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Posts about general (old posts, page 7)

Pro-Life Health Care

Melissa and I went for our first appointment with our new obstetrician yesterday. The great news is that our baby looks healthy, and we got to see his/her heart beating on the ultrasound!

Unfortunately we both left with a bit of a bad feeling, and personally I was not feeling very confident in our new doctor, or our health care system in general.

It's not that I doubt her competence, but I do worry about her motivations.

When we arrived at our OB's office yesterday, there were posters and pamphlets advertising "Integrated Prenatal Screening: It's Your Choice." After a bit of reading in the waiting room, I discovered that IPS is when they test for things like Down Syndrome and open neural tube defect. So after you exercise your choice in whether to test if your baby is "defective", you then have the choice of what to do with that information. Isn't choice wonderful? Too bad the baby has no choice in the matter.

Never mind that the test isn't 100% accurate, with significant rates of false positives and negatives, and carries with it a risk of miscarriage...

Once our turn came up, we entered into one of the examination rooms, and plastered up on one wall was a huge poster that outlined all the various kinds of contraception. To me, this sends mixed messages: "Congratulations on your pregnancy! By the way, just to be sure this doesn't happen to you again, try using one of these..."

In the little pregnancy booklet provided by the North York General Hospital, there is a section about contraception. The text states that women must choose a form of contraception to use after giving birth. It goes on to discuss all the various methods of artificial contraception, and at the end there is a small section about natural methods. Too bad the only natural methods they discuss are the rhythm method and the withdrawal method, both of which are extremely unreliable, and are stated as such in the booklet. But they ignore more modern and more effective forms of natural family planning such as the Billings Ovulation Method, and claim that natural methods are useless to women with irregular cycles.

The doctor herself was very nice, and had a good sense of humour. She seemed genuinely happy for us. But she also did ask if we wanted to do the IPS test. When we refused, she said, "Ok, so whatever comes, comes, right?" And this is what makes me worried about her motivations. How should I feel about a person who would be fine with performing an IPS test, and then based on the results of the test would be fine with advising that abortion is an option? It makes me feel that she doesn't have my baby's best interests at heart.

Right now, I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she's just as uncomfortable with this stuff as I am, but doesn't know what do to about it. Maybe it's required by law that she advise parents of their options (it's all about choice, remember!)

On a bit of a more hopeful note, I'd just like to thank Fr. Jim (of Dappled Things) for his post today about Pro-Life OB/Gyn Services in DC area. I pray that centers like this really take off, so we can feel safe again when going to see the doctor!

kexec-chooser

What is it? kexec-chooser is a small utility that makes warm rebooting into new kernels under Debian a bit easier.

What is warm rebooting?

Recent Linux kernels support a new feature called kexec. Basically it allows you to load a new kernel image into memory, and then boot into that kernel directory without having to do a full reboot of the machine. This can speed up reboots significantly.

Where do I get it?

Download it here:

You'll also need Python version 2.4 installed, as well as the kexec-tools package.

How do I install it?

If you downloaded the .deb version, then running dpkg -i kexec-chooser_0.1_all.deb should work.

If you downloaded the .tar.gz version, then your best bet is to copy kexec-chooser into /usr/sbin. This package is really designed to work on Debian, so your milage may vary on other distributions.

How do I use it?

kexec -l

will print a list of available kernels.

kexec 2.6.17

will indicate that you want to warm-reboot into the 2.6.17 kernel. Note that this won't actually reboot your machine. When you reboot via the reboot command, or GNOME's Shut Down/Reboot dialog, then kexec-chooser will warm-reboot into the kernel you specified.

See the man page for more information.

Spam Attack?

In the past few days I've had around a 100x increase in hits to my site...And also a barrage of spam comments coming in.

The hits aren't coming from any one IP, but they don't seem to be referred by anywhere (Referrer header is empty). The User-Agent is typically "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0)". I do use some JavaScript traffic tracking on this site, and these hits aren't showing up, which leads me to think that either hoards of IE users have JavaScript turned off, or this is some new distributed trojan spam attack.

Anybody else noticed this recently?

Technorati tags:

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Mark Jaquith's Wordpress 2.0.3 upgrade

I have downloaded and installed Mark Jaquith's WordPress 2.0.3 Changed Files ZIP package.

I have verified that the Changed Files ZIP package contains nothing that is not in the original WordPress 2.0.3 download, so it is safe to use as far as I can tell. Verifying this took more time than actually doing the upgrade!

I think the WordPress release team should provide something similar, as this is a much more convienient way of upgrading for those of us with just FTP access to our web hosts.

Right on track

I blogged back in January that I had registered for the Sporting Life 10km. This was part of my New Year's resolutions to lose weight and get my 10km time under 50 minutes.

Well, the run was this past Sunday, and my time was 50 minutes 12 seconds. So close! I'm pretty happy with my time though, I felt like I pushed myself a lot harder than I did at the Harry Rosen Spring Run Off in April, and I managed to improve my pace from 5:14 per kilometer to 5:01 per kilometer.

The other part of my New Year's resolution, to lose weight, is coming along a bit more slowly. I have shed a few pounds since January, but nowhere near the amount I was hoping to. Still, I'd rather be slightly more fit and heavier than out of shape and lighter!

Dr. Janet Smith interview

From the American Papist:

Please note an interview with Dr. Janet Smith, Fr. Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics and Professor of Moral Theology at SHMS will be aired on an Australian Radio program tonight, Tuesday, May 2, 2006 at 8.30pm our time [EST]. The topic will be condoms and aids [what we've been talking about].
You can hear this interview by visiting <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/rn/audio.htm">http://www.abc.net.au/rn/audio.htm</a>

[More information on the program: <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/relrpt/">http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/relrpt/</a>

Mel would love this, but she's in Vegas right now, so I'll have to download it for her.

Mel and I are also going to see Dr. Janet Smith speak at the Humane Vitae conference in Ottawa next weekend. We can't wait!

Canadian Tolerance

This recent story about a talk given by pro-life speaker Stephanie Gray, and how she was treated by some students with other opinions illustrates several of the major problems I see in Canadian society today.

First, some context - Canada has what has got to be one of the most uncivilized policies in the world with regards to abortion. What laws does Canada have controlling abortion, you ask? Good question! Today in Canada, there are no laws governing abortion. Legally you are allowed to abort your child at any point from the time of conception until he or she is fully delivered from the womb. Yup, that's right. If, halfway through labour, a woman decides that she'd really rather not go through with this baby thing, then there's nothing stopping her from having a partial-birth abortion.

For me, things seem pretty straight forward. I think (I hope!) everybody would agree that a newborn baby is a human being. As a human being, she has the right to life under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, under the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as natural law, and plain common sense.

Since a newborn is a human being, killing a newborn baby is wrong, and is a criminal offence. Justifiable situations for purposefully killing another person, such as self-defence, clearly don't apply here as the newborn is not threatening anybody else's life by any direct action.

The problem seems to be: is a yet-to-be-born baby a human being? Why wouldn't she be? What are the differences between a just-delivered child, and the same child a few moments earlier? The only differences are her physical location, and the way she is receiving the critical materials for living: nutrition and oxygen. This is the basis of the dependence argument claimed by many pro-choice advocates; a prenatal baby is not human because she is dependent on her mother for life.

But is a newborn any less dependent after birth? She still needs somebody to feed her and keep her warm. We are all dependent on others at different stages in our lives. A 3 year old child is not completely independent. A heart-attack victim needs somebody to keep his blood circulating, his lungs breathing, and his body fed while it is repaired and while it recovers. Being dependent doesn't rob us of our person-hood. The dependence argument doesn't make sense.

Does the child's location determine her person-hood? This is another typical pro-choice argument: since the baby is inside the mother's body, she has the right to decide the baby's fate. Again, this doesn't make any sense - if I am human, I am human no matter where I am.

Therefore, a baby in the moments prior to birth is also a human being.

What about in the days, weeks, or months prior to birth? What is the difference between a baby at 6 months since conception, and a baby at 9 months? Simply a matter of development. The baby at 6 months since conception will continue to grow and develop to become a larger baby at 9 months. After birth the 1 day old baby will continue to grow and develop until she is 1 month old, 6 months old, 1 year old, 3 years old, 10 years old, 20 years old. Even after her body stops developing, her mind continues to learn, adapt and change.

So to say that a prenatal baby is not yet human, or not "fully" human simply because she is still developing is nonsensical. When do we stop growing, stop changing, stop developing? Only when after we're dead.

We are human by virtue of having human parents, and by a miraculous gift of life from God. What else could a human sperm and human egg combine to form? A rabbit? Penguin? Palm tree? No, the only thing that a human sperm and human egg can form is a human child.

Back to the talk delivered at Western by Stephanie Gray. This story gave me a new sense of hope for Canada, but also makes me wonder: why is this subject taboo in Canadian politics and media? One major problem I see today is that no politician seems willing to rock the boat on this issue, or even to discuss it. At least our neighbours to the south debate this issue in a more public and open way.

Perhaps a more fundamental problem is that it seems to me that in Canada if you voice a pro-life opinion then you are labelled as being intolerant and not respecting of a woman's rights. Isn't a pro-choice opinion not respectful of a baby's rights? Why is somebody with un-"liberal" views intolerant? This isn't the case with just the abortion issue, it also seems to be the case with other issues like same-sex "marriage", child care, and health care. Aren't "liberals" intolerant of "conservative" opinions?

When did tolerance become the pinnacle of ethics and justice?