With Good Reason

September 29, 2009

Some Objectivity on Abortion and Healthcare Reform

By Father Thomas Berg

Since I last wrote in August about the healthcare reform bills currently before Congress, there remains much public consternation and confusion as to whether these bills will or will not provide government funded abortion coverage. This concern is not surprising when public opposition to such coverage is mounting as demonstrated by recent polls. Last Tuesday, a new survey commissioned by the USCCB revealed that fully 60% of those who support health care reform oppose government funding for...

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September 22, 2009

What is Marriage? -Part II

By Father Thomas Berg

Last Tuesday, 90 members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill (H.R. 3567) that would repeal the one federal law that currently protects the traditional definition of marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act. This is the latest in nation-wide attempts to redefine the traditional understanding of marriage. Last week in this column, I began a reflection on why that traditional understanding must be upheld and why gay couples suffer no injustice in being denied the unique legal...

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September 15, 2009

What is Marriage? -Part I

By Father Thomas Berg

With New York Governor David Paterson determined to legalize same-sex "marriage" in New York, it's a good moment to revisit this controversial issue from a Catholic and natural law approach.  The legal recognition of gay "marriage" is currently required by court order in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa, and by legislation in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.  Active efforts to repeal gay "marriage" are taking place in New Hampshire and Iowa, and a referendum to that effect will be on...

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August 25, 2009

Stem Cell Research and Cloning

By Father Thomas Berg

Special note: Fr. Thomas will be away for two weeks. "With Good Reason" will resume on September 15. Now let's continue with the Q & A style update on current happenings in stem cell research we began last week. What drives the continued interest in cloning human embryos? The technical name for cloning is somatic cell nuclear transfer.  In this process, a cell, such as a skin cell, is taken from a donor; the nucleus of that cell (which contains the donor's DNA) is inserted into an...

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August 18, 2009

The Latest in Stem Cell Research and Cloning

By Father Thomas Berg

Buried under all the uproar over proposed healthcare reform legislation, there has been some significant news this summer regarding stem cell research. To begin, let's recall some of the basics of this issue.          What are stem cells? Maureen Condic, Senior Fellow with the Westchester Institute, concisely responds to that question in a recent article in Ethics and Medics:    A stem cell is any cell that exists in a relatively "immature" state, and is able to divide to produce one cell...

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August 11, 2009

Is There a Right to Healthcare?

By Father Thomas Berg

In a provocative op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal in late July, Theodore Dalrymple (the pen name of British physician Anthony Daniels) argued that there simply is no such thing as a fundamental right to healthcare. "Where does the right to health care come from?" asked Dalrymple. "Did it exist in, say, 250 B.C., or in A.D. 1750? If it did, how was it that our ancestors, who were no less intelligent than we, failed completely to notice it?"Honest questions. The determination of what...

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August 04, 2009

Obamacare and Conscience Protections in Healthcare

By Father Thomas Berg

Growing alarm that an eventual healthcare reform bill would mandate universal coverage of abortion in health insurance has raised the immediately related concern over how this legislation would impact the issue of conscience protections in healthcare generally.To be sure, President Obama is on record as favoring a "robust" federal policy protecting health-care workers who conscientiously object to performing certain procedures.  Speaking to reporters just before his first meeting with Pope...

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July 28, 2009

Obamacare and Abortion

By Father Thomas Berg

The ensuing debate over proposed legislation to overhaul America's healthcare system is generating news and capturing the attention of Americans with a steadily growing level of outrage.  And one particularly outrageous element of that legislation as it currently exists in the House of Representatives demands our special attention. If passed in its current form, this legislation will mandate abortion coverage in health care reform and it will be paid for with our tax dollars.  That's...

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July 21, 2009

A Disturbing Finding on the Abortion Front

By Father Thomas Berg

Planned Parenthood, the nation's single largest provider of abortions, has recently engaged in some damage control to mend its image, tarnished by association with the chemical abortifacient RU-486.  First some background. RU-486, the "abortion pill" (chemical name mifepristone and not to be confused with the "morning after pill" Levonorgestrel, an over the counter emergency contraceptive) was approved by the FDA in 2000. Mifepristone works by blocking the normal functioning of progesterone,...

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July 14, 2009

The New Guidelines for Stem Cell Research

By Father Thomas Berg

In the course of deliberations at the Empire State Stem Cell Board, my colleagues and I have discussed "ethical" guidelines that would ideally govern everything from obtaining informed consent for the "donation" of human gametes or already existing embryos for research purposes to "respect" for the human embryo in the laboratory setting.  In the course of those exchanges, I have often had the unpleasant sensation of partaking in something akin to a debate over what color to paint the...

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