The penultimate question with regard to issues of life is “what does it mean to be human?” Courts have effectively sidestepped that question in cases like Roe v. Wade, opting to address questions of privacy instead.
Sarah Elizabeth Leighton was only a 14-week-old fetus when a toilet at a Brooklyn public school collapsed, injuring her schoolteacher mom.
The fall in January 1999 ruptured Esther Portalatin-Leighton’s placenta, and Sarah was born prematurely, less than four months later, the family contends.
Sarah’s learning disabilities and asthmatic symptoms are the direct result of her early birth, which was caused by the ruptured placenta, her parents argue.
City lawyers tried to get the case dismissed before trial by arguing that the child had to have been able to survive outside the womb at the time the injuries occurred in order for her to recover damages.
Well, Sarah has survived outside the womb, and she can now claim the injuries sustained when she was a 14-week old fetus. Whatever the merits of the case, the fact that court now recognizes “fetus Sarah” as the “girl Sarah” is a step toward justice.
The court, of course, made sure not to draw parity with abortion issues:
“Abortion cases are genuinely distinguishable from the [Leighton] case since fetuses which are aborted are not born alive,” Brooklyn Appeals Court Justice Gloria Goldstein wrote.
However, the panel did offer conception as a line of demarcation, saying that “as long as the injuries occurred after conception and the child was born alive, she could make a claim.” It almost sounds absurd (after all, what injuries can one sustain before conception?), but it does lend considerable recognition to the notion that personhood begins at conception.
According to a 2005 study by the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, frequent family dinners were associated with lower rates of teen smoking, drinking, and drug use. Compared with teens who frequently had dinner with their families, (five nights or more per week), those who had dinner with their families only two nights per week or less were twice as likely to be involved in substance abuse. They were 2.5 times as likely to smoke cigarettes, more than 1.5 times as likely to drink alcohol, and nearly three times as likely to try marijuana.
Source: The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, The Importance of Family Dinners II, (: September 2005)
Anthony Esolen of Touchstone magazine reminds us of the unnoticed gift of trickle-down decadence:
The rich can afford their vices, for a time anyway; the poor have no such margin for comfort. They are, in fact, endangered by the vices of the rich. I dont simply mean that the rich man can extort his will from the poor, or wield the law as a club to keep the poor man in his place. He can do worse: He can infect the poor man with his vice, and that may be the quicker way to destroy him.
Two years after FRC helped to defeat the idea, the push for a “Triple X” domain for pornographic web sites is on again. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) continues to debate whether or not to establish an online .xxx domain specifically for the adult industry. While supporters argue that it would help regulate pornography, FRC strongly disagrees. Instead of relegating it to a specific domain, the government would actually be facilitating the adult industry’s growth. Without the necessary enforcement, pornographers would simply retain their .com sites and add to them. If successful, ICANN could be responsible for potentially doubling the number of porn sites on the Internet. Proponents claim the .xxx domain will make it easier to filter out these graphic sites, while web experts say it will make it more difficult because the sites will be operating under dual domains.
The .xxx would also establish a virtual red light district or “safe haven” for illegal, hardcore obscenity. Rather than legitimize an industry that exploits women and endangers children, ICANN should focus its efforts on making the web safer for families.
According to a federal judge, public schools—not parents—have the right to control the curriculum to which children are exposed. Joseph and Robin Wirthlin sued Lexington, Massachusetts schools for allowing their son’s second-grade teacher to read the homosexual fairy tale, King and King, to the class without prior notice to the Wirthlins. A couple FRC interviewed for Liberty Sunday, Tonia and David Parker, joined the suit when their son brought home a book about families that included two gay adults. Judge Mark Wolf sided with the school, saying, “…Under the Constitution public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become productive citizens in our democracy.” Wolf continued by saying that if parents don’t agree with the curriculum, they are welcome to send their kids to a private school. “It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation.”
Clearly, this is not about diversity but a political agenda. Massachusetts law on homosexual marriages was imposed by judicial decree and is far from settled. The government seems bent on overpowering parents and dictating what’s in the best interest of children. At the very least, the Parkers, Wirthlins and others deserved to be informed about the content of the curriculum and to have their kids exempted from lessons that violate their moral beliefs. School administrators argued that the books did not focus on human sexuality but family structures. If they truly believe that, Lexington officials must be living in the very fairy tales their schools are promoting.
It’s no wonder America is failing miserably to keep up with international test scores. Public schools are consumed with teaching not the basics reading and writing but the chic and the radical. Both couples will appeal the case to the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, where we can only hope that the inherent authority of parents will fare better.
Out of 16 students in my general studies World Politics class only 1 could identify Iraq and Afghanistan on a blank map on their exam. One other student found Iraq and another correctly located Afghanistan.
Pardon me while I go weep quietly in the corner.
Well, it’s not exactly as if those countries have been in the news lately. Perhaps we just need more globes in the classroom — or more military veterans.