57. Apology accepted.

  58. I don’t think it is specifically anti-Catholic, nor bigotry. I would agree, based on the nature of the conversation we had. However, the goat herding call was harsh. It seems to say that the only job Catholics can morally perform is goat herding, which indeed, is a bit offensive.

    The point being made here is that certain groups, including the catholic church, seem to feel that they have the right to both judge others and impose their beliefs on others at will. Neither of those actions are acceptable behaviour. The pharmacist can choose not to use a drug personally, but has no right to judge another person who wishes to as long as it is in compliance with the laws of the country.
    I have a different spin on this issue… First, EVERYBODY including the Catholic church has the right judge others behavior and to impose their beliefs on others. Its not unacceptable at all. Even by saying that “The Church has no right to…x” is judging the church and imposing your belief on it. Should we use force to do this? no. I think the human community has learned enough times that this is bad. But can we do it through civil disobedience and policy? Yeah… sure… why not? I think we should all try to impose our beliefs on others and we shouldn’t be offended when people try to impose their beliefs on us. In america, some people got together and imposed their belief that slavery was immoral. What I’m trying to say is that imposing belief on people is not that bad of thing.

    That being said, I have second comment on this point. Let me suggest that you are not hearing the pope in the way he wants to be heard and in the way that Catholic Pharmacists are hearing him. As a Catholic, I want to be the best Catholic I can be. I need guidance in this way, and I rely on statements like this one to educate me and advise me in such matters. Thus, I do not see this as scaring or intimidating Catholics into a mindless obedience, but rather as a service being paid to the pharmacist trying to be the best Catholic he can be.

  59. Yes. I’m aware of that.

    But the point of the post still fits… can a pharmacist still pay a valuable service to the sick in the community if he is unwilling to give medication to certain types of illnesses? What if he is the only pharmacist in a small town, and the entire community will suffer because of it? Some might blame the pharmacist… I blame the law that won’t let a person practice their religion faithfully.

  60. And I’d agree with you in that particular case. Workarounds need to be found in cases like that so that both the community has a pharmacy and the people in need of the disputed medication can still get their prescriptions filled. There’s probably no one-size-fits-all answer to that.

    Something similar came up with gay marriage over here – city officials who were tasked to perform the marriage ceremony were told they had to follow the law, and those with religious objections were told they would no longer be able to perform the ceremony. At all, including heterosexual couples. Since the position was a voluntary one and is usually performed in addition to their normal civil service work it didn’t really present too big of a problem, but a few cases got national attention. Now admittedly marriage isn’t a life-death situation, but the secularization of society will bring a lot of these conflicts to light. Or, in short, karma will run over your dogma in interesting ways…

  61. Or, in short, karma will run over your dogma in interesting ways…

    We’ll see.

  62. Last night, a 15 year old girl was shot in a park in the city I live in. The suspects are described as juveniles who were apparently unknown to her group of friends, but came into the park firing shots randomly, one of which hit her in the back as she ran for cover. And that repeats itself all over the country, every day.

    So, now tell me why it is that these people who are so adamant that abortion is killing innocent lives and must be made illegal, are so vocal in their defence of the right to own guns? And that’s before we even get to the fact that these same people are more than happy to send the ones who make it to 18 off to fight and perhaps die in Iraq or Afghanistan. It seems to me that this “culture of life” only exists before the child is born. After that, all bets are off. Limited access to health care, plentiful supply of guns to shoot each other with, and a war to send the ones who make it that far off to. And you worry about the abortions?

  63. And you worry about the abortions?

    Of course. You’re right in many of the things you say (although the rabid anti-abortionists and right-to-lifers are mostly evangelicals, not catholics). And you’re right that we should stand up to it. But you can’t say “X is worse than Y so why do you worry about Y?” I worry about both.

  64. John,

    I *think* that American papist did not mean to say that it is never justified to kill a human-provided that doing so is in self-defense.

  65. My statement stands. A person has the right to choose to serve the ill, without being forced to give perscriptions which PURPOSELY cause death. It is a violation of the hypocratic oath. Thank you.

  66. The Pope isn’t promoting disobedience of unjust laws by commission. He is not telling anyone the DO anything. His is telling the truth- one has the right to NOT DO want he believes is evil. The Pope is right. I have the right to object to a law which proposes to force my to do ANYTHING which I believe is evil. Why is it that patients, according to some people here, cannot be subject to a momentary wait while another doctor fills the perscription instead of the original doctor- but a Doctor must be forced to violate his ethics. If patients can define what is evil for themselves, why do the dissenting doctors not have the same right? Objecting to filling a perscription is not DOING something EVIL. It is NOT doing the evil. Thank you

  67. “Now, either John can define evil in his eyes – beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say – and has the right to do it, or he can’t, but then the Pope should stay quiet on the same issue. Not to mention Moth.”

    John is not just defining evil for himself-he is saying that doctors must either conform to laws which would force them to fill perscriptions for what they consider to be evil purposes, or quit their jobs and go broke. The pope is the leader of a religion which has one BILLLION members- his calling is to shepherd souls, and to defend the consciences of his flock from lawmaker forceing them to choose between one’s job and one’s conscience. How can you dare to tell the pope to be silent? It is his duty to speak to truths of the Faith.

  68. provided that doing so is in self-defense.

    I don’t think so – it’s easy to come up with a scenario where it is necessary to kill an innocent person in self-defence, which would make a nice conundrum of this thread.

  69. You would make an extremely bad pharmacist. Many forms of medications can be used to purposefy cause death, including morphine, many chemotherapy medications, sleeping pills, etc. If you stop prescribing medicine X because it can purpose cause death doctors will describe something else, and very soon in this cat-and-mouse game you’ll be a pharmacist who exclusively sells aspirin and nothing else. Your intentions are good, but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this particular good intention simply won’t work.

    Also, from elsewhere in the thread I assumed you said it is sometimes OK to kill – in self-defense if I’m not mistaken. If that’s what you think, why do you think it is okay for YOU to kill others in certain very specific circumstances, but not okay to others to kill (themselves!) in other very specific circumstances? That sounds terribly inconsistent to me.

  70. wait, you’re mixing things up again – here in the Netherlands, DOCTORS can indeed refuse to assist in euthanasia, and patients will have to find another one. PHARMACISTS cannot refuse to fill prescriptions. There is a HUGE difference between those two situations. Deciding which prescription is right for a patient is the job of a doctor. Deciding a euthanasia drug is not right for a patient is therefore fully within his job description, and a doctor can therefore refuse to do so. Deciding which prescription is right for a patient is NOT the job of pharmacist, and therefore he cannot refuse.

  71. a BILLION

    I guess there’s a similar number of people who like britney spears music, but that does not automatically mean the music is any good. And, note that I’m not telling the pope to be silent, I would never do so. Instead, I’m telling him (or rather, people reading this) that he is wrong.

  72. And on second thought, you’d even have to stop giving people Dihydrogen Monoxide!

  73. I wasn’t talking about killing in innocent person. That is never just.

  74. You would make an extremely bad pharmacist. Many forms of medications can be used to purposefy cause death, including morphine, many chemotherapy medications, sleeping pills, etc. If you stop prescribing medicine X because it can purpose cause death doctors will describe something else, and very soon in this cat-and-mouse game you’ll be a pharmacist who exclusively sells aspirin and nothing else. Your intentions are good, but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this particular good intention simply won’t work.

    Look, one must assume the best intentions of a person buying drugs that NORMALLY treat illness. One cannot assume so about contraceptives, which ALWAYS AND ONLY have ONE PURPOSEFUL effect. It seems to me that you’re saying that the state, a la, “1984” has th eright to arbitarily define morals, and that those who don’t fall in lock-step with said arbitary “morals” must quit their jobs, thereby losing their Livlihood. That is wrong.

    why do you think it is okay for YOU to kill others in certain very specific circumstances, but not okay to others to kill (themselves!) in other very specific circumstances?

    Human life is sacred. I believe that the ordered, purposeful universe has in orderedm, purposeful Origin. When human #1 seeks to to what is NOT his to take, that is, the life of human#2, who is not purposely threathening his life, Human #2 can defend himself (or herself), if necessary, by killing Human #1, provided human #1 will not stop sekking Human #2’s life without dying himself. I think we agree that no created human gave himself life. it follows that no created human has the right to decide when to take his own life. I understand suffering, but killing oneself will not lead to peace. Also, you may say “but you think that a person can give his life for his country. Isn’t that like suicide?” No. A soldier who dies does not kill himself. He dies when an unjust aggressor kills him. I’ve spent too much time here already, so I must taake my leave from further discussions. Thank you.

  75. Deciding which prescription is right for a patient is the job of a doctor. Deciding a euthanasia drug is not right for a patient is therefore fully within his job description, and a doctor can therefore refuse to do so. Deciding which prescription is right for a patient is NOT the job of pharmacist, and therefore he cannot refuse.

    The doctor and the pharmacist both have consciences. No one has the right to force someone, under threat of removal of one’s paycheck, to do what one beleives is wrong. When someone fills a perscription, one is aiding someone to treat an illness, or to take a life. The same ethics apply. A pharmacist, by refusing to cooperate in evil, is not denying a person a contraceptive. That person can get his perscrition filled by another person, without violating anyone’s consciene. Respect pharmacists’ rights to guard their morality. When conscience is controlled by the state, consciene no longer exists.

  76. I disagree, but I have told you why already. Respectfully.

  77. Doctors and Pharmacists of rights of consciecne. Doctors cannot force the ethics on Pharmacists, ect. It works all the way around. I cannot believe you think The state can deny a person the unalienable right to liberty to not do something a person thinks is wrong. I only hope they never try force YOU to violate your consciecne or the right to pursue a job serving the sick via the Pharmaceutical industry.

  78. I think we agree that no created human gave himself life. it follows that no created human has the right to decide when to take his own life. I understand suffering,

    I fail to see how the fact that somebody else gave birth to me denies me the right to decide about myself, but thank you for all your comments so far!

  79. I am not doing any such think. If you choose to be a pharmacist, that choice has consequences. IF you cannot deal with the consequences, your choice was the wrong one, and you should make a different one. It doesn’t matter where the consequences come from – in this case from law, in other cases from other sources.

  80. One cannot assume so about contraceptives, which ALWAYS AND ONLY have ONE PURPOSEFUL effect.

    Sorry, you’re wrong. Contraceptives are also prescribed to balance hormones.

  81. The Pope is an old man who was member of Hitler Jugend. Now, I think he is a really relevant person when you talk about evil.
    Plus, how DARE the Pope tell me what to do and what not?

  82. “No one has the right to force someone, under threat of removal of one’s paycheck, to do what one beleives is wrong.”

    I’m a busdriver. I believe it’s wrong to use buses in the country. I refuse to drive them out of the city. And you still have to pay me for not doing part of my job. Right.

    “A pharmacist, by refusing to cooperate in evil, is not denying a person a contraceptive.”
    Erm, the pharmacist is not cooperating in evil. If he refuses to give out the prescribed medicine then he acts evil. Against the Bible.
    Funny how christians always violate one of their most important commandments.
    “Don’t judge…”

Cartoons

Posted on October 29th, 2007 at 18:24 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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matson.jpg

payne.jpg

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Minister detained at US airport

Posted on October 29th, 2007 at 15:39 by John Sinteur in category: Security

[Quote:]

Britain’s first Muslim minister, Shahid Malik, says he is “deeply disappointed” that he was detained by airport security officials in America.

The international development minister was stopped and searched at Washington DC’s Dulles airport after a series of meetings on tackling terrorism.

Mr Malik, MP for Dewsbury, West Yorks, had his hand luggage checked for explosives when returning to Heathrow.

He said the same thing happened to him at JFK airport in New York last year.

On that occasion he had been a keynote speaker at an event organised by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), alongside the FBI and Muslim organisations, to talk about tackling extremism and defeating terrorism.

[..]

“The abusive attitude I endured last November I forgot about and I forgave, but I really do believe that British ministers and parliamentarians should be afforded the same respect and dignity at USA airports that we would bestow upon our colleagues in the Senate and Congress.

“Obviously, there was no malice involved but it has to be said that the USA system does not inspire confidence.”


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Apple not just refusing cash, also refusing Apple Gift Cards for iPhones

Posted on October 29th, 2007 at 14:42 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, What were they thinking?

[Quote:]

You can chalk this one up to our bad in assuming best intentions, but when Apple said no cash for iPhones, they damn well meant it — enough to extend the policy out to no cash for anything that could in turn purchase an iPhone. Turns out you can’t even use your Apple bucks to buy an iPhone anymore, not even if someone bought you an Apple Gift Card with their credit card. Ok, for a lot of you this isn’t a big deal, but who gets hit hardest? Try all those teenage Apple fanboys begging various family members for small denomination gift cards that will add up to the iPhone they’ve been after. We’ve never heard any company being so adamant about keeping non-paper trail for every single damned purchase, but now we’re just left wondering how long until someone (or some state) sour from this bitter pill decides to challenge Apple on that whole US dollar bills being “legal tender for all debts, public and private” thing.

P.S. -No we’re not lawyers, but yes, we’re aware that it’s probably completely legal for Apple to do. But that doesn’t make it right, nor does that mean it will go unchallenged, you feel us?

From the comments on that page:

CUPERTINO – Apple announced today that it would no longer be accepting purchase requests for the iPhone. “We feel the iPhone is too good for regular humans,” says the Apple spokesperson. “To protect our brand image, we have decided to stop selling our product altogether to maintain a level of exclusivity unattainable by any other product currently on the market.”

The spokesperson also announced they would continue advertising in order to maintain the feel of unattainability.


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Non Sequitur

Posted on October 29th, 2007 at 13:47 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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CNN

Posted on October 29th, 2007 at 13:37 by John Sinteur in category: Quote

CNN is one of the participants in the war. I have a fantasy where Ted Turner is elected president but refuses because he doesn’t want to give up power.

Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – )


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Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: the Ars Technica review

Posted on October 29th, 2007 at 8:50 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

Here is a long but excellent review of Leopard.


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Comments:

  1. Yea, I read the whole thing this morning. Very good review.

Condom

Posted on October 29th, 2007 at 0:11 by John Sinteur in category: News

The Surgeon General announced today that he will recommend changing the country seal from an eagle to a condom because it more accurately reflects our politics.

A condom stands up to inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you’re actually being screwed.


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