Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bearing Flase Witness

Who is Paul McHugh and why would the anti-abortion camp invite him to give his "expert" opinion regarding late term abortions before Kansas Legislators?
First, he is not an expert in the study of late term abortions, but is the Chair of the Psychiatry Department at Johns Hopkins University. His bio is impressive and it is clear that he is highly regard by his former students. He is also admired by others for challenging established ideas or accepted practices in his field.

Among his peers he has raised a bit of a dust up over his scorn for doctors who perform sex-change surgeries on patients who feel trapped in a bodies that belie their real sexual identify. McHugh has called sex-change operations a form of a "frontal lobotomy." It is clear that this is a man who thinks God does not make mistakes. Any deviance can be cured with religion and right morals. Therefore, stem-cell is evil, sex change operations mess with God's handiwork, and abortions are of course, taking the lives God has created.

McHugh is entitled to his religious beliefs, but not to use his religious beliefs to bear false witness against women or Dr. Tiller. His credentials as an academician are solid, but it cannot hide the fact that he has an agenda, an ideology, a dogma called Catholicism that warps his testimony and yet it is exactly why he was called as a witness.

The professor has a history of coming to the witness table as a biased expert quite unencumbered by his personal feelings or beliefs. As Erica Goode explained in a New York Times article, McHugh served as a lay member on a panel assembled by the Roman Catholic Church investigating accusations of sexual abuse by priests against young boys. Victims protested McHugh's appointment due to the simple fact that he had frequently testified in court on behalf of molesters or accused molesters; McHugh disputed the repressed memories of those molested.

McHugh was also appointed to President Bush's Council on Bioethics, an 18 member group annoited to study such medical advancements as embryonic stem cell research and "assisted reproduction." Many of the appointees are directly tied to the religious magazine, "First Things" with the purpose of incorporating the teachings and dogma of religion into public policy decisions, especially issues regarding women's health and welfare. Thus, McHugh was naturally a perfect candidate to serve as a witness to defame and belittle women who seek late term abortions in Kansas.

As a practicing Catholic McHugh has the right to oppose abortions of course, but it is self-serving and a sham for the professor to bear witness and leave out these rather important elements to his impressive resume. Therefore, it was hardly surprising or a stretch for McHugh to testify that "there is no psychological condition for which abortion is the cure," when discussing late term abortions for women.

Such arrogance should not shock any of us today, but it is shocking to reread these lines and not be struck by the fact that this man might as well be on Mars when it comes to understanding the conditions that make late term abortions necessary. One can hear in this remark the belief that women are having late term abortions because they are having a bad day and believe aborting their fetus will make the world all perfect again.

If McHugh could suddenly become pregnant with a child that is terribly deformed or draining his life away, he might see late term abortions as a gift from God. That's right, a gift from God where men and women with compassion have harnessed their intellect and free will to save women and spare more suffering of the fetus.

Late term abortions are no small matter entered into lightly. Most Kansans and most Americans, understand this fact. Women who make this difficult choice do so for real medical problems that cannot be ignored or wished away. Women are forced for their own good health to make tough decisions the anti-abortion camp willy/nilly condemns as "murder" or "selfishness."

These slings and arrows surely do not help the mental health of women. McHugh does not appear too concerned by this obvious fact since he no doubt believes in his own religious righteousness.
In the eyes of the anti-abortion camp and their expert witness Paul McHugh, once a pregnant woman, always a pregnant woman, even if the cure is death for the woman.

Oh,,la,la,la,la ,la,la,

Vickie Sandell Stangl

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
four Susan Sontag as tall as Author (In America, The Volcano Lover, The Way We Live Now)