Norma was the plaintiff in the monumental Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion here in the United Stages in 1973. She later dedicated her life in an attempt to get the Supreme Court to overturn their decision.Read More
YOU TOO CAN SHARE THE PRO-LIFE PROSPECTIVE USING "THE SLED TEST"
Most of us who are pro-life want to have a greater impact on our pro-choice counterparts, but frankly we just lack the tools. Here is one of the best we can offer. It's simple, easy to remember and bet of all IT WORKS!
BELOW IS FROM THE STAND TO REASON WEBSITE
Abortion-choice advocates typically cite one or more characteristics they believe make a human being a person. Each of these characteristics fall under one of four categories. You can remember these categories with the acronym SLED: Size, Level of development, Environment, and Degree of dependency.
Although it’s true the unborn differs from a born human in these four ways, none of them is a relevant difference. None of them justifies killing the unborn. Consider how each category is irrelevant to human value.
Size: The unborn is clearly smaller than a born human. It’s hard to reason how a difference in size, though, disqualifies someone from being a person. A four year-old is smaller than a fourteen year-old. Can we kill her because she’s not as big as a teenager? No, because a human being’s value is not based on their size. She’s still equally a person even though she differs in that characteristic. In the same way, the unborn is smaller than a four year-old. If we can’t kill the four-year old because she’s smaller, then we can’t kill the unborn because she’s smaller either.
Level of development: The unborn is also less developed than a born human being. How does this fact, though, disqualify the unborn from personhood? A four year-old girl can’t bear children because her reproductive system is less developed than a fourteen year-old girl. That doesn’t disqualify her from personhood. She is still as equally valuable as a child-bearing teen. The unborn is also less developed than the four year-old. Therefore, we can’t disqualify her from personhood for the same reason we can’t disqualify the four year-old. Both are merely less developed than older human beings.
Environment: The unborn is located in a different environment than a born human. How does your location, though, affect your value? Can changing your environment alter your status as a person? Where you are has no bearing on who you are. An astronaut who spacewalks in orbit is in a radically different environment than a person on the planet. No one could reasonably deny his personhood simply because he’s in a different location. Scuba divers who swim under water and spelunkers who crawl through caves are equally as valuable as humans who ride in hot-air balloons. If changing your environment can’t change your fundamental status, then being inside or outside a uterus can’t be relevant either. How could a 7-inch journey through the birth canal magically transform a value-less human into a valuable person? Nothing has changed except their location.
Degree of dependency: The unborn is dependent upon the mother’s body for nutrition and a proper environment. It’s hard to see, though, how depending upon another person disqualifies you from being a person. Newborns and toddlers still depend upon their parents to provide nutrition and a safe environment. Indeed, some third-world countries require children to be breast fed because formula is not available. Can a mother kill her newborn son because he depends on her body for nutrition? Or, imagine you alone witnessed a toddler fall into a swimming pool. Would you be justified in declaring him not valuable simply because he depended on you for his survival? Of course not! Since the unborn depends on his mother in the same way, it’s not reasonable to disqualify his value either.
Notice that although toddler and teens differ from each other in the four SLED categories, we don’t disqualify toddlers from personhood. Since born and unborn humans differ in exactly the same ways, we can’t disqualify the unborn from personhood either.
The SLED tactic exposes the argument for abortion for what it really is: unjust discrimination. Abortion-choice advocates deny that all human beings are valuable and deserve protection. Which ones don’t qualify? The ones that are too small, not developed enough, in the wrong location, and are too dependent on other people. In other words, the human beings that satisfy the SLED Test’s criteria are the ones that don’t make the cut.
These four characteristics, though, are arbitrary and allow the strong to disqualify the weak, vulnerable, and defenseless. Sadly, history is crowded with similar examples. African Americans were victims of discrimination. They were a class of human beings that was disqualified from being valuable based on an arbitrary characteristic: their skin color. Jews were also were victims of discrimination. They were a class of human beings that was disqualified from being valuable based on an arbitrary characteristic: their ethnicity. Today, the unborn are victims of discrimination. They are a class of human beings that are disqualified from being valuable based on arbitrary characteristics: their size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency.
The pro-life position, on the other hand is an inclusive view. It says no human being – regardless of size, skin color, level of development, race, gender, or place of residence – should be excluded from the community of human persons. This view of humanity is inclusive and wide open to all, especially to those who are small, vulnerable, and defenseless.
States add new laws require admitting privileges that abortion doctors can get.
“Admitting privilege is the right of a doctor, by virtue of membership as a hospital's medical staff, to admit patients to a particular hospital or medical center for providing specific diagnostic or therapeutic services to such patient in that hospital. Each hospital maintains a list of health care providers who have admitting privileges in that hospital. Admitting privileges granted to a non physician is limited to treatment of patient independently, and admission of such a patient to hospital requires a physician’s order. Admitting privileges of some physicians are limited to consultative services only.” (USLegal.com)
When a doctor has admitting privileges it means that he can use the hospital facilities to care for patients. In many cases when you see a doctor at your local hospital, they are acting as an ‘independent contractor’ and are not actually on paid staff at the hospital. This can be true even of ER doctors. (Lawyers.com)
For the safety of women, many states have begun requiring admitting privileges of the doctor who is providing abortions to a local hospital in order to provide continued care in incidences where problems arise during or after a termination that would require admission to a local hospital. So, herein lays the problem for abortionists who desire to obtain admitting privileges at hospitals near their clinics. Many abortion providers are finding this very difficult because: (The Washington Post)
1) They do not live near enough to the hospital to be available to provide urgent care for their patient. Many hospitals require a doctor to live within a given distance to their hospital.
2) Many do not even live within the state that they are practicing in. Some doctors cover more than one clinic in more than one state and even fly in to perform abortions and then return home at the end of their day.
3) Many hospitals don’t want to be affiliated with a doctor that performs abortions because: they don’t want to receive the political backlash, or they don’t want to have the public stigma, or the hospital is a religiously affiliated hospital (usually Catholic) which refuses to provide the ‘privilege’ for obvious religious reasons.
As more and more states require what most people would consider a very sensible law, it is causing more and more clinics to close their doors. This in turn has begun a legal battle in states such as Texas where many of their abortion clinics have closed because of some of above reasons.
It would interest many of our readers to know that pregnancy resource centers such as ours, that have clinic licenses and operate under the license of a physician, are required to have admitting privileges, even though we don’t offer surgical treatment. Yet, in many cases abortionists are not required to have such privileges while performing in some cases, hundreds of surgical abortions each week.
Latest Report Shows the Growing Trend of Abortion Businesses Closing Their Doors
A recent report from the Guttmacher Institute (originally founded as the research arm of Planned Parenthood) shows that the number of abortionists has dropped by over 40% to just 1,720 in 2011. This shows a significant drop from an all time high of 2,908 in 1985. Fewer abortionists means fewer abortions. A recent report supports this, indicating that abortions are at the lowest point since 1973.
Fortunately, doctors who would do abortions are also dwindling in numbers. This is causing changes in the abortion industry such as soliciting young doctors coming out of med school, using nurses instead of doctors to perform abortions (as in California) and using "telemed" abortions.
In an attempt to increase student interest and participation, pro-abortion groups like Medical Students for Choice were launched. Although MSFC is an international group, their success has been impacted here in the US because there are more doctors leaving the abortion industry and there is a higher percentage of pro-life people in the US than in the past.
California is the largest abortion state in the United States. Yet even they are being impacted by a lack of doctors willing to take human life. In California, in an attempt to combat this issue, nurses and non-medical personnel can now legally perform abortions. This practice will create new dangers for women seeking to terminate their pregnancy in an industry already loosely governed by laws that are in place to protect women from medical malpractice.
In more and more states due of the number of closed abortion clinics, abortions are being done over the internet. Called telemedicine, abortions are directed over the internet by a physician miles away, often in another state; and many of them are done as self administered treatments.
The reports and statistics showing lower abortion rates and fewer abortionists is very good news in deed, however we will still see close to 1 MILLION abortions again this year in the United States in spite of tougher regulations in many states and the fact that there are fewer medical 'professionals' to perform them.
An infant can recognize a lullaby heard in the womb for several months after birth, potentially supporting later speech development.
In an article posted on the sciencedaily.com website, new research at the University of Helsinki shows that an infant can recognize a lullaby heard in the womb for several months after birth. The article states that this may potentially support later speech development. These results show that fetuses, while in the womb, can recognize and remember sounds from the outside world.
(Consider Psalm 51:5-6 - "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place." - What do we know at birth?)
The research done focused on 24 women during the final trimester of their pregnancies. Half of the women played the melody of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to their fetuses five days a week for the final stages of their pregnancies. After the babies were born, tests showed that the brains of the babies who heard the melody in utero reacted more strongly to the familiar melody, both immediately and four months after birth, when compared with the control group.
"Even though our earlier research indicated that fetuses could learn minor details of speech, we did not know how long they could retain the information. These results show that babies are capable of learning at a very young age, and that the effects of the learning remain apparent in the brain for a long time," explains Eino Partanen, who is currently finishing his dissertation at the Cognitive Brain Research Unit.
(Remember - The baby in the womb has brain waves long before they are born and experience REM sleep indicating that they dream. What might they be dreaming about? How much do we really understand at birth?)
Dr. Minna Huotilainen, principal investigator in the research states, "This is the first study to track how long fetal memories remain in the brain. The results are significant, as studying the responses in the brain let us focus on the foundations of fetal memory. The early mechanisms of memory are currently unknown".
These researchers believe that song and speech are beneficial for the fetus in terms of speech development. According on current understanding, the processing of singing and speech in babies’ brains are partially based on shared mechanisms, and so hearing a song can support a baby's speech development.
The study was published by the American scientific journal PLoS ONE. The research was conducted at the Academy of Finland's Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research as well as the Cognitive Brain Research Unit at the University of Helsinki Institute of Behavioural Sciences.
Congressional Hearings Under Way
Because of the national coverage of the Kermit Gosnell murder case, and subsequent additional cases coming to light of abortion deaths and horrific conditions in abortion clinics around the country, Frank Trent, a pro-life Republican member of Congress is pushing legislation that would ban abortions on babies after 20 weeks of pregnancy nationwide.
Congressman Trent Franks will advance legislation to provide protection nationwide for unborn children who have the capacity to experience pain in the womb. Evidence has shown that capacity exists by 20 weeks fetal age. (Ref. National Right To Life)
Franks is the prime sponsor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Although the current version of the bill, would apply only to the District of Columbia, the congressman intends to revise the bill (H.R. 1797) in committee to cover the entire nation.
As Chair of the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, Franks has begun hearings on the subject. On Thursday May 23rd, Dr. Anthony Levatino, an OB/GYN who himself performed over 1,200 abortions before becoming pro-life, testified before the committee on the subject of abortions in the second trimester. (Ref. LifeNews.com article)
In Dr. Levatino’s testimony he verifies from his own experience that the baby at 20 weeks and beyond experiences pain, as he describes in detail abortion procedures at this time of pregnancy. (See LifeSupporter.org videos)
Franks told LifeNews.com, “To this end, I have re-introduced the D.C. Pain Capable Unborn Protection Act, which will now be amended to broaden its coverage so that its provisions will apply nationwide,” he said. “Knowingly subjecting our innocent unborn children to dismemberment in the womb, particularly when they have developed to the point that they can feel excruciating pain every terrible moment leading up to their undeserved deaths, belies everything America was called to be. This is not who we are.”
By David Coppedge
If you thought work on human cloning and embryonic stem cell research went out of style with the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells, watch out. The pro-cloning people, who never lost their lust for toying with human embryos, are back.
Writing for Science Magazine, Gretchen Vogel titled an article, “Human Stem Cells From Cloning, Finally.” She seems delighted that researchers may be able to treat humans like farm animals:
This time it looks like it’s for real: Researchers have made personalized human embryonic stem (ES) cells with a method similar to how Dolly the sheep was cloned—though with an added jolt of caffeine.
The success, which produced stem cells carrying DNA belonging to a baby with an inherited disorder, comes 9 years after South Korean researchers claimed in a famously faked paper that they had achieved a similar feat. After their story unraveled, a handful of researchers continued trying, but human eggs, or oocytes, responded poorly to the techniques that have worked in sheep, mice, cows, pigs, and other animals.
Now, thanks to years of work in monkey cells, a group led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton reports a recipe that works for human cells.
Of course, there are those people troubled by the ethics of such research:
While welcomed by many researchers, who envision creating personalized stem cells for therapies or research, the achievement isalso likely to stir up old ethical debates about human SCNT [somatic cell nuclear transfer], including whether itshould be regulated to prevent attempts at reproductive human cloning. In the short term, that shouldn’t be a worry, Mitalipov says.
Who’s worried? After all, the scientists don’t really want to clone human beings for a Star Wars army — at least not in the short term. They just want to get their hands on those precious embryonic stem cells (ES), and this “success” opens the door for them. Even so, “the team hadsurprisingly good success generating embryos,” Vogel said.
But this begs the question: who needs ES cells, when induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) are just as good without the ethical problems?
This high efficiency could mean that SCNT is not as impractical for creating personalized human stem cells as many observers had expected. But it faces stiff competition from the current method of making genetically matched pluripotent cells, called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. By adding extra copies of several genes to skin or other cells, scientists can reprogram them to behave like ES cells. That technique is much easier than, and it doesn’t require a supply of human oocytes. (The oocytes used in Mitalipov’s experiments were donated by healthy volunteers for research purposes; donors were paid $5000 for their time and trouble, the local rate paid to egg donors for fertility treatments.)
Some researchers have found evidence, however, that there may be subtle but potentially significant differences between the genes expressed in iPS cells and ES cells derived from embryos. The chance to compare SCNT-derived human ES cells with iPS counterparts is one of the most important aspects of the new advance, Daley says. “Theremay be advantages to SCNT-ES cells, but this must be rigorously proven,” he says. In practice, he says, making iPS cells “remains considerably easier.”
So just on the supposition that there might be a difference, some researchers are willing to destroy human embryos to find out. Does that sound ethical? She quoted a researcher who thinks both methods are “useful” — the language of pragmatism, not ethics. Vogel had no further ethical qualms.
To the editors at New Scientist, it’s “back to the future” all over again.
A few years ago, therapeutic cloning looked like the future of medicine. It promised to realise the dream of repairing damaged tissues and organs using a patient’s own cells. But it also had a dark side: producing its supply of stem cells required the creation of human embryos which were later destroyed.
What did Nature say about this? David Cyranoski wrote in Nature this week wearing ethics on his sleeve from the first paragraph:
It was hailed some 15 years ago as the great hope for a biomedical revolution: the use of cloning techniques to create perfectly matched tissues that would someday cure ailments ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease. Since then, the approach has been enveloped in ethical debate, tainted by fraud and, in recent years, overshadowed by a competing technology. Most groups gave up long ago on the finicky core method — production of patient-specific embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from cloning. A quieter debate followed: do we still need ‘therapeutic’ cloning?
Mitalipov’s experiment “is sure to rekindle that debate,” Cyranoski continued. He described how Mitalipov used a “university advertising campaign” to attract women to donate eggs for his lab at the Health and Science University in Beaverton, Oregon. (He first practiced on skin cells obtained from fetuses.) His method sounds a little Frankensteinish, using electric jolts and caffeine to coax the stubborn skin cells to form stable stem cell lines. It took longer to get human cells to work than monkey cells, he said, because much of the time was spent “navigatingregulations on embryo research.”
Mitalipov is apparently most concerned about making his process more efficient, why? to attract funding:
Such improvements might be necessary to convince people thatresearch is still worthwhile. Egg donors for the experiment received US$3,000–7,000 in compensation. This is expensive and,according to some bioethicists, risks creating an organ trade that preys on the poor. Because the technique requires the destruction of embryos, funds from the US National Institutes of Health ( ) cannot be used to make or study SCNT-derived cell lines, hampering further clinical research. (Mitalipov maintains a separate laboratory for NIH-funded research.)
Another “sticking point” is public fear of human cloning. Stem-cell opponents might “capitalize on” such fears, the article says. Mitalipov is trying to convince opponents that creation of a human clone, like Dolly the sheep, is not possible (at least, at this time).
But other stem-cell researchers are wondering why Mitalipov is wasting his time. “Honestly, the most surprising thing [about this paper] is that somebody is still doing human  in the era of iPS cells,” said a specialist in regenerative medicine. Watchers will be waiting to see whether iPS and ES cells really differ in significant ways.
New Scientist thinks the ethical battles will be muted during the Obama era:
Will we now see a revival of the stem cell culture wars in the? Probably, but they should be less polarised this time round. The Bush-era laws were relaxed by President Obama in 2009 to no great hullabaloo. The fact that the breakthrough work was done in Oregon may also help: home-grown success has a way of changing hearts and minds. What is clear is that we have entered a new phase in the long-running stem cell soap opera. Expect drama aplenty.
But if this is a “soap opera,” it’s one where innocent human lives are at stake — and not only the lives of fertilized human embryos, but potential adult clones. Live Science asked if this might lead to human cloning someday. What worried reporter Rachael Rattner more, the pragmatics, or the principle of the thing?
Although it would be unethical, experts say it is likely biologically possible to clone a human being. But even putting ethics aside, the sheer amount of resources needed to do it is a significant barrier.
Rattner concentrated on practical problems with human cloning. “It’s like sending your baby up in a rocket knowing there’s a 50–50 chance it’s going to blow up,” she quoted one researcher quipping. “It’s grossly unethical.” Practical problems, though, can be remedied with enough research. If Rattner is willing to put ethics aside rhetorically, the day could come when unscrupulous, pragmatic researchers with government funding will put it aside for real.
This story is very disturbing on the heels of the Kermit Gosnell trial. Remember that abortion was sold in the 1970s in terms of concern for poor women who needed access to “reproductive health” needs. The callous disregard for human life that resulted from that slippery slope has shocked the nation with revelations about Gosnell’s and other abortion mills described as “houses of horror” by investigators, who found abortion doctors twisting the heads off babies born alive, leaving them struggling for 20 minutes before severing their spinal cords with scissors, and telling mothers that the dead baby in the womb after chemical abortion is just “meat in a crockpot.” Horrified nurses would find babies swimming in toilets and packed in bloody bags in refrigerators. Do you think for a minute that “sanctity of human life” will fare any better among those who want free rein with human embryos?
Speaking of abortion, Tanya Lewis wrote an interesting article for Live Science about ultrasound and how it has changed attitudes about abortion. While ultrasound can backfire in cultures that want to use it for sex selection (aborting many female babies), for the most part it has given expectant mothers a view the abortionists never told them about: their baby is a living human being.
Ultrasound has enjoyed an enthusiastic reception by pregnant women. In addition to revealing the baby’s health, the images themselves provide a keepsake. “Overwhelmingly, pregnant women expect to be scanned, and are moved and excited by seeing the fetus,” Nicolson said — especially if the baby moves. In fact, Nicolson said, some women report not feeling pregnant until they’ve seen the ultrasound image.
Seeing a developing fetus has a humanizing effect, too. Donald, the physician who helped develop the technology, was a devout High Anglican, and knew the images carried moral significance for women contemplating having an abortion.
Lewis cited anecdotal evidence that expectant mothers who see their baby with ultrasound are less likely to terminate their pregnancy. Each moving baby that the mother rejoices to see on the ultrasound scanner was a single cell just a few months earlier. The DNA for a full human is there in both cases; the difference between a moving baby in the womb and a fertilized cell is only a matter of time.
It took a “House of Horrors” to look at the abortion industry.
By Jeff Bennett
On Wednesday May 8th 2013, members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to public health officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to examine how each state regulates and monitors abortion clinics and protects the health and safety of women. The stories of atrocity coming from the Kermit Gosnell murder trial prompted the review. Kermit Grosnell has now been charged with the murder of 3 babies that had survived abortions at his clinic and then were later brutally murdered. The case sparked national attention from conservative media and pro-life groups and since the convictions other media and government officials have chimed in as well.
In addition to the murder convictions, Gosnell was found guilty of 21 out of 24 felony counts of illegal abortions beyond the 24 week limit established by law and found guilty on all but 16 of 227 misdemeanor counts of violating the State of Pennsylvania’s 24-hour informed consent law.
Actions taken by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce couldn’t have come too soon. The letter is clear and should usher in responses by most states. In question will be states such as California which doesn’t even require abortion clinics to report how many abortions they commit AND is aggressively taking steps to make abortions in that state easier.
Legislators attempting to make abortion less safe for women while rest of nation works to make abortion safer for women.
By Jeff Bennett
After failure by republicans to gain seats in
the California Legislature, that state has a "super majority" democratic
leadership. Little can be done, but watch with horror as democrats push
their agenda of pro-abortion and anti-family legislation. While states
across the country are tightening restrictions on abortion and abortion
clinics, the California Legislators are passing potentially dangerous
rulings that could make abortion significantly less safe for women. The
latest bill, AB145, is a measure that would allow non-physicians to
perform abortions. As if abortion was not easy enough to obtain in
California, where an estimated 23% of the 1.2 million abortions are performed each year, this bill would make it even more accessible.
The concern is, that as goes California, so goes the nation. Some also say that this may also be a precursor to the advancement of Obamacare in this country. (One News Now) Given the large number of states that are passing stringent safety regulations on abortionists and abortion clinics, it may be hard to imagine this being true. Nevertheless the California legislation is quite likely to pass allowing that state to continue to be the leader in abortion on demand for some time to come.
North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple signed a bill into law which effectively outlaws abortions on babies if a fetal heartbeat can be heard by ultrasound, which is typically around 6 weeks into a pregnancy. This new law becomes the most protective law in our country.
The law also bans abortions arising from indications of genetic defects; and requires abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. Many doctors provide abortions with no admitting privileges. In such cases if follow-up treatment is needed at a hospital, the doctor that did the abortion procedure cannot properly treat or follow up with the patient. Earlier this month Arkansas passed a similar law providing a 12-week ban on abortions.
Read: The governor's statement
There are currently 425 state bills related to abortion, 209 of them would limit abortions. In 23 states, Republican governors preside over legislatures where both chambers are controlled by the GOP.
Stay tuned to LifeSupporter.org as we watch for challenges to these laws and news of additional legislation draws near.
Here's a short, but thought-provoking, blog post from Denny Burk, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, and a contributor to The Gospel Coalition. He raises a great point which you and I can use when we're discussing the issue of life with our unsaved friends.
Why Aren't we Calling it the "Royal Fetus?"
As you have probably already heard, Kate Middleton is pregnant. Her offspring will be third in line for the English throne. The media have been abuzz with the news. In fact, I would say that they have been downright obsessive about it.
With all this coverage (e.g. NY Times, Washington Post, ABC News, CNN), I just have one question. Why is it that I have yet to hear or read anyone refer to her unborn child as the “royal fetus”? Oh, I’m sure someone has used the term “fetus,” but it seems to me that the preferred term is “royal baby” or “child,” even though the Duchess of Cambridge is in the very early stages of pregnancy.
Could it be that we reserve the terms “baby” and “child” for unborn babies that are wanted and prefer the term “fetus” for unborn babies that are not? This is not an unwanted pregnancy but a wanted pregnancy. And the feeling is shared not only by the royal parents but by almost every person in the English speaking world. Since this is to be a royal birth to one of the most glamorous couples on the planet, almost every person on said planet is in eager expectation of this baby.
What is the difference between this “royal baby” and the unborn child in the womb of a mother in the waiting room of an abortion clinic? There’s no intrinsic difference in terms of their humanity. The only difference is that one is wanted and the other is not. Thus, the one gets the status of “baby” and the other is euphemized as a fetus, blastocyst, or blob of cells.
Most people have not pondered the fact that their language about the unborn is shaped less by the personhood of the unborn than by whether or not the baby is wanted. Is there any other class of people whose personhood depends solely on whether or not they are wanted?
Our language often reveals fundamental truths about the way we view the world. In this case, the way we speak of the unborn reveals whether or not we view them as a part of the human community with an unalienable right to life. Obviously, the world has agreed to call Kate Middleton’s unborn child a “baby.” Why wouldn’t we do the same for every other unborn child? Could it be that such terminology would imply a moral monstrosity that we are unwilling to face?