Saturday, March 27, 2021

Mass Shootings & Stigma

 In under the span of one week, two mass shootings occurred.

Eight victims lost their lives in one shooting; ten victims lost their lives in another.

One massacre appeared targeted, the other random.

Most victims in one in one shooting were of color, most victims in the other were not.

In both shootings, both gunmen were Caucasian.

One shooting may be terrorist or a hate crime, the other may be escalation from uncontrolled mental health issues.

In both shootings, the lives of multiple families were turned upside down.

In both shootings, a community was devastated and a county left stunned.

Again, two massacres leave us without answers.




Two tragedies occurred in less than one week's time. Two mass shootings. Eighteen lives have been lost. Eighteen families have been devastated. Many other people have been forever affected. They can never forget. Again, many tweet or post their condolences: "Thoughts and prayers for the families of the victims. Our hearts are broken." Again, many call for a moment of silence. Once more, we are asking "Why?" to a question that cannot be definitively answered. 

We live in a society where, to be frank, life has become cheap. In this age, people tend to turn to death to "take care of my problems." Instead of filing for divorce (which in itself points to some sort of failure), spouses may choose to "get rid of" a spouse by snuffing their lives out. Rather than reach out for help with alternatives, women go to places designed to "terminate the unwanted or unplanned pregnancy." Instead of turning to family, friends, or counselors for help, too many people desperately end their lives.

What is the cause of all this? It is complicated. Lack of available or affordable mental health services is a big issue. The legalization of abortion as a "right" has been a major factor. The glamorizing of violence, thanks to video games, some movies, and, more recently, the former President, have played major roles. It does not help that guns have become more widely available, even assault weapons meant for military, not civilians. Many people of faith would say that being driven by hate and rage is the main cause of all violence.

Parkland_walkout2311



The motive for one mass shooting appears to be rage and hate for one group. Authorities are still investigating this scenario, though proof of a hate crime appears doubtful. At least, they seem to struggle with proving a hate crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In the first shooting, six of the victims happened to be women of Asian descent. It took this shooting to make violence against Asian-Americans as a group, a topic of national conversation.

Our former President has stirred up much violence against Asian-Americans by calling COVID-19 "the China virus." He has repeated this phrase over and over. His inflammatory rhetoric created an atmosphere where those with implicit bases against those of Asian descent, feel empowered to attack them. Yet Asian-Americans tell us that violence or discrimination against them pre-dates the former President. But because of the former President's inflammatory rhetoric against any minority groups, he created an atmosphere where many people felt emboldened to act out their hate or rage.

Yes, I understand the frustration of many people with what is known as "identity politics." Often, it seems like many on the Left care more about representation in leadership positions than they do about finding the most qualified persons for positions. Certainly, those from protected minority groups can qualify for leadership positions like anyone else. Frequently, it seems like many on the Left act like racism and race relations define everything. However, most of those on the Right have ignored and even dismissed racism, especially systemic racism. Many on the Right need to pay much more attention to racism, including when it may motivate or fuel mass shootings.

stigma


The motive for the second mass shooting appears to be random. The shooter, according to authorities, has a history of "mental health issues." This raises the question of the stigma of mental illness. This happens in many crimes. Sadly, it seems the time mental health comes up as a topic is when a crime is committed. And the only measure toward those with mental illnesses often seems to be proposals to keep guns out of their hands. 

I cannot count all the times when mass shooters have been profiled as shy, quiet "loners" without social skills. One of the shooters was said to be diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which is no longer an official diagnosis, nor was it a mental illness then or now. (It was replaced with Autism Spectrum Disorders--ASD'S). Sadly, that was one of the rare times the media covered anything about Asperger's (then) or ASD'S (now). Yes, I know that, too often, mass killers and other violent criminals tend to fit the profile of the "quiet loner" who is actually a "ticking time bomb."

Sadly, the media tend to cover these senseless shootings and mental illness and related disorders like ASD'S, get mentions mainly when perpetrators are profiled. Yes, I realize that the media must cover these crimes and must do so accurately. They must focus on the victims and devastated communities. I get frustrated because they place far too little on prevention. And they place way too much stress on what to do when the crimes are committed, lives are lost and communities are traumatized. That is too late! 

Legislators, fund mental health services!
Lawmakers, work together to enact sensible gun safety laws!
Churches, help those who seem different feel welcome!
Young people, get into into the field of mental health!
Citizens, organize or participate in events for mental health and gun safety!
Pastors, address the root causes of violent crimes in your sermons and Bible studies!
Parents, make sure guns stay out of the hands of children!
Gun owners, takes responsibility for your guns!
Everyone, treat all suicide talk seriously! 
Everyone, reach out to the "loners" among us!


This is an article about gun violence in relation to school shootings. Read this article.

This is an well-researched article about gun safety and mental illness. Read article.

This article addresses gun violence and mental illness from a health perspective. Read article.

This article provides the timeline about the former President's long history of inciting hate and violence. Read article.

Hate crimes increased over 200 percent in 2016 alone. Read article.

According to this article, the former President and Western media are to blame for the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes. Read article.

Hate crimes surged 20 percent under Trump. Read article.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Universal Basic Income; What Can Be more Life-Affirming?

 



Imagine having a financial cushion if you lose your job.
Imagine not experiencing the stigma of using a "welfare" program.
Imagine knowing that you need not face poverty even with a low-paying job.
Imagine finding it easier to save money for emergencies.
Imagine a baseline source of income that is the same for everyone.
Imagine the fear being taken out of getting pregnant without financial resources.
Imagine having enough money to start that business you want to go into.
Imagine having more dollars to put your children into a private school.
Imagine more money toward the university of your choice.
Imagine funds to train for a better job.
Imagine more income to have and raise your children.
Imagine exchanging government programs for income that is the same for most.
Imagine being able to put away more dollars for retirement.
Imagine having more dollars to avoid crushing debt.
Imagine more money left over to give generously.

\I'm talking about scenarios that would be reality if we adopted something called Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI is government-based and administered, guaranteed income that would available for all (with income caps). It would provide a monthly stipend of $1000 to most individuals from the government, apart from employment. This is something I became aware of when businessman Andrew Yang ran his Democratic primary campaign for the 2020 Presidential Election. He made UBI a major issue in his campaign. Of course, Yang did not win the Democratic Nomination. I am unclear on how many politicians, including our current President and Vice-President, stand on UBI. I suspect that it may never become law. But I thought I would explore it, anyway, and make my case for what makes UBI an attractive option to help combat poverty, level the playing field between people, and help build a culture of life through economic incentive.

I'm aware that many, maybe most, conservatives, would view UBI as another form of welfare. They would express concern that it would remove people's incentive to work for their livelihoods. Likely, they will declare that it costs too much. In other words, it would add to the high national debt. It would divert dollars from other government priorities. To sustain UBI, we would have to raise taxes on everyone or borrow from other countries. Maybe we would have to raise the debt ceiling. And I don't hear many moderates or liberals advocating for UBI.

Let's imagine that more lawmakers showed support to make UBI law across the United states. If we have gleaned anything from this pandemic, it is that tying people's incomes and health insurance to employment may be unwise. As my late stepdad would say: "Everyone is a job away from being forced into the streets." This pandemic has heartbreakingly demonstrated this reality; we see how so many people lost their jobs, and with them, income, health insurance, and even shelter. For awhile at the beginning of this pandemic in 2020, I heard some people make the case for UBI. However, advocacy for it has died down. If UBI had been law and in place at the time of COVID-19, the economic losses of so many could have been much mitigated. 

Aside from this, scrapping means-tested "welfare programs like SSI, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance to Families In Need, WIC, and others, would remove the stigma from these government programs. Even scrapping so-called "entitlement" programs like Social Security and Social Security-Disability (SSD) would do the same thing--remove their stigma, especially for SSD. For the baseline income for most would be the same. 

There is the pro-life case that can be made for UBI. UBI would give families incentives to pursue parenthood, even in cases where they would have limited family size or delayed having children for economic reasons. UBI may encourage larger families, in other words. Most of all, it would encourage girls and women to keep and parent their children--if they knew they would have an economic incentive. In other words, UBI has the potential to prevent many abortions that women seek because they cannot afford to become parents. UBI would eliminate the need for Paid Family Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, or Sick Leave. Also, UBI may be an incentive for more families to adopt, because they would be in a better place financially. Caregivers for ill or dying loved ones or close friends would be less tempted to push assisted suicide or euthanasia for economic reasons, if UBI were reality for them. Simply put, UBI could strengthen families!

Would UBI discourage the motivation to work? This is one of the biggest arguments against it. Would it encourage laziness and stifle initiative? I do not see why it would do that with most people. For $1000 a month, in many cases, may not even be enough to pay the monthly mortgage or rent. It's not meant to be the only source of income, but only a baseline. So it seems to me that knowing this, itself, still provides plenty of incentive to supplement this baseline income with gainful employment, to round out one's income. 

As far as promoting a culture of life is concerned, we who are pro-life or believers ought to support anything that would give people incentive to choose life. What is to gain by begrudging or withholding incentives from those who face barriers to choosing life, whether for inconvenient unborn children or dying loved ones? UBI is not directly pro-life but it surely would remove many "excuses" people give for opting for abortions or other life-destroying choices for economic reasons. Yes, I understand what makes people withhold support for this measure. I see many more reasons, though, to support UBI than to oppose it. 

A measure with so much potential needs our serious consideration!







This is a balanced article about Universal Basic Income (UBI) and it explains the pros and cons of UBI. Read this article.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Politicizing Life & Death?

 

Covid-19 handmade face mask


"Wear a damn mask!"
"Masks save lives!"
"Wearing masks works."
"Everyone, mask up; save thousands of lives."
"Get your vaccine as soon as it is your turn; don't wait."
"Vaccines save lives!"
"Vaccinate teachers & open the schools!"
The Texas Governor lifts the mask mandate in his state.
The Mississippi Governor lifts the mask mandate in his state.
Reports describe incidents of violence in public places over wearing masks.
"My body; my freedom!"
"Wearing masks is oppression!"

It has been about a year into this pandemic. More and more people are getting vaccinated. Under President Joe Biden and a new Administration, vaccinators are putting about 2 million needle jabs into people's arms daily. The rates of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalization in the United states have gone down considerably. However, the number of cases and the numbers of deaths per day remain unacceptable high. Still, an estimated 30 percent of all U.S. citizens states that they will never take a COVID-19 vaccine. And experts tell us that we need to reach about 85 percent of all people get vaccinated to reach "herd immunity" and see life return to "normal."

Two people in my own family have stated that they will not take the COVID-19 vaccine when it is their turn to get it. And I know others who may not take vaccines. Many experts talk about something called "vaccine hesitancy." This refers to a fear of taking the vaccine because of past history or anything else that causes doubt or fears surrounding vaccines. Many African-Americans are leery of taking the COVID-19 vaccine, based on racism in the medical profession. Mainstream media have been covering this well. However, my family members, like others I know, aren't merely "vaccine hesitant." They are hard-core "anti-vax" people who refuse to ever get the vaccine. These hard-core people are the same people who refuse to wear masks or observe other coronavirus safety guidelines. 

There is another group of people who experience "vaccine hesitancy" but the mainstream media rarely cover this. I'm talking about many Christians and those in the pro-life community who want to get vaccinated. However, we experience doubts and fears because certain vaccines have been/are being developed using means that go against our convictions. Many of us are not hard-core "anti-vaxxers." We support wearing masks and other coronavirus safety guidelines. Yet many even in our camp, along with hard-core anti-vaccine people, have made this pandemic a matter of politics. Those who politicize this pandemic view safety COVID-19 response as a matter of individual rights and liberty. Those who subscribe to science and medicine view the pandemic response as temporarily placing the collective good and giving up some individual liberties above one's personal rights.  

How have life-saving matters like getting vaccinated and wearing masks come to be seen as political issues? For decades, people have opposed vaccines because they blamed them for causing autism and other medical conditions. Many "anti-vaxxers" persist in believing that vaccines cause autism or other medical conditions, though science has debunked such believe as myths. Yet even in those cases, we have pretty much achieved "herd immunity" in infectious diseases like the flu, Swine flu, HIV AIDS, and others. But COVID-19 is much worse than any others of these infectious diseases. It is more pervasive, more easily caught, and more deadly. This makes herd immunity even more important for COVID-19 even than for other infectious diseases. 

Should a matter of life and death become a matter of politics? Whatever your political party, you are probably affected by this COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of people have had to work from home for the first time, or oversee their children's learning online. Many millions have contacted this virus; some still have lingering symptoms. All of this has happened to liberals, conservatives, and moderates. The hundreds of thousands of Americans (not to mention this worldwide) who died of COVID-19, come from all political parties. People of all political parties have become infected by coronavirus. And people of all ideologies have been among those who have lost homes, jobs, businesses, and have had to stand in food lines to feed their families. We are all arrayed against a common enemy that we cannot see. But we can very much feel its impact. 

In the same way, this virus does not care if we are Republicans or Democrats,. It doesn't care if we are liberal, moderate, or conservative. It doesn't care if we lift all CDC restrictions when meeting with our loved ones or good friends. In the same way, we may be tired of dealing with this virus. But it has not gotten tired of us.

It is every bit as pro-life and life-affirming to wear a mask, physically distance, and rigorously wash our hands to protect others' lives, as it to march, donate, or advocate to protect the unborn.




Epidemic is a podcast series by Dr. Celine Gounder, Epidemiologist, Internist, and Infectious Diseases Physician. You can listen or read transcripts. This series is devoted to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Note: the earliest podcast in this series does indicate that Dr. Gounder subscribes to the pro-choice perspective): Visit the podcast website.

Medical News Today contains many articles about the COVID-19 virus. This section is devoted to the pandemic. Visit this website.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Pro-Life Democrat Reviews IN THEIR VOICES by Rhonda M Roorda

 


IN THEIR VOICES: BLACK AMERICANS ON TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION by Rhonda M. Roorda, is a series of essays about this topic. Herself a transracial adoptee, Roorda has compiled a series of essays about the topic of transracial adoption. Adoption professionals, adoptive parents, adoptees, and other notable individuals have penned essays about their views about the topic as well as their own experiences with it. The front cover consists of an enlarged image of parts of a Caucasian parent's chest, with an African-American baby sniggled on there. 

Rhonda M. Roorda opens this volume with a Forward, written by Leon W. Chestang, PhD.. She includes her own Preface and follows up with Acknowledgements of many of those who made her book possible. Roorda spread the writers' content across Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. Each Part contains multiple essays by the writers, with Part Three containing the most essays of all. The Editor wraps up Part Three with a Conclusion and an Afterward. She ends this volume with an Appendix (of transracial adoption resources), Notes (for this book), and References (for readers who desire to learn more). 

Transracial adoption is a fascinating and rather controversial topic. The few times I have encountered transracial families (Caucasian & African-American) have normally been in worship service settings. I know that the former President's last Supreme Court pick had adopted adopted transracially twice; both her children come from Haiti. I have read Christian authors who have completed such transracial adoptions. The one adopted from Haiti, the other within Uganda. Weeks ago, I saw someone retweet a Twitter user who completed a transracial adoption out of foster care. Myself, I have long been interested in transracial adoption. However, life circumstances render it virtually impossible for me to do it myself. This book was not written from a Christian perspective. However, the Editor and all essayists support transracial adoption, even after discussing its complexities.

Technically. this month wraps up Black History Month (which should be all year long). I hear quite little about the topic of interracial adoption in mainstream media, despite extensive coverage of race relations. I see little point in waiting on the media to cover this important topic, or feature guests who share that they're transracial adoptees. However, like all other aspects of race relations and racial history, transracial adoption should be included. I like how Roorda included essayists who had different perspectives and different life experiences. I found this book quite informative and enlightening. And it does discuss the arguments people, particularly African-Americans, give for why they are leery of transracial adoption or oppose it. 

I recommend this book for everyone who is touched by adoption, particularly transracial adoption. This includes adoptive parents, adoptees, biological parents, and adoption professionals. I also recommend it for the members of the pro-life movement and the Christian community. When we promote adoption, we need to be aware of its complexities. Adoption is a wonderful institution, but in almost every case, it is based on loss, separation, pain, tragedy, and grief and/or abuse or abandonment. IN THEIR VOICES makes this point effectively.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

The COVID-19 Vaccine & Abortion

  

Get vaccinated and help end the coronavirus pandemic!

Vaccines protect from disease and save lives!

Get the shot and protect those around you!

Get the shot and protect yourself!

The COVID-19 vaccine is like gold!

Getting a coronavirus shot is a privilege!

Love your neighbor and get vaccinated!

Oh! We may have a problem...

What about vaccines have been sourced or produced from human body parts?

What about those sourced/produced from fetal cells?

Cells from aborted babies?

Should we help save lives based on others who have been killed?

I'm talking about a matter which is of concern especially to the Christian community and to those who believe that life begins at conception. Many people believe that those who hold these kind of concerns about vaccines are "anti-vaxers." You may not hear this topic addressed in mainstream media. Most likely, you will hear that you ought to take any vaccine that you are offered, as long as it is rated as safe. As long as it saves lives, what is wrong with it? If it was developed using cells derived from a fetus whose mother ended her life, that unborn baby's death resulted in the saved life of another?

Here is the deal. In scientific research, there are three different types of stem cells. They are adult stem cells (derived derived from human tissues from humans ranging from birth upwards), embryonic stem cells (derived from deceased fetal children), and perinatal stem cells (derived from "baby-making materials like cord blood). There are few controversies with using adult stem cells or perinatal stem cells. The main controversies rest with using embryonic stem cells in scientific research and in developing medical treatments like vaccines. According to my research, scientists have widely used embryonic stem cells to search for cures for diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, diabetes, and a host of others.

In the case of using embryonic stem cells, the controversy comes when the stem cells come from a baby who has been aborted very early in the mother's pregnancy. You may rightly object that there should be no controversy of the fetus was miscarried. No foul play is involved in a miscarriage, tragic as it is for expecting parents. However, we have in mind aborted fetuses. Research indicates that scientists prefer to use embryonic stem cells from fetuses that have been aborted rather than miscarried. And many scientists prefer to use embryonic stem cells more than adult stem cells. This is because of the greater flexibility of embryonic stem cells. However, research tells me that adult stem cells can be made more flexible.

There is a lot of misinformation and outright lies out there about COVID-19 and about coronavirus vaccines. Some have suggested that the vaccine may be the prophetic Mark of the Beast as prophesied in the book of Revelation. Some have claimed that the vaccine comes with a human microchip. Both these notions are reported based on conspiracy theories. But much is disinformation. Many believe that the vaccine may cause COVID-19, that it may cause infertility, or that it is plain unsafe. But it is fact that vaccine companies like AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (among others; check the article below) have developed their vaccines with embryonic stem cells. However, neither vaccine has been yet authorized for use in the U.S.

Yes, I know that many of us have little ability to pick and choose what medical interventions we or our children can use. Most of us have to accept the vaccines we or our children receive. It will be the same case as the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out over time. Millions of Americans  (some 10 percent) in priority groups have already been vaccinated; millions have been fully vaccinated (5.5 percent). according to CNN). However, Pfizer and Moderna reportedly have not been developed using embryonic stem cells. So those who have so far been vaccinated, have not been in the position of considering if they ought to wait for a brand that is ethically developed.

I'm fully aware of these ethical concerns! I share them. I have read about those who have gone on record as stating that they will never, never take vaccines that have been developed using the cells of aborted unborn babies, or let their children get such vaccines. This is a thorny issue, as public health is involved. Vaccines have saved countless lives. So, if you decline vaccines for yourself and your children, based on this principle, you remain true to one value but endanger public health. This public health is another value. No one should have to pit one principle against another. But when scientists develop their life-saving interventions by using the cells of tissues from other destroyed lives, people will keep having to make tough calls.

Reports have indicated that certain childhood illnesses vaccines had been making a comeback. I personally know people who decline vaccines for themselves and their children. This is their choice. But they, and their children, will have to deal with the consequences of their choices. In a perfect would, we would  never have to pick and choose between one principle and another. But we do not live in such a world. We'll often have to make difficult choices. Will we turn down a medical intervention, even though we can save lives through it? Because it was developed through the destruction of other lives? Or will we accept that medical intervention, though it comes to us because others lives were ended? How do we decide?

There are no easy answers if you believe that life begins at conception. Yes, experts tell us that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is essential to helping all of us one day move closer to "herd immunity" and normalcy. We want to do both. Yet we know that some vaccine brands, like AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, have been developed from the stem cells of aborted fetuses. At this time, neither brand is yet available for use in the U.S. Yet Pfizer and Moderna haven't been developed through using embryonic stem cells (though reportedly they apparently have been used in clinical trials). This situation, like so many others in life, is not ideal.

It seems that the matter of whether taking these vaccines is a gray area. This pandemic has now  claimed over 500.000 lives. The more of us who get vaccinated, the more likely we can put this deadly pandemic behind us. What will we decide?

Myself, I plan on getting the COVID-19 vaccine when I am notified that it is my turn. And I hope I will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. I don't want to save lives at the price of another's oppression. Whatever we may say about our current President, he reportedly has ordered enough of the above two brands of vaccine to cover every American. 

No life should be pitted against another.

This is a basic primer about what stem cells are and what they do. Then the different cell types are defined at the end. Read article.

This is a Catholic article about the COVID-19 vaccine and the pro-life movement. Read article.

This article about the ethics of the production of the COVID-19 vaccine is written from a scientific viewpoint. Read article.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

A Needle Jab, A Pandemic & Privilege

 

Covid-19 vaccine and syringe on calendar"Covid-19 vaccine and syringe on calendar" by focusonmore.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0


We remain in the middle of a pandemic.

This tiny virus has killed over 450,000 people in America alone.

Millions of people have lost their jobs.

Many small businesses are closed for good.

New forms of this tiny virus keep showing up.

We now have two vaccines authorized on an emergency basis.

Our supply of these vaccines remain limited.

.So we must ration it.

And that means picking and choosing who should get it first.

Millions of people have been fully vaccinated.

They include those with the $$$ and connections to get the shot.

They're only a tiny percentage of the population.


None of us likes to face needles. I don't. Normally, it is a chore and a dreaded activity. A necessary evil. In fact, many people elect not to roll up their sleeves and get the needle jab. Nor will they allow their children to get vaccines put in their arms. "Vaccines cause other diseases." *They are made with embryonic stem cell lines." I don't trust them because of past medical experimentation of my people." "It may not be safe." "What if I get an allergic reaction?" 

Some of these objections to vaccines are valid and appropriate. Documentation that some vaccines, including non-COVID-19 vaccines, have been sourced and produced using embryonic stem cell lines. This refers to cells derived from fetuses which have been aborted. Such vaccines are morally problematic if you believe that life begins at conception. Objections to vaccines because of fear of allergic reaction, are indeed valid if you get allergic reactions to certain substances. If you are African-American and leery of a COVID-19 vaccine because of a past history of what is known as medical apartheid, this is a valid fear.

Yes, what is known as vaccine hesitancy abounds. Our former President has done much to undermine the credibility of science through his disinformation campaigns and actions against scientists in the public sector. He has done this with most other institutions. As all institutions consist of imperfect people like us, they have contributed to the undermining of their credibility over time. The systemic racism in science, like medical apartheid, has contributed. The use of human remains of aborted babies has hurt science's credibility. Science itself, sadly, has given our former President ammunition in his campaigns to credit science. Still, his habit of burning down the house and circulating lies has helped nothing.

Vaccine hesitancy indeed is alive and well. But, more often than not, many people see the simple act of submitting to a needle jab to be protected from a tiny yet deadly virus, as a privilege. From the beginning, because of widespread incompetence in the former Trump administration and refusal or neglect to treat COVID-19 response as an emergency, vaccines have not been produced, nor the vials or syringes to go with them, nor the qualified vaccinators who could put them the arms of willing recipients. In the U.S., vaccines have remained in short supply over the past year. This has contributed to many millions of cases and hundreds of thousands of American deaths. This damage has been so complete that current President, Joe Biden, and his COVID-19 team, have had to start their COVID-19 response strategy from scratch.

Scarcity increases the value and worth of a product. Normally, in the West and certainly in the U.S., we have fortunately been able to take vaccines for granted. In developing countries, people cannot and to them, vaccines have unfortunately been a privilege when conferred upon them by caring relief workers or volunteers. However, the coronavirus has forced us in the U.S. to, in some ways, experience life like those in developing countries. Even when vaccines have started being produced, the CDC and states that have been receiving these vaccines, have had to triage and prioritize groups via risk and vulnerability, to be first in line to get these shots. 

Last year in late 2020, I remember when the CDC gave emergency authorization to first, Pfizer and then, Moderna, for use in eligible people. I recall how hope and optimism gripped the scientific community and health care workers. Scientists basked in the sense of their accomplishments and health care workers were excitedly talking about seeing a "light at the end of the tunnel" after months of relentless stress. The first people to in line to get the coronavirus vaccine were health care workers, particularly those who have been exposed to COVID-19 patients. And I have to agree that they deserve it.

Next in line have been nursing home residents and staff. People 65 and over were next. For awhile, even last year, some in these priority groups have been able to get vaccinated. However, near the end of the year, most of the vaccine supply ended up running out. This year, our new President and his COVID-19 response team were dismayed to learn what a mess the Trump administration had made of their response to coronavirus. I have been encouraged by reports that, recently, President Joe Biden has ordered enough Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to cover the entire U.S. population. However, the roll-out and distribution of these COVID-19 vaccines will still take many months and is not projected to be over until around late summer of this year 2021. 

Where does privilege come in? As already noted, when a service or a good is in short supply, its value rises. The more scarce it is, the greater is its value. Multiple reports indicate that wealthy people and those with good social connections have been able to access COVID-19 vaccines for themselves. At the same time, many eligible seniors, those deemed as essential workers, and those with underlying health conditions, have been unable to get vaccinated. At the start of the vaccine rollout, Rupert Murdoch, Fox News Network owner, reportedly got vaccinated. More recent reports tell us that disgraced O.J. Simpson has gotten vaccinated, and posted a "selfie:" of the occasion. 

MSNBC weekend Anchor, Ali Velshi, spoke to this privilege principle recently. He admonished those among his viewers who may have means: "....So if you have the means to get this vaccine, don't....let others go ahead of you who are more exposed....You will get your shot in time."

In other words, as long as this life-saving vaccine remains in short supply and others need it more than us, we ought to wait our turn. As we ought to do in any other area of life.



This is the authoritative, informative page about COVID-19 vaccines on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.  Read article.

This is a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data tracker about the COVID-19 vaccine. Read article.

This is a Health and Human services page, with links to each of the U.S. States and territories with tools for making a vaccine appointment in your area. Read article.

This is an article that addresses the ethics of sourcing and producing vaccines, with a chart. Read article.

This is an authoritative Centers for Disease Control (CDC) page that debunks the idea that vaccines cause autism.

Read article.

This publication details how wealthy, well-connected, and/or powerful individuals have been cheating their way to COVID-19 vaccines before their turns. Read article.

Friday, January 29, 2021

A Pro-life Democrat Reviews THE BABY SCOOP ERA by Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh

 



This book focuses on the period called the Baby Scoop Era. This is the time after World War II to Roe vs. Wade. The author faced the trauma of being separated by her baby in a crisis pregnancy and was forced to "give up" her baby for adoption. Thoroughly researched and documented, Wilson-Buterbaugh covers this era when thousands of girls and women, also facing crisis pregnancies, likewise faced coercion to "give up" their babies for adoption. Families, social workers, and other adoption professionals bullied and shamed these girls and women into forced infant adoptions as a response to crisis pregnancies.

In the front of this book, advocates for adoptees and biological mothers writes endorsements for this book. Wilson-Buterbaugh opens this volume with Acknowledgements for those who made THE BABY SCOOP ERA possible. She follows this with a Preface, a Mother's Story, and an Introduction. Then the author spreads her actual content across 26 chapters. She wraps up this volume with six appendices which she rans by letter. One of them defines terms she used throughout this book. The she finishes it all with References (A Bibiography) and an Author Bio. Quotes and anecdotes abound in this book. 

From the very title of this book, I could determine that the author wrote this book from the perspective of biological parents (particularly the mom) and the adoptee. The thrust of this book does not line up with the rose-colored glasses view of adoption that the Christian community and the pro-life community so often espouse. When I read one pro-life book (reviewed on this blog) and that author's take on adoption, I was put off when the author claimed that adoptees rarely search for their biological parents. That author, who brands herself as a "pro-life feminist," makes the case for why adoptions should be closed and single motherhood discouraged, strongly. That author wrote as a Catholic. This book, written from a secular perspective, is the answer to that pro-life book I reviewed earlier on this blog. 

Wilson-Buterbaugh uses anecdotes and documentation to make a powerful case against closed adoption, particularly when that adoption is forced and against the biological mother's will. The author's argument is that single motherhood or teen marriage are the "lesser of two evils" in contrast to the forced adoptions that so many biological moms and their babies had to endure for decades prior to Roe vs. Wade. Despite this subject matter and her position on it, Wilson-Buterbaugh does not see the alternatives as abortion vs. adoption. No, she clearly views the alternatives as parenting vs. adoption. In fact, the author rarely mentions the word abortion throughout the entire book. Too often, the pro-life movement oversell the positives about adoption and seldom address its complexities. 

Yes, I am fully aware that advocates for the unborn will not find this a pleasurable read. To those whose work depends on presenting women in crisis options, including adoption, it is tempting to present a rosy picture of adoption without pointing to adoption's realities. It is NOT an ideal option. This book may come off as anti-adoption because it describes an era where the practice was abused. But no one, even if her pregnancy is unplanned or even unwanted, should feel coerced into adoption. Placing a child in adoption should be free and voluntary. The abuses of the past, as described in this book, were cruel and vile and should be strongly denounced by any pro-lifer.

Those in the Christian community and in the pro-life movement, especially their leaders, ought to read this book. It would give them insight as to why so many women facing crisis pregnancies choose abortion over adoption. Christians and pro-lifers need to understand that while adoption is a "Godsend" and lifesaver for many biological parents and children, it carries the potential to hurt and harm many others when they feel even the appearance of pressure to turn to adoption. Every social worker and every other adoption professional ought to read this book. This book, however, may prove too "triggering" for many biological mothers and adoptees.

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