Article in St Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri): Down syndrome advocates praise new law

CHESTERFIELD, Mo.— When Missouri Sen. John Loudon and his wife, Gina, decided to adopt their third child, they knew three things: They wanted a little boy, they would name him Samuel and he would have Down syndrome.

“This was always part of the plan,” said Gina Loudon as their now 3-year-old Sammy darted in and out of the living room in his slippers, giggling loudly.”We didn’t know much about how it was going to happen, but we just knew.”

The politically active couple with deep roots in the anti-abortion movement said their passion for Sammy spurred them to take legislative action on behalf of children with Down syndrome. It also put them in the center of an ongoing national discussion about genetic testing, the acceptance of people with disabilities and the type of information about Down syndrome that new or expecting parents were getting from their doctors.

Various studies estimate that 80 to 90 percent of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome through genetic testing choose to abort the fetus. Researchers believe this is the cause behind an 8 percent decline in people with Down syndrome in the United States in the past two decades.
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PZ Myers on the Enhancement of Sexual Morality: A Modest Proposal

Continuing to catch up on good things elsewhere, found this sermon on the mount(ed) post on Pharyngula, which only gets funnier. Though not any funnier than the sign, which just reminds us all how much more out there than the rest of us those Brits are, Rev. Mullin excepted, who clearly needs to get out more often:

Effective Family Planning

Effective Family Planning

The Reverend Peter Mullin doesn’t like those darn pushy homosexuals — they must make him feel uncomfortable and all squirmy deep down inside. He wrote some amazingly stupid things about gays.

The Rev Dr Peter Mullen said in an blog that homosexuality was “clearly unnatural, a perversion and corruption of natural instincts and affections” and “a cause of fatal disease”.

He recommended that homosexual practices be discouraged “after the style of warnings on cigarette packets”.

He wrote: “Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS.”

What about the heterosexual women? Everyone forgets the loving ladies in these arguments. Do they also get chin tattoos? That would be a real shame. And then there are those heterosexual couples that engage in all of the same activities that homosexuals do — why do they get a free pass from the Rev. Mullen?

He also didn’t say a thing about cunnilingus, but they never do. Lesbians also always get a free pass, and it’s just not fair. I’m beginning to think they are god’s favored people. Continue reading

Why Women Shouldn’t Marry

From my good friend RR at Chicana on the Edge, some reflection on mother-daughter team Cynthia and Hillary Smith’s recently revised book of this title (it’s an update of their 1988 book). Even her pic for this one is too irresistible not to steal, with the book being read on her recent belated honeymoon …

Cover of the book Why Women Shouldn't Marry

Cover of the book Why Women Shouldn

On the first day of our honeymoon, my husband and I wandered into a bookstore. I happened to notice one title, Why Women Shouldn’t Marry: Being Single By Choice and I picked it up. I was a spinster for too long to not find this book irresistible. My new husband indulgently carried it to the checkout counter for me.

I appreciate Cynthia S. Smith and Hillary B. Smith’s book. It acknowledges all the great reasons to get married, but asserts that too many women marry for bad reasons. With chapters like “The Soul Mate Myth,” “Why Divorced Women with Kids Shouldn’t Marry” and “Why Widows Shouldn’t Marry: You’ve Been Through Enough,” they have a lot of opinions I agree with. Their book rips into the cultural beliefs that a woman who isn’t married is less valuable and that marriage improves every woman’s life. I love the numerous stories of women who live independently, staying true to what they want out of life and refusing to let a man ruin their balance and stability. Continue reading

Pollyannaism about polygamy: Martha Nussbaum on Mormon history

Picture of Martha Nussbaum

Picture of Martha Nussbaum

Back in May in a blog post on the University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog, Martha Nussbaum offered some thoughts about both the history of Mormon polygamy in the United States and about attitudes toward polygamy more generally. I’m sympathetic to much of what Nussbaum says here but think that she’s wrong both about that history and about the more general attitudes in play.

Nussbaum critiques the negative views of American public opinion about Mormon polygamy, saying that

Mormon polygamy of the 19th century was not child abuse. Adult women married by consent, and typically lived in separate dwellings, each visited by the husband in turn. In addition to their theological rationale, Mormons defended the practice with social arguments – in particular that polygamous men would abandon wives or visit prostitutes less frequently. Instead of answering these arguments, however, Americans hastened to vilify Mormon society, publishing semi-pornographic novels that depicted polygamy as a hotbed of incest and child abuse.

While Nussbaum does acknowledge the patriarchal nature of (Mormon) polygamy, I suspect that she is both painting too rosy a picture of the history of Mormon polygamy, as well as mis-diagnosing the root of the distaste for polygamy in the popular mind. Such distaste runs deep alright, but the problem is not with polygamy per se. Below the fold is a bit more on each of these points, including some YouTube videos and transcripts, both serious and more humorous. Continue reading

China’s one child policy, a generation on

Those interested in issues pertaining to population control and family planning might like to listen to this Australian Radio National podcast, which charts the history of the one child policy in China: it’s making, and its effects. Continue reading

What’s in a Name? Well, Everything.

The Wall Street Journal has an article this week on a regulation being drafted by the Bush Administration regarding pregnancy, stating that the

proposed definition of pregnancy that has the effect of classifying some of the most widely used methods of contraception as abortion.

A draft regulation, still being revised and debated, treats most birth-control pills and intrauterine devices as abortion because they can work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. The regulation considers that destroying ‘the life of a human being.’

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