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 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.

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