News & Commentary

Judge: ‘Brain dead’ teen could actually be alive

September 7, 2017 (National Review) — This could be one of the biggest bioethics cases since Terri Schiavo.

A judge has ruled that the teenager, declared dead in California, may not be dead. From the East Bay Express story:

Jahi McMath, the Oakland teenager whose brain death case has sparked national debate, may not currently fit the criteria of death as defined by a state law written in conjunction with the medical establishment, a judge wrote in an order Tuesday.

In his ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stephen Pulido wrote that while the brain death determination in 2013 was made in accordance with medical standards, there remains a question of whether the teenager “satisfies the statutory definition of ‘dead’ under the Uniform Determination of Death Act.”

Bottom line, if she is not brain dead, then by definition, she’s alive. At the very least, there is enough doubt in this case based on Dr. Alan Shewmon’s testimony to induce the judge to issue his ruling:

Pulido heavily cited Dr. Alan Shewmon, who concluded in a court declaration that Jahi doesn’t currently fit the criteria for brain death after reviewing 49 videos of her moving specific fingers and other extremities when given commands to do so.

Shewmon, a professor emeritus of pediatrics and neurology at UCLA, wrote that Jahi “is a living, severely disabled young lady, who currently fulfills neither the standard diagnostic guidelines for brain death nor California’s statutory definition of death.” Shewmon also reviewed an MRI.

Full disclosure. I recently visited Jahi and her mother, along with Bobby Schindler.

That visit reinforced my view, previously written here, that this case demands a much deeper investigation than it has received heretofore, including impartial and thorough renewed medical examinations.

So I am very pleased the case is going forward.

Reprinted with permission from The National Review.

Mom With Brain Tumor Who Refused Abortion Gives Birth to Baby Girl Named “Life”


A terminally ill Michigan woman who sacrificed her life to save her unborn baby’s gave birth to her baby girl, Life Lynn, on Wednesday.

Carrie DeKlyen, of Wyoming, Michigan, was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in April. Not long after that, she and her husband, Nick, discovered that they were pregnant with their sixth child, Life Lynn.

WOOD TV reports Carrie refused to participate in a clinical trial that could have prolonged her life because doctors said she would have had to abort her unborn baby.

On Wednesday, Life Lynn was born weighing 1 pound, 4 ounces at University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, reports. She spent 24 weeks and 5 days in the womb.

Carrie, 37, suffered a massive stroke earlier this summer and has not regained consciousness. She gave birth while in a coma, according to the report.

As the family celebrates the tiny baby girl’s life, they are preparing for their wife and mother’s death. Carrie’s condition has deteriorated, and she no longer is even minimally responsive, according to the family.

The DeKlyens said Carrie was taken off life support after she gave birth to her daughter, and they believe her life is “in God’s hands until he calls her home.”

Her sister-in-law, Sonya Nelson, said Life Lynn is doing “as well as could be expected” for a baby born so prematurely. She said doctors decided to deliver her this week because they feared that she would die in the womb if they waited much longer.

Here’s more from the local news:

“The doctors ran tests (Wednesday) and extensive ultrasounds – she wasn’t even moving and was very sick,” Nelson said, noting that the baby was born at 24 weeks and 5 days. “My brother said the doctors are extremely pleased with how the baby is doing.”

… “We are now just trying to keep Carrie comfortable and keeping it in God’s hands,” Nelson said. “We are so proud of Carrie. She laid down her life for her child while refusing treatment for (herself). Her rewards are going to be great.”

Her husband, Nick, told People that he is so proud of Carrie, and he is certain that he will see her again one day in heaven.

“Not in this life, but after my time is up I’ll be with her again in Heaven,” he said. “She made the decision to give Life a chance at life. And I couldn’t be more proud.”

Carrie has glioblastoma, a terminal brain cancer. Since she was diagnosed in April, she has undergone several surgeries to remove the tumor from her brain, but each time the cancer returned, according to the report.

The mother of six refused to participate in an experimental treatment that could have prolonged her life because it would have meant aborting her unborn daughter.

“The doctor said if you don’t terminate this baby, Carrie, you will die,” her husband told People in August. “But it was Carrie’s decision and I said, ‘What do you want to do?’ She said, ‘We’re keeping it.’”

Over the summer, Carrie began chemotherapy while pregnant; but she later suffered a massive stroke that left her unconscious. Doctors tried to keep her comfortable and her unborn baby in the womb until she developed enough to survive outside it.

“We are a family of faith,” Nelson said previously. “And so we are just believing that God’s plan for Carrie is to be healed. And if he chooses to heal her here or in heaven, we will still trust in him.”

The family is asking people to pray for Carrie and baby Life Lynn. Nelson also set up a GoFundMe page where people can donate to help with the large family’s expenses.

Some women need a hysterectomy after sterilisation device Essure

A number of women are having to undergo hysterectomies to remove a sterilisation device used on the NHS, the Victoria Derbyshire show has found.

The Essure implant is used to permanently sterilise women, but can cause side effects and complications.

One woman – who later had her uterus removed – said she was left suicidal due to the “unbearable” pain, and felt she was a burden to her family.

The manufacturer says Essure is safe and the benefits outweigh the risks.

The sale of the implants in the EU was temporarily suspended this month.

Manufacturer Bayer has asked hospitals in the UK not to use the device during this time.

‘Painful to move’

Laura Linkson, who was fitted with the Essure device in 2013, said the pain left her suicidal.

“The device was sold to me as a simple and easy procedure. I was told that I’d be in and out of the doctor’s office in 10 minutes and that there’d be no recovery time.

“I went from being a mum who was doing everything with her children, to a mum that was stuck in bed unable to move without pain, at some points being suicidal.

“I felt like I was a burden on everyone around me,” she added.

The small coil implants, which are made of nickel and polyester (PET) fibres, are used as a sterilisation device to stop eggs reaching the womb.

They are inserted into the fallopian tubes where they trigger inflammation, causing scar tissue to build up and eventually block the tubes, known as a hysteroscopic sterilisation.

They can cause intense pain, and some women are thought to react badly to the nickel and plastic.

Because of the way the coils attach to the fallopian tubes, the only way to take them out is to remove a woman’s fallopian tubes and often her uterus.

In other cases the device has been found to perforate a fallopian tube and fallen out, embedding itself elsewhere in the body.

Victoria Dethier was implanted with Essure in 2012 and for three years could not work out why she felt so unwell.

“There were moments where I couldn’t get out of bed I was in so much pain. It felt like I was dying, like something was killing me from the inside,” she said.

She thinks her body was reacting to the PET fibres designed to cause inflammation.

She had a hysterectomy to remove the device in 2015.

“Straight away there was a difference, I’d experienced a horrible taste in my mouth and that had gone,” she explained.

“I’d lost a lot of hair and that came back within 12 months, it was incredible.”

‘We need acknowledgement’

The medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA) has been criticised for not responding to the increasing evidence regarding the device.

In 2015, a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggested that women who had a hysteroscopic sterilisation were 10 times more likely to need follow-up surgery than those who had a traditional sterilisation – 2.4% of those surveyed, as opposed to 0.2% amongst those having a standard sterilisation.

In the US more than 15,000 women have reported problems to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including pain, allergic reactions and “migration of device”.

Carl Heneghan, from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, has criticised the regulator’s failure to act on such findings.

“How much evidence do you need to say let’s withdraw this from the market?” he asked.

Victoria Dethier is angry that she and so many other women feel they have been ignored.

“No-one is listening to us,” she said.

“There are many women coming forward… we need to be acknowledged.”

‘No long-term evidence’

The full extent of the problem in the UK is not known.

The MHRA rejected the Victoria Derbyshire programme’s Freedom of Information request asking how many women have reported problems.

The NHS does not have figures for the total number of women who have been fitted with Essure, or who have had it removed.

However, the clinical trial that led to the device being approved has been criticised for not considering the long-term effects of the implants.

“The trial… only followed up women for one year, so nobody has a real understanding of what happens with this device after two years, three years, five years,” Mr Heneghan explained.

Image caption Consultant obstetrician Ben Peyton-Jones says Essure implants can be safe when used correctly

Some women who have experienced problems say they were not informed about the risks.

But Ben Peyton-Jones, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, said the device should still be used in some instances.

“I think it has a place for women who can’t have keyhole surgery and who are explained the risks very carefully,” he said.

“When used correctly, according to the manufacturer’s guidance and in trained hands, it is safe.”

The sale of Essure implants in the EU has now been suspended for further investigation.

Hospitals have been asked by Bayer not to use their existing stocks during this time.

It is a voluntary request and up to individual trusts to decide what to do.

The company said that independent reviews of Essure had concluded that the benefits outweighed the risks.

“Patient safety and appropriate use of Essure are the greatest priorities for Bayer, and the company fully stands behind Essure as an appropriate choice for women who desire permanent contraception,” it added in a statement.

“Many women with Essure rely on this form of contraception without any side effects.”

The MHRA said it had no evidence to suggest this product was unsafe, and that the recent suspension did not suggest any increased risk to patient safety.

It said it was important for healthcare professionals to discuss the risks with patients before a procedure.

Pro-Life Women Provide Help and Support for Pregnant and Parenting Moms After Hurricane Harvey

Jay Hobbs   Sep 1, 2017   |   12:36PM    Houston, Texas

For the first time since Harvey made landfall in Houston last weekend, Meredith Phillips was able to take the time to enjoy a hot meal Thursday afternoon.

Coming on the heels of several days’ worth of adrenaline, and with weeks and months ahead of her to process the impact of the storm, it was a well-earned—if too brief—respite for Phillips, a Houston resident who helps operate a Christian housing ministry for pregnant moms called LifeHouse.

As the storm approached late last week, Phillips and her team had to evacuate their program’s residents from one of its three locations, relocating the expectant mothers away from the rising water.

Once the nine pregnant women, as well as LifeHouse staff members—one of whom had to be rescued from a rooftop—were safe and sound, Phillips turned her attention to reaching out to expectant moms scattered throughout area shelters.

Bringing Help to the Shelters

Her first stop was nearby Lakewood Church, which was maligned along with its pastor, Joel Osteen, earlier in the week when local residents accused the megachurch of refusing to take in residents displaced by the storm. That wasn’t the case by the time Phillips arrived to help Wednesday morning, however, as Lakewood was bustling with activity.

“They had created a shelter on one floor and were offering services on another floor,” Phillips said. “There were so many volunteers that came, they were turning away volunteers, but I came in because I wanted to offer LifeHouse as a resource to any displaced pregnant women.”

Introducing herself to a volunteer who was overseeing the medical station at Lakewood, Phillips told him what she was there to do, and in return, he asked her to stay and work the rest of the day.

By the end of the day Wednesday, Phillips had talked at length with five expectant mothers who had lost their homes and had nowhere to go. She was able to immediately place one of the women in LifeHouse, which has the capacity for as many as 18 moms at a time, while the team helped connect 10 more women to vital resources within the community.

“We really worry about that pregnant woman who has been in this kind of stress,” Phillips said. “We want to be able to give her an environment where she can rest physically and emotionally and be able to nurture the baby who is growing inside of her.”

One of the women Phillips met Wednesday is due this November with twins. She had just moved to Houston from Alabama to take a teaching position when the storm hit, washing away everything she had packed in the move.

With the woman’s family still in Alabama, Phillips was able to get her out of the shelter at Lakewood and into a bed at LifeHouse on Wednesday night.

“For someone who’s never been through the floods of Houston, and on top of that, one of the largest floods in history, then you add that she’s away from her family and pregnant with twins—that’s a lot,” Phillips said.

Philips and her team also reached out over social media and were able to recruit five social workers and five counselors to join them during the crisis, streamlining LifeHouse’s intake process and growing their ability to help expectant mothers through the crisis.

Meanwhile, LifeHouse reached out to maternity homes in a 300-mile radius of Houston via email Thursday to see if any of those ministries could house women affected by Harvey.

“We’re definitely in the mode of mobilizing and equipping our staff and any volunteers who are able to help,” Phillips said.

Life-Affirming Help in Harvey’s Wake

Along with LifeHouse, Heartbeat International is reporting that several of its affiliated and allied pro-life pregnancy help ministries are back up and running amidst the devastation caused by Harvey.

The downtown location and mobile ultrasound unit for Houston Pregnancy Help Center are both open as of Thursday, while the center’s Fifth Ward location sustained minimal damage and will need new carpeting before reopening.

Meanwhile, Beltway 8 South Crisis Pregnancy Center in Houston is reporting their center was undamaged, while Pregnancy Resource Center of Fort Bend County in Rosenberg, Texas—35 miles southwest of Houston—also sustained minor damage but is scheduled to reopen Tuesday morning. Women’s Pregnancy Center of Matagorda County in Bay City, Texas, was also spared major damage, and started to distribute material aid to its community Thursday.

In Lake Charles, La., New Life Counseling executive director Jeanne LeBato said her center was being used as “a place of refuge” in her community, distributing diapers, wipes and baby clothes to area shelters. Ark La Tex Learning Center in Shreveport, La., also checked in, reporting no damage from the storm.

In the midst of all the stress the past week has brought on—and with the many months and years of recovery ahead—Phillips said her team has bonded together like never before.

“We’re having to access strength from a place we’ve never had to access before,” Phillips said. “We’ve been able to run off of Scripture and encouragement from each other, being the hands and feet of Christ together. That’s how we were able to really get through it. Now, we’re in a place where we have to emotionally process it, and that will take a little bit longer.”

Heartbeat International is accepting donations to help offset the cost of damages for affected pregnancy help centers and maternity homes. Click here to give.

LifeNews Note: Jay Hobbs writes for PregnancyHelpNews, where this originally appeared.

National Day of Remembrance

On Saturday, September 9, 2017, Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Priests for Life and the Pro-Life Action League will co-sponsor the 5th annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children, calling on pro-life Americans to honor the gravesites of our aborted brothers and sisters.

Solemn prayer vigils will be conducted at these gravesites, of which there are 51 across the United States, as well as at dozens of other sites dedicated in memory of aborted children.

Day of Rememberance 2016

The 4th annual National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children was held on Saturday, September 10 at 165 locations throughout the United States, with over 5,000 in attendance. See photos from some of the memorial services below:

Why Visit the Gravesites of the Aborted Unborn?

When people become truly aware of the reality of abortion, they can more easily cut through the lies by which some try to justify it, and the natural apathy to which human nature is inclined. Even pro-life people are thrust into a higher level of commitment and activism.

Touching this reality happens in various ways: hearing a vivid description of the procedure, seeing diagrams of it or images of aborted children, hearing a woman’s personal testimony of regret over her abortion.

This impact, whereby abortion no longer remains an abstraction, can be brought to an even more profound level when experienced during an event, such as the funeral for an aborted baby.

Tens of thousands of these children have been retrieved and buried at gravesites across our country. The stories of how they were killed, how they were found, and how they were buried, along with the pictures and videos that document those events, are powerful tools to awaken the consciences of our fellow citizens.

But while a funeral and burial for an aborted baby may be a relatively rare event, the opportunity to visit the burial places and recall how those children got there does not have to be rare—in fact, it shouldn’t be.

Pro-lifers should be visiting these gravesites—and other memorial sites dedicated to aborted babies—as a regular part of their pro-life witness. That’s what the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children is all about.

An Annual Event—and More

The first National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children was held in September 2013 on the 25th anniversay of the solemn burial of the earthly remains of some 1,500 abortion victims in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Over 100 memorial services were held across the United States, and it was clear this should become an annual event.

The Day of Remembrance will be held annually on the second Saturday in September. Dates for upcoming Days of Remembrance are as follows:

  • September 9, 2017
  • September 8, 2018
  • September 14, 2019
  • September 12, 2020
  • September 18, 2021

Pictures and videos from past Day of Remembrance memorial services can be found on the National Day of Remembrance Facebook page.

Pro-lifers are also encouraged to carry on the spiritual mission of the Day of Remembrance througout the year by visiting a gravesite of aborted children or other memorial site to offer prayers of mourning for the victims of abortion. Find the site nearest you here.

During your visit, you may wish to pray one of the following prayers prepared for the National Day of Remembrance:

By participating in the National Day of Remembrance, visiting these solemn memorial places at other times of the year, and spreading the word about this prayer campaign, you are helping to humanize our aborted brothers and sisters and deepening your own commitment to ending the injustice of abortion.

Waiting women

Andrea Mrozek | Aug 31 2017

There are the women whose waiting doesn’t matter. And then there are the women whose waiting is especially terrible and reported on at regular intervals.

The Canadian Press reported on August 15 that a 29-year-old whose birth control failed got the abortion she wanted. Except it wasn’t quite fast enough. She waited too long for her abortion, she says. She waited two months. This was reported in major media outlets across the country. “Abortion access in Nova Scotia among worst in Canada, advocates say,” read the headline.

Women always get their abortions—so far not one story of an abortion denied—but the agony of the waiting: that’s the story.

There are other women, waiting. They are waiting for pregnancies. Statistically, women are trying at older ages to have children. Time is not on their side. They still know of women who managed to get pregnant at 42 or 45, and it keeps them going. They take vitamins. They try acupuncture. They stimulate ovulation. They take hormonal supplements. They are poked and prodded. They change their diets. And they wait.

Merely two months of waiting would be a dream come true.

For some women, infertility is painful and every pregnancy announcement is like a stab in the side.

Abortion announcements, on the other hand, are much, much worse. A much-coveted conception, cast aside. One woman’s treasure is another woman’s imposition. Or disposition. Don’t you know, it’s all about personal choice? Don’t ask why, because any reason is a good reason. And don’t let those women wait. They can’t wait. The waiting makes them (so they say) feel shame. Not the abortion. The waiting.

Of course, waiting too long for an abortion has the terrible complication of delivering a baby.  Early in the first trimester, one can more easily be deceived into wondering whether that is actually true. But every woman knows the end point is a baby and that is why abortions must be done quickly. At 12 weeks, for wanted pregnancies, eager mothers learn how the fingers of their babies are opening and closing, how the baby’s mouth makes sucking movements.

It’s better to get an abortion before the fingers start opening and closing. Before you know that the 12-week-old is making sucking movements.

When the Canadian Press reported that Nova Scotia is “among the worst in Canada, advocates say, for abortion access,” there should have been heavier emphasis on “advocates say.”

For advocates, there’s no abortion that shouldn’t be done sooner. Sometimes they get it wrong, publicly, as in the recent case in Newfoundland where a 12-year-old got a quick abortion and then another. It turns out her stepfather was abusing her. But there was no time to ask.

Advocates for abortion in Nova Scotia, it also turns out, have no data—something we learn in the fourth to last paragraph of the story: “Nova Scotia does not appear to keep statistics on how long it takes women to obtain an abortion after a referral.”

Still, the story sailed through under the headline about “worst in Canada” wait times for abortion. No editor batted an eye. A woman said she waited. And these women must not wait.

What abortion advocates want is to have their cake and eat it too. Abortion is such a hard decision, they say. Not at all easy, they say. Meanwhile, here, they want no time allotted to making that tough decision. No reflection. No waiting. This particular hard decision must be made quickly.

Melanie Mackenzie’s story was the lead for the Canadian Press article: “It was the worst two months of my life. The whole thing felt like a punishment,” she said.

That feeling of punishment is something some infertile women, feel too. Did I do something wrong? Why won’t pregnancy happen for me?

For women waiting for pregnancy, if they’ve had abortions in the past, that waiting is all the more a punishment.

It shouldn’t be. But one can forgive them for feeling that way.

Women get pregnant and they get abortions. Women wait for conceptions that they then track diligently through all gestational stages, holding their breath till a baby is born.

When women are waiting for pregnancy, they’re not allowed to say it hurts when reporters conjure up headlines about abortions that did happen, just not quite fast enough.

So many women in Canada waiting. But only one group has a loud lobby who will push non-stories to reporters.

The rest? They can wait.

Andrea Mrozek is Program Director of Cardus Family. Prior to joining Cardus, she was the Executive Director at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. This article is republished with permission from Convivium, the Cardus faith and community blog.

Sexbots, or How the Pill Made Women Obsolete

Benjamin Wiker

Nearly every day the news presents yet another article on sexbots, robots that are designed to take the place of women. This is the most obvious “objectification” of women that has followed upon the sexual revolution, the literal creation of an artificial object, a robotic woman, for the sexual pleasure of men degraded enough to prefer a machine to the real thing.

Note that I have not provided any links to such articles, the obvious reason being that they all very graphically depict the new and constantly “improving” sexbots. Readers do not need yet another near occasion for sin, and I don’t want to provide one, thereby racking up even more years for purgatory.

Just within the last few weeks articles report (with giddy excitement, the slightest touch of moral trepidation, and no sense of irony) that sexbots are getting ever more realistic all the time, meaning, we assume, more like an actual flesh and blood female. In other words, the ultimate aim of sexualized robotics is the creation of a new Eve, a machine so like a real woman that the two will become indistinguishable—except that sexbots aren’t actually alive and so don’t get pregnant.

That’s an important difference. The Pill promised men and woman that sexual pleasure could be technologically cut off from the inconvenience of the natural procreation of another human being. But the Pill initiated a sexual revolution that has ended up in cutting men off from women—women who, we suspect, are now considered by such men as just one more inconvenience from which technology has relieved them. First babies, now women.

As you might expect, with even a casual acquaintance with fallen humanity, the depravity only gets stranger and more perverse. Sexbot manufacturers now promise that you can have a sexbot made in the image of your dead wife, or your favorite female celebrity. But since robotic perversion follows the ruts of the already existing cultural perversions, manufacturers are also making female sexbots that express their enjoyment at being raped, and even further down the moral slide to hell, sexbot children for pedophiles.

That’s a pretty quick and abysmal moral tumble in the fifty years since the Pill hit the market. I assume that none of the “well-intentioned” advocates of the Pill then, would have been so optimistic if, by some miracle, they could have been given a quick vision of the future five decades hence.

Fifty years ago Pope Paul VI stood, almost alone, against the tide of those calling for the severing of sexual union from sexual procreation. In his famous encyclical, Humanae Vitae (1968), he states the following prophecy, which is now being fulfilled in far darker terms than even he envisioned. Read it again, very slowly, especially the part I’ve highlighted.

Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Get it? See the horrid historical connection? Could Paul VI have possibly foreseen the full prophetic warning that a sexually liberated man would soon reduce a woman to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires?

So, sex has become more and more unnatural. This slide into the ever more unnatural is why we need a new defense of nature, especially what might be called “moral ecology.” Those interested should read my In Defense of Nature: the Catholic Unity of Environmental, Economic, and Moral Ecology.

Amazing Video Shows Unborn Baby’s 9 Months of Development in 4 Minutes

Dave Andrusko   Aug 29, 2017   |   1:18PM    Washington, DC

I always love to watch well-done stories of fetal development, even more so of late now that our daughter-in-law has had two wonderful babies.

So what makes this compelling viewing?

For some of the same reasons other well-done videos grab your attention: pace, music, and most of all the clear demonstration that fetal development is a natural progression, starting at fertilization and ending with the first cry. But there’s more.

For example, the video doubles back. You see that the baby has fully developed outer ears and then a little bit later the viewer sees a schematic (as it were) of the middle and inner ear. Message? Complexity.

You see examples of the behavior expectant parents can now see on 4-D ultrasounds: the smiles, the yawning, the swallowing of amniotic fluid, the nibbling on the toes, the movement to gain maneuvering room as the child grows larger.

I’m sure I’ve probably seen this before, but this video does a very nice job of conveying the last part of the baby’s journey: moving down through the birth canal.

Click here to sign up for pro-life news alerts from

One other thought: pro-lifers all know that the umbilical cord is the baby’s lifeline, connecting mom and baby, so that the little one can receive nutrients and oxygen. But “Life in the Womb (9 months in four minutes)” helps us appreciate what an endless source of fascination it must be to the baby.

When you have a free minute, be sure to go to Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in at National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.


Fewer mothers are dying during child birth now that abortion is illegal in Nicaragua

August 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Ten years after the elimination in 2006 of an allowance for “therapeutic abortion,” Nicaragua has dramatically decreased its maternal mortality rates. The decrease proved false those prophesies the pro-abortion activists made that “thousands of women would die from the criminalization of abortion.”

On May 30, the Ministry of Health (MINSA) disclosed the number of maternal deaths. In 2006, 93 women had died per 100,000 childbirths. That number was reduced to 59 deaths in 2011 and in 2016 to 38 women per 100,000 births.

Nicaragua also successfully achieved its millennium development goals thanks to a model of comprehensive health for pregnant women launched by the government. And in 2011 Nicaragua was also rewarded the World Health Organization’s “America Prize” for reducing maternal deaths.

It was no surprise that the decision to protect all life garnered energetic protest of the international pro-abortion powers, which immediately began threatening to remove economic aid. Many donor countries closed their embassies and external cooperation agencies in Nicaragua because they considered what was done a setback for “women’s rights.” Among them were Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

But even with the stellar drop in maternal mortality, the so-called defenders of women’s rights are not pleased. A bill called “Special law for interrupting pregnancy for health reasons” has been introduced before the Congress and advanced by the “Promoter Committee.” This committee is supported by IPAS (International Project Assistance Services), which manufactures and markets hand-held suctioning devices for abortions.

They use the slogan “Las Queremos Vivas” (“We want them alive”). The initiative was rejected by Congress, but the committee and other groups have stated that they will continue to insist until it is approved.

But Nicaraguans know that pro-abortion campaigns funded by powerful countries and agencies are permanent and sustained. The New World Order puppeteers consider poverty a destabilizing factor. They move powerful nations to establish policies that, instead of eliminating poverty through education and health, will eliminate the poor. Let’s not get caught in that trap. Let’s not go back to the past.

The sins of our time

James Schall SJ | Aug 22 2017

Recently Pope Francis tells of talking with his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who remarked that we are living in an “epoch of sins against God the Creator.” What did he mean? Evidently, other epochs had sins but they were not directed against the Creator. The sins we were to repent in the Redemption were not primarily directed against the Creator.

The Decalogue is divided into two parts: duties to God and duties to other human beings. Things like disobedience, murder, adultery, lying, stealing, and coveting constitute sins against others. Or to put it positively, these prohibitions are designed to protect others from the disorders in our own souls.

Most of these sins were recognized by classical philosophers from many different traditions. It really does not take a genius to see the point at issue in each sinful situation. No thief wants his own goods to be stolen. Liars do not enjoy being lied to. Clearly, Benedict had something other in mind than what we might call “ordinary sins”, the everyday kind to which most of us are tempted at one time or another.

A sin against God the Creator implies that we are not dealing with aberrations that arise from freedom in normal intercourse with others. We are dealing with what might be called “structural” sins. Even if God put us together in a certain way, He had it all wrong. Such a strange thing as a “gay marriage” is “structurally” as good as, if not better, than marriage as it has been handed down to us as the locus for preserving the human race.

Creation is a given thing. We do not participate in our own basic creation as a human being. The intricate design that distinguishes us from other finite beings was already there without our help. It is much too complicated for it ever to have just happened. It was meant to be the way it is. That is, its origin lies in an intelligence that is more than human.

We were, to be sure, required to “know ourselves” so that we might become what we ought to be. We had a hand in our own destiny. We were the rational beings who were to become what they ought to be. We had, as it were, a natural law in our very being. We were to live around four score years and ten, male and female we were created. Our future depended on begetting and families. One generation replaced another over the ages.

A sin against the Creator would thus be directed not at stealing or lying, but in denying that these issues had anything to do with what human life was about.

So we are not dealing here with a kind of Machiavellian notion of being able to use good or evil for our own purposes. Rather we are dealing with the rejection of what it is to be a man as originally constituted. The very design is said to be faulty. What was once wrong is in fact right. Our given-ness tells us nothing about what we should be.

It turns out, then, that we are faced not only with moral problems about how we ought to live, as depicted in the Decalogue, but with a metaphysical problem about what we are. We are not only asked to know and follow man’s moral good, but to affirm his existential or structural good as a being. We are asked to understand and know the original “being” as given to us is superior to anything that we might propose as an alternative.

However, the rejection of God as Creator means that we can now, to some considerable extent, reconfigure ourselves. We can propose birth without normal sexual relations in an environment of a family. We can infuse genes not our own into our offspring in order to “improve” their looks or intelligence. Whether we have multiple wives or husbands, whether we have wives or husbands at all, is up to us.

In the beginning Adam and Eve were asked not only to do good and avoid evil, but also to be what they were created to be. The full implications of this latter instruction did not become evident until we understood the very internal structures of our being, all the details of its biological and psychological structures.

Thus when Benedict said that what we are witnessing is something more basic than the issues of moral virtue, when he spoke of “sins against God the Creator”, he was exactly on target. The issue is not now whether we will accept the goodness inherent in our being, but whether we will accept the very order of our being through which we achieve our final goods.

The epoch we live in is the first one in human history that can pose this question. It has the wherewithal to reject actual creation in a way not previously known to our kind. We can go ahead and do these things — but we must live with the consequences. We should not be surprised if we create monsters in our pursuit of reconstructing what we were created to be.

Rev. James V. Schall SJ taught political science at Georgetown University for many years. He is the author of numerous books.