A Womb With a View

A Womb With a View
March 15, 2011

Friday, August 23, 2013

Frozen Assets

Every once in a while, Fredo the Frozen reminds Umbert's readers of the plight of America's 500,000+ frozen embryos in fertility labs across the nation. Aside from the fact that these are living human beings, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, there are a host of other issues, moral and legal, surrounding the existence of these members of the frozen brood section. In many cases they are being treated not as human beings, but as products; nameless, faceless objects as part of a business transaction between a couple and the fertility clinic. How long before they become available on the open market as brand-able merchandise? (Didn't we already fight a civil war over the buying and selling of human beings?) I can just see the TV commercials hawking human embryos and extolling the quality of their genetic makeup. Soon prospective parents will be able to shop for hair and eye color as well as intellectual vs athletic ability. Then there's the issue of using unwanted embryos for scientific and medical research, still a hotly debated topic in American politics. And why are there so many embryos in cold storage in the first place? Obviously, more embryos are created than are actually needed to ensure enough "material" to guarantee a successful pregnancy. The leftovers go right into the freezer with a future about as uncertain as last night's leftover meatloaf. Thus, we leave poor Fredo in suspended animation wondering when, if ever, he will finally get a womb of his own.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Should God Sue for Patent Infringement?

Recently the Supreme Court ruled that human genes could not be patented, opening the door to greater competition in the search for more cures for cancer and other deadly diseases. This ruling invalidates more than 22,000 patents issued on human genes. People doing life-saving research had to worry about being sued for infringing on these patents while patients whose lives were ticking time bombs anxiously awaited breakthroughs, regardless of whose brand name was stamped on it. What were these scientists thinking? Didn't God invent the human gene? If anyone has the right to call a lawyer, it should be the Almighty. But God, in His infinite mercy, instead gave us a thinking brain capable of unlocking the life-saving secrets of His universe, including the microscopic universe which serves as the foundation for human life. These secrets, so long as they are not used to destroy human life or violate God's Natural Law, belong to everybody. Granted laboratories have the right to financial gain from their discoveries, because profits from these discoveries enable them to continue their research. But to grant any lab a monopoly on genetic research would be like giving NASA a patent on the planet Mars. The court rightly ruled that the objects of discovery belong to everybody. This is great news for cancer patients and others who simply cannot wait indefinitely for the cures that desperately need discovering.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Death Panels 'R' Us

About twenty years ago I wrote a column called The Armchair Commando in which I addressed numerous political topics, among them, issues concerning life and death. In one installment I warned my readers about the not-too-distant possibility of the institutional genocide of the elderly by government bureaucrats challenged by the health care needs of the aging baby boom generation. The recent developments of Obamacare and the possibility of government "death panels" to determine how best to allocate limited health care resources to an aging population have done absolutely nothing to alter my prognostications.
With the federal government virtually taking over the health care industry, how long does anyone think it will take for Washington bureaucrats to start addressing the high cost of health care by rationing it to those it deems worthy of better health, namely young and middle-aged adults with enough productive years ahead to continue contributing to the tax base? Does a New York minute come to mind?   This is the price we pay for turning more of the responsibility for ourselves over to the government. As for the so-called death panels, Secretary Sebilius made it abundantly clear, in that recent case involving the little girl who needed a new lung, that the federal government considers itself THE authority in deciding who is qualified to receive life-saving medical treatment. Thus, whatever group of bureaucratic appointees are selected to evaluate these cases and make a determination who lives and who dies is, in effect, a death panel. Uncle Sam was once a symbol of the benevolence of the U.S. government looking after the interests of the American people. But now that he's gone from "uncle" to "big brother," that relationship is looking more and more dubious.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Umbert Attacked by "Pro-Choice" Bloggers!

Having recently attended the National Right to Life Conference in Dallas, Texas, I settled back into my usual routine at the studio and caught up on some email correspondence. To my surprise, fellow attendee Michael Ciccocioppo, sent me a message alerting me to the fact that my comic strip was being attacked by a pro-abortion blogger who had been "undercover" at the convention for the purpose of tearing it down in her column. The blog site was called RH (Reproductive Health) Reality Check and the columnist was Andrea Grimes, who called my display of Umbert books and other paraphernalia "unsettling." She then directed her barbs at the conference itself, making numerous unfair and untrue observations about the program and its attendees.
I responded on her blogsite and was immediately set upon by several of her "regulars," who seemed to be lying in wait for any pro-lifers who happened to venture into their blogosphere. Members of the National Right to Life Committee observed the situation in Washington and contacted me, asking permission to run the story on their national online newsletter. I agreed and edited it down to a digestible length. You may read the article at the following link: http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2013/07/umbert-strikes-back-cartoonist-gary-cangemi-responds-to-pro-abortion-blogger-ambush-of-nrlc-conference/#.UeM53o2-1Bl

The problem with attempting to enter into a dialogue with people on the internet is that the anonymity of blogging makes it easier to say things one wouldn't ordinarily say to someone in a face to face confrontation. We tend to be more civil to a live person in front of us and more uncivil to a faceless, nameless person on a blog. That's unfortunate as I genuinely wanted to engage these people who call themselves pro-choice and explain why I do what I do with the Umbert comic strip. One even asked me how Umbert could possibly talk to other unborn babies or operate a computer. I told her I would explain it when she could tell me how a cartoon beagle could engage in aerial combat with a WWI flying ace.

By the way, this IS a BLOG. Please feel free to post your own thoughts. Just keep them civil, OK?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Hubbling Experience

I got into a blogging debate recently over the release of some new Hubble Telescope photographs. I had the audacity to suggest that, for me, it was unimaginable that anyone could view these photos and not believe in God. I consider the Hubble to be one of the greatest achievements of the 20th Century because it gives us a view of our universe beyond anything we could imagine. The startling clarity and detail of these pictures of objects that are billions of light years away is amazing. Some of these photos reveal distant glittering objects that are not stars, but galaxies that look like stars because they are so far away. These objects are so far away, many of them may not even exist anymore but we still see them because their light is still travelling to Earth.
In ancient times, our forebears thought the Earth was the center of the universe and that the stars were light fixtures fastened onto a huge glass dome that rotated above our sky. Now that we know better, we get a greater sense of just how small and perhaps insignificant we seem with respect to the universe as a whole. It reminds me of the Dr. Suess  tale, Horton Hears a Who, in which Horton discovers a tiny little civilization on a tiny speck of dust, but nobody believes him that it exists. This book has been embraced by folks in the pro-life movement because of its anthem...a person's a person no matter how small.
No matter how immense we discover this universe to be, it only serves to emphasize, in my view, how important the individual is, being a part of something so vast and being able to observe and contemplate it from our tiny little speck. And if we ever learn to respect life on this speck, we may actually survive to one day explore and expand our civilization to other specks throughout our galaxy and beyond. Elwood, the womb's resident little genius, is my idea of what a scientist should be...a person who stands in awe of God's creation as he seeks to better understand it.