Monday, September 24, 2012

The Romney deal-breaker

[Off topic: still hating the new Blogger interface.  Still sending negative feedback every single time I blog, because when--not if--I do make the switch to a different platform I will know, at least, that I tried to get the Blogger folks to listen.]

TMZ has the real reason why pro-life Americans should wash their hands of Mitt Romney (hat tip: Mark Shea):
TMZ has learned Mitt Romney's son Tagg -- who had twins this year through a surrogate -- signed an agreement that gave the surrogate, as well as Tagg and his wife, the right to abort the fetuses in non-life threatening situations ... and Mitt Romney covered some of the expenses connected with the arrangement  ... and it may boil down to an incredibly stupid mistake.

The twin boys -- David Mitt and William Ryder -- were born on May 4, 2012.  We've learned Tagg and his wife Jen, along with the surrogate and her husband, signed a Gestational Carrier Agreement dated July 28, 2011.  Paragraph 13 of the agreement reads as follows:
"If in the opinion of the treating physician or her independent obstetrician there is potential physical harm to the surrogate, the decision to abort or not abort is to be made by the surrogate." [...]

Now for the stupid mistake.  We've learned Tagg chose the same surrogate in 2009, who gave birth to a boy.   Attorney Bill Handel -- a nationally-known expert in surrogacy law who put the deal together between Tagg and the surrogate -- tells TMZ when the 2009 contract was drafted there was no Paragraph 13 providing for abortion because Tagg and his wife didn't want it.

Handel says in 2011, when the second contract was being drafted, everyone involved "just forgot" to remove Paragraph 13.  Handel says, "No one noticed.  What can I say?"
Now, some Catholic voters will jump on the "mistake" part and claim that it's no big deal that a standard "abortion clause" was included in a surrogacy compact.  If they do, they're missing the forest for the trees.
Catholics know, or should know, that IVF is intrinsically morally evil.  There is no circumstance under which it can be good.  Consider this article about Tagg Romney's twins, which refers to the boys as "...the biological product of him and his wife..."  Given that the way IVF and surrogacy usually work, how many "biological products" were created and have been frozen or destroyed in the process of achieving this "successful" outcome?  IVF is nothing more or less than the commodification of children, turning human beings into mere possessions to be bought and paid for.
And the woman whose womb was rented, whose body was seen as a good to be purchased, was treated by Tagg and his wife as a mere reproductive prostitute, selling something no human being should ever sell.  The violation of the integrity of all women by treating some as living, breathing incubators ought to disgust every Catholic voter; it should not be something to be brushed aside as unimportant. 
What does this have to do with Mitt Romney himself?  He helped pay for this arrangement.  If you want to see what a man really values, look at how he spends his money.  Mitt Romney is not against the commodification of children or against using women as reproductive prostitutes or living incubators.  He paid for this.
I have never intended to vote for Mitt Romney (N.B.: I've never intended to vote for Obama either, and will never vote for such an avowed merchant of death as he is).  But I think this ought to be a deal-breaker for all faithful Catholic voters; at the very least, when my Catholic friends or family start to insist that I MUST vote for Mitt to prove my Catholic credentials, I'm going to have one really powerful reason why I, at least, will not and should not vote for him.


Barbara C. said...

From what I can tell, the LDS have no problem with IVF. They also allow abortion in instances of rape, life of the mother, or if the baby is not expected to survive beyond birth.

While, as a Catholic, I think the LDS is completely wrong on both IVF and abortion exceptions, Romney does seem to be in keeping with the tenants of his professed denomination. So, I'm not going to whip him for it.

At least his denomination is against most forms of abortion, so he may be less likely to try to increase government funding for abortion and harass those who are against it.

I still don't know if I'm going to vote for him or go third party, though. I'm definitely not voting for Obama again (wish I could take it back the last time).

Red Cardigan said...

Barbara, I get where you're coming from. That said, I don't give Obama a pass on abortion because his brand of MTD Christianity thinks it's more of a sin to be "punished" with a baby. Romney keeps trying to be all things to all people, and I've heard Catholics practically yelling at fellow Catholics about how Romney is the only authentic true good "Catholic" candidate. Well, no. He's easily the weakest allegedly "pro-life" candidate we've ever had. I think he's really a so-called "moderate" on abortion in disguise. Which doesn't bode well for his potential SCOTUS picks at all.

Red Cardigan said...

In other words (now that I've thought of them!) the issue to me has always been about character. I've never voted for a pro-abort, not even the so-called moderate Republican ones, because to me anybody who thinks that human beings can be legally declared disposable due to age and/or condition of dependency doesn't deserve to be dogcatcher, let alone president. The same thing goes for people who think it's okay to manufacture, buy and sell human beings based on age and/or condition of dependency--even if their church thinks it's okay.

Rebecca in ID said...

I am not voting for Romney because I think he's a principled individual. I am voting for him because Obama is way way way way, WAY way way worse than he could ever dream of being. I don't think you have to vote for him to be a good Catholic. I personally am desperate to get Obama out of office. If this can be done I hope principled people will continue to work behind the scenes to get candidates out front who are truly principled and intelligent. Meanwhile, Romney will have to work harder on being consistently, predatorily evil, to shake my vote, in the face of the alternative.

scotch meg said...

I view voting as more like the choice I faced when I was expecting my fifth kid. We were living in a fairly remote area. I had three choices: an OB who did abortions, an OB who had dumped his wife for his nurse, and a midwife who would not recognize the risks of my pregnancy because she believed in all-natural births no matter what.

I had to pick somebody. I picked the adulterer.

This year, in voting, I will have to pick between people who don't share my values, and a person who has zero chance of winning and who also doesn't completely share my values.

Yeah, I can stay home - just as I could have chosen an at-home delivery by Dr. DH (not an OB!). Doesn't seem realistic to me. I want to have my say in what happens to the country. I understand why you wouldn't vote; I'm just not there.

Red Cardigan said...

To be fair, Scotch Meg, I do intend to vote--I just have to decide whether to leave the presidential election box blank or to select a third-party candidate to protest our present state of things. I realize the value of such protests is limited, but in the end, I have to live with my vote, and I can't vote for Romney in good conscience.

Needing to have an OB in a less than perfect scenario is a much more important decision, IMHO! My vote (given our electoral college system) counts for little, but your "vote" for the doctor you thought would best deliver your baby had a much greater impact on your life! :)

Rebecca in ID said...

Okay Red, not to pick a fight, but I'm curious about your statement that you can't in good conscience vote for Romney. I don't quite get that. I understand that some people think it's a better move for people to teach the Republicans a lesson by splitting the vote, and in fact I'd be with that strategy in more ordinary circumstances, but I thought the Church made it pretty clear that you can vote in good conscience for someone with whom you disagree even about grave matters, as long as you are not voting for him because of his erroneous positions but because of the positions that make him a lesser evil than his opponent. I respect your POV and would like to see you flesh that out a little more, why you *cannot* vote for Romney in good conscience, rather than considering this a matter of difference of strategy.

Chris-2-4 said...

This seems rather disingenuous. How can it be a "deal breaker" for you when you have been quite frank that you would not vote for Romney for months?

I can't for the life of me tell why you and Mark think it is so important that everybody know you are not voting for Romney or Obama. Say it once so people know where you stand. But you're repeated posts pointing out new reasons why you will never vote for the guy you never were going to vote for the guy have simply stopped being source for thoughtful consideration on the matter.

Of course, you're likely to point out that you only do this because "People insist that you have to vote for Romney". But I just seriously don't see that point made as prominently as your objections. Indeed, your objections more often than not, prompt those replies rather than the reverse.

vera said...

UGH! Evil dwarf A vs evil dwarf B. And they call this a choice! I have become an unvoter. My conscience no longer allows me to legitimize any of these pathetic "talking heads" for the real rulers in the background. Done pinching my nose! Yey!

Red Cardigan said...

Rebecca, I appreciate your comment, but this comes down to the individual conscience. I was told to hold my nose and vote for Dole (I didn't, but voted 3rd party). I was told to hold my nose and vote for the Bushes. I was told to hold my nose and vote for McCain.

That was the last time, and the last straw, for me personally. I get tired of being told by many in the party itself that if we socons would just shut up and walk away, give in on gay marriage, and provide free abortions in grade school all would be well. They want my vote once every four years, but they sure don't want me, or my kind. They don't share my values, they don't care about issues that are important to me, and they're just as much owned by the Ruling Class as the Democrats are.

So I'm not saying *nobody* can vote for Romney as the better of two horrible choices; I'm just saying that I can no longer do so.

Red Cardigan said...

Chris, I meant that it ought to be a deal-breaker for those professional media Catholics (naming no names) who were slavering over Romney earlier in the election cycle, as they peddled him as the truly-true hero of voting Catholics everywhere. This isn't really about me. It's about stopping the pretense (and the Fwd:Fwd:Fwd emails) that claim that if Obama is reelected, all Hell (literally) will break lose, but if Romney comes riding into D.C. on his white horse he will single-handedly reverse the rising tide of anti-Catholicism we're seeing in our nation today.

It's not going to happen: first, because Romney doesn't, in fact, agree with Catholics about much, and second, because the rising tide of anti-Catholicism is coming from our fellow Americans: it didn't originate with Obama and won't end with him.

Most Americans do, in fact, think that contraception is the holy communion of the religion of sex without consequences (for example) and they don't really get why we don't want to pay for it. Most Americans don't much care about gay marriage and certainly don't want to look intolerant. Most Americans have bought into our diseased and ugly culture and want only more reality TV and better circuses; few of them can even coherently define the words "modesty," "chastity" or "restraint."

So, yes, I get tired of seeing Catholic leaders rush over to someone like Romney--Romney!--as if he's going to save us from Obama's anti-Catholicism. It may be news to some, but Obama is only reflecting what roughly half of this nation believes about us, and Romney doesn't care enough about any of our concerns to do more than use us to get elected--as evidenced by his record in Massachusetts, for starters.

Rebecca in ID said...

So...I still don't quite get it. Is your conscience telling you something my conscience isn't? I agree with you that Romney et al are just more of the ruling class and I am completely unimpressed with him, not to mention unedified. But it either is true or untrue that we can as Catholics in good conscience vote for a lesser evil to prevent a greater, right? Am I misunderstanding that teaching? If I am understanding it correctly, then the third-party vote or the refusal to vote is not (or should not be) a matter of a demand of conscience, but a difference in strategy. Where am I going wrong in my reasoning? Believe it or not, my question to you was prompted by a disagreement with my dh--he gave one of my friends a lecturing to because she stated that she intends to vote for Ron Paul. He kept insisting that you have to vote for Romney in good conscience, and I kept insisting that this is not what the Church teaches. Now it seems that you are saying that a well-informed conscience would not allow you to vote for Romney--or maybe you are just talking about your own private conscience, but then it seems that if this only applies to you, where is the discussion and what is it about?

Chris-2-4 said...

I guess it comes down to this. I believe that you and Mark are creating a NEW STANDARD for presidential candidates that is far more pure than anything envisioned by the Bishops. I do not believe that any president in history would meet the level of scrutiny you are now applying. If this is your position fine, but I believe it is far beyond what Catholics of good conscience are called to uphold.

vera said...

And [why] not [say], "Let us do evil that good may come"?--as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just. -- Rom 3:8

Voting for the lesser evil is still voting for... evil, isn't it?

Red Cardigan said...

Rebecca, I saw your question late (very late) last night, and I think replying to it deserves its own blog post. Hope to get to it later today--your patience is appreciated!

Chris-2-4 said...

"Voting for the lesser evil is still voting for... evil, isn't it?"

Seriously. This is ridiculous. Mitt Romney is not EVIL. Barack Obama is not Evil.

If you've given up on civility to that extent to where you can no longer see that the candidates are Men with different ideas, but both desiring to do good then maybe it is good for you to not vote at all.

vera said...

Heh. I was responding to Rebecca's statement that said: "But it either is true or untrue that we can as Catholics in good conscience vote for a lesser evil to prevent a greater, right?"

Still, I don't see the candidates as men of different ideas, but as men with no ideas. Completely bereft of any ideas that would address the calamitous direction of this country. Since you asked. ;-)

Chris-2-4 said...


I didn't ask anything actually. I suggested/implied that calling these men "evil" and "lesser evil" is not a serious argument.

Rebecca in ID said...

Sorry Vera et al, I was speaking sloppily. You don't actually vote for a lesser evil vs. a greater evil. What I meant to say was that you vote for someone either for some good he can accomplish or for some evil he can prevent, even if you may strongly disagree on important moral issues, and that is permissible if the evil you are attempting to prevent is greater than any evils which may attend the person's taking office. That sounds a lot more complicated but is more accurate. It is a little bit like talking about sterilization or something--you are allowed to remove the uterus, for example, to stop a disease, not for its own sake. You are not willing the removal of the uterus but the removal of the uterus is the necessary attending evil of removing the cancer, etc.

vera said...

No, you didn't ask, Chris. I wish you had, instead of rushing to paint my words into a corner.

Rebecca, sigh. I understand. There are always trade offs. I am not particularly happy with mine. I am first gen immigrant, and I used to take voting very seriously. I proudly served as election judge, twice. Those days are gone. I am past my last straw. The swamp on the Potomac is not where I want to put any energies into, nor legitimize by my voice. Argh.