News & Commentary

Nigerian Pro-life Leader Speaks Out Against Melinda Gates for Pushing Population Control in Africa

Lauretta Brown   Jul 18, 2017   |   4:26PM    Washington, DC

Obianuju Ekeocha, a Nigerian-born biomedical scientist and the founder of Culture of Life Africa, a U.K.-based pro-life group, argued on BBC’s Sunday Morning Live that the Gates Foundation’s push for contraception in Africa might be “an insidious way of moving the agenda of population control” since in many African countries the “desired number of children is actually quite high.”

Melinda Gates announced last week that the Gates Foundation will commit an additional $375 million to family planning programs citing deep concerns “about the White House’s proposed budget cuts to global family planning efforts.” President Trump recently expanded a policy that bans taxpayer funds from going to programs that perform or promote abortion overseas.

“When a woman has access to contraceptives, she tends to have fewer children. Families can devote more resources to each child’s nutrition, health, and education, setting them up for a better future,” Gates said.

“I’m sure Melinda Gates means well,” Ekeocha began, “but you see the problem is there is an arrogance and something in what I see as questions not being asked in all the talk about contraception and helping women space their children is what exactly, speaking of Africa for example, what exactly do women want?”

“In most of the African countries you get to find and research continues to show all the time that African women you know in a lot of the countries desire or desired number of children is actually quite high when cultures where people for example value children or value big families what are you saying to the women if you continue to push their governments towards the so-called family planning projects?”

“Not that people are not spacing their children,” she added, “it’s that this might indeed be an insidious way of moving the agenda of population control.”

Ekeocha clarified that she was not saying family planning programs were “bad in and of themselves” but that “there is a real problem with a multi-billionaire from a Western country coming in to tell African governments what to do or how to control populations.”

Mairo Mandara, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Country Representative for Nigeria, said at a World Population Day (WPD) event that “Family Planning should be declared a National Emergency,” adding, “it is not about stopping people from giving birth, but seeking to control the process. The WPD is meant to draw attention to population explosion in the coming years. In Nigeria, the WPD 2017 provides opportunity to discuss ways of checking possible population explosion.”

French President Emmanuel Macron drew criticism last week for saying that Africa has a “civilizational” problem and women are having “seven or eight children.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, recently defended Canada’s increase in funds toward abortion and contraception overseas by calling abortion and contraception a “tool to end poverty.”

 

Intersex fish

By Theresa Smith | July 12, 2017 | 8:38 PM EDT

 

Professor Charles Tyler, reproductive physiologist and environmental biologist at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom), has found that chemicals from contraceptive pills and other household cleaning products are causing fresh-water male fish to develop female parts and even to lay eggs.

Tyler’s research has shown that oestrogen and other chemicals being washed down the drain are causing male fish to reduce “sperm quality and display less aggressive and competitive behaviour, usually associated with attracting females of the species, which make them less likely to breed successfully,” reported Exeter in a press release.

Tyler presented his research on July 3 in a keynote address at 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Fisheries Society in the British Isles, held at Exeter University. His lecture was titled “The Feminisation of Nature – an Unnatural History.”

In the lecture, he laid out data on the Roach fish in particular, and how estrogens are causing some males to develop ovaries and become an “intersex.”

(Screenshot of Slide 17)

One of Tyler’s  research reports (which he sighted in his presentation) explained that “intersex” fish are male fish that “can have feminized reproductive ducts and/or developing oocytes within their testes (Nolan et al. 2001). They also “have abnormal concentrations of sex steroid hormones (Jobling et al. 2002a) and (often) elevated concentrations of the estrogen-dependent blood protein vitellogenin (VTG) in their blood (Jobling et al. 1998).”

This research also states that “fertility is reduced” in feminized fish.

(Screenshot of Slide 18)

“We are showing that some of these chemicals can have much wider health effects on fish that we expected. Using specially created transgenic fish that allow us to see responses to these chemicals in the bodies of fish in real time for example we have shown that oestrogens found in some plastics affect the valves in the heart, “ Tyler said in the Exeter press release.

He added, “Other research has shown that many other chemicals that are discharged through sewage treatment works can affect fish including antidepressant drugs that reduce the natural shyness of some fish species, including the way they react to predators.”

When CNSNews.com asked Tyler how long he has been doing research on transgender fish, Tyler responded in an email, “I have been working on sexual disruption in fish as a consequence of exposure to chemicals for  years.”

Tyler also corrected the word “transgender” with regard to the fish, saying, “I think it may be better to call them intersex fish — as some people like to use the term transgender in the human context only.”

In his presentation, Tyler also mentioned that chemicals are having this effect on fish in other continents around the world: “Feminised Fish have been reported from sites across Europe, America, Canada ( Rainbow Darter – Etheostoma caeruleum, Percidae), Africa and Asia.”

(Screenshot of Slide 15)

On this topic, CNSNews asked Tyler, “Slide 15 mentions that fish are being ‘feminized’ in other continents around the globe. Is this a result of contraceptive chemicals as well? Or is it something else?”

Tyler responded, “The feminising effects on fish in other countries does indeed include effects from the contraceptive pill, but also from chemicals including industrial surfactants – detergents, plasticisers  and bulk chemicals such as bisphenol A.”

The sincere guide to promoting NFP

Posted on July 16, 2017 by Cassie Moriarty

The sincere guide to promoting NFP

It’s almost NFP Awareness week (July 23)! It’s easy to get swept away in NFP promotion and forget that it’s not always a breezy journey for everyone. So here we have laid out the guide to promoting Natural Family Planning without the rose-colored glasses. The three most important things to keep in mind when sharing your love of Natural Family Planning are sincerity in the struggles you have encountered, joy in the wonderful parts, and flexibility in allowing others to be where they are on their journey.

Sharing Your Struggles

NFP can be hard. I don’t think I’m the only person ever to say that. In seasons of difficult charting – like postpartum, perimenopause, times of stress, or hormonal imbalance, it can be hard to find the type of support you need. Sometimes finding NFP support period can be a challenge. Instructors usually are doing it pro-bono so they are fitting it into their already busy lives. While there are chat rooms and facebook groups and great literature on learning NFP, nothing replaces that one-on-one exchange.

Abstaining can be hard. Biology has other plans. Dealing with questions of whether or not your pregnancy was planned can be awkward at best, and downright offensive at worst. As I’ve written before, the decision to grow your family is not always an on/off switch. NFP is not, by definition, a wonder drug for your relationship. It will not solve pre-existing issues, it won’t make your in-laws any easier to deal with, and it certainly won’t clear up any financial debt.

Before I crush your spirits, this is not to say that NFP is dreadful, or even unfavorable. It’s just important to be honest about the struggles that can accompany the choice to use NFP. When one person speaks out about their challenge, another person says, “Hey, me too.” And another pipes up, “Yes! Same!” These voices deserve a place in the conversation. Otherwise, they don’t get heard and it becomes too easy to outcast them.

Sharing Joy

So if it’s not a wonder drug, then what it is it? NFP can be an amazing tool for couples and women. One of the reasons we hear so often that NFP has improved relationships and health is because it can. When couples are communicative, and open, and working through their challenges, NFP can open many wonderful doors. The empowerment a woman gains by learning her cycles is alone reason enough to get excited about sharing NFP! It’s important to share your joy. I love teaching women simply because it’s a joy to watch them grow in the self-discovery that they had never realized was possible.

Along with joy, (and empowerment and sheer awesomeness of knowing your cycles), there are the undeniable health benefits to steering clear of hormonal contraceptives. Some people are desperate to find an alternative for both managing hormonal health and family planning. It’s important for the risks of hormonal contraception to be considered, but emphasizing the health benefits of NFP is key, including an improved ability to figure out what hormonal imbalances may be behind symptoms and what to do about them.

Meeting People Where They Are

Lastly, and arguably the most important thing to keep in mind when promoting NFP is flexibility. Meet people where they are. Listen to their journey and don’t try to place them on yours. Maybe they’re not ready yet, maybe they don’t want to use an app, maybe they don’t want to learn X method, or maybe they want to blend a few methods. I always tell my clients the most effective method of NFP is the method they feel is sustainable for their lifestyle and fits in line with their family planning intentions. Maybe they don’t really care if they get pregnant so they don’t need a super strict set of rules. Or maybe they want as many biomarkers as possible. Or maybe they hate paper charting or can visualize better with a different style of chart.

The reason flexibility is so important is that people will never listen to you if you’re not first listening to them. You can plant the seed by sharing your joys and yes, your struggles, but then let them make the choice for themselves. I’ve had people ponder getting off the pill for months, even years before making the switch. But when they do, they are stoked to jump in and learn about their cycles.

So now that you have a guide for promoting NFP without the syrup, we want to know: how you are planning to celebrate NFP Awareness Week? Writing a blog piece? Giving a talk at a local library? The awesome thing about the NFP community is that most of us really do love it and just want to share the love. So here is a challenge for you: if you are interested in sharing your joys and struggles about NFP (and how you overcame them), send us your story. We’ll get as many as we can on our blog during NFP week. Not sure how to start? Use this short questionnaire.

Cassondra Moriarty is a filmmaker and fertility charting instructor in training based out of Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her husband. She is currently screening Miscontraceptions around the city and working to promote Fertility Awareness. She has trained with the Couple to Couple League and is in the process of getting her FEMM certification.

Study Finds Some Oral Contraceptives Increase Risks For Breast Cancer

By Holly Scheer

https://thefederalist.com
For many women, the decision to go on birth control is a normal part of womanhood. At well-woman checks and appointments after a baby’s birth doctors say it’s time to talk about birth control, and the general assumption is that you’ll use birth control until it’s the perfect time to have exactly as many kids as you want.

Birth control, especially the Pill, is interwoven with women’s health care, and access and funding for contraception has featured heavily in recent years with the debates on insurance policies and coverage. A new study has introduced a troubling concern for a medication so ubiquitous in most Western women’s lives, finding that the Pill might be putting women at significantly higher risk for breast cancers.

It’s hard to find a family in America that hasn’t been affected by breast cancer. It’s the most common cancer for women in the USA, and the rates of diagnosis are staggering. This year, more than 250,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and tens of thousands more will be diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for women. This makes the information in the new study particularly concerning.

When We Treat Fertility Like a Disease

Combining data from 12 previous studies looking at the health histories of American and European women from 19 to 40 years old, researchers from the University of Michigan discovered that some types of hormonal birth control increase women’s progestin levels fourfold. In addition, ethinyl estradiol, an artificial estrogen strongly correlated to breast cancer, was increased by 40 percent in women who use some forms of the Pill.

These two hormones work together normally to control a woman’s menstrual cycle and fertility. The synthetic versions are used in hormonal birth control to alter the normal monthly changes in a woman’s body to prevent pregnancy. Advocates of hormonal birth control frequently insist the risks of birth control are less than the risks of pregnancy for women.

When medications are widely prescribed without careful and deliberate attention paid to serious and potentially fatal side-effects, it’s a disservice to women. Birth control has been widely prescribed in America since 1960 when it became legal for contraceptive use, and with Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 Supreme Court made it unconstitutional for the government to deny birth control to married couples. Instead of the legality or morality of birth control, the focus here is on product safety.

Generally, we take medications to improve our health, or to treat a condition that’s hurting us. Is the Pill, in its current formulations, really doing either of these things? Or is the Pill instead increasing cancer risks in normal, healthy women? How does that relate to the broader societal treatment of women’s fertility as a disease to control, despite the increasing list of negative health effects for women?

Cancer isn’t the only frightening risk of the Pill. Another recent study showed that blood clots, some of them serious enough to cause permanent injuries or death, could be far more common than originally thought, and doctors often do not discuss these risks with women. Other troubling risks include weight gain and mood disorders that can become serious enough to cause suicidal thoughts and urges. Add in that the Pill can wreak havoc with a woman’s sex drive, and it’s clear that the effects of the Pill are far-reaching for women and men who love them.

Women Deserve Better Research and Care
“Not enough has changed over the generations of these drugs, and given how many people take hormonal birth control worldwide—millions—the pharmaceutical industry shouldn’t rest on its laurels,” said Beverly Strassmann, one of the study’s authors. The pharmaceutical industry is a multi-billion-dollar American institution, and there’s no good reason for a widely used medication class to not be continually striving to improve safety.

Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT, the hormone therapy used to decrease negative symptoms of menopause, changed radically after the Women’s Health Initiative study results in 2002, when they concluded the hormones used could increase cancer risks. Strassmann rightly noted that since the correlation between synthetic hormones and breast cancer isn’t new news to clinicians, it’s important to research if that link extends to birth control pills.

It’s especially important to consider these health concerns with the newer, often lesser-researched types of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception, which some are targeting at vulnerable young and poor women. Since screenings for breast cancer are more difficult to schedule, and mammograms less effective for young women, the breast cancer risks with hormonal contraception need to be taken seriously in these populations. Outside age, poverty is its own common barrier to timely cancer screenings.

With this study, we now know that there is a relationship between birth control pills and the hormonal changes associated with breast cancer. It’s time to seriously consider the health impact of the Pill on American women and families. Birth control is part of the modern American way of life. If that way of life increases the risk of life- altering cancer, those risks need to be clearly shared with women before they ever start taking the Pill, and regularly thereafter as knowledge increases.

More women may also wish to consider whether the social script of treating their body’s natural fertility like a disease is worth the noticeable spike in lifetime health risks numerous studies have now demonstrated, especially when studies often come years after thousands of women are irreversibly harmed. We’re more than 50 years after the Pill, and only just now finding out about the dramatic increases in breast cancer and other risks. What else will we know in another 40 years?

Holly Scheer is a writer and editor. She’s fascinated by politics, culture and theology. Follow her on Twitter @HScheer1580.

Canada to provide a whopping $241.5 million for overseas abortions, contraception

OTTAWA, July 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews)

The Justin Trudeau Liberals will pour $241.5 million into providing and promoting contraception and abortion in developing nations — particularly in Africa — as part of their commitment to securing global access to “sexual and reproductive health and rights.”

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau made the announcement on Tuesday during the Family Planning Summit in London, England.

The money is part of the $650 million the Liberals pledged in March to promote global access to “sexual and reproductive health and rights,” as well the $840 million they’ve earmarked “for humanitarian assistance in response to the crises in Iraq and Syria,” according to a Liberal backgrounder.

About 65 percent of the $241.5 million targets Africa.

The backgrounder, entitled “Canada’s leadership on sexual and reproductive health and rights,” details that the Liberals will dole out money over five years to veteran abortion promoters.

These include the United Nations Population Fund, Marie Stopes, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the World Bank.

The UNPF receives $45 million to provide “reproductive health and family planning services” in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan along with humanitarian aid.

The IPPF gets $5 million to promote abortion and provide contraception in South Sudan; Marie Stopes Tanzania $15 million to do the same in Tanzania; the Clinton Health Access Initiative $20 million to “improve access” to sexual and reproductive health choices through an “innovative approach” in Nigeria.

Pathfinder International gets $15 million to “support family planning and abortion services” in Mozambique, where abortion was legalized in December 2014.

Other African nations targeted are Ghana, Benin, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burkina Faso.

But African pro-life advocates are slamming the Liberals for “arrogance,” “hypocrisy,” and “cultural colonialism.”

“The Liberal government, by offering what Africans neither want nor need, shows its hunger to inherit the infamous throne of the ‘world abortion champions’ which the United States has abdicated,” Archbishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo, Nigeria, told LifeSiteNews in an email.

Communications director for the African bishops, Badejo excoriated the Trudeau government for “hypocrisy” in “pushing an imperialist agenda that undermine religious and cultural sensibilities and demean the cherished African respect for the life of the unborn.”

That was echoed by Obianuju Ekeocha, founder of the UK-based Culture of Life Africa.

“This new breed of Western leaders who want to impose an abortion-friendly ideology, if you will, by all means in Africa, one thing about them that they all have in common is that they are not listening to us,” she told LifeSiteNews.

“Most of the African cultures across the the different African countries consider abortion the destruction of human life, consider abortion as a way of death,” she said.

Moreover, Canada’s money will do a lot of damage in Africa when organizations such as Marie Stopes use it to lobby for abortion, Ekeocha said.

“In Africa, where there is a lot of corruption, some of it might go into bribery.”

And that will “involve terrible things,” Ekeocha said, because the “very fabric of that society is being shredded, put under pressure, first of all, by this kind of money, but also being shredded at the end of the day — by the time the money goes into buying favours, buying traditional rulers, buying community leaders, buying parliamentarians.”

The Liberals’ promotion of the sexual and reproductive rights agenda is “also terrible for the image of Canada,” hitherto highly regarded in Africa as “one of the few developed countries that was not a colonial master.”

Now under the Liberals, Canada in 2017 is “becoming a massive colonial master” as leader of what Ekeocha describes as the “neo-colonial” movement of the “reproductive rights agenda.”

Canada is not only “going and throwing all this money, it’s also trying to inspire other Western nations to do likewise,” she said.

“Even in their speeches, when you listen to them, you see that it’s kind of a clarion call, ‘we’re putting 650 million, what can you do, what would you do’,” she said. “They’re looking at other countries, and winking at other Western countries.”

The Trudeau government “has put itself right at the forefront of this unfortunate movement that is trying to colonize an Africa that has been decolonized a long ago,” Ekeocha said.

“But they are trying to colonize it in the worst way ever, they’re trying to colonize us culturally and ideologically.”

Little boy born without a brain can now speak, count, and attend school

Zoe Romanowsky | Feb 19, 2017

When Noah Wall was born, the doctors said he probably wouldn’t survive and if he did, he would be severely physically and developmentally disabled. Born with only 2 percent of his brain to a family in Cumbria, England, Noah had no hope — at least according to the doctors.

In utero, Noah had developed a rare complication of spina bifida where his skull filled with fluid, crushing his brain down into a “thin sliver of tissue,” according to the UK’s Mirror. His parents — Shelly and Rob — were advised to abort him on five occasions. They refused. After Noah’s birth, an open wound in his back was closed and a shunt was installed to drain the fluid from his brain.

Shelly and Rob picked out a baby coffin for Noah, but they also never stopped believing he was anything less than a great gift. They took him home and the entire family surrounded him constantly with love, affection, and 24-7 care. Noah’s brain began to grow. And grow. And grow some more.

When he was 3, a brain scan showed that his brain “had expanded to 80% of a normal brain.” Now a movie on Britain’s Channel 5 called The Boy Who Grew A Brain documents just how far Noah has come.

The family continues to keep Noah’s brain stimulated to aid his neurological growth. Dr. Claire Nicholson of Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital in England — Noah’s neurosurgeon — calls him “a remarkable child with two remarkable parents.”

Noah, who’s always smiling and shows empathy and love in his words and deeds, is learning to read and write, can count, and attends school. His brain continues to develop beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and after some surgeries on his hips, Noah’s family believes he may actually walk one day. Given how this story has unfolded so far, you should probably bet on it

Charlie Gard case: An attack on the family that should concern everyone

July 10, 2017 (HLI)  – The case of baby Charlie Gard has the gravest consequences for the rights of parents and the autonomy of the family. This assault against the family and life stretches beyond the borders of the UK, and we should all be very concerned.

For those unfamiliar with the case in question, Charlie Gard was born in the UK in 2016 with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a severe condition that left him struggling for his life. This past March doctors told his parents that there was nothing more they could do. They recommended removing his ventilator and letting him die.

Undeterred, Chris Gard and Connie Yates searched for alternatives. They discovered an experimental treatment that offered the small possibility of a cure. The catch? It’s extremely expensive, and is only offered in the United States.

Still undeterred, Charlie’s parents launched an online crowd-funding campaign and received tens of thousands of donations. In all, the parents raised over 1.3 million British pounds (nearly $1.7 million U.S.) – more than enough to pay for the treatment.

For the first time, there was a glimmer of hope for Charlie.

Then, inexplicably, the hospital where Charlie is being kept – Great Ormond Street Hospital in London – refused to release Charlie. They said they had determined that the proposed treatment was unlikely to help the boy, and would only prolong his suffering.

Shocked, Charlie’s parents appealed that decision. A court ruled that Charlie should be permitted to “die with dignity” (a chilling phrase, for those familiar with pro-death rhetoric). They appealed the case all the way up to the UK Supreme Court. At every step, they lost. Then, last week, the parents’ last recourse – the European Court of Human Rights – refused to overrule the UK court.

With that decision, Charlie’s case exploded onto the international stage. A ferocious public debate ensued, with global figures including President Trump, Pope Francis and many others weighing in. Charlie remains on life support, but at any moment the hospital could decide to remove his ventilator.

Sadly, confusion has plagued the emotionally fraught case. Even some pro-lifers seem to have been misled by the rhetoric of the hospital and the court system, while the core issue – the natural rights of the parents to make this decision for their child – has been lost.

Moreover, many were shocked after an initial statement from the Vatican’s own Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) seemed to side with the hospital, which was met with a fierce backlash from Charlie’s supporters. Thankfully, shortly thereafter Pope Francis issued his own statement. The Holy Father rightly pivoted the Vatican’s focus away from the complex and ultimately tangential issue of the nature of the proposed treatment, to the rights of Charlie’s parents. Speaking of the parents, the statement said: “For them [Pope Francis] prays, hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.”

Equally as important, the Vatican followed up with concrete action: Bambino Gesu, the Vatican’s own hospital, offered to take Charlie and care for him, for free. This was a strong, and much-needed gesture.

It is important that we be 100 percent clear what this case is not ultimately about: the distinction between “aggressive” or “extraordinary” care, and ordinary care. The Catholic Church has always been very clear that there is no moral obligation to use what the Church labels “extraordinary” means – which can include artificial respiration – to prolong life. As Pope John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae:

In such situations, when death is clearly imminent and inevitable, one can in conscience “refuse forms of treatment that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar cases is not interrupted”. … To forego extraordinary or disproportionate means is not the equivalent of suicide or euthanasia; it rather expresses acceptance of the human condition in the face of death.

However, at the same time, the Church has also never said that there is a moral obligation not to pursue extraordinary means. That must be evaluated on a case by case basis. More importantly, the decision about whether to pursue extraordinary care should rest with the rightful authority – in this case, clearly Charlie’s parents.

So what is the fundamental issue? One thing only: a struggle for power.

That is: The hospital, and the UK government, believe that the state, and not Charlie’s parents, should have the power to decide what is best for Charlie (and, presumably, others like him). And to drive that point home, they were willing to fight this case all the way to the EU Court of Human Rights.

If they succeed, what this means for parental rights is terrifying. As Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture summarized:

The injustice here is not that Charlie will be (maybe already has been) taken off his life-support system. The decision to turn off a ventilator is always painful, but sometimes justified.

The injustice is that Charlie will die when the hospital administration wants, and where the hospital administration wants. His parents have been deprived of their right to supervise his case. They could not take him the U.S. for experimental treatment. They could not take him home, to die in peace. As one of our readers observed, Charlie was essentially kidnapped, so that the authorities would be sure that he died on schedule.

The Catholic Church has always defended the primary rights of parents over the welfare and education of their children. Wherever those rights have been eroded, totalitarianism has not been far behind.

Indeed, it is no accident that Communism, Fascism, and other totalitarian ideologies have always sought first to sever the bond between parents and children. Once the family has been dismantled, it is an easy matter for the totalitarian state to fill the void.

The hospital and the courts may believe that they are doing what is best for Charlie. But in reality, their actions are at root totalitarian. They have robbed the parents of their natural rights, and set the state up instead as the final arbiter of life and death.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a U.S. pro-life activist who is spearheading protests in the UK on behalf of Charlie, warns that what is at stake in Charlie’s case is “universal.” The issue is, he says, “will parents be at the center of making decisions for their children? Or will those decisions be ripped from them by hospital officials, judges, and government bureaucrats?”

“This is not a liberal, conservative, or political issue at all. It’s a human rights issue,” he continued. “It’s the simple notion that parents should not be excluded and shut out from making critical decisions that impact the health and future of their children.”

The concerns and moral questions about this case will continue; meanwhile, Charlie and his parents deserve our steadfast support and prayer. Charlie’s parents have the best interests of their son at heart, and we must demand that the government respect their decision, as well as acknowledge and secure Charlie’s inherent dignity.

Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.

New Study Shows Birth Control and Contraception Don’t Cut Abortions

Micaiah Bilger   Jul 7, 2017   |   10:45AM    London, England

Claiming that birth control cuts abortion numbers is a favorite talking point of abortion groups like Planned Parenthood, but more and more studies are finding that this is not the case.

BPAS reports one in four of the women on birth control got pregnant while using methods considered to be the most effective, such as the birth control pill or the IUD.

Ann Furedi, CEO of BPAS and a late-term abortion advocate, claimed the data shows why women need easy access to abortions.

“Family planning is contraception and abortion. Abortion is birth control that women need when their regular method lets them down,” Furedi said. “When you encourage women to use contraception, you give them the sense that they can control their fertility – but if you do not provide safe abortion services when that contraception fails you are doing them a great disservice.”

The BPAS study involved its more than 60,000 abortion clients in 2016. In total, 51.2 percent of women said they were using at least one form of contraception when they became pregnant, according to the study. Of those women, a quarter said they were using a form of contraception considered to be at least 90-percent effective.

Previous studies have found similar results. A number of reports by the Guttmacher Institute, the former research arm of Planned Parenthood, also show that 55 percent to 60 percent of women having abortions were using contraception at the time.

And a ten-year study in Spain found that abortions increased as contraception use did:

[C]ontraception use increased by about 60%, the abortion rate doubled. In other words, even with an increase in contraception use, there weren’t fewer unwanted pregnancies, there were more.

Yet, Planned Parenthood leaders continue to claim their contraception work decreases abortions. Of course, their motivation in saying it is the hundreds of millions of tax dollars they receive each year.

Furedi at least was more honest about the data and her abortion goals. She said women deserve to know that contraception is not 100-percent effective, but she also touted abortion as the answer when contraception fails.

She wrote in the Telegraph: “The truth of the matter is that any society that values ‘planning families’ needs to value abortion services as part of the birth control package. Abortion is necessary as a supplement to contraception. If you have not been able to prevent a pregnancy, then you need to be able to end it – safely and easily.”

Killing a member of the family should never be a “value” promoted by society, though. Pro-lifers may have different opinions about the use of artificial contraception, but they all agree that family planning should never involve violence against another human being.

An abortion destroys a unique unborn baby’s life. By the time most women have abortions, their unborn baby’s hearts already are beating, and every unborn baby already has his or her unique DNA, unlike any other person’s in the world.

Baby Doe and Karen-35 Years Later

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When I started nursing school 50 years ago, medical ethics was not a course but rather common sense principles incorporated into our education. There was no controversy about not harming patients, integrity, equality of treatment regardless of status, etc.

So, of course, abortion and euthanasia were unacceptable and even thinkable in those days.

I particularly remember one teacher who told us about the hypothetical situation of a child with Down Syndrome whose parents wanted to let their baby die and how we naturally had to put the interests of the child first. This kind of protection for patients was routine both ethically and legally in those days.

In 1982, I remembered that situation when Baby Doe,  a newborn baby boy with an easily correctable hole between his esophagus (food pipe) and trachea (windpipe), was denied this lifesaving surgery by his parents and a judge because he also had Down Syndrome. Six days later, Baby Doe starved and dehydrated to death while his case was being appealed to the Supreme Court after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled 3-1 against saving him.

My husband, a doctor, and I were appalled when we first read about Baby Doe in the newspaper and my husband suggested that we adopt the baby ourselves and pay for the surgery.

I said yes but with some reluctance since I was already pregnant with our third child and our other children were just 5 and 3. But who else was better situated than us to care for a child with a disability who needed surgery?

In the end, we were too late to save Baby Doe. We found out that Baby Doe’s parents had already rejected the many other families who tried to adopt him.

Five months later, I gave birth to my daughter Karen who also happened to have Down Syndrome and a life-threatening condition that needed surgery.  Karen was born with a complete endocardial cushion defect of the heart  that the cardiologist told us was inoperable. We were told to just take her home and our baby would die within 2 weeks to 2 months.

I was heartbroken and cried for 3 days in the hospital before I finally got mad. My obstetrician never came back to check on me in the hospital even though I had a C-section and I demanded a second opinion on her heart condition in case the cardiologist was biased against children with Down Syndrome.

I insisted on leaving the hospital early with my daughter because I wanted as much time as possible with her and especially because I realized that I needed to research Karen’s heart condition to effectively advocate for her.

I joined the St. Louis Down Syndrome Association which helped me enormously, especially with my research and emotional support. Fortunately, it turned out that the initial prognosis was wrong and the cardiologist told us that Karen’s heart could be fixed with just one open-heart operation at age 6 months.

I was elated until the cardiologist told me that he would support my decision to operate “either way”, meaning I could refuse surgery just like Baby Doe’s parents.

I was furious and told him that the issue of Down Syndrome was irrelevant to Karen’s heart condition and that my daughter must be treated the same as any other child with this condition. I also added that if he were biased against people with Down Syndrome, he could not touch my daughter.

To his credit, this doctor recognized the injustice and because of Karen, he eventually became one of the strongest advocates for babies with Down Syndrome.

Unfortunately, I ran into other medical professionals caring for Karen who were not so accepting. One doctor actually told us that “people like you shouldn’t be saddled with a child like this” and another doctor secretly wrote a DNR (do not resuscitate) order against my instructions at the time. It was then that I realized that my so-called “choice” to save my daughter was really a fight.

Tragically, Karen died of complications of pneumonia when she was just 5 ½ months old and just before her scheduled open-heart surgery. I will always miss her but I am so grateful that I was her mother. Karen changed many lives for the better, especially mine.

I became active in the Down Syndrome Association, promoted President Reagan’s “Baby Doe” rules ,  provided babysitting/respite for many children with various disabilities, and even got a chance to talk to then Surgeon General C. Everett Koop about setting up a national hotline for new parents of children with disabilities to find resources.

But most importantly, I was determined to find out what had happened to medical ethics  over the years since nursing school that resulted in the Baby Doe tragedy and hopefully help reverse the mindset that people with disabilities were “better off dead”.

What I discovered was a landmark 1979 book titled “Principles of Biomedical Ethics” written by Tom Beauchamp PhD, a professor of philosophy, and James Childress PhD, a theologian and also a professor of philosophy. Neither one had a medical degree.

They devised these four principles for medical ethics:

  • Autonomy – The right for an individual to make his or her own choice.
  • Beneficence – The principle of acting with the best interest of the other in mind.
  • Non-maleficence – The principle that “above all, do no harm,” as stated in the Hippocratic Oath.
  • Justice – A concept that emphasizes fairness and equality among individuals.

Although all these principles were considered equal, it wasn’t long before autonomy became the cornerstone principle in ethics and law, ultimately leading not only to Baby Doe but also to the legalization of assisted suicide/euthanasia.

Ironically, all these principles have been used to justify cases like Baby Doe’s as well as assisted suicide/euthanasia.

Beneficence and non-maleficence have become a ways to see death as an actual blessing to real, perceived or potential suffering. Ominously, the justice principle has become the rationale for rationing under the guise of supposedly not wasting scarce healthcare resources .

CONCLUSION

35 years after Baby Doe, some things like medical technologies and education for people with disabilities are better but many things like assisted suicide/euthanasia have pushed the ethics of death even farther and are a threat to all of us and our loved ones.

The Baby Doe tragedy should have been a fire alarm for the evils we see today but it is never too late or impossible to try to promote a culture of respect for all lives.

Casey at 25: Pro-Life Progress Despite a Judicial Setback

By Michael J. New — June 29, 2017

http://www.nationalreview.com/node/449104/print

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This case involved the constitutionality of several provisions in Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act and marked the only time that the Supreme Court formally reconsidered its holdings in Roe v. Wade. When the Supreme Court failed to reverse Roe in this case, it was a substantial setback for the pro-life movement. Still, the 25 years since Casey have been a story of substantial legislative, political, and legal progress for pro-lifers — progress that has occurred not only because of perseverance but also because the movement shrewdly used legal openings granted to them by the Casey decision.

The pro-life movement has devoted few resources to chronicling its own history, so not many people remember how much pro-lifers had invested in the Casey decision. During the early 1980s, pro-life political strategy shifted from enacting a constitutional amendment to changing the composition of the Supreme Court. At this time, a more conservative Supreme Court seemed almost inevitable, considering that Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush appointed a total of five new justices. As a result, a reversal of Roe v. Wade appeared not only plausible but even likely. That made the Supreme Court’s Casey decision particularly disappointing.

Following Casey, there were plenty more reasons for pessimism. The year 1992 saw the election of the first U.S. president publicly committed to keeping abortion legal. Annual abortion numbers had been gradually rising for much of the 1980s, and the number of abortions performed in 1990 surpassed 1.6 million. There was serious discussion about removing the anti-abortion plank from the Republican-party platform, and GOP governors who supported abortion rights — such as Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey, William Weld of Massachusetts, and Pete Wilson of California — were heralded by many in the media as the future of the Republican party.

Even worse, in the early 1990s, pro-lifers were losing ground in the court of public opinion. Gallup surveys found that the percentage of people who felt that abortion should be “legal under any circumstances” had steadily increased since the 1970s. A 1995 Gallup survey found that only 33 percent of Americans identified as “pro-life.” Not even demographics appeared to offer much hope. Americans were becoming wealthier and better educated, both of which tended to correlate with “pro-choice” sentiment. All in all, there were good reasons to question the long-term political viability of the pro-life movement.

But the Casey decision contained a silver lining. Even though the Supreme Court did not overturn Roe v. Wade in Casey, it abandoned the trimester framework invented in Roe and instead adopted a doctrine of “undue burden.” This allowed for state regulation of abortion, as long as the regulation did not impose an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions. Under this new standard, the Casey decision upheld most of the provisions included in Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act, including the parental-consent provision, the reporting requirements, the waiting period, and the informed-consent language. Only the spousal-notification requirement was struck down.

The constitutional protection that Casey granted these laws, coupled with pro-life gains in numerous state legislatures since the 1990s, has led to a substantial increase in the number of state-level pro-life laws. Since 1992, the number of states with parental-involvement laws has increased from 20 to 37. The number of states with informed-consent laws pertaining to abortion has increased from 18 to 35. In recent years, 20 states have banned abortions that take place at or after 20 weeks’ gestation, based on the unborn child’s scientifically documented ability to feel pain. Even more important, after Casey, many states strengthened existing pro-life laws. In particular, several states improved their informed-consent laws by including more information about health risks, fetal development, and sources of support for single mothers.

The incremental strategy has paid dividends. Research shows that public-funding restrictions, parental-involvement laws, and informed-consent laws all reduce abortion rates.

This incremental strategy has paid a variety of dividends. A growing body of peer-reviewed research shows that public-funding restrictions, parental-involvement laws, and properly designed informed-consent laws all reduce abortion rates. Furthermore, the ongoing debates about these incremental laws — many of which enjoy broad public support — have succeeded in reframing the abortion debate in terms more favorable for pro-lifers. Indeed, many of the most worrisome trends of the early 1990s have reversed themselves. It is now Democrats who appear more conflicted over their party’s platform on abortion. The pro-choice Republican governors who were once thought to be the future of the party have largely vanished from the political scene.

Additionally, the pro-life position has been gaining public support. Seventeen of 18 Gallup polls from 1995 to 2008 showed a pro-choice plurality. But Gallup polls from both 2009 and 2012 found that a majority of Americans described themselves as “pro-life.” And those numbers are likely to grow even more in the future. During the 1970s and 1980s, many surveys showed that young adults were likely to favor abortion; since 2000, however, the General Social Survey (GSS) found that young adults are the age demographic most likely to oppose legal abortion.

Most important, the number of abortions is steadily declining. Since 1990, the number of abortions performed in the United States annually has declined by about 42 percent. The latest reported abortion rate from 2014 is half of what it was in 1980 and is even lower than it was in 1974, the year after the Roe v. Wade decision. Interestingly, the unintended-pregnancy rate has remained fairly constant over the long term. The decline in abortions is driven by the fact that a higher percentage of women facing unintended pregnancies are carrying those pregnancies to term. Clearly, pro-life legislative and educational efforts have succeeded in changing hearts and minds.

At some point, the Supreme Court will reconsider its holdings in both Roe and Casey. Predicting judicial rulings is far from an exact science. The Supreme Court may well decide to overturn Roe v. Wade. However, even if Roe is upheld, there is a good chance the Court will continue to allow for greater state-level regulation of abortion. It will be up to the next generation of activists to effectively use future legal openings to advance the culture of life.

READ MORE:
Little-Known Facts about Roe v. Wade
Planned Parenthood’s Century of Brutality
Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report: Abortions Are Up, Prenatal Care Is Down

— Michael J. New is an Associate Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University and is an Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute.