Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 31, 2005
It is your right to be informed
Archdiocese's Life Issues Office gives humanity a voice
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
Informed consent is important to good decision-making. Give people the information they need in order to make choices for their lives. This principle is particularly important when people submit to medical procedures. Gone are the days of audacious paternalism where doctors alone decided what was best for their patients. Good riddance!
As a man suffering from serious degenerative disease of multiple sclerosis, I want all the information about treatments available and the prognosis of my disease - regardless of how grim it may be. I demand it!
People facing organ transplantation also deserve to know the full extent of risks, expected recovery times, likely outcomes and the long-term prognosis of the procedures being proposed. If the patient is too young or incapable of decision-making, then their guardians should be offered all the information in order to decide on their behalf.
Another example is when women are considering abortion. They should be given all the information about the risks of the abortion procedure, including increased risk of breast cancer, and offered the full information that science knows about prenatal life, prior to submitting to the procedure.
We've come so far in our understanding of life in the womb since the "blob of tissue" days. Advances in ultrasound technology now allow us to see into a womb with stunning clarity. (See Internet website: www.4d-ultrasounds.com/3d-ultrasound-photos/index.htm.)
With the emergence of 3D and 4D ultrasound technology, an entire industry of prenatal photography blossomed and now offers expectant parents photo-like images of their babies to grace the front of baby books.
It's a baby
An Internet search on 4D ultrasound fetal imagery reveals a number of ultrasound companies with nauseatingly cute names like, Alreadyadorable.com, PrenatalPeek.com and Prenatal Premiere. While these 3D and 4D ultrasound companies are marketed like photography studios, they also illustrate the humanity of the unborn child.
They give the graphic evidence women need before deciding to destroy the life within them. Granted, abortionists will howl in protest: it will cut their business dramatically and force everyone to reckon with the life of the child.
It will also provide proper information to women, many of whom will regret their decisions to abort their babies.
Archbishop Thomas Collins recently asked that a Life Issues Office be established in the Edmonton Archdiocese that would be a "centre of excellence." It's a tall but critically important task in a society that is growing intolerant of inconvenient, unloved or imperfect humanity.
The Life Issues Office must address issues like abortion, euthanasia, and the brave new world of cloning and genetic manipulation. Those of us involved in the defence of all human life welcome the establishment of the Life Issues Office. Under the capable direction of John MacDonald, it promises to be the "centre of excellence" that the archbishop wants.
It will be a formidable task for the Life Issues Office to keep abreast of societal trends that threaten or promote human dignity. There are so many developments in science and public policy that call for a Christian response to advocate and promote for the worth, dignity and equality of all human life in accord with Church teaching.
A number of commercial productions illustrate the dazzling 4D ultrasound of prenatal imaging. The Life Issues Office should acquire them to enlighten people about the marvellous humanity of the unborn.
It is a logical first step to creating a culture of life and welcome in the Edmonton Archdiocese. Witnessing the miracle of human development at its earliest stages goes a long way to create a community where abortion is unthinkable.
Value of life
The archdiocese can provide a model of inclusion and dignity for the youngest in the womb to the oldest near the tomb. The Life Issues Office will play a significant role in calling people beyond preconceived notions to a higher imperative where all human life is viewed as valuable.
Everybody has something to bring to the world, regardless of whether they are wanted or unwanted, loved or unloved. Even those society deems as biologically or genetically unworthy, or degraded, and are not even aware of their surrounding, have something to bring to the world. By their presence among us they call society to a higher standard of humanity and love.
Life issues call us to broaden our capacity to include all human life in the loving embrace of community that reflects the love of Christ.
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