Pot, Schizophrenia and Debating Animal and Human Rights

Should we be surprised? A recent study out of Denmark, published in JAMA Psychiatry, links ‘problematic’ use of marijuana with the development of schizophrenia. This link has been found before, and, with the legalization of ‘weed’ across many states, and all of Canada, we can only expect the incidence of mental disorders to rise.

But beyond, or perhaps underlying, the clinical, is the spiritual – Recreational drug use is sinful, and can be gravely so, putting one’s moral life, vocation, and eternal salvation at risk. As one aphorism had it a few decades ago, just say no.

And while on insanity, the House of Lords in Britain is debating a law that ‘prevent animal cruelty’, given them rights similar to humans, including the right to pain relief and anesthesia. More and more, animals are being considered ‘sentient’, a fraught term, which would link such rights to some sort of self-awareness and capacity to ‘feel’, not least pain. One may have some sympathy for such, at least for the higher animals, but the evil lurks in what is not being debated, namely, any such rights for the unborn. As Lord David Alton laments: If only all humans enjoyed similar defenses in English law. Alas, unborn children in the U.K. are left without such protections. When I inquired whether some of the bill’s safeguards might be extended to unborn homo sapiens, I was told that the bill had been cast in such a way as to prevent this. 

This does not imply insanity, but rather deep and knowing moral evil, whatever their level of guilt. If animals can feel pain, surely unborn babies can as well, their nervous systems well developed by the twelfth week of gestation. But as Alton continues:

However, in the U.K., babies undergoing abortion at 20 weeks’ gestation “via surgical dilatation and evacuation”—described by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as “where the foetus is removed in fragments”—are not provided with pain relief. Neither are babies aborted after 22 weeks through “foeticide, where potassium chloride is injected into the heart to cause immediate cardiac arrest.” Human Rights Watch has highlighted that potassium chloride is “excruciatingly painful if administered […] without proper anaesthesia.”

Of course, abortion is not wrong because it is painful – it would still be evil if if the children were anesthetized, or even in their presumed ‘pre-sentient’ stages of zygote and blastula – but its pain is an effect of its being wrong.

As bad as things are in our society, I’m surprised they’re not worse, given the diabolical ‘insanity’ what we’re doing to God’s littlest ones. At least in Britain, there are some laws governing this practice, but none in Canada – and our own Trudeau will brook not even the smallest of restrictions, nor even objections. How long before the Almighty smites the land with a curse, and one a lot worse than Covid? It’s high time we stand up to those complicit in such wholesale murder, and calling them, and abortion itself, for what they really are, as Pope John Paul II exhorted in Evangelium Vitae:  

Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as “interruption of pregnancy”, which tends to hide abortion’s true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion. Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth. (58)

And as he continues:

The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. (ibid.)

And they’re all worked up about lions, tigers and bears, oh my. To say nothing of sheep and goats, whom God will separate in His own good time.

Deus, Salvator noster, miserere nobis!

But on a note of hope – there’s always hope! – the wheels are turning in America, at least, to overturn the infamous 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade. The moral mettle, such as it is, of the the justices on the Supreme Court will soon be tested.