Unfolding a Post-Roe World

by Francis Etheredge

Unfolding a Post-Roe World is the second edition of what had formerly been entitled The ABCQ of Conceiving Conception. It explores what is involved in grasping the beginning of each of us – but we need the truth to open the heart to love for it to be helpful in humanizing us. If we are equally given the gift of existence, why are we, who are born, the judges of those who will be born or not?

This second edition helps the reader to see more clearly both the “light” and the “dark” of seeking a stable account of the American Constitution, from the point of view of perceiving the right to life of all. But as with Poland’s perseverance in the Christian faith in the course of two atheistic types of social domination, and along with Germany and Italy’s protection of the human embryo, in different but complementary ways, we see that countries can have a vocation in world history. Thus, the ongoing debate on the 14th Amendment of the American Constitution has assumed a vocational witness on behalf of the whole human family.

Scientists can help us see the reality of the first instant of fertilization being the beginning of human existence – but we need an educated humanity to go beyond the technicalities to the appreciation and development of the relationships that come to exist. To this end, Unfolding a Post-Roe World explores both an ongoing willingness to adapt our speech to our listeners and the continuing help of God to enable us to go forward in a spirit of forgiveness and understanding of all that is involved.

Paperback: $19.95 | Kindle: $9.99


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Revisiting the Publisher’s Blurb

A Biography and New Foreword by Kiki Latimer: Biography; the New Forward: On the Reality of the Human Person: One in Body and Soul; On the Dignity of Women; To Choose Life; On the Reasonable Recognition of the Person; On the Coercive Choice; On the Objective Beginning of Personhood; On the Good of the Family

Excerpt from an interview with Elizabeth Kirk on Promoting Adoption in America

Part I: Refocussing the Heart of this Book

What is in a Title? Unfolding A Post-Roe World: Conception: An Unfolding Content; Rights Are Integral to Human Existence;
The help We Need to Understand What Is not so “Familiar; Conception: An Unfolding Content; Conception Expresses Both Uniqueness and Relationship; Questions; Is My Body Mine?; This Book; Five Parts

Part II: The Teaching of Experience: Law; Analogies; and Gardening: Comprising Chapters One and Two; Five examples of the image as a counterargument

Chapter One: An Imaginative use of Gardening and Plant Life: Part I: The Science of Plant Reproduction; Part II: Teaching through the Everyday Experience of Growing Vegetables: Tomato Seeds, Plants and Conception; The Early, Hidden Development of Both Tomato Plant and Embryonic Child; Conception and Growing Potatoes; The Integrity of Human Being; Plant Loss and Human Sorrow

Chapter Two: A Unitary Beginning of One or Many: Two Views: Immediate or Delayed Animation; The Possibility of a Single Answer to When Did I begin? Embryology: What is One Organism? Reverting to What is Original; A Difference of Words: Embryo and Child?

Part III: Literary Truths and the Literal Truth: Comprising Chapters Three and Four

Chapter Three: Passing Through the Past to the Present: From the “literal” use of an Image to the Truth of Embryology; Stage One: Taking the Comparison with a Plant to be Literally True; Stage Two: Movement, Sensation and the Rearing of Young; Stage Three: Rational Ensoulment; A Concluding Reflection: Towards Understanding Human Ensoulment; The Greatest Natural Transformation: The Unfolding of Conception

Chapter Four: Scripture and Theology: Word and Dogma: The Word of God and Dogma; A Variety of Witnesses to Human Conception – Beginning with Eve; Job; David; the Martyred Mother of Her Seven Martyred Sons; Mary: The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception and Human Conception

Part IV: What is Certain and What is Uncertain about Conception: Comprising Chapters Five, Six and Seven; Conversion to Reality

Chapter Five: The Teaching of the Church and the Problem of Uncertainty: Prologue: A Modern Moment; Introduction: Who is My Neighbour; The Problem of Uncertainty in both Church Teaching and the 14th Amendment

Chapter Six: On the Interpretation of Texts: Particularly “Amendment 14”: Amendment 14; Mr. Justice Rehnquist, Dissenting; On the Question of the Rightful Protection of Women; and The Principle of Determining an Appropriate Level of Legal Action

Chapter Seven: An Answer to the Uncertainty of What or Who Exists at Conception: What is the Experience of Women in Pregnancy?; The Witness of Each One of Us; A Discussion on the Teachings of the Catholic Church and the “Opinion of the Court”; A Clarification as Regards the Teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas; The Contribution of Revelation and Dogma; A Variety of Bioethical Declarations; Gravitating to a Consensus

Part V: Unfolding a Post-Roe World: Comprising Chapters Eight, Nine and Ten; Distinguishing Actual and Potential Human Life

Chapter Eight: Roe v Wade: The Ongoing Arguments of Benefit to us All: Justice Beyond a Change of Justices (i); Viability is for Life (ii); Choice, Burdens, and their Alleviation (iii); Bodily Integrity, Liberty, Equality and the Constitution (iv); Brain Death and Abortion (v); Abortion and the Advancement of Women (vi); True Justice is Irreversible (vii)

Chapter Nine: A New Beginning: The Opinion of the American Supreme Court; A Book by John Strege: Hannah: The First Child Adopted as a Frozen Embryo; ITEST Webinars Entitled “A Post-Roe World” (I) and “Bioethics and Law: Understanding the Nexus: Truth and Meaning in Constitutional Jurisprudence” (II) and The ongoing challenge: Is There a Right to Life in the American Constitution?; A Possible Comparison between the Legislative Variations of American States and a Precept of the European Court; Coercion: Personal and Social; An Ectopic Pregnancy: Fear, Truth and Opportunity; Pope Francis on Justice, the Bond of Fraternity and Peace

Chapter 10: A Conclusion in Three Parts: Part I: Lest we Forget Mother, Child and Father; Part II: The Wider Implications for a Post-Roe World: Three Loci: To Know our Identity; a Move Towards the Further Denial of Being Human; and Change; and Part III: The Disruptive Power of the Word of God: The Human Unpredictability of an Answer to Prayer: The Will of God

A Very Distinguished Testimony: Saint Teresa of Calcutta; Where To Get Help? “Seek and you will find” (Mt 7: 7): Help with Pregnancy or Post-Abortion Counselling; Dr. Pat Castle: ‘78% of post-abortion mothers said if they had encountered ONE supportive person or encouraging message, they would have chosen life.’ And, therefore, he founded “Life Runners”: they wear ‘“REMEMBER The Unborn” jerseys as a public witness in over 3,300 cities’.; A Testimony from a Man to Men: An Unexpected Joy: An Unprecedented Pain; Joy and Pain Express “Relationship”; “Indelible”; and the “Rise of Articles on St. Joseph and Fatherhood

Further Reading: A Variety of Prior Work on Conception and Specific Documents of the Catholic Church in English


REVIEWS OF THE SECOND EDITION

Christine Sunderland, in ChristineSunderland.com (November 13, 2022). To read, click here. To download as a PDF, click here.


REVIEWS OF THE FIRST EDITION

Christine Sunderland, in ChristineSunderland.com (May 15, 2022). To read, click here. To download as a PDF, click here.

Eileen Quinn Knight, in Profiles in Catholicism. (March 26, 2022). To read, click here.


TESTIMONIALS FOR THE SECOND EDITION

“I find this book feels far more complete than the first version, particularly due to the comments on Dobbs v Jackson. I think this book makes excellent material for educating Catholics, but also to persuade other Christians of our views. The book is educational and convincing, but also moving. It proposes the case of Natural Law with charity and compassion for all. I hadn’t heard about the reimplantation of ectopic pregnancies before. I have found that a lot of talk around abortion differs from other areas of medicine in that people have little belief in the improvement of the science of fertility. For example, I have noticed that many of the people I have talked to about abortion tend to think the risk of maternal death is much higher than it really is. They don’t know that ‘viability’ or rather survivability of an unborn child is quickly becoming earlier and earlier. They also don’t share a vision or hope that medicine could improve with new techniques or technologies that would mean both mother and child could survive in almost all cases. Thank you for the updated version – I thought the new foreword, along with the new afterword were particularly powerful pieces.” Michal Paszkiewicz, BSc Theoretical Physics, PgDip Science and Religion at Mobile Technical Lead at Navico Group

“This book, with the new foreword by Kiki Latimer, presents a suitable commentary on the issue of abortion. The poetic-theological “seasoning” of it brings an appropriate touch to the philosophical sensibility of Etheredge’s position, which operates with respect to the legal and social data of a pre- and post-Roe world. Etheredge’s overall approach is, I think, helpful because, on one hand, it squelches a popular tendency to reject any attempt at rational discourse about abortion while, on the other hand, employing basic principles of bioethics—and, to a lesser, though still informative, extent, metaphysics—so to present the dynamism of the issue at hand in a winsome manner. I anticipate that this book will serve as a positive guide, one which will lead its reader along a path of deep reflection concerning the genesis of human life—scientifically, philosophically, and theologically—and therein elicit a fundamental ethical question that should face each of us in our present epoch: What, exactly, are the metaphysical, moral, and theological implications of discontinuing, destroying, and discounting human life at its most vulnerable? My prayer for this book is that it will prompt the reader to reflect deeply on the question of human origins, and do so along the same lines as that “true metaphysician,” St. Bonaventure, did: that human life belongs supremely to the originating principle of the Father, and to the receiving principle of the Son, and to the terminating end of the Holy Spirit, ‘the Lord, the Giver of Life.'”Lance H. Gracy, M.A., Teaching Fellow, University of North Texas, Department of Philosophy and Religion
“What Francis Etheredge has done here with “Unfolding a Post-Roe World” is tremendous. His work of cutting through the legal jargon and red tape of the American Constitution surrounding the recent Dobbs v. Jackson case is extraordinary. With patience and undebatable precision, Etheredge combs through various questions regarding life, existence, conception and the arguments against basic human rights: the rights of the unborn child. “Unfolding a Post- Roe World” reads clearly with strength and undeniable truth as the leading voice of defence for the defenceless. This book is without a doubt a clear outline for how we as a world can navigate these ethically complex times we find ourselves a part of.” – Annemarie Thimons, Director of Communications, MyCatholicWill.com

“In this short work, Francis Etheredge applies evidence and argument from different disciplines to the question of human personhood. His reasoning is thorough, patient, and infused with love. He establishes the personhood of the child in the womb from the moment of the joining of sperm and egg and lays out a convincing case for the 14th Amendment’s protection of all human life.” – Christine Kasun Moruza, Superior Court Judge (Ret.), Alameda County, CA, USA


TESTIMONIALS FOR THE FIRST EDITION

“With the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade, cogent arguments are needed to help people understand the moral evil of abortion as the issue returns to the democratic process. Francis Etheredge has made a significant contribution to this debate with the publication of The ABCQ of Conceiving Conception. In it, he makes a persuasive case for the personhood of the unborn child by unpacking the meaning of conception. Using images from botany, zoology, philosophy, and theology, Etheredge accompanies readers on a journey to the discovery of conception as the necessary beginning of human life, with all its attendant rights.” – Thomas D. Williams, PhD. Author of Who Is My Neighbor? Personalism and the Foundation of Human Rights

“The moment of conception can be described as a mystery and miracle. Even from a secular perspective, the beginning of human life carries immense wonder. Notwithstanding our modern medico-scientific understanding of human embryology, the use of analogy remains a valuable means for grasping the marvel of conception. Borrowing illustration from gardening and plant growth, Francis Etheredge in The ABCQ of Conception offers an accessible introduction to this wondrous moment. By seeing human conception for what it is – the beginning of a human person’s life – Etheredge shows that each human being is a unique gift invested with dignity. As conception initiates an innate developmental process that seamlessly leads to a mature human individual, Etheredge compellingly argues that impeding this process for non- therapeutic reasons amounts to a transgression against the natural right to develop, entailing the need to protect human life from the moment of conception.” – Eric Manuel Torres, BHlthSci, MOrthoptics (LaTrobe), MNSc (Melb), GradDipTheol, MTS (CTC/UDiv), GradCertEdu [Specialist Inclusive] (Deakin), CertIIIBAdmin (S.Russo), AOBR, MOA, RN, Assoc. Member CMAV. Catholic moral theologian and bioethicist.

“The commonest argument put forward to justify abortion is that the unborn child belongs to the mother. It is therefore her body, her choice. This book beautifully dismantles such a view: ‘our bodies express each one of us’ from conception till natural death. Our very biological make-up says so: once pregnant, the mother’s immune system has to let it accept the presence of a different human being growing inside of her. The book demonstrates admirably and by means of analogy that the unborn child is no more part of the woman’s body than a plant is a part of the soil it is growing in. Of course, the plant needs the soil and the unborn child needs his or her mother. The book seeks to stimulate the founding of an internationally binding charter which envisions the natural integrity of every human being from conception till natural death. It is my firm belief that this work has given us a rational foundation to propose this.” – Dr. Pravin Thevathasan, MB.BS, MRPsych, MSc (Medical Ethics) Consultant Psychiatrist and Editor, Catholic Medical Quarterly

“In his verse, the French Catholic poet Charles Peguy loved to celebrate beginnings and origins. The first beginning for all of us, the starting-point of the great adventure of our human life, is conception in our mothers’ wombs. Francis Etheredge deserves our gratitude for helping us understand and appreciate its beauty.” – Fr. John Saward, author of several books, including Redeemer in the Womb

“What Francis Etheredge elucidates so clearly within the pages of The ABCQ of Conception is that every human life is sacred, that human life possesses a dignity beyond that of plants and animals. Why? Because from the beginning — from the very moment of our conception — we are formed in our mother’s womb in the image and likeness of God. Every human life would not be life at all without the direct intervention of God, who infuses a rational soul into a body, uniting spirit and matter. Etheredge leads the reader toward a heartfelt gratitude to God for the gift of life and the recognition that every human life is something to be marveled at and reverenced, not trivialized and exploited. He illuminates well the responsibility of every Christian and person of good-will to seek out the just and legal means necessary to protect innocent human lives from their inception. This work is much needed and timely in its arrival.” – Rev. Kenneth M. Dos Santos, MIC, Provincial Secretary, BVM, Mother of Mercy Province; author of Hagia Sophia: The Wisdom of God as Offered to the Modern World

“In his book The ABCQ of Conception, Francis Etheredge takes advantage of our natural experience of living things—such as the potato and its life cycle—to help us bridge the modern ‘gap’ in understanding when life begins in the human person. Regarding our conception, Etheredge states, ‘there is a common agreement that ‘something’ comes to exist at conception. The question is, then, what comes to exist at conception?’ —A basic question, yet so profound. I laughed out loud because it struck me with its simple logic and undeniable philosophical truth. Another of his questions begs an equally unmistakable answer: “What is so disappointing about a miscarriage? Surely it has nothing to do with the abstract claim of losing a blob of cells…” The ABCQ of Conception aids us in acknowledging the beginning of human life—so vitally important for those in the womb; conceived by invitro; in frozen embryo form; experimented upon; and whose DNA is mixed with animal DNA creating chimeras. All persons have a God-given right to their natural human development and their distinct familial history and experience of siblings, grandparents, and other natural relations. Etheredge sums up his book, poignantly, in one clear statement: “…if the truth establishes our common human identity then it establishes, at the same time, our ethical responsibility for each other.” This responsibility, therefore, creates necessity for global acceptance of the beginning of human life for proper respect, protection, care, and posterity of humanity and the natural family unit.” – Kimberly Bruce, MA Theology, author of The Gender Link to the Human Soul and Look at the SON: The Fruit of Medjugorje

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mr. Francis Etheredge is married with eight children, plus three in heaven.

Francis is the author of Scripture: A Unique Word, and a trilogy From Truth and Truth (Volume I-“Faithful Reason”; Volume II-“Faith and Reason in Dialogue”; Volume III-“Faith Is Married Reason”), all of which are published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing; The Human Person: A Bioethical Word, The Family on Pilgrimage: God Leads through Dead Ends, The Prayerful Kiss, Conception: An Icon of the Beginning, Mary and Bioethics: An Exploration, and Honest Rust and Gold: A Second Collection of Prose and Poetry, all of which are published by En Route Books and Media.

Francis is currently a freelance writer and speaker and his “Posts” on LinkedIn can be viewed here. Poetry; short articles; autobiographical blog; excerpts from books; and “Philosophize: A Ten Minute Write.”

See Francis’ other books, too, entitled Scripture: A Unique WordFrom Truth and truth: Volume I-Faithful ReasonFrom Truth and truth: Volume II: Faith and Reason in DialogueFrom Truth and truth: Volume III: Faith is Married Reason.

He has earned a BA Div (Hons), MA in Catholic Theology, PGC in Biblical Studies, PGC in Higher Education, and an MA in Marriage and Family (Distinction).

Enjoy these additional articles by Francis Etheredge:

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