Category Archives: essay

Certain Humanity

A common screech I encounter from pro-abortion supporters is that my support for anti-abortion is religious in nature.

This is a vast assumption on their part.

First, I am not against medically necessary abortion; specifically the kind where every other option has been exhausted, and a decision must be made to save the life of the mother. In most of the cases where medically necessary abortion happens, the problems are detected later; and I haven’t heard of ectopic pregnancies that develop outside the womb to survivability. Further, I see medically necessary abortion as a painful tragedy and sympathise with the parents for their loss.

I am specifically against abortion done for convenience, or non medically necessary abortions – the ‘Oh no, I got pregnant, this will get in the way of my plans for life’ type; gender selective abortion of any type, racial abortion, abortion where the woman is pressured or coerced by society/government to go for abortion. I will not deal with the psychological, health and societal reaction or fallout about this in this particular article as it falls outside the specific issue I wish to address.

The victims of rape and incest I reserve, personally, a grey area for. The option I believe, should be available to them without the condemnation of society, as it is a tragedy compounding another trauma. It is a decision that the victim must make herself, and that she be treated gently, with kindness and consideration, and that she be cared for before and after. Whatever decision she makes, I feel support should be given to her as she needs, to help her heal. That said, contrary to the common belief, not all rape victims choose to abort if they end up pregnant. I’m sure a cursory Internet search will result in plenty of stories of both decisions. This is also outside the scope of my article, so I must leave it there for now.

Secondly, my pro-life stance is purely scientific and medical in rationale, not religious in origin. This is the main focus of my post. It is illogical and irrational to declare that someone who is anti-abortion is doing so purely out of emotion, or religious morals. In fact, I may have greater trust in humanity’s technological progress and capability than those who would decry my pro-life stance as ‘unscientific and un-medical.’

To understand my specific reasons for this, I begin with the disclosure that I was born premature; at 7 months (because of severe pre-eclampsia), in the 1980s, at a hospital that did not enjoy a neonatal unit. An incubator had to be brought in from a different hospital, and a chance meeting my mother had with one of the nurses who cared for me about 15 years later on revealed that my birth and subsequent care in the hospital resulted in the establishment of a neonatal ward there after I had gone home to my family. My youngest brother was born prematurely in East Berlin (Yes, before the wall fell) and it was by purest chance that he was saved by his doctor – his umbilical cord had been in the process of strangling him and it was an offhand remark about feeling/tasting something bilious by my mother to the doctor, who was keen to practice his conversational English with a native English speaker that precipitated such a quick rush to the operating room that my mother felt the slice of the knife.

Lastly my youngest son was born premature as well, because of emergency caesarean. So it is safe to say I have personal knowledge and experience in pre-term births.

Now, for as long as I remember, I’ve been reading voraciously, and like many other children of that era I liked reading about nature, ancient history (the basics), the earth, the solar system and so on.  My parents were happy to encourage this and one of my childhood books was a detailed pop up book about, well, human gestation. So I got from there a basic primer in not just human biology and reproduction, but human evolution (from the stages of development of the embryo) and genetics (which explained why children get Mom’s brown hair or Dad’s freckles, for example)- I think I got that particular book around the time my Mom was pregnant with the youngest brother. Before that though, I loved reading encyclopaedias, so I knew the basics of where babies come from.

Because of this, from a very young age I knew that a fertilized human egg cell that is not tampered with nor somehow mutated or magically chimera-ized would not become anything but a human baby. It does not become a dolphin, or a dog, and absent unfortunate circumstances such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or stillbirth or uterine accidents such as umbilical cord strangulation, a fertilised egg cell will develop into a foetus with recognisable human features. I remember being fascinated with the unimaginable scientific wonder of an egg that is no bigger than the period at the end of a sentence growing into a person.  (I went a bit further than that and looked up how Caesareans were done ‘just in case I needed the information.’ I didn’t, thankfully, but I had a rather active imagination even back then.) (Edited to add: Quotations from medical and scientific texts in fact declare that the life cycle of mammals; including humans, begins at fertilisation.)


Thus, the usual arguments of ‘it’s not a baby, it’s just a bunch of cells’ have never held water with me because of my awareness of the human gestational cycle. By the time most women even discover they’re pregnant, the embryo as already implanted, the heart and blood vessels are developing and have begun to pump, the brain is in the process of developing as well. The ‘just a bunch of cells’ stage is before implantation – implantation is the thresh-hold between ‘cells’ and ’embryo.’ By the eighth week, the embryo already is making small movements. Two weeks later, the embryo is no longer an embryo but a foetus, and is called that from that point onward til birth. It has recognisable hands and feet, ears and nose and the jaw is formed, and the foetus is beginning to develop towards being either male or female. At 12 weeks of pregnancy, the face is visibly baby-like.

You are 12 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 10 weeks)

  • The fetus is now about 2.5 inches (6cm) length and weighs about 0.7 ounce (20 g).
  • The feet are almost half an inch (1cm) long.
  • The fetus starts moving spontaneously.
  • The face is beginning to look like a baby’s face.
  • The pancreas is functioning and producing insulin.
  • Fingernails and toenails appear.
  • The baby can suck his thumb, and get hiccups.

12 weeks

From this week you may well be able to hear the baby’s heart beat through a doppler monitor on your tummy. You will notice that the rate is up to 160 a minute, double that of a normal adult.

Your baby now has a chin and a nose and a facial profile. Vocal chords are complete, and the baby can and does sometimes cry silently. The brain is fully formed, and the baby can also feel pain. The fetus may even suck his thumb.

 

 

That puts lie to ‘a bunch of cells that can’t feel pain.’

So it should not surprise anyone that I am quite sickened at the thought that abortion is done up to less than the 24th week of pregnancy. I looked up the procedure, and tearing off the limbs, slicing up the torso and crushing the skull was made worse by the knowledge that this is done with the foetus very much alive; and drugs or chemicals to try kill him or her often haven’t quite worked yet. It is quite an inhuman procedure, and it has been made ‘palatable’ by dehumanising the foetus with the frankly unscientific lies that the foetus ‘doesn’t feel’, is ‘just a bunch of cells’ and ‘is not able to survive at this point of gestation.’

Medical progress is a truly wondrous thing. Before, babies born too early would almost certainly die; but it might surprise most that the first attempts to try keep them alive happened in the 1870s in Paris, after obstetrician Dr. Stéphane Tarnier decided to try using an incubator on human babies to keep them warm and save them from hypothermia after seeing an incubator warming baby chickens. I strongly urge you to read the article I linked. His insistence, and Dr. Couney’s advocacy and medical exhibit – a proof of life demonstration and charitable care – is some truly breath-taking medical history.

Couney never charged parents for the care he provided, which also included rotating shifts of doctors and nurses looking after the babies. According to historian Jeffrey Baker, Couney’s exhibits “offered a standard of technological care not matched in any hospital of the time.”

In a wonderful interview recorded by Storycorps and aired on NPR, a former incubator baby from one of Couney’s exhibits described how fragile she was at birth: “My father said I was so tiny, he could hold me in his hand,” said 95 year-old Lucille Horn, who was born prematurely in 1920 at the shockingly low birth weight of under two pounds. Baby Lucille was given no chance to live by her doctor.

“I couldn’t live on my own, I was too weak to survive … You just died because you didn’t belong in the world.” Horn said. But Horn’s father, who had seen one of Couney’s exhibits on his honeymoon, bundled tiny Lucille up and took her out of the hospital. “I’m taking her to the incubator in Coney Island. The doctor said there’s not a chance in hell that she’ll live, but he said, ‘But she’s alive now,’ and he hailed a cab and took me to Dr. Couney’s exhibit, and that’s where I stayed for about six months.”

Because of those men, babies who would’ve otherwise died didn’t, and their parents were given hope that their tiny baby would live. Medical progress, resulting in life that would otherwise been lost, now taken for granted today. As technology advanced, the earlier and earlier preterm babies could survive, until a baby born at 23-24 weeks could survive now. That ’24 week line was determined by available technology.

According to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics in 2011, 80 per cent of babies born extremely prematurely survived. ‘We found that babies born at 27, 28, 29 weeks, which had really high mortality rates when I was doing the first study, are now doing well and living normal lives,’ Prof Neil Marlow, a consultant neonatologist at University College London Hospital and one of the authors of the EPICure studies, says.

Not only are more premature babies surviving, but more are being born. Along with a steady rise in birth rates, there are increasing numbers of older mothers and those using fertility treatments – two groups of women who are more likely to have premature babies. Now, according to data from 2011, those born alive at 27 weeks have an 87 per cent chance of surviving, at 28 weeks it is 92 per cent and at 29 weeks, 95 per cent. It means that doctors are working on tinier babies, typically with more complications, than ever before.

‘The smallest baby I ever treated was called Jessica and she weighed 460g [1lb] at birth,’ Dr Smith says. ‘This baby was born and, actually, she had good lung function, probably because of the stress of the birth – stress produces steroids that have a lung-maturing effect on a baby. But the day after the birth her bowel had perforated; that’s quite a common problem with premature babies. She went into surgery and the surgeons took out a big lump of colon that had infarcted [the tissue had died]. But she came through and did well – I’ve got a photograph of a very happy-looking toddler.’

Those are the facts. And the fact is, the viability line can and will be pushed further and further back. Studies have found that 1 in 4 babies born at 22 weeks can now survive if given active treatment.

And therein lies the key issue about the ‘viability’ argument that pro-abortionists try to use. They cling to the ‘viability’ date as if, right before that calendar day change, the foetus was not human, just inanimate ‘cells’, the ‘nonhuman thing’ cannot survive, and should not be seen as human so that the murder of an otherwise healthy, vulnerable and innocent human being is socially palatable and not to be condemned. Yes, there are still discussions and debates, but the simple reality is this:

‘Viability’ is determined by the technology available to us, thus to arbitrarily declare that X gestation date = ‘nonhuman, not worth saving, acceptably abort-able’ is an unscientific and irrational position to hold, as well as ethically inconsistent. Premature babies that would have died just over a hundred years ago now regularly survive. Babies thought for the last twenty years to be ‘low survivability rate’ at 22 weeks are now possible of being saved.

What new medical technologies and advancements could happen in yet another twenty might push back the viability date solidly at 22 weeks – or even lower. We might even see the development of artificial ‘raising cradles’ where an infant born pre-term could be placed in a pod that mimics the womb environment, so we might see the aided viability of even younger and younger foetuses that would prevent their having developmental impairments, until perhaps some day, if medical science, human biochemical understanding and bio-tech, and mechanical technology progress to that point where fully artificial wombs could be what carries future generations to term. Granted, this speculative future I am describing is pure conjecture at this point, but consider this other simple truth and reality:

To the doctors Tarnier and Couney, the ability we currently have to keep 23 week old babies alive makes our current technology positively miraculous to them if they could see it now.

To take the position of ‘that’s crap and will never happen, you’re a delusional dreamer’ reveals a position that is more profoundly unscientific, and anti-medical, as well as illogical, than ‘religious’ reasons for being anti-abortion.

Aff’s Official Thoughts 1

Shadowdancer’s Note: Aff recently encountered an article which moved him deeply enough to write an article and asked me to kindly post it here. He’s still ranting about the abject stupidity. This is resulting in a series of editorials that he has titled “Aff’s Official Thoughts On Stuff.”

I must warn readers to please set aside any drink or food for the duration of your reading of the article. We here at Affsdiary are not responsible for damage to screens or keyboards resulting from not heeding this warning.

 

Aff’s Note; if you are one of those ridiculously over-sensitive people that if told to duck for cover during a crisis you would then proceed to hold up a goose, get shot in the vagina, and proceed to scream ‘but my goose identified as a duck’ in protest as you proceeded to bleed more than you usually do, this post is not for you. In fact, this post will hurt your feelings. In anticipation of this, you can either complain to my e-mail (and be summarily ignored) or you can bash your head against a brick wall repeatedly until your skull fractures. But it’s ok, the brick walls identify as pillows.

“Aff’s Official Thoughts on Stuff 1: Guns ™”

Recently I viewed an article on a US based group of students attempting to protest guns being brought onto educational campuses by posting selfies of them flexing their muscles.

I find this stupid in about twenty different ways, and before I go into the details of the stupidity I feel I should qualify my opinion by giving you some context as to who I am and what I believe.

Continue reading

Canaries in the Coal Mines

I popped over to Larry Correia’s site today; having had a little time for a change, and ran into this blogpost, which talked about how a conservative science fiction writer has found his career effectively threatened for advancing a concept in a book.

http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/02/10/left-wing-bias-in-publishing-your-wrongthink-will-be-punished/

The blogpost by the author himself, Nick Cole, is found here.

I won’t write about the freedom of speech issues and the effective censoring being done, nor the reasons that Harper Collins’ has shut down a writer under contract here, as Larry and Nick have done excellent jobs of that; Larry in his inimitable way as usual. No, I’m going to write about something that Nick said in his post, that resulted in a realization.

I am a writer.
A writer is often the last defense in a society collapsing into a one-mind totalitarian state where the rights of people are trodden upon by the ruling elite in the name of the “greater good.” Where freedom of speech and independent thinking are also curtailed in the name of the “greater good.” Where writers and other artists disappear either by blacklisting or “disappearing” because they say, or write, something that the intellectual elite hates. I am a writer. It is my job to stand up and say what cannot be said. It is my job to play with unpopular ideas. I would not deny anyone from doing so, and I expect not to be denied. I expect the same courtesy others are being extended. I expect not to be discriminated against merely because I am different. Better people than myself have written the truth at the cost of their lives. Many dead writers have paid for the freedom of others with the truth, and their lives. Writers are often the last flame of freedom on the flickering candle of civilization in the darkness of a world going mad.

There is often a vocal defense that Science Fiction editors do not have a liberal bias. Well, here’s your proof. They do. So you may not agree with me on the idea I advanced. But what happens the next time when some potentate decides they don’t like your idea? There is no place in publishing for this kind of Censorship. This is an issue, regardless of the idea, that affects all of us and our freedom.

It is quite de rigeur these days to encounter the disease called Social Justice bullies and CHORFs everywhere one turns. The majority of people seem to think that they’re a fad that will go away, the latest version of ‘teenage rebellion’ – if it weren’t for the fact that the folks engaging in such shrill, rabid denunciations range from their teens to their late sixties.

Simply put, for those of us who actually recognize them for what they are, they are people who would have been the Useful Idiots of the Cold War era (which, I submit, never really ended – the battlefield simply shifted.)

The people who advance that a totalitarian regime, that the suppression of freedom of speech, human rights, etc are the pampered children who have never lived under such a regime. This is especially true of modern day Europeans, and especially true of Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians.

Take note, this is not a sneer at the abovementioned nations’ people – you are all incredibly lucky to not remember what it was like. Americans especially have had a freedom that is, in my opinion, very unlike the experience of any other group of people on this planet. On one hand, for hundreds of years, you have refused to bow down and stayed guarded against overt attempts at conquest. On the other, it makes for a great emotional and intellectual cultural vulnerability – because such oppression has never been experienced, to some extent that same precious freedom and opportunity is taken for granted. Too easily do people think “surely, that can never happen here / they couldn’t possibly be that stupid/gullible etc.”

I’ve lived on the other side of the Berlin Wall, and one of the more common frustrations that the people whose homes we were invited to voiced discreetly to my parents (in the safety of their sprawling gardens, away from potential bugs in their homes) was that they were unhappy with how their government treated them like children, incapable of making up their own minds. They missed their relatives from whom they were separated by the Wall, and simply wanted to meet with them again, visit them on occasion. “After all,” our hosts would tell our parents, “we are so much better off than they are in the Capitalist world. Why wouldn’t we want to return?”

Looking back on the differences, with an adult’s eyes, I understand now that the Socialist government could not have maintained the illusion that they’d hoodwinked their people with if those people had been free to travel to the West, instead of only select groups being allowed to pay short visits. As it was, such was the shock to the psyche of a number of people after the Wall fell, that they wished it had never happened, that they could return to the comfortable illusions they had, comfortable, old and worn, like familiar habits and old woolen sweaters.

A great number of the most vicious and fanatic social justice attack hounds come from the countries that have not experienced being under a totalitarian ruler. The immature belief that ‘if we did it, then we’d do it better, in a non-evil way’ of good-intentions backed magic thinking echoes one of the favorite sins to damn a person to hell employed by the Devil in old folk tales: Pride. Pride that ‘we know better’ and the certainty that ‘it’s not evil when we do it,’ or, the ever so insidious ‘for the greater good’ without ever checking if it actually results in good things. I’ve even seen the illogical concept that ‘good intentions are enough reason for us to employ horrible methods.’ That’s just a more complicated way of saying “The ends justify the means.”

The useful idiots and the quislings are useful exactly because they secure in the belief that when this dreadful, nightmarish regime that they work for comes, they are spared, or rewarded, or benefit in some way.

They don’t remember that they could just as easily be rewarded as a traitor deserves.

I sometimes wish my father were still alive, so I could ask him for stories about what it was like to be a journalist under the Marcos regime. (On the other hand, I am glad he is not around to see that a Marcos is one of two possibly only GOOD candidates running for the Philippine Presidency! And on the third hand, I wonder what other good Dad might have accomplished. Apparently they’re still talking about the good things he did while he was the Philippine Ambassador to Israel; that my youngest brother was asked how he was related to ‘the Honorable Ambassador Antonio Modena.’ cackle! His turn now!)

My mom remembers some of the things my father was willing to share with her. Or there’d be a wife of one of his colleagues trying to find her husband. If they were lucky, they got the man in question back alive; or had something to bury.

I sometimes wonder, “Are they so desperate to experience this, that they import something that would do exactly this to everyone, if they got the chance?” Then, I shake my head and remember the SJWs think that they’ll be the ones in control, in power, instead of the ones who’ll first be up against the wall. By what means do they think they’ll cling to control? It is only through the trappings of civilization that they’re able to get away with what they do, but if they erode enough of it away, those fetters they rely on will be too weak to hold back the horrors they’ll experience.

Oh, and I got a copy of Alt Ctrl Revolt too. I wanted to know what happened beyond the ‘offensive’ concept – which really, was not offensive, and the logic-process tree is completely sound. I think Nick Cole succeeded in giving a reason that a reader who isn’t a mental eunuch can understand – and similarly, those readers can go from there and want to find out ‘what happened next?’

That’s good writing.

The Worth Of A Fan

This started out originally as part of a comment over in Mad Genius Club which grew into a rant, which the little Rhys-chibi in my head looked at and said “My darling, that soapbox doesn’t go there.” So it has it’s own blogpost where I natter on because I can.

Continue reading

Between This Essay and The Next

A few days ago, I retweeted something I saw on The Ralph Retort‘s feed and briefly wrote about how I stopped being a feminist in reply to that retweet. A brief discussion followed and I decided it would be best to expand on it. I guess it’s one of those ‘triggering’ things for me because whenever I flash back to that time, it always results in the same towering fury I remember having that pushed me to my feet and had me start shouting back. After all, all the hate they were spewing went against everything we ourselves had been taught about being good strong Catholic women. I decided to break it up into two parts because 1) I had to stop being angry because it really wasn’t doing good things to my heart rate and 2) I had to do stuff away from computer, namely lunch for the family. As it was I had to ask my daughter to handle the rest (just make sure it didn’t burn) because I needed to fall over into bed: I was burning up with flu and everything hurt. I’ve been bedridden since.

Ralph asked if he could feature it and I said yes.

While I was asleep it went up on his site.

I woke up today, fever broken, and went to check on the kids. My eldest boy, Vincent, was up already but Big Sis wasn’t so I sicced him onto her to wake her with cuddles, yelling “INVASION OF THE LITTLE BROTHER” at the top of my voice. Cue “KYAAAAA!!! What are you doing?! Oh, hugs.” The ruckus had Aff come out of his room where he was playing L2. I made coffee and sat down to look at stuff online. That’s when I saw that my account had gone up on The Ralph Retort, and saw retweets talking about a young girl/woman. My still fever-fuzzy brain thought “…I hope they don’t think this is current events.” (I’m still fever-fuzzy.)

 

That’s my graduating year ID – lucky it was where I remembered it was. I blacked out my ex’s surname – yes, I was married then to someone else; our marriage was on the rocks and we separated before I graduated and eventually divorced – He was American so he could divorce me; the Philippines does not have divorce for anyone who isn’t Muslim and that is a rant for a different day. I visited Australia in 2004 and Rhys and I have been together since. My ex and I still talk on occasion, and we both agree that we’re in better places than we were before and we wish each other happy.

This happened while I was still in college. I went for six years from 1998 to 2004, not because that’s the required time to put in, but rather because as an ‘irregular student’, I didn’t have the per-assigned hours and classes that regular block students did. I started in the second semester, not the first, of the last co-ed school ‘batch’ before Miriam fully reverted to being an all girl’s college. So I had to try grab the empty slots for my required major and minor classes if they were still available, or if they weren’t, I’d take them next year. This caused some issues as …I think it was calculus?… was dropped while I was attending (Miriam did not offer hard science or engineering majors at the time – that may have changed now) so other than Algebra or Statistics, there was no need for it – and it had been on my curriculum list when I entered. So I had the strangest schedule sometimes. The history classes were supposed to be spread across the first three years; I got them all on my second semester. Unfortunately I had a very boring World History teacher – one of those people who focused more on geography and dates and timelines as opposed to bringing the events to life in the classroom. Philippine history and Asian Civilization was fun, especially Philippine History, because that was taught by someone who became one of my favorite teachers ever. A tale for a different day.

I wrote as much as I could remember – this would have happened sometime between 2000-2002 or 2003, so I’m afraid that I don’t remember things like names any more. I’ve always been bad with them, so I’m sorry, I can’t point you to a particular lecturer, I remember only that the two Indian women were the most outspoken of the four or five guests up on that stage. They’re a lot like the typical militant feminist common today, just without the rainbow hair.

I forgot to include the parts where I argued extensively about how could they simply shove aside half the human population and dismiss them as rapists when surely all of us present knew of good men, were related to them, and had good male friends. How were we supposed to become good parents to sons, if we treated them with suspicion simply because they were born the opposite sex? I suppose most of the details have gotten hazy in the back and forth shouting. But I remember that fury, the feel of my sense of restraint breaking one chain at a time with each outrageous thing that the feminist lecturers were verbally heaping on our heads – and trying to crush our spirits with. In a way, they did us a favor by overplaying their hand; that particular batch of students were never feminists of the type that seem so prevalent today.

I have good memories, for the most part, of my college years in Miriam. I liked most of my professors and had problems only with the Statistics teacher and the hard-line socialist who was very upset that I didn’t paint a shining picture of glorious utopia after finding out I’d lived in East Berlin. In fact, I don’t really have bad memories of Women Studies classes either – and I know now I was very lucky in that respect. It was a lot more classical feminist than the fainting couch paternalism-encouraging Third Wave weaklings. The focus was more of being able to improve conditions for women and push for a more egalitarian outlook on a local scale. In some respects that is correct and indeed a good thing to advocate. In some other respects however, I don’t think it really applies to a lot of the Filipino outlook either honestly, but that’s the topic of my next essay, which I’m still in the process of writing.

 

First though I have to make sure I don’t relapse.