In The News 12/7/21

A anti-abortion demonstrator protests in front of the Supreme Court building, on the day of hearing arguments in the Mississippi abortion rights case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2021.

Pro-abortion rights advocates dismiss adoption. In light of the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the U. S. Supreme Court is currently considering, pro-abortion rights activists and pundits are attacking the adoption option. Articles abound, from a queer woman insisting that her “right” to adopt a child is not founded on “pregnant people” being “forced” to carry a pregnancy to term, to an adopted woman who insists that it is easier for a woman to abort “a clump of cells” than to give up a born baby “she has lived with for nine months.” Many of these articles are written in response to Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s quite reasonable question that, if Roe and Casey argued that abortion should be legal because of the burdens of parenthood, why do safe haven laws (where a mother can anonymously turn her child over to hospitals, fire stations or other safe havens without fear of prosecution) and the option for adoption not relieve the mother of the burden of parenthood and remove justification for abortion? Again, it’s a reasonable question. But critics have accused Justice Barrett of making adoption sound easy and simple. It is not. Of course, nothing Justice Barrett said suggests that it is, but accusing her of such helps the critics argue against adoption and for the continued “need” for access to abortion. Their arguments, as expected, argue from the perspective of the mother and her “right” to be free of the burdens of pregnancy, free of the burdens of parenthood and even free of the burden that she has a child somewhere out there. This amounts to, as Kathryn Jean Lopez points out in the article linked above, to arguing for the right to a dead baby. Not satisfied that any child of hers could possibly be living a happy life being raised by other people, a mother must have the right to know that her child is dead. The argument here is that it is better for the mother that her child be dead than adopted. No mention of what is better for the child. There is a myth out there that adopted children fare worse than children raised by their biological parents. This is not supported by research, even if that research is few and far between. The question is: Are adopted children better off than children who remain in foster care or state care? Clearly, they are not. Another question asked should be: Are adopted children better off than dead children? For obvious reasons, abortion rights advocates have a hard time answering that one.

Biden announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics. In what, to me, is something of a surprising move, President Joe Biden announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics to be held in February 2022. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, informed reporters that the United States “will not send any diplomatic or official representation” to the games due to China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.” China has a long record of human rights abuses, including incarcerating political prisoners, forced abortions, killing innocent persons to harvest their organs for the black market, slave labor, religious persecution, and now concentration camps, genocide against, and the imprisonment and/or enslavement of Uighur Muslims. Countries usually send a delegation of diplomats and other government officials to serve as representatives of their country to the site of Olympic games. President George W. Bush attended the Olympic Summer games in Beijing in 2008, but made it clear in a speech at the time that the U. S. opposed China’s record of human rights abuses. First Lady Michele Obama attended the London games in 2012. A diplomatic boycott means that no official will represent the United States at the Beijing games, though U. S. athletes will participate. Australia announced they will join the U. S. in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, also out of concern for human rights abuses. For its part, China says the diplomatic boycott violates the spirit of the Olympics, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that China would respond with “firm countermeasures,” though he provided no details. There has been ongoing debate in the sports world about how to respond to China, given their many human rights violations. Some sports organizations, such as the NBA, are willing to disregard these abuses and follow the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in favor of the potential for profits, even as Enes Kanter Freedom, star center of the Boston Celtics and newly minted American citizen, speaks boldly about the need to stand up to China, and calling out other stars, like LeBron James and Jeremy Lin, for their silence. The Women’s Tennis Association recently announced they were cancelling all tournaments in China out of concern that the CCP is not taking seriously and even censoring Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who made public accusations of sexual abuse against a former high-level official of the CCP. After her public accusation, Peng disappeared for two weeks while the WTA demanded proof that she was safe. Bowing to international pressure, China released a number of “proof of life” photos and videos, but the WTA is still concerned that she is being silenced over her accusations. On the other hand, the International Tennis Federation has refused to cancel any tennis tournaments in China over concerns about Peng’s safety and freedom. China is a huge market for sports, as well as for businesses and the entertainment industry. Few are willing to risk the loss of such a large market, even if it means doing the right thing.

Supreme Court Commission submits report. The Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court, which Biden put together last April, voted unanimously to submit its report with no recommendations for specific reforms. Instead, the 34 members of the Commission provided a summary of contentious issues surrounding the Court, giving pro and con arguments for possible reforms, such as increasing the number of justices to term limits for justices. Their summary of these ideas, they claim, represents the public debate. “The commission takes no position on the validity of these claims. Mirroring the broader public debate, there is profound disagreement among commissioners on these issues. We present the arguments in order to fulfill our charge to provide a complete account of the contemporary court reform debate.” The report itself is 228 pages. The summary of the report reads: “Given the size and nature of the Commission and the complexity of the issues addressed, individual members of the Commission would have written the Report with different emphases and approaches. But the Commission submits this Report today in the belief that it represents a fair and constructive treatment of the complex and often highly controversial issues it was charged with examining.” The report will certainly disappoint progressives who have been demanding that the number of justices be increased to dilute the influence of the conservative majority on the Court. Of course, this would potentially turn into a Court reforming fiasco, as conservative members of the House and Senate could then choose to increase the number of justices in order to dilute the influence of any liberal majority put in place by progressives. The credibility of the Court would be destroyed, as it would be turned into a political tool of whatever party was in power at any given time. Biden had communicated opposition to court packing when running for president, but liberals hoped, and conservatives feared, that his creation of the commission indicated that he was more amenable to the idea. In my mind, the creation of the commission suggested overreach on the part of the president. The Executive Branch of the government is not empowered to tamper with or modify the number of Supreme Court justices or do much else to “reform” the Court. That is for the Congress, the Second Branch of government. So, why is the president creating a commission to consider possible reforms of the Court? It seems to me an inappropriate attempt on the part of the president to influence the Congress on a matter concerning the Third Branch of the government, an intrusion that could further compromise the Court’s independence. In any case, the commission accomplished nothing. Their description of the “broader public debate” amounts to something we all knew already. It’s a good thing they didn’t recommend specific reforms. Whatever reforms they recommended would have been latched onto by supporters as a mandate for reform.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

One thought on “In The News 12/7/21

  1. When did our thinking get so distorted? It has happened more and more the further away we have gotten from God and organized religion. Now the nuclear family is spurned and having children is seen as old-fashioned. People have no hope and no respect for life because they have no faith in God and the support of a religious body to which they can relate. It seems those babies lucky enough not to be aborted are too often born to single parents. First couples have children, buy a house and then get married with the whole family going on a “honeymoon” together. Everything is backwards. I spent 30 years as a school nurse working with teen-agers. My contraceptive advice to girls, that was 100% safe and 100% effective: “Keep your legs together. Your dress down and your pants up! Don’t get high or drunk.” That is the “choice.” “Choice” happens before pregnancy, not after. If I had to caution parents on three things, it would be these: 1) Go to church and take your kids with you. They must learn right from wrong and have strong values. 2) Set strong life expectations early on for faith, family, education, pregnancy and drug and alcohol use and keep repeating them. 3) Be involved with your child’s school life and teachers throughout K-12. All this can be done regardless of your socio-economic status or if you are a single parent. I believe these steps can increase your child’s academic, career and life success.

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