News & Commentary

Teen’s birth control triggers stroke

Anicka Slachta | Vascular & Endovascular

A Wisconsin high schooler is speaking up for stroke awareness after she suffered a stroke of her own during gym class, WAOW reported—an event her doctors said was brought on by her birth control pills.

Like two-thirds of women her age and up, Hannah Drummond, 18, was prescribed birth control with low expectations of any serious side effects. Loyola University Medical Center researchers previously found women who don’t have any other medical problems are safe to take the pill, but in those with comorbidities, it can be a riskier call.

Drummond was taken to the hospital after experiencing numbness and tingling during her gym class, quickly learning she’d suffered a stroke. Her care team said the culprit was her birth control, and that the estrogen in her pills had caused a blood clot that then slipped through a previously undiscovered hole in her heart and up to her brain.

“It was actually scary knowing I was so young, I’m 18, this is happening to me,” she told WAOW. “If you don’t feel something is right, say something, tell someone.”

Drummond is still suffering from impaired vision but is expected to make a full recovery.

Read the full story below:

Authorities Fail to Curb Ever-Worsening STD Epidemic

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The promotion of promiscuity through comprehensive sex education and condom-distribution campaigns is continuing to fuel an STD epidemic that is now seeing more than one million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and diseases (STDs) every year.

According to the AFP, the World Health Organization (WHO) is expressing alarm over the lack of progress in curbing the rampant spread of sexually transmitted diseases worldwide since 2012.

“WHO found that there were more than 376 million new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis and syphilis registered around the world in 2016 — the latest year for which data is available,” the AFP reports. “That is basically the same number as WHO reported in its previous study, based on data from 2012.”

The WHO, which promotes comprehensive sex education and condom distribution rather than abstinence as a way to fight this epidemic, now blames the continued spread of these infections on dating apps and a more complacent attitude about the spread of HIV because of new antiviral drugs that have proven to be very effective.

People are “more complacent about protection,” said Teodora Wi, a WHO expert on STIs, which she believes is dangerous because this attitude is coming at a time when “sex is becoming more accessible (through things like) dating apps”.

Peter Salama, WHO’s executive director of Universal Health Coverage, expressed concern over the “lack of progress” in stemming the tide of these diseases and infections, and called the latest numbers to be a “wake-up call” for authorities.

The numbers are indeed grave. In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, an estimated 127 million people between the ages of 15 and 49 were infected with chlamydia. Another 87 million contracted gonorrheoea, and 6.3 million contracted syphilis. In addition, 156 million were infected with trichomoniasis, a parasital disease commonly called “trich.”

This amounts to one in 25 people globally that have at least one of these STIs.

What makes these diseases so difficult to prevent through mere comprehensive sex education and condom distribution campaigns is because some have no early symptoms. This means people who are engaging in casual sex unwittingly spread the diseases which, if left untreated, can lead to serious conditions. These include infertility, stillbirth, neurological and cardiovascular disease, as well as increased risk of contracting HIV.

The only real way to stop the spread of STIs and STDs is to promote abstinence until marriage, but the WHO is once again choosing to follow the same failed path by recommending regular screening and the proper use of condoms. They tend to promote comprehensive sexual education, which supposedly contains abstinence-only material, but analyses of these programs finds that only a small percentage of the content is actually devoted to authentic abstinence education.

How many more young lives will be ruined before officials at the World Health Organization hear this “wake-up call” for what it is – a call to admit that their strategies are failing and the time has come to challenge youth to live chastely until marriage?

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

Can Hormonal Birth Control Trigger Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

by Grace Stark

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease (AI) that attacks the central nervous system, often to the point of causing severe disability. It is also a disease that has always loomed large in my life. My paternal grandmother had MS, and it caused her to be bed-ridden from the time my dad was a small boy, until her death when he was in his early 20s. Various aunts and uncles have also been diagnosed with MS, and I know I am not the only one among my cousins who lives with the fear of receiving that diagnosis someday, too.

So you can imagine that I try to do what I can to avoid triggering the monster that might very well be lying dormant in my genes. After all, the prevailing theory is that for an autoimmune disease to occur, one must have the right (or rather, wrong) genetics, and that some “triggering event” must occur to spring the disease into action. Different theories abound about what the different triggers may be, but one theory has not been given nearly enough light: the possibility of hormonal contraception as an autoimmune trigger.

In the past few months at Natural Womanhood, we’ve already covered how birth control can possibly trigger other immune/autoimmune diseases like Lupus, and the potential way it triggers MS is much the same.

As guest author Mike Gaskins wrote for Natural Womanhood:

“When our body’s natural estrogens attach to receptors on T cells (the “soldiers” of the immune system), it arms the soldiers and gives them their marching orders. Natural estrogen basically points out the invader and triggers the command to attack. But when disruptive agents that mimic natural estrogen enter our body, they attach to the receptors. Suddenly, the soldier is armed but doesn’t know what to attack because the synthetic estrogens don’t carry the code our natural estrogen would have provided. This can cause the armed immune system to battle our body’s healthy tissue, which will result in an AI for those who are genetically predisposed.”

In the case of MS, the immune system attacks myelin within the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Myelin is “the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers—as well as the nerve fibers themselves, and the specialized cells that make myelin.” So who—or rather, what—is giving the orders for the body’s attack on the central nervous system when it comes to MS? The cause is still unknown, but perhaps clues can be found in the way the disease disproportionately affects women, especially keeping in mind the role estrogen plays in the immune response.

Multiple Sclerosis Disproportionately Affects Women

In general, most AIs affect women more greatly in severity and/or number of cases, and MS is no different. Researchers have found that while MS has always disproportionately affected women, the gap in incidence (number of new cases) between women and men has widened considerably in the last five decades. This suggests that a possible environmental factor is at play, and it just so happens that the increased incidence of MS in women (especially as compared to men) coincides with the widespread use of hormonal contraceptives.

While this might seem like a leap in logic to some, others have noted that as we learn more about the role of estrogen on the gut—and particularly, the huge number of immune receptors located in the gut—we’ve also learned a bit more about autoimmunity’s “female” preference.

Data from a 2014 Kaiser Permanente Southern California study backs up the theory of hormonal contraceptives as a possible MS trigger:

Researchers identified 305 women who had been diagnosed with MS or its precursor, clinically isolated syndrome, during a three-year period from the membership of Kaiser Permanente Southern California and who had been members for at least three years before the MS symptoms began. Then they compared them to 3,050 women who did not have MS . . .

Women who had used hormonal contraceptives were 35 percent more likely to develop MS than those who did not use them. Those who had used the contraceptives but had stopped at least one month before symptoms started were 50 percent more likely to develop MS.

So while autoimmune diseases presents a unique mix of genetic, epidemiological, and environmental factors, perhaps there is something to the theory that the synthetic estrogens from hormonal birth control—which our bodies and environment have been awash in for more than fifty years, now—could be the culprit behind skyrocketing rates of autoimmune diseases (and especially so in women).

Whether or not the birth control-MS link is substantiated further, I’m thankful that, with 50 million Americans currently suffering from an autoimmune disease, and a known genetic link to the disease in my own recent family history, I have ways to plan my family that are both effective and hormone-free. Of course, Ican’t do much about the synthetic estrogens polluting our environment—and, in particular, our water—but at least I know that in foregoing hormonal contraception in favor of a Fertility Awareness-Based Method (FABM) of family planning or Natural Family Planning (NFP), I’m not taking a Pill, receiving an injection, or carrying an implant that is exposing me daily to a substance that could seriously affect my health.

Where Many Fear to Tread, One Shepherd Dares to Go

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Organizers of “Gay Pride” events have successfully conditioned the media and the public to talk about these parades as if they were simply celebrations of “equality.” However, even some people who are fully on board with the LGBT agenda have pointed out the obvious: these parades are often less about celebrating equality than they are about celebrating promiscuous sex – the more debauched the better.

A few years ago an openly homosexual columnist in a major Canadian newspaper defended themuch-derided declaration by Toronto’s former mayor that the world-famous Toronto Pride parade is just an event where “middle-aged men with pot bellies” run down the street “buck naked.” “I’d say that was just an accurate description of what goes on,” admitted Josh DehaasDisturbingly, more and more parents are bringing young children to watch the parade, exposing them to provocative displays of sexuality that no child should witness. If a politician believes in family values, why would he or she want to be associated with such debauchery?”

Truth be told, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that any parent, no matter how liberal, would bring their kids to these parades. A lot of things happen at so-called “gay pride” parades that aren’t fit for polite adult conversation, let alone for the eyes of children. It seems to me that keeping Pride parades child-free should be something that liberals and conservatives could easily agree on. After all, what benefit could there possibly be to exposing children to public nudity, simulated sex acts, highly sexualized displays of affection and dancing, etc.?

Alas, there is no such common ground to be found. After all, we now live in a world where parents openly and proudly encourage their three and four-year-old children to explore “diverse” sexualities, helping them cross-dress in sexually provocative clothing, or bring their pre-pubescent children to gay bars to dance for money, or to appear on national TV shows, where they are lauded and feted by sycophantic hosts and cheering audiences. Furthermore, we have now reached a point where even the mildest expression of dissent from even the most extreme instantiations of the LGBT agenda is greeted with rage

Bishop Tobin’s Tweet

Recently, one of the United States’ Catholic bishops learned the hard way just how bad things have gotten. One June 1, the first day of a month that has been coopted as “Pride month” by LGBT activist, Bishop Thomas Tobin sent out a tweet reminding Catholics that they should not be supporting or attending “Pride” events, which, he said, “promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals.” Such events “are especially harmful for children,” noted the bishop.

bishop tobin tweet
Courtesy of Twitter

The response to this rather mild tweet was extraordinary. As of this writing, there are over 95,000 responses to the tweet – the vast majority of which are deeply, even violently critical. For simply doing the bare minimum of what his job entails – i.e., stating and defending what the Catholic Church believes and has always taught – the bishop found himself in the international spotlightportrayed as an odious purveyor of hatred and bigotry.

Articles about his tweet appeared on CNN, The Daily Mail, the Irish Post, and countless other news publications. Famous actors and actresses took to Twitter to vent their outrage. The mayor of Providence Rhode Island, and the governor of the state, both issued statements condemning the bishop’s remark. One of the priests in Bishop Tobin’s own diocese was featured in numerous news articles, after he pleaded with homosexual parishioners not to leave the Church over the bishop’s tweet.

The next day, Bishop Tobin issued a statement expressing “regret,” not so much for the tweetitself, as the way it was received. “The Catholic Church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I,” the bishop stated. “Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.” However, he added, “As a Catholic Bishopmy obligation before God is to lead the faithful entrusted to my care and to teach the faith, clearly and compassionately, even on very difficult and sensitive issues.”

The Lessons WCan Learn

This disturbing episode is illuminating in more ways than one. Unfortunately, some of the lessons to be learned are far from encouraging.

In the first place, it seems that we are now at a point in which a completely straight-forward, non-emotional, impersonal, and non-confrontational expression of Catholic teaching – and, for that matter, moral common sense – is widely viewed as de facto intolerance, bigotry and hatred. The organized venom aimed at Bishop Tobin is – and, one suspects, was meant to be – a message sent to every faithful Christian in the country: the mere fact that you believe what Christians have always believed about sexuality makes you an enemy and a persona non grata. Either change your views and conform or be prepared to be hounded into silence.

Bishop Tobin of the Diocese of Providence (courtesy of LifeSite News)

Indeed, the thing that stands out most strongly to me is how mild Bishop Tobin’s tweet was. To anyone with an ounce of common sense, it is clear that Gay Pride parades are harmful to the innocence of children. And to anyone who understands an iota of Catholic moral teaching, it is clear that Gay Pride parades are completely incompatible with life as a faithful Catholic. Bishop Tobin stated both of these facts in a calm, straightforward manner, without a hint of animosity. He was, in other words, doing what any priest or bishop charged with leading a flock should be expected to be doing on a regular basis – instructing the faithful in how to be better Catholics. Given the filth that young children are routinely exposed to at these parades, the bishop could easily have been justified in using stronger language.

As Catholic journalist Phil Lawler recently observed, “what is remarkable about Bishop Tobin’s tweet is that it was so unusual—that other bishops and pastors have not routinely issued similar cautions.” Indeed, one discouraging effect of Bishop Tobin’s tweet has been to highlight how rare it has become for Catholic shepherds to speak unpopular moral truths, particularly on sexual matters. If our priests and bishops were routinely catechizing the faithful on the totality of Catholic moral teaching, then the media would have had a very difficult time making Bishop Tobin’s tweet into a national story. Instead, the good bishop would have been just one among countless other bishops and priests saying exactly the same thing.

We are awash in extremist LGBT propaganda. This is especially true now, in this month of June, when nearly all the large corporations use LGBT-themed marketing, which fills our streets and airwaves. Understandably, many Catholics in the pews simply don’t know what to think, or how to respond. They do not realize how Catholic teaching is grounded in an authentic compassion for homosexual individuals, or how Catholic teaching promotes the happiness and flourishing of individuals and societies by showing how God’s gift of sexuality is best put to use: in a loving union of a man and a woman oriented towards the begetting and raising of children. In the absence of clear voices from the pulpit presenting Catholic teaching in a compelling and unapologetic way, many Catholics are simply being swept away by the prevailing message in the culture. They feel overwhelmed, confused, and brow beaten.

There is a very real human cost to this silence! As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote in the “Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons”:

“[W]e wish to make it clear that departure from the Churchs teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Churchs position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.

The Church’s teachings on sexuality provide the road map for human fulfillment. For a pastorto remain silent out of a fear of losing social esteem or of “offending” Catholics in the pews is to abandon the sheep to the wolves.

Good Shepherd

Indeed, a natural response to the controversy over Bishop Tobin’s tweet would have been for every other priest and bishop in the country to re-tweet the exact same message, or, at the very least, to issue a public statement supporting the bishop, and explaining Catholic teaching in a loving, compassionate way. What a great opportunity for evangelization that would have been! What a powerful message that would have sent! Instead, as the wolves circled for the kill, Bishop Tobin had more the look of a lone sheep than a shepherd among shepherds.

Even worse, the day after Bishop Tobin posted his Tweet, one extremely prominent Catholic cleric, who even enjoys an advisory role at the Vatican, tweeted out a message saying, “Catholics need not be wary of Junes #PrideMonth.” The previous day this same cleric posted a message wishing a “Happy #PrideMonthThis is a breathtaking form of moral blindness. The Catholic Church’s vision of sexuality, which has remained consistent since the earliest days of the Church, is one characterized by wholesomeness, fruitfulness, modesty, self-giving and joy. “Pride” celebrations proclaim a diametrically opposed message. It is quite true that we require creative thinkers to pursue pastoral approaches to reach out to homosexual persons in compassion and love in an effort to help them arrive at the fullness of Christian truth. However, there are simply no compelling arguments that supporting participating in wholly worldly public celebrations of sin does anything except spread confusion, at the enormous cost of souls. The hyper-sexualization of children  including the expectation that parents should bring their children to “Pride” events that is increasingly a feature of the LGBT movement is especially dismaying.

As Catholics we have to support our pastors when they speak difficult truths, as well as challenge them to speak up when they remain silent. A petition supporting Bishop Tobin has received over 25,000 signatures. That’s a good start. I hope you will join me in praying for Bishop Tobin, and all of the Church’s pastors, including myself, that we will be filled with the courage that comes from the Holy Spirit, and that we will imitate the early Apostles by fearlessly proclaiming the totality of the Gospel, regardless of the personal cost.

Casualties of surrogacy

Jennifer Lahl

This essay is adapted from remarks delivered at the Heritage Foundation.

The media and Hollywood celebrities, like Kim Kardashian and Jimmy Fallon, present surrogacy as a wonderful and beautiful thing. Even Ben Shapiro said “surrogacy can be useful and wonderful in some cases” when he spoke at this year’s March for Life. But I’m happy to discuss what you won’t hear about in the media: the health risks to women, and to the children to whom they give birth, of commercial contracted pregnancies.

On October 8, 2015, an American surrogate mother named Brooke Brown died from complications related to pregnancy. Brooke was a commercial gestational surrogate, not the biological mother. She was being paid to carry twins for a couple from Spain, where surrogacy is illegal. This had been an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy; Brooke was just a day away from a scheduled caesarian section. But then she suffered a complication, called placental abruption (the premature separation of the placenta from the uterus), that proved fatal. The twins died, too.

Almost immediately after the loss of these three lives, women calling themselves Brooke’s “Surro Sisters” set up a GoFundMe page in order to raise $10,000 for Brooke’s family; although in the end they weren’t even able to raise $7,000.

A healthy society would not create a multi-billion-dollar fertility industry at the risk of the health and well-being of women and children. The spirit of proper medicine, expressed in the principle “First, do no harm,” requires us not to allow healthy women to engage in entirely elective, medically risky procedures that do not benefit them in any way and might harm them or lead to their death.

In the process of making documentary films on surrogacy, I have met and interviewed several surrogate mothers whose experiences harmed them, physically and emotionally, and nearly took their lives. Several academic studies have reached the same conclusion. In December 2017, a study in the prestigious journal Fertility and Sterility compared “spontaneous” (that is, “regular”) pregnancy with surrogate pregnancy. It reported that,

Neonates born from commissioned embryos and carried by gestational surrogates have increased adverse perinatal outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight, maternal gestational diabetes, hypertension, and placenta previa, compared with the live births conceived spontaneously and carried by the same woman.

The report also found that these pregnancies are more likely to end in cesarean section rather than vaginal birth, which carries more risks both for the surrogate birthmother and for the baby.

Need more evidence of the medical risks to women who serve as surrogates, or to the babies they carry? Dr. Allen Merritt, a perinatologist at Loma Linda Medical Center, in my state, California, published a snapshot of the medical outcomes of the surrogate deliveries that took place at his Medical Center in 2012 and 2013:

RESULTS: Analysis of sixty-nine infants delivered from both gestational and traditional surrogate women found an increase in multiple births, NICU admission, and length of stay, with hospital charges several multiples beyond that of a term infant conceived naturally. Among singletons and twins, hospital charges were increased 26 times . . . and in triplets charges were increased 173 times . . . when compared to a term infant provided care in a normal nursery at our center.

CONCLUSION: Maternity costs for surrogates exceed those of women who conceive naturally, and these costs are especially magnified in women with triplets and multiple births.

Why are these costs so high, and why are the hospital stays so long? Because these are high-risk pregnancies. A woman’s body is not designed to carry another woman’s baby, even just one baby.

Still not convinced? Just a few months ago, in February 2019, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published findings titled “Risk of Severe Maternal Morbidity by Maternal Fertility Status: a U.S. Study in Eight States.” The study compared the pregnancies of six groups of women: one group that had no fertility issues (called simply “fertile”); one that underwent treatments for infertility; and four that bore children conceived by in vitro fertilization (IVF).

This study is significant for several reasons. First, its sample size was huge: it examined 1,477,522 pregnancies and births. Second, the results are quite disturbing (although, as my research assistant said, “it doesn’t seem like fertility doctors even paused to consider their own findings”). I highlight some of the findings below. Keep in mind that gestational surrogate mothers are those who become pregnant by means of IVF and a donor’s eggs.

  • All four groups of women with IVF pregnancies were more likely to require a blood transfusion at delivery.
  • Women with IVF pregnancies who gave birth vaginally were more likely to suffer third- or fourth-degree lacerations to the vagina at delivery.
  • Women with IVF pregnancies that used donors’ eggs, whether fresh or thawed, were more likely to require an unplanned hysterectomy.
  • All groups of women with IVF pregnancies had higher rates of diabetes during pregnancy (“gestational diabetes”) than the group of “fertile” women.
  • The groups of women with IVF pregnancies that used donors’ eggs had the highest rates of hypertension (high blood pressure) for the whole duration of the pregnancy (that is, both pre-gestational and gestational hypertension).
  • The children conceived by IVF were more likely to be admitted to a neonatal (newborn) intensive care unit (NICU).
  • Children conceived by IVF from donors’ eggs had the highest rates of admission to the NICU, and their birth mothers had the highest rates of admission to the ICU (the general intensive care unit).

When Brooke Brown died, I immediately sent a letter to the Attorney General’s office in Idaho (the state where she had lived) asking for an investigation. I received no response. I contacted the press in the hope of getting her story out to the media; but again, no response. My office reached out to the local Baptist church that held Brooke’s memorial service, inquiring about services for the twins who had died. We were told no one knew what had become of the infants.

Brooke’s doctors, and the fertility industry, surely knew that this woman’s body, which had carried her own three children to term and then five surrogate babies, was at high risk of grave injury. We have no business, by any principle—ethical or otherwise—building a multi-billion-dollar industry at the risk of the health and well-being of women and children. In the end, the public deemed Brooke’s life, and those of the infants she carried, to be worthy of no news coverage and of barely $7,000. There’s nothing wonderful, beautiful, or useful about that.

Jennifer Lahl is the Founder and President of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and producer of the documentary films, Eggsploitation, Anonymous Father’s Day, Breeders: A Subclass of Women?, and Maggie’s Story. In 2018 she released #BigFertility which is an official selection in the Silicon Valley International Film Festival. Republished with permission from The Public Discourse.

Neurologist exposes ‘brain death’ myth behind multi-billion-dollar organ transplant industry

ROME, June 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A respected Brazilian neurologist is seeking to blow the lid off the “brain death” myth, saying it is being perpetuated to supply an international multi-billion-dollar transplant industry.

Doctor Cicero G. Coimbra, MD PhD, a neurologist and professor of neuroscience at the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil, has also said recovery for comatose patients is often possible, but a tightly controlled medical establishment is not giving doctors and medical students the facts they need to “do the best they can” for their patients.

LifeSite sat down with Dr. Coimbra for an in-depth interview in Rome, during a May 20-21 conference on “Brain Death”: A Medicolegal Construct: Scientific & Philosophical Evidence, sponsored by the John Paul Academy for Human Life and Family.

In this interview (read full text below), Dr. Coimbra explains that the term “brain death” was coined in the 1960s, after the first successful human heart transplant “triggered a demand for transplantable vital organs to be harvested from patients” who were considered to be “hopelessly comatose” according to medical knowledge at that time.

There was “no preliminary scientific research” on the brain-death concept before the name was used, he said. But calling these patients “dead” enabled the medical community to overcome all of the legal hurdles associated with removing vital organs from these comatose patients.

Their main mistake, Dr. Coimbra argues, was to consider these patients “irreversibly” brain damaged.

By the 1980s, when organ transplants were performed around the world, medical researchers experimenting on animals discovered that when blood flow to the brain is reduced from the normal range to just 20-50 percent, the brain would “fall silent” — but was neither “dead” nor “irreversibly damaged.” By the end of the 1990s, this phenomenon — called “ischemic penumbra” — was demonstrated in humans, shattering the “brain death” myth.

The brain is silent but not dead, he said.

“Why is the ‘brain death’ theory still so prevalent, and what are students in medical school being taught about this?” LifeSite asked Dr. Coimbra.

The Brazilian neurologist explained that while medical students might hear about this if “information is provided to the general public,” they will not learn it in medical school.

“In medical schools, these concepts that I am telling you about — although they are published — are not available in medical textbooks. They are not available in medical meetings. In medical conferences you cannot find them,” he said, adding that information is being withheld to supply the organ donation industry.

If you speak to doctors one-on-one, they will often tell you they agree, Dr. Coimbra said, but “they don’t want to mess with the transplant system,” which has one of the most “well controlled systems” of information sharing in the world.

“The transplant system is a wealthy system; it is a powerful system,” Dr. Coimbra said. “They are everywhere in the medical community. They are in medical councils and medical academies; they are everywhere … Politically, they are very powerful.”

“In the United States alone, in 2016 the transplant system involved business to the tune of approximately 25 billion dollars,” he noted. “By 2025, it is expected to reach 51 billion dollars per year.”

It is “big business,” he said.

Dr. Coimbra continued:

The brilliant idea of the transplant system was to call what they thought to be irreversible brain damage “brain death.” Because whenever you say someone is against “brain death,” you think: “How can someone possibly be…against death? They don’t believe in death?” But “death” is just a word that was given to a “hopelessly comatose” patient — but they were “hopelessly comatose” at the end of the 60s, not now.

“In a very large number of those patients, they have no damage at all — no brain damage at all — they just have a silent brain,” he added.

To compound the problem, Dr. Coimbra said the standard test used for screening “brain death” — called the “apnea test” — can actually induce irreversible brain damage to an already comatose patient, by reducing the blood and oxygen to the brain for 10 minutes.

Dr. Coimbra said he has seen firsthand that there is hope for patients who have been labeled “brain dead.” If doctors would simply replace three essential (thyroid and adrenal) hormones, “the normal circulation to the brain would be restored,” he explained. But when these hormones are not replaced, the patient progresses “into a disaster.”

The Brazilian neurologist again noted that doctors and medical students are not taught this:

They know what is in the neurology textbook of medicine … They know what’s there, and this is not there.  The importance of replacing thyroid hormone is not discussed in meetings related to brain injuries, and how to treat brain injuries. Not one single intensive care unit in the world replaces thyroid hormones — not a single one that I know of.

To illustrate how much the “brain death” myth has gripped the minds of the medical community, Dr. Coimbra tells the story of a 15-year old girl who began to show signs of brain activity once he administered the necessary hormones. Seeing notes of progress Dr. Coimbra had made in the girl’s medical chart, a doctor on call in the ICU that night wrote: “Once a patient is declared ‘brain dead,’ the patient is dead. It doesn’t matter if later on the patient no longer fulfills the criteria for ‘brain death.’ The patient is legally dead, because it was once diagnosed as ‘brain dead.’”

In the end, Dr. Coimbra said it all comes down to the duty of doctors to honor their sacred oath to “do no harm” and to “do the best they can” for the health and wellbeing of their patient.

Here is our interview with Dr. Cicero Coimbra, MD, PhD, followed by a video of his talk at the recent “brain death” conference in Rome.

*** 

Dr. Coimbra, why is “brain death” a myth?

By the end of the 1960s, the first human heart transplant performed by the surgeon Christiaan Barnard in South Africa triggered a demand for transplantable single vital organs to be harvested from those patients considered to be “hopelessly comatose.” It was the common understanding that, by using all possible techniques and knowledge available at that time, those patients could not be restored to a normal life and would rather eventually evolve to cardiac arrest within a matter of days; they would not recover consciousness. An ad hoc committee at Harvard Medical School decided to call their clinical condition “brain death,” so that they could remove vital organs maintained viable due to sustained heart beating (maintained supply of oxygenated blood) and use those organs to improve the health [of] other people — patients, for instance, who had liver failure, kidney failure, or end-stage heart failure. These people would benefit from having the organs from patients who were “hopelessly comatose.”

Calling these patients “dead” enabled the ad hoc committee to overcome all legal problems related to removing vital organs from comatose patients that could not recover according to the concepts and medical scientific knowledge that we had available by that time, i.e. by the end of the 1960s.

In order to transplant organs, they had to be removed from someone while they are still alive, while the heart is still beating? 

Yes, they removed them from a comatose patient. But they thought it would not be possible to recover those patients, because they did not have the technology and knowledge to recover them.

The main mistake was to consider those patients “irreversibly” brain damaged, but their brain damage was considered irreversible due to the limited knowledge that they had at that time. Later on, as time went by, new knowledge and neurological scientific achievements offered other ideas about what was really going on in these patients. For instance, by the end of the 1960s — when the concept of “brain death” was introduced into medicine — doctors believed that, when there were no signs of brain activity that could be detected by neurological examination, the only possible reason would be the absence of blood circulation in the brain. And because the absence of brain circulation would destroy the brain within minutes, they decided to call it “brain death.”

The problem is that in the 1980s everything started changing. The practice of transplanting vital organs had already spread across the world, but already by 1984 or 1985 experiments carried out in animals — in rodents — demonstrated that when you decrease blood flow to the brain to only 50 percent of the normal range, the brain falls silent. This is because there is not enough energy to sustain what we call “synaptic activity.” Synapsis is the site where one neuron communicates with another neuron. Synaptic activity, which is the release of neurotransmission at the synaptic site, was no longer possible in these brains, because the brain blood flow was 50 percent of the normal range, and that would not provide enough energy for synaptic activity, for neurons to communicate with one another. So, the brain was silent, but the neurons would not die just because the blood flow was reduced to 50 percent.

So, the brain was silent but not dead…

Yes, silent but no neuronal death — no “brain death.” Necrosis, i.e. the process of neuronal death, is a process that takes several hours and is triggered when the blood flow is lower than 20 percent of the normal range.

This interval (approximately between 20 percent and 50 percent of the normal level of circulation) is now known as the “penumbra zone.” It was initially described in situations where there is an obstructed artery that supplies part of the brain. In the peripheral area of this so-called “ischemic” part of the brain, there was a collateral flow of blood supply between 20 and 50 percent of the normal flow, as demonstrated in animals. If you could recirculate that artery, you would save the peripheral area because it was only silent. It was not necrotic; it was not destroyed.

It is quite clear that when you have a patient with head trauma, and the brain is swelling, at some point the arteries that supply blood to the brain start being compressed, because the brain size is increasing within the intracranial space. The intracranial space is protected by bones, and bones cannot expand to accommodate the increase in brain volume. So, if the size of the brain increases as a result of what we know as “brain edema” or “brain swelling,” then the vessels are progressively compressed, and the blood flow to the whole brain decreases proportionally to increases in intracranial pressure. At some point, you will reach the level of a 50 percent decrease as compared to normal range. At this point the whole brain is silent — not a part of it but all of it is silent — but it is still recoverable. It is not dead; it is alive. And that situation was unknown at the end of the 1960s, when the concept of “brain death” was introduced into medicine.

So, it is clear that some of those patients are actually alive. What do I mean by alive? The brain was not destroyed; it was only silent. And the transplantation system has been taking organs from patients who had brain tissue that theoretically could be recovered. That brain tissue is not destroyed.

To me, it was quite clear by the end of the 1990s when the phenomenon of “ischemic penumbra” — a silent brain but no brain destruction — was demonstrated in humans, not only in rodents, that this situation could be called “global ischemic penumbra.”

The problem is that one of the tests used to diagnose “brain death” — called the “apnea test” — involves switching off the respirator. You disconnect the respirator for 10 minutes. When you do that, the high level of carbon dioxide increases sharply. This in turn further increases intracranial pressure and may decrease arterial pressure. So, you increase the compression on the brain vessels and you decrease the pressure within the brain vessels during the apnea test.

What was the purpose of the apnea test? 

The aim of the apnea test is to demonstrate that the patient cannot breathe on his own.

In any culture in the world, it would be unacceptable to say that someone who is breathing is dead. Spontaneous breathing in any culture means life. So, for instance, when a baby is born, and it never breathes, you say that it was born dead. But if the lungs expanded at least once, for legal purposes, even if the baby immediately dies, you say that the baby is alive. The question of whether the baby is alive or dead when the baby is born has considerable legal consequences. No one in any culture of the world — Indian culture or Western culture, etc. — would accept anyone to be dead if that person is capable of breathing on his own. So, the purpose of the apnea test is to demonstrate that the patient cannot breathe on his own and can be regarded as dead.

But imagine for a moment: the respirator is disconnected from the lungs for 10 minutes. In order to breathe on your own, you need your respiratory centers in your brain to be working. They control the diaphragm and the respiratory muscles in general. If you switch off the respirator, and there is no breathing for 10 minutes, they say: “Ok, you see, this is one more piece of evidence that the patient is dead, because he cannot breathe on his own.” The apnea test is considered the fundamental test to diagnose “brain death.” No medical doctor anywhere in the world would diagnose “brain death” without doing this test. So, whenever you hear that a certain patient has been diagnosed as “brain dead,” you know that the apnea test has been performed.

Why isn’t the apnea test legitimate?

It’s not legitimate. Actually, it disrupts the most basic concepts of medicine. For instance, imagine if I prevent you from breathing for 10 minutes, what will happen? You will die.

But in this case, a respirator is helping the person to breathe.

Yes, right. The respirator is helping the person to breathe. You’re correct, no problem about that. The issue is: you are testing the vitality of the respiratory centers. But what will happen to the respiratory centers in a silent brain if you induce a test that decreases the blood flow to the respiratory centers? The respiratory centers were already silent, because they need synaptic function to work. If the blood flow is within the penumbra zone — between 20 and 50 percent — the respiratory centers cannot work, not because they are irreversibly damaged but because they are silent. You would not diagnose this as “brain death.” You will not differentiate the condition of global ischemic penumbra from irreversible brain damage by testing the respiratory function.

You can actually destroy the respiratory centers — as you can damage all parts of the brain — by further reducing the blood flow during the apnea test. Forty percent of the patients who are submitted to the apnea test have a major drop in their blood flow, in their blood pressure. Blood pressure is the pressure that is within the arteries; it’s the pressure that provides the driving force to maintain circulation in the brain. So, when you perform the apnea test, you may actually induce irreversible damage to the brain when you were only supposed to diagnose irreversible brain damage.

That would seem to go against the Hippocratic oath? You are harming the patient in order to apparently test whether a silent brain is dead.

The silent brain is not dead. You induce irreversible damage to the respiratory centers and to the whole brain just by performing the apnea test. So, as you said, they are not respecting the Hippocratic oath, because the most basic concept of medical practice is what you just said: First, “do no harm.” And the second is, “do the best you can.” So, neither of these basic concepts of the Hippocratic oath are being respected in this situation.

If this research has been done in humans as well as in rodents, why is the “brain death” theory still prevalent? And what are students in medical school being taught about this? Would they hear about this latest research?

Well they may hear about it, if you provide information to the general public as you were trying to do. But in medical schools these concepts that I am telling you about — although they are published — are not available in medical textbooks. They are not available in medical meetings. In medical conferences you cannot find them.

Nowadays the transmission of information within the medical community in general — not only in this country or that, but worldwide — is probably, or certainly, the most well controlled system of transmitting information, because it is worth billions of dollars per year. If you put information in a textbook, it can redirect the flow of money from one sector to another. It’s the most well controlled type of transmitting information in our society that I know of.

Are you saying that, for the sake of the organ donation and organ transplant industry, the general public and medical students are not being given this information?

Yes, I have been trying to talk to the neurological community in my country and in other countries, and the reaction that we see is that some [doctors] will tell you — “Okay, I understand what you are saying, but never tell anyone that I agree with you”  — because they don’t want to mess with the transplant system. The transplant system is a wealthy system; it is a powerful system. They are everywhere in the medical community. They are in medical councils and medical academies; they are everywhere. They are very powerful. Politically, they are very powerful.

What could happen to a doctor if he tried to go against the system?

Well, maybe what happened to me. I had to fight in court to hold on to my license to work as a doctor for 19 years in Brazil. And that was a long time. So, you understand why some doctors that are aware of what is happening do not want to talk freely about that. They simply do not want to mess with powerful people.

They even control and have an influence in the press. Sometimes it is said, “Oh that doctor is against ‘brain death.’” The brilliant idea of the transplant system was to call what they thought to be irreversible brain damage “brain death.” Because whenever you say someone is against “brain death,” you think: “How can someone possibly be against death? They don’t believe in death?” But “death” is just a word that was given to a “hopelessly comatose” patient — but they were “hopelessly comatose” at the end of the 60s, not now.

Now you can understand that, in a very large number of those patients, they have no damage at all — no brain damage at all — they just have a silent brain. And that was confirmed in the middle of the 70s. In the mid 70s, some people from histopathology or pathologist[s] started wondering how a doctor since 1968 (when “brain death” was introduced into medicine) can say that there is necrosis of the whole brain — that there is irreversible damage of the cells in the whole brain, just by doing a neurological examination? Pathologists started wondering what is happening here. They wondered: “How can they possibly use a term like ‘necrosis,’ which is the terminology that only pathologists use when they look at the tissue under the microscope.”

So, they started checking into this. They did histological examinations in patients who were diagnosed as “brain dead” for 48 hours — so time enough for full necrosis to occur. No signs of brain activity, no evidence of blood flow for 48 hours. The whole brain should be necrotic; it’s time enough for full necrosis. When they examined those brains — I think the article was published by 1976 — they saw that about 60 percent of those brains had no signs of necrosis at all.

People who were in favor of “brain death” had to defend themselves when these papers were published. They said, “Okay, necrosis in those cases is indicated by such tiny signs that you cannot see it in the microscope. That’s why you cannot see it, but we know it’s there. We know, because there is no possible explanation for absence of blood flow for 48 hours.” Again, when more and more evidence was available to demonstrate that what they had thought in 1968 — which was complete absence of blood flow — was not true, they tried to say something else or invent something else in order to explain it — even as a hypothesis.

You saw that in this conference [on “Brain Death”: A Medicolegal Construct: Scientific & Philosophical Evidence] — it was said several times — that when the practice of “brain death” was introduced into medicine, there were no scientific papers to support it, no scientific research. It was simply a concept: “Ok, we believe that those patients have no blood flow, because they have such a severe edema that the blood vessels are completely compressed. There’s no blood flow. There is no way that the brain could survive after a few hours under no blood flow. So, we will call it ‘brain death’ because that’s what we believe is going on.”

But as I told you, and as you heard from several speakers, there was no preliminary scientific research on the concept of “brain death” to support the concept of “brain death.”

While they claimed that the brain was “dead,” what was going on in the body? The heart is still beating…

Yes, because if it’s not beating you cannot use vital organs. If there is an arrest in circulation, you have damaged organs that you’re trying to transplant to other people.

Dr. Coimbra, when people hear “brain death,” they think the brain is dead. But as you have explained, the brain is actually silent. When the brain is silent, what is the state of the other organs and systems in the body?

This is a very important question, because one of the parts of the brain that is possibly within the range of ischemic penumbra, between 20 percent and 50 percent of the normal levels of circulation, is the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus produces several hormones that control other glands in our body. And there are at least three hormones that are very important to our discussion. Because the hypothalamus is also under low levels of circulation, the production of those hormones is decreased.

For instance, one of these hormones is the hormone that releases TSH from the pituitary gland. TSH is “thyroid stimulating hormone.” So, you have the hypothalamus producing TSH-releasing hormone. TSH-releasing hormone induces the production of TSH by the hypophysis [pituitary gland].  The hypophysis releases TSH into the circulation, and then the thyroid gland located in our neck keeps producing thyroid hormone.

Thyroid hormones have an action in the brain. They have actions in all of our organs. One of the most important actions is to prevent fluid from leaking into the tissues. So, when you have a patient who has had a brain trauma, for instance, and that trauma has increased the volume of the brain, and now the blood vessels are compressed, the blood vessels that supply blood to the hypothalamus are also compressed. And then you get into a state that is called “Central hypothyroidism.” In this state, the thyroid gland decreases the production of thyroid hormones, because the thyroid gland is not receiving enough stimulation from the brain.

So, the lack of thyroid hormones increases brain damage and brain edema, i.e. brain swelling. This is a critical situation, which I could put this way: if you don’t replace thyroid hormone the brain tissue will die, because the brain swelling will progress, progress, and progress up to the point that the blood vessels are fully compressed, and you have no blood flow at all. Then you have irreversible damage to the brain. But when the blood supply to the brain is within the range of “ischemic penumbra” (a silent but not irreversibly damaged brain) or progressing to that situation (progressing into deeper levels of coma – with reduced, but not absent neurological signs of brain activity) you can rescue the brain, just by giving three hormones.

One of the most important ones is the thyroid hormones. If you give the comatose patient thyroid hormones, you will prevent further leakage of liquids from the intravascular space (the space within blood vessels) into the brain tissue. The progress of brain swelling will stop and reverse, the brain vessels will no longer be compressed, you will increase the blood supply to the brain and the patient will start recovering brain functions.

But this situation starts long before the beginning of [the] screening test for “brain death.” We have a scale to measure the level of coma. It’s called the “Glasgow Coma Scale.” A normal person who is fully awake is at level 15 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. When there are no signs of brain activity, you are at level 3. When you reach level 3, you start screening the patient for the diagnosis of “brain death.”

But when the Glasgow Coma Scale is far away from 3 — when it is around 8 or 7 — most if not all patients have low circulating levels of thyroid hormone. By that point the brain edema is now turned into the so-called “brain myxedema,” because the edema is now caused by a lack of enough amounts of thyroid hormones. Therefore, if you start replacing thyroid hormones when a patient of a traumatic brain injury is at the Glasgow levels of 8 or 7 — the patient’s neurological state can improve and even all neurological functions can be normalized. And this is an obligation, this is not something that you say, “Okay, I will leave it like that.” No, you see that something is wrong, and you can save the life of a patient. Hypothyroidism is a lethal disorder; if you don’t treat it patients will die.

It goes back to what you said about the Hippocratic oath. The most basic part is “do not harm” to your patients. But the second part is “do the best you can” to save the life of your patients, to improve their health, to improve the wellbeing of your patient.

So “do your best” and now you’re not following the second aspect of the Hippocratic oath. You should replace thyroid hormones in order to prevent so-called “brain death.”

And is this generally done? Are these three hormones generally given?

No, it’s not done anywhere.

Why not?

This is a question that the medical community should answer. Why are they not following the second principle of the Hippocratic oath in this situation? It’s been published since the 80s.

So they know … it’s not as though the doctors who are dealing with these patients don’t understand what happens to the thyroid …

When you say they “know,” I have to say that it’s published, but I would not say that the doctors “know” because they don’t know everything that is published. They know what is in the neurology textbook of medicine, like the neurology textbook. They know what’s there, and this is not there.  The importance of replacing thyroid hormone is not discussed in meetings related to brain injuries, and how to treat brain injuries. Not one single intensive care unit in the world replaces thyroid hormones — not a single one that I know of. Because, you know, if you would replace thyroid hormones when the Glasgow Coma Scale is at 7 or 8, probably almost no patient would progress into so-called “brain death.” So, it’s not done — it’s simply not done.

What happens to the brain when these thyroid hormones are not given to the patient?

As the brain swells because thyroid hormones are not replaced, the hypothalamus stops or decreases the production of other hormones that are very important for the survival of the comatose patient.

One of the most important ones is the so-called ACTH. ACTH is a hormone that is produced under the stimulation of the hypothalamus. It is produced by the hypophysis [pituitary gland], and it stimulates the adrenal glands to produce hormones that keep your blood pressure within the normal range.

If you can compose the whole situation in your mind: you have a decreased level of thyroid hormones — that’s why the brain is swelling, that’s why the blood flow is decreased: because blood vessels are being compressed in the intracranial space. The patient is evolving to the so-called…“brain death.” And now, the pressure within the vessels that is necessary to supply blood flow to the brain is also decreasing, because the adrenal glands are not providing enough amounts of what we call “mineralocorticoids” to stabilize the blood pressure. So, the blood pressure within the vessel is going down — the pressure which is necessary to supply blood flow to the brain.

So, you have these two circumstances that co-operate to damage the brain: you have increased intracranial pressure because of lack of thyroid hormones, and you have decreased blood pressure because of low levels of adrenal hormones. And again, because those adrenal hormones are not replaced, the patient – the whole organism — is progressing into a disaster.

You said that three hormones should be given. What is the third? 

There is a third hormone that should be given to those patients and it’s also produced by the hypothalamus and the hypophysis. It is called ADH, which stands for “antidiuretic hormone.” It prevents your kidneys from releasing large amounts of fluid that would further decrease the volume within your vessels. The further decrease in pressure within the blood vessels comes from the fact that you don’t have enough volume within your circulatory system to sustain circulation.

This third hormone is the only one that is sometimes given to those patients, because it’s impossible not to identify this situation. If you want to identify the situation when thyroid hormones are low, you have to measure them. If you want to identify a situation where adrenal gland hormones are low, you have to measure them. But you know whether the patient is producing low levels of ADH, you know it because he (she) is eliminating a lot of urine — 6 liters, 8 liters, or even 10 liters of urine every day.

The lack of these three hormones will lead the organism into a disaster. And they are not replaced. Because what should be done is not being done, this patient will die within a few days. Nearly these patients will die within a few days due to cardiac arrest. But that’s because you are not considering part of the second Hippocratic oath, which is: you should do the best you can to save the life of your patient. You’re not replacing thyroid hormones; you’re not replacing adrenal hormones; you’re sometimes not replacing ADH, so those patients will die in a few days.

How do those who support “brain death” defend this?

Believe it or not, people who are in favor of “brain death” say it doesn’t matter what you do. The say that, even with the most aggressive intensive care treatment, these patients will die within a few days, so it’s a good idea to take their organs to save the lives of other people. But, actually, those patients have not been treated as they should. The most basic treatment, that is, replacing of all these three hormones, is not done, so the patient will die.

Hypothyroidism is known by the medical community to be a lethal disorder if it’s left untreated. Adrenal failure, which I just described, is also known to be a lethal disorder if it’s left untreated. And the same is true for diabetes insipidus, which is due to the lack of ADH. So, you have three lethal disorders in the same patient, and you don’t treat them. Instead, you say: “Those patients will die even if you give them the most aggressive intensive care treatment.” It’s not true. You don’t know what’s happening. You don’t know the pathophysiology of what is happening with this patient.

Medical doctors are not taught to give thyroid hormones or adrenal hormones; sometimes they are not even taught to give ADH. Doctors sometimes say this is happening “because the brain is dying.” But, actually, the brain is dying because they not replacing those thyroid hormones. If doctors would replace these three types of hormones, the normal circulation to the brain would be restored and the hypothalamus will restart producing normal amounts of all those hormones.

Have you treated patients who have recovered from severe brain trauma through the use of these hormones?

Yes, I treated a 39-year-old woman who was declared “brain dead”… It was a surgical accident that caused the damage to the brain, and I started the replacement of these hormones four days after the event. I have to tell you that it should have started beforehand, not four days later. But she was already diagnosed as “brain dead” and the family had been told. So, we started replacing the thyroid hormones at day four. Eight days after the beginning of the replacement of thyroid hormones and the other hormones, the patient started to breathe on her own. Therefore, the patient could no longer be recognized as someone who is dead, because she was breathing. As I said before, the ability to breathe on one’s own is a sign of life in any culture of the world, so that patient was alive.

One month later, she was able to communicate with her parents. Because she had a tracheostomy she had to communicate by lip reading. She would only move her lips, because there wasn’t sufficient air to vibrate the vocal cords. There was no sound, but she could communicate by lip reading and that continued for two or three months.

Unfortunately, she died because she was in bed too long and she had clot formations within the veins of her legs and the clots moved to her lungs. She died because of pulmonary embolism.

But she was able to communicate with her parents before she died.

Yes, for two or three months she could communicate with them…

Which is all the difference for the family…the fact that the parents were able to communicate with their daughter.

Her brain was functional. Of course, she had some severe neurological problems related to movement. Her movements were severely restricted. But we did not know what would have happened in the next few months, if she would start moving her arms and legs or not. Unfortunately, she had this clinical complication and died because of that.

Since you asked, it is important to say that, before this lady, I treated a 15-year-old girl. I started the treatment one month after the accident. She had already been submitted to three apnea tests. She breathed in the first and the second, but not in the third. They were done on consecutive days, so each of the tests were an additional aggression to the patient, to the brain circulation, and finally she could not resist the third. She was in a deep coma with no respiratory reflexes.

That patient was not in the same city where I worked, and the family moved from another state in Brazil to the state of São Paulo. I started the replacement of the thyroid hormones too late, but at some point, about two weeks later, under thyroid hormone replacement and the replacement of other hormones, that patient was having seizures, convulsions, on the right side.

But a person who is “brain dead” doesn’t have brain seizures, do they?

No, a dead brain cannot have a seizure. That’s what I wrote on the patient’s chart.

The doctor on call that night in the ICU was someone involved in a transplant system. And he wrote something [in the chart] like: “once a patient is declared ‘brain dead,’ the patient is dead. It doesn’t matter if later on the patient no longer fulfills the criteria for ‘brain death.’ The patient is legally dead, because it was once diagnosed as ‘brain dead.’”

I can prove this. I have a copy of the patient’s chart. So, you see the conflict of interest here. In the United States alone, in 2016 the transplant system involved business to the tune of approximately 25 billion dollars. By 2025, it is expected to reach 51 billion dollars per year.

On the internet, you can find announcements suggesting that you should buy shares from those pharmaceutical companies, because they will be increasing profits and you can earn a lot of money by buying their shares. So, this is big, big business. You can see how powerful these people are.

Imagine that you knew a very well-known, prestigious transplant surgeon, who has been performing vital organ transplants for 30 years. He is very skillful surgeon, possibly world-renowned. And then you come to him and say that “brain death” is not death anymore, because now we know much more than we knew in 1968, when brain that was introduced into medicine.

Imagine that you tell him he should stop doing vital organ transplants. He has been doing them for 30 years, and he is very skillful, perhaps a world-renowned doctor. Do suppose that he will accept that peacefully? It’s difficult. After 30 years, all the prestige that has accumulated and then you tell him he should look for another way of making money — another specialty because transplants are no longer possible.

It seems it goes back to the Hippocratic oath. A doctor makes a vow when he becomes doctor. It is a sacred vow.  

Yes, definitely.

***

See below the complete 41-minute talk by Dr. Coimbra given May 20, 2019 at the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family Conference in Rome.

***

VIDEO: Hear the actual heartbeats

 

A preborn baby is beautiful and fascinating, and technology is revealing the development of this tiny human person growing in his mother’s womb. The amazing moment that a mother can hear the heartbeat of her preborn child has been captured thousands of times on video, and shared on YouTube and other social media.

Below are some of these precious moments which prove, yet again, that the baby in the womb is very much alive and deserves our full protection:

5 weeks:

6 weeks:

7 weeks:

8 weeks:

9 weeks:

10 weeks:

“When a heartbeat can be detected, a life should be protected” — this is the impetus behind “heartbeat bills” which ban abortion after a preborn child’s heartbeat can be detected, usually by six weeks.

On November 1, 2017, a federal Heartbeat Protection Act received a hearing before a Congressional Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. The bill, H.R. 490, was sponsored by Representative Steve King (R – Iowa), who is also the Chairman of the Subcommittee. The bill did not succeed.

By just 22 days after conception, a baby’s heart is confirmed to be beating in utero. But more recent studies show it might actually start beating as early as 16 days after conception.

Products That Use Aborted Fetuses

by 

Do some products contain fetal parts? The short gruesome answer: Yes.

Today’s consumer products are not the soap and lampshades of recycled Nazi concentration camp victims. The new utilitarian use of people is a sophisticated enterprise, not visible to the human eye.

Fetal Parts in Daily Life

Perhaps you are a diligent supporter and promoter of pro-life legislation, only vote for pro-life candidates, avoid entertainment from musicians and actors who openly support Planned Parenthood. Regardless, you may unwittingly be cooperating in aborted fetal cell research by purchasing products that use aborted fetuses, either in the product itself or in its development.

One might take Enbrel (Amgen) to relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis. Your husband was given Zoastavax (Merck), a Shingles vaccine, at his annual physical. Your mother with diabetes and renal failure is prescribed Arensep (Amgen). Your grandfather is given the blood product Repro (Eli Lilly) during an angioplasty. The local school district requires that your grandchildren receive the MMRII (the Merck Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine). Your daughter and son use coffee creamers and eat soup with artificial flavor enhancers (Senomyx/Firmenich) tested on artificial taste buds engineered from aborted fetal cells.

Because of the vagary of FDA labeling, unless you are proficient at reading patents and pharmaceutical inserts you wouldn’t know aborted fetal parts were there without someone to tell you.

there are some products that use aborted fetuses

Luckily, that someone is the watchdog group Children of God for Life (COG), a pro-life public citizen group which tracks the use of aborted fetal parts. Under the leadership of Executive Director Debi Vinnedge, COG publishes a downloadable list of products that use aborted fetuses currently available in the U.S.

Products That Use Aborted Fetuses

Products related to fetal material can be broken down into roughly 3 categories: artificial flavors, cosmetics, and medicines/vaccines.

1. Food and Drink

To be clear, food and beverages do not contain any aborted fetal material; however, they may be tastier because of it. How is that?

nestle coffee creamer

The American biotech company Senomyx has developed chemical additives that can enhance flavor and smell. To do this, they had to produce an army of never-tiring taste testers–that is, flavor receptors engineered from human embryonic kidney cells (HEK 293, fetal cell line popular in pharmaceutical research).[1] These artificial taste buds can tell product developers which products the public will crave. The goal is to do a taste bud “sleight of hand,” creating low-sugar and low-sodium products that taste sweet or salty while actually using less sugar or sodium in the product.

Does your Nestle Coffee-mate Pumpkin Spice refrigerated creamer taste more like autumn? Does your Maggi bouillon taste just like chicken? Thank Senomyx.

The laboratory-created artificial enhancers do not have to be tested at length by the FDA because the Senomyx chemical “flavor compounds are used in proportions less than one part per million” and can be classified as artificial flavors.[2]

In 2005, Senomyx had contracts to develop products for Kraft Foods, Nestle, Campbell Soup and Coca-Cola.[3] However, when it was discovered in 2011 that PepsiCo was using Senomyx to develop a reduced sugar beverage, a boycott ensued that caused Kraft-Cadbury Adams LLC and Campbell Soup cancelled their contracts with Senomyx. In a 2012 letter to Children of God for Life, PepsiCo stated, “Senomyx does not use HEK cells or any other tissues or cell lines derived from human embryos or fetuses for research performed on behalf of PepsiCo.”[4] To that effect, PepsiCo is working with Senomyx on two products developed with Sweetmyx 617, a new Senomyx sweet taste modifier.[5]

In November 2018, the Swiss company Firmenich acquired Senomyx, Inc. Firmenich describes itself as “a global leader in taste innovation and expert in sweet, cooling and bitter solutions.”

2. Cosmetics

The fountain of youth…is babies.

Commercially, it’s known as Processed Skin Proteins (PSP), developed at the University of Lausanne to heal burns and wounds by regenerating traumatized skin. The fetal skin cell line was taken from an electively aborted baby whose body was donated to the University.[6]

Neocutis, a San Francisco-based firm, uses PSP in some of their anti-aging skin products. Their website claims the trademarked PSP “harnesses the power of Human Growth Factors, Interleukins and other Cytokines, to help deliver state-of-the-art skin revitalization.”

3. Vaccines and Medicine

The Vaccine Card at the Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute (SCPI) website lists over 21 vaccines and medical products that contain aborted fetal cell lines. The Card is updated yearly, and also lists ethical vaccine alternatives when there are any.

SCPI is a biomedical research organization headed by Theresa Deisher, who has a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Physiology from Stanford and 23 patents in the field to her name.  Dr. Deisher, the first person to identify and patent stem cells from the adult heart, has an insiders understanding of genetic engineering having worked in the industry leaders such as Amgen, Genetech, and Repligen.[7]

Among other things SCPI “promotes awareness about the widespread use of fetal human material in drug discovery, development and commercialization.”

No vaccine product is completely pure: “You will find contaminating DNA and cellular debris from the production cell in your final product. When we switch from using animal cells to using human cells we now have human DNA in our vaccines and our drugs.”[8]

The problem is three-fold. Aborted fetal parts are used for experiments, aborted fetal cell lines are used, and fetal cellular DNA debris are in vaccines and medicines.

But it is not just human DNA that is left over, so are some of the chemical stabilizers that keep the product from degrading, as well as, stimulants to rev up the immune system.

“Vaccines are a virus that have been put into a vial, in a liquid, which is the buffer, which we call excipients, and companies have put in stabilizers so that the virus won’t degrade and other things that kind of rev up your immune system so that they can use lower amounts of the virus and have a greater profit margin. And immune stimulants are things like aluminum and thimerosal, they are stabilizers but they rev up the immunes system, so all of these things are in the final product, including contaminates from the cell lines that are used to manufacture the vaccines.”[9]

Why aren’t the contaminates removed? Because nobody wants a pediatric vaccine that costs a few thousand dollars.[10]

In finance, the yield is inversely related to the price. In chemistry, the yield is inversely related to purity. The price of inexpensive mass-produced vaccines is that the medical establishment accepts that the vaccines contain a high amount of fetal contaminates.

“[I]f they have purified out the containments from the cell lines, the yield would be so low that they wouldn’t make any money, or no one would pay a thousand dollars or ten thousand dollars for a vaccine. And so because of that case remnants from the cell lines, in that case, fetal cell lines are in the final product. And they are at actually very high levels. And in the chicken pox, the fetal DNA contaminates are present at twice the levels of the active ingredient which is Varicella DNA.”[11]

The Fetal Tissue Marketplace

Much research is currently being done with fetal cells.

scientific instruments

We know this because, for one, there’s a market for fetal parts. In a series of undercover videos, David Daleiden of The Center for Medical Progress exposed Planned Parenthood abortion clinics selling fetal parts to investigators posing as and medical researchers. And for his efforts his office was raided in 2016 by then California Attorney General Kamala Harris, now a Senator and 2020 Presidential Candidate Harris.[12] Daleiden is currently being pursued in court by current California Attorney General, and former Democrat California Congressman, Xavier Becerra.

We already knew this was happening from the testimony of scientists themselves. On January 11, 2018, professor emeritus Dr. Stanley Plotkin, the lead developer of the Rubella vaccine for the Wistar Institute (Philadelphia) in the 1960s, was deposed as an expert witness on Vaccinology in a Michigan child custody case.[13] Dr. Plotkin was asked how many aborted fetuses he has used in his experiments:

QUESTION: So in your, in all of your work related to vaccines throughout your whole career, you’ve only ever worked with two fetuses?

PLOTKIN: In terms of making vaccines, yes.

But after being presented with Exhibit 41 (Proceedings of the Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine), the two fetuses involved in his experiment grows exponentially to 76 aborted fetuses.

QUESTION: So this study involved 74 fetuses, correct?

PLOTKIN: Seventy-six.

QUESTION: And these fetuses were all three months or older when aborted, correct? PLOTKIN: Yes.

A true enough response. Fetal cells, for that matter all normal cells, have a finite capacity to replicate following the principle of cellular aging. The vaccine trail needed many cell lines in order to achieve its end. 

An interesting aside, during questioning Dr. Plotkin answered affirmatively that some of his subjects for experimental vaccine trials had been children of “mothers in prison,” the mentally ill, and “individuals under colonial rule” [Belgian Congo].

Dr. Theresa Deisher first became aware of the introduction of fresh aborted fetal material in drug discovery in 1996.[14] Fresh fetal parts are a time-saver compared to the days spent washing and prepping animal tissue, like monkey hearts, for laboratory experiments. While it is not legal to sell aborted fetal tissue, it is still available in catalogues and comes with high prices for shipping and handling.

A Better Option

According to Dr. David A. Prentice Vice, President of the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Adjunct Professor of Molecular Genetics at the John Paul II Institute, adult stem cells are the benchmark for research that has led to actual cures for patients.

“The superiority of adult stem cells in the clinic and the mounting evidence supporting their effectiveness in regeneration and repair make adult stem cells the gold standard of stem cells for patients.”[15]

Then why are we still using embryonic cell lines when adult stem cells have become the Gold Standard? There seems to be little excuse for products that use aborted fetuses.

U.S. Policy on Products That Use Aborted Fetuses

Bill Clinton signing document
President Bill Clinton

On the 20th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade in 1993, President Clinton signed five abortion-related memorandums which included the reversal of the George H. W. Bush era moratorium on creating new fetal tissue for research, claiming at the time that, “This moratorium has significantly hampered the development of possible treatments for individuals afflicted with serious diseases and disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and leukemia.”[16]

While a bio-ethics debate transfixed the country in 2006 as to whether the United States would allow the use of new aborted fetal stem cells in research, [see White House Fact Sheet on Stem Cell Research Policy], the medical research community had already decided that the future lay with human-animal hybrids and new aborted fetal cell lines. According to a statement submitted to the President’s Bioethics Council:

“Aborted human DNA in our vaccines is not the end, it is only the beginning, as the creation of human-animal hybrids demonstrates. A new aborted fetal cell line has been developed, called PerC6, and licenses have been taken by over 50 partners, including the NIH and the Walter Reed Army Institute, to use this cell line for new vaccine and biologics production. The goal of the company that created the PerC6 is to become the production cell line for ALL vaccines, therapeutics antibodies, biologic drugs and gene therapy.”[17]

And this has largely come to pass.

In 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services granted a second 90-day extension to a contract it has with the University of California at San Francisco that requires UCSF to make “humanized mice” for on-going AIDS research. The human fetal tissue comes from late-term abortions.

CNSNews reported that “according to an estimate it has published on its website, the National Institutes of Health (which is a division of HHS) will spend $95 million this fiscal year alone on research that–like UCSF’s “humanized mouse” contract–uses human fetal tissue.”[18]

See here for news on how the Trump administration limited the sale of fetal parts.

Stop Ebola? Prevent Zika Virus? Cure AIDS? Look for more, not fewer, aborted fetal products in the future.

 

Writer Andrea Byrnes was the first producer of U.S. March for Life coverage at EWTN Global Catholic Network, which she continued to supervise for seven years. She attended her first HLI conference in 1989, where she first met Servant of God Dr. Jerome Lejeune. She and her husband would later pray for Lejeune’s intercession for her son’s health difficulties discovered before birth, and thanks be to God, he is thriving.

Notes

[1] Melanie Warner, “Pepsi’s Bizarro World: Boycotted Over Embryonic Cells Linked to Lo-Cal Soda.” CBS News Moneywatch. June 3, 2011.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pepsis-bizarro-world-boycotted-over-embryonic-cells-linked-to-lo-cal-soda/

[2] Melanie Warner, “Food Companies Test Flavorings That Can Mimic Sugar, Salt or MSG” New York Times. April 6, 2005.

https://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/06/business/food-companies-test-flavorings-that-can-mimic-sugar-salt-or-msg.html

[3] Melanie Warner, “Food Companies Test Flavorings That Can Mimic Sugar, Salt or MSG” New York Times. April 6, 2005.

[4] PepsiCo to Debi Vinnedge Executive Director, Children of God for Life. April 26, 2012.

https://cogforlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/pepsiresponse042012.pdf

[5] Christ Young, “San Diego Company’s New ‘Sweetness Enhancer’ Draws Scrunity.” Inewsource. KPBS.Org. October 8, 2015

https://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/oct/08/san-diego-companys-new-sweetness-enhancer-draws-sc/

[6] Valerie Robinson, “Aborted fetus cells used in beauty creams.” The Washington Times. November 3, 2009.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/nov/3/aborted-fetus-cells-used-in-anti-aging-products/

[7] Theresa A. Deisher, Phd. “Testimony on Conscience Rights related to biologic drug disclosure and alternative drugs.” President’s Council on Bioethics Archive. Georgetown University. September 8, 2008.

https://bioethicsarchive.georgetown.edu/pcbe/transcripts/sept08/deisher_statement.pdf

[8] Theresa A. Deisher, Phd. “Testimony on Conscience Rights related to biologic drug disclosure and alternative drugs.” President’s Council on Bioethics Archive. Georgetown University. September 8, 2008.

[9] “Dr. Theresa Deisher Guelph, Ontario Canada June 23, 2018.” Vaccine Choice Canada published on YouTube. August 2, 2018.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1k6xLQnJD8

[10] The National Vaccine Injury Act was signed in 1986 so that manufactures wouldn’t raise the price of vaccines due to injury lawsuits. Robert Pear, “Reagan Signs Bill on Drug Exports and Payment for Vaccine Injuries.” New York Times. November 15, 1986. https://www.nytimes.com/1986/11/15/us/reagan-signs-bill-on-drug-exports-and-payment-for-vaccine-injuries.html

[11] “Dr. Theresa Deisher Guelph, Ontario Canada June 23, 2018.” Vaccine Choice Canada published on YouTube. August 2, 2018.

[12] Paige St. John. “Kamala Harris’ support for Planned Parenthood draws fire after raid on anti-abortion activist. Los Angeles Times. April 7, 2016.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-kamala-harris-planned-parenthood-20160407-story.html

[13] DEPOSITION OF STANLEY A. PLOTKIN, M.D.CASE # 2015-831539-DM, JANUARY 11, 2018, COUNTY OF OAKLAND CIRCUIT COURT, FAMILY DIVISION, MICHIGAN. Ricardo Beas — RBWorks© — Natural Law Church of Health and Healing© © Common Law Copyright – All Rights Reserved, Without Prejudice.

http://www.cafepeyote.com/files/Plotkin_Deposition_-_Summary.pdf

“King of Vaccines Comes Clean!” The HighWire with Del Bigtree. Youtube. Published. January 17, 2009.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NACBHtFMllA

[14] Dr. Theresa Deisher: Moral Vaccine Development. Saint Michael Broadcasting. YouTube. Published March 5, 2011.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTEh_BsGwZQ

[15] Wesley J. Smith. “Adult Stem Cells Now the “Gold Standard.” National Review. March 15, 2019. 2:40 PM.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/adult-stem-cells-now-the-gold-standard/

[16] Robin Toner. “Settling In: Easing Abortion Policy; Clinton Orders Reversal of Abortion Restrictions Left By Reagan and Bush.” New York Times. January 23, 1993.

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/01/23/us/settling-easing-abortion-policy-clinton-orders-reversal-abortion-restrictions.html

[17] Theresa A. Deisher, Phd. “Testimony on Conscience Rights related to biologic drug disclosure and alternative drugs.” President’s Council on Bioethics Archive. Georgetown University. September 8, 2008.

[18] Terence P. Jeffrey. “HHS Extends Contract to Make ‘Humanized Mice’ With Aborted Baby Parts for Another 90 Days.” CNSNews. March 1, 2019. 5:16 PM.

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/hhs-extends-contract-make-humanized-mice-aborted-baby-parts-another?fbclid=IwAR0NpDMb6W3BVweC0-H4TUza6Ix2aMyjoTn6cOvSmJ9e0YfLk7C6WLueqMw

2 thoughts on “Products That Us

Under New Bill, Wisconsin Pharmacists Could Prescribe Hormonal Birth Control

By Gabriella Patti   

Under New Bill, Wisconsin Pharmacists Could Prescribe Hormonal Birth Control

According to an article published by Wisconsin Public Radio, Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are introducing a new bill that would allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control pills and patches. As of now, only doctors can prescribe birth control under Wisconsin state law.

Under this proposed law, all that would be required of patients would be to fill out a questionnaire and undergo a blood pressure test in order to receive a prescription. The two lawmakers pushing for this bill, Reps. Mary Felzkowski and Joel Kitchens, “wrote in a memo seeking co-sponsors that they want to give women more choices for reproductive care and reduce unplanned pregnancies.”

Unfortunately, despite these representatives’ intentions, data shows that increased access to birth control does not always decrease unplanned pregnancies but sometimes increases them, by providing couples with a false sense of security that they cannot have a pregnancy when using it. All forms of birth control have a failure rate and when we consider the high number of people are using birth control, the number of those who get pregnant using it is not insignificant.

As former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson describes it to Natural Womanhood, “according to Guttmacher themselves, Planned Parenthood’s own research arm, is that 54% of women who are having abortions are using contraception at the time when they get pregnant. So the idea that contraception is working for women and that it’s preventing [unplanned pregnancies and] abortion is not true. If it were, that number would not be 54%.”

Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, hormonal birth control, pharmacist, prescriptions, Wisconsin law, access to birth control

TURNING PATIENTS INTO CUSTOMERS

At present, pharmacists can prescribe birth control in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Washington D.C., and Washington state. Each state has different requirements and restrictions, and pharmacists in these states can opt out of providing this service.

This push towards eliminating the step of visiting the doctor’s office to get prescription medication rings familiar, as Natural Womanhood contributor,  Lindsay Schlegel recently wrote about the rise of direct-to-consumer medicine providing websites. In this model, the patient—who is now better described as a customer—fills out an online questionnaire through the website. Their questionnaire is then used to prescribe the customer with the proper medication, which is then mailed directly to their doorstep.

Although this model is certainly convenient, Schlegel addressed the overwhelming concern of where this system might lead us:

“Skipping a visit to the doctor’s office and pharmacy is certainly more convenient than dealing with uncertain wait times. Still, we have to consider that in this model, ‘doctors can’t address secondary issues that surface during a consultation and can’t add information to a patient’s home medical record,’ notes Vishal Khetpal, third-year medical student at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, in his essay ‘The Worrisome Rise of Direct-to-Consumer Medicine’ published at Undark, an editorially independent magazine.”

While we recognize that by having pharmacists prescribe birth control we are not eliminating face-to-face interaction, this does dispose of the aspects of personal care for the whole health of a patient that only a doctor can provide. In general, pharmacists are not permitted to prescribe drugs, only handle and administer them. Whereas a doctor has the opportunity to treat a patient more holistically, the interaction with a pharmacist is brief and puts them in the position to be more of a drug gatekeeper.

As the access to hormonal birth control is made more easily available without doctors’ involvement, we should be concerned with her women will become collateral damage in a system that treats them like customers buying harmless products rather than as patients with individual health needs, considering taking a very powerful hormone-altering drug.

Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM), also known as “natural birth control” or natural family planning, allow women to manage their health without putting loosely regulated drugs (that come with many health risks and side effects) into their bodies. While our medical system seems to be becoming less and less patient-oriented, it’s reassuring to know that methods like FABMs exist, which allow women to take their health into their own hands in an empowered and safe way.

Posted by Gabriella Patti Gabriella Patti
Gabriella Patti is a journalist currently located in Michigan.

Fewer Children Than Ever Before

by 

Americans are having fewer children than ever before. According to new data released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), for the fourth year in a row the number of children born in the United States has fallen. Last year, 3,788,235 babies were born in the U.S. – a drop of 2% from the previous year, and the lowest number in 32 years.

Behind the drop in total births, however, is an even more dramatic and troubling statistic. The overall fertility rate (i.e. the number of children born per woman) has fallen to its lowest level everat just 1.72. As a general rule, for a population to replace itself, the average birth rate needs to be 2.1 children born per woman.

Up to a point, birth rates tend to reflect the health of the economy. The healthier an economy, the more confident parents are that they can provide for their children, and the more likely they are to have children. At least, that’s the theory. Demographers had previously linkedthe downturn in the birthrate over the past decade to the effects of the 2008 recession. However, even though the economy has since recovered, birth rates continue to fall – something that has taken population experts by surprise.

“I keep expecting to see the birthrates go up, and then they don’t,” demographer Kenneth Johnson of the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy told the Associated Press. Johnson noted that if the fertility rate had remained at the same level as it was before the recession, some additional 5.7 million babies would have been born. “That’s a lot of empty kindergarten rooms,” he noted.

Many mainstream media outlets seemed puzzled about how to frame the latest numbers. On the one hand, many clearly felt compelled to try to put a bright face on the data, suggesting that the reduction in birth rate is a consequence of the greater “reproductive freedom” (i.e. access to contraception and abortion) enjoyed by women. However, underneath the façade of celebration, many news reports also contained a pervasive note of concern. As well they might.

One doesn’t need to be pro-life to recognize that a nation without children is a nation without a future. With an aging population, increasing pressure will be placed on an ever-dwindling work force to keep the economy going, to pay the taxes that support social security, health care for the needy and other social programs, and to provide care for aging parents and grandparents. Furthermore, the smaller number of young people carrying this heavier social and economic burden will be the same people we need to produce children for the next generation.

Where There is God, There is Fruitfulness

However, as one demographer pointed out, America’s increasingly bleak demographic statistics are, in fact, nothing unusual. Quite the contrary. “This is an important change,” Dr. Johnson-Hanks told the New York Times about the latest CDC numbers, “but it is not one that is making us extraordinary. It is making us more like other rich countries. It is making us more normal, in a sense. This is what Canada looks like; this is what Western Europe looks like.”

I suppose Dr. Johnson-Hanks meant this observation to be comforting. But the fact is, on the data he’s absolutely right: this is the new “normal” all across the developed world. In many European countries, the number of deaths has long exceeded the number of births, and many countries have birth rates far, far below that of the U.S.

While some politicians and economists are starting to wake up to the dire economic outlook created by shrinking populations, my own concern is the spiritual crisis that precipitated the demographic one. Indeed, this is where I think the demographers go wrong. The reason the U.S. birth rate isn’t rebounding goes far deeper than the lingering effects of a brief recession: at root it’s not an economic problem, it’s a heart problem…and a theological problem.

In a 2017 homily, Pope Francis addressed this issue head on. “Fill the earth, be fruitful! It is God’s first commandment,” the Holy Father noted, adding that where “there is God, there is fruitfulness.” “[S]ome countries come to mind,” he said, “that have chosen the path of infertility and suffer from that bad disease that is ‘demographic winter’. We know them…. They don’t make children.”

To have such countries “empty of children” is “not a blessing” he lamented. Because “fruitfulness is always a blessing of God.” In concluding his homily, the pope asked: “How is my heart? Is it empty? Always empty, or is it open to continuously receive life and give life? To receive and be fruitful? Or will it be a heart preserved as a museum object that has never been open to life and to give life?”

Pope Francis is right. Children are a blessing from God. The fact that couples are no longer interested in having children, and deliberately prevent them from coming into being, is a sign that – as the Holy Father warned – the hearts of many in the developed world have become museum objects. Our hearts are hearts of stone, and not of flesh.

Nowadays, rather than opening their hearts to new life, many couples prefer to jealously guard their love, viewing children as threat to their relationship, personal wellbeing and autonomy. What these couples fail to understand, is that, as St. Thomas Aquinas said, love, by nature, is diffusive. Love is a fire, and like a fire it yearns to spread, and must spread in order to live and be healthy. Many couples soon learn, the hard way, that by stifling the natural creative fecundity of romantic love, they have also stifled the love itself: the result is disillusion and divorce. This is why I say the demographic crisis is a heart problem.

It is also a theological problem, because the ultimate source of love is God, who is Love itself. However, in the developed world we have thrust God out of public and private life. The three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love are the surest sign of God’s presence in our hearts. They are also interrelated. Without faith in the living God, hope dies, and love withers. Without theological hope – the steadfast assurance that, in the end, all things work to the good, and that our destiny is perfect happiness – our fears overwhelm us. Many couples now are so crippled by fear, that all they can see are the “risks” involved in having children – the financial burdens, the possible illnesses and suffering, the limits of their own characters. And without the burning fire of a generous love for God – and the inevitable experience of God’s infinite love in return – many couples can only put their trust in human love, only to find human love, apart from Love itself, is petty and fallible. Without the experience of God’s infinite love, many couples simply do not see the point or the attraction of fruitfulness.

The Contraceptive Mentality

This is the great evil of the “contraceptive mentality” that I wrote about a few weeks ago. Contraception is sold as a means of enabling greater expression of erotic love: but even as it frustrates the natural consequences of sexual behavior, so too does it frustrate the love it is supposed to feed. It does this by quietly replacing the self-sacrificial, outward-looking, self-transcendent nature of authentic love, with a cheap and lifeless verisimilitude.

As I pointed out the other week, in an audience with Pope John Paul II in 1979, Father Marx foretold the collapse in the birthrate with the triumph of the contraceptive mentality. “[O]nce contraception is widespread, the rest is predictable,” he said. “[O]nce you have contraception and legalized or widespread abortion, birthrates fall; nations collapse; young people follow their parents in the abuse of sex; and increasing numbers live together without the benefit of marriage.”

This is the logic of the Culture of Death. If where there is God, there is fruitfulness, then we should not be surprised that inverse is also true: that where God is ignored and banished, there is barrenness and sterility. Further, just as love is self-diffusive, so, in a sense, is sterility. And so we now see the great scandal of developed Western countries that long ago embraced the hopelessness of the contraceptive mentality and the Culture of Death feverishly working to spread their self-destructive ideology elsewhere.

Pope St. John Paul II warned about this in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae. “In the rich and developed countries there is a disturbing decline or collapse of the birthrate,” he wrote. The opposite is true in poorer countries, where couples have many children. However, he said, the powerful and rich nations of the world now behave in the same way as Pharaoh did towards the Israelites, killing their children out of fear of their ascendency.

The powerful elite, said the late Holy Father, “are haunted by the current demographic growth, and fear that the most prolific and poorest peoples represent a threat for the well-being and peace of their own countries. Consequently, rather than wishing to face and solve these serious problems with respect for the dignity of individuals and families and for every person’s inviolable right to life, they prefer to promote and impose by whatever means a massive program of birth control. Even the economic help which they would be ready to give is unjustly made conditional on the acceptance of an anti-birth policy.”

As I have suggested, many people who look at the demographic collapse see only the impending financial repercussions. I see the personal and spiritual repercussions: couples who were called to a great love, but who turned their back on their vocation, to their own personal and spiritual impoverishment; children murdered in abortions and their mothers physically, emotionally, and spiritually scarred; a whole generation of elderly people yearning for the love of children and grandchildren, and living out their final years in loneliness and regret.

In his 1994 Letter to Families, Pope St. John Paul II spoke of the need for families to contribute towards building a “civilization of love.” As Pope Francis observed in his homily, love is inherently fruitful. At this time in history, when so many people are deliberately preaching an anti-Gospel of sterility, we need courageous couples to open their hearts to new life, to recognize the truth that “fruitfulness is always a blessing of God.” In my travels I have met many such families, which evidence an infectious joy that comes of living in God’s love. It is from families such as these that the civilization of love will emerge.

As Pope St. John Paul II explained in the Letter to Families: “The civilization of love evokes joy: joy, among other things, for the fact that a man has come into the world (cf. Jn 16:21), and consequently because spouses have become parents. The civilization of love means ‘rejoicing in the right’ (cf. 1 Cor 13:6). But a civilization inspired by a consumerist, anti-birth mentality is not and cannot ever be a civilization of love.”

Ectopic pregnancies can’t be reimplanted, and removing one isn’t abortion

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Ohio House Bill 182, introduced in April, aims to limit insurance coverage for abortion procedures in which the life of the mother is not at risk. In addition, it would ban birth control drugs or devices such as IUDs that do not prevent fertilization but rather the implantation of the human blastocyst — meaning they technically cause an abortion. But, oddly, the bill also calls for health insurance to cover the re-implantation of an ectopic pregnancy — a procedure that is currently not possible.

An ectopic pregnancy is one that occurs outside of the uterus. Most are located in a fallopian tube, but some are found in the mother’s abdomen. One to two percent of all pregnancies are ectopic, and risk factors include pelvic inflammatory disease due to chlamydial infection, smoking, tubal surgery, history of infertility, and in vitro fertilization — which actually increases the chances of experiencing a tubal pregnancy. While the future of medicine is wide and hopefully someday babies involved in ectopic pregnancies can be saved along with their mothers, the technology simply doesn’t exist today.

The odds of successfully carrying an ectopic pregnancy to term are non-existent if the baby is growing in a fallopian tube, and just one in three million for babies developing in their mother’s abdomen. An ectopic pregnancy is one of the most common causes of death among women during the first trimester. The danger exists in the ectopic pregnancy going undiagnosed and the fallopian tube rupturing. If a procedure existed to save both mother and child, doctors would be performing it. Unfortunately, such a procedure doesn’t exist.

The bill also removes a section of the current law that states women can be reimbursed for the “termination of an ectopic pregnancy.” It’s important to note that surgically removing an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion.

Abortion is a violent act intentionally committed with the purpose of ending the life of the preborn child. In an ectopic pregnancy, the preborn child is removed in order to save the life of the mother. It is not the intentional killing of a preborn child. If the child was left in the fallopian tube, the mother and baby would both die; therefore, by removing the baby, the mother has a chance of surviving. The baby’s death is an unintended and tragic side effect of the surgery performed to save the mother.

Ectopic pregnancy is a tragedy, but abortion isn’t needed in order to save the mother’s health or life; in fact, abortion is never needed to save a woman’s life. And as medical science advances, we hope that someday both mothers and babies involved in ectopic pregnancies can be saved.

Marie Stopes: the air-brushed heroine of birth control

Philippa Taylor

For some, the name Marie Stopes speaks of an organisation, one of the biggest abortion providers in the world. For others, it speaks of a person, a feminist icon and pioneer of birth control and family planning.

Both are true, but few people know the full story about Marie Stopes the woman, the author, palaeobotanist, family planning pioneer, and eugenicist. It is Marie Stopes the woman that I focus on here because she is key to understanding the organisation  that bears her name today.

Marie Stopes is widely lauded today as a feminist hero and women’s rights campaigner.

The BBC history page dedicated to Marie Stopes introduces her as a “campaigner for women’s rights and a pioneer in the field of family planning” and says nothing negative about her. A biography on the Manchester University website describes her as  “truly an extraordinary woman. Despite the hardships she had faced from her opponents, she continued to pursue the causes she believed in, and remains to this day as a much loved and respected figure. In honour of her name the charity Marie Stopes International [was] established in the 1970s.”  Readers of The Guardian voted Stopes Woman of the Millennium in 1999. In 2008 she was chosen by an all-female, all-feminist committee to be one of six women pioneers in the Royal Mail’s Women of Distinction collection.

The organisation named after her, Marie Stopes International (MSI) is clearly proud of its link to her, their website making clear that their present work is built on her legacy:

“The way we provide contraception and safe abortion services has been shaped, to a large extent, by our history. And by the lives of two pioneers of the family planning movement, Dr Marie Stopes and Dr Tim Black. Both built reputations for their client-centred approach and their willingness to push boundaries – qualities that are central to how we work today.”

Stopes the eugenicist

However, both the MSI website, the BBC historical figures page dedicated to Stopes, and many other biographies leave out a great deal of interesting information. In particular, her openly racist and eugenic beliefs and practices have been largely overlooked and ignored or, at best, framed as an embarrassing footnote to her achievements.

Here are some less well-known facts about Marie Stopes and her beliefs:

1. From 1918 to the early 1930s she published several books on marriage and birth control. One of these was Radiant Motherhood (1920) and in a chapter headed ‘A new and irradiated race’ Stopes reveals her underlying (and repulsive) agenda behind her push for widespread birth control: ‘it is the urgent duty of the community to make parenthood impossible for those whose mental and physical conditions are such that there is a certainty that their offspring must be physically and mentally tainted…’ She wants their sterilisation made immediate and made compulsory otherwise there will be an: ‘…ever increasing stock of degenerate, feeble-minded and unbalanced who will devastate social customs…like the parasite upon a healthy tree.’

2. She did not just write, but actively lobbied the Prime Minister and Parliament to pass Acts to enforce compulsory sterilisation in order to: ‘…ensure the sterility of the hopelessly rotten and racially diseased…by the elimination of wasteful lives.’

3. Stopes also urged the National Birth Rate Commission to support the compulsory sterilisation of parents who were diseased, prone to drunkenness or of ‘bad character’.  To use a selection of her words, the: ‘hopelessly bad cases, bad through inherent disease, or drunkenness or character’, ’wastrels, the diseased…the miserable [and] the criminal’, ’degenerate, feeble minded and unbalanced’, ’parasites’, and the ‘insane’. In Wise Parenthood she explains: ‘Our race is weakened by an appallingly high percentage of unfit weaklings and diseased individuals.’

4. Marie Stopes’ first family planning clinic was in North London in 1921 and was run by an organisation she founded: The Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress. It was no coincidence that her birth control clinics were clustered in deprived areas, to focus on reducing the birth rate of the poor lower classes and prevent the birth of those whom she considered to be ‘the inferior, the depraved, and the feeble-minded’.

5. Her views were not a passing fad. In 1934 she publicly stated that ‘the half-caste’ should be sterilised at birth. In 1956, two years before she died, Marie Stopes asserted that one-third of British men should be forcibly sterilised, ‘starting with the ugly and unfit’.

6. Stopes cut her own son out of her will simply because he married a girl who wore glasses. Instead, the bulk of her estate went to the Eugenics Society.

7. Stopes was a Nazi supporter. In 1935, she attended a Nazi Congress for Population Science in Berlin. Four years later she sent Hitlera gushing personal letter along with a volume of her love poems: ‘Dear Herr Hitler, love is the greatest thing in the world: so will you accept from me these that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them?‘ A poem of hers from 1942, at the height of the Jewish Holocaust, has this to say:  ‘Catholics and Prussians, The Jews and the Russians, All are a curse, Or something worse…’ The irony of people today praising Stopes is captured by Anthony Ozimic of SPUC: ‘Praising Marie Stopes as a woman of distinction should be as unacceptable as praising Adolf Hitler as a great leader. Both promoted compulsory sterilisation and the elimination of society’s most vulnerable members to achieve what they called racial progress.’

8. The BBC website states that the Catholic Church was Stope’s fiercest critic. They fail to clarify it was actually the Catholic Church that most opposed her appalling eugenic beliefs. In the 1920s, a legal victory against the rising eugenic tide was won by Dr Sutherland, with the support of the Catholic church, over Marie Stopes. Sutherland actually opposed eugenics long before he became a Catholic. Yet Stopes is lauded today as a feminist hero, while the story of the eugenics libel trial, and the Catholic role in trying to stop eugenics, has been either overlooked or dismissed as simplistic Catholic opposition to contraception.

9. Moreover, Dr Sutherland and others were actively trying to prevent and cure tuberculosis, (the disease of poverty) while at the same time influential eugenicists decried their efforts as a waste of time. Eugenicists considered tuberculosis was a ‘friend of the race’ because it was a natural check on the ‘unfit’ and poor, killing them before they could reproduce.
How ironic that Stopes, who describes poor children as ‘puny-faced, gaunt, blotchy, ill-balanced, feeble, ungainly, withered’ is the one now feted as a feminist heroine, and Sutherland who tried to treat and heal them is forgotten.

10. The deliberate excision of Stopes’ eugenic legacy has made her a secular saint. The abortion industry in particular, and liberalism in general, have effectively erased Stopes’ racism and hatred of the poor (such inconvenient historical facts) from their collective memory. Yet the truth is, Marie Stopes was not motivated by a kind of early feminism but rather ‘by the urge to reduce the numbers of the ‘burgeoning Lumpenproletariat.’

Stopes and other eugenicists endorsed legalised birth control because the working class was too ‘drunken and ignorant’ to be trusted to keep its own numbers down.

This all helps to explain why today, Marie Stopes International, arguably the biggest abortion and birth control provider in the world, focuses on providing cheap abortions in developing countries directly to the poorest women in the world.

Recall, as I quoted above, the MSI website: ‘The way we provide contraception and safe abortion services has been shaped, to a large extent, by our history. And by the lives of two pioneers of the family planning movement, Dr Marie Stopes and Dr Tim Black.’

I agree with them: Marie Stopes’ eugenic and racist goals in family planning shape MSI even today:

The truth is, liberal abortion legislation and ‘safe abortion’ provision in developing countries has no effect on maternal mortality rates ie. women’s health. (An attempt to discredit these findings had to be retracted!).  Liberalising abortion laws increases numbers of abortions but what genuinely improves maternal mortality rates and health and thus truly helps women (and their unborn children) is education, nutrition, clean water, sanitation and maternal health care for women.

It seems that a neo-colonial and eugenic agenda carries on, with a different cloak and mantle and exported to a different part of the world, but with the same underlying agenda that Marie Stopes had. ‘History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done.’

Philippa Taylor is Head of Public Policy at Christian Medical Fellowship. She has an MA in Bioethics from St Mary’s University College and a background in policy work on bioethics and family issues. Republished with permission from the CMF blog.

Babies Conceived in Rape Shouldn’t be Aborted Just Because of Their Father’s Crime

KRISTAN HAWKINS

When it comes to gun violence in schools, people get outraged about children in danger of losing their lives. It’s a worthy concern. According to Education Week, in 2018 28 students were killed in school shootings, while so far in 2019, 2 children have been killed.

That is tragic. But it’s not about the math; it’s about the loss of life … and 30 lives forever gone are 30 too many. But have you noticed that when it comes to babies born during abortions — or viable babies aborted after 20 weeks — all you hear is that it’s not that many? But how many are there?

Consider this, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the abortion-industry think tank the Guttmacher Institute, “only” about 1.3 percent of abortions are late-term (after 21 weeks). With an abortion rate of 879,000 in 2017, that’s more than 11,400 increasingly viable babies at risk.

Those increasingly viable babies face pain, suffering and loss of life.

And what of those who may be exposed to infanticide, allowed to die only because they were born during an abortion, how many might there be?

USA Today notes: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 143 deaths between 2003 and 2014 involving infants born alive during attempted abortions,” with CDC also reporting “it is possible that this number (143) underestimates the total number of deaths involving induced termination.” In another report, the CDC also notes, “Although unlikely, the induced abortion procedure may result in a live birth.”

May? Many abortion survivors are alive and available to tell their own stories. Articulate people like Melissa Ohden, the founder of the Abortion Survivors Network, Josiah Presley or Claire Culwell, speak eloquently about life after almost death at the hands of an abortionist.

In fact, Ohden’s Abortion Survivors Network reports that 279 people have come forward saying that their birthday began in an abortion vendor’s office, in a life and death struggle from their first breath of life.

And how many infants lose their lives because of what happened on the night of their conception?

The New York Times proudly has proclaimed an often-reported number, that babies conceived in rape or incest are “only” 1 percent of those targeted with abortion. With an abortion figure of 879,000, that’s at least 8,790 people who were discriminated against based on the night of their conception.

Children conceived in rape are still children, unique and valuable, deserving of their own chance to make a mark on the world. A civil society does not execute children for the crimes of their fathers, yet when it comes to abortion the knee-jerk assumption is that they should pay the ultimate price rather than putting the focus on the criminal guilty of violence.

Consider that if my father commits a sexual assault today society would not allow his victim to legally kill me tomorrow. The sins of the fathers are not passed on to the children under our system of justice, and my ability to be seen and heard makes that kind of death unthinkable. As it should be. Yet children conceived in rape must endure the constant messaging that the world would be better off if they were dead, and many do end tragically through abortion.

Alabama legislators made a courageous and counter-cultural choice when they said that they cared most about mother and preborn child by focusing their law on the abortionist preying on women, by putting in protections for mothers whose lives were at risk and by telling the world that they loved the children whose stories began in a moment like rape or incest. That moment did nothing to detract from their worth or right to enjoy a chance at life.

In the United States, birth certificates are not issued with points awarded based on your parents’ race, income, marital status or the events on the night of your conception. Birth certificates note one thing: a unique human being has entered the world.

And as we look at the math, it’s clear that the victims of abortion for even the most “rare” cases still number in the thousands. How many need to die before the math just doesn’t add up for a civil society?

When it comes to gun violence in schools, people get outraged about children in danger of losing their lives. It’s a worthy concern. According to Education Week, in 2018 28 students were killed in school shootings, while so far in 2019, 2 children have been killed.

That is tragic. But it’s not about the math; it’s about the loss of life … and 30 lives forever gone are 30 too many. But have you noticed that when it comes to babies born during abortions — or viable babies aborted after 20 weeks — all you hear is that it’s not that many? But how many are there?

Consider this, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the abortion-industry think tank the Guttmacher Institute, “only” about 1.3 percent of abortions are late-term (after 21 weeks). With an abortion rate of 879,000 in 2017, that’s more than 11,400 increasingly viable babies at risk.

Those increasingly viable babies face pain, suffering and loss of life.

And what of those who may be exposed to infanticide, allowed to die only because they were born during an abortion, how many might there be?

USA Today notes: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 143 deaths between 2003 and 2014 involving infants born alive during attempted abortions,” with CDC also reporting “it is possible that this number (143) underestimates the total number of deaths involving induced termination.” In another report, the CDC also notes, “Although unlikely, the induced abortion procedure may result in a live birth.”

May? Many abortion survivors are alive and available to tell their own stories. Articulate people like Melissa Ohden, the founder of the Abortion Survivors Network, Josiah Presley or Claire Culwell, speak eloquently about life after almost death at the hands of an abortionist.

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In fact, Ohden’s Abortion Survivors Network reports that 279 people have come forward saying that their birthday began in an abortion vendor’s office, in a life and death struggle from their first breath of life.

And how many infants lose their lives because of what happened on the night of their conception?

The New York Times proudly has proclaimed an often-reported number, that babies conceived in rape or incest are “only” 1 percent of those targeted with abortion. With an abortion figure of 879,000, that’s at least 8,790 people who were discriminated against based on the night of their conception.

Children conceived in rape are still children, unique and valuable, deserving of their own chance to make a mark on the world. A civil society does not execute children for the crimes of their fathers, yet when it comes to abortion the knee-jerk assumption is that they should pay the ultimate price rather than putting the focus on the criminal guilty of violence.

Consider that if my father commits a sexual assault today society would not allow his victim to legally kill me tomorrow. The sins of the fathers are not passed on to the children under our system of justice, and my ability to be seen and heard makes that kind of death unthinkable. As it should be. Yet children conceived in rape must endure the constant messaging that the world would be better off if they were dead, and many do end tragically through abortion.

Alabama legislators made a courageous and counter-cultural choice when they said that they cared most about mother and preborn child by focusing their law on the abortionist preying on women, by putting in protections for mothers whose lives were at risk and by telling the world that they loved the children whose stories began in a moment like rape or incest. That moment did nothing to detract from their worth or right to enjoy a chance at life.

In the United States, birth certificates are not issued with points awarded based on your parents’ race, income, marital status or the events on the night of your conception. Birth certificates note one thing: a unique human being has entered the world.

And as we look at the math, it’s clear that the victims of abortion for even the most “rare” cases still number in the thousands. How many need to die before the math just doesn’t add up for a civil society?

Growing Violence Against Pro-Lifers

by 

I am troubled by what appears to be a growing trend of violent attacks on peaceful pro-life activists.

Perhaps the most famous recent instance was caught in a dramatic video last fall. The video shows a twenty-something-year-old man wearing a purple sweater, with a pentagram (a pagan symbol) on a necklace around his neck. He asks the pro-life woman behind the camera what should happen if a 16-year-old gets pregnant by rape. From his tone, it is clear that he doesn’t really want an answer. Still, the woman begins to explain that the child is still a child, and should not be murdered, regardless of how the baby is conceived. Before she can finish, however, the young man sticks out his tongue, winds up, and kicks her. The camera falls and clatters on the ground. A female voice is heard crying, “Someone call the cops!”

The woman who was assaulted, Marie-Claire Bissonnette, described in a written account the astonishing indifference of the Toronto police who arrived on the scene. Eventually, however, the attacker was identified, and charges were filed. As it turns out, the same man was responsible for another violent assault on a pro-life activist some months before.

Courtesy of Lifesite – Marie-Claire Bissonnette, Youth Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition

As Bissonnette points out, the attack on her is far from an isolated incident. And while the video of the assault against her was viewed millions of times, most of these assaults receive little to no public attention. On the very same day that Bissonnette was attacked, for instance, a woman walked up to a pro-life man who was silently praying at a location just West of Toronto and poured paint down his back. This was mild in comparison to what happened just days before, also in Toronto, when Gabby Skwarko, a member of the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective, walked up to pro-life activist Blaise Alleyne and proceeded to repeatedly punch her, attempted to grab her bag, and threw a metal dolly at her.

One elderly woman recently had her leg broken when she was assaulted outside Kentucky’s only abortion facility, in Louisville. Another elderly man, participating in the recent Lenten 40 Days for Life campaign, was thrown to the ground and viciously and repeatedly kicked. Then there’s the woman who was left bruised after being punched outside a clinic in Alabama. Or the young man who was repeatedly punched by a pro-abortion woman during a pro-life demonstration at the University of North Carolina.

As a life-long pro-lifer, Bissonnette has participated in pro-life demonstrations for years. She says she has repeatedly suffered physical and verbal assault. “Rocks have been thrown at me,” she writes. “I’ve been spat upon multiple times and pushed. Men have aggressively asked how I would like it if they raped me and forced me to have an abortion.”

Brian Sims’ Contemptible Attack

Thankfully the issue of aggression and violence against peaceful pro-life activists is receiving some (but still shockingly limited) media attention right now, thanks to the contemptible antics of Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Brian Sims. Earlier this month Sims posted a video of himself harassing a pro-life woman who was praying the rosary outside an abortion facility, calling her “shameful,” “disgusting,” “racist,” as well as “old white lady.”

Even worse, he also filmed himself approaching two young girls (aged 13 and 15), calling them “a bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here.” Sims then offers $100 to anybody who can identify the girls. This is called “doxing” – that is, publicly identifying ordinary citizens in order to subject them to systematic shame and harassment. It’s a terrible practice. Coming from an elected politician, aimed at young, minor girls, it’s downright evil.

Ironically, in posting the footage of his harassment of the girls, Sims accused the pro-life activists of “prey[ing] on young women.” People who protest Planned Parenthood” use white privilege, & shame,” he claimed. “They’re racist, classist, bigots who NEED & DESERVE our righteous opposition.”

Got that? According to Sims, young pro-life girls “need” to be harassed by grown men such as himself. Astonishingly, at the time of this writing, Sims has neither resigned, nor been dismissed from office, though he did record and release a video apology. If instead of a pro-abortion Democrat, it had been a pro-life Republican who berated and doxed young teen girls I think this story would have ended quite differently.

Democratic State Representative Brian Sims has harassed pro-lifers on more than one occasion.

Both Discouraging and Hopeful

Obtaining reliable statistics on assaults against pro-life activists is difficult, and so I can’t say with certitude that there are more of these types of attacks than in the past. What is certain, however, is that reports of these attacks have been coming out with surprising frequency these past few months, and that many of them have been unusually brutal. I’m far from the only one to notice this.

What does this trend mean? On the one hand, it is clearly a discouraging sign of the spiritual sickness of our culture, the growth of a violent underbelly in our national discourse, a testament to the woundedness of so many men and women, and evidence in many cases that pro-abortion activists are held to a completely different standard than pro-lifers by the media, politicians, and the public.

Sims, for instance, clearly believed that pro-life activists were “fair game” for his vicious anger. Why else would he have proudly broadcast his harassment to the world? From his perspective, pro-life women had forfeited their rights to be treated with even a modicum of decency and respect.

This kind of dismissive attitude towards just about anyone who holds traditional moral values is becoming alarmingly common. Consider, for instance, the fact that, as far as I can find, no prominent liberal politicians, media figures or activists have publicly condemned Sim’s misbehavior. Truth be told, many so-called “progressives” now see almost no difference between ordinary social conservatives who believe such things as that marriage is between a man and a woman, and neo-Nazi skinheads.

On the other hand, one senses that the desperation that motivates these attacks stems in part from anger in the face of the fact that the pro-life movement is succeeding as never before. And this is cause for hope. One of the recent attacks, for instance, was in Alabama, which just last week passed the single-most restrictive abortion bill in the country, a bill that would ban almost all abortions in the state, and that was designed directly to challenge Roe v. Wade. This was only the latest of several strongly pro-life bills explicitly crafted as a test to overturn Roe v. Wade.

There are further reasons to think that the growing instances of assault on pro-lifers are a cause for hope. Consider, for example, the obvious fact that in order for pro-life activists to be assaulted in the first place, they need to be in a public space, proclaiming their pro-life beliefs, and trying to prevent abortions from taking place. As it turns out, on any day of the week, all across the country, in rain, shine, snow or hail, thousands of peaceful pro-life activists are gathering outside abortion clinics to pray. Others are holding signs on public streets, or demonstrating on college campuses. That so many are willing to sacrifice their time, and to take the risk of boldly defending human life, is a great sign of hope.

2019 Walk for Life, San Francisco

Another reason for hope is the response of the pro-life activists who are the victims of these assaults. Consider Donna Durning, the pro-life woman whose leg was broken after she was shoved to the ground. “I believe that the lady who caused this injury needs prayers,” Durning said after the attack, “and I’m forgiving her and I would hope that people would also pray for her.” Abby Johnson, who recently spoke at a public rally protesting Brian Sims’ harassment, had much the same message. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anybody that needs Jesus more than that man right there,” she said about Sims.

Indeed, it is very likely that many of those perpetrating these assaults are themselves deeply wounded by abortion. Perhaps they themselves had an abortion, or paid for an abortion; or perhaps some close loved one, perhaps even their own mothers, had abortions. Their anger and their violence against pro-lifers is evil, but I strongly suspect that in many cases they are the products of deep pain, pain that only love – above all the love of Christ – can heal. Clearly the pro-life message is Gospel-motivated. However, it is deeply encouraging to see how thoroughly the Gospel has penetrated into the pro-life movement, so that even those pro-lifers who have been violently assaulted by our ideological opponents can say, along with Christ, that most Christian of all prayers: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Walk for Life 2019, San Francisco

I hope that you will join me today in praying both for the victims of these attacks, and for the perpetrators. Furthermore, I hope that these incidents, far from discouraging our efforts, will cause us to redouble them. Though more common than I should like, such violent attacks are still relatively rare in comparison to the number of pro-lifers participating in peaceful prayer vigils and the like. Certainly, these attacks should not frighten us away. We need more and more pro-lifers to listen to the call of Christ, and to physically place themselves where the killing of innocents is taking place, so that they can serve as a voice for the violence against pro-lifers///. Thanks to the many silent prayer warriors who participate in 40 Days for Life vigils, or other peaceful protests, untold numbers of babies have been saved, and mothers and fathers spared life-long regret. Will you respond to Christ’s call, and join their life-saving efforts?

 

 

We Ought to Think Twice About Getting a Prescription without Seeing a Doctor

by Lindsay Schlegel

As a busy woman with a lot on her plate, I am all for streamlining where possible and making time to focus on the things that are important to me: my family, my work, and my health. I’m often for it when technology makes daily tasks quicker, easier, and cheaper. Grocery shopping from home? Yes, please. Buying a gift online when my child is invited to a birthday party? Absolutely. Working out to a video in my living room rather than driving to the gym? Let’s do this.

And yet I can’t help but see a forest of red flags raised at the prospect of women buying hormonal birth control online or via an app, without having an in-person consultation with a doctor.

Natural Womanhood, Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Natural Family Planning, NFP, FABM, FAM, birth control side effects, womens health, reproductive health, fertility awareness, buying birth control online, direct to consumer medication, birth control without a doctor, online prescriptions, hormonal birth control, the pill, birth control, menstrual cycle, fertility, doctor consultation, interpersonal treatment, in person care, doctors visit, birth control side effects,

The Virtues of the Middleman

Direct-to-consumer medicine” is a new and rapidly growing e-commerce market that seeks to improve our existing healthcare model in terms of efficiency and convenience by offering prescriptions to reverse hair loss, treat erectile dysfunction, treat skin conditions, and prevent pregnancy by mail. According to an article via Yahoo! (sponsored by Nurx, one of the sites offering the service for birth control), “Gone are the days of being blindsided by unexpected costs, judgy doctors or pharmacists, long waits for appointments and other health care woes.”

A more objective article at the New York Times puts it this way: “The sites invert the usual practice of medicine by turning the act of prescribing drugs into a service. Instead of doctors making diagnoses and then suggesting treatments, patients request drugs and physicians serve largely as gatekeepers.”

In one of the testimonials in that Nurx-sponsored article, Ilena writes, “The customer support team is incredibly helpful. Every time I have a question, like if I’m getting weird symptoms, I always hear back right away.”

We should be concerned about replacing patient-doctor conversations with those of customer support teams—because the priorities of each are inherently different. At my doctor’s office, there are doctors and nurses, but no “customer support team”—because in my doctor’s care, I’m a patient whose health is the first priority, not a customer to whom my provider is looking to sell a product. And because my doctor knows more about me than a survey can communicate, she can help make recommendations for my care as a whole, not with only one concern in mind.

Until recently, advertising for pharmaceuticals—whether online, on TV, or in magazines—concluded with, “Talk to your doctor about…” Now, the doctor is virtually cut out of the equation. Sites like HimsHersNurxThe Pill Club, and PRJKT RUBY are more like online retail shopping than a trip to the doctor.

Skipping a visit to the doctor’s office and pharmacy is certainly more convenient than dealing with uncertain wait times. Still, we have to consider that in this model, “doctors can’t address secondary issues that surface during a consultation and can’t add information to a patient’s home medical record,” notes Vishal Khetpal, third-year medical student at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, in his essay “The Worrisome Rise of Direct-to-Consumer Medicine” published at Undark, an editorially independent magazine.

Khetpal says that his conversations with patients usually begin with what brought them in, but typically broaden to include previous diagnoses, new concerns, end-of-life care, and evidence-based preventative measures such as improving diet and scheduling screenings. “We [act] on the concerns of the present,” he says, “but also anticipate the needs of the future.”

Is This the Path We Want to Be On?

The future, indeed. We know that we skim more than read on our screens, so reading that a writer at Slate who used the Pill Club got a list of side effects via text message to which a reply was not required, is less than ideal. We should be concerned that changing access to birth control in this way means there will likely be less informed consent in receiving medications that have a proven history of serious side effects and other possible abuses that are yet to be seen.

Hormonal birth control is often touted as being a safe, healthy choice for women to take control of their sexual lives. That claim has been proven false, by reports of deaths caused by blood clots and the increase in depression in women on hormonal birth control. Too often, hormonal birth control is prescribed to mitigate symptoms of other conditions, rather than seeking out and treating the root cause. This is one of the reasons I use and encourage my family and friends to consider the natural birth control alternatives known as fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs), whether they are sexually active or not. Making access to hormonal birth control even easier and even less concerned with the person popping the pills (or inserting the shot, or giving herself the injections—seriously) seems to me a dangerous road to travel down, particularly when there are other options available.

Personal Decisions Made in an Impersonal Way

For those who have current prescriptions, direct-to-consumer sites offer discreet, unmarked packaging; free shipping (sometimes with treats like chocolate and stickers thrown in); and recurrent deliveries to keep users in supply. In the 38 states where it’s legal, sites also generate new prescriptions. In the latter case, customers fill out an online questionnaire, which the organization says will be reviewed by a licensed medical professional. The customer will be contacted if there are any questions, but the implication seems to be that ideally, most cases will receive the stamp of approval without any direct interaction between the provider and the customer. What’s more alarming is that on these sites, I found it difficult or impossible to find background on the doctors and nurse practitionerswriting the scripts.

I get that waiting in line at the doctor’s office is a pain, and that it can feel like we have better things to do. But as Khetpal makes clear, there’s a difference between filling out a questionnaire and discussing the responses with a human being.

Furthermore, a common theme on the sites I researched was that they were not intended to replace primary care physicians. Maybe not intended, but I can see it happening pretty easily. Half the customers at one site said they used the service to get their first hormonal birth control prescription. And if it’s that much easier and costs the same or less, many people would say, why not?

We can’t forget that there’s good reason prescription medications typically allow only a certain number of refills before the patient needs to check in with her healthcare provider. Again, note my use of “patient” here, rather than “customer.” If we get used to healthcare being this expedited, yearly screenings and simply establishing care with a doctor could fall by the wayside without much of a second thought, creating more damage to public health than good.

Supervision TBD

Because this technology is new and developing, the legal system hasn’t quite caught up yet. Customers should be aware that “there is no single federal or state agency in charge of overseeing online prescription drug services.” These services claim not to be “health providers,” which means they quite literally don’t have to play by the same rules as physicians.

What does that look like? Well, for one thing, researchers who have tried out the services to gauge the quality of the sites found, more than once, that important usage information was delivered inconsistently. For another, we’ve been taught since we were children never to take another person’s medication. Yet one site, Kick, sells a blood pressure medication to customers who are interested in its potential side effect of calming performance anxiety. These issues, I fear, are only the beginning. Without instituting ethical and consistent practices, this industry could cause a lot of harm in a field whose focus is supposed to be healing.

At the end of the day, when it comes to something as important as our health, convenient isn’t always better.

We Ought to Think Twice About Getting a Prescription without Seeing a Doctor

Contraception has led to ‘diabolical’ experiments on human life: cardinal

ROME, Italy, May 17, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Church of England’s endorsement of contraception at its 1930 Lambeth Conference has led to the “diabolical monstrosity” of “procreative medicine,” German Cardinal Walter Brandmüller told the Rome Life Forum on Friday (read full talk below or here).

It also led to the American Protestant Federation of Churches collectively endorsing contraception in 1961 as “morally justified if the motives are just,” and essentially obliged the Catholic Church to “tackle the matter of contraception” at the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Brandmüller said in an address delivered in Italian on “The Prehistory of Humanae Vitae.” His talk was given in Rome at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum).

By that time, a “number of Catholic theologians, to a greater or lesser extent” had also endorsed contraception, and the “concept of situational ethics” on which that position is based had “penetrated Catholic moral theology,” said Brandmüller, a dubia cardinal and president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

Thus Pope Paul’s 1968 encyclical Humanae vitae reaffirming Catholic teaching, which had been affirmed by Pius XI in Casti Connubii and by Pius XII and John XXIII, that contraception is intrinsically evil, “triggered a fierce storm of protest within the Church.”

The acceptance of contraception — which separates the sexual act from procreation — has now resulted in practice of “procreative medicine” — in-vitro fertilization, genetic engineering, eugenic prenatal screening, abortion — in which “man has seated himself on the throne of the Creator,” Cardinal Brandmüller said.

Practitioners of reproductive medicine carry out experiments that “sacrilegiously violate the sanctity of human life” and interventions “of an almost diabolical monstrosity, today heralded as spectacular breakthroughs,” he observed.

“We hope for a renewed reception, adoption and more profound transmission of the truly prophetic teaching of Paul VI in our days,” the cardinal concluded.

The theme of the 6th Rome Life Forum is “City of God vs. City of Man — Global One World Order vs. Christendom.” The two-day conference is hosted by Voice of the Family and co-sponsored by LifeSiteNewsAssociazione Famiglia Domani (Italy), Family Life International New Zealand, and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (UK).

***

Talk by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller
Give at Rome Life Forum, Rome, May 17, 2019
Pontificia Università di San Tommaso d’Aquino (Angelicum)

An insight into the pre-history of Humanae vitae 

Last year we commemorated Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Humanae vitae, published in July 1968, in the midst of the cultural revolution in that year.

Among other things in this encyclical, Paul VI put an end, in doctrinal terms, to disputations pursued with great fervor even within the Catholic Church on the lawfulness and moral reprehensibility of artificial contraception. The encyclical therefore triggered a fierce storm of protest within the Church.

The matter became a subject of controversy in the Catholic world when, at the 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Church of England reached a decision, based on a vote of 193 in favor and 67 votes against, entirely in keeping with the secular spirit of the time, in favor of contraception. The first person to be open to neo-Malthusian propaganda after the First World War was probably the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, Russell Wakefield. Conversely, in 1920 the Lambeth Conference  —  the Church of England’s assembly of Bishops — decisively opposed any attempt to put forward medical, financial or social justification for birth control.

Nevertheless, a poll of priests showed that half of the lay people interviewed did not use contraceptives, while the other half used prophylactics or coitus interruptus. However, the personal physician to the head of the Church of England, Lord Dawson di Penn declared, in contradiction of the decision of the 1921 Lambeth conference, that birth control should not be refused from either a medical or an ecclesiastical standpoint. Hence a barrier had been broken down and the Anglican Church assumed a leading role in influencing opinion in the non-Catholic world.

At the beginning however, this was not the case. Eminent representatives of Lutheranism and the Methodist Episcopal Church South saw in contraception one of the “most repugnant modern travesties”, a return to morally ruinous paganism. On 2 April 1931 The Presbyterian wrote as follows on the adoption of the Lambeth Resolution by the USA Federal Council of Churches: “Its recent pronouncement on birth control should be sufficient cause, even if there were no others, for the withdrawal of its support from that body, which declares that it speaks for the Presbyterian and other Protestant Churches in ex cathedra pronouncements.”

Surprisingly, on 22 March 1931 the Washington Post joined with the protests against the adoption of the Lambeth decision: “Carried to its logical conclusion, the [Lambeth] Committee’s report, if carried into effect, would sound the death-knell of marriage as a holy institution by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be ‘careful and restrained’ is preposterous.”

The Encyclical of Pius XI, Casti connubii, published on 31 December 1930, which presented the Catholic position with great clarity, met with an impressive ecumenical consensus.

However, this fortuitous period came to an abrupt end. In spite of the Encyclical, disputations multiplied, in the Catholic world also, to be interrupted only by the Second World War. A number of Catholic theologians, to a greater or lesser extent, endorsed the position of the USA Federal Council of Churches and its resolution of 23 February 1961:

The majority of Protestant Churches regard contraception and periodic abstinence as morally justified if the motives are just. It is generally believed by Protestants that the motives, rather than the methods, constitute the principal moral problem, providing that the methods are limited to the prevention of conception. Protestant Christians are in agreement in condemning abortion and any method which destroys human life, unless the health or life of the mother is at risk.

The fact that behind this statement was the concept of situational ethics cannot be ignored: illustrious names such as J. Paul Sartre, Albert Schweitzer, Martin Buber and finally A. T. Robinson denied the existence of permanently binding moral standards. This idea then penetrated Catholic moral theology.

These, in broad terms, were therefore the circumstances under which the Second Vatican Council was obliged to tackle the matter of contraception. During the debates, Catholic voices were raised in the Council chamber calling for endorsement of the American Protestant position described above.

The ingenuity with which Cardinal [Leo] Suenens [of Belgium] believed he could compare the development of modern contraceptives to the discoveries of  Galileo Galilei is to be noted.

We also recall in this regard the warning from Cardinal Suenens — in fact the spokesperson of  Döpfner, Alfruk and Hélder Câmara,  The Rhine flows into the Tiber — issued with terrible pathos to the Council fathers, that the Church should not, for the love of God, create a new Galileo case, by once again opposing the discoveries of modern science through its refusal of contraception, an utterance which certainly failed to demonstrate any great knowledge of the Galileo affair.

Today however, we are confronted with the results of a process of erosion initiated at the 1930 Lambeth Conference which, from the approval of artificial contraception, has led us to the monstrosity of what is today known as procreative medicine, by which man has seated himself on the throne of the Creator.

Goethe’s Prometheus said: “I am here and I create men in my image …”.

These words, written more than two hundred years ago, in fact mirror this notion of self which, today, is driving the protagonists of so-called reproductive medicine to carry out these experiments, through which they sacrilegiously violate the sanctity of human life.  These are interventions — and there are almost no words to describe them — of an almost diabolical monstrosity, today heralded as spectacular breakthroughs … It only remains for us to wait until these Prometheic persons arrive at the same destiny as their mythical hero.

It is therefore, and in the context of these circumstances, that tribute should be paid to the Encyclical Humanae Vitae published in 1968, a doctrinal document whose prophetic nature has, over time, also been acknowledged by leading non-Catholic thinkers. One of the most illustrious of these was Max Horkheimer, first among the leaders and then among the critics of the Frankfurt School, who allied himself with Paul VI. The journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, at that date still a Communist, gave a favourable welcome to the Pope’s Encyclical.

In this encyclical, Paul VI brought temporary closure to a series of doctrinal affirmations on the matter of contraception, instigated by Pius XI in Casti Connubii and continued by Pius XII and John XXIII. These were ultimately taken up, developed and deepened by John Paul II.

Humanae Vitae provides an extraordinary example of the workings of the process of parodosis, which means transmission of the doctrine of the Church. When the truth of faith is received, adopted and transmitted, what happens is that what is received, when adopted and transmitted, responds with deeper understanding and more precise expression to the needs of the respective present, while continuing to be identical to itself. In all of this, contradiction between yesterday and today is impossible: it is the Holy Spirit who acts in the Church of Jesus Christ to guide this process of paradosis. It is the Holy Spirit who ensures that the faith of the Church develops in the course of time, just as an adult person continues to be identical to the infant it was in the past, an intuition formulated by Vincent of Lérins as early as 430 and elaborated upon by Blessed John Henry Newman.

*

Today, we hope for a renewed reception, adoption and more profound transmission of the truly prophetic teaching of Paul VI in our days.

Govt.-funded lab seeks to buy ‘fresh’ aborted baby heart, pancreas from almost anyone

IRVINE, May 15, 2019 (Center for Medical Progress) – The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the citizen journalism organization responsible for the undercover video series exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby body parts, revealed today that over the past month, government-funded researchers at University of California San Diego (UCSD) have sought to purchase hearts and pancreases from aborted fetuses from CMP.

CMP is a well-known citizen journalism organization that advocates against the commercial exploitation of aborted fetal body parts. The Frazer Laboratory at UC San Diego runs in part with NIH grants—but the NIH spending database does not classify the Frazer grant money as related to human fetal tissue experimentation.

In April, UCSD’s Frazer Laboratory emailed CMP “searching for human fetal pancreas from 4-5 donors.” CMP investigative journalists then engaged in an email dialogue with the Frazer Laboratory to learn more about the Lab’s demand for fetal body parts from abortions. While never promising to provide fetal tissue, CMP asked the Frazer Lab for more details about the project and probed the Lab’s engagement with the market in aborted fetal organs and tissues.

Startlingly, while asking for body parts from first trimester aborted fetuses, the Lab also wrote that fetuses up to six months “should be compatible with our experimental design.” When informed that the “market price” for fresh fetal organs was $500 to $750 per specimen, the Frazer Lab was not fazed, replying “please let me consult the pricing with Prof. Frazer. We are indeed in contact with a few other organizations in California however it is critical for us to find a reputable and reliable source which could provide the samples.” The Lab continued, “we will most certainly choose the option of the fastest possible delivery of fresh (not frozen) samples.”

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CMP@CtrMedProgress

Apparently the government-funded laboratories at @UCSanDiego are so greedy for “fresh” aborted baby body parts, they will try to buy them from ANYBODY–even without bothering to check who they are emailing. @HHSGov please STOP this now! http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/UCSD_email.pdf 

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Later in April, the Lab left multiple voicemails for CMP seeking to discuss options for ordering aborted fetal body parts. By then the Frazer Lab had increased its request, writing, “Also, would like to ask for heart specimens from 3 donors (ideally pancreas and heart specimens from the same donors).”

CMP Project Lead David Daleiden notes, “Government-funded laboratories are so greedy for fresh aborted baby body parts that they will try to buy them from anybody—without even bothering to check who they are emailing.”

Daleiden continues, “Even as the Department of Health and Human Services continues an agency-wide audit of fetal experimentation and the U.S. Department of Justice investigates the sale of aborted fetal tissue at Planned Parenthood and their business partners, government-funded researchers do not seem to have curtailed their appetite for aborted baby body parts one bit. It is far past time for HHS to end the barbaric practice of taxpayer-funded fetal experimentation, and for the Department of Justice to do their job and hold Planned Parenthood and other baby body parts traffickers accountable to the law.”

What Links Contraception to Abortion?

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Amina Khamis Juma is 22 years old and lives in Mbande-Kisewe, near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. After delivering her first child in 2016, she was persuaded by her sisters to begin using contraception since the couple did not wish to have another child. Her sisters suggested using condoms, but they caused pain and discomfort, so Amina and her husband soon stopped. When Amina became pregnant, the couple was unwilling to have a child at that time and tragically opted to abort.

Amina Khamis Juma, a Tanzanian wife and mother.

When sexual partners rely upon technology to prevent conception and the technology fails, they often expect they will not have to deal with the “unwanted” consequence – a baby. This way of thinking is called the “contraceptive mentality.” When sexual partners with this mentality engage in a sexual act while inhibiting the procreative element, they are unwilling to consider pregnancy. It is expected that the contraceptive method employed will do what it claims, prevent conception. However, when the contraceptive fails and they become pregnant, the couple often succumbs, like Amina and her husband, to fear and opts for abortion as the “backup choice” – the method of correction.

Father Paul Marx, who held a doctorate in sociology, spent his life affirming Church teaching on life, marriage, and family, testifying to the toxic mindset created by the “contraceptive mentality.” “The foolproof contraceptive does not exist,” said Father Marx, “and sociological stud­ies have shown, almost without exception, that intensive contraceptive programs, by emphasizing the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, also reinforce an intention not to bear an unwanted child under any circumstances; that is, there is a greater likelihood that women expe­riencing contraceptive failures will resort to abortion.”

During a papal audience with Pope St. John Paul II in 1979, Father Marx offered his insights with the saintly pope saying that “once contraception is widespread, the rest is predictable. In every country contraception always leads to massive abortion.” He further emphasized that “once you have contraception and legalized or widespread abortion, birthrates fall; nations collapse; young people follow their parents in the abuse of sex; and increasing numbers live together without the benefit of marriage.” As if capable of looking into the future, Father Marx also discussed the intimate link between contraception, abortion, and euthanasia. For “if you can kill before birth, why can’t you kill after birth? So, euthanasia is inevitable.”

Fr. Paul Marx, the Founder of Human Life International.

Colonization of the Mind

Hamidou Kane, a Senegalese novelist, coined the expression “colonization of the mind.” He said there are two ways to control a people: through brute force by waging war with bombs and guns; or through a more permanent and less costly method, to get the people to accept new attitudes through propaganda directed at breaking down the two most important custodians of a nation’s and culture’s values – Faith and the family.

The Church of England, at its 1930 Lambeth Conference, was the first Christian denomination to suggest that the use of artificial contraception by married couples might be morally licit in certain difficult circumstances. It is important to note that leaders at the Conference assumed that the non-use of contraception would be the norm for believing Christians and that its use would only be resorted to in “extreme” cases. But as we know, the “hard case” mentality always leads to greater perversion. It makes for bad law – gradually the lines become blurred. Contraception became respectable, even touted as “good” for married life and society. What was once considered shameful and unmentionable to a great majority of Christians (and even within the general population) became acceptable and even “necessary.”

This growing acceptance of contraception rapidly transformed the culture with the seductive idea of uninhibited “free sex,” made palatable – even virtuous – by an ever-expanding list of seemingly lofty rationales: If reliable contraceptives could not be used, how could married couples express their love for one another without the possibility – threat – of a baby? How could parents (especially the poor) raise a large family with today’s social and economic conditions? What about the threat of an ever-expanding population? How could any woman find fulfillment while she is enslaved to her “biology?”

The minds and hearts of the nation and its people had been corrupted. Whatever reasons Christians might formerly have had for condemning contraception became irrelevant!

Formation of a Contraceptive Mentality

Contraception is the direct intention of preventing by mechanical or chemical means the possible natural and procreative consequence of sexual intercourse – the conception of another human being. The purpose, therefore, is to separate intercourse from procreation so that contracepting partners can enjoy the pleasures of sex without the fear that their sexual activity could lead to pregnancy.

A “mentality” is an attitude of mind, a way of thinking. It is established when a person (group or society) reacts automatically to a situation without thinking of the consequences. A “mentality” is very difficult to correct since it is shielded by unconscious assumptions and preserved by consistent behavior and habit.

The “contraceptive mentality” exists when: (1) sexual intercourse is separated from procreation, (2) the rational is assumed to be normative, and (3) in employing contraception, the couple sever themselves from all responsibility for a conception that might take place as a result of contraceptive failure. This is a pervasive “mentality” that is aware of the immediate benefit but fails to consider the future repercussions. The “contraceptive mentality” implies that a couple has not only the means to separate intercourse from procreation, but also the right or responsibility to do so. It is also important to remember that at the very core of the “contraceptive mentality” is a fear or rejection of something perfectly natural as a result of sexual intercourse – a baby.

Many wrongly believe contraception prevents abortion. This belief is not borne out by studies and statistics. Research clearly shows that contraception leads to riskier behavior, more unplanned pregnancies, and consequently, more abortions. Dr. Malcolm Potts, former Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) openly stated, “As has been pointed out, those who use contraceptives are more likely than those who do not to resort to induced abortion … the epidemiological evidence points to the fact that induced abortion services are most needed by those adopting any form of fertility regulation.” When contraception fails – as it inevitably does – couples, and especially single mothers, are tempted and even pressured to eliminate the “unwanted” life.

Scandalously, national studies reveal that around 72 percent of all married Catholic couples of childbearing age in the United States use some form of artificial contraception or sterilization to limit childbearing. Studies also reveal that nearly 41% of high school students are sexually active, supported by contraception and its deceptive offer of so-called sexual freedom. How many Planned Parenthood facilities and private abortion clinics now exist to “serve” these young people with the consequences of failed contraception? An entire industry has developed in response to an ever-expanding market – i.e. more sex, more contraception, greater need for abortion.

Pope St. Paul VI, in his landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae, prophetically spoke of some of the consequences of the “contraceptive mentality,” warning that “responsible men… [should] 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… [men] —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.”

Warning about the coercive use of reproductive technologies by governments – scandalously, a reality today as seen in massive government-sponsored programs of contraception, forced abortion, and sterilization – he added:

“Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.”

Because of successful propaganda and the rejection of Judeo-Christian values concerning marriage, human sexuality, and family life, many people in our society have the attitude that human life is sometimes inconvenient and an unnecessary burden. Pope St. John Paul II saw this “mentality” as a root cause of abortion. When we see any human life as a troublesome burden that we must manage, rather than a sacred gift entrusted to our care, there is a dangerous temptation to get rid of the burden by any means necessary. As Father Marx predicted, we see this same attitude and behavior today with the euthanasia movement.

Indoctrination

Proponents of the “sexual revolution,” supported by legalized contraception and abortion, have successfully inflicted upon this generation the burdensome and insidious manifestations of their revolution. Faith and the family are no longer the custodians of our nation’s (our world’s) and culture’s values. Sadly, many of today’s youth have embraced a secular, laissez-faireattitude toward religion, life, sex, marriage, and family life.

Sex is now seen primarily as a matter of “self-expression” or “self-fulfillment.” Responsibility, morality, self-mastery, self-giving, and sacredness which belong to any Christian view of the human person or human sexuality are absent and outwardly rejected. The inevitable consequence of such a point of view is the “contraceptive mentality.” One can’t, after all, have sex without being “free” from the burden of conception and “free sex” is clearly incompatible with any sound idea of marriage and family life. Sexuality is thus divorced not only from possible procreation but also from marriage itself. This explains why many young people delay marriage or opt not to marry at all.

Contraception laid the groundwork for this evolution of thought.

Radical sex ed is being forced on children as young as 5 around the world, often without parental consent.

The indoctrination has been successful in creating a sex-saturated culture – I would dare say a sex-addicted culture – fixated upon satisfying any and all urges, supported by the “contraceptive mentality.” This indoctrination is now being systematically introduced into school classrooms, mostly through courses in so-called “sex education or family life education,” in social science courses, and in “population education.” I have personally witnessed these programs in action. I have seen children as young as five being introduced to sexual experimentation and modern contraceptive devices. Our young are being indoctrinated, propagandized, and convinced that contraception, like abortion, is a positive good. They are taught that it is good for themselves and for society in general, and that they have a “moral” obligation to embrace these so-called “truths.” The moral judgments of religion and their parents are passé; “anything goes” is now in vogue.

Lest We Forget

In this great battle for life and family, we can no longer ignore the proverbial skunk in the room – the “contraceptive mentality.” Our effort to end the violence and plague of abortion requires that we address this fundamental, underlying issue. The “contraceptive mentality” is the root from which abortion flows, and failure to address it enables juggernauts like Planned Parenthood Federation of America and IPPF to flourish. As Father Marx said, “while we need a variety of pro-life groups hacking away at the anti-life monster, it is enormously futile and indeed grossly short-sighted to overlook the chief source of baby-killing, which is contraception.” To come full circle to Amina Khamis Juma at the beginning of this article, she outright rejected contraception after her abortion, a failed marriage, terrible effects on her health and even forcibly implanted birth control. After hearing HLI Tanzania on the radio, she reached out and our staff got her immediate help at a Catholic hospital; she is now recovering and learning safe, natural natural family planning (NFP), which is fully open to life.

Sadly, there is much confusion and dissent within the Church regarding contraception, but as faithful Catholics (Christians), we must reclaim an authentic understanding of the human person, life, marriage, and human sexuality, along with the language to articulate these truths to an errant culture. If we truly want to put a permanent end to the violence of abortion, heal the deep wound it causes, and protect the sacredness of human life, marriage, and the family, then we must continue to confront contraception head-on, along with its “mentality” feeding the entire abortion industry.

Man says father with Down syndrome inspired him to be the ‘best person’ possible

 

Sader Issa, a third-year dentistry student living in Syria, credits the love and support of his parents for his success and happiness in life. In fact, he is so proud of his parents, especially his father, that he wants everyone to know that he grew up happy and well-cared for by a father who has Down syndrome. He says it might not have been easy, but his father made it seem like it was.

“A child who grows up in the lap of a person with Down syndrome will have all the love and tenderness that anyone can offer,” said Issa in the video below, shared by Symphony homeland. “This will lead up to a person who has an emotional and social well balance and is able to achieve anything he wants.”

Unfortunately, the majority of men with Down syndrome cannot have children or have a lower fertility rate than the average male. Only about half of women with Down syndrome are able to have children.

Issa said that his father, Jad Issa, is like any other father and worked hard to provide for him at the wheat factory. But his father is also a vulnerable person and that has inspired Issa to be the “best person for the sake of this person who worked hard.”

READ: Dwayne Johnson: Friend with Down syndrome is ‘The Rock’s rock’

When his father introduces him to someone new, Issa said he is full of pride. “It’s like he’s saying: ‘I have Down syndrome, but I raised my son and did everything to help him become a doctor who treats people. I’m proud of him.’”

Issa says his parents’ relationship is just like any other couple who has been together for decades. Married for 23 years, they may disagree at times, but they enjoy “a life full of love, simplicity and humility in all respects.”

down syndrome

Issa and his parents when he was young. Photo via Facebook.

Because of his upbringing, Issa has a unique perspective on life with Down syndrome. He said his father is loved and respected by everyone in their community, and he is using his life experience to ask the government to respect people who live with the condition, even those who are still in the womb.

“For many people, the idea of a woman pregnant with a baby with Down syndrome may be the worst scenario,” he said. “You can expect a number of people can resort to abortion. If my grandmother was convinced of this idea, I wouldn’t be here with you.”

Through the video above as well as social media and at least one radio interview, Issa has dedicated himself to sharing the truth about Down syndrome and fighting for the right to life for those diagnosed with the condition before birth.

With countries such as Iceland bragging about having a 100 percent abortion rate of babies with Down syndrome and the United States aborting 67 percent (or higher) of preborn children with the condition, it is vital that people like Issa speak up. The truth is that abortion kills people with Down syndrome through a violent act of discrimination. When we see that people with Down syndrome are capable of living what society deems to be “normal” lives, it becomes apparent just how inhumane abortion is and that we need to rethink how society views persons with disabilities.

Lawmakers call on FDA director to crack down on illegal online abortion pill sales

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Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to crack down on illegal online sales of the abortion pill. According to information from Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), the Congressional letter, sent to Dr. Norman Sharpless, Acting Commissioner of the FDA, was signed by 117 members of Congress. It comes on the heels of information showing that Aid Access and Rablon, two foreign companies, have been distributing the chemical abortion drug Mifeprex by mail-order to U.S. customers in violation of the FDA’s safety protocols. Live Action News previously documented a larger push by pro-abortion organizations to lift the FDA’s safety requirements, known as REMS, to expand abortion pill dispension to mail order and online sales, via self-managed abortions.

Image: FDA warns consumers to not buy abortion pills over the internet (Image: FDA)

FDA warns consumers to not buy abortion pills over the internet (Image: FDA)

The Congressional letter urges the FDA to “continue to conduct oversight” of the entities following FDA warning letters to Aid Access and Rablon ordering them to halt dispensing the pills. Lawmakers point out that the pills are prescribed by an abortionist in the Netherlands and filled by a pharmacy in India. A fact sheet published by Charlotte Lozier Institute research organization found that “72 unique websites” were selling the pills online.

An email from the FDA to Live Action News clarified that “Mifeprex may only be supplied directly to healthcare providers who are certified to prescribe Mifeprex….”

READ: As more women die from abortion pill, the FDA approves a generic version

The FDA stated the drug is “only available to be dispensed in certain healthcare settings, specifically, clinics, medical offices and hospitals, by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber. It is not available in retail pharmacies, and it is not legally available over the Internet.” They added:

FDA has warned consumers not to buy Mifeprex over the Internet because doing so bypasses the distribution restrictions that are in place to ensure the safe use of the drug. Drugs purchased from foreign Internet sources are not the FDA-approved versions of the drugs, and they are not subject to FDA-regulated manufacturing controls or FDA inspection of manufacturing facilities.

Congressman Burgess expressed his concern, “As an OB/GYN who practiced medicine for nearly three decades, I am concerned about the consequences of unapproved mail-order abortion drugs. The dangerous business that Aid Access is conducting is harmful to the health of American women, who deserve quality health care throughout the course of a pregnancy.”

Rep. Martha Roby stated, “By violating the FDA’s safety protocols, Aid Access and other European mail-order abortion companies endanger the health of American women and their children. The FDA must take decisive action against these illegal activities immediately…. Aid Access circumvents the Food and Drug Administration’s safety requirements, placing the lives of women and their children at risk. We would like to… voice our support for ongoing oversight of this and any other rogue mail-order abortion operation.”

Watch as SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser discusses the illegal sale of the abortion pill online:

 

Weeks ago, the FDA updated its adverse events report through 2018, documenting “24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000….” The FDA also noted additional adverse effects in the thousands. Under 2016 changes, the drug’s manufacturer, Dancono longer has to report non-fatal adverse effects, so we can only imagine what the number really is.

Live Action News previously documented that Danco itself is incredibly secretive about its stakeholders and controlling parties, who (from the limited information we can glean) appear to stand to gain financially from a broad abortion pill expansion. And a previous Live Action News report revealed that the FDA recently approved a generic version of the abortion pill Mifeprex known as GenBioPro.

Image: FDA reported deaths for abortion pill December 2018

FDA reported deaths for abortion pill December 2018

In an e-mail exchange with Live Action News, FDA officials assured us that, “FDA monitors sponsors’ compliance with REMS, including assessment evaluations and on-site inspections. In addition… Mifeprex is not legally available over the Internet. The agency is aware of media reports regarding the sale of unapproved mifepristone in the U.S. through online distribution channels and is actively evaluating the reports in order to assess potential violations of U.S. law.”

An FDA representative told Live Action News, “The agency is aware of media reports regarding the sale of unapproved mifepristone in the U.S. through online distribution channels. We assure you that the agency is extremely concerned about the activities described in these reports and is actively evaluating the reports in order to assess potential violations of U.S. law. As I’m sure you understand, however, the agency is unable to discuss potential or pending investigations, if any such exist.”

Full text of the Congressional letter can be found here.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about Abortion Pill Reversal here.

U.N. Committee Launches Attack on U.S Pro-Life Laws


Bureau du siège de l’ONU à Genève

The U.N. Human Rights Committee has taken broad aim at pro-life laws and policies in the United States.

Meeting last month, the Committee called on the Trump administration to “review” a number of its pro-life policies, suggesting that these were incompatible with international law.  The Committee singled out for criticism President Trump’s Mexico City Policy,[1] his executive order “Protecting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” and his executive order which protects religious employers like the Little Sisters of the Poor from being forced against their religious beliefs to pay for contraceptives in their employer-sponsored health plans.

Specifically, the Committee called for the Trump administration to explain the “compatibility” of these pro-life policies with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), suggesting that the U.S. is bound by its own Constitution and by international law to observe the Committee’s interpretation of this international human rights treaty as legitimating abortion.

What is driving this new assault on American efforts to protect the unborn is the Committee’s General Comment no. 36—a document adopted late last year by the Human Rights Committee that claims that every country that has ratified the treaty “must provide…legal and effective access to abortion” in cases of rape, incest, health of the mother, and when the pregnancy “is not viable.”

The Committee has ordered the Trump administration to respond to its inquiry “in the light of the Committee’s General Comment No. 36.” What the Committee did not say was that General Comment No. 36 is the very first document ever adopted by a U.N. treaty body to suggest that the ICCPR treaty, or any other U.N. treaty, requires countries to legalize abortion.  Nor did it mention that its radical interpretation of the treaty has been rejected by a number of countries.

The Committee also took sweeping aim at the hundreds of pro-life laws that have been passed in the U.S. on the state level over the past few years. Explain how these pro-life state laws are in compliance with U.S. obligations under the ICCPR Treaty, the Committee told the Trump administration.

The U.N. Committee did not specify which state-level abortion restrictions it wanted the U.S. Government to review in particular, but broadly requested that the administration include any pro-life laws which “restrict women’s access to reproductive health and abortion services and create new barriers to them in practice.”

One can understand why international abortion advocates are in panic mode over state-level initiatives to protect life. Literally hundreds of pro-life laws have already been enacted by various states over the past few years. Just since January 1 of this year, more than 250 new pro-life laws have been introduced in state legislatures.  And these laws restricting abortions have been saving many lives, as Michael New has recently documented.

While the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey prevent states from banning abortion outright, states have successfully banned abortion after 20 weeks when a child can feel pain, required basic health standards for abortion facilities, prohibited taxpayer funding for abortion, provided women seeking abortion with informed consent.  States have also banned certain kinds of abortions, such as sex-selective abortion and or the abortion of unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome or other congenital defects.

While the U.N. Committee rejected in General Comment No. 36 the imposition of criminal sanctions on abortionists, many of the state-level pro-life laws in the U.S. do just this to ensure compliance.

Another area where the U.N. Committee’s positions are at odds with current U.S. practice is in the area of conscience rights. In 2016, the Committee called on Poland and Colombia to require that doctors who conscientiously object to performing an abortion provide abortion referrals, even if it violates their conscience to do so. General Comment No. 36 returns to this issue, instructing countries to remove “barriers” to abortion, “including barriers caused as a result of the exercise of conscientious objection.”

The Trump administration has just done the opposite.  The U.S. now has in place a broad-based policy of protecting the conscience rights of healthcare entities and individuals.

The U.N. Committee justified its request to the Trump administration by pointing to Article 40 of the ICCPR, which authorizes it to periodically request reports from countries on their progress in implementing the treaty. The Committee has long used such reviews as occasions to harass countries into loosening restrictions on abortion.

The Committee’s request last month to the Trump administration is unprecedented, however. It represents the first time the Committee has officially criticized U.S. laws protecting the

unborn — under the guise of “requesting” the Trump administration to comment how such laws comport with the Committee’s radical interpretation of the ICCPR treaty.

It will be interesting to see how the Trump administration will respond.

We recommend that it simply reject General Comment No. 36 altogether, along with any other interpretation of the ICCPR treaty that undermines American sovereignty and democracy.

 

[1] The Mexico City Policy is a policy that prohibits U.S. foreign aid in global health programs from being used to financially support foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform or promote abortion. The Mexico City Policy was reinstated in 2017 as one of President Trump’s first acts in office and has since cut millions of dollars in U.S. funding to international abortion groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International (MSI).

How many children should you have?

Shannon Roberts

As parents of three children (currently 6, 4 and 13 months), how many children my husband and I should have – and what would be best for our children themselves – is a question we have thought about.

We have contemplated whether or how a range of factors should affect our decision about each pregnancy.  These include the temperaments and health of our current children, how far away our extended family lives, how our children might benefit from another sibling, how much money we have, how much stress or anxiety we currently feel, how much community support we have, work, the cost of school or necessary expenses (and what are necessary expenses?), how strong our marriage feels, how sick I get in pregnancy, and how many adult children we would like to have in the future.

And then there is the absolute amazingness of having the power to create a whole new human being and another beautiful little newborn baby to cuddle, and the expansion of love, sacrifice, growth and community that comes with each new family member.

Joe Pinsker of The Atlantic interviewed economist Bryan Caplan to see what he considers the optimum number of children.  Over and above being an economist, he is described as “a dad who has thought a lot about the joys and stresses of being a parent”, and is author of the 2011 book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.  He said,

 “If you have a typical level of American enjoyment of children and you’re willing to actually adjust your parenting to the evidence on what matters, then I’ll say the right answer is four.

Though Caplan himself does currently have four children, apparently he even suspects that more than four would be optimal for him.

He suggests that parents should revisit their child-rearing approach and then, if they can afford to, consider having more kids, because kids can be fun and fulfilling.  He also considers that many of the time- and money-intensive things that parents do in the hope of helping their children succeed, such as multiple extracurricular activities and sending them to private schools, don’t actually contribute much to their future earnings or happiness.

Since having a child at school, it is interesting to me how much the emphasis on extracurricular activities really does affect parents.  One parent told me that having a third baby was “an excellent advertisement for a fourth,” were it not for the fact that she then hit extracurricular activities, ‘taxi driving’, and a very busy household.  (By the way, in my experience parents seem to really enjoy third babies, and I am one of those parents!  At this point, we are often not worrying as much about the intensity of the baby years as we might have been the first and second time around.)

According to Ashley Larsen Gibby, a Ph.D. student in sociology and demography at Penn State, the societal norm also affects how many children will make you happiest. So, if the norm changes, the number of children that will likely make parents happiest changes as well.

It is much harder to have a big family in a society where the norm is small (currently two children in most places).  This makes sense because a lot of community and business services won’t be aimed at meeting your family’s needs in the way they would be if bigger families were the norm.  You will also likely feel different to many of the parents around you (and maybe even endure regular amazed comments about your family size), something which is harder for some temperaments than others.

Pinsker writes:

In general, the experts I consulted agreed that the optimal number of children is specific to each family’s desires and constraints.

“When a couple feels like they have more interest in kids; more energy for kids; maybe more support, like grandparents in the area; and a decent income, then having a large family can be the best option for them,” says Brad Wilcox, the director of the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project.

“And when a couple has fewer resources, either emotional, social, or financial, then having a smaller family would be best for them.”

However, one thing is certain from the research.  Women are measureably less happy when they are unable to have as many children as they would like to; something to bear in mind for the many women who now put off having children until their thirties, or those contemplating an additional child.

Per the General Social Survey, in 2018, 40 percent of American women ages 43 to 52 had had fewer children than what they considered ideal.

“Part of the story here is that women are having children later in life, compared to much of human history, and they’re getting married later in life as well,” Wilcox says.

“So those two things mean that at the end of the day, a fair number of women end up having fewer kids than they would like to, or they end up having no kids when they hoped to have children.”

Though the root causes can differ, this mismatch between hope and actuality is seen worldwide, and appears to make women measurably less happy. So, while people’s ideal family size may vary—and is highly individualized—they’ll probably be happiest if they hit their target, whatever it may be.

Two children is currently the preferred option for most, but it seems from the research that many families may actually be happier with more — especially if they rethink some of their unproven intensive parenting practices.  And the more people who do have one more (thereby contributing to a change in the norm), the more happy those with a slightly larger family will be.

Shannon Roberts is co-editor of Demography is Destiny, MercatorNet’s blog on population issues.

Success with prenatal surgery: Caring for the ‘patient within the patient’

 

A recent paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Issues in Law and Medicine details lifesaving treatment and prenatal surgery being given to babies in the womb. The study, titled “Perinatal Revolution” affirms that the preborn child is a unique and separate patient from the mother. When doctors treat both the mother and the “patient within the patient,” successful treatment of conditions that might otherwise be severely life-limiting are possible, increasingly so as technology continues to advance.

The paper’s authors are Drs. Colleen Malloy, Monique Chireau Wubbenhourst, and Tara Sander Lee. Two of the study’s authors are associate scholars with The Charlotte Lozier Institute. The research is being publicized so that doctors and other health care professionals are made aware of these lifesaving procedures, so that they are less likely to recommend or coerce patients into aborting their children rather than carrying to term. The study notes that a doctor’s personal views about abortion and the availability of prenatal treatment can directly affect whether a mother decides to end her child’s life in an abortion or carry to term. The authors write, “In several studies of families receiving diagnoses of Trisomy 13 or 18, a majority of parents (61%) felt pressured to terminate the pregnancy.”

Doctors and other medical professionals are not the only ones who can benefit from this information about the emerging treatment for babies before birth. If parents are unaware of life-affirming treatment options, they are more likely to fall prey to coercion to terminate a child with a potential disability. However, knowing about the rapidly developing field of prenatal treatment and the dramatic increase in the successful treatment of premature babies empowers families to make life-affirming decisions for their children.

READ: Abortion doesn’t help babies with spina bifida, but prenatal surgery does

The paper details how advances in genetics and medical technology have made it possible for doctors to treat babies more effectively while still in the womb. Prenatal surgery has been available for decades, but with technological advances, treatment can be better and less invasive, and may be done at even performed at earlier gestational ages. Some of the conditions discussed in the paper that can now be treated or mitigated in the womb include cerebral palsy, fetal hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, spina bifida, and cystic fibrosis.

The authors write about these technological developments:

“With the ability to see the fetus in real time came the ability to diagnose problems and to consider how best to help the affected fetus, to follow affected fetuses and to monitor treated fetuses, over the course of pregnancy. This shifted the focus from the newborn, with a severe disorder that could not be corrected after birth, to the possibility of prenatal medical or surgical intervention that could help ameliorate the clinical manifestations of disease…These diagnostic capabilities led to further research and clinical trials and the realization that the fetus was, and is, a patient.”

Successes with these prenatal surgeries have far surpassed conventional treatments given to newborns with these conditions. Study author Tara Sander Lee wrote in another paper about a peer-reviewed study of prenatal surgery for spina bifida published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The babies who received prenatal surgery fared so much better than babies who received the conventional surgery at birth that the study was halted before completion so that all babies would receive the superior prenatal surgery.

The most recent paper notes that the types of surgery and interventions available continue to evolve. The authors write that cellular therapy for babies before birth, tissue engineering, gene therapy, and the artificial womb may be available to treat babies soon, as these methods are rapidly developing. They note that these therapies are uniquely suited to treating preborn babies, writing, “Many of these cell-based techniques take advantage of the fact that the fetal environment is constantly remodeling and ideal for accepting stem cell therapies that facilitate regeneration.”

Despite these dramatic advances in lifesaving treatments for mothers and their preborn babies, many people, including doctors, are not aware of the potential. The more people know about these technologies, the more families may have the courage to give each child a chance at life. Not every child with a medical condition diagnosed prenatally will be cured through these emerging techniques, but the study notes that even in these cases abortion is not the only option. The rapid expansion of perinatal hospice, and the much better mental health outcomes for families, demonstrates that abortion is not a solution.

Finally, the study authors note that these emerging technologies have ethical implications that require oversight and ongoing engagement in public discourse. In this area, pro-lifers have contributions to make, as these emerging technologies reveal what pro-lifers have already recognized: the preborn child in a human being worthy of life, protection, and care.

Population Control Activist Paul Ehrlich: Human Extinction Will Happen if People Don’t Start “Having Fewer Children”

MICHAEL BASTASCH

CNN interviewed discredited environmental catastrophist Paul Ehrlich in its coverage of the United Nations’ latest warning of ecological collapse due to human activities and climate change.

Humanity will need to start “consuming less, polluting less and having fewer children” if it’s going to stop mass extinction in the coming decades, CNN correspondent Nick Watt said summarizing the U.N. report, which was released Monday.

Ehrlich, a Stanford University professor, told CNN he was “pessimistic” that countries could solve predicted ecological disaster in part because of President Donald Trump pledging to leave the Paris climate accord.

Embedded video

Tom Elliott@tomselliott

CNN: If we don’t start “having fewer children” a million species will die.

Note that the “expert” they interview is Paul Ehlrich, the discredited “Population Bomb” prof who’s been predicting imminent mass starvation since the 1960s.

The U.N. report blamed “rapid population growth” and the development and pollution that entails for putting 1 million plant and animal species at risk of extinction.

“The other organisms of the planet are our life support system,” Ehrlich, a Stanford University professor, told CNN. “You don’t have to worry about them if you don’t care about eating, if you don’t care about breathing, if you don’t care about having fresh water and so on. Then you can just forget about it and die.”

Ehrlich’s writings came out as environmental concerns were beginning to become top priorities for western countries, including the U.S. and Europe. In general, Ehrlich is a leading predictor of mass starvation and collapse of nature because of rapid population growth.

Ehrlich’s 1968 book “The Population Bomb” called on the U.S. government to take “whatever steps are necessary to establish a reasonable population size.” His ideas included taxing children, mass sterilization and abortions to limit population growth.

John Holdren, President Barack Obama’s science czar, co-authored pieces with Ehrlich, warning the human population was growing too quickly for the planet to sustain. Lawmakers criticized Holdren during his confirmation for his past writings.

But the mass starvation and ecological collapse predicted by Ehrlich and others never came to pass. However, Ehrlich maintains his dire predictions are certain to happen in the coming decades.

LifeNews Note: Michael Bastasch writes for Daily Caller. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience.

Death by Organ Donation – Euthanizing patients for organs.

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, May 2, 2019

 Wesley Ely, who, among his other professional accolades, holds The Grant W. Liddle Chair in Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, wrote an insightful article that was published in the USA Today titled: Death by organ donation: Euthanizing patients for their organs gains frightening traction.

Dr Ely has written his article from the point of view of a former co-director of Vanderbilt University’s lung transplant program and a practicing intensive care unit physician. His article is a response to presentations made at International medical conferences concerning organ donation and euthanasia and the ethical debate concerning euthanasia by organ donation. Ely writes:

At international medical conferences in 2018 and 2019, I listened as hundreds of transplant and critical care physicians discussed “donation after death.” This refers to the rapidly expanding scenario in Canada and some Western European countries whereby a person dies by euthanasia, with a legalized lethal injection that she or he requested, and the body is then operated on to retrieve organs for donation.

At each meeting, the conversation unexpectedly shifted to an emerging question of “death by donation” — in other words, ending a people’s lives with their informed consent by taking them to the operating room and, under general anesthesia, opening their chest and abdomen surgically while they are still alive to remove vital organs for transplantation into other people.

The big deal here is that death by donation would bypass the long-honored dead donor rule, which forbids removal of vital organs until the donor is declared dead. Death by donation would, at present, be considered homicide to end a life by taking organs.

Ely, who opposes euthanasia by organ donation, explains how euthanasia by organ donation would work.

The mechanics of obtaining organs after death from either euthanasia or natural cardiac death (both already legalized in Canada, Belgium and Netherlands) can be suboptimal for the person receiving the transplant, because damage occurs to organs by absence of blood flow during the 5 to 10 minutes-long dying process. This interval is called ischemia time. Death by donation purports to offer a novel solution. Instead of retrieving organs after death, organ removal would be done while organs are still being receiving blood. There would be no ischemia time and organ removal would be the direct and proximate cause of death.

If you think that euthanasia by organ donation is not a threat, Dr Ely explains:

Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an article by two Canadian physicians and an ethicist from Harvard Medical School, who contended it might be ethically preferable to ignore the dead donor rule if patients declare they want to die in order to donate their organs.

Dr Ely then argues that society should oppose euthanasia. According to a 2015 article in the NEJM, of the 3,882 deaths due to physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia in Flanders, Belgium, in the year 2013 alone, 1,047 (27%) were due to medication dosages to hasten death without patients’ consent. Such patients are generally unconscious and may or may not have family members around. In 2014, a statement on end-of-life decisions by the Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine asserts that “shortening the dying process” should be permissible “with use of medication … even in absence of discomfort.” When discussing these facts, two prominent physicians, one from the Netherlands and another from Harvard, told me that where they come from, they call that murder.

When physicians are participating in a procedure designed to take a person’s life, will patients feel 100% certain that their physician is firmly on the side of healing? What message does it send about the value of every human life when physicians endorse the exchange of one life for another? What effect has it already had on physicians complicit in such death-causing procedures?

Finally Dr Ely compares the discussion about euthanasia to the 1973 movie Soylent Green. In the 1973 science fiction classic “Soylent Green,” detective Frank Thorn searches for answers to dying oceans and a deteriorating human race on overcrowded Earth. He discovers the high-protein green food produced by the Soylent Corporation is recycled, euthanized humans. “Soylent Green is people!” he screams.

“Soylent Green” was set in 2022. We are three years away.

Dr E. Wesley Ely is building awareness with the discussion and concerns with euthanasia by organ donation. Belgian doctor supports euthanasia by organ donation.

Sadly, once society accepts that killing can be an acceptable solution to certain human problems, then the only question is which human problems can killing be a solution for?

Once society accepts euthanasia, then it naturally follows that euthanasia by organ donation will be considered. If the issue is debated based on its efficacy, then euthanasia by organ donation will be become a reality because it is a very effective way to obtain healthy organs for transplanting.

https://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2019/05/death-by-organ-donation-euthanizing.html?utm_source= Euthanasia+ Prevention+Coalition+Contacts&utm_campaign=198c6822a0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_05_03_07_42_COPY_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_105a5cdd2d-198c6822a0-198491829

 

Catholic Relief Services listed as partner in Rwanda contraception project

May 2, 2019 (Lepanto Institute) — On April 26, several Rwandan government agencies, including the Ministry of Health, officially launched a three-year initiative called the Baho Neza Integrated Health Campaign to encourage the use and distribution of contraception. Catholic Relief Services is identified as one of the implementing partners on this campaign.

The central focus of the Baho Neza Campaign is the promotion, distribution, and provision of “family planning” and “family planning services” for the sake of increasing the contraceptive prevalence rate of the country. According to an article about the campaign by Hope Magazine, the Baho Neza campaign:

… is an innovative approach that includes additional components of Family Planning and Early Childhood Development (ECD) to address various health related issues, including the availability and accessibility of family planning services, as well as closing the existing gaps.

The article also explains that the campaign:

… will focus on raising awareness countrywide on available information and services related to Family Planning, Early Childhood Development, Antenatal Care and Postnatal Care, the importance of Parents-Adolescents Communication and Teenage Pregnancy prevention.”

At the launch of the campaign, Dr Diane Gashumba (left) urged Rwandans to embrace family planning, saying, “the goal is the best possible services, this year will be dedicated to the promotion of cleanliness as a means of disease control and the practice of family planning.”

On 21 December 2018, Applied Monitoring Services Ltd, posted a job announcement looking for a consultant to conduct a base-line assessment for the Baho Neza project. In the background information on the project, the announcement stated that the overall goal is

… increasing access to long-acting reversible contraceptives and strengthening health care providers capacity to offer post-partum family planning and post-abortion care services countrywide.

Right: Contraception on display for the Baho Neza launch ceremony.

Another Rwandan news site boldly claimed that the primary message parents should be receiving in this campaign is:

… test for pregnancy; in pregnancy, take care of the health of the baby in the first 1000 days of her life; the role of men in following up development, caring for children, protecting children through all the needs; family planning, rehabilitation, to avoid and to prevent pregnancy.

The Rwanda Broadcasting Agency said that:

The campaign will combat malnutrition, early pregnancies, seek to increase the number of people practicing long-term family planning methods, and take other measures to improve social well-being.

The IGIHE Network in Rwanda reports that:

‘Baho Neza’ is aimed at sensitizing all Rwandans to avoid and fight disease, to care for child and mother health, to attend and use child care services for children, to prevent pregnancy, and to adopt and use family planning services.

Already, it is clear that the purpose of the Baho Neza project is completely incompatible with Catholic moral teaching. Its overall focus and goal include the spread of contraception to vulnerable women and adolescents. But we can expect that CRS will respond by providing us with the same old tired excuses it always gives regarding other projects such as these in which it has been found to be participating.

In the event that CRS actually bothers to respond to questions as to why it is participating in this project, we can anticipate that the answers will include any combination or all of the following:

  1. The real goal of the project is to save lives, and so CRS is saving lives by helping to bring health care to the people of Rwanda.
  2. CRS never participates in the promotion or distribution of contraception or condoms, and is exempt from such things regarding the Baho Neza project as well.
  3. CRS’s role in family planning with the Baho Neza project is to promote Natural Family Planning, thereby giving an alternative to the contraception being promoted by the other implementing partners.
  4. CRS is providing nutrition and medicine through the project and is not participating in the contraception-promoting aspect.

Regardless of the reason CRS is participating in this campaign, the fact of the matter is that CRS is lending the name of the Catholic Church to a campaign whose overall goal is the spread of the Culture of Death. In fact, the Campaign itself makes clear that it is using the religious community to spread its contraceptive messaging. The article in Hope Magazine says, “Religious Leaders will also play a leading role in the campaign to ensure a wide reach and meaningful impact.” Bizimungu François, Health Advisor at Rukomo Health Center in Rwanda, said that some of the barriers to family planning include the churches and churches that are inadequate and the lowest sensitivity of the population. The danger of Catholic Relief Services being associated with a campaign intent upon the spread of contraception is the grave possibility of scandal. The mere attachment of the name “Catholic Relief Services” to the Baho Neza campaign will carry a lot of weight.

But the problem of scandal is not just limited to lending the name Catholic to the campaign. By partnering with groups intending to spread contraception as an end-goal of the campaign, whatever role CRS plays assists in the success of the project. Supposing that CRS has no direct involvement in the contraception-promoting and spreading element of the project, CRS’s work in other areas lightens the burden of those working to spread the contraception. In other words, whatever work CRS does in the campaign, other organizations won’t have to do it, freeing them up to focus on contraception.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating … if we exchange the word “contraception” with “sex-trafficking 8-year-old children,” it should hopefully go without saying that CRS would never participate in such an effort. So, either CRS doesn’t view the spread of contraception as a mortal sin whose spiritual effect is just as deadly as sex-trafficking children, or it does but enjoys the funding too much to care.

Contact Catholic Relief Services and tell it what you think about its participation in this project.

CRS Phone number – 888-277-7575

Medical Benefits of Fertility Awareness

 by Madeleine Coyne

Medical Benefits of Fertility Awareness: Why Doctors Need to Embrace the Science of Charting

Even if the idea of using Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM) for family planning and overall health is starting to gain traction with more women, there is still a conspicuous lag when it comes to the medical community.

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The overwhelming majority of medical professionals are not fully (if at all) informed about modern FABMs, or Natural Family Planning (NFP), and do not understand how the biological information recorded on women’s charts can help diagnose and treat common women’s health issues.

Because of this disparity, many women feel they must become advocates for their own health or look for support outside of their primary physician and OBGYN when seeking Fertility Awareness-Based Methods. But with a little education on the benefits of charting for patients, doctors can easily expand their options available to patients, while learning more about how to best treat any symptoms that come up.

Here are just some of the reasons why doctors would benefit from adding Fertility Awareness-Based Methods to their practice.

1. Today’s patients want side-effect free options for family planning.

The truth is, more women than ever are dissatisfied with hormonal birth control methods, in great part due to the disagreeable (and even life-threatening) birth control side effects they are experiencing. Women report they have not felt heardin their desire for safer, natural, effective methods of family planning and solutions for helping with their reproductive health issues. When doctors give women the impression they are not capable of learning and observing their bodies’ natural signs of their menstrual cycle, the medical community is underappreciating not only their patients’ abilities but also the benefits.

In a recent Natural Womanhood interview, Dr. Summer Holmes Mason, a board-certified OBGYN, shared how she came to start offering fertility awareness options in her practice. Since she had limited education about FABMs in medical school, she had to educate herself, but she found it was worth it. While prescribing hormonal contraceptives was her primary method of treating women with various medical issues, Dr. Holmes Mason explains, she eventually started noticing that these contraceptives were not always producing desirable effects. She recalls, “After a couple of years, I realized people were coming back to me with more side effects than I thought was acceptable.”

She knew that there had to be more options for her patients, which led her to discover FABMs, a safer, side-effect-free option for preventing pregnancy and managing women’s health issues. Now, Dr. Holmes Mason offers both hormonal birth control and natural FABM options to her patients, as she explains: “I really try to utilize the informed consent process. I feel like my patients will know what they are getting into if they are getting hormonal contraceptives, and let them make that choice for themselves . . . for those people who don’t want to, after having that discussion, I have so much more to offer.”

Women today are seeking doctors with more to offer them for their family planning and health issues than hormonal methods of birth control. Even the supposedly natural, hormone-free copper IUD affects patients’ natural hormonal balance since copper affects the thyroid. Too many women are tired of experiencing adverse effects of their contraception methods and are searching for truly natural and safe methods.

2. Offering fertility awareness methods will help doctors retain patients.

Because women are not typically offered natural options for family planning by their doctors, women who want such options are starting to look harder for doctors who are knowledgeable on Fertility Awareness-Based Methods. Many women are taking their reproductive health concerns into their own hands by seeking doctors who offer more than pharmaceutical birth control as a one-size-fits-all solution for all range of health issues.

As one woman named Andrea recently shared with us:

“I was most worried about my doctor being knowledgeable enough to help me use FABMs. I asked my gynecologist (part of a world class healthcare system) for information about fertility awareness-based methods of contraception, but she stared at me blankly. When I clarified and called it [Natural Family Planning], she referred me to the Institute for Reproductive Health, which was fine, but it’s geared toward women in third-world countries. Therefore, I didn’t stay with that practice. I found a more informed gynecologist who not only can read charts, but can also understand me perfectly when I say something like, ‘I’m getting a lot of tacky fluid during phase 2.’ While it is sad that I knew more than my first doctor, it was well worth changing doctors to someone who could better assist me in using FABMs.”

Dr. Marguerite Duane, a board-certified family physician, explained in a Fertility Friday podcast why medical professionals are typically not educated about FABMs in their medical training (herself included). First, FABMs are not profit-generating like birth control, so they have difficulty competing against highly marketed pharmaceutical products. Second, medical professionals are given less than accurate accounts of FABM effectiveness rates. Third, with the way our healthcare system is currently set up, most physicians do not have time to explain fertility awareness to their patients and review their cycle and charts (sadly, it’s much easier and quicker to simply prescribe a pill). And fourth, many doctors are misinformed in their medical training, wrongly associating modern Fertility Awareness-Based Methods with the outdated rhythm method.

With these obstacles standing in the way, it’s no surprise that more doctors are not aware of fertility awareness methods. As Dr. Duane stated in the podcast, “I firmly believe as a physician and as a woman, this information should be available to every woman, and every medical professional that provides women’s health services should be trained in these methods.”

3. Charting will give more information about a patient’s health to assist in a treatment plan.

The primary reason doctors should consider adding fertility awareness-based methods in their practice is because doing so serves the health of their patients. At the recent Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science (FACTS) Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, I observed a presentation by two doctors called “The Female Cycle as the Fifth Vital Sign” that confirmed the medical value of charting. Dr. Kim Vacca, a pediatrician, explained how charting using FABMs is for more than just family planning, since it can contribute to a woman’s overall health, starting from adolescence.

Mothers are desperately searching for birth control alternatives for their teenage daughters, who are being prescribed the Pill for things like irregular periods, PMS, or acne, only to find that it is only covering up their symptoms, not treating their problems, and often providing even worse side effects.

At the FACTS Cleveland conference, family physician Dr. Kathleen Heimann explained that if doctors were to properly treat women in their entirety, they would look at five vital signs, rather than just the usual four signs observed by most doctors.

Dr. Heimann and Dr. Vacca are not the only ones who believe that doctors need to start paying more attention to a woman’s cycle. The Committee on Adolescent Health Care in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists statesthat “by including an evaluation of the menstrual cycle as an additional vital sign, clinicians reinforce its importance in assessing overall health status for patients and caretakers.”

In short, doctors need to become more informed as to the importance of empowering their female patients to managing their health with access to and information on Fertility Awareness-Based Methods. Not only will natural family planning options provide doctors with side-effect-free pregnancy prevention options patients today are seeking, and retain more patients in the process, but FABMs will give today’s doctors a new tool in their kit equipping them to truly help women—and to help women help themselves.

Re-examining ‘brain death’: Doctors may be harvesting organs before donors are dead

Julie Grimstad

April 29, 2019 (Renew America) — The “dead donor rule” — a person must be dead before his vital organs are extracted for transplantation — is the basic principle guiding organ donation. A dead body is a corpse. Excising vital organs from a corpse does no harm. But, if we are not certain the individual is dead, removing vital organs is a grave matter.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2296) states: “… it is not morally admissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons.” Furthermore, even though Pope John Paul II stated that organ donation is an act of charity, in Evangelium Vitae (n. 15) he cautioned: “Nor can we remain silent in the face of other more furtive, but no less serious and real forms of euthanasia. These could occur for example when, in order to increase the availability of organs for transplants, organs are removed without respecting objective and adequate criteria which verify the death of the donor.”

We have been asked, “How and why does HALO differ from the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s position on ‘brain death’ and the use of ‘brain dead’ individuals as organ donors?” This paper is HALO’s answer.

HALO’s position is that a diagnosis of brain death does not mean that it is morally (or scientifically) certain the person is dead. Therefore, the practice of removing vital organs from “brain dead” individuals should be suspended and alternative means for extending the lives of individuals with failing organs should be pursued.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center’s Position

The NCBC’s most well-known authority on brain death, Father Tad Pacholczyk, makes four assertions:

1. “The [brain dead] individual has undergone a traumatic event resulting in the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain functions.”

2. “Brain dead individuals cannot be kept going on machines forever. In fact, there is usually a period of only a few days that it may be possible to extend the functioning of their organs by keeping them on a ventilator.” He suggests that “somebody is likely to have cut some corners in carrying out the testing and diagnosis” in cases where individuals have survived for months or years after a brain death diagnosis.

3. “Genuinely brain-dead individuals never ‘wake up.'”

4. “Defining brain death as the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brainstem, is compatible with a Christian understanding of the true nature of man.” [1]

We do not disagree with Father Pacholczyk’s fourth assertion. However, after diligently searching for the answer to our question (this paper’s title), we have reached an uncomfortable conclusion: If physicians wait long enough to be certain that all functions of the entire brain have irreversibly ceased — that is, that the person is truly dead — the deceased person’s organs will have begun to deteriorate and therefore will not be transplantable. If the goal is to salvage healthy organs, haste is of the essence in determining brain death. Haste can lead to cutting corners and to errors. Also, as Pope John Paul II suggested, furtive euthanasia may occur as a means of increasing the supply of transplantable organs. (This is a reasonable concern since organ transplantation is a very lucrative business and “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…” — 1 Timothy 6:10).

To address Father’s first assertion, it is necessary to ask a question. How is it possible to establish “the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain functions” when the person is exhibiting signs that some parts of the brain are functioning — signs which we can see with our own eyes?

Should We Believe Our Senses?

When our senses tell us someone is alive, but doctors tell us he is dead, what are we to believe? Two things which contradict each other cannot both be true. A human being is either alive or dead.

Before organ transplantation was possible, physicians made every effort to judge the moment of death in the direction of protecting life from a death-dealing mistake. Circulation and respiration had irreversibly ceased — the body was cold, blue and stiff. Our senses told us that the person was dead.

Brain death is declared while the patient has a beating heart because removal of vital organs must be done before they begin to deteriorate due to loss of circulation. We bury dead people, but we would never bury a person with a beating heart because we know that a beating heart is a sign of life. Also, consider these facts:

• A person can be pronounced “brain dead” while he or she has a normal pulse, blood pressure, color and temperature. All signs of life.

 “Brain dead” people

 “Brain dead” children grow.

 “Brain dead” pregnant women have gestated and delivered healthy babies and produced milk.

 “Brain dead” patients’

 During the excision of organs, the donor is sometimes given paralyzing drugs to control muscle spasms; the heart rate increases, and blood pressure shoots up. Dead people don’t move or react to pain in these ways.

The legal definition of brain death is “the irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem.” Yet “brain dead” patients display signs that their brains retain many essential functions. [2]

If a person who has been determined to be brain dead is truly dead, then our senses are deceiving us.

Pursuing the Truth Wherever It Leads

There are good people who support vital organ donation after a determination of brain death and good people who oppose it. It is not HALO’s purpose to judge anyone who has decided to donate organs or to undergo transplant surgery. We do, however, strongly suggest that people consider all the evidence before making these decisions and prior to taking a position on this crucial moral issue.

Renowned theologian Christian Brugger believes there is reasonable doubt that “brain dead” bodies are dead and concludes, “Since we should not treat as corpses what for all we know might be living human beings, it follows that we have an obligation to treat BD individuals as if they were living human beings.” [3] Dr. Paul Byrne and other experts in the fields of medicine, philosophy, and theology explain why they maintain that “‘Brain Death’ is Not Death” in an illuminating essay by that name. [4] HALO highly recommends reading this brief, yet thorough set of arguments against using neurological criteria alone to determine death.

John Haas, President of the NCBC, says that those who express doubt or deny that brain death is true death “create confusion in the minds of a number of the faithful” and “run the risk of unsettling the consciences of the faithful on a life-and-death ethical matter for which the authentic magisterium of the Church has provided clear guidance.” [5] However, we find Church guidance on this matter to be anything but clear and interpretations of Church guidance vary widely. Brugger, Byrne, Pacholczyk, and Haas are just a few of the many Catholic experts who express differing positions on “brain death.” (Perhaps this is a topic for another paper.)

The evidence HALO has thus far examined leads us to agree with the experts who say we cannot be morally certain that a person who has been declared “brain dead” is truly dead before organs are removed. But we will never cease our search for the truth. At the very least, those who believe brain death is death should concede that this is one diagnosis where doctors need to be correct 100% of the time — and, for the sake of all who trust them, admit that there is a growing body of evidence that this diagnosis is not accurate in at least some cases, and perhaps in many cases.

Father Pacholczyk asserts, “Genuinely brain-dead individuals never ‘wake up.'” Every time a recovery occurs after a determination of brain death we are told the diagnosis was wrong; that perhaps corners were cut in testing, or mistakes were made, or the person doing the testing was not qualified, etc. Thus, how can anyone know for certain that a person is “genuinely brain dead?” The only way is to wait and see.

People who have been determined to be “brain dead” using the most rigorous neurological criteria have awakened and recovered. It is safe to say that they would not have recovered had they been stripped of their vital organs before their injured brains could begin to heal. Here are two cases in point.

Trenton McKinley, a 13-year old Alabama boy, was declared brain dead after suffering skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury in March 2018. He reportedly passed all the tests for determining brain death. His mother signed papers to donate his organs. Fortunately, he regained consciousness before his vital organs were removed. Trenton was taken off the ventilator and eventually went home. He is now conscious, walking and talking. [6]

In 2007, Zach Dunlap, a 21-year-old Oklahoman, flipped over on his 4-wheeler and suffered catastrophic brain injuries. Thirty-six hours after his accident, doctors at United Regional Healthcare System in Wichita Falls, Texas determined he was “brain dead.” They had subjected Zach to a battery of tests including a scan that showed a complete absence of blood flow to the brain. Preparations to harvest his organs were underway when a relative scraped the bottom of his foot with a pocket knife and he jerked his foot away. Just months later, Zack was walking and talking. He recalled hearing a doctor say he was dead and being “mad inside” but unable to move. [7]

Father Pacholczyk also maintains that “there is usually a period of only a few days that it may be possible to extend the functioning of [brain dead individuals’] organs by keeping them on a ventilator.” We point out that some people who have been diagnosed as brain dead have lived for years even though they have not made remarkable recoveries. For example:

On December 9, 2013, 13-year old Jahi McMath underwent surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids at a children’s hospital in Oakland, California. Shortly thereafter, she started to bleed and suffered cardiac arrest. She was declared “brain dead” three days later. Her family disagreed with the diagnosis and fought for Jahi’s life when the hospital sought to remove her life-support. Keeping her alive required moving her to New Jersey. Bobby Schindler, President of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network (https://www.lifeandhope.com/), explains: “After Jahi was ruled to be brain dead, she and her family found themselves in an incredible situation wherein Jahi was considered legally dead in California, but legally alive in New Jersey due to that state’s religious accommodations.” Jahi’s mother took excellent care of her at home. Jahi breathed with the aid of a ventilator. She responded appropriately to commands and underwent pubertal development. Her true death occurred on June 22, 2018. Her death certificate, completed by the NJ physician treating Jahi, listed her cause of death as bleeding as a result of liver failure. Various news outlets subsequently reported that Jahi McMath had died, underscoring the fact that Jahi was a living human being for four and a half years after being issued a death certificate in California. [8] To learn more about Jahi’s condition read “The Case of Jahi McMath: A Neurologists’ View” by D. Alan Shewmon, The Hastings Center Report, December 25, 2018 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hast.962).

Father Pacholczyk contends that such cases “indicate a failure to apply the tests and criteria for determination of brain death with proper attentiveness and rigor.” This explanation is not reassuring for people who have signed up to be organ donors, trusting that doctors don’t make erroneous declarations of death.

One final point. There are many different sets of diagnostic criteria that may be used to determine brain death. A person who would be declared brain dead in one hospital could be considered alive and receive potentially life-saving treatment in another hospital.

Even if you believe that brain death is true death, consider that you do not know where you might be hospitalized in the event you suffer a severe brain injury. What criteria will be used to determine brain death? Will the doctors who do the testing be qualified, careful, and honest? Will your organs be more important to them than your life?

“Should I Refuse to Be an Organ Donor?” Is a Prudent Question

Let us be clear. HALO does not reject vital organ donation by itself. We question the validity of brain death, particularly when “brain dead” individuals are slated to be organ donors or when a brain death determination is made not in order to be certain a patient is truly dead, but to justify stopping all life-sustaining treatment. Our position is compatible with the Church’s position. The Catholic Church is not opposed to organ transplantation but insists that persons must not be killed in order to procure their organs or for any other reason.

HALO cautions people: When in doubt, err on the side of life. We advise that you sign a wallet card refusing to be an organ donor [9] and carry it with you at all times, but the decision is up to you.

NOTES:

[1] Father Tad Pacholczyk, Director of Education, The National Catholic Bioethics Center, “Making Sense of Bioethics: Brain Dead Means Dead,” November 2005, www.ncbcenter.org.

[2] https://halorganization.com/pdf/HALO_Brain-Death-and-Organ-Donation.pdf

[3] E. Christian Brugger, “Are Brain Dead Individuals Dead? Grounds for Reasonable Doubt,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (3):329-350 (2016).

[4] https://www.chninternational.com/brain_death_is_not_death_byrne_paul_md.html

[5] John M. Haas, “Catholic Teaching regarding the Legitimacy of Neurological Criteria for the Determination of Death,” The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Summer 2011.

[6] http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-miracle-boy-and-problems-with-the-brain-death-diagnosis

[7] Natalie Morales, “‘Dead’ Man Recovering after ATV Accident,” Datelinetranscript, NBC News, March 23, 2008.

[8] https://dolanlawfirm.com/2018/06/jahi-mcmath-has-died-in-new-jersey

[9] https://newsletter.halorganization.com/2019/03/why-and-how-to-refuse-to-be-organ-donor.html

HALO also recommends reading “‘Brain death’ is a medical fiction invented to harvest organs from living people: expert” by Stephen Kokz, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/brain-death-is-a-medical-fiction-invented-to-harvest-organs-from-living-people-expert

Published with permission from Renew America.

We Need to Bring Back Parish Missions on Contraception

Fr. Matthew Schneider

In the 1930s or 1950s, how often did the parish priest talk about contraception in homilies? Only occasionally. It might be proposed once a year by the diocese, but generally they didn’t preach much on it. Instead, they would bring mission preachers in regularly and get them to take on hard topics like this.

We have lost these parish mission preachers for the most part. Leslie Woodcock Tentler, author of Catholics and Contraception: An American History, thinks that a large part of the collapse of the missions was how they treated contraception. However, I wonder if we should bring them back precisely for contraception but maybe with some slight changes to adapt to the modern situation. Let me point out why parishes relied on mission preachers to talk about contraception, canon law, and how I might adapt this to the future.

Why Mission Preachers?

Giving preaching on contraception to itinerant preachers served a few purposes. First, it avoiding scandalizing children. It is always challenging to bring up adult sins while not giving inappropriate ideas to the children present at Sunday Mass. When I worked more in youth ministry, we would simply say, “Did you look at anything on the internet you shouldn’t have?” if younger teens were present to avoid giving them ideas about pornography. In a related vein, missions were generally preached only to adults, and often preached to single-sex audiences.

Second, it is hard for a pastor who is close to his flock and “smells like the sheep” to bring up a sin that is common, serious and secret. Bringing in a priest to preach on it lets the pastor just say, “Yes, Fr. Jack was right,” when anyone asks, which might avoid some parish conflicts.

Third, it is a difficult topic to preach on well. Even for a priest with the courage to bring it up, it is hard to make a homily that is engaging, at the level of the everyman and actually explains the reasons behind Catholic teaching.

Canon Law on Parish Missions

Even though parish missions have fallen out of favor in many places, Canon Law still asks for frequent parish missions.

The law in force from 1917-1983 set a rather long time between missions: “Canon 1349.1: The ordinary [bishop] should be vigilant that at least every 10 years that sacred parish missions be held. Parishes priests are to ensure this happens.” In the U.S., most parishes used to have them far more frequently than every 10 years.

The 1983 code dropped the 10-year requirement, and offered other formats, but kept the requirement for extra preaching in parishes: “Canon 770: At certain times according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop, pastors are to arrange for those types of preaching which are called spiritual exercises and sacred missions or for other forms of preaching adapted to needs.”

Thus, every parish is still called to have regular preaching by outside priests. I know many parishes do this regularly, but my experience makes me think some forget about this.

 

Parish Missions Going Forward

Although I disagree slightly with Tentler’s analysis of the collapse of parish missions, she seems like a serious historian to rely on for facts about how these missions preached on contraception.

Today, I don’t know if we could excite the people who need to hear the Church teaching on contraception to a weeknight preaching. I’d hedge my bets. Often a priest will need to get coverage for one or two Sundays a year while he’s out. Why not get a priest specifically trained in contraception to celebrate the Masses and preach one weekend?

I think this would fully resolve two of the three reasons above that mission preachers were relied on before, and it could manage the third. It would solve the issues of being tough to preach well and a pastor looking to avoid parish conflicts. Obviously kids would be present at a Sunday Mass, but I’ve seen a few priests preach in ways that explain Church teaching without giving kids inappropriate ideas.

I think in doing so, we can do something better than the missions 75 years ago. Often these missions just told people to obey the Church on the issue or gave secondary problems that might result from contraception. Instead, modern homilies I’ve seen on this do a far better job of describing the natural law and theological reasons than any of the varied mission homilies Tentler quotes in her book.

I am not the first to suggest this idea. I have heard similar suggestions of training a few priests to give amazing homilies on these tough topics and send them out to cover different parishes each weekend. However, I have yet to seen it done much.

Such missions would need to be timed with classes on NFP/Fertility Awareness of the parish starting right after. Helping couples see how to live without contraception helps change their mind about whether they use it.

If we keep on our current trajectory, we will keep having an official Church teaching that many Catholics ignore. We need a way to teach Catholics this in a way that they are open to accepting the teaching. I think priests who regularly preach on this in different parishes is one way. Let’s bring back parish missions.

 

How the Pill Could Affect Your Choice of Mate, and the Health of Your Future Children, Too

Have you ever heart of the “sweaty T-shirt test?” No, not the quick pit-check you do after a morning at the gym to see if it’s still socially acceptable to run into the coffee shop or grocery store on your way home. I’m talking about the study performed by Swiss scientists in the nineties in which women literally sniffed a whole bunch of men’s sweaty T-shirts. Why did these women subject themselves to such an experiment (and unique form of torture)? For science, of course!

What the Swiss researchers found was that when it comes to the immune system, opposites attract. The women in the study were more attracted to the scents of the men whose major histocompatibility locus (MHC) genes (“one of the immune system’s key markers of identity”) were more dissimilar to their own.

As it turns out, there is an evolutionary advantage to such an adaptation: the offspring of mice with genetically dissimilar immune systems tend to have stronger immune systems—and are therefore healthier—than the offspring of two individuals with genetically similar immune systems. Thus, it made good evolutionary sense that the rule of opposite attraction was observed in the Swiss sweaty T-shirt study: the scent of a man who had MHC genes that were too similar to the woman who sniffed his T-shirt was perceived as less appealing.

What stood out to researchers is that this was the case for all women, except for women who were on birth control.

For women on the Pill, the medication actually altered how they perceived the smell of a potential romantic partner, making them more likely to be attracted to men with genetically similar immune systems, rather than to those with immune systems that differed from their own. This has to do with the way that hormonal birth control “tricks” a woman’s body into believing she’s in a perpetual state of pregnancy, which (evolutionarily speaking) makes her more attracted to men with genetically similar immune systems—i.e., men who are more likely to be related to her—because of the “protection” such relationships can provide in her more vulnerable state.

Future effects on children

Recently, a Danish study made headlines by declaring that there was no evidence for birth defects in the children of mothers who had been on hormonal contraceptives immediately prior to, or during the first few months of, pregnancy. But another recent study went even farther back, before those children were in the picture, to determine whether women who were on birth control when they met their romantic partner produced less healthy offspring than women who met their partners while they were not on any form of hormonal contraception. The findings, reported in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, were astounding:

“Our findings show that children of women who were on the Pill during relationship onset are more often reported by their mothers to be infection-prone and require medical care, suffer from a higher frequency of common sicknesses, and are perceived as generally less healthy than their peers as compared with children of women who were not on contraceptive pills during relationship onset.”

Put simply, what researchers found was that, not only can being on the Pill alter your preferences for a romantic partner, but it might actually have downstream effects on the health of your offspring, too—even if they don’t come in the form of obvious birth defects.

Similarly, there is also some recent evidence that being on the Pill within six months of conceiving a child may also raise that child’s chances for developing leukemia. And the more we find out about the effect of hormones on the gut, the more we may also learn about the impact the Pill’s gut-wrecking effects may have on our future children.

It turns out that a little pill contains quite a lot of power over a woman’s future, her children’s futures, and the future of human evolution.

Safe and effective alternatives

Thankfully, there are ways for women and couples to plan their families that won’t mess with their (very helpful!) evolutionary adaptations—and which can be just as effective at pregnancy prevention as the Pill. Fertility Awareness-Based Methods, also known as modern methods of Natural Family Planning, have effectiveness rates comparable to those of hormonal birth control, especially when women and couples take the time and effort to learn a method from a certified instructor.

Women are increasingly turning to natural methods of family planning and cycle charting apps, not only to avoid birth control side effects, but to have greater confidence in theirhealthcare management. With this latest research in mind, they might also make the switch to protect their relationships and children as well.

Hungary’s Minister for the Family: ‘Europe Is Slowly Committing Suicide

Edward Pentin, Apr. 24, 2019,

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/hungarys-minister-for-the-family-europe-is-slowly-committing-suicide

BUDAPEST, Hungary — The Hungarian Parliament passed sweeping pro-family legislation April 1, guaranteeing various married couples and families interest-free loans, mortgage assistance and even childcare allowances for grandparents.

The seven-point package is an “important milestone” in the history of Hungarian family policy, says Katalin Novak, Hungary’s minister for the family, in a Europe that is renouncing its Christian culture and “slowly committing suicide.”

Novak also explains in this April 12 interview with the Register why Hungary has pursued such an overt pro-family approach since 2010, one that statistics show has led Hungary’s abortion rate dropping by 33.5% from 2010 to 2018, marriage increasing by 43%, and divorce decreasing by 22.5% between 2010 and 2017.

She also explains how the Hungarian government has persisted with its pro-family policies despite being demonized as “far-right.” The radicals are those who “believe that immigration should be the only path to choose,” Novak argues. “It’s not normal, for example, to compare family support to Nazism.” Mrs. Novak, how important was the recent World Congress of Families in Verona — which brought together pro-family leaders from all over the world — to your work in support of the family, and how might it influence your policy formulation in the future?

As a pro-family politician, I appreciated the opportunity to promote the priority and importance of families and present the Hungarian family-friendly model. The event in Verona was a very good opportunity to spread the word to my colleagues about best practices that actually work in Hungary.

We are building a family-friendly country, and we’ve achieved quite a lot in this field. Last year, the birth rate was at its highest for 20 years, as was the number of marriages. I was more than happy to share our experiences with other countries’ representatives and decision-makers.

What were the main points of your talk?

In my speech, I talked about a Europe that is slowly committing suicide. If we renounce our Christian culture and at the same time stop promoting the importance of the family and children and just accept anything that might happen to our continent, we are in practice sacrificing ourselves and committing suicide.

I presented the Hungarian model’s family-policy measures. The Hungarian government has been pursuing a strong family policy and the goal of being a family-friendly country since 2010. This seeks to achieve a turnaround in demographic trends by supporting legislation, financial incentives, assistance, services and a family-friendly mentality. We are also helping those who are already raising children as much as possible. Traditional strong families represent an asset which we intend to defend — not only in Hungary, but internationally, as well.

Were you surprised by the extent of opposition to the congress, and why do you think it drew so many attacks?

I wasn’t surprised, as we’re used to the habits of the left-liberal media, NGOs and politicians that label everything not in line with their views as wrong, radical and far-right extremism. We’re not radicals — we simply want to strengthen families as much as we can, instead of prioritizing immigration.

In Central Europe, we not only understand the demographic crisis we face, but we also want to find our own solutions that address our young people who would like to have children. This is the difference between Central and Western Europe. Western political elites don’t want to dig deeper into the problems, and they choose the simplest path: mass immigration.

We believe that the demographic crisis can only be solved in the long run by relying on our own internal resources. We’ve asked Hungarians many times about how they imagine their future, who they want to live with, and how many children they want.

The answers were crystal-clear: Hungarians are family-oriented; and they love their families, their culture and their traditions. We’ve been given this direction by the Hungarian people. We want to strengthen families, women and young people. We want to provide security, and we want to protect our Christian culture.

In relation to your government’s support for the family, how have you managed to introduce such policies in the face of opposition, and what can other countries learn from your example?

After we won the election in 2010 with a two-thirds majority, we decided to build a family-friendly country and to strengthen families raising children. We thought the opposition would be a partner in this, but since then there have been very few decisions in the field of family policy that they’ve supported. So if we had always taken the opposition’s opinion into account, Hungary would now be on the brink of collapse. There wouldn’t be such a comprehensive family-support system, a family-friendly tax system, a housing program, 800,000 new jobs, and many opportunities to create a balance between life and work. The socialists have driven our country into deep crisis before, and they would do it again. They’re only interested in grabbing power again; to achieve this goal, they’ve even joined forces with the Hungarian far right.

We now spend twice as much on families as in 2010: almost 5% of total GDP, exceeding the OECD average by almost 100%. We have a very complex, comprehensive support system, and we help families in many different fields, including nursery developments, the tax system, housing and pension policy. We are open to sharing our experiences and best practices worldwide.

How can policies supporting the family be separated from the demonizing label of “far right”?

In many cases, everything is considered “far right” that is to the right of a given position. Is it far right and extremist to support families, just because of this? The question itself is misleading.

In our eyes, the radicals are those who believe that immigration should be the only path to choose. It’s not normal, for example, to compare family support to Nazism — as one Swedish minister has done. Our main aim is to provide opportunities and to make it possible for young Hungarians to freely decide about their lives. Is this far right?

How do you see the future? Do you see the tide turning and governments adopting more pro-family policies in the coming months and years?

The starting point is that in Europe there is a battle between anti-migration and pro-migration countries. We want to solve the demographic challenges by strengthening families, while they prefer migration over empowering young Europeans to have more children.

Meanwhile, there are more and more people that are deeply worried about the unchecked influx of illegal immigrants and the rise of terrorist attacks. Europewide I see that there is an increasing demand for good policies that enable people to live better, to have more choice and to receive help when needed.

The European Parliament election in May will be an important milestone. The question is very much about whether the EU is able to renew and strengthen itself by putting families at the core, instead of surrendering.

One thing is clear: We shall continue to support families in the future, and in this we hope to have more and more allies — like Poland or Italy, among others.

What measures does this new legislation, the Family Protection Action Plan, include?

This seven-point package is an important milestone in the history of Hungarian family policy and also in our attempts since 2010 to build a family-friendly country. The law has just been approved by Parliament and will be effective from July 1:

· Married couples in which the wife is under 40 will be eligible for an interest-free, general-purpose loan of 31,000 euro. Repayment can be suspended, significantly reduced or written off entirely if the couple go on to have children.

· Families raising at least three children will be eligible for a grant of 7,800 euro to buy a new car seating at least seven people.

· There will be universal crèche [baby crib] provision by 2022. Therefore, we will be creating 21,000 additional crèche places over the next three years.

· We are providing the opportunity for families to reduce their mortgage loans by 3,100 euro upon the birth of a second child. Upon the birth of a third child, this amount increases to 12,500 euro.

· The preferential home-loan scheme will be extended: Families will be able to use it for purchasing existing properties as well as new ones. The amounts on which repayment relief is available are up to 31,000 euro or 48,000 euro, depending on the number of children.

· And from Jan. 1, 2020: We are providing lifetime exemption from personal income tax for Hungarian women who have given birth to at least four children or who will give birth to a fourth child.

· Grandparents will be eligible for childcare allowance.

This is not the end of our work. There is more to come! Hungarian families can count on us.

Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent.

Declining Sacramental Life of the Church an Alarming Trend

MSGR. ROBERT BATULE

https://www.crisismagazine.com/2019/declining-sacramental-life-of-the-church-an-alarming-trend

Where are you headed? This is not just a question the cabbie asks when you get into his car in a big city somewhere in America. It is also a question we ask ourselves as Catholics. With Lent in progress, we know the answer: We are headed to Easter and we get there by following the apostles Peter and John in their run to the empty tomb. We do not, however, run through Lent. Lent is a time to slow down and think seriously about serious matters.

By thinking seriously about serious matters, I do not have in mind the intricacies of Trinitarian theology or the subtleties in atonement theology—although it is never unwise to think about these matters. What I have in mind are the realities of ecclesial life in large swaths of the United States at the present time.

Decades ago, I had the good fortune to meet a dedicated religious priest at a wedding. At the reception following the nuptial Mass, we were seated next to each other, and from that time forward we were friends. In the discussions that good friends have over the years, good priest friends, that is, the topic of the Church was ever present. Often, my priest friend would remark, “The Church means less and less to more and more Catholics.”

Never mind that this priest had me by more than a few years, but he had also travelled widely in the United States because of responsibilities related to his ministry. Having age and experience on his side, I was inclined to trust my friend’s observation. In fact, I did not have to extend the benefit of the doubt to him in the matter of what the Church means to Catholics today. I could see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears what was occurring in the lives of Catholics whom I met in pastoral setting after pastoral setting. My own ministry was already showing me what had been manifested to my friend over a much longer span of time.

What you may ask at this point is: what are you referring to, Monsignor? What examples can you give in support of your thesis? Well, let me offer a few illustrations.

Every year at the Easter Vigil, in most parishes, men and women are baptized and received into the Church. In some places, the numbers are small but that is not always the case. In a diocese, when you add up all the parishes, the numbers of baptisms and receptions into full communion run into the hundreds or perhaps exceed one, two, or three thousand in large archdioceses. What happens when the Church marks the Second Sunday of Easter or the Solemnity of Pentecost? The newly initiated and the newly received—most of them, anyway—vanish and are not seen again in our parishes by priest or congregant.

Regular churchgoers have known for a while now that Mass attendance is not what it used to be. Reliable surveys indicate that weekly attendance is somewhere in the range of 18 to 25 percent, with higher and lower median averages depending on specific locale and other factors across the nation. Not so well known to Catholics are the steep falloffs in infant baptisms, weddings, and funerals. In just one of the categories mentioned, weddings, estimates are that church weddings are off by two-thirds in heavily Catholic areas compared with only thirty years ago. If you are doubtful about the downward shifts in weddings, infant baptisms, and funerals, you would do well to check out the statistics for these indices of Catholic life through the publication of the annual The Official Catholic Directory, which was known for the longest time as the Kenedy Directory. Go back fifty years, forty years, thirty years, twenty years, or even just a decade and you will be amazed at the enormous differences in reported sacramental celebration.

One thing The Official Catholic Directory will not be able to tell you is the massive decline in sacramental confessions. For that, you will have to show up in your parish church at the regularly scheduled period for celebrating the Sacrament of Penance. Thirty years ago, it was not unusual for a priest to sit in a confessional for ninety minutes and hear confessions without any “downtime.” Not today though. It is mostly “downtime” with very few penitents going to have their sins absolved.

Much can be adduced to explain the phenomena cited above from a sociological perspective. Surely that would be helpful but only to a point. What is needed is a more fundamental explanation, one which must concern itself with the Church’s nature and how this is, unfortunately, lost on many Catholics today.

Since sociology helps but only up to a point, let us start there. Sociology, as an academic discipline, studies institutions and the services they provide to those within the social matrix. According to the applicable taxonomy, the Church is a mediating institution. She mediates between persons and the society to which they belong. She is a “go-between,” putting persons in a more salutary relationship with each other and over against other, more “depersonalizing” institutions. However, this kind of mediating is basically along a functionalist axis, and thus has nothing to do with what Catholics believe as Catholics.

The Church, by her nature, is mediating. But the mediation she exercises does not start with what we do. It begins with Christ, the Mediator (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5). He is the One who puts us in a relationship, an ontological relationship, with the Blessed Trinity, and this new reality commences for us with baptism. It is important to note however, that baptism inaugurates but does not complete our sacramental incorporation into Christ. In the sacramental ministry—from baptism through the Anointing of the Sick—the Church has a concrete means by which Jesus the Mediator reaches people who were not on earth when he was. Through the sacramental ministry—again, from baptism through the Anointing of the Sick—the mediation accomplished once and for all in Christ reaches people today through his Body, the Church.

All of this is put forward succinctly and directly for us in Lumen Gentium where the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council say that “the Church, in Christ, is in the nature of sacrament.” (1) She is the sacrament par excellence because “[t]he one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains [her as] the community of faith.” (8)

Just a few years after the close of Vatican II, then-Father Joseph Ratzinger delivered lectures that he would later publish as Introduction to Christianity (1968). In this volume, the future Pope Benedict XVI writes: “[T]he sacramental idea … forms the heart of the concept of the Church: Church and sacrament stand or fall together; a Church without sacraments would be an empty organization, and sacraments without a Church would be rites without meaning or inner connection.”

The problem we need to face up to, pastorally, is why so many Catholics choose to forsake sacramental celebration as a regular feature of Catholic life. Could it be that so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ view the Church as “an empty organization?” Or do they see the sacraments as “rites without meaning or inner connection?” As then-Father Joseph Ratzinger says above, “Church and sacrament stand or fall together.” Right now, these two pillars of faith are not standing all that well.

Archbishop: Catholic Voters Share Blame For Radical Abortion Laws

Some concerns in the pro-life community today are with supporters who are personally pro-life but believe they cannot impose on others their opinion that abortion is wrong, and pro-lifers who believe in “certain circumstances” abortion should be an option. These pro-life supporters may have well intentions but are misinformed or do not hold pro-life values as a high priority. They may vote for legislators whether or not their “personal” stance on abortion is shared. This attitude occurs in communities everyday. This “pro-lifer” could be your best friend, your relative, or a fellow parishioner at your church.

The Catholic church, for example, has always considered abortion a mortal sin. Their doctrine forbids all abortions, but church members are sometimes divided on the issue; some Catholics are pro-abortion, and some are pro-life. Additionally, there are other Catholics who are apathetic, or care personally, but are politically indifferent. With the increasingly radical abortion laws being passed across the country, many Catholics and pro-life supporters have voiced their outrage at their government and these morbid, inhumane laws, even permitting infanticide. But were they passionately advocating for their position on election day when it mattered?

It is easy to blame pro-abortion politicians, even pro-abortion Catholic politicians like Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York, but it is time for pro-life supporters and pro-life Catholics to look in the mirror.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee Wisconsin argued, “The real problem lies with our Catholic community that justifies the voting for candidates who would support anti-life actions.”

Why are we compromising our morals and beliefs by voting for these politicians? We deserve better. These politicians need our votes. We are letting these so-called leaders pass these laws. To make a difference, Catholic pro-life supporters need to stand up.

Listecki also urged, “Therefore, it begins with us making our voices heard as politicians vie for our votes, and refusing to accept the rationalization that we can make these heinous acts rare and limited. Human life demands our respect, protection, and nothing less.”

Indirectly, when pro-life supporters and pro-life Catholics do not vote for pro-life politicians, they are condoning abortion or even supporting infanticide. In historical times of human atrocities, it was similarly vital for people to take a moral stand.

During World War II, millions of people were being slaughtered, yet there were Nazi soldiers and others who knew it was wrong, but did nothing. Some were intimidated by fear.

Similarly today, some pro-life supporters may not be vocal for fear of a controversial issue. Pro-life supporters voting for pro-abortion politicians, however, are no different than those passively complicit in other injustices.

Thus, pro-life Catholics who vote for extremist pro-abortion politicians arguably share the blame, which is why it is important for Catholics and other Christians to advocate for the preborn and educate others.

Together, the Church can take positive steps to end abortion if we are willing to start the difficult dialogue and vote our values.

From the Heart of the Infertility Conversation Shines a Strong Pro-Life, Pro-Woman Message

Marissa Mayer

I recently learned that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week. While those who’ve experienced infertility are surely painfully aware of its difficulties, for the rest of us, it presents a great opportunity to learn more about this struggle that affects 1 in 8 couples. If we listen, we can better understand how to come alongside these men and women to encourage and support them.

A message of faith, hope, and life from Washington, D.C.

Many news outlets ran stories this week highlighting some of the famous women and couples who’ve experienced infertility and its heartbreak. First up was Second Lady Karen Pence, who shared a rare interview with The Federalist’s Melissa Langsam Braunstein. The article is poignant in its rawness relating how painful, consuming, and exhausting the infertility journey can be.

“It took us six years before we were able to get pregnant with our first child…We were ready to start our family, and it just didn’t happen. And when you experience that, all of your friends are getting pregnant, all of your relatives are getting pregnant, I remember my little niece looked up at me one day and said, “Auntie Karen, why don’t you have any babies?” It can be a very heartbreaking experience, and so for us, we thought, maybe we’re just not going to be a couple that has children.”

For the Pences, adoption proved to be a great alternative, but just as an opportunity came up, Mrs. Pence learned she was pregnant. Still, it took a lot to get to that point, including questioning and ultimately trusting God to bring children into their lives in His perfect timing.

“For us, it was really a matter of just letting God bring us kids when He was ready to bring us kids, and that’s where they come from, and so we just had to wait until He was ready. And now it’s so clear to us that that was the perfect timing, these kids are the perfect kids for us, and we couldn’t be more grateful every day that He gave us that privilege.”

The message of faith is not surprising coming from the Second Lady, and it sure is a welcome addition to the mainstream conversation about infertility. It’s a message I’ve seen echoed by many Christian women who have been bold in sharing their struggles in the midst of such a deep desire to become mothers. For these women, the pro-life message is simply understood. They know that a baby in the womb is a gift—and his or her life is just as precious at the moment of conception as it is at the moment of birth.

 

The Hollywood pro-life, pro-woman message

For me, I was more amazed to hear such a strong pro-life, pro-woman message coming from Hollywood celebrities who have experienced infertility. The Huffington Post ran an article titled, “13 Celebrities Who’ve Shared Their Struggles With Infertility,” and the comments in that article struck me as so staunchly pro-life and pro-women, that I couldn’t help but wonder how those celebrities reconcile some of their policy positions with their own statements.

For example, actress Jaime King, a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood who even donated to the abortion giant in Mike Pence’s name, struggled for seven years with infertility. And yet, her heartbreaking story is a testament to human life in the womb and the beauty of womanhood.

“Nobody knew how long it took me to get pregnant, that for seven years I had so many losses, I’d been trying for so long and I was in so much pain… Somewhere in our subconscious when someone tells you, ‘Oh, you might not be able to do that,’ you feel like it’s the one thing that you have … I feel like it’s detrimental for me as a woman to not be honest about that and that it’s detrimental that women don’t talk about these things because when you go through it you feel like you’re suffering in silence by yourself.”

Singer Beyoncé, who is currently pregnant with twins and has surprised many with her pro-life tributes to her unborn children in recent months, echoed King’s story of hope and tragic loss.

“About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time. And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life. I picked out names. I envisioned what my child would look like … I was feeling very maternal. I flew back to New York to get my check up—and no heartbeat. Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat… it was the saddest thing I’ve ever been through.”

While these are just a couple of examples from the article, it’s encouraging to see these women speak so openly, not only about their experiences, but about their understanding of life in the womb and the unique capacity that women have to bring new life into this world.

Infertility is a deeply personal journey

If you’re anything like me, you desire ways to better understand infertility and be there for the friends and family in your life who are experiencing it. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from reading these stories and hearing others, it’s that infertility is personal. Some may want to share; others may not. The only thing we can do is be more aware, be sensitive to the realities (1 in 8 couples!), and pray that those who experience infertility will find peace, joy, and fulfillment in whatever God brings their way.

My heart hurts for these women and men who so desperately want to become mothers and fathers. And while I don’t know their experience, their emotions, or their pain, I am thankful for their message and for their strength in sharing it.

Mom With Cancer Refused Abortion to Save Her Unborn Baby Girl’s Life, 10 Years Later They’re Doing Great

MICAIAH BILGER

Almost 11 years ago, Sarah Wickline Hull received some of the worst possible news that a pregnant mother could hear: She had aggressive cancer, and both she and her unborn baby could die.

Wickline Hull said her doctors encouraged her to have an abortion, but she refused.

Today, she is cancer free and her daughter is a happy, healthy 10-year-old.

In a Facebook post in January, Wickline Hull shared her story as the debate about legalized late-term abortions erupted again in the United States.

“People are talking about the medical necessity of abortion to save the mother’s life. I was one of those mothers,” she wrote.

She struggled with infertility for years before becoming pregnant with her daughter. Then, at 20 weeks, Wickline Hull was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that was cutting off her airway.

“I will never forget when the first doctor, an oncologist, mentioned abortion,” she said.

Immediately, she rejected the idea of aborting her unborn daughter, saying, “I knew I would rather die and give birth.”

A second doctor also urged her to consider abortion after listing a number of problems that her baby may have.

“I stood my ground and refused,” she remembered. “He said, ‘That is ok. The baby will probably spontaneously abort anyway.’”

Eventually, Wickline Hull said she found doctors who supported her decision to choose life for her baby. At 34 weeks of pregnancy, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

“I will be celebrating 10 years cancer free in May,” she said. “I have a healthy, beautiful, bright, precious 10 year old daughter who is a living reminder that doctors do not know everything.”

Wickline Hull’s courageous story is one of many. LifeNews has reported numerous stories about mothers who chose life for their unborn babies after being diagnosed with cancer. Most of the mothers survived the cancer, while a few sacrificed their lives for their babies.

New research provides growing hope for mothers in these difficult situations. In 2012, a collection of stories from The Lancet found pregnant women do not need to have an abortion to get treatment for cancer. Similarly, a 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found chemotherapy may not impair unborn babies’ general development.

Why Easter Sunday Matters to the Pro-Life Movement

STEVEN ERTELT

Of all the holidays and events on our calendars, I believe none are more important than Easter Sunday.

The pro-life movement’s entire reason for existing is to promote and protect the value of human life because it is created in the image of God. If it were not – if human life were simply highly-evolved amoeba fighting to survive in a dog-eat-dog world – then the best we could hope for is to appeal to a supposed charitable nature for the good of society.

Instead, we can point to Psalm 139 and speak of how God knits each of us together in the womb. Critics will say it is merely Jewish poetry or laugh at it as an ancient attempt to explain the mystery of fetal development.

We can appeal to the common concern man has for man as a sign of God-given compassion when tragedy strikes at places like Sandy Hook Elementary School. Critics will point to Auschwitz or Dachau and say that man is an animal.

We can talk about teachings in the Christian church on the sanctity of life. Critics will call it superstitious, biased against other faiths, or lies.

But when we talk about the Creator of Life, we can point to an empty tomb as validation that the God of the universe is who He says He is.

Easter must not be a three-day weekend that places our programs and efforts on hold. It must be the central event in human history that we must hold on to as proof that we each bear the fingerprints of God.

How can we not protect so precious a gift?

May you and your family enjoy a blessed Easter.

LifeNews Note: Mike Fichter is the president of Indiana Right to Life.

446 babies saved from abortion so far in 40 Days for Life’s Lent campaign

 

(Life Site News) 40 Days for Life’s current initiative has only been going on for a little over a month, yet the pro-life effort has already saved hundreds of unborn lives from abortion.

Timed to coincide with Lent, the latest 40 Days campaign began on March 6 in 377 cities across the United States, United Kingdom, and 29 other countries around the world. Volunteers have been stationed outside abortion facilities for 12 hours a day to conduct prayer vigils and offer sidewalk counseling to women considering abortion.

“The whole point of this is to take a positive and upbeat pro-life message to the whole community,” Robert Colquhoun, 40 Days’ Director of International Campaigns, told LifeSiteNews last month. “It is simple, and effective because it works. Lives are saved, hearts and minds and changed and eternal souls are impacted. Abortion workers leave [their employment] and abortion centers close.”

Since then, 40 Days has received 446 confirmed reports of mothers choosing life for their babies, the group revealed Monday. The post shared several examples of the fruits of their efforts.

In Memphis, Tennessee, a man named Marcus who reluctantly accompanied his girlfriend to Planned Parenthood spoke with the sidewalk counselor, who promised help and convinced him to text her to leave the building before going through with the abortion. The couple left “smiling” and eager to go to a pregnancy center instead, and Marcus even participated in the prayer vigil.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, a traffic delay kept a woman from leaving Planned Parenthood’s parking lot long enough for a 40 Days volunteer to offer help, to which she revealed, “I changed my mind. I didn’t do it. It’s a baby!”

Many other stories can be found on 40 Days’ blog and Facebook page.

Not every interaction has been positive. Late last month, an 85-year-old pro-life volunteer was shoved to the ground and repeatedly kicked outside a San Francisco Planned Parenthood location. But the overall fruits of 40 Days’ efforts have been encouraging, and 40 Days says it plans a live webcast on April 30 to recap volunteers’ impact.

“Father, we have done battle with the power of evil, and therefore we can have compassion on those still within its grip,” 40 Days for Life president Shawn Carney wrote. “We have been freed from the kingdom of darkness, and therefore we can bear witness to your Kingdom of Light. May the witness of all your people through these 40 Days for Life bear abundant fruit.”

Last year, 40 Days for Life reported that it has saved 14,000 since its campaigns first started in 2007.

Editor’s Note: This article was published at Life Site News and is reprinted here with permission.

As more women die from abortion pill, the FDA approves a generic version

 

The FDA has approved a generic version of the abortion pill Mifeprex, at a time when more deaths are being reported and the abortion industry is pushing for the dangerous abortion inducing chemicals to be dispensed online or by mail. According to a notice from the FDA, the generic version is approved for use as an abortifacient. This news comes just a day before the FDA updated its adverse effects reports through 2018, stating, “As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal…” The FDA’s 2017 report put the number of deaths at 22.

This means that in 2018 alone, two more women died from taking the abortion pill. And yet, now a generic version is going to be made available.

To date, the report documents nearly 4,200 reported adverse effects, including hospitalization and other serious complications.

On April 11, 2019, the FDA approved GenBioPro, Inc.’s abbreviated new drug application for a generic Mifeprex, which, when used with Misoprostol is approved as an abortion pill regimen. The FDA states (emphasis added), “This approval reflects FDA’s determination that GenBioPro’s product, Mifepristone Tablets, 200 mg, is therapeutically equivalent to Mifeprex and can be safely substituted for Mifeprex. Like Mifeprex, the approved generic product is indicated for the medical termination of intrauterine pregnancy through 70 days gestation….”

READ: The secrecy surrounding the abortion pill’s maker and influential financial investors must end

Image: Generic abortion pill by GenBioPro approved by FDA

Generic abortion pill by GenBioPro approved by FDA

The FDA also states clearly that although they modified the Mifeprex application to include “mifepristone products,” this change in no way removes the FDA’s REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy), “a safety strategy to manage a known or potential serious risk associated with a medicine and to enable patients to have continued access to such medicines by managing their safe use.”

Of note, on April 11, 2019, FDA approved a supplemental application for Mifeprex, approving modifications to the existing approved REMS for Mifeprex to establish a single, shared system REMS for mifepristone products (including Mifeprex as well as the approved generic version of Mifeprex) for the medical termination of intrauterine pregnancy through 70 days gestation. In establishing the single, shared system REMS, no changes were made to the substantive elements of the REMS. This single, shared system REMS is known as the Mifepristone REMS Program.

Find approval information for this 2019 supplement here.

The approved generic version of Mifeprex generally has the same labeling as Mifeprex…Under the law, the approved generic version of Mifeprex is required to use a single, shared system REMS with the brand product, Mifeprex. This single, shared system REMS, known as the Mifepristone REMS Program, sets forth the distribution requirements that must be followed for both Mifeprex and the approved generic version of Mifeprex.

Requiring that the generic be subject to FDA’s REMS is good news for now, because, as Live Action News has previously reported, the abortion lobby is attempting to expand access to the abortion pills via mail order or pharmacy by pushing “self-managed abortion,” described by Guttmacher as ending a pregnancy “without direct supervision by a health care provider.” To accomplish this, REMS, must be eliminated.

READ: What you should know about the dangerous ‘self-managed’ abortion pill push

Dr. Donna Harrison, Executive Director American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists(AAPLOG), agreed, telling Live Action News (emphasis added):

Allowing a generic equivalent of Mifeprex basically means that the patent restrictions have run out. So, new drugs have a patent which is time limited… and in the case of Mifeprex, the patent was held by the Population Council. So, now that the patent has run out, generics are allowed. But this does not change the restrictions. REMS are still in place until FDA changes the restrictions. So, just to clarify, this does not mean that Mifeprex is OTC [over-the-counter]. It just changes how much quality control goes in to the pill manufacturing process and how much Danco can charge for the drug.

The move towards a generic drug is being hailed a victory by abortion advocates, specifically Dr. Daniel Grossman, who has deep ties to the “self-managed” abortion pill push.

Image: FDA Approves generic abortion drug (Image Twitter Dr. Daniel Grossman)

FDA Approves generic abortion drug (Image Twitter Dr. Daniel Grossman)

Image: FDA Approves generic abortion drug NWHC (Image: Twitter)

FDA Approves generic abortion drug NWHC (Image: Twitter)

Under the Mifepristone REMS Program, the FDA states, “Mifeprex and the approved generic version of Mifeprex” may:

  • [O]nly be supplied directly to healthcare providers who are certified to prescribe the drug product and who meet certain qualifications.
  • [T]he products are only available to be dispensed in certain healthcare settings, specifically, clinics, medical offices and hospitals, by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber.
  • They are not available in retail pharmacies and are not legally available over the Internet.

The original drug (Mifeprex) was approved in 2000 after being brought to the U.S. by the eugenics-founded Population Council, and was seeded by the Packard Foundation among other pro-abortion philanthropy groups. They then set up a highly secretive company named Danco to manufacturer the drug.

The generic version is produced by GenBioPro, Inc., which also appears to have the financial supportof abortion collaborators. In fact, Packard gave GenBioPro, Inc. $185,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017. According to the Nevada Secretary of State, a 2007 filing for the company was permanently revoked. A new filing in 2011 is active and shows a registered agent of CSC Services of Nevada, Inc.and the only officer listed is E. Masingill.

The FDA warns consumers they should not buy Mifeprex or GenBioPro, Inc.’s approved generic version of Mifeprex, Mifepristone Tablets, 200 mg., over the Internet because they will bypass important safeguards designed to protect patient health.

Artist creates sonogram art to express ‘beauty of life’ in the womb

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Artist Caitlin Solan calls herself “passionately pro-life” and expresses that love for life through colorful paintings which capture the lives of her littlest clients during their time living inside their mothers’ wombs.

“I started creating sonogram art about 3 1/2 years ago,” she told Live Action News. “I wanted to use my art talent to glorify God and make a positive difference. I have always felt strongly about fighting for life and being a part of the pro-life movement.”

 

Solan explained that she uses bright, bold colors and “expressive” brushstrokes along with splatter art to portray the beauty of life inside the womb. She enjoys turning what is normally a black and white image into a colorful work of art.

“My goal is to show that these babies are alive and their lives are beautiful,” she said. “My sonogram paintings are one way that I fight for life in a positive way, without bringing attention to any negative aspects of the debate, but just focusing on the beauty of life.”

 

 

Solan is thankful that she is able to create art that is meaningful and personal to her clients. Sonograms are parents’ first pictures of their child, and sometimes, sadly, it’s the only one they get. Solan has created paintings of babies who have been miscarried, as well as rainbow babies, and even one baby who was aborted. The mother had been pressured to abort and deeply regretted it, so a friend gifted her with the painting.

“I hope my paintings of lost babies bring comfort to the families and that the artwork will be a positive remembrance of their child,” Solan explained.

Sonogram artwork has become a popular way to display the first image of a child, rather than the usual placement of the black and white image in a simple frame. Some new parents coordinate the artwork to the nursery they lovingly decorate for their new arrival or use it as a way of announcing their pregnancy. Friends and family can even gift the artwork as a baby shower present. Some moms have even taken to having their children’s sonogram images painted on their fingernails.

How top Catholic leaders betrayed parents and children by promoting sex ed

April 15, 2019 (Calx Mariae) — Sacred Scripture has a great deal to say about education, which starts within the relationship between parent and child, and, in order to be purposeful and true, must also begin with knowledge and fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:7–8, Deut. 11:19, 32:46, Eph. 6:4). This principle of the parent as “primary educator”, who has both the God-given role and responsibility to teach a child “in the way he should go” (Prov. 22.6), has consequently been an established and consistent tenet of authentic Catholic teaching. It is the father and mother, through their participation in God’s work of creation, who have conferred life on their children and have the closest natural relationship with them.

The Church affirms that this God-given parental right and duty is, in the words of Pope John Paul II, “irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others”.They have the “right to educate their children in conformity with their religious and moral convictions” and “should also receive from society the necessary aid and assistance to perform their educational role properly”.This is even more so the case with “Relationships and Sex Education” (RSE), as the government now refers to this most intimate area of our children’s learning and development, especially given the potential influence of such learning not only on children’s health, well-being, purpose, and fulfilment in this life, but their vocation in the Spirit and eternal salvation in the next life.Consequently, Pope John Paul II insisted that “sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe.”4 In The truth and meaning of human sexuality, the Pontifical Council for the Family explained: “Other educators can assist in this task [of education for chastity] but they can only take the place of parents for serious reasons of physical or moral incapacity.” (Section 23)

A SHIFT IN THE CHURCH’S POSITION?

Catholic parents worldwide therefore have been severely challenged by the march of the comprehensive sex education agenda, and, in many countries, the growing imposition, if not virtual takeover, by the state in this sacred area of parental responsibility. Equally disconcerting has been the more than just apparent shift of the Holy See in this important area during the pontificate of Pope Francis. His controversial post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia (2016) overlooks the Church’s previously clear teaching on the matter in its section entitled “Yes to Sex Education” (translated in the English version as “The Need for Sex Education”) (Ch.7). This section does not make any reference to the role of parents in educating their children in the area of sexuality, but only refers instead to the role of “educational institutions”. Pope Francis reaffirmed his position in a recent interview on the plane returning from World Youth Day in Panama (28 January 2019). He stated:

I believe that we must provide sex education in schools. […] But we need to offer an objective sexual education, as it is, without ideological colonization. […] Sex as a gift from God must be taught, not with rigidity. […] I don’t say this without putting myself in the political problem of Panama. But they need to have sex education. The ideal is to start from home, with the parents. It is not always possible because there are so many different situations in families, and because they do not know how to do it. And so the school makes up for this, because otherwise it will remain a void that will then be filled by any ideology.5

The Pontifical Council for the Family also no longer abides by the Church’s perennial teaching. After the promulgation of Amoris laetitia, it published its own sex education programme, titled “The Meeting Point,” in 2016. This programme, which is intended to be taught in schools, in mixed classrooms, and not by parents, has been widely criticised by Catholic and pro-life commentators for its failure to adequately convey Catholic moral teachings, for its secularising approach, and use of inappropriate images. Psychiatrist Rick Fitzgibbons MD, who has worked extensively with Catholic youth harmed psychologically by family breakdown, sexual abuse, pornography, and other consequences of the permissive society, has described the programme as being, “in my professional opinion, the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth that I have seen over the past 40 years”; it “reveals an ignorance of the enormous sexual pressure upon youth today and will result in their subsequent confusion in accepting the Church’s teaching”.6

THE BISHOPS OF ENGLAND AND WALES, AND THE CES

The Bishops of England and Wales, via the Catholic Education Service (CES), have been even more advanced in this agenda. From 1999 until 2008 the Chairman of the CES was Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham (now Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster). Under the chairmanship of Archbishop Nichols the CES developed a policy that resulted in providing children in Catholic schools, including adolescents under the legal age of consent, with access to abortion and contraception services without parental knowledge or consent, through a state-run confidential advice agency, named “Connexions”.

Also under his chairmanship the CES joined the Sex Education Forum and agreed to policies directly contrary to Catholic teaching and the natural law. Membership of the forum required agreement with the Sex and Relationships Education Framework (2003, reissued 2005), which, for instance, “welcomes” the “diversity of society” in the area of “sexuality”, regards sex education as “an entitlement for all boys as well as girls; those who are heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual”, and requires that children should be given “relevant information” which “is accurate and non-judgmental” about “the potential consequences of unprotected sex” including “abortion”.

In April 2010 the CES, now under the chairmanship of Malcolm McMahon (then Bishop of Nottingham, now Archbishop of Liverpool), appointed as deputy director, Greg Pope, a former Labour member of Parliament, who had an extensive anti-life, anti-family voting record. Pope remained in that post until his promotion, in 2017, to be the Assistant General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

BETRAYAL OF CATHOLIC PARENTS IN ENGLAND

For Catholic parents in England recent developments are bringing the threatened state takeover of their God-given role to a critical new reality, and the conduct of the Catholic Education Service, which should be at the vanguard of protecting their rights, as well as the God-given rights of all parents, has instead been, in certain specific ways, complicit in their betrayal.

In March 2017, Parliament passed the government’s Children and Social Work Act (2017) which made the new subjects of Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools in England, and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory in all secondary schools in England, including faith and independent schools. It was announced that the required content of these new subjects would be subject to public consultation, although from the outset government spokespersons, including the Prime Minister, stated that Relationships Education would be “LGBT” inclusive.7The government stated that parents would be able to withdraw their children only from the “sex education” parts of RSE at secondary school.

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, chair of the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales, issued a statement welcoming the government’s announcement that it was acting to change the law:

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) forms part of the mission of Catholic schools to educate the whole person. Our schools have a long track record of educating young people who are prepared for adult life as informed and engaged members of society, and high quality RSE plays an important part of this.

We welcome the government’s commitment to improving Relationship and Sex Education in all schools. Catholic schools already teach age-appropriate Relationship and Sex Education in both primary and secondary schools. This is supported by a Catholic model RSE curriculum which covers the RSE curriculum from nursery all the way through to sixth form.

We additionally welcome the government’s commitment to protect parental right of withdrawal and involve parents in all stages of the development and delivery of RSE in all schools. It is essential that parents fully support the school’s approach to these sensitive matters. The experience of Catholic schools is that parental involvement is the basis for providing consistent and high quality RSE at home and at school.

We look forward to working closely with the government to shape any new guidance to enable Catholic schools to continue to deliver outstanding RSE, in accordance with parents’ wishes and Church teaching.

Despite the apparently strong statements with regard to parental involvement, it is telling how much the statement conforms, not to established Catholic teaching on the matter, but to the new secular “orthodoxy” and government policy regarding this area of a child’s learning. It is now the “mission” of the school to “educate the whole person” — rather than this principally being the parents’ mission and responsibility. The parent is simply granted an “involvement” in the process, because “it is essential that parents fully support the school’s approach”. There is no reference to the fact that the “right of withdrawal” at this time was only for the “Sex Education” parts of RSE, and, in any case, the government’s actual distinction between “sex” and “relationships” education is still very much unclear. There are echoes of all the key buzzwords of the sex education lobby in the statement — the changes are all about “improvement” and providing “high quality RSE” (by whose criteria?), which is essential to prepare them “for adult life as informed and engaged members of society”, or as the Department for Education puts it, “to support all young people to stay safe and prepare for life in modern Britain”.After all, who wouldn’t want our children to be “safe” and “prepared for life in “modern Britain”? Except do we serve them best by preparing them to either counter or conform to those aspects of “life in modern Britain” which are opposed to the Gospel? What will keep them the safest: following the true teachings of the Church in the area of sex and relationships, or following instead the new secular moral code of the LGBT and sex education lobbies?

Leaving aside for a moment the assumption that all Catholic schools in England and Wales offer genuine “Catholic teaching” in every respect, what about the 90 per cent of children, including many Catholic children, who do not attend a Catholic school? Should we be concerned at all for their temporal and eternal welfare? Does the Church not have any kind of mission to evangelise the nation, to shine the light of God’s truth into every corner of public policy?

There is a submissive ghetto mentality here reminiscent of the bishops’ role in the issue over adoption by homosexual couples. The bishops of England and Wales appeared to take the line that, of course we accept that same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt because that was in the Labour government’s manifesto, but we are just requesting a “bit of diversity in the system”, and requesting an opt-out for Catholic adoption agencies when it comes to same sex adoption — even though Archbishop Nichols admitted that Catholic adoption agencies had been giving up children for adoption by single (but active?) homosexuals and also by unmarried but cohabiting heterosexual couples. Moreover, the bishops had no objections to allowing Catholic adoption agencies to refer homosexual applicants to agencies that would place children with homosexual couples.9

Naturally in both practising and freely admitting this highly compromised position there was no witness whatsoever as to why deliberately denying an adopted child the natural situation of having a father and mother was wrong, or why the homosexual lifestyle was wrong. The government regarded such a weak, compromised, and contradictory stance with absolute contempt, brushing it aside and insisting it would be done regardless. All but one of the twelve diocesan adoption agencies either voluntarily closed themselves down or cut their ties with the Church — exactly what the enemies of the Church wanted in the first place.10 This should also perhaps serve as a forewarning to us of what will happen to Catholic schools when the government wants to drive the LGBT juggernaut over a red line that is too far even for the Bishops of England and Wales.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR CHURCH ACTION

The government announced a public “Call for Evidence” in December 2017, which closed in February 2018, concerning what should be the content of the new compulsory subjects. Seeing as this was a public consultation, where numbers clearly matter, one would have thought it might have been a good idea to encourage Catholics, especially Catholic parents, to participate and make submissions? The message from the CES, however, seemed to be that we can just trust and leave everything to them, that everything is and will be fine with Catholic schools, and that everything the government is doing with regard to RSE is positive and can be perfectly compatible with the Church’s teaching. A number of pro-life and pro-family organisations, including SPUC, did, however, campaign hard to rally parents and their supporters to respond to the “Call for Evidence”. This helped contribute to an impressive 23,000 submissions. The government’s reporting on the results of that consultation, however, has been highly inadequate, and what it had produced showed no evidence whatsoever for any claims of consensus, especially from parents, for the agenda it is pursuing.

In July 2018 the government issued its Draft Guidance and Regulations regarding the proposed content and delivery of the new subjects, and simultaneously launched a second public consultation on their acceptability. There was some evidence of the positive impact of campaigning by the pro-life and pro-family lobby. There was an acknowledgement that parents are the primary educators in certain of the matters covered by the new subjects, and that it would be mandatory for schools to consult with parents on RSE policies and programmes. However, where do the parents stand when, following the consultation, they are still unhappy about what the school proposes to teach? Overall the Draft Regulations and Guidance seriously undermine parental rights, and also present a completely one-sided view of human sexuality, marriage, and the family which is contrary to what the Catholic faith teaches.

The children’s programme of study is required to be “LGBT inclusive” throughout and present homosexual relationships and family structures in a positive manner. In primary school, children must be made to understand and accept that families “sometimes” look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are characterised by “love and care for them”; also that marriage, including same-sex “marriage” and civil partnerships, represents “a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong”.11 In other words, primary school children will have to demonstrate “respect” for the idea and practice of homosexual relationships and not just for the people involved in them, and will be expected to agree that such relationships, including when they have children, are just as valid, positive and beneficial as those based on real marriage.

In RSE at secondary school teenagers will be further encouraged to “explore” their developing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. It presents dangerous and immoral lifestyle choices as equally valid as marriage. Abortion is presented simply as one of the available options during pregnancy and pupils will be signposted to contraceptive and abortion services, without any parental knowledge or consent.

The right of parents to withdraw their children from the “sex education” parts of RSE, which the government had promised to retain, has now been removed and replaced only by a “right to request” withdrawal, with the final decision going to the headteacher. Even this much compromised parental right is withdrawn altogether when the children reaches 15, when they will be allowed to overrule their parents’, as well as their headteachers’, wishes if they choose, as they are being given the right to have sex education provided to them by the school. Moreover, it is a statutory requirement for schools “to have regard” to the final published Guidance when delivering the new subjects, which means they have to deliver the required content unless they have a “good reason” not to. The experience of a number of independent faith schools, particularly independent and Orthodox Jewish schools, who have been failed or severely penalised by OFSTED (England’s schools inspection agency)12 for not teaching LGBT issues in a satisfactory way, shows that the fact that LGBT ideology is against the tenets of the Christian, Jewish, or Islamic faith is not considered a good enough reason.

CES CONTINUES TO BACK THE GOVERNMENT OVER RSE

The CES were one of the favoured selected groups listed who had been involved in the deep consultation process with the Department for Education, though that is not to say that they necessarily agreed with all of the resultant Draft Guidance. However, their public statements so far have expressed only support for the government’s plans.

Following the publication of the Draft Regulations and Guidance in July 2018 the CES issued another press release again stating that the Catholic Church “welcomes” the government’s moves to “improve” Relationships and Sex Education, as well as how “the government had used the Catholic model curriculum as examples of best practice”. It also “welcomes” how “the recommendations are clear that the right for parents right of withdrawal [sic] will be maintained”, even though the Draft Regulations only allow parents the right to request withdrawal, with a right to refuse being given to the headteacher. It also welcomed that “schools with a religious character” will be able to deliver RSE “within the tenants [sic] of their own faith”.13However, the Children and Social Work Act (section 34:3(b)), as well as the Draft Regulations, only stipulate that “the education is appropriate having regard to the age and the religious background of the pupils”, which is open to interpretation and a much weaker requirement than such teaching needing to be in line with the “tenets” of a particular faith. A school may “have regard” for the fact that a pupil comes from a Catholic family, but still deem it necessary to teach the pupil things that do not conform to the tenets of the Catholic faith. The Draft Guidance uses similarly vague language and also adds that “schools must ensure they comply with the relevant provisions of the Equality Act (2010)”. OFSTED inspections have interpreted that to mean a school must clearly teach about active homosexuality and transgenderism in a positive light, so that children who may identify themselves by one of the “protected characteristics” do not feel marginalised or discriminated against, and that children are adequately prepared for “life in modern Britain”. For instance, in May 2017 Vishnitz Girls School, an Orthodox Jewish primary school, failed its third OFSTED inspection in a year specifically because the school acknowledged that it did not teach its young children (aged 3–11) about homosexuality and transgenderism. The original report stated that “the school’s approach means that pupils are shielded from learning about certain differences between people, such as sexual orientation. […] They acknowledge that they do not teach pupils about all the protected characteristics [of the Equality Act 2010], particularly those relating to gender re-assignment and sexual orientation. This means that pupils have a limited understanding of the different lifestyles and partnerships that individuals may choose in present-day society.”14

Christian schools have also been targeted by OFSTED. Pupils at Grindon Hall Christian School and Durham Free School faced intrusive questioning on transsexualism, homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” by OFSTED inspectors, who then claimed that they found evidence of “homophobic behaviour” in both schools — a claim rejected by staff, pupils, and parents. Despite the outcry, The Durham Free School was closed down in April 2015 and Grindon Hall — one of the best performing schools in the North East — was rated “inadequate”, and was forced by the Department for Education to be taken over by a secular trust.15

A further public consultation (July–Nov 2018) was announced regarding the Draft Regulations and Guidance for the new subjects. However, rather than initiating a campaign to encourage Catholics, and others who attend Catholic schools, to participate in this consultation, so that protections for parents could be genuinely safeguarded, the CES had already embarked on a mini-PR campaign in support of government policy, with an article which appeared on the CES website and the Catholic press informing us that the government’s proposals were only to be welcomed, that there was nothing to worry about, that Catholic schools already do a fantastic job teaching RSE (in line with the Church’s teaching), and, falsely, that the government is committed both to allowing faith schools flexibility to teach according to the tenets of their faith, and protecting the parents’ right of withdrawal.16

Given the content of the government’s Draft RSE Guidance it is very hard to conceive of how a Catholic school can deliver the subjects in a way which “has regard to the Statutory Guidance” whilst still in conformity with the tenets of the Catholic faith. The CES’s current “model policy for RSE”, which the CES boasts has been praised by the Department for Education, features an uncomfortable mix of Catholic teaching with elements of the statutory SRE Guidance (2000) and contemporary secular sex education programmes shoehorned into it. So at Key Stage 1 (ages 5–7) children are to be taught to “identify and correctly name their ‘private parts’”; and at KS 2 (ages 7–11) they are taught “that similarities and differences between people arise from several different factors (see protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, part 2, ch. 1, sections 4-12)”. In other words, they are taught about “sexual orientation” and “gender reassignment” (LGBT issues).17

The ambiguity of elements of the policy at the very least allow scope for teaching which is not in accordance with the faith. For example, the RSE secondary school policy stipulates teaching children about “recognising and valuing their own sexual identity and that of others”, or to “ensure RSE is sensitive to the different needs of individual pupils in respect to […] their own sexual orientation”.18 This is especially the case when we have had the scandal of homosexual lobby-group Stonewall being invited into Catholic schools and colleges to train teachers on how to deal with “homophobic bullying”.19

Although the model RSE policy stresses that “teachers will be expected to teach RSE in accordance with the Catholic Ethos of the school”,20 and the CES proclaims its confidence that authentic Catholic RSE is and will continue to be taught in Catholic schools, even after 2020; it is not clear, judging by some of the recent publications of the CES, that the CES has the same idea as many Catholic parents, or the perennial teachings of the Catholic Church, about what exactly the “tenets” of the Catholic faith are when it comes to human sexuality and the teaching of RSE.

BISHOPS AND CES PROMOTE LGBT IDEOLOGY IN SCHOOLS

An RSE guide for Catholic educators published by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in 2017, entitled Learning to Love, declares its admiration for Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia, as “an inspirational document, rich with insights and fresh descriptions of the Church’s teaching on this vital subject”.21 On the subject of homosexuality, the Bishops’ Learning to Love offers its own “fresh description” of the Church’s teaching:

Here we would like to emphasise that this exalted form of love exists just as powerfully in relationships between people of the same sex as it does in heterosexual relationships. We applaud the great progress that has been made in countering all forms of discrimination against homosexuality in recent times, and wish to collaborate with efforts to make such discrimination obsolete. (p.17)

Note that we are now talking about “discrimination against homosexuality” as something that should be countered, as opposed to “unjust discrimination” against homosexual persons as the Catechism states (2358). “Homosexuality” itself has now been transformed from an “inclination, which is objectively disordered” to what can be an “exalted form of love”; and what does it mean “to collaborate with efforts to make such discrimination obsolete”? To actively promote the LGBT and Pride agenda? To shut down freedom of speech on the issue and persecute Christians and others who try to speak the truth about homosexuality?

An even more pernicious document is Made in God’s Image: Challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying in Catholic schools, a joint publication by the CES and St Mary’s University, Twickenham — first published in 2017 and which has even been given a second edition, without any major alterations, despite its deep and scandalous conflicts with the Church’s teaching being widely pointed out by commentators.22

Under the guise of “guidance” for the “pastoral care of pupils”, Made in God’s Image is designed to intimidate Catholic schools into introducing a concerted LGBT indoctrination programme for children, in the form of an eight-lesson scheme of work. The sum of the message that children will take away from this is that being “lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender” is part of their God-given purpose and identity, an integral part of being Made in God’s image, something that must be celebrated, and that any true Catholic should act to report and help robustly stamp out any sign or attitudes of disapproval. An example from the introduction illustrates the strategy being taken:

The Church teaches that homosexual persons ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358). The School should be mindful that the Church teaches that homosexual inclinations are not sinful. For older pupils who may publicly identify themselves as such, Church schools should be havens of respect and custodians of the true dignity of each human being. They should be as attentive to the possibility of homosexual pupils being marginalized and bullied as they are to discrimination based on religion, gender, race or disability.23

Although the Church does indeed teach that involuntarily experiencing same-sex attraction is not itself a sin, the Catechism also adds that the inclination itself is “objectively disordered” (2358), and that authoritative Catholic teaching has also always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”, “basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity” (2357). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has instructed bishops that “although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”24 There is no mention of this in the document, or indeed any mention whatsoever of Catholic doctrine on marriage, or any attempt to present the true meaning and purpose of human sexuality between man and woman. Indeed the only thing presented as sinful (although it does not directly employ the term “sin”) is the new sin of “homophobia” which “should have no place among Catholics. Catholic teaching on homosexuality is not founded on, and can never be used to justify homophobic attitudes”. In one of the word games that children are encouraged to play “homophobia” is defined as:

A range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It can be expressed as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or hatred, may be based on irrational fear, and is sometimes related to religious beliefs. (p.16)

Notice again how, as with Learning to Love, it is negative attitudes towards “homosexuality”, and not just “homosexual persons”, that is condemned here. And “homosexuality”, according to the Catechism at least, refers to “relations” between same-sex attracted men or women, including “homosexual acts”. Conveniently, if not outrageously, the actual word of God on the subject of homosexuality is never quoted or referred to.

It is undeniable that a deliberately misleading sleight of hand is in play throughout, with the document’s omissions and selective quotations from both Catholic documents and the Bible. That such a secular and distorted presentation of human sexuality, saturated with LGBT ideology, is being presented to children is hardly surprising when, as has been widely pointed out on Catholic blogs and by at least one English bishop, much of the material has been lifted directly from pre-existing propaganda programmes from Stonewall and LGBT Youth Scotland.25

Chillingly, Made in God’s Image even offers lesson material which encourages children to judge and challenge their own parents’ and families’ attitudes, based on provided examples of expressions of “homophobia”, including typical comments made whilst watching television programmes. It is ironic that a document purported to be concerned with “anti-bullying” engages in a highly pernicious form of bullying against faithful Catholic children and their parents by labelling them “homophobes” and “bigots”.

The pro-LGBT Made in God’s Image programme is said to have been prompted by a survey conducted by the CES on “homophobic” bullying in Catholic schools. However, the small print reveals that only 12 per cent of Catholic schools responded to this survey — the whole justification of this programme therefore being based on completely unrepresentative data (p. 31). Catholic headteachers would have been rightly reluctant to respond as the survey itself was ideologically loaded and intimidating (employing the un-qualified terms “homophobic” and “transphobic” throughout), with questions posed in a way that would make it very difficult for a faithful Catholic to respond, without compromising Christian truths on issues of sexuality.

WHERE ARE WE HEADING?

So where does this all leave us for the future if this agenda remains unchallenged? Scotland and Wales already show where the direction of travel is going in the immediate future. As a statutory part of Wales’s new curriculum which will be in place from 2022, the Welsh government announced that it is introducing “LGBTQI+ -inclusive Relationships and Sexuality Education” for all learners aged 5–16. Kirsty Williams, Welsh Education Secretary, has stated: “The days of traditional sex education are long gone; the world has moved on and our curriculum must move with it. […] Of course, thirty years on from the introduction of Section 28, we will also ensure that RSE is fully inclusive of all genders and sexualities and meets the needs of LGBTQI+ learners.”26

The Welsh government is adopting the recommendations of a specially commissioned report on the future of SRE in Wales produced by an “SRE Expert Panel”, headed by Prof. Emma Renold of Cardiff University, a sociologist whose research on child sexuality, as her university profile informs us, is characterised by “feminist, queer and post-humanist approaches”. Neither the Catholic Church, nor any other faith groups, were represented in the “expert panel” — no doubt they were not invited to be. The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued no response to what is an all out assault on the childhoods of all Welsh children, including those of Catholic families.

“Post-humanism”, by the way, is one of the latest pseudo-intellectual fads of western academia. In the same way that “gender” and “sexuality” are regarded as mere social constructs, and therefore open to deconstruction, so now too is the very notion of what it is to be a “human being”. The “natural” distinctions between human, animal and machine are also regarded as arbitrary boundaries to be explored, redefined and transgressed. It should not be too hard to envisage the even more disturbing future of “sexuality” once such last remaining taboos have also been removed.

The Scottish government has so far gone the furthest in Britain along this trajectory, having proudly announced recently that Scotland will become “the first country in the world to have lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inclusive education embedded in the [whole] curriculum” — not just in relationships and sex education.27 Naturally if ideological indoctrination is to be truly effective then thought must be controlled at all times, and not just within the confines of certain lessons. Unbelievably this development was also “welcomed” by Scottish Bishops, who added that they hope the “impact of these recommendations will be positive for all.”

So how should parents respond in the face of this situation? For times like this God tells us to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Rm. 12:12). We should hold on more strongly than ever to the fact that God Himself has still ordained us to be the primary educators of our children, a right which as Pope John Paul II reminds us “is irreplaceable and inalienable”; that the right of parents to bring up their children to know, love and serve Him is His holy will. Scripture tells us to “be strong and courageous”, to “not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more” (Rm. 5:20), and we are now seeing encouraging signs of a strong and powerful parents’ rights movement rapidly rising up to confront what Church officials have been unwilling to confront.

This is an issue which unites many people of different faiths and none. For instance, a Parliamentary petition concerning the parental right of withdrawal from RSE recently gained in excess of 100,000 signatories, which resulted in a Parliamentary debate on the petition in February 2019. Many Muslim parents, in particular, have provided an example of peaceful, but vocal and resilient parent power, with hundreds of parents witnessing weekly outside Parkfields Primary School, Birmingham, where their children were being subjected to an LGBT propaganda programme called “No Outsiders”.

This is a time for faith, not fear or compromise. In that spirit SPUC Safe at School has recently launched a major campaign in defence of the parental right to withdraw their children from Relationships and Sex Education and it has already gained tremendous support from parents from different backgrounds and communities. To find out how you can become involved visit: www.spuc.org.uk/rsebriefing

Dr Tom Rogers is the SPUC Education Manager. He has been working full-time for the pro-life cause since 2016. An academic and educationalist, he previously lectured in English literature at University, and has also taught in the secondary and further education sectors. He is the author of God of Rescue: John Berryman & Christianity (2011). He is married with two children.

This article was originally published in Calx Mariae, Voice of the Family’s quarterly magazine. To order copies or subscribe, please visit this website.

ENDNOTES:

  1. John Paul II, Apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, 22 Nov 1981, 36.
  2. Charter of the Rights of the Family, presented by the Holy See, 22 Oct 1983, Article 5.
  3. Familiaris consortio, 37.
  4. Familiaris consortio, 37; Charter of the Rights of the Family, Article 5, c.
  5. Diane Montagna, “Pope Francis: ‘We must provide sex education in schools’”, LifeSiteNews, January 28 2019; https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-we-must-provide-sex-education-in-schools
  6. Rick Fitzgibbons MD, “Psychiatrist: The Vatican’s sex ed is the most dangerous threat to youth I’ve seen in 40 years”, LifeSiteNews, 2 September 2016; https://www. lifesitenews.com/opinion/exclusive-the-new-threat-to-catholic-youth-the-meeting-point
  7. For instance, Nick Gibb MP, stated in response to a Parliamentary question (3 July 2017) that “we expect schools to ensure that all pupils, whatever their developing sexuality or gender identity, feel that relationships and sex education is relevant to them and sensitive to their needs. As part of our engagement programme, we will consider ways to ensure that our guidance and regulations are inclusive of LGBT issues. We plan to work closely with organisations such as Stonewall and the Terrence Higgins Trust, amongst others.” Prime Minister Teresa May affirmed her support for ‘LGBT inclusive’ RSE in English schools in her speech at the Pink News LGBT Awards 2017.
  8. Department for Education, “Policy Statement: Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education”, March 2017, (p.1).
  9. The then Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nichols, made these comments and admissions over two interviews with Jon Snow (Channel 4 News) and Jeremy Paxman (BBC 2 Newsnight) on the evening of 23 January 2007. See also “Birmingham Archbishop: ‘Oh by the way,’ Britain’s Catholic Adoption Agencies Already Adopt to Gay Singles”, LifeSiteNews, 29 Jan 2007; https://www. lifesitenews.com/news/birmingham-archbishop-oh-by-the-way-britains-catholic-adoption-agencies-alr; “UK Catholic Bishops Compromise on Gay Adoption Leads to Charges of Hypocrisy”, LifesiteNews, 23 March 2007; https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/uk-catholic-bishops-compromise-on-gay-adoption-leads-to-charges-of-hypocris
  10. Only Leeds-based Catholic Care in the diocese of Lancaster continued until forced to shut down. See Hilary White, “UK Catholic Church Agency to Cease Adoption Work As government Forces Homosexual Adoption”, LifeSiteNews,July27,2007; https://www.lifesitenews. com/news/uk-catholic-church-agency-to-cease-adoption-work-as-government-forces-homos
  11. See learning outcomes on pp.16-17 in Department for Education, “Draft Statutory Guidance on Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education”, July 2018; https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/
  12. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills is a non-ministerial department of the UK government, reporting to Parliament.
  13. Catholic Education Service, “Catholic Church welcomes move to improve Relationship and Sex Education in all schools”, Press release, 19 July 2018: http://catholiceducation.org.uk/component/k2/item/1003657-catholic-church-welcomes-move-to-improve-relationship-and-sex-education-in-all-schools
  14. OFSTED, “Vishnitz Girls School: School Progress Monitoring Inspection Report”, 10 May 2017 (ref. 138516). Note, following the justifiably negative publicity on publication of this report, OFSTED subsequently replaced the original report with a redacted version (ref. 138515_5) on its website — one which had removed any direct references to ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender reassignment’, hence attempting to conceal the real reason why the school was failed.
  15. For a summary and further details of these and similar cases, see The Christian Institute, “OFSTED and ‘British Values’”, June 2017; available online at: https://www. christian.org.uk/resource/ofsted-british-values/
  16. Catherine Bryan, “Why Relationship and Sex Education is a must for all Catholic schools” [online article], Catholic Education Service, 20 June 2018; http://www.catholiceducation.org.uk/component/k2/item/1003652-why-relationship-and-sex-education-is-a-must-for-all-catholic-schools. The same article also appeared in “The Catholic Times”, 15 June 2018, (p.28).
  17. See learning outcomes 1.2.4.4 (p.7) and 2.1.3.4 (p.4) in Catholic Education Service, “A model Catholic Primary RSE curriculum”, Autumn 2016; http:/catholiceducation. org.uk/schools/relationship-sex-education
  18. Catholic Education Service, “A model Catholic Secondary RSE curriculum”, Autumn 2016 (pp.3-4); http://catholiceducation.org.uk/schools/relationship-sex-education
  19. For instance, it was reported that St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Wimbledon invited Stonewall to train staff on homophobic bullying “in order to comply with OFSTED requirements”, and subsequently became a Stonewall “Primary School Champion”. “Gay rights group called in to advise primary teachers”, Evening Standard, 15 May 2013; https:/www.standard.co.uk/news/education/gay-rights-group-called-in-to-advise-primary-teachers-8616681. html. It has also been reported that students training to be teachers were subjected to a Stonewall-run session on ‘homophobic bullying’ at the Catholic St Mary University, Twickenham; https://spuc-director.blogspot. com/2013/06/stonewall-scandal-at-catholic.html
  20. CES, “Model Catholic Secondary RSE curriculum”, 2016 (p.7).
  21. Learning to Love: An Introduction to Catholic Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) for Catholic Educators” (2017), Department of Catholic Education and Formation and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales; https://www.catholiceducation.org.uk/images/ Learning2love.pdf.pdf
  22. Catholic Education Service, “Made in God’s Image: Challenging homophobic and biphobic bullying in Catholic schools”, 2018 edn; http://catholiceducation.org.uk/ images/CES-Project_Homophobic-Bullying-Booklet_ JUN18_PROOF-9.pdf. For comment see, for instance, Deacon Nick Donnelly, “UK bishops’ group pushing radical LGBT propaganda in Catholic schools”, LifeSiteNews, 18 May 2017; https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/ uk-bishops-group-pushes-radical-lgbt-materials-in-catholic-schools. Also, Bishop Egan of Portsmouth has commented on the ‘ideological colonisation’ at work in our schools, including the influence of Stonewall and LGBT Youth on the CES’s “Made in God’s Image” document. Deacon Nick Donnelly, “Interview: UK bishop questions LGBT involvement in Catholic schools’ sexed program”, LifesiteNews, 22 May 2017; https://www.lifesitenews. com/news/interview-english-bishop-questions-lgbt-involvement-in-catholic-schools-sex
  23. CES, “Made in God’s Image” (2018), section 2, (p.5).
  24. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (signed by Cardinal Ratzinger), “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Persons”, 1 October 1986; http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_ cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html
  25. As pointed out, for instance, in three 2017 blog posts by the “Counter Cultural Father”: https://ccfather.blogspot. com/search?q=Made+in+God%27s+Image; See also Bishop Egan’s comments in an interview in LifesiteNews, 22 May 2017; https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/interview-english-bishop-questions-lgbt-involvement-in-catholic-schools-sex
  26. Welsh government, “Kirsty Williams announces focus on healthy relationships in major reforms to ‘Relationships and Sexuality’ education”, Press release, 22 May 2018; https://gov.wales/newsroom/educationandskills/2018/ kirsty-williams-announces-focus-on-healthy-relationships-in-major-reforms-to-relationships-and-sexuality-education/?lang=en
  27. Scottish government, “LGBTI education: Scotland will lead the way in inclusive education”, Press release 8 Nov 2018; https://www.gov.scot/news/lgbti-education/

The Disturbing Connection Between Your Birth Control and Vision Problems

https://naturalwomanhood.org/the-disturbing-connection-between-your-birth-control-and-vision-problems-031319/?fbclid=IwAR2z93daJxeqTHI31bppK9qM6x2PrCXGnP_Bef0-Xr30pwEbuUy4MOBjVP8

Pseudotumor cerebri. Intracranial hypertension. “False brain tumor.”

All of these terms mean the same thing, and each one can lead to the same thing for anyone afflicted with it: progressive, and potentially permanent, blindness.

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And according to multiple class action lawsuits, and backed up by research, intracranial hypertension (ICH) is also a rare, albeit extremely serious potential risk from intrauterine levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestogen widely distributed in the Mirena IUD (although other contraceptive formulations containing levonorgestrel, including Plan B—may also carry the same risk to varying degrees).

Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) literally translates to “false brain tumor,” and the term is used to describe increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure within the skull precisely because the symptoms it produces are highly similar to those caused by brain tumors—although, in cases of PTCthere is no actual tumor present. Just as someone with a brain tumor might experience changes or loss in vision, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and tinnitus among other symptoms, so too will someone with PTC be affected by these debilitating symptoms. In particular, the increased CSF pressure within the skull causes swelling of the optic nerve, which can cause changes and/or loss in vision, which may be permanent.

For many, the exact cause of PTC is unknown. Women, and particularly obese women, seem to have a higher risk of developing the condition, and pregnancy, thyroid conditions, and chronic kidney failure may all further exacerbate one’s risk. If the cause of PTC cannot be determined, it will be termed “idiopathic.” But for far too many women, the cause may be linked to their choice in contraceptive.

And although researchers have known for more than two decades that other levonorgestrel-releasing contraceptives (like the Norplant) have been linked with PTC, it is a complication that many women have suffered from—and a risk many claim was downplayed or unmentioned by their doctors and the drugs’ pharmaceutical companies alike.

This is sadly unsurprising news, given the conclusion of a recent study reviewing the number of Mirena-associated intracranial hypertension cases reported to the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS). Although researchers discovered “a higher than expected number of reports of ICH with Mirena in the FAERS database,” they nevertheless concluded that “the small risk of ICH may outweigh the risk of unintended pregnancies.”

Safer Family-Planning Options for Women

What I wish these researchers would acknowledge—and even more so, what I wish the women whose vision may be permanently damaged because of their choice in contraceptives knew—is that there is a better way for women to plan their families that involves absolutely no risk of PTC or its associated symptoms.

While long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like IUDs and implants may be among some of the most effective methods on the market at preventing pregnancy, modern methods of Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABM) and Natural Family Planning (NFP) can be just as effective at preventing pregnancy (depending on the method), and carry none of the debilitating, dangerous, or permanent risks of LARCs. And, although most women with an IUD will never experience PTC, wouldn’t it be better if doctors and pharmaceutical companies were open and honest about the very real risks presented by the various types of birth control, and knowledgeable about the many risk-free alternatives?

Recently, many women have reported that they felt unheard by their healthcare providers when they brought up concerns of birth control side effects. Which is why some OBGYNs have begun offering information on fertility awareness-based methods in their practices to give women a full range of options for them to choose from.

Unfortunately, there is very little money to be made by the medical establishment from FABM and NFP, especially when compared to all of the pharmaceutical options. So until more in the medical community embrace the science and research on fertility charting, women will have to be their own healthcare advocates and learn more about natural options of family planning. We always recommend that, if women are seeking FABM for pregnancy prevention, she should reach out to a certified FABM instructor to benefit from the highest effectiveness rates.

Many women who have made the switch from pharmaceutical birth control to natural family planning report that they couldn’t feel more empowered to know they have more awareness of what is going on in their bodies. They can also have the confidence of knowing they aren’t exposing themselves to drugs that could hurt them.

US bishop: Why we teach couples to reject contraception and embrace natural family planning

April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Marriage and family provide the foundation for Christian society, Bishop Joseph Strickland said in an interview. And there’s so much broken about that foundation, he said, as well as in the Church and the world today, that it’s imperative to help young couples who are seeking marriage with a strong formation in the Catholic faith – including teaching them about why contraception is morally wrong.

The Tyler, Texas bishop spoke with LifeSiteNews (read full interview below or click here) about his call as a bishop to teach the Catholic faith and a bold initiative to do so in his diocese wrapping up its second year. Strickland released the Constitution on Teaching in May 2017 and also established the Saint Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization, tasked with teaching the Catholic faith in his diocese.

The comprehensive plan to evangelize his flock includes a year of marriage formation that incorporates natural family planning and the Church’s teaching that Catholics are called to be open to life in marriage, embracing Pope St. Paul VI’s document Humanae Vitae. The truth of Church teaching is so profound, he said, that even though it’s not had acceptance in the last 50 years by many Catholics, it’s begun to resonate in and outside the Church.

“And with the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, we’ve focused on in the diocese that this is a truth that the Church has been teaching for those 50 years.”

The Church teaches in the 1968 encyclical that using contraception is always and in every case wrong. “Each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life,” states the document. According to this teaching, contraception blocks the marital act from its God-given procreative purpose, contradicting the husband and wife’s promise to give themselves to each other, totally and unreservedly — where nothing must be held back, including one’s own fertility.

The document has been largely ignored by the faithful, said Strickland,  by priests and even by bishops. Strickland told LifeSiteNews he had to admit, while he’s always believed what the Church said, that as a parish priest for many years, he also didn’t focus on it that much, because it really wasn’t very popular to focus on.

In Humanae Vitae Paul VI foretold various social ills that would befall the culture, such as marital infidelity, a general lowering of morality, growing disrespect for women and population control.

“If you read Humanae Vitae,” Strickland said, “Pope St. Pope Paul VI, in #14 of Humanae Vitae, he basically is prophetic and he lays out – This is where we’re headed if we ignore God’s plan for a married couple, open to life and not using contraception.”

“And I think we’ve ended up exactly where his prophetic prediction said we would end up,” continued Strickland. “So with all of that being realized, I felt that we need to start at the very foundation of the Christian community, which is marriage, and then the families that are formed on a solid marriage. “

Natural family planning, which respects the natural rhythms inherent in the human body, is part of this, he said.

Strickland, who has become noted for verbalizing the Church’s teaching on subjects such as sexual morality and abortion, discussed a number of things in the interview, speaking candidly about contraception.

He emphasizes that in speaking out about Church teaching he is doing his job as a bishop, and in most cases he is addressing his local flock in northeast Texas. But because it is relatively uncommon for a bishop to speak out, he’s come to stand out.

He tells LifeSiteNews that the Church’s teaching isn’t his truth; it’s Christ’s truth. And he’ll vocalize it as long as he’s a bishop. The fact it seems remarkable, he said, shows how secular society has become.

“Sadly, after 50 years of Humanae Vitae, it’s somewhat revolutionary to do what we’re doing,” Strickland told LifeSiteNews, “but it’s in line with what the Church has continued to teach for these 50 years. It’s been the official teaching. It’s been not emphasized that much.”

While it may be possible to overemphasize it, he says, he thinks it is very significant, because society’s problems today stem from disobedience to God, and contraception has become entrenched in the culture, including with Catholics.

“I guess the way I would put it is, everything traces back to ills of our society,” said Strickland, “which has been the case since Adam and Eve, it traces back to disobedience to God’s plan and to God’s will.”

“And so the contraceptive mentality that is very much in the Catholic community, and certainly in the non-Catholic, or even just humanity, contraception is accepted as something that is smart to use,” he said. “And it’s like you’re strange or you’re delusional if you’re not using contraception.”

“So it’s kind of a revolutionary idea,” he added, “but it is the teaching of the Church and I think there’s tremendous wisdom there.”

Strickland said there’s a real desire there on the part of many couples to learn NFP, especially after it’s really explained to them what God’s plan is and how natural family planning can be used properly.

This is true even in his area of Texas, he said, where less than 10 percent of the population in the geographical area of the diocese is Catholic.

“We’re finding more and more non-Catholics who are saying, ‘Hey, I think the Catholic Church has something here that we need to pay attention to,’” said Strickland.

“Because really, the Catholic Church — even as eroded as it is as far as Catholic practice — continues to teach that contraception is not morally acceptable,” Strickland said. “And we’re the only church that even attempts to teach that, and many of the non-Catholics individually are saying, we want to learn more about this because we think the Catholic Church is on to the truth of God’s plan.”

Strickland’s Constitution on Teaching can be accessed here.

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BENEDICT AND THE SCANDAL

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Writing nearly half a century ago (1970), the Italian Catholic philosopher Augusto Del Noce noted that

I often find myself envying unbelievers: Does not contemporary history provide abundant evidence that Catholics are a mentally inferior species? Their rush to conform to the opinion about Catholicism held by rationalist secularists is stunning.

Those words from his essay “The Ascendance of Eroticism” open Del Noce’s brilliant reflections—part analysis, part prophecy—on Europe’s then-current sexual revolution. At a time when a young priest named Joseph Ratzinger was predicting a smaller, more hard-pressed, but purer Church of the future in his 1969–70 German and Vatican radio interviews, Del Noce was explaining how it would happen. He foresaw that “the decisive battle against Christianity [can] be fought only at the level of the sexual revolution. And therefore the problem of sexuality and eroticism is today the fundamental problem from the moral point of view.”

History has proven him right, and for obvious reasons. Sex is both a powerful bond and a fierce corrosive, which is why, historically, nearly all human cultures have surrounded it with taboos that order its harmonious integration into daily life. The naive eagerness—“stupidity” would not be too strong a word for Del Noce’s purposes—of many mid-century Church progressives in accepting, or at least accommodating, sexual license as a form of human liberation, spearheaded the intellectual collapse of an entire generation of Catholic moral theology. Since the 1960s, license has morphed into widespread sexual and social dysfunction, conflict, and suffering—also foreseen by Del Noce.

Unfortunately, the lessons of the ’60s are steadfastly ignored today by much of the Church’s own intellectual class: Simply put, sex is tied intimately to anthropology, to human self-understanding and the purpose of the body. Thus, for the Church to remain the Church, there can be no concordat with behaviors fundamentally at odds with the Word of God and the Christian understanding of the human person as imago Dei. All such attempts lead inevitably to what Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI, pope emeritus) once called silent apostasy. The current situation with Germany’s bishops’ conference comes to mind; but the problem is wider than a single local Church.

In his April 10 essay “The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse,” a much older Joseph Ratzinger looks at the abuse phenomenon through the lens of his own life experience, dividing his text into three parts: origins of the crisis, initial Church responses, and what now needs to be done to heal Catholic life. The essay lacks some of the rigor of his earlier formal writings, and it will not satisfy those critics who see John Paul II and Benedict as slow in addressing the scale and gravity of the problem, but his words are nonetheless as clear and penetrating as ever.

Like the laypeople they serve and lead, priests are shaped by the culture from which they emerge. They should be held, rightly, to a higher standard because of their calling. But priests and bishops have no miraculous immunity to the abnormality bubbling around them. Ratzinger locates the seed of the current crisis in the deliberate turn toward sexual anarchy that marked much of Europe in the 1960s, and the complete failure of Catholic moral theologians to counter it—a failure that more often resembled fellow-traveling. He also notes, as did Del Noce, the dirty little secret of the sexual revolution: Relaxing sexual norms does not reduce an appetite for violence, including sexual violence. It does exactly the opposite.

Ratzinger acknowledges that “In various seminaries homosexual cliques were established which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.” He also notes a problem that infected leadership: “Above all, a criterion for the appointment of new bishops [became] now their ‘conciliarity,’ which of course could be understood to mean rather different things.”

Ratzinger seeks to explain the initially slow and inadequate Church response to the abuse problem. He correctly saw the abuse issue as a crisis impacting the integrity of the faith and not merely as a legal matter grounded in the rights of accused clergy. Thus he successfully forced the transfer of abuse cases from Congregation of the Clergy jurisdiction to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith where dealing with cases could be expedited. But even there, the scope of the problem proved larger than anyone anticipated. He remains silent on what many see as the continuing resistance of Rome to candidly name the core issue of the clergy abuse problem, which is not primarily a matter of clerical privilege but rather a pattern of predatory homosexuality.

Throughout his brief text, Ratzinger has moments of insight and genius that fall like rain in a desert, especially today. As in: “There are values which must never be abandoned for a greater value and even surpass the preservation of physical life. There is martyrdom. God is [about] more than physical survival. A life that would be bought by the denial of God, a life that is based on a final lie, is a non-life.” And: “A world without God can only be a world without meaning.” And: “A paramount task, which must result from the upheavals of our time, is that we ourselves once again begin to live by God and unto him.

The words of the pope emeritus are especially piercing when he speaks of the many contemporary Catholics who treat the Eucharist—the Real Presence of God in our midst; the source and summit of Christian life—as “a mere ceremonial gesture . . . that destroys the greatness of the Mystery.” Or when he notes that the Church today “is widely regarded as just some kind of political apparatus,” and even many bishops “formulate their conception of the Church of tomorrow almost exclusively in political terms.” And finally this:

Today the accusation against God is, above all, about characterizing his Church as entirely bad, and thus dissuading us from it. The idea of a better Church, created by ourselves, is in fact a proposal of the devil, with which he wants to lead us away from the living God through a deceitful logic by which we are too easily duped. No, even today, the Church is not just made up of bad fish and weeds. The Church of God also exists today, and today it is the very instrument through which God saves us . . .

Today’s Church is more than ever a Church of the Martyrs, and thus a witness to the living God. If we look around and listen with an attentive heart, we can find witnesses everywhere today, especially among ordinary people, but also in the high ranks of the Church, who stand up for God with their life and suffering. It is an inertia of the heart that leads us to not wish to recognize them. One of the great and essential tasks of our evangelization is, as far as we can, to establish habitats of faith and, above all, to find and recognize them.

Amen. Not much more need be said.

Toward the end of his own 1970 essay, Augusto Del Noce noted that “an enormous cultural revision will be necessary in order to really leave behind the philosophical processes that have found expression in today’s sexual revolution.” The bad news is that too many of today’s Catholics seem to lack the will and ability to pursue that task. The good news is that some of our leaders still have the courage to speak the truth.

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop of Philadelphia.

Ohio passes ban on aborting babies with beating hearts, governor to sign

COLUMBUS, April 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Ohio legislation to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected is finally becoming law Thursday, after a lengthy battle last year came up one vote short of overcoming a veto by the state’s previous governor.

Senate Bill 23 would ban aborting any baby once a heartbeat can be detected (around 6-8 weeks), except in cases of a physical threat to the mother. Violating physicians would face up to a year in prison and suspension or revocation of their medical licenses (with medical board fines going to finance foster and adoption services). Women would also be able to sue abortionists for wrongful death.

The legislation passed the state Senate in March, and passed the state House Tuesday on a 56-40 vote, Cleveland.com reports.

“Today is a historic day. The legislature and Governor DeWine have declared that no longer should the beating hearts of humans too young to be born be violently torn apart by abortion,” Mark Harrington, president of the pro-life group Created Equal, said in a statement. “If pro-abortion lobbies present a legal challenge to this Act, we will defend these babies all the way up to the Supreme Court. Changes on the bench signify an even better day for preborn babies may be on the horizon.”

Democrat state Rep. Beth Liston, who is a physician and a professor at Ohio State University, denied that preborn babies are alive by week 12. “Simply put, you need lungs and a brain in order to live,” she claimed. “And there’s no science or technology that we have that can replace that need.” In fact, settled biological criteria and numerous medical textbooks establish (and various abortionists admit) that a living human being is created upon fertilization and is present throughout the entirety of pregnancy.

As protesters loudly gathered outside the chamber, Democrats tried and failed to add multiple amendments to the bill, including rape and incest exceptions and a proposalby state Rep. Janine Boyd to specifically exempt black women from the ban, ensuring black babies would still be legally killable.

The legislature passed a nearly-identical heartbeat ban last year, but came one vote short of overriding a veto by former moderate Republican Gov. John Kasich, who claimed it was “contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion” and therefore wouldn’t be worth the cost of a drawn-out legal battle. This time around, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has vowed to “absolutely” sign it into law.

Numerous states have introduced or enacted heartbeat bills over the past several months. They ban abortion much earlier than the “viability” standard set by Roe v. Wade, which some cite to claim the bills would waste time and money on a doomed legal battle. But supporters argue that most state pro-life measures get sued anyway, and that the heartbeat ban will force a Supreme Court review that could finally overturn the 1973 ruling.

“Will there be a lawsuit? Yeah, we’re counting on it,” Republican state Rep. Ron Hood said. “We’re excited about it. Because this will be the law that ultimately reverses Roe v. Wade. Or there is several things they could do. They could hand it down to the states.”

Catholic hospital: We may refer pre-teens for IUDs without parental notice

Students for Life reports that due to the proposal of a school-based health center, public high school and middle school students at Sedro-Woolley High School and nearby middle school in Washington state may have IUDs inserted without their parent’s knowledge.

Initially, the proposal included referring students to Planned Parenthood for abortions. After strong objections from the community, PeaceHealth, a Catholic hospital that would conduct the proposed health center, decided not to refer minors to Planned Parenthood for abortion.

As Students for Life recently reported, a spokesperson for PeaceHealth said, “Our providers are empowered to discuss options with patients, including abortion; however, they can not give referrals.” However, girls as young as 13 could receive a referral for an IUD at PeaceHealth or another medical clinic without their parents finding out. The spokesperson clarified that IUDs would not be inserted in the school health center, but added, “if, within the context of the confidential patient/provider relationship, it is decided that an IUD is medically necessary, a PeaceHealth provider can insert an IUD.”

IUDs can have severe, sometimes life-threatening, complications if they migrate. Women are sharing their stories of complications they experienced with IUDs that are not often discussed. Many women who experienced complications said they were not informed about the severity of the potential issues. Minors receiving an IUD without their parent’s knowledge are taking on risks without guidance from an adult, and if complications do occur, those minors and their parents could face significant costs.

According to local news, Christina Jepperson, Sedro-Wooley High School Board President, insisted, “This isn’t going to be a condom clinic.” Trying to assuage parent’s fears, she said, “This really is primary care services. This isn’t any different than if you would go see your primary care or family doctor for.” However, Washington state law allows minor over the age of 13 to request confidential medical services, including getting IUDs and undergoing abortions. By placing a health center in the school that can give minors access to dangerous and abortifacient contraceptive devices, many parents still have valid concerns about the proposal.

Katie Lodjic, Washington Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America and a Sedro-Woolley High School alumna said, “Healthcare corporations like PeaceHealth should not be allowed to circumvent parents by inserting IUDs into minor girls without their parents’ knowledge. Parents deserve to be involved in the medical decisions of their minor children but the school board plan would undermine parental rights.”

Progressive writers are starting to admit the sexual revolution was a failure

In the Guardian, Yvonne Roberts writes about how grim the sexual revolution was. She was there, and describes the sexual permissiveness not as something liberating but something monstrous dressed up as “peace and love.” It was a dystopia that gave rise to a rape culture. But today she notes the marked decrease in sexual activity among young people. Porn is ubiquitous, and addictive, and exemplifies the Final End of the sexual revolution. Loveless, abusive, soul-destroying. We reached peak sex, and it wasn’t even good. She asks:

“Are we satiated? As a commodity, is junk sex now on the wane, just like shopping on the high street? Are the young beginning to recalibrate sex and also understand its invaluable connection with intimacy, social skills, self-awareness and mutual self-respect?”

Oddly, in a progressive culture which despises priestly celibacy, which is voluntary, some progressive writers are now willing to admit that the sexual revolution was a dystopic failure and that the rise of involuntary celibacy is “a sign of progress.”

That’s quite the admission. I wonder if they might actually arrive at a better view altogether. Sex is sacred. It is an earthly union which cooperates in the divine act of creating immortal beings. It belongs in the the temple of marriage alone, and nowhere else. Sex isn’t for selling, it’s for creating.

Men and women who give up this great good, this urge of our nature, should only do so for a much greater good: the salvation of souls. But most of us should not give up on sex. We should start trying to understand what it really is, and where it belongs.

‘As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West’

An interview with Cardinal Sarah

The Vatican cardinal discusses his hard-hitting new book in this exclusive interview with La Nef

Cardinal Robert Sarah is publishing the third of his book-length interviews with Nicolas Diat: The Day is Far Spent. An unflinching diagnosis, but one full of hope in the midst of the spiritual and moral crisis of the West.

1) In the first part of your book, you describe “a spiritual and religious collapse.” How does this collapse manifest itself? Does it only affect the West or are other regions of the world, such as Africa, also affected by it?

The spiritual crisis involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. People in the West are guilty of rejecting God. They have not only rejected God. Friedrich Nietzsche, who may be considered the spokesman of the West, has claimed: “God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him…” We have murdered God. In view of God’s death among men, Nietzsche would replace him with a prophetic “Superman.”

The spiritual collapse thus has a very Western character. In particular, I would like to emphasize the rejection of fatherhood. Our contemporaries are convinced that, in order to be free, one must not depend on anybody. There is a tragic error in this. Western people are convinced that receiving is contrary to the dignity of human persons. But civilized man is fundamentally an heir, he receives a history, a culture, a language, a name, a family. This is what distinguishes him from the barbarian. To refuse to be inscribed within a network of dependence, heritage, and filiation condemns us to go back naked into the jungle of a competitive economy left to its own devices. Because he refuses to acknowledge himself as an heir, man is condemned to the hell of liberal globalization in which individual interests confront one another without any law to govern them besides profit at any price.

In this book, however, I want to suggest to Western people that the real cause of this refusal to claim their inheritance and this refusal of fatherhood is the rejection of God. From Him we receive our nature as man and woman. This is intolerable to modern minds. Gender ideology is a Luciferian refusal to receive a sexual nature from God. Thus some rebel against God and pointlessly mutilate themselves in order to change their sex. But in reality they do not fundamentally change anything of their structure as man or woman. The West refuses to receive, and will accept only what it constructs for itself. Transhumanism is the ultimate avatar of this movement. Because it is a gift from God, human nature itself becomes unbearable for western man.

This revolt is spiritual at root. It is the revolt of Satan against the gift of grace. Fundamentally, I believe that Western man refuses to be saved by God’s mercy. He refuses to receive salvation, wanting to build it for himself. The “fundamental values” promoted by the UN are based on a rejection of God that I compare with the rich young man in the Gospel. God has looked upon the West and has loved it because it has done wonderful things. He invited it to go further, but the West turned back. It preferred the kind of riches that it owed only to itself.

Africa and Asia are not yet entirely contaminated by gender ideology, transhumanism, or the hatred of fatherhood. But the Western powers’ neo-colonialist spirit and will to dominate pressures countries to adopt these deadly ideologies.

2) You write that “Christ never promised his faithful that they would be in the majority” (pg. 34), and you go on: “Despite the missionaries’ greatest efforts, the Church has never dominated the world. The Church’s mission is a mission of love, and love does not dominate” (pg. 35). Earlier, you wrote that “it is the ‘small remnant’ that has saved the faith.” If you will pardon a bold question: What is the problem exactly, seeing that this “small remnant” does in fact exist currently and manages to survive even in a world hostile to the faith?

Christians must be missionaries. They cannot keep the treasure of the Faith for themselves. Mission and evangelization remain an urgent spiritual task. And as St. Paul says, every Christian should be able to say “If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). Further, “God desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). How can we do nothing when so many souls do not know the only truth that sets us free: Jesus Christ? The prevailing relativism considers religious pluralism to be a good in itself. No! The plenitude of revealed truth that the Catholic Church has received must be transmitted, proclaimed, and preached.

The goal of evangelization is not world domination, but the service of God. Don’t forget that Christ’s victory over the world is…the Cross! It is not our intention to take over the power of the world. Evangelization is done through the Cross.

The martyrs are the first missionaries. Before the eyes of men, their life is a failure. The goal of evangelization is not to “keep count” like social media networks that want to “make a buzz.” Our goal is not to be popular in the media. We want that each and every soul be saved by Christ. Evangelization is not a question of success. It is a profoundly interior and supernatural reality.

3) I’d like to go back to one of your points in the previous question. Do you mean to say that European Christendom, where Christianity was able to establish itself throughout the whole of society, was only a sort of interlude in history; that it should not be taken as a model in the sense that in Europe Christianity “dominated” and imposed itself through a kind of social coercion?

A society permeated by the Faith, the Gospel, and natural law is something desirable. It is the job of the lay faithful to construct it. That is in fact their proper vocation. They work for the good of all when they build a city in conformity with human nature and open to Revelation. But the more profound goal of the Church is not to construct a particular model society. The Church has received the mandate to proclaim salvation, which is a supernatural reality. A just society disposes souls to receive the gift of God, but it cannot give salvation. On the other hand, can there be a society that is just and in conformity with the natural law without the gift of grace working in souls? There is great need to proclaim the heart of our Faith: only Jesus saves us from sin. It must be emphasized, however, that evangelization is not complete when it takes hold of social structures. A society inspired by the Gospel protects the weak against the consequences of sin. Conversely, a society cut off from God quickly turns into a dictatorship and becomes a structure of sin, encouraging people toward evil. That is why we can say that there can be no just society without a place for God in the public sphere. A state that officially espouses atheism is an unjust state.  A state that relegates God to the private sphere cuts itself off from the true source of rights and justice. A state that pretends to found rights on good will alone, and does not seek to found the law on an objective order received from the Creator, risks falling into totalitarianism.

4) Over the course of European history, we have moved from a society in which the group outweighed the person (the holism of the Middle Ages) – a type of society that still exists in Africa and continues to characterize Islam – to a society in which the person is emancipated from the group (individualism). We might also say, broadly speaking, that we have passed from a society dominated by the quest for truth to a society dominated by the quest for freedom. The Church herself has developed her doctrine in the face of this evolution, proclaiming the right to religious liberty at Vatican II. How do you see the position of the Church toward this evolution? Is there a balance to be struck between the two poles of “truth” and “freedom,” whereas so far we have merely gone from one excess to the other?

It is not correct to speak of a “balance” between two poles: truth and freedom. In fact, this manner of speaking presupposes that these realities are external to and in opposition to one another. Freedom is essentially a tending toward what is good and true. The truth is meant to be known and freely embraced. A freedom that is not itself oriented and guided by truth is nonsensical. Error has no rights. Vatican II recalled the fact that truth can only be established by the force of truth itself, and not by coercion. It also recalled that respect for persons and their freedom should not in any way make us indifferent in relation to the true and the good.

Revelation is the breaking in of divine truth into our lives. It does not constrain us. In giving and revealing Himself, God respects the freedom that He Himself created. I believe that the opposition between truth and freedom is the fruit of a false conception of human dignity.

Modern man hypostatizes his freedom, making it an absolute to the point of believing that it is threatened when he accepts the truth. However, to accept the truth is the most beautiful act of freedom that man can perform. I believe that your question reveals how deeply the crisis of the Western conscience is really in the end a crisis of faith. Western man is afraid of losing his freedom by accepting the gift of true faith. He prefers to close himself up inside a freedom that is devoid of content. The act of faith is an encounter between freedom and truth. That is why in the first chapter of my book I have insisted on the crisis of faith. Our freedom comes to fulfillment when it says “yes” to revealed truth. If freedom says “no” to God, it denies itself. It asphyxiates.

5) You dwell at length on the crisis of the priesthood and argue for priestly celibacy. What do you see as the primary cause in the cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, and what do you think of the summit that just took place in Rome on this question?

I think that the crisis of the priesthood is one of the main factors in the crisis of the Church. We have taken away priests’ identity. We have made priests believe that they need to be efficient men. But a priest is fundamentally the continuation of Christ’s presence among us. He should not be defined by what he does, but by what he is: ipse Christus, Christ Himself. The discovery of many cases of sexual abuse against minors reveals a profound spiritual crisis, a grave, deep, and tragic rupture between the priest and Christ.

Of course, there are social factors: the crisis of the ‘60s and the sexualization of society, which rebound on the Church. But we must have the courage to go further. The roots of this crisis are spiritual. A priest who does not pray or makes a theatre out of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, a priest who only confesses rarely and who does not live concretely like another Christ, is cut off from the source of his own being. The result is death. I have dedicated this book to the priests of the whole world because I know that they are suffering. Many of them feel abandoned.

We, the bishops, bear a large share of responsibility for the crisis of the priesthood. Have we been fathers to them? Have we listened to them, understood and guided them? Have we given them an example? Too often dioceses are transformed into administrative structures. There are so many meetings. The bishop should be the model for the priesthood. But we ourselves are far from being the ones most ready to pray in silence, or to chant the Office in our cathedrals. I fear that we lose ourselves in secondary, profane responsibilities.

The place of a priest is on the Cross. When he celebrates Mass, he is at the source of his whole life, namely the Cross. Celibacy is a concrete means that permits us to live this mystery of the Cross in our lives. Celibacy inscribes the Cross in our very flesh. That is why celibacy is intolerable for the modern world. Celibacy is a scandal for modern people, because the Cross is a scandal.

In this book, I want to encourage priests. I want to tell them: love your priesthood! Be proud to be crucified with Christ! Do not fear the world’s hate! I want to express my affection as a father and brother for the priests  of the whole world.

6) In a book that has caused quite a stir [In the Closet of the Vatican, by Frédéric Martel], the author explains that there are many homosexual prelates in the Vatican. He lends credibility to Mgr Viganò’s denunciation of the influence of a powerful gay network in the heart of the Curia. What do you think of this? Is there a homosexual problem in the heart of the Church and if so, why is it a taboo?

Today the Church is living with Christ through the outrages of the Passion. The sins of her members come back to her like strikes on the face. Some have tried to instrumentalize these sins in order to put pressure on the bishops. Some want them to adopt the judgments and language of the world. Some bishops have caved in to the pressure. We see them calling for the abandonment of priestly celibacy or making unsound statements about homosexual acts. Should we be surprised? The Apostles themselves turned tail in the Garden of Olives. They abandoned Christ in His most difficult hour.

We must be realistic and concrete. Yes, there are sinners. Yes, there are unfaithful priests, bishops, and even cardinals who fail to observe chastity. But also, and this is also very grave, they fail to hold fast to doctrinal truth! They disorient the Christian faithful by their confusing and ambiguous language. They adulterate and falsify the Word of God, willing to twist and bend it to gain the world’s approval. They are the Judas Iscariots of our time.

Sin should not surprise us. On the other hand, we must have the courage to call it by name. We must not be afraid to rediscover the methods of spiritual combat: prayer, penance, and fasting. We must have the clear-sightedness to punish unfaithfulness. We must find the concrete means to prevent it. I believe that without a common prayer life, without a minimum of common fraternal life between priests, fidelity is an illusion. We must look to the model of the Acts of the Apostles.

With regard to homosexual behaviors, let us not fall into the trap of the manipulators. There is no “homosexual problem” in the Church. There is a problem of sins and infidelity. Let us not perpetuate the vocabulary of LGBT ideology. Homosexuality does not define the identity of persons. It describes certain deviant, sinful, and perverse acts. For these acts, as for other sins, the remedies are known. We must return to Christ, and allow him to convert us. When the fault is public, the penalties provided for by Church law must be applied. Punishment is merciful, an act of charity and fraternal love. Punishment restores the damage done to the common good and permits the guilty party to redeem himself. Punishment is part of the paternal role of bishops. Finally, we must have the courage to clearly apply the norms regarding the acceptance of seminarians. Men whose psychology is deeply and permanently anchored in homosexuality, or who practice duplicity and lying, cannot be accepted as candidates for the priesthood.

7) One chapter is dedicated to the “crisis of the Church.” When precisely do you place the beginning of this crisis and what does it consist in? In particular, how do you relate the “crisis of faith” to the crisis of “moral theology.” Does one precede the other?

The crisis of the Church is above all a crisis of the faith. Some want the Church to be a human and horizontal society; they want it to speak the language of the media. They want to make it popular. They urge it not to speak about God, but to throw itself body and soul into social problems: migration, ecology, dialogue, the culture of encounter, the struggle against poverty, for justice and peace. These are of course important and vital questions before which the Church cannot shut her eyes. But a Church such as this is of interest to no one. The Church is only of interest because she allows us to encounter Jesus. She is only legitimate because she passes on Revelation to us. When the Church becomes overburdened with human structures, it obstructs the light of God shining out in her and through her. We are tempted to think that our action and our ideas will save the Church. It would be better to begin by letting her save herself.

I think we are at a turning point in the history of the Church. The Church needs a profound, radical reform that must begin by a reform of the life of her priests. Priests must be possessed by the desire for holiness, for perfection in God and fidelity to the doctrine of Him who has chosen and sent them. Their whole being and all their activities must be put to the service of sanctity. The Church is holy in herself. Our sins and our worldly concerns prevent her holiness from diffusing itself. It is time to put aside all these burdens and allow the Church finally appear as God made Her. Some believe that the history of the Church is marked by structural reforms. I am sure that it is the saints who change history. The structures follow afterwards, and do nothing other than perpetuate the what the saints brought about.

We need saints who dare to see all things through the eyes of faith, who dare to be enlightened by the light of God. The crisis of moral theology is the consequence of a voluntary blindness. We have refused to look at life through the light of the Faith.

In the conclusion of my book, I speak about a poison from which are all suffering: a virulent atheism. It permeates everything, even our ecclesiastical discourse. It consists in allowing radically pagan and worldly modes of thinking or living to coexist side by side with faith. And we are quite content with this unnatural cohabitation! This shows that our faith has become diluted and inconsistent! The first reform we need is in our hearts. We must no longer compromise with lies. The Faith is both the treasure we have to defend and the power that will permit us to defend it.

8) The second and third parts of your book are about crisis in western societies. The subject is so vast, and you touch on so many important points–from the expansion of the  “culture of death” to the problems of consumerism tied to global liberalism, passing through questions of identity, transmission, Islamism, etc.–that it is impossible to address them all. Among these problems, which seem to you to be the most important and what are the principal causes for the decline of the West?

First I would like to explain why I, a son of Africa, allow myself to address the West. The Church is the guardian of civilization. I am convinced that western civilization is passing at present through a mortal crisis. It has reached the extreme of self-destructive hate. As during the fall of Rome, elites are only concerned to increase the luxury of their daily life and the peoples are being anesthetized by ever more vulgar entertainment. As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West! The barbarians are already inside the city. The barbarians are all those who hate human nature, all those who trample upon the sense of the sacred, all those who do not value life, all those who rebel against God the Creator of man and nature. The West is blinded by science, technology, and the thirst for riches. The lure of riches, which liberalism spreads in hearts, has sedated the peoples. At the same time, the silent tragedy of abortion and euthanasia continue and pornography and gender ideology destroy children and adolescents. We are accustomed to barbarism. It doesn’t even surprise us anymore! I want to raise a cry of alarm, which is also a cry of love. I do so with a heart full of filial gratitude for the Western missionaries who died in my land of Africa and who communicated to me the precious gift of faith in Jesus Christ. I want to follow their lead and receive their inheritance!

How could I not emphasize the threat posed by Islamism?  Muslims despise the atheistic West. They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion. Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity. To the countries of the third world, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism. This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.

9) You end this beautiful book with a section entitled “Rediscovering Hope: The Practice of the Christian Virtues.” What do you mean by this? In what way can practicing these virtues be a remedy for the multifarious crisis we have spoken about in this interview?

We should not imagine a special program that could provide a remedy for the current multi-faceted crisis. We have simply to live our Faith, completely and radically. The Christian virtues are the Faith blossoming in all the human faculties. They mark the way for a happy life in harmony with God. We must create places where they can flourish. I call upon Christians to open oases of freedom in the midst the desert created by rampant profiteering. We must create places where the air is breathable, or simply where the Christian life is possible. Our communities must put God in the center. Amidst the avalanche of lies, we must be able to find places where truth is not only explained but experienced. In a word, we must live the Gospel: not merely thinking about it as a utopia, but living it in a concrete way. The Faith is like a fire, but it has to be burning in order to be transmitted to others. Watch over this sacred fire! Let it be your warmth in the heart of this winter of the West. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31). In the disaster, confusion, and darkness of our world, we find “the light that shines in the darkness” (cf. Jn 1:5): He who said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6).

Translated from the French by Zachary Thomas (Original)

Note: the French text published by La Nef edited the text of the interview given by the Cardinal. This is a translation of the integral text supplied by the Cardinal.

Ignatius Press has announced the 2019 publication of an English translation entitled The Day is Far Spent, available for pre-order on their website.

Talking About Pro-Life Progress

by 

Hundreds of Pro-Life Bills

To anyone who’s been paying attention, it’s clear that the pro-life movement is gaining enormous momentum. However, if you still have any doubts about pro-life progress, you need only glance at Planned Parenthood’s latest press release, responding to data just published by the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s former research arm.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, since the beginning of this year over 250 pro-life bills have been introduced in over 41 states. Almost 50% of those bills would ban abortion in “some or all circumstances,” says the organization. In fact, according to Planned Parenthood’s analysis, legislators in seven states have proposed bills that would completely ban abortion, while six states are considering or have passed “trigger bans” that would ban abortion if or when Roe v. Wade is repealed.

Elizabeth Nash, the Senior State Issues Manager at the Guttmacher Institute, linked the glut of pro-life bills to both the conservative shift on the Supreme Court, and the increasingly open efforts of the pro-life movement to enact total abortion bans. “Energized by a new Supreme Court, anti-abortion activists and politicians have kicked into high gear their decades-long agenda to ban abortion through a series of increasingly radical and dangerous abortion bans,” she stated.

Nash claimed, disingenuously, that the pro-life bills being introduced “are about exerting control and power over pregnant people.” But, for the growing number of Americans who call themselves pro-life, this claim is simply absurd. The goals of the pro-life movement have nothing to do with controlling pregnant women; they have to do with protecting the lives of the unborn children that science and ultrasound technology have revealed beyond any shadow of a doubt to be just as fully alive and human as you or I.

Extremist leftist organizations like Planned Parenthood, which have built their ideology on denying or conscientiously burying basic scientific truths, are struggling to remain relevant now that those scientific truths are so undeniable and publicly accessible, thanks both to technology and the tireless efforts of the pro-life movement.

Indeed, the absurdity of the Guttmacher Institute’s ideological extremism is on display in Nash’s remark about pro-lifers wanting to control “pregnant people.” One of the pro-abortion movement’s latest dogmas is that men can get pregnant – i.e. so-called “transgender men,” which is to say, biological women who now claim that they are men. This claim is at least as absurd as the claim that the unborn child is just a “blob of tissue” that magically becomes a living human person either the moment the “pregnant person” (i.e. mother) decides that she wants the baby, or that the baby emerges from the birth canal.

Planned Parenthood Panicking

Another immensely encouraging piece of news from the Guttmacher Institute’s report is that six states have only a single abortion facility left. In other words, these states are on the verge of eliminating surgical abortions from their borders even without passing legislation banning abortions. In fact, statistics show that the number of abortion clinics across the country has plummeted over the last two decades. According to Operation Rescue, in 2018 the total number of abortion clinics in the U.S. fell to 697. That’s a decrease of 79% since 1991. The Washington Post blames many of these closures on the successful passage of pro-life progress in legislation.

The massive growth in such pro-life legislation, and closure of abortion clinics, coincides with a dramatic decrease in the U.S. abortion rate. According to the CDC, the U.S. abortion rate reached a historical low in 2015. That translates into millions of lives saved.

Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen sounds panicked, as well she might. “Today, the reality we live in is a terrifying one for women around the country,” she claimed. As is typical of Planned Parenthood, Wen deceptively attempted to link the reduction in abortion clinics to disruptions in access to services like cancer screenings and STD and HIV testing. In reality, pro-lifers have thoroughly debunked Planned Parenthood’s past claims to offer mammograms (Even the pro-abortion Washington Post had to admit that pro-lifers were right). Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood’s own public numbers show that most of their non-abortion-related services have been declining for years, while abortions keep climbing.

Click to read more about the real Planned Parenthood and its genesis.

However, Wen is quite right when she bemoans the fact that “access to abortion care is disappearing in states.” But far from a “terrifying” reality for women, this means that many more young girls will have a chance to be born, rather than being flushed down the drains at Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities before they ever even have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. So, too, many more young women will have the opportunity to pursue a happy, meaningful life without carrying the burden of shame and regret that so often follows after accepting Planned Parenthood’s bleak, self-centered, and murderously-maintained worldview.

Crucially, many of the bills introduced around the country are so-called “heartbeat bills,” which would ban abortion after the point when the baby’s heartbeat can be detected. Such bills would not only prevent the overwhelming majority of abortions from taking place but present a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. If passed into law, such bills would inevitably be challenged in court, ultimately ending up at the Supreme Court, which would have the opportunity to revisit the notorious case that ushered abortion-on-demand into the United States. Pro-abortion activists clearly believe that they may very well see Roe v. Wade overturned within months or a few years. It’s up to us, with God’s grace, to ensure that their fears are well-founded.

Interestingly, even many of the massive liberal corporations which, in the past, have not hesitated to use their influence to threaten individual states if they should pass legislation that goes against the leftist agenda have declined to publicly oppose the heartbeat bills being introduced in states like Georgia. I think the reason why is obvious: public opinion is trending pro-life. Corporations that threatened Georgia for passing religious liberty legislation a few years ago know that they can’t risk associating their brand with the killing of unborn babies.

The Pro-Abortion Movement’s Worst Year Ever?

Amidst the hundreds of pro-life bills that have been introduced, a more conservative Supreme Court, a president who seems determined to fulfill his pro-life promises in the face of any amount of backlash, and the release of what may well be the most successful pro-life movie ever made – Unplanned, telling the story of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson – the abortion industry in the United States seems set to have what may well turn out to be its worst year since the Supreme Court first passed Roe v. Wade.

Click for more on “Unplanned” and the truth about Planned Parenthood. Footage courtesy EWTN

 

That said, pro-lifers should be wary of growing even a little bit complacent. Pro-abortion forces are terrified, and in response they are rallying their supporters and legislative allies to push back…hard. As Planned Parenthood noted in its release, the pro-life bills “have triggered a counter response from constituents and reproductive health care champions”. This, in part, explains the glut of attempts (some of which have been successful) to pass laws enshrining the most extreme versions of legal abortion in states like New York and Virginia.

We live in chaotic times, and there is much to be worried about in terms of the state and future of our culture. However, if respect for the sanctity of human life is, as Pope St. John Paul II so often proclaimed, the necessary foundation for a healthy society, then it would seem we have great reason for both hope and gratitude: gratitude that so many lives are already being saved thanks to our country’s pro-life direction, and hope that within our lifetimes we may yet see the end of the reign of terror that is legalized abortion-on-demand.

Male and female brains are different, even in the womb: new study

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, April 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A new scientific study has found that pre-born babies’ brains show significant differences between sexes and thus before any parental or societal conditioning.

In the April 2019 edition of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, an article titled “Sex differences in functional connectivity during fetal brain development” details the authors’ study of 118 unborn babies (70 male, 48 female) between 25.9 and 39.6 weeks gestational age. By looking at 16 distinct networks of the brains, they found differences between male and female fetuses in functional connectivity across gestational age. They concluded, “These observations confirm that sexual dimorphism in functional brain systems emerges during human gestation.”

The study concluded, “The differential development of FC over gestation in male and female fetuses likely acts as a precursor to sex-related brain connectivity differences observed across the lifespan. Further, the fetal brain networks observed in the present study likely serve as the building blocks for nascent neonatal, toddler, and adult networks.”

Dr. Leonard Sax, a physician and psychologist, wrote in Psychology Today that the new study is in line with previous studies showing that female infants “have significantly greater brain volume in the prefrontal cortex compared with males.” He wrote that some of the sex differences the researchers found are “truly amazing.” Girls showed differences in the connections in the left cerebellum, for example, as well as other areas of the brain, when compared to boys. The cerebellum lies near the base of the skull and has an important role in motor control. It may also be involved in functions such as attention, language, and the regulation of fear and pleasure responses.

In an interview with CNA, Sax said the importance of the study is that it shows that sexual differences in brain development come before birth. “Exactly what those differences signify is controversial,” he added.

Sax recalled in the Psychology Today article that Professor Judith Butler, a non-scientist, has been celebrated for her idea that “male” and “female” categories are social constructs. He quotes Butler, who says that “because gender is not a fact, the various acts of gender creates [sic] the idea of gender, and without those acts, there would be no gender at all.” Butler’s book, Gender Trouble, has been influential for decades among transgenderism advocates, who have argued that sexual differences are conditioned by parents and societal norms. The new study throws the resultant gender theory into doubt, Sax writes, because it focuses on babies before birth and thus before any influence from parents or society.

While transgender advocates attribute gender differences to societal prejudices and norms, for Sax, “girls and boys are different,” according to CNA. Sax believes that “girl” and “boy” are “meaningful categories” that are not a performance or social construct.

Ohio abortion center loses appeal to stay open without hospital transfer agreement

KETTERING, April 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — An embattled abortion facility in Ohio has lost the latest round of its legal battle to stay open despite lacking the required hospital transfer agreement, with the next step potentially being the state Supreme Court.

In 2016, state health officials revoked Women’s Med Center of Dayton (WMCD)’s ambulatory surgical facility license, citing alleged rule violations. County court judge Mary Wiseman let WMCD remain open while challenging the decision but went on to rule that the “court lacks the jurisdiction” to intervene in the case.

Women’s Med, which is roughly four miles away from two hospitals, has been unable to secure a written agreement with area hospitals to admit patients in cases of complications. But Jennifer Branch, an attorney representing WMCD, claims the requirement is “medically unnecessary and politically motivated” because hospitals would be required to take emergency patients anyway.

Operation Rescue notes, however, that WMCD has a history of medical emergencies, including a 26-year-old woman hemorrhaging after a surgical abortion last month and an unconscious woman rushed to the hospital the month before after the abortion center’s staff were unable to treat her seizures. WMCD is owned by the infamous late-term abortionist Martin Haskell, who has been credited with inventing the partial-birth abortion procedure.

Ohio’s Second District Court of Appeals took up Women’s Med’s appeal on March 12, and on Friday a three-judge panel sided with the state, the Dayton Daily Newsreports.

“It is ridiculous for an abortion facility that cannot comply with licensing standards to stay open for four, five, or six years until the appeals can be exhausted and the clinic finally closed,” Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said. “In the meantime, women are suffering abortion complications and are being transported away by ambulance. These all could have been avoided had the appeals process allowed for the closure of this dangerous abortion clinic within a reasonable time frame.”

“The state’s law is intended to protect the health of the mother and the unborn child, and clearly the court agreed,” said Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani. “If the clinic decides to appeal to the Supreme Court, I’m confident the state law will continue to be upheld. Otherwise, the clinic should be immediately closed, and countless lives in the Dayton region will be saved.”

Branch confirmed that WMCD intends to appeal the case to the Ohio Supreme Court.

“We are one step away from one ending the child-killing career of one of the most notorious full-term abortionists in America,” Newman said. “It’s just unfortunate that it will likely take another year of appeals before we can finally see Haskell’s late-term clinic closed.”

The consequences of a plummeting birth rate

Shannon Roberts | Apr 2 2019

Today I recommend to you some interesting demographic insights from Lyman Stone, speaking on The Federalist Radio Hour.   You can listen here.  Some of the points I found interesting are:

– Are demographers considering what individual people actually want for their lives?  Lyman Stone argues that this is the meaningful question demographers should ask, particularly in relation to developing countries, and it is often a blind spot.

– The United States is at the lowest fertility rate in its history, as are many other countries around the world, so we are in an anomalous period in the world’s history.

– People often think the fewer people there are in the world, the more of the ‘pie’ will be left for them.  This is wrong because, in fact, the ‘pie’ gets a lot smaller when there are fewer people, and there is less for everyone.  The economy will get smaller, and who will be left to buy your assets such as your house and stocks?  How will businesses you invest in stay afloat with no new innovative people?

So, while it might make financial sense at an individual level to have fewer children and have more money left for you, at a societal level there will be less for everyone when you do this.The perspective of individuals does not match what society as a whole needs in this case.

– Climate change is a challenge of creativity and reducing emissions intensity.  The good news is we’re good at this.  In fact, the only meaningful thing we can do about emissions based on the current generally agreed scientific projections (if you take these as fact), is to come up with new innovations and technology at this point – which helps every country in the world lower their emissions too. Reducing population is too delayed based on the arguments and projections driving climate change.

Birth Dearth Reflects Moral Sterility.

By Father George Rutler, 24 March 2019

There is a law that the time required to complete a task matches the time available. The feast of the Annunciation fits conveniently in the Lenten cycle this year, as the season comes unusually late. Our Lady conceived when she said “Yes” to the Creator. Many today are saying “No.” In some parts of our country there is growth in the number of seminarians, but in most places the harvest is sparse, and that is directly related to the dearth of children. The birth rate is the lowest in history: 60.2 births for every 1,000 women. We may be contracting a contagion of barrenness from Europe, which is dying because of a birth rate of 10 per 1,000 women and is desperately trying to survive by radically transforming its culture through massive immigration. It is projected that within ten years, the European Union will experience a 14% decrease in its workforce and a 7% decrease in its consumer populations.

A birth dearth reflects moral sterility. There is one condition shared by the heads of state or government in France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Sweden, Holland, Scotland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Luxembourg: none of them have any children. Why should they care about future generations? There actually are voices calling for a complete elimination of births, on the claim that anthropogenic “climate change” will destroy the world in twenty years anyway. Many of them, whose mothers were of a different school of thought, may not remember that fifty years ago, a book titled The Population Bomb predicted that within ten years, hundreds of millions would have died of starvation and that most of its readers would have starved to death by now. Practicing what he preached, the author had a vasectomy and now—at the age of 85—still has an adequate food supply. Confident that theory takes precedent over fact, he maintains that his core thesis was correct.

State legislation and cultural pressures are increasingly hostile to families, which in various ways are looked on as threats to government. Governmental and societal forces promote contraception, abortion, easy divorce, and welfare structures that encourage fatherless households. If the Church is true to herself in her teaching and example, she will be the solace of civilization in this new demographic dark age.

Giving thanks in these Lenten days for Our Lady’s “Yes,” we look to the words of Saint John Paul II: “I wish to invoke the protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth. … It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families. … St. Joseph was a ‘just man’… May he always guard, protect and enlighten families. May the Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of the Church, also be the Mother of ‘the Church of the home.’ . . . May Christ the Lord, the Universal King, the King of Families, be present in every Christian home as He was at Cana, bestowing light, joy, serenity, and strength” (Familiaris Consortio #86).

 

https://fathergeorgerutler.podbean.com

Catholic College Success Stories

By Father George Rutler, 31 March 2019

Thirty-five years ago I admired the neo-Gothic buildings of a Catholic college in Westchester County. But I was surprised to find that the confessional in the beautiful chapel was being used as a broom closet. There had been some misunderstanding about aggiornamento, or bringing the practice of the Faith up to date. That was the College of New Rochelle, begun in 1904 by the Ursuline sisters whose Religious institute was founded by Saint Angela Merici and who have graced the Church since 1535 with hospitals and schools and missionary work. They have not been unique in their numerical decline. In the United States since 1965, when the Second Vatican Council ended with sentiments of a “New Springtime” of the Church, Religious sisters have declined from 181,421 to 47,160, and most of those left are aged. This year the College of New Rochelle will close.

While various factors for all this may be cited, many Religious orders, trained in obedience, accepted bad advice from misguided and misguiding theologians and leaders. Bishops often have been at fault, timorous about correcting error, cheerily giving out diplomas while the spiritual foundations of the schools sank. It took courage usually lacking to point out that serious mistakes were being made, and many Religious dug into their errors, abandoning community life and even Religious habits, and replacing doctrine with secular dogmas about “Peace and Justice” and “climate change”—all witness to the dictum, attributed to various sources, that ”Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”

Such need not be the case, given a dose of humility and sanity. Those who stubbornly will not admit mistakes are easily annoyed when shown new Religious orders, faithful to classical doctrine and religious practice, that are rapidly growing. Something similar is happening in education. Take just two examples: Thomas Aquinas College has emphasized quality over size since its founding in 1971 and has become one of the best regarded colleges in California. This year, it is opening a beautiful additional campus on an historic site in Massachusetts. Its California chapel, built in the Spanish Mission style, is a magnificent witness to Catholic heritage, as is the new chapel planned for Christendom College in Virginia, which was founded just a few years after Thomas Aquinas College. In the few years of their existence, although primarily lay institutions, Thomas Aquinas has produced 60 priests, 44 consecrated Religious women and men, and 26 seminarians; Christendom boasts so far 80 priests, 55 Religious, and 22 seminarians. Those colleges have not turned their confessionals into broom closets.

Any individual or institution that seeks happiness on its own terms will not find it. Chesterton asks, “Do you have joy without a cause…?” On Laetare Sunday, the Church rejoices in the true cause of joy, which is God Himself. The failings evident in practical experience testify to what happens when vanity tries to usurp Him.

 

https://fathergeorgerutler.podbean.com

Is it ethical to give emergency contraception in Catholic hospitals?

Chris Kahlenborn, MD

March 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Each year, over 250,000 women get sexually assaulted in the United States, while the actual number of victims is likely far higher, considering that less than 40% of victims report their assaults. Of the women who do go to an emergency room, almost all will get a pregnancy test, and if the test is negative, almost all will receive emergency contraception, usually Plan B, which consists of a hormone called levonorgestrel, given with the hope that it will prevent pregnancy. The main ethical debate concerns the question of whether this medication works via preventing pregnancy or via ending pregnancy (i.e., an early abortion).

So what is the policy of Catholic hospitals in the United States with regard to the dispensation of emergency contraception? A few Catholic hospitals forbid its use; however, many Catholic hospitals dispense emergency contraception under certain conditions and follow the Peoria Protocol, which was invented in Peoria, Illinois, under then-bishop Myers.

Simply put, this protocol states that it is ethical to dispense emergency contraception such as Plan B to a woman who is sexually assaulted if she is not pregnant and has not yet ovulated. The premise behind the protocol is that Plan B will stop a woman from ovulating if she is about to ovulate and therefore prevent any potential pregnancy.

However, recent research has shown that giving Plan B to women who are about to ovulate does little to stop the upcoming ovulation, as noted by researchers Noe and Croxatto (2011, Contraception), who found that one could easily measure when a woman ovulates by high-tech ultrasound and noted that about 80% of the women ovulated if Plan B was given 2–5 days prior to ovulation.

So if Plan B does not effectively prevent ovulation, then how does it stop pregnancy? The answer is that these women are likely getting pregnant, but the embryo dies prior to ever implanting in the uterus — that is, an early abortion.

In light of the newest data, the Catholic Medical Association, the largest group of Catholic physicians in the United States, has published its official position on its website, concluding that the Peoria Protocol is flawed and that the dispensation of emergency contraception such as Plan B in Catholic emergency rooms is immoral.

The obvious question is, why is Plan B still being given out in Catholic hospitals’ emergency rooms?

One of the problems regarding Plan B and its mechanism of action is that it is a very technical area, so those who favor the dispensation of Plan B often make old claims that are not supported by the most current medical literature. In response, the Polycarp Research Institute has produced a video that goes into more detail and refutes these older arguments while presenting the most current evidence.

It is everyone’s hope that rape victims, whether pregnant or not, receive the most compassionate and effective care available. Unfortunately, using Plan B and continuing to cite the faulty Peoria Protocol, based upon what we now know, is simply an immoral compromise — with the unintended consequence of the loss of human life and the abandonment of truly loving and courageous Christian health care.

Incredible new technology offers hope for babies with heart problems

March 27, 2019 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) — Scientists have created unprecedented 3D images of a baby’s heart while still inside the womb — a development which could help the treatment of babies with congenital heart disease.

Standard 2D images were taken using an MRI machine, and the images were then put through a powerful computer program developed by experts at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. The technology pieces the images together and adjusts for the speed of the baby’s heartbeat and its movements in the womb to create an unprecedented 3D image of the heart.

This then gives doctors a clear view of any abnormality.

To help babies with heart disease or screen them out? 

Congenital heart diseases affect up to eight in every 1,000 babies born in the UK. According to a Danish study, the rate of abortion for babies with major congenital heart disease (CHD) increased from 0.6% in 1996 to 39.1% in 2013 — a 65 fold increase.

However, Prof Reza Razavi, a consultant paediatric cardiologist, told the BBC that he wanted to improve the diagnosis of the birth defects after his daughter was born with one. “We thought we were going to lose her, that was a strong motivator… we should be able to pick up the problem in the womb,” he said.

He describes the 3D images as “beautiful” and says they let doctors clearly see the problem and improve care. He said: “We can have complete certainty and plan ahead what treatment is needed, what’s the operation we need to do.

“It really helps the parents to have the right support to know what’s going to happen. But it also really helps the babies because they get the right operation at the right time and have the best outcomes.”

The research is part of the iFind project, which also produced this incredible video of a twenty-week-old baby in the womb.

Let’s hope that this incredible technology is used to provide care for babies with heart disease, and is not used as another tool to screen them out.

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

More evidence shows Catholic Relief Services still involved in promoting contraception

March 27, 2019 (Lepanto Institute) — Catholic Relief Services is currently in the middle of a national fund-raising campaign, and Catholics all around the country have been contacting the Lepanto Institute, asking if CRS is still involved in the promotion of contraception. Sadly, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Last year, we reported that CRS is a dues-paying member ($56,000 per year) of an organization called InterAction, which actively lobbies Congress for the expansion of contraception and the end of the Mexico City Policy. Last week, we reported how CRS Executive Vice-President William O’Keefe testified before Congress to request nearly $9 billion for USAID, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund, which comprise the largest distributors of contraception and condoms throughout the world.

Our latest report on a CRS project (which can be read in full by clicking here) shows that from 2013 to 2018, Catholic Relief Services participated in a project which had the stated objective of spreading contraception to vulnerable women living in poverty in rural areas of Madagascar. CRS’s role in this project was to create a self-sustaining financial mechanism that would provide funding to Community Health Volunteers, whose job (among other things) it was to teach women all about contraception and to sell them various pills and devices.

Background

The USAID Mikolo Project, which ran from August 2013 to July 2018, was a continuation of another project in Madagascar called SanteNet2. At the close of SanteNet2 in March of 2013, USAID noticed that its efforts to spread contraception through Community Health Volunteers was not achieving the level of independent sustainability it had hoped. In January of 2013, USAID conducted an “Assessment of Community Health Volunteer Program Functionality in Madagascar” wherein it sought “how to finance the CHV program to make it sustainable.” The report said:

Recommendations included determining how to finance the CHV program to make it sustainable. One representative called for a line item in the Government budget at decentralized levels to cover CHV services. Another said that some FP services were free at health centers but that CHVs had to ask for a fee to recoup the costs of medicines and supplies, though the service was free. This particularly applied with medications that were purchased through the community. Poverty in remote areas precluded asking for contributions from the communities.

Analamanga’s community representatives were concerned about stimulating and sustaining CHVs’ motivation. They acknowledged the efforts CHV had to make and cited a need for financial incentives. One representative explained that the work interfered with a CHV’s personal (especially marital) life, since many were approached at night, especially for MNCH emergencies. In one case, a CHV’s husband opposed his wife’s CHV activity due to the frequent disruptions. Financial incentives, e.g., compensation for travel expenses, could help retain CHVs. Providing resources to communities to organize incentives was suggested.

The answer to this problem of providing incentives for CHVs to continue their work in the community (and away from their homes and farm work) while making sure the project was self-sustaining (as in, not reliant upon outside funding) came in the form of Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC).

An October 2015 USAID document titled “COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER INCENTIVES IN MADAGASCAR: LESSONS LEARNED” explained that:

The most common financial incentives across all interviewed CHWs included per diem for attending trainings and meetings, user fees from the sale of medicines and commodities, performance-based financing (PBF) incentives, and referral payments for FP [family planning] services. Some CHWs were also involved in program-supported savings and internal lending communities (SILCs) and income generating activities, while others received free enrollement [sic] in community health insurance schemes.

The Problem

There are two basic elements to the project which must be understood in order to grasp the problem: Community Health Volunteers (CHV) and their role in promoting contraception; Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC) and their role in financing CHVs.

Community Health Volunteers and Contraception

The role of the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) is very clear. They are to provide service delivery for various health-related issues in rural communities, including contraception. The Final Performance Evaluation of the Mikolo Project, which was published in Dec. of 2017, gives a concise explanation for the use of CHVs in the project:

Working in eight of Madagascar’s 22 regions, in 43 Districts, 506 communes and 3,557 fokontany (communities) over the past three years, the Project has re-established a strong community based service delivery mechanism through the strengthening of the quality of service delivery by more than 6,500 community health volunteers (CHV). By focusing on communities which are greater than five kilometers from a nearest health facility, the Mikolo Project is ensuring that the most underserved of Madagascar’s population are receiving quality integrated health services for women and children under five years old. CHVs are the community linchpin in ensuring a strong continuum of care by:

  • offering family planning services to women of reproductive age, including youth …

In the very first report for the Mikolo Project (1 August–30 September 2013) it was established that the promotion and distribution of contraception was a priority. The report identifies on page 7 what it referred to as sub-purpose 2 of the project, namely, “increase the number of CHVs, fortify linkages with providers of long-acting and permanent methods (LAPMs) of FP, and improve commodity security.” In other words, CHVs were to be used as mules for contraception throughout the community.

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What is clear from this information is that Catholic Relief Services would have known from the very beginning of this project that the spread of contraception was integral to its success. In fact, in the portion of this report which delineates CRS’s responsibilities regarding the establishment of microfinance institutions is a statement that CRS will not be asked to provide service delivery related to family planning and reproductive health:

CRS will not be asked to provide service delivery related to family planning and reproductive health. Specifically, it is expected that CRS will lead all activities related to microfinance. Drawing from international and Madagascar specific experiences, CRS will facilitate the establishment of commune-level COSAN Savings and Loans Funds (CSLF)/Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLAs). CRS will establish partnerships with Microfinance Institutions and determine the demand for client centered loan products available through COSANs.

The role of CHVs in the promotion and distribution of contraception is made abundantly clear in dozens of documents, but a USAID report titled “USAID/Madagascar and Community Health Volunteers: Working in Partnership to Achieve Health Goals” explains on page 9, under the heading “CHV Package of Services,” the contraceptive services provided by CVHs in Madagascar:

Volunteers also provide community-based family planning services. These services include counseling, pregnancy screening, method eligibility screening, and provision of short-acting contraceptive methods. CHVs inform and refer clients for long-acting and permanent methods available through mobile outreach and private and public service providers. CHVs socially market many of the products that they distribute; this modest income serves as a motivation for CHVs and sets Madagascar apart from other countries that pay direct stipends. CHVs also provide a link to youth peer educators in the community to reproductive and other health services.

Savings and Internal Lending Communities

As explained earlier, Catholic Relief Services’ role in the Mikolo Project was to “lead all activities related to microfinance.” In June of 2018, MSH (the lead on the Mikolo Project) published an article explaining how the SILCs work and the relationship between the SILCs established by CRS and the Community Health Volunteers. It is important to note that this is the first time that SILCs would be used to finance a health-related project.

In rural Madagascar, people have limited access to savings programs or credit. This impacts community health when people cannot afford to pay for health care. In partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the USAID Mikolo Project promoted the creation of savings and internal lending communities (SILCs) at the Fokontany (village) level to encourage individuals and families to regularly save income and to provide them with access to credit on favorable terms.

CRS first developed the SILC approach for general community development, and USAID Mikolo implemented it for the first time in the field of public health. SILC groups offer easy access to financial services for households and health care providers, especially women, as well as social capital. The main objective of SILCs is to provide funding, borrowing, and savings opportunities for community members.

SILCs are groups of 15-25 community members that meet on a weekly basis. Each member contributes money into the SILC fund. Members can borrow money at a fixed interest rate, e.g. to start up a small business. After a full cycle (9-12 months), the total savings accrued throughout the period are distributed to members based on how much each has saved, as a percentage of the overall savings.

In fact, community health volunteers (CHVs) participate in the SILC groups not only as members, but also as health educators to improve quality of life by considering personal and family health. Life in a rural village is very difficult, and without financial stability simple healthy behaviors may seem out of reach for many families, such as purchasing needed medicines, soap, family planning methods, or healthy food. CHVs encourage these behaviors, and with the SILC program these and other health-promoting activities can become regular habits rather than unattainable conventions.

In short, CRS is responsible for creating local microfinance groups called SILCS, which in turn provide funding to CHVs, whose mission is to spread contraception to women in the village.

To put into perspective the effectiveness of CHVs in promoting and spreading contraception, this chart, which is on page 95 of the final evaluation we cited earlier, illustrates how “new users of family planning” was by far the most popular service provided.

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Further Evidence in Video

Catholic Relief Services knew fully well that it was being used by USAID in order to create a financial engine for the spread of contraception through Community Health Volunteers. The project itself identified CRS as being responsible for all matters pertaining to microfinance, it showed how CHVs were being funded by these microfinance groups, and it showed how one of the primary missions of the CHV was to introduce and spread contraception. The very fact that CRS had a disclaimer indicating that it would not be directly responsible for the delivery of family planning is further indication that CRS knew exactly what this project was about.

But another and more direct piece of evidence comes from CRS itself.

On YouTube, USAID had uploaded a series of videos on the Mikolo Project intended to explain various aspects of the project itself. Several of these videos had closing credits showing that they were written, produced, and owned (copyrighted) by Catholic Relief Services itself.

In one video, titled “Promoting Saving and Lending Communities to Improve Access to Health,” the narrator explains the relationship between CHVs and CSLF, saying:

The primary goal of the project is to increase the use of primary healthcare services to local community and the adoption of health enhancing behavior. The project relies on human capital to achieve this goal. The establishment of CSLF or Cosen Savings and Loans funds, which are savings groups of community health volunteers is one way to achieve this. The CSLF presents an opportunity for community health volunteers to have access to financial opportunities such as credit and savings. This practice also enables them to develop their social capital into the community health volunteer’s professional network.

While the narrator for the video is saying this, the B-roll footage shows a CHV entering a woman’s hut, where he pulls out a box of something from his backpack (image above). Blowing the picture up (left) reveals that the box being taken from the backpack is a box carrying the label “Confiance.”

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A few seconds later, the contents of the box are set out on the table while the CHV examines the instructions on the back of the box. The contents included a small vial and a syringe (see the image below). According to a document produced by Family Planning Watch, a project of Population Services International, Confiance is an injectable contraceptive equivalent to Depo-Provera, produced by the Pfizer corporation.

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This video, along with this report, was sent to Catholic Relief Services in September of 2018. After several months, Catholic Relief Services claimed that the video, which bears its closing credits and its copyright, was not its video and that a local production company mistakenly attached CRS’s credits and copyright to the end of the video. Not only is this explanation the same kind of thing CRS said about the government documents indicating that CRS was involved in the promotion of contraception in the SAIDIA Project, and the inventory reports showing that CRS had received and distributed 2.25 million units of contraception in Project AXxess, but since CRS was specifically identified as having been responsible for all of the matters pertaining to microfinances, there simply isn’t any other entity for whom this video would have been made.

After receiving CRS’s explanation that the video isn’t actually theirs, we have discovered that the original now has the ending credits and copyright attributed to CRS blurred out. However, the Lepanto Institute saved the video in case something like this should happen. You can see the original version with the closing credits at the link here.

Conclusion

There is absolutely no way of denying that Catholic Relief Services played a willing role in a project designed to spread contraception to poor people in rural Madagascar. The project identified the spread of contraception by Community Health Volunteers as a priority from the very beginning. The Community Health Volunteers were being funded by the microfinance communities called SILCs, and those communities were being established by Catholic Relief Services.

Another way of looking at this is that the CHVs are legalized drug-dealers (contraception instead of heroin), and CRS created the self-sustaining mechanism that would keep them funded.

CRS may claim that its role in the project was very small, but what it overlooks is that its small part was also one that was vital to the overall “success” of the project. The battery on a car is a very “small part,” but without one, a car won’t go anywhere.

But one more thing CRS has to atone for is the grave scandal it caused to the Malagasy people. On June 26, MSH and USAID Mikolo announced the role of the Mikolo Project in helping to draft Madagascar’s new law that allows universal access to contraception and enables CHVs to provide short-term contraception. While CRS may not have played a direct role in the drafting of this new law, because of its participation in a gravely and intrinsically immoral project, the name of the Church is now attached to this result.

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Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.

19 children

https://www.mercatornet.com/video_choice/view/22314

Big families are not unusual in the Ukrainian village of Glynne. While the country’s population is falling, this highly religious community has more than 100 families with seven or more children. But one couple has gone further than most, recently welcoming their 19th child. Can they even remember all of those names? BBC Video by Roman Lebed

Christian Singer Matthew West’s New Pro-Life Song: With God No Baby is Ever “Unplanned”

MICAIAH BILGER   MAR 26, 2019   |   5:04PM    WASHINGTON, DC

Popular Christian recording artist Matthew West released a new song Friday that focuses on the value of the “unplanned” baby in the womb.

His song, “Unplanned,” comes out in coordination with the release of the film by the same name, which follows the story of Planned Parenthood director-turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson.

CBN News reports West wrote the song as the title track for the movie. His inspiration came from memories of hearing his own daughter’s heartbeat for the first time.

“I wrote this from the perspective of someone seeing their baby for the first time,” West said. “I tried to capture the feelings I had when I first heard my own daughter’s heartbeat; the overwhelming sense of life that is precious, a life that is a miracle, and a life that is a gift.”

West, whose music video is interspersed with clips from the film, said he hopes the song will move people.

“Oh I don’t believe in accidents/Miracles, they don’t just happen by chance,” West sings. “As long as my God holds the world in his hands/I know that there’s no such thing as unplanned.”

Embedded video

Matthew West

@matthew_west

As long as my God holds the world in His hands, I know there’s no such thing as Unplanned.
Watch the music video for Unplanned from the @UnplannedMovie at the link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttXoXMBfZ8Q 

123 people are talking about this

At least 1,000 theaters are slated to screen the film “Unplanned” starting March 29. The film is rated “R” but a group of conservative leaders are contesting the rating.

Visit UnplannedFilm.com for more details.

Celebrate the Annunciation as the Day of the Unborn Child!

March 25, which is nine months before the celebration of the Birth of Christ, is the Annunciation, when Jesus was conceived within the body of the Virgin Mary as she accepted her call to be the Mother of God.

Priests for Life, along with many other pro-life groups, urges believers to celebrate this day as a Day of the Unborn Child, with special observances that highlight the Church’s pro-life teachings.

In 2019 take a journey through pregnancy from March 25th (Day of the Unborn Child) to Christmas Day, 2019 A coalition of national pro-life groups are urging people to observe March 25th as the “Day of the Unborn Child” (already celebrated in various countries), and then to journey through the nine months of pregnancy, until Christmas Day, with prayer, outreach, and education, so that people may learn about the development of the unborn child. For project details see www.BabyChris.org.

Fr. Frank

The Magisterium’s most comprehensive statement on the sanctity of life, the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, was issued on March 25, 1995, the Solemnity of the Annunciation. This feast marks the moment at which the Incarnation took place. At Mary’s “Fiat,” God began existing in a human nature – a human nature at the earliest stages of its development within Mary’s body.

“Mary’s consent at the Annunciation and her motherhood stand at the very beginning of the mystery of life which Christ came to bestow on humanity” (Evangelium Vitae, 102).

At a time when our society is beset with the evil of abortion, and when the human embryo is treated as a mere object for scientific research, Priests for Life believes that the celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation is more important than ever. By celebrating this Feast with special solemnity, and by spending more time meditating on its doctrinal and spiritual lessons, the faithful can be even more solidly rooted in their pro-life convictions, and spurred on to effective action in defense of life.

We pray that the pastors of the Church will lead their congregations in special pro-life observances on this Solemnity each year.

A special prayer that can be used as you observe this Feast:

Redeemer in the Womb

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that when Mary, your Mother, said “Yes” at the Annunciation, You took our human nature upon Yourself. You shared our life and death, our childhood and adulthood.

You also shared our time in the womb. While still God, while worshiped and adored by the angels, while Almighty and filling every part of the universe, You dwelt for nine months in the womb of Mary. You were our Redeemer in the womb, our God who was a preborn child.

Lord Jesus, we ask You to bless and protect the children who today are in their mothers’ womb. Save them from the danger of abortion.

Give their mothers the strength, like Mary, to say “Yes” to you. Give them grace to sacrifice themselves, in body and soul, for their children.

Help all people to recognize in the preborn child a brother, a sister, saved by You, our Redeemer in the womb, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

The Critical Role of Down Syndrome in opening the door to Legalized Abortion

By Leticia Velasquez, Co-founder of KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome)

When abortion was unthinkable in the fifties, abortion activists had to find a chink in the armor of society’s love for the unborn child to justify abortion. They had to find the original hard case.

They looked to the children who were less loved than others, the children we abandoned at birth and sent to institutions, those with Down syndrome. After all, a mere 10 years earlier such people had been designated “life unworthy of life.” They were forced into institutions which, under the Nazi’s infamous T4 Program, operated as death camps where they were systematically chosen for death and killed by their doctors and nurses.

No longer executed yet considered ineducable in the sixties, mothers allowed doctors to convince them that it was “for the best” to institutionalize newborns with Down syndrome. Oftentimes a death certificate was issued so that the parents could cut ties with their child. See the film. ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” for an idea of the mentality of that era.

It wasn’t until Geraldo Rivera’s expose documentary of the horrible conditions at Willowbrook that the public began to reconsider inviting individuals with Down syndrome into society. But tragically it was too late: a combination of scientific advances sealed the fate of generations of unborn babies with Down syndrome.

French physician Dr Jerome Lejeune discovered in 1958 that the cause of Down syndrome was an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. As his daughter Clara Lejeune Gaymard wrote in her memoir, Life is a Blessing,

“He might have called it Lejeune’s syndrome, like so many other diseases that bear the name of the one who discovered them. But what was important to him was restoring the dignity of those who are ill and their families. Trisomy 21 is a genetic accident, it is not contagious, and syphilis is not the cause of it. From now on people would not cross the street any more to avoid contaminations their future offspring when the afflicted child passed with its mother. From not on families would know if their child was ill, they were not at fault. The term mongolism called too much attention to the physical imperfection. Trisomy 21 would be from now on the name. . .” p16

Dr. Lejeune made it possible to identify a child with Down syndrome by their genetic karyotype, or unique genetic footprint. Around the same time, Dr. William Alfred Liley perfected the technique for prenatal diagnosis in New Zealand, hoping as Dr Lejeune did, to treat babies in utero. He had become famous for developing a treatment of inter-uterine blood transfusion for Rh-negative babies.

But these Catholic family men found their discoveries led to a reversal of their noble intentions. “Thanks to amniocentesis and karyotyping the technology was in place for eliminating “undesirable specimens” before birth. Their discoveries were diverted from their original objective.” (Life is a Blessing, p. 40)

In a desperate attempt to stop the militant march of abortion legalization, both Drs. Lejeune and Liley became leaders in the burgeoning pro-life movement in the 1960’s but the die had already been cast. Prenatal testing and abortion were possible. Elimination of the “unwanted” baby was possible. The abortion activists had the hard case they would use to pry open the door to unlimited abortion.

For years since the discovery that as women age, the likelihood of bearing a child with Down syndrome increases, doctors had been scaring women with that statistic. Some doctors considered age of the mother as a reason to abort in case they might be carrying a child with Down syndrome. Now, the certainty that a child with Down syndrome could be diagnosed in utero, prenatal testing was hailed as ‘life-saving.’

Its cost to the lives of unborn babies with Down syndrome was disregarded, the only babies worth saving were those deemed perfect. The doors to legal abortion were pried open for such tragic cases.

In the ensuing years the language has changed little. Abortion is touted as lifesaving even though thousands of babies are aborted every year and those with Down syndrome are aborted at a rate close to 90% after prenatal screening and diagnosis. New prenatal screening tests, such as Materni T21. boast of a 99% accuracy rate using only the mother’s blood in the 10th week of pregnancy increasing the “opportunity” to abort babies with Down syndrome.

Drs. Lejeune and Liley collaborated in trying to save babies who were being killed because of the tragic misuse of the discoveries they meant to save lives. Dr. Lejeune dedicated the rest of his career until his death in 1994, to finding a cure for Down syndrome.

He said, “I see only one way left to save them, and that is to cure them. The task is immense—but so is Hope.”

Editor’s note. Leticia Velasquez is the author of “A Special Mother is Born.”

Archbishop Chaput to College Students: Following God’s Will Is Answer to Dark Times

BISMARCK, N.D. — There’s a scene in the middle of The Lord of the Rings, a fantasy series written by Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien, where the quest to destroy an evil, all-powerful ring seems to be utterly hopeless. Darkness and danger have surrounded and hounded Frodo, the little hobbit ultimately given the mission to destroy the ring, ever since he set foot out of the Shire, the idyllic and safe home he left behind for this quest.
This was the scene Archbishop Charles Chaput set for students at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, as he spoke to them about their vocations and the purpose of their lives Wednesday evening.

In a moment of despair, Archbishop Chaput noted, Frodo turns to his most faithful friend, Samwise Gamgee, a hobbit who has refused to leave Frodo’s side, and asks him whether it’s even worth continuing with the seemingly impossible mission.

Sam says yes, “because there’s some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

The Dakotas, Archbishop Chaput noted earlier in his address, are much like the idyllic Shire from which those hobbits hail: safe, in many ways idyllic, and seldom the center of attention.

“I’ve served as bishop in three different dioceses, and each has been a great blessing of friends and experiences. I’ve loved them all. But my first love is the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota,” he said.

“There’s a beauty and sanity to the Dakotas that you can’t find anywhere else. I also think the devil tends to focus on places like New York and Washington and to see places like Bismarck as less important, which is his mistake. It means a lot of very good things can get done here, right under his nose,” he said.

But just as the Hobbits did not remain in the Shire, he noted, so, too, are Christians eventually called to go out from their homes and places of formation to engage the world and spread the Gospel.

“The day comes when (the Hobbits are) called out of their homes and into a great war between good and evil for the soul of the wider world — a war in which they play the decisive role, precisely because they’re small and so seemingly unimportant,” he said.

But the outside world is in desperate need of remaking, Archbishop Chaput noted, including from within the Catholic Church.

The recent barrage of sex-abuse scandals in the Church can make these seem like very dark times, he said.

“A lot of very good people are angry with their leaders in the Church over the abuse scandal, and justly so. I don’t want to diminish that anger because we need it; it has healthy and righteous roots,” he said.

But the right response to that righteous anger is not a poisonous resentment, but a response of humility and love that purifies the individual as well as the Church, he said, much like St. Catherine of Siena, who, through her holiness and persistence, convinced the Pope to move back to Rome.

“God calls all of us not just to renew the face of the earth with his Spirit, but to renew the heart of the Church with our lives; to make her young and beautiful again and again, so that she shines with his love for the world. That’s our task. That’s our calling. That’s what a vocation is: a calling from God with our name on it.”

There is also much darkness in the world that comes from outside the Church, he noted.

“American life today is troubled by three great questions: What is love? What is truth? And who is Jesus Christ?” he said. “The secular world has answers to each of those great questions. And they’re false.”

The world defines love solely with emotions and sexual compatibility, while it defines truth as something that can only be observed through objective, measurable data, he said. The world also says Jesus Christ was a good man in a long line of good teachers, but is ultimately just a nice superstitious belief rather than a real person who is the Son of God and Savior of the world.

“The key thing about all these secular answers is this: They’re not only false, but dangerous. They reduce our human spirit to our appetites. They lower the human imagination and the search for meaning to what we can consume. And because the human heart hungers for a meaning that secular culture can’t provide, we [as a culture] anesthetize that hunger with noise and drugs and sex and distractions. But the hunger always comes back,” he said.

The secular world offers easy answers, he noted, but it does not offer satisfying answers to some of the most deeply human questions one could ask: “Why am I here? What does my life mean? Why do the people I love grow old and die, and will I ever see them again? The secular world has no satisfying answer to any of these questions. Nor does it even want us to ask such questions because of its self-imposed blindness; it cannot tolerate a higher order than itself — to do so would obligate it to behave in ways it does not want to behave. And so it hates, as Cain did, those who seek to live otherwise.”

The answer to all of these questions, Archbishop Chaput said, is not some theory or equation, but the Person of Jesus Christ.

“He’s the only reliable guide for our journey through the world. Christians follow him, as the apostles did, because, in him and in his example, God speaks directly to us and leads us on the way home to his kingdom. To put it another way, Jesus is not only the embodiment of God, but also the embodiment of who we are meant to be.”

And Jesus’ message is that each life is “unrepeatable and precious [and has] a meaning and a purpose that God intends only for you — only for you,” he said.

For many people, this will mean living out the vocation of marriage and witnessing to Christ among family, friends and places of work, “and you’ll make your mark on the world with an everyday witness of Christian life,” he said.

“Marriage and family are profoundly good things,” he added, and laypeople are called not just to be “helpers” of clergy, but to share an equal responsibility in furthering the mission of the Church.

“Remember that as you consider your future,” he said.

God also calls some to be radical witnesses of holiness in the priesthood or consecrated religious life, he said.

“Religious are a living witness to radical conversion and radical love, a constant proof that the beatitudes are more than just beautiful ideals, but, rather, the path to a new and better kind of life,” he said.

“And priests have the privilege of holding the God of creation in their hands. Without priests, there is no Eucharist. Without the Eucharist, there is no Church. And without the Church as a living and organized community, there is no presence of Jesus Christ in the world.”

The keys to finding one’s vocation and purpose in life are silence and prayer, which make room for God’s voice, he said.

“Making time for silence and prayer should be the main Lenten practice for all of us, but especially for anyone seeking God’s will for his or her own life.”

So rather than bemoaning the fact that times are bad, Archbishop Chaput urged the students to remember that they are living at this time for a reason and can, by their holiness and witness of their lives, reshape the times.

“As a bishop, St. Augustine lived at a time when the whole world seemed to be falling apart, and the Church herself was struggling with bitter theological divisions. But whenever his people would complain about the darkness of the times, he’d remind them that the times are made by the choices and actions of the people who inhabit them,” he said.

“In other words, we make the times. We’re the subjects of history, not merely its objects. And unless we consciously work to make the times better with the light of Jesus Christ, then the times will make us worse with their darkness.”

Babies diagnosed with illness in the womb are as valuable as the rest of us

 

(The Daily Signal) The Cut recently ran a piece by Jen Gann, an outspoken, pro-choice mother who details her journey through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and genetic testing as she aims to conceive a healthy child. Her first pregnancy resulted in a son with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease, and what she considers a missed opportunity to abort him.

In 2017, Gann filed a wrongful [birth] lawsuit against her doctors for inadequate genetic testing that she claims would have likely determined her son had cystic fibrosis and would have then provided her the option to abort him.

responded to her lawsuit two years ago, because this story is very personal to me. Not only because I believe life is the most valuable gift generously bestowed upon mankind, but because I also have a child living with cystic fibrosis.

It pained me, again, to see Gann reiterate in print her desire to end her sick child’s life.

Sadly, we see this far too often. The left pushes a false narrative when it comes to human dignity. Masked in the so-called desire to prevent a sick child from suffering, pro-choice activists actually devalue the sickest among us. Their drive to abort unhealthy babies sends the message that those who live with a medical condition are somehow less than or an unwanted burden.

All human beings, regardless of disease, illness, ailments, and deformities, have the right to life. They too are fearfully and wonderfully made. Their value is in no way decreased because of their disease or any subsequent pain and suffering that disease brings.

Inaccurately, Gann’s piece focuses heavily on women’s empowerment and the amount of influence a woman holds in her ability to make a choice to end or continue a pregnancy.

The reality is that women don’t give life—God does. Yes, we have the biological ability to carry a child in the womb, provide it the nutrients needed to grow and the environment to thrive, as well as give birth. But we do not form a child in the womb, knit together its genetic makeup, or will it to live.

Furthermore, despite the feminist movement’s desire to vilify men, male DNA is also needed to produce a child. The fact that women carry a child does not make way for absolute female control.

I fully agree that women should be empowered, just like all humans should be encouraged and free to reach their upmost potential. But ending the life of another human is not empowerment—it is the highest form of oppression.

 

Terminating a child is devaluing its existence and saying it doesn’t share equal status with others who are currently living. No matter what reason is given for the abortion (choice, convenience, compassion, etc.), the act erases a human life and the lasting mark it would most certainly leave on others.

The abortion industry also claims to promote empowerment for women, but such “empowerment” is extremely exclusive, limited only to those women living outside the womb. The women growing in utero, on the other hand, are completely voiceless, powerless, and subjected only to the will of others, unable to defend themselves.

To no surprise, not once in the piece does Gann focus on the actual horrors of abortion, the pain it brings women and families, and the emotional toll it can take on a person. Instead, she glorifies it as a normal health care procedure and a thankful option she has if the “perfect” child isn’t conceived:

I had a child at home; if, when, this didn’t work, I would be fine. Besides, pre-implantation genetic testing isn’t perfect. If this embryo’s results were discovered to be inaccurate later on, I knew I’d terminate.

This rhetoric normalizes murder in an attempt to make others feel as though it’s natural and easy, when in reality that is not the case.

Our society has a major problem if we continue to sit by silently while abortion is used as a tool to erase the sickest and weakest among us. We must not follow the dark path of countries like Iceland and Demark, which have publically bragged about “eradicating” the Down syndrome gene through abortion.

Every single child, regardless of illness or disability, deserves access to the most basic and fundamental right of mankind, the right to life. And we should tirelessly fight to see that they do.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at The Daily Signal and is reprinted here with permission.

‘Brain death’ is a medical fiction invented to harvest organs from living people: expert

ROME, March 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Is it morally permissible to harvest the organs of a person in a coma declared “brain dead” by doctors? Why and when did organ transplantation first come about? And what is the Church’s teaching on using organs from a person deemed to be “brain dead”?

These questions and more are answered by Doyen Nguyen during an in-depth interview with the Italian magazine Radici Cristiane (read full interview below), where she blames a “consumerist culture” for causing many to accept the idea of “brain death,” a term she refers to as an incoherent, “medical fiction.”

Nguyen is a lay Dominican and professor at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. She will be presenting on the topic of “brain death” at the A Medicolegal Construct: Scientific & Philosophical Evidence conference hosted by the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family in Rome May 20-21.

Professor Josef Seifert, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and Fr. Edmund Waldstein, among others, will present to the gathering as well, which will be held at the Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio. Click here to register. 

In the far-reaching interview, Nguyen says that an Ad Hoc Harvard Committee in 1968 redefined the term “brain death” to mean someone in an irreversible coma. Nguyen says this was done in order to serve the interests of the organ transplantation industry and to avoid public outcry that would have viewed transplant surgeons as organ-stealing killers.

Nguyen refutes the invention of the term “brain death” to describe someone in an “irreversible coma” by arguing that the term “irreversible coma” itself “indicates that the patient is alive, for the simple reason that only a living person can become comatose or remain comatose. In other words, it would be an oxymoron to say that a corpse is in coma!”

When a doctor declares a comatose patient to be dead, that patient does not thereby become dead, she said.

Nguyen criticized John Paul II’s 2000 Address to the 18th International Congress of the Transplantation Society for its shortsightedness. Nguyen says John Paul’s remarks, which suggest “brain death” in certain cases “does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology,” did not take into consideration all the literature available on the topic at the time. Nguyen says that the address should be “amended, or better yet, retracted.” Nguyen proceeds to explain how the Church should understand “brain death.”

***

Radici Cristiane’s full interview with Doyen Nguyen

Radici Cristiane (RC): There are people who think that “brain death” is a great deception. Do you agree?

Doyen Nguyen (Nguyen): Yes. “Brain death” has been a medical fiction from its very inception. The evidence for this can be found in the manuscript-drafts of the Ad Hoc Harvard Committee report which introduced “brain death” on August 5, 1968. The Committee, headed by its chairman, Dr. Beecher, worked swiftly on this report from March through June 25, 1968. In the first manuscript-draft, Beecher wrote:

The question before this committee cannot be simply to define brain death. This would not advance the cause of organ transplantation since it would not cope with the essential issue of when the surgical team is authorized—legally, morally, and medically—in removing a vital organ.

In the penultimate manuscript-draft on June 3, 1968, Beecher wrote:

With increased experience and knowledge and development in the field of transplantation, there is great need for the tissues and organs of the hopelessly comatose in order to restore to health those who are still salvageable. (1)

The language in the manuscript-drafts of the Harvard report is thus overtly explicit with regard to the connection between organ donation and the “birth” of “brain death.” In other words, the real reason why the Harvard Committee redefined irreversible coma as death (and gave it a new name, “brain death”) is for a two-fold purpose: (i) to have fresh, viable organs more readily available for the transplantation enterprise, and (ii) at the same time, to avoid any public outcry that transplant surgeons were organ-stealing killers.

In the final draft which became the Harvard report, the explicitly utilitarian language in the earlier drafts was toned down by Ebert (then the dean of the Harvard Medical School), in order to make it seem that transplantation was not the primary cause of the “birth” of “brain death.”

So, in a nutshell, “brain death” is a construct to serve the interest of organ transplantation.

RC: What is the scientific/medical evidence showing that “brain death” is not true human death?

Nguyen: Here I will answer you with a long quote taken from a peer-reviewed article written by Kompanje and De Groot. They are supporters of organ transplantation and therefore, of “brain death.” Yet, because of academic honesty, they have to admit that “brain death” is a construct for the purpose of organ transplantation. They wrote:

Suppose one of your loved ones is admitted to an ICU with a subarachnoid hemorrhage and you are sitting next to her bed, overwhelmed by emotions and holding her hand. She is deeply comatose, connected to a ventilator; intravenous vasopressors are needed to keep her blood pressure stable. You are hoping for the best, but fear the worst. And the worst comes. The intensivist tells you her brain is dead. Then he asks you for permission to take out her organs. You, and your loved one, had never thought about this scenario of dying. You had heard about brain death, but you don’t have a picture of it in your head. You ask the doctor: “when will she die”? He answers: “she is already dead.” You don’t believe him because there are so many signs of life. Her skin is warm, her heart is beating. […] Taking out her organs while her heart is still beating seems like a scene from a cheap horror film. […] We are, as most intensivists, greatly in favor of organ donation for transplantation. The whole concept of organ donation is founded on the concept that the potential organ donor is really dead at the moment that brain death is declared. This is pivotal in order to gain even remote public acceptance of organ donation. They have to be ensured that their loved one is dead before the organs are taken out. But, the bare fact that many brain-dead patients can continue to perform a variety of integrative functions over indefinite time periods, including maintaining body temperature, persistent and adequate hypothalamic hormonal function, regulating salt and water homoeostasis, digesting administered food, healing wounds, increase of infection markers and healing infections, stress responses to bodily interventions such as surgery and gestating fetuses in pregnant brain-dead women, makes some wonder whether a brain-dead patient is as ‘dead’ as the doctors say. Or they mistrust the statement that the patient has been pronounced ‘dead.’ For example, it is very difficult to see a ‘brain-dead’ pregnant woman, in whose womb a fetus grows over a time period for 2–3 months after the determination of brain death, as ‘a cadaver.’ There are just too many signs of life. Declaring these patients ‘dead’ solely on the basis of ‘a definition’ seems to contradict our common sense of what it is to be alive. Brain death is, since the first definitions in the scientific literature in 1968, closely related to organ donation. This is why, some scholars considers equating brain death to death as a moral and legal fiction. […] Without the needs of transplantation medicine, ‘brain death as death’ would not exist at all, but would be seen as […] irreversible […] coma (le coma dépassé). (2)

In fact, the above quote should remind us of the opening statement in the Harvard report which states: “Our primary purpose is to define irreversible coma as a new criterion for death.” Note however, the term “irreversible coma” itself indicates that the patient is alive, for the simple reason that only a living person can become comatose or remain comatose. In other words, it would be an oxymoron to say that a corpse is in coma!

Moreover, both life and death are realities the nature of which is mind-independent. The world is what it is regardless of what anyone says or thinks about it, and that world includes phenomena such as life, death, diseases, and all natural things from inorganic matter to human persons. Such natural entities are not open to revision or stipulation. In other words, death (understood as a biological phenomenon) is not the kind of thing that occurs by fiat like in the case of marriage. When a doctor declares a comatose patient (whose heart is beating, and whose skin is warm and pink) to be dead, that patient does not thereby become dead.

RC: A threefold question regarding John Paul II’s 2000 Address to the 18th International Congress of the Transplantation Society, the problem which this Address has caused, and what should the Catholic faithful do?

Nguyen: For a detailed answer to this question please read my article: Doyen Nguyen, “Pope John Paul II and the Neurological Standard for the Determination of Death: A Critical Analysis of His Address to the Transplantation Society,” Linacre Quarterly 84, no. 2 (2017): 155–186. A more expanded treatment of the topic can be found in my book: Doyen Nguyen, The New Definitions of Death for Organ Donation: A Multidisciplinary Analysis from the Perspective of Christian Ethics (Bern: Peter Lang, 2018) on pages 457-483.

In this interview, I can only give you a brief synoptic answer to this very complex question. The bulk of my answer is found in sections 3.2 and 3.3.

3.1 First point: About the hierarchy of the different types of Magisterial teaching

The ordinary teaching of the Church’s Magisterium includes several gradations, from the higher end (e.g., the teaching of an encyclical such as Veritatis Splendor) to the lower end which consist of interventions in the prudential order, in which some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies since they might not have taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a particular issue (see Donum Veritatis, no. 24). In addition, the importance of a particular Church’s teaching can also be inferred from the insistence with which it has been repeated.

In this regard, John Paul II’s address to the Transplantation Society in 2000 belongs to the category of interventions of the prudential order. Moreover, the Pope’s statement (contained in that address) with regard to “brain death” has occurred once and only once in the whole of the teaching of the Magisterium. In particular, John Paul II did not even make a reference to that statement in his 2005 address to the participants of the conference “the Signs of Death” (February 2005) sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

3.2 Second point: John Paul II’s statement in his 2000 address

John Paul II’s statement in his 2000 address is as follows:

Vital organs which occur singly in the body can be removed only after death, that is from the body of someone who is certainly dead. […] The death of the person is a single event, consisting in the total disintegration of that unitary and integrated whole that is the personal self. It results from the separation of the life-principle (or soul) from the corporal reality of the person. […] For some time certain scientific approaches to ascertaining death have shifted the emphasis from the traditional cardio-respiratory signs to the so-called ‘neurological’ criterion. Specifically, this consists in establishing, according to clearly determined parameters commonly held by the international scientific community, the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity. […] It can be said that the criterion adopted in more recent times for ascertaining the fact of death, namely the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity, if rigorously applied, does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology.

There are several key points in the Pope’s statement:

(a) Death is the separation of the soul from the body. In other words, the Pope’s teaching on death is grounded in Christian anthropology, according to which: (a) man is the substantial unity of body and soul and, (b) the soul is the life principle of the body. In medical/scientific terms, the separation of the soul from the body manifests itself as the loss of somatic integration, i.e., the process of corruption of the material constituents which once composed the living body.

(b) Vital organs can only be removed after death. In this regard, it is necessary to understand that because human beings belong to the same genus of warm blood mammals, the biological manifestations of the death phenomenon in a human being are no different from that observed in other mammals such as a pet dog or a pet cat – no heartbeat, no respiration, no movements, no responses to any stimulation. The temperature of the dead body quickly drops to the same level as the ambient temperature; and livor mortis and rigor mortis set in within a few hours.

(c) The Pope’s endorsement of the neurological criterion for the determination of death (i.e., “brain death”) is a conditional endorsement, clearly indicated by the conjunction “if” and the verb “does not seem.” According to the Pope’s statement, in order to be acceptable, the “brain death” criterion must fulfill three requirements:

(i) the loss of somatic integration, i.e., the physical evidence that the soul has left the body;

(ii) a consensus of the parameters that constitute the “brain death” criterion (i.e., in the Pope’s words: “clearly determined parameters commonly held by the international scientific community”). The parameters here refer to the clinical tests used for determining “brain death;” and

(iii) the rigorous application of these parameters.

3.3 Confronting John Paul II’s 2000 statement and the reality of “brain death”

3.3.1 Without going into details, suffice it to mention that even brain-death advocates have to acknowledge that there is no global consensus on the parameters of the “brain death” paradigm, but rather a confusion of practice. For instance, in a well-known study by Greer and colleagues, within the United States alone, there is wide variability in the practice and determination of “brain death” among the top 50 institutions for neurology and neurosurgery. The most worrisome aspect of this wide variability is the variability in apnea testing, recognized by Greer and colleagues as “an area with the greatest possibility for inaccuracies.” (3)

Moreover, the parameters can only be clearly determined if they have undergone rigorous validation prior to being introduced into clinical practice. Such a validation process was never done prior to the introduction of “brain death” by the Harvard Committee. No validation study has been performed since that time either.

3.3.2 Perhaps the most grievous aspect regarding John Paul II’s 2000 Address is the fact that it did not take into account the wealth of peer-reviewed literature, published prior to 2000, which clearly provided the evidence that “brain death” is not death. Examples of such literature include:

(i) Shewmon’s 1998 report of a series of chronic “brain death” survivors;

(ii) many reports since the 1980s on brain-dead pregnant mothers who, with aggressive life support, were able to carry their pregnancy until the time when their babies could be safely delivered by Cesarean section;

(iii) many critiques of “brain death” authored by scholars who supported organ transplantation, but who, in conformity to academic honesty and scientific realism, publicly acknowledged that “brain death is a social construct created for utilitarian purposes, primarily to permit organ transplantation.” (4)

(iv) The most important publication which the Pope’s 2000 Address should have known about and should have taken into account is the document of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology published in 1995 to provide the guidelines for determining “brain death.” According to the guidelines, the presence of – “spontaneous movements of the limbs and reflexes of the limbs (e.g., rapid flexion in arms, raising of all limbs off the bed, grasping movements, spontaneous jerking of one leg, etc.) as well as responses such as profuse sweating, blushing, tachycardia, and sudden increases in blood pressure” – is compatible with the diagnosis of brain death.” (5)

A review done by Saposnik in 2009 shows that up to 80% of brain-dead patients can manifest such movements. Although movements in any particular brain-dead patient may be very infrequent, they nevertheless occur.

Put simply, according to the guidelines for the determination of “brain death,” the brain-dead patient can be declared dead even though he or she may have movements from the arms and legs. The obvious question that any average person should ask is: how is it that a corpse can move? And the obvious question which every Christian should ask is: if the soul has left the body, then what is the principle which accounts for the spontaneous movements and reflexes of the arms and legs in the brain-dead patient? According to the sound tenets of the Church’s anthropology, the soul is the principle by which the body lives, and the principle of our nourishment, sensation, and local movement; and likewise of our understanding. (6)

There, without the soul, there can be no movements, no sweating, no blood flow, no heartbeat, etc.

In a nutshell, given that the brain death criterion admits the presence of spontaneous movements and reflexes, then in what way can it be claimed that “the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity, if rigorously applied, does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology”? (7)

Such a statement can only reflect a gross oversight of the medical, scientific, and bioethical literature publicly available before 2000. For this very reason, such a statement needs to be seriously amended, or better yet, retracted – for the good of the Church and her children, the faithful.

Truth is the conformity of the mind to reality (veritas est adaequatio rei et intellectus). Given that (i) John Paul II’s 2000 address ranks at the lower end of ordinary Magisterial teaching (the kind which may contain inaccuracies), (ii) the teaching was mentioned once and only once in the entire Magisterial teaching of the Church, (iii) John Paul II himself did not even allude to it in his subsequent address in 2005, and (iv) the statement itself contradicts the medical reality of brain-dead patients, then indeed it cannot be said that the teaching in the 2000 address has any binding force on Catholic believers.

RC: About the interests and pressures on the Church and society in general, such “brain death” is universally accepted?

Nguyen: It should be evident to readers by now that “brain death” is a medico-legal fiction, a social construct for utilitarian purposes. It does not take much imagination to figure out that the transplantation enterprise is a multi-billion dollar (or Euro) business. Even the most staunched defender of “brain death,” Bernat, had to admit (albeit very reluctantly) that the concept of “brain death” is incoherent; but, according to him, in the real world of public law and policy, we must compromise so that death can be declared and organs procured. (8)

It is not correct to say that “brain death” is universally accepted. As Brugger points out, doubt about “brain death” has become an international consensus, in the sense that quite a number scholars in medicine, philosophy, and bioethics from countries worldwide have recognized that the “brain death” paradigm is unsound. (9)

It would be more correct to say that “brain death” has been universally imposed by legislation in different countries. The materialistic, utilitarian mindset of a consumerist culture has led to the so-called worldwide acceptance of “brain death.” It is part and parcel with the culture of death. Surprisingly, somehow this mentality has also penetrated into the Church, probably under the guise of charity and solidarity, especially since in the writings of John Paul II, organ donation has been exalted as a new way for man to make a sincere gift of himself and fulfill his constitutive calling to love and communion and, moreover, the gift of vital organs donated after death gives the donors the possibility to project beyond death their vocation to love. (10)

Certainly, as taught in the Catechism no. 2296, the Church encourages organ donation, because it is a noble act of charity and solidarity. But, it is not morally admissible to bring about the death of a human being, not even in order to delay the death of other persons. In a nutshell, it is not morally permissible to do evil to achieve a good. “Brain death” does exactly that: the deeply comatose patient (usually a young patient who has suffered a traumatic brain injury) is declared dead, so that his or her organs can be removed for transplantation purposes.

Notes:

(1) the drafts of the Harvard report are part of what is known as the “Beecher manuscripts,” preserved at the Francis Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard. They are not accessible to the public, they are made available only to some selected scholars.

(2) the quote is taken from: Erwin J.O. Kompanje and Yorik J. de Groot, Sounding board: is mandatory recovery of organs for transplantation acceptable? Intensive Care Medicine (2015) 41:1836–1837.

(3) data taken from David M. Greer, Panayiotis N. Varelas, Shamael Haque, Eelco F.M. Wijdicks, Variability of brain death determination guidelines in leading US neurologic institutions. Neurology 70, no. 4 (2008): 284–89]. Ironically, the apnea test is a cornerstone bedside clinical test for making the declaration of “brain death.”

(4) quoted from Robert Taylor, “Reexamining the Definition and Criteria of Death,” Seminars in Neurology 17, no. 3 (1997): 265.

(5) this quote is derived from Eelco F. M. Wijdicks, “Determining Brain Death in Adults,” Neurology 45, no. 5 (1995): 1007.

(6) see Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q.76, a.1.

(7) this is the statement taken from the 2000 Address.

(8) see James L. Bernat, “The Whole-Brain Concept of Death Remains Optimum Public Policy,” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 34, no. 1 (2006): 41

(9) see E. Christian Brugger, “Are Brain Dead Individuals Dead? Grounds for Reasonable Doubt,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41, no. 3 (2016): 355

(10) see John Paul II, “To Participants of the First International Congress of the Society for Organ Sharing (20 June 1991) 

Abortion is bad for women’s health. Here’s why.

Sarah Ruiz

March 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Did you know that having an abortion carries serious health risks? I found over the years of following the news on abortion that the health risks of getting an abortion are cast aside. Research shows that getting an abortion carries serious health complications.

You may wonder why the media and many health experts neglect to give this warning. Abortion clinics, which include Planned Parenthood, are in business to make a profit. Therefore, it is not in their best interest to provide information that may make the patient think about alternatives to abortion, such as adoption.

Putting the moral argument aside for now, there is growing evidence that shows that women who have abortions are at much higher risk to develop serious physical and emotional problems in the future.

Abortion breast cancer link

A meta-analysis was conducted of Chinese females between induced abortion (IA) and breast cancer risk. The conclusion?

“IA is significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer among Chinese females, and the risk of breast cancer increases as the number of IA increases. If IA were to be confirmed as a risk factor for breast cancer, high rates of IA in China may contribute to increasing breast cancer rates.”

Emotional/spiritual toll

Many women who have had abortions resort to drugs and alcohol and even try to take their own lives. In one study, 49% of post-abortive women abused drugs and 39% started using or increasing their alcohol intake. About 14% admit that they have been addicted to drugs or alcohol. 60% suffered from suicidal tendencies and 28% in the study attempted suicide. Of those that attempted suicide, half continued attempted suicide two or more times.

Isolation is a side effect that occurs for a number of women who have had abortions. They keep their struggles and demons internal, pretending their life is normal and happy. They also could be completely out of touch with their feelings and only feel numb. The research shows that many women go through a 5 to 10 year period of denial where they will repress their emotions.

Studies have found within weeks following an abortion, 40 to 60% of women report negative outcomes. 2 months after, 55% felt guilty, 44% had nervous disorder reactions, 36% had sleep problems, 31% experienced regret, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic drugs.

Women who have had abortions have a harder time connecting to their already born children or their future children. There is evidence that women can be violent against their own children as a result of having an abortion. One woman beat her 3-year-old to death after her abortion. Another woman jumped off a bridge with her two children, aged 2 and 5, a week after her second abortion, apparently in order to punish herself (the mother and 5-year-old survived). In both cases, experts concluded their behavior was in response to their abortions.

Physical toll

Myth: Abortion is less risky than giving birth.

Fact: Abortion is much riskier than giving birth.

Possible side effects 2-4 weeks after an abortion according to American Pregnancyare abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and spotting and bleeding. More serious complications from an abortion include heavy or persistent bleeding, infection or sepsis, damage to the cervix, scarring of the uterine lining, perforation of the uterus, damage to other organs, and death – yes even death.

Approximately 3-5% of women who have had abortions suffer from sterility. If a woman has an STI at the time of the abortion, her risk is even greater. If a woman contracts an infection from an abortion, her risk of an ectopic pregnancy is 4 times greater. Cervical damage is another complication of abortion. Due to forced dilation of the cervix, the cervical muscles become microscopically torn nearly every time. Sometimes the dilation results in the uterine wall being severely ripped. Because of the weakening of the cervix, a woman who has had an abortion is more likely to suffer from a miscarriage or premature birth in future pregnancies.

Placenta previa risk

There is an increased chance of having placenta previa in future pregnancies if a woman is post-abortive. Placenta previa is a serious problem during pregnancy where the placenta covers some or all of the opening to the cervix.

Death

Tonya ReavesCree ErwinJennifer Morbelli, and Lakisha Wilson all died from complications of abortion. Here is a partial list of women who have also died from abortion. These women’s lives mattered and so did the lives of their babies. To say that abortion is a “safe” procedure because it is legal is not only incorrect but dangerous. The mainstream media makes women think that abortion is no more serious than going in to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist. Women have died. Some have had irreparable damage to their bodies. Lives have been changed forever.

Childhood leukemia risk

Having abortions could also harm your future children. According to a meta-analysis in 2014, there may be an increased risk for childhood leukemia if the mother had an abortion. The risks for childhood acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia were strongly associated with maternal abortions.

Think twice

There are many grave health risks involved in having an abortion. It is not simply just a medical procedure. It is surgery in many cases with very serious health risks and complications. The mainstream media and abortion organizations are not upfront about this. They try to cover any health risks abortion poses because it would discourage women from seeking abortions if they told the truth.

Abortion also ends the life of the new human person developing inside your body. Abortion has health risks for the woman and is certainly never healthy, but deadly, for the fetus. It is my hope in writing this article that anyone considering an abortion will think twice and reflect on the potential health consequences.

If you have had an abortion or been affected by one, you should also know that there is healing through programs such as Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More. Countless people have attended retreats by these organizations and participated in their programs and have found true peace.

If you or someone you know are pregnant and need help, I have listed crisis pregnancy resources below.

There is also hope for abortion workers. Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director, runs the organization And Then There Were None to provide financial and emotional support for abortion workers who are feeling trapped and wanting to leave.

Sarah Ruiz is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Weston A. Price chapter leader for High Point, NC and is an active blogger through her website Health By Sarah

Court Lets Ohio Defund Planned Parenthood in Major Pro-Life Victory

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com 

A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld an Ohio law that strips Planned Parenthood of state funding, handing pro-lifers in the state a major victory three years after the law was passed.

Former Republican Gov. John Kasich signed the law, which prohibits money from the Department of Health going to organizations that perform or promote abortions. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, gets roughly $1.5 million from the department each year.

Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for the 11-6 majority, ruled that the law does not violate the U.S. Constitution because it does not prohibit women from obtaining abortions. The ruling overturned a lower court decision.

“Planned Parenthood must show that the Ohio law, if implemented, would impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion,” wrote Sutton, who was nominated by President George W. Bush. “Its vow to keep performing abortions sinks any pre-enforcement action, and any speculation about what would happen if it changed its mind is just that.”

Further, Sutton wrote, Ohio “may choose to subsidize what it wishes – whether abortion services or adoption services, whether stores that sell guns or stores that don’t,” as long as “the subsidy program does not otherwise violate a constitutional right of the regulated entity.”

“The Supreme Court has never identified a freestanding right to perform abortions,” Sutton wrote. “To the contrary, it has indicated that there is no such thing.”

Four of the 11 judges in the majority were nominated by President Trump, according to Politico.

Pro-life and religious liberty groups applauded the decision.

“Ohio Right to Life is absolutely thrilled that Planned Parenthood will not get any more of our state tax dollars,” said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “Thanks to this very encouraging decision, Ohioans of conscience won’t have to worry about whether their tax dollars are going towards abortions.”

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, agreed.

“We celebrate that the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Ohio law that blocks nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood,” Staver said. “Planned Parenthood does not have a constitutional right to receive taxpayer funds for abortions and the state of Ohio should withhold all public funding. Not one penny of taxpayer dollars should ever go to fund the killing of innocent children.

Aborted babies are still being used in today’s vaccine production: Expert

Diane Montagna

ROME, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The “sordid history” of vaccine production using aborted babies began with eugenicists like Planned Parenthood foundress Margaret Sanger and has become a billion-dollar industry that threatens parents’ rights and fills the pockets of pharmaceutical companies and abortion providers, a leading advocate for ethical vaccines has said.

Speaking to a packed hall in Rome on Wednesday, March 13, Debi Vinnedge of “Children of God for Life” revealed the “horrific history” of vaccine production using aborted fetuses, sought to separate myth from fact using documentation from scientists directly involved in vaccine research, and explained why aborted babies are still being used in vaccine production today.

LifeSite spoke with Debi Vinnedge ahead of her talk at the Rome conference. In our interview, Vinnedge briefly sketches out the “horrific history” of vaccine research using aborted fetuses, including the “barbaric” practice of ensuring babies were aborted alive so that their organs might be harvested without anesthetic.

Speaking to the legality of aborted fetal research, Vinnedge explains that it has been federally funded in the US since 1993, when President Clinton signed it into law after intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry.”

“There is a huge market worth billions of dollars due to the creation of patents, sale of the cell lines by companies that actually store and resell aborted fetal material,” Vinnedge said.

“Even the medical profession and our Catholic Church” is unaware of the “horrific history of forced abortions involved in vaccine research and thousands more that led to the ultimate final production,” Vinnedge said.

“The truth needs to be made known about this sordid history and it is my goal to see that is done, and ultimately to put an end to this barbaric practice.”

Vinnedge explained further that a “major roadblock” to “making progress to stop this injustice” is “the tacit approval of using the aborted fetal vaccines when there is no alternative.”

In fact, as recently as 2017 the Pontifical Academy for Life — under the leadership of Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia — made a disturbing shift in support of aborted fetal vaccines, on the grounds that “in the past vaccines may have been prepared from cells from aborted human fetuses,” but today “the cell lines used are very distant from the original abortions.”

“Until our physicians and clergy leaders unite worldwide demanding the moral alternatives, the pharmaceutical industry is not going to change,” Vinnedge insists. “In fact, as history and the current trends are proving, it’s only going to get worse.”

Here below is LifeSite’s interview with Debi Vinnedge and a video of her presentation at the March 13 conference sponsored by Renovatio 21, under the theme: “Faith, Science and Conscience: using aborted fetuses for pharmaceutical production.”  

LifeSiteNews (LSN): Debi, what personally led you to found ‘Children of God for Life’?

Debi Vinnedge (DB): I have always been pro-life but in 1999 when I read about proposed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research I was deeply disturbed. And I was even more upset to learn that none of my prolife friends had ever heard of this, nor did they even know what a stem cell was.  Back then, there just wasn’t much information available and so, with the help of Richard Doerflinger who was then at the USCCB prolife office, and members of the Catholic Medical Association, I began to educate the public and massive protest campaigns began. When the Clinton administration tabled the idea a couple of months later, I was happy and thought my work was over. But within weeks I learned about the use of aborted fetal cells in vaccines and medicines and I knew God had a plan and my work was cut out for me. Children of God for Life was founded with the sole purpose of educating the public and putting an end to this gross exploitation of our unborn.

LSN: There is considerable debate surrounding vaccines. Some people are completely against vaccines, others are completely for them, while still others are somewhere in the middle. What is your general position on vaccines? 

LSN: In your presentation, you discuss some of the history of experimentation with aborted fetuses, and how this led to using aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines. Can you share with our readers the main points of this history? 

DB: This is probably one of the most shameful eras in the history of our country dating back over 100 years to a time when the eugenics movement became widespread under people like Harry Laughlin and Margaret Sanger. People with any type of handicap and unfortunately, women who were unwed mothers were deemed “feeble-minded” and “unfit to breed.” They force-sterilized these women and in many of these women, they also force-aborted their babies. At the same time, there was a worldwide polio epidemic and scientists began working on producing a polio vaccine. In the 1930s they openly admit to using these aborted fetuses in their polio vaccine research.

In one such science publication the researcher noted that “In many cases the (fetuses’) hearts were still beating at time of receipt in the polio research labs.” This is absolutely unconscionable! What they were trying to do is create what is known as a “cell line” for culturing the polio virus. To explain, viruses grow well on various types of tissues — both human and animal as well as other culture mediums. So in order to produce thousands of doses, scientists established cell lines taken from various tissues in several organs such as heart, thymus, retinal and lung. They culture the cells from the tissue in the labs and once there is a healthy stable growth, this is now a cell line that can be frozen and then reconstituted and used over and over in the future. But, just as all humans have finite lifespans, so do the normal human cells used in vaccines. Most of the vaccines today that use aborted fetal cell lines were derived from the aborted babies’ lung tissue.

LSN: How widespread is research on aborted fetuses today? And how are aborted fetal cell lines being used today? Are there particular vaccines that contain them? How can parents inform themselves about which vaccines are safe and ethical and which are not?

DB: Because of the finite lifespan of these cell lines which Leonard Hayflick discovered in his research on cell senescence, scientists have developed more and more aborted fetal cell lines to replace the current WI-38 (Wistar Institute, specimen number 38) and MRC-5 (Medical Research Council, specimen number 5) which were created over 50 years ago. The newest to be introduced by China is WALVAX 2 – from a 3 month gestation female baby lung tissue, the 9th abortion that was part of their research.  It is intended to replace these two cell lines. In addition, there are several vaccines and medicines using other aborted fetal cell lines such as PER C6, HEK-293, IMR-90, IMR-91, WI-26 and lambda hE.1. But unless one reads the package insert or in some cases, the actual patents, they would have no way of knowing and doctors do not give that information prior to vaccination. Children of God for Life keeps an updated list on our website that can be viewed here— or from the home page click on the “Vaccine” tab, then “Vaccine Chart.”

LSN: Is the US government supporting it? And does US law require that parents be informed of what vaccines contain? 

DB: Aborted fetal research has been federally funded in the US since 1993 when President Clinton signed it into law after intense lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry. And while right now, there is no legal obligation for physicians to advise parents, many prolife doctors do!  In addition, there is legislation pending in at least one state – Illinois, HB0342 that would require vaccine recipients to be fully informed.  See the proposed bill here.

LSN: Who is profiting from the use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines and more broadly by aborted fetal research?

DB: Universities, biotech companies, the pharmaceutical industry and of course, Planned Parenthood who was caught in an undercover sting discussing how they ensure obtaining intact organs for sale. And one university in Washington reported fulfilling over 4,400 fetal material requests in just one year! There is a huge market worth billions of dollars due to the creation of patents and sale of the cell lines by companies that actually store and resell aborted fetal material.  A quick browse through companies such as Coriell Cell Repository and American Type Cell Culture provides the cell lines, the source, the gestation of the baby and more.

DB: Unfortunately, misinformation is widespread but here are the most common misconceptions and the actual facts:

MYTH: “The abortions were not done with intention of vaccines…”

FACT: Documentation from the researchers themselves clearly show their direct involvement and intent for over 100 years.

MYTH: “Descendant cells are not part of the original aborted fetus…”

FACT: The DNA is intact and identical to first cells harvested. If not, FDA and WHO would require a test each time cells were used. By its very definition, these are human diploid cells that contain the DNA from both parents – they do not morph into anything else over time.

MYTH: “It was only a couple of abortions from the past …”

FACT: Hundreds of abortions were performed before perfecting cell lines.

MYTH: “No further abortions are needed now or in the future…”

FACT: New aborted fetal cell lines — thousands of new abortions

LSN: What is the message you want people to take away from your presentation?

DB: There is a great deal of information in my presentation that even the medical profession and our Catholic Church is not aware of, especially regarding the horrific history of forced abortions involved in vaccine research and thousands more that led to the ultimate final production. It never ceases to amaze me when some of the myths I mentioned before have been taken as fact, especially the number of abortions and direct participation by the pharmaceutical industry in the research. To give you an example, years ago when we wrote to Merck to ask them to produce moral alternatives to the aborted fetal vaccines, they stated they had nothing to do with the original aborted fetal research. Yet in one of Leonard Hayflick’s published science papers in which he was describing his work with the aborted fetuses to produce a cell line, at the end he gives grateful acknowledgment to Dr. Anthony Girardi, Merck Research Institute for his help. The truth needs to be made known about this sordid history and it is my goal to see that is done, and ultimately to put an end to this barbaric practice.

LSN: What advice would you give new parents to help them navigate the issue of vaccines?

DB: Talk to their doctor about their concerns with the vaccines and the possible use of moral alternatives for at least some of the vaccines. For example, one of the first vaccines a baby will get is Pentacel which combines DTaP with Polio and HiB. That vaccine uses aborted fetal cells in the polio portion and there are moral options. Parents should ask their doctor for those alternatives and if he/she refuses to listen, find another doctor! Sometimes parents ask me if they should or should not use the vaccines if there is no moral option, but that is a question they need to take to God in prayer and then do whatever He puts in their heart.

LSN: Is there anything you wish to add?

DB: The tacit approval of using the aborted fetal vaccines when there is no alternative is a major roadblock to making any progress to stop this injustice.  Until our physicians and clergy leaders unite worldwide demanding the moral alternatives, the pharmaceutical industry is not going to change.  In fact, as history and the current trends are proving, it’s only going to get worse.

Anti-Natalism

Taylor Lewis

March 13, 2019 (American Thinker) — Back in college, I participated in one of those summer-long, Koch-funded libertarian internship programs. During the final week of the program, clusters of us interns, fresh off working in the “real world” for two total months, were tasked with arguing an esoteric philosophical point of our choosing.

One group of impish participants decided to argue against having children. The argument was fiendishly simple: the very act of existing invites pain, so it’s morally questionable to bring young ones into a world guaranteed to harm them. With toothy grins, wrinkled slacks, and tousled hair, these students made their nihilistic argument, finely exercising their ability to, as F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

At the time, the arguers didn’t believe their own position. The no-harm logic, while sound on the surface, meant human extinction when taken to its logical conclusion.

A mélange of college students hopped up on Leonard Read essays and overpriced beer understood the implications of eschewing childbirth. But what’s Democrats’ excuse?

It turns out my puckish colleagues may have been prophets for the most visible newcomer in America’s liberal party. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the socialist and de facto Democratic leader, questions the wisdom of having kids. During an Instagram livestream, the 29-year-old congresswoman explains, in her termagant, ditzo manner, that Millennials like her don’t want to bring children into a world where China and India are pushing the global temperature a jot or tittle higher.

“There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?” she asked her legions of followers from her kitchen, wearing a beige turtleneck sweater to warm her body against one of the coldest winters in years.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez posits the same ethical challenge my fellow interns did years ago: is it morally kosher to have children if they will, someday, possibly suffer harm?

If you apply Ocasio-Cortez’s thinking to any time in human history absent the short time period of post-World War II to the present, it doesn’t stand up. Until the mid-twentieth century, many children had to contend with high infant mortality rates, slavery, sexual exploitation, hard labor, and a myriad of untreatable diseases like polio and hemophilia. What we think of as the relatively harmless lifestyle fit for children today — mandatory schooling through 18 years of age, widespread immunizations, Sesame Street — is so new to human existence that some grandparents alive today never experienced it.

You wouldn’t be reading this column in the year 2019 had earlier generations become conditioned to Ocasio-Cortez’s paralyzing fear. Yet the longue durée of human survival is increasingly forgotten by liberals who share a skeptical view of the future. A duo of fretting Cassandras recently appeared on a BBC program touting something called “Birthstrike,” a movement to withhold the gift of life in service to apocalyptic prediction.

“The natural world is collapsing around us, and that’s actually happening right now. And I’m so disappointed by the response by authorities to this crisis, and so freaked out by everything I’ve read that I’ve — I’ve basically last year I came to the decision that I couldn’t bring a child into that,” Blythe Pepino, founder of Birthstrike, explained to an audience currently experiencing a record-low birth rate. Her partner in petrification, Alice Brown, concurs, ratcheting up the fear a notch: “We are destroying biodiversity so quickly that it threatens our food … the U.N. have said that can lead to the risk of our own extinction.” Brown explains that her decision not to have children “has come from not wanting to pass that fear on to someone else.”

Petrifying everyone else with world-ending divinations is perfectly fine, apparently.

There’s a name for this swearing off procreation: anti-natalism. The philosophy — if self-imposed genocide can be called a philosophy — is, at its core, a deadening of everything it means to be human. It is both anti-life and misanthropic. “Homo sapiens is the most destructive species, and vast amounts of this destruction are wreaked on other humans,” writes anti-natalist philosopher David Benatar.

How Benatar maintains the will to live with such a bleak view of himself isn’t addressed. Like climate alarmists who pay thousands of dollars to travel around in carbon-emitting machines, Benatar doesn’t seem to take his own philosophy seriously.

The divide between anti-natalist liberals and conservatives is, as Russell Kirk said of all political problems, spiritual at heart. Conservatives view life as intrinsically valuable — that all children are formed in the image of a loving God. Even if a baby will one day grow to harm someone else, he is still not denied his inner worth.

Along with neoliberal types concerned that Africa’s high birth rate puts too much of a strain on economic resources, anti-natalists commit the dangerous fallacy of putting sublunary concerns above higher values. The road to despotism is paved with such intentions.

Then again, maybe that was the point all along.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

In epic letter, grandfather warns Catholic family of threats to their reaching heaven

Paul Fuchs

Editor’s note: The letter below was written by a Catholic father to his three children. He writes: “The letter is a sort of final testament of my witness to the Truth, that there will never exist any confusion among my own children about my actual beliefs and firm steadfastness in our shared Catholic Faith, and the mortal dangers that lurk everywhere in the current secular culture.” It is reprinted by permission of the author. 

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Dear Children:

Well into the final third of this earthly life, I am focused on the ultimate goal, the saving of my soul and the souls of my children and grandchildren. Eyes on the Prize. When I asked Mom if this email was too much, she replied: “If their house was on fire, would we tell them? . . .  and the spiritual threat to them is so much greater.” So here goes. Please forgive the length.

With the combination of aging, life experiences, the love of Mom, the Catholic Faith, and the grace of God, during the past two decades, I have gained wisdom and knowledge. As a parent who prays that you and your children reach heaven, I am compelled to share these insights with you.

Mom and I often reflect on the unbelievable changes in the culture that have occurred in our lifetime and the amazing speed in which these changes have occurred. Unlike the scientific and technological fields, where breakthroughs occur on a frequent basis and at a dizzying pace, during the past fifty years there have been no significant advances in understanding the Truth of the word of God. No Thomas Aquinas or Augustine has emerged to enlighten and elucidate our knowledge of moral law. Neither the Holy Bible nor Natural Law has changed. The Catholic catechism essentially remains the same. Yet the culture has truly undergone a revolution, a revolution fueled by many evil influences. If still alive, Grandma & Grandad and Grandpa & Grandma would have been abhorred by the radical changes in mores.

Compared to the generation in which I was raised, and even the one in which you were raised, these cultural changes have made the task of being a responsible parent an extremely difficult, nearly impossible, undertaking. Surrounded on all sides by this secular and permissive culture and with easy access to the internet, your children face imminent and immense spiritual dangers, literally unimaginable to our generations. Mortal danger lurks as close as their cellphone, or that of their friends’ cellphone or laptop.

In our midst evil hides in plain sight. Everywhere. Pornography, for example, is one of the most immediate and pressing threats to the souls of your children. Eleven is the average age children are exposed to the degrading, visually vivid, lurid, and addictive images of pornography. You must maintain constant vigilance to protect your children. Be proactive. Talk with them about good and evil. Pray daily. Dedicate time to pray the Rosary with your children. Ask the Blessed Mother for her intercession and assistance. Pray to cousin Gloria to beseech God and St. Michael the Archangel to guide and safeguard your family.

My dear children, please slowly read and thoughtfully ponder this letter. It describes changes in the culture, none positive, lies of the culture, and specific consequences of those lies. It includes comments on the orchestrated attack on free speech by the left via fear, shaming, and intimidation, both in the public arena and on the internet/social media, where your children will seek information and learn much about the world. Finally, it concludes with personal reflections on an appropriate response to such changes. Here are the unvarnished truths of our culture.

The Past 50 years: A Frontal Assault on our 4,000-year-old Judeo-Christian Culture

During the past 50 years, there has been a direct frontal assault on our 4,000-year-old Judeo-Christian Culture. The Church, the family, and marriage, cherished institutions foundational to our culture, have been viciously attacked by the progressive left, including much of the media and Hollywood. Contraception, abortion, casual sex, divorce, and most recently, gender fluidity, have been actively promoted as cultural advancements that should be heralded.

However, the product of these forces has been a cesspool of moral corruption with striking increases in adultery; homosexuality; premarital sex; out of wedlock pregnancy; abortion; confused, unwanted and unloved children; drug abuse; euthanasia; assisted suicide; and pornography. These cultural myths have been based on lies and deception, repeated so often that, sadly, many now accept them as true. Here are some of the more damaging lies.

The Big Lies of the Modern Secular Culture & Direct Consequences: Is Any of this Good?

  • The Biggest Lie: A baby in the womb is not a real person
  • Murder of 60 million infants by abortion in the United States alone
  • Legalization of the murder of infants born alive after an “unsuccessful” abortion & public celebration of passage of that law
  • The lie that some human beings lack God-given dignity and are no longer worthy of life
  • Promotion of Physician-Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia
  • Murder of 5,000 black Americans each year, 90-95% by other black males (of that total, less than 100 unarmed blacks killed by police)
  • The lies that human beings must act on their sexual urges and that the previously esteemed virtue of chastity, as well as many other virtues, are no longer relevant to modern man
  • The lie that sexual intercourse is merely a casual recreational behavior between consenting individuals for selfish pleasure, rather than a sacred and beautiful procreational and unifying act of unselfish, unconditional love between a married man and woman
  • The lie that marriage is not exclusively the union between one man and one woman
  • The lies that marriage is not a permanent moral contract, that no-fault divorce is painless, and that children, irrespective of age, are not significantly and permanently harmed by divorce
  • The lie that children do not need both a mother and a father
  • Rampant STD’s in teenagers and young adults (“steep sustained increases”)
  • “A record 918 neonates in the US infected by their mothers with syphilis in 2017”
  • Increased number of divorces
  • Explosion in single-parent families & the directly related increase in poverty
  • Increased sexual abuse of women
  • Increased sexual abuse of children
  • Increased number of children/teenagers both exposed to and addicted to pornography
  • 650,000 deaths from AIDS in the US alone; about 40,000 new infections of HIV annually
  • The incredibly personally destructive lie that gender is not biologically determined
  • The promotion of transgenderism and resulting confusion in many children & parents
  • The increase in both attempted and completed suicide by teenagers
  • The lie that diversity, rather than greatness or excellence, is an important stand-alone goal
  • Classification of individuals by skin color and/or sexual orientation, rather than by content of character, is a nightmarish version of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech
  • The lie that socialism, rather than capitalism, is the better system to create wealth, raise the standard of living for everyone, decrease poverty, and protect and promote individual & religious freedom
  • The lie that past injustices against one’s ancestors, the resulting victimhood, and systemic racism are the major determining factors in one’s individual success or failure, rather than the love and encouragement of parents, personal responsibility, God-given talent, and hard work
  • The lie that work is demeaning and it is merciful and charitable for the government to subsidize individuals unwilling but physically and mentally able to work
  • Legacy of welfare & victimhood passed from one generation to the next
  • Promotion of envy and jealousy between lower and higher economic classes and of racial animosity among minorities directed toward successful white individuals
  • The lie that homosexual activity and the tolerance of that sexual behavior by the hierarchy is not a fundamental factor in the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church
  • Failure of the hierarchy to effectively confront the sexual abuse crisis among the clergy
  • Childhood innocence destroyed and lives irreparably damaged and lost

Hate Speech. The Progressive Left’s Orwellian Definition

Differing opinions, previously considered a normal and essential part of civil discourse, now are framed as hate speech. To avoid hurting someone’s feelings, free speech is scorned in favor of the “correct” opinion, increasingly dictated by the progressive left. Opposition is silenced by fear, intimidation, and even violence. Virtue signaling abounds. Noise, rather than logical reasoning, fills the void. Only one side is heard. Knowledge and truth are the casualties.

“Hate Speech” is defined by the progressive left as any opinion that differs from their own. If you disagree and have the courage to voice another opinion, you are targeted by social media and labeled a racist, bigot, homophobe, misogynist, prejudiced, hateful and/or just simply stupid or ignorant. Even wearing the wrong hat makes one a target. No one is immune from this type of irrational, personal attack. You or your children could be the next target. The left is unsparing and relentless as it advances a progressive, often non-Christian agenda.

The Frontal Assault on the First Amendment to our Constitution

Examples in which the progressive left, in an attempt to intimidate, responds with name calling and insults rather than engages in an honest and respectful dialogue include:

  • Marriage is the union of one man & one woman = Homophobe
  • Life begins at conception = Misogynist; Sexist
  • Sexual Behavior & Natural Law = Homophobe
  • Immigration & Respect for the Law = Racist; Fearful of Latinos / Hispanics / People of color
  • Man Made Climate Change = Science Denier
  • Right to own guns = Pro Violence
  • Pro Police = Racist; Fascist
  • Pro Capitalism = Hater of the poor / minorities
  • Pro Trump / MAGA Cap = Racist; Misogynist; Homophobe: Hater; Bigot; Fascist; Nazi; Stalinist

What can you do in a “World Gone Wrong”?

Jesus asks each of us: “But who do you say I am?” What is your answer? Study the tenets of your Catholic religion in the catechism, read the Holy Bible, and pray. Fully embrace and practice your Catholic Faith, a precious gift God has bestowed upon you. Pass that precious gift unto your children. But it will not be easy. Pray daily to God for wisdom and courage.

Do not be distracted or discouraged by the moral failures and abominations of far too many priests and leaders in the Church’s hierarchy. They represent human and institutional weaknesses and failures. Their individual sins, no matter how inexcusable and horrific, neither diminish nor alter the Truths of our Catholic Faith. Remain steadfast in that Faith.

You have a unique opportunity to swim against this rising tide of moral corruption and cultural decline and lead a singular life of heroic virtue. One person can and does make a difference. Be that one person. Ignite a counterrevolution in your own family and social circles. Forsake the false idols and myths of our modern secular culture. Be an authentic warrior for Christ.

Speak fearlessly and with moral clarity, in a loving and merciful voice, to your children. Teach your children to love the sinner but hate the sin. Reconsider the values of our traditional cultural and moral norms as you educate and guide your children to heaven in a secular culture that threatens their very salvation. Lies and deceit are everywhere. Confusion reigns. Satan is active. Your children desperately need your active guidance. You are their sole moral compass.

As you already do in your personal and professional lives, strive for greatness in your spiritual lives. Pray the Rosary. Live like a Saint. It is what God is calling you to do. For your own sake, and that of your loving spouse and beautiful children, answer that call with a resounding yes!

You are always in our prayers. I believe in you. I love you, Dad

What about Ventilators and “Pulling the Plug”?

By Nancy Valco

When I first became a registered nurse in 1969, ICUs (intensive care units) were still new. The first one I worked was set up in the former visitors’ lounge and we learned how to read EKGs (heart tracings) by using a book.

By the early 1970s, I worked in a surgical/trauma ICU where we used sophisticated ventilators like the MA-1. We were able to get almost all our patients off ventilators by weaning, the process of gradually lowering ventilator support until the patient can breathe on his or her own.

But in 1976, I was shocked by the Karen Quinlan case that changed everything.

Karen was a 21 year old woman who suffered brain damage after apparently taking drugs at a party. She was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator. When she was thought to be in a “persistent vegetative state”, her adoptive parents asked that her ventilator be removed. The doctors disagreed and they case eventually went to the New Jersey Supreme court that allowed the removal of the ventilator on the grounds of an individual’s right to privacy.  Shortly afterward, California passed the first “living will” to refuse “life support” if or when the signer is incapacitated.

Ironically, Karen lived 10 more years because, as some ethicists criticized, she was weaned off the ventilator instead of just abruptly stopping the ventilator.

My experience with ventilators became personal in 1983 when my baby daughter Karen died on a ventilator before she could get open-heart surgery. Unfortunately, one young doctor earlier offered to take her off the ventilator to “get this over with”. I reported him to the chief of cardiology who was furious with the young doctor.

In the 1990s, I returned to working in an ICU and was shocked by the development of the “terminal wean” for some patients on ventilators. Often the families were told that there was no hope of a “meaningful” life. The terminal wean involved abruptly disconnecting the ventilator and “allowing” the patient to die. I brought up at least trying regular, gradual weaning and oxygen as we did for the other patients on ventilators but I was ignored.

After I retired from bedside nursing, I was asked to be with an elderly man on a ventilator who had had a massive stroke and the family was told that he would never have any quality of life and would die soon anyway. I tried to bring up weaning but some members of the family were adamant.

When the ventilator was stopped. I held the man’s hand and prayed while he gasped for air and turned blue. I asked the nurse to at least giving him oxygen for comfort but she ignored me. Instead, she gave frequent doses of morphine intravenously until the man’s heart finally stopped after 20 minutes.

I am still haunted by this man’s death.

INFORMED CONSENT?

The medical definition of informed consent requires understanding “the purpose, benefits, and potential risks of a medical or surgical intervention…”.

But most people seem to have a vague understanding of ventilators when they sign a “living will” or other advance directives and thus have very little information about this often life-saving medical intervention.

As a nurse, I found that most people-especially the elderly-tend to automatically check off ventilators without understanding that a sudden problem with breathing can come from a number of treatable conditions that don’t require long-term use of a ventilator such as  asthma, drug overdoses, pneumonia and some brain injuries.

In some circumstances such as certain spinal cord injuries and late-stage neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the ventilator is  necessary long-term to live. But even then, people like Christopher Reeve and Stephen Hawking have used portable ventilators to continue with their lives. Some people with disabilities use small ventilators only at night.

It is important to know that ventilators move air in and out of the lungs but do not cause respiration-the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that occurs in lungs and body tissues. Respiration can occur only when the body’s respiratory and circulatory systems are otherwise intact. A ventilator cannot keep a corpse alive.

It’s also important to know that not all machines that assist breathing require the insertion of a tube into the windpipe. Non-invasive positive-pressure ventilation like the BiPap successfully used for my elderly friend Melissa allowed her to use a face mask to assist her breathing until antibiotics cured her pneumonia.

WEANING FROM A VENTILATOR

Many patients are easy to wean from a ventilator but some patients are more difficult.

Years ago, I cared for an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s who needed a ventilator when she developed pneumonia. She had made her son and daughter her medical decision makers in her advance directive.

However, the doctors found it very difficult to try to wean the ventilator after the woman improved. They spoke to the family about removing the ventilator and letting her die. The daughter agreed but the son was adamantly against this.

The woman was totally awake after the sedation to keep her comfortable on the ventilator was stopped. She was cooperative and made no effort to pull out the tube in her windpipe. She just smiled when asked if she wanted the ventilator stopped.

Having known of some great respiratory therapists in the past who were able to successfully wean difficult patients from ventilators, I suggested that she be transferred. She was transferred and a week later we were told that she was successfully weaned from her ventilator.

About a year later, I encountered the woman again when she was recuperating after a routine surgery. Although her Alzheimer’s disease was unchanged, she was doing well in an assisted living residence.

CONCLUSION

As a student nurse, I was as initially intimidated by ventilators as anyone else. But as I learned how to use them and saw the constant improvements not only in the technology but also in our care of patients on ventilators, I came to see ventilators as a great blessing when needed.

And while we are never required to accept treatment that is medically futile or excessively burdensome to us, sometimes this can be hard to determine-especially in a crisis situation. Most of my patients on ventilators recovered but some could not be saved. We were surprised and humbled when some patients with a poor prognosis recovered while others who seemed to have a better chance died unexpectedly. There are no guarantees in life or death.

That is why my husband and I wrote our advance directives that designate each other as our decision maker with the right to have all current options, risk and benefits of treatment fully explained.

We don’t want an advance directive that could be hazardous to our health!

THEY CAN’T BE TRUSTED. PERIOD.

Michael Voris They Can’t be Trusted20190311

I’m Michael Voris coming to you from the annual Bringing America Back to Life Symposium in Cleveland, Ohio.

Each year in the second weekend of March, organizers bring in speakers from all over the country and the world to talk about the growing threat to human life and dignity in areas of culture, science, politics and governments.

We at Church Militant pay special attention, as you know, to the threat to not just temporal human life, but also — most importantly — spiritual life.

It’s why we have and continue to concentrate so many of our resources toward unearthing the rot in the Church, and doing this every day, we can tell you the rot and betrayal of the truth goes a lot deeper than almost anyone realizes and happens in a million different ways.

We often talk about things on a macro level — the big picture — but we sometimes talk about things on a micro level, specific examples, and show how each of them relates, or feeds back into the big picture.

Today, a micro example, from the diocese of Lansing, Michigan and the bishop there Earl Boyea. Back in 2014, a sexual assault victim informed Boyea of an assault perpetrated against him by a priest who had gained some notoriety on Ave Maria Radio out of Ann Arbor.

The priest is Fr. Pat Egan and his show on Ave Maria was entitled Fully Alive. Egan is a priest of the archdiocese of Westminster, London, England. He has been in the U.S. for a number of years now. When the victim reported the assault to Boyea in 2014, Boyea did nothing of relevance.

He told the victim, an adult male, who had also been an adult at the time of the assault, that since Egan was not a Lansing priest, he couldn’t do anything, like remove his faculties. However, four years later in 2018, once word got out about Egan, Boyea did then remove his faculties.

In a very untransparent press release, Boyea kept most of what he knew close to his vest, revealing only the barest minimum he could get away with. The relevant part read that Egan “has had his priestly faculties removed due to a credible allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior with an adult male.”

What it does not say, which is what the point is:

One, the assault happened four years earlier.

Two, Boyea knew about it back then.

And three, it was not just “sexual behavior” — it was an assault, a homopredator clerical assault. Those missing details are important because of the implication attached.

Why would Boyea conceal that it was an actual assault — he kept that hidden. Why? Why did Boyea keep hidden that the assault happened four years earlier? Why would Boyea not acknowledge that he had personal knowledge of this four years earlier?

Reading the press statement, it could be easily interpreted to mean that Boyea just became aware of a consensual homosexual relationship involving a priest, and the moment he discovered it, being the strong bishop he is, he immediately stepped in and fixed the matter.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Boyea concealed — deliberately — the most relevant facts to cover for his own inaction.

Egan had an earlier charge against him that Boyea knew about as well. In that case, the diocesan review board, Boyea says, determined that the earlier accusation was not credible.

Again, in a case of covering up and making misleading statements, Boyea failed to acknowledge that on the diocesan review board was none other than Fr. Egan’s religious superior who went to bat for him and got the charge deemed not credible. But Boyea never revealed that little piece of info, either.

This is a small example of why growing numbers of Catholics — increasing every day — are looking at their bishops and saying they simply cannot be trusted — period.

If they aren’t out-and-out lying — like Cardinals Wuerl and Cupich and Tobin and Farrell — then they are parsing their words and publishing deliberately ambiguous statements with the intent to mislead. All the bowing at the altar of transparency and offering incense to the gods of accountability is pure bunk.

It is no longer a case of the credibility of these men being destroyed, but the truth of the Faith. The Church Herself is being damaged by these scoundrels who treat the Church as their own private company, pretending to care about the faithful all the while holding them in contempt.

Church Militant was given an audio recording made at a public gathering where Boyea was confronted about his wrongdoing, and the sarcasm and contempt in his answers is palpable — no remorse, nothing, just sarcasm and lashing out in almost accusatory tones.

These men live in a surreal world where no one is allowed to question them, and they rarely if ever suffer the consequences of their actions — only in the most heinous of cases.

Brother bishops defend them in a kind of suicide pact mentality, ensuring that if one goes down, many others would follow, so they enjoy a kind of mutually assured destruction, careful to keep as much under wraps as possible.

Well, here’s a thought for the bishop and others to chew on. The original assault happened in 2014 — a sexual assault — that’s a crime. The statute of limitations has not run out on that crime.

Boyea knew about the crime and did not report it, quite possibly making him an accessory after the fact, because he knowingly protected a criminal or someone he should have had reason to believe was a criminal.

Likewise, because the 2014 crime was related to the earlier crime, and Boyea knew that the decision of that diocesan board may have been rigged, his knowledge could very well open that case up again.

This is all stuff, of course, for lawyers to look at, and Church Militant has information that the Michigan state attorney general is indeed looking at this case. A few years ago, a bishop in Kansas City, Bp. Finn, was removed for failing to report a case of sexual assault involving a minor male.

In 2014, Bp. Boyea failed to report a case of sexual assault involving an adult male. The statute of limitations had run out on the Kansas case. It has not run out on the Lansing case.

So the obvious question is: Why is Boyea still bishop of Lansing? And, are criminal charges possibly awaiting him?

Is it not OK to sexually assault a child; but it is apparently acceptable for a priest to sexually assault a male adult. The entire mindset of the U.S. bishops has to change, and it has to change now — no more secrets, no more deflections, no more arrogance.

The Paradigm Shift That Must Happen

Paradigm Shift 20190311

There has been a paradigm shift that has occurred and is occurring in the battle to end abortion.  I would summarize the focus of this shift to be about three primary aspect.   First, we have begun speaking the blunt and hard truths of what abortion is.  Instead of speaking of it as a healthcare issue or with euphemisms, we have begun to expose this murder for what it is in all its graphic and barbaric forms.  We have used graphic images and videos of abortion.  We have called it murder.  We have refused to talk about it as healthcare.

Two, we have refused to compromise with the slaughter of children.  There can be no compromise in any way with the intentional murder of children.  There are no exceptions.   This means that groups that pass bills compromising on the issue are being exposed as compromisers and are called to do what is right.  We do not support exceptions for rape, incest, or health issues.   Abortion is murder, period.  We don’t support measures that regulate abortion or say its ok to murder your baby if the abortion doctor can’t find a heartbeat that they really won’t be looking to find.

Thirdly, we are acknowledge that there is no such thing as neutrality. You will either submit to and obey God or you will rebel against him.  The Supreme Court is not neutral nor are they God.  The paradigm shift is pushing the “prolife” movement to acknowledge that either Christ is our God or the Supreme Court is our God.   These three things, no neutrality, no compromise, and no flinching from the truth, are enabling those who battle this evil to do so with the power of God through faithfulness to him. This is having no small effect.   There are and have been many haters and many difficult battles to make this shift but God is working and will be glorified. We are seeing  because of this shift a change in the conversation nationwide even among those who are still operating under the old paradigm shift.   Even those who are pro-abortion are having to acknowledge that this shift is happening.

This same paradigm shift must occur in the church’s battle with sexual immorality and the protection of the family.  We must realize that there is no such thing as neutrality.  The LGTB alphabet soup mafia does not believe in neutrality on this issue.  They want to eradicate any and all opposition to their views.  They readily acknowledge that they want to indoctrinate children and are doing so in the public library, public schools, and entertainment media.  We in the church must recognize that there is no neutral ground on this issue.  You will either celebrate this evil or you will hate it.  You will either bow to the Supreme Court on this issue or you will obey God.  We cannot give pretense to neutrality.  We must call men to repentance and faith in Christ on this issue.

Secondly, we must recognize that compromise is unfaithfulness to our Lord.  Where we compromise on sexual immorality in our personal lives, families, or churches, we are being unfaithful to God and will find ourselves losing this battle.  Compromise on this issue starts with compromising on the distinction between male and female.  It starts with women usurping authority and men shirking authority. It starts with failing to raise our boys to be boys and our girls to be girls.  We teach our daughters to find their identities in their careers instead of preparing them to be the kind of young women Titus 2 says they should be.  We are compromising by ordaining women in the church or having them be the primary leaders of worship.

Compromise happens when we fail to see how seriously the bible takes sexuality.  In the very first chapter of the Bible we learn that God made male and female.  All throughout scripture, we find that God takes sexual immorality very seriously.  Things like adultery, incest, sodomy, and bestiality are considered crimes in the bible and God destroys nations for tolerating them.  But we compromise by failing to take things like modesty, chaste speech, and what we entertain ourselves with seriously.   We compromise by our pretense to neutrality.  We do this by adopting a live and let live mentality.  We say “what you do in your own bedroom is none of my business.  Who am I to judge?”   But this filth is not staying in the bedroom and those who practice it are all too ready to judge.   We will either judge rightly or be judged.

Thirdly, and perhaps the hardest for us to to today, is that we are going to have to speak about this with the same blunt and forcefulness as we speak about abortion as murder.  Those supporting sexual immorality have spent years working to change the paradigm on the issue.  They have couched it all in terms of relationships and love.   In turn, many in the church have been put on the back foot.  We have started speaking about sodomy as something that just isn’t best for human flourishing.  I guess you could say that when God reigned down fire from the sky on Sodom that humans were not flourishing too well that day.  But we have began to soften the biblical and historical Christian witness against the sins.  We have seen this in terms of relationship instead of abomination.

We have also embraced the terminology of sexual orientation.  Many talk about same-sex attraction as if it is some neutral thing.  This terminology of sexual orientation is a useful tool for those pushing this sexual immorality.  To give one example, it has been used to try and distinguish between men who sleep with men and men who sleep with boys.  That is they have tried to argue that no gay man abuses boys.  The truth is that every time a man sexually abuses a boy, he is committing a same-sex sex act.  That is homosexuality at work.   But we have been taught that we can never make this connection.

The use of orientation language is often used to position those who commit sexual immorality as victims.  They are victims of something they never chose.  It is all God’s fault they are “gay”.   The hard truth is that these men and women who give into to sexual temptation are morally culpable.  They are not perpetual victims.  Even if some of these people have been victims of sexual abuse, they are responsible for how they respond to that abuse.  The “LGBT” movement has been good at painting themselves as victims in order to garner sympathy and support for their position.

The sexually immoral have managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the culture and of the church. Our work is going to be the hard and difficult task of pulling that wool off and exposing this evil for what it truly is.  The bible commands us to expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness.  We are going to have to get over our addiction to being liked and being nice and speak the blunt truths of sexual immorality.  We are going to have to work to restore the shame to this evil.  We need to speak the hard truths of scripture and call these sins what they are, abomination, perversions, attacks on nature and nature’s God, filthy and disgusting sin worthy of death.  We are going to have to expose the truth about the connection between sodomy and child abuse.   We are going to have expose how sodomy destroys men’s bodies, minds, and souls.

Why must we do this?

1.  We love God. And we want to be faithful to his word and his created order.
2. We love the church.  We don’t want to see the church compromise and be stained with impurity.  We don’t want it to lose its saltiness.  Nor do we want to see future generations of the church facing the consequences of our inaction.
3. We love our children.  We do not want to see them assaulted with lies and sexual perversion.  We don’t want to see them fall into the destructive patterns of these sins.  Nor do we want them to be a part of a nation that experiences the full wrath of God.
4.  We love our country.  God has placed us here and we are to be salt and light to it.  We want to see it fall on its knees before Christ and honor him in the culture and the laws it enacts.  We also don’t want to see it continued to be destroyed.  We don’t want to see God wipe it from the earth as he has done with other nations that have followed this path.
5.  We love those who are caught in these sins.  We love those who practice these sins that destroy their minds, bodies, and souls and therefore we warn them truthfully, without compromise, and without neutrality.  For their sake we cannot pretend there is some neutral ground where God is not to be obeyed, where Christ is not king.  We cannot pretend as if the gospel cannot save them if they will humble themselves.   For their sake we don’t compromise letting them continue in their pride.  For their sake we speak the hard blunt truths that put the shame on what they are doing so that they may be humbled by the demands of God’s law and look to the only hope of forgiveness, Jesus Christ.

It is love that demands we refuse neutrality, refuse compromise, and refuse to speak soft words of peace when there is no peace.   Love demands that we have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  Church its time for a paradigm shift.

#MeStillMe combats the dehumanization of the preborn online

 

A preborn baby in the womb is no different from a baby on the outside; one is just as precious and worthy of love and protection as the other. This is the message conveyed by the by the #MeStillMe hashtag that has recently gained traction on social media.

It all started when Nichole Rowley and her husband Tyler gave birth to their baby, Fulton, in August. They received a congratulatory note from the governor of their home state of Rhode Island, but the well-wishes made Nichole feel uneasy. That’s because Rhode Island is poised to pass an extreme abortion bill on par with, and in fact more extreme than, New York’s. Despite the fact that 74% of Rhode Islanders oppose unrestricted abortion up until birth, Governor Raimondo has promised to sign it into law. “The card expressed the joy of having children, but the sentiment didn’t make sense coming from Governor Raimondo,” said Rowley to NBC 10 News. “If children are such a special gift, as the card claims, why does she offer those children no rights before they are born?”

To combat the dehumanization that helps many like Raimondo feel comfortable with taking away the lives of preborn babies, Nichole combined the powerful tools of social media and ultrasound imaging: “We combat the lie of dehumanization by showing a side-by-side photo of the child in the womb (Me) and outside the womb (…Still Me), clearly presenting the continuum of human life from the womb to the crib.”

CitizensForLifeRI@CitizForLifeRI

We’re voters, and we’re watching! @CharleneLimaRI 74% of Rhode Islanders oppose abortion right until the moment of birth. VOTE NO ON H5125 Sub A.

See CitizensForLifeRI’s other Tweets

Nichole sent the card back to the governor, along with her #MeStillMe images of her oldest son and newest baby. She later created a Facebook page and a Twitter account to spread the hashtag. Pro-lifers from about half a dozen other states have shared the hashtag, and two pro-life Catholic media outlets, EWTN and Relevant Radio, have shared with millions of followers. Many have taken up the hashtag to share photos of their own babies, both born and preborn.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Christie and Benjamin@ctayy

@amyklobuchar No difference.

See Christie and Benjamin’s other Tweets

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Respect Life STL@ProLifeSTL

Part 1: program manager Mary shares the photos of her youngest niece Maezy now five years old both unborn and born!

See Respect Life STL’s other Tweets

Laura 🎶@braavos_mercy

A fetus is not a child and an abortion is a medical procedure. Stop using emotion to try make your point.

Nichole said she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support after creating the hashtag. She told the National Catholic Register, “I have been so moved by the people who have reached out to me personally. Women have told me incredible stories. They tell me I encourage them but it’s really their incredible stories of choosing life in this culture of death that is encouraging. Their kindness and thankfulness gives me the confidence to keep fighting.”

OUR LADY CHOOSES THE U. S. FOR A FINAL PLEA

by Fr. Regis Scanlon

Growing numbers of Americans are looking with horror at what has become of our Church and country. Moral confusion and indifference to human life is common. Legal boundaries continue to be stretched to favor abortion, same-sex marriage and pornography without limits. Finally, the Church seems to be rotting from within from a massive problem of homosexuality among the clergy, including bishops and cardinals, as reports surface of a number of homosexual bishops preying on seminarians.

But we must take heart. Societies have broken down before and caused great human misery — but help did come. In times past, Our Lord sent His Blessed Mother to rescue His people in the midst of similar evil and suffering.

In fact, our times bear similarities to the Mexico of 500 years ago, a time when human life was also vulnerable to the powers of the state. In that case, it was the Aztec rulers who were brutally sacrificing hundreds of thousands of human beings on pagan altars. Then, in 1531, God sent Mary to a humble peasant, Juan Diego, and through this now canonized saint offered to an entire country the Christian message of peace and hope. In just 20 short years, nine million Aztec pagans were converted to Christianity by people’s obedience to the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In that famous and beloved apparition, Mary appeared as Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as Our Lady of the Americas, to signify her motherly care over all the countries of the western hemisphere.

Five centuries later, many people believe that Our Lady appeared again under a similar title, Our Lady of America, to signify her care over our specific country, the United States of America.

This series of apparitions began in 1956 in Indiana and continued over three decades into the 1980s. They earned the approval of the local bishops. However, today, few Americans are aware of these appearances of Mary, who identified herself under a new title Our Lady of America. Perhaps people believe that they can solve today’s problems without extraordinary help from God.

In any case, when Mary began appearing to a quiet nun in Indiana, religious devotion was common in the U.S., and the legal system largely respected faith institutions and their constitutionally protected role under the First Amendment. But a troubled future was rapidly approaching — if we only knew. Today, we appreciate the prophetic quality of her message, as Mary reached out like a good mother with warnings for our country’s future, warnings which clearly fit our confused and troubled 21st century.

Our Lady’s appearances were made to Sister Mildred (Mary Ephrem) Neuzil (1916-2000) while she was living in Rome City, Indiana and later, in Fostoria, Ohio. Our Lady told Sister Mildred that troubling times were ahead, specifically for the United States of America. Yet Mary also held out encouragement and hope — that, yes, America can be reformed and many lives will be saved if people will turn to God and turn away from sin, especially sins of sexual impurity.

You may well be asking: since there have been so many bogus and unconfirmed apparitions — why believe in this one?

Most important of all, this apparition earned the support and approval of Paul F. Leibold auxiliary bishop of Cincinnati, who gave the imprimatur to the messages of Our Lady of America first in 1960 and later in 1971 when he was Archbishop of Cincinnati. As Archbishop of Cincinnati he also commissioned a statue and a devotional medal.  In 2007 Archbishop Leibold’s action received the support and encouragement of Cardinal Raymond Burke, at the time Archbishop of St. Louis. In a letter to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops dated May 31, 2007 he wrote this about devotion to Our Lady of America:

What can be concluded canonically is that the devotion was both approved by Archbishop Leibold and, what is more, actively promoted by him. In addition, over the years, other bishops have approved the devotion and have participated in public devotion to the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of America (italics added).

At the United States Bishop’s Conference on Nov.15, 2006 Archbishop Burke publicly  displayed and blessed a new statue of Our Lady of America.

Today, there are those who point out that the apparition of Our Lady of America had not reached the final stages of official Church approval before the death of Archbishop Leibold in 1972. This caution certainly cannot be criticized. No Catholic is forced to believe in apparitions (even those with full approval) and it is fully understandable that many Catholics will not listen to any Marian message until the Pope has given full “canonical approval.”

Still, if one weighs the credibility of these purported apparitions to Sr. Mildred, a number of things stand out. First, Sr. Mildred never sought publicity (hunger for the limelight is a discrediting sign). Second, she submitted Our Lady’s messages to her Episcopal superiors and was obedient to their direction. Third, the message itself was granted an imprimatur of a bishop of the Church and was accepted by other bishops. Finally, there is the fact that the message is so clearly in accordance with Holy Scripture, and that it carries a prophetic warning for our times. For all these reasons, isn’t it more prudent to believe the message, especially when these predictions have already begun to come true?

Why should the messages of Our Lady of America be taken seriously?

Overall, Our Lady of America’s message was twofold. It contained an encouragement of faith but also a warning of terrible times ahead if there was not widespread repentance.

First, Mary revealed to Sister Mildred that this country could be a great source for spreading the true faith across the world. Our Lady said: “I desire, through my children of America, to further the cause of faith and purity among peoples and nations.”

At the time, her directive seemed most appropriate, because the United States was experiencing a time of both world tension combined with a deep spiritual devotion to Mary. Yes, the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union was intense, but faith was intense also, as Catholics were inspired and directed to bombard Heaven with prayer from their homes and parishes. Every Mass concluded with prayers “for the conversion of Russia.” In 1950 the pope had declared the doctrine of the Assumption, and the acknowledgment of Our Lady’s special role in salvation unleashed a huge wave of devotion in the United States, both among Catholics and secular society. Archbishop Fulton Sheen became one of the country’s first “network TV stars,” and he dedicated much of his ministry to Mary and wrote many books about her. Father Patrick Peyton launched the Family Rosary Crusade and filled stadiums across the U.S. for his Rosary rallies. He was flanked in many of his public appearances by Hollywood stars that were proud to be identified as Catholics. Pastors nationwide encouraged their parishioners to pray the Rosary every night.

Also, during this time, the American bishops reinforced their proclamation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as Patroness of the United States. This was first proclaimed at the Council of Baltimore in 1846. The bishops capped this directive by completing and opening the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

On September 25, 1956, Sr. Mildred recorded this message from Our Lady: “I am pleased, my child, with the love and honor my children in America give me.”  Then Our Lady promised to reward their love by working “miracles of grace among them.”

But she immediately added: “I do not promise miracles of the body but of the soul.”

In other words, Mary’s mission was not to work physical healings and to make people happy in this life. By promising miracles of the soul —instead of the body — it’s clear that Our Lady’s primary goal is to help people change morally so they will be saved.

As at Guadalupe, she showed herself as a most tender mother and invited each of us to turn to her for help.

And, as at Lourdes, Our Lady of America proclaimed one of the great mysteries of our faith, that she is the Immaculate Conception. In fact, Mary, under the title of Our Lady of America, gave her specific approval of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, telling Sr. Mildred, “This is my shrine, my daughter. Tell my children I thank them.” Our Lady encouraged the shrine as a pilgrimage site and promised, “It will be a place of wonders.”

And, as at Fatima in 1917, she asked Americans to reform their lives, especially in matters of purity and chastity, before it was too late and our nation succumbed to terrible sufferings.

Priests were called to a special role. Mary said American priests should submit to penance and self denial and in this way lead the renewal of the Church in America.

The second part of her message was just as crucial, but more ominous. In subsequent apparitions, Mary’s messages became more somber and urgent. “I come to you, children of America, as a last resort . . . Be my army of chaste soldiers ready to fight to death to preserve the purity of your souls.”

Our Lady added: “Make the Rosary a family prayer …. Those found in the circle of my Rosary will never be lost.”

Our Lady also spoke sternly about the future of the United States and the world. She spoke specifically about “my children in America.”  “Unless they do penance by mortification and self-denial and reform their lives, God will visit them with ‘punishments as yet unknown.’”

But what could she be talking about?

What Should We Make of the “Punishments”?

Any Christian would be unsettled to hear of “punishments as yet unknown.” But what punishments did Mary come to save America from?

If we stop to think about it, the answer clearly involves major trends we know too well: We live in a time of homes without fathers, and sexual relationships without marriages. Deep moral confusion which has destroyed the peace of families and the justice of many of our nation’s laws. Every day we hear of new acts of violence. Sexual depravity has become “mainstream.” Women and children are the special targets of predators. And though the “Cold War” has ended, we have entered a new era of war waged by terrorists.

So, it isn’t as if we aren’t already experienced the punishments warned of by the Blessed Mother. Besides the historic changes of legal abortion and same sex marriage (two groundbreaking legal precedents which people in the 1950s couldn’t have imagined), we also have the rise of religious persecution in our own country (Remember the government’s legal threat against the Little Sisters of The Poor.)

Today, in both Mexico and the U.S., murder routinely begins in the womb and ends in the street. Are we really surprised? After all, just as love and life are mysteriously related, so is hatred and death. When the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door to legal abortions in 1973, in effect, it swung open the door to a world of hatred and death. Recall that, when  Mother Teresa of Calcutta received the Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 11, 1979 in Oslo, Norway, she declared:  “if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.”

But there is one more type of “punishments as yet unknown” which Our Lady of America says will happen if Americans do not reform their lives: War. Yes, we already experience war in distant countries, but now the reality has come to our own cities. We used to worry about terrorism from the Mideast, and nuclear threats from rogue nations like North Korea. Now we have to worry about bloodbaths in our own hometowns, like San Bernardino, California!

By comparison, the memory of the Cold War arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union almost looks like peacetime. Clearly, our civilization is sinking into depths that, to anyone granted a glimpse of the future in the 1950s, would have seemed like a nightmare.

How Mary’s heart must be breaking for us.

A final plea to the United States                                         

Take these troubling examples all together and it’s no great stretch to realize we face a world that is growing just as dangerous, brutal and unforgiving as the ancient Aztec culture of 500 years ago. But again, Our Lady has stepped forward to help. Like a good mother, she comes not just to warn us, but to show us the way out of our difficulties.

First, however, Mary issued an apparent “final” warning and correction for her children and this country. She told Sr. Mildred: “Unless the United States accepts and carries out faithfully the mandate given to it by Heaven to lead the world to peace, there will come upon it and all nations a great havoc of war and incredible suffering.”

She also added a consoling message: If Americans make a concerted and prayerful effort to reject the secular and evil trends consuming the country, the U.S. can escape the worst of the “incredible suffering” about to fall on the world. Mary also told Sr. Mildred that even if America “fails in the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept or cooperate, then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment about to fall.”

This stern, but absolutely crucial, part of Our Lady of America’s message occurred in the 1980s, which has caused some skeptics to discount it (or even shrug off the entire series of apparitions.) By then, Archbishop Leibold had died and so the later messages were not afforded the same Episcopal scrutiny as those 20 years earlier. Let me repeat: The Church never compels anyone to believe in an apparition. But in the case of these credible apparitions of Mary, as Our Lady of America, to Sr. Mildred, and the fact that so many of Mary’s warnings have come true, isn’t it more prudent to believe, than not to believe?

Our Lady, ever the good mother, didn’t conclude her visits on a note of despair. She announced through Sr. Mildred that God was giving America a special gift — one which she herself relied on in this world — the protection of St. Joseph.

Mary said: “My holy spouse has an important part to play in bringing peace to the world.”

That’s right — the apparition of Our Lady of America has a special role for St Joseph. This great saint, mostly silent throughout history, but so powerful, also appeared to Sr. Mildred. On March 18, 1958, St. Joseph told her that “Fatherhood is from God and it must take once again its rightful place among men.” For this to be done fathers must have the moral strength and courage to enter into only holy marriages and accept the responsibility of remaining with their families and training their children especially in Christian doctrine.

If fathers turn to St. Joseph by praying to him and imitating his virtues, like honesty and chastity, they will receive the moral strength and courage to be good fathers. St. Joseph told Sr. Mildred that “Through me the Heavenly Father has blessed all fatherhood, and through me He continues and will continue to do so till the end of time.”

All in all, there are many reasons to have hope. In the years since Our Lady of America’s stern but supportive apparitions, John Paul II issued his prophetic words that a “springtime in the Church” is underway. Today, we have proof that spring is upon us. The number of young practicing Christians in the United States is growing, if still numerically small. But their faith is pure and very courageous — in other words, they are fit for battle.  As it says in 1 Maccabees 3:19: “victory in war does not depend on the size of the army but on the strength that comes from Heaven.”

The role of young people in renewing the Church and society is part of the message given to Sr. Mildred. She stated: “Our Lady made it known to me that she is particularly interested in the youth of our nation. It is they who are to be the leaders of this movement of renewal on the face of the earth. Their ranks will be swelled by youths of other nations whom Our Lady also calls to help in the accomplishment of this great renewal.”

So, while the message of Our Lady of America is pointed and troubling, it is also worthy of a mother who greatly loves her wayward children: To save ourselves from disaster here and in eternity, all we have to do is All we have to do is try.

 

Does Health Insurance Cover Tubal Ligation Reversal?

Does Health Insurance Cover Tubal Ligation Reversal?

How do you get your tubes untied with Medicaid? How do you get your private insurance plan or company to pay for tubal ligation reversal surgery?

Surprisingly, the answer to both of these questions is the same – it will be very hard.

Here is the bottom line. Both Medicaid and private insurance plans may pay when there is a covered medical reason for each possible step: upfront testing, the procedure itself, and any post-operative issues.

In addition, supplemental policies and state-based infertility mandates open the door for alternative approaches. These avenues could be a more affordable way to restore your fertility and have another baby – or two.

Get Your Tubes Untied With Medicaid

How do you get your tubes untied with Medicaid? Medicaid is a public health insurance plan for low-income families, women, and children. The federal government provides much of the funding, and each state administers the programs and set rules for eligibility and coverage.

In general, Medicaid will not pay for tubal reversal surgery in any state unless you can cite a medically necessary reason. Therefore, getting your tubes untied with Medicaid may mean finding alternatives.

Covered Medical Reasons

Medicaid and other private insurance plans may pay for three types of covered medical reasons relating to your pending tubal reversal procedure. Each phase or category must be medically necessary. Medically necessary means that procedure prevents, diagnoses, or treats an injury, disease, or symptoms.

Pre-Surgery Testing

You may be able to get your Medicaid or private insurance plan to cover certain tubal reversal pre-surgery testing steps. Ask your clinic to code the test for a medically necessary reason.

  • Pre-operative bloodwork to spot infections (STD, HIV, or Hepatitis)
  • Ultrasound and exam to visualize the health of reproductive organs

Surgical Procedure

It is unlikely that your Medicaid or private insurance plan will cover the tubal reversal surgery itself as it corrects earlier voluntary sterilization. The purpose is rarely a covered medical reason – unless the procedure corrects an underlying disease or symptom.

  • Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome (PTLS) is the rapid decline of estrogen/progesterone hormone levels caused by damaged blood supplies to the ovaries
  • Dysmenorrhea is pain and cramping during your menstrual cycle

Also, related services rendered while under the knife might be covered. For example, removal of uterine fibroids and polyps could be medically necessary and needed to restore fertility.

Post-Operative

It is more likely that your Medical or private insurance policy will cover any complications arising from your tubal reversal operation. The surgery is very safe. However, things can go wrong and these complications are often covered medical reasons.

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Reactions to anesthesia

Get Private Insurance To Pay for Tubal Reversal

How do you get your health insurance plan to pay for tubal ligation reversal surgery? Follow the same logic as for Medicaid plans – specify the medically necessary portions of the procedure (upfront testing, PTLS or Dysmenorrhea, post-operative complications).

However, health insurance plans issued in the private marketplace offer two possible opportunities to make having a baby again more affordable.

  1. Supplemental policies cover the expected outcome
  2. Infertility mandates may cover other treatment options

Supplemental Insurance

Supplemental health insurance covers tubal reversal outcomes – not the surgical procedure itself. Remember, the purpose of this procedure is to restore your fertility and have another baby.

Therefore, you may need to take unpaid maternity leave and find yourself with leftover hospital bills after your labor and delivery.

Unborn Baby Removed From Mother’s Womb for Surgery, Then Put Back In

MICAIAH BILGER   MAR 6, 2019

A baby girl in England is doing well inside her mother’s womb after doctors performed an innovative new procedure to fix a hole in her spine.

The baby’s mother, Bethan Simpson, of Burnham, Essex, chose to undergo the surgery in December instead of aborting her unborn baby, as doctors suggested, Yahoo News reports.

“We were offered continuing pregnancy, ending pregnancy or a new option called fetal surgery – fixing her before she is born. We had to do it. Our lives were such a rollercoaster for the next few weeks,” Simpson wrote on Facebook.

She and her husband, Kieron, learned that there was something wrong with their unborn daughter during a 20-week pregnancy scan. Doctors later diagnosed her with spina bifida, according to the report.

Simpson told the BBC that she refused to consider an abortion because she “couldn’t justify terminating a child I could feel kicking.”

In December, they became the fourth mother-child pair to undergo fetal surgery to repair spina bifida in the UK, the report states. Doctors from University College Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London removed the baby girl from her mother’s womb at 24 weeks of pregnancy and repaired a hole in her spinal cord, according to the report. Then, they placed her back in the womb.

“I came out of surgery at one o’clock and could feel her moving that evening,” Simpson said. “It was reassuring to feel that first kick after the anaesthetic wore off.”

Simpson said the lesion on her daughter’s spine was small, and doctors deemed the surgery a success. While she is sore and fragile, she said the risks were worth it to give her daughter a better life.

Other babies are not so fortunate. About 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida are aborted, according to the BBC. Even though fetal surgery is becoming more widely available and more successful, many mothers still choose abortion.

Medical professionals warn parents that the surgery is risky and it does not cure spina bifida. However, fetal surgery can greatly lessen the severity of the disease. In 2003, the National Institute of Health’s Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) found that closing the spinal defect in utero reduced the need for shunts after birth and boosted the child’s chances of walking independently. Doctors think fetal surgery also may reduce the odds of learning disabilities.

Last year, the New York Times profiled a Texas infant who underwent the surgery and was born kicking and screaming. Doctors said baby Royer’s outlook appears extremely good.

With a growing number of success stories to point to, Simpson urged parents to choose life for babies with spina bifida.

“There are unknowns – it’s major surgery, and the biggest decision you’ll make in your life,” she said. “But remember most children born with spina bifida today are walking and reaching normal milestones.

“Yes, there are risks of things going wrong but please think more about spina bifida, it’s not what it used to be,” she continued. “I feel our baby kick me day in and day out, that’s never changed. She’s extra special, she’s part of history and our daughter has shown just how much she deserves this life.”

‘Experimental’ study to dispense abortion pill to women not yet pregnant, just ‘in case’

 

An abortion pill study which seeks to provide the deadly drugs to women who are not even pregnant yet has begun in California. The “experimental” study, published at the FDA’s Clinical Trials website for participants who are “not currently pregnant and not desiring to be pregnant in the next year,” appears to be in its beginning stages. It will be conducted under the direction of abortionist Daniel Grossman by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and is expected to be completed in April of 2020. Study participants will receive:

  • Drug: Mifeprex® (Mifepristone 200 mg)
  • Drug: Misoprostol 800 mcg
  • Drug: ella® (ulipristal acetate emergency contraception 30 mg)
  • Diagnostic Test: AccuHome® Pregnancy OTC Test

Currently, under the FDA’s REMS system, the pill (Mifeprex) is only permitted to be “dispensed in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider,” which have the ability to (1) date pregnancies accurately and to diagnose ectopic pregnancies, and (2) provide any necessary surgical intervention, or have made arrangements for others to provide for such care.

However, this abortion study’s participants will not be examined for pregnancy, but will receive a mere “over the phone” consultation, with pregnancy to be estimated based on the date of the last recalled menstrual period.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot, actually.

Image: Abortion drug study for non pregnant women Daniel Grossman

Abortion drug study for non pregnant women Daniel Grossman

Image: RU486 abortion pill Mifeprex (Image credit: Danco)

RU486 abortion pill Mifeprex (Image credit: Danco)

The purpose of the study, “Advance Provision of Medication Abortion,” is to”test the model of advance provision of medication abortion (MAB).”

In this model, patients at risk of unintended pregnancy and with a desire to avoid pregnancy will be assessed by a clinician and provided counseling on pregnancy recognition and testing, as well as how to administer MAB at home. For this pilot study, only patients who have previously had a MAB will be included, since this population has reported the highest interest in the model, and they are also already familiar with how to use the medications.

But in this trial, abortion inducing pills will be given to women before becoming pregnant:

The clinician will provide Mifeprex® and misoprostol to the patient at the time of counseling in case the patient becomes pregnant and wants to terminate the pregnancy using the medications up to 10 weeks gestation. Patients will contact a study clinician for an over-the-phone assessment of eligibility for MAB, including assessment of gestational age, before self-administration of Mifeprex® and misoprostol, and then attend a follow-up visit with the clinician.

Despite the potentially risky possibility of miscalculating the pregnancy and then taking the pills past the gestational limit of 10 weeks — or an ectopic pregnancy, which often requires ultrasound to determine — the posted “secondary outcome” states, “Gestational age will be calculated by last menstrual period during the over-the-phone clinical evaluation with a study clinician. Ultrasound data will be analyzed if obtained.”

“Participants will be given clear instructions on study participation and returning unused medicationsin an appropriate time frame,” the study claims.

 

READ: Abortion pill reversal and abortion waiting periods save lives

Who is conducting the study?

Image: Daniel Grossman ( Image credit: University of Texas at Austin)

Daniel Grossman ( Image credit: University of Texas at Austin)

If the name ‘Daniel Grossman’ sounds familiar, it might be because he has been leading the push for so-called “self-managed” abortion. He has sponsored another study which involves pharmacy dispensing of the abortion pills.

Grossman has a previous association with manufacturer of the abortion pill, DANCO, and is deeply entrenched in the abortion industry. Grossman:

  • is a NARAL Board member
  • is a Director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health [ANSIRH]”
  • has worked with Mexico City Population Council
  • testified before a U.S. District Court in 2014, stating that he provides abortions as a consultant to Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific.
  • served as a liaison member of the PPFA National Medical Committee.
  • served as consultant in 2016 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America to provide input on medical abortion using telemedicine.

In addition to Grossman, study contacts include Katherine EhrenreichProject Manager at UCSFs’ Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health – ANSIRH (Bixby trains abortion providers), and Rana Barar, Senior Project Director for the Alternative Provision of Medication Abortion Program at ANSIRH.

Barar has written casually about her own abortion, one that she claims she does not regret. “I was 40 years old, my family was complete, and my husband and I made the decision easily and without angst,” she said.

I told my son, who was 13 at the time, that I was having an abortion a few days before the procedure. I explained to him that contraception can fail and even someone who knows a lot about reproduction can get pregnant unexpectedly. I told him that while I was sure I would grow to love a new baby just as much as I loved him and his sister, I also feared I would resent the havoc it would wreak on all our lives, and the attention it would take away from them. He wanted to know if I would be OK, if it would hurt.

I waited to tell my daughter, who was 9 at the time, until my story was going to be on the local radio. Neither of my kids ask about it now, but if they did, I would tell them that the decision I made was the right one for me and our family. I would tell them that mostly, I don’t think about that pregnancy as a baby, but sometimes I do. I would tell them that mostly when I do think of the baby that could have been, I do so with dread. But sometimes I think of the joy it could have brought.

If these abortion extremists have their way, ending the life of a living human baby in the womb will become even more casual and common than it already is. This study to provide abortion pills to women who are not even pregnant yet is another clear indication of how fanatical true abortion supporters have become.

The happiness of our large families

Arlette Yao

https://www.mercatornet.com/harambee/view/the-happiness-of-our-families/22230

Last September, at a Gates Foundation event held during a General Assembly meeting of the United Nations in New York, French President Emmanuel Macron opined that high fertillty in parts of Africa were “not chosen” but the result of girls not being well educated and marrying too young. Quoting himself he said: “Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children. Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12.’”

Macron is not the only politician or expert to spout such views, but this effort brought a spirited response from North of the Equator in the form of #PostcardsToMacron from highly educated mothers of large families in the US and elsewhere. This month, seven couples from Ivory Coast added their voice, the (well educated) wives signing the following superb testimony. published in the newspaper Fraternité Matin on February 15.

* * * * *

A persistent opinion from the North claims that large families are a problem for Africa. And, what is perhaps more serious, some go so far as to say that if African women have seven or more children it is out of ignorance: an educated woman, claim these scholars, doesn’t allow herself to be trapped but knows how to avoid having many children.

Well, we, African women with an advanced degree and practicing a profession, would like to say that we are very happy with our large families, our children around the table, their cries when they welcome us, the joy of sharing a loving union of dad-mother-children — which is priceless. Even if needs that come with the lifestyle make themselves felt, happiness does not depend on it.

Mutual love, devotion to one another, the concern of everyone to make everyone else happy, these are the sources of true happiness. We feel rich as individuals and as couples in acquiring and developing personal and marital skills in the education of our children. That can neither be quantified nor bought and sold.

By the way, in our opinion, it is children who have grasped this aspect of happiness who will eventually become responsible citizens, in solidarity with others.

It is very likely that we have a vision of family and happiness that some of those trying to teach us neither share nor know. This is a shame, and we can only feel a certain compassion for those who confuse purchasing power with happiness.

We know that many of our African sisters have few children, either because they could not have more children, or because they preferred to limit their number, for sometimes serious reasons. We understand them and will not pretend to tell them what to do. We will simply say that we, our husbands and our children are very happy.

In addition, we want to transmit to our children our vision of life, happiness and the beauty of conjugal love. They need to be educated so that they know how to build a happy home in the future, and are able to appreciate and live married fidelity and dedication to the children, who are the source of a truly successful life. And if they (our children) are led to limit the number of children, let them know that the means and methods are not neutral.

We would like to ask the international bodies that seem so concerned about our happiness that they let us educate our children according to our convictions and that they do not come to impose their ideas about contraception or sexual health. And we would also like to ask our authorities to protect us and our children from these foreign ideological currents.

Finally, we kindly ask you to believe us: we are very happy! And, if you do not want to believe it, at least leave us alone and leave our children alone.

Mrs. Tra Lou Gohi Clémence, Senior Administrator of Financial Services, 7 children
Ms. Aminata Toure, Masters in Business Management and Finance, 5 children
Dr. Achi Flavie, medical doctor, pediatric specialist, 8 children
Ms. Soro Fonondia Ella, Master Financial Engineering, 6 children
Ms. Arlette Yao, law degree, certified in Business Administration
Ms. Sandra Essoh, licensed in English and Communication
Mrs Ahekpa N’Guessan Laetitia, Graduate INTEC (National Institute of Economic Techniques and Accountants) of Paris, 7 children

(Translated from the French. Email addresses were supplied with the original article)

Record-Breaking 24-Week-Old Premature Baby Goes Home Healthy

MICAIAH BILGER   FEB 28, 2019

An infant born weighing less than 10 ounces is home from the hospital and doing well after his record-breaking survival.

Doctors at Keio University Hospital in Japan believe the boy is the smallest premature baby ever to survive, CBS News reports. His weight, 268 grams, is about the same as an average onion.

“There is a possibility that babies will be able to leave the hospital in good health even though they are born small,” said Dr. Takeshi Arimitsu, who helped care for the baby boy.

The infant spent five months in the hospital after his emergency delivery in August. Around 24 weeks of pregnancy, doctors realized that the unborn boy had stopped growing, and his life was in danger, The Japan Times reports. They performed a cesarean section in an attempt to save his life.

Initially, neither doctors nor his parents knew if he would survive.

“I can only say I’m happy that he has grown this big because honestly, I wasn’t sure he could survive,” the baby’s mother said.

Last week, the baby boy was deemed well enough to go home. He now weighs about 7 pounds, according to the hospital.

The Tiniest Babies Registry, run by the University of Iowa, puts the baby boy as the smallest ever to survive, the Times reports. It lists 23 babies born weighing less than 300 grams who survived.

The previous record-holder was Emilia Grabarczyk, of Germany, who was born in 2015.

Modern medicine is saving premature babies who are smaller and younger than ever before. Lyla Stensrud, a Texas preschooler, is believed to be the youngest premature baby to survive, born after 21 weeks and four days of pregnancy. In 2017, the journal Pediatricshighlighted her survival.

A Duke University study published in 2017 reported that babies born at just 23 weeks gestation are surviving outside the womb at a greater rate than ever before. Researchers examined 4,500 babies between 2000 and 2011 and found a “small but significant drop in fatalities for babies born between 23 and 37 weeks gestation,” as well as a decrease in premature babies manifesting neurophysiological problems, the Daily Mail reported.

While more micro-premature babies are surviving, some hospitals will not treat them. Research published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 23 percent of premature infants survive as early as 22 weeks of pregnancy, but some hospitals have policies against treating babies at such an early age.

These troubling policies also came to light with the story of Maddalena Douse in 2012. The British infant was born weighing just 13 ounces at birth. Many British hospitals have policies against trying to save premature infants who weigh less than 1 pound. However, when one of the medical staff weighed the baby girl, they accidentally left a pair of scissors on the scale, bumping her weight up to the minimum. Doctors, who did not realize the mistake until later, treated Maddalena and saved her life.

The Inseparable Unitive and Procreative Purposes of Marriage — and Appropriate NFP Use

BY ANNE CHERNEY

In 1946, theologian Fr. Mathias Scheeben’s The Mysteries of Christianity appeared and therein he wrote of married couples, “They can rightfully unite with each other in matrimony only for the end which Christ pursues in His union with the Church, that is the further extension of the mystical Body of Christ.” (602) Scheeben was stating the singular purpose according to a long Catholic tradition. The great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, following St. Clement of Alexandria, had declared it the purpose of marriage. In his thinking, the sexual union for any other purpose was merely lust, and he believed that intercourse during any time the couple knew to be infertile — known times then were only pregnancy, nursing, and menopause — was even sinful!

But back in the 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI was already speaking of procreation as only the most important of marriage’s ends. Then section 50 of Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes taught us that “marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and education of children.” Parents were not to proceed arbitrarily in this field, but were to follow the Church, which is the interpreter of divine law. But it also stated, “Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation, rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen.” Because of this it is a valid union, that is, “marriage persists . . . even when despite the often intense desire of the couple, offspring are lacking.”

The second purpose of marriage was being officially recognized: the unitive one. God intended value to come from the union even when He did not bless it with children. The unitive end has emotional and spiritual value for the couple themselves and for all others who encounter them. Furthermore, the married couple’s love, fruitful or not, is to be a sign of the love that God has for His people, the Bride of Christ. Now the Church was clearly talking about there being at least two purposes of marriage. This second was not an alternative purpose, could not be a substitute for the first. It was just seen that the two were to both be simultaneously, constantly, pursued.

The world, of course, had for some time seen them as two different ends, and been trying to separate them, trying to make love without making babies. Then, the cataclysmic and tragic advent of the contraceptive pill in 1960 had made it easy. The pill immediately allowed couples to readily unite with no intention of having children, and the sexual revolution it spawned would eventually lead to people deliberately having children without the commitment of marriage. For the world, the unitive and procreative purposes of sexual union had been completely torn asunder.

But could the Church ever see the two purposes as being able to be separated? Could we ever righteously simply pick or choose, pursue one and not the other? Could Catholics rightly think, “We’re going to embrace the unitive purpose of marriage now, the procreative one some other time”?

The truth is, these two purposes are mutually supportive and belong together. Gaudium et Spes §50 states that “the unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner,” and §50 goes on to argue that, “when the intimacy of married life is broken off . . . its quality of fruitfulness is ruined, for the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.” Section 48 says that children contribute to their parents’ holiness, to their parents’ love, even as they themselves derive from it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church §2366 teaches magisterially that “a child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of the mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment.”

The two purposes are mutually compatible, not in competition, never at variance with one another, as though we could decide to fulfill one, even temporarily, to the exclusion of the other. The two purposes, one basically spiritual, the unitive, and the other basically physical, the procreative, are as much one and inseparable as the embodied person is one and inseparable, the spiritual and physical together. We might say that the subjective end of the marital union, the one of which we are most conscious, is the unitive one; the objective end, though, is the procreative one.

When Pope John Paul II developed his “theology of the body,” he saw the union of man and woman as a sign of the Trinitarian God. There is a Giver (the Father), a Receiver (the Son), and the Love which flows between them as the fruit of their union (the Holy Spirit). In human beings, the fruit of their union is the child implicit in that union. But if the human child is a sign of the Holy Spirit, Love Himself, then surely the love which flows between the parents is just as much a sign of the Third Person of the Trinity. The unitive and the procreative purposes are conjoined.

Finally, in 1992, the Catechism declared the “inseparability principle” regarding the two ends: “the twofold end of marriage, the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couples’ spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.” (§2363)

And yet, this is exactly what most Catholic couples are trying to do: separate the two ends and set aside the God-ordained procreative purpose of marriage. And most of them are doing it just the way the world does: with the pill. But even many of the faithful minority who would never willfully ignore Church teaching, who would use only NFP to avoid conception, are doing it with the world’s agenda: choosing to fulfill the unitive purpose of marriage and not, at least not right now, fulfill the procreative purpose. They may be furthering their education, pursuing one or two careers, achieving material advantages; or perhaps even concentrating just on knowing and loving each other. These, of course, are not bad things — but they are not the best. “Children,” states Gaudium et Spes §50, “are the supreme gift of marriage.” (Emphasis added.) Besides, such couples are not acting according to Church teaching.

Even if today’s young Catholic couples have been taught in their NFP classes that in Humanae Vitae in 1968 Pope Paul VI stated that there needed to be “serious reason” for using it, they see whatever reason they have as serious. That is, they are serious about it, whatever it is. And they have to be quite serious if they are going to all the bother to use NFP! But they have not been taught the nature of an appropriately serious reason. What is that nature?

Consider: if neither purpose of marriage can ever be set aside, how can it be that the Church, repeatedly since the 1930 discovery of the monthly fertile time, has declared licit, under certain conditions, the exclusive use of the infertile time — “periodic abstinence,” NFP — to avoid the conception of a child?

Simple! It is because of another “inseparability principle.” Bearing a child is not enough, the Council documents point out. There is a second half of procreation: education, raising the child, forming him for life, life in this world, and, more importantly, in the next. Each child we bring into being we are to do our utmost to bring into Heaven. So when Catholics “find themselves,” as Gaudium et Spes §50 put it, “in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased,” the Council is talking about situations which Humanae Vitae §10 says are economic and health concerns such that the parents believe they need to avoid a new conception in order to be able to adequately, in dignity and self-respect, raise all their children.

Casti Connubii, which was first to allow the use of “rhythm” to avoid pregnancy, did so as it spoke of “the sufferings of those parents who, in extreme want, experience great difficulty in rearing their children,” and Pope Pius XII in his 1951 “Address to Midwives” spoke of its use for “sufficient morally sure motives” and “grave reasons.” These popes were not talking about avoiding a child in order to pursue a career or an education or a vacation, or anything other than facing health and economic concerns which might prevent parents from raising their children appropriately. So, in such cases, the parents would be using periodic abstinence, NFP, to avoid conception — not to avoid procreation, but in order to fulfill the second half of it, the upbringing of the child.

Before Vatican II made “rhythm’s” use completely a matter of the parents’ decision, it was taught — I recall — that the couple needed to first get their confessor’s permission to use it. Clearly, then, it was not just a question of whether or not they felt like having something other than children at the moment. There obviously were objective standards, in the areas of finances and health, that needed to be thoughtfully brought into the judgment. It was about their ability to properly form, educate, raise their children — the ones already born and the ones that might come to be.

In marriage, we can never righteously, deliberately not pursue the purpose for which God intended it. So the only justification for using NFP and avoiding procreation in its first instance, the conception of a child, is to enable parents to fulfill procreation in its second instance: education, properly forming and raising them for the Kingdom.

There is a yet unanswered question with regard to the righteous use of NFP: how can we ignore the scriptural admonition of 1 Cor 7:5, to “separate only for prayer”? Dr. Greg Popcak, Catholic radio’s “Family Man,” has stated that couples using NFP should be separating to pray for the solutions to whatever unfortunate problems they have which lead them to use it — that the day might come when they would no longer feel it was necessary.

It would be appropriate for a couple to “separate for prayer” during the several fertile days, even perhaps adding fasting, to ask the Lord if their minds and hearts are conformed to His in this matter; to ask if they really have, or really still have, adequately serious reasons to avoid conception; to ask Him for healing if health issues are presenting the problem; to ask for wisdom and His intervention if economic difficulties constitute the concern. For any other prayer concern, it would not be appropriate to deliberately choose to separate during the fertile days . . . unless those few days just happened to be part of a longer or randomly chosen period of time. But over this question, it would be appropriate to “separate for prayer” during the fertile days. In such case, making temporary exclusive use of the infertile period would not be separating the unitive purpose of marriage from the procreative purpose — that is, from its second half.

We can end as we began, with Fr. Mathias Scheeben’s thoughts: the purpose of marriage is “the further extension of the mystical Body of Christ.” How can it be otherwise?

Anne Cherney, mother of ten (and grandmother of 38, so far!), went back to school after her children were grown, getting her M.A. in Theological Studies from the John Paul II Institute, in Washington D.C., in 2009. One More Soul recently published her book, Supernatural Family Planning.

Silly ParaGard IUD Commercial Angers Women Hurt by Device

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

Women who have been hurt by a copper IUD known as ParaGard are calling a silly commercial full of dancing girls “condescending, deceitful garbage.”

The commercial is hard to miss. It features a girl in a bright yellow dress who dances and sings about the virtues of the “hormone free” IUD that has been on the market since 1988. In the most embarrassing moment in the commercial, the woman playfully pinches the IUD between her fingers. As usual, the goofy presentation lays on a thick layer of hype while giving not even a hint about why being “hormone free” doesn’t necessarily mean safer.

ParaGard is a small IUD made of flexible plastic that has been wrapped in a thin layer of copper. Manufactured by Duramed Pharmaceuticals, its only active ingredient is copper which has been clinically proven safe and effective for pregnancy prevention and has been FDA-approved since 1988. It is implanted in the uterus by a healthcare provider during a routine office visit and can be kept in place for up to 10 years.

The method of action in ParaGard comes from the copper which repels sperm. The other way it prevents pregnancy is by irritating the uterine lining which inhibits implantation.

This last action is why ParaGard is often inserted within a few days after unprotected sex because it can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb.

As the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation explains, “The copper IUD begins working immediately after insertion and consequently does not require a woman to use a backup method of contraception after insertion. Because of this, the copper-IUD can also be used as emergency contraception within five days of unprotected intercourse or method failure and is more effective at preventing pregnancy than emergency contraceptive pills. Unlike Plan B emergency contraceptive pills, the effectiveness of IUDs does not vary based on a woman’s weight.”

Judging by the looks of the commercial, which features a group of girls playfully dancing around, women might be inclined to think that having a hormone-free birth control device is something to celebrate. However, the women weighing in on a Facebook page entitled “Paragard Don’t Get One: Women Helping Women To Be Informed” tell a much different story.

One of the more common complaints on the page, which has more than 11,000 followers, is from women who had a toxic response to the copper in the device.

For example, this woman described a host of symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, PMS, bloating, dry skin, and mood swings, and said, “I’ve lost so much hair, it just fell out in globs. Also developed pulmonary hypertension, which is rare and can be caused by excess copper in the blood, while having the IUD.” She was forced to have it removed.

Another issue is the dislodging of parts of the device. As this woman explains: “I’m at home recovering from surgery. I just had the broken arm of the Paragard removed from my womb and the muscle layer. Like other women on this site. The IUD broke when it was being removed 3 hard tugs and it came out missing one arm. Scans showed it had embedded into the womb lining and migrated into the muscle layer beyond. I’ve been struggling with sharp stabbing pain and unbearable back aches. They were able to remove the entire 15 mm piece yesterday and the abdominal pain is gone!”

She added: “I wish I could sue these buggers but no one seems to be interested anymore. I am so happy to have this bit of shrapnel gone!”

Although there were many good reviews on Drug.com, there were even more negative ones.

One woman only had the device in for a few days which she described as “the worst time for my health.” From the moment the device was implanted, she had tingling in her left arm. The tingling remains even though it was removed and doctors say it may be with her for the rest of her life. She was in perfect health before ParaGard but experienced “vomiting ,bleeding, dizziness, cramps ,losing weight in a short time, sweating at nights” after it was inserted. To those women who are considering the use of ParaGard she warns, “Please think!”

Another woman was equally blunt. “You are putting your future fertility, and possibly your life, at risk with this version of a Copper T. Ask any older woman about the horror stories from when this device was first introduced. Just think about the shape of your uterus and what the plastic arms of the “T” could do to it! To be clear, I mean it can poke a hole into the uterus when it is implanted or in place for any length of time. I am shocked that the FDA allows this dangerous device to stay on the market.”

She adds: “Further, I am completely disgusted by the current TV commercials with young women dancing in floral dresses. What condescending, deceitful garbage.”

The contraception industry uses the same tactic over and over again to promote potentially dangerous drugs and devices to women. For example, they promoted NuvaRing with a group of women in bathing suits who sit in a circle in a pool. What it didn’t tell women is that hormone delivery from the device causes spikes that make women more susceptible to blood clots. In some cases, the clots were fatal. In 2014, the manufacturer, Merck, settled more than 1,700 lawsuits for a combined $100 million to litigants who claimed the active ingredient in the drug, etonogestrel, was inadequately tested before NuvaRing’s 2002 release.

Then there’s Yaz and Yasmine, birth control pills that were introduced to the public with the same kind of deceptive advertising which made the use of these drugs look hip. There are scores of lawsuits pending against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals for the the drug’s “fourth generation” progestin known as drospirenone which has been linked to blood clots, gall bladder disease, stroke, heart attack and death in young women. As of 2013, Bayer paid out more than $750 million to settle 3,000 cases from women harmed by the drug; however, Bayer has not admitted liability in settling any of these cases.

The reason these deceptive marketing tactics work so often, to the detriment of women’s health, is because too many health care providers are not giving women the information they need to make informed choices. Instead, they are handed packages containing lengthy small-print inserts that no one with a life has time to read.

Thankfully, women are banding together to give one another the kind of full disclosure they deserve. For example, the women who formed the Facebook community known as Essure Problems raised such a ruckus that this deadly “permanent sterilization” product was eventually withdrawn from the market!

The only way we can help each other is to stay informed. Click here for a downloadable pamphlet detailing the many injuries and lawsuits pending against these dangerous drugs and devices.

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

Individualism feeds today’s culture of death

Brendan Malone | Feb 25 2019

Whenever people ask me what I think the biggest challenge we face today in regards to abortion it can be tempting to think in terms that are far too narrow. For example, I could respond by saying that the seemingly continual attempts by our politicians to introduce more extreme abortion laws are a major issue.

I could talk about the fact that the pro-life movement has extremely limited funding, resources, and personal with which to try and carry out one of the most monumentally important works of justice in human history.

Or perhaps I could highlight the unrelenting push to reduce medical professionals to subservient technicians incapable of exercising true clinical judgement by denying them their vitally important right to freedom of conscience.

All of these things are very real and very serious, but at the same time they need to be properly understood as the symptoms of a much bigger crisis. The fact that we are now living in a culture where authentic community has all but been usurped by rampant individualism.

There are many causes of this crisis. One could even say that it is a perfect storm of factors that are coalescing with catastrophic results.

Unparalleled development and widespread embrace of technologies increase our connectivity at the cost of human community. The rise of nihilistic relativism results in the loss of a unifying vision of reality in the West. A culture of self-gratification, with no desire for self-regulation through virtue mstems from the false belief that individual choice is the same thing as freedom Rampant consumerism reduces profoundly important goods and even human persons to mere objects.

And there is an almost obsessive fixation on global “community,” even though forming community on such a scale is beyond any possibility. Just witness the ideologies which reduce and separate us based on individualistic identifying characteristics rather than our shared common humanity.

In a nutshell, we have made the technologically enhanced, individualistic, self-gratifying consumer the most important good in our society.

Sadly, not even Christianity has been immune to this. How often do we come to church now as individual consumers seeking out products (‘I’ll take one satisfying sermon and four rousing worship anthems thanks’) for our personal happiness?

How many people in our church do we know as more than a face at Sunday service? Are we genuinely invested in each other’s lives and wellbeing beyond a mere handshake? Or is community just a buzzword that looks great when it appears in front of our church name in the Sunday notices or on the billboard out front?

Aristotle once declared that the greatest and most important relationship we can form with another person is one where we seek their good and not our own personal happiness or material gain. Through such a relationship of self-giving love, not only does the recipient flourish and become more fully human, but so do we, the giver.

Tragically, in a misguided quest for human fulfilment, much of modern culture has inverted this important truth, and as a result a destructive and deadly anti culture has arisen.

Which brings me back to my original question about abortion.

It is my contention that the biggest challenge we face is about recognising that abortion isn’t simply a political or social issue. It is a symptom of this culture of death that has made the gratification of individuals more important than community, and the wants of the strong more important than the needs of the vulnerable.

In doing so, this culture is not only dehumanising us, but it is also making abortion increasingly more appealing. The more people find themselves living isolated from community, the more they find themselves without the most essential and empowering element to be able to choose life for their unborn children – the concern and care of others.

Worst of all, this culture of death is now actively trying to sell us the lie that abortion, and its inseparable culture of lonely consumerism, is the path to human fulfilment and flourishing that we should be demanding as a human right.

Yes, we must continue to be unflinching and courageous in telling the hard truths about abortion, but it is now more vitally important than ever before that we become people living a culture of life — the culture of intentional community and self-giving love for the other.

Brendan Malone is the founder and Director of LifeNET. He has been working in pro-life, marriage and family ministry in New Zealand and Australia for the last 14 years. He lives in Rangiora with his wife Katie and their 5 rambunctious kids. He can be found online at www.lifenet.org.nzRepublished with permission from The Catholic Weekly, Sydney

Catholics must stand with Blessed Virgin to combat abuse crisis in Church

Editor’s note: An international group of lay Catholics held a public demonstration in Rome yesterday just outside the Vatican, demanding that Pope Francis and the world’s bishops address homosexuality during the upcoming abuse summit as the major cause of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The following statement was given by Arkadiusz Stelmach during a press conference at the event. Read all statements here

February 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – I come from Poland, the country that owes its existence to the Catholic Church. I come from a country which, by virtue of the royal act, declared the Blessed Virgin Mary the Queen of Poland.

Like the entire Catholic world, we Poles are sad about the condition of the Church and Christian Civilization. Yes, the Church and Christian Civilization are being destroyed for over five centuries by the gnostic and egalitarian Revolution.

Today we see a dramatic struggle between the Revolution and the Counter-Revolution within the Church.

We see how the red dragon in a new form of neo-Communism or neo-Marxism got insidiously into the Church, making in Her previously unknown devastation.

Unfortunately, also my beloved Poland is not free from this scourge. We are living part of the Catholic Church. We are struggling with the crisis of Faith – manifested in the fall of vocations to the priesthood, the decline of religious practices especially among young people, the scourge of immorality, the promotion of homosexuality and gender ideology. Unfortunately, our seminaries and universities are not free from the terrible ideology of progressivism, which effectively undermines doctrine, discipline, and pastoral work of the Church.

A year ago, the Fr. Piotr Skarga Institute, who I represent, conducted a completely unique campaign of Polonia Semper Fidelis in defense of the indissolubility of Catholic marriage and in defense of the Blessed Sacrament. This action was an expression of the concern of Polish Catholics with an unclear and thus dangerous doctrine on the indissolubility of Sacrament of Marriage contained in the papal document Amoris Laetitia. The Polish episcopate received, in effect, over 145,000 letters, the vast majority of them by traditional post. In the letters, the Polish faithful appealed to the Polish Bishops’ Conference to confirm the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, as well as to prevent of receiving Holy Communion by divorced Catholics that are living in the non-sacramental unions.

It’s sad that until now we didn’t receive any answer from the Polish episcopate for the campaign.

Unfortunately, the past months have brought further information about the extent of the crisis and confusion in the Church.

Letters from Archbishop Viganò, unmasking scandals of sexual abuse against children and clerics; attempts to democratize and destroy the hierarchical structure of the Church arouse our greatest concern.

Unfortunately, it also coincides with the increasingly furious attacks on the Church in Poland by external enemies. A sad example of this is the movie “Clergy” that presents a deformed and one-sided picture of the Church as a corrupt organization.

This very tragic situation of the Church calls us to be faithful to the clear traditional Catholic teaching and doctrine. In Poland — my country — the Mother of God, Blessed Virgin Mary, was always venerated and was our hope in most dark hours of our history. That’s why we need to stand with Her and pronounce: “Credo in Unam, Sanctam Catholicam Ecclesiam” (I believe in one, holy, Catholic Church) and that gates of hell will not destroy the Church.

Doctor Told Mom 5 Times to Abort Baby With Missing Brain, She Refused and His Brain Has Grown Back

INTERNATIONAL   MICAIAH BILGER   FEB 20, 2019

Noah Wall’s life is a medical miracle.

While still in his mother’s womb, the British boy was diagnosed with a long list of life-threatening ailments, including hydrocephalus and chromosomal abnormalities.

His mother, Shelly Wall, of Abbeytown, England, recently told Good Morning Britain that doctors suggested they abort their son five separate times. The couple refused.

“We wanted to give Noah the chance of life,” her husband, Rob Wall, said.

Today, Noah is 6 years old and defying doctors’ expectations. His parents said Noah can talk, and he is learning to walk, surf and ski.

His brain, which at birth was just 2 percent of the size it should have been, has grown to 80 percent of its full size – stunning doctors, according to the report.

“It’s a very emotive subject. Some people say you can’t grow a brain,” Rob Wall said. “Other people say it must have always been there. But if it was and squashed up it would have been so severely damaged he would have been very mentally and physically disabled.”

His wife added: “Before he was born they gave me the option of a termination five times. We got taken into a room and they drew a circle saying ‘this brain will only be half a brain.’”

Noah was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, chromosomal abnormalities, spina bifida and other problems just three months into the pregnancy, his mother said.

Even after they chose life, she said they did not know if Noah would be born alive. The parents remembered the hope that they felt when Noah came into the world screaming,

By his 1st birthday, his parents said he could smile, wave and say “mama” and “dada.” By age 3, he was telling his parents, “I love you,” and asking his mom, “You alright?” when he noticed that she looked upset.

The Walls said Noah still has medical problems and will need more surgeries, but he is doing so much better than everyone predicted.

“Every time we see the doctors they just shake their head. They’re just amazed at what he can do,” his mother said.

His story also is one of many reasons why abortions are wrong. There always is a chance that a child may survive, heal, grow and live a happy, fulfilling life.

It’s true that not every child with a serious or fatal disability will have the same miraculous recovery as Noah. But these children are just as valuable, whether they live for a few minutes or days or years outside the womb. Children with disabilities deserve the utmost care and compassion. But that compassion never should include the violent ending of a child’s life in an abortion.

Everyone knows that the world is overpopulated, or soon will be. But what if everyone is wrong?

Steven Mosher

February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Ask anyone if the world is overpopulated, and you know what he will say.

The idea that we humans are breeding ourselves to death — and taking the planet with us — is in the air that we breathe.

It was drummed into us in high school biology, where we were told that the world is like a tiny “lifeboat.” We have to lighten the load, our teachers told us, or the “lifeboat” will sink, and we will all die.

And who can forget Al Gore’s doomsday scenario, in which he warned us that a “black hole” will engulf us if we do not stop having babies? Armageddon, anyone?

But It’s worth thinking about what would happen if everyone actually abandoned childbearing. Because it turns out that a lot of young people are already doing exactly that.

While on the fantasy island of overpopulation, human numbers are always exploding, a close look at the real world reveals an increasingly barren reality. Many nations, especially in Europe, are already in a death spiral, filling more coffins than cradles each year. Listen closely, and you will hear the muffled sound of populations crashing.

The birth dearth that began in post-war Europe has now spread to every corner of the globe. China is dying, and India and Latin America are rapidly growing old, while the Middle East is barely holding its own. Even in once prolific Africa, birth rates are in free fall.

You may be forgiven for not knowing this, because the United Nations continues to beat the overpopulation drum. Human numbers will balloon to 9.5 billion people by 2050, it chants, and reach 11 or even 12 billion by 2100.

This will happen, the U.N. says, because a secret fertility rebound is brewing. Women in largely barren places like Germany, France, and Japan will soon start having more children — in fact, many, many more children. Never mind that there is zeroevidence to back up such a claim, which itself seems like nothing more than a desperate attempt to breathe new life into a dying theory.

Image
From the U.N. Population Division’s latest projections, “World Population Graph.”United Nations

Buried in the U.N. data is another, far more accurate, projection called the “low variant.” But because it doesn’t fit the “overpopulation” narrative, neither the U.N. nor the media gives it much airtime.

The “low variant” assumes that once birth rates go low, they stay low. It accepts that educated, urbanized young women in Paris, London, or Tokyo who today want only one child — or none — are not suddenly going to want a second tomorrow. Women in the rest of the world will follow, and global fertility will fall to European levels, or about 1.3 children per woman.

The bottom line: global numbers will peak at something less than 9 billion around 2050. After that, the human die-off will begin, slowly at first, but faster and faster as the years go by. By the end of the century, we will be back to our present numbers — about 7.5 billion — but we will be, collectively, far older and grayer.

What this means is that our present problem is not too many babies; it’s too few babies.

Many of today’s young adults are too enamored of sex, the city, and the single life to think about marriage, much less about replacing themselves. Education delays marriage and provides other opportunities for women besides marriage and family. A single Swedish woman may eventually bear one child as her biological clock approaches midnight, but she is unlikely to bear a second.

For materially minded couples in countries where the state provides old age benefits and charges high tax rates in consequence, the way to get ahead is to remain perpetually childless. The cradle-to-grave welfare programs that have now spread throughout the world have not merely made children superfluous to wealth; they have made children themselves the enemy of wealth. They are now, as the Chinese say, “goods on which one loses.”

Why give up a second income to bring a child into the world who will never, at least in material terms, repay your investment? Why provide for the future by having children to care for you in your dotage, if the government has pledged to keep you out of the poorhouse anyway?

A young Florida woman, who was commuting 100 miles a day to her well paying job, once complained to me about how little time she had to spend with her only child, a four-year-old son. Perhaps she could get a job locally so she could be home more, I suggested helpfully, even though it would mean selling her expensive SUV. “You don’t understand,” she said, aghast. “My husband and I love this SUV.”

These are the calculations driving the old age tsunami that is about to hit the world, not just in places like New York, but in Rio and Nairobi as well.

For a long time, population growth has been seen as the enemy, particularly by those who did not realize that it was a key driver of economic growth. Now, with young people becoming a scarce resource, the linkage is clear. Absent a nuclear war, global plague, or a collision with a comet, business from now on is primarily going to be a numbers game.

The rapid aging of the population, by reducing the amount of human capital available, will dramatically darken humanity’s prospects in countless ways.

Population growth has been an important escalator of consumer demand. Try selling cars, houses, refrigerators — or anything else, for that matter — in a depopulating country. Try seeking profitable investments in the stock market when millions of elders start slowly liquidating their IRAs and 401(k)s to survive.

Some sectors, such as pharmaceuticals and health care, will still do well, but shrinking demand elsewhere will more than offset these gains.

The ranks of workers will thin with each passing year, while the number of elderly will grow. Countries will be forced to slash pensions or raise the retirement age. Living standards may fall, and economies may well shrink.

Within the next couples of decades, the world will enter a “low-birthrate recession.” Unlike other recessions, this one may never end.

Shrinking birthrates also threaten social isolation as family circles collapse. Those seniors who lack close family ties will be socially isolated and painfully lonely.

As Ben Wattenberg once remarked, “Young DINKs (double income, no kids) may be cute. Old LINKs (low income, no kids) may be tragic.”

So stop telling us that we are having too many children already. Our long-term problem, which is now upon us, is too few children.

This is the real “black hole.” And it threatens to devour us all.

Steven W. Mosher is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois to offer ‘free’ contraceptives. But what’s the real cost?

 

Planned Parenthood of Illinois has announced that affiliates across the state will offer free birth control for a year to women who cannot afford the cost. The Chicago Tribune reports that the initiative, Access Birth Control (ABC), is being funded by “private philanthropy” and will offer a wide range of contraceptives to low-income and uninsured women.

The program seems altruistic until you take a closer look at the contraceptives on offer to women in the program. The options include IUDs, vaginal rings, injectable birth control, and the pill. These forms of contraceptives carry significant health risks for women, both physical and mental, as hormonal contraception has been strongly linked to depression.

Several of these contraceptives can cause early abortions, a fact that many women prescribed these harmful drugs are not told. What is more, recent studies show that contraception is more likely to lead to abortion.

It’s also important to note that Planned Parenthood is the organization administering the birth control. Planned Parenthood is not a comprehensive health provider — in fact, they have, for example, never provided mammograms. Planned Parenthood is an abortion corporation. Over the past several years, legitimate health services have declined. Meanwhile, as the national abortion rate has continued to decline, Planned Parenthood’s market share of abortions has increased.

While the “free” contraception program is presented as philanthropy by Planned Parenthood and their friends in the media, a more accurate description might be “marketing campaign.” By offering ‘free’ contraceptives to vulnerable women, Planned Parenthood builds brand loyalty, so that women will continue to come to them for other “services” — for instance, when those contraceptives occasionally fail, which is not at all unusual, those women are likely to turn to Planned Parenthood for abortion. With the many health risks of these contraceptives and the increased chance of paying Planned Parenthood for an abortion, the program is not really “free.”

While this may seem alarmist, we should keep in mind that Planned Parenthood is a business that ends the lives of more than 330,000 preborn babies each year. They are unlikely to tell women about ethical and effective alternatives that carry none of the health risks.

Doctors find teen girls using contraception are alarmingly losing bone mass

VANCOUVER, February 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Teen girls who use hormonal contraception like ‘the pill’ showed significant bone loss, increasing their risk of “later life fractures,” a new scientific study has found. The authors of the study say that their findings are “of concern” and present a “potential public health problem.”

According to Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior of the department of medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC), a meta-analysis of controlled, observational studies found that healthy teenage girls who used combined hormonal contraception (including estrogen and progestin via several delivery methods) showed significant spinal bone loss over two years.

Dr. Prior is a professor of endocrinology and metabolism at UBC, and founder and scientific director at the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research in Vancouver. She told Endocrine Today, “Instead of using combined hormonal contraception as the go-to, routine therapy in adolescent girls, we need to use evidence-based and physiological ways to treat cramps, heavy flow, irregular cycles and acne, and nonhormonal methods for contraception.” The study, titled “Adolescent use of combined hormonal contraception and peak bone mineral density accrual: A meta‐analysis of international prospective controlled studies” was published Jan. 7, 2019.

The study indicates “adolescence is a key time in women’s life cycle for bone accrual, for decreasing later life osteoporosis and lifetime fragility fracture risk,” and peak bone mass density (BMD) is “gained in women ages 16 and 19 years and lumbar spine peak BMD is achieved between ages 33 and 40…” Citing the risk of loss of BMD, the study states: “Those who achieve a lower peak BMD are widely believed to be at increased risk of later life fractures, although prospective BMD and incident fragility fracture data are scarce.”

The study was conducted in Brazil, Canada, China, and the United States and showed bone mass density loss over one to two years. Prior and her colleagues analyzed data from nine clinical trials and observational, longitudinal studies that included teen girls who were using hormonal contraception (including estrogen and progestin in oral, patch or ring preparation). Those monitored for 12 months showed bone loss, while bone loss continued to be evident for the girls in the 24-month study.

In summary, the study showed that teen girls on contraception showed significantly less bone growth than those not using contraception, even when they are prescribed lower estrogen doses than in previous years. Because hormonal contraception is increasingly used even for “treatment of mild symptomatic, non‐contraceptive reasons such as acne and cramps,” the authors of the study fear that a “negative public health impact” may result.

Pro-life doctors take on pro-abortion medical org: ‘Abortion is NOT healthcare’

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) — a notoriously pro-abortion organization — has released a so-called “fact sheet” on “later” abortions, titled, “Facts Are Important: Abortion Care Later in Pregnancy is Important to Women’s Health.” In it, they take issue with the use of the phrase “late-term abortion,” claiming it “has no medical definition and is not used in a clinical setting or to describe the delivery of abortion care later in pregnancy.” While the ACOG may make this claim, abortionists who commit abortions late in pregnancy have used the term for years and still do. And before pro-abortion organizations like the ACOG gave the abortion-friendly media their marching orders in the past few weeks, the phrase “late-term abortion” was used frequently by news outlets as well.

The ACOG typically makes claims in lockstep with the abortion industry’s public relations personnel, and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) stands firmly in opposition to the death-promoting speech of the ACOG. AAPLOG released a fact sheet of its own about abortions late in pregnancy. Its document, titled, “Facts ARE Important: Abortion, including later in pregnancy, is NOT healthcare,” directly takes on the ACOG’s “fact sheet” claims.

Claim #1: Late abortions are “rare.”

Truth: That’s at least 11,000 human beings every year.

First, the ACOG does what every abortion supporter does when speaking about late-term (or “later”) abortions: it points out the “rarity” of such procedures. “Abortion after 21 weeks accounts for slightly more than 1 percent of all abortions that occur in the United States. Abortion later in the second trimester is very rare, and abortion in the third trimester is rarer still, accounting for less than one percent of abortions.” It’s “rare” only in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of abortions happening earlier in pregnancy… as if that makes the brutality of killing fully developed children so late in pregnancy somehow acceptable.

AAPLOG counters (emphasis added):

A recent release from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stated that policy
related to abortion care “must be based on medical science and facts”. We could not agree more….

Although abortions in the second half of pregnancy only account for 1.3% of all abortions, this still amounts to
over 11,000 fetal pain-capable human beings that are being killed each year.

It is undisputed scientific fact that at the moment of fertilization, a new distinct living human being comes into existence. This human being came from two human parents and therefore can be nothing but human. Even very early in pregnancy, this human being meets all of the scientific criteria for a living organism and is completely distinct from her mother, not a part of her mother’s body. This is scientific fact.

Claim #2: Abortion is medically necessary.

Truth: It’s never necessary to deliberately kill an innocent human being in the womb.

ACOG writes, “The need for an abortion later in pregnancy could arise for a number of reasons, including fetal anomalies or complications that threaten a woman’s health.” (Notice the term “need.”) ACOG goes on (emphasis added): “Women, in consultation with their physicians, must be able to evaluate all appropriate treatments and make informed choices about what’s best for their health and their pregnancies. Depending on the circumstance, this might include abortion care….”

AAPLOG points out that abortion is never actually medically necessary, and that it’s not healthcare. Oh, and about those “physicians”….

Abortion is NOT healthcare, much less an essential part of women’s health care. If it were, more OB/GYN’s
would do them.

Currently, greater than 90% of abortions are done by dedicated abortion providers, not by a woman’s personal physician.

In other words, the woman has likely never seen that doctor before she walked through the doors of that facility (unless she’s had a previous abortion there) — a facility often dedicated solely to the practice of aborting human beings.

 

Claim #3: There could be complications with the baby or mother, making abortion necessary.

Truth: Killing an ill child helps no one, and abortion also puts women at risk — both now and in future pregnancies.

The ACOG’s “fact” sheet goes on to say that sometimes severe fetal anomalies occur. “In these cases, where death is likely before or shortly after birth, patients may decide whether to continue the pregnancy and deliver a nonviable fetus or have an abortion” for “what she feels is best for her health and her family.” The ACOG goes on to say, “Abortion later in pregnancy may also be necessary when complications severely compromise a woman’s health or life, conditions which may also reduce the possibility of fetal survival.”

However, abortion reduces the possibility of fetal survival every time it’s done as intended.

AAPLOG makes this point:

… [T]he intentional killing of a fetal human being (often through barbaric means such as dismemberment), does not treat disease and does not improve a woman’s health. It is 100% lethal for one of our two patients, and has significant health ramifications for our adult patient. For example, there is now substantial evidence for the link between surgical abortions and very preterm birth (prior to 32 weeks) in subsequent pregnancies, and this risk increases exponentially with each abortion a woman has. 

 

And having an abortion at such a late stage typically involves two to three days of dilation. If a woman’s health truly is “severely compromise[d],” dilating the cervix over three days seems unwise. AAPLOG adds that the risk of death from abortion so late in pregnancy is higher than the risk of dying during birth, adding:

There are rare circumstances during pregnancy in which a mother’s life is in jeopardy…. It is extremely rare for this to occur prior to the point of viability (currently 22-23 weeks). In this circumstance, delivery is indicated. Intentional killing of the fetal human being, however, is not necessary. We can save the life of the mother through delivery of an intact infant and then give both the care that they need….

In cases where the mother’s life is in danger in the latter half of pregnancy, there is not time for an abortion, which is typically a two to three day process. Immediate delivery is needed in these situations, and can be done in a medically
appropriate way….

AAPLOG also recommends perinatal hospice for parents facing a diagnosis of a terminal condition for their child, writing that not only does this “improve outcomes for the family” and mother, “but also honors the life of their child and allows them to have an intact child to hold and grieve.”

ACOG claims in its “fact sheet” that “The best health care is provided free from political interference in the patient-physician relationship.” But AAPLOG gives a slam dunk response to this platitude, writing, “when the issue at hand is the killing of innocent human beings as well as the harming of women through deceptive practices, it is the responsibility of the government in any civilized society to protect its innocent citizens from harm.”

 

Manifesto of Faith

By Cardinal Gerhard Müller *

“Let not your heart be troubled!” (John 14:1)

In the face of growing confusion about the doctrine of the Faith, many bishops, priests, religious and lay people of the Catholic Church have requested that I make a public testimony about the truth of revelation. It is the shepherds’ very own task to guide those entrusted to them on the path of salvation. This can only succeed if they know this way and follow it themselves. The words of the Apostle here apply: “For above all I have delivered unto you what I have received” (1 Cor. 15:3). Today, many Christians are no longer even aware of the basic teachings of the Faith, so there is a growing danger of missing the path to eternal life. However, it remains the very purpose of the Church to lead humanity to Jesus Christ, the light of the nations (see LG 1). In this situation, the question of orientation arises. According to John Paul II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a “safe standard for the doctrine of the faith” (Fidei Depositum IV). It was written with the aim of strengthening the Faith of the brothers and sisters whose belief has been massively questioned by the “dictatorship of relativism.”

1. The one and triune God revealed in Jesus Christ

The epitome of the Faith of all Christians is found in the confession of the Most Holy Trinity. We have become disciples of Jesus, children and friends of God by being baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The distinction of the three persons in the divine unity (CCC 254) marks a fundamental difference in the belief in God and the image of man from that of other religions. Religions disagree precisely over this belief in Jesus the Christ. He is true God and true Man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. The Word made flesh, the Son of God, is the only Savior of the world (CCC 679) and the only Mediator between God and men (CCC 846). Therefore, the first letter of John refers to one who denies His divinity as an antichrist (1 John 2:22), since Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is from eternity one in being with God, His Father (CCC 663). We are to resist the relapse into ancient heresies with clear resolve, which saw in Jesus Christ only a good person, brother and friend, prophet and moralist. He is first and foremost the Word that was with God and is God, the Son of the Father, Who assumed our human nature to redeem us and Who will come to judge the living and the dead. Him alone, we worship in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit as the Only and True God (CCC 691).

2. The Church

Jesus Christ founded the Church as a visible sign and instrument of salvation realized in the Catholic Church (816). He gave His Church, which “emerged from the side of the Christ who died on the Cross” (766), a sacramental constitution that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved (CCC 765). Christ, the Head, and the faithful as members of the body, are a mystical person (CCC 795), which is why the Church is sacred, for the one Mediator has designed and sustained its visible structure (CCC 771). Through it the redemptive work of Christ becomes present in time and space via the celebration of the Holy Sacraments, especially in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Holy Mass (CCC 1330). The Church conveys with the authority of Christ the divine revelation, which extends to all the elements of doctrine, “including the moral teaching, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, and observed” (CCC 2035).

3. Sacramental Order

The Church is the universal sacrament of salvation in Jesus Christ (CCC 776). She does not reflect herself, but the light of Christ, which shines on her face. But this happens only when the truth revealed in Jesus Christ becomes the point of reference, rather than the views of a majority or the spirit of the times; for Christ Himself has entrusted the fullness of grace and truth to the Catholic Church (CCC 819), and He Himself is present in the sacraments of the Church.

The Church is not a man-made association whose structure its members voted into being at their will. It is of divine origin. “Christ himself is the author of ministry in the Church. He set her up, gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal (CCC 874). The admonition of the Apostle is still valid today, that cursed is anyone who proclaims another gospel, “even if we ourselves were to give it or an angel from heaven” (Gal 1:8). The mediation of faith is inextricably bound up with the human credibility of its messengers, who in some cases have abandoned the people entrusted to them, unsettling them and severely damaging their faith. Here the Word of Scripture describes those who do not listen to the truth and who follow their own wishes, who flatter their ears because they cannot endure sound doctrine (cf. 2 Tim 4:3-4).

The task of the Magisterium of the Church is to “preserve God’s people from deviations and defections” in order to “guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error” (890). This is especially true with regard to all seven sacraments. The Holy Eucharist is “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). The Eucharistic Sacrifice, in which Christ includes us in His Sacrifice of the Cross, is aimed at the most intimate union with Him (CCC 1382). Therefore, the Holy Scripture admonishes with regard to the reception of the Holy Communion: “Whoever eats unworthily of the bread and drinks from the Lord’s cup makes himself guilty of profaning the body and of the blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27). “Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion” (CCC 1385). From the internal logic of the sacrament, it is understood that divorced and civilly remarried persons, whose sacramental marriage exists before God, as well as those Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Faith and the Church, just as all those who are not disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist fruitfully (CCC 1457), because it does not bring them to salvation. To point this out corresponds to the spiritual works of mercy.

The confession of sins in Holy Confession at least once a year is one of the Church’s commandments (CCC 2042). When the believers no longer confess their sins and no longer experience the absolution of their sins, salvation becomes impossible; after all, Jesus Christ became Man to redeem us from our sins. The power of forgiveness that the Risen Lord has given to the Apostles and their successors in the ministry of bishops and priests applies also for mortal and venial sins which we commit after Baptism. The current popular practice of confession makes it clear that the conscience of the faithful is not sufficiently formed. God’s mercy is given to us, that we might fulfil His Commandments to become one with His Holy Will, and not so as to avoid the call to repentance (CCC 1458).

“The priest continues the work of redemption on earth” (CCC 1589). The ordination of the priest “gives him a sacred power” (CCC 1592), which is irreplaceable, because through it Jesus becomes sacramentally present in His saving action. Therefore, priests voluntarily opt for celibacy as “a sign of new life” (CCC 1579). It is about the self-giving in the service of Christ and His coming kingdom.

4. Moral Law

Faith and life are inseparable, for Faith apart from works is dead (CCC 1815). The moral law is the work of divine wisdom and leads man to the promised blessedness (CCC 1950). Consequently, the “knowledge of the divine and natural law is necessary” to do good and reach this goal (CCC 1955). Accepting this truth is essential for all people of good will. For he who dies in mortal sin without repentance will be forever separated from God (CCC 1033). This leads to practical consequences in the lives of Christians, which are often ignored today (cf 2270-2283; 2350-2381). The moral law is not a burden, but part of that liberating truth (cf Jn 8:32) through which the Christian walks on the path of salvation and which may not be relativized.

5. Eternal Life

Many wonder today what purpose the Church still has in its existence, when even bishops prefer to be politicians rather than to proclaim the Gospel as teachers of the Faith. The role of the Church must not be watered down by trivialities, but its proper place must be addressed. Every human being has an immortal soul, which in death is separated from the body, hoping for the resurrection of the dead (CCC 366). Death makes man’s decision for or against God definite. Everyone has to face the particular judgement immediately after death (CCC 1021). Either a purification is necessary, or man goes directly into heavenly bliss and is allowed to see God face to face. There is also the dreadful possibility that a person will remain opposed to God to the very end, and by definitely refusing His Love, “condemns himself immediately and forever” (CCC 1022). “God created us without us, but He did not want to save us without us” (CCC 1847). The eternity of the punishment of hell is a terrible reality, which – according to the testimony of Holy Scripture – attracts all who “die in the state of mortal sin” (CCC 1035). The Christian goes through the narrow gate, for “the gate is wide, and the way that leads to ruin is wide, and many are upon it” (Mt 7:13).

To keep silent about these and the other truths of the Faith and to teach people accordingly is the greatest deception against which the Catechism vigorously warns. It represents the last trial of the Church and leads man to a religious delusion, “the price of their apostasy” (CCC 675); it is the fraud of Antichrist. “He will deceive those who are lost by all means of injustice; for they have closed themselves to the love of the truth by which they should be saved” (2 Thess 2:10).

Call

As workers in the vineyard of the Lord, we all have a responsibility to recall these fundamental truths by clinging to what we ourselves have received. We want to give courage to go the way of Jesus Christ with determination, in order to obtain eternal life by following His commandments (CCC 2075).

Let us ask the Lord to let us know how great the gift of the Catholic Faith is, through which opens the door to eternal life. “For he that shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: The Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when He shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38). Therefore, we are committed to strengthening the Faith by confessing the truth which is Jesus Christ Himself.

We too, and especially we bishops and priests, are addressed when Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, gives this admonition to his companion and successor, Timothy: “I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the living and the dead, by His coming, and His kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober.” (2 Tim 4:1-5).

May Mary, the Mother of God, implore for us the grace to remain faithful without wavering to the confession of the truth about Jesus Christ.

United in faith and prayer,

Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 2012-2017

Editor’s note: After this text was published, the cardinal’s office submitted to CNA three amendments to the text originally submitted to CNA. Two were minor syntactical corrections. The third change replaced the word “to” with “cannot” in the following phrase: “just as all who are not properly disposed, to cannotreceive the Holy Eucharist fruitfully (CCC 1457) because it does not bring them to salvation.”

Bishop Conley: Some cardinals have ‘very disturbing’ views on morality

 

The bishop also said that a pope’s words are not necessarily ‘authentic doctrine’

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska has said there is “uncertainty and confusion” within the Church over moral teaching, including “at a very high level” of the hierarchy.

While praising Pope Francis, the bishop also discussed the role of the papacy, saying that even popes “cannot overturn what has been infallibly taught”.

Bishop Conley’s remarks came in an interview with Professor Robert George of Princeton University, which appears as a chapter in a new book, Mind, Heart, and Soul: Intellectuals and the Path to Rome.

The bishop was asked about the divisions within the Church. He replied that “there seem to be some voices within the Church, some at a very high level, that are calling into question some fundamental truths about the human person”. Bishop Conley, who chairs the US bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said he was especially referring to truths about marriage and sexuality.

“These truths have long been taught by the Church,” Bishop Conley told Professor George, “and were strongly reaffirmed by Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict. Questions concerning the nature and function of conscience, sin and the moral act, intrinsic evil, and the natural law.”

Bishop Conley said that “some voices” were “very disturbing. And some of them are very important voices – theologians and even bishops, archbishops, and cardinals”. But despite these “deepening divisions”, the bishop said he was not “shaken”. “I have confidence that the Holy Spirit will eventually sort it all out and not let the Church go off the rails.”

Bishop Conley said he thought Pope Francis upheld the Church’s teachings. The bishop also considered “what the faithful Catholic would be bound by conscience to do if, God forbid, his or her properly formed conscience were to come into conflict with something a pope says. It could be Pope Francis or any pope.”

Under such circumstances, the bishop argued, it would be necessary to “go with the sensus fidelium” – “the belief of the Church through the ages, yesterday, today, and forever”. Bishop Conley distinguished between the sensus fidelium – “the Church’s firm, constant, and true teaching” – and modern dissent about, for instance, contraception.

Bishop Conley said that there were “rare” times in history when a pope has said “something that contradicts or is logically inconsistent with the firm and constant teaching of the Church on a matter of faith or morals”. If this happens, he said, it is important to remember that “the pope cannot overturn what has been infallibly taught, whether by the papal magisterium itself or by an ecumenical council or by the ordinary universal magisterium.” Popes are “not dictators”, he said, and “the faith of the Church does not lie in a pope”.

Bishop Conley said that Blessed John Henry Newman could help Catholics to “understand the office of Peter, especially in the present pontificate”. While Newman “had a very healthy respect, obedience, and admiration for the papacy”, he also “knew that not every utterance that came out of a pope’s mouth is necessarily authentic Christian doctrine.” Bishop Conley said this awareness made Newman unpopular with powerful figures, and may have prevented Newman from being made a bishop.

NFL Star Ben Watson Challenges Men to End Abortion: “Step Up & Lead”

by ChurchPOP Editor – 

Wow! What an interview!

NFL tight end Ben Watson had some powerful pro-life words for men in an interviewwith Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum.

As a husband and father of seven children (two currently in the womb), the NFL star explained that men should “step up and lead,” which could “eradicate” many of the abortions occurring today.

He added that abortion is “the ultimate form of sexism against women.”

Check out the powerful interview below:

Click here if you cannot see the video.

“I look in the mirror and encourage myself as a husband and father…If men stood up…a lot of this would be eradicated.”

Watson explained that “men are in a role of leadership in many areas. Men are protectors—we are providers. Many women would not be seeking abortions if the men involved in their lives were doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

“And that’s a challenge to myself, that’s a challenge to all men who are listening, that’s a challenge to men everywhere to step up and be men.

“A lot of the issues that we face in our country, whether it’s the abortion issue, or education, or whatever it may be, sometimes incarceration, whatever it may be, if men were doing their job, these things would be eradicated.

“My message to men is a lot of times, me looking in the mirror and encouraging myself as a father, as a husband, to do what it takes to stand in the gap, to step out, and to lead, because manhood is really falling by the wayside.

“The crazy thing is that abortion itself is really the ultimate form of sexism against women. And if men were standing up doing what they were supposed to do, much of this would be eradicated.”

Watson also presented a similar message at the 2017 March for Life:

What do you think of Watson’s message?

OBGYN Who Delivered 5,000 Babies: Abortion is “Never” Necessary to Protect a Woman’s Health

GRACE CARR   FEB 12, 2019

Doctor and Kansas Rep. Roger W. Marshall wrote an op-ed saying there aren’t any reasons why a late-term abortion is necessary to protect a woman’s health.

“To this day, I can’t think of a single scenario where I thought a late-term abortion would help to improve a woman’s mental health,” Marshall wrote in a Monday op-ed published by Fox News. “Contrary to the pro-abortion movement, regardless of the mother’s underlying medical health, I never saw the scenario where we had to choose between a mom’s life and a baby,” Marshall wrote.

Marshall is an obstetrician who has delivered more than 5,000 babies in Western Kansas over 25 years. He also served as an OB-GYN at a state mental health hospital and prison.

Pregnant women face much higher risks for uterine perforation and life-threatening hemorrhaging during late-term abortions, according to Marshall. The procedures also pose a high risk of infection, permanent scarring and infertility, according to the doctor.

“Point blank, late-term abortions are unsafe and are more dangerous than naturally occurring childbirth in almost any situation,” Marshall wrote.

A number of states, including Rhode IslandVermont, Virginia, Maine, New Mexico and Maryland, are considering proposals to expand abortion access allowing women to abort in the late stages of pregnancy.

New York passed the Reproductive Health Act on Jan. 22, codifying a woman’s ability to abort under state law and allowing women to have abortions after 24 weeks in cases where “there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health,” according to the legislation.

Marshall called New York’s law “inhumane” for both mothers and children.

“I urge you to tell all of your elected federal officials to support the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which is the first step to immediately protect those babies who have survived botched abortions and mandate that they receive proper medical care,” the doctor and state representative also urged.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would mandate babies born alive after an abortion would receive the “same protection of law as any newborn.”

Seventy-five percent of Americans support significant abortion restrictions and say abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy, according to a January Marist survey.

LifeNews Note: Grace Carr writes for Daily Caller. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience.

Are government family planning programs enslaving minorities?

 

The most effective prison has no guards with guns, nor cells with bars. The enslavement of the mind in the prison of false narrative is so deceptive we submit to it willingly.@prayingmedic

Thirty-three years after America ended the horrific practice of enslaving Blacks, the Supreme Court restored the habit of treating people differently based on the color of their skin. Eugenicists and segregationists cheered the Plessy v. Ferguson decision as they continued terrorizing former slaves, using skin color to keep them divided from the community they once were forced to embrace.

The segregationist culture began to shift in the mid-1950s, when the Civil Rights movement exposed the horror and terror embedded in the Jim Crow laws. Most of America grew to reject discrimination based on skin color. Realizing the passage of the Civil Rights Acts would impede their agenda of controlling the Black birth rate, eugenicists like Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and Alan Guttmacher turned to the federal government to continue their population control maneuvers. With racist allies like President Richard Nixon, a devout population control enthusiast, Sanger and Guttmacher set the stage for abortion on demand. By 1973, their dogma won out when Roe v. Wade established the so-called right to abortion.

Abortion on demand also aided the government’s establishment of an office to administer family planning programs, specifically for the poor. On Christmas Eve 1970, the Democrat-controlled Congress rejoiced that Public Law 91-572, 84 Stat. was passed, ushering in the age of population control in America to be administered through the Office of Population Affairs (OPA). This office exists under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Despite the law prohibiting organizations that “use abortion as a family planning method” from receiving Title X funds, the Office of Population Affairs has provided Title X funds to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider, almost from the passage of Roe v. Wade.

Today, Planned Parenthood commits more than 30 percent of all abortions carried out in this country and receives more than a half-billion taxpayer dollars while doing so. Camouflaging their eugenic intent in the rhetoric of providing “access to health care,” they have long targeted the Black population while collecting taxpayer dollars through Title X and Medicaid.

Every administration since 1970, whether Democrat or Republican, has ignored the violation of Title X and other federal laws that ban using federal dollars for abortion. Planned Parenthood has committed Medicaid fraud, has ignored laws regarding child sexual abuse, has enabled sex traffickers to maintain their “trade,” and has sold the body parts of babies they aborted, among other crimes. Despite all these egregious acts, they continue to freely dip into the taxpayer coffers because the United States Department of Health and Human Services refuses to enforce the laws related to family planning.

More than 60 million babies later, 20 million of whom are Black, it may be time to shift America’s culture yet again. President Trump’s HHS has not fulfilled its self-proclaimed mission of protecting the weakest among us. Instead it is choosing to follow the business as usual model that has allowed a genocide on America’s most vulnerable.

The time has come to end the genocide and to hold those committing the genocide accountable. It is time to strip away the false narrative that abortion is akin to a civil right. It is time to open the prison bars and liberate those who are enslaved to the false narrative that abortion is safe and rare. The time has come to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed” (Proverbs 31:8) by dismantling the Office of Population affairs and pursue all avenues of prosecution against Planned Parenthood for its decades of atrocities.

Read more about the author, Catherine Davis,  founder and president of The Restoration Project, here.

Pro-life law firm asks Supreme Court: Are embryonic humans people or property?

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Supreme Court is being asked to weigh in on whether embryonic children are persons or property. Thomas More Society Special Counsel Rebecca Messall, J.D. has filed a petition with the high court for a writ of certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court in Rooks v. Rooks, a controversial Colorado embryo custody case.

Messall, acting on behalf of Colorado mother Mandy Rooks, is requesting that the United States Supreme Court reverse an earlier ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court and affirm the fact that embryos are human persons, as “recognized in law hundreds of years ago.”

Mandy Rooks is the mother of six cryopreserved babies. The embryos are those remaining in cryogenic storage after in-vitro fertilization procedures. Those procedures allowed Ms. Rooks to deliver a son, and later twins, while married to Drake Rooks, the children’s father. Despite the couple’s divorce, Ms. Rooks wants to keep the babies for future implantation. Her now ex-husband has asked the court to deliver the six embryos to him for destruction.

Both a district court and the Colorado Court of Appeals awarded custody to Mr. Rooks, but the Colorado Supreme Court ordered a stay of execution for the embryos because the lower courts considered what it labeled “inappropriate factors” in attempting to balance the divorced couples’ interests. The case was remanded to the trial court.

The Petition for review by the United States Supreme Court enumerates multiple reasons for the highest court in the land to rule on the most basic question: Is a human embryo a person or property?

  • Classifying human life as property conflicts with a plethora of federal and state laws, as well as high court precedent.
  • The express language of the United States Constitution’s preamble conflicts with a “property” designation.
  • Human embryos are entitled to substantive due process as persons under the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • Science is firm on when a person comes into being.
  • Family rights are more precious than property rights.
  • The Colorado Supreme Court has violated Ms. Rooks’ sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • The lower courts are in conflict.

Messall states in the appeal to the high court, “Granting human embryos the status of persons cannot be left up to fifty states, any more than the Kansas-Nebraska Act could leave the status of slaves to each state. The test of who is a ‘person’ must be decided for the entire nation in order to uphold the principles of ‘Equal Justice Under Law.’”

She holds that the arguments for the personhood of Dred Scott and his family, which the courts got wrong, denying the enslaved citizens their personhood, remain as true today as they were in the infamous 1857 trial.

The petition also points out that scientific reality confirms the terms “reproduction” and “procreation” as referring to a new human person, not property, and not to an in-between classification.

Attorney Rita Gitchell, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, explained some of the issues at stake in Rooks v. Rooks: “These cryogenically preserved children are already developing human beings, before implantation. Colorado courts are relying on their state law that does not protect unborn children from third party liability for harm done to the unborn and case law extracted from old, out-of-date science that had not yet understood that embryo body cells, along with the placental and other cells, are present before implantation of the embryo in the womb.”

Parental constitutional rights to bear and raise offspring were not considered even though the trial court found the embryos to be human life.

“While it is a simple fact that those who provide an egg and a sperm which unite to become an embryo become genetic parents,” continued Gitchell, “It is not fact that while the embryos are developing, that the parents are ‘becoming genetic parents.’ That is comparable to suggesting that a woman who is seven months pregnant is ‘becoming pregnant.’ Until the courts or legislatures grasp the facts of created life, the Constitutional rights of parents to protect their created offspring are not being considered, nor are the human rights of the embryo considered. This results in human embryos being treated like chattel or property, not unlike the treatment of African slaves in the pre-abolition era.”

She added, “Mr. and Ms. Rooks are forever genetic parents of these created embryos. A court can terminate his or her legal parental rights, but can never terminate the genetic fact that these tiny embryos are their biological children.”

A response from the United States Supreme Court on whether they will consider the issue is expected by February 25, 2019.

Read the Petition for A Writ of Certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court, submitted to the United States Supreme Court in Rooks v. Rooks by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Rebecca Messall, on behalf of Mandy Rooks, on January 22, 2019 here.

Read the amicus curiae submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court in Rooks v. Rooksby Thomas More Society attorneys on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists here.

‘Severely disabled’ child healed after mother refused to abort him

Dorothy Cummings McLean

GEORGE WEST, Texas, February 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A mother who refused to abort her unborn son despite being told he had a fatal abnormality prayed for a miracle — and got one.

Last summer, Kate Bledsoe McKinney, the mother of three daughters, was told that her unborn son had a cystic hygroma, a malformation of the lymphatic system, and that it was so big he could not survive.

“I was encouraged to go ahead and terminate,” McKinney recounted Sunday on her Facebook page.

“In fact, they could even do it that same day,” she continued.  “It was nothing to them.”

When she began to cry, the doctor left the room and McKinney recalled that she had been advised 10 years before to abort her twin daughters.

“We were told they only had a 32.8 percent chance for both to be born alive,” she said. “I was encouraged to terminate them, also. I couldn’t believe I was here again.”

McKinney told the doctor that she wouldn’t abort her child and stuck to her guns despite his advice.

“He then told me about the risks of continuing the pregnancy and what would happen during a stillbirth,” she reported. “He was still trying to persuade me to abort.”

Fortunately, McKinney then met someone with a different philosophy of medical care. When a nurse came in to draw blood from the tear-stained mother, she shyly asked her how her appointment was. When McKinney said it could have gone better, the nurse took a risk.

“She gently placed her hand on my arm and looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Just have faith. Nothing is too big for God,’” McKinney recalled.

“In a doctor’s office, where it seemed like they were handing out lollipops with abortions, this woman was an angel,” she continued.

“I know God put her there to tell me that. I needed to hear it.”

After weeks of being offered — and refusing — an abortion multiple times at each medical appointment, McKinney prayed for a miracle. The next day, she noticed that the sonogram technician didn’t measure the cystic hygroma as usual, and asked what was going on. The sonogram technician said the doctor would explain.

Here’s what happened next:

“The doctor walked in. A new one. I had never seen her before during my visits. She was sweet and soft spoken. She had bedside manner. If anyone was going to give me bad news, I wanted it to be her. Immediately, I asked about the cystic hygroma not being measured. She gave me this sweet smile and told me that there was nothing there to measure. It was gone. I’m not sure who seemed more shocked. I had her repeat the news several times because I could not believe what was coming out of her mouth. There are cases out there (believe me, I read them day and night) where these things have resolved on their own. I knew there was a possibility. It was a very small chance, but it was there.”

McKinney’s baby boy was born November 4. The proud mother describes him as “perfect.” Although the doctors were shocked and ran test after test to find something seriously wrong with him, all they found was a small heart murmur that would resolve itself.

McKinney shared her testimony of grief, faith and hope over social media on February 5. She had always meant to share the story but indicated she was doing so now because of the radically pro-abortion, pro-infanticide law that passed in New York state.

Reflecting on the reality that she could have aborted her baby up to the day he was born, the happy mother said she could not believe it.

“I cannot fathom the idea that I could have changed my mind on November 4th. Just said, ‘To heck with it,’ because I changed my mind about having this baby,” she wrote.

“I firmly believe my faith was tested during this pregnancy. God wanted to see if I would do the unthinkable and terminate His plan. He wanted to see if I would believe in Him to heal our baby. Boy, am I glad I did,” she continued.

“I choose life. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. I will pray for New York and the leaders that made that decision. As I know all too well, nothing is too big for God.”

McKinney concluded by saying she made her story public so it could be shared.

“I hope it helps someone that may be going through something of their own,” she wrote.

Her Facebook post is going viral.

The Birth Control Pill: Unintended Consequences

One of the most prominent features of the Culture of Death is its short-sightedness.  It puts grand plans into action and makes sweeping promises about how many lives will be saved or improved by its initiatives.  And then its architects are invariably shocked and surprised when a galaxy of negative unintended consequences quickly emerge, usually making the situation much worse than it was before.  To put it simply, the Culture of Death is entirely ignorant of sinful human nature.

The classic example of this absolute lack of foresight is the birth control pill.

From the very first day it was introduced, “family planning” experts hailed the Pill as the conclusive solution to “unwanted pregnancies.”  But continued promises of high efficiency, combined with the easy availability of abortion as a “backup,” inevitably led to widespread careless use and abuse of the Pill.  When the Pill failed to prevent pregnancy, many women felt entitled to an abortion because they believed that medical technology had failed them and that another type of medical technology was the “answer” to their problem.

Use of the Pill requires care and consistent attention.  Each cycle of pills must be taken in the proper order every day at about the same time.  So women often forget to take pills, take them at the wrong time, or lose them.  This is the major contributor to an incredible number of unintended pregnancies, especially among younger women.  U.S. women who are on the Pill experience nearly a million unintended pregnancies annually, and more than 40 percent of these occur among girls and women 15 to 24 years old.[i]

The method effectiveness of the Pill is 99.7 percent per year.  This percentage is extremely high, but it refers to the efficiency of the Pill when a woman is in excellent health and uses the Pill without error.  When user error and illness are factored in, the result is the actual, or “real world” user effectiveness rate.  In the case of the Pill, this is only 91 percent per year.[ii]  This means that nine percent of women on the Pill will become pregnant in any given year of use.  In other words, the Pill itself is responsible for only about three percent of all failures, and the users are responsible for the remainder.

The 91 percent “real world” effectiveness rate for the Pill still sounds high until we calculate the probability of a woman becoming pregnant over an extended period of time when using it.

She has a nine percent probability of becoming pregnant in the first year, a one in four (25%) probability in three years; 38% in five years; and 61% in ten years.[iii]

In summary, if a sexually active girl of 15 starts using the Pill continuously, there is a nearly 50 percent chance that she will become pregnant by the time she is 22!

This statistic is verified by pro‑abortionists, including Dr. Christopher Tietze, who said that “within 10 years, 20 to 50 percent of Pill users and a substantial majority of users of other methods may be expected to experience at least one repeat abortion.”[iv]  Note that Tietze is speaking about repeat (second or more) abortions here.  These statistics are significant when one considers that one of the primary goals of school‑based clinics (SBCs) is to distribute contraceptives and abortifacients to teenagers without parental consent or knowledge.

These rates are in line with Alan Guttmacher Institute figures that show that half of all abortion patients thirty years ago were practicing contraception during the month in which they conceived.  Additionally, the majority of abortion patients who had stopped using a method prior to becoming pregnant said they had most recently used the Pill.[v]

The situation has not improved, despite decades of saturation propaganda campaigns by everyone from big pharma to Neofeminist groups.  A 2007 Marie Stopes International study found that 43 percent of aborting women were using the Pill when they got pregnant, and another 27 percent were using condoms.[vi]  And in 2014, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the largest chain of abortion mills in the United Kingdom, found that 27 percent of women obtaining abortions were on the Pill when they got pregnant, while 35 percent were using condoms.[vii]  BPAS Executive Director Ann Furedi confirmed what pro-lifers have always claimed when she acknowledged that “Ultimately women cannot control their fertility through contraception alone, and need accessible abortion services as a back-up for when their contraception lets them down.” [viii]

The Pill:  Unsafe At Any Speed

Even after the shift from high-dose to low-dose pills, United States Federal courts classified the birth control as “unavoidably unsafe.”[ix]  This means that, implicit in a woman’s consent to use the Pill is an acknowledgement of physical risk ― even if she is not entirely informed of all (or any) of its dangers.

This legal classification means that women injured by the Pill have a much harder time recovering damages.  Dr. John Hildebrand, an expert in the field of human reproduction, estimated that more than 500 women die every year because of pill‑induced effects.  This startling number is confirmed by figures provided by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the world’s foremost abortions statistics analyzer) and one of the foremost abortionists in the United States, Warren Hern.  His textbook Abortion Practice contains figures that lead to the conclusion that more than 30,000 American women have died due to direct side effects of the Pill since it was adopted in the United States ― with a current average of 600 to 700 deaths per year.[x]

It is ironic indeed that the same pill that the radical feminists pushed so hard as part of their solution to illegal abortion deaths now kills five to seven times as many women per year as illegal abortions themselves did before Roe v. Wade.  And, with a few minor exceptions, these feminists do not breathe a word about it.

In 2010, major magazines, newspapers and pro‑abortion organizations celebrated fifty years of “The Pill,” and trumpeted how it has freed women from “unwanted childbearing” and drudgery.  Perhaps they should tell that to the loved ones of the more than thirty thousand women who have died from the fatal side effects of the Pill.

The manufacturers of each of the more than 125 brands of birth control pill issue patient information pamphlets (PIPs) which give detailed information on each one.  These standardized forms each have sections entitled “Warnings and Precautions” and “Adverse Reactions,” which list anywhere from 50 to 67 side effects of the Pill.  The most serious of these include cardiovascular and breast problems.

The most dangerous and well‑documented side effects commonly associated with the Pill are heart attacks and strokes.  The eight‑year Nurse’s Health Study at Harvard Medical School found that Pill users are 250 percent as likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those who don’t use the Pill, probably because the Pill greatly increases blood clotting ability.  One of the major findings of the study was that women who get off the Pill have rates of cardiovascular disease equal to that of the general population after a period of one year.[xi]  All of the patient information pamphlets produced by the manufacturers of the Pill confirm that the drug increases these risks.

Soon after the high-dose pills were phased out in favor of the low-dose regimen, the Pill came under intense scrutiny by researchers.  In 1988, scientists at the Boston University School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York’s Memorial Sloan‑Kettering Cancer Center showed that the longer women took the Pill, the greater were their chances of contracting breast cancer.  The risk of developing breast cancer was found to be twice as great by age 45 for women who had used the Pill for less than ten years and four times as great for women who had used the Pill for greater than ten years.

After a decade of accumulating evidence, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified combined oral contraceptives as “carcinogenic to humans” (Group 1).  In 2005, the IARC confirmed this classification and has not changed it since.[xii]

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic followed up this classification with the most comprehensive review of studies on the Pill-breast cancer link ever performed.  They found that 21 of 23 large well-conducted studies found that there was an average of a 44 percent increased risk of breast cancer in women who were taking the Pill prior to their first pregnancy.[xiii]

Indirect Impacts of the Pill

We have seen that the birth control pill is so ineffective that it fails hundreds of thousands of times annually in the United States, leading to hundreds of thousands of surgical abortions.  We have also covered some of the more serious physical side effects inflicted upon women by the Pill, including more than 30,000 deaths and tens of thousands seriously injured since its introduction.

The indirect impacts of the Pill are much more diffuse, but are terribly damaging to society in general.  The Pill impacts not only women, but men and children.

Since its introduction, the Pill has contributed heavily towards sexual promiscuity, the increase of illegitimate births, the explosion of venereal diseases, and the degradation of marriage and the family.

Increased Promiscuity

Immediately after the Pill was introduced in the mid‑1960s, pre‑marital sex and cohabitation both almost doubled in only five years.  Currently, 48 percent of all couples living together are not married.[xiv]  People of all ages (but especially teenagers) are having premarital sex more than ever before.  Wife‑swapping clubs, organized orgies, membership in sex addiction treatment organizations like Sexaholics Anonymous, hard‑core pornography, and ‘fantasy [sex] tours’ to Far East nations have increased tremendously.

After witnessing two decades of this social carnage, the developers of the Pill admitted that its wide availability appeals strongly to those persons with little regard for sexual ethics.  Dr. Robert Kirstner of Harvard Medical School said, “About ten years ago, I declared that the Pill would not lead to promiscuity.  Well, I was wrong.  The birth control pill has been a major causal factor in the rapid increase in both V.D. and cervical cancer among adolescents by stimulating higher levels of promiscuity.”[xv]  And Dr. Min‑Chueh Chang acknowledged, “[Young people] indulge in too much sexual activity … I personally feel the Pill has rather spoiled young people.  It’s made them more permissive.”[xvi]

Dr. Alan Guttmacher, former Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, also drew a clear picture of the link between abortion and contraception within the context of increased promiscuity nearly fifty years ago; “When an abortion is easily obtainable, contraception is neither actively nor diligently used.  If we had abortion on demand, there would be no reward for the woman who practiced effective contraception.  Abortion on demand relieves the husband of all possible responsibility; he simply becomes a coital animal.”[xvii]

Finally, psychologists Eugene Sandburg and Ralph Jacobs noted the obvious connection between contraception and abortion as birth control; “As legal abortion has become increasingly available, it has become evident that some women are now intentionally using abortion as a substitute for contraception.”[xviii]

Drs. Kirstner and Min‑Chueh were certainly correct in their assessment of the situation.  In 1970, only 4.6 percent of all 15‑year‑old girls had experienced premarital sex.  By 2000, this rate had increased more than eightfold to 40 percent.  Of all unmarried girls in the 15 to 19 age bracket, 28.6 percent had had premarital sex in 1970.  This rate had more than doubled to 61.4 percent by 1990[xix] and about 80 percent by 2000.[xx]

Illegitimate Births

The inevitable result of the combination of increases in premarital sex and of ‘unwanted pregnancy’ is an increase in illegitimate births and abortion.  This principle is so obvious that leading “family planners” recognized it in the early 1970s.

Professor Kingsley Davis of the United States Commission on Population Growth and the American Future stated that

The current belief that illegitimacy will be reduced if teenage girls are given an effective contraceptive is an extension of the same reasoning that created the problem in the first place.  It reflects an unwillingness to face problems of social control and social discipline, while trusting some technological device to extricate society from its difficulties.  The irony is that the illegitimacy rise occurred precisely while contraceptive use was becoming more, rather than less, widespread and respectable.[xxi]

The illegitimacy rate for births among teenaged girls hovered around five to seven percent for decades until about 1960.  Between 1960 and 1970, it doubled as the birth control pill ushered in the “Sexual Revolution.”  After 1970, the teenage illegitimacy rate exploded with the introduction of comprehensive sex education programs and school‑based clinics.

The overall illegitimacy rate for all children born in the United States was 5 percent in 1960.  This rate had increased 700 percent to 40.7% by 2008.[xxii]

This phenomenon is not just an ethical or religious concern, it is a profoundly practical one.  Social workers know that children born into one‑parent families are much more likely to be abused and abusive, to be undereducated, to be under‑ or unemployed, to have illegitimate children themselves, and to be far more likely to become involved in criminal activity.

Degradation of Marriage and Family

In 1965, before the Pill became widely available, about 15 percent of all couples lived together before marriage.  The major reason for the relatively low incidence of this arrangement was simple:  Living together meant more sex, and more sex meant a greater chance of a pregnancy in a nation where abortion was still illegal.

Today, many young unmarried women are on the Pill and abortion is readily available as a backup.  They feel that they have no reason not to be sexually active and “shack up” before marriage.

As a result, nearly half of all couples in the United States now live together before marriage.[xxiii]  This in turn causes great problems because more than 75 percent of all couples who lived together before marriage eventually divorce.[xxiv]  The Pill has also contributed greatly to our country’s exploding divorce rate, which was about 18 percent in 1965 and now stands at about 50 percent.[xxv]

Predictably, the innocent children of divorced couples are always those who suffer the most.  But the gender feminists and sexologists simply write them off as a sort of necessary “collateral damage,” inevitable victims of the Sexual Revolution and the war against one’s own sexuality.

Implications for Pro‑Lifers

Millions of women in the USA and all over the world use the Pill.  Many women who would never consider a surgical abortion now use low‑dose pills that cause them to abort a new life an average of once or twice every year.  A large number of women who claim to be pro‑life use these pills, many at the urging of their husbands.  These are usually women who are ignorant of the Pill’s abortifacient mode of action, those who think that their way of life requires that they use the Pill, or those who cannot mentally make the connection between contraception and abortion.

Pro-abortionists play upon this theme constantly.  For example, `Catholic’ House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed that “98 percent of Catholic women use birth control to determine the size and timing of their families.”[xxvi]  The reality is that 83 percent of Catholic women use artificial birth control (32% have been sterilized), and only 31 percent of Catholic women use the Pill.[xxvii]

Researchers have calculated that the birth control pill directly causes between 1.53 and 4.15 million chemical abortions per year in the United States ― up to four times the total number of surgical and medical abortions committed every year!  We can calculate that about 750 million “silent abortions” have occurred in the United States since the birth control pill began to come into wide use in 1965.[xxviii]

To put this into perspective, for every surgical and RU-486 abortion that has been performed in this country, a dozen “silent abortions” have taken place.

This means that otherwise pro‑life women who are using the Pill or some other means of abortifacient birth control are committing abortions themselves on a frequent basis.  These abortions are “silent” and unseen, but they are no less abortions than are gruesome third‑trimester D&X abortions.  There are many pro‑lifers who are using these pills and who are involved in their promotion and distribution.  These people must consider whether they can, in good conscience, criticize women whose action differs from their own only in that they have to drive to an abortion mill to commit it.

Conclusion

When Pope Paul VI overrode the recommendations of his Birth Control Commission and wrote Humanae Vitae in 1968, he was exposed to widespread criticism, dissent and ridicule.  But the four predictions he made in his great encyclical have undeniably come true.  These are; (1) infidelity and moral decline; (2) loss of respect for women; (3) abuse of power by public authorities; and (4) a false sense of unlimited dominion over one’s body.[xxix]  Today, most women (and men) see contraception as essential to their lives, and what was once mortal sin has “evolved” in the minds of most Catholics into an absolute necessity of life, something they simply cannot do without.

The great irony in all of this is that those who follow Church teachings regarding sexual morality are not only happier, they find their lives less difficult and complicated in the long run.

This is how Our Lord planned it, and this is the way we should live.

 

Endnotes

[i] See Chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” for calculations and documentation.

[ii]  Robert A. Hatcher, et. al.  Contraceptive Technology (20th Revised Edition) [New York:  Ardent Media, Inc.], 2011.  Table 26‑1, “Percentage of Women Experiencing an Unintended Pregnancy During the First Year of Typical Use and the First Year of Perfect Use of Contraception and the Percentage Continuing Use at the End of the First Year.  United States,” page 791.

[iii] For references and calculations, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for Excel spreadsheet F-02-05.XLS, “Probability of Pregnancy over Time for Fertile Women Who Use Various Methods of Birth Regulation, Ranked by User Effectiveness Rates.”

[iv]  Christopher Tietze, quoted in the National Abortion Rights Action League’s A Speaker’s and Debater’s Guidebook.  June 1978, page 24.

[v]  Christopher Tietze, quoted in the National Abortion Rights Action League’s A Speaker’s and Debater’s Guidebook.  June 1978, page 24.

[vi] Steven Ertelt.  “British Abortion Business Admits Birth Control Doesn’t Prevent Pregnancy.”  LifeNews.com, January 29, 2008.

[vii] Peter Baklinski.  “Two-Thirds of Women Seeking Abortions were Using Contraception:  Britain’s Largest Abortion Provider.”  LifeSite Daily News, February 5, 2014.

[viii] Peter Baklinski.  “Two-Thirds of Women Seeking Abortions were Using Contraception:  Britain’s Largest Abortion Provider.”  LifeSite Daily News, February 5, 2014.

[ix] Thomas P. Monaghan, Co‑Chairman, Free Speech Advocates.  “Unavoidably Unsafe.”  Fidelity Magazine, October 1987, pages 14 and 15.

[x] For references and calculations, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for Excel spreadsheet F-02-06.XLS, “Estimate of Annual Deaths Attributable to Use of the Birth Control Pill in the USA, 1960-2014.”

[xi] Dr. Meir J. Stampfer.  New England Journal of Medicine, November 24, 1988.  This study was based on an eight‑year follow-up of 119,061 female nurses, ranging in age from 30 to 55 in 1980.  7,074 were current pill users and 49,269 were previous users.  Overall, there were 380 heart attacks, 205 strokes, and 230 cardiovascular deaths among pill users.

[xii] UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Program of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP).  “Carcinogenicity of Combined Hormonal Contraceptives and Combined Menopausal Treatment,” September 2005, page 1.

[xiii] Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., Francesmary Modugno, Ph.D., MPH, Douglas M. Potter, Ph.D., and Walter B. Severs, Ph.D.  “Oral Contraceptive Use as a Risk Factor for Pre-Menopausal Breast Cancer:  A Meta-Analysis.”  Journal of the Mayo Clinic, October 2006, http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)61152-X/fulltext and http://www.polycarp.org/statement_mayo_clinic_article.htm, November 5, 2014.

[xiv] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs), Division of Vital Statistics.  Casey E. Copen, Ph.D., Kimberly Daniels, Ph.D. and William D. Mosher, Ph.D..  “First Premarital Cohabitation in the United States:  2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth.”  National Health Statistics Reports, Number 64 [April 4, 2013], http://www.cdc.gov/ nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr064.pdf.

[xv] Dr. Robert Kirstner, Harvard Medical School, one of the original developers of the birth control pill.  Quoted in Barret L. Mosbacker.  Special Report:  Teenage Pregnancy and School‑Based Clinics [Washington, D.C.:  Family Research Council], 1986, and in ALL About Issues, June 1981, page 5 [emphasis in the original].

[xvi] Dr. Min‑Chueh Chang, one of the inventors of the birth control pill.  Quoted by Charles E. Rice.  “Nature’s Intolerance of Abuse.”  ALL About Issues, August 1981, page 6.

[xvii] Dr. Alan Guttmacher in a discussion at the Law, Morality and Abortion Symposium, held at Rutgers University Law School, March 27, 1968.  Rutgers Law Review, 1968(22):415‑443.

[xviii] Eugene C. Sandburg, M.D. and Ralph I. Jacobs, M.D.  “Psychology of the Misuse and Rejection of Contraception.”  American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, May 15, 1971, pages 227 to 237.

[xix] “The US Family Staggers into the Sexy Secular Future.”  Family Research Newsletter, January‑March 1991, page 1, Table 1, “Percentage of Women Aged 15‑19 Who Reported Having Had Premarital Sexual Intercourse, By Race and Age ― United States, 1970‑1988.”  Numbers from 1988 to 1992 are linearly extrapolated using 1985‑1988 rates.

[xx] United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  “A League Table of Teenage Births in Rich Nations.”  July 2001, page 2.

[xxi] Professor Kingsley Davis.  “The American Family, Relation to Demographic Change.”  Research Reports, United States Commission on Population Growth and the American Future.  Volume I, Demographic and Social Aspects of Population Growth, edited by Robert Parke, Jr., and Charles F. Westoff [Washington, D.C.:  United States Government Printing Office], 1972, page 253.

[xxii] United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.  Reference Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States [Washington, DC:  United States Government Printing Office], 2012 (132nd Edition).  Table 78, “Live Births, Deaths, Marriages and Divorces:  1960 to 2008,” shows 4,248,000 total births for the year 2008, and Table 85, “Births to Unmarried Women by Race, Hispanic Origin, and Age of Mother:  1990 to 2008” shows 1,727,000 births to unmarried mothers in 2008, for a percentage rate of 40.7%.  The entire Statistical Abstract for the current year in PDF format is available on the Census Bureau Web site.

[xxiii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs), Division of Vital Statistics.  Casey E. Copen, Ph.D., Kimberly Daniels, Ph.D. and William D. Mosher, Ph.D..  “First Premarital Cohabitation in the United States:  2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth.”  National Health Statistics Reports, Number 64 [April 4, 2013], http://www.cdc.gov/ nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr064.pdf.

[xxiv] In 1989, James Bumpass, James Sweet, and Andrew Cherlin of the University of Wisconsin completed a long‑term study to determine the effect of prenuptial cohabitation on marriage.  Described in Dale Vree.  “Hey, it Sounds Plausible.”  National Catholic Register, May 7, 1989, page 5.

[xxv] United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.  Reference Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States [Washington, DC:  United States Government Printing Office], 2010 (130th Edition).  Table 78, “Live Births, Deaths, Marriages and Divorces:  1960 to 2007.”  The entire Statistical Abstract for the current year in PDF format is available on the Census Bureau Web site.

[xxvi] House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), February 16, 2012.  Glenn Kessler.  “The Claim that 98 Percent of Catholic Women Use Contraception:  A Media Foul.”  The Washington Post, February 17, 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-98-percent-of-catholic-women-use-contraception-a-media-foul/2012/02/16/gIQAkPeqIR_blog.html.

[xxvii] Rachel K. Jones and J. Dreweke.  “Countering Conventional Wisdom:  New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use.”  Guttmacher Institute, 2011, and unpublished tabulations of the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth.  http://www.guttmacher.org/media/resources/Religion-FP-tables.html.

[xxviii] For references and calculations, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for Excel spreadsheet F-02-A.XLS, “Birth Control Methods Used by United States Women, and Overall Estimated Number of “Silent Abortions,” 1965-2013.”

[xxix] For a short but excellent summary and exposition on the four prophecies of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, see Janet Smith.  “Pope Paul VI as Prophet:  Have Humanae Vitae’s Bold Predictions Come True?” at http://www3.nd.edu/~afreddos/courses/264/ popepaul.htm.

New doctor practice in Delaware: ‘Would you like a contraceptive with that?’

February 4, 2019 (C-Fam) – If a woman visits a doctor in Delaware for a sore throat or a sprained ankle, she may be asked a surprising question: “Do you want to become pregnant in the next year?” If she says no, she could leave the clinic that same day with a long-acting contraceptive implant or intrauterine device.

Promoting contraception as a way to reduce poverty is the result of a partnership between the state of Delaware and an organization called Upstream. The approach has received national attention and is being considered for a national expansion. Although this approach may seem innovative in the United States, it looks very familiar in an international context.

For decades, women in developing countries have surveyed about whether they would like to become pregnant in the near future. Those who answer no are described as having a “demand” for family planning, even if they say they have no intention of using a method.

The global contraceptive market has become increasingly saturated, and knowledge of methods is near universal. Meanwhile, family planning organizations have redoubled their efforts to increase demand among women on the ground through mass marketing campaigns, including radio and TV dramas. To donors and governments, they offer contraceptives as a solution to poverty, conflict, and environmental degradation.

Like all marketing experts, family planning organizations have done extensive research on how to increase “sales.” Recent years have seen a broad international push to integrate family planning into all areas of health care. In practice this means any woman of reproductive age may be offered contraceptives when she visits a health clinic, regardless of the reason for her visit.

As retailers know, most impulse buying occurs when people are already in stores, and may be followed by buyer’s remorse. But unlike food or an item of clothing, the insertion of a long-acting reversible contraceptive (or LARC) is a major medical decision that carries risks and side effects. Researchers found that four in ten women who stopped using long-acting contraceptives did so because of health concerns. Nevertheless, Upstream focuses on promoting such contraception over other methods due to their low failure rates. A spokeswoman for the pro-abortion National Institute for Reproductive Health expressed concern to the New York Times that the Upstream approach may be “tipping the scale” in favor of these methods.

Some women currently seeking to avoid pregnancy may want to return to fertility in the near future. As Lyman Stone notes in The Federalist, women accepting long-acting contraception may not realize that the effects can last up to a year after removal.

Whether in Delaware or sub-Saharan Africa, decisions around procreation are best made within the context of the family. The campaign for same-visit delivery of long-acting contraceptives eliminates the opportunity for women to consult their partners – or parents, in the case of adolescents – before making a decision.

Delaware’s former governor Jack Markell started the partnership with Upstream in 2014. He now sits on the organization’s board of directors, alongside an Upstream co-founder who worked as a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations.

As for the hope of reducing poverty, the data is mixed. Brookings Institution fellow Isabel Sawhill told the New York Times, “It’s very expensive and very hard to reduce poverty. Reducing unplanned births is easy by comparison.”

Published with permission from C-Fam.

U.S. bishop: pro-abortion politicians ‘should not’ receive Communion in my diocese

SPOKANE, Washington, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic bishop has warned pro-abortion politicians who call themselves “Catholic” and who reside in his diocese that they “should not” present themselves to receive Holy Communion.

“Politicians who reside in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, and who obstinately persevere in their public support for abortion, should not receive Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church,” wrote Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, citing Canon 915 of church law (read full letter below).

In a tweet, the bishop said that “willful murder of unborn children is a grave evil,” and called on Catholics to read his Feb. 1 letter.

Bishop Thomas Daly@Bishop_Daly

Friends, please read my letter on the abortion legislation that has been passed in New York and considered in other states. The willful murder of unborn children is a grave evil. Let us pray for life to be protected from conception until natural death. http://ow.ly/VNxa30ny1mw