“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Mark Davis Pickup
"... If we lose the cultural war against abortion, millions more children will die along with our culture that once believed we all have value." -- Mark Davis Pickup's latest post under the title The Battles of Ideas. Read the rest at http://markpickup.org

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


On May 17th a record setting crowd of 1,400 citizens assembled at the Alberta Legislature (Edmonton, Canada) for the 2012 Alberta March for Life. From the Legislature, they marched through streets of Edmonton (the Capital city) with pro-Life signs, interrupting the flow of traffic, while proclaiming the value of all human life. They protested the wanton killing of 10,000 unborn children annually at Alberta's two abortuaries -- and Alberta hospitals when abortions involve later stage unborn children. The marchers decried euthanasia that is quietly practised in hospitals, and the rising acceptance of assisted suicide.[1] 


There was a virtual blackout in mainstream news coverage. Most Edmontonians who rely on the media to keep them informed would have been ignorant of the large event that occurred. Thankfully, with the advent of the Internet, the traditional liberal press no longer have a strangle hold on mass dissemination of information. 

There was some coverage by the online pro-Life news outlet LifeSiteNews. See http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/alberta-march-for-life-breaks-attendance-record?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=5e516a554d-LifeSiteNews_com_Canada_Headlines_05_22_2012&utm_medium=email

If a dozen people show up at the Alberta Legislature to protest Alberta's oilsands -- it's the lead story on the evening TV news and on the front page of the Edmonton Journal newspaper the next morning.  If five transgenders protest on the steps of the same Legislature because they want their sex change surgery paid for by the government, it gets wall-to-wall news coverage. But well over a thousand people protest the killing of unborn children by abortion or withholding food and water from the terminally or chronically ill ... and there's not a word by the liberal media. Silence. It's as though it did not happen. Shhhh.

The worst case of this sort of media censorship of the pro-Life message that I remember occurred in the early1980s when an estimated 25,000 citizens silently marched past Henry Morgentaler's Toronto abortion clinic, to protest the wanton killing of unborn children at that terrible place.[2] There was a blackout of the story by the media. Such a massive demonstration and it went virtually unreported by the media! Coincidence? I think not. The event was hard to miss -- particularly with press releases that went out beforehand. The censorship by the media was intentional. 

Do not think this sort of bias and dishonest journalism is unique to Alberta or Ontario. It goes on in many jurisdictions. Liberal news organizations decide what they report and how they report in an attempt to sway public opinion toward liberal causes.

More than a decade ago, retired CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg wrote a book called Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How The Media Distorts The News. Goldberg was roundly castigated by his media colleagues for exposing what the public already knew. The media has a liberal bias. The book description on Amazon.com states:

"In 1996, veteran CBS News reporter and producer Bernie Goldberg committed the unpardonable sin of publicly mentioning the issue of liberal bias in the media. For that he became persona non grata at CBS. Goldberg tells how friends and colleagues turned on him, from junior CBS reporters all the way to Dan Rather. But much more than that, he exposes a bias so uniform and overwhelming that it permeates every news story we hear and read- and so entrenched and deep rooted that the networks themselves don't even recognize it."[2]

Nearly 40 years ago, I studied radio and television in college. I would have been failed for some of the antics that pass for news now. Later I worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC). Internally their left-wing politics were obvious and it coloured their news and current affairs. Publicly they would not admit it but it was there. This was particularly blatant when it came to stories related to abortion. When doing a story about this topic they would try to ensure they interviewed the most inarticulate pro-Life people and get the most articulate abortion advocates. (It's called stacking the deck.) I remember on one occasion when an abortion story was in the news, the entire news room broke into a chant "Choice now! Choice now!" I thought to myself, "Is it even possible at the CBC to strive for balance?" On another occasion during the morning story meeting after a new provincial Cabinet was announced, the news producer was looking at the list of new Cabinet ministers and asked "Who is John Oldring?" The news anchor said, "He's an [expletive] pro-lifer! Let's get him!" I was new to the news team and asked, "I thought we supposed to be balanced and unbiased." The producer looked at me like I was from a different planet and mumbled something to this effect with a smirk and a wink to the rest of the people in the meeting. "Oh Yeah, we do that." They went on to try and "get" the pro-Life politician.

If you think this is all long in the past, watch how CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC and the New York Times cover the the presidential election and the months leading up to the election day in November.

Mark Davis Pickup
[1] I spoke to the crowd (see previous blog entitled THEY ASKED FOR A SPEECH).
[2] Police estimate of the crowd size, not organizers.
[3] See Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Bias-Insider-Exposes-Media-Distort/dp/0895261901

Monday, May 21, 2012


It is so important that we commit ourselves as individuals, families, communities and nations to ensuring no human life is destroyed, left behind or abandoned.  To give in and give up on any human being is an offence against the interdependence of collective community. Granted, we can not govern the outcome of every situation but we can govern how we respond to each situation.
Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said something about the purpose of government that could/should be adapted to govern bioethics.

I would like to see the following motto be adopted for the study and practice of bioethics at every university and hospital then posted on all bioethicists' office walls:

The care and protection of human life, and not its destruction, is the only legitimate role of bioethics. [1]

Mark Davis Pickup

[1] The quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson: "The care of human life and happiness, and not its destruction, is the first and only object of good government."

Friday, May 18, 2012


Add caption
I was asked to give a short message to over a thousand people gathered in front of Alberta's legislature (Canada) for the annual March for Life. Below is the substance of that message.

Mark Davis Pickup
May 18th 2012

To value every human life from conception to natural death – and every state and stage between those two points – is what it means to be truly pro-Life. It is the ideal behind the concept of universal human rights. That’s what the word “universal” means. The right to life is the highest human right. If the right to life is not guaranteed and protected then all other rights become arbitrary and uncertain. They can be taken away with the stroke of a legislative pen. 

That’s why it’s so important that you are here today. If you won’t take time out of your busy schedules to make a statement for life’s value for vulnerable humanity like the unborn or flawed people like me then pray tell, who will?

I hear talk of death with dignity for the terminally and chronically ill and the disabled. Dying with dignity is not achieved by injecting poison into a person’s blood stream when they are at their lowest point or withholding food and water from them. That is not dignity, that is abandonment of a most profound nature. Dying with dignity is not an event, it is a process. It is the end result of having lived with dignity.

People who espouse euthanasia or assisted suicide throw around the phrase "quality of life". They see a disability and say they wouldn’t want to live like that. So what! I don’t want to live like this either [in an electric wheelchair] but that does not mean I’m better off dead. After more than 28 years with degenerative multiple sclerosis I have come to understand that quality of life changes with time. When I was 30 years old what gave my life quality was to be active and athletic and to have an upwardly mobile career. If you would have told me that my future would be in an electric wheelchair with only one limb unaffected by disease I would have said there is no quality of life in that kind of existence.  Well, now I am 59 years of age and in an electric wheelchair. My life has quality. Why? My definition of quality of life changed. What gives my life quality today is love: To love and to be loved.
You see, during my darkest times when I was sinking beneath the wave of my circumstances, my wife LaRee held me up as valuable – even when I lost sight of my own value. She loved me even when I was not very lovable. She walked with me through my deepest grief and anguish (just as she has done with so many other people). The old Mark was gone as surely as if he had died, but she encouraged a new Mark to emerge from the shadows of grief and be as vital as the old Mark.

I have five grandchildren who love me and I love them. They bring LaRee and me so much joy. If I had opted for assisted suicide when I was at my lowest point during my mid-thirties, l would have missed it.  You see, we do not know what blessings tomorrow may bring.

I want to thank you again for coming out today. You have not forgotten the weakest and most vulnerable whether they are the unborn, the sick or the disabled. You are our friends and a world that has abandoned the sanctity of human life ethic: We need as many friends as we can get. Please do not tire or grow weary of participating events like this. You never know whose heart you have changed (even the hearts of politicians who are squirreled away in the safety of the building behind me).

Always keep close to your heart the value of every human being regardless of their ability or sentience. Every life has immeasurable worth for no other reason than they all bear the indelible image of God. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Most readers of the HumanLifeMatters blog are American. Although I am Canadian, I have an abiding love and respect for my neighbours to the south.

I fear for America. A new liberal elitism is emerging that threatens the very institutions, mores, values and religion that made the United States great. America has been a beacon to the world for human liberty, equality, justice and freedom. These bedrock foundations of American society are being dangerously eroded. Liberty is not licence. Freedom without moral restraint or a consensus of community standards is chaos. Communities worth belonging to protect their weakest and most vulnerable.   

America needs another President like Ronald Reagan. He could bring out the best in the American people and rediscover virtue and goodness for which America  is known. Great leaders of his calibre are needed for times like these.

Although the great man is gone, he can still speak to Americans (and the world) about a moral crisis that symbolizes the selfishness and moral poverty of our age: the holocaust of abortion. Thanks to YouTube, Ronald Reagan`s still speaks to us. His message must be heard again! Perhaps if we turn from the evil of abortion and turn back to God, our nations may experience His blessing anew and not judgment.

I ask every person who loves America to listen to Ronald Reagan again. At the time he said these words there had been 15 million abortions in America since Roe V. Wade. The number now exceeds 55 million abortions! Click on the image below.

Mark Davis Pickup

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Mark Davis Pickup
The last blog entry "When The Law Is An Ass" was about Canada's shameful Criminal Code that states a baby is not a human being until fully born. Prenatal life is unprotected throughout throughout all nine months of pregnancy! Abortions are tax funded in Canada. The situation is horrendous and intolerable!

Carol Tobias
Meanwhile things are slowly changing in America. Most American young people are rejecting the abortion mindset -- to the dismay of aging abortion ideologues from their parents' generation. National Right To Life Committee President Carol Tobias recently addressed this phenomenon in an open letter.  Below is the text of. her letter.



Dear Friends:

In an exclusive interview with the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff released tonight, NARAL President Nancy Keenan announced that she would be stepping down from her post at the end of the year.

Kliff writes in her story:

In recent years, Keenan has worried about an ‘intensity gap’ on abortion rights among millennials, which the group considers to be the generation of Americans born between 1980 and 1991. While most young, antiabortion voters see abortion as a crucial political issue, NARAL’s own internal research does not find similar passion among abortion-rights supporters.

In other words, Nancy Keenan’s conclusion is something we have known for years: the post-Roe generations are pro-life – and more passionately so than their parents’ generations and their pro-abortion, post-Roe counterparts.

We know from Gallup that 61% of the country believes abortion should be illegal in all circumstances or legal only in a few circumstances. We know from Gallup that 45% of the country self-identifies as pro-life. We know from Gallup that 51% of Americans believe abortion is morally wrong. And we know that when those questions are asked of the post­-Roe generation, the numbers tend to skew higher.

More important, I know that none of this would even be possible without you and the work you do with National Right to Life and our nationwide network of state affiliates and local chapters. Every day you are educating your communities, touching hearts and changing minds. Every day, you are helping us make a difference for the most defenseless members of our society.

Look back to 2003 when the New York Times Magazine quoted David J. Garrow, a hard-core pro-abortion "legal historian" at Emory University, as stating, “There’s been so much media attention over the last seven to eight years on partial-birth abortion, we shouldn't be surprised that some of it has had an effect on 12-to-14-year-olds, and it is a public relations coup for the National Right to Life Committee."

The other side has noticed. And they’re “worried.”

Keep up the great work. Together we will win…for their lives.
Carol Tobias


I have been praying for years that young people would reject the abortion corruption that is the dark legacy of their parents generation. Perhaps I may yet see Roe V. Wade overturned and the United States of America emerge into the sunny warmth of a new day when all human life is treasured, embraced and included within the tender embrace of a culture of life. God's blessing may return to America.

Dare I hope for the same in Canada?

Mark Davis Pickup

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Some topics keep coming up for discussion. Irrefutable evidence can be presented to settle the issue but it may not be what people want to hear. They may ignore the evidence or decry it.

Stephen Woodworth
The question of when life begins is such an example. In late April, Canadian Member of Parliament Stephen Woodworth put forth a motion to examine when life begins. He called for a special parliamentary committee to review Canada's federal Criminal Code's definition of when a baby becomes a human being. Canadian law says a baby only becomes a human being at the moment its birth is completed.

I am reminded of a famous line from Charles Dickens' book Oliver Twist: "'If the law supposes that,' said Mr. Bumble . . . 'the law is a ass - a idiot.'"

So it is. The law is based on pro-abortion ideology, not biological evidence which established decades ago that life reproduced sexually begins when sperm fertilizes egg. This is not a matter of taste or opinion, it is biological evidence.

If Canada truly believes in the concept of universal human rights then all human life must be included within that ideal. That's what "universal" means. Human rights begin when human life begins and ends with life's natural conclusion.

Thomas Mulcair
Canada's socialist leader in Parliament, the New Democratic Party Leader Thomas Mulcair adamantly opposed Woodworth's motion, or the establishment of a parliamentary committee. Mulcair said the entire New Democratic Party will vote against the motion.

In defending his motion, Woodworth said, "There's a diversity of opinion across Canada on the question of our definition of human being. But what does a parliamentarian do in the face of diversity? Rather than let opinions fester, one should expose them to the light of day."

Some opinions cannot be sustained in the light of day. They need the logic of darkness in order to be maintained. The light of biological science, unfiltered by pro-abortion ideology, would quickly establish that life reproduced sexually begins at conception. All one has to do is refer to the Carnegie Stages of human development.

Carnegie Stages of Human Development
The Carnegie Institute at John Hopkins University first described the initial stages of embryonic development back in the early 1900s. Canada's law's stating a human being's life begins at birth is ridiculous. It completely contradicts what we know about prenatal development.

Canada's law is backward and bigoted. It needs to change to finally recognize and include what we know about prenatal life.

Unborn children are not the first group of humanity that has not been recognized as legal persons. Until 1929, Canada's Supreme Court said women were not legal persons. There was a time in North America when aboriginal people were considered non-persons.


In 1857, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott decision that black slaves were considered property and not legal persons.

During the Third Reich, the personhood and humanity of Jews was questioned. Adolf Hitler said, "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but not human."

History is marred with examples of people arbitrarily denying other groups of humanity legal personhood or even recognition as human beings. Now it is unborn children who are systematically denied their humanity and not recognized as legal persons. Prejudice makes civil society uncivilized.

Even if a parliamentary committee were to review the Criminal Code's position that a child only becomes human at the point of birth, it would still have to look at when biological science established when life begins. Unfortunately, too many parliamentarians will not accept the answer.

It would not be the first time a government has examined this important question. In April 1981, the U.S. Congress conducted a series of hearings to answer the question "When does life begin?"


A group of internationally recognized scientists appeared before the committee with a resounding collective statement that conception marks the beginning of a new human being. Fifty-seven witnesses appeared and only one scientist disagreed; his disagreement was based on philosophical, not scientific, grounds.

Did it change anything? No. Corrupt ideology and prejudice prevailed over truth. Millions of children have died by abortion across America since 1981. Why should we think it will be different 30 years later in Canada? Are we more open to truth now?

I fear the answer is "no," but pray it might become "yes." Until then, it remains important that God's people continue to proclaim the sanctity and dignity of all human life and prayerfully offer life-affirming alternatives to women considering abortion.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


 Dear readers of this blog (as of this morning there have been over 70,000 hits): I want to bring your attention to an important event coming up in less than a month. It is important for people of good-will to hear what these people have to say. They are steadfastly fighting on the front lines against euthanasia and the protection of vulnerable populations. Register today for this timely conference at this link:
Thank you.
Mark Davis Pickup

2012: A Conference on Stealth Euthanasia

Saturday, June 2, 2012 | 835 2nd Ave NW | New Brighton, MN 55112

Register Now
Human Life Alliance and United for Life of Minnesota are excited to announce Imposed Death: A Conference on Stealth Euthanasia to be held Saturday, June 2, 2012 in New Brighton, Minnesota. This full-day conference boasts a line-up of exceptional speakers covering a wide range of end-of-life topics.

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada, will be discussing the world-wide perspective of imposed death from Holland and the Netherlands to what is happening here in our own neighborhoods. He will help us to understand how the “the-right-to-die” movement has brought us to this point and where we’re going from here if it continues unchecked. Mr. Schadenberg is an expert on assisted suicide and euthanasia around the globe and will be helping us to have a deeper understanding of how insidious the pushers of death are.

Ron Panzer, RN, founder and president of Hospice Patients Alliance (HPA), will be speaking about Stealth Euthanasia. As a nurse who has exposed violations of the standards of care within hospice and other niches of healthcare, Ron has much to share with us about what is really happening. Ron and HPA are at the frontline in exposing the pervasive infiltration into hospice and healthcare by the culture of death with its bioethical-based policies that are hastening many tens of thousands into death before their time. Ron has served as a consultant on hospice for thousands of families, patients and staff from all over the USA and has been interviewed by journalists for online news sources as well as newspapers, radio and TV. He will help us to understand how accepted, extensive and permeating the concept of euthanasia and a “right to die” have become.

Julie Grimstad, LPN, founder and president of Life is Worth Living, will be sharing her expertise in two areas: Health Care Decision Making and Physicians Orders for Life Sustain Treatment (POLST) forms and Patient Advocacy. Julie will help us to understand what we need to do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from stealth euthanasia. Julie is also working with HLA to build a network of patient advocates. Maybe you are being called to be part of that network.

Mary Kellett, founder and president of Prenatal Partners for Life will discuss infant euthanasia and hospice. She will share her experience, knowledge and expertise in working with healthcare providers involved in caring for children with conditions that put them at risk of being euthanasized.

Cristen M. Krebs, DNP, ANP-BC, Catholic Hospice Founder / Executive Director, is a graduate of Robert Morris University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program with twenty years of end-of-life care experience. After several years in the field of hospice nursing, Dr. Krebs became disheartened with the trend of hospices becoming more business oriented than patient focused. Concerned that direct patient care was being compromised, in 1997, Dr. Krebs began the first faith-based, nonprofit hospice program serving Pittsburgh and surrounding counties. In May 2007, she incorporated Catholic Hospice, the only pro-life, non-profit hospice in Pittsburgh. Catholic Hospice embraces the Vatican’s Declaration on Euthanasia, encouraging all faiths to uphold the teachings of the church when caring for those experiencing terminal illness.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


In response to my last blog post, "Let's Stop Calling People Vegetables", Dr. Dianne Irving responded to explain the origins and motive for calling comatose people vegetables or being in a vegetative state. Below is her illuminating response.

The term "vegetative state" became popular at the "birth" of bioethics (1978 Belmont Report). It is traced to the "delayed personhood" arguments used at the beginning of life issues: first the vegetative soul is present, then later the sensitive soul is added, and finally (about 3-4 months) the rational soul is added. Then and only then is there a human being with a rational soul to be respected. St. Thomas (following Aristotle), as well as many religions today still follow that odd and scientifically/philosophically false dictum. 

What bioethics did was also reverse this dictum to end of life issues -- and this was taught in a major seminar at a Georgetown bioethics conference early on (about 1990). Those of us in the seminar on "euthanasia" were taught that -- just as there is a series of souls at the beginning of life -- at the end of life the reverse happens (supposedly adapted from St. Thomas): in the dying patient, first the rational soul leaves the body, then the sensitive soul leaves the body, and finally the only thing left there in the patient is the vegetative soul -- and thus there is no "person" really present! Of course, that would also mean that with euthanasia, physician assisted suicide (PAS), and organ transplantation, the use of such "vegetables" in human research, etc., would be "ethical". This concept of the "vegetative state" was immediately picked up by one of the first new bioethics international centers in France -- INSERM. They were the ones who really popularized the phrase.
Of course, St. Thomas (and Aristotle) were systematically required as classical realist philosophers to start their philosophizing with empirical facts, and those that they "started" with in their "delayed hominization" arguments were empirically false; they both still believed that there were only 4 material elements in the natural world: air, earth, fire and water! Needless to say, whatever philosophical personhood concepts they arrived at from that false empirical starting place would be erroneous. But if you look at both St. Thomas' and Aristotle's systematic dogmas on the "soul", both taught that there was only ONE SOUL with THREE POWERS -- the rational soul -- that INCLUDES VIRTUALLY BOTH THE SENSITIVE AND THE VEGETATIVE POWERS.

Therefore, there cannot be three human souls, and there can be no "splits" among the three powers of that one single human soul; nor can there be any "split" between the whole rational soul and the human material body. The human soul and human body come into existence simultaneously. So for both of them, their systematic philosophical principles would contradict their own attempts to argue for "delayed personhood". Therefore, they would never have agreed that at the end of life there is only a "vegetative" soul present (and thus no "person").

As an Aristotelean Thomist myself, I wrote an article on this last year, with extensive direct quotations from both Aristotle and St. Thomas, using the wonderful encyclical of Pope Leo XVIII as a backdrop: “’Revival’ of St. Thomas’ Philosophy – Yes, But Not His Erroneous ‘Delayed Personhood’ Argument; Concerns for Beginning and End of Life Issues” (April 4, 2011), at: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_185revival.st.thomas1.html.
So, the current efforts to call these poor vulnerable patients "vegetables" cannot be sustained academically or philosophically any more than can "delayed personhood" at the beginning of life. The only reason these terms continue to be used is purely political.

Dianne Irving, Ph.D.