Posts Tagged ‘rape’

Medieval Sex Ed

Cape Town’s latest fad on negative reinforcement for rapists.

Evolutionary remedy or revolutionary digression?

Thanks to Filipino Free Thinkers for bringing this to my curiosity.

“Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld”

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A follow-up to our previous post.

From BBC recently, the Vatican’s statement on the excommunication in Brazil:

Cardinal Re, who heads the Roman Catholic Church’s Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, told La Stampa that the archbishop had been right to excommunicate the mother and doctors.

“It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated,” he said.

“Life must always be protected, the attack on the Brazilian Church is unjustified.”

The important question here is not whether or not to protect life, but in a situation where the life of the mother is imperiled by her pregnancy, whether to prioritize the life of the mother or the unborn fetus(es).  

Other interesting views:

  • One of the bloggers on our blogroll, Objectivist Reason, described why a defense of unborn potential is inherently a fallacy.
  • Daniel Florien of Unreasonable Faith presented a couple of months back how pro-life supporters are always impassionately defending unborn life, but rarely consider the welfare of the mother.

Interesting to note also: had the 9-year old girl been of age, she would also have been excommunicated as well.

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On the BBC recently: Brazil’s President chides a Catholic Bishop for excommunicating the mother of a young girl as well as her doctors: all for contributing to the girl’s abortion of her twin fetuses.

Seem very straightforward? Before you answer, consider that:

  • The young girl’s conception was due to sexual abuse by her stepfather; and
  • The young girl is 9 years old.

Not so straightforward anymore? Under Brazil law, abortions are legal if done in the context of rape or potential health risks to the mother-to-be. In this case, both criteria were met for the young girl.

However, Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho was undeterred and said that the excommunication would apply to the doctors who performed the operation as well as the girl’s mother. The girl would not be included because she was underage.

Meanwhile the girl’s stepfather is in police custody–also suspected to have abused the young girl’s older sister.

The Church’s stand against abortion is very clear, however the context of this situation has given a lot of Catholics mixed feelings. Many feel for the doctors especially, as they were fulfilling their professional duty to safeguard the life of the young girl.

Also a nagging moral question: the excommunication spares the step-father abuser, since he did not have anything to do with the abortion, although it was his sexual abuse of his step-daughter that led to the situation.

Brazil’s President Lula could not contain his disappointment at the whole affair, and was quoted saying:

In this case, the medical profession was more right than the Church.

Does this whole situation seem so irrational, and yet consistent with the dictates of religion?

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Even if you haven’t watched that many CSI shows, you probably already know that DNA evidence is already in common use as a tool of modern forensic investigation. The success rate of methods utilizing DNA evidence has been increasing over the years, and its application has resulted in many a conviction or resolution of usually tricky and difficult cases.

Some of the more celebrated cases of bad guys caught with DNA evidence include Colin Pitchfork, in 1988 found guilty of a double murder (Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth) and was the first murder conviction using DNA evidence. Check out BBC’s article on Pitchfork’s case along with other murderers caught with DNA.

Apart from catching the bad guys, DNA has also helped exonorate the good guys. Jerry Miller spent 25 years languishing in prison for a rape conviction in 1981 before new DNA evidence cleared him of the charges. Miller’s case marked the 200th exonoration using DNA.

The Innocence Project assists and tracks cases where DNA evidence could help exonorate inmates and, as Kate Carter reports, has been quite successful in pushing for DNA evidence to clear individuals.

Despite the triumphs of DNA in helping to deliver justice, at least one person isn’t sold onto the idea:

Russell Kaemmerling, who was convicted of conspiring to commit wire fraud and is being held in a federal prison in Texas, sued to block the BOP from collecting his DNA on the grounds that it amounted to a defilement of “God’s temple” and was “tantamount to laying the foundation for the rise of the anti-Christ.”

By law, the BOP is required to collect DNA samples from prisoners, typically via a blood sample or a mouth swab to collect saliva. The Justice Department recently expanded its DNA collection to include citizens arrested in connection with federal crimes and many immigrants detained by federal authorities.

Kaemmerling, an evangelical Christian, argued that collection of his DNA information could result in his unwilling participation in activities against his religion, including cloning experiments and stem cell research.

Although in Kaemmerling’s case, the D.C. court ruled that DNA collection does not limit religious freedom, and Kaemmerling may have a debatable point about the use of his DNA for other activities, apart from religious inclinations did he waive his right to his genetic code by commiting a crime?

And in the context of the above, are the benefits of DNA evidence enough reason to impose on the rights of people on their genetic material?

Can we please check again?

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