Pro-Life Academy: Science in the Service of the Pro-Life Movement

I wanted to take a moment to highlight a great series at Dr. Gerard M. Nadal’s blog: Pro-Life Academy. In Dr. Nadal’s pro-life academy posts, he has been digging into embryology recently, going through the book EMBRYO: A Defense of Human Life.

Be sure to check out (and subscribe to!) the Pro-Life Academy posts from Dr. Nadal!

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10 Comments on “Pro-Life Academy: Science in the Service of the Pro-Life Movement

  1. I do find him very clear and very polite. His beliefs in the morality of allowing women to die I find abhorrent – he reminds me why “pro-life” is such an ironic term for those who support the deaths of pregnant women. I think he isn’t a conscious hypocrite, which is something, though it would be terrible if someone with his beliefs had control over a hospital.

    • There’s a bit of a caricature of his arguments. For someone who’s engaged in repeated and careful analysis of a complex bioethical issue, to reduce his position to that of “supporting the deaths of pregnant women” is not only uncharitable, but intellectually dishonest.

      If there are two lives at stake, you can’t deny that the issue of a pregnancy potentially threatening the life of the mother is a serious and complex issue with no simple and obvious solution. You might disagree with his arguments, but setting up strawmen (that he “supports the death of pregnant women”) seems to suggest you haven’t thought through the issue very thoroughly.

      • I’m sorry I didn’t see this till now.

        If there are two lives at stake, you can’t deny that the issue of a pregnancy potentially threatening the life of the mother is a serious and complex issue with no simple and obvious solution.

        Except that Gerard Nadal has a “simple and obvious solution”: let the pregnant woman die.

        It’s no caricature: that’s his answer.

        I have read his posts on this topic quite thoroughly, and find nothing there to suggest that Nadal is prepared to acknowledge any “complexity” to the answer – any possibility that it would be right to perform an abortion and let the woman live.

        I have a solution too, and it’s less simple but quite as obvious: Tell the pregnant woman what the situation is and what the risks are of continuing the pregnancy, and ask her what she wants to do. (If she’s not conscious, and hasn’t previously made her wishes clear, the doctors will simply have to follow the basic medical ethic of doing their best for their patient.)

          • I see no evidence in Nadal’s writings that he recognizes the woman as a person with the right to live. His sole concern is for the fetus, to the extent that if death is inevitable for the fetus, he sees no reason to provide care to allow the woman to live.

            Nadal’s ethical position is that it’s far better to kill the woman by deliberately withholding medical treatment from her, and thereby to allow the unborn child to die within the woman’s dead uterus, than to remove the unborn child from the uterus and allow the woman to live.

            Nadal thinks that if you can only save one, and that one the woman, she’s not worth saving.

          • Maybe Nadal is naive not to think someone might accuse him of considering women non-persons. I thought it was implied and manifestly obvious that he considers the woman a person.

            For example, Nadal ran a series on the Dignity and Vocation of Women earlier this year on that very same blog:

            http://gerardnadal.com/2010/02/25/pro-life-academy-the-dignity-of-women-i/

            http://gerardnadal.com/2010/03/02/pro-life-academy-the-dignity-of-women-ii/

            For some reason, I think you’ll find plenty to disagree with there, but to suggest that Nadal doesn’t recognize the woman as a person is, quite frankly, laughable.

          • Maybe Nadal is naive in assuming that someone would actually believe he considers non-persons

            When a man argues that a woman who is dying if she doesn’t have an abortion ought to be left to die: or when he argues that it’s actively better for women to be forced to have illegal unsafe abortions rather than safe legal ones: plainly he does not regard women as humans with the same rights as himself.

            The posts you link to on the “dignity of women” do suggest that he thinks of women, if not as non-persons, certainly as sub-humans.

          • “I thought it was implied and manifestly obvious that he considers the woman a person.”

            What exactly is “manifestly obvious” in your eyes about the argument that a woman ought to be used till she breaks, means you think of a woman as a person like yourself, with the same dignity and inherent human rights and value?

            “Use till it breaks” is what you do to cheap equipment, not even to valued animals. And that was, consistently, Nadal’s argument with regard to the treatment of ill or dying pregnant women.

          • We’re not going to see anything eye to eye here. I understand Nadal’s perspective, because he sees two patients, and can’t justify an action intended to cause the death of one of them.

            You don’t see the unborn as a human person, and are thus appalled at Nadal’s refusal to simply dispense with the unborn to save the life of the mother.

            He thinks it’s unacceptable to kill one of his patients to save the other. You don’t believe there is a second patient, so obviously his argument seems absurd to you.

            Now, the intellectual honest road to take would be to focus on the actual basis of your disagreement — the humanity of the unborn — rather than pretending that Nadal is saying “use till it breaks.”

          • I understand Nadal’s perspective, because he sees two patients, and can’t justify an action intended to cause the death of one of them.

            But his whole argument is justification of an action intended to cause the death of one of them – the pregnant woman. The death of the pregnant woman ensures the death of the fetus she carries. So if Nadal “sees two patients”, he sees them only to cause the death of both.

            If you understand that perspective, I can’t: it’s beyond me why anyone would think it better to let two die than to save one life.

            You don’t see the unborn as a human person, and are thus appalled at Nadal’s refusal to simply dispense with the unborn to save the life of the mother.

            I’m bewildered wby pro-lifers keep telling me this. My point is, and always has been, that I see the woman as a human person, and therefore am appalled at the pro-lifer view that she can be dispensed with: even more appalled when she is “dispensed with” when doing so means the death of the fetus she is carrying.

            Perhaps this is projection on your part? Your unwillingness to perceive the humanity of the woman, projected on to me?

            He thinks it’s unacceptable to kill one of his patients to save the other.

            Well, Nadal isn’t a medical doctor. But if he were, his willingmess to kill one of his patients and thus encompass the death of the other would get him banned from practicisng medicine.

            That is my problem, you see: Nadal is willing to argue for the death of both, but not for the survival of one – when that one is the woman. He does not appear to feel she has any right to life.

            I believe that the woman is a human being, and that’s why this argument seems absurd to me.

            Now, the intellectual honest road to take would be to focus on the actual basis of your disagreement with me — the humanity of the woman – rather than trying to pretend I am arguing against the humanity of the fetus.

            But plainly, since Nadal thinks a woman dying of pregnancy-relate complications too early in her pregnancy to save the fetus, ought to be left to die with her fetus inside her, he is of the view that women are incubators to be used till broken.

            And, it appears… so do you.

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